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.