Thursday, February 22, 2007



Readers of Catholic blogs - you really MUST get this week's CATHOLIC TIMES (no, it's not available on-line. Go to your local church this Sunday and buy it there. It has a feature interview with Father Timothy Finigan of the Hermeneutic of Continuity, written by fellow-blogger JB.

I have also to report an unfortunate - but amusing - mistake in my weekly Catholic Times column. I write about celebrating all the traditional feasts and seasons of the year (see what you're missing if you don't get the paper?) and this week it's St David. I mention the national Shrine of Our Lady in's the shrine of Our Lady of the Taper at Cardigan. The Welsh name for Cardigan is Aberteifi, so I put that in brackets alongside. But the Catholic Times computer doesn't speak Welsh, so it automatically "corrected" it to "Aperitif".....

Oh, dear. I am sure some Welsh readers are going to be rather offended.


A visit to Bonus Pastor Catholic secondary school in South London....train via Victoria to Beckenham Junction, then a pleasant walk. I was invited to speak as a journalist, the idea being to have Catholics active in various fields, speaking at lessons OTHER than Religious Education. So they had me speaking in the English lesson. Unfortunately, I got so enthusiastic talking about journalism, that I barely mentioned Catholicism at all. I do wish I had been more forthright about the Faith, about the great traditions of Catholic writing, etc....however, I donated a couple of books to the School Library, one being my "Book of Feasts and Seasons", and they now want to have me back to speak on that subject, so that can go better.....

Comment from the RE teacher there - the pupils are open to the Faith, they can be very inspired by the Christian message, but they find Sunday Mass "boring". She believes, and she is not alone in this among Catholic teachers, that more glorious music - yes, in Latin too, and lots of it - in a reverent liturgy is the key. Since this is definitely the trend in which liturgy is moving, there is hope here. If the Mass is just a formula, with either no music at all or just a couple of bleak hymns, then young people will continue to find it boring.

Incidentally - and this is just my comment, not hers - my experience is that young people often think they won't enjoy Latin or any form of remotely classical music. They may associate it with people who are "sad", who dress in an old-fashioned way and are clique-ish. But once they experience it at Mass, especially if it's NOT combined with a clique-ish or over-formal atmosphere, then they love it and the Mass begins to mean something great and real and marvellous. Fortunately more and more parishes in London - although I am not at all sure that this is the case elsewhere in Britain - seem comfortable about having some Latin,at least for the sung parts of the Mass. And of course if the Tridentine Rite is once again part of the mainstream this will make things even better. It will not only be something that could simply be a part of normal parish life in itself - eg one of the Sunday Masses could be in that rite - but will undoubtedly slowly influence the way in which all the other Masses are celebrated too.


Ttony said...

The RE teacher said: "She believes, and she is not alone in this among Catholic teachers, that more glorious music - yes, in Latin too, and lots of it - in a reverent liturgy is the key."

Perhaps the key word is "ritual". Even adolescents like there to be a ritual to rebel (or often to pretend) to rebel against. One of the problems with the New Rite is that, as the priest's actions are no longer so precisely prescribed, he will do things differently every time you see him at Mass.

Anonymous said...

What happens is that in mid teens children rebel against their culture, whilst once they get into Sixth Form they suddenly do a volte-face and embrace it. It is quite acceptable for a sixth-former to be interested in maths.

Unfortunately in my Catholic school that didn't happen with attitudes to the church. Very few boys attended Mass voluntarily. No one saw it as their duty to make sure that the younger boys behaved in Mass.