Thursday 30 July 2015

Trouble in Gosport?

So far three English churches have been given into the care of Ecclesia Dei institutes. I`ve not heard any reports of trouble. In June St Mary`s in Gosport was given to the care of exclaustrated  Franciscans of the Immaculate. The Tablet has an article under the title Traditionalist friars accused of taking Portsmouth parish back in time. It reads:
Parishioners at a church in Portsmouth Diocese say they have been driven out by an order of traditionalist Franciscans who have been put in charge.
The Bishop of Portsmouth Philip Egan handed over St Mary’s, Gosport, to the Franciscans of the Immaculate in June. Since then, parishioners say people are required to kneel to receive communion and women asked to cover their heads at Mass.
The order attracted controversy in 2013 when Pope Francis dissolved its General Council and forbade the friars to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form without permission. However the friars celebrate Mass in the old rite six days a week at St Mary’s.
Dr Amanda Field, a convert to Catholicism, says she has stopped attending the church after six years. “We used to have something really special here. The church was packed; people had to stand in the porch. But since the friars came we’ve been plunged back into the days before Vatican II,” said Dr Field.
Jean Watson, who has been serving the parish as a catechist and music-leader for 30 years, also described a “reversion” since the friars’ arrival. “I was a child in the parish before Vatican II and it wasn’t even like this then,” said Mrs Watson.
Bishop Egan announced this week that another traditionalist order, the Sisters of Maria Stella Matutina from Spain will reside at St Joseph’s church in Grayshott and assist with evangelisation.
The friars and the diocese declined to comment.

A few facts. I`ve been reliably informed that:

 1. The Mass count in Gosport had fallen by fifty percent in the last twenty years. It has risen significantly in the last two months;
2. It is not true that parishioners have been required to kneel or receive on the tongue, nor have women been told to cover their heads; 
3. Mass is celebrated each weekday in the EF very early in the morning and the daily OF Mass takes place exactly as before;
4. The Sunday Masses in the OF remain.
5. The diocesan post bag is currently running ten to one in favour of the, to quote one of them, "beautiful, more reverent Masses".
6.  The Stella Matutina Sisters whom the article mentions are not "traditionalist" but very much novus ordo

Useful to know. 


  1. Terry Middleton30 July 2015 at 21:03

    I am sick to death of the Tablet. This must be one of the worst examples of biased journalism in either the secular or religious field. Frome your research. Father, it would appear that the Tablet's informants have been economical with the actualite, to quote Alan Clark. But I blame the Tablet's editor and her team of trendy lefties.

    If I could be bothered, I would buy a copy and publicly burn it at the next meeting of ACTA, but I can't be bothered.

  2. The Tablet has taken down most of this article from its website. They must realise that it is based on untruths. Egg on the face of The Tablet again!

  3. I should be discontented, were I living in Gosport, in that if I wished to fulfil my Sunday obligation at a Traditional Latin Mass, I should have to travel out of the parish either to Portsmouth or to Reading, in order to do so, This, in spite of the fact that my parish priest is well able to celebrate the Vetus Ordo. How many people are going to turn up for a Mass at 7.30am on a weekday? Quite extraordinary!

  4. Interesting that the anti-comments in similar situations tend to come from aggrieved women.

  5. As with much that has been posted on this subject, "reliable information" is not always so...As a Gosport parishioner of more than thirty years, I have to advise Fr Brown that attendance at mass does appear to have fallen in recent months, possibly by as much as a third. Attending mass at other local churches, I have met a number of emigre parishioners. Furthermore, I have seen no evidence of attendances falling by 50% in the last couple of years. Generally the main Sunday mass has been supported by packed congregations on most weekends (at least until recently). However the parish will have lost some parishioners when one of its churches (St Joseph's) was closed down a couple of years ago.
    I am unaware of any proclamation requiring ladies to cover their hair and communicants to kneel to receive the blessed host on the tongue but certainly in the latter respect, it is clear that the new priest and the friars expect just that.
    While the mass is of course unchanged, its delivery (choreography, if you like) is very 1960's and certainly the degree of involvement by parishioners has been reduced.
    By the way, I am not an aggrieved woman, and an unscientific sample suggests that those who have moved to other parishes are not disproportionately one gender or another.
    I do not intend to leave the parish at the moment but will see how the new regime pans out. However I remain saddened by the lack of explanation offered by Bishop Philip when making the recent changes which were bound to cause controversy.

    1. This the best thing that has happened to the Catholic church in Gosport for years. Now when you go to you go to mass with Father, the Friars and Sisters you feel as though you have actually been to mass instead of the 'Pop Concert' it use to be. Similarly who is worthy to touch the host in the hand anyway surely this should remain the sole responsibility of the choose one - the Catholic Priest.


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