Damian Thompson: New Papal Nuncio addresses Bishops

11 05 2011

From Damian Thompson:

Here, thanks to the Catholic Herald, is the full text of the address given to the Bishops of England and Wales by the new Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Antonio Mennini. Reading it, I sense a shift of authority back in the direction of Rome – and not before time. According to a highly placed Vatican source, the previous Nuncio, Archbishop Sainz, did not impress everyone with his nominations for bishops. This Nuncio seems to have a very clear agenda, and it is that of the Holy Father, which makes a nice change. Note the very firm emphasis on the Ordinariate: “[The Pope] reminded me that he had asked you to be ‘generous in implementing the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus’. In his name, I wish to thank all of you for the way you have meticulously carried out that mandate.” Nicely put. The bishops have (mostly) toed the line over the Ordinariate, but being meticulous (from the Latin for “timid”) is not the same thing as being generous. Note, too, the Nuncio’s emphasis on evangelisation, which is hardly a preoccupation of the antiquated public-sector machinery of Eccleston Square. I understand that the admirable newish general secretary of the Bishops’ Conference, Fr Marcus Stock, is keen to reform the secretariat; perhaps the arrival of a Nuncio who enjoys the full confidence of Benedict XVI will speed things up. And perhaps we’ll see the appointment of some bishops who aren’t straight from Magic Circle Central Casting, Inc. We’ll certainly need some more imaginative promotions if, as the Nuncio clearly implies, the introduction of the new Missal is to be accompanied by the recovery of a sense of the sacred in parish Masses.