Hot on the heels of an extraordinary intervention from Cardinal Vincent Nichols - who surprisingly wrote to the entire clergy of the Archdiocese of Westminster urging them to defy the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith's recent call for ad orientem worship - the BBC has announced its plans to roll out a new series to start in September entitled 'GIRMwatch'.
Extra-liturgical dancing fun: If its not in the GIRM, what is the problem? Let Dr Bill fill you in...
Noting the Sunday night success of Birdwatch and more recently, Springwatch, the BBC has recruited British Catholic legend and journalist Bill Oddie to follow the fidelity of parishes up and down the country to the rubrics of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. The exciting new show will occupy a slot on Sunday evenings at 8pm.
However, Both Birdwatch and Springwatch are said by the BBC ratings polls to be past their best days and it is felt by producers that something new is needed. Interest in Catholic liturgical rubrics is said to have risen sharply in recent times, especially in the light of the recent contradiction of the head of the CDW by the Archbishop of Westminster.
|Liturgical twitcher: Bill Oddie|
The first episode, entitled, 'It's Really Simple! You Put Your Right Knee Down!' will focus on genuflection, a key area of the liturgical 'norms' that is yet to be made visibly universal even in a single Diocese, or even a single Deanery.
Dr Oddie, speaking of his involvement in the flagship programme said...
'In my travels up and down the country, I have found such a great diversity in liturgical customs that it is hard to look at two parishes which are even two miles apart and find a great deal that is the same. So much - perhaps more and more - liturgical rules seem to be made up on the spot. The series really puts the liturgical conflicts made public with Cardinal against Cardinal and Pope against Cardinal in a striking light. Whether it is the liturgical vestments - their style, or whether a Sanctuary has male or female Acolytes, or whether Priest and Acolyte genuflect or bow, or whether a Priest genuflects even at the Consecration, or whether the Chalice is drained by the Priest or by a Server or Extraordinary Minister (if necessary), or whether Gregorian Chant is used, or dismissed as obsolete to be replaced by bongos and guitars, the series makes a bold attempt to show that diversity remains one of the few features of the Catholic Church that unites Her liturgy, short of the Presence of the Sacrifice of the Only-Begotten Son of God at every Catholic Mass. Believe me, in some parishes, the use of even the bell has been entirely abandoned.'
The Archbishop of Westminster's office, when asked about the new programme, was unavailable for comment.
GIRMwatch with Bill Oddie begins in September on BBC2 at 8pm