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August/September 2003

"Dear Editor, I thought this imaginary letter might perhaps fill a page or two in Christian Order. Alas, it will be ages before such a letter is written by any Bishop." - Father C.

Template for Reform

Dear Father

This letter will I feel sure disturb you. It is not my wish to do so, but I see my duty to restore reverence and dignity in my churches. I must warn you that if you fail to obey the following instructions, you will force me to suspend you "a divinis," which means no work in my diocese.

I send you the following orders:

  1. You will stop all this chatter in church that goes on before and after the divine services. You could point out the procedure in the presence of Royalty, when the Queen must be the first to speak. You are in the Divine Presence in church, where God speaks to you in your hearts. So keep holy silence.
  2. You will restore the altar rails if you can find them, or have built new ones. The sanctuary must become again a very sacred place.
  3. You will get rid of your table and have a proper stone altar in place.
  4. You will restore the tabernacle and the Blessed Sacrament to its place of honour on the altar.
  5. Every Sunday and holy day you will celebrate at least one Mass in the ancient rite now called the rite of St. Pius V. If you wish to celebrate in the vernacular, you may do so as long as you use the translation of the so-called Old Mass which can be found in the daily missal used by the pious laity until the Mass was taken away from them.
  6. In all Masses, the rubrics of St. Pius V must be observed.
  7. You yourself will distribute Holy Communion on the tongue. Your people are to kneel unless it is physically impossible.
  8. Even in vernacular Masses, you will face God and not your congregation.
  9. You will face opposition. You may openly blame me, your Bishop.
  10. If you are short of funds, I will make up the deficiency. And if you have thrown away the missal of Pius V, I will supply you with one. So there is no excuse for any disobedience.
  11. You will make sure that only the true Catholic Faith is taught in your church and in your school. Any catechist or school teacher who refuses must be warned or dismissed.
  12. I will support all those who carry out my wishes. I am sure it will be a big trial to begin with but God did not call you to the priesthood to make you popular. In fact, Jesus warned his followers that they would be very unpopular. "Blessed are you when men shall revile you…"

I feel sure that after the initial shock, you will see a marked difference in your people, as you lead them into true worship and doctrine. You may even make some converts (rare birds these days) and find some called to the priesthood, as people begin to see what Catholicism is all about.

God Bless you,


Clerical Exasperation!

[29 June 2003]

"I hope that things are well. As regards your last e-mail I don't mind if you give other reliable people my e-mail address, in fact I would be glad of the opportunity to communicate with some other orthodox Catholics, rather than being constantly subjected to wilfully protestantised Catholics all of the time. I don't want to go into a rant because you've heard it all before, but at times I'm exasperated! I wish I knew of some good solid Catholics in this area - do you know anyone? God bless you, Fr. T"



"This new consortium of Anglican, Methodist and United Reformed courses of part-time ministerial training is run by one Canon Trevor Pitt, an Anglican whose office is nevertheless at Ushaw College. Are lay Catholics paying for this office? Is the seminary for the Northern Province and Shrewsbury to be used for the teaching of the generic Liberal Protestantism of this consortiumís members? Are its seminarian students to be so taught? Are the seminary professors to teach Liberal Protestantism to Liberal Protestants, and indeed to Catholics? And are Liberal Protestant ministerial candidates, of both sexes, to be accommodated at Ushaw, which is presently like a ghost-town? I think we should be told."

Concerned Reader

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