Showing posts from April, 2010

Press release from ICEL

This just sent to me from ICEL: 30 April 2010 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE The Bishops of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy [ICEL] join me in welcoming the announcement of the approval by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the definitive English text of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal. This news ushers in the final phase of preparation for the publication and implementation of the Missal in our eleven member Bishops’ Conferences and the many other territories where the sacred liturgy is habitually celebrated in English. It also brings to a conclusion the long and complex process by which the translation has been prepared, a process in which the Bishops of the Commission and the Bishops of the English-speaking world, together with the members of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee, the ICEL Secretariat and the translators and consultants who are our closest collaborators have worked together with national conferences an

Vox Clara press release

Thanks to Rocco Palmo , we have the text of a press release issued yesterday by Vox Clara. The important thing is that there is a Protocol number for the Decree of the Congregation for Divine Worship confirming the final text. As the Press Release does not seem to be elsewhere on the internet, I give it here for your convenience: VOX CLARA COMMITTEE PRESS RELEASE April 28-29, 2010 The Vox Clara Committee met at the Pontifical North American College in Rome from April 28-29, 2010. This was the nineteenth meeting of this Committee of senior Bishops from Episcopal Conferences throughout the English-speaking world. The Vox Clara Committee was formed by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments on July 19, 2001 in order to provide advice to the Holy See concerning English-language liturgical books and to strengthen effective cooperation with the Conferences of Bishops in this regard. The Vox Clara Committee is chaired by Cardinal George Pell, Sydney (Aus

CIEL UK Annual High Mass and Conference

The Annual High Mass and One-day Conference of CIEL UK will be on Saturday 29 May at the London Oratory. There will be solemn High Mass at 11am. (The photo above is from last year's Mass, taken by Brother Edward of the London Oratory.) In a departure from previous annual Masses, the Mass setting will be Gregorian chant rather than polyphony. It is also hoped to include a motet composed by James MacMillan. The choir will be directed by Patrick Patrick Russill, the highly distinguished Director of Music at the London Oratory. The Conference will then take place at 2.30pm in St Wilfrid’s Hall at the Oratory, chaired by Lord Gill. (Entry £5.) The speakers are Dr James MacMillan CBE, and the Very Rev Richard Duffield. I wrote recently about an excellent address given by James MacMillan to the Thomas More Institute. His lecture at the CIEL Conference is sure to be of great interest as he is speaking about Liturgical Music pre- and post-Vatican II. Fr Duffield, Provost of the Bir

Archbishop Peter Smith appointed to Southwark

Archbishop Peter Smith has been appointed as Archbishop of Southwark. You can see some basic information at his entry on Catholic Hierarchy website. Archbishop Smith was ordained a priest for the Southwark Archdiocese in 1972 and served as Rector of St John's Seminary, Wonersh. He was appointed as Bishop of East Anglia in 1995 and Archbishop of Cardiff in 2001. I prepared this post last night after receiving the Ad Clerum by email. Fr Philip Glandfield, the Archbishop's Secretary for Archbishop McDonald, introduced this on an "opt in" basis and I must say that I found it a very welcome development. The news was embargoed until 11am today so the post was scheduled to go up then. Now the announcement has appeared on the Vatican Bollettino . Here is my translation of the notes given there: His Grace Mgr Peter Smith was born in London, in the Archdiocese of Southwark on 20 October 1943. He studied at the secondary school of Clapham College or the Xaverian Brothers

Linacre Centre Conference

The Linacre Centre sends news of its forthcoming conference in Maynooth. The line-up of speakers is very impressive but I hope the others won't mind if I single out the presence of Fr Paul Mankowski SJ. It is a rare opportunity to hear this learned, powerful, and witty speaker on this side of the Atlantic. Here is the press release: Sexual and reproductive issues are very much in the news, and high on the political agenda. The Linacre Centre in Oxford ( ) is bringing a diverse panel of expert speakers to Maynooth this summer from 16-18 June for a conference on Fertility, Infertility and Gender. The interdisciplinary conference will explore a range of topics including marriage and celibacy, homosexuality, contraception and STD prevention, IVF and alternative forms of assisted conception. The conference will be opened by the Australian bishop/bioethicist Bishop Anthony Fisher OP; other international speakers include Fr Paul Mankowski SJ, Elizabeth Marquardt, Pro

Abuse victims won't play along with the "Catholics only" line

An article in the New York Times today reports a proposal in New York to raise the statute of limitations for crimes of child abuse so that there is a 40 year limit starting from the age of 18. The NYTasks: Should it be possible to sue the city of New York for sexual abuse by public school teachers that happened decades ago? How about doctors or hospital attendants? Police officers? Welfare workers? Playground attendants? Well yes. That's how it works. Have a chat with your local Bishop for the details. The proposal was originally an effort to expand accountability for sexual abuse by Catholic clergy but has quite rightly extended to cover abuse by people in other walks of life. In this context, the NYT story is no longer one of cover-up and denial of responsibility but of "a collision of powerful civic values". The excuses are all now tumbling out. The New York City Mayor is concerned about the potential impact for taxpayers. Welcome to the real world, Mayor. Catho

Family and Youth Concern Spring 2010 Bulletin

The Family Education Trust (Family and Youth Concern) has just published its Spring 2010 Bulletin online. You can also receive a printed copy by joining Family and Youth Concern; standard annual membership is £10. I warmly encourage you to support this excellent organisation. You can find out more at the FYC website .

Chant Workshop in Middlesbrough

There will be a chant Workshop at St Alphonsus' Church in Middlesbrough on Saturday 8 May from 9.30am to 5pm. I mentioned St Alphonsus before in connection with their outstanding liturgical programme for Christmas . Here is some information from the organisers about the day: In this full-day workshop we will learn and sing some of the most beautiful chants in the repertory of Gregorian Chant, dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary, and based around the context of a Sung Mass. We will immerse ourselves in the sound, technique and language of this ancient musical style, working toward an authentic and beautiful performance at the end of the day. We will also discover the links between Chant and Polyphony. The music we will study in the workshop will include: Mass IX (Cum Iubilo) The Propers of the BVM Marian Processionals Gregorian Hymnody Marian Polyphonic Motets All materials (an introduction to Gregorian Chant, scores, helpful resources and Tea and Coffee) are included

Talk for parents on teaching chastity

Robert Colquhoun and Greg Clovis will be speaking on Tuesday 11 May at Farm Street. The evening is being arranged to help parents talk to their own children about the gift of sexuality and the virtue of chastity. 6.45pm for 7pm start. There are full details at Robert's blog "Love Undefiled" at the post Parents' Talk . You can view the powerpoint presentation from one of Robert's previous talks: Finding Love in a Superficial Age ; he has two further relevant articles: Parents as primary educators of their children Teaching parents about chastity

Holy Father's address to Vox Clara

At the end of the lunch with officials of the Vox Clara Committee, the Holy Father gave a short address in which he praised their work, and welcomed the news that the new translations would soon be ready for publication. Pope Benedict also spoke of the need for the changes to be introduced sensitively and of the "opportunity for catechesis". There is an important nuance in this. People who are well catechised already will not need to have catechesis to be able to accept the texts. But for the very many in the anglophone world who have been poorly catechised, the new translations will present an excellent opportunity for catechesis, especially on the Mass as sacrifice; something that the new translations present much more faithfully, in accord with the original texts. Here is a link to the Holy Father's address .

Holy Father & Vox Clara celebratory lunch

Following Cardinal Pell's announcement to the National Catholic Register that the new ICEL translations would receive formal approval today, this notice has appeared on the Vatican Bollettino today : INCONTRO CONVIVIALE DEL SANTO PADRE CON I MEMBRI DEL COMITATO "VOX CLARA" Alle ore 13.15 di oggi, nella Casina Pio IV, il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI pranza con i Membri del Comitato "Vox Clara", Comitato di consulenza su questioni circa la celebrazione del Rito Romano in lingua inglese, annesso alla Congregazione per il Culto Divino e la Disciplina dei Sacramenti. CONVIVIAL MEETING OF THE HOLY FATHER WITH THE MEMBERS OF THE "VOX CLARA" COMMITTEE At 13.15 today, in the "Casino Pio IV", the Holy Father Benedict XVI will lunch with the members of the Vox Clara Committee, the Committee of consultation on questions regarding the celebration of the Roman Rite in the English language, annexed to the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline

New ICEL translation to be approved today

Edward Pentin, who reports for the National Catholic Register and for the Catholic Herald, reports this morning   that the Congregation for Divine Worship will approve the new ICEL translation of the Missal later today. Must check the Bollettino before going out for lunch today... The texts of the Ordinary of the Mass have already received recognitio so this decision would relate to the proper texts of the Missal. Cardinal Pell told the Register yesterday that although formal approval would be given today, the newly translated Missal would not be available until 2011. Now I am old enough to remember the last time we had a new translation. For several years, priests were using bits of paper with new texts until finally the printed Missals were published. Nowadays it would be easy enough to produce good quality, dignified pdfs which could be discreetly inserted into the altar Missal. Would it be too much to allow priests to use the texts of the Eucharistic Prayers and other praye

Flickr set for Parkminster

129 photos from St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster, taken in August 2006, now in a new Flickr set . Enjoy!

Pontifical Mass - child's eye view

Carolina Cannonball, The Crescat writes of the Pontifical High Mass at Washington from the perspective of a mum who noticed particularly the reactions of the children who were there: If we can think of it in terms of our children, our future, then we owe it to our faith to keep our churches beautiful and our masses solemn. The look of wide eyed wonder on their faces said it all. I have certainly noticed myself that babies and young children at a sung Mass in the usus antiquior seem to be much more contented that when I am earnestly reading texts in English through a microphone. She goes on to describe the Great DC Blognic to which she took her young son because she wanted him to meet good, normal priests and seminarians. In a succinct and direct way, she explains how families can promote vocations: I have one rule for my family... they must never bash The Church or say anything negative about a priest or other member of a religious community in front of my son. So far they have

BBC coverage of Anjoum Noorani

Above you can see the full coverage of Anjoum Noorani at the BBC website as of 3pm 10.45pm today. ( click to enlarge )

Today's FCO Papal Visit news

On Sunday, the Telegraph broke the news of the FCO's " error of judgement " memo insulting the Pope. Yesterday, it was revealed that the junior official who circulated the document was Stephen Mulvain and we got to see the " Stakeholder Positioning Chart ". Today's news is that the more senior official who authorised the sending of the memo was Anjoum Noorani ( right ). I wonder what tomorrow will bring? It is comforting in a way, to see that the FCO is challenging the Vatican Press Office in incompetence at news management. To be fair, it should be said that the Sala Stampa is improving rapidly: this would probably be called a "learning curve" over at King Charles Street. For details on today's development, see the following articles: Daily Telegraph: Diplomat disciplined over Pope memo is named Daily Mail: Revealed, the papal visit chief who wrote memo mocking Pope Noorani's role is "Head of the Papal Visit Team" which

Oxford Oratory plans

The Oxford Oratory has a website devoted to its campaign to raise funds for an ambitious programme of works which include providing more rooms to respond to the growing number of men who wish to join them, a new library to house our collections, a new Oratory Chapel with a baptistery and cloister. This is all in addition to the restoration of the beautiful Church of St Aloysius. I have fond memories of St Aloysius from my time as an undergraduate and it is wonderful to hear that it is thriving so under the care of the Oratorians. Do have a browse round Oxford Oratory: Reaffirmation and Renewal for pictures of work in progress and work being planned. If you have some money to give for such a worthy project, there are buttons for UK and US donors.

Bishop Slattery's magnificent homily

In August 2007, Bishop Edward James Slattery visited Merton College Oxford, to attend the training conference and to celebrate Pontifical High Mass at the close of the proceedings, having humbly accepted some tuition himself. I had the privilege of meeting him at the conference. Last year, he announced that he had returned to the practice of celebrating Mass in his Cathedral in Tulsa, Oklahoma, facing towards the East. In 2004, Eastern Oklahoma Catholic gave a summary of all that Bishop Slattery had done to combat and prevent the scourge of child abuse, leading to praise from the Child Abuse Network in particular for his co-operation with the civil authorities. In addition to these various actions, Bishop Slattery ordered a Holy Hour of Reparation to be held at the same time in all the Churches of his diocese. He was therefore an ideal choice for celebrant of the Solemn High Mass at the National Shrine at Washington DC last Saturday to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the elec

FCO Stakeholder Positioning Chart for Papal Visit

In a follow-up article on the recent "error of judgement" at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Daily Mail has revealed the identity of the junior official who emailed the offensive document. The authors comment: It is believed that Mr Mulvain, who lives in East London, escaped punishment because he was given authorisation to send the memo by a more senior civil servant, who has since been 'transferred to other duties'. It might also be believed that Mr Mulvain is something of a scapegoat, perhaps. The identity of the "more senior civil servant" will presumably leak out at some stage; which will be more interesting. The graphic above, published by the Mail, ( click to enlarge ) gives the "Positioning Chart" for stakeholders in the Papal Visit. It offers a fascinating guide to the thinking of the FCO. CBC (Catholic Bishops' Conference) is put as much less positive but far more influential than the Archbishop of Westminster; bu

An "error of judgement"

In today's Sunday Telegraph, Jonathan Wynne-Jones had a scoop with the story of the memo drawn up by Foreign Office officials after a "brainstorming session." (See: Ministers apologise for insult to Pope ) Above is the scan that he posted containing the most offensive part of the memo. Damian Thompson has pointed out that for all the frantic apologising that has gone on today, the document reflects an attitude that is widespread in our politically correct government. The official concerned has been told that the memo was "a serious error of judgement". He has apparently "accepted this view". In the light of the obvious sincerity of this Damascene conversion, he has been "moved to other duties". Foreign Secretary David Milliband goes further to say that the failure of judgement was "colossal". Failure of judgement? In what precisely? To put forward those ideas in the first place, to put them down on a memo, to circulate the m

Weigel replies to Hans Küng

In the journal First Things , George Weigel has written a powerful rebuttal of Hans Küng's recent letter to the Bishops attacking Pope Benedict, which was published in the Irish Times. See: An Open Letter to Hans Küng Weigel says that Küng's letter: [...] set new standards for that distinctive form of hatred known as odium theologicum and for mean-spirited condemnation of an old friend who had, on his rise to the papacy, been generous to you while encouraging aspects of your current work. He also rebuts Küng's charges competently one by one and calls upon him to apologise.

New deputy director for CES

The Catholic Education Service of England and Wales has appointed Greg Pope as Deputy Director. Greg Pope is a former Labour MP for Hyndburn (he took the seat from the strongly pro-life Ken Hargreaves.) He has voted against amendments to lower the time limit for abortion to 16 weeks. He also signed a parliamentary motion praising a condom manufacturer for helping schools host “National Condom Week”, signed motions promoting the IPPF , and contraceptive awareness week , voted against amendments restricting adoption to heterosexual couples , and has voted in favour of compulsory sex education. For the whole sorry list with links, see John Smeaton: Catholic Education Service appoints anti-life and anti-family ex-MP as deputy director . Greg says: The CESEW is widely respected for the work that it is doing under Oona Stannard’s leadership and I am very proud to be joining this successful team.” For some indications of the wide respect that there is for the CES among the Catholic laity,

Photos from Maiden Lane

On Monday the regular sung Mass at Maiden Lane was a solemn High Mass to mark the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict. (I posted my sermon .) Thanks to the Mulier Fortis for the above photo. There are several more at her blog.

Documentary on the Vatican

A correspondent sent me a link to this video on Gloria TV which looks at the life of Pope Benedict and gives an inside look at the Vatican. I haven't time to watch the whole 40 minutes but as it is produced by EWTN, I'm happy to recommend it to you if you would like something good to watch in place of the offerings of the MSM. src="" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="425" height="359" quality="high" scale="noborder" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true"

New setting of Missa de Angelis

Roxanna Panufnik has composed a new setting based on the Missa de Angelis , with her own distinctive harmonisation. The work will be premiered by the Schola of the London Oratory School with Lee Ward as Director and David Terry playing the organ. The setting is accompanied by a brass octet which includes a piccolo trumpet doubled by the principal player. Here is an extract from the press information giving some details of the musical characteristics of the setting: As with many of Roxanna Panufnik’s works she brings the text to life vividly in her own harmonic voice. Abounding are echo effects, vocal and instrumental portamenti, uneven groupings of notes, juxtapositioning of major and minor triads and regularly shifting metre. All combine to give the piece an ethereal quality with translucent, shimmering effects at times (the piccolo trumpet in the final Kyrie, for example extends the full unison choral texture with heavy lower brass to create an unusual warmth and celestial feel, ec

Archbishop Longley at the Oxford Oratory

On Sunday, Archbishop Bernard Longley celebrated Mass at the Oxford Oratory, in the Church of St Aloysius which is dear to me since I attended daily Mass there when I was an undergraduate. You can see the "Benedictine" altar arrangement for the Mass in the Novus Ordo , facing the people. There are more photos at James Bradley's Flickr set .

Sermon for the fifth anniversary of Pope Benedict's election

This evening at Corpus Christi Maiden Lane we had High Mass on the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Benedict XVI. I was celebrant, Fr Patrick Hayward was Deacon, and Fr Charles Briggs was Subdeacon. Usually there is no sermon at the Monday evening sung Mass but today I was asked to preach. After Mass we sang the Te Deum , the Regina Caeli and God bless our Pope . Here is the text of the sermon: “ Grant him, we pray, that by word and example he may assist those over whom he stands, that together with the flock entrusted to him, he may attain to everlasting life. ” (Collect) At the weekly sung Mass here at Maiden Lane, we have an obvious reason for which to thank God for raising up Pope Benedict to care for us as Supreme Pontiff. The Mass which began as part of an indult, tolerated thanks to the work of the Latin Mass Society, is now, thanks to Pope Benedict, no longer considered to be abolished, abrogated or generally forbidden, but to have been in principle always permitte

Unusually clear blue sky

After Mass and Benediction this morning, I went over to Chislehurst to visit Fr Charles Briggs who can be seen in the above photo. For those who live in the Greater London Conurbation, the picture shows an oddly vacant sky. Later in the afternoon, I asked my servers to see whether they could observe anything unusual in the sky. I told them that this was a trick question since what was unusual was that there were none of the vapour trails that we usually see from aeroplanes. It is strange to see such a clear blue sky in the London area. Some of my parishioners are stuck in places such as Alicante, Lanzarote, and Tenerife to which they have flown for an Easter holiday. I wish them every blessing for their extended holiday. For those who are desperate to get back, I pray that they will soon be able to travel. Some rain might help.

Children's greetings to Pope Benedict

My sister Jane in Birmingham writes to tell me of a homeschool group meeting that took place the other day. The children talked about the life of Pope Benedict, his childhood with his family and his teenage years spent growing up in Nazi Germany, his days at seminary, and his work for the Church, culminating in becoming Pope in 2005. The children all then set to work drawing and designing over thirty cards to send to Pope Benedict, offering him spiritual bouquets of prayers to help him in his work. Jane writes: The amount of genuine affection and enthusiasm from the children for their beloved Pope was very moving. After tea we went into the church and Deacon Stephen led us in prayers for the Pope in front of the Blessed Sacrament. We are all greatly looking forward to his visit later this year. Here are some of the cards to be sent to the Holy Father:

International Summer School for Young Catholics

I'm very happy to pass on this information regarding an excellent annual event for young Catholics (this year's Summer School runs from 24 – 31 July 2010 at the Oratory School in Reading): The International Summer School for Young Catholics was started in 1982 by the late David Foster. His intention was to present all subjects in the light of right reason and the Faith. The course aims to teach as wide a range of subjects as possible in a week within a Catholic framework as well provide classes in religious doctrine and the spiritual life. The authority of Our Lord Jesus Christ over all human activities is the central principle of the summer school, as reflected in our new name. The Summer School is open to students aged 13 to 19 years old. For further information please see the website or email Dominic Sullivan .

The altar in Malta don't face like what it oughta

What do you mean he wants the altar the other way round? H/T Thomas Peters (who has another caption )

Anna Arco's in Malta

The Holy Father is off to Malta tomorrow afternoon for a short visit which will include a pilgrimage to the catacombs of St Paul at Rabat. The Vatican website has a page with official details of the visit . Thousands of Maltese have been unable to get there for the visit and many dignitaries intending to go have been stranded at Brussels. However, the intrepid Chief Feature Writer of the Catholic Herald, Anna Arco is out there already, posting background on her blog and sending updates via Twitter ( @AnnaArco ). The Catholic Herald also has a dedicated page for the Apostolic visit to Malta . Just by the way; I have been reading various online articles in The Times of Malta and have found it most edifying to see how polite, intelligent and reasonable most of the comments are. This does not surprise me, having made two very enjoyable visits there.

FLI Conference

This year's Family Life International Conference will take place at Westminster Cathedral Hall on Saturday 8 May. At the FLI website there is more information . The line-up of talks is: Why Catholics Don't Contracept : Steven W. Mosher (USA) Changing Hearts and Minds Through Education : Jo Tolck (USA) The Church and social action (Same sex attraction) : James Parker (UK) Sexuality and Equality: Catholicism; its Alternative Vision : Simon Dames (UK) The Demographic Impacts of Abortion : Brian Clowes (USA) The Dash to Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia : James Bogle (UK) The page linked above does not give times but there is also a brochure which gives the full programme. (9am-6.30pm)

Cardinal Hummes supports priests

Cardinal Hummes, the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Clergy, has written a letter to priests in anticipation of the closing of the Year for Priests in June. In writing to priests at this time, he quite rightly addresses the scandals that have been the focus of the world's media. His concise summary is a model of how to address the matter in a balanced and just way: It is true that, albeit proportionately small in number, some priests have committed horrible and most serious crimes of sexual abuse upon minors, deeds that we must condemn and rebuke in an absolute and uncompromising manner. Those individuals must answer for their actions before God and before tribunals, including the civil courts. Nevertheless, we also pray that they might achieve spiritual conversion and receive pardon from God. The Church, for her part, is determined neither to hide nor to minimize such crimes. Above all we are on the side of the victims and want to support their recovery and their offended

Vatican website: documents related to abuse

The website of the Holy See now has a page of links to pontifical and other documents related to the abuse of minors. An interesting inclusion is a pdf of a lengthy article by Mgr Beal in Studia Canonica of 2007 concerning the document Crimen Sollicitationis . H/T Luke Coppen

Not persecution... yet

Fr Z comments on the "unhinged hate speech" found in an article on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website. A tale of two battles is filled with the now customary collection of splenetic and spurious allegations against the Holy Father. However, Bob Ellis goes further than most. He thinks that the Catholic Church should be outlawed, that the Pope is a "criminal mastermind", that the same tactics as have been applied in Afghanistan should be applied to the Catholic Church, and that we should "bomb the Vatican, and (going well beyond any current rules of engagement in Afghanistan) riddle the Pope with bullets as he staggers out of the flames." I agree with those commentators who say "Hold on!" when there is talk of persecution. Having nasty articles written in the papers in not pleasant but it is not quite the same as having your limbs torn apart on the rack, being roasted on a gridiron, being eaten by lions, hanged drawn and quartere

Defending the Holy Father

Jack Valero has got into the Guardian's "Comment is free" section with an article: The mob should lay off. The pope is completely innocent . It is interesting that two representatives of the Protest the Pope Coalition told him that he had no right to defend Benedict XVI. I agree with him that this is rather menacing. He makes a good point in saying that [...] shouting down the truth doesn't make it go away. I don't defend the pope because I think it is the duty of a good Catholic; I defend him because he is completely innocent of the charges made against him, and because the media has merged with the mob and misreported the facts. He goes on to answer the principal spurious allegations made against Pope Benedict.

Leaders' Debate

My polling cards arrived the other day with instructions to go down to the local primary school between the hours of 7am and 10pm on 6 May. I usually go early, hoping that it might be an indication of a Christian sense of co-responsibility for the common good. (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2240 ) Apparently there is a debate on the television tonight featuring the leaders of the three main parties. Will Heaven at the Telegraph blogs is doing a live blog of the debate if you are interested. I'm off to the Church for Rosary and Benediction...

Chant Training and Family Retreat

Last weekend saw the St Catherine's Trust Annual Family Retreat at the Oratory School near Reading (the school founded by John Henry Newman.) This year 150 people attended the retreat which was led by Fr Andrew Southwell. I from the photos see that Fr Crean OP was also there. At the Retreat, the St Catherine's Trust also hosted the first Chant Training Weekend organised by the Gregorian Chant Network . This was led by Nick Gale, Director of Music at Southwark Cathedral and his colleague Mark Johnson, and had 30 participants. The GCN was founded in January 2010 with the support of the Latin Mass Society which financially supported the Training Weekend, the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, Una Voce Scotland , and the Association for Latin Liturgy . The GCN exists to organise and promote training in Gregorian Chant in the context of the Catholic liturgy. The singers participated in the daily Traditional Sung Mass, Vespers and Compline, and a Marian procession through the gr

Polls to vote in

A couple of polls to cast a vote in. It only takes a moment... Should the Pope be charged with ‘crimes against humanity’, over the alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church? ABC News Radio (Australia) Do you think the Pope should face legal action over the Catholic child abuse cover-ups? New Humanist

Sensible response to nutty plans to arrest the Pope

The story of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins planning to arrest the Pope, though at the really nutty end of the spectrum of current anti-Catholic and anti-papal propaganda, still seems to be taken seriously by some journalists. A barrister has even allowed his name to be associated with this stunt. Although I continue to think that "Matron take them away" is an appropriate response, it is nevertheless helpful and worthwhile for someone to answer the points that have been raised. The Catholic Union of Great Britain and the Thomas More Legal Centre have jointly issued a good, sensible press release responding to this ludicrous suggestion. Many thanks indeed to Jamie Bogle and Neil Addison for their work in dealing with the legal matters and for pointing out that such a publicity stunt could have serious consequences for public order and make the sensitive task of policing the Papal visit that much more difficult.

Gendercide in China

Peter Hitchens has written a powerful article for the Daily Mail on the results of China's one child policy which in effect was a "one boy" policy. Classrooms now show an alarming surplus of boys, there is a thriving trade in stolen children, prostitution has increased, and a local abortionist gasped at the idea of aborting a boy, saying: 'Nobody aborts boys unless they are deformed. Girls are what we abort.' The social effects of such a gender imbalance are difficult to assess adequately. As Hitchens explains, the "gendercide" has roots in attitudes that predate communism; nevertheless the availability of abortion has made it possible for the problem to spiral out of control. The Chinese government is using its propaganda machine to attempt to reverse the disaster. Someone should explain that one of the most effective ways for it to solve the problem would be to release its hold on the "Patriotic Church", cease the persecution of the unde

ICEL chants online

ICEL has posted texts and music for the ordinary of the new translation of the Roman Missal. These include "Credo 1" and "Credo 3" settings, the tones for the readings and so on. It would be a good development if the introduction of the new translations was accompanied by a move to sing the Mass rather than sing at the Mass, and for the scriptural texts of the various antiphons to begin to take the place of the random hymns that have replaced them.

"desperate and discombobulated secularism"

Brendan O'Neill, the atheistic libertarian, attacks the ludicrous campaign to have the Pope arrested in his article " The Secular Inquisition " in Spiked, of which he is the editor. It is a fun piece in which he talks a lot of sense. [...] despite the lack of any obvious, sensible reason why they break out in boils at the mention of the words ‘Benedict’, ‘priest’ or ‘Catholic’, the pope-hunters’ campaign has acquired a powerfully pathological, obsessive and deafeningly shrill character.

Catholic voices steps up

H/T to Joanna Bogle for this video of Jack Valero on the BBC defending the record of Pope Benedict. This is what Catholic Voices was set up for and it is good to see Jack going in to battle.

ICKSP Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict

The Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, have proposed a Spiritual Bouquet for Pope Benedict XVI . You can participate by filling in a simple form and promising various prayers. If you wish to have a Mass said, may I recommend sending a Mass offering to Aid to the Church in Need thereby linking this act of solidarity with the Holy Father to the care of the poor.

Losing my religion marbles

Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens are planning to arrest the Pope when he comes to the UK in September. All together now: No, you've HAD your dinner... You've already got your trousers ON... MATRON, take them away!

Adolf Hitler on the appointment of Archbishop Gomez

Yes, I know it has been done before but it is still quite funny. (Embedding disabled by request? What the flip?) Here is the link .

"... and that will be progress."

A particularly good edition of "The Vortex" from Real Catholic TV with Michael Voris today. I like the closing punchline.

Evening of recollection for young people

One of my young parishioners who is on vacation from medical school emailed me a week ago to ask if we could put on an evening of recollection for young people. So the answer to that is "Yes." It was a very simple formula. I gave a short spiritual talk, we had Rosary and Benediction, then showed "Fishers of Men" in the hall, followed by an open session when the young people could ask any questions they wanted. I find that the question and answer session is always successful. Young people really want to be given answers about their faith and it is a great opportunity for catechesis. I have never found such a session dry up - I always have to bring it to an end by inviting one or two "last ones". The mums provided the other ingredient for a successful evening: lots of pizza.

Papal bus near Blackfen

Adam, who was MC at Mass this morning, sent me this photo of the bus which perhaps Pope Benedict might like to travel on if he is in the area during his visit to the UK.

Aine Cooper RIP

Of your charity, please pray for the repose of the soul of Aine Cooper who died on Wednesday evening, fortified by the sacraments and the prayers of the Church. Anima eius et animae omnium fidelium defunctorum requescant in pace. Aine was the dear wife of Dan Cooper ("Sir Dan of the blogosphere"). The photo above was taken at Dan and Aine's wedding many years ago. Aine was a good and devout lady who worked for many years as a nurse, always defending the pro-life cause. She could be hilarious in the way that she kept Dan in check during his outbursts of enthusiasm (always, of course, prompted by the Holy Spirit.) Having received the sacraments and the plenary indulgence at the end of a devout life, Aine may not need our prayers herself, but do still pray for her because if she doesn't, some poor blighter in purgatory will bless her for ever for them. The Requiem Mass will be celebrated by Fr Roger Nesbitt at the chapel of the John Fisher School in Purley (CR8 3

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