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Showing posts from May, 2012

Family life, fair love and political arguments for marriage

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The Southern chapter of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy met yesterday and heard from Edmund Adamus and Peter Williams

Edmund had a wealth of resources to support marriage and the family. His presentation contained many gems - I was reminded of some things that I have posted here but also alerted to others. There was a quote from Brock Chisolm, the Director of the World Health Organisation in 1946, describing parents as dictators and oppressors, Harriet Harman et al on "The Family Way", quotes from Barry Sheerman at the time of the SORs about not being serious about the faith, and a reference to St Gregory who told Augustine to preach about marriage and its benefits to overcome lawlessness in his missionary territory of England.

There was an interesting reference to Mit Brennender Sorge (n.39) with its special greetings for Catholic parents:
[...] we shall never cease frankly to represent to the responsible authorities the iniquity of the pressure brought to bear on you a…

Meeting with the brothers

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On a glorious English late spring day I travelled down on the train yesterday from Waterloo to Brockenhurst and then onward to St Dominic's Priory in the New Forest to speak to the Western Chapter of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, organised by Fr Tom Dubois. My talk was an amalgamation of two previous talks that I have given on the renewal of the spiritual life of the priest as a result of the reforms of the Council of Trent, and the relevance of that reform to us as priests today.

It was great to catch up with Mgr Edwin Barnes, one time "flying bishop" in the Church of England and now one of the senior members of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

The hospitality of the Dominican sisters was friendly and welcoming, and I did like their chapel with its wooden beam structure and genuine noble simplicity. They kindly gave me a copy of "Anchor", a short catechetical course for adults, aimed particularly at parents whose children are preparing for t…

Archbishop Lefevbre and hermeneutics

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As a young student in Rome, coping with continental philosophy after the ruthlessly positivistic atmosphere of Oxford, talk of "heremeutics" used to bore me witless. In today's intellectual climate in the Church, however, the matter is of crucial importance. The interpretation of the texts of Vatican II is an essential question for the reform and renewal of the Church in continuity with its tradition. In the case of the canonical recognition of the Society of St Pius X, there is also the question of the interpretation of the writings of Archbishop Lefevbre.

An important article on the SSPX website looks at attempts to use speeches of Archbishop Lefevbre to oppose the current negotiations with the Holy See in which Bishop Fellay has been a prudent and reserved, but determined advocate. (See Interpreting the words of Archbishop Lefebvre. A few sensible rules. Part 1 of 2) Some sedevacantists have tried to use Archbishop Lefevbre's texts in order to oppose this negoti…

Scholae at Lublin

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The schola in the picture on my post about High Mass in Lublin (right) is directed by Father Piotr Paćkowski and its members are students of musicology from Catholic University of Lublin. This choir is the "guest" schola that sings at the Church of the Immaculate Conception three or four time a year for the traditional Mass - their help is much appreciated.

Father Piotr is very supportive of the traditional Mass and his involvement in the traditional liturgy at Lublin is important for the people who are attached to it. The above picture was taken during Vespers in the usus antiqior at the Immaculate Conception Church on the feast of St. Stanislaus bishop and martyr.

The regular schola Vox Iucunda sings once or twice a month (and excellent organists also assist.) Vox Iucunda is led by Agnieszka Mycka: the members are enthusiasts, mostly students, who regularly attend the traditional Mass at the Immaculate Conception.

Below is an embed of a rough, unedited recording from the …

The times they are a chay-an-gin

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Honestly, I was open-mouthed with astonishment at this video. Not because it says anything that I have not heard before, but because it is distributed by the Catholic News Service, which is, in is own words an "editorially independent and a financially self-sustaining division of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops." H/T Fr Z

Things are changing rapidly. Only weeks ago, such a positive treatment would have been seen as at best the preserve of a maverick and at worst a cause to dismiss a student from priestly formation. Now, with the imminent decision of the Holy Father, it seems that at least the Americans have woken up and smelt the coffee. (I suppose that they generally do have better coffee than us in England. Except the horrible Starbucks stuff which I am only too happy to dump.)

For some time I have thought of making up some new words to one of Bob Dylan's celebrated songs. I haven't got round to doing this, so I mention the idea in a collaborative spirit i…

On using the pulpit

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The second Vatican Council (SC 65-66) gave prominence to the homily as a part of Mass, especially on Sundays and feast days. In many Churches in Europe, there is a magnificent pulpit which is obviously designed to bring the preacher closer to the people (they are usually somewhere down the nave, away from the sanctuary) and give a certain dignity to the homily as something more than a chat.

It was good to see the pulpit in the Church of the Immaculate Conception used by Fr Maciej Zachara. You can see the doors through which he accessed the pulpit, via some stairs inside the sacristy.

By contrast, the Cathedral in Lublin has a strange arrangement. As part of the recent renovations, the pulpit has been restored. Unfortunately there is no way of getting into it. Perhaps the priest could climb up a ladder discreetly before Mass and then abseil down after he has finished preaching?


I remember in England after Vatican II, pulpits in many Churches being demolished or converted into odd shap…

What God has separated, let no man join together

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This is your chance to have your say against the metrosexual elite's engineering of society.

There is little real support for the legalisation of gay marriage and plenty of determined opposition. 529,685 people have signed the Coalition for Marriage Petition at the time of writing. (Do sign now if you haven't yet done so.) The Government has undertaken a consultation and it is important that the voice of reason is heard in response to it.

There is plenty of good information and guidance about the consultation: I recommend two sources in particular: the SPUC Briefing and Christian Concern which both give sound advice.

Here is a link to fill in the consultation online. It doesn't take very long. The deadline is 14 June but I am nagging you now so that you do not have your conscience nagging later because you didn't get round to it.

(The graphics on this post are from contenidosemf, set up by the Spanish Bishops for the 5th World Meeting of Families with Pope Benedict in…

Hans Küng joins sedevacantists

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In the midst of worry and concern regarding the canonical status of the SSPX, a light-hearted moment is provided by today's post on Rorate Caeli. Hans Küng has complained that the Pope is to include in the Church invalidly ordained bishops (he means those of the SSPX.) Küng cites the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI, Pontificalis Romani recognitio in which Pope Paul VI laid down the matter and form of the sacrament of Holy Orders according to the postconciliar rite.

In fact, the matter was not changed, and the form, in the case of the ordination of a deacon or priest, was left untouched. The form for ordination of a bishop was based on the Apostolic Tradition. The Constitution refers to this as "of Hippolytus the Roman" and dates it to the beginning of the third century. Both of these assertions have recently been challenged. In case anyone has scruples, the newer form is certainly valid: there have been and still are different rites of consecration or ordination o…

Praying for the SSPX to enrich the Church

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Last Wednesday in the main foyer of the Catholic University of Lublin, someone handed me a printout of the Vatican communiqué regarding the response of the SSPX to the doctrinal preamble. This was illustrative of the fast-moving nature of the story at the moment. Thanks to Rorate Caeli I was able to keep up with the developments via the iPad and a booster for 3G internet access in Poland.

Plenty of others have commented on the leaked letters, the possibility of a split, the re-publication of some of the more trenchant addresses of Archbishop Lefevbre, the likely resolution of the matter, and the essential role of Pope Benedict in the possible regularisation of the SSPX by means of a canonical structure. I accept the advice of several wise statements from those in authority within the SSPX that we should now pray hard. I pray for a good outcome that is pleasing to Almighty God and works for the good of the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Christ on the rock which is P…

High Mass in Lublin

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Last Thursday I was celebrant for High Mass at the Church of the Immaculate Conception at Lublin. Here is a view of the outside of the Church:


The digital camera has been flattering: the Church did look a little dilapidated from the outside. Its renovation is one of many projects still remaining after the communist era. However, inside the Church, the visitor is greeted with this:


As with many Churches in Poland, the furniture has been superbly restored and enhanced with gold leaf.

The High Mass was for the feast of the Ascension. I was assisted by two sacred ministers from the seminary of Lublin, both still students. The deacon was Rev Michał Strudzinski, and the subdeacon Kamil Mielniczuk. The MC for Mass was Michał Mycka who is 18 and about to go to university in Warsaw. He has closely studied a copy of Fortescue (bear in mind that he is Polish and he read it in English. The ceremonies went very smoothly. Deacon and subdeacon needed little prompting and it is always a joy to experi…

Sitting at the desk of Blessed John Paul

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The Catholic University of Lublin was the only Catholic university in the Soviet empire. It continues to flourish, mainly in the humanities, because the communists restricted its activities and founded their own university in Lublin to teach the sciences, in order to give the impression that the communists were more concerned with the "real world." Both universities have now diversified to some degree, but retain their particular emphasis.

The main aula in the university honours Our Lady of Czestochowa and Cardinal Wyszyński. As bishop, he was imprisoned for three years because he spoke against the communist attempts to dictate the appointment of bishops. His sermon is known by his powerful statement "Non possumus."


Blessed John Paul is greatly honoured in Poland - every Church, sacristy, presbytery and hall has a picture of him. One precious memory is that of the day that Cardinal Wyszyński made his obedience to his protege.


A highlight of my guided tour of the u…

The inspiration of Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko

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The shrine of Blessed Jerzy Popiełuszko in Warsaw is still guarded constantly by volunteers. When he was alive and preaching, young men would keep watch at the house where Blessed Jerzy lived, because of the ominous threat of the secret police. My host in Lublin, also Jerzy (=George) was one of them.


Here is the chapel where Blessed Jerzy preached the sermons that so infuriated the communists that they beat him to death, tied him up, put his body in the boot of their car and then dumped it in the river Vistula.


This monument is also outside the Church, commemorating the suffering of Poles in the various concentration camps set up by the Germans during the second world war.


And here is Piotr, my host for the Warsaw leg of my trip to Poland, in the museum dedicated to Blessed Jerzy. It is well worth a visit if you are in Warsaw. The banners are those of the Solidarity movement.


I was interested to see in the museum that Blessed Jerzy was also an outspoken pro-life campaigner who stood…

Getting to know modern Poland

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My visit to the Catholic University at Lublin was most enjoyable. My hosts have translated my presentation into Polish so the students could have a summary to hand. They could all understand English to some level so there was not a need for much to-and-fro translating.

I stuck at first to the theme that I have been given for the main talk (to seminarians) which is that of secularisation and the new evangelisation. This is interesting enough because Poland is undergoing its own dive into secularism and this is having an effect on the Church. However the lay students today were also keen to hear more about traditional Liturgy. In fact some of them are coming to High Mass tomorrow.

The Catholic University of Lublin was the only Catholic university in the whole of the soviet bloc and was an important part of Blessed John Paul's life. I visited the lecture room in which he taught. They have kept the desk and my hosts took a photo of me sitting at it! Many thanks to Michael for showing…

Quick greetings from Lublin

Just a quick Hello from the main hall of the Catholic University of Lublin where I have been speaking to a fine group of students. Off to visit the class where Karol Wojtyla taught.

More soon from Poland with photos.

In a rush - I'm Spartacus!

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Just a few minutes in front of a working computer before I have to go and get on the aeroplane so I thought I would quickly repost the graphic that has resulted in the ludicrous investigation of Cranmer by the Advertising Standards Authority. I am glad that there is at least an update to the story that I can post now that His Grace has responded to the ASA. I'll have to read the full response later but it does look fun.

Off to Poland

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The shrine of Blessed Jerzy Popieluszko is on my "must see" list for the next few days. I'm off shortly to Heathrow to catch a flight to Warsaw. I'll be giving a talk at the seminary at Warsaw and then in Lublin. There should be time for sightseeing in both cities as well as a chance to meet some good Polish apostolic lay people.

Not sure how much blogging I will be able to do - but I have packed equipment that should enable me to make use of any opportunities. (I'll certainly take some photos.) Will probably have the chance to do a couple of posts at the airport.

Inspirational photo book with vocational theme

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The Southwark Vocations blog has news of a new motivational book that could be given to someone leaving school for college, university, or their first job. It is a very simple idea: good photos produced "lightbox style" with a dark surround, and well-chosen quotations. There are blank pages at the back to collect signatures. The book has photos of key moments in life, especially the life of faith, with photos illustrating vocations at the end. It is £7.95 for a single copy but there are substantial discounts for bulk orders. See the Transitions website for ordering.

Faith Editorial on Catholic Education

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The May-June 2012 issue of Faith Magazine is now online. You can see individual articles or simply download the whole magazine as a pdf which is probably better for most people.

There are many good articles, but readers may be particularly interested in the editorial article: Catholic Education and Playing “Devil’s Advocate”.


Has Youth Ministry failed?

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Should we abandon Youth Ministry? Patrick Archbold at the excellent Creative Minority Report has posted a provocative article headed Youth Ministry Has Failed. I agree with him that
We have 2,000 years of doctrine, liturgy, art, and music upon which to draw in order to bolster the faith and Catholic identity of our youth and we give them watered down doctrine, bad music, bad liturgy, and felt banners. Our youth deserve more. He refers to an article on U.S.: Modern Youth Ministry a '50-Year Failed Experiment,' Say Pastors and quotes a section in which the view is advanced that "dividing children from adults at church is an unbiblical concept borrowed from humanistic philosophies."

This is worthy of discussion. Since I was a teenager myself, I have been involved in events which are specifically for young people - either teenagers or young adults. Coming into contact with home-schoolers and those organising Family Days of various sorts, I have come to see the advantage…

Bl John XXIII's optimism and Ban Ki-Moon's manichaeism

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The video shows Archbishop Loris Capovilla speaking affectionately about Blessed Pope John XXIII and his decision to call the second Vatican Council. (Lovely Italian with subtitles.) Discuss.

The Archbishop tells of how the Holy Father was encouraged, in the aftermath of the second world war, by the establishment of three international organisations: the UN, FAO and UNESCO. With respect, and with the luxury of hindsight, we might consider this rather optimistic. For example, it was reported the other day that Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary General of the UN has pushed for abortion in all nations.

Ban Ki-Moon says that we cannot ignore the facts:
“Many young people are sexually active, and, because of this, they may face risks to their health.” That in a nutshell is the humanistic view of sex - a variant of manichaeism: sexual activity is basically a risky inevitability that has to be fixed.

In fact, if two people who are both virgins, are "sexually active" only with each other …

A classical flash mob in Copenhagen metro

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A rather classy flash mob - Grieg's Peer Gynt on the Copenhagen metro.

Thanks to Deacon Greg Kandra and to Diane at Te Deum.

British aid buying coercive population control in India

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The Wall Street Journal reports on What Britain's Foreign Aid Buys in India

The UK Department for International Development confirms that our £162.2 million of our money has been spent on India's national "Reproductive and Child Health Programme" in order to reduce "disparities in access and use of essential reproductive and child health services." What this actually adds up to in practice is forcible sterilisation of both women and men.

The WSJ is naively benevolent in its assessment of British intentions and protestations of opposition to coercive population control.

The above photo casting doubt on the blessing of pregnancy and quoting Malthus, was judged Best Advertisement on "Population Control" in a contest organised by a leading advertising portal in New Delhi in July 2007.

Prince Alois stands his ground

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Thanks to a correspondent for news of the principled stand of Prince Alois of Lichtenstein. As I reported last September, the Crown Prince made it clear that he would use his powers to veto the proposed legalisation of abortion. He now faces a campaign by his opponents to take away his power of veto. The Prince has said that if this campaign succeeds, his family will withdraw from political life.

The Prince enjoys massive support in the small principality but opposition from the Council of Europe. It will be interesting to see whether "Europe" can impose its own ideas of democracy on a small country whose people prefer to live under a benign monarchy (and one that supports Christian values.)

Thurible as asset in close protection

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Richard Collins picked up on my post about the clinking of chains and a possible duel and has written sagely on Techniques for Thurible Management. I particularly liked the video that he found, illustrating the use of the thurible as part of security management. Interestingly, it was a novus ordo style one chain thurible. I think that there would be further possibilities with a proper traditional four chain thurible. Perhaps some young clerics could be sent off by Mgr Marini for training in liturgical close protection.

Intrepid cyclists planning John O' Groats to Lands End to

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The young people from my parish who cycled to Rome last year are planning another long distance ride for charity, this time from John O'Groats to Land's End. For those of you from elsewhere in the world, this is well-known here as the longest distance that can be travelled on mainland Britain - in fact, some of them will be starting off from Berwick-upon-Tweed for a 350 mile warm-up. You can join them if you want to, even just for part of the trip. Here is the press release.

CYCLE RIDE
Young Catholics will embark on a mammoth bike ride covering the length of the United Kingdom this summer to bear witness to their faith and raise money for three charities.

Land’s End 2012 is the brainchild of Anna-Marie and Gregory Treloar, who were part of a sibling-trio that cycled from London to Rome in 2010. This time, they are turning their attention closer to home and have invited people to join them to cycle for whatever distance they can manage.

Mary’s Meals, African Mission and the St.…

Catholic teaching on sexual morality too political for schools

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Gosh! I never thought that would happen.
Catholic schools being opposed to gay marriage ought to be a dog bites man story as in “Pope still Catholic” or “Sun rises at dawn again.” In the wacky world of modern Britain’s metropolitan elite it is now a source of outrage. Pink News scooped the story with an exposé and the Guardian and the BBC report on the matter with ponderous solemnity.

Craziest of all, Michael Gove, the Secretary for Education, and a Conservative MP, has launched an investigation into the matter. The excuse for this ludicrous waste of public money is that some Catholic schools have promoted the C4M petition to uphold marriage, the wording of which states simply:
I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it.To promote this petition is deemed to be political. A spokesperson for the Department for Education said:
Schools have a responsibility unde…

Great film of Church Music Colloquium

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Thanks to Jeffrey Tucker at NLM for letting us know of the film of the recent Colloquium of the Church Music Association of America. See Jeffrey's post Colloquium, The Movie for an introduction.

Ordinarily I wouldn't take time to watch a film that is nearly an hour long, but the other evening I decided to set some space aside later on, to relax and watch the whole thing. I am glad that I did. The film is professionally put together, enjoyable and encouraging. The interviews and narrative are accompanied throughout with superbly sung Gregorian chant and polyphony.

If you are battling away somewhere to renew and revive sacred music in the Liturgy in your parish (or Cathedral) and feeling that it is an uphill struggle, this film will cheer you up and probably set you thinking about whether you can save up enough money to go to America for the next Colloquium. For those who follow news of liturgy and music, it is also a welcome opportunity to see people like Jeffrey Tucker and Sc…

Cardinal Piacenza supports and challenges priests

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Fr Simon Henry of Offerimus Tibi Domine reported on the letter from Cardinal Mauro Piacenza to priests, in advance of the World Day of Prayer for the Sanctification of the Clergy. I have printed that off and will be reading that prayerfully over the next few days as some nourishment for my mental prayer. Cardinal Piacenza, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, has consistently shown great pastoral concern for priests while at the same time challenging us to live up to the ideals of the priesthood. He is a man who deserves to be called "Father."

In his post, Fr Simon included a prayer for priests by St Faustina Kowalska. May I ask you to say it for your own priest and for all of us.PRAYER FOR THE HOLY CHURCH AND FOR PRIESTS

O my Jesus,
I beg You on behalf of the whole Church:
Grant it love and the light of Your Spirit,
and give power to the words of Priests
so that hardened hearts might be brought to repentance
and return to You, O Lord.
Lord, give us holy Pri…

Pray for Chen Guangchen! Pray for China!

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The name and photo of Chen Guangchen have appeared several times on this blog and it is good news that he has managed to make a daring escape from his brutally enforced house arrest and taken refuge at the US Embassy. He is something of an embarrassment it seems, because everyone wants to keep on good terms with China and the Chinese government does not want to lose face. When will they understand that they have already brought shame on the good people of China?

Chen Guangchen is also an embarrassment for some in the western media. He is usually referred to as an "activist" but some articles do not even mention what his activism sought to fight against, namely forced abortion and sterilisation in the name of China's one child policy.

Say a prayer for Chen Guangchen and his family. Apparently one of the "face-saving" ways for him to get out of the country is to be sent for "medical treatment." Let us pray that something like that happens and we can he…

Follow by email widget

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Maria of the Apostolate for Family Consecration just asked whether it was possible to follow this blog by email. I checked and found out that it wasn't.

It is now - at least I hope so. I have put the Follow by Email widget on the right sidebar. It looks fairly simple - if you use it, please let me know in the combox if there are any problems (or email blackfencatholic@gmail.com with the subject line "Email widget".)

And pay a visit to the Apostolate for Family Consecration which looks great.

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