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Saturday, 29 May 2010

At the children's Mass...

... I think we have one or two of these



H/T Creative Minority Report

"And with your spirit"

The response "And with your spirit" is one of the more controversial expressions in the new ICEL translation (that we will perhaps be able to use one day sometime when the books have been printed and the Bishops let us, and ICEl say its OK, and everybody thinks we have all had enough catechesis, and priests have learned to pronounce all "them fancy words" and the people have been sensitively prepared, and the local milkman has distributed the video ... That's enough! ED)

Sorry. As I was going to say, there are two good articles on this response. Louie Verrecchio writes at Catholic Exchange, and Msgr Charles Pope at the Archdiocese of Washington. They both pick up on this quotation from St John Chrysostom:
If the Holy Spirit were not in our Bishop [referring to Bishop Flavian of Antioch] when he gave the peace to all shortly before ascending to his holy sanctuary, you would not have replied to him all together, And with your spirit. This is why you reply with this expression….reminding yourselves by this reply that he who is here does nothing of his own power, nor are the offered gifts the work of human nature, but is it the grace of the Spirit present and hovering over all things which prepared that mystic sacrifice. (Homily on the Holy Pentecost)
The USCCB also has some helpful comments on the response.

Powerful DVD on Confession

Quite a while ago, St Anthony Communications sent me a copy of their new DVD on Confession (in which I have a brief cameo role.) Sorry to be so long in giving notice of it.

The DVD is quite hard-hitting at the beginning, not compromising on the nature of sin. Then it moves to explain the mercy of God and the provision which He made for His Church to minister the forgiveness of sins. Fr Nicholas Schofield, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Andrew Pinsent and Fr Thomas Crean OP offer some very good insights into the sacrament of Penance. Fr Jeremy Davies an experienced exorcist, also speaks from the heart with great effect.

The DVD is 20 minutes long, which makes it a good element of an evening of recollection or a part of sacramental preparation. It is available for £9.95 from St Anthony Communications where you can see a short preview.

Friday, 28 May 2010

News from Chartres

Thanks to the New Liturgical Movement we can see the official photos from this year's Chartres Pilgrimage.

Once again I miserably failed to organise myself to get over at least for the closing Mass. Some of my friends did, however, and thanks to Fr Martin Edwards' Facebook album, here is a photo:


(By the way, NLM also have news that the Catholic Music Association of America have posted some more black and white images that are useful for newsletters and suchlike.)

New tabernacle at Good Counsel


This afternoon I was up at the Good Counsel Network on one of my regular visits to give Benediction after the day's adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. This adoration is an essential part of the work of the Good Counsel Network. They are very much on the front line of pro-life work, providing compassionate and practical help to women who are tempted to have an abortion.

The tabernacle currently in use is not large enough properly to hold the pyx which contains the Benediction host. It has to be put in (reverently, of course) on its side, in order to fit into the small tabernacle along with the ciborium.

I'm delighted to see that there is now a better tabernacle (see the Maria Stops Abortion blog) donated by a kind priest. Quite properly it has been re-gilded to make it more respectable to hold the Blessed Sacrament. The cost was £1000 - maybe someone might be able to cover this? It would help keep funds available for the vital work of safeguarding unborn children and assisting mothers who are in trouble.

Judgementalism

Judge not, that you may not be judged. For with what judgment you judge, you shall be judged: and with what measure you mete, it shall be measured to you again. (Matt 7.1-2)
How often do we see this verse quoted in response to Catholic blog posts? Criticise the public actions of a politician or a high-ranking ecclesiastic and you can be sure that someone will say that you should not be "judgmental". Should bloggers cringe in shame at failing to observe the teaching of Our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount? I think we can reasonably take a deeper look at this.

We cannot "judge" someone in the way that God judges us. (He will judge us, by the way.) We do not have the right to make such a judgement, or in fact the information on which to base it. Only God knows the subjective state of an individual's soul. So even if we consider the infernal columns' brutal repression of the rising in the Vendée, the Mexican campaign against priests such as St Christopher Magellanes, the shooting of the intellectuals in Mao's China or Pol Pot's Cambodia, Lenin and Stalin's atrocities (or indeed the Nazi concentration camps) it is still only God who can judge the individual's state of soul. Nevertheless, we can and should judge all of those publicly known horrors as objectively evil.

In the case of politicians who have voted in favour of abortion, embryo experimentation, assisted suicide, and passive euthanasia, we are entitled to look at their voting record and to make an objective judgement that what they have voted for is wrong, and call them to account for it. A public figure, making public decisions, in the public square, may be subjected to reasonable judgement as to the rightness or wrongness of their public actions. The political life of the country would not function without the people being able to express their opinions in such matters.

Within the Church, the same distinction applies. In recent months, a number of bishops have resigned from their office because of public judgement passed on their public actions or their failure to act. Inside the household of the faith, aware of Our Lord's words, we pray and beseech Our Lord to forgive "whatever sins they have committed through human frailty" and ask Him to judge them mercifully. In doing so, we are aware of our own sins and of the warning of Christ:
And why do you see the mote that is in your brother's eye; and see not the beam that is in your own eye? Or how do you say to your brother: Let me cast the mote out of your eye; and behold a beam is in your own eye? You hypocrite, cast out first the beam out of your own eye, and then shall you see to cast out the mote out of your brother's eye. (Matt 7.3-5)
The media, including Catholic blogs, can do a service for society and the Church in exposing crimes, lies, and failures. To do so is not to contravene the teaching of Our Lord but to follow a less-quoted verse from the Gospel:
But if your brother shall offend against you, go, and rebuke him between you and him alone. If he shall hear you, you shall gain your brother. And if he will not hear you, take with you one or two more: that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may stand. And if he will not hear them: tell the church. And if he will not hear the church, let him be to you as the heathen and publican. (Matt 18.15-17)
St Paul also gave some clear instructions to St Timothy on the question of judging the public actions of others:
I charge you, before God and Jesus Christ, who shall judge the living and the dead, by his coming and his kingdom: Preach the word: be instant in season, out of season: reprove, entreat, rebuke in all patience and doctrine. For there shall be a time when they will not endure sound doctrine but, according to their own desires, they will heap to themselves teachers having itching ears: And will indeed turn away their hearing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables. But be vigilant, labour in all things, do the work of an evangelist, fulfil your ministry. (2 Tim 4.2-5)
Quoting Our Lord's words "judge not..." can be an easy way to cover up public failures, whether in teaching, governing, or the safeguarding of children. Forming a reasonable judgement, on the basis of good information, is not only a right, but a duty of a Christian concerned with the common good. The challenge which Christ lays before us is to distinguish in our minds and hearts such objective judgement from any pharisaical judgement of another's soul.

Monday, 24 May 2010

Rainbow washed out

The Reluctant Sinner has been to Westminster Cathedral to chat to the security team and find out what happened at yesterday's homosexual Rainbow Sash protest. As he reports, nobody turned up.

I think we can all be relieved that the rainbow was so completely washed out. As I said in my previous post, this kind of protest does not by any means represent homosexual Catholics, most of whom live in peace and quiet, struggling with temptations from time to time just as we all do. To be honest, I am impressed and heartened by the Catholic gay community's universal rejection of the Rainbow Sash nonsense.

"Madame Sterilisation" visits Marie Stopes

This evening there will be the first showing of the Marie Stopes advertisement for abortion on TV. less publicised was the visit last week to the London headquarters of Marie Stopes International by "Madame Sterilisation", Ms. Li Bin. There is a report of the visit at Tibet Truth which comments:
No doubt the Minister of China’s National Population and Family Planning Commission was warmly received by the multi-lateral population agency, which works inside communist China, yet would appear oblivious to the horrifying women’s human rights violations caused by China’s coercive birth-control policies. Like its ‘sister’ organizations the United Nations Fund for Population and the International Planned Parenthood Federation, MSE though acutely aware of China’s program of forced sterilizations and forced abortions, which have traumatized countless women in China and occupied regions such as Tibet and East Turkestan, seems unable to offer a word of public condemnation, concern or opposition to such medical atrocties.
Tibet Truth has also published a paper on coercive population control in China.

H/T Dolphinarium

Blog: The Catholic Whistle


Father of three, Paul Mallinder, writes a blog called Catholic Whistle devoted especially to Catholic Social Teaching. Recently he asked an interesting question about the relationship between Liturgy and Catholic Social teaching. You might want to pop over and offer your own pearls of wisdom in the combox...

Saturday, 22 May 2010

Society of St Tarcisius

The Latin Mass Society is sponsoring a new sodality for altar servers who serve the classical form of the Roman Rite: the Society of St Tarcisius. The aims are listed as follows:
1. To promote the dignified, devout, and accurate service of the altar in the traditional Roman rite.

2. To promote the spiritual formation of altar servers, in the spirit of St Tarcisius, who accepted death rather than allow the profanation of the most holy sacrament.

3. To disseminate information on the correct service of the altar, and arrange from time to time training events for servers.

4. To maintain a list of those who are willing and able to serve at the traditional liturgy, and provide this information to those organizing traditional events, where needed.
The website says that the Society is "specifically committed to the traditional Latin liturgy of the Catholic church, in a form no later than that current in 1962" which is a rather good way of putting it.

This is a very welcome initiative and I am sure that I will have a number of servers in my parish who will be eager to join. The entry requirement of being able to serve Low Mass will be an incentive for new servers to get on and learn to say the responses for Mass.

This morning, my servers were all away - some off on family outings in the lovely weather, and some over at Clapham Park where the Pentecost Vigil was celebrated (certainly "in a form no later than that current in 1962") and one has gone to join the Benedictines at Douai. When we have no servers, one of the ladies will answer the responses from the congregation but today an elderly gentleman saw that I had no server and came up to the altar. I started off a little slowly in case he found difficulty with the responses but his confident and speedy "ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam" let me know that he had not forgotten a thing.

It was quite moving to see him observe all the details of the ceremonies of Low Mass - standing by the altar at the beginning of the Gospel until the name of Jesus was mentioned, for example. I have had to learn all these things from scratch and take lessons from my discreet but highly competent MC, supporting him in gradually perfecting the serving of the boys from the parish. To experience an older server who has not served for some time effortlessly fall into all of these detailed customs spoke powerfully of continuity and the lack of any distraction of having to make things up as we go along or institute worthy (and legitimate) local improvements ad hoc as is the case with trying to "reform the reform".

For the Society of St Tarcisius, I am glad to see that there will be a medal:
It is planned to produce a medal of St Tarcisius, which will be worn on a royal blue ribbon by members of the Society at its events, and also when serving where no objection is raised by the MC or celebrant. If the medal of St Tarcisius is not available, a medal of the Sacred Heart may be substituted.
One little request: could this be arranged so that the ribbon (or perhaps a blue cord) be hung around the neck? Faffing around with a medal ribbon and a safety pin would be something we could do without in the case of small boys...

Reluctant Sinner blog

A blog that I had missed putting on the blogroll is A Reluctant Sinner. It's there now and I recommend it. (There are some interesting posts recently on the Rainbow Sash protest.)

Friday, 21 May 2010

James MacMillan, the Papal Masses and the new ICEL

Damian Thompson reports on the great news that James MacMillan's new Mass will be sung in Coventry as well as Glasgow. This follows his earlier report on the rather depressing proposals for the music at the Pope's Mass, concluding with the sound observation, "The Coventry Mass should be one that makes the heart soar, not the toes curl."

The new Mass by James MacMillan is a setting for the words of the new ICEL translation. It is not clear yet whether the Holy Father will himself use the new translation at the Masses in Glasgow and Coventry.

Fr Blake discusses the question of Jumping the gun with ICEL as has Fr Boyle. Fr Blake's post on ICEL: Ad Experimentum makes interesting reading. I would have thought that a Bishop in his own diocese has competence to authorise the use ad experimentum of a text that has received recognitio from the Holy See.

In fact, the new translation is being used all over the place at "special" gatherings, by Bishops, by particular communities, and by some individual priests. It does seem sensible for people to get used to the parts of the Ordinary of the Mass that are said by the priest: the responses for the people could later be introduced at the same time across the country to avoid confusion.

Marie Stopes Abortion ads planned to start Monday

The abortion provider, Marie Stopes organisation has arranged for abortion adverts to appear on TV Channel 4 on Monday 24th May at 10.10pm and throughout June.

There is some good information about possible legal challenges to this advertisement at John Smeaton's post: Abortion advertisement move is deplorable. To make an objection to the Government, you should write to the new Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport, the Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP. The email address is enquiries@culture.gsi.gov.uk

From John's post, here are some points you could make:

  • Abortion is in English law a criminal offence. Advertising of a criminal offence is not permitted.
  • European law also prohibits the advertising of restricted (i.e. on prescription) medical procedures, such as abortion. [cf. the Audio-Visual Media Regulations 2010, preamble, 89]
  • The Broadcasting Act 1990 requires that advertising is not offensive or harmful. Abortion is offensive to the countless women damaged by abortion; and lethally harmful to the hundreds of unborn children aborted every day.

The Good Counsel Network has also posted on this at their Maria Stops Abortion blog: Some kinds of demons... Part 2 Urgent update. They have proposed today as a day of fasting and prayer with the particular intention of preventing this TV advertising campaign and any future such plans. (I'm sorry to be late in posting this, but you can, of course, offer some extra fasting and pray at any time if you miss chance today.)

There is also an iPetition against channel4 abortion advert which you can sign, and the Daily Mail article on this has a poll asking "Should abortion adverts be shown on TV". Currently the poll stands at 26% Yes and 74% No so you might help to increase that further.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Rainbow sash protests planned

The Rainbow Sash Movement is planning a protest at Westminster Cathedral during the 10.30am Mass this coming Sunday 23 May. The website says:
The Rainbow Sash is worn during the Sacred Liturgy as a symbol of self identification, and indicates that the wearer is a Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Ally (LGBTA).
The text goes on to say:
Pentecost is the Birthday of the Universal Church it is a time to celebrate our diversity as a people of faith with honesty. We welcome all who believe that all the member s of our Church can approach the sacred Eucharist with humility, and integrity.

Participation does not require membership in the Rainbow Sash Movement or that you need to be of the Catholic faith. None Catholics are encouraged to join us in this celebration.
(Spelling and punctuation errors in the original.)

First of all, it should be understood clearly that this kind of protest does not by any means represent all homosexual Catholics. Many Catholics with a homosexual orientation would find this confrontation in the context of the Mass to be abhorrent. Many also would resist the idea of "self identification" as though a homosexual orientation defined who one is. They do not feel "alienated" from the Church which has shown compassion and sensitivity in her public teaching and in countless confessionals both in England and across the world.

There is also a failure to indicate that the invited non-Catholics should not in any circumstances ask to receive Holy Communion without specific permission according to the norms of One Bread One Body.

The Rainbow sash website has a link which doesn't work. To gain some idea of what the movement supports and is tied in with, see: Queering the Church.

Back in 2002, Cardinal George Pell gave a sensible and balanced explanation of why he refused Holy Communion to people involved in the Rainbow Sash protest.

Young Catholic Adults Newsletter


Young Catholic Adults helps to introduce younger people to the Traditional
Mass and the heritage of the Church. Hallmarks are the celebration of the classical Roman Rite, fidelity to the magisterium and to Papal teaching. YCA is affiliated to the International Juventutem Federation.

The aims of YCA are:
  • To foster authentic Catholic teaching and spirituality.
  • To promote a spirit of charity as practised by the great saints of the Church such as St. John Vianney, St. Francis de Sales and the English Martyrs.
  • It is principally aimed at young adults.
  • We aim to promote a spir it of beauty and reverence in the Sacred Liturgy.
Here is a link to the latest YCA Newsletter which was produced with the help of the St Catherine's Trust. There is also a Young Catholic Adults blog.

Ombrellino appeal


The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate at Lanhearne are in need of an ombrellino (ceremonial umbrella) for when the Blessed Sacrament is transferred from one place to another. Since they do live a very frugal life, the cost of such an item would be prohibitive for them.

Three possibilities, I think:

  1. If you have a spare ombrellino in your sacristy that is unused, it would find a good home and you would benefit from the prayers of the good sisters.
  2. If you have some spare money, you could buy them one
  3. If you follow sources of second-hand liturgical items (I know that some readers do enthusiastically!) then you could notify them if one comes up at a reasonable cost

Please leave a comment here or email me if you have definitely provided one so that I can update the post to say "problem solved" (now done) - but contact the sisters or their chaplain directly to arrange things:

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate,
House of Contemplation of the Blessed Virgin of Mt. Carmel
St. Mawgan in Pydar
Newquay
Cornwall
TR8 4ER

Chaplain: Fr George Roth FI 01637 860205 email: lanhernefriars@talktalk.net

UPDATE: Within a couple of hours, a parish priest has contacted me to say that he has a spare and will be donating it to the Sisters. Many thanks for all other offers subsequently.

French Priests' go-kart racing cup

Since this is the sort of thing that many lay people find hilarious, I thought I should share it with you.



Here is the website for Padre Cup - Championnat de karting des pretres which takes place on 7 June 2010. I'll wait to see whether the big screen in the Parish Social Club gets reserved for this. (Only if Millwall aren't playing that day, of course.)

Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Gregorian Chant Workshop at Portsmouth


I am happy to pass on details of a Gregorian Chant workshop to be held next month at Portsmouth Cathedral:
GREGORIAN CHANT WORKSHOP
and Vespers & Benediction

SATURDAY 12 JUNE 2010 10.00 – 16.00
St John’s Catholic Cathedral Portsmouth

Jointly led by the Abbot of Farnborough Abbey and a Director of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge

09.30 Registration
16.00 Vespers and Benediction

Music materials provided
Tea/Coffee available

Fee - £15
All Welcome – Beginners & Experienced

Contact: chantnetwork@gmail.com or Tel: 023 92862384

EWTN YouTube channel


EWTN now has its own YouTube channel. You can see full episodes of Life on the Rock, homilies, special reports, news items and more.

H/T Young Catholic Adults

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Tablet mountain sightings

Many years ago, Sir James Goldsmith's "Now" magazine was the butt of jokes in Private Eye on account of the planting of piles of unsolicited copies in dentists' waiting rooms in a desperate bid to increase sales.

Several parish priests have recently told me that they have received piles of unsolicited copies of the Tablet. It would be interesting to know how widespread this is. To my knowledge, Blackfen parish has not received any, but I expect my sacristan would swiftly hide them from me if they were to be delivered. She is touchingly concerned for Father's health and would not want him to suffer high blood pressure unnecessarily.

The altar servers who enjoyed the fire extinguisher training session are desperate for a re-run with a real blaze. They did suggest that the Tablet would be suitable kindling matter but could not find any copies in the Church.


I encourage parish priests to let me know if they have had problems with the Tablet mountain - and readers generally to offer suggestions along the lines of "101 Uses for an Unsolicited Pile of Tablets". (Do remember that this is a pro-family blog and that rude words are not allowed.)

Parlez vous any other language at all?


An amusing piece in the Times: Parlez vous any other language at all? The reporters tried calling various public bodies and speaking different languages to see what response they would get. The National Association of Head Teachers didn't have anyone who could speak French but the Cabinet Office comes out quite well, having someone on hand who could speak Dutch. The Catholic Media Office did at least have someone with GCSE Latin.

This stunt reminds me of an occasion when I was in a supermarket in Belgium. The girl at the checkout was about 18. She spoke to me in Flemish, changed to French, then realised from my accent that I was English, so spoke to me in fluent English with only a trace of accent. In England, speaking a foreign language fluently is regarded as a skill comparable to being a chess grandmaster.

(And I even got a lolcats picture on the blog!)

Family Values Conference


I am happy to pass on information about a forthcoming Family Values Conference to be held in London:
Family Values Conference
Baden-Powell House, Cromwell Road. 2nd – 3rd June

Our Bishops pointed out in their pre-election document “Choosing the Common Good” that a healthy democracy depends upon much more than the politics at the top. It also rests upon sound values and strong family life reviving society. The Family Values conference is being held as part of National Family Week under the aegis of The World Congress of Families. Those who have already been to one of these big family events will know how impressive it is to hear speakers from different faiths, different disciplines and different countries talking with a united voice on the importance of family. This event is actually being organised by a game woman from the Church of Latter Day Saints who was so taken by the WCF event in Amsterdam last summer that she determined to hold a London event as part of National Family Week. Speakers on the Catholic side (UK) include Edmund Adamus, John Smeaton, Christine Vollmer, and Louise Kirk.

Tickets £139 for 2 days, with discounts. For more information, please go to Family Values website.

Saturday, 15 May 2010

What have you been saying, homophobic wise?



Dale McAlpine is a Christian street preacher who was at his pitch in Cumbria, preaching the gospel. After his preaching, in response to a question from a passerby, he spoke of a number of sins that were condemned in the Bible, including homosexual behaviour. After the passerby made a complaint, the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Liaison Police Community and Support Officer (sic!) challenged him and then arranged for Her Majesty's Constabulary to come and arrest him. You can see the build-up in the video above; it goes like this:
Police: What have you been saying, homophobic wise?

[...]

Dale: I spoke to your officer earlier and he was upset that I was saying homosexuality was a sin - which is what the Bible says. And I affirm that's what I say because that's in the bible and there's no law, there's no law...

Police: Well there is.

Dale: No there isn't

Police: There is. Unfortunately mate, it's a breach of Section 5 of the Public Order Act

[...]

Police: You're under arrest for a racially aggravated Section 5 Public Order offence. You do not have to say anything but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence.

OK do you want to walk this way to our van
McAlpine was taken in the van to the police station, locked up for seven hours in a cell, and charged with using abusive or insulting words or behaviour contrary to Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. This legal measure was introduced to deal with football hooliganism and suchlike behaviour.

Now, thanks to the campaigning of the Christian Institute, the Crown Prosecution Service has "carefully assessed the evidence" and the charges have been dropped.

Nevertheless, the message is quite clear. Dedicated LGBT officers can call in the heavy brigade to bang up street preachers in the cells for a few hours if they dare to mention biblical teaching on homosexuality.

So just who exactly is being bullied here?

Support the Good Counsel Network


There is a new website for the Good Counsel Network which has information about their work in saving unborn children and helping mothers to make a real, informed and supported choice when pressured towards having an abortion. They also support women who have had an abortion and are suffering. The help that the GCN offers is practical and immediate. If you or someone you know is pregnant and worried, go to the Real Help page.

The GCN also has a new blog with the good title Maria Stops Abortion. Mary O'Regan has a good post on the modern day "Alfies" who continue to abuse women and children. (The reference is to a 1960s Michael Caine film which epitomised the worst of the sexual revolution of that era.)

There is also an opportunity for any of you who feel that you maybe have a little more money in the bank than you really need and that some of it really should go in christian charity to a deserving cause. As of a couple of days ago, the Good Counsel had £50 in the bank, and needed £445 to buy the week's food vouchers. They are supporting fourteen Mothers and their children, whose only support is this small weekly voucher. You can donate online or transfer money into our Barclays Bank account, Good Counsel Network, sort code 20-29-37, account number 40055352.

And remember to pray for the GCN. they have particularly requested a Novena to St Rita. Here is the prayer:
Holy Patroness of those in need, St. Rita, you were humble, pure and patient. Your pleadings with your divine Spouse are irresistible, so please obtain for me from our risen Jesus the request I make of you, that Good Counsel will raise the funds they need and my own request (mention it).

Be kind to me for the greater glory of God, and I shall honour you and sing your praises forever.

Glorious St. Rita, you miraculously participated in the sorrowful passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Obtain for me now the grace to suffer with resignation the troubles of this life, and protect me in all my needs. Amen.

Our Father, Hail, Mary, Glory be to the Father..
Please do whatever you can. We can all talk the talk but we also have to walk the walk...

Friday, 14 May 2010

Two devotional blogs

Thanks to Anne in the combox for notice of two devotional blogs which deserve to be known about: Eucharistic Adoration for Priests (as requested by Pope Benedict) and Grateful for Purgatory "but aiming for heaven!" - both by "One Grateful Heart", a wife, mother and grandmother.

New blog - Motus Septentrionalis


A priest friend just emailed me news of a new blog Motus Septentrionalis ("Northern Movement") to promote the traditional liturgy in the North of England. Here is the introductory text:
This blog is offered as a forum within which events to promote and celebrate the Traditional Catholic Latin Liturgy can be organised in the North of England. The idea emerged during informal conversations at the 2010 Low Week Latin Mass Society training course at Ushaw College.
Catholics who wish to attend the traditional liturgy are much better off if they are in easy reach of London, though it is good to see at Motus Septentrionalis a growing list of regular Masses in the North.

Meanwhile even further North, problems continue.

How very BBC

An internal BBC email sent to me today. The BBC are hosting a staff discussion on Christianity. Who do they get to do it? A history professor and campaigner for gay rights who describes his own current religious position as that of an agnostic or atheist with a background in Anglicanism, and a Muslim academic who writes for the Tablet. As my correspondent comments, "How very BBC."

From: Internal Communications Scotland
Sent: 14 May 2010 09:32
Subject: A Conversation with Diarmaid MacCulloch: Pacific Quay, Monday 17 May, 5.45PM - 7.15PM
A Conversation with Diarmaid MacCulloch: Pacific Quay, Monday 17 May, 5.45PM - 7.15PM

On Monday (17th May) we will be marking the 80th anniversary of our Scottish Religious Advisory Committee (SRAC) with an event on the 3rd Floor of Pacific Quay.

Professor Diarmaid MacCulloch, world renowned Oxford University historian and presenter of the BBC Four series A History of Christianity, will be in conversation with SRAC Chair and Glasgow University's Director for the Study of Islam, Professor Mona Siddiqui.

The discussion - on Interpreting Christianity through its history: how the religious past shapes the religious present - will be before an invited audience of Scotland's faith leaders, with all faith groups represented and there will be opportunity for an audience Q&A.

Seats will be available for staff who might wish to attend. Given limitations on numbers it will be on a 'first come, first served' basis, so if you would like attend email Caroline Richardson or call her on 01 26068.

Issued on behalf of Ian Small, Head of Public Policy & Corporate Affairs, Scotland – please do not respond to this address

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Pope Benedict "sanitising Newman"?


In the Times article attacking the beatification of Newman, John Cornwell does not lose the opportunity to have a go at Pope Benedict whom he says is "clearly bent on sanitising Newman’s progressive Catholicism."

Cardinal Ratzinger's 1991 lecture on Conscience and Truth is well worth reading for an understanding of how he understands conscience and takes Newman's view that it is not merely something subjective but the voice of God within us. As he explains when discussing the Newman toast quote:
Modern man, who presupposes the opposition of authority to subjectivity, has difficulty understanding this. For him, conscience stands on the side of subjectivity and is the expression of the freedom of the subject. Authority, on the other hand, appears to him as the constraint on, threat to and even the negation of, freedom. So then we must go deeper to recover a vision in which this kind of opposition does not obtain.
He goes on to show that the lifelong opposition to liberalism which Newman himself acknowledged when speaking on the occasion of his elevation to the cardinalate, led him to understand conscience as the perceptible and demanding voice of truth.

In this lecture, Ratzinger also made a point which is relevant to other attempts to smear him. He tells of a particular conversation with academic colleagues concerning the justifying power of the erroneous conscience. Someone countered that if this thesis were true, then the Nazi SS would be justified and we should seek them in heaven because "they carried out all their atrocities with fanatic conviction and complete certainty of conscience". Another colleague responded with assurance that this would be the case. Ratzinger comments:
Since that conversation, I knew with complete certainty that something was wrong with the theory of justifying power of the subjective conscience, that, in other words, a concept of conscience which leads to such conclusions must be false.

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

That toast quote again

A recent article by John Cornwell in the Times calls into question the miracle attributed to the intercession of the Venerable John Henry Newman. The website for the cause for the canonisation of Newman has responded briefly to Cornwell's article: John Cornwell’s analysis of Newman’s miracle is seriously flawed. A further article is promised later this week.

Damian Thompson has also responded to other aspects of the article. See: 'Papal bull: Why Cardinal Newman is no saint,' says Sunday Times. When is this going to stop?

Cornwell's article ends with the much misused and misunderstood toast quote from Newman about drinking to conscience first and the Pope afterwards. If any of the detractors of Newman were interested in knowing what Newman actually intended, his Letter to the Duke of Norfolk is now available, along with his other works, at the Newman Reader. Here is a link to the relevant section (5).

Newman was responding to the charge made by Gladstone that the infallibility of the Pope made Catholics "moral and mental slaves" and compromised their loyalty and civil duty. He offers a brilliant answer to this particular charge in section 4 (Divided Allegiance), demonstrating along the way the manner in which Gladstone misrepresented Vatican I's Dogmatic Constitution Pastor Aeternus. He gives a sensible explanation of what is understood to be the proper exercise of the authority of the Pope, and the limit to that authority in the extreme circumstance of its misuse, quoting Bellarmine and others in support.

It is from this point that Newman discusses conscience since he has admitted that "there are extreme cases in which Conscience may come into collision with the word of a Pope." He says that conscience is the apprehension of the divine law which is the supreme rule of conduct. He points out that this Christian understanding of conscience is opposed to the subjective view of conscience which sees it as a creation of ourselves rather than the voice of God. Newman describes the popular understanding which is familiar to us today, though sadly now within the Church as well as outside of it:
When men advocate the rights of conscience, they in no sense mean the rights of the Creator, nor the duty to Him, in thought and deed, of the creature; but the right of thinking, speaking, writing, and acting, according to their judgment or their humour, without any thought of God at all. They do not even pretend to go by any moral rule, but they demand, what they think is an Englishman's prerogative, for each to be his own master in all things, and to profess what he pleases, asking no one's leave, and accounting priest or preacher, speaker or writer, unutterably impertinent, who dares to say a word against his going to perdition, if he like it, in his own way.
In a point which is relevant to discussions of our own time, Newman defends Quanta Cura and Mirari Vos by showing that when they condemned liberty of conscience, they were speaking of the popular and false understanding of conscience, not the Catholic sense. He compares it to the use of the word "reformation", saying that if Catholics were to express their meaning fully, they would speak of "the so-called reformation". He points out that if the Pope condemned the reformation, it would be utterly sophistical to say that he had opposed all reforms.

On the question of a collision, in extreme circumstances, between "conscience truly so called" and a particular exercise of papal authority, Newman says:
Unless a man is able to say to himself, as in the Presence of God, that he must not, and dare not, act upon the Papal injunction, he is bound to obey it, and would commit a great sin in disobeying it. Primâ facie it is his bounden duty, even from a sentiment of loyalty, to believe the Pope right and to act accordingly. He must vanquish that mean, ungenerous, selfish, vulgar spirit of his nature, which, at the very first rumour of a command, places itself in opposition to the Superior who gives it, asks itself whether he is not exceeding his right, and rejoices, in a moral and practical matter to commence with scepticism. He must have no wilful determination to exercise a right of thinking, saying, doing just what he pleases, the question of truth and falsehood, right and wrong, the duty if possible of obedience, the love of speaking as his Head speaks, and of standing in all cases on his Head's side, being simply discarded.
Newman follows up on his argument by citing Catholic authorities in support of his description of Catholic teaching, and invites Gladstone to offer evidence from Catholic authorities for his (mis)understanding of the teaching.

In his parting shot, Newman makes a sardonic allusion to a correspondence in the Times between Lord Arundell of Wardour and Lord Oranmore and Browne. This followed an article in the paper criticising Catholics for drinking the toast of Pius IX before the Queen. (Lord Arundell justified this in terms of the priority of the spiritual over the temporal order.) This much misused toast quote with which Newman finishes the chapter, is a gentle tour de force, turning the tables on Gladstone:
I add one remark. Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into after-dinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing) I shall drink — to the Pope, if you please, — still, to Conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.
In the context of his carefully argued letter, Newman is allowing himself a witty reference to a slightly absurd controversy over after-dinner toasts. His implied challenge to Gladstone is for him to drink to conscience before the Queen. On Newman's argument, Catholics are loyal to both Pope and Queen precisely because they have a true understanding of conscience as the "participation of the eternal law in the rational creature". Gladstone needs to show how he can justify loyalty to the Queen and civic duty without a proper understanding of conscience and the law of God.

Promo video for the Holy Father's visit



This video, put together unofficially by some lads wishing to "do their bit" is intended to be the first in a series of videos promoting the Holy Father's visit to Britain in September.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Keeping in touch with life in modern Britain



Laurence England has a post St George and the Dragon which just made something click inside. Along with many others, I have been sporadically glued to live updates of the discussions going on in various offices in central London to try and put together a Government for Britain. In the meantime, George is doing a gravelly-voiced cover of "Sweet Caroline" with Laurence playing the guitar with a fag hanging out of the corner of his mouth and a hat on. This is a pilot of a possible online busking initiative for George to get a new mattress and and dental implants. For the love of God!

As I say, reading this, something clicked. I've bashed out a comment to promise send the funds for the mattress by any means convenient. I don't know how much the dental implants are, but I'm sure we can sub that between us. They may put up a paypal button or let us know some other online service. Or we can just send tenners in the post. Not recommended, I know, but if the chap can play the guitar and keep a smoke on the go, maybe we don't need to go down the road of risk assessment on this one.

Friday, 7 May 2010

Election - some pro-life highlights

Earlier, I reported the good news that Evan Harris, the pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia campaigner, had lost his seat at Oxford West and Abingdon. The news gets even better. The seat was won by Nicola Blackwood who is a member of the Conservative Christian Fellowship.

On Nicola's Facebook page, Mark Rayner posted this excellent comment:
Nicola, it was good to meet you at hustings yesterday. I just want to emphasize that my vote is absolutely not an endorsement of David Cameron, but specifically of you. I trust you to uphold the pro-life, pro faith school, and socially caring economic views you expressed yesterday, some of which are in stark contrast with previous Tory policy. Good luck - I hope I can count on you to put principle before partisanship.
Given the possible re-structuring of our political life and the disillusionment of many voters for politics based on party allegiance, we need to encourage newly elected MPs who have stood up for pro-life and pro-family values.

Another result of pro-life interest is that David Burrowes has been returned as MP for Enfield Southgate with a 5.7% increase in his share of the vote. Earlier this year, he presented the Robin McNair prize for an essay competition organised by SPUC. At the ceremony, David explained that it had been his involvement with SPUC as a student pro-life activist that had inspired him to enter politics.

Just as I am writing this post, John Smeaton has put up his own very helpful analysis: There are plenty of chances and dangers in the new parliament.

Election - morning after


Well it has all been rather exciting. We are to have a hung Parliament with the Conservative party having won the most seats but not an overall majority. Contrary to the talk of a Liberal Democrat revival on the back of Nick Clegg's performance in the TV debates, it seems that the LibDems have actually won fewer seats than at the last election.

In my own constituency of Old Bexley and Sidcup, where Ted Heath and Derek Conway have been our MPs since I came here in 1997, James Brokenshire (Con) has been elected. Worryingly, the BNP increased their share of the vote here, but Nick Griffin was soundly defeated in Barking, coming third. Interestingly, he said that with a "normal" turnout, the BNP would have taken the Council. Whether that is true or not, they may well have won more wards in the local election if there had been a smaller turnout. This is an important lesson for those who did not bother to vote.

Twitter is buzzing after Nick Clegg's statement a short while ago that the Tories should have the chance to form a government; Labour are offering proposals for electoral reform; David Cameron is going to make a statement at 2.30pm later in response to Nick Clegg. There will be earnest negotiations over the next few hours and perhaps days. One commentator said that there would be a lot of pencil sucking at Buckingham Palace.

An important part of the story is that in several constituencies, people were unable to vote because the queues were too long at 10pm when polling stopped. Given the good conduct of our elections generally, this is a severe embarrassment.

The best news of the day for me so far is that Evan "Dr Death" Harris, the pro-abortion and pro-euthanasia former MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, has (narrowly) lost his seat. I would be interested to hear of any other news on the pro-life front. I am not optimistic but with a number of new faces being elected, I pray that there may be some hope for the unborn, the elderly and for families.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

May Feelings III



The third in a series of "May Feelings" videos (See YouTube for May Feelings and May Feelings II). All promote the Rosary - the latest is part of a movement encouraging people to pray the Rosary for priests:
We already know that we are not alone; now, they need to know that they are not alone.
I like the way that the priest chosen for the film is an elderly and frail priest and that the film essentially emphasises his fidelity to prayer.

The video has been posted less than a week and as of 6.10pm today had 112,957 views.

Instruction to voters

The Telegraph's live blog for the General Election has this picture with an unintended instruction to voters:


I have cast my vote at the polling centre at Days Lane Primary School. I do like the British system with its almost savagely short campaign, soberly printed Polling Station notices and the stubby pencils on bits of string. I'm not too keen on the new style plastic zip-up ballot boxes of recent years though: they make it look as though the votes are all going to be put in the freezer in preparation for a picnic.

Have fun if you are staying up to watch the results coming in.

Resources for the new ICEL translation


The other day I posted a video clip of Mgr Harbert explaining some of the reasoning behind the new translation of the Roman Canon. Several people contacted me to ask if a transcript were available. Mgr Harbert has kindly pointed me to two sites with further information and resources.

The Notre Dame Center for Liturgy has videos and transcripts from Mgr Harbert and a number of other scholars. Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ is the website for an interactive DVD that has been produced to help in catechesis.

Just to remind you, the texts of the Ordinary of the Mass have been available for some time at the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, along with plenty of useful information, FAQ, and parish resources. See USCCB Roman Missal.

CTS Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict

The CTS is organising a Spiritual Bouquet to be presented to the Holy Father when he visits Britain.

H/T Bara Brith

Baroque Salve Regina

Many thanks indeed to Jeffrey Tucker at NLM for posting a YouTube video of the second part of the Salve Regina by Nicola Antonio Porpora (1686-1768). By way of reply, here is the first part:



For all of you interested in liturgical music, don't miss the recently posted Fall 2009 edition of the journal Sacred Music.

Communications Day sermon

On Tuesday at Allen Hall, there was a Mass and reception to mark World Communications Day. Archbishop Nichols gave the main lecture on the theme of Why Media Matters. The preacher at Mass was Fr Stephen Wang. I though his sermon was very good, drawing a lesson from the example of the publication of St Edmund Campion's Ten Reasons. Fr Wang blogs at Bridges and Tangents.

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Pell rumours hotting up


La Ciguena de la Torre and Andrea Tornielli, both of whom have proved right in the past about Vatican appointments, are stating that Cardinal Pell's appointment as Prefect of the Congregation of Bishops has now been decided and will be announced in the coming weeks. If so, I think that is very good news indeed.

Damian Thompson has a quotation from a letter written by Cardinal Pell to the Tablet in 2002
“… I have long been disappointed by The Tablet’s persistent subversions of some Catholic teaching and mystified by the inability of the English bishops to nudge it towards a more productive line of witness …”
On one occasion I happened across Cardinal Pell at St Peter's. I was flattered that he remembered me and said
Tim - remember my advice. Keep your guard up and keep moving round the ring.

Chislehurst Golf Club new website


Frequently Fr Briggs and I repair to the Chislehurst Golf Club after our morning Masses for an excellent and very reasonably priced lunch of roast beef. The club now has a very good looking new website which shows some of the fine views to be had. Fr Zuhlsdorf joined us here for lunch on one occasion. Here is a photo of the parish priest of Chislehurst:

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Mgr Harbert on the new ICEL translation

Here is a clip from Gloria TV of Mgr Bruce Harbert helpfully explaining something of the reasoning behind the new translation of the Roman Canon.

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Sanctus



The Mulier Fortis has posted a video on YouTube of the Sanctus at last Thursday's Annual Mass of the Society of St Catherine of Siena. I agree that it is very good in quality considering that it is from a small camera discreetly perched on a pew. No microphones, just human voices in a beautiful Church. The video includes the end of the Preface and I am relieved that the part that is recorded is reasonably sung without mistakes. (Not always the case.) The choir of the London Oratory School are, of course, absolutely brilliant.

For those not familiar with the usus antiquior, what happens is that after the Preface, the Celebrant, Deacon and Subdeacon say the Sanctus quietly, making the sign of the Cross at the Benedictus. Then the Subdeacon goes back to his place at the bottom of the steps and the Deacon crosses over to attend to the Missal while the Celebrant continues with the Canon in a low voice. You may notice that the Deacon steps back during the Memento in a traditional ceremonial gesture that leaves the Celebrant free to mention various intentions.

Mac also has the Benedictus at her blog. This is sung after the consecration.

High Mass - "the most beautiful thing this side of heaven".

Monday, 3 May 2010

Spiritual Conference for married couples

The other day in the parish, we had an Evening of Recollection for married couples. Here is the spiritual conference that I gave to begin the evening. I hope it may be of some help to publish it for you:

This spiritual conference makes no claim to originality. In fact, I am deliberately relying on the wisdom of others better qualified than I am. You know that for worldly qualifications, people have letters to put after their name; I have a little set myself. In the subject matter of a spiritual conference, however, what matters is the letters someone has before their name: St or Bl, indicating that the Church has judged that they have heroic virtue and that God has confirmed this by a miracle.

So I am going to follow the path of the saintly spiritual writers of the Church in looking briefly at some of the most fundamental themes of the spiritual life. I will try to apply them specifically to engaged and married couples so you know that those comments are probably more “original” and therefore less to be trusted.

St Ignatius Loyola was famous for many things, not least the “spiritual exercises”. These were conducted over a thirty day period for those who seriously wanted to be converted and to live a good and holy life. The result was phenomenal in the work of St Peter Canisius, St Francis Xavier, and our own St Edmund Campion among many others. As a result of their conversion of life, they respectively rebuilt the Church in Germany after the devastation of the Reformation, took the gospel to the ends of the earth, and suffered martyrdom heroically in the darkest persecution of Catholics that England has known.

The spiritual exercises essentially teach us to reflect on some of the principal truths of our faith prayerfully in order to firm up our resolve to live well in the light of those truths. In fact, I will use the scheme of St Francis de Sales. Although he was a very different character from St Ignatius, he followed essentially the same path in instructing those who wished to live a devout life. If you want to read his meditations in full, they can be found in his book Introduction to the Devout Life.

Creation
First of all, we recall that we were created. Only a few years ago we did not exist at all. In a few years, we will be gone. Our parents co-operated with almighty God in our creation. Their love provided the human means by which our body began to exist as a single celled embryo. At the very instant that we were formed physically, God gave us a spiritual and immortal soul which makes us to be human, capable of knowing and loving.

We did nothing whatever of ourselves to bring about our existence as human persons: we owe this entirely to the free creative will of God. That we exist at all is the first thing for which we give Him thanks.

The end for which we were created
One of the classic questions of the penny catechism runs:
Why did God make you?
God made me to know Him, love Him, and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him forever in the next.
We are created out of nothing solely in order to know, love and serve God and to share eternal happiness with Him. God made us to be blissfully happy in the sight of his face for all eternity. He gave us free will and gives us His grace so that we can enjoy happiness not as cat purring on a sofa, or a dog running to catch a sponge ball and bring it back, but as people who can love with the heart, enjoying God’s kindness beyond all imagining and for all eternity.

Yet consider how little thought we give to this. Our daily priorities often have nothing to do with knowing, loving and serving God and everything to do with satisfying our own desires for earthly things instead. As each of us knows to our shame, we even sin against God, flouting His commandments as though He had no claim to our loyalty.

Before the Lord, then, I invite you – the Lord Himself invites you – to come humbly before Him and ask His pardon. Promise Him that in your love for each other and for your children that you will try to know Him, love Him and serve Him so that you and they may be happy with Him forever.

Thanksgiving to God
We have so much to thank God for. We may at times worry about money or other problems. Yet consider for a moment the poor people of Haiti struggling to gather together the bare necessities of life, the people of the Sudan fearing a new and terrible civil war, countless people across the world who do not have running water, a warm house, a variety of food, clean clothes, the safety of a society with a working police force. We have much to thank God for.

Spiritually the gifts that God has given us are even greater. We have, through our parents or through other good influences, come to the knowledge of the Catholic faith. We have been baptised, given sanctifying grace, strengthened in Confirmation. We have been fed by the greatest possible spiritual food that there can be: the living presence of Jesus Christ Himself in Holy Communion. He comes to dwell in us even though we are unworthy to receive Him. You have also been given the great blessing of the sacrament of marriage (or are about to receive this.)

When I was young, the APF box used to carry a quotation from Pope Pius XI:
“There are none so poor as those who lack the knowledge and the grace of God.”
God has seen fit to give us that knowledge and grace. How do we thank Him? Do we even stop to thank Him at all? Do we somehow think that these things are our right? In all the debates about diversity and equality, proclamation and dialogue and respect for the beliefs of others, we should remember that we, unworthy as we are, have been entrusted by God with these great spiritual gifts.

In the case of marriage, we see in our own country countless couples who, for one reason or another, have been deprived of this grace. Perhaps they fear divorce, perhaps they think that marriage is just a bit of paper. One way or another, they have been misled into thinking that marriage would not be a great blessing for them. How much there is to thank God for, and how little we thank Him!

Four last things
I said that in a few years we would be gone. There is a traditional prayer that I always say after a burial or cremation:
Grant, O God that while we lament the departure of this your servant, we may always remember that we are most certainly to follow him. Give us the grace to prepare for that last hour by a good life, that we may not be surprised by a sudden and unprovided death but be ever watching, that when you call, we may enter into eternal glory. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
In fact, within a few minutes, we have forgotten that we are most certainly to follow him. We do not know when this will happen. It may be in hospital when we are old, we may have the presence of a priest and the last sacraments, the opportunity to make a good confession and to compose ourselves to meet our creator. Or we may not. We do not know when, where or how we will die. If you are rich enough and have a good enough accountant, you can even avoid paying tax. There is no equivalent professional who can prevent your death happening sooner or later.

Then we shall be judged on what we have done. We will realise then more clearly than ever that those few decades that we have lived on earth were given to us to know, love and serve God. At that moment, that will be the only thing that matters. How wretched and foolish we will surely feel. All of the vain, frivolous and superfluous things on which we spent our time and energy will be of no use whatsoever. Our half-hearted sorrow for our sins, our superficial prayers, our good works undertaken with so little generosity: these will be an immense consolation to us because of the infinite generosity of our Father who receives them as an earthly father does the little efforts of his children.

He will receive them well because He loves us; but we will regret bitterly that we did not do more for Him, that we left so much undone that we could have done, that we spent so little effort in our prayers and devotional exercises.

At that time we will see the full horror of those who have deliberately turned their back on almighty God and now have to live for eternity in His absence. We will see the unimaginable delight of the saints who will spend eternity in blissful happiness in His presence. And we will go gladly to purgatory, please God, longing for that purification that will make us saints and fit for heaven, thanking God with all our hearts that He is so merciful to us.

We will understand how easy it would have been to undertake that purification on earth by our prayers, our penances and our works of charity. We will see more clearly the bitterness and emptiness of every one of our sins, and the joy that we could have had even on earth by living as Christ taught us.

Choice of devout life
So now put these thoughts to good use. Come before the Lord full of both thanksgiving for His goodness and sorrow for having offended Him. If our sorrow is based on the consideration of His great goodness to us and our ingratitude, that will be what the theologians call “perfect contrition”. Such contrition looks forward to, and is intimately bound up with the sacramental absolution which we receive in Confession. Resolve to make a good and sincere confession so as to receive from Almighty God all the graces that He wishes to give us.

Adore the Lord in simplicity; come before him singing for joy in your heart at His great goodness, aware of the mercy which He has given to us to allow us more time to know Him, love Him and serve Him better.

In your marriage all of these things find a privileged place in the sight of God. Pope John Paul II reminded us eloquently of how the communion of persons in marriage is a reflection of the Holy Trinity. Turning together towards the Lord is a powerful way of drawing closer to each other in the love of your marriage.

Repentance for sin of course has a place at the heart of every relationship and therefore also in marriage. Many of our venial sins are committed against those we love the most on earth. All of them are committed against God who loves us with an infinite love. By drawing closer to Almighty God in repentance for sin and thanksgiving for His goodness, we inevitably enrich our relationships with one another.

Nowhere is this more true than in marriage. God is never a rival to a spouse – as St Francis de Sales explains, it would be absurd for a Bishop to try to live as a Carthusian, or for those who are married to try to own nothing as the Franciscans do. We draw closer to God and live more devoutly by fulfilling the vocation God has given us, not some other vocation. Therefore prayer, penance and charity are lived in and as a part of married life, not as an adjunct to it or a distraction from it.

Drawing apart for a little time with Christ in an evening such as this, we are given the opportunity to refresh our souls and to experience the kindly words of Christ:
Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matt 11.28-30)
Addressed to married couples, these words of Christ may be seen as His encouragement in the great vocation that He has given to you with all its joys and sorrows. He invites you together to His Sacred Heart because your marriage was blessed by Him and he never withdraws that blessing.

Euthanasia poll

There is a poll over at Fox News in an article debating euthanasia. Scroll down and cast your vote. It only takes a moment.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

What real men love

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Annual Mass of the Society of St Catherine of Siena


On Thursday evening I celebrated High Mass at the Conventual Chapel of the Knights of Malta. This was the annual Mass of the Society of St Catherine of Siena of which I am proud to have been appointed chaplain. Dr Laurence Hemming was Deacon and Fr Jean Claude Selvini Subdeacon. Jonathan Hague was MC. The Oratory School choir sang the Byrd 3 part Mass and the Gregorian chant propers. Fr Andrew Wadsworth and Fr Gareth Jones assisted in choir.


The photographs are from Mac McLernon's photostream where you can find many more. Here are a couple:


Saturday, 1 May 2010

Washing instructions


Say a prayer for the good lady who does my shirts. Lord knows what would happen otherwise.

"Surprise, dismay and deep sorrow"

The Vatican Press Office has today released a communiqué concerning the recent Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ. The Rorate Caeli blog has helpfully posted an English translation.

Although the whole thing makes sorry reading, it does steer a careful, just, and prudent path through this appalling mess. The goodness and sincerity of the members of the Legionaries of Christ and of Regnum Christi is recognised, together with the smokescreen which Maciel managed to erect around his nefarious activities.

These grave offences, hidden for too long, are recognised for what they were:
The serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling.
There is pastoral compassion in the communiqué for the innocent members of the Legionaries who have devoted their lives to the service of God and are now confused and devastated by the activities of their founder. It is right and just to tell them that "they will not be left alone" and to assist them to redefine their charism.

In my post Innocens manibus et mundo corde I referred to the story broken by Jason Berry in the National Catholic Reporter concerning the bribes that were given by Maciel for various purposes, especially to cover up his wrongdoing, and those who accepted them. Why have they not either repudiated the charges or resigned in disgrace? Why has this story not been taken up by the media?

In that whole disgraceful train of events, Cardinal Ratzinger - Pope Benedict, emerges with honour, refusing to take bribes, and setting in motion the process in which the truth has been told and acted upon. His hand is clearly stamped upon the uncompromising condemnation of Maciel's crimes together with compassion for those who were deceived by him.

May Morning at Magdalen



An Oxford tradition on Mayday morning is for the choir of Magdalen College to sing the Hymnus Eucharisticus from the tower of the College. Many people gathering below have been celebrating at Balls all night and are hence somewhat inebriated. They used to hire punts and listen from the river but too many people fell in and too many punts were sank so that was stopped. Then undergraduates started jumping into the river from the bridge, not realising that the river is quite shallow at that point. So the bridge was closed for May morning. I'm sure people will think of something else to do in due course.


Here are the words of the hymn:
Te Deum Patrem colimus,
Te Laudibus prosequimus,
qui corpus cibo reficis,
coelesti mentem gratia.

Te adoramus, O Jesu,
Te, Fili unigenite,
Te, qui non dedignatus es
subire claustra Virginis.

Actus in crucem, factus est
irato Deo victima
per te, Salvator unice
vitae spes nobis rediit.

Tibi, aeterne Spiritus
cuius afflatu peperit
infantem Deum Maria,
aeternum benedicimus.

Triune Deus, hominum
salutis auctor optime,
immensum hoc mysterium
orante lingua canimus.
For translation, musical score, more information and pictures, see May Morning.

H/T Fr Michael Gollop SSC of Let nothing you dismay
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