Monday, January 31, 2011

Tina has (yet another) go at the Ordinariate

Tina on her blog had been looking forward to appearing on yesterday's Sunday Programme, after the ordination of the former Anglican bishops she made some pretty unpleasant comments about their wives which she later removed, Well, here is the transcript of the interview.
William Oddie responds to her interview here.
I ask who she thinks she is: well, unlike Edward Stourton, I will tell you who she is and where she is coming from. When the New Humanist asked a number of people, including Richard Dawkins, Philip Pullman and Claire Rayner, known to be hostile to the Pope, the question: “If you were invited to address Benedict XVI during his UK visit… what would you say to him?”, one of two Catholics presented by the New Humanist as asking the question “stay or go?” – in other words whether to stay in the Catholic Church or leave it altogether – was Professor Tina Beattie. Her question for the Pope was: “Your Holiness, I hope your experience of the variety and vitality of British Catholicism will help you to understand the challenges we liberal Catholics face in maintaining a dialogue between our Catholic faith and secular society… conservative Catholics accuse us of betraying the Church because we are willing to debate questions such as women’s ordination, priestly celibacy and homosexuality… What would you do, in my situation?” She is, in brief, a radical feminist hostile to the Magisterium: ...
I agree with William when he says:
So when Stourton asked: “Do all Britain’s Roman Catholics welcome the ordinariate?” what he actually meant (though was too fly actually to say) was: “Do Catholic liberals and radical feminists welcome the ordinariate?” Well, of course they don’t: those who are joining the ordinariate are coming, in part at least, because in the Church of England (unlike the Church of Rome), those who think like Professor Beattie are in the ascendant and are in the process of suppressing those in their Church who think in a Catholic way: that’s one very good reason among others why so many Catholic-minded Anglicans are joining the Catholic Church itself.
I don't know what other illiberal liberals have been saying about the Ordinariate but I suspect like Tina they will be bashing and scraping away at it because it is an icon that represents authentic Catholicism, the Magisterium, the person of the Pope and everything else they despise.

Is it sexist to suggest that she sounds just like the mother-in-law that has just met her son's new bride?

Sky on the Ordinariate

Gloria TV carries this Sky News report on the Ordinariate. It highlights the difficulty of many Anglicans in leaving the C of E, and stresses the view of many Anglicans who intend to leave that there decision is based on a hope for unity which was shattered, first by the ordination of women to the priesthood and now by the imposition of women bishops.
The few Anglicans I know who intend to join the Ordinariate were all intensely involved in ecumenism, they had a vision that somehow the Anglican Church was part of the Catholic Church, that one day the Thames would flow into the Tiber and that their part of Anglicanism would eventually achieve full communion with the Universal Church.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Cardinal Piacenza's Address to Priestly Celibacy Congress

Cardinal Piacenza the recently appointed head of the Congregation for the Clergy recently addressed a congress on priestly celibacy, Zenit carries his speech, which deals with the Magisterial statements of recent Popes, in its entirety here.

He speaks of the pronouncements of the Council of Elvira and the Second Council of Carthage regarding celibacy as "dogmatic pronouncements".

He also specifically denounces the idea that celibacy is merely "ecclesiastical law", explaining that celibacy is "an intrinsic demand of the priesthood and of the configuration to Christ that the sacrament determines."
thanks to Rorate

One of the questions that has been buzzing around in my head for sometime is: how does the Church make celibacy a real vocational choice for all Catholics, without them either becoming a priest or a religious?

I don't want to see celibacy becoming optional for priests of the Latin Rite but I want to see it becoming a real possibility for the laity.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

On Gloria, again

I must say I was more interested in the remarks of the Bishop of Santa Rosa.

Anglican Orders

“Absolutely null and totally void” was Apostolicae Curae’s teaching about Anglican Orders, that was in 1896, for many High Anglicans of the time that statement propelled them to seek ordination again from those who Rome considered valid but not in communion with her. Following the publication of the 1928 revision of the Prayer Book scarcely an Anglican episcopal ordination took place without, the “Dutch touch”, the involvement of an Old Catholic as a co-ordainers.

There have been calls for conditional ordination rather than re-ordination ex nihil of former Anglicans. This precisely what took place with the ordination of Mgr Graham Leonard, the former Anglican Bishop of London, who was able to prove his ordination pedigree, to such a degree that there was real doubt as to whether Apostolicae Curae applied to his Orders.

We have necessarily moved on from 1896. Vatican II introduced the much more ecclesial idea of being absorbed into the “college” of bishops and priests rather than a simple “pipeline”, the passing on of orders from person to person. Those ordained by Archbishop Malingo, who since his excommunication has been ordaining men by the score, the most authoritative opinions so far, count his ordinations as invalid. Similarly doubt is now expressed about Old Catholic or episcopus vagans ordination, simply because there is a lack of the intention to do what the Church does, a bishop, a priest is after all ordained for and by the Church, doubt has never been expressed about the SSPX ordinations.

In the case of the recent ordinations of former Anglicans who are ordained for the Ordinariate, they are ordained ex nihil but however no renunciation of previous ministry is required, no rejection of “invalid” sacraments is expected. On the contrary Anglicans are expected to continue to be Anglicans, receiving communion etc until the appointed day, Ash Wednesday in the case of the laity, to then be received into full Communion so they can participate in the Easter Mysteries, and in the case of clergy with ordination at Pentecost.

If the numbers of those seeking to be ordained in the Ordinariate are large a serious investigations of pedigrees would be difficult, divisive and invidious, not to say divisive. Many, but not all, would satisfy the conditions laid on Mgr Leonard for proof of the subsequent ordination as being conditional. In practice the Church seems to be saying that re-ordination is necessary but it is not entirely clear why it is necessary, it would not after all happen in the case of an Orthodox priest who became a Catholic.

It seems to be that all the Church is saying now, is that there is a deficiency in the Orders of those ordained in the Anglican Church who now seek ordination as Catholics. They might have worked in the CofE, they don’t work in for RCs. I can’t help but see a parallel with how the Church speaks about unbaptised children nowadays. Today we acknowledge the necessity of baptism but we avoid mention of limbo and instead we speak about the infinite mercy of God, simply because we know about and can be certain of Grace of the Church in the sacraments but in the dark world outside of the Church we simply do not know, we only know there is a problem.

Our big problem with Anglican Orders is not the past so much as the future, as far as Catholics and Orthodox are concerned every Ordination in the future will be invalid not just because of the involvement of female “bishops” but simply because the intention is to do precisely the opposite of what the Church intends, bishops and priests will be ordained, not for the Church catholic – I use the term in its broadest possible sense- but for those Christians who accept their particular orders, in that sense Anglican Orders divisively anti-ecclesial.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

LMS Training Course: Why not go?

The Latin Mass Society has another training session, this time at Buckfast Abbey in Devon 3 to 6 May 2011.

For me, I get a real buzz going to these events, it is the company of other priests, being able to talk about theology and spirituality, and about just being a priest: sharing that with other priests and learning from them is important. By putting on these training sessions the Latin Mass Society does the priesthood in England and Wales a great service. Meeting younger priests who are enthused by the Liturgy and by what is happening in the Church today is actually quite exciting. The liturgies are beautiful, the speakers are often interesting but its the sense of fraternity that is important.

For priests thinking about going along and may be a little daunted, I would suggest they just try it. No-one would object to you celebrating the Novus Ordo, one priest I know went to three or four of these courses before actually celebrating his first TLM. The first course I went to was in Oxford, I didn't celebrate the Traditional Rite then, infact it was only after the Society of St Peter priests couldn't get here to celebrate our monthly Trad Mass, that I eventually had the courage to start doing it myself, with a bit of extra training, it was more for the people than for me. I must say I did it quite badly at first but the server and congregation were understanding, I think they things could only get better.

There is lot of nonsense talked about how difficult the TLM is to say but actually once you begin to understand a few basic rules and sequences which are quite logical, it isn't that difficult at all. Now, I think the Mass says itself, I start and it is almost as if the Holy Spirit takes over, I loose myself in saying it. I just become conscious that I enter into God's presence, I lose myself in it. My Latin is still pretty poor, I stumble over the pronunciation of certain words, I need to read the collects in English before Mass to understand exactly what they mean, I still have to use a card for the prayers at the foot of altar but the effort is worth it.

Since Summorum Pontificum the Traditional Latin Mass is now part of mainstream Catholicism, or should be. A priest should have an understanding of both Forms. He should know where the Usus Recentior springs from, what its roots are, in order to celebrate it properly and prayerfully. For me it gives me an insight into how to be a priest.

p.s. We are supposed to be having a Missa Cantata on Candlemas, it would be much better if it was High Mass, are there any priests willing to come and assist, I want to be deacon - any volunteers to Celebrant and Subdeacon? Beds and dinner available!

Tarkovsky's Andrei Rublev

I have watched Andrei  Tarkovsky 1965 film Andrei Rublev over the last few days, I haven't seen it all though for years, it revolves around Rublev's painters block. It is amazing that it was made, although only shown once, under the Soviet regime. It is a real masterpiece.
The rest can be found here

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

At last!

A camel is horse designed by a ________.

At last the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales have launched some sort of follow up to the Papal Visit, at least I think that is what it is. So sad the euphoria and even the memory has been allowed to dim.

Since the Pope’s visit a great deal of reflection and prayer has gone into supporting the legacy, mindful that in his various speeches, homilies and addresses, the Holy Father very clearly presented to us all ‘Some Definite Purpose’, not just for 2011, but for many years ahead. His Holiness’s words collectively spell out our task as Home Missionaries labouring in the footsteps of Blessed Newman, St Bede, St Augustine and others, and all those who have gone before us with the sign of faith...
I know I sound nagging, disgruntled, whatever you like or dislike, when I mention the Bishops Conference, or Ecclesdon Square. The bishops themselves are for the most part good pastoral, often holy men of the Church, yes they can say or do stupid things, like all of us, but it is the machinery of the Conference that grinds so slowly and often not very ineffectively. I know some of the bishops themselves complain about how the collective decision making process gets in the way of them being effective pastors and they simply don't know how to shortcut it.

Monday, January 24, 2011


The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity for most of us is about lukewarm tea and stale biscuits in a damp church hall, making friends or building relationships with people who one will never ever share visible unity. It is important but I think to be honest people might be more enthusiastic if spoke about The Week of Prayer for Christian Friendship, or even Christian Co-Operation.

The great act of unity that preceded the Week of Prayer, the setting of the Ordinariate and the ordination of Fr Newton and companions highlighted the possibilities and aim of Christian Unity. For Catholics Christian Unity isn't fuzzy nor is there anything ambiguous about it but an acceptance of the fullness of the Christian faith by other Christians. With the ancient Churches there can be real dialogue because we start from a common understanding of God, I mean a God who is Triune and Incarnate and who communicates directly through the sacraments and Tradition, with liberal post reformation Christians one sometimes wonders whether we have more in common with orthodox Jews and Muslims, at least they believe in a God who speaks to us, who gives us more than take it or leave it morality.

The real focus of Unity ought to be first of all amongst ourselves. Is it too much today to make a distinction between those in schism and those in heresy. One of the important burdens laid on Bishops by the Second Vatican Council is to be the minister of unity, nothing new the Church has always seen him is as the focus of communion, the model of the Good Sherpherd reminds us that the Bishop is supposed to go in search of the lost sheep.

I was heartened to read the Bishop of Nice, Mgr Louis Sankalé had been to tea, or at least visited the local SSPX, strange that it should be news. Strange that it should be more acceptable to welcome into one's pulpit or lead prayers in one's church the local female liberal Methodist minster but trying to invite a priest of the Society of Pius X would throw up all types of problems and worst, suspicions!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marrying in Church is a right only for those who believe in Christian marriage, says Pope

Marrying in Church is a right only for those who believe in Christian marriage, says Pope in his address to the Rota.
Asia News has the fullest account of what the Pope has said that I've found so far.
I think most of the people I marry I am bit unsure about, most are living together, most only partially believe in God, most are going to contracepting and will continue, few really understand much about self giving love, few do more than come to Mass occassionally.

Am I to refuse to marry them and alienate them from the Church?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Why we are having a 2nd Collection this Weekend

The Bishops have kindly donated £250,000 to the Ordinariate. At the moment they have no office of their own, they are lodgers at Ecclesdon Square, which is probably good for Eccs Sqr, but not for them, they need a permanent home. Many of the younger clergy who will join are going to be homeless and jobless. The suggestion was made by one of our converts that we might put our money where our mouth is, especially in this Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, so we are having a second collection this weekend for the Ordinariate.

You can contribute by paypal - it is on the sidebar of the Catholic Leagues site here:
The Catholic League is now accepting donations towards the foundation of the Ordinariate through the Blessed John Henry Newman Fund.

All monies received by the Newman Fund will be donated to the Ordinary. The Newman Fund will close once the Ordinariate’s own systems for managing donations are in place.
You will find a permanent link to donate online on the right-hand side of this blog. For further details, please see the Catholic League’s blog, scrolling down on the left-hand side of the main page.

Friday, January 21, 2011


Ed Peters has posted again on clerical continence and celibacy, you can read what he has to say for yourself here.

I am willing to concede that we are in a bit of mess over celibacy both canonically but also more significantly spiritually and we are only just beginning to address it. It is not that I imagine every other priest is breaking his promise, if he is a secular and vow if he is a religious and doing those things St Paul tells us we should not even speak about. I mean that we have lost sight of any distinction between celibacy and comfortable bachelorhood.

It has become unpopular to see celibacy as a higher way of living than marriage, despite the fact that this is what the Gospels plainly teach, providing of course it is for the Kingdom of Heaven.

It is very easy when we lose a sense of the supernatural to see celibacy merely in terms of a celibate priest being cheaper to keep and easier to move than one who is married, or equally cynically counting as a blessing that celibacy gives him the advantage of not being prone to divorce or having children that might disgrace his vocation.

Is it just me or do other priests see a breakdown over the last ten years in that fundamental relationship of father and son that is supposed to exist between a bishop and his priests since the tsunami of abuse was revealed in the Church. Bishops seem increasingly to see themselves as corporate executives and priests somehow as employees who can cause problems and even lead their diocese down the road of  bankruptcy

Augustine used to taunt hermits by shouting at them, "Whose feet will wash in your hermitage?" The Church's assumption is that it is not good for a man to live alone, it saw celibacy as an exchange of a natural family for a supernatural one, but because we are Catholics, it was a supernatural one expressed in sacramental terms of a relationship with the Church. For women it was expressed in such terms such as "Bride of Christ", for Bishops the receiving of a ring, both speak of a mystical marriage, terms such as Father, Brother, Sister, Mother speak of a familial relationship. Now, these terms are dropped or used only formally, substituted by, "Call me N", I can't help think this this an indication of the rejection of familial ties which are part of the mystery of the Church. I have sympathy with bishops who are uneasy about handing over criminal sons to the law as anyone would about a father handing over his son, it should never be easy, or a matter of mere procedure but should cause great pain.

For many priests and religious celibacy can become a very lonely vacuum, filled more often by self gratification than by mistresses or lovers. The ancient intention was that it should be filled with Christ. The vacuum was deliberately designed to create a hunger for Christ but with a spirituality fed by a liturgy and theology of Christ and his Church that is essentially horizontal rather than vertical, it can so easily be filled with the things of this world, the very antithesis of Christ, what Cardinal Biffi would describe as anti-Christ.

Pope Benedict's attempts at liturgical renewal, are important in themselves but they are also aimed at refocusing the priesthood on God and worship, as was the Year for Priests. The community, the horizontal, is important but priests and religious are not social workers or even primarily pastoral workers. Chrysostom tells us, somewhere, that the role of the priest is to offer the Holy Sacrifice and when he is not doing that he should be preparing the sacrifice. The burden of saving a single soul is too much for most people, indeed it is blasphemous to think anyone can, Christ is the Saviour, the role of the Church and its members simply to co-operate with grace. It is not about us, it is about Him.

Fr Hunwicke has been exploring the Diaconate over the past few days in a fascinating series of posts, he suggests that there has been a radical change in our view, seeing diakonia in terms of good works rather than in terms of cult and the Eucharist. The same suggestions could of course apply to the priesthood. So often it is stated that celibacy is "merely a discipline" of the Church it is not of its essence but considering the the Lord's own celibacy, Our Lady's perpetual virginity, St Joseph's chaste relationship with her, St Paul's wish that the Corinthians might remain unmarried like him, not to mention the Lord's own words about "eunuch's for the sake of the Kingdom", we do celibacy and celibates a grave disservice by downplaying it. For though it is not an absolutely necessary part of the priesthood, it is seems to be of the essence of Christianity, of preferring nothing to Christ, of the proclamation that Christ is all in all and fulfils all our needs.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Monk Smuggles Bones

One of the things about the modern Church is its all a bit wimpy, what has happened to the modern papacy? There hasn't been a papal mistress for centuries, conclaves are bribe free. In the good old days you knew who was going to be Pope by the amount of silver a man had to bribe the other electors with. Bishops were corrupt despots. Parish priests were unchaste drunken lechers. Monks and nuns were worldly and no better than ought to have been.
Those were the days when we needed saints because it was so obvious the Church on earth was so corrupt and order to get saints cities went to war, pirates broke into churches to steal relics. Where relics weren't available they were "found" or as we say in Latin invented.
Well, I was rather heartened to read this story about a Cypriot monk found at Athens airport with a skeleton of a nun.
"They maintained it was a woman who was a saint," a Greek police official who declined to be named told Reuters on Tuesday, adding that the monk told authorities he was transferring her remains to a monastery in Cyprus.

The remains were those of a nun who died four years ago. She was not a saint in the Greek or Cypriot Orthodox Churches, but had once been a nun at a Cypriot convent, police said.
thanks to CMR 
I suspect in reality the monk was most probably taking the nuns remains back to her family or motherhouse for reburial as cheaply as possible but it is wonderfully medaeval story.

Lilies of the Field

I watched this Sydney Poitier film last night, some aspects of Catholicism are a bit weak but I used know nuns like the Mother Superior.
The remaining parts can be found here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Interview with the Ordinary

You will enjoy this press conference with Fr Newton, Ordinary of the Ordinariate, which took place at Ecclestone Square this morning.
He seems impressively open and frank.

Clergy and Sex

There is a lot of nonsense on the net, including some plainly silly interpretations of the Code of Canon Law. An Italian friend who teaches Law in Rome begins his course by saying that the English and most especially Americans are incapable of understanding Canon Law. They fail, culturally, he says, to understand there is a benign intelligent law giver who gives the Law.

The following Canon has caused a great deal of fluttering in various hen coups on the net.

1983 CIC 277. § 1. Clerics are obliged to observe perfect and perpetual continence for the sake of the kingdom of heaven and therefore are bound to celibacy which is a special gift of God by which sacred ministers can adhere more easily to Christ with an undivided heart and are able to dedicate themselves more freely to the service of God and humanity.
§ 2. Clerics are to behave with due prudence towards persons whose company can endanger their obligation to observe continence or give rise to scandal among the faithful.
§ 3. The diocesan bishop is competent to establish more specific norms concerning this matter and to pass judgment in particular cases concerning the observance of this obligation.

The normal interpretation of "continence" in this context, for those vowed to to life long celibacy it is perpetual chastity, for those who clergy who are married it is that their relationship with their spouse is exclusive, even after death of a spouse, remarriage is not permitted. Continence for marriage is living married life according to the Church's teaching.

Married clergy are not expected to forgo the marriage bed.

The ancient discipline in most places seems to have been modelled on that of Jewish priests in the Old Testament. Those chosen to ascend to the altar were expected to refrain from intercourse with their wives. In the first millennium various councils and local synods reminded clergy that after ordination they were to either live apart from their wives or refrain from sexual intercourse.
In the second millennium by the twelfth century only vowed celibates were ordained in the Western Church, this seems to have been a slowly growing movement from below rather than an imposition from above as it is often pictured. In the East only celibates were ordained to the Episcopate but married priests were still ordained to the diaconate and priesthood Those who were married are regarded as inferior to monastic celibate clergy. However in the East there were numerous decrees stating that married clergy were to refrain from sexual intercourse on the days they officiated at the altar.

In the West the revival of the permanent Diaconate, for married men, after the Council and the admission of former non-Catholic married clergy to the priesthood, a concession first granted by Pius XII to certain Lutherans, seems to have been done in ignorance of the historic understanding of celibacy. Most of the Patristic studies of celibacy seems to have been done by men like Roman Cholij after these modern introductions, which is perhaps an interesting practical example of the development of doctrine.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wrong Kind of Non-Celibates

Amidst the euphoria over the establishment of the Ordinariate there are one or two negative voices. One of these voices is a Tablet Director, Cafod Advisor and critic of much that the Holy Father does: Professor 'Tina Beattie. She repeats Peter Stanford's insulting and bigoted comments and adds in a few herself. If a celibate priest, or any man had written them they would cause serious concern and they would be unlikely to hold on to their position in the areas of Catholic influence that she fills.

She does however raise one point with which she beats the Ordinariate -and therefore the Pope- that is worth discussing here, the issue of celibacy. Here she is favour of it. Proportionately the number of married clergy, former Anglicans, is most probably the highest in England and Wales than anywhere else in the world but it is still a small number, in some dioceses it almost reaches 7%, in most it is considerably less and growing less as some of those who came into communion 20 years ago are retiring or dying.

As a celibate priest I have no problem with the Church's generosity to these men, they are often exceptional priests and their married state is an exception to the normal rule of celibacy in the Western Church. When their wives die they are bound to celibacy. Their ordination is by special dispensation of the Holy See. There is great deal of difference in their state and that of a celibate priest who chooses to leave the priesthood in order to marry.

The Ordinariate is slightly different, the approach to celibacy resembles that of Oriental Rite Catholics. The discipline of celibacy is important but not as important as Communion with Christ in His Church and the salvation of souls. It is out of paternal charity, based on salvation, that the Holy Father welcomes groups of former Anglicans. In this exceptional situation for an exceptional group, which is likely always to be small, the Holy See is experimenting with optional celibacy. Under other circumstances this experiment would be welcomed by 'Tina and her ilk but these are obviously for her the wrong kind of non-celibates.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Wedding of Christ

It is still Epiphanytide in the EF, I have Mass this evening, so I have been turning my mind to my homily. The reading is the Epiphany at Cana, that wonderful mysterious wedding, how sad it is almost lost in the three year cycle.
The Mother of Jesus is there. In John's Gospel she appears here for the first time, the last time she appears is at the foot of the Cross, both times she is referred to as "woman". Hardline Protestants would suggest this was Jesus being contemptuous of her but on the contrary she is in Jesus' mind and that of John "The Woman" who is faithful to the  Tree of the Cross. Her fidelity is a reversal of Eve's infidelity because she is the new Eve as Jesus is the new Adam. Her words to the servants about obedience "Do whatever he tells you" undoes Eve's command to Adam, "to take and eat" in which humankind are condemned to disobedience sin and estrangement from God.
Here, with her direct involvement, the water of the Old Testament is turned into the good new wine of the New and Eternal Covenant. The wine reminds us of the Eucharist, it is at Mary's behest it is poured out.
We can see the now empty six stone jars as being the days of creation, they are drained, used up awaiting refreshment, to be filled with baptismal water which will itself, like those baptised be transformed.

If we can look below the surface, we can ask ourselves whose wedding this is. Is it an unknown Jewish couple or is is it really the mystical wedding of Christ himself to those born of water and wine: Baptism and the Eucharist

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Archbishop Nichols' homily: Ordinations to the Personal Ordinariate

Homily of Archbishop Nichols on the Ordination to the Priesthood of Reverend John Broadhurst, Reverend Andrew Burnham, Reverend Keith Newton. Here is an extract.
Today we thank the Holy Father for the courageous leadership he gives in establishing the first Personal Ordinariate. His intentions are clear. It is, as he has said, ‘a prophetic gesture’. It is to contribute to the wider goal of visible unity between our two Churches by helping us to know in practice how our patrimonies of faith and living can strengthen each other in our mission today. At Oscott College, the Holy Father said to us bishops: ‘It (the Ordinariate) 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.’

The visible unity of the Church, then, is central to our thoughts today. Indeed, it was never far from the heart of St Paul as is well expressed in his Letter to the Ephesians and, a little earlier, to the Philippians. His appeal is steadfast: that believing in Christ as Lord, that sharing in one Spirit, that worship of one God and Father create a unity which must be constantly served by the practice of humility, gentleness, patience and love. In Philippians he is more explicit about the attitudes and behaviours that threaten this unity: selfish ambition for the power of office; the search for personal approval or prestige; a focus on the importance of self within a competitive spirit, all taking us away from ‘the mind of Christ Jesus’. (cf Phil 2.1‐5).

History shows how right he is. These patterns of failure mark our histories. They also find expression in the lives of each of us today. So we ask pardon for our failings and seek to renew within ourselves that mind of Christ Jesus himself.

The quest for the visible unity of the Church remains an imperative. In it the role of the successor of St Peter is crucial. Pope Benedict expressed it thus in Westminster Abbey: ‘Fidelity to the word of God, precisely because it is a true word, demands of us an obedience which leads us together to a deeper understanding of the Lord’s will, an obedience which must be free of intellectual conformism or facile accommodation to the spirit of the age. This is the word of encouragement which I wish to leave with you this evening, and I do so in fidelity to my ministry as the Bishop of Rome and the Successor of Saint Peter, charged with a particular care for the unity of Christ’s flock.’ (Westminster Abbey, 18 Sept 2010)

The Pope’s ministry to the visible unity of the Church is central to the faith of the Catholic Church. It is central to the faith of those who enter into full communion in this Ordinariate. It is central to the welcome, encouragement and support the Catholic community in England and Wales gives to this development and to all who seek to be part of it.

Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

As the ordination of the three former Anglicans takes place the Holy See announced the name of the Ordinariate: Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham under the paronage of the Blessed John Henry Newman and the fact that Fr Keith Newton will be the Ordinary - Congratulations!
In accordance with the provisions of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus of Pope Benedict XVI (November 4, 2009) and after careful consultation with the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has today erected a Personal Ordinariate within the territory of England and Wales for those groups of Anglican clergy and faithful who have expressed their desire to enter into full visible communion with the Catholic Church. The Decree of Erection specifies that the Ordinariate will be known as the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and will be placed under the patronage of Blessed John Henry Newman.
A Personal Ordinariate is a canonical structure that provides for corporate reunion in such a way that allows former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of their distinctive Anglican patrimony. With this structure, the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum coetibus seeks to balance on the one hand the concern to preserve the worthy Anglican liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions and, on the other hand, the concern that these groups and their clergy will be fully integrated into the Catholic Church.
For doctrinal reasons the Church does not, in any circumstances, allow the ordination of married men as Bishops. However, the Apostolic Constitution does provide, under certain conditions, for the ordination as Catholic priests of former Anglican married clergy. Today at Westminster Cathedral in London, the Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, ordained to the Catholic priesthood three former Anglican Bishops: Reverend Andrew Burnham, Reverend Keith Newton, and Reverend John Broadhurst.
Also today Pope Benedict XVI has nominated Reverend Keith Newton as the first Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Together with Reverend Burnham and Reverend Broadhurst, Reverend Newton will oversee the catechetical preparation of the first groups of Anglicans in England and Wales who will be received into the Catholic Church together with their pastors at Easter, and to accompany the clergy preparing for ordination to the Catholic priesthood around Pentecost.

The provision of this new structure is consistent with the commitment to ecumenical dialogue, which continues to be a priority for the Catholic Church. The initiative leading to the publication of the Apostolic Constitution and the erection of this Personal Ordinariate came from a number of different groups of Anglicans who have declared that they share the common Catholic faith as it is expressed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and accept the Petrine ministry as something Christ willed for the Church. For them, the time has now come to express this implicit unity in the visible form of full communion.

Beatifications by the Hundreds

The announcement of the immanent Beatification of the Venerable John Paul II was no shock, he will join the hundreds of men and women that he himself Beatified and Canonised.

In fact practically every parish or religious community in Rome seems to have a Venerable, a Servant of God, whose cause has been passed on from the diocesan process of the examination of their lives to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, most are men and women of the 20th century.

In most parishes there are men and women of outstanding Christian virtue whose memory shines for a decade or two and then they are forgotten. In my diocese, my parish I there were outstandingly good and virtuous priests in the past, often a bit cranky but they were inspirationally holy, the same with lay people.

Pope John Paul II genuinely tried to vulgarise sainthood, to make it a normal part of ecclesial life. In the diocese of Rome there is a permanent diocesan office that looks at the possibility of Beatification for members of the diocese and it regularly feeds names to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. I wonder whether such an office should exist in every diocese. Every diocese should have an Exorcist, I think we should have opposite too, someone archiving and investigating outstanding holiness, looking for the supernatural in lives of the dead. Even if the diocesan process leads nowhere, at least there will be a preservation of the memory of the life and works of extraordinary men and women.

I think John Paul wanted us to see that the normal consequence of Baptism and Communion with Christ in His Church was heroic sanctity, that it wasn't rare as we might have supposed in the past. I am sure that he felt that in a Church that has become obsessed with the horizontal, highlighting individual sanctity was a way of emphasising the ultimate purpose of the Church: to bring us into communion with God and to save our souls and to act as a reminder that God's Grace flows into His Church through his Saints. He was trying to present us with a new "model" of Church.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Deacons John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton

The Ordinariate hasn't yet been erected but yesterday the former Anglican Bishops John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton were ordained to the diaconate, pledging obedience to "the Ordinary" without mention of who that Ordinary was. Father James Bradley has a slideshow of the ordination and an account of the events.

It is presumed that the document setting up the Ordinariate will be promulgated today under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Pray for these men!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chapel Screened Off in St Peter's

Rome Reports runs this video, almost 3 minutes of a screen in St Peter's Basilica, presumably hiding some kind of work. It is front of the Chapel of Saint Sebastian next to the Pieta, which until now has contained the remains Innocent XI who died in 1689.

According to rumour, spread by the French news agency I Media, it is being prepare for the body of  Pope John Paul II once he is beatified.

I must admit I'm not a Canonisation subito fan, my Coptic Orthodox friends will not allow any process until the candidate has been dead for 70 years.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Ordinariate Portal

I seldom highlight new blogs or sites but for those of you interested in the doings and goings on of the Ordinariate the Ordinariate Portal is an invaluable resource. It offers links to stories in the press and on-line.

I found this interview of Fr Marcus Stock, Secretary to our Episcopal Conference by Austen Ivereigh in America fascinating.


I don't publish them if they are anonymous  -  even if they agree with me.

The Excellence of Catholic Schools

Zenit highlights a report on the excellence of our Catholic schools.
In terms of overall effectiveness, 73% of Catholic secondary schools were shown to be outstanding or good, compared to 60% of schools nationally. For primary schools, 74% of Catholic schools were judged outstanding or good compared to 66% nationally.

The report added that these results also reflect social diversity within Catholic schools, as these institutions have the same proportions of children eligible for free school meals as schools nationally.

As well, the Catholic schools showed more ethnic diversity than their national counterparts.

In the report's forward, Stannard stated that "perhaps the most revealing part of the survey is the short section exploring the value added by the schools."

"This clearly shows that our schools do exceptionally well both in terms of objective measures of attainment and when contextual factors such as levels of disadvantage are taken into account," she added.

Stannard continued: "Three findings of the survey are particularly encouraging and should motivate us to engage in a spirit of confident cooperation with our community neighbors.

"The first is the maintenance of high quality from the early years right through the secondary phase of education. The second is the good quality of all aspects of leadership.

"Perhaps most important of all, the third concerns our contribution to the community, which is consistently rated far above average in both primary and secondary phases."

Stannard asserted, "In facing the challenges of education in the 21st century we can confidently confirm that Catholic schools are part of the solution, not the problem."
There is always the danger of "triumphalism".
The problem is not whether our Catholic Schools fulfill the criteria set by the Government but whether they produce disciples of Christ: men and women who value prayer, the sacraments, attendance at Mass and the Word of God, who are capable of building effective families, of nurturing their own children in the faith, of building the Kingdom of God.

Links to the reports can be found here.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Tablet Haemorrhaging Money

Shops seem to be closing all over Brighton, more of my people are unemployed but there is one good thing about the recession, maybe just one The Tablet is haemorrhaging money, according to Ttony - thousands of pounds each week according to the latest accounts it has eventually posted. Admittedly the accounts are pre-recession.
It claims it has a circulation of more than 22,000 copies each week, though in common with other British Catholic papers that probably means that is how many are printed whilst in fact only a small proportion are sold or read. Ttony repeats the claim that the Tablet makes that each copy is read by three people, I have never seen how that can be substantiated, it appeals to diminishing niche market.
Unfortunately it has vast resources laid down from when it was a bastion of mainstream Catholicism.

Assisi One and Assisi Three

The great low points of the reign of Pope John Paul II reign were the stupid "liturgical" blunders, the kissing of the Qur'n as if it were the Book of the Gospels, being exorcised by an Aztec priestess as part of a Pentential Rite, those alone should have Archbishop Marini his head but then the actual low point of all of this was the Assisi (One) the meeting of world religious leaders. It was the the time when the Christian churches of Assisi were despoiled and turned over to pagan worship and the Vicar of Christ identified himself as a fellow traveller with polytheists, deists, shamans and witches.
As a loyal priest I found myself at the time trying to defend the barely indefensible. I did so by suggesting that the Pope alone as the first and foremost world spiritual leader was able call such an assembly and that it was perhaps necessary for all "spiritual leaders" to express some solidarity with one another for the promotion of  "Peace" in the face of growing secularisation and materialism.

Cardinal Ratzinger was the lone member of the curia who broke ranks and publicly criticised the event as being "ill judged". Since becoming Pope he has changed the structures governing the use of the Assisi churches, he has stressed that although Christians may pray alongside non-Christians they may not pray with pagans. Although he seems happy to recite the Psalms and the Old Testament with Jews he is quite clear about the inability of Christians to pray with rather alongside other "faiths".

At the beginning of the year the Pope announced Assisi Three, I was surprised but Benedict's Assisi will be quite different to his predecessors.

The Pope's New Year address to the the Diplomatic Corps clearly spoke of religious freedom, he condemned by name the Pakistani blasphemy laws, he has also called for the right of Christians to build churches and freely worship in Islamic countries. Again and again Benedict stresses the uniqueness of Christ and the Catholic Church the necessity of salvation through Christ and the possibility of other "faiths" to learn from Christianity. The difference between Assisi One and Three is Pope Benedict is charge and calls a spade a spade, and isn't afraid to do so.

This initiative should be seen as a corrective to Assisi One and perhaps a sign of the Pope's confidence that his reforms are actually taking hold of the Church.

No New Ambassador to the Holy See

I caught this in The Telegraph about the continuing absence of the naming of a new British Ambassador the Holy See. Francis Campbell leaves his post at the end of this month.
The suggestion that Ann Widdecombe might have been appointed was a bit of a joke, a retired somewhat combative outspoken politician is hardly going to oil diplomatic wheels. The suggestion that Chris Patten might be willing to combine the job with being Chancellor of Oxford University again seems laughable, I can't imagine the last governor of Hong Kong working with a couple of part time staff supplemented by a handful of volunteers.
Apparently George Edgar will be the interim chargé d'affaires to the Holy See, the problem is that although the Papal visit was a remarkable success there is still a sense that the British do not take the Holy See seriously after Anjoum Noorani's escapades that preceded Patten and Edgar's appointment to oversee the visit.
There were protests from the Secretariate of State a few years ago when the Blair government wanted to make the British Embassy to the Holy See a subsidiary branch of the Embassy to Italy as part of a cost cutting enterprise.

Dubium: Concelebrating Priests at the Doxology

I don't have too much of a problem with Concelebration, at least with Concelebrating with my Bishop. It is a sign that the Bishop has "co-workers"; in the Orthodox world it seems to be a sign that the bishop never acts alone but always with his clergy.
I must say I do have a bit of a difficulty with vast concelebrations where priests should have to say "That" rather than "This is my Body". It seems silly to me to be so distant from that which is consecrated.
I am a bit more skeptical at concelebrations without the Bishop, with Fr Blogs as the principle celebrant: what does it mean, what sign is being given?

One of things that just annoys me, it just seems wrong and ugly is the Doxology where everyone grabs the silverware of the altar.

Father Zee has this Dubium from the Newsletter of the USCCB’s Committee for Divine Worship, there was published a response to a dubium sent to the CDW in Rome:

Role of Concelebrating Priests at the Doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer

In this dubium, the question concerned the role of concelebrating Priests and whether they were permitted to take up the various chalices from the altar before the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer. Quoting from the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the Congregation emphasized the proper role of the Deacon in holding up the chalice next to the Priest for the final doxology: “At the final doxology of the Eucharistic Prayer, the deacon stands next to the priest, holding the chalice elevated while the priest elevates the paten with the host, until the people have responded with the acclamation, Amen” (no. 180).

According to the Congregation’s response, “Therefore, the use is reprobated where all or many concelebrants at the altar proceed to take up the chalices at the time of the final doxology. Rather, it is the duty of the celebrant, or the deacon, or one concelebrant to elevate the [principal] chalice.” It is presumed by extension that the same could be said regarding the elevation of multiple ciboria or patens by various concelebrants. Given the response and the principles of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, only the main paten and the main chalice are to be elevated by the celebrant assisted by the Deacon, or in the absence of a Deacon, by a single concelebrant.

(March-April 2009, pg. 171)

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Muslims Defend Churches

There are reports of a remarkable backlash against sectarianism in Egypt, yesterday Coptic Christmas saw large numbers of Muslims joining their Christian neighbours as "human shields" at Mass.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Pope Visits Sick Children on the Epiphany

The Pope visited sick children in the Germelli Hospital yesterday.
He told the children and their families that he wanted to be like the kings and give the children gifts to show his love and affection.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Happy Epiphany or Thursday after

I had my camera stolen before Christmas, I bought a new one yesterday so here is a picture of our crib, I love the figures, they are beautifully painted and modelled. The pre-Christmas snow inspired the white theme.
After First Vespers one of my parishioners came round with an Epiphany Cake - thank you Mary.

This evening we will have an EF Mass, this morning we had a school Mass, the children came wearing crowns which they cast down before the altar steps at the beginning of Mass.

Can you say prayer for a couple of intentions.

Masonry is a Mortal Sin

One of my parishioners rides a mobility scooter to daily Mass on the front of it is a basket and on the basket is a large sign which declares it has been donated by Brighton Freemasons. Some Catholics foam at the mouth over the Masons, seeing every Lodge as the centre of diabolioc ritual, others remembering the Masonic French government of the early 20th which emptied France  of contemplative religious and imposed so many anti-Catholic laws, see them as spending their time trying to destroy the Church, well that might be the nature of continental masonry but I doubt very much whether that extends beyond the English Channel or even to the US.

The Catholic Church however does forbid Catholics to be Freemasons and says that those who are may not receive Holy Communion. Fr Z republishes the letter of the CDF stating this. Masonry in the English speaking world is reasonably benign, it is involved in charitable work, it is really a men's club. In England there was a time when the prohibition on joining the Masons was dropped and a great number Catholics joined Lodges, that was a mistake, hence the letter from the CDF stating nothing had changed. There seems to be some anecdotal evidence that priests had pressure put on them by bishops to downplay the Masonic issue and to give the sacraments to them.

In Engand the Masons had a rather tight grip on the judiciary, the police, local government, the armed forces, some trade unnions and a great number of businesses as well as the CofE. Catholics debarred themselves from promotion by not joining. The apparent relaxation in the 70s meant that Catholics could integrate with the institutions that held power and that those who had already joined the Masons could be welcomed back to the sacraments.

The major problem for the Catholic Church is not that 30+ degree Masons worship Beelzebub or that the Grand Orient seeks to assasinate the Pope, I somehow doubt they do, but simply that Masonry teaches that fraternity, universal brotherhood trumps every other card in the pack. The basic doctrine of Masonry is that whether we are a Jew, Christian or Muslim, we are all brothers, that these differences are unimportant. Utimately of course that means that the uniqueness of Jesus Christ as theWay to Salvation is undermined and unimportant, that being Catholic or CofE or Baptist or Methodist is immaterial, all are as good as one another. Masonry is ultimately about enshrining Enlightenment values which we see in the American and French Constitutions which are so antipathetic to the Catholic Faith: I mean values like "All men are created equal", which are now so much part of modern thinking.

Many "Traditional" Catholics in Europe see the documents of Vatican II and the Post-Concilliar Church as being infected by Masonry, for them secret handshakes are everywhere but it is not the direct influence of Free Masonry that has entered the Church but rather the values of the Enlightenment and Masonry that have touched our culture, we can't escape them.

Disinterest and the corruption scandals of the 80s and 90s have loosened the grip of Masonic Lodges on the police, judiciary and local government but who in practice is against such concepts as  liberty, equality, fraternity?

The truth is that we Catholics are, or at least we would want to qualify such sound bites, as in fact society does in practice. All men are not created equal, some have special needs others have unique abilities, some will cost society dearly, some will contribute greatly.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Ordinariate January Sale

January Sales and the Ordinariate for some reason seem to juxtapose themselves in my mind.

Anglican former bishops moving, gliding almost, from the CofE to the Catholic Church, being ordained within just over a fortnight, priesthood following diaconate almost without a breath in between. It seems as if the Pope has flung open the doors and is offering admittance to the Church at bargain basement prices. It throws our whole rather complex sense of "RCIAing" people into confusion, it is bit like Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch, a quick discourse on a passage of Isaiah and baptism, and that was it, no more, not even the Eucharist.
Presumably what Philip was looking for was faith. The same with Ordinariate.

All that is required is an affirmative response to the question, "Do you you believe in contents of the Catechism of the Catholic Church? and can you say also say that you believe and profess all that the holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed by God? That is all, anything else is froth.

For those who have spent a life time making the profession of those key statements and now find themselves marooned on their catholic island amidst a sea of liberal belief the Pope is indeed offering a life-line by welcoming them aboard the Barque of Peter, not only that but welcoming them to share in the command of the ship. The parable of the eleventh hour workers in the vineyard comes to mind.

It is easy to be niggardly about the Ordinariate but the Pope has opened wide the door to those who had mistakenly thought they were already part of it. It is up to us to to follow the example of his generosity.
It is like the January sales, Grace is freely available at bargain prices - just like Pentecost - but Grace often appears cheap but the cost is to follow Christ on the narrow way. For those who set out on the Ordinariate path the cost  seems to be a little like cost paid by founding colonist on a strange shore, estrangement from friends and all that is familiar, after the initial euphoria there will be the dull daily slog, for the rest of us the cost is learning generosity.

For the Church in England and Wales we are going to be on a steep learning curve and it will hurt, we are not used to the excitement of disruptive converts, I do hope they are going to be disruptive, we are not used to having the house turned upside down.

How Pentecost must have hurt!
And just like the January sales lots of mess afterwards!
But it is so exciting!

With my blood and my soul I will defend the cross

Brighton has a large number of Coptic Orthodox Christians from Egypt and the Sudan, many of the them have the Cross tattooed on their wrist or on the side of their hand. Yesterday in Cairo surrounded by a huge number of police many protested against the murder of their brethren recently chanting from the Liturgy, “With my blood and my soul I will defend the cross.”

For over a thousand years Christians have been a persecuted oppressed minority. Yesterday a Sudanese women came to ask for prayers for her asylum application which will be heard today, she went around the church before Mass holding copies of her application before the faces of the statues and before the High Altar: say a prayer for Esther.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Cardinal Burke Interview

Gloria TV has this very interesting interview with Cardinal Burke, in it he speaks about how to combat abortion in Europe: like the Pope he suggests an appeal to the Natural Moral Law. He talks about the effect of seeing an ultrasound scan has on  those women who contemplating an abortion.
He also talks about the EF and the reception of Holy Communion.

Join Friends of the Ordinariate

Join the Friends of the Ordinariate: click here

Sunday, January 02, 2011

Bishop Michael Evans

A reader alerted me to a letter from Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia about his declining health and coming death, I have always been by impressed his courage.

He taught theology at Wonersh when I was there. I am indebted to him for his course on the Blessed Trinity which brought the central doctrine of our faith alive for me and through it in many ways changed my life.

Pray for this good man and devoted Bishop.

Pugilism as part of The Patrimony

I was a bit irritated by "The Sunday Programme" this morning, Fr Hunwicke was too, he comes out fighting, no punches pulled, enjoy!
I hope his pugilism will be part of "The Patrimony".

Where God Weeps

This is a short film by Aid to the Church in Need about the plight of our Christian brothers and sisters in Iraq.

thanks to The Bones

A Reminder?

From Paulinus
Despite what ITV News might report (as they did the other night), David Furnish is not married to Elton John.

While we're on the subject have you heard any feminists commenting on the implications of a relationship whereby the bodies of two women are used as objects (one to supply an egg, the other a womb) to fulfil the wish of two very rich men to have a child?

****Silence*** ***distant bell rings***

Me neither. I suppose we've known for a while that homosexual ranks above female in Victimhood Poker.

Eight Maids a Milking

Belated Happy NewYear of the Lord 2011.

A French lady asked me when her children should open thir presents: should it be today transferred Epiphany or Thursday calendar Epiphany.
Last year an Oriental Rite Catholic whose main Christmas celebration is the Epiphany was quite upset that she wouldn't be able to get to an Epiphany celebration on her "Christmas", she wondered about the legitimacy of sneaking into a Greek Orthodox Liturgy. It is a problem for those Christians in Communion with the Church who don't keep the Nativity with much solemnity.
Then of course the CofE and the BBC will keep the Epiphany on Thursday, here in Brighton even the local authority seems to identify Thursday as the end of Christmas as the schools go back on that day. I presume when the Ordinariate along with Hymns Ancient and Modern will assume 12 Days of Christmas is part of their patrimony. In our school the 15% or so of Coptic Orthodox children will be there on the 6th but not a single one will be there on the 7th because that is their Christmas.

Here, next Thursday, the 6th January in the evening there is an EF Mass for the Epiphany at 7pm and in the morning at 10am for our school children there is a children's Mass for our school's beginning of term which will (or should) begin with a procession from the playground of "kings"; Chrysostom, I think, speculated there were at least 40 Magi, all of whom brought the three gifts. Homework over Christmas has been making crowns, which will be deposited around the crib before Mass.

What does one do with them, if one can't send to your true love, the twelve lords leaping, eleven ladies dancing, ten pipers piping, nine drummers drumming?

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...