Wednesday, April 30, 2008

JPII: Gorbachev signed an “informal death Sentence"

New, sensational documents concerning the attempt against the late pope, John Paul II, have been revealed in a new book by John O. Kohler, an American journalist and writer. The book, entitled ”It’s About the Pope. Spies in the Vatican”, will be released in Poland on Monday, April 28, 2008 by ZNAK Publishing House, known for its publications about the late pope. The author unearthed a Kremlin document, which listed Soviet Politbureau members, who had signed an “informal death sentence” on the Polish pope. “Use all available possibilities to prevent a new political trend, initiated by the Polish pope, and “if necessary - reach to means beyond disinformation and discreditation.” This instruction was given to their subordinates in the KGB by members of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Soviet Communist Party in November of 1979.
"I was shocked, when I found this order. The means “beyond disinformation and discreditation” meant only one thing: an approval to kill the pope”, John O. Kohler told leading Polish weekly “Wprost” (read: vprost) this week, prior to the official launching of his book in Poland. Who signed the “informal” death sentence against John Paul II? The party document obtained by the author of the book listed nine prominent Soviet CP members: the chief of the Soviet propaganda - Mikhail Suslov, members of the Presidium of the CC CPSU - Andrei Kirilenko, Konstantin Chernenko, secretaries of the CC - Konstantin Rusakov (responsible for the contacts with the Polish Communist Party), Vladimir Ponomarev, Ivan Kapitonov, Mikhail Zimyanin, Vladimir Dolgikh and Mikhail Gorbachev. An article, written by Michal Krzymowski quoting Mr. John O. Kohler, will appear in the next issue of “Wprost” weekly, on Monday, April 28, 2008 - on the very day the new book is to be launched and put on sale in Poland.

Memorial to pre-Reformation shrines

icn Plans for a memorial to the medieval shrines destroyed during the Reformation, were unveiled yesterday at Charterhouse.
The sculpture by Paul Day, commissioned by the Art and Reconciliation Trust, (ART) will be placed close to the site of Chelsea Manor, once home of St Thomas More and his family. After More was executed for his faith in 1535, his house was given to the Lord Chamberlain, Sir William Sandys. In 1538 Sir Thomas Cromwell moved there in order to avoid the plague that was raging in central London. Cromwell was masterminding the dissolution of the monasteries and destruction of monastic churches and shrines at that time. In order to make sure that all the looted statues were destroyed, Cromwell ordered that they should all be brought to Chelsea Manor and burnt in a huge bonfire that he could personally witness. Among the statues lost was Our Lady of Walsingham, a shrine which ranked fourth after Rome. Jerusalem and Compostella, the Black Madonna of Willesden and Our Lady of Grace of Ipswich.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Beijing orchestra to play for pope, easing tension

The Pope, his brother and the President of Italy at a concert to mark his third anniversary of election last week.

(Reuters) - The China Philharmonic Orchestra will perform for Pope Benedict next week in an unprecedented gesture that Vatican sources said could signal a thaw in often icy relations between the Vatican and Beijing.
Vatican Radio said on Tuesday the concert will take place on May 7 in the Vatican's vast audience hall. The orchestra will perform Mozart's "Requiem" along with the Shanghai Opera House Chorus.
The radio called the concert, which will take place during the orchestra's European tour, "important" and added:
"With the performance in the Vatican of a great classic opera [I think they mean "work"] of European music and religious inspiration, music is confirming its role as a language and most precious medium for dialogue among peoples and cultures."
Benedict has made improving relations with Beijing a major goal of his pontificate and issued a 55-page open letter in June saying he sought to restore full diplomatic ties with Beijing that were severed two years after the 1949 Communist takeover.
"This could not have happened without the government approving it," said one diplomatic source.
Catholics in China are split between those who belong to a state-backed Church and an underground Church whose members are loyal to the Vatican.
Relations between the Vatican and Beijing have hit low points several times in recent years as the Vatican criticised China for appointing bishops without papal approval.
Benedict accused China of "grave violations of religious freedom" in 2006.
Relations warmed significantly last September when the Vatican approved the installation of a new state-approved Catholic bishop of Beijing.
Last month Benedict called for dialogue to end the "suffering" of the people in Tibet and a Chinese crackdown but used extremely diplomatic language.
Beijing wants the Vatican to sever diplomatic relations with Taiwan, which China considers and renegade province.
In 2007, the Vatican did an about face over a meeting between the pope and the Dalai Lama.
A Vatican official told reporters in late October the pope had scheduled a meeting with the exiled spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhism on Dec. 13.
Beijing responded by saying such a meeting would "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people" and urged the Pontiff to show he "is sincere in improving relations".
Later that month, the Vatican said the pope had no plans to meet the Dalai Lama during his visit to Rome, saying they had met the previous year.

Like Orpheus

Like Orpheus descending into the underworld to find Euridice, like Christ in search of the Just, we descended into the depths of the Church and came back victorious, with a long discarded statue of Saint Catherine of Sienna.
She is rather pretty. She needs a new quill - a bit strange as she was illiterate. Her stigmata can be seen, she prayed for it to become invisible, a grace which was given her, as it caused admiratio.
She needs a bit of repainting.
Ann our sacristan is giving her a clean up before she is returned to the house of her bride groom.
The text on her book reads "In Deo salutare meum et gloria mea".
She was made in Germany at the turn of the 19th century.

Rhino Rights

I have never been able to understand why the Green Party aren't Pro-ife, Life Sites carries this piece about new Swiss laws:
The nation that liberalized its abortion laws in 2002 is now giving unprecedented protection to animal and plant life.
In an effort to respect the needs of "social species," the Swiss parliament passed legislation last week that threatens its citizens with punishment for not providing various animals a fit environment in which they can interact and flourish.
Enjoying the most extensive protection under the new laws, dogs proved to be the Swiss parliament's best friend. Prospective dog owners will now be required to complete a course in canine treatment that will include both theoretical and practical elements.
Due to concern over recent studies suggesting the pain experienced by fish, anglers are now subjected to a preparatory course on humane fishing.
The new laws will also dictate how farmers treat their livestock and even stipulates the proper treatment of rhinoceroses.
"The aim is not only to ensure treatment of animals appropriate to each species, but also to decrease the risk of attacks by dangerous dogs. Inappropriate treatment could lead to behavioural disorders," explained Hans Wyss, head of the Swiss Federal Veterinary Office.
In addition to tending to the animal kingdom, the Swiss government has also been busy wrestling with how best to treat the nation's plants.
The Swiss federal government's ethics committee on non-human biotechnology has been working to determine what kind of research respects "plant dignity" enough to be eligible for government funding.
"Plant dignity" considerations stem from the 2004 Gene Technology Law's requirement to take "the dignity of creatures" into account during any research.
Researchers are eagerly awaiting clarity on the notion of "plant dignity", which will decide whether or not they receive important funding to continue their work.
"At the moment not even authorities who decide on grants know what the 'dignity of plants' really means," committee member Markus Schefer said.
The committee has outlined guidelines to protect plant dignity, but the licitness of many particular practices is yet to be determined.
Most committee members consider interference with a plant's reproductive functions undignified, making some plant geneticists concerned that the committee could greatly hinder traditionally accepted genetic engineering, such as commercial seedless fruits or the hybridization of roses.
The added protections afforded to plant and animal life stand in sharp contrast to the Swiss government's recent disregard for the life of the nation's unborn. In June 2002, the country decided to allow women to abort their children during the first trimester, provided a doctor determines that she is in an ambiguously defined "state of distress."

Would this happen in England?

Would this happen in the England?
Rocco Palmo says:
Within the hour, Gotham's Cardinal Edward Egan issued a statement on the taking of Communion by the thrice-married ex-mayor:
The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God. Throughout my years as Archbishop of New York, I have repeated this teaching in sermons, articles, addresses, and interviews without hesitation or compromise of any kind. Thus it was that I had an understanding with Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, when I became Archbishop of New York and he was serving as Mayor of New York, that he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion. I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding.In its response, Team Rudy said it would welcome the meeting, but with a twist: Giuliani's faith "is a deeply personal matter and should remain confidential" according to his spokeswoman.The move is a notable change of public tack by the occupant of 452 Madison. In an early 2007 TV interview, when asked how he'd "come down" on public officials who defy church teaching -- Giuliani included -- Egan said that the politicos named were "all friends of mine."

Monday, April 28, 2008


Please be charitable when commenting. I love people's comments, even if I disagree strongly with what is said but....

....Whatever you write, or say, do so in and for the
love of Christ

Venerable Hairdresser

One of the people who the Holy Father spoke about during the youth rally at St Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers was Pierre Toussaint pictured here with his wife.

Venerable Pierre Toussaint (1766 – June 30, 1853) was born a slave in Haïti. His master taught him to read and write and he came to New York from Haiti in 1787. In New York, he became an apprentice to one of the city's leading hairdressers.

Pierre Toussaint quickly became a fashionable hairdresser, apart from his skill he listened to and advised his clients, helping them to deepen their own spiritual lives.
He was freed from slavery when his owner died in 1807 but continued supporting his owners wife until her death. He fell in love with Juliette Noel, and purchased her freedom when she was only fifteen years old. After their eventual marriage they set out to help those in need in New York City. They opened their home as a shelter for orphans, a credit bureau, an employment agency and refuge for priests and poverty stricken travelers. Toussaint also funded money to build a new Roman Catholic church in New York, which became Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mulberry Street. After the death of his sister Rosalie, he and his wife adopted her daughter Euphemia and raised her as their own.

As Toussaint aged, he continued his charity. His wife, Juliette died in 1851. Pierre Toussaint died two years later on June 30, 1853, at the age of eighty-seven. He was buried alongside his wife and daughter, Euphemia in Old St. Patrick's on Mott Street. In 1941, his grave was discovered by the Rev. Charles McTague. In 1990, John Cardinal O'Connor, then Archbishop of New York had Toussaint exhumed and reinterred in the crypt below the altar at St Patrick's Cathedral on Fifth Avenue. Because of Toussaint's charity and piety, he was strongly supported for sainthood by O'Connor.

In 1996 Toussaint was declared Venerable by Pope John Paul II, the second step toward sainthood

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Happy Eastern Rite / Orthodox Easter

Blessed and Happy Easter to readers of the various Rites in communion with The See of Peter and to our Orthodox friends and to all others who keep the Feast of the Glorious Resurrection today.

Pope Ordains

Pope Benedict ordinains 29 new priests in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican.

Plight of women in Tibet

IN THIS OLYMPIC YEAR China is still enforcing abortion and sterilsation. John Smeaton says we should keep the anti-life nature of the Chinese regime before the public.
He commends this "Dispatches" programme.

Durham Chair

James Mawdsley has fascinating piece on the appointment to the Bede Chair of Catholic Theology at the University of Durham, I think it is the only chair of Catholic Theology in the UK.

I think that it is interesting, of the four candidates, only one seems radically unorthodox, the other three are more or less on track, as far modern theologians go. I think, in a way the short list demonstrates what is happening in modern theology; the rediscovery of the mainstream, albeit with occasional blip.
We haven't got to "thinking with the Church" yet but at least... well, at least we are in a better position than 10/15 years ago, when it would have been impossible to even of a chair of CATHOLIC THEOLOGY.
All dsepends on a Heirarchy that encourages a growth of serious theologians within the Church.

Papal visit triggers “tsunami” of New York seminary applications

(CNA).- St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers, New York, has received dozens of applications following Pope Benedict’s visit, the New York Daily News reports.
"It's been like a tsunami, a good tsunami of interest," said Father Luke Sweeney, the Archdiocese of New York's vocations director. “I've been meeting people all week and have a lot of e-mails I haven't had the chance yet to respond to. It has been incredible.”
For the first time in 108 years, the seminary had been preparing for a year with no students. Only 23 seminarians are expected to be ordained for New York City over the next four years. A study carried out by Catholic World Report claims the archdiocese’s ratio of priests to congregation members is among the worst in the country.
Currently there are only 648 diocesan priests for the Archdiocese of New York, which has 2.5 million Catholics.
“We are facing a severe shortage,” Father Sweeney said. The vocations director recently launched a recruitment campaign that uses the slogans “The World Needs Heroes” and “You Have To Be a Real Man If You Want to Become a Priest.”
“We were hoping the Pope would convince many who were considering the priesthood to make the next step. It looks like he did,” he said.
The Pope spoke to a rally of 25,000 young people on the seminary’s grounds last Saturday, April 19.
Father Sweeney described how the Pope’s words affected one new applicant.
“One said he came, saw the crowd, heard what the Pope said and then called us," the priest said. "He said his questions and concerns were answered when he heard him speak.”

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Baroque Exuberance

Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis. This is fun - enjoy it.

Who said, "Heaven is eating foie gras to the sound of trumpets"? Here you get the Sauterne too.

Exult in God in every land!
Whatever creatures are contained
by heaven and earth
must raise up this praise,
and now we shall likewise
bring an offering to our God,
since He has stood with us
at all times during suffering and necessity.

The Westminster Terna?

The candidates to succeed Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor as Archbishop of Westminster have been whittled down to three.
Mandrake hears that the names on the official list - the terna - are Archbishop Vincent Nichols, Archbishop Peter Smith and Bishop Arthur Roche.
"It will disappoint those who were hoping for someone outside of the current crop of bishops," whispers my man at Archbishop's House.

"Benedict XVI is not, however, obliged to pick one of the names that Archbishop Faustino Munoz, the Papal Nuncio, submits to him so we will have to wait and see."
Traditionalists had hoped that the next archbishop would have been chosen, like Basil Hume, from outside the episcopacy of England and Wales and Mandrake understands that George Pell, the Australian cardinal, had been lobbying the Pope for such a move.
This led to speculation that either Abbot Hugh Gilbert, of Pluscarden Abbey in Scotland, or Fr Aidan Nichols, a Dominican Friar, were in the frame.
The Most Rev Nichols, the Archbishop of Birmingham, considered the favourite, is supported by Lord Alton, while the Rt Rev Roche, the Bishop of Leeds, is backed by John Gummer, the Catholic convert MP.
The Most Rev Smith, the Archbishop of Cardiff, won admirers with his lobbying of parliament over legislation on euthanasia and the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill.
Cardinal Murphy O'Connor is expected to stand down early next year.

Vatican clarifies Holydays of Obligation for Extraordinary Form

Those of you looking at the lack lustre website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales trying to find news of the Low Week meeting might have seen this:

Following a request for information, the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales submitted a dubium (a query) to the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei which confirmed that in the Roman Rite, whichever Form of the liturgy is being celebrated, the Holydays of Obligation are held in common. Where the obligation has been removed and the Holyday transferred to the Sunday, the Epiphany of the Lord, the Ascension of the Lord and Corpus Christ, this is to be followed in both Ordinary and Extraordinary celebrations of Mass.
A page with this information together with further details about the Calendar for celebrations using the Extraordinary Form has been added to the Liturgy Office website:
Download PDF version of this page

more likely though they would have seen this:

The page you have tried to access no longer exists or has been moved.
Please use the menu on the left of this page to continue.

It is on the welcome page, I think it has been there for weeks, what is it Damian Thompson says about this site?
Anyhow, one of my reasons for wanting to learn the EF was so I could celebrate the Ascension forty days after Easter and a novena before Pentecost, as scripture tells us it should be. Eheu, stymied again! Except of course that in my diocese despite the Bishop's Conference transfer of Holy Days to the Sunday Corpus Christi is still celebrated with as much Pontifical splendour as possible on the proper day; Thursday after Trinity Sunday. Sauce, goose and gander comes to mind!

More trivia on the Papal wardrobe

More on the Petrine wardrobe, Fr Sylvester points out they arenot a Benedictine revival apparently JPII wore red ones too.
Father S says, "For cryin' out loud, gang, he was BURIED wearing red shoes!"

Orbis Catholicus has a piece on vesture that is distinct for the Bishop of Rome, incuding this detail:
St. Thomas Aquinas says: 'The Roman Pontiff does not use the [pastoral] staff, because St. Peter sent it to raise to life one of his disciples, who was afterwards made bishop of Treves; and therefore the Pope carries the staff in the diocese of Treves, but in no other; or again, as a sign that he has not a limited jurisdiction, for such jurisdiction is denoted by the curvature of the staff.' The Pope uses the cross instead of the crozier."

Friday, April 25, 2008

Another disturbance

Maybe it is the moon but today we had another disturbance at Mass today, a man who came in at the Communion Rite. He made some noise during Mass and presented himself for Holy Communion a little late, but received reasonably reverently. He then went to receive from chalice which had been consumed by the previous communicant, he cried out "I want the wine".

I am getting to the stage where I am beginning wonder whether it is wise to celebrate Mass publicly during the week. As someone said commenting on the previous post there is need for someone to keep order in the congregation obviously not beating people up but calming them down. How do other inner city parishes cope?

China moves to limit access to Catholic shrine in Shanghai

In this Olympic year:
SHANGHAI, China — Chinese authorities are trying to limit access to a Catholic shrine in Shanghai during pilgrimages next month, in an apparent sign of anxiety over large religious gatherings.
Although such restrictions are common, this year's May pilgrimage to Sheshan's Marian shrine is considered especially significant, and the crowds are expected to be much larger than usual. Pope Benedict XVI mentioned the shrine in a letter to Chinese Catholics last year calling for unity and renewed ties between China and the Vatican. He designated May 24 as a day of prayer for the church in China.
Hong Kong-based scholar Anthony Lam said officials with the Shanghai diocese had asked him not to arrange pilgrimage groups from the Chinese-governed territory.
"Maybe they're worried about something like what happened in Tibet, but I guaranteed no, no, no," Lam said, referring to recent anti-government protests. "Of course, we felt a little bit disappointed and frustrated."
China's officially atheistic Communist Party forced Chinese Catholics to cut ties to the Vatican in 1951, and the sides have not restored formal ties.
Although the most onerous restrictions on religious activity have been lifted, many of the country's estimated 12 million Catholics worship in congregations outside the state-approved church.
Sensitivity over the gathering in May could also be due to concerns about political or religious activism surrounding the upcoming Beijing Olympics.
About 100,000 visitors are expected to visit the shrine in suburban Shanghai this year, said Liu Bainian, vice chairman of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association, the party-controlled body that oversees the state-backed Catholic church.
That is several times the usual number, and Liu said the strain could be too much for the small shrine to handle.
Shanghai tour operator Bao Xia said city officials have asked his company, the Jin Jiang group, not to organize trips to the shrine next month.
The Shanghai Daily newspaper said only cars with special permits would be allowed near the shrine during key times.
The secretary to Shanghai's bishop also warned of possible overcrowding but said no one has been told not join in the pilgrimage.

Traditional Confirmations in Westminster

Press release, I have been asked to publicise this bt the LMS.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Padre Pio displayed

Saint Pio is displayed in the Madonna delle Grazie Church in San Giovanni Rotondo. Tens of thousands of pilgrims converged 24 April in the southern Italian village to witness the first public display of Padre Pio's exhumed remains. Padre Pio who died 40 years ago.

Law Enforcement

I had a couple yesterday come to see me, he was a Muslim and an illegal immigrant, she a Catholic from Eastern Europe. They had been married in an Islamic ceremony, she wanted a Catholic marriage, because she wanted to receive the sacraments.

The law is that the registrar from whom a certificate must be obtained in order for a priest to marry them, has to report illegal immigrants to the authorities, so they can be deported.

In a legal marriage the priest also acts as a civil servant, acting as a registrar, doing something contrary to the law presumably would create problems for him aqnd for the Church.

The Church teaches all people have a right to marry, what would you do?

Old and young

At Mass yesterday, the Solemnity of St George we sung some of chant, to highlight feasts we normally sing the Alleluia, Sanctus, Agnus Dei from Missa Simplex, we do this on Sundays too. As we were singing someone very loudly was giving us the English translation, it is very important for a parish priest not to know things at times, I am not sure who this is but he does it on Sunday evenings too. It is silly, it is childish. I think it is a protesting octogenarian (the picture is not him). I don't think I would mind if he gave the translation for Alleluia, Amen or Hosanna.
It is curious here, we have a lot of young people, both English and foreign young workers or students. We don't have much family type housing, so we don't have many families, unless it was bought when property prices were much lower. The young receive Holy Communion on the tongue; the old, in the hand. The young genuflect, or make some reverence, more often than the old before receiving communion, I think this is not just to do with flexible or stiff knees. It is the same with music, the young seem to want things that are rooted in the Catholic Tradition, it is the eldery, generally, who want to strum guitars and bang drums.
The old attach a lot of baggage to the past and being Catholic, they have the memories of the 60s and 70s, the turmoil of Humanae Vitae, the priestly defections, the sense of revolution the young are searching for meaning and roots.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Newman Beatification

There have been rumours coming from Rome about this for months, I wait for it to be confirmed by the Holy See but I wonder if there is a serious cult of Newman anywhere. I know lots of people admire his writings, part of his thought has had a considerable influence on the Church, but that is not a cult. Evidence of such a thing has been a demand that the present Pope has made of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints.
Our local secondary school used to be called "Cardinal Newman", now it is just called "Newman". I asked a group of children, why it was called that, there was no reference to the venerabile, one boy suggested it was connected to young people, as "New Men", the others thought that sounded plausable. I really can't think many candles will be burnt in his honour there or anywhere else in the country. Does anyone know where there is evidence of a popular cult, I mean more than just the enthusiasm of a few priests?

(CNA).- The Vatican has approved the beatification of Cardinal John Henry Newman, the English convert and theologian who has had immense influence upon English-speaking Catholicism, the Birmingham Mail reports.
John Henry Newman was born in 1801. As an Anglican priest, he led the Oxford Movement that sought to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots. His conversion to Catholicism in 1845 rocked Victorian England. After becoming an Oratorian priest, he was involved in the establishment of the Birmingham Oratory.
He died in 1890 and is buried at the oratory country house Rednall Hill.
The Catholic Church has accepted as miraculous the cure of an American deacon’s crippling spinal disorder. The deacon, Jack Sullivan of Marshfield, Massachusetts, prayed for John Henry Newman’s intercession.
At his beatification ceremony later this year, John Henry Newman will receive the title “Blessed.” He will need one more recognized miracle to be canonized.
The case of a 17-year-old New Hampshire boy who survived serious head injuries from a car crash is being investigated as a possible second miracle.

Historical argument favors Communion on the tongue - The American magazine Catholic Response has published an English translation of a provocative article, originally published in the official Vatican newspaper, calling for an end to the practice of receiving Communion in the hand.
The article by Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, originally printed in L'Osservatore Romano, examines the historical record of Catholic practice, concluding that the early Church quickly developed the practice in which lay people Communion on the tongue while kneeling. Only ordained ministers were allowed to touch the consecrated Host with their hands.
By the 6th century, Bishop Schneider writes, the Church had formed a consensus that Communion should be received on the tongue, of reverence for the Eucharistic Lord. Pope Gregory the Great chastised priests who resisted that consensus, and it was become an "almost universal practice" in the early Church, the author says.
Kneeling to receive Communion was also a pattern established early in Church history, Bishop Schneider reports. That posture, too, was seen as a means of expressing reverence for Jesus in the Eucharist, and "the most typical gesture of adoration is the biblical one of kneeling."
By administering Communion on the tongue, priests were able to foster greater devotion to the Eucharist; Bishop Schneider remarks that that form is "an impressive sign of the profession of faith the in the Real Presence."
He adds the argument that this form of distributing Communion can prevent accidents. The author cites St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who exhorted priests to use extra caution "so that no even a crumb of the Lord's Body could fall to the ground."
The article published in L'Osservatore Romano, and now translated in Catholic Response, summarizes the more complete argument that Bishop Schneider put forward in his book, Dominus Est. That book, released in Italy earlier this year, drew special notice for two reasons. It was published by the official Vatican press, and a preface was contributed by Archbishop Macolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who said it was "high time to review" the policy of allowing laymen to receive Communion in the hand.

Hail Glorious Saint George

There are two distinct legends about Great George, the first, the soldier martyr slain for the faith, there is that marvellous altarpiece where St George suffers every possible torture or attempt to slay him until he finally succumbs.
The second legend he appears from nowhere, fights against a dragon to save a virgin, having defeated the dragon, the virgin leads him, now tamed into the city.

I love saints like St George, whose true story is lost in myth.
In both stories George becomes a Christian "everyman". The first legend reminds us that despite every attempt to overcome him by God's grace George endures and survives all, and even in death is victorious.
The second story draws on apocalyptic imagery, the dragon is the symbol of evil, the power of sin, but here it is to be contrasted with the pure virgin. I am reminded of St Athanasius' struggle for twenty years in the tomb against demons. In all of us there is the pure virgin and the dragon.
George, here takes on the attributes of St Michael (Michael means "Who is like God"), in his struggle he overcomes evil which then becomes subject to purity.

The battle between George and the dragon therefore can be seen as the battle which takes place in the hearts of all believers, the struggle to tame our rebellious wayward nature and make it subject to the Life of Grace.

Blessed Feet

I like this, about the red shoes which I found on Amy's site:

After many false starts, the doors finally opened to reveal the Pope. He came down the steps toward his car and, then, headed toward the barricades on the lawn. I was standing close, but as he approached, I lost sight of him. He had to walk between two large shrubs and he is not a tall man.
The shrubs were a type of evergreen, trimmed round, fresh spring green. My eyes fell to the bottom of the bush. I do not recall focusing on the noise. All seemed quiet and time seemed to stop. I felt like a child playing in my neighborhood; looking beneath the shrubs, as I often had. What was I looking for in particular back in my childhood? Nothing in particular, looking beneath the shrubs was an exercise in pure desire, an exercise in hope.
Then, in a moment, I was recalled to the present. Amidst the spring green shrub I made a find, rather something emerged. I saw bright red. It had always been exciting to spy a red bird in the garden, so bright. The shoes! The images deluged my mind: fire from a bush, the shoes of the fisherman, the bloodied feet of Christ, St. Peter’s bloodied feet. The Holy Father had greeted Catholic educators yesterday evening with Isaiah’s words quoted by St. Paul: “How beautiful are the footsteps of those who bring good news” (Rom 10:15-17). The Holy Father brings Good News, Christ is our Hope! This morning we found abundant joy in Christ with each other. May the words of Psalm 65 be a prayer answered as the Holy Father travels to New York:
You crown the year with your goodness.Abundance flows in your steps,In the pastures of the wilderness it flows.

I thought they signified walking in the way of martyrdom.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

EU refuses help to Christians in Iraq

Rorate Caeli reports
On Friday, the Slovenian presidency of the European Union rejected a proposal by Germany to give preferential treatment to requests for asylums by Iraqi Christians.

"I think that the right of asylum should be granted regardless of religion or race," said Dragutin Mate, Slovenian Minister of the Interior upon his arrival in Luxembourg where he was to chair a meeting of his counterparts from the European Union. "It seems to me to be difficult to work in this direction" (of preferential treatment), he added. The German Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang Schäuble, had announced his intention to seek the endorsement of the Member States for facilitating the acceptance of asylum applications submitted by Christians in Iraq, whom he considers to be threatened by sectarian violence within their country. The Chaldean Archbishop of Mosul, Mgr Rahou Faraj, was abducted and killed on March 29. The Chaldeans, Eastern Rite Catholics, are the main Christian community in Iraq and one of the oldest Christian churches. Before the American invasion of 2003, the Christian community in the country had approximately 800,000 members, or about 3% of the majority Muslim population. A large part of them have fled the country or have settled in Iraqi Kurdistan. More than 4,000 applications for asylum have been introduced in Germany by Iraqi refugees in 2007, according to the Interior Ministry, which did not specify their religion.

From Journal Chrétien

Priest dissappears in balloon stunt

SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium party balloons was missing Monday off the southern coast of Brazil.
Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats were searching off the coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.
Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.
He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Gallas.
Gallas said by telephone that the priest wanted to break a 19-hour record for the most hours flying with balloons to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers in Paranagua, Brazil's second-largest port for agricultural products.
Some American adventurers have used helium balloons to emulate Larry Walters — who in 1982 rose three miles above Los Angeles in a lawn chair lifted by balloons.
A video of Carli posted on the G1 Web site of Globo TV showed the smiling 41-year-old priest slipping into a flight suit, being strapped to a seat attached to a huge column green, red, white and yellow balloons, and soaring into the air to the cheers of a crowd.
According to Gallas, the priest soared to an altitude of 20,000 feet (6,000 meters) then descended to about 8,200 feet (2,500 meters) for his planned flight to the city of Dourados, 465 miles (750 kilometers) northwest of his parish.
But winds pushed him in another direction, and Carli was some 30 miles (50 kilometers) off the coast when he last contacted Paranagua's port authority, Gallas said.
Carli had a GPS device, a satellite phone, a buoyant chair and is an experienced skydiver, Gallas said.
"We are absolutely confident he will be found alive and well, floating somewhere in the ocean," she said.
"He knew what he was doing and was fully prepared for any kind of mishap."

Monday, April 21, 2008


I have been watching the Papal visit to the US on EWTN, I have to admit, I haven't enjoyed it much in the past: it might my own prejudice or it could be their excessive defference to clergy which I find irksome, or just my lack of appreciation of the American Way, here, of broadcasting. It is a little bit of a culture shock, but I began enjoying it, even the Tom and Gerry act of Neuhauss and Arroya. I can't afford it on television but on the computer...

At the moment I am listening to some Bishop at Prayer Breakfast, speaking very eloquently about Pope Benedict's theolgy. They have Mass during the day, celebrated quite beautifully. I can only get it at 100k.

So how to get it yourself, people always ask for detailed instructions,

so click here

go to "Television"

go to click "live television - English"

on the pop-up click "US Media"

then choose the definition your computing apparatus can cope with, the larger the better.

I am going to put the link in the side bar.

Fr Zachariah Botros

Brighton taxi drivers are fascinating, the other day I met a fascinating Zimbabwian on an outward journey and remarkable young Coptic Orthodox who brought me home. He was listening to some beautiful eastern music, he told me it was Mass. We spoke his church, this week is Orthodox Holy Week. Then he started to talk Fr Zechariah, Public Enemy No 1., Fr Sean did a piece on him, a most remarkable man , who has an extra-ordinary internet ministry. He seems to specialise in converting Muslims. He used to be a priest in Brighton.

I do admire the Copts in Brighton, so many have endured a great deal of suffering for Christ, there is a beautiful ascetic quality about the best of them. They are marked by the spiritual legacy of the Desert Fathers, those great Egyptian and Sudanese saints.

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...