Monday, August 03, 2015

The Tablet at it again


Oh dear, the wretched Tablet is having another go at one of its increasing number of least favourite bishops!

Bishop Egan has replaced the diocesan parish priest with a religious community of young friars under Father Serafino Lanzetta, described as 'one of the most brilliant minds of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.' As a bishop who has place evangelisation as a priority I can understand why the good bishop should want such a priest just a short ferry ride and walk from his cathedral.

One of the big problems bishops have increasingly today is the difficulty of replacing  priests, sometimes there is simply no-one to replace a priest, often it is done with great difficulty, increasingly parishes are merged and already overworked priests are expected to take care of another parish. To have one priest (whole) for a parish is going to become a rarity in the UK, in the recent past the average statistics were in the region of 300 practising Catholics to a priest, this is not going to continue.

Another problem from a parishes point of view is that the Missal allows for a vast number of options. A priest may, at his choice, not only celebrate Mass in either Form. In the Ordinary Form he may celebrate facing either ad apsidem or contra populum, he is at liberty to celebrate in Latin or another language. If he is Italian like Fr Serafino he could well choose his own vernacular or the people's. He may or may not allow women or girls to serve, he may or may not allow Holy Communion under one or both kinds, he may or may not use extra-ordinary ministers of Holy Communion. Though it is important a priest works with and in consultation with his people he also has to follow his conscience and do what he himself is theologically comfortable with, and considers to be ultimately good for his people.

Again a priest's whole style can change a parish, one priest is never going to be an exact replacement for another. A priest from abroad is likely to have very different attitudes to a native. If he is member of a religious community he will also have obligations including liturgical one's to his own community. It is regrettable though understandable that a small group of parishioners might feel as if their noses have been put out of joint.

As far as Gosport is concerned, according to Fr Brown who says he has 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. (the have actually been appointed to Grayshott, quite some distance from Gosport)

17 comments:

Pelerin said...

There is a great comment beginning 'I am sick to death of the Tablet' under the article by Fr Brown on his blog 'Gateshead revisited.' (Clever title!)

Michael Crabb said...

7am EF Holy Mass every weekday? Time to start looking for jobs and flats for rent in Gosport!

1569 Rising said...

Father,

The Tablet displays the worst excesses of an agenda driven pseudo-journalistic ethos. They deliberately twist the news to suit that agenda. For me, I am delighted to attend Mass in EF and OF forms happily, in a parish that does not sell the wretched mag.

Terry Middleton

Matthew Hazell said...

Not to put too fine a point on it, but one wonders exactly how much older Dr Amanda Field and Jean Watson are compared to Fr Lanzetta... and also whether they would prefer their parish to either have no priest, be merged with another parish, or be closed?

The Tablet is an abominable rag, but it's been a while since I've read anything on their website that's quite so mendacious as this hatchet-job masquerading as "news"!

Gungarius said...

In our diocese, we are looking at three parishes to one priest before long (often two churches to one priest now) with Deacons as pastoral administrators. Increasingly Bishops will have no choice other than to entrust churches to Traditionalist orders due to staff shortage.

Jacobi said...

On the matter of options let's not forget that these also include the Dominican Rite, the Ordinariate Rite and even Sarum Rite.

Sue Sims said...

I fear that the majority of bishops (not all, of course) would prefer to close or merge parishes rather than allow one of the 'trad' groups to work in the diocese.

Seraphic Spouse said...

Perhaps the good ladies wish to become the pastors themselves.

Sean W. said...

If they don't like it, perhaps they could do a better job encouraging their own sons to go to seminary. Then such situations as these would be unnecessary.

Nicolas Bellord said...

The Stella Matutina Sisters were approved by Pope Francis in July 2014 with 225 siaters then. And they wear habits! They seem to have grown out of an earlier organisation of young people which was dissolved by the Vatican but those who accepted being obedient to the Vatican formed this new order. They are keen on intellectual formation based on 'Fides et Ratio'. Truly remarkable!

Jacobi said...

Gungarius,

I know predictive statistics are unreliable, but in France within 20 years it seems we will have more Trad. priests than N. O. priests, and I suspect the same will happens in the UK, and certainly in the Germanic areas.

Ttony said...

Funny how they don't open this article for comments, isn't it.

Deacon Augustine said...

Isn't it strange how an order of sisters can be labelled "traditionalist" simply because they wear habits and are devoted to Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament? I only wish they did have TLM's at Grayshott, but I'm afraid that none of the local priests are versed in the rite. (The local deacon is pretty rubbish at Latin too!)

Mark Spencer said...

Why are closeted gay bishops pushing an agenda for heterosexual married priests?

Mark Wrestler

Fr Ray Blake said...

Mark Spencer are you the same "Mark Spencer MP" who has been vilified for his aggressive views against those who find homosexual marriage morally wrong and on whose facebook page I left a comment recently.

Genty said...

A publication run by middle-aged ladies, quoting middle-aged ladies. Hardly surprising, then.

momangelica said...

Fr Ray, if you get 'The Flock' you will find a quote from Dwight Longnecker(may have spelt surname incorrectly) who was told that the shortage of Priests was deliberate, that they turned away candidates, that the Church was "over clericalized", that the aim was to have 'Women priests'. This was told him by a Monsignor in my Diocese!!
Many dreadful things are coming out from the Hierarchy into my Diocesan schools and disturbing good Catholic teachers and parents. What a battle!