Thursday, May 31, 2007

And the next rumour is...

Biretta tip to Rorate Caeli for this:

Paolo Rodari in Il Riformista (May 29 issue):
For when, then, the expected liberalization of the ancient rite? Hard to answer. What seems to be certain is that the text of the "Motu proprio" by Benedict XVI is ready. Recently, moreover, it seems that the Pope spoke about it in a private audience with Robert Spaemann, philosophy professor at the University of Munich, the great Catholic intellectual to whom Ratzinger himself dedicated the book "Church, Ecumenism, and Politics" (Kirche, Ökumene und Politik). An audience -- the one the Pope granted to Spaemann -- of which little has been known, even if it is said that the German professor left it with the belief that the "Motu proprio" will be made known soon, maybe even within the month.

The champagne is still in the fridge.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Grammar Schools

I have always been in favour of grammar schools. I went to St Cuthbert`s Grammar in Newcastle and thoroughly enjoyed it. It is well known they did a good job in getting working class children into the professions. As for the argument that it meant that an 11 year old child`s future was determined by the eleven plus exam, from what I remember it was possible for a child who was doing well at a secondary modern to transfer to a grammar school later on. However I was amazed by the recent upset in the Tory party to discover that they had still been in favour of them. I had no idea. Given that they did nothing to re-introduce them during their seventeen years in power I thought that they too had given up on them. I follow the debate with interest.

The greatest soprano never to sing a note of Verdi

An anonymous comment on my last post asks about musical interests. All I`ll say for now is that I was very pleased to see this in the Telegraph yesterday. It`s amazing she isn`t yet Dame Emma! I`ve been a fan since 1977 and was delighted that in recent years she has been making an annual or sometimes a twice yearly visit to Newcastle.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007


Fr Justin of Nova et Vetera has tagged me. Just as he is not often tagged neither am I. So here are my selections:

Three fiction books everyone should read:

1. Brideshead Revisited Evelyn Waugh
2. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time Mark Haddon

Can`t think of a third at the minute. I`m not a great reader of fiction.

Three non-fiction books everyone should read:

1 The Restoration of Christian Culture John Senior
2. Daily Life in Papal Rome in the Eighteenth Century Maurice Andrieux
3 The Two Catholic Churches: A Study in Oppression Antony Archer

(Also Moreschi: The Last Castrato Nicholas Clapton and Samuel Johnson by John Wain)

I read the John Senior book in an afternoon in 1984 at the monastery of Le Barroux. It is still a source of inspiration to me. It is now hard to get hold of. The Andrieux book is fascinating and very entertaining. The Archer book, written in 1986, is largely an account of the post Vatican 2 life of St Dominic`s parish in Newcastle and how the working class was alienated by the reforms. The book on Moreschi gives a fascinating insight into the life of the papal court at the end of the nineteenth century especially the conflict between the establishment and the new Cecilian movement led by Perosi.

Three authors everyone should read:
1 Joseph Ratzinger
2 H.V. Morton
3 Tom Stoppard
(Also perhaps Raymond Chandler, the Carmina Burana and Wendy Cope)

Three authors that I can’t get on with (but would like to be able to):
1. Jane Austen
2. Ovid
3. St Teresa of Avila

I always take the life of St Teresa with me away on retreat and always think " This is rather good. Why did I have problems before? " and then always get derailed about the same place. It`s only really the Metamorphoses of Ovid that I struggle with: I really want to enjoy it but never manage to as much as I would like.

Three films everyone should see:
1. Amadeus
2. Culloden
3. Branagh`s film of Love`s Labour`s Lost
( Also Kubrick`s Barry Lyndon)

I know Kenneth Branagh ruins the film by looking far too old to play Berowne but there is much I enjoyed here although generally the critics did not.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Musical News

I know this has been on a couple of other blogs a few days ago but I meant to say what a wonderful idea this is at the FSSP church in Rome.

May 23rd, 2007, at 7:00 p.m. at San Gregorio dei Muratori, Via Leccosa 75 (off Piazza Nicosia), the Fondazione Elsa Peretti with the collaboration of the Associazione Pro Missa Romana is sponsoring a recitation of the Most Holy Rosary in Latin with musical accompaniment.
Gregorian Antiphon
Ave Maris Stella
Francesco Soriano (1548-1621)
Canon CIII Sopra l'Ave Maris Stella
Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber (1644-1704)
Sonata del Rosario XII L'Ascensione di Cristo -Intrada
Aria tubicinum - Alemanda - Courente - Double
Anonimo (prima metà XVIII sec.)
Ach amoris dolcissima poena
mottetto per Soprano, Viola d'amore e Basso Continuo
Ach Amoris, Aria
Sed in hac poena, Recitativo
Tu o mi Jesu, Aria
Pablo Bruna (1611-1679)
Tiento de Secondo Tono por G-sol-re-ut
Sobre la letania de la Virgen
This will be the first in a series of Rosaries which will be recited at the principal Marian shrines of Rome. Elsa Peretti has dedicated these events to Our Lady and to the recovery of the sacred through the traditional rites of the liturgy. This first Rosary is in memory of Nando Peretti.
I think I imagined this is the kind of thing I had hoped to promote as a priest whereas now I count it a major triumph if I manage to persuade the folk group to drop the `Peruvian` Gloria in favour of the `Lourdes`.
I was giving serious thought at the end of 2005 to joining the FSSP, but then all the Motu Mania started and I decided to wait and see how things turned out. It`s been a very, very long wait. It seems there may be some light at the end of the tunnel given the words of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in the last few days.
In the meantime there are some treats to look forward to. We are continuing the Chant Sundays at Forest Hall which consists of a few simple parts of the ordinary. We have the occasional Missa Cantata on a Saturday morning and there is the annual Brinkburn Mass in September. The music will be interesting as this time it is proposed to have the Byrd propers for the birthday of Our Lady with the ordinary sung in chant.
In the meantime the wait goes on.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Jesmond Pilgrimage

Every year the Catholic Families Association has a pilgrimage to the medieval shrine of Our Lady of Jesmond. There are only a few ruins left of the shrine. Every month a group meets to say the Rosary there. I have been with the Catholic Families group many times but this year they will be accompanied by the indefatigable Fr Mark Withoos, an Australian priest pursuing a PhD at Durham. Normally we go to the local Catholic parish for Benediction afterwards but this is not possible this year so they are coming here instead. I look forward to the visit. It is not long since the first Family Day of the Association here which took place on Palm Sunday. The pictures of the recent Family Day in Rome which attracted over a million people shows we have quite a way to go yet.!


Well today I celebrated the Mass of the Thursday of the sixth week of Eastertide. It felt very strange not celebrating Ascension Day when it was forty days after Easter. I really wish the bishops had just left the feasts they have moved where they used to be and removed the obligation. They have left the Assumption as a holy day despite it being in the middle of the holiday period when parish life is somewhat in low gear.

So on Sunday we will celebrate the Ascension, a few days later than Scripture relates, but there we are. I`ll have to ask the congregation to see whether this change helps them
" to foster the celebration of the rhythm of the liturgical year and to celebrate more profoundly the mysteries of the life and mission of the Lord." I imagine it will feel just like another Sunday.

It is also World Communications Day, whatever that it is, but I suppose in the ideal world we should be marking that with bidding prayers and a sermon. The official theme is: Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Vale Valle

It is a terrible shame that the Valle Adurni blog has been discontinued after all the work Father did especially with the film of the papal coronation Mass and his scoop over the proposed new ICEL translation. It is even more sad that this closure came about through the activities of another priest. I hope that the tired parish priest of the Adur Valley will pop up again somewhere in blogdom because he is sorely missed.

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Times

Ruth Gledhill has this article in today`s Times. The `opt-out clause` may be no worse than what has been said before about a bishop being able in certain cases to prohibit a priest from using this missal but, from what was said, there had to be a reason given for the prohibition other than that the bishop doesn`t like priests using this missal. I even heard it said that if a bishop wants to prohibit a priest he would have to apply to the Ecclesia Dei commission!

There is more on Ruth Gledhill`s blog. I liked the quotation from Christopher Gillibrand: 'For forty years, the Church has put into a traditionalist ghetto their often best informed, committed and practising Catholics. The day of liberation for the Latin Mass seems to be at hand,' he says.

Well it looks as if something might be happening soon. The champagne is in the fridge and waiting.

Pope set to bring back Latin Mass in face of opposition

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent

The Pope is going ahead with plans to bring back the traditional Latin Mass in spite of objections from German bishops, sources have told The Times.
Pope Benedict XVI is understood to have signed an “indult”, or permission, that would allow Roman Catholics worldwide to celebrate the Tridentine Rite whenever they wished. At present the old rite can be said only with special permission from a diocesan bishop.
The return of the Tridentine Rite would represent a triumph for traditionalists and be an indication of the Pope’s determination to reinforce conservative Catholic doctrine as one of his most powerful weapons in the fight against secularism.
In Brazil last week the Pope made clear his conservative sympathies, emphasising that there could be no relaxation on the Church’s teaching on sexual ethics and abortion.
In a private audience with one leading traditionalist, Alice von Hildebrand, Pope Benedict said that he intended to publish the permission to celebrate the 16th-century rite this month.
The document had been expected earlier but is understood to have been delayed after a seven-page document of objections by German bishops was sent to the Pope.
Among other things, the Germans were anxious about a Good Friday prayer calling for the conversion of the Jews. A wider revolt by bishops’ conferences around the world would have seen off the indult, but in the end the Germans were isolated in their protest. However, when the permission is published, it is thought likely to exclude prayer for the conversion of the Jews, which leaders of the German and the British councils of Christians and Jews have spoken out against.
It could also include an “opt-out clause”, allowing bishops to prohibit it at a local level, which would placate both the German and the modernist French bishops.
Mrs von Hildebrand, 83, an author and lecturer who lives in the US, told The Times: “I know that the Pope favours the Tridentine Mass very, very much. I asked him if there was any chance that the permission would be given. He said it would be given in May.”
Mrs von Hildebrand, whose late husband was the theologian Dietrich von Hildebrand, added: “You should prohibit what is evil. But to prohibit holy tradition — that is something that goes against the tradition of the Catholic Church.” Another informed source said that the permission could not be guaranteed to be this month.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Canon Law Conference

This week the Canon Law Society of Great Britain and Ireland is holding its annual conference across the river in Gateshead. The advertised topics of the talks are :

Rev Anthony Randazzo (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith):
"Formation for a Healthy Priesthood - A Canonical Overview"

Mr Mark E. Chopko
"Intersection of Civil and Canon Law - The Experience of the USA with regard to Abuse of Children by Clergy"

Rev Brendan Killeen (Diocese of Northampton):
"The Role of Love in Marriage: An Historical Re-examination"

Rev Frank Morrisey OMI (St Paul's University, Ottawa):
"Where are we with Rights in the Church?"

Tomorrow morning our own canon lawyer bishop, Kevin Dunn, will celebrate the opening Mass. The Mass will take place in the conference room. It reminds me that the last time I was at a Pontifical Mass in a hotel room was when bishop Williamson of the SSPX came to Newcastle and said Mass in the Station Hotel in Newcastle. Bishop Williamson mentioned that it was an odd place for a Pontifical Mass and expressed the hope that the smoke of the incense didn`t set off the fire alarm and even worse, the sprinkler system! I don`t imagine that we shall be having any problems with incense tomorrow.

While the topics of the papers can appear to be rather dry, the conference is an opportunity to meet others working in the same field and to meet up with others again including normally some of those I was with at the Gregorian in Rome.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Normal Service Resumed

Newcastle United lost again, Tony Blair is going to make an announcement next week to make his position clear and no Motu Proprio. Back to waiting. Oh well, there will be a new bishop in Middlesbrough: that might be interesting or then again.....

Update 06/05/07. Rocco Palmo has some reflections on the retirement of bishop Crowley.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

At last?

On Monday the England striker Michael Owen finally returned to play for Newcastle United after an absence through injury of a year and a day. He had only been back a short time before this while he recovered from a previous injury. Newcastle still lost but it has been a long awaited event. In the next few it looks as if another long awaited event will come to pass when Tony Blair steps down to let Gordon Brown take over as Prime Minister. My mother says things always come in threes. Could it be that the rumours of the Motu Proprio being issued on May 5th will also finally prove to be true?