Saturday, June 29, 2013

"United in our differences: this is the way of Jesus!"


What does this mean? "United in our differences: this is the way of Jesus!"

It is from Pope Francis' homily this morning at the "Pallium Mass", like much of what he says there is often a great deal of ambiguity. All Popes, I am told right back to the 3rd century, have removed their own shoes, on taking on their sacred office and put on Peter's shoes, the shoes of their predecessors, Francis deliberately chose to abandon this highly symbolic and scriptural act. We have become accustomed to Pope's proclaiming the faith and expecting others to unite themselves to that that which is proclaimed, is Pope Francis now intending to extend the concept of "legitimate diversity".

Is he saying that rather than teaching doctrine we should be simply trying to teach a deep relationship with Jesus Christ; that doctrine is unimportant, that unity is more important than the content of believe?
Many would say that this is essence of contemporary Christianity, simply a relationship. For many Bishops that is extremely attractive form of Catholicism, it means that Catholicism is simply somehow a quasi-political hodge-podge of social doctrines, of being "good" but actually ultimately denying the Trinity, which can contain both the pro- and anti-, supporters of gay marriage and their opponents or supporters of abortion and there opponents, right through to supporters of the Divinity of Christ and their opponents. It is what some would call Catholicism-Lite.

In reality that is the Church of today, and it is something which the vast majority of Bishops seem happy to go along with. It is certainly one reading of such VII documents as Gaudium et Spes. In Francis own teaching he seems to give a vision of what Christianity offers but is quite resistant to condemning that which is contrary to it. Like many Pastors we can be  pro-life but never condemned abortion or those who propose, pro-marriage but only quietly condemn those who attack it.

Are we being given a new understanding of Catholicism or just stating what is or have I got the wrong end of the stick?
Certainly Francis is much more popular than his predecessor who was presented as the condemning "rottweiller".

Here is the context of the phrase, the whole sermon can be found here: 
To confirm in unity. Here I would like to reflect for a moment on the rite which we have carried out. The pallium is a symbol of communion with the Successor of Peter, “the lasting and visible source and foundation of the unity both of faith and of communion” (Lumen Gentium, 18). And your presence today, dear brothers, is the sign that the Church’s communion does not mean uniformity. The Second Vatican Council, in speaking of the hierarchical structure of the Church, states that the Lord “established the apostles as college or permanent assembly, at the head of which he placed Peter, chosen from their number” (ibid., 19). And it continues, “this college, in so far as it is composed of many members, is the expression of the variety and universality of the people of God” (ibid., 22). In the Church, variety, which is itself a great treasure, is always grounded in the harmony of unity, like a great mosaic in which every small piece joins with others as part of God’s one great plan. This should inspire us to work always to overcome every conflict which wounds the body of the Church. United in our differences: this is the way of Jesus! The pallium, while being a sign of communion with the Bishop of Rome and with the universal church, also commits each of you to being a servant of communion.


Clodovis Boff on Liberation Theology

Archbishop Mueller has spoken recently about Liberation Theology, he spoke in rather precise terms, it wasn't exactly an endorsement but a call for a acceptance of it as a significant strand in 20th century theology. In many ways Liberation Theology has moved away from the Marxism of Gustavo Gutierrez and Leonardo Boff its founders. It was this that was condemned in the CDF documents, Libertatis Nuncio (1984) and Libertatis Conscientia (1986), not the idea of 'Christ the Liberator' or even 'Christ who brings Good News to the poor', this is after all a keynote of Papa Bergoglio's morning homilies. The CDF's concern was the replacement of the Gospels with the Communism.
Clodovis Boff rather famously broke with his brother Leonardo some years ago Eponymous Flower has a short piece on Liberation Theology and carries this quote from him: 
"In the two documents published by Cardinal Ratzinger, he defended the original core of liberation theology: the commitment to the poor because of the faith. At the same time he criticized the Marxist influence. The Church can't do this. It's not like a civil society where people can say what they want. We are tied to a belief and if someone professes another faith, he closes himself from the Church. From the outset, it was clear the importance was to make Christ the foundation of all theology. In the hegemonic discourse of liberation theology, however, I have noticed that faith in Christ only appeared in the background. The anonymous Christianity of Karl Rahner was a great excuse to neglect Christ, prayer, the sacraments and the mission in which the focus was only on the change of social structures. "

Friday, June 28, 2013

Enculturalisation?


I have used a white chasuble for the funeral of a Chinese man, I can understand an Indian prostrating instead of just genuflecting, or a Burmese crawling on his belly before the Blessed Sacrament, that is enculturalisation... but a dead polar bear?
This is obviously an episcopal ordination, presumably in Alaska or Canada. The rubrics do not call for a rug or carpet but speak about prostrating on the floor, certainly no mention of dead wildlife.
Do you think the candidate shot it, perhaps on his pre-ordination retreat/hunting trip, there is 'manliness' for you.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

The Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelisation: Tracey Rowland

Photo: Some highlights from Prof. Tracey Rowland’s address: “The Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelisation”, June 26th, 2013: -

“I want to argue that the usus antiquior is an antidote to the ruthless attacks on memory and tradition and high culture, typical of the culture of modernity, and that it satisfies the desire of the post-modern generations to be embedded within a coherent, non-fragmented tradition that is open to the transcendent.”

“The project of the 1960s generation was one of transposing a high sacral language into the vernacular of a low mundane culture, with the result that something sacred became more mundane, and when the sacred becomes mundane, it becomes boring.”

“In wrapping the faith in the forms of the contemporary culture and generally correlating the liturgy to the norms of the mass culture, the 1960s generation of pastoral strategists unwittingly fostered a crisis in liturgical theory and practice.”

“[The 1960s generation] dismantled a high Catholic culture by removing its cornerstone and they left subsequent generations of Catholics in a state of cultural poverty, confusion and boredom.”
“A Catholic who is ignorant of [the usus antiquior] is like a student who majors in English literature but is unfamiliar with Shakespeare.”

“It may be argued that [the] usus antiquior was the one thing that could bring the warring European tribes [of the 20th century] together.”

“[Benedict XVI] compared the pastoral strategy of bringing God down to the level of the people with the Hebrew’s worship of the golden calf and he described this practice as nothing less than a form of apostasy.”

“It would be a major advance if those responsible for liturgical decisions could at least get the message that modernity has not been fashionable since the 1960s.”

“Elements of Catholic culture which were suppressed by the 1960s generation of pastoral leaders are being rediscovered by younger Catholics who treat them like treasures found in their grandmother’s attic.”

“Catholics of the post-modern generations want to know how the Church looked, how the faith was practiced, when there was a coherent Catholic culture.”

“The whole structure of the usus antiquior engenders a deeper sense that there is a sacrifice, not a mere meal… There is really no greater antidote to secularism and what Pope Francis calls a ‘self-referential Christianity’ than a reflection on martyrdom and the sacrifice of Calvary and the Roman Canon sustains a person’s reflection on this reality.”

In an era when globalisation is regarded as a good thing and governments spend millions of dollars of tax-payers’ money to keep alive the memory of minority languages and pre-modern social practices like Morris dancing, the Church should not be ashamed of her own cultural treasures.”

“The usus antiquior should be a standard element of the cultural capital of all Latin Rite Catholics since is so effectively resists secularism and satisfies the post-modern hunger for coherent order, beauty and an experience of self-transcendence.”

“I believe that the proponents of the usus antiquior are often their own worst enemies and foster practices and attitudes which deter many Catholics from attending Masses according to this Form.”

“The obsession with dissecting every minute detail of the event is a symptom of what Joseph Ratzinger called the problem of aestheticism.”

“If pastoral pragmatism and its inherent philistinism is a problem at one end of the spectrum, aestheticism seems to be the problem at the other end of the spectrum.”

“Ordinary Catholics do not want to feel as though in attending the usus antiquior they are making a political stand against the Second Vatican Council.”

“The more [ordinary] people feel as though a whole raft of theo-political baggage comes with attendance at the usus antiquior Masses, the less likely they are to avail themselves of the opportunity to attend them.”

“To evangelise post-modern people [the Christian narrative] has to appear to be something starkly different from the secular culture they imbibe which is a culture parasitic upon the Christian tradition but completely decadent.”

I am told that one of the high points of the Sacra Liturgia Conference has been from the Australian academic Prof. Tracey Rowland’s address: “The Usus Antiquior and the New Evangelisation”. Below are just notes, I hope someone will make transcripts of the actual papers available.

“I want to argue that the usus antiquior is an antidote to the ruthless attacks on memory and tradition and high culture, typical of the culture of modernity, and that it satisfies the desire of the post-modern generations to be embedded within a coherent, non-fragmented tradition that is open to the transcendent.”
“The project of the 1960s generation was one of transposing a high sacral language into the vernacular of a low mundane culture, with the result that something sacred became more mundane, and when the sacred becomes mundane, it becomes boring.”
“In wrapping the faith in the forms of the contemporary culture and generally correlating the liturgy to the norms of the mass culture, the 1960s generation of pastoral strategists unwittingly fostered a crisis in liturgical theory and practice.”
“[The 1960s generation] dismantled a high Catholic culture by removing its cornerstone and they left subsequent generations of Catholics in a state of cultural poverty, confusion and boredom.”
“A Catholic who is ignorant of [the usus antiquior] is like a student who majors in English literature but is unfamiliar with Shakespeare.”
“It may be argued that [the] usus antiquior was the one thing that could bring the warring European tribes [of the 20th century] together.”
“[Benedict XVI] compared the pastoral strategy of bringing God down to the level of the people with the Hebrew’s worship of the golden calf and he described this practice as nothing less than a form of apostasy.”
“It would be a major advance if those responsible for liturgical decisions could at least get the message that modernity has not been fashionable since the 1960s.”
“Elements of Catholic culture which were suppressed by the 1960s generation of pastoral leaders are being rediscovered by younger Catholics who treat them like treasures found in their grandmother’s attic.”
“Catholics of the post-modern generations want to know how the Church looked, how the faith was practiced, when there was a coherent Catholic culture.”
“The whole structure of the usus antiquior engenders a deeper sense that there is a sacrifice, not a mere meal… There is really no greater antidote to secularism and what Pope Francis calls a ‘self-referential Christianity’ than a reflection on martyrdom and the sacrifice of Calvary and the Roman Canon sustains a person’s reflection on this reality.”
In an era when globalisation is regarded as a good thing and governments spend millions of dollars of tax-payers’ money to keep alive the memory of minority languages and pre-modern social practices like Morris dancing, the Church should not be ashamed of her own cultural treasures.”
“The usus antiquior should be a standard element of the cultural capital of all Latin Rite Catholics since is so effectively resists secularism and satisfies the post-modern hunger for coherent order, beauty and an experience of self-transcendence.”
“I believe that the proponents of the usus antiquior are often their own worst enemies and foster practices and attitudes which deter many Catholics from attending Masses according to this Form.”
“The obsession with dissecting every minute detail of the event is a symptom of what Joseph Ratzinger called the problem of aestheticism.”
“If pastoral pragmatism and its inherent philistinism is a problem at one end of the spectrum, aestheticism seems to be the problem at the other end of the spectrum.”
“Ordinary Catholics do not want to feel as though in attending the usus antiquior they are making a political stand against the Second Vatican Council.”
“The more [ordinary] people feel as though a whole raft of theo-political baggage comes with attendance at the usus antiquior Masses, the less likely they are to avail themselves of the opportunity to attend them.”
“To evangelise post-modern people [the Christian narrative] has to appear to be something starkly different from the secular culture they imbibe which is a culture parasitic upon the Christian tradition but completely decadent.”
source
I understand Cardinal Ranjith has made similar comments.

Michael Vorris Announces a Roman Scandal



Whilst Michael Vorris makes these claims Cardinal Agostino Vallini, the Vicar of Rome denies the the stories as libellous and slanderous.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Getting Cardinal Heenan Right


Rorate Caeli is one of my regular reads, and I would recommend it. There is a very good article here, which I commend to you to read by Fr. Richard G. Cipolla, unfortunately Fr Cipola falls into a trap I fell into myself sometime ago and quotes Cardinal Heenan, who having witnessed the first Novus Ordo Mass in the Sistine Chapel says:
At home, it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday we would soon be left with a congregation of women and children.
Which sounds fine - Heenan was against the Novus Ordo, well, no because in his next sentence he goes on to say:
Our people love the Mass, but it is Low Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attached. 
It is "psalm-singing and other musical embellishmemts" he objects to. This immediately followed by a plea for pastoral experience to be listened to by the Consillium.
I humbly suggest that the Consilium look at its members and advisers to make sure that the number of those who live in seminaries and religious communities does not exceed the numbers of those with pastoral  experience among the people in ordinary parishes.
Fr Cipola could have cited plenty of other Heenan references to his preference for the Traditional Liturgy especially in his correspondence with Evelyn Waugh, but this intervention is being misused here.
I left a comment to this effect on Rorate but it has not been published.

We cannot win battles on mistaken premises - it compromises Truth and that is ultimately our concern, as well as academic accuracy. We look foolish and do no-one a service if we bend the facts for our own ends.
However as I say the article itself has much to commend it, so do read it.

For the sake of clarity, and to answer some of the comments here is the whole of the Cardinal's intervention:
“Like all the bishops I offer my sincere thanks to the Consilium. Its members have worked well and have done their best. I cannot help wondering, however, if the Consilium as at present constituted can meet the needs of our times. For the liturgy is not primarily an academic or cultural question. It is above all a pastoral matter, for it concerns the spiritual lives of our faithful. I do not know the names of the members of the Consilium or, even more important, the names of their consultors. But after studying the so called Normative Mass it was clear to me that few of them can have been parish priests. I cannot think that anyone with pastoral experience would have regarded the sung Mass as being of first importance.
At home it is not only women and children but also fathers of families and young men who come regularly to Mass. If we were to offer them the kind of ceremony we saw yesterday in the Sistine Chapel [a demonstration of the Normative Mass] we would soon be left with a congregation mostly of women and children. Our people love the Mass, but it is Low Mass without psalm-singing and other musical embellishments to which they are chiefly attached. I humbly suggest that the Consilium look at its members and advisers to make sure that the number of those who live in seminaries and religious communities does not exceed the numbers of those with pastoral  experience among the people in ordinary parishes.
Here are a few points which solely for the sake of time - since only five minutes are allowed for comments - must be put so shortly as to sound brusque.
1. The rule of prayer is the rule of faith. If there is to be more emphasis in the Mass on Bible readings than on Eucharistic prayer, the faith of both clergy and people will be weakened.
2. There is more need than ever today to stress the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament. No change in the Mass should be made which might seem to throw doubt on this doctrine.
3. Many bishops in this Synod have spoken of the need of coming to the rescue of the faithful grown restless and disturbed on account of too frequent changes in the Mass. I must therefore ask what attitude the Consilium wlll take to these warnings from the pastors of the Church? I confess in all seriousness that I am uneasy lest the liturgists say "These bishops know nothing about liturgy." It would be tragic if after the bishops have gone home no notice were to be taken of their opinions.
4. In my diocese of Westminster - and in several English dioceses - the rule is that at least one Mass each Sunday must be celebrated in Latin. It would be a great help if the Consilium were to tell the whole Church how the Latin tongue can be preserved. If the Church is to remain truly the CatholicChurch it is essential to keep a universal tongue.”   Thanks to Ttony 

Abstracts of Sacra Liturgia for Day 2

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Music of the Liturgy and New Evangelization

By Gabriel M. Steinschulte

Music as non-verbal communication was part of humanity since its beginnings; celebrating or mourning without music is unthinkable. Every text that is connected to music is linked to the effects of its music. That is the reason why faith and music correspond to each other according to the old proverb lex credendi – lex orandi, as it is also shown throughout Church history.

Whoever wants a New Evangelization to happen, needs to take on a new and adequate musical e_xpression, since the modern expression of music seems to be linked to a de-evangelization and a musical relativism. The history of the earlier Church can serve as an example for this development.

We need to return to the wise principles of the Second Vatican Council, to its texts and given priorities, not to the alleged intentions. The New Evangelization with its respective music presupposes a chance for a different consciousness in the formerly Christian regions of the secularized West, a re-thinking for all those who are co-responsible for the modern state of things.

There is a need for a new offensive in the area of education regarding musica sacra, especially for all priests and religious in their theological, historical, ethnological, psychological and obviously artistic formation: Cantare amantis est (St. Augustine).
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Ars Celebrandi in the Sacred Liturgy

By Most Rev. Peter J. Elliott

Abstract

The Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament takes absolute priority over the liturgy. This principle derived from Sacramentum Caritatis, covers the ars celebrandi, qualified by Pope Benedict XVI as “the proper celebration of the liturgy”. However a Cartesian approach separating externals from inner spirit undermines the integration of a_ction and priestly interiority. Practice and experience must be based on understanding and knowledge, both of the whole rite and its details. The continuity of our tradition spans both ordinary and extraordinary forms when the ars celebrandi is understood as a craft that is passed on across generations. The priest should be a good liturgical craftsman, an artisan of the worship of God. Reflecting on the Christian East highlights problems in the West, derived from the Enlightenment: didacticism, idealism and theatricality. Requiring beauty in the setting for liturgy and all its details supports the ars celebrandi, which has a strong pastoral and evangelistic dimension.

Responding to the Synod on the Eucharist in his Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis, Pope Benedict continued the eucharistic project that characterized the last years of Blessed John Paul II. I believe that Sacramentum Caritatis, may be expressed in a guiding principle: the Eucharist as Sacrifice and Sacrament takes absolute priority over the liturgy. This provides a timely corrective to an understanding of “liturgy” in the Western Christian traditions, that is, through a rather Cartesian distinction between the visible “externals” (rites, rituals, ceremonies, music, symbols, etc.) and the inner spirit of worship.

Having reflected on the Eucharistic Mystery in the opening chapters of Sacramentum Caritatis, the Pope emeritus developed the liturgical dimension of the Eucharist around action, hence the expression ars celebrandi, meaning the “art of celebrating” or, as he qualified it, “the art of proper celebration”. As an auditor at the 2005 Synod I heard bishops welcoming these words.

Under the heading of the ars celebrandi he presented the bishop as liturgist: “The bishop, celebrant par excellence”, the one whose example, particularly in his cathedral, sets the tone and standard for the liturgies of a particular Church.2 He repeated this message in an allocution to French Bishops.

In Sacramentum Caritatis the Pope emeritus called for respect for the rites handed to us by the Church, so “The ars celebrandi is the fruit of faithful adherence to the liturgical norms in all their richness…..” That theme was already evident in his writings as cardinal. The liturgy is “given” to us, a gift of God, a gift of the Church. Moreover God gathers us for worship; we do not gather ourselves for some activity we control or even manipulate. While the liturgy is deeply influenced by human cultures it is not subject to culture.

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Professor Tracey Rowland
Abstract
This paper will examine the value of the Usus Antiquior as an antidote to the sterile rationalism of the culture of modernity and as at least a partial answer to the hunger of the post-modern generations for an immersion in a liturgical tradition which is oriented to God and eternity. If Christianity is the moment when the now meets the forever, the Usus Antiquior offers an especially intense participation in that moment. The author begins from the premise of Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that the Extraordinary and Ordinary Forms of the Roman Rite should be mutually enriching, and seeks to highlight the richest elements of the Usus Antiquior. In so doing reference will be made to the seminal work by Catherine Pickstock – After Writing: On the Liturgical Consummation of Philosophy.

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The Early Christian Altar – Lessons for Today
Msgr. Stefan Heid
With its liturgical reform and the necessary changes, the Second Vatican Council wanted to bring the sacred space of the church back to the norma patrum of the early Christian ideal. That is the reason why in the aftermath of the Council seemingly definite results in the study of the Fathers and research into Christian archeology gained great importance. 
Along these lines also the altar was in the center of attention; it was now supposed to stand freely. Demand arose for a celebration versus populum. It was claimed that Christianity did not use an altar, but only profane dining tables for the Eucharist. The foundations for these demands and thesis are to be examined and critically analyzed using the norma patrum. A central role is taken by the comparison of “table” and “altar”. 

The thesis is that already St Paul used a sacred table or altar for the supper of the Lord, which was analogical to the holy altars of antiquity. Christians developed their own type of altar from this sacred table, which seemed to be what was best for the sacrifice and which cannot be derived in form or in function from an ancient dining table.

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The Sacred Liturgy as the Foundation of Religious Life
Abbot Jean-Charles Nault OSB
The specific practice of monastic liturgy can help us to grasp better the importance of liturgy in all evangelisation. The temptation to “instrumentalise” liturgy is still a reality. But is it not precisely the fact that it “has no use” that it may uncover itself to be of the greatest “utility” in the new evangelisation?
 Starting from what the liturgy evokes as the realisation of the Pascal Mystery, and from the link that can be made between the rites of the monastic profession and those of the Christian initiation, this investigation wishes to expose how baptism, as a participation in the Pascal Mystery, introduces the baptised individual to a certain dependence towards God, a dependence which is lived in the long term and is the place where one accepts salvation as pure grace.

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The Sacred Liturgy and the New Communities
Bishop Marc Aillet
In this talk on the sacred liturgy and the new communities, I will first of all examine the riches of these new communities that were founded in the wake of Vatican II and the impact that they had. At a turbulent time in the Church’s history they were able to preserve certain practices that were being disregarded and used them in their successful apostolate. Since the liturgy is such an essential part of a successful evangelisation, I will then tackle the liturgical question and will try and to give some indications that may enrich still more the life of these new communities and their apostolate. The final part will conclude with some considerations on the necessity of interior renewal not only for these communities but also for us all.

Emergency Meeting of Curia Cardinals


Pope Francis "to broom" Cardinals?

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Sacra Liturgia Conference: Opening Address


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I have been sent the opening address of Bishop Dominiqe Rey to the  Sacra Litugia Conference in Rome, which I would very much have liked to have attended.

Your Eminences, Your Excellencies, dear friends: -
It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Pontifical University, Santa Croce for Sacra Liturgia 2013.
We have come together from more than 35 countries throughout the world. Welcome!
Our work has already begun with the solemn celebration of Vespers in the Basilica of St Apollinare.
This was a very deliberate act, because before we speak about the Sacred Liturgy we must be immersed in the liturgical life of the Church.
The reality of the liturgy, into which we are initiated at the moment of our Baptism, precedes any study of the liturgy.
To be liturgical comes first.
To talk about the liturgy comes second.
But it is important to talk about and study the question of the liturgy! Here, in the aula magna, we shall listen to the contributions of many experts and leaders in this field.
I am particularly grateful to Their Eminences Cardinals Ranjith and Burke, and to my brother bishops, for giving of their time to teach us.
So too, I wish to thank their Eminences Cardinal Canizares and Brandmueller who will celebrate Holy Mass for us, and preach.
And I thank all our speakers, especially those who have travelled far, for coming to share their expertise and insights with us.
Sacra Liturgia 2013 was inspired by the liturgical teaching and example of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.
Pope Benedict taught us the importance of the ars celebrandi, reminding us that “everything related to the Eucharist should be marked by beauty” (Sacramentum Caritatis n. 41).
He taught us that there needs to be no opposition between the older and newer forms of the Roman rite – that both have their rightful place in the Church of the New Evangelisation.
He taught us that within the embrace of Catholic unity, other liturgical traditions can be welcomed as “precious gifts” and “treasures to be shared” (cf. Anglicanorum Cœtibus, § 5, III); for that reason I am particularly delighted that the Ordinary of the Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham, Msgr Keith Newton, will be present with us.
I wish this conference to be a tribute to the liturgical vision and achievements of our beloved Emeritus Bishop of Rome, Benedict XVI: may God reward him for all he has given us and grant him health and long life!
Pope Benedict initiated the Year of Faith to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council during which we are meeting.
Our Holy Father, Pope Francis, has continued this initiative.
From the outset it was my wish that we should meet here in Rome, during this Year of Faith, so as to be close to Peter, to manifest our communion with him, and to pray with him on the great feast of Saints Peter and Paul.
That we have the opportunity to do this with our new Holy Father is a providential blessing.
Fifty years ago, in June 1963, the first session of the Second Vatican Council had concluded.
Blessed John XXIII had just been succeeded by the Venerable Paul VI, who continued the work of the Council. It was Paul VI who promulgated its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium, on December 4th 1963, at the end of the Council’s second session.
Fifty years later we need to look again at Sacrosanctum Concilium.
The liturgical reform which followed the Constitution’s promulgation gave us much of value, especially in its promotion of participation in the liturgy.
But it also caused controversy, both in its official reforms, in its translation into the vernacular languages, and in its varied local implementations.
We need to recognise, as did Blessed John Paul II, that there have been both “lights” and “shadows” in the liturgical life of the Church in the past 50 years (cf. Ecclesia de Eucharistia, n. 10).
We need to celebrate the legitimate progress that has been made. We need to consider the lessons that the mistakes made during these fifty years teach us.
We need to look again at the liturgical Constitution and re-discover its true meaning. Perhaps we need to correct some practices or recover some things that we have lost through what Cardinal Ratzinger called a “reform of the reform”?
Perhaps there are areas in which that “mutual enrichment” spoken of by Benedict XVI is necessary?
Above all, we need to promote authentic liturgical renewal in all its Catholic richness and diversity.
We need to promote the Sacred Liturgy celebrated as the Church gives it to us, as the Fathers and Popes of the Second Vatican Council desired.
This must not be dismissed as a marginal concern.
The liturgy is not a peripheral matter for the Church. As Cardinal Ratzinger wrote in 1997: “the true celebration of the Sacred Liturgy is the centre of any renewal of the Church whatever.”[1]
And as Sacrosanctum Concilium teaches us, the Sacred Liturgy is the ‘culmen et fons,’ the source and the summit, of the life and mission of the whole Church (cf. n. 10).
My friends, the Sacred Liturgy is not a hobby for specialists.
It is central to all our endeavours as disciples of Jesus Christ.
This profound reality cannot be over emphasised.
We must recognise the primacy of grace in our Christian life and work, and we must respect the reality that in this life the optimal encounter with Christ is in the Sacred Liturgy.
As a bishop it is my duty to do all I can to promote the New Evangelisation initiated by Blessed John Paul II.
Here, I wish to say very clearly that the New Evangelisation must be founded on the faithful and fruitful celebration of the Sacred Liturgy as given to us by the Church in her tradition – Western and Eastern.
Why?
Because it is in the Sacred Liturgy that we encounter the saving a_ction of Jesus Christ in his Church today in a manner in which we encounter it nowhere else.
In the liturgy Christ touches us, nourishes us and heals us.
He strengthens us and orders us with particular graces.
When we pray liturgically we do so in communion with the whole Church, present, absent, living or dead.
Yes, there are other good and valuable spiritual practices, but none enjoys the objectivity and singular efficacy of the Sacred Liturgy (cf. Sacrosanctum Concilium, n. 7).
The New Evangelisation is not an idea or a program: it is a demand that each of us comes to know the person of Christ more profoundly and, by doing so, become more able to lead others to him.
The only way to begin this is through the Sacred Liturgy, and if the liturgy is somehow not right, or I am not properly prepared, this encounter with Christ will be impeded, the New Evangelisation will suffer.
That is why our celebration of the liturgy is so important.
We must maximise, not limit, the action of Christ in the liturgy.
If I change or re-create the Church’s liturgy according to my own wishes or a subjective ideology, how can I be sure that what I am doing is truly His work?
Whereas, if I faithfully celebrate that which the Church has given to us – and celebrate it as beautifully as possible – I am assured that I am a servant of Christ’s action, a minister of His sacred mysteries, not an obstacle in his path (cf. Mt 16:23).
Each of us, ordained ministers, religious and lay men and women, are called to this fidelity and respect for Christ, for His Church and for her liturgical rites.
And that is why liturgical formation is crucial.
I must obtain ‘from within’ as it were, the conviction that Christ is indeed at work in the Church’s sacred rites.
I must immerse myself in this privileged dynamic and discover its ways. This will bring me to the person of Jesus Christ again and again.
And this will enable me to bring Christ to others.
Liturgical formation, liturgical celebration and the mission of the Church: all three are intrinsically related.
That is why we are here: to consider this relationship and to examine its meaning and importance for the Church at the beginning of the twenty-first century.
If we do this well, we will lay very sound foundations for the New Evangelisation indeed.
It would be impossible for Sacra Liturgia 2013 to take place without the support of many people.
I am grateful to the Rector of the beautiful Basilica of St Apollinare, Msgr Pedro Huidobro, for welcoming us.
I am profoundly grateful to our many sponsors for their material help: The Knights of Columbus, Ignatius Press, CIEL UK, Granda, The Cardinal Newman Society, Human Life International, De Montfort Music, Arte Poli, Una Voce International, Ars Sacra, La Nef, Libreria Leoniana, and Editions Artège.
For the welcome we have been given here at the Pontifical University Santa Croce and for the use of their excellent facilities, we are all indebted.
So too, I thank the team of organisers and volunteers who have done so much to prepare for this event.
My friends, we are here to listen, to learn and to share with others.
But we are also here to pray – here in the Basilica of S. Apollinare and also with Holy Father, Pope Francis, in St Peter’s Basilica on Saturday.
If we do all of these things well we shall come closer to Christ whom we worship in the Sacred Liturgy, and we shall be empowered to be become the evangelists our world so desperately needs.
May God bless our efforts!
Thank you.

Fr Gabriel's Oboe


A little clip from "The Mission"; those early Jesuits in South America who used music as a vehicle to evangelise. As someone who rather thrills at the music of renaissance and baroque princes, the idea that the arts should be at the service of God is important.

There is a very important theological principle here, that was grasped by Saints like Ignatius, Neri, Borromeo, Bellarmine that we need beauty, and beauty speaks of God. In Avilla in the Convent of the Incarnation there is along with the log St Theresa used as a pillow a whole collection of instruments, including a rather botched viol, obviously made by carpenter, rather than a professional instrument maker which demonstrate how important, even secular music was to St Theresa.

In South America, under the Jesuits especially, an incredible corpus of Amerindian polyphony grew up. In Europe the arts of the counter-reformation vied with the severities of the Protestant Reformers who stripped not only the churches of beauty but people's lives too.

There is a very serious danger of simplifying or focussing the Christianity to such a degree that beauty and transcendence is destroyed, this happen in Geneva under Calvin and spread to England under the Puritans where even Christmas and mince-pies were banned, in order not to be distracted from the essence of the message. One of my parishioners who is very much involved with 'reaching out to the poor' in this city, to my chagrin, has started to refer to this Papacy as the 'polyester papacy' or someone else said recently 'the ugly papacy'. There is a serious danger, not just on the level of PR but theologically in just taking one aspect of the Gospel, or one strand of the teaching of Jesus, so we can very easily end up like Judas and complain about the women who lavishes ointment on the Lord's feet, his concern was that the poor did not benefit from it. This always leads to heresy.

Jesus not only preached and healed the poor but had one or two dinners with the rich, in fact he seems to have been blind to class, despite Isaiah's prophecy about proclaiming "good news" to the poor, and indeed was happy to spend time just relaxing with the disciples.

There is a serious danger with imposing our own culturally narrow ideology on the richness of the Gospel, or of reducing the Gospel, which is essentially a relationship with the person of Jesus Christ to a few sound bites. And is very easy for those sound bites to begin to become invreasingly narrow, "Don't be ...", "Don't do ...", "Don't ...!" Jesus is much more than that, he is about the vision of a filial relationship with God and a world rendered glorious because of that relationship.

Perhaps one of the problems of modern Jesuit spirituality, there has always been a certain one size fits all mentallity about such a systemised approach, is that it has become bleak and unattractive for both princes or for the poor.

Congratulations


Congrarulations, first of all to Fr. Yousef Marie and Fr. Magdala Maria who are members of the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, on their Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood, on Saturday by Archbishop Pozzo at Santissima Trinità dei Pellegrini in Rome.
Secondly, congratulations to the Sons themselves. These two ordinations mark the end of years of pain and patience, pain and penance in the process of regularising this extraordinary Community who live on the 'peripheries' of bleak Papa Stronsay, in Bishop Hugh Gilbert's diocese of Aberdeen.

Thirdly, congratulations to Fr Michael Mary FSSR their superior for his wisdom, patience and fortitude over all these years, as he has led them from the orbit of the SSPX to unity with Peter and Rome.
More pictures here

Monday, June 24, 2013

Bishops: Pastors not Princes

The Pope's meeting with the Nuncios of the world over the weekend was interesting, apart from the empty chair. It was one of the few insights into the future.

There had been speculation in one or two quarters that the Pope might decentralise the nomination of bishops, possibly by handing over the task to local Churches, Episcopal Conferences, in other words. Instead he stressed that the main task of a Nuncio is to choose Bishops, over and above their diplomatic responsibilities. That is highly significant when everyone in Rome is holding their breath, wondering if the Pope 'from the other side of the world' might even abolish at least some functions of the Curia.

Just a little gossip, I wonder if he met Archbishop Adriano Bernardini, the Nuncio to Italy, who was the Nuncio to Argentina until 2011, who is described as particularly distasteful to Bergoglio!

The Pope has said nothing new, he wants "Bishops to be Pastors not Princes", which we all want but neither however does he want intellectuals, they'll do "more good in universities", I wonder if he had anyone special in mind.*

We do need Pastors who can reach out to the poor. In England and Wales perhaps there has been too much emphasis on pastoring the Tablet reading lower-middle-classes, few of us priests and bishops are willing to go to the peripheries, and apart from Bishop Egan I don't think there too many doctorates on out bench of Bishops, which is a weakness.

The Westminster clergy tell me the new Bishop of East Anglia, as far the clergy were concerned was the most pastoral and fatherly of their bishops, so it is quite appropriate as our first Franciscan bishop.

It will be interesting to see if we can find men in England who do not follow the traditional path of our Episcopate, of after ordination a short time in a parish followed by a succession of administrative jobs around Eccleston Square, Cafod or some other Catholic charity, which certainly has not led to outstanding administrators, nor exceptional Pastors.

Perhaps readers might send the Nuncio names of exceptional Pastors, I am sure he would be glad to have a few more names, and he'll probably send them a nice letter, which are always welcome.

*I of course mean Christoph Maria Michael Hugo Damian Peter Adalbert (Graf von) Schönborn, O.P, both a Prince and an intellectual and a Beethoven lover. 
JPII rather admired Prince Adam Stefan Stanisław Bonifacy Józef Cardinal Sapieha who stood up to Nazi persecution with true heroism.

The Empty Throne: A Renaissance Mystery



I don't beleive the Pope said "Non sono un principe rinascimentale che ascolta musica invece di lavorare",  I am not a Renaissance prince who listens to music instead of working, but it is interesting that these words have been attributed to him, presumably in an attempt to distance Francis from his predecessor and presumably to make Francis seem like a haughty, boorish, capricious, well..., like a renaissance prince. The phrase I am sure was thrown into the mix  maliciously and deliberately.

Fr Z has an interesting theory, which I wouldn't entirely dismiss but it is a bit renaissance, it is about a cloak and dagger secret meeting taking place in the new Papal Apartments whilst the whole Papal Court was out of the way attending the Concert, in fact it is deliciously renaissance.

Because the Papal Physician attended the concert it was suggested that there was no health problem but then maybe the Pope needed an early night, perhaps with a few aspirin for a headache or something for one of those stomach problems Italians are so prone to.

However it is intriguing, why did the Pope announce his absence just before the concert was about to start, when everyone was assembled. If he has a disdain for such worldly pleasures as Beethoven, as some have suggested, then why was an announcement not made days before? If it was some minor illness, then the rather unfortunate empty throne could have been removed, before the audience assembled, half an hour before the concert was due to start, similarly if the Pope, who admitted to the Latin American religious he is rather disorganised, had discovered for some reason he was delayed but it appears the absence was actually last minute. Is his diary so disorganised or so capable of being disarranged or is there some great crisis in the Church about to emerge?

There could I suppose have been a 'Game of Thrones' going on, either the Pope wanted the empty chair to be seen as some kind of gesture, or more likely an official having had a little more notice than the minute before the concert when the announcement was made, deliberately leaving it in place as a very clear sign throughout the concert to the audience and to the paparazzi of the Pope's disdain. Thrones are important in Court life, even the simplicity or absence or presence convey almost as much as an eighteenth century lady's fan.

Whatever was happening presumably will be discussed throughout the Court this coming week. One or two people have suggested recently that turkeys don't vote for Christmas and that possibly Papa Bergoglio was very much the Curia's choice, the real Reformers wanted Scola, hence the speed of Francis election, and that having a 'pastor' 'from the other side of the world' who has had no apprenticeship in Vatican intrigue, normally considered a sine qua non for the Pope, might be beginning to feel a backlash, and a few reminders of who is actually in charge.

Intriguing, no?

Another question: who is pushing the 'Francis is so humble narrative', it is not the Pope himself, it is certainly becoming irritating, it is a house built on sand, that is likely to come crashing down the moment the media chooses.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

John and Thomas: Radical Traditionalists



I don't think this clip from "A Man for all Season" uses Moore's actual words but they do reflect his understanding of the nature of  "the Law" itself, which is a good reason to get hot under the collar when the "Supreme Legislator" confuses the importance of keeping the Law.

Moore and Fisher were amongst the most brilliant men of their age both were radical, returning to the roots of the faith.

Fisher as Chancellor of Cambridge University had turned  upside down, he preached holiness, poverty and simplicity. After centuries of the traditional university curriculum, he added the study of Greek and encouraged the study of Hebrew, really so that students might understand the scriptures more deeply. He was concerned with getting to the roots of the faith, already the second of England's two Universities was coming under Protestant influence from the low countries. He thought that a return to the roots would ensure that students would pursue "Truth" and rediscover the Catholic faith.

What I find fascinating about both these saints is that they were Radical Traditional Catholics, willing to "go the peripheries", well, to death, because they had returned to the roots, whilst so many of the their fellow Churchmen and courtiers were careerist Conservatives, who wanted to live with as little discomfort to themselves as possible.

Remember, John alone amongst all the Bishops of England & Wales during Henry's reign remained loyal and died for the faith, the rest just carried on.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Change?



One of those light bulb jokes going the rounds a few years ago:
"How many Oratorians does it take to change a light bulb?" Had several answers, one was a very extensive list of cantors, step-ladder bearers and steadiers, bugia holders, assistant of the first and second step etc. various ministers of the switch and of the mains, etc., etc., etc. Another answer was, "And what precisely does the Sacred Congregation for the Sacred Liturgy say about the "lux bulbus"? The one I liked was, ""How many Oratorians does it take to change a light bulb?" The response was  an incredulously voiced, "Change?"
(Sorry Fathers, no offence intended.)

The introduction of St Joseph into the Eucharist Prayers to bring them in line with the 1962 revision of the ancient Roman Canon was an idea introduced by Pope Benedict, and has now been promulgated by Pope Francis.

There are lots of good reasons for the introduction of the name of the "spouse" of the Blessed Virgin, for me, first and foremost, is that in a time when fatherhood and espousal or marriage is going out of fashion, we need as much devotion to St Joseph as we can scrape up. The other reason is that devotion to the Saints and the inclusion of their names in the Canon of the Mass, the Confiteor, the Offertory Prayers, the Libera Nos is ancient and very much a part of Roman Catholicism, so this is a tiny bit of restoration.

Although there are lots of very good reasons for the inclusion of St Joseph, there are also some good reasons not to have done this, this is where the  incredulously voiced, "Change?" comes in.

One reason is that St Joseph was never a name that was used in the Roman list of Saints, devotion to him is a somewhat recent development. In the Middle Ages devotion to St Joseph in England was more likely to have been to St Joseph of Arimathea rather than the foster-father of Jesus.

The major problem which I see is one that was feared before the Reformation and in Orthodoxy, that  Josephine devotion took away from devotion to the Mother of God, the Blessed Mary Ever-Virgin. In my diocese there is modern church, where statues from its predecessor have been placed. On one wall in the "devotional area" the statues of Mary and Joseph are placed together, the impression is that they are equal. The seems to be a denial that Mary is "the highest honour of our race", she alone is Immaculately Conceived, she alone is Assumed into Heaven because she shared parenthood of the Saviour with God the Father, not St Joseph.

In ancient iconography the Blessed Virgin was always paired with John the Baptist, not St Joseph, therefore my partially incredulously voiced "Change?" is based on a slight concern that the change marks a lessening of devotion to the Mother of God and therefore of a weakening of the doctrine of the Incarnation and God's saving intervention in human history through Jesus.

This image sums up some of my concerns. Apart from its ugliness and poor execution, this mosaic from Westminster Cathedral seems theologically highly problematic to me, I think it is heretical! 

Is St Joseph really "larger" than Mary, does he really have a greater hand on Jesus than His Mother, was he even her equal? Isn't his re;lationship to Jesus, like our mediated through her, the Mother given to us at the Cross? Does he really share the same gaze as Jesus in looking out to the world? Did Jesus in any way resemble him rather than his Mother?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I want to be Emancipated


Is this the Per Ipsum?

Before I go any further, I am a great fan of so much of what our Holy Father has to say, especially about the poor, economics and the environment, at least in its reconstituted Vaticanese form, I am a bit uncomfortable with that cameraman that now has a permanent place on the back of the Popemobile but it has become pretty obvious that the Supreme Legislator does not consider the rubrics of the liturgy are that important, in fact it seems as if they can be ignored, or changed at will.

Benedict taught the liturgy was "a given", we read the black and did the red, Francis seems to be less precise about these things, his liturgy is "emancipated", as he descibes it. Who cares if priests are vested properly? It is obviously "emancipated" to expect concelebrants to wear chasubles, or to expect street clothes the be covered by an amice if necessary, it is emancipated to put flowers on one the corner of an altar and some candles, or are the oil lamps, on the end, with an insignificant crucifix in the middle. It is emancipated to bow rather than genuflect to the tabernacle and after the elevations. It is unemancipated to prepare a homily carefully. It is unemancipated to expect servers to vest, it is emancipated to have the dressed in work uniforms and it is emancipated to have a Bishop take the role of a Deacon.

I want to be emancipated too. I think I might introduce a few prayers at the beginning of the Ordinary Form Mass whilst the choir are singing the Introit. I've a few different but ancient Offertory prayers I would like to introduce and I feel inclined to genuflect before and after each elevation. Now would that be "emancipated" or just plain Pelagian. or what is the other word, "Restorationist"?

Obviously my emmancipated choice to celebrate Mass ad apsidum is rubrical according to Missal and a valid option for any priest according to later CDW instructions, so that is not an issue, even if the Pope unlike his two immediate predecessors who chose that option for their daily Mass, chooses not to avail himself of it, but what about "ending", celebrating Mass at he North or South end of the altar, is that emancipated or just plain Protestant?

It is pretty obvious from the Pope's personal liturgical style that any Priest or Bishop can do anything they like in the Ordinary Form, or are there limits?

Balloons and dancing anyone?



Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Brighton Greens are Pro-Rat!



Brighton stinks!

The bin men are on strike here., there is a smell of decay that grows stronger as you come closer to one of the "community" bins. I saw my first rat here last night

Well, I did warn some of my parishioners the Green party were pro-abortion, pro-destruction of the family but I hadn't realised they were also pro-rat. Though I should have realised that when our prospective Green Councillor started turning up at the Polish Mass and stopped immediately she was elected!


Friday, June 14, 2013

'Papa Chicacchierone'


According to Rocco Palmo Pope Francis is known as Papa Chicacchierone, Pope Chatterbox, as far as I can see on Google Palmo is the only one apart from a very few 'twitterers' to use the term but it is interesting if this is being used on the Borgo Pio or amongst the Curia. Pope Francis has chosen to limit himself to words and a bit of televised hugging and kissing, rather than the signs and symbols his predecessor tried to restore. The number of kissed babies or hugged old ladies the media can digest is a bit limited, after the thousandth or so it becomes dull, unless it is your baby. The same with the "don't bes" in the daily Papal homilies: "don't be Mr and Mrs Whiner", "don't be a clerical careerist", don't be an old maid", "don't be someone who doesn't reach out to the poor", "don't be rich and worldly", "don't be a gossip", "don't waste food", are obviously important but it is very easy for them to be seen as nagging, as if there is a lack vision, a lack of the imagination.

This week seems to have marked a bit of a sea-change in the perception of His Holiness, the "gay lobby" remarks which seemed to feature on every newscast for a few days seemed to flash lights for the media, though perhaps some of the more alarming background, see here, has been ignored.

On Sunday the Pope offers Mass in St Peter's Square for Evangelium Vitae Day. Life issues have not figured very large in  Italy , the Pope's presence a few weeks ago at the head of a pro-Life demonstration was hardly mentioned. It will be interesting to see what happens and what is said.

Douce dame Joulie


It is long time since I put any music up on this blog, I thought you might enjoy this little harp piece, an improvisation by Manuel Vilas the Spanish harpist, sent by a mutual friend.

There is also this, an earlier piece played on a very splendid double harp:


And then there is this exquisite rendering of the cantigua Ave Maris Stella

Thursday, June 13, 2013

"Gay Lobby"



Pope Francis' didn't use the phrase "gay mafia" or "gay subculture" he used the phrase "gay lobby, granted he tends to be somewhat imprecise in what he means but could he mean this.
Various Cardinals and high ranking are certainly lobbying to change the Church's teaching on gay partnerships and marriage, even our own Bishop's Conference have changed their position on "gay civil partnerships".

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Pope is human, so?



I have been reading the translation of the meeting with Latin American religious on Rorate Caeli, Rocco Palmo reports the same thing and seems a little more shocked than Rorate.

So, the Pope puts his foot in his mouth from time to time, is it bit too spontaneous, sometimes says foolish things, suggests people don't get too anxious about a letter from the CDF, he's a bit disparaging about a campaign to get people to say the Rosary for him, he talks about "gay lobbies" in the Vatican and old nun's with money.

Yes, it is bit of bad form that he might say publicly that many people want him to sack his MC, Mgr Guido Marini, yes it is a bit humiliating for Monsignor, and a bit damaging for him professionally but we all say things about people that we regret. Yes, one wonders really whether the correction to "the Carnival is over" was correct or whether the original words were correct; "the Carnival is over", in a moment of confusion and tension, sounds in keeping with a less than guarded tongue.

But so? In a way it is all very Petrine, Peter put his foot in his mouth, so much so that Our Lord calls him "Satan". Paul too rebukes him for both his words and actions with the "Judaisers". Peter seems have been a bit garrulous and at times foolish, so why not Pope Francis?

I think we have to remember that Christ Vicar on Earth is a human being, not a committee. As a human being he has frailties and failings, it is part of the beauty of the Incarnation, it is what the Church is about.

On more important occassions, like the daily homilies. at least the Pope's words are "filtered" so we don't get "raw" Pope. That isn't too bad an idea, presumably the Pope reviews the redactions befor they appear on the Vatican website.

The Pope's words and image are being managed and refined, take for example the cameraman who has quietly appeared on the back of the Popemobile to capture a bit of baby kissing, that is part of the modern world.

So?



Monday, June 10, 2013

An exchange of letters


There is an interesting and noteworthy exchange of letters between Mgr Basil Loftus and Dr Joseph Shaw on  his blog.

For obvious reasons no comments will be published here.

Pope Emeritus' health; fresh concerns



This last photograph of Pope Benedict and his successor had me worried about him.
I am not a clothes person, but his cassock looks as though it was made for some else. The shoulder of his sleeve has dropped considerably and the cuff looks as if it has folded back almost to the elbow to compensate, and generally there is just too much cloth. Rome Reports spoke last week of a journalists visit to him, and his comment that he had physically diminished.

Ethelreda's Place also has this report:
"Benedict is in a very bad way," said Paloma Gomez Borerro, a veteran Vatican correspondent for Spain's Telecino who visited the former pope in late May. "We won't have him with us much longer."
Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the archbishop of Cologne, Germany, and a personal friend of Benedict's, visited the former pope in April.
"I was shocked at how thin he had become," Meisner said at the time. "Mentally, he is quite fit, his old self. But he had halved in size."
Vatican officials have admitted Benedict has weakened since stepping down, but they deny his physical condition has become critical.
I had never thought that Benedict "would flee from the wolves", and despite his obvious disappointment at betrayal by a member of his personal staff and the whole "vatileaks" thing, it would seem quite out of character to just get up and go. What would seem in character is a desire to avoid a long public death, of growing increasingly frail in public and less able in private. In the time between his resignation and his departure he himself had said it was simply because of old age.

In short, what he wanted to avoid was a death like John Paul II's with all the uncertainty that brought about, with the tussle, primarily between the CDF and the Secretariate of State under Cardinal Sodano. Remember how Ratzinger had to wrestle to get the the CDF to take responsibility for child abuse away from the Secretariate, how Sodano had dismissed the whole matter as a "press gossip", and the problems afterwards with getting Sodano out and Bertone in to the Secretary of States Apartment, which act as "gate" to the Apoostolic Apartments and therefore monitor who had access to the Pope - remember those unsavoury characters like Marcel Maciel who had access, via Sodano and his personal secretary Stanisław Dziwisz, to JPII, whilst others were denied access. I think that accounts for one reason why Francis wisely has two "homes", he uses the Apostolic Apartment for work but lives in Santa Marta. It is not simplicity or humility - there are no gate-keepers at Santa Marta.
Many "insiders" suggest that appointments and policy for several years before his death were very much out of the control of JPII, his seal and signature was used without his knowledge or comprehension, Vatican departments were forced to side with one faction or another, which resulted in Curia becoming out of control and unfocused, "biting one another" as Benedict said, continuing the lupine metaphor.

This is what Benedict wanted to avoid, pray for him.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

Good News for the Venerable English College

Former Rector of the Venerable English College Mgr Nicholas Hudson and Benedict XVI
Mgr Philip Whitmore has been appointed as the new Rector of the Venerable English College, in succession to Mgr Nicholas Hudson. The handover will take place in mid-August. The Venerable English College is the Bishops' seminary in Rome training priests for ministry in the dioceses of England and Wales.

Mgr Whitmore, Archdiocese of Westminster, currently works at the Secretariat of State for the Holy See in Rome. Mgr Hudson, Archdiocese of Southwark, who has been Rector of the VEC since 2004, has been appointed parish priest of Sacred Heart in Wimbledon by Archbishop Peter Smith.
more here
Mgr Whitmore was the translator of Pope Benedict's Jeasus of Nazareth trilogy.
He'll be a good thing for the VEC.

Saturday, June 08, 2013

Adulterous Clerics



Pope Francis has been talking a great deal about "careerism" amongst clergy, Chiesa suggests he should look no further that the College of Cardinal to begin a reform. Most Cardinals once ordained Bishop are then moved, or promoted, from one See to another, eventually ending up in a Metropolitan Cardinalatial See, like Westminster or New York, it places careerism at the heart of the Church. The solution Magister concludes is abolish the connection between certain Sees and the "red hat". Some Cardinals can have as many as four dioceses under their fascia.

As holy as individual Cardinals might be, the appearance of "promotion" or of ambition being rewarded amongst the episcopacy, is plainly contrary to the Gospel. It creates a certain culture within the Church that is outside of the perview of the Gospel. It also creates a circle of the ambitious, a "magic circle" if you will.

Nicea saw the movement of Bishops from one See to another as a grave sin. The Fathers saw such moves as adulerous, as bishops like, Christ, are the bridegroom of their Churches, hence even the great Augustine remained Bishop of obscure Hippo all his life.

The role of a Bishop in the Church is not one of power but of service and relationships, primarily of being a spiritual Father, of being the mystical spouse, the Shepherd, the teacher, the guide. Today, more than ever a Bishop cannot rule by imposed authority but by his own fidelity. As in a marriage trust is essential, of the many crisis in the Church today one of the most significant is perhaps the breakdown in trust in the heirarchy. One of the reasons I suspect is that many bishops look outside their dioceses for "success" rather than in it.

One is more likely to become a Cardinal not by serving the poor and needy within one's own patch, not by huge numbers of converts, full seminaries, orthodox catechetical programmes, or even outstanding personal holiness but by heading prestigious committees in the National Episcopal Conference

Magister quotes the great Cardinal Gantin
"On his appointment, the bishop must be a father and a pastor for the people of God. One is always a father. Once a bishop is appointed to a particular see, he must generally and in principle stay there for ever. Let that be clear. The relationship between a bishop and a diocese is also depicted as a marriage and a marriage, according to the spirit of the Gospel, is indissoluble. The new bishop must not make other personal plans. There may well be serious reasons, very serious reasons for a decision by the authorities that the bishop go from one family, so to speak, to another. In making this decision, the authorities take numerous factors into consideration. They do not include an eventual desire by a bishop to change see."
Of course what can be said about Bishops being moved to more prestigious diocese can also be said about Parish Priests.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Francis and Benedict and the Liturgy

From NLMAbbot Michael Zielinski OSB from the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship discusses the differences and similarities between the liturgical approaches of Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis. (Catholic News Service)
 
I think Benedict left the Church a great deal to build on, Francis will leave us a more personal legacy.

A Shove to the Right


I used to know dozens of Conservative voters, now I know none, they have all become or say they will be UKIP voters. As one of our Bishops said, "It is concerning". It is concerning because those who previously hovered around the Tory centre, or might have voted for other parties but chose to vote Conservative because the Conservatives were in rather broad terms "Christian", or at least were pro-family have all decided, like me "not again". I admit, at the last General Election I voted Conservative, solely because of Dave's promised support of the family, he lied, and I certainly shall not do so again.

It is concerning that many on the vaguely political right have joined a political party or support one that is as much an experiment as Cameron's untried experiment with the redefinition of marriage, a party that is several clicks to the right of traditional Toryism and even more to the Tory Part that has recently emerged. As far as UKIP is concerned we really do not know what is down the road, or where that road leads. Whatever one thinks of Nigel Farage, others in UKIP seem to have a tendency to rather worrying right wing personal ideas, rather than party policies. UKIP however is attractive in so far as it does actually have distinct policies rather than shades

The great problem with joining UKIP, the "concerning" part is that many joining, or associating themselves with the party is that they tend to absorb other right wing ideas. A parishioner whose business revolves around supplying material for London small businesses tell's me that among his Islamic customers that after the Iraq war so many of his customers or more often their children, suddenly began growing beards and becoming more radically Muslim than their parents, whose mosque attendance was sparadic, until Blair's invasion suddenly awakened a renewed consciousness of their religious and cultural difference.

Cameron has given those who would have voted Tory a shove to the right; mild mannered "cultural" Tories, rendered homeless, are now going to mix with by comparison extreme members of new right wing. It is concerning that those who were shocked by Cameron's announcement of supporting gay "marriage" because he is a Conservative and started allying themselves with UKIP have become increasingly anti-European, anti-Eurpean Court of Human Rights, often moving to positions that are anti-Human Rights per se and becoming anti-Immigration too and one suspects finding reasons to become anti "Equalities". Where they will move to is worrying. The older former Tories will probably do little more than write and vote, the young who tend not to vote are likely to be a little more radical, some influenced to move to an extreme.

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Why shouldn't Dr Who be a woman?


It is 2013, why shouldn't Dr Who be a woman? so asked a lady on my wireless this afternoon. I remember the cosmic doctor from my childhood, apparently someone called Bet Lynch (a good Catholic girl?) is being proposed to play the transmorphing character. I like the idea of a Miraculous Medal toting, Infant of Praigue venerating Catholic girl as a superhero, a real sign of multicuturalism, especially as being Irish according to government forms is being an ethnic minority, it goes alongside various types of British but is distinct from being blandly "European". But then "Catholic"? No, not unless she is so very spiritual and does a bit of Wicca too. Plain ordinary open to Life, going to Mass on Sunday Catholic just wouldn't quite work, well not unless there are bloodsucking, oversexed vampires to be combatted.

But Dave Cameron is in power and it is 2013, why should the Doctor be a woman? I would suggest that there is no reason why Dr Who shouldn't be a transexual, why not, what phobia is holding back the Beeb - or is it the otherside? The Doctor being a women is just so last year! There are other discriminated groups to struggle for.

I know there is concern that children as young as eight, but I suspect in some households even younger children are regularly watching pornography but broadcasters have a duty to reflect the everyday environment in which children are growing up, so maybe she/he should be a porn star but obviously not "trafficked" too much bleak reality there, possibly just a plain ordinary "sex worker". I know some will object, some will say why shouldn't Dr Who be bi-sexual, I say why not a bi-sexual transexual, who is into a bit of cross dressing too, disabled of course, if the sex it is alreight providing it is "safe", especially as most sixteen year olds are sexually active. It is all harmless, it is after all 2013 and Dave is in power!

Having said that, on a milder note, I am inclined to demand the Women's Hour (better, Wimmins Hour) should be replaced by a "Hours" going through the LGBT-plus spectrum. Now Gay marriage is well on its way to becoming Law in this country we must look to pushing forward the rights of other minorities and breaking free of all those pre-Freudian taboos.

Now, who was that bigot who was saying Hollywood thought the new Liberace biopic was just too "gay" for Hollywood. Most probably some weird Catholic.

Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash: It cannot stay this way!


Pope Francis seemed quite angry in today's audience as he spoke about ecology, the waste of human beings and resources, here is an excerpt - my emphasis. His reference to "human ecology", taken up by the media when used by Pope Benedict as a reference to gay marriage and the destruction of the family is perhaps significant following the recent changes in the law in Britain and France.
.....  to "cultivate and care" encompasses not only the relationship between us and the environment, between man and creation, it also regards human relationships. The Popes have spoken of human ecology, closely linked toenvironmental ecology. We are living in a time of crisis: we see this in the environment, but above all we see this in mankind. The human person is in danger: this is certain, the human person is in danger today, here is the urgency of human ecology! And it is a serious danger because the cause of the problem is not superficial but profound: it is not just a matter of economics, but of ethics and anthropology. The Church has stressed this several times, and many say, yes, that's right, it's true ... but the system continues as before, because it is dominated by the dynamics of an economy and finance that lack ethics. Man is not in charge today, money is in charge, money rules. God our Father did not give the task of caring for the earth to money, but to us, to men and women: we have this task! Instead, men and women are sacrificed to the idols of profit and consumption: it is the "culture of waste."
If you break a computer it is a tragedy, but poverty, the needs, the dramas of so many people end up becoming the norm. If on a winter’s night, here nearby in Via Ottaviano, for example, a person dies, that is not news. If in so many parts of the world there are children who have nothing to eat, that's not news, it seems normal. It cannot be this way! Yet these things become the norm: that some homeless people die of cold on the streets is not news. In contrast, a ten point drop on the stock markets of some cities, is a tragedy. A person dying is not news, but if the stock markets drop ten points it is a tragedy! Thus people are disposed of, as if they were trash.

This "culture of waste" tends to become the common mentality that infects everyone. Human life, the person is no longer perceived as a primary value to be respected and protected, especially if poor or disabled, if not yet useful - such as the unborn child - or no longer needed - such as the elderly. This culture of waste has made us insensitive even to the waste and disposal of food, which is even more despicable when all over the world, unfortunately, many individuals and families are suffering from hunger and malnutrition.
Once our grandparents were very careful not to throw away any leftover food. Consumerism has led us to become used to an excess and daily waste of food, to which, at times, we are no longer able to give a just value, which goes well beyond mere economic parameters. We should all remember, however, that the food we throw away is as if stolen from the table of the poor, the hungry! I encourage everyone to reflect on the problem of thrown away and wasted food to identify ways and means that, by seriously addressing this issue, are a vehicle of solidarity and sharing with the needy.
"It cannot stay this way", but how do we change it?

Monday, June 03, 2013

St Charles Lwanga Pray for us


Today is the feast of St Charles Lwanga and his companions who chose death rather than submitting to the homosexual advances of King Mwanga of Uganda.
May his example give us courage in the struggle to come.


Sunday, June 02, 2013

Venice Biennale


I have been looking for pictures on the net of the Holy Sees Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, all I can find are  a few sketches. It is first year the Holy See has been present at the festival.
In a papacy that is visually bland and  less artistically rooted than the previous one I am a little worried about the future of the Church's involvement in the arts. Possibly they are not as important as they were in the medieval and post-reformation period. "Art" especially the visual arts have become more conceptual and less Incarnational and "art" that is often more about the artist than the subject sits uneasily with the Church's understanding of liturgy, which has been its normal context. Whilst Banksy might well speak to the man in the street, most contemporary art has become specialist and speaks only to an elite.

Anyhow, Fr Eamon has a report on the Biennale, apparently the Holy See spent 750,000 euros on the temporary pavilion and its contents, as we are urged to reach out to the poor by Pope Francis. Apparently Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi the president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, said that it was time for the church to re-establish its role as a major patron of contemporary art. "Art and faith are sisters," he said. "They both have the same aim of discovering the foundations of reality – not just reflecting the superficial.". He said that the "Church", I am never quite sure what that means, intends to commission new Churches by outstanding architects and to fill them with liturgical objects by contemporary artists.

On one level that is fine, I would love to see Pope Francis wearing a beautiful contemporary chasuble, instead of mass produced cheap vestments we have seen so far at his liturgies, and perhaps holding a modern chalice which speaks of the sacrednes of the mystery of the Eucharist. However, I am not quite sure how it will sit with his understanding of his Papacy, where everything seems to depend on his personal charm and charisma. What I hope we do not get is a celebration of the ugly or frankly ridiculous as we did with Abp Piero Marini's absurd and wasteful contemporary commissions, which spoke of nothing but a fracture with the Church's own artist and liturgical heritage and the vanity and silliness of the artist and commissioning patron.

The problem with contemprary artists, unlike their predecessors, is their lack of formation in the faith and the liturgy of the Church, invariably rather than serving they desire at best to "challenge" if not subvert.


Poor Pope Benedict!