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Showing posts from June, 2008

Helsinki bishop to move to Lublin

One of the benefits of modern technology is that when you are out for lunch with a fellow priest, it is possible to have a quick look at the days "Bolletino" from the Vatican. Very often there is not much to write home about but on Saturday, I was surprised to see the announcement that Bishop Josef Wróbel of Helsinki was appointed as one of the assistant Bishops of the Diocese of Lublin.

The Finnish news service YLE news describes it as an "abrupt departure" and a "surprise move". This could just be journalese - most episcopal appointments are a bit of a surprise and happen abruptly. Nevertheless, I did find it intriguing that an Ordinary should be taking up post as an auxiliary Bishop - perhaps there is some special need in Lublin or perhaps Bishop Wrobel wishes to return to his alma mater.

My friends in Helsinki will no doubt be wondering who their new Bishop is going to be.

Eye lampoons "Me" morality

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I did enjoy this one from this week's Private Eye:

Classical Rite parish for Liverpool

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Mark Greaves at the Catholic Herald has given a good write-up for the story on the first parish in Britain to be given over to celebrations of the Classical Roman Rite. (Cf Diocese to create first parish for traditional Mass)

Archbishop Kelly of Liverpool has appointed Fr Simon Henry to the Church of St Vincent in Liverpool's Toxteth. St Vincent's is an 1856 Pugin Church that has not been wreckovated. It has only 25-30 people attending Mass there each week. There is a Sunday afternoon Mass in Liverpool served by a rota of priests and attended by 40-50 people in a less accessible location. I wish Fr Henry every success in this new initiative which will put the traditional liturgy into the mainstream of the life of the diocese: a "treasure for the whole Church" as Cardinal Hoyos has said.

Heinz creates thunderous blowback

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Not having a television, I get my news about the great service that our broadcasters are offering us from pro-life websites. Thus I find that Heinz has dropped a TV advert for its mayo because 200 people have complained about a gay kiss in the advert. (Cf. LifeSite news article)

The Pink Paper has picked up the story (Warning: this is a site that has stories such as '"Eco-dildo" a useful bulwark against oil price instability.') It refers to the key article by Ben Summerskill of Stonewall in the Guardian: Beanz meanz bigotz calling for a boycott of all Heinz products.

I thought that this story might be a gift for headline writers. Such is the nervousness over the whole issue, however, that the headlines are all very prim and proper. Lifesite's "Heinz in Pickle" and the Grauniad's "Heinz mayo ad too saucy" are about as far as people are prepared to go. Let's see if the bloggers can do better!

It seems to me that Ben Summerskill has missed t…

Working against the tide

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Can't work against the tide? You can if, like the Transalpine Redemptorists of Papa Stronsay, you take a JCB, a tractor with concrete mixer and do the job properly. More pictures at Filling a hole.

The wrong furniture

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Gromit! I said get the 'oly Father a sofa from DFS, not fetch one of 'is own chairs from out t' cupboard.
H/T Fr Steven Fisher

America's loss is the Vatican's gain

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Archbishop Raymond Burke has been appointed as prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura. His departure will be a great loss for the Diocese of St Louis but a great gain for the Vatican.

Archbishop Burke, who is 60 on Monday, was Bishop of La Crosse from 1995 until he was named as Archbishop of St Louis in 2003 to replace Archbishop Rigali. He has established oratories for those who attend the Traditional Latin Mass and has invited the Institute of Christ the King into his diocese. Last year, he ordained two of their priests in the traditional rite in the Cathedral Basilica of St Louis.

During the run-up to the 2004 presidential election, he publicly stated that pro-abortion politicians should not receive Holy Communion (obviously intending to include John Kerry).

When questioned during another controversy about his firm and uncompromising defence the sanctity of life, he said:"Is there something unusual about a bishop saying that it’s wrong to be in favor of procur…

"Reclaiming our Priestly Character"

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I have just received a review copy of "Reclaiming our Priestly Character" by Fr David Toups. The book includes a historico-theological examination of the doctrine of Priestly Character, an analysis of post-conciliar confusion over the priesthood, and a positive presentation of six key principles in the foundation of priestly life

Fr Toups is a priest of the diocese of St Petersburg, Florida, ordained in 1997 and currently working with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops as the Associate Director of the Secretariat for Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

"Reclaiming Priestly Character" is based on his Doctoral thesis, completed in 2004 at the Angelicum in Rome. The footnotes are wisely left in the text, thus offering a source of further reading and, as Fr Toups says, "as a reminder that this work is not simply my own opinion or perspective."

This is an excellent book which I would recommend especially to priests and seminarians but also to laity who wou…

Communion at Papal Masses

Mgr Marini, the Master of Pontifical Ceremonies has given an interview to L'Osservatore Romano in which he has said that it will be a habitual practice at papal Masses for Holy Communion to be given on the tongue to the faithful kneeling down.

Fr Z has translated part of an interview and added his own comments. (Msgr. Guido Marini: Communion kneeling and on the tongue will be the standard for papal Masses)

In the same post, Fr Z has included the podcast of the sermon he preached here at Blackfen on the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross at a High Mass on the occasion of the promulgation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum.

Classic Arinze

I just found this classic clip of Cardinal Arinze speaking about kneeling for communion (and after communion) on John Kearney's Catholic Rights blog.


"And those who want to receive on the tongue. You leave them in peace - and not in pieces."

Sacred music in its proper setting

The Lancaster Cathedral blog reports on the music at their monthly EF Mass celebrated last Saturday:Il Suono, the a cappella group who sang a concert in the Cathedral last night, also sang at today's Mass. They sang the Mass of Pange Lingua by Josquin Desprez (1450-1521) and motets by Byrd. It is wonderful to hear this sacred music being performed in the context for which it was written.

SSPX update

Rorate Caeli has published the document asking five things of the SSPX: Decision 2008: The Conditions. Update: The actual Document

My own take on this is that it looks vague enough for the SSPX to continue its constructive critique of much that has gone wrong since Vatican II whilst being in a regular canonical situation.

I heartily second Fr Z's urgent request for prayers.

"Little Ratzinger" to head CDW?

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There is a rumour about that Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, Archbishop of Toledo and Primate of Spain is to succeed Cardinal Arinze as Prefect of the the Congregation for Divine Worship. (Cf. NLM: "The Little Ratzinger" to head CDW?)

For pictures of the Cardinal such as that above, you could look at the ICKSP site where there are photos of an ordination that he carried out.

The rumour was floated by the blog la cigüeña de la torre in its post Osoro y otros.

Inspiring talk to priests

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Claire and Stuart McCullogh today gave an inspiring talk to clergy gathered for the conference of the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life. Taking it in turns, they spoke about the origin of their work, their way of counselling women who have decided that they must have an abortion, about the reasons women want to have an abortion, and about what priests ought to be doing.

It was very helpful to hear from two people who are on the "front line" of pro-life work about what is actually going on when women seek abortion. They report that nearly all of their clients know that they are carrying a human life and that abortion will kill that life. They believe that abortion is wrong. Then there is the big "BUT". For various reasons, women feel that they simply cannot continue with this pregnancy now and that they must therefore, regrettably, go through with the abortion. The mission of the Good Counsel is to "mediate the mission of motherhood", to revive …

Catholic Children's Society official statement

The Catholic Children's Society has published a statement indicating its intention to comply with the Equality Act 2006 and the Sexual Orientation Regulations. This involves accepting the requirement not to "discriminate" against same-sex couples when considering couples as adoptive parents.

The statement avoids the canonical implications of this decision. As an organisation it can no longer be considered Catholic. As I reported before, (Cabrini Children's Society and More on the "Cabrini Children's Society") the proposal is to change the name, removing the word "Catholic" and replacing it with "Cabrini".

But then there is the question of the money that the society holds which has been donated by the Catholic faithful in good faith, believing that they were donating money to a charity that would act in accordance with the beliefs and practices of the Roman Catholic Church. Should this money be transferred to the new non-Catholic charit…

CMF on BMA ARM

OK, first of all the acronyms. CMF - the Christian Medical Fellowship which is doing sterling work in supporting the family and promoting the sanctity of human life. BMA - the British Medical Association, the UK based professional association for doctors. ARM - the Annual Representative Meeting of the BMA, its key policy-making meeting. This year's meeting will be from 7-10 July.

The CMF has a good page a motion from Evan Harris MP of the Oxford division, analysing the motion and Harris's overall strategy. (Cf. How MPs plan to liberalise the Abortion Law) The motion is number 528 (page 80) in the full agenda for the meeting (pdf 904kb).

This motion, to be considered on the Thursday morning (10 July), proposes a serious restriction upon pro-life doctors who conscientiously object to abortion. Harris wishes them to be forbidden to claim that they give "balanced advice" and to be forced to refer patients to doctors who will carry out abortions.

This is an example of the &q…

Abortion on demand proposed

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Dr Evan Harris and Chris McCafferty have given notice of two amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, proposing the Amendment of the 1967 Abortion Act.

The first clause of the Abortion Act begins:
1. — (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the law relating to abortion when a pregnancy is terminated by a registered medical practitioner if [...]This recognises that abortion is still an offence in the UK and can only be carried out legally if certain conditions are met. These are described in the current Abortion Act continues as follows:[...] two registered medical practitioners are of the opinion, formed in good faith—

(a) that the pregnancy has not exceeded its twenty-fourth week and that the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, of injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman or any existing children of her family; or

(b) that the terminat…

Mass for deceased children

In the meantime, in my parish I celebrated Mass this evening for the children and young people of our parish who have died. We have had a number of tragic deaths and the parents never cease to amaze me with their fortitude and charity. Here is my sermon for this evening's Mass in which I tried to say something of use, God help me! I post it here in case it may be of help to any of you.Lawrence Binyon’s poem for the fallen expressed the sorrow of a whole generation of mothers and fathers who sons died in the fields of Flanders, the Somme and other battlefields of the first World War. It struck me that his words probably reflect our feelings too as we remember the children and young people of our parish who have died. Of them too, it is true that:

They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

At this Mass as we remember those young people again. The rawness of…

Roman rumour on SSPX

Fr Z has picked up a most interesting snippet from Andrea Tornielli: L’ultimatum del Vaticano ai ribelli di Lefebvre: pace se accettate il Concilio and has done us the service of translating it with his own trademark emphases and comments. (Cf. Countdown: accord between Holy See and SSPX)

The upshot is that the SSPX have been asked to send a response to Pope Benedict's proposals before 28 June - that is, the Vatican's close of business for the summer.

Rorate Caeli has further news that the existence of this offer has been confirmed by the SSPX.

I pray that this will indeed be a concrete step to the solution of any remaining canonical difficulties and that we may soon see the SSPX clergy at our deanery meetings ;-)

Odd counsel for Westminster priests

Westminster Diocese is awash with rumblings about a talk given last Wednesday at the All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney to over 200 priests by Fr Jerome Murphy-O'Connor (the Cardinal's cousin) on "Paul the Pastor". It does not sound good.

The talk was not given from a prepared script nor was it recorded and therefore I can only go by what I am told by those who were there. Here are some key points that I have summarised from the accounts of many priests. If anyone wishes to offer corrections of serious errors of fact, I will be happy to amend the post.

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St Paul didn't believe in the divinity of Christ - he didn't deny it but his thought hadn't taken him that far. For Paul, Jesus was the model man - he showed us what we are capable of, by the example of his life. [Cp. the Office of Readings for today in the Liturgia Horarum: St Gregory of Nyssa "On Christian Perfection", beginning "More than anyone, St Paul understood…

Westminster Diocese piece on Pontifical Mass

Thanks to Monica in the combox for a link to the Westminster Diocesan website's piece on last Saturday's Pontifical High Mass celebrated by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. (Cf. Pontifical High Mass in the Traditional Latin Rite at Westminster Cathedral).

Priests' Pro-Life Conference Wednesday

APGL Conference
Wednesday 25 June 2008
St Wilfrid’s Hall, The London Oratory, Brompton Road, SW7 2RP

The Conference organised by the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life (APGL) is open to all priests. Deacons and seminarians are also welcome.

Programme
Registration at 11.15am
Keynote Speakers: Clare and Stuart McCullough (from the Good Counsel Network) will speak about their work: to ‘mediate the mission of motherhood’ and to save as many babies as possible from abortion

A buffet lunch will be provided. Pro-life literature will be available.

The afternoon session will include Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament (with Confessions), Rosary and Benediction. Tea will be served after Benediction and the Conference will conclude by 4pm

To help us with catering, please leave a message in the combox or email me on conference@apgl.org.uk if you are coming to the conference. (If you are too busy or forget, still come anyway!) There is no charge but donations will be welcome.

The Oratory is next t…

Fr Lang on new sacred art programme

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Zenit has news of a new master's program in architecture, sacred arts and liturgy at the European University of Rome of which Fr Uwe Michael Lang is one of the directors. (Cf. Master's Program Aims to Halt Art Crisis). Fr Lang commented on the crisis in sacred art:... a crisis of the deepest roots, a crisis that has swept away, even before art, beauty itself, of which it should be the bearer. The very concept of 'fine arts,' of which the conciliar Constitution on Sacred Liturgy speaks, is debated.Following Hans Urs von Balthasar, he also stressed thatTogether with the loss of the beautiful, the good and the true have also been lost.

Fr Z on the Tablet, & George Weigel

Fr Zuhlsdorf has two good posts with his trademark "emphases and comments".

1. Elena Curti in the Tablet: Ringing in the old

2. George Weigel in Newsweek: Latin Days Are Here Again?

Universal law of continence

Adoro te Devote commented on the post Married priests petition and celibacy counter-text, raising the point about the prohibition of clerics marrying - even where there are clerics who are already married.

This prohibition seems to make little sense. If marriage is good and can be a legitimate part of the clerical state, as it is in the East for priests and deacons, and in the West for permanent deacons, why should there be a law forbidding marriage after ordination?

The answer most coherent with the fact of this universal law is that there was an apostolic discipline of clerical continence (i.e. abstinence from sexual union) even for those who were married, and that the existing law, which applies even where clerical marriage and the use of marriage is retained, is a vestige of the ancient discipline.

This accords with the words of Our Lord:Jesus said, "Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sa…

Divorce Online

Advertisers seeking to grab customers at every possible opportunity now advertise in lavatories with A4 sized framed posters. One I have seen recently which made my heart sink was for Divorce Online... a free, content rich resource for people in a divorce or separation situation. It allows them to access a wealth of information and services regarding family law matters. We believe in providing as much free information as we can to help our users make informed choices.There is a Gold Service DIY divorce for the knockdown price of £65. Surely the cheapest way to smash up children's lives and undermine the fabric of society! I do recognise the duty of solicitors to represent their clients and gain the best settlement for them, but this does seem somewhat too slick. The whole website is an eloquent testimony to the truth of Pope Paul VI's warning in Humanae Vitae; and I quote:Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on t…

Die! You CO2 emitting scum!

Thanks to The Register for this story: Oz TV advises CO2-emitting children to die early.

Apparently, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's "Planet Slayer" site invites young children to take a "greenhouse gas quiz", asking them "how big a pig are you?". At the end of the quiz, the pig explodes, and ABC tells children at "what age you should die at so you don’t use more than your fair share of Earth’s resources!" Charming!

In response, ABC managing director Mark Scott insisted that,... the site was not designed to offend certain quarters of the community but to engage children in environmental issues.My question is how this squares with the Child Protection policy of ABC. Could we have access to a copy of this policy?

Wartime Pius XII archives closed to scholars

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In journalistic parlance, this is a "Man Bites Dog" story from Agence France Presse: Vatican demands opening of Israeli archives. Walter Brandmuller, president of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences said,I do not understand some critics as most of the Vatican documentation is accessible... while others do not make their documents availableApparently fifteen Israeli archive collections keep documents to which scholars are not allowed access. The Commission investigating the life of Pope Pius XII would like to study these documents.

H/T Fr Ray Blake

James Bond priest

A friend put me onto Donjojohannes's channel on YouTube. Here are a few of his very polished video clips which give Catholic parodies of popular cultural icons.

James Bond intro:



Praystation (includes Praystation portable):



Sprite or Spirit:



Che Geuvara vs Christ:

Is it just me?

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Thanks to Andrew Cusack for linking on Norumbega to the Daily Telegraph blog of Gerald Warner: Is it just me? I particularly liked Only lemon properly complements a gin and tonic and I quote:How many times, in pubs, do I have to lecture captive audiences who convincingly feign ennui as a defensive reaction to their embarrassment at the solecism they are committing, that lemon is the only legitimate accompaniment to a gin and tonic? Tradition is, of course, an adequate reason in itself. But the fact is that, while a slice of lemon complements the gin, the overpowering flavour of lime drowns it completely.As with most of society's evils, he traces the root cause to New Labour although he opines that barmen who rub the lime around the rim of the glass were trained by the Borgias.

This prompts me to observe the remarkable similarity between Tony Blair and Cesare Borgia. I wonder if they are by any chance related?

In their public policy they were entirely different, of course. Cesare Bor…

Cardinal Castrillon's address to the LMS

I posted earlier today a quotation from the address of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to the Latin Mass Society. The full text of the address has now been posted at NLM. I particularly appreciated his comment:I also say, “Take heart!” for it is obvious from the many young people in England and Wales who love the Church’s ancient liturgy that you have done very well in preserving and handing on a love for this liturgy to your children.
It is good to hear the Cardinal encouraging families in the context of a speech about the traditional liturgy. I have to say that I also have experience of children growing to love the traditional liturgy and passing on that love to their parents who have been overjoyed that their children have found something that will nourish their faith and keep it strong.

His Eminence also made special mention of the Merton conference to train priests to celebrate the usus antiquior and gave his blessing to this year's conference. As one of the tutors for the conference…

Ecuadorian medics against abortion

LifeSite News yesterday reported a cracking statement by the Ecuadorian Federation of Societies of Gynecology and Obstetrics. You can read the LifeSite article and the full text in English translation. Point 4 of the declaration states:From the moment that the ovum is fertilized, a new life is begun that is not part of the father, nor of the mother, but rather a new human being that develops autonomously. Further, something so important is at stake that, from the point of view of moral obligation, the mere probability of the existence of a person is sufficient to justify the absolute prohibition of any intervention made for the purpose of eliminating a human embryo. Human beings must be respected and treated as a person from the instant of their conception and, for that reason, from that same moment the rights of the person must be respected, principally the inviolable right to life of every innocent human being. Human life must be respected from its conception, without exceptions.…

Countering subversion, saving babies and restoring the liturgy

A busy day today up in London. My good friend Lt Col James Sterling Corum is in England to give a lecture to the Defence Academy. We were at Oxford together many years ago and it is always great to catch up with news of his family and his academic work. Jim is an acknowledged expert in military history and especially airpower, and counter-subversion. He has recently written a new book: "Wolfram von Richthofen. Master of the German Air War", published by the University Press of Kansas. Wolfram von Richthofen is usually overshadowed by his cousin the "Red Baron". Before the second world war, he played a central role in building and developing the Luftwaffe. Jim has another book out in the summer analysing examples of failed decision-making processes by democracies in wartime. Talking to him about the book over lunch, it struck me that the principal lessons could be applied almost exactly to failed decision-making in the Church. I'll certainly be buying a copy whe…

"The rite that long in darkness pined ..."

Benedict Ambrose, at Tremendous Trifles, has posted a hymn composed by "that most satirical of Scottish orders, the Ninja Carthusians of Achiltibuie." It is sung to the tune "Dundee". I won't post the text here - that would rob Benedict Ambrose of lots of hits. Go over and have a look at the post Cardinal Rules (OK). You'll not be sorry. ;-)

Cardinal Castrillon clarifies Holyday question

I have just received this quotation from the address of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to the Latin Mass Society:I am aware that the response of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” with regard to the observance of Holy Days of obligation has caused a certain amount of disturbance in some circles. It should be noted that the dates of these Holy Days remain the same in both the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970. When the Holy See has given the Episcopal Conference of a given country permission to move certain Holy Days to the following Sunday, this should be observed by all Catholics in that country. Nothing prevents the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension, for example, on the prior Thursday, but it should be clear that this is not a Mass of obligation and that the Mass of the Ascension should also be celebrated on the following Sunday. This is a sacrifice which I ask you to make with joy as a sign of your unity with the Catholic Church in your country.That's fine. I certa…

Press conference on Saturday

Outside Westminster Cathedral after the Pontifical High Mass on Saturday, I was delighted to meet Damien Thompson, the editor-in-chief of the Catholic Herald and writer of the famed Telegraph blog Holy Smoke.

Damien told me about the press conference earlier in the day and this has now been reported independently on the Reuters Faith World blog by Sebastian Tong (Cf. Latin Mass “power of silence” raises UK Catholic decibels). After the Cardinal had spoke about the power of silence in the usus antiquior and its element of contemplation, Elena Curti, deputy editor of the The Tablet, said that:[...] many Catholics like herself were confused at the new emphasis on the old rite. It seemed to diminish the role of the laity, she said, and she asked the cardinal if this was a regression from the reforms of the Second Vatican CouncilCardinal Castrillon sensibly responded:The Holy Father is not returning to the past but taking from the past a treasure to make it present today along side the rich…

A day in France

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Photo Calais par AVERTIE89 sur Vacanceo.com

Up early today to get to the Eurotunnel with a priest friend for a day trip to Sangatte, near Calais. We stopped in at the Cité Europe shopping mall to buy some good tea, olive oil, a couple of electronic items and a few bottles of nice wine before having a very reasonably-priced lunch at a fish restaurant.

We had enough time for a visit to Bleriot Plage (I did not have my camera but the photo above captures the scene) and saw some windsurfers skating and jumping over the waves of the Channel. This was the site from which Louis Bleriot made the first cross-channel flight in 1909, winning the £1000 prize offered by the Daily Mail.

Back in time for a quiet Low Mass in my Church.

Mass Information blog

The video clip I posted yesterday was originally from Mass Information, a blog in which:Anglican seminarians discuss the Catholic Church's current liturgical dialogue and what it means for them.

Behind the scenes at the Pontifical Mass

The video clip above shows a part of the recessional at the end of yesterday's Pontifical Mass and it prompts me to post a few personal comments from the experience of assisting at the Mass.

You can see that I was walking slightly behind His Eminence who held the crozier in a not entirely vertical position. For anyone who is second assistant Deacon on such an occasion, I can warn you that you are liable to be stabbed in the foot by the crozier - as I was twice! I learned to keep out of the way.

The vestments we wore were heavily embroidered with gold thread but practical in that their Roman form allowed for all the necessary movement during the ceremonies. I now feel much more confident about taking a mitre off - something I have not had much experience of in the past since Bishops nowadays tend to do this themselves.

Fr Conlon, the Assistant Priest, had the job of moving the Missal stand and Missal - made of solid brass, it weighted about twenty pounds. Fr Southwell and I knelt on t…

More coverage of Pontifical Mass

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Fr Zuhlsdorf has added his emphases and comments to the article by Damien Thompson which I linked to yesterday. He comments particularly on the important statement by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos that the Holy Father is offering this form of the Mass for all and that therefore it is something for all parishes, not just "many parishes". As Fr Z says,This was stated by someone who knows what he is talking about. He wouldn’t have said it if it was according to the Holy Father’s will. how can we know this? He made a similar statement before. Review this. If the Secretariat of State or the Holy Father had a problem with what Card. Castrillon said back then, he wouldn’t be saying it in public now.(Cf. UK: Card. Castrillon Hoyos - TLM in “Not many parishes – all parishes”!)

The New Liturgical Movement has accounts of the Mass from Fr Anthony Symondson and "Justin" that are well worth reading for the way that they capture the mood of the day. (Cf. Two accounts of Today…

Today's Pontifical Mass

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Following on from Justin's report, here are some photos from today's Pontifical High Mass at Westminster Cathedral, celebrated by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos. Above you can see His Eminence solemnly entering the Cathedral, giving his blessing as he passed along.

The push-chairs illustrate the youth of the congregation: there were many young families with babies. Their occasional wailing did not matter a bit.

Above you can see Fr Hudson, the Subdeacon (centre), myself as the second Assistant Deacon (left) and Fr Wadsworth as Deacon for the Mass (right)

The Cathedral was completely packed for the Mass. These photos were taken from about two-thirds the way down the nave. People were standing at the back and all the way down the side aisles.

Today was a magnificent, joyful and hope-filled celebration of the Roman Rite in its finest form with the Cathedral Choir singing and over two thousand people participating actively by uniting themselves spiritually with what was happening at the al…

Report from the pews

Here is a report from "Justin" in the comments box fof Fr Zuhlsdorf's blog "What Does the Prayer Really Say". It is such a good summary of today's Mass that I felt it would be best to post it in full:I have just returned from the Pontifical High Mass at the Throne for the Feast of S. Basil the Great celebrated by Dario Card. Castrillion Hoyos, President of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. You will be happy to know that the Cathedral was overflowing – all seats were filled 30 mins prior to Mass, the side chapels were packed, and the side aisles and crossings were standing room only. Many of the congregants of the overflowing cathedral were youth, or families with children. I am 24 myself, and I would estimate that at least half the congregants (surely numbering more than 1500) were in my age group or younger.

The famed Cathedral Choir (the actual Cathedral Choir) sung their pieces with the professionalism and technical wizardry superior to any Oxbridge col…

Cardinal Hoyos in London

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This evening, I had the privilege of attending dinner at the Travellers Club in London with HE Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos and the Committee of the Latin Mass Society, together with the other sacred ministers for tomorrow's Mass, Frs Wadsworth and Conlon of the diocese of Westminster, and Fr Hudson of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, together with Fr Ronald Creighton-Jobe of the London Oratory. Fr Christopher Tuckwell, the new administrator of Westminster Cathedral was also there: we are all very grateful to him for his hospitality and for making available some of the Cathedral's finest vestments and plate for tomorrow's Pontifical Mass.

After dinner, Julian Chadwick, the LMS Chairman gave a rousing speech in which he noted that the visit of Cardinal Hoyos does much to fulfil the legitimate aspirations for which the society has worked over several decades.

Cardinal Hoyos replied in a moving and heartfelt address in which he expressed the hope that tomo…

Married priests petition and celibacy counter-text

Priests in England and Wales recently received a copy of "An appeal to the Bishops of England and Wales to ordain priests for our parishes." Married priests, that is. The petition from "Marriedpriests-ew.org" reads:We, the undersigned Catholics, wish to express our support for our bishops who are preparing the Catholic Church in England and Wales for new forms of ministry and leadership. We request the Catholic Bishops Conference to place the following items on the agenda for their next plenary meeting.

We ask that the bishops:

1. Acknowledge that there is a major crisis in ministry within the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
2. Acknowledge that there is no doctrinal or theological barrier to the ordination of married men. Our church has already ordained married former Anglican priests.
3. Take practical steps toward ordaining suitably qualified married men.
4. Encourage a wide-ranging discussion of the role of women in ministry and in the authority structures of t…

Clergy HV pledge now online

Many thanks to John Mallon for advising that there is now an online facility to sign the Clergy pledge of assent to Humanae Vitae which I wrote about yesterday. Here are the important links:

Human Life International homepage with an article "The Generation of Assent" which introduces the pledge.

Sign the pledge online.

Download a copy of the pledge (pdf 105kb)

Mass and book launch

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Damien Thompson has a thoughtful and moving post on last night's Mass at the Little Oratory (Cf. Latin Mass marries beauty and truth.)

The occasion was the launch of the new book by Alessandra Borghese "In the Footsteps of Joseph Ratzinger" which I wrote about a few weeks ago. It is a charming and very readable account of a journey through Bavaria by two noble ladies who have retained and exemplify that genuine nobility which finds its source and fulfilment in the faith which built Europe.

Update on the Tyburn memorial

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Fr Andrew Pinsent has kindly passed on this reply that he received from one of the Councillors in Westminster:Fr. Andrew Pinsent
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"Thank you for your communication.

As you so rightly comment this memorial has been removed due to the recent refurbishment works. However, it is due to be replaced shortly."

Kind regards
Councillor Jean Paul Floru
Member for Hyde Park Ward

Clergy pledge of assent to Humanae Vitae

Human Life International has drawn up a Clergy Pledge of Assent to Humanae Vitae. As they explain:In the face of a whole generation of silence and dissent to this most critical of all papal encyclicals, HLI is endeavoring to form a new generation of assent, both from the ranks of the existing clergy and among those who are studying for Holy Orders.You can read more about the pledge at the HLI homepage and you can download a copy of the pledge (pdf 105kb) which bishops, priests, deacons and seminarians are all invited to sign.

(I wonder if it would be possible for HLI to arrange for this to be signed by email or on the web?)

Fr Durham in Helsinki

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Fr Benjamin Durham FSSP has been visiting Finland. Above is a photo of the Missa Cantata at St Henry's Cathedral last Sunday. The Summorum blog has details (with some text in English) and photos of his visits to Holy Cross at Tampere, the Missionaries of Charity, Maala in the Finnish countryside (with a game of "mölkky"), and today to the Carmelite sisters in Esopo. I was very glad to hear that he also had the opportunity to meet the Bishop of Helsinki.

Coming back into the fold

Mary Rose has a blog about her journey back to the Catholic Church: True Confessions of a Prodigal Daughter At the first post, you can read the story of her return to the faith.

More on the "Cabrini Children's Society"

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Philip at Carpe Canem has an excellent post concerning the recent decision of the Catholic Children's Society (dioceses of Southwark, Arundel and Brighton, and Portsmouth) to give in to the government's demands that they place children with same sex couples, and to change the name of the society to the "Cabrini Children's Society." (Cf. Mother Cabrini must be turning in her grave!)

As Philip rightly says:This is nothing less than the misappropriation of the good name of Mother Frances Xavier Cabrini, and the linking of her name to something with which she would profoundly disagree – a complete perversion of her principles! Mother Cabrini spent her life caring for children, rather than seeing them abandoned or given up into dangerous or sinful situations, founding orphanages to protect and care for the vulnerable.The Catholic Children's Society currently receives income from the following:
An annual collection at Sunday MassOfferings at the Christmas CribLenten …

Radiant Light lesson plan

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Radiant Light, the website for the devotional and instructional paintings by Elizabeth Wang, has produced a Lesson Plan for Teachers. This can be used in various areas of the curriculum and, of course, would be a valuable resource for homeschoolers. The lesson plan includes questions and activities. It is great to hear that the website will soon include a larger collection of about 600 free high quality pictures that can be downloaded freely for non-commercial use.

Where has the Tyburn memorial gone?

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In the middle of Edgeware Road, just north of the junction with Bayswater Road, there is a traffic island. This was the site of the Tyburn Tree, the place of execution of many of our English Catholic martyrs. The site used to be marked by the small memorial pictured above. Unfortunately, the traffic island has recently been refashioned and the memorial is no longer there. This is a pity because I know that many Catholics used to like to venerate the cross, even from the opposite pavement (it is a busy road and the island is fenced off.)

My guess is that this is merely an oversight and that the planners did not realise the significance of the cross. It would not cost much to place a small memorial on the site of the Tyburn Tree similar to the one that has been lost.

The traffic island is on the boundary of two wards of Westminster Council, Bryanston and Dorset Square and Hyde Park. The links take you to the pages for those wards with information about the ward councillors and email links…

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