Showing posts from October, 2006

Civil Partnerships and the Church. II Practice

This post is intended to give some objective, publicly available information concerning what I consider to be several grave scandals associated with one another. I have purposely avoided the use of any emotive language and ask that any comments on this post should be calm and objective. The Furrow for October 2006 carries an article by Enda McDonagh entitled "Honorably Catholic and Honorably Gay". A footnote to the title gives the background: "This reflection was delivered by Fr McDonagh on 10 June 2006 at a liturgy in London to celebrate the registration of the civil partnership of Martin Pendergast and Julian Filochowski." Fr McDonagh states of this occasion that it is "a prophetic one, at least a partial realization of a dream, leading us further along the road to being honourably Catholic." Speaking particularly of "Martin and Julian", he concludes, "In their being so honourably gay they have enabled us to be a little more honourably Ca

Civil Partnerships and the Church. I Theory

Mgr Gordon Read has an article in the June 2006 Newsletter of the Canon Law society of Great Britain and Ireland . He quotes a lengthy portion of the June 2003 document of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith entitled Considerations regarding proposals to give legal recognition to unions betwen homosexual persons . An important passage in this document reads: In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. (n.5) Mgr Read refers to the response of the Catholic Church, particularly Archbishop Smith's statement in which he said that the introduction of civil partnerships w

"Pro multis" articles

Fr John Zuhlsdorf writes an excellent blog from Rome called What does the prayer really say? He writes on various liturgical topics and has an extensive Patristic Rosary Project in progress. He has written before on the question of the pro multis and recently referred to the rumours I mentioned in his post About "pro multis" . (He felt that it may have been imprudent for me to mention them and if this is so, I am sorry.) In one post, he has collected together links to his thorough articles on "pro multis" . They are well worth reading for some comprehensive background on this issue.

Extraordinary Ministers and purification

Cardinal Arinze recently wrote to Bishop Skylstad to say that extraordinary ministers of holy Communion will no longer be permitted to assist in the purification of the sacred vessels at Masses in the United States. Read the full article: Extraordinary ministers of Eucharist barred from purifying vessels . (H/T American Papist ) This letter is of relevance to England and Wales because currently the Bishops give permission for extraordinary ministers to purify the vessels after Holy Communion. The permission is conditional upon any further instruction from Rome. Since Bishop Skylstad said that Cardinal Arinze asked Pope Benedict about the matter during a June 9 audience, "and received a response in the negative", it would not seem to be necessary for a further instruction to be issued for England and Wales.

Random act of kindness

On my last day in Rome, I had lunch at a restaurant near St Peter's before catching a taxi to Fiumicino Airport. Having ordered and settled down to reading Peter Kreeft's Ecumenical Jihad , I noticed a Bishop come in, also on his own. I nodded politely and we both continued with our reading and repast. After lunch, he came over and introduce himself, complimented me on my choice of reading and left. Shortly after, when I asked the waiter for the bill, he told me that the Bishop had paid it. So thanks very much indeed, My Lord, and may God bless you for your kindness.

Media mediated Blessing

Joee Blogs asked whether he could get the Apostolic Blessing via my YouTube clip. Unfortunately not. There is a special provision for the Urbi et Orbi blessing on Easter Sunday. You can receive that blessing and indeed the plenary indulgence by watching it on television or listening to it on the radio - live, not recorded. (If I'm wrong on any of this, canonists please feel free to correct me.) I remember as a child that my father got us all together to kneel down for the Urbi et Orbi Blessing on Easter Sunday. Just thinking of this now chokes me up a bit (he died in 1997). As a young man, he had crossed the channel on 8 June 1944, fought in the tanks in the battle of the Falaise pocket, through the bocage, and, village by village, through Belgium; now he was kneeling with unabashed faith and devotion to receive the Pope's blessing via the television, reverently making the sign of the cross, and teaching us children by his good example. (The picture shows him and my mother w

Apostolic Blessing Video

OK. Here's a piece of Catholic-Blogging-YouTube one-upmanship if you like. My very own video of Pope Benedict! Yay! How cool is that then, eh? Unfortunately, the quality of the camera-work is, well, complete rubbish. Nevertheless, it is worth it just to hear the Bavarian pronunciation of Dee-us . Enjoy - it's only 30 seconds.

Room with a view

Last Monday, I had the great pleasure of dining with Tom Pink, who is Reader in Ethics at Kings College, London, and his wife, Judy. We were joined by a certain person who cannot be named on this blog owing to the sensitivity of his work. In order to protect his anonymity, he was obliged to come to dinner dressed in Darth-Vader-cum-Burkah headgear. Later, he kindly invited me to see his flat and drink some of his cognac. From the balcony, he has what can only be considered one of the best views that it is possible to have:

Saints in St Peter's

Whenever I am in Rome, I spend hours and hours in St Peter's. I never tire of its magnificence, triumphaism and sheer Romanità . It feels as though it is made for the Classical Roman rite, either celebrated privately at the numerous altars, or in full Pontifical splendour. Some of the decoration is modelled consciously on the Basilica of Maxentius as you can easily see if you visit the Forum and compare the mouldings. Truly the Glory of Rome beyond the dreams of the Caesars. Currently, there is an exhibition in the Braccio Carlo Magno devoted to the Basilica itself. The title was Petros Eni (probably = "Peter is in here") which is the inscription on a small piece of red stone found at the tomb of St Peter during the investigations commissioned by Pope Pius XII. The finale of the exhibition was a display case which contained the actual piece of stone. Along the way, the different rooms told the story of the various architects modifying the plans of their predecessors and

Rome awash with Southwark priests

Last week was the English "half term", a week long holiday in the middle of the school term. Priests often take some time off as there are no Governors' meetings or school duties. This certainly seemed to be true of Southwark clergy last week. In the sacristy of St Peter's, I met Fr James Clark and both Frs Boyle (Stephen and John - South Ashford Priest ) who were out with some altar servers. At the airport, I met Fr Southwell of the Latin Mass Society who was out on pilgrimage with the Society. In St Peter's Square, I bumped into Fr Martin Edwards so we each posed for a genuine tourist photo. Here he is: Another time in the colonnade, I met Fr Philip Gilbert and several others (including Bishop Howard Tripp) who were part of the same priestly support group, spending a few days at the Casa del Clero . Fr Gilbert estimated that 6% of the active clergy from the Archdiocese of Southwark were in Rome last week.

Forest Murmurs blog

Wow! is there a lot to post... Even though the clocks go back tonight, giving us an extra hour in bed, I'm determined not to stay blogging after 10pm so I'll put up whatever I can today. First off, there is a new UK priest blogger, Fr Michael Brown, who has a blog called Forest Murmurs . I did not quite meet Fr Brown in Rome but waved to him across the barricaded central aisle of St Peter's last Monday evening. (In the photo, he is the one wearing glasses and just taking out his camera.) We were both there to see the Pope after the academic Mass. Do take a look at his blog and put in on your blogroll. UPDATE - Fr Michael Brown has posted his picture now!

Quarant' Ore at Maiden Lane

Just ploughing through last week's email - I thought it would be helpful to post this information. There is to be 40 hours Devotion at Corpus Christi, Maiden Lane, Covent Garden: Monday 30th October - High Mass of Exposition, Tuesday 31st October - High Mass for Peace, Wednesday 1st November (All Saints - Holy Day) - High Mass of Deposition. All Masses are at 6.30pm and in the Classical Roman rite. Also: High Requiem Mass for All Souls - Thursday 2nd November - 6.30pm

Advice from a Cardinal

Returning from Mancinelli's yesterday morning, I was crossing over to the Piazza San Pietro and quite by chance met Cardinal George Pell. I was delighted to be able to give him my humble greetings and exchange a couple of words with him. He was probably on his way to lunch but had time to give me some kindly advice, aussie style: "Tim, - keep your guard up and keep moving around the ring." Priceless!

A few pictures from Rome

I have to do some posts on the Chiesa Nuova , San Gregorio, the Basilica of Ss John and Paul, Santa Maria Sopra Minerva, the General Audience and other things. In the meantime, here is a selection of some favourites from this trip. First off, a "St Peter's by night" snap: Here is the tower of the basilica of Ss John and Paul from the Coelian This is another picture from the Coelian. If I didn't tell you, you probably wouldn't realise, as I did after taking the photo, that it is a picture of a public toilet. Everything gets to be picturesque in Rome! Even street sweeping vehicles can get a windscreen to die for!

Pro multis - letter expected soon

I heard nothing in Rome about the rumours of the Motu proprio liberalising the Classical Roman Rite. However, I was surprised to find that Rome is awash with rumours about another initiative - apparently insisted upon by the Holy Father himself. A letter is shortly to be issued which will stipulate that in translations into the vernacular, the words of consecration should render pro multis as "for many". The letter will make it clear that theologically we know that Christ died "for all" but that the words of consecration should be rendered accurately, according to the tradition of most liturgies. This will be a major signal and will help with the reconciliation of traditionalists who find the mistranslation of pro multis to be a stumbling block.

So many people in Rome

Sorry for the lack of posts since Wednesday morning. The Internet Café I was posting from had a dodgy connection which lost a couple of posts so I spent the time pounding the streets of Rome rather than typing. I had an exhausting but inspiring tour of Churches in the area of the Coelian Hill. Getting off the bus at the Circus Maximus, I climbed up to the Church of St Gregory. From there it was a short walk to the Basilica of Ss John and Paul (thus completing one item on the to-do list). The park is next to that basilica so I walked through and had to visit Santa Maria in Domnica. Then I could not leave without crossing over to see Santo Stefano Rotondo. There I was stopped by the classic Roman spoiler - in restauro . It will look good when it is finished, I'm sure. Wednesday evening I had dinner with Mgr Barreiro of Human Life International. Over coffee and amaro , we were joined by Frs Dylan James, James Clark and Greg Hogan and another priest who shall remain anonymous on this b

Holy See Press Office

Another stop this morning, after the audience, was the Holy See Press Office. Unfortunately, there are no press conferences scheduled this week. Otherwise, I would have got myself accredited and taken a photograph of a Vatican press pass with "The Hermeneutic of Continuity" on it. And I would have taken lunch at Chez Bruce from Fr Stephen Langridge! (He offered this in the combox.) One time previously, I was in Rome (quite fortuitously= for the launch of Redemptionis Sacramentum . Despite my lack of documentation, the Press Office could not have been more helpful and I ended up with a press pass anyway. They are actually keen to help anyone who is genuinely interested in reporting on the Holy See.

Italian at St Peter's

Amy Wellborn asks about the language of publicly scheduled Masses at St Peter's . Apparently, someone had written that publicly scheduled Masses at St Peter's are now celebrated in Latin. This may be true of some of the principal Masses such as the main Sunday Mass. Sadly it is not true of the weekday Masses. Yesterday, I was at the 5pm Mass at the altar of the Chair. That part of the Basilica was full to overflowing for the Mass - probably in excess of a thousand people. Apart from the Ordinary ( Missa de Angelis ) everything was in Italian. Most of the people at the Mass will have been at the General Audience earlier in the day. At the end of this, the Holy Father leads the Pater Noster and then gives the apostolic blessing in Latin " Sit nomen Domini benedictum ... The text of the Pater and the blessing is printed on the reverse of the General Audience tickets. But at the evening Mass in the patriarchal basilica we got " Sia benedetto il nome del Signooooore ...&

General Audience and Centro Storico

People who work in Rome always have time to meet you over coffee. It seems to be an institution that you go out at 11am to a favoured local bar for a cappucino. Before and after this incontro , I took in some of the General Audience and, I hope, got some good photos. After putting my best intentions into gaining the Plenary Indulgence at the Papal Blessing, I made off on the 40 bus to the Centro Storico , the "historic centre" of Rome. Of course, the whole of Rome is pretty "historic" compared with most cities but there is an area comprising such delights as the Pantheon, the Campo de'Fiori and the Trevi Fountain, which is referred to as the Centro Storico . It is a rather foolish exercise to go tramping round there this lunchtime in the scorching sun but I can never resist it. Even despite the crush of tourists (like myself, I hasten to add), it has a charm all of its own, most especially because of the tremendous building and restoration activity during the c

Father Bernie

This is the sort of thing that happens in Rome. I am walking up the Via Conciliazione, intending to get a bus to the Centro Storico and who should I see at a cafe but Fr Bernie O'Connor. Bernie is at the Congregation for Oriental Churches - his responsibility is the Syro-Malabar Rite. Many years ago, he was my spiritual director when I was a young student at the English College. He is always interested to hear news of priests from that time.

Human Life International, Rome

Later this morning, I called over to the office of Human Life International in Rome. I should have telephoned first but somehow I must have got the number wrong. It turned out to be OK to call in and I was welcomed graciously by Mgr Barreiro who heads up the office and is coming to England to speak at the Conference of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life on 22 November. People studying in Rome should know about the HLI office. They have a library there which is available for students to use free of charge, together with photocopying facilities. Mgr Barreiro told me that their current acquisitions policy is 30 volumes per month. Go to Vita Umana Internazionale, Piazzale Gregorio VII, n.22 int.2.

Mass at St Peter's

A very enjoyable dinner with friends last night finished a little late. One friend has an apartment with the most amazing view of dome of St Peter's: I'll post a photo when I'm back. This morning, I went into St Peter's just after it opened. I went to say Mass at the "rush hour". The chierichetto wandered around for a bit before telling me that we would have to look out for an altar where the priest was nearly finished Mass. Eventually he went off to go to school and left me. I said Mass in the New Rite in Latin with an impropmtu congregation of two nuns and a laywoman. After a cappucino , I went back in, to the Blessed Sacrament Chapel to say some office. The Blessed Sacrament chapel is very well supervised, quiet and prayerful. It also has the most amazing angel statues in perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as well as the live sisters who kneel before Our Lord.

I saw the Pope!

DilexitPrior saw my post about arriving in Rome and sent a comment asking for asked me to say a prayer for her. I promised to go straight over the St Peter's Square and do so, also including in my intention all my Catholic blogging friend. When I got to the Piazza, I could see that people were still going through security into the Basilica so I thought I would go in and say the prayers for the indulgence. When I got to the door, it was apparent that there was a major function on. The Vatican Policeman on the door told me to go in as the Pope would be walking past in a minute. Sure enough, after a few minutes, in came our beloved Holy Father and I now have on my camera a reasonably close photo and a couple of short video clips for YouTube when I get back. So, DilexitPrior, thanks very much indeed for asking me to say a prayer! The occasion was the annual "Academic Mass" which is near the beginning of the academic year. The Mass had finished and the Pope was coming in to gi

Honourable mention and cricketing memories

I have been given an honourable mention in the Lapped Catholic Motivational Poster contest and apparently I have won a prize. I have also been invited to apply for membership of the Recusant Cricket Club. Such pleasant things to be waiting for me in my combox on arrival in Rome! My application for membership of the Recusant Cricket Club will be strengthened, I hope by my not so well known cricketing credentials. I captained the St Mary's Junior School team in the 1968-69 season and the Venerable English College team in the 81-82 and 82-83 seasons (I think). Our team played in a competition organised by the Associazione Italiana di Cricket. Considering this now, I am happy to think that while students were rioting in Paris and Belgravia, I was opening the bowling at Lloyds Park against other 10-11 year olds in Croydon.

Blogging in Rome

There is a bar with internet access just across the road from the Hotel Emmaus. Rather nice to have a cold beer brought to your computer. I should get the chance to put up a couple of posts each day. I don't think it's going to be that easy to download the photos from my camera but I've brought the "biggie" and it is sunny here so you can expect some quite nice ones when I get back, at least.


Laetatus sum in eo quod dixerunt mihi. Stantes iam sunt pedes nostris in portis tuis - ROMA! In the departure lounge at Heathrow, I met Fr Andrew Southwell and Fr Anton Guziel who are with the Latin Mass Society on their Pilgrimage to Rome. I had no idea that they would be going this week, nor that they were going with Alitalia . I met Peter Clark, Carolyn and several others from the Isle of Wight LMS while waiting at the gate - then also met Margaret Mary Fitzgerald. Amazing! The other day, Fr Charles Briggs told me that Fr Martin Edwards is also in Rome this week. On my arrival, there was a message from a friend who is working here in Rome. I'm meeting up with him and a couple whom I have only so far known through my blog. We will be meeting up by the obelisk in St Peter's Square. You can't get a better rendezvous than that! Apparently also in Rome at this time are Frs Greg Hogan and James Clark so I may get the chance to see them as well.

"To do" list for Rome

As long-time readers of this blog will know, I like to have a "To do" list when visiting Rome. I am fortunate to have a few days off next week and will be in the Eternal City from Monday evening to Friday afternoon. I always spend lots of time in St Peter's, say Mass there, go to confession there (can be scary but always edifying), visit the tomb of St Peter and try to gain the plenary indulgence, so that item is just a "given". Here is my list of things to do (not necessarily exhaustive or in order of importance): Spend the best part of a day in the Vatican museums (not been there for a while) Make a Pilgrimage to the FSSP Church of San Gregorio Meet up with Mgr Barreiro at the HLI Rome office (arranged) Take someone to that excellent restaurant off the Borgo Pio run by the Permanent Deacon Visit the catacombs of San Callisto (many years since I have done this) Get myself accredited at the Holy See Press Office (Who knows? Perhaps the much anticipated Motu Pro

Another Clifton PP

Fr Alex Redman put me onto another parish website in his diocese (Clifton), that of St George's, Warminster , in Wiltshire. It seems to be a very thriving parish with lots going on. The photographs section has pictures of the parish's Blessed Sacrament Procession. On the Fr Bede page , there are also some excellent short catechetical pieces. I also take the liberty of posting here the photograph of himself he has chosen for the parish website. From the combox, I know the consolation that such pictures bring to the laity. I don't know. I'm beginning to feel a bit of a trendy liberal with my stock photograph. Maybe I should get the Mulier Fortis to take one of me in a biretta or something.

I'll remain anonymous, thank you

I thought this was a brilliant story. Thanks to Fr Ray Blake of St Mary Magdalen's, Brighton . When I was an assistant priest in St Leonards on Sea, there was another priest, who used to welcome penitents at the confessional shake their hands warmly enquire about their health, ask their names, all designed to put them at their ease. One day a woman came into the the Church wearing a motorcycle helmet with the visor down. The priest stood at the confessional door, greeted her warmly, shook her hand and invited to remove the helmet, she refused saying she wanted to have her right to anonymity preserved. From then on the priest stayed inside the confessional behind the grill. It is worth reading the rest of the post . His comments on confession are spot-on.

The virtue of mechanical prayer

A problem that many people speak of when saying the Divine Office is that it is sometimes rather "mechanical". Owing to tiredness or anxiety or working hard, it can be difficult to achieve the serene and prayerful attitude to the Office that is desirable. It is desirable , of course, and it is best when we can say the Office prayerfully, with full attention of mind and heart. But what about the times when it is impossible to do so? Something that I say to penitents, especially priests, religious and lay people who are trying to live a devout life, is that the "mechanical" recitation of the Office can also be virtuous. On those days when we are tired, or have been busy and the Office has "piled up" so that we have to say several parts together, we should not despair of the exercise, still less omit it because we cannot say it perfectly. At such times, we say the Office out of duty ( officium ), as a service to others in obedience to our Father. It is a cla

A safe haven

Cally's Kitchen is written by Malcolm ("the dúnadan"), a blogger who is in the parish to which Fr Nicholas Schofield has recently moved. As well as saying some kind things about my blog, he has a link to the wonderfully titled Recusant Cricket Club . In case you are wondering what such a club might be, here is their "Vision Statement" (no, they don't call it that.) The Recusant Cricket Club is a safe haven from an increasingly ugly world: a world actively rooting out all that holds it together, a world plagued by secularism, liberalism and association football. The Club is for those who reject what Leo XIII called “that widespread and powerful organisation, who, usurping the name of liberty, style themselves liberals.” This is a forum for people who find themselves shouting at the TV, people who cannot listen to Radio 4 without running down pedestrians. This is a forum for people who believe in having more children than surnames. This is a place for people

More on Bishop Kenney

Thanks to Joee Blogs , I would like to pass on to you a link to the Laus Crucis post on Bishop William Kenney , the new auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham. Have a look at the Laus Crucis blog. There are some good photos from the Mass during the 45th General Chapter of the Passionists. It was celebrated in the Basilica of Sts John and Paul (you know, the ones just before Cosmas and Damien in the Canon). The body of St Paul of the Cross is enshrined in an altar there. Here is a picture from the Passionist Website .

Young clergy

In the photograph in the previous post, you can see a priest sitting in the back row. He is Fr Alex Redman, recently appointed parish priest of St Augustine's, Bristol . I met him briefly at the ordination of Fr Marcus Holden last year and it was great to see him again and have the chance to talk a little. Arriving in his new parish, he was obviously asked to supply a photograph of himself for the parish website. Here is the photo that appears there: And this seems like a good time to remind you of the location of my first ever video post, Ma Beck 's classic Everything old is new again .

Meriol Trevor Lecture

My visit to Bath was at the kind invitation of Fr Bill McLoughlin ( left ), a Servite priest who runs the parish of St Peter and St Paul on the outskirts of Bath, and is also Catholic chaplain to Bath University. He attended Meriol Trevor in her last illness and decided to set up an annual lecture in memory of her. Meriol Trevor wrote the definitive two-volume biography of Cardinal Newman. She also had an interest in theology, particularly the relationship between science and religion. Mine was the sixth annual lecture and was entitled "Creation and Evolution. A positive view of how the Theology of Creation can be informed by a scientific understanding of the world." The text can be downloaded from my parish website's Controversies page . Previously, the lecture has been held at Prior Park College. They were unable to host it this year and so it was held on the University campus, at the ecumenical chaplaincy. It had been well publicised and there was a good mixture of stu

St John the Evangelist Catholic Church

I mentioned the pleasant surprise that I had when I found out that this Church was the Catholic Church for central Bath. It is dedicated to St John the Evangelist. Below, you can see that the interior of the Church has not been ruined in any way by wreckovation: There is a small wooden forward-facing altar and a sort of lectern that pokes through the screen but they could both easily be removed when the reform of the reform gathers pace. The fine pulpit is intact. The modern, unobtrusive microphone, indicates that it is still in use. The Lady Chapel has its own screen. The Church was founded by the Benedictines in 1861, hence there is this fine altar in honour of St Benedict at North wall. I was very taken by this statue but I have to confess that I do not know who it is. Can anyone help? At the back of the Church is this inscription: English translation: To God the greatest and best. When Pius XII was happily reigning, Joseph Rudderham was bishop, and Canon Patrick Hackett was Rector;

Bath baths

The main attraction of Bath is the Roman Baths complex which is very well preserved. The baths were dedicated to Minerva Sulis, the Romans having appropriated the Celtic goddess Sulis for their own Minerva. According to St Augustine, the pagan gods were both demons anyway so it is a pity that Minerva wasn't eventually replaced with our Blessed Lady as in so many places in Italy. Perhaps one day... ( Click on any of the photographs in these posts for a larger picture. ) Above the Great Bath, at the end of the 18th century, the King's Terrace was built. It is just above street level. The overflow arch, pictured below, was part of the system for controlling the spring and the baths. The spring gushes about 240,000 gallons a day at a temperature of 46 degrees centigrade. It apparently contains 47 different minerals. The Bath complex had the full range of bathing facilities. The Great Bath was fed by the spring and so was fairly warm. After that, you could plunge into the circular f

Pleasant surprise in Bath

Bath is reached from Paddington by the Great Western Railway, an engineering triumph of Isambard Kingdom Brunel. Between Chippenham and Bath, the train goes through the Box Tunnel which is nearly two miles long and descends with a gradient of 1 in 100. I managed to get a glimse of the western portal. Apparently the work was begun from both ends and when they met, there was an error of less than 2 inches in alignment. Having arranged to arrive in Bath a few hours early, I had the opportunity to visit the Roman Baths and take some photographs. On the way from the station, I passed a large Victorian Church but did not bother to photograph it. On the way back to the station to get a taxi out to Fr Bill, I took a closer look and was amazed to find that it was a magnificent Catholic Church. It is very well kept and has not been "wreckovated" in any way. The pulpit and High Altar are intact as are the screens. While walking round Bath, I got chatting to a couple who are living roug

Where I will be tomorrow

I have been invited to give the Meriol Trevor Memorial Lecture at Bath University tomorrow, hosted by the Catholic Society. The subject is "Creation and Evolution. A positive view of how the Theology of Creation can be informed by a scientific understanding of the world." The journey is itself full of interest as the line from Paddington to Bath was one of Brunel's great achievements. By booking tickets at The Train Line , I managed to get two first class single tickets on some "saver" scheme for £20 each. There should be some time to have a walk around the centre of the city and take some photos. One fine day, I will learn not to spend ages making further fussy edits to talks that I give. Having just read Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion , there was unlimited scope to tinker with the text. What I must not do is to forget to print it off and take it with me (I have done that in the past!) The more widespread use of the internet makes my luggage a little lig

Faith Priests and the Theology of the Body

Today saw one of the regular meetings of priests from the Faith Movement over at St Joseph's Dorking , where Fr Dominic Rolls is parish priest. There were a dozen of us there today so it made for a good discussion and a chance to catch up on each others' news. Fr Philip Miller gave the paper today on the subject of Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. It was an excellent summary and the materials he provided gave us the opportunity for a good theological discussion.

New Auxiliary in Birmingham

News kindly passed on by a reader who found this on today's Daily Bulletin of the Vatican Press Office. [ My translation ] Nomination of the Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham The Pope has nominated as auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Brmingham (England) His Excellency William Kenney CP, titular Bishop of Midica Mgr William Kenney, C.P. Mgr William Kenney was born at Newcastle upon Tyne (UK) on 7 May 1946. He completed his studies in the minor seminary of the Passionists in England and then in the Pontifical Athenaeum of the Jesuits at Heythrop, obtaining a Licence in Theology. After his religious profession in 1963, he was ordained priest on 29 June 1969. The following year, he was sent to Sweden for studies in religious sociology. He remained in Sweden and was appointed Parish Priest of Växjö and Professor of Religious Sociology at the University of Gothenberg. On 13 May 1987, he was elected titular Bishop of Midica and Auxiliary of Stockholm, receiving episcopal consecration

SSPX overtures

H/T to Fr Sean Finnegan for the link to an article in yesterday's Scotsman Catholic schismatics see return to Roman fold soon . Substantially the same story has been on CWN as well as Reuters. It has always struck me as odd that we are encouraged to be nice to the Orthodox, the Church of England, the Methodists, Baptists, Muslims, Hindus, and Buddhists but to shun the Society of St Pius X like a rabid dog. I do understand the offence that many Catholics have taken against some of the remarks of some members of the SSPX about Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict but I find the prospect of a reconciliation and some working agreement a fascinating one. As I have said before, the addition of a couple of SSPX priests would add spice to the average Deanery meeting. The most puzzling quotation in the article is "We would be a bit like the Chinese Patriotic Church, in the Church without really being there," Bishop Fellay has made clear in the past what he thinks of the Patriotic Chu

Fr Stephen Langridge appointed Vocations Director

Flipping through my blogroll reminded me to tell you the news from the Archdiocese of Southwark. In a recent Letter Ad Clerum , Archbishop McDonald announced that he has appointed Fr Stephen Langridge as Vocations Director for the Archdiocese. This is very good news. Fr Stephen has done great work heading up the Vocations Promotion Team, pioneering Seekers Meetings and retreats for young men interested in the priesthood and keeping in touch with those who are at university. He also runs a Southwark Vocations Blog.

Orbis Catholicus and Reggie Foster

I found the blog Orbis Catholicus when reading the story about Fr Reginald Foster being booted out of the Gregorian University. It's a great blog written by John Paul Sonnen who goes to Mass at the FSSP Church of San Gregorio. He has enthusiasm for all things Roman, for baroque, and especially for the Latin language. He has several posts on Reggie whose response to his expulsion will not surprise any of his former students: I'm taking this opportunity to announce the founding of a new Latin institute in Rome! We don't yet have a place to meet yet, but I'll keep you all informed! Latin lives! The blog is also full of great photographs from Rome. While looking through the archives, I picked up this illustration which I have not seen before:

Copyright and the Liturgy

Jeff Miller (the Curt Jester) has a post about copyright and various examples of the USCCB enforcing their copyright of the New American Bible and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I remember when the Catechism was published in England that a Catholic software provider got exclusive permission to provide it electronically and another guy who sold it on a CD for not much more than the price of the CD got hunted and closed down. Then, of course, the Vatican spoiled the game by publising the text on its website and in a Word document on the website for the Congregation for the Clergy . (You can still get it there - see this catechism page to download it. This is a problem that the Congregation for Divine Worship might want to consider. It used to be that publisher of a liturgical or other ecclesiastical text could always get permission to use the text provided that it was true to the original. Liturgical texts had to get a Concordat cum originali declaration. The result was that be

Pregnancy as marital fulfilment

Below is the text of a letter to the Editor of Faith Magazine . Valeria Manca has just given birth to her tenth baby - mother and baby pictured here with permission (the picture was taken 40 minuts after the birth.) I have just heard from Fr Hugh MacKenzie, a friend of the family, that the first eight children are very excited with new addition (though the eldest, Matteo, at University in Rome, has only seen her via a webcam.) Cecilia, aged one and a half, is the only one a bit fazed, and trying to poke the new 'competitor' in the eye and ear. (I've got to say that this photo makes me feel OLD. Mother of ten!!!) Pregnancy as Marital Fulfillment Dear Fr. Editor, Thank you for a very interesting March-April issue. As the mother of a fairly large family, I found in it a lot of inspiration and much needed comfort. We can associate with some of Fiorella Nash’s experiences of pregnancy in modern England. Also my husband and I are often at the centre of arguments on sexual morali

Video of Rosary Crusade

I knew Joee Blogs would come up with the goods. Here is his video of the Rosary Crusade. He's worried about the quality being "naff" but that doesn't matter - it was a bright sunny day and there's no need to bump it up to full screen. But as Joe says, the vid certainly gives you the idea of the scale of the procession.

A daunting experience

Preaching in the Oratory is a daunting experience at the best of times. The preacher is escorted by the MC about a third of the way down the lengthy nave and then has to climb a steep set of stairs to look over the congregation. Yesterday, several things combined to make the experience even more nerve-wracking. The first was that the Church was so full. That is not so bad in itself but being six feet off the ground does rather bring it home. Then the stand for the preacher's notes was a little too high for my five-feet-six frame. I did have a quick go at adjusting it but when it didn't move easily, I thought I had better leave it. There is also the adjustment that needs to be made for amplification in such a large space - you have to speak more slowly and pause more if it is not to become garbled (at least I think so!) The most difficult thing, though was that this was one of those times when God says "Right, Finigan, let's bring you down to size a bit and make you dep

Sermon on homosexuality

Today I finally got round to giving a sermon on the Catholic teaching on homosexuality . Not something that I would particularly choose to do except for the widespread promotion of homosexuality among young people as simply an alternative lifestyle. If we never speak about the Church's teaching in this area, youngsters simply believe whatever is the last thing they heard on the telly. I was just going to do a whole series on moral issues but I think I will intersperse it with other topics - otherwise it becomes just a bit too depressing. Perhaps I'll talk about Our Lady or the Sacred Heart next week.

Other posts on Rosary Crusade

There were at least four of the UK Catholic blogging scene at the Rosary Crusade. Just had a quick look round to see any other posts. So far, I have found ones from Mac at Mulier Fortis , Auntie Joanna Joee Blogs has a video of the procession. If you see any more, please drop the link in the combox and I'll update this post.

Rosary Crusade Report

The Rosary Crusade of Reparation yesterday was an overwhelming expression of Catholic devotion in the heart of London. About 2,000 people walked in procession from Westminster Cathedral to the London Oratory, saying the Rosary and singing hymns. The Metropolitan Police ably escorted the procession, stopping the traffic at the various junctions and clearing the roads as the throng of people wound their way past the embassies in Belgravia and the chic shops of Sloane Street. Chanel, Prada, Christian Dior, Gucci, Hermes and Versace all gazed at Our Lady of Fatima, then Harvey Nichols and Harrods where the anti-fur campaigners were briefly drowned out by the Ave Maria . The procession was led by the processional cross, young servers, the young men of the Confraternity of the Precious Blood, the Knights of Malta and the clergy. In the picture below, you can see Andrew Swampillai, Fr Wadsworth (purple pom-pom on the biretta), Jamie Bogle, Fr Philip de Freitas, myself and Fr Basden (of Clapha

Rosary Crusade Sermon

Here is the text of the sermon I gave yesterday at the London Oratory for the Rosary Crusade of Reparation. The Triumph of Mary Immaculate Who is she that comes forth as the morning rising, fair as the moon, bright as the sun, terrible as an army set in battle array? (Song 6.10) At the visitation, St Elizabeth and the pre-born John the Baptist rejoiced in the presence of Jesus Christ, then an embryo of a few days. St Elizabeth also showed respect to our Lady: “Why should I be honoured with a visit from the Mother of my Lord?” Our Blessed Mother’s immediate response was to use this prayer as a direct channel for the praise of God. “My soul magnifies the Lord...” She is ever the same. She is a most sure route to our Blessed Lord “To Jesus through Mary” is the unfailing path of our prayers. If we think of the miracle of the sun, and the 70,000 people there including atheists, freemasons and communists, awed by her power with God, we should have a great confidence and trust in the interce

Corriere poll on Latin Mass

I have just received news of an Online poll being conducted by the Corriere della Sera, one of Italy's leading daily newspapers The question is: " Siete favorevoli al ritorno della messa in latino? " (Are you in favour of the return of the Mass in Latin?) "Si" means "Yes". When I looked just now, there were 64.6% in favour and 35.4% against with 25129 people having voted. I know that it doesn't say "Classical Rite" and that we can already have Mass in Latin but it's worth voting anyway. The link goes to a story about the current rumour of a forthcoming motu proprio liberalising the Classical Rite.

Forthcoming ordination of Rev Brendan Gerard

Rev Brendan Gerard (Priestly Fraternity of St Peter) will be ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on Sunday 29 October 29, 2006, in Linz, Austria. After his ordination, he will be saying the following Masses in December in the London area: Thursday December 28, 12.30 p.m. Low Mass of the feast of the Holy Innocents. St Bede's. Friday December 29, 3 p.m. Solemn Mass of the feast of St Thomas Becket. Catholic Church of St Mary and St Ethelburga, Linton Road, Barking, Essex. There are also Masses in Edinburgh where he will be for two weeks. He will be singing the regular, scheduled Sunday Masses in St Andrew's Church on November 26 and December 3, and in the house chapel at 6 Belford Park at 6pm for the Immaculate Conception (Fri Dec 8). If you need directions, go to the UK website of the FSSP and click 'Mass schedules'. Nearer the time, you can telephone for times of weekday Masses.

PFG and the new religion

The Parents Faith Group in my parish has reinvented itself this term. We are now meeting about twice a half term with people taking it in turns to host the meeting and do lunch. Today, we were at Helen's and were treated to a delicious pasta bake with tuna, tomato, olives and capers. We discussed what subjects ought to be tackled in the forthcoming sessions. Deeper knowledge of the scriptures was one request and the Pam Stenzel DVD "Sex has a price tag" will probably be on the agenda for one of the sessions - it's a most helpful presentation for any family with teenage children. The whole question of the occult, especially mediums and contacting the dead often comes up as well - this brings in lots of basic Catholic teaching about the human person, angels and demons, the communion of saints and the four last things. I think that some lives of the Saints would also go down well. I have noticed in schools recently that diet and recycling seem to have assumed an enormou

Not Dead Yet

And immediately a hat tip! Via Credo , I found the website of Not Dead Yet , an organisation of people with disabilities who are opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. It is related to the Euthanasia Blues video I posted yesterday. The site is quite hard-hitting and includes articles, fact-sheets and a "Journalists' Hall of Shame" A UK branch of Not Dead Yet was formed in May 2006 by Dame Jane Campbell.

Credo blog

It appears that a certain Scots blog has reappeared from the ashes of an old one under the new name of Credo . Well worth a place on your blogroll.

Best of St Blogs UK meme

Mac at Mulier Fortis has tagged me with this one. 1. Favourite blog post from my own blog I feel that the most worthwhile posts are those where I have tried to contribute something not already on other blogs. Passing on information is an important part of the St Blog's Community life but an original piece is very satisfying, especially if people find it helpful or entertaining. So I was pleased with the photo shoots of Parkminster ( August archives passim ) and the CIEL conference ( September archive.) But writing helpfully is more difficult and I was happy that the piece on Indulgences not impossible was found useful. (There should perhaps be a "serious" and "silly" section here. For the silly section, I enjoyed writing How to woo Eccleston Square officials , and Buckled Shoes on Trial but they were both greeted with a respectful and perhaps embarrassed silence.) In view of the responses and other posts it generated, I think my favourite must be the post o

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