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Bishops discuss long-term priorities at meeting in Leeds

By on Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Bishops of England and Wales pictured during their ad limina visit last year (Photo: Mazur)

Bishops of England and Wales pictured during their ad limina visit last year (Photo: Mazur)

The bishops’ conference of England and Wales was expected to discuss its most basic priorities this week at a meeting that may lead to a shake-up of Eccleston Square, its administrative headquarters in central London.

A source close to the conference said the bishops would seek to map out aims for the next five to 10 years and that resources at the secretariat may be reorganised.

It is understood that the bishops would consider what the fundamental purpose of the conference, which was established in the 1980s, should be.

The meeting at Hinsley Hall in Leeds was for the first time attended by Mgr Keith Newton, head of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. The first married member of the bishops’ conference, he spoke about the progress of the ordinariate.

Other items on the agenda were the new translation of the Roman Missal, which will be introduced into parishes in September, and the campaign to add religious education to the English Baccalaureate.

Archbishop Antonio Mennini, the new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, also addressed the bishops for the first time. He focused on the urgent task of evangelising a highly secularised society. He also thanked Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster for his welcome and for showing “a kind British hospitality” by meeting him upon arrival at Heathrow airport.

Pope Benedict XVI, he said, was grateful for the bishops’ hospitality last September, and had reminded him to ask them to be “generous” in implementing Anglicanorum coetibus.

The nuncio also mentioned the new Mass translation, saying it was a “great opportunity to look once again, along with our priests and people, at the liturgy and to grow in our understanding”.

He added: “It is also a time for sensitivity towards those persons who are perhaps less enthusiastic about this, because we, as well as the faithful, do not always find change easy.”

  • Gs Roberto

    It is not change that people are concerned about regarding the new Mass translation, it’s the rip off by the publisher!

  • ecc-uk

    not just the rip off, but the poor translation, lack of consultation etc . . . Our Bishops should be more open to issues such as ordaining married men – we now have these with the ordinariate but discussing the topic is hidden under the smokescreen created by kicking out priests and Bishops who discuss women priests I wonder . . . . .

  • Caisake

    I think the English translation is far behind than other vernacular translation. I’ m happy for the move of amending the missal. May God help those who will educate people on the changes. God Bless

  • AgingPapist

    Eccleston Square should send the final version of the new English missal back to Pope Benedict with a note, “Thanks, but no thanks”.

  • AgingPapist

    The Anglophone bishops are weaklings careful to protect their precious rise to pontifical stardom. They should never have taken this disastrous missal lying down. It is little wonder so many Catholics are converting to the CofE and the Episcopal Church for Catholics in the USA, or in the case of Anglicans, deciding not to take the plunge into Benedict’s Ordinariate.

  • Toby

    CATECHESIS

  • DBMcGinnity

    The answer is so simple to this dilemma. Catholic doctrine dictates that Jesus died and rose from the dead, and he is still alive and well. The Virgin Mary went up to heaven, body and soul, therefore she is alive and well. Why not just ask them to sort this matter out? The problems of the Christian church on earth should be their priority unless they are busy elsewhere.The language of prayer should not matter in the least to God, so long as the prayer is fervent and sincere, so what is all the fuss about?

  • Vb10519

    As a gen Y catholic I just don’t understand the 60′s hippie catholicism I was forced to endure from parents generation. When I first attended a mass with organ, choir, in a beautufcul Gothic church, I wondered why anyone would want acoustic guitars in a church that looked like a motel or barn?

  • Dn David Skillen

    I believe we should be cautious about affording, in too absolutist a fashion, a sort of moral status to such amoral features in liturgy such at (for example) ‘The Organ’ as if it is divinely institued and prescribed for the liturgy in all cases…after all in other parts of the world the culture and spiritual tradition have it other ways…the Orthodox consider it more dignified to have their music in the liturgy unaccompanied. Surly what is required is an approach in, for example, “liturgy”, which is sensitive to the context – the gospel is to be inculcated in time and place: so, in so far as it may not be appropriate to use acoustic guitars in a mass for the very elderly, I say (!), nor might it be appropriate – ie. conducive to prayer – to have the organ at a mass for teenagers! Your problem with a barn? Was not the Lord himself born insuch a place? The second ‘tabernacle’ to house the Lord after the womb of his precious mother! If its good enough for him, then I’m content to worship there too, just like the wise men!

  • Anonymous

    I agree to some extent, of course ‘the Organ’ is not divinely instituted. However I think much damage had been done by the well meaning but patronising view that goes along the lines of ‘Young people do not listen to Buxtehude at home, so they will not be able to appreciate organ music at Mass’. Adherents of this philosophy then propose that we should organise Masses for the young with music they think the young will appreciate – but get it spectacularly wrong. In my experience it is ONLY the very elderly who enjoy guitars at Mass. Most young Catholics I know find these developments cringeworthy.

  • Aunt Raven

    Humm,  here we have the theological square-off between Socrates (“Define your terms’) and the Caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland (Words mean what I want them to mean”).    
    –Ever heard of the principle, “Lex orandi, ex credere?”  (Roughly, As you pray, so you believe) It means that the language of prayer DOES matter, because truth matters.  Sloppy thinking = sloppy language = sloppy belief, meaning incorrect belief: untruth. doesn’t matter how fervent and sincere they are, they will be untruth, which is another word for heresy.    Words matter.  

  • Aunt Raven

    I am an American who lives in England and spends time on both sides of the Atlantic.  I have kept a local eye on ecumenical trends in both countries.  There are a few Catholics (mostly feminists eager to be priestesses) decamping to the (fragmenting) C of E, –but there are many more Episcopalians over the last 25 years who have become RCs through the “Anglican Use”, the prototype of the Ordinariate. 

    Had the AU not been surprizingly successful, the Ordinariate would never have seen the light of day. Like the AU, the Ordinariate will probably get off to a slow start:  many cautious types will want to see how the few “early adaptors” fare before taking the plunge.  Fair enough. The principal surprise of the AU was to bring in so many lapsed Catholics,  and  so many couples in mixed marriages–the non-Catholic partner eventually converting.  By the way, the young people tend to love the Anglican Use liturgy –while perfectly accepting the Novus Ordo if they are away from their Ordinariate parishes — and these parishes (I am familiar with three mature parishes in Texas) are producing impressive numbers of young vocations to the priesthood and to religious orders which have kept the traditional habit.  

  • Kennyinliverpool

    This isn’t relevant (only it is) but I wondered how many of these men were heterosexual… I ask that question out of love and also as a homosexual man. Pink hats and pink / purple drapes … mmmmm. It amuses me how self-styled conservative Catholics fail to see how ‘camp’ traditional Catholicism is, or Catholicism generally. 
    - I think that the decline of vocations is directly related to the growing acceptance of gay men… I was thinking how many of the men coming forward to ordination in Africa and India are straight? 
    I know people on this site get infuriated by such issues, but denying the issue seems a bit silly to me.

  • Aunt Raven

    There is no decline in vocations, however many gays “inflitrated” and were ordained in the 60′s onward and until the present Pope was elected they had risen to be in charge of many seminaries and were discouraging the straight applicants and letting in gays.  I knew a couple of good straight guys who were turned away; they described the “gatekeeping” which strung him along with many interviews and psychological tests which revealed their pro-gay agenda.   I know another young (straight) priest who was wise to this, jumped through their hoops and kept his head down (he had the reputation of being competent, taciturn, and politely distant) so he could get ordained. A case of a young man being as innocent as a dove but crafty as a serpent !  On his first “posting” he was put with an elderly priest in a poor rural parish who was unpopular with younger priests–they got along well as they were both interested in living the gospel and promoting holiness by example.  The young priest later succeeded the old one as pastor and both he and his parish are quite happy with each other