Is there a statistician in the (Catholic) house?

Professor Stephen Bullivant has written recently of the Church of England’s latest set of national statistics. It is a lot to get through and Professor Bullivant pulls out a few points of interest to him. The Executive Summary has some bracing moments (with a little commentary): Continue reading “Is there a statistician in the (Catholic) house?”

Blessed are the Administrators

Blessed are the Administrators

The grime-blackened blocks of stone of which Hinsley Hall in Leeds is built make it a forbidding, even grim, place to approach for the first time. Once through the door, however, it is a place of warmth and cheer, with a well-attended morning Mass. Judge not the book by the cover; judge not by appearances but with right judgment (John7:24).

The occasion was the national conference of diocesan financial secretaries, an event held either side of last night, at which I was privileged to inflict upon them some penitential spiritual input. It sounds like the sort of dry, dusty, arid affair one would avoid with some effort, a grey gathering of ecclesiastical apparatchiks. Continue reading “Blessed are the Administrators”

The Correctio Filialis: A Tangential Observation

There is quite the barely-contained frenzy surrounding the Correctio filialis issued above the signatures of a number of clergy and laity, many of them eminent men and women of letters and learning. Soon after there was an invitation to those clergy and laity who had not been invited previously to sign the document to add their names to it. Looking at it today I see that there are now 233 signatories.

Yet is no less remarkable a document for who has not signed it. For some, no doubt, there is that fear that has been articulated by Fr Ray Blake and, more stridently, by Fr John Hunwicke, a fear of retaliatory ecclesiastical bullying. Fr Blake also raised the impression that might be conveyed by such popular initiatives, namely that their concerns belong only to those who have signed, whereas they are shared by many more. In other words, the correctio carries with it the danger of a sort of self-marginalisation. Which is why the loopier among conciliarista and neo-papalist theologians, such as Massimo Faggioli, can come out with such absurdities as this series of tweets (among the dizzingly vast stream he puts out—is this all he does? can theology be adequately pursued by 140-character tweets?): Continue reading “The Correctio Filialis: A Tangential Observation”

Vale Vatican II: Moving On

Two documents, both episcopal but both quite different, have captured my attention these last few weeks. The first was the motu proprio of Pope Francis, Magnum principium, devolving primary responsibility for the liturgical translations to bishops’ conferences. It has already been dealt with on this site here and here and here, but one thing from it lingers in the mind: that “great principle” of the title, which is really something of a great misrepresentation:

The great principle, established by the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, according to which liturgical prayer be accommodated to the comprehension of the people so that it might be understood, required the weighty task of introducing the vernacular language into the liturgy and of preparing and approving the versions of the liturgical books, a charge that was entrusted to the Bishops.

One searches in vain through the conciliar decree on the liturgy for anything that adequately justifies this bold assertion. Whoever drafted this for the pope got away with quite the deception. Continue reading “Vale Vatican II: Moving On”

In defence of bishops

The recent flurry of words and concern over the motu proprio has involved reflection on the curia, bishops’ conferences and collegiality. To no one’s surprise, I have some strong views about them all. So, in order that the wrong impression is not gleaned by the uninitiated reader, a word of clarification is timely.

No bishops, no Church. No Eucharist. No priesthood. No absolution. You get the idea. The Vatican Council reiterated the essential truth that, Continue reading “In defence of bishops”

A Winter’s Burke

A Winter’s Burke

The summer school has wound down and the participants have been wending their way, at various speeds, back to home. My return was direct. The change from a sunny but sweaty CĂ´te d’Azur summer to a grey and cool English summer was not entirely unpleasant. The English climate is far friendlier to those of us who wear a habit.

My liturgical impressions of the summer school have already been explored in some detail. To round them off, and to balance them, a few quick remarks are needed.

First, for all the impressiveness, beauty, authenticity and utter tradition of the ancient rites, and their placing of the worshipper into the unbroken, organic stream of Catholic worship over century upon century, there can be no easy waving away of the post-conciliar catechesis and liturgical formation those such as me have received. This is a reality that must be faced if the middle aged are to be engaged in liturgical renewal. For all that I sympathise with those who feel that, liturgically, it is “1962 or bust” for the future, nevertheless this cannot be imposed en masse and immediately without some serious, and counterproductive, collateral damage, to use the modern euphemism. Continue reading “A Winter’s Burke”

The Church and the Darnel

When one gets a little down in the dumps about the state of the Church today’s gospel (well one part of this long and crowded gospel reading) is both consoling and perturbing. To really apprehend the full significance of this parable we must pay attention from the very first phrase: Continue reading “The Church and the Darnel”