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Showing posts from February, 2013

Thank you Papa

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Thank you, Your Holiness Benedict XVI, Pope-Emeritus, for:

Your example of the Ars CelebrandiYour measured, calm, kindly and professorial teachingYour transparent love for Christ and the ChurchSummorum PontificumAnglicanorum CoetibusThe new ICEL translationYour appointment of Bishop Davies and Bishop Egan... and many other blessings you have brought to usMy God grant you a peaceful retirement in contemplation of Christ whom you have served as His Vicar

TLM news for Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire

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Our Lady's Church, Chesham Bois
A reader wanted to let people know that there have are some changes to the provision of the usus antiquior in Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire. I'm happy to pass on this information for the convenience of those who live in the area:
Chesham Bois, Church of Our Lady, Amersham Road, Bucks: Sunday 10am
From the LMS Beds Hertfordshire Area & Northampton Diocese current newsletter)
“The Mass at Chesham Bois is continuing, on a week by week basis, but, owing to the death of the parish priest (Fr Davenport), the future of this Sunday Mass is a little uncertain.
Please contact Eric Caudle (01582 585169) for up-to-date information” (extract 

Flitwick, Sacred Heart Church, Pope Close, Beds: Sunday 5pm
Though the FSSP are moving their Mass from Flitwick, Canon Denis McSwiney, the parish priest, has generously agreed to continue the 5pm Mass at Flitwick, which he will celebrate in the Extraordinary Form.

Luton, Sacred Heart Church, Ashcroft Road, Stopsley, Lu…

Cardinal Piacenza spells out three points for authentic mission

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This video shows Archbishop Mauro Piacenza in Brazil in 2008. The interview is in Italian - those studying in Rome, who are used to hearing the language mangled by non-native speakers, will enjoy his elegant use of his mother-tongue. At the time, he was Secretary of the Congregation for the Clergy. In 2010 he became its prefect and was shortly afterwards created Cardinal.

He gave a short, off-the-cuff interview, first of all praising the Brazilian Cardinal Hummes who had recently been appointed Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy. Asked about the Holy Father's affirmation that there is great hope in Latin America, he said that Brazil is one of the most representative countries in this regard, both because of its clear Catholic foundation and because of the good activity and energy, which, he says,
"... can flower at the level of mission and the new evangelisation; with this great impetus, under the movement of the Spirit and at the same time profoundly rooted in three…

The Pope bearing the burden of belief

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Fr Z has posted some pictures of the candlelight vigil under the Holy Father's window tonight. Pope Benedict's last General Audience Address was delivered to a vast crowd. I am amazed at how many friends of mine have managed to fly out to Rome at short notice to be there.

In the meantime, there is a note of craziness around in the Church. We have had our fair share in Britain over the past week or so. A teacher said to me that it was rather like when a teacher leaves the classroom. Some pupils will carry on with their work, while others throw things at each other or start climbing the walls.

Recently the "Keep Calm and Carry On" poster has become popular with many parodies being produced. We forget that there was a real possibility of England being invaded and subjected to Nazi rule. There was no guarantee of victory: many feared the worst and some tried to do secret deals with Hitler. If everyone had panicked, the country would have become ungovernable and the war …

Play any game with this much sportsmanship, both teams win

A very well-made video account, with dramatic turns, showing genuine Christian charity at work in the context of competitive sport. This is an ideal I try to get across to young people in catechesis when talking about sin and virtue. Not only did the lad do something good, he was able to explain his motives. A powerful example from the young.

Some notes on clerical celibacy

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In the synoptic gospels we hear of how Our Lord cured Simon Peter's mother-in-law from fever. In the discussion of clerical celibacy, this text is routinely brought out as a knock-down argument. The apostles were married so why can't priests marry? Oddly, though, we never hear anything of St Peter's wife, or indeed of any of the wives of the other apostles.
Then Peter said: Behold, we have left all things, and have followed thee. Who said to them: Amen, I say to you, there is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive much more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting. (Lk 18.28-30)This suggests the possibility that St Peter had in fact left his family to follow the Lord. Such a course of action would be unacceptable in our time, but in the culture of Palestine in the time of Our Lord, the extended family would mean that it was possible.

Then we come to St Paul&#…

Cardinal Arinze on the fundamental option

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Many thanks to EF Pastor Emeritus for posting this video of Cardinal Arinze answering a question about the theology of fundamental option and moral sin. I found it most enjoyable and full of common sense.

Whiskey Catholic's review of Ardbeg

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Whiskey Catholic is a blog devoted to whiskey which scores different whiskeys according to levels in Dante's Paradiso. The authors say:
Whiskey Catholic is the product of three friends’ long-held passion for the only three objects worth pursuing: Catholicism, culture, and whiskey.This is a counterpoint to the preferences of some of the men in my parish who count the three objects worth pursuing as "The traditional Mass, county cricket and real ale".

Yesterday, Michael, Andrew and Nicholas reviewed Ardbeg, an Islay Malt which has a deliciously peaty flavour. They give it a rating as 8th level of Paradiso.

CD 268: Going to baptism of a child conceived by IVF

Non-Catholic friends of mine have had a child by IVF and have invited me to the Baptism. I am in two minds whether to go or not.
The 1987 instruction Donum Vitae sets out the ethical problems with IVF. In summary, the procedure normally involves the destruction of “spare” embryos which is the killing of human life. The instruction also points out that the child has the right to be conceived through an act of love of his parents and not as an object of technology. Naturally, even though the means of conception may be morally wrong, “every child brought comes into the world must [...] be accepted as a living gift of the divine Goodness and must be brought up with love.”

These considerations make for a dilemma in the case of the celebration of the Baptism. You rightly want to show a loving respect for the child but do not wish to co-operate with or be seen to approve of IVF. Your decision has to involve an assessment of how your attendance would be perceived. If your friends are aware of…

Cardinal Piacenza's fine pastoral leadership

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The Congregation for the Clergy has for a long time been one of the most pro-active of the dicasteries of the Holy See in providing online resources for those in its care. As a result, the website is not as slick as some of the more recently developed initiatives, but it is well worth surfing round for excellent articles that support priests in their ministry. You can subscribe to the Congregation's emails. I regularly delete subscriptions to various news services that clog up my inbox, but I have always found that the Congregation for the Clergy have a sensible volume of output and that it is worth reading.

The Cardinal Prefect, HE Mauro Piacenza regularly sends letters to priests with instruction and encouragement. In this he offers a fine example of how a curial Cardinal need not be restricted to his office and his paperwork but can reach out to give genuine pastoral leadership. His Letter to Priests for the beginning of Lent is a good example. (There is also a Letter for Semi…

A Day of Faith organised by the Faith Movement

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The Faith Movement has conferences for young people every year. As it has been doing this for several decades, there are plenty of not-so-young people who have benefitted from the work of Faith. Also, those who have never come into contact with Faith might well appreciate meeting some of those involved, so we decided that a day should be organised to which there is an open invitation. Auntie Joanna has been busy and has organised a splendid programme. Here are the details:

A Day of Faith For the Year of Faith, the Faith Movement invites you to a Day of Faith at St Patrick’s Church, Soho Square, London W1. June 18th 2013, starts 11 am

Special guest speakers:
Rt Rev Philip Egan, Bishop of Portsmouth 3pm
George Weigel, Papal biographer 7.30pm

Other speakers include Canon Luiz Ruscillo, Director of Education, Diocese of Lancaster. The Day will include Mass, lunch, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, opportunity for confession. Tickets : £20, includes lunch and supper. (Daytime only: £10…

Cardinal Arinze's sure-fire prediction concerning the next Pope

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Fr Zuhlsdorf has suggested that a good thing to do at this time is to listen to Mozart's Clarinet Concerto in A (K. 622). This strikes me as eminently sensible: obviously something in addition to praying for the Church but it can help us along at the present time.

There is good sense too, in the address by Fr Julian Large, Provost of the London Oratory. (H/T Bara Brith) Father Provost warns against punditry, saying:
It is enough that the next successor of St Peter should be Catholic, holy, wise and strong. We should put all of our energies into praying for a candidate who has been endowed with these qualities and leave the rest to God. At a time like this, parish priests need to reassure people that much of what is written in the newspapers or broadcast on TV is uninformed tosh. Thanks be to God, Tim Stanley has an excellent light-hearted article which saves the rest of us having to explain the matter at length:Pope Benedict XVI resigns: the mainstream media just doesn't get G…

Magdalene Laundries and the "Noble Lie"

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The kind of article Catholics dare not write: Catholic-bashers have embellished the truth about abuse in Catholic institutions. It's time to put the record straight. Brendan O'Neill in the Telegraph points up the fact that no evidence of sexual or violent abuse was found in the Magdalene Laundries and that the authors were taken about by the number of women who spoke positively about the nuns.

Yet the Noble Lie defence is brought out in justification of downright inaccurate reporting because it might help to highlight abuse. This is morally unjustifiable not only because of the breach of truth and justice for those who are defamed, but also because in the long run, telling lies will hinder the important struggle to safeguard children. It is important to expose child abuse - and important not to give anyone the excuse of inaccurate reporting to hide behind.

Shut it!

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This graphic is doing the rounds on Facebook and Twitter. I heartily agree.

God bless Pope Benedict

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That's more or less all I have to say at the moment. Except to add: let us pray earnestly to the Holy Spirit for the Church generally, and in particular that a good Pope will be chosen to succeed Pope Benedict.

Unusually today was a day off for me (half-term at Wonersh) so I went to Calais with a priest friend to do a little shopping and have lunch (Sole Meunière if you are interested - and it was delicious.) During the drive back on the M20 from Folkestone we switched on the news at 4pm which was when we heard the announcement. When I got back, I said an evening Mass at which I was thankfully free to make my own intention - pro felici statu sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae. In the class for non-Catholics afterwards, I had to slip a little behind on the sacraments to talk about the Petrine office, the process of electing a successor, and to dispel some of the msm myths already gaining traction.

It is all still sinking in. Prayer. Lots of prayer.

Convalidation and sanation and the civil law

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Some more information as a service to readers. If a Catholic marries without the canonical form being observed, the marriage can be "put right" as it is commonly said, in two ways.

Let's first of all be clear about canonical form. A Catholic is normally obliged to celebrate their marriage before a priest and two witnesses, according to the rites of the Church. There are exceptions and dispensations. If a Catholic wishes to marry in a non-Catholic Christian Church, a dispensation from canonical form can be granted. In such a case, the non-Catholic minister solemnises the wedding. A Catholic priest may be present and say a prayer or whatever, but the wedding cannot be a joint celebration with two ministers solemnising it. (There is also provision for exceptions: when there is no priest available, a lay person can be deputed to solemnise marriage, and under certain conditions, if a Catholic cannot have recourse to an appointed minister, the marriage can be contracted befor…

Marriages - created and sacramental

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Reading lots of well-intentioned comments on marriage over the past few weeks, I have for a while meant to offer some guidance on one or two points that have often been missed.

Edward Schillebeeckx in his book "Marriage. Human Reality and Saving Mystery" makes the point that considered in relation to the marriage customs of the ancient near east and Phoenicia in particular,
"[…] it immediately becomes apparent that faith in Yahweh in effect “desacralised” or secularised marriage – took it out of a purely religious sphere and set it squarely in the human secular sphere." Historically, the restriction of the sacramental nature of marriage to the religious rite has the consequence that the state may then presume to exercise absolute control over the civil contract. However, Peter Elliot in his book "What God Has Joined" made an important and helpful distinction in response to Schillebeeckx, saying that we should:
"give a respectful regard to Marriage b…

New website for Missio

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Missio is best known to many Catholics from the Red Box which is kept at home and emptied periodically by the local Missio organiser. We used to refer mainly to the Association for the Propagation of the Faith or APF but now Missio combines the APF, the Society of St Peter the Apostle, Mission Together, and the Pontifical Missionary Union. These are Pontifical Mission Aid Societies under the jurirical oversight of the Holy See.

The founder of the APF was the Venerable Pauline Jaricot. Some readers will know her also from her founding of the Universal Living Rosary Association of St Philomena.

I was alerted to Missio's new website: you can visit there to see the various activities that are undertaken for the spread of the gospel. I remember putting some of my pocket money in the Red Box at home when I was a child and I am glad to continue to support it today in my parish.

Luther, Trent and getting out of state marriage

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Luther, in his commentary on Matthew (v.vi.vii) said:
“How are we to deal with matrimonial affairs and with questions of divorce, I have already explained, viz., that they should be left to those skilled in the law, and should be put into the hands of the secular rulers. For marriage is a secular and external matter, just as wife and child, house and property and the rest, and so is subject to the jurisdiction of the civil ruler, which in its turn is subject to the law of reason.”In the Calvinist territories jurisdiction was handed over to the civil power more promptly, though with the proviso that the civil courts should deal with marriage according to the teaching of the scriptures.

In England, spiritual courts were retained but in accord with the Act of Supremacy, the source of all jurisdiction, including the spiritual courts, was the Crown. So article 37 of the 39 articles of religion in the 1562 version reads:
“The King’s Majesty hath the chief power in this Realm of England, and …

First reactions on SSM Bill

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A sad day for civilisation. This afternoon and evening, in between various duties, I was able to watch the debate on the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill for snatches of a few minutes at a time. Tweets from @spucprolife and other good tweeps were also very helpful. Every time I got a chance to look at Parliament TV, I heard excellent speeches from MPs opposed to same-sex "marriage" and it is clear that the general pattern of their correspondence was to receive a sackload of mail against the bill and only a few letters in favour, some of those characterised by abuse.

Edward Leigh has been a staunch opponent of the bill and his speech was very good. MPs were limited to four minutes: although it was wrong of the Government to bypass pre-legislative scrutiny and to push through the timetable motion, the time-limit for speeches meant that they gave an opportunity for a succinct case to be made - or in some instances, for a pointless but mercifully short ramble about equality, fa…

40 Days for Life starting soon

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40 Days for Life is starting on 13 February and will continue to 24 March. Here is a message from the organisers:
On 12 February, we will have the Kick Off Rally: please email if you would like to register for this event at Bedford Square.

On Monday 18 February 2013, 7pm we are having a BOOK LAUNCH of the new 40 days for life book @ Pimlico Parish Hall, 47 Cumberland Street, SW1V 4LY. This is an UNMISSABLE EVENT. See the book on Amazon here - Author David Bereit will be with us! Amazing!

On Sunday March 10 there will be a March for Life in Birmingham. A coach will be going from London and details will be available shortly.

Whitfield Street and Ealing Campaigns:

With this in mind I would like to invite you to our Cast the Vision meeting on Tuesday 5th February at 7pm at 211 Old Marylebone Road, Marylebone, NW1 5QT (nearest stations are Marylebone and Edgeware Road) and/or come to our Cast the Vision meeting on Wednesday 6th February at Ealing Abbey, Marchwood Crescent, W5 2DZ at 8pm…

Holy See extends its resources by digital publication

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The Vatican Library has many manuscripts that are priceless for scholars researching in various fields. It is great to hear via the New Liturgical Movement that another tranche of manuscripts has been put into the public domain. 256 digitalised manuscripts are now available online to anyone  in the world. These include the Sacramentarium Gregorianum and the Ordines Romani.

From an apologetic point of view, these initiatives are important in showing what the "Vatican" does with its "riches". Certainly there are many valuable resources held in the Vatican. If they were in private hands, they would probably not be made available to the public.

One good turn deserves another

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@workhubs "The ultimate in flexible workspace" came to my rescue on Friday. I got to Euston Station having forgotten to bring the printouts of my tickets for Virgin Trains to Birmingham. On the way up to London, I looked up various internet cafés on the internet but found on arrival that the nearest one was now a clothes shop or something. Resigned to spending loads of dosh on buying a new ticket, I found @workhubs and called in asking to use a computer to print out my ticket.

The guys there were most helpful, allowing me to use a terminal and print out the tickets. They did not charge me anything so I promised to give them a heads-up on my blog. Michael O'Leary would say I was stupid; I agree it was a stupid thing to forget the printouts: but @workhubs helped me out. I'd use @workhubs but would not be particularly enthusiastic to use Ryanair. Virtue is good for business.

I am not encouraging anyone to trespass on their generosity but if you need an office by the ho…

Congratulations Fr Richard Duncan

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A most glorious ceremony this evening for the ordination of Fr Richard Duncan of the Birmingham Oratory. Mozart's Missa Solemnis in C was accompanied by Vivaldi's Juravit Dominus at the Offertory and a splendid rendition of Handel's "Let the bright Seraphim" at Communion. There was even some Anglican Patrimony with Parry's Psalm 84 "O how amiable are thy dwellings" at the Kiss of Peace.

Arcbishop Bernard Longley was celebrant, assisted by Bishop Richard Moth in choro. Several Fathers of the English Oratories concelebrated and there were many priests and seminarians in choir, inluding a good representation from the Archdiocese of Southwark.

It was a lovely occasion to catch up with old friends: priests, bloggers, blog readers and good apostolic laity. Fr Duncan was in the first cohort to whom I taught Sacramental Theology at Wonersh in 2004. It was great to see him ordained to the sacred priesthood to minister those sacraments. Please remember him in…

Cameron said he would not redefine marriage

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Just three days before the last election, David Cameron said that he was not planning to redefine marriage. It has often been pointed out, quite rightly, that plans to redefine marriage were not part of the Conservative manifesto. Many, like me, will not realise that on the eve of the election, David Cameron gave electors to believe that he would not change the definition of marriage.

Coalition for Marriage has the details.

Conference on sex-ed hosted by Diocese of Shrewsbury

Alive to the World is a good programme for children offering education in chastity and in the other virtues. I'm on the road today, so this is just a quick note to publicise a forthcoing conference to be hosted by the Diocese of Shrewsbury

Called “Educating Children in Sexuality: Complementary Role of Parents and Teachers”, the event will take place at Aquinas College, Stockport, late in the afternoon of Friday March 1.

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