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Showing posts from April, 2019

Our Lord was in favour of world peace, but that was not what He was bestowing on the apostles

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Our Lord would have been in favour of world peace. I think we can safely say that. Even if you think that some wars are, or have been necessary for justice, Our Lord’s positive will would be that people would not commit the sins that led to the injustice in the first place.

Be that as it may, when Our Lord appeared to the apostles in the upper room (Jn 20) and gave His greeting “Peace be with you”, he was praying for a peace within their own hearts rather than for a generalised world peace. We can infer this from a previous occasion on which Our Lord said that He would bequeath peace to the apostles and added, “Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid.” (Jn 14:27) Of course, the two things are not in opposition. As St John XXIII said at the beginning of his encyclical letter Pacem in Terris:
"Peace on Earth — which man throughout the ages has so longed for and sought after — can never be established, never guaranteed, except by the diligent observance of the divinely…

Congratulations to Bishop Hying, the diocese of Madison, and Fr Z

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Since Bishop Morlino died last November after suffering a cardiac event, I have been praying for my good friend and blogging supremo Fr Zuhlsdorf, and the diocese of Madison. Bishop Morlino was an outstanding Bishop who was courageous in his witness to the teaching of the Church. He also made generous provision for the traditional Latin Mass, himself celebrating Pontifical High Mass in the older form.

Yesterday the announcement was made that Bishop Donald Hying, Bishop of Gary, Indiana, has been appointed as the new Bishop of Madison. It is great to see that Fr Zuhlsdorf is upbeat and positive about this news. I pray that this appointment will bring many blessings for the diocese of Madison.



The Red Scapular and Friday meditation on the Passion

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In the meditation for today, the Friday of the Easter Octave, the excellent book of Meditations of Priests, Seminarians and Religious, by the Rev Dominic Phillips CM, reflects on the value of frequent meditation on the passion.

Fr Phillips gives a favourable mention to the red scapular and so I decided to find out more about it. I think I have now got most of the way through one of those internet source criticism journeys. Let me save you the trouble: the ultimate Quelle or source for all other internet articles on the subject (including the Wikipedia article which repeatedly offers a dead link which was presumably once alive) is a leaflet which can be found at the website of the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal at this link: Redscapular.pdf. That gives you the basic information, some of which I too will repeat here for your convenience.

In the summer of 1846, Sr Louise-Apolline Andriveau had a number of visions of Our Lord and His Blessed Mother, particularly related to t…

Mutual enrichment: the traditional form of the ablutions

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Many good priests of my acquaintance are keen to celebrate Mass in a more traditional way, but do not celebrate the usus antiquior. This may be because of a lack of Latin, because of a fear that the older form is too difficult to learn, or for some other reason. While I would encourage such priests to learn the classical form of our Roman Rite in its entirety, I think that it is also helpful to learn parts of it that can legitimately be used when celebrating the modern rite.

This is in accord with the desire of Pope Benedict, expressed in the letter he wrote to accompany Summorum Pontificum which reassured everyone that the older form of the Mass had not been abrogated and that permission was not needed to celebrate it. The Holy Father spoke of how the two forms of the Roman Rite could be mutually enriching. I wrote about this some time ago and the article is available online if you would like to read it: Mutual Enrichment in Theory and Practice. (Please note prohibition of publishin…

No you can't have the little white thing! An example from 14 centuries ago

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Today is the feast day of Saint Mellitus who was sent to England by St Gregory the Great from the monastery of St Andrew on the Coelian Hill in Rome. In London he set up the first Church of St Paul.

When the Christian King Sabert died in about 616AD, his three sons, Sexred, Seward, and Sigebert, succeeded him. They were pagans, but wanted to get the white thing that the Christians had at their religious service. They asked Saint Mellitus for the white bread to strengthen them. He told them that they could receive Holy Communion if they were baptised, but despite his repeated and patient explanations, they refused to accept that they needed this extra ceremony as they saw it. They became very angry at what they considered his intransigence, and exiled him and his Christian community from London.

Plus ca change! Today also, people want to receive Holy Communion without understanding that it is the body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ. They become angry if any demands …

Yes, the body of the risen Jesus was glorified; but it was also physical

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The resurrection of Jesus was different from the resurrections of Lazarus, of Jairus’ daughter, and of the son of the widow of Naim. Those people were all raised to continue their earthly lives, and would eventually die again. Jesus rose once and for all and would never die again. (Rom 6:9)

The resurrection of Jesus was also different in that his risen body was in a state of glory. When he appeared to the disciples on the road to Emmaus, they did not recognise him until the breaking of the bread, and then he vanished from their sight. (Lk 24:31) When he appeared to the apostles in the upper room, he entered through closed doors. At the sea of Tiberius he was only partly recognised at first. (Jn 21:1-14)

These aspects of the appearances of Jesus, which make them significantly different from ordinary human encounters, lead some people to the erroneous idea that the resurrection of Jesus was not physical. However the gospels do not allow us that option since other parts of the same acco…

He loved us to the uttermost

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St John says of the Logos,
“All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” (Jn 1:3-5) and he makes it clear that this Logos is the historic Jesus Christ by saying that the Logos was made flesh, and then going on to describe His life, death and resurrection.

St Paul also speaks of this Logos who was in the beginning:
“For in him were all things created in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominations, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and in him. And he is before all, and by him all things consist.” (Col 1:16-17) Jesus Christ Himself said to the apostles,
“I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly.” (Jn 10:10) The life that Our Lord came to bring us is communicated to us in the Holy Eucharist, our Holy Communion with Him, and therefore with the God…

Christian meditation is not the same as "mindfulness"

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In the approach to the Sacred Triduum, I was glad to come across this article by this article by Fr Ed Broom: Ten Ways to Meditate on Christ’s Passion because it struck me as very helpful for people who have a sincere desire to follow Christ more devoutly but are unsure about "methods of prayer" or whether some special esoteric technique might be required to be a more devoted follower of Christ.

Father Broom lists ten simple practices which will probably already be familiar to most good Catholics, and gives some simple and practical advice on how to use them to good effect.

Unfortunately, the word "meditation" itself can be unhelpful. It is associated nowadays with "mindfulness" and the need to have an expert of some sort to teach you how to acquire the right technique. It is also generally accepted that mindfulness is not for everyone, whereas prayer is most definitely for everyone. As St Alphonsus says, "for adults prayer is necessary as a means o…

Saint Praxedes and her amazing Basilica

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A great resource which gathers information every day for the Station Churches is the blog Zephyrinus. This blog also has posts on feast days, steam trains and occasionally on the foibles of Chauffeur Perkins.

Every day during Lent, a different Church is the location for the Stational Liturgy. For those who live or are studying in Rome, it is a great opportunity to visit some Churches that are usually closed. The Pontifical North American College celebrates Mass every day at the Station Church. For details, see their page The Roman Station Liturgy.

Today the post of Zephyrinus with pictures and information about the Basilica of Santa Prassede took me back to a visit there several decades ago. The peeling paint on the outside wall is just as I remember it. Here is a screenshot from Google street view as you walk towards it along a short side street off the Via Merulana:


It doesn't look very impressive. This is a quintessentially Roman experience. When you go through the normally lo…

St Gemma and the valiant "lions of Folgore"

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Today being the feast day of St Gemma, we should ask her intercession for all paratroopers and parachutists.

During the second world war, from 1941-1942, Italian paratroopers of the crack 185th parachute division Folgore (Lightning) were trained at Tarquinia where the local Passionist sisters were asked to sew their badges onto their uniforms. The holy sisters feared for the safety of the young men, and sewed in a couple of extras: a holy card and a relic of St Gemma Galgani who had been canonised in 1940. The soldiers very much appreciated this kindness and formally asked the Postulator General of the Passionists to declare St Gemma the patron saint of paratroopers. (For more, see St Gemma -The Patron Saint of Paratroopers and Parachutists)

It should be noted that the Folgore division fought with great valour in October and November of 1942 at the second battle of El Alamein, resisting General Montgomery's 8th army offensive until their ammunition was exhausted. Winston Churchil…

The BBC: "cheerleader" for assisted suicide

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The article BBC in denial over its assisted-suicide cheerleading by Alistair Thompson is important reading. When we discuss assisted suicide with good and thoughtful people, it can seem as though somebody else has got there first. Not being a fan of the BBC, I haven't noticed the insidious propaganda campaign that it has been waging recently in favour of changing the law to permit euthanasia (let's be honest, that is what we are talking about in the debate on assisted suicide.)

And it is a propaganda campaign. The BBC is not some johnny-come-lately internet upstart, it is an organisation with decades of experience in exactly how to form public opinion. Good honest people rely on the BBC to give balanced coverage of such a sensitive issue. The bias with which it covers such an important issue as assisted suicide is all the more pernicious when the organisation is so trusted.

Fundamentally, we appeal to natural law - deep down we all know that human life is a good, that suicide…

The new Manichees and the conjugal act

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It is great that the Catholic Herald has Chad Pecknold writing a column "Daily Herald." Today he has a thought-provoking piece called Progressive writers are starting to admit the sexual revolution was a failure.

He refers to a Guardian article in which the writer acknowledges that sexual permissiveness is a "a dystopia that gave rise to a rape culture." So far, so obvious, but the recent development which really puzzles the "progressives" is that there is a decrease in sexual activity among young people.

Pecknold hopes that the progressive writers will arrive at the view that sex is sacred, is "an earthly union which cooperates in the divine act of creating immortal beings" and should be reserved to marriage.

Well that would be really good, but I fear that it is optimistic. It is at least possible that we could see our new Manichaeism develop further. The Manichees saw birth as a bad thing because it introduced evil matter into the world. Our …

Forthcoming Catholic Medical Association Conference

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I am very happy to pass on the details of the forthcoming conference of the Catholic Medical Association on 4 May at Hull University Catholic Chaplaincy. Here is a link to download a pdf of a poster for the Conference.

It is important to note that all are welcome, especially all healthcare workers (including doctors, nurses, social workers, OTs, physios, pharmacists), and students of all healthcare professions who have an interest in a Catholic view of healthcare today.

Here are the details sent to me by the CMA:

It's only one month to go till our Annual  Conference
FOLLOWING JESUS IN HEALTHCARE. 4th May 2019.
The Annual Conference of the Catholic Medical Association will be held at Hull University Catholic Chaplaincy.
Keynote speakers include   David Quinn, Director of the Iona Institute and former editor of the "Irish Catholic". Bringing faith into public lifeSr Andrea Fraile, Sisters of the Gospel of Life. Helping people in a crisis: the work of the Sisters of the Gospel…

Introducing traditional elements into the celebration of the modern rite

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Following on from Michael Davies’ challenge which I quoted yesterday, I would like to support the suggestion made by Fr Hunwicke recently. Father gently suggests that we could learn from the manner in which anglo-Catholics gradually improved the liturgy and he advocates “the gradual, tactful, pastoral introduction of EF elements into the OF Mass?”

The first recommendation, the invariable use of the Roman Canon, is already legitimate. The Institutio Generalis Missalis Romani n.365.a begins:
The first eucharistic prayer, or Roman Canon, which can always be used…
[Prex eucharistica prima, seu Canon Romanus, qui semper adhiberi potest…] The text goes on to detail when the Roman Canon is “more opportunely brought forth” but that does not contradict the basic statement that it can always be used. A priest who never says any of the other Eucharistic Prayers is not disobeying any rubrics.

Fr Hunwicke then suggests the use of the old offertory prayers and goes on to offer some examples of gest…

A challenge from Michael Davies concerning the Novus Ordo

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The late Michael Davies was a good friend of my father; they taught in primary schools in the same area and shared a passionate love of the faith. They were dismayed when the "new catechetics" threatened to dismantle the teaching of the faith to children by getting rid of angels, original sin, the real presence and, ultimately, the divinity of Jesus Christ. I have fond memories of conversations in our kitchen during the late sixties and early seventies, peppered with Michael's brilliant sense of humour.

Catechetics and Liturgy go together, of course, and Michael wrote extensively on the new rite of Mass that was promulgated 50 years ago this week. Fr Hugh Somerville-Knapman has a good piece in the Catholic Herald: The strange birth of the Novus Ordo which helpfully details some of the more notorious aspects of the formation of the rite of Mass which most Catholics experience as a matter of routine.

I remember a warm day in the depths of Kent some years ago, celebrating …

A noviciate in bell-ringing

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The Sacred Heart Church in Bournemouth is fortunate in having a ring of six bells. The installation was competed for the visit of St John Paul II to England in 1982 and was consecrated in 1983 by Bishop Emery. Above is the plaque erected to commemorate the occasion.

My sister is a member of the lively band of ringers at the Sacred Heart, and somehow I have found myself being instructed as a novice in the complex set of skills and knowledge needed for change ringing. Kim, the Tower Captain is very complimentary about my progress - and indeed I don't seem to have broken anything yet. (One thing that you learn quickly is that there are physical dangers in bell-ringing that are not immediately obvious.)

If you don't believe me about the "complex" bit, just have a quick read of the Change ringing article on Wikipedia. You can find there a list of English bell-ringing terms - it is an activity with its own language, customs and local variations, giving it all the ingredie…

Rose vestments and the special fruits of the Mass

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On Gaudete and Laetare Sundays, Catholic Internet abounds with photos of rose vestments laid out in sacristies and worn at Mass. Indeed I posted the above image myself on Twitter yesterday ;-) Looking at these pictures prompted me to write something about the fruits of the Mass.

Every Mass is offered for, and benefits, all the living and the dead. This is the will of Christ and the Church, quite independent of the priest who offers the Mass. In addition to these "general fruits," we speak of the "special fruits" gained by those people who assist in offering the Mass.* The most obvious way of assisting is by actually being present at the Mass, and participating devoutly, but it is also possible to assist by providing for the celebration by building the Church, by keeping it maintained, or by providing things for the Mass, such as vessels – or indeed vestments.

The special fruits of the Mass are impetratory, propitiatory, and satisfactory.
Impetratory – the Mass is t…

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