Monday, 29 June 2009

Archbishop Nichols responds to Holy Days Petition

Julia Ashenden, the originator of the recent Holy Days petition to Archbishop Nichols, has kindly emailed the response from the Archbishop.
I hope very much that the last sentence of the letter indicates a willingness to re-open the possibility of feasts being kept on their customary days, at some point in the (near) future.




17 June 2009

Dear Mrs Ashenden,

Thank you for your kind and gracious letter of 12 June.

Thank you for your kind wishes.

Thank you for sending me the results of your on line petition concerning the possible re­instatement of the three holy days of the Epiphany, the Ascension and Corpus Christi on their correct dates.

The changes made to these three feasts were made after considerable reflection and some consultation, not least with the Holy See. The changes bring the practice in England and Wales much more in line with most European countries. But that, I agree, is not a major argument.

One of the questions we explored was whether it was possible to keep the feasts on their customary days while releasing people from the obligation to attend Mass, as increasingly this is very difficult for large numbers of people, given both the pressures of economic life and the pressures on the clergy. However we were told that it was not possible to separate the feast from obligation in a formal way.

Schools are encouraged to celebrate the mystery of faith of each of the feasts in the course of the week running up to its celebration on the Sunday and thereby prepare the children for the Sunday celebration, indeed encouraging them to go with their families to church.

Thank you for writing to me. No doubt we Bishops will continue to reflect on these matters.

With every good wish,

Yours sincerely

Vincent Nichols

Archbishop of Westminster

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