12 August 2021, The Tablet

News Briefing: Britain and Ireland

News Briefing: Britain and Ireland

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has said that many in England feel left behind by “metropolitan elites”.

Church leaders, including Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton and William Kenney, an auxiliary Bishop Emeritus in Birmingham, have condemned the Government’s decision to increase its nuclear stockpile as “a retrograde step that will not make any of us safer”. Their statement was reissued as peace groups marked the anniversaries of the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, with Pax Christi observing a vigil outside Westminster Cathedral, as well as in Abingdon, Chester, Coventry and Oxford.

The Archbishop of York Stephen Cottrell has said that many in England feel left behind by “metropolitan elites in London and the South East”. In an article in The Daily Telegraph he said that national unity is “more fractured than I have ever known it in my lifetime”. He felt that the Church of England is “one of the only institutions left in our nation with a local branch in virtually every community, and, despite unhelpful reports to the contrary, remains committed to this local and national vision: a church for England.”

The Archbishop of Southwark, John Wilson, celebrated the silver jubilee of the Clapham- based homelessness charity Ace of Clubs last week. The south London project, founded and supported by the Redemptorists, also celebrated being able to open its doors to the homeless people it supports for the first time since Covid. During the pandemic, it operated a takeaway service.

The Association of Catholic Priests (ACP) in Ireland has described the current model of sacramental preparation for Communions and Confirmations, whereby the bulk of preparation takes place in school, as “not fit for purpose”. Children were presented for both sacraments “even though many of them rarely, if ever, attend any celebrations of the Eucharist, either before or after the big day”, they warned.

Pope Francis’ motu proprio limiting the celebration of Tridentine Masses will go down in history as “a red-letter day in protecting the legacy of the Second Vatican Council”, the co-founder of the ACP has said. Fr Brendan Hoban wrote in the Western People: “What Francis is effectively underlining in very stringent regulations is that the liturgy of the Catholic Church is that of the Second Vatican Council and there can’t be and won’t be any deviation from that basic truth. In a word, he is protecting the integrity of the Council.”

Bishop Fintan Gavin of Cork and Ross has paid tribute to a 72-year-old Cork priest who was killed last week when a bus veered out of control in Cork city. A member of St Patrick’s Missionary Society for 49 years, Fr Con Cronin managed to push his parish secretary to safety before he was fatally injured. The bus driver, who is believed to have suffered a heart attack, also died in the accident.

Parishioners at The Assumption of Our Lady in Englefield Green in Surrey have celebrated the re-opening of their 90-year-old church, which was saved from closure following a grass-roots fundraising and restoration campaign by the parish community and local groups, including the Runnymede Muslim Society.

Builders, specialists and restorers worked to preserve the distinctive character of the church, with one Catholic builder arriving early every day to pray the Stations of the Cross, just visible above the scaffolding. Bishop Richard Moth is due to celebrate a Mass to mark the re-opening on Friday 10 September. The church will mark its 90th birthday on 20 September.

An Irish priest who played a key role in the Legionaries of Christ and was one of the closest advisers to the order’s disgraced founder, Fr Marcial Maciel, has died. Seventy-four- year-old Fr Anthony Bannon was chief fundraiser for the Legionaries of Christ in the US, and head of the Legionaries in Dublin from 2011 to 2013.

A 2017 investigation by The Irish Times linked him and Maciel to two companies in Bermuda linked to the order’s assets. Fr Bannon was also named as a director of three companies based in Panama. At its height, the controversial order is believed to have had an annual budget of $650 million and assets of approximately $1 billion.


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