Thursday, August 18, 2016

Some Good News from Unexpected Sources

The Catholic Herald has been commenting often on a revival in the Catholic Church in England, noting its unexpected sources: the Syro-Malabar eparchy, the Oratorians, and the Extraordinary Form:

Britain’s Syro-Malabar Catholics, soon to grace the city of Preston with a long-deserved cathedral, seem to be having something of a breakout moment. In June, the ordination of a deacon in Southwark diocese attracted headlines in Catholic publications across the world: Joice James Pallickamyalil is the ancient Kerala-rooted Church’s very first married deacon. (He is also, I feel loyalty-bound to note, a product of the St Mary’s University formation programme.) And last month a new Eparchy for Great Britain – a kind of diocese sans frontière – was announced. It is only the fourth to be established outside India.

All this from a British Syro-Malabar community of perhaps 40,000 (around one per cent of the global total) who, until very recently, the clear majority of their fellow Catholics never even knew existed. If so, then they’ve been missing out on one of this country’s most remarkable Catholic success stories.

And Stephen Bullivant goes on to note:

Down in Devon, for example, the School of the Annunciation at Buckfast is one of several new (or re-newed) educational establishments taking the Faith very seriously indeed. Meanwhile, in the Orkneys, the thriving Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer were approved as an institute of diocesan right by Bishop Hugh Gilbert earlier this year, having been reconciled with Rome in 2008 (a move which, if recent reports come to fruition, may well have paved the way for a much larger homecoming of the SSPX).

Speaking of religious life in the north, note inter alia: Glasgow’s Sisters of the Gospel of Life (established 2000), the Canons of St Ambrose and St Charles in Carlisle (established 2014), two new Oratories in York and Manchester (with another on the way in Bournemouth), and three historic parishes given serious new life by two traditionalist groups: the Institute of Christ the King (Preston, New Brighton) and the FSSP (Warrington).

The other order or institute providing is Blessed John Henry Newman's foundation of the Oratorians of St. Philip Neri in England. Also from the Herald in May this year:

A new community of the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri is to be established in Bournemouth.

The community, which will be inaugurated at the Sacred Heart church in September, will be the sixth Oratory to be set up in England.

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth, who invited the Oratorians to Bournemouth, said they would form part of a “major evangelisation drive”.

The centre will be an “Oratory in formation” and will be made up of Fr Dominic Jacob, co-founder of the Oxford Oratory, Fr Peter Edwards and Fr David Hutton.

There are some interesting aspects of this revival: one that it is not coming from the Anglican Ordinariate in the way that many hoped it would. The Ordinariate is still growing and succeeding, but there have not been large group moves lately even though the Church of England continues on its merry way. 

The second interesting aspect is that the orders, institutes, and communities assisting with this revival all celebrate traditional, beautiful liturgies. The implementation of liturgical reforms after the Second Vatican Council did not effect any changes in the Eastern Rites of the Church, so the Syro-Malabar rite retains its ancient patriarchal traditions. The Oratory parishes often celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form (and the Ordinary Form in Latin), while the FSSP and Institute of Christ the King, both established during the reign of Pope St. John Paul II, celebrate only the Extraordinary Form. The Oratorians, FSSP, and Institute parishes also emphasize traditional devotions (the Rosary, Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction, pilgrimages, novenas, Vespers, etc). 

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