Fr Bryan Houghton (whose recently rediscovered manuscript has been published as Unwanted Priest and which I have already puffed once or twice) recalls that, in December 1966, he met again Bishop Thomas Leo Parker, of Northampton.
"We were left alone--as everyone avoided him--and I took him by the lapels of his jacket and shook him: 'Good heavens, my Lord! I have known you for twenty-five years. You don't agree with what is going on! Why don't you have the courage of your convictions?' He looked away and said nothing. He retired in January 1967. Poor man! He had no personal friends. His life was Holy Mother Church. She had let him down. Poor man!"
Perhaps some readers may point out that Houghton was biased and that his antennae might have got things wrong ... although, of course, other readers might point out, with equal truth, that those who promoted and promote the Liturgical Revolution might also have had, and have, their own biases.
But here comes an oddity ... does anybody have any ideas?
Bishop Leo retired in 1967. In accordance with the customs of the day, he was then 'translated' to the titular see of Magarmel in partibus infidelium. The thinking was that a bishop should be bishop of somewhere, even if there were no Catholics there for him to shepherd. Being Bishop of one of these titular sees (Magarmel was in Algeria) involved no work; no residence; no diocesan responsibilities.
But Parker resigned this titular see, with its purely nominal dignity, in 1970 (he died in 1975).
Could it be that he was both a prescient and cowardly gentleman who saw the coming apostasy and wanted no institutional ties to it? I do not know---just offering a guess, as you requested, Father Hunwicke. One thing I do know for sure: very few had the episcopal and manly fortitude of the one bishop---world-wide---who fought like a lion (and after a life of long and exemplary service to Holy Mother Church) for the Mass, the priesthood, and the Catholic Faith. His name is Marcel Lefebvre, much maligned to this day by cowardly papolators and empowered heretics alike.
It is a sad thing. Many priests (a bishop having the fullness of the priesthood) seem to have hated the ill judged changes (transitional missal perhaps included), but most appear to have suffered silently. Some like Cardinal Siri, who must have so regretted refusing his election, created a diocesan priestly society in Genoa to at least uphold thing like public Office. Others like V2 peritus Fr Gommar de Pauw managed to duck and dive to legally continue offering the Mass. All those priests surely asked themselves how could Holy Mother Church discard the Gregorian Mass, but publicly dissenting for nearly all, would have seemed utterly unimaginable. All or nearly all the documents of V2 which led to this (via SC plus a certain Vincentian and Paul VI) were passed overwhelmingly. May God bless each 'unwanted priest' and the laity who lost the Mass they knew.
Discarding the Gregorian mass was simply the continuation of the trajectory of post-tridentine liturgical decadence.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen, then Bishop Sheen, Bishop of Rochester in America, resigned on 6 October 1969, a few weeks before the Pope Paul VI Missal was to be implemented, on the first Sunday of Advent. He was made titlar Bishop of Newport Wales. Is there some similarity? I do not know.
I’m afraid there is nothing remarkable very about this resignation. Around 1970 the title “bishop emeritus” was introduced and those who qualified for it (former diocesan bishops) were expected to reign their titular sees and take up the new title. I expect that’s what happened in the case of Bishop Parker.
what The Flying Dutchman said.
The reason being that the titular sees could be needed for future bishops, even though often they weren't soon filled. Archbishop Lefevbre at a similar time resigned the title of Synnada in Phrygia, which has not been filled since.
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