Saturday, January 31, 2009

Liberal Depression

Robert Mickens of The Tablet has a characteristicly sour piece in "America" on Pope Benedict and Vatican II, of course some people might not share his pessimism about the present situation. What I find so interesting is his evident depression.

If you read the whole article see the comments too.

"A young professor at the Legionaries of Christ's university in Rome, Fr Mauro Gagliardi, gave a clue of what to expect.

The Fraternity of St Pius X can offer the Church an important contribution in applying the 'hermeneutic of continuity' that must be applied to the documents of Vatican II," he said.

This apparent reference to Pope Bendict's hermeneutic for interpreting the Council is imprecise -- as Fr Joseph Komonchak and others have clearly pointed out -- but it is not altogether mistaken. And Fr Gagliardi is not just any professor in Rome. He was recently named as consultant to the papal liturgical ceremonies office and mixes in the circles that are currently in favour in the Vatican. He said, "The 'Lefebvrists' have a spirituality and charism that can be a richness for the life of the entire Church." This certainly is the view of Cardinal Castrillon and probably reflects, at least in some measure, the Pope's thinking, too.

There is no question that Pope Benedict wants the SSPX back in the Church. Up to now he has done everything to accommodate them on their terms. He will do so on the interpretation of the Council, as well. The two CDF documents in 2007 (on the nature of the Church on 29 June and on evangelisation on 3 December ) have already begun paving the way for this. The Lefebvrists will argue, and the Pope will agree, that, in substance, we have the same doctrine after Vatican II has we had before. All "changes" were merely stylistic or operational, but not theogical -- i.e. none of the changes were essential, so none have to be adopted. The Vatican and the SSPX will also say, together, that much of the Council was badly misinterpreted by theologians and bishops in the post-conciliar period, and they will even cite the long list of theologians the CDF condemned to prove that Rome never caved in. Despite everything to the contrary (i.e. the fact that the SSPX does not really buy or live Vatican II), they will find a way together to finagle a formula that helps them profess "true fidelity and true recognition" of the Council (in light of the constant Tradition) but allows them to continue living as if Vatican II never existed. There are already a number of "Ecclesia Dei" communities in communion in Rome (off-shoots of the SSPX like the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter) that currently do this.

The formula that is produced will be just as disingenuous as the invented nonsense of "two forms of the one Roman Rite".

Stench of the Right

I welcome the impending return to full communion with the Church of anyone but especially of the SSPX. On the positive side I think they are going to ask awkward questions, break through some of theological political correctness that seems to bind the Church hand and foot, in this respect I think they are going to be a breath of fresh air. My one reservation is the stench of the sewer that they will bring into the Church from their right wing political connections, which we have already seen seen with +Williamson and subsequent to him, in Italy, Abrahamowicz, who seems to be connected to the "Northern League". The connection with the National Front in France, so often seems to ally in the minds of the ordinary Frenchmen "Tradition" and the far right.
John Allen has a very insightful piece that is well worth reading:

What recent events make clear is that there are two camps in the small universe that rotates around the Society of St. Pius X. The first, represented by Fellay, is composed of traditionalists whose concerns are solely liturgical and doctrinal, and who see the future of their movement as a leaven within the formal structures of the church; the second, represented by Williamson and Abrahamowicz, includes people for whom theological traditionalism bleeds off into far-right politics, xenophobia, and conspiracy theories, and who are far more suspicious of any "deal" with the post-conciliar church.

Benedict XVI’s calculation seems to be that the former represent the majority, and that the best way to isolate them from the latter is to open the door wide enough that only the real intransigents will refuse to walk through it.The risk, of course, is that the outside world won’t see the pope trying to steer the traditionalists toward moderation; it will instead see the pope rolling out the red carpet for a group that includes Holocaust deniers and hate-mongers.

Friday, January 30, 2009

And at the Audience

The Pope rejected a group of liturgical jugglers recently, but met a lion cub told him to avoid eating, at least, good Catholics.

Silly +Billy Williamson Appologises

Again, on the excellent Rorate Caeli +Williamson's letter of appology. I bet the BBC won't report this, nor his silencing. I would be happier if he had also appologised for what he had said, such a silly and dangerous man!

To His Eminence Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos

Your Eminence,

Amidst this tremendous media storm stirred up by imprudent remarks of mine on Swedish television, I beg of you to accept, only as is properly respectful, my sincere regrets for having caused to yourself and to the Holy Father so much unnecessary distress and problems.

For me, all that matters is the Truth Incarnate, and the interests of His one true Church, through which alone we can save our souls and give eternal glory, in our little way, to Almighty God. So I have only one comment, from the prophet Jonas, I, 12:
"Take me up and throw me into the sea; then the sea will quiet down for you; for I know it is because of me that this great tempest has come upon you."

Please also accept, and convey to the Holy Father, my sincere personal thanks for the document signed last Wednesday and made public on Saturday. Most humbly I will offer a Mass for both of you.

Sincerely yours in Christ
+Richard Williamson


Of you charity pray for:
Bob Finn who died last night,
Frank Blake who died this morning.
Eternal Rest grant to the them O Lord.
And let Perpetual Light Shine upon them.

An Act of Mercy

Father Zed is running a story which says that the SSPX could be reconciled by Monday, as their reconcilliation has been one of Benedict's main concerns fopr the last 30 years, presumably some legal/theological package is on a desk somewhere.

Last year Bishop Fellay suggested that the SSPX's relationship with Rome could be like that of the Chinese Patriotic Church, which is interesting, and presumably indicates a degree of autonomy, we will see.

I was speaking to a priest the other day, who was quite angry about the likely reconciliation, which was quite sad, especially as he had been heavily involved with ARCIC on a local level. I think he fails, like many people, to understand the Pope's priorities.

I see them as being twofold:

The Reconciliation of East and West, in a sense the bringing into communion of the SSPX and other traditional groups, as well as the Anglican group TAC is both a model for the East and an "experiment" in plurality for the West.

The Reconciliation of the Catholic Church with its history, a substantial part of this is the great battle with "relativism" and overthrowing the notion of the "Spirit of Council". John Paul II in Et Unum Sint said the role of the Pope is the great obstacle to unity. In his writings the Pope Benedict sees the bishops as being the "faithful bearers of the Tradition" they are supposed to be overseers and regulators of the Church. It is only when bishops are unable to do this that there is a need for a strong Papacy.

Benedict realises that he will die before either of these are achieved but what he seems to be doing is laying a foundation to a renewed and authentic Catholic ecclessiology that a successor will find impossible to undo.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Benedict's Ecumenism

Yesterday, at the general audience the Holy Father seemed to sum his ecumenical approach, and the Vatican Councils in a few words, speaking of the miraculous draught of fishes, he said, "Do not allow your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity". Again and again he stretches out the hand of friendship to Churches and Ecclesial Communities that have some sense of a Catholic identity. In the case of the SSPX for example it is a matter of bringing the whole shoal to shore, "good and bad alike".
Creative Minority has another account of a Papal netcast:

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church – a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.
TAC members split from the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams over issues such as its ordination of women priests and episcopal consecrations of women and practising homosexuals.

The TAC’s case appeared to take a significant step forwards in October 2008 when it is understood that the CDF decided not to recommend the creation of a distinct Anglican rite within the Roman Catholic Church – as is the case with the Eastern Catholic Churches - but a personal prelature, a semi-autonomous group with its own clergy and laity.

Opus Dei was the first organisation in the Catholic Church to be recognised as a personal prelature, a new juridical form in the life of the Church. A personal prelature is something like a global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop and with its own membership and clergy.

Because no such juridical form of life in the Church had existed before, the development and recognition of a personal prelature took Opus Dei and Church officials decades to achieve.

An announcement could be made soon after Easter this year. It is understood that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in the matter, has linked the issue to the year of St Paul, the greatest missionary in the history of the Church.
The Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls could feature prominently in such an announcement for its traditional and historical links to Anglicanism. Prior to the English Reformation it was the official Church of the Knights of the Garter.

The TAC’s Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth, told The Record he has also informed the Holy See he wants to bring all the TAC’s bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman, also an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, as a celebration of Anglican-Catholic unity.

The Pope's ecumenical strategy, most especially for those who have been at the cutting edge of ecumenical dialogue over the last forty years, seems strange, almost incomprehensible. It is liberal, in the sense of being generous. It is based on a clear statement of Catholic doctrine, it is almost triumphalistic in that sense. It is almost the antithesis of what has been understood in ecumenism.
His ecumenism is very much "you-come-in-ism", a clear welcome into the Catholic Church, with flexible structures then established to ensure both communion with the Church but also a continuation of individual customs, modes of worship. I suspect the unity offered to various traditional groups, and possibly to TAC, is a sign to the Orthodox world of the possibility of unity and pluralism.
Having spoken to one of my parishioners: an Anglican clergyman friend says, there 250 English Anglican clergy who want to become Catholics, they have been told by the Bishop of Ebbsfleet to do nothing until Rome speaks later this year. Mmmmm!
I think one of the reasons for delay with the apointment of a new Archbishop of Westminster is finding someone who will be open to new "Benedictine" (or a proper VII) understanding of ecumenism.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Worse without the Council?

Gerald Warner has a post calling for a reform and revisiting of the Second Vatican Council , I agree with him. He calls the Council a catastrophe, I think I disagee with him.
My reading of history is that with half the world communist, with the recent defeat of fascism in WWII, with the genocide of the late 19th and 20th centuries, with scientific developments it was necessary.

He says:

Over the past few days, some blinkeredly optimistic souls have been trying - without much real hope - to persuade Catholics to "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council. This was the great "renewal", when the Holy Ghost inspired the Church to aggiornamento, or modernisation. What form has that Renewal taken?

In England and Wales in 1964, at the end of the Council, there were 137,673 Catholic baptisms; in 2003 the figure was 56,180. In 1964 there were 45,592 Catholic marriages, in 2003 there were 11,013. Mass attendance has fallen by 40 per cent. In "Holy" Ireland, only 48 per cent of so-called Catholics go to Mass. In France, there were 35,000 priests in 1980; today there are fewer than 19,000. Renewal?

In the United States, in 1965, there were 1,575 priestly ordinations; in 2002 there were 450 - a 350 per cent decline. In 1965 there were 49,000 seminarians, in 2002 just 4,700. Today 15 per cent of US parishes are without priests. Only 25 per cent of America's nominal Catholics attend Mass. Worse still is the erosion of faith among those who ludicrously describe themselves as Catholics. Among US Catholics aged 18-44 (the children of Vatican II) as many as 70 per cent say they believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Christ.

To describe this unprecedented collapse of the Church as "renewal" is insane; to attribute it to the operation of the Holy Ghost is blasphemous. The Catholic Church is in the same position as an alcoholic: until it admits to the problem, no cure is possible. The problem is Vatican II.

The normal response by most liberal commentators to these kind of statistics is, "it is sociological trend that affected all churches", well maybe it is, maybe the consequence of Modernism or child abuse etc. etc. but the Council was supposed to be about renewal, evangelisation and mission, something has gone seriously wrong. As a loyal son of the Church and the Council, we have to, at least, answer Mr Warner's accusation, and indeed, as the Council was the most significant event in the Church since the fall of the Papal States it is time to ask what effect it had on the Church's decline: would it have been worse without the Council?

Thomas the Theologian

When I was at the seminary set books were Schillebeeckx, Curran, Rahner and Kung. They were read and their arguments put forward by clergy and people alike when I was first ordained, nowadays one seldom hears of them now.

Aquinas, I used to read before I went to the seminary, I read him as a 15 year protestant, I suppose 15/17 was the age of most of the students he taught, so I wasn't precocious.

The intention of modern theologians is to be"cutting edge" to score academic points. It is the nature of even the Catholic university not to orthodox theologians. It's the system.

For Aquinas deepening love of God in the hearts of his young students was paramount, called by his fellows, "the dumb ox" reminds us of the ancient definition of a theologian, "A theologian is one who prays: one who prays is a theologian". Silence and contemplation should be a theologians tools.

Theology is about holiness, knowledge and understanding of God are of no value unless they lead to Union with Him. The work of the theologian should be done on his knees.

New Patriarch of Moscow

The Russian Orthodox Church chose an advocate of improved relations with the Vatican as its new spiritual leader last night, raising the prospect of a reconciliation between Rome and Moscow.

Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad was elected Patriarch in the Church’s first leadership election since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Kirill, 62, had been the favourite to succeed the late Aleksiy II and was made acting head of the Church after the Patriarch’s death in December.

He defeated Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk by 508 votes to 169 in a secret ballot of priests, monks and lay people at a Church council in Moscow. A third candidate, Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, withdrew before the vote and urged his supporters to back Kirill.

Kirill becomes the 16th Patriarch and head of a Church that has enjoyed a remarkable renaissance in Russia since the Soviet collapse. Like his predecessor, however, he has been tainted by allegations that he was a KGB agent, codenamed Mikhailov, under the Communist regime.

He became known as the “Tobacco Metropolitan” in the mid1990s when he was embroiled in a scandal over the import and sale of billions of duty-free cigarettes to raise funds for humanitarian aid.

Kirill is a charismatic and popular figure in Russia, with a wide following as the presenter of a weekly television programme on religious affairs. He is regarded as a moderniser and the Church’s most able diplomat, having led its powerful department for external relations since 1989.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

That ENGLISH Bishop

The Bishop's Media Office have finally put up a post about the SSPX.

Another reason why they ought to have spoken earlier; at a Holocaust Memorial Day service a lady, I think she was Jewish, told me how horrified she was by Williamson's words and asked where in the country he was Bishop! She thought he was a member of our heirachy!

I suspect many people at home and abroad think he is just another English Catholic Bishop.

Fellay silences Williamson

Rorate Caeli reports:
Communiqué of the Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X,
Bishop Bernard Fellay
It has come to our attention that Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Society, granted an interview to a Swedish network. In this interview, he also commented on historical issues, especially on the genocide of Jews by the National-Socialist regime. It is obvious that a bishop speaks with religious authority solely on matters of faith and morals. Our Society claims no authority over historical or other secular matters.
The mission of the Society is the offering and restoration of authentic Catholic teaching, as reflected in the traditional dogmas. We are known, accepted and appreciated worldwide for this.
We view this matter with great concern, as this exorbitance has caused severe damage to our religious mission. We apologize to the Holy Father and to all people of good will for the trouble it has caused.
It must remain clear that those comments do not reflect in any way the attitude of our community. That is why I have forbidden Bishop Williamson to issue any public opinion on any political or historical matter until further notice.
The constantly accusations against the Society have also apparently served the purpose of discrediting our mission. We will not allow this, but will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to offer the Sacraments in the ancient rite.
Menzingen, January 27, 2009
+ Bishop Bernard Fellay
Superior General

Lest we forget: Today is Holocaust Memorial Day

Used canisters that contained Zyklon-B, the deadly poison used in the Auschwitz gas chambers.

The words of Pope Benedict at Auschwitz:

"The rulers of the Third Reich," he said in a paragraph that deserves to be read at least a thousand times, "wanted to crush the entire Jewish people, to cancel it from the register of the peoples of the earth. … Deep down, those vicious criminals, by wiping out this people, wanted to kill the God who called Abraham, who spoke on Sinai and laid down principles to serve as a guide for mankind, principles that are eternally valid. If this people, by its very existence, was a witness to the God who spoke to humanity and took us to himself, then that God finally had to die and power had to belong to man alone — to those men, who thought that by force they had made themselves masters of the world. By destroying Israel, by the Shoah, they ultimately wanted to tear up the taproot of the Christian faith and to replace it with a faith of their own invention: faith in the rule of man, the rule of the powerful."

And Kaddesh for those who died:

Russian Orthodox Church electing new head

(AP) — Hundreds of Russian Orthodox Church electors convened Tuesday in Moscow for the first election of a patriarch since the fall of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

The 711 electors, which include prominent businessmen and political figures as well as monks and priests, have until Thursday to pick a successor to Alexy II, who died Dec. 5 at age 79. Alexy II had served since 1990 as spiritual leader of the world's largest and richest Orthodox patriarchate.

The new patriarch will be crowned next Sunday in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral and will wield enormous spiritual power. But he will also preside over the patriarchate's vast business empire, built with the aid of tax breaks and other government concessions since the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union.

The church insists it is not appropriate to compare the selection process to a secular election because a new patriarch has already been chosen by God.

But in practice, the patriarch's electors will include some of Russia's politically connected elite: a tobacco-company owner, a governor's wife and the son of the president of Trans-Dniester, a Russia-dominated breakaway province of Moldova.

The presence of political figures among the electors only reinforces the impression that politics will play a major role in the naming of the new church leader.

Interim leader Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad is the favored contender, but he faces at least two challengers and electors can also propose their own candidates.

Kirill, 62, received the most votes — 97 — in a secret ballot by church leaders Sunday. The two other candidates chosen by the Bishops Council were Metropolitan Kliment of Kaluga and Borovsk, who received 32 votes, and Metropolitan Filaret of Minsk and Slutsk, with 16.

Kirill is seen as more likely to assert independence from the Kremlin and to work for improved relations with the Vatican. He faces opposition from a strong fundamentalist movement within the church that sees him as too modern and too eager for a rapprochement with Roman Catholics.

The Kremlin is not openly backing any of the contenders. But President Dmitry Medvedev is said to be close to Metropolitan Kliment, 59, who is supported by church fundamentalists.

Filaret, 72, is the top cleric in Belarus and maintains good relations with Alexander Lukashenko, that country's authoritarian president.

Church and state are officially separate under Russia's post-Soviet constitution, but the Russian Orthodox Church has served the state for much of its 1,000-year history and ties have tightened since Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.

Some nonreligious Russians complain that the church has tailored its doctrine to suit the current government, which has justified Russia's retreat from Western-style democracy by saying the country has a unique history and culture.

Underlining the close ties, state television broadcast the council session live.

In lengthy opening remarks, Kirill elaborately thanked Medvedev's administration for "warm and very benevolent greetings."

The Russian Orthodox Church counts its flock as more than 100 million in Russia, though polls show that only about 5 percent of Russians — mostly low-income rural dwellers and urban intellectuals — are observant believers.

Two-thirds of the electors are clerics, but the other third are laymen. Dioceses across the fomer Soviet Union sent businessmen, government officials and their relatives to vote for the new patriarch — an unprecedented move the church calls an "award" to supporters and sponsors.

The decision to open the voting to powerful lay people has drawn some sharp criticism. "This is a vanity fair," theologian Andrei Kurayev was quoted as saying in the daily Kommersant.

But church leadership has shrugged off the criticism. "What are we to do if these people are part of our society and our church?" Father Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman, was quoted by the Interfax news agency as saying.

Scandalous Media Office

Amy Welborn suggests that there are serious problems with the Vatican PR machine, always it is on the defensive she suggests. One of the reasons is of course the need for secrecy, even so I find it shocking that I cannot find any explanation of the events surrounding this weekends events on the Bishops of England and Wales Website, see if you can. I am criticising the Bishops, I am criticising the very expensive Media Office.
Again and again I have English journalists ringing me, a parish priest with a blog, for background information because the Bishops Media Office are unavailable, or not able to speak to them or simply don't know. I think it is a scandal, especially as most of the negative news stories seemed to have originated in the English Media.
Could it be better not to have a Media Office?

L'Osservatore on Lifting the Excommunications

Zenit carries the following:

Carlo Di Cicco, author of the article and subdirector of L'Osservatore Romano, affirmed: "The reform of the council has not been totally applied, but it is already so consolidated in the Catholic Church that it cannot go into crisis with a magnanimous gesture of mercy -- inspired, moreover, in the new style of Church promoted by the council that prefers the medicine of mercy to that of condemnation.

"The revocation that has provoked so much alarm does not conclude a sorrowful situation like that of the Lefebvrist schism.

"With it, the Pope removes pretexts for infinite polemics, directly confronting the authentic problem: the full acceptance of the magisterium, obviously including Vatican II."

The author went on to affirm that the Church "renewed by the council is not a different Church, but the same Church of Christ, founded on the apostles, guaranteed by the successor of Peter and therefore, living part of tradition."

L'Osservatore Romano further denounced any accusations that the Pope "is not convinced of the path of ecumenism and dialogue with the Jews." It recalled that the Church's most authoritative document on this dialogue, "Nostra Aetate," deplores any type of anti-Semitism.

And, Di Cicco observed, "The revocation of the excommunication does not yet mean full communion. The path of reconciliation with the traditionalists is a collegial option already known by the Church of Rome and not a sudden, improvised gesture from Benedict XVI.

Monday, January 26, 2009

LMS Conference for Priests

Now, wasn't there a certain rumour running around the net a few months ago?
LMS Residential Training Conference for Priests Wishing to Learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham.

The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales (LMS) is organising a residential training conference for priests wishing to learn the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Mass) at Ushaw College, Durham, one of England’s most prestigious seminaries.

The conference will run from Monday 20 April to Thursday 23 April 2009 (i.e. Low Week) and will feature Traditional liturgies in Ushaw’s magnificent neo-Gothic St Cuthbert’s Chapel together with a Gregorian Chant schola and polyphonic choir.

Expert tuition in the celebration of Mass in the Usus Antiquior will be provided on a small group basis. There will be guest lecturers and all participants will receive 1962 Missals and altar cards.

Daily devotions will include Lauds, Vespers, Benediction and Rosary.

The subsidised fee to participants is only £85.00 which includes full board and accommodation. Priests are asked to register by Monday 2 March.

Further details and registration forms can be obtained from the LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284) or downloaded from the LMS website,

Paul Waddington, one of the organisers, said, “This is the first time the LMS has organised such a training conference in the north of England. I hope the laity will tell their priests about this wonderful opportunity to learn the Usus Antiquior in the setting of one of England’s finest Catholic seminaries.”

The LMS hopes to make a further announcement about a training conference in the south of England in the near future.

Latin Mass Society, 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH
Tel: 020 7404 7284
E mail:

How Times Have Changed

We should not miss the irony of the rehabilitation of the SSPX on the eve of the 50th Anniversary of the Convocation of the Council. The wit of Pope Benedict?

A convert friend of mine used to irritate his Evangelical parents, who's moral code was based on on "What would Jesus do?", by saying his was based on "What would Pius XI do?"

I can't help but think that Pope Benedict is giving a sign of Vatican II at its very best. Like the Good Shepherd, without judging the cost to himself and his reputation he goes in search of the lost sheep. He carries them on his shoulder, making it easy for them to return to the True Fold. He calms their kicking, their struggle. He is willing to endure being gored by their horns. He willingly endures the scorn of onlookers who regard these estranged sheep as the carriers of disease, as not of the Flock, as morally tainted.

The irony is that before the Declaration on Religious Liberty a Pope would have handed the whole affair over to the Inquisition. The leaders of the SSPX would have been excommunicated, if that didn't work their excommunication would have been followed by that of their priests and finally of the laity who supported them. The Secretariate of State would have demanded States to coerce conformity, because "error has no rights", this coersion could rightly take on the most extreme form.
In the meantime the Pope would have waited for the return of dissidents on their knees.
What would Pius XI have done?

Pope's Brother Honoured

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, the Holy Father's brother has just been installed as an Honorary Canon of Regensburg.

I think I should have something witty to say about small dead animals, birettas and keeping pensioners warm. I think Mgsr Georg would, you have ago.

From the Pope's Tailor

I had an e mail from the Holy Father's liturgical tailor the other day. I am sure my grandfather never paid "upfront", good tailors always expected their bills to be settled late. My mother sacked her dressmaker when she discovered they had made frock she had had made in a different size for one of her friends.
Tridentinum is planning a replica of the original chasuble of St. Charles Borromeo, donated by the Saint Archbishop of Milan to the Senate.of Bologna This relic, made white silk lampas brocaded in gold with gold orphreys, was donated by Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna Giacomo Della Chiesa - elected Pope with the name of Benedict XV - to the church of Santa Maria della Pietà de'Mendicanti. We want to make a copy of fabrics and gallons and realise ten numbered copies, the first of which will be donated to the Holy Father, the second to the Cardinal Archbishop of Bologna, the third to the church of Santa Maria della Pietà; the other seven may be booked right now by our customers at the price of 5,000 euros. Each copy of the St. Charles chasuble is accompanied by a certificate bearing the name of the buyer. The seven customers who buy a chasuble will also participate in the financing of chasubles donate to the Sovereign Pontiff and the Archbishop of Bologna, and will be mentioned at the time of delivery of the vestment. The chasuble will be ready within next Corpus Christi 2009.

Please reserve as soon as possible your chasuble, because no other copies will be made and it will become a unique and unrepeatable artwork. To buy just go to the
vestment sheet
However it would be useful to have in the sacristy, if a kind reader had 5,000 euros to hand.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Reconcilliation with History

Today is the 50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council, our diocese was founded in May 1965, our first Bishop, David Cashman who was consecrated on 14 June 1965 and died in March 1971, only attended the last session of the Council which closed in December of 1965. I am told he rejoiced in the fact that he was the only Council Father in world with a full non placet voting record, apparently he voted against everything he could, unlike Archbishop Lefebvre.

One of the great Ratzingerian projects that is going to get a boost from the discussions with the SSPX is the question of the weight that we give the four Dogmatic Constitions of the Vatican Council and the Council itself. Other Councils were more easily dealt with, their documents all ended with declarations of Anathema: one knew where one stood. Their absence from Vatican II has actually been a disservice and left us floundering, either by us giving the Council too much or too little weight.

I reject out of hand those who speak of the "Spirit of the Council", if it is not enfleshed in a careful reading of the Council's documents, as rooted in Catholic Tradition, then it is merely a dangerously mischievous poltergeist.

In the same way too, as a Catholic, I have serious problems with those who reject the Council as being, merely, pastoral. They have obviously never even opened the documents, let alone examined the Acta. To distance oneself from the Council is profoundly un-Catholic.

I am sure that the Pope welcomes those of the SSPX who have the intellectual capacity to do more than rant, as somehow representing a significanct pre-Concilliar theological "school".

Reconcilliation with the SSPX is important and good but I suspect for Pope Benedict it is but a step en route to our reconcilliation with the Church's own Sacred History.

For Catholics Vatican II has to be seen in the context of a seamless hermeutic with all the preceeding magisterial acts of the Church. There are obvious problems with Vatican II that the SSPX happily point out but I suspect that good minds combined with goodwill, combined with a certain freshnes of approach can find a way through, what Bishop Fellay calls "reservations" about Vatican II.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


The Econe Four have had their sentences of Excommunication lifted, the dreadful punishment was imposed on them for taking part in ordinations without the Mandate of the Holy See. In the Middle Ages at its very worse it was seen an application of "the Keys" loosing one from the Communion of the Church on earth and heaven, in this life and the next, we are bit more liberal nowadays, we tend to regard Excommunication as remedial and ending with death, hence no mention of Archbishop Lefebrve and Bishop Castro de Mayer.

There are is still along way to go, the Sacraments of Marriage and Penance celebrated by the priests of the Society, who are still suspended, are still invalid, for example. Fortunately this seems to be the beginning of the end. I look forward to a meeting of the diocesan clergy in which there will be priests of the two SSPX chapels in our diocese to add to the debate.

I am sure that there will be dissappointment in the SSPX camp that the Excommunication was lifted not declared null and void. Fr Zuhlsdorf has an excellent piece which speaks about the future, similarly Fr Tim's post is well worth reading.

I really do admire the Holy Father for his ecumenical bravery, the outrageous Bishop Williamson is going to cause a great deal of criticism to be directed towards him.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fellay's Reply

This is Bishop Fellay's response to Bishop Williamson's holocaust denying

The interview: interview with Swedish Television, click to enlarge.

I am not quite sure he is backing Williamson, but I don't think he is distancing himself either.

First Latin Mass

Over at The Bones I spotted this, I was, err, at the same Mass:
Tonight I went to the first Latin Mass I've attended at St Mary Magdalen's Church. It is the first Mass at which I have not uttered a word...and that is why it is beautiful. It is the first Mass at which I have not responded to what the Priest is saying...and that is why it is beautiful. I came away thinking, yes, that is how it was always meant to be. It is almost as if everyone suddenly knows his place.

The Priest is allowed to be the Priest, mediating and interceding on the behalf of his congregation, with vocal and inaudible prayer and entreaty. His assistant, the altar server assists in the responses during the liturgy.

The Laity are allowed to be the Laity, allowed to be still in the Presence of God, to acknowledge our unworthiness before the Lord and to be able to actually pray without distraction, without having to make responses, even 'Amen', without having to vocalise the pattern of the Mass and to simply be before God. The vocalised responses to the Mass have been taken away, the responsibility to speak has been removed and in comparison to the New Rite, are suddenly left feeling, 'But isn't there something we have to do? Isn't there something we have to say? What am I meant to do?' Yet, now we can be! We don't have to do anything! Now we can pray in the silence of our hearts and seek Him!

And, of course, most importantly, Amighty God is allowed to be Almighty God, without being assailed by the noise of the Laity, without men and women profaning Him by receiving the Blessed Host in the hand, without men and women profaning or demeaning Him by not kneeling to receive, without them uttering the sacred words of the Santcus carelessly or without thought or devotion, knowing that in the Priest He has someone who is worthy by virtue of his Office, to mediate for His people.

Yes, suddenly in the Latin Mass, everybody knows their place, harmony is restored and nobody is seeking to usurp another's role. The Priest as Alter Christo takes upon himself the mediatory role between man and God and is allowed to be the Priest and we the Laity are allowed to be, allowed to pray in the silent majesty of Presence of God.

Lawrence, thank you.

Vatican You Tube

The Vatican's You Tube site is launched today.

This channel offers news coverage of the main activities of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI and of relevant Vatican events.
It is updated daily.
Video images are produced by Centro Televisio Vaticano (CTV), texts by Vatican Radio (RV) and CTV.
This video-news presents the Catholic Churchs position regarding the principal issues of the world today.
Links give access to the full and official texts of cited documents.
Country: Holy See (Vatican City State)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Reconcilliation with SSPX

During this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity rather than joining the local CofE or Sally Army for unknown hymns and a few long rabbling prayers and rock cakes, Rorate Caeli suggest the today the Holy Father is to lift the excommunications of the four Bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988. They have 700-plus chapels and six seminaries are spread across the globe. The Society counts close to 500 priests and 200 seminarians in over 60 countries.

I am not quite sure what this is going to mean, there are still doctrinal and legal complexities to be dealt with. I doubt somehow my Bishop will be invited to offer Pontifical Mass at the Throne in the SSPX chapel in the neighbouring parish, or that the times of Mass will be in our next diocesan directory. It does not mean instant reconciliation.

What concerns me is the occasionally brilliant but often loony Bishop Williamson. He is an Englishman, received into the Church in 1971, immediately sought to join the London Oratory, after a few days he was asked to leave. He then went to the SSPX seminary at Econe, was ordained priest in 1976 and has spent the rest of his life denying the holocaust and denouncing the Sound of Music, inventing conspiracy theories, slagging off the Pope and appearing on Youtube. I suspect this man, who has increasingly been pedalling a sede vacantist position, will end up leading the rump of the SSPX into a complete break with Rome.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Not My Mass

Once I have finished tonight I am going to sit down and try and learn the Epistle and Gospel tones for the Missa Cantata on the Feast of the Purification - though I am feeling so tired I might just fall asleep.
If the Mass was in the Ordinary Form, in our diverse and multi-cultural parish I could have chosen
the language
the orientation of the Mass -ad populum or ad apsidum
how to dress the altar: Bendictine arrangement or a couple of candles at one end
whether to substitute hymns for the entrance and communion antiphons
which hymns for these parts
whether to substitute hymns for the procession, indeed whether to have a procession what parts of the Mass to have the congregation to sing
what parts of the Mass I should sing: Collects Gospel, Preface, Eucharistic Prayer, Pater, Ita.
which Eucharistic Prayer
which acclamation after the consecration
whether to have the Sign of Peace
whether to have Holy Communion under both kinds or not
then of course there are decisions to be made about how to introduce bits and bobs, little bits of ad lib here and there
Then there is the major question of what kind of style to adopt, London Oratory or Charismatic Meeting, either are acceptable.

In a city with twelve different parishes, there will be twelve very different celebrations. What is so liberating about the Traditional Rite is that you decide whether you are able to celebrate a low Mass or something more solemn, open the Missal and get on with it. I am afraid we are going to substitute a psalm tone for the more complicated chants, we can't do that wonderful Alleluia, for example. I hope I am going to do the Gospel tone properly rather than recto tonally.

The other difference between the two forms is that in the Ordinary Form, the priest more or less can celebrate a solemn Mass on his own, he actually doesn't need anyone else on the sanctuary. I remember one Easter Day having no servers, they had overslept, the cantors were away, and we still had a sung Mass with incense, the thurible was on a stand and I led the singing. The Extraordinary Form demands the priest acts in consort, ideally with other Sacred Ministers, but with at least with servers and a choir, all of whom should know their particular role. In that sense it is much more in keeping with the ecclesiology of VII, which sees the Church as a Communion of the baptised each with a particular ministry.

Though I stand in the place of Christ, it is the Master of Ceremonies, who could be a twelve year old boy, who directs everything.

The style of the Mass is not according to my whim but according to carefully laid down rubrical instructions. What I find delightful is that it is not "my Mass" but the Church's Mass. I am not in control, it is the Missal. I am not the Master of the Liturgy, I am its servant

Tear gas hurled at papal mission, Chavez critics

(AP) — Unidentified attackers hurled tear gas canisters at the Vatican's diplomatic mission in Venezuela, at university students and at the home of a media executive on Monday, the latest in a series of attacks against critics of President Hugo Chavez.
Monsignor Roberto Luckert, vice president of the Venezuelan Episcopal Conference, told Caracas-based Union Radio that at least five tear gas canisters were thrown at the Vatican's mission in Caracas around dawn on Monday.
Separate attacks also targeted a gathering of students at the Central University of Venezuela and the home of Marcel Granier, director of a television channel noted for its criticism of Chavez.
Luckert said nobody was hurt in the attack on the mission, which he blamed on a pro-Chavez group calling itself "La Piedrita," which has claimed responsibility for past tear gas attacks against Chavez foes.
"They are trying to scare anyone who dissents," he said.
Chavez has sharply criticized representatives of Venezuela's Catholic Church for opposing proposed constitutional changes that would lift term limits for all elected officials, including Chavez.
Nobody was hurt in the attack at the university, but the gas scattered the students.
Students later gathered outside the Attorney General's Office, where they condemned the attack and urged authorities to investigate the attack and guarantee their safety during upcoming protests against the proposal to lift term limits.
"These are the things that cannot continue occurring in Venezuela," said student leader Ricardo Sanchez. "The student movement cannot fall into the game of violence."
Police could not be immediately reached for comment.
Chavez, who was first elected in 1998, is currently barred under the constitution from seeking re-election in 2012. A referendum on lifting that limit goes to voters on Feb. 15.
Marcel Granier, director of privately owned Radio Caracas Television, said unidentified assailants tossed tear gas at him home in eastern Caracas early Monday.
Chavez decided in 2007 not to renew RCTV's broadcast license and replaced it with a state-run channel. RCTV now airs only on cable.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Pope's Italian Facebook Group

From John Sonnen who always has fascinating photographs and comments.

Some things never change in the old world (or in this broken world).

Yesterday Italian newspapers noted that the oldest Facebook group (fan club) for the Pope has only 45 members. Maintained by a Croatian, the name of the group is "Viva il papa Benedetto XVI." The news outlets boasted that this was proof that the "approval rating" for the Pope is now at its lowest.

In a rage, I joined the group after reading the article. This afternoon, membership is at 580.

If you're on Facebook then join this group and stick it in the face of the media pundits who then pointed out that an anti-Pope Italian group on Facebook had 4,835 members.

Join here

Pray for Obama

The empty U.S. Capitol where the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama will take place today.
Let us pray for this man who Divine Providence has called to this high office which will have an impact on the whole world.
May he be given the Grace to do what is right and good, and to fear, above all things, God's judgement.

The Lapsed

Lapsed Catholics what do you do about them? A friend of mine talking about a huge family in his parish said, "I have been in their house in the last three years far more than they have been in God's house. They say it was my predecessor who put them "off", but he used to go every week for three months to prepare their sick grandfather to prepare him for reception into the Church".

I took a couple of parishioners, at vast expense to a concert a few month ago, they had been a bit shakey in their practice before that, but I haven't seen them since.

I don't know if it is my lack of visiting skills but rarely have I managed to bring back a lapsed Catholic by visiting them.

What statistics there are, no-one seems to have done a serious study, seem to indicate most people stop coming to Mass when there is a change in there lives or a change in the Church, most especially a change in parish priest, or a change in Mass times.

Those who do not practice, invariably suggest they haven't lost their faith, they just don't see the point in coming to Mass anymore. It could be that they have never seen the point in coming, that despite years in Catholic education, years coming to Mass they have never bought into what the Church understands by the Mass.

I think that during Lent we are going to have a period of Exposition for the lapsed and get people to sign-up to do some extra penance for their return.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Priests should encourage recovery of Sacrament of Reconciliation

I firmly believe anyone who wants to take the spiritual life seriously must take the Sacrament of Reconcilliation seriously. The Apostolic Visitation of the US Seminaries condemned monthly Confession for seminarians as being rather lax, in favour of fortnightly Confession, though Pope John Paul II, encouraged young lay-people to go monthly.

Healthy, thriving Religious Communities I know encourage weekly confession, daily use of the sacrament as practiced by Pius XII, and I think John XXIII and John Paul II, for many people seems to cause a degree of neurosis, for most people I tend not to encourage it, except on retreat, or in exceptional circumstances, or of course in the case of daily serious sin.

The problem is if regular and frequent Confession is discouraged then people tend to remain away from the sacrament even in the case of serious sin, and then tends to lead to the destruction of true spirituality.

(CNA).- The Vatican congregation in charge of overseeing the Sacrament of Reconciliation as well as the granting of indulgences has just finished a conference in Rome. The aim of the meeting was help people recover “the joy of the personal experience of the mercy of God” and to encourage priests to make this a priority.
According to the L’Osservatore Romano, the event which took place January 13 and 14 was, in the words of the head of the Apostolic Penitentary, Cardinal Francis Stafford, an occasion “to offer to the men and women of today, immersed in a post-modern culture, the opportunity to reflect profoundly on their interior life and ask God for forgiveness for the ‘abuse of power’ that is in their hands.”
“Our objective,” he said, “is to reflect deeply on the pastoral meaning of our Tribunal and why the Church, in her wisdom, created this tribunal of mercy. My hope is that the answer has been clear in these two days of meeting and conversation.”
The Vatican newspaper also quoted Manlio Sodi of the Salesian Pontifical University, who led a round-table discussing during the Symposium and said the issue of penitential services and general confessions, which are more common in North America, are “rites that fundamentally alter the very foundations of the personal act of Confession.”
“It is a practice that poses enormous problems. If the rite of Penance were observed and taught instead, the faithful would not be misguided,” Sodi explained.
L’Osservatore Romano also pointed out that the “traditional rite of Confession underscores the aspect of liberation which divine mercy freely offers to the penitent who wishes to be reconciled with God.”

Making bishops accountable and deposing them

There is a crisis in the Church in Ireland, another scandal, another assault on its credibility. It is of course a continuation of the pederasty scandal and the Church's mishandling of it. At its heart is the Bishop of Cloyne, one of Pope John Paul's former secretaries Bishop John Magee. The bishop is accused of cover-up, of obfuscation, of lying, of incompetence, well, of everything really.

I feel sorry for the Irish Church, when we actually decided in the late 1970s that the sexual abuse of children was a serious a problem and not something that should be brushed under the carpet, as had happened everywhere, previously. In the rest of the world investigations revealed problems in the Church, in schools, in social services, youth organisations, orphanages, etc. etc. it was diffused, except in Ireland, because for the most part it was the Church which ran these other sectors of society, rather than social service, local authorities or independent charities.

The row in Ireland places all the wrath and blame on the Bishop of Cloyne, there are calls for his resignation, but for the moment he is still in place. Other bishops like the Archbishops of Amagh and Dublin come to his defence only to appear weasily and lacking in credibility, defending what appears to be the indefensible. Ultimately it damages the faith of the Irish people and plays directly into the hands of the anti-clerical and secularist groups in Ireland.

The truth of the matter is that Rome alone can depose Bishop Magee, he can resign, his brother bishops can press him to go, his clergy can express their lack of confidence in him but there is no way for the local Church to get rid of him. Indeed, the theology of the relationship of the bishop and his Church doesn't quite allow for his disposition, so often an incompetent bishop is left in place to sort out the mess he has created. Serious financial mismanagement, open co-habitation with a concubine might just cause Rome to act but very little else.

Call me a wet liberal if you must but we really do need some mechanism to make bishops accountable and possibly ultimately to depose them. In the past there was a tension between the bishop and senior clergy, historically there are accounts of bishops being denied access to their cathedrals, the rights of clergy and therefore of their parishes formed an anvil hardened by the Church's law and custom, and Rome formed a hammer, in between was the bishop. Now the bishop is in so many ways is unconstrained, he can establish a diocese of lay consultants and advisers independent of his clergy, a virtual diocese within his diocese, unaccountable to anyone.
The ancient model still much in evidence within the Byzantine Churches is that the bishop does very little that is not in consort with his clergy, he is their father and ruler, they are his sons, advisers and at times critics, without their good will he can do very little.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pope: "trepidation" for innocent victims of Gaza

(AsiaNews) - At today's Angelus, Benedict XVI issued another anguished appeal for peace in the Gaza Strip, as news was coming of the unilateral ceasefire by Tel Aviv, violated this morning by Hamas, followed by a heavy Israeli response to the missiles of the radical Islamic movement. "I follow with profound trepidation," the pope said, "the conflict in the Gaza Strip. Let us also remember today before the Lord the hundreds of children, elderly, women, the innocent victims of the unprecedented violence, the injured, those mourning their loved ones and those who have lost their possessions." So far, more than 1,100 people have been killed in Gaza, more than a third of them children. This morning, the bodies of about one hundred children and other civilians were found beneath the rubble from the bombardments.
The pope then called for prayers for all of those trying "to stop the tragedy."
"In this sense," he continued, "I renew my encouragement to those who, on both sides, believe that there is room for everyone in the Holy Land, so that they may help their people to rise again from the rubble and from the terror, and, courageously, return to dialogue in justice and truth. This is the only path that can truly reveal a future of peace for the children of this beloved region!"

Canadian Marriage threat

Fr Z has an interesting bagatelle of posts, the covering of relics in the presence of the Blessed Sacrament, the kissing of Bishop's rings, and a piece about the ramifications of the Crown losing a polygamy case in the Canadian courts.

Pope marks brother's birthday

Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating the 85th birthday of his brother, Georg Ratzinger, with a concert in the Sistine Chapel.
The graceful voices of two sopranos and a tenor soared through the chapel where pontiffs are elected, and an orchestra and male choir from Regensburg, Germany, performed for Benedict and his brother on Saturday.
The two guests sat side by side listening to Mozart's C Minor Mass with Michelangelo's fresco "Last Judgment" looming on the wall behind the choir platform.
Georg Ratzinger is a former choirmaster who is now almost blind. The pope likes to play Mozart on the piano.
Benedict, 81, has said his brother helps him accept old age with courage.

Associated Press

Afterwards he received the 'Gran Croce' (Grand Cross) of the Italian Republic from Italian government undersecretary Gianni Letta.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pope gets YouTube

The Vatican will soon have its own channel on the video sharing site YouTube where the Catholic faithful or the curious will be able to see Pope Benedict or Church events, a Vatican source said on Saturday.
The details of the accord are due to be presented next Friday at a news conference attended by Vatican officials as well as Henrique de Castro, managing director of media solutions for Google, which owns YouTube.
The initiative will involve Google, the Vatican Television Center and Vatican Radio.It will mark the Vatican's deepest plunge into new media. The Vatican opened up its website,, in 1995.

Pope and Jews

In Italy especially, there seems to be a dramatic change in Catholic Jewish relations, John Allen identifies four reasons for this:

    • First, the most powerful movement in the internal life of the Catholic church today is what I've defined as "evangelical Catholicism," meaning a reassertion of traditional Catholic beliefs and practices, coupled with robust public proclamation of Catholic identity. Part of that identity is the conviction that Christ is the lone and unique savior of the world. If "respect," from the Jewish point of view, requires the church to renounce the claim that all salvation comes from Christ -- which Richetti's essay could be read to suggest -- then it's probably not in the cards.

    • Second, there's a generational shift underway. The pioneers of Catholic/Jewish relations, for whom the living memory of the Holocaust is a powerful motivating force, are passing from the scene. The new cohort remains committed to the cause, but its leaders may not feel the same sense of personal moral obligation.

    • Third, the demographic shift in Catholicism away from Europe and, to a lesser extent, North America, towards Africa, Asia and Latin America, means that increasingly leadership will be coming from regions where Catholic/Jewish relations yield pride of place to dialogue with other traditions, especially Islam and the religions of Asia. In the Catholicism of the future, Judaism will no longer be the paradigmatic religious "other," but rather one relationship among many, and in some respects not the highest priority.

    • Fourth, Benedict XVI's preference for "inter-cultural" rather than "inter-religious" dialogue, placing the accent on social and political cooperation rather than strictly theological encounter, may also drive Catholic/Jewish ties down the list of concerns. Theologically, Christianity's root relationship is with Judaism. In terms of geo-politics, however, relations with Islam, or Hinduism, or for that matter Evangelical and Pentecostal Christianity, often pack a greater punch. (There are roughly 13 million Jews in the world and 1.6 billion Muslims; you do the math.) Even in Europe, the rising Muslim population means that when Catholicism is looking for partners to influence social life, Islam is steadily replacing Judaism as the most obvious "live option."

Rorate also makes its own analysis tracing some of the problems to uber-liberal Milan and the Jesuits.

Another problem I suspect is a certain is a growing political fundamentalism in Judaism.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Pope meets Iran's Bishops

In this picture made available by the Vatican newspaper Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict XVI meets with Iran's bishops at the Vatican, Friday, Jan. 16, 2009. The Pontiff has said that Iran should work for peace in the Middle East and urged Catholics in the country not to emigrate and to cooperate with the Islamic regime. Benedict did not mention the tensions over Tehran's nuclear program and the country's role in Middle Eastern conflicts, but said Iran should become a force for peace in the region. In a speech to Iran's bishops, the pope said he was sure the country would 'not fail to follow this vocation.''

US Seminary Report

Anyone interested in the formation of future priests should look at the report of the Congregation of Catholic Institutions into the US Seminaries.
The Visitation of course followed the sex scandals which did much damage to the Church in the US but the scope of the visitation was much broader than that. On the whole the report is very favourable, at least about diocesan seminaries, those of religious orders seem to be less satisfactory, though few details are given in this public report, presumably there are also detailed reports on individual institutions.
What struck me, from a qick read through of the twenty page document, were the following:

The realization that many seminarians come from backgrounds which are far from Catholic, therefore the need to screen seminary candidates for irregularities and impediments at the beginning of formation.
An “incomplete grasp” of the difference between the ordained priesthood and the priesthood of the laity.
The teaching of Moral Theology is often defficient, and at times is not within the mind of the Church. Faculty who subvert the Church’s teachings.
The need to clarify the meaning of the "internal forum".
The report questions whether monthly confession is sufficient.
The need to encourage, rather than discourage, traditional spirituality.
The importance of direction and supervision over long summer vocations and free time.
The importance of the involvement of the local bishop in the selection and formation of candidates.

The document speaks of seminarians having "a strict Rule of Life".

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Communion on the Tongue

Over the last 18 months there have been very strong rumours coming out of Rome that serious consideration was being given not to renew the indult granting permission for episcopal conferences to allow the faithful to receive communion in the hand, the Holy Father has insisted on only giving only on the tongue.
Of course set against this Cardinal Arinze granted permission to the Polish bishops to allow Communion in the hand, but ...

A book, Dominus Est: by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, about the history of the reception of Holy Communion was endorsed very stronglyby Cardinal Francis Arinze and was reviewed very favourably by in in L'Osservatore Romanum. Schneider comes down very heavily in favour of receiving Communion on the tongue.

Interestly one of the first interviews with Cardinal Cañizares Llovera, the new Prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, dealt with Communion on the Tongue

"No, it is not just a matter of form. What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What dies it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning. What we have to grasp is that profound attitude of the man who prostrates himself before God, and that is what the Pope wants."

This week Cardinal Stafford, Prefect of the Apostolic Penitentiary speaking of sins reserved to the Holy See, spoke recently of desecration of the Holy Eucharist, said,
"this offense is occurring with more and more frequency, not just in satanic rites but by ordinary faithful who receive Communion and then remove the host from their mouths and spit it out or otherwise desecrate it."

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...