Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Price to show the Pope

Just out of interest, I was told today by someone in the media that to have access to Papal events accreditation for the major channels costs 100k. (BBC, ITN, Channel 4.) Individual shows eg ITV's Breakfast show 30K.

Santuary for the Beatification

Both Damian Thompson and Fr Z show the "sanctuary" for the Newman beatification in Birmingham. Fr Z is running a poll, both are not 100% enthusiastic, that goes without saying.
I just wish the designer had read "Spirit of the Liturgy".

Bishops Speak about their faith

The Papal Visit Website seems to be getting better. There are some rather charming little video vignettes of the Bishops of E&W speaking about their experiences of faith.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Sunrise on the Chesney affair

Splinty has a very amusing piece on the maniacal ravings of the National Secular Society on the Chesney affair and also the best piece I have read, so far on the government's and Church's involvement in the affair.

Ratzinger Seminar

Abp Kurt Koch
Ratzinger Schulerkreis, the annual seminar for forty or so of the Pope's former doctoral students finishes today.

Interestingly the principle speaker was Archbishop Kurt Koch, who recently replaced Cardinal Walter Kasper as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity and significantly he continued the Ratzinger project by addressing the forty odd theologians on "The Second Vatican Council between tradition and innovation" and "Sacrosanctum concilium -VII's document on the liturgy- and the post-Conciliar reform of the liturgy."

Both the speaker and the subjects for the seminar were the Pope's choice. I find it fascinating that Professor-Pope seems to prefer to develope his agenda by ideas and intellectual debate rather than laws and dictats, for many people working in the Curia this deeply frustrating, but ultimately it is this type of seed planting that is going to bear real fruit.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Creating a Church according to my needs

I had an envelope in the post last week from Redemptorist Publications advertising something by them, advertising The Tablet and there was something else in the package promoting female ordination, how the Redemptorists have gone down hill.
Some other group of ventriloquists are going to start an alternative to Uncle Jack's Catholic Voices.
I preached this morning about taken the lowest place at the table of the Church, ultimately of course we are the guests of Christ. I thought this section of a speech by Archbishop Martin was rather poignant:

When people turn to a Church from which they are in reality alienated, they tend to desire that the Church becomes "their" Church, rather than the place where Christ addresses them and invites them to meet Him and be challenged by His love.

I have the impression that when many people say "We are the Church" they actually want to say "I am the Church", meaning "I am creating a Church according to my needs and my lifestyle." There is a danger that when some say that the Church is the "People of God", they really want to say that it is up to the people to determine who God is and how God is useful. But, whoever encounters only their own God does not encounter the God revealed in Jesus Christ.
My thanks to EF: Pastor Emeritus, I think what can be said for the Irish Church can be said for England too. As the Pope said to our bishops. "It is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate."
As one of my parishioners said to me recently, "There is the Catholic Faith but there is also adolescent bitching". That is true biut is also about trying to make in the own image and likeness.

Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ Podcast

Laodiceia posts a link to some biographical talks by Fr Hugh Thwaites S.J., here he talks about his developing faith as a young soldier during the war, it is quite a remarkable story.
Say a pray for him, he was a remarkable priest, courageous in his obedience to Christ, he suffered greatly with the decline of the English Province of the Society of Jesus.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Papal Books

I have been accused of being negative about the Papal Visit, I must admit to a certain degree of depression at the apparent incompetence and folly that has surrounding its organisation. Much we have seen so far seems so out of touch with everything the Pope has been teaching these past thirty years. As someone who finds the radical nature of Benedict XVI's theology exciting I am looking forward to what the Holy Father will say on British soil.

Yesterday 250 five hundred page paperbacks of the Papal liturgies arrived. I was horrified - the expense! No wonder the costs are spiralling out of control! It is outrageous! They boast a million have been produced!  How many will ever be read?

Having said that,the content is not that bad, the Masses seem quite civilised, there are some quite good little articles by various bishops in it. There are interesting juxtapositions of adverts for worthy causes and Catholic Public Schools. Is the boy in the CaFOD ad actually wanting to go to Downside advertise on the facing page?

The real carbuncle is the Hyde Park Vigil, all those dancing groups: Irish and Polish even Gypsies and lots of nice little ditties, but how do you pronounce "Ngo, ngo, ghamte Chabe"? or "Hata mbinguni tutaenda"?

Well, at least the nonsense stops when the Pope arrives.

Juventutem at Douai

There are just a few places left for the Juventutem weekend, hosted by Young Catholic Adults the English member of the international Juventutem Federation, the meeting is just under two weeks away. Prices start at £25 per person per night (including food); there is also the option of camping available (£5 for the weekend). Please see below for details

Juventutem Conference for 18-35 Year Olds

If you are in the 18-35ish age range, there will be a Juventutem Conference led by Fr. De Malleray FSSP (head of the international Juventutem Federation) at Douai Abbey 10-12th September 2010.’ There will be a Sung Mass, a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Talks and socials.

How to Book for the retreat

From as little as 25 pounds for students (or 51 pounds for non students)per person per night. For more details, please see http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/news.htm or email juventutemcatholicam@yahoo.co.uk, or ring 07908105787.

Events Open to the Public

Saturday 11th September 2010’ at 11am –Mass (the choir will be the Ensemble 1685) in the main Abbey Church followed by a Marian Procession around the extensive grounds of the Abbey at 11am (starting from the main Abbey Church).

All ages/Parishes/Church groups are warmly welcome to attend Masses and the procession. All events are organised by Young Catholic Adults (YCA).

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Living the Liturgy

New Liturgical Movement present this amazing video entitled Living the Liturgy about the monks of Clear Creek. It is almost an hour long but there are so many wise things said by the Prior, the Guestmaster and Bishop Slattery it is well worth the investment in time.
It raises a very important question for me: why is it that monasticism apart from one or two exceptions is dying in the UK, yet in other parts of the world thrives?

The Catholic Brand

I had an interesting chat with Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith over two of the tiniest portions of cod in Brighton, he wrote this in the Herald a few weeks ago.

He lauds the artistic contribution of the Counter-Reformation and says somehow we need to recapture something of that, in his article he doesn't suggest what the modern equivalents of Bernini's Ecstasy of St Theresa or Pozzo's Apotheosis of St Ignatius are, I am sure he doesn't think Jason Perry or Tracey Emming are going to offering an answer.

Having re-read his article he speaks of the difficulty of the detoxification of the Catholic brand after the paedophilia crisisis, the thing is that the Catholic brand was pretty toxic during the Reformation. What interests me is how do we move forward. First and foremost the answer is we need saints and good catechesis and a rediscovery of a real Christ centred spirituality but we should underestimate "the brand" or the image.

We came up with a little list of those things which symbolise the Catholic brand, I've added to it a bit:
The Crucifix
The statue or painiting of the Mother and Child
The image of a priest standing in front of an altar
Candles burning in front of a statue
rosary beads
smell and smoke of incense
Blessed Sacrament in monstrance + candles
stillness of an open church
sign of the Cross
nuns in habits
monks in habits
priests in cassocks
gothic/baroque churches

Perhaps you might be able to add to the list.

The problem of course is that so many of these images are almost lost, we have turned our back on them. Even Fr Jack kneeling in the front pew nursing his whiskey bottle is a sign of something good and holy, the problem is when he turns around and speaks. Nowadays nuns don't wear habits, plainsong and polyphony so often jar with contemporary liturgy, but still somehow these "brand markers" still speak more eloquently than words.

We need to rediscover non-verbal evangelisation because frankly we are not that successful with the word thing!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Neil Addison on not reporting abuse

There is a wise piece in The Guardian by Neil Addison author of the pre-eminently sensible Religion Law Blog on why the Church does not explicitly state that any cases of child abuse must be reported to the police.

For example a priest who has sex with a 14 year old girl in Spain does not commit a crime but would in England; a priest who has an adulterous heterosexual relationship in England would not commit a crime but would commit a crime in Iran which could lead to him and the woman being stoned to death. The same point may be made about homosexual behaviour by a Priest which would be regarded by the church as an offence contrary to canon law but would be regarded in entirely different lights by law enforcement officials in different countries.

It is also important to remember that legal rules regarding what is or is not legal sexual behaviour have changed in many parts of the world and may change again. The church has, for example, been criticised over its 1962 letter "Crimen Sollicitationis" which laid down rules dealing with improper sexual behaviour by priests but did not require that these matters should be reported to the Police. However in 1962, consensual interacial sex was illegal in much of the United States as well as in South Africa, and homosexuality was an imprisonable criminal offence in England.

In 1962 Communism ruled much of the world and a person who attended church could lose their job if the Communist authorities became aware. 1962 was only four years before the start of the Cultural Revolution in China when churches were attacked and Priests killed, only six years after the crushing of the Hungarian uprising and six years before the crushing of the Prague Spring. In those circumstances it is hardly surprising if church instructions did not require that all state authorities be automatically informed of any allegations made against a priest.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Draconian Security at Cofton

Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham's press officer Mr Peter Jennings has described the security measures for Cofton Park as "draconian".
Mr Jennings said: "I think the security's draconian. But I can't question the authorities on security.

"They're in charge. The government is in charge of the security and they have to make the decisions."

In a statement, the Cabinet Office said: "A very good job is being done in Birmingham towards organising the event with dozens of organisations involved.

"The government is working with local authorities and the police and has to balance security whilst working with the church to secure a good experience for pilgrims."
Does this mean that it is the government to blame for even babe's in arms being charged twenty-five quid to attend a Mass celebrated by the Vicar of Christ?

Sunday, August 22, 2010

SSPX Reconciliation Rumour

An interesting post on Rorate Caeli, which is taken from Bishop Richard Williamson's subscription only blog, it is only a rumour but it is fascinating. Apparently the Vatican talks with the Society of Saint Pius X have hit the buffers, so the Holy Father is going to issue a Motu Proprio, merely asking the SSPX to subscribe to the Catechism of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the same demand being made of Anglicans wishing to join the Ordinariate.
It is a clever piece of Benedictine circumvention in his quest for unity, there is no demand that the SSPXers accept the teaching of Vatican II, whatever that means, or anything else.
I presume talks will continue, I am a little disappointed that they will not define exactly what should be believed in VII's teaching or what may be rejected but I find it fascinating that now it is the Catechism that defines what it is to be a Catholic. I suppose in a sense the Council has become irrelevant - that is fascinating in itself, isn't it?
Will that work for Eastern Christians? Probably not.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Liberalism and England

An extract from Newman's famous "Biglietto Speech", the language is different but the thought could be Benedict XVI

[O]ne great mischief I have from the first opposed myself. For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often.
Liberalism in religion is the doctrine that there is no positive truth in religion, but that one creed is as good as another, and this is the teaching which is gaining substance and force daily. It is inconsistent with any recognition of any religion, as true. It teaches that all are to be tolerated, for all are matters of opinion. Revealed religion is not a truth, but a sentiment and a taste; not an objective fact, not miraculous; and it is the right of each individual to make it say just what strikes his fancy. Devotion is not necessarily founded on faith. Men may go to Protestant Churches and to Catholic, may get good from both and belong to neither. They may fraternise together in spiritual thoughts and feelings, without having any views at all of doctrine in common, or seeing the need of them. Since, then, religion is so personal a peculiarity and so private a possession, we must of necessity ignore it in the intercourse of man with man. If a man puts on a new religion every morning, what is that to you? It is as impertinent to think about a man's religion as about his sources of income or his management of his family. Religion is in no sense the bond of society.

Hitherto the civil Power has been Christian. Even in countries separated from the Church, as in my own, the dictum was in force, when I was young, that: "Christianity was the law of the land". Now, everywhere that goodly framework of society, which is the creation of Christianity, is throwing off Christianity. The dictum to which I have referred, with a hundred others which followed upon it, is gone, or is going everywhere; and, by the end of the century, unless the Almighty interferes, it will be forgotten. Hitherto, it has been considered that religion alone, with its supernatural sanctions, was strong enough to secure submission of the masses of our population to law and order; now the Philosophers and Politicians are bent on satisfying this problem without the aid of Christianity. Instead of the Church's authority and teaching, they would substitute first of all a universal and a thoroughly secular education, calculated to bring home to every individual that to be orderly, industrious, and sober, is his personal interest. Then, for great working principles to take the place of religion, for the use of the masses thus carefully educated, it provides—the broad fundamental ethical truths, of justice, benevolence, veracity, and the like; proved experience; and those natural laws which exist and act spontaneously in society, and in social matters, whether physical or psychological; for instance, in government, trade, finance, sanitary experiments, and the intercourse of nations. As to Religion, it is a private luxury, which a man may have if he will; but which of course he must pay for, and which he must not obtrude upon others, or indulge in to their annoyance.

The general character of this great apostasia is one and the same everywhere; but in detail, and in character, it varies in different countries. For myself, I would rather speak of it in my own country, which I know. There, I think it threatens to have a formidable success; though it is not easy to see what will be its ultimate issue. At first sight it might be thought that Englishmen are too religious for a movement which, on the Continent, seems to be founded on infidelity; but the misfortune with us is, that, though it ends in infidelity as in other places, it does not necessarily arise out of infidelity. It must be recollected that the religious sects, which sprang up in England three centuries ago, and which are so powerful now, have ever been fiercely opposed to the Union of Church and State, and would advocate the un-Christianising of the monarchy and all that belongs to it, under the notion that such a catastrophe would make Christianity much more pure and much more powerful. Next the liberal principle is forced on us from the necessity of the case. Consider what follows from the very fact of these many sects. They constitute the religion, it is supposed, of half the population; and, recollect, our mode of government is popular. Every dozen men taken at random whom you meet in the streets has a share in political power,—when you inquire into their forms of belief, perhaps they represent one or other of as many as seven religions; how can they possibly act together in municipal or in national matters, if each insists on the recognition of his own religious denomination? All action would be at a deadlock unless the subject of religion was ignored. We cannot help ourselves. And, thirdly, it must be borne in mind, that there is much in the liberalistic theory which is good and true; for example, not to say more, the precepts of justice, truthfulness, sobriety, self-command, benevolence, which, as I have already noted, are among its avowed principles, and the natural laws of society. It is not till we find that this array of principles is intended to supersede, to block out, religion, that we pronounce it to be evil. There never was a device of the Enemy so cleverly framed and {69} with such promise of success. And already it has answered to the expectations which have been formed of it. It is sweeping into its own ranks great numbers of able, earnest, virtuous men, elderly men of approved antecedents, young men with a career before them.

Such is the state of things in England, and it is well that it should be realised by all of us; but it must not be supposed for a moment that I am afraid of it. I lament it deeply, because I foresee that it may be the ruin of many souls; but I have no fear at all that it really can do aught of serious harm to the Word of God, to Holy Church, to our Almighty King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, Faithful and True, or to His Vicar on earth. Christianity has been too often in what seemed deadly peril, that we should fear for it any new trial now. So far is certain; on the other hand, what is uncertain, and in these great contests commonly is uncertain, and what is commonly a great surprise, when it is witnessed, is the particular mode by which, in the event, Providence rescues and saves His elect inheritance. Sometimes our enemy is turned into a friend; sometimes he is despoiled of {70} that special virulence of evil which was so threatening; sometimes he falls to pieces of himself; sometimes he does just so much as is beneficial, and then is removed. Commonly the Church has nothing more to do than to go on in her own proper duties, in confidence and peace; to stand still and to see the salvation of God.

Happy St Pius X Day

A little bit of footage of the canonisation of St Pius X, with a German* commentary.
I have a devotion to him, I was ordained in a church dedicated to him.
Invoke his prayers for the Church in England and Wales.

*sorry, Dutch

Friday, August 20, 2010

Prayers for Jack

Say a prayer:
  • for Clare who is elderly and has decided to stop eating
  • for Jack my 5 year old grand-nephew who fell out of a 1st floor window, he fracture both wrists and his skull, lost a kidney and has serious damage to his spleen - pray for David and Emma his parents too

Deirdre and James: Deus Fecit

Deirdre and James were married yesterday!
They both sing in our choir.
They chose to have their wedding in the Extraordinary Form, I tend to be in favour of things EF but the wedding rite is so perfunctory, almost rude in its beginning, not even the Sign of the Cross but straight into, "Will you take ...", I was tempted to persuade them to opt for the Novus Ordo. I didn't but we did have a Missa Cantata with incense.
It was a very sober affair, just over a dozen guests, both their families are Irish, a few other parishioners, four people in the choir loft, me and the servers.
What struck me, as with other old rite acts, it was God that did it, He married them not me, in the case of Deirdre's and James' wedding it was the Eucharist the joined them together.

I have a theory that ancient times the simple act of coming to Mass as a couple or presenting themselves for a blessing together actually was the Church's rite of marriage in many places.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Liturgical Entertainment

Bishop Timothy Dudley-Smith
One of the people who are singing at the Prayer Vigil ay Hyde Park sent me this email about the programme for what was originally entitled the Liturgical Entertainment. I am sure somewhere there is the Holy Rosary and three o'clock everything will stop for the Divine Mercy Chaplet, and somewhere nuns will appear to sing Sext and None, Vesper will of course be part of the Liturgy when the Holy Father appears.
It will, won't it?

What surprises me is that for a Pope who has said so much about chant and the more noble music of our Christian heritage there is so little of it.
As someone who came across Timothy Dudley-Smith, when he was a rather hardline President of the Evangelical Alliance I am surprised his Tell Out My Soul is being used, he did after all deliberately leave out the line, "Hence forth all generations will call me blessed", so adverse was he to Roman Mariolatry! I am sure that the sound of Rutter, Farrell, Walker, Foley and the great Kendrick will make up for it.
Here is the email:
Thank you for taking up the invitation to sing at the Papal Vigil in Hyde Park.

I am delighted to say that the choir will consist of 160 singers from nearly all the dioceses in England and Wales. Together with 50 singers and 50 musicians from the New English Orchestra, you will provide the majority of the accompaniment to the Vigil. You will also be on stage (under cover should it rain) and in close proximity to the Holy Father. It should be an experience to cherish for many years.

The programme for the afternoon is as follows:
12.00/12.30 tbc Doors open to the public
12.30- 14.00 Information slides on big screens
14.00- 16.00 Part One Various acts by different music and drama groups from across the country
16.00-17.00 Part Two Procession of diocesan youth, parish representatives and representatives from Catholic charities and organisations.
17.00-17.50 Part Three A presentation on the Heart of the Church
17.50- 18.15 Part Four Build up to the arrival of the Holy Father
18.15-19.45 Part Five Vigil Liturgy
19.45-20.15 Part Six A “Soft Close” with musical accompaniment.
The full choir will sing to accompany the procession in Part Two, the build up to the arrival of the Holy Father (Part Four) and the liturgy (Part Five). To avoid having to be seated on stage from 14.00 – 20.15, you will take your place on stage at 15.40 and have a comfort break back stage between 17.00 and 17.40.

The music which you are being asked to sing is:

Part Two: Save us Lord our God (Rutter): 4-part refrain (not including the descant). Verses sung by the NEO.
Christ be Our Light (Farrell): All verses and chorus in unison.
Out of Darkness (Walker): 4-part harmony, verses and chorus (not including the descant; 1st chorus is in unison).
One Bread, One Body (Foley): Chorus only in unison.
Shine Jesus Shine (Kendrick): All verses and chorus in unison.

Part Four: Halleluiah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. Prout Edition.

Part Five: Opening Hymn: “Christ be beside me”
Psalm response
Gospel Acclamation: Alleluia Beati (Walker): Refrain in unison
Lord Jesus Christ your light shines within us (Taizé): 4-part harmony
Adoramus Te (Taizé): 4-part harmony
Lead Kindly Light
Tantum Ergo
Tell Out My Soul (Dudley-Smith): Unison

What you need to bring
1. Please bring with you Prout’s edition of the Halleluiah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
2. If you have them (we’ll be charged post-event for reproducing every copy we do not have): 4-part Vocal Scores (or your own individual voice part) for the 2 Christopher Walker pieces: “Save us Lord our God” and “Out of Darkness”.

Thursday Please be at Hyde Park for 2 pm. Entry to the site (see attached map) is on South Carriage Drive, close to Hyde Park Corner. The rehearsal will begin on stage at 3 pm and finish by 6 pm.
Friday Please be at Hyde Park for midday for a full rehearsal which will hopefully finish by 6.30 pm. Please be prepared for periods of inactivity while other groups are rehearsing. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available (free of charge) through the course of the afternoon.
Saturday Please be at Hyde Park for 9 am. There will be a morning rehearsal, time tbc. You will be free to relax in the performers back stage changing room between 12.00 and 15.40 but won’t be possible to leave the site.
The Vigil will end at 8 pm and we estimate that you will be able to leave by 8.30 pm.
The following dress code applies only to Saturday. Dress is informal for the rehearsals on Thursday and Friday. We ask that for Saturday afternoon you wear black trousers or skirt and a shirt (and jumper) of a single plain colour (bearing in mind that the temperature may require you to wear more than one layer). In other words: no garments with stripes or printed patterns. Please also avoid wearing white which is apparently sensitive to the cameras.
Please bring photo ID. You will be issued with a security pass on Thursday which will be valid for the 3 days.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to ask.
I look forward to seeing you on Thursday 16th.

With kind regards,

Rev. Andrew Headon BSc STL MBA, Hyde Park Vigil Co-ordinator

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Englisches Seminar über die Alte Messe

I still can't download Gloria TV videos - but look here
Gute Werke gegen Dämonen
Startschuss für den Pro Life Marsch

Atheistische Seelsorger

Mehr Geld fürs Auto als für Kinder

Englisches Seminar über die Alte Messe

Downside Review (last installment)

Downside was a tremendous experience. The solemn liturgies in Downside’s glorious gothic church were inspiringly beautiful. It was wonderful to be able sing the Trad. Divine Office, I wish we could do that in the parish. It was so useful to be able to learn to say the Mass at one of the many altars and chapels in the Abbey church. Those of us who were learning High Mass were able to use the altar of St Oliver Plunkett whose body, minus its head, rests in a shrine next to it in the Church.

Most of all I enjoyed was the sense of fraternity amongst the priests, the solidarity, the sharing of our love for our holy Mother the Church and her liturgy. It can be a little lonely out there as a priest with a strong regard for the Church’s Tradition.

The accommodation was designed for adolescent girls rather than priests. We had the recently built girl's block. My time for using semi-communal showers has long since past. The bed was so narrow I fell out of it couple of times – a bit disconcerting in the middle of the night. I am not quite sure how those amongst us who had to visit the lavatory frequently through out the night managed.

It was amusing to speak to priests who never celebrated the Ordinary Form and laymen who never attend it, they seemed to think that in the “NO Church” we all had girl servers, always had tambourines at Mass, often had puppets or dressed up as clowns, never used the Roman Canon or chant or polyphony or had any experience of hearing confessions.

One of things that was lacking was any formal opportunity to share our experiences of promoting the Extraordinary Form of the Liturgy and of using it to enhance the Ordinary Form, “mutual enriching” as the Pope calls it.

What was really good was to have Bishop Athanasius Schneider with us, it was a bit sad that we priests didn’t have much of an opportunity to actually spend time with him and I am afraid I had great difficulty hearing him. At the lecture he gave, he spoke very quietly and read from a prepared text, which wasn’t too easy to follow, there was no amplification, one priest said he thought what he had to say was “magnificent” but many of us just didn’t hear, a great shame as he had come from Kazakhstan to speak to us. He became more audible when he left his prepared text and spoke off the cuff. I had only half realised that the Holy Father started to give Holy Communion only in the Traditional manner after he read Bishop Schneider’s book Dominus Est.

He had two stories interesting stories from Pope John XXIII’s secretary, Archbishop Loris Capovilla who is still alive, apparently once the Archbishop, to spare the aging Pope during a private Mass in Holy Week, shortened the Gospel text the Pope was reading. At breakfast afterwards the Pope asked what authority he had for doing so, and being told no decree of the Church had authorised his action John XXII told him never, ever to do it again. The other story was that the Pope had sent him off to the barbers because his tonsure had become indistinct, so much for Pope John’s apparent Liberalism.

What impressed me most about Bishop Schneider was that although he didn’t have much contact with us he spent an awful amount of time before the Blessed Sacrament in the Church, almost leaning over the bench he knelt at as if to get closer to the Lord. He was there just after six when I arrived to prepare for my Mass and he was there afterwards and when I went off to sing Lauds and still there when I returned. Whatever he said was about the reality of God in his Church but it was his demeanour which was one of prayer and of quiet episcopal humility that is well aware of human failings and yet fully aware that he is the successor of the Apostles. It was a great privilege to have been there with him and to have seen him at prayer.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Depressing Visit Website

I was told awhile ago that amidst the roast pig customarily shared after the English College's diaconate ordinations, one of our more liberal bishops had asked for the sacking of a priest on the staff who didn't believe in the ontological change brought about by ordination and then said that the person who is now organizing the Papal visit did not believe in God. A bishop's joke? perhaps, but look at this, the Papal visit website.

Who is the Pope?
The Pope is a follower of Jesus Christ and although he is coming to the UK as a Head of State
What is a Catholic?
Catholics are Christians, this means that they are followers of Jesus Christ. They believe Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man, the Son of God, their friend, liberator, Lord and Saviour. Catholics believe that Jesus Christ set up the Church (Matthew’s Gospel, chapter 16, verse 18) to pass on the fullness of his teaching, his life, and to carry on his work.
As the Bones says
So, to anyone interested in the Papal Visit, be they Catholic or not, let's just run through that once more. According to the visit website, the Pope is a Catholic, a follower of Jesus Christ and he is a Head of State. A Catholic is a follower of Jesus Christ who is not a Head of State? Hmm...I think there is more to being Pope than merely being a 'Head of State', though I'm sure being a 'Head of State' is a marvellous thing.

I am not sure who this website is aimed at but just reading it makes me depressed, it hardly speaks of faith, let alone, "The Faith".
See if you can find some other gems.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


At the bottom of the blog I have put a widget to the iBreviary, just to encourage lay people to say it - and I must admit it is for me when I'm too lazy to go down to Church when I've left my book there.

Can anyone give a link to widget for the Traditional breviary?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

More from Downside

Here are a few more photographs from the LMS Downside conference, these were taken by Leo Darroch Executive President of the International Federation of Una Voce. It was fascinating to speak to Leo of his work with various Roman Curial Offices.

Entrance into the wonderful Gothic church of Downside, with splendid organ playing by Robert O'Farrell.Fr. John Cahill celebrating a Missa Cantata
Some tired old priest who tried to learn the Missa Solemnis and the spent his time complaining about spending the whole course "going up and down stairs" and having to genuflect all the time. Gosh, my knees did hurt.
Bishop Schneider having celebrated a private Mass the MC Richard Hawker.
Bishop Schneider being thanked by LMS Chairman, Dr Joseph Shaw, sitting next to His Lordship is Paul Waddington, who organised the conference. There were over 50 people including priests, musicians and servers. Once the parish priest of Wells lent us some towels most things went relatively smoothly, though with all those priest I thing Paul must have felt he was herding cats at times.
Ready for the Pontifical Solemn Mass.Processing for the photograph.
The photograph!!

Afterwards I was very impressed to meet All the Little Epsilon's who travelled frm Southampton to Downside on her bus pass, staying overnight in her tent on her way. Truly heroic, especially as it been bucketting down the previous day.
Yes, and "John F", it was good to meet you too.

From Downside

Sorry, no communication from Downside, I couldn't get the net to work. But here, from the Chairman's Blog are some very nice photographs.

Including one of me learning to be a deacon at High Mass.

I'll put up somthing later today.

Monday, August 09, 2010

...And so to Downside

I am off to Downside for the LMS Conference, I hope there will internet access.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Silent Voices

Old Splinty is having a go at the incestuous Tablet again, he is well worth reading just for that. He takes on Clifford Longley, who suggest we must lower our expectations of the Papal visit, because of the Pope! Of course Longley is writing for the Liberal establishment's house journal, so maybe the rest of us should raise our expectations.

However I rather enjoyed reading this little section:

In fact, something that has struck me about the Protest The Pope Coalition is the disconnect between the amount of sympathetic media coverage it’s been given and the uniformly derisory turnouts at its events. The last picket of Westminster Cathedral attracted fewer than thirty people – even Peter Tatchell only claimed fifty – and they seemed to be heavily made up of professional protesters like Peter. To understand that, you have to consider the Coalition itself, which is the usual anti-religious lash-up of OutRage!, the National ‘Secular’ Society and the Worker-Communist Party of Iran plus a few waifs and strays. When this constellation are organising anti-Islam rallies, it’s normally the WPI who provide the warm bodies, but the Iranian exiles don’t really give a stuff about the Pope either way, and Maryam Namazie seems to have concluded that her time is better spent broadcasting Hekmatist propaganda to the freedom-loving peoples of the world.

If you then factor in the rather elderly and inactive membership of the NSS, and then realise how small OutRage! actually is (hence its reliance on headline-grabbing stunts), you come to the conclusion that there really isn’t a coalition at all. It is no wonder that their public meeting next Thursday, to be addressed by Tatchell, Terry Sanderson and that Italian wackaloon who wants Berlusconi to annex Vatican City, is not being held in the Albert Hall but in a library in Richmond. What the coalition does have is Peter Tatchell, with his tremendous media profile, the enormous respect he’s held in, and his unparallelled ability to sit in a TV studio energetically talking rubbish to anchors who know even less on the subject than he does.
Someone pointed out the Protest the Pope petition appeared to have a large number of signatures but actually had less supporters Raoul Moat Facebook page. The great problem we have is that wretched Eccleston Square have allowed the preparations for the visit to have become the story, rather than the visit itself. There really has been a lot of ball fumbling, I want a referees's enquiry afterwards.

Why haven't we prepared better? We could have had a exhibition or two at Westminster Cathedral, arranged to have Ian Kerr giving a lecturing on Newman, someone else on Benedict's teaching. we could have had a whole series, we could have got few "red hats" over, we could have had a few concerts, including a debut of MacMillan's music. As far as know there hasn't even been a prayer vigil arranged in any of our Cathedrals and I haven't even heard a croak out of Uncle Jack Valero's Catholic Voices; the Voices are silent!
This could have been a great festival of Catholic culture, culminating in the visit, where the Catholic Church in England Wales created a series stories leading up to the visit. It is a terrible indictment of the lack of imagination in the nation's Catholic Church. The trouble is that our very structures, our obsession with committees, destroys broad thinking, as with the Papal visit, so with evangelisation, so with the whole process of communicating the faith.

Cardinal Newman on Anglicanism

So what did Newman think of Anglicanism?
(Difficulties of Anglicans, lecture 4): “You can have no trust in the Establishment or its Sacraments and ordinances. You must leave it, you must secede; you must turn your back upon, you must renounce, what has—not suddenly become, but has now been proved to you to have ever been—an imposture. You must take up your cross and you must go hence.”

(Difficulties of Anglicans, lecture 1): “the Established Church has no claims whatever on us, whether in memory or in hope … they only have claims upon our commiseration and our charity whom she holds in bondage, separated from that faith and that Church in which alone is salvation. If I can do aught towards breaking their chains, and bringing them into the Truth, it will be an act of love towards their souls, and of piety towards God.”
courtesy Dr Oddie
Trouble with old JHN is having researched a subject thoroughly, he came to certain convictions and fearlessly taught them. A bit like Pope Benedict really.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Pope right on condoms

Some interesting stats from a CNA report on condoms and HIV AIDS. Here is a quote:

To prove his point, Stefanick compared the African nations of Botswana and Uganda. Botswana promoted condom use from the beginning. Uganda, a primarily Catholic country, encouraged abstinence.

“In Botswana, Cameroon, and Kenya - they saw AIDS prevalence rise alongside condom distribution until they both leveled out,” noted Stefanick. “In Botswana today, where condoms are available nearly everywhere, one in six people is HIV positive or living with AIDS.”

In Uganda, where abstinence is strongly promoted, the prevalence of AIDS has dropped and now affects less than six percent of the population. Stefanick quoted BBC News who stated that Uganda has done extremely well in fighting AIDS because, in many parts of the country, its prevalence “was at least three times higher in the early 90s.”

Stefanick also cited a similar comparison, made between Thailand and the Philippines, where AIDS broke out at the same time. Thailand’s approach promoted the distribution of condoms while the highly Catholic Philippines promoted abstinence. Twenty years after the outbreak, the prevalence of AIDS in Thailand is 50 times higher than in the Philippines.

“According to the British Medical Journal, which is not a Catholic publication mind you, ‘the greater the percentage of Catholics in any country, the lower the level of HIV. If the Catholic Church is promoting a message about HIV in those countries it seems to be working,’” said Stefanick.
Do watch the video.
How interestinf Chris Stefanick is the head of Youth Ministries in an American diocese, if only here in England and Wales ...

Thursday, August 05, 2010

My Wedding Sermon

Ed West writes a post; The New Atheism is 'Bolshevism for the Home Counties', about his review of Peter Hitchens The Rage against God. Hitchens' Damascus moment in his conversion was seeing Rogier van der Weyden’s Last Judgment.
My wedding sermon has become somewhat fixed lately, at least in its core (we have had quite a few this year, one or two most weeks) it is basically that the view of humanity offered by Hitchen's brother, Christopher and Richard Dawkins  is essentially one of unredeemed man, red in tooth and claw, left to his own selfishness. Their vision seems to  really to be man steeped in original sin, unable to transcend himself, unable to escape himself. Love, self-giving and sacrifice are not transcendent but merely chemical or biological impulses. In contrast Christians see Love as the basis of the cosmos, this Love for want of a better word we name "God", and we glimpse it the couple being married. Christians ultimately see this Love in the self-giving sacrifice of Christ.
Such notions of Love can only be intuited, it cannot be measured, we know what it is when we see. In this sense it is the same as Beauty, encountering it enables us to transcend ourselves. In order speak about it we need myth, mystery and metaphor,  artifice and art, imagination and intuition. It is better expressed through music and poetry.
I wonder whether the very beauty of Weyden's painted communicated as much as the metaphorical narrative, could Ms Emin have done as much? I presume not.
I find Ed's reference to 'Bolshevism for the Home Counties' intriguing, Bolshevism might indeed be dead as a political movement but it finds expression contemporary - home counties - anthropolgy, man is simply what you see. It is only with the Divine he transcend himself.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

England and Wales has a Todd Brown

I had an email and a phone call asking about the reception of Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue, apparently one of our bishops - let's not mention names - refused to give some servers communion in this way. Rather than assuming he deliberately refused the communicants their right to receive in this way let us be charitable and presume he was confused.
Of course he was wrong. There was similar event with Bishop Todd Brown of Orange County, Florida in 2006 which was caught on video. He forced a woman to stand.
Whilst it is true that the normal way of receiving Holy Communion in England and Wales is standing, having formed a queue; this was approved by the CDW for our Episcopal Conference some years ago, and of course everyone has the right to receive Holy Communion in the hand in our Bishops' jurisdiction. Nevertheless the faithful, even on the sanctuary, have the right to receive Holy Communion kneeling if they wish, although this is not the norm and they also have the right to receive on the tongue, which is the universaal norm, throughout the Church.

Redemptionis Sacramentum says:
91.] In distributing Holy Communion it is to be remembered that “sacred ministers may not deny the sacraments to those who seek them in a reasonable manner, are rightly disposed, and are not prohibited by law from receiving them”. Hence any baptized Catholic who is not prevented by law must be admitted to Holy Communion. Therefore, it is not licit to deny Holy Communion to any of Christ’s faithful solely on the grounds, for example, that the person wishes to receive the Eucharist kneeling or standing.

[92.] Although each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue, at his choice, if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognitio of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.

It seems very churlish that a particular bishop might contradict the practice and teaching of the Bishop of Rome.

LMS Invitation

Bishop Schneider ordaining at Wigratzbad
The LMS have asked me to publicise the liturgies to which the public are invited at the Downside Abbey Conference. If you live in the area do try and come along.

Tuesday 10 August at 11.00 am
(St Lawrence Martyr)
Solemn Mass

Wednesday 11 August at 11.15 am
(SS Tibertius & Susanna Martyrs)
Missa Cantata

Thursday 12 August at 11.00 am
(St Clare Virgin)
Pontifical High Mass
Celebrant: Bishop Athanasius Schneider ORC
Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganga, Kazakhstan

Friday 13 August at 11.00 am
(SS Hippolytus & Cassian Martyrs)
Solemn Mass

Details: LMS office on 020 7404 7284

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Saved by a Rosary!

Private Glenn Hockton, 19, asked for a rosary to take with him before being deployed to Afghanistan on a seven-month tour of duty with the Coldstream Guards in Helmand Province.
He bent down to pick the rosary up when it fell from his neck and then realised he was on a landmine.
read more

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...