26 November 2014

Vespers And Diocesan Difference in 1863

One of the things shown up by the fact that Sunday Vespers was a commonplace of Catholic parish life in the 1860s is just how different from each other Catholic dioceses were.  I don't want to delve too deeply into the Office, partly because it is too big a subject for me, partly because I want to relate what parish life looked like to lay people, but one aspect of Sunday Vespers is worth noting.

Pre-Pius X, Sunday Vespers regularly included the Suffrages: special prayers of intercession, and these would be typically, of the Cross, the BVM, the Patron and for Peace.

You would have thought that "the Patron" was easy to identify: St George for England, St David for Wales.  But not so: as far as Hexham and Newcastle was concerned, St George was not the patron; St Cuthbert was, and the prayer to St George was not said.  In Northampton and Plymouth, their patrons-St Thomas of Canterbury and St Boniface respectively-were addressed before St George.

This is only a few years after the reestablishment of the Hierarchy: by 1890, a generation later, the diocese of Salford had established additional feasts (ie additional to those of its diocesan patrons and additional to those particular to England and Wales) as follows:

Sunday within the Octave of Epiphany: Finding of the Child Jesus in the Temple
13 February: St Kentigern
17 February: The Flight of OLJC into Egypt
26 March: The Good Thief
26 April: Our Lady of Good Counsel
12 May: The Humility of the BVM
15 May: Our Lady of Grace
29 June: Commemoration of all the Holy Apostles
15 July: The Division of the Apostles

Salford is the only diocese I've looked into for this purpose and 1890 is long after what I am aiming for in this series, but I'm sure other dioceses had developed their own calendars too (no doubt also celebrating some of the feasts in the Salford list) and that life in England and Wales was a mosaic of difference. 

22 November 2014

XXIV And Last Sunday After Pentecost 1862

Let's start our 1862/3 Catholic year today, with the coming week's Ordo for the dioceses of England and Wales, the last week of 1861/62.  (The Scottish hierarchy not yet having been restored, the supplements to the calendar used in the diocese of Rome are used there (as well as "in Australia and other places" as one missal puts it), and there are no particular diocesan feasts, as there are no dioceses, but simply districts administered by Vicars Apostolic.)

23 SUNDAY. 24th and last after Pentecost. St Clement, Pope Martyr, double.  2nd prayers and Last Gospel of Sunday.  3rd prayers of St Felicity, Martyr. Red. Vespers: 2nd of St Clement to the little Chapter, thence forward of tomorrow's feast of St John of the Cross (in the hymn Meruit supremos); commemoration of St Clement and of St Chyrsogonous, martyr. White.

24 Monday. St John of the Cross, Confessor, double. 2nd prayers of St Chrysogonous, Martyr. White.

25 Tuesday. St Catherine, Virgin Martyr, double. Red.

26 Wednesday. St Felix of Valois, Confessor, double. 2nd prayers of St Peter of Alexandria, Bishop, Martyr. White.

27 Thursday. St Gregory Thaumaturgus, Bishop, Confessor, double.  White.

28 Friday. Feria. 2nd prayers for the Dead (Fidelium). 3rd prayers A cunctis. Green. Abstinence. [In the diocese of Nottingham, St Wencelaus, Martyr, semidouble (transferred from 28 September). 2nd prayers A cunctis. 3rd prayers free choice of priest. Red.]

29 Saturday. Vigil of feast of St Andrew. 2nd prayers of St Saturninus, Martyr. 3rd prayers Concede. Violet. [In the diocese of Nottingham, add 4th prayers for the Dead (Fidelium) and 5th prayers free choice of priest.]

The last week of the year is relatively straightforward. The feast of St Clement outranks the last Sunday after Pentecost and the feast of St Felicity, so takes priority, though the prayers proper to all three are, of course, said.  Sunday Vespers, a normal part of life in most parishes, starts off as Vespers of the feast of St Clement but changes half way through to ensure that Monday's feast of St John of the Cross is suitably honoured, though St Clement, and Monday's secondary feast are also commemorated. The week progresses quietly except that on Friday, the diocese of Nottingham finally has a free day to celebrate St Wenceslaus, which should have been celebrated on 28 September. In fact 28 September fell on a Sunday and was the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the BVM, so St Wenceslaus had to be transferred to 7 October in most dioceses, but Nottingham celebrated the feast of the Finding of St Stephen Protomartyr, which had been transferred from 2 September, on which date in Nottingham the feast of St Aidan was celebrated, itself transferred from 31 August, and which was marked in Nottingham as the Anniversary of the Dedication of the Cathedral, a double of the first class with an Octave.

Friday being a feria, priests were at liberty to offer any votive Mass they might choose, but the second and third prayers (ie each of the Collect, Secret and Postcommunion) were to be taken from "Prayers of the Time": here we find A cunctis, to pray for the Church and the Pope, Fidelium, to pray for the dead.  At some point during the year we will explore the plan for their use. (Two of these are hidden in my post-Summorum Pontificum Baronius 1962 hand missal between the 24th Sunday after Pentecost and the Gallican Prefaces, while the rest are nowhere. Equally surprising (to me) is that the propers for Vespers for every Sunday is included.)

The prayers of free choice would be taken from the section of the Missal called "Various Prayers" which range from begging the prayers of the Saints, through prayers in time of famine, of earthquake or of storm, to prayers for our enemies, amongst many more (there are 30 in my 1895 missal, and 33 in 1939: we might at some point do an interesting compare and contrast on what 19th and 20th century missalists thought the intention associated with these prayers was).  Friday is also a day of abstinence from meat (and this includes eggs: meat's way of making more meat).

At St Mary Magdalene in Brighton, the Rev George Oldham said Low Mass at 8.30 on Sundays, and had High Mass at 11.  There was Catechism and Benediction at 3.00 pm, and Devotions, Sermon and Benediction at 7.00.  Mass was said at 8.00 am on weekdays, and there was Benediction at 7.00 pm on Thursdays.  Confessions were on Wednesdays from 12.00 to 1.00, and Thursdays and Saturdays from 7.00 to 9.00 pm.

(Please let me know if there is a parish whose schedule you would be interested in, though bear in mind that the amount of detail will be that which the contemporary PP could be bothered to supply to Messrs Burns and Lambert.)

12 November 2014

The Catholic Parish In 1863

So what was parish life like, a hundred and fifty years ago?  Closer, I guess, to the experience of the pre-Reformation parish than to today's.  Was it Professor Scarisbrick who reviewed The Stripping of the Altars in The Spectator when it first came out, and, in a rave review, decided that the religion of early modern Catholics was a long way away from ours, with their emphasis on the four last things, the sufferings of those in Purgatory, and the inevitability for many of us of Hell?

Whoever it was, it shows how Catholicism changed in the twentieth century more than demonstrating that the reigns of Henry VII and VIII as some sort of heterodox.  Certainly as we begin to get into the rhythm of parish life, we will see that the awareness of sin and the need for Confession; the need for education and evangelisation; and the place of devotion: are three pillars of the way we all should live.

Let's look at the parish of The Sacred Heart and St Helen in Brentwood.  there are two priests: the Rev John Kyne is the Missionary Rector, and he is supported by the Rev Remigius Debbaudt.  (I wonder sometimes whether J K Rowling had access to a list of priests.)  You will have noted that the priests are Reverend, rather than Father: this is part of the faultline I described last time between the way that English Catholicism had evolved before emancipation and the bold, expressive, Italianate, self-confidence which was beginning to displace it..

They had two Masses each Sunday morning, and had Vespers and Benediction (with a sermon) on Sunday afternoon.  Sunday Vespers is very commonplace in parishes in England and Wales, just as Evensong was for the Anglicans, but only on Sundays.  On Holydays, there would only be a Benediction service in the evening, as there also would be each Thursday evening (preceded in Lent and Advent by Stations of the Cross).  There could be no Mass in the evening, so Vespers and Benediction allowed for further Eucharistic adoration.

In Brentwood, there aren't any of the Confraternities (which have the same role in the parish as the pre-reformation Guilds) which we shall see in other parishes around the country but there are devotions of the Sacred Heart and Benediction after morning Mass on the first Friday, devotions of the Bona Mors on the first Thursday in the afternoon, and devotions to the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the conversion of sinners on the third Thursday.

Most importantly, there is Confession.  In Brentwood it is "only" available for an hour and a half each morning and for three hours on Saturday evening: we will see other parishes in which far more hours are devoted to this sacrament.

Although education was not yet compulsory in England and Wales, the vast majority - more than 90% - of children attended some form of schooling, and the imperative need for Catholic children to receive this schooling in a Catholic education system and not from the CofE was paramount in the mind of the Church. (I muse on what the result of a comparative study of a CofE RE syllabus in 1863 and a Catholic RE syllabus in 2014 might be, but somebody else can do that.)  Anywhere where there were enough Catholic children, schools were to be built and maintained, and teachers paid.  We will see special collection days instituted in each diocese for this noble purpose, and the upper- and middle-classes were expected to pay out serious contributions for this purpose.  In particular, parishes which contained non-Catholic residential institutions - workhouses, orphanages, prisons - were expected to look particularly after the religious lives of those who were inmates.

As important was the construction of new churches for the rising number of Catholics.  Perhaps the simple need to build was more important than the need to build well, or build tastefully; perhaps it was not an age in which taste was given much priority against the need to provide somewhere for Catholics to worship, but this was not a period of great architectural merit.

We will regularly see Sunday afternoon services including a lecture or discourse.  Education and evangelisation were not limited to schoolchildren, or to those who weren't churchgoers.  These are listed separately from Sermons, while some form of homily could be expected at Sunday Mass at least.

Finally, the calendar: the year had its own rhythm and Catholics continued to follow it.  Many of the mediaeval feasts which had been abolished during the Reformation were still marked as Days of Devotion, which those Catholics who could would treat as though they were still Holydays.  Fasting and abstinence were taken seriously at their due time, and national and diocesan feasts were marked by the people in whose territory the feasts were celebrated.  Some have disappeared without trace: this Friday, every parish in England and Wales should be celebrating the feast of the Translation of St Erconwald, a great English Bishop and Confessor who seems to have been completely set aside after the reforms of Pope St Pius X (I will be very happy to be corrected).

The parish wasn't yet a place in which Catholicism could be displayed totemically, and was far from being a place for like-minded people to congregate on a Sunday to enjoy each other's company in a warm haze of good intentions: it was a workshop in which priests toiled to make available to poor sinners the opportunities they needed to conform their lives to God's will.  The comparison doesn't necessarily flatter the typical way of things today.

09 November 2014

Translating Poetry

It may well come from the way in which we were taught Latin, and if memory serves, C S Lewis, on being sent to a tutor had a similar experience in being taught Greek, but both Ben Trovato and I are particularly comfortable with a method which starts teaching the student ab initio by immersing him (or her) into complex texts in the target language and using exegesis to allow her (or him) to draw out the meaning of serious writing immediately, instead of wasting time on "my aunt's pen" or "my postilion has been struck by lightning".

(As an aside, imagine how much easier it would have been to achieve a decent translation of the mass for use in the OF if this method had been chosen to educate the translators, who would never have needed to bother with "dynamic equivalence".)

He and I had both learned French through the medium of the standard text Mots d'Heures, Gousses, Rames and he was excited to learn some time ago that I had come across a German equivalent.  I'm afraid that I forgot completely his entreaty for some examples until he reminded me earlier.

Here then are three, from Mörder Guss Reims.  The only requirement for the learner is to read them aloud with an exaggerated German accent.  You will be amazed at how quickly you begin to pick up the deeper meanings hidden within the verses.  I have nevertheless included the basic critical apparatus normally available only to the teacher.

Jahn1 Kid Dudel kämmte tauen
Reih' Ding' ohne Bohni.2
Stuka Vetter inne satt3
Und Kohl Titt' mager roh nie.4


1 Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (1778-1852) better known as ''Turnvater" Jahn, the Grand Old Man of German gymnastics.
2 "By combing the goatskin on his bagpipes, he thawed out a row of things without an attic."
3”His cousin was inwardly tired of dive-bornbers."  c.f. Tennyson's ”Locksley Hall " :
“Heard the heavens fill with shouting, and there rained a ghastly dew
From the nations' airy navies grappling in the central blue.”
4 “And he never likes cabbage nipple raw.”


Myriade Lied - Alarm!
Itzt fliess' was weit1 Asen2 oh!
An Hefe-Revier dort mehre wend?
Alarm Warschauer3  …Tuck oh!4

1 In the middle of a song festival the alarm is sounded because something is flowing far away.
2 The collective name of the old German gods. Their leader was Odin, alias Wodan, Wotan or Wuotan, the god of the wind, the dead and of war, and the leader of the hunt, all of which must have kept him fairly busy.
3 The reference to the Warschauer Bridge locates this incident in Berlin. Perhaps the River Spree had flooded at this spot.
4 "Oh., what a spiteful trick!"

Der Wasserkrug, Erdmann, an die Winterkrug Erdmeil'1
Hie von der Krug hat sie-Gespenster, Ginsterkrug Erdsteil.2
Hieb Ortekrug, Erdkart’ — wisch Kotterkrug, Erdmaus;
Hansa Olaf tu' Gitter in ein Literkrug Erdhaus! 3

1 An earth-man is told to move the water jug one land-mile (1,609 metres, in contrast to one sea-mile or 1,852 metres) to the winter jug.
2 This part of the earth was given over to jugs filled with gorse.
3 Meanwhile a Norwegian from the Hanseatic League is urged to erect some bars in a litre jug, which the poet calls an earth-house. It is not clear whether the bars are meant to keep the earth-mouse in or out.

03 November 2014

Mass In 1863

An average 1962-rite Mass attender would see little different at an 1863 Mass if he attended one without a Missal.  He might note rather more collects, secrets and postcommunions; he might wonder at the Last Gospel often not being that of the beginning of St John's Gospel; he wouldn't actually hear St Joseph not being mentioned in the Canon of the Mass.  If he attended at Holy Week, he would see a radically different celebration to that offered by his 1962-rite parish, but between Paschaltides, there would be few clues to suggest that the difference was, in fact, massive.  Two things might surprise him: Holy Communion would not be routinely received by the faithful during Mass, and the beginning of Mass would not be earlier than an hour before first light (by the sun, not by an arbitrary rule) or later than 1.00 pm.  (If Mass is a re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Jesus, then the modern insistence on receiving hosts consecrated at the Mass one attends begins to look a bit odd.)

In fact, the thing that makes the Mass so different is the calendar, and the ranking of feasts in the calendar; the fact that Sundays do not necessarily take precedence over other feasts; and the fact that each diocese has its own version of the Roman Calendar.

Though what follows may seem complicated, it isn't: any - in fact every - literate Catholic was expected to be able to work out the correct readings for any day if he had a Missal.  There was no TV in those days, so there was plenty of time to work out the week's celebrations, and, anyway, ecclesiastical almanacs were cheap to buy.

Every day either had a feast or hadn't: a feast would be a Double, a Semi-double, or a simple; if there was no feast the day would be a feria.  There were five sorts of Doubles, in order: Doubles of the first class, Doubles of the second class, greater Doubles, Doubles and semi-Doubles.  Simples were, simply, simples. 

Sundays followed a different system: they might be privileged of the first class, or of the second class, which governed which Mass might be said on them.  In any case, however, the prayers (the collective term for the proper collect, secret and postcommunion) for the Sunday would be said, as would its Gospel.  If the Sunday's precedence was less than that of a feast which fell on Sunday, then the Gospel of the Sunday would be said as the Last Gospel.

The rules of precedence meant that some feasts would have to be transferred from their normal day to the next available, as All Souls this year has been transferred to 3 November because the Sunday in the Octave of All Saints has a higher precedence than All Souls. Over the year, this can mean significant movement of feasts, some being celebrated (at least in some dioceses) up to a couple of months after their due date.

In general, though, unless the feast is a very important one a number of prayers will be said to draw in all of the relevant commemorations due on the day.  And, if the feast isn't too important, the priest can add other prayers, from those listed in the Missal for special intentions.  There must be no more than five; well, there must be no more than seven.  If there are more than three, there must be either five or seven, unless there are four.  Yes, it's complicated, but remember those long winter evenings.

I will do all this for you for this year (except add the priest's own extras), but what looks like a mess is in fact a natural growth over the preceding centuries.  The modern idea of "St Sunday" - Sunday taking precedence over almost any calendar feast - is totally alien to the way the liturgy was celebrated for at least ten centuries before the twentieth.  The liturgical year has a rhythm which marks Sunday as the weekly day of precept, not as a sort of Sabbatarian dictator.

What I hope you will see is variety, a three dimensional calendar which marks how things are rather than how things should be according to some arbitrary rule. 

Next article: parish life.

02 November 2014

Catholic England And Wales In 1863: An Introduction

I intend to publish a weekly Calendar from the First Sunday of Advent showing what the ecclesiastical year would have looked like for Catholics in England and Wales in 1862/3.  I hope to illustrate my belief that although Abp Bugnini is often blamed for the current state of the Liturgy, because of the major changes he coordinated in the reigns of Pope Pius XII and Paul VI, in fact the changes to the calendar introduced by Pope Pius X had already severely weakened links to the immemorial calendar of the Roman Church.  I hope to show, week by week, what worship in a normal English parish would have looked like (and, I repeat, am looking from the layman's point of view, rather than, as the St Lawrence Press does, from that of priests and religious).  I will offer a couple of introductory articles first, however, to set the weekly calendar in context.

The Church had, of course, a very different look about it in 1863, only 13 years after the reestablishment of the Hierarchy.  The Province of Westminster covered the whole of England and Wales and there were thirteen dioceses: Westminster, Menevia and Newport, Birmingham, Hexham and Newcastle, Southwark, Salford, Shrewsbury, Nottingham, Liverpool, Plymouth, Clifton, Northampton and Beverley.  Bishops were appointed for life, and were supported by a Chapter.  The Canons in the Chapter were, in Canon Law, the Bishop's Senate.  They were beneficed to allow them financial independence and the ability to resist undue pressures, allowing, for example, the Westminster Chapter to rebel against Cardinal Wiseman in the 1850s.  There was, of course, no national Bishops Conference: each Bishop was Head of his local Church.  Nevertheless, Provincial Synods were held as necessary where it made sense to take a national view, for example on seminaries, education, or on the extent to which parts of England and Wales should be considered mission territory.  Three had been held since the Hierarchy's reestablishment, in 1852, 1855 and 1859.

Passions could be high: a dispute between Cardinal Wiseman and his Coadjutor Bishop, Thomas Errington, had ended up in Rome with the Coadjutor deprived of his office and stripped of his right to succeed the Archbishop.  At issue was a major fault line in the Church in England and Wales: should it keep the same low profile and unostentatiousness it had displayed since 1745, or, emancipated and with a re-established Hierarchy, should it display an Italianate exuberance in its life?

There were 22 Catholic Peers, and 32 Catholic MPs.  The latter all represented Irish constituencies, while only one of the peerages dated from after Catholic Emancipation.  The noble families since emancipation had built and endowed churches, chapels and chantries: these were days in which it was still possible for the person endowing a benefice to retain the right of presentation of a priest to it.

A higher proportion than today of parishes were in the hands of regular clergy rather than secular diocesan priests, and at the parish level this would have affected life as the orders had their own feasts.  But what is most different in the calendar from today is the autonomy of each diocese, each having its own feasts with its own Octaves, able to transfer feasts of the universal Church which clash with diocesan patrons, and where even St George, as Patron of England might be considered as inferior, for example in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle, to St Cuthbert.

Next time: how different was the Mass from the 1962 Mass which is today thought of as "traditional"?

25 October 2014

Last Sunday In October 1862

In the days before Pius X's reordering of the calendar, and long before Pius XI's institution of the Feast of Christ the King in 1925, the last Sunday of October was the Feast of the Patronage of Our Lady.  There would have been three collects, secrets and postcommunions: the first, that of the feast; the second of the 20th Sunday after Pentecos; and the third of St Evaristus.  The Gospel of the Sunday would be the Last Gospel, the Preface that of the BVM.  Parish Vespers would have been of the feast, with a commemoration of the Sunday and of tomorrow's feast of St Peter of Alcantara. 

In the diocese of Beverley, however, the diocese would celebrate the feast of its principal patron as a double of the first class with an octave.  St Evaristus would miss out on his commemoration, but during the octave, the Patronage of Our Lady would be commemorated at each Mass in the diocese, and the Creed and the Preface of the BVM would be said.

The eighth period of Plenary Indulgence of the Year would begin on Sunday morning.  To obtain it, the faithful would have to confess to a priest approved by the Bishop; receive Holy Communion; give alms to the poor, if they could afford to, on the eve or the day of their Communion; and on the day of their Communion they should pray for the state of the Church in the whole world, for bringing back stray souls to the fold of Christ, for the peace of Christendom, and for the blessing of God upon this nation. This indulgence is obtainable until None on 8 November. 

If you found yourself in Spain or Portugal in 1863 and needed to confess in English, there were English Colleges in Lisbon and Valladolid, and a Scots College in the latter as well.  There was always an English-speaking Jesuit at their church in Seville,  Archdeacon Van Zeller was available in Oporto, just as in Cadiz Canon Lopez at the Oratory, and Fr Barron at the church of St Francis, were.  In Burgos, the Cardinal Archbishop, Mgr de la Puente had indicated his willingness to hear confessions in English.

20 October 2014

Another, Related, Quick Note

After the invasion of Italy, Guy Crouchback rejoiced at what looked like an immediate fall of the Savoy monarchy.  "What a mistake the Lateran Treaty was.  It seemed masterly at the time-how long? Fifteen years ago?  How much better if the Popes had sat it out and then emerged saying: 'What was all that?  Risorgimento? Garibaldi? Cavour? The House of Savoy? Mussolini? ... That's what the Pope ought to be saying today.'"

His father reproves him, of course, and writes him a letter the next day.

"Of course in the 1870s and 80s every decent Roman disliked the Piedmontese, just as the decent French now hate the Germans..  They had been invaded.  And, of course, most of the Romans we know kept it up, sulking.  But that isn't the Church.  The Mystical Body doesn't strike attitudes or stand and its dignity.  It accepts suffering and injustice.  It is ready to forgive at the first hint of compunction.

When you spoke of the Lateran Treaty did you consider how many souls may have been reconciled and have died at peace as a result of it?  How many children may have been brought up in the faith who might have lived in ignorance?  Quantitative judgements don't apply.  If only one soul was saved that is full compensation for any loss of 'face'."

While we remember that the Pope cannot change a word or phrase of Christian belief, he can, of course-in fact he should-make the Church attractive enough for sinners to find a place of welcome.  He cannot proclaim that remarried divorcees can remarry, but he can make it clear, as he has, that their children should be welcome to Baptism and the other sacraments.  He cannot tolerate "same sex relationships", but he equally cannot banish from the Church those whose temptation such relationships might be.

We are right to fight for the enduring truths taught by the Church, but we sinners have no right to judge other sinners: we simply have the right to pray that the conditions for sinners to repent should be available in a form that might actually encourage the sinner's repentance, rather than his contumacy.

19 October 2014

A Quick Note

I was thrown by Austen Ivereigh's piece in The Guardian, not by the fact that such odd views could be held, but that they were being proclaimed defiantly in The Guardian immediately after the Synod had managed to recognise and partially recover from the threat it was under from a group determined to impose an unmagisterial change on the Church; not just that they were being proclaimed, but that they were being proclaimed from within the CBCEW's Magic Circle.

The same happened this morning on Radio 4, where ++Nichols was less than totally inspiring in his defence of the permanent, axiomatic, dogmatic, truths of our Faith.

But I remembered and was comforted by the words of Guy Crouchback: he was abandoning Fascist Italy to return to his country which had declared war on Nazi Germany.  What was right, in a very muddled world, was very clear, and the truth was great and would prevail, even if those he trusted to defend it might prove to be fighting for a different cause.

"But now, splendidly, everything had become clear.  The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off.  It was the Modern Age in arms.  Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle."

I think several of us have come to terms with an internalised Guy Crouchback today.

16 October 2014

How The Defeat Of Heresy At Synods Is Welcomed

The below, by St Cyril, recounts what happened at the Synod of Ephesus 17 centuries ago, when those who denied that Mary was the Mother of God were defeated:

"The whole town of Ephesus, from early morning until evening, remained anxious awaiting the result ... When it was learned that the author of the blasphemy had been deposed, all with one voice began to glorify God and acclaim the Synod, because the enemy of the Faith had fallen. No sooner had we come out of the church, we were escorted with torches to our homes. It was night but the entire city was merry and bright."

13 October 2014

Was Fr Bergoglio In Liverpool In 1980?


The response by the CBCEW to the Liverpool Pastoral Congress of 1980 was a document entitled The Easter People. Cardinal Nichols (Fr Vin) was there: was anybody else?

109. Marital breakdown throughout Britain has reached alarming proportions. We cannot shut our eyes to the pastoral problems this creates for parents and children. Parishes should try to be alert to the needs of single parents and their children and to offer sensitive practical help and support. There can be no doubt that our church in England and Wales faces here a growing and complex problem which it may not ignore. We admit that there is a need for us all to grow in our pastoral understanding of individuals whose marriages have broken down and whose family unity has been lost.  While the problem of divorce is daunting enough, the questions posed by Catholics who enter a second, irregular marriage are even more searching. Can they ever be admitted again to Holy Communion? May they ever have their second marriage blessed by the church?

110. We welcome this opportunity and we shall seek others to reaffirm the unchanging teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that a Christian marriage, freely and properly entered into and consummated, is for ever indissoluble. No human power can dissolve the bond so created between husband and wife, the commitment so total and irrevocable that it represents for us a symbol of that union of love and mutual giving which binds together Christ and his Church. We have to accept, however, that there is widespread confusion amongst many Catholics and in society at large about the Church's teaching and practice on marriages which have, from the time of the wedding, lacked one or more elements necessary to make them true Christian unions. We recognise the need to explain this teaching on nullity more clearly to the Catholic community and to the public who mistakenly regard it as 'Catholic divorce'. We also recognise the urgent need of showing understanding for divorced Catholics who have remarried. They should be encouraged to play as full a part as possible in the life of the local parish, and helped in their continuing baptismal responsibility to bring up their families in the Catholic faith. They should always seek from specially delegated or well-qualified priests individual help and advice about their present state; it could be that the Church's matrimonial courts would accept that the previous marriage was not valid, with the possibility of their sharing again in the full sacramental life of the Church.

111. There are, however, other situations in which there may be moral certainty that the previous marriage was not valid even although this cannot be adequately established in the matrimonial courts, or in which a first valid marriage has broken down irretrievably but a second union is stable. The question of reception of the sacraments in such cases is one which the Bishops' Conference has been considering for some time. We have a most serious responsibility to witness to the life-long and exclusive commitment of a Christian marriage. Yet as priests and loving servants of our brothers and sisters in the local Churches of England and Wales, we take to heart the sympathy and the compassion expressed by Congress delegates as we continue our deliberations on this very sensitive doctrinal and pastoral issue.

12 October 2014

Sunday 12 October 1862

The Sunday today is overtaken by the Feast of the Maternity of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  As a result the Sunday is commemorated by its prayers (Collect, Secret, Postcommunion) being said after those of the feast, and by Sunday's Gospel being read as the Last Gospel.  As tomorrow will be the feast of the Translation of the Relics of St Edward the Confessor, which has its own Octave and a Plenary Indulgence obtainable during the Octave by benefactors of the Poor-School Committee, Vespers this evening would be the First Vespers of that feast, with a commemoration of the Maternity of the BVM (but not of the Sunday).

In Hull, the schedule at the Church of St Charles Borromeo on Jarratt St, staffed by the Revv Michael Trappes (the Missionary Rector), John Motler and Arthur Riddell is as follows:

On Sundays, Mass at 8.30, at 9.30 for children, and at 11 High Mass and Sermon.  Catechism and and Benediction at 3.00 for children. Vespers, a Lecture and Benediction on Sunday at 6.30.  On Holydays, Mass at 8.30 and 10.30.  On weekdays, Mass at 7 and 8 in summer, and at 7.30 and 8.30 in winter. Instruction and Benediction on Holydays and Thursdays evenings at 7.45.  On Tuesday at 7.15 pm, there is a short service for the Guild of the Blessed Sacrament.


08 October 2014

Arundel And Brighton: Not The Only Good Place

Following Fr Ray Blake's comment on my last post, I decided to look at the accounts of each of the diocesan trusts in England and Wales to see if the earnings were as good elsewhere in Arundel and Brighton.
Here they are, but with a serious health warning:

  £60K-£69K £70K-£79K £80K-£89K £90K-£99K
Arundel and Brighton 1 4   1
Birmingham 1      
Brentwood  1      
Cardiff  0      
Clifton  0      
East Anglia  0      
Hallam  1      
Hexham and Newcastle      1  
Lancaster  0      
Leeds  0      
Liverpool  0      
Menevia  0      
Middlesbrough  0      
Northampton  2      
Nottingham  0    
Plymouth  2      
Portsmouth  1 1   1
Salford    2    
Shrewsbury  1   1  
Southwark  1   1  
Westminster  3 2    
Wrexham  0      

The health warning is that while these figures are accurate, they may not be complete.  The finances of the dioceses of England and Wales are not an area to venture into unless you are intrepid, and it is clear to me that several dioceses have their money in a number of different trusts which may not have appeared in my searches, which were pretty basic: maybe I haven't caught all the high paid staff.  Furthermore, hiring as diocesan Director of Education a not-yet-retired head teacher, versus hiring one with a pension who would love a 42 hour week might make a massive financial impact but still deliver the same result.

There were two in the £60K+ and one in the £70K+ category in the Catholic Trust for England and Wales, which supports the CBCEW.

My guess is that if you ignore the first column and accept that £60-70K is not a lot of money to pay for a first-rate administrator nowadays, the only questions (apart from Westminster's need for three when Southwark seems to manage with one) are about the dioceses in which people are earning more than £70K.

I don't know for whom "more than £70K" isn't a lot of money, but I bet it isn't many of the people who are actually paying their wages.

If anybody would like to do more digging (and if I never see another balance sheet again in my life I still count as wasted the minutes in which I have) then all the information and more is available at the Charity Commission website, but be warned, you'll have to work.

06 October 2014

Arundel and Brighton: High Paid Employees

A&B seems to have been a good gig, according to the accounts.  Perhaps a big diocese with great expectations. Look at the number of people earning over £60,000 a year:

2011 2012 2013
£60K-70K 4 3 1
£70K-80K 3 2 4
£90K-100K 1 1 1


05 October 2014

Another Bishop-related Post

None of you will remember that I posted six years ago about a group of heroic young Argentine men who wanted to protect their Cathedral against a group of militant feminists.  I included a You Tube link. Their Bishop told them not to do it, but they did.

Guess what!  It's happening again, this time in San Rafael, and the Bishop of San Rafael, Mgr Eduardo María Taussig, has found out that a group of young men is going to protect their Cathedral: he's banned all of his priests from joining them.

Bishops, eh?

04 October 2014

Just Trying To Be Helpful About Bishops

What does Canon Law say about Bishops?  How are suitable priests identified, nominated and chosen?

Can. 377 §1. The Supreme Pontiff freely appoints bishops or confirms those legitimately elected.
§2. At least every three years, bishops of an ecclesiastical province or, where circumstances suggest it, of a conference of bishops, are in common counsel and in secret to compose a list of presbyters, even including members of institutes of consecrated life, who are more suitable for the episcopate. They are to send it to the Apostolic See, without prejudice to the right of each bishop individually to make known to the Apostolic See the names of presbyters whom he considers worthy of and suited to the episcopal function.
§3. Unless it is legitimately established otherwise, whenever a diocesan or coadjutor bishop must be appointed, as regards what is called the ternus to be proposed to the Apostolic See, the pontifical legate is to seek individually and to communicate to the Apostolic See together with his own opinion the suggestions of the metropolitan and suffragans of the province to which the diocese to be provided for belongs or with which it is joined in some grouping, and the suggestions of the president of the conference of bishops. The pontifical legate, moreover, is to hear some members of the college of consultors and cathedral chapter and, if he judges it expedient, is also to seek individually and in secret the opinion of others from both the secular and non-secular clergy and from laity outstanding in wisdom.
§4. Unless other provision has been legitimately made, a diocesan bishop who judges that an auxiliary should be given to his diocese is to propose to the Apostolic See a list of at least three presbyters more suitable for this office.
§5. In the future, no rights and privileges of election, nomination, presentation, or designation of bishops are granted to civil authorities.
Can. 378 §1. In regard to the suitability of a candidate for the episcopacy, it is required that he is:
1/ outstanding in solid faith, good morals, piety, zeal for souls, wisdom, prudence, and human virtues, and endowed with other qualities which make him suitable to fulfill the office in question;
2/ of good reputation;
3/ at least thirty-Five years old;
4/ ordained to the presbyterate for at least Five years;
5/ in possession of a doctorate or at least a licentiate in sacred scripture, theology, or canon law from an institute of higher studies approved by the Apostolic See, or at least truly expert in the same disciplines.
Source here.
Canon 377 §2 confirms that there is a list of episcopabile prepared by the Bishops' Conference every three years.  However secret, there is a discussion among existing Bishops, and this means that if any of the priests suggested as potentially suitable to become a Bishop has traits of character which might make him unsuitable, and which are known to one or more of the Bishops taking part in the discussion, then that trait should be taken into account.
Separately, when a particular vacancy is to be filled, according to Canon 377 §3 it is the responsibility of the Nuncio to seek opinions from appropriate Bishops (all of whom are likely to have taken part in the discussions above) and the diocesan Chapter.  He doesn't have to consult anybody else if he doesn't want to.  However, the requirement in Canon 378 §1/2 for a suitable candidate to be of good reputation, separate from the requirement for him to be good faith, morals, piety, zeal, wisdom and prudence, surely means that both the Bishops' Conference triennial meeting and the Nuncio's investigation in respect of a particular see, must act to investigate any suggestion that a candidate's reputation is not good.
It is sad that a good and holy priest about whom there have been unjustified rumours should be excluded, at least temporarily, from consideration for the episcopate, but that's better than allowing to be consecrated somebody about whom the rumours, while not verifiable, turn out to be true.

19 September 2014

Telling It Like It Is

For those who don't speak Spanish, I extract a thought from one of the premier Catholic bloggers in Spain, la cigueña de la torre.

It is no longer a sin for a woman to go to Mass without wearing stockings or for a man to go Mass in shorts, or for a Catholic to call an imbecilic Cardinal an imbecile.  It is still a sin, however, to go to bed with someone who isn't your spouse.

Nice and simple.

14 September 2014

Tweetable text for the Angelus in English and Latin


(This is a simple resource for those who join us from time to time on #twitterangelus to have a tweetable text with which to join in, the mainstay source for such support having been suspended.)

In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. #twitterangelus #en

Amen. #twitterangelus #en

The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary #twitterangelus #en

And she conceived by the Holy Ghost #twitterangelus #en

Hail Mary full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women & blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. #twitterangelus #en

Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen #twitterangelus #en

Behold the handmaid of the Lord #twitterangelus #en

Be it done unto me according to Thy word. #twitterangelus #en

Hail Mary, full of grace the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women & blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. #twitterangelus #en

Holy Mary, Mother of God pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen #twitterangelus #en

And the Word was made flesh #twitterangelus #en

And dwelt amongst us #twitterangelus #en

Hail Mary full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women & blessed is the fruit of thy womb Jesus. #twitterangelus #en

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen #twitterangelus #en

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God #twitterangelus #en

That we may be made worthy by the promises of Christ. #twitterangelus #en

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the incarnation #twitterangelus #en

of Christ Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel may by His Passion and Cross be brought #twitterangelus #en

to the glory of his resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord #twitterangelus #en

Amen.   #twitterangelus #en

May the divine assistance remain always with us. #twitterangelus #en

And may the souls of the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen. #twitterangelus #en

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost  #twitterangelus #en

Amen     #twitterangelus #en

In nomine Patris et Filii et Spiritus Sancti. #twitterangelus #la

Amen #twitterangelus #la

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariae. #twitterangelus #la

 Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto. #twitterangelus #la

Ave Maria, gratia plena; Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus.  #twitterangelus #la

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. #twitterangelus #la

Ecce ancilla Domini, #twitterangelus #la
Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. #twitterangelus #la

Ave Maria gratia plena  Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus. #twitterangelus #la

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostrae. Amen. #twitterangelus #la

Et Verbum caro factum est, #twitterangelus #la
Et habitavit in nobis. #twitterangelus #la

Ave Maria, gratia plena Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus et benedictus fructus ventris tui Iesus. #twitterangelus #la

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei ora pro nobis peccatoribus nunc et in hora mortis nostrae Amen. #twitterangelus #la

Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genetrix, #twitterangelus #la
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi. #twitterangelus #la

Oremus. Gratiam tuam, quaesumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde;  #twitterangelus #la

ut qui, Angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem #twitterangelus #la

ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. #twitterangelus #la

Amen. #twitterangelus #la

Divinum auxiliam maneat semper nobiscum #twitterangelus #la

Fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei requiescant in pace Amen. #twitterangelus #la

In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti #twitterangelus #la

Amen   #twitterangelus #la