Friday, March 30, 2007

Fired Cannon and Veil Removing

There are a few accounts of Lenten Veiling on various blogs, I confess I veil, at one time veiling wasn’t just “doing” statues and crucifixes but in the past the whole sanctuary was veiled.
In Seville’s huge Cathedral, consisting of seven naves, thirty-seven chapels and eighty altars, on the Wednesday of Holy Week the Passion of Luke was read, three black candles would be lit on the altar the rest of the great church would be in darkness, when the words “…and the curtain of the Temple was torn in two” (Lk 23;45), a canon would be fired from the cornice overlooking the altar and immediately the white veil which was hung from the ceiling to the floor behind the altar was torn down its middle. The canon continued to be fired, shattering the deep silence, lighting up the altar and surrounding pillars.
An eye witness in the 19th century said, “The sudden explosion in the midst of profoundest silence; the momentary flood of light then darkness denser than before, silence more profound from the contrast, to be followed by another flash and crash again and again, was almost terrifying.” I am not quite sure when this stopped, around the time of the Civil War, I just love the idea of the spectacle and drama.

"Dare to love your families,”

"Dare to love your families,” Pope tells Roman youth prior to hearing confessions
Thousands of young people gather for penance service with Holy Father

(CNA) .- In advance of the 22nd annual World Youth Day, which will be celebrated this Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI met with thousands of Roman youth on Thursday night, leading them in a penance service, and hearing some of their individual confessions. The Holy Father encouraged the young people to encounter God’s love in the Sacrament and challenged them to then go forth, living a life of Christian love.The Holy Father welcomed the thousands of young people to a penance service in St. Peter’s Basilica, a liturgy he called, “a meeting around the Cross, a celebration of God’s mercy which in the Sacrament of Confession each of you can personally experience.”

Sisters Against Slavery; Missionaries Take Women off the Streets

By Irene Lagan ROME, MARCH 29, 2007 ( There is a side to the Eternal City that most of us are loathe to acknowledge. Passing through certain parts of Rome and its surroundings, one is likely to see women -- or often, girls -- lining the streets. Via Guilia is one such street known for prostitution, but there are others. To much of the world, these women and girls are mere prostitutes, but to Sister Eugenia Bonetti, they are victims of the most dehumanizing and crippling type of slavery. Sister Eugenia, who is also the head of the Italian Union of Major Superiors, was recently presented with the Woman of Courage award by the U.S. State Department for her efforts to combat trafficking in persons. The work of the religious was also acknowledged in 2004 when she was named one of six Heroes Acting to End Modern Day Slavery in the annual Trafficking in Persons report published by the State Department. First in Rome, and now throughout the world, Sister Eugenia has trained women religious to provide shelter and rehabilitation to women rescued from prostitution. According to the woman religious, the young women are the ones punished for the crime of prostitution. Sometimes, she said, they are arrested, thrown in jail where they might be mistreated, and then cast back out, while the men who use them walk away free. The women are bought and sold, traded and discarded at the whim of their traffickers and those who abuse them sexually, she said. "The statistics are staggering," said Sister Eugenia. "Sexual slavery is problematic worldwide, it happens here. It is in our face. "This problem is destroying women, and families. When I see a car stop with a baby seat in the back, I know this man has a wife and baby at home. "When we ask police to help, they often arrest the girls, and let the men go." According to Sister Eugenia, most of the women who are bought and sold for sex in Italy come to the country under the pretext of a job. In Italy, many are from Eastern Europe or Nigeria. "The girls are tricked into this," Sister Eugenia said. "They are offered what they believe to be good jobs." Once beyond the safe bounds of home, their documents are taken away and they are forced to sell their bodies for money. Many of the girls are just barely teenagers when they are forced into prostitution, she said. "It takes a Nigerian girl an average of 4,000 sexual encounters before she is released," the woman religious said. "Who can survive that? If a girl manages to survive physically, it is a miracle is she survives psychologically." Nevertheless, Sister Eugenia said there is hope for these women. Once they are safe, many recover and learn to support themselves. The Consolata Missionaries provide respite and rehabilitation for girls courageous enough to leave their traffickers. The religious said: "Our sisters leave the safety of our convents at night to reach out to these girls who know no safety. But there is always a danger. "When a girl leaves her captors, her family at home is often threatened. Many girls are afraid to leave their traffickers. "In some ways, we are fortunate in Italy because our laws offer some protection for these girls. When they cooperate with authorities, they receive other benefits and can be granted citizenship." Together with other religious sisters, the Consolata Missionaries have established an international network of shelters among women religious of various denominations. "Sisters can do this work," said Sister Eugenia. "When the girls see us, they know they can trust us. They see us as mothers, and they know they are loved. When I visit my girls, they call me 'Mama.'"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Day of Penance and Conversion

Tomorrow, Friday, we are having a Day of Penance and Conversion, from Mass at 10.00am the Blessed Sacrament will be Exposed, from 7.30pm until 8.30pm there will be priests from the Deanery here to hear Confessions. We will end with Benediction.

I have asked everyone to spend time in prayer and to do penance for their conversion and for the conversion of our parish, even if the can't get here in person, please join us spiritually on-line.

Kyrie Eleison

Christe Eleison

Kyrie Eleison

Cormac: Appeal for Freedom

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor has delivered the Thirtieth Thomas Corbishley Memorial Lecture on “The Kingdom of God and this World: the Church in Public Life” on Wednesday, 28 March 2007. The full text of the lecture can be downloaded at the bottom of this page.
Key extracts from the lecture

'Speaking as a Catholic Christian, as a Bishop and a Citizen of our great British democracy,' said Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, 'I want to appeal for the freedom to believe and the freedom to serve the common good according to the convictions of our faith. For it is in the nature of who we Christians are to serve society, to be recognised by the sign of love, and to discover for ourselves and lead others to discover the inviolable dignity of every human person.'
The secular state
'The secular state, which we now risk adopting in Britain,' continued Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor 'seeks a politics entirely independent of religion, in which religious principles have nothing to say in the “real” world of political action. The choice of the State to side with the secular is said to be neutrality; and it is usually justified by an appeal to equality. But this is in itself ideology, divorcing religion from the public realm on the pretext that religion is divisive. This sets up great tensions in society. The more determinedly secular a state becomes, the more pressure mounts for religious beliefs to assert themselves. We then no longer have a common search for truth on the basis of shared reason, but a series of monologues in which each side excludes the other. People talk past each other. There is little reasoned thinking. There is no adequate civil discourse. Society is then at risk of the fragmentation of its moral structure.'
The freedom to manifest religious belief in a democracy
'The Church', explained Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor ' claims only its legitimate part in the political process – to assist the very reasoning which is fundamental to the pursuit of justice. The Church’s task is not to propose technical solutions to questions of governance or economic activity, but to help to form a social culture based on justice, solidarity and truth, for the common good. That is a culture that can form the kind of people who can develop those solutions against a transcendent moral horizon. The Church’s task is of nurturing, to assist a public debate that is tolerant, reasoned and inclusive, but within a moral framework which seeks to defend and promote justice and human flourishing.'
Meeting the challenge
'We Catholics' concluded Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, 'and here I am sure I speak, too, for other Christians and all people of faith – do not demand special privileges, but we do claim our rights. We come not to impose, but to serve, according to our beliefs; and to be given the freedom and support to do so, as long as these do not undermine the rights and freedoms of others. I appeal to the good sense and fairness of the British people, and to the traditions which have shaped this great nation. I appeal to the need to keep faith with those traditions, lest we pass into a new intolerance which will over time shake the tree of our democracy free of its spiritual fruit.'
'Those who proclaim Britain as a nation under God must be allowed to continue to work freely for His Kingdom here in Britain. That is our tradition. And I believe it is the tradition which British people wish to maintain. We should now engage in tolerant, reasoned and democratic debate on what is clearly the beginning not the end of this question'.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

On Europe

Chiesa has some thought provoking thoughts of His Holiness on Europe.

Prayer Request

I have become anxious about one of our regular commenters, who I rarely publish. I presume they are one of my parishioners, sometimes this person uses a name but generally prefers "anonymous" but always of course the computer address is the same. I don't intend to identify them further, but what is said is always sad and often quite vitriolic. They are obviously someone who has been hurt quite seriously in the past and seem unable to deal with other human beings with any charity, they are equally obviously continuing to hurt themselves spiritually by their bitterness and are definitely in need of a lot of prayer.

I am sure that commenting on blogs is vaguely therapeutic but possibly contacting the Samaritans might be helpful or much better getting along to confession and doing something good for other people. I am not sure what the best way of dealing with this person is, and possibly this post is not the best way. I might well be being uncharitable myself, but I am convinced that a little prayer and a little penance for this person may well help. If she or he wishes to contact me, I am more than willing to do what I can for them.
So say a Decade and do a little penance for "Anonymous".

Pope: true faith is taught by bishops, not by intellectuals

In his general audience Benedict XVI illustrates the figure of Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, who fought Gnostic heresies, as an example of how the faith was transmitted by the apostles and their successors: it is “public, unique and inspired by the Holy Spirit”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – True Christian faith is taught by the bishops of the Church, in particular the bishop of Rome, in other words the Pope: it is public and unique, not intellectual in it’s nature in so far as it is inspired by the Holy Spirit and destined for all people. The principles of the Apostolic tradition and the transmission of faith were addressed by Benedict XVI today in his catechesis to over 30 thousand pilgrims gathered in St Peter’s square for the weekly general audience, under a sun dappled sky.
Continuing in the catechesis on the Church Fathers from the first centuries, today the Pope spoke of Saint Irenaeus of Lyons, probably born in Izmir Turkey between 135 and 140, a follower of bishop Policarp, disciple of John, who went on to become the bishop of the French city where he died between 202 and 203, perhaps by martyrdom.
“As a writer –said Benedict XVI – he had the twin aim of defending true doctrine from heretical attacks and of exposing with great clarity the truth of faith”. His works “can be defined as a most ancient Catechism”. At a time when the Church was threatened by Gnostic doctrine according to which “ the Church’s teachings of faith were merely symbolic for the simple incapable of true comprehension”, while the initiated were the only ones capable of understanding the meaning behind those symbols. But “in this way a Christianity for the elite, the intelligencia was being formed”, which risked diversifying itself into many different schools of thought with “strange curios yet attractive elements”.
A common element among the diverse Gnostic sects was their Dualism: The oneness of God was denied while the theory of evil caused by material wealth was counter posed to the idea of a kind God. Irenaeus contrasted the Gnostic pessimism which depreciated material reality. But his work “goes well beyond his confutation of heresy”. In the Popes description he is “ the first great Theologian who created systematic theology”, at the centre of which emerges the question of the “rule of faith ”, as well as it’s transmission. “The rule coincides with the apostles’ creed and gives us the key to interpreting the Gospel” “how it must be read”.
The Gospel Irenaeus preached was the Gospel preached by his teacher Polycarp, who in turn received it from the Apostle John in an unbroken line of succession going back to Christ himself” and that this faith was taught “simply” but at the same time with great “depth”. “There is no secret doctrine, a superior Christianity for intellectuals, does not exist”, the faith which is taught is faith for everybody, publicly transmitted by the apostles to their successors the bishops. Among these the teachings of the Church in Rome must be considered above all, as it traces its roots to the apostles Peter and Paul. All other Churches must agree themselves to it.
“In this teaching –underlined Benedict XVI – the theory that intellectuals posses a superior faith to the one taught by the Church is contested”; faith “is not a privilege of the few”, but anyone can pertain to reaching it through the teachings of the bishops, in particular the bishop of Rome.
The Pope affirmed, this is where the genuine concept of tradition, which is not traditionalization, comes from, and which has three essential characteristics. First “it is “public”, because it is available to all through the teaching of the Bishops; to know the true doctrine it is enough to know the faith as taught by the bishops successors.
Secondly , the apostolic tradition “is “one”, because its content remains the same despite the variety of languages and cultures;”. Benedict XVI here recalled some of the excerpts from Irenaeus book on heresies when he says “even though the Church is disseminated throughout the world, it holds the faith of the apostles as if it were one single home, spoken with one single tongue”.
And finally the apostolic tradition is, in the Greek word “pneumatic”, because, through it, the Holy Spirit continues to enliven and renew the Church even today”. “It is not a case of the transmission of faith being entrusted to men who are more or less capable, but it is the Spirit of God who guarantees the truth of faith”. At the same time this also guarantees a “freshness” of the Church. In short “a precious deposit, held within a valuable vase, which renews itself continuously also renewing the vase which contains it”.

A cunning musical plan: a triple bleg

Most of my plans come to nothing but recently I have been thinking about what to do with children at Mass. I hate having flocks of small boys, and girls, around me when I celebrate Mass. I really do think that men should assist at Mass.

So what to do with children?
I want to start a children’s choir.
For years I have been stressing the importance of singing the Mass itself. Partly because I haven’t been able find English settings of the Ordinary (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) that either don’t have endless repetitions or are just plain inaccurate translations and because at least half of our congregation have English as a second language, we have been using Missa Simplex and di Angeles. The other reason for preferring Latin is that we are waiting for the "new" translations, and the other other reason is that the Church prefers it.

The Holy Father’s Exhortation stresses the importance of Latin and of the traditional chant of the Church, so we are going to start them young. If it is possible I want to get children singing proper music. I really do think if I were a child and was expected to sing the trivia that many children are expected to sing I would look forward to lapsing as soon as possible. Children and adults need to learn something of the great tradition of Christian music. I have discovered one of our organists, a non-Catholic, is a reasonably competent singing teacher.

I have vague ideas of where to start, Jacque Berthier, the Taize composer has various Kyries, Alleluias in parts, often just simple canons, and even things that can be sung as motets. I want them to learn some chant and to be familiar with basic liturgical Latin (and Greek).
Bleg #1
This is really a “bleg” for any ideas for a simple child friendly repertoire or suggestions for websites or organisations that might be helpful.
Bleg #2
This bleg is for parents in the parish to contact if they have children who might be interested in some serious musical training.
Bleg #3
This bleg is for money to pay for music in this relatively poor parish, our organist has to eat.

This might all come to nothing but it will be an interesting experiment.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Benedict the Servant of Tradition

Amy Welbourne, like some others are anticipating the Motu Proprio, they are expecting it this week or next, maybe even tomorrow, from all she has to say I was particularly struck by this piece, (see below) it reflects very much what The Pope said at the Lateran, when he took possession of it, which was more or less, "It is not the Pope's role to put forward his own ideas, but merely to re-present and serve the Tradition of the Church".

As much as I love and admire the holy Popes of the last 150 years, there has been a certain personalism that has crept into the office, which is seen in Pius IX's, "Tradition? I am Tradition" and Pius X's re-ordering of the Sacraments of Initiation (Confirmation after Holy Communion). For me Paul VI's liturgical revisions epitomised the idea of a Pope intervening with his own agenda, in a particularly singular and triumphalistic way in the Tradition of the Church. For me this Motu Proprio, allowing the ancient with the modern to move side by side, is actually a way back to THE Tradition. Paul VI obviously had the right to change the Liturgy, but it was at the very limits of his rights, and frankly I think the exercise of such a right has caused a great deal of damage, as any excessive use of such rights does.

I have never really known the Old Rite, I love the celebration of the Pauline rite when done within the Tradition of the Church, I admit I am horrified by some celebrations of it, and some of the recent innovations allowed by the Holy See are that, innovations. I pray that Pope Benedict will bring the Pauline rite firmly within The Tradition of Catholic/Orthodox worship. I would like to think of myself not so much in terms of the Reform of the Reform, but of the Rooting of the Reform, within what has been handed on to us, which I am sure Benedict can and will do, or at least begin.
For Ecumenism, for the Promotion of Justice, for the health and well being of the Church, I pray that future Pope's hold firm to this Benedictine attitude of being the "servant" to The Tradition, and certainly not its author or its master.

".........And for him, the answer is Christ. A recent editorial in the NCR(register) lays it out: The Key to Benedict - which is not, as some would have you believe, nostalgia, a desire to "roll back" Vatican II, authoritarianism, control, or anything like that:
Pope Benedict, also, is simply and deeply devoted to the person of Christ, in all of his clarity and depth.
When secular newspapers write about Pope Benedict’s new post-synodal apostolic exhoratation Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity), they say things like “Pope Refuses to Yield” or “Benedict Loves Latin” as if the Holy Father were merely imposing his personal preferences on the Church.
But, from the very beginning, Benedict has been telling us exactly what he would do, and why he would do it. He started before the conclave that elected him, when he spoke about friendship with Christ, a concept he has returned to several times.
Noting that Jesus defines friendship as “the communion of wills,” he cited the old Roman definition of friendship — Idem velle idem nolle (same desires, same dislikes) — as the model of our friendship with Christ.
In his first message after becoming pope, he applied that lesson to the Eucharist. “I ask everyone in the coming months to intensify love and devotion for Jesus in the Eucharist,” he said, “and to express courageously and clearly faith in the Real Presence of the Lord, especially by the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations.”
He wanted us to show our friendship with Jesus in the Eucharist not just by good feelings, but by a communion of wills — “by the solemnity and correctness” of our Masses.
This love for Jesus, which is both practical and passionate — we should say practical because it is passionate — is the key to Pope Benedict’s thinking. It is front and center in is private works (such as “On the Way to Christ Jesus”), in his official works before becoming Pope (Dominus Iesus — “The Lord Jesus” — foremost among them), and in his first encyclical and latest document on charity and the Eucharist

O.D. on Ruth Kelly

This from Atticus in yesterday's Sunday Times:
Opus Dei puts the screws on Ruth Kelly over gay adoptionA little pain and discomfort is de rigeur for members of Opus Dei. But Ruth Kelly might be smarting a little more than usual at her next meeting of the Catholic sect.Members are furious at plans to force church adoption agencies to work with gay couples and say the communities secretary should have done more to oppose it. Some would even like to see her expelled."There is a case here for expulsion," says one disgruntled member. "She has been part of a set of regulations that are contrary to the wishes of the Catholic bishops." An Opus Dei spokesman would say only: "There are those who think she has done well, and those who think she has not done well."

Fr Boyle points out that Opus Dei is not a sect of course.

Happy Feast of the Annunciation

Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Pharisees go away

What strikes me as being significant about todays Gospel, is the fact the Pharisees go away. They are praiseworthy in so far as they recongnise they too are sinners, when Jesus says, "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

If we think of ourselves as being sinless we have no part in Christ. He came for sinners, not the just. He came as the physician for the sick, not the well.

In order to be part of Chirst we have to own our sin.

On Heaven and Hell

Pope Benedict XVI celebrates a mass during his visit to the church of 'Santa Felicita e figli martiri' (St. Felicita and Martyrs Sons) on the outskirts of Rome.

"Jesus came to say that he wishes all [to be] in Heaven and that hell, which is barely spoken of in our age, exists and is eternal for all those who close their hearts to his love. "
Benedict XVI

Pope: the Annunciation, Mary’s and the martyrs’ “Yes”

Benedict XVI shows the deep unity between the missionary martyrs giving the gift of life and Christ and the Virgin doing the same, each a supreme act of love to “God and one’s brothers.” Young people are invited to celebrate World Youth Day and join the Pontiff in the penitential liturgy he will preside.
Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Mary’s “Yes” to the Angel’s Annunciation and Christ’s “Yes” to fulfilling His Father’s will find renewal in history in the Saints’ “Yes”, especially that of the Martyrs who are killed because of their faith in the Gospel. In a single glance Benedict XVI joined in this Sunday’s Angelus two celebrations, today’s solemnity of the Annunciation which is observed on March 25, and yesterday’s Day of Prayer for Missionary Martyrs.
Because this year it falls on Lent Sunday, the Annunciation, an ancient festivity celebrated nine months before Christmas, will be observed tomorrow. The Pope decided however to mention “this wonderful mystery of the faith which we contemplate every day during the recitation of the Angelus.”
“The Annunciation is a humble, hidden event that no one saw or knew,” the Pope said, “except for Mary. But at the same time it is a decisive moment in the history of humanity. When the Virgin said ‘Yes’ to the Angel’s Annunciation, Jesus was conceived and with Him began a new era in history, which was eventually sanctioned by the ‘new and eternal covenant.”
“In fact,” the Pontiff said, “Mary’s Yes was the perfect reflection of that by Christ when he came into the world as one can read in the way the Letter to the Hebrews interprets Psalm 39: “Then I said, 'As is written of me in the scroll, Behold, I come to do your will, O God' (Heb 10: 7).”
The Son’s obedience mirrors that of the Mother and thus, thanks to the meeting of these two “Yes”, God was able to take a human form. Since it celebrates a central mystery of Christ, His incarnation, the Annunciation is also a Christological event.”
”Mary’s response to the Angel continues in the Church, which has been called to make Christ present in history, making itself available so that God may continue to visit humanity with His Mercy.”
In order to stress the Saints’ and Martyrs’ “Yes,” the Pope mentioned the Day of Prayer and Fasting for missionary martyrs, which was commemorated yesterday, the anniversary of the murder of Mgr Oscar Romero, archbishop of San Salvador.
Remembering “bishops, priests, men and women religious and laity struck down in their mission of evangelisation and human promotion,” the Pontiff stressed that “the missionary martyrs . . . are the ‘hope of the world,’ because they bear witness that Christ’s love is stronger than violence and hatred. They did not seek martyrdom, but were ready to give their lives in order to remain faithful to the Gospel. Christian martyrdom can be justified only as a supreme act of love towards God and one’s brothers.”
Finally, the Pope noted that “in this time of Lent, more frequently do we contemplate Our Lady who on Calvary seals the “Yes” she pronounced in Nazareth. United with Jesus, Witness of the Father’s love, Mary experienced the martyrdom of the soul. We invoke with confidence her intercession that the Church, faithful in its mission, may bear courageous witness to God’s love before the whole world.”

Pope: Communion and Liberation

Take the truth, beauty and peace of Jesus to the world, Pope tells CL
About a hundred thousand people join Benedict XVI to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Pontifical recognition of the Communion and Liberation Fraternity. CL’s founder, Fr Giussani, is remembered; “through him the beauty of being Christian was rediscovered,” says the Pope.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Pope Benedict XVI renewed today (Saturday)in St Peter’s Square the mandate John Paul II gave Communion and Liberation (CL) on the 30th anniversary of its founding, namely that of going into the world and “take the truth, beauty and peace that are found in Christ the Redeemer.” In the same way, CL current president, Fr Julián Carrón, also referred to that mandate as well.

Such words were heard by about a hundred thousand enthusiastic people who filled St Peter’s Square to its limits, invading adjacent Pius XII Square and the Via della Conciliazione, many carrying umbrellas and colourful scarves, all who had come to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Fraternity’s recognition by the Vatican. For several minutes, Benedict XVI moved in their midst, driven on the back of a small truck, protected by a big white umbrella.

From the early hours of the morning, prayers, songs and “experiences of people for whom the encounter with Christ was so strong that their life was changed” rang out in the square as thousands arrived from different countries of the world. Despite a cold wind and the odd rain shower, many families came with their children in strollers. The Pope even joked about the weather, saying: “We expected sun, but water too is a sign of grace and a gift from the Holy Spirit.”

Several times in his speech Benedict XVI referred to the Holy Spirit to those present with whom he also recited the Angelus. “As a reality, ecclesial movements are a sign of the fruitfulness of the Spirit of the Lord,” he said, “so that the victory of Christ Redeemer may manifest itself and the missionary mandate of the Church be accomplished.”

In remembering John Paul II’s invitation “to go to the world,” Benedict XVI said that “Fr Giussani transformed those words into his movement’s programme,” starting a missionary push that now sees Communion and Liberation active in 80 countries.

“A community experience of the faith,” as the Pope called it, “that was born within the Church, yet not from any organisational decision taken by the top leadership, but rather from an original encounter with Christ, an impulse that came from the Holy Spirit one might say.”

Communion and Liberation’s founder, Mgr Luigi Giussani, was remembered several times. The Pope’s “first thoughts” were for to him. “I am bound to him by many memories,” the Holy Father said. “He had become a true friend.”

“This courageous priest grew up in a family where bread was in short supply, but one filled with music. As he liked to put it, he was touched early on by a thirst for beauty, but not any beauty. He wanted beauty itself, the infinite beauty that he found in Christ.”

Thanks to Fr Giussani, the Pope said, “the beauty of being Christian” was rediscovered “at a time when more and more people viewed Christianity as something tiresome and boring to bear”.

“At one time [John Paul II] said that originality lies in again proposing in a fascinating way and in tune with modern culture Christianity’s coming for it can direct one’s whole life. It is a way to experience the Christian faith in total faithfulness and communion with the Pope and his pastors” as well as “with the freedom that allows for new apostolic and missionary initiatives.”

Benedict XVI also mentioned that on May 27, 1998, John Paul II stressed “that there is no conflict or opposition in the Church between the institutional dimension and the charismatic dimension . . . . Both are co-essential to the divine constitution” of God’s people.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Byrd - Ave verum corpus - The Cambridge singers

I love the idea of a score that moves along while you watch, wouldn't it be good to have an e-hymnbook.

Brighton Witch Sacked

A witch was accused of using her beliefs as a scapegoat for her being sacked, an employment tribunal heard today.
Sommer De La Rosa, 34, a practising white witch of the Wiccan faith, is claiming unfair dismissal after being fired from the Dorothy Stringer School in Brighton, East Sussex.
She claimed she was banned from discussing her faith and wearing a pentagram - a symbol of her faith.But the school claims she was sacked for her poor attendance. She had 21.5 days off during her six-month probationary period.
Ms De La Rosa worked in the religious studies and music department of the school for eight months until May last year. ............

Read the rest of the story in The Argus

Cardinal Hummes on Celibacy

Celibacy is Apostolic See here

VATICAN The Board Game

From Cardinal to Pope—how it happens .

VATICAN, historically accurate, is more compelling than the depictions of the Catholic Church in popular culture. Reality and truth are always more interesting than fiction.

VATICAN is a fascinating way for all to understand a central point of Catholic identity, and will appeal to a wide variety of audiences, whatever their religious preferences.

VATICAN is sophisticated, filled with nuance that makes replays as enjoyable as the first time you play it. For teachers, it’s a powerful educational tool – for a gathering of friends, it’s a stimulating experience.

VATICAN – a high quality game that makes the ideal gift. Buy now – fun and learning in an outstanding package!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Abortion is Killing Children

"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Revoke the 1967 Abortion Act."

Support the culture of life.
If you live in Britain, join the anti-establishment rebellion and sign this petition at the 10 Downing Street website.

Fr Tim on SORs

Fr. Timothy Finigan, a priest of the Archdiocese of Southwark and the founder of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life who said, "I don't think it will be productive to negotiate with the government over this. Clearly the regulations are as they are and they have shown that they are not prepared to negotiate or make concessions. The offer of the adjustment period shows that."While the exemption requested by the Church for the adoption agencies was turned down by Tony Blair, what they got with the government's offer of a delaying period, said Fr. Finigan, "was a kind of stay of execution. But there's nothing there for them. In the meantime, they still have to refer children to be adopted to homosexual couples."Militant gay activists, he said, will almost certainly now move on to the next phase of test legal cases against smaller Christian or Muslim institutions such as schools or boarding houses. "The one thing the government doesn't want to see right now is priests and ministers in prison. That means they are going to start with schools or businesses. They've been pushing hard in education for years," Fr. Finigan said.Since 1944, Catholic schools in Britain have been partially subsidized by the government. Lord Pilkington of Oxenford said that inasmuch as the SOR's assert that individual "human rights" trumped the rights of voluntary societies, they challenge the democratic foundation of the state

Elsewhere he writes,
"Our faith does not teach that 'homosexuality' itself is necessarily sinful, it teaches that it is disordered. It is homosexual acts that are sinful." He points out, however, that the distinction is moot in government circles. "The people who framed this guidance will not accept our teaching that homosexuality is a disorder nor that homosexual acts are sinful." The homosexual political doctrine, accepted by the British as well as other governments, requires that no distinction be made between the person, the act and the condition or "orientation", making any criticism of the movement's political goals an offence against persons. British legislators have fully incorporated this doctrine in the law. "They have the bit between their teeth," Fr. Finigan writes. "Although the direction in which public policy has been moving is obvious enough, I am a little surprised at the pace it has now picked up."The bishop of the Scottish Catholic diocese of Paisley warned his flock last month in blunt terms to become spiritually prepared for open persecution with the implementation of the SOR's. Speaking on the problem of Catholic adoption agencies, Bishop Philip Tartaglia wrote, "This unfortunate episode may well herald the beginning of a new and uncertain time for the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom."
All I can say is Tim for Bishop!!!

Setamu there, but 23 Anglicans missing

Twenty-three Church of England bishops have been fiercely criticised this week for not attending a crucial House of Lords vote on controversial new gay rights regulations. This is particularly sad as they so often justify their position in the Upper Chamber claiming they represent "Faiths", "the Christian Tradition", or "give a Christian voice", well the Christian voice was lacking. Except for Dr John Setamu.

I am becoming more and more impressed by Sentamu, not only does he actually have something to say but he actually says it and says it well.

I just wish we Catholics had someone of his stature in our heirarchy. I am beginning think we Catholics should petition the Holy See for an African, Asian or South American as the successor to the Cardinal, even then I doubt whether we would have as gifted communicator as Setamu.

Dr Sentamu said the Government was seeking to have ‘consciences surgically removed’ while introducing a ‘new hierarchy of rights’ where people of faith had become a ‘new sub-category’. Quoting William Wilberforce, the Archbishop said: “The time is fast approaching when Christianity will be openly disavowed, in language as in fact it is already supposed to have disappeared from the conduct of men: when to believe will be deemed the indication of a feeble mind and contracted understanding.” He also said, that the Government was "venturing down an unconsidered path through the establishment of a new hierarchy of human rights."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

There is Justice, then there is Justice

There is some stuff on the SOR Prayer Rally outside Westminster on The Hermeneutic of Continuity.

I was told about it in a Comment by someone called Andrew, he said, "You'll be interested to know that Fr. Tim Finnigan has recently reported on the turnout to protest against the SOR regulations act last night (Wed 21st March) outside pariliament. The Catholic groups that turned out were: Latin Mass Society, Faith Movement (who on the whole are supportive of the old rite) and SPUC (which has a lot of members who attend the old rite). Now I could go on and say, "Where were the Catholic Charismatics or Youth 2000?!!" but I won't........."

We are all, as Catholics, supposed to be deeply committed to Justice issues but there does seem to be a worrying trend of one either being committed to Justice regarding the family or freedom of religion issues or else one is committed to Justice concerning third world issues. So often it almost seems that never the twain shall meet. I know that when we have a collection for Cafod (no comments on Cafod's ABC policy, please, I support the organisation because my bishop does, and yes, it feeds the hungry) people are generous but they are different people who are generous to Life issue collection.

Catholic Sociologist on the Family

( The traditional family cannot be identified with regression while individualism is seen as progress, says an exponent of relational sociology. Pierpaolo Donati, a member of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences and a professor at the University of Bologna, spoke at a March 7 conference in Milan on the changes of the family in contemporary Europe. "It is not true that progress coincides with an ever increasing individualization of individuals while the strengthening of social bonds represents a regression," he said. After having analyzed phenomena such as the breakup of the family, demographic decline, lower birthrates, and the increase in divorce and separations, Donati discussed two theses that can help understand these situations. Opposing concepts The first, Donati contended, is that the so-called traditional family -- married couple with children -- will continue to decline and eventually disappear. The professor said that those who propose this current of thought recommend that the family should not take on roles given it in the past. He said that this is because they see the concept of marriage as a restrictive burden. Proponents of this first idea separate sexuality from fertility, and view having children as increasingly risky and burdensome. Donati said the second thesis -- opposed to the first -- sustains that a plurality of types of families reflects negative tendencies that are self-destructive, regressive and socially degrading. The professor added that these tendencies, it is held, give rise to lifestyles incapable of offering satisfactory and stable solutions in relations between sexes and between generations. According to this position, the professor said, society should reduce the variety of possible family behaviors and come to value again certain perennial characteristics -- that of contractual commitment and stability between sexes and generations -- typical of the traditional family. Shared weakness According to Donati, the weakness shared by both theories is in making reference to a "traditional family model that is used as a polemic stereotype, either in the negative sense -- to attack it -- or in the positive sense -- to defend it." "They forget that the term 'traditional family' refers to a 'natural society' founded on conjugal union between a man and a woman," Donati said. She added: "This gives stability, predictability and social grounding to their mutual interchange and their common tasks -- like the procreation and education of children. "One must confront the theme of the plurality of families with an outlook which is broader than mere positivist descriptions or pure extrapolations or historical projections."

Archbishop Ncube rebukes South African government for ignoring Zimbabwe

I have always admired Pius Ncube for the stance he has taken against oppression
and injustice in Zimbabwe. I have always wondered why South Africa doesn't at
least condemn Mugabe's violence. In this piece by Dan Bergin the Archbishop rebukes the SA government.

Archbishop Pius Ncube of Bulawayo has accused the South African government of failing to help their neighbours in Zimbabwe as conditions there become increasingly desperate.
Archbishop Ncube told the South African Broadcasting Corporation that South African's leaders "are in the best position to put pressure on Zimbabwe, to call for sanctions if necessary."
He said: "They could force Mugabe to change but they have been watching this thing. It's now the eighth year it has been deteriorating."
The Archbishop's criticism came as South Africa reluctantly agreed as president of the UN security council to allow a British request for a briefing on the humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe.
South Africa's UN ambassador, Dumisani Kumalo, earlier said he would not permit the briefing on the grounds that the political and economic crisis in Zimbabwe "is not a matter threatening international peace and security".
Britain's UN ambassador, Sir Emyr Jones Parry, said he asked for the briefing "because of the widespread condemnation of events in Zimbabwe, the attacks on the leader of the opposition, Morgan Tsvangirai, and the impossibility of the present situation".
Mr Kumalo's justification for keeping Zimbabwe off the security council's agenda has drawn criticism at home, not least because South Africa is being flooded with hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing a country where there is no work, massive inflation and great food shortages.
Church groups, trade unions and humanitarian organisations in South Africa have all appealed for the government to exert some pressure on Mugabe.
The former archbishop of Cape Town and Nobel peace laureate, Desmond Tutu, last week criticised African leaders for "hardly a word of concern let alone condemnation" over events in Zimbabwe. "We Africans should hang our heads in shame," he said in a statement. "Do we really care about human rights, do we care that people of flesh and blood, fellow Africans, are being treated like rubbish, almost worse than they were ever treated by rabid racists? "What more has to happen before we who are leaders, religious and political, of our mother Africa are moved to cry out 'enough is enough'?" © Independent Catholic News 2007

Catholic Politicians

Communities Secretary Ruth Kelly hailed controversial new gay equality laws a "major step forward", after a last-ditch bid to block them failed in the House of Lords.

Ms Kelly, herself a Catholic, said the measures would deliver "dignity, respect and fairness for all".

"These measures will help tackle the practical barriers and real, every day problems faced by lesbian, gay and bisexual people."
Ms Kelly added: "It cannot be right in a decent, tolerant society that a shopkeeper or restaurant can refuse to serve a customer because they are gay.
"It cannot be right for a school to discriminate against a child because of their parents' sexuality or not to take homophobic bullying as seriously as they should."

Obviously she is in a difficult position, if she puts forward the position that the Church's teaching, she would be forced to resign but the recent Exhortation says quite clearly. In the States, and elsewhere, many bishops would suggest that her position on this issue would mean that she were unable to receive Holy Communion becasue her public stance was not in communion with the Church's Magisterium.

83. Here it is important to consider what the Synod Fathers described as
eucharistic consistency, a quality which our lives are objectively called to
embody. Worship pleasing to God can never be a purely private
without consequences for our relationships with others: it demands a public witness to our faith. Evidently, this is true for all the baptized, yet it is especially incumbent upon those who, by virtue of their social or political position, must make decisions regarding fundamental values, such as respect for human life, its defence from conception to natural death, the family built upon marriage between a man and a woman, the freedom to educate one's children and the promotion of the common
good in all its forms. These values are not negotiable
. Consequently, Catholic politicians and legislators, conscious of their grave responsibility before society, must feel particularly bound, on the basis of a properly formed conscience, to introduce and support laws inspired by values grounded in human nature. There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29).
There is an objective connection here with the Eucharist (cf. 1 Cor 11:27-29). Bishops are bound to reaffirm constantly these values as part of their responsibility to the flock entrusted to them

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Pope: Justin Martyr

( - Pope Benedict XVI spoke about the work of St. Justin, the 2nd-century philosopher and martyr, in his regular weekly public audience on March 21.
Speaking to the 25,000 people in St. Peter’s Square for the 88th public audience of his pontificate, the Holy Father recalled that Justin, who was born sometime around 100 AD, was a student of Greek philosophy and an ardent seeker after truth who discovered the Christian faith when a wise old man told him that prayer would open “the doors of light.”
St. Justin taught that Greek philosophers, along with Hebrew prophets, had held the “seeds of truth,” paving the way for the full Christian revelation, the Pope said. His defense of Greek thought, Pope Benedict said, clinched “the ancient Church's decisive option in favor of philosophy, rather than of pagan religion."
This early Christian apologist, the Pope continued, explained that “because Christianity is the historical and personal manifestation of the Logos in its entirety, it follows that everything of beauty that has ever been expressed by anyone belongs to us Christians."
St. Justin rejected the paganism of his age because it “did not follow the paths of Logos but persisted along those of myth,” the Pope told his Wednesday audience. Because it was not respectful of truth, the saint taught, paganism was inevitably “reduced to an artificial agglomeration of ceremonies and conventions.”
The teachings of St. Justin naturally angered the pagan leaders of Rome, and he was put to death under Marcus Aurelius. But his witness remains, Pope Benedict said, as a reminder that the faithful must honor “the truth of existence over the myth of convention.”
That reminder, the Pope concluded, is particularly important in “an age such as our own, marked by relativism.”

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Jeffrey Benjamin Iscariot-Archer

Jeffrey Archer the notorious liar, fabricator and perjurer has revealed his ultra persona as a member of the Iscariot family, claiming quite fittingly to be the son of Judas Iscariot. Americans might think me hard but the truth is that the former Thatcherite government minister, who was imprisoned for perjury, and has fabricated almost all of his own past, has produced a new book entitled The Gospel of Judas, it is not a dull Gnostic text, like the original, but a dull unoriginal novel like Archer's other books. He claims co-authorship with some Catholic theologian, I suspect he wrote the notes in the back, unaware of what his work might eventually appear as.

Archer also apparently claims to have the blessing of the Holy Father, as if...

As if anyone in the Church would take a flagrant denial of the Divinity of Christ seriously.

Well it is Easter, and the Dan Brown band wagon has gone over the horizon.

Mac, the tough woman has a bit more, if you can bear it.

SORs: Now Black is White and White is Black

St Ignatius of Loyola said, “What seems to me to be white, I will believe to be black if the hierarchical Church thus determines it.” All Jesuits would baulk at that today and even the most Ultramontane of Catholics would have similar difficulties, as would the Pope himself.

…But yesterday the Government said, with all the authority of the State and with the backing of legal sanction that, what indeed was black is now white.
The Sexual Orientation Regulations means that hoteliers will have to offer rooms to homosexual couples in the same way it does to heterosexual couples. Just, many might think, the Church in its opposition seems reactionary, negative and unjust. At the Ritz or The Savoy or the large local hotel, maybe it is not an issue, but it is a bit more difficult if it is a small guest house where the guests live alongside the family, but so what? It is livable with many will think.
But we have already seem, in adoption legislation, it is already intended to touch services to others as well, especially children.
When Dr Iqbal Socrane of the Muslim Council suggested that the introduction of civil partnerships posed a serious threat to the family, to society and raised grave health problems, the Metropolitan Police investigated him for “hate crimes”. For Catholics, the SORs are going to mean that in our schools we are not going to be able to teach the superiority of heterosexual marriage, we are certainly not going to be able to teach that homosexual acts are mortally sinful or that homosexuality is, as the catechism says, “intrinsically disordered”, meaning not according to the ordering of God or the Natural Law. Certainly this new law will reinforce the silence on moral issues of many clergy, the silent blathering of many pulpits will have legal underpinning.
The threat of police raids on Catholic presbyteries early in the morning is perhaps unlikely, at least in the near future, but as we have seen in the Socrane case not the invitation for an interview by the policy department responsible for “hate crimes”. As abortion law has excluded doctors from certain areas of medicine, contraception and “the morning after pill” has pushed most Catholic pharmacists out of the NHS and chains of chemists, so this legislation is going to put immense pressure on Educationalists especially, and on other “service providers”. The authorities I presume will not want to directly confront the Church but the Church is under siege, a war of attrition has begun to be waged against it.

Priests and Bishops, if they understand what the Church is saying, and are sympathetic to it, both issues that need to be examined carefully nowadays, are going to have to be seen as signs of contradiction and are going to have to upset many of their congregation. We have not been good at talking about sex in the UK, maybe this is British modesty combined with a sense of sexual privacy, or maybe it is English descent from Magisterial teaching. The problem is that many will see, and many will present, orthodox Catholic teaching as harsh, out of date, cruel or even unjust, a denial of human rights. The Bishops most especially, with their silent press office, and the Catholic press itself, if it is capable of it and not already compromised, need to give firm clear leadership and to draw out everything that is positive in the Catholic Church’s teaching on marriage, the family and human sexuality. The Scottish bishops have already said they will ignore the SOR legislation and presumably wait for action to be taken against them. In England where the policy has been to do things behind the scenes and to try to work out compromise, things are going to be more difficult, English Catholics have not been invited to barricades for a generation, since the abortion debate was still on, they gave up when their leaders lost heart.

Who amongst the hierarchy can call the faithful to support the Church?
Who can present the Christ’s teaching to the British public as the voice of the “Good”?
Who has the courage?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Popes condemn slavery since beginning of 15th Cent.

I found this article on Fr Tim's blog,

........Fr Linus Clovis in an article in Faith Magazine, Slavery,
the Gospel of Life and the Magisterium
. He explains that although the Popes consistently and repeatedly condemned modern slavery from its very beginning in the 15th century. Slavery was also very clearly condemned by the Holy Office of the Inquisition in 1686 and the captors, buyers and possessors of slaves were ordered to make compensation to them. This teaching did not have the effect that it should have had because of the lack of co-operation among some Bishops and priests. He says: Hence the durability of the scandalous impression of official Church collaboration, support and participation in that most heinous institution of rapine, murder, exploitation and greed. The Papal Magisterium’s clear and unequivocal condemnation of slavery was not echoed, supported, preached on or translated into action by the generality of local hierarchies, clergy and laity. It is similar today with abortion and especially with that other aspect of the Gospel of Life, condemnation of contraception, which teaching is, in at least partial consequence, ignored by many Catholics today.

Another article which gives some more details of the various papal
documents is The Popes and Slavery.

Of course, people whose information comes from today's BBC get a very different picture. The BBC website has a page on Christianity and slavery which is entirely devoted to the justification of slavery by Christians. Papal condemnation of slavery? Not a word. Instead, we get: The emergence of colonies in the Americas and the need to find labourers saw Europeans turn their attention to Africa with some arguing that the Transatlantic Slave Trade would enable Africans, especially the 'Mohammedans', to come into contact with Christianity and 'civilisation' in the Americas, albeit as slaves. It was even argued that the favourable trade winds from Africa to the Americas were evidence of this providential design.

Religion was also a driving force during slavery in the Americas. Once they arrived at their new locales the enslaved Africans were subjected to various processes to make them more compliant, and Christianity formed part of this. Ironically, although the assertion of evangelisation was one of the justifications for enslaving Africans, very little missionary work actually took place during the early years. In short, religion got in the way of a moneymaking venture by taking Africans away from their work. It also taught them potentially subversive ideas and made it hard to justify the cruel mistreatment of fellow Christians.

However, some clergy tried to push the idea that it was possible to be a 'good slave and Christian' and pointed to St Paul's epistles, which called for slaves to 'obey their masters', and St Peter's letters (1 Peter 2: 18-25), which appeared to suggest that it was wholly commendable for Christian slaves to suffer at the hands of cruel masters.So there you have it - Christianity wholly reprehensible: no other side to the story at all. The next article, discussing the role of Christians in the abolition of slavery does, of course, go for "balance" putting both sides to the story - "... some have argued that they never showed the same commitment to ending slavery as they did to ending the slave trade. Their attitude towards Africans appear condescending by today's standards..."The article does not, of course, mention the teaching of the Catholic Church's magisterium.

Sunday, March 18, 2007


One of the interesting things in Sacramentum Caritatis is its emphasis on Latin.
There seems to be an “ambiguity” in the English translation of the document and the Latin and other versions, the text printed on the Vatican website is as follows.

62 …..Speaking more generally, I ask that future priests, from their time in the seminary, receive the preparation needed to understand and to celebrate Mass in Latin, and also to use Latin texts and execute Gregorian chant; nor should we forget that the faithful can be taught to recite the more common prayers in Latin, and also to sing parts of the liturgy to Gregorian chant.

Fr John Zuhlsdorf who runs a website where he boasts “slavishly accurate translations", suggests this is a more accurate translation.

62 ….. … In general, We require that future priests, from the time of Seminary onward, be trained to understand and celebrate Holy Mass in Latin as well as to employ Latin texts and use Gregorian chant; nor should great effort be neglected in regard to the faithful themselves, so that they learn thoroughly the commonly known prayers in the Latin language and in an equal degree that they should learn the Gregorian chant of those parts of the liturgy which are sung.

I am fascinated by “from the time of Seminary onward”, which seems to imply continuous formation in Latin and Chant I look forward to the Diocesan in-service training courses and dioceses producing small group study material for lay-people.

Pope: Prodigal Son & Sacramentum Caritatis

During the Angelus the Pope speaks of Sacramentum Caritatis underlining the relationship between the Eucharist and god. Earlier this morning Benedict XVI visited the roman minors prison Casal del Marmo where he told the young boys that true joy and a sense of life can be found by “putting God in first place”.

Vatican City (AsiaNews) – Benedict XVI was met this Sunday with greetings for his Saints say which falls tomorrow, both from the thousands of faithful who filled St Peter’s square for the Angelus prayer and from the young teenage boys of the Casal del Marmo minors prison, where the Pope paid a visit early this morning, on both occasion speaking of the sense of the relationship between man and God. At the Angelus he underlines how in the Eucharist Jesus love for the disciples “is passed on to us all” becoming the foundation of Christian joy, in the minors prison he instead highlighted how by choosing to follow God one finds the true sense of life and thus happiness.

The Eucharist – he told the crowds of over 30 thousand pilgrims and visitors present in St Peters – feeds the profound joy of every generation of believer, which unites love and peace and finds its origins in God’s communion with his brothers”.

The Pope also spoke of the publication of his first post synodal exhortataion “Sacramentum caritatis”. “It was elaborated – he explained - by gathering the fruits of the XI General Assembly of Bishops, held here at the Vatican in October 2005. I am sure – h e added - that I will return to that important text, but from the very outset I wish to state that it is an expression of the Universal Church’s faith in the Mystery of the Eucharist, and is posed in continuity of the second Vatican Council and the Magisterium of my venerated predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II.

“In the Eucharist God wanted to donate us His love, which pushed him to offer his life for us on the cross. In the last supper, by washing the feet of his disciples, Jesus left us his commandment of love: ‘As I have loved you, so you also should love one another” (Jn 13,34). But for this to be possible we must remain united in him as branches on a vine (Jn 15,1-8), just as He himself chose to remain with us in the Eucharist so that we con remain in Him. Thus when we eat of His body and drink of His blood in faith, His love passes to us and makes us capable in turn of giving our lives for our brothers. (Jn 3,16). This is where Christian joy, Christian love is born”.

Benedict XVI also spoke of love for live and the sense of life with young detainees at the Casal del Marmo, in his first visit to a prison. The institution which hosts around fifty teenage boys and girls of various nationalities – is the same visited by John Paul II in 1980, on the invitation of the then Cardinal Secretary of State Agostino Casaroli who for over 30 years spent as much time as possible at the prison, as Benedict XVI recalled.

During the mass Benedict XVI spoke openly and without text to the young prisoners, commenting on the evangelical episode of the prodigal son. He noted how behind the figures of the two sons were two “distinct life projects different one from the other”, with the younger son finding the life of a wealthy landowner dissatisfactory. “He wants freedom from discipline, rules and commandments”, “freedom with all its beauty”. For his part the after is “respectful” of the son’s decision to make his own way.
Thus the young man takes what is his. “Now his freedom is to do what he wishes to do, no longer in the prison of his home discipline”. And “in the first movements he feels happy, but slowly a worrying emptiness settles upon him”: the “slavery of a freedom that is consumed by terrestrial pleasures” was not living, “in fact life began to distance itself from him”. So the young man begins to reflect, “To ask himself if it is not better to live ones live for others”. Thus he begins “an interior journey of maturation towards a new life project which also becomes an outward journey”.

The feast prepared for the return of the prodigal son shows that “the work, humility, discipline of every day life creates the feast”; the young man knows that “certainly even in the future his life will not be easy, that temptation will return”, but he will also know that “life without God doesn’t work, it is missing the essential”.

“The Commandments are not obstacles to freedom, rather indicators on the road to life” and “the Gospel helps us to understand who really is God: our most merciful father, merciful beyond measure”.

In the words of Benedict XVI, it is a matter of “what freedom is and what papers to be freedom”; in short “freedom is a launching pad towards the infinity of God’s love or the abyss of sin and evil”. And meeting with the young teenagers after the celebration of mass, who he greeted one by one along with the present authorities, the Pope once again asked the question “how can you be happy if you suffer, when you are deprived of freedom, when you feel abandoned”, true joy and happiness he answered, “is knowing that God loves you”: “You could even be deprived of everything – he concluded – of freedom and of health but yet be peaceful and serene : the secret is putting God in first place”.

Following the Angelus, the Pope finally had a special greeting for members of the Committee of Catholics for a society of love who, on the occasion of the feast day of St Joseph, are re launching the campaign “adopt a Dad” in conjunction with the missionary Instructions to benefit poor families in developing countries. “Thank you – he concluded – for this initiative”.

Poll: Discrimination against Christians

One in three Christians claim to have suffered discrimination because of their religious views, according to a new poll.
The survey by the BBC shows unprecedented disquiet among church-going Britons amid claims they increasingly face prejudice in the media, the workplace and even in their own communities.

It follows a series of high-profile rows over unfair treatment towards Christians, including the case of the British Airways worker who was banned from wearing a crucifix, while Muslim employees were allowed to wear headscarfs.
A third of those polled by the BBC's religious programme Heaven And Earth, claim Christians experience discrimination in the way the media portrays them.
One in four said they thought they suffered discrimination in the workplace from colleagues.
And more than one in five said they thought Christians faced discrimination in their local communities.
It reflects a growing unease that Labour multiculturalism has led to ethnic minority faiths such as Islam and Hinduism being given special treatment.
Meanwhile, there is a fear that the historic importance of Christianity in British life has been pushed to the sidelines.
The BBC has itself been accused of blasphemy because of its decision to screen the controversial show Jerry Springer - The Opera, despite its profane portrayal of God and heaven.
Today's Heaven And Earth programme, presented by Gloria Hunniford, will focus on an example of Government prejudice against a Christian-run drug treatment centre.
Yeldall Manor in Berkshire offers successful residential treatment for young men addicted to drugs or alcohol.
The centre is run by evangelical Christians and the regime includes Bible study sessions and grace before meals.
However, their doors are open to addicts of all backgrounds.
William Hague praised its work when he was Tory leader.
But director Ken Wiltshire reveals how John Prescott's Office of the Deputy Prime Minister tried to cut their funding because they failed to meet Labour's 'equal opportunities' criteria.
He said: "We had been doing a good job helping former addicts move back into the community. So when we went for our routine review with officials we thought we would have no problems.
"But they kept asking us questions about why our staff were exclusively Christian and why there had to be a Christian component to our regime.
"There is no doubt there was prejudice against us because we are Christians. They think we are a bit odd."
Yeldall Manor kept its funding but only after a vigorous local campaign.
Recently, Church leaders launched an outspoken campaign against new Labour legislation that will force Christian adoption agencies to offer children to prospective parents who are homosexual.
Tory MP and prominent Roman Catholic Ann Widdecombe said:
"We should stand together and fight this discrimination. Christians are being marginalised, yet it is the established religion of this country."
The Rev Malcolm Duncan, of Christian campaigning group Faithworks, added:
"The Christian church is suffering more than all other faiths in the UK.
There is an aggressive secularist agenda that says it's OK to support any group ending in "ism" but not OK to support anything connected to Christianity."

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Emphasis on personality

One of my parishioners asked me what this might mean, it is from the summary I put out on Sacramentum Caritatis.
“The pope cautions priests not to substitute themselves for Jesus. He exhorts them to celebrate the Mass with humility, “avoiding anything that might give the impression of an inordinate emphasis on his own personality.””

I think he might mean something like this:

This is a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, Cardinal Mahoney. Mahoney notoriously seems to break every liturgical law the Church has made, he seems to want to make the Church in the image of his own ego, not just by using glass vessels when the Church says these are outlawed, but the whole thrust of the liturgy seems to be horizontal, celebrating the community and celebrating himself. The Holy Father’s emphasis is “I must decrease, he must increase”. It applies to the celebrant and to the community as well, everything should point to Christ.

One of the worst examples I found on a quick search of You Tube was this Halloween Mass, where parishioners were encouraged to come in Halloween costumes, notice the woman Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion with devil horns.

The whole reason for the Church having rules about the celebration of the Mass is to ensure that it doesn't become Father's, the Community's or even His Eminence's little show.

Happy St Patrick's Day

Get the authentic story and read the Confessio of St Patrick.
I, Patrick, a sinner, a most simple countryman, the least of all the faithful and most contemptible to many, had for father the deacon Calpurnius, son of the late Potitus, a priest, of the settlement [vicus] of Bannavem Taburniae; he had a small villa nearby where I was taken captive. I was at that time about sixteen years of age. I did not, indeed, know the true God; and I was taken into captivity in Ireland with many thousands of people, according to our deserts, for quite drawn away from God, we did not keep his precepts, nor were we obedient to our priests who used to remind us of our salvation. And the Lord brought down on us the fury of his being and scattered us among many nations, even to the ends of the earth, where I, in my smallness, am now to be found among foreigners.

The Lord’s descent into the underworld

At Matins/the Office of Readings on Holy Saturday the Church gives us this 'ancient homily', I find it incredibly moving, it is abou...