Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Mass on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The mitre made for Pope Pius IX to wear for the proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854.

The Fraternity of St Peter Fathers at St Mary's in Warrington have very kindly invited me to preach and assist as deacon at High Mass for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception at 7.30pm tomorrow (8th December). So I am looking forward to the music, which they are much blest with there and to seeing friends and acquaintances. Do come along if you can - especially if you have not been to the splendid St Mary's church before.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Bishop Athanasius Schneider on Amoris Laetitia

As you will know, my tipsy meanderings here focus mainly on things liturgical, rather than theological. I have stayed away from commenting on the ongoing Amoris Latitia saga in public (although my name was among those who wrote, originally privately, to the cardinals with a critique of it). Many of whom found that they were then contacted by their bishops and superiors, as the Holy See had already brought their names to the attention of their superiors.

I make no further comment now but Bishop Athanasius Schneider has posted a piece on Rorate Caeli that may be of interest. It draws my attention because, having spent some time in the bishop's company, I have always found him gentle, fair-minded and self-effacing - to say nothing of his insight, clear thinking and directness. A pastor of holiness, so well worth listening to.

Bishop Schneider Mass - Conference - London

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Turn to the Lord?

Lumen Gentium

Well, we this coming Sunday is the first Sunday of Advent. I wonder if anyone is taking up Cardinal Sarah's invitation to celebrate Mass ad orientem more frequently? Despite hearing words of support - at least from among the clergy and people I tend to interact with, I'm not awaiting with baited breath a volte face in parishes across the country. The Cardinal's Sunday of suggestion for this almost passed me by, as all our Masses here are facing the Lord on the altar and in the tabernacle - and towards those clouds, should he happen to be planning to appear in glory this particular year and save all our politicians form their worst decisions. However, I came across an article in the Catholic World Report by Jeannette Flood, which reminded me.  You can read it on-line HERE.

The article is another attempt to explain and teach in a calm way in answer to the cries of horror from modernists, who seem to feel that anything that looks like the Church from pre-1960's is the work of the devil.

It's always a great worry tome when I hear theological and liturgical discussion that references the Second Vatican Council as THE pivotal point in time and history, almost as though the Church had not really been in existence before then or had been suffering an absence of Christ's teaching since the sub-apostolic era: BC - before THE Council; AD after the Documents. It seems to me that one definition of heresy is to take some element of the Faith that is perfectly sound and good and emphasise it out of all proportion. That is, of course, as with all heresy, a devilish thing. The devil doesn't choose an evil to lead us astray but takes a good and makes it  a god.

Before my comments box fills up with accusations of being a Vat II denier, I can say that I do accept the Council and believe it was a good but I also believe there was a good, functioning, holy, effective Catholic and Apostolic Church for nineteen hundred and and sixty two years before that as well and that quite a lot of what it did is still good and holy for us as it was for past generations. Continuity, as with any family, helps to bind us together.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The fetid breeze of contemporary culture

I thought that this was an  interesting article over at Crisis Magazine: What real church reform looks like by R J Snell.
A Church constantly opening windows and doors to let in the fetid breeze of contemporary culture is a Church not worth believing in, and so people simply won’t believe in it.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

The Magnanimous gifts of God


I have been reflecting on my Silver Jubilee recently, when I was so very fortunate to be able to celebrate Mass in the Traditional Form in the presence of family and friends, parishioners, brother priests and my Archbishop. 

It was a such a beautiful Mass, the music and the graceful form of the liturgy raising hearts and minds as well as giving true acknowledgement to the profound mystery that the Mass always celebrates. The flow of the liturgy done well is truly freeing, setting the spirit free to soar up to the Lord and to allow Him to enter into the individual heart. I was so pleased that so many young servers took part in the Mass and are able to serve this Traditional Form and that so many parishioners have rediscovered the beauty of silence and dignity in the House of God. It was particularly interesting to receive letter from non-Catholics present and from those who had not before experienced this form of the Mass to say how uplifting they had found it. A truly "extraordinary" experience!

I was born in 1964, so have no recall of growing up with the Traditional Mass before the changes, so its not that I hankered after some past memory. Yet, even without knowing what it was I reached for, I always gravitated towards what I now know is the age-old worship of the Church. It is the Mass, celebrated with reverence and dignity, that has sustained me through good times and bad. 


Because being a given, with a given form, it doesn't pander to any one emotion or temporary fixation. The Traditional liturgy doesn't presume everyone in the church is happy or that they are in difficulties - it just IS. So if I am happy, I pour my joy into it, if I am struggling, I empty my suffering into it. The given form gives those present such a flexibility in meeting each individual where they are and not imposing a rigid dictatorship of relativity on the congregation at the whim of someone else. Contrary to human intuition, the outward structure and form is liberating for the spirit.

Surely, such an experience of worship should not be an exception but a treasure open to all? Of course, like all treasures, it needs to be sought after and discovered. The burden of years can, no doubt, mean that some give up the struggle of searching and settle for being tied to a certain way of prayer they have become used to. The wealth of our truly Catholic spirituality is truly beautiful; it seems such a shame when Catholics ignore so much of it. Dig, dig and find what has been hidden. The mystery which hath been hidden from ages and generations, but now is manifested to his saints. (Col 1:26)

The whole point of the Mass is that it is extraordinary - as with all the wonders of salvation. 
For those of faith, the extraordinary becomes ordinary for us - but is should never become mundane!
Lest we fail to allow ourselves to be surprised by God.

Ad maioren Dei gloriam!

Comments are off.

Friday, 11 November 2016

MONTHLY CLERGY TALK Wednesday 16th November in Warrington

Priests, deacons and seminarians are invited to a Clergy Evening at 
St Mary's Warrington 
from 6pm 
on Wednesday 16th November. 
There will be Eucharistic Adoration and Confessions available up to 7pm, followed by a presentation by Fr James Mawdsley with a discussion on "Old Testament Prophets Calling Today's Priests to Conversion". Dinner is at 8pm-- please let us know in advance -- if you will stay for dinner so we can plan for numbers.
The words of the Prophets are powerful enough to break rocks even today. They identify problems in the Church and they identify the solution--faithfulness to God. The Old Testament Prophets are not simply recommended reading for priests, but necessary reading. If we heed the warnings and corrections of the prophets, then we are properly open to receiving the great illumination and hope in Christ which is their eternal gift.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Jubilee Reception

Archbishop Malcolm presenting me with a Spiritual Bouquet, given by parishioners from St Catherine's and my previous parish, St Cuthbert's, in Wigan.

And a Papal Blessing to follow.

Mr Anthony Dickinson announcing some of the many gifts -
including a generous cheque from the parishioners of St Catherine's,
presented by Mrs Hild Gibbons.

A suitable cake!

The Schola from church displayed their versatility and turned their talents to some songs from the shows to entertain us. A proper reminder that each has its own place!

 The little hall in our parish (the Pope John Paul Room) was far too small to cater for the Reception, so we adjourned across the road to the Farington Conservative Club. Our excellent photographer, John Robinson took plenty of photos, so I will leave those who were there to  find themselves in the selection below. 
We were served lovely hot food by caterers who live in the parish - who are also proprietors of the nearby Cavendish Arms, which Father has been known to frequent on occasion.

 It was great to see so many friends, some of whom I haven't seen in quite a few years. 
Thank you to everyone for making it such a wonderful evening.