Friday, April 29, 2011

More sex please. We're pharmacists!

Thanks to my brother, Father Stephen Boyle, for sending me a link to this article from the Pharmaceutical Journal 2011. It sums up the strange state of affairs when pharmacists are expected to promote healthy life styles ... except when it comes to sex.

The author asks:

Are we being as fair to the public about sex as we are about smoking or eating sweets or drinking alcohol?
Go read.

Congratulations to their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

It must have been a wonderful day. Although I only managed to see some highlights on American TV, it was sufficient for me to see the couple so happy and relaxed with each other and the celebrations of the British people on this great day to make one proud to be British and to pledge one's prayers for the future King and Queen of the United Kingdom.

My prayer for them would be the following from the Catholic Church's Rite of Marriage:
Father, keep them always true to your commandments.
Keep them faithful in marriage and let them be living examples of Christian life.
Give them the strength which comes from the gospel so that they may be witnesses of Christ to others.
Bless them with children and help them to be good parents.
May they live to see their children's children.
And, after a happy old age, grant them fullness of life with the saints in the kingdom of heaven.

UPDATE: now watching highlights at BBC iplayer. The wedding service is truly wonderful and reflects dignity and authentic Christian teaching on marriage.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Reform of the reform?

The above pictures show the arrangement of the altar at St Peter's Cathedral, Marquette as it was for the Chrism Mass and as it has been since the Easter Vigil. (Seven candles lit only when the diocesan Bishop celebrates.)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bishop of Springfield, Illinois, asks for Prayer to St Michael to be said publicly after Mass

Bishop Thomas John Paprocki, Bishop of Springfield in Illinois, has asked that prayer cards with the Prayer to St Michael be placed in the pews of every church and that the prayer be said publicly at the end of every Mass before the recessional hymn.

This is a very powerful prayer that acknowledges that we live in a permanent state of battle with the devil. Without this reminder, we lose the desire to be vigilant and become complacent. That's just at the psychological level. And at the spiritual level, unless we pray for help, we simply cannot hope to win the battle, in our personal lives, in the battle Satan wages against the Church, and in society.

One of Satan’s greatest assets is his camouflage, the belief that he doesn’t exist. Disbelief in Satan and the forces of evil leave us unable to resist them. That is why it is good to remember the Prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel. We need to remember that each time we pray we work to defeat our real enemies, not each other, but rather the devil and his evil spirits...

While Jesus Christ's death and resurrection have restored the gifts of heavenly treasures for us, we also have to recognize that the devil, Satan, is real, and he will do everything in his power to deflect us from our goal, which is eternal life with Christ in His kingdom...

God permits us to be tempted by the devil but gives us the grace to resist him through prayer in our daily lives. We can and should say the prayer to Saint Michael the Archangel at church with the assembly or on our own during the day for spiritual protection for ourselves and for others.

Great signs of episcopal leadership from another US bishop. More information at Fr Daren Zehnle, Servant and Steward.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

A bishop speaks on being "pastoral"

Bishop Samuel J. Aquila of Fargo gave an address at the 10th Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest co-sponsored by The Institute for Priestly Formation and Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary Philadelphia, PA on March 18, 2011

Among many things he said the following on the governing/shepherding office of the bishop and priest:
The steps in this passage (Mt 18:16-17) are clear and Jesus is teaching us, but do we listen and follow his example? If this criteria had been followed with dissenting theologians, priests, religious and faithful in 1968 with the encyclical, Humanae Vitae, would we still be dealing with the problem today of those who dissent on contraception, abortion, same sex unions, euthanasia and so many other teachings of the Church?

One must honestly ask, how many times and years may a Catholic politician vote for the so called "right to abortion", "murder" in the words of John Paul II in Evangelium Vitae (58), and still be able to receive Holy Communion? The continual reception of Holy Communion by those who so visibly contradict and promote a grave evil, even more than simply dissent, only creates grave scandal, undermines the teaching and governing authority of the Church and can be interpreted by the faithful as indifference to the teaching of Christ and the Church on the part of those who have the responsibility to govern. If we honestly pray with the Gospel we can see that hesitancy and non-accountability is not the way of Jesus Christ, but rather it is a failure in the exercise of governance.

Bishops and priests, as an act of loving obedience to Christ, must return to a full exercise of the governing authority of Christ witnessed in the Gospel. If we do not exercise that authority, are hesitant to exercise it, or doubt it, then it only leads to the "father of lies" taking hold of the minds and hearts of the faithful, and their continuing to act in the ways of man and not the ways of God.
Read the full address here.

H/t: Dr Edward Peters

These people take abortion seriously

Helpers of God's Precious Infants in Brooklyn and their Good Friday Procession to an abortion provider in the Sunset Park area.

"Do not cohabit - it is sinful"

Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. I urge especially young people to not cohabitate which is sinful, but to marry in the Church and prepare well for it.
Archbishop Sheehan has written a pastoral letter concerning the pastoral care of those who are co-habiting. He makes it clear that they are not to receive the sacraments (of Holy Communion, Reconciliation and Anointing) without first taking the necessary steps to regularise their situations.

Fr Z and Edward Peters have commented.

The letter can be found at the Archdiocese of Santa Fe's website but it is so good I can't resist reproducing it here in full.

April 3, 2011

Pastoral Care of Couples Who are Cohabitating

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

We are all painfully aware that there are many Catholics today who are living in cohabitation. The Church must make it clear to the faithful that these unions are not in accord with the Gospel, and to help Catholics who find themselves in these situations to do whatever they must do to make their lives pleasing to God.

First of all, we ourselves must be firmly rooted in the Gospel teaching that, when it comes to sexual union, there are only two lifestyles acceptable to Jesus Christ for His disciples: a single life of chastity, or the union of man and woman in the Sacrament of Matrimony. There is no “third way” possible for a Christian. The Bible and the Church teaches that marriage is between one man and one woman and opposes same sex unions.

We have three groups of people who are living contrary to the Gospel teaching on marriage: those who cohabit; those who have a merely civil union with no previous marriage; and those who have a civil union who were married before. These people are objectively living in a state of mortal sin and may not receive Holy Communion. They are in great spiritual danger. At the best - and this is, sadly, often the case - they are ignorant of God’s plan for man and woman. At the worst, they are contemptuous of God’s commandments and His sacraments.

Of these three groups, the first two have no real excuse. They should marry in the Church or separate. Often their plea is that they “cannot afford a church wedding” i.e. the external trappings, or that “what difference does a piece of paper make?” - as if a sacramental covenant is nothing more than a piece of paper! Such statements show religious ignorance, or a lack of faith and awareness of the evil of sin.

The third group, those who were married before and married again outside the Church, can seek a marriage annulment and have their marriage blest in the Church. Please remember that divorce still is no reason to refrain from Holy Communion as long as they have not entered into another marriage or sinful relationship. Many Catholics are confused on this point.

Christ our Lord loves all these people and wishes to save them - not by ignoring their sin, or calling evil good, but by repentance and helping them to change their lives in accordance with His teaching. We, as His Church, must do the same. In accord with this, I would remind you of the following:

1. People in the above three situations cannot receive the Sacraments, with the important exception of those who agree to live chastely (“as brother and sister”) until their situation is regularized. Of course, those in danger of death are presumed to be repentant.

2. These people may not be commissioned as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, not only because of scandal, but even more because one commits the sin of sacrilege by administering a Sacrament in the state of mortal sin.

3. Nor are such people to be admitted to the role of sponsor for Baptism or Confirmation, as is clearly stated on the Archdiocesan Affidavit for a Sponsor. It is critical for the sponsor to be a practicing Catholic - and can anyone be seriously called a practicing Catholic who is not able to receive the sacraments because they are living in sin?

4. When it comes to other parish ministries and organizations, I feel it best to leave these situations to the judgment of the pastor. Prudence is needed, avoiding all occasions of scandal. We must see their involvement in the parish as an opportunity to work urgently to bring such people to repentance and the regularization of their lifestyle.

5. Many of these sins are committed out of ignorance. I ask that our pastors preach on the gravity of sin and its evil consequences, the 6th and 9th Commandments of God, and the sacramental nature and meaning of Christian marriage. Our catechetical programs in our parishes - children, youth, and adult – must clearly and repeatedly teach these truths. A Church wedding does not require some lavish spectacle and entertainment costing vast sums of money (Indeed, how often we have seen the most costly weddings end in divorce in but a few months or years!). While beauty and joy should surround a Christian wedding, we must remind everyone that it is a sacrament, not a show.

6. Those who are married outside the Church because of a previous union are urged to seek an annulment through our Marriage Tribunal. If it can be found that the first marriage lacked some essential quality for a valid marriage, the Tribunal can grant an annulment. Your pastor can help someone start a marriage case for this purpose. It is important for such couples to continue to pray and get to Mass even though they may not receive Communion, until their marriage can be blest in the Church.

Our popular American culture is often in conflict with the teachings of Jesus and His Church. I urge especially young people to not cohabitate which is sinful, but to marry in the Church and prepare well for it.

I congratulate and thank those thousands of Catholic married couples who role model the Sacrament of Marriage according to the teachings of Jesus and his Church.

Sincerely yours in the Risen Lord,

Most Rev. Michael J. Sheehan
Archbishop of Santa Fe

Young mother sacrifices her life for her unborn child

Lifesite News carries a full report of the heroic sacrifice of her life made by Jessica Council to ensure that her unborn child had every opportunity of being born. Having been diagnosed with cancer of the throat she not only refused abortion but also refused treatment of the cancer when she was advised that it might harm her child. Another Gianna Beretta Molla?

Another sacrifice was made: that of her husband Clint. He describes his struggle to cope with the loss of his wife and to understand God's will.

Friday, April 22, 2011

By his wounds you have been healed

We had a most moving and dignified Solemn Commemoration of the Lord's Passion here at St Peter Cathedral.

The most impressive part of this liturgy, for me, is always the veneration of the Cross by the faithful. We had a full cathedral, and everyone had time to come forward and kiss or otherwise venerate the crucifix.

As a priest, one is privileged to know something of the burdens that many of the people are bearing - family conerns, economic difficulties, the challenges of bringing up their children in a hedonistic world, recent bereavement... All came and embraced the wounds of Christ and found healing and strength as they did so.

Many of those venerating the Cross today had taken part in the 40 Days for Life prayer vigils outside Planned Parenthood. I prayed for many of our "opponents" during the veneration - if only they could have been here and experienced the outpouring of God's love in the Sacred Passion of His Son, and taken the opportunity to kiss His wounds to find healing and forgiveness for all the woundedness in their lives.

This is what the Church has to offer all mankind: true redemption through the love of Christ that has been poured out upon us and the love that binds us to one another. We approach with confidence the throne of mercy as we were all entrusted to the motherhood of Mary by Our dying Lord on the Cross.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Who hasn't been invited to the Vatican blognic

Now, I know not everyone can be invited but the list of 150 invitees has been published. Anna Arco (Catholic Herald), Hilary White (Lifesite news and her own blog), Sandro Magister, are amongst those invited. I was particularly pleased to see James Bradley of the Ordinariate Portal on the list. He is one of the clerics of the Sevenoaks Ordinariate group who was to be received into full communion this week.

But, we do have some big hitters in the English speaking world and I should have thought that at least one of Fr Z, Father Tim Finigan and Father Ray Blake should have been invited. And what about my good friend Owl of the Remove? They do say names were put into a hat and drawn out. Maybe that's why.

But there's an alternative blognic...

Historic celebration at York Minster

The Catholic Herald reports that

Over 700 Catholics converged on York Minster on Saturday March 26 to attend the first celebration of a Catholic Mass according to the Extraordinary Form in the Minster.

Read more here.

For readers here in the USA, there are two provinces of the Church of England: Canterbury and York. York Minster is the Cathedral of the Archbishop of York.

Have you received your invitation to "The Wedding"?

A question I am being constantly asked by the good folk of Marquette. I have no idea what coverage "The Wedding" is receiving in the UK but it is getting lots here. One parishioner said she will definitely be up at 4am on April 29th so she can see the dress. I said that I would save my early rise for the following Sunday for "The Beatification".

Am I just typical of those who are showing a remarkable lack of interest in "The Wedding"? It has been pointed out (see Catholic Commentary) that Catholic bloggers are perhaps demonstrating a certain disconnectedness - even disenfranchisement - from British national life. After all, this event is an historic event. Prince William is our future King and so Kate/Catherine will be our Queen. Prince William will also be head of the Church of England - and perhaps that has something to do with some of the lack of interest.

Do we know much about Prince William's faith? Is he a convinced Anglican?

Caroline Farrow has a great analysis of the situation. She particularly refers to the small matter of the fact that William and Kate have been co-habiting.

William and Kate reflected today’s society in which cohabitation is a fact of life, a try-before-you-buy policy and certainly in their case the balance of power seemed to be one way, with Kate potentially having a lot more to lose had things not worked out. I am able to speak from the fairly unusual position of having cohabited before a marriage, as in the case of my annulled marriage, and also of having remained chaste before marriage and I can testify to the effectiveness of the latter in optimising one’s chances of a successful union. Though the blame for the breakdown of my first marriage cannot be solely attributed to cohabitation, it doubtless did not help us to make the transition from simply living together and sharing a house, to the permanency of marriage. Marriage entailed a lavish and expensive day, but the day after, neither of us felt any different, nothing had really changed, and as we both languished on the sofa the day after the wedding, nursing our hangovers, we even debated whether or not it would be worthwhile to cancel the honeymoon, given neither of us had any energy. Once the excitement of the wedding was over, there was nothing different, nothing new to look forward to.

When I properly entered into the sacrament of marriage, things could not have been more different. Everything was a novelty to the pair of us and highlighted the new status of our relationship. Even doing things like sharing the washing-up together, and sorting out various household tasks, reinforced the new intimacy between us. It was no longer his vicarage, but our family home, and even now, a few years later, having spent a few years dating before marriage, just the act of sharing the same bed to sleep in, still hasn’t quite lost that sparkle. There was a definite demarcation between simply going out and actually being married, there was a positive decision on behalf of the pair of both of us, a saying “yes”, a leap of faith, “this isn’t going to be easy, we won’t always feel as we do now, but I love you, I trust you and I am going to do my best to be the husband/wife that God is calling me to be”. It’s decidedly different from “well I’ve lived with you for x years, we share everything, why not, I think I can risk it and if it doesn’t work out there’s always a get-out clause”. The problem with cohabitation is, as far as I can discern it, is that there is always that get-out clause and its easy to carry that forward into a marriage as well as slide almost unthinkingly into matrimony.

I suppose that, in my own case, I remember as if it was yesterday the wedding of Prince Charles and Lady Di. It was so fairytale that I somehow sensed at the time that it was not going to work. Furthermore - and sadly, all except one of the marriages of Her Majesty's children have failed. So Royal Weddings have perhaps lost their currency somewhat.

Having said that, I shall pray for the couple on their wedding day. It's Easter Friday. It's also the feast of St Catherine of Sienna, who know something of a higher form of marriage - the Mystical Marriage with Christ.

Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl Writes Book on Pope John Paul II:

Washington Archbishop Cardinal Donald Wuerl Writes Book on Pope John Paul II:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

John Paul II - truly the Great

This superb video is on the USCCB website.

What a powerful defender of human life.

All human life is sacred. Whenever it is endangered we will stand up to defend it.

Will we?

On the TV6 website (see my previous post) there is a comment to the effect that there are too many Catholics in Marquette. Just think if all those Catholics stood up to defend endangered human life, what a transformed society we would be.

Altar Servers' Day at St. Columba's, Selsdon, 10th April 2011

My brother, Father Stephen Boyle, writes:
Thirty eight altar servers attended an afternoon in Selsdon organised by Fr. Stephen Boyle. Tom Caluori from Virgo Fidelis parish, Upper Norwood,
started the day with excellent ice breaking games. He also led one of the group discussions after the excellent presentation by Fr. Behruz Raf'at
which centred on the processional cross.

There was the opportunity for confession during the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament as well as the compulsory requirement of a football match. Thanks to Fr. Barry Hughes for hosting the day, and to the altar servers of the home parish who turned out in impressive numbers.

Altar Servers meet up every term for these days. There will be one next term at a venue to be decided.

Monday, April 18, 2011

40 Days for Life on Marquette's TV6

Click on the image to watch.

The promise of the other group to be there - made repeatedly in this item - was not kept. I do not believe we saw them at all after this TV interview. We kept going there everyday except Sundays up to the day before Palm Sunday.

The filming and interview took place on March 25th, feast of the Annunciation. TV6's interview with the pro-Planned Parenthood people had been pre-arranged so they were able to get their crowd together. We just happened to turn up and found them on our spot, so we conducted our prayer vigil as usual alongside them but outside Marquette's pro-life Care Clinic, and TV6 took the opportunity to film us and interview me. The TV6 journalist had said she wanted to interview me and we had agreed that I would contact her the next week. I'm not sure if she would have arranged to interview us outside Planned Parenthood. I rather had the impression that it was to be just an interview with me. But that's just my impression.

The other cleric present at the vigil is Bishop Alexander Sample, the bishop of Marquette who had chosen March 25th specially to show his support. It was a very, very cold day!

Madonna joining Opus Dei?

“She has started exploring different religions. Madonna has always been intrigued by Opus Dei. As yet, she’s not a fully paid-up member – she’s just had informal chats.”

Well, you can read what you like into this report from London's Daily Mirror!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

There be dragons

Directed by Roland Joffe (Killing Fields, The Mission) for release on May 6th. Must see.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Five-fold increase in women coming to Good Counsel Network - help feed and house these mothers and babies

Success: anyone would want it. But success in the pro-life movement also means practical help for those who have made a decision in favour of the life of their pre-born child.

Good Counsel Network is a wonderful instrument in the saving of lives and the assisting of mothers. They write:

Our resources are depleting rapidly and yet 23 women are currently dependent on us for food each week and 9 of these are being housed by us.

You can donate cash or baby goods.

For fuller details, go to the Good Counsel Network's appealing post.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

The plan was...

... to spend a year on sabbatical here. Well, Bishop Sample has asked if I can stay longer and Archbishop Smith (the bishop of my diocese, Southwark) has agreed to an extension of my stay till Summer 2013.

Here in Marquette all the summer moves were made public today. As from July 1st I will be parochial administrator of the parish of St Anthony's, Gwinn.

A parochial administrator is, to all intents and purposes, the parish priest. In canon law, however, a parish priest (pastor) enjoys a degree of stability that a parochial administrator does not. Since I am not a priest of the diocese and the plan is to be here for only a short time, my appointment as parochial administrator rather than pastor makes sense.

Please pray for the people of Gwinn as they prepare for this change. They have had an excellent and dedicated pastor, Father Ronald Timock, for many years and there will be much thanksgiving to God for all that Fr Timock has done for the parish.

A number of youth from the parish attended the March for Life in Washington DC January last.


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