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Showing posts from April, 2013

A richly deserved honour

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Aunty Joanna is now Dame Joanna Bogle DSG after being appointed as a Dame of St Gregory by Pope Benedict XVI in one of the last acts of his pontificate. The award is given for those who have proved their loyalty to the Holy See by means of their public deeds and are worthy of a public expression of esteem on the part of the Holy See.

Joanna is undoubtedly worthy of such recognition in view of her tireless work over decades in support of the Holy See, the promotion of the Catholic faith, raising public awareness of the Martyrs of our country, fighting fearlessly for the family, giving sterling support to good Catholic apostolates, and bravely defending the cause of Catholic womanhood in the face of sometimes bitter opposition. She has also given support to Catholic priests in many ways, not least in the kindly demonstrations of support at Chrism Masses in Westminster and Southwark over many years.

In both military and ecclesiatical circles, gongs are sometimes regarded with a degree of…

St George's day at Blackfen

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For St George's feast day today we had an evening Missa Cantata with Mass II and the chants from the gradual. At Communion, the schola sang a version of the Salve Festa Dies with references to St George. I am told that it dates from the battle of Agincourt. UPDATE: The hymns can be found at this post: Hymns for St George.

After Mass, we had time to go to the Robin Hood and Little John in Bexleyheath which is a fine traditional English pub serving excellent ale and, on this occasion, sort of canapés of yorkshire pudding and roast beef. They know us well from Saturday Missae Cantatae which they sometimes attend.

For what it is worth, here is my short sermon for the feast day:
Great Saint George, our patron help us,
In the conflict be thou nigh;
Help us in that daily battle
Where each one must live or die.


As far as we know, St George was a high-ranking solider in the army of the emperor Diocletian. At that time, Christians were growing every stronger, their demographic power increa…

Ordinariate: Evensong, Benediction and talk by Charles Moore

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The Friends of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham are holding a Spring Event on Thursday 13 June 2013. This event begins with Evensong and Benediction at 6pm in the Little Oratory, Brompton Road, London SW7. Monsignor Keith Newton, Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, will preside.

Afterwards, there will be a talk in St Wilfrid’s Hall by Charles Moore, former editor of the Daily Telegraph and Margaret Thatcher’s authorised biographer. Refreshments will be served. £10 payable at the door. All are welcome. For more information, email catherineutley@friendsoftheordinariate.org.uk

God Spray

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Pope Francis today used a witty expression to describe the vague religiosity of many people who are happy enough to use the Church when they need it but stay within the bounds of saying "I think it's nice to have a faith."

It seems that the Vatican news agencies are now shying away from providing the full text of his daily homilies and giving only summary reports. As others have noted, this is a problem in itself: in a world of instant communication, we really do need to have the exact text rather than someone else's interpretation if we are to have anything at all. Nevertheless, there are some quotations in today's Vatican Radio report and I enjoyed this section:
The Pope drew inspiration for his homily from the Gospel of John in which Jesus tells the crowd that "he who believes has eternal life". He says the passage is an opportunity for us to examine our conscience. He noted that very often people say they generally believe in God. "But who is …

Thoughts on the Funeral Service for Baroness Thatcher

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Did anyone notice the black vestments and six unbleached candles? I don't think many people would comment on them: they were just the right and obvious thing.

Quite rightly our primary focus as Catholics is to pray for the repose of the soul of Margaret Thatcher and I assure you, prescinding from any political comment, that I have done so and will do so.

As I was travelling today, I didn't get to watch the service itself but did enjoy seeing part of the procession with the gun carriage, the display of some difficult drill at 70 paces per minute, the shouted orders, half-muffled bell and all that.

People I follow on Twitter seemed quite positive about the address given by Bishop Chartres. Having now read it, I agree that he rose to the occasion and was glad to see that he ended with the prayer "Eternal rest..." (or, as he put it "Rest eternal...") The music was all deemed superb as we are privileged to expect from one of the top Cathedral choirs in a world …

Pro-Life twitterati force Gosnell case into public eye

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The MSM were trying to ignore and black out news of the appalling case of multiple murder by Kermit Gosnell because it confronts us all with the horror of what the culture of abortion really amounts to. Gosnell was following a macabre logic - if you can murder babies in the womb or as they are just coming out of the womb, there is no essential moral difference if you then decide to decapitate babies who have just been born.

Thanks to about 23,000 tweets per hour yesterday, the truth is now being reported by some MSM outlets. Damian Thompson has ensured that it is not ignored on the Telegraph news feed, and various media are now playing catch-up.

Bloggers have also picked up on the story to ensure that the truth is known. From an increasing roll of honour, let me just list a few:

Fr Ed Tomlinson
Mulier Fortis
Contercultural Father
Mark Lambert

For a list of follow-up articles, see Big Pulpit.

Thanks be to God for all those who used the social media to make sure that this horrific example …

Catholic Medical Association Annual Symposium

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An excellent opportunity for Catholic healthcare workers to network and to hear some excellent lectures. I feel so fortunate to be able to host this in my parish. Dr Treloar send the following message:It is just three weeks now till the Annual Symposium of the Catholic Medical Association which will be on the 4th - 5th May, in Blackfen in South East London. We really do think that it will be an excellent day and we hope very much that to see you there for a really enjoyable weekend. The main conference is on Saturday. The AGM of the CMA will be on Sunday, and of course, it’s fine if you can only come for the Saturday.

Excellent speakers, answers to difficult questions as well as a great deal more. For details and how to book for the symposium go to www.catholicmedicalassociation.org.uk. Cost for the symposium is just £10 (although there is a suggested donation of £10-15 to cover lunch and refreshments throughout the day). The banquet MUST be booked beforehand. CPD certificates will be…

LMS Pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow

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A National Pilgrimage in honour of St Margaret Clitherow on Saturday 4 May 2013.

There will be Solemn High Mass at 1.30pm at St Wilfrid's Church, Duncombe Place, followed by a procession to the Church of the English Martyrs via the Shrine of St Margaret in the Shambles.

At 4pm at the English Martyrs Church there will be Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and veneration of the relic of St Margaret Clitherow.

(Any further enquiries to info@lms.org.uk)

Little Way Association new website

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The Little Way Association is a charity that aims to "help the poor, needy and sick in developing countries throughout the world." If you are looking for a good charity that does those things, you can now find out more at their brand new website. The name is of course an indication that the fact that the Association works under the patronage of St Therese of Lisieux.

Vatican Press Office response to the end of the world

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Father Lombardi would keep his cool even if he had to announce the second coming, says Francis Phillips, the excellent columnist and blogger for the Catholic Herald. Her article got me thinking mischievously about what would happen if the second coming were scheduled.

First of all the Vatican Bollettino would announce several days in a row an "Avviso di Conferenza Stampa" (Notice of Press Conference). Two high-ranking prelates and a layman would be slated to speak. Given the importance of the occasion, we might expect Cardinal Burke of the Sacred Penitentiary and Archbishop Muller of the CDF, but it could be Archbishop Zygmunt Zimowski of the Pontifical Council for Pastoral Assistance to Health Care Workers and Cardinal Amato of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints since there might be need for emergency service and quite a lot of saints all in one go. For the laity, perhaps someone from the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences to talk on the astronomical implications.

Pro-Life PCS Union exec committee candidate

Pro-Life campaigner, Peter Hunter from Blackpool, is standing for election to the National Executive Committee of the Public and Commercial Services Union, the fifth largest union in the UK.

For many years, the PCS has been affiliated to the pro-abortion organisation Abortion Rights. As a consequence of this, it goes beyond its remit to campaign for a woman's "right to choose" abortion.

Peter Hunter is seeking election to the National Executive Committee on a pro-life stance. He is Catholic and a fearless campaigner for the right to life. Members of the Union are encouraged to support Peter's candidacy.

I received this information from the Trade Union Pro-Life Group and obviously want to bring it to the attention of any Catholic or other pro-life members of the PCS Union.

For further information, please email Peter.

Abstinence and Friday of the Easter Octave

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Must we abstain from meat on the Friday of the Easter Octave? In my "Catholic Dilemmas" column in the Catholic Herald of 29 March 2013, I said that we should. This has created a larger correspondence than any other of the columns that I have written in the past six years. So I thought I should address the question further here.

First of all the law concerning abstinence. The relevant canon of the current Code of Canon Law says:
Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the Episcopal Conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday... (Can. 1251) So the question is whether the Friday of the Easter Octave is a solemnity. In the 1969 document Calendarium Romanum, we read the following in the Normae Universales de Anno Liturgico et de Calendario:
Octo primi dies temporis paschalis constituunt octavam Paschae et uti sollemnitates Domini celebrantur. (n.24)
(The first eight days of paschal time constitute the octave of…

Pastoral thoughts on the oil of gladness

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Photo credit: Mulier Fortis
Many years ago when I was a newly-ordained priest, an evangelical Christian stopped me in the street to ask me why I was looking so miserable. He said that I should be happy because Christ had risen from the dead. I explained to him that I had just come from the hospital where I had visited a young woman who had taken an overdose of paracetamol. During the course of the next day, she had realised that it was a foolish thing to do and that she did not want to die. Then her liver and everything else packed up and I had just administered the sacraments to her before her now inevitable death.

When we celebrate Mass, we do so for a variety of people. Most of them will be happy to be there, glad to know that they have done something good by offering God due worship, glowing with the joy of their families or with seeing the young children of others playing happily outside after Mass. As a priest I am usually able to rejoice in greeting people and laughing with fam…

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