Showing posts from November, 2006

More on Cherie Blair appointment

Checking through my email today, I find that I have received many links to further information which indicates that it would be inappropriate for Cherie Blair to be appointed as an advisor to the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. I am aware that Cherie Blair is a practising Catholic and that Tony may have a lot of good will towards the Catholic Church. My purpose in posting this information is not to destroy the reputation of Cherie Blair - the information I am posting is already in the public domain. I believe that it is important for the good of the Church that those who are seen as authoritative figures in the public square should not be appointed to represent the Church if their personal beliefs are at odds with those of the Church. This photograph, shows Mrs Blair at the Family Planning Association stalll at the Labour Party Conference cheefully showing a condom to the camera. We must wonder what this gesture indicates. There is no lack of public comment. For example, we fin

The Sigismund Bell

After visiting the Cathedral, we climbed the Sigismund Tower to see the Sigismund Bell, named after King Sigismund I, the Old. With the people in the picture, you can see how large it is: The bell weighs nearly 11 tons and is rung only on major occasions; a recent example was the death of Pope John Paul II. Below, you can see something of the apparatus used to ring the bell: The trip up the Sigismund Tower put me in mind of the nonsense that we inflict on ourselves in England in the name of Health and Safety. As far as I am aware, Poland is also a member of the EU but that does not prevent this tourist attraction remaining open despite the steep stairways, uneven steps and numerous other hazards.

Krakow: the Royal Cathedral

Did I mention that it was foggy yesterday? There was no way to get a decent photo of the outside of the Cathedral - this is one that has a GNU license on Wikipedia . (The rest are mine.) Here is the main entrance to the Cathedral: The Cathedral is on Wawel Hill and is the most important national sanctuary for Poland. The Polish monarchs were crowned here and it has been the place of celebration of major national events. One of the more recent was the blessing of the banners of the Solidarity Trade Union, marking a major step in the downfall of the communist government. In the centre of the main aisle is the altar of St Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr. He found himself in opposition to some of the policies of King Bolesław, whom he excommunicated, and in 1079, he was murdered as he was saying Mass. (English readers will notice some similarity with the figure of St Thomas a Becket. There is, in fact a shrine to him also in the Cathedral.) St Stanislaus was canonised at Assisi in 1253. Belo

Fog bound in Krakow

Well that was fun! An early start (6.10am flight) with Ryanair to Krakow airport looked promising to begin with. Then we circled Krakow airport over a thick bank of fog for 20 minutes before getting diverted to Rzeszow (pronounced sheshov but with the sh's more like Zh in Zhivago). Ryanair cheerfully promised us buses for the 100 mile journey back to Krakow but Fr Marcin and I decided to take a taxi - otherwise we would have arrived in Krakow just in time to leave again. We managed to knock the asking price down by about 40% by negotiating. (This was the sort of negotiation where you walk away determinedly, saying you are going to get the bus.) Things did not get better immediately. The road from Rzeszow to Krakow is a single carriageway which is currently being upgraded. The problem is that all the bridges and several sections of road are being upgraded at the same time. So it took about 4 hours with a few stops such as this: Never mind. We got to Krakow at about 2pm which left us

Where I will be tomorrow

A day trip to Krakow. An advantage of living in Europe is that you can do this sort of thing. Fr Marcin Kordel, a priest of the Canons Regular of the Lateran at Eltham, offered to show me around Krakow. We are going tomorrow morning first thing, with Ryanair, and returning with Sky Europe at Wednesday lunchtime. In fact, Krakow is just under 1000 miles from London: a little nearer than Rome and about the same distance as New York from St Louis. There are several companies running cheap flights and apparently things in Poland are very reasonable. I would like to get some vestments etc. but will probably keep this as a reconnaissance trip and plan another next year. It may or may not be possible to post later today when I get back from Wonersh, or tomorrow in Poland. So here are some pictures I found on the internet. First a view that I found of of Krakow by night: And here is one of the places that I might get to visit (Corpus Christi Church):

St Alphonsus for priests (Monday)

Prayer to be said by the priest after celebrating Mass (Monday) O infinite goodness! O infinite charity! God has given his whole self to me and has become all mine! My soul, arouse all your affections and join yourself intimately to your Lord who has purposefully come to be joined to you and to be loved by you in return. O lovable Redeemer, I embrace you, my love and my life, I join myself to you: do not despise me. How wretched I am! For a certain time of my life, I have turned you out of my soul and separated myself from you; but from now on, I wish rather to lay down my life a thousand times, than to lose you again, the Supreme Good. Forget, O Lord, all the injuries I have inflicted upon you and being merciful, forgive me; I repent of them with my whole heart and I would like to die with sorrow. Even though I have sinned against you, you have commanded me that I should love you: You shall love the Lord your God with your whole heart. Oh, my Lord, who am I that you should desire to

Lucy's Confirmation saint

I arrived over at my sister Mary's today, just in time to see my niece Lucy on her return from the Church of Our Lady of the Annunciation in Addiscombe. She was confirmed today by Bishop Paul Hendricks who was a classmate of mine in Rome. I was ordained in Addiscombe on 28 July 1984 and Paul was ordained the next day at Orpington. For her Confirmation, Lucy chose Blessed Juliette Vérolot (Sister Saint Francis Xavier in religion). She was a Carmelite who was guillotined on 17 July 1794 along with fifteen other Carmelites from Compiegne. Before they were executed, they knelt, sang the Veni Creator Spiritus and renewed the vows of their Baptism and their religious profession. Contrary to the common custom of drum roll and cheers for each fall of the blade, their executions were carried out in total silence. Even the hardened Parisien revolutionaries were revolted by the ghastly treatment handed out to the saintly women. Ten days later the reign of terror (and Robespierre's own li

Cherie to get Vatican post?

Cherie Blair believes that the Church is wrong about contraception. A while back, she was reported by the Daily Telegraph as saying: "Women still do not get due respect in the Church which is why, in the opinion of many people, it gets some things wrong like its teaching on contraception." She also supported the notorious Lust for Life campaign (organised by the International Planned Parenthood Federation) as I mentioned back in May after her visit to Rome. ( Bishop praises IPPF supporter ) The Family Planning Association takes a stall at the Labour Party Conference each year. In 2005, by a gesture reported on the FPA's website , Cherie showed that she not only thinks the Church has got it wrong on contraception, but that the FPA has got it right: In addition to the fringe meetings, and to continue our 75th anniversary celebrations, Cherie Blair helped to cut a special birthday cake at our stand at the Labour Party conference. We also gave away a vibrator to a lucky win

I Want to Live - video

Following up the bloggers who commented on Antonia's post, I found this video at Waleria's Pen . It is interesting that the video ends with a happy couple receiving the baby who is given for adoption. That happy ending is not so easy here in England.

Lengthening the odds against divorce

Antonia posted the following advice from Professor Janet Smith: If you never want to get divorced ... Don't have sex before marriage. If you are having sex, STOP! Get married in a Church, go to Church every Sunday and pray Use NFP, never contraception Tithe; give 10% of your money to the Church or good Charities

Coronation of Pope John XXIII

Over at Valle Adurni , Fr Sean Finnegan has twenty posts featuring photographs from the coronation of Pope John XXIII and commentary.

Arinze podcast from St Louis

The Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis has a new podcast, featuring talks given by Cardinal Arinze to priests and seminarians in St Louis. H/T to Rome of the West and thanks to a reader for giving me the link to them.

The Anglican Church and the sanctity of life

Yesterday, from the Vatican, there was issued a Common Declaration of Pope Benedict XVI and the Archbishop of Canterbury His Grace Rowan Williams . The declaration states that "There are many areas of witness and service in which we can stand together" and lists several such as peace in the Holy Land, the poor, materialism, the environment etc. I was surprised to see the following included: "promoting respect for life from conception until natural death" In Abortion - A Briefing Paper , issued by the Church of England’s Mission and Public Affairs Division in February 2005, we are given a summary of the Anglican position on abortion: "The Church of England combines strong opposition to abortion with a recognition that there can be strictly limited conditions under which it may be morally preferable to any available alternative." The Briefing quotes the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church : "Human life must be respected and protected ab

Benediction in the Little Oratory

The Little Oratory is located on the ground floor, below St Wilfrid's Hall. We concluded the APGL Conference with Benediction in this beautiful chapel. It is a vital part of the priest's pro-life work to pray unceasingly for the sanctity of human life to be respected in our society and we thought it would be best to finish the day in the presence of Our Blessed Lord. It was a privilege to be able to give Benediction in such a magnificent setting.

APGL Conference

The Conference of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life took place yesterday at St Wilfrid's Hall at the London Oratory. In the morning, we heard from Mgr Ignacio Barreiro, who runs the Rome office of Human Life International . He explained how it was essential for the promotion of the Gospel of Life that we should, as priests, preach the whole of the Catholic faith. When he returns to Rome, he will make the lecture available so that I can post it here and on the APGL website. I will, at the same time, post the text of my own lecture in the afternoon on the subject of "Challenges and Opportunities in Pro-Life Preaching." The conference was attended by a number of young clergy, including Fr Nicholas Schofield of the Roman Miscellany , Fr Marcus Holden, co-author of the brilliant Evangelium course, and Fr Mark Vickers. Also in the photo below, you can discern the presence of Fr Richard Whinder (ubiquitous in the blogosphere) and Fr Jeremy Davies of the Westminst

Bloggers meet

At the APGL conference yesterday, there were three priest bloggers: myself, Fr Nicholas Schofield ( Roman Miscellany - right ) and Fr John Boyle ( South Ashford Priest - left ).

Arinze St Louis address - full text

Just a quick post to let you know that Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam has posted the full text of Cardinal Arinze's Keynote Address to the Gateway Liturgical Conference . Many thanks to Mia who passed on the link.

Por-Life Bazaar

The sisters of the Gospel of Life, who run the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative , are holding an Advent Bazaar on Saturday 19 December from 12noon to 2pm at the Holy Cross Church Hall, 104 Albert Road, Crosshill. ( Multimap ) If you are up in the Glasgow area, do drop in.

Birthday meme

I got tagged for this by Mulier Fortis and the Roman Miscellany . Instructions are: Go to Wikipedia In the search box, type your birth month and day but not the year. List three events that happened on your birthday List two important birthdays and one death One holiday or observance (if any) Three events 1858 - The joint reading of Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace's papers on evolution to the Linnean Society. ( I was born on the centenary! ) 1916 - First day on the Somme: On the first day of the Battle of the Somme 20,000 soldiers of the British Army are killed and 40,000 wounded. 1991 - The Warsaw Pact is officially dissolved at a meeting in Prague. Two birthdays 1633 - Johann Heinrich Heidegger, Swiss theologian (d. 1698) 1967 - Pamela Anderson, Canadian model and actress I was going to look for a picture of the latter on the internet but as there were only 6½ million results from google, I thought I probably wouldn't be able to find anything suitable. Also - 1961 -

More from Arinze's speech

In the combox, Mia sent a link for an atricle in STL Today called Top Vatican cardinal addresses St. Louis liturgy conference . It gives a bit more coverage to Cardinal Arinze's recent speech in which he referred to Latin as being in the ecclesiastical refrigerator. One quote: "Is it a small matter," he asked, for priests or bishops from around the world to be able to speak to each other in universal language of the church? Or for "a million students" who gather for World Youth Day every few years "to be able to say parts of the Mass in Latin?" Quite so. I was mildly amused by the title of the journal. The STL refers to St Louis - but perhaps there is a glossy magazine out there for those who have a Licence in Sacred Theology?

APGL Conference today

Today, I will be in London all day for the conference of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life. The theme is "The Priest and the Gospel of Life." Mgr Ignacio Barreiro, the head of Human Life International's Rome office, has flown over from Rome to speak to us on "The Role of the Priest in Promoting the Gospel of Life." Back in May, I posted his fine Statement on AIDS and Condoms . In the afternoon, I will be speaking on "Challenges and Opportunities in Pro-Life Preaching." It is quite a challenge in itself to address an audience of priests who are enthusiastic and well-informed in their promotion of the pro-life cause. The Conference is being held at St Wilfrid's Hall at the London Oratory so I will have the opportunity to see some of my good friends from the Oratory. Please remember us all in your prayers that God will help us to do our part in preaching the Gospel of Life. A few of us will be going on for dinner afterwards so my apolo

My first podcast

On its Catholic Society Podcasts page, Canmore has the talk I gave recently on the Church. There is one of my talks on the Faith website but the Canmore one is the first that is actually available for a genuine iTunes podcast.

"pro multis" help


Pro Multis letter in full

[ To their Eminences / Excellencies, Presidents of the National Episcopal Conferences ] Congregatio de Cultu Divino et Disciplina Sacramentorum Prot. N. 467/05/L Rome, 17 October 2006 Your Eminence / Your Excellency, In July 2005 this Congregation for the Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, by agreement with the Congregation for the Doctrine for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote to all Presidents of Conferences of Bishops to ask their considered opinion regarding the translation into the various vernaculars of the expression pro multis in the formula for the consecration of the Precious Blood during the celebration of Holy Mass (ref. Prot. N. 467/05/L of 9 July 2005). The replies received from the Bishops' Conferences were studied by the two Congregations and a report was made to the Holy Father. At his direction, this Congregation now writes to Your Eminence / Your Excellency in the following terms: 1. A text corresponding to the words pro multis , handed down

Thawing out Latin

I realise that I am rather late with this one but I coulnd't let Cardinal Arinze's recent speech at the Archdiocese of St. Louis Gateway Liturgical Conference pass without notice. You can read the report from Catholic News Agency - I haven't found a copy of the complete speech anywhere but would welcome a link in the combox if you have seen it. The characteristically memorable phrase is that the Latin language is currently in the ecclesiastical refrigerator. He also reportedly suggested that larger parishes offer Mass in Latin at least once a week and that smaller, rural parishes offer it at least once a month. He made it clear that he was speaking of the Novus Ordo and that homilies should always be in the vernacular. (I know of one exception to this but I suppose that for those in Reginald Foster's classes, Latin is the vernacular.) My parish had no Latin when I came here. I have introduced it occasionally and have celebrated the old rite from time to time with a fa

Pope Benedict on seminaries

Sandro Magister recently posted some extracts from the Pope's address to German Bishops. The section on Seminaries makes some interesting points on the content he envisages for the introductory year: "In this regard, Vatican Council II, in its decree ‘Optatam Totius’, established important norms that, unfortunately, have not yet been completely implemented. This is particularly true of the institution of what is called the introductory course before the beginning of real and proper study. This should not only transmit a solid understanding of the classical languages, which is expressly required for the study of philosophy and theology, but also familiarity with the catechism, together with the religious, liturgical, and sacramental practice of the Church. In the face of the growing number of interested persons and candidates who no longer come from a traditional Catholic formation, such an introductory year is urgently needed. Furthermore, during this year the student can att

Halloween Mass: priest apologises

Fr Fred Bailey, the priest who celebrated the Halloween Mass, has sent a letter ot Bishop Brown apologising for his lapse of judgement. You can read the full text of the letter at the Cafeteria is Closed post: Halloween Mass priest apologizes . The letter concludes: I realize that my pastoral neglect and lack of prudent judgment has caused great concern and offense to many in the Church. I have given my life as a priest to the Church of the Diocese of Orange and it causes me great pain to realize that my lapse in judgment could so easily transform a wonderful family tradition into something questionable and repugnant to people of good faith. From my heart I apologize to you and to the larger community of the faithful for my pastoral neglect. I await your counsel and assistance in determining an appropriate manner of making amends for this matter. Personally, I am grateful to Fr Fred and admire his sense of duty in defending the laity involved and accepting responsibility as pastor. Ple

Pro multis letter issued

A few weeks ago, I mentioned that we could soon expect a letter requiring that the phrase pro multis should be translated as "for many". CWN in an article dated yesterday headed Pro multis means "for many," Vatican rules has reported as follows: "Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has written to the heads of world's episcopal conferences, informing them of the Vatican decision. For the countries where a change in translation will be required, the cardinal's letter directs the bishops to prepare for the introduction of a new translation of the phrase in approved liturgical texts "in the next one or two years." Read the full article for the reasons given by Cardinal Arinze. I would also recommend the articles written by Fr Zuhlsdorf on the subject.

Antipope update

One "Fr Leonard Feeney" has been kind enough to pass on the following information in the comments box: A certain Chaplaincy has its own claimant to the Papacy in the form of Stefano Costanzo. Who on various occasions has claimed to be Popes Pius XII (Servant of God) and Saint Pius V. There is photographic evidence of the latter claim. You can see the incontrovertible evidence below. I have to say that the venue chosen for this conclavist enthronement looks to have a more authentically recusant atmosphere than one might expect in a hired ballroom in Montana. (But what do I know? Montana ballrooms might have a sense of the sacred about them.)

Popes at large

I am afraid that I got a bit distracted with all this thing about the antipopes and succumbed to the temptation to find some others. If you look around the web, you will find those who believe that Cardinal Siri was the true pope, elected in 1958 as Gregory XVII, that all the subsequent Popes were antipopes, and that we now only have to await the fulfilment of the prophecy of Anna Maria Taigi of the miraculous election of a true Pope. Alternatively, there is the claim that Father Lucian Pulvermacher, OFM Cap was elected Pope Pius XIII in 1998 in Montana. He was consecrated Bishop by "Gordon Cardinal Bateman" from Australia. The website tells us the news: The ceremony was held in a rented hotel ballroom in Kalispell, Montana, USA. There were 28 members of the faithful in attendance, some travelling thousands of miles to witness this awe-inspiring event. Sadly, some of his supporters have since deserted him owing to allegations that he practised divining using a pendulum. Then

Antipopes Benedict

Aaron asked about the antipope Benedict XIII. Well, it is quite a long story so I shall just give a few pointers. Between 1378 and 1417, there were rival claimants to the papacy, located at Rome and Avignon. An attempted resolution at Pisa added a third claimant. The Wikipedia article "Western Schism" and the Catholic Encyclopaedia article "Western Schism" give the basic information about what happened. It was an utter mess. As the Catholic Encyclopaedia comments of the time of Urban VI (Rome) and Clement VII (Avignon): The saints themselves were divided: St Catherine of Siena, St. Catherine of Sweden, Bl. Peter of Aragon, Bl. Ursulina of Parma, Philippe d'Alencon, and Gerard de Groote were in the camp of Urban; St. Vincent Ferrer, Bl. Peter of Luxemburg, and St. Colette belonged to the party of Clement. The schism was brought to an end by the Council of Constance which deposed Benedict XIII (Avignon) and John XXIII (Pisa), and accepted the resignation of Greg

What happened to the relics of St Andrew?

A commenter asked what happened to the relic of St Andrews that were brought to St Andrews by St Regulus. The short answer is "We just don't know." It is very likely that they were destroyed in the wake of Knox's sermons. He was fiercely opposed to the veneration of relics and it is unlikely that the mob would have respected them any more than the artwork of the Cathedral. However, there are other relics of St Andrew, notably at Amalfi where they were taken after being taken from Constantinople in the 13th century. Pope Paul VI returned a part of the relics to Patras in 1964 as an ecumenical gesture of goodwill. The Wikipedia article on St Andrew has further useful information about various traditions relating to the saint. In 1879, the Archbishop of Amalfi sent a piece of the saint's shoulder blade to the newly re-established Catholic community in Scotland. In 1969, when Gordon Gray was in Rome to be appointed the first Scots Cardinal since the Reformation, Pope

St Andrews - the university

The University of St Andrews was given recognition in 1413 by the Antipope, Benedict XIII. Hence it is the oldest university in Scotland and the third oldest in Britain. Here is a picture of one of the student residences, St Salvator’s: I have noticed in recent years that "International Relations" seems to be very popular. Students tell you that they have to rush off after coffee to go and write and essay on middle-eastern politics or attend a tutorial on terrorism. Apparently there are spooks regularly visiting the university to check up whether there is any undue militancy among the students.

The reformation and St Andrews

In 1527, Patrick Hamilton was burnt at the stake for heresy, having publicly preached against pilgrimages, purgatory, prayers to saints, and prayers for the dead. In 1533, Henry Forrest was executed for expressing sympathy with his views. Foxe says that he was suffocated in his cell while other sources say that he was burnt on the north side of hte Cathedral so that the people of Forfarshire could see the flames as a warning. The executions were arranged by Archbishop James Beaton. Archbishop James Beaton arranged that his nephew, David Beaton, should be appointed his coadjutor with right of succession. David Beaton became the last Scots Cardinal before the Reformation. He was not a good example, living in open concubinage and using ecclesiastical revenues to enrich his children. In 1546, he arranged the trial and execution for heresy of George Wishart. This provoked popular outrage and the Cardinal was hanged from the window of his own palace. This was pointed out to me by Jamie McMor

St Andrews Cathedral

The Church of St Regulus (or St Rule) was a much smaller building than the Cathedral whose ruins are pictured above. Until modern times the Cathedral was the largest edifice ever built in Scotland and probably contained the largest collection of medieval art ever gathered together in Scotland. Building started in about 1160 and it began to be used as a Cathedral and priory some 70 years later. After 110 years, it was nearly complete but the West gable was blown down in a storm. The Cathedral was not finally consecrated until 1318, in the presence of Robert the Bruce. The great Cathedral was a centre of pilgrimage in Scotland during the High Middle Ages, principally because of the presence of the relics of St Andrew.

St Regulus

To accompany my photos from St Andrews, I thought it would be of interest to give some background information on this historic university town. The tower on the left in this photo is all that remains of the ancient Churchof St Regulus: Here is the summary from the Wikipedia about Saint Regulus : Saint Regulus or Saint Rule of Andrew was a monk of Patras who, in the fourth century, according to a Scottish legend that became current during the twelfth century (National Archives of Scotland), fled to Scotland with the bones of Saint Andrew, and deposited them at St Andrews. His feast day in the Aberdeen Breviary is October 17. Saint Regulus was galvanized into action by a visionary dream that Emperor Constantine had decided to remove Saint Andrew's relics from from Patras to Constantinople. Warned by an angel, he was to move as many bones as far away as he could to the 'ends of the earth' for safekeeping. He was shipwrecked at Muckross on the shore of Fifeshire at the spot cal

Pound cake flying to blighty

You never know what is going to happen while you are away. As I was flying down from Edinburgh, my mint chocolate pound cake is flying over the pond. Here it is! That's the one that's going to my niece's Confirmation party. Mulier Fortis has asked what will be happening to the second one. Oh, well, I suppose I have to take a hint every now and again. Blueberry Pound cake is on the menu for the celebration's of Mac's renewal of private vows. Order one now from Ma Beck and get those attorney's fees paid pronto.

Fr Feeney lives on

During my talk, I made passing reference to the teaching of Fr Feeney who is alleged to have taught that nobody can be saved who is outside the visible membership of the Catholic Church. For the record, I should state that although Fr Feeney was excommunicated for disobedience to the Holy Office, he was reconciled by Pope Paul VI and his followers, the Slaves of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, are in good standing with the Church. Over a single malt later on, the students confided to me a most disturbing secret. Fr Feeney lives on at St Andrews. He was in fact present at my talk, in mufti, possibly disapproving of my understanding of the Church:


Canmore is the home of the Catholic chaplaincy at St Andrews University. It struck me that the dour frontage could serve as a set for the Addams family. Inside, however, it is a very friendly place. Students wander in an out during the day in between lectures and the Catholic Society is thriving. The current President who was kind enough to invite me up, is Jamie McMorrin . Here he is, captured as he muses on a new creative liturgy composition "Together let us break the bread of social justice." After being treated to dinner cooked at the chaplaincy by the students, I joined them for Mass, in St Margaret's Chapel (in the chaplaincy) celebrated by Canon Brian O'Halloran who combines being parish priest with being the University Chaplain. Then I had to sing for my supper. There was a good gathering of students for the talk on the Church as a Living Link with Christ. I began with the idea of the pre -existent Church as found in Origen and Hermas Pastor, and tried to

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