Saturday 23 October 2021

Heart and Soul

This is a well-researched piece by the BBC World Service on the current state of the Latin Mass which is well worth listening to. Click here to listen.` ` `"Communities that celebrate with the Latin Mass have prospered. Now, Pope Francis has ruled that Catholics may only use the Latin Mass if their bishops agree to let them. Instead of a rule of tolerance for the Old Rite, wherever Catholics want it, there will be tolerance on a case-by-case basis. Many traditionally-minded Catholics believe that what is at stake here is the soul of the Catholic church with a liberal old guard with Francis at their head hoping to snuff out a rising generation of conservatives before they take over. In France, the more old-fashioned Catholics still often have very large families and, proportionately, many more of their sons become priests. In this edition of Heart and Soul, France-based correspondent John Laurenson, takes us into the extraordinary world of traditional Catholicism in France. We go to Versailles, the former seat of the ardently-Catholic monarchy, that is today the unofficial capital of the ‘tradi’ movement. John meets young Catholics to find out what attracts so many young believers to the Old Rite"

Monday 11 October 2021

Mass at Ushaw

Solemn High Mass in St Cuthbert`s chapel, Ushaw College at 11am on Saturday 23rd October to mark the 25th anniversary of the Rudgate Singers. Please tell the staff on the admissions desk that you are only attending Mass. If you would like to visit the college after Mass you will need to pay the £9 day visit admission.

Tuesday 20 July 2021

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

So asked Juvenal in hs sixth satire; who will guard the guards, which has come to be used to ask to whom are those in power accountable? Well to God of course but also to their subjects. Although the pope canot be judged by any earthly court the sensus fidelium is always to be considered and bad papal laws can find themselves ignored by the faithful.` I`m still in shock over Traditionis Custodes. Silly really as it was clear as day that pope Francis loathes the traditional Catholic world. So why did he reach out to the SSPX, giving them faculties so their confessions and marriages would be valid? Who knows? After TC it surely wasn`t for any motive of giving traditional Mass groups an easier time that must be clear. Interesting that there is a major role in all this for archbishop Arthur Roche, the new head of the Congregation for Divine Worship. In his younger days he was private secretary to bishop William Gordon Wheeler, the bishop of Leeds (1966-1985) and, at the time the bishop in England most sympathetic to the cause to save the TLM. I remember Arthur coming to the English College in Rome in 1991 to get a licence ( ecclesiastical degree) so he could be advanced. Arthur`s rise to power has been remarkable but he has not always been known for pastoral sensitivity as when during his time as bishop of Leeds parishes were closed. In 2008 Roche's plans to close seven parishes produced vigorous protests, especially on the part of a parish in Allerton Bywater that offered a Latin Mass. I suspect we are in for a rough ride. The good news is our bishop, Robert Byrne, who is very sympathetic to the TLM. Masses will continue at St Joseph`s on Saturdays and Sundays. On holy days too I expect and for funerals and other sacraments. As the accompanying letter to TC makes clear that the pope`s aim is to only have one form of the Roman rite, the Paul VI version, we are then in a life and death battle. Much prayer will be needed. Our Lady Immaculate and St Cuthbert pray for us!

Friday 16 July 2021

Traditionis custodes

So the motu proprio altering Summorum Pontificum came out today as predicted. It makes grim reading. Permission for the Latin Mass has to be sought from one`s bishop again. Fortunately we will have no problems in this diocese with bishop Robert Byrne. In fact he has already been in touch wih the celebrants of the EF in this diocese. The restriction on not allowing Mass in parish churces takes us back to Quattuor Abhinc Annos of 1984 which said the same but alllowed exceptions. Most diocees in this country only have parish churches. In this diocese it would mean Ushaw would be the only option.However as existing celebrations are to continue, as the bishop is to establish locations for the Mass but not to allow any new ones we have no option but parish churches. The restriction on new celebrants having to have authorisation from Rome seems bizarre. How will Rome know anything about the suitability of the priest? The appointment of a diocesan priest as moderator for the Mass could be a good thing to ensure all is done well and to help instruct the new celebrants. Clearly this is a move to restrictt the growth of the Extraordinary Form. As it is a growth area in the Church I don`t see it succeeding and all it will do is to tarnish the reputations of the pope and archbishop Roche as they try to obstruct the growth of the ancient Roman rite.

Tuesday 13 July 2021

Mass on the external solemnity of St Mary Magdalen

While we wait for the new document on Summorum Pontificum here is something truly extraordinary. Canon Edwards has a new Mass setting although as he says we might recognise the tunes.

Saturday 10 July 2021

Cardinal Bourne visits Newcastle (1921)

Having been to the cathedral for Fr Wilkinson`s ordination I thought this iht be of interest from 100 years ago.

Tuesday 6 July 2021

First EF Mass

All went well on Sunday for Fr Wilkinson`s first EF Mass at St Joseph`s. Here are some photos. I was impressed by Fr`s Latin and his getting the stress of words in the right place. His sermon, in which he addressed the topic of Catholic national leaders consenting to abortion went down well with many people. The choir were on good form and after half an hour sandwich break and more rehearsal were ready for Vespers and Benediction at 3. Fr Wilkinson is being assigned to St Mary`s, Hexham, as assistant priest, a parish also with an excellent choir. I was intrigued by Fr`s vestments, not having seen a cut like that before: they are from Mexico. Ad multos annos!

Wednesday 30 June 2021

Ordination of Fr Luke Wilkinson

Last night I had the pleasure of being present at St Mary`s cathedral for the priestly ordination of Luke Wilkinson. I can`t remember the last time I went to an ordination. my hope was it would be something like this:
As it turned out that wasn`t too far off the mark. Priests not invited to concelebrate (and it was good to see we now have red concelebration vestments instead of relying on the white diocesan vestment at all times) were invited to attend in choir dress. Knowing that modern seminarians are rather keen on tradition I thought to myself "What should I take?` I suppose what I used to take to a Wigratzbad ordination in the 90`s" which meant choir dress and birreta as well as a stole for the laying on of hands. Approaching the cathedral there seemed to be a scene which reminded me of those Wigratzbad days as young clergy and seminarians stood around dressed immaculately in cassock and fascia. Mine was not the only birreta to be worn either. For the Mass setting we had the Missa de Angelis and Credo 3 plus some of the proper sung to the Liber. It was good to see Fr Luke having the manutergium ( a piece of cloth wrapped round his hands after they have been anointed and which is given to a priest`s mother and with which she is buried). Back in 1988 I smuggled a small piece of cloth in and let it soak some of the oil for the same purpose but it had to be done surreptitously in those days. In the event I couldn`t find it when my mother died in 2012.
In his homily, the bishop asked us to have a positive outlook on others rather than looking to run them down (53 minutes). The Mass was held at the same time as the second half of the England-Germany match was played. I always seem to have soething else on when these significant games occur but if you listen carefully on the video at 1.40 you can hear the England suppporters cheering which told us that they had scored. Tonight Fr Luke celebrates his first Mass at St Anne`s, Winlaton at 6pm. I look forward to Sunday and his first EF Mass. How times have changed since I was ordained in 1988! I see Cardinal Parolin is being quoted as saying they really do want to crack down on Summorum Pontificum. I fear that there will be quite a lot of unhappy people, if this occurs, who will be looking to resist such a move. This from the pope yesterday sounds rather ominous too.

Sunday 27 June 2021

An update

A belated Happy New Year! I can`t believe it`s almost July. God willing, this pandemic is on the way out in the UK and normal life may be able to resume. Things have been ticking over while we wait. Public daily Mass has been held for quite a while now and numbers are good although not everyone has returned who left with the lockdown. We keep them in  our prayers and hope to see them return before too long.

Next Sunday we have two exciting new events. Rev. Luke Wilkinson will be ordained to the priesthood for this diocese on Tuesday evening at the cathedral. On Sunday after that (July 4th) he will be here to celebrate his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form. This will be a Missa Cantata and I shall be the Assistant Priest. I`ve looked through Fortescue and alas he gives instructions for this in a High Mass and a Low Mass only so I`ll have to cobble something together to make it work for the Missa Cantata. There will be photos I hope. At least no-one will criticise too much as they`ll be ( I assume) none the wiser. So prayers for Rev Luke Wilkinson and wishing him Ad Multos Annos!

Rev Luke Wilkinson

That same day at 3pm we will have Vespers and Benediction. This will be a first for St Joseph`s. We were planning Solemn Vespers with Bishop Robert Byrne last March before the lockdown stopped it happening. No bishop this time but the plan is for this to become a monthly event and I dare to hope that our bishop will join us at some stage. This time it will be a one cope Vespers but we hope this will develop further.

At the same time, there is the worry of the new Vatican document seeking to rein in the Extraordinary Form. The last I heard on this was that it was leaving things as they are but any priest new to the EF must get the permission of his bishop to celebrate.This didn`t sound too bad to me if it means the bishop has to set some kind of test to ensure that new celebrants are proficient in the rite. This could mean setting up training courses to ensure proficiency and thus make it easier for priests to learn who are worried about trying it because they have no Latin for example. At least that`s what I hope will happen.

So things are ok at St Joseph`s Gateshead. The parish priest was appointed to be a canon last April and continues to battle on with Parkinson`s disease, diagnosed 7 years ago. 

I hope to blog a little more often as news arises.