Saturday, 29 October 2011

Blogging cuts you off from real people, doesn't it?

I am just trying to catch up with the blogosphere having had a couple of more than usually busy weeks. As a parish priest, I do like to see what my parishioners are blogging about and hence Bara Brith was a port of call. This led me on an to a post by Clare, Director of the St Mary Magdalen Choir at Brighton about a music conference in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton (clue: not much like the music that we have at Blackfen and Brighton.)

If you watched more than a few seconds of the truly gruesome video with which Clare illustrated her post, you might like to cleanse the palate with her three minute video of the Mass at Brighton for the Association of Latin Liturgy.

Watching it was an almost psychedelic experience: I just spent two days at the Confraternity Colloquium with most of the clergy in the film, including the parish priest, Fr Ray Blake; at one point Bones wafts across as thurifer, my parish’s Director of Music is there, together with some wonderful people one catches up with from time to time at blognics in London pubs, most of whom have been to Blackfen recently for one function or another: Mgr Andrew Burnham’s excellent address to the ALL is on my desk with notes and highlighting, Clare and Julia are planning a chant fest for All Souls here at Our Lady of the Rosary, and somewhere in the series of links I found an amusing picture from the LMS Aylesford Mass which I celebrated recently, of chaps who planned a protest against the invitation of John Cruddas MP to Blackfriars at Oxford where earlier this week I made a visit to the Blessed Sacrament after having coffee with one of the aforementioned protesters, and bumped into a hermit who has only been in touch previously by email, making off with him to the Eagle and Child for a gin and tonic. This is all true. And that sentence was 198 words - I'm doing my bit to make the new ICEL look moderate.

If only we could travel somehow via the internet to meet each other without having to spend any time at Paddington railway station, cruising the M25 or cramped into South Coast Trains. Now what was in those mushrooms I had earlier?

Friday, 28 October 2011

Encouragement to love and live the Catholic priesthood

CCC Colloquium 025

Sixty priests gathered over the past two damp autumnal days for the inaugural Colloquium of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy at the Oratory School at Reading. Secular clergy from all over the country were joined by two bishops, and brother priests from the Dominicans, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, the Fraternity of St Peter, the Society of Our Lady of the Trinity, and (with a profound bow to their greater antiquity) the Order of St Benedict.


Without prejudice to the other excellent elements of the Colloquium, I think that many of the clergy would agree with me that the highlight was the address given by Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury on Loving and Living the Catholic Priesthood Today. He spoke simply, warmly, lucidly and with great humour about the priestly vocation and life. I wondered whether I was being over-emotional but afterwards found that several other wizened old footsloggers like me also felt that there was a speck of dust in their eye or something.

Everyone I spoke to agreed that it was simply the best talk that they had ever heard from a Bishop on the priesthood. To say as much is not to make a point about other bishops: to do so would cheapen Bishop Davies’ sincere and moving meditation. I doubt whether any of us went away without a genuine resolution to change our own lives for the better in response to the witness of this holy priest among priests.

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, the Executive Director of ICEL, spoke this morning about the new translation of the Missal which was, of course, used at the Masses at the Colloquium. Again we were encouraged by the perspective that he brought to bear upon the heart of the priestly ministry in the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy, and we were given food for thought on the development of that celebration through the proper place given to genuinely sacred music.

The last address was given by Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of the Diocese of Lismore, whom I count as an old friend from years ago when he spoke at the London Faith Forum. He talked to us about the way in which the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy in Australia has worked over the years and gave us some useful practical advice. Among many gems from his experience, he told us of Fr Rod Bray who died not long ago. While in hospital he had a constant stream of visitors: in itself that might not be unusual for a priest. The remarkable thing about Fr Bray was that his visitors came not to bring him grapes or gossip but because they wanted to make their confession to him while he was still able to hear them.

For the record, the Sacred Liturgy was celebrated in the new rite, ad orientem, with provision made for priests to concelebrate or attend in choro, and facilities for priests to celebrate private masses if they wished. On both days there was adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with the opportunity for confession. (Thanks to the Oratory School the food was pretty good, too.)

CCC Colloquium 032

Warmest congratulations are due to Fr Edwards, Fr Holden, Fr Whinder, and all the other priests who have organised the foundation of the Confraternity and its successful launch at such a fine Colloquium.

There are some more photos from the Colloquium at Fr Sam Medley's Flickr set.

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Senseless "sense lines"

I heartily agree with the principles put forward by Shawn Tribe of the New Liturgical Movement in the Proposal for the Internal Design and Layout of the Roman Missal of the Ordinary Form. You can see example pages at the Scribd file. Double columns, drop caps, page borders, line art headings - all good - and why on earth not?

Well one answer to that is the imposition of "sense lines" - which gives me the opportunity to absolve the CTS of any fault. In this post, I mean no criticism of the beautiful book that they have produced and which I have enthusiastically purchased.

But the CTS are bound by the demands of some body (ICEL? the Bishops? the CDW?) and must print all the prayers out

in a way
that someone
who does not read
very well
can follow
with his finger,
even if there are
as many as forty-three words
in the sentence,
and say the prayer
into the radio microphone
like a badly-formed haiku.

Apart from the obviously infantilising nature of "sense lines", Shawn has hit upon a good argument that might cause Bishops, the Pope, ICEL, the CDW or whoever, to relax the imposition of this fatuous restriction: SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT!.

If missals could be printed
in double columns
with drop caps,
they would only use
about half the paper
that is required
to print our prayers
in sense lines.
Oxford 010

This week I had a golden opportunity to visit my Alma Mater since my niece has just started as an undergraduate at Oxford. I was able to have lunch with her and a couple of friends and to visit Lincoln College (above) which is a gem that I never really got to know as a student. On my next visit, I'm bringing my gown as I understand that they still have formal Hall every day and that the chef earned a Michelin star.

On my last visit, I was challenged a couple of times on visiting the Oxford Union so I resolved to get myself a new fancy electronic membership card this time. I have to say that the Term Card is a significant improvement on the late 1970s. The classic debates are still the mainstay, but there are far more social events and visiting speakers than I remember. The Union is able to attract major figures, and this term includes debates on education, Russia, Israel, democracy and the regulation of the press.

The last debate of the term is still the silly one where undergraduates mess about. This term's Farewell Debate is on the motion "This House believes that girls can't throw." Current President, Izzy Westbury, an international cricketer, is speaking against.

Naturally I had to go and visit dear old Corpus, founded in 1517 by Bishop Foxe, a friend of St John Fisher. The emblem of the college is the pelican, seen here atop the sundial in the main quad:

Oxford 014

Here is the chapel with its pre-reformation brass eagle lectern:

Oxford 015

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

LMS day at Aylesford

2011 10 15_1319

The Friary of Aylesford, home of the Carmelites, was dissolved by Henry VIII but recovered in the 20th century. Part was restored and some new chapels built, many of them decorated with ceramics by Adam Kossowski. The Relic Chapel houses the reliquary for the skull of St Simon Stock to whom Our Lady appeared, granting the brown scapular as a sign of her prayers and protection.

Since my childhood I have frequently visited the shrine and still love to go around the different chapels. It is one of those places that has a holiness that seems to seep through the stones. You could go there blindfold and know that it was hallowed by centuries of devotion.

The Relic Chapel has a side chapel in honour of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales canonised by Pope Paul VI in 1970, and a Carmelite Chapel which includes some unhaloed images of saints since beatified or canonised, such as Blessed Titus Brandsma and St Teresa Benedicta of the Cross.

Last Saturday I celebrated Mass there for the Latin Mass Society. The attendance was impressive - more than I remember from previous occasions - and the music, directed by Matthew Schellhorn, was sublime. In the afternoon, I gave a spiritual talk on the four last things, then Benediction, followed by the blessing of brown scapulars.

The Friars are always welcoming to us and most helpful in providing everything needed for the traditional Mass - they have some fine vestments and old books, too. One day, I'd love to be a sacred minister at High Mass using their papally-indulted blue High Mass set!

The above photo is taken from Joseph Shaw's flickr set where there are many more.

Friday, 14 October 2011

Confraternity Colloquium last call

The British Province of St Gregory the Great of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is holding a colloquium for priests from 27-28 October at the Oratory School in Reading. This will be a chance to hear and to meet Bishop Mark Davies. Another distinguished speaker will be Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett of Lismore Australia, a former chairman of the Australian CCC, who will be speaking on Liturgy and Evangelisation. As if that were not enough, Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, the Executive Director of ICEL will also be speaking on "The Priest, the Parish and the New Translation."

This Colloquium is set to be of historic importance for the Church in Britain so if any of you brother priests is free, even to attend part of the event, it would be worthwhile. Bookings can still be taken up until Sunday evening. Any priests who would like to attend should email Fr Richard Whinder, ring 020 8876 1326 or write to St Mary Magdalen’s Presbytery, 61 North Worple Way, Mortlake, London SW14 8PR.

I hope to see some of you there.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

How should we sing Gregorian chant?

Jeffrey Tucker today posted on the NLM the above video comparing two ways of singing the same communion antiphon (Aufer a me.) One is the Solesmes method and the other is the "Rhetorical method" which I have not come across before.

When I visited Talinn a couple of years ago, I experienced chant sung by a group that was enthusiastic for ancient music and interpreted the chant in a way that seemed to have a universal quality in that it would remind anyone of Jewish, Islamic or other sacred music that probably has similar roots. Since then, I have discovered the work of Ensemble Organum and others who also try to recover ancient ways of singing the text. Here is my favourite, the Kyrie Cunctipotens:

Without in any way denigrating the work of Solesmes, I think that in these times when Gregorian chant is being revived in many places throughout the world, it is useful to discuss how it can be interpreted and executed in the sacred liturgy.

A good meal and memories of the seventies

Fr Z 001

Since Fr Z often features fine looking meals on his blog, I suggested that he might like to rustle up something at Blackfen since I am not really much of a cook. He very graciously obliged with a superb meal. Fr Briggs came over and we were treated to a splendid spaghetti al ragu followed by pork medallions and various nourishing additions. We drank Chateauneuf du Pape which was right for the occasion but it was Fr Z who noticed that Tesco had chosen to illustrate the bottle with the coat of arms of Pope Paul VI.

Fr Z 003

Thinking back to seminary days during the reign of Montini, I regaled the brothers with various songs that were sung at Mass in those days in place of the Introit, the Offertory or the Communion. In England we were much worse off than seminarians in the US: the music of the St Louis Jesuits, David Haas, and Marty Haugen was actually a great improvement on "Moses I know you're the man", "Yahweh is the God of my salvation", and various others from the "20th Century Folk Hymnal" and the volumes of "Songs in the Spirit."

After dinner, I fetched a copy of "Sing Praise", a hymn book compiled by students at the English College in the late seventies. I also happened to have on hand a white "Marlin Seagull" guitar. Fr Z has posted a photograph of me using it, so I though I ought to return the favour:

Fr Z 005

Blessed Alexandrina

Although I happily celebrated the feast day Mass of St Edward the Confessor this morning, a correspondent reminded me that today is also the feast day of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa. Here is some basic information about her:
Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa of Balasar, Portugal (1904 – 1955), one of the great mystics of modern times, was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 2004. A ‘victim soul', chosen by Christ to suffer in atonement for the sins of humanity, she was bedridden for life from the age of twenty after sustaining injuries while escaping from an attacker. She mystically underwent the Passion of Christ on Fridays and her sufferings helped to shorten World War II. Her astounding life has many connections to the events of Fatima and she is known in Portugal as ‘ the fourth seer of Fatima '. She urged all to “ Do penance, sin no more, pray the Rosary, receive the Eucharist ”. For the last thirteen years of her life she miraculously lived on the Holy Eucharist alone, a medically confirmed fact. She has been proposed by the Church as “ a model of purity and perseverance in the Faith for today's youth ”.
You can find out more about her at the Blessed Alexandrina website.

I think that in the 20th century God raised up some extraordinarily great saints in response to the extraordinary evils that took place at the time, and that Blessed Alexandrina was one, along with St Gemma Galgani, for example.

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Does this sand dune tell us something about the liturgical reform?

Environmental Graffiti has some stunning pictures of the 10 tallest sand dunes on earth which I found courtesy of Jennifer's Favourite Links which is well worth having on your blogroll.

The pictures and narrative are all fascinating but I was particularly struck by the Cerro Medanoso (above) which is the second tallest dune in the world at 1,805 feet. The desert in which it lies is also the driest place on the planet. Apparently NASA has tested instruments here for future missions to Mars.

What caught my interest was the statement that some areas are thought to have had no rain to speak of between 1570 and 1971. Make of that what you will. Advocates of the modern liturgy might say that it was dry as dust from Quo Primum to the introduction of the Novus Ordo when the Spirit came down "like the dewfall". I prefer to think that perhaps there was a disturbance to the natural order and the rainfall indicated a certain discontinuity. Feel free to offer other suggestions in the combox :-)

Encouragement and support for priests

Fr John Boyle has a post on Bishop Sample sharing his Vision and Program for the New Evangelisation in which the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy has pride of place. Regarding evangelisation itself, he said that the programme is, well, the gospels. He also set out some pastoral priorities:
  1. The call to holiness
  2. Prayer in the Church
  3. Sunday Mass
  4. Penance/Confession
  5. The primacy of grace (not just our own efforts)
  6. Listening to the Word
  7. Proclaiming the Word
I was especially struck by this point in Fr Boyle's report of the recent convocation of priests of the Diocese of Marquette:
The bishop confided to the priests that he prays and offers sacrifice for each priest in the diocese. His Friday Mass, fast, prayer, abstinence are all offered for the priests of the diocese. He asks Our Lady to pour out the Precious Blood and Water that flowed from her Son's side upon all the priests and that she would hold us close to her Immaculate Heart.
It is very good of His Excellency not only to do that but also to communicate to priests that he does. During the convocation, he invited priests to make the following Act of Consecration:

Mary, Mother of Jesus and Queen of Peace
since Jesus from the Cross
gave you to me,
I take you as my own.

And since Jesus gave me to you,
take me as your own.
Make me docile like Jesus on the Cross,
obedient to the Father,
trusting in humility and love.

Mary, my Mother,
in imitation of the Father,
who gave His Son to you,
I too give myself to you;
to you I entrust all that I am,
all that I have
and all that I do.

Help me to surrender ever more fully to the Spirit.
Lead me deeper into the Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection
and the fullness of the Church.

As you formed the heart of Jesus by the Spirit,
form my heart to be the throne of Jesus
in His glorious coming.
At our Deanery Clergy Conference today, I spoke a little about the recently published document from the Congregation for Clergy: The Priest, Minister of Divine Mercy which gives guidance for priests on the ministry of the Sacrament of Penance and on giving spiritual direction. I printed off the examination of conscience (p.65-68) and the prayers before and after hearing confessions (p.69-70) I'll order some copies for the next Deanery meeting.

Altar missals nearly ready for delivery

The CTS reports that the new Altar Missals are (nearly) packed and ready to go. They are being packed and labelled at a warehouse in Hampshire and will be despatched on 24 October.

I received this news just now from the Catholic Communications Network ( who recently emailed me to ask whether,as a Catholic blogger, I would like to be on their mailing list for press releases. Some of us have criticised the CCN in the past, so to give credit where it is due, I think it is a very positive development for the CCN to be in touch with Catholic bloggers in this way.

London blognic

blognic 006

The Coal Hole on the Strand was buzzing last night when about 30 Catholic bloggers descended to the downstairs bar at the invitation of Fr Zuhlsdorf. Beforehand I celebrated Mass at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane: the regular Latin Mass Society Mass which happens every Monday at 6.30pm.

Fr Selvester of OMNIApost was there along with Fr Ray Blake and Deacon James Bradley of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. We all had the chance to swap stories and chat about the issues that are creating news on the blogosphere. Part of this conversation always involves the things that we know about but choose not to put on our blogs in order to avoid scandal.

It was really a great success in bringing together Catholics who have a love for the Church and a real desire to evangelise using the new media. Conversations revolved around liturgy, pro-life politics, lay apostolate, marriage, families, bishops, blogging, vocations, the ordinariate, gay masses, prayer, preaching and more.

It was an evening of Catholic action in the best sense and I for one, as a priest, came away revitalised by contact with good fellow Catholics who want to do their best to help the Church fulfil her mission. For me as a priest it is most consoling to be in the company of so many devout and committed lay people who want to be active in the work of the Church and promote her dogmatic and moral teaching.

I don't know what the Coal Hole made of it all but I think at least the staff were treated with kindness and consideration - they always say that they like Monday evenings when we come in.

Here's a good photo of three clerical friends of mine:

(L-R Fr Ray Blake, Fr John Zuhlsdorf, Deacon James Bradley)

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Faith Magazine latest issue online

The latest issue of Faith Magazine is now online. You can download the whole issue as a pdf or you can look at individual articles.

This issue I have an article on The New (corrected) ICEL Translation which begins:
People have grown old and died waiting for an accurate English translation of the Missal of Pope Paul VI. Most Catholics under 40 years of age have never been able to participate at Mass said according to a faithful rendering of the official Latin text. This injustice to the People of God is now being rectified, and not before time.
Our policy in Faith is to make all of the content of the magazine available online.

Here is the link to subscribe if you would like a shiny printed copy. Six issues per year: UK £25, overseas airmail £33 (there are other options.)

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Defend Marriage in Scotland

The recently started blog Defend Marriage in Scotland is subtitled "News and Commentary on the War Against Marriage and the Family in Scotland". In particular, they invite you to canvass your MSP.

This is a good use of blogging for a particular and important issue. If you live in Scotland, this is an essential blog for you. If you live in the United States, it may be of interest to see what's coming your way some time soon.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Catholic blogging and blogging Catholics

2011 10 01_0064

Here is the text of my talk Catholic blogging and blogging Catholics for the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma at Blackfen last Saturday. Sorry for the delay in posting it. The day went very well, I think. Several people had not experienced the older form of the Mass before and the solemn High Mass was perhaps the best introduction for them. Trisha and her team did us proud with the food, and it was good to be able to celebrate solemn vespers more Romano.  The photo above is from Mulier Fortis who has more on her blog and on Flickr.

Dylan Parry posted a comprehensive report of the day at the Guild blog and several other bloggers posted their own impressions so to save time, here (courtesy of the Guild blog) is a list of the Catholic bloggers and users of the new media who were present:

Those Guild members who wanted to be at the event, but couldn't make it were: Laurence England (The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill); Chris Owens (Benedictus Dominus); James Preece (Catholic and Loving it!); Greg Beaman (A Brief Encounter); Sean Gough (Trust in You); Jane Mossendew (Thoughts from a Catholic Oasis); Stephen Moseling (St Pauls Bookshop Blog); as well as these two anonymous or semi-anonymous blogs: Juventutem London and Catholic with Attitude.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Memories of Michael Davies

The Sunday before last (25 September) I offered Mass for the repose of the soul of Michael Davies on the occasion of his anniversary. The Mass was kindly requested by the latest of my parishioners to start a blog (The Hilaire Belloc blog) and was attended by Maria Davies, Michael's wife.

Michael and my father were good friends. Their primary concern in the late 1960s as Catholic primary school teachers, was the collapse of Catholic catechesis and the rampant spread of modernist teaching which spread throughout Catholic schools in a few short years after the second Vatican Council. Along with others from Pro Fide, they campaigned tirelessly against the teaching of the Corpus Christi College which promoted the New Catechetics. It was eventually shut down by Cardinal Heenan after he was confronted with materials that undermined the divinity of Christ, though there was no official recognition of the problems it had caused or the justice of the cause of those who opposed it.

On a lighter note, I remember an experiment that Michael used to run with his class of 11 year old juniors. At the end of term, he would leave several piles of holy cards on his desk and simply tell the children that they could take whichever ones they wanted. Some of the cards had traditional devotional pictures of the Sacred Heart, the Crucifixion, or Our Lady; others (in equal numbers) were the sort that had come into vogue in the late 1960s with trees, flowers or snowscapes overlaid with a meaningful verse from scripture or some other source. He would chuckle and tell us that the children took most of the traditional ones but left the modern ones behind.

Michael's energies became particularly focussed on defence and restoration of the traditional liturgy, and it is his writings on this subject which are best known.

Michael came to my ordination in 1984 and attend the first usus antiquior Mass which I celebrated: the funeral of Agnes Waddelove on 7 January 2002. Agnes died on 27 December and her family asked me to say the old Mass. I immediately said that of course I would, and then on my way home realised that I only had a few days to learn how to celebrate it. I went carefully through the Ritus Servandus, then had a run-through with Fr Charles Briggs. With a good server I managed to get through without disaster. Michael Davies attended the funeral and was most encouraging to me. Afterwards he sent me some altar cards and a book of instructions.

Michael's funeral was at Fr Briggs' parish of St Mary's, Chislehurst on 22 October 2004. He had asked for Fr Edwards to be celebrant, Fr Briggs to be deacon, and myself to be subdeacon. In the event, Fr Briggs was not well enough to be deacon and Fr William Hudson of the ICKSP stepped in - but I remember thinking that Michael must have had his characteristic Welsh twinkle in his eye when making the request for three serving parish priests of the Archdiocese to celebrate Solemn High Mass in the old rite. (Remember that this was before the pontificate of Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum.)

When I think of Michael and my father, I often feel a little sad that they did not see the developments that have taken place in the Church. They would both have been ecstatic at the election of Pope Benedict and the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum. I'm quite sure they both would have started blogs. Imagine what a Michael Davies blog would have been like!

After our recent Mass for Michael, a correspondent reminded me of the message sent by the then Cardinal Ratzinger for the occasion of his funeral:
I have been profoundly touched by the news of the death of Michael Davies. I had the good fortune to meet him several times and I found him to be a man of deep faith and ready to embrace suffering. Ever since the Council he put all his engergy into the service of the faith and left us important publications especially on the sacred liturgy. Even though he suffered from the Church in many ways in his time, he always truly remained a man of the Church. He knew that the Lord founded His Church on the rock of Peter and that the faith can find its fullness and maturity only in union with the successor of Saint Peter. Therefore we can be confident that the Lord opened wide for him the gates of heaven. We commend his soul to the Lord's mercy.
There was a very good Memorial notice for Michael in the Remnant. If you scroll down to the foot of the page there are links to several other articles about him.

Petition to repeal or amend SORs

David Skinner has started a petition which reads as follows
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to remove or amend the Sexual Orientation Regulations (SORs, enacted 2007) that Outlaw Discrimination in the Provision of Goods and Services on the Grounds of Sexual Orientation (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans sexual etc etc.) These violate our human right to choose goods and services supportive of traditional family life where there is a father and mother, husband and wife at its centre and simultaneously refuse us the right to reject goods and services that force us and our children to conform to gay and secular ideology, or be in an environment that condones or promotes it.
As this is a petition to HM Government, you have to be a British citizen or normally resident in the UK.

Sign the petition here.

Who is going to be "Parent 1"?

World Encounter of Families. Valencia 2006

In the latest piece of PC nonsense, the Home Office is to alter applications for British passports in accordance with their Diversity Strategy (and in response to lobbying by Stonewall) so that instead of naming Mother and Father, people will be able to name Parent 1 and Parent 2.

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust has been quoted widely, saying among other things:
Like the Labour administration before it, the Coalition seems to be in Stonewall’s grip. It is high time ministers started to represent the interests of the country as a whole and not capitulate to every demand made by a vocal and unrepresentative minority.
It is good to see him representing the reaction of most ordinary people at this ridiculous proposal.

It also occurred to me that the new form could pose problems of its own. It could well be a source of throwing-things-around-the kitchen and not-speaking-to-each-other sessions if same-sex couples have to decide who is Parent 1 and who is Parent 2.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Mgr Pozzo's primer on the present liturgical situation

I have just had a chance to watch Mgr Pozzo's interview broadcast on Gloria TV (Thanks again to Rorate Caeli.) The interview begins with questions about the discussions between the Holy See and the SSPX but then broadens into an exchange where Mgr Pozzo sets out succinctly (and in beautiful Italian) many of the important questions concerning the present state of the liturgy, the value of the usus antiquior and the problems that we face in the celebration of the Missal of Paul VI. Gloria TV has posted a full transcript of the interview translated into English.

Mgr Pozzo focuses heavily on the problems in the manner of celebration of the Novus Ordo, often celebrated in a way that seriously contradicts the provisions of Vatican II and the mind of the legislator. Some of us would also want to explore, for example, the problems with the altering of ancient collects and the doctrinal implications of those alterations; but Mgr Pozzo's interview would be a very useful primer for somebody puzzled by the present disputes.

He summarises well and diplomatically why it is worthwhile to promote "the Latin Mass" (a designation he does not correct - but this is, after all an interview):
Because the ancient rite of the Mass makes explicit and highlights certain values and certain fundamental aspects of the liturgy that deserve to be maintained, and I am not speaking only about the Latin or Gregorian chant, I am speaking about the sense of mystery, of the sacred, the sense of the Mass as a sacrifice, the real and substantial presence of Christ in the Eucharist and the fact that there are great moments of interior recollection, interior participation in the divine liturgy. All these are fundamental elements which are particularly highlighted in the ancient rite of the Mass. I am not saying that these elements do not exist in the Mass of Paul VI's reform, but I am saying that they are highlighted much more and this can enrich even those who celebrate or participate in the ordinary form of the Mass.
(The expression in the first sentence is "la Messa nel rito antico" - "Mass in the old rite" would be simplest literal English translation. This expression, used by the Secretary of Ecclesia Dei, has also been used by Pope Benedict. It is not a naughty expression.)

A deeper question was posed to me today. At the end of a Day of Recollection for some intelligent (and impressively well-mannered) sixth formers, we had a "Grill the Priest" session where they could ask questions either viva voce or by submitting them on paper. There were many thoughtful questions on various subjects. The one relevant here was "Why was it thought necessary to rewrite the Mass?" It seems that the balance of enquiry might be shifting in some young minds from "What is the value of the old rite?" to asking why it was felt necessary to have a new rite in the first place.

Tempora mutantur et nos mutamur in illis

Blessed John Paul II on freedom

It is good to hear from Andrew at Unam Sanctam after a bit of a break from blogging. He came up out of the blue with this quotation from Blessed John Paul II's homily at Orioles Park in Camden Yards USA in October 1995:
Freedom consists not in doing what we like, but in having the right to do what we ought.
That should be posted up in every sixth form philosophy classroom.

Pope Benedict determined to stop syncretism personally at Assisi

"Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi"

Photo credit: Mr G's travels

Yesterday, Rorate Caeli has an important article with Pope Benedict's own resolution concerning the forthcoming meeting at Assisi. Many Catholic have expressed concerns about the meeting and especially the danger that it might promote or condone syncretism. To a Lutheran pastor who expressed such concerns, the Holy Father wrote:
"I understand quite well - Benedict XVI wrote on March 4, 2011 - your concern regarding the participation at the Assisi meeting. However, this commemoration would have to have been celebrated in some way and, all things considered, it seemed to me that the best thing would be for me to personally go there being thus able to determine the direction of it all. I will nevertheless do everything in order that a syncretistic or relativistic interpretation of the event will be impossible and so that what will remain is that I will always believe and confess that which I had called to the attention of the Church with [the Declaration] 'Dominus Iesus'."
This quotation was read by Cardinal Burke at a conference promoted by traditional Catholics last week in Rome. I hope that it can offer some reassurance to those who are worried about the Assisi event, since it would obviously be the Holy Father's own desire that his thoughts on the matter be made known.

The Declaration Dominus Iesus is one of the highlights of Cardinal Ratzinger's time as Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The Declaration states:
Theological faith (the acceptance of the truth revealed by the One and Triune God) is often identified with belief in other religions, which is religious experience still in search of the absolute truth and still lacking assent to God who reveals himself. This is one of the reasons why the differences between Christianity and the other religions tend to be reduced at times to the point of disappearance. (Dominus Iesus n.7)
Pope Benedict will surely have this in mind when he visits Assisi.

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Southern Faith Priests

Faith Priests 008

The other day I was at the Southern Faith Priests Day at the Bridgettine Guest House in Iver Heath. It is a great place to stay and I recommend it if you want a day off or a few days peace and quiet, or even if you just want a nice place to stay before going to Heathrow Airport. I did not know where Iver Heath was until researching my travel arrangements. It is near the much-maligned Slough and other more happily named places such as Gerrards Cross, Stoke Poges and Shredding Green, tucked in between the M4, the M40, and the M25.

On Thursday evening, Fr Mark Vickers spoke to us about his work as chaplain to the University of Hertfordshire. He began celebrating an extra Mass on Sunday evening for the students which started with just a few but has grown in numbers. Other areas of apostolate have grown up so that the Catholic chaplaincy is now thriving and there have been several vocations. I have been before to speak to the students and will be going again this autumn. Nowadays, Catholic university students who go to events organised by a Catholic chaplain are not looking to attack the Church's teaching but to learn about it.

On Friday morning it was my turn to speak and the topic was the new ICEL translation. I based my talk on the article that has just appeared in Faith Magazine and will be on the Faith website soon. I'll post a link when it is there.

The Bridgettine Guest House is used by ordinary travellers, especially as a reasonable guest house in reach of Heathrow Airport. They have a Lourdes shrine in front of the house which might help some travellers think about things eternal:

Faith Priests 011

Inside, there is more than one painting of Blessed Richard Reynolds, a Bridgettine priest who was martyred by King Henry VIII along with the Carthusians:

Faith Priests 016
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...