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Wednesday, 20 May 2009

More Advice to the New Archbishop of Westminster

Fr Ray Blake, who really has one of the best blogs out there, writes an open letter to + Archbishop Vincent Nichols, (whose installation Mass tomorrow will feature some particularly well-chosen music as well as ritual not seen, I believe, in centuries.)
I commented there that it would be no bad thing if it were sent to every one of the nearly 3ooo Catholic dioceses in the world, but have rethought that -- it should be sent to every priest, every liturgist, every DRE, every catechist, every musician, every worshipper, every seminarian, not just in the Church, but in all of Christendom.
Your Grace,
Tomorrow, by the Grace of God and favour of the Apostolic See, you become the successor of St Augustine and the eleventh Archbishop of Westminster. I join with every Catholic in England and Wales in offering you my best wishes and congratulations.

At this particular time not only the Catholic Church in England and Wales, but Christian’s as a whole and our nation is hungry for clear spiritual leadership, you can offer this. I am reminded of Cardinal Winning, who was once asked a question by a journalist, who began, “As head of the Catholic Church in Scotland ...”. He replied, “Jesus Christ is head of the Catholic Church in Scotland”. If you remember that Jesus Christ is head of the Church in England Wales then all will be well. If you make sure that everything you say and do is turned towards Him, all will be well.

There is a crisis in the Church and nation, I see it as a crisis of Grace. In the Church and the nation there is a loss of a connection with God, we have allowed God to be sidelined, pushed to the edge. Even in the Church we have come to rely on our own efforts rather than His power. This has robbed the Church in England and Wales of a sense of Hope. We have got to the point where most bishops are managing decline, so many priests are expecting not to be replaced, our institutions: adoption societies, care agencies, schools are becoming more and secularised. We need you to tell us that shipwreck awaits us unless we turn to the Lord, and trust in His promises rather than our own efforts. Like the alcoholic in the gutter we need to discover, “the Power beyond ourselves”, that power is the Grace of God.

A problem with modern society is a sense of powerlessness of the individual, it is perhaps the cause of many of our social problems, such as drug addiction, teenage pregnancy, frustration with our political structures. For a you, as Archbishop of Westminster, this sense of powerlessness is actually advantageous, faith transforms our powerlessness into hope, not in ourselves, but in God.

A tag traditional Catholics use is “Save the Liturgy, save the world” is important.

The Liturgy is the public expression of the life of the Church. It is the “source and summit of Christian life” the fount from which and to which everything flows. At the centre of the Liturgy is the adoration of God, worshipped with, in and through Jesus Christ, in the unity of the Holy Spirit. Here mankind is raised from enmity with God to the position of Sons, here Christ raises us to share in his own Divinity. A mundane liturgy robs us of the sense of Grace, of Divine Power.

If we are merely celebrating our own community then we are conscious only of our failure.

The Liturgy, properly celebrated gives us a new anthropology, a vision of mankind conjoined to angels and saints in communion with God Himself.

If we have a vision of what we have become through the sacraments, in the Church we will become the leaven that the world, and our nation desperately needs. With my prayers, etc...
... and then, all will be well.
May not immediately, maybe not even in this lifetime.
But all will be well.

I have to admit to a tinge of dismay at a recent installation in the US, to note a liturgical sensibility in the new prelate that was extremely ....casual? is that the word I want?
Yes, casual.
This is troubling because "casual" in the high-ranking or high profile gives aid and comfort to those who relax beyond "casual" to "careless."

The eyes of [the many :oP] look to you, Your Excellency.

Don't let us down.

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