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Showing posts from November, 2007

New encyclical and appointments

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Someone just reminded me that Spe Salvi, the Holy Father's new encyclical on Christian hope was published today. So that's my lunchtime reading settled, then.

The Vatican does seem to be unusually busy. Today's Bollettino has six new appointments:

Rev Alfonso Carrasco Rouco, from the Mondoñedo-Ferrol diocese, currently professor of dogmatic theology a the theological faculty "San Dámaso" in Madrid has been appointed Bishop of Lugo in Spain, following the resignation Bishop José Higinio Gómez González OFM

Fr John Corriveau, O.F.M. Cap., until recently Minister General of the Capuchins, has been appointed bishop of Nelson (Canada), following the resignation of Bishop Eugene Jerome Cooney.

Bishop Óscar Urbina Ortega, formerly bishop of Cúcuta (Colombia), has been appointed Metropolitan Archbishop of Villavicencio (Colombia).

Mgr Vittorio Lupi, Vicar-General of the diocese of Ventimiglia–Sanremo, has been appointed bishop of Savona–Noli (Italia)

Bishop Reinhard Marx, form…

Oxfam's Christmas Condoms

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The British relief charity Oxfam currently has an advertising campaign running with the slogan "Say 'No' to Rubbish Presents!" I don't really like this way of speaking. I was brought up to understand that it is good manners always to show appreciation for a gift that is genuinely given as an act of love and friendship. The idea of dismissing gifts as "rubbish" seems to me an indication of the coarse selfishness that has overtaken modern Britain.

The point of Oxfam's campaign is to advertise their "Oxfam Unwrapped" initiative. Instead of buying a present for someone, you buy something that will help the poor and then send your friend a card and a fridge magnet instead. One of the "fabulously funusual gifts" that you can order from the "positive pressies" section is condoms. Certainly the most rubbish Christmas idea so far this year.

Of course it is good idea give to charity at Christmas. Here's an idea: select some goo…

Spectator speculation on Westminster

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Fr Ray Blake (The Westminster Succession) reports on an article by Fraser Nelson in the Spectator: Will Blair become a true Catholic? The article is a very good summary of the concerns that many Catholics have raised.

Towards the end, there is an interesting section concerning the appointment of the next Archbishop of Westminster. Nelson says:I am told the Pope is sceptical about choosing anyone from England’s ‘magic circle’ of metropolitan bishops and is actively considering monastic candidates to succeed Cardinal Murphy- O’Connor — just as Basil Hume was plucked from the monastic seclusion of Ampleforth Abbey in 1976.This rather rang a bell because when I was talking recently to some priests who had been out on a visit to Rome, they also said that the Urbs is buzzing with rumours about Dom Hugh Gilbert, the Abbot of Pluscarden.

Dom Hugh could not really be labelled as a "traditionalist": Pluscarden has resolutely retained the Novus Ordo for Mass and has adhered straightforwa…

The pro-life power of prayer

From the Sisters of the Gospel of Life:Please remember a young woman called Becky in your prayers. She’s in the early stages of pregnancy and seriously considering abortion due to very difficult circumstances.I visited the premises of the Good Counsel Network in London yesterday to celebrate Mass. Afterwards over tea and sandwiches, Stuart McCullogh was telling me of some of their experiences of the power of prayer. Sometimes, women will change their minds about abortion suddenly and unexpectedly, perhaps when the counsellor has become convinced that they are just going to go elsewhere and arrange for an abortion. Very often, Stuart of one of the others will discover that just at that time, someone had offered up a particular prayer, perhaps deciding to say the Rosary, or to call into the chapel to adore the Blessed Sacrament.

Pro-life prayer is not just a pious thought when we have run out of other ideas. It is an indispensable and powerful part of our pro-life activity. So say a pray…

Faith Council meeting

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I am not sure what was happening in the picture above but it does look to me as though Fr Luiz Ruscillo has cracked an unfortunate joke and been told to eat his lunch kneeling as a penance.

Priests and laity from the Faith Movement got together today at Willesden Green to look at matters of policy and forthcoming publications and events. Before the business meeting, Fr Hugh MacKenzie gave a lecture on the open letter of Islamic scholars and possible Catholic approach to dialogue with Muslims. The discussion afterwards was good, exploring some of the theological issues raised especially by Pope Benedict in his Regensburg lecture.

Fr Hugh is editor of Faith Magazine and also spoke to us later of some plans for a redesign of the Magazine. We talked about arrangements for the forthcoming Winter Conference for students and young people (details at the Faith website.) Our webmaster, Brian O'Gorman was there with some new ideas for the website and we heard about the various events going on…

Sung Latin Mass in Glasgow

There will be a Sung Mass, ad orientem, with Gregorian propers and ordinary (sung by Fr Gerry Byrne's Schola Glasguensis) for the Solemnity of St Andrew in the Glasgow University Memorial Chapel at 6pm on Friday 30th November.

(I presume that this is in the "ordinary form")

Hope in the Heart of Soho

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Yesterday, I visited the St Patrick's School of Evangelisation (SPES) at Soho Square to speak about the evangelisation of those who are rich in material things. We were not thinking particularly of the super wealthy but of the average person in Britain who is comfortably off in terms of essentials and has surplus money to spend on such things as leisure, entertainment and holidays.

The students spend a year at the school. During this time, they go through the Catechism of the Catholic Church systematically as well as receiving practical training in street evangelisation and in the kind of skills that would be useful in helping in various ways in their own parish.

In their work on the streets, they are often joined by one or two of the Missionaries of Charity. I found the whole thing most encouraging - I am sure these good people will make a difference wherever they go after their year at SPES.

Cardinal Pell's Mass in Sydney

A video of the classical Roman Rite Mass celebrated by Cardinal George Pell in St Mary's Cathedral, Sydney, 3rd November 2007.



Incidentally, for more Catholic videos, have a look at Gloria TV "The more Catholic the better"

Prayers for Fr Wang Zhong

Fr Wang Zhong, from the diocese of Xiwanze (Hebei), was sentenced to three years in prison for organising the celebrations of the consecration of a church in Guyuan.

The story is quite fascinating. He was arrested and kept in isolation with no visiting rights (I wonder how many days they are allowed to do that?) He was charged with organising an unlawful meeting (the consecration of the Church) despite having had a permit for the Church to be built. The permit was produced as evidence as was his parish seal which was made with the permission of the civil affairs bureau.

Prosecution evidence was given by a policeman who said that the consecration caused travel problems (7000 people attended). However, the Church is in an isolated area, far from the main road, and has a large car park.

The trial was interrupted while the judge consulted the political commissar and representatives of the United Front and the Religious Affairs Bureau. It seems that they could not conclude what would be the j…

The interior "East" of faith

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That crucifix is not there in the middle of the altar by accident:"Facing toward the East, as we heard, was linked with the "sign of the Son of Man", with the Cross, which announces Our Lord's Second Coming. That is why, very early on, the East was linked with the sign of the cross. Where a direct common turning toward the East is not possible, the cross can serve as the interior "East" of faith. It should stand in the middle of the altar and be the common point of focus for both priest and praying community.

"In this way we obey the ancient call to prayer: Conversi ad Dominum, "Turn to the Lord!" In this way we look together at the One whose Death tore the veil of the Temple -- the One who stands before the Father for us and encloses us in His arms in order to make us the new and living Temple.

"Moving the altar cross to the side to give an uninterrupted view of the priest is something I regard as one of the truly absurd phenomena of rec…

Ranjith interview translation published

The full English translation of the interview given by Archbishop Ranjith that I mentioned the other day (... a certain loss of faith) has now been published at Agenzia Fides

A lonely moment

Fr Z has quoted an article written for America magazine by a liberal-minded priest who has generously celebrated the TLM for a group that has asked for it. His experience of the Canon is recounted in this paragraph:"The act of praying the Roman Canon slowly and in low voice accented my own smallness and mere instrumentality more than anything else. Plodding through the first 50 or so words of the Canon, I felt intense loneliness. As I moved along, however, I also heard the absolute silence behind me, 450 people of all ages praying, all bound mysteriously to the words I uttered and to the ritual actions I haltingly and clumsily performed. Following the consecration, I fell into a paradoxical experience of intense solitude as I gazed at the Sacrament and an inexplicable feeling of solidarity with the multitude behind me."Father has asked for comments, especially from priests. Fr Ray Blake has chipped in and I have just added my own tupp'orth. See From another entry: during…

Memoriale Domini - a reminder

There has been some controversy regarding Archbishop Ranjith's remarks on Communion in the Hand. It is worth re-reading Memoriale Domini, an "Instruction on the Manner of Distributing Holy Communion" from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship issued in 1969. The instruction noted that there was a desire in some places to return to the ancient practice of communion in the hand and that,"Indeed, in certain communities and in certain places this practice has been introduced without prior approval having been requested of the Holy See"The Instruction admitted that this was an ancient practice but underlined the reverence that was always shown to the Eucharist. It also recognised that at one time, people had taken communion home for those who were sick. It then summarised the historical development that took place:"Soon the task of taking the Blessed Eucharist to those absent was confided to the sacred ministers alone, so as the better to ensure the respec…

Blair "conversion" comments

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Speculation seems to have increased recently that Tony Blair may be about to be received into the Catholic Church. I was left a message saying that someone was looking for a quote on this. I'll be up in town today to speak at the School of Evangelisation so I hope some of the following might be of help...

If Tony Blair were to convert to Catholicism, I would welcome that warmly. But conversion involves the acceptance of Catholic teaching such as the teaching that abortion and embryo experimentation are evil because all human life is sacred from the moment of conception, and that laws introducing homosexual civil unions are wrong and should be opposed by Catholic legislators.

In public office, Mr Blair has supported abortion, embryo experimentation and homosexual civil unions. Conversion to the Catholic faith would imply that he now accepts Catholic teaching and is willing to witness publicly to it.

I pray for Mr Blair's conversion to the Catholic faith. It would be wonderful if h…

Newman Society Mass

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I am happy to post the press release from the Oxford University Newman Society regarding the recent termly Mass of the Society. Sadly I could not get to the Mass because of my trip to Durham University. Perhaps I will be able to participate on a future similar occasion.

PRESS RELEASE: 22 November 2007
Catholics of Oxford University celebrate Pope’s restoration of Traditional Latin Mass

Oxford University Newman Society, a society existing for Catholic members of Oxford University, marked the centenary of the death of it’s co-founder, Hartwell de la Garde Grissell, by holding a High Mass according to the Traditional form of the Roman Rite.

Mass in what is now known as the "Extraordinary form" is celebrated in Latin with the priest and people facing east (the traditional direction of the Resurrection) together; many of its rituals date back to the earliest days of the Christian Church. It fell into decline in the 1960s, with the introduction of a simplified form of Mass by Pope Pau…

The new manichaeism

This from the Daily Mail: Meet the women who won't have babies - because they're not eco friendlyHad Toni Vernelli gone ahead with her pregnancy ten years ago, she would know at first hand what it is like to cradle her own baby, to have a pair of innocent eyes gazing up at her with unconditional love, to feel a little hand slipping into hers - and a voice calling her Mummy.

But the very thought makes her shudder with horror.

Because when Toni terminated her pregnancy, she did so in the firm belief she was helping to save the planet. The philosophy is made clear in Toni's words:Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population.Her doctor would not allow her to be sterilised (more than one of these strangely counter-cultural doctors appear in the story) so her husband had a vasectomy. Then, when she was 23 they divorced.

At the…

Today's consistory

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This morning saw the public consistory in St Peter's basilica at which Pope Benedict created 23 new cardinals. Here are some photos from Fotografia Felici, gathered by the ever-reliable collectors of papal photographs at the Papa Ratzinger Forum. First, an overview of the "assembly."

I wonder if they are singing a "Gathering Song"? You could try setting something like "Ree-ed hat of love/Giv'n to us for WIT-ness" - OK, perhaps not.

Here is a shot in which you can see the mitre which belonged to Pope Pius IX, and the cope, with 16th century orphrey, last worn by Pope Paul VI:

And here is the throne used for today's ceremony (I think I read that it was from the time of Pope Leo XIII):

It could be said that all of these items have been seen in the relatively recent past so there is nothing essentially new going on here. I'm not so sure and would agree with Zadok the Roman who suggests in his excellent post Consistory Notes that this is Mgr Marin…

"Smoke in the Sanctuary" launch

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Yesterday evening I was in Oxford for the launch of the new edition of Smoke in the Sanctuary. It was a pleasure to meet the author, Stephen Oliver, the illustrator, Jack Fieldhouse, and Mike and Mary Lord of Southwell Books (the excellent catalogue is well worth browsing.) Lots of books were sold, I think, and I got my own copy signed by the author.

The journey there was pretty awful. Rather stupidly, I took the bus at 5pm, subjecting myself to an extra hour on top of the customary 90 minutes. I had brought my laptop, knowing that these buses now have free wifi, but it was not the most comfortable thing working on the blog in such a cramped bus.

Three of the students from the Newman Society came along as soon as they could after dinner. Among other things, they told me about the society's termly Mass at Brasenose College. I'll post something on that tomorrow. There is so much going on in Oxford's Catholic life at the moment that I am determined to find time to spend a day o…

Oxford pro-life witness

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There is a monthly Pro-Life prayer vigil in Oxford, outside the main entrance to John Radcliffe Hospital. These are the initiative of Mrs Amada Lewin who started them in March this year. This afternoon, there were twenty-five people standing in the cold, led by Fr John Saward, the author of Redeemer in the Womb. They prayed fifteen decades of the Rosary in reparation for abortion and for all unborn babies and their mothers and fathers.

Others remained in the Church of St Anthony of Padua before the Blessed Sacrament exposed. After the Rosary, everyone went to the Church where Benediction was given by Fr John Saward.

H/T & photo credit Oxford Events: Pro-Life Witness

If you have the chance to join a similar vigil in your part of the world, I do encourage you to take the opportunity. Mgr Reilly, the founder of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants compares these vigils to standing with Christ at Calvary. Many people find that it requires a little courage to stand in such a witness…

BBC helped to cover up child molester

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There was a story on LifeSite News on Wednesday Man Behind Effort to Legalize Abortion in Nicaragua Gets 30 Years for Step-Daughter's Rape. A correspondent has kindly pointed out to me that this is the same man who was cast as a pro-choice hero on the notorious BBC programme "Sex in the Holy City", broadcast in 2003 (BBC transcript ) I mentioned David Kerr's study of this programme earlier this year (Can we trust the BBC - 1). SPUC attacked the BBC's misleading reporting and bias and Fiorella Sultana de Maria (now Nash) - pictured left - delivered a copy of their report Bias and the BBC.

In one part of the programme, Steve Bradshaw looks at Nicaragua where abortion is illegal, and casts Cardinal Miguel Obando Y Bravo as the baddie who is influencing the government to retain the law. Then the underdogs are introduced:But earlier this year one family took the cardinal on, provoking a national row that split Nicaragua and capture the headlines for months. Maria and …

Memories of St Cecilia's

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The basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere was built in the 5th century, then rebuilt by Pope Paschal I around 820 and again by Cardinal Sfondrati in 1599. The statue of St Cecilia is by Carlo Maderna. Her exposed neck shows the cuts made by the unsuccessful axeman who struck her three times. Her hands show three fingers and one in witness to the Christian faith in the Trinity and unity of God. A copy of the statue was placed in her sarcophagus in the catacombs of St Callixtus.

This was one of my favourite places as a student in Rome. The gregorian chant sung by the community of sisters was quite rare in Rome at that time. Their chaplain was a rather serious but kindly Monsignore who was always pleased when clerical students assisted at the Mass.

Another St Cecilia's is, of course, the Benedictine community in Ryde which has also resolutely kept up the tradition of Gregorian Chant. Please remember both communities in your prayers.

Advertising opportunity

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If you are outside the UK, this week's big story here is that Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have mislaid two discs with the personal details of all the members of families in the UK with a child under 16 - about 25 million people's information, including:National insurance numberNameAddress Date of birthPartner's detailsNames, sex and age of childrenBank/savings account detailsI just saw this advert on Guido Fawkes blog. The gentleman in the photo is Alistair Darling, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, whose future is currently the subject of heated discussion in the mainstream press.

Naturally, the following spoof was not long in showing up on ebay (it has been removed now):

H/T UK Commentators

Happy Thanksgiving!

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And thank God for the blogosphere since I now get reminded when Americans are celebrating Thanksgiving. Hope you all have a great feast of turkey and pumpkin pie.

God bless your families and God bless America!

Studying Dominus Iesus

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At Parkminster, we have nearly got to the end of the course on Revelation and I am going through a section on the relation of the Church to non-Christian religions and to non-believers. This week, I thought it would be good to go carefully through the Declaration of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dominus Iesus "On the unicity and salvific universality of Jesus Christ and the Church."

This is a most helpful document and something of a model of what the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is there for. It gives a clear exposition of what must be "firmly believed", a phrase that is used several times to highlight key doctrines. It also highlights errors concerning the faith and points out various areas where further theological discussion would be helpful, for example, exploring the manner in which those elements of other faiths which are positive may fall within the divine plan of salvation by a participation in the unique and universal mediat…

A reform which still "challenges"

The Liturgical Press has published A Challenging Reform. Realizing the Vision of the Liturgical Renewal by Archbishop Piero Marini who has recently been replaced as Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations. From the the first chapter, it seems as though this is a companion volume to Archbishop Bugnini's La Riforma Liturgica (English translation also published by the Liturgical Press), giving details of the process of the reform and the complex bureaucratic stages by which it was implemented. As such, it will probably be a useful reference work.

The publishers' blurb runs as follows:In these pages Archbishop Piero Marini reveals the vision, courage, and faith of the pastors and scholars who struggled to implement the Second Vatican Council’s teachings on the liturgy. While in some circles it is fashionable to propose “a reform of the liturgical reform,” any such revision needs to take into account the history of the consilium—the organism established by the Holy See to carry…

... a certain loss of faith

Last week, Agenzia Fides, the news service of Propaganda Fide, ran an interview with Archbishop Ranjith (Italian). I mentioned this on Saturday but did not read the interview carefully enough and missed a significant point.

Looking at my blog feeds the other day, I saw that Andrea Tornielli, and Luigi Accattoli picked up his reference to communion in the hand. Here is my translation of the relevant section:Let us distinguish carefully. The post-conciliar reform was not entirely negative; on the contrary, there are many positive aspects in what has been realised. But there are also changes introduced without authorisation which continue to be carried forward despite their harmful effects on the faith and liturgical life of the Church.

I speak for example of a change that was brought about in the reform which was not proposed either by the Council Fathers or by Sacrosanctum Concilium, that is, communion in the hand. This contributed in a way to a certain loss of faith in the real Presence…

Archbishop Ranjith in L'Osservatore

Many thanks to Fr Z for alerting us to an interview with Archbishop Ranjith in L'Osservatore Romano for 19-20 November. (WDTPRS: Archbp. Ranjith interview in L’Osservatore Romano on liturgy) Titled "Fedeltà al Concilio" ("Faithfulness to the Council"), the interview was taken by Maurizio Fontana for the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the encyclical Mediator Dei. Father pastes the full Italian text of the article which can be sourced at the relevant webpage of L'Osservatore. The weekly English edition is due tomorrow, I think, and so there will perhaps be an English translation of the whole article. Fr Z translates one representative excerpt. Here is another in my own translation:Is there an appeal also to those who form priests?

I would say yes. After all, faced by certain arbitrary and less serious conceptions of the liturgy, it must be asked what is taught in some seminaries.

We cannot approach the liturgy with a superficial and less than scientific a…

Another encouraging trip

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Photo: Parish website photo gallery

The talk at Durham last night was well attended and I enjoyed both the question session and the informal gathering afterwards. As at both Oxford and St Andrews, there was a good number of interested students who are committed to their faith and will, I am sure, take an active part in the life of the Church in whatever turns out to be their future path in life. I find these visits to university Catholic societies very encouraging.

At Durham, the chaplaincy is based at St Cuthbert's, one of the parish Churches. During term time, the evening Mass on Sunday is particularly for the students. The Church was impressively full. St Cuthbert's was built just before the 1829 Catholic Emancipation Act and is from that period when Churches were a little more discreet in external appearance.

To Durham

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This evening, I will be speaking at the Catholic Society of the University of Durham. Originally, I was going to speak about hell (well, the four last things, anyway) but then they heard that I had spoken about Richard Dawkins at St Andrews and asked me to change the subject.

I am beginning to feel about Richard Dawkins rather as I began to feel about the Da Vinci Code after a while. I wonder if Richard Dawkins will soon become as passé. I very much hope so because "The God Delusion" was not at all as interesting as books like "The Selfish Gene" or "River Out of Eden". I now begin my talks by saying that I used to begin my talks by saying that I had a great respect for the writing of Richard Dawkins. After reading "The God Delusion" in which he majors in subject areas where he is very weak and prejudiced, that respect has diminished quite a bit.

This version of the talk will benefit from my having now read Fr Tom Crean OP's book "A Cathol…

Hilarious - but with a serious point

From the About this Video text from YouTube:
"In the UK Walter Wolfgang was famously removed from a Labour Party Conference for daring to shout "Nonsense" during Jack Straw's speech. I always thought heckling was part of the political hustings. Not any longer. Three laws - Terrorism Act, Public Order Act and Harassment Act - can be used against hecklers..."This is how journalist Sam Delaney and friends got around the various laws when Mr Straw was speaking in Oxford...



H/T to The Muniment Room via Mulier Fortis

A circular to seminarians?

The Italian News Agency Androkronos reports today:"[...] According to what has been learned from authoritative sources, the dicastery presided by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos (among the main supporters of the return of the Mass according to the pre-Conciliar rite) would be considering a circular addressed to seminarians which, in practice, is aimed directly to those bishops who, 'disobeying' the Pope's motu proprio, do not want them to know how to celebrate Mass according to the rite of St Pius V."Now I wonder if that is true?

H/T Rorate Caeli

Archbishop Ranjith and Fr Lang

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Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, recently gave an interview to Fides, the news agency of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples. Here is a taster:Your Excellency, what is in your opinion the deep significance of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum?

I see in this decision not only the solicitude of the Holy Father to open the road for the reentry into the full communion of the Church of the followers of Archbishop Lefebvre, but also a sign for all the Church on some theological-disciplinary principles [which must] be safeguarded for its deep renewal, so much desired by the Council.

It seems to me that there is a strong desire by the Pope to correct those temptations [which are] visible in some circles which see the Council as a moment of rupture with the past and of a new beginning. It is enough to recall his speech to the Roman Curia on December 22, 2005.Oh yes! We know all about that speech on this blog, don't we readers…

Discovering Michael O'Brien

I am not sure it was wise of me to read Michael O'Brien's Father Elijah. An apocalypse (Ignatius Press) just after reading "The Cube and the Cathedral". O'Brien paints out in fiction what Weigel describes in principle. In the opening chapters of the book, when Fr Elijah is summoned to Rome, I found the description of his harrassment by officialdom and the impact of notched-up secularism disturbing. The novel describes the rise of the Antichrist in a way that is at times like an update of Robert Hugh Benson's Lord of the World.

A priest friend recommended O'Brien to me, expressing surprise that I had not come across him. I am grateful for the pointer and will be reading my way through his books on train journeys and waiting rooms during the coming months.

On his own website studiObrien, the author states that in all his work (painting, novels and essays), he seeks to contribute to the restoration of Christian culture. As well as links to information about h…

"The Cube and the Cathedral"

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The Grande Arche de la Fraternité in Paris, otherwise known as the Arche de la Défense was the initiative of François Mitterrand. It was designed as a monument to humanity and humanitarian ideals: it was nevertheless inaugurated on the bicentenary of the French Revolution.

A visit to the "Cube" and the clichéd observation that the cathedral of Notre Dame would fit comfortably inside it, inspired George Weigel to ask: "Which culture would more firmly secure the moral foundations of democracy?", a question which he addresses in his book "The Cube and the Cathedral." He looks at various odd features of the current cultural climate in Europe. Among them, he raises the failure of Europeans after 1989 to condemn communism as a moral and political monstrosity, instead allowing only the politically correct and anodyne observation that it "didn't work"; he questions Europe's retreat from democracy into the bureaucracy of Brussels, and the routine…

Faith Magazine Nov-Dec 2007

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The Faith Magazine for November-December 2007 is now online. (The September-October issue went up a while back and I forgot to mention it.)

As ever, you can read or download the whole content free of charge from the Faith website. If you want a printed copy, you can subscribe at the website too: £19 UK, £22 Europe. £26 airmail. There is a £15 student rate.

Calling Mel Gibson!

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Dear Mr Gibson,

Please make a brilliant film about St Edmund Campion.

Yours Sincerely,

Catholics in England

The graphic to the left is from the Facebook group of the same name. (For those on Facebook, here is a link to the group.) More than one person has suggested to me in the past that it would be a great thing if Mel Gibson were to make a film about the life of St Edmund Campion. This was always a good idea; after the new Elizabeth film, it is a must.

So the campaign starts here. Someone reading this blog must know someone who knows Mel Gibson. 1. Encourage him to read Evelyn Waugh's stirring account of St Edmund Campion (if indeed he has not already read it); 2. Challenge him to find a good reason not to make a thrilling, spectacular and emotionally-charged blockbuster movie about the Saint which would inspire anyone with an open mind; 3. Emphasise that this will counter the black legend, whig history propaganda of "Elizabeth. The Golden Age".

Fellow bloggers: I don't…

Nicean Blues

It is ages since we had any videos on this blog. Here is one that is doing the rounds:



It is published on Love to be Catholic which is worth browsing.

Cardinal Pell's sermon

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Cardinal George Pell celebrated a Solemn Pontifical Mass in the traditional Roman Rite at St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney on 3 November, the first time that a Cardinal has celebrated the old Latin Mass at St Mary's Cathedral in over 40 years. His homily has been published on the website of the Archdiocese of Sydney.

The first part of the homily is a reflection on Catholic devotion to Our Lady. Towards the end, the Cardinal addresses the question of the traditional Roman rite:With the frenetic pace of modern life and the somewhat dangerous times in which we live, we are fulfilling the explicit desire of the Church by coming together this morning for this Holy Mass in honour of the Mother of God.

Let me add that we are also fulfilling the desire of the Church, and the wish of the Holy Father as expressed in his recent Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum by offering the Sacrifice of the Mass according to the 1962 Roman Missal.

This rite nourished my own childhood and young adulthood, as…

Marchetto attacks Bologna school

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Archbishop Agostino Marchetto, the Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Migrants and Tourists, recently gave a speech at Ancona which was reported by the Catholic News Agency (CNA: Vatican II not open to free interpretations, says Vatican official)

Here is a part of the article:“Vatican II was a great event, a synthesis between tradition and renewal that is not a break with the past in the creation of a new Church,” the archbishop said during a speech on the Catholic Church in the 20th century in the city of Ancona.

He said the members of the School of Bologna have been very successful in “monopolizing and imposing one interpretation” of Vatican II that goes beyond what John XXIII and Paul VI imagined, even so far as to propose “a Copernican revolution, the passing to…another Catholicism.”Coming from a senior curial official, this is a significant public criticism of the Bologna school.

Archbishop Marchetto (67) has been secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Migrants and Touri…

Where the priest should look during Mass

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In response to the post Facing the Crucifix, Gem of the Ocean said:H'mmm...so the pope wants me to look at the cross on the altar, rather than the REAL PRESENCE in his own hands?I think that it is worth explaining a little more about the question because obviously it would be wrong for the priest to look at the crucifix in preference to the consecrated host. This is a good example of how the rubrics of the old rite can help us to celebrate the new rite better.

In the old rite, the priest learns to look up at the crucifix and then down at the host during the offertory prayer for the bread (Suscipe sancte Pater). Thus his attention is drawn to God, to whom he offers the sacrifice, and to the host which is offered. At the same time, he is reminded to offer himself. Offering the chalice, (Offerimus tibi Domine) he looks only at the crucifix, asking God's clemency for our salvation and that of the whole world.

When "looking up to heaven" in the Canon in union with Christ (e…

Rosmini to be beatified

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Sandro Magister reports today on the forthcoming beatification of Antonio Rosmini on Sunday 18 November in Novara, Northern Italy. (Chiesa: Blessed Liberty: The Posthumous Miracle of Antonio Rosmini) Magister observes:Of his books, the one still most widely read and translated is "Delle cinque piaghe della santa Chiesa [Of the Five Wounds of the Holy Church]." One of the wounds that he denounced was the ignorance of the clergy and the people in celebrating the liturgy. But it is a mistake to view him as a standard bearer for the abandonment of the use of Latin. He wrote, instead, that "reducing the sacred rites to the vernacular languages would mean resorting to a remedy worse than the disease." Magister also points out that Rosmini was condemned by the Holy Office in 1887 and this condemnation was only finally rescinded by Cardinal Ratzinger in 2001. He therefore refers to the forthcoming beatification as a miracle. Perhaps it is, but not such an unusual one in th…

Facing the crucifix

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In "The Spirit of the Liturgy", Cardinal Ratzinger argued that whenever the priest was saying Mass versus populum, it would be good for the crucifix to be placed in the centre to form the focus of the liturgical action. It is good to see this photograph from a recent Papal Mass at the Altar of the Chair:



H/T New Liturgical Movement

"Summa Theoblogica"?

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Hilary White was in town today, that author of The Devout Life and, more recently, Orwell's picnic. She also writes regularly for the excellent LifeSite News. She was able to get out to visit Blackfen for our Classical Rite Mass this morning so I suggested that we have a bloggers' lunch, accompanied by Mac of Mulier Fortis (to whom credit for the photo.) Pizza and Pasta at Zizzis was not favoured so we opted for the buffet at the Laughing Buddha. As it was lunchtime, we were not favoured either with a customer Karaoke session or with the proprietor doing his star turn as the Chinese Elvis impersonator. But it's an ill wind... the absence of entertainments meant that we could talk.

We inevitably got onto the question of the remarks of Bishop Hollis on the legalisation of brothels. Discussing the views of St Thomas Aquinas, I found myself saying that St Thomas "posted" on the subject. After protesting that I did know that in those days, people wrote things down in o…

Fr Z on Tablet editorial

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Fr Z has fisked the dreadful editorial that appeared in this week's Tablet undermining Summorum Pontificum and attacking the good Archbishop Ranjith. See Unsigned editorial in The Tablet: craven prejudice against those who want the older Mass.

Personally I have always refused to read the Tablet except on rare occasions. It went the wrong way in 1968 (when I was 10) in response to Humanae Vitae and since then, including all my adult life it has been the voice of dissent from the Magisterium. It has long been given a respectful hearing in England far beyond it merits.

However, I am most grateful to Fr Z for his occasional sallies against its "craven prejudice" and what seems to be an increasingly bitter tone since the election of Pope Benedict.

Should brothels be legalised?

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My Firefox homepage is a personalised iGoogle page with useful bits and pieces. Among them are the Daily Telegraph and Google News feeds - and a feed from Reuters "oddly enough" section. This has items like "Man forgets car at gas station", "Cow plunges off cliff onto moving minivan", you know the sort of thing. Yesterday's selection had "Bishop backs brothel regulation" with the story that Bishop Hollis of Portsmouth has supported the local branch of the Women's Institute in calling for the licensing and regulation of brothels.

It was perhaps unfair of Reuters to list it with randomly falling cows and absent-minded drivers since Bishop Hollis was offering a serious and well-intentioned argument. However, it is one with which I respectfully but strongly disagree. The legalisation of an evil seldom has the hoped-for consequences and inevitably leads to a greater social acceptance of the particular evil that is legalised.

Bishop Hollis is qu…

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