New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and Worsh

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Peter Jones
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New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and Worsh

Post by Peter Jones » Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:12 pm

The New Secretary is Dom Paul Gunter OSB - monk of Douai Abbey. He teaches at Sant’Anselmo (Rome) and will continue to do so.
Martin Foster continues labouring in the vineyard.
Any opinions expressed are my own, not those of the Archdiocese of Birmingham Liturgy Commission, Church Music Committee.
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keitha
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by keitha » Thu Mar 01, 2012 3:11 pm

He's also a Consultor to the Office of Papal Liturgies, no less!
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by Southern Comfort » Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:04 pm

keitha wrote:He's also a Consultor to the Office of Papal Liturgies, no less!


Someone posting in this forum was also in that position in the run-up to the Millennium celebrations.....

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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by NorthernTenor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 3:25 am

Southern Comfort wrote:
keitha wrote:He's also a Consultor to the Office of Papal Liturgies, no less!


Someone posting in this forum was also in that position in the run-up to the Millennium celebrations.....


Who was that?
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by NorthernTenor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:42 am

Best wishes to Fr. Gunter in his new role. It is to be hoped he speedily turns his attention to the scandal of the Permission to Publish Process and to the the underlying problems that have caused and prolonged it.

I have just read an article of his. I suspect the text suffers in places from the ills of (double?) translation, but it gives food for thought and indicates a depth of consideration and sensitivity to tradition that bode well.
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by HallamPhil » Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:17 am

Whilst also bidding Fr Gunter, whom I do not know, a welcome I would also want to extend a deep appreciation of the work of Martin Foster, whom i do know. Left alone in the Liturgy Office he was eventually invited to step up to fill the all too long void after the departure of Fr Allen Morris. It was a time of significant change in the liturgy of the Church and this 'worker in the field' would say he has served us well. I hope Martin adjusts painlessly to a new rudder.

If the appointment of Fr Gunter is to be really positive then I hope that it will have been an almost full-time appointment, like that of Fr Morris when. together with Martin, so many useful resources were produced. A return to a lesser commitment may only produce a figurehead.

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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by NorthernTenor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 4:46 pm

I understand your concern, Phil, but I'm not sure it's quite so straight-forward. The best thing to have come out of the Liturgy Office of late by a country mile is its recommendation of the Processional. This didn't require much effort (John Ainslie provided that), but it is testimony to good judgement and an ability to recognise and encourage sound practice. Conversely, the Composers' Guide and Permission to Publish Process have clearly involved considerable effort in an attempt to direct all and sundry in enormous detail, to utterly disastrous effect.

The whole thing reminds me of the development of the City of London over the last 40 years or so. When the brokers, jobbers, underwriters and others drifted into work by 10 o'clock and out again for an extended lunch at noon, they provided useful services to business out there in the real world, but lacked the time and sobriety to do much harm. Sometime in the late 1980's the Americans arrived [sorry, Jeff], it became fashionable to work hard all day on bright new enthusiasms and we ended up with a succession of ever worsening financial disasters. There's a lesson in that for the Bishops' Conference that I think we should discuss with them (over a glass of sherry, perhaps).
Last edited by NorthernTenor on Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by mcb » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:09 pm

HallamPhil wrote:I would also want to extend a deep appreciation of the work of Martin Foster, whom i do know. Left alone in the Liturgy Office he was eventually invited to step up to fill the all too long void after the departure of Fr Allen Morris. It was a time of significant change in the liturgy of the Church and this 'worker in the field' would say he has served us well.

I warmly second this, Phil. It can't have made Martin's work any easier to have been on the receiving end of obsessive complaints and relentless ad hominem.

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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by NorthernTenor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:24 pm

mcb wrote:I warmly second this, Phil. It can't have made Martin's work any easier to have been on the receiving end of obsessive complaints and relentless ad hominem.


There's a problem, Martin, about which those concerned were warned in advance and in detail; it hasn't gone away; failure to address it, let alone communicate with those adversely affected by it is likely to produce detailed complaints, which will be repeated for as long as the problem is ignored. In the circumstances I encourage you to consider the possibility that your response to this might be accurately described in the very terms you have used. And for the record, I have been quite as critical - if not more so - of those Bishops who have so abysmally failed to do their own job in this matter, and I have not been alone in that.
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by HallamPhil » Fri Mar 02, 2012 6:20 pm

I do hope NT wrote to the Bishops with whom he has indicated some disagreement rather than using this forum. Similarly I recall reading that he wrote to the Liturgy Office. This is the appropriate channel even if it does not gain any response or the response he determines to be suitable. Whatever, it has no interest to me and serves only to detract and distract from my (and one other) expressions of gratitude to Martin Foster. His comments on another topic prompted me to remind him about the private message facility. Now I whimsically recommend outer Mongolia though I fear this will bring his bile upon me, but it is of no consequence here.

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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by NorthernTenor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 7:10 pm

If you look back, Phil, you will see that my only strong criticism of you was for uncharitable comments made publicly on others of your own cathedral and city. You will see a pattern here: I have publicly criticised those who have descended to abuse of others for their comments or views, and one in particular who has made a habit of it here and elsewhere, and who I have not been alone in criticising. The recent spat - in which he roundly abused me in personal terms for a reasonable, calmly stated analysis of his insulting, unsupported comments on ICEL’s music panel - is a case in point. Correspondingly, I have avoided strong words to those who appear to know no better. I do you the justice of assuming that you do.

As to your suggestion that my present criticisms distract from encomiums to the Department’s acting secretary: I can only agree with you. Given the well-documented problems with the design and operation of the Process during his period of responsibility, and the Department’s resolute refusal to communicate with those effected, or respond to enquiries, let alone explain and apologise, the criticisms are fair comment. This is especially so on a comment board focused on liturgical music in England & Wales, on a thread about the appointment of a new Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and Worship. It ill behoves Martin’s chums to use it to fling bile at those who have the temerity to disagree with their glowing assessment of his track record.

The new secretary has a mess to sort out and the Department’s reputation to recover. It does no-one any favours to pretend otherwise. I wish him well, as I do Martin now that the Conference has at last got round to appointing a Secretary.
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by Southern Comfort » Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:49 pm

HallamPhil wrote:I do hope NT wrote to the Bishops with whom he has indicated some disagreement rather than using this forum.


Phil, I think the problem is precisely that he did write to the bishops, or a bishop, and got zero response. Hence his posting here, which is somewhat understandable in the circumstances. He must be extremely frustrated, having had nothing back since last May or June. While a bishop is probably not going to reply to a post on this forum, the publicising of the lack of courtesy on the part of a bishop might eventually result in some kind of response. Of course, we don't know in what fashion NT couched his initial letter, which could well have been a reason why no reply was received. Nevertheless, I view NT's posts here on this particular topic as an expression of frustration that no process has been followed, if indeed there is a process. I am sure you would feel the same if you were in his position, especially as he knows that his initial letter was passed on to another bishop, on whose desk it has now lain for many months without a reply.

By the way, he is not the only one to have received no response, or a very long delayed response (several months), from a bishop on matters in this area.

NT's error, it seems to me, is in blaming Martin Foster for something which has been outside Martin's control for many moons.

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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by NorthernTenor » Fri Mar 02, 2012 10:34 pm

Well, SC, you may be right, but until I hear something from Martin - and maybe it will have to be "I'm sorry, but this is out of my hands, and I have no idea when those responsible are going to do something" - what am I expected to think? A simple reply would work wonders.

It is also worth observing that the problem has seven strands: the fundamental problem of the internal contradictions of the terms of reference, in which much of the detail goes well beyond the stated purpose of textual felicity; the merits or otherwise of the detail; the extent to which the detail touches on matters that admit of judgement and subsidiarity; the Panel's anonymity; the absence of an appeal process; the failure of communication; and the breathtaking failure of the Department's own review of the process to mention any of these problems. In addition, there appear to have been parallel problems with the NO process that seem to have threatened the legitimate commercial interests of at least one publisher. As the public face of the process, Martin would appear to have some involvement in most if not all these, though I am happy to acknowledge that he might in some measure be the fall-guy for episcopal laziness.

At any rate, I am sure that all concerned hope the new Secretary will find some means of cutting the Gordian knot.
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New Secretary

Post by musicus » Sat Mar 03, 2012 12:42 am

NorthernTenor wrote:At any rate, I am sure that all concerned hope the new Secretary will find some means of cutting the Gordian knot.

Quite. The interregnum has gone on far too long, coinciding latterly with a challenging time of externally-imposed change to which the skeleton staff of the Liturgy Office have lacked the capacity and the authority fully to respond, notwithstanding their admirable attempts to do so. IMHO.

I note, however, that Fr Gunter is to continue teaching in Rome. It will be interesting to see how he manages to reconcile this with the demands of his new role.
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Re: New Secretary to the Department for Christian Life and W

Post by JW » Sat Mar 03, 2012 6:18 pm

musicus wrote:I note, however, that Fr Gunter is to continue teaching in Rome. It will be interesting to see how he manages to reconcile this with the demands of his new role.


Well, there's always bilocation.
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