New liturgy director for England and Wales

Fr. Paul Gunter, OSB, has been appointed Secretary of the Department for Christian Life and Worship of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales. In effect, this means he is director of the national liturgy office.

Fr. Paul was born in 1966. He has been a monk of Douai Abbey since 1985 and was ordained priest in 1991. Over ten years of parish ministry followed. In 2002 he was sent to Rome to pursue further studies in liturgy. He gained a Licence in 2004 and a Doctorate in 2006 from the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy attached to Sant’ Anselmo, where he has also been organist since 2005. After defending his doctoral thesis, “Edmund Bishop and the Genius of the Roman Rite,” in June 2006, he joined the faculty of the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy where he teaches. In 2008, he was named a consulter to the Office of the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff and in 2010 to the Commission entrusted with the readmission of the 1962 (pre-Vatican II) Missal under the jurisdiction of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. He has written about the liturgy, e.g. for Zenit, and for a time he was on the editorial board of the joural Usus Antiquior, which is interested especially in the traditional liturgy before the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

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9 comments

  1. Wow, a terrific choice. English Catholics will be getting better liturgy because of this appointment. They’ve had a lot of problems there. Praised be Jesus Christ, now and forever!

  2. Laus Deo! Hopefully this reflects a recognition from the E&W bishops that the Extraordinary Form ought to be better reflected in the liturgical life of our parishes.

    1. I think the information in the link is now out of date. Indeed the FSSP now has a house in Reading.
      The quality of liturgy will surely vary from parish to parish. One general point, touched on in this blog before, is that there is no approved book of hymns so it is left to the discretion of the priest or, more likely, the choirmaster and organist. So there are some very unsatisfactory choices.
      My bête noire is “liturgical” dance by girls in skimpy outfits, fortunately rare.

  3. I am not a partisan of the Usus Antiquior (far from it!), but the appointment of such a scholar as Fr Paul to such a post is a breath of very fresh air. This may, one at least hopes, have a very postitive effect toward a more seemly celebration of the Novus Ordo.

  4. The full text of the letter sent to the bishops of England and Wales, forwarded also to committees and consultors of the Department of Christian Life and Worship, plus members of the national liturgy network (representatives of diocesan liturgical commissions), is much longer than the abbreviated press release on the Conference website.

    Amongst other details, it includes this:

    He was appointed Vice-President of the faculty in 2011. In 2012-13 he will be teaching a course on the Rite of the Sacrament of the Sick and on the Rite of Funerals in the light of the Paschal Mystery and another course on the Vatican II Constitution on the Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium.

    and this:

    Fr Paul will remain in Rome for the most part due to his academic responsibilities, but will travel to England and Wales as and when needed. He will, of course, attend the department and plenary meetings of the Bishops’ Conference. I hope that we will be able to introduce Fr Paul to you at the next plenary meeting in May.

    It therefore seems that this could be a nominal appointment (and there is already speculation as to the motivation behind it) and that Dom Paul may not actually be in England very much. If that is the case, it is difficult to predict what impact his appointment may have in practice.

  5. Paul Inwood :

    It therefore seems that this could be a nominal appointment (and there is already speculation as to the motivation behind it) and that Dom Paul may not actually be in England very much. If that is the case, it is difficult to predict what impact his appointment may have in practice.

    What is the motivation?

    1. You would have to ask Bishop Arthur Roche, chair of the Department for Christian Life and Worship.

      Surprise has also been expressed about the timing of the appointment. The secretary’s position has been vacant for 6 years. Why wait until we have completed the biggest change since the liturgy went into the vernacular in the second half of the 1960s before appointing someone? (There are at least two answers to that, of course, one more cynical than the other.)

      Today’s Tablet has this: http://www.thetablet.co.uk/latest-news/3911

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