Monday, April 27, 2009

I'm Off!

That is for a few days holiday but it most probably means I will be off-line, unless I can find an easy internet connection, until Friday.

Factus Est

I have just had an email from Michael Sternbeck, he's finished the chasuble he is making for my jubilee.
I think I might substitute this photograph for the one of me in the sidebar.

Saturday, April 25, 2009


A few weeks ago, before Lent, we had Amelia Shepherd, a young professional photographer take a whole lot of photographs, I think I prefer the black and white one's more than the coloured ones.
The worldwide influence of Fr Z in our sacristy

The two other priest are Fr Tim Hunting who was a parishioner here before his ordination, he is Eastbourne now and Fr William Janes who is retired, and concelebrates here on Sundays.

I think we are one of the few parishes which use a communion plate despite its encouragement Sacramentum Caritatis, it is very practical.

There are an increasing number of our younger people who genuflect before receiving Holy Communion, it catches on with older people too.

This is our schola, I so pleased with the standard of competence they have reached, they really do practice hard. Slowly their singing is becoming prayerful, and they are becoming quite interested in the Church's musical tradition as an audible expression of its prayer.

Lifting up our hearts, the chasuble is made by Watts and Co, we always have "the Benedictine arrangement" on the altar and as the General Instruction of the Roman Missal says we vary the number of candles on the altar according to the feast, this is a Sunday Mass.

A view out of the church door.

NLM, I have just noticed wanted to see our altar frontal, I am afraid it is homemade, cheap fabric streched on a wooden frame.
The two following photographs below are from Candlemas in the EF

Thursday, April 23, 2009

James MacMillan defends bloggers

I like James MacMilan , I like his music, I like his radical orthodoxy, I like his support of the Holy Father, I like him because he is a gentle, self deprecating kind hearted Scot, I like him because of this letter he has sent to The Tablet, which should appear in tomorrows edition.

Dear Sir,

In his Spectator column this week Rod Liddle explains that the internet is an anarchic expression of democracy that has provoked "self-important, narcissistic, blank-headed liberals" into an apoplexy of fury and whining. "The democratic nature of the internet, championed by all the metro-liberal hags and slags of Fleet Street for 'giving ordinary people a voice,' is suddenly a hideous infraction of human rights when the guns of the public are turned upon them. Get a grip, will you."

This analysis came jumping to mind on reading your ludicrous editorial "Voices from the lower depths". Your overheated and spiteful caricature of Catholic bloggers as 'right-wing, polemical and vituperative' does not reflect well on you. I have just agreed to write some music for the ordination of one of these young bloggers - a level-headed, intelligent and generous Dominican novice. No Catholic blog is the same - a wide range of political opinions are palpable, but they are generally bored and fed up with the Tablet's constant whinging and bitching about the Holy Father and the great orthodox teachings of our Church. The bloggers that appal you so much are united in an obvious love and pride for the counter-cultural challenge of being Catholic in the modern age. No wonder they feel shame that the nominally Catholic Tablet shows no evidence of a similar love or pride. The Tablet seems out of touch, not just with the new enthusiasm for faithfulness and tradition blossoming in the Catholic world, but also out of step with the new participative media technologies.

I read a description of your recent Tablet annual lecture (probably on one of these 'anarchic and unruly' blogs you've been spluttering about) which said that "most people there looked like they only knew what a mobile phone was because they'd been given one by their middle-aged children in case they had a fall." In other words, you are becoming a laughing stock. As Rod Liddle says, "Get a grip, will you."

Yours sincerely,

James MacMillan

Happy Feast of St George

A modern icon of St George with the Annunciation from Athos - thanks to Hetty.
I like saint like St George, his story is so over the top we have to look at it allegorically, then he becomes an everyman saint and we all become dragon slayers, riding the white pure steed of the Christian faith into battle against our inner vices.
Kill a dragon for Christ!

LMS at Ushaw

The LMS have a training conference at Ushaw, I was invited to speak at the conference but couldn't manage it, so I was pleased to see the wonderful pictures on The Latin Mass Society RC Diocese of Middlesbrough. I think it is wrong to compare usages of the liturgy, but a lady my in parish said, "I really do prefer the old Mass, Father, we don't have to see your face then, it's much nicer". I think she was joking, but some of these photographs are stunning.

One of the reasons I couldn't get there is that Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith, formerl of Kenya and Ely Place, moved in to stay with me until he gets a parish of his own.

Pope Pius XII plans for arrest by Nazis

From the Telegraph
Pope Pius XII told senior bishops that should he be arrested by the Nazis, his resignation would become effective immediately, paving the way for a successor, according to documents in the Vatican's Secret Archives.

The bishops would then be expected to flee to a safe country – probably neutral Portugal – where they would re-establish the leadership of the Roman Catholic Church and appoint a new Pontiff.

That Hitler considered kidnapping the Pope has been documented before, but this is the first time that details have emerged of the Vatican's strategy should the Nazis carry out the plan.

"Pius said 'if they want to arrest me they will have to drag me from the Vatican'," said Peter Gumpel, the German Jesuit priest who is in charge of researching whether Pius should be made a saint, and therefore has access to secret Vatican archives.

Pius, who was Pope throughout the war, told his advisers "the person who would leave the under these conditions would not be Pius XII but Eugenio Pacelli" – his name before he was elected Pontiff – thus giving permission for a new Pope to be elected.

"It would have been disastrous if the Church had been left without an authoritative leader," said Father Gumpel.

"Pius wouldn't leave voluntarily. He had been invited repeatedly to go to Portugal or Spain or the United States but he felt he could not leave his diocese under these severe and tragic circumstances." Vatican documents, which still remain secret, are believed to show that Pius was aware of a plan formulated by Hitler in July 1943 to occupy the Vatican and arrest him and his senior cardinals.

On 6 September 1943 – days after Italy signed the September 3 armistice with the Allies and German troops occupied Rome – Pius told key aides that he believed his arrest was imminent.

General Karl Otto Wolff, an SS general, was told to "occupy as soon as possible the Vatican, secure the archives and art treasures and transfer the Pope, together with the Curia so that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies and exert a political influence."

Hitler ordered the kidnapping, according to historians, because he feared that Pius would further criticise the Nazis' treatment of the Jews.

He was also afraid that the Pontiff's opposition could inspire resistance to the Germans in Italy and other Catholic countries.

Some historians have claimed that General Wolff tipped off the Vatican about the kidnap plans and that he also managed to talk the Fuhrer out of the plot because he believed it would alienate Catholics worldwide.

The latest revelations will be seen by some observers as a further attempt by the Vatican to bolster the case for Pius XII being declared a saint.

Pius has been accused of being anti-Semitic and of harbouring sympathies for the Nazi regime, most notably in the 1999 book Hitler's Pope, by British author John Cornwell.

But other Catholic and Jewish historians contend that in fact Pius was loathed by the Nazis for speaking out about the Holocaust and for behind-the-scenes efforts to save Italian Jews who otherwise would have been sent to death camps.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In the making

I had an email from Michael Sternbeck in Australia with a picture of a chasuble he is in the process of making for me for my jubilee. One of the advantages of the financial crisis is his prices are quite reasonable for us in the UK, and the USA too.

So if you want dress like ... contact Michael (nun not included).

Again and again

It has happened twice this week, both times with the new Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate in attendance. It is the Traditional Latin Mass celebrated significantly at the Papal Altar, in the Cathedral of City of Rome, the Mother of all Churches. Traditional Rite ordinations have taken place here before, but not at the Papal Altar.

The presence of the FFI is significant, it is only recently that they, one of the new religious orders, expressed a preference for the older form of Mass. Look at the photographs, their are few of them over 40!

More significant though is the celebrant Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the new Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, who recently said:
Communion kneeling signifies respect for God, it is the heart of man which prostrates itself before the One Who loves him unto the end. These are signs, it is not about change for change's sake, it is about looking for the whole meaning and overcoming the secularisation of our world. One of the objectives of our congregations is to realise in these years a great campaign of liturgical formation.
I wonder what he means by the last sentence, something revolutionary or an upgearing of the Benedictine project?

And then in Hong Kong the heroic Cardinal Zen chose to use the Extraordinary Form as his valedictory Mass before he begins his retirement who according to Paix Liturgique
... also told the many journalists who attended the ceremony that he now wanted to devote part of his retirement life to the faithful who are attached to the traditional liturgy of the Church.>
Why should someone as astute as Cardinal Zen, in one of the biggest growth areas of the Church say such a thing, especially an Asian, one can understand interest in the Latin Liturgy in Europe but in China. Interesting, yes? But then the strange irony is the great expansion of the Catholic Church in the 20th Century was under the Traditional Liturgy.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I have caused consternation

photograph: Friars of the Immaculate celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Lateran recently

I have caused a bit of consternation, possibly even hurt in the diocese, by inviting some of the local clergy to my Silver jubilee celebrations. After discussing it here, and worrying about it for some time, I have decided to celebrate a Solemn High Mass.

I know that some of the brethren will have read my email and decide I have finally “flipped”, by the time the news reaches people in the diocese who have never spoken to me there will be rumours of holocaust denial, suggestions of schism, rumours that I am going to join the SSPX, or worst.

The truth is I am just taking advantage of a liturgical option, one of the many the Roman Rite now gives priests. Those who criticise me most strongly will most probably be those who experiment with liturgy in a more uncontrolled way than I will ever dream of doing. One of my parishioners who objected most vehemently to an occasional ad orientem celebration revels in going off to various retreat centres where priests make up Eucharistic prayers, say Mass using leavened bread with pottery chalices on coffe tables which is not a legitimate liturgical option.
Many priests receiving my email this morning will ask why I am using the Extraordinary Form. A legitimate question considering I was ordained to celebrate the Mass of Paul VI and it has formed my spirituality, it has been my life and until recently I have never celebrated in any other way.

I have certainly no intention of imposing the Traditional Latin Mass on my parishioners but I do think they should be exposed to it.
People will ask if I am making a statement, the answer is “yes”. As Pope Benedict says “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too”. For all of my priesthood, maybe because I have always been a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger, the hermeneutic of continuity has dominated my thinking; the Church being firmly rooted and at a peace and ease with its past, I have always seen as incredibly important. As Cardinal Murphy O’Connor said in another context, “one can’t have the fruit without the root”. The Tridentine Liturgy in the context of continuity, is the root of our modern liturgy, and the Missal of Paul VI should be seen as the fruit of all that has gone before. I do not believe one can understand where we are now without understanding where we have come from. I have always deplored that unquestioning, "all was bad before 1970 and all is good afterwards", it is as ridiculous as, "all was good before 1970 and that has come since is of no value".

Since the publication of Summorum Pontificum our liturgical landscape is one of “both and” not “either or”. The theology of Joseph Ratzinger is about legitimate expressions of plurality, this is nothing new, it is, perhaps, the central theme of Vatican II.

I have left the inviting a bit late but if you are free at 7.30pm on 12th May come along, you will be very welcome, if you are a priest, or prelate come and assist in choro but let me know so we can make provision for seating.

It is the feast of the Carthusian Martyrs, has anyone got a spectacular set of red vestments I can borrow?

Monday, April 20, 2009

It is Brighton

It is a strange parish, I have had people pull out knives to show me in the confessional. We had to abandon having an offerory procession, not after the wine got drunk on several occassions or the ciborium was stolen, it was the dog excrement under the altar breads. We tried keeping the Church open but then someone hacked the collection box out of the wall, we closed it after someone was stopped with an armful of candlesticks.
I have to keep an eye out a Holy Communion for Satanists who want to steal hosts or drunks who just want a slug of the Precious Blood.
We used to put on talks and seminars I stopped inviting people when one or two of our parishioners were so rude and speakers refused to come a second time. I have had people wander through the sacristy and into my house and steal things. On one occasion after the evening Mass I found one of our regulars had walked into the house and gone to my bedroom and was asleep in a guest bedroom, I fond her when there was a crash upstairs.
From time to time someone wanders in off the street and creates a disturbance, improvising prayers or telling me or the congregation we are all hypocrites. Sometime ago we had crackhead with two barking dogs who shouted and ranted during our Saturday evening Mass, then picked a fight with an elderly lady. At Christmas Midnight Mass someone exposed themself. Holy Saturday someone put a hammer though the sacristy window, they used it to rob a local shop. Last week someone had a rant because he didn't like the way I was celebrating Mass.

It is Brighton, but sometimes it feels like a war of attrition.

Susan Boyle

(CNS) -- The audience snickered and the judges of "Britain's Got Talent" either rolled their eyes or allowed their blank expressions to betray their bemused skepticism as the awkward-looking middle-aged woman told them she wanted to be as famous as the popular British actress and singer Elaine Paige.

Then Susan Boyle began to sing, and they were spellbound and shocked by the beauty of her voice and rose to their feet in applause.

But Father Basil Clark, who watched the show on television at his home in Broxburn, Scotland, was not surprised.

He has seen the situation unfold many times before, having regularly accompanied Boyle, 47, on the annual Legion of Mary pilgrimage to the Marian shrine in Knock, Ireland.

"When I watched the judges' faces it reminded me of what I was like when I first saw Susan singing -- absolutely blown away by the quality of the singing and by that fantastic voice," said Father Clark, dean of West Lothian, the district that covers Boyle's home village of Blackburn.

"Anyone who sees her for the first time behaves the same way. I have never heard her sing badly, though she might lose the words if the stress gets too much," he told Catholic News Service in an April 16 telephone interview.

Boyle first appeared before judges Simon Cowell, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden on the ITV1 sister show of "America's Got Talent"; it was broadcast April 11.

Her fame spread on the Internet, and in just five days she had attracted more than 15 million YouTube viewings of her rendition of "I Dreamed a Dream," from the musical "Les Miserables."

Part of Boyle's attraction is that she appears to be such an unlikely candidate for stardom. She said on TV that she has "never been kissed" and has lived alone with her cat since her mother died in 2007.

According to British media, she has learning disabilities as a result of being starved of oxygen at birth. She is unemployed and, as a churchgoing Catholic, her social life revolves around her family and her parish of Our Lady of Lourdes. She also enjoys karaoke in her local pub.

"In a sense, there is a beautiful voice trapped in this damaged body," he said. "It is an absolute contrast. There she was on television acting very peculiarly and the audience was expecting peculiar things to happen and then a voice of an angel comes out -- and that's Susan."

"People are slightly worried about what might happen after this bout of fame," he explained.

"It is a great opportunity for her and as far as I am concerned she should make the best of it, and if it lasts, it lasts, and if it doesn't, then it's still more than almost any one of us will ever achieve," he added. "It is important in sustaining her and making sure this is all a very, very beneficial experience."

He described Boyle as "a woman of great faith" who was often "very gentle and very caring" though she could also be "needy and demanding."

The world's media has camped outside Boyle's home where she grew up and where she still sleeps in the same room as when she was a child.

But Boyle has decided to temporarily escape the limelight to stay with friends as she prepares for the next round of the competition, in which she is expected to sing "Whistle Down the Wind," by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

She did give an interview to "The Early Show" on CBS News in which she said that her instant fame "hasn't really sunk in yet."

She said that she wanted to make her performance "a tribute to my mother" who had encouraged her to sing.

"I knew it was something I had to do," she said. "I had to get on with it. That's where the courage came from, my mother.

"The ones who made fun of me are now nice to me," she said. "So, I think I may have won them 'round."

Fr. Longenecker on the Pill on bloggers

I have taken this directly from Fr Dwight's blog, always useful to reflect on how we are seen from across the pond. I am not one of those rightwing Englishmen who speak of former colonies and "Johnnie Foreigner" but funny chaps those Yanks ...Buster Keaton, don't ya know, hoho!
I thought the Pill was conservative though.
psssst Father, is a Oprah Winfrey a burbon cocktail?
I have numerous American friends of course, plus one or two above the Mexican border!

As UK readers, and American readers of UK blogs will know, The Tablet is a Catholic liberal weekly. It is fondly referred to by those who dislike it's dissenting tone as The Bitter Pill. In short, it is the Catholic journal conservatives love to hate.

Recently the Bitter Pill picked on Fr. Tim Finegan the Hermeneutic of Continuity blogger. In a longer editorial The Tablet have vented their fury on blogging and conservative Catholic bloggers in particular.

Here is my Fr.Z type fisk of the paragraph in question:

Blogs - a corruption of web-log - that the readers have to have 'blog' defined for them is hilarious. Don't be misled. This is not a journalistic attempt at clarity--it is a classic, upper middle class English attempt at a back hand slam. It's an example of English snobbery. See, when you're really upper class you don't even know what such common and vulgar things are. Thus English UCTs (upper class twits) show their snobbery. Example: You mention Oprah Winfrey in conversation and they put on a fake confused look and a John Gielgud accent and say, "What is an Oprah? Is that the same thing as an 'opera'?"were invented in America,the snobbery continues with one of the English literati's stock items: anti-Americanism. Don't you know if it comes from America it comes from the land of nose picking hillbillies who marry their sisters, believe in creationism, tote guns in their pick up trucks and slurp Mountain Dew non stop? "It's from America my dear! How simply ghastly!" where they still thrive, "Goodness me! this funny American thingy called a 'blog' still thrives? You mean it hasn't died out yet? What, those people in America cling to their blogs like they cling to their religion and their guns? How awfully, awfully backward of them!" Isn't it more likely that it is the print media's survival that should surprise us? What? a little weekly magazines with editors and reporters and subscribers? How quaint! You mean the English still do such things? And it still thrives? Not for long. particularly among the political and religious right wing. and there are no left wing blogs? Doesn't anyone ask why right wing talk radio and right wing blogs are a success? It's market forces. People are not getting what they want from the mainstream media, so they look elsewhere. Happily publishing and broadcasting is now totally open. Let the market decide who survives. What feeds the blogosphere's paranoia is a sense of resentment that "they" - those in charge - are engaged in a conspiracy against "us" ordinary folk. Uh. This is a two way street. This article sounds a little bit paranoid to me. Doesn't such a tirade suggest that the writer at the Tablet feels threatened? All those invisible underground bloggers are all against 'us' main stream media types. They must be stopped! The main media is regarded as part of that conspiracy, which is why the internet - cheap, unregulated and with unlimited capacity - has drawn the bloggers to itself. In Britain, too, there are Catholic bloggers, again often right-wing, polemical and vituperative. What!? You mean there are some British people who actually have lowered themselves to write those awful American 'weblog' thingies? How too too horrid? It really is ghastly! Not only British, but even a few English? Dear me, what next? The targets in this case often seem to include The Tablet, in some sort of fantastical conspiracy with the bishops. Generally, blogs are far from an idealised forum for an exchange of intelligent ideas that would be constructive. I love this. Blogs are immediate, allow for readers to comment and exchange opinions with one another at length. This compared to the typical newspaper's letters column--in which editors pick and choose the letters they publish, edit them down and have to limit in time and space all the comments that are made? Anybody can publish a blog and have instant global publishing. This is called freedom of speech. This is somehow inferior to a magazine whose editor is appointed by a rarified, self appointed board of directors in order to consciously promote a particular agenda? Notice too the assumptions in this pompous statement. The blogs are all, by implication stupid and destructive and it is the main media (like the Tablet) who are obviously 'intelligent' and 'constructive'.More often they indulge in straight poison-pen character assassination without reference to any requirements of accuracy or balance. This is simply an untrue slander. To be sure there are some bloggers out there who are pretty nasty, but the vast number of conservative Catholic bloggers are intelligent, charitable, funny and not a few are genuinely scholarly, devout and humble.

What are you thoughts on Catholic blogging v. mainstream Catholic media?

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Usus Antiquior

NLM carries an interview with those two rather brilliant liturgical scholars Drs Reid and Hemming on Usus Antiquior.

Someone very kindly sent me anonymously a copy of Dr Reid's latest edition Ceremonies of the Roman Rite, a a very welcome Easter present. If it was one of you, thank you very much, I am very grateful.

Pope 'n Pod

At the last audience the Holy Father spent a little longer than he normally spends with visiting bishops. He was chatting with Bishop O'Donaghue who presented who presented him with Fit for Mission? Schools and Fit for Mission? Church.

I wonder if these documents will figure in the Ad Limina visit which should be later this year.

Bishop Williamson: Irreconcilable Clash

According to Bishop Williamson talks between the Church and the SSPX are to begin shortly. The matter for discussion will not be revealed publicly. It is sad that the Bishop sees the difficulties as irreconcilable. The following is from his blog.

The problem for these discussions is that, objectively speaking, as on either side there may be some reluctance to admit, we are in the presence of an irreconcilable clash between the religion of God and the religion of man. Vatican II mixed the two together, which was too much of the religion of man by half. Let us then say that Benedict XVI wishes to combine Vatican II with Catholic Tradition. That is still too much of the religion of man by a quarter. Let us now suppose that the SSPX and Benedict XVI were to agree to come half-way towards each other. That would still represent one eighth of the religion of man mixed with seven eighths of the religion of God, which for the purposes of Almighty God would still be one eighth too much.
For just as it takes a disproportionately small amount of water mixed with a tank full of gasoline (or petrol) to stop a car engine dead, so it takes only a small admixture of idolatry to stop dead the true religion of God. The Lord God Himself tells us that He is a jealous God (Exod. XX, 5; etc.), and will not endure any false gods beside Him. To anybody in the SSPX who might be tempted to worship with the neo-modernists, as to any neo-modernist who might wish to share worship with the Catholics, the Old Testament prophet Elias would say as he said to the hesitating Israelites, "How long do you halt between the two sides ? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him." Scripture (III Kings, XVIII, 21) then says, "The people did not answer him a word".
Subjectively, the Israelites wanted to have it both ways. Objectively, that was impossible. For ourselves too. Kyrie Eleison.

I hope that the Bishop's pre-judgement on this is as faulty as are his judgements on other issues, as on other issues it might have been better if he he had kept silent.

However I suspect many of the SSPX are committed to Sede Vacantism and an irrevocable break with Peter in favour of an ethereal Rome of their own imagining. PRAY!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Benedict to Franciscans: Live the Word

Over the past 800 years, the first dozen friars received together with Saint Francis by Pope Innocent III have turned into thousands. Thats what Pope Benedict XVI told some two thousand male and female Franciscan religious gathered at Castel Gandolfo following a meeting of their chapter in Assisi this past week. The Pope noted that the franciscan family has from the very start been obedient to the pope and authentically spiritual while many other movements have opposed the Magisterum. The pope asked Franciscans to become the living word, to continue their spiritual renewal and to help the Churchs pastors bring more and more faithful into the fold. The first dozen friars received together with Saint Francis by Pope Innocent III have turned into thousands.

Thats what Pope Benedict XVI told some two thousand male and female Franciscan religious gathered at Castel Gandolfo following a meeting of their chapter in Assisi this past week. The Pope noted that the franciscan family has from the very start been obedient to the pope and authentically spiritual while many other movements have opposed the Magisterum. The pope asked Franciscans to become the living word, to continue their spiritual renewal and to help the Churchs pastors bring more and more faithful into the fold.

Teresa d'Avila

from the 1984 made for TV six hour mini-series 'Teresa de Jesus'. Spanish Televison.the end of the film.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Bobby Micken's has a go at blogging priests

Sorry about the lack of posting today, I've not had those odd five minutes to sit in front of the screen, but I have just kicked out a gang of delightful people after our evening Mass, we knocked up some Spag Bol and had a drink - just to prove today is still glorious Easter Day rather than penitential Friday looking at Fr Michael Brown's blog I noticed he quotes Bobby Mickens, Ms Pepinster's boy in Rome.

` is extraordinary that ordained ministers can find so much free time and energy to "feed a blog". Is it possible that they have no housebound, hospitalised or imprisoned parishioners in need of their presence and ministry? It is also extraordinary that their bishops allow this. But then again we are living in extraordinary times.`

I am not sure who he is having a go at, I have complained to the chairman of trustees and Ms "P" about his reporting of the Holy Father. It is mainly because of him I feel it would be wrong to continue to sell the Tablet in this Church. Anyone read the whole story?

I think, like the good liberal he is, he wants bishops to limit the freedom of speech of blogging priests. Maybe some of us are getting under the Tablet's skin. All a bit sinister, but then the Tablet is. I am told "Rome" wants something done about it by Abp Nichols. He could begin by not selling it in his Cathedral. Apparently, someone at the CDF often says of the Tablet, "It is also extraordinary that their bishops allow this".

Incidentally, this story seems not to be hoax, but I still ask, why did the Tablet print it?

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cardinal considers historic Lords move

Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has been talking about becoming a Peer of the Realm, in addition to being as Prince of the Church.

"My predecessor was offered a place in the House of Lords and chose not to accept it and felt that he had a better voice, if you like, outside of Parliament by being a religious leader and there is a bit of me that would feel the same."

He added: "On the other hand, time moves on and there may be something to be said at this stage for someone like me - in retirement - to be part of the House of Lords to enable me to express my views, the views of my church, on social and ethical issues.

"I think that the prime minister wants to bring religious leaders into the House of Lords to make sure that their voice is heard.

"That obviously wouldn't just include myself as a Roman Catholic but also the Chief Rabbi and a prominent Muslim perhaps, because he thinks that these kind of voices in public life have a value."

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor also explained that he had been able to speak to the prime minister whenever he needed to during his tenure.

He said: "If I want to speak to the prime minister I can speak to him, put it that way. "

CDF to investigate crazy US nuns

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has initiated a doctrinal investigation of the largest U.S. women’s religious leadership organization, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

I found this on Fr Philip's blog, the keynote address to the Leadership Conference of Religious Women, Sr. Laurie Brink OP. It seems to illustrate the madness of some "post Christian" religious.

The dynamic option for Religious Life, which I am calling, Sojourning, is much more difficult to discuss, since it involves moving beyond the Church, even beyond Jesus. A sojourning congregation is no longer ecclesiastical. It has grown beyond the bounds of institutional religion. Its search for the Holy may have begun rooted in Jesus as the Christ, but deep reflection, study and prayer have opened it up to the spirit of the Holy in all of creation. Religious titles, institutional limitations, ecclesiastical authorities no longer fit this congregation, which in most respects is Post-Christian.

When religious communities embraced the spirit of renewal in the 1970s, they took seriously that the world was no longer the enemy, that a sense of ecumenism required encountering the holy “other,” and that the God of Jesus might well be the God of Moses and the God of Mohammed. The works of Thomas Merton encouraged an exploration of the nexus between Eastern and Western religious practices. The emergence of the women’s movement with is concomitant critique of religion invited women everywhere to use a hermeneutical lens of suspicion when reading the androcentric Scriptures and the texts of the Tradition. With a new lens, women also began to see the divine within nature, the value and importance of the cosmos, and that the emerging new cosmology encouraged their spirituality and fed their souls.

As one sister described it, “I was rooted in the story of Jesus, and it remains at my core, but I’ve also moved beyond Jesus.” The Jesus narrative is not the only or the most important narrative for these women. They still hold up and reverence the values of the Gospel, but they also recognize that these same values are not solely the property of Christianity. Buddhism, Native American spirituality, Judaism, Islam and others hold similar tenets for right behavior within the community, right relationship with the earth and right relationship with the Divine. With these insights come a shattering or freeing realization—depending on where you stand. Jesus is not the only son of God. Salvation is not limited to Christians. Wisdom is found in the traditions of the Church as well as beyond it.

Pope takes up karate at 82

The Pope celebrated his 82nd Birthday with a bout of karate.

Obama comes, Jesus goes at Georgetown

President Obama delivered an economic policy speech at the Jesuit University of Georgetown, the Whitehouse brought its own "set" for the speech and demanded the sacred monagram "IHS" was covered up with plywood on the pediment behind the President.
Being a Jesuit foundation there was no objection.


The National Secular Society is promoting de-baptismal with certificates to go with it, bloggers and other Catholic sources suggest this is mere publicity seeking and nonsensical.

I think it raises one or two interesting points - primarily - are all the baptisms celebrated valid?

The Church baptises infants in the expectation that they "catch" faith from their family and community and will a later receive the other sacraments of initiation: Confirmation and Holy Communion.

But what if a child's family has no faith, have never been evangelised, if the God parents are merely mouthing, to them, meaningless words, if there is no intention of bringing up the child in the practice of the faith or of completing the sacraments of initiation? What if someone has been brought up in a totally secular environment and has never ever expressed, even internally, any assent to the Christian faith - is the baptism valid then?

In the case of marriage or ordination the presumption is that the celebration of the rite confers the sacrament until it can be proved there was a lack of the proper disposition to receive it. Can the same be said about baptism?

The Code of Canon Law says if there is serious doubt about a child being brought up in the practice of the faith, baptism should be delayed. How one actually proves in the external forum a lack of disposition I don't know.
I know, this is a bit of a Tablet question.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Resurrexit in Westminster Cathedral

Berlioz(1803-1869)"Resurrexit"Messe Solennelle
Donna Brown(soprano)
Jean-Luc Viala(tenor)
Gilles Cachemaille(bass-baritone)
Monteverdi Choir
Orchestre Revolutionaire et Romantique
Conducted by John Eliot Gardiner

recorderd in 1993

On Ambassadors

There has been lots in the news about the Holy See turning down various candidates of the Obama administration as its ambassador, I thought this was an interesting snip, from an unidentified source in Am Spec.

The Holy See has always set a very simple standard: the person should not be in opposition to fundamental teachings of the Church that belong to our common shared humanity. He or she may not believe in Catholic dogma if he or she is not a Catholic, but we could not accept someone who is in favor of abortion, or (human) cloning or same-sex unions equated to marriage. That is a fairly simple principle that governments like, say, Spain and Cuba, or Mr. Clinton's administration, have been able to understand without a problem.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lay Presidency in Lower Grasmere

Why does a "Catholic" newspaper choose to publish certain letters?

A priest friend showed me a letter The Tablet from a woman in Lower Grasmere, Cumbria, apparently their priest wasn't able to come and say Mass in their Church one Sunday and apparently there was only one Consecrated Host in the tabernacle, various sensible suggestions were made such as Liturgy of the Word with a period of Exposition / Rosary etc but they chose this instead
[someone] said, "Jesus said, "Do this in memory of me" We asked her what she had in mind and she explained.

Having listened to the readings

The eucharistic ministers [the term is ministers of Holy Communion] placed sufficient altar breads, the chalice with wine ...on the altar... Then, in unison, we read the second Eucharistic Prayer. We said the Lord's Prayer, exchanged the sign of peace and shared Holy Communion. The ministers cleaned the sacred vessels and we prayed for God's blessing on each other before leaving.

So what was Ms Peppinster's purpose in printing this? Possibly to embarrass the local Bishop, the redoubtable PO'D, in his last few weeks in office, if that was so it was very snide Ms P, or to highlight a shocking parody of the Mass or the poverty of catechises amongst its readership or to encourage this sort of aberration, what is called lay presidency in Protestant circles, to happen elsewhere?
I am sure one of the things the new Abp Westminster has been told to do is regn in the Tablet, one way could be to get nicer people on it editorial board.
Apart from Ms Peppinster's motives the other question that must be asked is how effective a vehicle for catechesis is the current liturgy.

Cardinal O'Brien: legal restraint not self-restraint

Paulinus quote Cardinal O'Brien who wrote:

Cardinal O'Brien said: "Like the manic sorcerer whose spells have gone disastrously wrong, our politicians cannot control the urge to cast yet more spells upon the chaos.

"It is an approach that seems to be driven by moral cowardice."

He said that when a toddler is shot with an airgun, the immediate reaction is to regulate the sale of such weapons.

The cardinal added the SNP's alcohol blueprint, which could also see the minimum age for buying drink in shops increased to 18, was focused on "mitigating the effects" of binge drinking rather than dealing with the causes.

He concluded: "When our fellow citizens err and lapse we seldom focus on them or ask why they behaved as they did.

"Rather we rush to impose legal restraints on such action forgetting dangerously that no external restrictions can ever match the effectiveness of self-restraint."

The insistence on tackling the symptoms instead of the causes of Scotland's social problems was predicated on the assumption they are "immutable and unchangeable, he said. 'Moral cowardice' of Holyrood Ministers

Sounds like Vin Nichols condemning the assumption adverts for condoms make about drunk youths having sex on street corners. Wouldn't it be a dream team for Britain if Vin and Keith worked together?

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Urbi et Orbi

Speaking to crowds that flowed out of St Peter's Square, wearing the white Easter Mozzetta the Hol Father affirmed the historical reality of the Resurrection. During the Mass preceding it
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During his Easter Morning mass in St. Peters square, Pope Benedict called on us to open our spirit to Christ, who has died and is risen in order to renew us, in order to remove from our hearts the poison of sin and death, and to pour in the life-blood of the Holy Spirit: divine and eternal life. The Pope said, "The Easter proclamation spreads throughout the world with the joyful song of the Alleluia. He told Christians to sing it with our lips, and let us sing it above all with our hearts and our lives, with a manner of life that is unleavened, that is to say, simple, humble, and fruitful in good works."

The resurrection, then, is not a theory, but a historical reality revealed by the man Jesus Christ by means of his "Passover", his "passage", that has opened a "new way" between heaven and earth (cf. Heb 10:20). It is neither a myth nor a dream, it is not a vision or a utopia, it is not a fairy tale, but it is a singular and unrepeatable event: Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, who at dusk on Friday was taken down from the Cross and buried, has victoriously left the tomb.

Happy Easter

Our Easter Altar in the "Benedictine arrangement, on the Epistle side is the relic of the First Witness, Magdalen herself, tomorrow we will venerate her relic.

The Altar of Repose

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Great big Paschal Candles

Father Sean, has some posts on the Sarum Rite Triduum, today he writes on the blessing of the Paschal Candle. I remember reading years ago Dr Rock, that extraordinary 19th century priest of Southwark writing about Paschal Candles weighing several hundred weight and then being raised on a "pasch post" and being so tall they had to be lit from the clerestory and remaining alight until the Ascension. He then goes on to speak about the economic havoc wreaked by the Reformation on the bees wax industry. Honey, I think he says, was a by-product. I like to think of of pre-reformation Catholic cuisine as being sweet, whereas Protestant cuisine was sour. If Rock is right, did the Reformation lead directly to slavery on sugar plantations in the Americas?

AN Wilson on his refound faith

AN Wilson has a rather beautiful article in the Daily Mail explaining, or trying to explain, his return to belief in the reality of the Christian faith.
This little section in particular resonnated with me:-

My belief has come about in large measure because of the lives and examples of people I have known - not the famous, not saints, but friends and relations who have lived, and faced death, in the light of the Resurrection story, or in the quiet acceptance that they have a future after they die.
The Easter story answers their questions about the spiritual aspects of humanity. It changes people's lives because it helps us understand that we, like Jesus, are born as spiritual beings.
Every inner prompting of conscience, every glimmering sense of beauty, every response we make to music, every experience we have of love - whether of physical love, sexual love, family love or the love of friends - and every experience of bereavement, reminds us of this fact about ourselves.
Ah, say the rationalists. But no one can possibly rise again after death, for that is beyond the realm of scientific possibility.
And it is true to say that no one can ever prove - nor, indeed, disprove - the existence of an after-life or God, or answer the conundrums of honest doubters (how does a loving God allow an earthquake in Italy?)
Easter does not answer such questions by clever-clever logic. Nor is it irrational. On the contrary, it meets our reason and our hearts together, for it addresses the whole person.
Read the whole article, it will bring Easter joy.

The Lord's descent into hell

Fron the Office of Readings: an ancient homily for Holy Saturday
What is happening? Today there is a great silence over the earth, a great silence, and stillness, a great silence because the King sleeps; the earth was in terror and was still, because God slept in the flesh and raised up those who were sleeping from the ages. God has died in the flesh, and the underworld has trembled.
Truly he goes to seek out our first parent like a lost sheep; he wishes to visit those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. He goes to free the prisoner Adam and his fellow-prisoner Eve from their pains, he who is God, and Adam's son.
The Lord goes in to them holding his victorious weapon, his cross. When Adam, the first created man, sees him, he strikes his breast in terror and calls out to all: 'My Lord be with you all.' And Christ in reply says to Adam: ‘And with your spirit.’ And grasping his hand he raises him up, saying: ‘Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give you light.
‘I am your God, who for your sake became your son, who for you and your descendants now speak and command with authority those in prison: Come forth, and those in darkness: Have light, and those who sleep: Rise.
‘I command you: Awake, sleeper, I have not made you to be held a prisoner in the underworld. Arise from the dead; I am the life of the dead. Arise, O man, work of my hands, arise, you who were fashioned in my image. Rise, let us go hence; for you in me and I in you, together we are one undivided person.
‘For you, I your God became your son; for you, I the Master took on your form; that of slave; for you, I who am above the heavens came on earth and under the earth; for you, man, I became as a man without help, free among the dead; for you, who left a garden, I was handed over to Jews from a garden and crucified in a garden.
‘Look at the spittle on my face, which I received because of you, in order to restore you to that first divine inbreathing at creation. See the blows on my cheeks, which I accepted in order to refashion your distorted form to my own image.
'See the scourging of my back, which I accepted in order to disperse the load of your sins which was laid upon your back. See my hands nailed to the tree for a good purpose, for you, who stretched out your hand to the tree for an evil one.
`I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side, for you, who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side healed the pain of your side; my sleep will release you from your sleep in Hades; my sword has checked the sword which was turned against you.
‘But arise, let us go hence. The enemy brought you out of the land of paradise; I will reinstate you, no longer in paradise, but on the throne of heaven. I denied you the tree of life, which was a figure, but now I myself am united to you, I who am life. I posted the cherubim to guard you as they would slaves; now I make the cherubim worship you as they would God.
"The cherubim throne has been prepared, the bearers are ready and waiting, the bridal chamber is in order, the food is provided, the everlasting houses and rooms are in readiness; the treasures of good things have been opened; the kingdom of heaven has been prepared before the ages.

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...