The ordinariate needs its own churches
SIR – I had the pleasure of attending the ordinariate Mass discussed by Stephen Bullivant in his recent blog on your website.
It was not my first visit since, unlike him, I have been attending the ordinariate Mass in Oxford whenever I am in the city. It is a remarkably beautiful, prayerful experience which lights up what is otherwise a rather unattractive church. What is disappointing, however, is how few people attend. Despite having excellent, enthusiastic priests, the ordinariate in Oxford, as elsewhere, has to be satisfied with having one Mass on a Saturday evening, which makes it difficult to build a proper congregation.
I really do not understand why more bishops are not giving the ordinariate their own churches in which they can develop their distinctive mission. What is becoming apparent is that specialist churches run by enthusiastic orders are able to develop active congregations if they are simply given the opportunity. The Latin Mass churches in the North West, the Oratories and the Syro-Malabar church in Preston are all examples of bishops having the courage to give orders their own churches and let them get on with the job. I sincerely hope that it will not be long before ordinariate members in Oxford and elsewhere are given a church of their own, to love, develop and grow.
The path of mercy
SIR – It was disturbing to read that Cardinal Raymond Burke would make a formal act of correction of a presumed mistake of the Pope.
May I point out that if there is a mistake it is to be determined and corrected by a Council, and ultimately based on the Scripture, the core of which is the path left by the Lord Jesus and the mercy that He taught and practised.
Fr Jacob Kavunkal SVD
Head of the department of theology, mission and ministry,
University of Divinity,
Yarra Theological Union,
No room at the inn?
SIR – The Year of Mercy has concluded, but mercy as a Christian duty continues life-long. Pope Francis has given a vital practical example of mercy towards refugees.
We shall prepare to celebrate Christmas shortly: shall we say “No room at the inn” to refugees? Many convents and religious houses have just a few aged members today. These near-empty buildings could be opened up and reconditioned to welcome Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus in the guise of refugees.
Where there is a will there is a way. Pope Francis leads the way.
Fr Con McGillicuddy
A prince to the rescue
SIR – As America prepares to embark on a new stage in her history, friends of America will be praying that God’s Kindly Light will be cast upon the future of that nation. If political commentators are right that the deciding factor in the recent presidential election was the cry of the poor, may I suggest that those friends of America would find a Russian man to be an ideal intercessor. He served the poorest of American poor for 40 years.
I refer to the Russian prince Demetrius Augustine Gallitzin, who was born in 1770. Prince Gallitzin landed at Baltimore, Maryland, on October 28, 1792, to begin a two-year tour of America as similar as possible to the Grand Tour, which the French Revolution had made unsafe. He was accompanied by his valet and chaplain.
In Baltimore was America’s first and then only bishop, John Carroll. Bishop Carroll was to get a shock when he was told, not long after the prince’s arrival, that Prince Gallitzin wished to become a priest, knowing no English and with his parents opposing the idea.
In time Prince Gallitzin did learn English and become a priest, the first to come through the seminary system of the newly born United States. Priests in America were then addressed as “Mr”, and putting aside his royal status, the prince chose the name “Mr Smith”. At his own request he was sent in 1799 to minister to poor people who lived at the McGuire Settlement up in the Alleghenies. He built a little wooden chapel, and felt the need to put up notices asking the members of his flock not to spit in church, and to scrape off the mud from their boots before entering.
Fr Gallitzin took American citizenship in 1802. His flock came to love him, and he died among them on May 6, 1840, having named the area Loretto, in honour of Our Lady.
Fr Gallitzin, although declared Venerable by the Church, is not well known in America outside Pennsylvania, and hardly at all elsewhere. But he would make a splendid intercessor for God’s blessing on America at this time.
Fr Michael Murphy,
Cork, Republic of Ireland
SIR – Ann Widdecombe (Comment, November 18) argues forcefully that British Christians are facing persecution. I think it is better to reserve that word for the grievous, co-ordinated violation of Christians’ rights, such as we are now seeing in parts of the Middle East and Asia, and indeed saw in our own lands in the 16th century.
SIR – On secular politics and efforts to influence Catholic teaching (Cover story, October 21), Robert Wargas and Jonathan Luxmoore brought to mind St Teresa of Calcutta.
In her own words, the recently canonised saint once stated that she took “no salary, no government grant, no Church assistance”, preferring, instead, to depend upon donations and divine providence. Thus, her Missionaries of Charity could avoid compromising their work with the poor.
This is an important lesson at a time when the anti-family agenda is being pushed as a condition for development assistance.
Victoria knows best
SIR – In reference to Jill, Duchess of Hamilton’s article (Feature, November 11), I was told that General Gordon, once he was convinced of the authenticity of the Garden Tomb as Jesus’s place of burial, telegraphed Queen Victoria to suggest that she issue a charter to protect the locale.
Her Majesty courteously replied to Gordon, thanking him for his communication, but saying that all the evidence and the judgment of historians favoured the discovery made by her “cousin Helena”.
Stephen de la Bédoyère
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.