Monday, 30 March 2015
This letter is going the rounds of the Catholic blogosphere, and I am happy to encourage my readers to sign it. I have linked here to Ttony’s post on The Muniment Room, but my own signature has been added by email to Mark Lambert, after seeing his post on his blog, De Omnibus Dubitandum Est.
There is a certain exhilaration to be experienced in doing what one can in these grim times.
Friday, 27 March 2015
I was very impressed to see the names of priests of Clifton Diocese among the signatories to a fine letter affirming the teaching of Christ’s Church on marriage.
Among them were priests of my own deanery – a special delight.
Cardinal Nichols of Westminster appears to have issued a response. It contains what looks remarkably like a warning to the signatories. His take on the matter is not entirely surprising.
Laurence England, author of the splendid blog That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill, has written this piece for The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma, courteously but effectively chewing the Cardinal’s words into little pieces.
I warmly encourage my readers to add their names to this petition that has been started, for laypeople to show their support for the priests.
Picture from Google Images
Saturday, 14 March 2015
The silencing of Deacon Nick Donnelly’s blog, Protect the Pope, has left us without his interesting updates on the doings of A Call to Action (ACTA). Here, to feed our hunger, is a fascinating account from the Archdiocese of Liverpool, brought to us via the News/Blog page of Alan and Angeline’s estimable website, Torch of the Faith.
It appears that ACTA are, to put it colloquially, up to all sorts! And in one of my former parishes, too!
I can’t select the particular article, so you may have to scroll down if further posts are added, but the title to look for is:
Fr. Daniel O'Leary - Speaker at the Dissenting Quest and ACTA Groups - Advertised on Archdiocese of Liverpool Website
I warmly recommend Alan and Angeline’s wonderful apostolate, and their regularly updated news blog, and I invite my readers to add Torch of the Faith to their list of frequent must-visit sites.
Monday, 9 February 2015
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Here is a quick translation of this interesting news from the blog Chiesa e Postconcilio:
A Prophetic Film!
In April 2013, we had already drawn attention on this blog to the film The Catholics (or The Conflict). Set in an imprecise future, after a phantom Vatican Council IV, the film describes the hierarchy’s persecution of Irish monks who return to the celebration of the Mass of all time. We recall it again now because it is possible to obtain an extended edition containing two missing scenes, each fundamental for the understanding of the film. The first is the conversation between Fr Kinsella (the Commissioner) and the Father General played by Raf Vallone. The second is the conversation between Fr Kinsella and the barman in the pub. The similarity to the affair of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate is impressive.
I have included, above, the links provided by Chiesa e P. The DVD is available on Amazon here. Please note that an early version (perhaps the American release under the title The Conflict?) may be the one referred to as omitting the two important scenes. The new one, with the title The Catholics, is released in The Best of British Collection.
Significantly, among the various Amazon comments criticising the poor print quality (referring to the older one? I don’t know if the new version is better), one comment refers to the reappearance of the previously missing scenes, and advises purchasers to look for a version lasting 81 minutes, which is the length stated by this Best of British DVD in its product details. I can’t confirm either the quality or the inclusion of the scenes. I have just ordered a copy. At the time of writing this, they say they only have one left, but that they expect to have more in stock.
Picture from Google Images
Wednesday, 31 December 2014
There have been many things during the year that I might have written about, but I have been rather debilitated by an illness that was diagnosed in the summer and must have been affecting me for some time before that. Happily, the condition is not life-threatening. The medication is now being reduced, very slowly, as my health improves.
It was last May, during the undiagnosed period, that I made the journey to London, to attend the second one-day conference of the Latin Mass Society. I happily recommend these conferences. If you get a chance to go to the next one, they are very much worth the effort.
It was a good job I had already bought my train tickets, otherwise I don’t think I would have gone. In addition to my reduced state of health, I had had an awful night’s sleep. I was so exhausted that I fell asleep on the train.
Top marks to the London cabbies, both from Paddington to the venue and back again; they were cheerful, kind and patient with this old woman as she struggled in and out of the taxi with the aid of her walking-stick.
All the talks at the conference were good, even inspiring. If you like, you can settle down with a cup of something and listen to them on this special Latin Mass Society site. The most famous speaker was Bishop Athanasius Schneider, but I commend all of them to you. There was also something about the first speaker, Joseph Pearce, that I found quite endearing: his London accent and his body language, combined with his open-hearted enthusiasm, made me think of him not only as a respected academic but also as a sort of cheerful Cockney geezer. I really liked that: it added charm to his excellent talk.
After that first talk, I began to struggle increasingly from the lack of sleep. During the penultimate talk I spent much of the time with my head slumped over my knees. At the end of the talk I called it a day, leaving, very reluctantly, without hearing the talk by Fr Michael Mary of the Transalpine Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay. And so I missed a wonderful experience, which for assorted reasons I only remedied a couple of days ago.
Father’s talk was entitled The Traditional Mass and Spirituality: “That we may relate it in another generation” (Ps. 47:14). I have jotted down a couple of prayers from it. The first is an ancient aspiration-prayer, which sounds as if it comes from a psalm, but I don’t know which. It features in various devotions:
“Incline unto my aid, O God; O Lord, make haste to help me.”And here, the devotion of three Hail Marys, each followed by this aspiration:
“By thy holy and Immaculate Conception, O Mary, make my body pure and my soul holy; preserve me this day/this night from mortal sin.”To sum up Fr Michael Mary’s talk, I can do no better than to quote two phrases he used: The Towers of Devotion, and the riches of the Catholic faith. They are present in abundance in his words.
Picture from the LMS site, via Google Images.
Wednesday, 24 December 2014
A very Merry Christmas to all my readers! May it be a happy day for you all, and either peaceful or boisterous, according to your lives and families. Or perhaps both, since strange contrasts can sometimes blend harmoniously.
God bless us all.
Monday, 15 December 2014
We are all aware of the controversy arising from Austen Ivereigh’s book about the 2013 Conclave. His account led to a series of denials, corrections, and careful uses of words which might have meant one thing or another.
Among the reactions, the Catholic News Agency had this report of the denial by four Cardinals of a claim by Ivereigh that they had played a particular role in the lead-up to the Conclave.
I was very much struck by the linking of the names of those four Cardinals: Murphy-O’Connor, Kasper, Lehmann and Daneels.
Was Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor really of like mind with the other three, in favouring Cardinal Bergoglio over all other candidates? For what reason? And if in this matter, in what other aspects of Catholicism, was he or is he of like mind with them?
Wednesday, 19 November 2014
Benedict XVI has carried out a major revision of his 1972 essay on the subject of the divorced who enter a subsequent, unrecognised union. Tancred , of The Eponymous Flower blog, has the heartening news, which is well worth reading.
It is encouraging to learn that “Now Pope Benedict XVI. no longer shares the view he held in 1972”.
The post ends as follows:
… Benedict XVI. defends the teaching of the Catholic Church. His position is not directed against anyone, but takes the side of the deposit of faith, which he sees clearly at risk. In other words: He takes position against all who oppose the Church's teaching whether it be Cardinal Walter Kasper and be it even Pope Francis.
Sunday, 16 November 2014
Right Reverend Host. "I’m afraid you've got a bad Egg, Mr. Jones!"
The Curate. "Oh no, my Lord, I assure you! Parts of it are excellent!"
This is the famous Punch cartoon, by George du Maurier, with an explanation here.
It was all disgusting, of course. But let us engage in a fanciful dissection of the egg. The thing is, the parts that were not excellent, were poisonous. And the question is, just how sick did he become, that poor, diffident curate who was so anxious to please his bishop that he felt obliged to look for whatever good he could find, averting his tastebuds from the badness?
And now, to this situation in the Holy Catholic Church. This is, I fear, the curate's egg from hell. A mixture of truth and falsehood, of inspired, orthodox words and wormlike corruptings of truth and morality. People's spiritual tastebuds and constitutions vary, just as their physical ones do. Poisoning may be sudden and catastrophic, or it may come in such small drops, or so well-disguised by other flavours, that its effects are slower and more insidious. Some of its victims may even exclaim "What a tonic this is!"
I once saw a news item about a football match in, I think, South Africa. An official was standing on the pitch, encircled by men with knives. They cantered round him, and every so often one of them lunged forward and stabbled him. Soon he began to stagger under the blows. His chest and back became stained with blood. I could watch no more.
You may wonder why I seem to have gone off-topic, but please bear with me. Here is Marco Tosatti, with the latest report on the slowly-circling assassination, in regard to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate:
FFI: "Watch out!" for the refugees.
At the margin of the business of the Assembly of the Italian Bishops at Assisi, we are informed of a fact that is certainly marginal but indicative of an atmosphere. An atmosphere that is not exactly idyllic. The fact is this: circulating among the bishops who took part in the Church assembly
was Fr Fidenzio Volpi, the Vatican's Commissioner of the Congregation of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate.
The motive for the Commissioner's presence was not a casual one. According to what has been reported to us, by sources worthy of the greatest trust, the Commissioner approached now one bishop, now another, to dissuade them - let us put it in that way - from receiving into their dioceses the Friars of the Immaculate who do not find their identity in the new administration of the order, directed by the Commissioner and above all by the Secretary and spokesman, Fr Alfonso Bruno.
As has been noted already, both in this place and by others, the Commissioniong of the Franciscans of the Immaculate is distinguished both by the vagueness of the reasons given - in reality it has never been said for what concrete reasons the Congregation for Religious decided on the measure, except for an accusation of "crypto-lefebvrist" drift - and by the degree of internal conflict which it has provoked, and the severity of the reaction, of which this latest episode is a further confirmation.
In my ignorance, I ask myself why a religious who does not feel he can continue any longer inside a congregation must almost be forced to remain, instead of taking his priestly contribution to a diocese, at a time when vocations are not plentiful.
One might say, jokingly, that they too are refugees ... And that this is why the the Pontifical Commissioner betakes himself to Assisi to say "Watch out" to this or that bishop.
What can one say? This does not seem to us to be a good climate that we are breathing nowadays.
Monday, 3 November 2014
Here is an interesting article, in English, which has just been published on Chiesa, the blog of L'Espresso’s Sandro Magister. Its title is:
Ecumenism Rewritten by Enzo Bianchi and Alberto Melloni
It starts as follows:
The leaders of the “school of Bologna” have a very ambitious new project in the works: a history of the movement for Christian unity aimed at a thorough reform of the Catholic Church, starting with the dismantling of the papacy in its current form. They believe they have an ally in Pope Francis.
Please read on, following this link to the article.
Sunday, 26 October 2014
It is sensible to remind ourselves that the 2015 follow-up Synod on the Family will not bring together all the bishops. They will be selected by their bishops’ conferences. Therefore, the bishops we hope to see there may not be there at all.
They are chosen as follows. First, from the Code of Canon Law, on the Synod of Bishops:
Can. 346 §1. A synod of bishops assembled in an ordinary general session consists of members of whom the greater part are bishops elected for each session by the conferences of bishops according to the method determined by the special law of the synod; others are designated by virtue of the same law; others are appointed directly by the Roman Pontiff; to these are added some members of clerical religious institutes elected according to the norm of the same special law.
Next, from Pope Paul VI’s Motu Proprio letter Apostolica Sollecitudo of 1966:
The Bishops who will represent individual national Conferences are to be chosen in this manner:
a) one for each national episcopal Conference which has 25 members or less;
b) two for each national episcopal Conference of no more than 50 members;
c) three for each national episcopal Conference which has more than 100 members.
The episcopal Conferences which take in a number of nations will choose their representatives on the same basis.
In choosing those who are to represent the episcopal Conferences of one or a number of nations and the religious institutes in the Synod of Bishops, great attention should be paid not just to the general knowledge and wisdom of individuals, but also to their theoretical and practical knowledge of the matter which the Synod is to take up.
The Supreme Pontiff may, if he so chooses, increase the number of members of the Synod of Bishops by adding bishops, or religious to represent the religious institutes, or clerics who are experts, to the extent of fifteen percent of the total number of the members mentioned in articles V and VIII.
The 1980 Synod of Bishops, on the subject of The Christian Family, took place in what was, in England and Wales, an atmosphere churned up by the National Pastoral Congress, which had been held in Liverpool earlier that year. As a resident of that archdiocese at the time, with a number of contacts among those who had attended the Congress or subsequent meetings and talks, I remember in particular that we were upset and worried by all the conflicting views that were being put forward on the Church, Her teachings, and the Mass. Some of these views were clearly in error.
One reported encounter stands out, given the situation in which we find the Church today. A person attended a talk in which a prominent priest of the archdiocese was challenged by a member of his audience to say whether the Church’s teaching against contraception was true. “Yes”, he was reported to have said, “in theory and in abstract”. The extension being planted into people’s minds was, of course: “But in practice and in reality …”. Haven’t we heard similar things in recent days, still going strong after more than three decades!
Incidentally, the priest on that occasion went on to become a very highly-placed member of the E&W hierarchy.
But back to the 1980 Synod in Rome. Two of our bishops were elected to attend it. They were Cardinal Hume of Westminster, and Archbishop Worlock of Liverpool.
Some time after the Synod, I read that the two men had agreed that each would press the Synod for change on a specific area: one would concentrate on contraception, the other on divorce-remarriage. As we know, they did not prevail. The following year, Pope John Paul II reiterated the Church's teaching in his Apostolic Exhortation Familiaris Consortio.
Interestingly, it is in this document that we find the clarification of another issue which appears to have been misrepresented at the recent Synod. Here is a reminder (with my emphasis) of what FC says on the question of gradualness, or graduality as some Synod Fathers have recently called it:
Married people too are called upon to progress unceasingly in their moral life, with the support of a sincere and active desire to gain ever better knowledge of the values enshrined in and fostered by the law of God. They must also be supported by an upright and generous willingness to embody these values in their concrete decisions. They cannot however look on the law as merely an ideal to be achieved in the future: they must consider it as a command of Christ the Lord to overcome difficulties with constancy. "And so what is known as 'the law of gradualness' or step-by-step advance cannot be identified with 'gradualness of the law,' as if there were different degrees or forms of precept in God's law for different individuals and situations. In God's plan, all husbands and wives are called in marriage to holiness, and this lofty vocation is fulfilled to the extent that the human person is able to respond to God's command with serene confidence in God's grace and in his or her own will."(95) On the same lines, it is part of the Church's pedagogy that husbands and wives should first of all recognize clearly the teaching of Humanae vitae as indicating the norm for the exercise of their sexuality, and that they should endeavor to establish the conditions necessary for observing that norm.
In conclusion, I repeat the important question, the great uncertainty: Whom will the conferences elect? We all know of some real heroes of the Faith amongst our bishops. If they are not chosen to attend, let us not be downcast. Let us pray and trust that the “God of Surprises” will visit the hearts of those who do attend. We may find ourselves astonished to learn that among the Fathers of the next Synod there are hitherto-unsuspected episcopal lions, inspired with courage and with loving zeal for the true guidance of souls.
Wednesday, 22 October 2014
I have always appreciated the kindness and wisdom of dear Pastor Emeritus, Father Eamonn Whelan, who has posted many comments on my little blog. Now I am going to ask my readers to join with me in keeping Father in your prayers, because he is ill. The following was published today on his blog:
Just over a month ago I was rushed to hospital with a suspected heart attack. It was a false alarm, for which I was truly grateful as I have had more than enough illnesses, I thought, during past six years!
However during the four days I was an in-patient other tests, including CT scan and cardiogram, were performed. Result: - lung cancer and 3 blocked arteries. After long discussion with consultant I decided against targetted deep radium treatment, though I agreed to have work done on arteries. That latter job is due tomorrow, Thursday. So a prayer would be appreciated. I received Sacrament of the sick yesterday.
Non nobis, Domine, non nobis, sed nomini Tuo da gloriam.
Tuesday, 14 October 2014
I saw this in the newsletter of a parish church in the diocese of Clifton:
Synod on the Family: The Clifton diocese branch
of A Call to Action (ACTA) will hold a meeting on 15
November, at St Nicholas of Tolentino, Lawfords
Gate, Bristol, BS5 0RE, to discuss issues arising out
of the current general synod on the family. For
ordinary Catholics these issues are some of the
most important and topical of the challenges facing
the church and the views of the laity may be highly
relevant. The meeting will be assisted by a
Dominican friar, Fr Peter Hunter OP of Blackfriars,
Oxford who will provide expert theological guidance.
Coffee at 10.30, the meeting will begin at 11.00 am
and finish by 4.00 pm. Please bring a packed lunch.
All are welcome. Admission is free, though there will
be a retiring collection to help to defray expenses.
I well remember Deacon Nick Donnelly’s reports on ACTA, which indicated that it appeared to be popular among those who dissented from the teachings of the Church. If this is still the case, then goodness me, the weird goings-on at the Secret Synod, and the strange Relatio, are likely to provide plenty of excitement. I hope Fr Hunter can steer them along the right path.
Saturday, 11 October 2014
From the Linen on the Hedgerow blog, Saturday, 11 October, 2014:
It is with great personal sadness that we, the Collins Family, must inform the loyal followers of Linen on the Hedgerow, that our beautiful father, husband and grandfather, Richard Collins, has died peacefully at home this morning surrounded by those who loved him most. He was blessed to receive the Last Rites and Holy Mass was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form at his bedside. Please pray for the repose of his soul.
Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.
Wednesday, 8 October 2014
Readers of Richard Collins’s blog, Linen on the Hedgerow, are aware of his illness.
I have just read a comment under his most recent post, bringing the sad news that his life is drawing to a close.
I invite my own readers to join me in praying for him, and for his wife and family.
Sunday, 5 October 2014
Following the election of Pope Francis, I adapted and continued to say the following prayer, which I had originally started to say in the reign of Pope Benedict. You are all familiar with it, I'm sure:
Let us pray for our Holy Father, Pope Francis.Some way into the present pontificate, I began to struggle with the words of the prayer. I had a sense of facing a barrier, an increasing reluctance. It was a strange experience, and made me rather unhappy.
May the Lord preserve him, give him long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.
You are Peter;
And upon this Rock I will build My Church.
Let us pray:
God our Father, Shepherd and Guide, look with love on Your servant, Pope Francis, the Pastor of Your Church. Grant that his word and example may inspire and guide the Church, and that he, and all those entrusted to his care, may come to the joy of everlasting life. We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.
Mother of the Church, pray for us.
Saint Peter, pray for us.
And yet of course it is very - very - important to pray for Pope Francis. Some weeks ago I decided to switch to what is perhaps a fairly standard set of prayers for the Pope, often recommended to accompany a work for an indulgence: the Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory be to the Father, and the Hail Holy Queen. They are less directional, and also less emotional, than the specific prayer quoted above. I pray most earnestly for our present Pope , but I prefer to leave the details to the Lord. I am surprised to observe how much more peaceful I feel for having done this.
Thursday, 2 October 2014
Pope Francis offered Mass on 28th September 2014 for the members of the Vatican Gendarmerie. Here is a link to a report on the occasion, by Kerri Lenartowick for the Catholic News Agency.
The report explains that “While the Swiss Guards are primarily dedicated to protecting the Pope, the Gendarmes are responsible for the security and public order of Vatican City.”
Pope Francis returned to a theme he has touched on a number of times in his pontificate: that of gossip. I reprint here the bulk of the article, which is fairly short.
Pope Francis said the police force must not only defend the Vatican against thieves or attacking armies.
“Napoleon is not coming anymore,” he quipped.
Instead, the “war here today is rather something else.”
“It is a war that is not waged with the weapons that we recognize: it is a war waged with the tongue,” he explained.
Pope Francis told the police force to be attentive to gossip within the Vatican walls.
“If (you hear) someone gossiping, stop him! (Say) ‘here there can be none of that: walk out of St. Anne’s Gate. Go outside and talk there! Here you cannot!’”
This spiritual war is one of light and darkness, said the Pope.
On the eve of the Feast of St. Michael the Archangel, the Gendarmerie’s patron saint, Pope Francis asked for his intercession.
“We ask St. Michael to help us in this war: never speak ill of each other, never open your ears to gossip,” the Pope said.
Thursday, 4 September 2014
Antonio Socci, in his blog Lo Straniero, has asked for a Novena from 4th to 12th September, for our persecuted fellow-Christians. Sorry I don’t have time to translate it, but he proposes a Rosary each day for this most urgent of causes. The Italian blogs I read have been promoting his initiative.
Saturday, 9 August 2014
Today is a day of fasting, and this is a weekend of prayer, for the persecuted Christians of Iraq. I can hardly bear to turn on the news these days, for fear of learning of some fresh horror.
Let us pray also for the Yazidi community, whose people are suffering so dreadfully on that waterless mountain, and have the additional anguish of knowing that many of their daughters have been taken into unspeakable captivity by the hideously violent fanatics of ISIL.
May I please urge all my readers: Please give whatever you can manage to Aid to the Church in Need, or to similar charities in your countries. Everything helps.
Image copied from the ACN website.