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Showing posts from 2008

Spanish Catholics witness to the family

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On Sunday, an estimated one million people turned out in the cold weather for Mass in Madrid's Plaza Colon in honour of the Holy Family.

The Mass was celebrated by the Archbishop of Madrid, Cardinal Antonio María Rouco Varela who promoted the family and the loving upbringing of children by a mother and father married to each other. He also spoke of abortion as one of the terrible scars of our time. Before Mass, the Holy Father spoke to the crowds via a live video link from the Vatican during his Angelus address. Here is a part of what he said:"Dear families, do not let love, openness to life, and the incomparable bonds that unite your home be corrupted. Ask this continually of the Lord, praying together, that your intentions be illuminated by faith and exalted by divine grace on the path toward holiness. In this way, with the joy of sharing everything in love, you will give the world a beautiful witness of how important the family is for the human being and for society. The Po…

TLM in Salford Diocese

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Photo: Joseph McGarraghy - Flickr

Fr Francis Wadsworth has recently been appointed as Parish Priest of St Marie's in Bury. He will also assume the pastoral care of the neighbouring parish of St Joseph and St Bede in June upon the retirement of the present Parish Priest. Please remember Father in your prayers as he takes on these responsibiities.

There will be a regular Mass at St Marie's in the usus antiquior beginning on Friday 16 January and thereafter every Friday at 7.30pm. The first Mass will be a Missa Cantata; after that it will depend on the support of singers but Father hopes to have Missa Cantata at least for the First Friday of each month.

(The Church is in Manchester Road, Bury, BL9 ODR)

Youth, St Paul and Creation

Driving 250 miles in England is considered a long journey - I suppose you guys in the US do that just to go out for lunch or something! I'm up in the part of England that inspired some of the scenery for Tolkein's "Lord of the Rings", at Stonyhurst College in Lancashire for the Faith Winter Conference on the theme of "St Paul's Vision of Creation and Salvation."

We have 200 people here mainly young students but also plenty of priests, seminarians and religious. The Conference is not a retreat but there is Mass and some of the Office each day, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and time for private prayer as well as a "Ceilidh" (Scots country dancing) and an opportunity to catch up with many friends, priestly and lay.

John Pridmore at Blackfen

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Friday 9 January, John Pridmore, former gangster, now apostolic speaker for the Catholic Church, will be coming to speak at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. talk starts at 6.30pm in the Church.

Youngsters especially invited but all are welcome. Here is a link showing how to get to Blackfen.

Pro-Life Vigil at Maidstone

The Helpers of God's Precious Infants have a Vigil at the Marie Stopes abortion facility, Brewer Street, Maidstone, Kent ME14 1RV, on Wednesday 21 January which starts at St Francis Church, Week Street with Mass at 10am.

This vigil will be led by Fr John Boyle and includes a prayerful and peaceful procession to the Marie Stopes abortion facility with the image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Fifteen decades of the Rosary will be said in intercession and at midday there will be a return procession with prayers.

Afterwards people meet for tea and a get together.

South Eastern Trains run a direct line from Victoria to Maidstone East Station, which is directly opposite St. Francis Church. By road you need to take the M20 and come off at Junction 6. Follow signs to Town Centre then to Maidstone East Station. There is a car park at the station and also 2 car parks in Brewer Street and 1 in Wheeler Street, both of which are accessed by Lower Boxley Well Road. The shaded areas on the map are p…

Icons, cakes and mulled wine

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St Stephen's Day has been a special day for me in recent years. After our Altar servers' Mass - which is always a joy - I join the community at St Hugh's Charterhouse, Parkminster for their "extended recreation" to celebrate Christmas. This year, we were treated to an explanation of a typical icon of the nativity. After this and a few carols, the refreshments were ready.

One of the brothers had prepared some mulled wine; there were mince pies and Indian snacks: non-meat since meat is never included in the diet there. (The flasks contain tea and coffee.) I do not get a chance to talk to most of the community through the year, only the novices and simply-professed who come to my classes, so it is a welcome opportunity to greet and talk to the more senior monks whom I only see in choir at Vespers. They all take a keen interest in what is happening in the Church and in the world, making me feel even more grateful for their prayers.

When the bell struck four, there was …

Juventutem Scotland

Mark has just put me on to Juventutem Scotland "promoting traditional expressions of Roman Catholicism in Scotland, in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms of the Roman rite, fostering the sanctification of the youth of Scotland" which you might like to take a look at - especially if you are from north of the border and looking for news of good liturgy.

Christ leads us to heaven

Here is the text of my sermon for the Christmas Masses.
The Lord said to me “You are my Son” this day have I begotten You. (Ps 2.7)

The lovely traditional carol with which we began our vigil for Christmas, “Once in royal David’s city” sings our faith in the mystery of this great feast day:He came down to earth from heaven
Who is God and Lord of all.
The eternal Word of God, born of the Father before time began, is now born in human flesh of the Blessed Virgin Mary, who herself was chosen by God and preserved free from original sin to be His immaculate Mother.
The carols also tell us the purpose for which Our Lord descended in humility to be with us in human form:And our eyes at last shall see him
through his own redeeming love,
for that child so dear and gentle
is our Lord in heaven above;
and he leads his children on
to the place where he is gone.
“His children” refers to all of us. In the presence of the Most High God, we are all children and do well to come before him in humility. “The place…

Happy Christmas

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May I wish all of you, my dear readers, a very Happy Christmas. May God bless you, your families and your loved ones, and shower his graces upon you on the occasion of this great feast.

Thank you for reading the blog and thank you for your many kind and encouraging comments.

Just about on schedule...

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My Christmas tree is now up - perhaps I will post a photo of this masterpiece if I get time. All presents for my family are now in order, I think, and I have even wrapped some of them. The shops seem to have agreed on a holiday for St Stephen's Day which is surely to be commended; however, I have my family coming over on Saturday so I needed to get the shopping today. Fortunately, Sainsbury's was not too crowded.

My sacristan prepared things this morning and my MCs have been in the Church since 9.30pm sorting out all the last-minute adjustments for our Midnight Mass which will be a High Mass in the usus antiquior (the Dawn and Day Masses will be English Novus Ordo.) They've borrowed an Evangeliarium, found the gold tabernacle veil, laid out the gold High Mass set and prepared a gold cushion for the Bambino Gesu. The choir have been working very hard and have a good programme of carols and motets to sing before Mass. The Church looks beautiful, decorated mainly with greenery…

Hats off to Pope Benedict

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The Holy Father has neatly summed up a number of themes of interest - talking about salvation, saving the planet, gender, Humanae Vitae, that sort of stuff. He even included the rain forests! You have to take your hat off to the man: this was just part of his end of year address to the Roman Curia:Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Creed, the Church cannot and should not limit itself to transmitting to its faithful only the message of salvation. She has a responsibility for Creation, and it should validate this responsibility in public.

In so doing, it should defend not just the earth, water and air as gifts of Creation that belong to everyone. She should also protect man from destroying himself.

It is necessary to have something like an ecology of man, understood in the right sense. It is not outdated metaphysics when the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and asks that this natural order be respected.

This has to do with fa…

Pius clock

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A big hat tip to the Hound of Heaven for this excellent Christmas gift idea: a Pope Pius clock with all the Pius's in order from 1-12. Yes, I would very much like one - and I don't mind Christmas gifts arriving late ;-)

Teaching young people about homosexuality

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Some Catholic parents have asked for my comments on this part of the coursework for the AQA (Assessment and Qualifications Alliance) Religious Education GCSE (General Certificate of Secondary Education - a public examination usually taken by young people in England at age 15/16.)

In the key facts section, it is stated:The Catholic Church teaches there is nothing wrong with homosexual feelings or relationships so long as there is no sexual activity.This inaccurate statement would help anyone to think that Catholic teaching is absurd. How could the Church say that there is "nothing wrong" with homosexual feelings but still say that homosexual activity is sinful?

In fact, the Catholic Church teaches that homosexual acts "do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity" and that the homosexual inclination is "objectively disordered". (Catechism of the Catholic Church 2357-2358)

In other words, there is indeed "something wrong" with h…

White Rose - White Flower

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The other day, John Smeaton had an interesting post about the White Rose Society in Nazi Germany. (See: Join the pro-life resistance by supporting SPUC's White Flower appeal)

This group of patriotic Germans, many of whom had been in the Hitler Youth, came from various religious backgrounds. Increasingly horrified by the policies of the National Socialist Party, they distributed leaflets advocating resistance. The picture above shows Hans Scholl, Sophie Scholl, and Christoph Probst, who were executed in 1943. 

One influence on them was Bishop August Von Galen whose sermons attacked the Nazi euthanasia policy. The Shoah Education website gives some background on this. the US Holocaust Memorial Museum has more information and references on the non-Jewish resistance to Hitler, mentioning a recent work on Sophie Scholl which may well give more detailed information.

The Shoah Education website refers to Von Galen's sermon of 3 August 1941 which is said to have been a major influence on…

An honest atheist

New Advent has a very useful blog which rounds up stories from all over the place. One source often used is The Anchoress. Yesterday there was this interesting video of Penn Jillette, an American entertainer who is an avowed atheist. He tells of how a good, honest man complimented him and gave him a bible, admitting that he was proselytising. He speaks of his respect for those who proselytise, saying:“How much do you have to hate somebody to believe that everlasting life is possible, and not tell them that?”

Interesting details from Mgr Marini

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Gregor Kollmorgen at NLM has picked up some comments made by Mgr Marini, the Master of the Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations to the Italian Catholic paper Avvenire. See: Details about the Papal Liturgies This Christmastide (Italian original: Vaticano Nella liturgia la gioia della Natività)

The note explains that there are no great novelties in the choice of vestments, just a sense of continuity and a healthy equilibrium between past and present. (There will be a Roman chasuble on the feast of the Epiphany.)

This year again, the Holy Father will celebrate Mass ad orientem in the Sistine chapel on the feast of the Baptism of the Lord. Mgr Marini explains:"this means that at some points the Pope will turn towards the Crucified, thus underlining the correct orientation of the Eucharistic celebration. This is not about turning the back to the people, but about assuming the same orientation as the assembly, which precisely looks toward the Crucified."

Gearing up

The fourth Sunday of Advent is usually the day when we have our children's crib service. The children are invited to come dressed as a shepherd, an angel or a king. The catechists organise the children on the spot (no rehearsals) to come on at various points, to sing carols and to read from the scriptures. We look out during Autumn for a soon-to-be-born baby and this year, Joshua was the baby Jesus, after being baptised earlier in the day.

Some of our fine young students are home from university and can help out with things. We should have a good crew of servers for our various Masses and the choir are in very good voice. We also have a girls' choir for the early Mass, with some quite young children helped out by some very good young people.

At the Missa Cantata this morning, Ryan was MC for the first time. At ten years of age, this is no mean feat.

I have been treated to lots of very good meals and some people have reminded me of my own advice to find hidden ways to do some pena…

Biblia Clerus

Over the past few years, the Congregation for the Clergy has quietly worked to make available a large collection of texts. It is possible to obtain a CD with these texts on or to download the whole collection to your hard drive. The collection is updated from time to time and there is a tool to update the collection on your hard drive.

The collection includes the bible, commentaries from the Fathers, various other patristic and spiritual texts, and various catechisms including the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catechism of the Council of Trent, the Catechism of St Pius X and the Baltimore Catechism.

The Liturgical section has the Missal of 2002 and the Missal of 1957. These are useful since although the old Missal is available on pdf, this version is a little easier to navigate through and the text a little easier to grab.

With the bible, there is a good tool provided in the "comment" button which changes the sidebar to give links from a chosen section to various patris…

Who will own the psalms?

Jeffrey Tucker has an important post today on a matter which he has consistently highlighted: copyright of liturgical texts. In this case it is the Revised Grail Psalter which is to be the official text for the psalms used in the English Liturgy in the USA. See: Grail Psalms: A Path Forward.

Way back in the 1960s, the Grail (a group of lay women in England) gave over the rights to the Grail Psalter to Harper Collins. The rights to the US revision are in the hands of GIA, also a "for profit" company. Jeffrey is spot-on when he says:The Grail used a copyright convention at the time to retain exclusive rights to them, and they handed them over to the publishing giant HarperCollins to manage the rights. In those days, not much thought was put into the problems of treating the Mass as the “intellectual property” of a private entity. Everyone was dependent on the mainstream publishers. There was no means of digital delivery. Even photocopies were cumbersome. But all that began to c…

Iste Confessor

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In October, Bishop O'Donoghue wrote to the Catholic Caring Services, pleading with them not to capitulate to the Government's legislation on same-sex adoption but to seek an exemption under Human Rights & Religious Freedom Legislation, or failing that, attempt a legal challenge.

The bishop has now written to say:Thursday 11 December 2008 will forever be etched in my memory, because it was on that day that the relationship between the Diocese of Lancaster and Catholic Caring Services suffered an irretrievable breakdown.Bishop O'Donoghue has resigned from the board and spelt out the consequences of the decision of the charity to drop "Catholic" from its title and go along with the Government legislation. Among other points, the Bishop says:With deep sadness I must declare that all churches, parishes, schools and other Catholic organisations or societies are to have no formal associations with Catholic Caring Services and the new charity is no longer entitled to …

Hand Illuminated Altar Cards

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If you need a set of Altar Cards, Breviarium Romanum now offers you a set of free copies of hand illuminated altar cards. Don't use the one above which is just a low-res example to illustrate this post. Go to the original site and download the high-res versions, prepared over six months by the mother of a priest; print them out and frame them. Suggested donation is $30 for the support of a Catholic family.

H/T New Liturgical Movement

Alcuin Reid on "Dominus Est"

This weekend's Catholic Herald carries a review by Alcuin Reid of Bishop Athanasius Schneider's book "Dominus Est" (The little book that will cause a great storm). As I reported recently, Bishop Schneider's book is now available in English. (See: Bishop Schneider on EWTN)

The review's comments on Pope Paul VI's Memoriale Domini are important in understanding the background to the widespread introduction of Communion in the hand. (See also: Memoriale Domini - a reminder)

Dr Reid closes his excellent review with some pertinent observations about the impact of the book which makes a strong case for restoring the practice of receiving Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue:That it will provoke a storm is unfortunate, for the practice it advocates is a practice of love and of humility, one from which no one who truly adores Christ present in the Blessed Sacrament ought to recoil.

But perhaps today some controversy is necessary. Future generations, though, may…

The value of Humanae Vitae and frequent confession

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This weekend's Catholic Herald carries an interview given by Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton with Andrew Brown: ‘You can't talk to young people about salvation. What does that mean to them?’. There is also a news article by Mark Greaves about the interview: Bishop advises against frequent Confession.

Fully aware of the respect that is due to our Bishops, and with assurance of a sincere Memento in my Mass tomorrow morning for Bishop Conry, I hope it will not be presumptuous to offer a few comments and suggestions regarding some of the matters of which he spoke.

Speaking of Humanae Vitae, Bishop Conry said that the basic commandment to love God, and love your neighbour has been left largely unexplored. I venture to suggest that Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical "Deus Caritas Est" does in fact address the question seriously.

The text of one part of the interview addresses the importance or otherwise of Humanae Vitae:"Well, first of all, I would disagree t…

The difference between a bandwagon and a hearse

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Archbishop Mark Coleridge of the diocese of Canberra and Goulburn in Australia, has spoken about the problems with St Mary's in Brisbane and the charge made the Australian press that Rome is "bullying" Archbishop Bathersby into taking action against the parish. Among many abuses, perhaps the most serious is the use of an invalid baptismal formula. (See: The consequences of invalid baptisms)

The Canberra and Goulburn diocesan website has the full article which is well worth reading. Here is one quotation which embodies true Oz bluntness:In the end, communities like St Mary’s and those who support them, fail to recognise the difference between a band-wagon and a hearse. With the best of good intentions – and no-one is attributing any of this to malice – they jump gleefully on the band-wagon of a certain relevance and inclusiveness without realising that what looks like a band-wagon into the brave, new world of the future is in fact a hearse leading to a dead end that they d…

Traditional Vocations blog

The Traditional Vocations blog exists "to promote vocations to Traditional societies and religious orders using the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, including religious communities for women."

Two key posts:

Vocations and Traditional Liturgy

Traditional Monasteries & Orders with websites

Tu scendi dalle stelle

We are very fortunate in the English speaking world to have such a rich collection of Christmas carols - all the more reason to curse the ubiquitous noise pollution of Noddy Holder's "So heer id izz merry crissmuss..."

As a student in Rome, I was surprised to find out that there are not many Christmas carols in Italian that are popularly sung. In fact, the only one that seems to be sung ever is "Tu scendi dalle stelle". Nevertheless, it is by St Alphonsus Liguori and is quite charming.

I knew that it would be on YouTube but it did take a while to find a halfway decent version that did not mess about with it. Here is a version from the Portale Cattolico Italiano:



Words and translation here. H/T to Orbis Catholicus for reminding me of this carol.

(Now what I would really love to find would be a recording of "Inni e canti sciolgiamo fedeli.", a hymn to the Blessed Sacrament that Don Augusto Cecchi used to have at San Lorenzo. It is one of the most beautiful…

Christians in Iraq, the unfashionable minority

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Many thanks to Jane Teresa at My heart was restless for this important article on the general Silence on Iraqi Christians.

On Tuesday, Edward Leigh MP managed to get a slot for a debate in the House of Commons on the plight of the beleaguered and persecuted Christians in Iraq: a plight contemptuously ignored by the mainstream media. In his opening remarks, Mr Leigh explained the importance of the question:It is important because we are talking about a massive humanitarian disaster and the fate of the Christian population in Iraq. It is one of the oldest Christian populations in the world, having been settled there for 2,000 years, and is descended in great measure from the ancient Assyrians, who had been there for thousands of years. It is an historic, settled population. Just five years ago there were 1.2 million Christians in Iraq, and now there are only 600,000 left. There has been a massive flight of Christians from Iraq and it is reckoned that although the Christian population is …

Facebooking preborns

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Thanks to the SPUC news service for this item. Someone has invented the "Kickbee" which will transmit signals from unborn baby to Facebook such as "I kicked Mummy at 11.38am." Although this is a striking reminder of the humanity of the unborn child and therefore important, those of us who agree anyway on the humanity of the unborn child might be able also to see that it is a little amusing as well.

It struck me that the Facebooking pre-borns need to be careful of some agencies that might foist on them the faintly Jansenist requirements of modern sacramental preparation. They could be pestered to join a Facebook group for lectionary-based pre-baptismal catechesis if they are not careful. Then I suppose us trads could counter that with subliminal recordings of the old Mass so that on birth, they could answer up "Ad Deum qui laetificat iuventutem meam" or reach for a mantilla, depending.

See the article at Mail online.

They just don’t get it, do they?

There is a good article by Melanie Phillips in the Daily Mail today (see: The Government's obsession with pushing sex education and contraception is just creating MORE teenage pregnancies). There is nothing that we have not all been saying for ages but Melanie writes up the basic points with vigour and clarity. For example:The underlying message of providing contraception and sex education is that sexual relationships themselves for under-age children are perfectly normal and acceptable. But they are actually unlawful...

Giving the message that an activity is normal and acceptable means inevitably that yet more people will engage in that activity. Dishing out the condoms and offering children a menu of sexual techniques amounts to propaganda for sexual incontinence.

Cardinal Hinsley. Priest and Patriot

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Family Publications have just published a substantial biography of Cardinal Hinsley by James Hagerty. Dr Hagerty was, until 2001 Headmaster of St Bede’s Grammar School in Bradford, which was founded by the Cardinal; he is a fellow of the Royal Historical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Over 400 pages, the book will surely be a lasting monument to one of the greatest English bishops of the twentieth century.

Hinsley’s fifty years of priesthood encompassed many and varied responsibilities, each of which might be considered a major achievement in anyone’s lifetime. He was a professor of theology at Ushaw College, the founding Headmaster of St Bede’s, Rector of the Venerable English College, Apostolic Visitor to the African colonies, and later Apostolic Delegate to co-ordinate missionary endeavours in Africa. His hopes of a peaceful retirement in Rome as a canon of St Peter’s Basilica were shattered by his appointment as Archbishop of Westminster in 1935 when he was near…

Something very English

The weather - sung in quintessentially Anglican chant. I remember singing this kind of thing for a short while at Oxford many years ago - although the words were from the Coverdale Psalter rather than the weather forecast.



H/T Orwell's Picnic

The sun that bids us rest is waking...

... our brethren 'neath the Western sky
And hour by hour fresh lips are making
thy wondrous doings heard on high.

It's just before four o'clock here on Tuesday 16 December but at the Australia Incognita blog it is already the 17th and time for a post on the O Antiphons. There are plenty of YouTube videos of these Antiphonae Maiores, together with translations and explanations. If you would like some solid food for meditation and prayer, it is easy enough to google, listen and reflect.

This one of O Sapientia, the Magnificat Antiphon for tomorrow (for us Brits) was sung by the Dominican student brothers in Blackfriars, Oxford (blog Godsdogz) a couple of years ago.

Bishop Schneider on EWTN

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Tomorrow, Wednesday, on EWTN (US schedule), there is an interview given by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the author of Dominus Est, with Fr Mitch Pacwa. For more information, links and pictures, see Te Deum Laudamus: Bishop Athanasius Schneider on his book, "Dominus Est" and the Church in Kazakhstan.

The book Dominus Est is now available in English, translated by Rev Nicholas L. Gregoris and published by Newman House Press. Diane of Te Deum Laudamus very kindly sent me a copy - the English edition has a photograph on the front showing Pope Benedict giving Holy Communion to a lady who is kneeling and receiving the sacred Host on the tongue, with an MC holding a communion plate. The book can now be ordered from Family Publications priced £5.99.

(For my initial notice of the book, see: "Communion kneeling, on the tongue." For another interview with Bishop Schneider, see: "As a bishop I cannot be silent".)

One rather special detail noticed by Diane when Bishop Sc…

Cassock advice

The other day, Shawn Tribe at NLM posted a question from a young man soon to enter the seminary. See: Question from a Seminarian: Where to Get a Good Cassock? The readership were invited to contribute their expertise and there are now well over 50 comments, so if you are asking yourself the same question, that is a good place to start.

Musica Sacra Colloquium video

From the NLM today, a video of the Sacred Music Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America. Posting a couple of days ago, Jeffrey Tucker wrote:Imagine what it would have taken, say, 20 years ago, to have 10,000 people view a video on Gregorian chant! What would Justine Ward or Dom Mocquereau have said?Just now, it had ticked up 11,091 views.

Cardinal Cañizares on Holy Communion

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Reading Jane at My heart was restless, I came across a link to this story at Rorate Caeli about an interview given by Cardinal Cañizares Llovera to the Spanish paper La Razón. Here is a link to the full interview (in Spanish). Rorate Caeli has translated a part of the interview:[La Razón:] Nevertheless, Benedict XVI has reiterated in some instances the propriety of receiving communion kneeling and in the mouth. Is it something important, or is it a mere matter of form?

[Cañizares:] - No, it is not just a matter of form. What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What dies it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his…

Newman cause website

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Br Lewis Berry, of the Oratory, Birmingham, has sent me news of a website dedicated to The Cause for the Canonisation of the Ven John Henry Newman.

There is a daily 'thought' from Newman's writings, as well as news, and regular features: extracts from Newman's writings, and other articles connected with the Newman and the Cause. Today's entry chimes in with something that I have been discussing recently with others, especially in relation to adoration:We cannot understand Christ’s mercies till we understand His power, His glory, His unspeakable holiness … that is, until we first fear Him.From the sermon Christian Reverence (1831)

That link, by the way, is from the excellent resource "Newman Reader".

"My heart was restless" blog

Jane Teresa has recently started a blog called "My heart was restless (Faithful musings of a young Catholic in Yorkshire)". I have been away from the blogs for a day or two owing to an exceptionally busy Sunday even by Blackfen standards so it was from looking through Jane's posts that I found news of Cardinal Cañizares Llovera's recent interview which is of great interest. More about that in a moment.

There is also a good list of Top 10 Arinze, collecting some of the bon mots of the previous head of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

There are lots of good posts at My heart was restless and it is a worthy addition to any blogroll.

Missa Cantata in the Abbey Church

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The Abbey Church at Belmont is currently "in restauro" as they say in Rome. Encased in scaffolding, it is undergoing some major restoration. Therefore most of the Sacred Liturgy is celebrated in a very well appointed temporary chapel in the Monks' Refectory.

Today, however, we were able to celebrate our Missa Cantata in the Abbey Church. Fr Harrison of the Oratory was the celebrant and a schola of three (two monks and Fr Wadsworth) provided the chant for the Mass which echoed through the stone walls of the beautiful Church.


Fr Wadsworth, the chaplain of the Society of St Catherine of Siena, preached today, and Dr Laurence Hemming served the Mass. In the setting of the Abbey Church, there was a sense of what really constitutes the traditional Roman "noble simplicity" without any of the dumbing down that is so often associated with that phrase. We were there to offer adoration to the Father through Christ His Son, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, in the timeless an…

High Mass at St Francis Xavier, Hereford

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On Thursday evening, we went into Hereford to celebrate High Mass at the wonderful Church of St Francis Xavier in Hereford. Fr Michael, the parish priest, is a monk of the Abbey of Belmont and made us very welcome. The Church has been magnificently restored to its original splendour and was a worthy setting for the Sacred Liturgy in the traditional Roman Rite.

Fr Ignatius Harrison was celebrant, Dr Laurence Hemming was Deacon and I was Subdeacon. Here are a few photos from the Mass:





After Mass, Fr Michael treated us to a meal, arranged by some of his young parishioners. In the midst of an atmospheric gloom and mist, we returned to the Abbey for an early night in anticipation of the spiritual exercises of the morrow.

Back from Retreat

Many thanks for your prayers and kind wishes for my retreat with the Society of St Catherine of Siena. About a dozen of us enjoyed the gracious hospitality of Belmont Abbey to pray, to participate in Divine Worship, and to enjoy each other's company.

Fr Ignatius Harrison, Provost of the London Oratory, was the Retreat preacher and took us through various aspects of the Roman Rite, offering a good deal of food for meditation and prayer. Many of the participants were priests whom I have come to know through the Merton Conferences organised by the Latin Mass Society.

I have some photos of a couple of our Masses which I will post.

On retreat

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I am away on Retreat from today until Saturday lunchtime so there will be no blogging until then. The Retreat is organised by the Society of St Catherine of Siena and Fr Ignatius Harrison is the preacher for the Retreat; the theme is "The Roman Mass, the Blessed Sacrament and the Priestly Life".

It is at Belmont Abbey which I have not visited before so I look forward to seeing it. I know a couple members of the Community from the Merton Conferences. The first evening we will be celebrating a Solemn High Mass in the parish Church in Hereford which I understand has been magnificently restored by Fr Michael, a member of the monastic community who is also the parish priest.

The train ride is very relaxing - a lovely journey through the English countryside. You know when a station is coming up because you start to see houses. I enjoy these journeys because I am usually travelling through Greater London.

I will remember all of you readers in my prayers while I am away.

Helter skelter down the slippery slope

Here in Blighty we are whooshing down the slippery slope to involuntary euthanasia at quite a pace. We got the crucial legal judgement a few years ago that we can sometimes judge that it is in someone's "best interests" to die. The Mental Capacity Act got food and fluids defined as treatment that can be legitimately witheld on request of the patient or of their representative if they are incapacitated.

Moves towards legalising assisted suicide are now coming thick and fast. The Director of Public Prosecutions has broken new ground in a case where he decided not to prosecute because it would not be in the public interest to do so. An assisted suicide was shown on the telly last night providing powerful propaganda in favour of it. Gordon Brown made a cleverly non-committal speech in which he said that he was "personally not in favour... difficult ishoos... difficult choices...

He has not committed himself personally - who wants to be the Prime Minister to back assisted …

"Little Ratzinger" is new Prefect for CDW

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Last June, along with many other blogs, I reported the rumour floated by la cigüeña de la torre that Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain was to succeed Cardinal Arinze as Prefect of the the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The announcement was made today in the Vatican Bollettino (translation shamelessly ripped off Fr Z):The Holy Father has accepted the resignation presented by His Eminence Francis Card. Arinze, for having reached the age limit, as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments and has called to suceed him in this same role His Eminence Antonio Card. Cañizares Llovera, who has been until now Archbishop of Toledo, Spain.Fr Z has more information from the Palazzo Apostolico blog of Paolo Rodari. Again thanks to him for translating some of it (original: Ecco il «Piccolo Ratzinger» Fr Z translation: More about Card. Cañizares Llovera)

This is very good news. The Cardinal is only 63 so I suppose he co…

More praise from Rome for "Fit for Mission"

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Archbishop Luis Ladaria SJ, Secretary to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has written to Bishop O'Donoghue, warmly endorsing his teaching document "Fit for Mission? Church." Here is a jpeg of the letter (click to enlarge):The body of the letter concludes:It is to be hoped that not only the faithful of your own diocese, but also Catholics throughout Britain, will find hope and encouragement in your document.Bishop O'Donoghue has expressed his delight at receiving this communication. He said:I would just like to express my heartfelt thanks to the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith for supporting the programme of renewal I have now fully set out in Fit for Mission? Church, and Fit for Mission? Schools. At the heart of both documents is the urgent appeal to Catholics throughout our country to reject the misinterpretations of the Second Vatican Council that have become so wide-spread. Once again we must commit ourselves without reservation to the full…

Mas at St George's Cathedral

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The annual High Mass organised by the Latin Mass Society in St George’s Cathedral, Southwark, was celebrated last Saturday 6 December by Fr Andrew Southwell, assisted by Fr Peter Gee as Deacon and Fr Christopher Basden as Sub-deacon. The cathedral Dean, Canon James Cronin, preached about the life of St Nicholas and how Christians, inspired by St Nicholas, must never lose hope. The music was provided by the Cathedral choir under the direction of Nick Gale and the organ was played by Thomas Wilson, Precentor of Westminster Cathedral. Over 200 people were present at the Mass.

John Medlin, LMS General Manager, said:“It’s wonderful to come back to St George’s which is such a vibrant hub of Catholic life in South London. Canon Cronin makes us very welcome and it’s pleasing to see how easily the Extraordinary Form and Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite can work alongside each other to build up the liturgical life of the diocese. We’re looking forward to our next visit!”

Don Camillo's procession

Bregwin on YouTube sent me this video which cheered me up today.



Bregwin links to his site Karamazov: the amorality of atheism which looks interesting.

FSSP Finland

Sorry - I got things a bit mixed up in my post about Finland the other day.

The new website is the one devoted to the activities and visits of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in Finland.

The Saint Gregory Society has been going for some time and continues to be a general point of reference for traditional liturgy in Finland.

Fr Bux: "Liturgy between innovation and tradition"

Thanks for Fr Z for posting the translation of an article by Fr Nicola Bux in L'Osservatore Romano: Liturgy between innovation and tradition. Here is an extract:Christian liturgy, like the Christian event itself is not something we make... A word like actualization has given birth to the idea that we had the power to replicate it, to create the right conditions for it to happen, to organize it, as if we were the creators of what we affirm to believe. As a matter of fact it is Jesus Christ who makes the sacred liturgy with the Holy Spirit. Our role is to follow, give room to his work. The method within everyone’s reach is to watch what happens – they used to say to “assistere” – that is ad-stare, to stand before his presence; it means to adhere to Something that precedes us, to follow what he does in our midst, always capable of turning upside down the idea that worship is something we make. Liturgy is sacred because it is one Thing that comes from Heaven.I am reading Fr Bux's …

Luxembourg Bishops on Euthanasia

the Catholic Bishops in Luxembourg have issued a statement (in German) on Euthanasia (see Nehmt den Menschen die Hoffnung nicht! - rtf)

They point out that life is always a precious gift and not in our hands to dispose of, and call for improvement in palliative care. They quote Pope Benedict in Spe Salvi (38):The true measure of humanity is essentially determined in relationship to suffering and to the sufferer. This holds true both for the individual and for society. A society unable to accept its suffering members and incapable of helping to share their suffering and to bear it inwardly through “com-passion” is a cruel and inhuman society. the Luxembourg Bishops point out that those who permit killing on demand cross an important line, weakening the essential foundations of the human community.

Finnish "Societas Sancti Gregorii Magni"

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There is a new Finnish website devoted to the activities and visits of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in Finland. There is also a homepage for the Saint Gregory Society, which will continue to be the general point of reference for traditional liturgy in Finland.

The independent blog Summorum also continues to provide news of various items of Catholic interest in Finland.

The Finnish Catholics also ask our prayer for a good new Bishop for Finland - let us pray for a Bishop who is an enthusiastic teacher of the faith and is willing to support and encourage the traditional liturgy in Finland.

From the Summorum blog, here is a clip of Pilvi Listo playing part of Francois Couperin's Messe Pour les Paroisses at the Agricola Church in Helsinki:

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