Saturday, 14 May 2011

God Bless Our Bishops

Two heartening pieces of news from the bishops' conference in England and Wales.

The first is that they are restoring the obligation to abstain from meat on Fridays.

This is hugely important for a number of reasons. One is the recognition that visible Catholic witness is an essential part of the re-evangelisation of the countries. A second is the need to rebuild a sense of Catholic identity, that has been seriously eroded by so many changes over the last few decades. A third is that it is the first clear sign that the bishops may be starting to turn the super-tanker. It is a reversal of a change they introduced, which they now recognise to have been mistaken, and as such is a great beacon of hope (at least to me!).

The second heartening piece of news is that they are considering allowing us to celebrate Ascension Thursday on a Thursday, and Epiphany on the Twelfth Night after Christmas. Again, the practical and symbolic aspects of this change, if decided upon, would be enormous, in similar ways to those listed above.

Let us hope and pray that they do so, and that they continue to evaluate and reverse policies and pastoral practices that have been introduced but have, in practice been counter-productive.

I gather that these changes are the fruits of the Holy Father's visit last year. I know from personal and family experience that there were many local and particular fruits; it is wonderful that there are also to be national ones - and I hope these will be the first of many.


Anonymous said...

So good to read a positive post about the Bishops of England and Wales. Sadly, it is all too easy for them to become the villains.
I agree that these changes are probably the fruits of The Holy Father's visit.
However, we have always abstained from meat and have fish on Friday. Always say Grace before meals and generally try and keep the visible and tangible as a reminder to ourselves and others of our catholicity, a witness to our faith.
Yes, some Holy Days were moved to the nearest Sunday. We might not like it, but until it is changed there is not much we can do. No point stamping our feet about it, just go to Mass on the particular day anyway, and be happy to be there.
I imagine that the appointment of a new Nuncio may well bring immense change.
We will pray on that!

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Andrew Scott said...

PH: Thanks for your comment - we too have always abstained from meat on Fridays, but I still think it important this be reintroduced as a universal norm for the reasons I mentioned. Not sure I agree about 'no point stamping our feet' - I think it is partly because some of us stamped our feet that the bishops looked again at Fridays and are looking at Holidays of Obligation.

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