Thursday, 5 June 2008

Pastoral Sensitivity...(Or Lack Of It)

I've been to St. Etheldreda's, Ely Place, only a few times, and only once for Mass, but the news reported by Damian Thompson made me very sad indeed.

St. Etheldreda's has quite a history. Built around 1250, it is the oldest Catholic church in England and one of only two remaining buildings in London from the reign of Edward I.

I attended one of the last Masses celebrated by the parish priest just before he retired. It seems that the new parish priest has decided to make some pretty drastic changes, and has gone about them with all the sensitivity of a bull in a china shop.

The biggest change is that he no longer wants to celebrate Mass ad orientem, but wishes to face "the people." Given the layout of the (very small) sanctuary, I dread to think what wreckovations will have to follow in order to get the altar moved. Anyway, the new parish priest has upset more than a few people after just one Sunday Mass in the parish.

Twitch of the mantilla to Fr. Z who spotted this one first!

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