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Showing posts from November, 2009

Papal Vespers

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Thanks to NLM for the above and other screen grabs from the Papal Vespers last evening for the first Sunday of Advent.

The Holy Father now has a new ferula, or pastoral staff, donated by the Circolo San Pietro, and similar to the one used by Blessed Pope Pius IX. More information at WDTPRS

Novus Ordo aniversary

Today, the first Sunday of Advent, is, liturgically speaking, the 40th anniversary of the introduction of the Novus Ordo Missae, the Missal of Pope Paul VI. to mark the anniversary, the New York Times has published an Op-Ed piece by Kenneth J. Wolfe on Latin Mass Appeal.

This morning, as I do each week, I offered Mass in the older form of the Roman Rite, alongside our three other precept Masses which are in English according to the Missal of Pope Paul VI. I agree with Wolfe when he says:40 years of the new Mass have brought chaos and banality into the most visible and outward sign of the church. Benedict XVI wants a return to order and meaning. So, it seems, does the next generation of Catholics.

"The Martyr's Crown" book

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Fr Paul Keane, an alumnus of the Venerable English College at Rome, has written an excellent book about the pictures which decorate the Tribune of the Church of St Thomas of Canterbury at the College.

There is a good introduction and then a narrative description, together with colour plate reproductions, of each of the 34 newly restored paintings. In the course of describing the paintings, the book offers a helpful and sensible summary of the myths and legends relating to the early Catholic history of England, as well as giving a good introduction to the lives of the martyrs.

Available from Family Publications. Price £17.50 (232pp)

The right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue

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Many thanks to Rorate Caeli for publishing a significant letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship. (See: It is not licit to deny communion on the tongue due to H1N1)

I knew from a source in England that several such letters had been sent and was waiting for one of them to be published. Such letters are not, of course, confidential. They are very carefully written and approved because the Vatican dicasteries know that they will be made public.

Rorate Caeli has the jpeg which is copied above. Fr Z has kindly posted a transcript:

Prot. N. 655/09/L

Rome, 24 July 2009

Dear _

This Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments wishes to acknowldge receipt of your letter dated 22 June 2009 regarding the right of the faithful to receive Holy Communion on the tongue.

This Dicastery observes that its Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum (25 March 2004) clearly stipulates that "each of the faithful always has the right to receive Holy Communion on the tongue" (n. 92, …

"Secret Harbour" blog

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The Secret Harbour blog takes its title from some words of St Bruno:Rejoice, because you have escaped the various dangers and shipwrecks of the stormy world. Rejoice because you have reached the quiet and safe anchorage of a secret harbor. Saint Bruno's letter to his sons the CarthusiansThe sidebar gives the text in the original so here it is for all you Latin students:Gaudete, quia evasistis fluctuantis mundi multimoda pericula et naufragia. Gaudete, quia quietam et tutam stationem portus secretioris obtinuistis. Ex Epistola sancti Brunonis ad filios suos CarthusiensesJeffrey S.J. Allan, the blog author, writes from Bel Air, Maryland USA and posts on matters to do with prayer, contemplation and especially the Carthusians. There are some good Carthusian related pictures too.

I was at St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster, today to give my theology class for the novices and simply professed. The numbers are down a little but for good reasons: two of my students are now engaged in …

Happy Thanksgiving

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Thanksgiving Day is one of those things that really illustrates the difference between Britain and the USA. It also shows me each year the way that social networking can make us aware of important occasions that others celebrate: it would have passed me by completely had I not just seen various tweets about it.

The Curt Jester has a good article pointing out that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated in St Augustine, Florida on September 8, 1565. It was the first community act of religion in the first permanent European settlement in the land: it also included both Spanish and natives. See: The actual First Thanksgiving in America

Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving Day to all my readers in the USA and I hope you enjoy the turkey. God bless your families and God bless America!

Camberley Parish Schola CD

A friend from the parish of St Peter and St John in Camberley (part of the combined parish of Camberley and Bagshot) sends me news of a CD produced by the parish schola - a group of ordinary Catholics who get together once a week to provide good music for the parish. You can buy the CD (to be released on 30 November) or buy single mp3 tracks. It is also possible to preview the tracks. Proceeds from sales go to the local hospice at Farnham.

Chant course at Santa Cecilia in Trastevere

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At the basilica of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere, the tradition of Gregorian Chant has been kept alive over the past decades by the community of Benedictine nuns. There is now an initiative called "Cantantibus Organis" to help others to learn more about the chant.

Each Sunday, from 9.30am, there will be a half-hour practice of the chants to be used in that day's Mass (ordinary form). After the Masses, during Advent, there will be the following lectures from 11.15am-12noon:

1) "The Introits of the Sundays in Advent"
Luigi Pastoressa, choirmaster and organist at Santa Cecilia.

2) "The ‘sound’ of the Word: Gregorian chant in the liturgy."
Dr Jordi-Augustí Pique OSB, from the monastery at Montserrat and director of the Escolania de Montserrat, the oldest surviving music school in Europe, is at Sant' Anselmo this term. He was the organist when Pope Benedict visited Montecassino on 24 May.

3) "Introduction to Liturgical Spirituality"
Monsignor Crispin…

Manhattan Declaration

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I have just signed the Manhattan Declaration - it seems fairly straightforward that we should support it. Over 93,000 signatures as at the time of writing but more will always be good for this kind of campaign.

Here's the text:Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are:the sanctity of human lifethe dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wifethe rights of conscience and religious liberty. Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because …

First Things - Christian Humanism and "The Prisoner"

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David Hart has an article for First Things in which he looks at the Christian humanism of Patrick McGoohan, especially in the series "The Prisoner". (See: Imprisoned) I find from the article that David Hart is about six years younger than me because he was only four when the series was aired on US television. I remember watching Patrick McGoohan as "Danger Man" and as "Number 6", and was most impressed to read that as a Catholic with firm moral convictions, he had turned down the role of James Bond because he "objected to the idea of a hero whose chief accomplishments were killing and copulating at random."

Hart observes how remarkable it is in reviewing "Danger Man" ("Secret Agent" in the US) all these years on, that:its central character—a handsome man in a dangerous line of work—is entirely devoid of any impulse towards brutality or promiscuity. And yet, for many of us who came of age watching him, McGoohan was the very qui…

CS&F Bill - advice on strategy

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Last week I mentioned the Children, Schools and Families (CS&F) Bill as a result of a mistake that I made, some very helpful information and advice on strategy came in from various sources; for which I am most grateful. (Commenters who could not allow their comments to be published may contact me on rosary@freeuk.com - I would be very glad to hear from you, at least to have the chance to thank you personally.)

The current business statement for Parliament runs to 3 December and the CS&F Bill second reading is not included in it. When any progress is made, such information as the Hansard record of debates, procedural motions, lists of amendments will be posted at the dedicated page for the CS&F Bill at the Parliamentary website. There is also a link there to further information about the passage of a Bill.

It was also pointed out to me that since this session of Parliament will be very short (there is widespread speculation that Parliament will be dissolved around Easter) the…

Chislehurst Requiem

On Saturday, Fr Briggs celebrated the annual Requiem Mass for those buried in the graveyard at St Mary's Chislehurst. I was very happy to assist as Deacon for the Mass; the Revd John Harrison, the parish Deacon, acted as subdeacon.

Mulier Fortis was there with her camera and took a fine set of pictures which are put together here in a slideshow:



I am getting more and more familiar with High Mass. Since we have a Missa Cantata every Sunday at Blackfen, I have no trouble singing either the epistle or the gospel and I find that the ceremonies are easier each time. There are one or two difference for the Requiem Mass.

On the way round the graveyard, Fr Briggs blessed the grave of the late Michael Davies. It was a pity that we did not have a special photo - perhaps next year.

"Almighty Answers" blog

A student at the University of Edinburgh tells me of the Catholic chaplaincy there, which is run by the Dominicans. The students are fortunate to have five friars dedicated to their our spiritual care.

Last year they started up a blog called 'Almighty Answers' to encourage ordinary students (as well as anyone else who comes across the blog) to ask questions about the Faith or any other aspect of the Church. These questions are then responded to, either by one of the priests, or by a student, depending on the nature of the question.

The blog was set up and run last term during the Chaplaincy's 'Mission Week' and it has now been restarted. They welcome questions and comments ...

OU Newman Society Mass at Corpus

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Photograph by James Bradley

Yesterday evening, the Abbot of Downside, Aidan Bellenger, celebrated Mass in the chapel of Corpus Christi College, Oxford, at the invitation of the Newman Society. As a former President of the Society, and a member of Corpus, I was very disappointed not to be able to take up the invitation to assist at the Mass. It is great to see photos of the chapel with its magnificent altarpiece by Rubens and the rare pre-reformation brass eagle lectern, in the context of the celebration of Mass. The Mass was celebrated in the ordinary form with Haydn's Missa in Angustiis.

Bad Vestments blog

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H/T In Hoc Signo Vinces for news of the Bad vestments blog. Here is the Vision Statement:This site is dedicated to subjecting particularly awful Christian liturgical vestments to the ridicule they so richly deserve.Submissions are welcomed and can be e-mailed to websterglobe at juno dot com.

Book launch for "English Catholic Heroines"

The book launch for "English Catholic Heroines" the other evening was a great opportunity to catch up with some friends, as well as being a well-deserved promotion for the new book which consists of 22 short lives of women who can certainly qualify as Catholic, and can reasonably be listed as both heroines and English (the introduction discusses the criteria.)

I have been reading some of the chapters, including a very good piece by Fr Anthony Conlon on Queen Mary Tudor, and an outstanding opening chapter by Sr Etheldreda Hession OSB on Sts Hilda and Etheldreda.

Many of the contributors are "linkable" so here are some examples. The Editor is Auntie Joanna (who also wrote the chapters on Caroline Chisolm and Elinor Brent-Dyer.) Other contributors include Fiorella Nash (Elizabeth Cellier), Mac McLernon (St Anne Line), Simon Caldwell (M Riccarda Hambrough) of the Catholic Herald, Leonie Caldecott (Caryll Houselander) of Second Spring, Dora Nash (Frences Wootten), author …

Promo video for "Arise Once More"

The DVD "Arise Once More" has public screenings next week at various venues (including Blackfen). I have just uploaded the promotional clip to YouTube:

Mgr Reilly coming to town

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Mgr Reilly is the founder of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants whose apostolate is to pray quietly and peacefully outside abortion clinics and to offer compassionate support to help women avoid abortion. (See the UK website.)

He will be in London on Friday 4 December Monsignor to give a talk entitled "Reasons for Hope in this Epic Struggle for Life". The talk will be at 7.30pm at St James's Church Hall, Spanish Place, 22 George Street, London, W1U 3QY.

Monsignor Reilly will also lead a Helpers vigil from Ealing Abbey to Mattock Lane Abortuary on Saturday 5 December. The Day begins with Mass at Ealing Abbey at 9.15am, followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. There will be a prayerful and peaceful procession to the local Marie Stopes Abortion clinic, with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Rosary and hymns. At 11.45am the procession returns to the Abbey for Benediction. Afterwards there will be an opportunity to chat together (please bring a packed lunch.…

Policy based evidence making

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Freedom for Children to Grow is the site for the Home Education campaign run by Education Otherwise. They have an article about yesterday's Queen's Speech in which Her Majesty announces her government's legislation. One sentence was:"Legislation will be brought forward to introduce guarantees for pupils and parents to raise educational standards"This refers to the Children, Schools and Families Bill which will "introduce a new home educators' registration system."

A good article on the Badman Review of Home Education, which has been used to justify the new legislation, describes it as "Policy Based Evidence Making."

[Correction: many thanks to those who corrected my impression that the Bill was to be debated in the next few days. I've removed that section of the post. I'll post something more later.]

National Geographic on Mount Athos

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Photo by Travis Dove
National Geographic has an illustrated article Called to the Holy Mountain. The Monks of Mount Athos which takes a sympathetic look at the life of the monks on the holy peninsula. there are also some stunning photos by Travis Dove.

H/T @lukecoppen on Twitter

Photos of the Curé D'Ars

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Terry at Idle Speculations has posted a collection of photographs of the Curé d'Ars after he had died in 1859.

The photographs were taken by Camille Dolard using the wet plate collodion process invented by the Englishman Frederick Scott Archer. They are kept at the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Papa Professore on Cathedrals

Yesterday, at the General Audience address, the Holy Father moved from medieval theology to medieval cathedrals. Here's the YouTube video of the summary of his address for English speaking pilgrims.



At the Vatican website, you can read the full text in Italian of the General Audience address. If you don't read Italian, Google translate is getting better all the time ...

Excellent document from the Irish Bishops

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The Irish Bishops have issued a very good statement for teachers to inform them of the way in which children who attend the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will be accustomed to receiving Holy Communion. The title may be misleading - this is not an enactment about how Holy Communion is to be received but a guide for teachers so that the needs of children who regularly attend the usus antiqior are not simply ignored or contradicted through a lack of knowledge.

A pdf of the document can be obtained from the Irish Bishops' Conference website. I have reproduced it below to offer some comments in red. (The emphases in bold are in the original document.) My comments are not intended to be negative since I consider this to be a generous-hearted document - there are just a few observations on my part which I hope will be helpful.

GUIDELINES FOR THE RECEPTION OF COMMUNION DURING THE EXTRAORDINARY FORM OF THE MASS

Children who attend the extraordinary form of the Mass will receive Communi…

A new resource for Gregorian chant

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Nick Gale, the organist and choir director at St George's Cathedral, Southwark, has been doing a sterling job running courses for choirs to introduce them to Gregorian Chant. Today he has passed on details to me of some new CDs that have been produced to help choirs learn some of the basic chants that are frequently in use. Here is the information:Gregorian chant teaching discs
This week sees the release of the first of three discs of Gregorian Chant produced to assist musical directors, cantors, choirs and congregations learn a Chant repertoire for use in the Liturgy. The discs were recorded by Signum Records, London, and the Chant is sung by three members of the Choir of St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, London, UK and recorded in the Cathedral’s beautiful Lady Chapel under the direction of the Cathedral’s Organist and Master of the Choristers, Nick Gale.

The first disc, Chants of the Ordinary, contains a selection of Mass ordinaries (Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, Agnus Dei, Ite and Be…

Novus Ordo 40th anniversary

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Fr Z has an excellent podcast analysing Pope Paul VI's General Audience address for 26 November 1969 in which he speaks about the "liturgical innovation of the new rite of the Mass" which was to be introduced on the first Sunday of Advent, four days later.

I was struck by this passage in the address:So what is to be done on this special and historical occasion? First of all, we must prepare ourselves. This novelty is no small thing. We should not let ourselves be surprised by the nature, or even the nuisance, of its exterior forms.Four days is not much time to prepare; clearly people were expected just to get on with it and "prepare" as they went along. Another passage makes this clear:But there is still a practical difficulty, which the excellence of the sacred renders not a little important. How can we celebrate this new rite when we have not yet got a complete missal, and there are still so many uncertainties about what to do?Those of us who were around at th…

New film: "Arise Once More"

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St Anthony Communications have produced a DVD called "Arise Once More" to offer an encouraging and hopeful look at Catholicism in Britain today and to encourage Catholics to revive the faith by their example, teaching and witness.

The film gives a summary of the history of Catholicism in Britain, beginning with St Alban and the beginning of Christianity in these isles, following the great cultural, artistic and educational achievements of the middle ages, looking at the tragedy of the Reformation, and the Second Spring which brought new life to the Church. The last section of the film focusses on the need for a revival of Catholic life and the steps necessary to achieve it. I have just watched the film through and I think it is an excellent resource for parishes, offering an upbeat response to the dismal secularist propaganda about the Catholic Church that can be discouraging to ordinary Catholics.

The commentary is provided by James and Joanna Bogle, Fr Marcus Holden, Fr Andr…

"Alive to the World": good PSHE programme

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Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE) is a political football in educational policy in the UK. Many Catholic parents are rightly concerned that their right to bring their children up according to the faith is undermined by some of the programmes in use.

Therefore it is good to see a new PSHE programme that can be highly recommended. Alive to the World was created by Christine Vollmer, who is well known in international circles for her campaign work for the family. She sits on the Pontifical Council for the Family and the Pontifical Academy for Life. She originally created the programme for Latin America and the UK team has edited the English translation to make it suitable for use in England. The books are designed for whole school PSHE but can also be used in the home and in parishes. Alive to the World is published by Gracewing and may be ordered from the dedicated website at a special introductory discount.

Knowing that there can always be pitfalls, even in well-meaning progra…

New CD - Vatican "torture"

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A daily chore for parish priests is opening assorted envelopes that arrive in the post each day, taking one look at the contents, and throwing them and the envelope in the bin. I have one of those big square "stack 'n store" boxes next to the desk since they can take more reams of paper before you have to empty it. To be honest, I look forward to the postal strikes.

Occasionally there is an item worth at least reading. The other day a flyer arrived for a new CD "Alma Mater. Music from the Vatican". To be honest, years spent in Rome meant that the promise of "Music from the Vatican" didn't really get me rushing for my credit card - but it did say that it featured the voice of the Holy Father and this gave me pause for thought. Not a long pause: after a few seconds, I decided that it might well be just a bit of exploitation of the Holy Father to sell a mediocre CD.

My snap judgement is confirmed by Damian Thompson who has listened to the CD and did no…

Anagni, St Thomas Becket and the infamous "Slap"

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My good friend Hilariter, who must by now be near to finishing his Doctorate on St Hilary of Poitiers, doesn't update his blog very often but when he does, it is worth reading. Yesterday he had a fascinating account of a trip to Anagni. Although the museum was "in restauro" (closed for restoration) - an expression with which you become wearily familiar in Italy, the intrepid Father managed to get in, courtesy of a couple of priests who were around.

They got to see the mitre of St Thomas Becket and other relics. The frescoes depicting the death of the martyr Bishop St Magnus owe much to the story of St Thomas Becket. As in all good Italian gite, the day included lunch at a "good but cheap trattoria" - that is one of the great blessings of life in Italy. You can have a large bowl of pasta, fresh local bread, and a carafe of local wine for about as much as you would pay for a sandwich and a "smoothie" in London.

In another tradition of such days out, there…

St Anthony has a laugh

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A parishioner told me today of her grown up son who was getting annoyed because he could not find the SD card from his camera with important photos on it. In desperation, he said,

"Who's that saint you pray to for lost things?"

Mother replied with assurance,

"Saint Anthony."

So he duly prayed. After a short nap, the SD card was found - sticking to the back of his jumper.

Matteo Ricci exhibition, Rome

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Sandro Magister reports on a new exhibition in the Braccio di Carlo Magno wing of Saint Peter's Square, devoted to the Jesuit missionary to China, Matteo Ricci. (See: Matteo Ricci. How to "Inculturate" Christianity in China)

As I will be in Rome this January for the Clergy Conference, I hope to be able to visit the exhibition.

Jack Sullivan at London and Birmingham Oratories

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On Wednesday, Deacon Jack Sullivan gave the CTS Lecture at the London Oratory, introduced by the eminent Newman scholar, Fr Ian Ker. There is more information and more excellent photos at the blog for the cause of Newman's canonisation. See: Lecture at the Brompton Oratory: Newman, authentic theologian of the tradition, he tells us that heaven is real

Yesterday, Deacon Jack was at the Birmingham Oratory, assisted at Mass, and gave an interview for EWTN. He also venerated Newman's relics - it must surely be particularly moving to venerate the relics of the holy man who worked a miracle for him at his intercession.

This morning, he assisted the Provost, Fr Paul Chavasse, at Mass at the altar in Newman's room:

I had the privilege of saying Mass at this altar some years ago. Newman's room is preserved just as he left it; a fascinating glimpse into the great man's life.

More information and photos:Sullivan at the Birmingham Oratory: St Josaphat, Newman and true Ecumenism

"Dead language, facing a wall"

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The National Catholic Reporter, which Americans sometimes portray as their equivalent of the Tablet, comes out this week with an astonishing attack on Cardinal Rodé which covers a sideswipe at the Pontificate of Pope Benedict. Fr Z has a fisk on the article, describing it as a "nutty" - which seems fair.

It's actually quite funny as well. Here's the purple passage:Or is he upset that most do not prefer, as he does, dressing up in the trappings of royalty, the yards of silk in the cappa magna, the canopies and throne chairs and all the rest -- being attended by his minions, younger priests in lacy surplices, birettas and old-fashioned vestments encrusted with gold thread and jewels -- all the while speaking in a dead language, facing a wall, his back to the people?This asinine description of Mass celebrated ad orientem in the timeless language of the Church, with dignified vestments, will doubtless be quoted by young traddies over pints of beer and guffaws of laughter…

Undignified post from "Dignity in Dying"

The euphemistically named "Dignity in Dying" (formerly the Voluntary Euthanasia Society) has responded to John Smeaton's post on the recent UCL debate on assisted suicide.

Here's the core of Dignity in Dying's case for the prosecution:SPUC are a pro-life organisation who have a lot to say about assisted dying, abortion and sex education (they are in need of a name change, perhaps the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, Hormonal Teenagers, and Terminally Ill People who are Unaware that Suffering brings you closer to your Maker: SPUCHTTIPUS.Summary: "A bizarre attack" (That's SPUC, apparently)

They also accuse SPUC of selective quotation, misprepresentation, seeing shadows and conspiracy theory. They follow this up by examples of the fuller context of the quotations, the true representation of their position, the reality that belies the shadows, and the wacky statements that constitute "conspiracy theory."

Actually, no they don't…

Relics of the Curé d'Ars at the London Oratory

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On a visit to the London Oratory today, Fr Rupert McHardy kindly showed me the relics of St John Vianney which came to England soon after the death of the saintly Curé, brought by a French emigré family. They eventually found a home at St Edmund's College, Ware; the college has lent them to the Oratory. The collection is comprised of devotional items and other personal effects of the Curé.

The reliquary is displayed at the altar of Blessed Sebastian Valfré (1629-1710), a priest of the Oratory in Turin who was beatified in 1834. The altar is in a recess between the sanctuary and the sacristy door.

"All schools, including faith schools"

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The Government has just accepted all the recommendations of last year's Annual Report of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group (TPIAG). I suppose it is not too surprising that the Government accepts the report since it is actually produced by the Government's Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) on behalf of the TPIAG and is hosted at the Government's "Every Child Matters" website.

First of all, let me give you a general flavour of the report. The TPIAG is predictably delighted that the Government has earmarked £26.8 million of our money to for "contraceptive services". They want condoms to be promoted on TV before the 9pm watershed and because of concerns about pornography, they want an official government portal on the internet where young people can access "approved sites on sex and relationships." How reassuring is that for all you mums and dads out there?

The report gives a whistlestop tour of current Government A…

Chief Rabbi speaks up for family values

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Jonathan Sacks (Lord Sacks of Aldgate), the Chief Rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonwealth, has caused a stir with his lecture last week to Theos, the "Public Theology think Tank". Here are links to two articles from the broadsheets:

Telegraph Jonathan Sacks's solution to family breakdown

Falling birth rate is killing Europe, says chief rabbi Jonathan Sacks

The complete text of the lecture has been posted as a Word Document: Lord Sacks 2009. Here is the passage that drew most attention, I think:Parenthood involves massive sacrifice: of money, attention, time and emotional energy. Where today, in European culture with its consumerism and its instant gratification ‘because you’re worth it’, in that culture, where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not yet born? Europe, at least the indigenous population of Europe, is dying, exactly as Polybius said about ancient Greece in the third pre-Christian century. The centu…

Hard-hitting letter to Congressman Kennedy from Bishop Tobin

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St John's Valdosta has the text of a cracking letter from Bishop Thomas Tobin in response to Congressman Patrick Kennedy “The fact that I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic.”

Bishop Tobin takes the congressman to task particularly on the question of the sanctity of human life:Your rejection of the Church’s teaching on abortion falls into a different category – it’s a deliberate and obstinate act of the will; a conscious decision that you’ve re-affirmed on many occasions. Sorry, you can’t chalk it up to an “imperfect humanity.” Your position is unacceptable to the Church and scandalous to many of our members. It absolutely diminishes your communion with the Church.

Cardinal Newman and Jack Sullivan

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In July, Pope Benedict XVI recognised the healing of Deacon Jack Sullivan in 2001 as a miracle resulting from the intercession of the Venerable Servant of God John Henry Newman. This means that his Beatification has been effectively approved. See Pope Benedict XVI approves Newman's beatification

Rev Jack Sullivan gave a press conference in Birmingham yesterday speaking about the miracle, giving a moving account of his experience. He also preached at Mass at Westminster Cathedral.

Deacon Jack Sullivan will be assisting at Mass at the Birmingham Oratory tomorrow. The blog for the cause of the Canonisation of John Henry Newman which has provided all the above news, also highlights the significance of the orientation of the altar. See: Deacon Jack Sullivan, Newman’s Oratory and the ‘hermeneutic of continuity’

Requiem at Belfast

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Eamonn Manning has sent me these photos from the Requiem Mass which was celebrated in the usus antiquior at St Paul's Church in the Falls Road last Saturday:





The congregation of about 100 was a good mix of ages (mostly at the back, as is the Irish custom!) The choir sang the propers from the Graduale and Victoria's Requiem for six voices, as well as the motet Versa Est in Luctum (Lobo), Gregorian Chant and Organ.

As of January, the monthly Saturday afternoon usus antiquior Mass at St Paul's will move to Sunday - a great blessing for those who attend.

Remembrance Sunday at Blackfen

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Mulier Fortis has put together this slideshow of our Remembrance Sunday celebrations at Blackfen - Missa Cantata in the morning and blessing of graves at the local cemetery in the afternoon. The title picture shows me blessing the grave of the first parish priest of Blackfen, Fr Adolf Koch. This is always the first grave that I go to.



Many thanks to one of the senior servers for lending the Mass vestments from his private collection.

I have my own copy of the Missale Defunctorum picked up via the internet at a reasonable price before Summorum Pontificum. My MC had a useful second copy for the absolutions at the catafalque which he got in a second-hand bookshop. It was amusing to see that it originally belonged to the parish of the Holy Ghost, Balham where my good friend Fr Stephen Langridge (Southwark Vocations Director) is parish priest.

Anglicanorum Coetibus

Tsk - I go away to the seminary to teach a couple of classes on Sacramental Theology, get back, say Mass, and then have a quick check of the blogosphere - only to find that a megaton story has broken. Well I have just read through Anglicanorum Coetibus (AC) and, as with Summorum Pontificum, Pope Benedict has bent over backwards to be generous in the service of Christian Unity. Remember Fr Z's point -

Benedict XVI - The Pope of Christian Unity
The primary consideration in the preamble of AC is the mandate of Our Lord to St Peter to guarantee unity and to do everything possible to secure unity. Don't miss out the preamble - it is a good succinct lesson in ecclesiology.

Interestingly, the Personal Ordinariates are put under the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. (AC 1.1) Fr Ghirlanda (under whom I studied Canon Law many years ago) explains the reason for this in his note on the significance of AC.

The authoritative expression of faith is the Catechism of the Catholic Church.…

Confirmations - and the LMS

It has been pointed out to me that I should have mentioned the Latin Mass Society in my post about the usus antiquior Confirmations on Saturday. Apologies for the oversight. The LMS organises this wonderful occasion and we are all very grateful to them.

Confirmations at Spanish Place

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It has been quite a busy weekend since yesterday I went up to St James's, Spanish Place for the Confirmation ceremony. Three of my parishioners were confirmed, and several servers were there. The photos in this post are taken from Mulier Fortis who has some more at her post Confirmation According To The Usus Antiquior.

This was the first time that I have participated in the celebration of Confirmation in the usus antiquior. Judging by the enthusiasm of the families, I expect it will not be the last. The choir of the parish of Spanish Place sang magnificently and the organist contributed superbly to the proceedings.

After the ceremony I went to Pizza Express with one of the families - and found that Fr Jason Jones of Our Lady of the Taper was also there with the group that he had brought from Cardigan.

Gloria TV News - English focus today

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Fr Charles Briggs regularly poaches my parishioners for his 7.30pm usus antiquior Low Mass on a Friday evening and I often poach his parishioners for my Masses at Blackfen. We are cool about this in the spirit of inter-parish collaboration. So I dropped in to his Mass this evening before we both went out for a late supper of fish and chips.

Fr Briggs is an assiduous follower of the compulsive source of Catholic information which is Gloria TV news. Presented by the lovely Doina Buzut (with whom, I am proud to say, I am friends on Facebook) this is a source of pleasantly presented but hard-hitting news items from the Catholic world.

Today's news has a particular focus on England with an item at the beginning reporting on Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor's comments on the Holy Father's proposals for Anglicans to come into full communion with the Catholic Church.

Bloggers will also be interested to see that Damian Thompson is also featured. The news picks up on his article of …

"Is the Church a force for good?"

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There is an excellent letter in the Catholic Herald by Christopher Koe who points out that the motion "Is the Church a force for good?" was also debated at the university in Paris in the early 1830s, it was defeated, but the occasion led to Frederick Ozanam founding the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

New proposals for sex-ed - dictatorship of relativism

You can read the CESEW response to the Governments latest proposals on sex education in schools, and a clarification which states:We welcome the government’s reiteration of its support for the important principles underlining SRE, which emphasise that schools continue to have the legal right to determine the content of what is taught in PSHE within their schools and that governing bodies retain the right to determine what is taught, and must determine this in line with the ethos of the school.The Times reports on the sex-ed proposals in its article: (Pupils to be forced to have sex education under age of consent). Here is an extract:Mr Balls said: “It is open to faith schools to teach what they believe, according to the tenets of their faith, that pupils should not have sexual relationships outside of marriage.”

But faith schools would not be allowed to refuse to teach about contraception on the grounds that they do not believe in sex before marriage, he added.

“You can teach the promot…

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