26 June 2011

Further Thought On The Eucharistic Flashmob

Most of the comments on the various which have posted the You Tube film of the Eucharistic Flashmob fall roughly into two areas: that it would have been preferable for public veneration of the Eucharist to have been part of a more traditional Eucharistic procession; and second, that if the friars were going to do what they did, there should have been some protective security.  Both of these comments are laudable and seem to be born out of a desire to ensure that Our Blessed Lord should always be treated with all due respect.

I've no quarrel with either point of view, but I think something else was going on on Ascension Thursday in Preston.  (NB: Ascension Thursday, not Ascension Thursday Sunday.)

I started thinking about whether I would have stopped and got down on my knees if I was walking past somewhere where public exposition was taking place, and moved on to think of the radical simplicity of the trust the two friars had in God.  Nothing could happen to them, or to the Eucharistic Lord, simply because He was with them, and they trusted Him and knew that He would ensure that everything went well.  I wish my faith were that strong.

I really hope we don't have lots of priests doing copycat expositions: it isn't right to make a stunt out of Our Lord.  What the friars did, though, wasn't a stunt: it was a very public demonstration of faith (in several senses) and a clear sign that they have embodied the charism of their Order and their Founder.

24 June 2011

23 June 2011

Praying For Priests


Although she is far too polite to say it in these words, Anita has suggested that instead of just going on about the need to pray for priests, I should join her 54 day Novena for the Pope, bishops and priests.

I think I will.

I was sent a copy of a letter to the Catholic Herald from a few weeks ago in which the writer, the father of a friend of mine, made the observation that among the movements in the Church which attract the young - not least those encouraged by Blessed John Paul II - the message of life was sufficiently strong that families in the movements were producing more children, and that those children were growing in an environment in which discerning a vocation to the priesthood would be less difficult than for those of the same age growing up outside that protection.

Part of the deal has to be that the rest of us will pray for the priests who answer their calling as often as we pray that those called will answer.  Many of us who love and reverence our priests take them for granted: a bit like dearly loved grandparents, they're simply always on the scene, giving gladness. 

They need us to pray for them as much as we need them to pray for us: in fact, the best way of making sure that will be around to pray for us is to pray for them.

So join me and join Anita!

22 June 2011

Cut Of Nuncio's Jib


He'll do.

20 June 2011

Two Moments: Two Worlds

Here, courtesy of Pathe News, are two moments.

One from 1918 shows Cardinal Bourne blessing an outdoor crucifix in Poplar in the East End.  (Did it survive the Blitz?)  The film could have been taken anywhere in the Catholic world in 1918.  Here it is.

The other shows the Consecration of Liverpool Cathedral in 1967.  Cardinal Heenan is the Papal Legate, the people sing Christus Vincit!, but the Auxiliary Bishop (where was the Metropolitan?) consecrates the altar in English, and although nobody realises it, everything is about to change for ever - in fact everything has changed, but nobody there has realised.  Here it is.

19 June 2011

Private Passions

You can still listen to this morning's Private Passions on the iPlayer - it will be there until next Sunday.  Today it featured David Bintley, Director of the Birmingham Royal Ballet.  About three quarters of the way through he selects part of James MacMillan's Seven Last Words from the Cross and explains simply and lucidly how a Catholic responds to sacred music.

We (or at least I) complain often enough about the BBC.  Well, for once a Catholic was allowed to explain something Catholic to non-Catholics in a Catholic way.

It's a good start.

18 June 2011

Fr Z's Take On Fr Corapi - Another Evelyn Waugh Moment For Me

I'd never heard of Fr Corapi until a few days ago, and I'm little the wiser today about what may or may not have happened and how toys have been separated from prams, but for reasons either good or bad, an American priest who is popular with some and unpopular with others, either has or hasn't abandoned the sacred ministry to tackle or not tackle what is going on around him.

It's just like the tabloids in the UK: somebody you've never heard but other people have is suddenly thrust into the limelight and lots of other people you've never heard of have cast iron, black and white opinions about whether the person is good or bad.

Fr Z has written a magisterial piece about how we should react to the case in point - by praying for Fr Corapi - and about why Satan and all wicked spirits are wandering through the world looking for bishops' and .priests' souls to ruin.

"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."

I was wondering earlier why I felt as though I'd had the stuffing knocked out of me this year: "Gay Masses" and the reported opinions of an Archbishop; the views of the Hierarchy about decline in the Church as reported by a convert they had refused to ordain; the debacle at the Cardinal Vaughan school; the arrogance of those who "run" music in the Church in E&W; the Catholic Education Service of the Bishops' Conference; the treatment of an Ordinariate candidate for ordination; the Church caving in before the State's attack on adoption charities; the Methodist "ordinations" which were planned for Liverpool Cathedral; and have realised, thanks to Fr Z, that something rather wonderful must be going on for the Prince of this worls to be dedicating so much energy to thwarting us.

As Father says, pray especially for Bishops and Priests: their privileges are awesome, as are their responsibilities, but they are the same weak, post-lapsarian, flesh and blood as the rest of us, and are the particular prey of the Devil.

Pray for them.

14 June 2011

Catholic Instincts ... Again!

I banged on about Catholic instincts recently, and Fr Tim's post about the CBCEW trying to get Rome to make queueing in a line for standing Communion, and the Archdiocese of Westminster trying to unmake altar rails even a historical part of Catholic worship, makes me realise just how spot on CCFather was when he identified the lack of a Catholic instinct as being the mark of our Bishops today.

I'm afraid, however, that I'm becoming radicalised by this discovery: radicalised towards what Vatican II taught us, and not what those who preach in VII's name teach us.  VII is about resourcissement, the return to our roots, and aggiornamento, the unambiguous making clear today to people of today what we have always believed. 

Kneeling in adoration is our vocation, and has been since the foundation of the Church; and the separation of Sanctuary from the world, marked off by a railing that nevertless permits the Faithful to approach and receive their Saviour, allows us to mark and symbolise both the reality of Christ present at the Altar, and His willingness to see his creatures approach the Holy of Holies - sounds Catholic to me!

So: No to the CBCEW!  No to Westminster!  They don't understand, and because they don't understand they've got it wrong.  And the thing they've got wrong really matter, even if they don't understand why.

What do we do?  Well here's a start.  Next Sunday, try to catch your Priest after Mass and say that while you don't want to make trouble, the CBCEW has said that communion kneeling down is our inalienable right, so from the feast of the Assumption on, you (we!) will be kneeling for Communion, and while we don't want to make a big thing of it, we'd like him to be aware that it's on its way.

What do you think?

10 June 2011

Death Of Patrick Leigh Fermor - Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη!

The death of Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor has been announced.

He was one of the great writers of the post-war period, and what a life he had to describe.

We are still waiting for the third volume describing his walk from the Hook of Holland to Constantinople in 1933 - I wrote to the Spectator some years ago begging them not to commission anything new - no articles or reviews - from PLF until vol 3 had been published.

A Time To Keep Silence is Lenten reading for me: his meditation on the effect of traditional monasticsm - Eastern and Western - on a hard-living war veteran tells also of the way in which God's hook, once swallowed, is there forever.

But I also think of his legendary heroism - his time in Crete as a member of SOE, his love for Greece and the Greek people, and the inspitring way in which they took to their hearts the young men who had dedicated themselves to the cause of Greek freedom.

Requiescat in pacem!  Αἰωνία ἡ μνήμη!

09 June 2011


"You can't do that because I say you can't."

"You look a bit cocky: I'll stop you."

"Don't think I won't get you sooner or later."

"Too clever by half, you."

"And don't think I'm frightened of you just because you know more than I do."

"People are listening to you instead of me."

"Are you taking the mickey?"

(Off) "Lads!  I've found a way to stop him!"

07 June 2011

"The So Called Extraordinary Form"

If Damian is right, then Archbishop Conti has said lots of dispiriting things about the EF.  Strangest of all, though, is his description of it as "the so called Extraordinary Form" (I wonder if the initial capitals are his or Damian's), as though whoever had thus named it had swiped an honourable title for a dishonourable act.

Not my Hierarchy, luckily, though James Preece has pointed out that ours can support fatuity of a similar scale when it wants.

What surprises me is the sheer brass neck of the Archbishop: he has examined what the Pope has said about the Liturgy of the Roman Church, and has found it wanting in respect of what the Glaswegian Church already knows.  Although the recent instruction (note the word: "instruction", not "vague suggestion") said that Bishops had to act according to the mens of the Holy Father, this Bishop has decided that Glaswegian Catholics have no need for such things.

As I've said: not my Hierarchy; otherwise I might have to investigate the supposition that he only has the time to make such comments about the Mass because he has managed to rid his local Church of any connection at all to the anti-English, anti-Union, anti-Protestant sentiment that used to be considered to be a hallmark of some of its members.

04 June 2011

Little Owl


The little owl was waiting for the hare to leave her leverets when all of a sudden it realised I was there.  I managed one photo before it flew off.

It found a post fifty yards away and glared at me.  I turned away momentarily to see where a sound had come from and when I turned back it had gone.

03 June 2011

Catholic Instincts

A post by Ben Trovato here gives a really important (it seems to me) pointer to why some things in the Church in England and Wales are so out of kilter.

He discusses the debacle of the Methodist ordinations at Liverpool Cathedral - how Archbishop Kelly at first allowed them and then, coincidentally after the story had become public, had decided that he didn't think that they were a good thing after all - and wondered why if he (Ben) had realised instinctively that this was a bad thing to do, the Archbishop hadn't had the same instinctive reaction.

"So the worrying question is: why do we have bishops in this country whose instincts are contrary to those of the Catholic faithful of the past, (and indeed many of the present generations too) and contrary to Rome? And what can be done about it?"

My guess would be that the story of the Church in E&W in the 70s and 80s has a lot to do with this: a mixture of not wanting to look and sound and feel different from everybody else on the one hand, and on the other, a feeling that "We are the Easter People" meant that "we" could re-create the Church to reflect the way in which "we" perceived that it would be relevant in contemporary E&W.

Both of these could only be articulated (never mind achieved) by people who could consciously turn off the instincts they had imbibed from birth.  How could you be the fruit of 1900 years of organic development and not realise that abandoning Friday abstinence so that Catholics didn't stand out from the crowd (one of the reasons cited by the Bishops' Conference, don't forget) was to break with the past?  You couldn't, but once you start ignoring your instincts in favour of the new set of beliefs you profess, you have created a new Church (a Nuchurch, as OTSOTA might say) in which change and variety and experimentation might as well be virtues as vices, and in which fidelity to received tradition becomes an odd minority option, to be tolerated and patronised.

My guess is that you can't restore suppressed instincts, but I hope I'm wrong.  Much more important, however - at least for the moment - is that those who retain that instinctive understanding of what being a Catholic means in terms of ordinary practice should inculcate the right instincts in those whom they can influence. 

Ben is on to something here.