Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Consistory Cardinals Opposed to the Kasper Report

I have just finished translating the following post from the estimable Italian-language blog, Muniat Intrantes Crux Domino Famulantes, published by Don Luciano Micheli. I found it fascinating and heartening. It’s long, but I hope you will be glad to have persevered with it.

UPDATE: Rorate Caeli has also posted a translation of Marco Tosatti's article, which he wrote for La Stampa. Do go to the Rorate post: it contains other encouraging material. Let us be of good heart!


Is Doctrine the Enemy of Pastoralism?

The Secret Consistory: What Happened.
Following the road of pastoralism without making reference to doctrine.

In the Secret Consistory, in which the “Kasper theorem” of the divorced-remarried and the Eucharist was discussed, there was very little agreement, and many criticisms. Here is a reconstruction of some of the most significant and important interventions. “It would be a fatal error”, someone said, to wish to go along the road of pastoralism without making reference to doctrine.

Marco Tosatti writes:

The Consistory of 22 February, to discuss the family, was supposed to be secret. But it was decided at a high level that it would be opportune to make public Cardinal Kasper’s long report on the subject of the Eucharist for the divorced-remarried. It was probably done to open up the way in anticipation of the October Synod on the family. But half of the Consistory remained secret: and it concerned the interventions of the Cardinals. And not by chance, because after Cardinal Kasper had set out his long report (not very easy listening, from what it seems) several voices were raised to criticise it. While in the afternoon, when the Pope gave him the task of responding, the German prelate’s tone appeared to many to be piqued, not to say angry.

The current opinion is that the “Kasper theorem” aims to say yes, that in general the divorced-remarried can receive Holy Communion, without the former marriage being recognised as invalid. At present this does not happen; based on Jesus’s very severe and explicit words about divorce. A person who leads a complete matrimonial life without the first bond having been considered invalid by the Church, finds himself, according to the present doctrine, in a permanent situation of sin.

It is in this sense that Cardinal Caffarra of Bologna spoke clearly, as did the German Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Just as explicit was Cardinal Walter Brandmuller (“Neither human nature, nor the Commandments, nor the Gospel, have an expiry date. It is a work of courage to state the truth, even against the current mores. A courage that anyone who speaks in the name of the Church must possess, if he does not want to fail in his vocation … The desire to obtain approval and praise is an ever-present temptation in the dissemination of religious teaching … ” and following this, he made his words public.) So too, Cardinal Bagnasco, President of the Italian Bishops, expressed himself in a critical manner toward the “Kasper theorem”; as did the African Cardinal Robert Sarah, the head of “Cor Unum”, who recalled, at the end of his intervention, how in the course of the centuries, even on dramatic questions, there have been disagreements and controversies within the Church, but that the role of the Papacy has always been that of defending doctrine.

Cardinal Re, one of the great electors of Bergoglio, made a very brief intervention, which can be summarised thus: I am taking the floor for a moment, because the future new Cardinals are here, and perhaps some of them do not have the courage to say it, so I am saying it: I am completely opposed to the report.

Cardinal Piacenza too, the Prefect of the Penitentiary, declared himself opposed to it, and said, more or less: We are here now, and we will be here in October for a Synod on the Family, and so, as there is a desire to hold a Synod, I don’t see in fact why we have to deal only with the subject of Communion for the divorced. And he added: Since we want to have a pastoral discussion, it seems to me that we should take note of a very widely diffused pan-sexualism, and of an aggressive promotion of the ideology of gender which aims to unhinge the family as we have always known it. If we were the light of the nations, it would be providential to explain what kind of situation we find ourselves in, and what can destroy the family. He concluded by exhorting his audience to take up once again the teachings of John Paul II on the body, because they contain many positive elements on the subject of sex, of being a man, of being a woman, and on procreation and love.

Cardinal Tauran, of Inter-Religious Dialogue, returned to the subject of the attack on the family, also in the light of relations with Islam. Cardinal Scola of Milan also raised theological and doctrinal perplexities.

Cardinal Camillo Ruini was also very critical. He added: I do not know if I have made a good note of it, but up to this moment about 85% of the Cardinals who have expressed themselves appear to be opposed to the direction of the report. He added that, among those who said nothing and could not be classified, he gathered from the silences “that I think they are embarrassed”.

Next, Cardinal Ruini quoted the Good Pope, saying, in essence: When John XXIII gave the opening address of Vatican Council II he said that a pastoral Council could be held because, fortunately, doctrine was peacefully accepted by all, and there were no controversies; hence it was possible to give a pastoral edge without fear of being misunderstood, since the doctrine remains very clear. Whether John XXIII had been correct at that moment, the prelate commented, only God knows, but apparently, to a large extent, perhaps it was true. Today this could not be said any longer in the most absolute manner, because not only is doctrine not shared, but it is fought against. “It would be a fatal error” to wish to go along the road of pastoralism without making reference to doctrine.

It is understandable, therefore, that Cardinal Kasper seemed a little piqued, in the afternoon, when Pope Bergoglio allowed him to respond, without, however, allowing the emergence of a real confrontation: only Kasper spoke. Add to this, that other criticisms of the “Kasper theorem” are being added to those raised in the Consistory; privately to the Pope, or publicly, on the part of Cardinals from every part of the world. German Cardinals, who know Kasper well, say that he has been passionate about the matter since the 1970s. The problem raised by several critical voices is that the Gospel is very explicit on this point. And the fear is, that not to take account of it would render any other point of doctrine based on the Gospel very unstable and modifiable at will.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Outflanking the Maginot Line

Unsurprisingly, and I dare say like many others, I am finding the prospect of the forthcoming synod on marriage and the family rather oppressive. With all the pressure by Cardinal Kasper and others, the thought, “It’s like the Maginot Line”, keeps popping into my head.

From various websites I have looked at (including a short Wikipedia article here), I have learnt that the Maginot Line itself was far from being a ridiculous thing, as it has sometimes been painted. It was a series of impressive and varied fortifications, its chief and most substantial presence being along France’s border with Germany, from which country France considered it had most to fear.

I say “the Maginot Line itself”, because my reading has taught me something I had not known: that the French preparedness against the Germans extended from the Maginot Line as far as the English Channel, by means of a series of weaker fortifications, some of which were natural features of the landscape such as forests.

The French thought that in the event of an advance by Germany, the Maginot Line, by acting as a buffer at the frontier between the two countries, would give them enough time to advance to meet the Germans by way of Belgium. But in fact it was the Germans themselves who advanced through Belgium, sweeping on into France, and simply bypassing the Maginot Line.

It is fortunate that the Church’s unchanging teaching is not limited by geography: but that does not allay my fears that certain prelates wish to attempt to outflank it by a blitzkrieg of false pastoralism.

Monday, 17 March 2014

Correcting the Erroneous Idea that "Catholic" Means "Inclusive"

I have seen this mistaken view expressed a few times, including on blogs. The blogger presents evidence that the Church’s teaching is being openly rejected, and that the clergy or hierarchy seemingly do nothing to correct the dissent. A commenter says: “Why do you want to exclude your fellow-Catholics who think differently from you? Surely the Church should welcome all views. After all, the word Catholic means inclusive.”

And the answer is, No it doesn’t: not in the Church's sense of the word. Certainly this is one of the meanings given to the word in an ordinary dictionary. But the Church's meaning is more precise, as I’m sure my readers know, being defined as universal.

The English Penny Catechism can’t be beaten for brevity:
The Church is Catholic or universal because she subsists in all ages, teaches all nations, and is the one ark of salvation for all.
The Catholic Encyclopedia gives an interesting and detailed account of the origins of the word Catholic as applied to the Church. In whatever context the term is used, it is clear that the Catholicity, the world-wide reach of the Catholic Church, is inseparable from Her true teaching. You will see what I mean if you read the whole article.

The Encyclopedia was published in 1917, a few years after the death of Pope St Pius X, who had issued detailed warnings against Modernism, described as the synthesis of all heresies. Bearing this date in mind, it is fascinating to read its dismissal of the idea that the Church can find room both for true teachings and their rejection. Here is the relevant passage, to which I have added a few paragraph breaks for ease of reading.


"It should be said that among some confused thinkers of the Anglican communion, as also among certain representatives of Modernist opinions, an interpretation of the Catholicity of the Church has lately come into fashion which has little connection with anything that has hitherto fallen under our notice. Starting with the conception familiar in such locutions as "a man of catholic tastes", meaning a man who excludes no rational interest from his sympathies, these writers would persuade us that a catholic church either does or should mean a church endowed with unlimited comprehensiveness, i.e. which is prepared to welcome and assimilate all opinions honestly held, however contradictory.

"To this it may be answered that the idea is absolutely foreign to the connotation of the phrase Catholic Church as we can trace it in the writings of the Fathers. To take a term consecrated by centuries of usage and to attach a brand-new meaning to it, of which those who through the ages had it constantly on their lips never dreamed, is to say the least extremely misleading.

"If this comprehensiveness and elasticity of belief is regarded as a desirable quality, by all means let it have a new name of its own, but it is dishonest to leave the impression upon the ignorant or the credulous, that this is the idea which devout men in past ages have all along been groping for, and that it has been left to the religious thinkers of our own day to evolve from the name catholic its true and real significance.

"So far from the idea of a nebulous and absorbent substance imperceptibly shading off into the media which surround it, the conception of the Fathers was that the Catholic Church was cut off by the most clearly defined of lines from all that lay outside. Its primary function, we might also say, was to set itself in acute opposition to all that threatened its vital principle of unity and stability.

"It is true that patristic writers may sometimes play with the word catholic, and develop its etymological suggestiveness with an eye to erudition or edification, but the only connotation upon which they insist as a matter of serious import is the idea of diffusion throughout the world."

Saturday, 15 March 2014

The Protection of the Holy Eucharist and the Role of the Church Usher

A fine post on Dr Joseph Shaw’s LMS Chairman blog set me thinking about what may (and probably will) lie ahead. This is the result.

Dear Fathers, Pastors of souls, I’m sure you will agree that there are times when you have to think like a civil servant.

I’d like to think that every priest has planned ahead, and worked out in advance how he is going to deal with the publicly unrepentant who stand in front of him at the altar steps, daring him to refuse them Holy Communion.

A soldier is well trained to deal with unexpected and critical threats, and so must priests be, in the spiritual sphere, especially in these dark days. I do not know whether bishops usually guide their clergy in such matters. I hope they do. But if not, it would be as well for priests to be (oh, cringe at the jargon) proactive.

When planning for these contingencies, it would be sensible also to recruit some of the burlier members of the congregation to serve on a roster of church ushers.

I sometimes try to imagine how I might react if I were in the priest’s shoes when faced with this situation. I can think of a few requirements. A quick assessment; taking command of the moment; a decisive response; a refusal to be cowed; genuine concern for the soul in front of you; standing on your authority as a priest of God and guardian of His Body.

I suppose the priest could say, quite simply, “Please return to your place”, or something similar. That might be sufficient, as well as tactful: the would-be communicant would know the implications of the priest’s words.

If the person refused to move away, I can envisage something stronger, such as “I will not give you Holy Communion”, and even, if the person persisted, “For the sake of your soul, I will not give you Holy Communion.” This would be turning into a horrible experience for the unrepentant person (as it would for the priest), but that would be more salutary for him than if he were to add the sin of sacrilege to his defiance.

Finally, faced with continuing refusal to move aside, the priest would be well advised to have his Burly Ushers close by, to apply their own persuasion.

After that, there is the question of the bishop’s reaction if he were informed of the incident. Now that is the great unknown. But at least in my imaginary diocese the priest would be able to produce his plan (already pre-approved by the bishop, naturally), which I hope would encourage the bishop to believe that he handled the crisis well. Civil service thinking, you see.

Times are grim, but at least we can all be prepared.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Even the most valiant soldier can sometimes get the wobbles

This, as you may have guessed, is about Michael Voris and ChurchMilitant.TV. In particular, I’d like to comment on the reports that the mission statement or policy of that organisation specifically precludes any criticism of the Pope.

Let us say, hypothetically, that there might be a Pope whose words or actions on occasion caused confusion or dismay to orthodox-minded Catholics. Those same words or actions might be interpreted by the heterodox and by those who rejected the Church’s moral teachings as a licence to continue on their false path.

If an orthodox Catholic broadcaster with a clause such as CMTV is said to have, were to find itself living and working in such a pontificate, one could reasonably imagine that it would experience a dilemma.

Paul withstood Peter, and the lay faithful, within their capacity, have the right to speak out when their Catholic antennae tell them that something, from whatever source, is just not right. Always subject to correction of genuine misunderstandings, of course, and assuming the sincerity of all involved.

If such a scenario ever came to pass, a few things occur to me. (Readers may think of additional things.) The broadcaster’s management board would be well advised to revisit its blanket “No criticism of the Pope” clause. As it stands, it would not allow them, or their presenters, the specific authorisation to criticise Papal words and deeds while continuing to deny them the right to criticise the man: to speak frankly about the former while displaying genuine respect and love for the latter.

They could, I suppose, leave the clause as it is while interpreting it with a kind of reservation: since it refers, as it stands, only to the Pope and not to his words or actions. There is a risk in this. It could be asserted by their opponents that they were ignoring the “no criticism” clause as though it were a dead letter. Such criticisms would have a grain of truth. But they would be a bit bare-faced. Dissenters have attempted to do this very thing, far more seriously (and have largely succeeded in practice) in regard to the moral teachings of the Church and Her associated disciplines. In general, though, it may not be a good idea.

It would be better, I think, for the broadcaster’s controllers to be completely up-front about it: to re-word the clause so that it clearly permits one kind of criticism while forbidding the other kind. If they were to do that they would at least be able, as one or two people used to say where I worked, to “cover their backs”. In this situation, it might be a sensible move.

Sad, isn’t it, that such measures might become necessary at some point. All CMTV are trying to do is to engage in the noble work of defending the faith of Christ’s Church.

God bless Michael Voris, who is such a valiant soldier.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

“Kasper’s encore: Either it happens as I say, or no synod”

This is my translation of an interesting post on Sandro Magister’s blog Settimo Cielo, entitled as above. I thought a few things were worth highlighting in bold.


Cardinal Walter Kasper is very angry at the publication by Il Foglio on 1 March – and disseminated in additional languages by www.chiesa - of his report to the consistory on 21 –22 February, in favour of Communion for remarried divorcees. This may be because the daily newspaper edited by Giuliano Ferrara has ruined the scoop the cardinal was already planning with the approval of Pope Francis, with the publication of his own report in the form of a short book, to be published by Queriniana.

But on 11 March it was L’Osservatore Romano which was the second media outlet to anticipate the issuing of the booklet, publishing almost in their entirety two other unpublished texts of Kasper, taken from his participation in the consistory, at the end of the discussion.

It was a very lively discussion, with many first-rank cardinals speaking against the theses maintained by Kasper.

In his reply to the critics, the German theologian and cardinal called on the tradition of the Church in support of his theses, and on the Eastern principle of “oikonomia”, on the Western principle of “epicheia”, on the equiprobabilism of St Alfonso Maria de Liguori, on the concept of prudence in Thomas Aquinas, and on the “sensus fidei” of the Christian people considered by Newman.

And he concluded with an either/or. Either the synod on the family will produce a change, or else it will be much better not to convene it at all:

“Regarding this question of ours, there are great expectations in the Church. Without doubt we cannot respond to all the expectations. But if we were merely to repeat the responses which have already been given, presumably going back forever, that would lead to a very serious disappointment. As witnesses of hope we cannot let ourselves be guided by a hermeneutic of fear. Courage, and above all, biblical openness (parresia), are necessary. If we do not want this, then we should rather not hold any synod on this subject, because in such a case the subsequent situation would be worse than it was before.”

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Re-thinking the Procession for Holy Communion

Here is a first-rate post from Fr Simon Henry on his highly-recommended blog, Offerimus Tibi Domine, entitled When was the last time you felt unable to go to Communion?

I venture, with some trepidation, to make a modest proposal.

In Clifton diocese the Holy Communion procession is a very neat arrangement, front to back, row by row. This results in those who do not go up to receive remaining rather conspicuously alone in the pew.

In contrast, I remember things as they used to be, both in my earlier years in Liverpool archdiocese, and as they were when we spent a good deal of time in a rural part of Ireland in the mid-2000s. What I recall is a bit of a scramble. All the communicants surged forward randomly, including those right at the back of the church. The people in the front pews sometimes had to wait quite some time before they could fit into a gap. In addition, some of the congregation liked to spend a little more time in prayer before receiving.

The “bun-fight” approach allowed for all sorts and types. It was untidy, but the very untidiness gave shelter to those who were unwilling or unable to receive. Nobody noticed what they were or were not doing. They could devote themselves to their own prayers and spiritual communions.

Really, it would be an act of charity to such members of the congregation. And, since the First Great Commandment relates to God, this giving of shelter and a degree of anonymity would also help to foster the respect due to the Blessed Sacrament.

Would congregations be willing to go back to the old, somewhat chaotic arrangement, if these genuine and very important spiritual reasons were put forward? Might it be feasible?

Image, via Google, from the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Wentworthville, New South Wales

Monday, 17 February 2014

Pope Francis and the Pearl of Great Price

Many of you will have read Rorate Caeli's post about the discussion between Pope Francis and the Czech Archbishop Jan Graubner, on the subject of the Traditional Latin Mass. The Archbishop reports the Pope’s opinion as follows:

When we were discussing those who are fond of the ancient liturgy and wish to return to it, it was evident that the Pope speaks with great affection, attention, and sensitivity for all in order not to hurt anyone. However, he made a quite strong statement when he said that he understands when the old generation returns to what it experienced, but that he cannot understand the younger generation wishing to return to it. "When I search more thoroughly - the Pope said - I find that it is rather a kind of fashion. And if it is a fashion, therefore it is a matter that does not need that much attention. It is just necessary to show some patience and kindness to people who are addicted to a certain fashion. But I consider greatly important to go deep into things, because if we do not go deep, no liturgical form, this or that one, can save us."

If the report is accurate, Pope Francis thinks the Traditional Latin Mass is a fashion to which some young Catholics have become addicted as to a passing phase. He has come to this conclusion, because, as he is reported to have said, he has searched “more thoroughly” into the matter.

I am sure the Pope genuinely believes that his research has been thorough; but that does not necessarily mean it is so.

The evidence that the love of Tradition is a deep-rooted development lies not only in the slow but steady growth of the Traditional Mass in many parts of the world, but most dramatically in the vocational fruitfulness of those priestly and religious congregations who have embraced it. It is not for a fashion that young people give their entire lives to the Lord: it is because they have found the pearl of great price.

Image from Rorate Caeli's post on the recent subdiaconal ordinations of the FSSP

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A Traditional Latin Mass on New Year’s Day

Since the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in 2007, the Traditional Latin Mass congregation of Cheltenham has been very fortunate in regard to the good priests who have regularly offered the Holy Sacrifice in the ancient form. Father Tom Smith, now at Warminster; Father Alexander Redman of Dursley, and now Father Ian McCarthy of Stow-on-the-Wold and Bourton-on-the-Water: they have each been a great blessing to us.

Because of various disruptions, I had been unable to attend the monthly TLM at St Gregory’s for a little while. I missed it very much. Yesterday evening, by means of a lift there and a taxi back, I had the quiet joy of being present at the first Low Mass of the year.

There is something very powerful about being part of a congregation that unites itself with the priestly workman as he goes about his Task. Yesterday, unusually, there was no altar server, and the congregation spoke the responses, with unostentatious dignity.

The number has shown a slow but steady increase over time, and at the end of a day of almost unremittingly vile weather about thirty people had made the effort to attend. They included quite a few newcomers, I think. It was very impressive.

As I knelt and prayed and observed Father going about his work at the altar, I tried to fathom out what it is about this form of the Mass that always goes to my heart in a way that the Novus Ordo form does not. At one time there is a particular reason; at another, a different one. Last night, the idea of normality came to me very strongly. If I had my heart’s desire in these things, I would wish to attend the Traditional Mass as my normal Mass.

I particularly wanted to write this post, in order to record an exchange I heard after the Mass, while waiting outside the door for my taxi to arrive. I heard a young woman say, as she came out, “That was beautiful”; and her companion agreed.

After that, I have no more words, except to wish my readers many blessings for the year ahead.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

"Where Dialogue Stumbles"

In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis writes with warmth and sincerity about the Church’s relationship with the followers of the religion of Mohammed.

Calmness is an important quality, in this matter as in others. Sandro Magister’s Chiesa has published this calm assessment of the relevant parts of the Apostolic Exhortation. It is written by Father Samir Khalil Samir, a Jesuit and an Islamologist. According to Magister, Fr Samir “examines them one by one. And he criticizes their limitations.”

Monday, 30 December 2013

Do Traditional Catholics consider themselves better than others?

GloriaTV has a constantly-updating list of links to posts from various sources. Some of them are real gems. Highly recommended.

I have just found this beautiful post , written by Fr Peter Carota on his blog, Traditional Catholic Priest. I encourage you to read it: it is food for the soul in these times.

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A happy and holy Christmas to all ...

... from a very quiet blogger. Heads held high, as we face whatever oh-so-strange things are in store for Holy Mother Church in the coming year.

God bless us, and guide us, and keep us safe.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Choosing Life: Donating to The Good Counsel Network

May I urge you to read this extraordinary report from The Good Counsel Network, about a mother’s desperate efforts to save her baby from abortion.

At the end of the report, they make this heartfelt plea for funds:

… we are completely broke at the moment and for the most of the "40 Days for Life" campaign, our staff have had to put up with wages coming weeks late, which is more than tough when you are on a low wage and are doing very frontline work!!

Please help us to raise money to reach out to and support Mothers with Counselling, Advice, Financial help, Practical Support, Mother and Baby Goods, Housing and Friendship.
During the 40 Days for Life Campaign, the pro-abortion group 40 Days of Choice has launched a "Pi** off a Picket" Campaign (sorry!) which has raised £508 for the pro-abortion group "Education" for "Choice". We are also running a fundraising campaign, Our Lady's Pocket Fund to raise £5,000. Please support this campaign and show that Pro-Lifers Give Double during 40 Days for Life. (For other ways to donate)

God bless all my readers who have visited here during my break from blogging. My husband’s health has been of concern lately. Happily, he is recovering well, but would you be so kind as to say a prayer for him?

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Cheltenham TLM returning: same day, different time

Good news from Canon MacDonald, parish priest of the church of St Gregory the Great in Cheltenham. This is from the parish newsletter for Sunday 13th October 2013:

I’m pleased to announce that Fr Ian McCarthy of Stow on the Wold has kindly agreed to take on responsibility for the monthly Latin Mass in the older form of the liturgy. As before the Mass will be offered on the first Wednesday of the month, recommencing on 6th November. Please note that the time of these Masses has been moved from 6.00pm to 7.00pm.
Warm thanks to the following for their kindness and all their good work:

- to Canon MacDonald, for making the church available
- to Fr McCarthy of Stow, who has offered the traditional Mass at St Gregory’s on a number of occasions before this new arrangement
- to Fr Redman of Dursley, who has offered it until now

- and particularly to the sacristan, Heather, who makes everything ready and welcoming for the steadily-growing congregation.

God bless, one and all!

Saturday, 12 October 2013

What does “Lesus” mean?

When the news broke of the misprint of the name of Jesus on the new papal medals, one of my first reactions (and a rather frivolous one) was to wonder if the word “Lesus” meant anything.

The same idea had evidently occurred elsewhere: a commenter on another blog mentioned that someone in Mexico (I think) had discussed the meaning. The commenter did not pass it on, apart from the clue in her spelling of it, which was “L(a)esus”. I thought I would check it out in my Latin dictionary, thinking, of course that it might mean something rather apt.

“Laesus” is the past participle of the verb “laedo” – I hurt, wound, injure, damage. Its figurative meaning is: trouble, annoy, vex, injure, insult, offend, afflict, grieve, hurt.

Latin diphthongs are often simplified, as you know. It is interesting to see that the English word “lesion” comes from the same verb.

Of all the meanings it might have had …

Monday, 30 September 2013

Cheltenham loses its Traditional Latin Mass

Sadly, Fr Redman of Dursley can no longer offer the monthly Traditional Latin Mass at St Gregory's church in Cheltenham. At present there is no information as to whether another priest could offer the Mass in his place, so we have to assume that this situation will continue for the foreseeable future.

Many thanks to Fr Redman for looking after our little congregation.

Friday, 27 September 2013

"When Paul Corrected Peter"

Next to the daily news report on gloria.tv there is a constantly updated list of news stories and articles, some of which are worthy of much wider dissemination.

Here is one which caught my eye: The American Spectator has published an article by George Neumayr, entitled When Paul Corrected Peter.

I have been hoping for some time that one or more of the Vatican-based Cardinals will speak to Pope Francis as candid friends. Who knows, perhaps they have done so already.

He needs many prayers, offered up in a spirit of love.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Fog and Uncertainty

I'm reluctant to add my two-penn'orth to the swirl of reactions to Pope Francis's recent interview. On both sides, excellent Catholics, both clerical and lay, have made their contributions to the debate.

I have the impression that the work of stressing the positive elements has been rather laboured, relying very much on hope and on interpreting things in the best light. On the other hand, the work of pointing out the negatives, and of drawing worrying conclusions from them, has appeared more analytical and logical.

As for me, I hope the Pope never attempts to put these expressions of his thought into an official, magisterial pronouncement.

Friday, 20 September 2013

Young Catholic Adults: 18-20 October, 2013

During the weekend of the 18-20 October 2013, Young Catholic Adults will be running a national weekend at Cold Ash Retreat Centre just up the road from Douai Abbey (which was booked up this year).

* It will be include the following speakers:- Fr Goddard FSSP, Fr de Malleray, Fr. Pearson O.P. and Br. Gabriel O.S.B..

* There will be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung/HighMass, Low Mass, Confession and socials.

* Gregorian Chant Workshops will also be running, this year led by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge

Weekend rates: £99.00 for adults, £69.00 for Students and U/E ( weekends starts on Friday evening with supper and finish on Sunday after lunch.

Saturday night only - £60.00 for adults, £50.00 for Students and U/E Full Board

B & B - £35.00 for adults, £30.00 (for student - U/E) per day

Non - residential and full board - (Friday & Saturday) - £45.00 for adults, £40.00 for (for student - U/E) per day

Non residential (includes meals) - £30.00 for adults, £25.00 (for student - U/E) per day

Non residential & no meals - £20.00 for adults, £15.00 (for student - U/E) per day.

To download a booking form please see :- http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/events.htm

For general enquiries about the weekend please ring Margaret on 07515 805015 or Damian on 07908105787.

How to get to Cold Ash Retreat Centre (near Thatcham, Berkshire)

Car - Roughly halfway between Reading and Newbury, Cold Ash Retreat Centre is within easy reach of these towns as well as London, Oxford, Bracknell, Winchester and Basingstoke. The A4 (Bath Road is a couple of miles and the M4 is just 4 miles away.

Trains - The nearest railway stations are Thatcham and Newbury, with a regular service on the line from Reading to Taunton. It's just c. 45 minutes from London Paddington. The local railway station, Thatcham, is a couple of miles away (and has plenty of taxis available). Timetables and other information are provided by http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/.

Buses - Weavaway operates a bus service from Newbury Town Centre via Thatcham Broadway to Tilehurst, which stops at Cold Ash along the way.

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Does Pope Francis have an Identical Twin?

I hope you like the tabloid headline. More about that at the end. First of all, thank you, Pastor Emeritus, for your kind message following my most recent post.

A mixture of technical problems and a draining away of inspiration has prevented me from posting for some time. I’ve found a way round the problems. But as to the lack of inspiration, I think it was due mainly to a reluctance to say what I have been feeling about the new papal regime under which we are living. I’m glad that others have felt able to articulate their views.

Pope Francis says some beautiful, inspiring things, but he also says really awful things which it is pretty clear are emboldening those who reject major elements of the Church’s teaching. This is horrible.

And as for the Franciscan Friars and Sisters of the Immaculate, and the appointment of the man alleged to have been the chief dissident to the post of Secretary General of the order …. well! In a way, the thing that I found almost more chilling than his appointment, was the statement that for the period of the commissariamento this man would be the sole spokesman of the order. That is grim.

Thank God for the academics who have set out, with such precision, their case against the decision of Pope Francis to forbid these Franciscans to exercise (without permission) their right of offering the Holy Mass in the ancient form. Sandro Magister has the details here.

I think it was the FFI bombshell that “emancipated” me. I know what I think and feel about all this. But I have been searching for a word to describe it that is as little emotionally charged as possible. We need cool heads. I will make do – and, I stress, make do - with the word “exasperated”. The acknowledgment to myself of even this somewhat underpowered expression of my feelings has, rather oddly, liberated me from a sense of oppression. Some people refer to the pope as Francis the Confusing. He has moved on, for me, to Francis the Exasperating. If he continues like this, a stronger adjective may be in order, even from me.

The title of my post comes from those silly, spooky films where Good Twin has an identical Bad Twin, locked away in secret in the attic, but escaping at frequent intervals to cause confusion and mayhem. At last, when all is revealed, everyone starts to wonder: Which Twin was responsible for what? And more to the point, which one is this Twin?

Oh, I think I need to get out more!