Tuesday, July 31, 2012

St Ignatius Loyola; the society of Jesus

One of things that the Vatican Council hoped for, and has not yet succeeded in accomplishing is creating a deep love of scripture. St Jerome said, "Ignorance of scripture was ignorance of Christ". St Ignatius of Loyola  understood that scripture, particularly the Gospels had to be at the heart of the movement he intended to found. The choice of the name, the Company or "Society" of Jesus was a very deliberate choice on his part, in in order to make is followers into men who were to have have the zeal of the first disciples and be willing to lay down their lives for Jesus, it was necessary that they should know him in the same way as the first disciples.

To accomplish this, the tool Ignatius used was meditation, like artists of his time he got his followers to make real in their minds the events in the Gospels, to at least in their minds to present in the company or society of Jesus.

from the 1st Meditaion of the Exercises 
Here it is to be noted that, in a visible contemplation or meditation -- as, for
instance, when one contemplates Christ our Lord, Who is visible -- the composition
will be to see with the sight of the imagination the corporeal place where the thing
is found which I want to contemplate. I say the corporeal place, as for instance, a
Temple or Mountain where Jesus Christ or Our Lady is found, according to what I
want to contemplate. In an invisible contemplation or meditation -- as here on the
Sins -- the composition will be to see with the sight of the imagination and consider
that my soul is imprisoned in this corruptible body, and all the compound in this
valley, as exiled among brute beasts: I say all the compound of soul and body

Friday, July 27, 2012

Marriage Inequality

A couple from my parish, I am not sure if they are actually married, have just been sent to prison, he is imprisoned locally, she is miles away. They are going to be separated for two years at least; no conjugal rights. In fact they will not even see one another. However if the were a homosexual couple they would be "banged up" (sorry) together and presumably be able to bring a certain pressure on the Home Office to serve their entire sentence together, doing whatever they wished to do in the privacy of their cell.

When marriage "equality" is introduced this is one of the anomalies that will have to be sorted out, why should a homosexual couple be more equal than a heterosexual couple when staying at Her Majesties pleasure?

Then of course in the future there will couples who meet and fall in love in prison and want to marry - now combine that with the European law that gives the right "family life".

Super Trad Mum has a similar story about about a heterosexual couple being separated in the Olympic village, whilst homosexual couples are not.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Archbishop going to jail?

“I could see myself going to jail possibly at some point over the next 15 years, if God spares me, if I speak out,” said Archbishop Tartaglia, the newly appointed Metropolitan of Glasgow, speaking of "gay marriage" recently.

Of course before that happens we will have lost our right to marry anyone, have had our schools and charitable status taken away from us. Catholic parents who teach their children the faith  will have been accused of "hate crimes" and will have had their children taken away from them, lest they too be infected with even so much as a "thought crime".

That of course that may well happen in barbaric Scotland but in pleasant England and Wales, I suspect things will be quiet different. We, clergy and people, are a little more nuanced, more diplomats than warriors, a little less certain of what is down the road, more inclined to negotiate our position, gently to persuade, use our influence, and if that fails we just might unleash the full fury of our rage in a strongly worded, but not alienating or critical, letter to the The Times by whatever department of Eccleston Square is responsible relationships with sexual, and other, minorities.

Why are things so different then?

Bishop McCrazy

Under the heading of "Bp McCrazy" Patrick Archibald publishes this short video, in which poor old Bishop Richard Williamson talks about his latest conspiracy theory: an atomic attack on the Olympics.

The SSPX, or at least Bishop Fellay has done his best to distance himself from the most eccentric of his co-bishops. The recent General Chapter of the SSPX seems to have been about Fellay strengthening his power base within the SSPX in order to be able to further negotiations with the Holy See. No rational person wants to see the Society fragment.
Bp Williamson was received into the Catholic Church, and almost immediately tried to join the London Oratory, but after a visit of a few weeks was judged as quite unsuitable, he then went to Econe where he was ordained priest and then chosen by Archbishop Lefebrve in 1988 to be one of the four Bishops. Many people have suggested that the Archbishop deliberately chose as bishops men who would be dispensers of sacraments rather than leaders of the "priestly society", his expectation was that a simple priest would be Superior General.
The problem is that Williamson seems to be doing everything he can to get himself expelled from the Society, he seems to want to become a Traditionalist Archbishop Malingo, having a rogue bishop around is always highly problematic for the Church. The question is will Williamson end up setting up his own Church with a few former SSPX clergy becoming madder and madder and more distant from Peter. If he does, at 72, will he then set up his own group of Episopi vagantes to continue his own Church.
His major flaw is his lack of prudence and his lack of a sense of belonging to the Catholicos both very dangerous - pray for him and for the restoration of the SSPX.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catholic Weekly Muck Raking

I had someone phone me this morning rather distressed and concerned that a so called "Catholic" weekly, that has a reputation for criticising the Pope and  his works, was doing a muck raking exercise trying to dig up dirt on Catholic clergy's private lives. They are apparently focussing on the Ordinariate; presumably as yet another way of attacking the Pope, by contacting  former Anglican colleagues, many of whom have a reputation for detraction and gossip, who for obvious reasons wish to spread rumours about those who have swum the Tiber.

I don't know if this has been commissioned by the editor, or is just a freelance journalist who wishes to sell a story but recently we have had a Prince of the Church having been forced to write a letter denying gossip reported by the same weekly, that would seriously have damaged his reputation for confidentiality. Though they published his letter of denial, they refused to retract what they had placed in the public domain.

A few years ago in Scotland someone published on the internet a calumnious list of clergy suggesting they were not faithful to their promise of celibacy, it damaged many innocent priest's reputations. I hope that this weekly is not going to show itself the News of the World of Catholic publishing, if they do then I hope that any clergy whose reputation is damaged will pursue them through the courts.

The problem is when these things are started they tend to grow. There are always rumours and gossip in any Church -more so in the CofE than the Catholic Church- but if one wishes to pollute one's heart and listen to such things, there are even rumours about members of the episcopal bench, but how dreadful if we took such things seriously; calumny is a very serious sin.

Olympics #2

For public information: no go areas in London during the games

Central London
Hyde Park (about a third of park)
St James’s Park (about half of park)
Kensington Gardens (about a fifth of park; you will be able to buy admission to ‘Russia House’)
The Mall (total closure)
Horse Guards Parade (total closure)
Clarence House (total closure)
Somerset House (part)
Inner Temple (gardens, some other areas)
Tower of London and Tower Wharf (closures have already occurred)
Banqueting House (some days)
National Portrait Gallery (one gallery)
21 London theatres will close for at least part of Games because of collapse in tourist numbers
Hamilton Place and side streets in Mayfair (total closure)
Westminster Bridge (one way only)
Constitution Hill (no motors)
Birdcage Walk (no motors)
Park Lane (Zil lane)
Marble Arch (Zil lane)
Victoria Embankment (Zil lane)
Upper Thames Street (Zil lane)
Lower Thames Street (Zil lane)
Tower Hill (Zil lane)
Euston Road (Zil lane)
Marylebone Road (Zil lane)
Westway Flyover (Zil lane)
Knightsbridge (Zil lane)
Brompton Road (Zil lane)
Cromwell Road (Zil lane)
Cumberland Gate (Zil lane)
Park Road (Zil lane)
Gloucester Place (Zil lane)
Baker Street (Zil lane)
Millbank (Zil lane)
Vauxhall Bridge (Zil lane)
Kingsway (Zil lane)
Great George Street (no motors)
Horse Guards Road
Arundel Street (no motors)
Temple Place (no motors)
Russell Square
Woburn Place (Zil lane)
Southampton Row (Zil lane)
Bedford Place
Malet Street
Montague Place
Montague Street

East London
River Lea Towpath (Hackney Wick to Bow) (total closure)
Greenway (Hackney Wick to Stratford High St) (total closure)
Museum in Docklands (total closure)
Pudding Mill Lane DLR station (total closure)
East Marsh (total closure)
Wanstead Flats (part closure for police base)
Victoria Park (part closure for ‘cycling hub,’ live site)
Westfield Stratford (car parks and bus station; whole centre will close at 3pm on 27 July)
The Highway (Zil lane)
Limehouse Link (Zil lane)
Butcher Row (Zil lane)
East India Dock Road (Zil lane)
Blackwall Tunnel northern approach (Zil lane)
East Cross Route/ Lea Interchange/ A12 (Zil lane)
Stratford High Street (Zil lane)
Leyton Road (no motors)

South London
Greenwich Park (near-total closure)
Royal Observatory (total closure)
Greenwich Planetarium (total closure)
Blackheath (part closure)
The O2 (largely closed)
Woolwich Common (largely closed)
Oxleas Meadows (missile site)
National Maritime Museum (reduced hours; Queen’s House and some galleries totally closed)
Royal Naval College (reduced hours; Painted Hall closed some days)
Cutty Sark (reduced hours)
Cutty Sark DLR station (closed on some dates)
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum (total closure)
Blackwall Tunnel southern approach (Zil lane)
Shooters Hill Road (Zil lane)
Charlton Way (no motors)
Greenwich Town Centre (Creek Road and Greenwich High Road one-way)
Ha Ha Road (total closure)
Repository Road (total daytime closure)

North London
North Circular Road (Zil lanes Hangar Lane- Stonebridge Park and around Neasden)
Alexandra Palace (building, ice rink, Palm Court, terraces all closed, but public will be able to buy admission to Dutch Olympic house)

West London
Talgarth Road (Zil lane)
Hammersmith Flyover (Zil lane)
A4/ M4 (Zil lane)
A40 (Zil lane)
Various road closures throughout SW London on days of cycle races

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day for Life: the Pub test

There is something more than mealy mouthed about the leaflet issued by Eccleston Square for this years "Day for Life", it is unfocussed, diffuse. It simply doesn't address the issues of abortion and euthanasia directly, it is "lite". There is little in it that challenges or teaches. I am amused by Fr Tim's take on it.

One is reminded of Ronald Knox's verse "When mild politeness tempering  bigot zeal, corrected I belief to "one does feel"."

It is like so much material produced by Catholic Justice and Peace organisations that worry about curtains and flower arrangements rather than the crumbling foundations of the house. Catholics today really do need to be reminded of the serious implications for society of those things which seek to destroy life. We need to constantly remind ourselves and be equipped with winning arguments that defend the Church's teaching.

A simple test: is it worth leaving in the pub?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

German ban on circumcision

With Germany's history it the one nation on the face of the earth it has before any other to give constant evidence that it is not anti-Semitic. 

However, the recent ruling by a Cologne court that ritual circumcision is a "serious and irreversible interference in the integrity of the human body”, and therefore is illegal, and presumably tantamount to child abuse, has caused consternation amongst Jews and Muslims. For parents in general it raises important issues of their rights over their children. Seculariists of course welcome this ruling under the cover of a "child's right to choose", to choose as an adult whether to be circumcised, and therefore a Jew or not. Some Jewish commentators have suggested this is the most significant attack on Judaism in Germany since Holocaust, and say it is likely to cause a exodus of Jews from the area of the Cologne courts jurisdiction. It leaves parents and those who circumcise their children open to persecution: prosecution, possible imprisonment and the loss of their children.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

An Olympic Rant #1

The HMS Ocean heads towards Greenwich for a pre-Oympics security exercise (PA photo)
William Oddie has a very provocative piece on the Olympics in which he says:
The massive military involvement in the security for the Games is surely not merely disproportionate, but actually demented. The amphibious assault ship HMS Ocean has arrived at Greenwich, where she will remain until after the end of the Paralympics, acting as a helicopter landing platform and “logistics hub”.

A Navy spokesman said: “A mix of Royal Navy and Army Air Corps Lynx helicopters will be ready at short notice to launch from the ship’s flight deck to support the police by providing airborne and maritime security for the Games.” As well as HMS Ocean, RAF Typhoon jets will be stationed at RAF Northolt and Puma helicopters at a Territorial Army centre in Ilford.

Even before the extra 3,000 or so servicemen who have now to be deployed to make up for the G4S shambles, a total of 17,000 servicemen and women were involved in providing security for the Olympics, including 11,800 soldiers, 2,600 sailors and marines, and 2,600 airmen.

The whole thing is surely simply insane: all this military nonsense (costing how many billions? Does anybody really know?) is to give the illusion of security to (and here come all the personal prejudices I had sworn to keep to myself) a large number of self-confident and mostly illiterate young people running, leaping and otherwise cavorting around the Olympic Park and elsewhere (when, that is, they are not reducing London traffic to a state of gridlock). I admit, as I say, that this perception is entirely my own business, that my total inability to understand why so many people think the Olympic Games are actually important and worthwhile is my personal problem, and I do not expect anyone to endorse these feelings in any way.
I share Oddie's curmudgeonliness about the Olympics, there is something distasteful about our military not only picking up rubbish after Olympic tourists but also policing them. Traffic lanes reserved for the elite of Olympic officials speeding in comfort whilst the rest of humanity struggles with a depleted bus service or sweats together underground on the tube, smacks of some distasteful dystopia. Making inaccessible great swathes of our Capital city to ordinary mortals by a stroke of an executive pen sets precedents that have been unknown in England for almost a thousand years.
And for what? An mega high cost circus without bread; an event brought to us by a big society of Government, Macdonalds and Coca-cola but mainly our Government whilst London's workers are urged to stay at home, which is fine for those who can work on-line but maybe not so good for the hoi poloi working in the service industries, paid for the hours they actually work.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Clifton Chief Executive

Joe Shaw highlighted Clifton dioceses search for a Chief Executive, or is it a Financial Secretary? So if you want £65k, apply!

I can understand the need for expertise in the administration of Church affairs, especially where the hard earned pennies of the poor are concerned.
However, apart from the secular sounding title, which as others have suggested puts Bishop or Pastor in the shade, it does seem strange that a non-Catholic might be considered. We can be so professional that we exclude Christ and his Church's teaching, especially where money is concerned. Christ says a lot about money. The use of the Church's money isn't just about avoiding evil, such as not investing in company's involved  in the "culture of death", which presumably in the case of Clifton would involve not investing in companies which overfill kettles.

Avoiding evil is one important but as a Christians we are also called to use our money for a positive good and to further the Church's mission, some of the Scottish bishops have given a good example of this by using their money to promote adult stem cell research. There is a whole issue of justice here, dioceses often have "negative" ethical policy, stating what they will not invest in but I know of none that have a "positive" ethical policy. We should be using our resources to promote the family, fair wages, decent and affordable housing, decent care of the elderly, opportunities for the young, for the poor, for the socially marginalised, for those companies that are attempting to put into practice the Church's social teaching. I know that many dioceses have money invested in government stock which is generally regarded as ethical but the spat the American bishops are having with their government reminds us that even "democratic" governments are often less than ethical.

The Clifton advert seems to suppose a glancing acquaintanceship with Catholicism, but that is far from what successive Popes have taught.
We seek a person who embraces the values of, but is not necessarily a member of, the Catholic
Unfortunately this sounds a little too much like the attitude we have to our schools, "values" are rather pale, fleeting and subjective creatures. I'd much prefer Bishop Lang to be asking for a deeply committed Catholic, imbued with orthodox Catholic theology and social teaching.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

It is not orthodoxy but goodness we need

I am really pleased about the appointment of the new Bishop of Portsmouth, pray for him, his clergy and people.

I have a friend staying with me lately he is involved in seminary formation, in a seminary distant from the English speaking world. We have been speaking about the qualities needed in bishops, priests and seminarians.
I suspect first and foremost most readers of this blog would say being orthodox was the first quality that should be sought. Though it is important it, I would suggest it is not as important as pretty basic qualities, such as honesty, transparency, truthfulness, personal integrity, kindness; the lack of some of these qualities in some bishops, for example  in Ireland, seems to have been disastrous for the Church.
Being a good person seems pretty basic but I can't really remember that it was much sought, or encouraged or developed in my time in the seminary, it was certainly welcomed when it was found but not actively sought nor actively encouraged, indeed many of those who formed seminarians seemed not to be themselves actually "good". They might have a whole lot of other skills such as administrative or academic ability or even affability but not first and foremost "goodness".

This is important because "goodness" is the beginning of sanctity, its absence suggests that the Holy Spirit is absent in someone's life. Orthodoxy isn't meant to be an arid negation of belief but a but a positive affirmation of truth that is a manifestation of God's Glory. God's Glory has a moral dimension which is revealed in simple human goodness, a goodness that speaks and reflects with evangelical clarity of God's goodness.

I am sure things are different now, from my seminary days. I was talking to a priest who spent time with a recently with a bishop who had spent time with the Pope, I was so pleased when he said that what delighted him wasn't so much his cleverness but simply that he was evidently good.

Whatever other qualities Mgr Egan has, I pray that chief among them is simple "goodness". It is that quality that should distinguish Christians from others and be the basis of the "New Evangelism", it should be the first and most notable characteristic of a Bishop.

New Bishop of Portsmouth

Monsignor Philip Egan VG BA, STL, PhD, the Vicar General of Shrewsbury Diocese has just been announced as the new Bishop of Portsmouth.
I don't know too much about him but he has a PhD, has defended Humanae Vitae. He was the Dean of Studies at Oscott, he is has written about the thought of Newman and Lonergan and recently published Philosophy and Catholic Theology: A Primer (Collegeville, 2009).
He seems a little different from the bishops who were appointed in the past, as far as I can see there is no Eccleston Square connection, and it is good to have one with doctorate and who has actually written a serious book.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Praying with children

Further to Beyond words and what a child should know
The best behaved children at Mass here are two children who often attend our Traditional Mass, I am not saying that Trad Mass makes for well behaved children but that the dynamic is different between children, parents and the Mass. It is more that parents who bring their children to the Traditional Mass have different expectations of what their children get out of, or can put into the Mass.
First of all well behaved children come from families were family prayer is taken seriously and where the children have an example of prayerful and reverent parents. Prayer for these two children and their parents is not a church only experience.  
In the video clip above, of a friend of one of our parishioners, the family regularly say the Rosary together and night prayer is Compline with at least the final Marian Anthem sung in Latin. If families are not praying at home, it is unlikely children will pray in church.

Sunday, July 08, 2012

New Wine Skin

Mother of God, pray for us

The new skin wherein the new wine fermented,
the newest of the Covenant promises.
Mary the Immaculate,
The God chosen skin, the choicest, purest
to contain the New and Eternal drink
which alone satisfies arid humanity.
She that contained the morning dew
our Redemption promise.

The young flexible skin that moved
according to the will of the intoxication she held.
This is wineskin that alone can contain the Universe's drink.
This is the Spirit filled skin from which no wine is lost,
the handmaid that swells to contain the measure of He who she bore.
This, the ewe white from the washing, pregnant with the Lamb.
This, that contained Canaan's sweet abundance.

This the singular vessel!

This morning was one of those happy days in which the reading of the week day at Mass accidentally gave new meaning to the Saturday Memoria of Our Lady   - yes I know mad people write poems that don't scan!

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Mgr Wadsworth on the Liturgy and the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth recently gave a speech in Salt Lake City, so much of what he said was a reiteration and development of what he had said here, when he came to speak. 

He based his speech on the Holy Fathers address to the Dublin Eucharistic Congress. He rather strongly criticises the Mass at which this address was given: such things the absence of any Latin, of chant, not using the Propers, inventing a creed, having performances such as "The Priests" singing some sentimental song at Holy Communion, which gave rise to applause, the absence of silence before and after Mass, and so forth. He suggests it was all rather 80s.
He even suggests that so contrary was the Dublin Mass to everything that the Pope has urged about the Sacred Liturgy that he could be tempted to think there was conspiracy - I am sure the loyal Archbishop Pietro Marini - in charge of Eucharistic Congresses - and the leading Irish liturgists on the planning committee would never permit that.

I am afraid the text of the speech is here, sorry!

Friday, July 06, 2012

Cardinal Burke on the Extraordinary Form

Tomorrow, being 7th July, is the 5th anniversary of Summorum Pontificum.

Rorate has this rather beautiful short video, The Call of Beauty, on the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the commentary is by H.E. Raymond Cardinal Burke.

He is here, Here he is

Bishop Mark Davies said at Liverpool Cathedral today on the visit of the heart of St Jeanne Vianney.

St. John Vianney never set out to ‘please people’ responding to demands like a tin can blown about on the piazza outside. Rather he proceeded purposefully in seeking to please God. This led him very close to all his people and especially close throughout his life to the most difficult and confused of his people – the types of people we might naturally be inclined to avoid. Yet there was nothing of a ‘people pleaser’ in this. The stories are legion of his remarks and sayings which might appeal to Lancastrian plain-speaking. Yet it is hard to know how they were first received such as when he told his congregation that in their dealings with each other most of them were probably thieves! Or that man who brought his fine dog for the Curé to see, who was told with a sigh ‘If only your soul was as beautiful as your dog!’.”

“…It is the Curé’s short, pithy, insightful phrases that are most remembered. All of these lead, as Pope Benedict notes, towards the Eucharistic Presence before which he would kneel every day. Indeed, he would point all those who came to see him to the Altar and Tabernacle saying: “He is here, He is here, the One who loves us so much He is here!” I often repeat those same words in the parishes I visit because we always need to be reminded of the mystery and reality of the Holy Eucharist at the very centre of every parish’s life.  In his last days when frailty and sickness no longer allowed him to be heard, he would stand in the pulpit of Ars and repeatedly point to the Tabernacle. Everything he wished to say and us to seek was there in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist.” 

“…. The ‘pastoral plan’ of the Cure of Ars from which Pope Benedict tells us we all have something to learn leaves our parishes in northern England and beyond with many searching questions. This relic represents a call to the heart, a call to return to what must lie at the heart of the life our parishes declining or apparently flourishing in city, town and countryside. St John Vianney had no doubt that whatever lies at the centre, the heart of our parishes must always serve to bring us back to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus.  Where there is not much love for God, we must not resign ourselves to it. The Saint of Ars challenges us to bring love for God there!”

St Maria Goretti, a victim of abuse

Today in the OF is the memoria of St Maria Goretti, she is one of the many child virgins the Church honours. Her mother was the first mother in recorded history to be present at her child's beatification and canonisation, which in the days before JPII is evidence of both the popular devotion and the speed of her process. What touches me most is the story of her murderer and his conversion.

The Church honours virginity in both its male and female saints, it isn't just a matter of "spiritual integrity" but physical integrity too, the two go together. There is a tendency to saccherinise such saints but St Maria had resisted Serenelli previously. She was the victim of child abuse, she resisted, her "no meant no". I cannot help thinking that one of the reasons for her popularity was that there was an undercurrent of sexual abuse within within Italy at the time.
St Jeanne Vianney at various times during the year rails against village dances; times when young people might find themselves alone together. Padre Pio takes the same stance, as do many Irish sermons of the early 20th century. Abuse, we know generally takes place within the family or extended family, I can't help wondering whether devotion to her was a rather discreet way of talking about sexual abuse.
I remember some years ago talking to a woman whose Polish mother had involved all her children in abusive sexual practices, she, a sociologist and counsellor, was convinced that in rural societies, especially isolated ones such practices were "normal". I don't know.

On July 5, 1902, finding eleven-year-old Maria sewing alone, Alessandro Serenelli came in and threatened her with death if she did not do as he said; he was intending to rape her. She would not submit, however, protesting that what he wanted to do was a mortal si and warning Alessandro that he would go to hell . She desperately fought to stop Alessandro, a 19-year-old farmhand, from abusing her. She kept screaming, "No! It is a sin! God does not want it!" Alessandro first choked Maria, but when she insisted she would rather die than submit to him, he stabbed her eleven times. The injured Maria tried to reach for the door, but Alessandro stopped her by stabbing her three more times before running away. Maria's little sister Teresa awoke with the noise and started crying, and when Serenelli's father and Maria's mother came to check on the little girl, they found the bleeding Maria and took her to the nearest hospital in Nettuno. She underwent surgery without anesthesia, but her injuries were beyond the doctors' help. Halfway through the surgery, Maria woke up. She insisted that it stay that way. The pharmacist of the hospital in which she died said to her, "Maria, think of me in Paradise." She looked at the old man: "Well, who knows, which of us is going to be there first?" "You, Maria," he replied. "Then I will gladly think of you," said Maria. The following day, twenty hours after the attack, having expressed forgiveness for her murderer and stating that she wanted to have him in Heaven with her, Maria died of her injuries, while looking at a very beautiful picture of the Blessed Mother, and clutching a cross to her chest.
Alessandro Serenelli was captured shortly after Maria's death. Originally, he was going to be sentenced to life, but since he was a minor at that time the sentence was commuted to 30 years in prison. He remained unrepentant and uncommunicative from the world for three years, until a local bishop, Monsignor Giovanni Blandini, visited him in jail. Serenelli wrote a thank you note to the Bishop asking for his prayers and telling him about a dream, "in which Maria Goretti gave him lilies, which burned immediately in his hands." After his release, Alessandro Serenelli visited Maria's still-living mother, Assunta, and begged her forgiveness. She forgave him, saying that if Maria had forgiven him on her deathbed then she could not do less, and they attended Mass together the next day, receiving Holy Communion side by side. Alessandro reportedly prayed every day to Maria Goretti and referred to her as "my little saint." He attended her canonization in 1950. Serenelli later became a laybrother of the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, living in a monastery and working as its receptionist and gardener until death peacefully in 1970.

Thursday, July 05, 2012


Compare and contrast

Secretaries of the CDW

Sandro Magister has some interesting background on the recent history of the Secretaries of the CDW.
He ends:
It is a change that could represent the same problems as the previous ones. In fact, the incoming English bishop Roche, 62, is a protégé of the cardinal emeritus of Westminster, the "liberal" Cormac Murphy O’Connor, whose auxiliary he was as well. And already in the past, with great preoccupation in the more conservative circles of the Roman curia, his name had been circulated for the office he has now obtained. But it must be said that the firm manner in which Roche, as president of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy from 2003 until 2012, defended the new translation of the missal in English, composed under the banner of greater actual fidelity to the Latin "editio typica," won him the hostility of the more progressive component of the Anglophone episcopate. When he arrives in Rome, Roche, who studied spiritual theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in the early 1990's, will have an opportunity to make his stance known more clearly. It will be interesting, for example, to see how he deals with the congregation's task of giving its own "recognitio," the green light after a revision, to the Italian translation of the missal, which, in the version approved by the bishops of the CEI, strays farther from the original Latin than the one in English does. Without counting, obviously, that it will also be curious to verify if – after the four failed attempts of Tamburrino, Sorrentino, Ranjith and Di Noia – Roche will finally succeed in bringing his own five-year term to its conclusion.
One of the important things that Bishop Roche might well bring to the CDW are efficient administrative skills, which apparently are lacking at the moment. I know that there have been criticisms of aspects of his leadership in Leeds but I think that it should be remember has been two full-time jobs: Bishop of Leeds and both overseeing but also fighting for the new translations. A Roman friend described the present Prefect as, "very kind, very intelligent, very learned, very Spanish and not very good with a diary".

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

The Power of the Veil

Thanks to Fr Zed for the link, the American Pro-Choice Vice President Biden visit some nuns under the charge of the the Dubuque location is the motherhouse of LCWR president Sr. Patricia Farrell, OSF. The article based on the Vice President's press release doesn't say whether the strident Sr Pat was there, in fact it carefully avoids it but the picture, is a traditional(ish) looking nun, with a cardigan and veil, not a business suit, not a trouser suit, but a veil!

Isn't it interesting that when even the British press when the want to damn the Vatican's condemnation of the LCWR they choose pictures of Europeans looking like, err nuns, yet I have never seen an image of a veil at the LCWR, ever.

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

'Heirarchy' of truths

A load of old nonsense is talked about the idea of "'heirarchy' of truths" by many who do not really understand Catholicism
When comparing doctrines with one another, they should remember that in Catholic doctrine there exists a "hierarchy" of truths, since they vary in their relation to the fundamental Christian faith.
Unitatis Reditegratio 34
It is not that some "truths" are less true than others, or that some "truths" can be dispensed with but rather that truth itself is heirarchic. The doctrine of the Trinity, for example, is dependant on the doctrine that God exists, the doctrine the doctrine of the Incarnation is dependant on the doctrine of the Trinity, part of which says God is active in his creation.

In the same way the doctrine that the Catholic Church is the "True Church" is dependant on a whole number of other doctines, for example: the acceptance that Jesus Christ is God, that he speaks the Truth, that his words are unchanging, that scripture is true, that the Holy Spirit does indeed guide the Church, all these come together stating quite clearly that the Church was built by God himself on the Rock at Caesarea Philipi and has been guided by the Holy Spirit from the first Pentecost.

It is not that any doctrine is more true or less true than any other but rather that Catholicism is an integral whole, for so many doctrines are interrelated. Take one away, or damage it, and the whole edifice begins to crack and collapses. An obvious example that seems prevalent at the moment, damage the doctrine of the Real Presence and the whole Catholic concept of the intimacy of God with his people is seriously wounded. The Real Presence gives us an understanding of the doctrine of God that is significantly different from a Protestant understanding of the doctrine of God.

Monday, July 02, 2012

What is happening?

Today the Holy See has announced the appointment of Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg is going to the CDF as Prefect

From Bishop Muller's Wiki entry
Clerical celibacyIn response to controversial reactions to comments by Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg that, while clerical celibacy is a gift but not theologically necessary, but that it would be a "revolution" if the celibacy tradition within the Latin Rite Catholic Church were abandoned, Müller said: "The Second Vatican Council made clear in Article 16 of the "Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests" what the decisive requirements are".
EucharistIn 2002, bishop Müller published the book "Die Messe - Quelle des christlichen Lebens" (St. Ulrich Verlag, Augsburg). In the book, he says : "In reality, the body and blood of Christ do not mean the material components of the human person of Jesus during his lifetime or in his transfigured corporality. Here, body and blood mean the presence of Christ in the signs of the medium of bread and wine."
Liberation theologyMüller was also a pupil of Gustavo Gutiérrez, the “father” of Latin-American liberation theology, with whom he has a long and close friendship. Commenting on Guitierrez, Müller stated: "The theology of Gustavo Gutiérrez, independently of how you look at it, is orthodox because it is orthopractic and it teaches us the correct way of acting in a Christian fashion since it comes from true faith." It is important to note that Gutiérrez’s thoughts were never censored by the Holy See although it was asked that he modify a few of his writings.[5]
MariologyIn his 900-page work "Katholische Dogmatik. Für Studium und Praxis der Theologie" (Freiburg. 5th Edition, 2003), Müller says that the doctrine of the Perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary is "not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth [...], but with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature."
Status of Protestant communitiesIn a speech he gave in October 2011, Müller said that "the Catholic Magisterium is far from denying an ecclesial character or an ecclesial existence to ‘the separated Churches and ecclesial Communities of the West".[7]

Beyond words and what a child should know

The relics of the Curae d'Ars are arriving in England this week. I know many clergy were surprised by the huge turnout of people for the visit of St Therese. Catholics are indeed fascinated and attracted by "things" recently the "Holy Coat of Trier" brought thousands of pilgrims the shroud continues to fascinate and intrigue.  Of course we are equally fascinated by persons, the Papal visit really did exceed all expectations. Catholics who never come to Mass come to these events.

Last weeks talk here by Fr Sherbrooke (sorry there is no video) was interesting, he spoke about the "magnetic attraction" of the Blessed Sacrament, of how people from the Soho School of Evangelism would be sent our from St Patrick's simply to invite people to come and be in the presence of the Real Presence.

I think that this is an important religious phenomena, that is indeed a significant part of Catholicism, it is part of the idea of prayer as "he looks at me and I look at him" akin to the "mutter of the Mass"; it is beyond words and certainly beyond the idea of religion as moral improvement, and  not quite explainable to modern sensitivities. One "hyper-rationalist" bishop who, when offered St Theresa's relics for his diocese said that he couldn't see the value of such a visit and suggested we had moved on from that type of thing, later he was surprised, and possibly like Bishop Hollis of Portsmouth delighted by what he witnessed.

I suppose what talking about is religious experience. Since the Council of Trent we have tended to be a little suspicious of it, since Vatican II we have become more suspicious of it, regarding it as pietistic or even superstitious. Ladies who do courses on Liturgy and priests who re-order churches despise it! It is essentially about a "feeling" a "sense", New Agers might call it "energy" or find some other word to define such as "otherness", Catholics might describe it as "an encounter with the Holy". It is essentially about "experience" beyond words, beyond explanation. Indeed the there seems to be a diminishing of the "experience" if it is over explained or rationalised because it is essentially something that happens deep in the soul and is beyond words.

I am convinced that we need to find ways to allow people to "experience" God: teaching prayer, sharing ritual gestures, teaching reverence, teaching silence and sense of awe, all these help to give a "vocabulary" that enable people come to and share in this experience. It is unfortunate that so much has been done to undermine, negate and cheapen this experience in recent years.

I would go so far as to suggest the catastrophic failure in Catholic education has been that rather than teaching people to "know" in the sense of experiencing God we have given people knowledge about him. God desires to "be known" and after knowing him we then have a need to understand him. Having first received the experience of faith we then, and only then, want to understand it: faith seeks understanding. To understand without having the experience faith seems disastrous and probably leads to atheism.

I would suggest that teaching a child to say prayers, to genuflect, to kneel, to bow, to hold their hands together in prayer, to be silent and whisper in Church, how to reverently make the sign of the Cross, to light candles, to bring flowers to a statue, to wear a miraculous medal, to use a Rosary, to put a crucifix and holy pictures in his room, to use Holy Water, to make sacrifices and fulfil promises to God, to keep the Commandments as best  he can and later to receive Holy Communion with as much reverence as possible are all things that should precede the giving of religious knowledge in any academic sense because these things all provoke the question: "Why?". Doctrine and dogma are ways of understanding what we actually intuit which is the first of God's gifts. In the Gospels people wanted simply to see Jesus or be in his Presence before they came to know him and his teaching, the experience of Him led to the desire

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Well done Liechtenstein

Liechtenstein arms
Prince Alois of Liechtenstein threatened to use his veto last September to block a plan to legalize abortion, but today the result of a referendum showed 76.1 percent of voters, or 11,629 people supported the Prince.

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Here is Catholic worthy of the name. God bless the Prince!

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...