Sloppiness or spin?

This morning I read what would have to be one of the worst pieces of “analysis” I have come across. Dated Tuesday and found online at The Tablet, it is shoutingly entitled ‘POPE FRANCIS EFFECT’ CAUSES SURGE IN NUMBERS OF JESUIT PRIESTS. In it Rose Gamble tells us that an increase in Jesuit ordinations is due to the “Francis effect”. Really?

Certainly Francis is The Tablet‘s sort of pope, and the Jesuits The Tablet‘s sort of order. This double preference is not clouding its logic, is it?

Continue reading “Sloppiness or spin?”

After Fr Hamel, a suggestion

Everywhere we are rightly being exhorted to pray in the wake of the barbaric murder of an elderly priest while about the Lord’s work. We are praying for him, though with the confidence that soon enough we shall be praying to him. We are praying for the other victims, and even for the demon-inspired murderers, just in case God got through at the very last gasp. We are praying for all the persecuted Church, and those who fall victim to hatred of Christ. We are praying for those who keep us safe. Continue reading “After Fr Hamel, a suggestion”

The Church of the martyrs comes closer to home

With the murder today of 86 year old Fr Jacques Hamel while he was offering Mass in the small church in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray, near Rouen in Normandy, the persecution of Christians in foreign lands, especially the Middle East, has come a lot closer to home. A lot closer. The Church of the west in now directly caught up in the plight of the persecuted Church abroad.

A small church on the edge of a sizeable city in a politically unremarkable part of France, Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray could be St Anywhere. What priest in France, or Germany, or Belgium, or Holland… or Britain, heads into his church on a weekday to offer Mass and has even the slightest conception that he could possibly be murdered by enemies of Christ? Continue reading “The Church of the martyrs comes closer to home”

Beyond Ad Orientem: First Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016

The controversy that has been stirred up over Cardinal Sarah’s encouragement to priests to return to the traditional orientation at the altar during Mass has been fascinating, alarming, and perhaps ultimately necessary. It has provoked people on various sides to play their hands: unswerving loyalty to the status quo of liturgical reform, and a willingness to use an iron fist in a velvet glove to defend it; a commitment to reforming this reform to bring it more in line with the explicit intentions of the Council on which the status quo bases its legitimacy;  a rejection even of a reform of the reform and an overriding commitment to the pre-conciliar liturgy as liberated by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007; and, incredulity among a minority at this bickering over such a peripheral thing as liturgy —”people are starving”, etc. On the positive side, it has renewed a discussion into what Christian worship is all about, what is its focus and what are its essential principles. This has led some to make more concrete and definitive judgments on related issues on which they had not previously come to any firm and final decision.

However, Sacra Liturgia 2016 had three full days of talks beyond Cardinal Sarah’s controversial address. So to help further the effects and fruits of the conference, I propose to single out what struck me as particularly noteworthy and deserving of ongoing thought and application. These strike me as seeds that deserve the water of our attention, our study and prayer, and our action. Continue reading “Beyond Ad Orientem: First Gleanings from Sacra Liturgia 2016”

A Quick Reply to Dr Shaw

Though I did not feel that he was obliged to, Dr Shaw has offered a timely reply to my previous post. In it he implies what I feel as well, that this is not personal but a discussion, a debate even, concerning the ways and means to a shared goal.

Dr Shaw does not address the whole of my post, just some issues he felt needed clarification. While I take on board what he says, I am not sure I find things much clearer.

I hypothesised that if the restoration of pre-conciliar worship is his goal, and wondering how this would be achieved, then one way that seemed to present itself would be imposing such a change much as the new Mass was imposed in 1969. We do not want a repeat of that. Cheeringly, Dr Shaw said that this was “obviously not” the way to proceed. He clarifies how he sees progress advancing: Continue reading “A Quick Reply to Dr Shaw”

Enemies on every side: the reform of the reform

Liturgy is a hot topic again. Cardinal Sarah’s opening address at the Sacra Liturgia 2016 conference in London in early July, with its advocacy of priestly orientation to the east rather than to the people when at the altar, has had the effect of bringing many to play their hands openly. However, that this reception can be neatly divided along the usual lines, into progressives as anti-Sarah facing off against conservatives—or “neo-Tridentinists” as they have inanely been called—has become impossible.

The “conservative” ranks might be conveniently, if not with absolute accuracy, divided into two columns when it comes to this liturgical debate: the reformers-of-the-reform and the traditionalists properly speaking (i.e. those who favour the 1962 Missal). The reformers-of-the-reform have embraced the cardinal’s appeal, because it accords with the rubrics of the new Mass even as it is, and because it is a feeling almost like liberation to hear such a senior pastor advocate the traditional orientation with equivocation. Continue reading “Enemies on every side: the reform of the reform”

Succumbing to modernity

Finally I have succumbed. I have just taken to Instant Gramming. It is quite fun I have to admit. It was either Instagram or Pokemon Go. I chose the better part. No selfies, though… I promise! Go have a look if you need to slaughter some time.

Jesus falls the first time. Fr Aloysius' stations.

A photo posted by Dom Hugh Somerville-Knapman (@hughosb) on