Sunday 29 May 2011

God Has Chosen to Live With Us

The Holy Faith is, by nature of its Divine origin and its supernatural essence is, enshrouded in mystery. We can never lose sight of this mystery. Unless we are given great grace, it is very difficult for us to penetrate the great mysteries of Faith.

I find that the greatest mystery of Faith is not belief in the Resurrection, or the Assumption of Our Lady but in what we can see and yet what we cannot see, unless we are given great faith.

The most profound, to my mind, of these mysteries is that which we encounter every time we step into a Church. Every time we walk into a Church we walk into the Presence of God. Every Catholic Church around the World houses the Lord God of Hosts in the Tabernacle. Every time we walk into a Church, God is truly present to us.

Nurturing and building up our faith and the faith of others is about recognising this one simple truth - that God is mysteriously present in the Tabernacle, in the Blessed Sacrament - really, totally, substantially, utterly God. This is why Catholics have, until relatively recently, always and everywhere, genuflected towards the Tabernacle because, inside those doors, is God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ.

I find it terribly sad when I go to Catholic Churches and the Tabernacle is tucked away in a side chapel, away from the centre of the Church because at the centre of the Church is Jesus Christ. Without the Blessed Sacrament, a Church would have no life at all. There would be no reason for going to Mass, nor for going into a Church, even, to pray.

We can cultivate our Faith by genuflecting on one knee before the Tabernacle, in recognition of Jesus Christ. We can pray before the Tabernacle, even when the Lord is not exposed, because we know that through those small doors, is Jesus.

We can make the Church a place of prayer, the House of Prayer, that Our Lord furiously stated that it should be when He drove out the money changers from the Temple in Jerusalem. If liturgy is not prayerful then it is not recollected and solemn liturgy. If a Church is not a House of Prayer then what is it?

The Reality of the Real Presence is at the centre of Pope Benedict XVI's liturgical reforms and we would do well to recognise that unless when we walk into a Church, we behave as if Jesus is there, recognising Him behind those doors, then we will not cultivate even the small mustard seed of faith that in our possession. The Sacred is already there, in every Church. It is up to us, as lay people, to cultivate and create the sense of the Sacred for ourselves and others, but most of all for Jesus Christ, so that He can be worshipped 'in spirit and in truth'. The Lord Jesus does not want to be ignored in the Tabernacle and we, we can only be happy when our restless hearts find rest in Him.

Worship and prayer are not separate from our bodily gestures and our pause for reflection on the Real Presence of God in the Church will do us spiritual good, increase our faith and increase the faith of others. We must not push Our Blessed Lord to the side, or ignore Him when we are in His presence, or behave as if we are in just another space or place, pretend that He is not there or forget that He truly is. If we do that, then we will miss the greatest mystery of all - that God has chosen, not just once, but until the End of Time itself, to live with us, to dwell in our midst. If we miss that, we miss the point entirely, of God's sublime condescension and God's breathtaking love, for us. This is why Pope Benedict XVI desires to see the liturgy reformed - so that it reflects the awe-inspiring mystery of God's love and His Real Presence among us.

We can remember this even when we walk past a Church and say a prayer, to which, I believe, a plenary indulgence is attached (it certainly was)...

May the Heart of Jesus in the most Blessed Sacrament of the Altar, be adored, loved and glorified, in every Tabernacle, in every Church, at every hour, in the whole World, now until the end of time. Amen.

How can they say there can be no Heaven on Earth when God Himself has already chosen to live here? He Who is totally transcendent, beyond time and comprehension, lives in our time, in the Tabernacle. Not just once did God humble himself, by becoming Man for our sake! No, not once did He humble Himself, but daily He humbles Himself to the point of living in our midst, in every Church, 'even until the End of Time'!

Saturday 28 May 2011

TSA at US Airports: Molestation for the Nation

Miss America complains of molestation by TSA.

Science News: God Likes Spheres Very Much...

Electrons orbiting an atom: Vaguely Trinitarian?
...but no created sphere (unless someone can tell me otherwise) is perfectly round. Intriguing! There is an interesting debate about the findings going on over at The Telegraph article.

I hate Science. I got a C grade at GCSE for it, but I did enjoy Brian Cox's BBC Wonders of the Universe for his sheer, childlike joy and awe of the galaxies and stuff.  I do, however, like theology and have decided to do some pseudo scientific theology this evening. Here are my results that I'll be sending to the New Scientist magazine next week. Pretty groundbreaking stuff this!

So, a new discovery has been made concerning electrons by scientists who refuted the claim that electrons could live on top (or inside, does it matter?) of one another (I was told about this by a Chemistry student at College today) on the grounds that electrons are 'near perfectly round'. My conclusion: God likes spheres very much.

Apparently Origen claimed that our resurrected bodies would resemble spheres. I don't know for sure, but I think people told him he was an heretic. Can we, however, see God in this week's new discovery? I think its really very fascinating on these grounds.

The planets are nearly perfectly spherical. The Moon, the Earth, the Sun, all planets of which we are aware share this spherical quality. These are not known to be perfectly round, but just like the electrons orbiting an atom, 'near perfectly round'.

The beads of our Rosaries are spherical as well. The sphere is said to be a symbol of perfection. Does God, or did God, intend to reflect Himself in His Creation? God reflects, perhaps not Himself, in His Creation, but His attributes. Mankind is made in God's image and likeness. We look at man and we see no spheres there. Yet, according to science we too are made of spheres. Atoms, molecules, electrons and the rest. So, then, the smallest created things, invisible to the human eye, are in fact spheres. Does God reflect His nature of perfection in His creation?

The spherical, created object, or matter, or whatever we call it, has no beginning or end. This, we can say, is like God. The sphere is a thing complete in itself. It symbolises the eternal nature of God. The sphere represents perfection, unity, wholeness, completeness, eternity.

With the discovery that the smallest things we can imagine, things of which we ourselves are made, are spherical, can we posit the possibility that not just electrons, not just planets, but the Universe itself is spherical, since this would only follow a wider application of what appears to be a natural law. A sphere within another sphere, or rather, Realm, that is God? Is God, literally, 'outside of time and space'?

Interestingly, for us Catholics, God, is both utterly transcendent, beyond comprehension, but also, with us, literally, dwelling in our midst, in the Blessed Sacrament. God is not only 'outside of time and space', but also in our time and in our space, in Holy Mother Church. God entered into human history once in Jesus Christ, yet daily He condescends and descends from Heaven at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass when the Priest utters the words of consecration. God is also with us in the Tabernacle always, 'even until the end of Time' when He shall be 'all in all', uniting Heaven with Earth, as two seemingly opposed Worlds collide cosmically at the Wedding Banquet, when the Lord Jesus, the Groom, embraces His Bride, the Church.

It is interesting that the Blessed Sacrament, the Holy Eucharist, the Blessed Host, the Lord, is, round. Not spherical, but round in appearance, if not in Reality. Looking at the planets, it is not hard to understand why Origen thought our resurrected bodies would be spherical.

So, before I disappear up my own behind, remember these are vain, idle speculations which can in no way be taken seriously. Forgive me if I have uttered any heresy and correct me if I have done so. I have no formulas, no equations, no evidence with which to back up my theory that the Universe is somehow contained within God, but, as it stands, looking around at what we can see, there is more evidence for my theory than there is for 'string theory' (I don't know what 'string theory' is). Whatever the truth of the 'matter', one thing is clear to we who do believe in God.

God very much likes spheres and round things, but no created sphere is perfect. Why? Because only God is Perfect and also only God knows the answers to the things we are investigating with our puny brains. If He had wished us to know, He would have told us. Here today ends my pseudo science-theology thesis. I hope you enjoyed it. God bless.

Friday 27 May 2011

A Personal Record

192 recommends! I know my internet-driven life is a little on the sad side, but 192 recommends is a personal record. Read Peter Oborne's very good article on the Obama visit to the UK. A good account of the President's courting of the Irish has been given by William Oddie of The Catholic Herald, and today a scathing post on the two world leaders' blithe indifference to the persecution of Christians worldwide, by Christina Odone of The Telegraph.

Aside from The Catholic Herald, which has a continuously high standard of comment, what Belloc described as the "Official Press" are not very good at looking at the figure of President Obama objectively and without excessive fawning. Every now and then, though, you find a diamond in the rough. Clearly, I'm not the only one who believes the media's reporting of the Obama visit has been absurdly sycophantic. Time for another Carly Simon song, I think. Gosh. They don't make them like this anymore! I'd like to say that this song is about Obama, but right now I think its about me. Oh, but she says if I think its about me then its just my vanity. Oh, nevermind, great Carly Simon song, nonetheless. Anyway, I think she meant this song to unsettle and unnerve whoever she wrote it about. It always unsettles me. Wait! 197 recommends! Get in! I'm giving up exam invigilating to become a full-time sage!

In Praise of Carole King and the Traditional Latin Mass

The prophetic voice of Carly Simon. Was she singing about the fallout of the 'spirit of Vatican II' and the loss of the Latin Mass? It's 'Coming Around Again!' much to the chagrin of many and the great joy of a great number.

Vatican 'helped thousands of Nazis escape'...

"Hi, Your Holiness, Eichmann here. Yes, I'm in a spot of bother..."
The Telegraph today reports on something which I only heard two days ago, when I was teaching at the Brighton Unemployed Families Centre Project. I happened to be teaching 'an introduction to blogging' (of all things) to two students.

I met a lovely chap called Dan who already runs a blog (he wanted to learn more about blogging). In fact, if truth be told, I spent a great deal of time discussing with him the excesses of power wielded by the mass media over public opinion and Belloc's essay on the Free Press as well as other issues such as abortion and the empty rhetoric and suit of President Obama.

In Dan, I really felt that I had met a 'kindred spirit'. I'm sure some readers would say that I must therefore have met another nutjob, but that wouldn't be entirely fair. I was a little surprised to how open to the positions of the Church he was, especially concerning abortion, simply because most people today just believe the received wisdom of choice - the 'prevailing orthodoxy', if you will, but Dan knew about Marie Stopes and Margaret Sanger and their eugenic beliefs. He was very clued up.

Dan has produced a documentary called 'Truthers' on the September 11 attacks in New York. On the front he has a great quote from George Orwell: "Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness." I'll watch it when I have a bit more time. Anyway, Dan and I discussed many things, some of them touching on the Catholic Faith.

One thing he discussed with me was the methods by which the Nazis escaped justice and were hidden. I was shocked by the accusation that has already been made before against the Vatican. I was personally already aware just how helpful elements of the US Government were in helping certain individuals, such as Josef Mengele, escape justice and how Mengele was allowed to escape and to continue 'running tests' in South America. I did not know that there was any suspicion falling upon the Vatican for helping people to escape.

Now, according to The Telegraph, a 'new book has revealed how the Red Cross and the Vatican helped thousands of Nazis including men like Adolf Eichmann and Josef Mengele escape justice after the war. Well, I don't know whether this is true, or not, but while, according to the report, 'the Vatican has always refused to comment on its wartime activities and has kept its archive closed to the public', this is also very true of the CIA.

That wouldn't give the Vatican clean hands in this matter, of course, but I think that while any Vatican involvement in helping unrepentant war criminals flee to South America would be a very bad thing, a 2010 report is far more damning of the CIA.

The Examiner report says...

The strong Nazi history in the United States has been suppressed until the NYT report that states, "Scholars and previous government reports had acknowledged the C.I.A.’s use of Nazis for postwar intelligence purposes. But this report goes further in documenting the level of American complicity and deception in such operations."

The report names some of the most infamous Nazi scientists and doctor responsible for the Jewish holocaust and then brought to the US: Dr. Josef Mengele, the so-called Angel of Death at Auschwitz, Arthur L. Rudolph, and Otto Von Bolschwing, "an associate of Adolph Eichmann who had helped develop the initial plans “to purge Germany of the Jews” and who later worked for the C.I.A."

Got that? Worked for the CIA?! Joseph Mengele didn't get a job at the Vatican, after the war, did he?! No. But he did work for the CIA. Anyway, I am convinced that this new book is black propaganda against Holy Mother Church.

According to my new friend, Dan (I'll stick his blog link up after he's emailed it me), his opinion is that the Vatican was duped into giving identity papers to Nazis wanting to flee justice. I don't know enough about it myself, but that is what my non-Catholic, presumably atheist new friend told me. It may be that there were some Nazis in the Vatican who helped war criminals flee. There are probably some Nazi sympathisers in the Vatican today. I imagine that there are high ranking Cardinals who want to crush the celebration of the Latin Mass, for instance. However, the idea that Pope Pius XII and his key advisers were orchestrating the escape route for Nazi murderers, with a large map and a giant swastika on the wall at Castel Gandolfo is, in my opinion, a rather fantastical notion. The CIA on the other hand? Well, that is another story.

I might add, Nazism, and indeed eugenics, didn't die with Hitler. You want to see a concentration camp? An extermination camp? You don't have to go to Auschwitz. Just go and spend some time outside your local abortion clinic. I'm not sure abortionists are that good at releasing their records and archives either.

Do also read this article on The Catholic Herald's website concerning the pressure allied diplomats exerted upon Pope Pius XII to maintain silence concerning the deportation of Hungarian Jews.

The Statistics Don't Lie, but the Liberals Do

He may not appear to have the most magnetic personality in the World, but Cardinal Raymund Burke is a tower of strength for the Catholic Church in the US, a Cardinal who preaches and indeed teaches the Gospel 'in season and out of season'. I discovered this Vortex episode, today, covering Cardinal Burke's presence at a pro-life vigil outside the largest Planned Parenthood abortuary in the United States. Thank God for this brave and courageous Cardinal willing to stand up and defend human life. It is better than that, though, because Cardinal Burke is coming to London to speak at Westminster Methodist Central Hall. He comes here, to the UK, with a statistic which is really just as horrifying as our abortion statistics.

"Since the Council, the Body of Christ in England and Wales has been haemorrhaging away at the rate of approximately 30,000 souls a year." 

Wow! A Cardinal who believes that we have immortal souls!  Even better than that, a Cardinal who cares for souls! Liberals tend not see the rate of lapsation within the Church in quite the same light, of course, seeing things more in terms of there being less Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, musicians and liturgical entertainers and less hand-clappers than there were last year. It is not a total co-incidence, therefore, that the title of His Excellency Raymond Cardinal Burke's talk will be 'The Restoration of Church Discipline and the New Evangelisation'.

To obtain your golden ticket, send a S.A.E enclosing your cheque to Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, 4 Fife Way, Great Bookham, Surrey, KT23 3PH. Tickets are £20 adults, £10 young people in full-time education and £5 for priests and religious. Are our priests really that hard up!? That, in itself, is a scandal, surely. Send another £20 to your priest on top!

Cardinal Burke is, I am sure, keenly aware, that only the Lord Jesus Christ, His Blessed Mother and His Church can save this country from self-destruction and the destruction of nascent life and that only a Church that cherishes the sacred can evangelise with effectiveness, courage and love.

Of course, we indeed have our own abortion mills in the United Kingdom. We have one, indeed, in Brighton, where the BPAS (British Pregnancy 'Advice' Service) churn out Heaven alone knows how many little corpses week in, week out. And, unfortunately, we also have to hand the latest statistics of abortions in the UK.

The kind folk at Abort 67 furnished me with the latest stats recently. The statistics have generated comment from Ed West and Christina Odone and both have commented well on The Guardian's sudden explosion of anaphylactic rage that the Government should have the outrageous temerity to invite a pro-life charity, Life, to consult it on the issue of abortion, sex education and teenage pregnancy. I think The Guardian would much prefer the Government to consult only with abortionists because that is more fair and, what's the word? Oh, that's right, more liberal, because if there is one thing we know about liberals, it is that they are all ears for listening to opposing views. Not that I'm much better. I banned liberals from my blog ages ago. Oh, you wouldn't believe the kind of abuse they gave me. It would shock you, it really would, but not as much as this should.

  • In total, there were 196,109 abortions notified as taking place in England and Wales in 2010.
  • 34% of women had one or more previous abortions with Black or Black British having the highest repeat abortions at 48%
  • The abortion rate was highest at 33 per 1,000 for women aged 19 and 20.
  • 96% of abortions were funded by the NHS.
  • 91% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation.
  • 98% were under Category C (which is basically for social reasons)
  • 2,290 abortions (1%) were carried out under ground E (risk that the child would be born handicapped)

I shall not add any slant on these statistics. The Catholic Church in England and Wales is haemorrhaeging 30,000 souls a year since the Second Vatican Council, which occurred at a time when the Abortion Act (1967) was passing or passed. The United Kingdom is haemorrhaeging 196,109 unborn children a year. The statistics don't lie, but the liberals do.

Wednesday 25 May 2011

God Save the President

Hilarious, but just the kind of awful faux pas I'd probably commit if I were in his shoes. Thank God I never will be! Poor man must have felt the Earth opening up...

The media in the UK haven't paid too much attention to this incident. I'm just looking at the Google news coverage of this embarrassing gaff and very, very few of the mainstream press are interested. Now cast you mind back a few years to George W Bush.

I had no time for the man, myself, but it is pretty plain that Obama gets pretty different treatment from the media in the UK, Europe and the US. Just because he's a liberal media crowd's wet dream doesn't mean you can't lament in print the narcissism and embarrassing gaffs of the President of the United States, surely?

Just listen to this from Telegraph blogger, Benedict Brogan...

'A misfired toast to the Queen has not got in the way of fairly rapturous reactions to the power of the Obama effect. '

Do you see what he did there? He glossed over Obama's gaff and reported the whole Obama visit in terms of 'rapturous reception' and the 'Obama effect'. This is exactly what Belloc was saying in his essay on the free press and the power of the official press to manipulate opinion to persuade people that a man who is probably not that charismatic is incredibly charismatic and wonderful! Have you ever listened to one of his speeches? He's actually really dull!

Has Obama got some inside information on all the World's journalists or something so that they can't be criticial of him, or is the World's media just so in lurrrve with this guy that he can launch wars despite a Nobel Peace Prize and make a laughing stock of himself in front of the Queen and journalists still say...

'A misfired toast to the Queen has not got in the way of fairly rapturous reactions to the power of the Obama effect. '

God help the Fourth Estate. I know we all make mistakes, but come on, Bush would have been toast today. It's absurd.

Tuesday 24 May 2011

Breaking News: New Preece Baby

James Preece's wife, Ella, has today given birth to a little baby boy! I don't know how much it weighs. Why do people ask and tell how much a baby weighs anyway? It's not like buying vegetables is it?!

The picture is from the internet. It is not their baby.

Marvellous news!

Happy Secular Feast Day

I've never been madly into Bob Dylan but I understand that some of his songs are treated like secular hymns, mostly by people above the age of 50. He's the singer who sang to a generation but I never felt he spoke to me, unlike someone like Morrissey who actually emotes and communicates in a way that lets you know he's feeling like you feel or have felt.

Today, at the age of 70 Dylan is being revered, even in The Telegraph, as a kind of secular Saint. This is made all the more bizarre by his conversion to Protestant Christianity in his senior years.

Is it possible that Robert Zimmerman (that's his real name by the way) actually believes in the "rapture"? How is he managing to keep the cred with Guardian readers?!

I actually quite like some of his later stuff more. There's a good one called 'Trying to Get to Heaven Before They Close the Door' that is nice. He's a gifted troubadour and poet, of that there is no doubt but Dylan really is held up as an icon of dreamy-eyed, left-wing idealism in the same way that Che Guevara was and still is by aging sociology teachers. Those who loved him are now those working in the upper echelons of society, be it in Government, finance, education, wherever. Dylan is the voice, now of a generation entering their twilight.

In fact, while invigilating yesterday in one classroom at the College where I work, I was surprised to see that the posters in the sociology classroom look like they haven't been changed since the 1970s. There is the psychedelic Che Guevara poster and there's even an original 70s CAFOD poster with Dom Helder Camara on it with his, "When I give to the poor they call me a Saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist" quote. Great quote it is, mind. Has sociology not moved on from CAFOD, Oxfam and Greenpeace? I suppose the 60s and 70s, as well as being the period that took an axe to the Church, was also a period of unprecedented enthusiasm and activism. It must have felt like a new dawn and Dylan was at the cutting edge of it speaking out for a generation who wanted social change, justice for the poor and marginalised communities, but also the pill, abortions on demand and as much sexual licence as they could lay their hands on.

Of course, we don't really have a Bob Dylan figure today. Now we have Lady Gaga, but that isn't really the point. Politics (and religion) have been taken out of modern music and musical commentary. We now live in an age where musicians who are counter-cultural are virtually non-existent. Musicians now are only interested in sex, drugs, celebrity, fame and, most notably, money. The generation of 'free love' was given all the concessions needed to have nothing to protest about. A black man is President of the United States and he will happily provide you with as many abortions as you please. Why's he being lauded in Ireland, again?!

The phenomenom of Bob Dylan, folk, rock and pop did not leave the Catholic Church unharmed either, though it would be unfair to point at him for blame. I don't think he was working with Bugnini for the liturgical reform! 'Folk' masses exploded in the wake of the Second Vatican Council, destroying hundreds of years of liturgical beauty and prayerful worship. Dylan is, I expect, still held in great esteem by the editorial team of The Tablet. Dylan is an aged man whose music will live on and whose legacy to the world of music will be considerable. The World, however, has moved on and for those below the age of 40 or 50, Bob Dylan is about as relevant to their lives as The Tablet is to Catholics below that age. Happy birthday, Robert Zimmerman. Talbula delenda est.

Update: I apologise to anyone over the age of 40/50 who is offended by this post. All I am really saying is that we are still living and dealing with the huge social consequences of the 1960s, few of them good. It is important that as Catholics we live in the present, not in the 1960s and 1970s. It is all the more important if you are a Bishop because only the message of Salvation, of Jesus Christ, is timeless. Only Jesus Christ speaks to every generation.

Monday 23 May 2011

The Day I Met a Priest of the Old Catholic Church

How strange! I was on my bike on my way back from seeing a friend today when I rode past a man dressed in black and white religious garments. He looked like a Dominican, so I rode back up hill and stopped him and asked if he was of the said religious Order. He replied that he wasn't and that he was a priest of the Oratory of St Jean Vianney. The webpage suggests that the Sacred Ministers can be actually laymen. I'm confused.

Anyway, I'd never heard of this Order so I asked if it was Catholic. He said he was an 'Old Catholic'. He looked relatively young to me, but suffice to say images of Mel Gibson and his father crossed my mind, even though I don't know what Mel Gibson's father actually looks like.

A little taken aback, I responded, "Oh, the schismatic sect?!" He chuckled and replied that it depends on how you look at things. Being the kind of chap who tries to look at things the way the Holy Father looks at things, I entered into a dialogue with him. He was a nice chap. It turns out that he had been just celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass at the Young People's Hall of the Salvation Army. I must say that while biking home, I thought that to be an awfully sad situation, given that Catholic Priests can now celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass in Catholic Churches without the need of permission from even those Bishops who oppose its celebration.

We had a good chat. He gave an interesting account of what the Old Catholic Church believes concerning Papal Infallibility, which appears to be the main crux of their dispute with the Holy See. Rather an important dispute, that, I guess! He also gave an account of one disputed Papal decree on dogma concerning the definition of the Assumption of Our Lady. He said they didn't have a problem with the belief, but that the Pope should have convened a Council of Bishops with the full support of the Magisterium in order to declare it. There was no need, he asserted, for the dogma to be made from the Throne of St Peter. Apparently, the Holy Father should have done it with all the Bishops of the World. I wondered quite openly to him whether Pope Pius XII in 1950 or whatever year it was knew this had to be declared on the Chair because Bishops were about to go awry, stop believing in the Real Presence, Hell, Purgatory or, indeed, the necessity of telling young people about Salvation and Confession.

Personally, I don't have a problem with the Successor of St Peter, who said, infallibly, to Our Lord, "Thou art the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the Living God, the Saviour of the World" without so much as a hint of help from the rest of the first Bishops of the Church, defining dogma on our behalf, though I am sure this is an oversimplification of the actions of Pope Pius XII. I said, jokingly, "What is the point of being Pope if you can't speak infallibly every now and then?" It's still pretty rare, I hear. Like it happens every 500 - 1000 years or something!

Apparently, similarly to the SSPX, a dispute arose with the Supreme Pontiff at the time, but this was not about liturgy but privileges that the previous Popes had granted to the Order in terms of securing their own Bishop were removed for some reason and then it all kicked off. You can read more about the schismatic church here.

I have to say, having read that, I still don't understand the full arguments with the Old Catholic Church, but I found it sad that a priest celebrating the Latin Mass is walking around Brighton looking like a Priest of an Order and he is not in communion with the Holy See. He told me that the orders are valid and so therefore are the Sacraments of the Order, Baptism, Confession, Eucharist, the lot.  I told him how wonderful it would be if groups like the SSPX and the Old Catholic Church came back, in terms of devout Catholic families who have loads of children and dedicated Priests and possibly one day Bishops who love Sacred Tradition as well as Lumen Gentium.

It turns out that the said priest used to be in the SSPX. I must say, after I heard that I started to wonder whether he just enjoyed priestly orders in ecclesial communions not in full communion with Peter for the fun of it! Rebel! Anyway, I'm still none the wiser as to whether his orders are valid or whether the Old Catholic Church and their successors incurred latae sententiae excommunication, but told him how awful it would be to meet St Peter at the Gates of Heaven only to have a big sign on one's head saying excommunicated. Salvation, for all of us who believe, can be something of a tightrope walk and here is a video of the priest in question doing it for real.

Anyway, so like I say, I'm still a little confused as to the condition of these orders with regard to relationship with the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, the visible head of which is Pope Benedict XVI. However, though we did not discuss various issues, it does appear to me that both the doctrine of Papal Infallibility and most of all the Authority of the Church built upon Peter are essential to a right understanding of the Church itself.

While the SSPX has remained true to its tradition and pre-Vatican II liturgy, it has held onto doctrine as well. Unfortunately, reading about the Old Catholic Church, the church's rejection of both Papal Infallibility and the Authority of Her dogma has led to some interesting views on 'reconciliation' of divorce, homosexual relationships and other, dare I say it, liberalising trends.

I told him that I sometimes think that the SSPX and other groups believe that their Churches and liturgies are ideal, but only in Heaven is the Church perfect and that while the liturgy of 90% or more of Catholic Churches in the UK is probably absolutely appalling, the Church on Earth will never be perfect until Christ is 'all in all' and that it was better to be inside that rather than outside of that. Anyway, I could quite easily have spent another hour or two chatting with him. He looked so splendid and I liked his Rosary very much.

You can read the priest's blog here. His name is Fr Jerome. He's already got quite a few 'New' Catholic bloggers in his sidebar and he puts his latest Latin Mass on his blog every day, apparently. I wonder if he will add me to his blog listings!

To be honest, while I'm a bit of a simpleton regarding these ecumenical matters, one thing I will say is this. A few weeks ago, I met a guy on the soup run whose wife was devastated when the Latin Mass went in the 1960s. She searched for a Latin Mass because she missed it so much. She found one, whether it was the SSPX or an Old Catholic Church or not, I know not, but it was a 'house church'. It didn't take long for the once devout Catholic lady to shack up with another guy and divorce her husband. 'Nuff said!

I can't, for the life of me, understand why a priest celebrating the Latin Mass wouldn't rather celebrate it in full communion with the One True Church, in a Catholic Church, in a building fit for the worship of God, but there we go. Different strokes for different folks! The chap likes dressing up as an old lady and singing in fundraising concerts. Obviously, no English Bishop would tolerate that kind of behaviour outside of the Divine Liturgy. I sincerely hope to God that he is not just 'dressing up' as a Priest. He certainly says the Orders are valid but I'd like to know what the Holy See says if someone could help me out?  Anyway, I told him that I go to the Latin Mass on Friday's at St Mary Magdalen Church and am going to Our Lady of Consolation to serve on Saturday. Apparently he read Fr Ray's blog and Fr Z's blogs and enjoys them. To me he appeared very sincere, humble and charitable, yes even towards our beloved Sovereign Pontiff. Just a little 'hurdle' or two. Wouldn't it be wonderful if all the separated traddies (and liberals indeed!) came home good and proper, once and for all and became Catholic?! Oh how happy Our Blessed Lord would be!

Mother Riccarda Bus!

The author of the St Mary Magdalen Choir Blog has alerted us to the fact that Brighton and Hove Buses have dedicated a bus to Mother Riccarda, the heroic nun who hid both Jews and runaway Nazis in Rome, who was baptised in St Mary Magdalen Church, Brighton and whose cause at the Congregation for the Causes of Saints at the stage of 'Servant of God'.

A cause for canonisation is one thing...but your name on a Brighton bus?! It doesn't get much better than that!

According to the Brighton and Hove Bus webpage...

'Connections with Brighton and Hove: A Brighton nun who saved the lives of more than 60 people from Nazi death camps during the Second World War may be made a saint. Mother Riccarda Beauchamp Hamborough hid Jews, Communists and Poles in her Rome convent. By her courageous action, she prevented them from being taken to the gas chambers at Auschwitz in 1943. She was helped by her superior, Blessed Mary Elizabeth Hasselblad. Pope Benedict XVI made her a "servant of God" in a ceremony in 2010. She is now two steps away from sainthood. The Church will now be looking for a divine sign to help her towards the next stage. This will have to be evidence of a miracle connected with her since her death. Mother Riccarda was born in London in 1887 and was baptised at St Mary Magdalene Church in Upper North Street, Brighton. Little is known about her early years in Brighton before she moved to Rome aged 24 to become a nun. She died aged 79 in 1966 and her body was laid to rest in the Rome convent. Meanwhile there are plans for a shrine in her honour in Brighton.'

Wanted: Miracles!

Mother Riccarda's bus goes to Brighton Marina. I might contact the Bus company and produce a load of Mother Riccarda leaflets so people can learn about her heroic and saintly life and spread knowledge of the Faith and of how jolly kind and goodly this lady, among others, was, in responding to Pope Pius XII's request to please hid Jews in Rome from the evil Nazi regime. Obviously, the bus company will be wanting a small reliquary on the Mother Riccarda bus somewhere!

Interesting Blog Alert...

Looking for a new background picture for my own blog, I've stumbled across this very good site, entitled 'The New Theological Movement', which is an interesting name, in the light of the blog of a similar name, The New Liturgical Movement.

The contributers to the New Theological Movement, as far as I can tell, are all priests or deacons. Here is a portion of a post from November last year on the Resurrection of the Body, which the writer calls, 'the most commonly denied dogma'...

“On no point does the Christian faith encounter more opposition than on the resurrection of the body...”
So writes St. Augustine (cf. En. In Ps. 88,5), and the point is re-affirmed in the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC 996) – “It is very commonly accepted that the life of the human person continues in a spiritual fashion after death. But how can we believe that this body, so clearly mortal, could rise to everlasting life?”

First, we must consider whether the body which is raised is identical with the mortal body we now possess. We will not delve into the very important and interesting theological speculation regarding the qualities of the risen body, but will simply consider the identity of the resurrected body – that it is the very same body as was separated from the soul in death.

Second, we will consider the most popular objection against the resurrection of the body – whether a cannibal will be resurrect in his own body. The question of cannibalism gathers several issues together: First, how can both the cannibal and his victim rise, since the cannibal has consumed the other’s flesh? Second, what if a bear eats a man and then a man eats that bear? Third, what about organ donors? Fourth, what about children who die when only just barely conceived, how will they have enough matter for a resurrected body? Many many other questions besides are answered in the course of discussing the more basic question of cannibalism and the resurrection – we will even see what happens to all our excess fingernail and hair clippings!

Our material bodies will be reunited to our immaterial souls: “We believe in the true resurrection of this flesh that we now possess” (Council of Lyons II: DS 854). Based on many Scriptural texts, the Church affirms that this very body, which dies, will one day be raised up. In the resurrection, we will not be given a different body; the same body will be returned, but it will be renewed and transformed.

The body will change, but it will still remain itself. In every true change, something remains and something changes – thus, when a piece of metal is melted, many of its properties are changed, but there is an underlying identity which remains; hence we can say that the metal is heated (it does not cease to be what it is when it is heated). Consider a different example – when a piece of wood is burnt to ashes, many of its properties are changes, and even its underlying identity is changed; it is no longer a piece of wood, but is now only ash. In this second case, what remains is only the matter; not the identity of the object itself. Finally, another example – when God creates a soul there is no true change; for there was nothing before, nothing old remains, but a whole new thing is created (likewise, if an animal soul goes out of existence, there is no change; it simply ceases to be).

In the general resurrection, our bodies will be changed and transformed; but they will still be ours and they will still be bodies – which means that they will still be physical and material, though also glorified and “spiritual”. The human body will never be a pure spirit! The human body will, necessarily, remain a body; which means it will not be a spirit or a soul, but will be material/physical.

Moreover, it will not be that our souls will be united to bodies newly created; the resurrection is just that, REsurrection! The souls is REunited to the body – which means it is not a new/different body, but the very same body to which it had once been united and which was once alive. It will be this very flesh which is raised up – “In my flesh I will see God; I myself will see him with my own eyes; I, and not another.”

For full article, click here. For the home page, click here. O internet! I love you more than I did yesterday, but not as much as I will tomorrow!

Sunday 22 May 2011

Pilgrimage Excitement...

Our Lady of Walsingham
Well, I'm putting my name down for two pilgrimages this year. What with the release of the new Martin Sheen movie, The Way, out in cinemas soon, I hear, following a bereaved father making a pilgrimage along the Santiago de Compostela, pilgrimages could even attract atheists this year. Hopefully, lots of Catholics too.

I do so love a good pilgrimage. The first one I'm hoping to attend is this coming Saturday 28th May at Our Lady of Consolation, West Grinstead. Not much walking involved there but I've been before. I look forward to receiving a much needed plenary indulgence! If you can, do come. I think it is being organised by the LMS, so there could or really should be an abundance of pilgrim Catholics with picnic hampers for a High Mass at 12 noon though it seems we should get there for 11.30am. The picnic is after the Mass obviously. Check out Fr Ray's blog for more information.

Ely to Walsingham

The other pilgrimage that I hope to attend is the LMS pilgrimage from Ely to Walsingham taking place from 26th - 28th August 2011 (Bank Holiday Weekend) for the conversion of England. According to the LMS site...

'Pilgrims will meet in the evening of Thursday 25th August at St Ethelreda's Catholic Church, 19 Egremont Street, Ely. The pilgrimage will begin with the Traditional Mass in St Ethelreda's Catholic Church on Friday morning.

There will be a sung Traditional Latin Mass each day and Confession will be available throughout the pilgrimage. Mass on the second day will be in the Catholic chapel at Oxburgh Hall. The pilgrimage will conclude with Mass at Walsingham on Sunday afternoon. This pilgrimage is open to all ages and to families.

We want to encourage as many families to attend this pilgrimage as possible. For that reason we have secured indoor accommodation for each night. The indoor accommodation is for use by women and children. Women and children are also free to camp if they wish. Camping is compulsory for men, although this will be indoors on the Friday night.'

Someone told me that the word on the street is that Michael Voris of Vortex fame will be going as well, but, obviously I'd never be so shallow as to make a pilgrimage or promote it because someone I admired was going. You can book your place on the pilgrimage online (Adult non-LMS members: £60, Adult LMS members: £50 Under 18s and students: £30). How exciting!

The other exciting pilgrimage, which unfortunately, I won't be making due to work (yes, work! Exam invigilating is not so exciting but it's a job!) is the pilgrimage to Chartres starting from Notre Dame, Paris on Saturday 11th June. Last minute applications for the pilgrimage can be made here. More juventutems than you can shake a staff at! Shame I've gone and disgraced myself and found employment for June!

"What do we want?! Plenary indulgences! When do we want them?! Now! Who do we want them for? Ourselves and the Holy Souls in Purgatory! Allelulia! What do we want?! The conversion of England! When do we want it? Yesterday! But today would much suffice!" 

Saturday 21 May 2011

Pope Benedict XVI Receives Rapturous Reception from Astronauts

Well, they certainly seemed to get along well at any rate. It must be weird up there.

Sorry, though. No rapture today, folks, so we can all sleep easy...unless, that is, the Lord was just a-testin' and He's a-gonna be a-comin' back tonight to a-whisk believers up into the Heavens 'n leave the unbelievers down here on Earth until He comes again for the rather more sobering, er, Last Judgment of the Living and the Dead.

We're real Bible-believing Christians, Catholics. We believe Our Lord when He says nobody, not even the Angels, knows when the End of Time shall be. We also believe Our Lord when He says, "This is My Body...This is My Blood."

I don't know what this born again Christian obsession is with the rapture, because every time we go to Mass and receive the Precious Body and Blood of Our Lord, He unites His very Self, Body, Soul, Humanity and Divinity to us, making us one, totally absorbed with His very being. Stop me if I'm uttering a heresy, but I guess if you don't believe in the Real Presence, you have to have something really, absolutely, jaw-droppingly mind blowing to look forward to, like a mass air balloon expedition in the imminent future. Personally, when I think of the Last Judgment, I crap myself, but there we go.

The Lord Jesus is always present in His Church, in the Tabernacle in the Blessed Sacrament. While Heaven is His Throne and Earth is His footstool (or something like that), He also dwells in the Tabernacle in every Church throughout the World even until the End of Time. If we can't see or can't believe that then that is our blindness. The Lord has made Him home on Earth in His Tabernacle in His Church. In Holy Communion, He does 'take us up' with Him to the Eternal Father. He Who for us became flesh and blood gives us His flesh and blood so that flesh and blood may one day go where He now is in Glory. Sorry, Baptists, but we are the real 'rapture people' every time Mass is offered!

I feel like I'm digressing a little, but, for some reason, a practical joker (quite practically, a joker) arranged clothes outside St Mary Magdalen's Church today in a quite humourous way to suggest that bodies had filled those clothes but that they had been taken up to Heaven in the Rapture. By the clothes, arranged as if the bodies of believers had been taken up following a good old lay down on the steps, was a sign saying 'Rapture 2011'. Very funny.

Of course, it would have been funny had St Mary Magdalen Church been a born-again fruitcake church for born again fruitcakes, but this gets back to my point yesterday about the Reformation. Nowadays, people hear something nutty about some nutty US sect and manage to associate that with the Catholic Church, which has always disassociated itself from millennial prophecies and crackpot end times theories. It's not fair! Atheists! If you're going to take the p*ss out of born again Christians, do it at the appropriate venues!

Like I say, quite a humourous arty Brighton stunt really, but I can't understand why, with a perfectly acceptable Baptist Church just down the road, they couldn't have pulled it off outside an 'ecclesial community' building which actually believed in the 'rapture'. Ignorance of the True Faith is rife! Yes, even in Brighton!

Anyway, while we haven't been taken up (or indeed left behind, because Catholics aren't real Christians, apparently), our beloved Holy Father has been ascending the very Heavens themselves, by telephone, to the astronauts on the International Space Station. God bless Pope Benedict XVI, now gloriously, and very humbly, compassionately and delightfully, reigning!

Friday 20 May 2011

Doomsday Saturday

His own placard condemns him...
Note to self: 'Don't bother washing or cleaning teeth on Saturday as World ends, go to Confession and set aside a little more time for prayer.'

Our Lord warned us about false prophets such as Martin Luther, for instance, who really contributed to this shambles, this awful advertisement for Christianity (and no, I'm not talking about this blog).

If the group claiming that the World will end on May 21st are right it will go down as the biggest fluke in World history.

I assume, of course, that he's praying the Rosary daily, as recommended by Saints, Popes and Doctors of the Church for graces that will aid our salvation. I expect he must be a real man of prayer. I mean, what with being privy to the Mind of the Almighty and Ever Living God, he's going to need all the humility he can get on the Day of Wrath.

Aren't they going to be awfully disappointed if the Lord holds back? Are they still asking for donations even though the World's going to end on Saturday? I might even be in a State of Grace myself so Saturday evening would be good for me. Is Saturday good for You as well, Lord? Great! It's a date! I'll pencil it in now. So much for the 'thief in the night' bit of the Gospel!

In the Church there is an understanding that one day the Lord will return as Judge of the living and the dead in power and glory. There is a difference in language and understanding in the Church. I expect that if the Antichrist was on TV tomorrow declaring himself to be the saviour the World was waiting for, the Holy Father probably wouldn't call him the Antichrist. He'd say something like, "He is an enigmatic, intriguing man whose views propose a remedy for mankind's problems, but who fails to address the spiritual hunger and need of man, whose greatest thirst is for a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ, who alone can bring mankind happiness, fullness of truth and salvation." We don't really do sensational end-times talk.


I am currently awaiting feedback from the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma over whether we can change the name of the Guild blog, as many in the group are unsure of it. I don't mind the title too much as it is but I think it is a bit too formal for what really amounts to an online magazine into which various bloggers can contribute.

Thinking about what we could call it, well, last week, I read a fascinating account in a magazine about the ladybird. Now, Fr Tim Finnigan has posted something about it on his blog because the Transalpine Redemptorists have a discovered new friend in the ladybird.

The ladybird is remarkable because of its name, which is attributed to Our Blessed Lady.

In 1991, Dr A. W. Exell published his book History of the Ladybird, in which he cites 329 common names for the ladybird over 80 of which refer to the Virgin Mary and 50 of which are dedicated to God. The red colour of the wings is said to represent the clock of the Virgin and the seven black spots stand for her seven joys and seven sorrows.

The legend attributed to the ladybird is that in Europe, during the Middle Ages, swarms of insects were destroying the crops. The farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary for help. Soon thereafter the Ladybugs came, devouring the plant-destroying pests and saving the crops! The farmers called these beautiful insects "The Beetles of Our Lady", and - over time - they eventually became popularly known as "Lady Beetles" and then Ladybirds or 'Ladybugs' in the US.

We are in a time in the Church when there are many enemies both inside and outside of the Church who wish to undermine the teaching of the Church and the Holy Father. Also, we have a secular worldview of moral relativism to combat with the aphids of abortion and the corruption of the young in our schools. Bloggers are like ladybirds on the front line, eating away at little aphids who seek to 'destroy the crops' of the Church.

I think its a good title and theme for the guild's blog and I hope I get 'clearance' to change the name. How exciting!

Objective Moral Disorder?

Herbie the Love Bug
I've been rather disappointed by Austen (nice make of car!) Ivereigh recently. I'm new to this Twitter thing, but James Preece put something on his blog from Austen Ivereigh's Twitter status accusing James of saying something he really did not say about homosexuals. I guess Austen is quite good at spinning articles and stories round on their head. You could call it a journalistic three point turn, which is a useful manoeuvre in misrepresenting others. Essential on the information highway, eh Austen?

All James did, as far as I can read, was bring Catholic Voices up to speed on what the Catholic Church teaches on homosexuality being an 'objective moral disorder' rather than being just, well, y'know, fine and dandy and normal and stuff. I know that a particular Catholic Voice was put on the spot by an interviewer who clearly wanted to push him into a corner with a sign saying, "The Catholic Church hates gays", but it is still right for Catholics to be concerned that a Catholic Voice is, wittingly or unwittingly, normalising homosexuality.

Perhaps Austen, who is clearly very sensitive about being criticised when he presents the Catholic Faith without reference to the manual - the Catechism of the Catholic Church - and tries to sell it to others at a knock down price, could take a look at The Telegraph today, wherein we find a story about a man who has had sex with a thousand cars. Austen? Jack? Is this normal? The car doesn't explicity give consent but then...Gosh, its so confusing isn't it!?

Obviously, I don't want to paint you into a corner boys, because it is clear that men who like having sex with cars have been persecuted unjustly throughout history. It is only now that the love of a man for his car is more widely accepted by society. Pretty soon, people who have intimate relationships with their cars will be wanting to marry them. Air pressure is building on the Church to accept this love and change Her doctrines. Is it really fair to call autophilia an objective moral disorder? Austen? Catholic Voices: Time for a change of tyres. Jack? A thousand cars. That must have been exhausting.

Why Do Muslims Believe Allah is Merciful?

Peaceful Muslim: Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam
Fr Ray Blake recounts tea with some Muslim friends who are kind to the poor because of their religion. It's an interesting post. I think that, in a way, Islam suffers at the hands of a minority. While the religion itself is tolerated perhaps more confidently in society than is the expression of Christianity, the fact that the United States spent 10 years (if the story is true) hunting down just one particular Islamic extremist, with plenty more happy to fill his shoes does not help the image of Islam, much as a minority of Catholic priests who abused children do not help the image of Catholicism.

There are, actually, plenty of peace-loving Muslims - the vast majority, I would say are. One thing I was wondering, however, is why it is that Muslims believe that Allah is merciful?

For us, we hear some stories of God's mercy in the Old Testament. In His mercy, God spared Abraham's son and instead the Angel of the Lord appears and suggests a ram instead. God spares, in His mercy, Noah, so that the human race may live. God, in His mercy, sends prophets to the People of God warning them of the need for repentance and to seek His face. In His mercy, God spares Lot and some companions from the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. These are, really, quite feint glimpses of God's mercy.

We have to say, however, that if we were just left with the Old Testament, we would perhaps not believe that mercy is God's most glorious attribute. It is only because of the Lord Jesus, Who shows mercy to the adultress, Who says that "It is mercy I require, not sacrifice", Who shows mercy to lepars, Who shows mercy to the penitent thief, mercy to repentant sinners, as well as the sick, the blind, the lame and Who opens up the Heart of His mercy on the Cross, that we believe that God is merciful.

Because of the Lord's Death and Resurrection, the mission of mercy is now the Church's mission to the World, because the Lord did not come to 'condemn the World, but to save it'. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a visible sign and Sacrament of God's inexhaustible mercy and compassion for us. The Holy Eucharist is Jesus Christ, True God and True Man, He is Who is both Truth and Mercy and Love. The Lord Jesus's Ministry on Earth just shouts "Mercy" to the Church and the World. His Death says "Mercy" and so does His Resurrection.

I admit I have not read the whole of the Koran. I read some and read some passages on mercy. I'm just trying to think whether there is an incident in the life of the prophet Mohammed that says 'Mercy'. Even if Islam promotes peace and mercy and says that Allah is merciful, I am trying to work out in what way Allah is shown to be merciful. The practice of Islam in Brighton is peaceful. We don't have stonings of adulteresses and homosexuals in Churchill Square - but in Iran and Saudi Arabia and other regions of the World, they do. Is Islam in those countries extreme, or is the Islam of Brighton just mild and wishy washy? I'm just wondering why Muslims believe Allah is merciful...

Thursday 19 May 2011

Sustainable Development...

Nasty piece of work: Thomas Malthus
Why don't they just call it eugenics?

I've done my exam invigilating for the day. I couldn't help noticing that the 'World Development Studies' exam is, in the year 2011, citing Thomas Malthus as a respectable academic on population studies, even though he was totally discredited after his population theories concerning population and food never came true.

Anyone would think we're just priming A-Level students to go on to become 'Sustainable Development' academics or workers in the field, who think Malthus was right, contraception and abortion is great because there are 'too many people' in the World and putting them into the Marxist factory that constitutes the modern day University.

Secondly, the history exam. No mention of St Thomas More whatsoever on the Henry VIII section. These exams all take place at the same time on the same day, so I'm not giving away any secrets.

State schools are just propaganda machines...and they say Catholic Faith schools are about indoctrination!

Wednesday 18 May 2011

Fighting the Good Fight

Michael Voris described the battle over the Contraceptive Bill as the 'thrilla in the Manilla', named after the famous Muhammed Ali boxing match. I think he was fighting George Forman, who went on to advertise his own line in barbecues. Or was it George Fornby?

 Anyway, now Manny Pacquiao, who packs a certain punch, has weighed into the fight opposing the bill.

Good quote from Manny...
“God said go forth and multiply,” he said, after a meeting with the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines. “He did not say go and have just one or two children.”
Fight the good fight, Manny!


St Francis: "You know what I've noticed about you? You guys have a habit of always seeing things in black and white."

St Dominic: "Funny, I always think you guys have a peculiar habit of seeing everything in shades of grey."

Monday 16 May 2011

The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma...

Bloggers of the World! Unite and take over! go!

Click here to see it. I've posted something up, so now its your turn Guild bloggers!

To join the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma contact A Reluctant Sinner at

Happy blogging, Guild and happy reading, readers!

By the way, while I am blogging about it, and while it is getting a little late, please can I request that near the bottom of the page, the profile name is changed from The Guild of Blessed Titus Bramble to the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma. Below is a picture of Titus Bramble and I'd appreciate that one of the guild would correct my own mistake.

Footballer: Titus Bramble
He is a footballer who plays for Sunderland, unlike Blessed Titus Brandsma, who was a Priest martyred for the Faith in Nazi Germany.  Anyway, that's the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma. Our own blogs are in order that we may be largely reactionary. The Guild blog is so that we may be more, er proactionary, in communicating the Faith. Also, if someone else fancies putting a site meter on so that we could see our stats, that would be fantastic.

"A rush and a push and the land that we stand on is ours! It has been before, so it shall be again!" ~ Morrissey


Edvard Munch's The Scream. Art says different things to different people, don't you think? To me, however, this piece to the left is hauntingly evocative of Bobby Mickens's reaction to the news of Universae Ecclesiae.

Bobby Mickens, writer, correspondent, canon lawyer, liturgist and part-time, freelance advisor to the Successor of St Peter is absolutely livid about the new document that supports and clarifies, with even bolder language, Summorum Pontificum.

The guy obviously needs some 'time out'. A holiday, perhaps, or some 're-birthing' therapy with Cherie and her delightful husband. Readers. It's important to remember The Tablet team at this difficult time for them. Be generous and have pity. Let's all save up and get them a weekend break at a health spa somewhere on the outskirts of London. Chill out, guys! It's just a little reform! Anyone would have thought the Holy Father had just called for the culling of all ginger cats or something!

"Rage, rage against the dying of the light." ~ Dylan Thomas

Science and Religion

"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.” ~ Professor Stephen Hawkings

"Does God exist? Sorry, computer says no..."

Is it me or is the average modern quote really quite dull and ignorant? Professor Stephen Hawkings has been giving his considered opinion to the media concerning God and Religion.

It is worth recalling that, at the end of the day, Hawkings offers us only his private opinion, an opinion which it goes without saying, is fallible, unlike that of the Church, but that, in the media's eyes at least, we are meant to believe that his private opinion carries weight because...wait for it...he's a genius scientist!

Would someone tell me...why is the opinion of a genius scientist more credible than that of a genius poet or a genius mathematician, or, even better, a genius theologian like our man on the left?

Hawkings could, after all, penetrate the vast, dark recesses of the whole Universe, search every corner of it, write reams of equations about it and still never discover God. So, here's a formula for you, Professor:

Faith = human being + divinely inspired encounter with Maker and Redeemer wrought through prayer 

In fact, I got half-way through reading Professor Stephen Hawking's statements on God and Religion and began to wonder why it is that the media actually believes a physicist to be any more qualified to speak on such matters than a mechanic, an English teacher, a plumber or a doctor, like St Augustine of Hippo, for example.

After all, we are talking about two different fields of human inquiry, two different spheres of learning, two different academic studies that do perhaps overlap, but no more so, really, than other fields because, as any believing Geography teacher will tell you, God made the water cycle and it is a marvel in our eyes.

Physics is asking and seeking to answer how the Universe works, studying the laws of nature and the laws of the Universe. Theology is asking and seeking to answer why there is a Universe, a Creation, why we are here, why there are natural laws and moral laws. Yes, indeed, theology actually deals with that awfully inconvenient moral sphere, a field of learning quite alien to modern, popular scientists, many of whom threw any concept of a universal morality out of the window long ago, shortly after embracing atheism as a creed.

According to The Telegraph...

'Asked how we should live he replied: "We should seek the greatest value of our action."' 

That's great, Professor, absolutely great, but what should we do when we're dead? Tell us, O wise physicist!

The article continues...

'He is due to speak at the Google Zeitgeist meeting in London, in which he will address the question: "Why are we here?"'

"Why are we here?"...Indeed! "Why are we here" at a meeting in London listening to a genius astrophysicist who enjoys number-crunching and formulas longer than the great wall of China tackling the theological or philosophical question, "Why are we here?", because, as far as I can see, given his field of expertise, he's just going to spout a load of indecipherable astrophysics equations? Or maybe not, eh? Maybe he'll just his private opinions on our existence which are of no more interest than those of my postman. This is the problem with the cult of celebrity, you see, Professor. You begin to think your opinion is extremely important even though you slip into areas that are not really your specialist subject. Just look at that Stephen Fry.

Anyway, if Heaven is a 'fairytale' that keeps believers from sleeping with the lights on, then what on Earth are the doctrines of Purgatory and the everlasting torments of Hell?! It's not all happy, cheery stuff, Stephen! We fools just enjoy scary bedtime stories and nightmares, I guess!

Personally, I find it a little disappointing when one of the biggest brains on Earth thinks aloud to the media and all he comes up with is: "People who believe in God are childish and thick." Uh-huh. That Shakespeare was a right thicko, wasn't he? God spare us from people who think people are computers!

The simple truth is that the believer doesn't need Miracles to believe God exists. The believer can look at the laws of nature and of the same Universe that obsesses a genius astrophysicist and sees something totally different. The believer sees a glimpse of the 'Love that moves the sun and other stars'. That Dante, eh? Well thick!

Now where was I? Ah, yes, chapter 2 of The City of God...Ah, now this looks interesting...St Augustine on 'whether it is possible for bodies to last forever in burning fire'....Gosh! That should make for comfortable bedtime reading!

Beware of false prophets who come to you in technologically advanced wheelchairs.

Sunday 15 May 2011

EWTN Takes Over National Catholic Register

This has got to be good news. EWTN, the media organisation founded by Mother Angelica, committed to spreading the Gospel has taken over National Catholic Register. At some point, I would expect that a great film about Mother Angelica is going to be EWTN!
'Eighty-three years after its debut in Denver, and 15 years after its purchase by the Legionaries of Christ, the National Catholic Register is being acquired by the world’s largest religious media network, the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN). The acquisition, finalized at the end of January, marks the third time in the newspaper’s history that a new owner has stepped forward to preserve and expand the newspaper’s service to the Church.

Under the terms of the transaction, no cash will be exchanged between the parties. EWTN will take over the ongoing operational expenses of the Register and will assume the paper’s future subscription liabilities.

“I am very pleased and excited that the Register will now be a part of the EWTN family,” said Michael Warsaw, the network’s president and chief executive officer. “All of us at EWTN have great respect for the Register and the role it has played throughout its history. It’s a tremendous legacy that deserves to not only be preserved, but also to grow and to flourish. I believe that EWTN will be able to provide the stability that the Register needs at this time as well as to give it a platform for its growth in the years ahead. We’re proud to be able to step in and carry on both the Register’s name and its tradition of faithful Catholic reporting on the issues of the day.”

The need for the providential intervention by EWTN was precipitated by what Legionary Father Owen Kearns, the Register’s publisher and editor in chief, described as a “perfect storm.” That storm, not dissimilar to what has hit most print publications, was intensified by rising publishing and mailing costs, and the negative impact on Register donations from the downturn in the economy, all of which overwhelmed the Legion’s ability to continue to subsidize the costs of producing the newspaper and managing its website.

As of Feb. 1, EWTN will take full control and ownership of the Register.

Recent management changes at the Register had resulted in cost reductions exceeding $1 million annually. Senior Register staff said that this, coupled with continued donor support, a new marketing and advertising team, and additional changes have resulted in a recovery that promises to be timely and beneficial to the change in ownership.

Due in part to the fallout from revelations regarding the congregation’s founder, the Legion of Christ did not have the resources to bring the previous turnaround efforts to fruition, said the Register spokesman. 
EWTN and the Register began exploring the possibility of an acquisition in November. A meeting, which was held in early December, was described by the spokesman as “open and enthusiastic.” Details of the transfer were worked out after that.

The acquisition of the Register is the latest in EWTN’s efforts to expand their operation in the global Catholic digital and multimedia market. At the start of 2010, the Irondale, Ala.-based organization entered into a partnership with Catholic News Agency (CNA). CNA is a Denver-based independent Catholic news media outlet with bureaus in North and South America and Europe. Under that agreement, EWTN and CNA are sharing news resources and have created a joint news service found at That arrangement was recently expanded to include a new original Spanish-language news service, EWTN Noticias, launched in January 2011.

EWTN Global Catholic Network provides multimedia services to more than 140 countries and territories. The network transmits nine separate television channels in several languages to audiences around the world. It also operates multiple radio services including a network of hundreds of AM and FM stations, a Sirius satellite radio channel, and a global shortwave radio service. EWTN’s main website draws more than 20 million unique visitors annually.'

For full article, click here.

BBC 'Sunday Worship' at Leeds Cathedral

Photo courtesy of Brother Lawrence Lew OP
The beauty of good liturgy is that it can sometimes be heard on the radio. Today, BBC Radio 4 presented 'Sunday Worship' from Leeds Cathedral and I have to say the latin polyphony mass setting sounded rather beautiful. Very encouraging.

According to the BBC...

Mass for Vocations Sunday live from Leeds Cathedral. Celebrant: The Rev Mgr Philip Moger (Dean); Homily: The Rev Paul Grogan (Diocesan Vocations Director); Director of Music: Benjamin Saunders; Organist and Assistant Director of Music: Christopher McElroy. Producer: Mark O'Brien. The outstanding choir of Leeds Cathedral sings This Joyful Eastertide, The King of Love my Shepherd is, Be Thou my Vision, and a Mass setting by Monteverdi.

Listen here.


Saturday 14 May 2011

Brightonian Turns Council Flat into Vatican Museum

Welcome to Brighton!

For ITN Report, click here.

Universae Ecclesiae

Kool and the Gang say it so much better than I ever could...

Pope Benedict XVI & God's Revolution

In the light of the release of Universae Ecclesiae, for which many of us are are supremely grateful to our beloved Holy Father, I thought I'd post up this (rather long) article which I read out at the Newman Society in Oxford. Already, Archbishop Vincent Nichols has, unfortunately, made it obvious that he is not thrilled at the clarification of Summorum Pontificum. It is not totally surprising that he is less than enthusiastic. He does not, along with many other Bishops, 'get' Benedictine thought and theology. Pope Benedict XVI may be in his 80s, but unlike many Bishops, he is no 'dinosaur'. His finger is on the pulse. He can feel the Church's spiritual heartbeat.

'Pope Benedict XVI’s pontificate has been, since its beginning, markedly different to that of Blessed Pope John Paul II, who was recently beatified by Benedict XVI himself. While Benedict XVI has travelled surprisingly extensively, given his age, he has made what will be a lasting, dramatic impact upon the Church’s liturgical practice. The Pope, who displays moments of shyness in front of the glare of the World’s media, who wanted to retire as a Vatican librarian, will be remembered, whatever happens from now, as the Pope who laid the foundations for the reform of the Church’s liturgy. It is true to say that Blessed Pope John Paul II began this and that it continues apace under Benedict, but it is also true to say that Benedict XVI’s thought will have influenced even his predecessor, held in nearly univesal esteem.

These are, I think you will agree, exciting times to be a Catholic. While the current Pope may lack the magnetic personal charisma of his predecesor, few can doubt the growing popularity of Benedict XVI with the young, precisely because of his quiet, humble, fatherly and prayerful demeanour on the World stage. Not only that, but as men and women gathered here tonight will know, Benedict XVI has an appeal to the younger generation because of these attributes but also because of his great and well-documented interest in the Church’s liturgy. While this article will focus on the liturgical renewal taking place under Pope Benedict XVI, I would like to place the exciting developments surrounding his reform of the Church, reform that makes Benedict XVI both popular and unpopular at the same time, in the context of Pope Benedict’s first address to the young at World Youth Day, in Cologne, in 2005.

Learned but humble, with breathtaking intellect, yet childlike joy in the Lord, Benedict XVI was able to reach out to young people in Cologne, as he will do in Madrid this year, encouraging the young to play their part in God’s plan for the renewal of the Church and humanity. I will be drawing heavily upon his first World Youth Day address during this talk.

“The happiness you are seeking, the happiness you have a right to enjoy has a name and a face: Jesus of Nazareth, hidden in the Eucharist.”

If we could sum up, so far, Benedict XVI’s pontificate, we would, if we wished, need draw upon only that quote in order to explain it adequately. For the purposes of this talk, however, let us place this quotation in the context of the theme of those talks in Cologne: God’s Revolution. It is important for us to recall the dramatic upheavals within the Church that Benedict XVI had witnessed as Joseph Ratzinger. Joseph Ratzinger lived through a truly revolutionary period of the Church’s history, in which revolutions, sexual, gender, social, political and economic, took place with an undeniably huge impact upon the Church and when the Church opened Her “windows”, it is widely acknowledged that it was not just the Holy Spirit Who blew in.

Whether it be the embracing of Freud and psychoanalysis, the widescale availability of artificial contraception, the explosion of homosexual culture and identity, socialim, marxism, liberation theology, the abuse crisis that has wreaked havoc on the Church’s reputation worldwide, or even the often absurd scenes that many still witness today in various Dioceses and parishes in the West during the Mass, Benedict XVI has seen it all. Both as Pope and as Cardinal Ratzinger and as a Priest, His Holiness knows, and has clearly known for a long time, that Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ alone is the answer to the traumatic times in which the Church and the World find themselves. For a long time, Benedict XVI has been watching, learning, waiting and now, taking action. Let us draw upon his words at Cologne to the young in 2005.

“If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide.. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and [here is the key word] liberation.”

None of the revolutions which have taken place in Western society have brought happiness to men and women. Many of them have brought misery and despair. Liberation, in Benedict XVI’s view, is an interior transformation which we encounter in our lives through friendship with Our Lord Jesus Christ. In particular, the Pope alludes to the Magi who followed the star to Bethlehem, and who he describes as the first of the Saints. There, in Bethlehem, the Magi find the King who they wish to serve, the King that will bring freedom, justice and who will reign forever. Yet, who, or what do they find? They find a tiny child. A Babe.

“The Magi”, said the Pope, “had to change their ideas about power, about God and about man and in so doing they had to change themselves. Now they are able to see that God’s power is not like that of the powerful of this World. God does not enter into competition with earthly powers of this World. God did not send twelve legions of Angels to assist Jesus in the Garden of Olives.” Jesus, says the Pope, “contrasts the noisy and ostentatious power of this World with the defenseless power of love, which succumbs to death on a Cross and dies ever anew throughout history, yet it is this same love which constitutes the new divine intervention which opposes injustice and ushers in the Kingdom of God. God is different - they must become different - they must learn God’s ways. They had to place themselves at His service, model their kingship on His.” Speaking of their gifts to the Babe in the Virgin’s arms, Benedict says, “Through this act of adoration, they recognise the child as their King.”

Let us note too, at this point, that these are the Magi from the Orient - from the East! It is they, interestingly, from the East, who fall prostrate at the feet of the Babe.

The Holy Father continues, “Through this act of adoration, men from the East instead recognise the child as King and place their own power and potential at His disposal and on this they were on the right path. By serving and following Him, they would, together with him serve the cause of good and justice in the World. In this they were right. Now, though, they have to learn that this cannot be achieved simply through issuing commands from a throne on high. Now they have to learn to give themselves - no lesser gift would be sufficient for this King. Now they have to learn that their lives must be conformed to His divine way of exercising power - to God’s own way of being. They must become men of truth, justice, goodness, forgiveness, mercy. They will no longer ask, ‘How can this serve me? Instead they will ask, ‘How can I serve God’s presence in the World?’” He continues, “They must learn to lose their life and in this way to find it. Having left Jerusalem behind, they must not deviate from the path marked out by the true King, as they follow Jesus.”

Now, let us pause a moment, for this passage will serve us well in understanding Benedict XVI’s pontificate a little more. Going back to the Holy Father’s actions and response to the many upheavals which have taken place within the Church and the World, his own behaviour reflects something of what the Magi learned about Christ’s Kingship in Bethlehem. Our Pope is not President Obama. Benedict does not issue ‘dictates from on high’, even with all of his Petrine authority, but he does, in the liturgy, encourage similar devotion, reverence and adoration of Christ to that exemplified by the Magi. His concern for Divine Worship is something evidenced by his writings, especially in The Spirit of the Liturgy, written as a Cardinal and Sacramentum Caritatis, written as Pope, and also by his apostolic actions. Nowadays, in a break with recent Petrine tradition, whenever the Holy Father gives Holy Communion, he gives the Lord to the Faithful kneeling and on the tongue. The best way of telling, is, in the Holy Father’s view, by showing. People who saw the Holy Father’s visit to the United Kingdom, where he joyously beatified Blessed John Henry Newman, will have seen the very real devotion that the Pope has to the Eucharistic Lord. Yet, this is not a complete picture of his pontificate.

In 2007, the Holy Father issued his motu proprio, Summorum Pontificum, releasing the Traditional Latin Mass from widescale disuse and perceived abrogation and made it available to all Priests who wish to celebrate it, even without permission from recalcitrant Bishops. Not only that, the Holy Father empowered the Faithful to ask, very near demand, for the Latin Mass to be celebrated in their parishes if there was even a relatively small group who desired it. This is, if you like, a velvet revolution, or a perestroika, a thawing of a regime, even, that is taking place within the Church which has been described as a new movement - the new liturgical movement.

If Blessed Pope John Paul II will be remembered as the Pope who destroyed communism and a whole regime through his holiness of life and his dedication to Our Lady, then Pope Benedict XVI may yet be remembered as the Pope who liberated, or laid the foundations for the liberation, of the Church Herself, from what some most assuredly regard as an unholy empire within Her - one built on a cult of man - not on the adoration and worship of Almighty God. Summorum Pontificum could yet be the ‘Prague Spring’ moment of the Catholic Church on a global scale.

This key document, as well as the new translation of the Mass which again, has caused anger in liberal circles, projects a bright future in which real liberation is proclaimed once more by the Church founded by the Man-God, Jesus, who promised not only that the gates of Hell would never prevail against the Church built on Peter, but Who proclaimed ‘the good news to the poor’ and who would ‘set captives free’. Blessed John Henry Newman who looks down on us today testified to this truth. It is also the experience of those who have taken up the Holy Father’s other bold gesture, Anglicanorum Coetibus, to dissaffected Anglicans.
Yes, liberation is the mission of the Church and it is certainly Benedict XVI’s vision The Catholic Church preaches the forgiveness of sins. She is the instrument of God’s salvation, the place in which we find the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the World. The Lord is truly present in His Church, revered in the Tabernacle, made present upon the Altar! Yes, this is a new springtime for the Church and you only have to look at the many priests who are celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass, the many priests and lay people who are part of the new evangelisation begun by his blessed predecessor and the new converts coming over from the quagmire of Anglicanism - the captives, set free.

The World, of course, preaches a kind of freedom that is at odds with that espoused by the Church, the freedom proclaimed by Pope Benedict XVI. The kind of freedom promoted by the secular world is a freedom of the self, that is concerned primarily with the self. True freedom, true liberation, comes only from God. This is the theme of the Cologne talks to young pilgrims. Freedom is in Christ and outside of Christ, is only slavery. Let us return to those talks in Cologne, in which the Holy Father speaks of true freedom.

“The Lord has given us examples - Saints who tell us about Christ. The Magi are just the first in a long procession of men and women who have constantly tried to gaze upon God’s star in their lives, going in search of God who has drawn close to us and shows us the way. It is the great multitude of the Saints, known and unknown, in whose lives the Lord has opened up the Gospel before us and turned the pages, through history and today, in their lives, as if in a great picture book, the riches of the Gospel are revealed like a shining path which God himself has traced through history and still today. Saints and blesseds did not doggedly seek their own happiness, but wanted to give themselves because the light of Christ shone upon them. They show us the way to attain happiness. They show us how to be truly human. These were the true reformers of history, who constantly rescued it from plunging into the valley of darkness, who constantly shed upon it the light that was needed to make sense, even in the midst of suffering. Saints Benedict, Francis of Assisi, Teresa of Avila, Ignatius, Charles Borromeo, the founders of the 19th century religious orders who inspired and guided the social movements or the saints of our day, Maximilian Kolbe, Edith Stein, Mother Teresa, Padre Pio. Contemplating these figures we learn what it means to adore and what it means to live by the measure of the child of Bethlehem, by the measure of Jesus Christ and God himself.”

It is here, now, at this juncture of his Cologne talks to the World’s Youth that we can see a glimpse of the kind of revolution in which the Holy Father is encouraging us to be active participants. The Saints and Blesseds are spiritual warriors. None of them had a spiritual life without trial, disappointment, a sense of abandonment, weakness, temptation and failure. Indeed, only Our Lady and Our Lord were and ever will be, sinless.

Yet, these who the Holy Father mentions, and the many more are, in a way, the people who Che Guevara was perhaps always meant to be had he not abandoned the Faith given to him: spiritual warriors, fighting a spiritual battle against unseen but ever present enemies, against the forces of darkness both within and without themselves, warriors for Jesus Christ, overcoming self with God, evil with good, darkness with the light of Christ, not by their own power, but the power that comes from on High. Yes, these are those who ‘accepted Him’ who were given, by Him, the ‘power to become the Sons and Daughters of God’, not out of vainglory, not for earthly reasons, not for themselves, but because of the love of Him who gave himself up to death, for the love of them and all of us.

The Holy Father then spells out to us exactly what he means by ‘God’s Revolution’ and what it consists of in its nature.

“The Saints are the true reformers. Now I want to express this in an even more radical way. Only from the Saints, only from God, does true revolution come - the definitive way to change the World. In the last century we experienced revolutions with a common programme. Expecting nothing more from God, they assumed total responsibility for care of the World in order to change it. And this, as we saw meant that a human and partial view was always taken as an absolute guiding principle. Absolutising what is not absolute but relative is called totalitarianism. It does not liberate man, but takes away his dignity and enslaves him. It is not ideologies that save the World, but only a return of the living God, our Creator, the guarantor of our freedom, the guarantor of what is really good and true. True revolution consists in simply turning to God who is the measure of what is right and who is at the same time everlasting love. And what could ever save us apart from love?”

Now, let us take up this theme and place it in the context of Benedict XVI’s reforms, in the context of Summorum Pontificum, in the context of the liturgical preferences he himself displays, that irritate and gladden men and women in the Church seemingly simultaneously. Pope Benedict XVI is a reformer - of that there can be little doubt. In my opinion, for what my opinon is worth, he is also a living Saint, but that only adds to the sense of beauty about the passage I have just read in which His Holiness says, ‘The Saints are the true reformers’.

Pope Benedict XVI is the Sovereign Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church. Yet, he is also the saintly leader of a revolution in which Christ is placed firmly back at the centre, in which Christ overcomes, with our co-operation, evil within the Church and the World, within ourselves and through us, with the power of His grace, with the power of His redeeming love. This is key to his reforms. He says in The Spirit of the Liturgy, written a full six years before his Pontificate, published on the Feast of St Augustine of Hippo:

‘...our knowledge of this universality [of God] is the fruit of revelation: God has shown himself to us. Only for this reason do we know him; only for this reason can we confidently pray to him everywhere. And it is precisely because of this reason is it appropriate, now as in the past, that we should express in Christian prayer our turning to the God who has revealed himself to us.’

So, why does Benedict XVI desire to see the reform of the Church’s liturgy now? Cardinal Ratzinger makes his private beliefs quite evident in The Spirit of the Liturgy, when he continues...

Now, the priest - the “presider”, as they now prefer to call him - becomes the real point of reference for the whole liturgy. Everything depends on him. We have to see him, to respond to him, to be involved in what he is doing. His creativity sustains the whole thing. Not surprisingly, people try to reduce this newly created role by assisgning all kinds of liturgical functions to different individuals and entrusting the “creative” planning of the liturgy to groups of people who like to, and are supposed to, “make their own contribution”. Less and less is God in the picture. More and more important is what is being done by the human beings who meet here and do not like to subject themselves to a “pre-determined pattern”. The turning of the priest towards the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle.”

The liturgy is central to Pope Benedict XVI’s revolution because he knows that true revolution comes only from God. This revolution is about our encounter with Christ and with His transforming love. His Holiness’s desire for the Church is united to God’s desire for the Church - the regeneration of man from within, from being self-centred, to being Christ-centred. Only Christ can save us from ourselves. Only Christ can heal us. Only Christ can set us free. Only Christ can show us the ‘Way, the Truth and the Life’.

The renewal of the liturgy under Benedict XVI is in order to awaken us to our true condition as sinners who, touched by God’s merciful love are able to communicate that love to others. The Benedictine renewal has arrived so that we may glimpse, with our own eyes, the infinite horizon of the vision of God in which we turn towards and walk towards the Lord - so that we might become the people we were made to be - Saints.

All of his efforts as Pope have at their heart this one sole objective - to help us to become holy in God’s Church, whether our vocation is as single people, married persons, religious or in the priesthood. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger addresses key points of the liturgy in his book but whether he is discussing the place of reservation for the Blessed Sacrament, the prayerfulness created by a ‘silent Canon’ said by the Priest, or the need for Gregorian Chant to return to parish liturgical life, the worship of God is that which is central to his concern. Most notably, and perhaps unsurprisingly, he speaks of the need for reverential gestures, such as kneeling in Christian worship. He says, in The Spirit of the Liturgy:

'We kneel before the humilty of Christ. The kneeling of Christians is not a form of incultration into existing customs. It is quite the opposite, an expression of Christian culture, which transforms the existing culture through a new and deeper knowledge and experience of God. When kneeling becomes merely external, a merely physical act, it becomes meaningless. On the other hand, when someone tries to take the worship back into the purely spiritual realm and refuses to give it embodied form, the act of worship evaporates, for what is purely spiritual is inappropriate to the nature of man. That is why bending the knee before the presence of the living God is something we cannot abandon. Worship is one of those fundamental acts that affect the whole man.’

The ‘whole man’ is what Pope Benedict XVI is concerned about, just as Christ is concerned for the whole man, body and soul. There is much more I could say about Pope Benedict XVI’s liturgical efforts and how they affect us as men and women called to worship God ‘in spirit and in truth’. We are fortunate, perhaps, to have Priests in our parishes who are listening to Pope Benedict XVI and who are favourable to his wishes to see the liturgy of the Church renewed and reformed, so that God is not made to appear as peripheral to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

Benedict XVI is engaged in a strenuous, but gradual, re-orientation of the Church, towards Christ in the liturgy. His Holiness has seen the outcomes of liberation theology among the many efforts to assist the poor and seen how good intentions are not enough for the Church’s mission to the poor. It is a fruit of the Gospel that men and women of prayer, men and women committed to Christ, will recognise Him in the poor and bear fruit in serving Him in the poor. This is a fruit of worship, adoration and prayer - the service of God and the service of His poor.

This is certainly the Church’s experience seen in the lives of St Francis of Assisi, St Anthony of Padua, St Martin de Porres, Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and St Vincent de Paul among many others, known and unknown. None claimed their love to have been from themselves, but from God who worked though them with their prayerful co-operation. Their fruit is fruit that will last. Their orders, are orders that will last. That love is the love that is everlasting, that ripples throughout time and still touches men and women today. Why? Because we can all, whether we rich or poor, pray to these heroic witnesses to the One True Faith today and ask for their intercession. The re-creation of sinners - the creation of Saints. That is God’s Revolution!'

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...