Saturday, 2 November 2013

In Praise Of Our Bishop

In these days when we hear about Bishops who seem to have little or no time for their tradition-minded flock, it is good to be able to write about our own Bishop, Seamus Cunningham, who has not left his flock untended.

As my parishioners know, I have a measure of COPD which means I am very susceptible to chest infections. After an overnight stay in hospital earlier this year we were unable to find a supply priest for any of our weekend Masses, so I asked to meet with the Pastoral Care Team (formerly the Pastoral Council) to look at the issue of last-minute supplies. We decided that it would actually be better to lose our Vigil Mass in favour of a Sunday evening Mass, a measure we have recently undertaken.  It was then pointed out that if I am ever unable to celebrate a Sunday evening Mass I am unlikely to be able to celebrate our Sunday morning Extraordinary Form (TLM). In fairness then, we had decided to cancel this Mass too after last week's feast of Christ the King. However, even some of those parishioners who prefer the Novus Order to the TLM where unhappy with this since the presence of the TLM on Sunday Mornings at least gave them an opportunity to attend Mass if they could not make a Sunday evening, so we were asked to look at the issue again so as to find a way of retaining its place in the parish.

Now the morning TLM is one where students from the university who are attached to the Extraordinary Form often come; it is also the Mass after which we have a very pleasant coffee morning afterwards to raise funds for Justice & Peace projects; and it is the Mass at which we have several young families. One of our converts, who has grown attached to the TLM, wrote to Bishop Cunningham on behalf of a number of people asking if he would appoint someone to regularly supply this Mass for us, and indeed, he has. We now have no fears of this Mass being lost from those who desire it.

I think in days when bishops get a bad press for not supporting the Traditional Mass and tradition-minded Catholics it was right for me to acknowledge the pastoral sensitivity and shown by Bishop Cunningham to those who have found a spiritual home in the TLM. Perhaps as time goes on more Bishops will feel able to supply the kind of pastoral care that we have received from Bishop Cunningham. Thank you, Excellency


  1. Has your bishop invited the FSSP into your diocese then?

    1. Thank you for the comment, Binky.
      The simple answer is 'no, he hasn't', but he has allowed one of our priests to return to a central parish where he was some time ago to continue the Traditional Mass there, added to which there are Masses north and south of that parish so that there is geographically provision in the Diocese.
      Ideally the FSSP would be here and in every Diocese, but I won't complain about not having the best when we have the good. Bishop Cunningham has now supported the continuance of two TLM's in as many months, and that isn't something I think should be overlooked by us, his grateful and faithful flock.
      God Bless.

  2. Father, I think this is a good step taken by Bishop Cunningham. Too often little or no provision is made for Traditional Catholics. As you say, it may not be the best that can be done (having the FSSP in a central parish would be great) but we should be grateful for all the Bishop has done so far -including allowing Traditional Masses in his Cathedral.

    1. Thank you for your comment.

      Yes, I think we can see genuine pastoral care for Traditional Catholics in our Bishop. He may not celebrate it himself, but he never prevents it.


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