THE CATHOLIC HERALD AUGUST 8 2014
Faithful pray for those who fell in the First World War
BY DAVID V BARRETT
REQUIEM Masses and peace vigils have taken place across the country in commemoration of the start of the First World War on August 4, 1914.
Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, celebrated a Requiem Mass for the fallen of the war at Westminster Cathedral, where in his homily he said: “It is especially poignant to remember the centenary of the Great War, which was meant to end all wars, at a time when so many people are still suffering from violence and the ravages of war, particularly in the Middle East and Africa.”
He added: “As we begin these centenary commemorations, we earnestly ask for the gift of peace, most especially in Gaza.”
In his homily Cardinal Nichols spoke of the atrocities of “the rape of Belgium” at the start of the war. “Yet no matter how horrific these events were, no one could have imagined that in the following four years over 10 million soldiers would have been killed as well as many millions of civilians. It is for them all that we pray this evening, in this Requiem Mass.”
Cardinal Nichols continued: “Why did this Great War take place? There is no simple account. There was a single event that served as a spark: there were competing and threatened identities, not least of the great powers; there were deep determinations to preserve established power blocks; there were troubled leaders who had their eyes on more domestic issues.
“We recognise today these same patterns. We know how vulnerable and precarious are many situations in our world today. So we continue our prayer, our prayer for peace, in Syria, in the Holy Land, in Libya, in the Ukraine, in Africa, in so many places. We remember again that violence always provokes violence and we beseech all those in power to seek always the ways of peace.”
At the Mass on Sunday at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham Christians in Iraq were especially remembered. Archbishop Bernard Longley said: “On the eve of the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War we shall be united with Christian communities around the United Kingdom in remembering all those who lost their lives in that terrible conflict and in praying for peace, especially in the many troubled parts of the world today. We shall be remembering the beleaguered Christian communities of the Middle East, and in particular the Chaldean Church of Mosul, in our prayers on Sunday.”
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury urged the faithful at Sunday’s Mass to see in a “Syrian refugee, a Palestinian child, a missing Israeli soldier... not a statistic but always a human person, a brother, a sister of ours”.
He said that the deaths and injuries of the First World War “always defy imagination: some 20 million soldiers and civilians died violently; 21 million were physically wounded and an incalculable number were emotionally injured”, he said in the homily read on his behalf by Canon Stephen Coonan, the cathedral dean. “The generation who survived the war would declare ‘never again’ but this first global war was to be the cause of a second five times more destructive.”
Clockwise from top right: Bishop Mark Davies; a wreath of poppies at Westminster Cathedral; priests of the Westminster diocese; Cardinal Nichols celebrates the Requiem Mass Photos: Simon Caldwell/ Diocese of Westminster
Study finds one in 10 Catholic clergy were Anglican vicars
BY DAVID V BARRETT
FORMER Anglican priests now make up around a tenth of all Catholic priests in England and Wales, according to recent academic research.
Professor Linda Woodhead of Lancaster University analysed both Catholic and Anglican figures to try to find how many Anglican priests had “crossed over” since 1994, when the first women were ordained priests in the Church of England.
Popular estimates, often mentioned when the General
Synod of the Church of England last month voted to allow women bishops, suggested “somewhere between 400 and 500”, she said.
This may have been based on an article on Vatican Insider which was later picked up by the American Jesuit website America. It said that since 1994 “some 400 to 500 priests and thousands of lay faithful decided to join the Roman Catholic Church, and many are now serving as priests, including hundreds who are married”.
Prof Woodhead, a leading sociologist of religion who specialises in the relationship between religious and social change worldwide, found that neither Church had clear figures. But the National Office for Vocation had a graph of ordinations to the diocesan priesthood since 1982, which showed “a large bulge” between 1994 and 2000. With the help of Fr Christopher Jamison, the former Abbot of Worth Abbey, she worked out that “about 250 clergy ‘went across’ between 1994 and 2000”.
Since 2000, ordinations into the Catholic Church have been around 20 a year, with only 15
Bishop Alan Hopes, one of 400 or so ex-Anglican clergy to be ordained in the Church in 2008. Estimating that four of these each year came from the Church of England, that would come to a further 52 from 2001 to the present, making 302 in total.
Adding in the 87 priests (including the Ordinary) who have joined the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, he estimated there to be 389 altogether – only slightly below the popular estimate.
The figure becomes even more significant when viewed against the relative numbers of clergy. The Catholic Church has around 3,000 active diocesan priests and 1,000 religious priests in England and Wales; the Church of England has around 18,000.
“So a relatively small loss of clergy numbers for the CofE represents a very significant gift for the Catholic Church in
England and Wales at a time of falling ordinations. Indeed, if you count just the 3,000 secular clergy then one in 10 Catholic priests in England and Wales have ‘come across’ from the Church of England,” said Prof Woodhead.
She hopes for further research into clergy movement between the Churches “in both directions”. But rather than just looking at numbers, she stressed the importance of looking at the people involved.
“To date, there has been too much trumpeting of figures, and too little attention to the people involved, and the significance of their move.
“Boundary-crossers are always interesting people who, in the nature of things, have thought long and hard about their decision to ‘go across’. Both their journey, and what they find at their destination – viewed with the eyes of an outsider become insider – are interesting,” she said.
The wider significance of this move is also fascinating. We must not forget boundary-crossers in Scotland and Ireland, where the line between Catholic and Protestant is even harder to cross.”
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