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Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Shrine of the Dorset Martyrs

A correspondent has sent me these beautiful photographs from the Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and St Ignatius in Chideock, Dorset. Many thanks to him also for the background information which I have incorporated into this post.

The framework of the building was originally, a barn where the Catholic faithful gathered to attend secret Masses celebrated by priests operating under cover. Very soon, the location was identified and became unsafe but then a secret chapel was built in the loft area and the walls painted in fresco fashion. These faded and peeling images are still clearly visible today.

Amazingly, the “hidden chapel” continued to be used for nearly 150 years before it became relatively safe for Catholics to emerge to a cautious semi-public existence in the early 19th century.

It was in this period that a local Catholic family of some wealth (the Welds), bought the estate and began the process of transforming the barn into a beautiful and richly decorated Chapel. The work was completed in 1872 under the direction of Charles Weld who both created the designs for the Romanesque style that emerged but also carried out much of the work personally.

The external entrance focuses on a classic rondel in painted terracotta complete with a statue of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs surrounded by her seven sorrows. The font appears to have been styled on those found in early Tuscan churches and many of the statues are gilded rather than being painted in flesh tones. An especially fine baroque style statue of Our Lady stands above the altar. The whole Chapel is painted in a range of colours that are subdued but, also, not lacking in warmth and brightness.

In the “secret chapel” stands a chair used by one of the martyrs, St Hugh Green and it is placed so casually in the room that you can almost imagine the saint walking through the door, ready to robe for Mass.An artefact which took my breath away was the 16th century portable altar used by the missionary priests during the time of persecution. You can see the embedded altar stone, and the altar cards would be perfectly usable by a priest celebrating Mass in the usus antiquior today.

The chapel is currently served by the parish of Ss Mary and Catherine in Bridport, and Mass is celebrated there each week. The friends of the chapel have started up a dedicated website which promises more information soon.

In praise of St Maximinus

Patricius has posted today on the sequence "Columba aspexit" composed by Bl. Hildegard of Bingen in honour of St Maximinus, Bishop of Trier and friend of St Athanasius. There is another article by Sister Victorine Fenton OSB which especially focusses on the technicalities of the chant. Here is a YouTube video of the sequence performed by Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices:

APGL day: moral philosophy, SRE and a new book

Today's conference for the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life was quite a full day with a good number of priests taking part. Our principal speaker was Professor Thomas Pink from King's College London who gave a lecture on Morality and Human Nature in which he examined different meanings of freedom and showed how the metaphysical understanding of free will was fundamental to the freedom we expect to be guaranteed by law, and freedom as a condition. He also explained how the refusal to accept such metaphysical freedom made talk of human rights and freedom in society utterly incoherent. As he pointed out, you cannot defend someone's freedom to act in a certain way if you do not accept that they have the capacity to determine how they act.

Before lunch, there was a brief presentation of the new programme "This is my Body" for sex and relationships education prepared jointly by SPUC and Lancaster Diocese. The programme follows the teaching of The Truth and Meaning of Human Sexuality (Pontifical Council for the Family) and assists parents to give information about, for example puberty, at the time at which they consider it appropriate, whilst assisting schools to give information about relationships at the appropriate age in accordance with the teaching of the Church. There is a strong emphasis on the development of the child before birth as something awesome and to be celebrated. I think this is a very important programme: at present, priests and schools are being sent information. You can also look at the dedicated website.

After lunch, we launched the new publication "Proclaiming the Gospel of Life" which is a joint venture between APGL and the Catholic Truth Society. The 72 page A5 booklet contains the text of four lectures as follows:
  • The role of the priest in promoting the Gospel of Life by Mgr Ignacio Barreiro (of HLI's Rome office)
  • Vatican II, Culture and the Gospel of Life by Fr Aidan Nichols OP
  • Pope Pius XII and the Gospel of Life by Fr John Saward
  • Challenges and opportunities in pro-life preaching by Fr Timothy Finigan (me)
At the launch, I spoke about the APGL, Fr Whinder introduced the booklet and Fr Peter Edwards spoke about the role of the CTS.

"Proclaiming the Gospel of Life" is available from the CTS priced £4.50

We finished as usual with Rosary and Benediction in the beautiful Little Oratory. Here is a photo of the altar during the reposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Angels - some facts

Ignatius Insight has carried today a short extract from Peter Kreeft's Angels And Demons. What Do We Really Know about Them? including "The Twelve Most Important Things to Know About Them". I often remind people that angels are not fairies - Peter Kreeft gives some excellent further short points.

Happy feast day for today - and for Friday's feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, which is also the anniversary of the dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. Last year, on a Sunday in October, I gave a sermon on The Archangels and our families.

Adoration at Parkminster

Above you can see a view of the Brothers' Chapel at St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster. Above the altar to the right is St Bruno and above the altar to the left is St John the Baptist. This is my route into the main choir (through the doors between the altars) after I have given my class. Today I joined the community for Vespers of "St Michael and the Archangels". As it is a major feast, we had the proper antiphons from the Antiphonale Diurnum, a heavy, vellum bound volume studded with brass and large enough for three monks to view together. Again because of the solemnity, incense was used at Vespers. Fr Vicar in cuculla incensed the altar, and a brother incensed each member of the choir. The thurible is a little shorter than one that might be used in a parish and it is used with one hand only - one swing for each member of choir.

Today there was also a short period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after Vespers. Between the choir stalls and the bookrests in choir, the floor slopes and there is a penitential strip of wood about 1/2" x 1/2". I find it difficult to keep still during the preces but I do like the custom of kneeling for the initial Gloria after the Deus in adiutorium and then kissing the bookrest as a sign of penance. The monks have to do this if they make a mistake in chanting - sometimes a group of three all kneel down together at the end of a verse - someone has probably put the other two off but they all take the blame.

For adoration, we all moved down the choir towards the altar so were sideways on and had to kneel at about 45 degrees on the slope. I'm afraid I made a rather poor job of trying to do this with dignity. Fortunately, for the major silent part of the adoration, the community sits half-facing the altar. That was a relief!

Monday, 28 September 2009

Good King Wenceslaus

Thanks to the Christmas song, people in Britain at least know the name of the saint whose Mass I celebrated this evening. St Wenceslaus is the patron saint of the Czech Republic which Pope Benedict has been visiting.

Now we all know from "Good King Wenceslaus" that the page was able to keep warm in the snow by treading in the footsteps of the King which he was with him on their errand of mercy. St Alphonsus offers an explanation of why the King's footsteps were warm:
" ... tender indeed was the devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament of St. Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia. This holy king was so enamored of Jesus there present that he not only gathered wheat and grapes and made the hosts and wine with his own hands and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but even during the winter he used to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These visits enkindled in his beautiful soul such flames of Divine love that their ardour imparted itself even to his body and took from the snow on which he walked its wonted cold; for it is related that the servant who accompanied him in these nightly excursions, having to walk through the snow, suffered much from the cold. The holy King, on perceiving this, was moved to compassion and commanded him to follow him and only to step in his footmarks; he did so, and never afterwards felt the cold."
You can also read the sermon of Pope Benedict for today's feast day, which he gave after venerating the relics of St Wenceslaus in the basilica dedicated to the saint.

BBC sneers at St Therese

Just a quick link for you to Fr Ray Blake's justifiably annoyed reaction the BBC's Sunday programme yesterday:

BBC: "As if the body of a dead nun were not enough..."

Thorny problem for the UN

Well I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. The President of the General Assembly of the United Nations is elected on a regional rotating basis and this year it is the turn of the African group of states. The new President is Ali Abdussalam Treki of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya's Minister of African Affairs and the African Union's Envoy to Darfur.

One of the journalists at a press conference prior to the opening of the 64th session of the General Assembly asked Treki what he thought of the UN's Declaration for the Universal Decriminalisation of Homosexuality. According to the quote in Pink News, he said:
"That matter is very sensitive, very touchy. As a Muslim, I am not in favour of it ... it is not accepted by the majority of countries. My opinion is not in favour of this matter at all. I think it's not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition.

“It is not acceptable in the majority of the world. And there are some countries that allow that, thinking it is a kind of democracy ... I think it is not.”
H/T LifeSite News

Nothing floats in Latin

Many years ago in Rome, I studied Latin with the great Fr Reginald Foster. I have studied under some very fine teachers but Reggie was undoubtedly the best teacher of anything that I ever had. He is not by any means a "traditionalist": for example he never wears his habit, and does not like the extraordinary form of Mass. His love of Latin is entirely based on the beauty of the language itself. His enthusiasm is infectious but enthusiasm is not enough to learn Latin. He demanded hard work and application, but those students who stayed with him (and there were always large numbers) did the work because he communicated his own zeal for the language.

Everyone who studied with Reggie has their own memories from his classes - you need to conjure up the gravelly Milwaukee accent - here is one example.
Foster: What's the dative doing there in that sentence?

Student: Oh Father I thought it was just like, kinda ... floating.

Foster: [with trademark snarl] NOTHING FLOATS IN LATIN!
I remember the mistake on the brass plaque some Bishops sent to the Pope, the tour of the twelve obelisks of Rome, and Latin conversation class in the garden of the English College. One time, he told us that the Curator of Public Works at the Vatican phoned him up about an abbreviation they had found at the top of the obelisk in St Peter's square when it was being cleaned. Would Fr Foster kindly look it up in his reference books and let them know if he could explain it to them?

"What is it? What does it say?"

"P.F.C."

Without any pause, the trademark snarl... "Well it just might be YOUR JOB! Publicae Fabricae Curator"

Father Foster has been ill for a while and recuperating in his native Milwaukee. Please remember him in your prayers - especially pray that he might be able to return to Rome and take up teaching Latin again.

See Fr Zuhlsdorf's Report on Fr. Reginald Foster

Friday, 25 September 2009

SSCS Study Day for priests

The Society of St Catherine of Siena is holding a study day for priests on Tuesday 6 October at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen.

The 1911-1913 Liturgical Reform
By Paul Cavendish
The lecture will consider the pre-1911 breviary and various questions relating to the arrangement of the psalms, the Dominical, festal and ferial offices and the offices of Lent and Advent. The problem of the calendar will be considered, particularly the ferial and Dominical cycles being swamped by the disproportionate number of doubles and the prominence given to Sundays in the 1911-1913 reform as well as the change to the cursus of the psalter and the implications for choral celebration.

The day is open to all clergy. Seminarians who are free to come are also welcome. There is no charge for the day but if clergy are able to make a contribution from an allowance for “Ministry to Priests” or similar, that would be appreciated.

Programme
11.00am Arrival (tea and coffee available)
11.30am Lecture “The 1911-1913 Liturgical Reforms” by Paul Cavendish
12.45pm Benediction
1.15pm Lunch
3.00pm Sung Vespers

The Society of St Catherine of Siena
The Society of St Catherine of Siena seeks to nurture the intimate connection between the worship of the Church and her teaching of Sacred Doctrine. We are committed to the development of the Church’s theological voice in the midst of a postmodern culture, working, through its activities, to support those addressing and understanding the various issues that Catholics currently face, especially in institutions of higher education. The Society emphasises the Church's sacred traditions, helping to ensure that future generations of Catholics understand and experience those traditions that are at the foundation of the Catholic Church. As part of its work, the Society seeks to support clergy in understanding the liturgy in its traditional forms.

Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen
The Study Day is hosted by the parish of Blackfen.
The address is:
330a Burnt Oak Lane, Blackfen SIDCUP Kent DA15 8LW

Here are details for getting to Blackfen

Please let me (Fr Tim Finigan) know if you are coming to the Study Day.

APGL conference reminder

May I remind any priests who may be interested, of the APGL Conference next week at which Dr Tom Pink will be speaking, and at which we will launch our new booklet Proclaiming the Gospel of Life.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Family Day at Blackfen, Saturday

On Saturday 3 October there will be a Family Day at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. This is a day for all the family to pray together with other families, to support one another in the faith, to deepen our love for Christ and our understanding of the teaching of the Church.

Programme
There is a parish Mass (Latin, older form, Missa Cantata) at 10.30am and confessions available during Mass; Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is at 11.30am, followed by the Marian Anthem.

The Family Day proper begins with the blessing of roses for the feast of St Thérèse (bring as many roses as you like!) and a talk at 12noon for all in the Church followed by lunch in the Hall. After lunch there will be workshops for parents, grandparents, teenagers and children.

3.45pm Finish with tea, juice and biscuits. There are confessions from 5-5.30pm) and the parish Mass (English) is at 6pm

Do come along for this enjoyable and uplifting day. Here are instructions for Getting to Blackfen.

Lucy Speed and "Fight for Sight"

A parishioner of mine has a son who suffers with Choroideremia, a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of the choroid and retina. She and a friend are doing a half marathon for charity this Sunday to raise money for "Fight for Sight". Last week they took up a bucket collection after Mass to get some support from the parishioners. Above you can see a photo from the FFS website from a previous run.

There is also good news this week for the charity in that Lucy Speed (who appears in "The Bill") will be on Family Fortunes this Sunday at 6.45pm and Fight for Sight is one of her charities. the maximum prize money is apparently £30,000 so I hope she does well.

Little Office and liturgical reform

A correspondent regales me with an amusing instance of what might be termed a failure of completeness in the Liturgical reforms following the second Vatican Council.

In the Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae of 1966, implementing various decrees of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI said:
Although Religious who recite a duly approved Little Office perform the public prayer of the Church (cf. Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, No. 98), it is nevertheless recommended to the institutes that in place of the Little Office they adopt the Divine Office either in part or in whole so that they may participate more intimately in the liturgical life of the Church. (n.20)
The relevant part of Sacrosanctum Concilium 98 says:
They too perform the public prayer of the Church who, in virtue of their constitutions, recite any short office, provided this is drawn up after the pattern of the divine office and is duly approved.
My correspondent points out that therefore the Little Office remains part of the public worship of the Church. As it was never officially revised following the Council (although some institutes have unofficially revised their own version), it would seem that in this case, the older form of the Office is the Ordinary Form, and, contrary to popular belief, Prime is still part of the Ordinary Form liturgical worship of the Church, as the Little Office contains Prime!

It is worth noting too, that although Vatican II spoke of a "short office", the Little Office of Our Lady is substantially longer than the Liturgia Horarum. I think that the Little Office of Our Lady is becoming more popular among the laity, and it can be readily obtained from various outlets, for example Southwell Books.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Assisted suicide: how to get away with it

Today Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions published his interim policy on assisted suicide which further muddies the waters on the question of whether anyone will be prosecuted for helping someone to kill themselves. This is a significant step in the creeping legalisation of euthanasia in Britain. There is a twelve week consultation period and I would encourage you to download and complete the consultation document.

The "Public interest factors against a prosecution" essentially provide a guide for people involved in assisted suicide so that they can work out whether they will probably get away with it. I expect that guidance might also be forthcoming in due course for medical professionals. After all, travelling to Switzerland could be a bit expensive and we don't want people messing things up at home, do we?

John Smeaton also points out that the policy represents a legal downgrade of disabled people.

Pope to visit Britain

The news stories of a papal visit to Great Britain splashed round the websites of the daily newspapers in Britain, and other news services, late this afternoon. It will be a great blessing to our country and I am sure that the presence of the Holy Father and his wise words will bring about an increase of faith, and a deepening of the spiritual and liturgical life of the Church. Please pray for the visit to be a great success.

Thanks to Fr John Boyle at Caritas in Veritate for some links which I followed up to compare how the various outlets described the genesis of the story.

The Sun "can reveal" it from "Government sources"

Reuters relies on a "Government source"

The BBC has simply "learned" of the news

Sky News, of course has it from its own "Sky sources"

Associated Press has a little more, saying that reporters travelling to New York with Gordon Brown reported the news

The Times, the Telegraph and the Guardian simply report the news as fact.

Since this is apparently to be a full state visit, the official announcement will be made in this country by Buckingham Palace and that will probably be co-ordinated with the Vatican. I'm not sure what purpose was served by a Government source leaking the news to journalists in advance: I suppose someone gained some advantage by doing so. Such is life.

New book - "Praying the Mass. The Prayers of the People"

"Praying the Mass. The Prayers of the People", by Jeffrey Pinyan, is a guide to the new English translation of the Mass. There further information about the book at the blog: Praying the Mass. Jeff has very kindly mentioned Fr Zuhlsdorf and myself in the acknowledgements and I have followed the progress of the book for some time in its preparation.

The book goes through all the texts that are spoken by the people during the newer form of the Mass. (A second book is planned on the prayers of the priest.) The texts are given in Latin and in the new ICEL version with a catechetical commentary that is deeply versed in the sacred scriptures. The introductory chapter includes a refreshingly sound and balanced understanding of participation in the Sacred Liturgy and the whole book could justifiably be regarded as a significant contribution to the genuine renewal of the Liturgy promoted by Pope Benedict.

"Praying the Mass" is a valuable guide for Catholics who want to understand more of the texts of the Mass that they say every week, and a helpful resource for entering into the texts of the Sacred Liturgy actively and prayerfully. There is much talk of the need for catechesis and preparation for the new ICEL texts. As a resource for lay people, this book deserves a place on the book list for courses, training sessions and websites devoted to such preparation.

An incidental point of interest is that Jeff has used the new opportunity offered by various services on the internet for self-publishing books (for example Lulu). "Praying the Mass" is a good example of how this can now be a route to good quality, professionally produced books. It will be available on Amazon in a few days but you can obtain it now from this link at "CreateSpace", the print-on-demand affiliate of Amazon. 158 pages. $12.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

The Dan Brown Sequel Generator

Slate has an interactive Dan Brown Sequel Generator ("Seem formulaic? That's because it is.")

This is the kind of thing that James Preece of Catholic and Loving It could code over a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit - after finishing with The Julie Andrews Inspired Mark Shea Evilness Diagnostic Generator

Study session at St Pauls with James MacMillan

Those of you who are in London during the day may be interested in the first of the Transformative Study Sessions arranged by the Diocese of London in the vicinity of St Paul's Cathedral since James MacMillan will be speaking. Here are the details:
Session 1: The Word transforming
The composer James MacMillan and the poet Michael Symmons Roberts
Thursday 29 October
12.00-1.30pm
St Faith's Chapel, St Paul's Cathedral

Abbot of Lagrasse to visit England

The Abbot of St Mary's Abbey, Lagrasse, the Rt Revd Emmanuel-Marie de St Jean CRMD will be visiting England next month, accompanied by the the Sub-prior, Pére Augustin-Marie de la Trinité. His visit has been organised by the newly-founded English charity, The Friends of the Canonical Abbey of Lagrasse.

On Saturday 10 October at 11.45am, Father Abbot will say Mass in the usus antiquior in the Crypt Chapel of Westminster Cathedral, by kind permission of the Canon Administrator.

In the afternoon, from 1.45pm, Father Abbot will lead the Rosary Crusade of Reparation through the streets of London from Westminster Cathedral to the London Oratory where he will give Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

On Sunday 11 October at 9am, Father Abbot will say the regular usus antiquior Mass at the London Oratory, by kind invitation of the Oratory Fathers. He hopes to be able to meet members of the congregation after Mass.

The above photo is from Fr John Boyle's Flickr set from the Pontifical Mass at the Merton Conference in 2008.

13 new Dominican novices in Ireland


I just received news that on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Irish Dominicans celebrated the reception of thirteen new novices at Saint Mary's in Popes Quay, Cork. This is excellent news - congratulations to the Irish Dominicans.

See the post at the Irish Dominican Vocations blog: Reception of Novices. Saint Mary's Priory, Cork. There was also a solemn profession in Dublin the day before, and two simple professions in Limerick the day after.

Funny photo, serious point

I roared with laughter at this photo which Laurence "Bones" England published yesterday. You should also read his post which makes a serious point: New Guidelines on Assisted Suicide?

Monday, 21 September 2009

Did St Thérèse want to be a woman priest?

Thanks to Fr John Boyle for notice of an attempt to hijack the visit of the relics of St Thérèse in the cause of the ordination of women. (See: St Therese and the Priesthood). There is a good article published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review a few years back which covered the quotation usually brought out in favour of the St Thérèse as womynpriest thesis: Did St. Thérèse want to be a priest?

Essentially: yes, St Thérèse said she wanted to be a priest. She also said that she wanted to be a crusader; and she expressed enthusiasm for being a member of the Pontifical Zouave. In addition, she said that she wanted to be like St Francis and refuse the honour of the priesthood.

(Hint: she was speaking ... figuratively.)

Atheist T-shirts

Paulinus has some good ideas for atheist T-shirts. Above is #1. you can see the others at these links:

#2
#3
#4

Another Bishop mandates communion kneeling, on the tongue

Cathedral, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, has instructed that the faithful receiving Holy Communion in his Cathedral must do so kneeling and on the tongue. His Eminence said:
"The most respectful way of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue. We must recover a sense of respect and reverence due to the Eucharist, because the love to Jesus is the center of our Christian lives. Our souls are at stake."
H/T Rorate Caeli

Kerry victorious

This is not really a sports blog, you understand, but in deference to one of my most consistent informants, himself hailing from the Kingdom of Kerry, I must allow Sr Dan of the Nesbitry an short notice about the victory of Kerry over Cork in the All Ireland final.

We are talking Irish football and I haven't a clue about the rules but Kerry won their fifth All-Ireland this decade after beating Cork 0-16 to 1-9 yesterday at Croke Park. There is a full match report in the Irish Times.

Colm Cooper, a close relative of Sir Dan, played a fine game and the team were welcomed back in what is said to be one of the biggest ever crowds to welcome home an All-Ireland team. The crowds gathered last night in the village of Rathmore, yards inside the Kerry border with Cork and the first train station in the county.

My own family came over from Cork in the 19th century so I also commiserate loyally with the gallant team that came second.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

APGL Conference 30 September

The Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life are holding a Conference on Wednesday 30 September 2009 at St Wilfrid’s Hall at the London Oratory (Brompton Road, SW7 2RP). The Conference is open to all priests. Deacons and seminarians are also welcome.

The Keynote lecture will be given by Dr Thomas Pink (Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London) on the subject of Morality and Human Nature

The afternoon will also see the launch of "Proclaiming the Gospel of Life", a collection of essays produced in association with the Catholic Truth Society. The book, which normally retails at £4.95, will be available at the special price of £3.50 on this occasion only.

It is also hoped that the day will offer the opportunity for priestly fellowship and mutual support during this ‘Year of Priesthood’ called by Pope Benedict XVI.

Programme

11.30am Arrival and registration at St Wilfrid’s Hall
Tea and coffee available

12noon Guest Speaker: Dr Tom Pink ‘Morality and Human Nature’
12.45pm Questions
1.15pm Lunch
2.00pm Launch of ‘Proclaiming the Gospel of Life’ in association with the Catholic Truth Society:
"Essays by four well-known priests (Mgr Ignaccio Barreiro, Fr Aidan Nichols OP, Fr John Saward and Fr Timothy Finigan) offering a brilliant insight into the Church’s perennial teaching on the sanctity of human life and the duty to defend it."
2.30pm Rosary and Benediction in the Little Oratory with opportunity for confession
3.00pm Tea and departures

To help us with catering, please send me an email at rosary@freeuk.com 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.

Saturday, 19 September 2009

Euthanasia in Britain today

Vera's story in the Catholic Herald this week shows what is going on in hospitals up and down Britain every day. An ordinary member of the public, concerned at the way in which an elderly person is treated, faces the determinedly soothing assurances of the medical professionals as her friend is dehydrated to death.

The family are frightened and defensive because they have accepted the assurances of the medical professionals and would be horrified to think that they had been complicit in Vera's death. We should understand the pressure that they have been subjected to. After all, whose advice should they trust? The doctor and the nurses are telling them what is "best".

We need to hear the stories of those who are closely affected by the euthanasia that is now practised in Britain. These stories need to be archived, put on record, so that future generations can say "Never Again!"

Friday, 18 September 2009

'Year For Priests' Clergy Conference in Rome Jan 2010

A while back, I mentioned the Rome Conference for English-speaking clergy which takes place from 4-8 January 2010.

The Conference is run by the Australian Conference of Catholic Clergy together with the US Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and it is sure to be a great international gathering of like-minded priests. I'll be going myself and I would recommend the Conference.

There is an "early bird discount" for those who register before next Friday 25 September. You can register at the dedicated Year for Priests Conference site. It is possible to pay online via paypal or you can download the Conference brochure and send your credit card details by post.

"That's my King" video

Sometimes it is good to re-post a classic video just to remind people. I really like this one because of the enthusiasm of the preacher. As an "affective meditation" on the person of Jesus Christ, it will appeal to many:

A myth that holds us back

Jeffrey Tucker has just published an excellent piece on NLM about the revival of Gregorian chant and the stereotyped account of changes to Catholic Church music in the late sixties. He points out that the dogged adherence to the standard myth is preventing people from understanding what is happening now.

It is well worth a read. See: The People vs. The Trained Elites?

The boy cow or the girl cow?

Well we were discussing the gender wars and the current methods of teaching science this evening so this fits in to a certain extent. As Patty says at the Tangled Blog, "I'm not laughing at them...I'm laughing with them..."

Thursday, 17 September 2009

"No going back" - Fr Kramer FSSP on Vatican radio

Fr Kramer of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is the parish Priest of the Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini in the historic heart of Rome, erected by the Vicariate of Rome as a personal parish to guarantee pastoral care for the community of Traditional faithful in Rome. On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which marked the second anniversary of Summorum Pontificum, Fr Kramer gave an interview for Vatican Radio.

Fr Kramer especially emphasised that the restoration of the traditional form of the Roman Rite is not a matter of "going back" to the time before Vatican II. He spoke particularly of the greater warmth and communication between bishops and priests, and between priests and people. I agree with him. There was certainly warm and open communication in some cases but I think he is right that this has been greatly improved in recent decades.

Another important consideration is the reverence with which Mass is celebrated. One side of the "mutual enrichment" is surely that with the celebration in the vernacular of the newer form of the Roman Rite, it is much less acceptable for the priest to gabble through the rite, paying little attention to the words, in order to finish the Mass as quickly as possible. I think that this has fed into the present-day celebration of the usus antiquior. You are probably not going to come across the celebration of Low Mass in fifteen minutes. In that sense too, there is no going back.

The usus antiquior does not encourage the priest to impose his own personality on the Mass - you say the prayers devoutly and carefully but without arbitrarily imposed delays. Nevertheless, I think that priests who say the EF Mass nowadays do not do so in irreverent haste.

For the celebration of the newer form in the vernacular, we can also learn from this mutual enrichment. The Mass is not the place for the priest to show off his communication skills, to entertain the congregation, or even to show how devout he is by his pauses, his pious emphasis of certain words, or his theatrical expression. Our task is to say Mass devoutly, and to allow the Holy Spirit to speak through the Liturgy itself.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Visit of St Thérèse relics

The relics of St Thérèse arrived in England today. There is a dedicated page with good information at the CBCEW website: Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux and the Catholic Herald has a portal with information about the visit.

The relics are coming to the Archdiocese of Southwark from 9-11 October at Aylesford Priory. Some parishioners of mine are taking part in the veneration first thing on the Saturday morning and we will have a good group going for other parts of the day.

This devotion has really caught on in a big way with very positive results. There is already a strong devotion to St Thérèse in England and the tour of her relics will help people to understand the importance of the veneration of relics, getting rid of some of the silly scruples about relics that have affected people over recent years. The Little Way of St Thérèse with its unthreatening but also uncompromising fidelity will help many to return to those devotions that are so helpful to the Christian faithful.

Well - time to read the autobiography yet again...

"The Cross and the Third Reich" - new book

Family Publications have come up with yet another first-rate book. "The Cross and the Third Reich" by John Frain looks at the opposition to Nazism from Catholics and other Christians. The focus of the book is principally on Catholic opposition (which was in fact stronger) but he does not ignore the heroic Christians of other Churches who stood up for the truth.

Frain includes a detailed examination of the Concordat, of Mit Brennender Sorge, the currency" and "immorality" trials staged by the Nazis and the propaganda campaign which used them in an attempt to discredit the Church.

There is a rich chapter on individual opposition to Nazism, looking at figures such as Edith Stein and Cardinal Clemens von Galen, as well as those who are less well-known: Alfred Delp SJ, and key protestants who opposed the regime's injustices.

One of the important sources for the book is "The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich - Facts and Documents" published by Burns and Oates in 1940 and recently reprinted.

"The Cross and the Third Reich" is an inspiring read. It shows how heroic Catholics and other Christians responded there and then to Nazism as it was growing in Germany as a popular movement, supported by vast crowds and hysterical popular acclaim. It is easy with hindsight to say what people should have done. Far more challenging is to compare their own witness with ours in easier circumstances.

The Cross and the Third Reich is available from Family Publications (Hardback 336 pages £19.95) and from Amazon as below.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

L'Osservatore: effusive interview with Tony Blair

Back in May, I wrote about an article in L'Osservatore Romano which was astonishingly favourable to Barack Obama, saying among other things that he is not a pro-abortion president. (See: Criticism of L'Osservatore Romano builds.) Yesterday afternoon's Italian edition continues the trend with an interview with Tony Blair that even the Guardian describes as effusive.

A few blogs have picked this up from the Guardian article - including John Smeaton, SPUC Director who gives the list of Tony Blair's anti-life record: voting for abortion up to birth, and personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos to give just two examples. For the full list and other links, see: Vatican newspaper should not have given Tony Blair an easy ride.

The Vatican website carries the Italian text of the full interview. I expected that the question of abortion might have been ignored. In fact there is the following scarcely believable exchange (my translation):
[Giulia Galeotti] More generally, do you believe that in modern democracies, a politician has the right to speak in the name of his faith - declaring himself, for example, against abortion because it violates the fifth commandment - or does he on the other hand have the duty to be quiet about his personal beliefs?

[Tony Blair] I have always held that people have the right to speak. I have greatly insisted on this in Great Britain. Also because these are issues about which people feel strongly, that are important for them. People think differently about these matters, and if a person believes something that is absolutely central for him, he has the right to speak about it.

[Giulia Galeotti] Turning to you, has anything changed since your conversion in your personal life (for example, as a father), in your political activity in Great Britain, or in your new role on the international scene?

[Tony Blair] As a father, there was only continuity. My three oldest children, now grown up, were practising Catholics (and still are, thankfully). We had them baptised, they studied in Catholic schools - and Leo still studies in a Catholic school - and they continue to be Catholics. The faith has always been an important part of our life as a family. In this sense, then, my conversion has not changed things. As far as English politics, I have personally tried to keep out of it since I left Downing Street. Finally, concerning my international commitment, obviously my faith makes me particularly sensitive and attentive with respect to some specific issues. Think of the Middle East. [... Holy Land... Africa... fighting malaria... the environment and climate change... Tony Blair Faith Foundation ... inter-religious dialogue.]
A follow-up question perhaps? How about:
"Sorry, Mr Blair, when I said “turning to you”, I was also wondering whether your own stance on abortion had changed since your conversion?"
In fact, Galeotti lets Tony Blair off the hook completely. Incidentally, it is troubling to see L’Osservatore so oblivious of the fact explained eloquently in Pope John Paul’s Evangelium Vitae, that politicians have a "grave and clear obligation" to oppose laws legitimising abortion, not simply as a matter of personal faith or because of biblical teaching but because abortion is an "unspeakable crime" against the natural law which no human law can claim to legitimise.

Later, on, there the following exchange:
[Giulia Galeotti] As the father of four children, what do you think about the role of the father? How do you see the future of fatherhood in the world of today?

[Tony Blair] In the first place, I think that fatherhood is a role to face with responsibility and without arrogance. However good or intelligent I might have thought I was, I always found that being a father was something extremely difficult. And I still think this. Secondly, I obviously also hold that the father is a crucial figure in the family, and that he is fundamental for the growth and the formation of the child. In the third place, I believe that in some ways the idea of the family is recovering. Also in this field I hold that religious communities and the Church have a role to play. Certainly, families have their problems, families break up; something that I fear will continue to happen. But I have always thought that the direction of the Church in family matters was useful. Let's be clear: it takes commitment to make a marriage work. and I believe that it also requires fatherhood. But I really think that among the great changes that are also happening in social life, it is necessary to rediscover that fatherhood is a responsibility and a necessity.
Again, perhaps a supplementary question might be suggested:

"But Mr Blair, with your full and active support, your Government legalised homosexual civil unions, and your Government’s equality legislation made it compulsory for adoption agencies to be open to accepting homosexual couples as adoptive parents. As a result, there are many children whose lack of the crucial figure of a father is due precisely to your own policies. Other children for the same reason do not have a mother. In a speech to the gay campaigning organisation Stonewall, you said that you gave a little skip of joy at the first gay civil partnership – is that part of the recovery of the family? And when you say that you think the father is a crucial figure in the family, are you not contradicting your own government’s advice to schools saying that they should not presume that children are brought up in a heterosexual home because this is heterosexist? Is it perhaps the case that you say one thing to gay organisations and another thing to the Vatican newspaper?"
Sad to say, the bland answer by Tony Blair on a question massively affected by legislation which he publicly and enthusiastically supported, is allowed to go unchallenged by L'Osservatore Romano.

"L'Osservatore Romano"? It seems that when it comes to Tony Blair (and Barak Obama), a better masthead might be:

Monday, 14 September 2009

New term starts at Wonersh

A priest friend of mine kindly sent me a set of CDs of the bible as a gift on the occasion of my silver jubilee. It is the King James Bible and we know that is not ideal but we are waiting for someone to record the Vulgate...

I have started listening to the Bible during my frequent moderately lengthy car journeys. Well - an hour or so is moderately lengthy by UK standards; by US standards, I suppose that would just be just like popping out to the shops. At any rate, I am now half way through the book of Leviticus.

This morning I met my new Sacramental Theology class at Wonersh. The majority are in the fourth year of seminary training and in the final year of the theology degree. I also have two former Anglican students for occasional tutorials. I enjoyed getting back into the swing of talking about the theology of the sacraments and I think that my experience of teaching other courses at Parkminster helps to round things out a bit, especially with regard to Christology and the Theology of the Trinity which we have been going through there.

Wonersh is doing very well for students and Southwark can be proud of having four new students in the first year. The Southwark staff and students met for midday prayer before lunch and afterwards we were shown the new rugby shirts which Fr Stephen Langridge, our Vocations Director (see: Southwark Vocations) has introduced as a kind of "corporate logo" to raise awareness of vocations promotion in the Archdiocese.

Summorum Pontificum anniversary

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the second anniversary of the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. I was lecturing at the seminary this morning but came back in the afternoon to celebrate a Low Mass in the parish, followed by the veneration of our relic of the Holy Cross.

Of course, today is "Another Chance To See" the video I cobbled together during the night before Summorum Pontificum was issued:

Sunday, 13 September 2009

Sisters of the Gospel of Life welcome new postulant

Congratulations to the Sisters of the Gospel of Life and to Sr Amanda Brennan (above: centre) who has joined them as a new postulant.

The Sisters do great work in helping mothers who are tempted to abort their unborn child, offering compassion, kindness, and spiritual and material support. Their work is very worthy of your almsgiving - see the sidebar of their website to donate via paypal.

Fra Lawrence Lew OP solemn profession

H/T to NLM for the news that Fra Lawrence Lew OP today made his solemn profession as a Dominican at the Priory of the Holy Spirit at Oxford. Above is my "paparazzi" picture of Fra Lawrence taking photos of the Dominicans on pilgimage at Lourdes earlier in the summer.

Please pray for Fra Lawrence and for the English Dominicans who are making such a great contribution to the revival of Catholic life in England.

The atheist moral high ground

Above is one of the 20 coolest atheist t-shirts. Hmmm. Atheists have carried out various forms of torture and execution in the gulags of the Soviet Union, in North Korea, Cambodia, China, Mexico, and Spain, killing millions of people in the process in the unprecedented slaughters of the 20th century.

But maybe they have never stoned anyone. I don't know.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Birmingham Oratory Choir Library

Oliver Hayes at the Expectation of Our Lady has an important post which deserves wide distribution. See: New music for the Oratory choir library. A former member of the Oratory choir has donated his private choral music collection to the Library and it has been carefully catalogued. The Library would be pleased to provide a safe and permanent home for any other collections of sacred music.

Friday, 11 September 2009

Going Non-Canonical - and an alternative strategy

At the National Conference of the US Resource Center for Religious Institutes, to be held at the Atlanta Georgia Hilton hotel this October, one of the workshops is described as follows:
Workshop #28: Going Non-Canonical
Neal Smith, Mary David Walgenbach, OSB & Dan Ward, OSB
The story of a small Benedictine community’s journey of becoming non-canonical. The content includes their ecumenical ministry, visioning process, development of an ecumenical board, relationship with the Federation of St. Gertrude and canonical and civil procedures for the transfer of assets.
Mary David Walgenbach is indeed a good speaker for the topic since she and her fellow former Benedictine sister, Joanne Kollasch, have left their order but spent several years sewing up a legal arrangement whereby they could keep the assets and build a new property in Madison, Wisconsin.

The new non-canonical, ecumenical foundation is called the Holy Wisdom Monastery. Bishop Morlino has forbidden priests from celebrating Mass there but the sisters are happy “sharing the Bread of Life around a common table” at a weekly, inclusive, ecumenical Eucharist, presided over by a rotating team of non-Catholic ministers.

H/T St John's Valdosta where you can read more.

This is all very much in the "laugh or cry" category but there is a lesson here and it is not simply to say how dreadful it all is. Mary David Walgenbach told the National Catholic Reporter:
As women's religious congregations continue to get smaller in North America, they are exploring a variety of options for what their communities might look like in the future, and the Madison Benedictines offer one example.
Well here's another option to explore: what we need is a group of intelligent, like-minded young women who can get into one of these orders before it completely collapses, provide compassionate and high-quality nursing care for the elderly sisters, and then transform the congregation, restore the habit and all the lovely chapel furnishings, and make good use of the real estate for the restoration of traditional faith and religious life. This is an idea I sometimes suggest to devout young women with leadership capacity but none of them has yet taken it up. Come on! We need some St Teresa's in the Church today - you don't even need to build convents, just take over the existing ones!

Pro-Lifer shot dead

James Pouillon, 63, was known as "just a nice, elderly gentleman who was disabled, used an oxygen tank and wore leg braces." He was shot and killed today as he was engaged in his customary peaceful pro-life protest across the street from Owosso High School.

Pouillon is on record condemning violence against abortionists. His protests were considered confrontational by some. Here is the news story on ABC local:





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In England, of course, the link between the abortion issue and violence is widely reported and debated. So here is the latest news on today's killing from the BBC website (click to enlarge):

Introduction to NFP

A parishioner alerted me to an item in CF News: Robert Colquhoun, who writes the Love Undefiled blog is presenting an Introduction to Natural Family Planning at the parish Hall at Farm Street Jesuit Church on Wednesday 28 October; 6.45pm for 7.00pm start. (The event is free.) Here's the summary:
o The talk gives a detailed explanation of the basics of NFP. Learn about a method that is safe, inexpensive and reliable. "This talk changed my life, my faith and my relationship with God."

o The theological and biological difference between contraception and NFP will be explained.

o The divorce rate of couples who use NFP is around 2%, compared to 40% among contraceptive users.

o Further information is given on the damage that some forms of contraception do to the body. Few realise that the oral contraceptive pill causes abortions.
If you are married - or engaged to be married, I do recommend finding out more about NFP. Many Catholic couples have routinely engaged in contraception and simply never heard the richness of the Catholic Church's approach to marriage and fertility. I personally know couple whose lives have been enhanced by finding out about this teaching.

Farm Street Church is in central London: 114 Mount St W1K 3AH - about 5 minutes' walk from either Green Park or Bond Street tube stations. If you are going to the talk, it's worth bearing in mind that there is a 6pm weekday Mass in the Church - which is very well worth a visit.

To reserve a place: (first come, first served): email Robert Colquhoun

YCA Retreat

I advertised this back in May but this is just a last-minute notice that there are still a few places left in student/youth type shared accommodation for the Young Catholic Adults Retreat next weekend (18-20 September) at Douai Abbey. The Retreat is led by Fr de Malleray FSSP. YCA are part of the International Juventutem Federation and the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated according to the usus antiquior.

Here is the link for further information.

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Archbishop's 6 point programme for communications

John Allen has picked up on a talk given by Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno of the Aparecida archdiocese in Brazil, to a seminar on church communications in São Paulo. His six-point programme for communication is one that a Colombian journalist had once offered to CELAM:
1. Overcome the idea that the means of communications are themselves communication. In other words, building TV networks, radio stations, and web sites is all well and good, but if you don’t have something compelling to say, building new and better ways to say it won’t accomplish much.

2. Stop thinking that modern means of communication are “secular.” (Damasceno actually used the term “profane,” but he meant it in the literal sense of being outside the temple.) In other words, TV, the Internet, etc., are not somehow alien to the church. Instead, Damasceno said, quoting the Colombian journalist, they are neutral, and everything depends on how they’re used.

3. Understand that communications and preaching are not the same thing. Preaching is one form of communication, but there also has to be space for providing basic information and responding to questions in a fashion distinct from catechesis or moral exhortation.

4. Understand that every pastoral act is a form of communication. The church is always communicating something about itself to the outside world, even at the level of how people are treated when they have contact with the church.

5. Accept that effective communication happens between equals. Just as Christ emptied himself to become human, Damasceno said, the church must not presume an attitude of superiority when it’s trying to communicate with the world.

6. Realize that communications is not the same thing as PR. Ultimately, Damasceno said, the point is not just to project a better image of the church, but rather to share something of Christian life and to help people see their lives and the world from within a Christian frame of reference.
It is inspiring to see a Bishop speaking such good sense to people involved in social communication.

Sedia Gestatoria comeback?

J P Sonnen at Orbis Catholicus suggests that the Sedia Gestatoria may be coming back. It was last used for Pope John Paul I; Pope John Paul II preferred to walk around. He was thus much closer to the people who were in the front row at the General Audience but, as J P Sonnen points out, could not be seen by most of the other people.

It would have been difficult to reinstate the Sedia Gestatoria before now because of the inevitable outcry about "going back". I think that the mood has now changed in the Church. Most Catholics nowadays don't automatically presume that things from the past are baaaad just because they are from the past; Summorum Pontificum has seen to that.

There would certainly be spiteful comments from some secularists and liberal Catholics about the Pope being given too much respect but I think that ordinary Catholics would quite like to see the Sedia Gestatoria back again: someone should start up a Facebook Group... Come to that, I'm sure that many people would love to see the flabelli brought back - the large fans with the ostrich feathers as seen in this photo:

Critique of culture of Catholic charities

Matthew Hanley at The Catholic Thing has written an article calling for the "transformation of organizational culture at Catholic charitable agencies" because in the case of some,
They demonstrate a propensity to “think with the Church” (sentire cum ecclesia) only when that coincides with current fashions.
Although The Catholic Thing is based in the USA, he particularly comments on the policy of CAFOD.

See: Catholic Charities and Truth

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

And another Christian ...

Congratulations, Joanna Preece! You have become a Christian, a child of God, and a member of the Catholic Church. And all ex opere operato. Congratulations also to the justly proud parents James and Ella. (For more great stuff, see Catholic and Loving It.)

Sort of affirmation after denials

On 23 August, I reported on the Reform of the reform gathering pace, and then on the 25 August there was the Vatican Press Offices's Non-denial denial, followed in short order by Andrea Tornielli's article "le smentite che non smentiscono"

It seems now that a formal statement on the reform of the reform is expected soon, according to the New Liturgical Movement. We are waiting for Cardinal Llovera to issue a formal statement.

This might seem a bit machiavellian to some but, to be honest, I am happy enough. This is the way that the Vatican works and clearly there is some progress being made, despite the opposition of the Benedict-hating liberals.

50 Extraordinary Churches


I don't like all of them but this is an amazing photo collection of striking edifices built forth glory of God: 50 Most Extraordinary Churches of the World The above image is of Las Lajas Cathedral which was built in 1916 inside the canyon of the Guaitara river where, according to local legend, the Virgin Mary appeared.

Opposition to Eucharistic Adoration persists

Several bloggers have picked up on Fr McBrien's comments in opposition to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. Fr McBrien says:
Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today.

Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually.

Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward.
This is a surprising attack on the practice of Eucharistic Adoration which has become so popular, especially among young people. Normally one would expect liberal theologians to write against traditionalism in the liturgy of the ordinary form of the Mass, or against the freeing-up of the extraordinary form, but characterising Eucharistic Adoration as a "step backward" is something of an extreme position given the widespread popularity of this devotion in parishes and the warm encouragement given to it by Pope John Paul, Pope Benedict, and every Vatican Dicastery that has spoken about the promotion of vocations, the new evangelisation, or generally about the growth of faith in the young.

Are we to believe that Pope Benedict is taking a step backward here?

I thought that opposition to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was now more or less finished, but it seems that liberal theologians persist in their attacks on one of the most unambiguous expressions of Catholic faith in the Holy Eucharist.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Vatican team chosen for fixture with SSPX?

Rorate Caeli has picked up a rumour of the names chosen for the Vatican team to be involved in doctrinal discussions with the SSPX. I was especially interested to see the name of Fr Karl Becker SJ included since I did his course many years ago at the Gregorian University.

For those who read French or don't mind hacking through a google translation, there is an interesting article at Disputationes by Abbé Claude Barthe discussing the possible direction of the talks. See: Discussions Rome / FSSPX : un point de vue théologique.

Birmingham to boil

Dizzy Thinks has uncovered an alarming notice from the Department of Energy and Climate Change telling us that
"by 2080 the temperature for the hottest day of the year in the West Midlands could increase by a scorching 100 C"
As he points out, the Brummies will no longer need a kettle to make a cup of tea so that should help out a bit with the climate.

The DECC have removed a nought now but you can see the original at: Miliband predicts Birmingham population will boil to death by 2080

H/T @edwestonline at Twitter.

Southwark Vocations website update


The Southwark Vocations website has had a makeover with some good photos (including some of my parishioners on one page) and the blog integrated into the website.

(When looking at people's website, I often check the page source to see whether any particular tool was used to build it, what the html is like and so on. This one has clean, valid markup and was generated by iWeb-Build so I had a look on google to see what that was. Then, of course, I remembered that Fr Langridge is a Mac man!)

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Rosary and Benediction at Blackfen

Mulier Fortis has been making video slide shows of the various services that form a regular part of our liturgical schedule at Blackfen. I intend to put these on the parish website to illustrate the programme that we have here. Here is the slide show for our Thursday evening Rosary and Benediction.



Look at the macmclernon channel on YouTube for other videos.

Who should be denied a Catholic funeral?

An amusing and pertinent post by Diogenes: Reading Comprehension

Is it raining?

In England, of course, we don't usually need to imitate rain...



H/T The Deacons's Bench

Participatio Actuosa

Fr Ray Blake has an amusing story about Gladstone's sister's enthusiastic but inappropriate effort at active participation in the Liturgy.

Friday, 4 September 2009

Patriarch Twal visiting London

Aid to the Church in Need are welcoming His Beatitude, Patriarch Fouad Twal of Jerusalem next Tuesday 8th September 1009. After celebrating and preaching at the 5.30pm Mass at Westminster Cathedral, the Patriarch will be giving a speech in Westminster Cathedral Hall. Drinks, canapés and other light refreshments will be available and entry is free of charge.

His Beatitude has recently been encouraged by the visit of Pope Benedict to the Holy Land; nevertheless, the declining Christian population in Jerusalem and Bethlehem, caused principally by emigration, has posed considerable problems for the Church's work in the region.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Abstinence? Don't even touch!

Creative Minority Report has a good piece on the advice given to students at schools in Long Island, New York. Apparently the danger of swine flu has prompted officials to advise youngsters not to touch each other. Strange, given the politically correct skepticism about abstinence programmes! (See: I Thought Abstinence Was Unrealistic.)

CMR has better advice, surely:
As studies (not shown here or even available anywhere) have clearly indicated, children are going to touch each other no matter what those in authority tell them, so it's best to simply protect the children so that they touch each other in the safest manner possible.

Perhaps even full body condoms are the way to go.
So we agree? Let's keep our kids safe.

Solidarity with Vietnamese blogger

A catechumen of the Archdiocese of Hanoi, Bui Thanh Hieu, who writes under the pen name Nguoi Buon Gio, which means “Wind Trader” has been arrested and detained for criticising the Vietnamese government's distortion of the Pope's speech to the Vietnamese Bishops at their Ad Limina visit.

I humbly encourage bloggers to post on this injustice. The Wind Trader needs our support and the Vietnamese government needs to know that its distortion of the Holy Father's message is open to scrutiny from the rest of the world.

VietCatholic news: Pope's speech distorted, catechumen, dissident bloggers arrested

See also the CNA article Vietnamese blogger arrested for challenging media distortions of Pope's speech
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