Monday, 31 January 2011

Born of parents who never danced together

Anonymous Us carries some personal stories that flesh out the moral teaching of Donum Vitae. That 1987 document, from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has the full title "Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation. Replies to Certain Questions of the Day."

Catholics who are reasonably well informed know that one of the grave moral problems with IVF is the destruction of human embryos that is often a part of the process. However, Donum Vitae give another important reason why IVF is ethically unacceptable, namely that the child should be conceived as a result of the marriage act. This is true even in the case of homologous IVF (where the gametes are both from the spouses). In the case where one of the gametes is from a stranger, most commonly through sperm donation, there is a further evil; as Donum Vitae puts it:
Heterologous artificial fertilization violates the rights of the child; it deprives him of his filial relationship with his parental origins and can hinder the maturing of his personal identity.
That may sound rather dry and technical, which is why Anonymous Us Project caught my eye. Here is a brief description of the Project from the website:
The Anonymous Us Project is a safety zone for real and honest opinions about reproductive technologies and family fragmentation. We aim to share the experiences of voluntary and involuntary participants in these technologies, while preserving the dignity and privacy for story-tellers and their loved ones.
There is a Stories page which makes heartrending reading. Here is a quotation from one story which puts a human face on the principles set out by the CDF:
I am a human being, yet I was conceived with a technique that had its origins in animal husbandry. Worst of all, farmers kept better records of their cattle's genealogy than assisted reproductive clinics had kept for the donor conceived people of my era. It also made me feel strange to think that my genes were spliced together from two people who were never in love, never danced together, had never even met one another.
The Anonymous Us Project is not a specifically Catholic or Christian initiative, just a place where people can share their stories of "Assisted Reproductive Technology" safely. Congratulations to Alana who set it up.

I discovered the site from this article on Merator Net: The pain of anonymous parentage

Well I thought they were funny

I will be busy tomorrow morning so I have scheduled this post to come up just as you hit the desk on Monday morning. I hope it might do something to brighten the morning.

One of the men in the parish club came up to me the other day and said to me:
Father, I was in hospital last week. All they gave me was haggis and whisky... I was in the Burns Unit.
And another one via Twitter:
The barman said "We don't serve time travellers in here."

A time traveller walked into a bar.

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Greek Orthodox vernacular row

Recently, Metropolitan Ignatios of Dimitriados was celebrating Vespers at Volos for the feast of Saint Anthony the Great. For part of the readings, he used the demotic (popular) form of modern Greek rather than the Greek of the Septuagint, the New Testament, and St John Chrysostom. There was something of a popular protest with people saying things like "Your Eminence, not in the demotic. Read the reading in the ancient language."

Last April, the Greek Orthodox Holy Synod condemned the practice of using the modern language in the Sacred Liturgy, citing the importance of the Church's unity. (See article on Mystagogy) Metropolitan Ignatios argues that it is the young people who want the vernacular, demotic liturgy. Things may be different in Greece, of course, but I think he may find in due course that just as in the West, the young people who actually attend the Divine Services will want the whole deal of traditional Orthodox liturgy, not a watered-down version.

Metropolitan Ignatios also justifies his practice by saying that the passages from the Old Testament have a didactic purpose rather than being prayers addressed to God. This is surprising from an Orthodox prelate since many in the West are beginning now to realise that the lections at Mass in the traditional form are chanted in such a way as to underline precisely that they are not simply didactic texts but are part of the worship of God. The strictly didactic dimension of the Sacred Liturgy is incidental - the sermon is where the didactic element finds its proper place.

Oxford Ordinariate Group

The Ordinariate Portal had some good news the other day: there is a new Oxford Ordinariate Group.

The group is being led by Fr Andrew Burnham, formerly Anglican Bishop of Ebbsfleet and now a priest of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. They will meet on Sunday afternoons for tea and catechesis with the aim of being received into full communion with the Catholic Church in time for Easter.

No longer just a dream

It seems that someone has (almost) come up with a workable jet pack.

H/T Patrick Madrid

Vigil of prayer at Vaughan school

click to enlarge

Many parents at the Cardinal Vaughan school feel strongly about changes that have recently been made to the Governing Body of the school by the Westminster Diocesan Education Service. The flyer above advertises a Vigil of Prayer which will be held at the school this Wednesday 2 February from 6.15pm to about 8pm.

There is plenty of further information at the website of the Vaughan Parents Action Group.

Saturday, 29 January 2011

Mother speaks out on sex education is a daily series of 90 second films on "religious, spiritual and ethical issues." A theme is chosen to run for a week: last week the topic was "What sort of sex education should be taught in our schools?" Patricia Wocial, mother of a lovely family that I know well, was invited to be on the series: here is a link to her measured, calm, but hard-hitting contribution. I have seen the material that she is referring to. It is a shame and a disgrace that it should have been shown in a Catholic school.

Vigil of Prayer at Maidstone

There was a fair bit of "offering up" yesterday at Maidstone. I joined the "Helpers of God's Precious Infants" group who hold a regular prayer vigil at the Marie Stopes Clinic which is just around the corner from the Church. The temperature was one degree above freezing. In some parts North America I know that you are used to 25 degrees below, so that a degree above freezing probably means getting out the sunbeds and mixing a Pina Colada. Here in South East England it is what we call "a bit chilly."

As you can see, the group is quite small. If you email you can get onto an email list to find out when forthcoming vigils will be, both in Maidstone and elsewhere. Generally the format is to attend Mass in the local Church and then spend an hour or so saying the Divine Mercy chaplet, fifteen decades of the Rosary and a some other appropriate prayers. Such an exercise has many spiritual benefits as well as the prayerful witness that is offered. Occasionally women will change their minds but many passers-by take interest and can get pro-life information. And you get lots of grace - especially if it is a bit chilly.

The HGPI groups especially like to have a priest for each vigil. If there are any priests within reach of Maidstone who would like to lead the prayers occasionally, do email me and I can put you in touch with the organiser.

Resource: "What Catholics Really Believe"

Nineveh's Crossing aims to present the Catholic faith in an easily digestible manner, using various media. A recent product is "What Catholics Really Believe: Dispelling the Misunderstandings of Historic Christianity." This is a transcript of a two DVD set in which Dr Ray Guarendi and Fr Kevin Fete engage in a series of dialogues on the basics of the Catholic faith.

Much of the content is relevant to apologetic discussions that Catholics are likely to find themselves facing with evangelical protestants. The book (and DVDs) are suitable for intelligent teenagers and young adults, and would help them to grow in confidence when speaking about their faith. Much of the argumentation is based on the scriptures and their correct interpretation in line with the Fathers of the Church.

Sadly, these positive features mean that the book would be of less use for its primary purpose here in England. Young people over here are more likely to be challenged by atheistic, relativist and secularist arguments than by bible-bashing Protestants although the ones who do get engaged in such debates would find this book a great help. In any case the book would help them to know their faith better.

Here is the statement on the Mission page of Nineveh's Crossing:

In all of our business practices and products we strive to:

  • Conform to the Magisterial Teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
  • Favor content that educates and promotes critical thinking.
  • Use entertainment to break down barriers.
  • Celebrate humanity.
  • Build up society.
  • Vanquish fear.
  • Bestow hope.

Nineveh's Crossing is an ambitious and hope-filled apostolate. Take a look at their various other products, including materials on parenthood.

"What Catholics Really Believe: Dispelling the Misunderstandings of Historic Christianity," by Fr. Kevin Fete and Ray Guarendi (Nineveh's Crossing, 2010). $24.95. Available at

Friday, 28 January 2011

Nova et vetera

What a wonderful piece of kit! Some guys have wired up a manual typewriter with a USB connection so that it can work as a keyboard with a PC, Mac or even iPad. You can buy one at ETSY and there are even instructions for building one yourself: Typewriter conversion kit. Just one thing - the carriage return should also have a bell.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bearded men wearing funny clothes

An RTE presenter showed his anti-Catholic bias a couple of days ago in a programme about a prayerful witness held by five Franciscans of the Renewal outside a family planning clinic. The Limerick Leader heads its article Monk's protest angers women. The article is generous enough to observe that Mr Duffy (the presenter) was "audibly angry" and reports a couple of the indignant and furious interventions in the radio phone-in.

Five Franciscan Friars stood outside the Limerick Family Planning clinic on Mallow Street and prayed. That's it really, but in modern Ireland this is enough to "arouse ire", "anger women" and so on. One of the main offences seems to be what children in school call "giving me funny looks" when they can't find anything else with which to to accuse their enemies.

One caller got her chance to protest at the "intimidation" of the Friars praying, how insulted she was and how "completely misguided" they were. Fr Charles tried to respond, starting off  "We live in a beautiful society and..." but he was interrupted by "Are you just going to give me your rhetoric and dogma?" which shows perhaps that it didn't really matter much what he actually had to say.

As so often on such set-up programmes, Fr Charles was facing opposition not only from the hectoring angry callers but also by the presenter who said at one point:
Do you think young women in turmoil would turn to five bearded men wearing funny clothes on the side of a street when they have no indication who they are?
That's really amateurish. Over here, anti-Catholic bias is much more polished. You set up the opposition who get a free ride with no difficult questions and then ask all the difficult questions of the priest/pro-lifer/concerned Christian in a concerned and meaningful voice. That way the ordinary viewer or listener thinks that the programme is "balanced."

The Franciscans of the Renewal chose to go and live in one of the more notorious areas of Limerick which had been in the news because of gang feuds and related shootings. Here is a quotation from one report:
The road where the friars live was in the front line of Moyross’ gang violence; a killing occurred within yards of where we talked – there had been no Christmas celebrations in 2006. Last Christmas (2007) 500 people came to celebrate at the live crib. Visitors from outside Moyross – from outside Limerick – came. A busload of handicapped kids came to join in the festivities. Local people put up Christmas lights, brought in provisions and “borrowed” the live animals.
When it comes to poverty, an ascetical life and commitment to prayer, these men "walk the walk."

They are popular among the ordinary people of the Moyross estate but they have offended the guardians of the dogmas of the new Ireland by quietly praying outside a family planning clinic. The venom directed against them speaks volumes.

New Papa Stronsay website

The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer (FSSR also known as the Transalpine Redemptorists) have given their website a makeover. There is a fascinating page on the island itself and, of course, information about the FSSR. The blog is still there too.

There is a new online shop which sells some of the wonderful books that have been given away with copies of "Catholic", the excellent monthly magazine of the FSSR. I especially recommend "Jesus Caritas" which tells the life of Blessed Charles de Foucauld: it is not all as you might expect, given the way he is sometimes portrayed today. Another great one is "Trench Priest" the life of Fr William Doyle SJ who was a holy and conscientious priest. He transferred his discipline in prayer and asceticism to the ghastly conditions of the trenches in World War I where he shared the same conditions as the men and spent much time at the front line in order to minister to them. His life was cut short by the blast of a shell landing near him.

Condoms on the brain

Bloggers have often suspected that people cannot write an article about the Pope without mentioning condoms. It seems that we are right. This came up in Luke Coppen's RSS feed:

I see that the headline has been changed now.

H/T @lukecoppen on Twitter

Latin Mass (EF) at UK Operations HQ

I received this encouraging information today from Cdr McNally:

On Tuesday 1 February, Feast of St Ignatius of Antioch, a Latin Mass (EF) will be celebrated in the church of St Christopher at the Headquarters of the UK’s Chief of Joint Operations and the Commander in Chief Fleet, based at Northwood, to the north of London. The church is not accessible to members of the public, however, the information will be of particular interest to military and civilian staff who are based at, or are visiting the Headquarters. The Mass will be at 1230 and there will be Confessions beforehand at 1200.

The church at the Base is of modern design and newly built within the last two years to replace an older building. It is shared with other Christian faith groups. Mass is celebrated in the church twice per month and this will be the first Latin Mass in the living memory of those in the Headquarters. The Northwood Headquarters is where all the UK’s world-wide operations are directed.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Is there a Mass in Dutch in London?

AMSTERDAM: St. Nicholas church
Photo credit: Akbar Simonse

Is there any Catholic Church in London where Mass is celebrated regularly (or even occasionally) in Dutch? I have received an enquiry about this but since I don't know of anywhere myself, I thought the best thing would be to ask here. If you have any information, please either leave it in the combox or email me.

March for Life in London?

The Catholic Herald is floating the idea of holding a March for Life in London. This is an excellent idea: we wouldn't be able to match the scale of the US March but we could certainly make an impact. It would also be an important opportunity for the Catholic Church to witness to the value of human life as well as co-operating with those other Christians and people of other faiths who share our convictions on this issue.

The article recognises the possible problems but I agree that these could be overcome by marshalling some of our energetic and enthusiastic young pro-lifers. See: Let’s take courage and hold a March for Life in Britain.

For an idea of what happens in the USA, see the official March for Life website and many US blogs which cover it. You do need to look at the blogs to find out much about it. As the Herald said:
If you rely on the television or daily papers for your news this is probably the first you’ve heard of it. Even in the United States it barely registered in the mainstream media.

Fr John Boyle was there and has posted a slideshow of photos from the march. It also worth looking at his advance information from a couple of weeks ago.

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

What did the Pope really say about marriage?

Did the Pope really say that couples do not have the right to marry? Well no: as with much of his writing, it was a carefully crafted argument; this time on some aspects of the right to marry which the Catholic Church has always upheld. Reading through the address, I thought it might be helpful just to make a few points about what the Pope actually said and the reasoning that he was using.

First of all, Pope Benedict points out that canon law is not opposed to the pastoral dimension of the Church. This is fundamental since "canonical" has often been portrayed as bad while "pastoral" is good. In fact the law protects us all and without it our society would be in chaos and nobody would be safe. In the case of marriage, juridical activity is essential to pastoral preparation because the legal contract is at the heart of the celebration of marriage.

The Holy Father's principal concern is with marriage preparation. He complains that in preparation for marriage, canonical questions occupy a modest, if not insignificant place. He is arguing that the canonical questions are vital since there is "only one marriage" not two marriages, one pastoral and the other canonical. The "authentic conjugal dynamic of life and love" is rooted in the juridical bond between husband and wife thanks to the vows they take which have legal force. In other words, marriage is about living out the binding promises that are made at the wedding.

Hence, Pope Benedict says, this is where we find the "right to marriage": it is not a subjective thing that pastors must formally recognise independently of what the spouses actually intend. The right to marry refers to the right to celebrate a real marriage, not a union that is juridically invalid because of some defect.

It is this area on which the Pope focusses when he speaks of preparation for marriage. He is not talking about a "Mr and Mrs Show" in which the couple are asked "What are the five things you most like about him/her?" but the task of ascertaining that the couple have the right convictions regarding the obligations required for the celebration of a valid marriage. The validity is not irrelevant to their having a happy marriage but is necessary for it.

The Holy Father says that the immediate objective of marriage preparation is to promote the celebration of an authentic marriage. He explains that this means the constituting of a bond which has the characteristics of unity (one man, one wife) and indissolubility, and which is ordained to the good of the spouses and the procreation and upbringing of children.

Thus, he explains, the Church does not refuse the celebration of marriage to those who have the right intention to wed according to what marriage really is, even if they are not perfectly prepared spiritually. He underlines the importance of the "pre-marriage examination" - in England we call this the "pre-nuptial enquiry" - where each of the partners (interviewed separately) is asked to affirm seriously that they understand the basic characteristics of marriage, and that they enter it freely.

Pope Benedict is particularly concerned to end the "vicious circle" in which there is no serious attempt to ascertain that the couple understand and accept the necessary requirements for Christian marriage, and then a nullity is granted when the marriage breaks down. He also cautions against taking simple failures on the part of the spouses as a cause for nullity.

The Holy Father ends by emphasising once again the relationship between law and pastoral care:
In concluding these reflections of mine, I turn to consider the relationship between law and pastoral care. It is often the object of misunderstandings, to the detriment of law, but also to the detriment of pastoral work. On the contrary, it is necessary to promote in all sectors, and in a special way in that of marriage and the family, profound harmony between the pastoral and the juridical, which will certainly show itself to be fruitful for those who approach marriage.
It is not always an easy argument to follow, especially since we live in a culture where everything is "my right" regardless of obligations and the objective character of what we claim a right to. Hence my attempt to summarise some of the more important points.

In the Church, the Pope's address may well be misused to subject couples to endless marriage preparation sessions exploring "relationship" and "compatibility". What the Holy Father is actually insisting on is closer attention to the canonical requirements for valid and authentic marriage.

Pope Benedict's full address to the Tribunal of the Roman Rota

LMS Training Conference announced

2010 08 13_7218

For the last few years, the Latin Mass Society has organised conferences to train priests to celebrate Mass according to the usus antiquior. This year the conference will be at Buckfast Abbey which is a beautiful setting for such an event. Priests always enjoy these conferences, not only for the help they receive in learning to celebrate the old Mass but also for a few days in company with other priests. Here is the information:

Latin Mass Society Announces 2011 Priests Training Conference

The Latin Mass Society has announced its seventh residential conference for priests who wish to learn the Extraordinary Form of Mass. The conference will take place at Buckfast Abbey, Buckfastleigh, Devon from Tuesday 3rd to Friday 6th May.

Tuition will be given in small groups selected according to ability, and will cover Low Mass, Missa Cantata and Missa Solemnis. It is also hoped to provide tuition in the sacraments of Baptism and marriage. Only rudimentary Latin is required.

There will also be a residential course for laymen wishing to learn to serve the Extraordinary Form.

The conference will begin late morning on the Tuesday, although there will be the opportunity for those travelling long distances to stay at Buckfast Abbey on the Monday night. The conference will end after lunch on the Friday.

There will be sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form each day; parts of the Office will also be sung.

The inclusive fee is £85 which covers all tuition, accommodation and board.

Application forms for both priests and servers training are available from the LMS office (020 7404 7284) or the LMS website.

LMS Chairman, Doctor Joseph Shaw said: “The LMS’s training conferences are now well-established in the Church’s calendar of activities. We have already trained over a hundred priests and many more Extraordinary Form Masses are being offered around the country due to our training activities”.

Monday, 24 January 2011

Bishop of Nice - common sense alert

The Bishop of Nice, Mgr Louis Sankalé spent a day earlier this month carrying out a pastoral visit to the old part of Nice. He went to see shopkeepers and restaurant owners in this part of the town that is very popular with tourists. He found time to call in to the barracks of the Foreign Legion. Naturally he also visited the places of worship, youth movements, the brotherhoods of penitents (of which there are four) and so on. Oh, and he popped in to see the Priestly Fraternity of St Pius X.

Above you can see him entering the chapel of St Clare for the first time, welcomed by Fr Charles Moulin. Below he is in the office of Fr Moulin engaged in a "cordial exchange".

The roof did not cave in; the Bishop was not struck by lightning; plagues did not break out in Nice; in fact nobody died at all as a result of the visit. Perhaps after all, it was just an instance of common sense and genuine fraternal charity.

Photos are from the website of the Diocese of Nice

H/T Rorate Caeli

Pope Benedict: authenticity and faithfulness in social networking

"Truth, Proclamation and Authenticity of Life in the Digital Age" is the title of the Holy Father's message for World Communications Day which will be celebrated on 5 June. It was issued today on the feast of St Francis de Sales.

Once again, the Holy Father has underlined the importance of a proper use of the internet. This year, he paid particular attention to social networking. Although he did not use the word "Facebook", there is a clear enough reference:
Entering cyberspace can be a sign of an authentic search for personal encounters with others, provided that attention is paid to avoiding dangers such as enclosing oneself in a sort of parallel existence, or excessive exposure to the virtual world. In the search for sharing, for "friends", there is the challenge to be authentic and faithful, and not give in to the illusion of constructing an artificial public profile for oneself.
There can be good reasons for using a nickname on the internet and for not giving away too much personal information. The Holy Father's advice is important in this context: it is easy enough to invent an online "persona" and we need, as Christians to avoid the temptation of giving ourselves a different online personality from the one that we have in our face-to-face encounters with others.

Later, Pope Benedict speaks of a particularly Christian way of being present on the internet:
When people exchange information, they are already sharing themselves, their view of the world, their hopes, their ideals. It follows that there exists a Christian way of being present in the digital world: this takes the form of a communication which is honest and open, responsible and respectful of others. To proclaim the Gospel through the new media means not only to insert expressly religious content into different media platforms, but also to witness consistently, in one’s own digital profile and in the way one communicates choices, preferences and judgements that are fully consistent with the Gospel, even when it is not spoken of specifically.
This can be difficult when we are faced with a troll who launches in with spiteful comments. It is a good thing to ask what the gospel teaches us about how to respond to such an attack.

As ever, the Holy Father remains fundamentally positive about the Christian use of the internet:
I would like then to invite Christians, confidently and with an informed and responsible creativity, to join the network of relationships which the digital era has made possible. This is not simply to satisfy the desire to be present, but because this network is an integral part of human life.
Do read the whole message; Pope Benedict has now offered several reflections for us on the use of the internet which apply Catholic teaching to this medium. Catholics who use it should listen respectfully to his fatherly counsel.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

FSSP vocations retreat

Fr De Malleray has announced a Vocation Discernment weekend for young men, to take place in April. Here are the details:
Vocation discernment weekend
at St John Fisher House in Reading
8-9-10 April 2011

For Catholic men between 18 and 35 years of age (under 18 please contact us).

Starts on Friday 8th April 2011 at 6pm – ends on Sunday 10th April 2011 mid-afternoon. Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP.

Location: St John Fisher House is the residence of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter in England & Wales. Bishop Crispian Hollis of Portsmouth has allowed for its canonical establishment in Reading on 1st August 2010.

Address: 17, Eastern Avenue, Reading RG1 5RU.

Access: 27mn from London Paddington by direct trains up to every 10mn, and from London Waterloo. Direct trains from Oxford, Bournemouth, Bristol, Newcastle, York, Birmingham, Gatwick Airport, Southampton Airport, etc. Direct ‘RailAir’ buses from Heathrow to Reading train station every 20mn. Motorway: M4.

Limited overnight accommodation: please book now.

Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite), silent prayer, private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what is a vocation in general and to the priesthood in particular.

Read here the Holy Father’s recent Letter to seminarians. Here is an extract:

The proper celebration of the Eucharist involves knowing, understanding and loving the Church’s liturgy in its concrete form. In the liturgy we pray with the faithful of every age – the past, the present and the future are joined in one great chorus of prayer. As I can state from personal experience, it is inspiring to learn how it all developed, what a great experience of faith is reflected in the structure of the Mass, and how it has been shaped by the prayer of many generations.

Cost: no set price for students or unemployed – any donation welcome ; others: £50 suggested.

An example of a new English Gloria

"Glory to God in honour of St Ralph Sherwin" by Jeff Ostrowski.

Score for organist, score in Gregorian or modern notation for vocalist, and various videos are all available free of charge at the Corpus Christi Watershed Glory to God page.

H/T Catholicism Pure and Simple

Friday, 21 January 2011

Cardinal Levada looking at theology in India

Cardinal Levada is currently heading a Vatican delegation to India to meet with theologians and Bishops. Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India said:
“We are discussing the role of the Indian theologians as responsible theologians”
CathNews Asia has a report: CDF studies role of Indian theologians. One of the participants who wished to remain anonymous, told CathNews that
"The pluralistic theologians have begun to dilute Christianity as one of the many religions to go to God. In this context, such a colloquium could become an alerting occasion,"
Another theologian said that the colloquium would discuss the document Agendi ratio in doctrinarum examine (Regulations for doctrinal examination) which was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This document deals with the process of examining writings that are thought to contain serious errors, a process that is part of the duty of the CDF to protect "the right of the People of God to receive the Gospel message in its purity and entirety."

DVD of Blessed Alexandrina Maria da Costa

At the age of 14, Blessed Alexandrina jumped out of an upstairs window to avoid being sexually assaulted. Her spine was irreparably injured and by the age of 20 she was confined to her bed, suffering great pain for the remaining 30 years of her life. She voluntarily accepted the will of God and offered herself as a victim soul in union with the sufferings of Christ. From 1942 until her death in 1955, she received no food except the Holy Eucharist.

The remarkable mystic was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 25, 2004. In his sermon, the Holy Father said:
With the example of Blessed Alexandrina, expressed in the trilogy "suffer, love, make reparation", Christians are able to discover the stimulus and motivation to make "noble" all that is painful and sad in life through the greatest evidence of love: sacrificing one's life for the beloved.
There is a short biography at the Vatican website. Pierced Hearts has a longer article with some further details.

Mary's Dowry Productions have published a DVD of the life of Blessed Alexandrina. See that page for more information. I have watched this myself and recommend it as a simple, sincere and beautiful treatment of her life and spirituality.

Transcript of Fr Newton's interview

Father (as he prefers to be called) Keith Newton gave a competent and balanced account of the Ordinariate before the press, despite the many uncertainties about the details of how things would work out.

The Anglo-Catholic has helpfully posted a transcript of Fr Keith Newton's press conference last week. If you prefer to listen to it, the CBCEW website has recordings. The transcript is in two parts:

The Ordinary in Plain Text
The Ordinary in Plain Text: Part II

Here are a few quotations on points that I thought significant. For the context you have to read the whole text of listen to the audio but I hope that I haven't misrepresented anything:

The Ordinariate has been given an office in Eccleston Square for the time being
The authorities at the Anglican shrine at Walsingham want to explore ways in which members of the Ordinariate can continue to worship there.
The CDF are fairly keen that there should be one liturgy for the Ordinariates wherever they are, not lots of different ones.
Estimating numbers
I’d guess it will be about two dozen groups. Mostly around the South of England in the province of Canterbury; some in the North but not many. And about probably between fifty and sixty priests.
Places of worship
Obviously there will be places where it will be easiest to worship in Catholic premises. There may be possibilities where there are some Catholic premises which are underused. There may be places where there will be a sharing agreement. There was never any idea that the Ordinariate would take buildings. That was just the Press. One or two bishops have said to me warm things about sharing. It obviously depends on the numbers going from that congregation. We don’t want any rancour or bad feeling.
Not inward-looking
I hope this is going to be an evangelistic tool. I think it's part of the Pope’s vision for the evangelisation of Europe; it’s just a very small part. I hope the Ordinariate is not going to live for itself, and look beyond its borders to be evangelistic.
Patrimony not just in liturgy
I suppose it will be a very English form of Catholicism. It might have a particular way of getting into the communities that perhaps Catholic priests have not had.
Advice for those thinking of taking the step
Be courageous, trust in the Lord.
My impression from reading the transcript is that Fr Newton is facing a gargantuan task in getting the Ordinariate up and running but that he is just the man to do it, with the help of Fr Burnham and Fr Broadhurst and the initial group of priests and religious.

Meanwhile, an Ordinariate is set to be established in Australia by Pentecost this year, and will include Japan. See The Record.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Corrected translation dates for England and Wales

The new (corrected) translation of "The Order of Mass" will be used in English and Welsh parishes from September, the Bishops have announced today. Not the URL for that link: which is very encouraging. There is also a DVD called Become One Body One Spirit In Christ available to order.

Just to clarify for you: what we are talking about for September is the "Ordo Missae", is often referred to as the "Ordinary" of the Mass. This is the part that is the same for all Masses, including the responses of the people. The "Propers", the parts that change for the seasons of the year and feasts of the Saints, will come in with the publication of the full text of the Missal. It is hoped that this will be in time for Advent.

I agree with Fr Z's closing comment in his post about this news that we need some intense catechesis primarily because we need catechesis and not just because we are getting a new translation. If people really have difficulty reading a new translation of the Gloria, they need some English lessons, not catechesis; but we have failed for some time to give adequate catechesis on the Mass. The introduction of the new and corrected translation is certainly a good opportunity.

The CTS website shows A first glimpse of the new Roman Missal with the above photo of a dummy version without any printing or gold blocking on the cover. This paragraph warmed my heart:
Beauty and Practicality
CTS is working with highly-skilled printers and binders in Italy to ensure a high quality of craftsmanship in the finished volume. The choice of paper, binding, marker ribbons and leather page tabs has been made to ensure ease of use and durability over many years.

For the interior, colour illustrations have been sourced from medieval illustrated manuscripts, and decorative elements from skilled contemporary artists and from volumes in the British Library.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Rev Andrew Burnham's Mass at Oxford Oratory

Yesterday, Rev Andrew Burnham celebrated his Mass at the Oxford Oratory with Fr Aidan Nichols OP preaching (here is a link to his sermon). Fr Hunwicke has a report which includes details of the "common sense and mutual enrichment" that was evident in the celebration. For more pictures, see the Ordinariate Portal post. I recognised a number of good friends there.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Dies albo signanda lapillo

Photo credit: Mazur/

Three former Anglican Bishops ordained to the priesthood, the new ordinariate set up formally under the title of Our Lady of Walsingham (thank you, Holy Father), Rev Keith Newton appointed ordinary with the Revv Burnham and Broadhurst to assist. I agree with Damian Thompson that it is almost too much to take in at once. As the Westminster Cathedral website puts it, "A remarkable start to the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity." Quite so!

I was very sorry not to have been at Westminster Cathedral this morning but parish duties, including a (very lovely) wedding kept me at the ranch. However, I have just had a report from my hermeneutical correspondent on the spot, Sir Dan of the Nesbitry. One of the principal impressions that he had was of the reverence and gravitas of the congregation, many of whom were Anglicans or former Anglicans. I hope that Archbishop Nichols will be pleased to know that Dan was also very impressed by his homily. The Cathedral was packed to the gills, the music was of the customary sublime standard of the Cathedral choir (including Victoria's Missa O Quam Gloriosum).

Here are a few relevant links:

Statement by Rev Keith Newton
Catholic Herald's Anna Arco: Priests ordained to the world’s first ordinariate
Message from Cardinal Levada
Bishops' Conference of England and Wales website Ordinariate section
Big set of photos by Mazur on behalf of the CBCEW

Another fascinating detail is that the catechetical preparation for people being received into the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham will be the Evangelium programme produced by Fr Marcus Holden and Fr Andrew Pinsent. Why should I be so surprised at that? It is just that suddenly everything seems to be happening as it should. Congratulations to the first three members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham and to all those intending to join them. Actually congratulations to all of us as well because this is absolutely brilliant!

Thursday, 13 January 2011

New Journal for Ordinariate

Just out is the first issue of The Portal, "an independent review in the service of the Ordinariate." The Portal is a free online publication and is intended for those who are in the Ordinariate, for Anglicans who may be interested, and for Catholic friends of the Ordinariate.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Talking about Anglicanorum Coetibus

Fr Roger Nesbitt, Fr Peter Geldard and myself were talking today with David Kerr about Anglicanorum Coetibus in a programme that is to be broadcast by EWTN.

Archbishop Nichols has recently announced that three former Bishops of the Church of England are to be ordained to the priesthood at Westminster Cathedral this coming Saturday. The new General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference, Fr Marcus Stock, has produced a good document giving background information on the establishment of the Ordinariate. It is also well worth reading the piece by Anna Arco of the Catholic Herald: Church reveals fine details of ordinariate.

It is wonderful news that the Ordinariate is to be formally set up in the near future. It is an example of Pope Benedict's intelligent approach to difficult problems that he has made this arrangement which will, I am sure, smooth the path for many Anglicans to be received into Communion with the Church.

Although it is true that in the anglo-Catholic wing of the Church of England, many parishes use the Roman Missal, it is rather exciting to think that some elements of the Anglican patrimony may become part of the Liturgy of the Catholic Church. Some of those elements (for example many of the prayers of the Book of Common Prayer) are part of our general Catholic English heritage which was disrupted by the Reformation.

To think of there being even a modest transfer of some of the great choral tradition of the Church of England shows that there is much room for what Pope Benedict has called in another context "mutual enrichment."

The setting for today's filming was Arundel Castle, the home of the Duke of Norfolk. The Castle is open to visitors from April to October but can be hired for filming at other times so I had a fascinating walk down various corridors, and up staircases to get to the room that was used. It made me keen to return for a touristic visit another time.

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Pictures from Lourdes

H/T to Rorate Caeli for the video of the statue of Our Blessed Lady at Lourdes. Apparently there has been some cleaning and restoration at the Grotto: this worried me a little but it is hard to see from the video that anything has changed. I will be back there again with the annual parish pilgrimage at the end of May so it will be interesting to see what has been done. Meanwhile, having a good excuse to post photos of Lourdes, here is one of my pictures of the grotto in action on a normal day:


And here is one where I got to give the blessing for children:


Petition on the future of Ushaw

The Durham Times reports on an online petition concerning the future of Ushaw College which reads as follows:
To The Most Rev Patrick Kelly, Archbishop of Liverpool, and the trustees of Ushaw College.

We, the undersigned, are concerned by the news that Ushaw College, including the seminary of St Cuthbert, is to close in June 2011, and that the ancillary activities, including the successful conference and tourism businesses, are to close at the earlier date of 31st December 2010. In expressing this concern, we are mindful that the extensive buildings, including the architecturally meritorious chapel dedicated to St Cuthbert, were paid for by earlier generations of Catholics, who, no doubt, expected their generosity to extend to future generations in perpetuity. We are also mindful of the immense contribution that Ushaw College has made in the past 200 years to the cultural, educational and religious history of the north of England, particularly as the alma mater of many thousands of Catholic priests.

In particular, we are concerned by the following:-

1. The absence of any consultation or discussion prior to the decision being made,
2. The prospect of St Cuthbert’s Chapel no longer being available for Catholic worship,
3. The apparent lack of consideration given to ways of securing a future for the college,
4. The loss of more than 60 jobs in an area where alternative employment is scarce.

In the light of these considerations, we urge that the trustees of Ushaw College forestall its closure until such time as:-

1. a proper study has been made of options that would enable it to continue to serve the Catholic population of northern England,
2. there has been the opportunity for the closure to be debated publicly.
If you wish, you can sign the petition here.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

Ten things that will not happen in 2011

I haven't done one of these for a couple of years but since I was giggling when I came up the one I put last, I thought you might enjoy them. Here are ten things that I think will not happen in the forthcoming year:

Fr Zuhlsdorf finally agrees that "O God you are very big and Jesus is really nice. Amen" is a good translation of the Collect for the fourth Sunday of Lent.

The Translapine Redemptorists run an enneagram course at Papa Stronsay with breakout groups for psychic aromatherapy.

Chris Gillibrand buys himself a clown nose, funny hat and vuvuzela to accompany his yodelling slot in the annual Bier und Volksmesse somewhere in Austria.

James Preece is appointed Public Relations Director for the Diocese of Middlesbrough.

Fr Hunwicke makes a mistake in his Latin.

The Dominicans at Godzdogz decide that after all, the Blessed John Duns Scotus was right not only on the motive of the incarnation but also on the concept of haeccaeitas.

The Chant Café runs a series of articles on the advantages of Rhythm & Blues as an alternative to the settings of the Introit in the Roman Gradual.

Raffaella publishes slightly fewer than a thousand posts a day

Andrea Tornielli hears about a Vatican appointment in the Bollettino without having known about it at least six months beforehand.

Damian Thompson gets a pre-shined polyester suit and Bart Simpson tie from Next to wear as office gear for his new post as Executive Director of Eccleston Square.

Not going to happen. Happy New Year!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

The demise of clericalism

There has been some thoughtful comment on the blogosphere about the sermon by Bishop Burns of Menevia concerning the priesthood in which he seemed to link child abuse with "clericalism" and took a sideswipe at traditional liturgy.

Layman Chris Gillibrand posted the text. Another layman, Damian Thompson has given the homily an excellent analysis whilst a further layman, Richard Collins, has his own observations. Layman Laurence England points out the obvious fact that the sins which were committed showed precisely that the clerics concerned forgot that they were priests. Layman Mundabor also has characteristically trenchant comments.

Tut tut. The laity just have no respect nowadays.

New Year in communion with Rome

Westminster Cathedral

Photo credit: absentbabinski

Fr Sean Finnegan has an excellent post today on the reception into full communion with the Catholic Church of three former Anglican Bishops: John Broadhurst, Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton. Two of the wives and three sisters from Walsingham were also received at the Mass today at Westminster Cathedral. See: History Being Made.

The three are to be ordained to the diaconate on 13 January 13th and then to the priesthood on 15 January. Congratulations to Fr John Boyle who seems to have had something of a scoop with this excellent news. Jeffrey Steel was also there and has a personal account.

The establishment of the Ordinariate is indeed a historic event in the life of the Church. I offer my personal congratulations to the three former Anglican Bishops, the wives, Sr Jane, Sr Caroline, and Sr Wendy. I also offer my prayers and good wishes to all those who are taking up the generous and far-sighted provision of Pope Benedict. What a way to bring in the New Year!
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