Thursday, 30 June 2011

The Dedication of Clifton Cathedral

Today in Holy Mass in both forms we kept the dedication of our Cathedral in Bristol. I'm not entirely sure how we managed to do that in the calendar of 1962 when the Cathedral was only built in 1973, but never mind!

Of course as we are the Catholic Church we are not allowed to take the name of place where the Cathedral actually is. The Ecclesiastical Titles Act of 1851 forbade the restored hierarchy of England and Wales from using the names of Diocese where there was a bishop of the protestant Church of England.

So in this part of the world we created the Diocese of Clifton.

Our original Cathedral was the pro-Cathedral of the Holy Apostles. There is a very good article on the old Pro here. One of the scandals of the Diocese was that this was abandoned under the excuse that it was about to fall down and a new Church had to be built. Needless to say the Pro-Cathedral is still standing. What happened to the building after that really was terrible. Where just the day before the holy sacrifice of the Mass had been offered, workmen stood smoking, smashing the statues and selling off the contents to the highest bidders. Quite literally, grown men of our Diocese weep when they remember.

What we ended up with was the new Cathedral of Ss Peter and Paul. This was completed in 1973. It is made of concrete.

I’m afraid I don’t like it, however Our Lord resides in the tabernacle, and people pray in it.

So we kept its feast. No matter what it is like, no matter what it is made of, it the seat of our Bishop and the mother Church of our Diocese. It is our sign of orthodoxy of our communion with Peter. We are Catholic, fierce and proud. And it is like being in a family - we can have strong feelings within it, but if you dare attack it, my goodness you’d better watch out!

It may be concrete, but it’s Catholic concrete!

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