Showing posts from March, 2011

A wonderful day in York

For the first time since the reign of Mary Tudor, the traditional Latin Mass was celebrated at York Minster last Saturday. About 800 people attended the Mass celebrated in honour of St Margaret Clitherow. Afterwards, there was a procession through the streets of York, including The Shambles where the Saint lived, across the Ouse and on to the English Martyrs' Church. The Mass was organised by the Latin Mass Society and you can read more about the occasion at  the LMS blog . The celebrant was Fr Stephen Maughan ( left ); his sermon is also available. The singers were the indomitable Rudgate Singers , sometimes now referred to as the Rudgate Ramblers after Mike Forbester's blog . In addition to the proper texts of the Mass, they sang the Byrd five part Mass. I hear that the rendering was sublime. LMS chairman Joseph Shaw has his own report and a fine flickr set of photos (from which those posted here are taken.) James Preece was there ( right ) and has written enthusiast

Anyone can learn Latin and chant

St. Cecilia's Abbey  in Ryde have had their website redone. There is information about the life and work of the Abbey with photos from the cloister and the garden which are within the enclosure, to which visitors and guests do not have access. At the Chapter House tab, you will be able to read the fine addresses of Mother Abbess. Although the website has changed, the sister who wrote to me said that the life of the community has not markedly changed since the old website first went live in 2000. I was glad to hear that. For many years, St Cecilia's has bucked the downward trend in religious vocations. Currently they have a novice and two juniors in their twenties. The Sacred Liturgy at the Abbey is celebrated in Latin according to the newer form, with the Divine Office chanted using the books produced by Solesmes. The Question and Answer page inevitably has the question "Why do you still have your liturgy in Latin?" - to which a good and sensible answer is given

Celebrations at The John Fisher School

Archbishop Smith reminded boys at my old school of Pope Benedict's call for them to be saints, and of the importance of St John Fisher, the patron of the school. Each year, the school celebrates Founder's Day with an invited guest speaker and sung Mass with the school's fine choir. This year, the celebrations included the formal induction of Fr James Clark and Deacon Tony Flavin as chaplains for the school. Fr James Clark is an old boy himself and discerned his vocation especially through the Faith Movement which was founded at the school. I remember visiting there some years ago when he was in the upper sixth form and he was able to boast that he had taught every boy in the school how to serve Mass. Another highlight of the day was the blessing of the Music Centre which was renamed 'The Fawssett Centre' in memory of the late Fr Richard Fawssett who played a significant role in the development of music at the school. He taught me at the school (and I had occas

Rejoicing at the CTS office today

New English translation of the Mass – introduction date confirmed - so reads the CTS Catholic Compass blog today. The final text has now been checked, so the files have gone to the printers for turning into proofs. This is a milestone in the production process: the sober prose of the CTS blog post is complemented by the more emotional tweet earlier today: Roman Missal new translation - much rejoicing at CTS office as the files for the text are FINALLY sent to the printer!!! :-) Congratulations to all at the CTS. I'm eagerly awaiting an order form!

Holy Father on Saint Alphonsus

"A gentle and mild goodness which was born from an intense relationship with God, who is infinite Goodness" - Pope Benedict's summary of the particular virtue of St Alphonsus Liguori. I usually have a quick read of the Holy Father's General Audience address each Wednesday but was unable to do so today since I was at Parkminster for my fortnightly visit to teach theology. Therefore I was glad to discover from the Transalpine Redemptorists blog that St Alphonsus was the subject of today's discourse . Pope Benedict gave a brief summary of the life of St Alphonsus and then mentioned a particular apostolate of the Saint: Although the social and religious context of the time of St. Alphonsus was very different from ours, the "Evening Chapels" appear a model of missionary activity that we can be inspired by today for a "new evangelization", particularly of those most poor, and to build a human society characterised by greater justice, fraternit

A new tractarian movement?

Fr Aidan Nichols OP spoke today to a gathering of the newly-founded British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy  at St Joseph's, New Malden. His paper was followed by a thoughtful discussion after which we looked at one or two practical questions regarding the structure of the Confraternity. Fr Marcus Holden (Parish Priest of Ramsgate) then gave Benediction in the beautiful and well-kept Church, assisted by Fr Peter Edwards (Parish Priest of New Malden) and Fr Richard Whinder (Parish Priest of Mortlake) before the parishioners provided us with a delicious lamb hotpot. Fr Nichols' address was filled with original and provocative ideas. As priests forming a new confraternity, he encouraged us to consider what Newman and his friends were trying to achieve through the Tractarian movement. In the Apologia Pro Vita Sua ( chapter 2 ) Newman explained that his first principle as a tractarian was the battle against liberalism or the anti-dogmatic principle. He protested that although h

Norma Jean Coon excommunication lifted

The lifting of an excommunication is good news to anyone who believes in the importance of the sacraments and therefore can understand what a great joy it is for someone to come to Holy Communion again in good standing with the Church. Norma Jean Coon was excommunicated for being the subject of an attempted ordination as a Deacon in 2007. She has now had her excommunication lifted after renouncing the alleged ordination, confessing to the truth of the Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis , accepting the authority of the Holy Father, and recognising that Christ instituted the sacrament of Holy Orders only for men. At her website you can read the statement of renunciation . Since renouncing the attempted ordination, Norma Jean has started attending the FSSP parish in San Diego. She attends the traditional Mass and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament daily. Laus Deo semper and God bless you, Norma Jean. Though we in England are separated by an ocean, we are still part of the one Ca

FSSP house canonically established in Amsterdam

The FSSP has been given permission by the Bishop for the canonical establishment of a new house in Amsterdam. The blog Vox in Rama audita est has the happy news . Author Cazienza Puellae happened to be in the St Agneskerk (Church of St Agnes) and picked up a copy of the newsletter in which Fr Knudsen FSSP, administrator of the parish, announced that on 3 March 2011, in accordance with Canon Law and with the permission of the Bishop of Haarlem-Amsterdam, a religious house was now established in Amsterdam for the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. The house, which will be named after St. Boniface, will be recognised as a 'convent' (' Klooster ') by the diocese. The house falls under the jurisdiction of the Superior General of the FSSP. In my youth, the Netherlands were known as the epicentre of post-conciliar modernism. A joke used to be told as follows: in Holland before the Council nothing changed except the bread and wine at Mass; after the Council everything cha

Handmade rosaries from the Ordinariate Sisters

A handmade rosary in support of the work of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham can now be ordered from the religious Sisters who have joined the Ordinariate. (Report in the  Ordinariate Newsletter ) The purpose of this initiative is to support the apostolic work of the Sisters and to increase prayers for the establishment of the Ordinariate. The rosaries are made to order and can be wire-wrapped or cord, with 5, 15, or 20 decades. For more details, please contact Sister Carolyne Joseph or c/o Poor Clare Monastery, Galley Lane, Arkley, Barnet, Herts, EN5 4AN. The three Sisters were formerly members of the Priory of Our Lady of Walsingham and made a considerable personal sacrifice to join the Ordinariate. Please remember them in your prayers. Do also take a look at the website of the  Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham .

EF Mass at Mortlake followed by talk on Newman

St Mary Magdalen, Mortlake , now has an Mass celebrated according to the usus antiquior every First Friday of the month at 7pm. This Friday, 2 April, the Mass will be followed by an illustrated talk given by Newman Scholar Dr Andrew Nash, entitled 'Who was John Henry Newman?' Dr Nash has been speaking about Newman at various venues as part of the extended celebration of his beatification and priests have spoken to me enthusiastically about his presentation of the new Beatus. The talk will be accompanied by tea, coffee and Victorian marmalade cake. A donation of £3 is suggested: all proceeds will go to support the Maryvale Institute in Birmingham. The founder of Mortlake parish, Father John Wenham, was a friend and disciple of Cardinal Newman, so the setting for the talk is very appropriate. The parish priest, Fr Richard Whinder, was ordained in 2001 and is one of the younger parish priests of the Archdiocese of Southwark. He wrote a fine book on "The Forty Four The

What if we just said pray?

Louie Verrecchio, a columnist for the Catholic News Agency has just launched a response for faithful Catholics to the "What if we just said wait?" campaign of dissent against the new (corrected) translation of the Roman Missal. Here is a link where you can sign up to the  Statement of Concern . Louie explains the background in an article for CNA . I agree with him that it is possible for priests who are opposed to the new translations to "infect the faithful with their personal biases against the forthcoming translation." It is also true that those priests who welcome the new translations will be able to encourage their people to rejoice in the greater richness of the language of our prayer now that we will be able to pray the texts of the Missal in an accurate translation. A priest commented to me the other day that it is easy for us to imagine that people will see things as we do, and attach the same importance to them as we do. I have now had some experience

British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

A Confraternity for Priests with one of its objects being fidelity to the Magisterium has been founded in Britain. The British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy is dedicated to St Gregory the Great. I am lagging behind others in posting about this, but I was very glad to read about the new website at several blogs mentioning it enthusiastically yesterday. At the meeting in Rome of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy from Australia and the USA, those of us from Britain were keen that a similar Confraternity should be started over here. Many thanks to those who have been doing the hard work of setting it all up. The website has a built-in news section which you can subscribe to in your RSS feed. It is also now on the blogroll here (CCC British Province.) If you are a Catholic cleric and agree with the objects of the Confraternity you can join now . I will be joining myself and look forward to benefiting from the support of good priests committed to fidelity, f

There is always a reason to live

The video for the Spanish Bishops' Conference Campaign for Life 2011. At first I wondered what it was getting at, but ended up being moved by the simple and wholly positive message that it gets across. This is a good example of presenting the pro-life message positively in a secular society. Congratulations to the Spanish Bishops for their canny and professional approach to communication.

New English Missal to have fine illustrations

The CTS Catholic Compass blog has released the above a sample spread from the Missal which will have the new (corrected) translation of the Mass. I was hoping that the Missal would have such images. In previous editions of the Missal the images have been disappointing - and this includes the Latin Editio Typica . As a priest who uses Missals for both the older and newer forms of the Mass, I have been struck by the way that good religious art enhances the Missal used at the altar. Looking at various hand missals for the faithful, on can see the value of good illustrations even in the line drawings that are used. They have been copied in various places on the internet and are now used in the production of many leaflets and handouts for the people for various purposes. I use them myself, for example, to illustrate the orders of service produced for Confirmation and first Holy Communion. For free images of this kind, see the Musica Sacra Flickr set and the CMAA Picasa collection . I

Can we tell someone not to become a Catholic?

Photo credit: Mazur/ Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald has interviewed Archbishop Mennini , the new Apostolic Nuncio for the UK. There is much of interest concerning the relationship of the Holy See and the Russian Orthodox Church. Archbishop Mennini served as Nuncio to the Russian Federation and therefore had much experience of relations with the Orthodox. The Nuncio had the difficult task of trying to persuade the Orthodox that the Holy Father had great esteem and love for them. He worked hard to establish good relations between the Catholic Church and the Orthodox, using especially the approach of friendly visiting and conversation. He was particularly involved in an initiative which enabled Russian Orthodox students to study in Rome. In such delicate diplomacy it is important to dispel the impression that the Catholic Church is engaged in an aggressive plan of domination which would undervalue or attempt to obliterate legitimate cultural and spiritual tradi

Latest buzz on the PECD Instruction

The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei will issue the much discussed Instruction on Summorum Pontificum in April, according to John Allen . Significant worries that the forthcoming instruction might water down some of the provisions of Summorum Pontificum , have led to the Motu Proprio Appeal which has, at the time of writing, been signed by 12,442 people. John Allen's article is reassuring to a degree. He has been speaking to some Vatican officials who have said off the record that the worries are unfounded. According to his sources, the instruction will make it clear that Summorum Pontificum is part of the universal law of the Church and that therefore the Bishops must do what it requires them to do, such as make the usus antiquior available when groups of the faithful request it. Apparently the Instruction will also stipulate that seminarians should be taught the older form of the rite "so they will know how to execute it faithfully and understand what’s being sai

Visit to Douai

Douai Abbey in Berkshire traces its origin to 1615 when it was founded in Paris as the third house of the re-established English Benedictine Congregation. In 1818 the monastery moved to Douai and finally, in 1903, the laws relating to associations forced most religious orders to leave France in order to avoid suppression. Douai Abbey moved to its present home at Woolhampton in Berkshire. The Abbey Church was finally completed in 1993, and a major building project has transformed the architectural character of the monastery in recent years. While on a visit there the other day, I was given a detailed tour of the new library and housing for the Abbey's important archive. The energy for the library is obtained by means of a borehole heat exchanger. I was there to join the community for the celebration of the Feast of St Benedict. As well as benefiting from warm and generous Benedictine hospitality, I was able to participate in choir at Pontifical Vespers and, the following morn

Vatican affirms the importance of metaphysics

There was a most interesting press conference today at the Vatican on a new decree that has been published by the Congregation for Catholic Education concerning the reform of philosophical studies. You can read an English summary at the Vatican Information Service. Cardinal Grocholewski said that the Decree was occasioned by the problems of philosophy in the secular world and within the Church where, as Pope Benedict said, "The crisis of the post-Vatican II theology is largely a crisis of its philosophical foundations." Essentially, the Decree tightens up on philosophical studies, adding a year to the requirements for the Bachelor of Philosophy degree at Pontifical universities. This in fact also accords with the Bologna process which requires three years of study for a Bachelor level degree. According to Mgr Brugues, the Decree also places a particular emphasis on the role of metaphysics. In the case of ecclesiastical faculties of theology, and seminaries associated with

"There Be Dragons" trailer

This Friday in Spain sees the opening of the film There Be Dragons , a drama set during the Spanish Civil War, which includes the story of the early life of St Josemaria Escriva. The film is directed by Roland Joffé who also directed The Mission and The Killing Fields . The other day, there was a showing at the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Remarkably, Roland Joffé compared St Josemaria to Nelson Mandela which, to be honest, was not the first thing that would have jumped into my mind. It is interesting, though, that he was speaking particularly of the work of St Josemaria for reconciliation in Spain. Mgr Clavell told the story of the saint being insulted by a taxi driver after the civil war: he said that he should have been killed along with the other priests. St Josemaria gave him an extra large tip to spend on a gift for his children. John Allen wrote about the film a couple of weeks ago, saying: Depending on how things break, “There Be Dragons” could stir the s

A Day full of grace

Ave Maria! is the greeting that is exchanged with the Day with Mary team. Today at Blackfen, we were blessed with a Day with Mary, supported by the lay people who form the team, Fr Agnellus FI who travelled down from his parish in Stoke, and the dear Sisters who sang for Mass. The Day with Mary is a whirlwind of devotions, including a procession of the statue of Our Lady of Fatima, Mass, adoration and procession of the Blessed Sacrament, meditation on the Passion of Christ, prayers for the dead, Benediction, enrolment in the brown scapular and the miraculous medal, and various hymns and prayers from Fatima. It's a Catholic day. At lunchtime, I get to eat some lovely Philippino food and then jostle with others at the bookstall which is always a great attraction. The team always insist that the priest is allowed to take any books he likes free of charge: I always come away with two or three lovely volumes. Today, I have the life of Blessed Margaret Castello which several people

On murder and a high court ruling

Last week's newsletter from the Birmingham Oratory has a good article with the intriguing title A Murder and a High Court Ruling . The article looks at the murder or Shahbaz Bhatti and the case of Eunice and Owen Johns, making the observation: Three hundred and fifty-eight British troops have lost their lives in Afghanistan so that Afghanistan, and by extension, Pakistan, might live free from religious extremism in the kind of society that Shabbaz Bhatti also died trying to bring about. This is ironic, fighting for freedoms abroad that we are starting to deny at home.

Equalities and Conscience Petition from Christian Concern

Christian Concern has an Equalities and Conscience Petition following on the case of Eunice and Owen Johns. The petition reads as follows: Recent Equalities legislation and its interpretation in the courts has led to several individuals who hold to mainstream Christian teaching being barred from different areas of public life and employment, running counter to our country’s long heritage of Freedom of Conscience, and creating a serious obstacle to the Christian community's full and active involvement in the Big Society initiative. We call on the Prime Minister to act decisively to address this situation, securing the change necessary to ensure that the law provides a basis for widespread involvement in serving society whilst properly upholding the dignity of every individual, including those who seek to live with integrity to Christian conscience and teaching. There is also a pdf petition form that could be passed around friends or put at the back of the Church. (Please do ask

There'll be a big party when we land

H/T Creative Minority Report I did enjoy this video of the the people of Papua New Guinea welcoming cases of bibles being delivered to them from Trinity Church, Redlands, CA. The first pack of bibles was received by the elders and then a lady said that the younger people should receive the bibles to pass on God's word to the next generation. The American lady who gives some of the narrative for the video points out that we have taken the word of God for granted but these people welcome it as something great. Of course we could say that we also need the Fathers and the magisterium to know truly the message of the word of God in the bible but I think that should not obscure our joy in seeing people accept the word with such sincere and enthusiastic delight. It reminded me of the rejoicing of the people when they returned to Jerusalem after the exile: "For all the people wept when they heard the words of the law." (Neh 8.9) My thoughts turned to the forthcoming recept

British PM acquiesces in the dictatorship of relativism

When Pope Benedict was leaving our country to return to Rome last September, David Cameron said: You have really challenged the whole country to sit up and think It seems that the Prime Minister has now had time to slouch back and stop thinking. In an interview with the Derby Telegraph the other day, he was asked about the case of Eunice and Owen Johns who were prevented by a decision in the High Court from becoming foster parents after telling a social worker they would not tell a child that homosexuality was acceptable. Although the couple are considering an appeal, the Prime Minister said that we should "rest with the judgement that was made." Asked whether Christian views were compatible with an acceptance of homosexuality, he said: I think Christians should be tolerant and welcoming and broad minded. This fatuous remark simply underlines the fact that in modern Britain, whether coloured red, blue or yellow politically, Christians are supposed to be tolerant, welco

Lenten Reading Plans

Fr Bryan Jerabek has updated the pages of his Lenten Reading Plans to give this year's dates. These reading plans are provided to assist people with their daily meditation. (I wrote a short piece about them last year.) There are four plans with readings from the Fathers, Lives of the Saints, Newman/Faber, and St John Vianney. Many thanks to Fr Jerabek and those who have assisted him in this act of charity.

The meaning of Lenten penance

This is the sermon that I gave on Sunday at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen on the 9th Sunday of Year A, or Quinquagesima Sunday ( usus antiquior ). After reading James Preece's post Do we no longer believe in the spiritual? I thought it might be worth posting here. " Mercifully hear our prayers O Lord we pray, and, absolved from the bonds of our sins, guard us from every adversity " (Collect) As Lent begins this week, we consider what penances we might do as part of our traditional preparation for Easter. First of all we should understand why we do penance. Obviously we don’t fast in order to lose weight, or give up things in order to lead a (physically healthy) lifestyle. Those results may come about incidentally and that would all be jolly good, but the Lenten penance is a spiritual exercise. Even here, there can be a reluctance to face up to what Lent is really about. We can talk of being open to God, taking stock of the spiritual life, re-charging the batter

1965 texts and 2010 texts for the Mass

Lux Occulta has uploaded a scan of the texts of the people's parts of the Mass which were approved for use in Ireland from the first Sunday of Lent 1965. ( ) I remember when this text (or at least something very similar) was introduced in England but I think it was in 1964 over here. At our brand new Church in Addiscombe, we were given a neat little beige leaflet. I was only 6 at the time and it was all very exciting but I think I wondered even then where all the prayers at the beginning of Mass had gone. Many people would consider the translation of the 1960s to be superior to the one we are soon to introduce. Be that as it may, it would certainly have saved a lot of time and work. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has a  Roman Missal  section which has the Ordinary ("Order of Mass") and the proper texts for Advent and Christmas for the new (corrected) translation of the Missal. (Look under the "S

Facing the real problems

Fr Reginald Foster once told the story (he used to tell lots of these, indiscreetly) of how he was hauled over the coals by his superior in the Pontifical Office of Papal Briefs (cue: silly jokes) for not wearing his habit to work. He took the guy over to the window, looking out over Rome, and said. "Look out there! That's your problem! I am not your problem." Now we may think that Fr Foster should have worn his Carmelite habit instead of the cotton worker's overalls that he used to sport, but that is another question. I have always remembered his justified assertion that we should be more concerned about the impact of the gospel in the world than in our own internal squabbles. Of course, we need to be concerned about problems internally but sometimes it is screamingly obvious that we need to look further afield. Hence I was stirred by Fr Zuhlsdorf's fisk of the article in the Irish Times about the "forthright criticisms of priests who are complaining

One Billion Stories

Can the Eucharist change Hearts? Thanks to a reader for the link to One Billion Stories , a project of EWTN. Here is the Mission Statement: The mission of is to promote the life of Jesus Christ, by collecting and sharing the personal human stories of those faithful to the magisterium of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, through modern communication mediums. This mission will focus on three steps: 1. Attract everyday Internet users with engaging stories and captivating content 2. Cultivate reflection on the stories with questions, comments, vlogs, and dialogue 3. Propose action on those reflections by making available, authentic Catholic apostolates and resources faithful to the magisterium. These are great videos; but to continue a theme, we could do with something like this in England with stories of young people who have come to the Church after being converted from relativism, secularism, and agnosticism.

Feliciter discrevit

Last November, Monsignor Furretti was set the task of choosing between Mgr Basil Loftus in the Catholic Times, and that bastion of tradition, the Remnant . I followed up with an article about the discerning cat . Now, the Monsignora , together with her companion, has shown her discernment further in what has to be the classic test for British Catholic papers: a showdown between The Tablet and the Catholic Herald (Britains finest Catholic weekly.) The results are clear for all to see at the latest post on Mulier Fortis: Felix Fidei Defensor (Part II) ...  (more photos there.) Cute little kittens though they may be, when they see something that is "needing to be destroyed" ( delenda ) they do not hesitate, but set about the task with gusto.

A little accident

Bara Brith has a funny story about a stern music teacher and a timid student who is hazy about his accidentals. See: Accidentals - oops and imagine an old-school, "Colonel Blimp" type of teacher.

"Jesus of Nazareth II" extracts at CTS Catholic Compass

Pope Benedict's new book Jesus of Nazareth - Holy Week. From the Entrance into Jerusalem to the Resurrection will be published next Thursday 10 March. In England, the book will be published by the Catholic Truth Society. On the CTS Catholic Compass over the past few days, there have been a number of extracts published in advance with the approval of the Holy See, as well as comments from various figures.

Old Mass for primary school children in West Heath

The LMS Birmingham and Black Country reports on a Mass celebrated according to the usus antiquior for St John Fisher Primary School at West Heath, Birmingham last Thursday. The parish priest, Fr George Grynowski said a Votive Low Mass for the Blessed Sacrament for the school children aged 8-11. Fr Grynowski described how the Mass came about: The Mass started out as a casual comment from myself to Melanie Bullivant. I said something like "wouldn't it be great if the school had the opportunity of experiencing the Extraordinary Form so that they can appreciate something about the richness of the Church's traditional liturgy, which is after all part of their heritage". This would have been as recently as about December last year. I didn't expect much to come from it, certainly not in the immediate future. Melanie mentioned it to the headteacher, and to my great joy I was told that she was quite happy for one of the regular scheduled school Masses to be in the Extr

Beatrix to have her hair cut off for Mary's Meals (and the Little Princess Trust)

Beatrix, one of my young parishioners at Blackfen, heard of The Little Princess Trust , a charity that makes wigs for children who have suffered hair loss due to cancer treatment. For her 7th birthday, Beatrix wants to have her hair cut off so that she can "give it to the charity that helps sick children who lose their hair" (her words). She has been waiting for a long time for her hair to be long enough to donate. Beatrix was also influenced by the intrepid trio of young parishioners who raised money for Mary's Meals last year by cycling to Rome (see Via Romea ) and wants to raise money for the same cause. So she gets to help two charities in one go. Mary’s Meals provides daily meals to chronically hungry children in the Third World. They provide the meals in the children's local school. In this way the hungry child is encouraged to attend school and, through education, gain a better future for himself and his community. Mary's Meals feeds over half a mill

Fr Fleming on eugenics and euthanasia

"Eugenics - an enduring part of fallen human nature." This was the title of Fr John Fleming's talk today at the SPUC Clergy Information Day at Victoria. Fr Fleming's talks are always well-researched and highly informative and today's was no exception. I had to rush off after my morning Mass to get there in time - nearly thwarted by a jam in the Blackwall Tunnel which kept me waiting for 15 minutes before I could turn off to park at North Greenwich. It was well worth it, though. One of my basic criteria for a good teaching session is that you know more when you leave than when you came in: not always achieved, especially if you have to waste most of the time in "Buzz Groups." There was none of that today, but there was a good opportunity to meet with friends - Fr Basden, Fr Southwell, Fr Young, and Fr Sherbrooke among many others. Since this is a general London event, it is good also to get together with priests from Westminster and other dioceses who

Practical apologetics in the English context

Is the Catholic Church a force for good in the world? We lost that debate at a widely publicised event in England last November. Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent, authors of Evangelium , have lit a candle rather than curse the darkness. CTS have recently published Lumen. The Catholic Gift to Civilisation which offers a factual answer by setting out numerous factual and historical examples of just how the Catholic Church has been a force for good in the world. As the publisher's information states: To set the record straight, this booklet summarises the extraordinary fruitfulness of the faith, noting that our university system, art, music, legal tradition, charity and even much of our science arises from Catholic civilisation and Catholic minds. This booklet is a great source of encouragement for Catholics and is ideal for those engaged in apologetics, evangelism and teaching today, and for anyone wishing to investigate further. This is an excellent example of practical ap

Helping out the poor, puzzled, BBC

The poor Beeb is puzzled, wondering What motives led to Shahbaz Bhatti's murder in Pakistan? Let's step cautiously here and suggest that maybe - just mabye - it could have had something to do with the fact that he was the only Catholic minister in the Pakistani government? (The BBC article does not seem to have spotted this possibly relevant fact.) H/T @lukecoppen

Books, books and more books online

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer at Papa Stronsay have begun online the Golgotha Monastery Library . Like the splendid collection of scanned books at Ite ad Thomam that I mentioned recently, these are essentially page images but are quite readable. There are, of course, lots of books by St Alphonsus. I have downloaded "Dignities and Duties of the Priest" which will be good spiritual reading for Lent. There are also a few liturgical books and some lives of the saints. I think that we can expect this library to grow steadily. Another superb collection online is Documenta Catholica Omnia . These are mainly Latin texts. Some of them have been digitized and so are searchable, others are page images. Sadly, the site seems to have hit some restrictions since I first consulted it. In the case of Migne's patrologia you have to email the site to get permission to use the file and agree to the terms and conditions. The site is the work of the Cooperatorum Veritas Societas

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