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Showing posts from January, 2010

Sacred, Beautiful, & Universal

Thanks to Jeffrey tucker of NLM for posting this video which may help people to understand why music for liturgy matters. have a look at his comments, too.

Non-existent young women - the photos

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Krista Gesaman reported in Newsweek that there were no young women at the recent March for Life in Washington.

Hilary has helpfully posted some photos of the non-existent young women. See: Balanced reporting

Thanks to the Catholic Herald

Many thanks to the Catholic Herald which has spoken very kindly about me in the leader article of this week's paper.

May I take this opportunity to draw your attention to the list of blogs by priests and religious in the sidebar. They represent a wide variety of styles and interests within orthodox Catholicism.

As soon as this post is published, I will add to that list a new blog: Let the Welkin Ring, which is written by Fr Wilfrid Elkin of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

Persecuted German homeschoolers granted asylum in USA

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The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) provides advocacy to defend the rights of parents to direct the education of their family, and to defend the freedom of families. They are also involved in political and media lobbying.

On their website today, there is news of a surprising case in which Immigration Judge Lawrence O. Burman granted the political asylum application of Uwe and Hannelore Romeike, Christians from Bissinggen, Germany, homeschool their children and have fled from Germany because of its draconian anti-homeschooling legislation. Judge Burnham said:
“Homeschoolers are a particular social group that the German government is trying to suppress. This family has a well-founded fear of persecution…therefore, they are eligible for asylum…and the court will grant asylum.”See: Homeschooling Family Granted Political Asylum

Mike Donnelly, staff attorney and director of international relations for HSLDA said:
“This decision finally recognizes that German homeschoolers are a …

Good chastity presentation for schools

Robert Colquhoun has just published his presentation on "Theology of the Body for Schools". This is a good and straightforward exposition of the Churchs' teaching concerning chastity, together with some hard-hitting information in response to some popular myths.

Mgr Marini's address and Jeffrey Tucker's introduction

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As an example of the use of the new media, encouraged recently by the Holy Father, a good example is the widespread distribution of the address by Mgr Guido Marini to the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy gathered in Rome earlier this month.

The Wanderer are going to publish this paper as a special monograph and they have invited Jeffrey Tucker of the New Liturgical Movement blog to write an introduction. Understandably, he describes this as "a rather intimidating assignment" but I consider that he has done justice to the task. One quotation:Msgr. Marini has been a leader for Catholics of the world in the revival of the preconciliar form of liturgy and also in the reform of the modern ritual in a manner than makes it part of the great continuity of development that stretches from our times back to apostolic times. In this essay, he presents the rationale for reform from his perspective, from the perspective of the Pope, and also the perspective of uninterrupted Catholic teac…

Remembering Queen Katherine of Aragon

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Each year, the Anglican Cathedral of Peterborough holds various events in January to commemorate Queen Katherine of Aragon, the wife of King Henry VIII, who is buried in the Cathedral. This coming Friday 29 January, there are a number of events; of particular interest is that Mass will be celebrated by Fr David Jennings, of the Catholic parish of St Luke's in Peterborough, at the High Altar at 8.30am.

The Peterborough Cathedral website has details of various other events throughout the day. At 5pm there will be a candlelight procession at which people will be invited to leave a pomegranate (Queen Katherine's personal symbol) or a prayer, card or flower at her tomb. It is good to see that the events also actively involve local school children.

I am rather sorry that I cannot go to Peterborough on Friday. The saintly and heroic Queen Katherine deserves to be better honoured in the country to which she gave her life only to be humiliated by her lecherous husband; and Peterboroug…

Eastern Churches must face East

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A correspondent kindly sent me this most interesting quotation from prescriptions applying to the Eastern Churches in communion with Rome:
Instruction for Applying the Liturgical Prescriptions of the Code of Canons of the Eastern Churches
Issued January 6, 1996 by the Congregation for the Eastern Churches.
The Vatican. Libreria Editrice Vaticana - 1996


107. Prayer facing the east
Ever since ancient times, it has been customary in the prayer of the Eastern Churches to prostrate oneself to the ground, turning toward the east; the buildings themselves were constructed such that the altar would face the east. Saint John of Damascus explains the meaning of this tradition: "It is not for simplicity nor by chance that we pray turned toward the regions of the east (...). Since God is intelligible light (1 Jn. 1:5), and in the Scripture, Christ is called the Sun of justice (Mal. 3:20) and the East (Zec. 3:8 of the LXX), it is necessary to dedicate the east to him in order to render him wors…

Online sex game for children: sound comments from Kidscape

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Papermint is a new online game for children which creates a cute virtual world in which children are encouraged to form "relationships", get pregnant and have a "paper baby". There is no lower age limit and no "date of birth" verification. Children playing in this virtual world are invited to set up a personal avatar and indicate whether or not they enjoy having sex.

Peter Bradley, deputy director of Kidscape is rightly concerned, and has done well to get several good points across in the Sun:What on earth are they thinking? This website is irresponsible and of significant concern.

Even if this site were to be aimed at adults I would have concerns. But to think this can be accessed by any child - no matter what their age - is an outrage.

To encourage children to enable their avatar to have sex, become pregnant and then to talk about it to others is totally irresponsible.

This is not based on educational messages. It just encourages young people to have an …

Lessons for life from Fr Fortescue

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There is a fun post at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping: Everything I Needed to Know I Learned from Adrian Fortescue. Just a couple of examples:
Fortescue on Modesty and Dating:
“Two points occur on which one might hope the authorities would simplify. One is the constant kissing.” --Introduction, xix (1920 edition)

Fortescue on In-Flight Meal Service, or possibly MacGyver’s Methodology:
“…with the addition of the bread, lemon, and a fresh hand-towel…” --Confirmation, p. 427, fn. 21
(McGyver refers to a character in a US action adventure series.)

Vatican on Twitter - not

Last week I put up a post celebrating the Vatican's being on Twitter. It turns out that this was an imposter (Te Deum has the details) so I have deleted the post. It seems that the incident has prompted at least one person at the Holy See to reflect “It wasn’t us — but it should have been us.”

Apologies for the misinformation. I have removed the offending post.

There are at least three other "Vatican" Twitter accounts so you can take them with a pinch of salt as well.

My sermon on ecumenism

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As today marks the close of the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity, here is my sermon from yesterday on the subject:

“For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body” (1 Cor 12.13)
Today falls as the Sunday within the Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity. 45 years ago, the second Vatican Council had a particular concern for promoting Christian Unity and addressed the question in a special Decree on Ecumenism. The Council did not in any way contradict the traditional teaching of the Church: indeed it said that the fullness of unity subsists in the Catholic Church. In one place, the decree says:
“Jesus Christ, then, willed that the apostles and their successors - the bishops with Peter’s successor at their head - should preach the Gospel faithfully, administer the sacraments, and rule the Church in love. It is thus, under the action of the Holy Spirit, that Christ wills His people to increase, and He perfects His people's fellowship in unity: in their confessing the one faith…

Interview with Bishop Schneider

Many bloggers have already picked up on the video posted by Diane at Te Deum Laudamus. Bishop Scheider speaks about the reception of Holy Communion:

Holy Father encourages us to blog - with a priestly heart

It has been a normally busy Saturday in the parish: Mass (EF) Exposition, Confessions, Benediction, arranging Baptism, and Convalidation, newsletter, Confessions, Mass (OF), house blessing with tea and cakes and chat about the Church and education. So I finally got home, finished the Office, checked my email, and remembered that today is the day for the release of the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day.

The Holy Father could not be more explicit in encouraging of priests to use the new media in their apostolate:
[...] priests can rightly be expected to be present in the world of digital communications as faithful witnesses to the Gospel, exercising their proper role as leaders of communities which increasingly express themselves with the different "voices" provided by the digital marketplace. Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) wh…

Nurses Opposed to Euthansia: Study Day

Nurses Opposed to Euthansia is a group within the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children. Here are details of an upcoming Study Day in central London:

Nurses Opposed to Euthanasia
Multidisciplinary Study Day
What do we mean by care?

SATURDAY, 20 MARCH 2010
10.00 – 15.30hrs (Registration 09.30hrs)

Venue: St Vincent’s Centre, Carlisle Place, Victoria, London SW1P 1NL (Disability access)
Cost: £40.00 (Includes lunch and refreshments)

Medical, Nursing and Legal speakers
Compassion and Care in NursingThe Liverpool Care Pathway: critical analysisAssisted Suicide: DPP PolicyThe Government’s End of Life Care Strategy: Open to misinterpretation?Conscientious objectionEmail theresalych@tiscali.co.uk for a registration form.

Oxford Oratory Holy Hour for the Unity of Christians

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The Oxford Oratory will be holding a Holy Hour of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament especially in the light of Anglicanorum Coetibus, on the feast of the Chair of Peter, Monday 22 February, at 8pm.

It is strange how things change over time. I am beginning to get the impression that ecumenism is becoming less of an enthusiasm among liberal Catholics - especially now that Pope Benedict is taking it so seriously ;-)

The most aggressively inarticulate generation

Event: John Pontifex (ACN) at "Call to Youth"

John Pontifex of Aid to the Church in Need, is speaking at the next meeting of the London Oratory's "Call to Youth". Here are the details:

Call to Youth
St Wilfrid’s Hall
Thursday, 4th February at 8pm
John Pontifex of the Aid to the Church in Need

“The Courage to be Christian: The Suffering Church Today”

Many of us think that the age of persecution is over, that it is something from the past but the speaker will remind us that for a large number of our fellow Catholics persecution is an everyday reality. In China, in Iraq, in the Sudan, in Pakistan and elsewhere Christians are actively persecuted. There is an old Catholic saying: “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church” and it is exactly where persecution is at its worst that the Faith is seeing a resurgence. This is a chance to learn more about these stories and so to learn of ways we can help them – not forgetting that they too may help us with their prayers!

Please do come along if you are 18-35. Bring your f…

Report on Anglicanorum Coetibus meeting at Reading

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A correspondent has kindly sent me a summary report that he made at the meeting to discuss Anglicanorum Coetibus which was held at Holy Trinity, Reading the other day. I was going to post it on Scribd but thought better of it, hoping that you will excuse a longer than usual post:
Meeting at the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Reading on the subject of the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus

The meeting was chaired by Fr David Elliott, parish priest of Holy Trinity. Most of the attendees were from Holy Trinity though there were representatives from elsewhere. Among those visiting were a priest with expertise in canon law of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, an Anglican seminarian, and two priests of the FSSP in Reading, Fr Armand de Malleray and Fr Leworthy. This meant that a greater number of questions could be answered from people with expertise in different areas.

Fr Elliott began the meeting by introducing the Apostolic Constitution using the headings …

Book: Reflections of Pope Benedict XVI on the Eucharist

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"Behold the Lamb of God" is a collection of extracts from the speeches and writings of Pope Benedict on the Eucharist, selected by Fr Gerard Skinner. Most of the extracts are about three or four pages long.

Back in the day, most people had to wait several weeks for the text of papal speeches. Enthusiasts would subscribe to the weekly English edition of L'Osservatore Romano and be ahead of the game. Now, if you are keen, you can go to the Vatican News service at about 11am and keep hitting the refresh button. Keen bloggers and readers might think that a book of extracts is not necessary for them because they saw it all when it first came out, we might assume that such a collection is really only for people who do not have access to the internet.

I'm not so sure. Many of us try to take in impossibly vast amounts of information and end up reading a lot but in a superficial way. Some of what we read would reward closer and more careful attention. "Behold the Lamb of…

Well-informed defence blog

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For a few months now, James Corum has been on the list of Telegraph bloggers. I have known Jim since our Oxford days, and have followed his career with interest. He is now Dean of the Baltic Defence College in Estonia and is an acknowledged authority on counter-subversion. I have read most of the seven books that he has published and his writing style is engaging, conveying information on military matters in an accessible way without patronising the reader.

Last November, Jim was recruited to the team of Telegraph bloggers and writes a blog on defence. His in-depth knowledge of military matters, together with experience in the field make for some first-rate commentary on matters of current concern. His post today looks at the political correctness that has pervaded the Department of Defense and makes an observation that will have a familiar ring to many people outside the military:
Despite the negative effects on morale and efficiency these policies have had, they could not be criticis…

Trailer for St Margaret Clitherow DVD

St Margaret Clitherow was martyred on 25 March 1586 for the "crime" of harbouring priests. She refused to enter a plea for fear that her children and servants would be forced to give evidence against her. The penalty in such a case was to be pressed to death. She was laid on the floor, a sharp stone was placed under her back, a door was put on top of her and weights put on the door. She took fifteen minutes to die. Her last words were "Jesu! Jesu! Jesu! have mercy on me!"

Mary's Dowry Productions have issued the following trailer for their forthcoming DVD about St Margaret Clitherow:

Cardinal Pell patron of St Bede's Hall

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Back in June, I wrote about the establishing of St Bede's Hall at Oxford. St Bede's is an independent Catholic college which provides courses for "Study Abroad" and mature students. Today, St Bede's are delighted to announce that Cardinal Pell has become a patron of St Bede's Hall. His Eminence said:"I would be honoured to serve as an honorary patron of St. Bede's Hall... I would be delighted to assist in any way that I can and look forward to visiting St. Bede's Hall when next I am in Oxford." St Bede's already has a bi-lateral agreement with Campion College in New South Wales: today's announcement helps to further ties with Australia. The first student from Australia has arrived at St Bede's and has begun her courses with the tutors of the new academic community.

Interview with Bishop Léonard - and petition in support

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Thanks to the Dutch blogger "in caelo", who writes In Caelo et in Terra, for posting a link in the combox to an interview which Bishop Léonard gave to the Belgian news outlet Knack. See: “The Belgian Church has been too passive”. The interviewer is confrontational but his questions intelligent and to the point, giving the opportunity for Bishop Léonard to show his considerable acumen in answering under pressure.

Sadly, it is a sign of the times that when a good Bishop, courageously loyal to the authentic Magisterium of the Catholic Church, is appointed, he is vilified in the press, and even by senior politicians in public statements. Thankfully, there is a petition to express support for Bishop Léonard. The explanation page is written in French (with an alternative in Flemish.) Here is my translation of the French page:
Since the appointment of Mgr. Leonard as successor to Cardinal Danneels, journalists continue to spread negative reactions about his person. It is striking to…

Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard

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On Monday, Bishop André-Mutien Léonard, of the Diocese of Namur, was appointed as the new Archbishop of Mechelen-Brussel (Malines-Brussels). He is the most traditional bishop of Belgium, has publicly defended Pope Pius XII against the allegation of "silence" made against him, and has often spoken out forcefully against abortion and euthanasia and on other moral issues concerning sexuality and bioethics. Regarding some comments that he made on television about homosexual behaviour, he said:
I know that within a few years, I will risk prison by saying this, but it could offer me a little vacation.
He was in fact charged with homophobia: the charges were dropped last April.

He welcomed Summorum Pontificum with enthusiasm, arranged for a daily usus antiquior Mass in his cathedral of Namur and, as NLM reported, celebrated Pontifical High Mass at the Eucharistic Congress in Quebec in 2008 (see picture above.) Some years earlier, he took part in the 2001 conference at Fontgombault w…

Latin Mass Society 1962 Ordo

The Latin Mass Society still has copies of the 2010 Ordo giving details for Mass for every day of the year. A new feature is that it includes the Rubrics for the Divine Office. Order from the LMS office at £7.00 (UK) including postage (Europe and overseas please ask the LMS for the price.) The LMS recommend ordering as soon as possible since stocks are limited.

Latin Mass Society,
11-13 Macklin Street,
London WC2B 5NH, UK.
Tel: 020 7404 7284
E mail: info@latin-mass-society.org

Holy Father continues to encourage new digital media

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This morning's Vatican Bollettino announces a Press Conference to be held on Saturday at the Holy See Press Office, to present the Message of the Holy Father for the 44th Wold Day of Communications on 16 May. Interestingly, the theme of the message is "The priest and pastoral work in the digital world: new media at the service of the Word."

It seems that the Holy Father is determined that the Church should make intelligent and pastoral use of the new media. These message will also a good opportunity for bloggers to examine their conscience in the light of the Holy Father's wise moral and spiritual advice. I expect that the message will be published on Saturday in various languages.

Holy Father's visit to Rome Synagogue

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Yesterday's visit by the Holy Father to the Great Synagogue of Rome was a great success. The Vatican website has an English translation of his address. The Holy Father spoke sensitively about the Shoah "that tragically reached as far as Rome" and about the Bible. He highlighted the ten commandments as "a common ethical message of permanent value for Israel, for the Church, for non-believers and for all of humanity." Pope Benedict made particular reference to the family, highlighting an area of concern both to the Church and to Jews:
The "Ten Commandments" call us to preserve and to promote the sanctity of the family, in which the personal and reciprocal, faithful and definitive "Yes" of man and woman makes room for the future, for the authentic humanity of each, and makes them open, at the same time, to the gift of new life. To witness that the family continues to be the essential cell of society and the basic environment in which human virt…

Fr Stravinskas defends new translation

Damian Thompson has written on the recent campaign by Fr Ryan, pastor of Seattle Cathedral to delay the implementation of the new ICEl translations with the petition "What if we just said wait?" (I recommend signing the petition "We've waited long enough".) Now that Fr Ryan has been given space in the Tablet for his campaign. See: The plot to sabotage the new Missal is a test of Archbishop Vincent Nichols's leadership. As Damian points out:
What we can expect now, I’m afraid, is a repeat of the situation in America: constant whispering against the new Missal by “senior clergy” and their lay allies who want to delay the introduction of the Missal until… well, we might as well be frank about this: until after this Pope dies, when they hope that a new regime in the Vatican will allow them to cling on to the grisly paraphrase of the Roman Missal currently in use, or to introduce something worse.
Fr Peter Stravinskas has written an excellent article in America mag…

Saints of Christian Unity

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Fr Anthony Ho has an article for Pax Sinaica (scroll down for the English version) in which he looks at St Francis de Sales and Blessed Marie Gabriella (right). Concerning St Francis de Sales, Fr Ho makes this observation:
St. Francis won the heart of the people gradually with his patience and kindness. The parents would not come to St. Francis, so he came to their children and played with them. When the parents saw how kind he was as he played with their children, they started to talk to him.

Venerable Pierre Toussaint - an intercessor for Haiti

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As well as sending money over to Haiti, I am sure that we are all remembering the Haitians in our prayers: especially those who have died, those who mourn them, and all those who are suffering in the aftermath.

I was grateful to receive from a correspondent today a reminder of the Venerable Pierre Toussaint who was born into slavery on a Haitian plantation. M. Berard, the plantation owner, moved to New York in 1787 because he could foresee the inevitable rebellion of the slaves that broke out finally in 1791 with the ensuing death of about 100,000 black slaves and 24,000 whites.

In New York, Ven Pierre worked as a hairdresser. He earned enough to buy his freedom but continued in slavery to Madame Berard after her husband died, in order that she would accept his help. One her deathbed, she wrote a directive that he should be freed.

The Ven Pierre could have amassed a considerable fortune through his hairdressing since his customers were among the most wealthy in New York and he was s…

Suggestions for aid for Haiti

The other day I mentioned the work of Missio in Haiti. Fr John Boyle has a good informative post in which he gives a number of links to various Church based charities doing good work in the area.

He particularly recommends Aid to the Church in Need which is another excellent choice. They have contact with the Nuncio in Haiti so that funds can be speedily routed through one of the few administrative buildings still standing.

Yet another is the Knights of Malta which has been working in Haiti for fifteen years in support of a hospital. They are preparing to send an international medical team to support their people who are already on the ground.

"Normal and harmless"

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In advance of the General Election, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party in Great Britain, Nick Clegg, has detailed a series of proposals regarding homosexuality. The most disturbing of these is that he considers that "Faith Schools" should be required to teach that homosexuality is "normal and harmless". He also wants gay couples to have the right to describe themselves as married, rather than in civil partnerships.

It is an indication of the lack of effective opposition from Churches, from other faith groups (who largely share our moral teaching concerning homosexual activity) and in particular from the Catholic Church, that the leader of one of our mainstream parties feels that it is a politically advantageous move to threaten the persecution of "Faith Schools" and the enforcement of regulations that could not be followed in conscience by many such schools.

See also the post from John Smeaton.

Missio in Haiti

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I have received via email a report from Mgr John Dale, the National Director of Missio concerning the disaster in Haiti:

After the earthquake
Archbishop Bernadito Auza, Papal Nuncio to Haiti, only a few hours after the catastrophic earthquake, wrote:
‘I have just returned this morning. I found priests and nuns in the streets, without homes. The Rector of the seminary survived, as did the Dean of Studies, but the seminarians are under the rubble. Everywhere, you can hear cries from under the rubble. The CIFOR - Institute of Studies for the Men and Women Religious - has collapsed with the students inside, participating in a conference. The nunciature building has withstood the earthquake, without any injuries, but we are all amazed! So many things are broken, including the Tabernacle, but we are more fortunate than others. Many family members of the staff were killed, their homes destroyed. Everyone is calling for help. We will have problems of water and food before long. We cannot enter…

Bluegrass interpretation of "What a friend we have in Jesus"

I realised after posting a Youtube video last night that we have not had any bluegrass gospel for some time. My apologies for this dereliction and here is a bluegrass rendition of "What a friend we have in Jesus" by Ida Red.

Johnny and Chachi's Killer Community Tips

Some good advice for all those groups:

Equality Bill Petition

David Skinner has set up a petition to Number 10 Downing Street regarding the Equality Bill. The petition reads as follows:
We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Remove the current employment provisions set out in Schedule 9, Paragraph 2, subsection 8 of the Equality Bill (the occupational requirements relating to sex, marriage and sexual orientation for the purposes of organised religion). These restrict the rights of religious bodies to employ personnel who conform to their teachings only if their duties are confined to worship activities or the explanation of doctrine.
Further details:
As people from all walks of life, political parties, professions and religious faiths, we the undersigned have joined together to commit ourselves to reaffirm the value and necessity of religious and civil liberty and the rights of conscience across the UK today.

We believe that religion and civil liberty must include the right to live and speak according to one's conscience privately an…

Anglicanorum Coetibus meeting at Reading

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Fr David Elliott, Priest-in-charge of the Church of the Most Holy Trinity in Reading, is holding a meeting at his church on Wednesday 20 January at 7.30pm to discuss the Apostolic Constitution Anglicanorum Coetibus. Further details at his blog. He also has a post with links to the key texts and will be making hard copies available for his people this Sunday.

Fr Elliott has made it clear that the meeting is open to people who are outside of his parish. I pray that the meeting goes well and that Fr Elliott and many other like him will be able to take advantage of Pope Benedict's generous provision and be received into full communion with the Holy See. Here is a photograph from the fourth Sunday of Advent at Holy Trinity, Reading:

"The English Vicars Apostolic"

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Shortly before Christmas, I received the splendid new book from Family Publications: "The English vicars Apostolic 1688-1850" by Fathers Nicholas Schofield and Gerard Skinner. The book gives short biographies of each of the Vicars Apostolic, arranged chronologically within each district.

A Vicar Apostolic is in bishop's orders but exercises his authority in the name of the Pope, rather than in his own name as bishop of a diocese. In the excellent introduction to the book, Fr Nicholas Schofield quotes Ronald Knox who described the English vicars as:
"emissaries from Rome, personally responsible to the Holy See - as if this island had been some newly discovered territory in the Pacific, whose inhabitants were mere beginners in the faith."
The most outstanding of the Vicars Apostolic was the saintly Richard Challoner, though there is also an increasing knowledge of Bishop Giffard. The period was marked by controversy, especially dissension between the secular clergy…

"We are caretakers of the mysteries of God"

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Archbishop Socrates Villegas was ordained priest in 1985 by the great Filipino Cardinal Jaime Sin whom I had the privilege to meet whilst studying in Rome. He was consecrated as an auxiliary Bishop in Manila in 2001 at the age of 40. Last year he was appointed as Archbishop of the diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. On 31 December he wrote a pastoral letter to his priests on the celebration of Mass, entitled "That our sacrifice may be pleasing to God." The Archbishop encourages his priests to celebrate Mass reverently, to keep the altar linens clean and distinct from each other, and to eschew secular love songs in the Mass.

Fr Seán Coyle, a Dubliner from the Missionary Society of St Columban, works in the Philippines and has added his own comments on the letter in a post on his blog Bangor to Bobbio. Many thanks to him for drawing my attention to Archbishop Villegas' letter.

The Archbishop was at the heart of the ESDA non-violent revolution which toppled Marcos, has fought for de…

Minor Basilica (on the feast of St Aelred)

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In consideration of today's optional memoria of St Aelred, Zephyrinus has sent the above picture as a further sketch for the architectonic character of the proposed minor basilica at Blackfen.

The picture shows the Abbey of Rievaulx which was founded by twelve monks from Clairvaux in 1132. St Aelred as Abbot of Rievaulx, gave gentle and kindly pastoral care to a community of several hundred monks. (I should note, I suppose, that militant gay Catholics have claimed St Aelred as a kind of patron saint. This is utter tosh since the saintly abbot wrote forcefully in favour of chastity and warned against dangerous friendships.)

It seems that the gothic style is making a strong showing in such suggestions but I retain my predilection for baroque. Nevertheless, in the spirit of collaborative ministry, I recognise the need to take into account all points of view and to those who advocate the towering arch, I say "I hear you."

Domus Sanctae Marthae

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The conference of the Confraternities of Catholic Clergy of Australia and the US was based around the Domus Sanctae Marthae in the Vatican. Some of the participants were accommodated elsewhere but I was fortunate to be allocated a room in the DSM.

The DSM was constructed in 1996 with the primary purpose of providing accommodation for Cardinals during the conclave to elect a new Pope. It is inside the territory of the Vatican City State, just past the Pope Paul VI Audience Hall. Run by the Daughters of Charity of St Vincent de Paul, it has 106 suites, 22 single rooms and one apartment.

Apparently the DSM is often described in the media as a "five star hotel" and Professor Mary Ann Glendon had to contradict this misrepresentation. I was searching for an appropriate way to describe it when I remembered the phrase "noble simplicity" which is quite appropriate. Here is a photo of the bedroom. You will note that there is no Corby Trouser Press:

In the other part of the &quo…

Saying Mass at St Peter's

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Every day, many priests say private Masses at St Peter's Basilica. Some are with groups, others with perhaps one or two people, some studying in the City, others on holiday. There are so many Masses said early in the morning that you can be kept waiting for half an hour before you get an altar.

The regulars will go in via the Sacristy (for which you have to have access to the Vatican City past the Swiss Guards and the Vigili (Vatican Police). The sacristy is to the right of the picture above (you can see a small part of the building.) If you don't have access to the Vatican by such means, you have to go through security and, even if you are there on the dot of 7am, it is five minutes or so before you get to the Sacristy via the Basilica and by then you are lucky to get an altar.

I often wondered how all this actually worked, and this morning I found out. I got up early and was wandering the area outside the Domus Sanctae Marthae (the area pictured above) at 6.50am. Since I don&#…

More on yesterday's Mass

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Here are two of the photos posted by the NLM (more here)


and here is one of John Sonnen's at Orbis Catholicus - he managed to get up to a high vantage point (there are more at several posts on his blog for 7 January):

I decided not to go on the trip to Bagno Regio today but to spend a quiet day in Rome, make an extended visit to the tomb of St Peter, go to confession in the Basilica, and celebrate Mass quietly. I also had a long walk round the Centro Storico, visited various Churches and had plenty of time to ponder yesterday's experience of assisting at Pontifical High Mass.

First of all, I would like to emphasise what a devout and kindly man is Cardinal Cañizares Llovera. With devout bishops it is sometimes difficult to tell at first whether they are being prayerful or just rather grumpy and doing their best to suffer the attentions of their assistants. His Eminence took time to read the prayers in preparation for Mass quite slowly, then suffered the process whereby Fr Tatters…

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