Monday, 12 December 2011

A Bishop makes the case for the value of silence in church

It is a strange experience, I find, to make the Stations of the Cross after Sunday Mass. There is a tremendous noise of conversations and laughter. Many a time I have been praying in front of a Station, right next to a group of parishioners who are exchanging the latest news. I find it quite a challenge to my concentration, but I am getting better at it, and I make the effort to think generous thoughts of my neighbours. But how I long for the silence which used to be the norm in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, in the days of my youth!

And now, to my surprise and delight, the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, who live on one of the tiniest islands of the Orkneys, have made available to us this marvellous pastoral letter. It comes from the new Bishop of Aberdeen, the Right Reverend Dom Hugh Gilbert OSB, who until recently was the Abbot of Pluscarden.

If only these wise and inspiring words could filter down through the various dioceses – hierarchies, even – of the British Isles, and reach the churches up and down our countries where this message is sorely needed. It is not a matter of being a killjoy. It seems such an obvious contribution to the nourishment of our faith.

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