Sunday, 1 June 2014

Fr Finigan to move from Blackfen

PLEASE NOTE: NO FURTHER COMMENTS WILL BE PUBLISHED ON THIS POST - MY INTENTION WAS NOT TO DISRUPT EITHER FR STEVEN'S OR FR TIM'S PLANS BUT SOME READERS SEEM TO THINK THAT THIS IS THE CASE.

Fr Tim Finigan
Picture: Ordinariate Expats

Parishioners at Our Lady of the Rosary in Blackfen will be dismayed at the news that Fr Tim Finigan (The Hermeneutic of Continuity) for any Martians who may not have come across this great priest, is to move to the Church of St Austin and St Gregory with St Anne in the seaside resort of Margate.

There are good reasons for any bishop to move his priests to a different parish every so often and, it is a certainty that, in Fr Tim's case, it must be that Archbishop Peter Smith wanted to apply the considerable spiritual and pastoral abilities of Fr Finigan to the wider benefit of his flock.

This move highlights a problem that many of us who seek a Latin Mass on a Sunday come across.

Traditional Catholics in Britain tend to cluster close to parishes where the old Mass is offered regularly and, when the PP is moved on, it can come as something of a tragedy for those left behind, doubly so when they may have lost both the Mass and a good spiritual director.

A good priest moulds his flock to bind them closer to Christ and to enhance their prospects of salvation and, as a result, the parishioners assume something of the character of the priest.

It can come as a bitter blow to lose that priest despite the fact that, in  Fr F's case, his successor will bring his own gifts to the parish.

Thankfully, for Blackfen, the new PP, Fr Steven Fisher is known to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

As for the good folk of Margate, they are providentially fortunate as a result of the Archbishop's decision.

Prayers needed for Fr Tim, Fr Steven and the parishioners of both Blackfen and Margate.

36 comments:

  1. The parishioners may be OK. We should remember that according to Benedict XVI and perhaps more importantly St Pius V, the Ancient mass exists, as the normal Mass of the Catholic Church, “In Perpetuity” (Quo Primum).

    Now of course there are other forms such the recently permitted Ordinariate form, oh yes, and of course the many, many forms of the Novus Ordo, which were introduced a few years ago, but any priest has the absolute right to say the Ancient Mass at any time, and any group of parishioners have the right to request it.

    Now I’m sure something will be sorted out amicably and in charity?

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  2. It seems that traditional priest bloggers are like Martello towers: they need to be deployed round the coast to prevent an invasion (cf. Ray Blake, Sean Finnegan, ...) Except that the invaders have already arrived.

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  3. The Diocese is moving Father Steven Fisher already? He was appointed PP of Holy Cross only in 2012!!! Blackfen's gain is Greenwich Deanery's loss. I have a feeling that something's afoot in my deanery.

    Richard, will there any plan by bloggers/readers to meet at Father Tim's this summer?

    God bless
    Sonia

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    1. Sonia, I think there is a plan to meet in Brighton on 26th July. God bless.

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  4. I was delighted to be asked to move to Blackfen as PP. Let me reassure you I have no intentions of walking in and abolishing the 10.30 Mass. But please do spare a thought for my poor people here in Plumstead Common. I did not want to leave them, and did not enjoy having to tell them that I was not being replaced, and that there would no longer be a resident priest here--the Salvatorians would drive up from Plumstead and provide some form of pastoral care. So, please understand that my joy is tinged with sadness. God bless you all. Fr Steven Fisher

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  5. I have sympathy with Fr Fisher's comment. In my case it is sad to have to leave Blackfen, but I wouldn't want the people of Margate to feel that I am going there reluctantly. Canon Smith has done a lot of good work and I would want to provide continuity there.

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  6. May God bless you all, priest and parish, those coming and those going and bring His Spirit to refresh you all as you bring out things old and new for the well-being of your flock.

    As it is Communications Sunday, let us thank God for the new means we have of keeping in contact, the possibility we have of exchanging ideas even over great distances, and pray that appropriate communication may continue between all concerned.

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  7. But why the move especially as it seems Fr. Fisher has not been long in his current parish?

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  8. It is slightly presumptious to assume that parishioners will be dismayed. We all accept that our priests are "persona Christi". Even Fr Tim accepts that. It is not healthy to become overly attached to personalities and friendships. This can become cliquey and lead to division, when really, PPs are meant to be shepherds. Fr Tim has been an exemplary shepherd. Archbishop Smith has also shown great Pastoral consideration in the new appointment. Fr Stephen is a fan of the Old Mass. Your comments about him betray some ignorance on your part, and are, frankly, embarrassing, from a fellow Traditionalist..

    Go Father Tim, we love you. Other parishes deserve to be renewed by you.

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    1. Anon @ 6.55 - it is not presumptious at all. No one likes to lose a good priest but one respects the needs for the talents of the diocese to be spread further than one parish. That last remark applies to Fr Steven also. Please explain how my comments regarding this good priest betray ignorance on my part.
      I do not think that you have read the post correctly. Please use your name when responding.

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    2. "it can come as something of a tragedy for those left behind,". I can reassure you that we understand the difference between a priest moving parishes and "a tragedy" I found that remark demeaning to all concerned: Fr Tim, Fr Stephen and the parishioners of Blackfen. Those remarks are unnecessary.

      Several commenters have commented as anonymous. I note that you don't ask them to leave their names. Is it because my comment has challenged you in some way ?
      I have very good reason not to leave my own name. However, I am very happy to provide it to you if you can think of some way I can leave it to you privately without the scrutiny of a public blog reader-ship. Do you have an e-mail address ?

      regards. a fellow traditionalist.

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    3. Anon, I think that you are being overly sensitive. I write as one who has had several priests (who offered the EF Mass) moved by the bishop. As that inevitably meant the loss of the EF Mass for us, in rural Wales, of course it was "something of a tragedy".
      I am a little weary of asking anonymous commentators to leave a name but, when challenged, I like to know whom I am addressing. I do not feel that I have in any way been demeaning to Fr Tim or Fr Steven.

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  9. [Sorry - last try got scrambled!]

    Well, this far bit of Kent was the first region in England to receive the Gospel (after the Roman period anyway), and with Frs Finigan and Holden in place, not to mention the lovely Benedictine nuns at Minster, it might become the last bastion too ...

    A minor basilica would look well on the cliffs.

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  10. Eccles,

    Your comment leaves me with a certain, don't know what, shall we say feeling in the back of my neck. What, with Deacon Donnelly and possibly his wife, muffled, and several comment facilitites being withdrawn, and various blogging priests being shuffled around and what not?

    Oh I don't know. Herself says I've always been a bit suspiciuous. Can't help it . It was where I was brought up!

    But I still have this feeling - and of course - it's Communications Sunday? Yes, that's it!

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  11. I do not address the particular case of Fr. Finnegan, but only the following premise:

    There are good reasons for any bishop to move his priests to a different parish every so often...

    Sorry, I don't accept this. There may sometimes arise a compelling reason to move a particular priest on a particular occasion, but not to shuffle priests on a continuing basis. I submit that the priest shuffle is an unmitigated disaster. Clearly, we have embraced the secular business model for parishes, pursuant to which a pastorship is just another job and the pastor himself is fungible. But the fact is, a parish is a family, and the pastor is the father of that family. Fathers, by definition, are irreplaceable; they are to stay put and have a long-term stake in the well-being of their children, who are to love him in their turn. Try to impose the secular business model on parishes, and what you get resembles the devastated families with parades of stepfathers that are the product of the culture of divorce. In some places, you also get elderly priests who live in penury when they are too old and infirm to work anymore. And if a priest and parish have difficulties with each other, there is no reason to work out those differences and deal with them in situ. All they have to do is wait each other out; and then, if the problem lies with the priest, he just gets moved and becomes someone else's problem. Also, I further submit that if all the priests are being moved around, that just makes it easier to cover up for the ones who are abusers.

    Sorry, but again without reference to this particular case or the reasoning behind it, the whole idea of shuffling priests has bothered me for years, and I think we need to put an end to it except in extraordinary circumstances.

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  12. Mr Linen said, "parishioners assume something of the character of the priest." That is so true, and sadly so when the priest has little Catholic character.

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  13. I am aware that this is a traditional website, but the Extraordinary form is just that, and it is not reasonable for any priest to impose it on his parishioners as the main form of celebrating Mass as opposed to the Novus Ordo which the majority of parishioners (probably at least 90%) want and are used to. I suspect that Our Lord used the language of his time to celebrate the Last Supper, so I have never understood the traditionalists wish to keep looking backwards to the 1950's, which were not so great as I grew up then. I think priests should be moved at least 10 years, as they do not own the parish, but are there to serve the people, and not indulge their own preferences. I only hope that for the sake of the good people of Blackfen that Fr Fisher acknowledges this and consults his new parishioners as to their wishes.

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    1. Anon @ 14.44 - Francis has a rather eloquent response to your comment. I will add to that by telling you why traditionalists have some (only some) affection for the fifties, as you say. It is because we had reverence and piety shown by the laity, we had a community built around the church (I am aware that Blackfen has an excellent community but, sadly, we do not have too many Blackfens), our liturgy was international and, consistent, it did not rely on chatty jokes added by the priest and we did not commence Holy mass by saying:
      "Good morning Far-ver!"

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  14. The comment made by "Anonymous" at 2.44pm on 2 June is both tendentious and totally inaccurate.

    How can Fr. Finigan be "imposing the Extraordinary Form on his parishoners as the main form of celebrating Mass as opposed to the Novus Ordo"?

    The parish website shows that there are 4 Sunday Masses (including the anticipated Mass). Only one of these is in the Extraordinary Form. So 75% of Sunday Masses at Blackfen are Novus Ordo.

    Likewise, Blackfen has a total of 6 weekday Masses, only one of which is in the Extraordinary Form. So 83% of weekday Masses at Blackfen are Novus Ordo.

    Wasn't it Goebbels who said that the more a lie is repeated, the more it becomes the truth?

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    1. Oh dear what is it about the traditional lobby, that when challenged charity seems to fly out of the window. I will ignore the personal slurs and concentrate on the facts. It is not the percentages that matter but times. The main Sunday morning Mass at Blackfen is Tridentine, as is also the Saturday morning Mass, so if you want an English Mass at the weekend you have to go to the 9am Sunday Mass. That seems to me nowadays to be unreasonable, and an imposition by the parish priest. Others obviously see it differently. However living in a neighbouring parish I know as a fact that there are many people from outside Blackfen who attend the Tridentine Masses there, and many other local parishioners who are in effect refugees from Blackfen who attend Mass in other parishes. I cannot see the need for this, as the Oratory Fathers, for whom I have great respect, usually celebrate the Tridentine Mass early at 8am leaving the rest of the day for the Novus Ordo either in English or Latin. I would also mention that one of the most memorable Masses we attended was a pilgrimage Mass said in English at the Birmingham Oratory accompanied by their Catholic hymns. I would recommend this as an example of how Mass can be properly celebrated in English, and we had a similar experience at the Oxford Oratory. Indeed would that there were more Oratories in this country. It was of course Newman who advised us to change often, and as someone in their late sixties I know how hard this can be, but I do not think the answer is to take refuge in the past, nor do I think Pope Francis wants us to - read The Joy of the Gospel if you have not already done so e.g. para 41.So please be open to reason and other points of view, and do not assume that the majority is automatically wrong. As a husband and father of five adult children who often disagree with me I know the virtue of audi alterem partem as we lawyers are wont to say. Yours in Charity

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    2. Anon @ 11.24pm - I see nothing uncharitable in the comments you are quoting from. And where are the slurs? But I do like the way you are very happy for the EF Mass to be early in the morning so that you may go to your NO later in the day. So very reasonable - and, please leave a name.

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  15. I am fortunate to count both Fr Tim and Fr Steven amongst my friends and I know that they will both prove to be as exemplary PPs in their new appointments as they have been in their present ones. There is, moreover, no need to look for conspiracy theories for the reasons behind these moves. They are simply the result of the appointment of Fr Nicholas Hudson as Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster. This kind of thing is absolutely normal in any diocese and the Archbishop of Southwark is in an unenviable position.


    The anonymous commenter who dislikes the Extraordinary Form ought to reflect on the position faced by the parishioners of Plumstead Common. They will be without a parish priest of their own and will face reduced provision of masses, in either form of the Roman RIte, quite apart from the other sacraments and pastoral care. They are the ones who we ought to feel sorry for.

    Fr Richard Duncan
    The Oratory
    Hagley Road
    Birmingham
    B16 8UE

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    1. Thank you Father Duncan, a good comment.

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    2. Father Richard

      I belong to the Deanery of Greenwich and can say that we have not experienced as many appointments and transfers as have taken place since 2012. That one wonders something is afoot is a natural and foreseeable consequence. More so following the merger of St Pat's and Holy Cross because 6 out of 16 parishes in the deanery are now confided to religious orders.

      God bless
      Sonia

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    3. If anything is "afoot", it is that the Archdiocese of Southwark has to try and staff 180 or so parishes and mass centres with a declining number of clergy. The problem will become critical in the next 10-15 years as those ordained in the 60s and 70s die or retire. Fr Langridge is doing sterling work in encouraging vocations to the priesthood, but even this will not eliminate the problem, at least not immediately, because it will take time for the seminarians to reach ordination and time after that before they are ready to take on parishes themselves. Clearly, fervent prayer for yet more vocations to the priesthood is a central part of the answer. In the meantime, difficult decisions will have to be taken about how best to provide pastoral care for the people of those parishes with the clerical resources that are available.

      I feel deeply for those who are adversely affected by this situation, as do all Southwark clergy of my acquaintance. Indeed, had circumstances been different, I would now be a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark, and would be helping to plug the gaps as they appear. However, Divine Providence intervened and I ended up in Birmingham at the Oratory. As it happens, I think the Oratorian model of a group of priests living permanently in a stable community has much to offer the contemporary Church and whilst I am not suggesting that everyone should become Oratorians, I do wonder whether something along these lines might be a solution to many of the difficulties which the current situation in Southwark throws up.

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  16. Priests in my diocese here in Iowa are moved every six years or so and this is a custom in the states. The reasons are for spiritual detachment, so that priests do not see something as "their turf".

    Of course, this would not apply to Fr. Tim, who is an excellent priest. I am sure Margate is thrilled.

    I shall be happy for all involved and be reassured that the TLM will still be said in Blackfen.

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    1. The reason isn't spiritual detachment. It is to reinforce control by the bishop and chancery.

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  17. ALERT, ALERT, GOOGLE has crashed. Everyone in the whole wide world from the mountains to the plains, from the jungles to the remote sea coasts wants to know: where is Margate, where is Blackfen? What a responsibility boys and girls.Oh think of it: the missionary shores of Angle-land. fear not!!!!!!

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    1. Colleen, Margate and Blackfen are two top secret locations known only to a few English traditionals. If I were to reveal the locations it would cost me my li aaargh!

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  18. Dear Richard, Fr Richard Duncan's comments sum the situation up perfectly. He says more clearly what I tried to say clumsily. I am also in your diocese, by the way !

    anonymous - the one who left a comment you didn't much like earlier. Actually, I think we are pretty much on the same side. Blessings, brother.

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    1. Anon, we are all on the same side, it's just that some of us are facing the wrong way. God bless.

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  19. Blackfen unity
    http://eucharistandmission.blogspot.it/2014/09/blackfen-unity.html

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