28 February 2011

The Magic Circle: Some Names

Every time I visit a country (Belgium, usually) which obliges its hoteliers to ask rude and impertinent questions of their guests, I answer the question about my employment status as "Bureaucrat".  This is mainly to annoy, but it has the virtue also of being true: I work in a bureaucracy, and I understand bureaucracy.  Bureaucracies other than mine are always worth studying as so often the shape and structure of the bureaucracy are a clue to the way in which deeper currents are moving.

The bureaucracy of the Church in England and Wales is not totally opaque, but it isn't very transparent either.  The diocesan websites tell a story, as does the website of the Bishops' Conference, but they are a narrative for a particular purpose, a noble purpose: how the Church is organised to bring Christ's offer of salvation to the people of this country.  (OK, there's a lot about the Third World and Fairtrade as well, but bear with me.)

Of more interest to me are the bureaucratic structures which allow the Church to support itself, and to live out its vocation by doing God's work.  This being England and Wales, the bureaucracy of the Church is organised in a series of charities, charitable status being an excellent way of keeping money donated for good works away from the clutches of the State.

The main charity is the Catholic Trust for England and Wales (CaTEW): this is the Charity which receives the diocesan assessments from England and Wales and spends them on behalf of the Conference.  The Trust defines the role of the Bishops' Conference as follows:

"The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is a permanent body within the organisation of the Catholic Church that brings together the Bishops of England and Wales. As a Conference the Bishops "jointly exercise certain pastoral functions for the Christian faithful... in order to promote the greater good which the Church offers to humanity, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place" (cf. Code of Canon Law can 447).

The departments of CaTEW identify the present broad areas of activity for the Bishops in supporting the Dioceses of England and Wales and witnessing to the Gospel in the contemporary world: Catholic Education and Formation, Christian Life and Worship, Christian Responsibility and Citizenship, Dialogue and Unity, Evangelisation and Catechesis and International Affairs."

In other words there are six departments, and these are adminstered through other charities which spend the money the dioceses provide each year:

"As the administrative arm of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, the Trust has close links with the Diocesan charities. through which the annual assessments are made. The Trust relates to the charities of religious congregations within the Conference of Religious, particularly through its provision of the administrative, legal, human resource and financial management for the Catholic Safeguarding Advisory Service (CSAS). The Trust also relates closely to those agencies of the Bishops' Conference that exist as independent charities. The main ones being the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (CAFOD), the Catholic Education Service, Caritas-Social Action Network, the Pontifical Mission Societies, the Catholic Agency for Racial Justice and the Apostleship of the Sea. The Trust provides office accommodation for the National Justice and Peace Network, CTBI and CMA."

If you know how to read this, the story becomes clear.  The Bishops' Conference is the Catholic Church in England and Wales, and the dioceses exist as geographical sub-units whose purpose is to adminster at local level such services as are delegated to them and to raise money for the Conference to allocate amongst its priorities.  (You may think that this gives quite a clue as to why and how so many things have gone quite so wrong in the last few lustres, but that isn't the point of this piece.)

Now, English law being English law, the charitable trusts administering all of this activity have to satisfy English law, and one of the things they have to satisfy is transparency in their accounting.  The good thing for the bureaucracy-watcher is that the accounts are on line (once submitted) and contain all manner of interesting detail about what the priorities of the Bishops' Conference really are - but again, that's not the point of this piece.

Arma virumque cano:  the aims of the trusts and the money which keeps them going are the arms, but who are the men?  English law being English law, each charitable trust needs trustees, people who will take responsibility for the charity's proper discharge of its functions and the honesty of its accounts, and the Catholic Church being the Catholic Church, the money will only be placed in the trust of people whom the Conference trusts.

And thus we start to uncover the Magic Circle: whom does the Conference of Bishops trust sufficiently to oversee the administration of the money it receives for the ends it wills?  This is only part of the story: as any Spaniard will tell you: no son todos los que están, ni están todos los que son; not everybody on the list is influential, nor is everybody who is influential on the list.  But here are people chosen by the Hierarchy to look after the Hierarchy's interests and ambitions: that is a definition of the magic circle.  This isn't some Hollwood vision of Opus Dei: the list is of good Catholics who want to help advance the cause of their religion in England and Wales and who therefore have a standing different to the important people in, for example, the Tablet Trust: they might be influential in other spheres, but they don't have access to the levers of control.  The list of influential Catholics might be another study.

Of note is that almost none of the lay people or priests and religious served on more than one Board of Trustees.

An important caveat: this list is as accurate as the website of the Charities Commission and the uptodateness of the accounts submitted to it.  It includes names around at present and the last time accounts were submitted.  It doesn't pretend to be accurate as to the detail of who's doing what now: it simply names people who have gladly lent a hand with their knowledge and special skills.  I have tried where possible to identify clergy and religious, but I'm not necessarily completely accurate.  I've added members of management teams where the Trusts have chosen to identify them as significant members of staff.

Bear in mind that I work for a living: I'm not an investigative journalist.  This is a start, not an end.

I'll list the Bishops separately because the list says everything that needs to be said about which Bishops' hands are on which tillers.


Nichols, Arnold, Brain, Budd, Burns, Conry, Drainey, Hollis, Lang, Lynch, McMahon OP, Rawsthorne, Regan, Roche.

Bishops,Clergy, Religious and Lay People by Charitable Trust:

Apostleship of the Sea

Mgr Ronnie Brown, Bishop Thomas Burns, Mrs Louise Carter, Capt Simon Culshaw, Mr Eamonn Delaney, Capt Kevin Doyle, Mr Charles Goldie, Bishop Peter Moran, Rev Stephen Morgan, Capt Paul Quinn OBE, Capt David Savage, Mr Juvenal Shiundu, Mr Walter Voelke, Professor Mark Watson-Gandy


Mr Robert Archer, Bishop John Arnold, Mr Chris Bain, Bishop Kieran Conry, Miss Jenny Cosgrave, Miss Clare Gardner, Mr Dominic Jermey OBE, Noreen Lockhart, Mr Mark MacGreevy, Mrs Margaret Mwaniki, Ms Catherine Newman QC, Ms Mary Ney, Mr Tom O'Connor, Mr Geoff O'Donohue, Fr James O'Keefe, Fr Timothy Radcliffe OP, Bishop Rawsthorne, Mr Charles Reeve-Tucker, Miss Victoria Santer, Mr James Steel, Mr Neil Thomas, Fr Frank Turner SJ, Mr Nicholas Warren, Barbara Wilson

Catholic Association for Racial Justice

Ms Rosie Bairwal, Mr Haynes Baptiste, Mr Antony Benchilas, Ms Doreen Clouden, Bishop Kieran Conry, Ms Maureen Corsi, Mr Eugene Culas, Miss Nikki Fashola, Mrs Margaret-Ann Fisken, Mr Don Flynn, Mrs Rita Forster, Mr Malcolm Forster, Ms Charlene Fraser, Fr Howard James, Mr Tony Lobo KSG, Bishop Patrick Lynch, Mrs Sue Smailes, Mrs Yogi Sutton, Mrs Cecilia Taylor-Cameron, Professor Protasia Torkington, Mr Richard Zipfel

Catholic Trust for England and Wales

Mr Ben Andradi, Ms Alison Cowdall, Mr Alexander DesForges, Mgr Andrew Faley, Mr Laurence Fenton, Mr John Gibbs, Michaela Kelly, Mr Peter Lomas, Mgr Michael McKenna, Bishop Malcolm McMahon OP, Sarah Pearson, Canon Nicholas Rothon, Mr David Ryall, Mr Robin Smith, Dr Marcus Stock, Mgr Andrew Summersgill, Lorraine Welch, Dr James Whiston, Mr Charles Wookey

Catholic Education Service

Bishop Malcolm McMahon, Bishop Edwin Regan, Ms Oona Stannard

Catholic Marriage Care

Ms Sue Burridge, Mr Tony Cabourn-Smith, Canon Michael Cooley, Mrs Freda Lambert, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Mr Hugh Parry, Mr Charles Perryman, Mrs Judith Schmidt, Mr Andrew von Speyr, Fr Philip White, Mrs Sheila Wright
Catholic Missionary Union

Fr Denis Carter, Fr Brian Creak, Mr Paul Crowe, Mr Seamus Crowe, Fr John Dale, Ms Alice Davidson, Fr Derek Laverty, Sr Maura Lyden, Fr Robert Morland, Fr Patrick McGuire, Sr Daphne Norden, Bro Daniel Walsh

Caritas - Social Action

Bishop Terence Brain, Bishop Christopher Budd, Mr Terence Connor, Ms Cathy Corcoran OBE, Mr James Cullen, Margaret Dight OBE, Philippa Gitlin, Mr Andrew Haines, Bishop Crispian Hollis, Bishop Kenney, Fr Bernard Wilson, Polly Neate

National Justice and Peace Network

Mr Kevin Burr, Mr Michael Clarke, Mrs Alison Gelder, Fr Peter Hughes, Mrs Maria Malson, Ms Diana Mills, Mrs Anne Peacey, Mr Michael Prentice, Ms Enright Read, Mrs Elizabeth Rendall, Bro Edward Slawinski


Fr John Dale, Canon William Davern, Canon John Devane, Mr Edward Kirwin, Bishop Declan Lang, Canon Brendan MacCarthy, Mrs Fran Thomas, Mr Nicholas van der Borgh


Fr Gary Brassington, Bishop Terence Drainey, Fr Anthony Joyce, Fr Michael Kujacz, Mr Peter Lomas, Mr Steve McCoy, Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Bishop Arthur Roche, Mgr Nicholas Rothon

25 February 2011

23 February 2011

That Petition And How The Roman Bureaucracy Works

Ches has made the eminently sensible point that petitioning the Holy Father is something that Catholics do, and, traditionally, always have done in one way or another.  In every hierarchical society there has to be a means whereby those at the bottom have a means of making known to the senior hierarch what they think.  There are tactical problems surrounding on-line petitions: verification of the "signatures", for example, and how you measure success.  But nobody can deny us the opportunity to present our case to the Pope and hope that he takes into account that a number of people feel sufficiently exercised to make him aware.

What people (though Ches was on the money once again here) seem to have missed is that the petition will be an input to a process in the same way that the leaked draft "clarification" was, and that the nature of the input varies in accordance with whether it is made in public or in private.

There is a whole host of people trying to express a view on Summorum Pontificum: people in the several Congregations which have some locus, those in Congregations that don't but which think they should, interested and disinterested (are there any uninterested?) senior Cardinals, curial officials who have access to any of the above, Nuncios reporting on what their local Episcopal Conference thinks, the Heads of National Colleges in Rome, the Rectors of Pontifical Universities: in short we are in Rome and this is how things work.

Whatever some people might want, the Pope is not omnipotent.  His actions are restricted not just by the Magisterium but by both the realities of where power lies between the different dicasteries and senior clerics and by where SP fits into his overall plan.  If he is to bring the largest possible number of people with him across the programme as a whole, he will have to compromise, more or less, here and there.  He already knows already , for example, that the mere fact of issuing SP did not mean that his motu proprio - his own word - was immediately acted on by the Bishops of the Church.

The internal politicking - the clamour to have one's point of view heard - takes place in various different media and fora, and the leak of the draft obeys the strategy of whoever leaked it.  Was it to galvanise supporters of SP?  Was it to try to salvage some crumbs for the about-to-lose opponents of SP?  Was it leaked by a supporter or an opponent?  There is no simple answer to the question Cui Bono?

It's worth signing the petition just to be part of the process and to add slightly the the influence being exercised in one particular direction, but the petition won't radically change anything the Pope eventually signs, just as the leaked document will just have been somebody's input to the process.

Whatever document ends up appearing: whether a new motu proprio, an instruction, a clarification, it will not be checkmate for the Pope against "them", whoever "they" are: it will simply be the next move.  I'm praying for the game, and for the player, rather than for the move.

16 February 2011

Paul Inwood And The Extraordinary Form

The LMS Chairman's blog alerts us here to a fatuous comment by Paul Inwood which claims that Summorum Pontificum was a reward to traditionalists for their disobedience.  Well, the LMS Chairman has seen that ludicrous charge off, but Inwood went further: he said

"I can think of a number of parishes in this country where this is precisely the situation, and some where there are no more OF masses at all — all because of SP."

He was challenged very respectfully to give an example, but has not answered.

A number of parishes must be plural: in fact I would guess that "a number of" in the vernacular means three or four, or more.

Does anybody know of these parishes (NB: parishes, not churches) where "because of SP" (you might not be able to prove propter hoc but post hoc should be easy enough) all OF Masses have been stopped?

14 February 2011

There Is Always An Alternative

No Catholic Priest needs conduct any marriage ceremony other than the Sacrament of Marriage.  There is no requirement for a priest to be a Registrar.

In England at least, any Catholic parent can set up a Catholic school for Catholic children.  It would be nice if the Bishops were on board but if they persist in CESness, then the only thing the parents have to avoid is the word "Catholic" in the school's name.  "One Holy Roman and Apostolic", on the other hand, appears not to be at issue.  (You get the same state contribution to the school as the diocesan school does.)  Where is our Church's Toby Young?

Nobody has to attend Mass in their own Parish if the celebration of the Liturgy is enough to be (for them) an occasion of sin.  Your obligation is to support your priest.  Five decades is good support.  £10 might encourage him in contumacy.

10 February 2011

Just Imagine ...

A friend has sent me a cutting from his parish bulletin alerting me to the fact that St Michael's Church in Bishops Cleeve in Gloucestershire is now "legally" a joint Catholic-CofE Church.

He has also pointed out that the current Catholic PP is somewhere in the Basil Loftus wing of the contemporary Church in England and Wales.

But things change, and Clifton is a Diocese with a rather large number of Extraordinary Form-celebrating priests.

You are probably beginning to get my drift ...

An Ordinariate-rite Mass might be considered to be an ecumenical "step too far": so might "conjectured Sarum".  But the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is freely available to all priests and should be considered uncontroversial.  I wonder what happens when the PP is away and the Diocese provides a supply priest?  I wonder what will happen when "fr Peter" moves?

09 February 2011

The Journal Usus Antiquior

Am I the only person in the Catholic blogosphere who takes Usus Antiquior?

Issue Number 3 droppoed through the letterbox at the weekend and, as has become usual, it is full of good stuff.

Click on the image to get an idea of the contents.  You can have both Frs Fin(n)i(e)gan in one place; a series of reviews which are as informative as standalone essays as the books they are reviewing, and an editorial which answers with charity and respect a study of critics of Vatican II by a learned Jesuit.

Many of us are resigned to having to educate ourselves in the Faith: there is no other opportunity.  Catholic blogs, and the reprinting of books from an earlier age are a great help, but solid, considered, educated, deep, and above all Catholic commentaries on issues facing today's Church are at a premium, and Usus Antiquior is a uniquely valuable resource.

05 February 2011

Actuosa participatio, Taught By Fr Z

Over at his blog, Fr Z recounts his attendance at a concert of music written for the Sarum Use "so beautiful it hurt". He includes a video of the performance which you ought to warch because it is sublime, but I want to draw your attention to something else.

If you watch the screen at 56:19 or 58:30 you will see Fr Z demonstrating what actuosa participatio really is. It doesn't mean that he has to sing, or conduct, or in fact do anything physical at all. By paying attention to the action of those whose job it is to do things, he is able to join himself completely to what they produce.

The reward is probably the widest grin in New York that evening!