1300 Years of St Wilfrid
Blogged by James Preece on 18th October 2009
One of the patrons of our diocese is a Bishop whose faithfulness to the Holy See made him so unpopular that he was evicted from his own diocese and had to go to Rome and get the Pope to put him back in charge.
St Wilfrid had some pretty strong words for any local clergy who feel they can do things any way they like...
"But as for you and your companions, you certainly sin, if, having heard the decrees of the Apostolic See, and of the universal church, and that the same is confirmed by holy writ, you refuse to follow them; for, though your fathers were holy, do you think that their small number, in a corner of the remotest island, is to be preferred before the universal church of Christ throughout the world?"
1300 years later, our Bishop seems to feel the same way. Shortly after his ordination Bishop Terence Drainey said:
All my priestly life so far I have believed that the will of God is most often expressed to me in and through my superiors, especially my bishop and the teachings of the Church, proposed and proclaimed by our Holy Father, the Pope.
Now, I don't have a degree in theology but I would have thought that the obvious result of all this would be a clearly visible link between what goes on in Rome and Middlesbrough. A person from Middlesbrough might go to Rome and think "Ah, so this is where Bishop Drainey gets his ideas".
I don't think it's unreasonable to think that if St Wilfrid were our Bishop today then such a link would exist.
For instance, when we go to Rome we see the Pope distributing communion like this:
Last week as he marked the 1300th anniversary of St Wilfrid's death, Bishop Drainey honoured St Wilfrid by following in his footsteps by closely emulating the actions of the Pope. Or not...
I'm perfectly aware that Bishop Drainey is not being disobedient here. The Vatican have given permission for English Bishops to allow communion in the hand.
But is that really what it comes down to? Does fidelity to Pope Benedict begin and end with the bare minimum? With doing only what is required?
As examples go, it's not spectacular.