Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Southwark wins the silver teapot

A few days ago I posted on the scarcity of Christmas Latin Masses in the Archdiocese of Westminster; only three on offer despite it being the lead diocese for England and Wales.

Well done Southwark!

Much better news from the Archdiocese of Southwark where no less than seven EF Masses are in evidence on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

From Clapham Park to Chislehurst, Blackfen, Headcorn and on to Ramsgate, the Latin Mass is available to many.

And, quick as I am to criticise the Archdiocese for its unCatholic activities (Muslim Prayer Rooms in its schools) I feel that I should offer a modest bouquet on this occasion.

Most other dioceses only offer one Latin Mass (Clifton has five) while Lancaster, Cardiff and Wrexham have none.

How's that for failing to provide for the needs of one's traditional flock?

Putty medals to Bishops Brignall, Campbell and Archbishop Stack, and, incidentally, Bishop Michael Campbell has written an on line letter to those interested in finding out more about the Catholic Faith.

An extract from the letter is below.

His Lordship gets a "must try harder" for poor grammar and communication skills:-

"Dear Friend

If you are not a Catholic…but you’d like to know more about what the Church teaches, and why then the website of the Diocese of Lancaster is a good place to be
You are bound to have lots of questions about the Catholic Church. Hopefully as you look through the pages of our website we hope you will find many of the compelling answers to your various questions.
If you are open to seeing what God is offering, you may be surprised with what you find in the Catholic faith. Many people who take time to learn about the teachings of the Church soon discover that they really don’t have the objections they thought they had......."
Well, I don't know about "compelling answers" but that's certainly not a compelling letter.
Where's the nearest Methodist church please?



  1. No mention of Liverpool, with four Christmas day usus antiquior Masses?
    Lancaster and Wrexham, you're very welcome on Merseyside.

  2. If I might pick you up on another point, Richard, I think you'll find that Lancaster is the most important diocese in England, which makes it even more of a pity about the scarcity of traditional masses here. My family and I shall travel over the water to Mercia on Christmas day, as we do every week.

    1. Thanks Simon but please enlighten me as to why Lancaster is so important.

    2. The clue is in the word "here".

      Actually, and to be serious for a moment, there is precisely nothing special about Westminster and (this particular point is not aimed at you, of course) Vincent Nichols is most definitely not "the leader of England's catholics".

  3. For the edification of your Readers, Richard, who might well be travelling near Blackfen, Sidcup, Kent, over Christmas, I respectfully offer the following information on Usus Antiquior Masses at Our Lady of The Rosary, Blackfen (Archdiocese of Southwark):

    Saturday, 21 December. 1030hrs. Low Mass, Exposition, Benediction, Marian Anthem.
    Sunday, 22 December. 1030hrs. Missa Cantata;
    Tuesday, 24 December. 2400hrs (Midnight) Solemn High Mass;
    Tuesday, 31 December. 2300hrs. Adoration of The Blessed Sacrament concluding with Te Deum and Benediction at Midnight.
    There are Usus Antiquior Masses every Saturday and Sunday at 1030hrs.

    in Domino

    1. Thank you Zephyrinus, Blackfen is truly blessed.

  4. One word of note Richard on the 'failure' of Cardiff to provide. From my compilation of Christmas Masses generally within the Diocese the clergy are stretching themselves to cover the Ordinary Form. As much as it would be good to see an EF Mass somewhere everyone, including those who are capable of celebrating the EF with dignity are stretching themselves already with a majority reaching the limit of number of Masses they are allowed to celebrate within a day according to the Code of Canon Law.

  5. Michael, I have it on ultra reliable authority that the ++ banishes those priests who wish to celebrate the old Mass. I'm afraid Idon't buy that 'not enough priests' line. Better organisation and it could be done, where there's a will there's a way.

  6. Richard, I would love to discuss with the ultra reliable authority on what basis they make the claim that the ++ banishes those priests who celebrate the EF? He has done no such thing in Cardiff, they are all still active in the diocese. In fact the ones who are leaving have are the other extreme. And priests leaving either is very sad. I'm afraid the 'not enough priests' line and reorganisation takes time. ++ is reorganising and facing resistance in the process as such he has been putting his foot down! I have also worked as part of my recent placements in a parish that has six churches, six communities and only two priests to look after them and it is sort of becoming the model in this area .... that's the harsh fact. ++ is trying to draft priests in from other places. Seems like not all the facts are being given! Also ++ has history of celebrating old rite Confirmations. As for the EF in Cardiff, I have attended a number organised by the LMS and I hope to again. Much Birch and Herefordshire have strong representation and the stable base SP talks about. I have turned up with the celebrating priest to an EF Mass in Cardiff and there was 1 attendee, not only that the church was locked because the organiser failed to request use of the building by the PP. At most I have seen 15 at an EF which is great! But they travel from the corners of the diocese. God-willing once I'm ordained if I was asked to celebrate EF for Christmas, I would seriously need more people than that before I swap an OF Mass for EF as Christmas Masses draw in the lapsed etc. There is a bigger picture here and I am speaking first hand and willing to put my name to it. I hate the cloak and dagger that goes on to the left and to the right. If people want to make remarks like the ultra reliable authority then speak up now please.

    1. Michael, my source is impeccable buy, to speak up would mean consignment to the rubbish dump. I have lived in Wales for 25 years and seen many good priests hounded out of the priesthood in that time.
      It is not a question of numbers but of doing the right thing. As a priest you will have two arrows to your bow. Are you telling me that you will only ever use one? The laity have been cowed into dumb obedience by the bishops, they need help and time to learn that attending an EF Mass is not bad or disobedient and they need exposure to that Mass to learn to love it.

  7. Richard something is obviously getting lost in translation as nowhere have I indicated that I would ever only use one arrow. And I am not only talking about a numbers game either if my comment is read back. I'm glad that you are happy in Wales generally that you have been here for 25 years (you can't beat it really) but the hounding as I see it has happened on a number of levels over the years and often on a number of pathetic levels (and again I say on both sides). Liturgically speaking learning to love the EF is also not the issue, it's learning to grow into, understand, love and enrich the liturgy generally and that's what's at the heart of SP (and no I am not saying SP is a stop gap and that the EF will eventually be abolished before anyone misreads into that). I hope you have a great day. God Bless.

    1. Michael, my apologies if I have misunderstood. I have to say that the 'hounding' has been totally one sided here in Wales and elsewhere. I have letters from bishops, information from a network of priests, documentation and a great deal of personal experience of this form of persecution.
      I in no way wish to challenge you but what would the response be if you asked your Director if an EF Sunday Mass could be celebrated in the seminary, or, if you made a request to His Grace, for a Sunday EF Mass in the Cathedral. BTW, please don't try it, we need every good seminarian we can get. God bless you.

    2. H Richard, that's ok. I am slightly chuckling here cos FYI - in seminary First Year Liturgy we sat down and watched an LMS Low Mass video and we were actively encouraged to attend at least 1 Solemn High Mass, that was my first introduction. Some seminarians chose not to take the option but quite a few did. Also last year at Allen Hall (I've been to two seminaries as I took time out), Fr Michael Lang of the London Oratory came in for four Wednesdays in a row and gave us a series of talks on the Spirituality of the EF.

  8. Michael, I am delighted to be proved wrong.