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Showing posts from July, 2007

Off to Faith Summer Session

OK, time to stop posting, and go and pack my stuff for the Faith Summer Session at Woldingham. Don't sweat it! I'm a bloke - and there are fully 20 minutes before we leave. One advantage of celibacy is that you don't have to be nagged about things like this :-)

I hope to be posting throughout the Conference. There will be several other Catholic bloggers there so I will try to get video footage of any riots that ensue from people fighting for access to computers. I have several cunning plans up my sleeve to outflank the competition but if I told you those, I'd have to kill you.

Taking offence - double standards

This video Eucharistie Lisbonne shows Bishop Jacques Gaillot presiding over various chants and dances leading Christopher Gillibrand to label it The Red Bishop and the Stealth Priestesses. I'm not going to embed the video here. To be honest, I couldn't bear to watch more than the first two minutes and it is over 19 minutes long.

What struck me was the first song which had the swaying ladies chanting "Yahveh, Yahveh, Yah-a-a-veh something something" with the Bishop shouting in the background. Now my point is this. There has been was a tremendous fuss about a prayer in the older form Good Friday Liturgy which prays for the conversion of the Jews. A lot of ink has been spilled about this, some of it sensibly to point out that if we believe that our faith brings eternal salvation, it is an act of charity to pray for the conversion of others. If they do not agree with us about our faith, surely, they could agree that if it were to be true it would be reasonable and good to…

Edmund in St Petersburg

Auntie Joanna has reminded me of Edmund's blog from St Petersburg. There are some very interesting accounts there of the Church in Russia.

More RSV

The University of Michigan has the text of the RSV online with some useful tools (proximity and boolean searches).

Crosswalk also has various bible study tools including the text of the RSV.

(Thanks to commenters.)

An aid to meditation?

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From Kirche und Kunste:Kreuzweg, we have the Stations of the Cross. Above, for example, is the station where Jesus meets his blessed Mother.

I found these on Catholic Church Conservation. I can't understand how he could possibly have mixed up "Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem" with "The second fall of Jesus under the Cross."

A new rumour

Now that the Motu Proprio is out, it is surely time for another rumour. This from Androkronos via Fr Z.The Pope could celebrate publicly Mass in Latin according to the Rite of St. Pius V. An official introduction of the Rite which, as far as ADNKRONOS has learned from authoritative Vatican sources, could take place on the 1st Sunday of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year.I agree with fr Zuhlsdorf that [...] a single Mass by the Holy Father, with all the necessary solenmity, would effect as much if not more than the Motu Proprio.

However, having both would be even better!

Charities and political activity

Guido Fawkes, the popular political blogger, reports on an investigation into the Smith Institute. He says that it has dragged on too long and that the charity broke existing Charity Law by acting as a campaign slush fund for Gordon Brown. (Sith Break the Rules, Sith Change the Rules)

Leaving new Labour sleaze to those better equipped to comment, the thing I find interesting is that Ed Milliband is now of the view that:Charities should be free to participate in appropriate ways in political activities. There are clear benefits to society from allowing charities to do so. (See Times Online:Plan to let charities become political)

For some time, certain dioceses in England and Wales have been worried about allowing the White Flower Appeal organised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) because it is "political". In fact, many other pro-life groups engage in what is obviously political work - and indeed SPUC has many pastoral and caring initiatives in additio…

Joining in with the responses

One point of controversy that often comes up in relation to the classical form of the Roman Rite is that of the responses. The usual practice was for the server (or the Deacon and Subdeacon at High Mass) to make the responses on behalf of the people. The "Dialogue Mass" was introduced under Pope Pius XII whereby everyone could "join in" with the responses.

Nowadays, when the older form of the Roman rite is used, aficionados get annoyed if people join in with the responses. People who are used to the newer form of Mass get annoyed and say that it is ridiculous that we cannot join in with the "Our Father", for example

One source of the problem was the rather dictatorial way in which the English responses were introduced in the early 70s. People were cajoled and hectored because they didn't say "And also with you" loudly enough. In some places it became a pantomime: "The Lord be with you... I can't HEAR you ... The LORD be WITH you...&qu…

Catholics and the Nazi vote 1932

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Two interesting maps of Germany. On the first, the black areas are those with the highest concentration of Catholics according to the 1934 census:

On the second map, the black areas show the highest concentration of Nazi votes in the 1932 election (white the lowest)


Well fancy that!

The post Catholic Church Conservation:Catholics fiercest anti-nazis in pre-war Germany has larger versions of the maps if you want to see more detail.

Copyrighting the Bible

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Earlier this month, I mentioned that the RSV Catholic edition of the Bible was online. Thank goodness it is! Today I noticed via John Three Sixteen that the Virginia etext version of the non-Catholic RSV has now been removed because of the assertion of copyright by the NCCCUSA:We regret that we are unable to host the Revised Standard Version of the Bible on our website any longer. We were recently contacted by the National Council of Churches of Christ (http://www.ncccusa.org/), who own the copyright for the Revised Standard Version of the Bible in the USA. They have asked us to remove the text from our website, and we have complied with their request. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.The NCCCUSA owns the copyright to the RSV and the NRSV. It has a page for its Permissions Policy which seems to rule out the possibility of anyone publishing the texts online.

On the Bible menu page, it says:The Bible Translation and Utilization program ministry seeks:
to encourage the wid…

Ave Maria in a Roman Theatre

This video comes via Catholic and Enjoying It. A reader wrote to Mark Shea, sayingIt's a DIY recording I made of the Schubert Ave Maria at Aspendos in Turkey. The acoustics in this almostly perfectly preserved Roman theater are nothing short of amazing -- a singer's dream. There was no amplification, no digital manipulation, and the only microphone was the little pinhole one on my three-year old digital camera. Notice too that the kind young woman from Kazakhstan who held my camera for me was halfway up the theater steps.

I get tempted to do this when visiting ancient theatres. Somebody usually stops me. Then again, I haven't got the voice that this fellow has. The alternative is to declaim as much of Cicero's first Oration against Catiline as I can remember. Friends usually try to distract me from that too - beer, sedatives, plank of 4x2 to the kidneys, that sort of thing.

23 today

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Today is the 23rd anniversary of my priestly ordination on 28 July 1984. Please remember me in your prayers today. My Saturday morning Mass is celebrated according to the usus antiquior so I will be adding the prayers pro seipso sacredote (for the priest himself). I will remember you all at the memento of the living.

Seewald interviews Mgr Gänswein

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Many thanks to Gerald Augustinus who has done us all a great service by translating an interview which Mgr Gänswein gave to Peter Seewald for Sueddeutsche Zeitung. As he says, "it is one of the most interesting insider interviews you'll come across."

I was very impressed by this exchange in which Seewald tried hard to put Mgr Gänswein on the back foot:PS: A quote from one of your homilies, on the occasion of some ordinations: "You are granted to know that you have a dignity that distinguishes you from all who aren't priests. You are allowed to have the consciousness that you are doing something great, that you are allowed to do something great." Pretty aloof.

MG: I'd say that again without ifs ands or buts.

PS: You take it seriously.

MG: Yes, I do.

PS: It also sounds a bit romantic.

MG: I don't think so. They are words that were made true by life, and life wasn't romantic. The sentences quoted by you may sound a bit ceremonious on paper but behind the…

Fr Z on this week's Tablet

Fr Z has a post on two articles in this week's Tablet (The Tablet: another piece on the Motu Proprio). He commends an article by Michael McMahon who is a lay chaplain in a provincial prison, and writes a vigorous fisk on a letter by Mgr Boylan which attacks the Holy Father and Summorum Pontificum. These responses to the Tablet are proving to be a very useful service.

10 reasons why I never wash

Mulier Fortis has posted the classic 10 reasons why I never wash. Must put it in the parish newsletter again sometime.

¼ million visitors

Fr Stephen Langridge of Southwark Vocations made the amusing observation to me recently that everyone knows exactly how many friends they have on Facebook. They don't admit it but say "Oh... I don't know, roughly 83, I think".

I replied that it was rather like that with bloggers. If you ask them how many visitors they get, they say "Oh... not sure, couldn't tell you exactly.. probably about 1108 a day or something like that."

A couple of days ago, without paying any attention to statistics or anything like that, you understand, I realised that we would hit the ¼ million mark some time today. In fact the 250,000th visitor dropped by just after lunchtime. Thank you all for your interest!

And yes - the daily average is 1108 visitors and 2253 page views at the moment. So do feel free to send review copies of books ...

Booked in at Pluscarden

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I heard today from Pluscarden Abbey that my booking can be accepted for a few days in August when I will be taking some time for retreat.

This will be my first visit to Pluscarden. My parish organist has kindly lent me an illustrated guide to the Abbey: borrowed from her Godson who is one of the community at Parkminster. I will need to return it on one of my visits since she only sees her Godson once a year at the time of the family visit.

Must now book my flight to Inverness ...

Photo credit: Joee Blogs

Prayers for the dying

I have just updated by parish website's Downloads Page to include a leaflet produced by the Guild of Catholic Doctors. It includes prayers for the dying and prayers to be said immediately after someone has died.

The prayers should be led by the priest if he is present - he would also give the sacrament of anointing, viaticum, and the apostolic blessing with the plenary indulgence. However, the prayers in this leaflet can be very helpful for the family and for the dying person to repeat again after the priest has gone, or if a priest cannot be had.

The family may request that the priest use the older form of the rites. However if the priest is unable to do so (because he doesn't have the relevant book, because he does not know any Latin etc.) it is obviously more important for the person to receive the sacraments than to worry about which rite is used.

The Holy Father's holiday

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Andrea Tornielli of Il Giornale has an interview with Mgr George Gänswein, the personal secretary of the Holy Father. The interview is in Italian. Rorate Caeli: News from Cadore has translated a section of the interview concerned with Summorum Pontificum. I thought you might like to read Mgr Gänswein's description of the usual timetable of the day on the Pope's holiday. Reading it makes me feel that the Holy Father is setting a very good example to me as a priest (my own translation):
Can you say how he passes his days and what changes there are with respect to the timetable of the Vatican?

The day is well structured; some elements coincide with the customs of the Vatican and other are clearly different. Every day begins with holy Mass, followed by thanksgiving, the breviary and meditation. Then there is breakfast and afterwards the Holy Father gives himself to reading, study, writing and meditation. At one o’clock there is lunch and immediately afterwards, the Pope has a short …

Psalms on the tube

Responding to the Noli circumspicere post, Fr TE Jones said:I always carry a book on the tube to ensure custody of the eyes,but never listen to my MP3 player, earphones make you unavailable, people will speak to you if you are reading. Thus I can ensure I avoid inappropriate conduct and still ensure availability to people.I remember reading once some advice for priests in an old book to the effect that you shouldn't read the breviary on the train in case people were scandalised. Presumably in those days, people knew about the priest's obligation to recite the breviary and might be shocked that he hadn't said it quietly somewhere.

Nowadays, it is probably edifying for people to see the priest reading something that is obviously a holy book. It is often presumed that it is a bible. (One of the Mission Impossible films makes this mistake.) Still, I try to arrange the day so as not to have to read the breviary when on the train. It is not always possible and yesterday I knew th…

HWTN

For a laugh, see:Holy Whapping Television Network (HWTN): The Motu Proprio Edition

For example:8:00 PM. Fr. Ted: A Latin-y Ted. With nothing left to complain about after the Motu Proprio, the protesters from that weird Martin Sheen movie Catholics have decamped to Craggy Island and appealed to the parochial house for their own Latin Mass. Horror abounds it comes out the only person who remembers how it goes is housekeeper Mrs. Doyle...Fr. Jack being, er, indisposed after the Toilet Duck incident. Can Ted manage with Latin cue cards? Will Jack try to eat his biretta? Will Dougal wonder if Altarey Day is Agnes's brother?

Cardinal Hoyos in 30 Giorni

If you read Italian, there is an excellent interview in 30 Giorni with Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos, President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei.

Some extracts are translated at Rorate Caeli: Castrillón speaks to 30 Giorni. Here is my own translation of another passage that caught my eye:Was the mass of St Pius V ever abolished by the Novus Ordo?
CASTRILLÓN HOYOS: The second Vatican Council never did that and there was never subsequently any positive act that established that. Therefore formally, the mass of St Pius V was never abolished. Surprisingly, those who set themselves up as authentic interpreters of Vatican II gave it an interpretation, in the field of the liturgy, so restrictive and so little respectful of the liberty of the faithful, as to make the Council seem even more coercive than the Council of Trent.

Noli circumspicere...

Several meetings kept me in London all day today: one social, one business and one both. The last was in Golden Square followed by a meal at a nearby Italian restaurant. I don't think I will need to eat at all tomorrow. I was careful to memorise the map of that somewhat labyrinthine area of London to avoid ending up walking to Piccadilly via any of the streets that have seedy clubs.

Mind you, custody of the eyes is necessary most of the time in central London. I often think of the advice of the book of Ecclesiasticus (9.7) when I am in central London: "Noli circumspicere in vicis civitatis" (do not look about in the lanes of the city). I first saw this quotation in an extract from Louis of Granada in a book of meditations. It is consoling to know that there is nothing new under the sun.

Chant podcast

La Tunica Stracciata has put up a podcast with the sung propers (Classical Rite) for next Sunday's (Mass 9th after Pentecost). Presumably this is updated each week.

There is also a link to a pdf of the relevant pages of the Graduale Romanum which can be printed off.

I think that the mp3s of the chants together with the pages from the Graduale would be very helpful for a choir starting out on singing the propers.

Many thanks to Mike for sending me the links.

Baptism and the usus antiquior

I have carried out a Baptism once or twice using the older form and preferred it greatly to the rather didactic and plodding ceremonies of the newer rite. Looking through it again today confirmed me in the view that it is so much more, well, "pastoral".

It is a relief to drop the liturgical re-education necessary to prevent the mother handing the baby over to the Godmother for the ceremony. The "exorcism" in the newer rite is as bland as possible in contrast to the older rite's determined exorcisms, warning the devil in the name of Christ to get out and stay out.

The "come on now, you renew your baptismal promises" element of the new rite was criticised by Cardinal Ratzinger in "Principles of Catholic Theology" (page 42, footnote) when he lamented the disappearance of the idea of representation. As he said,the statements now designated as acts of remembrance have no inner relationship with the baptism of the child that is presently taking plac…

Fr Mildew

Great news: Fr Michael Clifton has started a blog. He describes himself as it as "a retired Catholic priest of a traditional mould" and calls the blog Fr Mildew.

Reaction and non-reaction to Letter to Chinese Catholics

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Interesting and informative commentary and analysis as ever from Sandro Magister, this time on reactions to the Holy Father's letter to Chinese Catholics. (The Pope Writes, but the Beijing Authorities Don't Respond)

The Vatican has seen the lack of reaction from the Chinese authorities in a positive light. I can see the point here - at least the Chinese authorities haven't come out immediately and trashed it. Magister suggests that there is a divide within between the highest authorities and the lower level communist apparatus, the latter being more hostile to the Church.

Magister also looks at a dispute between Cardinal Zen and the Flemish Sinologist Fr. Jeroom Heyndrickx, director of the Ferdinand Verbiest Institute at Louvain. Fr Heyndrickx is of the opinion that,[...] the papal letter encourages the members of the clandestine Church to come out into the open, to ask for and obtain the recognition of the civil authorities and to share the sacraments with the bishops and p…

Heartland Catholic

Heartland Catholic is a new service that collects articles of interest from a traditionalist perspective and might be worth adding to your RSS feeds.

Humanae Vitae 40th anniversary

Priests for Life in the US have announced a year-long preparation for the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The website notes:There is a close link between abortion and contraception. Natural Family Planning, furthermore, provides a solution to both. The Encyclical Humanae Vitae has been and will remain a prophetic voice in the Church bearing witness to these truths. Pope John Paul II's Evangelium Vitae likewise explains the connection between abortion and contraception as "fruits of the same tree."This is an excellent initiative and we must find some ways to follow this lead in England.

Sufficient provision?

One of the standard responses to Summorum Pontificum is that there is already adequate provision for the celebration of Mass according to the Missal of Blessed Pope John XXIII.

Summorum Pontificum allows priests to celebrate the Mass privately and for people to attend. It also allows parish priests etc. to arrange public celebrations at the request of a stable group of the faithful without further permission. If provision is already adequate, there should be no significant growth in the use of the old rite as a result of the freedom allowed by the Motu Proprio.

I suppose there is no sense arguing about this right now - we will all see in time who was right.

SSPX and Pope Benedict

Some people question the Holy Father's judgement regarding the Society of St Pius X. A letter in this week's Tablet opines that:"[...] the new arrangements (to come into force from 14 September) will not bring the Lefebvrists ‘into the fold’ – their problem has never been liturgy but ecclesiology – they just do not believe in the same Church."Pope Benedict is a little more intelligent than that. As he said himself:"We all know that, in the movement led by Archbishop Lefebvre, fidelity to the old Missal became an external mark of identity; the reasons for the break which arose over this, however, were at a deeper level."I wouldn't be so sure that Pope Benedict will fail with the SSPX. Within the Society, there is some recognition that the present situation cannot go on for ever and Bishop Fellay has spoken generously about Summorum Pontificum. It is true that the "hermeneutic of continuity" idea has been criticised by the SSPX but Pope Benedict…

Blog from St Petersburg

Edmund Nash is off to St Petersburg and will be blogging from there on Postcards from St Petersburg. He is there for a conference on protistology where he will be hoping to enlighten his colleagues on the mitochondria of dinoflagellates and their evolutionary relationships. He may well also be able to entertain us with some photos and news of St Petersburg.

Say a prayer for him as he is flying today with Rossiya - the low-cost subsidiary of Aeroflot.

Thinking of St Petersburg reminds me of a joke from the communist era about a survey:

1. Where were you born?
Answer - St Petersburg

2. Where did you grow up?
Answer - Petrograd

3. Where do you live now?
Answer - Leningrad

3. Where would you most like to live?
Answer - St Petersburg

Facility for donations

For some time, I have toyed with the idea of putting a paypal button on the sidebar just to see what happened. That was not a good enough reason. The prospect of the High Mass and celebrations have prompted me to action. There will be some expenses related to this day and I will pay them out of my own pocket.

It might be that some readers would be in the position to help me out in this, hence the donation button. English Charity Law is not as generous as the "not for profit" provision in the USA so it is sensible for me to avoid any possible hostile action. Same Charity Law would make it highly problematic to arrange this "through the parish" and the Finance Office would have a fit so just to be crystal clear: donations will not go to my parish, diocese, or any of the charities with which I am associated. They will go into my personal bank account and I will declare them in my tax return. Absolutely no "Fr Ted" stuff here!

14 September at Blackfen

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Friday 14 September is the date when all that is established by Summorum Pontificum will be considered "established and decreed". To celebrate, there will be a High Mass at Blackfen at 12noon, followed by the singing of the Te Deum. I have invited Fr John Zuhlsdorf of What Does the Prayer Really Say to preach at the Mass and I am very glad to hear from him today that he can accept the invitation.

All are welcome to come to the Mass, of course. Clergy are invited to attend in choir (bring cassock and cotta - biretta if you have one) and are invited to lunch afterwards. Clergy who would like to join us are asked to add a comment here with your full name. State "Not for publication" if you do not wish the comment to be published. If you are coming, I will presume you are staying for lunch so please let me know if you are not.

Scroll for Father Nesbitt

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The Sisters of the Gospel of Life have a photo of the scroll that was given to Fr Nesbitt from the priests whom he has helped in following their vocation. I went over to their flickr page and download a larger version of it. If you want to read the text, you can click on the picture to the left, and download the large-sized photo (451Kb).

Summer begins in the parish

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Yesterday morning saw the annual Mass for children in Year 6 who are leaving the primary school. At the end of Mass, the leavers each receive a Rosary. I encouraged them to retain Our Lady of the Rosary as a special patron throughout their time at secondary school. School's out now for the summer: tonight they are having a party in the hall next door to my house.

This afternoon, some of my parishioners held a fundraising garden party for the Sunshine International Project. We were treated to freshly baked scones with jam and cream, strawberries, and delicious fruit cake; and of course, lots of tea. A very summery English thing to do - but we nearly had it with the weather. This morning the sky was nearly black and we had thunder and torrential rain. Fortunately it had cleared up by 3pm and it was actually quite sunny.

(More pics over at the parish blog)

FSSP sermon series

Another great replacement for the car radio on long journeys - the Catholic Sermons Series 2007 from the priests of the Fraternity of St Peter serving the St. Philippine Duchesne Latin Mass Community. The list includes some meaty talks on the four last things during a mission given by Fr Issac Relyea of "Keep the Faith". All downloadable as mp3 files.

July Faith Magazine now online

The July-August issue of Faith Magazine is now available online. All the content of Faith Magazine can be downloaded to read or print etc. If you want a nice glossy covered print copy, you can send a subscription.

Editorial is on Sex Education in Catholic Schools: The Deeper Questions and looks particularly at the silence over Humanae Vitae.

Vatican video archive

Many Catholic blogs have highlighted this - I am happy to give a heads-up to the New Liturgical Movement whose article I clipped in bloglines.

The new Vatican City State website has a page about the Vatican Film Library with a collection of downloadable videos. It is amazing to see footage of Pope Leo XIII.

Southern Baptist understands "subsistit" document

Albert Mohler, a Southern Baptist, seems to be less offended than some Catholics by the recent "subsistit" document from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The full title of that document is delightfully bland: Responses to some questions regarding certain aspects of the doctrine of the Church. Pastor Mohler has a refreshingly sensible article entitled No, I'm Not Offended.

First off, he says:No, I am not offended. In the first place, I am not offended because this is not an issue in which emotion should play a key role. This is a theological question, and our response should be theological, not emotional.Now there's someone we could do "ecumenism" with! He addds,No one familiar with the statements of the Roman Catholic Magisterium should be surprised by this development.Rev Mohler, could you come and speak to some Catholics I know? The Pastor is refreshingly straightforward in his assessment of the document:I appreciate the document's clari…

Pope Benedict holiday video

Courtesy of SKY TG24, some unedited footage of the Holy Father on holiday. (There is some code to embed the video but it didn't work on the blog, hence the link instead.)

H/T to Father Z

The Pope's wise and generous action

Thanks to Amy Wellborn, here is a link to an excellent article by Fr Richard Hermes SJ of the Immaculate Conception Church in New Orleans. Father concludes:The Pope’s wise and generous action helps restore liturgical balance and can assist the Church in preserving her ancient spiritual riches. To which I say, Deo gratias!

The old "one-two"

If you read The Tablet ("to see what it says") etc., I recommend Fr John Zuhlsdorf's fisk on the article against Summorum Pontificum by Fr Mark Francis which he refers to as "a condescending and embittered public unburdening of hatred for those who are attached to previous liturgical forms." The memorable line in the Tablet article is where the Pope is said to be "not a trained liturgist". Fr Z justly lampoons this ridiculous assertion.

In conversation the other day with other priests, we agreed that the Tablet is probably right in one respect. Apparently the editorial bemoans the fact that the Pope has denied that Vatican II marked a radical change in the Church.

Indeed. There was no radical change. We are the same Church. It has not changed in essentials. Blessed Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI said as much. Furthermore, to avoid any ambiguity, the Pope told us that the old Mass was not abrogated. Then, coming from the blind side, it was authoritativ…

Gordon Brown in Pink News

Pink News has an exclusive article: Prime Minister Gordon Brown answers your questions which gives the new Prime Minister an opportunity to nail his colours to the mast - which he does with enthusiasm. They take him up on the fact that he has been absent from nearly all "Gay Equality" bills introduced since 1997 but Brown gives assurances that he supports the whole of the Government's record. Similarly challenged on his silence on civil partnerships, he affirms his support for them.

Pushed on the "more that needs to be done", he affirms that the new "Commission for Equality and Human Rights" has a role not only to enforce the law but also to change attitudes. This is worrying since all human rights organisations now work on the principle that homosexuality is the equivalent of race with the homosexual inclination being the "racial" characteristic that defines the homosexual person. To criticise homosexual activity as sinful, therefore, is by …

Why can't God be more reasonable?

The posts on hell and mortal sin have generated a lot of comments and some good discussion. I would like to take up two themes that are related. One is to ask how God can be so cruel and vindictive as to condemn someone to hell for a fleeting mortal sin. The other is the question of why we should be obsessed with sex when there are so many other evils in the world.

I think we might like to say to God "Look, this sex thing - you gave me these feelings, it's no big deal. I wouldn't condemn anyone for this." We don't see what harm there is in a little sexual licence here and there (although the daily newspapers could help us out a bit on this.) We want to ask him "Can't you just lighten up a bit?" But he doesn't. Our Lord said that if a man so much as looks at a woman lustfully, he has committed adultery with her in his heart. No compromise.

So we get a little angry at this refusal to budge. We know this just must be wrong. After all, we could be qu…

On learning a little Latin

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Thanks to Ecce Agnus Dei for finding Te igitur, clementissime Pater in which Fr Phillips comments on an article in the Guardian "Latin leaves priests at a loss". They dug up an article from La Stampa which quoted a priest from Ancona saying"I am absolutely incapable of saying mass in Latin, [...] and I would actually be ashamed to do so".Ashamed??!!!

Fr Phillips makes an apposite comment about the priorities of priestly ministry:I’m assuming most priests aren’t born knowing how to play golf any more than they’re born knowing how to speak Latin. But if their presence on the golf courses is any indication, most priests are willing to put hours of practice into something they love to do.Ecce Agnus Dei also has this motivational poster which I found amusing - it works best with the American pronunciation of baroque:

Vocations interview

On the Southwark Vocations blog, Fr Stephen Langridge has this video of a young man speaking about his vocation:

Pope to Lourdes next year

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Zenit reports that Fr Lombardi, Director of the Vatican Press Office, has confirmed that the Holy Father will be visiting Lourdes next year which is the 150th anniversary of the apparitions.

This is very good news. A date has not yet been confirmed but in Blackfen we are praying that it will be for the Feast of the Visitation as we will be on our Parish Pilgrimage to Lourdes at that time.

Fr Nesbitt's 40th

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Last evening, the Church of Our Lady, Help of Christians in Folkestone was packed to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Fr Roger Nesbitt's ordination to the priesthood. In the first years of his priesthood, Fr Nesbitt taught Chemistry and RE at the John Fisher School in Purley. During that time, together with Fr Holloway, he founded the Faith Movement. After a spell as assistant priest in Lewisham, he was appointed to Folkestone in the year that I was ordained (1984).

There was a large number of concelebrants for the Mass in thanksgiving with the proper texts for the Mass of Christ the High Priest. The sermon, given by a former pupil, was a fiery, uplifting and theologically rich discourse on the gift of the priesthood.

At the end of Mass, I gave a short address on behalf of all the priests who had been helped in their vocation by Fr Nesbitt (a long list) and placed an illuminated scroll from them as an offering on the altar of Father's parish Church. Sister Roseann Reddy present…

Picnic at Lullingstone

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Today, my sister, Mary came over with her family for the afternoon, bringing a picnic lunch which we took to Lullingstone Park on the North Downs overlooking the Darenth Valley. It was a most enjoyable afternoon and we were blessed with an interlude of glorious, if rather humid, weather. Here are a couple of shots of us walking over the Downs.



After lunch, I did my "uncle" bit and bought ice-creams for us to enjoy during a walk along the river.

Birmingham Oratory Newsletter on Summorum Pontificum

Jackie Parkes has posted the article by Fr Guy Nicholls in the Birmingham Oratory Newsletter this week. Fr Guy's article is an excellent short summary for Catholics who may be wondering what it is all about. His conclusion is also a summary of the concept behind the title of this blog:What the Pope therefore wants us to understand is that he is assisting the Church in her search for 'reform' instead of 'reformation'.As well as hoping to restore unity among Catholics, he is also saying that the Council must be understood in continuity with the whole of the Church's history, and not as some totally new beginning that rejected the entire past.

Martyrs of Compiegne

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Facebook is a pitfall! I was just intending to check it quickly and then found an invitation to join the group "I wear black on Bastille Day". I joined, of course, but had to point out that I wear black anyway but would even if I didn't, if you see what I mean.

The I thought I ought to mark the day here by remembering Blessed Anne-Marie-Madeleine Thouret and the martyrs of Compiegne. Before being guilottined, they knelt and sang the Veni Creator. (Sniff, excuse me, no, it's just something in my eye hrrrmph. OK now.)

Their feast day is actually on Tuesday. I was trying to remember where I had heard of them before - and of course it was my niece's Confirmation. She chose Blessed Juliette Vérolot for her patron.

Whatever happened to mortal sin?

In the discussion about hell, one or two people have raised the question of mortal sin which is, of course closely connected. Now if we are honest, people are usually talking about sexual sins here. People are not usually worried about accidentally stealing a couple of thousand quid and then being run over by a bus. We’re not normally talking about compulsively breaking people’s legs and then having a sudden heart attack.

So first of all, some basics. For a sin to be a mortal sin, there must be all three of the following:
Grievous matter – the thing must be serious in itself. Sometimes the Church clarifies this question. For example, it is the teaching of the Church that in sexual sins, there is no “light matter”Perfect knowledge – the person must know that the act is a sin and that it is serious.Full consent – the person must give the full consent of their will to the act. This would not be present if they acted under force or fear, for example.A number of problems have arisen in recen…

Thinking about hell

Thanks very much to the commenters for the response to my "Defending St Alphonsus" post. A couple of questions have come up about mortal sin and hell. Let's have a look at hell first...

Far from being the mark of a vindictive and malicious God who doesn't care about us, hell is something that follows as common sense from what God has done for us in his infinite love. First he has created us free and immortal. As human people, we are made to his image such that we are able to love freely and for ever. By revelation we know that God has made us to love him freely and for ever and to receive his infinite and supremely benign love for all eternity.

It is easy to see that just as the infinite love of God for all eternity is our highest good, so the loss of this love is the greatest possible misfortune. If it were possible for someone else to take it away from us, we would rightly be in anguish and rage at the utter injustice of it. Thank God, this cannot happen: God is infi…

Old piety rundown for seminarians

A commenter asked me to give a list of 10 books I would recommend to seminarians that would help to foster an ascetical life. Not counting the Gospels and the Fathers of the Church, and really off the top of my head, I would suggest:The Imitation of ChristSt Francis de Sales - Introduction to the Devout LifeLorenzo Scupoli - Spiritual CombatLuiz of Granada - The Sinner's GuideLouis de Montfort - True devotion to MarySt Alphonsus Liguori - anything he wrote but particularly his sermonsCardinal Manning - The Eternal PriesthoodDom Chautard - The Soul of the ApostolateE Escribano - The Priest at Prayer (if you can find a copy)The manual for students at your own seminary (or more or less any seminary in the Latin Church) from any time before 1940Many of the above are, of course, reprinted by TAN. In your seminary library, if you spend some time in the spiritual books section among the older books that are perhaps tucked away on high shelves, you may well find some original copies tucke…

Defending St Alphonsus

It is interesting (and indeed welcome) to have some reaction to the prayer of St Alphonsus. "Anonymous sinner" struggles with the notion of a God who will damn people for an unrepented mortal sin, "Peter" thinks that recommending St Alphonsus is as loopy as promoting devotion to St Philomena, and an elderly priest questions the relevance of 18th century prayers for today.

Regular readers of the blog will not be surprised to find that I stick firmly to my guns on this one. Being thought "loopy" is certainly no deterrent. (St Philomena, pray for us.)

I do not find St Alphonsus' focus on the last things in any way gloomy or morbid. Hell is rarely mentioned nowadays except to try to explain why nobody is likely to go there; and yet it is a part of our faith expressed unambiguously in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. For that matter, it would be difficult to read the gospels honestly without accusing Jesus Christ of having the same preoccupation as St A…

Returning to St Alphonsus

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Many months ago, I posted my translation of the Tuesday prayer from those composed by St Alphonsus Liguori for priests to say as part of their thanksgiving after Mass. After a reminder today, I have now posted a translation of the Wednesday prayer to continue the series. See the introduction for more information.

St Alphonsus was, in my opinion, a master of psychology where that discipline is seen in the light of the eternal truths (viz. death, judgement, hell and heaven.) He had a piercingly accurate understanding of fallen human nature and knew how to drive home the truths of the faith in such a way that people changed their lives - his prayers can still help us in our daily conversion to the closer following of Christ.

One project that I would like to get started is a "Wikipedia" style collaborative effort to collect Latin original texts and English translations of prayers for priests. At some point we could publish a little book with some of the classics that would support…

St Alphonsus for priests (Wednesday)

Prayer to be said by the priest after celebrating Mass (Wednesday)

O my Jesus, I see how much you have done and suffered so that you might impose on me the necessity of loving you: and how ungrateful to you I have proved to be! How many times have I exchanged your grace for vile delectation and evil desire and lost you, O God of my soul? To the benefits of created things I have shown grateful appreciation; to you alone have I have shown myself ungrateful. Forgive me, my God; I grieve the crime of such an ungrateful soul, I mourn with all my heart, and I hope for forgiveness from you because you are infinite goodness. If you were not infinite goodness, I would have to despair and never again dare to implore your mercy.

Thanks be to you, my love, because you have sustained me for so long and have not damned me to hell which I have deserved. Indeed your patience alone with me, my God should draw me to love you. Who could ever have tolerated me except you, God, who are infinite mercy. It is…

APGL Conference

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Fr Aidan Nichols OP addressed the conference of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life today at the St Wilfrid's Hall at the London Oratory. His lecture was on the subject of "Vatican II, Culture and the Gospel of Life." It was a most stimulating and academically robust discussion of the hermeneutic of rupture and the hermeneutic of continuity as applied to the text of Gaudium et Spes. I hope to be able to publish the lecture in due course.

After lunch, organised by SPUC, I gave a short spiritual conference on the pro-life character of the priestly identity, related particularly to the Eucharistic Sacrifice. We made time for confessions, rosary and other prayers in the beautiful "Little Oratory." I am very grateful to the Oratory Fathers for allowing us to use this first-rate and easily accessible location for our conference.

Motu Proprio resources

St Michael's Abbey Press have a Motu Proprio page dedicated to resources that will help in the implementation of Summorum Pontificum. Nice idea!

Ruth Gledhill - "paradigm smashed"

Ruth Gledhill, writing in her blog on Times Online has a really quite good article on the Motu Proprio. As I have criticised her reporting before, I think it is only fair to draw attention to this article. And besides, she has featured the "Happy Days" video which is very kind. (At the time of writing it had over 300 views - the number is now over 22,000.)

She aptly quotes one of our more successful prime ministers:In Churchill’s famous phase, today is “not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”Absolutely! We have a long way to go but Pope Benedict has firmly indicated the direction.

I did enjoy this part of the article, which I think is spot-on:
The Pope has worked for decades for a declaration that the Latin Mass was never abrogated. However, many Bishops are still working with the paradigm that it was superceded by the new Mass and needless to say this produces the hostility which traditionalists feel from Bishops thr…

Meeting Fr Benedict Groeschel

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Fr Stephen Langridge had an evening of recollection today at the Holy Ghost parish, Balham with Fr Benedict Groeschel giving a talk on "The New Psychology of Virtue." Although there is a lot on my desk to get through, I took the decision a couple of weeks ago to book this evening into my diary because I have never met Father Benedict and I was very keen to see the man who has done so much wonderful work for the renewal of the Church.

The full Church was treated to a spiritually enriching, witty and down to earth talk on the problems of 20th century psychology and the importance of the concept and practice of virtue. After the talk, Fr Stephen Langridge celebrated Vespers and Benediction. As ever on these occasions, it was a pleasure to meet people who have read this blog as well as many old friends from Faith and from other contacts in Catholic London. A good number of seminarians from Wonersh were there too and I know that their presence is valued - they also benefit from su…

Secularists attack Mom of 10

The National Secular Society have a piece entitled Religious school transport privilege axed in Cheshire at the end of which they link to Catholic Mom of 10 saying that "This Catholic mum lives up to every stereotype imaginable – and then some." Well, I suppose they should know about stereotyping Catholics.

Some of the secularists have been posting comments on her post Re sex-education. If you have time, you might like to go over and join in.

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