Friday, November 27, 2009

Irish child abuse scandal

In the light of yesterday`s report in Ireland regarding sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clergy and the subsequent cover up, I thought Mary Kenny`s piece in the Times today was useful.

In particular she argues that this is not just something involving errant clergy but the whole of Irish society. She writes:

Yet this clerical power in Ireland is often misunderstood by intellectuals, who analyse it as a top-down social structure, as if the clergy kept an iron hold on an unwilling populace. I would suggest that it was what we would call market driven. It came from the peoples’ faith, and the peoples’ desire to exalt their faith.

Especially after the disappearance of British rule, with all the gorgeous panoply that the Crown displayed, the people wanted the priests to be “a native nobility”. Irish politicians in the 1950s tumbled over themselves in their eagerness to kneel before a bishop and refer to an archbishop as “His Grace.
and concludes:
Yet to be fully understood, these scandals must be seen within the context of Irish history. The Catholic church in Ireland wasn’t “them”, it was “us”. It was our fathers and mothers and sisters and cousins and aunts. It was all those families and kin who must have covered up abuse — as families do.

Swine `Flu and Holy Communion

Thanks to Rorate Caeli for publishing this letter from the CDW written to a British Catholic explaining that no bishop can forbid people from receiving Holy Communion on the tongue. This letter does not mention the H1N1 virus bit apparently thhe sender of the letter did. To be fair the bishops issued recommendations that Communion on the tongue cease but people may have understood this to be a command rather than just a recommendation. When our bishop came here in October he gave Holy Communion on the tongue to those who wished to receive in that way.

Monday, November 23, 2009

An extra Mass due to popular demand

Just to say that there will be an EF Mass at St Mary`s at 7.30 am on weekdays of Advent. At the last Council of Priests the bishop asked the priests of the diocese to consider having an early Mass for people going to work and I`m happy to oblige in this parish.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beauty Brings Joy to the Human Heart

New shroud discovery

I was interested to see this story in the Times. Dr Barbara Frale, a researcher in the Vatican secret archives has deciphered the letters on the shroud of Turn which make up the notice attached to the shroud to say the deceased had been condemned as a criminal. Apparently the bodies were to be put in a common grave for a year after which they could be given to their family. The notice was still fixed to the shroud of Christ even though permission was given for him to be put in the tomb provided by Joseph of Arimathea

It`s all explained in Dr Frale`s new book which looks at the lettering that was first noticed in 1978. The notice was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.

The Times article says:

Dr Frale said that many of the letters were missing, with Jesus for example referred to as "(I)esou(s) Nnazarennos" and only the "iber" of "Tiberiou" surviving. Her reconstruction, however, suggested that the certificate read: "In the year 16 of the reign of the Emperor Tiberius Jesus the Nazarene, taken down in the early evening after having been condemned to death by a Roman judge because he was found guilty by a Hebrew authority, is hereby sent for burial with the obligation of being consigned to his family only after one full year". It ends "signed by" but the signature has not survived.

I look forward to seeing the English version of the book. In Italian it is La Sindone di Gesu Nazareno.

The crucifix in state schools

I don`t like the determination of secularists to see that all outward signs of religion are removed from public life: Christians are citizens too and also have rights. However I do struggle with the recent furore in Italy over the order to remove the crucifix from the classrooms in state schools. After all these are state schools. No-one is saying (yet) that they must be removed in Catholic schools. Actually in my experience Catholics are quite good at removing them themselves. They often seem to remove statues etc from Catholic establishments and replace them mostly with houseplants. I know of one where that happened almost twenty years ago.
However I thought Dignitatis Humanae, at Vatican II, called for the abolition of the Catholic church as the state religion in those places where this was the case. If Catholicism was the state religion of Italy then I could see some point in protesting about state schools having to remove crucifixes. Maybe I have misunderstood.
The Italians are fighting back. I`m glad to see it and hope they win but do we need to think about Dignitatis Humanae again?
Of course from a purely secular point of view if the majority of Italians want to have crucifixes in state schools and the EU really does believe in subsidiarity then I don`t see why their wishes should be defied by the EU in this way.

Ss Peter and Paul`s Longbenton

For quite a while now I have had a crucifix ready to hang in the church to replace the figure I inherited on the back wall. When the La Sagesse convent closed in Newcastle I heard they had a large crucifix they were willing to let us have and it being from a La Sagesse house I expected it to be tasteful which it is. The figure on the back wall of the risen Christ standing in front of the cross with a large smile just didn`t work for me and the parish council were also happy with the suggestion of putting up the La Sagesse cross as there had been a crucifix hanging there in the original design of the church. The workmen who put it up visited a couple of other Newcastle churches which have the same arrangement to see how it could hang from the arch and made a very good job of it.

There is now an outline of the former cross on the back wall. I tried to pass this off as having mystical significance and representing the risen Christ. It reminds me of the cross in the iconoclastic church in Istanbul on BBC4`s History of Christianity this week! However as you may remember there is an icon of Christ on it`s way which may be here for Easter which will occupy that panel. From the main aisle this will be partially blocked by the crucifix but I`m happy about that as it signifies that the way to glory is through the cross. The icon of the Annunciation for St Mary`s Forest Hall should finally arrive in time for December 8th.


And after:

This second photo was taken rather quickly and I may go back and try to get a better one.

More LMS: annual Requiem

A report this time from the LMS on the annual Requiem at Westminster cathedral with bishop Alan Hopes. I think it is good that it now seems to be a requirement to be an auxiliary bishop in Westminster that you can and are willing to celebrate the Extraordinary Form. Then I suppose they get farmed out as diocesan bishops and so a diocese gets a bishop ho can celebrate the whole Roman rite which is still not the case everywhere. However it would still be encouraging to see the archbishop of Westminster himself celebrate this Mass. I suppose it will take time to bed down and at the minute they still have the excuse that Pope Benedict has neither celebrated it as pope nor attended a celebration. Let`s hope at least one of the northern bishops will accept the invitation of the LMS to attend the next Ushaw training week in 2010. Surely a bishop is a bishop for all the Catholics in his care not just the ones that share his own tastes.
I see this week`s Tablet is tipping bishop Hopes to be the first Ordinary for the Anglican ordinariate in England.

Here are the pictures and report.

Bishop Hopes at the Altar

Bishop Hopes Giving Communion at the Rail

Bishop Hopes and His Ministers in the Sacristy (from left: Gordon Dimon, LMS MC; Fr Michael Cullinan, Deacon; Bp Hopes; Fr Michael Dunne, Sub-deacon; Fr Andrew Southwell, Assistant Priest

23 November 2009

* Westminster Bishop celebrates Traditional Mass for the First Time
* Latin Mass Society Celebrates Its Annual Requiem Mass in Westminster Cathedral

The Rt Rev. Alan Hopes, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, celebrated a High Mass of Requiem in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite in Westminster Cathedral on Saturday 14 November for the repose of the souls of all deceased members and supporters of the LMS. Father Andrew Southwell was Assistant Priest, Fr Michael Cullinan was Deacon and the Sub-deacon was Fr Michael Dunne of the cathedral staff. Gordon Dimon of the LMS was MC. Bishop Hopes also preached on the theme of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a bridge between the saving events of Our Lord’s Passion and the men and women of our own time with all their hopes and fears.

A congregation of some hundreds heard the men of the Cathedral Choir sing the plainsong Requiem Mass together with the plainsong Adore Te Devote at Communion.

The Mass was followed by the traditional ceremonies of Absolutions at the Catafalque and before Mass, a wreath was laid by Mr Kingsley Lewis, Deputy Chairman of the LMS, and other LMS members on the grave of Cardinal Heenan in the cathedral nave in thanksgiving for the Cardinal’s efforts to preserve the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. Father Andrew Southwell read prayers for the occasion.

John Medlin, General Manager of the LMS, said afterwards: “This was the first time that Bishop Hopes had celebrated the Traditional Mass and the LMS is most grateful to him for the great care he took in learning the Rite. We also thank Canon Christopher Tuckwell, the Cathedral Administrator, and his staff for the friendly welcome we always receive in the cathedral”.

Note: The Extraordinary Form has now returned to many of our cathedrals throughout England and Wales and the LMS is actively seeking to introduce further Masses.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

LMS Confirmations.

I received the following information from the LMS regarding the recent confirmations in London. Good to see that these are still going on and I`m sure part of the excitment for the children is a day out in London, if they are from outside the city, but I hope we will see this happening elsewhere round the country before too long. Well done LMS.


12 November 2009

* Westminster bishop confers Traditional Rite confirmations

Bishop George Stack, auxiliary bishop in Westminster, administered Confirmations in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite (Traditional Latin Rite) at St James’ Church, Spanish Place, London W1 on Saturday 7 November. 32 candidates received the sacrament – 27 children and 5 adults. This was the sixth year of the annual ceremony organised by the Latin Mass Society.

As usual, permission for the Old Rite Confirmations had been given by Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, now Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster.

The candidates’ day began with a catechetical meeting in the Lady Chapel with Bishop Stack. The Confirmation ceremony followed and the liturgical ceremonies were concluded with Pontifical Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

The choir and organist of Spanish Place provided the music, and a large congregation of over 400 family and friends joined them in singing the Veni Creator Spiritus and other traditional hymns. During the anointing, the choir sang polyphony and plain chant.

After the ceremonies, a reception for the bishop and congregation was held in the crypt. Bishop Stack met and chatted with the newly-confirmed and their families and cut the celebratory cake.

Doctor Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the Latin Mass Society, thanked Bishop Stack for his pastoral concern for those attached to the Extraordinary Form and led the families and children in a rousing round of applause.

Bp Stack greets the children in the Lady Chapel.
Bp Stack conferring Confirmation

Ceremonies and the crowded nave

Children helping Bp Stack to cut the celebratory cake

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Sign of the Times?

This morning`s post brought a vestment catalogue from church suppliers, Ormsby of Scarisbrick. Another supplier sent a catalogue a few weeks ago and I remember pointing out to anyone would listen, after Mass, that they always seem to have a picture on the front of these things of a beautiful, intricately-decorated vestment and then the usual horse-blanket style chasubles inside.

I browsed through the Ormsby catalogue and was surprised to see for the first time I can remember, a number of Roman-style chasubles included. Now I know that the EF does not require Roman vestments. I happen to prefer them myself but it isn`t the end of the world if I wear a Gothic vestment and normally I will choose to wear something Gothic a couple of times a week. However it is fair to say that a few years ago there would have been no demand for such things so they must be responding to requests and those requests must come from people looking for something more hermeneutically continuous. (Before I get a deluge of comments, I should say I know about the history of vestment design and am using the term in its loosest sense.)

The advertised vestments come with stole, veil and burse but alas no maniple so are not that useful for the EF anyway. I also have to say that I am quite particular about the vestments I buy and none of the designs on offer appealed to me but I thought it was worth blogging about. Some of the Gothic examples they have are rather attractive.

Oh and the picture on the front of the catalogue has a priest and deacon in Mass vestments with their backs to the viewer. Maybe next year there will be a subdeacon too!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Last call for Rome priests` conference

This week I booked to go to the conference for the Year of the Priesthood to be held in Rome between 4th and 8th January. I had mentioned this many months ago. It is being organised by the Conference of Catholic Clergy from the USA and the Australian sister organisation. You can see the impressive programme here. I believe it is still possible to book places. The venue was originally the Casa Pastor Bonus but now the conference has access to the Domus Sanctae Marthae built in the Vatican city to accommodate cardinals during the conclave but used for other events too. However as accommodation is booked on a first come, first served basis those of us booking this week will probably still be in the Casa Pastor Bonus which I`m told is only ten minutes walk away. As you will see from the programme, the renowned priest-blogger, Fr Tim Finigan, is the guest speaker at the main conference dinner. Plenty of cardinals are involved as well as archbishop Burke of the Signatura. Liturgies will be in both the ordinary and extraordinary forms. An accomplished choir have been employed to provide glorious music.
I believe that 60 priests have booked to go so far. It should be a wonderful occasion and provide an opportunity for meeting priests of sound outlook.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Mgr Langham on Anglicanorum Coetibus

The former dean of Westminster cathedral who now works in Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity offers his thoughts about the Apostolic Constitution on Vatican Radio here: click the audio link (under the words Anglicanorum Coetibus) to hear the interview.

Anglicanorum Coetibus

So now we have the document for the reception of Anglican groups into the Catholic Church. I wonder when we will see it start to take shape? The question of celibacy of future ordinands is left slightly open in that while celibacy is the norm the local Anglican Use ordinary can petition the Holy See for the admission of a married man to Holy Orders. The text runs:

§ 2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.

One other question that occurs to me, thinking ahead. If a convert comes to the Catholic Church from an Eastern Orthodox background, they become members of whichever equivalent Eastern Rite is in communion with the Holy See, even if they were received by a Latin rite priest. Will the same apply now for converts from an Anglican background? Will they become Anglican Use Catholics or will they still be able to choose to become members of the local Latin rite Catholic diocese?

Interesting times ahead.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Una Voce and Leo Darroch

You may have seen elsewhere on the blogosphere that the committee of the International Federation Una Voce went to Rome recently and their president was introduced to the Pope. This may not mean a lot to some people so let me explain. The Federation is the umbrella organisation for the many branches of Una Voce around the world. The federation has existed since 1967 although its roots go back to 1965. It is a lay movement which exists to preserve the traditional form of the Roman liturgy. The English Latin Mass Society is a member. For a full explanation see here.

Naturally with the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum their work has assumed a higher profile and the committee submits reports to Rome about its implementation. In this picture we see the Holy Father being presented with the latest report on October 28th.

The current president is Leo Darroch. He is well known among Latin Mass supporters in this diocese as he lives here. Hexham and Newcastle has a very high profile layman in the person of Leo. Let`s hope his good work bears fruit.

Northern Cross

The diocesan newspaper, the Northern Cross, which comes out on the first weekend of the month, takes a bit longer to get to Forest Hall: we got ours during the week. I was intrigued to see an article on page 12 about the celebration held here on October 3rd for La Virgen de Pilar. I hadn`t sent anything in but from the article it looks as if it was lifted from my account on this blog. I suppose it would have been nice to have had the blog acknowledged as the source but it`s not that important.
There is a large article on page two which gives an account of the bishop`s meeting with the `Council of the Laity` which has a picture of him and five female members of the council. In it the bishop sets out some of his ideas for leading the diocese. It is stated that the aim should be to `have everyone feeling valued and using their gifts and talents`. I hope this extends to the clergy too!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

London Colney

The LMS magazine, Mass of Ages arrived today. The front cover reminded me that I had received a few photos of the London Colney training conference which I had forgotten to publish. All seems to be in place for the Ushaw conference in April next year. Here are the pictures.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

North East Catholic History Society

This afternoon at 2 pm at St Andrew`s, Worswick St, Newcastle upon Tyne, the distinguished Newman scholar, Dr Sheridan Gilley, will speak on Newman and the crisis of Capitalism. All welcome. Non-members £1.

Monday, November 02, 2009

All Souls

Just a reminder that there is a Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St Mary`s tonight at 7pm.

Today I went to Benton cemetery to bless graves. I wanted to do this on All Souls itself but wondered if many people would come because of it being during the day but I`m glad to say there was a much bigger turn out than last year of people who wanted to pray for their departed relatives.