Friday, February 16, 2024

Bishop Wheeler Continued 1

 The Council

The Council, only the 21st in the Church's life, is the Spirit of God speaking to us: God in dialogue with our time. It is the cause of interest and uncertainty, but the answer, God's answer, to the present troubles. We should listen, then, to all the Council tells us. We should read and study its decrees if we want to know what the Holy Spirit is saying to the world in our time. Not that the Council has all the answers (it is never good for men to have all the answers: sometimes God wants him to work them out for himself), but if we listen to the Council it points the path that we should tread. In most ways the path is well-worn, sometimes the track is new. Christ brings forth the old and new together. We can never afford to despise the old nor should we fear to follow the new when God's spirit shows the way.


As we tread this path there will be many new vistas. Some will be mirages, and we must take care of the traps and precipices . The Devil will make his ambushes no less, perhaps more easily, than he did before. But the spirit of adventure is a God-given the thing, and if we are seekers of the Way, Christ is with us. We must not cling intransigently to the past., but neither must we take new paths until our footing is sure.

Next time; God's people and the Living God.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Lent I

+William Gordon Wheeler (5.V. 1910- 21.II. 1998)

It was good to see a healthy number of people at Mass for Ash Wednesday this evening. I think this new later time will work better than the earlier teatime slot. Lent has got off to a good start. 

My grandchildren were parading round the supermarket after Mass apparently proud of their ash crossed foreheads. The cashier asked them if they had been to church.

Mass for the first Sunday of Lent will be offered at St. Patrick's, Bradford at 1.00 p.m. and confessions will be available for those wishing to perform part of their Easter duties.

Many letters, pamphlets, books and papers of various types are always on my desk demanding my attention and I usually have two or three projects on the go at once to keep me occupied when I am not teaching.

At the moment I am preparing lectures on the use of English Idioms and another on the history of the Berlin Wall with one about the Bradford Beck's contribution to the the life of the city is in the pipeline.

Recently somebody sent me an old CTS pamphlet which I had never seen. It is called "Let's Get This Straight. The Church after Vatican II". It is by Bishop William Gordon Wheeler who was the Bishop of Leeds from 1966 to 1985. 

I remember him with great fondness. not only because he confirmed me, but because in my possession I have a lot of his personal correspondence with Mrs Agnes Rutherford, who was the rep for the Latin Mass Society during Bishop Wheeler's time and beyond. It is clear to me that if every bishop in the Church had been like Bishop Wheeler we wouldn't have been in the situation in which we find ourselves today, where it is almost as if the Church itself has become a scourge in the hand of God and we have to make more sacrifices to fulfil our baptismal promises. 

To illustrate what I mean, I am going to produce excerpts from the bishop's pamphlet throughout Lent.

Bishop Wheeler's optimism and belief, when he produced the pamphlet in 1969,  that there was a thirst for growth and development and that the implementation of the Council could feed these needs seem incredibly na├»ve today for those of us staring through the lens of hindsight. But Wheeler only knew how to look at things through the lens of the hermeneutic of continuity in the light of Tradition. This is something about which Pope Benedict frequently spoke. 

The pamphlet is made up of nearly forty paragraphs. Each one addresses an issue about which we need "to get straight". Remember the pamphlet was written in 1969 before the introduction of the Pauline Mass and after Humanae Vitae. Abortion in England had already been legalised.

The World Today

Many people are saying, 'We are living in times of great uncertainty, and we don't know where we stand. Before the Council, our feet were on a rock. Now, we are moving on shifting sand. Nothing seems to be sure, nothing safe. Men say that God is dead; let us put back the clock before we lose everything.' You can not put back the clock and you shouldn't want to, for the new chaos, the doubt and uncertainty, come not from the Council but from the world of our time: from the affluent and 'all-sufficient' state, from the misuse of nuclear fission, from the failure to share the world's resources, from the pride and arrogance of twentieth century man.

The Church

The Church is the Good Samaritan who does not pass by on the other side, but by her loving encounter with the wounded world of our time pours out the oil and the wine, but also has to pay the price of the convalescence as in the Gospel. 

It is almost 26 years to the day since Bishop Wheeler died. (21st  February 1998). RIP.

Next time - the Council and Opportunities.

Thursday, February 8, 2024


Mass for  Qinquagesima Sunday will be at St. Patrick's, Westgate, Bradford at 1.00 p.m. This is the last of the Gesima Sundays meaning that next Wednesday is Ash Wednesday.

Mass for Ash Wednesday will be at St. Patrick's, Bradford at 7.00 p.m. We are no longer having Masses for high days and holy days at 5.00 p.m. to enable people to avoid the teatime traffic and rushing to pick up children from school etc. Ashes will be imposed at this Mass as we enter the season of Lent.

Confessions will be available before Masses on Sunday and Wednesday. 

Also, I am delighted to announce that we will be having the Sacred Triduum again this year at St. Patrick's and details of the times will be announced in due course.

I wish everybody a productive and truly penitential season of Lent as we await the ringing of the bells at the Gloria on Holy Saturday.

Thursday, January 25, 2024


Already the pre Lent season is upon us, starting this Sunday with Septuagesima. The first Sunday of Lent is in three weeks and before we know it, it will be Easter.

Mass this Sunday at 1.00 p.m. at St. Patrick's, Westgate, Bradford.

Confessions available.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Epiphany II

This week we are back to green vestments but only for a couple of weeks. Easter falls early this year and the feast of Septuagesima falls on January 28th this year when we will be back to purple vestments in this short season of preparation for Lent.

Mass on Sunday at St. Patrick's, Westgate, Bradford at 1.00 p.m.

Confessions available before Mass.

Thursday, January 4, 2024


This year the Epiphany the Epiphany is transferred to the Sunday in line with the Church in England and Wales. The Mass will be on Sunday 7th. January at St. Patrick's, Westgate, Bradford at 1.00 p.m. It will be a low Mass

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Wishing you peace and joy this Christmas

In these somewhat depressing days in the Church it is sometimes difficult to find things about which to rejoice. I mentioned this in confession a while ago and was told that the Lord never gives us a cross which is too hard to carry. We don't always see this, but as another priest told me in confession - every Lent has its Easter, just as every Advent has its Christmas. And here we are on this holy night of Christmas 2023.

May I take this opportunity to wish everybody a very peaceful and joyful Christmas. Those who should know better seem hell bent on destroying the Church from within but we have our Lord's divine assurance that the gates of hell will not prevail against that Church founded by Him. We should be people of hope.

Mass on Christmas Day  is at 1.00 p.m. at St. Patrick's, Westgate Bradford. And on every Sunday at the same time and place.

Confessions available before Mass.

Holydays of Obligation and High days which do not fall on Sundays will now be offered at 7.00 p.m. at St. Patrick's instead of 5.00 p.m. (which is a legacy time from our time at St. Joseph's over two years ago.) Our first such Mass will be the Feast of Ash Wednesday on 14th. February 2024.