Monday, November 29, 2010

Enculturation in Colombo: Cardinal Ranjith Returns

The only time I have ever met the now Cardinal Malcolm Rajith he was speaking about "enculturation", saying that it was important in Asia to get away from western concepts and that bowing and prostration even crawling on one's hands and knees were very much part of many Asian cultures. He was also suggested bishop's using cds and tapes, in the US even videos, for pastoral letters was seriously unliturgical!

Therefore I was delighted to see this marvellous piece of eculturation  to welcome him back to Colombo, I would have preferred a scarlet elephant, but I am just a trad.
read more here
see more here

Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Benedictine Nuns of Notre Dame de L'Annonciation

Video of The Benedictine Nuns of Notre Dame de L'Annonciation on their new album Voices Of Avignon, available from Amazon.

Abuse: the problem is Ecclesiological

The Pope attributes the present state of Catholic Liturgy to a disregard for the Liturgy as "a given" and the same could be said for the state of confusion in catechesis.
The Pope has been urging bishops and priests to return to "doing the red and saying the black" - basically following the rules. It is interesting that in Peter Seewald's book the Pope when speaking of the sexual abuse in Ireland he cites the change in ecclesiology being at the root of the problem.
Pope Benedict says: “The Archbishop of Dublin told me something very interesting about that. He said that ecclesiastical penal law functioned until the late 1950s; admittedly, it was not perfect – there is much to criticise about it – but nevertheless it was applied. After the mid-sixties, however, it was simply not applied any more.

“The prevailing mentality was that the Church must not be a Church of laws but, rather a Church of love: she must not punish . . . This led to an odd darkening of the mind, even in very good people.”
Asked by Seewald about the overall impact of the Irish sex abuse crisis, Pope Benedict says: “In Ireland the problem is altogether specific – there is a self-enclosed Catholic society, so to speak, which remained true to its faith despite centuries of oppression, but in which, then, evidently certain attitudes were also able to develop. I cannot analyze that in detail now.
“To see a country that gave the world so many missionaries, so many saints, which in the history of the missions also stands at the origin of our faith in Germany, now in a situation like this is tremendously upsetting and depressing. Above all, of course, for the Catholics in Ireland itself, where now as always there are many good priests.”

Friday, November 26, 2010

Monastic News

St Cecilia's on the Isle of Wight have just had another Solemn Profession, Sister Margaret Ross.
Congratulations! According to the Catholic Herald there are a few more on their way.
Sister Elizabeth Burgess, who looks forward to her Solemn Profession next year, Sister Mary Thomas Brown who made her First Profession on October 18 this year, Clara Beards, who entered the Abbey as a postulant in September, and Sister Marie-Therese Dempsey, who received the habit earlier in the year on July 9.

I understand the monks of Ramsgate are still negotiating to take over the Franciscan Friary at Chilworth.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pope v Dalai Lama

Sorry to go on about sex but I thought you might be amused(?) by this vox pop video on the views of the Pope versus the Dalai Lama. h/t ACBP
I am not sure that the Dalai Lama's teaching is his own or the teaching of Tibetan Buddhisms. I am rather sick of people describing the teaching of the Catholic Church as being the Pope's personal teaching.

The Blessed Silence: Christ the Angel

The Temple Gallery, that delightful little icon gallery in Holland Park sent me their catalogue for their Christmas exhibition. I am fascinated by these two icons of "The Blessed Silence". Although this seems to be a particularly Russian devotion, there is in the ancient Roman Canon the reference to the Angel who takes "this offering to Your Altar in Heaven". Presumably the same scripture references support both the icon and the reference in the Canon.
The second icon interestingly shows Christ's heart pierced with instruments of the Passion.

Christ depicted as an angel is based on Isaiah 9:5 who refers to “The Messenger (‘Angelos’) of Great Counsel”. He is the ‘Word in Eternity’ and, according to Coomber in The Icon Handbook, (Springfield Illinois, 1995), the iconography is ‘associated with the Creation and the Plan of Salvation, ordained from Eternity’. Other references from Isaiah are relevant: 42:2 “He shall not...cause his voice to be heard in the streets”; 53:7 “He was afflicted yet opened not his a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opens not his mouth”. Two four pointed stars, one superimposed on the other, are seen within Christ’s halo; their eight points are said to symbolise Eternity and the whole of Creation. (The Octave is the symbol of completion). Christ is clothed as a bishop (cf Hebrews 4:14 “...we have a great high priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus Christ, Son of God...”. Seraphim, six-winged, bodiless and traditionally red, adorn the upper part of his chest and arms. The Seraphim, according to Dionysios the Areopagite, are the highest order of Angels and stand at the entrance into Paradise. At Christ’s chest is a Cherub, also bodiless and regarded as second in the angelic order. Christ holds the symbols of the Passion and an inscribed scroll: “Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). On the borders are the Guardian Angel and a female saint.

The subject was introduced into the iconographical canon in Russia in the 16th century. At that time Moscow, which had recently declared itself the Third Rome, was a milieu of intense theological and iconographical activity. (See N.P. Kondakov,The Russian Icon, OUP 1928, Chapter Mystical and Didactic Subjects).

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Cardinal Burke on the Pope's remarks

Raymond Cardinal  Burke on the Popes remarks on condoms:

I don’t see any change in the Church’s teaching. What [Pope Benedict] is commenting on — in fact, he makes the statement very clearly that the Church does not regard the use of condoms as a real or a moral solution — but what he’s talking about in the point he makes about the male prostitute is about a certain conversion process taking place in an individual’s life. He’s simply making the comment that if a person who is given to prostitution at least considers using a condom to prevent giving the disease to another person — even though the effectiveness of this is very questionable — this could be a sign of someone who is having a certain moral awakening. But in no way does it mean that prostitution is morally acceptable, nor does it mean that the use of condoms is morally acceptable.
The point the Pope is making is about a certain growth in freedom, an overcoming of an enslavement to a sexual activity that is morally repugnant [unacceptable] so that this concern to use a condom in order not to infect a sexual partner could at least be a sign of some moral awakening in the individual, which one hopes would lead the individual to understand that his activity is a trivialization of human sexuality and needs to be changed …
The text itself makes it very clear that he says the Church does not regard it as a real or moral solution. And when he says that it could be a first step in a movement toward a different, more human way of living sexuality, that doesn’t mean in any sense that he’s saying the use of condoms is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Mopping and whinging

Say a prayer!
I know this is a bit self indulgent.

Everything that could go wrong with the project to restore the church seems to have gone wrong in the past week or so and we are quickly running out of money.

We moved some radiators to restore the original width of the central aisle, ever since we have had leaks, last Wednesday I had to cancel Exposition and Benediction and spent a couple of hours mopping up water, then before our Saturday evening Mass another of them started spouting hot water. Bill, the plumber came out and almost fixed it fixed but I still had to get up a couple of times in the night to empty buckets.

The new lighting scheme depends on taking a great wadge of cables from the sacristy at the front of the church wher the electricity comes into the church to the back, we had intended to take it under the floor, tests showed that we have asbestos in the crypt of the church. In 2001 I spent pratically every penny we had and more encapsulating it but it is still a problem.

Most evenings I spend an hour or so in the church mopping tyhe benches to get rid of the dust from the slow, slow process of cleaning off the horrible grey paint for the stone. We clean it off withe a chemical preparation which is then neutralised, afterwards it has to be rubbed down with fine sandpaper. All rather messey!
I really have been self indulgent and feeling sorry for myself, the last week of the liturgical year  is always a bit of sad time, there is my birthday, the day after is the anniversary of my mother's death, the day after that is the anniversary of a very good friend of mine, it is always bit a numbing.

I am not being tortured or imprisoned for the faith, my parishioners can come to Mass freely, I am not in physical pain, I haven't sick or dying children or a spouse to worry about, no one is bombing or threatning us, we are not cleaning up after flood or a disaster.

But if you can spare an Ave or two I would be grateful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Condoms: Am I a wet liberal or plain naive?

Am I a wet liberal or plain naive? Because I have always understood the Church taught that sin was always linked to intentionality.
Thus, a condom used to frustrate the Divine intentions for marriage is always sinful, whereas a condom used to prevent the passing on of a infectious desease, especially where the sexual act is taking place outside of a loving relationship, is of a different order entirely.

Friday, November 19, 2010

I write like...

I found a link to this little toy on Valle Adurni, it tells you whose style you write in.

I fed the piece I wrote on Remembrance in and the analysis was I write like Oscar Wilde! Some of my older parishioners remember the elderly, very eccentric, Lord Alfred Douglass (Bozey) coming here to Mass, he was a parishioner. The altar severs were told by the then PP that under no account were they to take sweets from His Lordship!

That is not the story, I dont know if I should reveal this, I'll get into trouble, but I fed in the Bishops' statement on the Ordinariates and, well they write like...
...answer in the combox.

Statement on the Implementation of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: The Establishment of a Personal Ordinariate in England and Wales

From the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales
Much has been achieved over many years as a result of the dialogue and the fruitful ecumenical relations which have developed between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion. Obedient to the prayer of the Lord Jesus Christ to His Heavenly Father, the unity of the Church remains a constant desire in the vision and life of Anglicans and Catholics. The prayer for Christian Unity is the prayer for the gift of full communion with each other. We must never tire of praying and working for this goal.

During his visit to the United Kingdom in September, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI was therefore keen to stress that the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus: “…should be seen as a prophetic gesture that can contribute positively to the developing relations between Anglicans and Catholics. It helps us to set our sights on the ultimate goal of all ecumenical activity: the restoration of full ecclesial communion in the context of which the mutual exchange of gifts from our respective spiritual patrimonies serves as an enrichment to us all.”

It is now just over one year since the Apostolic Constitution was published. The Pope’s initiative provided for the establishment of personal Ordinariates as one of the ways in which members of the Anglican tradition may seek to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. As the Holy Father stated at that time, he was responding to petitions received “repeatedly and insistently”ii by him from groups of Anglicans wishing “to be received into full communion individually as well as corporately.”iii Since then, it has become clear that a number of Anglican clergy and their faithful do indeed wish to bring their desire for full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church to realisation within an Ordinariate structure.

In collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) in Rome, the Bishops of England and Wales have been preparing for the establishment of an Ordinariate early in January 2011. Although there may be practical difficulties in the months ahead, the Bishops are working to address these at a national and local level.

Five Anglican Bishops who currently intend to enter the Ordinariate have already announced their decision to resign from pastoral ministry in the Church of England with effect from 31 December 2010. They will enter into full communion with the Catholic Church early in January 2011. During the same month, it is expected that the Decree establishing the Ordinariate will be issued and the name of the Ordinary to be appointed announced. Soon afterwards, those non-retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood for service in the Ordinariate.

It is expected that the retired former Anglican Bishops whose petitions to be ordained are accepted by the CDF, will be ordained to the Catholic Diaconate and Priesthood prior to Lent. This will enable them, together with the Ordinary and the other former Anglican Bishops, to assist with the preparation and reception of former Anglican clergy and their faithful into full communion with the Catholic Church during Holy Week.

Before the beginning of Lent, those Anglican clergy with groups of faithful who have decided to enter the Ordinariate will then begin a period of intense formation for ordination as Catholic priests.

At the beginning of Lent, the groups of faithful together with their pastors will be enrolled as candidates for the Ordinariate. Then, at a date to be agreed between the Ordinary and the local diocesan Bishop, they will be received into the Catholic Church and confirmed. This will probably take place either during Holy Week, at the Mass of the Lord’s Supper on Holy Thursday or during the Easter Vigil. The period of formation for the faithful and their pastors will continue to Pentecost. Until then, these communities will be cared for sacramentally by local clergy as arranged by the diocesan Bishop and the Ordinary.

Around Pentecost, those former Anglican priests whose petitions for ordination have been accepted by the CDF will be ordained to the Catholic Priesthood. Ordination to the Diaconate will precede this at some point during Eastertide. Formation in Catholic theology and pastoral practice will continue for an appropriate amount of time after ordination.

In responding generously and offering a warm welcome to those seeking full ecclesial communion with the Catholic Church within the Ordinariate, the Bishops know that the clergy and faithful who are on that journey of faith will bring their own spiritual treasures which will further enrich the spiritual life of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. The Bishops will do all they can to ensure that there is effective and close collaboration with the Ordinariate both at diocesan and parish levels.

Finally, with the blessings and encouragement they have received from Pope Benedict’s recent Visit, the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are resolved to continue their dialogue with other Christian Churches and Ecclesial Communities on that journey towards the communion in faith and the fullness of unity for which Christ prayed.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Compare and contrast Bishop's Conferences

I agree with Mark Greaves who in the Catholic Herald compares and contrasts the Bishops Conferences of the USA and England and Wales. In the US there is openness; agendas, speeches, voting are public, here everything is behind closed doors, except for the close of session press conference. A committment to openness by the US Bishops helped to repair the loss of trust following their abuse crisis.

It is not just the Cathosphere that is critical of the Bishop Conference, the Catholic press is too, even when it existed the National Conference of Priests. Today we are rightly suspicious of closed shops and groups who meet in secret, men exercising power without scrutiny. People expect transparency, openness and honesty, especially from the clergy, with the net the technology is possible.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pope: Freedom for Asia Bibi

Today the Pope unusually at general audience asked for the freedom of an imprisoned Christian, Asia Bibi.
Over these days the international community is, with great concern, following the situation of Christians in Pakistan, who are often victims of violence or discrimination. In particular, I today express my spiritual closeness to Ms Asia Bibi and her family while asking that, as soon as possible, she may be restored to complete freedom. I also pray for people who find themselves in similar situations, that their human dignity and fundamental rights may be fully respected.
Asia Bibi is a Pakistani Christian who, following a discussion with some Muslim colleagues, was accused by the latter of having pronounced offensive words against the Prophet Mohammed and denounced to the local imam. The imam asked the police to intervene and an investigation began which, a few days later, led to the arrest of Asia Bibi on the accusation of violating code 295 of the penal code, which provides for the death penalty for blasphemy.

Maybe someone could give us some useful email addresses in the combox.

Gilding the leaves

This is Sophie Popham who is a gilder, carver and restorer based in Lewes most of the time she restores antique picture frames. She has worked on the music room in Brighton Pavillion and a recent project was gilding a clock up a tower clock in Pevensey.
Here she is in my dining room gilding the lighting brackets which be installed in the church.

If you want Sophie's details contact me.

Tradmass revival

I have just seen the LMS have revamped their website, one of the interesting things are the number of Trad Masses in our diocese is continuing to grow. They announce two new regular Masses in Bognor and Guildford, Horsham started a few months ago, and Lewes too is going to start offering a monthly midday Sunday Mass.
Father Sean has a very well written article on mutual enrichment, which was something I was going to write about today but he has done it much better than I could do.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Dachau survivors at prayer

Da Mihi presents this silent video of Dachau survivors, under the caption that they are priests, they are at some kind of post-Mass devotion. I am not quite sure what is happeng, the look on the faces of the members of the congregations is haunting. I find the fingering of their rosaries and the making of the signs of the cross incredibly beautiful.

Pope: Bishops' Conference Doesn't Replace Bishop

Again the Pope complained about the bureaucracy of Bishop's Conferences, this time to the Brazilian Bishops, the biggest Conference in the world, imagine Eccleston Square squared! Ever since the Ratzinger Report (1985) the Bishop's Conference has been something the Pope has expressed concern about. It can so easily castrate Bishops and turn them from loving Shepherds and Fathers of the Flock of Christ into lack lustre managers. As a friend at one of the Roman Congregations says, "Episcopal Conferences: they are evil".
[The Bishops Conference] must "avoid placing itself as a parallel or substitute of the ministry of each of the bishops," or "constitute itself as an intermediary between the bishop and the See of Peter."

Benedict XVI said it is important to remember that the advisers and structures of the episcopal conference exist for "the service of the bishops, not to substitute them."

It is a manifestation of the "pastoral solicitude of the bishops," he said, "whose primary concern must be the salvation of souls."

The Holy Father affirmed that the essential mission of every episcopal conference is helping the bishops have greater communication and communion in tasks that affect them all.

"In the faithful exercise of the doctrinal function that corresponds to you, when you come together in your assemblies, dear bishops, you must above all study the most effective means to have the universal magisterium reach opportunely the people entrusted to you," he said.

Bishop's Conferences, though necessary tend to re

Monday, November 15, 2010

Iraqi Christians in Need

I am surprised that nothing has come through the post about the martyrdom of over 50 of our brothers and sisters in Bagdad. The normal Justice and Peace organs of the Church here are remarkable silent. Bishops, priests and lay people are being killed.
Archbishop Athanasuis Dawood of the Syriac Orthodox Church in the UK and various Protestant groups are urging Christians to leave, the Iraqi Catholic heirarchy are urging their people to stay.
The British Government, I am told, is still deporting Iraqi Christian asylum seekers.
Iraqi Christians if they decide to stay need the support we can squeeze out of our government, if they decide to leave they need us to offer them hospitality and financial support, either way they need our prayers.

There are some horrific pictures and some useful links on this site:

Watch the interview Fr. Nizar Semaan

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thoughts on Remembrance Day

Parents pass on lots of good things to their children but the also pass on vices. Habits of work or sloth, values or a lack of them, prejudices and opinions come down the generations.
As with parents so with nations; prejudices, terretorial claims, national fears pass unseen from generation to generation.
Wars too seem to be passed on, World War II in many ways sprung from World War I, it in turn from the Franco-Prussian War, that from the Napoleonic War and so on and so on.
Each generation leaves its filth and has its stranglehold on the next. The dead are incapable of clearing up their own mess, they drop pebbles into the pool of history which ripple out and out and out, generation to generation.
Today we pray for the "War Dead", yes we remember the heroism of brave young soldiers but we also pray for their souls, in doing that we as Catholics are not blind to their sin, nor to the horror of war: blood, rape, tears, dispossession, killing and murder are part of our prayer.
The Church in her wisdom encourages us to pray for the dead, to earn Indulgencesa for them. Prayer for the Pope, Communion, Confession are part of gaining an Indulgence but most importantly is the "detachment from sin."

This detachment is about breaking with the past, leaving it in the tomb and rising with Christ. It is about conversion, taking on him the Lord of History, beginning again with him and his values, making him our mother and father, our nation and our hope. It is only in him that can redeem mankind.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Quotes from Verbum Domini

I have difficulty in downloading PDF documents, they make my ancient computer crash, the following are from

Objective: "In this way I wish to point out certain fundamental approaches to a rediscovery of God’s word in the life of the Church as a wellspring of constant renewal. At the same time I express my hope that the word will be ever more fully at the heart of every ecclesial activity" (No. 1).

Religion of the Word: "The Christian faith is not a 'religion of the book': Christianity is the 'religion of the word of God,' not of a 'written and mute word, but of the incarnate and living Word'" (No. 7).

Tradition: "The living Tradition is essential for enabling the Church to grow through time in the understanding of the truth revealed in the Scriptures" (No. 17).

Inspiration and truth: "Sacred Scripture is the word of God set down in writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. In this way one recognizes the full importance of the human author who wrote the inspired texts and, at the same time, God himself as the true author" (No. 19).

God hears us: "Thus it is decisive, from the pastoral standpoint, to present the word of God in its capacity to enter into dialogue with the everyday problems which people face. [...] The Church’s pastoral activity needs to bring out clearly how God listens to our need and our plea for help" (No. 23).

Exegesis: "In their work of interpretation, Catholic exegetes must never forget that what they are interpreting is the word of God. Their common task is not finished when they have simply determined sources, defined forms or explained literary procedures. They arrive at the true goal of their work only when they have explained the meaning of the biblical text as God’s word for today" (No. 33).

Jews and Scripture: "I wish to state once more how much the Church values her dialogue with the Jews. Wherever it seems appropriate, it would be good to create opportunities for encounter and exchange in public as well as in private, and thus to promote growth in reciprocal knowledge, in mutual esteem and cooperation, also in the study of the sacred Scriptures" (No. 43).

Ecumenism: "Conscious that the Church has her foundation in Christ, the incarnate Word of God, the Synod wished to emphasize the centrality of biblical studies within ecumenical dialogue aimed at the full expression of the unity of all believers in Christ" (No. 46).

Bible translations and ecumenism: "Promoting common translations of the Bible is part of the ecumenical enterprise. I would like to thank all those engaged in this important work, and I encourage them to persevere in their efforts" (No. 46).

Sacred liturgy: "I encourage the Church's pastors and all engaged in pastoral work to see that all the faithful learn to savor the deep meaning of the word of God which unfolds each year in the liturgy, revealing the fundamental mysteries of our faith" (No. 52).

The homily: "The homily is part of the liturgical action and is meant to foster a deeper understanding of the word of God, so that it can bear fruit in the lives of the faithful. [...] For this reason preachers need to be in close and constant contact with the sacred text; they should prepare for the homily by meditation and prayer, so as to preach with conviction and passion" (No. 59).

Celebrations of the Word of God: "The synod fathers encouraged all pastors to promote times devoted to the celebration of the word in the communities entrusted to their care. These celebrations are privileged occasions for an encounter with the Lord. This practice will certainly benefit the faithful, and should be considered an important element of liturgical formation" (No. 65).

Acoustics: "Concern should be shown for church acoustics, with due respect for liturgical and architectural norms" (No. 68).

Liturgical song: "As part of the enhancement of the word of God in the liturgy, attention should also be paid to the use of song at the times called for by the particular rite. Preference should be given to songs which are of clear biblical inspiration and which express, through the harmony of music and words, the beauty of God's word. We would do well to make the most of those songs handed down to us by the Church’s tradition which respect this criterion. I think in particular of the importance of Gregorian chant" (No. 70).
Biblical apostolate: "The synod called for a particular pastoral commitment to emphasizing the centrality of the word of God in the Church’s life, and recommended a greater 'biblical apostolate,' not alongside other forms of pastoral work, but as a means of letting the Bible inspire all pastoral work" (No. 73)

Catechesis: "Catechetical work always entails approaching Scripture in faith and in the Church’s Tradition, so that its words can be perceived as living, just as Christ is alive today wherever two or three are gathered in his name" (No. 74).

Lectio Divina: "The documents produced before and during the Synod mentioned a number of methods for a faith-filled and fruitful approach to sacred Scripture. Yet the greatest attention was paid to lectio divina, which is truly capable of opening up to the faithful the treasures of God’s word, but also of bringing about an encounter with Christ, the living word of God" (No. 87).

Holy Land: "The synod fathers recalled the felicitous phrase which speaks of the Holy Land as 'the Fifth Gospel.' How important it is that in those places there be Christian communities, notwithstanding any number of hardships! The Synod of Bishops expressed profound closeness to all those Christians who dwell in the land of Jesus and bear witness to their faith in the Risen One" (No. 89).

Proclamation and the new evangelization: "Many of our brothers and sisters are 'baptized, but insufficiently evangelized.' In a number of cases, nations once rich in faith and in vocations are losing their identity under the influence of a secularized culture. The need for a new evangelization, so deeply felt by my venerable Predecessor, must be valiantly reaffirmed, in the certainty that God’s word is effective" (No. 96).

Justice: "God's word inspires men and women to build relationships based on rectitude and justice, and testifies to the great value in God’s eyes of every effort to create a more just and more liveable world" (No. 100).

Reconciliation and peace: "In the present context it is more necessary than ever to rediscover the word of God as a source of reconciliation and peace, since in that word God is reconciling to himself all things: Christ 'is our peace,' the one who breaks down the walls of division" (No. 102).

Creation: "The arrogance of human beings who live 'as if God did not exist' leads them to exploit and disfigure nature, failing to see it as the handiwork of the creative Word" (No. 108).

Internet: "In the world of the internet, which enables billions of images to appear on millions of screens throughout the world, the face of Christ needs to be seen and his voice heard, for “ if there is no room for Christ, there is no room for man" (No. 113).

Interreligious dialogue: "The Church considers an essential part of the proclamation of the word to consist in encounter, dialogue and cooperation with all people of good will, particularly with the followers of the different religious traditions of humanity. This is to take place without forms of syncretism and relativism, but along the lines indicated by the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration 'Nostra Aetate' and subsequently developed by the magisterium of the Popes" (No. 117).

Friday, November 12, 2010

Nuncio to retire.

Archbishop Faustino Sainz Muñoz, the Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, has announced his retirement. Earlier this year the Archbishop suffered a stroke which left him severely disabled, despite his gradual recovery he needs to continue treatment in his native Spain.

Let us pray for him, and pray for a successor. I presume that sympathy towards the establishment of the Ordinariate will figure strongly in the choice of a successor, as will Cardinal Bertone's impressions of Britain's needs gained on the Papal visit.

Pope reprimands Italian Bishops

Some of my worst experiences of liturgy happen in Italy; "the youth" singing badly through a microphone, over amped guitars, trite hymns rather than liturgical chant, percussive rhythms, all accompanying priests who are incapable of silence ad libbing at every opportunity, assisted at times by sister or more "youth", so often set in beautiful church with bad modern furnishings. It can be ghastly.

Sandro Magister identifies Italian bishops as being the strongest opponents of the Benedictine liturgical reforms, and says the Pope has given them a severe reprimand.

Thursday, November 11, 2010


After two years after the Synod on the Word of God the Holy Father has produced Verbum Domini.
The relationship of the Word of God and Tradition to the Church has long been at the forefront of the Pope's mind, he has been credited with being the principle author of the Vatican Council's Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum.
FULLTEXT in pdf is here
Below is the Vatican Information Service of the press conference:
VATICAN CITY, 11 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Verbum Domini" of Benedict XVI, on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

Today's press conference was presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and Msgr. Fortunato Frizza, respectively secretary general and under secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

The Apostolic Exhortation, which is dated 30 September, Memorial of St. Jerome, is the fruit of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was held in Rome from 5 to 26 October 2008. The document, which has been published in Latin, Italian, English, French., Spanish, German, Portuguese and Polish, is made up of an introduction, three parts and a conclusion.

Archbishop Eterovic explained how in part one, entitled "Verbum Dei", the Pope highlights both "the fundamental role of God the Father, source and origin of the Word", and "the Trinitarian dimension of revelation". Chapter one - "The God Who Speaks" - underscores "God's will to open and maintain a dialogue with man, in which God takes the initiative and reveals Himself in various ways". It also dwells on "the Christological aspect of the Word, while at the same time underlining the pneumatological dimension". This section of the document also focuses on the relationship between the Eucharist and Tradition, and on the theme of the inspiration and truth of the Bible.

"Our Response to the God Who Speaks" is the title of chapter two of part one. "Man is called to enter into the Alliance with his God, Who listens to him and responds to his questions. To God Who speaks, man responds with the faith. The most suitable prayer is that made using the words which were revealed by God and are conserved and written in the Bible", said Archbishop Eterovic.

Chapter three has as its title "The Interpretation of Sacred Scripture in the Church". The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops explained how "Sacred Scripture should be, as the Dogmatic Constitution 'Dei Verbum' says, 'the soul of sacred theology'. ... The biblical hermeneutics of Vatican Council II must be rediscovered, also in order to avoid a certain dualism evident in secularised interpretations which could give rise to a fundamentalist and spiritualist interpretation of Holy Scripture. Correct interpretation requires complementarity in a literal and spiritual sense, a harmony between faith and reason". This chapter also examines relations between Christians and Jews, noting that they enjoy "a very special relationship ... because they share a large part of the Scriptures".

Part two of the document is entitled "Verbum in Ecclesia". Chapter one - "The Word of God and the Church" - underlines how it is thanks to the Word of God and the effect of the Sacraments "that Jesus remains contemporary to mankind in the life of the Church", said the archbishop.

"The Liturgy, Privileged Setting for the Word of God" is the title of chapter two, in which the focus turns to "the vital link between Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist". The importance of the Lectionary is mentioned, as is that of the proclamation of the Word and the ministry of reader, with particular emphasis being laid on the preparation of the homily, a theme of great importance in this Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

Chapter three of part two concerns "The Word of God in the Life of the Church" and highlights "the importance of biblical inspiration for pastoral activity, the biblical dimension of catechesis, the biblical formation of Christians, the use of Sacred Scripture in great ecclesial gahterings, and the Word of God in relation to vocations". Attention is also given to "lectio divina and Marian prayer", said the archbishop.

Part three of the document published today has as its title "Verbum Mundo". It draws attention to "the duty of Christians to announce the Word of God in the world in which they live and work". Chapter one - "The Church's Mission to Proclaim the Word of God to the World" - explains how the Church "is oriented towards the announcement 'ad gentes', to people who do not yet know the Word, ... but also to those who have already been baptised ... but need new evangelisation in order to rediscover the Word of God".

"The Word of God and Commitment to the World" is the title of chapter two, which recalls how "Christians are called to serve the Word of God in their most needy brothers and sisters and, hence, to commit themselves in society for reconciliation, justice and peace among peoples".

Chapter three of part three is dedicated to "The Word of God and Culture". It expresses the hope "that the Bible may become better known in schools and universities and that better use may be made of the social communications media, exploiting all the modern possibilities of technology. The theme of the inculturation of Sacred Scripture is also linked to the translation and diffusion of the Bible, which must be increased", said Archbishop Eterovic.

"The Word of God and Inter-religious Dialogue" is the title of chapter four. "Having established the value and topicality of inter-religious dialogue, 'Verbum Domini' ... supplies some important guidelines concerning dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and with members of other non-Christian religions, within the framework of a religious liberty which involves not only the freedom to profess one's faith in private and in public, but also freedom of conscience; in other words, of choosing one's religion".

In the conclusion, Archbishop Eterovic concluded his explanations, the Holy Father reiterates his exhortation to all Christians "to become increasingly familiar with Sacred Scripture".

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Filoque and Hunwicke: bits of the Patrimony

Someone in the comments of the previous post suggested looking at Fr Hunwicke's blog as an example of Anglican Patrimony. I enjoy his blog; slightly curmudgeonly, often mischievously anti-establishment, always scholarly and invariably informative. I look forward to the day when I can welcome him, and many like him, here to St Mary Magdalen as a brother Catholic priest.

Today he quotes Edward Siecienski's new book on the Filioque writing on the Council of Hatfield which spoke of  'the Holy Spirit, ineffably proceeding from the Father and the Son, as proclaimed by all whom we have mentioned above, holy apostles, and prophets, and doctors.'
Like the Feast of the Holy Trinity there is the suggestion the Filioque clause of the creed had an English origin.

"The two questions raised by this confession of faith were how Theodore would have interpreted this teaching, and how long the filioque had been part of the creed in England. While it is possible that Augustine of Canterbury (d609) might have taught the filioque during his mission to England (given his connection with Pope Gregory I), there is also a chance that it was introduced by Theodore's companion Hadrian, an African by birth whose study of Augustine and Fulgentius would likely have included their teaching on the procession. As for Theodore himself, it is possible that he understood the filioque in accordance with the principles Maximus had enunciated years earlier in the Letter to Marinus, especially if (as is likely) the two knew each other in Rome. What is clear is that Pope Agatho, although busy preparing his own statement of faith for the Constantinopolitans (without the filioque), happily received the proceedings of Hatfield, including its confession in the procession of the Holy Spirit from both the Father and the Son."
In typical Hunwickian style he ends by saying:
I wonder how those 'English Orthodox' and 'British Orthodox' who tell us that the Anglo-Saxon Church was "Orthodox", deal with the little matter of Hatfield.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Anglican Patrimony: what is it?

Preserving and being able worship according to their Anglican Patrimony is one of the reasons for the establishment of Ordinariates.

Apart from dressing churches for Harvest Festivals, I am not quite sure what this "patrimony" is. Most "High" Anglicans I know tend to use the modern Roman Missal, nowadays the rubricised Book of Common Prayer Eucharist has virtually disappeared, English Missal parishes are pretty scarce too. If a church is not using our Missal it tends to use the more Catholic options in Common Worship.

The "patrimony" could be seem as a of Anglican plurality, which if catholicised  isn't necessarily antipathetic to Pope's Benedict's own understanding of plurality. It could be seen as a certain Oxbridge erudition, yet that seems to be on the wain, some Anglicans can after all be ordained after a two year home study course on inclusively.

It is right those of us who welcome the Ordinariate should emphasise the reason why Anglicans are becoming Catholics is not primarily about women bishops but a realisation that Anglicanism is no longer at one with the Church of the First Millennium. It is perhaps the desire for this that marks out the "Patrimony", together with a desire for union with the Tradition and a certain romanitas mingled with a sense of being natively English.

Any more ideas?

The Mind of a Pro-abortionist

Paulinus put this video up a few days ago.
It is a broadcast that appeared the BBC about a month ago. Virginia Ironside is 'agony aunt' of The Independent newspaper. As Paulinus says, "Takes something to shock a BBC presenter". But it is more than that it is about the polarisation of our society.

The Queens Protest?

Outside gay activists kissed as the Pope arrived, inside the Sagreda Familia Queen Sophia defied the Pope's instruction about the reception of Holy Communion. Not for Her Catholic Majesty to kneel and receive her Lord and God on the tongue. One rule for a Queen another for the rest?

Sunday, November 07, 2010

End of the Church in England and Wales

I have written on this before, forgive me repeating myself and developing my thoughts.

Our diocesan seminary doubled in size in the 1960s to accommodate the sons of Irish immigrants who wanted to become priests, at the same time English bishops would go on fishing trips to Irish seminaries to invite surplus seminarians to come to their diocese. Ireland then had so many young men who wanted to be priests it couldn't accomodate them.

The ratio of priests to practicing Catholics in England and Wales was always about 1:300. Only Malta surpassed England and Wales. Now the priests of that generation are on the verge of retirement or are dying. The Catholic Church in this country is going to change drastically, it is going to be harder and harder to find a "convenient" Mass. Already parishes are being amalgamated, in rural areas priests are having to travel vast distances to celebrate Mass for dwindling congregations, in the cities churches are sharing priests who are increasingly infirmed, aging  and tired. If you are pickey about who supplies for you it can be impossible to get away from a parish. Soon, if a priest is sick the only alternative will be a Sunday Distribution of Holy Service with a lay-leader, the same when he needs a holiday or retreat.

England and Wales has never been able meet its need for priests from its native sons, now Ireland is on its uppers, there is a call to amongst some circles to import priests from abroad: Poland and Africa. Whether that is actually fair to Poland  or somewhere in Africa is not discussed. Those who put forward this suggestion really don't want change, they want their Mass for communities that do not have the spiritual fecundity to produce there own vocations. No where in the world has the luxury of so many priests for so few lay people as England and Wales.

In my diocese things would be much worst than they are if was not for incoming former Anglican clergy, both married and celibate. Our diocese is dependant on them, in some diocese they together a smattering of Anglican laymen form the majority of seminarians, where this is not so they certainly form a very significant minority. Most come from the Anglo-Catholic Tradition, a few are Evangelicals or come from the charismatic movement.

Despite their numbers currently converts are excluded from the bench of our Bishops, I think there is only one, Bishop Hopes, an Auxilliary, in Westminster. As Bishops are nominated by Bishops it might be taken as significant that their importance and value is not recognised by those with power. Perhaps it is orthodoxy that is a bit frightening, or simply being outsiders. Things will have to change.

Up until now ex-Anlicans have joined dioceses and occassionally religious orders but what will happen in the future when the Ordinariate is established? I find it difficult to believe Anglican clergy considering leaving the C of E are going to become members of an English diocese, are they not  going to join the Ordinariate? And those potentially poping St Stephen's and Mirfield men are not going to leave the arms of Anglo-Catholicism to join the English southern cone, they are already going to be in the Catholic Church but in the Ordinariate.
For some dioceses that is going to leave them with hardly any seminarians, ever, for ordination, yet the Ordinariate is likely to be top heavy with clergy.

Is it possible that within a few years in our country the non-Ordinariate Catholic Church will cease to be, unable to sustain itself, top heavy with beaurcracy, unable to attract vocations or to serve the plant it has built up. If that happens won't our dioceses be increasingly seen as chaplaincies for foreign immigrants, whilst the Ordinariate becomes increasingly seen as the mainstream representative of English Roman Catholicism? Its orthodoxy and romanitas will make it attractive to so many existing Catholic laity.

Some of our bishops got in a bit of huff over the CDF dealing directly with their Lordships of Burnham and Ebbsfleet, the press suggested that those in negotiation didn't quite trust our own bishops, I suspect that was a bit of hyperbole but I think it is quite likely that the Ordinariate will wisely want to steer a wide course away from the suffocating edifice of the Bishop's Conference.

I offer my prayers and good wishes to The Bishop of Richborough, the Right Rev Keith Newton and The Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Right Rev Andrew Burnham.whose resignation from the C of E is expected tomorrow

Todays Homily: Fully Alive in Christ

The great difference between us and the rest of mankind is that we believe that when our earthly life is over we coninue to be, we are not consigned to oblivion. Our destiny is not the corruption of the grave or the crematoriums fire but seeing God face to face.

The young men in the reading from Maccabees, because of their belief in the Resurrection embraced pain and death rather than consume pig's flesh, our hope in the Resurrection gives us courage to refuse all that is unclean, all that is displeasing to God, all that leads to death of the Soul. The Christian Way has always been to prefer physical death rather than anything which might destroy the Soul.

"He is the God of the Living not of the Dead" and Christ desires we should be fully alive. St Irenaeus of Lyons wrote in the 3rd century, "The Glory of God is Man fully alive". The Gospels are full of accounts of Christ bringing either the Dead to Life, the little girl, the widow of Naine's son, Lazarus. More often it is the half-dead he brings to life, Life in Him. The madman living amongst the tombs is given Life, the Lepers rotting whilst they live are cleansed, restored to the congregation of Israel and given Life, the blind groping through life in darkness are healed and see Life himself, the women bent double spends her life looking at the ground, she meets Christ, is healed and looks directly at God in the face of his Son.

To us He offers Life in its fullness through the Sacraments, through meditative reflection on the scriptures, through pray and when we live out the Gospels with our brothers and sisters in the Communion of the Church.

Let us be fully alive in Christ, the God of the Living, who brings the dead and the half dead to Life!

Friday, November 05, 2010

Magister on the Sagrada Familia

I don't like it but tomorrow the the Pope will consecrate the Sagrada Familia in Barcellona. Like beatifying Newman this consecration is, as Sandro Magister points out a significant sign in the pontificate of Pope Benedict.
This church is quite different from the anodyne imaginings of modern architects there is nothing bland about it. Meditating on one particular piece of sculpture in the church brought about the conversion to the faith of the mother of a priest friend, pray for her she died last year. That is the thing about it, this building speaks, not only is this the icon of the city of Barcelona but it speaks about the Mysteries of Salvation.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Man Love

Manliness and Christianity used to go together, now they seem poles apart. Although we don't have women clergy in the Church, women seem to dominate practically every field of parish life, education, catechesis and every level of lay "ministry". Following an earlier post and the comments, I suspect there has been an even more fundamental change in Christianity than liturgy.

It touches our very image of God himself, Christ and our understanding of Love. God is Love but in the scriptures and the Church's liturgy this Love is shown to us in God the Father and the man Jesus Christ. Holy Wisdom is portrayed as femine and but the Father and Son are decidedly masculine. Though Christ is often portrayed as being moved by compassion his love always manly, it isn't touchy-feeley.

The Old Testament presents manliness in terms of duty, fulfilling vows, obedience to God, heroism, bravery, suffering, even to the point of death, for the common good. Some how I can't imagine Sarah being willing to offer her son Isaac as a sacrifice, for the sake of "faith" Abraham is willing to thrust his knife into the flesh of the son he loves. It is precisely when Samson, David or Solomon get in touch with their "femine side", their emotions, that things go wrong.

The love Christ shows is about loving even when your hands and feet are being nailed to the cross. It is about filial obedience, "thy will be done, not mine". Jesus expresses admiration for the Centurion who speaks of obedience, "I say to one man go, and he goes...". It is a love that loves even when feelings are absent which seems to be summed up in Jesus saying, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me".

Jesus tells his disciples, "If you love me, keep my commandments", "I give you a new commandment: Love one another". There seems to be little about feelings here and much more that is about duty and obligation. Indeed as we are told to love our enemies, it would seem emotions are actually the enemy of the love Jesus wants from his followers.

In society generally, as in the Church, the way men have traditionally shown love, through bravery, heroism, patriotism, self denial, duty, have actually become not only unfashionable but mistrusted.

I wonder if the parade ground style of the extraordinary form, the lack of emotion, the self control, the precise detailing of every action and every word is something which appeals to men and consequently make the older Rite more masculine.

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Rome wants!

One of the things that really irritates me about our English Church is selective Romanisation, if it suits, "Rome wants", if it doesn't then in the words of Cardinal Hume, "this document doesn't apply to England and Wales. Rome is used to back Gay Masses, Cafod's ABC pro-condom policy, the stifling way we use the collect and a great deal more. Of course everything depends on who one asks and how one frames the question,
Father Simon Henry, who seems to be a priest after my own heart shares my own concern, today he draws attention to why the heirarchy should have implemented Redemptionis Sacramentum. It is so sad when one hears of Bishops using ceramic vessels, offering Mass sitting at a coffee table, dispensing with vestments, encouraging people to pass the Body and Blood of Christ from one another, or simply being incapable of following the rubrics or dressing appropriately.

One directive that has unambiguously come from "Rome" is the Instruction Sacramentis Redemptionem. This document says of itself that:
" the Supreme Pontiff has mandated that this Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, in collaboration with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, should prepare this Instruction."
Couldn't be any clearer as coming from "Rome". It is:
"set forth for Bishops, as well as for Priests, Deacons and all the lay Christian faithful".

Couldn't be any clearer that it applies to everyone.

It says that the Instruction has been prepared because:

"In some places the perpetration of liturgical abuses has become almost habitual, a fact which obviously cannot be allowed and must cease. The observance of the norms published by the authority of the Church requires conformity of thought and of word, of external action and of the application of the heart."
Fr Simon then gives a whole list of things in the liturgy where what Rome wants is actively ignored.
read it

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

What has happened to the Offertory

I was hoping to celebrate an EF Missa Cantata this evening but it is low Mass, there was a bit of confusion over singers, the same last night too. Actually I was quite shocked last night, there were about fifty people at Mass, despite the fact that we, like the rest of the UK celebrate All Hallows on Sunday in the Ordinary Form and at least my parishioners knew it was a low Mass. The congregation for Extraordinary Form Masses here is much younger than the Ordinary Form.

The Ordinary Form Mass here this morning, I thought was quite beautiful. We used black vestments, purple frontal, unbleached candles, we celebrated Mass ad Orientem, one of the countless options in the Missal. My people know the Requiem Ordinary, so we sang the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus. This morning Clare came along and sang the Entrance, Offertory and Communion antiphons, rather elegantly.

Does anyone know why the Missal doesn't print the Offerory Antiphon? Does anyone know if they will be printed in the new Missal? I mean it is in the new Graduale which Solemnes has just produced under instructions from the CDW but that seems to be the only source for it in the Ordinary Form.

An old priest friend of mine described hymns at Mass as a "nasty German habit". e are trying to get away from hymns here, it is just so difficult trying to get ones which echo in anyway the sentiments of the antiphons they might possibly replace. My big problem especially is: what hymns are suitable for the Offertory? There is a very limited choice. You don't want something rousing, people are either writing out cheques for several thousand guineas and filling in the Gift Aid envelope or looking for loose coppers in the bottom of their pockets for the plate.

The Propers of the Mass, I presume were never intended for congregational singing, they are too complicated. In the Novus Ordo the Gradual is replaced by the Responsorial Psalm but the Entrance, Offertory and Communion antiphons in the official book, the Graduale, are quite difficult, even in a monastery they tend to be sung by the schola rather than the whole community. The Missal speaks of people singing the Mass, hymns aren't the Mass, the problem is, what is the Mass, as far as singing, is it really just the Ordinary of the Mass?

One additional thing that has always interested me  is why young men prefer to come to the EF than the OF. Someone yesterday said one important factor was men don't like singing, unless they are good at it, in the older form of Mass the choir sings the difficult bits, the congregation can if they want to, join in the Ordinary, but there is no obligation on Joe Bloggs in the pew.

Monday, November 01, 2010

The White Robed Army of Martyrs

Blessed are you when people abuse you and persecute and speak all kinds of calumny against you on my account. Rejoice and be glad for great is your reward in Heaven.

Pray for our persecuted brothers and sister.
Pray that God will strengthen the poor persecuted Iraqi Church.

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...