Wednesday 31 December 2014

A Belated Account of a Day in London

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

Merry Christmas to my readers

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

Companions-in-Faith of Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor?

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?