Well, obviously, I don't want to be considered a 'party pooper', but I'm not feeling terribly enthused about this AMEX Football Stadium-based festival. Exactly what is there, for example, right now at least, to celebrate?
The show, however, simply must go on. Apparently! Oh and what a show it will be. For example, despite my own inability to fathom what the former Anglican Archbishop (null and void) of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, has to do with Arundel and Brighton, his presence at the event is assured. Will he be speaking? What does this individual have to do with the Diocese? What does he even have to do with the Catholic Faith? Is his conversion to the One True Faith going to be announced to the sound of trumpet blast? Or is he going to bore an already fatigued crowd to sleep with his musings which will have, I suspect, very little to do with the catechesis of a Catholic congregation that has been starved of a bishop that catechises them for a decade or three? For how long will we have to endure his thoughts? Is this about the needs of Arundel and Brighton or the needs of a rather elitist obsession among the Hierarchy to appear 'in complete unity' with those who don't believe in the Catholic Faith? I just can't shake the feeling that this event isn't about Christ, the Church or even the 'community of believers', but simply Them.
The show must go on...
Although the Cardinal Emeritus Cormac Murphy O'Connor has, at least, some link to Arundel and Brighton, having been Bishop here before giving us The Kieran Conry Show, it will be common knowledge to most in the Diocese that here before us stands a man who will most likely never answer those 'difficult questions' about how on earth he managed to get appointed his disgraced Successor who failed to teach us the Faith before finally owning up to the scandalous behaviour that made his continued suitability for such high office completely impossible. Perhaps His Eminence plans a 'question and answer' session as part of the celebrations? Or perhaps not.
That said, I am told by some laity in the Diocese that even when His Eminence himself was Bishop here, the Catholic Faith was simply not taught much then either. His Eminence had better hope that the spirit of the football terrace that leads mostly intoxicated football fans to call the referee names associated with the sin of Onanism are able to exercise some self-restraint on the big day. 'Who am I to judge?', of course, is the prevailing mood of the field hospital of sinners, but when such things are chanted, the unruly fans are never talking about the referee's solitary sins, but rather that they simply don't like him because he regularly lets their side down and makes stupid, lamentable decisions. Not that the referees ever apologise. Perhaps the analogy is apt after all.
Then, of course, a football stadium packed with Catholic sheep awaiting a Shepherd will also have to stomach a Eucharistic nightmare. How reverently, for instance, will Our Eucharistic Lord be distributed at an event like this? What containers will house the Lord of Lords and King of Kings, He Who Is King of the Universe? Clear plastic bags, perhaps? Plastic white cups as in Rio for World Sacrilege Day?
If such unworthy receptacles are used by priests and the Cardinal Emeritus, in what will most likely be a Concelebration of ludicrous proportions, how will they be cleansed so that no fragments of Our Blessed Lord are left in them? How will the Diocesan 'Safeguarding Team' ensure that no fragments of Our Lord and King are left on the football pitch to be trampled upon by Brighton and Hove Albion? How will the Faithful be able to receive the Lord reverently? Are there any kneelers on the terraces or will the youth who actually still attend Mass in the Diocese and the elderly who can actually make it to the event be kneeling on concrete? But oh, these things don't matter, do they? Because we are "celebrating the Diocese". Perhaps the Adoration that will be a part of the festival should be set aside for reparation for indifference to the Holy Eucharist that the former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton made a hallmark of perhaps every Mass he celebrated in what most people now believe was probably very lengthy periods of mortal sin because, let's face it, the former Bishop was really not into the Sacrament of Penance and made the fact widely known.
Churches in the Diocese to Close: How will those who cannot make it to the Football Stadium attend Mass?
It is most likely that all Masses within the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton on this day will be cancelled, a state of affairs that I think is really quite terrible and poses to the Faithful of the Diocese an obstacle in the way of getting to Mass to meet their obligation. I do not envy the Diocese in trying to co-ordinate some kind of celebration of the creation of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, but I do rather resent the idea that I cannot attend on this day a Mass within walking distance of where I live and believe that getting the elderly, those without money for bus or rail fare, the disabled to actually travel to Mass all that way when there is probably a perfectly suitable parish Church quite nearby is quite, quite wrong.
|Thanks for the invite...|
The simple truth, at least from where I am standing, is that there is very little enthusiasm among the laity - although there will always be some enthusiasm among some laity, for an event such as this, in which we are commanded to "celebrate" a Diocese which, for the time being at least, is without its own Bishop. Nowhere in the preparation for this event is there any acknowledgement of this rather embarrassing situation. Neither will there be any provision for those who worship at the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.
Aside from the guilty, if not publicly repentant Bishop, nobody in the Hierarchy has come forward to give an account for just how it is that "nobody knew" about the behaviour of the former Bishop of Arundel and Brighton even though it now turns out that quite a lot of people seemed either know or suspect. Perhaps, by then, July 2015, a new and holy Bishop will have been appointed to the Diocese but these things do take time. Quite what Fr Timothy Radcliffe, who has advanced some seriously dodgy views on homosexuality and Catholicism - views that remain irreconcilable with Catholic teaching - has to do with Arundel and Brighton is anyone's guess. After all, not everyone in Arundel and Brighton is into 'alternative lifestyles'. Are copies of The Tablet going to be handed out for free?
Pray for the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.
Pray for a new, holy Bishop dedicated to Jesus Christ and His Church.