Thursday, September 29, 2011
From a Corner of Archbishop's House
This one I was involved in, and yes there was a senior cleric or two involved, we were praising the Bishops of England and Wales for re-introducing “meatless Fridays”, my bishop came in for a great deal of praise. One of our number who has an enormous factory in his parish said a parishioner had reported a run on fish and chips and the veggie options had run out in the works canteen and that even the lapsed were being encouraged to abstain by their practising workmates. Another priest friend had said more or less the same before the Reception. I know from comments on the blog that in some places it hasn’t even been mentioned.
One priest said that he thought it was a bit of a shame that the motivation behind it was sociological, rather than ascetic, spiritual or liturgical.
A bishop said he thought it was a good thing that people were given the option of making a commitment to the Church over and above the Sunday Mass obligation, someone mention Holy Days and the bishop was called away.
A young layman joined us and the conversation moved to “Catholic identity” which was the stated reason for the re-introduction, looking around at the Ordinariate clergy, most were dressed in soutanes and fascias, he said we clergy could do a lot by dressing as priests and being seen as obviously Catholic priests, rather than simply as clergymen, in private and public.
One priest suggested bringing back the tonsure, maybe only partly frivolously. The conversation took a turn towards a criticism of the Seminaries for discouraging clerical dress until a seminarian actually becomes a cleric at the diaconate.
The conversation moved on to other areas that could underscore “Catholic identity”, mostly concerning the signs associated with the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist, kneeling for Holy Communion, seemed to be uppermost. From our little coetibus I was surprised how many priests seemed keen on the idea and had made provision. When we turned to re-orientating the Mass, no-one deferred, everyone said it was absolutely essential. When someone asked, the young layman I think, which of the clergy would be the first to do it, we all looked at our feet, except for an Ordinariate priest who said. “I’m doing it Sunday”.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake