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Thursday, 31 July 2008

Mass and Vespers

This morning's Solemn High Mass was celebrated by Fr Joseph Welch, a recently ordained priest from the Oxford Oratory. This was his first High Mass, hence the presence of an Assistant Priest in cope in addition to the Deacon (Dr Laurence Hemming) and Subdeacon (Fr Petr Gee.) Fr Emerson FSSP preached at the Mass. I have plenty more photos and will post them on to Facebook and here later.

Now I have to go to Vespers where, as I discovered, I am not second but first Assistant Deacon and therefore have to pre-intone the antiphons for Bishop McMahon as well as trying to put his mitres on properly and remember to keep to his right hand side.

Fr John Boyle will be taking some photos of Vespers so look out for them on his blog.

Damien Thompson and Mac McLernon came for today to attend the Mass and this evening's Vespers. I'll try and get some more photos at tonight's reception before dinner.

Classes at Merton

The "working" part of the Conference has been carried on through classes adapted to various different needs. The first three days focussed on the celebration of Mass. Several of us took small groups of "beginners", going through the Mass carefully, and explaining and demonstrating the rubrics of Low Mass. Another, larger, group has been learning how to sing the various parts of the Mass.

From yesterday afternoon, we began with other sessions, looking at the sacraments, the breviary, Latin, the calendar, funerals, vespers, and benediction. The priests could sign up to whatever they wanted and the various tutors have shared out the classes (hence a brief break for this blog today!) Yesterday afternoon, I went through the sacrament of Baptism with a group of about 25 priests.

Everyone has commented on the really good atmosphere of the conference. The priests have enjoyed being together, celebrating the Liturgy, learning more about it, enjoying some good laughs and swapping stories about parishes and dioceses. I have been through Low Mass about a dozen times with different priests either in group or individually. There is a real sense of joy in the priesthood and hope for the future of the Church.

Off to Mass now... more later.

Lectures at Merton

On the first three days of the Conference there was a lecture in the afternoon. On Monday, Dr Laurence Hemming spoke on "The Theology of the Liturgy", taking up some of the themes in his recent book "Worship as a Revelation". On Tuesday, I spoke about "Summorum Pontificum in a Parish Context", addressing some of the concerns that parish clergy have about the problems of introducing the usus antiquior into the parish. Yesterday, Dr Alcuin Reid spoke on "Summorum Pontificum one year on", surveying reactions to the Motu Proprio and drawing on his own work on the organic development of the Liturgy.

These lectures are to be published by the Latin Mass Society in due course.

Liturgy at Merton

First place at the Latin Mass Society's training Conference is given to the celebration of the sacred Liturgy. Each day, Lauds and Vespers are sung according to the breviary of 1962. Yesterday we also had Compline in the fading light between 8.30pm and 9pm with the choir stall candles lit. This evening, Vespers will be celebrated more solemnly as Pontifical Vespers with Bishop Malcolm McMahon presiding. I have to go to a practice for this as I will be in what seems to be my customary place now, the second assistant deacon.

Mass on the Monday was Solemn High Mass (photos yesterday). I forgot to mention that the vestments worn were from Richard Luzar's private collection. They belonged to Napoleon III and have never been worn in England before.

Tuesday I celebrated the Missa Cantata in the more solemn form, ably assisted by Jack Gunning as MC. This was rather daunting since not only was the editor of the latest edition of "The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described" (Dr Alcuin Reid) looking on but so was the tutor for the classes in singing the Mass,, Fr Sean Finnigan. I made one or two mistakes which were useful illustrations for the class in the afternoon :-) In fact Fr Finnegan was the preacher for the Mass so we were hoping that this might help people to work out which of us is which.

Wednesday, the Mass was celebrated by Fr Andrew Wadsworth in the more simple form of the Missa Cantata, without incense. Today we have solemn High Mass again, and tomorrow Pontifical High Mass with the Rt Rev Emmanuel Marie de St Jean, Abbot of St Mary's Abbey, Lagrasse presiding.

I will ask permission to take photographs at today's Mass and will try to get some video footage, especially of the Schola Sainte Cécile.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Some pics and news from Merton

Sorry to have been quiet - the Conference here at Merton College has been quite intensive for me the past couple of days with many participants both in my group and as individuals learning to celebrate the usus antiquior. The conference is also an unparalleled opportunity to meet priest from all over England and further afield to chat about pastoral matters.

Just before I go to bed (I will be saying my Mass early then helping someone else) here are a couple of photos from the Solemn High Mass on Monday. I will ask permission to attend as photographer for tomorrow's High Mass so as to take some more photos and perhaps some video. This really is a great conference, full of genuine gaudium et spes.


Monday, 28 July 2008

Merton Conference begins

I was hoping to post some photos that I took today but the one piece of equipment I forgot to bring was a mini-USB lead so I'll have to pick one of those up later. (Actually I also forgot to bring a cotta but Richard Luzar has kindly lent me one from his fine collection.)

Above is an older photo that I have of the Merton College Chapel where the conference began with Solemn High Mass. Celebrant was Fr Anthony Conlon, Deacon was Dr Laurence Hemming, and subdeacon was Fr Andrew Wadsworth. The Schola Sainte Cecile sang Mass XI (Stelliferi Conditor Orbis) and the propers partly in simple Gregorian chant and partly in the wonderful faux-bourdon which is a trademark of theirs.

The Latin Mass Society has not only arranged the course but have arranged provided each priest with a copy of the new Libreria Editrice Vaticana edition of the 1962 missal. The texts and chants for all the liturgical functions are printed in a hardbound book with ribbon markers, a copy being given to each priest.

I will be looking after one of the several small groups of "beginners", going carefully through Low Mass. Fr San Finnegan is leading a group learning to sing the Another, larger, group is learning to sing the Mass. From Wednesday afternoon onwards, there are classes in Latin, the celebration of the sacraments and the breviary.

It is great to catch up with many old friends. Bloggers Fr Ray Blake, Fr John Boyle, Fr Sean Finnegan, Fr Paul Harrison, and Bro Lawrence Lew are here - I have probably forgotten someone: do feel free to let me know. The three English Oratories are represented with Frs Jerome Bertram (Oxford), Guy Nicholls (Birmingham) and Ignatius Harrison (London) all helping in one capacity or another.

This evening, the Society of St Catherine of Siena is offering drinks before dinner and I will be giving a little speech to introduce the priest friends of the Society, a group for which I have taken responsibility. We are having a retreat in December at Belmont Abbey and priests at the conference have been given a personal invitation to this.

More news of the Conference and, Deo volente, some photos over the next few days.

Evening of Reparation at the Oratory

This text from the Facebook Event "Reparation for Host Desecration":
ADOREMUS IN AETERNUM SANCTISSIMUM SACRAMENTUM

On Wednesday 6th August there will be an EVENING OF REPARATION IN THE PRESENCE OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT. This will begin with Holy Mass in the Little Oratory at, 7pm followed by Adoration with prayers, litanies and silent meditation until 10pm.

We very much hope that you will be able to join us. I realise that many people will be out of town at this time of year, in which case please unite yourselves with us spiritually in your prayers. Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to make personal acts of reparation during the next days, for all of the outrages against the Blessed Sacrament around the world - Rosaries, visits to Catholic churches, and any sacrifices we can offer, are all suitable. Please also pray for the conversion of the culprits, that they will answer God’s call to repentance and open their hearts to receive His forgiveness.

With prayers and good wishes,
Father Julian Large
I have put myself down as "attending" but this will be "in spirit" since I will be conducting a wedding rehearsal. I'm sure you will all join your prayers, penances and works of charity to this intention. In God's providence, the Oratory is an ideal Church and community to offer some fitting reparation to Almighty God for this sacrilege.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

Oxford tomorrow

Tomorrow I will be off to Oxford for the training seminar organised by the Latin Mass Society. I will be taking one of the groups of "beginners" and a group wishing to learn about the older form of the rite of Baptism. On the Tuesday afternoon, I am giving a lecture on the subject of "Implementing the Motu Proprio in the parish context". (This will be published in due course by the LMS.) Later on the Tuesday, I will be celebrating the public Mass. Although it would be quite possible to have a High Mass each day, the Masses on Tuesday and Wednesday will be Missae Cantatae in the more solemn and less solemn form so that the participants in the seminar can participate in these forms of the celebration of Mass.

Although I celebrate a Missa Cantata regularly in the parish, it is a little daunting to be celebrating in the presence of the editor of the new edition of Fortescue's "Ceremonies of the Roman Rite" and several other distinguished liturgical scholars. I'm worried that I will get all flummoxed, incense the cruets or sing "The Lord be with you" in English or something.

I am really looking forward to this conference. It is always a joy to return to Oxford, my home for three very happy years; and the gathering of priests from all over the country is an unequalled opportunity for both serious exchange and light-hearted banter.

Desecration of the sacred host

The video Host Hostage on YouTube shows a man taking a sacred host "hostage", it then shows the Blessed Sacrament next to a condom. The host was sent to Dr. P.Z. Myers at the University of Minnesota at Morris. Dr. Myers has since desecrated the host. An account of its treatment can be found at Myers' post: The Great Desecration (he pierced the sacred host with a rusty nail and threw it into the rubbish bin.)

If you have a subscription to YouTube, please flag this video under the heading "hateful or abusive content".

Myers' justification of his action is fatuous: "it's just a cracker". Even if Catholics regarded the sacred host as a mere symbol, this would be an inadequate justification for showing it disrespect. Remember the episode of Sharp when he realised that he could not describe a flag simply as a "dirty rag"? You simply do not take the sacred symbols of other people and vilify them if you have an ounce of civilised blood in you.

Of course, we believe the "cracker" to be the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. He will judge Myers mercifully for his sacrilege.

Such an incident should prompt us to consider the wisdom of continuing the practice of giving Communion in the hand.

English Catholic History blog

Ad Universalis Eccelsiae is a recently started blog by Dr Simon P. Johnson dedicated to English Catholic history from 1558. The photo above, lifted from the blog, is of the library at Oscott College. I am grateful to Dr Johnson for his use of Scribd which led me to investigate this useful online tool.

Fr George Pell at Oxford (1979)

My good friend Joseph Sowerby has been clearing out his office and found a typescript of a homily given by Fr George Pell on 27 May 1979 at the Oxford University Catholic Chaplaincy. (Nostalgia)

I well remember the occasion - it was a scintillating sermon and those of us "on the same wavelength" as Joseph recalls, got to know him as a result. This was during Trinity Term, the term after I had served as President of the Oxford University Newman Society, which I had the great pleasure of addressing earlier this year.

Joseph picks out one quotation:
What I am saying is that we are in a battle situation, and that the wholesale dismantling of the Catholic tradition is pastorally disastrous.
In a commonplace book which I used to keep in those days, I have just dug out an entry that I made.
Referring to "The increased number of avowed atheists, the decline in Church going, baptisms and marriages in Church, the fall in vocaitons, the departure of so many priests and religious, the increase in violent crime, the permissiveness of hte media, popular abortion, chanigng marriage and divorce patterns"; and contrary to "one Anglican bishop" who thought that "through this the Church was becoming lean and fit", Fr Pell proposed that "A massive haemorrhage is occurring and we must stop saying this is a good thing, just as we stopped believing long ago that blood letting is always therapeutic."
I can't remember whether this entry was written with the text in hand or from memory of the sermon.

Down the priest hole

Richard Marsden has an account of a journey with friends to Oxburgh Hall in Norfolk, an inward-facing great house owned by and continuously inhabited by the Bedingfield family since its construction in the 15th century. (Cf. Bashing Secularism: Oxburgh Hall.)

The most important feature of the house (now open under the auspices of the National Trust) is the priest's hole construced by St Nicholas Owen. The pictures are from Bashing Secularism; above you can see Richard climbing down the first part of the hiding hole. Below you can see how the priests had to duck down and then enter the main part.

There are probably other hiding holes constructed by the saintly carpenter that have not yet been found.

Richard also has an earlier article devoted to St Nicholas Owen.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Backbone award: Cardinal Stafford

James Preece, Catholic and Loving It, has a fascinating piece by Cardinal James Francis Stafford, describing a meeting held in Baltimore in 1968 at which a gathering of priests agreed to sign up to a statement dissenting from the encyclical Humanae Vitae. Last in the line, he refused to assent to the dissent and was sworn at and ridiculed. (Cf. The Bullies of 1968.)

The article reconstructs the intimidation, bullying and hysteria of those times. Eight years on from that, I was a young adult, going through the first year of seminary, and then on to three happy years at university before going to Rome. It was an era in which one learnt how to be the only one in the room who said the "wrong" thing, how to flop to your knees when everyone else stood or sat, how to say "yes" to the teaching of the magisterium when almost everyone else said "no", how to gather a few comrades of like mind and establish a beach head, how to believe that the Church and her teaching would survive all this.

To hear of Cardinal Stafford standing firm in his "Πειρασμος" or trial immediately causes me to look on the man with a renewed respect.

TLM at Lisieux

Mgr Lagoutte, the Rector of the Basilica of St Thérèse at Lisieux, has agreed to arrange for the regular celebration of Mass in the usus antiquior in the Adoration Chapel of the Crypt of the Basilica.

He has extended provision from his original intention to arrange for the Mass once a month and has agreed for the Mass to be offered at 9am on the 1st, 3rd and 5th Sundays of each month, beginning with August 3, 17 and 31.

The news comes from motuproprio14.com which is a group of families and faithful from the Départment du Calvados (14) in Northern France, "wishing to live our faith in union with the Church according to the 'extraordinary form' of the Latin rite."

Thanks to Paix Liturgique for the link.

Chinese gender imbalance

It is significant that Nature has taken up the question of the now dangerous gender imbalance in China caused by the infamous "one child policy". (Cf. Where have all the flowers gone?)

At one point, the the article says:
The unsupportable nature of the modern population boom led China's then leader, Deng Xiaoping, to introduce in 1979 the one-child policy, which nearly all citizens were supposed to observe. Financial incentives were provided for compliance; failure to do so drew fines and confiscations of property, and in some cases led to enforced abortions.
Forced abortions? I though we weren't supposed to admit that they happened.

Best bit of "Into Great Silence"

I recommend viewing the whole of "Into Great Silence". (I wrote about the film some time ago.) My own favourite part of the film is shown on this clip on YouTube. It is a breathtaking witness of "the peace that the world cannot give."



Here is a link to the DVD on UK Amazon:

Old papal pics

Hallowed Ground is a blog dedicated to "Traditional Catholic Visualism". It is a goldmine for pictures of popes, Cardinals and scenes of historical interest. Above is Pope Benedict XV - I did not really know what he looked like. Here is a very good picture of Pope St Pius X

Friday, 25 July 2008

Codex Sinaiticus online

A big hat tip to Fr Ray Blake for passing on news of the Codex Sinaiticus project.

The Codex Sinaiticus was written between 330 and 350. It contains the whole of the New Testament and about half of the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament) together with the epistle of Barnabas and the "Shepherd" of Hermas. the website has more about the content.

The British Library, the National Library of Russia, St Catherine's Monastery, and Leipzig Univeristy Library are collaborating on a project which involves historical research into the text, conservation of it, and digital photography of each of the leaves.

This means that the codex can be reunited "virtually" on the website. The photographs of the leaves are taken with standard, evenly distributed lighting, and with "raking" light, i.e. light from an angle which shows more clearly the physical characteristics of the leaves.

A further project has been a careful digital transcription of the text, using collating software to check inconsistencies between transcribers so that they can go back to the text and check again.

The whole lot is to be made available on the Codex Sinaiticus website. Several books including the Psalms, Jeremiah and the Gospel of Mark are already there to see and enjoy. Go to the "See the manuscript" tab and you can try the standard light and the raking light, and see the transcription either by verse or laid out as it is in the codex.

Anouncement re. Rednal

I am happy to pass on the following announcement:
The Fathers of the Oratory at Birmingham are pleased to announce that they have reached amicable agreement with the City Council concerning the fence at Rednal and thank all those who have offered their prayers for this intention.

Z fisks Küng

It seems to be an evening for reminiscences. Hans Küng was in his heyday in my teenage years. In my first year at the seminary in 1976, everyone was reading "On Being a Christian" and, among a few others, Fr Edward Holloway was valiantly taking him to task in Faith Magazine. It was an unequal battle given the publicity that Küng could command.

Then God gave us the internet. In vintage form, the opponent of infallibility and scourge of the magisterium, has given an interview to La Stampa which has been fisked by Fr Z.

Can we see it now?

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that the Congregation for Divine Worship has granted recognitio for the new English translation of the Order of Mass (i.e. the unchanging parts, not the collects etc.)

The letter granting recognitio has said that this approval does not mean that the texts are to be put into use immediately. There is to be time for pastoral preparation of priests and deacons and catechesis of the lay faithful.

Such time was not given when the execrable old-ICEL translations were foisted upon us. I remember as a teenager looking at a parallel Latin-English text and being horrified at the systematic desacralisation of the translation. I even sat down and wrote out a translation of my own in long hand to try to appreciate the beauty of the liturgical texts.

Now that the new text has been given recognitio and we are supposed to be helping the people to cope with this unaccustomed influx of sacred language, perhaps we might be allowed to see the text at last...

Ironia pós-conciliar

The Fratres in Unum blog has posted Ironia pós-conciliar: Sociedade de Paulo VI which is a Brazilian Portuguese translation of my post the other day on the Society of Pope Paul VI.

There is something very enjoyable about reading one's own stuff translated into another language. An extract:
A SSPVI necessitaria trazer seus próprios cálices de cerâmica, hóstias-pizzas, paramentos de poliester, violões e livros com os hinos para as celebrações. Eles também precisariam de uma tábua de passar roupas para colocar dois castiçais para a missa de frente para o povo.
(BTW - Fratres in Unum looks a jolly good blog.)

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Young Pilgrimage to Walsingham

For the third year running, Sr Hyacinthe OP has led a group of young people on the John Paul II Ely to Walsingham pilgrimage - a 50 mile trek - asking Our Lady to pray for the New Evangelisation in England and Wales.

The time on the route was spent singing, praying, popping blisters, sleeping in tents or on Church floors - anyone who has done a walking pilgrimage knows the drill! They are all back safely now and looking forward to next year's pilgrimage.

Here is a photo of the group outside the Church of the Annunciation at Walsingham:

... and here's a photo from the Mass at Ely Cathedral the start of the Pilgrimage. (The rather incongruous statue above the altar is of Our Lady.)

There are more photos on the Facebook group John Paul II Pilgrimage: Ely to Walsingham

Slur on Newman's friendship

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has instructed that Newman's body be exhumed and buried in the Oratory Church - normal, standard procedure after the approval of the miracle required for his beatification. Fr Peter Weatherby has picked up on the consequent revival of the slur about Newman's friendship with Ambrose St John. (Cf. The concept of friendship has died)

Newman insisted on being buried in the same grave as Ambrose St John. Martin Pendergast has claimed that the "relationship" slowed Newman's beatification. (Cf. Telegraph: Vatican orders Cardinal Newman to be parted from priest friend in shared grave) Pendergast, of course, has an interest in saying this - a long-time homosexual campaigner, and civil partner of former CAFOD head, Julian Filochowski, the appropriation of Newman as a gay hero. The Pink Paper follows up the story with its own spin ("Cardinal's same-sex resting place upsets Vatican saint makers")

I wrote about this question nearly two years ago when I went to visit the grave at Rednal: Grave of John Henry Newman. Fr Guy Nicholls instructed me to take a photograph not only of Newman's grave but of the two either side.

As I said back then: "On the left is the grave of Edward Caswall who died in 1878: on the right is John Joseph Gordon who died in 1853; Ambrose St John died in 1875. All three of these men worked very closely with Newman and he felt that they had died relatively young in helping to carry forward his own projects. His instruction for his own burial was not a gesture of affection for St John alone but a desire for the mortal remains of the four of them to imitate the cross."

As Fr Ian Ker, the renowned Newman scholar, rightly pointed out, the concept of friendship has died. Indeed some customs were only possible on the basis of a general sense of decency. In Newman's time, it was quite common for men to share a bed in a hostel or hotel - if you were of modest means, this might have been with a complete stranger. Moreover, the Victorians were capable of intense friendship without any sexual expression and often spoke in language that seems overly sentimental to us. Nobody in Newman's time would have had the slightest suspicion that his friendship with Ambrose St John was anything other than chaste and celibate.

If the Pink Paper and other gay activists want to hail Newman as their hero, they should bear in mind that he would have considered any such suggestion as a disgusting and outrageous slur on his character. Catholics among them might do well to reflect on what Newman said in his Discourse to Mixed Congregations (IV) on "Purity and Love":
The impure then cannot love God; and those who are without love of God cannot really be pure. Purity prepares the soul for love, and love confirms the soul in purity.

New Liturgical Journal: "Usus Antiquior"

A new journal for the study of the sacred liturgy has been announced: Usus Antiquior. On 14 September this year, there will be a reception for the journal's benefactors in St Wilfred’s Hall following solemn vespers. Contributions for initial editions will be commissioned and an invitation for submissions will be issued. The first issue is planned for 7 July 2009.

Usus Antiquior is an initiative of the Society of St Catherine of Siena and will be committed to the study and promotion of the historical, philosophical, theological and pastoral aspects of the Roman rite as developed in tradition. As the website points out:
Because the different forms of the Roman rite “can be mutually enriching,” Usus Antiquior also seeks to make a positive contribution to the discussion of questions pertinent to the liturgical life of the Church in our day.
At the Subscriptions page, you can register an interest.

Canonical considerations on clerical blogging

Fr Steven Fisher has very helpfully posted some observations on priestly blogging from the point of view of the code of canon law.

Clercial Bloggers 1 (on the rights and duties of all the Christian faithful)
Clercial Bloggers 2 (on the obligations and rights of clerics)
Clercial Bloggers 3 (on Diocesan Bishops)
Clercial Bloggers 4 (on the means of social communication)
Clercial Bloggers 5 (concluding observations)

Fr Fisher is to be commended for his balanced summary of these legal matters. I agree with his conclusion:
Perhaps some advice from the Congregation of Clergy, and the Pontifical Council for Social Communications would be a prudent step.

Dilemmas of a would-be Traddy Womynpriest

The Mulier Fortis has been moved by the photos posted by the Curt Jester of the recent attempted ordination of women and has decided that she wishes to become a Womynpriest. (Cf. I have seen the error of my ways) However, she wishes to be a traddy Womynpriest and this presents her with a number of dilemmas (e.g. whether the mantilla should be removed when being ordained to the Minor Order of exorcist and whether it is permissible to knit when assisting in choir.) Do have a look at the combox over there which is already replete with helpful suggestions involving hair, lipstick and the crown.

Fr Steven Fisher has raised a most helpful point in referring to 1 Corinthians 14.34 where St Paul says that "the women should keep silence in the churches." This is of course much more effectively achieved in the traditional liturgy than in the Novus Ordo. It could be a point of ecumenical dialogue to suggest to our excommunicated and/or interdicted sisters that celebrating the usus antiquior would, at least, be more scriptural.

I have suggested that Mac should attend the Merton Conference next week and raise these matters there with the assembled experts in traditional liturgy.

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Society of Pope Paul VI

A fellow student from my Rome days, Fr Shaun Middleton, parish priest of St Francis of Assisi, Pottery Lane, has written a short article in the Tablet proposing the formation of a Society of Pope Paul VI to preserve the ICEL translation of 1974, communion in the hand, the abolition of altar rails etc. When I first heard of this article, I though it might be tongue-in-cheek since I know Fr Shaun has a good sense of humour. It seems, though, that he is serious, expressing worry about Pope Benedict's "reform of the reform".

Perhaps in some years' time, we may see the formation of such a society. I would want to be magnanimous. The Latin Mass Society and other traditionalist groups struggled through several decades of opprobrium and suspicion. Let us on the contrary welcome the Society of Pope Paul VI and offer a wide and generous application of the norms allowing Mass with all the liturgical innovations in force up until the reign of Pope Benedict.

The Mass could be scheduled once a month at four o'clock on a Sunday afternoon in a different parish each week. (It would be best not to advertise it in case there was any danger of seeming to dissent from the reforms of Pope Benedict.) In some places, it might be possible to set up a personal parish for the rite of the 1970s but only if the Council of Priests are in full agreement.

The SSPVI would need to bring their own pottery chalice(s), pizza hosts, polyester vestments, guitars and Celebration Hymn Books. They would also need an ironing board or similar to set up with two squat candlesticks at one end for Mass facing the people. The priest who was preaching would, of course, be on his honour not to say anything against the Traditional Latin Mass.

Virtue, guts, and brains

Today's Daily Telegraph has the story of Matthew Croucher who has been awarded the George Cross for his heroism. He was on an operation to investigate a suspected bomb-making factory when he tripped a booby-trap that set off a grenade.

Virtue - prudence, justice and fortitude are certainly there. (Temperance too if you consider the other two headings.)
"I thought, 'I've set this bloody thing off and I'm going to do whatever it takes to protect the others."
Guts - he did not hesitate to jump on the grenade to save his three fellow Royal Marines and said that he expected to lose a limb but hoped to keep his head and torso intact.

Brains - he rolled over to use his backpack to shield his body from the shrapnel fragments.

Fortunately, the backpack that the Royal Marines carry has quite a lot of kit in it. His had a lithium battery, a medical kit and a 66mm Rocket. Thanks be to God, he got thrown up in the air and suffered only a nose bleed. Within an hour, he was back fighting the Taliban and shot an insurgent approaching their position.

L/Cpl Croucher has kept the backpack as a souvenir. Now that's something to show your grandchildren! Along with the medal of course.

World Youth Day follow-up

For some excellent on-the-ground reports on World Youth Day, see the Catholic Herald WYD08 blog. Kurt Barragan, a seminarian at Wonersh, has been writing, as have Sophie, Rosie and Teresa Caldecott, daughters of the "Apostle of the Ressourcement", Stratford Caldecott.

Kurt manages to convey very well the good spirit that has characterised the World Youth Day with off-duty bus drivers offering to take pilgrims home, commuters joining in the fun, and being offered Vegemite (the Australian version of Marmite).

Rosie and Teresa have posted photos, including the one above. The backpacking priest is Fr Daniel Seward. Sophie has also been writing for the Oxford-Durham-Soho group.

James Preece has a good article which tells of the West Hull Parishes following the coverage live on EWTN and getting a message of their own up on screen. (Cf. Catholic and Loving It: St Wilfrid and World Youth Day) He makes a link with the teaching of St Wilfred on the importance of union with the Holy See, including a passage where St Bede quotes St Wilfred speaking at the Synod of Whitby:
"But as for you and your companions, you certainly sin, if, having heard the decrees of the Apostolic See, and of the universal church, and that the same is confirmed by holy writ, you refuse to follow them; for, though your fathers were holy, do you think that their small number, in a corner of the remotest island, is to be preferred before the universal church of Christ throughout the world?"

New Springtime

New Springtime, "A Journal of Faith, Culture and Society", is the online journal of the Australian Catholic Students Association (ACSA)

The current issue has an article by Cardinal Pell looking at World Youth Day and Catholic University Students, a piece by Ian Ker on Newman as a possible Doctor of the Church, and a good analysis by Chris Meeney on the effects of cohabitation. Go over and take a look.

Tuesday, 22 July 2008

Saggy Trousers / Baggy Pants

Whether you are British or American, I'm sure you have become fed up with the phenomenon of these pantaloons. My Way tells the story of a US Church that has forbidden them. 10 rules for dating my daughter has an amusing answer to them.

Actually, of the latter, my favourite is:
Rule Four:
I'm sure you've been told that in today's world, sex without utilising a "barrier method" of some kind can kill you. Let me elaborate, when it comes to sex, I am the barrier, and I will kill you.

The Pilgrim's Path

The Pilgrim's Path (Blogger Sancti Jacobi) is a blog devoted to pilgrim spirituality in the Catholic Tradition, open to one and all interested in the Pilgrim's Way to Santiago.

Bad Strategies

My good friend, Lt Col James Sterling Corum, has had another book published on dealing with insurgency - in particular "Bad Strategies: How Major Powers Fail in Counterinsurgency." The synopsis:
By examining the failures against insurgents in Algeria, Cyprus, Vietnam and Iraq, James S Corum offers rare and much-needed insight into what can go wrong in such situations - and how these mistakes can be avoided. In each case, Corum shows how conflict could have been avoided by the major power if it's strategy had addressed the underlying causes of the insurgency it faced; not doing so wastes lives, and weakens the power's position in the world. Corum's clear and practical prescriptions for success show how the lessons of the past apply to failed policies in Iraq, and how these can yet be turned round to gain a lasting peace.
I have ordered the book. Jim is a very good writer whose material is accessible to the non-specialist while providing scholarly apparatus for further investigation.

Bad Strategies: How Major Powers Fail in Counterinsurgency. is $18.48 on the US Amazon site. There is an Amazon UK link but there are third-party sellers in England who are offering the book at substantially lower price than Amazon's price - you can order from them via the same UK Amazon link.

Genuine Ecumenism

"But Father!" you may say, "You promote Ecumenism on your blog?"

This is the kind of ecumenism I like: working together with good Christians who are intelligently aware of the damage being done to our society by what Pope John Paul called the "culture of death." The good people of Christian Concern for our Nation are certainly our allies in this fight and I am very happy to publicise their excellent new website.

Sunday High Mass

Many thanks to the Mulier Fortis for snapping away on her mobile phone during our principal Mass on Sunday. Fr Michael Culllinan, an old friend from Oxford days was visiting me for the weekend and so after persuading my Deacon, Rev Michael Baldry to act as Subdeacon, we managed to put together a High Mass for our normal scheduled principal Mass on Sunday. Here is Mac's video montage of the photos:



I have to be honest and say that we do not yet have all the music sorted out (ie. not all the texts from the Gradual are sung.) Nevertheless, the ceremonial is pretty well there.

This was proved the next day at Maiden Lane when Gregory, my young MC, acted as Master of Ceremonies for the regular Missa Cantata at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane. This was very brave of him since Gordon Dimon, Bill Tomlinson and Jonathan Hague, three veteran MCs of the Latin Mass Society, were on the sanctuary. It was good of them to give way to a youngster and allow him to take charge.

There were a number of other young families from the parish and we enjoyed a fun meal afterwards in the Coal Hole with sausages, chips and tomato sauce much in evidence.

New film about St Philip Howard

Mary's Dowry Productions, an independent Catholic film company in England, has produced a film about one of our English Martyrs, St Philip Howard.

St Philip was imprisoned in the Tower of London by Queen Elizabeth I and died of dysentery after ten years in prison. As he was dying, he asked the Queen (his second cousin) for permission to see his wife and his son - who had been born after his imprisonment. The Queen refused unless he became a Protestant.

There are several other films in the pipeline.

Monday, 21 July 2008

Byzantine Catholic Radio

Annunciation of the Mother of God Byzantine Catholic parish in Homer Glen Illinois has a weekly radio broadcast that is posted on their website Light of the East Radio.

The second half of broadcast 198 has some sensible comments on Pope Benedict's hermeneutic of continuity from Abbot Nicholas of Holy Resurrection Monastery in Newberry Springs, California.

"Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer"

A letter from the Transalpine Redemptorists to their friends has announced that from 2 August, they will use the new name for their Congregation: "Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer" The Latin name will be (Filii Sanctissimi Redemptoris) and the siglum will follow this: "F. SS. R." (Cf. No more servants, but sons. (Gal. IV:7))

The letter offers a brief legal clarification:
Our new name has been worked out in consultation with the Holy See but, as with all things of this nature, we can only say that the name will be absolutely finalised when the community's statutes are approved. This is normal proceedure.
It continues with an explanation of the new name and the affirmation that they continue to claim St Alphonsus as their spiritual father.

Abbot Jamison on BBC WYD bias

When I wrote about the BBC bias in reporting World Youth Day, I had not seen the article by Abbot Christopher Jamison OSB in the Times: The Pope, negative press and World Youth Day, Sydney. He says:
The Australian ran a leading article saying that the Sydney Morning Herald and the ABC were guilty of ‘squalid myopia’, urging Australians to be proud of hosting WYD in Sydney. Surprisingly, the BBC correspondent in Australia appears to be following the ABC agenda, so BBC reports are heavily weighted towards the clerical abuse agenda. Stunning images of joyful young people lining Sydney harbour were accompanied by a commentary on clerical abuse.
Cynical as I am about the BBC, the only word I would disagree with here is "surprisingly."

Congratulations to Abbot Jamison for getting this article published in the Times. It is important for Catholics not to remain silent about this unjust treatment in our "public service" broadcaster.

On a positive note, let me quote the way in which the Holy Father summed up the experience of World Youth Day in his sermon at the Mass at Randwick Racecourse:
Here in Australia, this “great south land of the Holy Spirit”, all of us have had an unforgettable experience of the Spirit’s presence and power in the beauty of nature. Our eyes have been opened to see the world around us as it truly is: “charged”, as the poet says, “with the grandeur of God”, filled with the glory of his creative love. Here too, in this great assembly of young Christians from all over the world, we have had a vivid experience of the Spirit’s presence and power in the life of the Church. We have seen the Church for what she truly is: the Body of Christ, a living community of love, embracing people of every race, nation and tongue, of every time and place, in the unity born of our faith in the Risen Lord.

A sanctuary re-ordering

Fr John Boyle has carried out a Sanctuary Reordering in his Church by adding an area to the front of the sanctuary, enabling eastward-facing celebration, and by installing altar rails. In the video clip, notice also the dignified arrangement for Mass in the presbytery while the works were going on.

Sunday, 20 July 2008

BBC bias on World Youth Day

This morning, one of my Deacons told me that he had been glued to EWTN for much of the past three days, watching coverage of the World Youth Day. I advertise EWTN (free) in my newsletter every week and have been encouraging people to watch it for what I knew would be "wall to wall" coverage of the World Youth Day events. I did so because I suspected that it would not get very good or balanced coverage in the British media. My Deacon confirmed my suspicions when he said that he had from time to time watched the BBC news which had focussed almost exclusively on the Holy Father's apology for sexual abuse by clergy. Fr Ray Blake fills out the picture: WYD: but the BBC.... Apparently, the BBC did not focus only on the apology but gave space to report on the homosexual activists handing out condoms. Viewers relying on the BBC to find out what is happening in the world would gain the impression that the World Youth Day was an act of a defensive and beleagured religious leader rather than a joyful celebration of youthful faith and Christian hope.

This is utterly iniquitous, cynical and contemptuous bias on the part of our so-called "public service" broadcaster which most people in Britain have to subsidise through the outdated license fee because they use a television.

Last April, Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC was given a platform for in Westminster Cathedral to lecture us about how the BBC was fair and balanced and how a programme could cause people to react in different ways. (Cf. Apologia pro BBC sua.) The coverage of World Youth Day gives the lie to this evasive self-justification. Anyone who watched rolling coverage of the WYD would have seen hundreds of thousands of enthusiastic young people welcoming the Pope and would have heard his sensible, balanced and joyful messages of hope for the Church and the world.

New ICEL texts at Sydney

A very interesting and significant aspect of the World Youth Day Mass was the text used for the Mass setting for which the score was written by George Palmer. At the official WYD08 site, you can find full downloads. The introduction says:
The English translation is according to the proposed new English translation of the Missale Romanum as approved by the Australian Catholic Bishop’s Conference.
In other words, we have here an officially approved use of the new ICEL texts at a Papal Mass.

Permission is given to reproduce the texts and score:
This score may be downloaded and reproduced for the purpose of learning and performing the piece within the context of the Mass in any English speaking parish as long as no monies are received for its use.
The text of the Gloria differs significantly from the English "translation" which we are still forced to endure in our parishes. Here 'tis:
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer. You are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.
This text is, of course, the same as the text in the ICEL ordinary which I was I was asked to remove from this blog by ICEL 15 months ago.

Pro Humanae Vitae demo in the Philippines

Catholic World News have an article titled Filipino bishops plan massive pro-life rally. Usually a news story like this would refer to a protest against abortion or perhaps euthanasia. This story refers to a demo next Friday 25 July, the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, organised by the Philippino Bishops against a Government proposal to provide strong support for contraceptive use via its "Reproductive Health" bill.

It is right to flag this as a "pro-life" demo because the widespread promotion of contraception is the biggest cause of abortion, as well as STIs, marital infidelity and what Pope Paul VI prophesied in Humanae Vitae, the "general lowering of morality." (n.17)

I am taking the opportunity this Sunday in view of the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, to preach about the encyclical, pointing out the new enthusiasm of many young people for the teaching of the Church which is "noble and sublime" in comparison to the tawdry and base propaganda of secularism which shows no respect for the dignity of human life or the generosity of the young.

Parish High Mass

I have a priest friend staying for the weekend: Fr Michael Cullinan who has just published a new book on ethics in St Paul. I hope to be able to publish a link to his book in due course.

Fr Cullinan will be celebrant at our principal Mass this morning, I will be deacon and my permanent Deacon, Rev Michael Baldry will be subdeacon. This will be our first Sunday High Mass as part of our normal parish schedule (I normally celebrate a Missa Cantata.) It is good to be able to do this since High Mass is the proper form of the Mass for the "extraordinary form" and I am glad that my regular congregation will be able to participate in the Mass celebrated as it should be.

We may be able to get one or two photos to post later.

World Youth Day Mass

I have stayed up a bit late to watch the beginning of the Mass for World Youth Day at Randwick Race Course, Southern Cross Precinct. After a sensible and reverent "new movement" style piece during the procession, the Introit is being sung in Latin... Cardinal Pell gives a magnificent introductory address recalling the Holy Father's words "The Church is alive, and the Church is young" which warms my heart as it is one of my favourite quotations from the Holy Father. The Cardinal talks of the mission of young people and says "one mission is better than a thousand options..."

The penitential rite is #3 from the Novus Ordo but the petitions are concluded with Kyrie eleison, Christe eleison, Kyrie eleison, spoken and then sung to a polyphonic/operatic setting. Some sharp followers of the live coverage have pointed out on NLM that the text of the Gloria was a literal translation - perhaps the new ICEL version.

With the altar set up with seven candles and a crucifix, the appropriate music, and sense of sacred in the Liturgy, this World Youth Day Mass does appear to be firmly within the project of Pope Benedict for the restoration of the Sacred Liturgy.

Although it is compulsive viewing, I must now go to bed so that I can say the early Mass tomorrow. I look forward to reading the text of the Holy Father's sermon and finding out where the next World Youth Day will be.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Transalpine Redemptorist update

Fr Michael Mary answers some questions about the relationship with the SSPX and other matters. (cf. Interview Update I)

It seems that they are contemplating a change of name. They do not wish to enter the modern Redemptorist congregation and to be taken over by them - especially since there are some who would like to see the traditionalist group suppressed. A change of name will make the distinction clearer - but the Transalpine Redemptorists will continue to pray for all the deceased members of the Redemptorist congregation and will continue to follow the teaching of St Alphonsus.

The picture above is from a bonfire held a few weeks ago on the island of Papa Stronsay on the feast of St Peter and St Paul.

Papal mass at Sydney

I'm not sure what time it is in Australia - it is tomorrow afternoon over there or something. At any rate, the Holy Father has celebrated Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney and consecrated the new altar. He is just travelling round in the popemobile before the main World Youth Day Mass - I'm watching some of the footage on EWTN.

NLM has some stills from the CTV coverage with some comments. Cardinal Pell quoted the beginning of Psalm 42 Introibo ad altare Dei when speaking about the centrality of the altar to be consecrated by the Holy Father.

The vestments for the Mass in Sydney Cathedral were designed by the St Bede's Studio - and very fine they are too.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

From the barque

Speaking to the young people gathered to greet him at Barangaroo on the shores of Sydney Harbour, the Holy Father said:
Standing before me I see a vibrant image of the universal Church. The variety of nations and cultures from which you hail shows that indeed Christ’s Good News is for everyone; it has reached the ends of the earth. Yet I know too that a good number of you are still seeking a spiritual homeland. Some of you, most welcome among us, are not Catholic or Christian. Others of you perhaps hover at the edge of parish and Church life. To you I wish to offer encouragement: step forward into Christ’s loving embrace; recognize the Church as your home. No one need remain on the outside, for from the day of Pentecost the Church has been one and universal.
Pope Benedict also spoke of the various countries over which he flew during his journey and referred to the importance of care for the environment and sustainable development. He added and important rider:
The concerns for non-violence, sustainable development, justice and peace, and care for our environment are of vital importance for humanity. They cannot, however, be understood apart from a profound reflection upon the innate dignity of every human life from conception to natural death: a dignity conferred by God himself and thus inviolable.
You can read the full discourse here.

Conference: "The Faith, The Family... The Future"

The Faith, The Family… The Future
25th-26th October 2008 at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St. Albans

A conference of hope for young people and families, organised by Catholic Families, for Catholic Families. This weekend conference will focus on:

• Fostering and exploring the beauty of the Church’s vision for marriage and the family
• Passing on the faith to the next generation and the role of the family in this work
• Promoting the growth of Catholic culture and vocations through the family

Over the weekend there will be many eminent speakers, representing a broad panorama of Catholic thought and culture. With programs specially tailored to each age group, combined with the opportunity for retreat, spiritual reflection and renewal, the weekend provides a great opportunity for Catholics to renew their spiritual life, strengthening their families through meeting other young Catholics who share their hopes and views.

For details, and booking, see the dedicated website Faith and Family

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Interview with Fr Z

Fr Z rang me up the other night and we did an impromptu interview about the older form of the Mass. We covered subjects such as family life, the life of the Church, the spiritual life of the priest, the involvement of children in the Mass, and genuine participation in the liturgy.

Listen to the podcast here.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

A cat for the Holy Father

Fr Ray Blake has the story about the kitten that has been brought in to the opus Dei Retreat Centre in Sydney to keep the Holy Father company. (cf. Aaaaaaaaaaaaah! Kittens)

Now personally, I don't have any pets. Frankly I'm too busy - it would be just one more thing to take care of when I actually get to take a day or two away from the parish. But if I were a noted cat lover (actually I don't mind cats - don't much like dogs on account of having been bitten by one or two when a small boy) I would certainly appreciate the thoughtfulness of anyone who brought a cat in for me to play with, fed and watered the animal and took it away again.

This is so quintessentially Opus Dei - real care and thought for their guest. I bet that it was the women who came up with this great idea.

Videos from Sydney

Thanks to Fr Z, here are a couple of video clips from the beginning of the Holy Father's visit to Australia for the World Youth day. The first short clip from Vatican TV has Pope Benedict celebrating Mass, taking a walk in the Opus Dei retreat house, and enjoying a concert:


This next clip has footage from people arriving for the World Youth Day, in particular the Burmese pilgrims who had difficulty obtaining visas until Archbishop Fisher intervened:

Flash player 7 or better is required to view this content.

Video from Assumption Grotto with Fr Pavone

Many thanks to Diane of Te Deum Laudamus for posting this inspiring short video of the Mass & Burial of Aborted Babies at the Assumption Grotto in Detroit. In the video, Fr Frank Pavone of Priests for Life speaks movingly of our responsibility for these children.



Many more videos at the Fr Frank Pavone YouTube channel as well as the channel for Priests For Life TV

Monday, 14 July 2008

Cappaphobia awareness

H/T to Mulier Fortis for pointing out this very funny article: Cappaphobia by Gerald Warner. There's no point trying to pick out quotations from this one - but do put your coffee down while you read it.

As a matter of urgency, the Church needs to arrange that every parish move swiftly towards the implementation phase of a national Cappaphobia Recognition and Understanding Directive. There should be no difficulty with forming a co-ordinated steering group of qualified experts to produce this CRUD. A budget of £250,000 or so would be adequate to begin with; this could be generated by a second collection on a designated "Noble Simplicity Sunday." In accordance with best practice, approximately 45% of the sum would be earmarked to produce coloured Gift-Aid envelopes, a glossy brochure, model bidding prayers and sermon, reflections on the readings, and materials for the Children's Liturgy.

In the meantime, as my contribution to cappaphobia sensitivity training, I have produced this warning sign that can be reproduced for seminars and should be posted on the door of any Church where a Pontifical High Mass is to be celebrated.

St Thérèse's Parents to be beatified

Louis and Zélie Martin, the parents of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, will be beatified at Alençon on Sunday 19 October. This will be "Mission Sunday" and is a fitting day for the celebration since the Martins' saintly daughter always expressed a great desire to help the missions.

Here is the news story from Zenit and there is a roundup at the St Therese Gateway with details, such as the transferral of the bodies of the Martins to the Basilica. The website of the diocese of Bayeux-Lisieux has more information (in French), and there is a website in Italian devoted to the couple: Venerabili Luigi e Zelia Martin

H/T Blog by the Sea

Traditional Liturgy presentation

I just found Scribd which enables you to embed documents and powerpoint presentations. So here is my presentation from last Friday night's talk on Participating in the Traditional Mass. It only comprises summary notes but it may be of interest. The purpose of the talk was to help people to participate in our traditional Masses in the parish. (A couple of slides escaped minor edits but the overall thing is more or less OK.)

Read this document on Scribd: Participating in Traditional Liturgy

Fr Finnegan across the pond

Fr Sean Finnegan of Valle Adurni has been in Canada and in the USA - in San Diego, in fact. He has some very entertaining posts on impious pelicans, baseball and an extraordinary form wedding, for example.

While in San Diego, he has met up with the legendary Karen (Gem of the Ocean) who took him to Seaworld where, in addition to sharks, he experienced jumbalaya and smoked vegetables. Perhaps the Mulier Fortis should go to San Diego. She never eats vegetables but might be persuaded to smoke them...

Greeting cards from the Holy Father

En route to Australia, the Holy Father sent telegrams to the heads of state of all the countries he flew over:

Albania, the Hellenic Republic, Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

In each case, the text read something like:
Flying over N. en route to Australia for the celebration of World Youth Day, I send cordial greetings to you and to all your fellow-citizens, along with the assurance of my prayers invoking abundant divine blessings of peace and prosperity upon the nation. BENEDICTUS PP. XVI

Sunday, 13 July 2008

A lovely parish Sunday

Today was one of those lovely early summer Sundays in the parish. At our 9am Mass, the children's choir seemed to have grown suddenly more confident, giving a hearty rendition of a "new movement" style Veni Sancte Spiritus at Communion and "Praise God from Whom all blessing flow". The Union of Catholic Mothers were holding a cake sale for the HCPT after Mass and had the inspired idea of getting in a stock of those little "windmills" for the children to play with while eating their chocolate chip cookies.

The Latin Mass at 10.30am saw our increasingly confident servers flawlessley execute their various duties. My young teenage MC has now learnt the responses by heart which is very much to his credit. It was good to see the front row of the Church filled with young children earnestly following the Mass.

At the Chislehurst Golf Club, Fr Charles Briggs and I enjoyed some very good roast beef followed by strawberries - the first bowl that I have had this summer. After shopping for this evening's Deanery Clergy Social, I called in to a family who were celebrating the 10th birthday of their daughter, Celeste. A number of other young families were there enjoying home made food, rides on a donkey, climbing trees, a little punch-up between two of the boys (separated swiftly by the respective Mums), and a cake with a firework candle. The donkey was the second to arrive that day. The first was sent back on account of the fact that it stubbornly refused to enter the back garden

I got some pink ice cream spilt on my black suit by one young lady who was telling me about her school friends, and we had a slight incident with a little boy being pecked on the leg by an angry rooster who objected to the chickens being taken out of the nest in the garden to be molly-coddled by various children in turn. In the background, my young MC was playing various numbers on the trumpet which made for a very sophisticated background sound.

After the evening Mass, the day was finished off by some of the clergy of the Bexley Deanery coming to my presbytery (we take it in turns to host this) for a couple of drinks and some food which, considering the other things going on today, was not homemade but prepared lovingly by Morrisons supermarket. I did not need to eat too much of it! As ever, we mixed diocesan news, pastoral hints and tips, and reminiscences. I read some extracts from the report of the 1953 synod of the Archdiocese of Southwark which I have borrowed from Fr Briggs who is the Diocesan Archivist. It has some interesting regulations about the Dialogue Mass which I will post tomorrow if I have time.

More WYD08 blogs

The Holy Father has now arrived in Australia and is sensibly taking a couple of days rest and retreat. Significantly, he is staying at the Kenthurst Study Centre, an Opus Dei house. Some reports have made much of the austerity of his accommodation. I would say, from my experience of Opus Dei hospitality that the accommodation will be comfortable without unnecessary luxuries, the food wholesome but not extravagant, and the atmosphere of the house priestly, prayerful and good-humoured. They will know how to show respect and courtesy to the Holy Father without smothering him. An intelligent choice of retreat on the part of our most priestly Holy Father.

Many thanks to Deo volente and Peter in the combox for these links to these additional blogs that will have coverage of the World Youth Day.

Aristotle, The Recovering Choir Director from Florida, is in Australia and has some posts and photos up already.

From the land of Oz itself, Australia Incognita will be keeping us posted.

David Webb, a keen photographer, will be posting from his pilgrimage at David's World Youth Day Journey

Alcuin Reid reviews "Worship as a Revelation"

Yet another article from this week's Catholic Herald to draw to your attention: "Divine worship and the rise of ‘feel-good liturgy’" in which Alcuin Reid reviews Laurence Hemming's "Worship as a Revelation".

Saturday, 12 July 2008

WYD blogs

Juventutem, the online home of the English speaking young people attached to the traditional form of the Mass.

Fr Stephen Langridge is also reporting via Southwark Vocations. Apparently one of the local clergy has taken some persuading that one element of such a pilgrimage is daily Mass.

I would be interested to know of any other blogs, online diaries, or photo posts especially from English pilgrims attending the World Youth Day.

Breviarium Romanum blog (and poll)

A new blog, just started yesterday, is Breviarium Romanum. the author is Sacerdos who already writes the blogs Meeting Christ in the Liturgy and The Liguori Society.

Breviarium Romanum is
"Dedicated to a profound spiritual life for all priests especially through the praying of the Breviarum Romanum."
There is a poll in the sidebar asking whether you pray the Breviarium Romanum so you could drop by and take part. (H/T Fr Z)

I remember at one of the CIEL conferences making a little intervention from the point of view of a parish priest, mentioning that I prayed the Roman Breviary. The great scholar Laszlo Dobszay picked me up on this and pointed out that the 1962 breviary was not really the Roman Breviary at all since the structure of the psalmody had been so radically altered by Pope St Pius X. There are some pertinent observations on this subject in Alcuin Reid's excellent book "The Organic Development of the Liturgy."

He was right and if I could actually get hold of a copy of an earlier breviary, I would be very much inclined to use it. However, it must be said that the use of the 1962 breviary does have the merit of giving a structure to the day, and of giving the whole psalter for the week. Sadly, by 1962, many further changes had been made, particularly the reduction of matins for most feasts to only three lessons, truncating the important second nocturn into a single reading. Many breviaries of this time also had the new "Bea" psalter.

Recently, a member of the schola who come to sing at our monthly Missa Cantata at Blackfen showed off a breviary that he had obtained from St Philip's Books which was pre-1955, with the vulgate psalter, and the propers for the Diocese of Southwark. As we were sitting outside the Robin Hood and Little John consuming a pint or twain of Traddie's Old Dappled Headbanger Ale, I thought I could get away with snatching it and making off in the direction of Bexleyheath to catch the B13 bus home. A skilfully executed rugby tackle saved me from having to admit to a completed act of theft at my next confession.

Keeping up on European news

Pat Buckley's European Life Network blog is a good source for news about Europe from a pro-life perpective. He has an excellent article on World Population Day in which, as he points out, the emphasis is on depopulation "and consists of a cynical exercise in scare-mongering."

The other day, he linked a speech made in Lisbon by Kathy Sinnott, MEP for Ireland South explaining why Ireland voted "No" to the Lisbon Treaty. She spoke of the uneasiness in Ireland at seeing its democracy eroded, and of the failure of European Parliament, Council and Commission to uphold the sanctity of human life, and voices calling for a "right" to abortion and euthanasia.

Farver's new motor

I wish! The Bride at today's wedding told me that her boss had come in his Aston Martin. We don't usually have one of those in the car park so the altar boys were only too glad to take my camera and get some photos of it.





The bridal car was this lovely open top Ford:

[That's enough "Men and Motors" - Ed.]

Sorry. Congratulations to Robert Adams and Cassie Brown who were married today at Our Lady of the Rosary.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Talks on Traditional Liturgy

Today and last Friday, I spoke in my parish about the Traditional Latin Liturgy. Last week, I talked about Summorum Pontificum, facing Eastwards and the place of silence while the priest is saying various of the prayers of the Mass.

This week I spoke more about how to participate in the older form of the Roman Rite, going through the structure of the Mass but also using the advice of St Francis de Sales as an example of how to participate in Mass without necessarily following every word.

Some children were at the talk. We had some intense questions regarding the participation of young people in the liturgy and strategies that would help them. I tried to explain that young people were not particularly helped by guitar music from the 1970s. Right at the end, a young boy (not yet made his first Communion) put his hand up and said "I like the Latin Mass". I checked later and found that his Mum had not prodded him - it was purely spontaneous. Ex ore infantium et lactentium perfecisti laudem. (Matt 21.16)

"In her best interests..."

Wales Online has the story of six year old Amber Hartland suffers from Infantile Tay-Sachs, a rare incurable brain disorder that has left her almost completely paralysed. Last week she was admitted to hospital with a chest infection but now doctors are taking legal action to prevent her being admitted to intensive care next time she is ill. (Cf. Father's joy as 'right to live' Amber comes home)

Amber is hoping to go to Lourdes next year; she is happy and comfortable and not in pain. The medical authorities are talking about "the best course of action", her "best interests", "a very complicated and sensitive situation" and the difficult decisions that have to be made.

The idea that it could be in a person's "best interests" to die was first enshrined in English law in the Tony Bland case. It is distressing to hear this same gruesome logic applied to a little girl whose parents just want to care for her and love her.

Further coverage:
Daily Mirror
The Sun
Daily Mail
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