Sunday, February 25, 2024

The Sacred Triduum & "Let's get this straight"; Extract 3 of Bishop Wheeler's pamphlet

I now have details of the timings for this year's Paschal Triduum at St Patrick's, Westgate, Bradford. 

Maundy Thursday - Mass of the Last Supper - 6.00 p.m.

Good Friday - 3.00 p.m.

Easter Vigil - 7.00 p.m.

Many thanks again to the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal for permitting us to use the church and moreover for permitting Fr. Frantisek to be the celebrant.

These details have also been posted on the Leeds Diocesan Website under the Mass in Latin section.

Continuation of extracts from Bishop Wheeler's 1969 pamphlet "Let's get this straight".

Catholics and Non-Catholics

This Church will attain her full perfection only in the glory of Heaven. But already she possesses a ‘fullness’ surpassing that of any other body. And so the greatest grace in this life is to be a member of the Catholic Church. Once a man sees this, he must in consciousness become a Catholic. Members of other Christian bodies, believing that Christ is God and baptised in his name, are brought into a certain the imperfect communion with the Catholic Church. It is our privilege to accept them as brothers with respect and affection. They possess insights from which we may learn. They stand with us, proclaiming Christ in the face of a pagan world. The differences between us are far less than the agreements. It is Christ's will that we should all be one. This does not mean the glossing over of differences or the watering down of Faith. We can only grow together through truth and love: these two together, for truth without love is intolerance and love without truth is often just sentimentality.


True unity

We can only help true unity by being better Catholics;  by showing changes of heart by becoming more holy; by pursuing the truth; by avoiding the scoring of points; by expressing ourselves humbly and lucidly, and by sharing together in good works; praying together all the time that we may be one. Let us be clear: it will hinder and not help unity if we act rashly and independently, or if we try to explain away our Faith. Unity does not mean finding an LCM but an HCF. And the factor is Christ. The more we study him the more we shall see the full dimension of his Body which is the Church. Our Faith needs no apology; it is the greatest gift of the love of God to man. It possesses already the mark of unity given by Christ himself, who placed Saint Peter over the other Apostles: a permanent and visible source of unity, of Faith.


The Pope

You would be wrong if you thought that the Council diminished the role of the Pope in the life of the church. On the contrary it made clearer his true primacy and infallible teaching authority in the scriptural context of his relationship with the rest of the Apostles, the Bishops of the universal Church. The Church in her Councils is always preserving a balance. In the early days she stressed the Godhead and now the humanity of Christ. In Vatican II (in clear and scriptural terms), she shows the collegiality of the Bishops, never without Peter, and always with and under him. Thank God that you have the Pope and always pray for him.


Next time: the Mass and the Priesthood.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Lent II

The Transfiguration account is the Gospel for the second Sunday of Lent

Mass for the second Sunday of Lent will be at St. Patrick's, Westgate, Bradford at 1.00 p.m.

New Pilgrimage

I have copied this from the Diocesan Website. I have decided to have a go at this as part of my own Lenten Penance.

The new, short pilgrimage is for the intention of ‘Vocations to the Priesthood’. It will take place almost exactly 120 years after Fr John O’Connor (1870-1952), a Diocese of Leeds priest, became the inspiration for GK Chesterton’s famous ‘Father Brown’ stories which, even on today’s BBC TV adaptations, still illustrate the priest’s humane wisdom, understanding and compassion as well as his spiritual and sacramental role.

The two men first met in March 1904 in Keighley, where Fr O’Connor was a curate at St Anne’s Catholic Church. GK had just delivered a lecture in the town and was on his way to visit a German Jewish friend in Ilkley, whom O’Connor also knew. It was in a walk together along the Roman road which crosses Ilkley Moor that Fr John O’Connor first set Gilbert Chesterton on the ‘Path to Rome’ – and would eventually receive one of the world’s most renowned literary figures into the Catholic Church in the summer of 1922.

The new Pilgrimage Walk for Vocations will take place on Saturday 16 March 2024. In keeping with our journey towards sustainability, public transport is recommended as there is a railway station and other good public transport links in both Keighley and Ilkley. After 9am Mass at St Anne’s Church, walkers will set off following in ‘Father Brown’s Footsteps’, up Keighley Gate, over Ilkley Moor, and upon reaching the Ilkley Parish of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, will walk up to the Myddelton Grange Calvary for Stations of the Cross. The total distance will be around seven miles, which includes two steep uphills – so walking all the way will not be suitable for those with serious health or fitness issues, although the Keighley/Ilkley Road is metalled for a short distance at each end. This Lenten pilgrimage walk for Vocations is not yet an official diocesan event, so please contact for more details.

Bishop Wheeler 2 extracts from his booklet: Let's get this straight.

God's people

Remember, however, that we are a people on the move. Don't be a stick-in-the mud, and, on the other hand, don't allow yourself to slip. To reassure you: you are perfectly safe if you follow the Council's decrees. Sometimes they may seem advanced but they are always carefully measured. Christianity is a revolution but it also leads to peace. Men will only realize this when it has been truly applied. If you see the restlessness and anarchy you are on the wrong path. These are not the prints of the Spirit. Where charity and love is, God is.

The Living God

When people speak of the death of God, or the death of the Church, they are trying perhaps to convey the idea that the old thoughts about God held by some individual Christians were very wide of the mark and gave fiercely wrong impression. God is not a despot, gaoler or cajoler, After all, he gave us our free will. Christians have sometimes forgotten that Christ said to Philip: "He who has seen me has seen the Father."  A study of Christ in the Gospels gives us the true image of God. A death to wrong images is therefore good. And from this death (as from the Death on the Cross) proceeds , new understanding. new life. Of course a lot of 'new' thought is as old as the hills. But sometimes the kaleidoscope of the Spirit brings a new pattern,, that may be more helpful than what has gone before and anyhow, men tend to forget the lessons and message of history, and need the old again in a form that is new. The encounters of men with Christ are ever new. Being men of faith, whose learning is of the Kingdom, we must wait patiently. Time will show how wisely the Spirit draws from the treasury of the Church truths old and new.

The Church (2)

The Council describes the Church in New Testament terms as the People of God: a Chosen Race, a Royal Priesthood, a Holy Nation, a Purchased People.

Next time; True Unity and The Pope.  

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.