Showing posts from April, 2011

Why not sell chocolate instead?

A pharmacist points out the inconsistency of promoting healthy living in every area of life except sexual behaviour.

RoseMary Baker, a pharmacist from Wirral, Merseyside, has written a good piece for PJ Online, the internet version of the Pharmaceutical Journal, a publication of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society. She points out that pharmacists do not sell chocolate or tobacco, they try to encourage their customers to adopt a healthy lifestyle, and warn about the consequences of smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise. Then she says:
But what about sex? Well now, that is different. Oh yes, we do display leaflets on how to have safe sex or where to go if you need an abortion. In Wales we can provide post-coital contraceptives free of charge without the necessity of obtaining a prescription from a doctor. Are we being as fair to the public about sex as we are about smoking or eating sweets or drinking alcohol? Do we highlight the failure rate of contraceptives or do we couch the true fai…

Resurrection - some enthusiastic Bible-bashing

During the Easter season it is good to see an enthusiastic presentation of the resurrection - both in video form and in thoughtful comments on the Gospel texts.

I found the above video by Rob Bell on the blog of the Archdiocese of Washington where Mgr Charles Pope regularly writes a lot of sense. Over the past few days he has been looking at the accounts of the resurrection in the Gospels. Many students of scripture will be familiar with the kind of exegesis that leaves you really no choice but to suppose that the "resurrection stories" are all rather confused, that the whole thing is probably a myth, and that it is more "grown-up" to imagine that the apostles were really sitting around like people at a funeral reception saying "it's as if old Bob were still with us."

Mgr Pope looks at the scriptural accounts in two excellent posts in which he offers a reconciliation of the accounts. I'm not a scripture scholar and I expect that some might want t…

Pope John Paul II and priestly identity

One of the themes of Pope John Paul II's pontificate was his insistence on the necessity of the priesthood and his personal and heartfelt encouragement to priests, both in positive spiritual terms and, occasionally, in correction and admonition.

At the time Pope John Paul II was elected to the Papacy, it was quite common to hear, even in official circles, that the shortage of vocations to the priesthood was a work of the Holy Spirit, encouraging the laity to take their full part in the ministry of the Church. The fact that this is heard much less today (although there are still some dinosaurs who persist in the error) is largely due to the consistent teaching of Pope John Paul II on its falsity.

I well remember during the first year of his pontificate, the Pope's Maundy Thursday letter to priests. This was the first of a series that continued almost every year during his reign.In that letter, there was a moving exhortation to priests who were weary or doubtful:
Dear Brothers: …

Well yes, proud to be British today

It is thrilling to see things done quite with quite such splendid perfection. It occurred to me too that gazillions of people, including most of the population of a Britain, beaten down by whinging secular killjoys, spent at least a little part of today following a religious service and listening to good sacred music, being inspired by it, and not feeling that their rights had been infringed or that they had been offended.

To be perfectly honest, I have been rather busy and have several funerals coming up, so I actually forgot about it all this morning until phoning the Vicar General about something and having to be reminded that it was a "Bank Holiday". (Not having a telly does at least release you from the obligation of national hysteria.) Looking at the coverage later, I was impressed by the sheer excellence of the Liturgy, and the procession from Westminster Abbey to Buckingham Palace. I agree with Damian Thompson about the music and we should, I think, take our hats of…

Family & Youth Concern Spring 2011 bulletin

The Family and Youth Concern Spring Bulletin is now online. Here are a few headings:
The importance of grandparentsGovernment reaffirms that primary schools are not required to teach sex educationSex Education Forum attempts to redefine science curriculum in bid to impose sex education on primary schoolsTwo competing views of marriageFragile families in the US and UKLet’s Stick Together: The Relationship Book for New ParentsTax burden on single-earner married couples continues to riseThe bulletin is well worth reading. As ever, there is good information, sourced, and with sensible comment. Do join Family and Youth Concern which has supported the family for several decades.

Transformation in the heart of Soho

A historic parish Church in the heart of London is gearing up for a new era of evangelisation - with the adoration of God at the heart of all its activity.

While in London yesterday, I had a tour of the works that are going on at St Patrick’s, Soho Square. Soho is a byword for chic restaurants and bohemian culture; sadly it is also known as a centre of sleaze, prostitution, drug addiction and other ills. Fr Alexander Sherbrooke, the parish priest of St Patrick’s, spoke to me of his parish, probably the oldest public parish in Westminster Diocese, founded in 1792. He suggested that it was not overly dramatic to say that the evil one has to a degree taken over this part of London. His mission is to develop St Patrick’s as a beacon of Catholicism and a centre for the new evangelisation.

Unfortunately, his historic Church has been in a sorry state for some years: Fr Sherbrooke has been working hard to restore it, and to develop new facilities for both the worship of God and the pastoral …

In praise of Pope John Paul II

In my parish this Saturday evening we are showing a film about Pope John Paul in preparation for the Church's celebration of his beatification. (For those in reach of Blackfen: 7pm Small Hall.)

I well remember that day in 1979 (16 October) sitting in a room in Keble College with my good friend John Hayes, listening to Vatican radio. Most people didn't have computers then, and the internet was in its infancy. We relied on Vatican radio and the weekly English edition of L'Osservatore for news of the Vatican. John was probably one of the few people in England to have recognised instantly, during the Habemus Papam announcement, that the name Karol belonged to the Polish Cardinal Archbishop of Krakow.

The election of a Polish pope filled us with excitement and hope - and we were not disappointed. This vigorous, determined, relatively young Pope began the process of halting the decline in the Church. His obviously sincere and heartfelt devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and to O…

St Augustine Week at Ramsgate

St Augustine's Church in Ramsgate was Augustus Welby Pugin's ideal Church, constructed according to his "true principles of Christian architecture." Pugin is buried there and the Church stands as a monument to the arrival of St Augustine in Thanet in 597 after being sent by Pope St Gregory the Great.

Fr Marcus Holden is the parish priest of Ramsgate. As well as the Church of St Ethelbert and Gertrude, he is also responsible for the Church of St Augustine which was, until recently, the Church for the adjacent Benedictine Abbey. (The Benedictines have now moved.) He has launched an appeal for the restoration and repair of St Augustine's and founded the Friends of St Augustine's Church.

22-27 May will be St Augustine week, with a Public Lecture by Catriona Baker of the Pugin Society and other education and spiritual events, concluding with a solemn High Mass in the Church celebrated according to the usus antiquior. Here is the poster for St Augustine Week:

Eiger climb - 2' 47"

Ueli Steck breaks the record for speed-climbing the Eiger solo: two hours 47 minutes. I have done a little bit of climbing myself and find this video really impressive.

H/T New Advent

"Actuosa participatio" photo

This photo struck me as a fine illustration of actuosa participatio. It is from the flickr set of Birmingham LMS Rep, Matthew Doyle, taken at the recent retreat of the Saint Catherine’s Trust for Traditional Family Education, sponsored by the Latin Mass Society. (Joseph Shaw also has a flickr set with more photos, especially of the Sacred Liturgy.)

Over 150 parents and children attended the retreat, including a family from my parish (I recognised quite a few other faces there too.) The retreat was led by Fr Andrew Southwell and ran alongside the Gregorian Chant Network course, so that appropriate music was available for the liturgy, and appropriate liturgy for the singing.

Here's a photo of some of the younger children. If I were an anti-Humanae Vitae, Tablet reader, I'd be worried for the future...

Święcone in Brazil

Many thanks to Patricia in the combox for sending this photo of the blessing of Easter baskets in Curitibia, Brazil where there is a large Polish community. As I suggested in my earlier post, I think that this is a Catholic Easter tradition that could be revived for others as well as the Polish who have kept it alive.

(In relation to the discussion in that post about the timing of this blessing - note that this one was on Holy Saturday.)

Happy Easter!

I was looking round for a picture to illustrate my Easter greetings to you. The great artists have featured on many blogs but I was especially struck by the atmospheric photos from the Easter Vigil of the Transalpine Redemptorists. If you do not already subscribe to their bi-monthly newspaper Catholic, do be sure to get the latest edition which also includes an absorbing 96 page A4 book about Pope Leo XIII with lots of fascinating photographs. (Scroll down the sidebar of their blog: you can get a pdf subscription form or subscribe by paypal.)

Anyway - Happy Easter to you all. May Our Blessed Lord enrich you with His grace during this holy season and especially bless your families.

"You shall be my witnesses"

Is it appropriate to post a controversial video on Easter Sunday? I think that this one captures rather well the spirit of the Apostles:But you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you, and you shall be witnesses unto me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and even to the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1.8)More information at TFP Student Action.

Święcone - blessing of Easter food

The blessing of meat, eggs and bread at the end of Lent is a Catholic tradition that has been preserved by the Polish people.

A Polish family in my parish asked to bless their baskets of food (containing these items) on Holy Saturday so I arranged to do so at 11am, letting others know also. Above you can see a basket (Święcone) that was prepared as a gift for me.

When I was asked to do this blessing by another Polish family a couple of years ago, I was intrigued to find that in my 1860 copy of the Roman Ritual (above), there is, precisely, a blessing of lamb, eggs and bread for Holy Saturday.

This convinced me that the devotion kept by the Poles must have been something more widely practised in past centuries. The immediate explanation might be that this is the blessing of food at the end of the Lenten fast. It must be more than that. People would have abstained from meat, and from lacticinia (including eggs) but not from bread. Perhaps there is a more specifically eucharistic refere…

The excitement of Holy Week in the parish

I think I enjoy Holy Week more with each passing year. I'm quite familiar with the Novus Ordo ceremonies which we have for Good Friday and the Easter Vigil, and becoming more accustomed to the usus antiquior ceremonies that we have for the Maundy Thursday Mass (and for one of our Palm Sunday Masses.) Being able to worry less about the rubrics means that I have a little less distraction during the celebration of Mass.

The Monday to Wednesday of Holy Week, we have mass in both forms each day. Our English Mass is at the customary time of 10am. On Monday we had an evening Low Mass, yesterday a Missa Cantata with the sung Passion of St Luke, and today an early Mass at 7am. While there is not a massive attendance at any of these Masses, it is lovely to see so many children and young people making the effort to come.

My policy in Holy Week is "confessions after everything" which gives people a number of opportunities to celebrate the sacrament without being tied to one Penance…

Usus Antiquior in Groningen Cathedral

The NLM reported recently on the celebration of the Usus Antiquior in Groningen Cathedral.

In 2008, I visited Groningen Cathedral while on a trip to the Netherlands for the Catechetical Boot Camp. It struck me then, that the High Altar could easily be used for the usus antiquior since the versus populum altar could be moved without any trouble. This has now happened, and I was delighted to hear that the Mass had to be moved to the High Altar because of the numbers attending. I had an email the other day from Brother Hugo who said that I was "partly to blame" for all this :-) Warmest greetings to all my friends in the Netherlands. Congratulations on this splendid occasion.

You can see some more videos at Brother Hugh's blog and there is a report at In Caelo et in Terra. Here is a video with some of the powerful singing at the Mass:

(Sorry about the broken links for the photos on my earlier blog posts. I used to put photos on Facebook and link to them. Facebook has changed…

'Blogging' Bishop Campbell Welcomes Vatican 'Blogfest'

That's the title of the press release from the Diocese of Lancaster where Bishop Michael Campbell OSA updates his blog each week to give news of what has been happening in his diocese. So far, Bishop Campbell is the only Bishop blogger in Britain. Here is the comment from Bishop Campbell on the Holy See's meeting for bloggers:
The new media represent a revolution in communication as significant as the invention of the printing press. It has taken journalism and public discourse out of the hands of powerful media groups and put it in the hands of millions of ordinary people throughout the world.

Just as the Church was at the forefront of other revolutions in communication, such as the copying and dissemination of manuscripts, printing presses, radio and television, the Church is embarking on the development of the new media through the creativity and investment of time and money by thousands of Catholic bloggers and web designers.

The meeting in Rome on the 2nd of May organised…

Friends, bogans, countrymen: put down your beers

"The Italians are on the right track Lambretta, Lambrusco, Lamborghini, but there's still a long way to go..."

Australia Day was on 26 January so this is really late, but I just looked up Australia's Lambasssador, Sam Kekovich, who managed to get himself blue-screened against various iconic sites in Europe to promote Australian lamb. It's silly but quite funny.

(To save you asking: Bogan.)

Old chestnut time: confessions in Holy Week

Priests are allowed to hear confessions during Holy Week; and during the Triduum. Every year, I mention this because of the silly positivistic interpretations of an older version of the Novus Ordo Missal which has now been corrected. See, for example: Let's smash this old chestnut once and for all (and yes, I know it is a coconut in the picture.)

Fr Z, with tremendous patience, has addressed the matter yet again this year: Confessions during the Triduum.

I am on my own in the parish and therefore cannot usually have confessions during Mass (which is permitted - see the link to Fr Z above.) During Holy Week I have the policy of hearing confessions after all services. Monday to Wednesday, we have two Masses each day: usus antiquior and usus recentior with confessions afterwards. there are confessions after the Maundy Thursday Mass, after the Good Friday stations, and after the Liturgy of the Passion, and at the usual times on Saturday. (If you want to come to anything at Blackfen, h…

iPad for Choir Directors

Clare, the Choir Director at St Mary Magdalen's Brighton, has a post about Catholic uses of the iPad 2 as a Choir Director. I was especially struck by the practicality of using it during the darker part of the Easter vigil, and for gently given pitching notes without having to use a tuning fork or go back to the organ. Her post has dented my obstinacy in refusing to go for anything proprietary. Let's see how the Easter offering goes ...

H/T Bara Brith

A Guild of Catholic Bloggers

The Reluctant Sinner has floated the idea of a Guild of Catholic Bloggers. I think it is a good idea and will be going along to the planning meeting on 7 May. In response to a comment on this blog, I suggested the idea of having Blessed Titus Brandsma as the patron saint. His feast day is 26 July so it might be good to organise a Mass for that day.

Bloggers naturally want to keep their independence intact but it is always good to meet up with other bloggers, commenters and readers face to face at blognics, traditional Masses, and other Catholic events. A Guild might well be able to help that along, so I'm more than willing to get in on this and encourage it along.

YouCat: not only problems of translation

OK so the Italian translation of YouCat 420 is to be corrected to make it clear that the Church does not teach that a Catholic couple can and should use contraception. That is a relief, I suppose. Ignatius Press, for whom I have the highest respect, have posted a loyal and serious defence of YouCat in this area.

Unfortunately, the quotation given from YouCat 421 gives further cause for concern. It reads:
421 Why are all methods of preventing the conception of a child not equally good?

The Church recommends the refined methods of self-observation and natural family planning (NFP) as methods of deliberately regulating conception. These are in keeping with the dignity of man and woman; they respect the innate laws of the female body; they demand mutual affection and consideration and therefore are a school of love. [2370–2372, 2399]Both the question and the answer fly in the face of everything that loyal Catholics have done to promote the teaching of Humanae Vitae.

The Church does not say…

The Youcat fiasco: Raffaella says "Give us a break!"

In the wake of the Youcat fiasco, Raffaella writes with true Roman fury on the betrayal of Pope Benedict by those around him. (I could imagine her reducing Roman Senators to quivering wrecks.)

I have spent some time translating her article: it was not easy because it is written with acidic Italian colloquial expressions for which there is no English equivalent. Figuraccia means something much more contemptible than the very British "poor show" (I have translated it as "mess" in the context); Basta! is really more intensive than "Enough!"; and I don't really know how to translate anonimo-rana: anonymous frog doesn't seem right :-) There are other expressions where I may have gone wrong but I hope that my version gives you some flavour of what she is saying out of love for Pope Benedict and anger at those who should assist him.

Here is the link to the original text. If you read Italian, you will love it for the power of its expression. And by the wa…

All about fancy gowns?

Fancy gowns and overblown triumphalist ceremony - I'm not talking about the traditional Mass but about one of our leading universities.

Damian Thompson has a post today which continues a theme where he (rightly in my personal opinion) expresses concern about the silly remarks made by David Cameron about Oxford University, accusing the University of discriminatory admissions policies.

I don't feel that is particularly a discussion for this blog but I was struck by the photograph used to illustrate Damian's post. The Chancellor, Chris Patten, is wearing a richly decorated gown, and assisted by a young train-bearer in buckled shoes. If you look at other photos of Encaenia (the annual honorary degree awarding ceremony) you will see all sorts of fancy gowns and accoutrements.

Were this a procession for a traditional Mass, there would undoubtedly be spiteful comments about how they are only concerned with outward show, lace and fancy cloaks, how it is all a bit, well, unmanly, …

A magnificent Conference to be held in Rome

If you are in Rome on the weekend of 13-15 May, you have the chance to participate in a most remarkable Conference, including a Pontifical High Mass at the Altar of the Chair in St Peter's celebrated by the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship.

The Associazione Giovani e Tradizione (Youth and Tradition Association) and the Sodality of Priestly Friends of Summorum Pontificum are holding the third Conference on the Motu Proprio in Rome from 13-15 May 2011 with the theme "Hope for the entire Church."

The Conference is supported by officials of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, and the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

On the first evening of the conference, there will be a spiritual conference given at Ssma Trinita dei Pellegrini  by Fr Cassian Folsom OSB and Bishop Athansius Schneider will celebrate Pontifical Vespers.

On the Saturday, there will be seven papers given in the

Not tired of London

"When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life" said Samuel Johnson. Thanks be to God I have not yet tired of London.

An unexpected eventuality left me free yesterday evening since a good Franciscan priest wanted to say my Sunday evening Mass. I therefore seized the opportunity to take a rare "Day Off" which I spent in London, staying overnight in town. This morning I took a walk which included a circuit of St James's Park before meeting Sir Dan for lunch. It gave me the opportunity to take some photos of London in the spring.

Here is a view of Buckingham Palace:

the Foreign Office crowned by the Wheel:

a view of Horseguards from the end of the lake:

A wonderful bird is the Pelican
Its beak can hold more than its belly can:

We are shortly to have a Royal Wedding. Here is a venue for a previous Royal Wedding:

The Queen's Chapel was designed by Inigo Jones for the Infanta of Castile on her proposed marriage to the then Prince Charles. In the end, the chap…

Forthcoming Evangelium Conference

The Evangelium Conference has been a great success from a fairly recent "standing start". The publicity for this year's conference has been overshadowed a little by the World Youth Day in Madrid, so do take a look at the details of the conference from 5-7 August and book in if you are free.

Sir Dan - no waffle please

Sir Dan of the Blogosphere is a long-time opponent of meaningless waffle. We had lunch today in central London and I found a perfect photo opportunity afterwards at Charing Cross Station.

Sir Dan agrees with Hiscox Insurance that "Waffle should only be served up with syrup."

Hilary's setting up the Taliban Catholic blognic in Rome

Today's invitation from Hilary White: Hey "Taliban Catholic" Bloggers!! Come to the *Other* Rome Catholic Blognic.

Well someone had to do it - and Hilary is just the girl! Michael Voris will be keynote speaker which sets the tone more or less unambiguously. There will be pizza and beer; and if you absent-mindedly leave your computer and turn up in pyjamas that will probably not be noticed too much. It will be happening on 3 May from 1-5 pm at a location yet to be determined since Hilary only had the idea on Friday.

I'm on the invite list, quite high up. Drat! My ecclesiastical career prospects were looking so hopeful and all. Well, since my cover is blown, I will freely admit that I was in on the conspiracy at an early stage (the beer & pizza bit was mine.) Unfortunately, I have already booked to go to Rome the week after and I can't just swan off from the parish at the drop of a hat. However, I think I will be allowed to participate in some way by Skype.


Six Rules for Facebook

Danielle Bean writes about the rules that she set down for her daughter, Kateri, when she started her own Facebook profile. I think that they are quite sensible, hence I pass on the link to you, especially parents: Six Rules for Facebook.

Actually the rules are quite sensible for everyone, not just teenagers. Especially:
3. Remember: It's forever.

Yes, you can delete status updates, photos, and even "friends" who turn out to be weirdos, but a well-timed screen shot is all it takes to be your undoing -- with your boss, your kid's school, or your mother-in-law. Even if you maintain the strictest of privacy settings, remember that people love to talk and share, right-click and save. Don't ever share something on Facebook you wouldn't want the entire world to know.The way I put it to young people is "Do not post anything on the internet that you would not want to be posted on the noticeboard in the school hall."

I was interested to read that Danielle…

Photo of Sitting Bull wearing a crucifix

"Have you ever seen the non-cropped version of the Sitting Bull?" was the question put to Taylor Marshall by Fr Phil Wolfe. The above photo (from Taylor's Canterbury Tales blog) may seem very familiar, but the crucifix is not normally shown.

Sitting Bull became a Catholic in later life, being influenced by the friendship of the French Canadians. Roman Christendom also has a lengthy post about him: A Roman Catholic Sioux leader: Chief Sitting Bull

ACN Pilgrimage to Walsingham

Aid to the Church in Need are running a Pilgrimage to Walsingham which you may like to join. Walsingham is a great place of devotion, steeped in Catholic history and it is always worth visiting, especially on a spiritual exercise: and ACN are an excellent group to go with. Here are the details:
Aid to the Church in Need UK Annual Walsingham Pilgrimage of Hope Saturday, 30th April 2010
Please join us as Aid to the Church in Need remembers suffering Christians around the world with our 2011 Pilgrimage to the Roman Catholic National Shrine in Walsingham.

ACN is organising coaches from London Victoria, Bressenden Place, departing at 08:00. Should parishioners wish to join us at Walsingham, travelling independently or, perhaps, organising coaches from their locality they are very welcome to do so.

For those who would like to join us on this Pilgrimage and would like more information a brochure and booking form is downloadable from the ACN website. You could also contact us on 020 8642 8668

Vatican blognic

The Vatican is holding an official blognic the day after the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Space is limited to 150 so if you are a blogger and want to get into this, you had better sign up quickly at the email address below. Please note that there is a dress code on Vatican property even for bloggers, and you would be advised to remember not to go in your pyjamas.

The Pontifical Council for Social Communications gives the official information in Italian. Here is my own unoffical translation:
Information on the meeting in the Vatican for Bloggers
St Pius X Auditorium, 2 May 2011

A meeting of bloggers will take place on the afternoon of 2 May. The event, organized by the Pontifical Councils for Culture and Communications, aims to enable a dialogue between bloggers and representatives of the Church, to share the experiences of those working in this field and to better understand the needs of that community. The meeting will also present some of the initiatives that the Church is pu…

Beyond Pink Ribbon Blues

Gayle Sulik has criticised the manipulative and ineffective “awareness” campaign against breast cancer in her book Pink Ribbon Blues. She points to the fact that the campaign has done virtually nothing to lower the incidence of breast cancer. Matt Hanley recognises her valuable contribution but points out that she also has a blind spot (see: Pink Ribbons & the Mother of all Causes.) He says:
Had she dug deeper, she would have had to acknowledge a “cause” far more alluring and destructive – a “cause” which has contributed mightily to the tremendous rise in breast cancer over the past several decades: the “liberation” promised by the sexual revolution. This alleged “liberation” requires the radical disruption of natural biological processes which in turn imperil breast tissue, so it can only be out of deference to that supreme cause that she utterly fails to specify, let alone stress, three of the most protective things a woman can do to reduce breast cancer risk: have children earli…

Good Counsel Network's welcome but worrying problem

The Good Counsel Network offer abortion-bound women alternatives and practical support. Their rate of success is good, but this has now created a problem: the number of women that they are seeing has increased five-fold but the increase in financial support does not match this.

There are currently 23 women who depend on the Good Counsel Network for food, and nine are being housed by them; this gives some idea of the need. Most of the women are able to return to independence after a year of so but some are in urgent need. You can read more at the Good Counsel's blog Maria Stops Abortion: see the post Five-fold Increase in Women Coming to Good Counsel - Help Us Feed and House Mothers and Babies Today

To donate, you can go to the Donations page. This offers you the choice of donating by PayPal, by credit/debit card at the Justgiving website, or by sending a cheque in the post. (Could I gently suggest that readers from outside the UK donate online rather than by sending a cheque sinc…

Marian retreat at Pantasaph

Fr Agnellus Murphy, of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, is leading a retreat on Our Lady at Pantasaph in North Wales from 6–8 May. Here are the details:
Mary in the New Testament
and in the Lives of the Faithful

6th - 8th May 2011

Grow in your knowledge and
love of Our Blessed Mother!

Talks by Fr. Agnellus M. Murphy, FI:
1) Who is Mary? The First Principle of Our Mariology
2) Immaculate Conception: Mary, Victrix over Evil
3) Mother Undefiled: Mary and the Infancy Narratives
4) New Eve: Mary and the Paschal Mystery
5) Clothed with the Sun: Mary, Archetype of the Church

Franciscan Retreat Centre, Pantasaph, Holywell, Flintshire CH8 8PE
Tel: 01352 711053

£25 deposit - £90 full offering

James MacMillan at EF Mass in Amsterdam

Last week I wrote about the canonical establishment of the FSSP house in Amsterdam. Today, James MacMillan tells of his visit to the St Agneskerk during a trip to Amsterdam to conduct at the Concertgebouw. This was only the third time that he had attended the usus antiquior Mass but the title of his blogpost does not convey any ambiguity concerning his feelings: An Extraordinary Form Mass in Amsterdam – much more inspiring than the usual trendy rubbish.

Musicians who have worked hard to help people participate actively at Mass are usually struck by the way in which the people in the congregation at the older form of the Mass sing the parts of the Mass that pertain to them. James MacMillan also noticed this in Amsterdam: his observations would be borne out by a visit to any parish that regularly celebrates the extraordinary form.

This is exactly what Vatican II asked for:
"... steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those par…

Pro-Life climb of Croagh Patrick

Photo credit: Eamonn Keane
Pro-Lifers from the North and South of Ireland will be climbing Croagh Patrick to raise awareness of the need to protect human life.

Pat Buckley of the European Pro-Life Network invites pro-lifers from Ireland and abroad to take part in the climb on Saturday 7 May. Pro-Life T-shirts and other insignia are encouraged. The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal from Derry will be taking part, and my good friend, Fr Fidelis, will celebrate Mass at the summit, where there is an Oratory dedicated to St Patrick.

Photo credit: Paul McIlroy
St Patrick fasted for forty days on the summit of Croagh Patrick and, according to legend, threw a silver bell down the side of the mountain, exorcising the she-demon Corra, and banishing all the snakes from Ireland.

Family Planning Official murder in China

Women's Rights Without Frontiers has published the story of the murder of Mr Xu Shuaishuai by a Family Planning Official in China.

The report tells of how the Family Planning Officials were looking for Mr Xu's sister so that she could be taken for forced sterilisation. Since they could not find her, they started beating up the Father of the family. Mr Xu tried to intervene and was stabbed in the heart twice with a long knife by one of the Family Planning Officials. He died on the way to hospital.

The Chinese website reports that "The murderer is still enjoying his freedom as though nothing had happened." Attempts to gain justice from the local Public Security Bureau or to publicise the event in the local media met with excuses and inaction.

The Women's Rights Without Frontiers report makes the pertinent observation:
The fact that no action is being taken against the family planning murderer demonstrates one of two things: either the Chinese Communist Pa…

Photos of Mgr Newton with the Holy Father

© Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham
This is the photo that I was waiting for! It is great to see Mgr Keith Newton with the Holy Father. The book that he is presenting to the Holy Father is a collection of the photographs of the Ordinariate groups which have been published on this website and the first ordinations. The Holy Father was also presented with a copy of Fr Michael Rear's new book about pilgrimage
to Walsingham, and an image of Our Lady of Walsingham.

There are some more photos at the flickr set of the Ordinariate.

Cantores Missae helping Japan

Click to enlarge
I am delighted to pass on this message from Charles Finch concerning a Concert for Japan which the Cantores Missae are holding on 11 May. I'm sorry that I won't be able to be there myself but I do recommend it to you.Cantores Missae are pleased to announce a "CONCERT FOR JAPAN" on May 11th to raise money to help provide necessary aid for the victims of the recent earthquake and tidal wave in Japan. Please see the leaflet below for more details and how to book tickets.

In this concert we shall be marking the 400th anniversary of the death of Tomas Luis de Victoria, performing some of his best known motets and the Requiem Mass for 6 Voices. In addition the distinguished Japanese violinist, Yu Yasuraoka, will play solo works by J.S. Bach.

Only 200 seats are available for this concert and so early booking is recommended. For those unable to attend and who wish to make a donation, please follow this link below to the Japan Society Tohoku Earthquake Relief…

More news of the new English Missal

Pierpaolo Finaldi of the Catholic Truth Society gives us a look at the various features of the splendid new Missal that they are producing for the introduction of the new (corrected) ICEL translation.

The prices for the various editions have also been announced. They seem quite reasonable to me for such high quality books. You can see the details at the CTS Catholic Compass Blog. There will also be pre-publication discounts so I will be taking advantage of those.

Help Fr Byers get a decent chain saw

My good friend Fr George Byers has entered the eremitical life after a time of discernment with his spiritual director, his superior and the local Bishop. He will be dedicated to the sanctification of his fellow bishops and priests in the purgatory of this life and the next.

I met Fr Byers in Lourdes where he was a chaplain for a time. A few years ago I hauled him away from his coffee to accompany me to a Multicultural Youth Mass at Lourdes at which I took some nice photos and video footage.

In setting up the hermitage on the Blue Ridge Mountains, Fr Byers has found that his "suburbanite chainsaw geared to cutting little branches off cherry trees in the back garden" is not the proper grade for slicing up tree trunks for year-round heating and washing stuff.

So you can go buy him a decent chainsaw or, if you prefer, send some Mass stipends for the intentions of the Holy Father. Go over to the Holy Souls Hermitage. And please pray for Fr Byers in his new life of prayer and sa…

Looking to the heavenly Jerusalem

Photo credit Mulier Fortis
Rose vestments, halfway through Lent - but what is happening in this antiphon? St Jerome's Vulgate has this for the text (Isaiah 66.10-11)
Lætamini cum Jerusalem et exsultate in ea, omnes qui diligitis eam; gaudete cum ea gaudio, universi qui lugetis super eam ut sugatis et repleamini ab ubere consolationis ejuswhich is translated in the Douai Rheims as:
Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad with her, all you that love her: rejoice for joy with her, all you that mourn for her. That you may suck, and be filled with the breasts of her consolations:but todays' Introit reads:
Laetare Jerusalem: et conventum facite omnes qui diligitis eam: gaudete cum laetitia, qui in tristitia fuistis: ut exsultetis, et satiemini ab uberibus consolationis vestrae.which is translated:
Rejoice, O Jerusalem: and come together all you that love her: rejoice with joy, you that have been in sorrow: that you may exult, and be filled from the breasts of your consolation.The antiphons …

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