31 August 2014


I imagine that in quite a number of English Catholic parishes, priests and people are saying good bye to each other as clergy move to take up new appointments under the authority of the bishops into whose dioceses they are incardinated. The prayers of many will go with these clergy as well as with the 'old' parishes which are losing them and the 'new' parishes which are getting them. I particularly have in mind Fr Sean of the Valley of the Adur, a learned Church Historian, who was so immensely kind to Pam and me when not everybody in the English Catholic Church seemed very keen to have me. He is a priest in a million.

Perhaps the highest profile transferee is the distinguished and erudite blogger, Fr Tim of Blackfen. In accordance with the mind of the Church and the wishes of Sovereign Pontiffs, he has ensured that not only are the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Roman Rite both generously available in his present parish, but even the Anglican Use. Indeed, he is a very dear friend both to the Ordinariate and to its priests. How he manages to run a busy and vibrant parish, and to lecture at Wonersh, and to discharge a blogging ministry to thousands, is quite a marvel. He saw off a less than positive intrusion into his parish by unfriendly journalists from a predictable stable. He is the very model of a modern major general parish clergyman (perhaps somebody could think of words which would preserve Gilbert's and Sullivan's alliteration?).

A priest I shall particularly miss is Fr Nominis Obliviscor, whose church I have occasionally attended when visiting family. His parish, he proudly proclaims, is "A Vatican II Parish". So, when in his congregation, I have been careful to memorise the various markers of this arcane culture in case I ever need to practise within that unfamiliar idiom. For example: it is, I have noticed under his tutelage, "Vatican II" to involve the laity in reciting parts of the Eucharistic Prayer (employing the ecphonesis "All together now"). And never to preach on Sundays in August. (If anybody ever publishes an Anglican-style Church Directory for Catholics, I suppose the abbreviation NSA could stand for 'No Sermons in August'.)

The hostility of the enlightened Fathers of Vatican II to the reactionary, pre-Conciliar, sin-obsessed, obscurantist, rigid, formalistic, medieval, and thoroughly disgusting practice of preaching in August is something which, I feel, deserves to be much more widely known. I wonder if Fr Obliviscor will immediately set about converting his new cura into 'a Vatican II Parish'. The English Catholic Church would be that bit poorer without his particular eccentricities.

Back in the days of the Church of England, cuius animae propitietur Deus, it was not unknown for parishioners (especially unmarried ladies) to sell their properties and to buy new homes in a parish to which a priest whom they favoured was himself moving. They naturally wished to continue to enjoy things like "Western Rite" and "Full Catholic Privileges". I wonder if Zoopla will notice a spike in business during the first half of September.


William said...

Paradigma præbet se Pastoris in Parochia?

Pastor in Monte said...

How very kind you are!

Unknown said...

He is the very model of a modern vicar general?