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Overcoming temptations with Christ

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The temptations of Our Lord by the devil in the wilderness are contemptible. The devil fails to understand who Christ is, and appeals to greed and pride. It is ludicrous for the devil to ask Our Lord to worship him, because Our Lord is truly God. It is stupid to offer Christ all the kingdoms of the world – Christ is the creator of the universe. Even His human nature, being sinless, is not vulnerable to temptations to greed and pride.

However the devil returns later “at the appointed time” to torment Our Lord with the weight of all the sins of the human race. This is at the time of the passion of Christ, beginning in the Garden of Gethsemane.

In His infinite love for us, Christ is overwhelmed by the disaster of evil as it has afflicted his beloved children. The anguish of this is even greater than the physical torture of the passion. St Luke tells us that Our Lord sweated blood, a graphic detail which shows the psychological and spiritual agony to which He was subjected. We sometimes …

Bournemouth Oratory Appeal

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Over the past year, during the time that I have been recovering from illness, the Bournemouth Oratory-in-Formation has generously welcomed me to celebrate Mass in the beautiful Church of the Sacred Heart every day, and have become good friends in what is sometimes an isolated existence while I wait for accommodation in my own Archdiocese. They have recently launched an appeal which I am keen to pass on to you in case you may be able to help.

Bishop Philip Egan, a sound and courageous Bishop, has encouraged the Oratory, not only by giving them the Sacred Heart Church as a permanent home, but in supporting them in an ambitious plan to develop their work and become:
A powerhouse of prayerA focus for formation in the faithA hub for the community in the heart of Bournemouth The Community has increased the availability of daily Mass and provides regular daily times for confession, twice-weekly times for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, as well as “Oratory”, the twice daily time of silent…

Our Lady Immaculate, our model for preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ.

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Listening with respect to the message of the angel, and prudently questioning him on how it was possible for her to be the Mother of Christ, Our Lady gave her immediate, willing and whole-hearted consent. From then on, her prayerful expectation of the birth of Christ is a model for us of the devout attitude we should endeavour to adopt during the season of Advent.

From the moment of her conception in the womb of Saint Anne, Our Lady, by a singular privilege, was free from original sin and never committed a single venial sin. Educated in the Temple from childhood, she faithfully and obediently followed the law of God as it was then in force for the Jewish people. She took part in the worship of the synagogue on the sabbath and went to Jerusalem for the great feasts. She observed those feasts with devotion, aware of their meaning which pointed to the Messiah, her own child, the One who is to come.

At those feasts, the psalms formed a major part of the liturgy. She would have known them…

Academy of the Annunciation: a new initiative in Bournemouth

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I am very happy to pass on news of the founding of the Academy of the Annunciation in Bournemouth. The Academy plans to offer conferences and study days for lay people to equip students to evangelise effectively in the vineyard of the Lord. It is also looking to provide conferences for priests, religious, and seminarians.

The Academy will be based at the Sacred Heart, the home of the Bournemouth Oratory-in-Formation which is a beautiful setting: stunning Church and lovely environment with the beach and gardens only a few minutes' walk away. The Angel of the Annunciation logo (above) is taken from an image on the reredos of the Lady Chapel at Sacred Heart.


Bishop Philip Egan is seen here with Dr Denise Oliver (left) and Dr Christina Pal (right) who taught in Rome at the Pontifical North American College (seminary) and other places – Dr Pal at Christendom College and Dr Oliver at the Angelicum, the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas and elsewhere.

The first offering of the …

How to make an act of perfect contrition

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How can you go from imperfect to perfect contrition? Gabriella D from Australia asked me this on Twitter today and I want to give an answer because I think that many people misunderstand what we mean when we talk about “perfect contrition.”

Perfect contrition is sorrow and detestation of sin arising out of the love of God. One way of exciting this contrition in our hearts is by considering the passion of Jesus Christ and making acts of love for Him. We can also think of the infinite love which God has for us, and express sorrow in our heart in the presence of this great love which we have offended.

Imperfect contrition is sorrow and detestation for sin arising from a consideration of the ugliness of sin or out of the fear of hell. Disgust at the ugliness of sin is more common today than fear of hell. That is because we do not preach enough, or with sufficient conviction about the four last things.

If a person commits an act of impurity, for example, perhaps by deliberately looking at a…

Maximum Illud and the missionary month; we do actually need to believe in the salvation of souls.

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October 2019 is designated as an Extraordinary Month of Mission. The Extraordinary Synod of Bishops for the Amazon has distracted our attention from this other extraordinary celebration, but we should never forget the missions. This was impressed on me effectively during my childhood when we were asked to pray for the missions and to give some of our pocket money to support them. I remember the APF missions box in our hall; it carried a quotation from Pope Pius XII, "For there are none so poor as those who lack the knowledge and the grace of God." That really impressed me with the importance of helping the missions.

Pope Francis asked us to observe this month as an Extraordinary Month of Mission in celebration of the centenary of the Apostolic Letter Maximum Illud (1919) of Pope Benedict XV "On the Propagation of the Faith Throughout the World." Pope Benedict XV was in some respects a tragic character. During the first World War he worked heart and soul to bring a…

An example of some meaty catechesis from my childhood

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Some time ago on Twitter, I took to scheduling a regular post at night time, and one for in the morning – not exactly first thing, but before most people get in to work. On TweetDeck, you can set these up to publish when scheduled. The night one was a retweet of a masterpiece of sacred art, and the morning one was something about a saint for that day. I felt that there could be several positive features of this practice.

It would make sure that my Twitter feed was begun and ended on a positive note with something that people would expect from a priest; with God’s grace, somebody might be helped by either or both of those posts. That seemed to work, and there were sometimes quite a lot of likes or positive comments. If I also kept to a rule of not publishing anything outside of these limits, it was a way for me to set a small “rule of life” reminder not to be looking at social media too late at night or early in the morning.

After a while I realised that the saint tweet could end up …

Hong Kong, tear gas, resourceful students, Bishop Ha, and Friday abstinence

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With all the political excitement in the UK at the moment, it is important for us not to forget those in other parts of the world whose political turmoil has a more physical and menacing manifestation.
Innovative tacticsIt is impressive to see the resourcefulness of the protesters in Hong Kong as they have come up with effective home-grown tactics for dealing with tear gas canisters when they are continuing to bellow out their incapacitating fumes. A traffic cone placed over the top will contain the smoke to the extent that it goes upwards instead of spreading laterally. Then water poured down into the cone will dampen the gas completely. Here is the video demonstration:
When tear gas shell comes in, they place a traffic cone on top creating a “chimney” to stop the gas spreading; then pour water into the chimney to douse the shell. pic.twitter.com/sTfjbs3ifT — Antony Dapiran (@antd) July 29, 2019Another chap was in a viral video going up to a canister with a vacuum flask, shaking it up …

Why it is OK to say the Rosary during Mass

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When I was in hospital a few years ago after having a heart attack, a kindly physiotherapist came to assess how fit I was for further treatment. She wanted to see whether I could walk along the corridor and up a couple of steps without gasping for breath or having palpitations. She rightly erred on the side of caution; once content that I would not react in such an extreme way, she gave me a little bottle of liquid with instructions to spray it under my tongue in the event that I were to have sudden severe chest pains.

You need to have one of these on hand to give to a modern type of liturgist if you ask him whether it is all right to say the Rosary during Mass. Perish the thought! You should be answering the responses, singing the hymns, reading the readings and anything else that is nowadays considered to be the only possible way for you to do that most essential thing of participating. You might find a more discerning liturgist, perhaps a knowledgeable Benedictine, who will tell y…

The faithful and their irrepressible instinct for commemorating saints

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Ttony of The Muniment Room has a regular feature in which he reproduces the current list of celebrations, or Ordo for the current week of the pre-1910 calendar; this was the the  liturgical calendar before the major reforms of Pope Pius XII in the document Cum nostra hac aetate of 1955. Over the weeks, it is fascinating to see how many extra prayers for saints, or "commemorations" there used to be. Here is the Ordo for the week beginning Saturday 10 August, a relatively quiet week:


Note for example, that on Tuesday the Mass of the day was the celebration of the day within the Octave of the feast of St Lawrence which had been celebrated on the 10th of August. Then for the collect, the secret and the postcommunion, there was a second prayer for the feast of Saints Hippolytus and Cassian, Martyrs. Then there was the prayer Concede, a prayer in honour of Our Lady so that there was a third prayer to make up the number of prayers which was usually an odd number. ("The indulg…

Saint Philomena, a saint for our age

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Today is the feast of Saint Philomena, Virgin, Martyr and worker of countless miracles, notably through the intercession of St John Vianney, whom Pope Benedict, during the "Year of the Priesthood" (June 2009-June 2010) proclaimed as the "Patron of all the priests of the world."

As ever, we need to get out a metaphorical yard broom to clear the deck from a common reaction to St Philomena. For many people, the only fact they know about St Philomena is that “she didn’t exist.” When I first wrote about St Alphonsus, one commentator said that recommending him was "as loopy as promoting devotion to St Philomena" which I think tells you all you need to know.

Therefore my post Saint Philomena - pray for us! was not simply a recommendation to prayer, but a response to this received (and outdated) opinion that St Philomena did not exist. If you have recently read Taylor Marshall’s book “Infiltration”, you will not be surprised to see that I wrote:
“It is instructi…

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How to make an act of perfect contrition

Overcoming temptations with Christ

Bournemouth Oratory Appeal

Our Lady Immaculate, our model for preparing to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Bishop Budd on Summorum Pontificum