Monday, February 28, 2011

Celebrating and honouring marriage


Last Saturday evening there took place a dinner in celebration of marriage. Married couples of the parish were invited to be served a nice dinner provided by Coco's. Here's a slide show - captions hopefully added later.

Apologies to anyone who does not appear - I didn't manage to photograph every table.

Communion, Cuomo, Bishop Hubbard, Peters



As some of you may know, to quote the National Catholic Reporter
Edward Peters has started a brouhaha by suggesting that Gov. Cuomo should not be given communion because he lives with a woman to whom he is not married.
Cuomo was admitted to Holy Communion at an inauguration Mass at Immaculate Conception Cathedral, Albany, NY. (See NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Should Be Denied Communion says Canonist Dr Edward Peters.

Most simple Catholics (amongst which I am happy to count myself) would think that Peter's "suggestion" is a fairly reasonable and logical position to hold. To allow someone living in a scandalous state of life to receive Holy Communion is itself a cause of scandal.

Canonists amongst us, and many informed Catholics, will know that there is actually a Canon in the Code of Canon Law expressing this "suggestion" (as the NCR calls Peters' position) as law:
Can. 915 Those who have been excommunicated or interdicted after the imposition or declaration of the penalty and others obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion.
Has Cuomo been excommunicated? No. But he is obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin. That is to say, there is something external, something that can be verified in the external forum, in his state of life that is, objectively, sinful. To live with a woman with whom you are not married, making the not unreasonable assumption that the two are engaged in a sexual relationship, is fornication. And St Paul had something to say about fornicators.

Not only that, but Cuomo has consistently supported pro-abortion legislation and same-sex marriage.

It is totally wrong for the diocese or anyone else to say that this is a private matter between Cuomo, the Church and God. It is not. Holy Communion is a public matter. Only the other day we heard at Mass these tough words from Our Lord:
“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin,
it would be better for him if a great millstone
were put around his neck
and he were thrown into the sea."
Those who cause scandal are to be cast out from the community.

This is a very different case from judging the internal state of another's soul. None of us may judge Cuomo's soul. Only God can do that. Whereas Canon 915 places the onus on the minister of Holy Communion not to admit someone in manifest grave sin to the reception of the sacrament, Canon 916 places the onus on the potential communicant to refrain from receiving Holy Communion if they are conscious of grave sin:
Can. 916 A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to celebrate Mass or receive the body of the Lord without previous sacramental confession unless there is a grave reason and there is no opportunity to confess; in this case the person is to remember the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition which includes the resolution of confessing as soon as possible.
This is not the case where there is some externally verifiable and continuing obstinacy in a state of grave sin, but where only the person concerned knows in his/her own conscience that he/she is in a state of grave sin. Interestingly, however, Canon 916 allows such a person to receive Holy Communion
  • if there is a grave reason
  • and there is no opportunity to confess
on condition they make a perfect act of contrition with the intention to go to confession as soon as possible. This is so that a person is not deprived of Holy Communion if it is not possible to go to confession, and also so that the person may preserve his/her reputation. People may wonder - especially today when almost everybody receives Communion at Mass - why he/she is not receiving Communion.

It could be that Cuomo is not conscious of grave sin, and so he would not be obliged under Canon 916. But the minister of Communion approached by Cuomo is obliged under Canon 915.

In short, I think Peters has it exactly right. He is of course following the line that Cardinal Burke famously took when he was Bishop of La Crosse.

See Peters' blog posts:
Michael Sean Winters' column “Peters v. Cuomo”: a reply
Some brief reactions to Fr. Reese's characterizations of my position on Canon 915


See also my article on the admittance or otherwise of the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion and my previous post here.

This is not the first time Dr Peters has criticised Bishop Hubbard - he did so a year ago concerning the distribution of syringes and needles to drug users. See American Catholic.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

American Woman "Deacon" renounces her "ordination" and professes the teachings of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI

From Rorate Coeli and Fr Z, Norma Jean Coon is now a penitent and faithful Catholic.

She writes:
I had made a mistake in studying for the priesthood. I confess to the truth of Pope John Paul II’s Apostolic Letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis . I confess the authority of the Holy Father on these issues of ordination and recognize that Christ founded the ordination only for men.

Formally, I relinquish all connection to the program of Roman Catholic Women Priests and I disclaim the alleged ordination publicly with apologies to those whose lives I have offended or scandalized by my actions. I ask God’s blessings upon each of these folks and their families.

Norma Jean Coon, RN, MFCC, PhD
San Diego, California
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
And, further:
Holy God, I ask your blessings on my Bishop and my pastor and priests in Rome who have assisted me in the process of being re-instated into the Roman Catholic Church and I forsake all connection with the Roman Catholic Women Priests program via Internet or otherwise.

I thank you for the efforts of my family in my behalf and ask for Jesus’ Light and Love to pour over my husband of 47 years and my five children.

Forgive me my Beloved Jesus and Mother Mary for pursuing my own will in this matter of ordination and as I consecrate myself to your Divine Will through the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I ask you to pour out Light and Love upon any who have placed themselves outside of your Love and Light Bless us, O Lord, for these thy gifts and place us in the Heart of the Father, as we pray for more priests to serve in our church and for vocations to enrich our Church in the United States.

Forgive us for failing in obedience and enrich us in your Holy Love, I pray through Jesus and Mary. Fiat+
Good for her and thanks be to God.

A Legionary of Christ reflects on the indestructable foundation of his vocation

On 1st May 2010 the Holy See issued a communique regarding the apostolic visitation of the Legionaries of Christ. It said:
The Pope renews his encouragement to all the Legionaries of Christ, to their families, and to all the laypeople involved in the Regnum Christi movement, during this difficult time for the congregation and for each of them. He urges them not to lose sight of the fact that their vocation … is … the indestructible foundation upon which each of them can build their own future and that of the Legion.
In this article, Fr Owen Kearns LC recalls the circumstances of his own calling.

Owen Kearns as a candidate in the summer of 1966,
at the Legion's novitiate in Belgard Castle in Dublin, Ireland.
Here's a little excerpt:
Somehow, I realized that Christ wouldn’t ask me to leave great things for something mediocre. If I gave up what I loved and what I was looking forward to, he wouldn’t cheat, wouldn’t defraud, wouldn’t disappoint, wouldn’t let me down. It would be well worth leaving what I had to leave.

It was not that I could accept the risk of abandoning things I treasured because I had figured out that what I would get was better than what I left. No, I could run that risk without even knowing what it was I would get, because I knew I could trust the one who was asking me to leave the treasures.

So I told him, All right. I’ll give it a try.

The weight of the world lifted from my shoulders. I was no longer afraid. I was free! And I was happy. So happy that Fintan noticed it:

“Hey, Owen, what’s got into you?”

“Well, Fintan, I’ve just decided to be a priest.”

“Oh, that’s … terrible.”

I thought to myself: It won’t be terrible. It will be great. I can’t even imagine how it will be great, but it will be. But I didn’t argue with Fintan or try to convince him. How could he understand? I didn’t understand it myself. I knew exactly what he meant: You want to be like one of them? I also knew he was wrong: I won’t be like them.

I certainly was not willing to become like any of the local priests — diocesan or religious. Probably some or even many of them were good, holy and admirable priests. But we didn’t know that. All we knew was that they showed no interest in us; they made no move to engage us in our culture. Our reaction was typical of teenagers: They don’t like us: That’s all right; we don’t like them.

Instinctively, I sensed that if I went to a seminary that had formed them, I would end up like them. And that, I was not willing to do.
Read this realistic and moving story in full at Regnum Christi.

Prayer Vigil outside abortion centre in Brooklyn, NY, Feb. 19th



This is the most recent video of a Helpers of God's Precious Infants prayer vigil in Brooklyn, New York. Mass was celebrated by Bishop Thomas Daily at St James Cathedral. Msgr Philip Reilly gave the homily and Detective Steve McDonald helped to lead the prayers at a nearby abortion clinic. If you find this short movie interesting,please help to circulate it amongst your friends.

Pope Benedict: Lent calls us to retrace the steps of our Christian initiation

Pope Benedict XVI greets luncheon guests (250 poor people as well as seminarians, priests and nuns from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity order, which runs soup kitchens around Rome) inside the Vatican’s main audience hall on Sunday, Dec. 26, 2010

Those of us who also or exclusively follow the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite will have kept Septuagesima last Sunday which will have reminded us that we must already start our preparations for Lent. Pope Benedict also understands this and issues his message for Lent 2011 at precisely this time.

He wants to help us live this season with "due diligence", "assiduous in prayer and charitable works", intensifying the Church's "journey in purifying the spirit." The Holy Father guides us into rediscovering "the baptismal features proper to the Lenten liturgy." Sacrosanctum concilium n. 109.

He reminds us of the free gift of God's mercy and eternal life:
The fact that, in most cases, Baptism is received in infancy highlights how it is a gift of God: no one earns eternal life through their own efforts. The mercy of God, which cancels sin ... is given to men and women freely.
Our whole lives are to be informed by our baptism since
Baptism is not a rite from the past, but the encounter with Christ, which informs the entire existence of the baptized.
And so, during Lent, we can enter upon "a path like that of the catechumenate" (I bet members of the Neo-Catechumenal Way will be very happy with this reminder.) Pope Benedict calls of us, catechumens and baptized,
to retrace the steps of Christian initiation: for catechumens, in preparation for receiving the Sacrament of rebirth; for the baptized, in light of the new and decisive steps to be taken in the sequela Christi and a fuller giving of oneself to him.

The Holy Father leads us through the Gospel readings of the five Sundays of Lent:

First Sunday: Jesus' victorious battle against temptation right at the start of His mission reminds us that we should be aware of our fragility and our need of God's grace; that the Christian faith implies following the example of Jesus and never to forget "that the devil is at work and never tires - even today - of tempting whoever wishes to draw close to the Lord."

Second Sunday: The Transfiguration of Jesus on Mount Thabor
is the invitation to take a distance from the noisiness of everyday life in order to immerse oneself in God’s presence. He desires to hand down to us, each day, a Word that penetrates the depths of our spirit, where we discern good from evil (cf. Heb 4:12)...
Third Sunday: The Gospel of the Samaritan woman at the well teaches us that Jesus
wishes to awaken in our hearts the desire for the gift of “a spring of water within, welling up for eternal life” (Jn 4: 14): ... the gift of the Holy Spirit, who transforms Christians into “true worshipers,” capable of praying to the Father “in spirit and truth” (Jn 4: 23).

Only this water can extinguish our thirst for goodness, truth and beauty! Only this water, given to us by the Son, can irrigate the deserts of our restless and unsatisfied soul, until it “finds rest in God”, as per the famous words of St. Augustine.
Fourth Sunday: the Gospel of the man born blind is about faith and light.
“Do you believe in the Son of man?” “Lord, I believe!” (Jn 9: 35. 38), the man born blind joyfully exclaims... The miracle of this healing is a sign that Christ wants not only to give us sight, but also open our interior vision, so that our faith may become ever deeper and we may recognize him as our only Savior. He illuminates all that is dark in life and leads men and women to live as “children of the light”.
Fifth Sunday: the Resurrection of Lazarus presents us with "the ultimate mystery of our existence": Jesus, the Resurrection and Life.
Communion with Christ in this life prepares us to overcome the barrier of death, so that we may live eternally with him... God created men and women for resurrection and life, and this truth gives an authentic and definitive meaning to human history, to the personal and social lives of men and women, to culture, politics and the economy. Without the light of faith, the entire universe finishes shut within a tomb devoid of any future, any hope.
Having just referred to the true meaning that faith in Christ gives to human history, culture, politics, the economy, things that we identify with "the world", Pope Benedict reminds us that the immersion into the death and resurrection of Christ through Baptism
free(s) our hearts every day from the burden of material things, from a self-centered relationship with the “world” that impoverishes us and prevents us from being available and open to God and our neighbor.
Our love of Christ must be lived "in an ever more radical way" that enables us to be open also to our neighbour.

In fasting we render our table poorer by bearing some from of deprivation and so
discover Someone close to us and ... recognize God in the face of so many brothers and sisters.
Almsgiving
is the capacity to share. The idolatry of goods, on the other hand, not only causes us to drift away from others, but divests man, making him unhappy, deceiving him, deluding him without fulfilling its promises, since it puts materialistic goods in the place of God, the only source of life... The practice of almsgiving is a reminder of God’s primacy and turns our attention towards others, so that we may rediscover how good our Father is, and receive his mercy.
Prayer
allows us to gain a new concept of time: without the perspective of eternity and transcendence, in fact, time simply directs our steps towards a horizon without a future. Instead, when we pray, we find time for God, ... opening us to the hope that does not disappoint, eternal life.
I think Pope Benedict has proposed to all us an excellent catechumenal path for this coming Lent.

Pope Benedict's Message for Lent 2011.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Marquette University appoints Partial-Birth Abortion Politician to Law Faculty

The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) notes that, whereas in his address to Catholic Educators at the Catholic University of America in 2008 Pope Benedict stated:
“Teachers and administrators, whether in universities or schools, have the duty and privilege to ensure that students receive instruction in Catholic doctrine and practice. This requires that public witness to the way of Christ, as found in the Gospel and upheld by the Church’s Magisterium, shapes all aspects of an institution’s life, both inside and outside the classroom.”
despite his 100% pro-abortion record from NARAL, his support for partial-birth abortion, same-sex "marriage" and embryonic stem cell research the former U.S. Senator Russ Feingold has been invited to join the faculty of Marquette University, a Catholic institution, as a visiting professor of law. TFP observes that the event is understandably causing scandal.

They ask readers to protest politely but firmly against this appointment.

Marquette University is not in the diocese of Marquette, Michigan. It is in Milwaukee in the State of Wisconsin.

The University's homepage has a link entitled "Catholic and Jesuit". Helpfully there is a further link to Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the 1990 Apostolic Constituion of Pope John Paul II on Catholic Universities. In Article 4 of the "Norms" contained in that Apostolic Constitution we read:
The responsibility for maintaining and strengthening the Catholic identity of the University rests primarily with the University itself. While this responsibility is entrusted principally to university authorities ... it is shared in varying degrees by all members of the university community, and therefore calls for the recruitment of adequate university personnel, especially teachers and administrators, who are both willing and able to promote that identity. The identity of a Catholic University is essentially linked to the quality of its teachers and to respect for Catholic doctrine. It is the responsibility of the competent Authority to watch over these two fundamental needs in accordance with what is indicated in Canon Law.
Here a footnote is referred to which states what Canon Law indicates:
Canon 810 of (the Code of Canon Law)  specifies the responsibility of the competent Authorities in this area: § 1 "It is the responsibility of the authority who is competent in accord with the statutes (i.e. not necessarily ecclesiastical authority) to provide for the appointment of teachers to Catholic universities who, besides their scientific and pedagogical suitability, are also outstanding in their integrity of doctrine and probity of life; when those requisite qualities are lacking they are to be removed from their positions in accord with the procedure set forth in the statutes.

§ 2 The conference of bishops and the diocesan bishops concerned have the duty and right of being vigilant that in these universities the principles of Catholic doctrine are faithfully observed".
Article 4 continues:
§ 2. All teachers and all administrators, at the time of their appointment, are to be informed about the Catholic identity of the Institution and its implications, and about their responsibility to promote, or at least to respect, that identity.

§ 3. In ways appropriate to the different academic disciplines, all Catholic teachers are to be faithful to, and all other teachers are to respect, Catholic doctrine and morals in their research and teaching.
Article 5 § 2 explains the role of the diocesan Bishop:
Each Bishop has a responsibility to promote the welfare of the Catholic Universities in his diocese and has the right and duty to watch over the preservation and strengthening of their Catholic character. If problems should arise conceming this Catholic character, the local Bishop is to take the initiatives necessary to resolve the matter, working with the competent university authorities in accordance with established procedures and, if necessary, with the help of the Holy See.

Are these norms weaker than some would like? Is too much freedom given to the university authorities? Can a University argue that a politician who opposes the Church's teaching in such fundamental matters as life and marriage can still be a man of integrity and probity, can still teach his subject while at least respecting the Catholic identity of the institution even if he cannot promote it? What would St Ignatius think?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Cardinal Vaughan School in dispute with Westminster Archdiocese


The Cardinal Vaughan is my old school, as I mentioned before. The Governing Body wanted to have an admissions policy based on Catholic practice (indicated e.g. by whether or not the applicants have made their First Communion). The diocese wants an admissions policy based on distance. On this basis I would not have got to the Vaughan, living well to the south of the River Thames and having to travel a 45 to 60 minute journey on the London Underground each morning and evening.

I have just watched this video of the prayer vigil held on February 2nd. I was struck by the dignity and reverence of the vigil and how clearly Catholic it was. It made me proud to be an old boy of the Vaughan.




Last Sunday (yesterday) was Education Sunday in the UK. The Vaughan Parents Action Group distributed a leaflet at a number of parishes in London that traditionally send children to the Vaughan (h/t Catholic and Loving It):

Vaughan Parents’ Action Group

This Sunday Pray for Catholic Education
  • There is a lot to celebrate about Catholic Education but our schools are under threat as never before.
  • The Diocese of Westminster has forced schools such as The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School (CVMS) to drop from their admission criteria the requirement for parents to present their children for the Sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confession.
  • Practising Catholic families question why this requirement of Canon Law has not been insisted upon by the Diocese.
  • Westminster Diocese has refused to involve parents fully in the education of their children, by eliminating them from the Foundation Governors of CVMS, even though well qualified parents offered themselves. This is why the Westminster Diocese is being taken to court by the Vaughan's elected Parent Governors.
  • Some Catholic schools in London struggle to fill places with Catholic pupils. Instead of singling out the Vaughan's Governing Body for special treatment the Diocese should concentrate on helping schools like these to attract a higher Catholic intake.
  • After Baptism and Mass attendance the Diocese prefers to use geographical distance as a tie-breaker for admission to Catholic schools over and above commitment to and practice of the Faith or involvement in the life of the Church.
  • When this applies to schools such as CVMS it will effectively deny practising families the choice of a Catholic education for their children if they live more than a couple of miles away from a School.
Is this what you want for your children and grandchildren ?
Write to Archbishop Vincent Nichols at Archbishop’s House, Ambrosden Avenue, London, SW1P 1QJ or email: archbishop@rcdow.org
Tell him what you want and expect him to provide for Catholic education for your family
Do this before it is too late to make a difference
Pray for Catholic Education
Join our campaign at: sites.google.com/site/vaughanparentsactiongroup/

Disputes between Pastors and faithful are painful for all concerned. I am not actively taking part in any campaign but I guess you know where my sympathies are. So just go and check it out and decide for yourself. And pray for the gift of wisdom for all concerned.

PS: More at Fr Ray Blake's Blog.

Archbishop Peter Smith says no civil partnership registrations will take place in Catholic Churches


 Protect the Pope (Archbishop Peter Smith categorically states Church’s opposition to government plans for ‘gay marriage’ but…) draws our attention to a report in Independent Catholic News which states the following:
Following the government announcement that civil partnership ceremonies could be held in religious premises, Archbishop Peter Smith has issued the following statement:

The Government statement on 17 February makes it clear that they are now considering a fundamental change to the status of marriage. That is something which was never envisaged by the Equality Act or any other legislation passed by Parliament. Marriage does not belong to the State any more than it belongs to the Church. It is a fundamental human institution rooted in human nature itself. It is a lifelong commitment of a man and a woman to each other, publicly entered into, for their mutual well-being and for the procreation and upbringing of children.  No authority - civil or religious - has the power to modify the fundamental nature of marriage. We will be opposing such a change in the strongest terms.

The Equality Act was amended to permit Civil Partnerships on religious premises, which unhelpfully blurs the distinction previously upheld by Parliament and the Courts between marriage and civil partnerships. A consenting Minister is perfectly free to hold a religious ceremony either before or after a Civil Partnership. That is a matter of religious freedom, but it requires no legislation by the State.  We do not believe it is either necessary or desirable to allow the registration of civil partnerships on religious premises.  These will not take place in Catholic churches.
Protect the Pope applauds Archbishop Smith's upholding of the Church's teaching on this matter but expresses some concern:
The one disturbing thing about Archbishop Smith’s statement is his reference to the right of Ministers ‘to hold a religious ceremony either before or after a Civil Partnership. That is a matter of religious freedom…’ Surely the Archbishop didn’t mean to imply that Catholic priests or deacons can hold a ‘religious service’, before or after the registration of a civil partnership? What kind of religious service? A blessing of the couple? He can’t mean this can he? Am I missing something here? My understanding is that Catholic clergy cannot condone a homosexual union.
I would assume that, no, Archbishop Smith did not mean to imply that Catholic clergy can hold any religious service before or after such civil ceremonies. No, Catholic clergy cannot condone a homosexual union. Whatever the civil law, Catholic clergy are bound also by the law of the Church. And the Church's position concerning civil partnerships was laid out some time ago This is clearly stated in the CDF's 2003 statement Considerations regarding Proposals to give Legal Recognition to Unions Between Homosexual Persons:

In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. One must refrain from any kind of formal cooperation in the enactment or application of such gravely unjust laws and, as far as possible, from material cooperation on the level of their application. In this area, everyone can exercise the right to conscientious objection. (n.5)

Legal recognition of homosexual unions or placing them on the same level as marriage would mean not only the approval of deviant behaviour, with the consequence of making it a model in present-day society, but would also obscure basic values which belong to the common inheritance of humanity. The Church cannot fail to defend these values, for the good of men and women and for the good of society itself. (n.11)

In mentioning 'religious freedom' I would presume that the Archbishop is referring to the freedom of the consenting minister to act in accordance with the beliefs/rules of the group to which the minister belongs.

Is it possible that some religious groups with rather 'liberal' views on this matter might have lobbied for legislation to permit them to register civil partnership on their premises?

Septuagesima


Last Sunday (yesterday) in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite we began the pre-Lent season of Septuagesima with purple/violet vestments. When I first saw this I thought it so odd, to be going into purple so far before Lent. Perhaps it struck me all the more as it might have been a year when Easter was particularly early and so we had barely finished the Christmas season. Now I realise that to have a few weeks preparation for Lent fits our human condition perfectly. Ash Wednesday seems to take us by surprise, and for anyone who has missed Ash Wednesday, we have already had four days of Lent before they hear any word of Lent at Sunday Mass.

The New Liturgical Movement has some posts from 2010 on the background to this pre-Lent season. This pre-Lent period helps us to prepare for Lent. While the season of penance has not yet commenced, we have three Sundays reminding us to get ready. According to NLM:
Archbishop Annibale Bugnini, in the twenty-first chapter of The Reform of the Roman Liturgy: 1948-1975 (p. 307, footnote 6), readily noted that the removal of Septuagesima in the modern Roman calendar was the source of some disagreement. He specifically notes Paul VI's own thoughts on the matter: "On one occasion Pope Paul VI compared the complex made up of Septuagesima, Lent, Holy Week, and Easter Triduum to bells calling people to Sunday Mass. The ringing of them an hour, half-hour, fifteen, and five minutes before the time of Mass has a psychological effect and prepares the faithful materially and spiritually for the celebration of the liturgy."

Read these interesting posts from 2010 at New Liturgical Movement:

Some Notes on the Origins and Character of Pre-Lent (Septuagesima, Sexagesima, Quinquagesima)

The Question of the Septuagesima Season and the Modern Roman Liturgy: Possible Enrichment?

The Station Churches of Septuagesima

Dr Bernard Nathanson dies aged 84

The renowned abortionist turned pro-lifer Bernard Nathanson died today at the age of 84. He is said to have overseen the performance of some 75,000 abortions, including one on his own child carried by a girlfriend. Following his conversion to the pro-life cause, he produced the documentary film The Silent Scream which shows how the unborn child recoils from the forceps of the abortionist, resisting all attempts on its life.



A detailed report of his life and the circumstances of his conversion to the Catholic faith can be found at the National Catholic Register. As one person comments on the NCR website, Nathanson was to the pro-life movement what Paul was to Christians, a persecutor turned apostle.

Read these moving words of Nathanson about his baptism:

“I was in a real whirlpool of emotion, and then there was this healing, cooling water on me, and soft voices, and an inexpressible sense of peace. I had found a safe place.”

Is the Catholic Church the natural place for converts from the abortion industry to the pro-life cause?

I'm sure his funeral will be a major event. May he rest in peace and intercede for the conversion of all who work in the abortion industry.

See also In the Light of the Law.

NY Governor Andrew Cuomo Should Be Denied Communion says Canonist Dr Edward Peters


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and partner Sandra Lee after attending Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Albany, NY, on Jan. 2, 2011. (AP Photo)

The interpretation and implementation of Canon 915, which states that those "who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion" is frequently discussed and not sufficiently frequently implemented. Dr Peters is interviewed by email by CNS News. According to CNS,
In receiving communion at a Mass offered by the Roman Catholic bishop of Albany, NY, that state’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, who supports abortion, gay marriage, and lives with his girlfriend, committed an “objectively sacreligious” act that “produces grave scandal,” according to Dr. Edward Peters, a top expert in Catholic Church law and a consultant to the highest court at the Vatican.

Peters specifically cited Cuomo's cohabiting with Food Network hostess Sandra Lee as "publicly acting in violation of a fundamental moral expectation of the Church," and that "as long as he persists in such conduct, he should refrain from taking holy Communion" and "if he approaches for holy Communion, he should be denied the august sacrament in accord with Canon 915."
Read the whole article for a further understanding of Dr Peters' coherent reasoning. Dr Peters
was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI last year as a referendarius (consultant) to the Apostolic Signatura, the Church’s highest administrative tribunal, itself subject only to the Pope and under the direction of Cardinal Raymond Burke, the archbishop emeritus of St. Louis, Mo.

It was the then Bishop Burke who, as bishop of La Cross, issued the Notification concerning Senator John Kerry that, in accordance with Can. 915, he should be denied Holy Communion.

Dr Peters had already written on Governor Cuomo and Communion on his blog last month.

Note that the obligation falls upon the minister of Holy Communion not to admit the person to Holy Communion should the person approach.

Watch the Movie: "Of Gods and Men"

[I have deleted the embedded code for this movie following discussion over at Bones.
(February 22nd, 2011)]

H/t to Lawrence England for this great opportunity to watch the full movie, courtesy of GloriaTV. As Lawrence says:
Based on true story, 'Of Gods and Men' centres around the monastery of Tibhirine, where Catholic Trappist monks from France lived in harmony with the largely Muslim population of Algeria, until seven of them were beheaded on the night of 26-27 March 1996, by fundamentalists in a still unclear incident. The screenplay focuses on the time leading up to their death. Principal photography took place at an abandoned monastery in Morocco, with careful attention to authenticity.

It has very much the feel of Into Great Silence at the beginning. The next time I have 116 minutes free I shall watch this movie.

Gaddafi a good friend of the Blairs?

I had the BBC World Service on this morning and heard the distress of a young lady in Tripoli pleading for the outside world to help as Gaddafi's regime responds brutally to the uprising against him. Today's Daily Telegraph writes about turning tables...

Gregorian Chant Conference at Ave Maria University



From the Musica Sacra website:

This two-day workshop will present both beginning and advanced musicians with lectures, breakout sessions, and rehearsals that will enrich their knowledge of Gregorian chant and its use in the Roman Catholic liturgy.

Led by a faculty of chant specialists from around the state and beyond, attendees will learn more about the history of Gregorian chant and its role in the liturgy as well as experience the chant in the context of both the Divine Office and the Mass. Beginning chanters will be introduced to the basics of notation and rhythm according to the classic Solesmes method. Experienced chanters will learn new repertoire and advance their understanding of rhythmic and interpretive nuance. Resources and practical methods for the cultivation of Gregorian chant in the life of the parish will also be discussed. A special breakout session will be devoted to helping priests and deacons with their liturgical chants.

This workshop is ideal for choir members, parish music directors, music students, teachers, parents, seminarians, deacons, priests, and anyone who is interested in learning about the heritage of sacred music within the Roman Catholic Church. [Emphasis added.]

Cardinal O'Malley and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin wash the feet of abuse victims in Ireland

(Photo from Daily Mail)

The Daily Mail and Boston.com report on a service held in Dublin yesterday during which the Archbishop of Boston, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley, and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin prostrated themselves before the bare altar, just as the priests do at the beginning of the Good Friday liturgy. The two archbishops washed the feet of five women and three men who had been victims of abuse by priests or other church workers.

The service, planned with the involvement of abuse victims, was interrupted by unscheduled interventions by other survivors. The congregation listened to them in silence and then applauded.

Cardinal O'Malley is one of the Apostolic Visitors to Ireland appointed by Pope Benedict XVI in the wake of the child abuse crisis. Cardinal O'Malley's remarks in full:
My brothers and sisters, I am very grateful for this opportunity to be with you today and to take part in such a moving service of reparation and hope. I am especially thankful to our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, for his care for the Church in Ireland and for inviting me to be part of this Visitation.

On behalf of the Holy Father, I ask forgiveness for the sexual abuse of children perpetrated by priests and the past failures of the Church's hierarchy, here and in Rome, the failure to respond appropriately to the problem of sexual abuse. Publicly atoning for the Church's failures is an important element of asking the forgiveness of those who have been harmed by priests and bishops, whose actions - and inactions - gravely harmed the lives of children entrusted to their care.

The O'Malleys hail from County Mayo, a part of Ireland that was hallowed by St. Patrick's ministry there. They tell the story of a dramatic conversion of an Irish chieftain by the name of Ossian. A huge crowd assembled in a field to witness his baptism. St. Patrick arrived in his Bishop's vestments with his miter and staff. St. Patrick stuck his staff in the ground and began to preach a long sermon on the Catholic faith. The people noted that Ossian, who was standing directly in front of St. Patrick, began to sweat profusely, he grew pale and fainted dead away. Some people rushed over to help and they discovered to everyone's horror that St. Patrick had driven his staff through the man's foot.

When they were able to revive Ossian they said to him, "Why did you not say something?" And the fierce warrior replied , "I thought that it was part of the ceremony."

The warrior did not understand too much about liturgy and rituals, but he did understand that discipleship is often difficult. It means carrying the Cross. It is a costly grace and often we fall down on the job.

Jesus teaches us about His love in the Parable of the Good Samaritan where in a certain sense the Samaritan represents Christ, who is so moved to compassion by the sight of the man left half dead on the road to Jericho. The innocent victim of the crime is abandoned by all. The priests and levites turn their back on him, the police fail to protect him, the innkeeper profits from the tragedy. It is Christ who identifies with the man who is suffering and showers compassion on him.

Jesus is always on the side of the victim, bringing compassion and mercy. Jesus is not just the healer in the Gospel. He identifies with the sick, suffering, homeless, all innocent victims of violence and abuse and all survivors of sexual abuse. The Parable ends with injunction; "Go and do likewise!"; just as Jesus turns His love and compassion to those who have been violently attacked or sexually abused.

We want to be part of a Church that puts survivors, the victims of abuse first, ahead of self-interest, reputation and institutional needs.

We have no doubt of Jesus' compassion and love for the survivors even when they feel unloved, rejected, or disgraced. Our desire is that our Church reflect that love and concern for the survivors of sexual abuse and their families and be tireless in assuring the protection of children in our Church and in society.

From my own experience in several dioceses with the tragic evil of sexual abuse of minors I see that your wounds are a source of profound distress. Many survivors have struggled with addictions. Others have experienced greatly damaged relationships with parents, spouses and children. The suffering of families has been a terrible and very serious effect of the abuse. Some of you have even suffered the tragedy of a loved one having taken their own life because of the abuse perpetrated on them. The deaths of these beloved children of God weigh heavily on our hearts.

The wounds carried in Ireland as a result of this evil are deep and remind us of the wounds of the body of Christ. We think of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane as he experienced his own crisis. He, too, was overwhelmed with sorrow, betrayed and abandoned. Not only survivors of abuse and their family members, but many of the faithful and clergy throughout Ireland can echo our Lord's plaintive cry, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" But today, through the saving power of the Cross, we come together to share in each other's sorrows as well as our collective hope for the future. We come together to bind up the wounds we carry as a result of this crisis and to join in prayer for healing, reconciliation and renewed unity.

Based on the experience I have had with this Visitation, I believe there is a window of opportunity for the Church here to respond to the crisis in a way that will build a holier Church, that strives to be more humble even as it grows stronger. While we have understandably heard much anger and learned of much suffering, we have also witnessed a sincere desire to strengthen and rebuild the Church here. We have seen that there is a vast resource, a reservoir of faith and a genuine desire to work for reconciliation and renewal.

During the course of many meetings, I have been blessed to hear from many survivors and their families, lay women and men and religious and clergy who seek reconciliation and healing. Today's service, which survivors so generously assisted in planning and are participating in, gives testimony to the longing of so many to rebuild and renew this Archdiocese and the Church throughout Ireland.

Just as the Irish people persevered and preserved the faith when it was endangered, and carried it to many other countries, the commitment to sustain the faith provides the opportunity for the hard lessons of the crisis to benefit the Church in our quest to do penance for the sins of the past and to do everything possible to protect children in the present and in the future.

I would like to conclude my remarks by sharing another parable with you that further illustrates the demands of the Great Commandment which contains the whole Law and the prophets. The Japanese tell the story of a man who lived in a beautiful home on the top of a mountain. Each day he took a walk in his garden and looked out at the sea below. One day he spotted a tsunami on the horizon coming toward the shore and then he noticed a group of his neighbors having a picnic on the beach. The man was anxious to warn his neighbors, he shouted and waved his arms. But they were too far off, they could not hear nor see him. So the man set fire to his house. When the neighbors on the beach saw the smoke and flames some said let us climb the mountain to help our friend save his home. Others said: "That mountain is so high and we're having such fun, you go." Well, the ones who climbed the mountain to save their neighbor's home were themselves saved. Those who remained on the beach having fun perished when the tidal wave hit the shore.

The Gospel of Christ is about love, sacrifice, forgiveness, hope and salvation. The burning house on the top of the hill is the Cross, and it is the suffering of all those children who experienced abuse.

Climbing the mountain, we are not doing God a favor, we are saving our souls.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

How the New English Roman Missal will look

The Catholic Truth Society (CTS) is contracted to publish the Roman Missal for Britain and Australia. Their website describes it as follows:

As it takes its place on the altars of churches in Britain and Australia, we are confident that the Altar Missal will be an object of dignified beauty, quality and durability. To that end it will be bound in genuine Italian leather and blocked in gold, not only on the front, back and spine but also on the inside lip of the cover. Together with the gilding of the book block this will emphasise the precious nature of the words the book contains and liturgies at which it is used.
It looks sacred!

Will it have individual tabs on each of the pages of the Eucharistic Prayers as the Missals of the Traditional Latin Mass have?

H/T Catholic Herald.

40 Days for Life, London

The 40 Days for Life starts on March 9th, Ash Wednesday.
40 days of peaceful prayer, fasting, and outreach to bring an end to abortion. We will help any person, whether mother, father, relative or friend, facing difficulties and considering an abortion. We also care about those that work at the abortion clinic. We pray for them and hope for their release from the culture of death, recognising that they too are wounded by abortion. We work for a change of hearts and minds, and a culture that defends life from conception.
Visit the 40 Days for Life blog and website. Follow on Twitter.

Further information at this international 40 Days for Life website.

Abby Johnson speaks at March for Life: it was 40 Days for Life that changed her.

The Souls in Purgatory



FOSS (Friends of the Suffering Souls) has sent an email round to its members telling them about the post I did two weeks ago. So that post has been receiving a higher than normal number of visits. Why not revisit it and see the comments FOSS members are leaving and be encouraged to join up yourself?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

"Doctors kept telling me I should have a termination but as her mum I had to protect my baby."

British mother Victoria Webster delayed aggressive leukemia treatment for the sake of her baby daughter Jessica who was born last April. She had the support of her husband Martyn. Read all about it at the Daily Mail and LifeSiteNews.

Priestly Fraternity of St Peter (FSSP) Impressive Pastoral Programme



Father Armand de Malleray sent me details of the Fraternity's 2011 Pastoral Programme. It includes activities such as

  • an altar serving weekend
  • Lenten silent retreat (25th - 28th March) on the theme: The Prayers of the (Traditional, of course,) Mass
  • Vocation discernment weekend (8th - 10th April)
  • International Catholic Youth Gatherings in Switzerland, Spain, England
and much, much more.

Full details at their website or in pdf format.

Anglican Priests from Sevenoaks to join the Ordinariate


Please read the final statement and blog post from Fathers Ivan D'Aquilina and James Bradley. They have made the inevitable decision to seek full Communion with the Catholic Church in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Visit the blog, see what kind of community they have been pastors of, and assure them of your prayers.

The Ordinariate is proving to be a truly wonderful gift to the Church. I hope that the liturgical patrimony of these good people will provide for an enrichment of our Roman Rite.

Here is why they want to be in Communion with the Successor of St Peter:
Those of us joining the Ordinariate are being offered a very special gift. This gift is to be in communion with the Pope. Why is it a great gift? It is a great gift for us as in its turn the Papacy is a gift of supreme importance from Christ to the Church. In fact, it can be argued that, without the Pope you do not have the Church, and the papacy can only be understood in the framework of the Church.

The papacy grew out organically from the mission of the apostle Peter. Peter always appears first in rank and the representative of the Twelve (Mk 8:29; Mt 18:21; Lk 12:41; Jn 6:67). In the list of the Twelve in the Synoptic Gospels he comes first. (Mk 3:16-19; Mt 10:1-4; Lk 6: 12-16; Acts 1:13; Lk 9:32)

A most important point is the traditional formula used by Paul in 1 Cor 15: 5 where although chronologically Peter was not the first to see the risen Christ he is named as such by Paul. The Easter event is a revelation of Peter’s call, and 1 Cor 15 is an expression of the primordial conviction that Peter is the primary witness to the resurrection; and the resurrection is that event without which our Christian life is nonsense.

Three texts are vital. The first is Mt 16:13-19. Here Jesus gives Simon a new name: Peter (Rock). Jesus promises the Twelve that he is the rock foundation of the Church, Peter is to guarantee this stability, permanence, unity and security. Christ is the foundation of the Church which appears visibly in Peter. This function of Peter is further defined by the promise that the gates of hell will never prevail and also by the power of the keys. Peter is given authority to rule as representative of the Master! He holds the keys. The second text is Lk 22: 31-34. Here Jesus gives a special task to Peter, when the evil forces will hammer heavily on the Church, Peter will help them recover, he will provide support to his brothers, he is the stronghold of the faith. The third text is Jn 21: 15-19.

Peter is made the Shepherd of the flock, to defend it against attack and to preserve due order within it. When the Lord is not any more visibly present, Peter, his representative, will carry out this ministry. The book of Acts is peppered with instances where Peter is exercising this ministry. (See: Acts 1: 15-26; 2:14-41; 3: 1-26; 4:8; 5: 1-11; 5:29; 8:14-17; 8: 18-25; 9: 32-43 and 10: 9-33.)

Jesus did not appoint successors to Peter; the succession was an organic development of Peter’s mission which is to the end of time. (Mt 28:20) The Church holds that the successor of Peter is the Bishop of Rome. Myriad is the testimony to this faith by the Church Fathers. This testimony found focus in the teachings of Ambrose when he said: “Where Peter is, there is the Church.”

Since the word go, Peter was the focus of mission and unity, the guarantor of orthodoxy and above all the visible witness of the Resurrection. He is the visible head and shepherd of the Church on earth and his ministry lives in his successors.

Today Peter is known as Benedict XVI. Peter is the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the whole company of faithful; he is the pastor of the Universal Church, the witness of the Risen Lord.

Can you see what a wondrous gift Peter is for the Church? That is why those joining the Ordinariate are blessed; they will receive this gift from Christ and be in communion with Benedict XVI – the witness of the Resurrection!

Indeed, what a wondrous gift Peter is for the Church!

House of Representatives votes to cut Planned Parenthood Funding


This from the New York Times:
Now, in a surprise step that has set off deep alarm among advocates for women’s health, the newly conservative House of Representatives has proposed cutting the entire $317 million program of aid for family planning, known as Title X, in a 2011 spending bill that is expected to pass by the weekend. A proposed amendment to the bill would also bar Planned Parenthood from receiving any federal funds for any purpose. The amendment was the subject of an emotional three-hour debate on Thursday night. 

The House of Representatvies is dominated by the Republicans. This bill must now go the Senate which has a majority of Democrats who are not likely to support this move.

More at OpenCongress.


Abby Johnson - former PP employee.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Consider supporting the St Barnabas Society



With more and more former Anglican clergy entering the Catholic Church, whether via the Ordinariate or into the already existing dioceses, the St Barnabas Society will no doubt be seeking to assist those clergy and their families who, as the Society's website says, "lose not only their jobs but also often their homes." Some good friends of mine, former Anglican clergy now Catholic priests, were and are very grateful for the Society's assistance.

Bishop Sample reflects on his recent visit to the Holy Land


Download the podcast here.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pontificale Hoogmis met Kard. Burke (or Pontifical High Mass with Cardinal Burke)

I received a Facebook invitation to this event which will take place on September 17th, 10am, at

St. Agneskerk
Amstelveenseweg 163
Amsterdam, Netherlands
More information here. (Use Google translator if you can't understand the Dutch.)

David Silk - another Ordinariate Priest

The former Anglican Bishop of Ballarat in Australia was ordained deacon on February 15th and will be ordained priest at Buckfast Abbey tomorrow, as announed on the Portal for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

Further information about David Silk can be found at The Anglo-Catholic.

A friend of mine tells me that when he was a curate at Lamorby/Blackfen, he preached occasionally at Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Church in Blackfen in the 1960's - Fr Finigan will no doubt know more.

The Ordinariate continues to develop.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rosary for the Bishop


Just a reminder to take part in this apostolate.





Choose your own bishop to pray for. I have selected my diocesan Archbishop and the Bishop of the diocese in which I am currently working.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Pope Benedict recommends seminarians' use of internet



"Because of its capacity to surmount distances and put people in mutual contact, the Internet presents great possibilities also for the Church and her mission," he said. "With the necessary discernment for its intelligent and prudent use, it is an instrument that can serve not only for studies, but also for the pastoral action of future presbyters in different ecclesial fields, such as evangelization, missionary action, catechesis, educational projects, the management of institutes."

See more at Zenit.

Rome Diocese launces John Paul II website

ROME, FEB. 9, 2011 (Zenit.org).- Ahead of the May 1 beatification of John Paul II, the Diocese of Rome has launched a Web site dedicated to the event.

Named Ioannes Paulus P.P. II, the site will gather information on the beatification of the Pope, and make it available in six languages: English, Spanish, French, Polish, Italian and Romanian.

The endeavor will also post information on the life of Karol Wojtyla, his thought and his devotion of Mary, the Mother of God, as well as the process of his canonization cause, and other events linked to the May 1 beatification. It will also offer documentation on the initiatives around the world that will surround the Pontiff's beatification, and promote prayers of intercession and thanksgiving.

Additionally, the site links to "Totus Tuus," which is a monthly magazine dedicated to the the Pope's cause of canonization.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

My old school (Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School) in the news


On the BBC.

More former Anglicans to become Catholics in the Ordinariate

A further significant development in the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham has been announced: seven anglican priests and three hundred lay people are to become Catholics in the diocese of Brentwood. The Anglican bishop of Chelmsford dismisses them as "a small group of people. The Church of England remains the church for everyone." This would seem to be less and less the case.

Here's the article from TotalCatholic.com.

Seven Anglican priests and 300 members of six congregations are to join the Ordinariate, according to the Diocese of Brentwood.

The move involves three parishes in Essex, and three in east London.

The Bishop of Brentwood, the Right Reverend Thomas McMahon, told BBC Essex this morningthat the Anglicans were unhappy about the church's general move away from the traditions it once shared with Catholics, but described the decision as "a very big move".

"They relinquish their present post, a very big thing, leaving some of their people which brings heartache, into a fairly unknown future, as this ordinariate has only just been brought up.

"It calls for huge faith and huge trust because the future isn't that certain," he said.

Three vicars in Chelmsford, Hockley and Benfleet are among those men being trained to become Catholic deacons. A seventh retired Anglican vicar is also converting.

The Anglican Bishop of Chelmsford, the Right Reverend Stephen Cottrell, said he was disappointed that 300 members in Essex were converting to Catholicism.

"Although I'm sorry these people are going, I do respect their decision," he told BBC Essex.

"But it is a small group of people. The Church of England remains the church for everyone."

According to a timetable set by the Roman Catholic bishops of England and Wales, former Anglican clergy and groups of worshippers wishing to enter the Ordinariate will be enrolled as candidates at the beginning of Lent.

They will subsequently be received into the Roman Catholic Church and confirmed. This is likely to take place during Holy Week (17-23 April).

Where the new congregations will worship has yet to be decided.

"It will be on a case-by-case basis," said Father Keith Newton, the former Anglican bishop who now heads the Ordinariate.

"I hope in some cases the Church of England will be generous and there will be some sharing of Anglican premises. But I think normally our groups will be worshipping in Catholic churches," he added.

However, that does not mean that worshippers of the Ordinariate will be "mingled in" with Catholic congregations.

"They will have a special service in their own right," said Bishop McMahon.

"We are hoping they will find some part-time work as chaplains in schools and hospitals," said Bishop McMahon. "We have already had some offers from charities."
Let us pray for the success and happy outcome of this new development.

Confession by iPhone


Actually, it's not. It's an app to help people prepare for confession.

The following from Reuters:
(Reuters) - An iPhone app aimed at helping Catholics through confession and encouraging lapsed followers back to the faith has been sanctioned by the Catholic Church in the United States.

Confession: A Roman Catholic app, thought to be the first to be approved by a church authority, walks Catholics through the sacrament and contains what the company behind the program describes as a "personalized examination of conscience for each user".

"Our desire is to invite Catholics to engage in their faith through digital technology," said Patrick Leinen of the three-man company Little iApps, based in South Bend, Indiana.

"Taking to heart Pope Benedict XVI's message from last years' World Communications Address, our goal with this project is to offer a digital application that is truly 'new media at the service of the word."

Pope Benedict XVI's World Communications Address on January 24 emphasized the importance of a Christian presence in the digital world.

The firm said the content of the app was developed with the help of Reverend Thomas Weinandy of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and Reverend Dan Scheidt, pastor of Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Mishawaka, Indiana.

The app is not designed to replace going to confession but to help Catholics through the act, which generally involves admitting sins to a priest in a confessional booth. Catholics still must go to a priest for absolution.
Little iApps said Bishop Kevin Rhoades, of the Diocese of Fort Wayne in Indiana, officially authorized the app for Catholics to use.

"It has been approved by Bishop Kevin Rhoades," said Weinandy.

Leinen said the app has already aided one man in returning to the sacrament after 20 years. "We hope many more will take advantage of this new confession resource," he added.

The app retails for $1.99.
See Little iApps for more information.

And see Zenit for a clarification, if one were needed.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Helpers of God's Precious Infants prayer vigil in New York

Does the Heavenly Liturgy constantly change?


 One of the things that struck me at Holy Transfiguration Skete when I was on retreat last week was the real sense of being outside or beyond time. I am no liturgical historian but I should imagine that the Byzantine liturgy in its various forms has been celebrated in pretty much the same way since around the 7th century. The Roman Liturgy, on the other hand, has been afflicted with changes for all my lifetime. Now there is to be another (admittedly much-needed) change in the English speaking world with a new translation. This will not be the end of it. As the Extraordinary Form becomes more available and younger people come to be attracted to it, the Ordinary Form will have to change again to regain those elements that were unnecessarily stripped away.

Here is an example of how just one prayer - the Confiteor - in the Novus Ordo differs from its previous form by the stripping away of the following:
  • The profound bow in which the prayer was spoken;
  • The structure of the prayer as a dialogue between the priest and the congregation;
  • The invocation of various saints by name; and, finally,
  • The sacramental of absolution.
You can read more about this in Martin Mosebach's short essay The Confiteor in the Old Rite.

Now we have largely lost the gestures of the faithful altogether, even those which are required by the rubrics of the Novus Ordo: in most churches they never beat their breasts in the Confiteor, never bow their heads at the et incarnatus est, and they add gestures which are not indicated in the Novus Ordo such as holding hands during the Lord's prayer and the prayer that follows. And priests fail to bow their heads at the Names of Jesus and Mary and the saint of the day or patron saint as the rubrics require.

A changeless liturgy is a sign of a heavenly liturgy. A changing liturgy is a sign of man's restlessness and boredom and his preoccupation with time. When we offer the Sacred Liturgy, it is a worship that is already going on in heaven that we are entering into, not one that we must invent or reinvent.

Ronald Reagan: Without right to life, no other rights have meaning.

Be a friend to the Souls in Purgatory

By joining Friends of the Suffering Souls:

a Catholic Lay Association conducting a perpetual novena of Masses for the Holy Souls in Purgatory.

This association was inspired by the 100 consecutive Masses offered for the Holy Souls by the Venerable Archdeacon Cavanagh, Parish Priest of Knock prior to the appearance there of Our Blessed Mother in 1879.

Each member undertakes to arrange at least one Mass each year for all the holy souls and our deceased member.

But you can arrange as many Masses as you wish for this novena.

It is our goal to reach an average of 100 Masses for the holy souls each and every day of the year.

You can ask any priest to offer Mass for the Holy Souls. The website also tells you which priests have indicated their availability to offer Masses for this intention. You can also check if any of the priests will offer the Mass in the Extraordinary Form if you prefer this.

Fight Planned Parenthood

On the recent March for Life Planned Parenthood was clearly identified as the major enemy to life, heavily funded by tax dollars and major corporations.

Life Decisions International (LDI) with the very plain and simple url fightpp.org identifies corporate supporters of PP and encourages you to boycott these companies or to write to their CEO's asking them to stop funding PP. LDI claims
To date, at least 274 corporations have ceased funding Planned Parenthood!, which has cost the abortion-committing Goliath more than $40 million!

Check it out!

Pope Benedict visiting children in hospital


As one comment to the video says, it would be fascinating to trace these children as they grow older to see what becomes of them after the Holy Father's blessing.

Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) to be celebrated at St George's Cathedral, Southwark in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes

Good Counsel Network Sung High Mass in honour of Our Lady of Lourdes


The Good Counsel blog gives details of the monthly Extraordinary Form Mass on the second Friday of each month at Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane, London. Normally it is a Low Mass but since the second Friday of Friday is the feast of Our Lady of Lourdes it will be a Sung High Mass. The blog reports that numbers are increasing, particularly of young people.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

European school diary includes Moslem and other feasts, but not Christian ones

Apparently,
Each year, the European Commission publishes a European school diary for schoolchildren throughout the European Union. Three millions copies of the 2010-2011 version of this diary, distributed to schools for free at the request of teachers, have been edited. The current version of this diary does not mention any christian feasts, but do give the dates of Islamic, Sikh, Hindu and Chinese feast days. It does not refer, for example, to Christmas, recently celebrated through all Europe.
You can sign a petition asking that

  • That the school diary, in its current version, may not be distributed.
  • That the future 2011-2012 diary explicitly mentions Christian holidays.
You can also read more at The European Union Times.

Welcome affirmation of marriage from a French court


Yesterday I was listening to local public radio as it carried an interview with the 'husband' of a deceased male war veteran. He had won recognition as a next of kin. The story wasn't that big really, except for the same-sex nature of the union. The interviewer wound up by saying so-and-so was married to the other. Which of course is the case legally in the US State in question.

So to read the following is very welcome news. From the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.

French High Court Affirms Traditional Marriage

PARIS, February 3 (C-FAM) A ruling in the homeland of “égalité” last week found the French prohibition of same-sex marriage is in accord with the French constitution, effectively ruling that there is nothing unequal about upholding the definition of marriage as between man and woman.

The demand for “equality” is the hallmark of most national and international campaigns for homosexual rights, particularly those concerned with same-sex marriage.  Discussions at the UN regarding sexual orientation are rife with references to equality and non-discrimination.

The French Constitutional Council is the nation’s highest authority on the constitution, and while it normally advises the government on the constitutionality of elections and laws, it also has authority to rule on constitutionality of individual cases brought to it by French citizens.  This fall, the Council accepted the case of a lesbian couple that challenged the constitutionality of the French Civil Code (which identifies marriage between man and woman), claiming the exclusion of same-sex marriage violated a citizen’s right to lead a “normal family life” and the principle of equality before the law.

The Council ruled last Friday that because of the difference of situations between same-sex and heterosexual couples, the difference in treatment in family laws is justified and not in violation of the principle of equality.  As for the right to a normal family life, the court found that the pacte civil de solidarité, a form of civil union that accords a plethora of legal, fiscal, and official benefits, is sufficient for a “normal family life.”

The Council refrained from commenting on same-sex marriage itself, stating it is a matter of politics, not law, to decide such an issue.  The opposition government, France’s Socialist Party, has already promised to call for a vote on same-sex marriage in Parliament this summer.

Regardless of the parliament’s vote, there is a distinct possibility that activist groups will take the case to the European Court of Human Rights, in the hopes that the Court will challenge France’s decision.  This past Tuesday, a UK-based advocacy group launched a campaign to get the European Court of Human Rights to overturn the UK’s ban on same sex marriage.  A similar legal campaign may not be far off for France, since the case is “ripe for review by the Strasburg court,” according to Roger Kiska, Legal Counsel at the Alliance Defense Fund.  However, he foresees no chance of the European Court of Human Rights being able to successfully challenge the Council’s decision.

According to Kiska, a same-sex marriage case was brought before the court already, which resulted in a ruling that it is “within a state’s margin of appreciation to decide upon its own family laws.”  The French Council’s decision that the difference in treatment in family laws is justified falls within the “margin of appreciation” outlined in the European court’s ruling, and thus the Court should be unable to challenge France’s decision.  With this in mind, and hopeful that the French Parliament will uphold traditional marriage when it inevitably comes to a vote, Kiska seems to be optimistic about the future of marriage legislation in this powerful European nation.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Age for Confirmation


The Latin Church continues to debate a question which is completely settled in the East: when should the Sacrament of Confirmation be conferred? Indeed, practices vary from one diocese to another.

In the light of a recent decision by the Archdiocese of Liverpool to have all children confirmed by their parish priest prior to receiving First Holy Communion,  Father Timothy Finigan writes:

The current practice of delaying Confirmation to adolescence has no theological justification: it is a practical measure in order to emphasise conscious commitment or "spiritual adulthood", neither of which have any support in the practice of the Church of the Fathers and both of which could also be seen as a kind of unconscious Jansenism. St Therese found it difficult to get permission to enter the convent at 15. Nowadays in some places she would find it difficult to get confirmed.

Having been confirmed at the age of 9 (or so) myself, I agree with Fr Finigan.

If I may throw in a canonical justification for the presumption of an earlier age for Confirmation, the Code of Canon Law (of the Latin Church) states:

Can. 852 #1. The prescripts of the canons on adult baptism are to be applied to all those who, no longer infants, have attained the use of reason.

One ceases to be an infant at age 7. At age 7, one is presumed to have the use of reason. (Can. 97 #2)

Can. 866. Unless there is a grave reason to the contrary, an adult who is baptised is to be confirmed immediately after baptism and is to participate in the eucharistic celebration also be receiving communion.

So a child aged 7 or above should also be confirmed, unless there is a grave reason to the contrary. Therefore there is the presumption that a child who is 7 or above is capable of receiving and has the right to receive the sacrament of Confirmation.

The requirements for receiving confirmation are
that a person who has the use of reason be suitably instructed, properly disposed, and able to renew the baptism promises. (Can. 889 #2)

This is a very low setting of the bar. "Suitable instruction" will differ according to one's age and condition. "Suitable instruction" is not the same as "in-depth instruction". Note also that the use of reason is not a requirement for the licit reception of this sacrament. But if one has the use of reason, then the other requirements follow.

Can. 890 The faithful are obliged to receive this sacrament at the proper time.

Can. 891 The sacrament of confirmation is to be conferred on the faithful at about the age of discretion unless the conference of bishops has determined another age...

What is the age of discretion? It is to be presumed to coincide with the onset of the use of reason, although there might be need for discretion in those charged with determining whether a person has acquired the discretion necessary for the sacrament. One must be careful not to place so much emphasis on the intellectual capacity of the candidates that the power of grace is insufficiently appreciated. I disagree with the New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law when it says that Can. 889 §2

is a justification for the practice in the Latin church of deferring confirmation until the candidate has reached the age of discretion: the kind of preparation necessary for the reception of confirmation is beyond the intellectual capacity of infants.

This comment appears to pay little regard to the perfectly lawful tradition of the East and would also put in question the confirmation of those affected by various forms of learning difficulties.

The Archdiocese of Southwark's policy (note policy, not law) states that candidates should generally (my emphasis) be a minimum of 12 years. It goes on to say:

The readiness of the person for the sacrament is ultimately more important than their age and any preparation needs to be adapted to the age, ability and maturity of the candidates.

Note: it does not indicate a minum level of ability or maturity.

I think this is a very balanced statement of policy, fully respecting the universal law of the Church and allowing parents and pastors the freedom to exercise their judgement in a discretionary manner.

Go here for a reply from the Congregation for Divine Worship concerning possible conflicts between universal and particular law in this matter. You will see that the CDW sided with the parents and directed that the bishop take steps to ensure that a girl receive Confirmation in spite of the fact that she was below the age set by diocesan policy/law.

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