Showing posts from June, 2012

They shoot horses, don't they?

Prolonging suffering of dying patients through medical care is 'evil'  according to a senior spokesman of Healthcare Professionals for Assisted Dying ( HPAD Speaking to the British Medical Association, Professor Tallis said that: "Unbearable suffering, prolonged by medical care and inflicted on a dying patient who wishes to die is an unequivocal evil." Well naturally if anyone were to inflict unbearable suffering on a dying patient, that would be evil. If a patient is already suffering, it would also be an evil to fail to provide adequate palliative care, or to kill the patient. Dr John McGough, also a member of HPAD, used the example of vets putting down animals, saying that this was considered compassionate and kind. He wants doctors to be able to do the same for people. This is a shaft of light into the real thinking of the assisted dying lobby. Essentially we are being encouraged to see the medically assisted killing of human beings within the same moral

"None are so poor as those who lack the knowledge and the grace of God"

Here is my sermon for today, the feast of St Peter and St Paul: This autumn, we will begin the Year of Faith, called by Pope Benedict XVI, the successor of St Peter. We are invited to address three principal themes in this year. First, we will revisit the second Vatican Council which began 50 years ago in 1962, to try to understand it in the context of the whole tradition of the Church. Secondly we will look again at the Catechism of the Catholic Church, published 20 years ago in 1992. The Catechism is an authoritative account of the faith of the Catholic Church, the things that we believe as Catholics. Our Catholic doctrine is not like a policy drawn up by a committee for a government or a business. It is the teaching of Christ, given to the apostles, handed on by them and preserved intact in the Catholic Church for all future generations. Our Lord said to Peter that he was the rock on which He would build His Church. That is why the successor of St Peter is not just a "

Novena to the Holy Ghost for the SSPX: let's all join in

The Society of St Pius X's annual General Chapter will take place at St Pius X Seminary in Econe, Switzerland from 9-14 July, following a retreat for the participants (the General Council and the SSPX's major superiors). The SSPX has invited the faithful, religious and clergy to join the members of the SSPX in a novena to the Holy Ghost from June 30 to July 8. The novena will consist of praying the Veni Creator Spiritus with the addition of 2 invocations: Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us. (3 times) St. Pius X, pray for us. Here is the text of the Veni Creator Spiritus with translation. I will be praying this novena and I encourage you to do so in solidarity with the SSPX and especially for the cause of full canonical recognition for the Society.

Laying hands on Fr Hunwicke

Only as a presbyter, of course. Fr John Hunwicke was ordained yesterday at the Church of St Aloysius at Oxford, the home of the Oxford Oratory, by Bishop William Kenney, Auxiliary in Birmingham. Here he is, prostrate during the Litany of the Saints sung by Fr James Bradley: The Newman Consort sang Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli for the Kyrie and Sanctus, and the plainchant Introit, Gradual, Offertory and Communion. At the anointing, they sang Iam non dicam vos servos by Dominique Phinot, and at Communion Byrd's Sacerdotes Domini . The singing was sublime and I was glad that I made the choice to attend in choro since I was able to listen to the music as part of my actuosa participatio . Fr Michael Mary and Brother Martin de Porres were also in choir, along with Fr Edward van den Bergh of the London Oratory. Concelebrants, in addition to priests of the Ordinariate, and priests from the Oratory, included Fr John Saward, Fr Aidan Nichols OP and Fr John Osman The cerem

Bloggers (and others) converging on Oxford

Many Catholic bloggers hold Fr Hunwicke's Liturgical Notes in high esteem even though he has not been able to post much for a while. I am sure I am not the only blogger to be making my way to the Oxford Oratory today. Having carefully timed my journey to take a direct train to Oxford, I had to change at Didcot anyway because of "lineside problems". Now on the last leg, even though we are travelling at about 10mph and stopping every few minutes, I hold out hope of arriving in time for an unhurried late lunch (or early dinner) and then going on to St Aloysius early for Fr Hunwicke's priestly ordination. I am looking forward to seeing many friends there.

Bishop Tartaglia on the New Orthodoxy of Secularism

"The loss of religious freedom is now arguably the most serious threat that the Catholic Church and all people of faith in this country are facing" says Bishop philip Tartaglia in an article titled: At the Door of the Temple: Religious Freedom and the New Orthodoxy . The essay is adapted from a keynote address he delivered on April 11, 2012, at Magdalen College, University of Oxford, to a conference sponsored by the Religious Freedom Project at Georgetown University. Here is a quotation from the essay: Will the Catholic Church—and other religious bodies and groups—have the space to adhere to, express, and teach their beliefs in the public square? Or will these basic elements of religious freedom be denied, driving the Church and other religious bodies to the margins of society, if not actually underground?

SSPX leak and new VP for Ecclesia Dei

While I was enjoying the always interesting discussion and questions from my Carthusian students at Parkminster today, various news items were exploding far away from the peaceful environment of the massive cloister and gardens glorious in one of our better English summer days. We're doing eschatology at the moment and have just got to heaven. There has been another serious leak (breach of trust) from someone within the SSPX wanting to make things difficult for Bishop Fellay. The letter is out on the internet - Rorate Caeli , after a delay, have included it on their blog since it is now in the public domain: For the record Confidentiality: like water through a sieve . The document, marked "Confidential" and "Internal" refers to the 13 June meeting and the revised preamble which Bishop Fellay was unable to sign (see also my post Nail-biting SSPX developments .) The letter also contains this paragraph: Furthermore, I inform all members of the Chapter that,

The Saint John Fisher Missale

The other day, the Our Lady of the Rosary Church Choir blog , I saw a post about the Saint John Fisher Missale which is now hosted at Musica Sacra . Today I was prompted by Berthold Kress, art historian and compiler of the Missale to put a notice about it here. The St John Fisher Missale is a collection of pdfs with the Ordo Missae and Kyriale as well as propers for many of the seasonal Masses and Saints. This is a work in progress and more material is planned. This might sound a bit "same old same old" given the wealth of materials posted on the internet in recent years in support of the usus antiquior . However, the St John Fisher Missale differs from other resources in some important ways. The Ordo Missae is set up with the sung Mass primarily in mind. This will be useful for people who have the advantage of being able to attend sung Mass regularly since many of the people's booklets available treat sung Mass as an incidental second option to Low Mass. The

Comment of the month

From Dilly on Blessed Pius IX a bit of a modernist? When I first saw the picture without my reading glasses, I thought it was a red nun. Probably Pope Pius wisely foresaw that if this outfit were not immediately banned, someone using Image Search on Google might confuse him with Sr Margaret Farley.

Answering Hard Questions

Know your questioner, where the question is coming from, and know some key principles for answering. This afternoon I was at Amigo Hall, next to St George's Cathedral, for a Day for Catechists organised by the Diocesan Centre for Catholic Formation . I was leading workshop G on "Answering Hard Questions." The response for the day was much larger than anticipated, and my session had about 50 people. There is a real thirst for formation and it was great to be able to play a small part in the day. I did not have enough copies of my notes, so I promised people that I would make them available on the internet this evening. Here is a link: Answering Hard Questions . If you click that link, you can read the notes online, download them, or print them off. Again as promised, the references to resources on the fourth page of the printed notes can all be found with links at the post  Hard Questions - Some Random References .

Hard Questions - Some Random References

As I promised this afternoon, here are links to the resources that I mentioned as being of help for various hard questions. These are only a few resources, almost at random. The internet also gives us access to many fine books that are now out of copyright. We are no longer helpless simply because we do not have access to a Catholic library. For example, the works of GK Chesterton , Blessed John Henry Newman and others can be downloaded, put on a Kindle, quoted and read from your desktop (or iPad.) e-book collections are growing all the time and you could probably find these works as e-books already prepared for you. The Catechism of the Catholic Church (the go-to source for an authoritative explanation of the doctrines of the faith.) (get the texts, not the reportage) Catholic Answers website (with apologetical materials and a good forum) Fr Andrew Pinsent and Fr Marcus Holden “ Apologia ” (A substantial CTS pamphlet which deals expertly with many questions po

Blessed Pius IX a bit of a modernist?

A correspondent has forwarded to me the above photo of Pope Gregory XVI wearing the red velvet Papal Cappa. This was used by the Supreme Pontiff for Tenebrae and Christmas night. The picture was found by Leo at The Far Sight . I was told that this papal cappa was abolished by the next Pope, none other than the Blessed Pius IX. This has me worried. Did Mastai-Ferretti harbour secret yearnings for guitar masses some time in the future? I think we should be told.

Ordination and first Masses of John Hunwicke

Many of us have been looking forward eagerly to John Hunwicke's priestly ordination. Deo gratias this will be taking place next week on Wednesday 27 June at 7pm at the Oxford Oratory. I will be assisting at the Mass and one or two of my parishioners are going. Everyone is welcome so if you are in the area, do come. Here, from Fr Hunwicke's Liturgical Notes is a further announcement: Please come ... if you are able ... to the event mentioned in the previous post, in Oxford this coming Wednesday, June 27. I ALSO ANNOUNCE that, Deo volente, I plan to celebrate First Mass in the Extraordinary Form; London at the Brompton Oratory. Low Mass, Thursday June 28, 11.30; by kind permission of the Provost. First Mass in the Ordinary Form; Oxford in the Church of the Holy Rood. Solemn Vigil Mass of Sunday, Saturday June 30, 6.00, by kind permission of Fr Paul King and Mgr Andrew Burnham. I plan also to preach. Please! I would love to see as many friends, whether or not we ha

FSSP Vocation discernment weekend

I am happy to publicise this weekend arranged by the FSSP in England. Here are the details: Vocation discernment weekend 27-29 July 2012 in Reading: For any English-speaking Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us). Starts on Friday 27th July 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm) – ends on Sunday 29th July 2012 at 3pm. Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard, FSSP and Rev Alex Stewart, FSSP. Location : St John Fisher House, 17 Eastern Avenue, Reading, RG1 5RU, England. Programme : Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite), silent prayer, and optional private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what a vocation is in general and to the priesthood in particular. Cost for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, full board: no set price for students or unemployed – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested. Contact : Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email: maller

A proposed theme song for the LCWR

After the talk show publicity the LCWR have gained in the States ( example here ), I think we can dispense with the "I'm so hurt" comments.

A chance to do something for the least of Christ's brethren

The Good Counsel Network need some things for the expectant mothers they have helped to be mothers, and for the babies that they have helped to see the light of day. You know the score - get something from the Amazon wishlist , offer up the act of charity to Our Blessed Lord: they get anything from soft wipes to washing machines and you get grace as well, together with an increased prospect of Our Lord saying "I say to you, as long as you did it to one of these my least brethren, you did it to me."

In defence of noble simplicity and lack of choice

Rorate Caeli has published the latest  FIUV Position Paper on Prefaces . The papers are produced by a sub-committee under moderation of Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the  Latin Mass Society  who is presenting the papers to the public - though the papers are not the work of any one author. (FIUV is the International Federation Una Voce .) Joseph Shaw is the ) Fr Z has commented on this paper and has a poll at  his post on the subject . The FIUV website has a page with links to all of the  Position Papers on the 1962 Missal . The Position Papers are issued with a view to stimulating discussion. At the head of each paper is the loyal statement: The International Federation  Una Voce  humbly submits the opinions contained in these papers to the judgement of the Church.  Here is the abstract of the latest paper: "Although there are a great many Latin Prefaces dating from the early Middle Ages, the Roman Rite is historically characterised by a very limited number: the Hadrianum cont

Cherie Blair denigrates motherhood

The Telegraph reports on a speech given by Cherie Blair:  Cherie Blair attacks 'yummy mummies' who choose children over careers . Speaking to top people at a posh hotel in London, she said: Every woman needs to be self-sufficient and in that way you really don’t have a choice - for your own satisfaction; you hear these yummy mummies talk about being the best possible mother and they put all their effort into their children. I also want to be the best possible mother, but I know that my job as a mother includes bringing my children up so actually they can live without me. The focus is on women who, supposedly, marry rich men in order to "retire" and spend their time looking after their children. In fact there are plenty of women who marry not so rich husbands and make sacrifices to be with their children - and others who feel that they have to work in order to make ends meet, but would rather be with their children full time. What Cherie Blair is doing in thi

Apostolic Nuncio to attend Evangelium conference

This year, the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Mennini will be attending the  Evangelium Conference   and celebrating the Mass on Sunday. It is a sign of the times that the Nuncio is attending this event. I think that it is odds-on that someone will be undiplomatic and say "Please can we have some more Bishops like +Mark Davies." I don't think he will mind. This year's Conference will be over the weekend of 3-5 August at the Oratory School in Reading. There is an impressive line-up of speakers - one of the advantages of attending is that you get to meet so many people who are involved in a wide range of different apostolates. Heard of the St Thomas More Legal Centre on the internet? You can meet Neil Addison, its Director and author of the Religion Law Blog . There will be people there from different pro-life groups, the FSSP, the Institute of Christ the King, and the Latin Mass Society, the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham (Fr Ed Tomlinson is speaking) the Dom

Feast of St Peter and St Paul: obligation to go to Mass, no obligation to abstain from meat

Fr Z has been kind enough to pick up a post from my parish website - which prompts me to think that it might be helpful to put it on my own blog! The feast of St Peter and St Paul on Friday 29 June is a Holyday of Obligation on which we are bound to attend Holy Mass. Masses in the parish will be at 10am, 4.15pm and 8pm (Latin EF.) A plenary indulgence may be gained on this feast day, under the usual conditions, by devoutly praying with a pious object (rosary, holy card etc.) which has been blessed by the Pope or any Bishop, or by visiting a (Catholic) Cathedral Church. In either case, the Our Father and the Creed should be said. The feast of St Peter and St Paul is a “Solemnity.” We may therefore eat meat on that day even though it is a Friday. It would be a devout practice (though not obligatory) to abstain from meat on the day before, on the Vigil of the feast. For an explanation of indulgences, see the Catechism of the Catholic Church n.1471 ff . For an explanation o

Genuinely healthy PSHE programme available

Alive to the World is a good PSHE programme that has been edited for use in English schools. I wrote about it a while back, quoting a group of parents who reviewed it for me ( "Alive to the World": good PSHE programme ). The OFSTED report for the Westminster Cathedral Choir School described the PSHE as excellent. Now I know that many of us couldn't care too much about what ODSTED says, but headteachers have to. The fact that a school using Alive to the World was praised by OFSTED for its PSHE takes away one possible reason for schools resisting it. Louise Kirk, UK Co-Ordinator of Alive to the World, recently gave a paper to a conference of priests at the Opus Dei house, Thorneycroft (Bishop Davies was in attendance.) She explained why PSHE is currently failing children and how it could instead become a vehicle to spread our Catholic values to children of all faiths and none. See: Let’s Start with the Children: Promoting Chastity and Marriage within the PSHE Curricu

CD 260 on disposing of an old missal

I have bought a new missal to follow the new translation of the Mass. How should I dispose of my old one? The Code of Canon Law (1171) says that “Sacred objects, set aside for divine worship by dedication or blessing, are to be treated with reverence. They are not to be made over to secular or inappropriate use.” This canon primarily refers to such things as chalices and vestments used in the Liturgy, and indeed the Church building itself. The “alienation” of such things is forbidden unless the proper process is observed, for example if a Church has to be closed. Otherwise, such sacred objects should always be kept for worship. The devout laity have followed this rule in spirit also with objects of private devotion, especially those that have been blessed. Parents teach their children to treat holy things with respect and I try to support them – for example, I encourage children to take home a palm but stress that they should not use it to have a pretend sword fight. Similarly we w

Pugin, Augustine and the Sacred Heart

Tiles from the Chantry chapel at St Augustine's Ramsgate (sorry about the feet) Fr Roger Nesbitt once referred to the high speed train through Kent as the "magic train." I took it yesterday and whizzed from Ebbsfleet to Ashford in 18 minutes. The next two legs, either side of Canterbury, were slower, but I was at Ramsgate Station in less than an hour. The Pilgrimage of the Sodality of the Five Holy Wounds began with Missa Cantata in the Church that Pugin himself regarded as his ideal Church. It was a windy day and for lunch we packed out a small cafe perched over the sea. After lunch, we had an excellent talk and tour given by Catriona from the Pugin Society . Fr Marcus Holden, Parish Priest of Ramsgate and director of the Shrine of St Augustine of Canterbury , spoke of the significance of St Augustine himself. We finished the day with Benediction, including the Litany of the Five Holy Wounds and the Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart. It was very much a f

Nail-biting SSPX developments

Rather like the heady days before Summorum Pontificum , the story of the SSPX negotiations with the Holy See brings periods of nothing much but rumour, followed by a flurry of activity. Above is the latest item: part of an interview Cardinal Burke gave to CNS today. This week has been busy for me, with school Mass, Deanery meeting, Deanery Pastoral Council meeting, Board of Examiners meeting at Wonersh, school confessions, a pilgrimage to Ramsgate and the usual parish schedule. In between times, I have been following the story as best I can, especially through the excellent services of Rorate Caeli . Bishop Fellay's visit to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on Wednesday was live tweeted far and wide at least as regards his time of entry and departure and the colour of his car (red.) The official statements were not long in coming. The  Holy See's Press Communiqué  on Thursday was followed quickly by the SSPX Press Communiqué . Essentially, I think that the

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

Santa Cecilia in Trastevere was a refuge for me back in the day. The nuns sang Gregorian chant for the Mass each day (still do) and it was a foretaste of heaven, locus refrigerii lucis et pacis . Here is a photo of the inside: And here is the statue of St Cecilia by Stefano Maderno. He depicted her incorrupt body as he saw it when the tomb was opened in 1599. Notice the cut on the neck, and the hands showing one finger and three fingers as a profession of faith in the Holy Trinity. Just too beautiful for words.

Santa Maria in Trastevere

The inside: The apse mosaic: The picture of the Council of Trent:

Change at the Pantheon

The Pantheon, quintessentially Roman, tough, massive, with its  nobly simple inscription , speaks to us both of the virtues that the Romans tried to cultivate in their better moments, and of the triumph of the Christian faith over paganism. It is now the Church of Santa Maria dei Martyri, Our Lady of the Martyrs, honouring all those who gave their lives for Christ under the persecution of the emperors. When I was a student, the building was essentially a tourist venue. The altars were there but it was not taken seriously as a Church except for one or two occasions in the year, with celebrations that were seen as rather odd. What a change there is today! The altar is adorned with cloths, candles and relics; High Mass is celebrated in the traditional Roman use; visitors are urged to keep silence and it feels like a Church again. Here is a video, taken by John Sonnen a few years ago (the control of tourists is much tighter now):

Request for Novena to Blessed Pius IX

A priest friend of mine is ill in hospital. He has a special devotion to Blessed Pius IX. Could I ask you, of your charity, to say a Novena for his speedy recovery. Novena In Honour of Blessed Pius IX Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, hear our prayers and glorify your servant Pius IX, who consecrated the Universal Church to you. (Our Father...) O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to you, hear our prayer and glorify your servant Pius IX who declared you Immaculate. (Hail Mary...) Saint Joseph, spouse of the most pure Virgin Mary, hear our prayer and glorify your servant Pius IX who declared you the Patron of the Universal Church. (Glory be...) Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, Immaculate Mary, our Hope, and Saint Joseph hear our prayers and glorify your servant Pius IX , granting to us through his merits and intercessions the graces which we ardently desire: that the glory of God be revealed through Father's illness. (Our Father..., Hail Mary..., Glory be

LMS Conference

Congratulations to the Latin Mass Society for organising such a great Conference on Saturday, and especially to Joe Shaw who chaired it. Unfortunately, because of my parish schedule, I missed Dr John Rao and Stuart McCullough, and only caught the last part of Fr Z. The parish schedule was the introduction to my own talk which was about the traditional liturgy in the modern parish. The Revd John Hunwicke's talk combined erudition and wit, as you would expect. He received a very warm welcome and prayers for his forthcoming priestly ordination. The panel discussion of questions from those who came was a success, I think, adding an informal and sometimes light-hearted end to the day. At these occasions I always meet old friends but generally there is someone I have not met before and want to. On Saturday I was pleased to meet for the first time Canon Olivier Meney of the Institute of Christ the King, the Rector of the Shrine Church of Ss Peter and Paul and St Philomena, New Brigh

Sodality of the Five Holy Wounds pilgrimage to Ramsgate

With the Sodality of the Five Holy Wounds I'll be going down to the Shrine of St Augustine at Ramsgate for a Pilgrimage this Friday. We start with Missa Cantata at 12noon. Full details at the Sodality blog . Augustus Welby Pugin built St Augustine's Church in Ramsgate next to his own house, "The Grange." He considered it his ideal Church, following exactly the principles that he promoted in the gothic revival. the Pilgrimage includes a tour of the Church by the Pugin Society and a talk by Fr Marcus Holden, the parish priest, about St Augustine and the significance of the Shrine. There will also be devotions, Benediction, and the veneration of the relic of St Augustine. There is a Friends of St Augustine’s Church which was set up to support the restoration and repair of the Church

Demos from the "I Spy" series

After the LMS Conference, sitting in the Explorer with Fr Z and some of the assembled company. It is the kind of gathering where someone has to issue a denial that his friends are involved in the demonstration by some Hungarians in London against the signing of the Treaty of Trianon in 1920. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Vatileaks latest - if you are bothered

If you want to find out more about the Vatileaks scandal - and there is no particular reason why you should - Sandro Magister today has an article with information about Sant' Egidio and the Jesuits . UPDATE: There is also a charming interview given by Cardinal Sodano who is disarmingly honest. We're off to Trastevere this morning but will probably not be visiting the restaurant of the Sant' Egidio community, though I certainly do recommend it to you if you are in that part of Rome. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Just, like, a random altar

At about 7.30 this morning, the chierichetto took me along to the nearest free altar, set up the altar cards and put the missal on the epistle side (they are all familiar with the usus antiquior ) put the cruets out and went on his way. So I got on with celebrating Mass for the feast of Corpus Christi, especially enjoying the simple Latin and profound theology of the Lauda Sion . At Rome, there is so much brilliant stuff that you can forget just how brilliant it is. The "nearest free altar" just happened to be the altar of St Gregory the Great, with his body underneath. You know, the guy who sent St Augustine to England, composed square notey tunes, wrote collects and all that. Said Mass there this morning. Wow! Popped along to the tomb of St Peter after Mass to get another indulgence and remember you all. If the tomb of St Peter is just a few yards away, you should visit it, I think. Be rude not to. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Savouring our history

Priceless maps from the archive, gory pictures of the execution of our martyrs, encouraging enthusiasm from future priests and most gracious hospitality from the Rector made for a splendid evening today at the Venerable English College Mgr Nicholas Hudson (a fellow-student back in the day) made us welcome at supper and a tour of the Church at the English College. He also took out some of the most important items from the College Archive, including the Liber Ruber which records how St Ralph Sherwin, on being asked in the missionary oath whether he would return to England to give his life for the faith if necessary, said potius hodie quam cras - rather today than tomorrow. We also pored over some 16th century maps that may well have been used by the martyrs to work out which routes to take when back in England and working under cover. Much more to tell - and the Mulier Fortis has some good photos which will go on Flickr. Say a prayer for the students who are taking exams at the moment.

Sorry to gloat

We'll be getting the blessing from Pope Benedict a little later. Will include readers in my intentions. And to the two lady parishioners who have been nagging me and issuing dire warnings lest I forget - I have your rosaries and will get them blessed by the Pope. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Surprising the demons

Fr Z had a discussion about the blessing of Holy Water the other day, picked up by Rorate Caeli wondering What is it? I always bless holy water using the traditional exorcisms and blessings. It is amusing to think of some demon, infesting someone's house or life, getting complacent at the thought of being sprinkled with water filled with good intentions, and then finding himself seared with salt and water exorcised with the power of Christ that he just wasn't expecting. (Apologies for the broken window as the demon flees in terror.) You can see why the demons tried especially hard to stop the election of Pope Benedict and the publication of Summorum Pontificum. - Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Catechesis – it can be done

The other day, I had to do a little examination of a home educated girl who is soon to make her first Holy Communion. I entirely trust her parents to catechise her suitably but they felt that it would be good if I checked things out, so as to add the authority of the priesthood to her preparation. Naturally I agreed to this, though I knew that she would be well educated. So we looked through her workbook and she explained the pictures she had drawn to illustrate the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, the difference between God, angels, men, animals, plants and minerals, the effect that sanctifying grace has on the soul, original sin, heaven, hell and purgatory, the distinction between mortal and venial sin, the effects of each of the seven sacraments – that sort of stuff. I didn’t attempt to engage her on the Thomist-Scotist debate over whether the sacramental graces are distinct or whether they are all reducible to supernatural charity. After all, she is only 6 years old. We. Can. Cat

Let's sort out these Vatileaks

I like this picture of a streetsweeper in St Peter's Square with a reflection of the basilica in the windscreen. Fr Briggs, Mac, the Mulier Fortis and I are off to Gatwick in a few minutes to take an emergency flight to Rome to check on the Vatileaks scandal which has had a further development this morning. Actually not really, this is holiday. We are staying at the Madri Pie (Via Alessandro III, 00165 Roma). Itinerary is not fixed but will probably include: Mass early (7.20 ish) at St Peter's Tuesday Centro Storico for shopping, lunch and visits to baroque Churches Catch the end of the General Audience (from outside the barriers) Wednesday Around Vatican, Borgo Pio etc. Wed lunchtime/early afternoon Thursday as yet unconfirmed I'll be online somehow, so if you want to meet up, email me and see if we can get together for a coffee or a beer, depending on the time of day. Unfortunately I couldn't bring Big Stuart or Eddie to crack heads over the leaking o

Two fine books for the Novus Ordo

Although I often post here about the usus antiquior , I do celebrate the Novus Ordo in the parish for most of our public Masses. The concern of Pope Benedict to promote a renewed sense of the sacred in the celebration of Mass has had its effect in the publication of many books and resources - see New Liturgical Movement and the Musica Sacra if you are a Church musician and don't already know of the high quality, copyright-free resources that are there to help your choir aim for the best. Two books that have kindly been sent to me by the publishers illustrate this trend. Les Editions de Solesmes have produced "Singing the Mass" which was put together by Christopher Barlow of Sydney, and approved by Cardinal Pell. It contains the sung Order of Mass in Latin and English, and a selection of Masses from the Gradual which would constitute an ambitious repertoire for a parish choir - much along the lines that my own has managed over the past few years. Musical notation is

CD 259 on the physical resurrection

I heard that St Paul spoke of a “spiritual body” after the resurrection and that that Christ was not physically present when he appeared to the disciples after the resurrection. Did Jesus have a physical body after the resurrection? St Thomas Aquinas considers the question of Christ’s body after the resurrection, and how a physical human body could go through closed doors, vanish from sight, and be unrecognisable in appearance. (Summa Theologica 3a 54.1) He refers to St Luke’s account of the appearance of Christ to the alarmed apostles, and his reassurance: “See my hands and feet, that it is I myself. Handle, and see: for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see me to have.” (Luke 24.39) Our Lord then ate some cooked fish with them. In St John’s gospel, we have the account of St Thomas, and the very physical nature of Jesus’ invitation: “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side (Jn 20.27) The idea that Christ’s risen body was not phy

Vatileaks and the PBI

I don't think that you need to be too hardened a cynic to suspect that the arrest of the Holy Father's butler, Paolo Gabriele, is not the end of the story and that there might be others of a rather higher ecclesiastical rank who are involved. It is difficult to make sense of the the affair - secular newspapers certainly have some good copy involving scandal, leaks, corruption, and a chance to have a dig at "The Vatican", though they have not really come up with any convincing attack. After a quite extensive search the other day, I was unable to find any real information about the actual content of the leaks - I have not ordered a copy of Gianluigi Nuzzi's book, though I might not be able to resist the temptation to pick up a copy in Rome next week. As an answer to prayer, John Allen posted the necessary article earlier today, Pondering the 'what,' not the 'who,' of Vatileaks . This sets out the basic information. (Sandro, the magisterial vati

Modernity is old-fashioned

Another good video from CNS - Fr Kramer of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in Urbe speaks of the attraction that young people have to tradition. As he points out, "young people who have grown up with parents who have lived more freely, lets say, have suffered as a result" and "modernity now for young people is old-fashioned."

LMS 9 June Conference reminder

Just a reminder about the  Latin Mass Society conference  at Regent Hall on Oxford Street on Saturday 9 June. Speakers are: Fr John Zuhlsdorf ( What Does The Prayer Really Say ) Me Dr John Rao (of ' The Roman Forum ') John Hunwicke (of the Ordinariate ) Stuart McCullough ( Good Counsel Network ) I'm really looking forward to this day and the chance to meet up with friends. Saturdays are normally impossible for me, and I must necessarily ration quite severely the events that I take part in on Saturdays so that I don't neglect my responsibilities in the parish. By way of exception I have supply priests on hand to care for the parish activities on 9 June and will be free to take part in what promises to be a great event. Tickets are available from the LMS (020 7404 7284 or see other contact information at the website .) Members £15, non-members £20. Buffet lunch and drinks £9 supplement. Regent Hall is opposite BHS, about five minutes walk from Oxford Circus tub

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