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Showing posts from August, 2010

Pope is "an expert in liturgy" - elder Marini

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In the post ICEL translation - don't try this at home, I mentioned the ludicrous assertion made in the Tablet that the Pope is not a trained liturgist. This is occasionally taken seriously and therefore it was interesting to read a quotation, passed on to me by a correspondent, from the former Master of Papal Liturgical Celebrations, Archbishop Piero Marini (not to be confused with his successor Mgr Guido Marini).

In his valedictory letter, Archbishop Marini referred to the Holy Father as an “expert in the liturgy”. He speaks of his time serving Pope John Paul II and then offers particular thanks to Pope Benedict. He says:
[...] fin dal primo momento mi sono sentito accolto da Papa Benedetto come un figlio. In lui ho potuto conoscere, con mia viva soddisfazione, non solo un Professore ma un Papa esperto in liturgia.

[...] from the very beginning, I felt welcomed by Pope Benedict as a son. In him I have been able to know, with great pleasure, not only a Professor but a Pope who is a…

More vintage CTS pamphlets

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Following my post Lay apostolate in the tradition of the CTS, a correspondent sent me a link to this page from Australia: Catholic Truth Society Pamphlets. From various countries. There are so far 270 clean pdfs of old pamphlets from Australia, England, and Ireland. It is quite a treasure trove.

The illustration for this post is from Lux Occulta. If you go there you can click on the picture and read the whole pamphlet in a pdf. I think that it might be of interest to those who write on "The Art of Manliness". The back cover is interesting too because it shows the CTS bookshop before the Piazza was cleared.

Heretical "Catholic" group spends £15,000 on anti-Papal posturing and is promoted in Redemptorist Papal visit leaflet

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"Celebrating the Papal Visit. Your spiritual companion" sounds a promising title. I'm keen to promote anything good that comes my way as a parish priest so this was one piece of mail I put aside to read over coffee. Inside the four page leaflet produced by the Redemptorists, there is an article about how it is not easy to be a Catholic, accompanied by a related "Hot topic" piece. Laurence England has kindly typed them out so you can read both articles over at The Bones.

The first article includes a disturbing account of Lucy Russell's response to a question about Catholic sex education which implies that her school gave no distinctively Catholic teaching at all. The sidebar article talks about the ordination of women, encouraging people to decide what they think about it. At the foot of the article is a link to the Catholic Women's Ordination website. How either of these pieces is supposed to help Catholics to prepare spiritually for the Papal Visit i…

Via Romea cake

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After the end of the Via Romea cycling pilgrimage to Rome, I was invited to the family home for dinner and this cruel but celebratory cake. It shows Gregory fallen off the bicycle, Joseph as Big Ears and Anna Marie in last place. All agreed it was "Not Fair!"

(The 18 was for Joseph's birthday. Congratulations!)

Attacco a Ratzinger

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Two respected Vaticanisti, Paolo Rodari and Andrea Tornielli, have written a book analysing the various occasions during Pope Benedict's papacy when he has been subjected to fierce attack in the media: Attacco a Ratzinger: Accuse e scandali, profezie e complotti ("Attack on Ratzinger: Accusations and Scandals, Prophecies and Plots").

There is a lengthy review (in Italian) by Massimo Introvigne: I tre nemici del Papa (The three enemies of the Pope). I was reading this when a tweet came up with a link to an even longer review by John Allen: 'Attack on Ratzinger': Italian book assesses Benedict's papacy.

In addition to the main lines of the various stories which most Catholic blog readers will be familiar with, Attacco a Ratzinger has much material that has hitherto not been published. This is a valuable contribution since, as we know, the Italian Vaticanisti have proved time and again that they do have access to reliable inside information. John Allen quotes a …

Comic book of St Augustine's Confessions

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A few years ago, a young man from Tolentino, Fabrizio Cotogno, wrote a comic book version of the life of St Augustine as recounted in the Confessions. See: Agostino l'uomo. Click on "pagine" to see the pages. It would be good to see this in English (with perhaps a couple of alterations to one or two pictures...)

John Pridmore at New Addington

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Thanks to Fr Stephen Boyle for this video of John Pridmore at the Church of the Good Shepherd, New Addington at a mission earlier this year, taken by one of his parishioners.

John spoke in my parish a year and a half ago:

Blogging bishops

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Marcel at Aggie Catholics has posted a list of US Bishops who blog. They range from Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York all the way to Cardinal Roger Mahoney of Los Angeles. (I mean that they range geographically of course.)

Go over to Marcel's post to check whether your own blogging bishop is there. It would be good if someone built up a list of Bishop bloggers worldwide. I don't think we have any in England yet, but do correct me if I am wrong.

Pope's theological seminar on hermeneutic of continuity

The Holy Father has continued the custom that he maintained as a Cardinal, of meeting each summer with his former students of theology at Tübingen and Regensburg. Since he has become Pope, the meetings have been held at Castel Gandolfo.

This year, the theme is the hermeneutics (or interpretation) of the Second Vatican Council. The video above has a clip of the Holy Father giving his speech to the Roman Curia in December 2005. That speech was the inspiration for this blog.

Atheist doctors more likely to kill you

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The Journal of Medical Ethics recently published research by Clive Searle: "The role of doctors’ religious faith and ethnicity in taking ethically controversial decisions during end-of-life care." The full paper is only available to subscribers. (A doctor kindly forwarded me a copy to read but obviously I can't put it on the internet myself.) There is an abstract freely available online.

One of the findings of the research summarised in the abstract is that:
Independently of speciality, doctors who described themselves as non-religious were more likely than others to report having given continuous deep sedation until death, having taken decisions they expected or partly intended to end life, and to have discussed these decisions with patients judged to have the capacity to participate in discussions.The reporting of this research has been subject to spin that Private Baldrick might describe as "like a very spinning thing." So the BBC reports: Religion may influe…

When anything goes, the first thing to go is apostolic tradition

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Just a quick heads-up to an excellent article by George Weigel addressing some of the issues facing Pope Benedict on his forthcoming trip to Britain. He begins:
Pope Benedict XVI’s pastoral visit to Great Britain next month will unfold along a pilgrim’s path metaphorically strewn with landmines. Headline-grabbing new atheists like Richard Dawkins, along with their allies in the international plaintiff’s bar, may try to have the pontiff arrested as an enabler of child abuse. More subtly, but just as falsely, homosexual activists and their allies will portray John Henry Newman, whom the Pope will beatify, as the patron saint of gay liberation. No challenge facing Benedict in Britain, however, will be greater than the challenge of re-framing the Anglican-Catholic ecumenical dialogue, which is on the verge of de facto extinction.For the rest of the article, see: When compromise trumps apostolic tradition

Lay apostolate in the tradition of the CTS

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Shane has started an interesting new blog called Lux Occulta in which he has posted scans of the covers of various old Catholic Truth Society (CTS) pamphlets. Many have an advert for the old CTS bible (Douai Rheims) on the back, priced 6/- for the blue cloth bound version and 8/6d for the maroon leatherette version. I have a copy of the blue cloth version but do remember as a child wondering if I might be able to afford the luxury leatherette version one day!

These pamphlets are an important part of our Catholic history, showing the hermeneutic of continuity in practice. The CTS always engaged effectively in promoting the lay apostolate - the decree of Vatican II on the Lay Apostolate Apostolicam Actuositatem affirmed this work that was a strength of the life of the Catholic Church in Britain long before the Council. Pope Benedict spoke of its importance in his Ad Limina address to the Bishops of Scotland earlier this year (as I mentioned in February):
Hand in hand with a proper appre…

LMS Walsingham walking pilgrimage photos

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Joseph Shaw has written a series of posts about the walking pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham which was held by the Latin Mass Society for the first time this year: See his posts from 20-22 August. He also has plenty of photos at his flickr set. Above you can see Fr Alex Redman walking in the pilgrimage in cassock, cotta and stole. Hardnut! If you have done a walking pilgrimage, you will know what I mean. Fifty miles might sound simple but it is enough to do your feet in comprehensively if anything is slightly out of kilter, and any minor discomfort can magnify over the miles.

Paul Smeaton got the idea going for the Pilgrimage so congratulations to him for pulling it off and to the walkers for doing the distance. You can bet that this will become a much loved and cherished tradition among them.

If you do actually walk for a reasonable distance in a spirit of penance and prayer, there is something very moving about reaching the pilgrimage destination. Here the pilgrims have reached the…

FLI media training for youngsters

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Family Life International had a training day for young people in London recently, in which teenagers and young adults were put through a grilling on Catholic issues by an experienced Catholic media expert acting as "devil's advocate", posing as someone in favour of abortion, condom distribution and so on.

The interviews were followed by analysis and instruction on better arguments and techniques to use. This is a great idea and it is wonderful to hear that some of our good Catholics are preparing for battle while still young.

Two teenagers from my parish took part and wrote to me to say how helpful and enjoyable the day was. They are keen to do more so that they can build up their confidence. BTW One of them got his GCSE results today and did very well so send up a prayer of thanksgiving. God has obviously forgiven him for those terrible socks.

Video: "Pope Benedict XVI - My Vatican"

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A correspondent sent me the link to this video by Journeyman Pictures calle Pope Benedict XVI - My Vatican. There is a (very) irritating advert at the beginning and a few statements with which we would take issue, but on the whole it is a well produced and sympathetic documentary with some fascinating comments by Cardinal Ratzinger when he was Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Embedding is disabled (why would anyone want to choose that option?) so here is the link.

ICEL translation - don't try this at home

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Mgr Charles Pope has drawn attention to the fact that the New Roman Missal Translation Contains Some Last Minute Changes. Fr Anthony Ruff at the PrayTell blog has posted a helpful table with a comparison of the changes. They are genuinely minor but somewhat irritating nevertheless. In the combox, Mgr Pope says
It’s kinda murky as to who in the Vatican got their fingerprint on this at the last moment.Quite so.

Leaving that slight annoyance aside, it is interesting that Mgr Guido Marini, the Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations recently spoke about the liturgical texts to be used during the Papal Visit to Britain next month and referred to the ordinary as having been approved a while ago.

This presents something of an anomaly since, for example, in the USA, the implementation of the new translation is set for the first Sunday of Advent 2011. We have, as yet, no date for England and Wales. Thus we have texts that are approved for use but not yet "implemented". One sugges…

Petit Palais in Avignon

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At the northern end of the large open space which begins with the Palais du Papes in Avignon, there is the Petit Palais which was extensively modified by Guiliano della Rovere who became Pope Julius II (known as Il Papa Terribile) who gave the dispensation for Henry VIII to marry Katherine of Aragon, and founded the Swiss Guard, among his other claims to fame.

Here is the view from the door of the Little Palace:


There are some more photos in the Flickr set but I was taken by this painting of St Peter by Taddeo di Bartolo of Siena (d.1422), with the apostle in a yellow toga:


Giovanni Pagani of Monterubbiano in the Marches (d.1545) painted this unusual Vierge du Secours in which Our Lady illustrates the military maxim "Talk softly and carry a big stick."


I am back now from Avignon and back into the parish schedule. If you are waiting for a reply to an email that might take a few days...

Homosexual rights trump religious freedom

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While I was away, I read several news reports on the final decision of the Charities Commission concerning Catholic Care, the adoption agency of the Diocese of Leeds, which won the right to appeal against the Commission's earlier ruling that they would have to consider homosexual couples as adoptive parents.

The Charities Commission has reconsidered its decision and come back with more of the same.
The Commission considers that the charity has not met the requirements for showing that there are particularly convincing and weighty reasons justifying the proposed discrimination.One key point in the Charity Commission summary is:
The High Court indicated respect for religious views is not a justification for discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation in the circumstances of this case.One might want to counter that respect for sexual orientation is not a justification for discrimination against a Catholic charity, forcing it to close. The case demonstrates that in today's Br…

Vespers au Barroux

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We finally made it to the Abbaye Sainte Madeleine au Barroux after about an hour of trying to get a taxi from Carpentras. Vespers was at 5.30pm so we had a chance to take a good look around the bookshop. I bought a video documentary of the life and work of Jacques Maritain but did not go for the lavender which is a local speciality. (Not my thing, you understand.)

On the journey we drove almost continuously through vineyards which the driver was able to name. There were also some olive groves: Le Barroux had both. Fr Briggs is here standing by some olive trees near the Monastery:


There were about forty people at the back of the Church for Wednesday ferial Vespers. These ranged in age from 0 to about 80 with several young families and a group of young men with a priest. Here is one family going into the Church:


and below is a group gathered afterwards; it was all most edifying. The French Church is by no means dead but you need to know where the life is.


I scarcely need add that Vespe…

Cathedral at Carpentras

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Carpentras is on the way from Avignon to Le Barroux. One way to get to Le Barroux is to take the bus to Carpentras and then a taxi on from there. The problem is that although Carpentras is a great place for lunch,  taxis are rather hard to come by. At any rate, you do get to visit the Cathedral of St Siffrien which has this rather good Lady altar:


and an "Altar of the Chair" imitation behind the High Altar:



There is also some French baroque:

Bomb scare at Lourdes and silly comments

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It was sad to hear that there was a bomb scare at Lourdes on Sunday, the feast of the Assumption. Everyone had to be evacuated from the Domaine for three hours while the army searched the place. Not pleasant for the people there, but I suppose it is good for Lourdes to have a dry-run evacuation. With the amount of anti-Catholic hatred being whipped up in Europe it is not impossible that places like Lourdes will become real targets.

Given that danger, I was irritated by the silly bits at the end of the Telegraph report Bomb scare at Lourdes. Here they are:
Around 200 million people have visited the shrine since 1860, and the Roman Catholic Church has recognised 67 miracle healings, the last in November 2005.

Despite this, the Lourdes (sic) has built up enemies over the years among those who criticise its commercialism. It makes millions from tourism and souvenir selling every year.

Others, including members of the Catholic Church, are deeply sceptical of its alleged healing powers, attr…

Purple rhinoceros at Avignon

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A response to the elephants of Libera Me.

Greetings from Avignon

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Yesterday morning, Fr Briggs and I took the Eurostar from Ebbsfleet to Paris, crossed from the Gare du Nord to the Gare de Lyon and took the TGV down to Avignon. Readers outside Europe may be unfamiliar with the abbreviation TGV which stands for "train à grande vitesse". It lived up to its word and got us the 430 miles in two hours and 40 minutes as per timetable, averaging over 160mph from start to stop. Francois Mitterand promoted the TGV as a train for everyone, not just a "premier" business service, and that certainly seems to have worked: the train was packed.

Avignon is sometimes described as being more like a Spanish or Italian town than French. It is hard to capture that on camera but this photo perhaps gives a clue:


The central attraction is the magnificent Papal Palace. Every postcard stall has a picture of the seven Popes of Avignon. That is the number of the legitimate ones. (I haven't yet found a postcard with the antipopes on.) It was all a rathe…

Gaudeamus omnes in Domino

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Yesterday before evening Mass I took my camera out to photograph our Lady Altar which was decorated for the feast of the Assumption. Afterwards, I thought that with the light just after a heavy rainfall, it would be a good opportunity to try and get a good photo of our outside statue, avoiding cars, sheds and buildings. More or less crouching in a puddle, I was rewarded with this one which, I think, might do for a postcard.

The title of the post is from the pre-1950 antiphon for the feast of the Assumption:
Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis: de cuius Assumptione gaudent Angeli, et collaudant Filium Dei.

Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating the feast day in honour of Blessed Mary the Virgin: in whose Assumption the Angels rejoice, and highly extol the Son of God.I'm not sure that the post-1950 propers with the Signum magnum introit are an improvement.

Here is the photo of the Lady Altar:


Say a prayer for the repose of the sou…

Fatherless - an important pro-life novel

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A priest friend has written to let me know of the book Fatherless, One More Soul by Brian J. Gail. A novel set in 1980s Philadelphia, it portrays the spiritual battles fought by Catholics within the Church, focussing on a priest who is led to conversion particularly through understanding the teaching of the Church on the transmission of human life.

Unfortunately, the book us currently only available on the UK Amazon site as a Kindle ebook. It can be purchased from the US Amazon site as a paperback.

Photos from Downside conference

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Seeing on Fr Ray Blake's blog that he is back from Downside, I followed his link to have a look at the photos in LMS Chairman, Joseph Shaw's flickr set: LMS Priest Training Conference at Downside.


The conference was put on by the Latin Mass Society to train priests to celebrate Mass according to the usus antiquior. this year, the guest speaker was Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the author of Dominus Est. A couple of years ago, I posted a video of bishop Schneider, and some helpful links. I expect that his address will be available soon at the Latin Mass Society website. Here is a photo of Bishop Schneider giving Holy Communion in the way in which he advocates in his book, with the communicant kneeling and receiving on the tongue:


And here is a photo of the whole gathering, after Pontifical High Mass on the feast of St Clare:


There may be an anti-baroque reader or two who will particularly appreciate this fine conical chasuble from the Downside sacristy. I don't know, though…

Not standard school equipment

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While I was at the Evangelium Conference at the Oratory School, Reading last Saturday, I took the above photo of a piece of school equipment outside the Headquarters of the Combined Cadet Force who formed a guard of honour for the Blessed Sacrament Procession at the school in June. I don't expect that it can be obtained from the standard education supplies catalogues.

Back home, I consulted the Blackfen Military Attaché (Blackfen readers will probably guess who he is) to obtain identification of this piece of equipment. It is an Ordnance QF 25 pounder with muzzle flash suppressor. The 25 pounder was introduced into service during World War II and was used in training units until the 1908s. Which all goes to show the truth of the observation made by my friend Lt Col Corum many years ago when we were at a pistol shooting range near Oxford, that in the British Army the weapons that are used for training are older than the men firing them. (If you're interested, I did fire a Smit…

Good First Communion book republished

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It was sad to hear that Family Publication had to cease trading. A resourceful priest bought up the copyright to several of their titles so as to facilitate republication. One important title is Dora Nash's "Jesus Comes to Me" which I mentioned when it was first published. Since many parishes use the book for their First Holy Communion course, it has been a cause of anxiety for some priests and catechists that it might now be out of print.

I am therefore happy to report that St Pauls are now publishing the book and it is available from them at £6.95.

Football related contrast between Spain and England

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The victorious Spanish football team, along with Ángel Maria del Villar, the president of the Spanish Federation of Football are in Mexico to present the World Cup to Our Lady of Guadalupe. There are some photos at Demotix. This must surely be a significant gesture given the hardcore secularism of Spain's Prime Minister.

In England on the other hand, the head of media relations for the Football Association stopped Wayne Rooney talking about the "prominent cross" that he wears. The FA's official line is "We don't do religion." This fatuous intervention speaks volumes about the culture which Pope Benedict is coming to face next month.

Incidentally, five minutes' research (asking a Catholic, for instance) would have gained the Independent's reporter the extra little expert detail that the "prominent cross" is actually a rosary. If he had shown that he didn't understand the offside rule, he would be ridiculed far and wide. But when it …

Liturgy wars on Mars

The other day I received video response to my Summorum Pontificum celebration. I was interested in the service provided by xtranormal which enables you to make your own animated videos and have just tried it out.



I think many of you could have fun with this...

Powerful message on celibacy from Bishop Jukes

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Bishop John Jukes has written a powerful and inspiring personal reflection on celibacy on the occasion of his 87th birthday. He might have issued this via the Catholic Communications Network or something, but he has shown considerable media savvy in sending it directly to Damian Thompson who has posted it in full on his blog, thus gaining the venerable Bishop and his important article quite a lot more readers than the official path might have secured. I hope that it is picked up and posted on official channels as well. See: A Catholic bishop looks back gratefully on 87 years of celibacy. (I have further reason to be grateful to Bishop Jukes since it was he who had the temerity to ordain me in 1984.)

An amusing reference to this story was unwittingly provided a few minutes ago by Our Sunday Visitor on Twitter (click to enlarge):


Don't tell Damian!

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