Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Open Letter to Archbishop Nichols


Your Grace,
Tomorrow, by the Grace of God and favour of the Apostolic See, you become the successor of St Augustine and the eleventh Archbishop of Westminster. I join with every Catholic in England and Wales in offering you my best wishes and congratulations.

At this particular time not only the Catholic Church in England and Wales, but Christian’s as a whole and our nation is hungry for clear spiritual leadership, you can offer this.
I am reminded of Cardinal Winning, who was once asked a question by a journalist, who began, “As head of the Catholic in Scotland ...”. He replied, “Jesus Christ is head of the Catholic Church in Scotland”. If you remember that Jesus Christ is head of the Church in England Wales then all will be well. If you make sure that everything you say and do is turned towards Him, all will be well.
There is a crisis in the Church and nation, I see it as a crisis of Grace. In the Church and the nation there is a loss of a connection with God, we have allowed God to be sidelined, pushed to the edge. Even in the Church we have come to rely on our own efforts rather than His power. This has robbed the Church in England and Wales of a sense of Hope. We have got to the point where most bishops are managing decline, so many priests are expecting not to be replaced, our institutions: adoption societies, care agencies, schools are becoming more and secularised. We need you to tell us that shipwreck awaits us unless we turn to the Lord, and trust in His promises rather than our own efforts. Like the alcoholic in the gutter we need to discover, “the Power beyond ourselves”, that power is the Grace of God.
A problem with modern society is a sense of powerlessness of the individual, it is perhaps the cause of many of our social problems, such as drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, frustration with our political structures. For a you, as Archbishop of Westminster, this sense of powerlessness is actually advantageous, faith transforms our powerlessness into hope, not in ourselves, but in God.

A tag traditional Catholics use is “Save the Liturgy, save the world” is important. The Liturgy is the public expression of the life of the Church. It is the “source and summit of Christian life” the fount from which and to which everything flows. At the centre of the Liturgy is the adoration of God, worshipped with, in and through Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Here mankind is raised from enmity with God to the position of Sons, here Christ raises us to share in his own Divinity. A mundane liturgy robs us of the sense of Grace, of Divine Power. If we are merely celebrating our own community then we are conscious only of our failure. The Liturgy, properly celebrated gives us a new anthropology, a vision of mankind conjoined to angels and saints in communion with God Himself. If we have a vision of what we have become through the sacraments, in the Church we will become the leaven that the world, and our nation desperately needs.
With my prayers, etc...

13 comments:

sandy said...

Dear Father,
You say it all in this letter.May the Loving Christ bless you for your words.
May Our most gracious Lady be with our new Archbishop tomorrow.May he protect and restore Her dowry in the coming years.

George said...

Amen to that Fr Ray.

Prayers for Archbishop Nichols and all our Catholic Clergy.

Steven said...

An excellent letter Father, thank you. I do get the sense that we will view our current days as ones of realignment in years to come The shortfalls of capitalism are evident in the credit crunch, the shortfalls of democracy as we know it are all too self-evident and the lack of genuine disciplined Catholic spirituality and culture is (I believe) being seen for its shortcomings. DG Pope Benedict XVI and others see these issues and do somenthing to address them

mafeking said...

That's a great letter. Grace is everything...."without me you have nothing". I know you'll be embarrassed by this but if people like you were in charge none of this nonsense would be happening.

Annie said...

Oh Amen!

Scelata said...

That is beautiful.

Do you have enough postage stamps to mail out 2797 copies of this? one to each diocese and archdiocese in the world?

This:At the centre of the Liturgy is the adoration of God, worshipped with, in and through Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, is the great truth that seems, somehow, to have been forgotten, in the mad pursuit of a sort of therapeutic fellowship.

(Save the Liturgy, Save the World)

pelerin said...

Beautifully put Father Ray. I do hope the new Archbishop gets to read this. We are living in interesting times.

Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ said...

Could write half a dozen open letters meself! Can't really see the point..he won't read them. There are an awful lot of discontented parents just ready to errupt!

ElizabethA said...

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever and His church, our Catholic Church is timeless, Please Bishop Nichols do not try to make our Church appealing to the world. Many have tried and it doesn't work.
This country needs to be transformed by Christ and Your Grace you have the opportunity to do just that.
Thank you Father Ray, I hope Bishop Nichols receives many letters like yours.

memoriadei said...

Prayers from the Catholics in the States for the UK are more than you may know. Know that you are all held dear to us here and we join our prayers with yours. Please pray for us, too, as we are in dire need as well. God bless you.

Ernestus said...

well said Father. Oremus...

epsilon said...

"schools are becoming more and [more] secularised" - not just by secularists but by the very man you are congratulating - I say put him on trial for abuse which hs is just about to unleash on children - this is obscene

umblepie said...

Well said, and thank you Father for this courageous and sincere letter to our new Archbishop of Westminster. We pray that it will be received in the spirit in which it is written.