Thursday, January 28, 2010

Vatican Radio: Abbot Power; Bishop McMahon; Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarchate

None of these items will tell you why our Bishops were not present at the Vespers, but the interview with Abbot Power of the Benedictine Community at St Paul Outside-the-Walls, makes one wonder even more about their absence. All the items are dated Monday January 25

Abbot Power refers to the said Vespers as the 'culminating event of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity'. He refers to the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul as a 'great celebration' and to St. Paul as 'the most important ecumenical figure in the history of the Church'. He explains this by using the symbolism of the presence of St Paul's basilica 'outside-the-Walls'. St. Peter, he says, had to be persuaded by St. Paul that the Gospel of Christ is for all men, not just the Jews. Paul knew this from the beginning and went 'outside-the-walls' as a result. Father Abbot was refreshingly honest in answer to the question as to why this great ecumenical service always took place at Vespers and not at 'the Eucharist'. He said that whilst there are still disagreements about the meaning of the Eucharist, between the different denominations, it is not possible for the Church to share that Eucharist. But what we can share, is prayer.
This interview was timed at 4,43pm, that is before the celebration of the Vespers.

Another item reports the event up until the end of the Holy Father's Homily. This is timed at 6.51pm, that is when the Celebration was almost over. It states that when he arrived at St. Paul's, he was greeted by Rowan Williams' representative in Rome.and by the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarhate's representative to Italy, Metropolitan Gennadios. Maybe the second lesson was read by him perhaps I imisnformed you in an earlier post. My apologies in that case.

The contribution of Bishop McMahon about the ad limina, is timed 6.55pm. It is not an interview and sounds rather like a pre-recorded message. Why, of all our bishops, he was chosen, I've no idea. If he is spokesperson for our Conference of bishops, why did he speak only about his own diocese of Nottingham. This seemed a very narrow and restricted remit for such an important subject and on such an important day. There was no mention of St Paul, or the Vespers as I recall. The other two items highlighted their importance.

If any of us had been in Rome, would we have stayed away? No, I think we would have gone there expecting to see all our prelates in full assembly. After all. they in Rome to represent the state of their flocks to the Pope.

They are thought to have been invited. One cannot seriously imagine the Holy Father asking them to stay away. I cannot see other ecumenical meetings going on at the same time as more important than a public show of solidarity with our Pope. The Liturgy comes first, and an invitation to a Papal Liturgy surely should be at the top of anyone's priority list, bishop or not. Illness is the only excuse, and I sincerely hope they have not caught some dreadful 'bug'.

It's highly unlikely that we will be given an explanation as to why our bishops were not present. For this reason it is also highly unlikely that I'll post again on the topic. (btw, the English experts at Vatican Radio, can't spell 'receive'!)

A happy St. Thomas Aquinas day to everyone.


David A. said...

"It's highly unlikely that we will be given an explanation as to why our bishops were not present."

As someone wrote, maybe a bit facetiously, on Damian Thomson's blog that brought you all the traffic, "you're a journalist, why don't you phone the Archbishop and ask him?".

I really cannot see how Mr Thompson, if he calls himself a journalist, can fail to follow this up. After all, Archbishop Nichols seems to me to be an exceedingly approachable man, without pomposity.

" more important than a public show of solidarity with our Pope"

Jane, I wouldn't myself view the Vespers service in that way. For me any such liturgy is first and last an act of solidarity and unity with Jesus. I don't see it as any kind of judgement or act of 'support' for the Pope. As I said previously, I really do feel there will be a perfectly innocent explanation for the missing hierarchy!

On the side of the angels said...

If I overstepped the line I'm sorry; but that aint no way to treat a lady.

...believe it or not I'd decided to never comment on Holy Smoke again after yeaterday - I was really upset ; and have a family to consider .

St Thomas Aquinas and St Francis de Sales got it in the neck ; and ultimately I decided I'd shut up...

But Bernadette forced my hand [and believe me she is one hell of a brilliant lady - a devoted teacher and as orthodox and devout as they come] and I was forced to say something !

I'm too stupid to discern if there's anything ironic in all this - but it's certainly weird and I suppose yet again I should say thankyou [how do you sort things out without ever ostensibly doing anything?!]

...admit it - you and your other half have your wings tucked away in your little bottom drawer...
You're loved !

Jane said...

Hello David,

I'm very glad to have your comment. I'd noticed that suggestion on HS that DT should write to ++ Nichols. Yes he is approachable, and I'd been wondering whether I should write to him and convey my worries.

He is my Archbishop after all, and as you say, without pomposity. Yes we live in France but still have a tiny flat not far from the Cathedral and we still pay our Westminster Council tax, not to mention that one of us may have to return to UK, if widowed. And as an English woman I'll always be spiritually and emotionally concerned about the Faith in England and Wales, but specifically in the Archdiocese where I spent most of my adult life.

As to the 'heavy traffic', it has kept up today but I suspect it will die down once Damian puts up a new post. On the other hand, I do hope that some will stay with me. And if they don't, I hope YOU will!

When this has all calmed down I'll get on with that matter of the linguistics of modern journalism!

God bless, and best regards,

Jane said...


What have you said or done to overstep the line, or have I missed something? No way to treat which Lady? Me or Bernadette? I really don't want to go back to HS to find out. But I will if I have to. Please let me know here, or by Facebook message. At the moment those would seem more friendly and secure environments!

If you don't I'll have to go back to HS and read more insults about myself. That I can take, but St Francis de Sales, St. Thomas Aquinas and yourself, NO.

You too are very much loved.