Archbishop Nichols 'disappointed' over gay marriage...

Blogged by James Preece 2 Years ago...

Here's the obligatory token gesture...

The Archbishop of Westminster has expressed his disappointment over the Government's plan to introduce gay marriage. "I'm very disappointed that the Government seems to be choosing this direction," Archbishop Vincent Nichols said at a press conference at the Bishops' Conference of England Wales' headquarters in Victoria today. He added: "I respect the Prime Minister's insistence and emphasis on the importance of equality in relationships and the vital importance of commitment, and of course those are things that we recognise as very important for the health of society. But commitment plus equality does not equal marriage. And the distinctive nature of marriage is something that is very important to the wellbeing of society because it is the foundation of family life."

[link]

I think the worst part of this quote has to be the "seems to be choosing this direction" part. As though the Archbishop seriously thinks there's any ambiguity here... perhaps he has received assurances? How did that work out last time?

Things seem to improve towards the end when he says that marriage is "the foundation of family life" but he can't possibly mean it because he continues to do nothing about Terry Prendergast.

Authority going up in Holy Smoke...

Blogged by James Preece 3 Years ago...

I don't understand Damian Thompson. Some days he seems to have his head well and truly screwed on and his eye on the ball. Others? Well, sometimes I wonder what he's been holy smoking.

Take Friday for example, when he wrote (and this isn't a joke) that...

"Archbishop Nichols may have failed to grapple with the loony Left “Catholic” Education Service, but he upholds traditional teachings on sexual morality"

[link]

It's at moments like this I wish I could think of a more expressive spelling for Ha ha ha! I mean what the? Archbishop Nichols didn't "grapple" with the Catholic Education Service, he founded it. As for his strong defence of traditional teachings on sexual morality, this is the man who turned a blind eye to Terry Prendergast - the director of Marrage Care who said that children don't need mummy and daddy to be married.

What did Archbishop Nichols the president of Marriage Care say?

Nothing. As Damian Thompson well knows.

On Saturday Damian blogged about the Archbishop of Canterbury who when asked a question about gay bishops responded "pass". Damian says that Archbishop Rowan Williams' authority is going up in smoke, but what about Archbishop Nichols?

He was asked if the Catholic Church was going to show a bit more flexibility in sanctioning gay unions? His answer? "I don't know. Who knows what's down the road?" Has Archbishop Nichols authority not also gone up in smoke?

That was the moment Damian Thompson chose to say that Archbishop Nichols "upholds traditional teachings on sexual morality".

Damian, are you feeling alright?

The Archbishops Letter

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has used his first pastoral letter to Westminster Diocese to encourage Catholics to pray daily. He says that "our relationship with Christ, expressed in prayer, is central to the stability and fruitfulness of our lives" and that "A sound practice of daily prayer is essential for our well-being". This is very good.

Archbishop Nichols goes on to give three examples of people who illustrate this truth. The first is St Thérèse of Lisieux, the second is Cardinal Newman and the third is St John Vianney. Independent Catholic news has the full text of the letter but unfortunately due to an editorial oversight (perhaps they didn't realise the letter continued on the other side of the page) they seem to have ommitted the second half in which Archbishop Nichols suggests three worthy intentions for our prayer...

At the conclusion of this letter, I would like to suggest three worthwile intentions for your prayers.

Firstly, please pray for all the children in our Catholic schools. Many of these have been visited by Connexions, the government agency welcomed in to school by the Catholic Education Service back when I was in charge of it, they will have been given trendy literature with a phone number and instructions to phone that number if they need the sort of confidential advice that you can't ask your parents for. Some of those children will have phoned that trusted number (given them in a Catholic school) and have been told how to attain free contraception. Sadly, it is quite likely that out of the many thousands if Catholic school children in England at least one of them called that number and attained an abortion without parental knowledge. Pray for the parents who sent their child to a Catholic school and ended up with a murdered grandchild. Pray also for all those children who have been subjected to the All That I Am sex education course that I approved when I was Archbishop of Birmingham, complete with it's computer generated gratuitous full frontal nudity.

Secondly, pray for all the Catholic couples who get their marriage preparation through Marriage Care. Mainly because the president of Marriage Care doesn't actually think it matters to children whether their parents are married and I don't think it's worth doing anything about it. Many of the couples who get their marriage preparation through Marriage Care will never hear the Church teaching on contraception and as Humanae Vitae says "a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires". It's not easy living out a vocation to marriage and family life in modern Britain but fortunately we think that home is a holy place absolutely independently of how people live so there's no point doing anything to help anyway.

Thirdly, pray for all those Catholics who out of reverence and devition to the eucharistic sacrifice of the Mass find themselve frustrated and scandalised by the way the ordinary form of the Mass is celebrated in their parish. After a few complaints to their Bishop who will probably do nothing about it (we are busy people), many of these Catholics will find refuge in the extraordinary form of the Mass where the priest usually does things properly. Unfortunately, the sort of Catholic who is willing to drive for hours every week in order to go to Mass is inexorably distancing themself from the Church. Pray for all those Catholics who can't trave; very far and have to endure their local parish no matter how much liturgical abuse goes on. We at the Bishops conference would live to do something to help those Catholics but we would rather have a fancy meal with Tony Blair.

May these coming months bring blessings on our families and parishes. And from those sources of strength and encouragement, may we be renewed in our faith and in our generosity towards all in need.

Archbishop of Westminster

So can we use birth control or not?

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

On September 17th it will have been two months since Terry Prendergast, head of "Marriage Care" (which receives funding from the Catholic Church and whose patron is Archbishop Vincent Nichols) stood up and said that Marriage makes no difference to children. So far, Archbishop Vincent Nichols has seen fit to do nothing.

I can see why Archbishop Nichols would be happy with Marriage Care, after all, they make such handy leaflets on Catholic Marriage....

This leaflet is great because it successfully tackles difficult questions such as the Church's view on birth control...

Q. What about the Church’s view on birth control?

A. The Church states positively that one purpose of the gift of sexuality is for a couple’s love-making to be open to having children. The Church also recognises that couples want to make responsible decisions. Some further information for making decisions on family planning is offered in Section Three of this guide under the heading, ‘Catholics and Sex’.

Hmmm... "The Church also recognises that couples want to make responsible decisions." Ambiguous. So are we allowed to use birth control or not?

It says there is "further information for making decisions on family planning" in Section Three. Let's see what it says there...

Christians not only believe that sexual enjoyment strengthens a couple’s relationship but also that it is a gift for sharing in God’s ability to create new life. In the wedding ceremony, you will be asked to be faithful to each other in love and also to be ready to accept children as a gift from God. Equally you have the freedom to make responsible decisions about when to have children so as to be able to give them the love, care and attention they deserve.

Ah yes. Positively brimming with clear information on birth control... The phrase "avoiding the question" comes to mind. In fact it looks awfully like a deliberate attempt to make sure that those who intend to use contraception are not made to feel uncomfortable.

This marvellous leaflet can be found on the front page of the Marriage Care website.

You can download the full leaflet in all it's tedious glory here.

A Joke...

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

Q. What's the difference between Terry Pratchett and Terry Prendergast?

A. One has been heard speaking about a bizarre fantasy world of his own creation and the other is Terry Pratchett.

Alternative ending...

A. One of them gives talks at conventions to people who like to dress up in costumes and act out fantasies with other men and the other is Terry Pratchett.

Another alternative ending...

A. Archbishop Vincent Nichols has heard of Terry Pratchett.

Oh no! Not another alternative ending...

A. When Terry Pratchett features in the news as contradicting the Catholic Church, you can find mention of Archbishop Vincent Nichols objection in the next paragraph...

Terry Prendergast made his comments on marriage over seven weeks ago and Archbishop Nichols has done nothing!

Now that's a joke.

Throwing his weight around

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

A recent editorial in The Tablet (I blogged about it here) reported on Archbishop Vincent Nichols having written to Priests attending a training conference in the Extraordinary Form. The folks at the Tablet could hardly contain their joy at the way Archbishop Nichols had given those snivelling traddies a good talking to.

Shortly afterwards Fr Tim Finigan wrote about it saying that The Tablet had it all wrong...

The editorial rightly notes that the Archdiocese of Westminster has sponsored the training course offered by the Latin Mass Society but instead of drawing the obvious conclusion that the usus antiquior is therefore entering the mainstream of ecclesiastical life in England, it presents this as a "control" issue; a claim that the Archdiocese of Westminster might find mildly insulting.

[link]

I wasn't sure. Had the folks at The Tablet picked out some juicy quotes to make it look like Archbishop Nichols was saying what they want him to say or did they have it right? Without seeing the full text of what Archbishop Nichols said, it's hard to say.

The New Liturgical Movement now have the full text and as I like Fr Tim Finigan, I have to say I think he has it wrong this time.

Considering the way our Bishops are usually so careful to avoid treading on anybody's toes, this is a strongly worded letter. In fact, this is one of the strongest worded letters I have seen from the hand of an English Bishop.

Priests’ Residential Training Conference, 24-28 August 2009
All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, Herts

Message from the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols Archbishop of Westminster.

I welcome this short Training Conference provided by the Diocese of Westminster in conjunction with the Latin Mass Society. This is the correct description of this event. In both the teaching and law of the Church it is the bishop who has responsibility for the provision and oversight of the Liturgy.

In the Motu Proprio ‘Summorum Pontificum’ Pope Benedict permitted the use of the 1962 Form of the Mass, under clearly defined circumstances. In doing so he insisted that there is one Rite of the Mass in the Latin Church. This makes clear that the ordinary Form of the Mass and this extraordinary Form serve one and the same Rite. They are, therefore, both finding their place in this Summer School and participants will wholeheartedly celebrate the Mass in each of these Forms.

The view that the ordinary Form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here. Indeed anyone who holds such a view does not come under the generous provision of ‘Summorum Pontificum’. Such a person is inexorably distancing themselves from the Church.

The Mass is the source and expression of the unity of the Church, for that unity comes from Christ. We have no other. Our unity does not consist in a uniformity of personal use or preference. Indeed, such matters should play a minimum part in our liturgy, particularly in the ministry of the priest. What we priests are to provide, as a key element of our ministry, is the Liturgy of the Church.

The established principle of good liturgy – such as the ‘active participation’ of all taking part in the Mass, in both the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist – apply whichever Form of the Mass is being used. This principle needs careful consideration and application by every celebrant and any who help in the preparation of the liturgy. I trust it will find its place in this Summer School.

Pope Benedict has given an additional and delicate task to priests and bishops: the provision of the extraordinary Form of the Mass in response to genuine needs as outlined in the Motu Proprio. I am grateful to you all for helping us to respond to this task, always within the work of sustaining and nurturing the unity of the Church.

+Vincent Nichols
17-709

I'm not sure how anybody can read this and say it is not a "control" issue, the Archbishops meaning is very clear. he is the Bishop and the conference is under his control.In both the teaching and law of the Church it is the bishop who has responsibility for the provision and oversight of the Liturgy.

It's good to see the heroic Archbishop Vincent Nichols laying the smackdown on some seriously dangerous traditionalists. See how he confidently shows them who is the boss. What a guy.

In a moment the big boys from Marriage Care will be coming and Little Vinny will be sure to cross over to the other side of the road in order to avoid passing too close. He will shuffle along awkwardly keeping his eyes to the ground. After all, nobody would want a run in with Terry "Knuckleduster" Prendergast.

Why doesn't Archbishop Vincent Nichols do something about Terry Prendergast? Is it because Bishops are supposed to keep their nose out of marriage? Or is it that he just worried that they might take away his lunch money.

Terry Prendergast put in his place

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has written a foreword for a booklet which will be given to participants at a forthcoming Marriage Care (formerly Catholic Marriage Advisory Service) Conference. The following excerpt is taken from the editorial in this weeks The Tablet...

Terry Prendergast put in his place

His message is unambiguous, and may not please some of those hoping to attend the conference. First, he has insisted that the conference is officially sponsored by the Diocese of Westminster, “in conjunction with Marriage Care”, thereby keeping it under his control. In church teaching and canon law, he states, bishops are responsible for the pastoral care of married people.

...

Conference participants “will wholeheartedly learn about authentic Catholic teaching on Marriage”, he instructs them bluntly, adding: “The view that cohabiting parents are just as good for children as married ones finds no place here.” People who hold that view are “inexorably distancing themselves from the Church”, he says.

...

This timely display of clear leadership from the new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales bodes well.

No wait...

I seem to have misread it.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols was actually writing a foreword for a booklet to be given to priests at a training conference for priests learning the extraordinary form of the Mass.

Here's what The Tablet article really says...

The old rite put in its place

His message is unambiguous, and may not please some of those hoping to attend the conference. First, he has insisted that the training conference is officially sponsored by the Diocese of Westminster, “in conjunction with the Latin Mass Society”, thereby keeping it under his control. In church teaching and canon law, he states, bishops are responsible for the oversight of the liturgy.

...

Conference participants “will wholeheartedly celebrate the Mass in each of these forms”, he instructs them bluntly, adding: “The view that the ordinary form of the Mass, in itself, is in some way deficient finds no place here.” People who hold that view are “inexorably distancing themselves from the Church”, he says.

...

This timely display of clear leadership from the new president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales bodes well.

[link]

So...

It seems Archbishop Vincent Nichols is more than willing to get his hands dirty and use his authority as a Bishop to keep things "under his control".

It's just a pity he only seems willing to do it against a minority group in the Church who he knows do not necessarily enjoy widespread support.

To oppose the comments of Terry Prendergast would be counter-cultural and would involve widespread criticism from the media as well as dissident Catholic pressure groups (also known as diocesan curial offices) across the country.

To take oppose the comments of Terry Prendergast would take courage and resolve, in the absence of such resolve, his move to get the Latin Mass Society "under his control" looks a lot like cowardly bullying.

Archbishop Vincent Nichols on MySpace and Facebook

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

Good to see Archbishop Vincent Nichols giving a clear warning about the dangers of MySpace and Facebook this weekend...

"Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together."

The archbishop blamed social network sites for leaving children with impoverished friendships.

"Facebook and MySpace might contribute towards communities, but I'm wary about it. It's not rounded communication so it won't build a rounded community," he said.

"If we mean by community a genuine growing together and a mutual sharing in an interest that is of some significance then it needs more than Facebook."

He warned that the sites are contributing to a trend for teenagers to put too much importance on the number of friends they have and that this can ultimately lead to suicide.

"Among young people often a key factor in them committing suicide is the trauma of transient relationships.

"They throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate."

[The Telegraph]

I for one am filled with hope at seeing this in the news because I know that Archbishop Nichols is now close to doing something about Terry Prendergast...

Call me old fashioned, but I would say that the breakdown of the family has had a far more profound effect on our ability to build "rounded" communities, generates far more "transianet relationships" and "desolate" young people than social networking sites ever will and defending the family should be far higher up the Archbishops list.

If Archbishop Vincent Nichols is concerned about young people who "throw themselves into a friendship or network of friendships, then it collapses and they're desolate" why is he not doing something to defend traditional marriage from Terry Prendergast?

Absolutely Nothing

Blogged by James Preece 4 Years ago...

Zero. Zilch. Nada.

Well you did ask...