Monday, December 31, 2007
In a veiled criticism of the Spanish government, which has legally recognised homosexual unions and has decided to eliminate religious education from schools, the Pontiff added: “Parents have the right and the fundamental duty to educate their children in their faith and the values that give dignity to human existence. It is worthwhile to work for the family and marriage because it is worthwhile to work for human beings, the most precious being created by God.”
Earlier Benedict XVI mentioned the significance of today’s celebration, the Feast Day of the Holy Family. He said: “In accordance with the Gospels of Matthew and Luke, let us look at Jesus, Mary and Joseph, and worship the mystery of a God who chose to be born from a woman, the Holy Virgin, and come into this world the way all men do. This way He sanctified the reality of the family, filling it with divine grace, fully revealing its vocation and mission.”
The Pope mentioned important teachings by the Second Vatican Council on the family. “Husbands and wives find their proper vocation in being witnesses of the faith and love of Christ to one another and to their children (cf Lumen gentium, 35). The Christian family loudly proclaims both the present virtues of the Kingdom of God and the hope of a blessed life to come” (ibid).
In remembering John Paul II for whom “what is good for people and society is strictly connected to the ‘good health’ of the family,” Benedict XVI reiterated that “the Church is committed to defend and promote the ‘the holiness and to foster the natural dignity” (Gaudium et spes, 47) of marriage and the family.”
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I know when the interview with the Cardinal first appeared in a Polish language paper there was a bit of an outcry, see the highlights in the Telegraph:
Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said: "I'm quite concerned that the Poles are creating a separate church in Britain. I would want them to be part of the Catholic life of this country.
"I would hope those responsible for the Polish church here, and the Poles themselves, will be aware that they should become a part of local parishes as soon as possible when they learn enough of the language."
Despite the archbishop's also using his Christmas message to appeal to the nation to be more welcoming to immigrants, Grazyna Sikorska, of the Polish Catholic Mission for England and Wales, said the community had been upset.
She told the Catholic newspaper The Tablet: "How can he demand that we stop praying in Polish? Is it a sin? I feel my inner conscience has been violated, leaving me spiritually raped.
"Fr Tadeusz Kukla, the vicar-delegate for Poles in England and Wales, said: "If we lose our national identity, we lose everything."
A spokesman for Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor said the archbishop was keen to work with the Polish chaplaincy. "He believes the Polish community contributes greatly to the Church in this country, but closer collaboration would make it even more effective."
I agree with His Eminence there is a serious problem, the Polish chaplain here sees there is a problem. The bishop-elect of Middlesbrough, Mgr Drainey, tried to deal with it by putting on a course to Anglicise foreign priests, I don't think that is the answer.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
In 117o St Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury was hacked to death by three knights in his own Cathedral.
One of the things I love about St Thomas is that he didn't go quietly, he shouted, he swore, he cursed his assailants. Whilst all this was going on the monks continued to sing Vespers. They left his bloody body before the altar where he had been slain.
Only when they recovered their courage and prepared his body for burial did they gradually realise his sanctity. It was the lice that did! Underneath the splendour of his outer vestments they found he wore the rough habit of monk and a hairshirt both full of lice, a sign of ascetism.
They burried his body hastily, very soon the healing miracles began.
One of the proofs of his holiness that I find amusing is that a monk had a dream about him, in life his Latin was less than perfect, but now he was in heaven it had become perfect, a sure and certain sign of holiness.
It is said tht this great Martyr in the present English calendar is merely an optional commemoration. At the Reformation his glorious shrine was dismantled, his image was the first to be removed from churches, his feast removed the liturgical books and he was declared an enemey of the state.
He is the Patron of the English clergy, he reminds me that priests are supposed to be on the side of the side of the crucified not the crucifiers.
His death led to Magna Carta in ther next but one reign, in which the English Church was guaranteed perpetual freedom and the King's absolute power was restrained by the law.
First, I think that over time market forces will take care of most of the stupid or wicked Catholic commentary. I believe in sort of a reverse Gresham’s Law when it comes to information on the internet: good information will eventually drive bad information out of circulation. A correlation of this law is that "people are smart". This last point is the one most frequently violated by liberals, who are far more likely to desire that only one side of an issue have a free voice.
Second, prelates may have a role in "silencing" some Catholic commentators. However, that would pertain when the commentators were falling into error about issues of faith and morals or creating confusion about the Church’s proper discipline, etc. For example, I think that it would not be out of the question for the Catholic hierarchy to exercise their office of oversight in regard some dimensions of the National Catholic Reporter. I believe something was done in relation to the former editor of America. It is difficult to balance all the elements in this. However, I think I must come down on the side of freedom to comment and then depend on those "market forces" to sort things out.I have as working paradigms in this issue the interesting exchanges between, for example, Umberto Eco and Card. Martini, or the press exchange years ago between Cardinals Ratzinger and Kasper. I also am taking into consideration the way Pope Benedict opened himself to commentary and criticism in the preface of his book Jesus of Nazareth.
Friday, December 28, 2007
(AFP) — Seven people were injured on Thursday when Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests came to blows in a dispute over how to clean the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem.
Following the Christmas celebrations, Greek Orthodox priests set up ladders to clean the walls and ceilings of their part of the church, which is built over the site where Jesus Christ is believed to have been born.
But the ladders encroached on space controlled by Armenian priests, according to photographers who said angry words ensued and blows quickly followed.
For a quarter of an hour bearded and robed priests laid into each other with fists, brooms and iron rods while the photographers who had come to take pictures of the annual cleaning ceremony recorded the whole event.
A dozen unarmed Palestinian policemen were sent to try to separate the priests, but two of them were also injured in the unholy melee.
"As usual the cleaning of the church afer Christmas is a cause of problems," Bethlehem Mayor Victor Batarseh told AFP, adding that he has offered to help ease tensions.
"For the two years that I have been here everything went more or less calmly," he said. "It's all finished now."
The Church of the Nativity, like the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, is shared by various branches of Christianity, each of which controls and jealously guards a part of the holy site.
The Church of the Nativity is built on the site where Christians believe Jesus was born in a stable more than 2,000 years ago after Mary and Joseph were turned away by an inn.
Unto us is born a Son,
King of quires supernal:
See on earth his life begun,
Of lords the Lord eternal.
Christ, from heaven descending low,
Come on earth a stranger;
Ox and ass their owner know,
Becradled in the manger.
This did Herod sore affray,
And grievously bewilder,
So he gave the word to slay,
And slew the little childer.
Choir Of his love and mercy mild
This the Christmas story;
And O that Mary's gentle child
Might lead us up to glory.
O and A, and A and O,
Cum cantibus in choro,
Let our merry organ go,
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I suspect those who ask this question are unfamiliar with the Holy Fathers writings or speeches. From the very beginning of his papacy he has stressed "continuity". When taking possession of the Lateran he said that the role of the Pope was to present nothing of his own, but to be like the wise scribe, "who brings out from his store room things both old and new".
I have always considered "Dominus Jesus", written whilst the pope was still head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in 2000 as being the blueprint for this papacy. There he stresses the continuity of the Church from Christ to the present day.
The vestments and the furniture stress the continuity of recent history, the use of the Pope Leo XIII's throne, which was used by the Blessed John XXIII and Paul VI whilst presiding over the Second Vatican Council, is the most obvious example. His Wednesday catechises have stressed the continuity of the Church with Jesus, he began with the Apostles, continued with the first Fathers of the Church who knew the Apostles and now we are up to the Fathers of the sixth century.
As far as the liturgy is concerned, his concern is that Ordinary Form of Mass was, in his words, "created by a commission ex nihil". He wants to give the liturgy "roots", the easy short term way is to use the ornaments of the past. Long term of course he expects the Extraordinary Form to have an effect. For him disaster would be that every fifty years we decide to re-invent the liturgy and the Church too. As one liberal English bishop said to me four or five years ago, "We have moved beyond the Council -Vat II- we have to find the new Church", the exact opposite of all Pope Benedict stands for.
CNS -- The Vatican's Christmas liturgies and rituals include a mix of old and new to demonstrate continuity with the past, said the master of papal liturgical ceremonies.
"The vestments used, like some of the details of the rite, aim to underline the continuity of today's liturgical celebration with that which characterized the life of the church in the past," said Msgr. Guido Marini.
In an interview published in the Dec. 24-25 edition of the Vatican newspaper, the master of ceremonies spoke about Pope Benedict XVI's decision to use older miters and vestments at his Christmas events and the decision to place a crucifix on the altar in St. Peter's Basilica.
Under Msgr. Marini's predecessor, a crucifix was carried into the basilica during the entrance procession and placed alongside the altar.
The newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, asked Msgr. Marini to explain why the crucifix, the symbol of Christ's death, was being given such prominence even at midnight Mass when the church was celebrating Christ's birth.
"The position of the cross at the center of the altar indicates the centrality of the crucifix in the Eucharistic celebration and the exact orientation the entire assembly is called to have during the eucharistic liturgy: We do not look at each other, but at the one who was born, died and rose for us, the Savior," he said.
"Salvation comes from the Lord. He is the east, the sun that rises, the one whom we all must watch," Msgr. Marini said.
In his 2000 book, "The Spirit of the Liturgy," Pope Benedict argued that facing the east while praying is a physical expression of turning toward God, toward the sun that rises for the salvation of all men and women.
"Where a direct, common turning toward the east is not possible, the cross can serve as the interior 'east' of the faith. It should stand in the middle of the altar and be the common point of focus for both priest and praying community," he wrote.
As for Pope Benedict's use of older, much taller miters, Msgr. Marini said they are a sign of how the church moves forward in history without ignoring or forgetting its past.
"Just as in his documents, a pope cites the pontiffs who preceded him in order to indicate the continuity of the church's magisterium, so in the liturgical sphere, a pope uses the vestments and sacred furnishings" of previous popes, demonstrating a continuity in prayer, he said.
Celebrating Mass, presiding over prayer services and giving his blessing "urbi et orbi" (to the city of Rome and the world), "the pope will wear his own miters, as well as those belonging to Benedict XV, Paul VI, John Paul I and John Paul II," the master of ceremonies said.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
wearing a Pugin vestment.
The crib: prepared by Gerrard Hatton of "Cribs "r" Us", well actually he is a seminarian, working in a local parish, he seems to have designed several local cribs this year.
The altar, normally we have the candles and relics bunched up on the "horns" of the altar, but the current practice in Rome favours this arrangement.
Monday, December 24, 2007
the two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seventh year after the flood;
the two thousand and fifteenth year from the birth of Abraham;
the one thousand five hundred and tenth year from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
the one thousand and thirty-second year from David's being anointed king; in the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
in the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
the seven hundred and fifty-second year from the foundation of the city of Rome;
the forty second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus;
the whole world being at peace,
in the sixth age of the world, Jesus Christ the eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, desiring to sanctify the world by his most merciful coming, being conceived by the Holy Spirit, and nine months having passed since his conception, was born in Bethlehem of Judea of the Virgin Mary, being made flesh.
The Israeli press have gone into high spin over part of his Christmas Message, this has been taken up by the Jewish newspapers worldwide, especially in the US. Pray for him and the Christians of the Holy Land as you think of Bethlehem this year.
"In this land, which is holy for three religions and for two peoples, religious states cannot be established because they would exclude or place in an inferior position the believers of the other religions," he said. "A state that would exclude or discriminate against the other religions is not suitable for this land made holy by God for all of humanity.
"Political and religious leaders must begin by understanding the universal vocation of this land in which God has brought us together throughout history. They must know that the holiness of this land does not consist in the exclusion of one or the other of the religions, but in the ability of each religion, with all of their differences, to welcome, respect, and love all who inhabit this land." Zenit
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The current formula for the Rite of Reception of an Adult into Full Communion with the Catholic Church run as follows:
After the Profession of Faith (the Creed)
“I believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God.”
The profession of faith in the 1962 rituale Romanum is:
I, N.N., .... years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father ...., having before my eyes and touching with my hand the holy Gospels. And with firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is: (The Apostles Creed is recited).
I firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and ordinances of the Church.
I admit the Sacred Scriptures in the sense which has been held and is still held by holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and I shall never accept or interpret them in a sense contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers.
I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. I profess that all confer grace, and that baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforementioned sacraments.
I accept and hold in each and every part all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, and that there takes place in the Mass what the Church calls transubstantiation, which is the change of all the substance of bread into the body of Christ and of all substance of wine into His blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ whole and entire.
I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful.
Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.
I firmly profess that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences, and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ.
Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, I now freely profess and I truly adhere to it. With the help of God, I promise and swear to maintain and profess this faith entirely, inviolately, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all who depend on me and over whom I shall have charge.
So help me God and these holy Gospels.
The convert remains kneeling, and the priest, still seated, says psalm 50, or psalm 129, concluding with "Glory be to the Father."
After this the priest stands and says:
Lord, have mercy. Christ, have mercy. Lord, have mercy. Our Father (the rest inaudibly until:)
P: And lead us not into temptation.
All: But deliver us from evil.
P: Save your servant.
All: Who trusts in you, my God.
P: Lord, heed my prayer.
All: And let my cry be heard by you.
P: The Lord be with you.
All: And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
God, whose nature is ever merciful and forgiving, accept our prayer that this servant of yours, bound by the fetters of sin, may be pardoned by your loving kindness: through Christ our Lord.
The priest again sits down, and facing the convert pronounces the absolution from excommunication, inserting the word perhaps if in doubt as to whether it has been incurred:
By the authority of the Holy See which I exercise here, I release you from the bond of excommunication which you have (perhaps) incurred; and I restore you to communion and union with the faithful, as well as to the holy sacraments of the Church; in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
Lastly the priest imposes some salutary penance, such as prayers, visits to a church, or the equivalent.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
The Society for the Protection of Unborn ChildrenDuring his premiership, Tony Blair became one of the world's most significant architects of the culture of death - promoting abortion, experiments on human embryos, including on cloned human embryos, and euthanasia by neglect."SPUC is writing to Tony Blair to ask him whether he has repented of the anti-life positions he has so openly advocated throughout his political career".
I for one look forward to seeing Mr Blair's answer.
Fr Justin said...
You know, that chair makes a lot of appearances these days in a lot of different places; it must be a struggle to move it from one location to another. Wouldn't it be simpler to mount it on a platform with some handy carrying poles? They could save time by the Holy Father sitting in it while they are doing so. Time and motion studies would recommend it.After all, we are all trying to live simply these days.
22/12/07 9:32 AM
Oh, and think of the carbon footprint of those popemobiles!
22/12/07 9:32 AM
Earlier this year it was announced that the Paul Audience Hall roof would covered in solar panels to convert sunlight into electricity, a green papal initiative.
Last winter a friend of mine said he was going to start wearing a biretta to be able to reduce the heating in his house, but I think Father is right we need signs from the top.
Friday, December 21, 2007
Few thoughts on being a canonised saint:
- You have to be a Christian in full communion with the Catholc Church
- You have to show you are in heaven and prayers work
- You have to be inspire to other Christians to heroic virtue
One of the things I like about Rome is that so many Church's are promoting the beatification of a member of their parish.
Err..., If I were bishop I think I would I set up a group of priests and lay people to investigate the possibility of the canonisation of parishioners.
There are so many people who really do live heroic lives. Although modern funerals seem to want to canonise everyone, as soon as they are dead they are forgotten. I think if we were on the look out for potential candidates for canonisation we might have a clearer theology of death and also of simple Christian living and see sanctity as the basic Christian vocation. We need heroes and heroines, and they are out there. I think we also need to encourage cults of some of the faithful departed, to maintain the memory of the community.
I always think that is one of the reason why a priest should be permanently, as far as possible, attached to a parish. One of his roles is the "rememberancer of the community", he should know the candidates for "sainthood" in his parish.
The insightful, blogging monk Don Marco has more on this extraordinary child's piety. I want to make her the patron of our 1st Holy Communion class. The good Father quotes the Pope on this child.
It pleased me that, a moment ago, you quoted a little girl, Antonia Meo, called Nennolina. Just three days ago I decreed the recognition of her heroic virtues and I hope that her cause of beatification may be brought quickly to a happy conclusion. What a luminous example has this little member of yours left us! (Note: Nennolina was enrolled in the "Benjamins" section of the Italian Catholic Action Movement.)
Nennolia, a child of Rome, in her very short life — only six and a half years —demonstrated a faith, a hope, a special charity, and other Christian virtues as well. Though she was a frail little girl, she succeeded in giving a strong and robust witness to the Gospel and has left a deep impression in the diocesan community of Rome. Nennolina belonged the Catholic Action Movement; today she would certainly be inscribed in the A.C.R. (Childrens' Catholic Action)!
For all of you can consider her your friend, a model to inspire you. Her existence, so simple and, at the same time, so important, demonstrates that holiness is for every age; for little children and young people, for adults and for the elderly. Every season of our existence can be good for us to decide seriously to love Jesus and to follow Him faithfully. In a few years, Nennolina reached the summit of Christian perfection that we are, all of us, called to ascend, she ran quickly the "highway" that leads to Jesus. And so, as you yourselves recalled, Jesus is the true "way" who leads us to the Father and to our permanent home, which is Paradise. You know that Antonia now lives in God, and from heaven, she is close to you; you sense that she is present with you, in your groups. Learn to know her and follow her examples. I think that she also will be happy about this: to be involved still in Catholic Action.
He also sums up my thoughts on celebrating Mass ad orientem, check out his blog.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
The space in the observatory is needed by the Vatican to host diplomats and heads of state who visit Pope Benedict XVI.
The entire area of the observatory will be used, while the building's two domes will be museums, open only on request.
The observatory was built by Pope Leo XIII in 1891 to respond to claims that the church was opposed to scientific progress. It became famous, when in 1969 Pope Paul VI saw, with the help of powerful Vatican telescopes, the landing on the moon of American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin.
The Archbishop of Canterbury said yesterday that the Christmas story of the Three Wise Men was nothing but a 'legend'.
Dr Rowan Williams has claimed there was little evidence that the Magi even existed and there was certainly nothing to prove there were three of them or that they were kings. He said the only reference to the wise men from the East was in Matthew's gospel and the details were very vague.
Dr Williams said: "Matthew's gospel says they are astrologers, wise men, priests from somewhere outside the Roman Empire, that's all we're really told. It works quite well as legend."
The Archbishop went on to dispel other details of the Christmas story, adding that there were probably no asses or oxen in the stable.
He argued that Christmas cards which showed the Virgin Mary cradling the baby Jesus, flanked by shepherds and wise men, were misleading. As for the scenes that depicted snow falling in Bethlehem, the Archbishop said the chance of this was "very unlikely".
In a final blow to the traditional nativity story, Dr Williams concluded that Jesus was probably not born in December at all. He said: "Christmas was when it was because it fitted well with the winter festival." from The Telegraph
I don't have too many problems with what the Archbishop had to say, I just think he was foolish to say it. He should have led his listeners into a deeper understanding of the Mystery of the Incarnation and not denied those images that have been used to explain it.
Obviously St Matthew bears witness to the Tradition of "wise men from the east" coming to do homage, that is part of Revelation. They are not kings, there were three gifts; gold, incense and myrrh: not necessarily three wise men. St John Chrysostom suggests that there might have been forty of them, each bringing the three gifts.
There are no references to the presence of livestock, but as there is a reference to being "laid in a manger", it is not foolish to presume their presence.
Shepherds and wise men were obviously not there together. He is right too about the absence of snow and about the dating of Christmas in December.
The trouble with Dr Williams' statement is that it is part of the liberal protestant agenda of denial of the traditional signs and symbols. At the heart of the doctrine of the Incarnation is that the Son emptied himself of his divinity. What the infancy narratives are about is the descent of God, in Matthew and Luke, they are the preface to the Gospels in which Christ goes down and down and down until he descends into the very depths of his death on the cross and descent into hell. The animals in the stable are fitting in so far as they remind us of excrement and urine of the death on the Cross, and the rejection of Christ from the society of mankind.
The iconography of Christmas, the dating of Christmas itself, "in the bleak mid-winter" of mankind's need is a theological statement, it is about light in darkness, which the "darkness cannot overcome". When the need to find a date for Christmas arose, a time of darkness and cold is the most appropriate.
Certainly it is right to get people to see beyond tinsel and angels that look more like fairies , than the "mighty host of the Lord" who will fight and win the battle against Satan and sin. I suggested to my primary school that it would be proper to have boys playing angels in the school nativity play, and chanting like US Marines on a route march! Not a suggestion they took up.
Williams' statement belongs to that school of Liberals Protestants who explain the feeding of the 5,000 as "nice Jesus persuades everyone to be nice and share their nice sandwiches like nice people, so everyone was nicely fed, wasn't that nice, so let us all try and be nice and share this week". The trouble is that is not what God has revealed, through the scriptures.
Liberalism is always about denial and simplification and ultimately the dismal of God, orthodoxy is about acceptance and penetration of the mysteries of faith, so that we might know God.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The good Dr Paulinus has this eerie video on his blog. I am no red necked climate change denier, we really must take the human effects on the environment seriously, but I am incredibly worried that there is a new dogmatism that is grabbing hold of the hearts and minds of the young. One used to hear alot about Catholic guilt, though outside of Catholic novels of 1930s and 40s I have never really met it. Green guilt seems very much on the rise, especially amongst the young. It brings with it a sense of hopelessness. I am more anxious about the psychological effects on the younger generation and the furtherance of a dystopic hopelessness, than the ecological issues.
So much of Green propaganda emphasises the utter hopelessness of humanity and the downward spiral that can only be arrested by a radical change in not just attitudes but actions too. I just wonder if videos like this will be replaced 20 years on by wilful acts of violence and destruction, a sort of violent fideism, springing from frustration with politics, democracy and hedonism.
I suspect that for many of old celibates that Christmas is a bit depressing because in a way it belongs to childhood. My mother always tried to recreate the Christmas of my childhood. “I have got... because I know you love it”, I always wanted to say, “Yes, mum, when I was six I thought it was delicious but I am forty-six now”.
I hope I never did say that but I might have.
They were made with the type of pastry that was normally used for pork pies, but it had tons of ground ginger in it, so it became like a ginger biscuit, she used to make her own mincemeat, always made the year before which had packets of ground cloves in it, and I think there was actually meat in it too. They were oblong with rounded ends and the tops had an image of a haloed baby scratched on the top. They were quite big about the size of a Cornish pasty. When they came out of the oven the whole house smelt of spices. The smell was wonderful though I think they didn’t taste very nice.
I am sure these were the type of mince pies that Cromwell wanted to suppress, redolent of popery and the visit of the Magi.
Presents for her, when we were younger and less sophisticated were always handmade, knitted generally, taking hours of patience and love.
For the fact is, our records of a tradition associating Jesus' birth with December 25 are decades older than any records concerning a pagan feast on that day.
[T]he definitive "Handbook of Biblical Chronology" by professor Jack Finegan (Hendrickson, 1998 revised edition) cites an important reference in the "Chronicle" written by Hippolytus of Rome three decades before Aurelian launched his festival. Hippolytus said Jesus' birth "took place eight days before the kalends of January," that is, Dec. 25.
Tighe said there's evidence that as early as the second and third centuries, Christians sought to fix the birth date to help determine the time of Jesus' death and resurrection for the liturgical calendar—long before Christmas also became a festival.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
The assault on Italian Franciscan Adriano Franchini was likely to add to concerns about whether the predominantly Muslim country — which is bidding for European Union membership — can protect its Christian community.
Franchini was stabbed after Sunday Mass at St. Anthony's church in the port city of Izmir, said Simon Carta, the Italian consul there.
The priest is responsible for the Capucin order in Turkey and heads the Church of the Virgin Mary in Ephesus, Carta said. He said the priest was conscious when he was taken to a hospital. his injuries inflicted by a sixteen year old boy are not life threatening.
Yesterday, the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI received in a private audience His Eminence, the Most Reverend Lord Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In the course of the audience, the Holy Father authorized the Congregation to promulgate the heroicity of the virtues of the Servant of God Antonietta Meo, called Nennolina, a little girl born in Rome, in the parish of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme, on 15 December 1930, where she also died on 3 July 1937. Nennolina is buried in the Basilica of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme. The Venerable Servant of God attended the school of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, also in the parish of Santa Croce in Gerusalemme.
Monday, December 17, 2007
Instead, the pope held up Mother Teresa — the Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to serving the poor in India and elsewhere — as an example.
"Every day, she lived next to misery, human degradation and death," the pope told thousands of faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. "Yet, she offered the smile of God to everybody."
The pope, speaking during the traditional Sunday noon Angelus prayer, said real happiness cannot be found in cultures "that put individual happiness in the place of God, a mentality that has its emblematic effect in the quest for pleasure at all costs, in the spread of the use of drugs as an escape, a shelter in artificial paradises, which turn out to be completely illusory."
In an annual tradition, children came to St. Peter's Square bearing Nativity figures of baby Jesus for the pontiff to bless.
Earlier Sunday, Benedict consecrated a new church on the outskirts of Rome, blessing the parish's children.