Here is our group ( apart from Alan who took the photo).
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
Here is our group ( apart from Alan who took the photo).
Vatican approval for `Fit for Mission? Church`
Here`s the article.
Vatican Strongly Endorses Document Calling for Restoration of Authentic Catholicism in England
By Hilary White
LANCASTER, UK, September 22, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The Vatican has given a ringing endorsement of a paper by a UK bishop that calls for the restoration of genuine doctrine and practice in the Catholic Church in England and Wales.
Just over three weeks after the release of the document Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, head of the Vatican's Congregation for the Clergy, has written to Bishop Patrick O'Donohue to recommend his new book, "Fit for Mission? Church", saying it provides "an effective, practical instrument for advancing the much heralded New Evangelisation."
"If this renewal of the Faith is to take root, it cannot remain a mere 'slogan but must be woven into the web of contemporary culture. Fit for Mission? Church gives much needed indication as to the means of accomplishing this great mission of the Church," the archbishop wrote."
In his introduction, Bishop O'Donohue wrote that the document was produced to help "foster and promote an authentic Catholic identity." Catholics, he said, face "the challenge of secular humanism, the question of moral values in a scientific-technological culture, and the increasing tensions caused by reason sundered from faith."
The loss of Catholic identity, he wrote, stems from the rejection of true Catholic doctrine within the Church's structures, coupled with a widespread misinterpretation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council. Asking, "Have we forgotten what it means to be Catholic?", he continued, "We have all witnessed with alarm many who profess to be Catholics disavowing the Church's teaching authority... dismissing apostolic traditions and the doctrines of the Fathers and giving the place of honour to the fashionable opinions of society."
The Lancaster diocese made the document public at the end of August as a response to a 16-month consultation process examining their 108 parishes. The document is a stinging criticism of the severe decline of the Catholic institution in Britain and its failure substantially to respond to the increasingly secularist culture.
In March this year, after the publication of his previous paper, "Fit for Mission? Schools", in which the bishop called for the restoration of a genuine Catholic character to the Catholic schools, Bishop O'Donohue was called before a Parliamentary education committee to answer the government's charges of "fundamentalism."
Archbishop Piacenza also said the Congregation was "somewhat amazed" over the opposition by government to the "schools" document, calling O'Donohue's initiative "an appropriate and legitimate exercise of Episcopal authority by a Successor of the Apostles charged by God, and by the Church, to ensure that the Faith is transmitted correctly and in its entirety, to the People of God entrusted to his care."
O'Donohue's criticism of secularised "values-free" sex education was particularly galling to government education officials, who face accusations that their programs have done nothing but exacerbate the teen pregnancy problem. But while government officials browbeat the bishop in a committee hearing, William Cardinal Levada, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, wrote a ringing endorsement, saying he was "delighted" with the schools document that, he said, "challenges the ascendancy" of relativism.
Bishop O'Donohue wrote in the schools document, "Parents, schools and colleges must reject secularized and anti-life sex education, which puts God at the margin of life and regards the birth of a child as a threat."
"Fit for Mission? Church" reiterates the bishop's concerns over the decline is the genuine Catholic character in the Church and even more strongly condemns Britain's love affair with the Culture of Death. He points to Britain's acceptance of abortion as the solution to unexpected pregnancy, saying it has contributed to the country's growing violent crime problem.
"For 41 years we've lived in a state-sponsored culture of death that has killed five million children, and we're now surprised that some of the surviving children have turned out violent with no regard for the sanctity of life?" he wrote.
"How many children know that their mothers have had an abortion? What effect will it have on them knowing that they have been deprived of a brother or sister through abortion?
"If a society holds human life so cheaply is it any surprise that young people will also hold life cheaply and engage in violence?"
He pointed specifically to the acceptance of abortion by government as a contributing factor, saying when the state sponsors "crimes against life is it any wonder that criminality in general thrives, and seeks to take advantage of the coarsening and darkening of conscience?"
While his fellow bishops have remained silent on both documents, Bishop O'Donohue has received the enthusiastic support of a multitude of Catholic bloggers, most of whom differ strongly with the prevailing ultra-liberal position of the Catholic Church of England and Wales. Many have expressed their hopes that, despite coming close to retirement age himself, he will be chosen to replace the soon-to-retire Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor in the see of Westminster.
One blog commenter noted, "Perhaps if more of our Bishops were as sharp and outspoken as Bishop O'Donohue we would not now be facing the 'Modern Britain' that is fast becoming the world leader in anti-life and anti-family government sponsored policy."
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Today`s Brinkburn Mass
Friday, September 19, 2008
Mass at Brinkburn Priory
Monday, September 15, 2008
Solemn High Mass at St Mary`s Cathedral, Newcastle
Here in the sacristy before Mass are the clergy. On the left is Fr Emerson, the UK superior of the FSSP. I first came across Fr Emerson in 1983 when he was celebrating Mass in the Station Hotel just across the road from the cathedral for the Society of St Pius X. It was good to have made it across the other side of the road to the cathedral at last! It was hard to imagine in 1983 that that day would ever come twenty-five years later. On my left is Fr Phillips, the parish priest of Stella, who often takes the role of subdeacon on these occasions. Also pictured are Fr Angus and the cathedral curate, Fr Warren, who also preached at the Mass.
There are plans at the cathedral to move the altar further back from the front of the sanctuary. In its present position it made the arrangements for the EF a little difficult but I`ve managed in more restricted spaces. (A nuptial Mass at St Joseph`s Hartlepool many years ago comes to mind.)
Unfortunately very few pictures appear to have been taken of the Mass. Here is the best.
Here is a somewhat shakier one.
Unfortunately very few singers turned up for the Mass and the choir of three and an organist were rather stretched to make an impact in the cathedral. If we are fortunate to return to the cathedral I hope that we can make sure there is a large enough choir for the Mass.
Fr Warren preached very well on the theme of Humanae Vitae. I hope I`ll be able to get a copy of his sermon.
After the Mass there was a dinner at the Assembly Rooms where at a rather late hour three talks were given. The last speaker only finished at 11.30pm which was beginning to feel well past my bedtime. The longest talk came from Mr Pollard who spoke vigorously of the demographic danger arising from the lack of young people in Western society.
Many thanks go to Fr Leighton, the cathedral dean for giving his permission for this Mass. I hope it can become an annual event as a sign that Pope Benedict`s words in France yesterday hold true in the diocese of Hexham and Newcastle:
No one is too many in the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home, and never (must he feel) rejected.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Pope Benedict speaks again about Summorum Pontificum
Friday, September 12, 2008
Pope Benedict speaks today about Summorum Pontificum
Pontiff Denies Claim 1962 Missal Is a Regression
Calls Liturgy a Living, Developing Reality
EN ROUTE TO PARIS, SEPT. 12, 2008 (Zenit.org).- An allowance for the celebration of Mass according to the 1962 Missal is in no way a return to the past, but rather an expression of pastoral concern, says Benedict XVI.
The Pope affirmed this today en route to France; he gave a brief press conference on the plane, answering four questions previously submitted by the journalists selected to be in the press corps accompanying the Holy Father.
The Pontiff said it is "groundless" to fear that "Summorum Pontificum" -- which opened the way for a wider celebration of the Mass according to the 1962 Missal -- is a regression.
"This 'motu proprio' is simply an act of tolerance, with a pastoral objective, for people who have been formed in this liturgy, who love it, know it and want to live with this liturgy," he said. "It is a small group, given that it presupposes a formation in Latin, a formation in a certain culture. But it seems to me a normal demand of faith and pastoral concern for a bishop of our Church to have love and tolerance for these people and permit them to live with this liturgy."
"There is no opposition whatsoever between the liturgy renewed by the Second Vatican Council and this liturgy," Benedict XVI continued. "Each day, the Council fathers celebrated Mass according to this old rite and, at the same time, have conceived a natural development for the liturgy in all of this century, since the liturgy is a living reality that develops and that conserves its identity in its development."
"Therefore, there are certainly distinct accents, but a fundamental identity that excludes a contradiction, an opposition between the renewed liturgy and the preceding liturgy," the Pope affirmed. "I think that there is the possibility of mutual enrichment. It's clear that the renewed liturgy is the ordinary liturgy of our times."
Pope to tighten up on Marian visions
Maybe we are moving closer to getting some kind of verdict on the events at Medjugorge which have always struck me as less than authentic.
Pope urges crackdown on reported visions of Mary
Richard Owen in Rome
The Pope has instructed Vatican officials to adopt stricter criteria for the approval of visions of Mary.
As Pope Benedict XVI began his first visit as pontiff to France, being greeted at Paris airport by President Sarkozy and his wife Carla Bruni, it emerged that he had asked a Spanish Jesuit to draw up new guidelines for bishops around the world on the recognition of reported apparitions by the Virgin Mary.
The Vatican said it had asked Monsignor Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer to launch his investigation because the Pope wanted to avoid "excesses and abuses" of such visions. The pontiff believes bishops should resist being swayed by the emotional reaction of believers and be guided instead by strictly applied "scientific, psychological and theological criteria".
Ignazio Ingrao, Vatican correspondent of the weekly news magazine Panorama, said the inquiry had been prompted because of the readiness of a bishop of Civitavecchia, the port north of Rome, to approve reports that a statue of the Madonna owned by a local family had wept tears of blood. The bishop even claimed to have seen the tears himself while holding the statue in his arms. The bishop was later replaced.
The Vatican is also sceptical about reported Marian apparitions since 1981 at Medjugorge in Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite the fact that the site is visited by two million pilgrims a year.
Vittorio Messori, an Italian Catholic writer who is close to the Pope, said the then Cardinal Ratzinger had told him in 1985 that "patrience and caution" were the key to validating Marian visions. "No apparition is indispensable to the faith" the future Pope told Messori. "Tbe Revelation ended with Jesus Christ".
Guidelines for the approval of apparitions and revelations were last issued in 1978. They lay down that a diocesan bishop can "either on his own initiative or at the request ofjugorgje the faithful" choose to investigate an alleged apparition. He then submits a report to the Vatican for approval.
The news came as the Pope visited France and prepared to hold talks with Mr Sarkozy as well as visiting a religious shrine at Lourdes. France is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic - at least nominally - but also has large Muslim and Jewish communities and adheres to the separation of church and state. Mr Sarkozy is himself a lapsed Catholic who has been divorced twice. While in the country, Benedict is to deliver a keynote address on the role of religion in society to the French Academy, of which he has been a member since 1992.
Before leaving Rome on his trip, Benedict, who speaks fluent French, said he would pray at the feet of Our Lady of Lourdes for the Church, the "sick and abandoned", and peace in the world.
"I go as a messenger of peace and fraternity," he said in a message to the French people. "Your country is not unknown to me. On several occasions I have had the joy to visit it and to appreciate its generous tradition of hospitality and tolerance, as well as the solidity of its Christian faith and its lofty human and spiritual culture."
He added: "May Mary be for all of you, and in particular for young people, a Mother always attentive to the needs of her children, a light of hope that illuminates and guides your ways."
Oh well. I`ll try not to be too cynical.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Another cathedral Mass: Edinburgh
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
LMS Northern Priests` Training Conference
The Conference is scheduled to take place in February in one of the most northerly English Dioceses. Issues and suggestions raised by the clergy who attended Merton in the Summer will be addressed at this Conference as good practice demands.
This Conference is not instead of the Oxford Conference but in addition to it.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I`ve not been to a home game for over ten years but still take an interest and felt the general gloom that descended with the news this week. Maybe I should just concentrate on supporting Gateshead FC: their home ground I could see from the steps of my last presbytery and they seem to be doing ok in the Blue Square North League!
Forest Murmurs and Spain
A few days in Scotland
I can`t remember the last time I was in St Andrews and it seemed strange to be back in the place I was a student. Most of my memories of my time there involved bad weather so we were lucky simply to have cloudy weather one day and real blue skies and sunshine the next. Many vocations have come from the university. In my time at the English College in Rome there were six former students in the city studying for the priesthood and five of them were ordained. I was able to show Fr Briggs ( who had never been there before) some of the sights. Unfortunately we didn`t get in to St Leonard`s chapel where, a few years ago, I acted as subdeacon for the Requiem Mass for Miss Neilson, the president of Una Voce, Scotland for many years, but I was able to point out the tomb of bishop Kennedy in St Salvator`s chapel, the university chapel, (see picture below) where in a fit of youthful Catholic zeal one student managed to deposit a statue of Our Lady in one of the niches of the tomb.
I believe he was found out and reprimanded. Shortly after I left, Catholic student life really took off in a big way at the university through two groups, one led by the Faith movement and another which supported the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. I`ve no idea what goes on there now in the Catholic chaplaincy but hope it is still producing vocations to the priesthood.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Monday, September 01, 2008
More good news on non-embryonic stem cells
IMPROVED treatments for schizophrenia and motor neurone disease could be available within two decades thanks to Scottish experiments using a new type of stem cell.
In what was recognised as a major breakthrough, the scientists who cloned Dolly the sheep are now using stem cells first harvested from human skin less than a year ago. These have the same qualities as those controversially taken from embryos.
And already work has started in Edinburgh to use cells donated by patients at the Western General Hospital to try to find new treatments for diseases of the nervous system.
The work, which was described yesterday at a conference organised by the Scottish Stem Cell Network, has the potential to revolutionise the treatment of little-understood diseases such as schizophrenia and motor neurone disease, according to Sir Ian Wilmut, who chaired the conference.
Speaking to The Scotsman, the scientist, famous for Dolly the sheep, said he thinks the team in Edinburgh could have a breakthrough within years.
He said: “There’s the possibility that in maybe ten years, or 20 years, there will be much more effective treatments for these diseases because of these skin cells.”
The team of scientists, led by professor David Porteous at the University of Edinburgh, are working with cells known as induced pluripotent stem cells. Like embryonic stem cells, they can turn into any cell in the body – from skin to heart, liver and nerve.
However, they do not attract the same controversy as embryonic stem cells, as they do not involve the destruction of a human embryo. They can also be harvested more easily – requiring just a skin sample.
Due to their ability to transform into any cell in the body, the stem cells taken from the skin of patients at the Western General can be used to make a sample of nerve cells equivalent to those in the person who has the disease.
As the researchers spot what is wrong with these nerve cells, they will be able to make informed guesses as to the type of drugs that could treat them.
“For the first time, people will have in the laboratory large numbers of nerves to study and test for drugs,” said Sir Ian.
He thinks the potential to use induced pluripotent stem cells to discover new treatments makes them hugely important – more so even than his famous success in creating cloned Dolly.
He said the cells have the potential to “revolutionise” the development of drugs to treat disease.
Around the world, similar experiments are using induced pluripotent stem cells to find cures for other conditions, including a team in London looking at Parkinson’s disease.
But Professor Hans Schoeler, from Germany, who also spoke at the conference, told The Scotsman the stage has not yet been reached where pluripotent stem cells can replace embryonic stem cells.
Fit for Mission: Church
Being me, I did a word search on `Summorum` to see if anything had been said about the Motu Proprio and this is what I found:
To those ‘stable groups of faithful’ within my diocese availing themselves of the extraordinary form I would make the following suggestions as your pastor in accordance with the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum:
Active participation in the life of your parish is
essential to being in full communion with the
Catholic Church. Therefore, it is my earnest hope
that you will not abandon participation in your
parish’s use of the ordinary form.
Avoid habitual travelling around the diocese to participate in the extraordinary form if this
means you are no longer an active member of your local parish.
Any attitude of superiority due to participation in the extraordinary form is to be avoided as a danger to the unity and well-being of the Church.
Equally, there must be no lack of charity or hospitality towards those ‘stable groups of faithful’ who ‘continue to adhere with great love and affection to the earlier liturgical forms’ as this too damages the unity and well-being of our local Church in communion with the See of Rome.
On the other hand what is the actual provision of EF Masses in Lancaster? According to the LMS listings there are only two regular Masses a month and both at different locations. Nowhere has a weekly Sunday Mass. Is this the spirit of the Motu Proprio?
However I did enjoy this part of the document on Mass in general:
Over the years I have observed in some of our parishes an over-emphasis on the community dimension of Mass that has at times eclipsed reverence and adoration of the divine. Of course, the role of the community is essential, but at times there are diversions and distractions, such as:
Performances within the Mass; (I take this to include `liturgical dance`)
Noisy celebrations not conducive to prayer;
Extended signs of peace;
Endless commentaries and Prayers of the Faithful that become collects or mini-homilies.
Such distortions can reflect the common Christological error of emphasising the humanity of Jesus, to the exclusions of any meaningful sense of His divinity.
I am certain that for liturgy to enable us to participate in the life of the Holy Trinity we must maintain a sensitive balance between human participation and reverence of the divine.
It certainly makes an interesting read and I look forward to working through it in the next few days. There is something in it for everyone!