Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Another candidate for Westminster?

Emerging from the stone under which I have been hiding for the last week or so, I find people still buzzing with the news that Mgr Jim Curry has been hotly (or at lest expensively) tipped for Westminster. Well, it's possible, I suppose; he was Cardinal Hume's secretary for several years, so he knows where a lot of the bodies are buried. However, unless Rome decides to go for a member of the magic circle, I doubt his chances are that good. Mgr Curry isn't in the obvious inner magic circle, but a little bit further out, so I suppose he might be regarded as a sort of compromise candidate. I'm sure Mgr Curry is an excellent chap in many ways, but I don't think he's likely to represent much of a change from current policy.
On the other hand, I have wondered about Fr Terence Phipps, the Parish Priest at St James, Spanish Place. A moral theologian (a good idea these days), he has been the Precentor at Westminster Cathedral, and has liturgical ability and gravitas. He can celebrate the Extraordinary form if required, though usually celebrates the Ordinary one. He is known for his work with the DePaul trust, a charitable organization. The fact that he is not a Mgr, but still a mere Fr suggests to me that he is not a member of the magic circle, but he is well known; if we were to have a secular priest from the Westminster Diocese for the job, which I think would be a good idea, it strikes me that (unless others know what I don't) he might well fit the bill.


Francis said...


I googled “Mgr James Curry” and ended up here, on the website of what I presume is his parish: Our Lady of Grace and St Edward in Chiswick. Is this the parish of the Mgr Curry that people have been betting on?

I was intrigued by the “About the Parish” web page and the subliminal message it seems to be giving.

I don’t know about you, Father, but when I see a parish website where the first member of the “parish team” mentioned in bold letters at the top of the page is a female “Administrator,” the second person mentioned is a female “Parish Assistant,” the third person mentioned is a female “Centre Manager,” and you have to scroll right down to the bottom of the page to find out who the parish priest is – well, then an alarm bell starts to ring in my mind.

Perhaps it’s just me being paranoid as usual.

Anonymous said...

Your will be done...
I am very happy bacasue that news.
Certainly we do not know what God's plans are and for sure His paths are unpredictable. There is no doubt we need a pastor, one who loves a flock and looks after it. And now this is a time to be appointed a new one in Westminster.
I would be very happy if Fr Terry would be appointed as a Archbishop of Westminster. What I can do is to pray for it saying Your will be done. Let us just pray for it.

Anonymous said...

Either Curry or Phipps would be a disaster. There are a couple of diocesan priests in Westminster - holy, zealous for the spread of the Gospel, courageous, prudent and good organizers - who would make excellent candidates for Westminster. But the names you float suggest you don't have much idea of the character of Westminster priests.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure it is either wise or fair to suggest Father Phipps is a Modernist or even that he has Modernist leanings but he certainly is infected by the relativism of what, these days, passes for the Catholic Church. I know this is true because we are of were all infected a long time ago. Yes, Father and I were contemporaries at the English College. I know him only too well and I bear him nothing but good will. Because I wish him well I hope that his chances of achieving the 'Episcopate' as we know it in the Conciliar Church of today are negligible because that would suggest to me that he is not bien vu by the certain Modernists who take their lead from the present Westminster Cardinal. Father has a much deserved reputation for wishing to be seen as 'a jolly good fellow', "Phipps is a brick" sort of chap. That in itself gets right up the nose of too many of the sacerdotal brethren and his critics are various, multiple and somewhat contemptuous of him. From the start, he mixed too eagerly and too enthusiastically with an elitist group at the English College whose members never for one moment doubted their rightful vocation was to the Episcopate. Humility was never as much his strong suit as was being judgmental and he had a rather strong penchant for mockery that more than occasionally became anything but Christian. The Phipps unbelievers labelled him 'Tartuffe', a character with whom he is well acquainted given his undoubted mastery of French. All these tendencies were duly noted by very many and approved by very few. The 'Stop Phipps' movement began many years ago and remains vigorous today