Fr Robert Byrne - Auxiliary Bishop-elect for the Archdiocese of Birmingham from Catholic Church (England/Wales) on Vimeo.
This week, the Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon OP, Bishop of Nottingham, was appointed to replace Archbishop Kelly in Liverpool. The former editor of the LMS Magazine Mass of Ages interviewed him with specific regard to how he viewed the Extraordinary Form. This interview is reproduced below:
+Malcolm on whether those attached to the Extraordinary Form of Mass in the Archdiocese of Liverpool need have any concerns:
-On Wednesday the Birmingham Oratory celebrated a High Mass at 7pm for the Feast of St Joseph, preceded the day before with First Vespers at 6.30pm. The format is being replicated this Tuesday for the Feast of the Annuciation, with Mass at 7pm and First Vespers at 6.30pm on Monday.
+Malcolm on how much he foresees that the Extraordinary Form may in time become a general and unremarkable part of the liturgical life of the archdiocese:
"I think it’s hard to predict. I will certainly be open to any requests that come my way. I’ve always listened to what people have wanted, and tried to do my utmost to satisfy their needs - and that applies to liturgy, forms of liturgy, as well as other aspects of my ministry.”
+Malcolm on whether he foresees himself personally celebrating the Extraordinary Form:
"It depends how it is used. I mean, I’ve celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form when required and when I’ve been asked to. But the Mass always has to be a source of unity in the Church, and I certainly wouldn’t want to be used, and the Extraordinary Form to be used, to divide the Church. That would be my (only) concern. But there are plenty of pictures of me on the Internet (celebrating the Extraordinary Form)...with (laughing) mitres that don’t fit me and all that!
"But yes, of course I would be agreeable. How can you not be when the Mass has been such a … well some like to call it the ‘Traditional Rite’ … but (when) the Extraordinary Form has been a source of holiness to people for hundreds of years. So how on earth can you say no?”
A senior third party, with authority to speak for the Bishop, later said (unprompted) that he fully understood why those attached to the Extraordinary Form are perhaps prone to being anxious on such occasions. But he wished to stress - and also for it to be conveyed - that Archbishop-Elect McMahon’s appointment in Liverpool should certainly not give rise to any apprehension whatsoever. In fact, quite the opposite, I was assured. He said: “There really, really, should be no concerns for anyone at all - and I emphasise that.”
The general tenor of both the Archbishop-Elect’s, and later his spokesman’s, message concerning the Extraordinary Form, was one of complete reassurance and positivity. Gregory Murphy