Friday 31 December 2010

Is Tradphobia Endemic in the Church?

Are Priests celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form victims of tradphobia?
It strikes me that the words of Bishop Tom Burns betray a distrust of Priests who celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass grounded in little but suspicion and fear, even though Pope Benedict XVI has used his pontificate to explicitly encourage the celebration of both rites of the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI sees the liberation of the traditional Roman rite alongside the Novus Ordo only as a positive - something that enriches the life of the Church, of the Church's liturgy and the Church's worship. In His Holiness's own words, the two rites "are, in fact, two usages of the one Roman rite." In particular, His Holiness remarked upon the attraction of the Usus Antiquior to young people.

It is, perhaps, only natural for more senior members of the Hierarchy and Clergy to recoil from the promotion of the Latin Mass, seeing it as threatening, or perceiving it as a polarising introduction into the life of the Church, at a time when all they have seen is continuity in terms of the Novus Ordo. Unfortunately, this would be a gross oversimplification of the real outcomes of Vatican II in terms of the scandalisation of many of the Faithful in the wake of its implementation, the weakening of the Faith, fidelity to the Magisterium and of the perception of authority and trustworthiness of the Church, from the Priesthood to the Pontiff. This is why I find this part of his homily particularly confusing.

"There are those who go to extremes to express the Mass in a particular way, whether it is in the Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form, in a so-called VAT II rite or Tridentine Rite, through the "People's Mass" or the "Priest's Mass"."

At first glance, the Bishop seems to be condemning Priests who favour either of these "two usages of the one rite", because they fail to recognise the 'hermeneutic of continuity', but then he goes on to say...

"Some want to put the priest on a pedestal, whilst the people are consigned to be privileged spectators outside the rails. Flamboyant modes of liturgical vestments and rubrical gestures abound. Women are denied all ministries at Mass: doing the Readings, the serving, the Bidding Prayers, and taking Communion to the Sick. To many in our Church and beyond, this comes across as triumphalism and male domination..."

Which makes it quite apparent which rite has his own preference. He doesn't go on to condemn liturgical abuses by Priests who introduce their own innovations into the sacred liturgy or to condemn what Pope Benedict XVI has condemned, namely that Mass sometimes risks being reduced to a kind of 'show'.

It is saddening to read that the Bishop's words reveal not so much that he thinks that the traditional liturgy is a 'step back to the bad old days' as is thought by some in the Church, but rather that he doesn't appreciate the 'spirit of the liturgy' itself, which has little to do with male roles and female roles, vestures and even gestures, but  the worship of God "in spirit and in truth", something which the Traditional Latin Mass manages to convey and something that can 'rub off', if you like, on the celebration of the Novus Ordo. That is, essentially, why it is becoming more popular and why, I assume, some Clergy and some Laity prefer it - because the liturgy teaches us how to worship and adore God.

Whether you are inside or outside 'the rails', the worship and adoration of God is what all men and women truly seek. That could also be a reason why some figures in authority in England and Wales find it to be a threat, rather than a blessing and an enrichment of the Church's liturgy. Personally, I knew I wasn't a Priest before I started attending the Traditional Latin Mass. After I started attending the Traditional Latin Mass, I still knew I wasn't a Priest, but I did begin to appreciate more fully just what a Priest is. If I wanted to become a Priest, or rather thought I was being called to become a Priest, I would apply to become a Priest. Perhaps, inadvertently, His Lordship has hit the nail on the head of the vocations crisis in England and Wales. That's why vocations to the Priesthood are so abysmal, you see!  If a proportion of the Laity are taught, in an over-simplified manner, to believe or to think that they are Priests, or are a bit like Priests already, then why bother applying to become a Priest! Happy New Year to all!

"Flamboyant Modes of Liturgical Vestments and Rubrical Gestures Abound"

Bishop Tom Burns after his installation
Fr Ray Blake has posted on a homily by Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia, formerly Bishop of the Forces, in which he appears to link Priests interested in celebrating Mass in the Extraordinary Form with 'clericalism' and, in particular, a kind of 'clericalism' which led to crimes against children.

I agree with Fr Blake that it is a very strange homily, with some rather ad hominem attacks and innuendo against those who support the celebration of the Usus Antiquior. It is worth recalling that the disgusting abuses of power and malicious silence over the sins of clergy took place in a period of the Church's history when celebration of the Traditional Latin Mass had been all but banished! Anyway, the quotes from the Bishop are in bold, the rest is Fr Blake's incisive response...
'One Bishop I know lives in the age of the Inquisition and will happily tell his priests, and anyone else who will listen to him, that complaints have been made against them but then will neither tell the priest of the substance of the complaint nor who the complainant was. It can be like Spain during the Inquisition!

The bishops' role is primarily to be the foundation of unity and love within their diocese, principally by being the "Father in God" to their clergy it is sad when he becomes the source of suspicion and rumour.

Here is a rather strange sermon from one of our Welsh bishops, Bishop Tom Burns of Menevia, it starts off reasonably well, if a little confused, then becomes a rant. Now which was the Roman Emperor who used to publish laws but in a way that no one was able read them? It is full of accusations which are made but not really identified. The 50 plus priests in his Diocese must wonder if they are guilty of "clericalism" which he connects directly to paedophilia. The link was sent to me by one of his priests. The sermon seems designed to create an air of suspicion and a culture of mediocrity.

He does not quite identify what he means by "clericalism". He certainly does not identify it as that gross distortion by his brother Bishops who covered up sins against God and crimes against children. Nor does he see it as that distortion faith by individual priests or bishops under that cover all of abuse of the faith, the Spirit of Vatican II, nor is it the absence of transparency of the Episcopal Conference.

He says, "clericalism risks raising its head today ..." it seems to imply he is having a go at young clergy, especially those who see themselves in the Benedictine and JPII mould!
"... among those who again are looking for identity in status, not service. They want to be treated differently. There are those who set high standards of morality for lay people, while they blatantly violate those same standards themselves."
Status rather than service would be very sad but younger clergy seem to identify themselves as first of all serving God and by their service of him, serve their people. Immoral clergy have always been a scandal and Bishops have a duty to root them out. The moral standard is set by Christ and his Church, not by individual priests, except by their sanctity. If he knows of those who "blatantly violate those same standards themselves", which he seems to imply he does, he must act, we have had enough of cover up and double standards.
Bishop Burns has criticised "clericalism"
"There are those who go to extremes to express the Mass in a particular way, whether it is in the Ordinary Form or Extraordinary Form, in a so-called VAT II rite or Tridentine Rite, through the "People's Mass" or the "Priest's Mass"."
I am not sure what he is saying here, I hope he is not saying that those who care about the Sacred Liturgy are paedophiles or exponents of clericalism. As far as the EF is concerned, how can you go to extremes, it is so controlled?
"Some want to put the priest on a pedestal, whilst the people are consigned to be privileged spectators outside the rails."
Pedestals? Who is he getting at? Doesn't Redemptorist Sacramentum speak quite clearly about people having clearly defined spaces and places in the Sacred Liturgy? Invariably while it is lay people who put priests on pedestals, most priests know they are sinners and hate anything that hints of a pedestal.'

"Flamboyant modes of liturgical vestments and rubrical gestures abound."
Ah yes, I hate potato printed chasubles, is that what he is talking about? But rubrical gestures? If they are rubrical then they are correct, it is the non-rubrical gestures that are a problem.
"Women are denied all ministries at Mass: doing the Readings, the serving, the Bidding Prayers, and taking Communion to the Sick."
If he hadn't mentioned the Usus Antiquior earlier you might think he was talking about that, and of course all the Eastern Rites, where the sanctuary was reserved to men. Any priest has a right to restrict serving to males only and if a priest can take Holy Communion to all his sick, he should be praised not linked to paedophilia!
"To many in our Church and beyond, this comes across as triumphalism and male domination. And to many, it might be seen as reflecting the male nature of the ministerial priesthood and an opposition to a particular form of feminism that is becoming rife in England and Wales and seems to be a deliberate move towards encouraging female ordination. This clericalism conceals the fact that the Church as an institution has often acted in collusion with what I can only regard as structural sinfulness. It has paid dearly for it and is untrue to its humble Founder, Jesus Christ."
I always get worried by those who talk about "the Church as an institution", it stinks of "that Pope", "those Bishops" "that Curia" and as for "structural sinfulness" well, prostitution, slavery and poverty are "structural sins" but structures only become sinful because of sinful people.
There seems to be a bit of that 1970s fallacy that Christ instigated a Church without hierarchy here.

Bravo, Fr Ray Blake! May I add that, with regard to the sins of clergy that emerged in the Year of the Priest, it is abundantly clear that these shocking abuses were as a result of Priests seemingly forgetting that they were Priests. The Traditional Latin Mass, in its solemn actions, embraces all the senses in order to serve to remind the Priest and the people of what a Priest truly is and for Whom he is an instrument.  The liturgical innovations of the Vatican II period seem to have damaged that sacred sense of what it actually means to be a Priest. It was not just the liturgy that was liberalised from the 1960s onwards - it was the sacred Consciences of Priests because if 'anything goes' in the liturgy, then, well...what do you expect but the unexpected? A celebration of the Mass without law, without 'norms', without roots and without a foundation in what has always been expected in the Church, led to a Priesthood without law, without 'norms', without roots and without a foundation in what has always been expected in the Church. That is what the Holy Father meant by the problem of the "hermeneutic of rupture".

Too Much Persecution to Ignore

The BBC has highlighted quite a bit of the persecution of Christians recently, but then there is quite a bit of persecution of Christians going on in this World at the present time. Three different recent stories concerning the plight of Christians in Iraq (Yes, that's right, the blood that flowed in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation was clearly not enough), Pakistan and Egypt.

2 more killed in house attacks in Iraq

Asia Bibi of Pakistan has a price on her head

Christians forced to become Muslims in Egypt

A Clever Fusion of Two Classics

Thursday 30 December 2010

Pope Benedict XVI Foresees New Dark Age

I find Michael Voris a bit much sometimes, as he can be more than a little condescending, but he is a bold Catholic with the Faith of Christ coarsing through his veins and he is right to draw attention to the Holy Father's rather apocalyptic words.

Mejorada del Campo Cathedral

A wonderful story here from the BBC...

'A man in Spain has spent almost 50 years building a church entirely from scrap, after he was expelled from a monastery after he contracted tuberculosis.

Justo Gallego, 85, says the construction in Mejorada del Campo is an "act of faith" but others warn it's a huge folly - and say that the building, which has never had planning permission, could be pulled down.'
Let's hope it stands and stays. Here is the BBC story of the fascinating man and his amazing Cathedral, built solely because of his simple and profound faith in Christ.

Wednesday 29 December 2010

"Elton is a Daddy and David is a, um..."

Elton and David celebrate the birth of 'the Christmas baby'
I don't, at this time, have children, but if I did I don't know quite how I would explain this one...

There are a good few reasons why the Church would obviously raise concerned eyebrows over the news of Elton John and his partner David Furnish, as the press have reported, "becoming parents", but, I'd like to know, given it has been on TV news, how have parents been explaining it to their children?

This is pretty much as high profile a case as we could possibly see and it is surely now becoming impossible for the gay rights movement to argue against the Church's cry of "Down with this kind of thing!" on the grounds that the movement seeks to refashion the model of the family and to present a new model of the family which is wholly new, untried, untested and running contrary to natural law.

The language of the media has been somewhat misleading, to say the least, with media outlets desperately bending over backwards to present the news of Elton and David's 'joyful news' as something quite normal. I'm sure I heard one news report saying that the couple were "married" even though what they have contracted is actually a civil partnership.

The Guardian, never usually a newspaper to blur the lines in its coverage of such issues, as we know, ran the headline, "Elton John and David Furnish have Christmas baby." What? For dinner!? Why is turkey not good enough for these celebrities! Anyway, the article goes on to say, "Sir Elton John and his partner David Furnish have become fathers after using a surrogate mother in the US." I don't know which statement is more offensive - that Elton and David have 'become fathers', an offensive statement in that it is biologically impossible or 'after using a surrogate mother'. Conception and family life isn't meant to be about 'using' people, but I guess this is the only option for homosexual couples who want to "become fathers". Isn't 'using' people wrong?

And this is a problem. Much of the media language used is, surely, something of a distortion of the plain facts. I don't know whether Furnish's or John's sperm was used in the surrogacy, um, procedure, and I don't much care to know, but given that it is one sperm that fuses with the egg of the Californian mother (whose role in the future of the child, Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John, is unknown) it can only be one of them who is the father. Therefore one of these men is a father and the other one is, um...a foster father, guardian, older friend, protector, adoptive parent?

Of course, we are adults and we can get our heads around this whether we think it is wonderful news or whether we think Elton John is off his rocker and appears committed to playing his infernal piano eternally in a 'tour to end all tours', but, what is disturbing is that this is the World into which children (and I am not just thinking of Zachary Jackson Levon Furnish-John here) are born.

Children now are born into an adult world with a very liberal-minded mass media which does not recognise the innocence of childhood, an innocence and purity that deserves to be protected from the very adult issue of homosexuality, for one, and the media blithely present this starkly controversial moral issue to us as uncontroversially as they possibly can, playing fast and loose with language, objectively discernible facts and just take the loose morality of the nation as a given, not thinking, for even a moment, that parents are sitting at home while their children ask, "Two daddies?! How did that happen?!" and that, aside from the fact that some Catholics might be thinking, "Well I never, whatever next...", some Muslims, too, will be sitting at home thinking this nation deserves a good smiting and "Who better to do it than us? Let's set up a company called 'Dial-a-Smiting' - No job too small!".

Last night I was trying to explain to a friend what it would be like if you could get into a time capsule and travel back to the Middle Ages and explain to a crusader knight that you are from the year 2010 and yes you know it is surprising that the Lord had not yet returned and that a Catholic school in northern England, dedicated to the Sacred Heart, was most likely soon to be taken over by a local mosque.

I think the knight would laugh in your face, or, possibly, throw his sword and maybe his horse into a river and weep, telling his fellow knights, "Pack up boys and go home. It's futile. I've just met someone from the future who's told me that we lost because the people gave up on the Church and the Church gave up preaching Jesus Christ." Of course, if you told someone in the Middle Ages that a troubadour and his boyfriend had just 'had a baby' via artificial insemination, he'd just say, "Come again?"

In a way, the Catholic Hierarchy of this country the Church suffers from a certain indifference towards the rampant secularisation of the United Kingdom, something that has infected the Church greatly and even at high levels. She is like 'The Black Knight' who, after having had his arms chopped off in Monty Python's 'The Holy Grail', boldly declares that the carnage is "only a flesh wound". Enjoy!

Tuesday 28 December 2010

A Catholic Initiative Inspired by St Joseph Benedict Labre in Akron, USA

Walsh Jesuit High School in Akron, Oklahoma, shares 'food, faith, and fellowship' with people living on the streets through the inspiration of St. Benedict Joseph Labre. Interesting stuff.

Catholic School to be Handed Over to Mosque

The face of the future...
A sorrowful moment of truth for the Catholic Church in England and Wales, the news of which will send shockwaves around the Catholic World?

A stunning local victory for Islam?

An indicator of the rates of immigration in urban areas of northern England?

Or, a damning indictment of the Hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the United Kingdom and the overwhemling majority of the Faithful who failed to heed the prophetic warnings of Pope Paul VI's encyclical, Humanae Vitae?

You can call it what you want, but this is nothing short of stunning news. It has to be said that unlike Catholics, Muslims did not and still do not embrace contraception. Not only this, but, for Muslims, passing Islam down to the next generation is of supreme importance. Read it and weep...

Courtesy of the Daily Star

'A Catholic school faces being taken over by a mosque after it was revealed that 95% of its pupils are Muslim. It is believed to be the first case of its kind in Britain. Church leaders say it is no longer “appropriate” for them to run Sacred Heart RC Primary School which has just six Christian pupils.

Just 10 years ago more than 90% of pupils were Catholic. But now most are of Asian origin, do not speak English as their first language and follow Islam. The school in Blackburn, Lancs, could be handed to the nearby Masjid-e-Tauheedul mosque.

Harry Devonport of Blackburn with Darwen Council Children’s Services, said the decision to abandon the school was made by the Diocese of Salford. Diocese education director Geraldine Bradbury said: “We have never experienced a change to this extent before. We would not be serving the local community by insisting that we run the school. It brings things like having a Catholic headteacher and devoting 10% of the timetable to RE. It would be wrong of us to insist on putting a school community through that.”

The mosque runs an Islamic girls’ secondary school. Head Hamid Patel said: “Given that almost all of the pupils are Muslim, it makes sense.”

Other organisations are in the race to run the school – in a predominantly Asian populated area of the town – including the Church of England diocese. But the Tauheedul mosque is favourite to take over. A report to the local council said any attempt to turn Sacred Heart into a non-religious community school would be rejected because of the Coalition Government’s “stated preference for new faith schools and free schools”. Mr Devonport added: “There will be no disruption for children at the school.”'

Pope Benedict XVI Dines With the Homeless on Feast of the Holy Family

Pope Benedict XVI dines with the homeless in Rome
This is a wonderful story that highlights the Holy Father's simplicity of heart and exemplifies his desire to be 'a humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord.' The story rather reminds me of Pope St Gregory the Great I who I learned recently would dine each week with 12 poor men of Rome.

Courtesy of E F Pastor Emeritus

'To mark the 100th birthday of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta - and keeping with this pontificate's preference for acts of concrete charity at Christmas - on St. Stephen's Day, 26th December - this year replaced by Feast of The Holy Family - Pope Benedict XVI hosted a lunch for some 500 of Rome's neediest served by the shelters and kitchens of the Missionaries of Charity, the Indian-based community founded by the universally-beloved Nobel Peace laureate, the "Saint of the Gutters."
Held in the packed atrium of the Paul VI Audience Hall - the same spot where the Pope recently hosted lunches for the delegates to October's Synod of Bishops and, last month, the College of Cardinals - likewise present with the throng were Mother Teresa's successor at the MC's helm, Sr Mary Prema, and Fr Sebastian, the superior of the order's community of men.
Of the large group, fourteen guests of the shelters joined the pontiff at the head table. To the whole room, however, Benedict delivered the following remarks, (translation is not "official")'

'Dear friends,
I'm very happy to be here today with you, and I extend warm greetings to the Reverend Mother-General of the Missionaries of Charity, to the priests, sisters, contemplative brothers and and all of you here to enjoy this brotherly moment together. 
The light of the Lord's Birth fills our hearts with the joy and peace announced by the Angels to the shepherds of Bethlehem: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to those whom he loves." The Baby that we see in the manger is God himself who made himself man, to show us how much he desires our good, how much he loves us: God has become one of us, that he might make himself close to each of us, that he might conquer evil, liberate us from sin, give us hope, that he might tell us that we are never alone. We can always look to Him without fear, calling Him Father, sure that in every moment, in every situation of life, even the most difficult ones, He never forgets us. May we say ever more often: Yes, God himself takes care of me, he loves me, Jesus was born for me, too; I must trust in him always.
Dear brothers and sisters, clinging to the light of the Baby Jesus, of the Son of God made man, illuminates our lives to transform them in light, which we see especially in the lives of the saints. I think of the witness of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, a reflection of the light of the love of God. To celebrate a hundred years since her birth is cause for gratitude and for reflection, that we might have a renewed and joyous charge toward the service of the Lord and our brothers and sisters, especially the neediest among us. As we know, the Lord himself wanted to be needy. Dear Sisters, Priests and Brothers, dear friends, love is the force that changes the world, because God is love. Blessed Teresa of Calcutta lived love for everyone without distinction, but with a preference for the poorest and most abandoned: a luminous sign of the fatherhood and the goodness of God.
She knew to recognize in each person the face of Christ, who she loved with her whole self: the Christ who she loved and received in the Eucharist she continued to find in the streets and pathways of the city, becoming living "images" of Jesus who crosses over the wounds of man with the grace of his merciful love. Whoever asks why Mother Teresa became so famous, the answer is simple: because she lived in a humble, hidden way, for love and in love of God. She herself affirmed that her greatest prize was to love Jesus and serve him in the poor. Her tiny figure, whether with her hands joined together or embracing a sick person, a leper, the dying, a child, is the visible sign of an existence transformed by God. Amid the night of human suffering, she became resplendent in the light of divine Love and helped so many hearts find the peace only God can give.

Let us thank the Lord, that in Blessed Teresa of Calcutta we all have seen how our existence can change when it encounters Jesus; it can become for others a reflection of the light of God. To many men and women, in situations of sorrow and suffering, she gave consolation and the certainty that God doesn't abandon anyone, ever! Her mission continues among many, here and in other parts of the world, who live her charism of being missionaries and missionaries of Charity.

Our thanks to you is great, dear Sisters, dear Brothers, for your humble, discreet, almost hidden presence in the eyes of men, but extraordinary and precious to the heart of God. To man often in search of happy, fleeting illusions, your witness of life says where true joy is found: in sharing, in giving, in loving with the same generosity of God that destroys the logic of human selfishness.
Dear friends! Know that the Pope loves you, carries you in his heart, brings you all close in a fatherly embrace and prays for you. Every wish for a Merry Christmas! Thank you for wanting to share the joy of these feast days with me. I call upon the maternal protection of the Holy Family of Nazareth who we celebrate today -- Jesus, Mary and Joseph -- and I bless all of you and your dear ones.'

Monday 27 December 2010

Prelate Who Saved Some 10,000 Jews Dead at 98


Archbishop Ferrofino Assisted Pope Pius XII

Courtesy of Zenit

'An archbishop who saved some 10,000 Jews during the Second World War in his collaboration with Pope Pius XII died Monday. He was 98.

Archbishop Giovanni Ferrofino was the former apostolic nuncio to Ecuador and Haiti. He was born in Alessandria, Italy, on Feb. 24, 1912.

Gary Krupp, founder of the Pave the Way Foundation, told ZENIT that the archbishop “was perhaps the greatest living eye witness to Pius XII’s life-saving efforts on behalf of Jews interviewed by PTWF."

PTWF is a New York-based foundation, a non-sectarian organization whose mission is to identify and try to eliminate obstacles between religions and to initiate positive gestures in order to improve interreligious relations. It has been working to discover the facts regarding Pius XII and his efforts to help Jews during World War II.

“Pius XII sent [Archbishop Ferrofino] to the president of Portugal to request visas for Jews entering Portugal, and then when he was posted as secretary to the nuncio in the Dominican Republic,” Krupp explained.
In an interview with PTWF, the archbishop spoke of an occasion of Pope Pius XII's frustration - he slammed his hand on the table -- when the Americans did not help to "save this vibrant community," speaking of the Jews.

When sent to the Dominican Republic in 1939, Archbishop Ferrofino would regularly receive double encrypted telegrams directly from Pope Pius XII, from 1939-1945. He personally decoded these messages and would travel a day and a half with the nuncio, Archbishop Maurilio Silvani, to General Rafael Trujillo, president of the Dominican Republic, and hand deliver the requests "in the name of Pope Pius XII" to General Trujillo.

“The Pope would ask for over 800 visas for the Jews," Krupp explained. "The Vatican was able to gain transatlantic crossing out of Europe. This happened at least twice a year, asking for over 1,600 visas per year for Jews escaping from Portugal and Spain. Archbishop Ferrofino also further helped these refugees to get into Canada, the U.S., Mexico and Cuba. He saved, through Pius XII's direct instructions, over 10,000 Jews."

Krupp recalled how in January 2008, he went to France to permanently preserve the archbishop's testimony, with the collaboration of the French PTWF director, Costantino Fiore.

In 2010, after Archbishop Ferrofino returned to Italy, the president and director-general of PTWF in Italy, Daniele Costi and Rolando Clementoni, both obtained his written notarized testimony, which is now in the hands of Yad Vashem. The Yad Vashem is the Jewish Holocaust Memorial in Jerusalem, which investigates and honors those who were instrumental in saving Jews from the Nazis.'

Who Said This?

"For many of us, this is a tough time to be a Catholic. The Church may seem like this old couple, Abraham and Sarah. It is largely ruled by old men, even older than me, who seem out of touch with the world. Every statement that comes from the Vatican seems to provoke more misunderstanding, more embarrassment, more frustration. My indignation with what the Vatican says is only exceeded by my indignation at its wilful misrepresentation by the press. To keep sane I keep repeating the words of, I think, Samuel Johnson: ‘Indignation is the last resort of the fool’."
 For the answer click here and then click July 18, 2010.

Obviously we can only assume that the Priest means that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is too wishy-washy and lukewarm in its public pronouncements, which could lead some into error, and that he wishes that the Vatican would 'recognise dissent for what it is' more. It will come as no surprise to many that this Priest is adored by The Tablet. For more on this, see The Muniment Room.

Hopefully, it will only a matter of time until the LGBT Masses in Soho are replaced by the TLM, because, pastorally speaking, this is the best way of leading the flock in Soho to draw closer to the Hearts of Jesus and Mary, because if there is one thing that Archbishop Vincent Nichols wants, it is what Pope Benedict XVI wants; for men and women in Soho to grow in the love of God, for, as is becoming more and more apparent over time, these two men are of one mind and one heart on all matters, doctrinal and liturgical.

St Stephen's Day

Sunday 26 December 2010


With drums and synthesizer!



“Verbum caro factum est” – “The Word became flesh” (Jn 1:14).

'Dear brothers and sisters listening to me here in Rome and throughout the world, I joyfully proclaim the message of Christmas: God became man; he came to dwell among us. God is not distant: he is “Emmanuel”, God-with-us. He is no stranger: he has a face, the face of Jesus.

This message is ever new, ever surprising, for it surpasses even our most daring hope. First of all, because it is not merely a proclamation: it is an event, a happening, which credible witnesses saw, heard and touched in the person of Jesus of Nazareth! Being in his presence, observing his works and hearing his words, they recognized in Jesus the Messiah; and seeing him risen, after his crucifixion, they were certain that he was true man and true God, the only-begotten Son come from the Father, full of grace and truth (cf. Jn 1:14).

“The Word became flesh”. Before this revelation we once more wonder: how can this be? The Word and the flesh are mutually opposed realities; how can the eternal and almighty Word become a frail and mortal man? There is only one answer: Love. Those who love desire to share with the beloved, they want to be one with the beloved, and Sacred Scripture shows us the great love story of God for his people which culminated in Jesus Christ.

God in fact does not change: he is faithful to himself. He who created the world is the same one who called Abraham and revealed his name to Moses: “I am who I am … the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob … a God merciful and gracious, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness (cf. Ex 3:14-15; 34:6). God does not change; he is Love, ever and always. In himself he is communion, unity in Trinity, and all his words and works are directed to communion. The Incarnation is the culmination of creation. When Jesus, the Son of God incarnate, was formed in the womb of Mary by the will of the Father and the working of the Holy Spirit, creation reached its high point. The ordering principle of the universe, the Logos, began to exist in the world, in a certain time and space.

“The Word became flesh”. The light of this truth is revealed to those who receive it in faith, for it is a mystery of love. Only those who are open to love are enveloped in the light of Christmas. So it was on that night in Bethlehem, and so it is today. The Incarnation of the Son of God is an event which occurred within history, while at the same time transcending history. In the night of the world a new light was kindled, one which lets itself be seen by the simple eyes of faith, by the meek and humble hearts of those who await the Saviour. If the truth were a mere mathematical formula, in some sense it would impose itself by its own power. But if Truth is Love, it calls for faith, for the “yes” of our hearts.

And what do our hearts, in effect, seek, if not a Truth which is also Love? Children seek it with their questions, so disarming and stimulating; young people seek it in their eagerness to discover the deepest meaning of their life; adults seek it in order to guide and sustain their commitments in the family and the workplace; the elderly seek it in order to grant completion to their earthly existence.

“The Word became flesh”. The proclamation of Christmas is also a light for all peoples, for the collective journey of humanity. “Emmanuel”, God-with-us, has come as King of justice and peace. We know that his Kingdom is not of this world, and yet it is more important than all the kingdoms of this world. It is like the leaven of humanity: were it lacking, the energy to work for true development would flag: the impulse to work together for the common good, in the disinterested service of our neighbour, in the peaceful struggle for justice. Belief in the God who desired to share in our history constantly encourages us in our own commitment to that history, for all its contradictions. It is a source of hope for everyone whose dignity is offended and violated, since the one born in Bethlehem came to set every man and woman free from the source of all enslavement.

May the light of Christmas shine forth anew in the Land where Jesus was born, and inspire Israelis and Palestinians to strive for a just and peaceful coexistence. May the comforting message of the coming of Emmanuel ease the pain and bring consolation amid their trials to the beloved Christian communities in Iraq and throughout the Middle East; may it bring them comfort and hope for the future and bring the leaders of nations to show them effective solidarity. May it also be so for those in Haiti who still suffer in the aftermath of the devastating earthquake and the recent cholera epidemic. May the same hold true not only for those in Colombia and Venezuela, but also in Guatemala and Costa Rica, who recently suffered natural disasters.

May the birth of the Saviour open horizons of lasting peace and authentic progress for the peoples of Somalia, Darfur and Côte d’Ivoire; may it promote political and social stability in Madagascar; may it bring security and respect for human rights in Afghanistan and in Pakistan; may it encourage dialogue between Nicaragua and Costa Rica; and may it advance reconciliation on the Korean peninsula.

May the birth of the Saviour strengthen the spirit of faith, patience and courage of the faithful of the Church in mainland China, that they may not lose heart through the limitations imposed on their freedom of religion and conscience but, persevering in fidelity to Christ and his Church, may keep alive the flame of hope. May the love of “God-with-us” grant perseverance to all those Christian communities enduring discrimination and persecution, and inspire political and religious leaders to be committed to full respect for the religious freedom of all.

Dear brothers and sisters, “the Word became flesh”; he came to dwell among us; he is Emmanuel, the God who became close to us. Together let us contemplate this great mystery of love; let our hearts be filled with the light which shines in the stable of Bethlehem! To everyone, a Merry Christmas!'

Watching The Cardinal

It is still available for viewing on IPlayer.

Wednesday 22 December 2010

We Worship the Son and Honour the Mother Most Blessed

Christmas is as much about Mary, the Blessed Virgin, the Mother of God, as it is about Jesus, the Son of the Eternal Father. Since just as Our Lord said "Yes" to His Heavenly Father during His Agony in the Garden, so did Our Lady say "Yes" when she was asked by the Angel Gabriel to be the Mother of God. Therefore our gratitude for the saving work that God has begun in us and our prayers should be directed as much towards Our Lady as towards Our Lord, for without her "Yes", He would never have been born. In as much as our redemption depended upon Him, so did it depend upon she who said...

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour
Because He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaid: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation until generations, to them that fear Him.
He hath showed might with His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy:
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

For without her, there would be no Baptism, no Confession, no Eucharist, no Priesthood, no Holy Orders, the Gates of Heaven, firmly closed. Without her, there would be no hope! If we should make it to Heaven, it is not just Him that we shall thank and in whom we shall rejoice, but her! God loved the World so much that He sent His only begotten Son into the World. Yes, indeed, but Mary loved the World so much, that she accepted the delivery! In as much as Jesus is the King of Eternal Glory, Mary is the Queen of Heaven. God has honoured her and so should we! I found this beautiful homage to the Blessed Virgin on Porta Caeli from the Office of Readings. It is by St Bernard of Clairvaux:

'You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit.

The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him.

We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die.

In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it.

All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet.

It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God.

Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident.

This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous.

Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary.

Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter.

If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves.

Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.

Saint Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153): In Praise of the Virgin Mother (Hom. 4, 8-9) from the Office of Readings for December 20

Tuesday 21 December 2010

CDF Issue Formal Statement 'Regarding Certain Interpretations of "Light of the World"

Note of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

On the trivilization of sexuality

Regarding certain interpretations 
of "Light of the World"

'Following the publication of the interview-book Light of the World by Benedict XVI, a number of erroneous interpretations have emerged which have caused confusion concerning the position of the Catholic Church regarding certain questions of sexual morality. The thought of the Pope has been repeatedly manipulated for ends and interests which are entirely foreign to the meaning of his words – a meaning which is evident to anyone who reads the entire chapters in which human sexuality is treated. The intention of the Holy Father is clear: to rediscover the beauty of the divine gift of human sexuality and, in this way, to avoid the cheapening of sexuality which is common today.
Some interpretations have presented the words of the Pope as a contradiction of the traditional moral teaching of the Church. This hypothesis has been welcomed by some as a positive change and lamented by others as a cause of concern – as if his statements represented a break with the doctrine concerning contraception and with the Church’s stance in the fight against AIDS. In reality, the words of the Pope – which specifically concern a gravely disordered type of human behaviour, namely prostitution (cf. Light of the World, pp. 117-119) – do not signify a change in Catholic moral teaching or in the pastoral practice of the Church.
As is clear from an attentive reading of the pages in question, the Holy Father was talking neither about conjugal morality nor about the moral norm concerning contraception. This norm belongs to the tradition of the Church and was summarized succinctly by Pope Paul VI in paragraph 14 of his Encyclical Letter Humanae vitae, when he wrote that "also to be excluded is any action which either before, at the moment of, or after sexual intercourse, is specifically intended to prevent procreation—whether as an end or as a means." The idea that anyone could deduce from the words of Benedict XVI that it is somehow legitimate, in certain situations, to use condoms to avoid an unwanted pregnancy is completely arbitrary and is in no way justified either by his words or in his thought. On this issue the Pope proposes instead – and also calls the pastors of the Church to propose more often and more effectively (cf. Light of the World, p. 147) – humanly and ethically acceptable ways of behaving which respect the inseparable connection between the unitive and procreative meaning of every conjugal act, through the possible use of natural family planning in view of responsible procreation.
On the pages in question, the Holy Father refers to the completely different case of prostitution, a type of behaviour which Christian morality has always considered gravely immoral (cf. Vatican II, Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et spes, n. 27; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2355). The response of the entire Christian tradition – and indeed not only of the Christian tradition – to the practice of prostitution can be summed up in the words of St. Paul: "Flee from fornication" (1 Cor 6:18). The practice of prostitution should be shunned, and it is the duty of the agencies of the Church, of civil society and of the State to do all they can to liberate those involved from this practice.
In this regard, it must be noted that the situation created by the spread of AIDS in many areas of the world has made the problem of prostitution even more serious. Those who know themselves to be infected with HIV and who therefore run the risk of infecting others, apart from committing a sin against the sixth commandment are also committing a sin against the fifth commandment – because they are consciously putting the lives of others at risk through behaviour which has repercussions on public health. In this situation, the Holy Father clearly affirms that the provision of condoms does not constitute "the real or moral solution" to the problem of AIDS and also that "the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality" in that it refuses to address the mistaken human behaviour which is the root cause of the spread of the virus. In this context, however, it cannot be denied that anyone who uses a condom in order to diminish the risk posed to another person is intending to reduce the evil connected with his or her immoral activity. In this sense the Holy Father points out that the use of a condom "with the intention of reducing the risk of infection, can be a first step in a movement towards a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality." This affirmation is clearly compatible with the Holy Father’s previous statement that this is "not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection."
Some commentators have interpreted the words of Benedict XVI according to the so-called theory of the "lesser evil". This theory is, however, susceptible to proportionalistic misinterpretation (cf. John Paul II, Encyclical Letter Veritatis splendor, n. 75-77). An action which is objectively evil, even if a lesser evil, can never be licitly willed. The Holy Father did not say – as some people have claimed – that prostitution with the use of a condom can be chosen as a lesser evil. The Church teaches that prostitution is immoral and should be shunned. However, those involved in prostitution who are HIV positive and who seek to diminish the risk of contagion by the use of a condom may be taking the first step in respecting the life of another – even if the evil of prostitution remains in all its gravity. This understanding is in full conformity with the moral theological tradition of the Church.
In conclusion, in the battle against AIDS, the Catholic faithful and the agencies of the Catholic Church should be close to those affected, should care for the sick and should encourage all people to live abstinence before and fidelity within marriage. In this regard it is also important to condemn any behaviour which cheapens sexuality because, as the Pope says, such behaviour is the reason why so many people no longer see in sexuality an expression of their love: "This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being" (Light of the World, p. 119).'

Courtesy of, er, the Vatican.

Well...that well and truly puts that one to bed, if you will excuse the expression. What was all the hoo-hah about?!

Monday 20 December 2010

When Two Forms Become One

Pictured left is the Latin Mass English Booklet Missal, first produced by Coalition Ecclesia Dei in 1990. St Mary Magdalen's Church have these at the back of the Church whenever the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is celebrated to help the Laity to do pray at Mass, or rather, as the quote in the booklet from Pope Pius X says, "Do not pray at the Mass, but pray the Mass."

This quote is at the heart of an issue that Fr Ray Blake has raised in his blogpost, 'What do you do in the Eucharistic Prayer?'.

I half wonder whether this question would have been even asked by Priests prior to the Second Vatican Council, but then, what our now gloriously reigning Pontiff, Pope Benedict XVI, is interested in is the careful, delicate knitting together of a garment which was rent so carelessly in the wake of the 1960s with some seriously damaging consequences.

I must confess that it was only after I began attending the Traditional Latin Mass at St Mary Magdalen's that I begun to even think of praying the Eucharist Prayer during the Novus Ordo Mass as well. Attending the "old Mass" led me into praying the Eucharistic Prayer during the "new Mass", although it has to be said, what with the still relatively recent liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass, it is easy to get confused which is the "old" one and which is the "new" one. Out with the old and in with the new, I say, but anyway...

Before attending the Traditional Latin Mass I didn't know what to do, or rather what to pray during the Eucharistic Prayer. There was a kind of mental block or perhaps a rather blithe ignorance of prayer during the 'quiet bit' of Mass because it is a prolongued period of the Mass during which we, the Laity, are silent. It was like an impasse, almost the impotence to pray, because I just thought that was the Priest's "bit" of the Mass and, on reflection, the Novus Ordo does often feel like the Priest has his "bits" and we have our "bits" of the Mass and that could account for why the 'discontinuity' has occurred. That could also account for why the 'We Are Church' brigade are so brazen - because the Laity really do actually feel that they have been clericised. Perhaps that really is the seed from which springs the campaign for women's ordination. I don't know. Regardless, while I am sure that many Catholics pray the Eucharistic Prayer without any experience of the TLM, I can say with my hand on my heart that attending the Extraordinary Form has encouraged me to pray the Eucharistic Prayer during the Novus Ordo. So, thank you, Pope Benedict!

Nowadays, during the Novus Ordo, I pray the Eucharistic Prayer about a second or two behind the Priest, praying silently or very quietly, what he prays. Why has this change occurred? Well, I think that this is mostly down to the fact that the Latin-English Booklet Missal publishes the Canon of the Mass, and indeed the entire Mass, in Latin and English and because it so clearly encourages the Laity to "pray the Mass", rather than to "do the Mass", or to "pray bits"  or "do our bits" of the Mass.

It is because the Latin-English Missal teaches us the truth that the whole of the Mass is prayer that I found myself wanting to pray the Eucharistic Prayer in the modern rite. The one fed into the other. Now it feels almost as if, in that silent period of the Mass, that because God would not want to 'leave us as orphans', we should pray it and we should desire to pray it. It makes more and more sense to me now to do that, not in union so much with the Priest, since only the Priest can stand 'in persona Christi', but in communion with the Priest and the whole Church - which we understand to be Militant, Suffering and Triumphant - as the Priest prays, on the Church's behalf, the Liturgy of Heaven.

The Traditional Latin Mass is able to communicate that even though we are endeavouring to pray the same prayers as him, the Priest is the one doing the 'hard work', since he is standing in the place of Christ, whereas all we have to 'do' is pray the Mass, as if we are, if you like, standing in the place of St Mary Magdalen. That said, even when I find myself struggling to follow and pray the Traditional Latin Mass faithfully because, frankly, I am a slack individual, I still always feel that the pressure is taken off the Laity during Mass and that the awesome burden of responsibility for the Mass belongs to the Priest - a responsibility that I assume the Priest renders thankfully back to God! - but this is something that isn't imparted well by the Novus Ordo at all.

As St John Vianney said, if the Priest knew what he really was his head would implode, or explode, or something terrible and Mass in the Extraordinary Form makes that truth more visible to the Faithful. When the Priest turns around and says, "Oremus," it is as if he is saying, "Right now, I need your prayers! This is kind of a big deal!" I also believe that the Traditional Latin Mass is able to communicate a great deal more about the Catholic Faith than any homily, lecture or, indeed, book or blog. That is just one reason why I would recommend anyone, whether they are Catholic or not, to attend it if they are fortunate enough to be able to do so.

When we are at Mass, we are here...
The Latin-English Booklet Missal, which you can read in a rather useful 'pdf' format here, makes it pretty much clear that the Mass should be prayed whole and entire, that the Mass is the highest prayer of the Church, the pinnacle of prayer and that the Mass is not something the Laity 'do', but something we pray. The Priest is the one, if you like, doing the 'do-ing' and we are the ones doing the 'be-ing in the Presence of God' because we are to be present at Calvary, at the Foot of the Cross. Christ's supreme sacrifice is being manifested once more on the Altar, so that all present can adore Him and so that those in a State of Grace may receive His Precious Body and Blood.

The Liturgy of the Traditional Latin Mass genuinely respects the holy and therefore genuinely inspires holiness, in aspiration, at least. It manages to communicate, even 'through a glass darkly', the incomprehensible, the Mystery of what is taking place before our eyes in a way that the "new Mass" fails to do and quite comprehensively so. I guess that is the main reason why many traddies think the whole thing was the work of demonically-inspired Freemasons.

During the Canon, the Priest prays for the intercession of various Saints of the Church that we may be defended from our spiritual enemies, saved from final damnation and be counted among the elect and I just get the sense at that point in the Traditional Rite that these are the prayers, in Latin, that those who have gone before us, for centuries, at least a few of whom are even named in the Canon, those who were counted worthy by God to be raised to the Altar, themselves prayed! Yes, the English translation is quite accurate, I guess, but why would we want to divorce ourselves from the spirituality of those to whom we pray for assistance? Why on Earth would we think ourselves wiser than them and 'do' something different to them? I know we've had quite a lot of men and women raised to the Altar since the 1960s, a wonderful thing, but, come on! Seriously! Don't you want to pray exactly what St Anthony of Padua and St Catherine of Sienna!? Something will always get lost in translation!

In summary, the Traditional Latin Mass makes you want to pray, because it encourages it, facilitates it. It was written to dispose us towards Heaven, to raise our hearts and minds to God. The Latin Mass even makes you want to pray more at the Novus Ordo Mass, though I will acknowledge that in some parishes, the liturgies of which I am glad I do not have to attend, that itself can be extraordinarily (if you excuse the pun) difficult!

Anyway, not to detract in any way from the what has been a relatively sober, serious and considered post, I would just like to share with you this incredible song, performed by the incredibly gifted, raw, passionate and yet tenderly soulful, Elkie Brooks. My friend 'Mister Paul' introduced me to her relatively recently (on YouTube, that is, rather than at a party). You could say that, for me, Elkie Brooks has been liberated after years of being hidden away! What a treasure!

Now that I'm one of Elkie's faithful I defy anyone to be grumpy after this song and it goes without saying that even though you will, quite rightly, never hear it in a Catholic Church, it still pisses all over anything Paul Inwood has ever produced. Still, they're different genres I guess. You can't compare like with like. Elkie Brooks: An awe-inspiring and truly astonishing talent...and she's British! Yes, Britain's still got real talent and her tour dates are here. More importantly, you can purchase Coalition Ecclesia Dei's Latin-English Booklet Missal here.

Sunday 19 December 2010

Nothing to Do With Christmas But...

Who did the best cover of this song?

Smokie, Creedence Clearwater Revival or Rod Stewart?

Enjoyable BBC Documentary on the History of Christmas Carols

"Once more with feeling...and in Latin again please".

Check out the 'informative, educational and entertaining' BBC documentary on the history of the Christmas carol. It makes for perfect Sunday viewing. It also makes you want to go out and sing carols.

Saturday 18 December 2010

Why is Christmas So Anti-Christ?

Snowmen:  What do they have to do with Christmas?
It's quite hard to find Christmas cards that depict the real meaning of Christmas in 2010.

Never one to be organised, I've just managed to send off some cards, but it took me a few shops to discover a box of cards with an image that reflected something about the Incarnation.

Two shops on London Road, one called Card Factory, for Heaven's sake, didn't have a single Christmas card with imagery which we would understand reflect the birthday of Our Saviour.

Loads of snowmen, loads of Santas, loads of trees, lots of wintery scenes, mistletoe and maybe, if you're lucky, a wreath here or there, but when it actually comes to a visual representation of the Nativity, which is at the very heart of the great Feast of Christmas, it is very hard to find. It's almost as if the World cannot cope with the enormity of the event, the huge spiritual implications of remembering Salvation History and looking forward to the End of History, so that, much like in Easter (which is obviously about bunnies, chicks and chocolate eggs) it has to concoct something else that walks beside Him, but never dares to meet Him.

Of course, we can say that Father Christmas is a bi-product of St Nicholas of Myra and it may even be true. We can say that Christmas trees contain Christian symbolism and that they are a bi-product of St Boniface because he cut down the tree of Thor in order to disprove the legitimacy of the Norse gods to the local German tribe and saw a fir tree growing in the roots of the old oak, and it may even be true. We can say that an Advent wreath is a Christian tradition that symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent and it may even be true.

Not many of these cards are sold...
We can say all this and can do all this and manage to gloss over, quite frighteningly, with such great ease, the birth of the Son of God, in a stable, born of the Blessed Virgin at a particular moment in human history. If you like, here in the West, we enjoy all of the bi-products of the Church's tradition during Christmas, except that of St Francis of Assisi, who is credited with the creation of the first Nativity scene in 1223. He, obviously, saw Christmas very much for what it was and what it still is. Still, he wasn't really interested in the bi-products of Christmas either. His eyes were ever fixed on the Babe who was born, to die, for him. It was, as was everything for St Francis, an aid to contemplating the Divine.

Ironically, it is the naffness of the modern Christmas, the profound, zealously commercial vulgarity of Christmas that decides that Christmas is about everything else but Christ, that ends up turning me off even putting up a tree or placing any decorations up and doing anything in the flat save for buying a small nativity scene.

Modern Western civilisation cannot cope with even the idea that Almighty God became a Baby and that wise men or Magi worshipped Him, cannot cope with remembering that God became Man, cannot cope with, well, Christmas, so it has to turn it into a kind of secular festive holiday and, well, cash in gratuitously. Haven't the media being saying sales are down this Christmas because of the dire economic crises with which we are afflicted? Oh, how terrible! The nation isn't buying loads of expensive stuff for family and friends because they're in debt?! Oh well, never mind. There is more to life, and more to Christmas, indeed, than money. The Gospels tell us that the Holy Family were dependent upon charity even for the Blessed Virgin to find somewhere, which was not particularly sanitary, to give birth and she, yes, she certainly meditated upon the real meaning of Christmas, for she held it in her arms and looked at Him, face to face!

Jesus is the 'reason for the season'! So, bah...

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Catholics for the Burning of Santa Claus

Burn! Burn!
Parents deceive children into thinking he exists!

He weakens their Faith in Christ having been deceived over his existence!

It would be nice if he were St Nicholas of Myra, but he isn't! He hasn't even been CRB checked!

Thousands of letters are sent to 'Lapland'. Where do they all go? An icy landfill? No Bishop of England and Wales would applaud that!

Rich children get flashy, expensive presents from him, but all poor children get is a lump of coal and a satsuma, even when they give him mince pies!

There is no mention of Father Christmas in the Sacred Tradition of the Church or the Catechism! Burn him!

See Fr Ray Blake's post and a link to the story of the Argentinian priest who scandalised a whole town by being honest about the awful truth of Father Christmas, Santa Claus, or, as we Catholics like to call him, Beelzebub in festive drag!

Burn him!

Monday 13 December 2010

PrayTell: The Liberal Catholic Establishment's Contribution to the Blogosphere?

PrayTell contributor unhappy with new translation
A reader of this blog, whose comments I sometimes publish and sometimes, do not, because quite often he is lacking in anything we understand by Christian charity, has drawn my attention to a new blog called PrayTell.

I do not like the look of it one bit. For instance, see pictured left a cartoon with the Holy Father's face photoshopped onto Humpty Dumpty (quite bizarre!) as it mocks the new translation of the Mass over which liberals are squealing! It is entitled, 'Pope fails own Latin test?'

Contributors include Priests and lay people, many, I assume who are 'theologians'. It is always important to remember that there are many atheists who claim to be 'theologians' because they've got the degree. There are also those who are Catholics but who dissent from Church teaching who are 'theologians'. I am not, in any way, referring to the former theologian, now author discussed in the comments section in the post below, as I don't know anything about him aside from what I have been told. I'll look into it and perhaps do a blogpost on that issue at a later date.

Paul Inwood, who is without exception every Catholic's most beloved liturgical composer, the saviour of the music of the Mass, contributes, as Damian Thompson recently reported. Another post is entitled 'Who's up for a Dispute on the Eucharist?', as if there is anything to debate. The Eucharist is the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. What is there to debate?

I get the general impression that it is a forum for liberal, dissenting Catholics. The ironic thing, of course, is that the website does not manage, in any way discernible, to be able to communicate the Catholic Faith, the Faith for which Martyrs died, the Faith established by Christ upon St Peter and His Apostles, because none appear to be able to agree on what the Catholic Faith is. Ultimately, that is the saddest thing of all...

'Stand By Me' Performed by Street Singers Around the World

Stand By Me | Playing For Change | Song Around The World from Concord Music Group on Vimeo.

This is a video of street singers from around the world being recorded, overlayed and mixed with one another while singing the song "Stand By Me". Very impressive!

Saturday 11 December 2010

He Was Right...

Cardinal Kasper likened the UK to a "third World country"
Yes, he was. I don't know much about Cardinal Kasper, all I know is that he was probably told, like many of our elderly this winter, to 'stay at home', following remarks in which he was said to have likened the UK to a "third World country".

Doubtless that comment will not have bothered the usually unflappable British Ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell, because he's the kind of man who is so cool in a crisis that he goes around telling foreign dignataries and aides that the Anglican Ordinariate, generously extended to disaffected traditional Anglicans will unleash a violent and bloody persecution of Catholic by Anglicans!

And there we were thinking that the global warming, eco-fanatical, nature worshippers were alarmists! Anyone would have thought Campbell was being fed propaganda by high-ranking enemies of the new Ordinariate, who in their arm-foldingly stubborn old ways feared that the generous conversion vehicle offered by the Holy Father might just destroy years of ecumenical beard-stroking, back-patting, tea and Victoria sponge cake and inter-faith cuddles while making absolutely no progress towards true Christian Unity whatsoever, in one fell swoop. Anyone would have thought these high-ranking men, and they are men, do not really believe that Salvation is to be found in the One True Church founded by Christ on the Rock of St Peter.

Anyway, according to the Daily Express, when the recent extremely cold snap snapped, this happened...

'Pensioners, who are among those most ­vulnerable to the cold, are resorting to ­extraordinary measures to keep warm. Many have been using their free travel ­passes to spend the day riding on buses while others are seeking refuge from the cold in libraries and shopping centres.'

Now, The Telegraph reports that with...

'Forecasters predicting more freezing conditions for the week ahead, one pensioner group warned deaths linked to the weather could rise to as many as 35,000 this winter.' 

I don't know about you, but I am starting to think that this is one third World country that could do with some more global warming and some less diversion of public funds to supra-national institutions to cut carbon emissions! Before we save the planet, we should look after our own elderly! I'm trying to work this one out. We are the kind of country that believes it is right that we commit ourselves to lowering the global temperature, while our elderly freeze?

Hot Off the Press: Adoratio 2010

I am assuming that not just any Tom, Dick or Harry can turn up for this one, unless you are Bishop Tom, Fr Dick or Brother Harry (or Sister Harriet), but have a look, if you haven't already, at Fr Ray Blake's blog, at the fantastic Adoratio 2011 event to take place in Rome in, er, 2011.

The line up of guest speakers is mouth-watering.

  • Cardinal Francis Arinze, Emeritus Prefect of the Congregation of Divine Worship
  • Cardinal Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Vatican City
  • Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, Prefect for the Congregation of Divine Worship
  • Cardinal Malcolm Ranjith, Archbishop of Colombo, Sri Lanka, former Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship
  • Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, President of the Congregation for the Clergy, Vatican City
  • Cardinal Peter Turkson, President of the Pontifical Council Justice and Peace, Vatican City
  • Bishop Giovanni D’Ercole, Auxiliary Bishop of L’Aquila, Italy
  • Bishop D. José Ignacio Munilla - Bishop of San Sebastian, Spain
  • Bishop Dominique Rey, Bishop of the Diocese of Frejus-Toulon, France
  • Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda, Kazakhstan
  • Fr Nicolas Buttet, Founder of the Eucharistein Community, St-Maurice, Switzerland
  • Fr Mark Kirby, Prior of the Diocesan Benedictine Monastery of Our Lady of the Cenacle in Tulsa, Oklahoma
  • Fr Florian Racine , Founder of the Missionaries of the Most Holy Eucharist, Sanary, France
  • Mother Adela Galdino, Foundress of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, USA
  • Sr. Joseph, Missionaries of Charity, Calcutta, India

These names comprise a wonderful Vatican dream fantasy football team with four high quality substitutes, gathering together to form the 'First International Conference on Eucharistic Adoration, held in Rome, from June 20 to June 23, 2011, with the intention of promoting the desire of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church to see Perpetual Adoration spread to Parishes and Dioceses around the world.'

Perpetual Adoration is an ambitious and marvellous idea and I, for one, have no doubt that as soon as the Paypal button becomes active, Bishops from all over the United Kingdom will be grabbing their Diocesan Visa cards quicker than you can say "secure payment method". While we are at it, though, here is an interesting Independent article on the (speaking personally) hitherto unknown, Cardinal Peter Turkson. I say this because with the exception of Sr Joseph and Mother Adela Galdino, one of those names above might, perhaps, might be the next Pope, but we shouldn't think about that really because we have the great Pope Benedict XVI, now reigning gloriously! Long may he reign!

Breaking News...Cancun Saves Planet!

Greenpeace activists show what global warming would have done...
Great news! The leaders of the World, having got together in a beach resort in Mexico (I think we can assume they all flew, mostly first class, obviously), have saved the World from global warming! Thanks be to God! Or is that the Mayan goddess? It doesn't really matter at the end of the day because Cancun can save us!

Now we can all relax, safe in the knowledge that no natural disasters will ever take place in the future again!  Brighton, Hove and possibly Worthing at least, are saved! Northumberland is saved! Yes! Swanage, Bournemouth and Weymouth are saved! It might cost every taxpayer more in carbon taxes but think about it, we can all sleep safe at night now. Praise God!

Just think about it. If those 15,000 delegates had not flown over to that Mexican resort, at considerable cost to the public purses of the nations of the World, the Greenpeace campaign image above shows us exactly what would have happened. If they had not reached an agreement today on reducing carbon emissions, the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janiero would have been half-way under water within years and that is an undisputed scientific fact. If you don't agree with that fact, you probably need your head seen to, or you deserve to be exploded in public.

May Almighty God bless each and every one of those 15,000 delegates, who, without doubt, will have almost certainly postponed the Apocalypse by years, surely, because if there is one thing we humans can control, its Almighty God and the whole of His Creation! I mean, its not as if the whole of the Universe is sustained by God's power, hanging, as it were, by the fine, golden thread of God's unfathomable mercy (h/t G.K. Chesterton), or anything like that. Now we can all sleep safe.

Honestly, give these delegates a year or two and they'll be wanting to change the colour and temperature of the Sun, because, er, it's too red, it's too hot, it seems to have a mind of its own and keeps emitting these frighteningly large coronal mass ejections towards Earth, knocking global power grids out of action. Gosh! Now, that would really reduce carbon emissions! Still, it's genuinely scary because millions of people would could die...Let's try throwing water at it!

The Pope Who Won't Be Buried

It has been a long time since I have put finger to keyboard to write about our holy Catholic Faith, something I regret, but which I put larg...