Friday, July 23, 2010

An Open Letter in Support of Pope Benedict

I am sorry not to have posted anything on our patronesses feast day yesterday, I had Mass for our school, it also happened to be the beginning of their holiday. Then there was an evening Mass and party for our parishioners. I had a long conversation during the day with a BBC producer about what is mainstream Catholicism.
In the morning I had a phone call from a priest reader who was very concerned about the direction was taking in this country. I think quite a few of us concerned - the lukewarm approach to the Pope's visit intensifies that concern. He said we should start something like Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I agree with him we really do need something like it, the problem is: who would organise it?
I think maybe, following Professor Beatie's example an open letter might also help. I am more than a little concerned that the address of the Pope's address at the ad limina of our bishops seems to have been buried, so what do think of this? If you are a priest and you agree, add you name and address. All the quotes are from the Pope's address.

We, priests of England and Wales, wish to express our joy at the forthcoming visit of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to Britain.

We welcome the many wise things the Holy Father said to us through our Bishops on their ad limina visit earlier this year which are of particular significance to the health of the Church in England and Wales, such as "the Catholic community in your country needs to speak with a united voice" and the need "to be attentive to the promptings of the Spirit, who guides the whole Church into the truth, gathers her into unity and inspires her with missionary zeal".
More than ever, with the proximity of the Papal visit and anxious for its success we recognise especially the need "to draw on the considerable gifts of the lay faithful in England and Wales". Concerned for the Church's mission we to see a great need in England and Wales to ensure "that they [not only the lay faithful but we priests] are equipped to hand on the faith to new generations comprehensively, accurately, and with a keen awareness that in so doing they are playing their part in the Church’s mission". We also acknowledge the importance within our national context of what His Holiness said about the Magisterium, "In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free."
We wish to thank His Holiness for encouraging our Bishops to hold up to us "an example of dedication to prayer, pastoral sensitivity towards the needs of his flock, and passion for preaching the Gospel", and also for urging them encourage the faithful "to avoid any temptation to view the clergy as mere functionaries but rather to rejoice in the gift of priestly ministry".


universal doctor said...

If I were a priest I'd certainly support this.
I have prayed for all those priests I know every day, especially during the year for priests, which was the Holy Father's initiative. I think it is good that he should receive the prayers and support of his brothers in a concrete form, just as he explicitly called us to pray for them.
May God bless all His holy priests and strengthen our Holy Father.
Thank you father. May your idea bear fruit.

Kate said...

I realise that this would be an open letter from priests, but if you wished to have some of the laity to sign in support of it, I am sure there are very many who would willingly do so.
I think it is important for lay Catholics to be able to dissociate themselves from the opinions expressed in Prof. Beattie's open letter to the Pope.Prominent Catholics may be prominent, but they are not necessarily representative.

Dominic Mary said...

Speaking as a member of the lay faithful, may I congratulate you on this initiative, Father, and assure you of my prayerful support both for you, and for all those priests who support it.
May God Bless you all.

Zephyrinus said...

Thank you, Fr, for this excellent initiative. As a layman, I support His Holiness and all our Priests. God Bless Our Pope and welcome to Britain !!!

JARay said...

I am a lay supporter of The Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. As such, I receive a copy of the magazine, The Priest, which is published twice a year. Where you Father, write "But who would organise it?" may I just say that you would be ideal, Father.
I'm sure that you would find many laymen, such as myself, who would support your endeavor. I pay a modest amount to the ACCC as a lay supporter.

Independent said...

Can it be ecumenical? Pope Benedict is admired well beyond the bounds of his own communion for his scholarship and obvious goodness. Indeed his most embittered critics seem to be "Catholics".

Delia said...


Liverpool Priest said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you letter, as I am sure many priests do.
As I am an assistant priest I will not sign it though, as I fear retribution.
Yes, I know these are Pope's own words but I just don't have the courage.

Fr. Stephen Brown said...

This would be an excellent and valuable initiative. I share the concerns of many over the stifling effects of corruption in certain levels of the Church, and long for a wholehearted, universal embracing of Pope Benedict's reforms.
Come on guys - let's DO something!!
Fr. Stephen Brown
Catholic Chaplaincy
1 Ashgrove
Bradford BD7 1BN

Et Expecto said...


You should get in touch with Fr Michael Brown of H & N Diocese. I believe he is thinking along similar lines.

Fr William Young said...

I wholeheartedly support Pope Benedict, and in particular his Ad limina address, and I urge the Bishops of England and Wales to take it to to heart. Please append my signature to the Open Letter.

Dorothy B said...

Dear Liverpool Priest (24/7, 8.54 a.m.),

Thank you for expressing your fears so honestly in response to Fr Blake's wonderful initiative. I grew up in Liverpool archdiocese and spent much of my adult life there. I am saddened by the reports I hear about it. Have you by chance considered using a pseudonym to set up a blog in which you could speak out? There seems to be a gap in the market for an orthodox blog from that part of the country. Please be assured of my prayers, and I don't doubt from other readers too.

With all good wishes,

Richard Reeves said...

What retribution does the Liverpool assistant priest fear? If he is living a holy and chaste life he has nothing to fear.
Priests only have to fear if their life style is not in accord with the promises they have made, for they will be exposed.
No true priest of Jesus Christ has anything to fear!

JARay said...

From a couple of comments it would appear that there are priests in the various dioceses of E&W who would support a British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and they need someone to get the show on the road.
The Americans have an American Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. That I know because they joined in with the Australian CCC when they had their joint conference in Rome earlier this year. Fr. Trigilio of EWTN is one of these Americans and was at the conference, as indeed were several English clergy...I gather.

JARay said...

Taking up the comment by "universal doctor" about the now-past "Year of the Priest", just exactly what was done in your area to make that year a "Year of the Priest"? Where I live, nothing at all was done and I believe that this was repeated around the world......!

Fr Leon Pereira O.P. said...


Father, where do we sign up? Add my name please.

Very Rev Fr Leon Pereira, O.P.
Holy Cross Priory
Leicester LE1 6HW

Fr Francis Wadsworth said...

Father add mine name too
Fr. Francis Wadsworth
St Marie's Presbytery
Manchester Road

Yes Fr Michael Brown is interested in starting the Cofraternity of Catholic Clergy. If you are going to Downside Father, perhaps we could talk about it in more detail then.

Mick said...

You are in my prayers. May this Confraternity be established, grow and bear much fruit.

Dominic Mary said...

I'm delighted to see that the 'Lord Prior of Leicester' is supporting this initiative : fr Leon - do encourage as many of the Brethren as possible to join with you in this !

Mr Reeves;
assistant clergy are always vulnerable; Canon Law does not provide them with a great deal of protection aaginst unwelcome transfers, and other 'sanctions' of that sort.

FatherTF said...

Excellent! Sign me up.

Fr Timothy Finigan
Our Lady of the Rosary Church
330a Burnt Oak Lane
DA15 8LW

epsilon said...

Richard Reeves said...
What retribution does the Liverpool assistant priest fear? If he is living a holy and chaste life he has nothing to fear.
Priests only have to fear if their life style is not in...

You show serious nievety here RR - there are very few in the high ranks of the Catholic Church in E and W who are in line with Pope Benedict XVI

The Liverpool assistant priest is only telling it like it is - however if all the assistant priests around the country signed up for Fr Ray Blake's Open Letter in Support of Pope Benedict then those high rankers might recognise they're in the wrong boat and all transfer over to Rowan's crew where they would fit in perfectly. We could have the Anglo Catholic Coetibus in exchange. Obviously, this is all pie in the sky talk from me as we know the Catholic hierarchy in E and W are power hungry and controlled by the Bliar Foundation:(

Richard Reeves said...

Dominic Mary, surely an assistant priest knows that any appointment is for 2-4 years and can expected to moved at short notice. Moreover, Archbishop Kelly of Liverpool has never persecuted traditionalist priests. He freely allows the EF to be offered in the diocese, and even encouraged it in Salford diocese when he was bishop there.

Fr Joseph Taylor said...

Please,Father,add my name to the list. Rev J M Taylor Lanherne

FrB said...

Well done, Father!

Great Britain is blessed to have a Papal visit at this time, and I pray for the success of your initiative.

Anonymous said...


It should be perfectly obvious for a priest to support the Holy Father, but the sad reality (particularly here in England) is a different one.

Fr John Abberton said...

I am very interested in supporting the Pope and agree with your concerns about the Ad Limina address. Please add my name etc:

Fr. John Abberton
Holy Spirit Parish
West Yorkshire

Richard Reeves said...

Epsillon I think you do a diservice to the bishops of the Northern Province to state that they are not in line with Pope Benedict. The North of England has some very sound bishops - Kelly, Cunningham, Brain, Davies, Campbell and the retired Patrick O'Donaghue. I can only think that these bishops would be delighted for their priests to sign a letter in support and welcoming Pope Benedict.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth said...

An excellent initiative which I wholeheartedly endorse. Please add my name to the open letter.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth
Executive Director ICEL

Father John Boyle said...

Yes, we need such a confraternity.

Please add my name:
Fr John Boyle
(priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark)
Currently at
St Peter's Cathedral
311 W Barage Ave
MI 49855

Fr Francis Marsden said...

Please add my name to the letter:

Fr Francis Marsden VF
St Mary's
Mount Pleasant
Chorley Lancs PR7 2SR

georgem said...

What a fabulous idea, Father. May great oaks from little acorns grow.

Liverpool Priest, I can understand your fears. I have known good priests penalised for the slightest "transgression", including upsetting an overbearing parish laity. And you alone know the climate you are living and working in.

Have courage, get on to the good priestly network where you will get valuable support and perhaps sign up when there are more names on the list, as I am sure there will be.

You and all priests are in my prayers.

Fr Christopher Back said...

Please Father add my name to the Open Letter.
Fr Christopher Back
Catholic Rectory
Hills Road

Your blog is one I always read and derive much help from.


Please add my name
Fr. Gary Patrick Walsh S.S.S.
(Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament)
4 Dawson Street
Liverpool L1 1lE

Hilariter said...

Please sign me up for this too. It's great to have some clear support for the Holy Father since there hasn't been anything loud and clear hitherto from those who should be speaking up.

Fr David B Barrett
(Diocese of Northampton)
Casa Santa Maria
Via dell'Umilta 30
00185 Rome

Fr John Osman said...

Deafened by the silence of those who should have spoken ....reminiscent of the words of Saint John Fisher"The fort has been betrayed by those who should have defended it....
Please add my name to the letter and to the names for the incipient Association of Catholic Priests
Fr John Osman

Fr Simon Henry said...

Sign me up!

I did have some communication with Fr Trigilio some years ago about a Confraternity of Catholic Priests here in the UK but, sadly,Events intervened and no more came of it.
Fr Simon Henry
St Catherine Labouré
Archdiocese of Liverpool

Nolite Conformari huic saeculo said...

Thank you for the opportunity to express our support for Pope Benedict. Please can you add my name to your letter.

Fr John Cahill
Holy Souls' Church

universal doctor said...

Fr John Osman,

How wonderful to see you here. We used to have splendid saturday evenings, after the Hall had been set up for Mass by the servers, and I would cook for you, while you would serve us wine.
It is very much the spirit of Fisher House, and St John Fisher which kept my faith alive. Thank you!

Fr Julian Green said...

Fr Julian Green

This idea of forming something like the ACCC came up recently at a brainstorming meeting I had with some other priests - Fr Blake please contact me about this initiative.

Fr. Philip Egan said...

Thank you Fr. Ray for this excellent initiative. Please add my name to the list:

Fr. Philip Egan
Our Lady and St. Christopher's

The people of Britain have a right to hear the Good News of Christ, that they might receive the gift of salvation. Let us pray that the Holy Father's visit will bring the Church in our lands new hope, greater self-confidence, real daring, bolder leadership and authentic creativity for a more effective evangelisation.

Fr Hugh said...

Please sign me up

Fr Hugh Mackenzie
St Mary Magdalen's
Peter Ave
Willesden Gn
NW10 2DD

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