Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Desmond Gregory 1917 - 2010

Tomorrow we have the Requiem of another of our parishioners, those who knew him were very fond of him, he inspired kindness because he was kind. He taught history and Downside, was the author of this remarkable collection of books. No-one in the congregation seems to know much of his life before he came to Brighton. At ninety-three he seems to have outlived his contempories. He never spoke about receiving the surrender of Hamburg, as a young Major during the war which we discovered today, all he did speak about was the kindness of his friends, his delight in the young people who visited him, the goodness of those who cared for him. He bore the infirmities of old age with patience and resignation. Occassionally he would come out with a stream of amazing facts and deep insight, one example was a conversation with Sri Lankan member of our congregation, he knew everything about her village, its history, the politics of the region, its economy and even the shops in it; he had just happened to pass through on one of his trips.
He was a convert to the Faith, which caused a degree of estrangement from certain members of his family. The Church was the bulwark of his life, he desired the Eucharist with a passionate hunger and desired to receive it in a state of grace. He came to Mass when others would have given up and remained at home. He was a generous benefactor to our Restoration Appeal. He received Holy Communion fully aware of what it was: the Body and Blood of his Saviour.
Pray for his dear soul as his body rests before the altar in the Church this night.

Westminster Cathedral 100th Anniversary

I tend to think of Westminster Cathedral as our daughter Church, my predecessor as parish priest here, Mgr George Wallis, was the Master of Ceremonies for its consecration. Luke Coppen points to a very beautiful flickr set of photographs of the liturgy.
I must say the liturgy has improved no end since the arrival of Archbishop Nichols, I like the fact that they have got rid of the temporary altar, although if you are standing at the back of the cathedral it is a bit strange to see a torso gliding across the top of the mensa and stranger to see deacon's heads lying, John the Baptist-like on the altar surface but it looks good when when the action is taking place in front of the altar and you see whole bodies there.
I understand the Archbishop has stopped that ghastly illicit practice of the canons concelebrating whilst wearing choir dress.
I just wish the sacristan would put out some decent albs, polyester and Pugin don't mix!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Cry of "Freedom"

Asia News is first, as usual, with news of the "Palium" Mass", Piecing together the Popes's speech from their account the freedom of the Church seems to be the dominant theme, for us in Europe this poignant in the light of the Brussel's police raids.

"The communion with Peter and his successors, in fact, is the guarantee of freedom for the Church's Pastors and the Communities entrusted to them."
“Historically, union with the Apostolic See, ensures the particular Churches and Episcopal Conferences freedom with respect to local, national or supranational powers, that can sometimes hinder the mission of the ecclesial Church. Furthermore, and most essentially, the Petrine ministry is a guarantee of freedom in the sense of full adherence to truth and authentic tradition, so that the People of God may be preserved from mistakes concerning faith and morals. Hence the fact that each year the new Metropolitans come to Rome to receive the pallium from the hands of the Pope, must be understood in its proper meaning, as a gesture of communion, and the issue of freedom of the Church gives us a particularly important key for interpretation. This is evident in the case of churches marked by persecution, or subject to political interference or other hardships. But this is no less relevant in the case of communities that suffer the influence of misleading doctrines or ideological tendencies and practices contrary to the Gospel".

Schoenborn faction versus Sodano faction

An Italian priest friend of mine had to deliver something to the former Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano, who although it took months to get him out of the Secretary of State's apartments, is still resident in the Vatican City. He was a little shocked to be directed to the appartments of the former Archbishop Marcinkus who was the president of the Istituto per le Opere di Religione, the Vatican Bank, his former secretary took on that role, as part of Sodano's "retirement package".
Yesterday saw the unprecedented rebuke of Cardinal Schoenborn, I am fascinated by the fact that Cardinal Sodano was waiting in an office somewhere, presumably that of the Vatican Bank, waiting to receive Schoenborn's apology or at least to be "reconciled".
It is no secret that Sodano has opposed Pope Benedict's cleansing of the Vatican stable, his protection of Maciel and of Schoenborn's abusive predecessor, is certainly unwholesome. His use of the Pope's own words about "petty gossip" on Easter day, in his mouth saounded sacandalous. There are stories of renaissance nepotism, involving his architect nephew. As Dean of the College of Cardinals, Sodano is still a "mover and shaker" and part of that faction which protects and wishes to continue the ""Wojtyła legacy".
Schoenborn on the other hand has been increasingly placing himself on the left, his public questioning of  celibacy, his tentative championing of the gay lobby, remember those homo-erotic pictures in his cathedral, the high handed dealing with the bishop Mostar and his visit to Medjugorje have raised his profile above that of many of his European counterparts. Though it is highly unlikely that we will have a second German speaking Pope, it strikes me that Schoenborn is trying to position himself head of left leaning faction.
This is all about the next conclave, the Sodano gang is by its very nature dying off, and to some degree represents the hermeneutic of, recent, continuity. The Schoenberg group is much more worrying since it represents a broader group of modernisers, not exactly heretical, but certainly one which is centred on rupture.
Interesting that the Pope chooses to deal with this on the eve of Sts Peter and Paul.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Good Manners

Many thanks to Gloria TV for this reference, I am not sure I should be mentioned before the Pope but I am grateful for the hat-tip. Could someone from Gloria tell me how to download their videos.
I know I shouldn't but I get a bit miffed when other bloggers quote things from here, or other sources and don't put in a reference. I know I should get over it and it is not important but it is good manners.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Communication Breakdown

I thought I'd get in before Damaen Thompson and flag up this post from the excellent Splintered Sunrise, which deals with the problem of the Church's communication breakdown.
... I can’t be alone in reading the papers and seeing all sorts of material from, say, Christopher Hitchens or Johann Hari or Peter Tatchell that isn’t actually true, and wondering how on earth they get away with it. The answer to that, of course, is that they aren’t challenged. Then you had the episode during the passage of the Children, Schools and Families Bill, when Ed Balls went on the Today programme and not only said that Catholic schools should be required to provide information on accessing abortions, and in a non-judgemental way at that, but actually claimed that Archbishop Nichols agreed with him. In the absence of any rebuttal from the ABW, some silly people may have been misled into the thinking that +Vinnie actually did agree with Balls, as opposed to agreeing with the Pope.
It strikes me as being so odd that the very organisation commissioned by God himself to "communicate", is so bad at it!

Cardinal Daneels Dirty Little Book

Various people have sent me a link to a sex education textbook produced under and authorised and supported by Cardinal Daneels. I am shocked by the content. Some of the things it encourages certainly happen in UK "Catholic" schools but it goes further, much further.
I found it first on Rorate Caeli, I have been hesitant to link to it, as in my opinion it promotes paedophilia.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gerard's biggest day (so far)

I had the great privelege not only of going to Gerard Hatton's ordination to the diaconate at Wonersh Seminary but of assisting in vesting him as a deacon, a singular privelege and joy for me.
It was good to be their, our bishop was on good form, there was a real sense that this a diocesan family affair. It was obviously a day of great joy for Gerard's family and for his seminary confreres.
The liturgy was rather beautiful, most of it in English but with the Missa De Angelis.
I have only been back two or three times since my own ordination, so it was quite a pleasure to see the changes that had taken place, especially in the way in which staff and students interacted, it seemed a happy place.
Say a prayer for Gerard that he will grow in zeal and holiness for the Lord and his Church.

Getting answers from the Belgium Magic Circle

What did Belgium police expect to find in the tombs of Cardinals Jozef-Ernest Van Roey the predecessor of Leon-Joseph Suenens?
Why did the seize the confidential statements of scores of victim statements?
Why were the entire Belgium heirarchy imprisoned for 9 hours in the Conferences head-quarters?
See the Aljzeera report
With techniques reminiscent of of a raid on nest of drug dealers, the extraordinarily heavy handedness of the authorities, with dogs and armed police, seizing even mobile phones, is illustrative of how low in public opinion the Church has fallen under Daneels and Suenens but is it also that Belgium authorities want to deliberately humiliate the Church and present its bishops as a gang of gangsters. Is this really the only way of getting answers from the Belgium magic circle?
I suspect behind the story is the sheer frustration of getting answers from the Belgium Magic Circle.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


Let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no".
I am not sure traditional Catholics are any more open than their liberal brothers but I suppose that at least traddies know rather than invent the rules. As Belgium authorities are raiding archiepiscopal palaces - though the victims of incest can be overlooked in basements for years - and in England there seems yet another possible location for the Newman bbeatification whilst cost rise and even those of us most enthusiastic about the papal visit are beginning to wonder where the whole thing is being steered or whether it is being hi-jacked by those most antipathetic to the Holy Father.
The whole issue of scrutiny, of transparency, of accountability, even of the "active participation" seems to come to mind. "Saying the black and doing the red", not just in the liturgy but in life seems important. Holiness and transparency seem to go together, yet today's Church seems to be more about obfuscation, media manipulation, secrecy, cover-up, spin, unfortunately all that comes from the top.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Traditional Altar Consecrated in Moscow

From Sergei a former parishioner who is now living in Moscow, I think I can hear one of his boys in the background. Interesting how young the congregation is.

On Sunday 20 June, Archbishop Paul Pezzi, the Ordinary of Archdiocese of the Mother Of God in Moscow, Russia, consecrated a refurbished wooden altar for the Extraordinary form of the Roman Rite. This altar is situated in the Big Chapel of the Moscow Cathedral of Immaculate Conception of The Blessed Virgin Mary. The consecration ceremony followed the 'usus antiquor.' After consecration of the altar, Fr. Augustine Dzenzel celebrated Mass in the Extraordinary Form. This is the first time since 1936, when the ruling Ordinary of this Archdiocese participated in the traditional Latin liturgy.

Earliest Icons of Apostles Discovered

click images to enlarge
The catacomb of St Tecla last year yielded up the earliest icon of St Paul, this week the Holy See anounced that the same burial chamber also contained icons of the Apostles Peter, Andrew and John. These icon's date from the latter half of the fourth century. Though there are earlier images which form part of narrative scenes, these images are the earliest individual portraits, which indicates that there was devotion to these apostles in Rome at this time.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

New Head for Unity

Anglo-Catholic says that Andrea Tornielli is reporting that, in the coming days, the Bishop of Basel, Kurt Koch will be named as Cardinal Kaspars successor at the Council for Christian Unity.

AC quotes the Bishop on  the CDF documemt "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church" which clarified the expression of "subsistit in" in the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium.
The new Vatican document, he said, is looking at the term in a "strictly theological" way, explaining that if the Catholic Church believes apostolic succession and valid sacraments, particularly the Eucharist, are essential aspects of the church established by Christ it cannot recognize as "church" those communities who do not have them.

Bishop Koch also said the document and reactions to it underline a clear difference in the Catholic and Orthodox ecumenical goal and the ecumenical goal of the Protestants.
He also quotes the Bishop in a letter to his clergy saying:
Many people have signed a petition for the unqualified acceptance of the council. Right from the start, the expression "unqualified acceptance" irritates me because I don’t know anyone — myself included — to whom it would apply. A few arbitrarily chosen examples will suffice:

– The council did not abolish Latin in the liturgy. On the contrary, it emphasized that in the Roman Rite, apart from exceptional cases, the use of the Latin language must be maintained. Who among the vocal defenders of the council wishes "unqualified acceptance" of that?

– The council declared that the Church regards Gregorian Chant as the "music proper to the Roman Rite," and that it must therefore "be given primary place." In how many parishes is this implemented "without qualification?"

– The council expressly requested that governmental authorities voluntarily give up those rights to participation in the selection of bishops, that had arisen over the course of time. Which defender of the council advocates "without qualification" for that?

– The council described the fundamental nature of the liturgy as the celebration the paschal mystery and the eucharistic sacrifice as "the completion of the work of our salvation." How can that be reconciled with my experience, made in many different parishes, that the sacrificial understanding of the Mass has been completely eliminated from the liturgical language and the Mass is now understood only as a meal or "the breaking of bread?" In what way can one justify this profound change by reference to the council?
Thanks to Luke Coppen

The Good Father

Yesterday was my day off, I rather indulged myself. First of all I put Mass on an hour earlier, I don't normally do that, I expect my people to come to Mass on their days off, it seems illogical, contrary to the spirit of being a servant, for a priest to alter or even cancel Mass just for his convenience.

I went off to a local auction, intending to buy myself a new (old) desk, my current chipboard one, from MFI is falling to pieces, so for £70 I picked up a very nice Edwardian mahogany one, which as it had already lasted for 100 years should see me out. In fact I came back with a small van load of stuff. There were lots of other bargains, a very elegant cane seated chair for £35 which I bought just because it was beautiful, I got a mahogany pembroke table for £30 and a very elegant brass standard lamp for the same price. The best bargain of all was an inlaid bedhead for a tenner, there was a note on it "made by George Fielding Cabinet Maker - wedding gift to daughter - 1938". I was touched that who ever had put it up for auction wanted the story of a father's affection to continue to be told.

In the evening I watched television there was a fascinating programme on BBC 4, called The Good Father. Interestingly it spoke of the "myth" of the bad father, suggesting it was promulgated by the Temperance Movement, it also examines the effects of the World Wars and Depression on fatherhood. It was touching, lots of childhood memories and some interest comment by sociologists, it was well worth watching, an refreshing alternative to the normal feminist view of fatherhood.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Cracked Tory Peer Claims Catholic Schools Teach Ghandi in Hell

Conservative Lord Lucas - is that of Chilworth or of Crudwell? - claim "some" Catholic school teach Ghandi roasting in hell.
 From Lords Hansard, Academies Bill Debate, 7 June, Column 562
Although I am not religious myself, I would happily send my children to faith schools. However, if we pay for them as state schools, they should be open to all. We should not see in the bill a rowing back from the commitment to include the wider community in faith schools that we have extracted from the churches to date. Nor should we see an increase in sectarian teaching. There are Catholic schools that teach that Gandhi is burning in Hell. Frankly, I do not think that we should fund that on the state.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Invocation Festival

From our diocesan vocations site
Invocation is a forthcoming national discernment festival for young adults which will be held in the grounds of St. Mary’s College, Oscott Birmingham from July 2nd – 4th 2010. The festival is being hosted by the Archdiocese of Birmingham, with support and cooperation from a number of organisations including the National Office for Vocation and Compass.

This national festival is aimed at young men and women aged 16-35, who are looking to deepen their relationship with Christ, discern God’s will for their lives and at least be open to the possibility of priesthood or consecrated life. The cost for each attendee is £50. This includes the entrance fee for the weekend, camping pitch or place in accommodation marquee provided, all activities and all meals.
You can book and pay online in a safe and secure environment at or you can download and print the booking form and send it to us with a cheque. Further information is available at the website.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Wearing Rosaries, kissing crosses

Blogator Blogatorum Fr Zee is asked if it is a sin to wear a Rosary, he say it depends on the intention.

I had a parishioner who was "cared for in the community"  whose hobby was to wander around London and kiss crosses at the time when it was fashionable for women to wear large plain sparkly crosses. Her favourite hunting area was Sloane Square. I used to tell her she would get sectioned, she used to tell me her score. Her best was 38. Most of her life she was perfectly ordinary civil servant but for a couple of years she had this mania to discomfort the comfortable.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

I want to learn to be a deacon

I am going to the LMS Downside training session August 10-13th. An official from the LMS has been nagging me continually to post something here about the course, even threatening to send round the LMS heavies.
I didn't go last year but I want to go this year. I have decided we need more High Masses in the parish, there is a severe shortage of deacons around here. Almost eight percent of our active diocesan clergy are able and willing to celebrate the Traditional Mass, they tend to be the younger priests. A number of our permanent deacons are able, with a little help, to assist as subdeacons but as far as I can tell only one priest in the diocese can assist as deacon. Our diocesan "Safeguarding Regulations" make getting a non-diocesan priest from outside the diocese very difficult. I want to learn to be deacon.
For some reason we don't have too much trouble getting servers and choir to help out with the occassional Extraordinary Form Mass, maybe because it is special but we do have more of a problem getting people out for Mass in the Ordinary Form on special days, especially since Holy Days were moved to the nearest Sunday.
One of things that delights me about TraddieMass is it attracts people, especially younger people, who take the faith seriously and want me to take it seriously and to honest people who come to it are generous too, which has helped our restoration project
At the moment I celebrate a low Mass on a Friday evening that seems to attract the same numbers as those who come on Friday morning and a Sunday low Mass once a month on the third Sunday, again the numbers are slowly building, mainly through younger men attending. What we really need somewhere in our diocese is a weekly Sunday Mass, if you have three or four children you need a Sunday routine and you need community.

Further details of the LMS Downside course and registration forms contact:
The LMS office (Tel: 020 7404 7284, e mail: or from the conference organiser, Mr Paul Waddington (Tel: 01757 638027, e mail:

Coptic Orthodox fear renewed persecution

The Church with the biggest congregation in my parish is not some wild eyed hand waiving charismatic mega-metro church but the Coptic Orthodox Church of St Mary and St Abraam. Their priests are gentle, prayerful and ascetic, their children, there are many in our school, are well catechised and devout.
I am pleased that their first wedding in Brighton was here at St Mary Magdalen in the 1980s, with permission of course. A huge number of them left Egypt following a violent outbreak of persecution, which really was horrendous. Most Copts can tell of lynchings, burnings, rapes within their extended families. Today there is still a trickle of Coptic asylum seekers coming from the Sudan. Most of Brighton's taxi drivers and a fair number of our newsagents are Coptic Christians.
There is a great deal of concern that the Egyptian government are deliberately putting pressure on the Church again, by trying to force Christians to accept Islamic marriage law and forcing Coptic priests to marry those who are divorced under Sharia Law. Christian marriage had previously been protected by Egyptian law, it seems now that Christians will have to adopt Sharia practice, including the possibility of marriages being ended by the husband saying three times, "I divorce you."
The Egyptian press is vilifying the Pope (Shenouda III) for his reactionary, fundamentalist, outdated stance on the family!
Coptic Christians here are frightened that this is the beginning of another outbreak of persecution.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Pakistan Anti-Christian Laws

Pakistan is quickly becoming of the most anti-Christian countries in the world, this is partly as a reaction to the American "War on Terror" in Afganistsan. One of the results is that hundreds of Christians each year are accused of blasphemy. In one instance a five year old Christian boy was burnt alive.
The Papa Stronsay Redemptorists invite us sign a petition organised by Aid to the Church in Need.

The Lord is My Portion

I had never made the connection between celibacy and the "landlessness" of the Jewish priesthood, last Thursday Pope Benedict made this observation in his question and answer session with priests:
"Paul calls Timothy – and in him, the Bishop and in general the priest – 'man of God' (I Tm 6: 11). This is the central task of the priest: to bring God to men and women. Of course, he can only do this if he himself comes from God, if he lives with and by God. This is marvellously expressed in a verse of a priestly Psalm that we – the older generation – spoke during our admittance to the clerical state: 'The Lord is my chosen portion and my cup, you hold my lot' (Ps 16 [15], 5). The priest praying in this Psalm interprets his life on the basis of the distribution of territory as established in Deuteronomy (cf. 10: 9). After taking possession of the Land, every tribe obtained by the drawing of lots his portion of the Holy Land and with this took part in the gift promised to the forefather Abraham. The tribe of Levi alone received no land: its land was God himself. This affirmation certainly had an entirely practical significance. Priests did not live like the other tribes by cultivating the earth, but on offerings. However, the affirmation goes deeper. The true foundation of the priest's life, the ground of his existence, the ground of his life, is God himself. The Church in this Old Testament interpretation of the priestly life – an interpretation that also emerges repeatedly in Psalm 119 [118] – has rightly seen in the following of the Apostles, in communion with Jesus himself, as the explanation of what the priestly mission means. The priest can and must also say today, with the Levite: 'Dominus pars hereditatis meae et calicis mei'. God himself is my portion of land, the external and internal foundation of my existence. This theocentricity of the priestly existence is truly necessary in our entirely function –oriented world in which everything is based on calculable and ascertainable performance. The priest must truly know God from within and thus bring him to men and women: this is the prime service that contemporary humanity needs. If this centrality of God in a priest's life is lost, little by little the zeal in his actions is lost. In an excess of external things the centre that gives meaning to all things and leads them back to unity is missing. There, the foundation of life, the "earth" upon which all this can stand and prosper, is missing.
It is this type of insight that makes me admire his teaching so much. Unlike so many contemporary theologians he has the ability to build up faith and lead us deeper into the mystery and worship of God.

Heart Speaks to Heart

I tried reading this, it was just too much effort. I've got sinusitis, I am sure it is that, not the document.
What do think? Let us try and be positive.

Added later
It really is dreadful, the hard copy arrived earlier this morning. Too much text, too many words, too much waffle.
If a document was designed not to be read, this is it.
I really do think we must be concerned abour our peoples' hard earned money being frittered away by an incompetant administration during this visit.

Who wrote this?
Who designed this?
Who sanctioned its publication?
No wonder the Catholic Church in the UK continually fails to proclaim the Gospel.
I am I being hard. See the document yourself and judge, someone needs to be sacked over this.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Diplomats: Full adhesion to the Pope and the Magisterium

"Full adhesion to the Pope and the Magisterium and a passion for the ecclesial community should characterize those who are formed by the Holy See's diplomatic service." stressed the Pope in his address to the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy, yesterday.
Pray for our own Apostolic Nuncio is His Excellency Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz who returned home to Spain a few weeks ago after a suffering a stroke. Apparently he is still confined to a wheelchair. Though I hope for his restoration to full health and his return to Wimbledon, it does seem the role of Nuncio in the Papal visit is pretty crucial. Perhaps the diplomatic "mishaps" that have surrounded the visit so far might not have happened if a younger man who is at the beginning of his career rather than an older one who is looking forward to well a deserved retirement were appointment as Ambassador to the Court of St James.

The Golden Age

Ad Orientem reports the Bishop of Cordaba says that his cathedral will not be shared with Moslems.

The Bishop of Cordoba, Demetrio Fernandez, said today that "sharing" the Cathedral of Cordoba and former mosque that some Muslim groups want, "is a euphemism which means: get Catholics out of here". Faced with this and in an interview with Europa Press, Fernandez wanted to make clear that, "therefore, the answer to the question about sharing the Cathedral is that no, we're not, because this place has been a Catholic Church 16 centuries, while Muslims have been four and half centuries".
Consequently, the Catholic Church, which is the holder of the temple through the Cathedral Chapter of Córdoba, has "a good relationship with Muslims" and want to collaborate with those who profess Islam in constant search of "peace, justice and coexistence between peoples, but that is one thing and another, very different, you want to share the same temple for worship, which is not possible, either by Muslims or by Catholics".
Part of the liberal agenda, latched onto by Spain's Zappertero Government, seems to be to emphasise a Spanish golden Islamic age where Moslem's, Jews and Christians lived a harmonious peaceful existence revelling in the study of classical Greek philosophy and mathematics. This did happen but not just under Islamic leadership, it is very easy to forget that this age of peace and harmony also happened under Christian, perhaps even more so if one looks at primary sources.
Fr Sean put up an extract from Ibn Jubayr twelth century journal of his Hajj journey to Mecca.
... again and again he laments on his journey how his fellow Muslims treated him with contempt, and how several times he nearly was killed, and often was robbed. By comparison, he comments on the happy condition of those Muslims who lived in the lands of the Franks. This does not soften, however, his delight at the fate of any Christians who fell into Muslim hands, nor his prayers for the destruction of Christendom and the enslavement of its people to the glory of Islam.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Eating the Liturgy

I like the idea of food marking liturgical seasons, feasting and fasting is very much part of the authentic Judeo-Christian Tradition, of embuing our domestic lives with the liturgy of the Church. I've just been sent this link to Catholic Cuisine, a kitchen blog produced by a group of Homeschooling Moms (Mums). It seems such an excellent idea to unite altar and dining table.

Marie Stopes: Early Day Motion: Help

Ms Bin Lin, the Chinese Family Planning Minister met the Board of Marie Stopes International to discuss MSI further involved inabortion in China and Tibet.

I have just received this as an email:
Jim Dobbins is going to present a Early Day Motion about Maries Stope International's relationship with China.
URGE your MP to support it!

That this House notes that Marie Stopes International (MSI), the international abortion provider, listed as a charity, is held in such high regard by official bodies in the UK that it has been permitted to break the law and advertise abortion on national television;

further notes it has received millions of pounds from the Chinese government to carry out abortion programmes in China, where the one-child policy has caused untold suffering and misery to millions, including forced abortions and sterilisation with imprisonment for those fighting against the law;

further notes as an example a 20-day campaign in April in Puning County, where 9,559 adults were required for compulsory sterilisation with doctors working 20 hours a day to achieve the numbers;

further notes that some 1,300 people were confined by force because their relatives refused to submit to the surgery;

further notes that Marie Stopes claims to disapprove of force and seeks to discourage it, yet gave a red-carpet welcome in their London headquarters to Ms Lin Bin, Minister of China's National Population and Family Planning Commission, which is responsible for the one-child policy and its implementation;

further notes that although MSI sought and achieved enormous publicity for its television advertising it was strangely silent regarding the visit of their honoured guest;

further notes this was exposed by Tibet Truth, a human rights organisation protesting about the barbarities inflicted on the people of China and Tibet;

and calls on the Government to withdraw its funds from MSI and to take steps to require the cancellation of its television advertising.
Only 3 MPs have so far signed the EDM. Of course this is early days yet but there is a danger that this issue will go off the boil and MSI's activities will be accepted as the norm.

On the subject of MSI, the largest salary paid to an MSI person in 2008 between £200,000 and £210,000 in 2008 (MSI Financial statement). A very strange charity.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Litany of The Sacred Heart of Jesus

V. Lord, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, have mercy on us.
V. Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
R. Christ, graciously hear us.
V. God the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, one God, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, Son of the Eternal Father, have mercy on us.
Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the Virgin Mother's womb, [etc.]
Heart of Jesus, substantially united to the Word of God.
Heart of Jesus, of infinite majesty.
Heart of Jesus, holy temple of God.
Heart of Jesus, tabernacle of the Most High.
Heart of Jesus, house of God and gate of heaven.
Heart of Jesus, glowing furnace of charity.
Heart of Jesus, vessel of justice and love.
Heart of Jesus, full of goodness and love.
Heart of Jesus, abyss of all virtues.
Heart of Jesus, most worthy of all praise.
Heart of Jesus, King and center of all hearts.
Heart of Jesus, in whom are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.
Heart of Jesus, in whom dwells all the fullness of the Godhead.
Heart of Jesus, in whom the Father was well pleased.
Heart of Jesus, of whose fullness we have all received.
Heart of Jesus, desire of the everlasting hills.
Heart of Jesus, patient and rich in mercy.
Heart of Jesus, rich to all who call upon You.
Heart of Jesus, fount of life and holiness.
Heart of Jesus, propitiation for our offenses.
Heart of Jesus, overwhelmed with reproaches.
Heart of Jesus, bruised for our iniquities.
Heart of Jesus, obedient even unto death.
Heart of Jesus, pierced with a lance.
Heart of Jesus, source of all consolation.
Heart of Jesus, our life and resurrection.
Heart of Jesus, our peace and reconciliation.
Heart of Jesus, victim for our sins.
Heart of Jesus, salvation of those who hope in You.
Heart of Jesus, hope of those who die in You.
Heart of Jesus, delight of all saints.

V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. spare us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. graciously hear us, O Lord.
V. Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world,
R. have mercy on us.

V. Jesus, meek and humble of Heart,
R. Make our hearts like unto Thine.

Let us pray.

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of Thy most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which He offers Thee in the name of sinners; and to those who implore Thy mercy, in Thy great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who livest and reignest with Thee forever and ever. Amen.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Good: I've Lost My Breviary

I've lost my breviary, I just can't find it, I had to say Vespers, Compline from the old breviary. I've got a English/Latin version, I used to use bits of it before I went off to the seminary, I used to love it.

For some reason I have never loved the post-concilliar Office I have been saying for the last thirty years, I admit I struggle with it and I am not sure why.
I certainly find those intercessions so irritating, especially in the English version, I don't like the choice of hymns, I hate having to go a find and then select hymns when they are proper to the season. I think what I dislike most is the brevity of the modern Office, three psalms and it is done! There is only one psalm at compline. I have a lay friend who calls it the "Little Office of Paul VI".
It is the "littleness" of it that is unsatifying, the psalter is said over four weeks rather than one,  in a way it feels rather restless, the very opposite of the older form but being able to immerse yourself in the lengthy psalms, actually feels more like prayer.
So, for the moment don't even mention it to St Anthony.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

First and best of teachers

James Preece has put up a provocative post, following a meeting in his diocese, about the role of parent in the education and formation of the children.
I had an interesting discussion with a couple of Irish friends recently, they blamed the decline of the faith in their homeland on the failure of parents to catechise and pray with their children.
Briefly, their argument was that the Faith had traditionally been passed on by mothers and grand-mothers through devotions and the penny catechism, essentially as something experiential. The Liturgical Movement disparaged domestic devotional practices, such as the Rosary and other Marian devotions and devotions to the Sacred Heart. After the Vatican II parents and children were told that the faith which they had been passing on was somehow superseded. Hermeneutic of rupture stuff! Basically the confidence of the domestic church was undermined by bishops, priests, religious and teachers: professional and sophisticated Catholics. The experiential became didactic a pedagogical.
What happened in Ireland has happened elsewhere.
This rite of infant Baptisms speaks of parents being the "first" and "best" teachers of their child it the ways of faith. Children who are taught the faith at home retain it, when it is left to professionals it is often lost.
The problem is how to get today's parents to take responsibility.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Monsignor Marini on Papal Liturgy

Monsignor Guido Marini is 45 years old and has been Papal Master of Ceremonies since October of 2007. It is a delicate job keeping in mind that the careful attention to liturgy one of the core elements of Benedict XVI's pontificate.

Mons. Guido Marini
Master of Ceremonies Benedict XVI
“I think the pope's attention to the liturgy, his lessons in this environment and his example, help many priests and many Catholics to rediscover the central value of the liturgy for the life of the Church and for the life of each person.”

According to the Papal Master of Ceremonies, the liturgy is not an area only reserved for experts. But he notes that Catholics need help to understand the full meaning of the liturgical symbols and gestures.

Mons. Guido Marini
Master of Ceremonies Benedict XVI
“The liturgy has a popular dimension that should be preserved because through the liturgy we find ourselves with the mystery of God. There the mystery of salvation it is made real for the life of each person. So it is important to prepare people so they can read the gestures and symbols of the liturgy.”

In recent years, Benedict XVI has brought back some traditional liturgical elements that were rarely used. For example, the presence of the crucifix in the center of the altar or the receiving communion on the knees. They are gestures the pope has explained as the so-called “hermeneutic of continuity.”

Mons. Guido Marini
Master of Ceremonies Benedict XVI
“The hermeneutics of continuity highlights that in the life of the Church there is an authentic growth in the way in which they don't cut the roots so that this development includes the richness of its history and tradition.”

He says that for now it is not expected that the pope will celebrate a mass according to rites prior to the Second Vatican Council.

Monsignor Marini regularly receives instructions from the pope, but the office of liturgical ceremonies also proposes elements
for each celebration.

Mons. Guido Marini
Master of Ceremonies Benedict XVI
“In addition to putting into practice the instructions of the pope, we suggest some liturgical elements. He decides whether to accept them or not. It's to say, in every ceremony there are instructions from the Holy Father and suggestions presented by our department.”

In any case, since the pope has written many works on the liturgy, from his time as a cardinal, for the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations, it is very easy to know what the pope expects of every celebration. In other words, that the celebration helps draw people closer to the mystery of God.
from Rome Reports

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Blessed Jerszy Popieluszko

Father Popieluszko was beatified in the presence of his mother, Marrianna.
There a some photographs here
This is trailer of the 1989 film To Kill a Priest

As part of the build up to his Beatification, this film, Freedom is within Us, was issued last year.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Visit Conspiracies

Damian Thompson's Spectator article on the Papal Visit is online.
I tend not to believe in conspiracies but maybe Damian's suggestion should at least be examined, he is suggesting that the visit is being hi-jacked by a coalition of what Damian terms the "Magic Circle" and Tony Blair's Faith Foundation, I am not sure about that, in fact I am not sure why The Tablet wasn't thrown into the mix, now Chris Patten -Tablet board member- has been made Visit-Tsar.
What there does seem to be are an awful lot of people who seem to live in a world that hopes the Pope will be dead soon, and somehow the Church will return to the confusion of the Paul VI era, maybe that is one of the reasons that lays behind not booking either Coventry Airport or Hydepark, I am sure it lies behind the "Can't we just wait" petition to delay the new English Missal translations.
Rad-trad Frenchmen might see it all as a Masonic conspiracy. That is emotive, but, if that is shorthand for a hodge-podge of people; the secular world, protestant Christians of one sort or another, Catholic laity, priests bishops and cardinals who are pushing Enlightenment views of religious and moral Relativism, it is most probably a pretty fair assumption. The difficulty I have is in believing that there is much more than simple opposition to the Pope that unites them.

The alternative to the Benedictine Project is turning the Church into a sterile desert containing nothing but aging bishops and a vast lay staff, with a few lay people, with a few vague post-Christian beliefs.

Friday, June 04, 2010

Hypatia in the Agora

There is a new film out called Agora, about Hypatia who was killed in AD 391. According to the film it was the Christian that did it, well, actually it was a Christian mob who killed her but Alejandro Amenábar’s film also says that it was part of a deliberate Christian anti-intellectual movement of the fourth century. Not only did we ghastly Christians kill that beautiful young maiden but so vile were we, we also burnt down the Great Library of Alexandria, which ushered in the Dark Ages.
Well of course its actually not quite true, more of a fabrication of Gibbon in his Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. It is more nasty Church stuff!
Read David B Hart on the subject.
Beautiful Hypatia was 60ish
The library had long dissapeared probably during the time of Julius Caesar
etc., etc....

Tatchell to produce documentary on the Pope

There was the fiasco of the Foreign.
There are also rumours of a battle over the Newman legacy within the Church.
There is all the stuff that has been on the net recently about the bishops wanting to do the Papal visit on the cheap, with minimal crowds and participation by the faithful.
Then the Papal Nuncio has a stroke and is back in Spain confined to a wheel chair.

Now, Peter Tatchell, according to The Daily Telegraph has been asked to produce a documentary on the Pope by the Channel 4. Yes, that is Mr Tatchell a founder of "Protest the Pope", who had wanted to arrest him, who tries to disrupt worship at Westminster Cathedral.
So much for objectivity of the media, they are obviously gearing up to be anti-Pope during the visit. What I am increasingly finding is that the majority of priests and religious I meet don't seem to understand that this actually means being anti-Catholic, as if somehow Catholicism exists separate from the successor of Peter. Some how those who support the Holy Father's teaching have become seen as dissident and those who oppose or ignore his teaching are mainstream.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

Happy Corpus Christi - to those who keep it today; Thursday is the day of the Holy Eucharist.
Today being the first Thursday in the year for Priests a special indulgence can be gained.
To obtain the indulgence the faithful must attend Mass in an oratory or Church and offer prayers to "Jesus Christ, supreme and eternal Priest, for the priests of the Church, or perform any good work to sanctify and mould them to his heart."

The conditions for the faithful for earning a plenary indulgence are to have gone to confession and prayed for the intentions designated by the Pope.

Tonight we have our Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata and an attempt at a procession around the nearby streets pray it all goes well. If you want to join us it is at 8pm.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Happy 90th Birthday Sr Joan

One of the great treasures of this parish are our four sisters of the Servants of the Mother of God.
Srs Mary, Rose, Agnes and Joan are just wise, sensible, good women who have served God and his Church all their life and what is more they are fun.
Today we celebrated Sr Joan's 90th birthday, she's becoming a little frail now but she still has the spark of the zealous teacher and missionary she once was.
She discovered her vocation at the age of twelve at the 1932 Dublin Eucharist Congress. She joined the then Poor Servants of the Mother of God, becoming Mother Gonzaga. She taught in Swindon durng the war then went to Maracaibo in Venezuela. She eventually came to Brighton, ostensibly to retire. Within months of her coming here she had set-up a day centre for the homeless and people being cared for in the community, and became an advocate for the poor.
There were lots of stories going around at the party after Mass, of how she could get bishops and archbishops to do her will. I think she must have been a bit of a holy terror, in the sense that she had that ability to convince you that God and she together could do anything and if you allied yourself with her anything was possible. I got the impression that life as a sister of her's was an adventure.
Say a prayer for her on her birthday.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Papal Visit: a wasted opportunity?

At Pentecost we took a collection for the Papal Visit and received well over our levy of a few hundred pounds, anfd handed out the flyers or were they flimsy prayer cards? We put up the poster asking for people to give generously at Pentecost. Apart from the request for money that is all we have heard from Eccleston Square.
The exam season is underway, so there will be little possibility of much preparation or catechesis in our schools. The holiday season is beginning, so people are already starting to go away on holiday, parishes are winding down.

The high point of the visit  is the beatification of Newman, so far nothing has been issued to encourage an English cultus or even knowledge of the great theologian.

It has been announced the events of the visit will be all ticket affairs, there is this website: and that is it!
At least as far as I can see.

The rest has been left to Tatchell, Dawkins and Hitchens, along with those silly boys in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, who have now been replaced. The impression given is Eccleston Square has little enthusiasm for the visit or for the Pope. I am sure this is merely impression and applies to "The Square", what they don't seem to get is that what they do or don't do reflects on our bishops.

Events that could grip the country, like the visit of St Theresa's relics, are left to simply happen or to go off at half cock. Speaking to Czech parishioner, he said that before their Papal visit, prayer cards, free booklets on the Pope, his catechesis, the purpose of his visit were made available, prayer vigils were organised. The Czech Republic was billed in the UK as "the most secular country in Europe", but their bishops used the Papal visit as an opportunity to present the Catholic Church to a skeptical public and as time of renewal. That isn't happening here!
Let us pray it won't be another wasted opportunity.

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...