While away from home, we attended one of the local Catholic Parish Churches for its Vigil Mass; since it was that 'musical chairs' period at the beginning of September, we coincided, like many in congregations all over Britain and Ireland, with the first Sunday of a new Parish Priest. What, with some degree of curiosity I wondered, does one talk about during ones 'inaugural' sermon, out there in the mainstream Catholic Church? What programmatic initiatives does one announce? What advances of pastoral evangelism does one introduce? What new charisms of the Holy Spirit does one invoke upon ones new flock?
Well, he decided to address us at some length on the CDF document Dominus Iesus of 2000, with regard to which he used the epithet "infamous". I thought that was an intriguing choice both of subject and of adjective. After all, that thoroughly admirable document is not currently exactly the hottest news ... He said that it was negative about the Church of England, which, perhaps, although defensible, has a tadge of the suggestio falsi about it (since it doesn't actually mention the Church of England).
At the end of Mass, Father gave us his CV; he has just returned from studying Liturgy in foreign parts. Had I been one of his own parishioners, I might have asked him as I left why he used Prayer 2, the pseudo-Hippolytan Prayer about the dewfall, even at a Sunday Mass. Had he, I would have asked, spent long in the Trastevere?
But it isn't right for a tourist to be a nuisance to the bloke who's trying to do a job. I remember once, in my Anglican days, standing to gladhand the congregation outside the Church of Ireland church at Sneem in the County Kerry (in the parish of the diverting 'Hiberno-Catholic' Canon Charlie Gray-Stack, who loved to preach about the glories of the Holy Rosary), and being approached by a large visitor who looked down at me and declared himself 'Dutch Orthodox' and, for light conversation, started up (somewhat gutturally) with "I am very irritated indeed to find that the Church of Ireland still has the filioque in the Nicene Creed".
So I do know what a presbyter feels like doing in such circumstances. But, being on the smallish side ...