Bishops Backing the Wrong Horses

Two cases of unwise gambles have struck my eyes in the last two days.

I learned via James Preece's blog that our own Bishop Kieran Conry has made public, in The Tablet, that he requested that Fr Ray Blake change his blog title, under pressure from Mgr Basil Loftus's efforts to take legal action against the aforementioned well-loved Brighton Priest.

One has to ask why His Lordship has been so open and garrulous with a weekly magazine with a notable history of stitching up traditional Priests, yet he was so taciturn when asked about women's ordinations on TV during the Papal Visit, saying, 'I couldn't possibly comment'?  Surely this incident merited both support for his Priest and, in the absence of that, at least some discretion with The Tablet? As one of the sheep in His Lordship's flock, I must say I am most disappointed, especially being a lay man with so much admiration for Fr Ray's dedication, devotedness to Christ, Our Blessed Lady and Our Lord's Holy Church, not to mention his faithfulness in following closely the wishes of Pope Benedict XVI in liberating the Extraordinary Form of the Mass.

His Lordship is Bishop of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton so it is hard for me to say anything negative about him, but regardless of that, I've met him once or twice and I have nothing negative to say about him on this basis. His Lordship was very cordial and caring. I do remember wishing that His Lordship had dressed as a Bishop when I did meet him at a 'youth' gathering in Hove, but, aside from that, I just find it so disappointing that His Lordship has given into Mgr Loftus's blatant bullying and inability to cope with any critical examination of his own writings.

Bishops have a real responsibility to protect their Priests and to support them, especially when the Priest in question has only acted in good faith, allowing others to comment on his blog and to air their opinions. Fr Ray continues to make the Catholic Faith very accessible to the Faithful, teaching the Faith with great loyalty and zeal, using, as a loving pastor, the opportunities that the online media now present to the clergy to communicate the Gospel.

So sad. Another bad bet is Archbishop Vincent Nichols's sudden refusal to allow the Latin Mass Society to celebrate a Mass of Thanksgiving for the Papal visit in the Extraordinary Form. Pop over to Linen on the Hedgerow's excellent new blog to 'read all about it'. So sad...

 I'd rather no more comments to be published on this blogpost, please.


georgem said…
I'm afraid the good bishop may be unable to get his head around the concept of priests like Fr. Ray Blake. The reason given that some parishioners complained stretches credulity somewhat. But to give the bishop some credit he did at least find a compromise and allow the blog to continue and for that we should be grateful.
Having returned from a wonderful LMS Requiem Mass for the Holy Souls at Westminster Cathedral and well attended with lots of Young People present (many of them Young Males) I was cast down by the revelation that the Archbishop of Westminster pulled the plug on the LMS Mass of Thanksgiving for the Papal Visit.
There are plenty of spots on a Saturday between the 10.30 sung Mass and the 6.0pm Saturday evening Mass, enough for two extra Masses. And the LMS is granted a monthly Mass on a Saturday at 4.0pm so it's hard to see why the last-minute decision was made.
It makes one wonder whether the Archbishop is his own man. It seems very odd that he should support the Soho Masses but not a LMS Mass which throws up no ambiguity.
Oh well, business as usual . . . .
pelerin said…
I am at a loss to understand why the LMS needed permission to celebrate the Mass in question. I thought after the Motu proprio any Priest could celebrate the TLM without the permission of his Bishop. Could they not have gone elsewhere?

As for the Bishop's request to Fr Ray, which he has of course obediently done without comment, I shall refrain from commenting and just repeat your words - so sad.

I had noticed that Fr Ray's blog website no longer appears on the parish bulletin thus depriving new readers of his teaching in this way. Now I know why - so sad.
Sorry to those whose posts I have deleted.

Anything that seemed to lack deference to the Offices of the Priesthood and the Bishop, er, hood,, er, this instance. Sorry.
georgem said…
I should think the LMS, of which I am not a member, is well enough organised and practised not to try to book a Mass at Westminster Cathedral at 24 hours' notice. Such is the demand that special Masses have to be booked weeks or months in advance. Of course, the LMS know full well that they must seek permission from the Archbishop or his representative. As I understand it, it was the permission that was withdrawn at 24 hours' notice, not that the application was made in this timescale.
I am sure it was a case of great minds thinking alike on holding a Thanksgiving Mass, but one does not negate the other. It must have been made pretty clear to the LMS they were not welcome. Because if they were they could have been offered an alternative date.
Absolutely. It's v. disturbing.
Catholic pragmatist said…
''Sorry to those whose posts I have deleted. Anything that seemed to lack deference to the Offices of the Priesthood and the Bishop, er, hood,, er, this instance. Sorry.''

You also deleted my post in support of Bishop Conry's and Archbishop Nicholl's decision which did not lack deference to the priesthood or any bishop. One might think you deleted posts which took issue to your twisting of both these events.
I believe that the reputation of both of these men of the Church deserves some respect.
Catholic pragmatist said…
Indeed I gave respect to both these bishops and supported their pastoral interventions. All I disagreed with was your comments in decribing what they had done. So why did you delete my comment? Only because it diagreed with your interpretation of the events.
Catholic pragmatist said…
I support Bishop Conry's request to Fr Blake to change the name of his blog to better reflect what it is, ie his personal blog expressing his personal beliefs rather than the 'online parish magazine'. The bishop is right to protect the diocese from the potential financial and scandulous threat of libel.He was not heavy handed and he acted pastorally finding a way for the blog to continue. A very wise and fatherly Bishop imho.
Cathedral Insider said…
From what I have heard it is not true that the Archbishop's aides cancelled the LMS mass in thanksgiving of Pope Benedict's recent visit with only 24 hours notice. That is a deliberate untruth. If you don't believe me, speak to a member of the LMS staff or committee - they will confirm what I have said.

The mass was cancelled because of beaurocratic bumbling by the LMS, they didn't get the requested date checked and confirmed before they started planning and advertising the mass. The cathedral was already booked and so they were left with egg on their face. That is probably why they are remaining quiet about the whole affair.
georgem said…
Cathedral Insider, I accept what you say.
Perhaps you could tell me if the LMS was told to organise better and to come back with a list of alternative dates?
georgem said…
Bones, I am confused. I answered a post by, I think, Brighton Parishioner who now seems to have morphed into Catholic Pragmatist.
Am I losing it?
I'm not a techie, but can one person post under several IDs on the same blog?
Yes, i think it is a deliberate ploy to give off the impression that lots of people share his opinion.
georgem said…
But that's cheating . . . . .
catholic pragmatist said…
''Sorry to those whose posts I have deleted.
Anything that seemed to lack deference to the Offices of the Priesthood and the Bishop, er, hood,, er, this instance. Sorry.''

er, yes... except you left several very insulting posts towards Bishop Conry including one which makes the snide and unstabtiated claim that his diocesean priests despise him.

How is that just? Your hypocrisy makes me sick!
Traditional Catholic said…
Georgem - you know the answer to your question. They were told an additional EF mass in thanksgiving for the pope's visit was un-necessary since Archbishop Nichols had already organised (and by now celebrated) a (OF) mass for this purpose. Traditionalists are not a parallel church, they can show their unity to the holy father by demonstrating their unity with their bishop who is in communion with the bishop of Rome.

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