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Showing posts from April, 2016

Peter, teach us; confirm thy brethren

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For my breakfast reading at the moment, I am enjoying Pius IX And His Time by the Rev Aeneas MacDowell Dawson which I obtained free of charge from Amazon. It is fascinating to discover the scope of the ministry of Blessed Pio Nono and his concern for the Church throughout the world at a time when his own liberty and life was threatened.

In the midst of great troubles, he consulted the bishops of the world on the advisability of defining doctrine of the immaculate conception of our Blessed Lady. He gathered in Rome the largest concourse of Bishops since the 4th Lateran Council in 1215. The question arose whether the bishops would assist him in coming to a decision and pronounce simultaneously with him, or leave the final judgement to him alone. MacDowell reports:
[...] the debate, as if by inspiration from on high, came suddenly to a close. It was the Angelus hour. The prelates had scarcely resumed their places after the short prayer, and exchanged a few words, when they made a unanim…

Three cheers! A new lectionary in the pipeline - using the RSV

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Ten years ago, I reported the news that Ignatius Press had produced a lectionary using the text of the Revised Standard Version 2nd Catholic edition and that it had been approved for use - in the Antilles. I suggested then, that "It would be a very good thing if this version were approved for use in England."

In November 2015, there was some good news on this front which went largely unnoticed. In the Plenary session of the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales, one of the short resolutions was:
Lectionary
The Bishops’ Conference agrees to seek the approval of the Holy See for the use of the Revised Standard Version (2nd Catholic edition 2010) and the Revised Grail Psalter (2010) in the preparation of a Lectionary for use in England and Wales. I don't think there are any major changes to the 2010 version, so I presume (and hope) that the approval of the Holy See would not present any problems.

Since there may be some questions regarding details, it would be well to clari…

Confession leaflets back online

People quite often ask me for the confession leaflets that I published on the website of my previous parish. Fr Zuhlsdorf was kind enough recently to make them available via his blog. I have now found a home for them on an almost dormant website that I set up a few years ago for my own stuff. Here is a link to the downloads page. I am delighted to make them available for priests and catechists, but please don't email me asking for permission to use them. As the page says, they are released under a creative commons licence and you can use them without asking (I do receive enough email to keep me from getting lonely, thanks.)

I have a number of old files that could do with a bit of editing and sprucing-up, but will be suitable for adding to the page. Now that colour printing via internet-based firms is so much cheaper than it used to be, I'll be converting the confession leaflets and some other things to make colour versions available as well.

And maybe some articles from my per…

Saint Gemma, scourge of the crypto-modernists

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Today, 11 April is the feast of Saint Gemma Galgani generally - the Passionists celebrate her feast on 16 May. I just reminded myself in time yesterday when I was looking up various calendars for feasts that are usually missed, such as that of Saint Philomena on 11 August - or indeed that of Saint John Nepomuk on 16 May. He could be important for Margate since we have such a large number of Czech and Slovak people in the parish.

Saint Gemma was one of those saints of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries who excited the rabid opposition of those I am increasingly inclined to think were crypto-modernists. If you want another example, consider the scorn with which the process for the canonisation of Saint Bernadette was regarded by Fr Herbert Thurston SJ. And don't get me started on the liberal sceptic attack on Saint Philomena in the Catholic Encyclopaedia.

The "problem" with Saint Gemma (and I suppose Saint Bernadette) was that she was favoured by Almighty Go…

"He placed his hand on his breast and would bless none of them"

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Saint Charles Borromeo is one of my favourite saints. A great reformer in the true sense, he was austere in his personal life, but generous in his use of all the outward signs which would emphasise the sacredness of his office. He was a stickler for the proper observance of liturgical ceremonial, but kindly towards those who made unintentional mistakes. He was much loved by the poor, not least because of his heroic ministration of the sacraments during the plague, but also because of his generosity.

Ecclesiastical censures were a part of his daily ministry, used by him for their salutary purpose, regardless of the dangers with which he was sometimes threatened by the powerful who resented his integrity. He was also adamantine in using them to draw people to genuine conversion, without succumbing to the weakness of a false mercy that would leave them in their sin. One episode, which the biographer describes as remarkable, occurred when Saint Charles was making a visitation of the Dioce…

Putting Becket's name out of all the bokes

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Father Daren J. Zehnle, KHS, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield in Illinois, studying Canon Law at the Greg, was pleased to have just had approval to submit his thesis on the order and age of Confirmation in the Latin Church with only minor amendments (Congratulations, Father!), and so found himself with some extra time after visiting Scotland recently. He travelled South to make a pilgrimage to the grave of JRR Tolkien. He also made a last-minute decision to visit Canterbury and the site of the shrine of St Thomas.

You can read his post The hooly blisful martir for to seke and enjoy some great photographs. Here is my own photo of the place of the shrine:


It was reckoned to be one of the most richly adorned shrines in Christendom, thanks to the generosity and devotion of the pilgrims who donated to it. I find it heartbreaking to look over the empty space resulting from the callous and spiteful destruction of Henry VIII which also involved the alienation of a large amount of valuab…

Adoring Jesus the embryo

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When the Magi found the child Jesus, we are told by St Matthew that "falling down, they adored him", thus offering the worship of latria to a new born infant. Rightly so, because in the divine and human natures of Christ are united in one divine person. This is true from the very beginning of his human life and therefore it is fitting for the worship of latria or adoration strictly reserved for God, to be given to Our Lord even as an embryo.

Today's celebration of the Annunciation reminded me of this important truth. After the text read at today's Mass, the gospel continues: "And Mary rising up in those days (ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις ταύταις - in diebus illis), went into the hill country with haste (μετὰ σπουδῆς - cum festinatione) into a city of Juda." (Lk 1.39) The narrative of the Visitation follows.

We may assume that the child Jesus was conceived in the womb of Our Lady at the moment she gave her consent with the words "Be it done to me according to thy w…

The Church used by Queen Bertha and Saint Augustine

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A short walk outside the Roman walls of Canterbury is St Martin's, the oldest Church in the English speaking world. St Bede says that it was in use in late Roman times but had fallen out of use until it was restored by Queen Bertha, the Christian wife of King Ethelbert, in about 580. When St Augustine arrived in 597, his community of monks enlarged the Church to make use of it for the choir offices and it was here that Ethelbert was baptised.

Since the Reformation, the Church has been in use as an Anglican Church and continues to be a parish Church today. The visitor is welcomed by one of a team of volunteers who are enthusiastic and knowledgeable. In the photo above, you can see the red, flat Roman bricks that were re-used in the walls, and the saxon buttress which was part of St Augustine's extension.

Among the many features of interest is the Squint, an angled hole in the western wall of the Church which was provided for lepers to be able to see the Mass being celebrated. …

A visit to the Shrine of Saint Jude

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Faversham, a market town in Kent, ten miles from Canterbury, is home to the Church of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, under the care of the Carmelites, and its annex, the National Shrine of St Jude. The Shrine is the attraction for large numbers of visitors from all over the world, thanks to the work of Fr Elias Lynch and his fellow Carmelites. Fr Elias was one of three brothers who were all Carmelite priests and leading figures in the revival of Carmelite life in England, a major part of which was the restoration of Aylesford Priory 400 years after its dissolution by Henry VIII.

The website of the British Province of Carmelite Friars has a page on the development of the shrine which is fascinating. The following quotation from the reflections of Fr Elias gives an idea of his spirit and energy:
Once you start producing religious pictures, people get the idea that you are unlimited in your range. They think that you can supply any religious picture they like to name. Our great trouble was S…

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