31 December 2008

Brooding And Pondering (And A Bit Long)

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Two recent events have shaken me a bit: the first was the dispute in the Latim Mass Society: nothing much has been vouchsafed to us pewfodder yet, but it is clear that behind the scenes, at the top, not just of the LMS, but of the trad movement in England and Wales, there has been a rift, precisely when we needed both to have and to show a united front. The second was the extraordinary interview given by the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton to the Catholic Herald, and what can only be described as a set of bizarrely heterodox comments on the practice of the Faith.

When I started this blog a couple of years ago I raised something I had raised with the Editor of the Universe on his forum a couple of months earlier:

“What we don't have is a Catholic organ, loyal to the hierarchy, which feels able to question the direction of the Church in England and Wales ... because if any of these issues are ever aired, they are raised and answered in the same article, and according to the current orthodoxy.”
The Universe’s editor answered as follows:

“I was about to bash out yet another indignant reply pointing out that The Universe is a loyal organ that is constantly questioning and analysing general policies through its feature writers, then I came to the second part of your comment, and actually you’ve right, and you’ve hit on something really important here – how does one write a loyal but at the same time questioning article that doesn’t end up like a soggy pastry? I must admit we’ve tended to steer our writers (and they’ve steered themselves) towards a formula just such as Ttony has described – the message tends to end up the same whatever the subject – “doing great but could do better”. I must admit this has become so commonplace that I’ve all but banned headlines that include statements of the blindingly obvious like “Church could do more to ….” And “Our duty to .”
The real difficulty here is that natural journalistic instinct says that contributors and commentators should just be allowed to sound off (within reason) on any topic they feel very strongly about. The danger is a) that your Catholic paper ends up being a shooting gallery, and that b) we must never forget that Catholic papers have a dual role – to inform the faithful, but also as tools of positive evangelisation for non-Catholics that might pick them up. Critical comment can be indicative of a vibrant, open and developing Church, but right now ours isn’t and – most importantly – I don’t think everyone has the confidence or maturity to engage some of these contentious debates, though that’s changing through the unavoidable reality of decline, and the consequences that brings. When I was formulating the loyalty policy of The Universe, my own bishop, Edwin Regan, summed up what was needed from the Catholic press perfectly – the phrase he used was ‘critical solidarity’, which sounds to me exactly what Ttony is asking for.”
I had thought that the Catholic blogosphere might be the answer to what I saw as something lacking, but, to my knowledge, with the exception of Damian Thompson the bloggers I most read share the self-censorship - well, self-restraint - of the Catholic press, whether from duty, obedience, propriety or whatever.

I'm not asking for a Catholic version of the News of the World, but something authoritative because of those who contribute to it, with a standpoint that is prepared to provide critical solidarity - challenge, but also support - might not come amiss, and might give Damian a break and a feeling that he is not alone.

Is this just me?

30 December 2008

On Egyptaholism

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Beyond Parody

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Radio 4 this morning: the Today programme. Guest editor Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor. And this just as a bunch of Anglican bishops have pricked the bubble of Labour as the only party a person with morality could support.

And the theme, insofar as there was one:

"Vote New Labour! This mess isn't their fault and only they can get us out."

You couldn't invent this stuff.

26 December 2008

Why I Like Boxing Day

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Nothing is expected of me today, beyond the normal civility that should characterise every day. Today is the day when: the drama of Christmas Day having passed; the preparations for Christmas belonging to history; the opening of presents having produced either spontaneous or unauthentic gasps of delight; the great bout de cuisine having been accomplished; we can either sink into a sort of hung over accidie, or begin dimly to understand why Holy Mother Church ordains Octaves as a sort of period of suspended time, a time when we can begin to really enjoy Christmas, the material part having been got over.

Thanks to Fr Z (whom God preserve!) for the insight into Octaves and into why I enjoy Boxing Day and Easter Monday so much.

24 December 2008

Christmas Comes Early!

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On the advice of the Police, Christmas came to the Church where we attended the Vigil Mass at 5.00 pm. They could spare a patrol to look after the parked cars while we were at Mass, but the policemen would be busy later with thieves and drunks. So it's been Christmas with us for ages already. A very merry Christmas to all!

I found a new translation of Adeste Fideles just before I went to Mass. No doubt you all know it already: no doubt you're wondering "How come he doesn't know this?"; but this evening I read this for the first time, and read the message of the hymn in a new light.

O come all ye faithful!
Triumphantly sing!
Come see in the manger
The Angels' dread King!
To Bethlehem hasten
With joyful accord;
Oh hasten! oh hasten!
To worship the Lord.

True Son of the Father,
he comes from the skies;
The womb of the Virgin
He did not despise;
Not made but begotten,
The Lord of all might,
True God of true God,
True Light of true light.

Hark! to the Angels,
All singing to Heaven,
"To God in the highest
High glory be given."

To Thee, then, O Jesus,
This day of Thy birth,
Be glory and honour
Through Heaven and earth!
True Godhead incarnate,
Omnipotent! Word,
Oh, hasten! oh hasten!
To worship the Lord.

God's Blessings to you all!

23 December 2008

The Conversion Of St Paul - Something To Look Forward To

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I was reminded from Australia that the readings and propers for the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul next year may be used even though the feast falls on a Sunday.

Vatican permits parishes to mark feast of conversion of St. Paul

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- As part of the 2008-2009 celebration of the special year devoted to St. Paul, Catholic parishes may mark the traditional Jan. 25 feast of the Conversion of St. Paul even though it falls on a Sunday in 2009.

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments issued a decree saying Pope Benedict XVI, "in an extraordinary manner," has given permission for parishes and churches to use the prayers and readings for the feast day instead of those for the third Sunday of ordinary time.

The decree was released May 30 at the Vatican.Generally, the Mass texts for feasts such as the Conversion of St. Paul are not used when the feast day falls on a Sunday.

"The apostle St. Paul, who proclaimed the truth of Christ to the whole world," and who converted after having persecuted followers of Christ, "always was and still is venerated by the faithful, especially in this particular year," which marks the 2,000th anniversary of his birth, the decree said.

For that reason, "only for the year 2009," Pope Benedict has decided that parishes may use the prayers and readings for the feast day Jan. 25.

Because the feast day Mass does not include a second reading, the second reading from the third Sunday of ordinary time should be used and the Creed, often not recited at Mass during the week, should be recited, the decree said.

The decree was signed by Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the congregation, and by Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don, congregation secretary.

22 December 2008

If You Don't Like The Bagpipes ...

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... then look away now.

These are not the bagpipes of Scotland, but those of Asturias in the north of Spain. Vicente Prado "El Pravianu" plays a piece called "The Mine and The Sea" about a famous coalmine called La Camocha, some of whose seams stretched out under the Bay of Biscay, where fishermen earn their livelihood.

Sometimes fishermen heard strange noises below them of the firedamp exploding, and felt great pity for the miners working in the cold underground, while the miners, sometimes hearing the noise of the waves during a great storm would feal great pity for the miners, who had to work fearlessly on the open sea.

This is ancient music.

21 December 2008

What A Fortnight!

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The Cardinal goes to Rome to tell and be told - fortuitously, he leaves a day or two before Damian Thompson breaks the story about the giant and growing fissure in the trad community in England and Wales; but before the anti-trads can take advantage, the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton seems to decide to attack systematically a great swathe of orthodox Catholic belief.
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We've still a couple of days of preparation before Christmas: perhaps we (a royal we, this one)ought to examine our consciences and work out how much of this is our fault. How often have I prayed for Bishops, that they might dutifully lead God's Church? How often have I criticised them behind their backs instead of praying for them? When have I made excuses for inadequately prepared celebrations of the TLM instead of praying in advance for the poor priests who are doing their best but are not quite there yet? Might my loving my fellow creatures help make the world a better and holier place?
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Meanwhile, here is an example of neighbourliness, trust, concern for those who suffer, and recycling!

20 December 2008

Catholic Everything

Catholic Everything, which can be found here, has the potential to become really something. It is what it says: a Directory of Catholic everything. The list of categories gives you a clue: All freebies, Blogs, Business, Education, Family, Media, Organisations, People, Pregnancy, Products and Travel.

It's very US-focused at present (so advertise on it!) and has a few too many Google ads at the top, but, as I said above, this could end up being a really useful resource.

I Can't Believe It's Not Rutter



First of all, in the early nineteenth century, the Victorians standardised the tunes of all of the Christmas carols, and established a sort of Canon of acceptable carols. So you couldn't sing "While Shepherds Watched" to the tune of "Ilkley Moor" any more, because that wasn't the proper tune, while "The Joys of Mary" hadn't made it into the Canon and so survived, insofar as it has survived, as a folk song.

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Then along came "Carols For Choirs" - when? in the late 60s? - and not only were all the standardised carols from the Canon reset, but the settings themselves became standardised, so that every choir in the land, every school carol concert, every group of four girls shivering in the High Street raising money for Christian Aid is going to sing exactly the same descant to the third verse of "Hark the Herald Angels", and however fresh and original it was 40 years ago, it is now a tired cliche.

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So I think the Naxos Book of Carols (which I have just discovered but which is five years old already) available as a CD for a fiver, or as a book with SATB score and CD for less than a tenner is very welcome, just because it is new and refreshingly different, and, at this time of year, cheap!

19 December 2008

Brick By Brick In Germany

The new Archishop of Munich was Bishop Marx of Trier, 100% a Ratzingerian.

The new Bishop of Munster is Bishop Genn, currently Bishop of Essen. Before this appointment he was Auxiliary in ... Trier, when Marx was Bishop there.

Brick by brick ...

And the new Bishop in Oslo is a Croatian, who used to be a Parish Priest in Germany.

Catholic brick by Catholic brick ...

Hat tip to Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña

17 December 2008

A Catholic Bishop Speaks


Fortunately for Australia, and unfortunately for us, here is evidence of yet another Catholic Bishop in the English-speaking world who would feel out of place in any small group of islands off the NW corner of Europe. According to Schütz, who lives and blogs there, Archbishop Coleridge of Canberra addressed the problem of a parish where the priests have preached heterodoxy for too long and have been called to order. (This was the parish whose baptisms have been declared invalid.)

If any Church in this country has been the Church of the mob, open to all, it has been the Catholic Church. But the inclusiveness of the Church does not mean that there are no boundaries. It does not mean that there is no such thing as sin which sets a person or a group outside the communion of the Church.

In the end, communities like St Mary’s and those who support them, fail to recognise the difference between a band-wagon and a hearse. With the best of good intentions – and no-one is attributing any of this to malice – they jump gleefully on the band-wagon of a certain relevance and inclusiveness without realising that what looks like a band-wagon into the brave, new world of the future is in fact a hearse leading to a dead end that they do not see coming. Such confusions do not help, and it is the task of the Pope and the bishops to speak with one voice in pointing the way beyond them.

13 December 2008

Pius XII And The Jews: A Note

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The Vichy regime would continue to be unmoved by foreign criticism. Marshal Petain appeared to believe that he was acting in the best interest of the French state. But he would be chastened by no less an authority than the Pope's representative. At a late July luncheon at a hotel in Vichy, Petain commented to the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal Valerio Valeri that he was consoled by the fact that the Pope understood and approved his policy on the Jews. Valeri had to correct Petain. According to a report by the Ecuadorian minister to Vichy that was intercepted by the British, the Nuncio told Petain that he was mistaken about the Pope. The "Holy Father does not approve of it". Valeri later asked for another meeting in which he delivered the Pope's plea to stop the persecutions. Even the personal protest of the Pope to Marshal Phillipe Petain, the Chief of State, stirred "Le Marechal" only to limit the ongoing deportations of foreign Jews living in the occupied zone of France.

From "Eavesdropping on Hell: Historical Guide to Western Communications Intelligence and the Holocaust 1939-1945". Archival references to NARA holdings available if required.

Bad News From The LMS

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We have so many EF Masses now in England and Wales that everybody can fulfill their Sunday obligation by attending one. The only battle left to be fought is whether Low Mass or High Mass should be the norm, and where the leadership of lay Catholics should come from.

Does this sound like December 2008? No, it doesn't to me either. But read Damian's piece about some members of the Latin Mass Society's seeming desire to tear apart everything that has been achieved since Summorum Pontificum.

And to crown everything, they have cancelled next year's training course for priests at Merton College.

Who do these people think they are? Do they think they own the Mass?

09 December 2008

Good News From Rome

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The news, as reported by the New Liturgical Movement, is that the Pope has asked all Abbots and Abbesses of the Benedictine Congregations to assemble at Monte Cassino next Ascension Thursday to pray with him at St Benedict's tomb.

What a wonderful, imaginative, act by HH the P. It makes me want to sing and shout! So I shall!

08 December 2008

Tagged By Mac For Six Happy Things

Harried by life at present, and I saw a message from Mac saying I'd been tagged for six things that make me very happy.

1. My family. My wife, who tolerates my enthusiasms. Teenagers who, while difficult to like at times, are impossible not to love. Brothers, sisters, cousins, all of whom are available on tap, no matter how long it is since we last spoke. Parents and uncles and aunts and others in Heaven who pray for us, and in Purgatory, for whom we pray.

2. Mass, said properly. I get to serve an EF Mass from time to time, though the "stable group" feels a bit like a household in the time of Campion as we are harried from pillar to post. I haven't been to a NO Mass where the Priest has purified the sacred vessels since September, and I haven't missed a single Sunday. But at least I have a choice of rubrically unsound Masses to go to: I don't live in China.

3. The radio: cooking Sunday dinner, listening (via the Internet radio) to Eamon and Jimmy on Radio Manchester until 12.00, then to Radio 7 for old comedy programmes. Radio 4. What's left of Radio 3. Broadcast words, and the best of broadcast music. Doing stuff with the radio switched on makes me feel like my dad, and the older I get, the more comfortable a feeling that is.

4. Loud choral music of the Renaissance: Monteverdi, Palestrina, that mob, as well as Tallis and Byrd. But loud: "you're in my basilica to listen to this". We roadtested the new stereo by taking a couple of CDs with us: mine was the start of the Monteverdi 1610 Vespers on loud. Loud to clear out the cobwebs, to scatter romantics and minimalists; loud because that's what fortissimo means.

5. Books: finding, when you get the Advent things down from the loft that there are a couple of boxes up there with a hundred-odd books you haven't seen for a couple of years and had forgotten about, and welcoming them back like the old friends they are. Odd books, quirky books, books that remind you exactly where you were (who you were) when you bought them and when you read them, even each time you read them. Books that were my parents'; books that were my friends'.

6. Wine. Fortified wines, like sherry and vermouth; sparkling wines like Champagne and cava; red wines; rose wines; white wines; "burned wine" (brandjewijn); anything except for "low alcohol" wines.

7. (And who is Mac to bind me to six when seven is the number of perfection?) The Internet. The Forum. The Marketplace. Not mantentem civitatem, but the agora in which we all bump into each other.

Tagging Ches, Fr Paul, Kirk, Hilary Jane Margaret White, the Mother of That Lot, and Eugenia.

03 December 2008

If You Feel A Bit Down ...

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Perhaps what the Hierarchy of England and Wales is for is to demonstrate that national Episcopal Conferences are a bad thing. The cardinabile Bishops have demonstrated one by one why they are not fit to lead anything with Catholic in the title (I read the wikipedia aricle on EWTN earlier and it made me laugh to read: "The name "Eternal Word" was selected, instead of a name with the term "Catholic" for a specific reason. Under Catholic canon law, any organization with the word "Catholic" in it must be completely under the control of the Bishop whose dioceses it resides in").

But the eternal clock of the Church continues to tick, even in England and Wales. It isn't a querelous tick: that tick exists, particularly in the blogosphere, but the blogging tick, however noble, is of our time, the same time as the whateverdoxy of the Bishops.

But read the latest posting from Colwich, and see that the Church of always has survived. And I bet that in the convent (I hope it's in nuns' parlour!) there is a clock which they wind up every seven or twenty-eight days, that ticks with a slow, bass, beat and marks the hours which took the nuns from England to the Low Countries, and which brought them back: if there isn't, there should be!

01 December 2008

What Do They Know Of England ...

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... who only England know?

You have to live abroad to understand what makes this country tick, and it's when you live abroad that you miss it most.

It's easy to criticise this country: there's plenty wrong with it.

But try living abroad: and read here what happens when you go away to something fantastic. You're in Rome, everything is wonderful, and there isn't a fry-up to be had.

A prayer for all exiles: Hic autem non habemus mantentem civitatem.

30 November 2008

First Sunday Of Advent



This afternoon.
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Chinese lanterns in a garden.
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Mistletoe growing in a tree and, today, the first Sunday of Advent, flowering, or whatever it is called when this most unnatural of created things bursts into bud.
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The tips of the daffodils are through the grass already; the magnolia is in bud; some of the thorn trees are in flower.
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All of the allegories we use about spring are about Easter and the Resurrection. For the first time, thanks, presumably, to climate change, the allegories of new growth are visible as we prepare for the coming of our Saviour.
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It works.




And here, thanks to Cathcon, are the ladies from gloria.tv singing Rorate Caeli Desuper.


28 November 2008

Darts: The Manchester Board

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The Mother Of That Lot has had considerable trouble with offspring who "help" at Christmas. Look here.
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She titles her post "Options Evening", which is enough to frighten anybody who has, or has had, children in Year 9 or 11.
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But she shows a weird picture of a darts board with the numbers in the wrong order, some coloured stuff in the middle of it, numbers written in wire, and a bizarre extra wire ring about a third in.
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I wonder if she is planning a cruel and unusual punishment on her offspring: "you have messed up my Christmas shopping and I will mess up your life by teaching you how to play darts on a dart board which isn't Mancunian".
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The Manchester board: for arrers.

26 November 2008

New laptop

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I know it's only a year since I bought the last one, but I needed a new one for various reasons, and a 2 GHz processor and 4 GHz of memory for (5p) less than £400 sounded too good to be true. It isn't.
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But I remember when I bought my first PC fifteen years ago that as soon as you plugged it in and turned it on it started to work. I'll stop soon after two hours tonight, but this is still miles off being fully loaded and nasty-proofed.
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And I'd hate to see someone try this who didn't have a clue what they were doing.

24 November 2008

Messing About With The Rubrics

Fr Ray wrote:

"I really do feel for people who have to put up with this type of nonsense week after week. The rubrics, the Liturgical Law is to protect people's faith. I really do wonder if my faith would be strong enough to endure onslaughts of this kind of abuse week after week after week."

We are in a state of liturgical flux at the moment; the new PP having changed Mass times and introduced the Rite of Purification of Sacred Vessels by Lay Females Only, my local church is not really the place for me. We were travelling about a bit at the weekend and decided to attend Mass at a mediaeval church generously lent by the Anglican Parish Council to its Catholic brethren for the celebration of Mass. I thought that Mass on the feast of Christ the King in a "proper" Church might restore some concept of the dignity of what we believe in to a bewildered non-Catholic wife and to a 14 year old daughter who has started asking if she has to go to Mass if Fr X is saying it.

A priest who can't sing in tune, and who has no sense of time, shouldn't be allowed to wear a portable microphone; a visitor who hears him say at the start of the entrance hymn "We'll sing 'Hail the Day that Sees Him Rise' because that's the sort of thing a King does" should know what he's in for. And we were in for it.

We had a sermon in which the Queen's family were told off for setting a bad example, something Christ the King wouldn't do, after which point the priest told us that the Jews in Israel are at least as bad the Nazis in their genocidal treatment of Palestinians, and Christ the King wouldn't behave like that.

He apologised for the long sermon (it was 45 minutes after the start of Mass when he finished the sermon, according to the Westminster chimes of the bell in the clock tower) but he promised Eucharistic Prayer II to "save time at the end of Mass". He had a Host the size of a side plate (made, I would guess from the taste, from some sort of Muesli) and he spent the time after the Agnus Dei breaking it into chunks, one of which he held up in his left hand for the first five words of the Domine Non Sum Dignus. It wasn't enough, but luckily, there was a ciborium in the (Anglican Church's) tabernacle which had white hosts for the last few communicants. He let his Extraordinary Ministers purify not just the chalice, but the paten he'd been using. That way, he didn't need to wash his fingers.

This happened at the weekend, at the celebration of the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ Universal King, and I was there, escaping the bad for the worse. There isn't a parish within a half hour's drive at which you can guarantee that at any Mass the rubrics will be respected (never mind observed).

Am I bitter? Yes, I am.

23 November 2008

Yet More About Westminster

Ches has a rather good post about the article by Ruth Gledhill in the Times which suggests that a Scottish Bishop, Tartaglia, is now the insider's favourite.

I have never known there to be such excitement, such interest, and so much caring about the right man being chosen, as though there is finally a realisation that the alternative to the "right" man might very possibly be the "wrong" man.

19 November 2008

More PO'D-ery

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I know very little about lots of things.
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I don't doubt that some of us are cleverer than others.
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I imagine that if you are an ex-priest, and comfortable in a world in which you and your fellows interpret the signs of the times unanimously, whatever others might say, you might be nervous about the others if they seem to be casting themselves adrift.
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I imagine that if you are the sort of person who thinks that sovereignty can and should be pooled, then attacks on examples of pooled sovereignty, like the Bishops'Conference of England and Wales must sound and feel like attacks on the axioms which underpin your beliefs.
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What PO'D has said, must, to the Sandalistas, feel like what some of us have felt like every time the Cardinal Archbishop of Los Angeles has featured on a YouTube video.
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So why is PO'D getting the publicity? Why aren't they stifling the story?
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Is their grip finally being loosened?
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Are they on their way out?

17 November 2008

That Article In The Mail

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According to the Mail On Sunday, Archbishop Smith of Cardiff is the name at the head of the terna the Nuncio will send (or has sent) to the Vatican as the preferred candidate for Westminster. It's all a bit odd though.

Neither the Mail, nor Jonathan Petre, the journalist whose byline is on the story, are particularly interested in Catholic stories: so why would this story break in this way. It can't have come from the Nuncio, who is sworn to secrecy in this context, so must have come from "sources close" to him, or to those in the Hierarchy who know the way his mind is turning.

There is a teensy-weensy clue in the journalist's surname. Petre is a distinguished recusant surname. "They" would not want anything to leak out through the Daily Telegraph or the Times: how better, then, to see who would salute this particular flag, by raising it through the old boy network in an unexpected place (for I can't believe many of our Hierarchs are Mail readers).

What does it mean? It means that somebody who thinks he knows what the Nuncio has told Rome has informed a friend or (and/or) kinsman, who has in turn published it. It is instructive that Archbishop Smith's price at Paddy Power remains the same today, at 16/1, as it was yesterday: no money is following this leak.

This ends up being as good a story as the translation of Cardinal Pell, or the retention of the services of PO'D: fascinating; intriguing; and either right or wrong! (I'll guarantee the last cause will be proved accurate.)

16 November 2008

The Tablet: Who Owns It And How We Can Change It!

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Being an investigative journalist always seemed to me to be an alluring profession: half way between a spy and a demagogue. The reality is different, trawling through the Internet, only to find myself having to read balance sheets. I wanted to know who owned the Tablet and nobody could tell me: so I found out for myself, and am happy to share what I have found, because the Tablet shouldn't be as it is, and we might be able to turn it back to what it should be.

The Tablet is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Tablet Trust, a registered charity. (So is the Pastoral Review: more of this later.) In it latest published accounts it says:

"The objectives of the charity as set out in its foundation documents are

a) to advance the Christian religion
b) to promote, present, and disseminate the teachings of the Christian religion and to promote understanding of the Roman Catholic faith, value and principles
c) to advance the education of the public
d) to pursue such other charitable objectives as shall not be inconsistent with the objects hereunto before set out.

The objectives of the Trust are carried out by its support of the religious and educational aspects of “The Tablet” and “The Pastoral Review” and support of other bodies whose activities fall within the Trust Deed objectives.

Objectives for the Year (2008)

The Trust looks to achieve its strategic aims properly through the activities of the Publishing Company

Specifically the company is charged with

a) maintaining the high journalistic quality and Catholic ethos informed by the teaching of the Second Vatican Council of The Tablet and The Pastoral Review
b) increasing the influence of The Tablet and The Pastoral Review in the religious and secular spheres in the UK and beyond and
c) increasing the circulation of both titles

Strategic Aims and Intended Effect

The Trust seeks to fulfil its objectives through its support of the Publishing Company’s flagship title The Tablet. Through this support it aims to grow The Tablet’s influence in the UK and internationally as a journal of comment and analyses. This in turn will engender amongst its growing readership a discernment of the Christian message reflected within the intellectual values of providing informed opinion, a forum for debate, and a journal of record. It seeks to create a spiritual counterbalance to the political polarisation of society and in particular intellectual life. It also seeks to provide a resource to the Church through The Pastoral Review."

And after some stuff about investment policy:

"Future Plans

The Trust has recognised that to support the expansion of the Publishing Company new premises will be required as the existing site is inadequate for the demands placed upon it. The conceptual work done during the past year will be built upon to develop a number of on-going initiatives that will not only generate additional funding but enhance the objects of the Trust."

The Trustees represent the secular portion of what Damian Thompson calls the Magic Circle.

The Chairman is Sir Michael Quinlan, and the Vice Chairman is Michael Phelan. The Trustees are: John Adshead, Robin Baird-Smith, John Battle MP, Lady Rachel Billington, Lord Camoys, Angela Cunningham, Professor Conor Gearty, Professor Peter Hennessy, Lady Hooper, Lord Hunt, Pat Jones, Lady Kennedy (Helen Kennedy), Henry Keswick, Alfred Latham-Koenig, Sir Gus O’Donnell, Sir Anthony O’Reilly, Sir Michael Paliser, Lord Patten, Susan Penswick, Edward Stourton, Sir Steven Wall, and Lady Williams (Shirley).

The wage bill for the company is £847, 380 (not including pensions and NI). There are eight editorial staff, six publishing staff and seven in administration. One member of staff earns about £80,000 a year; another earns between £90,000 and £100,000.

The Pastoral Review Bursary Scheme facilitates the educational advancement of the public in postgraduate studies of Pastoral Theology: last year it paid out £24,828.

Now: we need a good lawyer and a good theologian to spend a few months reading the damn thing, but, if it could be demonstrated that the Tablet was not meeting the objectives of the charity, then there would be good grounds for a complaint to the Charities Commission about the Trust's status as a charity.

13 November 2008

6 December: Vocations Day In Lancaster

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Somebody pointed out that I can't go round saying nice things about the Bishop, and then not publish the fact that he is hosting a Vocations Day in his Cathedral. Fair cop!
Quo vadis?

If you are 17 or over and have ever wondered if you are called to be a priest then you are invited to meet the vocations director of the Diocese of Lancaster and students for the priesthood:

...listen to testimonies...
...Questions & Answers...
...join us for an informal lunch...
closing with Mass and time for prayer
Saturday 6th December10:30am -- 4:00pm@ Lancaster Cathedral
If you are interested, please e-mail Fr Manny Gribben at e.gribben@merseymail.com or call on 01946 810324

12 November 2008

Do Vicars Work Hard?

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This one does. He (or possibly she - I have no idea) has this village church as one of several in his cure. The people don't turn out, and those who do don't give much. But there he is, week after week. And when he's not there, they say the Office. They record the fact that the service has taken place and what the vicar has preached on.

There is a heroic virtue being acted out here.

10 November 2008

The Green Fields Of France

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On the vigil of Armistice Day.
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Not the version by the Fureys.
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09 November 2008

08 November 2008

Fun And Games In Catalonia

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So, ABC, a conservative Madrid-based newspaper published comments about the amount of money claimed in expenses by certain left wing catalonian politicians.
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These comments were reported on news bulletins on radio stations owned by the company which publishes ABC and by radio stations belonging to COPE, a chain of radio stations which are owned by the Church.
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By strange coincidence, the Catalonian Government has reallocated radio frequencies, and both ABC and COPE have effectively had some of their transmitters shut down.
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It could never happen here.

Book Sought

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A parish in which a Merton 08 graduate has reintroduced the Extraordinary Form of the Mass is looking out for a couple of copies of the 1962 edition of the Altar Servers' Handbook.
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They are particularly useful because they are properly bound and lie flat; they also look suitably decorous as items to be used in the sanctuary.
They are useful as an aide-memoire for the priest at the foot of the altar, both for the introductory prayers, and for the Leonine prayers at the end of Mass. (It takes a long time to be confident that you can say all of these prayers accurately and confidently.)
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And they are designed for the server: they contain everything he needs to say and do, and contain prayers to say during the Mass as well which, while designed for boys, are just as suitable for grown men.
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I have tried abebooks and there aren't any for sale there. There is an online version of the pre-1962 version (ie with the Confiteor before Communion) here but even though I could edit the text, it still wouldn't be the slim red volume shown in the picture. They have two copies on loan at the moment, but would like two of their own, so that the loan copies might be returned for use somewhere else.
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Can anybody help?

07 November 2008

The Westminster Stakes: An Odd Rumour

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I've heard this three or four times now, and Paddy hasn't. I'd have put it down to wishful thinking, except those passing on the message aren't wishful thinkers. I'd try putting it down to wishful thinking on the part of their interlocutors, but the one chain of speculation along which I managed to travel three links is distinguished by its sobriety, rather than by its vivid imagination. But I still can't believe it!

If this rumour is true, then Bishop Patrick O'Donoghue, soon to be Emeritus Bishop of Lancaster, will be asked by the Holy Father to step upwards for a short (3-4 year) period.

Yes, he is about to be 75; yes, his resignation from Lancaster has been accepted; yes, his successor there has been announced. But, if you are Sovereign Pontiff, so what?

You can see why my first response was "wishful thinking".

This wouldn't be a vote for PO'D the financial genius, or for PO'D the Prelate who keeps churches open: he isn't perfect.

This would be a vote for PO'D the writer; PO'D the author of "Fit for Mission"; and for the concepts and ideas contained within it.

You can see why my first response was "wishful thinking". And don't I wish!

04 November 2008

Helping Out At Lourdes

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Were a couple of 15 year old girls express a wish to go to Lourdes to "help out" with a pilgrimage, how would they go about it if their parish priest, when asked, said that he had no idea as there wouldn't be a pilgrimage to Lourdes from his parish?

The childrens' parents want them to go with a group from the UK - how does one find out what groups are going, and when?

02 November 2008

No Advice To Americans From Me On How To Vote

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Living overseas during the first part of the Thatcher era, it was a pain in the neck for me to be told by people who didn't understand how politics in the UK worked how I should vote. So I won't say anything to any visiting Americans about how they should vote, and will content myself with praying for them as they cast their votes, and hoping that I won't end up having to pray "God Bless America" in the way that I find myself praying "God Help the UK".

01 November 2008

Elderly Bishops

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I wondered how many of our Bishops would have only one ad limina visit left - how many, in other words, are 70 or older.

Step forward Bishops Budd, Hine, Hollis, McMahon (of Brentford), Noble, O'Donoghue, Pargeter, Rawsthorne, and Regan, Archbishop Kelly (later this month), and, of course, the Cardinal himself.

What Your Taste In Art Says About You

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Courtesy of Jeffrey, a new quiz.

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual

34 Renaissance, 13 Islamic, 18 Ukiyo-e, -30 Cubist, -40 Abstract and -1 Impressionist!


The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.


People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more concientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.


Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

31 October 2008

The Best Of Cardiff

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A good, if cold, day out. My wife and daughter shopped; I didn't.




30 October 2008

"In Communion"

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What does "in communion" mean when the Bishop is prepared to tolerate anti-rubrical practice?

Suppose a Bishop (a real Bishop, such as the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, for example) assents to a form of celebration of Mass on the feast of Christ the King which drives a coach and horses through the rubrics? Am I "in communion" with him?

Suppose another Bishop encourages (not in writing, or in any way that might form the basis of a complaint to Rome) his Parish Priests only to allow women to be extraordinary ministers, and encourages them not just to allow these women to purify the sacred vessels after Holy Communion, but specifically not to do so himself. Am I "in communion" with him?

What does one do if the Head of one's Church appears not to believe in what Catholics believe, and him obliged to uphold it?

Two Important Petitions

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The first from Phil asks us to sign a petition calling on the UN to respect the rights and dignity of the Human Person and the Family.

The second from the good Dr Ches asks British citizens to sign the petition at the No 10 website asking the PM to demand that the Iraqi government takes suitable steps to protect its Christian minority.

Each is important. Please think abousining.

29 October 2008

More BBC Rubbish

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Courtesy of Catholic Action UK, I hear that the BBC is about to go for Catholics as much as they went for Andrew Sachs. Ten thousand complaints seems to be the watershed that forces the Beeb to act. Let's prepare ...

... but let's also ask any Catholic lawyer or barrister who happens to be about the blogosphere how the religious hatred legislation might be brought to bear.

28 October 2008

Jonathan Ross And Russell Brand

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I pay my licence fee, so I employ them.

Does that mean I can sack them?

Why not?

27 October 2008

A Non-Animal Picture

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I thought that the end of October should have been the end of any pretence that Autumn wasn't in full flow. But I took this picture yesterday.
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More Nature Notes - Visited By A Dead Frog

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This was on the patio first thing this morning. It had been probably been dropped by an owl.

Either that or Aaron has been stretching his hand over the waters. (We are at least 300 yards from running water.)

26 October 2008

A Newly Regular Visitor


When I left home, after growing up on a Manchester council estate, I could recognise sparrows, blackbirds, and starlings: and that was it; there were no other birds (except for budgies). These days, a female green woodpecker can come into the back garden every morning to worry away at what must be the larvae of some leatherjackets (or some such) and I barely turn a hair. Last summer, we were sat in the garden under a tree and a sparrowhawk came and killed a sparrow right above our heads. Nature in the raw used to mean alsatians which were never kept on leads and were allowed to roam the estate day and night. This year I'm already watching out for the swans on their way to their winter homes. My 20 year old self would not recognise what I have changed into.

24 October 2008

The Rocky Horror Rite Of Church Closure In Leeds

If this sort of things makes you want to say one for the poor parishioners of the Diocese of Leeds, then the full version from Paulinus is available here.

Gathering song: Be Much Afraid [To the tune Be Not afraid]

You can say Mass without vestments
To impress the teenage kids
Just ignore the GIRM
We don’t give a fig
You can fill the nave with dancing girls
and we will understand
But say the Mass in Latin and you’re done.

Refrain

Be much afraid.
We’re going to close your church down.
Say Latin Mass, and you’ll be on the dole.

Interfaith is all the rage
Meditation’s where it’s at
You can make a pagan incantation,
nothing wrong with that.
You can say your prayers with Rastas, Muslims
Jains, and Hindus too
But pray with other Catholics and you’re done

Doctrine is passe
You can make it up yourself
You can pick from Dawkins, Boff, de Mello
- anything off the shelf
You can quote Tissa Balasuriya,
Kung and Schillebeecx
But quote the Holy Father
and you’re stuffed

19 October 2008

Towny Mac!


As if anybody would go round pruning trees into funny shapes! It's hard enough remembering where you have fences and hedges that need to be maintained!

A Silver Lining ...

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At least mistletoe should be cheap this year. Look what the autumn is revealing!

16 October 2008

Dambusters


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I linked below to Max Arthur's book about 617 Squadron.

Imagine ...

They had to fly the Lancasters at exactly 60 feet (the height of a four storey house) at exactly 240 mph and drop the bomb, which had to be spinning at exactly 500 rpm (imagine the effect of what was like an internal gyroscope on the aircraft's handling) exactly 484 feet from the wall of the dam. At night; over water; into flak.

They trusted their air speed indicators; they achieved the height by putting two spotlights at the front and rear of the aircraft, whose beams intersected at a height of 60 feet; and Barnes Wallis built a wooden contraption out of a coat hanger with two pieces of wood, each with a nail at the end, at a fixed angle. When held to the eye and aligned with the two towers on the dam, they would indicate to the observer that the plane was on the right heading at the right distance (a couple of the crews improved on this).

Then off they went.

Guy Gibson was an experienced Wing Commander: DFC and bar, DSO and bar, and he earned the VC on the mission because, after taking his own aircraft through, he accompanied each succeeding aircraft and drew the flak for them. He was 26 years old.

The pilot of the first aircraft to attack the Eder dam was 20 years old.

We really are standing on the shoulders of giants.

Don't remake the film; don't rename the dog.

15 October 2008

The Bishops' Conference of E&W: Oh Dear!

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I read James Preece and wondered if he had produced a brilliant satire on Futurechurch. I then read Damian Thompson and found that it was for real. If you are really keen, you can find the download for the synthetic paraliturgy that has been invented for the Feast of Christ the King at either site: I won't link to it here.

How far is the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales prepared to go?

And what does "communion" mean? At what point can we, in good faith, take out our hankies and wave them farewell as they leave our shores forever?

14 October 2008

More books


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A quick foray to The Book Depository reveals just how much you can save if you spend there, so I have. I tried to persuade my wife that spending money in the UK on British books is the patriotic duty of any Englishman whose job seems secure and whose savings are safe in mutual societies which are not run by the sort of wanabee Gordon Gecko who has taken over so many of our building societies and has turned them into "banks".
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But enough of that: one book about Church History, one about Military History, and another about a different flavour of Military History. Enough to keep me going until the weekend!

12 October 2008

An Old English Parish

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Orwell's Picnic put me on to a book: An Old English Parish by J Charles Wall, published in 1907, in which he describes with illustrations day to day life in a pre-reformation English parish.
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It is to The Stripping Of the Altars what the History Of The English Speaking Peoples is to The Oxford History Of Britain: it introduces and skims over the subject for the general reader.
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And it has illustrations:



Good stuff for a Sunday afternoon, after you've cut the grass for the last time this year for the second time, and it's warm enough to sit and survey your handiwork with a glass of wine.





10 October 2008

OTSOTA: Respect, Dude!

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I came away from EF Mass recently absolutely convinced that everything is going to be fine, and that in spite of the discussion in the porch on the way out by people who wanted EF Mass every day, and particularly on Sundays, instead of periodically but all over the week.
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I suppose I wanted to say to them that the decisive step has been taken: that the Bishops (and the Bishops' Conferences) have had their control of the Mass taken from them, and forever. That the next generation of seminarians is different. That twice every three weeks is so immeasurably better than anything that has happened where I live in the last forty years, and is so little in comparison with what our children and grandchildren will experience, that carping is really bad. I didn't, because those taking part in the discussion weren't whingers or carpers, but Catholics who, having had nothing but the most basic NASA rations for forty years, had been reintroduced to the freshly prepared banquet, and who, not unreasonably, had decided that this was the way they wanted to eat all the time.
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I have no argument to counter the emotional content of that point pof view: how could I? I largely share it! But I wanted an intellectual argument which might persuade people that allowing the EF to grow gently, like magma, for a decade or two might lead to a permanent future which would not be personality-dependent. I found the argument in a combox!
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Damian Thompson's Telegraph blog is pretty hard going at the moment (to me at least). His postings have been met by, what seems to me, polarisation: shouting one's own view and a refusal to engage with that of others. I admire what he is trying to do, but he seems to be down a fairly sterile cul-de-sac at the moment.
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Flicking through the innumerable pages of comments on one of this week's postings, however, I came across a beacon of light. A regular commenter on Damian's blog is Paul, owner of the On The Side Of The Angels blog, which has thrilled me since I found it. Paul, commenting on something another commenter had posted, came out with the following which explains to my satisfaction exactly how and why the Holy Father has got everything so right.
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"1] This is where the subtlety lies - tying a successor's hands - giving them virtually no manoeuvrability - being categorically precise - clinically diamantine doctrinally ; having fundamental moral principles set in stone. This is where His Holiness [and his phenomenal team] excels without contemporary comparison....How ? Well it's very technical ; and you have to scrutinise the writing ; but Benedict XVI is ensuring catholic dogma and morals are becoming inextricably linked with unbreakable bonds - he's bringing to the fore adamantine connections to ensure that future generations cannot jeopardise or compromise catholic positions without it leading to all manner of absolutely unacceptable conclusions.
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Take for instance contraception : Where John Paul II went off course with the Theology of the Body [don't get me wrong - it's all fine and dandy - but it's nothing to do with the fundamental theological principles inherant within our natural law approach - it's sourced in it of course - but its a how ; not a why - and for moral theologians to base sexual and life morality on it is confusing and can lead to serious 'ethical reverse-engineering' problems.] Instead Benedict reiterates the natural law teaching within Casti Connubii, the Allocutios to the Doctors and Midwives and Humanae Vitae - of the inseparability of the unitive and procreative aspects of human lovemaking.
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This gives a cast-iron holism to sexual morality ; and makes it virtually impossible for any future papacy to even attempt to revoke it. Were we to remain in the transient wavering obfuscatory miasma of pragmatisms that could so easily contaminate the theology of the body - it could simply be altered by the unscrupulous into a pro-contraceptive agenda.
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Doctrinally the big offensive assault by the progressivists is going to be against original sin and the mass [esp. the real presence] - the old doctrines may be perfectly fine for supporting the dogma ; but for defending them we need new powerful inviolable symbolism of the formal reality within the doctrine - and His Holiness using in particular the work of von Balthasar has provided an asbestos formula with the diachronicity of salvific grace and the moral disordering nature of sin ; and universal conspiracy in original sin's actuation - not only are we our brother's keeper ; we share the burden of culpability for all our scarring - not only does this compound the universal efficacy of prayer ; it concretises it - not only does this prevent scientific and psychological obscurantism of our heritage ; it compounds personal and mutual responsibility to such an extent that the dogma of original sin becomes as blatant and understandable as the nose on our faces. It makes the sacrifice upon calvary the alpha point reaching forwards and backwards throughout history - shooting out into transcendental anticipatory events and prophecy [it validates the last supper, the immaculate conception, the global heralding of the incarnation among every race and creed ; it substantiates the whole notion of the mass as being the return to that single sacrificial calvary event ; it vindicates the religious revelation , mysticism and inspired wisdom by its interaction and harmony with the pentecostal sending forth of the Holy Spirit - it makes the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church an authentic living entity and not merely a source or path among many.
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Pope Benedict has undertaken a great theological re-wiring scheme - where everything is all part of a single system - the modernist or progressive may attempt cut a myriad of doctrinal wires; but the orthodox power source still gets through to every principle and ideal from the most obscure or hitherto ignored source. It's sheer genius - and ironically the source material came from the Church Fathers and Doctors - de Lubac [et al ] didn't exactly realise that when he was resurrecting the differentiating theologians [who sought to separate and classify] he was providing a vast array of resources to integrate catholic theology into a single entity supplemented and complemented by everything else within the Mystical Body of Christ.
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No longer is the modernist merely fighting a dragon where a single lucky blow can decapitate - within Benedictine writings and teachings the modernist now fights a hydra - it chops off one head and two grow back in its stead - it tries to attack one 'ology' and a dozen other 'ologies' now fight alongside to defend that principle - some the modernist may be very reluctant or virtually impotent to enter conflict with....
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With Ratzinger our faith and morals are not just built on rock ; they're now buttressed and arched all over the place....and it would be an almost impossible task for any future progressivist papacy or oecumenical council to attempt to knock everything down in order to breach a wall.
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2] You worry about the 'overly cautious' prudence - what you're not really considering is even though futurechurch and the progressivist agenda is a busted flush - it's desperate and aggresssively destructive in in its death pangs ; as dangerous as a wounded tiger . Instead of a cavalry charge His Holiness and the armies of light are crawling through the minefield ; defusing explosives and incapacitating the last few lethal bastions of opposition.
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Every easter we sing 'battle is o'er , hell's armies flee' - yes we're victorious but the past 2,000 years have been skirmishes with the bitterly twisted adversary trying to drag everyone and everything down with him into the abyss of defeat.
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Futurechurch and the progressivistas are so incorrigably and pitiably vindictive and petty - that which they cannot convert to their agenda they will seek to either annihilate or adumbrate with calumnies.
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If they persist in declaring sour grapes all too often the gullible believe all grapes are sour, the vineyard owner soured them , and ultimately all wine is vinegar they must never drink... See my point ?
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Just because futurechurch has lost the war ; it doesn't mean it isn't still terribly dangerous and won't launch a good few final volleys and suicide missions before it perishes.
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His Holiness is playing a most dangerous game - previously we always had assassins and fifth columnists - but now we ave kamikaze pilots to deal with too. This cautious prudence isn't cowardice ; it's bravery compounded with understanding."
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(Apologies for the title - it's all some of these people understand!)

06 October 2008

Meanwhile ...

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Here, (click on the red tab nearest the top) is the Bible being read in its entirety, and being broadcast by Italian TV online from Santa Croce in Gerusalemme in Rome.

The Pope started with the first part of Genesis; Cardinal Bertoni will end with the final chapter of Apocalypse.

It's maybe not much of an inspiration if you don't speak Italian, but just by clicking on it and registering its worth (because RAI will trumpet to the four corners any success this venture has), who knows which broadcaster may seek to emulate this in English!

04 October 2008

Priests: How To Really Annoy A Tabletista!

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The idea arises from a comment by Fr Brown, here, but its development is entirely my own.

Imagine publicising a Mass using one of the Childrens' Eucharistic Prayers from the Roman Missal, and then doing it in its Latin original! The whole Mass done "soberly": biretta, maniple, ad orientem, chant.

Have a large group of properly prepared and catechised children, able to provide servers and to sing the ordinary prayers.

And then invite the Tablet.

03 October 2008

Not Just Westminster

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According to the list of Cardinal Electors here, there are 45 Cardinals aged between 75 and 80, sixteen of whom are listed as "Emeritus", and can therefore be presumed to have retired. Of the remaining 29, nine have curial appointments.

That means that there are 20 major Sees whose Bishops will have presented their resignation to the Pope.

There are nine 74 year olds: four in Rome, five in Metropolitan Sees.

Two reflections: we shouldn't worry too much about the delay in naming the successor to Westminster: he's well down the queue. And we might think that Pope Benedict has the opportunity to shape the Church for the next 10 or 20 years if he gets this right.

28 September 2008

Fruits Of Ecumania

Damian Thompson continues his series on Futurechurch with an article about ecumenism, which quotes a fascinating and learned article by the philosopher Thomas Pink. The article is worth a serious read, but I was taken by a comment by (I think) Tom Pink himself:
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"The real problem is simple. The reforms of Vatican II have become associated in the minds of many committed young Catholics in the UK and the US with, what can we say? - disaster, meltdown, destruction, annihilation, utter balls-up, that sort of thing. The legacy of the Council (rightly or wrongly) is increasingly discredited. Simple as that. These neo-traddies really do not want to know, except that it would be nice if such a horrible thing never happened again.
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And in many cases, they are indeed very, very angry. Fergus Kerr, I suspect, does not begin to understand this fact. But, as Francesca has sensed, the anger is deeply there, mixed in England with contempt for a local Church management that they now sense is actually beginning to be very frightened of them; and this anger will be a major shaping influence on the Church in the future, for good or ill."

27 September 2008

Moonlighting


Since when has Archbishop Nichols been moonlighting as a rock musician? He must be good too - this photo shows him moments after receiving the Polar Prize from the King of Sweden.

Update: a correspondent points out that His Grace has never been seen at a Pink Floyd concert. Conclusive or what?

23 September 2008

The Westminster Stakes - More Worries

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I had thought that Damian's Week of Protest was aimed at heralding the announcement of the next Archbishop, and thought that if he was on to something, then so would Paddy Power be. If something is in the air, it smells bad.

Timothy Radcliffe (in whose canditature I refuse to believe, though I increasingly wonder if I'm like a child with eyes tight shut and fingers in ears) shortens to 7-2, odds at which Archbishop Nichols is threatened (or would be, if Paddy was on the inside track).

Abbot Hugh Gilbert slips slightly, while Abbot Christopher Jamison positively leaps into contention.

A bit more money raises Mgr Curry from 40/1 to 18/1, while Bishop Declan Lang (a South Coast Bishop!!!) enters at 33-1, alongside Fr Edmund Power (whom I know nothing of) and Fr Tom Quinn at 100-1 (quite possibly some sort of joke which I haven't got).

The key points here are Radcliffe shortening, Jamison shortening, and Lang entering the lists. People - please God! not people in the know - have swung towards the liberal end of the spectrum: the dark side of the magic circle.

This is quite worrying.

Rt Rev Vincent Nichols 13-8 (5-4) (2-1) (7-4) (2-1) (7-2)
Fr Timothy Radcliffe 7-2 (6-1) (10-1) (6-1)
Rt Rev Kevin McDonald 8-1 (6-1) (5-1) (7-2)
Dom Hugh Gilbert 9-1 (8-1) (6-1) (4-1)
Bishop William Kenney 10-1 (9-1) (8-1) (15-2) (6-1)
Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon 10-1 (8-1)
Very Rev. Fr. Ignatius Harrison 10-1
Fr Christopher Jamison 11-1 (25-1) (20-1)
Rt Rev Alan Hopes 12-1 (10-1) (8-1) (6-1) (11-2)
Rt Rev Arthur Roche 12-1 (10-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Fr T Finigan 16-1 (10-1)
Cardinal Pell 16-1 (12-1) (10-1)
Rt Rev Peter Smith 16-1 (12-1)
Mgr Curry 18-1 (40-1)
Fr Aidan Nichols 20-1 (14-1) (12-1) (11-1) (5-1) (6-1)
Bishop George Stack 20-1 (16-1)
Rt Rev Michael Evans 22-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Rt Rev Patrick Kelly 25-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Bishop John Rawsthorne 25-1 (20-1)
Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald 25-1 (16-1) (14-1) (12-1) (10-1) (12-1)
Bishop Patrick O’Donoghue 33-1 (20-1) (16-1)
Rt Rev Bernard Longley 33-1 (20-1) (16-1) (14-1) (12-1)
Rt Rev Declan Lang 33-1
Fr Edmund Power 33-1
Fr Tom Quinn 100-1
Bishop John Patrick Crowley Non-runner (33-1)

21 September 2008

Are They Coming Into The Open?

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I was alerted by an interesting Portuguese site to the existence of a proudly "antitraditionalist" site; it is in fact called "Antetridentino" and is subtitled: "Against Traditionalism". The rather offensive photo I've attached is up there on the website banner. If your Portuguese is up to it, take a deep breath, say a prayer to St Michael the Archangel, and dive in.
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"In Portugal, happily, there are few outlets for traditionalism", the author of the site congratulates himself and his fellows at one point.
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This isn't "against" traditionalism in the sense of being sort of the other way inclined, or preferring English to Latin: this is "against" in a really contrary sort of way.
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"The Institute of the Good Shepherd is a very recent foundation with few members at present, but, unfortunately, people from all over the world wish to join it. The process of creating the IGS was a shameful act by the Ecclesia Dei Commission."
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You are beginning to get the point.
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What interests me is that this is the first time I have been aware of somethng that attacks Tradition directly: head on; and does so from a point of view defined as Catholic. Fr Z (whom God preserve!) has found something similar in this weekend's Catholic Times. Might we be approaching the tipping point?
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As another, much greater, writer put it:
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"But now, splendidly, everything had become clear. The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms. Whatever the outcome there was a place for him in that battle."

17 September 2008

Bishop Of Neuquén; Bishop Of Leeds

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I wasn't excessively pleased with myself, once I saw the number of hits on Sitemeter and where they were from. I was worried that I had possibly traduced a Bishop by not looking up his side of the story, and by publishing one that put him in a bad light. My worry was excessive.
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According to the local newspaper, which prints the dialogue between the Bishop and the young people who defended his Cathedral, the Bishop himself tried subsequently to pour oil on troubled waters.
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Whenever there is a large group of people gathered together, he says, there is always the risk that a tiny minority might try to make something of it. The press gathers at a particular place and if anything is going to happen, it will be magnified out of all proportion. Nobody, the Bishop feels, should place too much importance on what had happened (ie on what we see in the video) because what we should be looking for in everybody is the way in which we can grow in mutual acceptance and tolerance, even when we have ideological differences.
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Now: this is sad, and it is wrong on so many counts. But it was interesting to note that somebody had linked this film to what is happening with the Diocese of Leeds and the closure of parishes there.
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I wonder, tentatively, if there is a problem with the ecclesiology of some of our Bishops: that Bishop Roche, just like Bishop Melani, and goodness knows how many others don't know what Bishops are actually for. They portray a vision of Bishop that is somehow superior to that of the priest as social worker, and make the episcopal office that of a regional manager with responsibility for the definition of social attitude in his region on behalf of the Board, with a few additional functions on the side like responsibility for Confirmation when there is no Vicar General available, Ordination when it can be a concelebratory function, and Prophetic Leadership of a Local Church in Communion with Christ and his Vicar beyond time. The additional functions are a bit problematic.
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This is why Episcopal Conferences as constituted are such an abysmally awful idea: all they can do is weaken the individual who carries the personal responsibility for his Church and dilute the layman's perception of what that responsibility is and should be. It's hard to imagine the selection of a Bishop who will break out of this magic circle: but let's pray that MO'C's successor will be the one. Let's have Bishops who are Bishops again!

15 September 2008

News From Neuquén: How To Behave Heroically



Some young men gather in front of the Cathedral in Neuquén in Argentina to protect it from the approaching demonstration. The Bishop, a 70 year old Salesian called Marcelo Melani comes out to remonstrate with them: he shouts and yells at them to go away or at least, if they feel they need to pray, to go inside the Church. They ignore him by beginning their Rosary, and he dashes away to lock himself inside. That is the point at which this film starts.

They were insulted, spat on, manhandled, and they didn't resist: they prayed; they prayed "Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners now, and at the hour of our death". They prayed with heroic serenity, for it might have seemed to one or two of them that the hour of their death might be near. They copied Jesus.

H/t to Francisco José Fernández de la Cigoña whose lack of respect for the Bishop is made manifest in expressive detal to those who can read Spanish.

A Year Of Summorum Pontificum

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This did the trick for me last year - it still does.
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Minotaur

In the myth,
in the deep-down maze of the cave,
he went to find the Minotaur.
And before he went
he took a reel of twine:
a trick to traipse the return trip
back to the world of sense and sunshine.
It was sound thinking:
be enticed by new chance and challenge,
but keep in touch
with your place of origin.
Don't let your past be lost,
or it'll cost
your future.
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John Hegley - from Uncut Confetti

14 September 2008

Food On Board



Somebody asked me what the food was like. This was lunch: a salmon salad for starters, followed by a steak and mushroom pie, with champ and cabbage, and then a chocolate pudding. I stuck to the white wine, resisting the temptations of the bar.


I have the idea that a bar on board an aircraft is the sort of thing that belongs to big aircraft of the early 1950s - I certainly hadn't originally expected to find one on board a plane in the 21st Century.
And I didn't resist temptation for the entire eight hours of the flight.



13 September 2008

Flying On September 11 ...

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... was exactly like flying on any other day. Even flying into Washington was no different to what it's normally like. That's the way to show terrorists that they haven't won!
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Flying back on September 12, and arriving at Heathrow on September 13 made for a tired blogger: I haven't done North America as (effectively) a day trip before: I don't recommend it. Though if you do, Virgin's Upper Class is a nice way to let Mr Beard take the strain.
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Anyway, a completely unfair contrast between our two countries: one of these is two minutes out of Heathrow; one of these is two minutes away from Dulles; which is which?
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09 September 2008

Cardinal Pell: News

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According to La cigüeña de la torre, Cardinal Pell has been named President of the Synod of Bishops, in the place of Cardinal Gracias who is "unable to attend". (Is he ill? Does the persecution of Indian Catholics make his absence impossible?) The Pope obviously enjoyed his trip to Australia: is he softening the Cardinal up for something nearer Rome?

08 September 2008

The Westminster Stakes: Something Slightly Worrying

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I won't reprint the entire list: it is the same as it was here with two differences. Fr Edmund Power, the Abbot of St Paul Outside The Walls has entered the lists, but after the publicity in the Catholic press for the Pope's visit to his monastery for the Pauline year, and the fact of his nationality (and the puff from Fr Blake), I expect that his 33/1 is speculative.

Much more worrying is that the money continues to go towrds Fr Timothy Radcliffe: his odds have shortened to 7/2. Why am I worried?

My guess is that this book is being managed by Paddy Power in two ways. First, by paying a modest retainer to a priest of the Westminster Diocese who is known to Paddy (either he likes a flutter himself, or he knows or is related to somebody who works for Paddy at HQ in Ireland), Paddy gets close (how close depends on who the priest is) to what Damian calls the Magic Circle and who they think the Pope will choose. There are three factors here: how good is Paddy's expert's contact list; how accurate is the guesswork of the people he knows; and how well does the contact understand the various dimensions of nuance that are in play?

The second piece of management is more blatant and less subtle: where is the money going? The more money put on any candidate, the more Paddy will have to pay out if that candidate wins; so a fall in a candidate's odds means that money is being placed in sufficient quantities to make Paddy want to cut his potential losses.

Why on earth would anybody be putting money on Fr Timothy Radcliffe? Why on earth would his odds be shortening? Why isn't Paddy offering 100/1 against the certainty that Fr Radcliffe will get nowhere near the Westminster cathedra?

I'd like to pretend that I think that this is Paddy's way of attracting money: but I think that there is a stable group out there who think that Fr R is in with a serious shout.

06 September 2008

Guilty Apologies

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Philip sent me an award which I knew not with what to do.
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So I did nothing.
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This scarcely expresses gratitude.
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And the civility quotient was somewhere around zero.
>
So my apologies to Phil, especially as he is probably not at a point in his life when "taking it on the chin" is just the sort of thing he is looking for.
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So the bad joke is for him:
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Q: What do you call a vegetable a dinosaur has jumped on?
A: Squash.

A First Fruit ...

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...of the reconciliation of the Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay seems to be the reconciliation of Confiteor, a former follower of the SSPX who, led by the example of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, has also returned to a position of full loyalty to the Pope and to Rome. And how!

He explains his background here, and proposes a "Pro Papa League" here: the League's function is to use the Internet to organise prayer for the Pope.

These are well worth a look.

31 August 2008

A Fruit Of Merton

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This, with permission, from an e-mail.

"A fruit of Merton: not one of the stranger Dons, but the effusion of grace into a town where there is now a regular EF Mass. The Mass doesn't replace anything: it is an extra, and at a time when there has never been a Mass, so the town gets an extra Mass.

And even though this extra Mass doesn't get mentioned in bulletins and such like, it quietly attracts a hundred people, most of whom would not attend Mass other than on Sunday.

And somebody took it upon himself or herself to buy a large number of copies of a booklet Missal:

"This 68-page 5½" x 8" booklet missal provides a compact source for praying the old Mass in Latin, as well as other traditional prayers and meditations. Large clear print, classic illustrations and concise explanations make this edition easy to follow for those already familiar with the Traditional Rite, as well as helpful for younger Catholics and anyone unfamiliar with the rituals of the Tridentine Mass and other time-honoured prayers of the Catholic Faith."

without asking or being asked, so that nobody should feel other than at home.

And an SSPX supporting and attending family came and made peace with the priest and gave him the best boost to his confidence possible: "Do your very best, but don't worry about making mistakes"; and then telling him afterwards how grateful to him they were.

And odd little requests for permission to help and support, and to ask if those attending might constitute themselves as a stable group.

And a discovery that various items of church plate and vestments had been, well, um, hidden, from an earlier "enthusiastic for new ways" PP, and were therefore available again.

And a bunch of willing, ready and able people of all ages who just wanted to help.

With a result that the priest and his server rang the bell and came out of the sacristy into a wall of love and support that provided edification for all present, and confidence and a sense of authority to the priest."

This is being played out all over England and Wales this summer. There are 50 more churches where, whenever the priest feels able, Mass is no longer Ordinary, but Extraordinary.

How can we thank not just the LMS for sponsoring the course at Merton, not just the priests who gave so freely of their time to train the priests who were there to learn, but also the priests who have heard the call from those who waited and longed for so many years?