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Showing posts from March, 2010

Reading Blessed Columba Marmion

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Abbot Columba Marmion was the third Abbot of Maredsous Abbey in Belgium. He originally wanted to be a missionary in Australia but as a young man was won over by the liturgy of the recently founded Abbey of Maredsous where he was solemnly professed in 1891. When he became Abbot in 1909, he had care of over 100 monks. His spiritual conferences were thought worthy of a wider audience and thanks to his secretary, Dom Raymond Thibaut, they were prepared for publication.

These were originally translated by a nun of Tyburn Convent but recently, Gracewing have published new translations by Alan Bancroft. The recently published "Christ in His Mysteries" has a Foreword by Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR and an Introduction by Fr Aidan Nichols OP. Concerning the project of translation, Alan Bancroft remarks:
[...] it is extraordinary, is it not, that the words of this Dubliner, who became the abbot of a Benedictine community in Belgium and spoke and wrote in French, have to be translated back…

A damascene conversion

From
they are sad, pitiful losers, the furthest of outcasts from our society.
[...]
they can undergo counselling that reduces their chances of reoffending substantially.
To
I'm not really inclined to spend my time engaging with paedophile-defenders like - as you put it - "His Holiness."
[...]
I hope one day you have an awareness of the despicable and evil crime you are defending
How times change!

See posts at Dolphinarium:
Paedophiles are Human Too
and
Johann Hari's rude and bigoted reply to a reader who corrected his factual inaccuracies

Let me be clear: the Pope is not a paedophile-defender, far from it. That slur was in response to a reader who dared to correct Jonathan Hari's outrageous misrepresentation of Crimen Sollicitationis and Pope Benedict. For a sympathetic approach to offenders (particularly if they are pop stars) cf. Johann Hari's earlier article Paedophiles are People Too.

MercatorNet offshoot defending Pope Benedict

The blog MercatorNet has recently started an offshoot called Just B16. The first paragraph of the About page gives the flavour:Just B16 is MercatorNet’s contribution to clearing the air about the sex abuse scandal enveloping Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church. Last year, in our “Our public intellectual A-list” we described Benedict as “the world's leading voice for human dignity founded upon the divine creation of man” – which he undoubtedly is. We feel that ill-informed, unjust and vicious attacks on Benedict’s credibility will ultimately undermine the credibility of human dignity itself.

An insult to fish

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Damian Thompson today has an important article: The Pope, the judge, the paedophile priest and The New York Times. This includes the full article by Fr Brundage, the priest who was presiding judge at the tribunal which proceeded against Fr Murphy. The original is at Catholic Anchor, the website of the Diocese of Anchorage: Setting the record straight in the case of abusive Milwaukee priest Father Lawrence Murphy. When I clicked it a few minutes ago, there was a server error. Another try and it was OK but I guess that the server is being hit quite heavily just now so you can take the text from Damian Thompson or check the original. (The kind of procedure the NYT seems to have neglected.)

Fr Brundage sets out to do the following:
To tell the back-story of what actually happened in the Father Murphy case on the local level;To outline the sloppy and inaccurate reporting on the Father Murphy case by the New York Times and other media outlets;To assert that Pope Benedict XVI has done more th…

Three additions to the blogroll

1. Love the Tradition - Loathe the Traddies
(can we call it "Tradwatch" for short?) is written by "The Raven" who is a Catholic priest. The strapline is:A blog where we are fairly sure that good taste is not always nearest to godliness and that the cut of your maniple has little bearing on your orthodoxy.A good post "Throwing Blame" looks at Gerald Warner's recent article It's the Pope's turn to retaliate in Catholic civil war.

I agree with The Raven that the problem of child abuse does not relate only to the last 40 years but goes longer and deeper into our history. The best book I have read on this is After Asceticism which I reviewed for Faith Magazine a couple of years ago.

2. Laodicea
"a filthy puddle of popery" is a Scottish Catholic blog. Yesterday's post was an important one: Peter Tatchell and Child Abuse, giving the link to Peter Tatchell's call for lowering the age of consent to 14. Berenike comments:Presumably he w…

Religious community for girls with trisomy

Thanks to Berenike for this lovely story posted on her blog Laodicea: Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb. This is a small contemplative Benedictine community called Little Sisters Disciples of the Lamb. There are seven sisters, five of whom have Downs syndrome. They have recently moved to a new location "near a large Benedictine Monastery". (That would be Fontgombault.)

90% of children with Downs Syndrome are killed before seeing the light of day. Small as it is, this community's charming and gentle example deserves to echo around the globe as a testament that people are not worthless just because they have trisomy.

Our problems - a short summary

H/T to St Johns Valdosta for posting clips from "The Vortex", an online daily Catholic TV show posted on their YouTube channel. Michael Voris is hard-hitting and maybe sometimes gets a punch in below the belt but you may perhaps agree with me that as a pacy news presentation, this is a whole lot more fun than what we are used to.

Let teachers get on with teaching

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In the Times yesterday, Madeleine Teahan wrote on the pressures faced by school teachers who are called upon to fulfil an increasing set of roles "sex advisor; behaviour manager; dietician; counsellor and fitness instructor, to name a few." The article offers a different perspective on the proposals for compulsory sex education in schools.

See: Is sex education the responsibility of parents or teachers?

Atheist warns against Catholic-bashing

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Many thanks to a correspondent who sent me the link to an article in which Brendan O'Neill, atheist editor of Spiked, steps aside from the mainstream commentary to say:
The reaction to the paedophile priest scandal is as guilty of scaremongering, illiberalism and elitism as the Catholic Church has ever been.I don't agree with everything in the article but he makes some good points about the effects of the "new atheism". See: Why humanists shouldn’t join in this Catholic-bashing

Palm Sunday at St Aloysius, Melbourne

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Fr Glen Tattersall sends me news of the Palm Sunday Mass yesterday at St Aloysius Church in Melbourne which I mentioned last month. Most Rev Basil Meeking, Bishop Emeritus of Christchurch, New Zealand, blessed the palms, led the procession and celebrated Pontifical Mass - all in the usus antiquior, of course. The above is just one photo from the collection at the website.

Franciscans of the Immaculate ordination photos

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Many thanks to Rinascimento Sacra for posting photos of the ordinations of priests of the Franciscans of the Immaculate by Cardinal Franc Rodé at the Church of All Saints in Florence last Thursday. You can see in the above photo that Mgr Wach and another priest from the Institute of Christ the King were also there.

Letter in today's Sunday Telegraph

Today's Sunday Telegraph published a letter opposing current moves to enforce compulsory sex education. Here is the text:Mandatory lessons on sex in primary schools

SIR – Parents and guardians have the primary responsibility for bringing up their children in accordance with their own values and culture. They may entrust the task of formal education to a school of their choice, but the overall responsibility for the upbringing of their children remains theirs.

The Children, Schools and Families Bill undermines this principle and seeks to impose a particular ideology by means of statutory sex and relationships education from the age of 5 (which primary schools do not currently have to teach). We would therefore urge Parliament decisively to oppose it.

A state which seeks to centralise responsibilities which are properly fulfilled by families is acting in an unjust manner and undermines the basis of a free society.The lead signatory and organiser of the letter was Norman Wells of the…

Goebbels redivivus

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Damian Thompson today has a quotation from Richard Dawkins about the Holy Father, whom he describes as a "leering old villain in a frock". Have a read of this section:
No, Pope Ratzinger should not resign. He should remain in charge of the whole rotten edifice – the whole profiteering, woman-fearing, guilt-gorging, truth-hating, child-raping institution – while it tumbles, amid a stench of incense and a rain of tourist-kitsch sacred hearts and preposterously crowned virgins, about his ears.Does that not sound a whole lot like a previous propagandist against another world religion?

Just for the record, here are a couple of the comments that have been published at the Richard Dawkins website:

Appeal for an anti-Catholic Kristallnacht:
Until the mid 60's it was traditional for a monk to appear three times before a new pope at his coronation, to burn a taper and utter the words "sic transit gloria mundi" (thus passes the glory of the world) as a reminder of the trans…

A plea for reason

There is a good piece by Andrew Brown on the Telegraph blogs today which makes a plea for journalists to apply reasonable standards to the current Pope story: Why can't the media treat the Pope fairly?. As he says:Intelligent journalists who are normally capable of mental subtlety and of coping with complexities have abandoned their critical faculties. There is an atmosphere of unreason.

Early Tenebrae without the sad bits

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Thanks to @Londiniensis on Twitter for the link to this post from Archdruid Eileen of the Beaker Folk of Husborne Crawley describing Authentic Earth Hour Worship. I give you a taster:
We agreed that, given Taizé chant is fairly simple and the band wasn't needed, we'd risk it and go for a complete hour's worship in the dark. A kind of early Tenebrae, but without the sad bits.

So with fifty Beaker Folk sat quietly on their bean bags, enjoying the authentic Celtic flavour of a song from France sang in Latin, it was all going remarkable well. Even the Tibetan Prayer Bells were being bashed in time.

And then we found out about the Liturgical Dance.

Again, I'm not finding fault with the authenticity here. I'm sure that in 6th century Staffa, Mull or Islay, Celtic French Latin worship with Tibetan Prayer Bells was always accompanied by four of the less slender worshippers equipped with ribbons and a beach ball and performing a liturgical polka. You can see how that would …

Interview with Cardinal Levada on Salt and Light

I haven't watched this all through but thought I would pass on to you an interview given by Cardinal Levada to Fr Thomas Rosica of the Canadian Salt and Light TV.

Susanna Maiolo was more honest

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Susanna Maiolo was more honest. An article in the Irish Independent today makes a characteristically snide attack on Pope Benedict:
Sources said that Pope Benedict was considering diverting attacks on his handling of paedophile cases in Germany and France by taking strong action in Ireland.

The sources added that the Pope was considering the option of seeking Cardinal Brady's resignation to prove to his critics that he was now fully determined to tackle the worldwide abuse crisis.In other words, damned if he does, damned if he doesn't. If the Holy Father does ask Cardinal Brady to resign, it will now be construed as diverting attacks on himself. There is also a sly insinuation in the "now" of the second sentence quoted. Pope Benedict has long been known as tough on the "filth" of clergy sexual abuse and, as Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith, introduced procedures to ensure that offenders were dismissed from the clerical state.

Authors of the article…

Dominican Rite tutorial

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The Eastern US Province of Dominicans have just launched a new Dominican Rite Tutorial Website for the Dominican Rite Mass of 1962 complete with HD video, video commentary, and detailed rubrics in English.

In the tutorial section, there are some Dominican Friar icons. When you click these, a popup appears with texts from St Thomas Aquinas, St Albert the Great, and St Vincent Ferrer on the ceremonies of the Dominican Mass. The Dominican Rite was codified in 1256 and was therefore old enough to continue being used after the Tridentine Missal was codified. It is quite something to ponder that when you attend the classical Dominican Rite, you are participating in Mass just as it was celebrated by St Thomas Aquinas.

I am not familiar with the Dominican rite and this tutorial will be a great help for me in understanding this important variant within the family of Western rites of Mass.

Acta redacta

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Thanks to Fr Z for the news that the Acta Sanctae Sedis and the Acta Apostolicae Sedis have now been put online at the Vatican website.

The Acta Sanctae Sedis ran from 1865 to 1908, carrying the documents of the Holy See. In 1904, its contents were designated as "authentic and official". It was replaced in 1908 by the Acta Apostolicae Sedis which was given a more specific authority in that teh legal documents published are considered to be promulgated when published, and effective three months from the date of publication, unless a shorter or longer time is specified in the law itself.

These Acta are essential for those wishing to give authentic references to official documents of the Holy See and have hitherto only been available to those with access to a Catholic library that carries them. Providing them online is an important and significant service. The picture above is page 481 from the 1968 volume: the first page of the encyclical Humanae Vitae.

News from Croydon

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Although I was born in North Cheam (which I used to put down as Cheam Septentrionalis on forms at the Gregorian University) we moved to Croydon when I was about a year old and grew up with visits to the Fairfield Halls, visits to the new Whitgift Centre, a Saturday job at Grants and Saturday evening outings to the Greyhound underneath the Nestles building (before the rebranding of the company to "ness-lay".) My sister Mary still lives there with her family and wrote to me in connection with my post "off the Boulevard St-Michel":
I happen to be very fond of the song Where do you go to my lovely? When I was in Mrs Hill's class at St Mary's, she made us all choose French names, so I insisted on being called Marie-Claire, having heard the immortal line, 'So look into my face, Marie-Claire...' many times. She was impressed at my knowing such an authentic French name. I don't think I told her where I discovered it! The Sarstedt brothers, though born…

Confessions and priestly fraternity in New Addington

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New Addington is a housing estate on the outskirts of Croydon which has had a mixed reputation over the years. Fr Stephen Boyle has, for a number of years, been an untiring pastor at the Church of the Good Shepherd, bringing a straightforward, faithful, and cheerful message of faith to the people under his care. Every so often, he arranges for the children of the Catholic school next door to the Church, to come in for Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Confessions. He invites various priests to come and then takes us all out for lunch afterwards, combining pastoral care for the children with a ministry to priests.

Today Fr Charles Briggs and I drove down to help out and to enjoy a convivial priestly gathering. Fr Stephen's brother, Fr John Boyle, of Veritas in Caritate was also there along with other priests from the local area.

Baptism water rosary photo

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This photo is doing the rounds at the moment. Here is the accompanying text:This was taken at the baptism of Valentino Mora, son of Erica, a single mom of 21 who asked the photographer to take a picture of her son for free. The photo of the baptism of Valentino Mora is sweeping the Internet, because at the time the priest pours the Holy water over his head, the water flows in the shape of a rosary. This story began at the Parish of the Assumption of Our Lady in Cordova, Spain, where the baptism of a one month baby took place. At the time that Valentino came to the baptismal font for the sacrament of baptism, Erica asked the photographer Maria Silvana Salles, who was hired by other parents baptizing their babies, to take a photo of her son as a favor, since the young mother had no way of paying for it. The photographer, moved by Erica's request, agreed to take a photo of Valentino. Maria Silvana works with a traditional camera and had to send the film to be developed to a shop in …

SSPX advice on the sales

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A notice that I saw in the porch of St Nicolas du Chardonnet (my translation):The season of the sales is a good time to make sensible and economical purchases.

Ladies who, for praiseworthy motives of thrift, have kept skirts from their childhood, might profit from the sales to obtain, at a good price, clothes corresponding to their adult measurements.

In other words, the dress of majorettes is not welcome at Saint-Nicolas; which is not to say that they should dress as men ...

Flickr Photostream

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Looking at the number of photos I took in Paris, I realised that it would save a lot of time if I spent some little time setting up a Flickr account at long last. Here it is: Fr Tim Finigan's Photostream. I have uploaded some photos in various sets related to the different Churches I visited. They are released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial-Share Alike 2.0 Generic licence. In other words, you can use them on your blog but you should give credit for them.

I was especially pleased with some of the ones of Notre Dame, thanks to the Lord's gift of sunshine earlier today.

Balanced article on Pope Benedict

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John Hooper has written a lengthy article for today's Guardian about Pope Benedict. Entitled Is the pope a reactionary or a prophet, it gives a fair-minded and balanced assessment of Pope Benedict. It is by no means a hagiography and I wouldn't agree with everything he says, but it is a relief to read something from a commenter in the secular press who knows what he is talking about. John Hooper has done us a service with this objective appraisal which is a welcome contrast to the Catholic baiting of the Times.

(I picked up the link for the article from Morning Catholic must-reads which is a regular round-up written by Luke Coppen, Editor of the Catholic Herald. His blog Editor's Briefing is well worth following.)

Basilique du Sacré Coeur

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The Basilique du Sacre Coeur in Montmartre is one of the finest landmarks in Paris. Montmartre is so named because it is the place of martyrdom (c.250) of St Denis, Bishop of Paris and patron of France. After suffering defeat in the Franco-Prussian was of 1870-71, French society was divided and the Communard uprising in Paris led to atrocities on both sides. The Archbishop of Paris, Georges Darboy, was among those executed. Alexandre Legentil and Hubert Rohault de Fleury proposed the building of a Church consecrated to the Heart of Christ in reparation and for the spiritual welfare of France. Their idea was taken up by the Church in France which proposed a National Vow. The building of the Basilica was financed by donations from Catholics in parishes throughout France.

It is quite a walk up to the top but there is also a funicular railway:


Since 1885, there has been perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, day and night, without interruption. The Basilica is therefore reserved …

"off the Boulevard St-Michel"

I last went to Paris when I was on holiday with my family as a teenager. Having seized the opportunity for a rare day off, I was going to go to Bruges but the Eurostar timetable prevented that so I chose Paris instead, a little reluctantly. Having spent a day and a half here, I could kick myself for not having put it on the A-list for brief R&R locations.

My room is in fact "off the Boulevard St-Michel" and I am inescapably reminded of one of the more ludicrous number one hits of the 1960's: Peter Sarstedt's "Where do you go to my lovely?" as in the video above. My father found great amusement in the line "You sip your Napoleon Brandy / And you never get your lips wet / Ah no you don't". I posted a number of tweets alluding to this song yesterday but I fear that I am showing my age and that most of my followers (who were born some time after 1969) will have concluded that the seemingly inconsequential snippets were merely evidence of ineb…

St Nicolas du Chardonnet

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It is Passiontide and the New Liturgical Movement has been posting pictures of Churches that have veiled their statues from the 5th Sunday of Lent or Passion Sunday, (depending on whether you are following the usus antiquior or recentior.) I was surprised that this was considered a rare practice but visiting Churches in Paris, I did not see any statues veiled. Except the one in the above photo which I visited the other day. It was a strange experience compared to visiting most Churches in France (or elsewhere in Europe.) The Church was being cleaned but there were people there praying. The notice board had plenty of the expected initiatives for catechesis, social work and devotional events.

Unusually, there was no forward-facing altar, so the original plan of the Church could be seen without distraction, leading the eye to the High Altar and the tabernacle.


There were plenty of side altars. Normally these are used as storage spaces or display rooms. In this Church all the altars had …

DCSF on teaching "divergent views"

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A correspondent has sent the following reply received from the Public Communications Unit of the DCSF in response to an email about Catholic schools and sex education.
Dear ---

Thank you for your email of 24 February, addressed to Ed Balls about sex education within faith schools. As you can appreciate, Mr Balls receives a large volume of correspondence and cannot answer them all personally. On this occasion I have been asked to reply.

This amendment confirms that schools can teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education, including sex and relationships education (SRE) in a way that reflects the schools religious character and ethos. However, there remains a legal obligation on the head and on the governing body of all schools, including faith schools, to comply with the principles in the legislation. These include requirements that material presented is factually accurate and balanced, for example, that information provided by schools should reflect the latest medical e…

Space Station blog

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Vijay Chakravarthy has a blog devoted to the NASA International Space Station - with Catholic pictures and blogroll in the sidebar! The above is from a 3D computer model of the Orion Nebula.

St Patrick's Breastplate: original text

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A correspondent has kindly passed on from her a link to the original Old Irish version of St Patrick's Breastplate from George Petrie's papers On the History and Antiquities of Tara Hill. The papers were given in 1837 and included in Volume XVIII of the Transactions of the Royal Irish Academy published in 1839.

The above image is a screen grab from one of the pages (click to enlarge).

Send an email to Pope Benedict

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Reading Auntie Joanna's blog, I am reminded that Pope Benedict does have a public email address: benedictxvi@vatican.va

Now might be a good time to send a supportive and encouraging email. Obviously he is not going to read them all himself but it is possible that an official might let him know that there has been a number of loyal and kind messages incoming.

And do remember to pray for him. One way of reminding yourself to do this is to try to gain plenary indulgences as often as possible, fulfilling the condition of praying for the intentions of the Holy Father.

Vatican Twitter feeds

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After the false alarm in January, it seems that the Vatican is indeed now putting out Twitter feeds in various languages. See: the article New Vatican Internet Services at the Vatican Radio website.

The English language feed for you to follow is: @news_va_en. Next challenge is to get in a bit quicker and snap up something better like @Vatican (not an official feed.) Or they could speak nicely to the owner, Pablo Arratia, offer him some financial compensation, and persuade him it is the right thing to do. Heck he might even waive the compensation. Has anyone looked into this?

Anyway - it is good to see official Vatican feeds on Twitter.

Noble letter from Pope. Predictable response from media.

I wrote this in my parish newsletter this weekend (I have put in hyperlinks for your convenience):
Pope’s letter to Irish Catholics
There will be much comment in the media this weekend concerning the Pastoral Letter of the Holy Father Pope Benedict to the Catholics of Ireland. The Holy Father apologises to victims of abuse who have suffered the “grave betrayal” of these “egregious crimes”. Pope Benedict also refers to “grave errors of judgement and failure of leadership” on the part of some Bishops.

May I encourage you to read the letter itself: the text is available at the Vatican website. If you have difficulty finding it, there is a direct link in the “Rosary News” blog which can be found at the parish website. There is also a shorter official summary of the letter.

Please remember in your prayers all those who have been victims of abuse. The Holy Father encourages the Irish Catholics to offer up their Friday penances for the coming year to Easter 2011 to beg for God’s mercy, heali…

Chants of the Ordinary - CD

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Nick Gale, the Director of Music for St George's Cathedral, Southwark, has published the first in a set of three CDs which are offered to assist musical directors, cantors, choirs and congregations learn a chant repertoire for use in the liturgy. The singers are from the choir of St George's Cathedral in Southwark and the recordings were made in the Lady Chapel of the Cathedral.

The first CD "Cantus Angeli Chants of the Ordinary" has the Asperges and the Vidi Aquam, Masses I, VIII, IX, XI, XV, XVII and XVIII, the Ambrosian Gloria, Cred I, III and VI and various Alleluias. Thus, it provides for a good repertoire for a parish choir which wishes to offer appropriate Mass settings for the different seasons of the year.

The CD has received high praise from no less than Jeffrey Tucker of NLM. He said:
These recordings are outstanding. I highly recommend them. The diction is perfect. The speed is zippy and natural. The clarity is unsurpassed, consistent with the great Engli…

Hymn in praise of St Joseph

The video runs through the hymn twice, first with the Latin text and then with the metrical English translation. Here are both for you to follow, courtesy of Preces Latinae.
Te Ioseph, celebrent agmina caelitum,
te cuncti resonent Christiadum chori,
qui, clarus meritis, iunctus es inclitae,
casto foedere Virgini. Joseph! to thee by hosts on high
and choirs of Christians, laud be paid!
saintly of life, by purest tie
joined unto her, the glorious Maid. Almo cum tumidam germine coniugem
admirans dubio tangeris anxius,
afflatu superi Flaminis, Angelus
conceptum puerum docet. When thou didst doubt thy wife's repute,
and mark her great with motherhood,
the angel taught thee that her fruit
came from the Holy Ghost of God. Tu natum Dominum stringis, ad exteras
Aegypti profugum tu sequeris plagas;
amissum Solymis quaeris et invenis,
miscens gaudia fletibus. To clasp the Son, the Lord, was thine,
to share His flight to Egypt's shore,
with tears, to seek in Salem's shrine
Him lost, -…

Sistine Chapel virtual tour

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Thanks to John Thavis of CNS for new of an addition to the Vatican website: a Virtual Tour of the Sistine Chapel. this is a joint project of the Vatican and Villanova University.

There is a copyright notice photoshopped into the pavement. However, I am reliably informed by the last surviving Knight Commander of the Noble Equestrian Order of Pope Zephyrinus that Michaelangelo in fact painted in a small notice under Adam's big toenail saying that he released the lot under a Creative Commons licence :-)

Apologies for the frivolity. It really is a splendid project.

2,000,000

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Here is the site meter record for the two millionth visitor to the Hermeneutic of Continuity who called in at 2.14pm today from London Ontario, referred from Coren's Comment. I started the blog on 6 April 2006. We reached one million on 15 January 2009.

Many thanks to all of you for reading. Sincere apologies to anybody I have offended. Thanks to the Pope for encouraging us all. Praise the Lord for giving us a spiritual soul and making us the kind of being that can invent something like this.

Several people have asked about having a "Two Million Party." I think that it is proper to defer this as we are about to begin Passiontide. We have a Missa Cantata at Blackfen on the Saturday within the Easter Octave at 10.30am with Vespers and Benediction at 2.30pm. In between there will be "Brunch" in the Church Hall and the bar will be open. Blog readers are all very welcome. Here is the post with information on "Getting to Blackfen".

Catholic Values

Catholic Values is a price comparison website, offering comparisons on mortgages, insurance, bank accounts, credit cards etc. It works like other similar sites but the difference is that the commission, net of running costs, goes to charities that promote the dignity of human life. Sounds like a good idea to me.

St Patrick's Breastplate

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Thanks to Shawn Tribe of NLM for posting a translation of the Lorica or breastplate of St Patrick. Like most people, I had only really known this through a couple of metrical translations of parts of it. The full version is what might be called genuine Celtic spirituality:

I arise today, through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity, through belief in the threeness, through confession of the oneness, of the Creator of Creation.

I arise today, through the strength of Christ's birth with his baptism, through the strength of his crucifixion with his burial, through the strength of his resurrection with his ascension, through the strength of his descent for the judgment of Doom.

I arise today, through the strength of the love of the Cherubim, in obedience of angels, in the service of archangels, in the hope of the resurrection to meet with reward, in the prayers of patriarchs, in prediction of prophets, in preaching of apostles, in faith of confessors, in innocence of holy v…

New Bishop of Gibraltar

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Fr Ralph Heskett CSSR has been appointed as Bishop of Gibraltar to succeed Bishop Caruana who has retired on reaching the age of 75. Fr Heskett was born in 1953, professed as a Redemptorist in 1971 and ordained priest in 1976. He has worked in a variety of offices in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, particular in work for vocations. His appointment is of particular interest to people in the Archdiocese of Southwark since he was from 1998-2008 parish priest of the Redemptorist parish of Our Immaculate Lady of Victories (known as "St Mary's") in Clapham. (pictured) The official announcement is at today's Vatican Bollettino.

Please remember bishop-elect Heskett in your prayers.

UPDATE: That pesky Father John Boyle managed to find a picture of Fr Heskett for Caritas in Veritate. I couldn't find anything on google images. Ecce:

Remembering Miss Strawson

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For St Patrick's day today, as is our custom, we honoured the saint after Mass with his hymn. Each year when we sing Hail Glorious St Patrick, I remember Miss Strawson, the rather strict but, with hindsight, dazzlingly competent infant teacher who prepared us for Holy Communion at St Mary's in Croydon back in 1965.

From that time, I can repeat from memory the catechism answer that "God is the supreme spirit who alone exists of himself and is infinite in all perfections." We had to underline the word "supreme" several times to reinforce the truth that God is greater than the angels. We learnt all about them, and about Lucifer who said that he would not serve God. There was plenty of scripture too: Cain and Abel, Noah, Moses, and many stories from the gospels. We were taught to sing hymns and to understand them; "Bring Flowers of the Rarest" was the occasion for my learning that "azure" was a kind of light blue that we see in the sky.

I d…

Catholic Care wins case

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Mr Justice Briggs has ruled in favour of Catholic Care in its case in the High Court. (See: Catholic adoption society wins court battle over gay rights exemption) I reported on this case a couple of weeks ago.

The website of the Diocese of Leeds carries the statement of Bishop Arthur Roche. Damian Thompson has written on the case: Gay adoption: a setback for Labour in its vicious war against the Churches. George Pitcher has also taken up the story: Thank God for Catholic adoption agencies

Warmest congratulations to Catholic Care and the Diocese of Leeds. This is a significant victory and calls into question the action of other Catholic adoption agencies which have either closed or transferred their adoption provision to a newly-formed non-Catholic charity.

Medjugorje commission announced

From the Vatican Bollettino today confirms the widespread rumour of a new commission on Medjugorje:
COMUNICATO DELLA SALA STAMPA DELLA SANTA SEDE: COMMISSIONE INTERNAZIONALE DI INCHIESTA SU MEDJUGORJE
È stata costituita presso la Congregazione per la Dottrina della Fede, sotto la presidenza del Cardinale Camillo Ruini, una Commissione internazionale di inchiesta su Medjugorje. Detta Commissione, composta da Cardinali, Vescovi, periti ed esperti, lavorerà in maniera riservata, sottoponendo l’esito del proprio studio alle istanze del Dicastero.My translation:
Communiqué of the Press Office of the Holy See: International Commission of Enquiry on Medjugorje

An international Commission of Enquiry on Medjugorje has been set up at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under the presidency of Cardinal Camillo Ruini. The Commission, composed of Cardinals, Bishops, experts and those with experience, will work in a a confidential manner, placing the outcome of their study at the disposal …

Belgium: euthanasia instead of palliative care

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Instances of legal euthanasia in Belgium have risen from 235 in 2003 to 705 in 2008. Of these, most are young, and 94% are suffering from pain as a result of cancer. Only a minority (18%) of the 1,917 people killed are over 80, and euthanasia is more widespread (83% of cases) in the Flemish part of Belgium than in the French part (17% of cases).

Dr. Bernard Devalois, a French specialist in palliative care, said:
This study shows that the majority of requests for euthanasia in Belgium are linked to unbearable physical pain and therefore to medical malpractice in the treatment of pain: cases of genuinely untreatable suffering - which we treat in France with sedation - are very rare.Dr Devalois continued:
Upon reading this study, it seems that Belgium chooses to focus on general training in the use of products that cause the rapid death of the patient (barbiturates and muscle relaxants). The patient therefore has the choice between suffering or asking for euthanasia. I much prefer that he …

Novena suggestion

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Michael Morris writes:
Short notice I know, but if we start a Novena tomorrow, St Patrick's Day, it would include St Joseph on Friday and finish on the Annunciation. The intention being of course the exemption of Catholic AND other Faith Schools: Jewish and definitely Moslem from the worst provisions of the Children Schools and Families Bill. I suggest at least the Memorare, or however many decades of the Rosary individuals can manage. I'll try to have it mentioned at Mass tomorrow. How about it?Memorare
Remember, O most compassionate Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your assistance or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, we fly unto you, O virgin of Virgins, our Mother. To you we come, before you we kneel, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not our petitions but in your clemency, hear and answer us. Amen.

Announcement of the Holy Father's State Visit

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Photo Credit: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk
As more or less every Catholic blog in the world has now posted, today the official announcement was made of the Holy Father's forthcoming visit to Britain. There is a fine new website for the occasion: Pope Benedict in the United Kingdom.


I have just registered at the website but I am not sure whether it would be considered cheeky or not to ask for press accreditation as a blogger :-)

The website carries the Press release issued jointly by HMG and the Catholic Bishops’ Conferences of Scotland, England and Wales. Rt Hon Jim Murphy MP, Secretary of State for Scotland, is the Government Minister who will lead the preparations for the visit.

Her Majesty the Queen has confirmed the state visit and here is the statement from Buckingham Palace. I just had to take a screen grab of this historic page from the official website of the British Monarchy:


Here is the video announcement from Archbishop Nichols:



It was also confirmed today that the Holy…

Rose vestment time

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Yesterday was, of course, Laetare Sunday and therefore the occasion for the wearing of Rose vestments. Since we have a full set at Blackfen, I try to make sure that we have High Mass on this day. Dr Alcuin Reid assisted as Deacon, and Rev John Harrison from St Mary's Chislehurst was Subdeacon. I think we managed to avoid any serious liturgical abuses.

Many thanks as ever to Damian Thompson and Fr John Zuhlsdorf who kindly enabled Blackfen to unite in Christian joy with these vestments by encouraging their readers to fund them - and many thanks to all our benefactors.

Photo credit Mulier Fortis (more photos there).

Hilarious scandal story from "Bones"

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I posted recently about the spoof billboard created by Laurence England of That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill with the sensationalist news "Crackpot Priest Keeps God in Church Cupboard". This has now been followed up with a loopily entertaining parody detailing the action of Brighton and Hove Social Services in response to this act neglect. It gets better all the way through with Ed Balls and the CES drafted in for comment.

Petition closing

Amanda Lewin's Petition against Government-Led Sex Education in Catholic Schools reads:To: Bishops of England and Wales
We, the undersigned, call upon the Bishops of England and Wales and the Catholic Education Service to fulfil their duty as guardians of our Catholic Faith and unequivocally reject recent Government measures forcing Catholic schools to teach what is explicitly condemned by the Church, viz: presenting active homosexuality as an acceptable alternative lifestyle, and providing information on the nature - and provision - of contraception and abortion services. Compliance on the part of the Bishops and the CES in such measures would effectively render our schools no longer Catholic in any meaningful sense, and would place the faith and moral life of our children in jeopardy. As Catholic parents, teachers and pastors, we earnestly beg of you, our Shepherds in Christ, that you do not allow this to happen.

Sincerely,
The petition closes on the Feast of St Joseph, 19 March…

Disgraceful attack on the Holy Father in the Times

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Damian Thompson has drawn attention to the headline in the Times erroneously and unjustifiably attacking the Holy Father. See: Catholic fury over The Times's coverage of Pope Benedict XVI. While writing this, I also received Damian's Tweet with a link to the Facebook Group Catholics Who Condemn the Times' Treatment of the Pope which you may like to join if you are on FB.

The Times article has a sidebar quote from Ruth Gledhill which includes the words:The Pope is pretty unassailable. He is not elected ...The Times should not be allowed to forget that it highlighted that as an "Expert view" from its "Religion Correspondent".

The mainstream media are clearly gearing up for an all-out attack on the Holy Father when he visits Britain in September. This is a good time to pray earnestly for the Pope: one way of remembering to do this is to gain as many plenary indulgences as you can, since one of the conditions is to pray for the intentions of the Holy Fathe…

CSF doubletalk opportunity for election candidates

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A priest friend of mine has come up with the following questions to be put to candidates in advance of the General Election
It is currently legal to abort certain handicapped babies up to birth, and to abort healthy babies up to 24 weeks of gestation. Would you vote for any restrictions upon this? If so, could you briefly suggest what type of restrictions.Ed Balls intends that Catholic schools be required to inform their children “how to access abortion” by virtue of the Children, Schools and Families Bill, if enacted. Do you agree with him?Would you vote against the legalization of euthanasia?Do you accept that faith schools have the right to teach as the truth matters of human sexuality and relationships according to the principles of their religion?There is a target to increase overseas aid to 0.7% of Gross Domestic Product by 2013. Do you think this is broadly correct, or should be more or less?One Labour candidate who, on abortion, took the Bill Clinton "safe legal and rare&…

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