Monday, October 12, 2009

Green shoots

I see so many good things happening in the Church in this country today major things like:

The Pope's visit to the UK

Beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman

Visit of the Relics of St Therese

The new English translation of the Missal

Announcement of Bishop Longley's move to Birmingham

Ordination of Bishop Moth as Bishop for the Forces

Archbishop Vincent Nichols' appointment to Westminster

Then there are little things, like the quality of so many of those who have been ordained recently, the type of young man that is going to the seminary nowadays, as well as the teaching staff of our seminaries.

There is the growing enthusiasm for prayer, the rise in Eucharistic Devotion, in a more deeply prayerful liturgy, the interest in prayers like the Rosary. There are other things like the way the boys at Westminster Cathedral have started receiving Holy Communion, kneeling and on the tongue and the return to the use of the High Altar there. The increase in the celebration of the TLM, which signifies the hermeneutic of continuity.
Another little thing, the Bishop's Conference have just published online, Jubilate Deo the basic chant of the Church it is just a little thing but it wouldn't have happened a couple of years ago.
Then there are the rumours of a new motu proprio coming shortly which deepen a more prayerful liturgy and a stronger Catholic identity.

I know it is easy to "rain on the parade" and to find negative things or to criticise but I would interested to hear of what you consider to be positive, good things, happening in the Church today.


Francis said...

Fr. Ray,

I think the most interesting positive development at the moment is the merging of mainstream Catholics who are doctrinally faithful to Rome with those who have special appreciation for the traditional liturgy. This is completely new.

I always regarded myself as 100% pro-magisterium but this expressed itself in a kind of "John Paul II way", with Latin and the traditional liturgy completely off the radar screen. This is partly because I'm too young to remember the pre-Novus Ordo days.

Before Summorum Pontificum, I had never made the connection between sound doctrine and beautiful liturgy. Now I can see that they are facets of the same jewel, and you can't really have one without the other. Many, many faithful Catholics are also having this belated "eureka" moment.

Henry said...

I get the impression that we are past the worst now. And the increasingly shrill tone of the atheist platoon is also a sign that things are on the way up.

shadowlands said...

I like this post Father,if there had never been a fourth chapter of Philippians,I would say this post would make up for it's loss.
Holy Spirit inspired words Father.

Et Expecto said...

The Priests' Training Conferences organised by the Latin Mass Society are very significant events. 100 or more priests have been exposed to top quality liturgy and I believe that most of these have returned to their parishes and put into practice what they have seen.

These conferences have set new standards. Whilst primarily being concerned with the usus antiquior, their influence extends to the novus ordo, where there is already evidence of sloppy practices being curtailed.

Ther next step will surely be improved standards in seminaries.

Another green shoot can be seen in the sanctuaries of many churches. Tabernacles are returning to prominent positions and dignity is being restored. We are even beginning to see communion received kneeling at altar rails.

George said...

Great list of positive and good things - the green shoots of renewal Fr Ray. Many great Catholic things happening in our Country - agreed.

I just wish there were even one green shoot of renewal springing up in our Catholic Schools. Some positive vibes from our CES, just maybe....?

Alas - all I see is the continued management of decline!

Please Dearest Holy Spirit - put some FIRE and ZEAL into our Catholic Education system. Our children are being 'short-changed' when they should be reaching for the spiritual stars of our Glorious Faith!

Paul said...

I came across a book called The Little office of the Blessed Virgin Mary a little while back in a mainstream Catholic bookshop. It was a reprint of the 1911 version. It contains a full office but varying very little (just some anthems and prayers vary for the liturgical season).

This makes it very compact and light, ideal for those laity who commute by train, for example. I don't say the whole thing every day by any means, but try to say as much as I am up to on a Monday to Friday, now aided by a Church near my work being open during the day instead of being locked (prior to the reformation English churches were apparently busy several times a day with laity quietly reciting the Little Office of the BVM).

I wonder if the 1911 Little Office would have been so readily available to buy before SP made it "acceptable" to delve into the last two thousand years of the churches liturgical books, rather than the last forty.

One thing that has encouraged me to say this office is this question, how do we evangelise when other fast growing faiths require prayer from the laity several times a day (as well as fasting), if our laity do not pray regularly (voluntarily) outside the Mass?

The vatican 2 document that established the new office is quite interesting, it exhorts for the appropriate office to be recited as the starting and or finishing prayer when groups of faithful gather for, say, a midweek evening choir practice or a study day. I can recall attending such study days a decade ago where some prayer or other (newly invented I suspected) were said but not even a sign of the Cross. Isn't it about time we started implementing the Second Vatican Council in this respect?

A.Paul said...

Disproportionate to the present crisis in the church.

Peter said...

Yes, Father – the shoots are there, aren’t they? Let us not forget:

1) The growth and increasing popularity of blogs, such as your own, and the fact that these individual blogs are part of a wider (and growing) blognet of like-minded, coherent voices.

2) You mentioned the quality of seminarians of your acquaintance, but I would also add that many of the younger priests I have met seem to be of a very high calibre – they are often very intelligent, very sympathetic to more traditional liturgy, energetic, and come across as first-rate pastors.

I’ve noticed a couple of other smaller things recently:

3) Liturgical music is on the up! Church musicians seem to be slowly drifting back towards Latin chant and delving into the church’s treasure-trove of traditional music. And there are an increasing number of resources on the internet to help with this.

As an organist myself, I pay particular attention to what is going on musically when I am “off-duty” (pretty infrequently these days) and perhaps visiting a local parish I haven’t been to for a while. I have noticed choirs are increasingly using parts of the de Angelis, for instance, and I notice other organists increasingly using chant melodies in their voluntaries to re-familiarise the parishioners. Slowly but surely!

4) People are showing their true colours more and more.

I don’t want to offend unduly (and I don’t mind retracting this comment if it is considered impertinent), but take, for instance, the attempts by some in this country to oppose Summorum Pontificum and knowingly, or unknowingly, misinterpret it to the faithful.

This might not sound like a green shoot of recovery! But surely it is one; true feelings (or just plain ignorance) are being brought out into the open for all too see and scrutinise. This is surely quite healthy – it means we can have a proper dialogue in this country.

Plus, those who tried to suppress the instructions of the Holy Father have only been left quite discredited and at something of a moral disadvantage! Again the Catholic blognet has had a major part to play in this.

5) You listed TLM in your post. People such as yourself, Fr Z, Fr Tim Finigan, etc, keep on saying that when a priest says Mass in the EF, even infrequently, it has a noticeable effect on the liturgical life of that community. For what it is worth, I can wholeheartedly attest to this green-shoot from my own experience as a layman. The liturgy suddenly becomes more “complete” when the two forms of the one rite are said. And if I am noticing, others are too!

dillydaydream said...

I am deeply grateful for the all the things listed, but most especially for the vocations.

Also for the gift of the traditional blogging community - for those who take their time to blog and comment, because I have learned so much about my faith by reading about it, and asking questions.

Peter said...

George - I agree with you on Catholic Education. We are not equipping young Catholics with the tools to cope with the often pernicious values of the modern world. We are not stretching their minds, developing their powers of reasoning and helping them to make an informed decision about the Faith. We are not equipping young Catholics to understand, appreciate and explain their faith when they go and encounter other beliefs (or non-beliefs) at university or in the work-place.

Paul – yes, I know what you mean. Those old miniature books can be quite inspiring. I recently discovered something of my grandmother’s (who I hadn’t realised was a Catholic) called the “The Child’s Key of Heaven, Prayers and Instructions for Catholic children compiled from approved sources”, (Imprimatur February 1909). Here’s a prayer for the child to offer at the consecration:

“Adorable Jesus, I thank Thee with all my heart that, by Thy death upon the Cross, Thou hast redeemed me. Let me, in return, henceforth be Thine in life, Thine in death, Thine for ever and ever.

Eternal Father, I offer up to Thee the most precious Blood of Thy beloved Son Jesus Christ in atonement for my sins, for the wants of Holy Church, and for the relief of the souls in purgatory.”

Wow! Active participation!

gemoftheocean said...

...well, like the Phoenix from the ashes....

[BTW, what are the girls in Westminster Catheral doing? Standing 'aright and in awe'?]

nickbris said...

The Atheists and Secularists are losing the battle.

Theists of all kinds are on the rise here,our Churches are fuller although many may be East Europeans,Mosques all packed to the rafters and many more are being built and by the look of North London today the Synagogues are very busy.

We all know more about other faiths now and all over the country people are joining with each other to celebrate all the Holy Festivals.

This country is certainly not going Atheist and the likes of Dawkins & Toynbee can Huff & Puff till they burst.

Simon Platt said...

Peter said...

Different Peter here, Father, but agreeing with above.

The availability of chant on CD (The Tallis Scholars and Monks of Solesmes and others) may also have helped generate interest in liturgy and music.

Let us hope that school teachers and governors read Fit for Mission Schools.

The internet has probably helped as blogs such as this allow a voice independent of the modernist / establishment / Tablet view to be heard.

So thank you Father.