Thursday 28 April 2011

The Mission

I was using the film "The Mission" (written by Robert Bolt) to explain an aspect of the need to do penance just a while ago and it turned out that they had never seen it. By chance I discovered this via thatthebonesyouhavecrushedmaythrill
Mendoza takes on a heavy penance for a murder but even when others want to lift it from him the priest reminds them that only God and Mendoza can decide that.

Click here to watch the full length movie courtesy of Gloria TV!

'The Mission is based on true events surrounding the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, in which Spain ceded part of Jesuit Paraguay (a mission territory) to Portugal.

The film's narrator, "Altamirano", speaking in hindsight in 1758, corresponds to the actual Andalusian Jesuit Father Luis Altamirano, who was sent by Jesuit Superior General Ignacio Visconti to Paraguay in 1752 to transfer territory from Spain to Portugal. He oversaw the transfer of seven missions south and east of the Río Uruguay, that had been settled by indigenous Guaranis and Jesuits in the 17th century. As compensation, Spain promised each mission 4,000 pesos, or fewer than 1 peso for each of the circa 30,000 Guaranis of the seven missions, while the cultivated lands, livestock, and buildings all built created by the natives in conjunction with the Jesuits were estimated to be worth 7-16 million pesos. The film's climax is the Guarani War of 1754-1756, during which historical Guaranis defended their homes against Spanish-Portuguese forces implementing the Treaty of Madrid. For the film, a re-creation was made of one of the seven missions, the large São Miguel das Missões.

Father Gabriel's character is loosely based on the life of Paraguayan Saint and Jesuit father, St Roque González de Santa Cruz. The waterfall setting of the film suggests the combination of these events with the story of older missions, founded between 1610-1630 on the Paranapanema River above the Guaíra Falls, from which Paulista slave raids forced Guaranis and Jesuits to flee in 1631. The battle at the end of the film evokes the eight-day Battle of Mbororé in 1641, a battle fought on land as well as in boats on rivers, in which the Jesuit-organized, firearm-equipped Guarani forces stopped the Paulista raiders.'

1986 British drama film. Directed by Roland Joffé. Starring Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally. 18th century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American Indian tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Beatification of Pope John Paul II

There is some discussion as to the speed with which Pope John Paul is being beatified and of course, he remains a figure of controversy for many. Too traditional for some, too liberal for others.

Comment about some of the bishops he appointed as not being men committed enough to the faithful passing on and interpretation of the Church's teaching.

Some of his actions and decisions called into question, most especially the Assisi meetings and other gestures towards non-Catholic and non-Christians.

The lack of action on confronting liturgical abuse and heterodox teaching.

However, my understanding of a canonised saint (which he is now well on the way to being proclaimed) is not that the person was perfect, never made a mistake or committed a sin but that they are now in Heaven, that they lived a life of heroic virtue and that they were a source of inspiration in living the Christian life. (Apart from the associated miracles.) Surely, all these can be said about Pope John Paul as a man, a priest, a bishop and Pope. Popes now proclaimed as being in Heaven include one notable sinner who publicly disowned the Lord Jesus three times - Pope Peter I.

Here are some interesting clips from the Rome Reports site about the beatification.

On actually being a Catholic

One of the things my parishioners will tell you I'm always going on about is that we have the Faith, we attend Mass but our commitment, our vigour, our joy seems lacking. We live in the household but we are not doing much to contribute to it. Free-loaders in the Faith, if you like.

Perhaps particularly where the focus of the Mass is on keeping the children entertained or making sure everyone has had a good socially interactive experience, we might get a full church but very little prayer, personal communication with the Lord, gets done. In other words, it is possible for people to come to Mass, go through the motions and leave without actually praying at all. When friends tell me of people talking all the way through Mass (including during the consecration) to one another and to their children I think this is possible. Of course, this could happen at any Mass anywhere at any time in history but I think the atmosphere in many of our churches actually fosters this. What a triumph for Satan (an A* for Wormwood from Screwtape) to get people into the church building, thinking they are people of Faith but for no actual communication with the Lord to take place.

The Lord is present but we don't actually acknowledge Him. How often do people come away from Mass aware that it has spoken, proclaimed and presented the person of Jesus Christ, salvific, awesome - an invitation to eternal life or eternal death? That it is a serious undertaking and not just a party.

Sadly, I think this applies to many of our Catholic schools as well. "Catholic" is written up on the outside but the vast majority of those within, children, their parents and teachers are not Catholic in any meaningful sense. Academic results are good, manners are polite but there's no discernible difference between a Catholic school and any other decent school. The radical difference that is the Faith is not present.

Incidentally, I think that this having some outward trappings of the Faith but no prayer going on is also a danger in the vast outdoor Masses sometimes seen in Rome and other places, where a picnic atmosphere prevails and it seems impossible for the Blessed Sacrament to be received with reverence. Perhaps if we insist on having such Masses, Holy Communion should not be distributed so widely and indiscriminately.

I was reminded of all this by some of the Holy Father's words during Holy Week.

At the Chrism Mass:

Let us allow these holy oils, which are consecrated at this time, to remind us of the task that is implicit in the word “Christian”, let us pray that, increasingly, we may not only be called Christian but may actually be such.

If our relationship with God is disturbed, if the fundamental orientation of our being is awry, we cannot truly be healed in body and soul.

Have not we – the people of God – become to a large extent a people of unbelief and distance from God? Is it perhaps the case that the West, the heartlands of Christianity, are tired of their faith, bored by their history and culture, and no longer wish to know faith in Jesus Christ? We have reason to cry out at this time to God: “Do not allow us to become a ‘non-people’! Make us recognize you again! Truly, you have anointed us with your love, you have poured out your Holy Spirit upon us. Grant that the power of your Spirit may become newly effective in us, so that we may bear joyful witness to your message!

I turn finally to you, dear brothers in the priestly ministry. Holy Thursday is in a special way our day. At the hour of the last Supper, the Lord instituted the new Testament priesthood. “Sanctify them in the truth” (Jn 17:17), he prayed to the Father, for the Apostles and for priests of all times.

At Mass of the Lords Supper:

Jesus desires us, he awaits us. But what about ourselves? Do we really desire him? Are we anxious to meet him? Do we desire to encounter him, to become one with him, to receive the gifts he offers us in the Holy Eucharist? Or are we indifferent, distracted, busy about other things? From Jesus’ banquet parables we realize that he knows all about empty places at table, invitations refused, lack of interest in him and his closeness. For us, the empty places at the table of the Lord’s wedding feast, whether excusable or not, are no longer a parable but a reality, in those very countries to which he had revealed his closeness in a special way. Jesus also knew about guests who come to the banquet without being robed in the wedding garment – they come not to rejoice in his presence but merely out of habit, since their hearts are elsewhere. In one of his homilies Saint Gregory the Great asks: Who are these people who enter without the wedding garment? What is this garment and how does one acquire it? He replies that those who are invited and enter do in some way have faith. It is faith which opens the door to them. But they lack the wedding garment of love.

Those who do not live their faith as love are not ready for the banquet and are cast out.

Eucharistic communion requires faith, but faith requires love; otherwise, even as faith, it is dead.

Today we are once more painfully aware that Satan has been permitted to sift the disciples before the whole world. And we know that Jesus prays for the faith of Peter and his successors. We know that Peter, who walks towards the Lord upon the stormy waters of history and is in danger of sinking, is sustained ever anew by the Lord’s hand and guided over the waves.
Holy Week Wednesday Audience:
Jesus said to his followers: stay here and keep watch; and this appeal for vigilance concerns precisely this moment of anguish, of threats, in which the traitor was to arrive, but it concerns the whole history of the Church. It is a permanent message for every era because the disciples’ drowsiness was not just a problem at that moment but is a problem for the whole of history.

The question is: in what does this apathy consist? What would the watchfulness to which the Lord invites us consist of? I would say that the disciples’ somnolence in the course of history is a certain insensitiveness of the soul with regard to the power of evil, an insensibility to all the evil in the world. We do not wish to be unduly disturbed by these things, we prefer to forget them. We think that perhaps, after all, it will not be so serious and we forget.

Moreover, it is not only insensibility to evil, when we should be watchful in order to do good, to fight for the force of goodness. Rather it is an insensibility to God: this is our true sleepiness, this insensibility to God’s presence that also makes us insensible to evil. We are not aware of God — he would disturb us — hence we are naturally not aware of the force of evil and continue on the path of our own convenience.

Nocturnal adoration of Holy Thursday, watching with the Lord, must be the very moment to make us reflect on the somnolence of the disciples, of the defenders of Jesus, of the Apostles, of us who do not see, who do not wish to see the whole force of evil nor do we wish to enter his passion for goodness, for the presence of God in the world, for the love of our neighbour and of God.

Michael Voris has also picked up on this theme and speaks about it here.

Tuesday 26 April 2011

L'Osservatore Romano

The Vatican's semi-official daily has launched a new Web site, marking the anniversary (last week) of the Holy Father's election in 2005. I will add it to the side-bar.

L'Osservatore Romano is posted in its various weekly or monthly language editions, as well as the Italian daily. The link here will appear in Italian but you can change it to English via a drop-down box at the top right hand corner of the site.

Subscriptions to the weekly/monthly editions are already available. The daily will be available for free until Aug. 31, with subscriptions beginning Sept. 1.

The daily will be posted in the afternoon of Rome time, its traditional publishing hour.

Translations into other languages, will be forthcoming.

L'Osservatore Romano has been publishing since 1861; the first issue had four pages. Pope Leo XIII in 1885 made it an organ of information for the Holy See.

Saturday 23 April 2011

A Blessed Easter

The place of the Resurrection -
- Our Lord's tomb in Jerusalem.

A Blessed Easter to one and all.

Sunday 17 April 2011

Clericalism - the Vaughan School and other outrages

Over at The Noise of the Crusade there is an account of the latest twist in the sad saga of the Vaughan School. However, The Last Knight goes on to make some interesting points on clericalism. This is a topic that gets me hot under the collar (full Roman, of course!) as it is so often a negative attribute imputed to priests who dress like priests or who speak about the Catholic Faith in its glorious fullness. My own experience from the seminary onwards has been that some of the most flagrant unedifying clerical attitudes of assumed superiority and lack of compassion have come from those priests who wear a shirt and tie and when they are addressed as "Father" turn their nose up and roll their eyes as if inhaling an unpleasant odour.

Let's not beat about the bush. Clericalism, as in looking down your nose at other people, lack of compassion and sheer rudeness, is rife in the Church and it is to be found just as much, if not more in my experience, among those who style themselves modern or liberal. It wears a different face but it is the same unedifying trait.

The new clericalism that is in fact rife in the Church has little to do with orthodox Catholic practices and teaching or even traditionalism but much to do with those who spout alleged liberal values but want to impose those values like an iron blanket, smothering and crushing anything they don't agree with (including directives that issue from the Holy See). These are wolves in sheep's clothing (or rather, clericalists in lay clothes - or more likely, a tab collar just poking out of an open necked clerical shirt, which proclaims, "Hey, I'm really relaxed - but don't forget I'm the priest"). Lay people as well as other priests suffer at the hands of this bullying "new clericalism".

The Vaughan School parents have been experiencing this new clericalism, as expressed here by The Noise of the Crusade:

There cannot be many who read Catholic blogs who have not witnessed, and been moved by, the quiet dignity of the Vaughan parents’ strong but peaceful protests outside the school during governors’ meetings. Of course, the only sentiment it has provoked among the school vandals is fury. This account of a priest allegedly assaulting the acting headmaster is quite shocking, but, in truth, not a bit surprising. That sort of disproportionate, arrogant reaction to aggrieved laypeople making known their views in the only way left to them is typical of the neo-clericalism of the English hierarchy.

By neo-clericalism, we mean this: the laity is robbed of its true rights and duties by a caste of professional Catholics (including both priests and laymen); the quid pro quo is that laity who toe the line are rewarded with pseudo-clerical functions. So is the Church turned upside down: lay people distribute communion at Westminster Cathedral, they purport to tell the clergy what rite they may use, they pad out the provincial curia. All of these are matters in which the laity have no legitimate interest and in which they demean their calling and dignity by meddling. In contrast, the education of children is first and foremost a lay concern: parents “are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators” (Gravissimum educationis 3).

There is a discernible trend to impute "clericalism" to those of the John Paul and Pope Benedict generation, to priests who have been convinced that orthodoxy is the only way for the Church to live up to the mission given it by Christ. There is a particularly nasty strain of this whereby priests who are considered "too" orthodox are accused of clericalism and a (completely spurious) link is made to the child abuse scandals and cover-ups.

Referring back, Fr Ray Blake wrote something about this last December when Bishop Burns of Menevia imputed this and I picked up on it as well - see here.

Another example of using the term clericalism as a way of attacking those of orthodox Catholic beliefs is glaringly obvious in an article in this week's "Catholic Herald" in the reporting of a self-serving speech given by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin to a conference on the child abuse scandal being held in Milwaukee.

In looking to the future, the Archbishop urged greater attention to seminary formation and warned bishops against accepting candidates for the priesthood who "may be looking not to serve but for some form of personal security or status which priesthood may seem to offer them".

He said he planned to require all future priests to "carry out some part of their formation together with lay people so that they can establish mature relationships with men and women and do not develop any sense of their priesthood giving them a special social position".

"There are signs of renewed clericalism, which may even at times be ably veiled behind appeals for deeper spirituality or for more theological positions", he said.

I don't quite know where to begin with so many aunt sallys, straw men, non sequiturs and unsupported assertions. I can't believe that any bishop in the past took on a seminarian because he said he didn't want to serve people. The Bishop does not make clear what he means by 'training with lay people' but you would think that prospective priests didn't have any families or friends who might keep their feet on the ground - if we should need such in a secular society where priests are held in such low esteem. What is particularly concerning is his implied assertion (with no evidence whatsoever)

1. that abuse and cover-up = clericalism.

2. Clericalism = unpleasant characters hiding behind deeper spirituality and theological orthodoxy

3. Therefore those exhibiting deeper spirituality and orthodoxy must be abusers and cover-up merchants.

Based on this, bishops should be looking for seminarians who are not orthodox and not deeply spiritual because that is suspect! You might think this is crazy but I hate to tell you that this is just what happens in many cases. Candidates who exhibit a devotional life that is considered "too" traditional or opinions that are "too" orthodox never get to the seminary. What this means is that the Bishop is attacking not just outward practices but actually orthodoxy and spirituality itself, for if their appearance is always suspect, who in the seminary will be cultivating orthodoxy and deeper spirituality? All that's left is the social gospel and anything that secular society considers socially useful. So all the monastic and contemplative orders might as well give up straight away - for they are a personal fulfillment that in secular eyes contribute nothing to the greater good.

My own experience is that those accused of clericalism in this way are often the most caring and compassionate priests I ever come across; sure, they don't let you off the hook but neither do they terrorise and bully you - and there's plenty of that goes on from people who wouldn't be seen dead in a cassock. I might add that this particular "clerical", old-fashioned, devotion-loving, and attempting-to-be-orthodox, priest had plenty of lay contact in his training - including a couple of summers working in an NHS psycho-geriatric ward as an auxiliary nurse (and for anyone who doesn't know what that means - it's basic care of the human body at its most messy, which doesn't tend to give you much of a "special social position").

Child abuse is hateful but it has nothing to do with wanting to be an orthodox Catholic and it is deeply offensive for a bishop to impute the character of priests who want to re-introduce Benediction or call people to live the fullness of the Catholic Faith.

Regarding the neo-clericalism so well described by the Last Knight, I seem to remember the Holy Father saying this:

"It is sad that there are what you might call professional Catholics who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops. We must really make an effort to change this."

Saturday 16 April 2011

"The honour of Christ requires it, EVERYONE TO AVIGNON"

As I post this, at 2pm British Summer Time, loyal French Catholics are gathering in Avingon to defend the honour of Christ against the publicly-funded blasphemy of the image of Christ in urine.

As Professor Bernard Debré says of France:
We should be proud of our roots. Christianity has dotted the country with pearls: Gothic cathedrals, Romanesque chapels, sacred culture, works of sacred art ... It is Christianity that gave France its soul, its strength. "France, eldest daughter of the Church" is a claim. "France heir of Christianity": it is a fact.

Here is the call to arms of
Alain Escada, secrétaire général de Civitas:

"At the heart of the city of Avignon, a photograph of a crucifix immersed in a glass of urine is presented in an exhibition subsidized by public funds. Although this outrageous image, which is deeply offensive to our faith, was banned in several countries like the U.S. and Australia, it continues, in the former city of the Popes, to attack publicly the Son of God. Therefore, in order to demand the removal of this image, we invite you to join us in large numbers to walk on Saturday, April 16 at 15: 00 from the square of the Palace of the Popes.

Let us
accompany Jesus Christ on the Way of the Cross. If today His name and image are mocked because we have placed the light under a bushel, who tomorrow will be able to defend the honour of the Son of God?"

Who indeed?

"Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war." Lepanto - G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday 13 April 2011

"Passion Week"

In the older form of the Mass of the Roman Rite last Sunday is designated as "Passion Sunday" and this coming Sunday is Palm Sunday. It is from Passion Sunday onwards that statues and crucifixes are veiled, marking a more solemn approach to Holy Week and flagging it up in a very visible way.

In the newer form of the Mass the fifth Sunday of Lent marks this transition but it is not really marked at all, as it is just designated as the next Sunday of Lent - the fifth. However, there is a continuation from the older Missal in that from Monday of this week it is specified that we use the first of the two Passion Prefaces but we slide into this change with no formal way of marking it.

Just a little quirk I noticed.

Tuesday 12 April 2011

For the Honour of the Crucifix!

In Avignon, seat of the Papacy from 1309-1377, an exhibition called "I believe in miracles" has been running based around a photograph of a Crucifix immersed in urine! Posters of this blasphemous image, called "Piss Christ", are displayed publicly in the streets of the city. All this in the run up to Holy Week and Easter.

The French Ministry of Culture, the town council and the regional council are currently funding this exhibition. Among the sponsors of this blasphemy are SNFC (the French Rail Company) and the Cartier Foundation.

In the USA and Australia, this blasphemous photo, made in 1987, was banned.

However, after only 1 week an online petition against this blasphemy had 31,076 signatories. There was also vociferous opposition from such luminaries as HRH Prince Charles-Philippe d'Orleans, the Deputy Mayor of Paray-le-Monial Jean-Marc Nesme, Archbishop Jean-Pierre Cattenoz Archbishop of Avignon, Father Regis De Cacqueray, Superior District of France of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, etc.. ..

Alain Escada, General Secretary of Civitas, a group of young Catholics "animated by the fervent desire to initiate concrete actions contributing to the restoration of the social and political reign of Our Lord Jesus Christ in our homeland", has been at the forefront of the fight against this nastiness. As he puts it:
Is it necessary to repeat? If this show contained a "work" offensive to Muslims or Jews, this exhibition would be permanently closed and a public apology would follow. No, Catholics will no longer tolerate being treated as second class citizens.

For the honour of Christ, let us make our voices heard.

Alain Escada,

Secretary General of the Civitas Institute

If you click on the link below to sign the petition you will see that it is sponsored by a whole host of Catholic organisations (including the site of Prince Charles Philippe d'Orleans - which is where I discovered the information about this abomination). It's good to see that there are so many Catholic organisations still willing to stand up for the Faith in France. I wonder if the same would apply in this country?

Please click on this link & sign this petition:

"The armed men fight and God will give victory" Saint Joan of Arc.

Saturday 9 April 2011

Popular Piety

Blessed Pope John XXIII - in another example of his clear view that traditional practices should be done away with!

Speaking to participants in the plenary assembly of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America the Holy Father has stressed that popular piety and devotions still hold a strong position in the Church - helping us to pray and to evengelise. Of Devotions he says:

All of them, well channeled and duly supported, propitiate a fruitful encounter with God, an intense veneration of the Most Blessed Sacrament, a profound devotion to the Virgin Mary, a cultivation of affection for the Successor of Peter and an awareness of belonging to the Church.
Read further here and view more here.

Looking ahead to the next few months after Easter is a fruitful time to prepare and take part in some of these devotions, following the pattern that the Holy Father outlines above. These often have the added advantage of a public witness to the Faith.

May - the month of Our Lady - with a May Procession and Crowning.

Corpus Christi - with a Blessed Sacrament Procession, preferably though the streets but at least outdoors.

29th June - the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul by praying for the Holy Father and renewing our filial love and devotion towards the successor of St Peter, perhaps by the Dedication of England to St Peter.

Simple devotions still have the ability to move the heart and to enable everyone, of any age and background to take part. For those who might be tempted to think themselves too sophisticated for such things, a reminder of simple faith expressed by loving acts and an opportunity to behave as God's children - which is what every one of us is in His eyes, mere babes when it comes to the road to holiness.

Friday 8 April 2011

My Heart is moved to compassion by the sufferings of my priests

This painting depicts Our Lord as he appeared in the Sacred Host exposed in the monstrance at the Institute of Loreto in Bordeaux, France on Septuagesima Sunday, 3 February 1822. Read about this manifestation of the Eucharistic Face of Jesus here.

Fr Z has also picked up this post from Fr Mark Kirby's Blog Vultus Christi but I thought it well worth repeating for myself, for priests, for those contemplating a vocation and also for laity to help understand the priestly life.

My Heart is moved to compassion by the sufferings of my priests,
by those that they inflict upon themselves
and by those that they inflict on each other.

The sins of my priests cause me an immense sorrow.
I grieve over my priests
with a tender and sorrowful love.

I want them to understand
that every trial, every suffering, every humiliation is,
for them, an occasion to turn to me with confidence
and to discover the depth and the height and the breadth
of my merciful love,
of my Divine Friendship for them.

This is the answer and the remedy
for every crisis in the life of a priest:
a return to my Divine Friendship,
a humble and confident return to my most loving Heart,
a return to the foot of my altar
and to the comforting radiance of my Eucharistic Face.

The trials and sorrows that I permit to befall my priests
will serve my designs for their holiness
and for their growth in love.
Everything a priest suffers should send him to my Heart.
And where will he find my Heart,
opened by the lance and still beating with love,
if not in the Sacrament of the Altar,
the abiding sign of my friendship of predilection
for each and every priest?

I am calling my priests back to my altars;
I am calling them into the healing radiance of my Eucharistic Face.
I am calling my priests
into the intimate friendship of my Eucharistic Heart.

Why do so few respond to my call?
It is, in effect, more than a call:
I plead with them to become entirely Eucharistic priests
living from my altar and for my altar,
and abiding as often as they can
in the radiance of my Eucharistic Face.

A priest who spurns my Divine Friendship
is an empty vessel,
a cause of sorrow to my Heart,
a blight upon the Church,
a disappointment to my faithful.

Do what you can, do what you must,
to draw your brother priests . . .
into the radiance of my Eucharistic Face.
There they will taste and will come to know the sweetness of my love
and the infinite treasures of my mercy for them.

From In Sinu Iesu, The Journal of A Priest

Tuesday 5 April 2011

Missionaries of Divine Revelation

Some of the Sisters seen at Cardinal Piacenza's installation wear a distinctive green habit. They are the Missionaries of Divine Revelation and the green of the habit is in honour of our Blessed Lady and her appearance at Tre Fontane on April 12th 1947 when she revealed herself to Bruno Cornacchiola as the Virgin of Revelation. The Sisters grew out of a lay community that formed itself around devotion to our Lady's apparition there. Cardinal Piacenza, at the time still a lowly monsignor, has been a friend to the Sisters and has encouraged the devotion. Apparently he especially requested Tre Fontane as his titular church, even though it is not one of the traditional Roman churches allocated to cardinals.

As anyone who has been out to Tre Fontanne knows, there are three churches within the domain. The church of St Paul of the Three Fountains commemorating the waters that sprang up when St Paul was beheaded in his martyrdom for the Faith. A second church, Santa Maria Scala Coeli, a sixteenth-century gem church commemorating 1,000 roman soldiers martyred during the reign of the Emperor Diocletian with its dedication referring to a vision recorded above the high altar, of souls being assisted to Heaven by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The third church, seen in the photographs, which was never given a renaissance makeover and so looks much older and simpler both inside and out, which was used for the Mass of the Cardinal's installation as it is the largest of the three. This is Santi Vincenzo ed Anastasio, originally dating to the seventh century, rebuilt in the thirteenth and since 1868 home to Trappist monks who still grow eucalyptus trees and producing herbal remedies, liqueurs and - reputedly- the best chocolates in Rome.

All these are relevant to the Sisters, whose chief chosen work is catechesis. The Virgin of Revelation made clear in her apparition that the Scriptures are explained most properly through the authoritative teaching of the Church. The image of St Paul holding the Scriptures and the image of Our Lady doing the same - highlights the fact that Christ entrusted the message of salvation to the Church for the sake of all mankind. The Sisters were founded:

To think as the Church has always thought,
love as the Church has always loved
and to want what the Church has always wanted.

The apparition also had a strong focus on priests who would abandon the Faith and stray. A prescient concern considering the Church of today. The painting in Santa Maria Scala Coeli is a reminder that the Church needs priests to offer Mass and thereby assist souls to Heaven.

Cardinal Piacenza remains a great friend of the Sisters and another frequent visitor to the convent is pictured below. Mgr Marini with Madre and then before the altar on a day of recollection.

There is one British Sister - formerly from Wigan - now with the Missionaries. May the Lord prosper her vocation and the work of the good Sisters. There is more about them here.

Monday 4 April 2011

Cardinal Piacenza in a rose Pontifical Dalmatic

There has been a huge interest in the lovely rose vestments worn by Cardinal Piacenza on Saturday, especially the Pontifical Dalmatic. Here is another photo taken by 'our man in rome'.

Friday 1 April 2011

Cardinal Piacenza takes possession of his Titular Church of San Paolo alle Tre Fontane.

Today Mauro Cardinal Piacenza took possession of his titular church in Rome - San Paolo alle Tre Fontane. This is the first time this church, marking the place of St Paul's execution, has been a cardinal's titular church. Cardinal Piacenza, Prefect of the Congregation for Clergy, made the request because he has a long association with and strong devotion to Our Lady of Revelation - a shrine and pilgrimage site across the road from the Tre Fontane Church. The story of the apparition is an interesting one and the power of prayer there is attested to by the thousands of thank offerings lining the walls from the time of its origin in 1947 until today.

Interestingly, the statue in Tre Fontane church depicts St Paul with his letters in his hand - the New Testament. In the apparition of Revelation Our Lady reveals herself as holding the Scriptures. More on this to come but here are some photos from this afternoon.