Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Avignon-on-the-Clyde: Will someone please gently break the news to Archbishop Conti that he's not the Pope?

By Damian Thompson

"Just call me Your Holiness"
"Just call me Your Holiness"

(The Telegraph) Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow may not have been made a cardinal, but he assumes the dignity of one anyway. Fair enough, I suppose: he wouldn’t be the first disappointed prelate to do so. But behaving like the Pope is another matter. When it comes to liturgy, Glasgow is turning into Avignon-on-the-Clyde, with +Mario playing the role of one of those medieval papal impostors.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Mario I has just issued a decree forcing the faithful to receive Holy Communion standing – and this despite the clearly expressed wish of Benedict XVI (the real Pope in Rome) that Catholics should be able to receive the sacrament kneeling. Indeed, Catholics were asked to kneel when the Holy Father distributed the Eucharist in Scotland last year. In the words of a Glasgow priest quoted by CNA: “This is really awful … The bishop is indeed the moderator of the liturgical life of the diocese. However, what concerns a number of the priests in Glasgow is that our Archbishop knowingly exceeds his legitimate authority when he attempts to remove liberties foreseen by the Roman Missal itself.”

As for the liberties to celebrate in the Extraordinary Form granted by Pope Benedict XVI, they are also severely curtailed under Pope Mario’s rival pontificate. How long, I wonder, before it starts creating its own cardinals? I’m sure the Rt Rev Mgr Peter Smith, “Diocesan Master of Ceremonies”, wouldn’t say no to a red hat.


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