Archive for October 2009
In these days of economic uncertainty, we’ve heard a lot of criticism of materialist mindsets, of bankers, of people who were irresponsible with money from those high up in the Spiritual World. Everyone from the Pope to Rowan Williams has had something to add about the credit crisis and the recession we are in right now.
Across La Manche, priests are putting their money where their mouth is and are foregoing a month’s salary in order to help victims of the economic crisis.
La Famille Chretienne has the story:
Priests in the diocese of Lyon have followed the example of a Spanish diocese and are being invited to give a month’s worth of salary (which is around 900 euros) to a charitable association supporting the victims of the crisis.
Thanks to Koztoujours for pointing it out.
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor — the retired Archbishop of Westminster — tonight addressed a meeting of ARCIC at Worth Abbey. After the recent events, everyone has been waiting to hear what he has to say.
The Cardinal welcomed the Holy Father’s initiative in the Apostolic Constitution, said ecumenism wasn’t dead and defended the decision not to create the option for personal ordinariates in the 1990s. From a 5,000 word speech, ruminating on his personal experiences in the ecumenical process and what Cardinal Cormac Murphy O’Connor sees for the future, here is the money quote about personal ordinariates. He said:
There is much that has been written and spoken about this matter over the past week but I would just want to emphasise that this response of Pope Benedict is no reflection or comment on the Anglican Communion as a whole or of our ongoing ecumenical relationship with them.
Indeed, I think it true to say that this was one of the reasons why this particular provision for Anglicans who wished to enter into full communion in 1993-94 was not implemented. At that time, Cardinal Hume, Bishop Alan Clark of East Anglia, the then Auxiliary Bishop of Westminster ¬ now Archbishop Vincent Nichols ¬ and myself were responsible for the on-going discussions with the leadership of a movement called, Forward in Faith, as also with the then Cardinal Ratzinger and his advisers in Rome. It is true to say that some special provision for the Anglicans who wished to come into full communion with the Church, a provision such as the Personal Ordinariates, might have been very helpful at that time. But after much discussion, it was finally decided that it would not be appropriate to take this initiative. The reasons for this were two-fold.
The first is that in 1993-94 the we bishops were dealing solely with clergy of the Church of England, and any such response as is now given by the Holy See would naturally have had to be offered to the whole of the Provinces of the Anglican Communion. It did not seem within our remit to engage in such a response. The other reason, however, was even more important. If the Holy See had offered such Personal Ordinariates then, and in particular here in England, it might well have been seen as an un-ecumenical approach by the Holy See, as if wanting to put out the net as far as one could. Both Pope John Paul and the then Cardinal Ratzinger would have been against such a move as, indeed, were the four of us. Matters have moved on since then and the repeated requests by many Anglicans, not only from England but from other Provinces of the Anglican Communion, have necessitated a new approach, which is why I think that the Personal Ordinariates offered by the Holy Father can be seen not in any way un-ecumenical but rather as a generous response to people who have been knocking at the door for a long time.
St Jude is upon us, All Saints and All Souls follow closely. Before we know it, the liturgical year will be over. We’ll shed the green of Ordinary Time (love the term Ordinary Time, it’s so weird) and don the purple of Advent (or rather our priests will).
But there is one last momentuous event to look forward to: Christ the King (instigated by Pope Pius XI to fight secularism).The celebration is better known in these climes as National Youth Sunday (brought in to make young people feel at home in the Church).
For an organisation known to work in centuries, the Church in this country appears to have gone a long way in year. Or at least, its vision for Youth Ministry, under the aegis of Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton has undergone a radical transformation. (Youth Services was closed last year)
Maureen Dowd — the red-haired doyenne of liberal journalism — whose New York Times columns provoke mirth and wrath, has united both liberal and conservative American Catholics with her latest column, which deals with the Apostolic Visitation of Women Religious currently taking place in the US.
It is a rare occasion that finds Fr John Zuhlsdorf of What does the Prayer Really Say on the same side as Michael Sean Winters, a journalist who writes for the Jesuit America Magazine — but it’s Dowd what done it.
Both men have censured her, even if the reasons they give are somewhat different.
MSW ended his post on the America with this: “It is not that she is wrong, it is that she is so contentedly wrong, so confident in her ignorance, so comprehensively prejudiced against the Church. Why doesn’t she just become a Protestant and have done with it? If you heard her rant on the street, you would give her a dollar and hope she doesn’t spend it on booze. Reading her rant in the Times, you can just flip the page.”
The diocese of Westminster is launching an appeal for Sick and Retired priests.
The Sick and Retired Priests’ Fund was set up in 1979 to help priests in the Diocese of Westminster who need support and, over the years it has helped hundreds of them.
Today there are over 90 retired priests in the diocese and Sr Clement (the Fund’s Healthcare Co-ordinator) invited me to Nazareth House Residential Care Home in East Finchley, one of the care homes run by the Sisters in our Diocese, to meet some of them. Sr Clement works full time with the Fund, visiting priests who are sick and those who are struggling with the burdens of old age.
All the support they need The Sick and Retired Priests’ Fund objective is to ensure that all sick and elderly priests in the diocese receive the practical support that they need and this can range from arranging residential care to buying a pair of orthopedic shoes and from organising a lift to Mass to buying essential equipment such as a bath hoist or stair lift. The Fund also provides a help service for priests, allowing them to confidentially discuss health or other issues of concern.
Our friends over at the Intentional Disciples blog have been following the news developing in the wake of last week’s surprise announcement about the Anglican provision . While much of the world’s attention (and ours too) has focused on the Church of England and the Traditional Anglican Communion, some commentators have looked at what the Anglican provision–the Personal Ordinariates–might mean for Africa.
Fr Philip Neri Powell OP offers a very helpful Q&A about the Anglican provision on hisDomine da mihi hanc aquam blog.
Here’s the first one:
1). What’s the difference between the current pastoral provisions for allowing married Anglican clergy to become Catholic priests and this new arrangement?
Under the pastoral provisions of John Paul II a married Anglican priest may be admitted to Catholic Holy Orders at the discretion of a local bishop. He will have to take some classes and pass a few exams before ordination. After ordination, he can be assigned to a Catholic parish as an administrator or associate pastor. He may not serve as a pastor. Whole Anglican parishes may come over as well and be included in what is called “Anglican Use” parishes. These parishes use a version of the Book of Common Prayer for their liturgies and are usually served by a former Anglican priest. In all cases, the individual priest and the parish remain under the direct jurisdiction of the local bishop.
We couldn’t help noticing a mildly hysterical tone in some of the headlines in the Times these last couple of days when references were being made to the forthcoming Apostolic Constitution. From the military sounding Rome parks tanks on Rowan’s lawn (accompanied with a picture of the Church on a tank) to Vatican to poach traditional Anglicans and the slightly distasteful Converts may choke on the raw meat of Catholicism the headlines do not require psychic powers to sense a bit of hostility. Anyone?
It was reminiscent of another period in the history of the Catholic Church in this country — the re-establishment of the Catholic hierarchy — when the Times was not very happy with the state of things either (granted in those days, the old Papists were being pretty provocative). A bit of digging came up with a cartoon from an issue of Punch from the period.