Showing posts from May, 2019

Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement - an evening at The Keys

Yesterday I spent an enjoyable evening with The Keys, the Guild of Catholic Writers which meets at the Jesuit Church of Farm Street in Mayfair. There is Mass, then dinner, then the meeting; this seems to me a good way of arranging things. Last night, Paul Shrimpton gave an excellent talk on how the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman influenced Sophie Scholl and the White Rose movement in Nazi Germany. It was moving for me to hear Paul speak, since our paths last crossed in about 1979 when we were both undergraduates at Oxford. I wrote about Sophie Scholl ten years ago in the post White Rose - White Flower , highlighting John Smeaton's appeal for us to see the movement as a parallel to the pro-life movement today. Then in 2012 I found out about a  Moving film of Sophie Scholl . (You can find the full version of the film free on YouTube at this link .) The inspiring courage of these young people is especially important for us today. They faced an authoritarian attack on free

Calling the modern lectionary into question

The other day, Rorate Caeli published a lecture given by Dr Kwasniewski at the Sacra Liturgia conference in 2015 in New York, on the reform of the lectionary. See: 50 Years of a Religious and Cultural Catastrophe: When the Yearly Biblical Readings of Immemorial Tradition Were Cast Away At the heart of the discussion over the modern rite lectionary is the question of the purpose of the scripture texts at Mass. Until recently, it was unheard of to suggest that there was any other purpose than the instruction of the faithful. Kwasnieski argues that the lessons have first and foremost "an ecclesial identity, a sacerdotal orientation, and a eucharistic finality." This question is crucial in the discussion of such matters as the length of texts or the manner in which the scripture is presented at Mass: who reads it, which direction they face, what they wear, whether they speak or chant... The purpose of the lessons also nags away in the background when we come to decide w

Must we call it the Sacrament of Reconciliation rather than the Sacrament of Confession?

You may have come across expert VaticanIIologians who say that we should not speak of the Sacrament of Confession or of Penance any more, but use the sacrament’s shiny new name, given to it by the Second Vatican Council: The Sacrament of Reconciliation. This is nonsense. The Catechism of the Catholic Church refers to the Sacrament of Penance, Confession, and Reconciliation. The Code of Canon Law also uses all three terms. Hard-working parish volunteer catechists should be reassured that it is still perfectly proper to use the term Confession and it makes sense to do so because that is the name by which it is most commonly known. For adults under instruction, it might be helpful to explain the other terms since they tell us something about the sacrament. However, it is worth knowing why the term “reconciliation” is used, and what its significance is, since this is widely misunderstood. Vatican II’s “astonishing enactment” In Lumen Gentium , the Council fathers dealt with the

Three Things that are Wrong about Making Everyone Stand after Holy Communion

In some places in the USA there is a custom of people going back to their place after Holy Communion and then remaining standing until everybody has received Holy Communion. (What happens then? Does everybody kneel or does everybody sit? If I gave you 5-1 odds for everyone sitting, I think I would come out quids in.) Sadly, I understand that this postural uniformity is mandated by some Bishops. In case there is any danger of its creeping across the Atlantic, I would like to offer some negative comment. I have selected Three Things that are wrong with this imposition – and free of charge, you get a Bonus Wrong Thing. 1st Wrong Thing. It interferes with a proper desire to adore God and to be recollected. In the period immediately after Holy Communion, the holy people of God quite rightly want to adore Jesus Christ and to be recollected . Kneeling down is a posture suitable to earnest prayer and adoration. The order for everybody to stand is presumably meant in some way to reinforce

5 Things about Votive Masses to bring up under AOB at the Parish Council Meeting

Votive Masses need to be better known and more often celebrated. So if your Parish Council Meeting needs a little groundswell of devotional zip, here are some Things about Votive Masses to know and share. Thing 3 is especially important. Thing 1. They are not a medieval invention The earliest liturgical books that we have, such as the Leonine Sacramentary contain Masses for special intentions. By the time of the Gregorian Sacramentary, these were called Missae Votivae . These were Masses that did not correspond to the office of the day, which would be sung according to the season. Votive Masses probably go back right to the beginning of our liturgical history. What happened during the middle ages is that votive Masses became more common. It was a sensible reform to limit them to a certain degree so that they were restricted in the main, to days on which there was not a major celebration in the Church’s calendar. Thing 2. They are allowed more often than people think It may be

Saint Stanislaus, two sad comparisons, and the fall of Communism

A central part of any visit to Krakow is a visit to the Royal Archcathedral Basilica of Saints Stanislaus and Wenceslaus on the Wawel Hill. It is some years now since I walked around it on a cold and foggy late November evening. I remember the thrilling sense that here, every stone is Poland. The Wawel Cathedral is of enormous significance to the Polish people. Most importantly of all, it has the altar and sarcophagus of Saint Stanislaus, the Bishop who defied a King. Saint Stanislaus 1030-1079 was Bishop of Kracow at a time when Christianity was still being established in Poland. The faith was only brought to the country after the preaching of Saint Methodius in Moldavia. Saint Stanislaus furthered the early growth of Christianity in Poland significantly by getting the King, Boleslaw II the Bold, to establish Benedictine monasteries. He contributed even more to the Christianisation of Poland by his martyrdom. The dispute with Boleslaw began with a legal case over the ownersh

CD 299: Envy of another's success

I think that I work conscientiously at my job, but I find that I become jealous of those who manage to achieve better results. Is this a sin or a motivation? Envy occurs when we are saddened or angered by another’s good, experience pain at hearing them praised, and when we tend to undermine their good repute. (Strictly speaking, jealousy is a related but distinct fault in which we have an excessive love of our own good and the fear of being deprived of it by others.) Envy is opposed to charity because we should rejoice in the good of others. As a capital sin, envy leads to other evils such as wishing someone ill, speaking calumny or detraction against them, sowing discord, a disordered quest for success and reward, and disturbing the peace of our soul. Envy can be either a sin or a temptation. Sometimes feelings of envy arise without our wishing them, and in such a case, as with other passions, it is an opportunity for growth in the spiritual life. A negative remedy is to try to pu

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