29 January 2010

First Report From Stand Up 4 V 2

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THEY say that they are all old!!!

See here.
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Catholic Amish? Catholic Distributists?

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Have a look at this:

"Plain Catholics seek to separate themselves from the values of the secular world and to live their lives in the simplicity of the Gospels both in attitude and gratitude as well as faithfulness to the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church ut in omnibus glorificetur Deus ... so that in all things, God may be glorified. Plain Catholics seek to preach the Gospel with their walk and do not engage in doctrinal debates nor door to door evangelization.

When asked, they obey 1 Peter 3: 15-16

... Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope, but do it with gentleness and reverence, keeping your conscience clear, so that, when you are maligned, those who defame your good conduct in Christ may themselves be put to shame."

H/t to the Joyful Papist.

26 January 2010

Double Good News

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First, I found that a favourite Spanish blogger is still active and has moved here, and second, that he has done his sums and that not only is a Consistory due, but that another is due next year.

Four Cardinals will lose their right to vote in the next couple of months; that will leave twelve vacancies in the Sacred College; seven more will lose their right to vote by the end of the year. And next year six will go before Easter. This should mean a Consistory this year, and another at the back end of next year.

Only three Cardinals will have to present their resignation this year from their episcopal sees, but next year another eleven will be off. This will mean the possibility of starting the great process of change in places like Los Angeles, even if there are five more years before Cardinal mahony loses his voting rights in the Conclave.

Imagine what opportunity this gives to the Holy Father to shape the Church for the reform of the reform! And imagine the insignificance of the Hierarchy of England and Wales, faced with this catclysmic set of opportunities.

Details available in Spanish here.

25 January 2010

The Suppository

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I got hold of a copy of last week's Tablet to see if I could work out how it turns a profit: I couldn't.

It suffers from the same problem as all other serious weeklies as the world moves to rolling news: it has nothing original to say about the news that wasn't said within 24 hours of whatever happened happening. And as its USP is left wing, there aren't many people around who are prepared to read ten days late what Peter really said to Gordon.

So the only area in which it has anything original to say is about religion, and Gosh! it's tedious. It is relentlessly on message where the message is a particularly English interpretation of the Spirit of Vatican II. If it met Wir Sind Kirche, both sides would need interpreters, ambassadors, intermediaries: because if you don't understand the UK of NuLabour, you won't understand the Catholic Church of the Tabletistas.

I even read the tendentious, lying, drivel written by Fr Michael G Ryan about the new translation of the Mass to see if it was as bad as everybody said it was: it wasn't really. It was just banal, tendentious, lying, drivel.

I had wondered if we were subsidising the rag by our parishes' overbuying vast quantities of it, but according to Valle Adurni here, everything comes on sale or return.

So we have to face up to the fact that some way or another, enough people are prepared to shell out money to allow the Suppository to turn sufficient profit to allow it to fund scholarships in Spirit of Vatican II liturgical activity (I kid you not).

"The enemy at last was plain in view, huge and hateful, all disguise cast off. It was the Modern Age in arms."

It is rich too.
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16 January 2010

Stand Up 2 Stand Up 4 Vatican 2

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Text talk, eh? How kewl and down with the kids was it to write "4" and "2" instead of "for" and "two" (or "II")? Anyway, although this mob is being done to death, two commentsfrom me that I haven't seen elsewhere: money and age.

The first meeting was originally going to take place in property belonging to the Church (St Vincent's, Carlisle Place), but has now moved to a suite in the Westminster Thistle Hotel. That will cost money: so who's paying? Are the CAFOD adverts generating that much money?

Why can they find nobody under seventy to speak at their meeting? Michael Winter is a 79 year old who preferred marriage to the priesthood; Myra Poole has been a Notre Dame de Naumur sister for over 50 years; she said "I have always said in my life I gained more understanding of the real Gospel when Ken Livingstone was in charge of the former London authority in the 70s and the 80s than from any church". The Chair of the meeting, Frank Regan, is, I assume, the former Columban Father whose belief in Liberation Theology led him to be a trade union activist in South America before he married and retired to Devon, though he is still called on by Catholic Dioces like Clifton to run Justice and Peace, and Ecology shindigs (see here and here (the latter "here" is a link to that rarest of thing, a drippingly progressive "Spirit of Vatican II" blog)).

The final speaker, the assistant editor of The Suppository, Robert Nowell, is "merely" a translator of Hans Kung. In the company of the others, he probably passes for a Trad!

This being an open meeting, anybody who can spend two hours of a Tuesday evening in Central London can attend. The problem is that we are too polite: this meeting should be packed with people who are prepared to protest loudly, not just every time that a heterodox or heretical opinion is uttered, but every time the message of Vatican II is traduced.

But it's probably only old age pensioners who don't have to work the next day who will be able to attend.

14 January 2010

Home Economics

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Neo-con?
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Neo-trad?
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The sort of thing that anonymous posters post?

13 January 2010

Usus Antiquior

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One advantage of being off work is being at home when the postman comes. All the more so today, when the satisfying thud on the doormat heralded the arrival of the first number of Usus Antiquior.
Obviously I can't pass any comment yet other than to say three things:
It looks good: noble simplicity and all that.
Just the contents tell you that this a serious journal: it is not a trad Tablet.
And the footnotes are footnotes, and not endnotes, normally the bane of the life of the reader of academic journals.
See you whenever!

11 January 2010

Stamp For Pope's Visit

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What do you think of this as the stamp for this year's visit to the UK by the Pope?
It's available now, in a sheet at £13.83 for 20.
Guess what? I made it myself.
Go to the Royal Mail's website and look for "Smilers".
Anybody can make any stamp they like.
We could have a lot of fun AND annoy Richard Dawkins and Polly Toynbee. What are we waiting for?

The Anglican Patrimony

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I was thinking about what parts of the Anglican Patrimony I'd like those who become part of the Ordinariates to bring with them, and which not and decided in the end to make it a bit meme-like.

Which single item of the Anglican Patrimony would you like to see Anglicans bring with them, and which single item would you like them to leave behind?

My positive would be public praying of the breviary, or at least of Mattins and Evensong. I've never attended (Catholic) sung Vespers in my life nor lived anywhere where it was a feature.

The bit I hope they leave behind is synodal government. Bossy middle class people will always dominate any elected body from Parliament to a school's Governing Body, and they will always believe that being elected gives them the right to impose their bossy middle class opinions - hence the C of E! (Not to say that the Catholic Church in E&W isn't heading inexorably in that direction.)

Does anybody else want to play? (You can't say things like "reverent liturgy", because we should have those anyway.)

07 January 2010

Not Quite Fr Z's Display But ...

The birds sit hunched in the tree against the snow.


The thrush looks miserable.

The robin wants me to go.

The sparrows don't care.


A solitary marsh tit condescends to visit the feeder.



A finch looks for shelter.




The blackbird takes some bread to eat in peace.


And the thrush eventually makes its way to the bird table.
The jays, barn owl, magpies, ravens and something I might have sworn was a redwing refused to be photographed.







Musings About Priesthood

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It was HJMW, here, who articulated better than I had that I was disturbed by what I might describe as a leaning towards liturgiolatry: a devotion to the performance of the Liturgy rather than the veneration of the Liturgy as an eikon of Christ's sacrifice. An MC reminding a server in private after Mass about the order in which to light and put out the candles on the altar is a good example of the latter; two middle-aged men complaining that it isn't being done properly five minutes before Mass starts could be an example of the former.

My musings have taken me off in another direction, however: why does Newchurch so eschew the term "priest" to describe the man at the center of the liturgical action? Minister, Celebrant, President, Pastor - why not Priest?

I speculate that the reason is not that the NO Mass was to become as like a Protestant service as possible, as some always try to argue, but that the notion of "priest" was foreign to the minds of the reformers, who considered it a relic of mediaevalism.

The Priest at Mass doesn't just re-present Christ's sacrifice: he stands in the line of priests who stretch back through the Old Testament and whose job was to offer sacrifice by slaughtering animals on God's Altar. Even if Christ's Sacrifice is once and for all, and the activity of the priest no longer encompasses such sacrifices, it nevertheless remains the fact that sacrifice is what priests do.

It is hard to think of the way in which sacrificial priesthood is being made manifest by the President of a communal meal. And while I am sure that most priests still believe in the Real Presence, if they do not have an adequate conception of priesthood and sacrifice, then their belief about the change in the species effected by the words of consecration turns them into magicians: the Eucharistic Prayer becomes one long "Abracadabra", and the opening greeting ought to be "You'll like this". And all of a sudden it's no longer difficult to imagine: that priests have no need to be set apart; that their nature is unchanged by their ordination; that celibacy is irrelevant to their condition; that they should necessarily be masculine; for their function has changed. They are no longer sacrificial priests.

"Save the Liturgy, Save the World"; "Do the Red, Say the Black"; are, I'm afraid, inadequate as rallying cries.

"Priests: Be Priests!"

04 January 2010

So What Are Our Bishops For?

You could look up the Catechism of the Catholic Church here, but why bother, since our own Bishops tell us what they are for in the annual statement of their accounts, here.

"The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales is a permanent body within the organisation of the Catholic Church that brings together the Bishops of England and Wales. As a Conference the Bishops "jointly exercise certain pastoral functions for the Christian faithful... in order to promote the greater good which the Church offers to humanity, especially through forms and programs of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of time and place".

So note, from the word go, that certain pastoral functions of the Bishops are exercised jointly: sovereignty has been pooled, so that forms and programmes of the apostolate fittingly adapted to the circumstances of England and Wales at the beginning of the 21st Century may be carried out.

“All the Bishops of England and Wales meet together twice a year to decide policies for the Church at a national level. These week-long gatherings occur soon after Easter (Low Week) and in November. Each bishop chairs a committee of experts dealing with a specific area of concern for the Church. Committees are grouped into departments for practical purposes. ”

Accommodation and other costs for Bishops’ Conference Meetings in 2008: £236,975 (about £15,000 per diocese!)

International Affairs
The Department Bishops continued work on their five main priorities: migration and asylum; the global common good, European issues, the environment and religious freedom. These themes have been identified by the bishops as priorities after a careful analysis of needs and resources. Progress continued in all these areas throughout the year. Some example include the work of the Holy Land Coordination which gathered in Jerusalem and the West Bank for its annual meetings.

This year the Bishops also met in Rome with Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone as well as Cardinal Sandri and Archbishop Mamberti to endorse the coordination and to discuss its strategy. The Friends of the Holy Land (FHL), a partnership between the Department and the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre underwent successful trials in two dioceses and will be launched in 2009. The FHL will enable the Department to incream its support for the Local Church and to raise awareness about the challenges it faces.

The Department document The Mission of the Church to Migrants in England and Wales was published in 2008. This represented the culmination of a process of pastoral reflection and consultation and will provide the framework for the Department's future work in this area.

Liaison with the European Bishops' conferences continued, mainly through the work of COMECE in Brussels and CCEE in St Gallen. One successful outcome was the hosting in Liverpool of the SECAM-CCEE meeting of European and African bishops. The Department also continued to work with the Zimbabwean Church. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor and Bishop Hollis visited Harare in January and then welcomed Archbishop Ndlovu and Bishop Munyani as guests when they came to London and Leeds in the autumn.

The objectives for 2009 include the national launch of the Friends of the Holy Land and increasing the Department's collaboration with Caritas Social Action on migration and asylum.

Cost of International Affairs in 2008: £188,074

Ecumenism isn’t cheap. The subscription to Churches Together cost £117,767; to CBTI Interfaith £3,737; to CTBI Racial Justice £7,913; to Churches Commission on Mission £22,941; and to Churches Commission for International Students £392.

And how much has it cost you? Well, it depends on your Diocese:

Arundel and Brighton £91,447
Birmingham £141,169
Brentwood £91,100
Cardiff £35,813
Clifton £58,415
East Anglia £31,816
Hallam £22,254
Hexham and Newcastle £108,659
Lancaster £43,985
Leeds £81,712
Liverpool £124,827
Menevia £348
Middlesbrough £31,294
Northampton £55,112
Nottingham £69,715
Plymouth £38,075
Portsmouth £86,580
Salford £122,220
Shrewsbury £85,536
Southwark £151,596
Westminster £263,390
Wrexham £3,477
Bishopric of the Forces £4,500
Total £1,743,040

Now, apart from a quick shout of Floreat Menevia!, what comes next?

Remember, that each one of those pounds comes from a pound that went into the collection plate in your parish. Find out how much of your parish's collection goes ditrect to the diocese: its 45% in mine. Then ask what proportion of the diocesan income is represented by the totals above, and ask why that much of your local Church's money is compulsorily levied to go on things such as those listed above. (There are lots of other things the Bishops' Conference does too.)

Point out to your Parish Priest that if this is where your money is going, then you will take steps to ensure that it heads elsewhere. Three quarters of your normal offering to him to be split between a Mass stipend, and repairs to the Church fabric (especially if there is a building fund) will ensure that the Parish doesn't suffer. The other quarter to the Catholic charity of your choice ensures that the extra-parochial aspect of your giving is taken care of.

Is there a problem with this?