Showing posts from March, 2014

Coalition for Marriage - useful summary

If you signed the Coalition for Marriage petition and asked to be kept informed, you should have received an email today:  Talking Points on Same-Sex Marriage . I reproduce it here because I think that it gives a good summary of what has happened in our country and it may be useful to refer to when campaigning begins for next the General Election in May next year. TALKING POINTS ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE Dear marriage supporter, The democratic deficit With the first same-sex weddings set to take place this weekend to much media fanfare, it’s important to remember how undemocratic and illiberal the redefinition of marriage is: Marriage was redefined over the heads of the 24 million married people in this country. None of the three main political parties at Westminster made redefining marriage part of their election manifesto. It was not even in the coalition agreement. Three days before the 2010 General Election, David Cameron told Sky News he had no plans to change the law of m

Flavigny Benedictines Retreat for men at Pantasaph

The Benedictine Fathers of Flavigny regularly conduct spiritual retreats for men , according to the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola, usually at their own abbey. However, some of the Fathers are travelling to the Pantasaph Retreat Centre in North Wales to give a men's retreat (minimum age 17) from Sunday 24 to Friday 29 August 2014. You can register online .

Greg Murphy interviews Bishop McMahon on usus antiquior

Gregory Murphy, Editor of the Latin Mass Society's Mass of Ages, interviewed Archbishop McMahon yesterday in Liverpool Cathedral about the usus antiquior . he kindly sent round an email with the text of the interview which I have pasted below. To be honest, I don't think there was any need for anyone to feel "anxious" or "nervous" given +Malcolm's generosity in the past. However it is, of course, great to hear such good-humoured comments from a newly-appointed Archbishop. Apologies for illustrating this post with another ill-fitting mitre photo ( credit: Fr Lawrence Lew OP - Flickr photoset .) The Catholic blogosphere being what it is, a google image search did not throw up any pictures of the esteemed Bishop celebrating the Novus Ordo , though I must allay any anxiety or nervousness among my my reform-of-the-reform friends by affirming that he does so regularly and with great reverence. Perhaps the LMS or another group might club together to pres

Congratulations to Bishop McMahon

Bishop McMahon OP has been appointed as the new Archbishop of Liverpool. (See the  report in the Catholic Herald .) Damian Thompson has sometimes been ribbed for getting predictions wrong, so it is only fair to point out that this time, he was right . Five years ago, I wrote about bishop McMahon's visit to the Latin Mass Society Conference at Merton College, Oxford. (See: English bishop receives standing ovation at traditional liturgy conference ) In view of the the current interest in the relationship between Bishops and bloggers, it was interesting to be reminded that on that occasion, Bishop McMahon joked with me about my blog at the evening convivium, told me to keep blogging and said light-heartedly "I want my picture on your blog." (The photos in this post and the previous one are from the  Flickr set  of Fr Lawrence Lew OP.) Congratulations to Bishop McMahon. Please keep him in your prayers.

Bishop Drainey using social media to make his case

The other day, writing of The pitfalls of censoring Catholic bloggers , I referred to an article in the Tablet to which the Lancaster Diocesan website had linked. I also quoted the Tablet's report of Bishop Drainey's comment calling for a "radical re-examination of human sexuality." Bishop Drainey has written to the Tablet, and posted the text of his letter on the Middlesbrough Diocesan Website. In it, he speaks of the many responses that his diocese received to the Synod Questionnaire and then goes on to say: I was therefore saddened that your article appeared to demean the honest offerings of these good people by framing them in a sensationalistic style. All of these statements were published in the Middlesbrough Catholic Voice, our diocesan newspaper, in January, and while I would not expect the London-based Tablet to look so far north, to add insult to injury, we send you a complimentary copy every month. So much for the Tablet’s hot pursuit of the truth! I

The pitfalls of censoring Catholic bloggers

Pope Benedict's message for the 44th World Communications Day (2010) had the title "The Priest and Pastoral Ministry in a Digital World: New Media at the Service of the Word." In it, he said [...] priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different "voices" provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis. I quoted this in my post Holy Father encourages us to blog - with a priestly heart : Pope Benedict also gave the wise advice that priests should be "less notable for their media savvy than for their priestly heart.

Family Education Trust Bulletin on failure to safeguard teenage girls in Rochdale

Once again I recommend to you the Family Education Trust Bulletin . The latest Bulletin has an important article on failure to safeguard teenage girls in Rochdale. To refresh your memory, in Rochdale a gang preyed on under-age teenage girls and were convicted of sex trafficking on 8 May 2012; other offences included rape, trafficking girls for sex and conspiracy to engage in sexual activity with a child. 47 girls were identified as victims of child sexual exploitation during the police investigation. Drawing from the official report prepared on behalf of the Rochdale Borough Safeguarding Children Board, the Family Education Trust article highlights the way in which professionals had become complacent about underage sexual activity to the point that real risks were ignored. As the Report itself states: ‘The drive to reduce teenage pregnancy, whilst commendable in itself, is believed to have contributed to a culture whereby professionals may have become inured to early sexual ac

Congratulations to Bishop-elect Robert Byrne

Congratulations to Fr Robert Byrne, former Provost of the Oxford Oratory, who has been appointed an auxiliary Bishop in Birmingham. Fr Byrne was a member of the Birmingham Oratory before moving to Oxford in 1993 with two others to found the now flourishing Oratory at Oxford. Fr Byrne is the first Oratorian bishop to be appointed in England since Fr Edward Bagshawe in 1874.

A Retreat for young women, with the Dominican Sisters in Scotland

The Dominican Sisters of St Cecilia in Scotland have been busy at many apostolic activities since they set up last year at Elgin, in the Diocese of Aberdeen. One of their activities is to run retreats for young women: Encountering Christ Retreats for young single women, ages 18-35 who desire to grow in their relationship with Jesus and holiness. This semester we will respond to Pope Francis’s call to Gospel Simplicity: Blessed are the Poor in Spirit. The next retreat is from 4-6 April 2014 (Friday – Sunday.) Young women who are interested can register at the Retreats and Vocations page.

Roman Forum Summer Symposium - this year with Fr Hunwicke

Ten days by Lake Garda, stimulating lectures from orthodox scholars, sung Mass according to the usus antiquior every day - the annual Symposium of The Roman Forum is a treat that one year I will take advantage of. This year it is from June 30 to July 11 with the theme 1914-2014: Have We Learned Anything From This ‘Hundred Years’ War’? The Roman Forum website carries full information , including the news that the team this year includes Fr John Hunwicke of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, whose erudite blog Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment deserves attentive reading.

Questioning the Orthodox solution on divorce and remarriage

In the current debate on divorce and remarriage, the practice of the Orthodox Church is often cited as an option. In fact, it is usually referred to in vague terms as part of a way forward or of openness to new solutions, a more flexible pastoral approach or some other means of hinting, without saying definitely, that perhaps there will be a change in Catholic teaching. This vagueness itself is damaging, and reminiscent of the period before Humanae Vitae , during which moral theologians hinted at various possibilities for a change in moral teaching. The result was great anger and disappointment when Pope Paul VI reaffirmed Catholic teaching in no uncertain terms. On Tuesday, Fr Dylan James gave a helpful lecture for the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (British Province of St Gregory the Great.) He spoke about the Orthodox practice, the concepts of oikonomia, economy or dispensation, sunkatabasis, condescension, and the problems involved with a second, penitential marriage. (T

IBP seminarians at Blackfen

It was a great pleasure to welcome to Blackfen six seminarians from the Institut du Bon Pasteur last Sunday. The students were all from Brazil - the French students at the seminary naturally go home to their families for the holidays but that is not really an option for the Brazilians, so they drove over for a few days in London and called in at Blackfen. Some of the students joined the choir, adding a couple of beautiful polyphonic motets as well as supporting the chant. Others helped on the sanctuary so that we had a full complement of servers. Of course one of the advantages of the usus antiquior is that the ceremonies are the same everywhere, so everything went smoothly. After lunch, the students drove off down the A2 to see Canterbury Cathedral, hoping also to stop off at Leeds Castle. Please remember these fine young men in your prayers, that the Lord will bring to fulfilment the work that He has begun in them.

New School of the Annunciation at Buckfast

It is encouraging to see news of the new School of the Annunciation which is based at Buckfast Abbey in Devon. The aim of the school is to offer formation for the three ‘moments’ of evangelisation: formation for initial witness and proclamation; formation for systematic and comprehensive catechesis, apologetics; formation in sacred theology as a deeper appreciation of the mysteries of the faith. Fidelity and orthodoxy are promised in the statement of Vision and Mission of the School: Courses and events delivered by the School will seek to promote among students and staff the passion, insight and creativity that only comes from the obedience of faith to God’s revelation safeguarded, explained and taught by the Magisterium of the Church. Welcoming the foundation of the School of the Annunciation, the Rt Rev Mark O’Toole, Bishop of Plymouth, said: “I am delighted to welcome this new initiative for the New Evangelisation at Buckfast Abbey, and I am grateful for the generosit

Allegri's Miserere - but not as we know it

The version of Allegri's Miserere that we are accustomed to hearing was the creation of a 19th century musicologist according to Graham O'Reilly in a book to be published this year (See:   Allegri’s real Miserere revealed! ) Graham O'Reilly is the director of the Ensemble William Byrd  which is responsible for the recording in the above YouTube video. The Product Description on Amazon says: Those for whom the Allegri Miserere stands as a choral music icon will find this recording something of a shock. Getting on for a century after Gregorio Allegri penned his masterpiece in Rome in 1638, his work was emulated by Tommaso Bai, maestro of the St Peter's Basilica choir. To cut the story short, Bai's and Allegri's Misereres were eventually melded into a composite work for performance in the Sistine Chapel. A copy of this extraordinary hybrid was preserved in the Vatican archive after the papal choir was dissolved in 1870. From this, Hugh Keyte produced the pe

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