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Showing posts from October, 2008

SSPX at Lourdes

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Rorate Caeli has reported on the recent pilgrimage to Lourdes of the Society of St Pius X. They have given links to some lovely photos of the Solemn Mass, the recitation of the Rosary and Benediction in the underground basilica of St Pius X which will have been used only because it is the only place large enough to hold the numbers of pilgrims attending.

Seeing these pictures, I have to ask why it is that the SSPX are able to hold functions freely in Lourdes whereas ordinary pilgrim groups wishing to celebrate the usus antiquior are presented with difficulties and obfuscation.

Let me be clear; I have no objection whatever to the SSPX celebrating their Masses and other spiritual exercises there. They give a fine example of Catholic devotion with a predominantly young following who offer inspiration to other pilgrims.

But if one of the intentions of Summorum Pontificum was to allow the usus antiquior to be celebrated more freely, and without bureaucratic restrictions, surely it should not …

What the nazis built on

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Cardinal O'Brien's open letter to Gordon Brown has been widely reported. He has compared the HFE Bill to the atrocities of the Nazis. (See: Embryo bill like Nazi atrocities, says Cardinal)

In September, I wrote about an essay by Malcolm Muggeridge in which he pointed out that the euthanasia programme in Germany was initiated by medical professionals before the Nazi party had risen to power. (See: "The life thou gavest, Lord, we've ended") The book entitled The Permission to Destroy Life Unworthy of Life was published by Alfred Hoche and Karl Binding in 1920.

Many people start shrieking and wailing when the "N word" is used in relation to "culture of death" policies. It may be helpful to point out that the euthanasia of the disabled was already in place well before Hitler and the nazis rose to power. The medical establishment had paved the way for the gross atrocities of the National Socialists.

In the same way today, our morally bankrupt approach…

APGL Conference today

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Today we had the autumn Conference of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life (APGL). Fr John Saward spoke about Pius XII and preaching the Gospel of Life. A former Anglican clergyman, Fr Saward was ordained to the Catholic priesthood in 2003 and has had a distinguished academic career.

Father examined Pope Pius XII's defence of the sanctity of human life and the way in which he anticipated and provided the groundwork for much of the magisterial teaching of his successors. The hermeneutic of continuity (the concept, not the blog) was a key to understanding this teaching. Of particular interest was his reference to Pius XII's insistence on the ordering of the ends of marriage - something that will be worth looking up in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis - and his observations on the Acts of the Second Vatican Council relating to the relevant passage of Gaudium et Spes.

In the second part of his talk, Fr Saward examined the teaching of Pope Pius XII on fatherhood and the way in…

Petition demanding protection for Iraqi Christians

Ed West is organising a petition to 10 Downing Street to demand protection for Iraqi Christians. It reads:We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to demand from the Iraqi Government protection for Iraq's Christians, especially those who have recently fled the city of Mosul. We also ask for assistance for those who have fled, measures to ensure the safety of those who wish to return, and a full investigation into who is responsible for the murders. More detailsFurther information:At least 13 Christians have been murdered in the city of Mosul in the last two weeks, and around 10,000 Christians have fled the city. These are just the latest attacks: since the 2003 invasion up to half of Iraq's 800,000 Christians have fled persecution, kidnappings and murder. According to the UN High Commission on Refugees the Christians, just 3 per cent of the pre-war population, account for over a third of overseas refugees. Without protection Iraq's ancient minority, who have been Chr…

Santa Maria in Trastevere

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I just discovered that I had prepared these photos of Santa Maria in Trastevere to post. "Trastevere" means "across the Tiber" and the area has its own quaint and traditional character. Above is the square outside the basilica; here is an overview of the interior:

All students have to note that the columns are assorted. This is common in Roman Churches because they (and the capitals) were scavenged from older buildings or fished out of the Tiber or something. Apparently the capitals here were taken from the Baths of Caracalla.

The ceiling is magnificent in its own right:

Typically of ancient Churches in Rome, Santa Maria in Trastevere combines art and architecture from across the centuries: ancient columns, cosmatesque paving, 17th century ceiling (by Domenichino), 6th century painting of Our Lady, 13th century apse mosaic, 19th century arch, 1702 facade by Carlo Fontana... The various additions do not seem to detract from the atmosphere if ancient Christian Rome that…

Document on psychological testing of candidates for the seminary

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This coming Thursday, there will be a Press Conference at the Holy See Press Office to present a document of the Congregation for Catholic Education "Guidelines for the Use of Psychology in the Admission and Formation of Candidates for the Priesthood."

The speakers at the press conference will be Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Archbishop Jean-Louis Brugues, Secretary of the Congregation, and Fr Carlo Bresciani, a psychologist and a consultor to the Congregation who has written on bioethics and sexual morality.

Here is the original (Italian) announcement in the Vatican Bollettino. And here is the Catholic News Services story.

CNS reports that the Congregation has been working on this document for at least six years and notes that the pyschological testing of candidates for the priesthood is a controversial issue at the Vatican.

I would agree that some sort of psychological evaluation of candidates if a fairly obvious necessity but…

Chant Workshop

The Schola Gregoriana Sancti Nicolai have sent details of their forthcoming Chant Workshop and I am happy to pass these on:

Chant Workshop
SATURDAY 15 NOVEMBER 2008
10.00 – 16.30

Farnborough Abbey – (near station)
with the support of Fr Abbott

Programme

1000 Registration
1030 Workshop Part I
Office of Sext - chanted by the monks
Break for Lunch
Workshop Part II
Office of None - chanted by the monks
Break for coffee
Workshop Part III
1630 Workshop completes
1645 Office of Vespers - chanted by the monks

Syllabus – chant introduction & practice to include:

a. Ordinary - Mass IV Cunctipotens Genitor Deus
b. Propers for feast of St Nicholas

Music materials will be provided

Tea will be provided & sandwiches for lunch - at a small charge

Fees - £15 (including tea but excluding lunch)

All Welcome – Including Beginners

Contact: csavage@aquamar.plus.com

Arranged by Schola Gregoriana Sancti Nicolai

Faith and Family Conference a roaring success

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I am very pleased to pass on this report from Richard Marsden (Bashing Secularism) about the Faith and Family Conference that was held at London Colney last weekend. I am so glad that this conference, organised by two of my parishioners, was such a success.

Faith and Family abound

Families and young people from across the United Kingdom were inspired to convert England back to Catholicism through family life at a weekend conference.

About 200 people flocked to the Faith, the Family, the Future conference at the Diocese of Westminster’s All Saints Pastoral Centre in London Colney, St Albans, to reaffirm the orthodox Catholic teaching on the family.

Dominican friar and eminent theologian Father Aidan Nichols told parents and young people it was time to “pick up the torch” in the hope of restoring England back to her ancient faith and defeating secularism.

Fr Nichols said: “Seek to develop a Catholic culture in you home morally, devotionally and intellectually. In so doing you will take furth…

Don't worry! Be happy!

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Some years ago, I remember a "hit" song that my youth group liked called "Don't worry! Be happy!" The fun and lilting caribbean voice made it a popular and amusing invitation to "chill out".

The atheist bus adverts promise people a worry-free existence if they will only accept that there is "probably" no God. This is not very reassuring in itself - to be free of worry, you would really need to be certain that there is no God - but let that pass.

Who can have a worry-free existence? This was essentially the problem that exercised the Stoics and other ancient philosophers in search of the "Beata vita", the blessed, or calm and contented life. Seneca and others got close when saying that freedom from fear and desire was the key. An ascetical life would free you from the desire that nags and worries. Acceptance of whatever happens will free you from fear.

Without the teaching of Christ, however, this search for the beata vita will be doom…

FSSP Retreats in England

Fr Armand de Mallerary of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter will be giving retreats in England in Advent and Lent. Both retreats will be held at Douai Abbey in Berkshire (Upper Woolhampton RG7 5TQ) and at both retreats Holy Mass will be offered each day in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Here are further details:

ADVENT RETREAT: 8-11 DECEMBER 2008
Monday 8th December 2008 at 2pm until Thursday 11th December 2008 at 11am

Theme: Our Lady and the Incarnation

Cost: £137 - to cover:
1-Accommodation: single room with en-suite bathroom, full board. The Guest Master suggests a donation of £125 per person (individual discount granted on request)
2-Preacher: a minimum £12 per person would be expected in order to cover Fr de Malleray’s expenses.

LENTEN RETREAT: 2-6 MARCH 2009
From Monday 2nd March 2009 at 2pm until Friday 6th March 2009 at 11am

Theme: "By his wounds we are healed" (Isaiah 53:5)

Cost: £169 - to cover:
1-Accommodation: single room with en-suite bathroom, full board. The…

Dr Pink at the Oratory, Thursday

For young adults, (up to 18-35) there is an opportunity to hear Dr Tom Pink speak on Thursday 30 October at the London Oratory "Call to Youth" series. He will be giving a talk on "How should Catholics work for Christian unity?"

You can also read a good article by Dr Pink on the subject.

Killing off "non persons"

Dr Tom Pink, reader in Philosophy at Kings College, London, has written on the ethics of humanity for the Cornerstone Group blog (see: A gross assault on human nature)

He draws attention to the basic universal ethics of humanity that dictates that we should not deliberately aim at the death of an innocent fellow human. As he says, "there is nothing specifically religious in this view." Referring particularly to the work of Peter Singer, he warns that the ethics of humanity are now under threat because of the limitation of "personhood" to those who have self-consciousness and the capacity for "reason" and "autonomy".

Because these qualities are not clear-cut, the right to be treated with respect (and not to be deliberately killed) becomes a matter for negotiation and debate. Furthermore, as Dr Pink warns:... once the ethics of humanity is abandoned, the alleged human right to autonomy may not long offer very much protection. For suppose a human is …

We shall fight them on the buses...

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Well done Paulinus (In Hoc Signo Vinces), for this:

(If you didn't get the point, here is an example story.)

Meeting people in Rome

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Near the Church of Santa Maria sopra Minerva, there are several shops selling vestments and Church plate. Meeting priest friends there is almost inevitable and the other day was no exception. In addition, I made the acquaintance of a most affable priest from the Society of St Pius X, working in County Dublin, who kindly told me that he reads this blog. (Very good to meet you Father!)

Shop windows in Rome, like those in Oxford Street, tell something of changing fashions. For some time, Gammarelli has had Roman vestments displayed; but Barbiconi is now catching up fast with no fewer than three such vestments in one window:

Here is a closer view of that purple vestment:

Even De Ritis (which Fr Guy Nicholls and I used to refer to jokingly as "De Ritibus") has a roman vestment alongside the cowled polyester garments.

Notice that the Roman vestments are always arranged to display the back of the vestment whereas the modern ones are "facing the people" ;-)

BTW - in response to…

Una Voce report on SP implementation

Many thanks to Jane at Thoughts from an Oasis in French Catholicism for news of a report compiled by the International Una Voce Federation concerning the application of Summorum Pontificum during the year since its promulgation. At the French Una Voce website, you can download the original French text.

Jane has generously spent time writing a number of posts, translating and analysing various sections of the report. These will, of course, be particularly helpful if you cannot read the French original. (I hope that perhaps the Una Voce Federation will make available an English translation of this important document.)

The report is written expressely to give the Holy Father information from the laity, pointing out frankly that in the past, reports from Bishops have failed to give a true reflection of the desire of the faithful for the traditional liturgy.

The report accurately describes the varied character of responses to Summorum Pontificum and lists some Bishops who have been particular…

Back from Rome

Arriving back in the presbytery, even after a four day holiday, means a mountain of post to deal with. I was surprised and pleased to see that the box from Gammarelli's, containing the new green vestments, has already arrived. I'll let the altar servers open that tomorrow.

It is odd to think that only this morning I made a last visit to the tomb of St Peter to gain the indulgence. Returning through London via the new Terminal 5 (more about that sometime) I thank God for getting us home safely. England was a rude awakening as we were treated to a piece of "advertorial" in favour of Barack Obama, courtesy of BBC news 24.

I did say that I don't post recommendations for restaurants but I have to tell you about La Barca, a wonderful fish restaurant on the corner of the Borgo Angelico and the Via del Falco, near the Borgo Pio. If you like seafood, this is really worth a visit.

A restaurant recommendation

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I don't usually post recommendations for restuarants. Frankly, despite everyone's "to die for" place in Rome, most of the eating houses are pretty good and you can follow the usual rules about choosing places a little away from the main tourist areas and do very well.

Today, however, Fr Charles and I happened, in God's providence, on somewhere rather special. After visiting Santa Maria in Trastevere, it was time for lunch and so we wandered off the square a little to find somewhere. This was where we landed up:

It looks fairly ordinary but when we realised that La Trattoria degli Amici was run by the Sant Egidio community, we immediately asked for a table. Here is a picture of the table cover which explains the ethos of the restaurant:

One of the features of the restaurant is "Wine for Life" where Italian wine producers help a holistic programme to treat those suffering from HIV/AIDS.

We had an excellent Barbera D'Alba (Domenico Clerico 2006 Trevigne) t…

Bl Pio Nono and the new liturgy

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Next door to the Campo Verano is the paleo-Christian basilica of San Lorenzo fuori le Mura. This was an important stopping place on our pilgrimage because the crypt houses the body of Blessed Pope Pius IX. His memory seems to become more important by the day as democratic governments trample on basic human dignity. Only yesterday the British parliament voted to extend the lethal abuse of the most vulnerable members of our society. (See John Smeaton's report)

I cannot resist pointing out again the way in which this basilica gives the lie to much of what passes for the justification of "modern liturgy". We are told that in the early Church, the proclamation of the word was terribly important, as was the Paschal candle. Hence the lectern for the word of God:

And hence the paschal candle:

Yet the actual ambo and paschal candle stand from an earlier Christian era, which we are supposed to be beholden to, are unused:

There are several Churches in Rome which replicate this unanswer…

Praying for the dead

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The Campo Verano is Rome's principal cemetery and has vaults for many colleges and religious orders as well as impressive tombs for noble families. Here is a view of the cemetery chapel:

Fr Charles and I went there today to say a prayer for Fr Chris Pemberton and other buried in the English College vault.

We also remembered dear Mgr Frank Frayne who used to take students on their first visit to St Peter's Basilica. He worked for many years faithfully at the Pontifical Commission for Migrants and Tourists.

Little gems in Rome

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The centro storico of Rome has hundreds of little Churches; they seem small because the standard of comparison is the Major Basilicas. One of my favourites is the Church of Santa Maria Maddalena which is a rare example of Roman roccoco. At the front of the Church on the epistle side is a chapel with the crucifix before which St Camillus was praying; the arms of Our Lord detached themselves from the cross and reached out to St Camillus who then founded his order for the care of the sick.

Later in the day, I took a stroll off to the east of the Campo de' Fiori, hoping to find the Church of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini. I could have looked it up on a map, of course, but it is pleasant just to wander around those old streets. Coming across a Church that I thought was in roughly the right place, I met Fr Brendan Gerard FSSP on the steps.

SSma Trinita is a real gem - my photo above was taken on the camera phone. I'll have the proper camera with me later. It is good to see a Roman…

Shopping done

Barbiconi's were more than happy to measure me up for a ferraiuolo. They commented that most of their orders for these things come from England. A ferraiuolo is a cape worn over the cassock on formal non-liturgical occasions. It is appropriate for clergy to wear one at an occasion where lay people dress formally for dinner. Mgr Gilbey proposed a set of more detailed rules. I also bought a couple of tabbed clerical shirts - I know the younger clergy tell me to wear stiff collars all the time but I am from that sloppy generation ;-)

At Gammarelli's, I chose a set of green vestments. At 475 euro, this works out at just under £370 on the current exchange rate. This is really very good for a fine five piece set (chasuble, stole, maniple, veil, and burse). It should arrive in England early next week.

Mass at St Peter's

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I took that picture this morning at about 7.15am on my way into St Peter's. Back in April 2006, in pre-Summorum Pontificum times, I tried out the Ecclesia Dei rescript without success.

Nowadays, saying Mass in the usus antiquior at St Peter's is not a problem. I turned up with my travelling Missal and waited in line for vestments and a chalice. There was a little wait today because there are a number of priests and Bishops attending the Synod who want to say Mass. The usual thing at St Peter's is that a server will carry the cruets and missal to a free altar, put the cruets on the lavabo tray and then leave. There were at least two or three priests saying Mass in the older form. Nobody seemed to mind or really notice much. It really shows that there was no need for such a fuss all these years.

I was reminded this morning how easy it is to take things for granted in a City so full of history as Rome. I had started Mass before I averted to the fact that I was saying Mass at t…

Bloggers' meeting in Rome

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I would like to invite any bloggers or readers of my blog to meet up at the Bar Pantheon on Tuesday at between 12noon and 1pm. If you are free, it would be great to see you. Above is a picture of the Pantheon which indicates the location of the homonymous bar.

"To do" list for Rome

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From Monday to Friday this week, I will be in the Eternal City with Fr Charles Briggs for a little break. here is a list of things that I would like to do this week:
Buy a Ferraiuolo at Barbiconi's
Eat a Roman Pizza CapricciosaBuy a green Roman Low Mass set at Gammarelli's
Say Mass in the usus antiquior at St Peter's (about 7.30am Tuesday if you want to come)
Visit the Church of Santissima Trinita dei Pellegrini
Drink a small glass of Nardini GrappaReceive the blessing of the Holy Father at the General AudienceWe will be around for a bloggers' meeting. Details of that in a separate post.

Youth Sunday

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A parish priest's postbag regularly includes a large envelope containing a full colour folder with "Liturgy Suggestions" for "whatever-it-is-this-month Sunday". The "Youth Sunday" pack is usually particularly silly. Over the past few years, these "resources" have been posted on the web as well. This year, with the increasing number Catholic bloggers, that strategy seems to have been a mistake. Normally, the parish priest throws the pack into the bin and that is the end of it. But now, intelligent young Catholics all over the world have been able to see the stuff. The resulting storm of sarcasm and fury is not pretty.

Anna Arco at her new blog Anna Arco's Diary looks on the bright side:Something positive has emerged from the newest revolting antics of the Youth Services office. On the web, in emails, on Facebook, young Catholics have been discussing the Mass. Suddenly, the Justice and Peace posse are talking to the Theology of the Body gan…

St Philip Howard - feast and film

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Tomorrow is the feast of St Philip Howard so this is just a reminder of the DVD produced by Mary's Dowry Productions which I wrote about in august (See: Two fascinating DVDs)

Mary's Dowry Productions are currently working on three new films. Bernadette tells me that the St Edmund Campion costume arrived today :-) I'm looking forward to the film about priest holes.

A Pope blog?

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Zenit reports that Agnes Lam, president of the Catholic Biblical Association of Hong Kong and a lay auditor at the Synod of Bishops, as suggested that the Holy Father should start a blog. (See: A blogging Benedict XVI)

This is an absolutely top hole idea. Let me just say that if the Holy Father needs an editor/dogsbody for his blog, I'm happy to oblige ;-)

Fr Z suggests that some of the Bishops were asking their neighbours "What's a blog?" You could imagine a Private Eye style dialogue:Mr Justice Cocklecarrot: What is a blog?

Counsel for the prosecution (Messrs Sue Grabbit and Runne): A blog M'Lud, is a series of articles posted on the internet in reverse chronological order

Mr Justice Cocklecarrot: What is the internet?

Counsel for the prosecution: The internet M'Lud is like a series of tubes ... (etc ad nauseam)The Curt Jester has a fun post up about this too: Blogger of the Universal Church. He has this picture and caption:

New options for the end of Mass

The revised Editio Typica Tertia of the Missale Romanum was printed last week. I expect that there has been a serious attempt to correct the many misprints in the last printing. One new feature is to add three options for the end of Mass in addition to "Ite missa est." The new options are:
"Ite ad Evangelium Domini nuntiandum"
"go to announce the Gospel of the Lord""Ite in pace, glorificando vita vestra Dominum"
"go in peace, glorifying the Lord with your lives"; and simply, "Ite in pace" with "alleluia, alleluia" added during Easter season.
"go in peace (alleluia, alleluia)."Fr Z comments acerbically "Because we really need more options." I agree with his take on this but would add the question I wrote about a year ago: Why choose a particular text?

What criteria will a priest use to choose which of the dismissals to use? Will he plan the choice with a Liturgy Committee? Will he assess the options in…

Double-standards at YouTube

There is an interesting article on the Richard Dawkins fan site (Petition YouTube for Pat Condell). Pat Condell has posted a video to YouTube criticising the Saudi-based islamicisation of Britain and, in particular, arguing against the use of Sharia Law. His video has been pulled by YouTube and he has been warned that his "violation of the community guidelines" may result in his account being terminated.

Meanwhile, over at mediawatchwatch (not to be confused with the excellent Media Watch UK) there is an article celebrating the restoration of "free speech" in that YouTube have allowed the videos of people desecrating the Blessed Sacrament to be shown, but deprecating the censorship of Pat Condell.

Anyone, secularists included, can see that there is a blatant double-standard operating here.

A pitfall to be avoided

Diogenes has made an important point about unnecessary concessions to anti-life rhetoric:Archbishop Edwin O'Brien of Baltimore, in a column for his archdiocesan paper the Catholic Review, laments the public image of the pro-life movement:

"How unfortunate it is that the pro-life movement comes across to some as angry, reproachful or excessively judgmental."

"Comes across to some..." Who are these "some" people who see pro-lifers in such a negative light? Why of course it's their political foes, the champions of unrestricted abortion on demand.See: An unconscious plug for the other side. Diogenes continues:Yes, it's unfortunate that the pro-abortion side, amply represented in the mass media, controls the terms of public debate, and distorts the public perceptions of pro-life work. That doesn't mean the archbishop should reinforce their rhetoric.This is an easy mistake to make when public figures try to appear reasonable and show "both si…

Good news for Northern Ireland's babies

Abortion plans for Northern Ireland abandoned due to peace process. Pro-abortion MPs had been planning to table amendments to the HFE bill that would legalise abortion in Northern Ireland. They have been tipped off by ministers that this could upset the peace process. Unfortunately, there are still plans to try to make abortion easier in the rest of the UK. Mark Pritchard MP said:"The decision appears to be more about extending the political life of the Prime Minister - rather than the Government extending the lives of the unborn.

It appears ministers are still determined to introduce 'drive-thru' abortions where mothers can bypass the advice of their local GP, drive straight to their local clinic and place an order for an abortion."As the Telegraph reports, opposition to abortion is one area in which the Nationalists and Unionists in Northern Ireland agree.

Of course, the Family Planning Association is still campaigning for abortion in Northern Ireland against the wis…

Visit to Oxford

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Yesterday I travelled to my one-time home of Oxford to give the first in a series of three talks at the Oxford Oratory to mark the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae. The Fathers kindly invited me to join them for Oratory and Dinner beforehand. "Oratory" is a custom preserved unchanged since the time of St Philip with 20 minutes silent meditation before the Blessed Sacrament, followed by the Litany of Loreto, the Sub Tuum Praesidium and various other prayers. The community is thriving and indeed working very hard at various pastoral projects. They are also in the middle of a restoration of the area above the High Altar so there was scaffolding in the Church. I look forward to seeing the completed work.

Last year, I spoke to the Newman Society in Oxford on the same subject but this was an event mainly intended for parishioners of St Aloysius. There was a good response and I was delighted to meet a number of old friends. Andrew and Dora Nash were there Dora has had two excellent…

"Live chastely" pledge

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In 2006, the Catholic Youth Service issued a press release on the website of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, to announce that National Youth Sunday would launch the "LiveSimply" challenge to mark the 40th anniversary of Pope Paul VI's encyclical letter Populorum Progressio.

This year's National Youth Sunday is the third one in a row with materials supporting the LiveSimply challenge. James Preece at Catholic and Loving it! suggests: "I think it's fair to say we've covered the LiveSimply theme." He continues:The fortieth year anniversary of Populorum Progressio has passed. I believe time has come to mark the fortieth anniversary of Humanae Vitae with a new promise to LiveChastely.And why not indeed? Even if you agree with the political agenda of "Sustainable Development" it is a bit of an "easy sell" for youth workers. Young people are bombarded from many sources with encouragement to recycle, save the planet and wear …

Cry for help from Iraqi Christians

Iraqi Christians in Need (ICIN) is a charity set up to help needy Iraqi Christians who have been suffering, displaced, destitute or persecuted as a result of the war. The other day, the Times reported on the "religious cleansing" that has recently escalted in the country.

ICIN reports that the crisis in Mosul (Nineveh) is becoming increasingly desperate and that During the past few days, many Christians have been killed in Mosul, just because they are Christians. Several thousands have fled their houses and took refuge in Churches in the city and nearby mountains.In response, ICIN has made a substantial donation from its reserve and will send this, together with what is received from the “Crisis in Mosul Fund”, directly to those in Mosul who are taking care of the displaced.

If you would like to support this appeal, here is a link to donate by credit card.

Dr Suha Rassam, one of the founders of the charity, recently received a "Catholic Woman of the Year" award and ha…

Robert George on Obama's pro-abortion extremism

Robert George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University, has an article in Public Discourse on Obama's Abortion Extremism.

George argues that Obama is "the most extreme pro-abortion legislator ever to serve in either house of the United States Congress" and analyses his pro-abortion record in some detail.

Interview with Cardinal Pell

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Just at the moment, I am wondering whether anyone can talk about anything without referring to the "Global Economic Meltdown". John Allen's interview with Cardinal Pell begins with this topic but thankfully moves on once His Eminence suggests that it would be wise for the Synod not to say too much about it.

After that, it gets very interesting. Cardinal Pell talks about the possibility of a new institute for biblical translation, the relationship between exegetes and the Magisterium, the importance of preaching on the whole corpus of Catholic doctrine, and the current controversy on Pope Pius XII.

I am now an aardvark

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The other day, I wrote about Bishop O'Donoghue's letter to the Catholic Caring Services of Lancaster (More from Lancaster). The day after the Bishop's Letter, the Catholic Caring Services offered a curious response.The new legislation has posed difficulty for the Church as it would appear to some to challenge the Church’s views on marriage.The "some" here include the Holy Father, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and Bishop O'Donoghue. The Sexual Orientation Regulations do not "appear to challenge" Catholic teaching on marriage, they flatly contradict it.

The press statement asserts that the charity has taken legal advice, undergone extensive consultation and "discernment". Despite this, it does not seem to be able to offer any answer at all to the suggestions offered by Bishop O'Donoghue based upon his consultation with lawyers, moral theologians, and those involved in adoption.

Jim Cullen, Chief Executive of the Charity, s…

Stanbrook Abbey still available

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In February, I reproted that Stanbrook Abbey was up for sale. A possible sale has recently fallen through and there is a danger that the Abbey will be vandalised and generally fall into disrepair after the sisters move out next March.

To buy this, you are going to need in the region of £6 million. If you have this kind of money spare, may I encourage you to spend it in this good cause. I'm sure there would be a queue of good traditional communities wanting to move in if you were to "build up treasure in heaven" by such a generous benefaction.

More from Lancaster

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Lancaster Diocese has just launched a new website. The old one wasn't bad, actually, but this one ties things in rather better with lots of the key information on the front page. (Incidentally, the new one is lancasterdiocese.org.uk which replaces the old "lancasterrcdiocese.org.uk")

One of the most important items which I have not yet got round to mentioning is Bishop O'Donoghue's letter to the Catholic Caring Services of Lancaster. Here is a link to the text of the letter.

The Trustees of the Lancaster Caring Services have voted to go along with the Sexual Orientation Regulations and accept gay and lesbian couples as suitable adoptive parents. Bishop O'Donoghue has responded by explaining the Church's teaching "as bishop and pastor", by insisting that the charity cannot unilaterally change its nature, and advising the trustees to seek an exemption from the SORs under Regulation 18.

He makes it clear that if they insist on considering adoptions fr…

Rosary Crusade Sermon

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Fr Marcus Holden, co-author of Evangelium, was the preacher at the Rosary Crusade of Reparation last Saturday. John Smeaton SPUC Director has posted a couple of quotations from his sermon:"In the future times, I believe people in this land will hang their heads in shame at what we their ancestors have done in these times."Fr Holden described the government's Human Fertilisation and Embryology bill as:"one of the darkest pieces of social legislation ever to come out of this land"The intention of this year's Rosary Crusade was the defeat of the HFE Bill.

I was sorry to miss the Rosary Crusade but I have to be careful about being away from the parish on Saturday. If I am actually to be here for Masses and Confessions, it means that by the time I get to London I have to come home again. I can sometimes get a supply priest to stand in but I don't feel it is right to do this too regularly.

Credit Crunch - the lighter side

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On my trips around the motorway yesterday and today, I have listened to the news rather more than usual given that Gordon Brown has now gambled wisely invested so much of our money on bailing out the big banks. My friend at the Treasury emailed me a joke that is going round there and this reminded that the British are quite good at cracking black jokes in these circumstances. Here is a selection from those recycled in various places around the web.

I went to the ATM this morning and it said "insufficient funds".
I'm wondering is it them or me.

With the current market turmoil, what's the easiest way to make a small fortune?
Start off with a large one.

What's the difference between an investment banker and a London pigeon?
The pigeon can still make a deposit on a new Porsche.

What's the capital of Iceland?
About £3.50

Masked man walks into a bank with a gun:
"I don't want any money - I just want you to start lending to each other..."

Talk in the City is that…

"Oil of Gladness" forbidden

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While on the subject of Archbishop Ranjith, I would like to pass on this nugget, (also via Fr Z) from the Summorum Pontificum Johannesburg blog on the question of the use of the "Oil of Gladness" as a "sacramental" in healing services.

The Archbishop has written to Cardinal Napier to say that there are only three blessed oils prescribed in the Roman Ritual and that the use of any other oil is "proscribed and subject to ecclesiastical penalties." Since the letter refers to canon law which is in force universally, the prohibition should not be considered as applying only to South Africa.

Here is the jpg of the letter (click to enlarge):

CDW rumours

Several people have asked me recently what I think about the rumours of Archbishop Ranjith being lined up to be Archbishop of Colombo, the capital of Sri Lanka. Fr Z has a helpful post on the whole business, with a translation of a recent article by Andrea Tornielli (“La riforma di Benedetto XVI”, i cambiamenti al Culto Divino)

Cardinal Arinze is now 75 and therefore likely to retire from his office as President of the Congregation for Divine Worship. Archbishop Ranjith, the Secretary of the CDW (second in command) is well-known for his support for Pope Benedict's liturgical project and for his outspoken statements and interviews on various liturgical matters, including criticism of the practice of communion in the hand.

As I mentioned some time ago, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the "Little Ratzinger" is one of the names rumoured as a possible successor to Cardinal Arinze.

For the Bugninista tendency in the Curia, it would be a great problem to have two solid support…

Faith Magazine special offer for the USA

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Fr Hugh MacKenzie, the editor of Faith Magazine, is trying to increase the number of subscribers that we have in the USA and is promoting a Special Offer at $49.99 for one year (six issues) for subscribers in the USA.

At the website, you can read about the Faith Movement and various pamphlets and articles, including articles from current and back issues of the magazine. The current issue (September/October) has proved very popular.

CTS pamphlet on Louis and Zélie Martin

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While on my travels, I took a couple of the new CTS pamphlets with me. One I would heartily recommend is the one on Louis and Zélie Martin by Fr Paulinus Redmond. in 75 pages he does an great job of capturing the spirit of their life and of their exceptional family.

Zélie wanted to be a religious sister but was rejected. her prayer then was:
Lord, since, unlike my sister, I am not worthy to be Your bride, I will enter the married state in order to fulfil Your holy will. I beg of You to give me many children and let them all be consecrated to You.When they were first married, Louis and Zélie lived a life of continence in imitation of the Holy Family. However, a wise priest advised them that the Holy Family was an exceptional case and that normally, married people should have children. Within a year, Zélie was pregnant with their first child, Marie Louise.

In one of her letters, Zélie wrote
When we had our children our ideas changed somewhat. From then on we lived only for them. They made a…

Not being bored

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Sometimes people ask me if I am busy. My stock answer is to say that I don't get bored. To youngsters asking what it is like to be a priest, I say that I have good days and bad days but that I have not yet had a boring day in nearly 25 years of priesthood.

Yesterday was a particularly full day. In the morning, I celebrated the Requiem Mass for Sarah Keenan who had died at the grand age of 92. One of her American relatives had the good idea of recording some of her thoughts on tape and so after receiving her body into the Church on Thursday afternoon, I sat in my study and listened to her talking about Lourdes, Fatima, the Holy Land, the Rosary Procession in London and how she continually prayed for all her family and for all the Holy Souls.

The burial was at St Patrick's Cemetery, Leytonstone. Unusually for England, this is a Catholic cemetery. Some of my own relatives from the East End are buried there. It was a beautiful day and we spent some time going around, blessing graves…

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