Monday, 30 June 2008

At last: a parish for the extraordinary form

The Archdiocese of Liverpool has just announced plans that it will be turning over the church of St. Vincent de Paul, Toxteth into a personal parish for the classical Roman rite: the first in this country. Archbishop Kelly has appointed Fr. Simon Henry as it's chaplain.

We have waited far too long for this to happen. The full story can be found in the Catholic Herald.

Sunday, 29 June 2008

A view of Prince Caspian

Yesterday afternoon I went to the UGC cinema in Broad Street, Birmingham to see the film adaptation of C.S. Lewis's Prince Caspian, a sequel to the Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe. I had mixed feelings on what to expect.

Nonetheless I was to find it a considerable disappointment, even taking into account the difficulties of filming the story. C.S. Lewis himself believed that could not be filmed: nonetheless I thought they made a rather poor job of what could be done. I will go into further detail tomorrow.

Saturday, 28 June 2008

The year of St. Paul

Tonight begins a special year to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of the birth of the apostle St. Paul. In my diocese of Birmingham we have been granted a plenary indulgence on tomorrow's feast subject to the usual conditions, as well as one throughout the year in every church and chapel dedicated to him.

Unfortunately the Oratory is dedicated to the Immaculate Conception rather than St. Paul, so it does not suffice for the indulgence. However as a consolation in the Oratory parish lies the school and convent of St. Paul just across the road from where I live, and the chapel is dedicated to him. So we can go there instead to gain it.

Today I also went to see the film Prince Caspian: in the next few days I shall give you my take on it, when I have the time to do so!

Friday, 27 June 2008


Alas, I have another prayer request! Over the last few weeks I have been limping as I have injured my right foot, and it is causing me considerable pain at times. Not only that, I have developed a mild repetitive strain injury in my left elbow as well! Jackie Parkes' prayer requests over blogosphere for the healing of her son's injured foot were very promptly answered, despite all the predictions of the doctors. Please, I wonder if a similar miracle could happen for me? But unfortunately, I have found from experience that divine providence is usually far more ready to grant requests for other people than for myself...

Thursday, 26 June 2008

Cardinal Arinze on kneeling for communion

In this Youtube video we hear Cardinal Arinze affirming the rights of the laity to receive communion kneeling down on the tongue. This is a subject that is particularly dear to me, as I remember all too well the trouble I had doing so in my teenage years. I had been told that this was forbidden on the spurious grounds that 'the mass is a meal and the Eucharist is a sign of unity, so everyone should receive it standing in their hands.' If only Rome had spoken out fifteen years ago, it would have save me a great deal!

Acknowledgements to Catholic Rights.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008

Update on the Rednal public inquiry

News has just come in that due to various circumstances the public enquiry concerning the fence protecting the grounds of Cardinal Newman's grave has been adjourned until October. It is to be held around the time of the Oratory's forty hours devotion: a fitting time to make intercession. It may well be the hand of divine providence at work...

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Prayer to Cardinal Newman

As the public enquiry begins concerning the fence protecting Newman's grave and the Oratory House at Rednal, here is the prayer for the Cardinal's intercession.

God our Father, your servant John Henry Newman upheld the faith by his teaching and example. May his loyalty to Christ and his church, his love for the immaculate Mother of God, and his compassion for the perplexed give guidance to the Christian people today. We beg of you to grant the favours that we ask through his intercession, so his holiness may be recognised by all and that the church may proclaim him a saint. We ask this through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Venerable John Henry Newman, pray for us.

St. John the Baptist, pray for us.

Monday, 23 June 2008

Westminster diocese web page article

The Westminster Archdiocesan website has just posted an article on the pontifical high mass of Cardinal Hoyos, which can be found here.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Rednal public enquiry

The public enquiry concerning the fence protecting the grounds of Rednal and in particular the grave of Cardinal Newman begins next Tuesday 24th June, the Feast of St. John the Baptist, and ends on Thursday 26th. Please, pray for a successful outcome.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Were our bishops more like him..

Not really! But here is a clip from the film Becket of one who does not mince his words, and it is indeed most refreshing to hear him. Acknowledgements to The Crescat.

Friday, 20 June 2008

The bishop's boycott

A rumour has come in from Damien Thompson's blog Holy Smoke that the Holy Father is displeased by the fact that not a single bishop of England and Wales attended the pontifical mass of Cardinal Hoyos in Westminster Cathedral. Whether this is true or not is debatable, but their conspicuous absence speaks nevertheless speaks volumes, particularly considering the reception they gave to Archbishop Piero Marini. Here is the full story.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Ex Cathedra concert

Yesterday evening at the Birmingham Oratory we had our mid - summer concert by the ensemble Ex Cathedra. It was Parisian Vespers by candlelight from the reign of the Sun King Louis XIV, consisting mainly of music by Henry Du Mont.

Unfortunately as it was late in the evening at 9.00pm I had to miss it, which was a big disappointment. Nevertheless as a consolation I came in to hear them practising just before the 5.45pm mass, and it certainly was stunning to hear!

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

The Dedication of St.Chad's Cathedral

Today I have completed six months of blogging work on the feast of the Dedication of the Cathedral, which is kept in all churches in Birmingham diocese. I have managed to keep this blog going with a relatively small number of visits daily, with the occasional spurts for posts that attract much attention. Do please keep the visits up, and I welcome comments!

Concerning St. Chad's Cathedral, it was the first Catholic cathedral to be opened since the reformation and carries the relics of St. Chad above the main high altar, which were miraculously preserved during penal times. The cathedral incongruously sits above an expressway, and was nearly demolished to make way for this. Fortunately better counsels prevailed, but these did not save the original archbishop's palace. More can be found from the official website here.

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Address of Cardinal Hoyos

Here is the address that was given by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos to the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales before the pontifical mass. It is worth quoting in full.

Address to the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales
London – 14th June 2008

Mr Chairman, Reverend Monsignori and Fathers, Ladies and Gentlemen;

I am grateful for your kind invitation and for your warm welcome. It is a pleasure to be present with you today in London and to address the annual general meeting of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales.

I look forward to the joy of celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in the great, historic and beautiful Westminster Cathedral for you this afternoon.

Today I would like to speak about three related subjects.

1. The first thing that I wish to say is that I appreciate the work which the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has undertaken in the past four decades. You have worked with and under your bishops, at times without all of the results which you desired. Yet in all that you have done you have remained faithful to the Holy See and to the successor of Saint Peter. And you have been loyal during a very difficult time for the Church – a time that has been especially trying for those who love and appreciate the riches of her ancient liturgy.

Quite evidently these years have not been without many sufferings, but Our Blessed Lord knows them and will, in his Divine Providence, bring about much good from your sacrifices and from the sacrifices of those members of the Latin Mass Society who have not lived to be here today. To all of you, on behalf of the Church, I say: “thank you for remaining faithful to the Church and to the Vicar of Christ; thank you for not allowing your love for the classical Roman liturgy to lead you outside of communion with the Vicar of Christ!”

I also say, “Take heart!” for it is obvious from the many young people in England and Wales who love the Church’s ancient liturgy that you have done very well in preserving and handing on a love for this liturgy to your children.

2. Secondly, I wish to speak about the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum of our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. I know what great joy the publication of Summorum Pontificum brought to your members and indeed to many faithful Catholics around the world. In response to the prayers and sufferings of so many people in these past four decades, Almighty God has raised up for us a Supreme Pontiff who is very sensitive to your concerns. Pope Benedict XVI knows and deeply appreciates the importance of the ancient liturgical rites for the Church – for both the Church of today and for the Church of tomorrow. That is why he issued a juridical document – a Motu Proprio – which establishes legal freedom for the older rites throughout the Church. It is important to understand that Summorum Pontificum establishes a new juridical reality in the Church.

It gives rights to the ordinary faithful and to priests which must be respected by those in authority. The Holy Father is aware that in different places around the world many requests from priests and lay faithful who desired to celebrate according to the ancient rites were often not acted upon. That is why he has now authoritatively established that to celebrate according to the more ancient form of the liturgy – the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as well the sacraments and other liturgical rites – is a juridical right, and not just a privilege accorded to all.

Certainly this must be done in harmony with both ecclesiastical law and ecclesiastical superiors, but superiors also must recognise that these rights are now firmly established in the law of the Church by the Vicar of Christ himself. It is a treasure that belongs to the whole Catholic Church and which should be widely available to all of Christ’s faithful. This means that parish priests and bishops must accept the petitions and the requests of the faithful who ask for it and that priests and bishops must do all that they can to provide this great liturgical treasure of the Church’s tradition for the faithful.

In this period immediately following the publication of the Motu Proprio our most immediate task is to provide for the celebration of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite where it is most desired by the faithful and where their “legitimate aspirations” have not yet been met. On the one hand no priest should be forced to celebrate according to the extraordinary form against his will. On the other hand those priests who do not wish to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal should be generous in meeting the requests of the faithful who desire it.

As I see it, two factors are necessary. 1. It is first of all important to find a centrally located church, convenient to the greatest number of the faithful who have requested this Mass. Obviously, it must be a church where the parish priest is willing to welcome these faithful from his own and surrounding parishes. 2. It is crucial that there be priests willing to celebrate according to the 1962 Roman Missal and thus to provide this important pastoral service on a weekly Sunday basis. Often there may be one or more priests in a given deanery or section of a diocese who would be willing and even desirous of celebrating this Mass. Bishops need to be sensitive to such pastoral provisions and to facilitate them. This is a fundamental intention of Summorum Pontificum. It is particularly sad where priests are prohibited from celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass because of restrictive legislative measures which have been taken and which run counter to the Holy Father’s intentions and thus to the universal law of the Church.

In this regard I am also pleased to commend the Latin Mass Society for its provision of the training session for priests at Merton College, Oxford, last summer, allowing many priests unfamiliar with the usus antiquior to learn how to celebrate it. I am very pleased to give my blessing to this initiative which will take place again this summer.

Let me say this plainly: the Holy Father wants the ancient use of the Mass to become a normal occurrence in the liturgical life of the Church so that all of Christ’s faithful – young and old – can become familiar with the older rites and draw from their tangible beauty and transcendence. The Holy Father wants this for pastoral reasons as well as for theological ones. In his letter accompanying Summorum Pontificum Pope Benedict wrote that:

"In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches which have developed in the Church’s faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place."

3. This brings me to my third point. You are rightly convinced that the usus antiquior is not a museum piece, but a living expression of Catholic worship. If it is living, we must also expect it to develop. Our Holy Father is also of this conviction. As you know, he chose motu proprio – that is on his own initiative – to alter the text of the prayer pro Iudæis in the Good Friday liturgy. The intention of the prayer was in no way weakened, but a formulation was provided which respected sensitivities.

Likewise, as you also know, Summorum Pontificum has also provided for the Liturgy of the Word to be proclaimed in the vernacular without being first read by the celebrant in Latin. Today’s Pontifical Mass, of course, will have the readings solemnly chanted in Latin, but for less solemn celebrations the Liturgy of the Word may be proclaimed directly in the language of the people. This is already a concrete instance of what our Holy Father wrote in his letter accompanying the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum:

"the two Forms of the usage of the Roman Rite can be mutually enriching: new Saints and some of the new Prefaces can and should be inserted in the old Missal. The “Ecclesia Dei” Commission, in contact with various bodies devoted to the usus antiquior, will study the practical possibilities in this regard."

Naturally we will be happy for your input in this important matter. I simply ask you not to be opposed in principle to the necessary adaptation which our Holy Father has called for.

This brings me to another important point. I am aware that the response of the Pontifical Commission “Ecclesia Dei” with regard to the observance of Holy Days of obligation has caused a certain amount of disturbance in some circles. It should be noted that the dates of these Holy Days remain the same in both the Missal of 1962 and the Missal of 1970. When the Holy See has given the Episcopal Conference of a given country permission to move certain Holy Days to the following Sunday, this should be observed by all Catholics in that country. Nothing prevents the celebration of the Feast of the Ascension, for example, on the prior Thursday, but it should be clear that this is not a Mass of obligation and that the Mass of the Ascension should also be celebrated on the following Sunday. This is a sacrifice which I ask you to make with joy as a sign of your unity with the Catholic Church in your country.

Finally I ask your prayers for those of us called to assist the Holy Father in Rome in this delicate work of facilitating the Church’s ancient liturgical tradition. Please be patient with us: we are very few and there is much work to be done. And there are many questions to be studied and sometimes we may make mistakes!

May the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, intercede for all in this land which is so beautifully called “the Dowry of Our Lady,” and through her prayers may all Christ’s faithful come to draw ever more deeply from the great riches of the Church’s sacred liturgy in all of its forms.

Darío Cardinal Castrillón Hoyos
Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei

Monday, 16 June 2008

An unexpected surprise

The photos I took of the solemn pontifical mass of Cardinal Hoyos in Westminster Cathedral have caused much interest on blogosphere, as they were among the first to be published on the web. I happened to take them with an old Traveler DC-6900 camera around the cathedral. Consequently I have had them posted on the New Liturgical Movement, and have been advertised by Fr. Tim Finigan and Fr. Ray Blake on their blogs.

So all of a sudden I have had ten times the number of visits to my blog that I would have usually, which has been most welcome. How long this is going to last for is another matter....

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Conclusion of the siege of Jericho

I managed to turn up for the last witness of prayer round the infamous Calthorpe abortion clinic on Arthur Road. It consisted of a sevenfold procession rotation around the clinic in the side streets, but due to my bad foot I could only do one. Photos courtesy of Jackie Parkes, as I forgot my camera!

The whole district is one of the most affluent parts of England, with some really magnificent houses and gardens around. But it is very dark and sinister. One house next door was opening their garden for a charity event, and the people there looked at us in bemusement. I cannot help feeling for them who live there: it is like living in comfort next door to Auschwitz.

Procession with the Blessed Sacrament

Myself (in green sweater)

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Pontifical mass in Westminster Cathedral

I made a day trip to London to attend the Latin Mass Society's solemn pontifical mass celebrated by Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos in Westminster Cathedral. I was to find the cathedral packed to the rafters with nowhere to sit down and I had hurt my foot! Nevertheless I managed to take these rather poor quality pictures with my old camera.






Friday, 13 June 2008

Siege of Jericho underway

The prayer siege of the infamous Calthorpe abortion clinic is now underway, and here are two photographs courtesy of Jackie Parkes.

Unfortunately due to work I have been unable to attend, but I have tried to be with them in spirit. I'm away tomorrow at the solemn high mass in Westminster Cathedral in the 1962 missal, but I hope to come to the procession with the Blessed Sacrament on Sunday.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Assent instead of dissent

Humanae Vitae, that most critical of all papal encyclicals, was published in the year 1968: the year of revolution at a time when even the Catholic church was seeming to be swept up in the tide. But the promise of Our Lord was to remain unalterable: Thou art Peter, and on this rock I shall build my church, and the gates of the underworld shall never hold out against it. So when Paul VI was to speak out on the matter, against all expectations he was to hold firm.

It was to provoke a wholesale rejection of Catholic moral teaching and become the linchpin of dissent against the magisterium. But recently, a group of priests have formed a group of assent rather than dissent as an act of reparation: Humanae Vitae Priests. Acknowledgements to Fr. Tim, on bringing attention to a subject very dear to my heart.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

A grave scandal

While so far Westminster Children's society has stood up to the Sexual Orientation Regulations, the Catholic Children’s Society has not only caved in to government demands to allow adoptions by same sex 'couples', but to add insult to injury, has renamed itself the Cabrini Children’s Society. The full story of this scandal can be found at Carpe Canem.

Prayer for the Intercession of St Frances Xavier Cabrini:

Almighty and eternal Father,
at the intercession of Mother Frances Cabrini,
hear the cry of your children,
and the prayers of all those who seek to remain faithful
to the teachings of Your Church.
Inspire the Bishops of our land with wisdom and courage
to uphold the Truth, and lead the faithful in holiness of life.
We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us.
St John Fisher, pray for us.
St Thomas More, pray for us.
St Frances Cabrini, pray for us.

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

Blog of Br. Anton Goos

Please visit this new blog of Brother Anton Goos, a Dutch seminarian and acquaintance of mine who is a regular visitor to us in the Oratory. It is in a mixture of English and Dutch.

Monday, 9 June 2008

A sign of hope

It appears that Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor is standing firm over the adoption agency the Westminster Catholic Children's Association, and defying the government over the new gay rights laws. The full story can be found in this article in the Daily Mail. Let us hope and pray he will continue to do so.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

More on Stamford

Here are a few more pictures of Stamford, Lincolnshire.

I have been asked about the Catholic Church, where I went to mass this morning. It was in fact quite a fine neo - Gothic building in the French style, with elaborate chevrons on the roof. Alas, the 1960's liturgical vandals have well and truly put paid to it, and it has a bare, whitewashed sanctuary with a horrible stone table.

Saturday, 7 June 2008

Stamford, Lincolnshire

I am staying in Stamford this weekend, and it is a very pleasant town indeed, with a marvellous mixture of Georgian and Medieval architecture.

Unlike most English provincial towns it is very photogenic.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Thursday, 5 June 2008

The claims of Bishop Bernard Fellay

Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, has made his position clear on our present Holy Father Benedict XVI in this homily he preached in Saint-Nicolas-du-Chardonnet in Paris:

And now, we have a perfectly liberal Pope, my very dear brothers. As he goes to this country [the United States] which is founded upon Masonic principles, that is, of a revolution, of a rebellion against God. And, well, he expressed his admiration, his fascination before this country which has decided to grant liberty to all religions. He goes so far as to condemn the confessional State. And he is called traditional! And this is true, this is true: he is perfectly liberal, perfectly contradictory. He has some good sides, the sides which we hail, for which we rejoice, such as what he has done for the Traditional liturgy.What a mystery, my very dear brothers, what a mystery!

What can I say, apart from saying that this seems completely preposterous? To say that the United States of America, a country that has far more religious practice than Europe is intrinsically founded on rebellion against God? On a more serious note, it clearly demonstrates that the real bone of contention between the SSPX and Rome is not so much liturgy and doctrine, but French integralist politics. If that be the case, there is little hope of any real reconciliation.

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Pope Benedict XVI on Humanae Vitae 40th anniversary

This was the address out Holy Father gave in the Clementine hall on the 40th anniversary of Humanae Vitae: a teaching more relevant than ever before.

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Priesthood, Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I welcome you with great pleasure at the conclusion of your Congress which has involved you in reflecting on an old and ever new problem: responsibility and respect for human life from its conception. I greet in particular Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Rector Magnificent of the Pontifical Lateran University, which organized this International Congress, and I thank him for his words of welcome. I then extend my greeting to the distinguished Speakers, the Lecturers and all the participants who have enriched these busy days of work with their contributions. Your papers fittingly contribute to the broader output on this topic - so controversial, yet so crucial for humanity's future - which has increased in the course of the decades.

In the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, the Second Vatican Council was already addressing scientists, urging them to join forces to achieve unity in knowledge and a consolidated certainty on the conditions that can favour "the proper regulation of births" (n. 52). My Predecessor of venerable memory, the Servant of God Paul VI, published his Encyclical Letter Humanae Vitae on 25 July 1968. The Document very soon became a sign of contradiction. Drafted to treat a difficult situation, it constitutes a significant show of courage in reasserting the continuity of the Church's doctrine and tradition. This text, all too often misunderstood and misinterpreted, also sparked much discussion because it was published at the beginning of profound contestations that marked the lives of entire generations. Forty years after its publication this teaching not only expresses its unchanged truth but also reveals the farsightedness with which the problem is treated. In fact, conjugal love is described within a global process that does not stop at the division between soul and body and is not subjected to mere sentiment, often transient and precarious, but rather takes charge of the person's unity and the total sharing of the spouses who, in their reciprocal acceptance, offer themselves in a promise of faithful and exclusive love that flows from a genuine choice of freedom. How can such love remain closed to the gift of life? Life is always a precious gift; every time we witness its beginnings we see the power of the creative action of God who trusts man and thus calls him to build the future with the strength of hope.

The Magisterium of the Church cannot be exonerated from reflecting in an ever new and deeper way on the fundamental principles that concern marriage and procreation. What was true yesterday is true also today. The truth expressed in Humanae Vitae does not change; on the contrary, precisely in the light of the new scientific discoveries, its teaching becomes more timely and elicits reflection on the intrinsic value it possesses. The key word to enter coherently into its content remains "love". As I wrote in my first Encyclical Deus Caritas Est: "Man is truly himself when his body and soul are intimately united.... Yet it is neither the spirit alone nor the body alone that loves: it is man, the person, a unified creature composed of body and soul, who loves" (n. 5). If this unity is removed, the value of the person is lost and there is a serious risk of considering the body a commodity that can be bought or sold (cf. ibid). In a culture subjected to the prevalence of "having' over "being', human life risks losing its value. If the practice of sexuality becomes a drug that seeks to enslave one's partner to one's own desires and interests, without respecting the cycle of the beloved, then what must be defended is no longer solely the true concept of love but in the first place the dignity of the person. As believers, we could never let the domination of technology invalidate the quality of love and the sacredness of life.

It was not by chance that Jesus, in speaking of human love, alluded to what God created at the beginning of the Creation (cf. Mt 19: 4-6). His teaching refers to a free act with which the Creator not only meant to express the riches of his love which is open, giving itself to all, but he also wanted to impress upon it a paradigm in accordance with which humanity's action must be write words that we feel are profoundly valid even for our time: "If reason instructs love and declined. In the fruitfulness of conjugal love, the man and the woman share in the Father's creative act and make it clear that at the origin of their spousal life they pronounce a genuine "yes" which is truly lived in reciprocity, remaining ever open to life. This word of the Lord with its profound truth endures unchanged and cannot be abolished by the different theories that have succeeded one another in the course of the years, and at times even been contradictory. Natural law, which is at the root of the recognition of true equality between persons and peoples, deserves to be recognized as the source that inspires the relationship between the spouses in their responsibility for begetting new children. The transmission of life is inscribed in nature and its laws stand as an unwritten norm to which all must refer. Any attempt to turn one's gaze away from this principle is in itself barren and does not produce a future.

We urgently need to rediscover a new covenant that has always been fruitful when it has been respected; it puts reason and love first. A perceptive teacher like William of Saint-Thierry could love illumines reason, if reason is converted into love and love consents to be held within the bounds of reason, they can do something great" (De Natura et dignitate amoris, 21, 8). What is this "something great" that we can witness? It is the promotion of responsibility for life which brings to fruition the gift that each one makes of him or herself to the other. It is the fruit of a love that can think and choose in complete freedom, without letting itself be conditioned unduly by the possible sacrifice requested. From this comes the miracle of life that parents experience in themselves, as they sense the extraordinary nature of what takes place in them and through them. No mechanical technique can substitute the act of love that husband and wife exchange as the sign of a greater mystery which (as protagonists and sharers in creation) sees them playing the lead and sharing in creation.

Unfortunately, more and more often we see sorrowful events that involve adolescents, whose reactions show their incorrect knowledge of the mystery of life and of the risky implications of their actions. The urgent need for education to which I often refer, primarily concerns the theme of life. I sincerely hope that young people in particular will be given very special attention so that they may learn the true meaning of love and prepare for it with an appropriate education in sexuality, without letting themselves be distracted by ephemeral messages that prevent them from reaching the essence of the truth at stake. To circulate false illusions in the context of love or to deceive people concerning the genuine responsibilities that they are called to assume with the exercise of their own sexuality does not do honour to a society based on the principles of freedom and democracy. Freedom must be conjugated with truth and responsibility with the force of dedication to the other, even with sacrifice; without these components the human community does not grow and the risk of enclosing itself in an asphyxiating cycle of selfishness is always present.

The teaching expressed by the Encyclical Humanae Vitae is not easy. Yet it conforms with the fundamental structure through which life has always been transmitted since the world's creation, with respect for nature and in conformity with its needs. Concern for human life and safeguarding the person's dignity require us not to leave anything untried so that all may be involved in the genuine truth of responsible conjugal love in full adherence to the law engraved on the heart of every person. With these sentiments I impart the Apostolic Blessing to you all.

Tuesday, 3 June 2008

Motion 666: disestablishment of the Church of England

Here is an article from the Times: acknowledgements to Wanton Popery.

Commons call to disestablish church is number 666

Ruth Gledhill Religion Correspondent of The Times

A motion calling for the disestablishment of the Church of England has been listed in the House of Commons as 666 - the Number of the Beast.

Labour MP John Austin, who has repeatedly tabled Early Day Motions urging disestablishment, put down his latest motion last night as MPs debated scrapping Britain's blasphemy laws.

It appeared appeared on the House of Commons order paper numbered 666, the number associated with the Antichrist in the Book of Revelation. Scholars believe 666 referred to the Emperor Nero.

The King James Bible renders Revelation 13:8 as: "Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred threescore and six."

Bob Russell, Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester and one of the signatories, said: “It is is incredible that a motion like this should have, by chance, acquired this significant number.

“This number is supposed to be the mark of the Devil. It looks as though God or the Devil have been moving in mysterious ways.

“What is even stranger is that this motion was tabled last night when MPs were debating blasphemy.”

The motion is unlikely to be debated. But momentum for looser ties between Church and State is growing, as the support for the repeal of the blasphemy law illustrates. The blasphemy law favours Christianity and in particular the Church of England.

Although the attempt by Liberal Democrat MP Evan Harris to amend the Criminal Justice Bill was unsuccessful, the Prime Minister Gordon Brown has disclosed that he is consulting with the churches about its repeal.

Monday, 2 June 2008

Building project across the pond

Here is a Youtube video of a building project at Thomas Aquinas University: another sign of hope for the renewal of Catholic architecture.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Back to green Sundays: what a relief!

The merry month of May in the Oratory is certainly a rich one, with the weekday May devotions and the Feast of St. Philip Neri. This year however it has been absolute murder for us in the choir, as all the main summer festivals such as Ascension, Corpus Christi and the Sacred Heart have fallen in this month due to the early Easter. So it has been virtually none stop week in and week out with extra masses and rehearsals, as well as many Festal Vespers with proper antiphons.

So what a relief has the coming of June been, for there are no more feasts apart from St. Peter and Paul, which this year falls on a Sunday. We are back to green Sundays and ordinary vespers, and so we can put our feet up and relax. It has been almost been as intense as the Easter Triduum this year.