27 September 2015

Church tasting

While away from home, we attended one of the local Catholic Parish Churches for its Vigil Mass; since it was that 'musical chairs' period at the beginning of September, we coincided, like many in congregations all over Britain and Ireland, with the first Sunday of a new Parish Priest. What, with some degree of curiosity I wondered, does one talk about during ones 'inaugural' sermon, out there in the mainstream Catholic Church? What programmatic initiatives does one announce? What advances of pastoral evangelism does one introduce? What new charisms of the Holy Spirit does one invoke upon ones new flock?

Well, he decided to address us at some length on the CDF document Dominus Iesus of 2000, with regard to which he used the epithet "infamous". I thought that was an intriguing choice both of subject and of adjective. After all, that thoroughly admirable document is not currently exactly the hottest news ... He said that it was negative about the Church of England, which, perhaps, although defensible, has a tadge of the suggestio falsi about it (since it doesn't actually mention the Church of England).

At the end of Mass, Father gave us his CV; he has just returned from studying Liturgy in foreign parts. Had I been one of his own parishioners, I might have asked him as I left why he used Prayer 2, the pseudo-Hippolytan Prayer about the dewfall, even at a Sunday Mass. Had he, I would have asked, spent long in the Trastevere?

But it isn't right for a tourist to be a nuisance to the bloke who's trying to do a job. I remember once, in my Anglican days, standing to gladhand the congregation outside the Church of Ireland church at Sneem in the County Kerry (in the parish of the diverting 'Hiberno-Catholic' Canon Charlie Gray-Stack, who loved to preach about the glories of the Holy Rosary), and being approached by a large visitor who looked down at me and declared himself 'Dutch Orthodox' and, for light conversation, started up (somewhat gutturally) with "I am very irritated indeed to find that the Church of Ireland still has the filioque in the Nicene Creed".

So I do know what a presbyter feels like doing in such circumstances. But, being on the smallish side ...

11 comments:

vetusta ecclesia said...

One thing the Catholic Church here (or the diocese of Brentwood at least) could take from the patrimony brought to us by the Ordinariate is a proper service to induct a new PP. I very much like the Anglican version even though I refer to it as the seduction and electrocution of the newcomer!

Matthew Roth said...

For better or worse he is aware of Dominus Iesus. And, you don’t announce anything in the first year...that is what they tell priests in America. That changes depending on how bad (or good, sadly) things have been.

Dominus Faba said...

"And, you don’t announce anything in the first year...that is what they tell priests in America."

Couldn't agree more. Unless something going on is really nefarious, it's better to change nothing for a complete liturgical year, so you can see how everything works.

Scott Woltze said...

So it tasted like a lemon?

Patrick Sheridan said...

I was in a Roman Catholic church and a Church of Ireland church in Ulster on the same day (my friend intimated that I might have the distinction to have been the only man in the province to have done that), and the disparity was startling. The nasty old Protestant church had Vexilla Regis as the hymn; the Roman Catholic church had "if I were a wiggly worm," among many other obvious and lamentable departures from tradition and taste. I went away with the clear impression that the RC Church has had a noticeable spasm of century-long dysentery, and has just collapsed on the toilet seat.

Ann said...

Ah Sneem. Or "Schneem" as we's say. My father would never pass through without bringing home some black pudding. The besht it was, it was.

Ann said...

Then of course there is this from St Mary's C of I in Killarney,

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-Kcj2FLhpnj0/T5_69XCeBaI/AAAAAAAAAGY/D80rLrx8IJg/s1600/mass+blog.jpg

Ann said...

I suppose you have to admire the willingness to compromise and just get on with it.

Ann said...


Or maybe it was one of those Mohammedan things, like with the rug weavers who always left an imperfection in design lest it seem they were presumptuous enough to be perfect like God?

John said...

About St Mary in Killarney. I'm sure I'm missing something significant, but all I see is that it's 7 o'clock and someone has drawn a circle around a lancet window. (I can't ask my wife to explain; she already thinks I never notice anything.)

Banshee said...

It looks like somebody planned three lancet windows (representing the Trinity), but then the support area had to be widened or the windows weren't set right. So the arch over the lancet window is almost half covered-up.