July/August/September 2019


Anthony Towey

Recently I was asked by an organisation to conduct an ‘institutional review’ with colleagues from diocesan and academic backgrounds. It not only involved using the dreaded ‘SWOT’analysis (assessing where the organisation’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats lay), it also required hours of immersion in educational jargon and the argot of quality assurance, both of which are an effective cure for insomnia. That said, the more dispiriting aspect of the event was the requirement to modify a number of operational practices purely to map them onto a new set of criteria which seemed to have been changed for the sake of change. Heraclitus did warn that the only permanent thing is change, but in such a context, even the eyes of the most enthusiastic and open-minded can glaze over in zombied gape.

Pointless change is a curse of our times, and some might argue it is a hex that the Church itself is suffering from. As if Pope Francis has not ruffled enough feathers, he has put the cat among pigeons who have never even alighted on a Cathedral roof by proposing that the familiar words of the Our Father be changed. In fairness, he only wants to alter the line ‘lead us not into temptation’, which, he avers, implies that God is the one who leads us into sin. Francis prefers ‘do not let us fall into temptation’, which reminds us that we are the key moral agents (cf. Jas. 1.13) and allows a clear distinction between God’s job – to save, and Satan’s job – to tempt. Yet whatever his intention, since the prayer is commonly regarded as ipsissima verba – the very words of Jesus – some deem it beyond the pale, even for a Pope.

Well maybe. In the first instance, without getting too lost in the linguistic detail, we have to consider in what way they are the words of Jesus, since he spoke in Aramaic, the Gospels are in Greek and we have them in English. This should not be a cause for panic.

We have a divine and human saviour in Jesus and divine and human revelation in the Bible, a diptych of incarnation whereby both may be understood as the Word of God.

There is also context. Although we tend to think of this prayer as a moment of personal piety, it was given in the context of a communal Kingdom-building bootcamp for the disciples. It is therefore salutary to read it as a manifesto of jubilee, an action prayer of identity and belonging, which includes direct instructions for right living in the End Times.

As such, Daniel Harrington1 and others have long understood the force of the line in question to be divine protection in the time of testing, a plea to the Father don’t let us fail in the time of trial.
Given that this is already the common translation of the prayer in Spanish (Francis’ mother tongue), we can see why he might want to nudge the rest of us in the same direction. Yet for some it is not the change in the words but the change on charge sheet that is the problem. Surely it is embarrassing or at best arcane to have personified Evil being given airtime again and perhaps we should not be surprised that the Daily Express has picked up on this angle. A case of plus ça change, in all his guises Old Leather Wings loves attention: Tradition tells us that as Lucifer (‘light bearer’) he had self-image issues at the dawn of Creation and as Satan in the Gospel he thought Jesus would (literally) fall for the spectacular (Mt. 4.5). Small wonder that liturgically we regularly vow to resist his glamour!

Yet it is perhaps salutary to recall the biblical figure of Satan who famously requested in the court of God that Job be tested to interrogate the sincerity of his devotion. In this court motif, where Satan is the counsel for the prosecution, we all the more need an advocate, we all the more need one to bear our faults, we all the more need a merciful judge to disempower the accuser of the brethren. If changing the translation of the prayer helps remind us of our need to live in the love of the Trinity, then perhaps we can all say ‘Amen’ to that.

Of course being told to change the way we pray is akin to being told to change the way we love. The intimacy of prayer explains why liturgy is such a contentious part of our ecclesial life and why both the huge changes wrought at Vatican II and the ostensibly minor alterations ICEL recently authorised continue to reverberate. My own view writ large is that compared to the changes early Christians underwent at the Council of Jerusalem, (Acts 15), our generation of Church has got off lightly in terms of pummelling the wineskin. My own view writ small is I hope any eventual change to the prayer will be easier to remember than ‘right and just!’

Which brings me to the changes which are being made to the Pastoral Review explained opposite. I don’t doubt that they will impact differently on different subscribers to whom I would make a personal plea to stay part of the readership community over the coming twelve months. The Tablet, St Mary’s University and the Editorial Board are wrestling with the changing periodical landscape. Far from pointless, each change has been made for a specific reason, and was it Newman or Bob Dylan who said, ‘to be perfect is to change often’? We are very far from perfection, but we are sincere in our concern to provide the best material we can for those engaged in pastoral ministry. And just as the Early Christian Didache provides a coda to the Lord’s Prayer, so we hope this edition, these changes prove a faithful development of what has gone before. ‘For the Kingdom the Power and the glory are yours, now and forever.’

1 Harrington, D., The Gospel of Matthew (1991) Collegeville: Liturgical Press p.95.

‘I was in prison and you came to see me’ (Mt. 25.36) Chaplaincy in prisons

Kathleen Diamond HFB was the Roman Catholic Chaplain at ­Holloway Prison until its closure in 2016. Here she reflects on how chaplains reach out to some of the most vulnerable members of society

From the earliest days chaplains have had a central role, and while in the UK ‘the Chaplain’ was from the established Church of England, the Roman Catholic chaplain has always had an essential role in the pastoral care of the women and men who are sentenced by the courts. In recent years, chaplains have increasingly worked as a team, on an ecumenical and multi-faith level, while giving priority to one’s own denomination or faith. The chaplain does not have to be a priest, but men and women Religious and more so nowadays, lay men and women who have the necessary qualifications for the role. For the Eucharist and other sacraments, a priest from a local parish, if available, may preside, though often the chaplain conducts a Word and Communion service when necessary.

I had the privilege of spending over 20 years in prison – as Roman Catholic Chaplain in HMP Holloway, and before that part-time in Woodhill male prison. I say ‘privilege’ as the longer I was involved in this ministry the more I appreciated the reality of Jesus’ message– ‘as long as you did it to the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me’ (Mt.25.40).

In every prison there are certain statutory duties to be fulfilled by the chaplain, and these are usually shared by all the chaplains:
• meeting all the men or women at reception or the day after they arrive from the courts to check their well-being and give information about Mass or other services, group activities in the chaplaincy, opportunity for personal counselling etc;
• visiting daily those in the care and separation unit (segregated because of an offence in the prison or for the safety of other prisoners);
• visiting the hospital unit – a high percentage of prisoners have mental health problems;
• where applicable visiting the vulnerable prisoner wing (for sex offenders).

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A home away from home: The Manchester universities’ Catholic chaplaincy

Brendan Callaghan SJ reflects on how a thriving chaplaincy can help enable students to find a space to live out their faith at university.

The Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy is a ministry that the British Jesuits resumed in recent years at the invitation of Bishop Brain, the previous Bishop of Salford, having originated the Chaplaincy back in the early part of the 20th century. Making use of the stunning Victorian Church of the Holy Name and the adjoining (and not-so-stunning) 1960’s chaplaincy building, the chaplaincy ministry has the three university institutions on Manchester’s Oxford Road as its main area of work. The University of Manchester, the Royal Northern College of Music, and Manchester Metropolitan University have 80,000+ students between them, with a high proportion of international students. The University of Salford, three miles away and (crucially in local geography) on the other side of the River Irwell, has a separate chaplaincy provision for its 20,000 students. There is good networking among the different Manchester chaplaincies, reaching across world faiths and co-ordinated by the Lead Chaplain at the ecumenical Christian chaplaincy.

The Universities themselves are increasingly supportive of chaplaincy ministry, recognising that the counselling and other support services that they can provide do not necessarily engage with the life issues or existential questions with which many students are dealing.

The Medical School in particular, immediately adjacent to the chaplaincy, takes this very seriously, in line with its philosophy of ‘helping our students to become good people so that they can be good doctors’. At the start of the first-year programme for students on courses across the medical faculty the chaplains from the different faith communities are introduced at the inaugural lecture and are visible guests at the inaugural student dinner. The message is deliberate and clear: it is possible to be a good student in the medical faculties and a person of faith, and calling on chaplaincy resources can be entirely appropriate in what might otherwise be seen as a ‘religion-free zone’.

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Chaplaincy on the Emmaus road: Lay chaplains in Catholic schools

Diana Polisano, Chair of the Association of Catholic Chaplains in Education, explores the contribution and the potential of ­chaplaincy in Catholic schools.

School Chaplaincy is a ministry that has developed over many years since initially being the domain of clergy and Religious. The affirmation of the role of the laity and lay ministry in texts such as Christifideles laici (1988) and The Sign We Give (1995) came at a crucial time for Catholic Education in Britain. Various models of collaborative ministry were being explored as more and more demands were being made on fewer priests and thus chaplaincy in schools changed from being a mainly clerical model to a lay one, with a full-time priest chaplain becoming a rarity. This is the situation today in most voluntary-aided schools and Multi-Academy Trusts, although slightly less so in the independent sector.

The Association of Catholic Chaplains in Education (ACCE) was formed in 1993 with the aim of providing a network for those Chaplains working within the Catholic education sector. It produced, with the support of the Bishops’ Conference, Chaplaincy: The Change and the Challenge – the first document to address the very practical issues of job description, appointment and induction, training and other issues relating to the role of the chaplain in a Catholic school. As such it was the first professional handbook for chaplains, school leadership teams and governors.

Theological models of Chaplaincy
The most often used theological model for chaplaincy is that of the story of the two disciples meeting Christ on the road to Emmaus, but the description of Jesus and his visit to the house of Martha and Mary, surprisingly perhaps, does illustrate some basic and important characteristics of chaplaincy.

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Ethics as good news: How healthcare ethics serves life

Pia Matthews, Senior Lecturer in Healthcare Chaplaincy at St Mary’s University, Twickenham, explores how Christian ethics with the dignity of all human being at its heart enables ­healthcare practitioners to be ministers of life

Ask many healthcare workers what motivates them to work in health and social care, and the reply may well be that they are ‘passionate about making a difference’. Clearly this motivation is not simply about helping people. Rather, being passionate about making a difference recognises that working in healthcare is to care for people during some of our most fundamental human events and indeed crises, from a person’s earliest moments before birth, to their dying moments; in health as well as sickness, suffering, grief and bereavement. How that care is delivered does indeed make a real difference. This is in part why in 1994 the Catholic Church issued its first Charter for Health Care Workers on the initiative of Pope St John Paul II. In the light of many new moral questions and legislation the Charter has been updated and revised, and the New Charter for Health Care Workers, published in 2016 by the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers, has recently been translated into English. Echoing the conviction that good care makes a profound difference, these Charters explain that health and social care cannot be considered just a ‘technical activity’, a reference to simply attending to the small details of rules. As both Charters proclaim, health and social care are acts of ‘dedication and love’:1 good care makes a difference.

Both Charters are united in their concern to help guide the ongoing formation of people working in healthcare, and, as the New Charter points out, this includes all those involved in health and social care, from doctors and nurses to pharmacists, biologists, administrators, chaplains and volunteers. According to both Charters a significant aspect of this formation involves serious reflection on ethics.

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