Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Spy Wednesday

The Wednesday of Holy Week is sometimes known as Spy Wednesday.

The name comes from the fact that it was on the Wednesday before our Lord's Passion that Judas Iscariot first conspired with the Sanhedrin to betray Jesus.

Spy Wednesday is also known as Holy Wednesday in the Latin Church and as Holy and Great Wednesday in the Orthodox Churches.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Annunciation of the Lord

25 March is the solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, when the archangel Gabriel appeared to the Virgin Mary, telling her she was to become the Mother of Christ.

St Luke, in chapter 1 of his Gospel, tells us:
26 … the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth,27 to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. 28 He went in and said to her, 'Rejoice, you who enjoy God's favour! The Lord is with you.'
29 She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, 30 but the angel said to her, 'Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God's favour. 31 Look! You are to conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; 33 he will rule over the House of Jacob forever and his reign will have no end.'
34 Mary said to the angel, 'But how can this come about, since I have no knowledge of man?'
35 The angel answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. 36 And I tell you this too: your cousin Elizabeth also, in her old age, has conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, 37 for nothing is impossible to God.'
38 Mary said, 'You see before you the Lord's servant, let it happen to me as you have said.' And the angel left her.
The Annunciation is the joint patronal feast day of our parish church. It also happens to be the birthday of someone closely connected with this blog!

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death. Amen

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

St Malachy on holiday!

St Malachy is off to sunnier climes for the next four weeks.

Things will go very quiet on the blog for a while as interweb access is going to be a little hit and miss but I will post bits and pieces as and when I can.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Just because!

Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ.
Et concepit de Spiritu Sancto. 

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. 
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Ecce Ancilla Domini.
Fiat mihi secundum Verbum tuum.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. 
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Et Verbum caro factum est.
Et habitavit in nobis.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum. 
Benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Iesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genetrix.
Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Gratiam tuam quæsumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde; ut qui, angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui Incarnationem cognovimus, per passionem eius et crucem, ad resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.
Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.

 The picture is Jean-François Millet's The Annunciation

The myth of the paedophile priest

Fr Dwight Longenecker has a post on the thorny subject of child abuse by priests. What he says deserves to be read and his full post is here. Some of the points for consideration he raises are:

  • Priestly celibacy is not the issue - married men are more likely to abuse children than unmarried
  • Most child abuse takes place within the home.
  • All religious groups have pedophile scandals, and the Catholics (while the largest religious group) are at the bottom of the list statistically.
  • Child abuse is prevalent in all areas of society: schools, youth organizations, sports, etc.
  • Statistically, of all the professions, Christian clergy are least likely to offend. Doctors, Farmers and Teachers are the professions most likely to abuse children--not clergy.
  • Among clergy offenders Catholic priests are least likely to offend.
He also has further insightful commentary on the issue here.

St Turibius of Mongrovejo

23 March is the feast day of St Turibius, Bishop of Lima. The breviary says:

Born in Spain about the year 1538. He studied law in Salamanca and in 1580 was chosen to be Bishop of Lima and went to America. He was on fire with apostolic zeal and called together synods and councils for the purpose of reforming religion in the whole country. He strenuously defended the rights of the Church and looked after the flock committed to his care by going among them on visitation, as well as spending much time and labour for the good of the native Indian population. He died in 1606.

St Turibius was beatified in 1679 by Pope Blessed Innocent XI.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Must see website

This is really very good indeed. A virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel.

Have a look - it's bound to make you feel good!

Link here: Vatican - Sistine Chapel

The Pope's letter to the Church in Ireland

I've been slow to post anything about Benedict XVI's letter to the Irish Church. There is plenty of eloquent comment out there including by Fr Ray Blake, Fr Tim Finigan and Fr Z.

All I want to say is that the letter confirms my belief that we have been given a wonderful gift in Pope Benedict XVI. Let us pray his reign is a long one.

Friday, March 19, 2010

St Joseph, foster-father of our Lord

We don’t really know much about St Joseph because the Gospels don’t tell us much of the life of Jesus after childhood and before the beginning of his public ministry. We do know that his home town was Bethlehem but by the time of the Annunciation he was living in Nazareth.

We know too that because of the census decreed by Caesar Augustus, St Joseph took his pregnant wife, the Blessed Virgin Mary, to Bethlehem where the Saviour was born and laid in a manger. St Matthew (2:13) tells us that an angel appeared to St Joseph warning him to flee with his family to Egypt which he did in time to avoid Herod’s murder of the Holy Innocents in Bethlehem and surrounding area.

It is clear that after some years in Egypt, the Holy Family travelled back to Nazareth and we can surmise that Jesus was taught the craft of St Joseph the Carpenter. The only other significant mention of St Joseph in the Gospels is the "loss" of Jesus in the temple in Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 years old.

We know nothing of the death of St Joseph but it is safe to assume that he died before Christ began his public life; else it’s inevitable he would have been mentioned again in the Gospels. It’s quite probable he died and was buried in Nazareth.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lent and the precedence of solemnities

Fr Z has a good question from a reader on his blog:

Friday is the Solemnity of St. Joseph. I know that according to canon law, solemnities take precedence over any day of penance, at least in ordinary time. Are we still bound to abstinence from meat on March 19?
The short answer is no but read Fr Z's whole commentary HERE.

St Cyril of Jerusalem

Today is the memorial of St Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop and Doctor of the Church.

The breviary note says about him:
Born of Christian parents in the year 315. He succeeded Maximus as Bishop of Jerusalem in 348. He was involved in the Arian controversy and more than once was sentenced to exile. His Catecheses in which he explained the true doctrine of the faith and Sacred Scripture as well as the tradition of the Church for the sake of the people show his pastoral zeal. He died in the year 386.

His Catholic Encyclopedia entry is here.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Hail glorious St Patrick

Hail, glorious St. Patrick, dear saint of our isle,
On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;
And now thou art high in the mansions above,
On Erin's green valleys look down in thy love.

I suspect there are not many people in the western world who do not know that today, 17 March, is St Patrick's day. For most "Paddy's day" is nothing more than another Hallmark Holiday and a chance to go on the lash wearing a ridiculous hat and leprechaun wig. Few recall that this is a Church feast day celebrating the life of a significant early bishop and missionary.

The public perception of St Patrick's day should serve as a warning of what lies in store for Christmas in the increasing hostile secular society.

Having been Mr Misery Guts - Happy St Patricks day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

BBC presenter calls priest "the biggest paedophile in town"

There is an extremely distasteful story in the Scottish Sun today which is reproduced below.

Tam Cowan describes himself as a comedian. It will certainly be a joke if he keeps his job in the BBC Scotland sports department after this!

STUNNED dinner guests told of their shock last night - after radio comic Tam Cowan allegedly branded an innocent priest a paedophile.

The radio and TV football pundit is said to have hurled the vile insult at Father Gerry Magee while speaking at a sportsman's function.

Cowan first joked that he hoped the churchman's team, Celtic, would get a hammering in the Old Firm match at Ibrox last month.

But when Fr Magee quipped he was actually the biggest RANGERS fan in town, Cowan, 40, replied: "You're the biggest paedophile in town."

The priest and at least two other diners then stormed out of the event, at the Masonic Lodge in Kilwinning, Ayrshire.

Cowan, who co-hosts BBC Radio Scotland's 'Off The Ball' show and writes a column for a tabloid newspaper, was later reported to police by the furious cleric.

Last night, Fr Magee, 54, of Saint Winin's Church in Kilwinning, said it would be inappropriate to discuss the sick remark.

But one source revealed: "Everyone was gobsmacked at what Tam Cowan had said. Nobody laughed. It wasn't even funny.

"Fr Magee was at the dinner as a guest of the local Masons, and when Tam Cowan got up to speak, he asked the local priest to identify himself.

"When Fr Magee stood up, Cowan said to him 'I hope your team gets f****d' - referring to Celtic. Fr Magee was shocked and tried to make light of it by saying 'I am the biggest Rangers fan in the town'.

"Apparently, Cowan's reply to that was 'You're the biggest f*****g paedophile in the town'.

"Everyone was in total shock and no one took it as a joke."

Last night, a spokeswoman for Strathclyde Police confirmed: "An allegation has been made and police inquiries are at an early stage to establish whether any crime has been committed."
You do have to wonder though what a priest was doing at a function in a Masonic Lodge!

Monday, March 15, 2010

And so follow the Canadians

Following hard on the heels of traditionalist Anglicans in Australia and America comes the news that The Anglican Catholic of Canada have requested the implementation of the provisions of Anglicanorum coetibus.

And so the Pope of Christian Unity's ecumenicalism continues to bear fruit.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Of cities and counterfeits

The website has an unusual take on the world's top 10 counterfeit cities. They report:

What’s Australia’s capital city? If your answer is Sydney, you make a mistake. However, you are not the only one to make that foolish mistake, because there are many like you. Tourist Website voted the world’s top ten counterfeit capital cities. Chief Executive Officer of Virtual said: “Certain city of a country or a province (state) is the largest or most populous city, so we mistakenly regard it as the capital or capital city of its country or province.”

The following is the world’s top ten ”counterfeit” capitals or capital cities:


1. New York City, posing as New York State’s capital. The same name is called “New York”, but New York City is not New York State’s capital. The real capital is Albany, New York.


2. Sydney poses as Australia’s capital. Actually, Sydney is Australia’s largest city and is also the capital of New South Wales. Australia’s capital is Canberra.


3. Chicago poses as the capital of Illinois. As a matter of fact, the “Windy City” Chicago is not the capital of Illinois. The real capital in the hometown of Abraham Lincoln — Springfield.


4. Rio de Janeiro, posing as Brazil’s capital, is Brazil’s second largest city and the largest harbor city. Rio de Janeiro is also known as the Carnival City. However, it is not Brazil’s capital, and the real capital is Brasilia.


5. Istanbul, posing as Turkey’s capital. It’s Turkey’s largest city and port, and it’s the world’s only one way across two continents – Europe and Asia. It is not the Turkey’s capital city. Its capital is Ankara.


6. Geneva poses as the capital of Swizerland. The right answer is neither Geneva nor Zurich. Bern is Switzerland’s capital city.

Sacred Heart Cathedral, Pretoria

7. Johannesburg poses as South Africa’s capital. South Africa has three capitals. The administrative capital is Pretoria. The legislative capital is Cape Town. The judicial capital is Bloemfontein.


8. Timbuktu poses as the capital of Mali. As a historic city, Timbuktu is probably the most famous city in Mali, but the fact is the capital of Mali is Bamako.

Carson City

9. Las Vegas poses as the capital of Nevada. In fact, Las Vegas is not Nevada State’s capital, the real capital is Carson City.


10. Casablanca poses as the capital of Morocco. Though Casablanca is Morocco’s largest city and the Hollywood film Casablanca glorifies Casablanca, it’s not the capital. Instead, the capital is Rabat.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Irish al-Qaeda hit squad

Another story of how "a minority" of Mohammedans are "misunderstanding" their religion of peace.

From RTÉ comes the news that seven Mohammedans have been arrested in Waterford and Cork in relation to conspiracy to murder charges.

Five people have been arrested in Waterford and two others in Cork in connection with an investigation into a conspiracy to murder a Swedish cartoonist.
Cartoonist Lars Vilks has been threatened over his drawing depicting the Prophet Muhammad with the body of a dog.
The head of an al-Qaeda faction in Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, posted an audio tape on the internet in September 2007 offering $100,000 for the killing of Mr Vilks.
This morning, detectives arrested three men and two women in Waterford and Tramore and another man and woman at Ballincollig, near Cork city.
A number of searches also took place and documents, computers and mobile phones were seized.
A garda spokesman said the operation was part of an investigation into a conspiracy to murder an individual in another jurisdiction.
Members of the Garda National Support Services and the Special Detective Unit were also involved in this morning's operation.
Gardaí say they are working closely with police forces in a number of other European countries and in the US.
The seven people arrested this morning range in age from their mid-20s to their late-40s.
They are being questioned at garda stations in Waterford, Tramore, Dungarvan and Thomastown.
All are being detained under section 50 of the Criminal Justice Act, which allows for them to be held for up to a week.
Those in custody are originally from Morocco and Yemen, but it is understood they all have refugee status and are legally in the country. It is believed they know each other and some could be related.

Misdialled numbers

Catholic News Agency has a story here about a woman who telephoned her local death mill because she was running late for her scheduled abortion. She misdialled the number and ended up talking to a representative of 40 Days for Life, a pro-life group. She ended up cancelling the abortion and decided to carry the child to term.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

St Frances of Rome

9 March is the memmorial of St Frances of Rome. The breviary entry says about her:

"Born in Rome in the year 1384. She was married when very young and gave birth to three children. She lived in troubled times and gave her goods to the poor and tended the sick. She was outstanding in virtue especially in humility, patience and devotion to the needy. In the year 1425 she founded a Congregation of Oblates following the rule of Saint Benedict and died in 1440."

In the life of Saint Frances of Rome, Lord
You gave us an outstanding example
of the married state and of the religious life.
Grant that we may discern your presence
in all the circumstances of our lives,
and follow you to the end of our days.

Monday, March 8, 2010

St John of God

St John of God was born in Portugal on 8 March 1495. He served in the army in Spain under Emperor Charles V before becoming a friar and dedicating the remainder of his life to the poor and sick.

He founded a hospital in Grenada and is probably best known as founder of the Order of Hospitallers aka Brothers Hospitallers of St John of God.

St John of God died on his 55th birthday on 8 March 1550 and was canonised by Pope Alexander VIII in 1690. He is the patron saint of hospitals, the sick, nurses, fire fighters, alcoholics and booksellers.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Anti-Catholicism and British politics

Damian Thompson had a very interesting op-ed in yesterday's Telegraph titled "Gay church blessings and a crisis of faith". The whole piece can be found here.

Much of the article makes sense to me. I certainly agree that Labour's overarching guiding light is " an ideology of human rights rooted in European secularism". There is no doubt too that we are often our own worst enemy and the comment "..many of the leaders and most of the bureaucracy of the Anglican and Catholic Churches in Britain are rooting for Labour in the culture wars" is spot on.

The article also picks up on the fact that Catholics in the cabinet have been systematically removed since Paw Broon took over. What the article doesn't do, perhaps for obvious reasons, is point out that Scottish Presbyterians are, to a man, anti-Catholic bigots. Ask any Scottish Catholic who lives in, say Bridgeton, or Ibrox, or Govan how welcome he feels in his own country. Ask any Catholic who lives in a small town like Kilwinning or on Lewis or Harris or North Uist how free he feels to practice his faith. Ask any Glasgow Catholic subjected Orange marches all summer long how that feels.

Can it be mere coincidence that since the "son of the manse" has taken over as Dear Leader, all practicing Catholics have been removed from Government?

Oh give me a home,
Where there's no Pope of Rome
Where there's nothing but Protestants stay.
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And flute bands play The Sash every day.

Really cool music video

This is too good not to share.

h/t: Fr Finigan

Thursday, March 4, 2010

After the Australians come the Americans

I love it when a plan comes together!

In February we had the news that Forward in Faith Australia had voted in favour of accepting the Pope of Christian Unity's offer for an Ordinariate.

Now comes the news that the Traditional Anglican Communion in the USA have made the decision to formally request an Ordinariate for the USA.

Deo gratias

Saint Casimir, patron of Lithuania, Poland and the young

Today is the feast day of St Casimir.

The breviary says about him: "Born in the year 1458, the son of the King of Poland. He practiced the Christian virtues especially chastity and love of the poor. He was conspicuous for a firm faith and for his veneration for the Holy Eucharist and the Blessed Virgin Mary. He died of phthisis in the year 1484."

St Casimir was canonised by Pope Adrian VI in 1522.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Catholic and being stuck in the past

What is it with Anglicans and their desperate desire to be seen as Catholic? Richard Harries, the former bishop of Oxford, stakes his somewhat shaky claim in this article in The Times.

The premise of the article is, essentially, that as an Anglican he is already a Catholic, only better. The only better part is founded on the Anglican misconception that objective truth doesn't exist and that the church should accept the prevailing mores of society ie "move with the times". Artifical contraception - check. Abortion (in difficult cases of course) - check. IVF - check. Gay "marriage" - check. Ordination of women - check. And so the list goes on.

Moral relativism by leading Anglicans is nothing new. What is new is the outrageous attempt to legitimise the lack of doctrine or adherence to truth by suggesting that Cardinal Newman would somehow have approved of present state of Anglicanism.

I suspect the only sense in which Blessed John Henry Newman may have approved is that the present Anglican state of affairs is driving at least some of its members home to Rome.

Me? I'll take being "stuck in the past".

Fr Dwight Longenecker has a great rant about this same issue on his blog.

Monday, March 1, 2010

St David

St David is not a saint who appears in the General Calendar. He is, however, the patron saint of Wales and so today, 1 March, is a feast in England and a solemnity in Wales.

Very little is known for certain about Saint David. He was probably born in Cardigan circa 520. He was a bishop and primate of Wales and died around 588. He was renowned as a preacher and founded monasteries and churches all over Wales.

Unlike  the patron saints of the other nations making up the British Isles (Andrew, Patrick and George) David was actually born in the country of which he is patron.

He was canonized by Pope Callistus II in 1123.