Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pope: illegal immigration



Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday encouraged politicians to tackle the problem of illegal immigration humanely and urged the migrants' homelands to wipe out the criminal groups profiting from those seeking a better life.

"Migration is a phenomenon which has existed from the dawn of humanity," Benedict told pilgrims from many countries at his traditional Sunday noon appearance. But migration has now become "an emergency," the pope said, noting that many boat people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to reach Europe from Africa.

The problem "requires effective political responses," Benedict said during his appearance at his summer residence in Castel Gandolfo near Rome.

The pope said he offered his "applause and encouragement" to those trying to grapple with the problem on regional, national or international levels "so that they continue their worthy action with a sense of responsibility and humanitarian spirit."

"A sense of responsibility must also be shown by the countries of origin, not only because their citizens are involved, but also to remove the causes of irregular migration, as well as to eradicate, at the roots, all forms of criminality linked to it," Benedict told the pilgrims.

The pope also urged migrants to be aware of "the very grave risks they run in the search to better their conditions" as well as "the duty to follow the law."

Surveys in Italy show many Italians blame illegal immigrants for crime. Premier Silvio Berlusconi's government, which includes an anti-immigrant party from affluent northern Italy, has been cracking down on crime and illegal immigrants.

Alexamenos worships his God




I thought this little extract from a piece by Diogenes on the crucified frog of Bolzano was quite poignant.


In point of fact, the plastic frog of the Bolzano museum mockery, and the contempt that employed it, have very ancient precedents. What is purportedly the oldest known image of the crucifix is a graffito scrawled into a the wall of an excavated guardroom near Rome's Circus Maximus; it's usually dated to around 200AD. It shows a man standing beside a crucified figure with a head of a donkey, and (in shaky Greek) the words "Alexamenos worships (his) God." In mocking the Christian Alexamenos, the anonymous graffitist is a spiritual forebear of the Andres Serranos and Steve Rosenthals and Martin Kippenbergers of our own day. The paradox is that in each case their malice backfires, and eventually comes to bolster the piety it sets out to belittle. Today the Alexamenos graffito is treasured by Christians; it is a testimony to an embattled faith. Were it to be defaced or destroyed it is believers, not sneering heathen, who would mourn the loss. It's not impossible that the Bolzano Imposture might be accorded a similar value two millennia from now.

Blasphemy never fully attains its goal, because it never takes the full measure of its object. There's something poignant in the theological misunderstanding betrayed by the attempt to mock Jesus as a crucified donkey or frog. The crucifixion itself was a humiliation, a humiliation Christ willingly embraced ("He emptied himself, taking the form of a slave … and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross"). To trick out the crucified one as a figure of ridicule confirms rather than undercuts the Christian understanding of the event. A century and a half before the Alexamenos graffitist St. Paul had already instructed us that the crucifixion was folly to the Greeks. Pagan mockery proves his point. Perhaps this is why Jesus taught "Whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him." It's not the Son of Man who's diminished by blasphemy, but his assailant.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

First pictures-Father Aaron Spinelli.


The diocese of Arundel and Brighton rejoiced today at the ordination of Father Aaron Spinelli to the priesthood.Father Aaron is from the parish of our Lady of Ransom Eastbourne and rejoices in his Phillipino and Sicilian origins.It was a delight to see his mother and father with tears of joy (sorry no pics).

Dear Herr Hitler...., love Marie Stopes


In Hoc Signo Vinces carries a post about Marie Stopes the eugenicist and anti-semite appearing on British stamps.


Gerald Warner begins a post on the same subject


"Dear Herr Hitler, Love is the greatest thing in the world: so will you accept from me these (poems) that you may allow the young people of your nation to have them?"

These gushing words from an ardent fan (she was lucky Unity Mitford did not scratch her eyes out) were written in August 1939, just a month before this country went to war with Nazi Germany, by Marie Stopes, the "woman of distinction" who will ornament our 50p stamps from October.


I am afraid any items of post arriving here with this stamp on it will be returned to the sender.
I hope other bloggers take this up, especially amongst the Jewish community.

Say a prayer



For Aaron Spinelli who will be ordained to the priesthood today in Eastbourne.

And for Peter who is suffering from motorneurone disease.

Friday, August 29, 2008

More Fit for Mission



A vital dimension of being Catholic is accepting the totality of the Church’s doctrine. This is the only way of guaranteeing that Catholics are bound together ‘as a whole’.


 Therefore, ‘Catholic’ refers to those who accept the universal faith of the Church, as opposed to those who accept only part of it.
 Communionwith Rome is an essential part of Catholicity. One is a ‘Catholic’ who accepts the wholeness of the Christian faith as expressed in that fullness of communion with the Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter.
 The See of Rome, in communion with the whole Church, has articulated the full profession of faith through the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which ‘aims at presenting an organic synthesis of the essential and fundamental contents of Catholic doctrine, as regards both faith and morals’ (CCC 11).

.......

Teaching Bishops

The Speaker of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi has been saying some silly things about the Church's teaching on abortion. I am sure I read the same thing in the perfidious Tablet a few years ago, what has delighted me has been the response of the US bishops.

Here is an aggregation of responses by Te Deum Laudamus

Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Conley of Denver
Cardinal Egan of New York (probably the strongest statement)
Archbishop Donald Weurl of Washington D.C.
Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia and Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport on behalf of the USCCB (on USCCB homepage)
Bishop Sheridan of Colorado Springs
Bishop Zubik of Pittsburgh (on homepage)
Archbishop Neinstadt of St. Paul, MN (on homepage)
Archbishop Gomez and Bishop Contu of San Antonio, TX (on homepage)
Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND
Bishop Farell of Dallas, TX
Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre (Long Island)

Radical Catholicism


I saw this in a sacristy over the summer, and was impressed! There is nothing quite like old time religion.

Fit for Mission


Fit for Mission Introduction



• Why have so many atholics stopped coming to Mass? Where have all the young families and young
people gone? Why do most families not pray together anymore?
• Why have so many Catholics rejected the mercy offered through the Sacrament of Reconciliation?
• Why are our seminaries almost empty, and our convents and monasteries closing?
• Why are there so few Catholic marriages?
• Why aremany parents not sending their children to Catholic schools? Why have they lost confidence
in our Catholic schools?
• Why did we stop speaking the truth with one voice? Why is there disharmony among us about the Catholic faith?
• Why are we so afraid to evangelise our society? Why have we lost passion and confidence in teaching the faith?
• Why does our Church feel so tired and worn out? What has dimmed the fire of hope within us?
...........


Thousands of priests have left the practise of their priesthood.
 There has been a drastic decline in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in theWest.
 There has been a significant decline inMass attendance in theWest, participation in the sacrament of
reconciliation and family prayer.
 There have been abuses in the celebration of the Eucharist, that ‘contribute to the obscuring of the
Catholic faith concerning this wonderful sacrament’. (Pope John Paul II, Redemptionis Sacramentum, 6-
9).
 There has been a marked increase in public expressions of dissent from the Church’s doctrine and
discipline in homilies, Catholic journals and theological works.
 It is not uncommon to come across clergy, religious and people who are disobedient to the
Magisterium, particularly to the Pope and local Bishop.
 People aremaking important life decisions based purely on personal subjective judgements, detached
from the teachings of the Church, Scripture and Tradition.
 There has been a steady decline in the number of Catholic marriages.
11
 There is a lack of generosity to the gift of life, seen in the delay in having families and the size of
families.
 There is widespread confusion among Catholics about the values of fidelity and continence in
marriage reflected in the divorce rate being equivalent to non-Catholic marriages.
 There has been the despicable crime of child sexual abuse, committed in families and by members of
the Church.
 We are living through a period in the life of the Church when there has been a distortion of
evangelisation and catechesis. This can be seen in the fragmentation in the transmission of the fullness
of the faith, with omissions and neglect of some key truths, and an exaggeration of other aspects due
to the misuse of experiential based catechesis.
 It has become somewhat commonplace to find the Catechism of the Catholic Church dismissed as a
teaching resource in Catholic educational circles, seminaries and Catholic theological faculties.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The young and Latin


People who read this blog might gather I have a passing interest in the Extra-ordinary form, a young Mexican woman rang the doorbell this morning and asked, "Which Church in Brighton offered the Traditional Mass?" It would have been good to have said we do it here, but don't, yet.
I was interested in this post by Fr Alladics and his experience with Australian students:

I celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass every week in the College chapel at Campion. This has been a tremendous experience for me; hitherto, I have been celebrating Mass in the Old Rite just a few times a year and have never before had the opportunity to develop an intimacy or rythmn with the Old Liturgy. I look forward to developing a much better honed practice and understanding of this form of the Mass together with the students, who almost fill the chapel when this Liturgy is celebrated.
I heard recently of a small group of 18 year olds who turned up at a diocesan vocations meeting on a diocesan pilgrimage in Lourdes and spent most of the time speaking about there love for the extraordinary form and how it nurtured their prayer life.


I also heard of a bishop who objected to the Missa de Angelis being sung at a Mass he was going to celebrate, "because there were likely to be a lot of young people there".


A priest friend told me of a visit to a school and the jaw dropped reaction of a young teacher when two 16 year olds did the responses for the prayers at the foot of the altar.


Last Sunday we had a new family at Mass, there was a small boy, I suppose he was about two and didn't stop chattering throughout Mass, as I was saying good bye to people his young mother said, "I am so sorry Father, he is as good as gold at the Old Mass, at Spanish Place". Evidently that was her Mass of choice.


I am fascinated that young people when they are exposed to the Extraordinary Form, well something seems to click. I think it is related to the fact Eucharistic adoration seems to be such an important part of the new youth movements. The silence is conducive to prayer in the old rite, in the new rite it is often more about waiting than prayer.

I find it interesting that the more Latin we add to our 10.30 Sunday Mass the more young families seem to appear. I think that for those who don't understand it it gives periods of "accompanied silence". I remember reading in a book about the charismatic movement, "When Latin went out, tongues came in".

St Augustine on Hippo


Late have I loved you, O Beauty so ancient, and so new. Late have I loved you! You were within me but I was outside myself, and there I sought you! In my weakness I ran after the beauty of the things you have made — the things which would have no being unless they existed in you! You have called, you have cried, and you have pierced my deafness. You have radiated forth, you have shined out brightly, and you have dispelled my blindness. You have sent forth your fragrance, and I have breathed it in, and I long for you. I have tasted you, and I hunger and thirst for you. You have touched me, and I ardently desire your peace. Amen.
– St. Augustine of Hippo, Confessions



Pope Benedict on Augustine

Fit for Mission


Bishop O'Donahue's final version of Fit for Mission was published yesterday, how refreshing to have a Bishop who teaches, here is an extract:


Those who ignore their responsibility to God and neighbour forget they are Catholic.
 Those who deliberately miss Sunday Mass forget they are Catholic.
 Those who never pray forget they are Catholic.
 Those who deny they are sinners and avoid confession forget they are Catholic.
 Those who live oblivious to the suffering of the poor forget they are Catholic.
 Those who dissent from the authority of the Church forget they are Catholic.
 Those who use contraception, IVF and embryonic stem cell research forget they are Catholic.
 Those who use pornography forget they are Catholic.
 Those who have sex outside of marriage forget they are Catholic.
 Those who commit homosexual acts forget they are Catholic.
 Those who exploit their power and position forget they are Catholic.
 Those who cheat on benefits or taxes forget they are Catholic.
 Those employers who exploit their workforce forget they are Catholic.
 Those who have racist, sexist or homophobic attitudes forget they are Catholic.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dinner with the Bishop


I enjoyed myself last night, I had dinner with Bishop Kyrillos Katerelos, who was a Greek Orthodox parish priest in Stuttgart until recently, German websites refer to him as "Dr Dr Prof". He is now Professor of Dogmatic Theology in Athens, he was consecrated Bishop at the Phanar earlier this year by the Ecumenical Patriarch. I met another priest a few years ago in Thessalonica, a professor of musicology, who was just about to be consecrated a bishop, interesting if this is deliberate trend in Orthodoxy.

When you meet a Catholic theologian you tend to ask which "school" they belong to, I mean Thomist, Augustinian, Rahnerian or Balthasarian. I asked him, his reply, "I am Orthodox". I find it refreshing talking to Orthodox theologians, who always start from basics, "God became man", it gives a vigour to their theology.

I asked him about what he felt Orthodoxy could learn from Catholicism, he said "Unity" and spoke about the difficulty of having so many different Orthodox communities, with their own hierarchies in many European cities, in Berlin for example there are at least four or five different Bishops and congregations who have little to do with one another.

He was very approving of Benedictine reforms and the looking to the common ground of the first millennium.

On Anglicanism he said, "There is little Orthodoxy has in common with Anglicanism now".

He was curious about Catholic attitudes to the ordination of women, and the possibility of an end to compulsory clerical celibacy.
He is returning before Christmas and wants to visit one of the monasteries in our diocese, I think the Charterhouse rather than Worth.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Schutz was both a Catholic and a Calvanist


There was a great deal of speculation about the conversion from Calvinism to Catholicism of the founder of the Taize community Roger Schutz when he was given Holy Communion at Pope John Paul II Requiem, by the then Cardinal Ratzinger.

According to Cardinal Kaspar he was both!


I just can't see how one can be a Calvinist and Catholic, anymore than one can be an Anglican or a Methodist and a Catholic. I suspect it is one of those strange and ambiguous situations Pope John Paul II loved to create, a sort of personal communion with him.

I am a simple priest, bit thick at times, but I just can't understand this.

Persecution in India


Below I reproduce part of a email from Fr Xavier an Indian priest friend, from Tamil Nardu who lived with here with me for a couple of years. It follows the abduction, torture and killing of Father Thomas Pandipally.
ORISSA ANTI CHRISTIAN VIOLENCE UPDATE 25th August 20081. NUN REPORTED BURNT ALIVE: A Christian woman, possibly a nun, was
reported burnt alive on 25th August 2008 by a group of Vishwa Hindu Parishad mob which stormed the orphanage she ran in the district of Bargarh (Orissa). Police Superintendent Ashok Biswall has told this to news reporters. A priest who was at the orphanage was also badly hurt and is now being treated in hospital for multiple burns.
2. NUN RAPED: A young Catholic Nun of the Cuttack Bhubaneswar diocese working Jan Vikas Kendra, the Social Service Centre at Nuagaon in Kandhamal was reportedly gang raped on 24th August 2008 by groups of Hindutva extremists before the building itself was destroyed.
3. SENIOR PRIEST AND NUN INJURED: Fr Thomas, director of the Diocesan Pastoral Centre in Kanjimendi, less than a kilometer away from the Social Service Centre, and another Nun were injured when the centre was attacked. They were taken to the police station in a disheveled state as the armed mob bayed for their blood. The Pastoral centre was then set afire.
4. BALLIGUDA CHURCH BUILDINGS DESTROYED AGAIN: On 24th August 2008
evening lynch mobs at the block headquarters of Balliguda, in the very heart of Kandhamal district, which had seen much violence between 24th and 26th December 2007, attacked and destroyed a Presbytery, convent and hostel damaging the properties.
5. The mobs in Balliguda caught hold of two boys of the Catholic hostel and tonsured their heads.
6. PHULBANI CHURCH DAMAGED: On 25th august 2008 morning followers of the late Lakshmanananda Saraswati damaged the Catholic Church in Phulbani, the district headquarter town.
7. MOTHER TERESA BROTHERS ASHRAM ATTACKED: mobs attacked the Mother Teresa Brothersʼ residence and hospital in Srasanada, destroyed once before and rebuilt two months ago, and beat up the patients. Fundamentalists have targeted Priests, religious and also the Faithful in Pobingia also.
8. BHUBANESWAR BISHOPʼS HOUSE ATTACKED: On the morning of 25th August 2008, violent mobs made several attempts to enter the compounds of Catholic Church and Archbishopʼs house in the heart of the Capital of the State of Orissa. They could not enter because of the police presence. They threw stones at the guesthouse of Archbishopʼs House, damaging windows.
9. DUBURI PARISH; Another group of fundamentalists entered presbytery in Duburi parish, managed by the SVDs and destroyed and damaged property. Two priests of the parish are missing.
10. Mr. Jamaj Pariccha, Director of Gramya Pragati, is attacked and his property, vehicle etc. damaged, burnt and looted.
11. A Baptist Church in Akamra Jila in Bhubaneswar is also damaged.
12. Christian institutions like St. Arnoldʼs School (Kalinga Bihar), AND NISWASS report some damage.
13. BOUDH DISTRICT [Adjoining Kandhamal]: Fundamentalists enter the Catholic parish church and destroy property. People are fleeing to safer places. But nothing seems safe.
14. Muniguda Catholic Fathers and Nunsʼ residence have been damaged.
15. Sambalpur HM Sisterʼs residence (Ainthapalli) has suffered damage.
16. Padanpur: One priest is attacked and admitted to a hospital. Hostel boys and the in charge have moved away from the place.
17. Madhupur Catholic Church currently under attack.
18. SMALL CHURCHES: Attempted violence on small churches in various districts, including Padampur, Sambalpur near GM College, Talsera, Dangsoroda, arayanipatara, Muniguda, Tummiibandh, Tangrapada, Phulbani, Balliguda, Kalingia, Chakapad, Srasanranda.
19. VILLAGE CHRISTIAN HOUSES ATTACKED: Houses attacked on forest hamlets of Balliguda, Kanjamandi Nuaguam (K.Nuaguam), Tiangia (G.Udayagiri), Padangiri, Tikabali.
20. KALAHANDI DISTRICT: houses burnt even though the district is more than 300 kilometers from the place where Swami Lakshmanananda was killed.
21. Pastor Sikandar Singh of the Pentecostal Mission beaten up and his house burnt in Bhawanipatna.
22. Kharihar: 3 Christian shops were looted and burnt. Pastor Alok Das and Pastor I M Senapati beaten up.
23. Aampani: Pastor David Diamond Pahar, Pastor Pravin Ship, Pastor Pradhan and Pastor Barik beaten up and chased away with their families.
24. Naktikani: Mob surrounds village to attack Christians. The government has sent forces, it is reported.


Monday, August 25, 2008

Beijing Olympics End: Bishop arrested


from Spero News


Elderly Catholic bishop arrested in China


Roman Catholic Bishop Julius Jia Zhiguo of Zhengding, Hebei province, China, was arrested again by local authorities. Bishop Jia Zhiguo belongs to the “underground” church not recognized by China’s communist government. He was arrested on the morning of August 24, the twelfth such arrest since January 2004. Zhengding is a small village situated approximately 100 miles south of Beijing. Its Roman Catholic community numbers approximately 110,000. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was consecrated bishop in 1980.


Government officials arrived in vehicles at Christ the King Cathedral at WuQiu while his current whereabouts are unknown at this time. Bishop Jia Zhiguo was last arrested in August 2007 and released four months later. The reasons for his current unrest are as yet unclear. After his release in December 2007, the bishop was consigned to house arrest and not allowed to receive visitors unaccompanied by government watchers. Police patrols prevented visitors to the bishop during his house arrest.


Bishop Jia Zhiguo is nearly 74 years old and in delicate health, according to the Cardinal Kung Foundation. During his confinement at home, his requests for medical treatment were denied by Chinese authorities. The bishop has now spent at least 18 years in prison.


There are now approximately 40 underground bishops in China. According to the Cardinal Kung Foundation, they are in prison, have disappeared, or under house arrest or surveillance. Bishop Su Zhimin of Baoding and Bishop Shi Enxiang of Yixian were arrested in October, 1997 and April 2001 respectively. There has been no news about them since then and it is not known whether they are still alive. Bishop Han DinXiang of Yong Nian, was arrested in December 1999 and died suddenly in prison on September 9, 2007 in very mysterious and suspicious circumstances. Not allowed a Catholic burial, by order of the government the bishop was cremated and buried within 6 hours of his death.


China continued to repress human rights activitists, journalists, and foreign visitors during the recently ended Olympic Games despite promises of reform. Christians whose worship is not authorized by the government face persecution. As for the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI wrote in June 2007 letter to China “Many bishops have undergone persecution and have been impeded in the exercise of their ministry, and some of them have made the Church fruitful with the shedding of their blood.”

Dr Alcuin Reid: good enough for Ratzinger, good enough for us!


NLM announce the publication of Alcuin Reid's new book: Continuity or Rupture? A Study of The Liturgical Reform of the Second Vatican Council.

Dr Reid is our liturgical advisor for the restoration of our Church, which, if God will send us the money begins next year. Say a prayer he does, over the last 7 years here I have managed to save barely £25,000. I couldn't help thinking when I asked Dr Reid to prepare a paper for us, that if he is good enough to collaborate with Joseph Ratzinger, then he is good enough for us!
Here is the official announcement from the Society of St. Catherine of Siena website:

It has recently become possible for the Society to co-sponsor with CIEL UK a second Research Fellowship in Liturgical Theology for the academic years 2008-2010. The announcement was made during the CIEL UK 2008 Conference held at the London Oratory, Brompton on 31st May, at at which the recipient delivered the main paper on The Liturgical Reforms of Benedict XVI. Dr. Alcuin Reid gained a PhD from King’s College, University of London in 2002 for a thesis on twentieth century liturgical reform. He has spoken internationally on liturgical topics, written extensively on the Sacred Liturgy and edited and published a number of books, including Looking Again at the Question of the Liturgy with Cardinal Ratzinger (2003) and The Monastic Diurnal (2004). The second edition of his principal work, The Organic Development of the Liturgy (Ignatius Press, 2005), carries a preface by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.

Dr. Reid’s latest edition of Adrian Fortescue’s book, The Early Papacy, was published by Ignatius Press in April 2008. He is currently working on the fifteenth revised edition of Fortescue and O’Connell’s Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described, which is due for publication by January 2009.

Dr. Reid has been awarded the Society of St. Catherine of Siena and CIEL UK Research Fellowship in Liturgical Theology in order to facilitate the writing of his second major liturgical work, Continuity or Rupture? A Study of the Liturgical Reform of the Second Vatican Council. The book will be published in the Society’s book series,

It is not only us that needs lots of money but the Society of St Catherine of Sienna too, surfing billionaires take note.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Joee Blogs returns!


to get there, go here

Newman and friends

Oh, isn't the Radio 4 Sunday Programme annoying!
They did something on the exhumation of the Servant of God, John Henry, Cardinal Newman. Peter Tatchell, the homosexual activist was accusing the Church of grave robbing and violating Newman's last wish to buried with his friend Ambrose St John, and of course suggesting something unpleasantly sinful. We can be quite certain Newman as a loyal son of Our Mother the Church is happy with whatever she decides about his mortal remains.

Fr Tim did a post sometime ago on Newman's grave.



As I said back then: "On the left is the grave of Edward Caswall who died in 1878: on the right is John Joseph Gordon who died in 1853; Ambrose St John died in 1875. All three of these men worked very closely with Newman and he felt that they had died relatively young in helping to carry forward his own projects. His instruction for his own burial was not a gesture of affection for St John alone but a desire for the mortal remains of the four of them to imitate the cross."

Even in the nineteenth century it would have been thought strange for a Prince of the Church to have demanded, as his last wish, to have been buried in common grave rather than a tomb in a Church but Newman was a man of strong passions, of deep loves for his friends, and let's be honest, equal passions about those he disagreed with. Yet for anyone faintly familiar with his writings there is a deep humility. In his popular devotions he encouraged prayer for the dead, so his burial with St John, Caswall and Gordon, there is both the mark of friendship and also humility.


One of things that worries me about the beatification of Newman is that there is not a popular cultus, he is honoured as a great theologian but he does not capture the popular imagination. Perhaps what might help is to make more of his friendships, even to designate him as a patron of friendship.


In a world that is unable to understand friendship without sexualising it, Newman could be a great example of it as something pure and holy, and necessary for being a human person and for the mission of the Church. The lives of so many of the great saints are marked by deep friendships with someone of the same or the opposite sex. I suspect that it is only by learning to love one's friends can one understand how to love Christ. Some of Newman's writings are reminiscent of St Augustine writing in his Confessions on the loss of his friend. So many of peoples problems in society today seem to stem from a lack of true friendships, as a Church we need to highlight the concept of pure and chaste friendship as part of holiness.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Tories: Tax breaks back families


The statistics are clear: children with married parents perform better in school, are happier and less likely to commit crime. Yet Britain is almost alone in Europe in not recognising marriage in the tax system.
Now, at last, the Conservatives are preparing to break the taboos against boosting marriage and against tax cuts. But there are much bolder moves to be taken in both areas.
I don't think I have ever voted Tory before but ....

Satanists welcome at Los Angeles Cathedral


After reeling in horror at Cardinal Mahoney's Religious Education Video, I thought you might be interested in this visit by someone to his Cathedral. Wasn't there that song, "All are welcome?"


.... His customer service couldn't have been better. His shiny jewelry and over-the-top attitude was a bit off-putting, but it was California, after all. My friend was looking for a rosary for his girlfriend, and the store worker started asking him about her favorite colors, what kind of clothes she wore, what sort of textures she liked, etc., in order to help him pick a rosary that best agreed with her fashion sense. So far, very Californian, but not a big problem. Kind of HGTV: Rosary Edition.

Then he asked what I did for a living and I told him that I teach architecture and theology, and he said with a casual smile: "oh, that's great, my partner would love that. He was a monk for 4 years." Again, this was California, and maybe even the cathedral shop has legal issues about who it can hire and who it can't. Then I started talking to my friend about one of the architects who was a finalist for the cathedral design a few years back, whose architectural philosophy is radically anti-Incarnational and anti-Catholic, and the salesman said "well, everyone is welcome in this cathedral." Being cheeky, I said "how about Satanists?" He responded: "Satanists aren't devil worshipers, you know. I know some Satanists and they aren't devil worshipers." So, following up, I said: "OK, then what about devil worshipers? Are they welcome here at the cathedral?" He replied: "Well, devil worshipers are actually Christians, because God made the devil." Another woman in line chimed in with a smile: "that's right, God made the devil." I decided it was best to leave at that point.

Honestly, I couldn't have made this up. A staff member of the cathedral gift shop might be the first and only person a visitor might talk to who represents the cathedral, as it was in my case. And what do we get? A person who gladly flaunts his open defiance of the Church's moral teaching and has a positive view of devil worship.

Who's asleep at the wheel here?

It couldn't happen in an English Cathedral, could it?

China gets the gold medal in human rights violations


China’s long (but incomplete) list of human rights violations during the Olympics has allowed it to run “harmonious” Games. Anyone who dares to protest or speak to foreign journalists has ended up in prison, or in forced labour camps, without trial or due process. Several cases of torture have been reported. read more here


It happened in Zhengding on the feast day of the Assumption. Fearing bad publicity during the Olympics, police allow Bishop Jia Zhiguo to celebrate mass, but he is still banned from meeting priests and seminarians. read more here

Pope sends envoy to Our Lady of Siluva



Benedict XVI named the archbishop of Cologne, Germany, to be his special envoy at the 400th anniversary of the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Lithuania.

The Holy See announced Thursday the appointment of Cardinal Joachim Meisner for the Sept. 13-14 event in Siluva.

Mary appeared in Siluva in 1608 to non-Catholics. Little shepherds saw what they described as a beautiful woman, dressed in white and blue, with a baby in her arms, enveloped in gentle splendor. The Lady wept bitterly and suddenly disappeared.

Subsequently, the Virgin, again weeping, appeared to a crowd that had formed at the site where the children indicated. The town's Calvinist pastor was among the group.

An icon of the Virgin that had belonged to the village's former Catholic church was found in the place of the apparitions. The icon had remained hidden for almost 100 years.

In the wake of those events, and after several miraculous cures, this apparition brought Lithuania to return to the faith after 80 years of Calvinism.

The event was recognized by a papal decree published by Pius VI on Aug. 17, 1775. Siluva is now Lithuania's most important Marian shrine.

The Pope will be in France during the festivities, marking another anniversary of Marian apparitions: the 150th anniversary of the Virgin's appearances at Lourdes.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Do boys still do this?

click to enlarge
This is the latest advertisement for the Diocese of Raleigh (in the USA) Vocations Office.
From Roman Catholic Vocations

But do boys still play Mass?
Cardinal Merry de Val as child had his own fully euipped chapel.

Pope Praises his Brother

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

Pope Benedict XVI said he is living his old age with serenity thanks to the example and companionship of his older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger.

"From the beginning of my life, my brother was always not just a companion, but also a trustworthy guide," the 81-year-old pope said Aug. 21 as his 84-year-old brother was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Castel Gandolfo.

"We have arrived at the last stage of our lives, old age," the pope said.

"The days left to live progressively decrease, but in this stage as well, my brother helps me to accept with serenity, humility and courage the weight of each day. I thank him," Pope Benedict said.

At a brief evening ceremony in the courtyard of the papal summer villa in the town south of Rome, Mayor Maurizio Colacchi said Msgr. Ratzinger's presence in Castel Gandolfo "alongside your beloved brother during the summer season fills us with tenderness and, at the same time, pride."

While Msgr. Ratzinger lives in retirement in Regensburg, Germany, where he was the longtime director of the Regensburg boys choir, he spends summers with Pope Benedict both at Castel Gandolfo and in the northern Italian Alps.

The pope and his brother were in the seminary together after World War II and were ordained priests at the same Mass in 1951.

Their father, a policeman, died in 1959; their mother died in 1963. Their sister, Maria, never married and ran the future pope's household in Rome until her death in 1991. The three are buried in Pentling, Germany, where the pope and his brother own a house.

At the summer ceremony honoring his brother, Pope Benedict said, "For me, he has been a point of orientation and of reference with the clarity and determination of his decisions. He always has shown me the path to take, including in difficult situations."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Early Papal Footage

Fascinating! Pictures of 1903 Conclave, Benedict XV, plus Pius XI, pictures of the Room of Tears (with its couch) and ends with he, who gloriously reigns going to the balcony after his election (but from the inside), I hadn't realised there were steps down.

Lots of interesting stuff, hasn't Pope Pius XI got a very limp blessing, reminds one of Leo XIII, if you older people can't remember this will help.


here is voice by the way.

Visitors



I have had a very quiet week or two so far, apart from a few calls to visit people in the next door parish because their answerphone tells everyone the parish is closed until September. It is a good time, I have a Neapolitan priest staying with me, who loves cooking, so we have had some looooong Italian lunches.
I have also had a few priests visiting, even an Orthodox bishop and theologian, it is important for priests to minister to one another and deepen friendships. I hate priests in meetings but sitting around a table together is another matter entirely.
Being hospitable was a very important requirement for being a bishop in the early Church. I think feasting is as important as fasting in the spiritual life.

We have had quite a few priests who have turned up wanting to say Mass, including Fr Tim Finigan and Fr Charles Briggs. We also had a French priest dressed as a friar, with a group of a dozen scouts, who came to Brighton for the day, the lads were so reverent, I should have taken photographs. Of the last seven or eight priests, six, including the friar, wanted to celebrate Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

Importance of a Parish Priest

I have stayed out of the Allerton Bywater case and felt a little guilty about it. I have met Fr Mark Lawler a couple of times, he's spoken briefly about the situation. He seems a devoted pastor but I just don't know what is actually going on, Fr John Boyle, the Canon Lawyer has a good post on various legal aspects of it. Follow the links through. It does seem that the Church's Law has been, err... misunderstood, by the Bishop Roche.

I was interested in one of Fr John's responses to a comment. It underlines the juridical importance of having a Parish Priest, and of the Parish Priest acting to ensure justice for his people and his parish, don't be fobbed off by your Bishop with a priest in charge or in residence.

Can. 532 states that in all juridic affairs the parish priest represents the parish...

The parish in question has not had a parish priest for many years. Why? Has the community of the faithful been denied its right to have its own proper pastor?

If it is the parish priest who represents the parish in all juridic affairs, who can speak for this community of faithful? By having no parish priest, they have no one to act in their name.

Must they therefore act as a body themselves, seeking a remedy for the fact that a parish priest was not appointed, and also appealing against the closure?

This seems to be a complex case and could run and run if the faithful involved are determined. As far as I can see this will have to go to Rome for a conclusion. I wonder if the new prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, Archbishop Burke, would be interested in this case?

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

More on PO'D on the Bishop's Conference


I do not know if this true, but I was sent a link to this blog when I asked somone whether they had heard anything about the latest "Fit for Mission" document from Bishop O'Donahue. Apparently it has been leaked widely.

See, if you haven't yet, the post about Bishop's Conferences I put up a few days ago. Seems like we all be crying Ratz has spoken through PO'D when it is released.



Roman Catholic Bishop Patrick O'Donohue of the Lancaster diocese in northwest England, has heavily criticised his fellow bishops of England and Wales for what he sees as a weak, "flat" response to many of today's moral crises, especially that of the radical homosexualist and anti-Catholic, secularist lobby.
A document is due to be published next week, in which O'Donohue calls on his fellow bishops to "rediscover" and fearlessly exercise their teaching authority in union with the Pope.

In the densely packed 92-page document, "Fit for Mission? Church", Bishop O'Donohue writes of the failure of the Catholic bishops of England and Wales forthrightly to face the issues of homosexual activism as a body.


He especially emphasizes his "disappointment that our Bishops' Conference recently could not agree on a collegial response to the Government's legislation on same-sex adoption."

"Attempting to arrive at a consensus among bishops with sometimes divergent views, Episcopal Conference statements and documents have a tendency to be often flat and 'safe' at a time when we need passionate and courageous public statements that dare to speak the full truth in love."

"I must admit that during my 15 years as a bishop I have increasingly come to share certain concerns about the relationship between individual bishops and the National Conference."


Bishop O'Donohue says he agrees with the warning of the 1985 Synod on the "necessity of limiting the authority of national Episcopal conferences."

The Bishop writes that the idea of dividing the areas of responsibility, such as education, liturgy and healthcare, among the bishops, has resulted in a "reluctance among the rest of the bishops to speak out on these issues."


He notes particularly that some bishops had reacted with "surprise" that he had dared to produce his own teaching document, "Fit for Mission? Schools", earlier this year.

"The effort to achieve a consensus" he says, "results...often in the loss of the 'scandal' and the 'folly' of the Gospel, so that we are no longer the 'salt' and 'leaven' so urgently needed."

"Confident, courageous and prophetic bishops [are] vital for the well-being of the Church during this time of increasingly aggressive secularism."

Citing the great 5th century bishop St. Augustine, Bishop O'Donohue calls for bishops to "re-exercise their individual teaching charism."


This rediscovery of the charism of bishops, he says, is needed to combat the loss of passion for Catholicism notable in many parishes and lay people.

"The passion to serve the Lord is noticeably absent in many cases - there seems to be at times a tiredness and reticence to preach the gospel." He says that in the course of the 16-month consultation in preparation for the document, he saw a "lack of confidence and knowledge of the Catholic faith."


He therefore calls for a revival of apologetics, the reasoned defence of Christianity, especially in the face of increasingly popular atheist polemics from writers such as Richard Dawkins.

In the document, produced as Bishop O'Donohue prepares to retire, he says that "Agencies and Commissions of national conferences" have failed to uphold the "fullness of the Church's teaching", particularly "doctrinal and moral teaching, in their collaboration with secular agencies."

"I'm thinking in particular of agencies with a responsibility for education or economic development. The staff of these agencies are often in a position to witness to the truth of the Church's teaching on, say, the theology of the body with its positive refutation of pre-marital sex, 'safe sex', or artificial birth control, in their dealings with government departments and committees."

Bishop O'Donohue does not name names, but many have made similar criticisms of the English Catholic bishops' overseas aid and development agency, CAFOD, that has insisted on promoting condoms as a means of controlling the spread of HIV/AIDS.

In another case, at least one Catholic adoption agency has opted to abandon its association with the Catholic Church to adhere to the government's requirement to adopt children to homosexual "partners."

When the problem of the Sexual Orientation Regulations and the Catholic adoption agencies arose in the news last year, it was revealed that many agencies held the policy of allowing children to be adopted to single homosexuals, and this with at least the tacit blessing of the local bishop.

Bishop O'Donohue's own suggestion for the Catholic social services agency was to have it adopt an uncompromisingly Catholic position and refuse to adopt to anyone who is not in a legal marriage.


In the document he criticises the administrators of Church institutions, saying, "There must be no back peddling on these issues just because certain truths are unwelcome in the corridors of power."

"We have talked too much and done too little. We have witnessed over the past forty years a growing crisis in the Catholic understanding or self-identity of the Church...Have we forgotten what it is to be Catholic?"

Hope for the future, he says, lies with the younger generation who are notably more interested in reviving the essentials of the Catholic religion.


"The maturity of the Pope John Paul II generation will lead, I hope, to a resurgence of orthodox, committed adults in the Church, gradually renewing vocations to the priesthood, religious life and marriage."

Prefect of the Apostolic Signature: No Communion for Pro-Abortionists

American Papist
Abp. Burke: Catholics who support abortion should be denied Communion
Clear and unequivocal:

The Prefect of the Apostolic Signature, Archbishop Raymond Burke, said this week that Catholics, especially politicians who publicly defend abortion, should not receive Communion, and that ministers of Communion should be responsibly charitable in denying it to them if they ask for it, “until they have reformed their lives.”

“If a person who has been admonished persists in public mortal sin and attempts to receive Communion, the minister of the Eucharist has the obligation to deny it to him. Why? Above all, for the salvation of that person, preventing him from committing a sacrilege,” he added. (CNA - underlining mine.)

Looks like he's using his new title well.

Saints and Beauty


Zenit have just posted an extract of the Pope's question and answer session with the clergy of Diocese of Bolzano-Bressanone. As important as the rational is in his thought, beauty, whether it is in the form of music or the plastic arts or human loving as we see it in lives of the saints, calls us to make the intuitive leap into faith.
Still, Benedict XVI continued, though the importance of reason cannot be undermined, "I did once say that to me, art and the saints are the greatest apologetic for our faith."

He explained: "The arguments contributed by reason are unquestionably important and indispensable, but then there is always dissent somewhere.

"On the other hand, if we look at the saints, this great luminous trail on which God passed through history, we see that there truly is a force of good that resists the millennia. […] Likewise, if we contemplate the beauties created by faith, they are simply, I would say, the living proof of faith."

Epiphanies

The Pope pointed to the example of the cathedral where he was meeting with the priests. "It is a living proclamation," he said. "It speaks to us itself, and on the basis of the cathedral's beauty, we succeed in visibly proclaiming God, Christ and all his mysteries: Here they have acquired a form and look at us."

The Holy Father said great works of art "are all a luminous sign of God and therefore truly a manifestation, an epiphany of God."

"I think the great music born in the Church makes the truth of our faith audible and perceivable," he continued. "In listening to all these works […] we suddenly understand: It is true! Wherever such things are born, the Truth is there. Without an intuition that discovers the true creative center of the world, such beauty cannot be born."

Pay for the soul of Bishop of Bolzono-Bressanone, Wilhem Egger, who died a few days after the Popes visit.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Pope approves beatification of St. Therese's parents in Lisieux


(CNS) -- Pope Benedict XVI has approved the beatification of Louis and Marie Zelie Guerin Martin, the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux.

The couple will be beatified Oct. 19, World Mission Sunday, during a Mass in the Basilica of St. Therese in Lisieux, France, the Vatican announced Aug. 19.

St. Therese and St. Francis Xavier are the patron saints of the missions.

The Vatican did not say who would preside at the Martins' beatification Mass.

With beatification, the diocese where the candidate lived or the religious order to which the person belonged is authorized to hold public commemorations on the person's feast day. With the declaration of sainthood, public liturgical celebrations are allowed around the world.

The Martins were declared venerable, one of the first steps in the sainthood process, in 1994. But despite the active encouragement of Pope John Paul II to move the cause forward, the miracle needed for their beatification was not approved by the Vatican until early July.

Louis lived 1823-1894 and his wife lived 1831-1877. They had nine children, five of whom joined religious orders.

Also Aug. 19, the Vatican announced four other beatification ceremonies:

-- Sister Vincenza Maria Poloni, founder of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy in Italy, will be beatified Sept. 21 in Verona, Italy.

-- Father Michael Sopocko, founder of the Sisters of Merciful Jesus and spiritual director of St. Faustina Kowalska, will be beatified Sept. 28 at the Church of Divine Mercy in Bialystok, Poland.

-- Father Francesco Pianzola, founder of the Missionary Sisters of the Immaculate Queen of Peace, will be beatified Oct. 4 in Vigevano, Italy.

-- Father Francesco Giovanni Bonifacio, martyred in 1946 by Yugoslav communists, will be beatified Oct. 4 in Trieste, Italy.

Saint me me

Received from Mac, a "me me"


"If you should pass from our presence, what picture of you shall we use for your saint's card, should you be so elevated, and of what do you want to be patron?"!



Mac should know, "the road to hell is pathed with the skulls of priests."

"From him who is given much is expected."


An old monk I knew, used to write to newly ordained priests saying, "Consider that you are most likely going to go to hell, you could be thought a good priest if go alone, rather than dragging others with you!"


I can't think of an image for a card, I had always thought a tomb with an image like this one, (is it from Wells Cathedral?) possibly holding a scroll with "ora pro me" scratched on it would be good.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Bishop's Conferences


Apparently Bishop O'Donahue of Lancaster has written scathingly about our own Bishop's Conference, which of course was described as the "best in Europe" by the last Nuncio.

Just to add fuel to the fire of debate, I think this excerpt from "The Ratzinger Report", a book length interview with the former Cardinal published in 1985 might be of interest.


Here is an excerpt in its entirety:

"The decisive new emphasis on the role of the bishops is in reality restrained or actually risks being smothered by the insertion of bishops into episcopal conferences that are ever more organized, often with burdensome bureaucratic structures. We must not forget that the episcopal conferences have no theological basis, they do not belong to the structure of the Church, as willed by Christ, that cannot be eliminated; they have only a practical, concrete function."

It is, moreover, he says, what is confirmed in the new Code of Canon Law, which prescribes the extent of the authority of the conferences, which cannot validly act "in the name of all the bishops unless each and every bishop has given his consent", unless it concerns "cases in which the common law prescribes it or a special mandate of the Apostolic See... determines it" (CIC, Can. 455, 4 and 1). The collective, therefore, does not substitute for the persons of the bishops, who - recalls the Code, confirming the Council - are "the authentic teachers and instructors of the faith for the faithful entrusted to their care" (cf. CIC Can. 753). Ratzinger confirms: "No episcopal conference, as such, has a teaching mission: its documents have no weight of their own save that of the consent given to them by the individual bishops."

Why does the Prefect insist upon this point? "Because", he replies, "it is a matter of safeguarding the very nature of the Catholic Church, which is based on an episcopal structure and not on a kind of federation of national churches. The national level is not an ecclesial dimension. It must once again become clear that in each diocese there is only one shepherd and teacher of the faith in communion with the other pastors and teachers and with the Vicar of Christ. The Catholic Church is based on the balance between the community and the person, in this case between the community of individual particular churches united in the universal Church and the person of the responsible head of the diocese."

"It happens", he says, "that with some bishops there is a certain lack of a sense of individual responsibility, and the delegation of his inalienable powers as shepherd and teacher to the structures of the local conference leads to letting what should remain very personal lapse into anonymity. The group of bishops united in the conferences depends in their decisions upon other groups, upon commissions that have been established to prepare draft proposals. It happens then that the search for agreement between the different tendencies and the effort at mediation often yield flattened documents in which decisive positions (where they might be necessary) are weakened."

He recalls an episcopal conference that had been held in his country in the thirties: "Well, the really powerful documents against National Socialism were those that came from individual courageous bishops. The documents of the conference, on the contrary, were often rather wan and too weak with respect to what the tragedy called for."

"Besides," he said, "it is obvious that truth cannot be created through ballots. A statement is either true or false. Truth can only be found, not created. Contrary to a widespread conception, the classic procedure of ecumenical councils did not deviate from this fundamental rule. At these councils only statements that were accepted with a moral unanimity could become binding." (p. 59-61).

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Assumption Devotions

On newly reconciled The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer's site there are a whole series of pictures of their celebrations for the Assumption. Before the altar is this amazing catafalque, draped in white and decked with flowers and candles, on the top you can glimpse a shrouded statue of the Mother of God.

I know that in the Eastern Rites of the Church the erection of such a catafalque is normal, in some places some form of funeral rite is celebrated together with a procession. That is about all I know. Has anyone further knowledge of this ritual?

I was a bit dissappointed by the number of people who came to our Assumption Day celebration, it was about half what it would have been before their Lordships moved the Dominical Holy Days to the nearesy Sunday. I had spoken about the obligation of attendng Mass last Sunday, and the importance of taking the day off to pray and celebrate if it is possible.

An Evangelical Initiative
One of my young Slovakian couples told me that for the last two years they always tried to take the day off on the great feast days, to come to Mass, to pray together and to have a party for their English non-Catholic friends, "just so we can talk about the joy of the feast to them", apparently it was something I said to them about "sharing the joy of faith", a few weeks after their arrival in Brighton. Partying seems like a very gentle evangelical initiative.
There are one or two of my parishioners who would love the idea of toasting the Blessed Virgin under each of her titles from the Litany of Lorretto with a gentle explanation of each. I understand this was or is a popular devotion amongst recruits in one pious Polish regiment. I am not sure how far they got with a small slug of 75% proof Vodka for each title.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Liturgy of the future???

Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles enters to preside Pharoah-like over his diocese 2008 Religious Education Congress. I find this type of thing fascinating. It is liturgy shaped not by Tradition but by set-designers, choreographers, costume designers, lighting engineers. It is liturgy broken loose from any constraints, designed for "modern man", to give instant satisfaction, a feel good factor. It is Catholicism submerged in the best of Evangelical Protestant worship, Catholicism drawn to a liberal extreme.

A generation after the introduction of this kind of "pastoral liturgical" Catholic worship is at a crisis point. Either we continue to move forward and this becomes an ideal: note the number of people involved, the "celebration of ministry", the lack of gender selectivity (except for the clergy), the real enculturation, or we move back to the solidity of Tradition. The alternative is that we hold both this and something approximating to the Tradition in tension.

Cardinal Mahoney's liturgical style, actually makes me feel physically sick, but it draws in the punters, "All are welcome". It is contrary to everything I understand by worship, but I have to admit that for many people it is the ideal. It is light on theology, but strong on "feel good". Unlike much contemporary liturgy it is stylish and lavish, triumphalistic even.

Friday, August 15, 2008

They Love Guests


Apart from this parish, the place I love most is Quarr Abbey on the Isle of Wight. I first went there in 1974 just before being received into the Church. The place has bugged and haunted me ever since. Having decided I was called to the secular priesthood I didn't dare go back until my ordination retreat. Throughout my first years of priesthood I kept thinking that I should be a monk. Eventually, in 1999 I became postulant there, which was such a good time but it became apparent to me that I needed a parish.

What I now know I was searching for, was an environment in which I could formed by the liturgy.
The place is beautiful, the lands have the ruins of the ancient monastery on them and go right down to the sea. The incredible building and the location, together with the kindness of the monks make this an incredibly prayerful place.

I remember the community when it had over thirty monks, now it is down to nine. The liturgy has lost some of its elegance, it is sad Fr Matthew is now in Pluscarden and the wise Liverpudlian John Bennet is at Ramsgate and others have left too but I sense there is a change under the Prior Administrator, Father Finbar, who seems much loved and bringing about a new sense of hope at Quarr. What they really have going for them is that they love one another, that is not always so in communities.

Father Gregory, the Prior, asked me to recommend the new guest house, they are Benedictines therefore they love guests (male guests). The new guest house is very splendid, though I miss the whirring and ticking of the clock in the old one. There are very splendid stone bowls in each of the rooms, a contrast to the tin ones in the monks cells, there are excellent showers, nice firm beds, the rooms are clean and airy, guests are not charged but it is suggested they normally give a donation to cover food, laundry etc. so it is heaps cheaper than most hotels or guest houses. The only disadvantage is the chairs in the guesthouse are the most penitential in Christendom, even with pillows! I always fall asleep if I do my spiritual reading prone, hence on my first evening I fell asleep and almost missed supper. However Fr Nicholas, the guest master thinks something might be done soon.
Contact Fr Nicholas the Guestmaster: guestmaster@quarrabbey.co.uk
I want to bring a group of parishioners down in the autumn.

Happy Assumption Day



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Away until Friday

Advice for Priests & from a Priest


from Orthfully Catholic some pretty good humoured advice, the type of thing seminarians ought to be saying:


At Mass today Father gave a whole new meaning to in persona Christi. He said more priests should be thrown out of their parishes by their parishioners as Our Lord was thrown out of the Synagogue in today's Gospel simply by preaching the Truth.He said priests are not preaching the truth from the pulpit anymore and Catholicism is becoming too comfortable. He used today's patron, St Alphonsus Liguori as an example, he preached the moral truth, God's Moral Law, something priests aren't doing any more. So come on Fathers, preach the truth and get thrown out of your churches for Jesus!

In their combox, this makes my blood boil.
Fr Martin said...


"Advice for Seminarians"!!!Until you are ordained then please do not assume to offer advice to priests. The advice I will offer you is if you wish to be ordained then I suggest that you refrain from such patronising comments. You are lucky that I do not know which Seminary that you attend, as if I did I would be expressing my concerns to your Rector.


I think this is the same "Fr Martin" who has been visiting my blog and the same "Martin", "a priest in good standing" who has been causing howls of outrage on Holy Smoke. Which could be why he objects so strongly to their advice, which I have italicised.

This is an outrageous piece of clerical bullying and arrogance! If it is a Vicar General of a diocese as Damian suggests, the Bishop must replace him and get him some help, and quickly!
Thank God for our mild and prudent Vicars General in the diocese A&B.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Nuns average age 35!

Thanks to Fr Tim for this video about those Nashville Dominicans. There average age is 35! Why are these thriving and others dying?

I think it is something about total committment, and what many communities of women are very uncomfortable with nowadays, the language of espousal, consecration of virginity and sacrifice.

Clothed in Glory, or not?


For those of you obsessed by dressing up, or down, here is something to get your teeth into it is from Homiletic & Pastoral Review, written by Fr. Kenneth Baker S.J. He speculates on what we will wear in the life to come. Unfortunately he appears to deal only with those who stand amongst the Blessed, not those who damned themselves or those amongst the clergy who have sold their souls for prelatial purple.
I remember meeting a now dead Bishop to the Forces who was just about to go to the annual Low Week meeting, muttering, "Hell is other Bishops."

I found the following on Creative Minority Report.
1) They will be clothed. When the resurrected, glorified Jesus appeared to his apostles, he was clothed. The Gospels do not affirm that but they assume it. When our Blessed Mother appeared to Bernadette at Lourdes and to the three children at Fatima, she was clothed in white—we know that from the images of her that the visionaries described. In the past, when saints and angels appeared to human beings on earth, they too were clothed in white. That makes sense for the sake of modesty, given our present sinful state. In the Book of Revelation, the saints before the throne of God are “wearing white robes” (7:9; see also 3:5; 4:4; 6:11; 7:13). But St. John did not see resurrected bodies because the universal resurrection has not yet taken place. The commentaries say that the white robes are symbolic of victory, joy and resurrection.

The glorified bodies of Jesus and Mary are clothed, but what is the nature of their clothing? Is it a glorified fabric, similar to a glorified body? What style is it? Jesus and Mary seem to appear in the clothing they wore in Jerusalem two thousand years ago.

2) They will not be clothed. Adam and Eve were naked before their fall into sin. The New Jerusalem at the end of the world will be like a return to the Garden of Eden. Since there is no concupiscence or attraction to sin, it would seem that the resurrected do not need clothes.

When Jesus rose from the dead on Easter Sunday morning, he left the shroud in which he was wrapped, plus the cloth for his face (see John 20:5-7). Was he covered with glorified clothes we know nothing about?

The Name of God not to be used


The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments has issued the instruction that that name which was only uttered once a year by a priest, chosen by lot, in the Holy of Holies of the Temple, has issued the following instruction.

1. In liturgical celebrations, in songs and prayers the name of God in the form of the tetragrammaton YHWH is neither to be used or pronounced.
2. For the translation of the Biblical text in modern languages, destined for liturgical usage of the Church, what is already prescribed by n. 41 of the Instruction Liturgiam authenticam is to be followed; that is, the divine tetragrammaton is to be rendered by the equivalent of Adonai/Kyrios: "Lord", "Signore", "Seigneur", "Herr", "Señor", etc.
3. In translating, in the liturgical context, texts in which are present, one after the other, either the Hebrew term Adonai or the tetragrammaton YHWH, Adonai is to be translated "Lord" and the form God" is to be used for the tetragrammaton YHWH, similar to what happens in the Greek translation of the Septuagint and in the Latin translation of the Vulgate.

I hope that all those ghastly charismatic hymns that trivialise this most holy word will now be removed from "Catholic" hymnals. I know that the biretta is doffed at the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary and one bows the head on hearing them, I have never known what to when hearing this word. I just tremble.

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Architects Great Granddaughter

A few days ago I had a phone call from a Phillippa Hunter who is the great granddaughter of Gilbert Blount our architect. She came down to take some photographs she was a mine of information. It seems as if some of the mre splendid glass in the Church was designed by him an executed by Hardmans. There used to be a glorious paschal candlestand here, presumably also by them. We want to create an online history of the Church, so the work Philippa is doing will be of great value. She also brought some photographs of Blounts other churches, they are all rather gloomy but with jewel like windows, other thing he seems to do is set rare pieces of marble in ordinary stone again creating a sense of jewel-likeness.
It was fascinating to see his diaries, Phillippa is reading one in the Church, she also gave us a photograph of a miniature of him, and told us about his recussant origins.

Blount was an English Catholic architect active from about 1840-70. He received his earliest training as a civil engineer under Brunel (c.1825-28) for whom he worked as a superintendent of the Thames Tunnel works. After a period in the office of Syndney Smirke, Blount was appointed as architect to Cardinal Wiseman, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster.
Blount's mature work coincided with the resurgence of Catholic church building in England. His activity as an architect was largely in service of the need for new churches and related ecclesiastical institutions.
About the CollectionHoldings include studies for eleven churches (1844-74), two tabernacles, reredos, two pulpits, a stained glass window, twelve high altars. Among the churches are St. Ambrose Church, Kidderminster, Worchestershire, 1858; St. Edward, Clifford, Yorkshire, c.1844-45; St. Mary, Husband's Bosworth, Leicestershire, 1873-74; St. Mary Magdalene, Brighton, Sussex, 1861-62; St. Peter, Gloucester, 1859-60, 1867-88; Our Lady and St. Catherine of Siena Church, London, 1869-70.

A running relative

My father told me one of my relatives, Laura Turner, is running in the Olympics. I think she is a second cousin once removed, I've never met her. It is surprising how much she looks like him when he was younger.
Not wanting to encourage Chinese oppression I am not watching the Olympics.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

CRB CHECKS or FEEDING THE HUNGRY?


One of my occassional parishioners is the Diocesan Child Protection Officer, not only does she protect children but also "vulnerable" adults. She told me this morning that her brief for such adults also extended to the people we assist on our soup run. So someone who is on the streets with mental health problems or an addiction or because they are a asylum seeker, or ex-prisoner, or just homeless is classified as "vulnerable".


This means that our volunteers have to agree to a Criminal Records Bureau check, that means that her diocesan office gets to know if someone has a criminal record, if their offence is likely to endanger a child or vulnerable adult I receive notification and inform the person their services are no longer required.


Well, this parish is a melting pot, people have "pasts", that they don't want revealed. In my eight years here we have had exiled politicians who feared for their lives from subsequent regimes, former members of the IRA and others on witness protection schemes, people who have come to Brighton to change identities, people who have had notorious pasts which they want to forget or to be forgotten. We also have people who are resident here for just a few months, I estimate 70% of our congregation moves within 6 months, I think a CRB check takes about that time to complete, until it is done the volunteer shouldn't be volunteering, fine in most parts of our diocese were communities are reasonable stable, here it just doesn't work. Volunteers are difficult to come by, because temporary residents have little commitment to our community. Our Soup Run operates 7 days a week and on average feeds about 30-40 people a night, we have a small core of helpers, plus anyone else we can cajole or beg to help out, some of our volunteers come for a few nights, others appear for awhile then dissappear. Some are people who were once fed by the Soup Run and are now feeding others, some are doing it in reparation, as a self imposed penance almost, for things that have happened in the past, some as act of thanksgiving, one or two, in the past, because they are illegal asylum seekers, who the government forbid to work, this alone gave them some dignity of giving, and they are the last people who would want the authorities looking at their status.


When the diocese made us introduce these checks for various liturgical ministries almost a quarter of my parishioners refused to agree to them and had to give up what they were doing, that created serious difficulties.


I know that if we asked our Soup Run helpers to sign up for a CRB check a much larger number than that will refuse. I know too that it would be almost impossible to get new volunteers, by the time their check had been processed they would have left the parish.


It is true that many of the people who come to be fed are indeed vulnerable, they wouldn't come to building or somewhere enclosed, they come to an open space because can get away if they fear a threat. They pick up their sandwich, soup, a cup of coffee and bit of fruit and shuffle off. After a few nights sleeping in a doorway or an abandoned car, the most vulnerable develope a certain wariness of their fellows and anyone who might help, including any perceived threat from the helpers..


A couple of weeks ago I thought the biggest threat to this work of Christ was the povery of our parish, but God's providence has sorted that out for a few months at least, it is sad that now the threat comes from the diocese. If we are rigourous in our implementation of the diocesan demands we will have to stop our work, the most vulnerable in our community will go hungry. In Brighton women and boys can normally find something to sell if they are in real need, but as one young nineteen year old lad once told me, he was so hungry and cold that if it wasn't for our souprun, he would have done anything in one of Brighton's public lavatories just to have been able to fill his belly.


It would be less than magnanimous to ask, as many priests do, who our protection policies are actually protecting, is it the vulnerable or the bishops and the diocesan finances.

Unless we can find a middle way, we have to choose, either to opt out of our diocesan policy on this issue, which apparently means any legal claims devovle directly on me, and the pittance I put away for my old age, or we follow the directives of our Child Protection Office which means we will have to stop our Soup Run, except possibly on the the second and third Wednesday of each month, and ignore Christ's imperative to "feed the hungry".


Today, before I heard this, I preached on "taking risks to reach Christ", it would be hypocritical to stop and I would fear the judgement of God.