D. Shrewsbury, England and the New Evangelization.

For your Brick by Brick File.

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald comes this, with my emphases and comments.

A major centre for Eucharistic Adoration and the Old Mass? It’s the latest episcopal surge forward

Bishop Davies is striking a blow for the reform of the reform

By William Oddie on Friday, 3 June 2011

Coming on top of all the post-papal visit developments (Friday abstinence, the recovery of some holy days of obligation, the episcopal welcome for the ordinariate, the bishops’ pastoral letter on the new Mass translation) on which I commented in my last blog, the news that Bishop Mark Davies, the new Bishop of Shrewsbury, has agreed to the establishment of a foundation of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest at the threatened landmark Church of Ss Peter and Paul, New Brighton, represents another considerable, though local, episcopal surge in a generally Ratzingerian direction. [A manifestation of the "Benedict Bounce" perhaps.]

Bishop Davies’s appointment to Shrewsbury, incidentally, was an important one. This is not some rural diocese in the back of beyond. It covers not just Shropshire and, illogically, the Wirral (which surely ought by rights to be in the Archdiocese of Liverpool): the diocese is enormous, and, like Portsmouth, bizarrely irrational in its boundaries: it covers the parts of Merseyside south of the River Mersey, the southern parts of Greater Manchester (which surely ought rationally to be in the Salford diocese), parts of Derbyshire, and almost all of the county of Cheshire as well.

Back to developments in New Brighton. According to Bishop Davies’s press spokesman: “The principal aim of the new foundation will be to provide a centre in the Diocese of Shrewsbury for the celebration of Holy Mass and the other Sacraments in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The presence of the Institute – a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right – will also enable the church to become a centre for Eucharistic devotion and Adoration, allowing the faithful to come to pray for an increase in faith and love for the Most Holy Eucharist”.

Now, if you’re not used to reading official statements from diocesan press officers—issued not just to the Church press but to all the secular press in the area, don’t forget, this is a big story locally – written in such devotionally high-powered language, there are two good reasons. The first is that the diocesan press officer concerned is one Simon Caldwell (whom I appointed some years ago to the staff of The Catholic Herald for his combined ability and orthodoxy): the second is that he is faithfully representing here the mindset of Bishop Davies, a thoroughgoing advocate of Pope Benedict’s reform of the reform, who as well as talking the talk is now seriously walking the walk.

We may now, I sincerely trust, look forward to a series of such appointments from the new nuncio (Bishop Stack’s to Cardiff was a blip, for which Archbishop Mennini wasn’t responsible). This is, I hope and assume, the way things are now going; and to their credit, many of our existing bishops, since the papal visit, have sensed this and are beginning to accommodate themselves to it so that a gulf doesn’t open up between the old and the new: hence, the pastoral letter from all the bishops, and all the other developments, I wrote about in my last post.

Just how wide that gulf could potentially be was demonstrated this week by an anonymous comment on Fr Ray Blake’s excellent blog after his passing on of this very welcome development from the Shrewsbury diocese:

Last year I wrote to my bishop and suggested that he invite a priest from one of the traditional priestly societies into his diocese. His response was extremely dismissive. In his reply he said: [Get this...]Since the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Catholics are no longer prepared to be treated as children – ruled by bishops and talked down to by priests. I cannot imagine many of our people taking kindly to priests formed in the traditional seminaries to which you refer.[Perhaps just a touch of the hermeneutic of discontinuity there.]

I think I can say with confidence that he has never met, or spoken to, a priest or seminarian from any of the traditional priestly societies. This is the kind of blind and dismissive attitude that is all too common in this country and nothing will improve until some of our bishops undergo a Damascene conversion.  [Or experience the full-force of the Bux Protocol.]

Much will depend on how things go in New Brighton, of course. …

[...]

Yes, indeed it will.  I hope they don’t screw up the great opportunity.

You can read the rest of Oddie’s piece at The Catholic Herald.

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19 Responses to D. Shrewsbury, England and the New Evangelization.

  1. Legisperitus says:

    How is it that so many bishops talk down to traditional Catholics and act as tyrannical rulers even while invoking Vatican II as having done away with such behavior? The irony is thick enough to walk on.

  2. Legisperitus says:

    But excellent news about Shrewsbury!

  3. Athelstan says:

    This is a great opportunity for the ICKSP as they launch their first apostolate in the UK. They specialize in restoring noble urban churches and making them fitting settings for a full traditional sacramental life, and the “Home of Dome” looks made to order for them – and it helps save an important and beautiful church.

    Too many English and American bishops would rather close and sell off their patrimony rather than allow a traditional society to bring it back to life.

  4. shane says:

    Oh dear, I wonder what Ma Pepsi thinks about all this ‘restorationism’.

  5. irishgirl says:

    This is very good news for Shrewsbury diocese! I hope that the ICKSP will come in time to save that beautiful old church.
    Bishop Davies was the Vicar General of Salford before his elevation. My priest-friend in the northern part of Salford knew him very well…they were practically neighbors at one point.
    Legisperitus-I agree with what you said about bishops and priests being dismissive of traditional Catholics…and yes, the irony IS thick enough to walk on.
    Athelstan-And I’m with you about the attitudes of English and American bishops ‘sell[ing] off their patrimony rather than allow a traditional society to bring it back to life.’ Amen to that!

  6. Athelstan says:

    Sorry – that should have read “Dome of Home.” Lack of caffeine is to blame, I think.

  7. uptoncp says:

    A quick aside on the diocesan boundaries – they presumably predate the new counties of Merseyside and Greater Manchester, and follow the old Cheshire boundary.

  8. Phillip says:

    “Since the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Catholics are no longer prepared to be treated as children – ruled by bishops and talked down to by priests. I cannot imagine many of our people taking kindly to priests formed in the traditional seminaries to which you refer.”

    Wait, so if the Successor of Peter and his brother bishops aren’t the temporal rulers of the Church anymore, who is? I must have missed that RCIA class.

  9. UncleBlobb says:

    Bring back the Benedictine Abbey! (Yes, I’ve read too many Cadfael books).

  10. RichardT says:

    Splendid news. Shrewsbury used to be a bit of a wasteland for the traditional Mass, so it is doubly good to see this.

    uptoncp – yes. The reason for the “bizarrely irrational” boundaries is that Catholic dioceses in England generally follow the old (pre-1974) county boundaries, when monstrosities like Greater Manchester and Merseyside didn’t exist. Shrewsbury diocese therefore contains the parts of those areas that were once in the County Palatine of Cheshire.

    In fact dioceses generally follow the county boundaries as they were in 1850 (the restoration of the hierarchy), so after the counties were tidied up by the Counties (Detached Parts) Act 1844 but before the creation of County Boroughs (large cities outside county control) in 1888.

    The subsequent growth of big cities does indeed make the modern diocesan boundaries seem a little strange, especially after the civil county boundaries were changed around in 1974 to take account of the cities, but traditionalists shouldn’t object to that.

    A good example of this is Bournemouth, which is partly in Plymouth diocese and partly in Portsmouth, following the old pre-1974 boundary between Dorset and Hampshire.

    Salford diocese is even more obscure; being just a part of the old County Palatine of Lancashire, its boundaries were those of the old Salford Hundred.

    Poor old Cheshire though. She was a Principality once upon a time (briefly), then a County Palatine. Then she lost her most populous areas to Manchester and Merseyside (and even bits to Derbyshire), recently she lost her County Council, and now the Herald wants to mess around with her ecclesiastical loyalties.

  11. Leonius says:

    “Since the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, Catholics are no longer prepared to be treated as children – ruled by bishops and talked down to by priests. I cannot imagine many of our people taking kindly to priests formed in the traditional seminaries to which you refer.” ”

    If that is the case then Bishops are now defunct and should all be fired. And he seems all to happy to rule and talk down to those faithful who want the EF of the Mass.

  12. It is entirely true that a lot of people no longer want to be treated as children. Those people tend to seek out solid priests who will given them sound teaching and preferably good liturgy. Priests from traditional seminaries will certainly appeal to them!

    It is those who in fact do want to be treated like a certain type of precocious or adolescent child who are afraid of being led or being taught, who are afraid of encountering something different (and, I would suggest, above and beyond) their everyday life experience in the liturgy, and who are afraid of structures of authority. They are of a certain kind stuck in an immature mentality with such a horror of being patronised that they end up creating a structure around them consisting of the worst form of patronising, and self-patronising, behaviour, i.e. treating them like children who will go into a hissy fit or tantrum at the least sign of contradiction or suggestiont that something might be better than what they already know and are familiar with – a structure of people being afraid to stand up for anything or tell the truth, and leaders being afraid to lead, priests being afraid to stand up not for their personal dignity but for the dignity of ordination and for the dignity of the liturgy as being thoroughly directed to the glory of God and hence for the sanctification of the people.

    As far as the liturgy is concerned, I have not infrequently felt like I am truly being treated like a mollycoddled child whom nobody believes capable of rising to greater heights or even to a more basic spiritual maturity with the liturgy being directed at us according to a perception of what might make us feel all warm and fuzzy. As if some priests fear that not forcefully trying to pull what is holy down to the level of the mundane is to patronise us, when in truth, what could be more patronising than trying to leave us in the thoroughly mundane when what God has intended for us is to raise our otherwise mundane lives to the level of sanctity.

  13. Further to my post, I would like to say that I do not suggest that this is all on the conscious and purposeful level either on the part of priests or laity. I mean, it may well be for some, but definitely not for all. Nor is it all black and white. I know fairly solid priests whose liturgical taste I find somewhat disheartening, and I know people absolutely set on living their lives according to the teachings of the Church in the practice of charity, frequenting the sacraments frequently etc. and being in no way in the mindset of the church as a democracy, but who have a confusingly ‘pedestrian’ taste in liturgical music. However, I am convinced that it is a liturgy dignified and set apart along with a teaching solid and unflinching (and the hierarchy of the Church and dignity of Holy Orders is part and parcel of this) that is not only for the greater glory of God, but best suited for the development of spiritual maturity and sanctity on the part of the laity.

  14. kbf says:

    I feel sorry for Cardiff having +George imposed on them, not one of the finest episcopal appointments ever made. Then again, he did officiate a confirmation in chor in the EF at St James Spanish Place a couple of years ago, so perhaps he’s realised he’s a Catholic bishop at long last and not a neo-pagan pan theist.

  15. kbf says:

    I feel sorry for Cardiff having +George imposed on them, not one of the finest episcopal appointments ever made. Then again, he did officiate a confirmation in chor in the EF at St James Spanish Place a couple of years ago, so perhaps he’s realised he’s a Catholic bishop at long last and not a neo-pagan pan theist.

  16. Sixupman says:

    The E&W Diocesan boundaries appear to be dictated by rivers: South Manchester is split, one side of the Mersey is in Shrewsbury, the other is in Salford. The immediate Preston, Lancashire area, is plit inthree: Liverpool, Lancsaster and Salford. The Salford Diocese extends even to the ends of the Yorkshire West Riding. Highly confusing.

  17. RichardT says:

    kbf – a “pan theist” is someone who worships kitchen equipment?

  18. John Nolan says:

    A couple of months ago my PP (Northampton diocese) said to me: “Mark Davies, new Bishop of Shrewsbury – a first-rate choice”. So it is turning out to be. The E&W bishops will come into line, they know which way the wind is blowing. Even +Arundel and Brighton said something sensible recently (he was the one who complained that the Pope’s Westminster Cathedral Mass had too much Latin).

  19. Canon Hudson says:

    ‘But I have every confidence, given the Institute of Christ the King’s record in challenging circumstances all over the world, that this will be a success, pastorally and evangelically.’ is how William Oddie continues his article.

    For those wondering about the provision of the ordinary form, this will be a personal parish destined for those faithful attached to the extraordinary form.