Saturday, October 09, 2010

Ushaw to close

One of our four English based seminaries is to close. St Cuthbert's College, Ushaw which is huge has only 26 students and will close at the end of the academic year.
full story here


Independent said...

Newman preached on the "Second Spring". He must be weeping at the Second Winter.

Fr Francis Marsden said...

Sadly, we see in this the result of the watering down of the Faith, rubbishy catechetics and the collapse of practice of the Faith and Mass going in the North - the severe shortage of vocations, and now the loss of the northern seminary. Even The Times commented about the Pope pointedly not visiting "the collapsing Catholic bastions of the north-west."

Will Oscott be willing to accept the Ushaw students? Such a big influx at once might be rather unsettling. And Oscott runs on the Louvain model, whereas Ushaw went in with the Durham degree course, so there will be lots of incompatibilities to be ironed out or made up for. Or will the students be apportioned to Allen Hall and Wonersh as well?

The closure should have been announced a few years ago, in order to synchronise and supplement the courses where necessary, and make it possible for the lads to fit into the Oscott system, if that is their destination. It is very unfair on them to make the closure notice so suddenly.

Anyway, Oscott is under the personal control of the Archbishop of Birmingham, so the Northern Bishops will have no say in the training of their students!! It will be a take-it or leave-it situation. Oscott is pretty orthodox so this might be a good thing!

Fr Ray Blake said...

...and Wonersh isn't bad either nowadays, in fact so many of their staff are very impressive, so are the students too.

Dominic Mary said...

With respect, if Oscott and Wonersh are fairly orthodox, then I would assume that the Ushaw students won't be going to them . . . one has only to look at the arrangement of the Chapel to realize that the practice of the place is clearly 'Spirit of Vatican II' in spades !

Et Expecto said...

If we are to believe the press release, the college authorities are looking for a partner with a business plan to develop the site. Maybe they are thinking of a hotel with country club, sauna, golf course etc.

There is one use for which Ushaw College is ideally suited. It could become a traditional seminary. Let nobody say that there would not be sufficient demand for such a seminary. The two that exist in Europe, one belonging to the Priestly Society of St Peter and the other belonging to the Institute of Christ the King, Supreme Priest, are both heavily oversubscribed.

Neither of these seminaries use English at a teaching medium, all teaching being in either French or German. An English medium traditional seminary would attract large numbers of students. Not only would it suit native English speakers, but it would also be convenient for those who have learned English as a second language. One could imagine many coming from Scandinavia, Poland and other eastern European countries as well as Africa and Asia.

Of course, it would not be easy to set up a new seminary. Suitable teaching staff would have to be found, as would a great deal of money. However, Ushaw has the buildings, which would give the project a head start. Approval of the eclesiastical authorities may prove the more difficult piece of the jigsaw, but this can be worked on.

Would people who would be willing to support this project either financially or, more importantly at the moment, be giving moral support, please make themselves known, by making a comment.

Paul Waddington.

David Lindsay said...

Under John Paul II, there was a seventy-two per cent increase in ordinations worldwide, in countries with edifying liturgy and other accurate catechesis. Such priests cannot arrive here too soon as missionaries.

Thomasso said...

I support Et Expecto's suggestion wholeheartedly.

However, can anyone seriously anticipate the episcopal trustees allowing this to happen? I'd be delighted to be proved wrong (since, as a native northerner familiar with Ushaw, it breaks my heart to see this finally happen - yet it has surely been on the cards for decades). I just can't see such a step being taken.

nickbris said...

Constant bitching on about Vatican II is almost as boring as BBC presenters in Delhi moaning about Jerusalem or Land of Hope & Glory.For GOD.s sake GET OVER IT

Dominic Mary said...

For what my support might be worth, I too endorse Et Expecto's suggestion enhusiastically.

Distressed Historian of the Church said...

The closure of Ushaw is truly a tragedy as Ushaw is a direct descendent of Douay. For over four hundred years Catholics have suffered and made sacrifices for this College, whether it be the original exiles, or so many thousands of boys who left home and crossed the Channel to study there, or those who made finacial sacrifices, or all those priests who suffered red and white martyrdoms.

The Catholic community of England sustained this College through four hundred years of persecution and poverty.

In forty years it has been thrown away. Is the blood of martyrs to be cast aside so cheaply?

Very many Bishops and Priests should be examining their consciences tonight.

Are they really worthy of Allen, Persons, Campion, Challoner, Lingard, and the rest?

1569 Rising said...


As a former student at Ushaw (1958 - 1963), when it was full to bursting,even going as far as building a new wing, I am more distressed than anyone can imagine.

One wonders what sort of support has been given to the place recently - the new Centre for Catholic Studies was established, not at Ushaw, but at Durham University - Why?

Is it true that Leeds, Liverpool and Lancaster Dioceses have refused to send students there recently? H&N Diocese has just spent millions on a brand new "Youth Village" 15 miles away.
None of the Diocesan offices are there, nor any of the Diocesan charities.

The College is full of treasures of rare value, and the Library is one of the oldest, and best, Catholic libraries in the country.

Final point - how much has the latest re-ordering of Newcastle Cathedral cost? Remeber, this is the 3rd re-ordering.

I despair, but

"In omnibus sumentes scutum fidei"

Adulio said...

Meanwhile there are no shortage of Muslim quasi-madrasses springing up in England. When will England wake up and return to the old faith?

Sadie Vacantist said...

@1569 Rising

To my knowledge only Lancaster pulled out formally. My further understanding is that Ushaw is the seminary of choice for Liverpool ahead of Rome. Leeds simply prefers Rome. Very few vocations outside of these dioceses.

Archbishop Kelly, I suspect, is the main reason why it has stayed open longer than it should have done. It should have closed 10 years ago and sold for a fortune but now we are in a crash.

All the English seminaries should have been shut 10 years and students moved abroad. Beda, VEC and Valladolid would have been adaquate and they could have repurchased Lisbon in reserve. The failure to develop the Beda into a full pontifical university has been a mistake. Think of all those Amercan students who do a year at the Angelicum as part of their program. They could have studied at the Beda. Plus the new European credits system means that British lay people could have studied theology in Rome and gained a fully accredited degree. That way we might have produced some Catholic RS teachers into the bargain.

Zephyrinus said...

" Would people who would be willing to support this project either financially or, more importantly at the moment, be giving moral support, please make themselves known, by making a comment."

Dear Fr. Blake. I am delighted to append my name to this appeal by Paul Waddington. Financial and moral support assured.

To bring this most beautiful architectural jewel back to its original purpose, after two hundred years, would be a privilege and a pleasure.

Having attended the LMS Training Conference in April, 2010, at Ushaw, I can attest to its beauty, its functionality, its heritage and its importance.

I urge all like-minded Catholics to seriously consider supporting this Appeal.

Physiocrat said...

I also support Et Expecto's suggestion.

pattif said...

nickbris - who mentioned Vatican II?

News of the closure of a seminary would be depressing at the best of times, but this announcement of the closure of an English seminary in the immediate aftermath of the Holy Father's inspirational visit is even harder to take. It seems we have choice of whether to interpret this announcement simply as an act of despair or as a more active determination to pre-empt the hoped for "Benedict Bounce".

Et Expecto's suggestion is a good one, to which I am unfortunately only able to offer prayerful, rather than practical, support at the moment. It will be interesting to see whether the Trustees prefer to close it down altogether, rather than allow it to become a traditional seminary.

1569 Rising said...

I am grateful to Sadie Vacantist for correcting my assertion on the lack of students from Northern Dioceses.

Of the 8 Northern Bishops who form the governing body, only 2, Middlesbrough and Shrewsbury, were students at Ushaw, the other 6 would have no emotional ties to my Alma Mater. I am implying nothing by this statement.

I cannot believe that Ushaw will be allowed to die - built by the "pennies of the poor", from Douai, sustained by the blood of the Martyrs.

mikesview said...

Et Exspecto. Your suggestion has my prayers and meagre financial support.

blogwatcher said...

@ Dominic Mary - You can't blame the present seminarians at Ushaw for the state of St.Cuthbert's (they didn't change it!!!)

@ Sadie Vacantist - Lancaster did not formally pull out, their last Bishop (POD) just send a few seminarians to Allen Hall assuming Ushaw was closing. However POD has now gone and Lancaster still have seminarians at Ushaw, One sent in the last two years.

Orthodox said...

From Johannesburg, South Africa, and as a first language English speaker - I second Et Expecto's position!

Sadie Vacantist said...


Thanks for the correction in respect of Lancaster. My understanding is that POD didn't rate Ushaw but interested to learn that his successor is sending people there again. This is confusing as it implies that POD knew something that his successor didn't.

Amy R said...

El Expecto's suggestion has my support, too. What a terrific idea, in fact!

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