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Birmingham Oratory Brother sent to South Africa

By on Friday, 13 August 2010

One of the three men removed from the Birmingham Oratory in May is to be sent to South Africa, it was announced today.

Fr Felix Selden, Apostolic Visitor of the Holy See for the worldwide Confederation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri, said in a statement that Brother Lewis Berry will be sent to the Oratory in Port Elizabeth in South Africa for “a period of at least one year”, starting in the first week of September.

He added that the decision was made “after consulting with the Fathers, and taking into account Brother Lewis Berry’s own views”.

The reason given is that Brother Lewis’s formation “will best be met in an Oratorian community that will afford him greater opportunities for a varied programme of pastoral work, as the Church requires of a deacon”.

Brother Lewis is one of the so-called “Birmingham Three”, along with Fr Philip Cleevely and Fr Dermot Fenlon. Parishioners at the Birmingham Oratory and others have sharply criticised the decision to remove them following an apostolic visit led by Fr Selden.

Fr Selden added that Brother Lewis “has welcomed the opportunity” and is “now preparing for this next stage of his formation”.

Fr Selden also requested “that the Oratorian community in Birmingham be allowed to continue its work without hindrance”, insisting that the visitation to the Oratory had been “chiefly concerned with the Community’s own internal life and discipline.”

The Port Elizabeth Oratory was established in 2008, and Brother Lewis will be joining a community of seven priests and two brothers. In addition to the parish of St Bernadette, the Oratory also runs a “collegium”, offering a propaedeutic year for those considering the priesthood.

  • The Sanctimonious One

    But still no news of Frs Fenlon and Cleevely

  • Oratory parishioner

    Poor soul, he will have had no choice whatsoever. God bless him. We shall miss him very much.

  • Rosary

    How do you know the “poor soul” had no choice whatsoever?

  • Rosary

    Well presumably you know Fr Cleevely's mother died & are praying for him & his family. Also he likes the Toronto Oratory. All common knowledge.

  • nytor

    Fr Philip is in Toronto? I thought he was at Pluscarden.

  • Thegrassysageknoll

    I fail to see how this order from Fr. Selden is not done with spite? To exile the three Oratorians at the very time when the Holy Father will come and visit their very own home is unbelievably cruel. We are told by the ubiquitous Jack Valero that the three did “nothing wrong” on Birmingham radio.

    I am amazed how Br. Berry is still considering an Oratorian vocation, when there are plenty of places that would welcome such a person without treating him with contempt.

    I also do not hold much hope for the London Oratory too, judging on what has happened at Birmingham. Does Fr. Selden plan to fragment London too with the help of Fr. Robert Byrne?

    And St. Philip Neri and Blessed Newman cried…

  • beats for sale


  • Alexis Pillay

    From one of the parishioners who will be receiving the fruit of Br Lewis' “varied pastoral work” in Port Elizabeth, we welcome him!

  • Fortes in Fide

    Of course he had no choice. i wonder if this 'rosary' is the lady who fed Selden the false information about the three Oratorians that got them sent away. Reveal yourself JP