Firstly, a word of thanks for the encouraging words offered for our little mission to promote Traditional Liturgy in the diocese.
The current situation and the impending changes to the church network and Mass times are a concern for many. I am quite sure Bishop Brignall's mailbox has been quite full since he promulgated his pastoral letter!
One of the major issues the diocese faces is a shortage of clergy - there are simply not enough priests to go around. There are no vocations at seminary and there have not been any for a number of years. Please God, send us labourers for your vineyard in North Wales!
However, the crossroads we have now reached is not solely due to the lack of priests. Some of the churches are far from well attended and this has a knock on effect on the bank balance.
Of course, this untenable situation could well have come about due to the lack of priests .... No priests engenders a lack of pastoral support and leadership, leading to a crisis of faith and confidence and therefore culminates in low Mass numbers and little income.
I do not suppose that the Bishop published the plan lightly and one has to assume that all options had been explored to avoid closures whilst ensuring everyone has the opportunity to fulfil their Sunday obligation.
But perhaps one solution, highlighted by the good people at Touch of the Faith, has not been fully explored. That is the establishment of a Traditional parish. Be assured, I have already made this suggestion to the Bishop in written correspondence.
This could not be achieved by use of diocesan clergy, it would mean an invitation to one of the traditional communities. The diocese is located conveniently for the two locally based traditional priestly communities at New Brighton and Warrington.
The big question would be viability. If there was a realistic prospect that such a proposition was financially sound, then surely this is not such a silly suggestion.