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Showing posts from January, 2008

Life unworthy of life?

John Smeaton has an shocking example of the depths to which debate is sinking on pro-life matters in the UK. (See Do we live in a civilised country? Draw your own conclusions) Baroness Meacher spoke in Parliament the other day to suggest that for two children she knew with cerebral palsy "It would be in their best interests to have been aborted." Baroness Tonge, clearly aware that it is not politically acceptable to call for the killing of disabled people, attempted to redefine the terms in a way that is eerily familiar:"... we were not talking here about disabled human beings, but about some grossly abnormal human beings; many of those whom I have seen bear little resemblance to human beings."I think it is apposite to quote in this context a sermon of Cardinal Clemens von Galen given in August 1941. The Cardinal speaks of the mentally ill but we know that those with cerebral palsy were also included in the programme which he condemned:If it is once accepted that p…

Buggy appeal update

The Sisters of the Gospel of Life blog reports on some welcome publicity:Buggy appeal in the news. The appeal, featured here (Send stuff to Sisters of the Gospel of Life) has made the front page of one of our Catholic newspapers. The story is a bit confused but hey! so long as the Sisters get sent lots of stuff for the mothers they are helping, that's fine by me. Once again, if you have some leeway on that plastic thing in your wallet, go over to Amazon and send the Sisters some baby things. Delivery address:

Sisters of the Gospel of Life
106 Dixon Ave
Glasgow
G42 8EL

Gentle but firm

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From St John's Valdaosta, a quotation from Blessed Anna Katherina Emmerich:"I saw a Pope who was at once gentle and very firm... I saw a great renewal, and the Church rose high in the sky."Robert Kumpel asks whether Pope Benedict is the Pope that she is referring to. "Gentle but firm" does certainly describe him well.

Robert also has extracts from Bl. Anna Katherina's vision of people wearing white aprons with blue riband and attempting to demolish St Peter's, marking out the lines of attack with trowels. His comparison of the masonic altar with the people's table of many Churches might be a bit much for some people but I have to say that I found it amusing.

Pope Benedict's address to the CDF

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This afternoon, Pope Benedict addressed the plenary session of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Rorate Caeli has a translation of part of the address (Peter speaks).

The Holy Father thanked the Congregation for its work for the unity of the faith and drew attention in particular to two important documents issued during the last year. First he spoke of the Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church issued in June, which "reproposes, in the formulations and in the language, the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, in full continuity with the doctrine of Catholic Tradition". The Holy Father also made this important point about the doctrine of the Church (my translation):To cultivate a theological vision which would hold the unity and identity of the Church as characteristics "hidden in Christ" with the consequence that historically the Church would exist in fact in multiple ecclesial configurations, reconcilabl…

The Telegraph tomorrow...

... is apparently going to pick up on my comments about Archbishop Sentamu, the bottle of beer and the Holy Father's preference for Fanta. Slightly nervous about this, I call to mind the wise words of Fr Reginald Foster in a recent interview:No, I'm not going to write my memories. People write too much about too many things.If you ever studied with Reggie, you can reconstruct his gravelly Milwaukee accent dripping with contempt.

Two new blogs

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A good friend of mine from Oxford days, Joseph Sowerby, has started writing Catholic Commentary. Joseph is a Physics teacher and branch secretary for one of the teaching unions. He had an interesting post the other day concerning a visit to the synagogue and a Rabbi's unhesitating affirmation that "When we stand up to pray, we all face the same way, towards the East" (Facing East). Today, he comments on School tips on anti-gay bullying. Joseph's wide range of interests and experience will make his blog one to watch.

Fr David Barrett, a priest of Northampton Diocese and formerly Bishop's Chaplain there, is spending some time in Rome, staying at the Casa Santa Maria where he is researching for a doctoral thesis on St Hilary of Poitiers. I am delighted to hear that he is studying Latin with Fr Reginald Foster - and collecting some Reggie sayings. He is also writing a blog called Hilariter. Although this is not a daily updated blog, it will be worth keeping an eye on …

Just what I wanted - ?

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Again, thanks to the Curt Jester for news of this. The Anglican Archbishop of York, John Sentamu has visited the Holy Father and given him a bottle of beer. (Guardian report) The Guardian reports that the Pope was pleased with the gift. Here's a hint: he was being polite. The Pope does not drink much beer, he normally drinks Fanta (fizzy orange). I learned this from the same source which informed me that contrary to popular rumour, the Holy Father does not now, nor ever has smoked. He is not therefore numbered among the saintly puffers such as John Kemble, Pius X and Titus Brandsma.

The Archbishop's gift reminds me of the occasion on which the President of the United States of America presented the Holy Father with a stick. To be fair, it was inscribed with the ten commandments but it should also be pointed out that they were in the Protestant version. (See National Catholic Register: Gift or gaffe? for further discussion.)

Damien Thompson has announced that I am now second fav…

This was the winner?!

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Jeff Miller, the Curt Jester has an amusing post about the winning design for the pulpit, lectern and chair to be used for the Holy Father's visit to Washington. (Curt Jester: Pope Kirk!) Here is the work of art:

I can only agree with Jeff in wondering what the losing designs were like. Have a look at the post for his further musing on the Star Trek theme.

Resources for ecclesiastical Latin

Thanks to the New Liturgical Movement for the link to the Ecclesiastical Latin site. I am delighted to see that there is a "Dictionary of the Psalter". I often speak to students and priests who want to start saying the hours in Latin and I have thought that some time I ought to compile a vocabulary list. It is a great relief to find that this has already been done. Another suggestion that I make is to have a copy of the Douai Rheims bible to hand, open at the book of Psalms. The Dr gives a very literal translation of the Vulgate so it will be helpful for those learning to say the psalms in Latin.

There are many other useful books at Ecclesiastical Latin and some interesting studies such as Christine Mohrmann on the Latin of St Patrick. As a graduate of Reggie Foster, I would add one cautionary note. Do not get carried away by the idea that there is a separate language called "Church Latin" which will suffice instead of something called "Classical Latin". C…

Visit to Chis 'n Sid

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No this is not a duo rivalling Chas 'n Dave but the nickname of the Grammar School in Blackfen: Chislehurst and Sidcup Grammar. In England, a Grammar school is one which selects pupils on the basis of ability, measured by a selection test taken in the top year of Junior School (age 10/11). Most of these schools became comprehensive (mixed ability) schools some decades ago, including most of the Catholic Grammar schools such as the John Fisher School which I attended.

In my parish, parents are faced with a dilemma. If their child is academically gifted, they have the chance of attending a school where the curriculum is slanted in this direction (for example Latin is part of the curriculum at Chis 'n Sid). The Catholic secondary schools strongly maintain that their provision for academically able children is just as good and that the exam results reflect this. In the end, parents have to make the decision that they feel is best.

Quite a number of my young parishioners therefore at…

Et exspecto...

... posted a comment about writing up the music for the John Fisher School hymn. Unfortunately I seem to have lost the comment. Therefore a note here to say please let me know when you post this and I will link to it. I'll be at the school for Founder's Day in March and, if the Headmaster is happy, I'd quite like to get a video of the hymn being sung.

Lorraine Allard

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Lorraine Allard (33) was diagnosed with liver cancer.Since she was pregnant, the medical staff offered her a "termination". This is a choice faced by many women nowadays. Lorraine refused the abortion and said "If I am going to die, my baby is going to live." Lorraine died on 18 January but her son, Liam, was born alive on 18 November. Lorraine's husband Martyn said "Lorraine was so brave. I can't begin to describe how brave she was." Lorraine died on 18 January.
Picture Daily Telegraph

Below is a picture of Lorraine and Martyn with baby Liam. God bless them and reward them for their heroic sacrifice. May Our Lady of Sorrows come to them and console them in this time of desolation and bring them peace,

Of all the saints whom we might call upon for assistance at this time, surely one stands out above all the rest, Saint Giovanna Beretta Molla who similarly gave her life for her unborn child and for the future the Lord has in mind for us:

Fr Z coming to the UK

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The great Fr Zuhlsdorf of What Does the Prayer Really Say will be stopping over at Blackfen later this week on his tour of England. Fr Z will be speaking to the Newman Society at Oxford among other events and we will maybe take in a film and a pizza in between times (as well as a solemn Mass or two). Fr Z reminded me of Dr Johnson's admonition: "Why, Sir, when he leaves our houses let us count our spoons." Well! I wouldn't ever suspect Fr Z of such nefariousness.

But heck! He can have a spoon or two if they are short of them over there in the midwest!

Your choice...

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Looking at the website for the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, I was amused to see the two options offered on the start page:

Congratulations to Revv Dubois and Varkey

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It was a red letter day at Wonersh today as Rev Shaju Varkey (left) and Rev Tom Dubois (right) were ordained deacons by the Bishop of Clifton, the Rt Rev Declan Lang. Both have been in my sacramental theology class and I was delighted to see them take ascend this final gradus before their ordination to the sacred priesthood.

The Mass was expertly arranged as are all such functions at Wonersh. The Mass setting used was the Missa Orbis Factor. Immediately after Mass, the procession moved into the Ambulacrum, the central corridor of the building, along which there is a frieze with the text in Latin of the opening verses of the prologue of St John's Gospel: the seminary is dedicated to St John. In the centre of the ambulacrum there is an altar in honour of Our Lady, Queen of the Clergy, set up in by students and colleagues in memory of Canon Hallett, a former rector. The procession stopped there to sing the Salve Regina.

Among the various diocesan concelebration vestments and the semina…

Communion kneeling, on the tongue

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda in Kazakhstan, has written a book called Dominus Est, published by the Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Bishop Schneider looks particularly at the question of how we should receive Holy Communion, favouring the practice of kneeling and receiving Holy Communion on the tongue. Not only has the book been published by the Vatican press, it also has a Foreword by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.

The Associazione Luci sull'Est has the publisher's description and the text of the Foreword by Archbishop Ranjith. Shawn Tribe at the New Liturgical Movement has an (unofficial) translation of the Foreword. Here is my (unofficial) translation of the publisher's description:Holy Communion is not simply a convivial moment of spiritual nourishment but also the closest possible personal encounter for the faithful in this life with their Lord and God. The most authentic interior attitude in this…

Solemn Masses at Blackfen

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There will also be a Solemn Mass in the Classical Roman Rite on Saturday 2 February at 10.30am at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, with blessing of candles and procession. We also hope to have High Mass but it will be Missa Cantata if not.

The following Saturday, 9th February, we have our Day with Mary in the parish. This year, the Mass will be a Solemn Mass (Missa Cantata) in the Classical Roman Rite (starting circa 11am). The Day with Mary begins at 10am, finishes about 5.30pm and includes consecration of the parish to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, outdoor procession of Our Lady, outdoor procession of the Blessed Sacrament in the afternoon, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, confessions, and enrolment in the brown scapular and the miraculous medal. Bring something to eat: tea and coffee are provided. There is a bookstall available at lunchtime with a selection of good Catholic books, especially those published by TAN.

(For those unfamiliar with the terminology, "High Mass"…

Candlemas at St John of Jerusalem

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This today by email:
There will be a Solemn Mass, (hopefully a High Mass), with Blessing of Candles and Procession, in the extraordinary form, at the Order of Malta's Church of St John of Jerusalem, which is in the Hospital of SS John and Elizabeth, Grove End Road, St John's Wood, NW8, (Tube St John's Wood, Jubilee Line) at 11am on Saturday 2nd February. The celebrant will be Very Reverend Canon John Macdonald, Magistral Chaplain of the Order, and Chaplain to the Hospital, and the Knights will be in choir. The music will be plainsong. Second Vespers and Benediction will also take place at 3.30pm. Everyone is most welcome to attend.

Growing in the womb

This amazing video shows the growth of the unborn child in the womb from conception.

Consecration of John Fisher School Chapel

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Last Thursday, Archbishop Kevin McDonald consecrated the chapel of my Alma Mater, the John Fisher School in Purley, on the occasion of the chapel's 50th anniversary.

The chapel means a lot to me because it was there, at the early Mass before school, that my vocation to the priesthood took root. Following the example and encouragement of another boy, I began to get up half an hour earlier in order to get to school in time for Fr Nesbitt's Mass. That was what Our Lord wanted.

Here you can see the Archbishop putting incense into the burner as part of the rite of consecration of the altar itself.

To the left of His Grace is Paul Moynihan with whom I served Mass when a small boy in the parish of Our Lady of the Annunciation, Addiscombe. Further left is Deacon Jim Sheahan who was once a student of mine when I was teaching theology to those training for the Permanent Diaconate. To the far right is Fr Stephen Dingley, an old boy of the school who has a doctorate from Cambridge in Astroph…

Helping our children make good moral choices

Fr Guy Nicholls as Parish Priest and School Chaplain, and Fr Philip Cleevely as a Governor, wrote recently to parents of children at the Oratory Primary School in Birmingham saying:In many Primary schools children are now being taught explicit sex education in the classroom. The Church, however, teaches that you, the parents, are the right persons to deal with this very important and sensitive area of your children's lives. Nevertheless, the Oratory Fathers and the Governors of the Oratory Primary School recognise that you may welcome some help and guidance in dealing with such an important and sensitive issue. That is why we are offering these six talks designed to cover various aspects of your children's sexual and moral development and behaviour. We hope you will find them helpful. Please tell us what you think of them.Jackie Parkes (Catholic Mom of 10) has posted my sister Jane's notes on the first talk, given by Greg Clovis on "Moral Formation, the Internet, TV, …

Lenten talks at Ealing Abbey

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A Series of Lenten Talks and Retreat
at Ealing Abbey

Thursday 7th February
7.30pm Abbey Hall
Fr .Stephen Wang PhL, STL, PhD
How to be Happy: The true meaning of Prayer, Fasting, Almsgiving

Thursday 14th February
7.30pm Abbey Hall
Fr Marcus Holden STB
The Seven Deadly Sins and their Antidotes

Saturday 23rd February
Full Day Retreat 10.00am -4.00pm (£10.00 including lunch, book through Parish Office 0208 862 2160)
Fr Paul Watson MA, STL
Recovering the Trinity - Faith in an Age of Disbelief

Saturday 1st March
8.00 pm Abbey Hall
Jennifer Smith RCM & Alina Lubinska
Exploring the St.Matthew Passion by J.S.Bach
finding the spiritual treasures in his music", a talk with musical illustrations

Tuesday 11th March
8.00pm Abbey Hall
Fr Tim Finigan MA (Oxon), STL
Christ the Unique and Universal Saviour - as outlined in Dominus Iesus.

In my talk, I will examine how Dominus Iesus affirms that the salvific will of the Triune God is accomplished once and for all in the incarnation, death and resurrection of Jesus C…

Pregnancy as marital fulfilment - update!

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In October 2006, I reported on Valeria Manca's excellent letter in Faith Magazine on Pregnancy as marital fulfilment. There was also this lovely picture of Valeria with her tenth child.

Well here are numbers 11 and 12: twins Laura and Clara born earlier this month.

Congratulations to all the family - including ten happy brothers and sisters:

Pope Benedict on World Communications Day

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The message of the Holy Father for the 42nd World Communications Day is entitled "The Media: At the Crossroads between Self-Promotion and Service. Searching for the Truth in order to Share it with Others." The message was issued on 24 January, the feast of St Francis of Sales (patron saint of journalists). World Communications Day itself is on 4 May. For those of us who write blogs, this offers an opportunity for an examination of conscience. I found it helpful to read this address as it applies to the Catholic blogosphere. We are part of the world of social communications and the Holy Father is speaking to us as well as to the mainstream media. We should take careful note of what he says and try to put into practice his wise advice.

I am sure many of us would agree that we have a "special responsibility for promoting respect for the family, making clear its expectations and rights, and presenting all its beauty". The family is at the very heart of the spiritual bat…

Padre Pio Bookshop

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Up in London this afternoon, I took the opportunity to visit the Padre Pio bookshop in Vauxhall Bridge Road. These are good people who love the Catholic faith. Downstairs, there is an amazing chapel with a wide variety of devotional statues and pictures. Mass is regularly celebrated and there are public prayers every day.

The shop has all sorts of books, especially relating to Catholic devotions that you can't always find elsewhere. I picked up half a dozen things there including the TAN collection of prayers to St Joseph. Another book that caught my eye (and my credit card) was Fr Jack Spaulding's "Holy Boldness" which is a book written specifically about the spiritual life of the secular priest. A video about the message of Fatima and a leaflet with St Pio's advice on how to behave in Church have also found their way to the presbytery.

A thing I really love doing is to go to these places where people give their lives for the faith and try to convey the message th…

Changing from BT

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Earlier today I was thinking that I must ring British Telecom to find out what broadband package they could offer along with the phone line. There are usually discounts for bundled services and I though I might as well stay with them.

Then I opened my post. Included was a letter from them which was not a bill and very nearly went into the bin (with about 75% of my post). Fortunately, I read the letter first. "We're automatically upgrading your line, at no extra cost, so you never miss a call wherever you are." Not terribly interested. If I'm out of the house, I usually can't answer the phone on account of teaching, seeing someone who needs to talk to me uninterrupted or saying a traditional Mass, that kind of thing. Even when I am on the train, diverting calls to my mobile will not usually help because I would need to be in the house to tell them whether they can hire the hall or were baptised in the parish or whatever.

Then I find that not only are BT "automa…

"The Realm" and "A Lourdes Prayer Book"

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Family Publications have sent me two new publications:

A Lourdes Prayer Book at £4.50 is an illustrated 64 page booklet with popular prayers to Our Lady illustrated by a fine collection of photographs of Lourdes including scenes from the altars in the Rosary Basilica.

"The Realm. An Unfashionable Essay on the Conversion of England" by Aidan Nichols OP, does not seem to be on the website as yet. A 160 page paperback, this is a provocative look at specifically English culture. Fr Nichols says:If it can be shown that Catholic Christianity was not only essential to the making of England but provides the best foundation - intellectual, moral and social - for the culture of an England re-made, then the outlines of what Catholicism is will by that very fact be clarified and its importance gauged at its true worth.The book examines the needs of England as a nation in the light of England's Catholic Christian roots and explains the concept of "integral evangelisation" whi…

Collaborative ministry

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As a supplement to the doctrinal and spiritual talk at the beginning of the Confirmation programme, I mention our dress code. For boys, this is easy: jacket and tie, no jeans, no trainers. For girls it is a bit nuanced: dress or skirt, or tailored suit, no mini skirts, discreet makeup (check with mum) careful with the heels. I always thought it was a problem with kneeling down.

Mulier Fortis has helpfully explained the real problem with high-heeled shoes at Confirmation. It's not the kneeling down, you see, but the getting up again, apparently. I'll remember that in the future.

One thing that is really important is to have separate classes for boys and girls. At Confirmation you need to say something about chastity and remote preparation for marriage. It is essential to have different groups for boys and girls for this since they have different "needs" in this respect.

Code of Canon Law silver jubilee

I remember the publication of the Code of Canon Law in Rome in 1983. Ed Koroway (now "Father") rushed me a copy hot off the press which I gratefully received in the tea room at the English College. (I had a small part later in helping him with the Latin for his defence of a doctoral thesis on latae sententiae excommunications in the new code - information I have always retained.)

In class that week, Fr Reginald Foster was snarling about a mistake in the sequence of tenses in the introduction. Our course with Fr Ghirlanda on the Lex Ecclesiae Fundamentalis was a dead letter because the LEF was not, in the event, promulgated.

Archbishop Coccopalmerio has said on the occasion of the canonical jubilee that the Code is like a "large and complex painting". Well that is one way of putting it. In any case, congratulations to canonists everywhere. Thank you for releasing the rest of us from this drudgery. I spent a short time as defender of the bond in the second instance tri…

Vernacular readings at TLM?

There is a thoughtful post today from Shawn Tribe at NLM, The Vernacular Option for the Lessons; A Call for Discussion. At Masses offered according to the Classical Roman Rite, the readings may be proclaimed in the vernacular as Summorum Pontificum allows.

In England, I think this needs to be looked at from two perspectives. First, where there has been a practice for some time of offering Mass in the Classical form of the rite, with the readings read or sung in Latin, I think it would be unwise to change this practice and introduce vernacular readings. Better to stick with the practice of reading the English texts before the sermon or simply accepting that people have the English texts and do not need them to be read out.

However, in a parish setting, where the Classical form is being introduced, it may be a good compromise to have the readings given in English by a cleric at the same time as the celebrant is reading them in Latin quietly. It is a prejudice of modern liturgical practic…

Pope Benedict and "conversi ad Dominum"

In his General Audience address today, the Holy Father referred explicitly to a theme addressed by Fr Michael Lang in his seminal work "Turning Towards the Lord":Behold, the meaning of prayer: to open our hearts, to create in us a willingness which opens the path to Christ. In the liturgy of the ancient Church, after the sermon, the bishop or president of the celebration, the principal celebrant, would say: "Conversi ad Dominum…Turn (around) toward the Lord". Then he himself and all there rose up and turned themselves toward the East. The all wanted to gaze toward Christ. Only if we have been converted, only in this turning toward Christ, in this common gaze at Christ, can we find the gift of unity.H/T Fr Z

Amy Curran's funeral

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About 500 people gathered at Our Lady of the Rosary Church this morning for the funeral of Amy Curran, a young lady of 15 who was tragically killed in a car accident on New Year's Day. The Mass was celebrated in the modern Roman rite, in English (though I sang the In paradisum in Latin as is our custom here at Blackfen). In conversation with her friends some time ago, Amy said that at her funeral, she wanted people to dress traditionally, in black. Therefore I used our beautiful black vestments and Brother Michael OFM Cap, the chaplain of St Thomas More school, brought some black vestments for the three concelebrants.

Amy's family wrote a beautiful summary of Amy's life which I read on their behalf before preaching the sermon in which I spoke of the sadness of such an untimely death and the glory to which God has called us. I mentioned the prayers and Masses that have already been offered and requested for the repose of Amy's soul, that God might forgive "any sins …

Amy's funeral tomorrow

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Tomorrow morning, I will be celebrating the funeral of Amy Curran, a young girl who was tragically killed in a car accident on New Year's Day along with two friends (see Amy Curran RIP).

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Amy, for the comfort and consolation of her mother, Linda, her father, Tom, and her brother Nick, and all her young friends. (Please also spare a prayer for me too as this will be a difficult day.)

From our Rome correspondents

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Fr Martin Edwards kindly sent me the above from yesterday's Angelus. The Holy Father is second window from the right at the top of the Palazzo. Father sent a brief note to accompany the photos,It was a wonderful and moving event. At the end, the Holy Father put his notes away and spoke off the cuff. The Holy Father lectured academe on the importance of liberty in the pursuit of truth. (The priests with me are fellow students from the NAC.)Here are the priests (Fr Edwards on the left):

Regular commenter, George put this comment in earlier today:My wife and I were there yesterday. Fantastic atmosphere, people started coming in from early morning. We went to St Anne's for 10 am Mass then just about managed to squeeze into a spot in St Peter's Square from where we could see the window from which Papa Bendict would appear. Nearly an hour later and the cheers went up as our Holy Father appeared at the window with arms raised up and a big smile on his face. Wonderful! The cheers, …

Angelus today

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Actually, the BBC missed an opportunity here. They could have used the AP or Reuters reports which both spoke of "tens of thousands" of people going to the Angelus today. Here is one picture:

The empty section to the left of the photo is where you cannot see the Pope because you are too close to the colonnade under the window he appears from. The space in the centre is railed off. You can just about see the beginning of the crowds stretching up the Via Della Conciliazione. So the reports speaking conservatively of "more than 100,000" are certainly right and the "nearly 200,000" figure quoted in other reports would be perfectly reasonable.

This is about ten times the number that normally gather for the Angelus on Sunday. Forza Roma!

At the Vatican website, you can read the Angelus address in Italian. Before the Angelus, the Holy Father gave his customary catechesis (today on the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity). After the Angelus, he thanked the students…

Well fancy that!

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No surprise there, then. H/T to Mulier Fortis for the idea.

Quote of the day

Prescinding from the discussion about Bishop Williamson, I hugely enjoyed this anecdote:The SSPX has been part of a debate that has informed my religious life ever since the day I served my first Novus Ordo Mass aged about 10 and asked the priest in the sacristy how many times I should ring the bell at the Consecration: "How the bloody hell does anyone know any more?" was the irreverent but accurate reply.From Ttony at the Muniment Room: Bishop Williamson, the SSPX, and a New (to me) Blog

Text or email support for the Holy Father

It seems that there will be a big turnout on Sunday for the Angelus since Cardinal Ruini suggested that the faithful, and all Romans go to the square to pray with the Holy Father. It seems that even in Hebei, China, people will be gathering to pray together at the time of the Angelus.

H/T to Fr Z for posting details of Vatican Radio's service for people to show support for the Holy Father in the wake of the disgraceful episode of his being made unwelcome at Rome's La Sapienza university.

Send a text message to: +393351243317 (in the UK, you would dial 00393351243317)

Email: 105@vatiradio.va

Fr Z says to tell them that WDTPRS sent you. Well if you get the number/email from here, tell them that "The Hermeneutic of Continuity" sent you ;-)

Alcuin Reid on facing Eastward

There is an excellent short article by Alcuin Reid in this week's Catholic Herald. You can read the article (with comments) at Fr Z's blog - Catholic Herald: Alcuin Reid on what the Pope is doing with ad orientem worship.

The article appears on page 4 of the paper as an "Analysis" piece below the report on the Holy Father's Mass in the Sistine Chapel last Sunday. The page is illustrated by a striking PA photo showing the whole of the "last Judgement" and part of the ceiling. At the bottom, there are the small figures of the Holy Father and ministers at the moment of the elevation of the sacred host.

Dr Reid's article is a good short summary of the case for eastward facing. It concludes with a quotation from Cardinal Ratzinger's "The Spirit of the Liturgy", ending "Looking at the priest has no importance. What matters is looking together at the Lord."

Roman rite trans-patriarchal?

Andrew Taylor recently wrote to me via Facebook about a most interesting discovery of the Divine Liturgy of St Peter. I'll leave him to tell the story rather than spoil it or get things wrong...In addition to my interests and work as an academic theologian/philosopher I am a slavophile and take great interest in the history and liturgics of the Eastern Church.

Of particular interest to me are a group in Russia and the diaspora known as the 'Old Believers' (though Old Ritualists is a better translation of Starovertsy). This sizeable group split from the Patriarchal Russian Church in the 1650's on account of their refusal to reform the liturgy.

The then Patriarch Nikon was concerned to rectify what he saw as errors in the Russian Liturgical books and to conform to Greek practise. Many of the reforms seem to the modern reader somewhat minor including variations on making the sign of the cross, a small change in the spelling of Jesus (from Isus to Iesus), the addition of an …

Send stuff to Sisters of the Gospel of Life

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The Sisters of the Gospel of Life have the following appeal on their blog:Due to unprecedented demand we have a severe shortage of prams and buggies, which we desperately need over the next few days.

If you’re in the Glasgow area and have a pram or buggy, in good condition, that you no longer need, please do consider donating it to us. We have a number of women whose due dates are imminent and are in particular need of prams or buggies suitable from birth onwards.

We’re also in serious need of baby baths.Now many of us don't live in the Glasgow area. But all of us using the internet can go to a baby-stuff site and type in the numbers from that little plastic thing we have in our wallets, and put the delivery address as:

Sisters of the Gospel of Life
106 Dixon Ave
Glasgow
G42 8EL

This is called almsgiving. You get grace and at least a partial indulgence if you have even a habitual intention. The Sisters get a bit of help and encouragement in their work, and a mother who has resisted press…

Copyright, the internet, and the Church

There is an excellent post on NLM today by Michael Lawrence entitled The Complete Works of Bach--for free.As it is quite short, I will post it in full:

Not far from my computer desk is a boring little book on copyright law as it applies to musicians. I've never read it, and I don't intend to read this heap of positivism. My hope is that within my lifetime most of it will become irrelevant, as intellectual property laws often hurt creators rather than help them.

We are making progress. One need look no further than the Choral Public Domain Library. But there is more. Many artists themselves are catching on to the reality that if they offer something for free, the sales of that item and the general benefit to them increases sharply, most famously the band Radio Head, which released its most recent album online in a pay-what-you-wish format.

Following in Radio Head's footsteps is Dr. James Kibbie of the University of Michigan, who is in the midst of recording the complete organ …

Catholic Woman of the Year 2008 nominations open

This event is held each year and it would be good if the Catholic blogosphere were involved in submitting nominations.

You are warmly invited to nominate some one as a Catholic Woman of the Year for 2008. The organisers of the 40th Catholic Women of the Year Luncheon are looking for “unsung heroines” - women who are good neighbours and active in the community, care for the sick and housebound, work to pass on the Catholic Faith to the next generation, raise funds for charity, speak up for moral truths and family values, or in some other way serve God and the Church. Anyone can be nominated – all that is necessary is to write a letter to the Chairman, 22 Milton Rd WARE Herts SG12 0PZ or email mijamajoje@ntlworld.com with a few paragraphs about the person you are nominating. Make sure you give her full name and also your own full name and address. Nominations close on April 30th.

The Luncheon – a special one for this 40th anniversary - will be held on Friday October 10th in London and…

Gregorian Chant Workshop for priests

I received this notice the other day from a correspondent. It sounds like an excellent idea and I hope that a good number of priests from the North East are able to benefit from it.

Gregorian Chant Workshop
Batley
Tuesday 12 February 2008
10.30am – 5.30pm

The Latin Mass Society is organising a day’s workshop to introduce priests to the singing of the Mass in the usus antiquior or extraordinary form.

Tuition will be provided by experts in the singing of Mass and will include:
The simple psalm toning of the introit, gradual, alleluia, offertory and Communion.
The chant of the collect and post Comunion.
The epistle tone
The Gospel tone
The Asperges

The venue is:
St. Mary of the Angels Church
Cross Bank Road,
Batley
West Yorkshire
WF17 8PQ

The day will conclude with Missa Cantata

It is hoped to hold a similar day later in the year based on the requests of participants at this workshop. A questionnaire will be issued on the day.

With the kind permission of Fr. Tim Wiley, Parish Priest of St. Mary’s, Batley.

Lu…

"A Way of Life for young Catholics" pamphlet

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The Catholic Truth Society have published an excellent new title: "A Way of Life for young Catholics". Written by Fr Stephen Wang, it offers advice on living the Catholic faith, prayer, holiness, confession, chastity, and vocation. Many of the sections are in the form "Five essentials of Catholic life", "Five ways to sanctify your home or room" etc. I have just ordered a set for the Confirmation candidates in my parish and am revising the Confirmation programme to use the excellent material in this pamphlet.

The speech Pope Benedict would have given

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Asia news has the text of the address that the Holy Father would have given today at Rome's La Sapienza university if a minority of its professors had not demonstrated an inability to follow up and understand a text quoting someone in order to illustrate a point.

In his address, the Holy Father cites John Rawls who denies that religious doctrine has the character of "public" reasoning, (but nevertheless has a "private reasoning" that must be respected on the grounds of tradition.) Pope Benedict also refers once again to the atheist Habermas. I also heard tell that in his so-called "Divine Office" he regularly recites a verse from the Hebrew scriptures that says "there is no God" (Ps 13.1) Hey, folks! I think it's time for us all to go and lie down in St Peter's Square and protest that the Pope is an atheist!

Joking aside, the Holy Father concludes his fascinating and deeply erudite address:And so let me go back to the initial point. W…

BBC Director General to speak at Westminster

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Mark Thompson, the Director General of the BBC, will be speaking at Westminster on 10 April to discuss "Faith in the Media". This will be the second of "The Cardinal's Lectures" and will take place on Thursday 10 April . Tickets can be ordered at the Cardinal's Lectures page at the Westminster Diocesan website.

As it happens, with this amount of notice, that day is free. Provided nothing urgent comes up, I'll be there so we might be able to have a "Bloggers' meet" afterwards.

Newman book launch at Birmingham Oratory

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I was meant to be at the Birmingham Oratory today for the launch of a new book on John Henry Newman by James Arthur and Fr Guy Nicholls in the Continuum Library of Educational Thought. Archbishop Nichols spoke at the launch as well as Fr Paul Watson of the Maryvale institute. Unfortunately, a very long-standing parishioner died a short while ago and it was important for me to be here to celebrate her funeral. (Please say a prayer for Lala Whitman, and for her husband Bob and their family.)

According to the description on Amazon, the book offers an account of Newman's educational thought, giving an intellectual biography, a critical exposition of Newman's work and a discussion of the reception, influence and relevance of Newman's work today. At £71 it is probably a bit pricey for some but it would be an important addition for many libraries.

I was sorry to have missed this event and the opportunity to catch up with many friends. I will have to arrange another visit to Birming…

Promo video for St Gregory's Academy

St Gregory's Academy is a school run by the FSSP in North Eastern Pennsylvania. Here is a clip which gives the first four and a half minutes of their promotional video:



This is how the Academy summarises the education it offers:In order to engage the imagination as the foundation for higher intellectual activity, St. Gregory’s students read some of the world’s best literature and history, memorize poetry and songs, and participate in a wide variety of cultural activities. The Academy boys have themselves given vocal and theatrical performances throughout the area and at the school. Reasoning skills are cultivated by means of such courses as Euclidean geometry, physics, and classical logic. Academic and cultural activities are balanced by soccer, rugby, hiking, camping and other physical activities, all of which build the body while at the same time providing pleasurable recreation. However, the center of life at St. Gregory’s Academy is our religion. Our students study, work, and l…

Pope more welcome in Turkey than in Italy

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There is in interesting discussion at Paolo Rodari's excellent blog Palazzo Apostolico.it.After reporting on the Pope's decision not to visit Rome's La Sapienza university (see BBC uncritical of manufactured outrage), Rodari put up a one line post:Io, se fossi stato nei panni del Papa, sarei andato.
If I had been in the Pope's shoes, I would have gone.In the ensuing combox discussion, one commenter pointed out the propaganda value to the secularists of a young student being bashed by the riot police for protesting against the Pope.

It seems that the Pope's decision to cancel the visit was the right one. Rodari himself has a thoughtful post with some inside information on how and why the visit was cancelled - Cardinal Bertone and Cardinal Ruini both advised the Holy Father on this, and one important reason was that a confrontation with the Pope within the confines of Rome's largest public university "would not be a pretty sight."

In addition, the cancella…

Janet Smith to speak at Westminster

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I just received this notice by email. It is annoying to be so busy before Easter - I cannot go to the meeting. But I do heartily recommend going to hear Janet Smith - I have listened to a couple of her lectures on car journeys and I think she is the best speaker I have heard on Humanae Vitae. Here are the details:

Contraception: Why not?
Professor Janet E Smith

Thursday 6 March 2008
Westminster Cathedral Hall
7-9pm

Professor Smith offers a stimulating opportunity to seriously reconsider the modern enthusiasm for contraception. her message has captivated audiences all around the world, particularly married couples, those considering marriage, catechists, counsellors, doctors, priests and seminarians.

Janet Smith teaches Life Ethics at Sacred Heart Seminary Detroit USA.

Places are limited. Entrance fee: £5.
Please register at cathmacgillivray@rcdow.org.uk
020 7931 6064

John Smeaton blog

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John Smeaton, the Director of SPUC, has started a new SPUC Director blog. This will prove an excellent source of news and information on pro-life matters. Interesting post yesterday on the dangers of changing the law on organ donation.

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