Sunday, October 31, 2010

Priest among 37 killed in attack on Catholic Church in Baghdad

As we celebrated our Sunday Masses with joy and peace, Baghdad Catholics were in terror as gunmen took hostages in the Church of Our Lady of Salvation during evening Mass. The BBC reports:
At least 37 people have been killed after Iraqi security forces stormed a Catholic church in central Baghdad to free dozens of hostages being held by gunmen there, security sources say.

Twenty-five hostages were among the dead, along with seven members of the Iraqi security forces and at least five of the attackers, they told the BBC.

About 100 people had been inside Our Lady of Salvation for an evening Mass.
May Our Lady Of Salvation intercede for the Iraqi people, especially for our Catholic brothers and sisters, that there may be peace.

See the See, St Peter Cathedral, Marquette


Dear Young People, when I go round the diocese, I brag about you! You have no idea what it does to me to see so many from all over the diocese gathered here.

So Bishop Sample addressed over 650 young people and their chaperones who attended the annual See the See Youth Rally at St Peter's Cathedral yesterday.

The day consisted of songs of praise, great teaching by keynote speaker Cooper Ray, various workshops, including Eucharist Adoration.

Confessions were available for much of the day. I had a rather sore behind after sitting for two and half hours on the rather narrow perch in my confessional - what a joy to hear so many confessions of both youngsters and adults, and more in the afternoon.

Cooper broke down the word cool - the Bishop had said how cool it is to be Catholic - and spoke to the youngsters about being:

Crazy for their Catholic faith
Open to the knock of Christ on the doors of their hearts
Obedient to the call of Christ
Loving of God and neighbour.

Father Ben Hasse gave a beautiful teaching to small groups of 50 about Eucharistic adoration, quoting St Jean Marie Vianney and his own experience of hearing the call of the Lord as a result of Eucharistic adoration. There were other workshops that I was not present at due to being in the confessional.

In the afternoon there was a 'Stump the Bishop' session in the Baraga Gym across the road during which Bishop Sample answered all questions - goofy and profound - the kids were anxious to put to him.

The day finished with Mass during which the Bishop preached passionately about the call of Christ with reference to the call of Jesus to Zachaeus. At the end of Mass the Bishop blessed rosaries and distributed them to each of the young people individually.

A great day - please God it will result in the deepening of the love of Christ and His Church in these middle schoolers and to many priestly and religious vocations, as well as to Holy Marriage or a holy single life.

See also my Facebook photos.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Indulgences for November

It's good to be reminded that in the first week of November the Church grants indulgences to those who pray for the faithful departed as follows:

1st - 8th Nov: Visit a cemetery
On any day of the year an indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who devoutly visit a cemetery and pray, even if only mentally, for the departed. From 1st to 8th November the indulgence is plenary; on other days of the year it is partial.
2nd Nov, All Souls Day: Visit a church or oratory
A plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Souls in Purgatory, is granted to the faithful, who on the day dedicated to the Commemoration of all the faithful departed, piously visit a church, a public oratory or -- for those entitled to use it -- a semipublic oratory. To gain the indulgence one must one Our Father and the Creed.

This indulgence can be acquired either on All Souls Day or, with the consent of the Ordinary, on the preceding or following Sunday or the feast of All Saints. (This is the case in my native archdiocese of Southwark).
Some helpful facts about indulgences:
  • What is an indulgence?
An indulgence is the remission before God of the temporal punishment due sins already forgiven as far as their guilt is concerned, which the follower of Christ with the proper dispositions and under certain determined conditions acquires through the intervention of the Church which, as minister of the Redemption, authoritatively dispenses and applies the treasury of the satisfaction won by Christ and the saints.
  • Partial and plenary indulgences
An indulgence is partial or plenary according as it removes either part or all of the temporal punishment due sin.
  • For ourselves or for the faithful departed?
We can gain indulgences for ourselves unless otherwise stated. The ones referred to above are specifically for the dead. Partial as well as plenary indulgences can however always be applied to the dead by way of suffrage. And this is a great act of charity towards our departed brethren, an expression of the communion of saints.
  • How much temporal punishment is remitted in the case of a partial indulgence?
The faithful who at least with a contrite heart perform an action to which a partial indulgence is attached obtain, in addition to the remission of temporal punishment acquired by the action itself, an equal remission of punishment through the intervention of the Church.
  • How many indulgences can we gain on any particular day?
A plenary indulgence can be acquired only once a day, unless one is at the point of death in which case one can gain a further plenary indulgence if one has already gained one that day. A partial indulgence can be acquired more than once a day, unless there is an explicit indication to the contrary.
  • What must one do to gain an indulgence?
To acquire a plenary indulgence it is necessary to perform the work to which the indulgence is attached (i.e. make the visits and recite the prayers mentioned above) and to fulfill three conditions : sacramental confession, Eucharistic Communion and prayer for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff. It is further required that all attachment to sin, even to venial sin, be absent.

If this disposition is in any way less than complete, or if the prescribed three conditions are not fulfilled, the indulgence will only be partial. Local Ordinaries can commute any of these requirements for those who are impeded from fulfilling them (e.g. by reason of age, or lack of access to confession, etc.)

The three conditions may be fulfilled several days before or after the performance of the prescribed work; nevertheless it is fitting that Communion be received and the prayers for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff be said the same day the work is performed.

A single sacramental confession suffices for gaining several plenary indulgences, but Communion must be received and prayers for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions recited for the gaining of each plenary indulgence.

The condition of praying for the Supreme Pontiff's intentions is fully satisfied by reciting one Our Father and one Hail Mary; nevertheless the individual faithful are free to recite any other prayer according to their own piety and devotion toward the Supreme Pontiff.

Mobilizing the Clergy for Life - Priests for Life webcast

This webcast hosted by Father Frank Pavone, founder and president of Priests for Life, and featuring Monsignor Michael Mannion from the diocese of Camden, New Jersey, is an example of a great and encouraging initiative for priests.

Msgr Mannion speaks very eloquently from his years of experience in dealing with post abortion individuals about the need for love and compassion and for an integral pro-life attitude in every parish. Much as Dana Richards of the Marquette Care Clinic stated to the students at the NMU Campus Ministry on Wednesday we need to offer every support and assistance to those who find themselves with an unexpected pregnancy or who are facing difficult economic or other personal circumstances that could push them towards considering abortion, together with the assurance of ongoing support after the birth.

Msgr Mannion gives practical advice for priests in how to approach the subject of abortion in a homily and how to deal with a penitent.

The webcast lasts for about 45 minutes. Listen here.

Msgr Mannion on Post-Abortion Healing: Who We Are is How We Heal.

This Weekend on EWTN: Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke Discussing the Importance of Voting According to Catholic Moral Principles


I am grateful to the Marquette Diocese Director of Communications for circulating the following information received from EWTN:
This Weekend on EWTN
Don’t Miss Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke Discussing
The Importance Of Voting According to Catholic Moral Principles

Irondale, AL (EWTN) – This weekend only, Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, will appear on EWTN to discuss the importance of selecting candidates using Catholic moral principles to advance a culture of life.

This program will feature the complete interview that everyone is talking about as conducted by Thomas McKenna, founder and president of Catholic Action for Faith and Family.

The program will air on EWTN Television at
  • 9 p.m. ET, Fri. Oct. 29
  • 6:30 a.m. ET, Sat., Oct. 30
  • 5:30 p.m. ET, Sun., Oct. 31
and on the EWTN Radio Network at
  • 9 a.m. ET and 8 p.m. ET, Sat., Oct. 30
  • 11 a.m. ET, and 6:30 p.m. ET, Sun., Oct. 31.
This may be the most important program Catholics will see prior to the Nov. 2 election. Instead of a Halloween party this weekend, why not gather your friends and family around the TV or radio for this important program and have an Election Eve party?

EWTN Global Catholic Network, in its 29th year, is available in over 160 million television households in more than 140 countries and territories. With its direct broadcast satellite television and radio services, AM and FM radio networks, worldwide short-wave radio station, Internet website www.ewtn.com and publishing arm, EWTN is the largest religious media network in the world. Find EWTN television here and EWTN Radio here.
In the above-mentioned inteview Cardinal designate Burke spoke about the scandal caused by Catholics who promote abortion as a supposed good or who vote for pro-abortion political candidates. He said:
You can never vote for someone who favors absolutely the right to choice of a woman to destroy a human life in her womb or the right to a procured abortion.
Consider those smallest brothers and sisters of ours ... and do what's right for them.
Part 1 of the interview:



The full interview can be watched at CatholicAction.org.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Church: People of God or Mystical Body of Christ

One tends to hear the Church exclusively referred to as the People of God. This image of the Church was brought to the fore in the documents of Vatican II without intending to exclude the other images.

I note that the Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church (n. 148) teaches:
The Old Testament favours those images that are bound to the people of God. The New Testament offers images that are linked to Christ as the Head of this people which is his Body.
This would seem to indicate to me that if there is to be a preference of one image over another, we should give priority to the image of the Church as Mystical Body of Christ. The Old Testament has not been abrogated but it has been completed by the New and is fulfilled in the Church.

Just a thought...

The Mass, Old and New

I have just seen Damian Thompson's blog post about the attempts by Scottish Liturgists to block the use of James MacMillan's composition at the Papal Mass in Bellahouston Park. See MacMillan's Daily Telegraph blog post: How trendy 'liturgists' tried to stop my Mass being performed for the Pope.

The two pictures Thompson uses on his blog are quite funny but they illustrate what I have just experienced earlier this evening at the Northern Michigan University Catholic Campus meeting.
An old-style Mass before the papal reforms...


... and the updated style of liturgy favoured by younger catholics.

After our study of the Sunday readings, the students themselves mentioned that they had heard that the 'Tridentine' Mass was to be introduced at St Peter's Cathedral here at Marquette. They all expressed excitement about the prospect and said how young people want to know more about the tradition of the Church.

I am reminded of a very wise reply a priest-friend of mine made to a suggestion by an older religious sister (one of those whose orders are sadly dying out, who do not wear a habit and who live in their own apartments rather than in community) that he was somewhat conservative. 'Oh no, Sister, I don't think I could be described as conservative - what is there to conserve of the modern church?' Hoots of laughter around the table. (Please, please, I hope readers have a sense of humour - the priest in question is an extremely well qualified canonist, is a parish priest who looks after more than one parish church, celebrates Mass in both Ordinary and Extraordinary Forms, incorporating the improvements of Pope Benedict XVI in the former.)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Altar Servers Day at New Addington

Just discovered from the Southwark Archdiocesan website that my brother Father Stephen Boyle hosted another altar servers day.

Here's the blurb:
On Saturday, 23rd October 2010, forty-one altar servers gathered at the Good Shepherd Church, New Addington. They enjoyed renewing old friendships and making new ones.

The day was an opportunity for them to deepen their faith with a talk and discussion on the theme Evolution and the Mass. There was also time for prayer with exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and six priests were available for confessions. The free time was taken up with sport, card tricks and the usual fun ice-breakers. The day ended with the Mass at 6:30 pm.

There will be another altar servers' day next term at a date and venue to be decided.

The priest wearing the gold coloured vestment is Father Behruz Rafat.

Walking near Carp River, Marquette, MI

Just a few snaps from a walk taken today through the woods. I was trying to get to the Carp River Falls but didn't make it. Having found Morgan Falls (pictured in the slideshow) I think I now know how to get to the Carp River Falls - maybe with snow next time?



Marquette Catholic Campus Ministry Evening


This evening I joined students of the Northern Michigan University for their Wednesday evening meeting.


After supper, Dana Richards, director of volunteer services at the Marquette Care Clinic was joined by Melinda Britten who gave personal testimony of abortion experience and the help the Care Clinic gave her post-abortion and how she was led to healing through conversion to Christ.


Melinda is now married and her husband Philip was also present with their little daughter (pictured at the top of this post). They found out yesterday that they are now expecting their second child.


The testimony was followed by very interesting questions and contributions from a number of the students. Not all of them are Catholic.

Here's a really cool tee shirt worn by Luke:





And a group photo afterwards.

The reason I ended up with this great group of youngsters is that I was asked to fill in for Father Ben Haasse who normally leads some study of the followin Sunday's Mass readings which followed for a small group after Dana and Melinda's testimony.

UPDATE: You can find Melinda's testimony at Marquette Care Clinic's facebook page.

Irish Bishops announce year of prayer for renewal

The Irish Bishops have asked the faithful of Ireland to observe a year of prayer for the process of renewal in the Church in that land. The Year is to commence on the First Sunday of Advent, November 28th. They have asked all the faithful to pray the prayer that Pope Benedict gave them in his unprecedented pastoral letter to the Church in Ireland:

PRAYER FOR THE CHURCH IN IRELAND

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness,
holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.

Amen.

Some dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations in Ireland are to undergo an Apostolic Visitation. The bishops hope that the visitation "will assist in purifying and healing the Church in Ireland and will help to restore the trust and hope of the faithful in our country."

Let's pray for that. All is not lost. Ireland is a land of tremendous faith. It can once again be a beacon of holiness for the Universal Church.

Further information:
Zenit
Irish Bishops Conference

Killing Tarek Aziz will not help Iraq

Tarek Aziz may be guilty of being complicit in acts of genocide perpetrated by Sadam Hussein and in his suppression of religious political parties but I was deeply unhappy to learn that he has been sentenced to death. Now the Vatican has also issued a statement saying that his death will not help the process of peace and reconciliation in Iraq.

While American troops were on Baghdad's doorstep Aziz continued to maintain that Iraqi troops were defeating them when they were already hopelessly defeated. He seemed mildly pitiable. Let him serve a just sentence for crimes committed. He may even deserve to be executed. But I pray that this won't happen.

The Vatican statement reads:
The Catholic Church's position on the death penalty is well known. It is hoped, therefore, that the sentence against Tariq Aziz will not be implemented, precisely in order to favour reconciliation and the reconstruction of peace and justice in Iraq after the great sufferings the country has experienced. As concerns the possibility of a humanitarian intervention, the Holy See is not accustomed to operate publicly but through the diplomatic channels at its disposal.
Acknowledgements: VIS, Zenit.

Monday, October 25, 2010

What the heck is going on here?

To quote Father Tim Finigan. My question precisely.

The fact that John Snow is chairing the CAFOD Paul VI Memorial Lecture 2010 is of course an example of how CAFOD is totally in tune with the Obama call for "open minds, open hearts, fair words" when it comes to people who oppose our views. Why not debate with Jon Snow but not invite him in to chair a lecture in honour of Pope Paul VI?

James Preece lists some things that CAFOD should know about Jon Snow:

  • He is pro-abortion and in 2007 he agreed to speak at the Marie Stopes "Global Safe Abortion" conference. He pulled out, but only under massive pressure. PDF Poster here.
  • He supports condom use as an answer to Aids and in 2009 opposite Joanna Bogle on Channel 4 news he stated that "The Pope is condemming many millions of people do death" by opposing condom use .
  • He is in favour of womens ordination and wrote on his blog that "if women and men enjoyed equality of opportunity in the Catholic church, the abuse, the discovery, the cover-up, and the failure to prosecute would never have happened."
  • He has a strange attitude to marriage - he lived for many years with a woman with whom he fathered two children but never married her. Then, at the age of 62 he finally married a lady 35 years younger.
And he finishes up asking:
Hey Cafod - Why don't you invite a Catholic to chair the lecture?
You know, what with you being a Catholic agency...


Michigan Bishops issue guidance for the upcoming elections

Anyone in the US cannot but know it's election time. The mysteries of the US electoral systems are still somewhat hidden from me, but Catholics must seriously weigh their choices this coming November 2nd. The Michigan Catholic Conference has issued the following statement offering guidance to Catholics (emphases in the original except where stated otherwise).
A Call to Conscience:
Faithful Citizenship and the Common Good

Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profi t, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men” wrote John Adams in Thoughts on Government in 1776. Later that year, the Declaration of Independence announced to the world “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights.” The nation’s Founding Fathers created a government where all who reside in these United States are free to pursue the common good—they are free to speak, free to assemble peacefully, and free to worship God and practice their faith.

With these freedoms comes responsibility. Catholics are called to evaluate all matters, including politics, through the lens of faith, to participate in the public square, to engage the political process, and to allow Gospel values to transform our society into a more just and better world for all. In other words, Catholics are called to be “Faithful Citizens.”

Practicing Faithful Citizenship flows from a well-formed conscience. What do we mean when we refer to “conscience?” According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1777, “Moral conscience, present at the heart of the person, enjoins him at the appropriate moment to do good and to avoid evil. It also judges particular choices, approving those that are good and denouncing those that are evil. [Emphasis added.] It bears witness to the authority of truth in reference to the supreme Good to which the human person is drawn, and it welcomes the commandments. When he listens to his conscience, the prudent man can hear God speaking.”


When we act in harmony with our conscience, shunning evil for that which is good, we are bringing Gospel values to the public square. Our pluralistic nation has a rich history of welcoming various ideas and proposals from all sectors of society, including, and especially, religious groups. In this tradition, the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, brought to the public square by faith-fi lled Catholics, help to embolden our communities and to advance the common good.

Those primarily responsible for implementing the common good are the public offi cials whom we elect at the ballot box every two and four years. Public officials hold tremendous influence over public policies that affect us not only as citizens of this great state, but more importantly, as Catholics and people of faith. Issues of religious freedom, the right to life, protection of marriage and the family, the education of children, and how the poor, the vulnerable and immigrants are served confront elected offi cials at the State Capitol each day. These are the issues that we, too, as Catholics, must seriously evaluate when deciding for whom to vote this November. [Emphasis added.]

We recognize that Catholics seek guidance from their church on matters of conscience. As teachers of thefaith, we do not endorse candidates or political parties. However, as bishops of the church, we have a duty to help the Catholic faithful form their consciences based on Gospel values and the teachings of Jesus Christ. As Catholics, we must evaluate candidates’ positions based on the principles of Catholic Social Teaching in order to determine who best will guide our communities.

Yet not all issues carry equal moral weight. Catholics may disagree on practical policies that call for prudential judgment, such as how best to care for the poor, how to welcome the immigrant, or how to eradicate racism. There are other policies, however, that are intrinsically evil and can never be supported. [Emphases added.]

The right to life is a commandment of God, an inherent and a fundamental moral principle. It is indeed the first of the unalienable God-given rights recognized by our Founding Fathers in the Declaration of Independence. It is the primary right through which all other rights flow. The willful destruction of human life through abortion, human embryo experimentation, and assisted suicide represent intrinsically evil policies. A Catholic with a well-formed conscience would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil if they were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate’s permissive stance on these policies. On the difficult occasion where both candidates support an intrinsic evil, the conscientious voter may consider each candidates’ integrity and commitments, and determine which would be less likely to advance such a morally flawed position and more likely to promote other authentic human goods. [Emphases added.]

By forming our consciences based on Gospel values and the teachings of Jesus Christ, we can bring to the public square our commitment to the common good. Elected officials in Lansing expect nothing less from us. As Catholics, we are urged to vote, to take part in conversations about political matters, to join political parties, and to use the Internet to learn more about candidates and their positions. Most importantly, all of us, as faithful citizens, are called to cast our vote through the lens of faith.

Let us pray to the Holy Spirit for wisdom and guidance as we prepare to elect our political leaders this year.

Most Reverend Allen H. Vigneron
Archbishop of Detroit
Most Reverend Bernard A. Hebda
Bishop of Gaylord
Most Reverend Walter A. Hurley
Bishop of Grand Rapids
Most Reverend Paul J. Bradley
Bishop of Kalamazoo
Most Reverend Earl A. Boyea
Bishop of Lansing
Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample
Bishop of Marquette
Most Reverend Joseph R. Cistone
Bishop of Saginaw

I should think this statement makes it pretty clear that if you have a choice between a candidate is will vote in favour of abortion and one who will vote to prevent abortion the moral imperative is to elect the one who will vote pro-life.

The Michigan Catholic Conference has also published an Election and Political Activities Guide and a statement on a proposal concerning the Constitution of the State of Michigan (the politics of which is beyond me).

Should incitement to infanticide be a crime?


Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) refer to a debate at Princeton University between a couple of 'heavyweight philosophers', namely Peter “An infant has no moral status because he is not self-aware” Singer,


a professor of bioethics, and John Finnis, a professor emeritus of philosophy in the University of Oxford, who argued against using the 'F' word: foetus:

As used in the conference program and website, which are not medical contexts, it is offensive, dehumanizing, prejudicial, manipulative, A website describing ultrasound for expectant mothers doesn’t talk about her fetus but her baby, and so do her doctors unless they’re her abortionists or think she has been or is interested in abortion.

How's this for a statement from Frances Kissling, a so-called bioethics scholar and abortion rights advocate and conference organiser:

We have to get rid of the idea of evil.

Pretty Marxist, don't you think?

As C-FAM reports:
Singer defended his support for infanticide, stating that self-awareness confers moral status, and not species membership. Abortion is the killing of a human being, but is not immoral because the child does not meet the self-awareness test, said Singer.

In his utilitarian view, Singer believes that there can even be a moral duty to kill humans lacking self-awareness, including the disabled, which he has been criticized for not following in the case of his mother.
Interesting that the Princeton University debate website states that these debates are inspired by the call made by President Obama in his speech at Notre Dame University

for those on different sides of the abortion issue not only to work together where we agree, but also to engage in "vigorous debate" with "open hearts, open minds, and fair minded words."
Meanwhile said President vigorously promotes legislation and health care programmes that increase the provision of abortion. To debate with infanticiders with open heart, open mind and fair minded words is to tell them the truth: they are killers. Say it nicely, but clearly. Apparently Finnis kept his cool in the debate.

In looking for an image of Singer I found one at SuperVegan. Now I haven't much in common with vegans but take a look at the website which refers to Singer's obnoxious "ethical" views:

Earlier this week, animal rights advocate and ethicist Peter Singer restated his position on killing disabled babies for the UK Independent "You Ask the Questions" column. In response to a reader's question "Would you kill a disabled baby?," Singer replied:

"Yes, if that was in the best interests of the baby and of the family as a whole. Many people find this shocking, yet they support a woman's right to have an abortion. One point on which I agree with opponents of abortion is that, from the point of view of ethics rather than the law, there is no sharp distinction between the fetus and the newborn baby."

This isn't really news since for some time now Singer has been promoting euthanasia of the disabled. But I thought I'd share this just in case some people didn't know about Peter Singer's unflinching ethics.

Now Vegans or even Super Vegans are people with whom I'd be very happy to debate with open mind, open heart and fair minded words.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Archbishop announces the opening of a new seminary

It's not very common these days to here in the western world about the opening of a new seminary. For example in the UK it was recently announced that Ushaw College is to close. So I was pleased to read in Zenit that Cardinal designate Donald Wuerl of Washington DC has announced the opening of a new seminary in response to an increase in the number of men enquiring about the priesthood.

Here's the report from Zenit:

Washington, D.C., to Open New Seminary

Cardinal-Designate Sees Growing Interest in Priesthood

WASHINGTON, D.C., OCT. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of Washington, D.C., is seeing an increased interest in the priesthood in his archdiocese, despite a culture that is often at odds with the teachings of the Church.

As a consequence of this increasing interest, Cardinal-designate Donald Wuerl announced Tuesday that the archdiocese is opening a new seminary. The cardinal-designate was named today as one of the 24 men who will be made cardinals in November.

He said: “At a time when the teachings of the Catholic faith seem counter-cultural, we are seeing an increased interest in the priesthood, particularly among younger men who want to be a part of a new evangelization in society.

"Until now, most of our new seminarians, especially those in college, have had to leave the area for their studies. Now, the men will begin their formation here and be an integral part of the local Catholic community from the beginning."

Solid numbers

The Archdiocese of Washington has 67 seminarians, including 29 in college and pre-theology studies.
Monsignor Robert Panke, archdiocesan director of priestly vocations and president of the National Conference of Diocesan Vocations Directors, is overseeing the development of the new seminary.

He noted that the archdiocese has annually accepted between nine and 15 aspiring seminarians in recent years.

The new seminary will initially have space for 30 men who will also attend the Catholic University of America while receiving their priestly formation. They will go on to complete four years of theology studies at another institution before ordination. Renovation of the building to be used is under way, and the project is being funded by donations.

This will be the second seminary operated by the Archdiocese of Washington. The first, in Hyattsville, Maryland, opened in 2001 to prepare men from around the world to be archdiocesan missionary priests. Once ordained, they serve in the Archdiocese of Washington and missions worldwide. Last year, 1,443 men were in college seminaries in the United States, and 3,483 in pre-theology or theology, according to Georgetown University’s Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate. After three decades of decline, seminary enrollment in the United States has stabilized over the past 15 years.

The diocese of Marquette has some very fine men in formation right now. Please keep them in your prayers. You can find their names here.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

24 New Cardinals Named

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 20, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI announced the names of 24 prelates who will be created cardinals, 20 of whom qualify as electors in the case of a conclave for a Papal election.

The Pope made the announcement today at the end of the general audience. The cardinals will be created in a consistory on Nov. 20, the eve of the Solemnity of Christ the King.

This will be the third consistory of Benedict XVI's pontificate, after two celebrated on March 24, 2006 and Nov. 24, 2007.

In his address, the Holy Father stated that cardinals "have the task of helping Peter's Successor carry out his mission as permanent and visible source and foundation of the Church's unity of faith and communion."

The majority of the new cardinals are European (15), with 10 coming from Italy. In the group, four are from the Americas, another four are from Africa, and one is from Asia.

After this consistory, the total number of cardinals will be 203, of which 121 are electors (less than 80 years old).

The new cardinals who qualify as electors are:

-- Archbishop Angelo Amato, prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes

-- Patriarch Antonios Naguib of Alexandria of the Copts, Egypt

-- Archbishop Robert Sarah, president of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum

-- Archbishop Francesco Monterisi, archpriest of the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls

-- Archbishop Fortunato Baldelli, major penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary

-- Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signature

-- Archbishop Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity

-- Archbishop Paolo Sardi, vice chamberlain of Apostolic Chamber

-- Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy

-- Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See

-- Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture

-- Archbishop Medardo Joseph Mazombwe, retired archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia

-- Archbishop Raúl Eduardo Vela Chiriboga, retired archbishop of Quito, Ecuador

-- Archbishop Laurent Monsengwo Pasinya of Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo

-- Archbishop Paolo Romeo of Palermo, Italy

-- Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington

-- Archbishop Raymundo Damasceno Assis of Aparecida, Brazil

-- Archbishop Kazimierz Nycz of Warsaw, Poland

-- Archbishop Albert Malcolm Ranjith Patabendige Don of Colombo, Sri Lanka

-- Archbishop Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, Germany

As well, the Pontiff elevated to the dignity of cardinal two prelates and two priests, who are over the age of 80 and are thus non-electors, for their "generosity and dedication in the service of the Church." These include:

-- Archbishop José Manuel Estepa Llaurens, retired archbishop of Spain's military

-- Bishop Elio Sgreccia, former president of the Pontifical Academy for Life

-- Monsignor Walter Brandmuller, former president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences

-- Monsignor Domenico Bartolucci, former director of the Pontifical Choir

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

New Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation

The Vatican Information Service and the Catholic News Agency (CNA) reports today the promulgation of the Motu Proprio of Pope Benedict Ubicumque et semper (everywhere and always) by which he establishes a new Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelisation.

The president of tne newly established Council is Archbishop Rino Fisichella who gave a press conference about the motu proprio.

Here is the summary publshed today by VIS and currently available only in Latin and Italian:

Given below are extracts of "Ubicumque et semper", the Apostolic Letter "Motu Proprio data" by which Benedict XVI establishes the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelisation.

"The Church has the duty to announce the Gospel of Jesus Christ always and everywhere. ... Over history this mission has assumed new forms and methods, depending on place, situation and historical moment. In our own time, one of its most singular characteristics has been that of having to measure itself against the phenomenon of abandonment of the faith, which has become progressively more evident in societies and cultures that were, for centuries, impregnated with the Gospel.

"The social transformations we have seen over recent decades have complex causes, the roots of which are distant in time and have profoundly modified our perception of the world. ... If, on the one hand, humanity has seen undeniable benefits from these transformations and the Church received further stimuli to give reasons for the hope she carries, on the other, we have seen a worrying loss of the sense of the sacred, even going so far as to call into discussion apparently unquestionable foundations, such as faith in the God of creation and providence; the revelation of Jesus Christ our only Saviour, the shared understating of man's fundamental experiences like birth, death and family life, and the reference to natural moral law".

"Among the central themes examined by Vatican Council II was the question of relations between the Church and the modern world. In the wake of this conciliar teaching, my predecessors dedicated further reflection to the need to find adequate forms to allow our contemporaries to still hear the Lord's living and eternal Word".

"Venerable Servant of God John Paul II made this demanding undertaking one of the pivotal points of his vast Magisterium, summarising the task awaiting the Church today in the concept of 'new evangelisation' (which he systematically developed in numerous occasions), especially in regions of age-old Christianity".

"Thus, in my turn, sharing the concern of my venerated predecessors, I feel it appropriate to offer an adequate response so that the entire Church, allowing herself to be regenerated by the Holy Spirit, may present herself to the modern world with a missionary vigour capable of promoting a new evangelisation".

"In Churches of ancient foundation, ... although the phenomenon of secularisation continues its course, Christian practice still shows signs of possessing vitality and profound roots among entire peoples. ... We also know, unfortunately, of areas which appear almost completely de-Christianised, areas in which the light of faith is entrusted to the witness of small communities. These lands, which need a renewed first announcement of the Gospel, seem particularly unreceptive to many aspects of the Christian message".

"At the root of all evangelisation there is no human project of expansion, but the desire to share the priceless gift that God wished to give us, sharing His life with us".

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thank Archbishop Nienstedt



The Archbishop of St Paul-Mineapolis recently refused to allow the Mass to become the occasion of protest when he denied Holy Communion to activists wearing rainbow sashes who publicly dissent from the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage.

Why not express your support for the Archbishop.

This from Catholicvote.org:
Archbishop John Nienstedt refused to allow the Holy Mass turn into a political protest. A group of 25 activists who are opposed to the Catholic Church's teaching on marriage wore rainbow sashes at a Mass celebrated by the Archbishop.

Not only did these protesters attend Mass wearing these sashes, but they tried to receive Communion despite publicly denouncing Church teaching. The protest organizer told the media: "We were making a statement during the Eucharist."

The Archbishop of Saint Paul-Minneapolis would not allow the protestors to "make a statement" while receiving the Holy Eucharist. Archbishop Nienstedt refused to offer Communion to these activists who had already publicly announced their dis-unity.

These protesters told the media that their protest was spurred because Archbishop Nienstedt sent out DVDs which explained the Church's position on marriage to 400,000 Catholics in Minnesota. The Archbishop has been under attack for defending the Church's position on marriage since the DVDs were mailed out (at no expense to the Church) in late September.

Show your support and thank Archbishop John Nienstedt for refusing to allow the Holy Eucharist be used in a political protest.  Thank this courageous bishop for standing strong for marriage as a union of a man and a woman.

New DVD on the Papacy from St Anthony Communications



Monday, October 4, 2010

Do we hear their cry? Homily for Respect Life Sunday


‘O Lord, how long shall I cry for help and you will not hear? Or cry to you “Violence” and you will not save?’ These words from the prophet Habakkuk remind me of the documentary film ‘The Silent Scream’ which features the testimony of a former abortionist, Bernard Nathanson, who had performed thousands of abortions before realising the evil he had been committing. By means of ultrasound film, Nathanson demonstrates how the child in the womb recoils from the instruments that are used to pull it from its place of safety and destroy it. The film even shows the mouth of the unborn baby apparently screaming – a silent scream unheard outside the womb, a scream noiseless because of the fluids that still fill the developing lungs, a scream of pain and fear that cries for protection against the attack upon what should be its sacred sanctuary, the safest place for a child on the planet, its mother’s womb.

This ‘cry for help’ has been rising to heaven probably since the days sin first entered the world, but never so often and so intensely in the last fifty or so years when nation after nation has legalised the deliberate killing of its most vulnerable citizens.

The cover of this week’s UP Catholic shows 22,357 dots representing the number of abortions in Michigan last year. In the UK, the abortion capital of the world, some 600 babies are killed every day, over 6 million since the passing of the abortion act in 1967.

We know, of course, that God does hear the silent cry of the unborn. But, do we? A few weeks ago I saw some of the Band of Brothers series about the adventures of Easy Company in World War II. As they moved into a previously Nazi-occupied town, they discovered with horror a concentration camp in the forest outside the town. The troops could not believe that the townspeople did not know about the evil of this camp that was erected so near to the town. And, of course, they were right. The townspeople did know about the concentration camp but they chose to ignore it, not to see, not to hear. The troops rounded up all the townspeople, took them to the camp, and made them collect and bury the corpses of all the dead.
We have to be the ones who shout and make the silent scream of our murdered unborn brothers and sisters heard in our society. We have to use every available means to ensure that life – particularly the vulnerable lives of our unborn and elderly or less able neighbours – is respected.

At Westminster Hall in London a couple of weeks ago, speaking to politicians and to the opinion formers of British society, Pope Benedict said that the ‘overriding concern (of Catholic social teaching is) to safeguard the unique dignity of every human being, created in the image and likeness of God.’ He complimented the British Parliament’s role in achieving the abolition of the slave trade, the laws which achieved this abolition being ‘built upon firm ethical principles, rooted in the natural law.’ The Pope said how it was the ‘misuse of reason (that) gave rise to the slave trade’ with its lack of respect for the dignity of the human person. So, today, apparently reasonable people will condone or even promote abortion. They might even – like former British Prime Minister Tony Blair – say how much their Christian faith means to them while at the same time voting in favour of the legalised killing of our most defenceless brothers and sisters.

The forces of evil are very strong and the battle to preserve life might seem unwinnable. But Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that just the smallest amount of faith – the size of a mustard seed – would enable us to uproot trees and to move mountains. Faith, of course, is shown in deeds. What deeds do you and I have to demonstrate our faith in the dignity and sanctity of human life?

Back in England I would regularly lead a prayer vigil outside an abortion facility not far from the parish organised by the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants. Not many would come – maybe ten or so people. Many Catholics have opted to be indifferent to the unborn and indifferent too to the plight of the women caught up in the culture of death. But we hoped that, by our prayers and presence, we would at least bear witness to the sanctity of life and maybe help some mothers to make a choice in favour of their unborn child. Indeed, I’m told that there were some ‘saves’ as a result of our presence. I hoped also that my involvement would make it easier for me at the final judgement. But I shall never forget the last prayer vigil I took part in earlier this year. After the vigil, I had to pass the abortion facility to return to my car. As I passed the entrance, a car pulled up a little further up the road and a young woman got out while her partner – husband or boyfriend – stayed in the car. She looked troubled, afraid and alone. Now, I didn’t know for certain whether or not she was going to the abortion facility, but I had my suspicions. After I had passed her I looked back, and sure enough she entered the abortion facility. It will always be on my conscience that I failed to offer my help, failed to show interest. She saw me – a priest – pass her by. She might even have been a Catholic. Why didn’t I offer to help?

We should not consider taking an active part in the defence of life something beyond the call of duty. Just as the servants in the Gospel today did not expect any particular thanks for having done their duty – ‘we are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty’ – neither should we think we are doing any more than our duty, or that we deserve any special praise. In fact, we can expect opprobrium and insult.
Statistically, it is very likely that there is one or more woman here at Mass today who has had an abortion. What does the Church say to them, to you? Here is what Pope John Paul II wrote in his 1995 Encyclical letter Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life):
The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will also be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.
All Catholics should know that all involved in the direct procuring of an abortion are subject to the automatic penalty of excommunication. However, the sin of abortion can be forgiven in confession and every priest in this and many other dioceses has the faculty to remit the excommunication. There is no sin that cannot be forgiven. The Lord’s mercy knows no bounds and the Church wants all affected by abortion to know the power of the Lord’s mercy and forgiveness. The child is not the only victim of abortion. We should do all we can to support the other victims – especially the mothers – too.

Without getting into party politics, it can never be right to vote for a politician who we know will vote in favour of abortion or euthanasia. We must put our faith into action in the political sphere too. As Pope Benedict recalled in Hyde Park, London, Blessed John Henry Newman teaches that ‘there can be no separation between what we believe and the way we live our lives.’

‘Faith’, he said, even the size of a mustard seed, ‘is meant to bear fruit in the transformation of our world through the power of the Holy Spirit at work in the lives and activity of believers. No one who looks realistically at our world today could think that Christians can afford to go on with business as usual… Each of us has a mission, each of us is called to change the world, to work for a culture of life, a culture forged by love and respect for the dignity of each human person.’

In today’s parable, the servants say: ‘We are merely servants: we have done no more than our duty.’ On this ‘Respect Life Sunday’ let us ask the Lord through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron of the Americas and the assumed patron of the pro-life cause to inspire us with the power of the Holy Spirit so that we will respond to our mission, to our calling, to change the world and to work for a culture of life which is, after all, ‘no more than our duty.’


Saturday, October 2, 2010

All change at Shrewsbury


Photo credit: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk

Pope Benedict yesterday accepted the resignation of Bishop Brian Noble upon his having reach the age of retirement. I would like to wish Bishop Noble well in his retirement. Bishop Noble is succeeded by Coadjutor Bishop Mark Davies. Let us assure Bishop Davies of our prayers as he assumes full pastoral responsility for the flock in the Shrewsbury diocese.


A slideshow of his episcopal ordination can be found at flickr.
News items about Bishop Davies can be found at:
Catholic Herald
Independent Catholic News
Local Pastoral Area 24


Friday, October 1, 2010

Pope Benedict calls for worldwide prayer vigil for nascent human life


From Lifesite News, a report that the Holy Father wishes all of us to pray on the eve of the First Sunday of Advent, keeping a Vigil for All Nascent Human Life.

They report also that the USCCB (American Bishops Conference) is producing materials to facilitate the celebration of this vigil in the US Dioceses. This is particularly admirable given that October is Respect Life Month in the US Church and this Sunday is Respect Life Sunday. Also, it is Thanksgiving Weekend. In this regard Cardinal Di Nardo says:


I heartily encourage all Catholics, whether at home or traveling over the Thanksgiving holidays, to take part in this special prayer, whose purpose according to the Holy See,” he said, “is to ‘thank the Lord for his total self-giving to the world and for his Incarnation which gave every human life its real worth and dignity,’ and to ‘invoke the Lord’s protection over every human being called into existence’.
and calls the Pope's request for a worldwide vigil "unprecedented".

See the full text of the statement from the USCCB Pro-Life Committee Chairman concerning Respect Life Month here.

K4J (Kids for Jesus) at Father Marquette Elementary School



This morning the Elementary School launched its K4J Mission. Through drama and song about the call of Jesus to Peter to be a fisher of men, a very simple message was conveyed:


"Put vice on ice, say something nice, and net a friend for Jesus."

A clear message was given that we have the help of Grace to assist us in overcoming the devil, personified by vice.

Each pupil was given a fish to attach to their jacket zipper as a reminder that, whenever they zipped their zipper, they should say something nice. All very nicely done, and great fun.


Local TV Channel 6 News were on the scene so there might be a report later.

Ignorance of Scripture is Ignorance of Christ

So said St Jerome whose feast was celebrated yesterday. So it's heartwarming to witness the large number of people from the parish at St Peter's Cathedral who have signed up for a 24-week Bible Study course. Since the Gospel readings in the forthcoming liturgical year will be pricipally from St Matthew's Gospel, it is his Gospel that the group is studying.

The course is produced by Ascension Press and is presented by Jeff Cavins, creator of The Great Adventure Bible Study System.


Each session consists of a revision of the previous session, going through the 'homework' that was set the previous week, followed by a DVD presentation by Jeff Cavins with work to be done for the following week.
Marvellous links are made with the Old Testament.

This sounds like a system I might want to introduce in any future parish I am entrusted with.

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