Saturday, June 30, 2007
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Thursday, June 14, 2007
Exclusive: "Motu Proprio" signed by the Pope, liberalization of Latin Mass imminent
Amnesty International's Identity Lost : Catholics Should No Longer Support Group
VATICAN CITY, JUNE 13, 2007 (Zenit.org).- The president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace is encouraging Catholics to withdraw support from Amnesty International since the groups no longer defends the right to life. Cardinal Renato Martino told the National Catholic Register that the recent decision by the human rights group to promote abortion "rights" is a betrayal of its identity."By pushing for the decriminalization of abortion as part of their platform, Amnesty International has disqualified itself as a defender of human rights," he said. "If AI is no longer willing to stand up for the most basic human right -- the right to life -- then the very integrity of the organization is called into question."Amnesty International was founded in 1961 by Peter Benson as a defender and promoter of the inalienable rights of the human person.Now it has joined other international organizations, such as the United Nations Children's Fund, in promoting a so-called right to abortion, at least in certain cases.
Culture of death
Cardinal Martino, who served as the Holy See's permanent observer at the United Nations, says that this change of position is part of the "pro-death" agenda in the culture."The pro-death agenda […] is cloaked in human rights language, but in reality it undermines the very human rights it portends to support," Cardinal Martino said. "Its logical conclusion is the destruction of life and all of the life-giving values that we as a human family and as a society should be grateful for. De-sensitizing the culture to the evil of abortion is part and parcel of the pro-abortion lobby."However, the 74-year-old cardinal recognized that pro-choice organizations have not succeeded in establishing an "internationally recognized human right" to abortion."I was head of the Holy See delegation to the Cairo Conference on Population and Development when that issue was settled definitively," Cardinal Martino stated. "Paragraph 8.25 of the Cairo Declaration clearly states, 'In no case should abortion be promoted as a method of family planning … and every attempt should be made to eliminate the need for abortion."The cardinal said that Amnesty International's decision means Catholics and Catholic organizations should no longer financially support the group."The very promotion of abortion opens the door to the slippery slope of evil and death, where human rights are taken away from the most innocent and vulnerable children of God," he said. "I believe that, if in fact Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support."
Wednesday, June 13, 2007
Tuesday, June 12, 2007
Little did I know that I would become parish priest of St Wilfrid`s Gateshead in 1995. On his feast I would get his relic out in an empty reliquary I found there and place it on the altar. I grew very fond of St Wilfrid during my time there although he was not an easy saint to love. Sometimes today he is shunned on the grounds of being `too Roman` by those who wish to feel a distance between themselves and the Holy See. We had a parish hymn to St Wilfrid (which the same people would find far too `Roman) which I must try to dig out and share.
I`m pleased to report that when packing my case for Biddlestone there I found my four relics as it is a case I haven`t used much recently. So I must now find a reliquary so as to display them on their feast days.
Monday, June 11, 2007
Sunday, June 10, 2007
Saturday, June 09, 2007
Visit to Vatican to see the Pope as last trip before quitting No10 'is highly significant'By JONATHAN OLIVER and MARTIN DELGADO -
The revelation comes as he prepares to meet the Pope amid speculation that he will use the audience in the Vatican to announce his conversion.
In his last foreign engagement, just days before he leaves Downing Street for the final time, the Prime Minister will visit Pope Benedict XVI in what officials say will be a "highly significant" personal mission.
It is thought that Tony Blair will announce his conversion to Catholicism when he meets the Pope. Reports that he will convert from the Church of England to the Catholic faith of his wife Cherie have often surfaced during Mr Blair's decade in office.
The claims were supported by revelations that he has already discussed not only converting to Rome, but also taking a formal lay position within the Church.
Deacons are just below priests in the Catholic hierarchy and have the right to administer certain sacraments and wear a special white robe known as a dalmatic.
Mr Blair discussed the idea of his taking such a role with Canon Timothy Russ, priest at the Immaculate Heart of Mary near the Prime Minister’s official country residence, Chequers.
The revelation is contained in a new book soon to be serialised by The Mail on Sunday – The Darlings Of Downing Street by Garry O’Connor.
The book states: "Tony expressed his strong desire when he stepped down to become a deacon – and a Roman Catholic deacon at that, confirming the often-speculated belief that he would convert to Roman Catholicism sometime in the future."
Mr Blair is reported as asking his confidant Father Timothy: "Would this be possible?" He was told: "It usually takes two or three years", to which he replied: "The fact that I'm PM, could this make a difference?"
The deacon idea emerged in a conversation a few years ago about Mr Blair's plans after he leaves office. Father Timothy suggested that taking on a formal role in the Church could give him fresh moral clout when he campaigns on climate change and Africa. The priest added: "He has a lot of potentiality for good. He is still looking for the meaning in his life."
The Blairs stopped attending Mass at the Immaculate Heart of Mary last year for "security reasons". The relationship with the priest became strained after he spoke out against the Iraq War, accusing the Prime Minister of moral surrender.
It is understood that Mr Blair will be accompanied by Cherie at the audience with the Pope in the papal apartments a week on Saturday. The couple are expected to spend the weekend in Rome before returning for their last 72 hours in Downing Street.
It will be Mr Blair's third visit to the Vatican in four years and a source said: "The fact that he will meet the Holy Father for his last official overseas engagement is highly significant and must raise speculation over his conversion to Catholicism."
The latest revelations follow recent comments by Father Michael Seed, who provides private Masses for the Blairs in their Downing Street flat.
The priest, known for bringing high-profile politicians and aristocrats into the Catholic fold, believes Mr Blair is poised to join the Church of Rome.
Converts are usually welcomed into the Church at the Easter Vigil Mass, held the night before Easter Sunday, but these arrangements are considered flexible.
Admittance to the Church is normally a two-year process. But Mr Blair, because he is already a regular attender, is likely to be fast- tracked.
As a deacon, he could help priests administer Mass, preside over baptisms and read the gospel in Church services. Unlike priests, deacons are not required to take a vow of chastity.
Mr Blair, whose children have been brought up as Catholics, regularly attends Mass at Westminster Cathedral and has become close to the leader of Catholics in England and Wales, Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor.
The Prime Minister's first meeting with the present Pope took place last June, but he had an audience with Pope John Paul II in February 2003, shortly before the US and British-led invasion of Iraq.
It later emerged that the Prime Minister had received Holy Communion from the Polish-born pontiff at a private service for the Blair family in the Vatican.
Mrs Blair, who is a devout Catholic, had an unexpected meeting with Pope Benedict last year when she was on a speaking engagement in Rome.
In 1996 Cardinal Basil Hume, the late Archbishop of Westminster, asked that the Prime Minister – a member of the Church of England – cease taking Communion at his wife’s London church in Islington.
Mr Blair is not believed to have received the sacrament in British Catholic churches since then. However, he is understood to have taken the Eucharist during holidays in Italy where an Anglican church was not easily available.
Mr Blair has always been reluctant to discuss his religious beliefs. Alastair Campbell, his former Downing Street communications chief, famously told one interviewer: "We don't do God."
A Downing Street spokesman said: "It is true that the Prime Minister will visit the Vatican. But I am not going to confirm the date. He will discuss various issues with the Pope including inter-faith issues, the Middle East peace process and international development and aid."
President Bush proved himself less than familiar with Catholic etiquette when, on his way home from the G8 summit in Germany, he stopped for an audience with the Pope in the Vatican.
First he failed to bow before shaking hands, saying: "It's great to be here."
Then officials cringed as he repeatedly called the Pontiff 'sir'. Later, a Vatican spokesman said: "I don't think President Bush meant anything by his use of words. The expression "sir" is widely used in English and especially by Americans – but of course the correct term is "Your Holiness"."
Friday, June 08, 2007
Some incidents give a flavour of the man. The conclave which elected him in 1740 lasted six months. Lambertini was put forward as a compromise candidate and addressed the conclave saying : "If you wish to elect a saint choose Gotti; a statesman, Aldobrandini; an honest man, elect me". ( Haynes translates what she says is a Bologonese term as `booby` whereas `honest man` is the Catholic encyclopedia`s version). He was renowned for his witty conversation but also could shock visitors by his use of `uncardinalish expletives` which he eventually tried to restrain. It was interesting to see his assessment of Henry Stuart, the Cardinal brother of Bonny Prince Charlie. Haynes records he said `if all the Stuarts were as boring as Cardinal York he did not wonder that the English had driven them out`. As for the Polish bishops he said they were `inclined to drink much and think little`.
He was praised by Horace Walpole and Voltaire. Voltaire on one occasion penned the following lines:
`Lambertinus hic est Romae decus et pater orbis
Qui mundum scriptis docuit, virtutibus ornat`
(Here is Lambertini, the glory of Rome and the father of the earth, who teaches the world by his writings and adorns it with his virtues)
When this was presented to the Pope someone present complained that hic did not scan as it should always be a long syllable. The Pope replied that although he had not read Vergil for fifty years he could remember one line in which the poet scanned it as long and another where it was short!In response to Walpole`s praise he remarked that he was `like the statues on the facade of St Peter`s which appear better when seen from a distance.`
I`m sure there are many reasons why Cardinal Ratzinger took the name Benedict. I wonder if the character of Benedict XIV, with his love of learning and self-effacing nature, was one of them.