Thursday, 5 August 2010

"Visible changes"

Correspondence from Catholic Family News - 5.8.2010

A group of parishioners of the Birmingham Oratory and members of the NACF email : 'Much as we would like to shield our children totally from the scandal of the unjust banishment of Father Dermot Fenlon, Father Philip Cleevely and Brother Lewis Berry from Cardinal Newman's Oratory, this is made effectively impossible by the unwelcome and very visible changes since they were sent away. There are dramatically fewer people present at Mass, so much so that it is impossible to ignore. (The only exception to this was the day EWTN filmed, when we saw a significant influx of people not usually there, including a distinguished lady M.P.) There is a lot of sadness and confusion, and some parishioners have told us that they have been threatened into silence. (We are happy to report we have not received any direct threats ourselves so far.) Most poignant of all, the long queue that regularly snaked its way past Father Dermot Fenlon's Confessional is no more.

His name is still there, but another name has been added, that of the visiting priest from Toronto who now occupies his Confessional from time to time. Father Fenlon's confessional has usually been empty when we visit the Oratory and our children are drawn to it as it presents such a strange contrast compared with what they are used to. We believe any attempt to present an anodyne face to the world in preparation for the papal visit is doomed to failure unless Father Dermot Fenlon, Father Philip Cleevely and Brother Lewis Berry are returned forthwith to Cardinal Newman's Oratory where they belong. Their absence during the beatification of their founder would represent not only a grave matter of personal injustice to them, but an insult to His Holiness. The strong pro-life message that Pope Benedict is famous for would be undermined by the absence of these men, whose pro-life voices are among his most faithful representatives in this country.