Happy news from Bradford

Within me two people are constantly vying for control.  First, there is the pessimist.  He says, “Things can’t possible get any worse!”.  Then, there is the optimist.  He responds, “Oh, yes they can!”

Seriously, we do have good news.

From the UK’s best Catholic weekly, The Catholic Herald comes this great news.

Bradford parish to become regular centre for Extraordinary Form Mass

A new centre for the celebration of Mass in the Extraordinary Form will open later this year in the north of England. Bishop Marcus Stock of Leeds has announced that St Joseph’s Church in Bradford is to become a centre for the Traditional Latin Mass in the Diocese.  [I love this news!  That said, this doesn’t mean that other parishes cannot have the older, traditional form, too.  My inner optimist and inner pessimist are at it again.  Say there is a bishop, like ol’ Bp. Fatty McButterpants over in the Diocese of Libville who doe not like the traditional form, at all.  He might choose, like Richard in the play, to be all smiles.  Then he might set up a place – The Sourpuss Nostalgia Faith Community of Yesteryear – that was second to none in the diocese and support it and make sure that it was so great that the older Mass would never spread outside that place.   Trads are complacent, after all.  Once they get what they want, they tend not to squawk anymore.  Right?   On the other hand, when people experience how wonderful things there… they might want them elsewhere!  WHAT TO DO?]

Bishop Stock said: “I am making St Joseph’s Church in Bradford a principal church for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form Rite of Mass within the Diocese of Leeds. This is a pastoral response to the request from a number of the faithful for a central church that is easily accessible with a celebration at a time on a Sunday that will facilitate a larger congregation of the faithful to attend.”

Neil Walker, regional representative for the Latin Mass Society, and Fr Timothy Wiley, the diocesan coordinator for the Extraordinary Form, first approached Bishop Stock after his appointment in 2014. They raised with the bishop the diocesan need for a regular Extraordinary Form Mass on a Sunday in a centrally located church.

“The bishop met us with great courtesy and warmth and made it clear he was particularly keen that those who wish to attend the Extraordinary Form of Mass should not have to do so in the middle of a Sunday afternoon which he sees as family time,” said Neil Walker.

‘”After looking at many possibilities, the Bishop agreed to allow us to become part of St Joseph’s Parish in Bradford, which we have used several times in the past and where we have been made most welcome by the parish priests. The parish also has another centrally located church, that of St. Patrick’s at the other side of the city, which is currently undergoing intensive restoration and renovation. “ [Ah hah!]

Bishop Stock has also agreed to continue to support the traditional rite by attending several diocesan annual Masses in the Extraordinary Form and to encourage conferences and retreats for priests interested in celebrating the Extrordinary Form.


Again, I am happy for this news and you should be too.   I’m slightly cynical at the moment, but I am in Spain as I write.  And… I am not sure why that would make my cynical, because I’m having a great time, but it’s a way to end this post.

Fr. Z kudos to the Bishop and people of Leeds.  They hagan-ed the lío!  They were the maquis!  They got something done!

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Supertradmum says:

    Happy news, and all trads want a stable, central church so that sacraments like baptisms and weddings, as well as confirmations etc. can be planned. Also, this takes away from the horrible one or two in the afternoon shuffle so many of us experienced in NO parishes.

    As to renovation, I have no trouble with a bishop not closing a venerable church and asking those who want to use it for funds. That is what lay people should do…as they did in the Middle Ages, etc….build the great churches.

    I would imagine that all trads want a home parish they can count on. And that they can support with their tithes regularly.

  2. Gregg the Obscure says:

    Good news both for the Catholics of Bradford, England and for you enjoying Spain. Happy travels!

  3. Mike says:

    This side of Heaven I’d say cynical is the only way to be. (The Traditional Mass is the bit of Heaven that makes my own cross worth bearing.)

  4. Kathleen10 says:

    Well put, Mike!

  5. Gabriel Syme says:

    Great news for the Diocese.

    Things seem to be slowly stirring North of the Border, in Scotland, too.

    Every available TLM makes a difference. A weekday mass here, a first saturday there etc. When even just a handful of priests all make a little contribution each, suddenly you realise that you could attend the latin mass every day if you were so inclined.

    Its pleasing to see the congregations slowly grow and the mass times begin to multiply.

    And many strokes, though with a little axe, Hew down and fell the hardest-timbered oak.

    – William Shakespeare

  6. lmsrep says:

    Hello Father,
    I am the LMS Rep for Leeds and made the statement reported in the Catholic Herald and by you on your great blog. What was omitted from my statement is what the good bishop had to say about the EF generally and which I extract from : http://www.dioceseofleeds.org.uk/assets/files/1-Notification-of-Clergy-Appointments-May-2016-Rev-1–1-.pdf
    The text on the Diocesan website linked above reads:

    I am making St Joseph’s Church in Bradford a principal church for the celebration of
    the Extraordinary Form Rite of Mass within the Diocese of Leeds. This will not of
    course alter or restrict the ability of priests to celebrate the Extraordinary Form in
    other churches of the diocese but is, rather, a pastoral response to the request from a
    number of the faithful for a central church that is easily accessible with a celebration
    at a time on a Sunday that will facilitate a larger congregation of the faithful to attend.
    It is anticipated that the Mass will be celebrated each Sunday at 12:30pm.”

    It is clear from this that nobody is being restricted from offering or requesting the EF . As I chatted with Bishop Stock I realised that I was dealing with a pastor with administrative duties and not an administrator with pastoral duties.
    Thank you for bringing events in a small English City to your readership’s attention.
    Neil Walker

  7. kbf says:

    Sadly Fr, I live in a diocese with a “Bp Fatty McButterpants” as it’s Ordinary (funny you should use that name, let’s say our actual bishop’s stature is built more for comfort than speed!).

    The bishop behaves like an insolvency accountant working for a big firm of administrators. One of his first acts as bishop was to publish a report titled “Walking Humbly with God” which was a document of capitulation. The self-evident truth is that in one of the most “meeeh” diocese in the country vocations have collapsed and there is an ageing priest crisis that he has “solved” by appointing nuns/lay liturgy directors as “Parish Administrators and Pastors” with priests acting as travelling “presiders” in a number of “mass centres” . There is nothing in the document about the New Evangilisation, encouragement of piety, or devotion but plenty on “justice and peace”. When it talks about “lively, vibrant liturgy” you know that at best it is mediocre and barely Catholic, at worst Mystery Liturgy Theatre 3000 (yes, I’ve seen that programme so get the cultural reference).

    So to address your inner pessimist. There is a parish in the diocese that enjoyed the TLM on a regular basis. It had a higher mass attendance than the average for the Deanery and was the only parish in the Deanery that is financially viable (written off/excused as only beinbg that way because it atracted people from outside of the parish boundaries). The Bp attempted to close it and merge it with the “Spirit of Vatican 2 parish” on the other side of town. In the ensuing outcry the parishoners approached the FSSP who are actively encouraged in the neighbouring ArchDiocese (that includes within its territory 2 vibrant Oratories) and based only a couple of miles over the “border”, and they agreed to administer the parish. “Aaah Haaa!” thinks our very own Bp Fatty McButterpants and sets it up as the sole “TLM Parish” of the diocese. I have priest friends in the diocese (mostly young men of a traditional outlook who do not have parishes of their own and are subject to the authority of their Parish Priest/Pastor and so have to be very careful) who confirm that his intention is to “ghettoise” the TLM in a sort of liturgical Final Solution. By keeping it confined to a parish in the south west corner of the diocese, his vision is to allow it to wither on the Vine (a reference there to the Diocesan “Pravda Sheet” published at great expense every month).

    I’m afraid you aren’t cynical, you are bang on the nail!

    Our Bishop is one of the last appointees of the “Magic Circle” of bishops who viewed the English Catholic Church as a culturally separate entity from Rome and he’s not going down (to the Benedict zeitgeist) without a fight.

  8. moconnor says:

    I also applaud this move. Yes, we would all like the EF to more available, but I think many of us who have regularly attended the EF Mass desire to attend Mass at a normal time AND to not feel like we are an “outside” group in some NO parish.

  9. Semper Gumby says:

    This is good news- congratulations to all. And thanks to lmsrep for additional info.

  10. Maineman1 says:

    Perhaps this is the only way for the traditional Catholic Faith to revive, by heterodox dioceses to simply die off and the pseudo-Catholic population to officially abandon the pews. Sort of a spiritual Darwinism.

  11. PTK_70 says:

    Most gratifying perhaps is that the traditional form of the Roman Rite will be celebrated at a regular Sunday hour. Would that more prelates see the pastoral wisdom in this!

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