Thursday 27 January 2011

Barney Life No. 24

On Monday, January 24th, our new church organ was installed by Peter G. Lord, his wife and three other strong arms.  As you may recall, our big organ needed a major refit costing very serious money; this new organ, an Ahlborn Praeludium II, costs only a quarter of the price of a refit.
Access to our organ loft is via a winding staircase; most of the components for the new organ could be carried up this staircase but the console couldn't. The photos below show how the console was heaved up and over the balcony of the loft.
Ready to lift!
It's started!
Half way there!
Up and Over!
Job safely done!
Now to remove a spare bench!
All done, safe and sound!

Wednesday 26 January 2011

Ushaw: What do we know?

We know that the Ushaw Trustees held a meeting on Friday, January 21st; did they discuss the online petition, or any business proposal to 'save' the College.  We do not know. At the moment of writing, nothing has entered the public domain.
We know that there will be meeting of a steering committee led by Bishop Davies of Shrewsbury sometime in February in Manchester; and taking part among others will be Durham County Council, Durham University and English Heritage.  We do not know anything else.
We do know that the majority of the College Servants have now left their jobs, and only a small skeleton staff is left behind. Compensation, redundancy; why now?  We do not know.
The future of Ushaw College is of huge importance to all Catholics in this country, never mind just in the North, as can be seen from the online petition. The secrecy surrounding this situation is actually very counter-productive.

Tuesday 25 January 2011

Publicity for the Latin Mass Society

Latin Mass Society Announces 2011 Priests Training Conference
The Latin Mass Society has announced its seventh residential conference for priests who wish to learn the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The conference will take place at Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th May.

 Tuition will be given in small groups selected according to ability, and will cover Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis. It is also hoped to provide tuition in the sacraments of baptism and marriage. Only rudimentary Latin is required.

There will also be a residential course for laymen wishing to learn to serve the Extraordinary Form. 

The conference will begin late morning on the Tuesday, although there will be the opportunity for those travelling long distances to stay at Buckfast Abbey on the Monday night. The conference will end after lunch on the Friday. 

There will be sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form each day; parts of the Office will also be sung.

The inclusive fee is £85 which covers all tuition, accommodation and board. 

Application forms for both priests and servers training are available from the LMS office (020 7404 7284) or the LMS website (

LMS Chairman, Doctor Joseph Shaw said: “The LMS’s training conferences are now well-established in the Church’s calendar of activities. We have already trained over a hundred priests and many more Extraordinary Form Masses are being offered around the country due to our training activities”.
For Downloadable Pictures go to: and events/picture gallery/priests training conference at Downside Abbey August 2010

Saturday 22 January 2011

Anglicanorum Coetibus

I have to admit that I have not yet read the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus, which established the Anglican Ordinariate in England as elsewhere, nor have I read any details of how it is to be implemented in England.  However, I have to say that I heartily welcome this decision by Pope Benedict to welcome AngloCatholics into the Catholic Church - this move may very well help to revitalise our Church in this country.
Amongst those who are considering making the enormous move into the Catholic Church is, I hear, an Anglican parish, St James the Great, in my nearby town of Darlington.  The parish is to meet and discuss the matter on the 13th of February, and it will be addressed by Father Keith Newton, a former Anglican bishop, now a Catholic priest and the designated head of the Ordinariate. Father Ian Grieves, the Vicar of St James the Great, has long been a very orthodox minister and is keen on the change. Their web-site can be seen here You can read there the letter of Father Grieves to his parishioners.
One thing which makes me wonder about the move into the Ordinariate and which must make Anglicans extremely anxious is whether they will have to leave their beloved church buildings behind - they must love their churches as much as we Catholics love ours.
An eminent Queen's Counsel, a friend of mine, while researching something else, came across the English law about the status of Anglican church property. I repeat here what he concludes about this matter.

"Under English Ecclesiastical Law, the legal owner of the Parish Church and Parsonage is the incumbent, as “freeholder of the Benefice”.  The legal owners of the movable contents of the Parish Church are the Churchwardens.   And the Parishioners are all the residents of the Parish regardless of their religious beliefs.

So if Father Grieve and the Parishioners who attend his Church, including the Churchwardens, all begin to profess and observe the true Faith while remaining in occupation of St James the Great, the authorities of the Church of England will have no sanction apart from disciplinary action against Father Grieve.

That would entail the laying of a Complaint against Father Grieve before the Durham Diocesan Registrar by an “authorised complainant” (ie a person authorised by the Bishop of Durham to make the Complaint) or by 6 or more Parishioners, who for this purpose are defined as persons of full age who are on the Register of Electors as residents of the Parish.

The Complaint would then be investigated by a Committee of Convocation.  If they decided to proceed they would nominate a Promoter who would pursue the Complaint in the Consistory Court.  If the Complaint was upheld, then (subject to any Appeal) the Court could impose a range of penalties of which the most lenient would be a Rebuke and the most severe would be Deprivation of the Benefice and/or Excommunication.

At that stage the Bishop could appoint a new incumbent and he (or she) could apply to Darlington County Court for Possession of the Parish Church and Parsonage.

The whole procedure would be extremely protracted and controversial and would no doubt attract continuous publicity: and if other Parishes followed suit the volume of business for the Ecclesiastical Courts could become unmanageable, particularly if Doctrinal issue were raised by way of Defence.”

Perhaps readers might like to bring this Opinion to the attention of their AngloCatholic friends.

Wednesday 12 January 2011

My Alma Mater

Yesterday (Tuesday, January 11th) the Newcastle Journal published an article about the online petition which is gathering momentum in an effort to halt the closure of Ushaw College.  The article comments that this "is the first time the board of trustees for Ushaw College, on the outskirts of Durham, have responded to the demands of the online petition which is gathering support daily."  As the article says, "the move (to close the College without consultation with other interested parties) sparked outrage among campaigners, who launched an online petition calling for a full consultation into the college's future with the results made public before any final decision to close is made."  The trustees of the College have now apparently agreed to discuss the petition at their next meeting which will be in a few day's time.

At this moment (8.15 am on January 12th) there are nearly 800 signatures on the petition, and if you, my dear reader, have not yet signed, I urge you to do so now.  Here is the address:

Saturday 8 January 2011

Ushaw College - my Alma Mater

January's issue of the Northern Cross, our diocesan newspaper, arrived today.  The leading article on the front page immediately demanded that I read it.  The article gave an depressing forecast of the way the Church in our diocese will look in 2020 - far too few priests, parishes closed all over the diocese, a continuing loss of practising Catholics.  Mind you, a former bishop of the diocese predicted about ten years ago that by 2020 the Church in the North East of England would be finished!  So nothing new there then!

The other thing which demanded immediate reading were the Letters to the Editor about the closure of Ushaw College.  One letter was from a lady very upset about the apparent apathy and silence of the laity about the closure of the College.  One could also ask, what about the clergy of the diocese, especially those who were trained at the College; perhaps they all think that this is a done deal and nothing can be done about it; sort of "Liverpool locuta est, causa finita est." (pace Pope Leo the Great).

The main letter on the page however was from John Bailey, a former editor of the Northern Cross; he writes about his increasing anxiety that nothing seems to be happening, at least in the public domain, which makes it hard for others who wish to help to know how they can help but that Ushaw must be kept open at all costs (he also believes that no-one has brought up the  the future of the Ushaw Cemetery - John, if you read this, it has been brought up in a Comment to one of my previous blogs on Ushaw, and there are photos of the Cemetery on my Ushaw College Photo Essay Number Nine).

If I may quote about a swan swimming, the swan glides serenely along on the surface but underneath it is paddling like h....

I know for sure that things are taking place below the level of public attention, and I expect that these things will accelerate in the near future and when agreement is reached among the various folk - mostly laity - who are involved, then no doubt matters will be brought to public notice. It is true that nobody knows what is happening at the Trustee level, because they have not taken us into their confidence and that time is short.  But I personally can definitely see a future for Ushaw College, perhaps a little different to what it is today but still a place for the training of priests for the future of the Church and especially the Church in the North East of England.  We should not be planning to manage the decline and death of the Church, as we seem to be doing at the moment, but by listening and giving respect to some new but old ideas preparing for increase.

In the meanwhile there are two things everybody can do.  As I mentioned once before, we can pray - those who are working for a just solution to this crisis will only do so with the help of prayer.
But also everyone who reads this should sign the online petition about Ushaw.  Go to

Saturday 1 January 2011

Happy New Year

I would like to wish everyone a very Happy and Faith-filled New Year during 2011.

The old name for today's feast was The Circumcision of the Lord.  We are now all politically correct and the feast in the Old Rite is simply The Octave Day of Christmas.  The New Rite has changed the name of the feast to "Mary, the Mother of God".  Who can quibble about that?  Some of the changes between the Old and the New make me grind my teeth, but not this one.

I wish that more and more people, especially in England, once called the Dowry of Mary, would come to accept Mary as their Mother, and then we would all be a much happier people.

Happy New Year!