Monday, September 20, 2010

Westminster Cathedral 1982 and 2010

Damian Thompson draws attention to Westminster Cathedral during the visit of Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict, interesting, eh?
Apart from restoring the High Altar to use, the obvious thing is the "off centering" of Benedict, for him it is Jesus Christ and the Holy Sacrifice which is important, he sees himself not as world striding Colossus but as a "poor servant" I don't make the point as a criticism of JPII but rather a statement about our developing understanding not just of the liturgy but also of the role of the Pope in the last twenty eight years.
The simple truth is that we have been taught and begun to realise under this Papacy that Jesus Christ is actually the centre of the Church, His Grace, not our efforts, is crucial. Even to preach Benedict sat at the side on the existing throne.

Just a couple of points, it has been said that ecumenically a gear has shifted, how interesting that apart from the Catholic bishops on the sanctuary, except for Dr Williams, all were Oriental or Orthodox, bishops the Catholic Church would accept as having valid orders and those with whom a real search for unity is possible. Very interesting the word "unity" was not mentioned at either Lambeth Palace or Westminster Abbey.

The other point: the liturgy was really superb! My thanks, for what they are worth, to Archbishop Nichols, Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Administrator and Martin Baker, the Master of Music.


12 comments:

Independent said...

The music was very much in the English Cathedral tradition. How appropriate and how splendid that Pope Benedict should shake the hands of even the smallest choir boys.

georgem said...

I noticed that at all the Masses a strong contingent of young women took various roles at the altar. A pity that the chance was not given to some pre-teen boys. I am sure they would have acquitted themselves well.
By the way, the distinctive habit of Ven. Mother Riccarda's Brigittines were picked out by the TV cameras at the Cathedral and at Cofton Park.

Crux Fidelis said...

The choirboys looked extremely solemn as the Holy Father shook their hands. Were they under instruction not to smile?

dillydaydream said...

I had thought that the bishops in black turbans were leaders from the Syro-Malabar/Malenkara Catholic churches - which are in union.
(Although they did split years ago so there are branches that are in union with Orthodoxy, who might be there).

Also - could the other bishops who looked Orthodox - could perhaps be Greek Catholic or Uniate, or otherwise in full communion? I know I should look up the correct terminology - but I'm in a hurry. I did wonder at the time - though.

I had thought the ABP of Canterbury had been invited as a matter of courtesy, but that there were no other protestant leaders, like the Sally Army captain from the night before, on the altar. A diplomatic way to exclude the ladies, I'm sure, and those who would get it in the neck for attending a papist church from their congregations. (The Abbey is fairly neutral ground for them).

Father, perhaps your Greek Orthodox priest friend would know for sure. It would also be very interesting if he would share his thoughts with you (and us) on the visit.

dillydaydream said...

I had thought that the bishops in black turbans were leaders from the Syro-Malabar/Malenkara Catholic churches - which are in union.
(Although they did split years ago so there are branches that are in union with Orthodoxy, who might be there).

Also - could the other bishops who looked Orthodox - could perhaps be Greek Catholic or Uniate, or otherwise in full communion? I know I should look up the correct terminology - but I'm in a hurry. I did wonder at the time - though.

I had thought the ABP of Canterbury had been invited as a matter of courtesy, but that there were no other protestant leaders, like the Sally Army captain from the night before, on the altar. A diplomatic way to exclude the ladies, I'm sure, and those who would get it in the neck for attending a papist church from their congregations. (The Abbey is fairly neutral ground for them).

Father, perhaps your Greek Orthodox priest friend would know for sure. It would also be very interesting if he would share his thoughts with you (and us) on the visit.

Crux Fidelis said...

Archbishop Nichols didn't sound too fluent with the Latin. Cardinals Murphy-O'Connor and O'Brien were much better.

Moretben said...

The Orthodox bishops in choir were Archbishop +Gregorios of Thyateira & Gt Britain (Constantinople), Met +Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia and Archbishop +Elisey of Sourozh & Gt Britain (Moscow). I didn't know any of the orientals.

nickbris said...

I think Chris Patton also deserves a mention,the whole visit was organised properly and went like clockwork.What a pity he is not involved in the Olympics,I think that event will be balls -up.

nickbris said...

Just seen the discussion post visit on BBC 2.Patten & Aechbishop Nichol were superb.Diaimaid MacCulloch and Tina Beattie those universally acclaimed Historians of Theology should be ordered off to Afghanistan to preach to the Taliban

PC said...

"...the obvious thing is the "off centering" of Benedict, for him it is Jesus Christ and the Holy Sacrifice which is important, he sees himself not as world striding Colossus but as a "poor servant" .."

What about the Norman and Plantagenet bishops of Norwich? The bishops throne at Norwich towers above the altar in the centre of the apse. They, of course, would have faced East during the anaphora unlike Benedict XVI.

MC Man said...

dillydaydream,I think that the Eastern Rite clergy near the Pope on the Gospel side of the sanctuary were Eastern Orthodox and non Catholic Oriental Rite clergy.The Catholic Eastern Rite clergy appeared to be sitting with other Catholic clergy on the Epistle side of the sanctuary,I saw a Bishop possibly Ukranian or Bylo-Russian with his distinct Byzantine Rite crown and 2 or 3 other Eastern Rite clergy.

Independent said...

Nickbris -MacCulloch is a Reformation expert, not a 19th Century one. Interestingly it never seems to have been mentioned that he was for a while Secretary of the Gay and Lesbian organisation. The Beattie lady, from that great centre of learning Roehampton, is not a historian.

I was a little surprised that Miss Widdecombe did not, apart from Fr Ker, consult any of the other writers on 19th century catholic history - Sheridan Gilley and Edward Norman spring to mind. Professor MacCulloch was neither objective nor an expert on the period.