Showing posts from 2011

Cardinal Ranjith calls for return of Vetus Ordo

NLM has published the text of a  letter written by Cardinal Ranjith  to the General Assembly of the International Federation Una Voce in which His Eminence invites us to encourage the return of the older form of the Roman Rite as a part of the renewal of the Church desired by the Fathers of Vatican II: Liturgy for this reason can never be what man creates. For if we worship the way we want and fix the rules ourselves, then we run the risk of recreating Aaron's golden calf. We ought to constantly insist on worship as participation in what God Himself does, else we run the risk of engaging in idolatry. Liturgical symbolism helps us to rise above what is human to what is divine. In this, it is my firm conviction that the Vetus Ordo represents to a great extent and in the most fulfilling way that mystical and transcendent call to an encounter with God in the liturgy. Hence the time has come for us to not only renew through radical changes the content of the new Liturgy, but also

Responsible drinking advice Fail

At a restaurant I visited recently, the above card was on the table. I was amused by the advice to "Enjoy Alcohol Responsibly" after the offer of an extra free bottle of wine if you purchase four.

A milestone in the decline in Latin?

Perhaps readers may be able to help with this query from Hughie in the combox of my previous post : I understand that in view of the concerns expressed by the Council Fathers, Pope Paul VI set up a commission of three cardinals to examine the question of whether the particular Churches should be allowed to communicate with the dicasteries of the Roman Curia in languages other than Latin. It is my understanding that Scotland’s William Theodore Cardinal Heard was one of the three. I believe that Cardinal Roberti MAY have been one of the others. The problem is, I have never been able to locate anything about the report of the commission or anything about what Pope Paul VI decided, although it is obvious that they recommended, and the Pope accepted, that it was unreasonable/unadvisable (sic) to insist on the local Churches communicating in Latin.  I wondered if, bearing in mind your expertise in the Latin, you knew anything about this. I am afraid that I don't know anything ab

Finally listening to Blessed John XXIII?

Blessed Pope John XXIII, in the Apostolic Constitution Veterum Sapientia  of 1962, strongly mandated the study and use of Latin in ecclesiastical studies, theology, the Liturgy, and as a prerequisite for priestly formation. This February, there is to be an International Convention  in Rome to mark the 50th anniversary of Veterum Sapientia . I can't help thinking that after 50 years we are perhaps finally prepared to take the document of the Blessed Pope seriously. Here is one passage from the standard translation that you can find in various places on the internet: Of its very nature Latin is most suitable for promoting every form of culture among peoples. It gives rise to no jealousies. It does not favor any one nation, but presents itself with equal impartiality to all and is equally acceptable to all. And here is the  Latin original : Suae enim sponte naturae lingua Latina ad provehendum apud populos quoslibet omnem humanitatis cultum est peraccommodata: cum invidiam

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas to all of you. Thank you for your witness to the faith, thank you for making the world a better place by raising your families, by being priests, by living the evangelical counsels, by being an apostolic single people in the world, and by all the other things that you do for the glory of God. And thank you for reading my blog. May God bless you and all your loved ones on this glorious feast.

Christ the embryo recognised

Youth Defence , the upbeat Irish pro-life group, produced this video to help promote the pro-life message for Christmas. In recent years we have come to know more than our forbears about the process of life in the womb; it is right that we apply this to the growth of Jesus Christ from a single-celled embryo. Remember that after Our Lady conceived Our Lord in her womb, she went with haste to the hill country of Judea to visit St Elizabeth who asked why she should be honoured with a visit from the mother of her Lord. The twenty-four week foetus, St John the Baptist leapt in the womb in recognition of Christ. Both of them recognised their Saviour when he was perhaps a five day old embryo.

Chen Guangchen and further shame on the Chinese government

 In 2006 , 2009 and earlier this year I posted on the courageous blind lawyer Chen Guangcheng who exposed and spoke out against the policy of forced abortion and sterilisation in the Shandong Province in China. Thanks to Batman star Christian Bale, his case has been given worldwide publicity via  CNN . LifeSite News has the story; it was also reported in the Daily Telegraph , the Sun , and many other news outlets throughout the world; though both the Telegraph and the Sun fail to mention just exactly what human rights Chen was campaigning for - namely the right of women not to be subject to forced sterilisation and the right of women and babies not to be subjected to the process of forced abortion. John Smeaton has highlighted a campaign which originated as a gesture of support for Chen on his 40th birthday on 12 November - but I'm sure further contributions would be welcome (they do say that the campaign will only end when Chen is free.) Chen is blind and the idea is th

CCC meetings forthcoming

Just picked up from the feed of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy that there are meetings for the Western Chapter on 23 January and 6 March, and there is a meeting for the Southern Chapter at St Patrick's, Soho Square on Thursday 9 February. Details at the CCC website . I should be able to make the February meeting in London so look forward to seeing some confreres there.

Taking it on the chin

In his book "The Stripping of the Altars", Eamonn Duffy tells of how the priest would quiz parishioners at their Easter shriving on whether they had carried out the works of mercy. One of those works is to visit people in prison. The other day, our Holy Father did this, going to see the prisoners at Rebbibia in Rome. He did a Q&A session in which one exchange went: Q. My name is Federico. ... What can sick and HIV-positive prisoners ask of the Pope? ... We are barely mentioned, but, when we are, in aggressive terms, as if seeking to have us eliminated from society. This makes us feel subhuman. A. "We have to endure the fact that people speak about us 'aggressively'. They also speak 'aggressively' about the Pope, yet nonetheless we move on. I think it is important to encourage everyone to think positively, to understand your sufferings, to understand the need to help you rise again. I will do my part, inviting everyone to think in the right way,

Christmas at Blackfen

For a couple of years, we were the only place in England to have solemn High Mass at midnight for Christmas. Now, I think there are one or two others but it is still quite a rarity. So if you want to join us, you would be most welcome. The Church is open from 11pm, there are some carols before Mass, blessing of the crib and Mass at midnight. We also have 9am and 10.30am masses sung in English with the tones given in the new (corrected) translation of the Missal. For New Year's Eve, we have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament from 11pm, with the Te Deum and Benediction at midnight (accompanied by fireworks, set off by our neighbours.) You can see the full list of our Christmas and New Year services at the parish website .

Congratulations to new Deacons for Southwark

St John's Seminary at Wonersh was in festive mood today as Rev Oladele Craig and Rev Kurt Barragan were ordained as Deacons. God willing, they will be ordained to the sacred priesthood this coming summer. The celebration of the Liturgy was dignified and reverent, co-ordinated with discreet expertise by the Seminary MC, Simon Dray. The music was unmistakeably sacred music: the Missa Orbis Factor was used for the ordinary, and the English chants for Mass drew on both Eastern and Western traditions. The Schola gave a fine rendition of Tallis's If ye love me . An impressive number of clergy from the diocese participated, so it was a good opportunity to catch up with friends afterwards over lunch.  The ordinati both went through my Sacramental Theology class last academic year. I am beginning to wonder whether it is a kind of hurdle before ordination (i.e. if you can survive that, you can survive anything!) Here is a photo of myself with Rev Oladele Craig:   And here

Pray for Christopher Hitchens

We learnt yesterday that Christopher Hitchens has died. Our Catholic response is in charity to pray for the repose of his soul. We believe that he has gone to meet his maker. He did not believe in Christianity or in religion in general. We are not to judge him; we may allow that he was not culpable for his lack of faith. Only God can judge him, and we believe that God is infinitely merciful. Therefore we pray that the Father will allow him to be purified and to enter the kingdom of heaven - perhaps after a few sessions with St Thomas Aquinas and Blessed Teresa of Calcutta who will show him the love that they had for the truth. Requiescat in pace.

Archbishop Mennini not attacked

Recently I wondered whether it was now open season on Bishop Davies since he had been publicly criticised by a fellow Bishop and by a Heythrop theologian because of his remarks in a pastoral sermon to young people. One of the objections pointed to the cultural obstacles in the way of young Catholics today. This was described as a persecution complex. After reading the homily of Bishop Davies, I found a report of a homily from Archbishop Mennini, delivered at Stonyhurst a few days earlier, on the feast of St Edmund Campion. (See Professing the Faith in our Country is not likely to become easier – UK Papal Nuncio .) In the course of his excellent homily, which demonstrated a familiarity with, and admiration of, the life of St Edmund Campion, he said: We do well to reflect on the call to fidelity and constancy exemplified by Saint Edmund Campion and the many martyrs of England and Wales, and as we give thanks, we cannot fail to realise too, that professing the Faith in our Country

Thank you

Many thanks to FM who kindly sent me the Politically Incorrect Guide to the British Empire from my Amazon Wishlist. I shall enjoy reading it.

Cat videos will rule the world

Hilarious. Some quotes: "Everything is moving towards cat videos; and the agencies that don't realise that - get left behind." "Cat videos are an unbelievably effective new business tool." "Our goal is to integrate cat videos into every stage of the customer experience." H/T Orwell's Picnic

Recording of responses for Low Mass

[ Photo credit:  Mulier Fortis ] I was intending to record the responses for Low Mass to help out altar boys who wish to learn them. Thankfully, this has already been done (thanks to Fr Zuhlsdorf for the link.) This recording was made in the 1950s by the Catholic University in Washington D.C. It was originally made for an LP record. The introduction in the sound file is good and boys would do well to listen to it. They may then wish simply to go back to the prayers at the foot of the altar to learn them thoroughly. The prayers of the Mass begin at about three minutes in. The other more difficult response which boys may need to listen to several times is the Suscipiat . This can be found at 09.22. To download a copy of the file for your mp3 player, iPod, smartphone or other device, go to the Internet Archive page or simply right-click on this link and choose "save link as" or "save target as", depending on your browser. (You will need to

A courtesy towards those who want to pray

Bishop Gilbert of Aberdeen recently devoted a  Pastoral Letter  to the theme of silence. Quoting Kierkegaard, he began by explaining why silence is important, and then moved on to offer some practical advice: A wise elderly priest of the diocese said recently, ‘Two people talking stop forty people praying.’ ‘Create silence!’ I don’t want to be misunderstood. We all understand about babies. Nor are we meant to come and go from church as cold isolated individuals, uninterested in one another. We want our parishes to be warm and welcoming places. We want to meet and greet and speak with one another. There are arrangements to be made, items of news to be shared, messages to be passed. A good word is above the best gift, says the Bible. But it is a question of where and when. Better in the porch than at the back of the church. Better after the Mass in a hall or a room. There is a time and place for speaking and a time and place for silence. In the church itself, so far as possible, si

Poll on assisted suicide

Sky news has a story about a lady going to the Dignitas "clinic" (for the reason for the inverted commas, see here .) She complains that politicians denied her the dignity of ending her life in her own home. There is a token balancing element in the story with CNK saying rightly that vulnerable people could feel obliged to die if they feel that they are a burden on others. There is a poll on the page  which is currently strongly in favour of assisted suicide. I encourage you to go and cast your vote:

Is it open season on Bishop Davies?

A couple of weeks ago, Bishop Mark Davies preached at a Diocesan Day of Recollection for young people in his diocese of Shrewsbury. He spoke about being distracted and not finding our way, about being diverted from the Lord because we are looking in the wrong direction. He said that ... a generation before you so often failed to pass on those directions, the fullness of our Catholic faith which in Isaiah’s words at every crucial turn of our lives tells us, “this is the way, follow it!” Bishop Davies went on to meditate on the meaning of Sunday and the real presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist, and offered encouragement to Youth 2000. He quoted the words of Pope Benedict at Marienfeld in for the 2005 World Youth Day: not be deterred from taking part in Sunday Mass, and help others to discover it too … Let us pledge ourselves to do this – it is worth the effort!” Then Bishop Davies continued: For never since the days of persecution have so many obstacles been put in fro

Jetpack news

A couple of weeks back, I posted the important news of Jet Pack Man flying alongside two jets and suggested that street-friendly jet packs could not be far off. A kindly commenter pointed me to the The Martin Jetpack ("Fly the Dream") from New Zealand which is near to commercial production. I have added this to my new (mainly fanciful) Amazon Wishlist .

Fine CTS books for children

The Beautiful Story of Mary is the latest in a lovely collection of books for children from the Catholic Truth Society. As with several others, it is written and illustrated by Maïte Roche. They are suitable for a mother or father to read to a young child, with lively pictures that would, I think, be attractive to the little ones. Also by Maïte Roche are My Little Christmas Prayer Book and The Beautiful Story of the Bible . A really good book for children who are preparing for their first Holy Communion is Friendship with Jesus , which gives the English translation of the question and answer session which Pope Benedict held with children in 2005 (edited by Amy Welborn and illustrated by Ann Kissane Engelhart.) If you have young nephews or nieces and want to get them a little present for Christmas, the CTS has some good things for your shopping list.

A dog post

I'm not particularly a dog lover. In fact, I don't like dogs very much; I prefer cats but don't go in for cat posts. Nevertheless, this is too bizarre not to post. In the words of Jennifer (of the "favourite links"): "In case you were looking for a video of a dog in a tutu dancing the merengue... Here you go ."

Easy version for Scottish same sex marriage consultation. Today.

Laodicea has the quick and easy instructions for responding to the Scottish same-sex marriage consultation. If you haven't time to follow the link, just go to the Christian Institute and fill in the blanks. Five minutes - but must be done by midnight tonight.

The real problem with Archbishop Nichols...

... is that he is too closely aligned with Rome on the question of same-sex unions, according to an Italian newspaper. Two articles concerning this theme were posted yesterday on the website of  La Stampa . The first, entitled  Storm on the Thames: No same-sex unions in churches , says that Archbishop Nichols has been attacked for his excessive alignment with Rome on the question of same sex unions. It describes Archbishop Nichols as a “bona fide Ratzingerian.” The second article (for which there is not yet an English translation – but you can use google translate) is headed  L'arcivescovo di Westminster su unioni gay accusato di non rispettare la posizione vaticana (i.e. "The Archbishop of Westminster on gay unions accused of not respecting the Vatican position.") This article links to David Kerr’s piece on CNA giving Archbishop Nichols’ response to his critics and refers to William Oddie’s article in the Catholic Herald ( here ) and to the follow-up article ( h

Former ACCC Chairman appointed Bishop

Photo credit: Amos T Fairchild Father Michael Kennedy of the Diocese of Wagga Wagga in Australia, has been appointed as Bishop of the Diocese of Armidale. For some years, Fr Kennedy was the Chairman of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. He succeeds Bishop Luc Matthys whom I met at the Confraternity meeting in Rome in January 2010 which he attended. I expect that there will be some very happy priests and people in the Diocese of Armidale.

A model response to a parent's justified complaint

Recently, Ben Trovato, the ( Countercultural Father ) wrote to the Head of RE at the non-Catholic secondary school which his children attend. He had followed the case of Bonus Pastor School with interest only to find out one day that his own son had been watching Keeping Mum in RE . The Head of RE phoned up promptly after receiving the letter, to say that he would look into the matter. A few weeks later, Ben received a letter from the teacher to say that he had reviewed the film, agreed it was inappropriate and withdrawn it from the syllabus. It would be unjust to avoid making the observation that Ben's treatment by the non-Catholic school is markedly different from the response that the Clovis family received from a Catholic School.


The latest sensation on the Catholic blogosphere is the rapidly expanding collection of trad Catholic protest songs by Laurence England ( That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill .) At Blackfen we were delighted to welcome Laurence last Saturday for a gig (see his report ) in between the Missa Cantata and solemn Vespers. After a late breakfast of sausages, eggs, bacon, mushrooms, tomatoes, beans and fried bread, accompanied by a pint or twain of Late Red, the company were treated to various compositions, including a premiere of Pyjamahadeen , a derogatory term, recently applied to traddy Catholic bloggers, which Laurence had fun with. Editing the video, I added effects to give a retro look with scratches. Lyrics for the song are supplied in the info box at the YouTube page for the video. Mulier Fortis has Ecclesia Dei and I referred before to Summorum Pontificum which was the finale song on Saturday. Derogatory expressions can be fun if you take them in the right spirit. H

Where to buy "It is the Lord"

The other day, my students asked where they could obtain the book by Bishop Athanasius Schneider "It is the Lord." Mistakenly I said that it was available from the Libreria Editrice Vaticana via PaxBooks (that's the version in Italian which I bought first of all.) In fact the English translation is sold in England by Gracewing for £5.99. Since I won't be lecturing again until after Christmas, I thought that I would put the information here. If you have not read this book, I do heartily recommend it. I mentioned the It is the Lord after referring to Origen, St Ephraem and St Cyril of Jerusalem who all emphasised strongly the reverence that is due to the holy Eucharist, and particularly the presence of Christ in each fragment. Here, for example, is a passage from St Ephraem, a fourth century Syriac Father: I have given this to you now lest you should think it to be bread, take, eat this bread and do not crumble the particles of it; what I have called my body,

Catholicism series being offered in Southwark Archdiocese

Fr Robert Barron has developed a highly successful internet apostolate with his talks available on YouTube. Catholicism is a professionally produced DVD series exploring the Catholic faith. The Centre for Catholic Formation in the Archdiocese of Southwark is putting on this programme, starting in January. This programme would be especially suited to catechists (or those who want to become catechists) and teachers who would like the opportunity to deepen their faith. Here are the details from the CCF: New Adult Formation Programme: Catholicism You are warmly invited to a new adult study programme based on the highly-acclaimed DVD series by Fr Robert Barron, Catholicism, at the Centre for Catholic Formation in Tooting on Thursday evenings, beginning 12th January (Northern Line - Tooting Bec). A trailer for the series is shown above. It is a beautifully produced series and has been called "the most vivid catechism ever created" (Brad Milner, The Catholic Thing blog). Ca

Abortion? There's an app for that...

... but the agents of the culture of death are cross that it doesn't work properly for finding abortion mills. Siri - a popular feature of the new iPhone 4S is a voice-activated, electronic personal assistant designed to 'help you do the things you do every day.' Things people do every day:  have a chinese meal, go to the library, get an abortion, you know the sort of thing. Siri has annoyed the pro-aborts by not instantly serving up information about where to get your baby done away with. One feminist was particularly annoyed that she got directed to a pro-life crisis centre in Washington. I wonder whether the spirit of the late, great Cardinal of Genoa is having an influence on the app. Has anyone tried to use it to search for a place to buy trousers for women? (Cf. his 1960 Notification Concerning Men's Dress Worn By Women .)

Bishop saves his people from having to hold hands at Mass

A Bishop issuing a Decree! Whatever next? From Pray Tell via Diane of Te Deum Laudamus , comes this Pastoral Letter and Decree from Bishop Foys of Covington, Kentucky. The Decree concerns the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy and primarily the importance of obedience to the principle: Therefore no other person, even if he be a priest, may add, remove, or change anything in the liturgy on his own authority. ( Sacrosanctum Concilium n.22) Bishop Foys talks about the text, the music and the gestures used in the Liturgy, particularly the people kneeling during the Eucharistic Prayer and after the Agnus Dei . He also points out that people should not extend or join their hands during the Our Father. Referring to the General Instruction, he points out that silence should be observed in the Church before mass, and encourages silence after Mass. Predictably there is a degree if indignation in the comments box at Pray Tell (misanthrope... legalism... rubricism... dreck... fascistic... e

Enjoying using the new books

Unpacking my new Missals, I had the flippant thought that it was like Mummy Missal, Daddy Missal and baby Missal. As everyone has said, the CTS has done a fine job in producing books of excellent quality, worthy for use in the Sacred Liturgy. The Study Edition is particularly useful at the moment when we are finding our way around the ordinary, the propers and the commons. Having used the Missals for a few days now, I am getting used to the page turns. For the moment, I still need to have the text for the "I confess" and the "Gloria": although in England we have been using the texts since September, it will be a few more weeks before I can confidently say them by heart. What I should do (and writing this reminds me) is to sit down and learn them off by heart. This exercise has almost vanished from modern education but is worthwhile. Fr Reggie Foster often used to quote Cicero's warning: memoria minuitur nisi eam exerceas (the memory diminishes - unless you

London metropolitan elite now invited to consultation for Scotland on gay marriage

You might have thought that the Scottish Government's Consultation on same sex marriage was for people in Scotland. It was. But not any more. The views of the metropolitan elite will now be taken into account, probably because they will boost support for same sex marriage. Of course you can respond too. You can use the Government's online consultation form . Alternatively the Christian Institute has a more concise response form . For further comment, see the post at Defend Marriage in Scotland:  Dirty Tricks from the Scottish Government? UPDATE : Thomas writes in the combox : Actually, it appears that submissions from outside of Scotland have been accepted from the beginning of the 14-week consultation. It's just that the Scottish Government managed to assure the Scottish Catholic Parliamentary Office that only submissions from Scotland would count. At the same time, they also managed to let those campaigning for the redefinition of marriage know that external submiss

Jet pack man

The most important news of the day for boys of all ages: man with real, working jet pack flying alongside two jets. It doesn't start off from the ground (he had to jump out of a helicopter) and landing was by parachute: remaining on his feet when landing, with the jet pack still strapped to his back deserves considerable respect. Give it up for Yves Rossy! Street-friendly jet packs cannot be far off now. This is surely the definitive alternative to cat posts. H/T New Advent

Film on the Vendée

Navis Pictures are producing a film about the War of the Vendée which is not included in the politically correct list of massacres and atrocities since it involved Catholics defending themselves against the most brutal and horrific torture and massacre during the French Revolution. The film uses many young actors, and the story, though brutal, is told with reserve and the makers assure us that movie is suitable for children. It is due for release in January. H/T A Chaplain Abroad via Linen on the Hedgerow

When legal positivism meets anti-clericalism

How's this for stupid lawsuit of the year? Johannes Christian Sundermann, a lawyer from Unna in North Rhine Westphalia, representing a man from Dortmund, has filed a legal complaint against the pope for not wearing a seat belt on several occasions “for more than one hour at a time” during his visit to Freiburg at the end of September. Apparently the lawyer (a member of the socialist Left party) took the case on after several other lawyers refused to do so. If he is doing the case pro bono , I hope it takes up a lot of his time. If he is not, then "man from Dortmund" may learn a salutary lesson. The report in The Local (Germany's News in English) tells us that "both Sundermann and his client are no longer members of the Catholic Church." No surprise there, then. (Though of course they are still members of the Catholic Church whether they like it or not.)

New Stations at Stronsay

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer at Papa Stronsay have just made an important addition to Our Lady's Chapel at Stronsay by putting up Stations of the Cross. It is great to see the chapel being improved bit by bit as resources allow. More pictures at Transalpine Redemptorists at Home .

Huffpost poll on new translation

The internet newspaper, Huffington Post has an article as the New Mass Translation Launches In American Parishes . We've been using at least the Ordinary of the Mass in England since September so the fuss has died down. In the US, there are only a few weeks left to stir things up until the time when most ordinary people are used to the new translation and will see that there is nothing really to make a fuss about. There is a poll at the foot of the article. Rather confusingly, it asks Which Catholic Mass (Roman Missal) language do you prefer? The new Mass  The former Mass  Both are equally meaningful to me  Be aware that it in referring to "The new Mass" and the "The former Mass", it is not asking whether you like the ordinary or extraordinary form. If you think that the new (corrected) translation is preferable to the old (lame duck) translation, you need to click on "The new Mass." H/T Fr Z

EnCourage - call for chaplains

Encourage is a group for people struggling with same sex attraction who are sincerely trying to live according to the teaching of the Church. (Similar to Courage in the US.) There has been a revival of interest recently and I have been in touch with one or two people who would like to arrange for regular meetings and occasional Days of Recollection. They would appreciate hearing from priests who would be willing to help, particularly with hearing confessions. Suitable priests would be orthodox, in complete accord with the teaching of the magisterium on sexual ethics, and capable of showing that compassion and sensitivity which is called for by the Catechism (2358.) If any priest is interested in being on the list of chaplains to EnCourage, please send your details to . The Goals of EnCourage are: To live chaste lives in accordance with the Roman Catholic Church's teaching on homosexuality. To dedicate our entire lives to Christ through service to

Mgr Charlie Brown new Papal Nuncio for Ireland

This really is a bombshell - and a sign that Pope Benedict is determined to do whatever it takes to reform the Church. With the catastrophe that is Ireland at the moment, especially in matters concerning the Church, we might have expected a seasoned diplomat from Italy - though in fact that has already been tried. Mgr Charlie Brown (of the Archdiocese of New York) is 52, has several degrees under his belt, has worked in a parish in the Bronx, and has spent many years in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He actually has not worked in any official diplomatic capacity. Mgr Brown has immediately been appointed as a titular Archbishop - this is considered fitting for the post to which he has been assigned. He will need all our prayers in the appointment, but God bless Pope Benedict for stepping outside the normal cursus honorum in this imaginative and daring appointment.

Sex-ed: getting the information out there

In the Daily Mail, Paul Bracchi has a sensible and informative piece about the Channel 4 programme "Living and Growing." See:  Casual sex and 'bad touching': Guess what your eight-year-old is learning at school these days . One detail that Paul Bracchi picks up is from the introduction to another similarly bad programme: The introduction states: ‘In the past some people have set aims in SRE such as “promoting marriage”, “dissuading children from having sex before marriage”, “stopping young people from having sex”, “telling children what is right or wrong” etc. ‘Such aims are not achievable, inappropriate for schools and are often more to do with propaganda than education.’ How extraordinary! Showing junior school children graphic animations of sexual intercourse, and teaching them how to masturbate, is appropriate, while telling them what is right or wrong is inappropriate. These people live in a very disturbed inner world. I hope that with publicity such a

Pushkin's memoirs

I'm not really one for cat posts but Pushkin from the Birmingham Oratory seems to be able to insist as cats do, that he be obeyed. Princess Michael of Kent was at his book launch and entertainment was provided by children from the Oratory School as they sang, 'Oh, I want to sing about Pushkin' and 'Pontifical Puss' - two songs composed for the evening. Members of St Paul’s Girls’ School performed Duet for Two Cats by Rossini. You can see a report of the encounter with the Princess and Pushkin at the St Paul's blog: A purr-fect evening in honour of Pushkin and a follow-up Pushkin and Her Royal Highness which is a chapter from the memoirs. You can order the book from St Pauls at their website. Royalties from the book will go towards the Birmingham Oratory Church Maintenance Fund.

Abortion figures fiddled - and the RCOG explains how to commit feticide

Yesterday, the Telegraph reported that there was a bit of fiddling with the figures on the cost of abortion to the taxpayer. As Lord Alton has rightly complained, Parliament was badly misled. Originally, the Department of Health said that £90m was spent on abortions in 2009-10, with only £8m going to independent providers (notably Marie Stopes and the BPAS) with the rest being paid to NHS organisations. Now it turns out that the Department of Health is admitting that "organisations have interpreted guidance on collecting costs in different ways" and that there is a more reliable figure to be had on the basis of returns that must be made by law to the Chief Medical Officer by law. So actually it turns out that £118m was spent on abortions in 2010, with £75m going to independent providers and the rest (£44m) to the NHS. Not £8m for private clinics but £75m. Yes, Minister. Concerns have been raised about the calculations. Today's news is even less cheery: the Roya

Takapuna ablaze, to be demolished tomorrow

For many years the house on Peaks Hill in Purley, known as Takapuna, was home to the John Fisher School Faith Society from its foundation in 1972 until just a few years ago. The Faith Society at the John Fisher School was the beginning of the Faith Movement . To begin with, the room at Takapuna where the Faith group met, was the Study of Fr Roger Nesbitt; after he left, it became a spare classroom, always left available on Friday evenings for the Faith Society. The house itself was a residence for some of the many priests who taught in the school at one time. The last resident was Fr Richard Fawssett who lived there until he died on 2 June 2009. Last night, Sir Dan of the blogosphere phoned me with the sad news that Takapuna was on fire. Today, the Headmaster, Mr Mark Scully told me that the building, which was already in a poor state of repair, is now in a dangerous condition and will be demolished tomorrow. The many priests and laymen (and indeed some old girls of St Anne

CCC northern and southern chapter meetings

A reminder for priests of two forthcoming meetings of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. Here are the details: Southern Chapter Meeting Monday 28th November, 2011 at St Mary of the Angels, Moorhouse Road, Bayswater PROGRAMME Coffee from 11am 11.30am Conference on: The revival of Catholic Scripture scholarship under Benedict XVI given by Fr John Hemer 12.30pm Adoration 1pm Lunch Please contact Fr Richard Whinder to book a place at lunch 02088761326 or Northern Chapter Meeting Friday 9th December, 2011 at St Austin’s Church, Wakefield WF1 3QN PROGRAMME 11.30am Talk, followed by lunch & social Holy Hour & Benediction at 3.00pm end at 4.00pm. Clergy wishing to attend should e-mail Fr. Stephen Brown on  or ‘phone 01274 721636.

Conman posing as Bishop in telephone scam

This today from the offices of the Archdiocese of Southwark: A man purporting to be a Bishop from the Philippines has rung a number of priests in the Diocese of Southwark asking for money to enable him to attend Bishop John Jukes’ funeral. He has already been reported in the press but to date he is still ringing priests Do not ring the number he gives – it might be that is the way he is gaining the money he is requesting. Please report any contact to your local police station. There is a press report at Total Catholic concerning this conman. He has been purporting to be Bishop Joseph Surasarang, the retired bishop of Chiang Mai diocese in Thailand but marooned in the Philippines. (Of course the story could change.) He has been targeting Priests, Deacons, Schools and the bereaved. It would be good if we could shut this guy down. UPDATE : I just had a call from him! (The number he rang from was 639061846758.) After a polite greeting and introduction I started reading the te

Mass on board ship off coast of Iwo Jima 1945

The priest and the congregation sway back and forth with the motion of the ship as Mass is celebrated just off the coast of Iwo Jima in 1945. Thanks be to God that these men were so well prepared for what was a fiercely fought battle with 28,000 US casualties and 6,800 dead. There were 22,060 Japanese soldiers in heavily fortified positions; 21,844 died either from fighting or by committing suicide in order not to be taken prisoner. This is a reminder to us that codes of honour, customs, and personal conscience can be gravely erroneous. Their suicide may well not be imputed to them by Almighty God and therefore we should pray for the repose of their souls as well as those of the Americans who died. As well as the crucial spiritual benefit of this Mass for the troops, watching vintage footage of the celebration of Mass is always of interest. Those of us who were children when the Mass was substantially changed from about 1964 onwards have tried assiduously to be faithful to the

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