Showing posts from September, 2009

Shrine of the Dorset Martyrs

A correspondent has sent me these beautiful photographs from the Chapel of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and St Ignatius in Chideock, Dorset. Many thanks to him also for the background information which I have incorporated into this post. The framework of the building was originally, a barn where the Catholic faithful gathered to attend secret Masses celebrated by priests operating under cover. Very soon, the location was identified and became unsafe but then a secret chapel was built in the loft area and the walls painted in fresco fashion. These faded and peeling images are still clearly visible today. Amazingly, the “hidden chapel” continued to be used for nearly 150 years before it became relatively safe for Catholics to emerge to a cautious semi-public existence in the early 19th century. It was in this period that a local Catholic family of some wealth (the Welds), bought the estate and began the process of transforming the barn into a beautiful and richly decorated Chapel. The work

In praise of St Maximinus

Patricius has posted today on the sequence "Columba aspexit" composed by Bl. Hildegard of Bingen in honour of St Maximinus , Bishop of Trier and friend of St Athanasius. There is another article by Sister Victorine Fenton OSB which especially focusses on the technicalities of the chant. Here is a YouTube video of the sequence performed by Emma Kirkby and Gothic Voices:

APGL day: moral philosophy, SRE and a new book

Today's conference for the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life was quite a full day with a good number of priests taking part. Our principal speaker was Professor Thomas Pink from King's College London who gave a lecture on Morality and Human Nature in which he examined different meanings of freedom and showed how the metaphysical understanding of free will was fundamental to the freedom we expect to be guaranteed by law, and freedom as a condition. He also explained how the refusal to accept such metaphysical freedom made talk of human rights and freedom in society utterly incoherent. As he pointed out, you cannot defend someone's freedom to act in a certain way if you do not accept that they have the capacity to determine how they act. Before lunch, there was a brief presentation of the new programme " This is my Body " for sex and relationships education prepared jointly by SPUC and Lancaster Diocese. The programme follows the teaching of The Truth

Angels - some facts

Ignatius Insight has carried today a short extract from Peter Kreeft's Angels And Demons. What Do We Really Know about Them? including "The Twelve Most Important Things to Know About Them". I often remind people that angels are not fairies - Peter Kreeft gives some excellent further short points. Happy feast day for today - and for Friday's feast of the Holy Guardian Angels, which is also the anniversary of the dedication of the Church of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. Last year, on a Sunday in October, I gave a sermon on The Archangels and our families .

Adoration at Parkminster

Above you can see a view of the Brothers' Chapel at St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster. Above the altar to the right is St Bruno and above the altar to the left is St John the Baptist. This is my route into the main choir (through the doors between the altars) after I have given my class. Today I joined the community for Vespers of "St Michael and the Archangels". As it is a major feast, we had the proper antiphons from the Antiphonale Diurnum, a heavy, vellum bound volume studded with brass and large enough for three monks to view together. Again because of the solemnity, incense was used at Vespers. Fr Vicar in cuculla incensed the altar, and a brother incensed each member of the choir. The thurible is a little shorter than one that might be used in a parish and it is used with one hand only - one swing for each member of choir. Today there was also a short period of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament after Vespers. Between the choir stalls and the bookrests in cho

Good King Wenceslaus

Thanks to the Christmas song, people in Britain at least know the name of the saint whose Mass I celebrated this evening. St Wenceslaus is the patron saint of the Czech Republic which Pope Benedict has been visiting. Now we all know from " Good King Wenceslaus " that the page was able to keep warm in the snow by treading in the footsteps of the King which he was with him on their errand of mercy. St Alphonsus offers an explanation of why the King's footsteps were warm: " ... tender indeed was the devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament of St. Wenceslas, Duke of Bohemia. This holy king was so enamored of Jesus there present that he not only gathered wheat and grapes and made the hosts and wine with his own hands and then gave them to be used in the Holy Sacrifice, but even during the winter he used to go at night to visit the church in which the Blessed Sacrament was kept. These visits enkindled in his beautiful soul such flames of Divine love that their ardour imparte

BBC sneers at St Therese

Just a quick link for you to Fr Ray Blake's justifiably annoyed reaction the BBC's Sunday programme yesterday: BBC: "As if the body of a dead nun were not enough..."

Thorny problem for the UN

Well I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later. The President of the General Assembly of the United Nations is elected on a regional rotating basis and this year it is the turn of the African group of states. The new President is Ali Abdussalam Treki of the Socialist People's Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, Libya's Minister of African Affairs and the African Union's Envoy to Darfur. One of the journalists at a press conference prior to the opening of the 64th session of the General Assembly asked Treki what he thought of the UN's Declaration for the Universal Decriminalisation of Homosexuality. According to the quote in Pink News, he said: "That matter is very sensitive, very touchy. As a Muslim, I am not in favour of it ... it is not accepted by the majority of countries. My opinion is not in favour of this matter at all. I think it's not really acceptable by our religion, our tradition. “It is not acceptable in the majority of the world. And there are some cou

Nothing floats in Latin

Many years ago in Rome, I studied Latin with the great Fr Reginald Foster. I have studied under some very fine teachers but Reggie was undoubtedly the best teacher of anything that I ever had. He is not by any means a "traditionalist": for example he never wears his habit, and does not like the extraordinary form of Mass. His love of Latin is entirely based on the beauty of the language itself. His enthusiasm is infectious but enthusiasm is not enough to learn Latin. He demanded hard work and application, but those students who stayed with him (and there were always large numbers) did the work because he communicated his own zeal for the language. Everyone who studied with Reggie has their own memories from his classes - you need to conjure up the gravelly Milwaukee accent - here is one example. Foster : What's the dative doing there in that sentence? Student : Oh Father I thought it was just like, kinda ... floating. Foster : [ with trademark snarl ] NOTHING FLOATS

SSCS Study Day for priests

The Society of St Catherine of Siena is holding a study day for priests on Tuesday 6 October at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. The 1911-1913 Liturgical Reform By Paul Cavendish The lecture will consider the pre-1911 breviary and various questions relating to the arrangement of the psalms, the Dominical, festal and ferial offices and the offices of Lent and Advent. The problem of the calendar will be considered, particularly the ferial and Dominical cycles being swamped by the disproportionate number of doubles and the prominence given to Sundays in the 1911-1913 reform as well as the change to the cursus of the psalter and the implications for choral celebration. The day is open to all clergy. Seminarians who are free to come are also welcome. There is no charge for the day but if clergy are able to make a contribution from an allowance for “Ministry to Priests” or similar, that would be appreciated. Programme 11.00am Arrival (tea and coffee available) 11.30am Lecture “The 1911-1913

APGL conference reminder

May I remind any priests who may be interested, of the APGL Conference next week at which Dr Tom Pink will be speaking, and at which we will launch our new booklet Proclaiming the Gospel of Life .

Family Day at Blackfen, Saturday

On Saturday 3 October there will be a Family Day at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. This is a day for all the family to pray together with other families, to support one another in the faith, to deepen our love for Christ and our understanding of the teaching of the Church. Programme There is a parish Mass (Latin, older form, Missa Cantata ) at 10.30am and confessions available during Mass; Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament is at 11.30am, followed by the Marian Anthem. The Family Day proper begins with the blessing of roses for the feast of St Thérèse (bring as many roses as you like!) and a talk at 12noon for all in the Church followed by lunch in the Hall. After lunch there will be workshops for parents, grandparents, teenagers and children. 3.45pm Finish with tea, juice and biscuits. There are confessions from 5-5.30pm) and the parish Mass (English) is at 6pm Do come along for this enjoyable and uplifting day. Here are instructions for Getting to Blackfen .

Lucy Speed and "Fight for Sight"

A parishioner of mine has a son who suffers with Choroideremia, a rare inherited disorder that causes progressive loss of vision due to degeneration of the choroid and retina. She and a friend are doing a half marathon for charity this Sunday to raise money for " Fight for Sight ". Last week they took up a bucket collection after Mass to get some support from the parishioners. Above you can see a photo from the FFS website from a previous run. There is also good news this week for the charity in that Lucy Speed (who appears in "The Bill") will be on Family Fortunes this Sunday at 6.45pm and Fight for Sight is one of her charities. the maximum prize money is apparently £30,000 so I hope she does well.

Little Office and liturgical reform

A correspondent regales me with an amusing instance of what might be termed a failure of completeness in the Liturgical reforms following the second Vatican Council. In the Motu Proprio Ecclesiae Sanctae of 1966, implementing various decrees of Vatican II, Pope Paul VI said: Although Religious who recite a duly approved Little Office perform the public prayer of the Church (cf. Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium , No. 98), it is nevertheless recommended to the institutes that in place of the Little Office they adopt the Divine Office either in part or in whole so that they may participate more intimately in the liturgical life of the Church. (n.20) The relevant part of Sacrosanctum Concilium 98 says: They too perform the public prayer of the Church who, in virtue of their constitutions, recite any short office, provided this is drawn up after the pattern of the divine office and is duly approved. My correspondent points out that therefore the Little Office remains part of the public

Assisted suicide: how to get away with it

Today Keir Starmer, the Director of Public Prosecutions published his interim policy on assisted suicide which further muddies the waters on the question of whether anyone will be prosecuted for helping someone to kill themselves. This is a significant step in the creeping legalisation of euthanasia in Britain. There is a twelve week consultation period and I would encourage you to download and complete the consultation document . The "Public interest factors against a prosecution" essentially provide a guide for people involved in assisted suicide so that they can work out whether they will probably get away with it. I expect that guidance might also be forthcoming in due course for medical professionals. After all, travelling to Switzerland could be a bit expensive and we don't want people messing things up at home, do we? John Smeaton also points out that the policy represents a legal downgrade of disabled people .

Pope to visit Britain

The news stories of a papal visit to Great Britain splashed round the websites of the daily newspapers in Britain, and other news services, late this afternoon. It will be a great blessing to our country and I am sure that the presence of the Holy Father and his wise words will bring about an increase of faith, and a deepening of the spiritual and liturgical life of the Church. Please pray for the visit to be a great success. Thanks to Fr John Boyle at Caritas in Veritate for some links which I followed up to compare how the various outlets described the genesis of the story. The Sun "can reveal" it from "Government sources" Reuters relies on a "Government source" The BBC has simply "learned" of the news Sky News , of course has it from its own "Sky sources" Associated Press has a little more, saying that reporters travelling to New York with Gordon Brown reported the news The Times , the Telegraph and the Guardian simply report

New book - "Praying the Mass. The Prayers of the People"

"Praying the Mass. The Prayers of the People", by Jeffrey Pinyan, is a guide to the new English translation of the Mass. There further information about the book at the blog: Praying the Mass . Jeff has very kindly mentioned Fr Zuhlsdorf and myself in the acknowledgements and I have followed the progress of the book for some time in its preparation. The book goes through all the texts that are spoken by the people during the newer form of the Mass. (A second book is planned on the prayers of the priest.) The texts are given in Latin and in the new ICEL version with a catechetical commentary that is deeply versed in the sacred scriptures. The introductory chapter includes a refreshingly sound and balanced understanding of participation in the Sacred Liturgy and the whole book could justifiably be regarded as a significant contribution to the genuine renewal of the Liturgy promoted by Pope Benedict. "Praying the Mass" is a valuable guide for Catholics who want to unde

The Dan Brown Sequel Generator

Slate has an interactive Dan Brown Sequel Generator ("Seem formulaic? That's because it is.") This is the kind of thing that James Preece of Catholic and Loving It could code over a cup of tea and a rich tea biscuit - after finishing with The Julie Andrews Inspired Mark Shea Evilness Diagnostic Generator

Study session at St Pauls with James MacMillan

Those of you who are in London during the day may be interested in the first of the Transformative Study Sessions arranged by the Diocese of London in the vicinity of St Paul's Cathedral since James MacMillan will be speaking. Here are the details: Session 1: The Word transforming The composer James MacMillan and the poet Michael Symmons Roberts Thursday 29 October 12.00-1.30pm St Faith's Chapel, St Paul's Cathedral

Abbot of Lagrasse to visit England

The Abbot of St Mary's Abbey, Lagrasse , the Rt Revd Emmanuel-Marie de St Jean CRMD will be visiting England next month, accompanied by the the Sub-prior, Pére Augustin-Marie de la Trinité. His visit has been organised by the newly-founded English charity, The Friends of the Canonical Abbey of Lagrasse. On Saturday 10 October at 11.45am, Father Abbot will say Mass in the usus antiquior in the Crypt Chapel of Westminster Cathedral, by kind permission of the Canon Administrator. In the afternoon, from 1.45pm, Father Abbot will lead the Rosary Crusade of Reparation through the streets of London from Westminster Cathedral to the London Oratory where he will give Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. On Sunday 11 October at 9am, Father Abbot will say the regular usus antiquior Mass at the London Oratory, by kind invitation of the Oratory Fathers. He hopes to be able to meet members of the congregation after Mass. The above photo is from Fr John Boyle's Flickr set from

13 new Dominican novices in Ireland

I just received news that on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, the Irish Dominicans celebrated the reception of thirteen new novices at Saint Mary's in Popes Quay, Cork. This is excellent news - congratulations to the Irish Dominicans. See the post at the Irish Dominican Vocations blog: Reception of Novices. Saint Mary's Priory, Cork . There was also a solemn profession in Dublin the day before, and two simple professions in Limerick the day after.

Funny photo, serious point

I roared with laughter at this photo which Laurence "Bones" England published yesterday. You should also read his post which makes a serious point: New Guidelines on Assisted Suicide?

Did St Thérèse want to be a woman priest?

Thanks to Fr John Boyle for notice of an attempt to hijack the visit of the relics of St Thérèse in the cause of the ordination of women. (See: St Therese and the Priesthood ). There is a good article published in Homiletic and Pastoral Review a few years back which covered the quotation usually brought out in favour of the St Thérèse as womynpriest thesis: Did St. Thérèse want to be a priest? Essentially: yes, St Thérèse said she wanted to be a priest. She also said that she wanted to be a crusader; and she expressed enthusiasm for being a member of the Pontifical Zouave. In addition, she said that she wanted to be like St Francis and refuse the honour of the priesthood. (Hint: she was speaking ... figuratively .)

Atheist T-shirts

Paulinus has some good ideas for atheist T-shirts. Above is #1. you can see the others at these links: #2 #3 #4

Another Bishop mandates communion kneeling, on the tongue

Cathedral, Juan Luis Cardinal Cipriani Thorne, Archbishop of Lima, has instructed that the faithful receiving Holy Communion in his Cathedral must do so kneeling and on the tongue. His Eminence said: "The most respectful way of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue. We must recover a sense of respect and reverence due to the Eucharist, because the love to Jesus is the center of our Christian lives. Our souls are at stake." H/T Rorate Caeli

Kerry victorious

This is not really a sports blog, you understand, but in deference to one of my most consistent informants, himself hailing from the Kingdom of Kerry, I must allow Sr Dan of the Nesbitry an short notice about the victory of Kerry over Cork in the All Ireland final. We are talking Irish football and I haven't a clue about the rules but Kerry won their fifth All-Ireland this decade after beating Cork 0-16 to 1-9 yesterday at Croke Park. There is a full match report in the Irish Times. Colm Cooper, a close relative of Sir Dan, played a fine game and the team were welcomed back in what is said to be one of the biggest ever crowds to welcome home an All-Ireland team. The crowds gathered last night in the village of Rathmore, yards inside the Kerry border with Cork and the first train station in the county. My own family came over from Cork in the 19th century so I also commiserate loyally with the gallant team that came second.

APGL Conference 30 September

The Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life are holding a Conference on Wednesday 30 September 2009 at St Wilfrid’s Hall at the London Oratory (Brompton Road, SW7 2RP). The Conference is open to all priests. Deacons and seminarians are also welcome. The Keynote lecture will be given by Dr Thomas Pink (Professor of Philosophy at King’s College London) on the subject of Morality and Human Nature The afternoon will also see the launch of "Proclaiming the Gospel of Life", a collection of essays produced in association with the Catholic Truth Society. The book, which normally retails at £4.95, will be available at the special price of £3.50 on this occasion only. It is also hoped that the day will offer the opportunity for priestly fellowship and mutual support during this ‘Year of Priesthood’ called by Pope Benedict XVI. Programme 11.30am Arrival and registration at St Wilfrid’s Hall Tea and coffee available 12noon Guest Speaker: Dr Tom Pink ‘Morality and Human Nature’ 12.4

Euthanasia in Britain today

Vera's story in the Catholic Herald this week shows what is going on in hospitals up and down Britain every day. An ordinary member of the public, concerned at the way in which an elderly person is treated, faces the determinedly soothing assurances of the medical professionals as her friend is dehydrated to death. The family are frightened and defensive because they have accepted the assurances of the medical professionals and would be horrified to think that they had been complicit in Vera's death. We should understand the pressure that they have been subjected to. After all, whose advice should they trust? The doctor and the nurses are telling them what is "best". We need to hear the stories of those who are closely affected by the euthanasia that is now practised in Britain. These stories need to be archived, put on record, so that future generations can say "Never Again!"

'Year For Priests' Clergy Conference in Rome Jan 2010

A while back, I mentioned the Rome Conference for English-speaking clergy which takes place from 4-8 January 2010. The Conference is run by the Australian Conference of Catholic Clergy together with the US Confraternity of Catholic Clergy and it is sure to be a great international gathering of like-minded priests. I'll be going myself and I would recommend the Conference. There is an "early bird discount" for those who register before next Friday 25 September. You can register at the dedicated Year for Priests Conference site. It is possible to pay online via paypal or you can download the Conference brochure and send your credit card details by post.

"That's my King" video

Sometimes it is good to re-post a classic video just to remind people. I really like this one because of the enthusiasm of the preacher. As an "affective meditation" on the person of Jesus Christ, it will appeal to many:

A myth that holds us back

Jeffrey Tucker has just published an excellent piece on NLM about the revival of Gregorian chant and the stereotyped account of changes to Catholic Church music in the late sixties. He points out that the dogged adherence to the standard myth is preventing people from understanding what is happening now. It is well worth a read. See: The People vs. The Trained Elites?

The boy cow or the girl cow?

Well we were discussing the gender wars and the current methods of teaching science this evening so this fits in to a certain extent. As Patty says at the Tangled Blog , "I'm not laughing at them...I'm laughing with them..."

"No going back" - Fr Kramer FSSP on Vatican radio

Fr Kramer of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter is the parish Priest of the Church of the Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini in the historic heart of Rome, erected by the Vicariate of Rome as a personal parish to guarantee pastoral care for the community of Traditional faithful in Rome. On the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, which marked the second anniversary of Summorum Pontificum , Fr Kramer gave an interview for Vatican Radio . Fr Kramer especially emphasised that the restoration of the traditional form of the Roman Rite is not a matter of "going back" to the time before Vatican II. He spoke particularly of the greater warmth and communication between bishops and priests, and between priests and people. I agree with him. There was certainly warm and open communication in some cases but I think he is right that this has been greatly improved in recent decades. Another important consideration is the reverence with which Mass is celebrated. One side of the "

Visit of St Thérèse relics

The relics of St Thérèse arrived in England today. There is a dedicated page with good information at the CBCEW website: Relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux and the Catholic Herald has a portal with information about the visit. The relics are coming to the Archdiocese of Southwark from 9-11 October at Aylesford Priory . Some parishioners of mine are taking part in the veneration first thing on the Saturday morning and we will have a good group going for other parts of the day. This devotion has really caught on in a big way with very positive results. There is already a strong devotion to St Thérèse in England and the tour of her relics will help people to understand the importance of the veneration of relics, getting rid of some of the silly scruples about relics that have affected people over recent years. The Little Way of St Thérèse with its unthreatening but also uncompromising fidelity will help many to return to those devotions that are so helpful to the Christian faithful. Well -

"The Cross and the Third Reich" - new book

Family Publications have come up with yet another first-rate book. "The Cross and the Third Reich" by John Frain looks at the opposition to Nazism from Catholics and other Christians. The focus of the book is principally on Catholic opposition (which was in fact stronger) but he does not ignore the heroic Christians of other Churches who stood up for the truth. Frain includes a detailed examination of the Concordat, of Mit Brennender Sorge , the currency" and "immorality" trials staged by the Nazis and the propaganda campaign which used them in an attempt to discredit the Church. There is a rich chapter on individual opposition to Nazism, looking at figures such as Edith Stein and Cardinal Clemens von Galen, as well as those who are less well-known: Alfred Delp SJ, and key protestants who opposed the regime's injustices. One of the important sources for the book is "The Persecution of the Catholic Church in the Third Reich - Facts and Documents"

L'Osservatore: effusive interview with Tony Blair

Back in May, I wrote about an article in L'Osservatore Romano which was astonishingly favourable to Barack Obama, saying among other things that he is not a pro-abortion president. (See: Criticism of L'Osservatore Romano builds .) Yesterday afternoon's Italian edition continues the trend with an interview with Tony Blair that even the Guardian describes as effusive. A few blogs have picked this up from the Guardian article - including John Smeaton, SPUC Director who gives the list of Tony Blair's anti-life record: voting for abortion up to birth, and personally championing destructive experiments on human embryos to give just two examples. For the full list and other links, see: Vatican newspaper should not have given Tony Blair an easy ride . The Vatican website carries the Italian text of the full interview . I expected that the question of abortion might have been ignored. In fact there is the following scarcely believable exchange ( my translation ): [Giulia Gale

New term starts at Wonersh

A priest friend of mine kindly sent me a set of CDs of the bible as a gift on the occasion of my silver jubilee. It is the King James Bible and we know that is not ideal but we are waiting for someone to record the Vulgate... I have started listening to the Bible during my frequent moderately lengthy car journeys. Well - an hour or so is moderately lengthy by UK standards; by US standards, I suppose that would just be just like popping out to the shops. At any rate, I am now half way through the book of Leviticus. This morning I met my new Sacramental Theology class at Wonersh. The majority are in the fourth year of seminary training and in the final year of the theology degree. I also have two former Anglican students for occasional tutorials. I enjoyed getting back into the swing of talking about the theology of the sacraments and I think that my experience of teaching other courses at Parkminster helps to round things out a bit, especially with regard to Christology and the Theology

Summorum Pontificum anniversary

Today is the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and the second anniversary of the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum . I was lecturing at the seminary this morning but came back in the afternoon to celebrate a Low Mass in the parish, followed by the veneration of our relic of the Holy Cross. Of course, today is "Another Chance To See" the video I cobbled together during the night before Summorum Pontificum was issued:

Sisters of the Gospel of Life welcome new postulant

Congratulations to the Sisters of the Gospel of Life and to Sr Amanda Brennan ( above: centre ) who has joined them as a new postulant . The Sisters do great work in helping mothers who are tempted to abort their unborn child, offering compassion, kindness, and spiritual and material support. Their work is very worthy of your almsgiving - see the sidebar of their website to donate via paypal.

Fra Lawrence Lew OP solemn profession

H/T to NLM for the news that Fra Lawrence Lew OP today made his solemn profession as a Dominican at the Priory of the Holy Spirit at Oxford. Above is my "paparazzi" picture of Fra Lawrence taking photos of the Dominicans on pilgimage at Lourdes earlier in the summer. Please pray for Fra Lawrence and for the English Dominicans who are making such a great contribution to the revival of Catholic life in England.

The atheist moral high ground

Above is one of the 20 coolest atheist t-shirts . Hmmm. Atheists have carried out various forms of torture and execution in the gulags of the Soviet Union, in North Korea, Cambodia, China, Mexico, and Spain, killing millions of people in the process in the unprecedented slaughters of the 20th century. But maybe they have never stoned anyone. I don't know.

Birmingham Oratory Choir Library

Oliver Hayes at the Expectation of Our Lady has an important post which deserves wide distribution. See: New music for the Oratory choir library . A former member of the Oratory choir has donated his private choral music collection to the Library and it has been carefully catalogued. The Library would be pleased to provide a safe and permanent home for any other collections of sacred music.

Going Non-Canonical - and an alternative strategy

At the National Conference of the US Resource Center for Religious Institutes, to be held at the Atlanta Georgia Hilton hotel this October, one of the workshops is described as follows: Workshop #28: Going Non-Canonical Neal Smith, Mary David Walgenbach, OSB & Dan Ward, OSB The story of a small Benedictine community’s journey of becoming non-canonical. The content includes their ecumenical ministry, visioning process, development of an ecumenical board, relationship with the Federation of St. Gertrude and canonical and civil procedures for the transfer of assets. Mary David Walgenbach is indeed a good speaker for the topic since she and her fellow former Benedictine sister, Joanne Kollasch, have left their order but spent several years sewing up a legal arrangement whereby they could keep the assets and build a new property in Madison, Wisconsin. The new non-canonical, ecumenical foundation is called the Holy Wisdom Monastery . Bishop Morlino has forbidden priests from celebrating

Pro-Lifer shot dead

James Pouillon, 63, was known as "just a nice, elderly gentleman who was disabled, used an oxygen tank and wore leg braces." He was shot and killed today as he was engaged in his customary peaceful pro-life protest across the street from Owosso High School. Pouillon is on record condemning violence against abortionists. His protests were considered confrontational by some. Here is the news story on ABC local: allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" src=""> In England, of course, the link between the abortion issue and violence is widely reported and debated. So here is the latest news on today's killing from the BBC website ( click to enlarge ):

Introduction to NFP

A parishioner alerted me to an item in CF News : Robert Colquhoun, who writes the Love Undefiled blog is presenting an Introduction to Natural Family Planning at the parish Hall at Farm Street Jesuit Church on Wednesday 28 October; 6.45pm for 7.00pm start. (The event is free.) Here's the summary: o The talk gives a detailed explanation of the basics of NFP. Learn about a method that is safe, inexpensive and reliable. "This talk changed my life, my faith and my relationship with God." o The theological and biological difference between contraception and NFP will be explained. o The divorce rate of couples who use NFP is around 2%, compared to 40% among contraceptive users. o Further information is given on the damage that some forms of contraception do to the body. Few realise that the oral contraceptive pill causes abortions. If you are married - or engaged to be married, I do recommend finding out more about NFP. Many Catholic couples have routinely engaged in contracep

YCA Retreat

I advertised this back in May but this is just a last-minute notice that there are still a few places left in student/youth type shared accommodation for the Young Catholic Adults Retreat next weekend (18-20 September) at Douai Abbey. The Retreat is led by Fr de Malleray FSSP. YCA are part of the International Juventutem Federation and the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated according to the usus antiquior . Here is the link for further information .

Archbishop's 6 point programme for communications

John Allen has picked up on a talk given by Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno of the Aparecida archdiocese in Brazil, to a seminar on church communications in São Paulo. His six-point programme for communication is one that a Colombian journalist had once offered to CELAM: 1. Overcome the idea that the means of communications are themselves communication. In other words, building TV networks, radio stations, and web sites is all well and good, but if you don’t have something compelling to say, building new and better ways to say it won’t accomplish much. 2. Stop thinking that modern means of communication are “secular.” (Damasceno actually used the term “profane,” but he meant it in the literal sense of being outside the temple.) In other words, TV, the Internet, etc., are not somehow alien to the church. Instead, Damasceno said, quoting the Colombian journalist, they are neutral, and everything depends on how they’re used. 3. Understand that communications and preaching are not the same

Sedia Gestatoria comeback?

J P Sonnen at Orbis Catholicus suggests that the Sedia Gestatoria may be coming back. It was last used for Pope John Paul I; Pope John Paul II preferred to walk around. He was thus much closer to the people who were in the front row at the General Audience but, as J P Sonnen points out, could not be seen by most of the other people. It would have been difficult to reinstate the Sedia Gestatoria before now because of the inevitable outcry about "going back". I think that the mood has now changed in the Church. Most Catholics nowadays don't automatically presume that things from the past are baaaad just because they are from the past; Summorum Pontificum has seen to that. There would certainly be spiteful comments from some secularists and liberal Catholics about the Pope being given too much respect but I think that ordinary Catholics would quite like to see the Sedia Gestatoria back again: someone should start up a Facebook Group... Come to that, I'm sure that ma

Critique of culture of Catholic charities

Matthew Hanley at The Catholic Thing has written an article calling for the "transformation of organizational culture at Catholic charitable agencies" because in the case of some, They demonstrate a propensity to “think with the Church” ( sentire cum ecclesia ) only when that coincides with current fashions. Although The Catholic Thing is based in the USA, he particularly comments on the policy of CAFOD. See: Catholic Charities and Truth

And another Christian ...

Congratulations, Joanna Preece! You have become a Christian, a child of God, and a member of the Catholic Church. And all ex opere operato . Congratulations also to the justly proud parents James and Ella. (For more great stuff, see Catholic and Loving It .)

Sort of affirmation after denials

On 23 August, I reported on the Reform of the reform gathering pace , and then on the 25 August there was the Vatican Press Offices's Non-denial denial , followed in short order by Andrea Tornielli's article "le smentite che non smentiscono" It seems now that a formal statement on the reform of the reform is expected soon, according to the New Liturgical Movement . We are waiting for Cardinal Llovera to issue a formal statement. This might seem a bit machiavellian to some but, to be honest, I am happy enough. This is the way that the Vatican works and clearly there is some progress being made, despite the opposition of the Benedict-hating liberals.

50 Extraordinary Churches

I don't like all of them but this is an amazing photo collection of striking edifices built forth glory of God: 50 Most Extraordinary Churches of the World The above image is of Las Lajas Cathedral which was built in 1916 inside the canyon of the Guaitara river where, according to local legend, the Virgin Mary appeared.

Opposition to Eucharistic Adoration persists

Several bloggers have picked up on Fr McBrien's comments in opposition to the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament outside of Mass. Fr McBrien says: Notwithstanding Pope Benedict XVI's personal endorsement of eucharistic adoration and the sporadic restoration of the practice in the archdiocese of Boston and elsewhere, it is difficult to speak favorably about the devotion today. Now that most Catholics are literate and even well-educated, the Mass is in the language of the people (i.e, the vernacular), and its rituals are relatively easy to understand and follow, there is little or no need for extraneous eucharistic devotions. The Mass itself provides all that a Catholic needs sacramentally and spiritually. Eucharistic adoration, perpetual or not, is a doctrinal, theological, and spiritual step backward, not forward. This is a surprising attack on the practice of Eucharistic Adoration which has become so popular, especially among young people. Normally one would expect liberal th

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