Showing posts from December, 2006

Papal photo of the day

No! "Sing it in the valleys" will not do as a substitute for the Te Deum . After that last post, I realised that this blog has far too few photos of our beloved Holy Father. So I took myself over to the incredible Papa Ratzinger Forum and found this one of the Pope at Vespers and Benediction earlier this evening !!! Thanks to the unparalleled Paparatzifan . It seems that the Holy Father managed to keep the silly vestment brigade at bay today.

Pope Benedict and the Faith Movement

Fr John Zuhlsdorf over at What does the prayer really say? has news of Pope Benedict's address during the New Year's Eve Vespers and Benediction with singing of the Te Deum . Fr John gives the following quotation: Two different evaluations of the dimension of time thus contrast each other, one qualitative and one quantitative. On the one hand, there is there is the solar cycle with its rhythms; on the other, that which St. Paul calls the "fullness of time" (Gal 4:4), namely, the culminating moment of the history of the universe and of the human race, when the Son of God was born into the world. The time of promises was fulfilled and, when the pregnancy of Mary had reached its end, "the earth has yielded its increase" (Ps 66 [67]:7) as a psalm says. The coming of the Messiah, foretold by the Prophets, is qualitatively the most important event in all of history, to which it confers its own final and ultimate meaning. Historical-political coordinates do not co

New Year Plenary Indulgences

I should have posted this before, but perhaps you may see it in time to help the Holy Souls. The Enchiridion Indulgentiarum 2004 says (n.26 - my translation): A Plenary Indulgence is granted to the Christian faithful who are devoutly present in a Church or oratory for the singing or recitation of: 1. The hymn Veni Creator , either on the first day of the year, imploring divine assistance for the whole of the coming year, or on the solemnity of Pentecost. 2. The hymn Te Deum on the last day of the year, to thank God for the benefits received during the whole of the year that has passed. The indulgence is, of course, subject to the usual conditions . If you are worried by the condition requiring detachment from venial sin, you may like to read my post from last May Plenary Indulgences not impossible . In my parish, we'll be singing the Te Deum tonight and the Veni Creator in the morning.

Victory for Helen and Joe Roberts

In December 2005, Helen and Joe Roberts were reported to the Lancashire Constabulary after they asked the Wyre Borough Council to display literature promoting Christianity in addition to their literature promoting homosexuality. When the Council refused to do this, Mrs Roberts complained by telephone, saying in the course of her call that homosexual practices were morally wrong. As a result, two police officers visited the Roberts at their home and interviewed them for an hour and twenty minutes about their beliefs. Supported by the Christian Institute , the couple sued the Council and the Police and were due a hearing in the High Court next month. The Council and the Police have both settled out of court (£10,000 plus costs) and issued public apologies. Mr and Mrs Roberts have already announced that they will donate the £10,000 to the Christian Institute . It is well worth looking at the website of this group. There are some very good and balanced articles outlining the threats posed

My American accent

Apparently, in American accent terms, I sound as though I come from the North East. What American accent do you have? Your Result: The Northeast   Judging by how you talk you are probably from north Jersey, New York City, Connecticut or Rhode Island. Chances are, if you are from New York City (and not those other places) people would probably be able to tell if they actually heard you speak. Philadelphia   The Inland North   The Midland   The South   Boston   The West   North Central   What American accent do you have? Quiz Created on GoToQuiz

More Faith Winter Conference photos

Fr John Boyle, over at South Ashford Priest, has a post with some more photos of the Faith Winter Conference .

New banner for the Cafeteria is Closed

I laughed out loud when I saw the new banner that Gerald Augustinus has for his brilliant blog The Cafeteria is Closed . Check his blog daily if you don't already.

My blog in Japanese

More from roaming the site meter. Just in case you are interested, here is The Hermeneutic of Continuity in Japanese .

Belloc's "Pelagian Drinking Song"

A tip of the biretta to Katrina at Where London Ends for posting the text of this poem. I have known the penultimate verse by heart since I was a sixth former but it is good to see it in context again. The Pelagian Drinking Song Pelagius lived at Kardanoel And taught a doctrine there How, whether you went to heaven or to hell It was your own affair. It had nothing to do with the Church, my boy, But was your own affair. No, he didn't believe In Adam and Eve He put no faith therein! His doubts began With the Fall of Man And he laughed at Original Sin. With my row-ti-tow Ti-oodly-ow He laughed at original sin. Then came the bishop of old Auxerre Germanus was his name He tore great handfuls out of his hair And he called Pelagius shame. And with his stout Episcopal staff So thoroughly whacked and banged The heretics all, both short and tall -- They rather had been hanged. Oh he whacked them hard, and he banged them long Upon each and all occasions Till they bellowed in chorus, loud and

Latvian google

Just checking through site meter, I find that I have had 14 visits referred from the Latvian version of Google . Well Laimigu Jauno gadu! to you all! (If you are tempted to post a comment asking "What does that mean?", please save my blood pressure by taking the following steps: [select text / copy / open google / paste / search] Oh all right, it means "Happy New Year!") Looking up Google, I find there are several places where you can get simple phrases in Latvian, including Riga Out There which seems to be a chav's guide to a weekend in Riga, taking you through a night out on the town in simple steps: Hi- Chau! I don't understand- Es nesaprotu You got beautiful eyes- Tev ir skaistas acis I've lost my friends- Es esmu pazaudejis savus draugus I run out of money- Man nav naudas Where is the closest bar? - Kur ir tuvakais bārs? I'm drunk- Es esmu piedzeries Oddly, they don't include the Latvian for "I'm gonna smash your teeth in" o

Family party

When I was a small boy, my parents used to take us all to see Auntie Stella who was one of the Daughters of Jesus. Their Convent in Abbey Wood is not far from where I now live but alas, some time ago it was closed and taken over by the local authority. Our visits included a quite formal lunch after which my parents would talk serious stuff with my Great Aunt while we children used to go to the gym and play football, climb on the equipment and generally mess around. I am delighted to be able to offer something a little like this for the families of my sisters. Next to my presbytery (through a connecting door) is a small hall where the children can run around. Each year, between Christmas and New Year, they come over to Blackfen for a party. This year was particularly hectic for me since I have only just got back from the Faith conference. This morning, after having stayed up rather late doing the newsletter and entering the Mass intentions, I went shopping for various comestibles for ad

Faith Winter Conference photos

When we were about 45 minutes into the journey to Stonyhurst, on the M11 passing Stansted Airport, I realised that I had forgotten to bring my camera. #Fortunately, Mac over at Mulier Fortis , has posted some that she took on her mobile phone. These are the posts: Photo fest I took more photos than I realised And finally (Any other good photos would be gratefully acknowledged.)

The Pope's Cologne

Thanks to Fr Nicholas Schofield of the Roman Miscellany , I found my way to the site which sells The Pope's Cologne . They say: The Pope’s Cologne is a classic Old World cologne made from the private formula of Pope Pius IX and further that they obtained information about this cologne from the commander of the Papal Guard of Pope Pius IX and a lifelong friend, General Charles Charette. They claim to have succeeded in capturing the same fragrance that Pope Pius IX and his entourage enjoyed 150 years ago.

Irish government sending young girls abroad for abortion

A disturbing report in yesterday's SPUC News tells of the Health Services Executive of the Irish Republic taking four girls in their care abroad for abortions. Article 40.3.3 of the Irish Constitution says: "The State acknowledges the right to life of the unborn and, with due regard to the equal right to life of the mother, guarantees in its laws to respect, and, as far as practicable, by its laws to defend and vindicate that right." Patrick Buckley of the European Life Network , based in Dublin, said, "Quite clearly the right to life of these four babies was not acknowledged, respected, defended or vindicated. They were simply terminated." In terms of Catholic moral theology, this is formal co-operation in evil. In terms of social care, it is also a disastrous failure of responsibility towards the young girls involved.

Faith Winter Conference last day

The last day of the Conference is rather a rush. After breakfast and morning prayer, the last talk was given by Fr Stephen Dingley who has a doctorate from Cambridge in astrophysics (radio-astronomy) and currently teaches dogmatic theology at Wonersh. His talk was a brilliant summary of the relationship between Christianity and other faiths, the reasons for their being different religions and the importance of the relationship between faith and reason. He drew particularly from Pope Benedict's Regensburg lecture. I hope that I will be able to refer you to the text in due course. After Mass and lunch, there was an extensive session of goodbyes with the younger ones becoming pleasantly boisterous in seeing each other off. One coach goes up to Scotland, another down to London and an assortment of cars to various parts of the country. My own journey back was very smooth: across the M62, down the A1 and M11, and round the M25. No holdups or accidents, thank the Lord. Anna-Marie and Bene

Faith Winter Conference, day two

I find the morning rather leisurely, running as it does on a student-type timetable with breakfast from 8-9pm and no absolute commitment until Lauds at 9.30am. This leaves me the possibility of getting up a little later than usual and still having plenty of time for the morning meditation. The second talk of the conference was given by Sr Andrea Fraile of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life. She spoke about the proper understanding of inter-religious dialogue and the non-negotiable claims to truth which we make of the Catholic faith. In the question session afterwards, there was an interesting discussion of the particular difficulties of working with Muslims in pro-life work. There were also one or two discussions started on the question of faith and reason. This afternoon, it was my turn. I had the task of speaking for 45 minutes on "Some common difficulties: How can God have a Son? How can God be three in one?" To be honest, I was not too happy with it at the end. I felt that

Scotsman on Dawkins

Also in the Scotsman, there is an article Abide with Me reflecting on secularism and Christmas. The author, Gerald Warner, highlights the substitution of aggressive atheism for the evangelical bores of yesteryear. He says, Can Dawkins honestly claim he lives in a society oppressively infused with Christian belief and practice? Yet, there he is, like a latter-day Savonarola, chiding the British public for its excessive attachment to God. This, it must be said, is a social problem that few but the perceptive Professor Dawkins have detected: it is an insight that is not shared by the Pope, the Archbishop of Canterbury or the Moderator.

Scotsman on Sisters of the Gospel of Life

Blogging from the computer room at Stonyhurst College where Sister Roseann Reddy of the Sisters of the Gospel of life is looking at various blogs. the good sisters run the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative which is celebrating its 10th anniversary on 9 March 2007. It is great to see (via Credo ) that there was a very positive article Winning Babes in last Sunday's Scotsman on Sunday.

Blogging at the Winter Conference

I'll try and put up a few posts while I am here and at least get your comments posted. However, I may not have much time to answer questions and look up things for you so do try google first if you are looking for something.

Faith Winter Conference first day

Yesterday evening saw the start of the Winter Conference of the Faith Movement , at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire.The conference began with Mass in the magnificent chapel, filled with the 212 participants at this year’s Conference. Fr John Paul Leonard was principal celebrant in a sanctuary crowded with over 25 concelebrants. The first talk was given by Fr Luiz Ruscillo. He began in characteristically amusing style by quoting some questions and answers from a book produced by the New Scientist called something like “Why don’t penguins’ feet freeze?” As he said, we expect answers to scientific questions, and when we have the answer, we do not expect to be told “that is just your opinion” or “that may be true for you.” Similarly in matters of faith, we seek the truth. He went through an argument from science for the existence of God, spoke about the uniqueness of the human person with a spiritual soul, and presented the importance of our relationship with the living and true God. In t

Boxing Day party at Parkminster

This afternoon, I drove down to Parkminster. Heavy traffic meant that I arrived only just in time for a humorous but informative presentation on St Nicholas with different St Nicholases entering, from Hungary, Scotland, India, and Holland. Then there were songs from many of the community. We had English, American, Scots, Australian, Vietnamese, Japanese, Hebrew (by an Indonesian) and German. The latter language was to render several beautiful carols composed by Fr Aloysius who has been a Carthusian for about 50 years, I think. The novice-master warned me beforehand that this was an occasion for the community to relax and that there might be some unorthodox moments. He was not wrong. Introducing one of the songs, a newcomer to the community from Poland announced that the melody contained an interval that had been forbidden by the Church for some centuries: an augmented fourth. But he felt that it would be OK on this occasion. After the singing, there was tea, accompanied by various luxu

That's enough brussels sprouts - ed.

252 votes were cast Uurgh! Hate em! 82.5% - 208 votes Yummy, they're great! 13.9% - 35 votes As a moderate, I eschew such extremes. They are palatable but I would not enthuse wildly about them. 3.6% - 9 votes I must say that the large number of moderate votes came as a surprise :-)

Brussels sprouts and electric shocks

I'm sure you'll all be edified to know that I ate my Brussels Sprouts. They were cooked very well and therefore there were none of the sulphurous compounds which apparently cause the general distaste for them. We had a magnificent lunch, actually, cooked by my sister Mary. I brought them some pink champagne so we could toast our Cockney - Canvey - Croydon cultural roots. One present which went down well was the one I bought for my nephew Patrick who is 16. In "Shocking Roulette", up to four people put a finger in the machine and one receives an electrick shock. Shock level can be set to high or low. Really silly but hilarious. Perfect gift from Mary - Shadowplay by Clare Asquith, a book I have been meaning to read. It explores the hidden beliefs and coded politics of the Bard, especially his Catholic references. I gave her Raymond Arroyo's book on Mother Angelica - another one I must get round to. After lunch, we played a speeded up version of scrabble called &qu

Guild of St Stephen Mass

Today in both the old and new breviaries, we have the Sermon by St Fulgentius of Ruspe about St Stephen. Yesterday our king, clothed in his robe of flesh, left his place in the virgin’s womb and graciously visited the world. Today his soldier leaves the tabernacle of his body and goes triumphantly to heaven. At our Mass on Boxing Day, we invite all the altar servers to come since it is their patronal feast day: they belong to the Archconfraternity of St Stephen. There is an enrolment ceremony for new servers who have served regularly for some time at which they receive their medal, to be worn whenever they serve Mass. Here is a photo of the medal. The Chi-Rho emblem, representing Christ, is surrounded by the legend "CUI SERVIRE REGNARE EST" (to serve whom is to reign). While giving a brief summary of St Fulgentius' sermon, I suggested to the altar servers that they might like to choose St Fulgentius for their Confirmation patron. Admitting that this was unlikely at the m

Like the Dawning of the Morning

Mac, over at Mulier Fortis , (there you go, Mac, I gave you a link!) reminded me of Faber's hymn Like the Dawning of the Morning . Mention of both Newman and Faber on the same day! I am feeling so ecumenical - it must be Christmas. I remember this hymn from my days at St Mary's Junior School in Croydon. Not long after I started there, my father became the Headmaster which meant that I had a - well strange - school experience. Advent was always heralded by us singing this hymn at morning Assembly. I loved it then and missed it for many years. About three years ago, I asked Brenda, our indefatigable parish organist, if she could find the score anywhere. In her magnificent cupboard with "things old and new" she found a copy in the Leeds Catholic Hymnal. It had been expunged from the Westminster Hymnal and never made an appearance in any of our modern "a few trad hymns and a thousand mindless ditties" books. The version in the hymnal has only the first two vers

A quote for Christmas

Praise the Holy Spirit for bringing to my mind this quotation from the works of Newman. I first read it when I was a callow youth at Oxford. The sermon was recommended to me by my good friend, John Hayes who was reading English at Keble. (Say a prayer for John - he has suffered from ill health for many years.) I learnt it off by heart and was saddened a couple of years later to see how it had been misused by James Joyce in his Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man . Newman's use of English was superb; I would be happy to have a hundredth of his mastery of our language which can be so beautiful. Here it is - my Christmas present to you, my kind readers. Read it out loud and learn it by heart! After all those years, it still makes me weep. He once had meant to come on earth in heavenly glory, but we sinned; and then He could not safely visit us, except with a shrouded radiance and a bedimmed Majesty, for He was God. So He came Himself in weakness, not in power; and He sent thee, a cr

Devotion to the baby Jesus

What happened to devotion to the baby Jesus? Some time in 1967, Sister Mary Paul (now Jody) went on a course given by Fr Trendy Trousers and learnt that the infancy narratives were all fictional, that it did children irreparable psychological harm to talk about the baby Jesus and that adults had to be more grown-up and think of Jesus only as "the man for others." In a "hermeneutic of continuity moment" earlier this week, I got to thinking about this particular devotion and my parishioners have heard me mention it both from the pulpit and in the confessional. So it must also go on the blog. When St Francis constructed the crib at Greccio, he showed his saintly understanding of psychology. Many of the saints have encouraged us to picture scenes from the Gospel in our imagination. By constructing the nativity scene, we give ourselves the opportunity to meditate upon the awesome mystery that it represents. The Word of God, all-powerful, omniscient, creator of the univer

Striking picture of Our Lady

I found this lovely picture today at the blog of Fr T E Jones St Peter's, London Docks . Father added the text: What a great thing, if, during temptation, all Christians thoughtof confidently invoking Mary's name ! They would certainly never fall. ( S. Alphonsus Liguori: The Glories of Mary ) Have a look at Fr Jones' blog: there are some very good things there, typical of that devout Anglo-Catholic remnant of the Church of England. I hope Fr Jones will not take it amiss if I ask you all to pray earnestly for him to join the Roman Catholic Church. We really need him and many like him. Indeed, we have benefited from many of his confreres who have brought their solid priestly spiritual life to the Catholic Church in England. Do not underestimate how hard it is for someone to leave the Church of England. There is a sense of responsibility that lingers - perhaps to convert the Church of England back again to true Christian values. There is also the terrible sense of loss that ac

Blackfen Youth Vigil

A few weeks ago, a sixth-former from my parish asked me after 10.30am Mass one Sunday, "Father, can we have a vigil of adoration for young people?" There is only one answer to that: "Yes!" I volunteered to provide pizza and a film afterwards. This was entirely my own initiative: the young lady concerned would have settled simply for the vigil of adoration but I felt that it would be good to offer some recreation afterwards. Tonight we met at 6pm, exposed the Blessed Sacrament with the O Salutaris and a short opening prayer of adoration. I then went into the confessional and stayed there to hear confessions while the youngsters said the Rosary, taking it in turns to lead the decades, then had some periods of silent prayer interspersed with various set prayers taken from different sources. ( Fr Stephen Langridge will be pleased to hear that they prayed for vocations to the priesthood and the religious life.) We finished with the Tantum Ergo , versicle and Corpus Chr

Mary meets Dolly

Heads-up to an excellent pro-life site with articles and information on bioethical issues. Mary meets Dolly is subtitled "A Catholic's Guide to Genetics, Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology." The intro says: Mary Meets Dolly is, literally, the meeting of the world of genetics and genetic engineering, represented by Dolly, “mother” of modern biotechnology, and the teachings of the Catholic Church on the sanctity of life, represented by Mary, mother of Christ and the Church. So, while “Mary Meets Dolly” may sound glib, its subject matter is definitely not. The site has topics of interest, links, Church teaching, booklist, glossary and blog. A must for every pro-lifer's bookmarks.

UK Government Dalek social policy

The Daily Mail ran a report yesterday: More than 100 teenage girls a month have multiple abortions . The statistics, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act make depressing reading. Apparently, Simon Blake, the chief executive of the Brook, said that they have "clearly been failed by our education and health systems." Well, yes. And reading the comments from Government officials, it seems they will continue to be so failed. A Department of Health spokesman said: "Government is determined to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception." Keep repeating that in a Dalek voice: Government is determined to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception. Government is determined to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception. Government is determined to reduce the demand for abortions by improving access to contraception. [1967... 1977... 1987... 1997... 2007...] Government is determined to reduc

Conventual admiratio

Hey look at this! Some Retreat House is teaching the "Prayer of the Frog"!

Carthusian website

Ken very kindly posted a link in the combox to a Carthusian website that I had not seen before. If you select "texts" in the sidebar, you can get the whole text of the book by Dom Guillerand that I have been mentioning. There are also links to a number of Carthusian liturgical texts. By the way, have a look at Ken's blog Hallowed Ground .

St Alphonsus for priests (Tuesday)

Prayer to be said by the priest after celebrating Mass (Tuesday) Ah! My Lord, how could I have offended you so many times, knowing that by sinning, I was so greatly displeasing you. I beg you, through the merits of your passion, forgive me, and bind me to you by the bond of your love; may the stench of my faults not separate you from me. Make me acknowledge more and more your goodness, and the love which is owed to you, and the love with which you loved me. I desire, O good Jesus, to devote my whole self to you, who have willed to offer yourself in sacrifice for me. You have bound me to yourself by innumerable proofs of charity; do not permit me, I pray, ever to separate myself from you. I love you, my God, and I wish always to love you. And how can I live separated from you and without your grace when I have known your love? I give you thanks because you have borne with me when I was living without your grace and because you have still granted me time for loving you. If destruction sh

We have turned the whole universe away from God

Yesterday, I mentioned The Prayer of the Presence of God by Dom Augustin Guillerand. (See the post for some information about him.) The back cover describes prayer as "a habit of tranquil listening that allows God to enter our souls by all paths and to establish His presence there." I was not quite prepared for the hard-hitting second chapter of Part 1. As soon as I read it, I felt that it would be of interest to readers of this blog. We might expect a spiritual writer living in the world to be familiar with combat against evil. To read a description by a Carthusian is not necessarily surprising, particularly as it was written during the second World War, but I felt that it had a great impact. Dom Guillerand does seem to get to the heart of the spiritual battle by describing it as a cosmic battle. It is daunting to realise that he is simply and determinedly teaching the life of prayer as the means of reversing the tide of this war. Here is the selection: We must pray always

Dwight Longenecker's blog

Fr Dwight Longenecker has a blog called Standing on My Head . It has some pics from his recent ordination as a Catholic priest and some thoughtful "Letters" to various figures. His comment on the Anglican Church is, of course, very well informed.

Pro-life vigil report

St Francis in the centre of Maidstone had a Funeral Mass today at 12.30pm so we started the vigil a little late. We began with the Angelus, the Prayer to St Michael (my suggestion) and Pope John Paul's Prayer for Life, said before the picture of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the porch of the Church. Beginning the Rosary, we had a short procession, led by the picture of Our Lady, just a couple of minutes' walk to the Marie Stopes Centre. We stood on the edge of the pavement opposite the Centre and said 20 decades of the Rosary, including the Mysteries of Light. That takes up the hour of the vigil which concluded with us saying the Divine Mercy chaplet as we processed back to the Church. The vigil finished with singing the Salve Regina . While we were praying, Michael did the work of pavement counsellor and I have to say that I was most impressed. There was only one woman who did not stop to talk to him. Several stayed and chatted for at least five minutes, sometimes laughing and neve

New Brussels Sprout survey

Further to Brussels Sprouts. It's official. 80% of the people commenting on this issue so far today like Brussels Sprouts. I don't think I had better add this statistic to the Wikipedia article. Instead, I have devised another poll with ultra-rigorous methodology. Vote as often as you like. (I was going to post the picture of the Brussels Sprouts but whenever I have tried to post pictures today, I have been told: "Blogger has been unable to complete your request" - whether I have tried to upload from my own HD or link from the web. Is this a general issue today?)

Maidstone pro-life vigil

I am off now to Maidstone, about 45 minutes' drive down the M20, to lead the prayers in a pro-life vigil outside the Marie Stopes International Maidstone Centre in the town. Here is their list of "treatments" with prices. The Marie Stopes Centre is just round the corner from the Catholic Church of St Francis. The group will be meeting there to attend the parish's weekday Mass and then say all the mysteries of the Rosary outside the Centre. There is someone on hand to offer counselling in case any of the women wants to change their mind. The vigil is entirely peaceful, prayerful and non-confrontational. Say a prayer that any opponents will also be peaceful - that has not always been the case in the past. The " Sisters Speaking Bush Telegraph " has a piece about this vigil, describing it as "insensitive, emotionally manipulative and cruel." They should focus their attention on the various people who have forced often young and vulnerable women into

New blog, Christmas and Brussels Sprouts

David has started a blog called The Fullness of Faith . In his profile, he says: I am an ex-Anglican Vicar, who has now come to recognise that the fullness of the faith is to be found only within the Catholic Church. I now rejoice to be a Catholic, and share in the fullness of the truth. I am married and working as a Catholic lay Chaplain. I am also studying for an MA in Catholic theology. As a convert I am often amazed at how "cradle" Catholics can fail to recognise the beauty of their faith... so I will do all I can to proclaim it here! He has a post on " Xmas " with a picture of what must be one of the worst Christmas Cards ever: a pile of Brussels Sprouts. I don't know if this is also true in America but here in England, Brussels Sprouts are traditionally served with Christmas dinner and equally traditionally detested. The article on Wikipedia Brussels Sprout discusses briefly whether it should be Brussel Sprouts and whether it is Britain's most hated v

Campaign to free Chen Guang Cheng

This today via Matt O'Gorman of LIFE , via David Alton : The blind Chinese Human Rights activist, Chen Guang Cheng, has been given a four year prison sentence. He was convicted after exposing and speaking out against the policy of forced abortions and sterilisations in the Shandong Province. More than 130,000 women were forcibly aborted as part of the coercive one child policy. Jubilee Campaign are launching a nationwide protest calling for Chen's release. This will take the form of a postcard campaign to the Chinese Ambassador in London. The campaign is supported by various pro-life groups. To order cards, write to: Jubilee Campaign 96 High Street Guildford Surrey GU1 3HE or you can e-mail the Director of Jubilee Campaign, Danny Smith

New book on counter-insurgency

My good friend, James Corum, has just had his new book published " Fighting the War on Terror: A Counterinsurgency Strategy ." Jim very kindly invited me to dinner at All Souls College last year; he was on a two term visiting fellowship during which he was working on this book. He has also written a couple of books on the Luftwaffe, and " The Roots of Blitzkrieg: Hans Von Seeckt and German Military Reform " which tells of the first stage of the build-up of German military power between the wars. His writing is lucid and engaging, making his work accessible to the non-specialist. Here is a link you can use to pre-order the book from Amazon UK:

Today Christmas Repeal Vote

Fr Stephen Langridge tells of the Christmas "legislative wish list" of the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. You are invited to send in a nomination for one law to be repealed. I agree with Fr Stephen that it would be a good idea for as many people as possible to nominate the Abortion Act 1967. If it gets to the top six, it could generate some good pro-life publicity. Send in a nomination at the Christmas Repeal Vote page.

Carthusian Christmas and a good book

I was at Parkminster yesterday to give my fortnightly class on Sacramental Theology. There are two new men joining the community and so I will probably meet them when we start up again in the New Year. I did have it down in my diary to lecture on New Year's Day but the Novice Master felt that it would be merciful for all concerned if we were to cancel that one. Yesterday, going in for Vespers, it dawned on me that I would have the opportunity of singing the O Adonai antiphon in a monastic setting from the great Antiphonale that they use. Christmas Day itself is observed with great solemnity at Parkminster of course. I am told that the Night Office is the most beautiful of the year. One time, Dom Cyril was urging me to come for it but I had to explain that I had Midnight Mass in the parish. However, there is an extended recreation (between None and Vespers) on St Stephen's Day - the only day in the year when this happens. I have been invited to join them so I will drive down

A new priestly blog

I mentioned a while back that Fr Richard Aladics had started a blog called Friends with Christ . He has been joined as a co-author by Fr Julian Green who is the Catholic chaplain to the University of Birmingham. He also teaches at Oscott College and the Maryvale Institute.

Young Adults’ Retreat at Balham

This from Fr Stephen Langridge: The annual Youth 2000 New Year Retreat for young adults will take place at the Holy Ghost Church, Balham. It begins on Friday 29 December and ends at lunch time on Monday 1 January. The retreat attracts up to 500 hundred young people from all over the country. We would like to invite young adults (18-30 year olds) to join us for the retreat. A special invitation is extended to any young person (16-30 years) who wishes only to join us for the opening Youth Mass celebrated by Archbishop Kevin on Friday night. Registration is from 6pm. There is a meal at 7pm. The Mass begins at 9pm. For more information visit: or email: You can also get more details on Fr Stephen's New Year Retreat Timetable post.

Great books online

Fr Schofield over at the Roman Miscellany has been browsing through the Internet Archive and found some gems. He has listed them in his post Online Library . This is the link to get you straight to the Text Archive . (some of the stuff listed on the front page of the main archive is not very nice.) I was particularly delighted to find Challenor's Garden of the Soul . I used to have an old copy of this but lost it some years ago.

Putting Christ back into Christmas

The Linebacker is back! Here he is, putting Christ back into Christmas. Christmas Linebacker H/T to the Roman Miscellany

The investiture of Sir Dan!

I have just checked the poll and, quite fortuitously, the number of votes is 325-0 in favour of Dan Cooper being hailed as "Sir Dan of the Nesbitry" by acclamation. That is exactly the number required! Here is the official press photo, on the occasion of his investiture, complete with armour and steed. He is ready to ride off and fight against deviousness, blasted wonky types, anything pathetic or generally boggy. Should you meet him at the Faith Winter Session, you will need to buy several Faith Pamphlets if you are not to feel the crack of his knightly lance around the temples.

Doctor Dylan James!

Fr Dylan James successfully defended his doctoral thesis and has been awarded his doctorate from the Alphonsianum. The title of the thesis was: The Definition of the Human Person in the context of Bioethics: a comparison of Catholic and Secular thought with particular reference to contemporary British authors Mary Warnock and John Harris. The work also included a study of the embryo and of brain death, examining how we might define the start and end of life. Dr Dylan is very grateful for all your prayers.

Parish Pilgrimage to Lourdes

Mon 28th May - Fri 1st June 2007. Each year, my parish runs a Pilgrimage to Lourdes during the summer half-term holiday. Mac does all the practical organisation, booking flights, hotel etc. Because we do it ourselves, we are able to keep the cost low. This year, I think we will have to have Mass at Blackfen before we go on the Monday, because we will get there just before supper and will want to leave people able to take part in the torchlight procession in the evening. We take part in the international Mass on the Wednesday, the English Mass at the Grotto on whichever day we are allocated and book chapels for the other two days. We stay at the Hotel D'Angleterre which is very near the Domaine . Anyone who wants to join us is welcome. Half-board 3-star accommodation within easy reach of the Domaine, coach transfers and flights (Gatwick-Toulouse) £320 per adult (sharing), £160 per child under 16. Single supplement extra. If you want to come, get in touch with Mac who is organising i

"The Roman Breviary" online

Shawn Tribe, over at the New Liturgical Movement has posted the news that The Roman Breviary by the Marquess of Bute has now been made available online by the Canadian Internet Archive. This translation is somewhat eccentric but it is an extremely helpful reference work with lots of helpful footnotes. As it pre-dates the reforms of Pope Pius X, it is closer to the Breviary revised after Trent. Here are the links to the Volumes: Volume 1 Volume 2 Volume 3 Volume 4

The burning babe?

Joanna has a hilarious post today about singing carols at Victoria Station . After telling of the choirmaster from the Ministry of Defence giving them some impromptu drill, she explains how Regulations require that when singing carols in a railway station, you have to be equipped with a fire extinguisher. They're obviously keeping the flame of faith alive.

"The Soul of the Embryo" shortlisted for prize

The book by David Jones, The Soul of the Embryo , has been shortlisted for the Michael Ramsey Prize for religious books. In the current issue of Faith Magazine, there is a review of the book by Edmund Nash which concludes with the wish that the book should be read and discussed widely.

Fr Dylan James defensor

Say a prayer today for Fr Dylan James, a priest of the Diocese of Plymouth. He is defending his doctoral thesis in the viva voce examination today. I don't know the exact title of his thesis but he has been working on the concept of personhood, especially as it relates to the personhood of the embryo.

I got stung!

I just paid my car tax using the all new direc-gov website to make it easier for Gordon Brown to rob us electronically. 12 months road tax on my Nissan Primera cost me £190. Ouch! Entering it in my accounts, I see that last year it cost £155. That's an increase of 22.5%. To put you in the picture if you live in America, £190 is $372 at today's exchange rate. The road tax is just to keep the car legally on the road - insurance, tax on petrol, tax on the cost of the car are all extra to this. (BTW - how much is a litre of ordinary unleaded petrol (sorry - "gas") in the US?)

Conference on Spiritual Warfare

Fr Jeremy Davies recommended this to me. As it is on a Saturday, I am unable to attend. However, I thought some readers might be interested. CONFERENCE ON SPIRITUAL WARFARE Saturday 13th January 2007 - 10am - 4am Church Hall, Holy Apostles, Cumberland Street, LONDON SW1V 4LY St John of the Cross and the Path of Spiritual Freedom Fr Iain Matthew O.D.C (author of 'The Impact of God'), The Jewish People and the Second Coming Roy Schoeman (author of 'Salvation is from the Jews') and Exorcism and Evangelisation Fr Sean Conaty (of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle) Tickets priced at £10 are available on the door or in advance from Dcn Mike Bykar 58 Haselmere Ave Barnet Herts EN4 8EU (please enclose SAE). Please bring your own lunch.

Do we live in a multiverse?

Richard Dawkins , in his recent book The God Delusion ultimately relies on the concept of a multiverse as the answer to the argument for the existence of God which is drawn from the fact that the universe is structured according to fundamental laws which apply across the whole universe. The Templeton Foundation ( incidentally , a pet hate of Richard Dawkins ) sponsors research and discussion on the relationship of science and religion. Each month, the Foundation hosts and online exchange on some important question related to its mission. This month, the question is "Do we live in a multiverse ". The dedicated page for the question has an interview with Paul Davies and links to several related articles.

Two good books

Thanks to Fr Stephanos for the link to David Hartline's The Tide is Turning Toward Catholicism . It has the following great blurb: Spread The News, The Tide Is Turning. Many In The Media Are Full Of Doom & Gloom. Don't Believe Their Hype. The Facts Are In The Book & Outlined Below. This Book Is Simply Not Wishful Thinking. Below Are The Reasons Why The Tide Is Turning Did you know: * Vocations Are Increasing! * The Laity Is Defending The Church In Many Ways * The Youth's Faithfullness To The Church, Her Traditions & The Holy Father Has Undergone A Profound Resurgence * Catholic Communications Such As Catholic Radio & Catholic Web Sites & Blogs Have Increased Profoundly * A Deep Interest In Mary Is Being Witnessed Across The World * Interest In The Eucharist & Eucharistic Adoration Is On The Rise * Catholics Are Defending Their History & Teachings That Some In Secular Society Mock Or Don't Understand For more

Bringing out the inner Savonarola

Dale Price (from Detroit, Michigan) has a blog with the excellent title Dyspeptic Mutterings . I Just came across a post of his called: Affirm and go hottubbing, for yours is the reign of God . He begins by saying "Some things just bring out my inner Savonarola" and launches into a fun five-star rant about a spiritual reflection on Advent that he characterises as a "slice of USCCB-certified Grade A headcheese." A sample: The distant and neuter God loves you. Period. There's nothing that makes God angry. Jesus came as a symbol of divine love--no atonement there. What's remarkable about this is that Fr. Overberg has. no. clue. how this obliterates social justice advocacy. If God truly loves unconditionally, then not even screwing the poor and building a nuclear death ray to fry puppies and redwoods from one of the Lagrange Points is going to hack Himherit off. Godself is all about acceptance--and nothin' but. Rant or no rant, he's spot on. Jesus did no

John Fisher School website and Sir Dan

The John Fisher School website has a picture of the school chapel decorated for the final part of Advent. This is the chapel where I began attending daily Mass before school when I was 16. There were various priests at the school in those days (I'm talking mid-1970s) and several of us used to go to Mass early in the morning. There was also Benediction after school on Friday - a tradition that continues today. If you look at the Christmas Newsletter (pdf), you will find, on page 9, a report on the Faith Club. This was started in 1972 and I was one of the early Chairmen - two after Andrew Nash, the brother of Auntie Joanna . There have been many priestly vocations from the Faith Club since that time. When Fr Roger Nesbitt was moved to a parish (in 1979, I think) we were worried about the future of the Faith Club at the school. However, Dan Cooper has done sterling work keeping it going more than 25 years on. It still meets in what used to be Fr Nesbitt's study - a room we nickn

Selective bible affirmation

Interesting post from Gerald Augustinus about a Bible version that tailors itself to your name. See The Bible is all about me . You can get the picture from a couple of examples that came up for me: John 15:15 Fr Tim Finigan is a friend of Christ. No longer do I call Fr Tim Finigan a servant, for a servant doesn't know what his lord does. But I have called Fr Tim Finigan a friend, for everything that I heard from My Father, I have made known to Fr Tim Finigan. II Cor. 2:14 Fr Tim Finigan is led triumphantly by Christ. But thanks be to God, who always leads Fr Tim Finigan in triumph in Christ, and reveals through Fr Tim Finigan the sweet aroma of His knowledge in every place. I can see the point of encouraging people to understand that the scriptures apply to them personally and this kind of thing could (sparingly) be used as a homiletic device, perhaps. However, the rather self-indulgent feel of overdoing the personalisation is accentuated when you discover that the Personal Pr

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