Saturday 19 February 2011

Summorum Pontificum

The internet is buzzing with rumours that the long awaited clarification document on Summorum Pontificum will seek to restrict the gracious gift which the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, made to the whole Church when he published his motu proprio.  Perhaps these are just silly rumours, BUT we should do our best to show our feelings about our love for the Traditional Form of the Mass.
An on-line petition has been set up for this purpose and is attracting hundreds of signatures.  Please add yours now.  May I suggest that everyone signs as individuals, not as 'Mr & Mrs'; and please add your name.  You are advised to skip the donation page which follows your signing.

The link is

Friday 18 February 2011

Barney Life No. 25

On Saturday, February 12th, Paul Waddington, LMS Treasurer, arranged a Latin Mass Servers Day at the Church of the English Martyrs in York. David O'Neill, joint Diocesan Rep for the LMS, has a full report here.

Amongst the participants were the Watson family.

The father, Doctor Carl, from nearby Darlington, has been serving on St Mary's sanctuary for a few months, but, for his two boys, serving for a Traditional Latin Mass is a totally new experience.  However the photo shows the three of them all ready to tackle their first Mass after the training at York. This is my normal Tuesday evening Mass, but you will understand that their first Mass was a bit of a shambles. However, I am a great believer of chucking them in at the deep end, and I think that the boys were just as keen afterwards as they were at the beginning - practice makes perfect! And I look forward to welcoming them back next Tuesday.

Sunday 13 February 2011

From the Newcastle Journal, Saturday Feb. 12th 2011

St. Cuthberts Chapel at Ushaw College
PRECIOUS historical artefacts will be put at risk when a Roman Catholic college closes, heritage groups have warned.
Ushaw College, on the outskirts of Durham City, is home to St Cuthbert’s Seminary, which has been training priests since its foundation more than 400 years ago in France.
But a large drop in the number of priests training there led trustees to announce the 200-year-old college will close in June.
Now organisations including English Heritage and the Victorian Society have written to Ushaw’s trustees warning there is a serious risk that buildings – including a Grade I-listed chapel – will be vandalised if they are left empty.
English Heritage chief executive Dr Simon Thurley has also written to Archbishop Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, expressing his concern.
The organisation said it would be unhappy to see the college buildings boarded up and warned that this should only be a temporary solution. The cost of mothballing the seminary is believed to be around £300,000 a year.

Several of Ushaw’s buildings are already on English Heritage’s “at risk” register. Campaigners also called on the trustees to act with greater transparency after it emerged that one of Ushaw’s most valuable possessions – a prayer roll belonging to Henry VIII – raised £485,000 when it was sold to the British Library at Sotheby’s last June. The prayer roll contains one of only three surviving examples of the monarch’s handwriting.
Dr Clive Field, president of the Religious Archives Group, said: “The Ushaw collection is a significant part of national heritage. While it is the ultimate decision of the governing body to decide how they wish to reorganise its private property they do operate under charity law and that confers a significant public interest on how they deal with their assets.”
Nobody was available at the college yesterday to comment on English Heritage’s concerns.
Last week the college announced it had set up a steering group tasked with strategically looking at the historic estate’s buildings, lands, libraries, archives and collections.
At the time, college president John Marsland said: “We are aware of the historical importance and value placed upon the buildings, manuscripts, letters and other items we have in our collections and are committed to ensuring they remain intact.”
A spokesman for Ushaw College said: “We are aware that there has been some debate within the wider community about the future of the historic collections of Ushaw College and of the buildings.
“We are acutely conscious of the historical importance and heritage value placed upon the buildings and on the books, manuscripts, letters and other items in our various collections and we are committed to ensuring that they remain intact.
“The historical relocation of items from the Ushaw College library or collections is a matter of public record. Speculation regarding costs related to Ushaw College is just that – speculation – and we will be making no further comment about that or the future of the estate at this time.

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Ushaw Redivivus

On Tuesday, February 8th, the Sunderland Echo ran this story about the happenings at Ushaw College.

Question mark over 

closure of training college

In October it was announced that the 200-year-old Roman Catholic College would close, but the board of trustees now say they are working with potential partners to safeguard the future of the historic estate.
A special task group, supported by eminent church officials and charities, has been formed in a bid to keep the college, on the outskirts of Durham City, open past its scheduled closure this summer.
The 200-year-old Roman Catholic college is home to St Cuthbert’s Seminary, where priests have trained since its foundation more than 400 years ago in France.
But last year, church leaders revealed a drop in numbers of priests training at the college meant it was no longer viable and would shut this June.
Despite all commercial activities ending at the college in December campaigners persisted in trying to find alternative uses for the college.
An online petition against the closure saw more than 1,000 people sign up to stop the closure.
A steering group has now been tasked with looking strategically at the historic estate’s buildings, libraries, archives and collections.
A spokesman for the board of trustees, said: “While there are proposals to be discussed, no firm solutions are available at this time."

It appears that the next meeting of the steering group of the Trustees is to be held on Thursday, February 17th, and that they will consider proposals put forward by business people who believe that they can preserve the buildings of the College.  I understand that the Trustees themselves have decided to retain control of the chapel areas and the Big Library, but other sections of the College are up for individual suggestions.  I have heard of one proposal for a part of the buildings and I hear rumours that there are to be others.
I hope that in a short while we shall know much more about what is going on as regards the future of the College which trained me and many more Catholics, both clerical and lay, throughout the country.

Monday 7 February 2011

Ushaw versus The Ukraine

I have just been reading an article in, a Roman agency, about the situation in the Ukraine.  Bishop Jaroslav Pryriz, coadjutor Bishop of Sambir-Drohobych, making a report to Aid to the Church in Need, states that Ukrainian seminaries are having to turn away up to half of the young men seeking to become priests due to lack of space.  This one diocese has 86 seminarians and 287 priests.  The bishop says, "Many young men see the positives and the negatives - the positive of how the Church serves people and the negative of how hard life is in the streets and in the villages. The Catholic Church gives a great example of service and suffering. When they see good priests, and when they see the Church living out the social Gospel, it inspires them. We need to show people a very great example".

I wonder if the Ukrainians have a few spare professors to go with the young men who cannot get a place in a seminary - we in Ushaw College have plenty of space!

Thursday 3 February 2011

Ushaw Statement

A subcommittee of the Trustees has issued the following statement:

“We can confirm that the commercial activities of the Conference Centre have ceased, and the Centre closed, with effect from 31 December 2010. A number of teaching and non-teaching staff remain at Ushaw College, where the activities of St Cuthbert’s Seminary will continue until June 2011.
“The seminarians currently engaged in study at St Cuthbert’s Seminary will continue with their studies as planned. It is proposed that those with studies which are to continue after June 2011 will be transferred to another seminary although the future of their studies is a matter for their respective dioceses.
“The Trustees have established a Steering Group, chaired by Bishop Mark Davies (bishop of Shrewsbury), which includes Bishop Tom Williams (auxiliary in Liverpool) along with members of teaching and non-teaching staff at Ushaw College. The Steering Group will also have a representative of the Patrimony Committee of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, who have indicated that Sophie Andreae, Deputy Chair of the Patrimony Committee, will be asked to support the work of the group. There have also been several offers of assistance from eminent individuals and charities, and further formal announcements may be made in due course should the individuals or charity wish to make their support a matter for public knowledge. The remit of the group is to look strategically at the entire estate, including its buildings, land, libraries, archives and collections, and provide a report to the Trustees about options for its future.
“We are aware that Ushaw College has considerable support within the Roman Catholic community and are grateful for all of the offers to assist at this uncertain and distressing time. It should, however, be said that whilst there are proposals to be discussed, no firm solutions are available at this time. We will not engage in speculative conversations with any organisation or individuals not directly involved in those discussions until the appropriate time. Private meetings and conversations will remain confidential so as not to raise false hopes should discussions fall through and also to allow for full and frank discussions to take place away from the public eye.”

This statement from the subcommittee, whilst very welcome, sounds a bit cautious and vague.  It is to be hoped that they are being guided by sound business people as well as by people of sound faith.  We know that things are happening 'under the radar', and that the subcommittee really wish to discuss all genuine offers about keeping Ushaw open.

Ushaw College from the Air

This is Ushaw College, in a photo taken from the air: this is the College many of us are trying to persuade the Trustees to keep open: not just a single building, but a very large group of buildings; and the estate which surrounds these buildings is even more extensive. Personal recollections of most of these buildings with photos can be found on this blog in the month of September 2010 (scroll down on the right hand column).
Briefly - from the front right - the Big Library; in the centre the main accommodation block; to the left of that, jutting out, St Cuthbert's Chapel. At the back of the quadrangle, the Refectory. To the right of that, the New East Wing (Conference Centre). The group of buildings to the left of the photo is the Junior House, with St Aloyisius Chapel facing St Cuthbert's Chapel. At the back of the premises, you may able to make out the College Cemetery, with graves going back to the typhoid outbreak of 1808-1809 ( what will happen to the Cemetery, I wonder, if Ushaw closes?) If you wish to see a larger picture, centre your cursor on the photo and left-click.
If you haven't yet signed the IPetition calling on the Trustees to save the College (, please do so now.

Tuesday 1 February 2011

A Faithful Bishop

In his homily for last Sunday, January 30, 2011, the Apostolic Nuncio to the Antilles Islands, H.E. Most Rev. Thomas E. Gullickson, Titular Archbishop of Bomarzo, had some pointed remarks about bishops resisting the implementation of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum:

Why, even three years after the issuance of SummorumPontificum (just to name one example), are well-meaning lay folk still treated with such great disdain by no less than bishops, bishops in communion (of heart, soul, mind and strength?) with the Successor of St. Peter when they ask for Mass in Latin? Is this anything other than blind hypocrisy (the plank!)? You tolerate no small amount of bad taste, bad music and caprice, while begrudging some few a port in the storm of liturgical abuse which seems not to want to subside? Can we be after His own Heart and not just claim to be members of Christ’s Body while still acting so at odds with the example set by the Holy One of God, meek and humble of heart? Such prelates are at counter or cross purposes to the sense in which the Church wants to go; they are ignoring what the Spirit is saying to the Churches and doing so with a backhand to some who are branded common and contemptible, but certainly not in the eyes of Christ... Let me say it more clearly! My issue is with the contempt shown for an outstretched hand, contempt such as would not be shown toward someone asking for some other benefit.

When the Holy Father speaks of his will to see these two forms of the Roman Rite (ordinary and extraordinary) enrich each other, when he and others express eagerness for a recovery of the sense of the sacred in our churches and in how we worship, I am convinced that he has indicated the true nature of the rupture which has indeed occurred and needs to be mended or healed. You would think that those in communion with the Pope would seek to understand him and embrace his point of view. There is too much room for caprice and hence the need to reform contemporary Catholic worship. This is evidenced time and again, by way of one example, in the sense of helplessness many priests experience when confronted by musical groups moving into church with inappropriate repertoires, not to mention the dance and puppet troupes which should have been banished long ago. If a bishop does not want to discipline at least he can respect and foster those seeking good order.

It would be a wonderful thing if all our Bishops felt the same towards the Holy Father!