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)