Saturday, February 28, 2009

Mission or Maintenance


I rather dread even mentioning the things name, simply because they are so hot on copyright, I think they may sue me. I am sure they have copyrighted the very name, hence the widespread use of "The Bitter Pill", or worst.

Despite having asked Sir Michael Quinlan, the chairman, to stop sending it to my parish, he did this week, so I have been looking at the letters about Blackfen. There is one from Maureen Hedderman who seems to have sent her letter here first, though The Tablet seems to have edited it a bit, I didn't, but published it as it was sent to me, see here in the comments. I think I could claim the copyright. (I seem to have made a mistake, for which I unreservedly apologise, the letter I received was from Claire Hedderman but the sentiments and expression were so similar to those of her mother's in the Tablet, you might understand it was an honest mistake - see the comments here, addressed rather curteously to "Fr Blog", for Claire's explanation - again my apologies to her and her mother)

An awful lot lies behind all of this, I shall put some of it under three headings:
First of I think it is interesting that The Bitter Pill should go after Fr Tim, a prominent priest, someone, who had they been asked, many would have tipped for a miter, a seminary professor, a writer of popular theology, a noted preacher and teacher, a leader of the Faith Movement, and someone who because of his blog is nationally know as a priest who unambiguously allies himself with "the Benedictine Project" and the "hermeneutic of continuity". The storm that has been raised in the blogosphere isn't just affection for the good priest Finigan, it is about fighting for the Pope. I wonder if the feeling against The Pill and Ms Curti would have been quite so great if the secular media were not in feeding frenzy around the barque of Peter. This is an example of The Tablet, again once more against the Pope and blogs for him.


Secondly, this is about a struggle between the old and the new on several levels. I think Fr Tim is so right when he says The Tablet really doesn't understand modern media, it boasts of its 27,000 print run but of course a good number of these, perhaps 7,000, remain unsold at the back of churches. Invariably three of the seven sent here were thrown away. In my parish of the four people who bought it regularly, when it was sold here, three are over seventy-five. Facing facts, in five years time one can expect the 27,000 print run to be reduced by at least 10,000 though the deaths of its readers. The Tablet has to learn the future is on the net and and free.
The other part of the struggle between old and new is that the Tablets type of liberalism is self destructive, the young are uninterested in its dull whining. Cardinal Pell complaining about an attack by it on the Anglican Archbishop of Sydney said of it in a letter to it:


"...My problem with Catholic liberalism is that it is ineffective, unattractive to young Catholics, and often drains strength from the Church rather than building it up. It is increasingly irrelevant to the religious struggle, particularly in Britain....


I have long been disappointed by The Tablet's persistent subversions of some Catholic teaching and mystified by the inability of the English bishops to nudge it towards a more productive line of witness, ...."


What The Tablet doesn't realise is that it and the theology it pushes is in retreat, the fact is, though it has considerable influence, it is dead above the neck. Ms Hedderman's letter actually testifies to this, she portrays the events at Blackfen as being older, consevative, parishioners who turned to the Tablet, at odds with the young. I don't think it is unfair to portray her and her ilk, like The Tablet, confused and unable to understand the young Catholics who reject their liberalism.


Thirdly, the question that this issue raises is, what is the purpose of a parish? In the old Southwark diocese the pastoral strategy was "in the city a church every mile, in the country a Church every three miles", that was in the days before popular motoring. Nowadays parish boundaries in England are often pretty meaningless, people go to the parish where they feel comfortable, where they like the priest or the liturgy. This highlights the question often raised in the past by The Tablet: is the parish for Mission or Maintenance, for those in it or to draw in those outside of it? It strikes me that at Blackfen there is a small group of conservative parishioners who desperately want to maintain what has always been but what Fr Finigan is offering is something which draws in young people from the surrounding area. I noticed in Ms Curti's article that the husband of one of her pro-Fr Tim interviewees was being received into the Church soon. I presume that those being attracted to Blackfen are not tired cafeteria catholics but young families who are 100% committed to trying to live a Catholic life. The radical orthodoxy of the young is incredibly disconcerting to Tablet readers who see dissent as a good thing rather than a sin against faith. There is something of the "culture of death", or the "contraceptive mentality" in those who see the Church in myopic terms of "my Mass", "my community", "my Church" or "my parish", it is essentially congregationalist and not Catholic. There is a sense of complacency that finds it hard to come to terms with Mission and embracing the new.
The Tablet itself, once a leading voice of the radical has slipped into the myopia of maintenance, aversion to change and conservatism. If only the The Tablet could be awakened from its sleep and embrace the Church of today, rather than clinging to the past, what a great force for good it could be.

37 comments:

Henry said...

You can't get to view the Pill articles without registering and logging in. Presumably they haven't got enough advertising to pay for open access. It looks as if their business model is as dated as their views on Catholicism.

But by the look of it, the material is the usual stuff about making poverty history and other empty gesturing, uninformed by anything more than emotion.

Which is a tragic waste of an opportunity. Perhaps there is someone out there who could take that opportunity.

Paul, Bedfordshire said...

I was told, many years ago, that after introduction of the Novus Ordo, the late Archishop Cowdrey of Southwark instructed that all parishes should say one Mass on Sunday and one on Weekdays in Latin. Although it was widely ignored, this is the reason why there were quite a few parishes in Southwark who said the Novus Ordo in Latin on one Sunday Mass a week (often at "Prime Time" with Sung Mass). Of course the EF was then thought abrogated but we have since been corrected by the Pope.

I also heard, again years ago, that the same Archbishop said that within greater London, because the parishes are so close, people should not feel obliged to go to the parish that their home is in the boundary of.

I can't really understand why someone living outside the parish boundary is seen as so significant, and when I lived in south London, people went to whichever parish suited them, often for transport/accessiblity reasons, the Mass times, or because they knew people there or used to live in the parish, rather than Liturgy. I sometimes went to a different Parish after a day out because it had an 8PM mass on Sunday Evening. It was not unknown for people to attend Sunday Mass at three or four different parishes when it suited them.

I don't have any sources for my recollections of the late Arschbishop Cowdreys "norms", but I suspect Fr Mildew (as former diocesan archivist) will be able to confirm whether my recollections are correct or not.

Claire Hedderman said...

Dear Father Blog,

Your post "Mission or Maintenance" you have stated that you received a letter from Maureen Hedderman; this is not true, as my mother has never sent you any correspondence.

I have been called by my mother this morning as this has caused her a great deal of distress and unnecessary worry. Also my mother has a health condition that can be made worse by external stress and this is not helpful, particularly at this time of division in our local parish.

I will draw your attention to the fact that she was reluctant to publish her identity in The Tablet for fear of misrepresentation on the internet.

We now need to seek legal advice and in the interim I would expect at a minimum that you correct this error immediately and give an unreserved apology in a prominent place on your webpage.

I suggest that you are confused with a letter that I sent you a few days ago. My mother and I do not share an address, and I am unhappy to hear her obvious upset at the end of a telephone.

I sincerely hope that this matter can be resolved satisfactorily. You can contact me via the blogger email, as I do not wish to publish my personal email or mobile telephone number.

Yours faithfully,

Claire Hedderman

Claire Hedderman said...

Dear Father Blog,

Your post "Mission or Maintenance" you have stated that you received a letter from Maureen Hedderman; this is not true, as my mother has never sent you any correspondence.

I have been called by my mother this morning as this has caused her a great deal of distress and unnecessary worry. Also my mother has a health condition that can be made worse by external stress and this is not helpful, particularly at this time of division in our local parish.

I will draw your attention to the fact that she was reluctant to publish her identity in The Tablet for fear of misrepresentation on the internet.

We now need to seek legal advice and in the interim I would expect at a minimum that you correct this error immediately and give an unreserved apology in a prominent place on your webpage.

I suggest that you are confused with a letter that I sent you a few days ago. My mother and I do not share an address, and I am unhappy to hear her obvious upset at the end of a telephone.

I sincerely hope that this matter can be resolved satisfactorily. You can contact me via the blogger email, as I do not wish to publish my personal email or mobile telephone number.

Yours faithfully,

Claire Hedderman

Claire Hedderman said...

Dear Father Blog,

Your post "Mission or Maintenance" you have stated that you received a letter from Maureen Hedderman; this is not true, as my mother has never sent you any correspondence.

I have been called by my mother this morning as this has caused her a great deal of distress and unnecessary worry. Also my mother has a health condition that can be made worse by external stress and this is not helpful, particularly at this time of division in our local parish.

I will draw your attention to the fact that she was reluctant to publish her identity in The Tablet for fear of misrepresentation on the internet.

We now need to seek legal advice and in the interim I would expect at a minimum that you correct this error immediately and give an unreserved apology in a prominent place on your webpage.

I suggest that you are confused with a letter that I sent you a few days ago. My mother and I do not share an address, and I am unhappy to hear her obvious upset at the end of a telephone.

I sincerely hope that this matter can be resolved satisfactorily. You can contact me via the blogger email, as I do not wish to publish my personal email or mobile telephone number.

Yours faithfully,

Claire Hedderman

Annie said...

I had a reply from Sir Michael Quinlan to my letter. He said he disagreed with me.

Michael Clifton said...

Although the PILL has a relatively small circulation it remains extremely influential and is to be found in nearly every religious establishment, male or female throughout our land where it can be read by hundreds more people than actually buy it. I still take it because it gives a better world news coverage than the other papers but of course I deplore its theology. Incidentally although the number of priests contine to increase world wide,this is not the case in Western ~Europe or USA/

Delia said...

Well said, Father. A small point - the bit about the husband of one of Fr Tim's supporters being received into the Church was in his fisk, not the original article. Important to get every detail right in this affair, I think.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Claire, I am so sorry, I trust my explanation satisfies you.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Claire, I have tried to contact you as you ask on the blooger page to no effect.

Kevin Moore said...

An honest mistake Fr., I read both letters I thought the Tablet one was a pared down version of the one sent to you.
Clare, I should be interested in the legal advice, I suspect it might be stop harrassing Fr Tim!

Basil said...

Perhaps the best thing to do would be to wipe this post?

It does seem that the "Bitter Pill" was at least correct in indentifying there was division at Blackfen. Rather than raking the thing over and over on different blogs might it be an idea to let it drop from the public forum and allow Fr. Tim to sort things out with the people in his parish?

berenike said...

This post has rather fallen into the "two church" trap you quoted Abp Ranjith on just a few posts ago, no?

(nb - I think I have disagreed with one thing since I began reading your blog about a year ago)

dillydaydream said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Michael1 said...

I hope in the heat of this controversy that prayers will be offered - without reservation - for the soul of Sir Michael Quinlan, who died on 26th February. His obituary was in yesterday's Independent.

nickbris said...

As it seems that The Tablet and most of it's contributors are Anti Catholic and they will not desist from delivering it to our church perhaps we should just attach a warning sticker as they used to do with undesirable publications.

THE CONTENTS
CAN
DAMAGE YOUR
HEALTH

George said...

Fr Ray this is an excellent post. For too long we have endured the 'maintenance of decline' when what is so desperately needed is that deep sense and conviction of Mission!

Good and wise Priests like yourself, Fr Finigan and a good many others (thank God) see this so clearly and go to great pains and effort to put the Mission into practice!

Our Lord said to His Apostles 'Go, teach ALL Nations'. He didn't say 'oh just stay here in Jerusalem, and don't bother about the others'. The Catholic Church is a Missionary Church first and foremost and never have we needed that sense of mission more than now! Parish 'boundaries and communities' change and must be open to newcomers. We should also not be surprised when others move elsewhere for all sorts of reasons. In previous times travel was a problem, but no longer. So we should expect movement of people between parishes. Before Fr Tim introduced Latin Mass at Blackfen, my family and I travelled many times to central London for the Sunday 9.30am Latin Mass at St James's Spanish Place.

Claire Hedderman writes,
'We now need to seek legal advice and in the interim I would expect at a minimum that you (Fr Ray)correct this error immediately and give an unreserved apology in a prominent place on your webpage'.

Well, Claire, as a fellow parishioner at Our Lady of the Rosary I am both embarassed and saddened by your unchristian and uncharitable reaction to what ammounts I perceive, to be no more than a genuinely simple mistake by Fr Ray. To threaten a Priest with litigation at the drop of a hat???? I simply can't believe what I'm reading.

We are indeed very privileged at Blackfen. Witnessing Fr Tim Finigan carrying out the 'Benedictine Mission' and seeing the new faces who, as word spreads, are begining to turn up to Fr Tim's Sunday Latin Mass is wonderful to see. You should be proud to belong to a parish where the Holy Fathers's wishes for the Church are being carried out with such duty and devotion, and instead of complaining, the right thing to do would be to offer Fr Tim whatever resources you have available to help him. I just still don't get all this talk about 'divisive and divisions'.

Today at the LM there were two new altar servers, young boys, that are eager to be part of the deeply spiritual 'Mass of Ages' that is being celebrated at the Altar of God. They were under the watchful eye and instruction of one of the slightly older servers who already knows 'the ropes'.

There are three more youngsters desperately eager to become servers, but waiting until they have taken their first Holy Communion in May. You will have seen two of them at Friday's Stations of the Cross, deeper reverance would be hard to find in people ten times their age!

Here lies the bright and shining future of the Catholic Church and we as parishioners whether at Blackfen or a parish anywhere else in the world, must support our wise and holy Priests (who know more about the Liturgy and how to get us all to heaven than we do), support the Magisterium and teaching Mission of our Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church and support our Holy Father Pope Benedict, Christ's Vicar on earth.

Elizabeth said...

Dear Claire
You write
'The division in Blackfen parish has been totally misrepresented by the Traditional Catholic Bloggers' I am sorry to hear that you find the parish of Our lady of the Rosary, not to your liking. I find it sad to think that people come to Mass to be entertained, the beauty is the Mass, unless, of course, there is liturgical abuse. This certainly is not the case with the Blackfen Parish. I have never attended a Mass celebrated by Father Tim which has been anything but reverend with deep rooted love of God at its very core.
I believe that the division of the parish is due to those who want Mass said according to their likings. I believe that today’s homile shows where this thinking comes from ‘I WILL NOT SERVE’, the sin of pride.
Every parish priest when he comes into a parish brings with him part of himself and in Blackfen this certainly reflects the teachings of our Mother the Church. It is not a division in Blackfen that we are suffering but a rejection of the Supremacy of the Pope, ‘Christ wanted His Church to be a visible, sensibly perceptible society, just as in any other human visible society, there must be someone who is in charge' Fr J Hardon. However when we reflect on the opposition and oppression the Church has suffered, we must admit that her worst enemies are not those outside but those within her own household.
We are so blessed in Blackfen, I cannot see what it is that you find so devisive Claire?
Father is doing everything the Pope has asked, my children love the 10.30am Mass and they range in age from 12 -30. They are learning reverence and love of the Mass, something that is caught not taught. They sense that they are somewhere Holy, they can see the tabernacle in the centre of the Church, they understand why they need to genuflect. None of this comes from the Catholic School they attend, they don’t even have a catholic R.E teacher, they have an Anglican????????? Their faith, the Faith of our Fathers comes from the home and the experience they have in our Blackfen Parish.
You may say that 100 people have left our Blackfen Parish, well judging by the attendance at todays 10.30 Latin Mass, many more than that have replaced them.
Please, Claire join us again at the 10.30 Sunday Mass, just sit in silence and the Holy Spirit will do the rest. God Bless you in your search and may you eyes be opened to the beauty of our Mother the Church and please do not threaten our good clergy with litigation.

SPQR said...

Golly! I have been trying, with some difficulty, to imagine what sort of person would go running to the Tablet in order to undermine his or her parish priest. After reading Claire Hedderman's slimy, passive aggressive post, I now understand.

Fr Ray Blake said...

Basil, I think it is important to explore why there is division.

Berenike, Interesting insight but divisions do not dissappear by ignoring them. Unity comes by reference to Christ, Peter indicates where Christ is. I am afraid that I have to confess that I believe that The Tablet for decades has been striking at the very foundation of the Church's unity, this post is primarily about The Tablet not Blackfen.

Michael 1, Thank you for the information about Sir Michael's death - may he rest in peace.

Anonymous - I don't print comments without a name, but yes "Fr Blog" is pretty rude and I presume meant to be insulting.

PeterHWright said...

I was very taken with the final paragraph of this post.

It's true. Certain people are stuck in the past, circa 1970, I would say, and are strangely averse to any movement, any sign of life, or vitality, in the Church today. While the world changes and moves on, they literally want to live in the past, the recent past, or should I say their own past.

Hence, their desire to keep things the way they are, or rather the way they were for forty years. That presumably is why they react to fresh ideas and intiatives like the Benedictine reform with fear and dislike. Don't disturb us! Don't disturb our tradition ! Leave us with the novus ordo the way we like it !

Well, it's an odd sort of tradition that dates back only to 1970, while the old Roman liturgy for the most part dates back 1,500 years or so.

But the old revolutionaries of the 1970s are aging now. You can see it in the way they think and speak and write. Their language is tired. So is their theology, their ecclesiology, everything about them, really.

I cannot imagine a time when they were ever radical. The revolutionaries were never interested in getting to the root of the matter, only in cutting themselves off from their roots. Perhaps that is why they react the way they do when they see the Church seeking to reconnect with its roots, its heritage, its tradition. Its present and its future are rooted in its past, but they can't see it.

I think I can see how these people would choose maintenance over mission, but I simply don't agree with them.

Henry said...

People who denounce their parish priests to the media should not be surprised if things bubble up and get out of control.

I hope that is a lesson for everyone.

Peter said...

One answer is entitled "Fit for Mission".

dillydaydream said...

Dear Fr Blake

Should the impudent threats of legal action mentioned earlier in this comments section progress further, please contact me. Software exists that can compare the writing styles contained in different documents. A map of the parish boundaries of the RC parishes in Southwark, together with the abundant personal material, including address information that Ms Hedderman has publically posted on the internet in the last few years has been noted, and can be compared with the assertions in her letter to you, and provide a possible motive for her outburst. No need to publish this if you do not feel it appropriate.

snhs said...

Miss Hedderman, to be frank you don't have a leg to stand on. Fr. Ray wrote in the post that he "seems" to have received a letter from her, he didn't state that he definitively had.

Your mother made her comments in the public domain, in the press, it is perfectly legitimate for blogs and other news driven entities to discuss, report on and answer such comments. Unless of course you think we should just accept the word of people who hesitate to reveal their identities over that of men who seem to be good and holy Priests doing their best to serve God and the members of their Parishes. Is it any wonder so many Diocese have Priest shortages when they are persecuted by their own Parishioners never mind the Catholic media and public at large?

I don't read the Tablet, and, as a point of principle, would refuse to use it to line a bird's cage never mind as reading material. But I rather doubt that Father would intentionally or otherwise misrepresent someone's view, it is regrettable that members of the Catholic media do not seem to have the same compunctions.

gemoftheocean said...

I wish a few of you people would stop piling on Claire. Fr. made a mistake, and he apologized for it and some of you people are being deliberately hurtful. Most of us outsiders don't know WHO initially ran to the Tablet. It was a hatched job in many ways.

HOWEVER, too many people are assuming it was Clair or her mom who made the initial contact. They have no claims of clairvoyance, and could not have guessed that the bone of contention would be raked over with a hatched job by the reporter.

I DO not know, but just from the face of it, it seems to me I can see where people WOULD take exception to the *placement* of the Latin Mass.

As some people have stated: THere are 4 weekend Masses to satisfy the Sunday Obligation, A Sat. Evening Mass, a Sunday evening Mass (this later, kind fo a truncated Mass, no singing, no biding prayers, etc. all options cut to make it short.) The first Mass on Sunday is early, (if you're elderly would you want to get up in the dark to use public transportation?) and the second Sunday day Mass is in Latin.
The "pride of place" spot, in most churches.

Were I elderly, and not good with Latin, AND a long standing in bounds parishioner, I can easily see where some would take exception.

I'd either have to travel late at night, on public transportation, possibly, in an area which may not always be the safest. [As I recall there were young people in Blackfen parish bounds who were killed by knife attacks with little provocation in the last year or so.]

If you're elderly, you may have the same problem with the early a.m. AND for those not enamoured of children singing a Mass (that first Mass, OR a truncated Sunday evening Mass) If you really want to understand the Mass- NOT in a foreign Mass -- you are OUT OF LUCK.

Granted, people change parishes all the time for various reasons, but sometimes the elderly etc. don't always have the option not to use public transport.

I think perhaps some of the people who complained did have some legiimate issues, not EVERYONE had an evil intent in complaining.

Fr. Tim is a good, sensitibve and bright man. It would be best if he along with the people of the parish sort it out with out taking shots at his parishioners. These people all have to co-exist.

If, for instance, your church suddenly had a Mass in a foriegn language you did not understand (let's make it Hottentot, for sake of argument) IN THE "Pride of Place" slot, I'm sure you wouldn't be as magnanimus as you seem to think eveyrone ought to automatically be.

An early Mass not well attended, an extra Mass - SURE -- no problem. But you are talking a real life situation, where long term members have felt pushed out, rightly or wrongly.

ben whitworth said...

Dear Miss Hedderman,

forgive the length of this comment, but having read your comments on this and the previous post, I wonder whether you might like to reflect on my experiences of Catholic parish worship.

I was received into the Catholic Church in 1997, and have since then lived in nine parishes. For reasons too complicated to go into here, I have always had a deep attachment to the traditional Latin Mass (TLM). My experience of parish Masses was as follows:

Parish 1. All Masses in the vernacular, facing the people, with modern music and extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion used routinely.

Parish 2. Ditto.

Parish 3. Ditto.

Parish 4. Ditto, when I arrived and when I left. I lived here as part of an informal religious community of young people. The parish priest gave us permission to have a TLM in our community oratory. Afterwards, he thought better of it and told us that we could not have any Masses there in the future. He also established a Latin Mass (new rite) every third Sunday of the month at 4 p.m., which he kindly celebrated. We were not allowed to advertise except by a discreet notice in the church porch. Consequently, attendance was poor, and after six months these Masses ceased. The p.p. never really understood our desire for traditional liturgy, but he went some way to satisfying it since he perceived a pastoral need. He was a good and holy priest (since gathered to God).

In all these East London parishes I worshipped regularly in my parish church and was active in the parish in various ways (reader, MC, sacristan, catechist, &c.), but sometimes I did have to go to churches in central London to satisfy my thirst for the traditional Mass.

Parish 5 was in fact a monastery where I tried my vocation for two years. Our Sunday Mass was also the main parish Mass. All the other parish Masses were as in Parish 1, but the 11 a.m. Mass had at least some Latin and choral music in it. We sang a little more Gregorian chant on weekdays.

Parish 6. As in Parish 1. Actually, I confess that I never set foot in the parish church, but as I was employed by the Fathers of one of the English Oratories, it made sense to go to the Oratory church for both daily and Sunday Mass – the latter, of course, sung in Latin (new rite, facing East). I was here for nine months.

Parish 7 had a sung Latin Mass (new rite, facing the people) as its main Sunday Mass (this was another Oratorian church). I was here for a year.

Parish 8. This was in a compact Cathedral city, where on a Sunday there were 17 Masses within walking distance or a short drive away. All 17 Masses were as in Parish 1, except in one church where the priest had introduced a plainsong Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei at one Mass each month. He was moved to another town, and it was a couple of years later that a TLM was instituted in (as it happened) my parish church: one Sunday a month, at 6 p.m., not the ideal time when you have a baby (especially in winter), but the Sunday morning schedule was already full with English & Polish Masses. After ‘Summorum Pontificum’ came into force, this Mass was extended to two Sundays in the month. On the alternate Sundays, during term time, we could also assist at the Byzantine Liturgy at the University Chaplaincy, though this was discontinued when the bi-ritual priest who celebrated it was transferred overseas.

Parish 9. All Masses as in Parish 1, except for 7 Masses a year in a historic chapel where the Eastward-facing altar is used. To attend a Latin Mass would involve a ferry ride and spending Saturday night away from home: not really practical for a low-income family with a toddler.

This is hardly a sob story, and in fact I think I have enjoyed considerably better provision than most Catholics attached to the traditional liturgical ways over the last 40 years. My point is this: the typical UK parish offers exclusively the ‘standard model’ of Eucharistic celebration. If you don’t like it, you have to travel to another parish. Outside of cities, you may have to travel impractical distances. Traditionalists may grumble about this, but we have had to put up with it for decades. It goes with the territory. How many of us have something like ‘Convent chapel every third Wednesday at 3.15 p.m. (phone before travelling)’ scribbled in the back of our old diaries? Welcome to our world.

So remind me what you are complaining about. How many parishes have a sung Latin Mass as the main event on Sunday? A couple of dozen, nationwide? In how many is this actually a TLM? I can think of only two, both in your archdiocese.

You happen to live in one of those parishes, but Blackfen parishioners desperate for a modern Mass need only cut short their Sunday lie-in, or drive ten minutes to a neighbouring parish. For most of the time that I have been a Catholic, I needed to go to considerably greater lengths to attend the Mass of my choice. Sometimes I did so; sometimes I didn’t. What it never occurred to me to do, even for a moment, was to complain to the bishop, let alone to criticize my parish priest in the national press. I think some of Fr Finigan’s critics need to get a little perspective on their grievances.

With my prayers for you and your mother,

Ben Whitworth

Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

Dillydaydream is absolutely correct, and what an object lesson on the perils of having a high internet profile! Photos, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, job, employer, place of work, names of friends and colleagues, leisure pursuits, ethnic background, quotations, patterns of speech, vocabulary used when under stress, even one's nickname...

Eamonn Andrews (RIP) would have been able to compile nearly enough information to do a "This is Your Life" programme just by spending 20 minutes on Google.

And here I am posting a comment about this from Canada, which just goes to show how far and how fast news travels nowadays, thanks to the internet. And why being mature, honest, dignified and discreet are so important when you have an on-line audience of 1.5 billion people.

pelerin said...

Gem - Latin is not a 'FOREIGN' language - it is THE language of the Church and even Vatican II proclaimed this.

Fr Ray Blake said...

I do not intend to remove this post, but I shall be using the "reject" option on any comments that are uncharitable, or repetative.

gemoftheocean said...

Pelerin, unless your native tongue is Latin, it IS a "foreign language." It is the official language of the church, but it is still, like it or not, a FOREIGN language.

I have no problem whatsoever with people wanting a Latin Mass, especially as this is the sort of Mass one makes an effort to attend, presumably, one is using a missal and not watching a "dumb show." A little more work, to be sure, but as Latin Mass folks are self-selecting, no problem.

HOWEVER, not everyone wants to have to "do the work" or try and get the changeable parts of the Latin Mass on the fly.

Seriously though, I think if churches are going to have a Latin Mass - they SHOULD at least read the Epistle and the Gospel ALSO in the vernacular.

I went to Mass in the EF form this morning, I'd say they were about 50-50 in having missals. I think it's terribly important to know what the readings are - otherwise you may as well hear Sanskrit.

Michael Clifton said...

I should point out that Sir Michael Quinlan has just died .May he Rest in Peace. His obituary was in the Daily Telegraph today, Monday

Fr Ray Blake said...

Father, Michael 1, above, has already drawn attention to Sir Michael's death.

George said...

Gem - if your only reason for attending Holy Mass is so you can be an active participator by reciting the words whether in the vernacular or latin, then the spiritual realm appears to be lost to you.

Far from being a 'dumb show', it is a privilege just to stand in silence and awe at the Holy Sacrifice, just to be in the presence of God. I doubt there was much chattering in the vernacular or Latin (Ha ha)on Calvary.

Elizabeth said...

When I was a child all Masses were in Latin, whatever foreign country you were in. I remember my mother saying how much easier it was when we travelled because there was such uniformity in the language. Blackfen parish is within 3 miles of another Parish where the 'elderly' who travel by bus could travel to, we have an excellent bus service in the area. I don't see this as a valid arguement for changing things at Blackfen.
The elderly would also remember the Latin Mass better than those much younger, after all they were brought up with it. If the only gripe is preference then an alternative Mass or parish is an easy option.

gemoftheocean said...

George, did you actually READ what I wrote?

People ought give the responses where the people ought to give the responses. Perhaps you may have heard of the dialog Mass? [Clue for you: It was not something the hippies made up.]

As to making an effort to follow, it is quite clear to me from Mediator Dei, that Pius XII intended educated people to understand and follow the Mass and not zone out into space.

Yes, graces and benefits can be gained by following private devotions - but why set goals lower if you are capable of more?

And if you are going to use the EF, what possible benefit are you getting if you don't make some attempt to know what epistle and gospel are read? Presumably, you are not going just to hear how well the priest says Latin...understanding immaterial.

And for goodness sakes, please realize there WAS a time when the people DID do the servers responses. You see, Latin, at one time WAS the vernacular.... Then as people stopped knowing the Latin, they started zoning out. Or worse, simply ran to the church for the Elevation... the "Judas Shuffle" is not a new phenomenon.

As it happens I have read The Mass of the Roman Rite by Jungmann - so try not writing me off as some NO know-nothing twit.

No, the Latin Mass can be frustrating for some, not all, but realize not everyone is content to zone out in private devotions. Which is what one is left to do if you don't have a missal, or be good at Latin-on-the-fly -- especially for the changeable parts of the Mass.

gemoftheocean said...

And George, I am quite certain the FIRST canon ever said was NOT "in silence."

Thank God, otherwise, we'd be clueless what Jesus offers to us today.