Friday, April 30, 2010

English Translation of the Missal approved

From the New Liturgical Movement, this press release from Bishop Arthur Roche:
30 April 2010

The Bishops of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy [ICEL] join me in welcoming the announcement of the approval by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments of the definitive English text of the Third Edition of The Roman Missal. This news ushers in the final phase of preparation for the publication and implementation of the Missal in our eleven member Bishops’ Conferences and the many other territories where the sacred liturgy is habitually celebrated in English.

It also brings to a conclusion the long and complex process by which the translation has been prepared, a process in which the Bishops of the Commission and the Bishops of the English-speaking world, together with the members of the Roman Missal Editorial Committee, the ICEL Secretariat and the translators and consultants who are our closest collaborators have worked together with national conferences and the various organs of the Holy See to ensure that we have a text of the highest quality that can truly be called a work of the Church.

Upon receipt of the definitive text and in accordance with established procedures, the ICEL Secretariat will prepare the electronic files of the Missal, which will assist Conferences in the task of communicating the text to their publishers. ICEL has also produced an interactive DVD 'Become One Body, One Spirit, in Christ' [], which will be of great assistance in the catechetical process that will accompany the reception of the new text. The date for the publication of The Roman Missal and its implementation in our territories is a matter to be determined by Bishops’ Conferences in conjunction with the Holy See.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who have put their gifts at the service of the Church in the great endeavour of producing the new translation, men and women whose faith is matched by the refinement of their scholarship.

+Arthur Roche
Bishop of Leeds

Archbishop Peter Smith comes home to Southwark

The Holy Father has appointed Archbishop Peter Smith, until now Archbishop of Cardiff, to the be pastor of the diocese of Southwark. His installation will take place at St George's Cathedral on Thursday 10th June. I am sure he is bound to receive a very warm welcome indeed from the clergy and lay faithful of Southwark.

Born on 21st October 1943 in Battersea, London, Archbishop Peter Smith was educated at Clapham College; Exeter University, LLB; St. John's Seminary, Wonersh; Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome, JCD 1977.

He was ordained on 5th July 1972. He served as assistant priest at St. Francis, Stockwell from 1972-74. He was Professor of Canon Law St. John's Seminary Wonersh 1977-84. From 1984-1985, he was Parish Administrator at St. Andrew's, Thornton Heath and then from 1985-1995 he was Rector at St. John's Seminary, Wonersh.

He was appointed Bishop of East Anglia from 1995 until 2001, when he became Archbishop of Cardiff. Archbishop Peter has been Chairman of the Department for Christian Responsibility and Citizenship at the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales since 1998. He has also been the Chairman of the Catholic Truth Society (1993 - 2007). He was Chairman of the Central Religious Advisory Committee (CRAC) of the BBC and ITC from 2001-2004. He was appointed a Sub-Prelate and Chaplain of the Order of St. John of Jerusalem in 2002. He became an Honorary Fellow University of Wales, Lampeter in 2004.

On the 30th April 2010 the Holy Father appointed Archbishop Peter to succeed Archbishop Kevin McDonald to the See of Southwark.

Further news from the Bishops Conference website:
“After eight very happy years in the Archdiocese of Cardiff, I am very sad to be leaving Wales.

“Over these years I have enjoyed working with the priests, deacons, religious and laity of the Archdiocese in Wales and Herefordshire and thank them for their help and co-operation in so many areas of Diocesan life and work. I am especially grateful for their support in bringing about the re-organisation of pastoral provision for the Catholic community, and fostering the mission of the Church in so many ways. My experience of the Archdiocese is that the spirit of St. David is still very much alive and summed up in his dying words: 'Be joyful; keep the faith.'

“I should also like to thank the leaders of the other Christian Churches communities, and the leaders of other faiths in Wales. We have enjoyed a fruitful dialogue and relationship to the benefit of our particular communities and wider society. I have found the civic authorities, in particular the Welsh Assembly Government and Local Authorities, have been unfailingly courteous and helpful, as has the local media. I am deeply grateful for that too.

“I shall never forget the warmth and generosity of the people of Wales, not only the Catholic community but so many others, and their great sense of humour and cheerfulness.

“However, my sadness at leaving is tempered by the prospect of returning to my roots in South London and going home to the Archdiocese in which I was born and for which I was ordained a priest in 1972. I am very much looking forward to that and to serving the people, religious, deacons and priests of the Archdiocese of Southwark as their Bishop. It is good to be returning home, although I feel there is part of me which will always have a 'second home' in Wales.”

The Most Reverend Vincent Nichols, President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, said: “I am delighted at the appointment of Archbishop Peter Smith as Archbishop of Southwark, while at the same time sympathising with the priests, religious and people of Cardiff. Archbishop Peter is an outstanding and experienced leader. He will be warmly welcomed back to his home diocese, just as he will be sorely missed in Cardiff. I can assure him of the prayers and good wishes of us all.”

Bishop John Hine, who will continue as Diocesan Administrator in Southwark until the installation of Archbishop Peter Smith on 10 June, said:

“The priests and people of Southwark are absolutely delighted about the news of the appointment of Archbishop Peter Smith to our Diocese. He is, of course, well known to so many of us and we can hardly believe our good fortune that he will back here leading us at this very significant phase of our Diocesan story.”

LMS Training Conference, Ushaw 2010

Have received this report from the Latin Mass Society. Seems to have been a great success.

A slide show can be seen here.
Between Monday 12 and Friday 16 April the Latin Mass Society (LMS) hosted its fifth national residential conference in four years to train priests in the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The conference was held in Ushaw College, Durham, and twenty priests were trained.
This year, for the first time, the conference included separate tuition for laymen to become proficient MCs for the ceremonies of the Extraordinary Form. Ten laymen attended the course.
Among the clergy present were two young priests from the Archdiocese of Colombo, Sri Lanka, who had been sent by Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, ex-Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship in Rome. Archbishop Ranjith is actively reintroducing the Extraordinary Form into his diocese.
Apart from the expert small group tuition given by experienced priests, there were Latin classes and lectures, daily Lauds, Compline, Vespers, Rosary and Benediction. Each morning the college’s numerous side chapels were used by the priests to say their private Masses.
Traditional Rite liturgies were offered each day in the seminary’s magnificent St Cuthbert’s chapel and there were impressive opening and closing High Masses at which the Church’s treasury of plainchant and polyphony was heard.
At the conference dinner on the Thursday evening, a letter of support from Archbishop Ranjith was read out. The archbishop encouraged the LMS in its work of implementing the Motu Proprio and helping priests learn the Extraordinary Form of Mass and he congratulated the Society ‘in this beautiful undertaking in the name of the Church’s Tradition and orthodoxy which is our need and the need of the time’.
The LMS has already announced its next residential training conference to be held at Downside Abbey from Tuesday 10 to Friday 13 August. Full details are available from the LMS.

Family and Youth Concern Spring Bulletin

Family and Youth Concern's Spring Bulletin can be found here with lots of useful information relevant to the 2010 election and their AGM and Conference on 26th June.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Dawkins Delusion - for a bit of light relief!

Thanks to Philip Andrews.

Phone the Conservative Party about Philip Lardner now

020 7222 9000. You won't get much sympathy for the Christian position.

The gentleman I spoke to said we are in a free society and the Conservative Party does not believe in discriminating against homosexuals. When I said that I did not believe this either but that sex is for marriage between a man and a woman, he said that I was entitled to my beliefs but that we are in a free and inclusive society. So would it be alright for an adult to have sex with a child? He acknowledged there were limits to freedom and accused me of taking him down another path and did not want to discuss it. So, who decides what is right and wrong? How can it be up to a government or political party to dictate these matters to us? Unless we acknowledge a natural (divine) law that must be accepted, not decided by democratic process, we get ourselves and our society into a mess and end up with the dictatorship of relativism spoken of by Pope Benedict before he was elected Pope.

I am a natural Conservative voter (I would never preach this in a homily). I also believe in voting for the man on the ballot paper, not the party he/she belongs to. I'm not voting for a PM but for an MP. But, paraphrasing St Peter in John 6, I still ask: Lord, to whom shall we turn? Only you have the message of truth and eternal life and none of our political parties seem fit for the job of ordering society according to the laws of nature.

What Philip Lardner said:
As your MP I will support the rights of parents and teachers to refuse to have their children taught that homosexuality is ‘normal’ behaviour or an equal lifestyle choice to traditional marriage.

According to the Daily Telegraph
In the offending article, which was removed from his website on Tuesday afternoon, Mr Lardner said he supported homosexual rights to live the lives they want in private.

“But I will not accept that their behaviour is 'normal' or encourage children to indulge in it,” he continued

“Toleration and understanding is one thing, but state-promotion of homosexuality is quite another..."

But Mr Cameron insisted that the Conservative Party supports gay equality, adding: “I couldn't have acted quicker – decisive action in minutes of finding out about this.”

Andrew Fulton, chairman of the Scottish Conservatives, confirmed Mr Lardner’s party membership had been suspended, adding: “These views have no place in the modern Conservative party.”

In other words, there is no room in the modern Conservative Party for a Christian.

As well as my post below, see


Sorry this post is muddled. I'm upset!

I would vote for this man...

Even though he has been dropped by the Conservative Party days before the election for upholding traditional Christian principles on homosexuality and the rights of parents not to teach that homosexual relations are normal and acceptable, Philip Lardner's name remains on the ballot paper.

See Lifesite news for more.

See also Kate (Toleration and understanding of a Christian point of view?) and Catholic Commentary (No place for Catholics in the Conservative Party?)

What a tolerant society we live in!


I have just become the 43,456th person to sign the Westminster Declaration. If you believe that "protecting human life, protecting marriage, and protecting freedom of conscience are foundational for creating and maintaining strong families, caring communities and a just society" and wish to "call upon all parliamentary candidates to pledge that they will 'respect, uphold and protect the right of Christians to hold and express Christian beliefs and act according to Christian conscience’", then I see no reason why you shouldn't sign here.

It was launched on Easter Sunday (sorry, I'm a bit late catching up) with the signatures of the former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey, former Bishop of Rochester Michael Nazir-Ali and Cardinal O’Brien, leader of the Catholic Church in Scotland amongst others.

Father Hugh MacKenzie of St Mary Magdalen's, Willesden Green, on the abuse scandal

Father Hugh has written his thoughts on this on his parish website and newsletter.

See 17th April, 24th April, and his Newsletter Supplement.
here, here and here.

Elizabeth Wang talking on the priesthood

Radiant Light is involved in a day about the Priesthood and the Mass coming up in Leicester, at the Dominican parish in the city centre. Full details are below.

Elizabeth Wang, founder of Radiant Light, will be giving two talks in the morning.

The event is open to all.

"A Day for the Year of the Priest"
With talks by Elizabeth Wang and Fr Richard Duffield
Saturday 15th May 2010
From 10am to 3.30pm
St Clement's Hall, Holy Cross Church, Wellington Street, Leicester LE1 6HW
[A short walk from the main station]
Light refreshments will be provided – please bring a packed lunch.
A rough timetable of the day (very approximate!):
10.00 Mass
10.45 Elizabeth Wang: The Mass
11.45 Elizabeth Wang: The Catholic Priesthood
1.00 Lunch
2.00 Fr Richard Duffield: Newman as Priest
3.00 Benediction
3.30 Finish

Radiant Light is a movement within the Roman Catholic Church. It seeks to encourage people to grow in holiness by believing and living the Catholic faith in its fullness. It was founded by Elizabeth Wang and its mission is inspired by her teachings, images, and spirituality. Jesus Christ is 'the radiant light of God's glory' (Heb 1:3).

New English Translation of Roman Missal to be published 'soon'

The Vatican Information Service gives this good news today.

After lunch yesterday, Pope Benedict XVI said
"I welcome the news that the English translation of the Roman Missal will soon be ready for publication. ... Through these sacred texts and the actions that accompany them, Christ will be made present and active in the midst of His people".

Going on then to identify a new task, that of "preparing for the reception of the new translation by clergy and lay faithful", the Pope pointed out that "many will find it hard to adjust to unfamiliar texts after nearly forty years of continuous use of the previous translation. The change will need to be introduced with due sensitivity, and the opportunity for catechesis that it presents will need to be firmly grasped. I pray that in this way any risk of confusion or bewilderment will be averted, and the change will serve instead as a springboard for a renewal and a deepening of Eucharistic devotion all over the English-speaking world".

"Soon the fruits of your labours will be made available to English-speaking congregations everywhere", the Holy Father concluded.

Monday, April 26, 2010

National Pro-Life T-shirt Week

The National Pro-Life T-shirt week commences tomorrow. Lifesite news reports:

"Thousands of young people across the country will take to the streets and the schools a civil rights message for the 21st century: All human beings deserve human rights," announced ALL (American Life League ) in a press release Monday. ALL has stated that more contestants have registered for this year's contest than in last year's, in which 3,000 photos were submitted.

Visit the Facebook page here.

Oh, the country referred to above is not Great Britain...

Sunday, April 25, 2010

SPUC Pro-Life Chain

Yesterday I took part in the pro-life chain in Ashford. Due to parish commitments I was only able to get along for the last half hour. These dedicated souls had spent two hours by the side of Hythe Road raising awareness by silent vigil.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Maria Stops Abortion - new blog

Quite a catchy title, a play on the eugenicist inspired abortion industry giant.

It's the new blog of the Good Counsel Network, launcing on 26th April, feast of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

Go to the blog here:

More information about Good Counsel Network at:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Now, a paedophile bishop.

When the Vatican announces that a bishop has submitted his resignation in accordance with Canon 401 §2, we often wonder what the 'some other grave cause' might be.

Canon 401 §2 states:
A diocesan bishop who has become less able to fulfill his office because of ill health or some other grave cause is earnestly requested to present his resignation from office.
The Vatican News Service announced today:
VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Holy Father accepted the resignation from the pastoral care of the diocese of Bruges, Belgium, presented by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe, in accordance with canon 401 para. 2 of the Code of Canon Law.
In the past that would be as much as we'd be told. Now the Church is being more transparent and open, as it needs to be, to deal with this sorry scandal that is afflicting the Church.

The Vatican News Service gives the following details:
VATICAN CITY, 23 APR 2010 (VIS) - Given below are the texts of two declarations, one by Bishop Roger Joseph Vangheluwe of Bruges, Belgium, concerning his resignation from office, and the other by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels, Belgium. Both declarations were delivered during a press conference held at midday today in Brussels.

"When I was still just a priest, and for a certain period at the beginning of my episcopate, I sexually abused a minor from my immediate environment. The victim is still marked by what happened. Over the course of these decades I have repeatedly recognised my guilt towards him and his family, and I have asked forgiveness; but this did not pacify him, as it did not pacify me. The media storm of recent weeks has increased the trauma, and the situation is no longer tenable. I profoundly regret what I did and offer my most sincere apologies to the victim, to his family, to all the Catholic community and to society in general. I have presented my resignation as bishop of Bruges to Pope Benedict XVI. It was accepted on Friday and so I retire".

Declaration by Archbishop Andre-Mutien Leonard of Mechelen-Brussels.

"We are facing a particularly serious situation. Our thoughts go first and foremost to the victim and his family, some of whom have learned the shocking news only today. For the victim this has been a long Calvary, which has clearly not yet ended.

"As for Bishop Roger Vangheluwe, as a person he has the right to conversion, trusting in the mercy of God. However, as regards his function, it is vital that, out of respect for the victim and his family, and out of respect for the truth, he should resign from office. This is what he has done. The Pope immediately accepted the resignation of the bishop of Bruges, which is at this moment is being published in Rome.

"The Church thus underlines the importance of not procrastinating in such cases. We hope to contribute to the rehabilitation of the victim.

"The decision of the bishop of Bruges, and the calling of this press conference, express the transparency that the Catholic Church in Belgium rigorously wishes to apply in these matters, turning a new page with respect to the not-so-distant period in which the Church, and others, preferred the solution of silence or concealment.

"It goes without saying that this event will cause great suffering in the whole Catholic community of Belgium, especially because Bishop Vangheluwe was considered a generous and dynamic person, much appreciated in his diocese and in the Belgian Church. We, his confreres, are aware of the crisis of trust this will provoke in many people. Nonetheless, we dare to hope that wisdom will prevail and that the bishops, and especially the priests, of this country will not be unduly discredited as a group, because the vast majority live a lifestyle coherent with their vocation, with a faithfulness for which I here publicly express my thanks".
OP/ VIS 20100423 (510)
The suffering caused is not limited to the Catholic community of Belgium. It afflicts the whole mystical body.

The BBC report it here.

Is the Catholic Education Service Catholic?

As I said before, I have given up on the CES. Which is why I felt it somewhat superfluous or pointless to comment on the latest appalling appointment of an 'anti-life and anti-family ex-MP, Greg Pope, as deputy director'.

Father Tim Finigan expresses dismay as does EF Pastor Emeritus; Father Ray Blake also comments; and Damian Thompson also comments here and here. See also Lifesite News.

The Ecclesiastical Hierarchy in this country is in real danger of losing its credibility together with the respect of a good number of priests who are trying to fight the battle for Charity and Truth in our Catholic Schools at parish level.

Bishops of England and Wales call for Prayer of Reparation and Atonement

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales have issued an invitation to Catholics in England and Wales to make the four Fridays in May 2010 special days of prayer by spending coming before the Blessed Sacrament in our parishes to pray to God for healing, forgiveness and a renewed dedication.

The bishops ask us to pray for all who have suffered abuse, for those who mishandled these matters and added to the suffering of those affected, and also for those who committed these sins of abuse that they will make their journey of repentance and atonement.

The full statement is on the Bishops' Conference website and can be heard on the video below:

Irish Bishop resigns - humble statement

KILDARE, Ireland, APRIL 22, 2010 ( Benedict XVI today accepted the resignation of another Irish bishop who asked to step down in the wake of the widespread sexual abuse scandal in this country.

Bishop James Moriarty of Kildare and Leighlin offered his resignation in December, after the Murphy Report was published.

In a statement today, the 73-year-old prelate said: "I did not anticipate resigning when I first read the Murphy Report, because I was not directly criticized. However, the Murphy Report covers far more than what individual bishops did or did not do. Renewal must begin with accepting responsibility for the past.

"I served as an auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin from 1991 until my appointment to this diocese in 2002. I was part of the governance of the archdiocese prior to when correct child protection policies and procedures were implemented. Again I accept that from the time I became an auxiliary bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture. Once more I apologize to all survivors and their families."

"I should have challenged the prevailing culture." Thank you Bishop Moriarty for your humble admission. We can all own up to similar failings. May we all have the courage to "challenge the prevailing culture" when necessary, whatever line of life we are in. But in the Church, we could be doing the Church and souls an immense service, particularly when it comes to matters of justice and the faithful adherence to the (Moral/Canon/Liturgical) Law of the Church.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Archbishop Fernando Saburido is pro-life!

I have deleted a previous post of mine which I think is misleading. Lifesite news carries an assuring article which I think sets the record straight. Apologies to Archbishop Saburido.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Confirmations today

Congratulations to our six young people who were confirmed by Bishop John Hine, our diocesan Administrator, at this morning's 10.00am Mass. One of the six was also received into the full communion of the Church. Thanks to all the servers who turned up making it possible to have a full complement of ministries including vimps, thurifer to torches. Thanks also to our choir and organist, and also to the ladies who kindly organised the tea and coffee that followed the Mass.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Medjugorje Commission will carry out its work 'with the utmost reserve'

The Medjugorje Commission held its first meeting on 26th March, it was revealed yesterday by the Press Office of the Holy See:
"The International Investigative Commission on Medjugorje met for its first session on 26 March 2010."

"The Commission, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, His Holiness' vicar general emeritus for the diocese of Rome, is composed of the following members: Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna, president of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb and vice-president of the Council of European Bishops' Conference; Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Msgr. Tony Anatrella, psychoanalyst and specialist in Social Psychiatry; Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, professor of Fundamental Theology at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy; Fr. David Maria Jaeger, O.F.M., consultant to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas, O.F.M. Conv., relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Fr. Salvatore M. Perrella, O.S.M., teacher of Mariology at the Pontifical Marianum Faculty of Theology; and Fr. Achim Schutz, professor of Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical Lateran University as secretary. Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, an officer of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith serves as additional secretary."

"Other experts have also participated in the commission's work: Fr. Franjo Topic, professor of Fundamental Theology in Sarajevo; Fr. Mijo Nikic, S.J., professor of Psychology and Psychology of Religion at the Philosophical and Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb, Fr. Mihaly Szentmartoni, S.J., professor of Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Sr. Veronica Nela Gaspar, professor of Theology at Rijeka."

"As announced previously, the work of the Commission will be carried out with the utmost reserve. Its conclusions will be submitted to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for study."
This will be a very important step in clarifying the supernatural or otherwise phenomena that are taking place at Medjugorje. I have been there once on a free trip for clergy courtesy of Medjugorje Peace Tours. The people in the group I joined were fine upstanding Catholics, very loyal to the Church. I also had the privilege of making my confession to the late Father Slavko. I was also impressed by the testimonies of the "visionaries" Ivan Dragicevic and Vicka Ivankovic-Mijatovic.

The work of the Cenacolo community in helping drug addicts to recover was most impressive. So a lot of good has come to the Church through Medjugorje. Nevertheless it is important that the various doubts that exist be clarified, not least for the sake of unity. The long-running dispute between the Franciscans at the parish and the diocesan bishop needs to be resolved.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Support the Pope

Dear Holy Father,

We, the undersigned, want you to know that you are not alone in your pledge to fight injustice and the ailments in the Church. We want you to know that we trust you in your role as the leader of the Church. We want you to know that we forgive the sins of other members of the Church as we are forgiven. We are praying for you; for your courage, conviction, perseverance, and resolve.

We love you Papa Benedicto XVI!

If this sums up your sentiments, sign here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Kentish Express reports Polish Grief

I was telephoned today for some remarks concerning the tragic air disaster that occurred on Saturday morning. The KE put a report up pretty quickly here.

There truly was a very sombre attitude amongst the Polish people who were at Mass yesterday. Some came to the evening Mass as they were watching Polish TV all day to witness the repatriation of their President's body. I spoke with Fr Piotr Kaczmarek in Warsaw today. The Feast of the Divine Mercy is always associated with commemorations for the death of Pope John Paul II who died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday. The Polish bishops cancelled all such commemorations to focus on those who died in the air crash which, of course, occurred on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday.

As the KE report, there will be a Polish Mass at St Francis' Church, Maidstone, next Sunday at 4pm. I will try to get along.

You can read more at the website for Polish people in Kent: Polish / English (Google translation).

Here's how the KE reported the Blessing of Food on Holy Saturday (the photo can be found at the KE website):

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day with Mary - Easter Saturday

Yesterday the Day with Mary was held at our parish church. Many visitors from London and elsewhere came, and I was pleased that a number of our parishioners attended too. It was a wonderful day of prayer and devotion in honour of the Virgin Mary.

Father Selvam Sahaya, a Salesian priest from Madras, was present for the day and gave a sermon in the afternoon, helped with confessions, and led the Blessed Sacrament Procession.

At the request of the organisers, Mass was celebrated in the Extaordinary Form of the Roman Rite with the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate performing the chant. Two Friars of the Immaculate, Brothers Leonard and Peter Damian (Eymard), were also present and helped in the liturgies. I was very pleased that a number of our young servers volunteered to serve at the Mass.

Many visitors commented on the beauty of our church and the celebration of the liturgy.

Here's a slide show of the some of the day.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Rocco Buttiglione defends Pope Benedict on the Today Programme

Like Father Ray Blake, I too heard this excellent interview given by the Professor friend of Pope John Paul II. He met John Humphrey's continued misrepresentation of the facts in combative style, giving as good as he got. Listen to the interview here. It's encouraging. Humphrey's is snearing, as usual. 'People expect the Pope to say sorry' says Humphreys. 'But he has said sorry' I screamed at the radio between mouthfuls of corn flakes and banana. And Buttiglione riposted appropriately.

Greater numbers than ever at Church this Easter

After the Easter ceremonies last year I made a note that there was an extremely good attendance at the ceremonies, particular the Easter Sunday morning Mass. This year, there was an even greater number. This must confound the 'The Catholic Church is Finished' rhetoric of the media. As well as being the Church's major feast of the year, I think Easter possibly speaks to people at a more profound level than Christmas. It really is a feast of hope and joy. No matter how 'dead' the Church might seem, it always rises again. Perhaps in the midst of Her current difficulties, fuelled mainly by media who won't accept 'sorry' from the Pope no matter how often and in how many different ways he says it, the Church is a sign to a huge number of people who perhaps know they are not living 'up to the mark' in terms of regular church attendance, marriage, etc, etc, yet they see a Church that is made up of and welcomes sinners and gives them hope.

I reflected yesterday on the fact that the first witness of the empty tomb and of the Risen Christ was a woman who had had seven devils cast out of her. The Magdalen was a sinner, and it was as a forgiven and healed sinner that she proclaimed to the doubting apostles the fact of the Risen Christ. She is an example of the new batch of unleavened bread, the corrupting old yeast having been cast out of her. The mysterium iniquitatis was there at the beginning of the Church's proclamation of the Resurrection, and so it will be with the Church until the end of time. But that does not invalidate Her proclamation. In fact, it makes it all the more credible to those who need to live their lives in the hope of becoming something better than they are at present. The impossible is, with the power of God, possible.

A message received from a parishioner of mine this morning:

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

What a wonderful week of masses and ceremony. I feel refreshed and renewed.

You, and all involved, must have worked very hard so that everything went off smoothly, it was a joy being in church to worship our dear Lord.

Here is a photograph of St. Simon's altar decorated so beautifully for Easter morning.
God bless you for everything.

Thanks are due to everybody who worked really hard to prepare the church and the liturgy: cleaners, flower arrangers, choir, sacristy, MC, and particularly to our servers. We had a full complement at the Easter Vigil, with sufficient numbers to have torches, and an excellent turnout of servers at the Morning Mass. Fantastic!

Congratulations to Rachel Numas who was received into the full communion of the Catholic Church and who received Holy Communion with us for the first time during the Easter Vigil. She, together with five other adults (her husband Nigel, Martial and Sandrine Eba, Aude Alecks and Annelise Moore) were confirmed, taking as confirmation patron saints respectively: Therese of Lisieux, Thomas More, Gabriel, Rita, Joanna (one of the women who went to the tomb on Easter morning), Catherine of Sienna.

Two of the lads who have been popping into church recently came to the Easter Sunday morning Mass. I saw them at the back as I processed in and took them down to be near the front, placing them in the safe hands of the same parishioner who wrote the above appreciative message. Their sister and a friend popped in this morning and told me that one of the lads is telling everyone he wants to be a Catholic.

Saturday morning saw a packed church (I have never seen the Church so full) with the Polish blessing of food which, as last year, I did using the Latin formulae for the blessing of Lamb, Eggs and Bread at Easter found in the old Rituale Romanum. (See slideshow below). The Kentish Express photographer was present so we might see a few photographs in this Thursday's edition (see the KE's announcement here, search later this week for a report).

And on Good Friday evening some of the Polish community organised a very inspiring 'son et lumiere' Way of the Cross followed by a homage to Pope John Paul II whose fifth anniversary it was. Although I could understand nothing of what was said or read, the language of prayer and faith was all I needed. Congratulations to them. They made a huge effort in decorating the church with votive candles, including a cross on the church floor, and power point images taken from The Passion of the Christ etc. Very prayerful, very devotional. It took a couple of hours to set up and lasted for two hours. Congratulations to all involved.

Happy Easter everybody.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

'You are clean, though not all of you are'

He knew who was going to betray Him, that was why He said, 'though not all of you are.'

Amongst the first twelve priests of the Catholic Church founded by Christ was one who was not clean, who would betray Christ.

Among them was one who would sacrilegiously kiss the face of Jesus in a gesture that speaks of love but with an intent to disfigure.

Many Spanish paintings and sculptures portray 'El beso de Judas', the kiss of Judas, a kiss that leaves a scar, that transmits pain instead of tenderness and love.

Right from its institution, the priesthood is tainted by betrayal.

Today, dear friends, the stain of betrayal within the priesthood is once again evident, and it shocks, and wounds the beautiful face of Christ, not only the image of Christ that the priesthood is meant to portray, but His image in the bodies and souls of innocent young men and women.

And the stain is all the more noticeable because of the purity with which Christ has clothed His Bride, the Church.

There were two types of people the Lord said were unworthy of life:
  • anyone who would lead a little one into sin, anyone who would corrupt or harm a little child, should have a millstone tied around him and be cast into the sea. His inevitable end: drowning.
  • the one who betrays the Son of Man would have been better not to have been born. The implication: that his life is a contradiction.

Judas betrayed the Son of Man and hanged himself in despair.

The priest who has harmed a little one bears a heavy burden of guilt that could also cast him into the sin of despair and to the depths of hell.

But let me say that the recent media attacks on Pope Benedict have been unwarranted and unjust. He has done more than anyone else in the past to ensure that justice is done. When the Church issues corrective statements, whether from individual diocesan bishops, or personnel involved in the Church's judicial system, or the Holy See itself, the media do not give them the same publicity as the inaccurate reports they publicise. They make accusations against people involved in the Church's judicial process wihout checking facts.

For the enemies of the Church wish to attack the priesthood.

We are in this year for priests to commemorate the 150th anniversary of death of the humble and saintly Cure or parish priest of Ars, St Jean Maria Vianney.

He said: 'When people wish to destroy religion, they begin by attacking the priest, because where there is no longer any priest there is no sacrifice, and where there is no longer any sacrifice there is no religion.'

Without the priest, there can be no Eucharist, no Mass, which the Lord instituted on the first Holy Thursday before he died.

Bishop John Hine, at yesterday's Chrism Mass at St George's Cathedral, wanted to acknowledge and give thanks for the sacrifices that all priests of the diocese make in faithfulness to their vocation to nourish the People of God.

The priest's life is sacrificial because the centre of his life is a Sacrifice: the Sacrifice of the Cross which he sacramentally renews every day as he celebrates Mass.

St Jean Marie Vianney said that 'The priest will not understand the greatness of his office till he is in Heaven. If he understood it on earth, he would die, not of fear, but of love.'

We all need the priest:
  • to forgive sins. He doesn't say: 'God pardons you' but 'I absolve you.'
  • in the Eucharist, at the Consecration, he doesn't say: 'This is the Body of Our Lord'; he says: 'This is My Body.' And he offers his own body to God the Almighty Father and to His people, in union with Christ's offering of Himself to the Father.

St Jean Marie teaches that all graces and heavenly gifts come to us through the priest:
  • who receives the soul on its entrance into life in Baptism? The priest.
  • who nourishes and gives it strength in the Eucharist? The priest.
  • who prepares it to come before God in Anointing and Viaticum? The priest.

No angel, not the Blessed Virgin, can absolve you of your sins, but the priest can.

'If I were to meet a priest and an angel, I should salute the priest before I saluted the angel. The latter is a friend of God; but the priest holds His place.'

And it was after Satan had entered into Judas that Christ, who is Master and Lord, taught his disciples how to combat the spirit of Satan in his gesture of cleansing and serving. To combat the devil, the priesthood must be cleansed, the priest must serve.

As the feet of some men of the parish are being washed this evening, some young people of the parish will pass a couple of baskets around the Church, not to take a collection but to invite you to take a card which contains the prayer that Jesus offered to His Father for His first priests.

Why churches should be open and the priest be at home

A not infrequent occurrence this afternoon that reminded me of this important fact: two nine year old lads knocked on my door asking if they could pop into the church and say a prayer. Neither is baptised but after saying their prayer, they knocked on my door again and gave me a small amount of money they had found. I have put it in the poor box.

One of the boys has an apostle's name, the one people pray to when they are in desperate need, and he knew this. His mother had also taught him that he should make the sign of the Cross whenever he passed by the church. She must be a Catholic. The other has been round before and is always fascinated by 'that place where you say the things you've done wrong'. Today 'that place' is prepared with the altar of repose in readiness for tonight's Mass.

So say a prayer for these two boys, and others like them in this area, who are open to God but who as yet have not been given the opportunity - for whatever reason - to really get to know Christ and His Church. Their parents are surely doing their best for their children... Given the area they live in (just on my doorstep) these boys may not get the opportunities in life I was blessed with. But if they can just remain open to truth and goodness...

They are clearly well brought up. When I gave them a Rosary each (they had asked how much one would cost) and a Divine Mercy prayer card they said 'Thank you very much, Father.'

Let the little children...


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