Saturday, 5 January 2008

Who ?

Well the internet is white-hot with debate, comment, argument and on occasion the odd slanging match regarding the necessary criteria for the candidate to replace our current Archbishop of Westminster....
Damian Thompson over on Holy Smoke Blog has requested we submit our nominations to [anonymously if necessary] and the emails have been flooding in.

I have to admit the most sensible , discerned and informed comment I have so far heard comes from Fr Justin over on the Nova et Vetera blog - to such an extent I feel compelled to repeat its contents in full :

I have to say that I am a dissenter from the clamour for a religious as the next Archbishop of Westminster. Dom Hugh of Pluscarden has had his name much mentioned — except by those who know him well, which is significant.
For a job of such varied responsibilities and national (if not international) importance, mere orthodoxy and holiness are not enough.
There are other gifts such as eloquence, prudence, the ability to govern and inspire others.
A knowledge of how a diocese works is very important—Cardinal Hume, for all his virtues, largely left the running of the diocese to the area bishops, and was not popular with his priests.
Whoever is appointed is going to have to be a very hard worker who can really get among his priests to revivify parish life. He will need to tackle the seminaries both at Rome and in London, and he will need to do battle with the schools to make them Catholic again.
For instance, on the last topic, I would estimate that I have in my parish about six or seven admirable practising Catholics who teach in non-Catholic secondary schools. They have tried and failed to get jobs in Catholic schools, and so have given up. Meanwhile, our local Catholic secondary schools are packed with lapsed and non-Catholic teachers. I have been told bluntly by a school, when I asked, that selection is simply made on the teacher's teaching ability; their faith is, to all intents and purposes, irrelevant. I do not believe that my parish is the only one in this position. It will take a bishop, and preferably the next Archbishop of Westminster, to take a lead on this. Thank God that the Bishop of Lancaster has made a start!
Some seminaries are almost a joke. In Rome, the student body is almost to a man orthodox to traditional. And the staff are still running the place like a seventies base community, despairing to each other and to whoever will listen about how impossible the modern student is. Allen Hall, I am told, is somewhat better. At Wonersh, the staff are largely doctrinally orthodox, but the practice and life at both places still remains firmly in the seventies, which is to say, Theological College style rather than Seminary.
And then there is the morale of the clergy; hit from every side. The Bishops have shrugged off onto their priests the entire blame and responsibility for the appalling child abuse debacle, and salved their own consciences and reputations by making the priests jump through hoops that make pastoral ministry very difficult (just try talking to a child now without its mother being present). They refuse to bring priests in from Poland to ease our workload, in case they also bring Catholicism with their luggage. In my diocese, two young and active priests are employed full-time doing, it seems, very little, while I and others have to run around like headless chickens trying to administer multiple parishes. The only thing to get the bishops really worked up is preventing priests celebrating according to the Extraordinary form.

I'd better stop here, or I'm going to go on for hours………

Anyway, that's why I think that what Westminster needs is somebody entirely new, and promoted from the diocesan clergy, not a religious who has no experience of these matters. I have some good ideas about one or two who might be just ideal for the job, but I'll spare their blushes.

I sincerely wish that he had continued for hours : The more sensible comment in this discussion the better - I have had a tendency to shoot my mouth off regarding certain individuals because I honestly don't think they're up for the job - but then again Providence decreed that we were led by His Eminence Cormac ; and you should all be aware of how I felt about that appointment - sometimes it's difficult to question why the Holy Spirit allowed His Eminence free rein ? Maybe if we'd had a more effective, orthodox, apostolic Pastor the Church in England and Wales might be undergoing all manner of politically correct persecutions infinitely worse than the ones we endure at present ? I don't know - but God's will be done in all things - I have to say I found His Eminence exceedingly more affable and involved than his predecessor but that's a bit like saying "Princess Di was a bit silly relationship-wise" to some quarters of the Church ; who thought Cardinal Hume was some mystical demigod - all I can say is that I never saw it.

So ? Who's in the Frame for it ? The Bookies favourites ? According to Paddy Power :

Mt Rev. Vincent Nichols 2 - 1 {Archbishop of Birmingham}

Rt Rev. Kevin McDonald 5 - 1 {Archbishop of Southwark , previously Bishop of Northampton}

Rt Rev. Alan Hopes 11 - 2 {Auxiliary Bishop and Vicar General of Westminster} ?????????!!!!!

Fr Timothy Radcliffe 6 - 1 {Formerly Master of Preachers - Head of the Dominicans}

Bishop William Kenney 15 - 2 { Passionist Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham {formerly auxiliary to Stockholm} }

Cardinal Pell of Sydney 10 - 1

Fr Aidan Nichols 11 - 1 { Dominican genius and von Balthasar expert-[thought he was the Archbishop's brother , but that goes to show you should never believe what you read on blogs - [wink!] ]Thanks to Culpepper for setting the record straight}

Mt Rev. Patrick Kelly 12 - 1 { Archbishop of Liverpool, formerly Bishop of Salford }

Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 12 - 1 { White Father , Apostolic Nuncio to Egypt}

Rt.Rev. Bernard Longley 12 - 1 { Westminster Auxiliary Bishop ; lectured in Dogmatic Theology in Wonersh }

Mt Rev. Peter Smith 12 - 1 {Archbishop of Cardiff ; formerly Bishop of East Anglia }

Rt Rev. Arthur Roche 12 - 1 { Bishop of Leeds }

Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue 16 - 1 {Bishop of Lancaster}

Rt.Rev. Michael Evans 16 - 1 {Bishop of East Anglia}

Bishop George Stack 16 - 1 { Westminster Auxiliary & Vicar of Clergy}

Fr Christoper Jamison 20 - 1 {Benedictine Abbot [famous for being on TV's "The Monastery"}

Bishop John Rawsthorne 20 - 1 {Bishop of Hallam {formerly Liverpool auxiliary} }

I'll supply a list of other proposed names floating around cyberspace very soon; but seriously dudes and dudettes - do a little research for yourself on these gentlemen of the cloth...this is, apart from one or two exceptions ; sadly much more a donkey derby than the St Ledger; and I'm frankly outraged that a couple of people on here were even contemplated for the role - and I don't mean the blessed abbott.

I have to repeat that I sorely regret that Bishop d'Arcy of Fort Wayne, South Bend ; Indiana - is celebrating his 75th Birthday and is unavailable for the role - were he but 10 years younger he'd have been perfect for the role ? But you never know - how old is His Holiness ? Will get my St Jude prayerbook out !


the mother of this lot said...

If you're praying, say this:
'Please God, not Bishop Kelly'.

Ttony said...

We're OK. God is not mocked. It won't be Kelly, just like it wasn't Worlock.

Anonymous said...

Aidan Nichols is not remotely related to Vincent Nichols - exept in the brotherhood of the Faith.

WhiteStoneNameSeeker said...

if Vinnie gets it I am afraid I am going to think our beloved Holy Father has washed his hands of us.