Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Donegal County Council votes pro-life

Donegal County Council has voted overwhelmingly to oppose the legalisation of abortion. It is great to hear such good news from Ireland. Here is the report from the Donegal Daily:
A motion has been passed opposing any form of legislation on abortion today by Donegal County Council. The majority of county councillors backed the motion which was brought forward by Cllr Renagh Donaghey from Buncrana. Seventeen councillors backed the motion, six abstained and one voted against. The move has been welcomed by Cathal Quinn, spokesperson for Donegal For Life.
Thought and Action observes that "among the Councillors who voted in favour were members of Fianna Fail, Fine Gael, Labour and Independents. Sinn Fein abstained."

Pat Buckley of the European Life Network also points out that "Ireland without abortion has the lowest level of maternal mortality making it the safest place in the world for mothers to give birth."

Nazi hatred of Pope Pius XII's friendship for Jews

Christopher Gillibrand at Catholic Church Conservation comments on the campaign by Titanic magazine in Germany against Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy See obtained an injunction against the magazine in July but it continues to publish insulting pictures of the Holy Father.

Cathcon points out that the magazine should remember the history of Nazis denigrating the Church and the Pope, illustrating the point by the above cartoon. The texts in the cartoon translate as follows:
The French trip of the Cardinals.
Poisoned Cooking of the People's Front
Anathema lies
Humanite - the Communist newspaper - Christian persecution in Germany
She is really not beautiful - but she can cook.
The cartoon also offers one more demonstration to disprove the calumnies against Pope Pius XII which smear him as a friend of the Nazis and an enemy of the Jews. Evidently the Nazis didn't think so at the time.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Liturgical music conference at Birmingham Oratory

My good friend Fr Guy Nicholls sends me news of a conference of the Blessed John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music (which I wrote about last July) to be held next month at the Birmingham Oratory. Mgr Wadsworth, Executive Director of ICEL and Mgr Burnham of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are among the speakers, together with other first class contributors. I think that Church musicians will enjoy this. Here are the details:

JHNILM Conference 
September 21st /22nd 2012 at the Oratory, Birmingham

In September, the Blessed John Henry Newman Institute of Liturgical Music celebrates its first birthday, and the second anniversary of the visit to the Oratory by Pope Benedict on the occasion of the beatification of Blessed Cardinal Newman, founder of the Oratory and Patron of the Institute.

To mark the occasion the JHNILM is holding a two day conference at the Oratory, on Friday 21st and Saturday 22nd September.

Speakers include Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, currently the Executive Director of ICEL, who has had varied experience as a professional musician, schoolteacher and chaplain, and who will explore the way “Towards a new Culture of Liturgical Music”.

Mgr. Andrew Burnham, is also a distinguished musician, author and former Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet, will speak about the musical life and aims of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, of which he is a member.

The outstanding organist and choral conductor Joseph Cullen, former Organ Scholar of Trinity College, Cambridge, who has held posts in Leeds, Glasgow and Westminster Cathedrals and has directed the London Symphony Chorus and Huddersfield Choral Society for many years, is addressing the Conference on the subject of “Stripping the Cladding”, in which he examines the search for an authentic voice in today's Roman Rite.

Ben Whitworth, assistant editor of the liturgical journal “Usus Antiquior” will talk on the “Use and abuse of Hymns”, exploring their true historical place in the Liturgy and ways in which they have sometimes come to be misused.

Jeremy de Satgé, founder of “The Music Makers”, singer, composer and choir conductor, will speak on “How to get Catholics to sing, or why we should sing the Mass”.

Jeremy White, the internationally renowned operatic soloist and a Cantor of the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge, founded by the acclaimed plainchant Scholar, Dr. Mary Berry, will speak about his own experience as a church musician.

There will also be classes in practical liturgical musicianship presented by the speakers. Joseph Cullen and Jeremy de Satgé will take classes of children and introduce them to liturgical music and the art of singing it. Joseph Cullen will give direction to those who wish to learn more about the art of liturgical organ playing, particularly the accompaniment of plainchant.

First Vespers of the 25th Sunday of the Year will be sung in Latin and English Chant and directed by Philip Duffy KSG, who was for thirty years Director of Music at Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King, and who now lectures in music at Liverpool Hope University.

The Conference ends with a performance of Catholic liturgical Music in the Oratory Church by the Sixteen under the direction of Harry Christophers CBE.

Attendance at the Conference and concert costs £65 and can be booked by telephone on 0121 454 0808, or by writing to JHNILM, c/o The Oratory, 141 Hagley Road, Birmingham B16 8UE, or online at You can visit the Institute's website at:

Off to the Faith Summer Session

FSS 063
Faith Summer Session 2011

This afternoon I am off to join the Faith Summer Session with about 200 others including a good number of young priests and seminarians as well as students from all over Britain. The theme this year is "The Year of Faith: Reasons for Believing." Please say a prayer for fine weather as the sports and social activities are a healthy complement to the liturgical, spiritual and theological provision.

The latest Faith Magazine is now online at the Faith Website. As ever, you can read the content free of charge on the internet or subscribe if you would like a nice glossy printed copy of the magazine.

I want a Chick-Fil-A

When I am next in America I want to go and have a chicken sandwich at Chick-Fil-A. I had never heard of Chick-Fil-A until the storm recently broke out in America because the CEO, Truett Cathy dared to say ( in an interview with a Christian magazine) that he believes in the biblical definition of the family unit. It is also part of the company's ethos that they refuse to open on Sundays, run debt free, and contribute a percentage of their profits back to the community.

City Mayors are refusing to let Chick-Fil-A open new outlets. Rosanne Barr went further, saying anyone who eats at Chick-Fil-A deserves to get cancer. Gay groups are asking people to stay away from Chick-Fil-A but as the picture above shows, the boycott doesn't seem to be going so well. I agree with Matthew Archbold's analysis of this attack:
[...] the left's reaction to the fast food joint has little to do with gay rights and everything to do with silencing dissent. This reaction along with the media's help is essentially the head on the pike that tells people "you're next" if you cross us.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Getting less grumpy about the Olympics

Against my better judgement I switched on the BBC iPlayer yesterday to look at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. I found it difficult to pause it and get on with some work. Eventually I watched the whole lot, excluding the march past from about Azerbaijan to Venezuela.

All of the things I was going to say about it have already become clichés in the coverage of the mainstream media (crazy, bizarre, mental, bonkers, very British etc.) The sketch with James Bond and the Queen was priceless. Having checked today, I am impressed that Her Majesty herself delivered the line "Good evening Mr Bond": to join in with such an irreverent send-up is, I would suggest, a mark of humility.

The show contained some stunning redundancy. Sir Simon Rattle, principal conductor of arguably the best orchestra in the world, the Berlin Philharmonic, had the London Symphony Orchestra rendering the Chariots of Fire theme - but all as a backdrop to a Mr Bean sketch.

The weird celebration of the NHS could be taken as a joke in itself and possibly was meant as such: it's hard to say. After all, the GOSH nurses were dressed up in old fashioned nursing outfits and the scene morphed into Peter Pan, Harry Potter and Mary Poppins.

Pondering the show this morning, I suddenly thought - "Ah! they didn't put anything in about our Christian history." Then I remembered that they did - at least in the sense of including some traditional hymns as part of the Island story. The only other omission I could think of was Dr Who. [UPDATE - I was wrong. Dr Who was referenced. See the combox.]

My grumpiness melted away further after Mass. Every youngster in the parish that I spoke to seemed to have tickets to several events. Two girls had tickets for prime seats for half a dozen venues because they are doing PE at GCSE. I'm really glad about that.

What is the opposite of a doctrinal ideologue? (Answer: ME!)

Tony Blair has given an interview to Charles Moore for the Daily Telegraph. It exemplifies the vapid, inconsistent, loose-thinking mush that passes for "faith" among our politicians when they decide to "Do God" or rather to do "spirituality."

Mr Blair says that he accepts the doctrine of the Catholic Church but that he is "not a doctrinal ideologue." An ideology is a set of ideas that constitute one's beliefs, moral and philosophical, and doctrines are statements of the beliefs to which one adheres. As any first year student of philosophy can readily grasp, it is simply fatuous to deny that we have certain beliefs and ideals that shape the way that we think and act concerning particular problems both theoretical and practical.

When a man denies that he has an ideology or that he is a dogmatist, it simply means that he rules out the validity of the doctrines and ideals of anyone except himself. Everybody else has beliefs which are dogmatic or ideological but he is the clean man whose beliefs are simply self evidently true and need no scrutiny

So for example, Mr Blair is in favour of same sex marriage but says "I understand why people take a different view." His own view is presumably self-evident. (It also flatly contradicts the teaching of the Catholic Church which, earlier in the interview, he has professed to accept.) Others (the dogmatic ideologues) with their different view, can be understood even though they are wrong. No need for argument, simply the statement of "my view" as a  supposed non-dogmatist.

Mr Blair is kind about the doctrinal ideology of the Koran:
I see the Koran very much as an outsider. It stands in the great prophetic tradition of trying to return people to the basic principles of spirituality. Taken for its time, it was an extraordinarily progressive declaration of principle.
Really? The Koran does not admit of western liberal "it's a nice book with lots of spiritual things in it" approach. Unless you believe it with absolute submission, you are lost:
Garments of fire have been prepared for the unbelievers. Scalding water shall be poured upon their heads, melting their skins and that which is in their bellies. They shall be lashed with rods of iron. (Surah 22.19-22)
And what exactly are the "basic principles of spirituality"? I'd love to see a statement of those - but the drawing-up of such a list would presumably put one in the realm of doctrinal ideology.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Our Lady of Quito

It is nearly four years since I posted about Our Lady of Good Success and the apparitions to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres (1563-1635) at her convent in Quito, Ecuador. I know that some of you may be nervous of new apparitions so let me assure you that this is a very long established devotion which was approved by the local bishop in the 17th century.

William Oddie has brought out the significance of the revelations for our own time in an article for the Catholic Herald website. Our Lady spoke of moral decadence that would happen after the middle of the 20th century and said that her message would not become generally known until the 20th century.

Here is a link to a good Q&A on the apparitions by Maria Horvat. The story of Mother Mariana is mindblowing as is the accuracy of the revelations.

An authentic ministry of welcome

It is always strange to me when people ask my permission to attend Mass. This sometimes happens when non-Catholics are impressed by a Requiem Mass, a Baptism or a Wedding (we should always remember that these are occasions of evangelisation.) It also happens when Catholics wonder if they are "allowed" to come to Mass - probably because they have read in some liberal paper somewhere that the Church has "excluded" them.

Brandon Vogt, on his excellent blog has a striking parish bulletin announcement which I rather like (though I would not want it to be accompanied by the dreadful "All Are Welcome" hymn):
“We extend a special welcome to those who are single, married, divorced, gay, filthy rich, dirt poor, yo no habla Ingles. We extend a special welcome to those who are crying new-borns, skinny as a rail or could afford to lose a few pounds.
We welcome you if you can sing like Andrea Bocelli or like our pastor who can’t carry a note in a bucket. You’re welcome here if you’re “just browsing,” just woke up or just got out of jail. We don’t care if you’re more Catholic than the Pope, or haven’t been in church since little Joey’s Baptism.
We extend a special welcome to those who are over 60 but not grown up yet, and to teenagers who are growing up too fast. We welcome soccer moms, NASCAR dads, starving artists, tree-huggers, latte-sippers, vegetarians, junk-food eaters. We welcome those who are in recovery or still addicted. We welcome you if you’re having problems or you’re down in the dumps or if you don’t like “organized religion,” we’ve been there too.
If you blew all your offering money at the dog track, you’re welcome here. We offer a special welcome to those who think the earth is flat, work too hard, don’t work, can’t spell, or because grandma is in town and wanted to go to church.
We welcome those who are inked, pierced or both. We offer a special welcome to those who could use a prayer right now, had religion shoved down your throat as a kid or got lost in traffic and wound up here by mistake. We welcome tourists, seekers and doubters, bleeding hearts…and you!”
I expect Brandon has to put up with people saying how young he looks. I remember that from my early years in the priesthood. Once I took one of my elder sisters around a mental hospital of which I was chaplain (this odd-sounding tour is explained by the fact that she is a consultant psychiatrist.) At one of the wards, a senior nurse said how young I looked. In the corridor afterwards, my sister murmured "They used to say that to me as a doctor. After a while they stop saying it."

Friday, 27 July 2012

St Alphonsus on preaching

Recently, I have been slowly and meditatively reading the treatise of St Alphonsus on the Dignity and Duties of the Priest. It is hard-hitting stuff and I have had many occasions to examine my conscience, bow my head and repent. I recommend the text to any priest who is willing to hear from a kind of Regimental Sergeant Major of the priestly order who does not waste time telling us what wonderful people we all are, but hits us hard with the ecclesiastical equivalent of a roaring NCO pouring scorn on our excuses and laxity and getting us fit for the battlefield we have to face if we are not to be deserters from the corps to which Christ has called us.

There is a great deal in the treatise for any priest to ponder in the wee small hours. I was struck by the surprising relevance of his remarks on preaching. In his characteristically no-nonsense style, St Alphonsus warns:
If all preachers and confessors fulfilled the obligations of their office the whole world would be sanctified. Bad preachers and bad confessors are the ruin of the world.
There is then a lot about the futility of empty rhetoric. This is not so much an issue today because nobody studies or cares about rhetoric. Even politicians take to the podium without proper preparation and issue shallow soundbites when with a little forethought they could move the crowd they are trying to motivate.

Nevertheless, the principles of the advice of St Alphonsus apply to us who are untutored in the ancient art of rhetoric:
He who wishes to preach, not for the purpose of acquiring praise, but of gaining souls to God, should not seek to hear others say: Oh, what beautiful thoughts! What a splendid speaker! What a great man! But he should desire to see all going away with their heads bowed down, weeping over their sins, resolved to change their lives, and to give themselves to God.
The Saint admitted a place for basic rhetoric in sermons to the ordinary faithful to action, and specifically conversion of life. I wonder what he would think of our unformed sermons today which neglect any serious study of rhetoric; especially if this failure on our part fails to move hearts and save souls.

Advice for home educators negotiating UK public exams

Home education: sometimes our classroom looks like this!

Amanda Lewin has started a new blog called Catholic Home Education UK. The focus of the site is to assist parents who are homeschooling in the UK to choose the best options for public exams, whether GCSE. IGCSE or other possibilities.

There is a lot of practical and down to earth advice even in the few posts since the blog has started. I would encourage home educators not only to follow the blog but to keep in touch with Amanda so that the Catholic homeschooling community can share expertise.

H/T defénde nos in proélio for the link and the photo.

Saviour Lionheart to San Francisco

In little Britain we are now beginning to taste something of what US Catholics have been rejoicing in for years: the appointment of Bishops who are enthusiastically welcomed by Catholics who attend Mass every Sunday, still go to confession, support Humanae Vitae and drive miles to find reverent Liturgy.

In the States today, there is no little rejoicing over the appointment of Bishop Salvatore Cordileone to the Archdiocese of San Francisco. Aged 56 (and therefore, Deo volente, in for 19 years of ministry to the Archdiocese, Bishop Cordileone has on his shoulders the responsibility for preaching the Catholic faith to one of the most difficult diocese in the States, particularly on the question of same sex attraction and same sex marriage.

Archbishop Cordileone worked with Archbishop Burke at the Apostolic Segnatura and is likely to be a key figure in the now well advanced project of backbone insertion in the USCCB. In a good article with background to the appointment, Rocco Palmo writes:
For liberal Catholics, meanwhile, the appointment is likely to be received as something akin to the city's Great Earthquake of 1906, or even more apocalyptic events.
"Salvatore Cordileone" translates as "Saviour Lionheart". May God give Sua Eccellenza the grace to be such.

Rev Richard Duncan newly ordained deacon

My former student and good friend at the Birmingham Oratory, Richard Duncan, was ordained to the Diaconate last evening by Bishop Pargeter. God willing, he will be ordained to the priesthood next year. Congratulations to him and to the Birmingham Oratory.

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Bishop Sample ordains deacons and subdeacons for ICKSP

Bishop Sample of the Diocese of Marquette was in Italy last week to ordain deacons and subdeacons for the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest at the Church of San Michele e Gaetano in Florence. Congratulations to all the newly-ordained and God bless Bishop Sample for travelling all the way from Michigan to carry out this office.

The Institute has a large collection of photos from which the two on this post are taken.

ACN helping Christians in Syria

Neville Kyrke-Smith, UK Director of Aid to the Church in Need sent round an urgent message by email the other day concerning the situation of Christians in Syria. Tens of thousands of refugees are fleeing across the border to Lebanon.

In addition to the above video, ACN have put out a news story (SYRIA: Christians fear being attacked as fighting intensifies) while they are preparing a special Middle East report with more details. ACN has already provided Caritas Syria and the Christians in and around the city of Homs with more than £100,000 of aid in recent weeks. Here is the link to help their emergency appeal and here is a prayer from the ACN website: 
God, Our Father, have mercy on the Middle East. Your faithful servants – young and old alike – are called to witness to Christ. May they be strengthened during this time of turmoil as they seek to follow your beloved Son, who Himself walked their ancient homelands. In union with Benedict, our Pope, we pray that Christians in the Middle East may be enabled to live their Faith in full freedom. Embolden them to act as instruments of peace and reconciliation, united with all the citizens of their countries. Through Jesus Christ, Our Lord, Amen.

Olympics: refresh the world

Like many others, I am trying hard not to blog nasty things about the Olympics. One or two have given way: William Oddie let rip last week (Winning the Olympic Games was a great national disaster). Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith says that he is an Olympicphobe but will not be protesting against the Games though he does link to Andrew Rawnsley's considered dissection of the whole thing: This five-ring circus is only for those in love with white elephants.

Along with everyone else, I am rather miffed by the impact on London especially (though I hear that there are draconian restrictions on some people elsewhere) and Boris's voice shouting at us over the loudspeakers on the tube ordering us to "geddahed of the gaaaames" does not really help.

This sort of thing motivates me to look up things on the internet such confirmation of the story that the Olympic torch was invented by the Nazis for the 1936 Olympics (it's true); and to giggle at the front cover of this week's Private Eye which shows two Police service personnel holding what I think must be Heckler and Koch submachine guns from the MP5 range ("Probably the most popular series of submachine guns in the world, it functions according to the proven roller-delayed blowback principle.") The speech bubble reads
Just put down the Pepsi can and no one will get hurt
There, well I didn't try very hard really. So let me give news of an event which might give consolation to Catholic bloggers. The official C2012 Press Release reports that:
On the evening of Wednesday 25th July, as the first Olympic football matches take place across Britain, a Missa Cantata (Sung Mass) in the Extraordinary Form will be offered in Bow for Olympic Peace.
The parish Church of Our Lady and St Catherine of Siena in Bow is at the epicentre of the whole shebang so kudos to Fr Michael Dunne for arranging this and for keeping his Church open until midnight each day so that people can visit.

And yes, I do hope that the Olympics foster peace between nations, that the athletes stick firm to the principle that taking part is more important than winning, and that everyone has a lovely time. Just remember: "Every Pepsi Refreshes The World"

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Auguri to the Curt Jester

When I started blogging in 2006, one of the first blogs that I followed was Jeff Miller's The Curt Jester. He was already a veteran blogger of 4 years standing. Jeff has recently reflected on his ten years of blogging.

In those days I used to follow blogs by having a folder of bookmarks and opening up the blogs in separate tabs - about half a dozen of them. It was some time later that feed readers really came into their own and I now subscribe to over 250 blogs via google reader. The Curt Jester has been there all along the way.

A good example of Jeff's style is reposted at the end of his reflection. For those who don't recognise the reference, it is a blogger's version of the Litany of Humility of Cardinal Merry del Val (itself a good text for anyone tempted to ecclesiastical careerism.)
The Litany of Blog Humility
From the desire of my blog being read
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the desire of my blog being praised
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of my blog being despised
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of my blog being forgotten
Deliver me dear Jesus
From the fear of no page views
Deliver me dear Jesus
That other blogs may be loved more than mine
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Nihil Obstat may find all my grammatical and spelling errors
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Google may never list my blog
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That comments always be negative and abusive
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That my commenting system always say “commenting temporarily unavailable”
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That Mark Shea may notice every blog but mine
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it
That others may be pithier than I, provided that I may become as pithy as I should
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it

Congratulations to Archbishop Tartaglia

The big Catholic news for Scotland yesterday was, of course, the appointment of Bishop (now Archbishop) Tartaglia to Glasgow. I have posted a few times in the past on Archbishop Tartaglia's stout defence of marriage, the family, and the sanctity of human life. He's already getting flak for that in the secular press. May the Lord give him strength in his new responsibility.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Triumphant arrival at Land's End

The intrepid cyclists made it to Land's End. I was wondering where some of my parishioners were yesterday - they had gone down to join the last stages of a massive cycle ride from one end of Britain to the other. Ann-Marie probably holds the record, having done a warm-up from Berwick on Tweed to John O'Groats before cycling the whole distance.

You can see more pictures on the dedicated blog To Land’s End. I expect there will be post-mortem posts in due course, together with various awards.

At the time of writing, they are just short of £5000 - to contribute, go to their Charity Giving page. (Charities are Mary's Meals, Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and African Mission.)

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Gonna take a sentimental journey

Mgr Andrew Wadsworth, Executive Director of ICEL delivered the keynote address to the Church Music Association of America on 27 June at Salt Lake City. Vultus Christi has posted the full text in a blogpost. If you prefer a Scribd edition (which you can download as a pdf), thanks to NLM for this upload.

Mgr Wadsworth's address is a helpful, concise and balanced summary of the key issues that face us in the celebration of the post-Conciliar liturgy in its ordinary form. He has caused something of a storm because he illustrates some of the problems by referring to the closing Mass of the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. The Mass was not a halloween/clown/beer-festival Mass of the sort occasionally featured on those dreadful blogs that show liturgical abuses (mea culpa.) Many priests and laity would see footage of it and wonder what all the fuss is about.

And that is the point. Mgr Wadsworth's criticism is precisely that the reforms promoted by Pope Benedict have been so comprehensively ignored that even many priests simply don't understand that a major occasion such as the closing Mass of a Eucharistic Congress should set an example by having the proper texts of the Mass sung, and by using sacred music, sung as sacred music and not a performance. His point is understood by the Italian press: Cattiva Liturgia. A Dublino la rivincita dei vecchi baroni (Bad Liturgy. In Dublin the revenge of the old barons.) The most obvious "old baron" was the President of the Commission for Eucharistic Congresses, Archbishop Piero Marini, whom Pope Benedict replaced with Mgr Guido Marini and a very different approach to Papal Liturgy.

Mgr Wadsworth has possibly aroused more fury than he meant to by criticising the postcommunion song by  "The Priests" as "impossibly sentimental." That's rather like saying that Daniel O'Donnell singing "The Blue Hills of Breffni" is a bit saccharine. I hope the good Monsignor has his windows boarded up - Mrs Doyle and her nuclear-handbagged associates will be searching to see whether Ryanair do cheap flights to Washington. If you want to see how unfounded Mgr's suggestion is, go to 2:39:56 on the above video and see how much the song is firmly placed in the Roman tradition of sacred music and not even a little bit impossibly sentimental.

Neither is Daniel O'Donnell. Totally not sentimental at all. (Now will you keep away from my windows, Mrs Doyle?)

From "The Pulpit" to "Big Pulpit"

Poland 133

"The Pulpit" has been a great source of news, usually posting two lists of links each day and often providing one or two extras as well.

Earlier this week, Tito Edwards announced an upgrade to the site which involves moving to a new domain. The new URL is The old one "" will be taken down at the end of the month so I have just changed the feed subscription to make the new link show up on the blogroll.

(The big pulpit above is in the Church of the Immaculate Conception, Lublin, where I celebrated High Mass in May.)

Friday, 20 July 2012

Day for Life: suggested themes

I have an idea for next year’s Day for Life: “ALLOTMENTS.” That’s it: people who keep allotments and grow their own vegetables do all sorts of things for life, they keep the planet cool, probably eat their five a day and encourage others to do so and be healthy. There would be plenty of scriptural quotations to encourage people to grow their allotments for the glory of God.
“Better a small serving of vegetables with love than a fattened calf with hatred.” (Prov 15.17)
“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink.” (Dan 1.12)
Another one might be “PUBLIC TRANSPORT.” Take the bus for the glory of God, save the planet, be healthy, have a new lifestyle.
“You crown the year with your bounty, and your carts overflow with abundance.” (Ps 65.11)
“By day the Lord went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.” (Ex 13.21)
Or again, what about “FLOSSING”? Plenty of scripture there:
“thou dost break the teeth of the wicked” (Ps 3.8)
“In those days people will no longer say, ‘The parents have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge.’(Jer 31.29)
and of course, the famous
“I have escaped only by the skin of my teeth” (Job 19.20)
Each of the themes also needs to have ten Bidding Prayers, a model sermon ("A few years ago, when I was visiting an ashram, a weather-beaten but sprightly old man said to me ..." etc.) a Eucharistic Dimension, and a specially composed prayer (with sense lines) for us to use at meetings.

I offer these suggestions since it seems that the theme for the Day for Life in England and Wales is to be about anything except what Blessed Pope John Paul called for when he proposed a Day for Life in his encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae:
Its primary purpose should be to foster in individual consciences, in families, in the Church and in civil society a recognition of the meaning and value of human life at every stage and in every condition. Particular attention should be drawn to the seriousness of abortion and euthanasia, without neglecting other aspects of life which from time to time deserve to be given careful consideration, as occasion and circumstances demand. (n.85)
The theme for this year’s Day for Life in England and Wales is “Use your body for the glory of God.” The front cover of the leaflet has a lady swimming – the theme ties in with the Olympics, you see. (The back cover has a close-up of Holy Communion in the hand, the photo chosen to illustrate the Eucharistic Dimension of the theme.)

Last year the theme was “Happiness.” As you might have guessed, I’m not happy. Many priests and active pro-life lay people are not happy either. It is estimated that by the 50th anniversary of the Abortion Act, nine million children will have been killed before birth in our country. We pioneered the legalisation of embryo research and we are giving the Dutch lessons in how to do euthanasia more politely by means of continuous sedation.

In our particular cultural sitz im leben, would it be too much to ask that on one Sunday in the year we focus on pro-life issues related to abortion and euthanasia “without neglecting other aspects of life which from time to time deserve to be given careful consideration” such as embryo research and IVF?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Channel 4 sex-ed programme withdrawn

Thanks be to God, the Channel 4 "Living and Growing" sex education programme has been withdrawn from sale, as the Daily Mail reports. Unfortunately the Schools Minister, Nick Gibb has left the door open for the programme to be slightly sanitised rather than axed completely. Apparently he has asked for the more explicit scenes to be cut - presumably the same programme with the same corrupting ethos will then be allowed into schools again.

It is interesting that it was parents who prompted this long-overdue action. At one London school, a third of parents planned to withdraw their children from the sex-ed classes and handed out leaflets at the school gates while wearing T-shirts reading Too Much Too Young. Note that these are parents at a non-Catholic school.

I was shocked to hear the other day of yet another Catholic school that was planning to use this dreadful programme which has been repeatedly exposed in the secular press. See for example:

Sex-ed: pouring petrol on the fire (18 July 2006)
Sex-ed programme slammed by Daily Mail (1 March 2007)
Mother's shock at Channel 4 sex-ed programme (10 March 2010)
Sex-ed: getting the information out there

The Channel 4 programme should not be allowed anywhere near any school, let alone a Catholic school. The idea of cutting out some of the worst bits is ludicrous. At a Catholic school, parents have the right to expect that children will be taught the virtue of chastity, the value of marriage and the sanctity of human life. Two resources that are suitable for Catholic schools (as mentioned here on several occasions) are: Alive to the World, a PSHE programme covering several years, and This is my body which is particularly for children in Year 6. There is really no excuse for Catholic schools using amoral or immoral programmes.

Friday, 13 July 2012

A spiritual allocution on death

In the last allocution for the Sodality of the Five Holy Wounds, I talked about some modern approaches to eschatology (the last things.) Sometimes these writers have played down the importance of individual eschatology. I suggested that communal eschatology – the general judgement and the general resurrection – are closely intertwined with our individual eschatology and that I would therefore address the topic of our own four last things without feeling guilty about doing so.

On Ash Wednesday, the priest says “Remember man that you are dust, and unto dust you shall return.” At the beginning of Lent, we are reminded of our mortality. We also remind ourselves of it every day when we say the Hail Mary and ask Our Blessed Lady to pray for us both now and at the hour of our death. The idea of meditating on our own death should not therefore be something surprising to us but nowadays, even the idea of a priest giving an allocution on the subject of death might be thought odd.

It is rightly said that our culture has a strangely contradictory approach to death. On the one hand, children from a young age see portrayals of death in their hundreds and thousands in films and games; on the other hand, nobody wants to talk about real death or to be near a dying person. People try to make funerals into the “Celebration of the life of” the person who has died while at the same time fearing the trauma of the funeral itself, often without being able to articulate why.

As an antidote to this, there are many services aimed at helping people to cope with death. Care of the dying is often notable for professional compassion and sensitivity, and bereavement counsellors are on hand to help those who have lost a loved one. Death often takes place under sedation so that what our forefathers called the “agony of death” is seldom seen.

Much of this is very much to be welcomed as an application of Christian medical care (the hospice movement is now moving away from its Christian origins but it is a Christian thing to care for the dying.) What is very often missing, though, is the most important thing about death: that it is the gateway to eternity.

Through much of the Old Testament, the prospect of eternal life was not clearly understood or taught. Even in the time of Our Lord there was still a debate raging between the Pharisees and the Sadducees over whether there was a resurrection from the dead. Our Lord Himself, in his own words recorded in the Gospels, provides for the first time in history a definite, insistent, clear teaching on the reality of eternal life and the possibility of eternal death.

Fulfilling and perfecting the hints and gradual realisation of the later literature of the Old Testament, Jesus spells it out for us plainly for the first time. He tells of the man who built bigger barns to store his grain: the Lord said to him that his soul would be required of him that night. He says that we should store up treasure in heaven; He tells us of the foolish virgins who were not ready for the master to arrive; He describes the banquet which many refused to attend; He warns of salvation and damnation and the judgement that will be given between the sheep and the goats.

Unless we are to pass over major portions of the teaching of Our Lord in the gospel, we have to admit that preparation for our death and eternal life was a central part of the teaching of Jesus Himself. If we are to be Christians we cannot possibly ignore these words from the very Word of God Himself.

Throughout the ages, the Saints have indeed preached this message of Our Lord. It is only in recent years that we have shied away from it. This can only be through a lack of faith in the teaching of Our Lord that there is an eternity after death for which we should prepare. The secular approach to death with its exclusive focus on comfort during this life may be an influence on us. We may also be swayed by an incomplete Christian preaching which speaks only of the resurrection and eternal life without thought to the fact that there may be an alternative. We also tend to think exclusively of the death of others and our quite proper Christian duty to help them as a corporal work of mercy, without thinking about the certainty of our own death and the need to prepare for it.

St Alphonsus often used to say in his preaching that God promises us His grace, but He does not promise us tomorrow. He was concerned to concentrate the minds of his hearers on the urgent need to change their lives now by taking up or resuming the practice of their faith. In his time, most people still believed in the Gospel – our evangelisation may need to start again with St Paul and his efforts to convince the gentiles of the true God. But for ourselves, trying to live the Christian faith more deeply, St Alphonsus can help us to get back to the basics of our Catholic faith and practice.

As he said, at the time of our death, nothing will comfort us except to have loved the Lord Jesus. If a man is worth twenty billion pounds it will be no use to him; if he has five doctorates, they will not matter; if he has a powerful position in the government, it won’t help. All that will matter is the state of his soul.

We may not have achievements like that – still we easily treasure things on earth: whether money, influence, popularity, a collection of fine objects, a nice house, a car we feel proud of, a position we have worked for, at our death it will all be worth nothing whatsoever in itself. All of these things will be of value only if they have been used by us to love the Lord Jesus and only in so far as they have been used by us to love the Lord Jesus. Even then, they will only be incidental to what our soul has become through the influence of God’s grace in the measure that we have loved the Lord Jesus.

It is common nowadays to see on the edges of towns, places where people can store the superfluous things that they can no longer fit into their houses. It is salutary for us to remember that the whole lot is, in the end, superfluous except in the measure that it has brought us closer to Jesus and to the eternal life that He has won for us.

The fact that there is an eternal life, that it is not an automatic entitlement, that it depends on how we live here and now, and specifically how we live our faith, especially given that we have the great gift of knowing the teaching of the Catholic Church, means that thinking of our own mortality from time to time and preparing for the most momentous event of our entire life, is not a morbid refusal to live in the real world but the most practical commonsense.

I mentioned that the Hail Mary reminds us daily of our own death. A popular prayer of commendation is also a good preparation for us:
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony. Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you. Amen.
St Alphonsus helps in his meditations on the Stations of the Cross. Notice how often modern meditations on the Stations focus on the sins of other people, perhaps elsewhere in the world. St Alphonsus brings us home again. Remember the prayer for the fifth station where Simon of Cyrene carries the Cross of Our Lord:
My beloved Jesus I will not refuse the cross: I accept it, I embrace it. I accept in particular the death that is destined for me with all the pains that may accompany it. I unite it to Your death, I offer it to You. You have died for love of me; I will die for love of You. Help me by Your grace.
Another prayer of the same saint refers to our own devotion to the Holy Wounds of Our Lord:
My Jesus, I embrace thy Cross and kiss the wounds of Thy sacred feet, before which I desire to breathe out my soul, Ah, do not abandon me at the last moment. “We beseech Thee therefore, save Thy servants, whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy precious blood.”
Let us finish this allocution with a devout Hail Mary...

Omega point

Shard London Bridge May 2012

Fr Ray Blake has a post offering food for thought in comparing pictures of the new Shard in London to the Tower of Babel. I was actually there just yesterday (the Shard, not the Tower of Babel) since the Jubilee line was suspended for a bit. I popped out of London Bridge Station for a breath of fresh air and realised that the exit I used was just along from the new building.

A local cabbie who happened also to be a historian of twentieth century neo-modernism told me that there was a wonky theologian roped to the top of that building. He is called "Tied Hard to Shard End."

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Too much concelebration?

Speaking at the international liturgical conference in Cork, organised by the St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy, Cardinal Burke gently raised the topic of excessive concelebration. See David Kerr's article on CNA: Cardinal Burke cautions against over-use of concelebration.

Cardinal Burke's comments reinforce a point made by Cardinal Cañizares, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship back in March when he said that daily "private" concelebrations are not part of the Roman tradition.

Both Cardinals seem to be referring to the practice in many houses of study where priests routinely concelebrate, perhaps with a rota for principal celebrant so that your turn comes up every couple of weeks or so. Newly ordained priests in a house which has this custom might well be helped by the comments of the Cardinals if individual celebration is frowned upon.

Another question is that of assisting in choro (i.e. being on the sanctuary in a cassock and cotta but not concelebrating.) I very much like to do this at major celebrations; normally I have said a parish Mass earlier in the day and there is no "pastoral need" for me to binate. Assisting in choro gives a priest a different way to participate at Mass - as a priest.

Practically there are some things that need to be put in place if individual celebration of Mass is to be facilitated. There is more work for the sacristans - though houses in Rome that offer chapels for individual celebrations usually have a sensible system in place with the requisites for Mass available for priests to make use of. Then there is the question of servers. It is (at the least) not optimal for the priest to celebrate Mass on his own and without a server, though this has, since the advent of concelebration, become commonplace. Both theologically and liturgically there should be at least one other person making the responses and representing the populus Dei.

Before concelebration it would have been common at shrines and houses of studies for priests, for there to be students or devout men who were ready to serve Mass for a priest. This provided an opportunity for them to participate at the Mass more closely. Priests who are on holiday together might also think about serving each others' Mass. The Mass that you serve is an excellent preparation or thanksgiving for the Mass that you celebrate.

Having said all that, by way of exception, I am going to concelebrate this evening at Mass for the fiftieth anniversary of a priest who taught me many years ago. Please remember him in your prayers and give thanks for his priestly service.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Going up to the altar of God

Last week, I asked for your prayers for Fr Ben Grist who is suffering from a serious cancer and was ordained for the diocese of East Anglia. A correspondent sent me a photo from St Edmund's, Bungay where Father blessed her five children. The boys served Father's Mass. Father is truly going up to the altar of God  in more ways than one. Please keep him in your prayers and give God thanks for the witness of his priesthood.

Bishop-elect Egan asks for your prayers

Bishop-elect Philip Egan made the following statement today on his appointment as Bishop of Portsmouth:
"It is with trepidation and yet with profound trust in the loving mercy of the Sacred Heart of Christ, that I accept the Holy Father’s appointment as the new Bishop of Portsmouth, in succession to dear Bishop Crispian.

I look forward with joy to working with my fellow priests and with all who minister in parishes, schools and other contexts, caring for the people of God. May we all together be in the closest communion of heart and mind with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, and faithful to his call to New Evangelisation.

The ministry of the Bishop, as the chief shepherd, priest and teacher of the flock entrusted to him, involves carrying the Lord’s Cross in a particular way. So as I begin this ministry and look to the years ahead, I sincerely ask you for your prayers, together with those of our brothers and sisters in the other Christian communities and indeed of every person of faith and goodwill. May Mary, Queen conceived without original sin, and St Edmund of Abingdon, obtain for us a new outpouring of the Holy Spirit, that all may come to know, serve and love Our Lord Jesus Christ."
Do please offer up your family Rosary, Holy Communion or other prayers for Mgr Egan.

Condom floodgates open

Melinda Gates - World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011Melinda Gates has decided to devote her life to propaganda for contraception. Described as a practising Catholic, she tells the Guardian that while there are amazing things about the Catholic religion, she wants to keep women alive and not let babies die. Contraception will apparently achieve those goals. She has wrestled with this and is now going to make $560 million available over the next eight years to promote artificial birth control.

The Grauniad article originally said that there were 200 billion women who wanted to have contraceptives but has now put that down to 200 million. (The combox has the usual slew of hate-filled anti-Catholic comment.)

Would that the Gates millions could be spent on genuine development projects rather than attempting to make women in developing countries victims of the anti-life philosophy that has been such a disastrous failure in the West.

Congratulations to my friend, bishop-elect Philip Egan

Mgr Philip Egan has been appointed as Bishop of Portsmouth - announced at Roman noon today in the Bollettino. Mgr Egan and I were in the same year at the English College back in the day. He is a thoroughly sound chap and I am delighted that he has been given this responsibility by the Holy Father.

Mgr Egan taught theology at Oscott for many years, has had wide pastoral experience, and more recently has been Vicar-General to Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury. I am sure that the clergy of Portsmouth will find him a friendly and approachable Bishop. May God bless and protect him in the new task he has been given by Our Lord.

Photo credit: pchidell on flickr

Monday, 9 July 2012

Australian Guides drop God and Queen in search for relevance

The promise made by the Guides in Australia used to be:
I promise that I will do my best: to do my duty to God, to serve the Queen and my country; to help other people; and to keep the Guide Law.
It has now been changed to:
“I promise that I will do my best; to be true to myself and develop my beliefs; to serve my community and Australia, and live by the Guide Law.”

Brenda Allen, director of Girl Guides Australia said that with the deletion of God and the Queen, the Guides hope “to be seen as more inclusive and a modern, relevant organization and that many more women will like to join us”

There is a spin on the change which implies that younger members will welcome this change while older members will find it controversial. Catholic observers familiar with the controversies over traditional liturgy will be instinctively skeptical about that. It is normally the elderly trendies in an organisation that think that relevance and "inclusivity" are going to attract the young. The young themselves will find these supposed values irrelevant and puzzling.

Young people will be attracted to the idea of serving others, striving for high goals, being loyal to great ideals. Being "true to myself" and "developing my beliefs" put the bar down to a level that is not really worth bothering with.

Saturday, 7 July 2012

If only your soul was as beautiful as your iPad!

Venerating the heart of St John Vianney
Photo credit: pchidell on flickr

The heart of St John Vianney has been venerated at various venues in the North of England since last Thursday. One of the families from my parish set off early in the morning on Thursday for the four and a half hour drive to Manchester to venerate the relic at Wythenshawe. Despite returning very late, they were back for our monthly Mass and homeschoolers gathering on Friday, all in good form. defende nos in proelio has a report of the trip and here is a photo from the official Catholic Church in England and Wales flickr set:

Visit of the Relic of the Heart of St John Mary Vianney - St Anthony's Wythshawe
Photo credit: © Mazur/

There are various videos and texts related to the visit at the website of the Diocese of Shrewsbury. Bishop Davies is a great devotee of St John Vianney and knows his life and work in depth. In his sermon at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool for a National Day of Prayer for the renewal of parish life and vocations, he recalled an amusing story:
St. John Vianney never set out to ‘please people’ responding to demands like a tin can blown about on the piazza outside. Rather he proceeded purposefully in seeking to please God. This led him very close to all his people and especially close throughout his life to the most difficult and confused of his people – the types of people we might naturally be inclined to avoid. Yet there was nothing of a ‘people pleaser’ in this. The stories are legion of his remarks and sayings which might appeal to Lancastrian plain-speaking. Yet it is hard to know how they were first received such as when he told his congregation that in their dealings with each other most of them were probably thieves! Or that man who brought his fine dog for the Curé to see, who was told with a sigh ‘If only your soul was as beautiful as your dog!’.”
There's no need to us this quote to have a dig at people with dogs. That gentle jibe of the holy Curé could be applied to our cars, our iPads, our gardens or anything else that we take more care of than our souls.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Intrepid cyclists off again

Some of the young people from my parish are cycling from John O’Groats to Lands End to raise funds for Mary’s Meals, St Pio’s Friary, Bradford and the African Missions. The above picture shows Anna Marie who decided on a warm-up from Berwick-Upon-Tweed to John O'Groats. Her father Adrian has gamely accompanied her; as he is only a year younger than me, I have the highest respect for this endeavour.

You can read about the various stages on the dedicated blog To Land’s End. Others will be joining throughout the route.

Roads through the mountains take the easiest route but it is still a long uphill climb on a bicycle. Here is a picture from a stretch in the Cairngorms:

There was a problem with a wheel, necessitating a careful freewheel down hill and a visit to a highland bicycle shop:

They have already raised over £4000 - to contribute, go to their Charity Giving page

Nick Clegg's Tommy Cooper imitation

Nick Clegg has shifted the goalposts on same sex "marriage" - Just like that!

In an interview for yesterday's Evening Standard (We should allow gay weddings in church) the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, has said that Churches that wish to conduct same sex "marriages" should be able to do so.

Until now, Churches have received "reassurances" that same sex "marriage" legislation would only apply to civil ceremonies, not to those held in Church. The value of those reassurances is well summarised in the Telegraph article (Nick Clegg backs gay marriage in churches – in break with David Cameron pledge) speaking of Nick Clegg's new move on the subject:
It follows a series of hints from leading Coalition figures that reassurances given to religious groups could be revisited once the plans are on the statute book.
In other words, "We lied."

At the moment, Clegg says that Churches would not be forced to conduct same sex "marriages." I leave it to you to work out just how much this latest reassurance is worth.

(There is a poll at the Daily Telegraph article, in which you may wish to particpate.)

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

God bless America!

I wish you all a very happy Fourth of July over there in the land of the free and the home of the brave. I thought I was a bit late but then realised that it is still early evening for you. I hope you had an enjoyable day.

For the video this year, here is Kate Smith IN 1938 introducing the new composition "God Bless America."

Helping vulnerable seafarers

This coming Sunday is Sea Sunday when there will be a collection in parishes for the Apostleship of the Sea. They have greatly improved their publicity in recent years, without it being overwhelming and counter-productive. Today they sent me this story in advance of the Sunday appeal. It gives just one example of the kind of work they do:
Port chaplain comes to aid of injured seafarer

A port chaplain came to the aid of a Filipino seafarer after he was injured on board a ship in Ipswich.

The seafarer fell from a ladder in the hold of a ship after being put to work on it immediately following his arrival from Manila.

He was rushed to hospital and Sister Marian Davey, Apostleship of the Sea port chaplain in East Anglia, was called to visit him.

“The combination of jet lag and limited food on the plane meant he was weak for the demanding work onboard. Whilst working in the hold of the ship, he fell from the bottom of a ladder and injured himself.

“It remains a great concern that no consideration is given to a seafarer’s basic need for some recovery time when they make such long trips to join ships in Europe,” she said.

Sister Marian prayed with the seafarer and arranged for a priest to give him the sacrament of the sick. She also gave him a mobile phone so that he could contact his family back home.

She also contacted the International Transport Workers Federation to ensure that he would be paid when he returned to the Philippines.

This Sunday [July 8] is Sea Sunday when Catholics are asked to remember and pray for seafarers and those who support them.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Sitting on the fence over Bishop Müller's appointment

Eastbourne 006

The big news today is that Bishop Gerhard Müller has been appointed as the Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to succeed Cardinal Levada. This appointment has occasioned a certain amount of weeping and gnashing of teeth, from both traditionalists and liberals.

Some time ago, Rorate Caeli summarised the concerns of traditionalists: In charge of the henhouse? This summarises some problematic statements. I would find it difficult to support what he said on the Eucharist (though I do not have access to the context of what was part of a lengthy dogmatic treatise) but there has been perhaps too much panic about what he said on the Virginity of Our Lady.

As long ago as 1952, the theologian Albert Mitterer, discussed the question of the doctrine of Our Lady's virginity in partu (Dogma und Biologie der heiligen Familie. Vienna, 1952.) His discussion is reported by Ludwig Ott in his Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma (page 205). Ott comes down on the side of physical integrity "on the ground of the general promulgation of doctrine" but the alternative explanation was never condemned. Essentially, as Müller said, the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary is
not not so much concerned with specific physiological proprieties in the natural process of birth (such as the birth canal not having been opened, the hymen not being broken, or the absence of birth pangs)
He says that it is concerned rather "with the healing and saving influence of the grace of the Savior on human nature." I would certainly want to add there that the doctrine of the perpetual virginity of Mary, pre partum, in partu et post partum, affirms as a matter of faith that the conception of Christ was not through the union of Our Lady and St Joseph in the marriage act. That needs to be said unambiguously. (Again, I do not have Müller's 900 page book to hand and for all I know, he may well have affirmed this.) The question of Our Lady's physical integrity was discussed by Tertullian. Writing against the docetists and in favour of Christ's true humanity he argued against physical integrity and in favour of a normal birth.

In summary, Bishop Müller's theological opinion on the relationship of physical integrity at birth to the doctrine of the virginity of Our Lady in partu is not heretical, even if most devout Catholics would want to go with the general teaching of the Fathers and St Thomas.

Annoyance at the appointment of Bishop  Müller can be found from quite different sources. John Allen's article in the NCR about the appointment has a comment from a German correspondent who accuses Bishop Müller of authoritarianism and of "reviling and disciplining those holding divergent opinions."

The clearly annoyed liberal links to a sermon Bishop Müller gave earlier this year, including his translation of one offending passage. The Bishop said:
"We should not allow any room for anti-Roman blabber and these stupidities ... Any activities directed against the truth of the Faith and the unity of the Church will not be tolerated"
My guess is that German readers might well pick up other quotations and anti-Müller comments in similar vein from the Wir Sind Kirchecrowd.

LifeSite news views the appointment positively: Levada out; New head of Vatican’s CDF is Bishop who corrected dissident groups, citing Bishop Müller's action to halt Church funding to pro-abortion groups that claimed to be Catholic, and his suppression of various other organisations that dissented from Catholic teaching. Deacon Greg Kandra has also picked up on an interview in which Bishop Müller affirmed the impossibility of the ordination of women to the diaconate

"So OK...", I hear some of you say, "Fr so-called Hermeneuticalness, sit-on-the-fence, rather suspect theological logic chopper Finigan - where do you STAND?"

Sitting on the fence at the moment.

Prayers for Fr Ben Grist

A correspondent has passed on news of Ben Grist, a seminarian of the Diocese of East Anglia who has been studying at Oscott. Ben was diagnosed with a serious cancer and asked to be ordained to the priesthood. The Rector of Oscott and the Diocesan Administrator supported his petition and Fr Ben Grist was ordained at Oscott on Saturday by Archbishop Longley.

Congratulations to Father on his ordination. His priestly office, even in such difficult circumstances, will be of incalculable value. Please join the many people who are praying for Father and his family. (My correspondent told me of a small group who are praying particularly to Teresa Higginson.)
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...