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Showing posts from 2013

Christmas continues

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Every year I emphasise in the newsletter and the notices that the Christmas season continues until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and that we are invited to enter into the spirit of the Liturgy which presents us with a rich tapestry to deepen our understanding and, more importantly, our spiritual life as we reflect on the great mystery of that light which the darkness could not overpower.

There is a Flickr set of photos from our Midnight Mass at Blackfen, thanks to Mulier Fortis. I liked the above photo of the Gospel because of the panoramic view from celebrant to the Deacon chanting the Gospel towards the North. The Venerable Prosper Guéranger explains this with a quotation from the prophet Jeremias (1.14) "From the North, shall an evil break forth upon all the inhabitants of the Land." One of my earliest memories of the Mass, when I was about four years old, was my father explaining to me that the Gospel was sung facing North from earliest times to preach to the ba…

FI Sisters' robust clarification

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The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate have replied in a robust and dignified manner to the allegation that they have contributed to a "distorted mentality" among the Friars. Rorate Caeli has published the text of the Sisters' Official Notice of Clarification.

Rorate Caeli is providing frequent updates on the progress of the official intervention into the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a sad episode which is damaging the work of a fine Institute, and the work of the Church. Please continue to keep both the Friars and the Sisters in your prayers.

Papers for Australian Confraternity published

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By the kind offices of Fr John Corrigan, Editor of The Priest, the journal of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, the papers that I gave to the Confraternity earlier this year have been published on the website, and two of them in the current print issue of The Priest.

Here are links to the papers:
Vatican II and its context.Trent and Vatican II: compared (not contrasted).The hermeneutic of continuity.Church, Sacrament, and the People of God. Here are links to pdf versions if you want to print them off:
Vatican II and its contextTrent and Vatican II: compared (not contrasted)The hermeneutic of continuityChurch, Sacrament, and the People of God The ACCC website has a rich collection of articles by a wide variety of authors and is well worth browsing. It brings back happy memories of my visit to Australia where I was made so welcome, especially by the kind hospitality of the ACCC Chairman, Fr John Walshe, but also by the generosity of many of the other priests of the Confrat…

The opposite of the "selfie"

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Many thanks to a reader who sent me this timely photo of St John Baptist and the Agnus Dei, painting c.1520 from the church of Wiggenhall St Mary the Virgin, Norfolk (photo summer 2013)

Pope Francis affirms work of curial officials

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Given his previous remarks about vipers, it was with some trepidation that I began to read the address that Pope Francis gave to the Roman Curia today. Many news services have picked up on the part where he warns of the danger of constantly inspecting and questioning. They have gone along with the narrative of the Holy Father constantly criticising the Curia.

However most of the address is positive in tone, illustrating a hallmark of this papacy where statements that are perceived as harsh are later moderated in other addresses. I was a little saddened by the "vipers" comment because I know priests who work at the Holy See with great integrity in an environment which can be difficult especially for those of a non-mediterranean background. As in any "Staff HQ" or civil service environment, there are careerists and dysfunctional superiors but there are also good hard-working men who have the Church's best interest at heart. So I found this passage very welcome:

Martin Dodwell to speak on Anne Line and Shakespeare

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My good friend Fr Francis Coveney, parish priest of St Anne Line in South Woodford, tells me of an interesting event which some readers might like to know about. Here are the details.
Anne Line: Shakespeare's Tragic Muse
Sunday 2 February 2014, 3.30pm A new biography has just been written by Martin Dodwell entitled “Anne Line: Shakespeare's Tragic Muse”. It will be of interest to admirers of St Anne Line, historians and Shakespeare scholars alike.

Martin Dodwell will be giving a talk on his new book in the Parish Hall (behind the Church) on Sunday 2 February at 3.30pm. Copies of the book will be available for sale. Benediction will follow in the Church at 4.30pm.  St Anne Line Parish, Grove Crescent, South Woodford, London, E18 2JR
The Church is a short walk from South Woodford Station (Central Line). The photos is from Mulier Fortis who wrote about a pilgrimage she made to South Woodford in honour of St Anne Line.

A good point, well made

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This appeared in my Facebook feed today. I thought it was a good way of making an important point to children. You might like to re-blog it.

Oath to be administered to Franciscans of the Immaculate

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The Franciscans of the Immaculate have been going through a trying time recently. This seems to be getting worse. Rorate Caeli posted yesterday several documents relating the Franciscans of the Immaculate, including correspondence from Fr Volpi, the appointed Commissioner for the Institute.

We could all think of Orders, Congregations and Institutes where members have written against magisterial teaching. Occasionally there has been some intervention from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in rare cases an individual has been suspended from teaching in the name of the Church. We all remember the furore over the polite and carefully worded report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The negotiations with the SSPX broke down over the nuance of an expression concerning the level of acceptance of Vatican II.

In the case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (who have not contradicted magisterial teaching on faith or morals) their superior has been removed, their…

Alison Davis RIP

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Alison Davis was a great witness for the sanctity of human life and helped promote human life in response to calls for the legalisation of assisted suicide. Alison was born with spina bifida and suffered greatly during her life. Alison was at one time in favour of abortion and later wished to end her own life. She changed her mind on both these issues and became a great advocate of the right to life.

You can read further details at these links:

SPUC: Alison's Story
SPUC: Tribute by Colin Harte
Sister of the Gospel of Life: Alison Davis 1955- 2013
Catholic Herald obituary by Francis Phillips

Alison's carer, Colin Harte wrote the seminal book "Changing Unjust Laws Justly; Pro-Life Solidarity with the Last and the Least" (2005) in which he, with the support of Alison, championed the right to life of the smallest and weakest in contrast to the conventional wisdom of lowering the abortion time limit which would allow abortion for only such young lives.

Please remember Alison…

Golden Jubilee of Inter Mirifica

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Sorry, 'Oly Father, the electromatic Ordo generator will not work properly now
because you 'ave abolished most of the commemorations and the octaves.

On 4 December 1963, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium was promulgated. Everybody is remembering that, so I decided in a contrarian moment to home in on the other document that was promulgated on the same day by Pope Paul VI, the Decree on the Media of Social Communications Inter Mirifica which I have mentioned in talks over the last couple of years. N.15 of this document said:
All the children of the Church should join, without delay and with the greatest effort in a common work to make effective use of the media of social communication in various apostolic endeavours, as circumstances and conditions demand. They should anticipate harmful developments, especially in regions where more urgent efforts to advance morality and religion are needed. The first disk storage drive was produced in 1962, so comp…

Congratulations to Jamie Bogle, new President of Una Voce

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Congratulations to my good friend James Bogle who has been elected president of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce which exists "to to ensure that the Missale Romanum of Pope John XXIII (1962 edition) is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony."

Among other worthy predecessors, Jamie (barrister - trial attorney) follows in the footsteps of Dr Eric de Saventhem and Michael Davies.

He said that he intends to carry out his new role by employing benefits bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI, not least in the motu proprio of 2007, Summorum Pontificum, that restored the traditional Latin Mass as one of the two approved forms of the Roman rite of Mass. He also would like to see its fruits integrated into the New Evangelisation.

May God bless the work of Una Voce and assist Jamie in his new post.

Culture war and the joy of the gospel

I was moved by this video of young men protecting the Cathedral of San Juan in Argentina. Pro-abortionists provoke them with various insults and physical assualts, including lesbian displays. There is no response except the recitation of the Rosary.

The abuse and intimidation that these good men put up with is diabolical. This is perhaps a good place to start in the discussion of what constitutes evangelisation and what can be dismissed as inward-looking concern. The culture war is real and we do need to stand up for the truth, taking the meekness of Christ as our model. It seems to me that these men are doing a good and courageous thing. They can help us find the boundary line between witness to the love of Christ, and that self-absorbed neopelagian narcissistic elitistm which, or course, we need to avoid.

Bishop Davies invites us to courage and constancy in faith

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Bishop Mark Davies has issued a pastoral letter for the Diocese of Shrewsbury for the close of the Year of Faith. He refers to the hostility shown to Our Lord on the Cross ("he saved others ... let Him save Himself) and recalls the violence and intimidation suffered by Christians in many parts of the world today. Bishop Davies helpfully refers people to religious freedom report of Aid to the Church in Need: Persecuted and Forgotten?

He points out that this persecution suffered by others gives perspective to the antagonism that we might experience and invites us to a renewed profession of faith. He recalls his own motto Nihil sine Christo (nothing without Christ) and calls us to turn to the grace of Christ and above all to Christ present in the Eucharist. He concludes:
I have no doubt that the future of our Diocese will be decided by the courage and constancy of such faith. In my first letter to the Diocese three years ago I echoed the prayer of the first apostles who said to th…

Juventutem High Mass Friday

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This Friday 29 November at 7.30pm there will be a solemn High Requiem Mass at St Mary Moorfields (Eldon Street, London EC2M 7LS) for the repose of the souls of the benefactors of Juventutem.

Afterwards there will be a social for those aged 18-35 in the hall under the Church. (For the standard discussion, see my post on Age-limited Catholic events,)

The Mass itself is, of course, open to everyone and all are welcome.

UPDATE: A correspondent informs me that the illustration in the poster is by Martin Travers (d.1948) and is used to illustrate the Anglican Missal. Anglican Patrimony ...

Fr Kocik on priests participating at Mass in choro

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The other day I posted my Catholic Dilemma article (published in the Catholic Herald) on the subject of Priests in choir at wedding. I suggested "you could print off from the internet an article about the meaning of a priest assisting at Mass in choir."

In 2006, Fr Thomas Kocik wrote just such an article for the excellent journal Antiphon: Preaching through the Choir: The Merits of Assisting at Mass In choro. I recommend this as an introduction, especially given our present context, that of a general preference for concelebration. As Fr Kocik points out, the priest should normally only celebrate Mass once a day. Most Bishops give their priests general permission to celebrate Mass twice on a weekday and three times on a Sunday or Holyday of Obligation if there is a pastoral need.

Very often, a priest attending a wedding, clergy funeral or diocesan celebration will already have celebrated his parish weekday Mass. There is no pastoral reason for him to celebrate Mass again and…

Alarm, scourging, anguish and rage - or not

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You know how it is when the local paper reports on a priest who expresses polite and reasoned criticism of the proposed withdrawal of funds for a drop-in centre or something. He is always "furious" or "outraged". This week's Tablet article "The new culture war" is a bit like that with its subheading:
Parishes report a surge in Mass attendance, inspired by Pope Francis. Commentators, even in the avowedly secular Guardian newspaper, praise his openness and humanity. But a vocal conservative minority are enraged by the new Pontiff and all he stands for. The article refers in particular to Fr Zuhlsdorf, Germain Grisez, Rorate Caeli, Sensible Bond, Hilary White, and myself. Here's my bit:
Fr Tim Finigan, a traditionalist priest in London, has expressed his alarm as "the bad news piles up". The priest is a scourge of "liberal commentators who rubbished the authentic Magisterium" of recent Popes. A recent entry in his Hermeneutic of …

CD 274: Priests in choir at wedding

There seems to be competition among under 30s Catholics to have as many priests as possible at their wedding. I’d love to invite half a dozen priest friends but would prefer them to attend in choir. I am worried in case they might be offended.
I think that you know that this should not be a matter of competition so I won’t harp on about that except to emphasise that your first concern should be the dignified and reverent celebration of your wedding, and your spiritual preparation with your fiancée in order to lay a solid foundation for your married life.

On behalf of my brother priests, I would make a heartfelt plea to you to give them a way out if it is difficult for them to attend. Priests who run parishes may have a heavy schedule and it is not always easy to find supply priests to cover for them. For many priests it is a rare luxury to attend an event for personal reasons on a Saturday. Make sure that you don’t take offence if they have to decline your invitation.

Cardinals Cañizar…

Faith of Our Fathers DVD reviving knowledge of the English Martyrs

Devotion to the English Martyrs needs to be re-awakened. In the 1960s there was considerable interest before their canonisation by Pope Paul VI in 1970 but in recent years the fervour has grown lukewarm.

St Anthony Communications has produced a fine set of two DVDs which gives an excellent introduction which would be good viewing for schools and youth groups, and for parishes generally. Fr Holden and Fr Schofield take us on a travelogue in London, Lancashire, Yorkshire and other places of interest, showing hiding-holes for priests, and chapels of Catholic houses that sustained the faith a great cost during penal times. At Tyburn, one of the Sisters explains the process of hanging, drawing and quartering in a way that is all the more harrowing for her gentle and sober description.

The total running time of the DVDs is 114 minutes but the scene selection option makes it possible to show shorter extracts in class or for a parish group. You can purchase the DVDs from St Anthony Communicat…

Response to Synod Questionnaire

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As promised, here is the text of my response to the Synod Questionnaire. I have tried to follow my own suggestions and keep it succinct and to the point.

I have tried to focus especially on the importance of giving the teaching of the magisterium on human life and the family as a positive and life-giving teaching, and on the importance of the apostolate of good Catholic families.

I do encourage you to make your own response. You can find the questions at the Synod's page at the Vatican website, or at the website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales where there is the option to fill out the survey online. In addition to sending it in by the online survey or to your diocesan representative, you may send a copy direct to the Synod Office. (Via della Conciliazione, 34 - 00120 Citta del Vaticano - synodus@synod.va)

Wow! Film with Russell Crowe as Noah ...

... and it also has Emma Watson, Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins. Some in the press hate Russell Crowe because he is humorously rude to them when they ask stupid questions. (Perhaps this is why "Master and Commander", arguably one of the best films evvvuuuuh, received little critical acclaim, and why nobody seems to have heard of the excellent "Proof of Life.")

The film is to be released next March. I'm certainly not expecting it to be a piece of bible scholarship but the trailer does promise some manly recognition of the power of God, and the prospect of seeing Russell Crowe as Noah, head-to-head with Ray Winstone is just too good to be missed. (It is scheduled for release next March.)

If only Russell Crowe or Mel Gibson would do something with the life of St Edmund Campion.

Our Lady as an example for our use of social media

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The book of meditations which I am using at the moment looks at the person of Our Lady in relation to her dedication which is celebrated in today's feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin. The author, relying on the doctrine of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception and her freedom from any actual sin, speculates:
"We must necessarily suppose that Mary bears patiently every annoyance caused her by others without, on her part, causing them the least pain: she excuses their defects, pardons their obvious faults, and in all circumstances shows herself tender, affable, gracious, and considerate." We can give the author the benefit of the doubt here in presuming that he is referring to the ordinary ups and downs of daily life, rather than to grave injustice. In the latter case, we might need to make people at least uncomfortable. Rather than quibbling over such things, we could take a lesson from Our Lady in our use of social media. (And let me acknowledge unequivocall…

Catholic publication's astonishing encomium of Peter Tatchell

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The above photo is of Peter Tatchell on the Euro Pride march in 2006. "Pope 'Betty' Benedict XVI - Queen of Homophobia" might be considered offensive to Catholics, no? The report on the Peter Tatchell Website, has further information:
"The Pope talks like a gay man, walks like a gay man and dresses like a gay man. Some people might conclude he is a gay man," said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT rights group, OutRage!

"If the Pope is gay, his hypocrisy is breath-taking. Why is he constantly bashing the gay community if he is gay? Is he using homophobia to deflect rumours about his own sexuality?" No.

Tatchell also helped to co-ordinate the 2010 Protest the Pope rally in London. In the wake of that, his website quotes him as saying:
"Thanks to everyone who joined the march. We made a difference. The protest was reported worldwide, which helped expose the Pope’s sexist, homophobic and reactionary dogmas to hundreds of millions of people." Here …

Guild meeting - numbers needed

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Just a reminder of the meeting of the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma on Saturday 30 November at Blackfen (here are directions.) Do come along if you can - it is great to meet fellow bloggers (and tweeters) face-to-face. There is plenty of time to chat over lunch.

The speaker has now been confirmed as Dr Adrian Treloar who will give an illustrated talk on the miracles of Lourdes from both a medical and spiritual perspective. I have heard the talk myself before and it is quite fascinating.

As we are providing the food, it would be helpful to have an idea of numbers. Please could you email me at info@blackfencatholic.org to let me know if you are coming. (If you forget to do this or find at the last minute that you are free, do still come.)

Fr Hunwicke returns to the blogosphere

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Fr John Hunwicke's last post on his blog Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment, was the fourth in a series of valuable posts on the phrase eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia which was used by Blessed John XXIII in Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, his address inaugurating the second Vatican Council.

He is now back, with a post today on the new Ordinariate Ordo Missae, You Need To Be Here. It would be a good idea to put a link to his blog somewhere where you can find new posts easily.

A few days' rest in Eastbourne

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Last week, before the preparation for Christmas starts in earnest, Fr Briggs and I managed to get away for three days' R&R in Eastbourne. The parish priest, Fr Raglan Hay-Will (an old friend from College days) is always very hospitable and allows us to invade his sacristy and to celebrate Mass in the morning in his beautiful Church of Our Lady of Ransom. I got to use the High Altar with its splendid reredos while Fr Briggs celebrated at the Lady Altar which has a much-prized frontal. Local members of the Latin Mass Society in Arundel and Brighton always find someone to serve Mass and are glad to have the opportunity to assist at Mass according to the usus antiquior.

No trip to Eastbourne is complete without a walk over Beachy Head and there are always new photographs to be taken as above. Here is one where my little camera did some hi-jinx with the low winter sun:

Remembering Canon Redford RIP

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In 1976-77, I spent a year at Wonersh and had the benefit of Fr (later Canon) John Redford's course on the psalms which was sensibly given to the first year to help them to gain spiritual fruit from the recitation of the Divine Office. He also ran an optional class in Hebrew which I took, and for which I have always been grateful.

Canon Redford was a convert from evangelical Anglicanism. He loved to tell the story of coming home from one of Billy Graham's crusade meetings in London with thousands of eager Christians pouring into the tube station. The platform attendant shouted "Alleluia! Mind the doors!" He had a lively sense of humour and, as a man with some distinct mannerisms, was the butt of jokes from the students which he always took in good part.

His firm and outspoken orthodoxy was not universally welcomed in the 1970s but his expertise in the scriptures could not but be respected. He has helped many students over the years to find their way out of the confu…

Cardinal Erdo and Blessed John Paul on surveys

Cardinal Erdo, Relator of the Extraordinary Synod Bishops on the Family, has given an interview to CNS (see the video above.)

He makes the point that the consultation was addressed directly to Bishops' Conferences but also to individual Bishops - and that they have the responsibility of consulting the Church entrusted to their pastoral care. He also makes it clear that this is not a survey of public opinion as though we might make the message of the Gospel or the magisterium of the Church depend on an opinion survey.

Many thanks to a correspondent for drawing my attention to a quotation from Blessed John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio. He speaks of the supernatural sense of faith in evangelical discernment but then says:
The "supernatural sense of faith" however does not consist solely or necessarily in the consensus of the faithful. Following Christ, the Church seeks the truth, which is not always the same as the majority opinion. She listens to conscience and not t…

That Consultation: some suggestions

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It is all quite normal procedure for the Holy See machinery. A document is produced with various questions for consultation: some of them straightforward and some of them seemingly convoluted, especially for those brought up in the English/US academic tradition. Responses are then collated into some sort of document for the Bishops meeting at the forthcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

Not unreasonably, our Bishops have run with the idea that everyone should have the chance to respond to the consultation and have used the tools now available to make it easy for people to respond either by email or online. In the culture of the Holy See this has come as a bit of a shock. (Remember Fr Zuhlsdorf's joke that at the Vatican it is "yesterday's technology tomorrow.") Adding to the fog of confusion have been the inevitable stupid headlines in English language media hailing the consultation as a way for lay people to change the teaching of the Church on contraception …

Thoroughly enjoying a Baptism

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One of the functions I most enjoy as a parish priest is baptising babies. On Sunday, it was the turn of Caspar Emmanuel, second son of Matthew and Benna Schellhorn. Matthew is the Latin Mass Society Representative for Southwark North and we were blessed with a visit from Joseph Shaw, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society and his family. (Joseph also has his own blog which is well worth reading.)

I wrote previously about Baptism in the Usus Antiquior and it is the form I usually use, though normally I do most of the prayers in English, with the exorcisms and the form in Latin. Yesterday it was Latin all the way through, which I enjoyed. We also had the blessing of the mother, Benna, after childbirth, and a prayer of consecration of Caspar to Our Blessed Lady.

Grace is not a substance and therefore I know this is a theologically inept expression, but here I am, holding a new little saint filled to bursting with sanctifying grace :-)


More photos...
Flickr Set: Matthew Schellhorn
Flickr …

St Kevin's in Dublin - a flourishing Summorum Pontificum apostolate

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Two of my altar servers went on a family visit to Dublin over half term. For Sunday Mass, they went to St Kevin's Churchin Rathmines, Dublin 8, which is the home of the Dublin Latin Mass Chaplaincy. They were given a warm welcome by Fr Gerard Deighan and John the sacristan and were able to join the regular servers for the 10.30am Mass. The Church was packed with several hundred people both from Dublin itself and from as far afield as Wicklow.

Since the traditional Mass is the same everywhere with only minor differences (depending on the layout of the sanctuary and sometimes incidental local customs) servers are able to join in easily anywhere around the world that the older form is celebrated. I'm very grateful that the boys were made so welcome - many thanks to Fr Deighan and his team.

The Dublin Latin Mass Chaplaincy was established by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 15 September 2007, in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum (the day after the Motu Proprio came…

Zacchaeus story sung for children

The album "Joy is Like the Rain" was released by the Medical Mission Sisters in 1966. My father bought a copy to play to children at primary school in the hall during wet playtimes: I think he considered that it was at least a healthy alternative to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.

Looking at the texts for today's Masses (I have to double-up on this since we have both forms of the Roman Rite in my parish) I started humming the song in the above video when reading the gospel of Zacchaeus in the modern rite.

There is a charming innocence and simplicity in the Sisters' songs which disappeared in the monstrous offerings of the seventies (covered in the Bad Hymns series by Eccles and Bosco is saved.) Perhaps they were trained in Gregorian chant and brought this timbre to jaunty guitar songs.

I think that this and one or two other tracks might even still be useful for an infant class learning stories from the gospels. But, just to be clear, not at Mass. For Mass, you ca…

Pope Francis celebrates ad orientem

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Just for the record, really, the Holy Father has celebrated Mass ad orientem in the Patriarchal Basilica of St Peter. This will be some reassurance for parish clergy who celebrate Mass ad orientem in their parishes. Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley (who is always worth reading, by the way) has written about this today. In the article, he says:
The likeliest interpretation of this isn't that Francis is a liturgical conservative but rather that he just doesn't care about the protocol sensitivities of either trads or liberals. We have a Pope who, for better and worse, isn't that bothered about liturgy and is far more focused on evangelism and charity. That's bad in the sense that it means traditionalists have lost a champion in the Vatican (Benedict was a fairly reliable friend) but good in the sense that the liturgy is likely to become de-politicised. Face the people, don't face the people – all that matters is doctrinal orthodoxy and conducting the Mass in the right s…

Relics of St Anthony

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Two relics of St Anthony of Padua are being taken to various Churches and Cathedrals in England. The website of the Diocese of Shrewsbury has an account of the visit to the Church of St Francis in Chester yesterday. There was a full Church for Mass, celebrated by Bishop Davies, and thousands of people venerated the relics

In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Davies spoke of how these visits "represent nothing less than the return of the Saints into the lives of the faithful and to the forefront of our Christian witness."

The Shrewsbury website also carries Pope Benedict's  General Audience address on St Anthony. (You might also like this story of a humorous incident in my parish involving St Anthony.)

The programme of visits is nearly over, but there will be veneration and Mass this evening at St George's Cathedral in Southwark, tomorrow at Westminster Cathedral, and on Sunday at St Peter's Italian Church in Clerkenwell. (See the programme for details.)

Halloween service at Blackfen

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We will be having a Church service for Halloween at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. It will of course be first Vespers of the feast of All Saints (usus antiquior) at 8pm.

We also have a Missa Cantata for the feast day itself (also 8pm) and Missa Cantata for the Commemoration of All Souls at 10.30am on Saturday.

If you want to come for any of these celebrations, here are directions to the Church. On Thursday and Friday evenings, the parish club is open and you are welcome to come in afterwards as a guest, and join parishioners for a celebratory drink and discussion of current affairs with our team of bloggers.

Erasure releases "Gaudete"

A brother priest has alerted me to the digital release today by Erasure of the track "Gaudete" which is apparently the first single from a new album "Snow Globe" which is to be released as a CD and download bundle in a couple of weeks.

I confess that my knowledge of popular music nowadays is as close to zero as makes no difference so I had to look up the above details from the Wikipedia article on Erasure. This also informs us that one of the duo is a gay icon, which made me hesitate about posting this at all. However, on balance I agree with my correspondent that the problem is outweighed by the possibility of making Christ known to a secular audience at Christmas.

It is a good idea to know what singers are singing. This would apply to Lady Gaga's recent celebrated performance: I guess some of those cheering it might be less enthusiastic if they knew what she was actually singing about.

So here are the lyrics to Gaudete and a translation to help along the pos…

Video of LMS Pilgrimage to Walsingham

The Latin Mass Society have reminded me of their new video which documents the fourth annual pilgrimage by the Society to the ancient English shrine of Walsingham over three days in August 2013. Producing videos like this is an excellent way to make known good Catholic events and promote them to others, so I am glad to re-post it here. Look out for the next pilgrimage!

A great day with the Confraternity

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Fr Frank Marsden, Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett and Fr Jerome Bertram yesterday gave us food for thought at the Autumn Colloquium of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. At the last minute the Colloquium had to be moved from the Oratory School at Reading and the Fathers of the Oxford Oratory kindly made their facilities available, including the well-appointed and recently established Hall and their beautiful Church of St Aloysius.


The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Jarrett (Bishop of Lismore, Australia): modern rite ad orientem in English but with Propers and Ordinary sung in Latin with Gregorian chant. Later in the day, there was a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by Benediction. Meals were taken at Browns restaurant next door thanks to a special "deal" with a set menu - it is rather posher than I remember it as an undergraduate.

There were about 60 clergy present during the day. Here is a group photo of some of them (you can never get…

Understanding "Lead us not into temptation"

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An article in today's Telegraph is headed 'Blasphemous' Lord's Prayer corrected by France's Catholic Church. I think that 'blasphemous' is over-egging the pudding and that there is a danger of focussing on the wrong word.

The previous French version of "et ne nos inducas in tentationem" was: "Ne nous soumets pas à la tentation" (do not submit/subject us to temptation) and this is to be replaced by: "Et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation" (do not allow us to enter into temptation.)

Clearly we do not want to say that God would subject us to a temptation to be uncharitable to someone or to drink too much or to look at pornography on the internet. We would certainly prefer to say that we ask Him not to allow us to be tempted in such ways.

However I don't think that the translation of "inducas" is the problem, but rather the translation of "tentatio."

The word "temptation" in modern European l…

Tomorrow: optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II

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Fr Richard Duncan of the Birmingham Oratory has done a great service by publicising on Facebook the fact that tomorrow, 22 October, is an optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II according to the National Calendar for England and Wales. Here is a link at which you can download texts for the Missal and the Office of Readings in English and Latin so thanks to the Liturgy Office of England and Wales for this too.

I am glad to have been made aware of this and will be celebrating the optional memorial tomorrow morning. Next year, it will be for Saint John Paul II. The above photo will then be one of me with an actual saint! Some trads are rather critical of him, but I think he was a great Pope who brought many blessings to the Church and to the world. I am old enough to remember what a joy it was to welcome his election in 1978 and thrill to his powerful and effective witness against communism.

Have you got an 'ology?

My good friend Fr John Zuhlsdorf had a look at a non-magisterial fervorino of Pope Francis about “ideology” and wonders what the Pope really said:
The Pope’s language about ideology is so vague that I can’t for the life of me make out who or what he is talking about. It could be that he has a first name and a last name in mind, but I have no idea who she might be. I too am puzzled by the use of the word ideology in this ferverino and others.

In general usage, "ideology" is used to mean the system of ideas at the basis of an economic or political theory, as in Marxist ideology, or more generally the manner of thinking characteristic of a class, as in bourgeouis ideology, or more generally still, some sort of visionary speculation. Napoleon used the word to ridicule his intellectual opponents, and Marx used it to engage in the struggle of ideas that would determine who had power within a society.

We believe that God has given us a spiritual soul which is able to think and for…

New generation of lapsed

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Often, when I talk to priests from Catholic countries, or countries that formerly had a strong Catholic life, I have a sense of déjà-vu, as though they are sincerely and earnestly addressing problems that we faced in England 30 years ago.

Some of the things that Pope Francis has said strike me in the same vein. It is great to hear that he told priests not to turn away unmarried mothers who bring their children for Baptism. When I was newly-ordained (nearly 30 years ago), in the inner-city parish I first worked in, more than 50% of the children that we baptised were of unmarried mothers. Sometimes these were single mothers but increasingly over the years “unmarried mother” has become a quaint expression. Many are cohabiting, and many nowadays have got married in a hotel or on a beach without any inkling that this is not what Catholics should do.

At funerals, when saying the Our Father, we used to get distracted by some in the congregation continuing with “For the Kingdom...” as is the…

Iuventutem Mass this Friday

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Edmund Waddelove RIP

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Edmund Waddelove who died earlier this week was one of my greatest benefactors in that he brought about my conversion to a love of the traditional Latin Mass in 2002 when his sister Agnes died. He asked me to celebrate the Requiem Mass in the old rite. I agreed, and then realised that I had a short time to learn the ceremonies. (The late Michael Davies was at the funeral and afterwards supplied me with some altar cards and an instruction booklet.)

Edmund was a stalwart of the Latin Mass Society and always a manly, good-humoured critic of liberalism in the Church. The photograph above shows him (front, right) holding a collage of his children to be blessed by Blessed John Paul II whom he admired greatly.

I will be offering Mass for the repose of his soul (in the old rite, of course) and ask, of your charity, for prayers for him. May the Lord bring him speedily to the worship of heaven, the fulfilment of the Mass which he loved so dearly.

Here is an obituary, written by his son, Adrian…

CD 274 on concelebrants at weddings

There seems to be competition among under 30s Catholics to have as many priests as possible at their wedding. I’d love to invite half a dozen priest friends but would prefer them to attend in choir. I am worried in case they might be offended.
I think that you know that this should not be a matter of competition so I won’t harp on about that except to emphasise that your first concern should be the dignified and reverent celebration of your wedding, and your spiritual preparation with your fiancée in order to lay a solid foundation for your married life.

On behalf of my brother priests, I would make a heartfelt plea to you to give them a way out if it is difficult for them to attend. Priests who run parishes may have a heavy schedule and it is not always easy to find supply priests to cover for them. For many priests it is a rare luxury to attend an event for personal reasons on a Saturday. Make sure that you don’t take offence if they have to decline your invitation.

Cardinals Cañiza…

St Andrews and Canmore

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This evening I am at St Andrews to give a talk this evening for Canmore, the Catholic Society for the university. As ever, there was a great welcome, and a well-attended Mass beforehand, good questions, Compline in the chapel, and a fine group afterwards to continue the conversation over a drink at one of the nearby hotels. It is always good to hear from readers of the blog. One such, Archie, was the first person to complain to me about the new policy of not having comments. He said that the decision limited his scope for procrastination.

Tomorrow morning, I will join Fr Andrew Kingham for Mass. He is both parish priest and chaplain to the University and has quite a bit on his plate with planned building works to Canmore itself, the home of the chaplaincy, which are already proceeding apace. He is a doctor of Canon Law which helped things along since it is always good for a dogmatists like myself to have a canonist around to keep us on the straight and narrow. I was also glad to lear…

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy - and an invitation to the laity

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Wednesday 23 October sees the Autumn colloquium of the British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I have advertised this here before but want to give a last-minute reminder because it promises to be such a worthwhile event. Here is some information from the Confraternity:
Due to unforeseen complications in the major building works currently taking place over the next 12 months at the Reading Oratory School, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy has been obliged to re-locate the 2013 Colloquium. Both the Confraternity organising committee and the Oratory School apologise for any inconvenience caused, and plan to return the 2014 Colloquium to the Oratory School.

The Fathers of the Oxford Oratory have kindly agreed to host the 2013 Colloquium on Wednesday 23 October, which would have been the second day of our residential conference. The revised Colloquium will take the form of an extended day conference with meals, and will include - an event we have long desired – a final talk open to t…

New Latin hymn for Blessed John Henry Newman Salve Fundator

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The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory have commissioned Fr John Hunwicke to compose a new Latin hymn in honour of Blessed John Henry Newman whose feast day is tomorrow. At the Birmingham Oratory website, you can view the text and translation. It will be sung at first Vespers at the Oratory this evening, and after High Mass tomorrow.

(I confess to a tinge of disappointment at the © underneath. Would the Fathers perhaps consider making the text available under a creative commons licence?)

Suggested prayers

People have asked me to post the texts of these prayers which I currently say each morning.
For the Pope
Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, mercifully look upon Thy servant, Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as the chief Shepherd to preside over Thy Church; grant him, we beseech Thee, so to edify, both by word and example, those over whom he hath charge, that he may attain unto everlasting life, together with the flock committed unto him. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Agai…

Assent and papal magisterium

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Various questions have arisen recently concerning the assent that we ought to give to the words of the Holy Father. I thought it might be helpful to give a few notes concerning the papal magisterium from classical Catholic theology. I have referred to the excellent Jesuit manual Sacrae Theologiae Summa published by BAC.

When the Pope defines ex cathedra a doctrine concerning faith or morals, he enjoys that infallibility with which Our Lord willed the Church to be endowed. To these definitions, we must give the assent of faith. Obvious examples are the definition of the Immaculate Conception by Blessed Pius IX in 1854 and the definition of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

The Pope also teaches with an authentic magisterium (teaching authority) that is not infallible. Examples of such teaching are the encyclical letters of the Pope, and decrees issued by the Holy See in forma specifica.

Decrees of the Holy See may be issued merely in forma communi. This approval means that they…

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