Again, having prepared a short piece on initiatives that the Bishops of England and Wales might like to consider in order to fulfil the requirments of Summorum Pontificum, I find the excellent Fr Z has trumped me with a piece about the order of the Austrian Canons Regular of Klosterneuburg who have accepted the invitation of Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre Diocese in the USA., to assume full pastoral care for two parishes. Wunderbar! However, there is some doubt as to whether they will be celebrating the TLM.......my guess is that this will be the case but it may not be at once.
Now come on my Lords, if it can be done in America it can be done in Britain (with the help of the FSSP and ICKSP), just think of the advantages:-
1. You get to fulfil the needs of sections of the laity in your Diocese who have been gnawing away at your ecclesiastical socks, asking for Mass in the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis (by that I mean not at 2.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon in the farthest flung parish you can find).
2. The Holy Father will be greatly pleased that you have (at last) taken notice of what he has asked of you...err, I assume you would be pleased that he is pleased?
3. You relax the problems of too many parishes and not enough priests. No more drafting in of itinerant priests to help you out over periods of sickness or holidays.
4. You will be able to scrap the (bizarre) plans you had regarding recruiting some nice young priests from Zambia - a big saving on fares and it also means that they will stay in Zambia to minister to Zambians who are in dire need of them!
5. You will also be able to show a marked increase in Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and, of course, Mass attendance figures will shoot up.
6. The number of converts, in the course of 3 to 5 years, will also show a marked increase.
In short, Bishop, you will actually be fulfilling your role pretty much as Our Lord intended it to be fulfilled. And you might also like to go the whole hog and think about inviting retired priests who are stuck in convents or caravan parks in your Diocese and pay them a small stipend to say the TLM wherever they are able to do so. Maybe even in the convent chapel...it might even bring some nuns back to the Faith!
According to an elderly priest friend of mine there are quite a few retired priests who celebrate the TLM in a solitary fashion, spread around the country. I would not wish to involve them in duties beyond their retirement, they have surely earned a rest but a Sunday Mass in their chapel with a live congregation - that might be welcomed by them.
And, if you think that all of this is so much bunkum, I have only this to say, in the immortal words of Ronnie Barker........