Thursday, March 31, 2011

Street Evangelisation


Gloria TV has this video from the Seville Holy Week procession, the Crucified makes his slow way through the city whilst the Blessed Virgin sets off in search of him - here around the 4 min mark.
It is street evangelism Catholic style.

Ateismo

My thanks to John Sonnen.
It just shows the absurdity of atheism. Atheism has too many presupposition for the rational to take seriously. What has happened to old fashioned agnostism? At least agnostics has room for wonder.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Maniple: Never Abrogated

Fr Z, the Great quotes from an online document by the Office for the Liturgical Celebration of the Supreme Pontiff: Liturgical Vestments and the Vesting Prayers

5) The maniple is an article of liturgical dress used in the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Holy Mass of the Roman Rite.  It fell into disuse in the years of the post-conciliar reform, even though it was never abrogated.
The implication is that some people were slovenly about it and it just stopped being worn and that the less casual should wear it, especially, as it was never abrogated.
Now, I am not sure weight one should give to an online document but it is from a Vatican office, and it is on its official website, which has increasing been used to promulgate law and teaching.

Despite its ancient antecedents it was simply dropped from the General Instruction of the Paul VI Missal in its list of vestments for Mass. If it was never abrogated it should be worn.

New Ancient Books

The BBC reported on some first century books, that were discovered in Jordan, they have early Christian symbols. The obvious question is: Do they pose a problem for the Church?
The answer is: No.
Christ promised to be with the Church until the end of time to guide her into all Truth, etc. etc.
First of all we have to judge whether they are "Christian", that is are they part of the Apostolic Tradition, as opposed to a Chritian sub-group of which there seem have been many, especially between the resurrection and the destruction of the Temple.
Do they alter Revelation? No, because the Tradition didn't count their contentents, whatever they maybe, as reflecting what had been passed on to the Church. We judge what they might say against what the first witnesses the Apostles taught, in the scriptures we have.

What they do indicate is that "Christian" writings are actually early, the letters of the Apostles all predate the destruction of the Temple.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

LMS York Pilgrimage

Someone from the Latin Mass Society emailed me asking that I do a post on the recent LMS Pilgrimage to York, I have to confess I wasn't very keen on it. I don't like the idea of celebrating Mass in non-Catholic churches; pray, say Vespers but not Mass, especially as in the case of York where there is a very adequate Catholic church, St Wilfrid's, right opposite the Minster.

However, I am told that there were difficulties with the use of the Catholic church, whereas the Minster was overwhelming in the enthusiasm of both clergy and lay staff, a readiness to assist in every way possible, from the offer of additional singers, to help with getting out additional seating, apparently 700 people came, twice as many as were expected, lots of families with small children. The Minister had even helped publicise the Mass. The Dean and Precentor even made time to attend, very kind of them.

All quite remarkable, 700 people that is quite some coetibus! Local Catholics apparently complained that there was little enthusiasm by local clergy, maybe the sheer weight of the numbers might change their opinion.

See Dr Joe Shaw's blog for more pictures and more information.

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

 
Today I was at the meeting of the Southern Chapter of the new British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. The very affable and clever Fr Aidan Nichols OP gave a paper: Priesthood and the Conversion of England. I think I would do him a disservice if I try to summarise his paper here, someone else will do that on the website in the next few days.
We are still at the "getting it going" stage, drafting a constitution, opening a bank account; the website was launched on the Annunciation and therefore the "public" invitation to the meeting had just gone out, so it was quite good that just over 20 priests from, I think, five or six of the southern dioceses came to the meeting. Already there are twice that number who have signed up to join, not bad in just a few days, some have been quite generous in priming the pump financially, apparently.
I am quite excited by all this, especially as most of the clergy there were young and bright, focused on the mission of the Church and on the vision of Pope Benedict. It is so good and refreshing to meet young priests who are so evidently searching for holiness, who aren't grinding axes or pushing their own agendas. Certainly amongst them are one or two men who will make good future bishops.
Above all the idea in the discussion and conversation seemed to be that those present wanted fraternity, and to find encouragement amongst one another in being good dedicated priests.
I was a delight to meet priests from other dioceses, in a sense it was liberating, as we weren't talking about "the diocese" but the priesthood.

If you are priest check out the site and if you agree with the objectives, join. If you are a layperson consider supporting the Confraternity by praying for it and its members, and if you can afford it, making a donation.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Christianity Too Complicated To Communicate

A priest friend of mine pointed out that in yesterdays Gospel of the Samaritan woman she moves through a variety of titles for, or experiences of Jesus, from "You a Jew", Sir, Prophet, right through to a serious consideration that he might be the "Christ", then the people of Sychar come to realise that Jesus is the "Saviour of the World". Presumably only after Jesus' death will they eventually come to "worship God in Spirit and Truth" neither in the Samaritan or Jerusalem Temple but in his Church, the Body of Christ.

I really do have sympathy with those Liberals who suggest that Christianity is too complicated to communicate, I agree with their analysis but disagree with their conclusion. Their conclusion is that it all so complicated therefore we shouldn't really bother. It is complicated because they complicate it. Liberals present the faith as a series of propositions, all of which may or may not be accepted, it is a relativist approach, which inevitably ends up with an ultimate, "I have doubts but on balance I accept most of what has been presented".

Traditionally Catholicism is much simpler, it is matter not of propositions but simply, "Do you believe in Jesus Christ and His Church?" or maybe more simply "Do you believe in the Church of Jesus Christ?"
The object of belief is not propositions at all but in the Person of Christ, who lives and teaches in his Church and is really and truly present in the Sacraments.
The methods of evangelisation of former times seems to be the teaching of the "Our Father", and a few other prayers and some quite clear moral teaching such as keeping the 10 Commandments, attendance at Mass, that leads to Heaven, not keeping the Commandments etc leads to Hell. It is simple, ultimately: Heaven or Hell: Life or Death. Living a Christian life, conversion, is the real sign of embracing the Faith. As in the Gospels right "doing": loving God and one's neighbour was the sign of right believing.

An old priest friend, quietly, late at night suggests the same thing about the Mass, now it has all become so complicated in the past it was simple to explain: here is Jesus our Saviour, really and truly present under the form of bread and wine.

Yes, we can add details and depth, we can answer questions and indeed in the past the "doing" was supposed to provoke questions but ultimately the Catholic faith isn't about complexity but simply an encounter with the Risen Lord.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Pope in the Court of the Gentiles


This is the video link of the Pope speaking to the "Court of Gentiles" at Notre Dame du Paris.
I find this fascinating, though I am not sure I fully understand what this initiative is about, yet. It is obviously very important to the Pope and intimately connected to the New Evangelisation.
It is about dialogue with non-believers obviously. It seems to be about dialogue, simply for the sake of dialogue, forming friendships, listening, responding, being in the public forum but presumably it isn't about the type of dialogue that took place in the 60s/70's between Catholics and Marxist that led to the Church, in some places, being taken over by Marxists.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Usus Antiquior in Seminaries

John Allen doesn't always get it right, often he does though, in his latest piece he is saying that the follow up document to Summorum Pontificum is going to, a) insist on seminarian being taught Latin, the language of the Church and b) that they should be trainined to say the Usus Antiquior.
... the instruction will confirm that the moto proprio is now the universal law of the church, and insist that bishops apply it. Among other things, it will call for seminarians to be trained not just in Latin, but in the older rite itself, at least so they will know how to execute it faithfully and understand what’s being said.
The instruction will also confirm that the older Mass must be available wherever “groups of faithful” request it, without specifying how many people it takes to constitute a “group.”
The implications are that the Roman Rite, clearly, now has two parts and that the Pope is using seminarians and seminaries to push forward his reforms. Seminarians, presumably, are going to be able to be a "group" who are going to be able to request the Usus Antiquior.
What will happen if a non-EF saying bishop or lecturer turns up and the request for the Traditional Mass is made? Ultimately it is going to mean no priest is going to not be able to say the Traditional Mass.
Once these seminarians are ordained they are going to want to say the EF in parishes - some even more or less exclusively.
I suspect it is not just the liturgy the Pope wants studied but the spirituality and theology too.
That, if it is true, is going to shake the Church, just a bit!
As for the Minor Order, which is one reason why Ordination in the EF has to be something applied for to Rome, is it it possible that they were never really abrogated just as the EF was not?

New Head of the Ukrainian Church

You know you are getting older when policemen look younger, you know you when bishops look so young.
News from Lviv began circulating last night, and this morning it was confirmed: the bishops of the largest Eastern fold in communion with Rome have elected the youngest of their number -- 40 year-old Sviatoslav Schevchuk, third youngest Catholic Bishop in the world, the apostolic administrator of the UGCC's eparchy in Argentina -- as head of the church.
He is de facto patriarch of the 6 million-member Ukrainian Church

see Rocco Palmo

Launched: British Province of Catholic Clergy

Some of us have been talking about setting up a British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, now one has been set up under the patronage of Saint Gregory the Great.
Looking at the profile of the younger priests of my own diocese and others in the South, I think this might appeal, its objectives are:
Fidelity to Sacred Scripture, Magisterium, the Councils and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and to the inspirations, initiatives of the Holy Father.
Formation in human, spiritual, doctrinal aspects of the Priesthood, and assistance in the Priestly ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing.
Fraternity in mutual support and encouragement of Priestly life and ideals by conferences, local chapters, study, Retreats and publications.
To join send £20 to CCB, St Mary Magdalen's Presbytery, 61 North Worple Way, Mortlake, London SW14 8PR, seminarians and vopwed religious can belong free
Join if you want to come to the next Chapter Meeting which is:

Tuesday 29th March 2011
in St Joseph's Pastoral Centre New Malden KT3 3QW
Fr Aidan Nicols OP will speak on
Priesthood and the Conversion of England
coffee 10.45am - Conference begins at 11.15am with Benediction at 1pm and lunch at 1.30pm

The Convenors are Fr Peter Edwards, Fr Marcus Holden & Fr Richard Whinder.

The Confraternity started in Australia by some younger priests where it seemed to have a significant effect in changing to the direction of the Church there, it has spread to the US and now, thank God, to the UK. At the moment its activities are based in the southern dioceses but local chapters are being organised in the Midlands, Northern, Western and other areas.
Although the Southern District Chapter meetings are in South London it is hoped a more central location will be found.
I am sure if lay people want to assist financially with printing and postage and other expenses or just to show support donations would be very welcome.
I am sure those joining the Ordinariate would be most welcome too.

Portal of the Mysteries

Behold the portal of all the mysteries of God!
It is little wonder that the normal subject to head the Royal Doors of the Anastasis of Eastern Rite churches is the Annunciation, it is the entrance to all the Mysteries of our faith.

Today we celebrate the Word becoming Flesh and dwelling amongst us.
Mary becomes the true gate of Grace.
Through her Salvation enters Creation.
The Immortal becomes Mortal.
The Impassionate takes on Human Suffering.
The All-knowing experiences Human Limitation.
The Creator becomes the Created.
He who holds the Cosmos in his hands is held within the Virgin's womb.
The One born of the Father before all time actually grows and develops in the Virgin's womb.


What is said in the simple narrative of the Annunciation is simply mind blowing, He who is beyond matter becomes atoms and cells and flesh and blood. What we are actually saying is that the God of the Christians actually becomes what God is not!
God transcends Divinity to save me!
He gives me the Grace to transcend my humanity.
The idea of the Annunciation on the Royal Doors, or in the West near or over a door, which is always two way, for going in and out of, is that God came into the World and entered our Humanity, so that we can out to enter his Divinity.

Why is that the ancient Fathers were able to animate the fishermen and barbers of Alexandria about the basic Mysteries of our faith but we just bore people?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Do not do Penance Tomorrow

Canon 1251  Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday. Abstinence and fasting are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Tomorrow is the Solemnity of the Annunciation!

It is a No Penance Friday! Good Christians have a duty to feast, even to eat swan, if you can get it. Though some medieval authorities would claim that as it lived in water it was a fish: liberals, we have had with us always. So have it as a fish course and perhaps something meatier afterwards.

Here is a recipe for the sauce:

Chaudon. Tak þe issu of þe swan & wasch it wel, & scoure þe guttes wel with salt, & seth þe issu al togedere til it be ynow, & þan tak it vp and wasch it wel & hew it smal, & tak bred & poudere of gyngere & of galyngale & grynde togedere & tempere it with þe broth, & coloure it with þe blood. And when it is ysothe & ygrounde & streyned, salte it, & boyle it wel togydere in a postnet & sesen it with a litel vynegre.
source

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Maynooth to Close

Rorate reports that Maynooth, the only remaining seminary for secular clergy  in Ireland may close following the Apostolic visitation, and all future Irish students for the priesthood will be formed in a restructured Roman Irish College.
Whether the other reports of the Apostolic Visitation are going to be as radical remains to be seen. There were suggestions that the number of Irish dioceses may be substantially reduced.
Is there a trend to close local seminaries, and move students to Rome, at least it happened in Scotland: will it happen in England too?

Since posting this Fr Tim Finigan sent this link in which these rumours are said to be withot foundation.

World needs Catholic Thought

Last week I was asked to take part in a television programme called the Big Question (to which small answers are made) fortunately I have better things to do on a Sunday morning. Who except a self publicist would want to take part in this sort of bear pit? Shouts and heckling really do make good television but not good debate: heat but no light. Taking part in these things really does little to further an understanding of the faith.
Yesterday the Holy See announced the reform of the study of philosophy, in Paris it has been announced there will be a Forum for Atheists and Gentiles, the Court of the Gentiles, it follows on from Pope Benedict's speech to the Curia in 2009, and the themes he took up at Westminster Hall. I am sure Assisi 3, will continue in this vein.

Recently I had a young man who is searching, who curiously said he worked in an "erotic bakery"- well, it is Brighton. I restrained my curiosity. For this man there is obviously something more to life than they way he is living it and more to his hopes and aspirations, he was wondering about becoming "religious". The brutalism of modern fundamentalist scientificism really doesn't satisfy the questions of a thinking man any more than traditional fundamentalist religionism.

The trouble is that most people don't think or question, this seems to have been the great sin of the Pharisees. Most atheists seem inoculated against thinking about either beginning or ends, personal or cosmic. A few years ago defining oneself as an atheist was quite rare, most non-believers would define their beliefs as agnostic because they lacked sufficient knowledge to judge between a rational presentation of arguments for or against God.
I don't know if it was Dawkins or someone else who first spoke of the "Sky Fairy" but even for intelligent atheists, that, or the "old man with a beard", seems to be the assumption that this what we understand by "God". Sometimes I suspect it is actually an image many Catholics, even after 12 years of Catholic education in one of our schools, are comfortable with and are not willing to counter. It is blasphemy!

I love Aquinas's "... and that we call God" at the end of each of his Five Ways, he doesn't say that the Cause is God but that it stands as a metaphor for God. As the Pope called recently for us to find new parables for a contemporary world, so we need to find modern metaphors for God and a new language to speak about God. The great gulf that seems to exist between the world of the Arts and the world of Science, also ghettoises religious thought. Catholic intellectuals need to enter into dialogue with Art and Science, if only to rescue them from fundamentalist brutalism of Science and Art that tends to remove wonder and beauty, reducing both to a travesty of egoism; Dawkins' "Self Gene", Emin's "tent" or "room" seem to epitomise a world view without hope or future or joy or wonder.
As Emin herself said of one of her installations, "It is what it is". That statement reflects the bankruptcy of modern western culture which lacks any big idea, except to cut itself off from its roots. It what it is, in all its superficiality.
The world needs Catholic thought and ideas if only to offer a vision of what man truly is, or at least has the capacity to be.
We really do need to start by re-Evangelising the world of Ideas.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tomorrow We Fast

I have been wondering what to do about the earthquake, tsunami and possible nuclear meltdown in Japan and what to do about Libya. I have wanted to write about it but it all seems rather superficial, so tomorrow in our parish we are having a day of prayer and fasting for the people of Japan and any others need.
I am offering Mass for them and we will pray for them at the end of the day with Exposition and Benediction.

The Lord tells us our prayer is heard when we ask in his name, when two or three of us pray for anything, and when we fast and pray.
So why not join your prayer to ours?

The difference between fasting and abstinence is that fasting is about not eating or restricting our intake of food; abstinence is about abstaining from certain types of food. The great benefit of doing both in Lent is that changing our diet tends to make us feel different, it produces a spiritual gear change. For example following the ancient discipline of abstaining from flesh and dairy products, the old "black fast" is a real jolt to the system, I actually feel better on it, more energy, more control over my thoughts, a heightened desire for prayer, it is good try it.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Some thoughts on Christ, inspired by St Joseph


From the beginning a "correct" Christology is essential to being a Christian, this was the neurosis of the early Councils. The relationship of Father and Son was the preoccupation of the great Fathers of the Church, so too the idea of the Second Person of the the Blessed Trinity being Truly God and Truly Man without Co-Mixture, and being a Man like us, without sin. He is not a half-God, nor is he a super-Man he is a God-Man mixture, a cocktail, a blend, his Dinity and Humanity are distinct.

One gets the impression that Protestantism tends to see the Ascension as a shedding of humanity, especially filial affection, filial obedience no longer apply to Christ. Protestantism has a fear of the Flesh in both Mary and the Eucharist, and the Church too. This seems not to be what Catholicism and Orthodoxy are saying. Mariology, and by extension "Josephology?" maintain the humanity of Christ even after the Ascension, it is Jesus, the God and Man that he sits at the right hand of the Father. The Eternal Word has taken on humanity. It is indeed the "Spirit that gives Life, the flesh has nothing to offer." Jn 6.63, as Protestants would say of the Eucharist, and also the relation between Christ and his Mother but here, in Jn 6, Jesus is speaking of flesh that is alive, Spirit filled and transformed. It is after all God made Flesh who saves!

It seems to be a reaction to the Christology of the Protestant Reformation that produces a development in understanding of St Joseph, until then he is portrayed with his back to the nativity scene, an old man lost in contemplation, or even tempted by the "old man" from the Apocryphal Gospels.

St Joseph sees the fulfillment of the ancient promises. The hopes of Abraham and Israel are cradled in Joseph's arms, sleep in a bed he has made, sit down at table with him, need his protection and is obedient to Joseph and Mary. He is bound by that most human of all things emotional affection for his Mother and Foster Father and codified in the 4th Commandment.

An unmoving, unchanging passive love, a love that embraces heaven and earth would seem to come from his Divinity but an emotional, passionate affection, that weeps at the death of friends and over Jerusalem, a fiery anger that blazes with rage at the misuse of the Temple, a desire to gather chicks as a mother hen all belong to his humanity. It is this that is importantly safeguarded by a "correct" filial, even familial, devotion to Our Lady and St Joseph.

In the Office of Readings today St Bernadine says:
Obviously, Christ does not now deny to Joseph that intimacy, reverence and very high honour which he gave him on earth, as a son to his father. Rather we must say that in heaven Christ completes and perfects all that he gave at Nazareth.
His assumption is that the Lord is the same in Heaven as he was in Nazareth, though he "completes and perfects", his humanity and his affections are unchanging.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Congratulations, My Lords

Congratulations to Mgr Keith Newton, Mgr John Broadhurst and Mgr Andrew Burnham, the former Anglican Bishops who have been raised to the dignity of Prelates as Protonotaries Apostolic by the Holy Father.

I hope they Anglicise their exotic Italianate titles of "Monsignore" to the more homely English form of "My Lord"! It's "patrimony", don't you know?
thanks to the Catholic Herald

Patriarch of Constantinople Denounces Vassula

Vassula Ryden occassionally comes to Brighton and speaks in one of the large Anglican churches. Last time she was here she was even invited to speak in the local cathedral. She pushes the old Anglican "branch theory": Catholics, Orthodox and Anglicans are all branches of the same Church. Her followers, mainly Anglicans, insist on receiving Holy Communion, when refused, she and they, can be quite disruptive. Normally she has a tame bishop Catholic Bishop in tow.
She has a home in Rome, where she boasts, she a none Catholic, is given Communion by the parish priest. She and her followers have a well deserved reputation for being litigious.

My thanks to Rorate Caeli for this:
Yesterday, the Holy Synod of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Constantinople issued a strongly-worded decree denouncing Vassula Ryden and her works, excluding her supporters from (Orthodox) communion, and warning Orthodox clergy from spreading her teachings her lest they incur canonical censures. An initial English translation of the new decree can be found here. The relevant portion is as follows:


In this spirit, and for the beneficial protection of our pious Orthodox plenitude from dangerous spiritual confusion, who do not know well matters underlying the risk of delusion, rejects from the Mother Church Vasiliki Paraskevis Pentaki - Ryden, widely known as a "Vassula", and her organization founded under the title "True Life In God" which rashly and frivolously proposes teachings based on the supposed "direct dialogue between her and the Founder of the Church Jesus Christ our Lord", and those conquered by her and the supporters of "True Life In God", which deviate arbitrarily from the God-given teaching of the Church, but also scandalize the Orthodox phronema of pious believers.
Hence, we call upon the proponents of these unacceptable innovations and the supporters who maintain them, who henceforth are not admitted to ecclesiastical communion, not only to not be involved in the pastoral work of the local Holy Metropolis, but also to not preach their novel teachings, to prevent the appropriate sanctions under the Holy Canons.
This come a few months after the Romanian Orthodox Church defrocked one of its priests for concelebrating with a Roman Catholic priest, in an event that came about under the influence of Vassula Ryden. (See this and this for Rorate Caeli's posts on that incident, and this post on another website reporting on the rejection of the priest's appeal of his punishment.)


Vassula continues to enjoy support from some Roman Catholic priests and bishops despite repeated Vatican warnings against her teachings. Hopefully that will change soon...


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

800 +60 a Dissappointment?

I posted the stats published by the Bishop's Conference for the Ordinariate yesterday.  I have received a rather sneering comment, which I have not published, from a Roehampton Liberal stating that 800 lay members was about one largish Catholic parish, or two average sized parishes, which is true. My "co-respondent" suggested the Pope must be really disappointed and questioned whether a parish priest, meaning the Ordinary, should really be on the Bishop's Conference. He/she continued and asked whether such a small number warranted all the time and effort the Pope, the Curia, Bishop Hopes et al had spent on the Ordinariate. Sour liberal! especially as the 800 represents those who chose to go to a Cathedral, and wanted to take part in Rite of Election for the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults, if I were an Anglican and considered myself an Initiated Christian, I would choose not to go. Anglicanorum Coetibus doesn't call for the repudiation of anything.

Sixty[ish] clergy, admittedly some a bit long in the tooth, of course is larger than some of the UK's more remote dioceses, that alone justifies Fr Newton's seat! I think for many Anglicans the whole Ordinariate thing was rushed through, for lay people especially it was difficult to know how to get involved, especially if one's clergy were going to stay. In my own diocese of which the southern part covers the Anglican Diocese of Chichester there is an Ordinariate group in Eastbourne and that seems to be it.
However it isn't, talking to Anglican lay people around here, there seems to be a lot of interest in the Ordinariate, most people I speak to seem to wonder how it is all going to pan out, who is going and who is staying. There is surprise among Anglican laity that clergy, who have traditionally of "up the candle" south coast Anglican have not been more enthused by the Ordinariate. The problem could be, in some cases, a problem with Catholic morality but more likely that in our area there is a Catholic enclave that has closed itself off from the rest of Anglicanism, "ladies are not invited to concelebrate" at most South Coast Religion parishes, and John Hind the Bishop of Chichester has been pushing the Society of Saints Wilfrid and Hilda. Here, there is anxiety about just how Catholic the locals might actually be, having resisted women's ordination in the CofE, they don't want to find calls for it in the Catholic Church. On a more mundane level exchanging Hymns Ancient and Modern with bad arrangements of "Eagle's Wings" accompanied by banjo, tambourine and recorder is not an inducement.
One has to remember that Anglicanism is essentially culturally congregational, theologically it is more a system of church government than a Church. Catholics, Evangelicals, Charismatics, Liberals have learnt to co-exist and  communicate with one another at least when necessary. It is worth remembering the Coetibus bit of Anglicanorum Coetibus, it is aimed at groups. England might well be the epicentre but the impact is really going to be felt in the former British colonies.
For many Anglicans the issue that has caused the 800 +60 to leave, the break with Catholic Tradition, will only have impact when a female bishop insists on celebrating the Eucharist in their own church or sends the fruit of her hands to do so, even then many will hope for some English compromise.
I suspect myself that the 800 +60 is the beginning, they are the "first fleet", the founding colonists, the sons of Noah on the foreign shore, many of them will continue to have contacts with their former congregations, whilst testing the terrain and the water, setting up structures, finding homes, building, checking out the friendliness or otherwise of the natives.
This is part of the Benedictine brick by brick thing, it is a candle in the dark, the leaven in the lump. These are men and women who have boldly gone where no-one has gone before.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Ordinariate Statistics

From the Ordinariate Portal:
From a variety of official sources, here are some basic statistics about the Ordinariate:

795 candidates for the Ordinariate were present at Rite of Election services in 2011.
61 former Anglican clergy are hoping to be ordained for the Ordinariate this year.
The area covered by the Diocese of Brentwood has the largest proportion of the Ordinariate (240).
16.8% of those entering the Catholic Church in England & Wales this year are joining the Personal Ordinariate.
Compared to dioceses, the Ordinariate is the second largest source for new Catholics in England & Wales this year.
In the area covered by Plymouth Diocese, the Ordinariate is responsible for 42.9% of new Catholics.
There is an Ordinariate presence in 12 out of the 22 dioceses in England & Wales (c. 54%).

William Hague Should Link Foreign Aid to Religious Freedom

"I urge William Hague to obtain guarantees from foreign governments before they are given aid. To increase aid to the Pakistan government when religious freedom is not upheld and those who speak up for religious freedom are gunned down is tantamount to an anti-Christian foreign policy. Pressure should now be put on the government of Pakistan - and the governments of the Arab world as well - to ensure that religious freedom is upheld, the provision of aid must require a commitment to human rights."

....

"This reality is both shocking and saddening. In countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, Christians face violence, intolerance and even death because of their beliefs. This is intolerable and unacceptable. Here in Scotland we value our freedoms, particularly the freedom of religion and the right to practice our faith free of persecution. Yet this detailed and at times harrowing report reminds us that not all of our fellow Christians enjoy such freedom to worship."

....
“Freedom of religion is a fundamental human right and we condemn and deplore religious persecution in any form. The promotion of human rights, including freedom of religion, is at the heart of our foreign policy...
Britain raises concerns about religious freedom wherever they arise, including in Pakistan, through the intervention of ministers or our embassies and high commissions. We lobby governments about cases where persecution or discrimination occurs, and call for changes in discriminatory practices and laws in countries where freedom of religion is curtailed....
British aid helps the world’s poorest people, who would lose out twice over were we to withdraw it. The Development Secretary has made clear the pivotal role of the Christian churches in tackling world poverty and last month launched a renewed drive to work more closely with faith communities. It is vital that Pakistan guarantees the rights of all its citizens, regardless of their faith or ethnicity. We will continue to press for religious freedoms to be upheld in Pakistan and around the world.”
So said Cardinal Keith O'Brien

Monday, March 14, 2011

Institute of Christ the King to the Wirral?

Fr Z seems to have quit a bit of English news lately.
He links to a report that Bishop Mark Davies and the Institute of Christ the King are in negotiations over the landmark Ss Peter and Paul's Church, on the Wirral, in New Brighton which was closed in 2008. The Grade II-listed church, which first opened in 1935, is known as the Dome of Home because it is one of the first things seafarers see when they sail back to Liverpool.

The church is huge and needs repair and the Institute only celebrates the traditional Rite - interesting , eh?

Boycotting the 2011 Census?


I was sent this rather graphic video advocating boycotting the 2011 UK Census which has been outsourced by the Government to Lockheed Martin the multi-national arms manufacturer.
It always concerns me when the Church cosies up to Government and the Government cosies up to multi-national corporations. As my old grandad used to say, "You tell a chap by the friends he keeps".

As for boycotting the census, well, I think I might be staying with friends that night, so it will be their responsibility, for myself I am not sure about whether I should be concerned about the morallity of this census, Lockheed Martin strikes me as being thoroughly immoral.

Distractions in Prayer

I have mind like a rabbit on speed, the slightest distraction sends it scurrying in all directions. Here are some helpful helpful bits of advice I have received.

Prayer is raising one's mind and heart to God, some people's minds can be lifted and they stick where they are put, these people only pray once, for the rest of us, who are not Angels or plaster statue, we might have to raise our minds and hearts to God a hundred times during ten minutes of prayer - is that a bad thing?

We can't help birds flying over our heads during prayer: flying birds are not a problem. The problem comes when we put food and nesting material in our hair.

Don't run away from distractions, occassionally they can be God speaking to us, best to pray about them and turn them to God.

To avoid distraction in prayer avoid them in life, be single-minded in the pursuit of God.
A distraction that struck me yesterday: Jesus was a man like us in all things but sin: isn't the account of the Temptations in the desert about how he himself dealt with distractions. Notice how he doesn't run away from the distraction but faces it to them and resolves them by turning to scripture.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sound of Lent

Our choir site has some of the chant, sung by our choir, supplemented by friends, from our Ash Wednesday Mass. If I do say it myself they are getting quite good.
Stan Metheny, a friend of the choir from New York, has written a piece on the chant for this coming Sunday exclusively for their site. The message of the Church in its music is that Lent is upbeat, it is joyful - not a bad thing for those of us prone to beginning of Lent tetchiness.

Before it firmed up in its present 40 day format, Lent took many different shapes through the centuries. Even today, there are various ways to count the days over different numbers of weeks, as the brief article on Lent in Wikipedia outlines. In our present format in the Roman rite, Ash Wednesday and the days following it are, in a sense, a prelude to the ‘public’ start of Lent on the following Sunday, when the Church gathers for Sunday Mass and Office.

Psalm 90 looms large in the Mass texts of the First Sunday of Lent. It is the source for all the Gradual chants of the day, and the devil quotes it in St. Matthew’s telling of the temptation of Jesus in the desert in the gospel reading. The Tract, the longest in the current repertoire, is the entire psalm, save two verses. At first glance, it might seem a bit surprising to have such an upbeat psalm introduce the great season of penance and mortification. But the message is clear: God will deliver me from the trials and tribulations of this world, if I persist in asking for His help.

The surprisingly upbeat text is reinforced in the Introit by a surprisingly joyful melody. Yes, Lent is a season of serious purpose, a season of penance. But this does not mean ‘doom and gloom’ for God’s faithful ones. We are on a journey to joy, and we do not travel alone. We have God Himself as our support and shelter. If we call on Him, he will hear us. And moreover, he will ultimately make us sharers in His own glory. Our acts of penance are designed to help us shed those things that hold us back, that press us down, and to prepare ourselves to be raised up to a higher purpose: life with God forever. Jesus Himself is the pledge of this coming salvation. Like us in all things but sin, He was tempted, tried, and tested on his way to the cross. Lent is a time to reflect more deeply on the ultimate meaning of our own life’s journey, and that the only real support and shelter along the way to our cross is God Himself. So we deny ourselves many of the distracting comforts of this world to learn anew that these passing things cannot really satisfy us and to focus our attention on what can.

The melody of this Introit has specific parallels in its melodies that tie together some of the actions of God upon the faithful soul. In the matching eum of eripiam/adimplebo, God snatches to safety (from death & destruction) and then gives length of days. In exaudiam/glorificabo, God’s hearing of the call for help leads to giving a share of His own glory. But for God’s saving action to be effective, we must cooperate with Him. We must acknowledge our need for His grace, and allow it to have an effect in our lives. We ask for this in the Collect of today’s Mass: . . . ad intellegendum Christi proficiamus arcanum, et effectus eius digna conversatione sectemur. ( . . . may we deepen our understanding of the hidden mystery of Christ and diligently continue its effects by worthy conduct of life.)

As is so often the case, we find the central message of the day neatly summed up in the Preface:

Qui quadraginta diebus, terrenis abstinens alimentis, formam huius observantiae ieiunio dedicavit, et, omnes evertens antiqui serpentis insidias, fermentum malitiae nos docuit superare, ut, paschale mysterium dignis mentibus celebrantes, ad pascha demum perpetuum transeamus.

[Christ our Lord], abstaining from earthly food for forty days, dedicated by His fasting the form of this [Lenten] observance, and, turning aside all the snares of the ancient serpent, taught us to overcome the ferment of evil, so that, celebrating the paschal mystery with worthy minds, we might at last pass over to the everlasting Easter.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Using the New Translations

The New Mass translations: the Bishop's Conference have used them, they have been used at gatherings of clergy, some of our seminaries are using them, various clergy throughout the country are already using them. I know some of the Bishops have said they have no objection to there use by clergy in their own diocese. Is there any real reason why at least the priest's parts should not be used before their official introduction in September?
Most clergy are now quite convinced the old ICEL translations are indeed a "lame duck", and really quite inferior to what is going to replace them. I confess, I have used the priest's parts, the reaction of the faithful, if they noticed is quite favourable.
I would be interested to know who else has used them or is using them, if you 'fess up with a name of a priest or a place I shan't publish your comment: I understand people's fear of ICEL heavies. I am just interest in how widespread there use is.

Friday Penance in England and Wales

Most people are unclear about the Friday penance regulations in England and Wales whilst the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales have been saying for years the Friday penance may be met in a variety of ways, for example:
a) by abstaining from meat or some other food
b) by abstaining from alcoholic drink, smoking or some form of amusement
c) by making the special effort involved in family prayer, taking part in the Mass, visiting the Blessed Sacrament or praying the Stations of the Cross
d) by fasting from all food for a longer period than usual and perhaps giving
what is saved in this way to the needy at home and abroad
e) by making a special effort to help somebody who is poor, sick, old or lonely, or committing time and effort
to working for justice.
It is so broad, no wonder most Catholics treat Friday as any other day!

When I was a young priest the lapsed still believed Fridays was a meat free day, because they were lapsed the message hadn't through that they could take options a-e, so for the ordinarily lapsed Friday fish still bound them to the Church, whilst meat eating meant a real distancing from her.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Stephen Fry doesn't t hate Catholics

Sir David Wang has set up a new website in which celebs can correct slurs, errors, misreportings.
On the day of its launch Stephen Fry, the celebrity comic actor, has paid the $1,000 to say he is not anti-Catholic.
This the slur...
I’m an “anti catholic"


Stephen Fry with his haughty gravitas, sanctimonious self satisfaction etc etc etc has “taken it upon himself” to “make pronouncements” etc etc but his faux self deferential minor is a mask for disliking catholics.
from the Spectator
And this is Fry's reaction
This repulsive slur, that I dislike catholics, is deeply unfair and unkind. I am sure Mr Gray would be the first to baulk if someone who criticised the State of Israel was called anti-semitic. To suspect that I dislike Roman Catholics on the basis of anything I might have said about church practice and teaching is either inanely stupid or deliberately misleading. It gives the impression of being bad reasoning made in bad faith. Firstly: I was one of 50 asked, some weeks ago if I would lend my signature to a letter written to the Guardian, a wholly reasonable, temperate and permissible letter which questioned the sense of the state
That is alright then, Fry loves the Pope and all Catholics, he just hates everything they do and believe in.
Mr Fry doesn't mention his participation in the debate in which he put forward the proposition: the Catholic Church is a force for evil in the world.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

When there isn't a Chinese Mass

Pictures from our Ash Wednesday Missa Cantata.
I was quite pleased with turn out, quite a few university students and staff turned up. One young woman said, "There isn't Mass in Chinese so I thought Latin might be the next best thing".
I was expecting Mass XVII but I got Byrd 4 Voices instead, quite nicely sung, though as celebrant I never really hear the music, I get too wrapped up in praying the prayers.
Thanks singers!

Anglican Stories

Whilst hundreds of Anglicans prepare to leave to prepare for their Lenten journey to Reconcilliation with Rome, Fr Hunwicke has an interesting story on depart Anglican clergy being approached by lawyers to resign their orders.
Valle Adurni has another legal story about the CofE getting testimonials of ownership, just in case someone might want to, err, take their Churches.
And whilst some parts of the Anglican Communion are discussing lay presidency at the Eucharist #3116798 for seeking reconciliation with Rome, the Anglican Church in Canada are discussing #3116799 the admission of the non-baptised to Communion.

Commercialisation of Fasting

One of the things that annoys me is that Lenten discipline; fasting, abstaining, even almsgiving, has been taken over by Catholic aid agencies. Despite sharing many people's problems with Cafod, I have to ask where else do we send money for emergency relief?
I do resent the notion that fasting and abstainence should be presented, especially in our schools, in terms of the cash value to aid charities. "I fast in order to save, in order to give to an orgainisation that gives to the poor", has a hint of commercialisation, literally the cash value of fasting.
Primarily fasting and abstainence are acts of worship, they go together with prayer. A by product is a strengthening of the will, a cutting loose of ties that bind us to Self, much less important might or might not be more spare cash, health benefits etc. Almsgiving is important too but Jesus expects us to use it as a way of getting involved with the poor, using a "agency" of some kind seems a bit like "buying in services" to distance ourselves from face to face giving.
Worship and obedience to Christ, should be an end in themselves. We fast because the Lord told us to do so. One can, and the Gospel encourages us, to fast for a particular intention, to overcome a particular "demon" in our lives. TheFathers speak about fasting to subdue the flesh, for example an addiction to pornography, which seems so prevalent and not just amongst the young.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Farewell Flesh

Carne vale! Doesn't Lent just make you salivate for the thinnest a slice of widgeon pie?
I found myself the other day contemplating what I would eat on Easter day, and already looking forward to it. I am in the type of mood where the thinnest consomme or a slice of fat goose liver -let's not mention the French word- with a glass of sauterne, will obsess my prayers for the next 6 weeks.

I am impressed by the lentil eaters heroism, manly I call it. I normally give up meat, I am just so pleased I am not Byzantine Rite, I do so admire their ever tightening thumbscrew Lenten regime but going without dairy products or fish is just much too much!
Pray for one another during Lenten, lest we are tempted by a passing ortolan!
As for me, I am off to eat some posh nosh, some flesh to say "vale" to, before it all starts.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Sermon extract: Tu Es Petrus

“Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them
will be like a wise man who built his house on rock.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock.
And everyone who listens to these words of mine
but does not act on them
will be like a fool who built his house on sand.
The rain fell, the floods came,
and the winds blew and buffeted the house.
And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”
For the Jews of Jesus' day I suspect a "wise man who built ... on rock" would immediately summon up images of the wisest man of all Solomon, who built his house (for the Lord) on the Rock, of Mount Zion. For St Matthew's Gospel's hearers there was an even wiser man, Jesus who built his house, the Church, on Simon who he renames Rock, in Greek "Cephas", in Latin "Petrus".
Though the Temple fell, the Church built on Peter will endure until the end of time.

I must say I am more excited about getting a new translation of the Lectionary than the Missal, the above is from the US translation. In this country the "wise man" is merely "sensible".

Pray for those leaving the C of E

The Ordinariate Portal has pictures of the priestly ordination of Edwin Barnes at Portsmouth Cathedral - my warmest congratulations to him.
There are also some moving statements of Anglican clergyman who are announcing that they are leaving the Cof E for Communion with the See of Peter.
Those intending to be ordained into the Ordinariated at Pentecost are expected to leave the Anglican Communion by Ash Wednesday, pray for those who are making this move this weekend and pray for those who remain, for many this must be a bitter-sweet time - the joy of coming to a decision mixed with the sorrow of friends parted.

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Liturgy the Source and Summit

I occassionally get accused of obscuranticism or rubricism, criticism is always useful, it aids self examination. Some people expressed surprise about our soup run, which I posted about yesterday. Some of my, politically right wing, parishioners loathe the fact that I have given over a floor of my house for the use of an organisation which helps asylum seekers, some of whom are here because they are homosexual or the wrong sort of Muslim, or have the wrong politics. Others criticise me for loving the ancient rites of the Church, or being exact in my celebration of the newer ones and being deeply offended at other priests abuses of the liturgy. They seem surprised that a priest not uncomfortable with wandering about his parish in a soutane, should also join the occassional public protest about war and injustices.

Here is a very beautiful quote from Mgr Nichola Bux's new book on NLM
He will touch the holy gifts with wonder and astonishment – the Eucharistic amazement about which John Paul II often talked – and with adoration, and the sacred vessels he will cleanse calmly and carefully, as so many fathers and saints call for. He will bow over the bread and the chalice in saying the consecrating words of Christ and while invoking the Holy Spirit at the supplication or epiclesis. He will elevate them separately fixing his gaze on them in adoration and then lowering it in meditation. He will genuflect twice in solemn adoration. He will continue with recollection and a tone of prayer the anaphora until the doxology, elevating the holy Gifts offering them to the Father. He will recite the Our Father with his hands raised and without holding others by the hand, because that is proper to the rite of peace. The priest will not leave the Sacrament on the altar to offer the sign of peace outside the sanctuary. Instead he will break the host solemnly and visibly, and then genuflect before the Eucharist and pray silently asking again to be freed from every unworthyness in order not to eat and drink his own condemnation and to be preserved for eternal life by the holy Body and precious Blood of Christ. Then he will present the Host to the faithful for communion, supplicating Domine non sum dignus, and bowed he will himself communicate first. Thus he will serve as an example to the faithful.
Our faith teaches us reverence, first and foremost for God and the things of God and next for our neighbour. It is always God first, then our neighbour, what Bux says about the priest at the Liturgy and his relationship with God is supposed to flow out beyond mere rubricism, it supposed to change the heart and mind.
The Liturgy, paricularly the Holy Eucharist, is not merely something "we do" but in the words of VII is the "source and summit" of the Life and Mission of the Church. It is the centre of everything.

Without a sense of the absolute and objective sacredness the Church loses its focus and becomes merely a horizantal institution, a club or bunch of do gooders. Even our "doing" good ends up by being relatavistic.

No wonder the Holy Father seems to be obsessed by continuous talk about the dangers of "relativism" especially in the areas of theology and morality,  as well as liturgical renewal. The two are not unconnected. Reform of the Liturgy goes hand in hand with reform of the Church's apostolic work. The concern voiced by some over the statements of the former CAFOD Head of Caritas International Lesley-Ann Knight hit at the heart of this. How we pray affects how we live and how we interact with the world. The Holy See's concern that Caritas International should be grounding its work in a properly and authentic Catholic identity is of vital importance. Deacon Nick Donnelly is right to be concerned about Ms Knight's ambiguous words, the Holy See and we have a right to insist that Catholic organisations have the same reverence for the things of God as a priest should have for the Liturgy.

The Church teaches us to have a vision of the Holy, it begins with things liturgical and then flows into the world, to concern for the poor and marginalised, for Life itself and for justice.

Friday, March 04, 2011

Ban Soup Runs

The Bones has a peice on the Government wanting, possibly, to ban soup runs. For the past 30 years our parish has run one: day in, day out small groups of parishioners and their friends prepare food and take it down to the seafront and feed anyone who turns up. The photograph he uses was taken of our soup run some ten years ago.

It is interesting that in Westminster some charities that work for the homeless are against soup runs.

There are voices in the local council who really don't like what we do, suggesting it attracts the homeless and makes Brighton more "homeless friendly", others have said "food for free" encourages a degree of fecklessness, others just object to the possibility of "litter". It is true that during the 30 years we have had to move away a residential area to the open space of the promenade, it can be intimidating to gather 30/40 homeless people together, some of whom might be high on drink or drugs, or just anti-social. For myself I can understand misgivings, if we give someone a sandwich are encouraging him or her just to save the cost of feeding themselves in order to spend the money on booze, well I suppose better for them to have the money to pay for it rather than to have no money and steal from the local small shopkeeper.

There is a difference between "soup runs" done in the open and "soup kitchens" done in a building. "Soup kitchens" can offer a lot more pastoral care, a little counselling, referral to more specialised services, they can also have better trained staff on hand. Our soup run simply feeds, and depending on who is feeding that night might do a bare minimum of referral.

The advantage it has over the a "soup kitchen" is that it is cheap, we do it for £15 a night, which the parish pays, plus any treats helpers might bring. The whole thing is rather impromptu, people arrive wanting food, just before 7pm, those with food arrive at 7pm, food and drink is distributed and by 7.30pm it is done.
It is popular.
One of the reasons is that many homeless people have a real aversion to being enclosed in a building, or faced with an interrogation they can't escape. They preferr being in the open, there are no hoops to jump through, helpers might get to know someone's name, or at least the name they give, even their life story, but there is no form filling, no registration, no hassle, no expectation of interaction. So many of those who come have a phobia of any invasion of privacy, they don't want to be sucked into a process that is going to get them off the street, or anywhere else.
They often fear a loss of the little control they have over their lives. Some, on their way "down" or "up" don't want to even tell other people or even themselves they are in need of food. Others don't want involvement with other homeless or needy people, who can be quite frightening. At our soup run they can, if they wish, merely be on a nodding acquaintanceship with other people in need.

Thursday, March 03, 2011

Shahbaz Bhatti

The more I find out about Shahbaz Bhatti, the murdered Pakistani Minorities Minister, the more impressed I am.

'I only want a place at the feet of Jesus. I want my life, my character, my actions to speak for me and say that I am a follower of Jesus Christ'.


Fr Sean Coyle, the Colomban Missionary working in the Philipines sent me link to a post on his blog.

Brighton Rock

I am feeling guilty about not mentioning the new film Brighton Rock; directed by Rowan Joffe, starring Sam Riley etc. I haven't seen it yet but most of the action of the book takes place in my parish, so I am feeling a bit guilty. Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith wrote this review for Oremus, Westminster Cathedral's excellent magazine, (why is it so much excellence surrounds the Cathedral?) and said I might use it, to advertise Oremus.
Someone who had seen the film asked me if Brighton had change: I suspect not much.


Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock, which first appeared in 1938, remains the archetypal Catholic novel. Any discussion of the genre will always have some reference to the work. Ten years later, the book was made into a film, now available on DVD, which is still worth watching, and is usually described as a masterpiece of British cinema. Directed by John Boulting, the script was by Terence Rattigan and Graham Greene, with the part of the gangster Pinkie taken by Richard Attenborough. Thus, in filming Brighton Rock today, Rowan Joffe is working in the shadow not only of a great novel, but also of a great film. This represents a double challenge, and most critics seem to think he has not quite risen to it. However, one begs to disagree: Joffe’s version is a stunning evocation of Greeneland, even if it does have some minor flaws.

The current film improves on the book by streamlining the plot. The bent and alcoholic lawyer Prewitt is excised, and the rather creaky plot device of Kolly Kibber and his cards is likewise removed. Thus we have a simpler and faster moving tale. Kite is murdered by Colleoni’s mob; Pinkie, aged seventeen, hitherto a “runner” in Kite’s gang, murders Hale in revenge. Ida Arnold, who is a friend of Hale’s, as well as being the manageress of the café where the girl Rose works, determines to bring Hale’s murderer to justice – and it is Rose, the waitress, who has the crucial evidence that can hang Pinkie. Rose finds herself in a tug of war between Pinkie and his nemesis Ida.

The plot represents a pretty standard sort of gangster thriller; and indeed one could object to the plot engine (of which the film makes relatively little, but which dominates the book) that Pinkie must marry Rose in order to stop her giving evidence against him. But the real interest, even though the gangster violence is conveyed with great and terrifying panache, is in the characterisation. Pinkie, ably played by Sam Riley, who looks rather like Leonardo di Caprio, is a chillingly unattractive lost soul, and he knows it. “Those atheists, they don’t know nothing,” he says, in a line lifted straight from the novel. And Riley’s performance is a convincing picture of damnation in action. Pinkie is not amoral, but rather immoral – someone who knows that his actions are wrong, but who is powerless to repent: a damned soul. Riley is mesmerising in the role.

As he sits with Rose (a wonderful performance by Andrea Riseborough) in a depressing café, he thoughtlessly pinches the skin on her hand. “You can go on doing that, if you like,” she says. Rose’s motivation is problematic, both in the novel and the earlier film, but here the broad hint is that she is a girl who wants to be mistreated, a masochist. This damaged young woman drifts naturally towards Pinkie, a stranger to love, certainly frigid, and quite possibly, if the photograph of him and Kite is anything to go by, a homosexual.

If this sounds unutterably bleak, well, it is, and it is meant to be. And this is precisely the point the film is trying to make: the atheists have got it wrong. Pinkie and Rose are what life is like. Ida Arnold, played by Helen Mirren, a blowsy good time girl, who is not averse to a bottle of champagne, as well as the usual port and lemon, shared with a “gentleman friend”, Ida, who stands for sex, and fun, and drink, and some sort of worldly justice, really has no idea about the true nature of the world. But Pinkie and Rose do know what life is about – it is a game that has the highest possible stakes. Rose may not be over bright, but she does know more of human existence than Ida ever will.

But how Catholic a film is this? In the end, horrible as Pinkie is, there is a certain tragic splendour to him and Rose which Ida and her sidekick Corkery (played by John Hurt) totally lack. This movie belongs to the young people. Atheists will hate this film; they will try and explain the diabolical Pinkie away as some sort of social misfit, and Rose as a product of domestic abuse and the slums; well, they are all that. But there is an added and transformative element to them: Pinkie is more than just bad, he is evil – a concept that atheism cannot really handle, any more than it can explain saintliness. In the end, Pinkie, as much as any saint, though for a diametrically opposed reason, compels you to belief in God. “Those atheists, they don’t know nothing” – and this superb film proves it.

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy BRITISH PROVINCE

Some of us have been talking about setting up a British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, now one has been set up under the patronage of Saint Gregory the Great.
Looking at the profile of the younger priests of my own diocese and others in the South, I think this might appeal, its objects are:
Fidelity to Sacred Scripture, Magisterium, the Councils and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and to the inspirations, initiatives of the Holy Father.
Formation in human, spiritual, doctrinal aspects of the Priesthood, and assistance in the Priestly ministry of teaching, sanctifying and governing.
Fraternity in mutual support and encouragement of Priestly life and ideals by conferences, local chapters, study, Retreats and publications.
To join send £20 to CCB, St Mary Magdalen's Presbytery, 61 North Worple Way, Mortlake, London SW14 8PR, seminarians and vopwed religious can belong free
Join if you want to come to the next Chapter Meeting which is:

Tuesday 29th March 2011
in St Joseph's Pastoral Centre New Malden KT3 3QW
Fr Aidan Nicols OP will speak on
Priesthood and the Conversion of England
coffee 10.45am - Conference begins at 11.15am with Benediction at 1pm and lunch at 1.30pm

The Convenors are Fr Peter Edwards, Fr Marcus Holden & Fr Richard Whinder.

The Confraternity started in Australia by some younger priests where it seemed to have a significant effect in changing to the direction of the Church there, it has spread to the US and now, thank God, to the UK. At the moment its activities are based in the Southwark Diocese but local chapters are being organised in the Midlands, Northern, Western and other areas.
Although the Southern District Chapter meetings are in South London it is hoped a more central location will be found.
I am sure if lay people want to assist financially with printing and postage and other expenses or just to show support donations would be very welcome.
I am sure those joining the Ordinariate would be most welcome too.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Nuncio presents his credentials

The new Apostolic Nuncio to Great Britain, Archbishop Antonio Mennini, today presented his diplomatic papers to the Queen.
The Herald links to a rather interesting flickr set of his carriage journey from Westminster Cathedral to the Palace.

World Youth Day - Cut Price Deal

The Latin Mass Society are offering cut priced deal for World Youth Day.
Instead of paying €250, you will need to pay only £95 if you go through Juventutem - sounds good!

Well done Joe Shaw.

Pope: When was the Last Supper?

I haven't read Jesus of Nazareth Part II but the great Fr Z has and so has Amy Welbourn, Amy gives quite a few quotes especially dealing with the day on which Jesus celebrated the Last Supper, which of course affects our understanding of the Mass.
The Synoptic Gospels present the Last Supper as the celebration of the old Passover on the 14th of Nissan, John on the other hand has Jesus being crucified, whilst they lambs were being slain in the Temple in preparation for Passover. According to the quotes Amy presents the Pope comes down in favour of John's chronology which underlines that the Mass is, putting it crudely, more re-presentation of the Paschal Sacrifice than meal.
Yes, I know we know that, but for many the sacrificial nature of the Mass is obscured and the Meal dominates.
One thing emerges clearly from the entire tradition: essentially, this farewell meal was not the old Passover,
but the new one, which Jesus accomplished in this context. Even though the meal that Jesus shared with the
Twelve was not a Passover meal according to the ritual prescriptions of Judaism, nevertheless, in retrospect, the inner connection of the whole event with Jesus’ death and Resurrection stood out clearly. It was Jesus’ Passover. And in this sense he both did and did not celebrate the Passover: the old rituals could not be carried out—when their time came, Jesus had already died. But he had given himself, and thus he had truly celebrated the Passover with them. The old was not abolished; it was simply brought to its full meaning.
The earliest evidence for this unified view of the new and the old, providing a new explanation of the Passover character of Jesus’ meal in terms of his death and Resurrection, is found in Saint Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians: “Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be new dough, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Paschal Lamb, has been sacrificed” (5:7; cf. Meier, A Marginal Jew I, pp. 429–30). As in Mark 14:1, so here the first day of Unleavened Bread and the Passover follow in rapid succession, but the older ritual understanding is transformed into a Christological and existential interpretation. Unleavened bread must now refer to Christians themselves, who are freed from sin by the addition of yeast. But the sacrificial lamb is Christ. Here Paul is in complete harmony with John’s presentation of events. For him the death and Resurrection of Christ have become the Passover that endures.

On this basis one can understand how it was that very early on, Jesus’ Last Supper—which includes not only a prophecy, but a real anticipation of the Cross and Resurrection in the eucharistic gifts—was regarded as a Passover: as his Passover. And so it was.

Visual Theology

I have been back a couple of days, but I have been busy. The weather was awful, rain and even hail but just look at the interiors of some of the churches, there is the wonderful chapel in the Norman Capella Palatina encrusted with twelf century mosaics from just outside you can take a 40 minute bus ride up into the hills to the fabulous Monreale  Cathedral, it really is glorious.
I tried to imagine the effect of saying Mass under the wonderful apse with the massive Pantocrater looking down on the offering. It was a Church designed to inspire awe and wonder.
In the city there was another rather beautiful Church which I didn't know about La Martorana, again with 12th Century mosaics. There I found a rather lovely Nativity and Dormition juxtaposed on the vault of an arch, fascinating visual theology.
And there was amusing Baroque too, here is Jonah and the whale from S. Catarina.