Thursday, 7 April 2011

Fr William Wright: respect for tradition and papal authority?

Correspondent Ronan Reilly of Sydney has written to tell me (and readers) that a complaint about bishop-elect of Maitland-Newcastle, Fr William Wright, is currently with the Ecclesia Dei Commission in Rome.

Summorum Pontificum appeal

He reports that a group of thirty-seven parishioners petitioned Fr Wright to offer, or to have another priest offer, the Latin Mass in his Parish, in accordance with the provisions of Summorum Pontificum.  Fr Wright refused. 

Article 5 of Summorum Pontificum, you might recall, states that:

"In parishes, where there is a stable group of faithful who adhere to the earlier liturgical tradition, the pastor should willingly accept their requests to celebrate the Mass according to the rite of the Roman Missal published in 1962, and ensure that the welfare of these faithful harmonises with the ordinary pastoral care of the parish, under the guidance of the bishop in accordance with canon 392, avoiding discord and favouring the unity of the whole Church."

Summorum Pontificum also provides that:

"If a group of lay faithful... has not obtained satisfaction to their requests from the pastor, they should inform the diocesan bishop. The bishop is strongly requested to satisfy their wishes. If he cannot arrange for such celebration to take place, the matter should be referred to the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei".

Mr Reilly notes that the matter was taken up with  the Cardinal Archbishop of Sydney, George Cardinal Pell who declined to act, hence the appeal to Rome (readers may wish to update themselves on the latest rumours about the forthcoming Instruction on the motu proprio, now expected in early May) .

Mr Reilly also suggests that Fr Wright was one of those who objected when a newly ordained priest decided to offer his first Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Where to now?

There have of course been some interesting cases where bishop-appointees announced by the Pope have subsequently been withdrawn.  But of course the most famous recent case was a conservative. 

I can't exactly see our hierarchy, or the priests of Maitland-Newcastle getting up in arms over opposition to the EF!  Quite the reverse in fact.

And as for the right of the laity to be assisted by their Pastors from the spiritual riches of the Church (canon 213), or to be heard, being taken seriously....

Well, I guess there is always a first time!

**For more on this subject, look here.


George said...

One minor thing needs correcting Kate. William Wright is not 'Bishop-designate' but rather 'Bishop-elect' of Maitland-Newcastle. A Bishop-designate is one already ordained bishop but not yet installed into his newly appointed See (e.g. Such as Bishop Fisher before his installation as Bishop of Parramatta).

A Bishop-elect is one elected to be promoted bishop but is yet to receive episcopal consecration.

I join your prayers and concerns over this Bishop-elect's attitudes towards the Holy Father's will in Summorum Pontificum. Being a traditionally minded Catholic resident in Newcastle I have a vested interest too.

However, I will reserve my final judgement until after the Bishop-elect has made his positions clear himself. Let us pray he will not betray clearly stated will of the Pontiff who willingly appointed him.

Kate said...

Thanks for the correction George, fixed.

If only the events being referred to were not so recent!

Have to say that this sounds awfully like a case of different parts of Rome not talking to each other, and all of the relevant information from back here not being forwarded onwards. And/or perhaps a commentary on what key people in the chain think is and isn't important...

A Canberra Observer said...

If true the news is instructive.

+Pell's participation in various EF liturgies does not mean he is a defender of the EF. I suspect he tolerates it, little more or less. He's also a politician - he obvioulsy judged it wasn't worth a fight with his council of priests.

As to bishops elect - even if St Peter himself were pope I don't think I would have much faith in appointments - there are too many vatican apparatchiks, and Australia is a LONG way away.