Monday, September 03, 2007

Bring in traditionalists to save dying parishes

...says Bishop Rifan in The Catholic Herald:
A leading traditionalist bishop has urged the bishops of England and Wales to invite traditionalist groups to take over failing parishes instead of closing down churches.

Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan of Campos, Brazil, said on Monday that the Pope’s recent document Summorum Pontificum, which lifted restrictions on the Traditional Mass, would bring about a worldwide revival in Catholic worship.

He said that in the motu proprio the Pope had encouraged the creation of “personal parishes” – special communities within a diocese that do not serve specific geographical boundaries – for the celebration of traditional Catholic worship.

Bishop Rifan, speaking exclusively to The Catholic Herald just 19 days before Summorum Pontificum comes into effect on September 14, said that the growth of such communities could represent a “new chapter” for the Church.

He said: “If a bishop has a church that faces closure, this presents a good opportunity to create personal parishes and invite traditionalists to come into his diocese.”
“They can establish these parishes and therefore open the door to traditionalists,” he added. “We are all Catholics, after all.”

The bishop’s remarks are expected to delight many British Catholics who are disgruntled with the increasing number of church closures and clustered parishes in England and Wales.

Bishop Rifan, who was in Britain this week for a special conference on the motu proprio in Oxford, said that certain groups, such as the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) and the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest (ICRSS), could help revive flagging parishes. “Perhaps this has not happened before,” he said. “But with the motu proprio we are in a new chapter so it can start now.”

Both the FSSP and the ICRSS have confirmed that if asked by a bishop they would wherever possible send a priest to save a parish.

No comments: