Sunday, December 27, 2009

Attack on the Holy Father

Following the scenes on Christmas Eve, Fr Z poses a good question here.

Should the sedia gestatoria be reinstituted?

Church under attack

Various news websites including the RTE are reporting that Longford Cathedral was gutted by fire in the early hours of Christmas Day.

Please God this is an accident and not some twisted "revenge" attack on the Irish Church.

St Michael pray for us.

Source: RTE

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Nativity of our Lord

Merry Christmas one and all

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

O Emmanuel

The last of the seven great Antiphons, O Emmanuel


O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
O Immanuel, you are our king and judge,
the One whom the peoples await and their Saviour.
O come and save us, Lord, our God.
Isaiah prophesied:

"The Lord himself, therefore, will give you a sign. It is this: the maiden is with child and shall give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel." (Isaiah 7:14)

Immanuel means "God is with us".

    Tuesday, December 22, 2009

    O Rex Gentium

    The King of the Nations,  or O Rex Gentium, O Antiphon number 6.


    O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
    lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
    veni, et salva hominem,
    quem de limo formasti.
    O King whom all the peoples desire,
    you are the cornerstone which makes all one.
    O come and save man
    whom you made from clay.
    Isaiah tells us:

    "For there is a child been born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace." (Isaiah 9:5)

    "He will wield authority over the nations, and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war." Isaiah 2:4

        Monday, December 21, 2009

        New saints on the way

        There has been news over the weekend of progress along the road to sainthood of a number of people.

        Pope John Paul II has had his heroic virtues confirmed. No surprises there. However so has Pius XII. This is great news and a clear sign that the Church will not listen to the anti-Catholic bigots who sit and snipe about things of which they know nothing. The sad fact is that most of the snipers are "liberal" Catholics or ex-Catholics who have an axe to grind.

        Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko has had his martyrdom formally recognised and the decree of beatification has been confirmed. This is wonderful news, especially for the very many Poles in our community, so many of whose lives have been directly influenced by Fr Jerzy Popiełuszko.

        Father Jerzy

        O Oriens

        O Antiphon number 5, O Oriens or O Rising Sun (Sunrise)

        O Oriens,
        splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
        veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
        O Rising Sun,
        you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice.
        O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
        Isaiah tells us:

        "The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone." (Isaiah 9:2)

        Sunday, December 20, 2009

        O Clavis David

        The fourth of the O Antiphons, O Clavis David or O key of David


        O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
        qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
        claudis, et nemo aperit:
        veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
        sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
        O key of David and sceptre of Israel;
        what you open no one else can close again;
        what you close no one can open.
        O come to lead the captive from prison:
        free those those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

        Isaiah's prophesy says:

        "I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and no one shall shut; he shall shut, and no one shall open." Isaiah 22:22

        "His authority shall grow continually, and there shall be endless peace for the throne of David and his kingdom. He will establish and uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time onwards and for evermore." Isaiah 9:7

        "...To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house."Isaiah 42:7.

          Saturday, December 19, 2009

          We've waited long enough

          The new English translation of the Roman Missal has finally been passed by the American bishops.

          Even after all this time there are liturgical dinosaurs who are trying to hold up the implementation of the translation. Dinosaurs like Bishop Trautman who thinks words like "ineffable", "consubstantial" and "oblatgion" are TOOOO HAAAARD for normal people to understand.

          Then we have dinosaurs like Fr Ryan and America Magazine who want us "just wait" and are running a petition to that effect. How much longer should we wait? Another 35 years Father?

          Now we have a chance to respond. Please add your name to the petition "We've Waited Long Enough".

          Mission Impossible

          h/t James at Catholic and Loving It

          O Radix Jesse

          The third of the O Antiphons, O Radix Jesse or O stock of Jesse


          O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
          super quem continebunt reges os suum,
          quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
          veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
          O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations;
          kings fall silent before you
          whom the peoples acclaim.
          O come to deliver us, and do not delay.

          Isaiah says:

          "A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots." (Isaiah 11:1)


          "That day, the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples. It will be sought by the nations and its home will be glorious." (Isaiah 11:10)
            Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of David's line and be born in David's city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1)

            Friday, December 18, 2009

            O Adonai

            The second of the O Antiphons, O Adonai

            O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
            qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
            et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
            veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

            O Adonai, and leader of Israel,
            you appeared to Moses in a burning bush
            and you gave him the law on Sinai.
            O come and save us with your mighty power.

            In Isaiah we read:

            "... but [He] judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land. His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless, his sentences bring death to the wicked. Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips." (Isaiah 11:4-5)

            "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king and our saviour." (Isaiah 33:22)

            Thursday, December 17, 2009

            O Sapientia

            The first of the O Antiphons. O Sapientia or O Wisdom.

            In Latin:

            O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
            attingens a fine usque ad finem,
            fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
            veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
            In English:
            O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High.
            You fill the universe and hold all things together
            in a strong yet gentle manner.
            O come to teach us the way of truth.

            In the prophecy of Isaiah we read:

            "On him the spirit of the Lord rests, a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord." (Isaiah 11:2).

            This prophecy is especially significant read with the Gospel of St John chapter 1, where we read in verses 1 - 3 "In the beginning was the Word: the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things came to be, not one thing had its being but through him."

            and in verse 14 "The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth."

            Isaiah's Lips Anointed with Fire

            Tuesday, December 15, 2009

            The O Antiphons

            On 17 December we enter the Octave before Christmas and we use, at Vespers, the seven "O Antiphons". Each day until 24 December has a different one of the seven O Antiphons preceding the Magnificat.

            Fr William Saunders at Catholic Education says

            The exact origin of the O Antiphons is not known. Boethius (c. 480-524) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoit-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they are in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases, “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of our liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

            The "O Antiphons" are important for two reasons. Firstly, each antiphon highlights a title for the Messiah, and secondly each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah telling of the coming of the Messiah.

            I hope to post the O Antiphon of the day, in Latin and English, each day from 17 to 24 December. The Latin will be as per the Breviarium Romanum and the English as per the The Divine Office translation as approved for use in England (and most other English speaking countries bar the US). Quotations from scripture will be as appear in The Jerusalem Bible.

            Rorate Mass

            We have a very large Polish community where I live. Indeed, our own pastor is Polish. The Polish Church maintains a very old tradition of celebrating Rorate Masses during Advent.

            A Rorate Mass is so called because the Introit begins with the words "Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant iustum..." (Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One...) (Isaiah 45:8)

            The Mass itself is a votive Mass in honour of our Lady and is held before dawn. The church is in darkness with only the sanctuary lit by candlelight. There is also a statue of our Lady placed in the sanctuary, symbolising thatChrist, our Light, is coming into the world and that He, the Light, comes from Mary.

            The liturgy is wonderfully beautiful. It was a truly spiritually moving experience and reminded me, sadly, just how poor and bereft of beauty are our ordinary English Masses.

            Monday, December 14, 2009

            The Religion of Peace

            Thursday, December 10, 2009

            Food for thought

            Fr Z at What Does the Prayer Really Say has a really short, thoughtful post about being forced to pray in church (of all places!).

            Click HERE to pay him a visit.

            Tuesday, December 8, 2009

            Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

            8 December is the feast day of the Immaculate Conception of our Lady.

            The Immaculate Conception is often confused with the Virgin Birth. Sadly this confusion extends to poorly formed Catholics, as well as to non-Catholics.

            For clarity, the Immaculate Conception refers to the conception without the stain of original sin of our Lady, Mary the Mother of God. In other words, it is Mary herself that had no original sin, unlike all other humans who have original sin.

            The Virgin Birth on the other hand refers, of course, to our Lord, Jesus Christ who was born of the Virgin Mary. To paraphrase the Creed - He became incarnate of the Virgin Mary by the power of the Holy Spirit.

            The feast day is an important one for our family as it is the patronal feast day of the schools our children attend (FCJ, and Beaulieu Convent) and, more, Our Lady is the Joint-Principal Patron of our Diocese (Portsmouth).

            Thursday, December 3, 2009

            St Francis Xavier

            Today is the feast day of St Francis Xavier, the co-founder of the Jesuits and missionary in Goa, Japan, Borneo and others.

            St Francis Xavier was born in Javier, Navarre, Spain on 7 April 1506 and died on 3 December 1552 on Sangchuan Island in China. He has numerous patronages including Foreign Missions, The Apostleship of Prayer, missionaries generally, Propogation of the Faith and countless schools, universities and churches.

            As a PS: this is an attempt at a scheduled posting ie written in advance. If all goes right, it should appear at 1.13 am on 3 December!

            Wednesday, December 2, 2009

            Devil worship in the Forest of Dean

            George Pitcher is an Anglican vicar. He is also a columnist for the Daily Telegraph and he has the following article on his blog. You can see the original by clicking here.

            English satanic practices always make me smile. They conjure up images of very white, fat people dancing around clumsily in a wood. So when I read our story today that a vicar in the Forest of Dean is seeing signs of “dark forces”, I’m afraid I was reminded more of Ghostbusters than of The Omen.
            But the Rev Nick Bromfield, rector of Drybrook, Lydbrook and Ruardean, is taking it all very seriously: “It might sound medieval to talk about the relationship between good and evil, but there is no middle ground on this. People need to leave well alone.”
            Oh, c’mon, Rev Nick. We’re not talking about Old Nick here, are we? All that classical theistic Greek dualism, which gave us the battle between God and the Devil, with the great eschatological battle fought out at the Cross of Calvary? Are you mates with Mel Gibson?  Or perhaps you just didn’t like finding a sheep’s head impaled on a stake outside one of your churches?
            I agree that’s not very nice, least of all for the sheep, but are we still really talking about a Miltonesque battle for dominion between the powers of darkness and light? I don’t think so. Evil is the absence of the divine in humanity, made potent by the power of human imagination gone wrong. So I agree that humans obviously have a capacity for great evil. But because they are possessed by the Prince of Darkness? No. There’s only room for one deity here.
            Still, the Rev Nick may not be sensing a whiff of sulphur after all. In fact, he might not be into fallen angels at all. He might be taking the St Michael. Because he also says that it might be “our ‘friends’ from that sphere of activity sending a tribute because we are successful.”
            Oh, I see. Atheists. That makes much more sense. Prof Richard Dawkins has yet to send me a severed sheep’s head to the Telegraph’s offices, but it’s only a matter of time.

             This is entirely typical of "liberal" Christianity that denies the presence of evil. It's pretty much a believe what you want attitude and it's the reason the Anglican Communion finds themselves in the terrible mess they are in right now.

            This is how the Father of Lies works - he convinces people that he doesn't exist. Note the Reverend's comment that "There’s only room for one deity here". Just the response the Devil is looking for.

            And as for St Michael, well...

            Saint Michael the Archangel,
            defend us in battle;
            be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
            May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
            and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
            by the power of God,
            thrust into hell Satan and all the evil spirits
            who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of souls.

            ht  Fr Dwight

            Interesting (and rather sad) NY Times piece

            The original can be found by clicking here. The parts in bold are my emphasis.


            By KENNETH J. WOLFE

            Published: November 28, 2009

            WALKING into church 40 years ago on this first Sunday of Advent, many Roman Catholics might have wondered where they were. The priest not only spoke English rather than Latin, but he faced the congregation instead of the tabernacle; laymen took on duties previously reserved for priests; folk music filled the air. The great changes of Vatican II had hit home.

            All this was a radical break from the traditional Latin Mass, codified in the 16th century at the Council of Trent. For centuries, that Mass served as a structured sacrifice with directives, called “rubrics,” that were not optional. This is how it is done, said the book. As recently as 1947, Pope Pius XII had issued an encyclical on liturgy that scoffed at modernization; he said that the idea of changes to the traditional Latin Mass “pained” him “grievously.”

            Paradoxically, however, it was Pius himself who was largely responsible for the momentous changes of 1969. It was he who appointed the chief architect of the new Mass, Annibale Bugnini, to the Vatican’s liturgical commission in 1948.

            Bugnini was born in 1912 and ordained a Vincentian priest in 1936. Though Bugnini had barely a decade of parish work, Pius XII made him secretary to the Commission for Liturgical Reform. In the 1950s, Bugnini led a major revision of the liturgies of Holy Week. As a result, on Good Friday of 1955, congregations for the first time joined the priest in reciting the Pater Noster, and the priest faced the congregation for some of the liturgy.

            The next pope, John XXIII, named Bugnini secretary to the Preparatory Commission for the Liturgy of Vatican II, in which position he worked with Catholic clergymen and, surprisingly, some Protestant ministers on liturgical reforms. In 1962 he wrote what would eventually become the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, the document that gave the form of the new Mass.

            Many of Bugnini’s reforms were aimed at appeasing non-Catholics, and changes emulating Protestant services were made, including placing altars to face the people instead of a sacrifice toward the liturgical east. As he put it, “We must strip from our ... Catholic liturgy everything which can be the shadow of a stumbling block for our separated brethren, that is, for the Protestants.” (Paradoxically, the Anglicans who will join the Catholic Church as a result of the current pope’s outreach will use a liturgy that often features the priest facing in the same direction as the congregation.)

            How was Bugnini able to make such sweeping changes? In part because none of the popes he served were liturgists. Bugnini changed so many things that John’s successor, Paul VI, sometimes did not know the latest directives. The pope once questioned the vestments set out for him by his staff, saying they were the wrong color, only to be told he had eliminated the week-long celebration of Pentecost and could not wear the corresponding red garments for Mass. The pope’s master of ceremonies then witnessed Paul VI break down in tears.

            Bugnini fell from grace in the 1970s. Rumors spread in the Italian press that he was a Freemason, which if true would have merited excommunication. The Vatican never denied the claims, and in 1976 Bugnini, by then an archbishop, was exiled to a ceremonial post in Iran. He died, largely forgotten, in 1982.

            But his legacy lived on. Pope John Paul II continued the liberalizations of Mass, allowing females to serve in place of altar boys and to permit unordained men and women to distribute communion in the hands of standing recipients. Even conservative organizations like Opus Dei adopted the liberal liturgical reforms.

            But Bugnini may have finally met his match in Benedict XVI, a noted liturgist himself who is no fan of the past 40 years of change. Chanting Latin, wearing antique vestments and distributing communion only on the tongues (rather than into the hands) of kneeling Catholics, Benedict has slowly reversed the innovations of his predecessors. And the Latin Mass is back, at least on a limited basis, in places like Arlington, Va., where one in five parishes offer the old liturgy.

            Benedict understands that his younger priests and seminarians — most born after Vatican II — are helping lead a counterrevolution. They value the beauty of the solemn high Mass and its accompanying chant, incense and ceremony. Priests in cassocks and sisters in habits are again common; traditionalist societies like the Institute of Christ the King are expanding.

            At the beginning of this decade, Benedict (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger) wrote: “The turning of the priest toward the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself.” He was right: 40 years of the new Mass have brought chaos and banality into the most visible and outward sign of the church. Benedict XVI wants a return to order and meaning. So, it seems, does the next generation of Catholics.

            Tuesday, December 1, 2009

            What's going on here?

            I'll leave you to figure out this one!

            Wednesday, November 25, 2009

            A Child is Born

            The Telegraph has some absolutely incredible photographs on its website. They are photos of a baby in the womb and were taken by Lennart Nilson for his book "A Child is Born" more than 40 years ago. The photos caused a sensation at the time and are still every bit as good today.

             Have a look at some more of the set on The Telegraph website. There are also some smallish pictures on

            Monday, November 23, 2009

            Oh dear, this is horrid

            Damian Thompson has the story of a vicar who has been threatened with violence if he accepts the Holy Father's generous offer. How very sad. The story is here.

            Plain old fashioned Pope bashing, nothing more, nothing less.

            Bad vestments

            When I say bad vestments, I mean some seriously bad vestments can be found at this blog - Bad Vestments.

            Here's a taster:

            Thanks to Fr Tim Finigan for spreading the word.

            Thursday, November 19, 2009

            Total Temperance

            And yet all the experts say drinking alcohol is bad for you! I'm sure I know which is worse.

            Wednesday, November 18, 2009

            Failing exams with dignity






            Tuesday, November 17, 2009

            Europe facing demographic "catastrophe"

   has a horrifying story up. You can read it here.

            There are some truly horrible statistics. Take this paragraph for example:

            The study found that the annual number of abortions in the EU equals the entire combined population of its ten smallest member states, with the three top aborting countries being Britain, France and Romania. In Europe there is one abortion every 25 seconds, for a total of more than 1,200,000 abortions a year. 19 percent of all European pregnancies end in abortion and 28 million children have been killed by abortion since 1990, making abortion the main cause of death in Europe.
             Read that again:
            • Effectively 1 in 5 pregancies ends in abortion;
            • There is an abortion every 25 seconds;
            • 1,2 million abortions a year;
            • 28 million legal murders since 1990;
            • Abortion is the main cause of death in Europe
            Truly the worship of Moloch is alive and well.

            In our present social context, marked by a dramatic struggle between the culture of life and the culture of death, there is need to develop a deep critical sense capable of discerning true values and authentic needs. Pope John Paul II - Evangelium Vitae

            Thought for the day

            For the correct formation of the liturgical conscience, it is important to stop condemning the liturgical form as it was known up to 1970. Those, who at this moment defend the validity of the traditional liturgy or its continued use, are treated like lepers: all tolerance for them ceases to exist. In the whole history of the Church we have never before seen such intolerance manifested! This stance shows a contempt and scorn for the whole history of the Church.

            How can we ever trust the Church, with such a point of departure? I have never been able to understand why so many bishops, with no plausible reason, have given themselves over to this law of intolerance and thereby work against the needed reconciliation within the Church.

            Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger: "God and the world" (2002)

            Monday, November 16, 2009

            St Nicholas of Chardonnet, Paris

            Video of the sung Low Mass offered on the Last Sunday after Pentecost

            Orignal video by protradition

            Solemn High Mass on EWTN

            EWTN will be showing, live, a solemn high Mass on Saturday 21 November. Broadcast time is 13h00 GMT.

            The blurb from EWTN reads: "From the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament, A Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite for the Feast of The Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary"

            Anglican converts

            Fr Dwight Longenecker has a very interesting interview with a former Episcopalian (Anglican) priest who converted to Catholicism along with 65 of his Episcopalian parishoners. This is well worth a read.

            Fr Dwight is himself a former Episcopalian priest.

            Sunday, November 15, 2009

            The Bitter Pill Part II

            Damian Thompson and Fr Z both have commentary on The Bitter Pill's latest attack on Catholicism. Fr Z fisks the editorial - if you can stomach the increasingly mad ravings from the magazine that was once Catholic

            Friday, November 13, 2009

            The Bitter Pill

            I see failed priest Nicholas Lash is foaming at the mouth in the latest issue of The Tablet. I won't bother with a link as I see no reason to increase traffic to their site but predictably he is suffering a grand mal seizure brought on by the details of the Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans being announced.

            There is no doubt the liberals don't like genuine ecumenical movement. Thank God for the Pope of Christian Unity.

            Thursday, November 12, 2009

            St Josaphat

            12 November is the memorial of St Josephat, bishop and martyr

            Wednesday, November 11, 2009

            And now for something completely different!

            An email doing the rounds...

            MY EX-WIFE THE PILOT

            My ex-wife started taking flying lessons about the time our divorce started and she got her license shortly before our divorce was final, later that same year.

            Yesterday afternoon I got a phone call, that she narrowly escaped injury in the aircraft she was piloting. Seems she was forced to make an emergency landing in Hamilton because of bad weather. Thank God the kids weren't with her.

            The FAA issued a preliminary report, citing pilot error: She was flying a single engine aircraft in IFR (instrument flight rating) conditions while only having obtained a VFR (visual flight rating).

            The absence of a post-crash fire was likely due to insufficient fuel on board. No one on the ground was injured.

            The photograph below was taken at the scene to show the extent of damage to her aircraft.

            She was really lucky.

            Keep scrolling...

            I don't care who you are, that was funny.

            St Martin of Tours

            St Martin was born in what is now Hungary, in 316. His father was a cavalry officer who was posted to Pavia in Italy and this is where Martin grew up.

            His parents were pagans but Martin defied their wishes and became a catechumen. When Martin was 15, he joined the cavalry himself and, around 334, was sent to what is now Amiens in France.

            While still at Amiens he experienced the vision that became the part of his life that he is most known for. In a vision, Martin saw himself with his soldiers meeting a beggar at the gates of Amiens. Feeling sorry for the beggar, Martin cut his own cloak in half and shared it with the beggar. That night he dreamed of Jesus wearing the half-cloak Martin had given away. He heard Jesus say to the angels: "Here is Martin, the Roman soldier who is not baptised; he has clad me."

            Around two years later, just before a battle at Worms in 336, Martin decided that his faith prohibited him from fighting saying, "I am a soldier of Christ. I cannot fight." As a result, he was charged with cowardice and jailed, but to prove the charge of cowardice false, he volunteered to go unarmed to the front of the troops. His superiors planned to take him up on the offer, but battle never took place and Martin was released from military service.

            After a time with Hilary of Poitiers in Tours, a period back in Italy, and subsequently as a hermit on Gallinara, Martin returned to Tours in 361, joining again with Hilary.

            In 371 Martin was acclaimed bishop of Tours. He is especially known for standing up against the pagans and attacking Arianism. Moreover, he founded the Abbey of Marmoutier, just outside Tours, and introduced a rudimentary parish system to his diocese.

            His memorial is celebrated today 11 November.

            Tuesday, November 10, 2009

            Pope St Leo the Great

            10 November is the memorial of Pope St Leo the Great.

            Pope Leo I was born in Tuscany and while little is known of his early life we do know that as a deacon he strongly opposed the heresy of Pelagianism and as Pope (after 440) was rigidly orthodox in, especially, his Christology, affirming the Church's teaching that Christ was both fully human and fully divine.

            Leo is only one of two Popes (and the first) in over 1000 years to be afforded the title "the Great". He is a doctor of the Church. Secularly he is known for having met Attila the Hun outside Rome in 452, and persuading him to turn back from his invasion of Western Europe. Finally, Leo is also the 9th longest reigning pope, from 440 – 461; 21 years, 1 month, and 13 days in total.

            Monday, November 9, 2009

            Anglicans and the Apostolic Constitution

            Damian Thompson has the norms and the Apostolic Constituion on his blog.

            The norms are here and the Constitution here.

            The Lateran Basilica

            9 November is the feast day of the Dedication of the Lateran Basilica aka the Basilica of St John Lateran.

            The Basilica is the cathedral of the Church of Rome and the official of the Bishop of Rome who is, of course, the Pope.

            Officially the name of the basilica is Archbasilica of the Most Holy Saviour and Saints John the Baptist and the Evangelist at the Lateran (Archibasilica Sanctissimi Salvatoris et Sancti Iohannes Baptista et Evangelista in Laterano)

            The Lateran Basilica is the oldest of the four major basilicas of Rome, and is the mother church for Catholicism.

            Friday, November 6, 2009

            Friday thought

            Statistically, most Catholics today come nowhere near the Liturgy, and even when they occasionally do, there is the serious risk of their being infected with what one might term 'spiritual food poisoning' from the diet of poor translations, gross informality, trite music, and any number of abuses.... with which they may be confronted.

            Dom Alcuin Reid: "Do we need a New Liturgical Movement?" UK CIEL Conference, London 2004

            Thursday, November 5, 2009

            Remember, remember...

            Guy Fawkes. The only man in history to enter parliament with the right intention.

            Wednesday, November 4, 2009

            St Charles Borromeo

            The 4th of November is the Memorial of St Charles Borromeo, an Italian saint who was a Counter-Reformation cardinal. He facilitated the final deliberations of the Council of Trent and was at various times, Archbishop of Milan, Cardinal of Romagna and the March of Ancona, and supervisor of the Franciscans, Carmelites and Knights of Malta. St Charles was responsible for various reforms within the church and was known for establishing seminaries. He was also the nephew of Pope Pius IV.

            Tuesday, November 3, 2009

            Thought for the day

            "The great problem of contemporary liturgical life (apathy towards worship, boredom, lack of vitality and participation) stems from the fact that the celebration has sometimes lost its character as mystery, which fosters the spirit of adoration. We often encounter an inflation of words, explanations and comments, homilies too long and poorly prepared, which leaves little room for the mystery being celebrated.

            Serious mistakes have sometimes been made in certain places: the location of the altar, tabernacle, and celebrants' chairs, overpowering illumination, excessive removal of ornamentation, etc.

            The fact that the celebrants and faithful constantly face each other closes the liturgy in on itself. On the other hand a sound celebration which takes into account the pre-eminence of the altar, the discretion of the celebrants' ministry, the orientation of everyone towards the Lord and the adoration of His presence signified in the symbols and realized by the sacrament, confers on the liturgy that contemplative atmosphere without which it risks being a tiresome religious disquisition, a useless community distraction, a sort of rigmarole.

            Wherever tradition has left stupendous altars placed against the apse, this arrangement could be respected by dividing the celebration into a face-to-face between the celebrants and the community for the Liturgy of the Word and a common orientation towards the altar from the time of the offertory to the Amen of the Eucharistic Prayer. This solution is preferable to setting up a second, portable altar in the shape of a chest or small table.

            The urgent need for the Church's liturgy today is to arrange everything so as to foster in the greatest possible way the contemplative adoration of the Lord , who reveals himself to His people in Word and Sacrament, and whose humble unobtrusive servants are the celebrants."

            Rev M Thurian "The Liturgy and Contemplation" in L'Osservatore Romano, English edition (24 July 1996)

            The above was written just prior to the death of Rev Max Thurian. Rev Thurian was subprior of the (Protestant) Taizé community and served as one of the Protestant advisors to Pope Paul VI's Consilium which composed the Novus Ordo.  In 1988 he become a Catholic and was ordained to the priesthood. As a celebrated convert and member of the International Theological Commission the article caused quite a stir.

            Monday, November 2, 2009

            The Catholic Herald Part 2

            Good Catholics should not wear aprons

            The Catholic Herald Part 1

            In yesterday's Herald there was a very interesting "letter" and "reply" on the state of our liturgy. You can read the whole feature here.

            One thing that really drew my attention was this (my emphasis):

            That said, I would agree with you that we need to "re-sacrificialise", in your invented but useful word, our common or garden usage of the rite of Paul VI - if not, in some respects, the rite itself. But to my mind the single greatest contribution we can make to that end is to press - judiciously and with respect - for the celebration of the Mass versus orientem, the Liturgy "turned towards the Lord".

            Commemoration of the Faithful Departed

            Or All Souls Day; the day when we pray for the souls of the faithful departed and for the remission of their temporal punishment.

            All Souls is principally a Latin rite commemoration as the Eastern Orthodox Church dedicates several days throughout the year to the dead.

            The bones which thou hast broken shall rejoice in the Lord.

            Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord,
            and let perpetual light shine upon them.

            Wednesday, October 28, 2009

            Saints Simon and Jude

            Today is the feast day of Saints Simon and Jude, both of whom were apostles.

            St Simon is called, in the lists of the apostles in the Gospel of St Luke and in Acts, Simon Zelotes. In the Gospels of St Matthew and St Mark, he is called Simon Kananaios, or Kananites. All three designations stem from the same source, the Hebrew word qana, meaning "the Zealous".

            His usual attribute is a saw as tradition has it that his body was sawed to pieces. Occasionally he is pictured with a lance.

            He is the patron saint of tanners.

            St Jude is clearly distinguished from Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of Jesus. Both Jude and Judas are translations of the same Greek variant of Judah, a name which was common among Jews at the time.

            In the lists of the apostles (in the Gospel of St Luke and in Acts), St Jude is listed Jude of James. The Gospel of St John also talks of a disciple called Judas not Iscariot and this is usually taken to mean St Jude.

            Interestingly, in some Latin manuscripts of Matthew, he is called Judas the Zealot but in other translations the reference is to Thaddeus.

            St Jude is well known as is the patron saint of desperate cases.

            Tuesday, October 27, 2009

            Just for fun

            Monday, October 26, 2009

            The Slippery Slope

            This is from Fr Dwight Longenecker's Standing on my Head blog. It's too good to resist reposting.

            Here is how Satan spreads his lies:

            1. Natural Law is ignored, undermined or made to look stupid by particular instances where it seems not apply.

            2. Subsequently religious and civil authorities have their laws questioned because they are 'too strict' too 'black and white', 'unworkable' or 'lacking in compassion'.

            3. Relativism is therefore introduced. An understanding gradually grows that 'there are no objective rule' that apply to all people at all times.

            4. Individualism is the next step. 'I guess I have to decide what is right for me in my situation.'

            5. Sentimentalism: People who live in a sinful situation demand that they not be judged. They deserve compassion and understanding. They are nice people really...but they have a problem. They're sick. They're wounded. Who are you to judge?

            6. Dialogue is demanded. "You need to listen to us and to our stories. Then you will understand we are just like you."

            7. Once sympathy is won, the goalposts are moved. Now they are not 'sick' or 'wounded' they're just 'different'. They expect to be accepted despite their 'differences'.

            8. Equal rights are expected by those who are acting against God's law. "We are not asking you to approve us. We are simply asking you to tolerate a difference of opinion. Simply allow us to be who we are!"

            9. Equal rights are demanded. Legislation and lobbying and protests are now in order. The pressure group for sin starts to get aggressive. They do so out of 'hurt' and 'woundedness.' Once they get their 'rights' (they claim) they will be happy and won't be so aggressive.

            10. Tolerance being won, they will not stop. They now demand not only that you tolerate, but that you approve. They've moved from being 'sick' or 'wounded' or 'disabled' by their condition to tolerance, and now they proclaim their condition to be 'good'. As Thomas More was not allowed to remain silent on the King's 'great matter' but had to approve, so the presssure group insists on approval.

            11. What was once tolerated now becomes mandatory. Society must integrate the new morality into every level--right down to schools and churches and scout groups. Everyone must adopt the new morality or suffer.

            12. Persecution of those who resist.

            13. Devil's real happy.

            Thursday, October 22, 2009

            The Pope of Christian Unity

            Fr Z has a post suggesting we should refer to Pope Benedict XVI as "the Pope of Christian Unity".

            I like that.

            Considering what the Holy Father has managed to achieve in 4 short years that couldn't be achieved by vast swathes of liberal theologians over the last 40 years, the suggestion really does make sense.

            You can read all Fr Z's reasons here

            Tuesday, October 20, 2009

            More on the Anglicans

            Fr Z has some more on this exciting story. Courtesy of VirtueOnline he has a fisked statement from ++ John Hepworth, Primate of the Tradional Anglican Commuion.

            Statement of the Primate
            of the Traditional Anglican Communion
            20th October 2009

            I have spent this evening speaking to bishops, priests and lay people of the Traditional Anglican Communion in England, Africa, Australia, India, Canada, the United States and South America.

            We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. He offers in this Apostolic Constitution the means for “former Anglicans to enter into the fullness of communion with the Catholic Church”. He hopes that we can “find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to us and consistent with the Catholic faith”. He then warmly states “we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith”.

            May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity. [This is a key point to keep in mind when considering what Pope Benedict does.] It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours. [This is very interesting. What the Holy See did exceeds their expectations.]

            While we await the full text of the Apostolic Constitution, we are also moved by the pastoral nature of the Notes issued today by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. My fellow bishops have indeed signed the Catechism of the Catholic Church and made a statement about the ministry of the Bishop of Rome, reflecting the words of Pope John Paul II in his letter “Ut Unum Sint”.

            Other Anglican groups have indicated to the Holy See a similar desire and a similar acceptance of Catholic faith. As Cardinal Levada has indicated, this response to Anglican petitions is to be of a global character. It will now be for these groups to forge a close cooperation, even where they transcend the existing boundaries of the Anglican Communion. [hmmm… even beyond the Anglican Communion.]

            Fortunately, the Statement issued by the Archbishop of Canterbury reflects the understanding that we have gained from him that he does not stand in our way, and understands the decisions that we have reached. Both his reaction and our petition are fruits of a century of prayer for Christian unity, a cause that many times must have seemed forlorn. We now express our gratitude to Archbishop Williams, and have regularly assured him of our prayers. The See of Augustine remains a focus of our pilgrim way, as it was in ages of faith in the past.

            I have made a commitment to the Traditional Anglican Communion that the response of the Holy See will be taken to each of our National Synods. They have already endorsed our pathway. Now the Holy See challenges us to seek in the specific structures that are now available the “full, visible unity, especially Eucharistic communion”, for which we have long prayed and about which we have long dreamed. That process will begin at once.

            In the Anglican Office of Morning Prayer, the great Hymn of Thanksgiving, the Te Deum, is part of the daily Order. It is with heartfelt thanks to Almighty God, the Lord and Source of all peace and unity, that the hymn is on our lips today. This is a moment of grace, perhaps even a moment of history, not because the past is undone, but because the past is transformed.

            Archbishop John Hepworth

            See Fr Z's blog here for his original post.

            Of priests and priestesses

            There is a rather strange report on the "ordination" of a woman "priest on ABC.

            Typically the report uses the liberal trick of reporting this as something more popular than it is ie an underground "phenomenon". The intention is of course to make normal people i.e. the majority who obey the teachings of the Church feel they are in the minority.

            It's also sad that the Lutherans clearly have no problem with assisting in an act of excommunication. So much for ecumenicism!

            The video can be seen here

            Hat tip Catholic Culture

            Big news from the Vatican

            A big, big story from Damian Thompson posted at his Telegraph blog within the last few minutes.

            Pope announces plans for Anglicans to convert en masse

            By Damian Thompson Religion Last updated: October 20th, 2009

            The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict is setting up special provision for Anglicans, including married clergy, who want to convert to Rome together, preserving aspects of Anglican liturgy. They will be given their own pastoral supervision, according to this press release from the Vatican:

            “In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”

            More on this very important story later. But this is clearly a historic gesture by Pope Benedict which will encourage thousands of disaffected Anglicans to become Roman Catholics.
            The original post is here

            Friday, October 9, 2009

            Who are they kidding part 2

            Creative Minority Report has pretty much the right take on this.

            Take a look here: Creative Minority Report

            Who are they kidding!

            From BBC News:

            US President Barack Obama has been awarded the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

            The Nobel Committee said he won it for "his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and co-operation between peoples".

            The committee highlighted Mr Obama's efforts to support international bodies and promote nuclear disarmament.

            What precisely has this snake oil salesman won the prize for?

            What exactly has he actually contributed to the world - except of course an extreme record in supportng the slaughter of the most innocent of human beings, the unborn.

            Sshh - don't tell anyone but here's a hot tip: Get your money on the Chosen One for Best Actor Oscar, World Footballer of the Year; and Album of the Year at the Grammys

            Thursday, October 8, 2009

            Franciscan traditionalists

            The all out assault on Catholicism continues

            Catholic bashing seems to be the flavour of the month!

            This time round it's Stephen Fry. Now I actually happen to think Stephen can be most entertaining but this really is a dreadful slur on 1) Catholics and 2) Poles.

            From Gerald Warner at The Telegraph:

            Fry, who joined Labour luvvies in signing an open letter protesting against the Tories’ alliance in the European Parliament with the Polish Law and Justice Party, said on Channel 4 News: “There’s been a history, let’s face it, in Poland of a right-wing Catholicism which has been deeply disturbing for those of us who know a little history and remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on”…

            That is beyond outrageous. It slanderously suggests that Auschwitz was run by Polish Catholics, not by German Nazis. “A little history” is right. Just how very little history Fry knows is demonstrated by that crassly ignorant statement. Auschwitz was on Polish soil, ergo it was a Polish institution? As for which side of the border Auschwitz was on, it was actually in Upper Silesia which had been annexed to Germany in 1939. It might, of course, be argued that the Poles built Auschwitz – if slave labour counts.

            The first prisoners in Auschwitz were Polish intellectuals and members of the resistance. Altogether, 150,000 Catholic Poles were murdered in Auschwitz, including Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Between two and three million Catholic Poles were killed in the Second World War. Polish pilots fought in the RAF in the Battle of Britain.

            Note Fry’s insidious use of the dog-whistle term “right-wing Catholicism”: the propagandist employment of the phrase “right wing” has recently been expounded by several bloggers on this site. Catholicism is neither “right-wing” nor “left-wing”: it professes certain moral precepts that are unchanging and non-negotiable at the behest either of focus groups or pressure groups.

            See the full article on Gerald Warner's blog here

            Wednesday, October 7, 2009

            What's in a name?

            A meaningless but fun website


            Seemingly I am:

            Poorly envoweled (is that a word? If so, should it not have a double "l"?);
            There are 1,342 Americans who have the same name as me;
            My Power Animal is the Bactrian Camel

            Tuesday, October 6, 2009

            So, St Malachy, who was he?

            I suppose the natural place to start the blog is with a brief history of St Malachy.

            Malachy born in Armagh in 1094 and was bapised
            Maolmhaodhog Ua Morgair, usually Anglicised as Malachy O'More. He was successively vicar-general to St Cellach, abbot of Bangor, then bishop of Connor before becoming archbishop of Armagh in1094. His primary achievement as a bishop may well have been his success at replacing the Celtic liturgy with the Roman.

            In 1138, Malachy resigned as archbishop of Armagh to go on pilgrimage to Rome, meeting and staying with St Bernard at Clairveaux for a time.

            Malachy attempted a second Rome pilgrimage in 1148 but only made it as far as Clairveaux where he died in the arms of St Bernard. He was formally canonised by Pope Clement III in 1190.

            No doubt most people know of Malachy because of his "prophecies of the popes". These prophecies are a list of 112 short Latin phrases supposedly describing 112 popes, beginning with Celestine II (1143) and ending with Peter II, who is of course, yet to be elected. After the election of Peter II or Petrus Romanus will come the destruction of Rome and the final judgement.

            The original Latin for the 112th Pope reads:

            In persecutione extrema S.R.E. sedebit.
            Petrus Romanus, qui pascet oves in multis tribulationibus:
            quibus transactis civitas septicollis diruetur,
            et Iudex tremendus iudicabit populum suum.
            An English translation I have is:

            During the last persecution of the Holy Roman Church,
            there shall sit Peter of Rome, who shall feed the sheep amidst many tribulations;
            and when these have passed, the City of the Seven Hills will be utterly destroyed,
            and the formidable Judge will judge the people.
            Do I believe the prophesies?

            Well I do know they writings attributed to Malachy were found around 150 years after his death.

            I also know there are some strange coincidences that seemingly tie in with the popes (and a few anti-popes) since Celestine II. But then again the old fraud Nostradumus had a few coincidences as well - or at least his interpretors found a few.

            If Malachy was right, and if the our present Holy Father really is "The Glory of the Olive", we are in real trouble ;)

            Intro and all that

            Ok, so what's the purpose of this blog? Vanity? Perhaps, but mainly a place to share things I see or like, other blogs, websites of interest and so on; especially with friends and family.

            As I say at the top of the blog, who knows how often I'll post. We'll see what happens. Blogging seems to be an infinitely more sensible way of exposing yourself on the internet than Facebook and the like!