Archbishop Vincent Nichols: Secularists are Holding Back the Faithful

We started blogging this morning with the post, Britain has gone from God-fearing to God-jeering (here). Well still with Britain:

The Archbishop of Westminster has said that intolerance is preventing believers from making “some of the best contributions” to the common good in Britain.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has that secularists are holding back the faithful.

Speaking after an official state visit to the Holy See, Archbishop Vincent Nichols said that secularists, “with a kind of stubbornness, with a dogmatism, want to isolate faith and privatise it”, adding: “It is often that kind of intolerance of the reality of faith which is holding back some of the best contributions that can be made to the common good.”

His comments followed a speech to the Vatican by Cabinet Minister Baroness Warsi, who said that Britain was under threat from a rising tide of “militant secularisation”.

Baroness Warsi, who was leading an official visit to Rome, said that Britain had “got to the stage where aggressive secularism is being imposed by stealth, leaving us with the ironic situation where, to stave off intolerance against minorities, we end up being intolerant towards religion itself”.

She said that the most worrying part of “this militant secularisation” is that at “its core and in its instincts it is deeply intolerant”.

Baroness Warsi, Britain’s first Muslim female Cabinet Minister, led a ministerial delegation to the Vatican to mark the 30th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between the United Kingdom and the Holy See.

Archbishop Nichols said that the visit marked the highest point in the modern history of diplomatic relations between Britain and the Holy See…

More here.



22-minute Dolan

Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan knows that the New Yorkers at his daily Masses in St. Patrick’s Cathedral are pressed for time, so he makes sure his Masses are reverent but his sermons are brief. I think this 38-second clip should be shown in every parish where daily Mass clocks in at 45 minutes or more.

Daily Masses that are too long may discourage attendance, the soon-to-be cardinal says, adding, “Every Mass doesn’t have to be the Easter vigil.” Amen.



Ordinariate: Rome Expected to take Five Years to Approve a Liturgy

Still with the Ordinariate, I see that Rome is expected to take five years to approve Personal Ordinariate liturgy:

Members of the personal ordinariate will have to wait up to five years for Rome to approve their liturgical texts definitively, it emerged this week.

It was originally thought that the Vatican would give the texts definitive approval within two or three years.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has already given interim approval to all the ordinariate’s liturgical texts, except for the rite of Mass. These texts include the Calendar, Divine Office, marriage rite and funeral rite.

But the CDF has now asked a commission of scholars to scrutinise the Mass text. The commission held its first meeting last month.

Canterbury Press will publish the ordinariate’s interim approved texts later this year in a book called The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham.

As the texts are provisional rather than definitive, Mgr Keith Newton, the leader of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham is expected to establish their status in a pastoral letter to members of the ordinariate.



Anglican Clergymen Become Catholic Priests: Taking the Final Steps to Ordination

Texas — Charles Hough already had quite a career, including 18 years in the  prestigious post of canon to the ordinary in the Episcopal Church’s Fort Worth  Diocese. Now he wants to become a Catholic priest.

Hough hopes to lead a group of former Episcopalians in Cleburne, Texas, who  have asked to belong to the new Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter,  created by Rome for former Episcopalians. Every Saturday, from 9 to 4, he  participates in a newly developed program of training for former Episcopal  clergy.

He and approximately 60 other former Episcopal priests around the United  States, many of whom are married, are studying for the priesthood using a  teleconferencing system to hear lectures and discuss their intense course of  readings. While some men join the teleconference alone, Hough gathers with  several other men at a Catholic church.

A similar group meets in Baltimore for the weekly teleconference. Hough has  special ties to one of the other Texas participants — Charles Hough IV, his son,  another former Episcopal clergyman who hopes to become a Catholic priest.

Msgr. Jeffrey Steenson, who was installed as ordinary of the Personal  Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter on Feb. 12, said the planning for the  program of study for these men began late in the spring of 2010 and is based on  a document prepared specifically for former Episcopal clergymen by the Vatican’s  Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This was in turn based on Pope John  Paul II’s pastoral exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis (I Will Give You  Shepherds) on preparing men for the priesthood. The Congregation for the  Doctrine of the Faith document is the basis for course preparation in both the  U.S. and the U.K. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, papal documents, and  other assigned readings are the backbone of the studies in both countries.

Randy Sly, who became a Catholic in 2006, believes that the reliance on papal  documents as teaching guides is particularly important.

“The thing I especially like about our course,” said Sly, a former bishop in  the Charismatic Episcopal Church, a breakaway group that stresses both Anglican  and evangelical traditions, “is that it is giving not just Catholic theology,  but an immersion into the Catholic worldview. This will help us think like  Catholic priests.”

Serious Study

Msgr. Steenson has also assigned one of his favorite books, New York’s  Cardinal-designate Timothy Dolan’s Priests for the Third Millennium,  which he describes as “the finest book I have ever read on how a priest should  be prepared for the priesthood.”

“The goal is that every ordinariate priest should be able to stand shoulder  to shoulder with our Latin-rite counterparts,” said Msgr. Steenson. “I am going  to tell ordinariate priests that it is smart to learn to celebrate the Novus  Ordo very well because that will make them more useful.”

But onetime Anglican priests will not have to reject the traditions of their  former communion, and, indeed, Pope Benedict XVI has called upon them to  preserve some of the beauty of Anglicanism as they come into the Catholic  Church.

Ordinariate priests will have the option of using the Book of Divine Worship,  a book of liturgical services and prayers that has been vetted by Rome and which  uses much of the beautiful language of the Book of Common Prayer so beloved by  Anglicans.

Although most of the aspirants to the Catholic priesthood already have been  granted the necessary “nulla obsta” from Rome, all candidates will be evaluated  a second time by Rome after they have completed their course of studies and been  examined on it. If Rome is satisfied, then the Vatican grants a “rescript,” and  the path to ordination is clear.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith wants to review our  candidates one last time,” said Msgr. Steenson, stressing that it is key that “everything is done decently and in good order” before the go-ahead for  ordination is granted.

If all goes well, the men in Msgr. Steenson’s teleconferencing course will be  ordained deacons and then priests by the end of the year.

Because he is married, Msgr. Steenson cannot be ordained a bishop, and so he  will have to ask bishops of the Catholic Church to ordain men for the  ordinariate.

The course of studies, which has been accelerated to allow men to begin to  work with people who in many cases came into the Church with them, ends May 14,  but many of the candidates will continue some type of formal study even after  they are ordained. All candidates who did not come into the Church with a  master’s degree in theology will be required to do further formal study…

Read more here.

Some hard work. Ordination in the Ordinariate is clearly not cheap and easy, nor should it be.




Britain has Gone from God-fearing to God-jeering

The Church of England is on course to disappear from these isles within three generations, unless there’s a miracle.

 … An English professor at Cambridge tells me that, for the first time, they have put the Bible on the undergraduate reading list. “We can no longer assume students will be familiar with it,” he says. So Christianity will die of ignorance because, shamefully, so many of our young people haven’t been taught the tenets of the great Judeo-Christian tradition which underpins their country’s laws, institutions and culture. Christianity will die of materialism, which measures out life in phone upgrades. Finally, Christianity will die out because people like me, who are supposed to believe in it, are too hesitant to nail our colours to the cross. Lord knows, many of us have sighed with Woody Allen, “If only God would give me some clear sign! Like making a large deposit in my name in a Swiss bank account.”

And what will we have instead of the C of E – Richard Dawkins? God help us. The high priest of atheism – known as The Dork to his students at Oxford, and not affectionately – has been everywhere this week trumpeting a poll by his foundation, The Richard Dawkins Foundation for the Worship of the Supreme Rational Being (Richard Dawkins). A jubilant Dork pointed out that his poll showed that even those of us who say we are Christians don’t always believe in its teachings. As a result, he says Christianity should be banished from the public realm; we should evict bishops from the House of Lords, abolish faith schools and get rid of chaplains in NHS hospitals for the crime of bringing comfort to the lonely and the dying.

Dawkins is incapable of understanding why people would go on calling themselves Christians when they don’t read the Bible or go to church. Words like ritual and mystery are, well, a mystery to him. When the National Secular Society won its case against Bideford council last week and had prayers banned at the start of council meetings, I could see how certain councillors might object to addressing words they don’t understand to a supreme being they don’t believe in. Who couldn’t? But I still felt the decision was wrong. It was the start of the erosion of something precious which, once lost, we can never get back. Just as we are now desperately trying to pour education back into schools where tradition, respect and even learning itself has drained away.

A week ago, I attended Evensong at Jesus College, Cambridge, where the Small Boy is a chorister. I hadn’t been to church in a while and it took me a few seconds, waiting for the faith muscle-memory to kick in. The choir sang. They say the Devil has all the best tunes. Well, they’re wrong; Jesus has Hubert Parry and Johann Sebastian Bach. We knelt. We stood, then knelt again. We sang “Immortal Invisible God Only Wise”. We turned to face the altar. “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of Heaven and Earth.” I’m not sure what I believe, but I do know every word of the Creed, and when I say them I feel I am joining myself to generations who spoke those words centuries before I was born, and that custom is deeply consoling…

Perhaps you should read the whole piece here.

And if I may add: The only thing needed is for Church of England to forget about trying to be relevant, stand against the tide that is fallen modern culture, and return to the Truth of the Bible, with the solid preaching of it! People need salvation. People need to know about sin. People need to be shown Jesus.