Monday, 16 May 2011

Forgive me Father for I am a curmudgeon!

I know that I should be grateful to the Bishops of England and Wales for re-instating the rule regarding abstention from meat on Fridays (which, like many other Extraordinaries, we do anyway) and I am jolly pleased that some of our Holy Days are going to be celebrated on the proper day again.
But.......these are two fairly minor steps and they are, after all, corrections of stupid changes made on the hoof. It has taken 27 years for their Lordships to appreciate the value of a corporate act of penance on Fridays! Ho hum.....that does not bode well for an enthusiastic response to the Vatican's Universae Ecclesiae which adds a little more impetus (as if it were needed) to the EF Mass and all its implications.

Archbishop Nichols has already made it clear that he is not dancing on the table at the content of UE but, he damn well should be; it is clearly a further demonstration of how Pope Benedict wishes the Church to progress - parity for both the OF and EF Masses and any response other than a warm and proactive one is acting in opposition to Rome. We are very quick to jump on an SSPX priest for criticising Rome but we blank it out when our own clergy do it.
It is almost as if we are witnessing an Episcopal waltz that has been a work in progress since Vatican II.
Slow, slow, quick, quick slow just about sums it up. Just what goes on in their minds?    We have a beautiful and profound liturgy, plainchant, benediction and a depth of interest in improving our spiritual record. Shouldn't the Bishops be doing all that they can to encourage us?

This is a good example of what we are missing......could anyone fail to be moved by this? I know it's been the rounds before but  it is so beautiful it's worth a second hearing.


  1. Richard, I have the utmost respect for you but I just don't understand why all this negativity because you don't have the TLM in your part of Wales.
    It is no different up here in the North, probably a lot worse than you can imagine. I rarely have the opportunity to attend an EF Mass. Yes, the EF Mass is beautiful, but I don't feel robbed. The Mass is The Mass is The Mass. Neither one lesser nor greater than the other. I love The Mass and I go there to meet Our Lord and I am grateful that we have so many Masses available to us, some people are not so fortunate.

    The Bishops of England and Wales are constantly being criticised and denigrated for every single thing that goes wrong in our church. Whether we think they are lacking or not, we should still give them our support and pray for them, we don't walk in their shoes.
    For the past eleven years I have abstained from meat and we always have fish on Friday, we say grace before meals, keep a holy water stoop by the door, and I go to Mass on what was a Holy Day whether it's been moved to the Sunday or not.
    It's down to us to us as Catholics to keep hold of these beautiful things. If we are complaining and being negative we will end up bitter and there will be no room for God in our hearts. If we don't have charity Richard, we have nothing.

  2. Priest's Housekeeper - in my defence I did own up to being curmudgeonly!
    However, I do not believe that both forms of Mass are precisely equal in terms of grace received. If you say one Hail Mary you receive grace but, if you say ten, then presumably, the amount of grace must be increased.I never attend an OF Mass if possible because it is surrounded by silly antics that should not be there.
    I do blame the Bishops of England and Wales for them not remedying the Friday abstinence rule much sooner. These are the Princes of the Faith and we do have a right to expect them to behave like Princes (efficient and holy administrators for want of a better phrase).
    I also expect unswerving loyalty to the Holy Father from them and this also is noticeably absent.
    It is only my charity that keeps me complaining - I would become very bitter if I did not voice my concerns.

  3. Thanks for this post. I get the feeling that the Bishop's timing of the announcement of the re-introduction of Friday abstinence, coinciding as it does with their dismissive rejection of certain parts of the Holy Father's directions regarding the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, is not a coincidence. It is an un-subtle slap in the face to the Holy Father:- "we don't agree with your directions and will not accept them, but we will prove our Catholic loyalty by re-introducing Friday abstinence". I wonder if the Bishops of England and Wales ever allow themselves to wonder how others see them, as opposed to how they see themselves? Are they really pleased with their 'pathetic' dismissal of the Holy Father's directions, or do they perhaps feel slightly uneasy - as they should? Do they realise that many Catholics regard their attitude to the Holy Father as arrogant, disloyal, and indeed traitorous? The great Catholic churchmen of 19th century England and Wales, had many disagreements with each other,Cardinals Wiseman, Manning, Newman, Bishop Ullathorne,to mention just a few, but they all had great respect for the Holy Father, and would not have dismissed his authority as our Bishops do today. We have a truly good and holy Pope, are our Bishops so blinkered that they cannot see this?

  4. Particularly notable in Universae Eclesiae is no. 13: "Diocesan Bishops, according to Canon Law, are to monitor liturgical matters in order to guarantee the common good and to ensure that everything is proceeding in peace and serenity in their Dioceses , always in agreement with the mens of the Holy Father clearly expressed by the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum."

    This suggests that when the Holy Father instructs that something SHOULD be done, a more enthusiastic response than “Personally I don’t think it needs to be added....” is necessary.

    BTW, Richard - have I missed something? What Holy Days of Obligation have been restored?

  5. Thank you Brian.
    Pattif - I think I must have had a senior momeent! I thought that I had read that the Feasts of the Ascension and the Epiphany were to be restored to the actual days. I have tried to find the reports but it must have all been a dream :)

  6. Richard - you were more nearly right than I was (memo to self - heed Fr Z's dictum about thinking before posting). It seems their Lordships have decided to go back to their dioceses and reflect on the possibility of restoring the celebration of those two Holy Days to their proper days. Logically, they did not include Corpus Christi on their reflection list; I mean, it isn't as though the feast's proper day was a Thursday for a reason, or anything.

  7. Pattif - thanks, some sanity restored anyway!