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Showing posts from July, 2013

Pope Francis uses the expression "old rite"

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In the decree issued concerning the Franciscans of the Immaculate, there is a reference to "l'uso della forma staordinaria (Vetus Ordo)" which I found a pleasant surprise. Vetus Ordo is not an expression that has been used before in the ordinary papal magisterium (this document is issued in forma specifica and is therefore considered an act of the Pope himself.) "Ordo is routinely rendered in English as "rite" - for example Novus Ordo - New Rite. I wrote before on the question of whether we have to say "extraordinary form". Now it's official - we can simply call it the old rite if we want. I think we can also refer perfectly properly to the Traditional Latin Mass - maybe we will have a papal document soon that uses that expression. And of course we must keep the expression used by Michael Davies "The Mass that will never die."

The Franciscans of the Immaculate are dear friends of mine. I have spoken at their conferences, I love the…

When people walk away with Holy Communion

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It happens from time to time that someone will come up for Holy Communion which they receive into their hands, and then walk away with the sacred host. A priest friend asked me to write something about what we can do. Let’s think first of all of the actual situation and then about some possible preventative measures.

In terms of canon law, the desecration of the sacred species is a crime, punishable by automatic excommunication. In most cases, the person does not know what they are doing or how wrong it is, so I’ll assume that is the case (rather than deliberate desecration, perhaps for satanic purposes or as an atheistic stunt.) But even if the person does not know the seriousness of what they are doing, it is still objectively a very grave matter. So we can’t just let it happen.

A pastoral complication is that people don’t like to be “shown up” or embarrassed in front of the congregation so they can easily become annoyed or aggressive in their confusion. Therefore we need to keep c…

World Youth Day: cringing at times but rejoicing overall

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The world's press is reporting enthusiastically about 3 million people on the beach at Copacabana, participating in the celebration of Mass at the end of World Youth Day. (See for example Daily Mail We need a bigger beach ...) This is delightful to see, and as with previous World Youth Days, I trust that God will bless us with many vocations from this event.

It is heartening to see so many young people gathering for an event explicitly designed to motivate them to evangelise. Much of the good work will be done between themselves, encouraging each other in the Catholic faith and showing that they are not alone in that faith. They also love the Pope because he is the Vicar of Christ - they loved Pope Benedict and Blessed John Paul, and now they love Pope Francis, and they want his blessing and his encouragement.

To be honest, I find myself covering my eyes at times at some of the events though not necessarily the Mass (you can download the booklet with the texts of the Liturgical C…

Evangelium Conference last minute booking

There is still time to book for next weekend's Evangelium Conference (2-4 August) if you had thought of going and not got round to booking, or indeed if you are free next weekend and would like to spend a weekend in the company of good people and hear talks from a fine selection of speakers.

Full details at the Evangelium Conference 2013 page.

Ireland to be consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

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On the feast of the Assumption, the Irish Catholic Bishops' Conference will be proceeding with a proposal from the faithful to consecrate Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The two year campaign has involved 13.5 million rosaries being prayed for the Irish bishops as part of a National Rosary Rally and the group has organised supportive letters to be sent to the Irish Bishops.

The website of the Steering Committee for the National Consecration of Ireland to the Immaculate Heart of Mary (SCNCI) has lots of information including a FAQ page (which should answer any questions about whether Ireland has already been so consecrated.)

It is obviously a good time for this spiritual initiative. May God bless the SCNCI for their campaign and the Irish Bishops for agreeing to the consecration. Perhaps one of you might start a similar initiative in England - equally involving prayer for our Bishops as part of the process.

"By virtue of the mandate entrusted to us by Christ"

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Today is the 45th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae Vitae. (Thanks to Rorate Caeli for the reminder.) It is always worth re-reading the encyclical, and when I did so today, one passage struck me as particularly worth recalling, since students of theology may have been told in some faculties that the Church does not have the authority to teach on matters concerning the natural law. Pope Paul VI said:
No member of the faithful could possibly deny that the Church is competent in her magisterium to interpret the natural moral law. It is in fact indisputable, as Our predecessors have many times declared, that Jesus Christ, when He communicated His divine power to Peter and the other Apostles and sent them to teach all nations His commandments, constituted them as the authentic guardians and interpreters of the whole moral law, not only, that is, of the law of the Gospel but also of the natural law. For the natural law, too, declares the will of God, and its faithful observance is nece…

Archbishop Muller's encouraging words to priests of Scotland

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In June, Archbishop Muller, the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, visited Scotland to give the Cardinal Winning Lecture at the University of Glasgow, launching the St Andrew's Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education.

His visit was also an example of encouragement and consolation in the spirit of St Paul, to the clergy of Scotland after the turmoil caused by the recent scandal there and the resignation of Cardinal O'Brien. There is a report at Year of Faith Scotland, and Pope Francis sent a personal message of support, but I had missed this and only learnt about it from a correspondent today. Perhaps it was meant to be fairly low-key rather than draw further attention to Scotland's woes. It is worth reading the Archbishop's Address to Priests; here is a quotation:
The true Church of God is a Church of both saints and sinners. The fact that there are so many great saints in the Church, so many remarkable men and women in every age – among them…

An amazing chant generator - and an associated rant

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Bara Brith posted the other day about this chanty psalm tone propers pdf-creating tool. You get various options - trad Mass, novus ordo, full propers, psalm-toned (choose any mode) and other things that as a non-musician I don't understand. You can generate a page for any Mass and send it to a pdf (more options there.) If you want to use English, you can type in the translation and it will generate sensible copy.

Quite amazing! I think we might be using this ...

Having wanted simply to share this with you, I am afraid I can't resist drawing a moral lesson. Well OK it is a bit of a rant. Some guys have done this chant tool for the benefit of the whole Church. You don't have to pay them or ask their permission to use it. What they have done is an act of charity.

Recently Pope Francis issued an encyclical letter on Faith. The website version was a bit of an improvement in that it was given on a white background and there were social media icons to share a link to it. Later th…

The enduring legacy of the Crusades

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Luke Coppen, editor of the Catholic Herald, has a very useful column which he writes most days called "Morning Catholic must-reads" with links to interesting stories. (There is also a most helpful one-sentence explanation - it is irritating when people put in their blog "read this!!!" without telling me why I should.)

Today via Luke I found the article in Crisis Magazine by David Byrne on The Real Significance of the Crusades. It is a good brief explanation of how the Crusades and the Reconquista were instrumental in the intellectual flowering that took place in Europe in the high middle ages. Serious students of St Thomas will not find anything new, but it is a helpful synthetic presentation of the sort of link that is missed because of routine prejudice in the presentation of our history.

School Benediction

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It is quite hot here in England at the moment and the schools are nearing the end of term. This year we decided that the end of year service for the junior school children would be Benediction. This afternoon, 300 children (Years 2-6) came for exposition, a decade of the Rosary, Litany of Loreto, prayers for the Pope, the school and the Prayer for England, followed by Benediction.

It was not too long but provided us with an opportunity to adore the Lord together. One of my young adult MCs looked after some young boys who have just started serving the Latin Mass. They did a commendable job. (Photo shows one of the new boys at our regular Benediction handling the thurible for the first time.)

Benediction is helpful in teaching children the doctrine of the real presence. It really doesn't make any sense apart from belief in the presence of Jesus Christ, body, blood, soul and divinity.

Prayers for Tom Peters

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Having been rather offline recently, I just checked my main feeds and found (via Fr Z) that Thomas Peters, long-time blogger (American Papist and more recently contributor to Catholicvote.org) has sustained a major injury in a swimming accident. Let's join together in praying for his recovery.

Sung English Mass

My parish is well known for having Mass celebrated according to the usus antiquior as part of our schedule. However, most of our Masses are celebrated in English in the modern rite. The 9am Mass on Sunday is sung, and we have a steady plan for improvement, according to our resources. We cannot afford to pay professional organists or singers, but enjoy the superb work of our (very generous) volunteers.

At the sung English Mass, we currently sing the Introit and the Communion antiphon to a psalm tone, with a gentle organ accompaniment. Beginning Mass with the Introit makes an enormous difference. There is no mistaking the fact that we are starting an act of worship, not entertainment. As someone put it, nobody is going to say "Wow! that was a really groovy introit!"

In the roadmap for further liturgical improvement we have the introduction of the Gradual/Alleluia and the Offertorium - all to be sung in English, with psalm tones to start with and possibly using some of the exc…

Auntie Joanna's report from Day of Faith

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While I was away in Australia, the Faith Movement held a Day of Faith which I was sorry to miss. Here is a report by Joanna Bogle:
Bishop Philip Egan and American author George Weigel were the special guest speakers at the Day of Faith held recently at at St Patrick's Church, Soho Square.

The conference was organised by the Faith Movement, which last year celebrated its 40th anniversary. It is one of Britain's home-grown New Movements, runs annual summer gatherings which draw large numbers of young people, and has also become well known for fostering vocations to the priesthood.

George Weigel spoke of a newly emerging "Evangelical Catholicism" engaging with the modern world and presenting a message centred on a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as taught by John Paul II and Benedict XVI.
"Benedict XVI spoke repeatedly of 'friendship with Jesus Christ' as the heart of the Christian life. It is fostered by prayer, and it must be at the core of all t…

Sorry about the blogroll

The blogroll in the sidebar was automatically generated from feeds to which I subscribed in Google Reader. Google Reader has gone to the great hunting field in the sky or something: I am now using Feedly to read all your blogs. Feedly is a brilliant feed reader and the iPad app is superb, but it does not have a facility for generating a blogroll. (There seems to be some buzz around that blogrolls are a thing of the past.)

Anyway, sorry all your blogs have disappeared. I'll try to find some time to pay attention to the blogger generated dynamic list at the top. I know that gets people lots of hits.

A right royal insult

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Finland’s social security provider Kela has sent the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge a maternity box, similar to those sent to all new parents in Finland. The list of contents includes some nice things like children's clothes, nappies, towels, and a bath thermometer. It also includes a pack of five condoms.

A spokesman for the Duke and Duchess said “We were delighted to receive the very kind gift of the maternity package from the Finnish government.”

Perhaps once his valet has perused the contents, Prince William might be minded to instruct an aide to say something along the lines of:
"While His Royal Highness appreciates the goodwill of Finland's social security provider in sending a box of items for his forthcoming baby, he would esteem it a courtesy if Finnish officials were to refrain from insulting him and his wife in presuming to offer comment on their intimate relations by supplying them with a pack of rubber johnnies." If Prince William were to stand up agains…

Can we say "ascending by steps"?

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Last week, I wrote a post Ascending by steps, congratulating seminarians from Wonersh who had received the ministries of lector and acolyte. A commenter said "I thought all the minor orders had been done away with?" which raises two questions. Can we still speak of seminarians ascending by steps to ordination to the sacred priesthood? and have the minor orders been done away with?

In 1972, Pope Paul VI issued the Apostolic Letter Ministeria Quaedam (English translation via EWTN.) Perhaps the most radical element of this letter is the enactment "First tonsure is no longer conferred; entrance into the clerical state is joined to the diaconate." The letter also laid down that "What up to now were called minor orders are henceforth to be called ministries" and said that those of reader and acoylte were to be preserved but no longer restricted to those who are candidates for Holy Orders.

In fact, in most countries, lay people are not generally instituted as l…

Faith Family Day in Dorset 20 July

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Family Days are an important apostolate and I am happy to recommend this Faith day for families:
There will be a Faith Family Day on Saturday 20 July at St Mary’s school, Shaftesbury, Dorset. It will start at 10.30am and finish around 4.30pm. There will be two talks, one at 11am by Father Dylan James who will speak about ‘The Vocation Family’ and one at 2:30 by Dame Joanna Bogle. Fr Dylan will say Mass for us at 12:30pm and we will finish with the Rosary. Tea and coffee will be provided, but families will need to bring a packed lunch. We have a few people to look after children during the talks, but if numbers are high we will need more offers of help!

I know it’s a long way to come from London, but when we have done it in the opposite direction we have always felt it was well worth the effort to spend time with other families – I don’t know which is better, the sense of mutual support with other parents or the pleasure of seeing the children get to know each other and carry on old f…

Sermon: Our Lady Guardian of orthodoxy and of the family

A video of the sermon I gave on Saturday afternoon at A Day With Mary at St Anselm's, Dartford, where Fr Stephen Boyle is Parish Priest.

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