Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Pro-Life petition to the UN

C-Fam, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, is organising a petition to the United Nations.

10 December this year marks the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Although article 3 of the Declaration affirms that everyone has the right to life, radical pro-abortion groups intend to present the UN General Assembly with petitions calling for a universal right to abortion. It is important that the Pro-Life petition gets as many signatures as possible.

Go to International Call for the Rights and Dignity of the Human Person and the Family to sign the petition.

Do also take a look at C-Fam. the "Friday Fax" has long been an excellent source of pro-life news and information. You can get it sent by email or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Monday, 29 September 2008

Bloggers' Sunday?

The Ember Days and Rogation Days have been replaced in the new calendar with "Days of Special Prayer" for various worthy intentions. One of these is "Communications" - something of interest to bloggers and blog readers.

There is a major "lead-in" to this. In the autumn, the Holy Father announces the theme; on the feast of St Francis de Sales (24 January), he issues a message; and then the World Communications Day itself is celebrated on the Sunday before Pentecost.

Pope Benedict has just announced the theme for next year's World Communications Day:
New Technologies, New Relationships. Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.
Is it really too far-fetched to suggest that he is at least partly thinking of blogging? Respect, dialogue and friendship - there are some themes on which we can each examine our conscience.

In the new rite, Bloggers' Sunday is easy enough to observe. You can have a Bidding Prayer:
Let us pray for all bloggers that they may blog with respect, dialogue, and friendship. Lord hear us...
or something along those lines.

But what are we to do with the usus antiquior which is not exactly ignored by Catholic bloggers generally? Perhaps we could use the minor rogations since they are only a few days before "World Communications Day". During the procession with the Litany of the Saints, it would not be overly disruptive to sprinkle people's laptops and mobiles with lustral water. It might even be appropriate to revive the idea of "beating the bounds" by hitting the electronic devices with a stick. There is plenty of room for "mutual enrichment" here.

Characteristically, the old rite model would be more down to earth, the purple vestments reminding us of the contrition and penance required for all those snippy comments.

Into the fiery furnace

Bishop Jaime Soto, the coadjutor Bishop of Sacramento, recently went to speak to the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries conference in Long Beach, California. At the website of the Diocese of Sacramento, you can read the full text of his speech.

His Lordship criticised the contraceptive culture, asserted the value of marriage and the family, and promoted the virtue of chastity. Regarding sexual expression in same-sex relationships, he said:
Let me be clear here. Sexual intercourse, outside of the marriage covenant between a man and a woman, can be alluring and intoxicating but it will not lead to that liberating journey of true self-discovery and an authentic discovery of God. For that reason, it is sinful. Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distract them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all. For this reason, it is sinful.
At the California Catholic Daily, there is a report of the meeting. Apparently, "at least five" people walked out and a board member of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries said:
"On behalf of the board, I apologize. We had no idea Bishop Soto was going to say what he said."
It is rather a shame that they had no idea that a Catholic Bishop would straightforwardly give the teaching of the Catholic Church. Congratulations to Bishop Soto for going along and doing just that.

Perhaps they were expecting that a Catholic Bishop would say something different?

Popemobile continuity

Clerical Whispers has an illustrated post on The Evolution Of The Popemobile. I expect that some would not wish this taught in schools since it is a theory rather than a fact - although the photos give some evidence of transitional popemobiles.

My own concern is, of course, the hermeneutic of continuity and I think we can discern this in papal transport. First look at this example from 1930, the Mercedes-Benz Nürburg 460, reckoned to the first real popemobile. Custom-built for Pope Pius XI, it has a central throne in the rear:

Now have a look at the Mercedes-Benz 300 SEL Laundaulet from 1966, just after the close of the second Vatican Council:

I think one can observe here a new expression of apostolic mobility without any essential break or rupture with the past.

Sunday, 28 September 2008

The HPV jab debate

The Governors of St Monica's School in Manchester have taken the decision that the school will not allow the vaccination against the HPV virus to be administered at school and have said that the decision rests with the parents, not the school.

One important consideration is the safety of the vaccine itself. Joe Sowerby draws attention to the fact that the school governors, not local or national government agencies, have the responsibility for the decision whether or not to allow the vaccinations to be carried out at the school. Since pupils have suffered side effects, from the drug, the school took the decision to leave the matter with the parents (See: Catholic Commentary: St Monica's and HPV vaccinations and the more recent post, This and that from the media)

Jackie Parkes has the letter from the School Governors in which the school encourages parents to take their own decision in the matter and to discuss it with their GP who will be aware of their daughter's medical history - and indeed to her if they decide she is to have the vaccination. (Jackie's decision is a definite "No".)

Fr Ray Blake has raised the question on his blog (see: St Monica & HPV vaccine.) Both the post and the comments box are well worth reading. There, the impeccably orthodox and pro-life Paulinus writes in favour of the vaccination since a girl of unimpeachable virtue might marry a man who has a less virtuous past. Lucille suggests in response that either party can be tested for STDs before marriage.

Lifesite news has been following the story with an article on St Monica's and one on the same issue in Scotland.

Predictably, the governors of St Monica's have come under attack. For example, a regional paper has got quotes from some disaffected parents who presumably want the school to take all responsibility for the vaccination. See: Manchester Evening News article Calls for cancer vaccine rethink ("Furious parents are demanding ...")

The school has not received any support in their decision from the Catholic authorities. The Catholic Education Services issued a statement on the HPV vaccination programme in June and official responses have been based on this statement, particularly the following passage:
There is nothing in Catholic teaching to suggest that there is anything wrong with the use of vaccination against this disease, nor does it undermine the Church’s teachings in regard to human relationships and sexual activity.
The word "use" is a slippery one here. The vaccine itself is an inanimate object and cannot undermine the Church's teachings but the circumstances in which it is given and the teaching related to it could undermine them very much indeed without a clear message promoting chastity. Unfortunately, the statement does not deal with the question of the relationship between home and school in this matter, nor about the need for any such programme to be accompanied in a Catholic school by a clear presentation of the Church's teaching on chastity.

The Catholic Bishops of Alberta, Canada, have issued a sensible statement on the matter (see the Western Catholic Reporter article). They emphasise that the decision regarding the vaccine is a parental, not a government matter, and that
Outside of marriage, abstinence is not only clearly the choice that leads to spiritual and moral well-being, but it is obviously the best protection against risks of disease.
Gerald Warner on his blog offers robust support for the school's decision: Catholic school refuses to promote promiscuity via HPV vaccination.

I think he is right to see this in terms of politically correct orthodoxy and the Bishops of Alberta seem to me to have come up with a good and politically aware response.

Cardinal Hoyos preface to new edition of "The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described"

Cardinal Hoyos has written the preface to the new edition of "The Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described", originally by Adrian Fortescue and revised by Alcuin Reid. The new edition has been revised in the light of Summorum Pontificum and is to be published soon by Continuum. You can see the full text of the Cardinal's review at the Summorum Pontificum blog. Among other things, he says:
The Holy Father is pleased at the generous response of many priests to his initiative in learning once again the rites and ceremonies of the Sacrifice of the Mass and of the other sacraments according to the usus antiquior so that they may serve those people who desire them. I encourage priests to do so in a spirit of pastoral generosity and love for the liturgical heritage of the Roman Rite. Seminarians, as part of their formation in the liturgy of the Church, should also become familiar with this usage of the Roman Rite not only in order to serve the People of God who request this form of Catholic worship but also in order to have a deeper appreciation of the background of the liturgical books presently in force. Hence it follows that all seminaries should provide such training as a matter of course.

"the defining event of their whole Catholic lives"

Jeffrey Tucker is writing some excellent articles on what might be called the "politics" of liturgical music. In the piece Our "differing needs" are not all that matter, he looks at an article by Rendler-McQueeney who apparently writes a very popular column in the magazine "Today's Liturgy".

He draws attention to the way that the "liturgical renewal" is spoken of in the present tense despite that fact that the music that still dominates the liturgy in many parishes was produced several decades ago. As Jeffrey Tucker points out, the time of liturgical reconstruction was the defining event of their whole Catholic lives. he goes on:
It was a heady time of liturgical reconstruction when a certain take on ritual music swept all before it and came to dominate the Mass. That movement is now tired and aging, lacking in intellectual and artistic inspiration. In a sign of their increasingly reactionary posture, they assume that anyone who doesn't like their jingles is seething with anger about events that most Catholics in the pews never knew and never experienced. What they need to realize is that not everyone who is tired of "Table of Plenty" is longing to refight the liturgy wars. Mostly, they just find this music trite and are ready to move on.
I have myself tried to explain this to people by looking at the time lapse. Let us fix on 1973, 35 years ago. (I was 15 then.) At that time, "35 years ago" was 1938.

Saturday, 27 September 2008

Our Lady of the Rosary - San Nicolás, Buenos Aires

Photo: Elton Melo

La Nacion from Argentina reports on the large numbers of pilgrims in Buenos Aires for the 25th anniversary of the apparitions of Our Lady of the Rosary to Gladys Motta in the Parish of San Nicolás de los Arroyos. Over 800,000 people passed through the Basilica to venerate the statue of Our Lady of the Rosary during the 24 hour period and 100,000 joined the outdoor procession and Mass.

In this photo from La Nacion, you can see three Argentine Bishops wearing Marian blue vestments, a privilege allowed at major Marian shrines.

There is more information about the apparitions at the Mother of All Peoples site.

With the Knights at Aylesford

Last year I gave a lecture at Aylesford for the local Province of the Knights of St Columba on the Catholic response to secularism. They asked me to speak again this year and so this afternoon I joined them at the North Barn which the Friars have recently restored with the aid of English Heritage.

The Knights wanted me to continue with the same theme, and more recently we agreed that it would be good to look at Bishop O'Donoghue's "Fit for Mission? Church" since it offers a wealth of practical suggestions for action which are relevant to promoting the mission of the Church in a secular society.

Personally I was glad of the opportunity to study the document in greater detail. After giving some background information, I outlined the structure that Bishop O'Donoghue used and then took a few examples from the four areas of Liturgy, Revelation, the communion of the Church, and the Church in the Modern World.

Overall, I tried to emphasise that Bishop O'Donoghue does not offer any excuse for us simply to bewail how dreadful things are. He does not look at the second Vatican Council through rose-coloured spectacles but is honest about the confusion and discord that followed it, while remaining optimistic about the value of a proper reading of the Council according to the hermeneutic of continuity.

He takes an honest and hard look at the problems which face the Church in our country today but then invites us to respond positively by our prayer, participation in the sacraments, faithfulness to the teaching of the magisterium and practical charitable, social and political action as appropriate to our state in life.

I suggested that Councils of the Knights of St Columba might find it useful to look at the document a small section at a time at their Council meetings and try to agree on ways in which they can follow some of the practical suggestions to further the mission of the Church.

The North Barn is dominated by this statue of Edith Stein, St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross. As a Carmelite martyr, it is very fitting for her to be honoured in this way at Aylesford.

Friday, 26 September 2008

"Rediscovering Traditionalism" by John Casey

John Casey is lecturer in English at the University of Cambridge and a fellow of Gonville and Caius College. He has written an article "Rediscovering Traditionalism" for the online journal Open Democracy which I heartily recommend.

This balanced introduction to the question would be suitable especially for an intelligent enquirer who was wondering what all the fuss was about. I am sure that most of us who have been engaged in this discussion will appreciate the accuracy with which Casey sums up the principal issues at stake.

He analyses the culture war within the Church, the question of participation, and the impact of Summorum Pontificum. Along the way, he examines the question of papal power and the liturgy, quoting Pope Benedict to great effect, and the real import of the Regensburg address. (The anecdote about Pope John Paul II calling Pope John XXIII a "maniac" is fascinating.)

Thursday, 25 September 2008

New term at Parkminster

At Parkminster, the Carthusian monastery in England, I resumed today the course "De Deo Uno et Trino" (On God, One and Three) and we looked especially at the simplicity and the immutability (unchangeableness) of God.

It was a great joy to meet and congratulate Dom Gregory Carling who was solemnly professed on the feast of the Assumption. I remembered today that since he was baptised in my parish, I must enter his profession in the Baptismal Register. I will consult the Rituale Romanum for the correct formula for this entry.

My visits to Parkminster (fortnightly during the academic year) always conclude with Vespers, chanted according to the simplified Carthusian tones which are subtly different from those of the Roman office.

A solemn profession is a great occasion and I would like to pass on to you the request on Dom Gregory's card:
Please pray for the perseverance of Dom Gregory Carling on the occasion of his solemn profession at St Hugh's Charterhouse, feast of the Assumption, 15th August 2008.

Christo omnino nihil praeponanat, qui nos pariter ad vitam aeternum perducat
Let them prefer nothing whatever to Christ, and may he bring us all together to everlasting life.

DVC prompts violence against priest

We often hear about how discrimination promotes violence. Here is a real life example: Priest fights to stay alive after Da Vinci Code stabbing. An unbalanced man, Marco Luzi, 25, inspired by reading the Da Vinci Code, has stabbed Father Canio Canistri, 68, parish priest at the Church of Santa Marcella in the San Saba district on the Aventine Hill.

Can we now expect that the Da Vinci Code book will be featured in diversity training across the EU as an example of how tendentious and prejudiced fiction can lead to physical violence? Will it now be banned from all responsible bookshops on the grounds of its flagrant and inflammatory misrepresentation of the Catholic Church?

No, I thought not.

Rosary Crusade of Reparation

I am happy to pass on this announcement received today. The Rosary Crusade is probably the largest regular Catholic procession in England and is a wonderful occasion for prayer and witness to the faith.

Annual Rosary Crusade of Reparation
Saturday 11th October

Procession from Westminster Cathedral to Brompton Oratory with the statue of Our Lady of Fatima and the 15 decades of the Rosary. Starting 1.45pm in the Cathedral piazza and ending at the Oratory with the solemn crowning of the statue and solemn Benediction. The preacher this year will be Fr. Marcus Holden. Enrollment in Brown scapular afterwards.

This procession is offered for downfall of the HFE bill, so please come along in large numbers.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Catechesis or Liturgy?

There is a very interesting article published today at Catholic Action UK by Daphne McLeod. She argues that the root of the crisis in the Church is to be found primarily in the widespread religious ignorance of the truths of the faith and not primarily in the loss of the older form of the Mass.

Daphne's article is a valuable contribution to this discussion because she certainly loves the older form of the Mass and attends it regularly. Hers is not an argument that in any way denies the beauty or the value of the usus antiquior. I think that her comments are timely, prompting us to take a closer look at the question of catechesis.

For many years as a student and a priest, I had no great interest in the Classical Roman Rite. I came to know and love it after responding positively to a request for a funeral in the old rite. Having previously considered that the teaching of the faith was the only thing that really mattered (provided that the Liturgy was celebrated reverently, in accord with the liturgical norms), I began to discover the value of the traditional liturgy as an immediate and powerful catalyst for the rediscovery of the faith.

So I believe (and I imagine that Daphne would agree) that both are important. We must continue to promote sound catechesis and to see this as absolutely vital for the life of the Church. The interesting thing is to consider how the traditional liturgy assists in this. Certainly, the doctrine of the real presence, and of the sacrifice of the Mass, as well as the doctrine of original sin and the attributes of God are well supported by a devoutly said traditional Mass; but I think we can go further if we look at the things that surrounded the older form of Mass, particularly as regards the priest.

The prayers of preparation and thanksgiving, the "burden" of the traditional breviary, the expectation of a proper rule of life for priests: all these help the priest to understand the heart of his ministry for the people entrusted to his care. They also help him to cut to the essentials of what he must do in terms of educating people in the faith: and indeed lead him to understand that the simple catechism of basic Catholic truths is fundamental to the life of his people and that he must get this across somehow. Sooner or later, he will return to those simple catechetical summaries of which a shining example is the "Penny Catechism".

We must never allow the Classical Rite of Mass to be left as an enthusiasm of the "cognoscenti". If it is to be the force for renewal in the Church that I believe it can be, it must be allied with solid and sound catechesis. The "test case" for me was the Mass for young children at Lourdes at which I gave some catechesis while Fr Briggs celebrated the Mass. Liturgy and catechesis must go hand in hand. Continuity with the tradition of the Church is essential in both.

New consultors for papal liturgy

This announcement today in the Vatican Bollettino:
The Holy Father has nominated as consultors of the Office of Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff: Msgr. Nicola Bux, professor at the Theological Faculty of Puglia, Italy; Fr. Mauro Gagliardi, professor at the Pontifical Athenaeum "Regina Apostolorum", Rome; Fr. Juan Jose Silvestre Valor, professor at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, Rome. Fr. Uwe Michael Lang C.O., official of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, and Fr. Paul C. F. Gunter O.S.B., professor at the St. Anselm Pontifical Athenaeum, Rome.
Mgr Nicola Bux is an expert on the oriental rites and a very sound chap whom I have had the pleasure of meeting once or twice in Rome. He spoke at the launch of the Italian edition of Fr Lang's book "Turning Towards the Lord"; Fr Gagliardi recently gave a three day seminar on the Liturgy at a conference for seminary formators arranged by the Legionaries of Christ; Fr Valor teaches at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, the Opus Dei university in Rome. Fr Lang is a priest of the London Oratory and in addition to "Turning Towards the Lord", has published many of great value concerning the Liturgy. Fr Paul Gunter is one of the members of the editorial board of the forthcoming journal Usus Antiquior.

A pretty solid line-up.

Irish Bishops' Conference website

The website of the Irish Bishops' Conference has recently had a major makeover and is worth looking at. It is interesting to see that this coming Sunday is "Priesthood Sunday".

CTS edition of "Fit for Mission? Church"

The CTS are publishing Bishop O'Donoghue's Fit for Mission? Church, which I wrote about at the end of August and (again the other day) with reference to Archbishop Piacenza's praise for the document.

The CTS edition will be an expanded version, drawing on Pope Benedict XVI's addresses and homilies in 2008 at World Youth Day and during his apostolic journey to France; as well as the writings of John Henry Newman, and others.

104 pages, £8.95, available from 10 October 2008. Advance orders can be placed now at the CTS website.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

A great blognic

The blognic at the Buckingham Arms this evening was a great success. Bloggers Holy Smoke, Bara Brith and Mulier Fortis came, as did Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald. Frs Nigel Griffin and William Young kindly took time to join us as did a good number of readers, some of whom travelled specially for the occasion from Brighton, Cambridge and the outer reaches of the London conurbation. (My new phone takes great photos outdoors but in poor light it is of little use so I have shamelessly stolen photos from Fr Z who brought a real camera with him.) Sir Dan of the Nesbitry (above) was there. He met up with Damian Thompson whom he taught many years ago at the prep school Laelham Lea in Purley.

Jonathan Hague (above) introduced me to the Buckingham Arms from his extensive knowledge of good pubs that offer traditional hospitality and real ale.

Over a plate of pasta afterwards, Fr Z and I reflected on the appreciation that is expressed by people who read our blogs. Writing a blog can be a rather solipsistic business and it is surprising but very welcome to be told "your blog is a lifeline" by ordinary Catholic lay people who love the Church. When people say this sort of thing to me, it always encourages me to think that the blog is worth writing.

At one point, a young Malaysian man appeared with a box which he announced was from Andrew Khoo of the Unam Sanctam blog, sent all the way from Tanjung Bunga, in Penang, Malaysia. The box contained a beautiful standing crucifix with detachable base. We all agreed that this would help to maintain the "Benedictine Altar Arrangement" even while travelling.

I was left wondering "How did he manage that?" There was only a day's notice on my blog - or two day's notice if you read the post on Fr Z.

Hilary of Orwell's Picnic took me to task over the short notice for this blognic - and indeed justly. Next time we must organise something with a Hall where people can move around easily, an internet connection where we can have skype calls with video - perhaps even live streaming via Fr Z's host company Joyent. I think a major London blognic would work.

Roman dicastery lauds Bishop O'Donoghue for his courageous action

Bishop O'Donoghue of Lancaster has received a ringing endorsement for his documents "Fit for Mission? Schools" and "Fit for Mission? Church", from the Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy, Archbishop Mauro Piacenza. (Catechetics is one of the key responsibilities of this congregation.)

Archbishop Piacenza (ordained a priest for the Diocese of Genoa by Cardinal Siri in 1969) has been generous in his comments and this is far from being simply a formal letter of "grateful receipt". His encouragement to a brother Bishop is genuine and thoughtful, affirming his ministry as a successor of the apostles and his courage in facing up to a situation which has given rise to much correspondence with the congregation over the years. The picture to the left is a jpeg of the letter which you can click to enlarge. To make it easier for others to quote from it, I have transcribed the letter below. (Please let me know if I have made any errors and I will correct them.)
Vatican City 18th September 2008
Prot. N. 20082694

His Lordship, the Rt. Rev. Patrick O’Donoghue
Bishop of Lancaster
Cathedral House
Balmoral Road
Lancaster LA1 3BT

Your Lordship,

This Congregation has gratefully received the copies you forwarded of the documents Fit for Mission? Schools and Fit for Mission? Church.

The Dicastery has already expressed its appreciation of Fit for Mission? Schools in our previous correspondence of 15th December 2007 (Prot. N. 20073260). It is still somewhat amazed at the reaction the text provoked as it was both an appropriate and legitimate exercise of Episcopal authority by a Successor of the Apostles, charged by God, and by the Church to ensure that the Faith is transmitted correctly and in its entirety, to the People of God entrusted to his care. You were simply doing your duty in this regard.

It should go without saying that Catholic schools, as one of the primary vehicles for this ongoing task, must be imbued with a Catholic ethos that is real and not simply imaginary. Your Lordship has realistically faced a situation that has been an oft repeated theme over many years, by the Faithful in your country in their correspondence with this Congregation. The Dicastery again lauds you for your courageous action.

The latest document in the series, Fit for Mission? Church, is hewn from the same rich vein as Fit for Mission? Schools, namely the Tradition of the Church as expressed in the Second Vatican Council and in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. In this latest text Your Lordship has provided an effective, practical instrument for advancing the much heralded New Evangelization. If this renewal of the Faith is to take root, it cannot remain a mere “slogan” but must be woven into the web of contemporary culture. Fit for Mission? Church gives much needed indication as to the means of accomplishing this great mission of the Church.

May the Lord continue to bless your efforts.

I take this opportunity to renew my sentiments of esteem and with every best wish, I remain,

Sincerely Yours in Christ

+Mauro Piacenza
Titular Archbishop of Vittoriana
One or two commenters here and there have discussed Bishop O'Donoghue's attitude to Summorum Pontificum. It is important to note that His Lordship has taken an entirely non-interventionist approach. He has not told priests to have a Latin exam, he hasn't extended the notion of idoneus, and he has left in peace those priests of his diocese who celebrate the usus antiquior. (I know of at least seven, including the Cathedral Dean, Canon Stephen Shields, who has celebrated the Mass in the Cathedral.) In other words, he has recognised in practice that Summorum Pontificum removes any need for priests to ask permission to say Mass in the older form. Clearly he is not himself a devotee of the old rite which makes his openness towards it all the more generous.

With regard to the Liturgy in the ordinary form, he is completely faithful to the text and the genuine spirit of Sacrosanctum Concilium and to the hermeneutic of continuity of which Pope Benedict spoke. Indeed, at the beginning of his commentary on the Constitution, he quotes Summorum Pontificum on the reverence due to divine worship.

In his commentary, he makes a number of excellent points. He recommends that everyone should familiarise themselves with the Latin common prayers, he says that Latin should play a regular part in the celebration of Mass, and he points out that:
The Council Fathers never envisaged a totally vernacular liturgy, but quite specifically decided that the Mass should contain both Latin and the vernacular.
He also says that it is time that we cherished the continuity of our Liturgy with the living tradition of the Church.

He condemns the idea of the priest as entertainer, the constant search for novelty and stimulation. He speaks of some people's fondness for liturgical innovation and the idea that we are free to do what we like, regardless of the rubrics, and says:
In order to counter the influence of this false concept of freedom in the diocese, it is my expectation as your bishop that every priest, deacon and parish community will, without exception, follow the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, the rubrics of the Roman Missal, and the Congregation for Divine Worship’s, Redemptionis Sacramentum.
We could scarcely ask for more robust and faithful pastoral guidance on the ordinary liturgy of the parish.

Download Fit for Mission? Church

The challenge to Blair remains

Johns Smeaton has a post today about Tony Blair's "exciting event" in Los Angeles under the auspices of his "Faith Foundation" (see Tony Blair is undermining the faith of the church into which he has been received.

John repeats the call on pro-lifers to challenge Tony Blair on his political record on life issues. He wrote to the former PM in January about this and his letter summarises the key matters of concern.

Usually, when anyone says anything about this, people say that we mustn't judge Mr Blair's conscience, that we are all sinners, that he must have gone to confession and repented of all his anti-life actions as a politician etc. John deals with these points in two ways. First he makes the sensible point:
As a Catholic myself, I do not believe that politicians should be protected from public scrutiny simply by being received into the Catholic church.
He continues:
I have no wish for Tony Blair to don sackcloth and ashes. I’ll do that for my own sins before I judge anyone else.However, Tony Blair’s position on abortion, abortifacient birth control, IVF and euthanasia by neglect is a matter of public record. As prime minister he was in the forefront of championing the culture of death not only in Britain but also, on abortion, around the world through the UK’s foreign policy. As long as he fails to repudiate his appalling legacy, Tony Blair is undermining the faith of the church into which he has been received.
Photo: Getty images

Monday, 22 September 2008

Mass for Cardinal Pole

There will be a Solemn High Requiem Mass for the late Cardinal Pole at 6.30pm on Monday 17 November at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, 6.30pm. Fr Nicholas Schofield, Archivist of the Archdiocese of Westminster and author of the Roman Miscellany blog, will be preaching.

"Diversity Toolkit" at HM Gov

Her Majesty's Treasury was the venue for my lunch last week as I was meeting a friend who works there.

I asked my friend for his views on the current end of the world global economic meltdown and he reminded me that it was the 16th anniversary of "Black Wednesday" which demonstrated that with the huge amounts of money sloshing around the foreign exchanges, there is little that government intervention can achieve in these situations - a lesson that governments find difficult to learn.

The Treasury has a "Multi-Faith Prayer Room". This is kitted out with a shower, prayer mats and sandals, and had separate rooms for men and women. I wondered whether perhaps "multi-faith" meant sunni, shi'ite and sufi but there was also a bible on a table in the corner of the foyer.

Next to the bible, there was a copy of the Treasury's "Diversity Toolkit" which includes a number of icebreaker games with "facilitator" and "participants". The first is "Getting to know you bingo" with a "diversity bingo grid". Then there is an "Understanding Multiculturalism" exercise for which the materials required are "Flip chart, paper and pens, post-it notes" and begins "Write "MULTICULTURAL" on a flipchart". Reading this, I cannot escape recalling the scene on "Airplane" when the guy pours petrol on himself and takes out his cigarette lighter.

Another game is "Put Yourself in their Shoes" for which the materials include a blindfold, earplugs and a wheelchair. You can probably guess what is coming: e.g. Exercise 2,
Ask for a volunteer from each group to have their hearing restricted for 30 minutes. Ask them to put in the ear plugs until as much sound as possible is stopped. then the group should accompany the volunteer to the nearest newsagent, post office, bus stop or tube station and purchase something of their choosing.
I think I would be tempted to ask to go to one of those more comprehensive newsagents where they have a little pharmacy section, whisper that I have constipation, buy a bottle of castor oil and later pour it surreptitiously on the facilitator's rocket, parmesan and sundried tomato salad.

Reading through the "Diversity Glossary", I felt inclined to call "foul" several times:
Dogma - is the established belief or doctrine held by a religion, ideology or any kind of organization (sic - my emphasis), thought to be authoritative and not to be disputed or doubted.
I find that an unfairly negative and stereotypical description of "dogma" which, for me, is something sacred that we believe because it is revealed by God through Jesus Christ.

The look at this definition:
Sexism - discrimination against someone on the grounds of their gender and also is used to describe any type of differentiation based on sex.
"Any type of differentiation"? May Christians, Muslims and others not believe in and promote the family in which the woman is the mother and the man is the father?

Despite many well-meaning friends placing money with Paddy Power to keep my odds up for Archbishop of Westminster, I have to admit that odds of 16-1 are probably way in excess of the real probability of this happening. It is probably about as likely as my becoming Chancellor of the Exchequer for which I had a little practice. (When in office, my PR adviser will make sure that I do my jacket up and hold my stomach in.)

My first "initiative" would be to consult various family-friendly economists to restore some financial incentive to being married. To pay for this, I would also remove any government funding for sex-education, the distribution of condoms or the encouragement of abortion. This would save enormous amounts of money by removing some of the major incentives for young people to behave irresponsibly.

On returning home, I found that the post has brought me a good book that will help me greatly in my new vocation. More about that soon.

Eye-catching book titles

Browsing in Waterstones the other day (I really shouldn't do that), my eye was caught by "How To Avoid Huge Ships, And Other Implausibly Titled Books". This is obviously intended for the Christmas market and not a bad entry in the field since it doesn't involve putting rude words on the front cover or attempting a lame parody of Harry Potter / Lord of the Rings / [fill in the blank].

The book is based on the Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year. (See also the Guardian article The Must Reads.) Sadly, opportunist schoolboy smut seems to play a significant part here too but there are some gems to be found such as the following (many of which are available via Amazon):
  • Highlights in the History of Concrete (winner 1994)
  • The Stray Shopping Carts of Eastern North America: A Guide to Field Identification (winner 2007)
  • Tattoed Mountain Women and Spoon Boxes of Daghestan (shortlisted 2006)
  • How Green Were the Nazis? (shortlisted 2006)
  • The Book of Marmalade: Its Antecedents, Its History, and Its Role in the World Today (winner 1984)
I feel that the last one should be available on the breakfast table in the staff dining room at Wonersh where the question of marmalade can, at times, trump discussion of the merits of the theology of Paschasius Radabertus. It would be good to have an authoritative source to consult on the matter.

Chasubles and chasublemen

Fr Anthony Symondson recently wrote an article on NLM, questioning the revival of what has been called the "Borromean" style of chasuble. Shawn Tribe invited "serene" consideration and discussion of the issue.

One very helpful (and duly "serene") response comes from Michael Sternbeck of The Saint Bede Studio in Australia, whose vestments the Holy Father wore for his Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. See Styles and Tradition in the chasuble of the Roman Rite. There are further observations at the Rorate Caeli blog.

I don't know much about the history of chasubles (and am grateful to all contributors to the current discussion for sharing their own knowledge). However I do know of one of the saddest incidents in the history of chasubles and chasublemen. At the Venerable English College in Rome, there is a beautiful Pugin High Mass set. During the time when Roman chasubles were de rigeur, the chasuble was cut into a Roman shape under orders of the then Rector, Mgr Arthur Hinsley. To be fair to the man (God rest him!), I should say that he was remembered as a particularly kind and popular Rector.

To rub salt into the wounds, I remember once when it was my turn as a priest to celebrate the Liturgy for Candlemas. I suggested using the Pugin set since it had a matching cope that could be used for the procession. It was forbidden because the chasuble was not gothic!

London blognic

Fr Z has already mentioned the London blognic. Everyone is welcome, and we especially hope blog owners will come. This is intended as a simple and informal opportunity for people interested in the Catholic blogosphere to meet up for a chat while Fr Z is in the country.

We are meeting tomorrow evening (Tuesday 23rd) from 6-8pm at the Buckingham Arms in Petty France, near St James's Park tube station (it is also about 5 minutes walk from Victoria). The Buckingham Arms is a Youngs pub, regularly featured in the "Good Pub Guide" so there is proper beer (although you may drink Novus Ordo Eurofizz if you wish). Of course, soft drinks are in good supply too and, if you are hungry, you can buy food there. Below is the google map:

View Larger Map

Sunday, 21 September 2008

APGL Conference with Fr John Saward

APGL Conference
Wednesday 29 October 2008
St Wilfrid’s Hall, The London Oratory, Brompton Road, SW7 2RP

The Conference is open to all priests.
Deacons and seminarians are also welcome.

Registration at 11.15am
Keynote Speaker: Fr John Saward
(author of ‘Redeemer in the womb’, ‘The way of the Lamb’ etc) will speak on:

‘Pius XII and Preaching the Gospel of Life’

A buffet lunch will be provided.
Pro-life literature will be available.

The afternoon session will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (with confessions), Rosary and Benediction. Tea will be served after Benediction and the Conference will conclude by 4pm

To help us with catering, please send an email to if you are coming to the conference. There is no charge but donations will be welcome.

The Oratory is next to the Victoria and Albert Museum. (Nearest tube station South Kensington.) Enter the courtyard in front of the Oratory House. St Wilfrid’s Hall is upstairs in the building on the left.

Fr Anthony Ho

Fr Anthony Ho is a priest in Vancouver in Canada. His blog is eminently pastoral, with sermons and talks for his people that are of value for anyone. He runs a Chinese RCIA class using a Chinese-English parallel text Catechism with lovely illustrations.

For his High School class, he uses a book that is now out of print which has 17 volumes, each with 20 pop-up prints. There are many pictures posted on his blog (see High School lesson on creation). Here is one showing the basic choice that we must make in life:

Saturday, 20 September 2008

At Aylesford today

Fr Charles Briggs, assisted by myself and Fr John Boyle, celebrated the High Mass at Aylesford today for the annual pilgrimage of the Latin Mass Society. Above you can see us framed by one of the arches in the surviving part of the old cloister.

There were many groups at Aylesford today, including one with Fr Angelus of the Franciscans of the Renewal. Unfortunately I had to get back after a quick cup of tea and a sandwich after Mass in order to hear confessions in the parish. The Southwark Diocesan Unity Commission was there with Bishop Pat Lynch who kindly came over to have a chat with us before Mass.

In my sermon, I spoke of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, her devotee, St Joseph of Cupertino, and the privilege of being able to visit the shrine and the relic of St Simon Stock:

'avin a larf

Part of the process of recovering from the fatal hard disk failure a few weeks ago has been re-installing Microsoft Money. This has updated since the version I have on CD and so it will not read the files I have (with quite a lot of data on it). After a bit of searching and lots of simple but misleading error messages, I found the solution on the internet. But it was too late - various things had already got in the way of a smooth update so this evening it was a "reinstall and start again" session. Got everything up and running, opened "as adminstrator", let the update happen, and then this dialog box comes up:

As they say in these parts "Your 'avin a larf intcha?" After a full two minutes or so, the "OK" button appeared and I managed to complete the process and open the two rather crucial files that I need to work on. (I'm pretty sure that not clicking "OK" was what banjaxed the last attempt.)

So the next thing is - now that Microsoft Money seems to be no longer updated in the UK but has a new (differently numbered) version in the US and generally looks to be rather too hairy a prospect for data that is quite important - whither do I move the data?

I know the following answers - change to Apple (tempting) - change to Linux (more tempting still) - use pencil and paper (I remember the days and it wasn't actually better).

So anyone got good ideas for simple financial management software? One solution would be simply to do it all up on Excel and that is a possibility; but I once used a great shareware program called "Money Manager" and curse the day I switched from it. Searching on the web, I find that it is still around as a freeware open source program. I'd be interested in ideas. Not for this year's (massively overdue) financial return but possibly for next year...

Friday, 19 September 2008

Praying for the canonisation of Ven Edel Quinn

The Legion of Mary are celebrating Mass at Westminster Cathedral tomorrow at 2pm to pray for the beatification of Ven Edel Quinn.

To find out more about her, see this good Edel Quinn page at the website of the New York regional Senatus. Here is a prayer that you can use:

Eternal Father, I thank you for the grace you gave to your servant, Edel Quinn, of striving to live always in the joy of your presence, for the radiant charity infused into her heart by your Holy Spirit, and for the strength she drew from the Bread of Life to labour until death for the glory of your name, in loving dependence on Mary, Mother of the Church.

Confident, O Merciful Father, that her life was pleasing to you, I beg you to grant me, through her intercession, the special favour I now implore, [...] and to make known by miracles the glory she enjoys in Heaven, so that she may be glorified also by your Church on earth, through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Rudgate Ramblings

Mike Forbester from Middlesborough has started a blog called Rudgate Ramblings. Mike organises the Rudgate Singers, a choir that aims to restore Sacred Music to it proper context in the Sacred Liturgy rather than leaving it to the concert hall or recording studio. They sing four or five times a year, usually but not exclusively, at Masses in the usus antiquior. They recently sang at Mass at the solemn Mass at St Mary's, Newcastle (see Forest Murmurs report) and will be singing tomorrow at the Solemn Mass at Brinkburn Priory.

Great post on the Pope in Paris

Andrew Cusack has the best photo-post I have seen on The Pope in Paris. Andrew has worked hard to find the best illustrative photos and added his own customarily incisive commentary.

High Mass at Aylesford

Tomorrow I will be going to Aylesford for the annual pilgrimage of the Latin Mass Society. High Mass is at 1pm: Fr Charles Briggs will be celebrant, I will be Deacon and Fr John Boyle will be Subdeacon. It would be great to see you if you are in the area. There is a talk, Rosary, and Benediction at 3pm although I may not be able to stay for all of that since I have confessions back in the parish later.

I always enjoy visiting Aylesford and believe that it is under-rated as a pilgrimage destination. The priory was founded in 1242, confiscated by Henry VIII in 1538, and purchased again by the Carmelites in 1949. It was the home of St Simon Stock who received the brown scapular from Our Blessed Lady. His skull is venerated in a special shrine and there are several representations of Our Lady giving him the scapular. There are chapels dedicated to the English Martyrs, to St Joseph (with scenes from the life of the prophet Elijah), to St Anne, and to the Carmelite saints.

A welcome delivery

The postman brought this for me today:

and here you can see where it has come from:

This is my new cassock from Gammarelli. checking the receipt, I see that I ordered it on 2 May 2007 when I was in Rome. They told me that it would take about a year; every now and again I have been thinking "I must ring them up" but the arrival of the parcel means that is one less job to do.

It's now hanging up to get the creases out and I think perhaps the High Mass at Aylesford tomorrow will be a good first outing for it. I have two cassocks, one for Sundays and feasts, and the other for weekdays. My Barbiconi cassock has been the Sunday one and will now be relegated to weekdays. The Wippells cassock I bought many years ago was much more expensive than either of the Roman tailors and has not been at all as durable. It'll go to the dry cleaners and then into the servers' sacristy. Several of the boys are as tall as I am (not difficult) and I'm sure one of them will "bag" it.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

More photos from Bootcamp

Puella Paschalis has posted this link to a collection of photos from the Bootcamp that I went to speak at in the Netherlands last month. There is one where I am attempting to pronounce Dutch correctly with help from the students.

They were very kind about my efforts.

Here is another photo from Mass: the singing of the Gospel:

The vestment was made by a lady locally and was very fine. It meets the requirements set out by Fr Anthony Symondson in his article submitted to NLM questioning the Borromean revival where he reminds us of a decision of the Sacred Congregation of Rites that
'a chasuble may reach a little below the wrists, or a little below the shoulder, but not in between.'
Personally, I quite like the Borromean chasuble and all things Borromean but it is good to know that the chasuble I was wearing met the strictest standards.

I liked the following picture because it captures the atmosphere at the Masses. In somewhat spartan conditions, the students are reverent, attentive and participating fully.

Looking at these pictures and remembering the Bootcamp, I realise that this was a very rich experience for me and I would certainly be willing to go again if invited. There is something deeply good about this initiative and I am sure it is something providential not only for the Church in the Netherlands but for Europe. The Good Lord does not always use grand expensive schemes to further his plan but will always use those who are humble, sincere and loyal to the Church.

Flying off the calendar

So why is St Joseph of Cupertino not in the General Calendar any more? Here is the text from the commentary on the Calendarium Romanum Generale of 1969 which was drawn up by the Council for the Implementation of the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy:
Memoria S. Iosephi de Cupertino (d. Auximi, anno 1693), anno 1769 in Calendario romano ascripta, Calendariis particularibus relinquitur, quia non agitur de Sancto "momentum universale revera prae se ferente".

The memoria of St Joseph of Cupertino (d. at Osimo 1693), added to the roman Calendar in 1769, is left to particular Calendars because it is not a matter of a Saint "of truly universal importance".
The last quotation is from Sacrosanctum Concilium n.111. The context is given by a fuller quotation:
Lest the feasts of the saints should take precedence over the feasts which commemorate the very mysteries of salvation, many of them should be left to be celebrated by a particular Church or nation or family of religious; only those should be extended to the universal Church which commemorate saints who are truly of universal importance.
Sacrosanctum Concilium is concerned that feasts of saints should not blot out feasts commemorating the mysteries of salvation; but in the General calendar, today is now a feria for which the orations are taken from the Sunday "of the year" which would have been celebrated had the feast of the Exaltation of the Cross not occurred. It seems that some other consideration was at work. It cannot be to preserve the celebration of the "mystery of salvation" through the readings of the new Lectionary since those are normally used anyway on a simple memorial of a saint.

One principle given in the Commentary on the Renewed Liturgical Year is that they wished to achieve a certain chronological and geographical equilibrium, including saints from every century and every continent and not allowing saints from Italy and France to be too numerous. (None of which has the slightest mandate from the Fathers of Vatican II.) Presumably that principle was combined with the judgement that St Joseph of Cupertino is not a saint of truly universal importance in the decision to drop him from the calendar.

Devotees of particular saints will argue until the cows come home about their saint being of universal significance, of course, and someone has to make a judgement. Nevertheless, in the heady days of the late 1960s, I wonder whether another factor was a distaste for the extraordinary manifestations of grace in the life of the flying Franciscan.

Challoner on the silent canon

Some time back, I downloaded the (59Mb) pdf of Challoner's Garden of the Soul. Years ago I had a lovely small copy of this devotional work and still hope that it is somewhere around and that I will find it again. Looking up something from the electronic copy for a friend, I clicked through what Challoner says about how to hear Mass devoutly. I was struck by what he said about the silent Canon:
After the Preface follows the Canon of the mass, or the most sacred and solemn part of this divine service, which is read with a low voice, as well to express the silence of Christ in his passion and his hiding at that time his glory and divinity, as to signify the vast importance of that common cause of all mankind, which the priest is then representing as it were in secret to the ear of God; and the reverence and awe with which both priest and people ought to assist at these tremendous mysteries.

St Joseph of Cupertino

In the local calendar for Southwark, today is the feast of St Edith of Kemsing (where she was born), often known also as St Edith of Wilton (where she was a religious).

In the 1962 calendar is is the feast of St Joseph of Cupertino, a Franciscan who is much loved for the tragi-comic and utterly Franciscan character of his life, particularly his flying. EWTN has the article by Alban Goodier SJ: "St Joseph of Cupertino: the dunce. 1603-1663" from his book "Saints for Sinners" book. (I loved the story about the time the shepherds did not turn up to the little chapel for devotions so he called the sheep over to join him in the Litany of Loreto.)

The title of Goodier's article refers to St Joseph's inability to study and the providential help that was given him at his examinations. hence, in addition to being a patron saint of aviators, he is invoked by nervous students before their exams. this prayer is commonly used:
O Great St. Joseph of Cupertino who while on earth did obtain from God the grace to be asked at your examination only the questions you knew, obtain for me a like favour in the examinations for which I am now preparing. In return I promise to make you known and cause you to be invoked. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

St. Joseph of Cupertino, Pray for us.
Many thanks to Catholic Fire for the following clip from a 1962 film about his life.

The film is listed on the US Amazon as a VHS video but "currently unavailable". I hope someone makes it available on DVD.

Vespers from the Oratory on Radio 3

Yesterday, Radio 3 broadcast Vespers from the London Oratory for the feast of the Stigmata of St Francis. You can listen via the programme page on the Radio 3 website for up to a week after the programme (which is also being repeated on Sunday at 4pm). Here is the summary:
Organ Prelude: Intonatio del settimo tono (Andrea Gabrieli)
Invitatory: Deu in adjutorium meum (Croce)
Antiphons and Psalms: 110, 111, 112, 113, 117 (Plainsong)
Hymn: Iste confessor (Palestrina)
Antiphon: Hic vir despiciens (Plainsong)
Canticle: Magnificat octavi toni (Victoria)
Motet: O viridissima virga (Hildegard of Bingen)
Antiphon of Our Lady: Salve Regina (Philips)
Organ Voluntary: Chaconne in F (Fischer)

Organist: John McGreal
Celebrant: The Very Rev Ignatius Harrison
Director of Music: Patrick Russill.
H/T massinformation

New cellphone

Actually, we call them "mobile phones" in England. The Mulier Fortis told me that mine must be due for an upgrade so the other day, while on my way to pick up my recovered backup hard drive (that's right - the backup failed!) I popped into the T-Mobile shop in Eltham.

This is always fun because I am one of their best customers. My SIM card still has "One to One" on it, demonstrating that I have been very loyal (mainly through inertia, actually). Unlike the banking industry, the mobile phone industry rewards such loyalty. I asked whether I was due for an upgrade. Excitedly, "Sylvia", a charming young African lady, said that I was indeed due to get a new phone on special terms. She looked up tariffs, brought out demo phones and took me through all the options until I decided that the MDA Compact IV would be a nice phone to have. So what deal could be done?

Sylvia phoned up the "Retention" people, gave all my details and advised me to take a cheaper tariff. She was uncertain whether I would benefit from this or from paying a higher tariff and getting a good deal on the cost of the phone. When she checked, she was herself visibly surprised that "Retention" said that I could have the cheaper tariff and have the £200 phone for £20. She told me that I was a "Very High Profile Customer". I have to say that this is probably because of paying my bills regularly over more years than some of their younger customers have been alive rather than my profile as a Catholic blogger.

Anyway, I now have a very snazzy 3G/HSDPA phone that will make my breakfast and emit a customised ringtone in the presence of doctrinal or liturgical aberrations. Here it is with a packet of fags to give the scale:

Wednesday, 17 September 2008 video

Diane at Te Deum Laudamus sent me a link to this video, produced by Grassroots media, the company that produced "God in the Streets of New York" and "Fishers of Men". It makes the important point that while there are many important issues in an election, some, such as the sanctity of life and the protection of the family, are more important than others.

Of course this will be of more immediate interest to readers in the USA but I would suggest that something of this sort would be helpful for the next General Election in the UK - something that would appeal to voters in Britain where there is perhaps a more cynical electorate.

Excellent reporting in France

I was sent a link to this video today which shows the Papal motorcade in Paris. The commentary is in French so if you don't understand French, just go to 1'32" to see the banner which reads "Thank you Most Holy Father for Summorum Pontificum"

Most of the commentary is given by a woman journalist who gives an excellent summary of the effect of Summorum Pontificum and of the issues raised by it. She even makes the fine point that the term "extraordinary form" is a juridical one and that the Holy Father has made it clear that there is no contradiction between the two forms of the rite. On mutual enrichment, she says that the older form could benefit from more prefaces, and that the newer form can benefit from the understanding that the Eucharist is not the assembly of one community but an act of the whole communion of the Church, and an act of adoration of God.

A priest also gives comments, noting that there had been a great controversy in France and that the Holy Father's intention had been to promote reconciliation. At the end, he reminds the viewers that the Holy Father comes to us as the successor of Peter, given to us by Christ to guide the Church and that we should welcome him with joy because he makes us stronger in our Christian life.

This footage from KTO was broadcast on France 2 and on giant screens around Paris.

(My correspondent said that the priest was a Parisien and that he had some particular responsibility in the diocese of Paris. I'd be grateful if anyone can fill in the details here.)

"Joe versus the volcano" blog

Mark Armitage, a lay Catholic academic writer, living in Durham, contributes occasional essays to journals such as The Thomist, New Blackfriars, Nova et Vetera and The Chesterton Review. He recently started a blog calledJoe versus the volcano.

The blog aims to present perspectives on theology, church-life and politics from a conservative Catholic perspective. As he explains, the title is taken from the Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks film but "Joe" could refer to Joseph Ratzinger, warning us gently away from the destructive force that could sweep away life and civilisation.

Try not to annoy Cardinal Castrillon

First the good news. About a year ago, it was announced that there would be a document from the Ecclesia Dei commission clarifying Summorum Pontificum. CNS reports:
Asked about the status of those detailed instructions, Cardinal Castrillon told Catholic News Service that his office had completed its work and passed the draft on to the pope, who would make the final decision about its publication.
The bad news is that Cardinal Castrillon has clearly been annoyed by some people pestering him with further demands. Cf. CNS Cardinal: Some not satisfied even after pope's Tridentine Mass decree (H/T Rorate Caeli)

I agree with the comment by New Catholic that there are also some bishops who could be criticised for their opposition to the expressed will of the Holy Father, but I think that we should listen carefully to Cardinal Castrillon. There is a battle going on in the Church over this issue, including, I should imagine, a lot of subtle but intense machinations at the Vatican. We do need to be supportive of those who, like the good Cardinal, have bent over backwards to give us encouragement.

Cardinal Castrillon's various addresses on the occasion of his visit to London (see the Latin Mass Society website for the texts) were generous and very helpful for those attached to the usus antiquior. His Eminence stuck his neck out for us and although we may not always feel that things are moving fast enough, it is important to appreciate the difficulties of his situation.

Fr Z's rules of engagement are a good summary. Eg.
Speak less of our rights and what we deserve, or what it ought to have been, as if we were our own little popes, and more about our gratitude, gratitude, gratitude for what God gives us.

New blog from Brighton

Laurence England, a parishioner of Fr Ray Blake at St Mary Magdalen's, Brighton, has recently started a blog called That the bones you have crushed may thrill (ponderings of a Catholic layman) which is well worth a look.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008

Petition against extending abortion to N. Ireland

A petition has recently been started by Miss A Burt. It reads:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to deny any extension planned for the 1967 Abortion Act to Northern Ireland, as we believe in the right to life.
There is an opposite petition, supporting the extension of the abortion act to Northern Ireland so it would be good to get plenty of signatures.

Sign the petition
(You have to be a British citizen or resident to sign.)

Praying the Breviary

Fr Sean Coyle has a post on praying the Breviary, including the impact that it can make on others. (Cf Bangor to Bobbio: Pope Benedict in Paris and Father Flanagan of Boys Town)

With Christ on Calvary

H/T to Tony from The Muniment Room for this video of a group of young men who stood on the steps of the Cathedral at Neuquén in Argentina to protect it from desecration during a demonstration by pro-abortionists. You can see them calmly praying the Rosary despite being insulted and spat upon.

Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña describes how the bishop went out to remonstrate - with the guys praying the Rosary! His post is Unos jóvenes valientes que pasan de un obispo cobarde but I should warn you: although my Spanish is not good enough to understand the various colloquialisms about pantaloons and intestines, it is fairly clear that he is not very complimentary about the bishop.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Launch of "Usus Antiquior"

Yesterday was a full day - 9am Novus Ordo, 10.30am Missa Cantata, two Baptisms, then on to Vespers and Benediction at the London Oratory, followed by the launch of the journal Usus Antiquior (and then on to Wonersh to be ready to lecture this morning).

Above you can see Fr Z's photo from the sanctuary during the preparation for Benediction. the Liturgy of the Oratory is still, in Faber's words describing the Traditional High Mass of the Roman Rite, "The most beautiful thing this side of heaven" and I never fail to be moved by it. When I was young, I used to attend occasionally. In those days, I did not know the Fathers of the Oratory. Now I know many of them and count them as good friends - but in the Liturgy, their personality is subsumed into the sacred action and it scarcely matters which of the Fathers are acting as Sacred Ministers. It is so emphatically not about "me the celebrant" but the humble and awe-filled worship of Almighty God.

After Vespers, we repaired to the beautiful St Wilfrid's Hall for the launch of the new journal dedicated to the study of the ancient Roman Rite. Susan Parsons (right) introduced the proceedings, also conveying apologies from various people. She left the most significant letter to be read by Alcuin Reid - from Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, offering a generous and warm-hearted appreciation of the venture. Fr Ignatius Harrison, the Provost of the London Oratory (left) gave a generous welcome on behalf of the Fathers, and then Drs Reid and Hemming (centre) gave their addresses.

Dr Reid spoke of the newly found freedom of the classical liturgy:
The classical Roman liturgy, that powerful and rich deposit of the Church’s tradition, now unfettered, is increasingly available throughout the world. This treasury from which today more and more Catholics regularly draw nourishment, not by way of the satisfaction that one obtains in visiting the splendid yet safely encased medieval collections in the [Victoria and Albert] Museum next door, but by way of being in tangible, fruitful and unedited contact with all that nourished the faith of our fathers, and their fathers before them that treasury, is now free from the putative “abrogation” visited upon it in less happy times.
Dr Hemming's address was superbly well crafted: witty, challenging and inspiring. He spoke of the initial encouragement that had been received:
We have no publisher as yet. No department’s ranking depends on our efforts. There is no staff beyond the voluntary, there is no money. This venture should be still-born. And so I am delighted to say that of the nine academics in seven countries we approached to form our editorial board, not one so much as demurred, let alone declined: all enthusiastically accepted. Each is, in his or her own right, an academic of outstanding international significance. Far from colleagues or former teachers, our Board were until now, with only one or two exceptions, not well, or even at all, personally known to us. We have had indications of genuine excitement from across the Anglophone world, and beyond it. We have had over 350 of potential subscribers – including seminaries – even in the United Kingdom.
Fr John Boyle has posted all the full texts: see 'Usus Antiquior' launched. The Usus Antiquior website has the list of members of The Editorial Board.

As always at these occasions, it was good to meet with a variety of friends. Here you can see (left to right) Julian Chadwick, chairman of the Latin Mass Society, Fr Andrew Wadsworth, the Chaplain to the Society of St Catherine of Siena, and Marigold Turner, the indefatigable LMS rep for the Kent area of the Southwark Diocese.

Fr Zuhlsdorf has been staying at St Bede's, Clapham Park and so this was the first chance I had to catch up with him on his visit to England.

He will be coming to stay at Blackfen so I had better get a man in to blow out the internet tubes to make sure there are no blockages to prevent hyper-traffic blogging.

Fr Charles Briggs came up with me to the launch and we were delighted to meet Fr Guy Nicholls from the Birmingham Oratory with whom we shared some happy times at the English College in Rome in the early 1980s.

Frs Briggs and Nicholls are non-blogging priests who appear on other people's blogs (Fr Guy usually on his bicycle at Jackie Parkes's blog, the Catholic Mom of 10). Conversely, there was a lady who blogs but does not appear in photos on other people's blogs. But you can tell from the state-of-the-art mobile and the mantilla that it is the Mulier Fortis.

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