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JUNE 10 2011 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Pope makes Benedictine abbot Bishop of Aberdeen
BY ED WEST
DOM HUGH GILBERT has been appointed as the new Bishop of Aberdeen, it has been announced.
Pope Benedict XVI has chosen the 59-year-old Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey in Moray to succeed Bishop Peter Moran later in the summer.
Born in Hampshire, the bishopelect attended St Paul’s School in London and read history at King’s College, University of London, where he gained a first class degree. Baptised in the Church of England, he converted to Catholicism at the age of 18. He entered the Benedictine monastery of Pluscarden Abbey in 1974 and was elected abbot in 1992.
Originally Edward Gilbert, he received the name Hugh when he entered Pluscarden. He has held several positions in the monastery as well as serving as a member of the Union of Monastic Superiors and on the Abbot Visitor’s Council for the Subiaco Congregation of monasteries.
He said: “The Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has nominated me to succeed Bishop Peter Moran as Bishop of Aberdeen. As a Catholic Christian and Benedictine monk, I accept this as the call of Christ, and, trusting in the help of God and the saints, intend to give myself wholeheartedly, like my predecessors, to the lay people, religious, priests and deacons of this beautiful diocese. I have much to learn, and it will not be easy to leave my monastery after 37 years. But I do so knowing that I am not going among strangers. I commend myself to the kind hearts and prayers of all whom I am called to serve. Together in Christ may we shine with the light of his Resurrection!”
Bishop Moran resigned on age grounds, having reached 76.
He welcomed the appointment of his successor. “After my nine years at the helm of Aberdeen diocese, seven of them as bishop, I am happy that the Holy Father has named abbot Hugh Gilbert to take over as my successor,” he said. “He is, of course, well known in the diocese to clergy and laity alike. During his 19 years as Abbot, Pluscarden Abbey has continued to be the serene spiritual heart of this diocese.”
Cardinal Keith O’Brien, president of the Bishops’ Conference of Scotland, said: “I am delighted to welcome Abbot Hugh Gilbert, Abbot of Pluscarden Abbey, as the new Bishop of Aberdeen – and, consequently, as a member of the Bishops’
Conference of Scotland. The name and the reputation of Abbot Hugh are wellknown outside the confines of his monastery. His spirituality and his writings have inspired many throughout Scotland and indeed in other parts of the world. May God indeed bless him at this present time, as we say a very sincere thanks to his immediate predecessor, Bishop Peter Moran, who has fulfilled his apostolate as Bishop of Aberdeen and a member of our bishops’ conference, in an exemplary manner.”
Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow said that as a native of diocese he was “delighted”.
He said: “The abbot is well-known to me. I had the joy of ordaining him priest almost 30 years ago and later of blessing him as Abbot of Pluscarden. If it can be said that Abbot Hugh’s appointment is a loss to the abbey, there is great gain for the diocese of Aberdeen and the wider Catholic community of Scotland in
Dom Hugh Gilbert said he accepts the wish of Pope Benedict XVI for him to be bishop as ‘the call of Christ’
his being named bishop. The news will be particularly welcomed in Aberdeen diocese, where Pluscarden has warm links with every part of the territory and is recognised as a thriving centre of spirituality, monastic practice and culture in the north of Scotland. Abbot Hugh has played a key role in the success story that is Pluscarden over the last few decades, a period which has seen it expand its influence far and wide.
“Bishop Peter’s wise and warm leadership mean that Abbot Hugh will inherit a diocese in fine heart.”
Dom Hugh Gilbert was at one point rumoured to have been the favourite to replace Cormac Murphy-O’Connor as Archbishop of Westminster. Under his leadership the number of monks at Pluscarden has risen to 27, during a time of vocational crisis, and he has praised for keeping faithful to the monastic tradition. He is also the author of two books on the monastic life.
He will be ordained bishop in St Mary’s Cathedral on August 15.
Delegates from around 70 nations are pictured in Dublin last weekend
Photo: John McElroy
Eucharistic Congress offers hope to wounded Irish Church
BY DAVID V BARRETT
IRELAND is no longer “a bastion of traditional Catholicism” Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has said, but there are “signs of hope”.
Archbishop Martin was speaking at the launch of preparations for the 2012 International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin next June, which he called a “vital element in the reform agenda of the Irish Church”.
Addressing delegates from around 70 countries he spoke of the “difficult situation in which the Church in Ireland finds itself”.
He said: “Many outside of Ireland still believe that Ireland is a bastion of traditional Catholicism. They are surprised to discover that there are parishes in Dublin where the presence at Sunday Mass is some five per cent of the Catholic population and, in some cases, even below two per cent. On any Sunday about 18 per cent of the Catholic population in the Archdiocese of Dublin attends Mass.”
The archbishop acknowledged that Dublin Mass attendance is considerably lower than in any other part of Ireland, but said that for the second time since he became archbishop in 2004 there would be no priestly ordinations this year “and the coming years indicate only a tiny trickle of new vocations”.
He spoke of a rift “growing between the Church and young people” in Ireland.
“From a relatively early age [youth] drift away from any regular contact with the Church and especially from Sunday Mass,” he said. “Now, it is true Sunday Mass attendance is not the only statistic which indicates an affiliation with the Church and with the mission of Jesus Christ.
“But it is hardly possible to remain truly a Christian if one has no contact over years with the Eucharist. This is why the Eucharistic Congress can offer an important contribution in the path of renewal.”
He said that many of Ireland’s pastoral structures and strategies are no longer fit for purpose.
“They presume that the country is driven by a culture of mass Catholicism while this can no longer be presumed,” he said.
“What has happened and is happening in Ireland is painful. I am not just talking about the horrors of abuse. I am talking about our failure in passing on the faith to the coming generation.”
But despite all these problems the archbishop remained optimistic. “The process of renewal may be slow but there are signs of hope,” he said.
The theme for next year’s International Eucharistic Congress is “The Eucharist: Communion With Christ and With One Another”.
Fr Kevin Doran, secretary-general of the Congress, said he expected around 25,000 people to participate in the catechesis and workshops and 80,000 to participate in the concluding Mass.
CTS stands firm over cost of new Missal to sellers Labour MP claims that forum role for Life is ‘chilling’
BY ED WEST
THE Catholic Truth Society has defended its pricing of the new translation of the Roman Missal after booksellers protested at what they said were restrictive trade terms.
Thirteen Christian booksellers, including Pauline Books and St Paul’s Bookshop in London, wrote to Southwark Auxiliary Bishop Paul Hendricks, chairman of the CTS, and Fergal Martin, the General Secretary, to say they were “up in arms” about the conditions.
They were angry that new Missal will be made available at a “non-negotiable” 10 per cent trade discount, “terms that completely undermine any viability for bookshops hoping to carry the books” and “deny them the possibility of supplying church and school customers at a discount”.
They claimed that the CTS had given itself an effective monopoly on sales, benefiting from being chosen as the Missal’s publishers.
Mr Martin replied by telling the booksellers that such practice was not unusual for specialist books, where the profit margins were small, and that “the two Ritual Editions of the Roman Missal (that is the Altar and Chapel editions) carry very high production and design specifications – possibly, we believe, the most highly specified edition of this Missal in the world – and are expensive to produce”. “Our approach to this project has always been to meet the requirements of beauty, quality, dignity and durability together with affordability. Thus while aiming at high production and design quality, we have felt a strong obligation to reduce the margins as far as possible in order to keep the volumes affordable for customers and final users, the vast majority of whom are priests using parish funds, as well as convents, monasteries and schools, mostly all of whom have to operate within limited resources.”
Because these books would be used to celebrate the Liturgy for the next generation, “we have endeavoured to produce beautiful volumes of high quality and beauty, using noble materials but keeping them affordable for even the smallest parish”.
But Stephen Moseling of St Paul’s Bookshop in London said: “It doesn’t satisfy us. The signatories replied individually and as far as I am aware none of us have heard any further. Most of us took the line that the answer is inadequate, with no offer to discuss it or enter into negotiation. Highcost production books do often incur limited discounts but we are of a common mind that there is room for manoeuvre. They are offering parishes direct bigger discounts than the 10 per cent they are able to offer bookshops.”
BY DAVID V BARRETT
LABOUR MP Diane Abbott has described the appointment of the charity Life to the government’s new sexual health advisory forum as “chilling news”.
Miss Abbott, Shadow Minister for Public Health, is spearheading a “fightback” against recent cross-party attempts by MPs including Conservative MP Nadine Dorries and former Labour Minister Frank Field to tighten abortion legislation.
“We cannot allow Nadine Dorries and some of the antiabortion groups currently advising the Government to turn the clock back for millions of women,” said Miss Abbott.
“Mainstream medical opinion is united in its agreement that, when carried out in a legal setting where sterile facilities are available, abortion is a safe procedure carrying a low risk of complications.
“And we must not underestimate the chilling news that the Government has appointed anti-abortion group Life to their expert advisory group on sexual health. This appointment, coupled with the retraction of an invitation to the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, one of the UK’s leading abortion providers, signals a dangerous move.”
She added: “Increasingly, people up and down the country are looking to take a stand against what they see as an attempt to chip away at abortion access for women in England, Scotland and Wales.”
But Mrs Dorries said: “I cannot understand the opposition to all voices being heard around the table. We now have a balance. To call this chilling is chilling itself.”
She said that labelling her as anti-abortion was “a deliberate misrepresentation” by her opponents. “I am anti-late-term abortion. I’m realistic enough to know that abortion is here and it’s here to stay,” she said.
At a meeting on Monday Miss Abbott spoke of Life’s appointment to the Government forum, and Mrs Dorries’s and Education Secretary Michael Gove’s calls for the promotion of abstinence in sex education.
“These emotive anti-choice moves are a far cry from the Labour Government’s approach which was based on solid evidence and gave women and men choice over their reproductive and sexual lives,” she claimed.
The appointment of Life to the Sexual Health Forum has been described as a “tipping point” for abortion campaigners. A rally in London is planned for July 9.
Joanne Hill of Life said: “Why would anyone be offended by the inclusion of one organisation with divergent views which exists to support women in crisis pregnancy and after abortion? It is quite staggering.”
NEWSBULLETIN Catholic primary schools are among best in Wales CATHOLIC primary schools continue to be among the best in Wales, according to a new Catholic Education Service for England and Wales publication.
Data in The Distinctive Contribution of Catholic Schools in Wales showed that, according to Estyn inspections, a higher proportion of Catholic primary schools were rated good or better on three of the seven key questions and almost identical proportions for the other four. Pupils in Catholic primary schools were highly motivated and behaved well, showing respect for others. The quality of care, support and guidance was also very high.
Catholic secondary schools scored as well as the national average.
Push to stop child sexualisation THE PRIME MINISTER has welcomed a report aiming to reduce the early sexualisation of children.
The independent report by Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Christian organisation the Mothers’ Union, recommends tightening up the television watershed, age-appropriate ratings for music videos, discouraging billboards with sexual content near to schools and encouraging newsagents to sell lads’ mags in brown sleeves.
The report, published on Monday, also criticised clothes shops that stock inappropriate clothing for pre-teens, such as padded bras and T-shirts with suggestive slogans.
“Society has become increasingly full of sexualised imagery,” said Mr Bailey. “This has created a wallpaper to children’s lives. Parents feel there is no escape and no clear space where children can be children.”
In an open letter David Cameron thanked Mr Bailey for his report.
Poll: BBC is ʻanti-Christianʼ THE BBC is anti-Christian, according to a survey of its own viewers.
The survey, carried out by the BBC itself as part of its “Diversity Strategy”, found that Christians were portrayed with “derogatory stereotypes” and presented as “weak” and “bigoted”.
Viewers also expressed concerns over “tokenism” and “box-ticking” and attempts to “manipulate” an equal society instead of reflecting reality.
New phase for Catholic Voices CATHOLIC VOICES, the group of speakers on the faith available to the media during the visit of Pope Benedict last year, is to move into a second phase this autumn.
A new group of speakers aged 25-45 will learn media skills in a training programme in Leeds over three weekends in October, November and December. A Catholic Voices Academy will also be established.
Christian Brothers: a correction IN OUR report, “Christian Brothers fear for the future” (May 13), about the Irish Christian Brothers, we mistakenly carried a picture of a De La Salle Christian Brother. We apologise for the error.
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