Thursday 28 June 2012

Summer Garden Party

"The Garden Party" by Karl Scheninger, Jr.

I was away last week and so didn't post much and will be busy the next few days as well.  Not only is it the Feast of Ss Peter and Paul on Friday (one of the few Holydays of Obligation left to us - Masses at [OF] 9.30am and Low Mass [EF] 7pm) but on Sunday at 3pm we are having a Garden Party in the church grounds to raise funds for the local Hospice - also by chance called St Catherine's but named after St Catherine of Sienna (the Hospice, like so many, was started by a Catholic lady who had a devotion to her).  A number of our parishioners have had excellent care there in the past.  All the usual fun to be had, so come along if you live nearby.

There will be a Sung Mass in Latin (Novus Ordo) at 2pm before the Garden Party arranged for those travelling but everyone is welcome to come along

Anyone any ideas for a Saint to intercede for fine weather?

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Vatican Moves

The re-ordered chapel at the Pastoral Centre for the Diocese of Leeds, Hinsley Hall.  I'm not sure there will be many such places to offer Mass in at the Congregation for Divine worship.

The move of Bishop Arthur Roche from Leeds Diocese to the Congregation for Divine Worship as Secretary is part of a small re-shuffle in the Vatican departments.  He replaces Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, who goes as vice president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (which oversees matters to do with the Extraordinary Form of the Mass).  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (under which Ecclesia Dei operates) has put out a comment saying that, "The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father’s pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter." So Bishop Roche replaces someone with a strong understanding and care of the traditional form of the Mass.  

This is interesting considering that even Wikipedia notes of Bishop Roche that, "He has earned a fair amount of controversy during his tenure for issuing restrictive guidelines for the implementation of Summorum Pontificum and for closing parishes in his diocese."

Fr Z notes the move and has this to say: "Bishop Arthur Roche, head of ICEL, has been named Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship.  He remains for the nonce Administrator in Leeds. I don’t know what this means.  The cynical part of my id tells me that, since there are quite a few sees in Blighty opening up in the near future, this might be part of a larger plan to adjust the balance in the episcopate of the region."

His new boss at the Congregation will be the Spanish Cardinal Llovera (known sometimes a the "Little Ratzinger").  He is also a member of Ecclesia Dei and has said of the Traditional Form of the Mass, "[The] intention of the Pope has not only been to satisfy the followers of Monsignor Lefevbre, nor to confine himself to respond to the just wishes of the faithful who feel the liturgical heritage represented by the Roman Rite, but also, and in a special way, to open the liturgical richness of the Church to all the faithful, thus making possible the discovery of the treasures of the liturgical patrimony of the Church to those who still do not know it...even if there were not a single 'traditionalist' whom to satisfy, this 'discovery' would have been enough to justify the provisions of the Pope." 

In 2008 Cardinal Llovera also spoken of the best way to receive the Eucharist: "What does it mean to receive communion in the mouth? What does it mean to kneel before the Most Holy Sacrament? What does it mean to kneel during the consecration at Mass? It means adoration, it means recognizing the real presence of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist; it means respect and an attitude of faith of a man who prostrates before God because he knows that everything comes from Him, and we feel speechless, dumbfounded, before the wondrousness, his goodness, and his mercy. That is why it is not the same to place the hand, and to receive communion in any fashion, than doing it in a respectful way; it is not the same to receive communion kneeling or standing up, because all these signs indicate a profound meaning."

Perhaps Bishop (now to be Archbishop) will soon be seen, like other prelates in Rome, presiding at the Traditional Form of the Mass.  Anyway, here is the statement via Zenit released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, explaining why Archbishop Di Noia has been moved.  It seems to be that he (his skills and  / or views) are thought to be a necessary help to the ongoing work with the Society of St Pius X.

Vatican: Appointment Shows Pope's Desire for Reconciliation With Traditionalists
American Prelate From Liturgy Congregation Named to Ecclesia Dei.

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 26, 2012.  The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith today issued a comment about the appointment of Archbishop Augustine Di Noia as vice president of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, the commission charged with the efforts to bring about reconciliation with the Society of St. Pius X.

"The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father’s pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter," the statement from the doctrinal congregation declared.
The Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei was established in 1988 by John Paul II to facilitate 'full ecclesial communion of priests, seminarians, religious communities or individuals until now linked in various ways to the Fraternity founded by Archbishop Lefebvre' and to promote the pastoral care of the faithful attached to the ancient Latin liturgical tradition of the Catholic Church. In 2009, the Pontifical Commission was structurally linked to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to address the doctrinal issues in the ongoing dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X.

"As a respected Dominican theologian, Archbishop Di Noia has devoted much attention to these doctrinal issues, as well as to the priority of the hermeneutic of continuity and reform in the right interpretation of Vatican Council II - a critically important area in the dialogue between the Holy See and the Priestly Fraternity," the statement noted.

Archbishop Di Noia previously served as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

"Archbishop Di Noia’s experience and continued association with the Congregation for Divine Worship will facilitate the development of certain desired liturgical provisions in the celebration of the 1962 'Missale Romanum,'" the congregation continued. 

"In addition, the broad respect that Archbishop Di Noia enjoys in the Jewish community will help in addressing some issues that have arisen in the area of Catholic-Jewish relations as the journey towards the reconciliation of traditionalist communities has progressed."

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Breaking News

Embargoed until today comes the news that Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds has been appointed to be Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship & the Discipline of the Sacraments.  He is "surprised and not a little shocked" at the news.

Since 2002 Bishop Roche has been Chairman of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy and thus has been heavily involved in the work of implementing the new translation.

Monday 25 June 2012

Vocation discernment weekend

(Picture: FSSP seminarians praying the Divine Office 
Vocation discernment weekend
27-29 July 2012 in Reading:
For any English-speaking Catholic men 
between 18 and 35 years of age 
(under 18 please contact us).

Starts on Friday 27th July 2012 at 6pm (arrivals from 5pm) 
– ends on Sunday 29th July 2012 at 3pm.
Led by Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP, 
assisted by Fr Matthew Goddard, FSSP 
and Rev Alex Stewart, FSSP.

Location: St John Fisher House, 
17 Eastern Avenue, 

Programme: Spiritual conferences, socials, Holy Mass each of the three days (Extraordinary Form of the Roman rite), silent prayer, and optional private talk with Fr de Malleray, FSSP. Fr de Malleray will explain what a vocation is in general and to the priesthood in particular.
Cost for the whole weekend, 2 days + 2 nights, full board: no set price for students or unemployed – any donation welcome; others: £50 suggested.

Contact: Tel: 0118 966 5284; Email:; website:

Thursday 14 June 2012

Eucharistic Congresses - past & present

The setting for the main Masses today
(I couldn't help noticing that there were rather a number of empty chairs)

This week sees the 50th International Eucharistic Congress taking place in Dublin.  I'm sure that there must be plenty of good things going on there (I hope so) although having seen some of the televised Masses, I'm not sure how uplifting I would have found them if i'd been there.  For example, the ladies wafting around open bowls of incense as they danced through the congregation. 
 The setting for Mass in Dublin's last Eucharistic Congress in 1932.

I recalled that last year someone  involved with the Congress from Ireland told me that the Archbishop of Dublin had "forbidden" any talks on Eucharistic Adoration.  I looked at the web-site of the Congress and found that there are, in fact, times of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with adoration and prayer.  However, looking through the extensive programme of talks, I couldn't see any talks on Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  Perhaps I've missed them and am wrong and someone who is actually there could put me right.  It does strike me as a little odd, as many of the thriving new communities in the Church are very focused on Adoration and indeed, Perpetual Adoration, of the Blessed Sacrament.   Indeed, the Holy Father was speaking about this on Corpus Christi last week - a theme he has returned to quite often.

At International Eucharistic Congresses there should be a place set aside where the Blessed Sacrametn is adored throughout the time of the Congress.  Not an ancient injunction by any means, but one approved by Pope Paul VI on 13th April 1967 in the wake of the Second Vatican Council in the Instruction on Eucharistic Worship from the Congregation of Sacred Rites, emphasising also the place of "solemn processions".

VI. Eucharistic Congresses

67. In Eucharistic congresses Christians seek to understand this mystery more deeply through a consideration of its many aspects. But they should celebrate it in accordance with the norms of the Second Vatican Council and should venerate it through devotions and private prayers, especially by solemn processions, in such a way that all these forms of devotion find their climax in the solemn celebration of Mass.
For the duration of the Eucharistic congress of an entire region, it is fitting that some churches should be reserved for perpetual adoration.

In the audience granted on the 13th of April, 1967, to His Eminence Arcadio M. Cardinal Larraona, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation of Rites, His Holiness Pope Paul VI, by his authority approved and confirmed this instruction, ordered that it should be published, and established that it should come into effect on the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, 15 August 1967.

All things to the contrary notwithstanding.

 The ubiquitous (off centre) logo for today

 The logo from the last Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in 1932

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Holy Father on Divorced and Remarried

The Holy Father receives a Malaysian girl during the meeting 

The Holy Father was in Milan at the start of this month for the 7th World Meeting of families.  During an evening of witness he spent time answering questions. You can read the questions and answers here but I thought his pastoral care whilst still upholding the teaching of the Church when answering a question about those who are divorced and remarried.was of particular note. Good as well that he gives some practical advice.

 So often we seem to cave in to the prevailing secular attitude when faced with difficult situations.  We seem to feel we can't "demand" what appears so out of step with the prevailing culture without seeming harsh and unforgiving - and yes, the unforgivable one - old-fashioned.  I do know just what the difficulties are, as my own family background suffered in this very this way.  Here is the relevant question and answer.

MANOEL ANGELO: Some of these remarried couples would like to be reconciled with the Church, but when they see that they are refused the sacraments they are greatly discouraged. They feel excluded, marked by a judgement against which no appeal is possible. These sufferings cause deep hurt to those involved. Their wounds also afflict the world and they become our wounds, the wounds of the whole human race. Holy Father we know that the Church cares deeply about these situations and these people. What can we say to them and what signs of hope can we offer them?

THE HOLY FATHER: Dear friends, thank you for your very important work as family psychotherapists. Thank you for all that you do to help these suffering people. Indeed the problem of divorced and remarried persons is one of the great sufferings of today’s Church. And we do not have simple solutions. Their suffering is great and yet we can only help parishes and individuals to assist these people to bear the pain of divorce. I would say, obviously, that prevention is very important, so that those who fall in love are helped from the very beginning to make a deep and mature commitment. Then accompaniment during married life is needed, so that families are never left on their own but are truly accompanied on their journey. As regards these people - as you have said - the Church loves them, but it is important they should see and feel this love. I see here a great task for a parish, a Catholic community, to do whatever is possible to help them to feel loved and accepted, to feel that they are not “excluded” even though they cannot receive absolution or the Eucharist; they should see that, in this state too, they are fully a part of the Church. Perhaps, even if it is not possible to receive absolution in Confession, they can nevertheless have ongoing contact with a priest, with a spiritual guide. This is very important, so that they see that they are accompanied and guided. Then it is also very important that they truly realize they are participating in the Eucharist if they enter into a real communion with the Body of Christ. Even without “corporal” reception of the sacrament, they can be spiritually united to Christ in his Body. Bringing them to understand this is important: so that they find a way to live the life of faith based upon the Word of God and the communion of the Church, and that they come to see their suffering as a gift to the Church, because it helps others by defending the stability of love and marriage. They need to realize that this suffering is not just a physical or psychological pain, but something that is experienced within the Church community for the sake of the great values of our faith. I am convinced that their suffering, if truly accepted from within, is a gift to the Church. They need to know this, to realize that this is their way of serving the Church, that they are in the heart of the Church. Thank you for your commitment.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Corpus Christi in Clifton Diocese

The Latin Mass Society in Clifton Diocese has its own blog, which is no mean feat to keep up for a local area of the Society.  In the above photo you can see Fr Alexander Redman, who runs the blog, in procession with the Blessed Sacrament for Corpus Christi last Thursday.

Sunday 10 June 2012

Bolton Abbey

 Preparing the altar for Mass

 Introibo ad altare Dei

The remains of the Abbey from across the River Wharfe

I thought that I would be suffering from a chill today after spending yesterday with a pilgrim group at Bolton Abbey.  The rain was never quite enough to make us abandon anything and certainly not enough to prevent the children enjoying some organised games between Mass in the place where the Abbey altar would once have stood, lunch in the parish rooms and Rosary in the church.  The Vicar of the parish, Canon Moffat made us very welcome on a day when he was conducting two weddings!

Opposite the church is the holiday "cottage" of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire - called the Bungalow!

Friday 8 June 2012

High Mass for Corpus Christi

High Mass for Corpus Christi

We had a lovely High Mass for Corpus Christi yesterday evening and some suitable refreshments afterwards! My thanks to all who made it possible.

The Holy Father gave a very interesting homily for Corpus Christi.
You can read the full text here but some excerpts with my highlights below.

First of all, a reflection on the value of Eucharistic worship, in particular adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament. It is the experience that we will also live after the Mass, before the procession, during its development and at its end. A unilateral interpretation of Vatican Council II has penalised this dimension, restricting the Eucharist in practice to the celebratory moment. In fact, it was very important to recognise the centrality of the celebration, in which the Lord convokes his people, gathers them around the twofold table of the Word and the Bread of life, nourishes them and unites them to Himself in the offering of the Sacrifice. This assessment of the liturgical assembly, in which the Lord works and realise his mystery of communion, remains of course valid, but it must be placed in the right balance. In fact – as often happens – the stressing of one aspect ends up by sacrificing another. In this case, the accentuation placed on the celebration of the Eucharist has been to the detriment of adoration, as act of faith and prayer addressed to the Lord Jesus, really present in the Sacrament of the altar. This imbalance has also had repercussions on the spiritual life of the faithful. In fact, concentrating the whole relationship with the Eucharistic Jesus only at the moment of Holy Mass risks removing his presence from the rest of time and the existential space.

In reality, it is a mistake to oppose celebration and adoration, as if they were in competition with one another. It is precisely the contrary: the worship of the Most Blessed Sacrament is as the spiritual “environment” in which the community can celebrate the Eucharist well and in truth. Only if it is preceded, accompanied and followed by this interior attitude of faith and adoration, can the liturgical action express its full meaning and value. The encounter with Jesus in the Holy Mass is truly and fully acted when the community is able to recognise that, in the Sacrament, He dwells in his house, waits for us, invites us to his table, then, after the assembly is dismissed, stays with us, with his discreet and silent presence, and accompanies us with his intercession, continuing to gather our spiritual sacrifices and offering them to the Father.

 Now I would like to pass briefly to the second aspect: the sacredness of the Eucharist. Also here we heard in the recent past of a certain misunderstanding of the authentic message of Sacred Scripture. The Christian novelty in regard to worship was influenced by a certain secularist mentality of the 60s and 70s of the past century. It is true, and it remains always valid, that the centre of worship is now no longer in the rites and ancient sacrifices, but in Christ himself, in his person, in his life, in his paschal mystery. And yet, from this fundamental novelty it must not be concluded that the sacred no longer exists, but that it has found its fulfilment in Jesus Christ, incarnate divine Love.

I am also pleased to stress that the sacred has an educational function, and its disappearance inevitably impoverishes the culture, in particular, the formation of the new generations. If, for example, in the name of a secularised faith, no longer in need of sacred signs, this citizens' processions of the Corpus Domini were abolished, the spiritual profile of Rome would be “leveled,” and our personal and community conscience would be weakened. Or let us think of a mother or a father that, in the name of a de-sacralised faith, deprived their children of all religious rituals: in reality they would end up by leaving a free field to so many surrogates present in the consumer society, to other rites and other signs, which could more easily become idols. God, our Father, has not acted thus with humanity: he has sent his Son into the world not to abolish, but to give fulfilment also to the sacred. At the height of this mission, in the Last Supper, Jesus instituted the Sacrament of his Body and his Blood, the Memorial of his Paschal Sacrifice. By so doing, he put himself in the place of the ancient sacrifices, but he did so within a rite, which he commanded the Apostles to perpetuate, as the supreme sign of the true sacred, which is Himself. With this faith, dear brothers and sisters, we celebrate today and every day the Eucharistic Mystery and we adore it as the centre of our life and heart of the world. Amen.

Thursday 7 June 2012

That Bread Is Really Jesus Christ

A glimpse of how the great modernising Pope, Blessed John XXIII celebrated Corpus Christi

Zenit carries an article by Rome's Director of Liturgy Carmelite Father Giuseppe Midili, director of the Liturgical Office of the Vicariate of Rome.  He explains  the Importance and Meaning of the Corpus Christi Feast this Thursday, when the Holy Father will preside over Holy Mass in the courtyard of Saint John Lateran, and then lead the procession of the Body of Christ to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major. Some of what he says chimes in with the previous post so here is some of it with my own comments. 

ZENIT: The birth of this feast goes back to what date?
Father Midili: The Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord was instituted in 1264 by Pope Urban IV, so that the Christian people could participate with special devotion in the Holy Mass and in the procession, and thus witness their faith in Jesus, who willed to remain present under the species of consecrated bread and wine. In the course of the centuries this solemnity constituted the highest point of Eucharistic devotion, because it united devoted adoration to that original event, which we cannot do without, which is the celebration of the Mass.

ZENIT: The celebration of Corpus Christi at Saint John Lateran was started by John Paul II. Why did he wish to give it such great importance?
Father Midili: Since the year 1979 Pope John Paul II wanted the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord to be celebrated in Rome on Thursday, [the importance of sticking with the rhythm of the liturgical cycle and not messing about with it; there is a richness and depth drawn out over the centuries that we may not always be aware of] because in fact on Holy Thursday Jesus gathered his disciples and during the Supper instituted the new and eternal sacrifice, the nuptial banquet of love. On the feast of Corpus Christi this same mystery is proposed for the adoration and meditation of the People of God.
The Pope wished to celebrate in the Cathedral of Rome, together with all the priests and faithful of the city, because the Eucharist is the mystery of communion with God, but also among persons. The best image of the Church, in fact, is that which is constituted around the Bishop to celebrate the divine mysteries, to eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lord, to give thanks and thus witness the communion and love that Jesus taught.

ZENIT: Why is this feast in the courtyard of the Basilica of Saint John?
Father Midili: Saint John’s Square is at the same time the courtyard of the Basilica Cathedral of Rome, but it is also the place of public gatherings for the city and for Italy; it is often the scene of concerts, of political events and, unfortunately, also of clashes; it is the Agora of the ancients. It became a symbol of our country, it is a courtyard-square.
To celebrate Holy Mass in such a significant place on the day of the feast of the Eucharist confirms that Jesus is in the midst of his people at every moment of life. He sanctifies the everyday with his presence, sees and heals suffering, he is for all a sign of hope. Jesus is not far from us and from our life, but is always present, he made himself close. We can meet him in the celebrated Eucharist and in the consecrated bread. He comes to meet us. [Taking Christ into the public square to sanctify and perhaps bring an element of the civilisation of love to the dark things that sometimes happen out there.]

ZENIT: The procession, led by the Holy Father is an event of great impact whose central idea is that “Christ walks in our midst.”
Father Midili: The Holy Mass and procession on the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of the Lord is a unique event, which manifests the Church as Church. It is the feast of the gathered community. Believers come together to celebrate the sacrifice of Christ and, in the celebration, they thank God for all that they have received. The best image of the Church is the one gathered around her bishop to celebrate the holy mysteries, to eat and drink the Body and Blood of the Lord, to give thanks and thus witness the communion and love that Jesus has taught us.
Adoration is the continuation of the celebrated Eucharist, testimony of love and faith toward Jesus, prolongation of the thanksgiving after every Holy Communion. Once again the Church identifies herself with the journeying people, who follow their Master. The experience of the disciples of Emmaus is repeated, who travel a way with Jesus and listen to him while he instructs them. In the Eucharistic procession the community journeys with Jesus, but does not recognize him more while he breaks the bread. We recognize the Master present in that bread. [Our Lord is not somehow "more present" or "more real" during Mass when received in Holy Communion than when the Blessed Sacrament is carried aloft in the monstrance - the same Lord, present in the same way.]

Wednesday 6 June 2012

Pope Challenges Bishops To Revive Christian Culture

 Corpus Christi Procession in Middlesborough in 1937

EWTN News reports that the man behind organising the recent 'ad limina' visits of America's bishops to Rome, British born Mgr. Anthony Figueirdo, says that Pope Benedict has called on the U.S. Catholic Church to help rescue and revive Christian culture.
"The Holy Father spoke of the challenges in marriage, in family life, in growing secularization, in education, but I think there was a common theme amidst all the challenges: that where God does not exist, where he is taken out of culture, civilisation itself begins to disintegrate." 
Over the past six months Msgr. Figueiredo has led the organisation of 15 visiting delegations from the US consisting of 258 bishops.

'The most important part of the Ad Limina visit is not so much the administrative tasks, even though these are important, but really to come here and to pray,' he said.

It was therefore one of Msgr. Figueiredo's key tasks to make sure that each delegation were able to say Mass at Rome's four papal basilicas. That included making pilgrimages to the tombs of St. Peter and St. Paul.

He was also the point-man with the Vatican when arranging Papal audiences for each of the delegations. These meetings, he said, allowed the bishops 'to be confirmed in the mission that is entrusted to them, which is really an apostolic ministry given them by the Holy Father himself.'

'If God is taken out of the equation, this is what the Holy Father was saying, then the human person has no human dignity,' he said, 'and we can do with the human person whatever we feel should be done to him or to her regardless of him or her being made in the image and likeness of God.' 
Bringing the Faith back not so much just into the public square but into the public culture is a constant theme of Pope Benedict.  It struck me that  public display has a role to play in this, in allowing people to take part and to mark the passing of time with a public event that everyone can take part in.  This week the Holy Father is once again calling people to take part in the Blessed Sacrament Procession for Corpus Christi this Thursday (yes - Thursday!) in Rome.  Having taken part in the procession last year, I know that it is both a very public and very moving event, one that elicits popular turnout and support from the great and the good to the balconies of ordinary apartments along the way being decorated for the procession to pass by.

It struck me that the Queen's Jubilee celebrations we have witnessed over the past few days here in Britain have had a similar role and feel to them.  The celebrations themselves are not all that the monarchy is about but enabling a shared sense of belonging and participation, for those there and those watching on television, says that what the monarchy stands for still has huge popular support and the very act of celebrating it brings people together and enhances the institution.

In the Church, we have in the last forty years shied away from such public displays. Too emotional, too old-fashioned, too triumphal, alright for Mediterranean peasants but not for us sophisticated types. Yet the Jubilee celebrations, with their spectacle and the keenness to take part exhibited by so many people, would point to a desire for just the sort of celebration that a Blessed Sacrament Procession or a May through the streets would fulfil.  Bringing a public display of faith to the streets and a means of engaging with some aspect of the Faith from those who wouldn't normally come to church.  

Having also been at the Bravade in St Tropez again recently, the same atmosphere was present.  Certainly many tourists come to see it but the whole town is involved in its preparation throughout the year and taking part is seen as a great privilege while the menfolk involved all come to a monthly Mass for the saint at his altar in the parish church.  The St Tropez Bravade is spectacular but every little town in that area has its own Bravade.  The Faith is embedded still in the culture.

How wonderful it would be to see a major Blessed Sacrament Procession at every cathedral or at the centre of every major city.  Even the spectacle of the Olympic Torch, which after all is no more than a giant lighter, seems to bring people out onto the streets and surely we still have enough confidence in the faith to believe we have more to offer than that.

We are offering a Corpus Christi High Mass here at St Catherine's this Thursday at 7pm and, weather permitting, an outdoor Blessed Sacrament Procession at the end of the 10am Mass on Sunday.

Sunday 3 June 2012

New Blog

An old friend from Ushaw days is venturing into the blogosphere together with his parish catechist.  Fr Gary Dickson (Parish Priest of  Sacred Heart and the English Martyrs at Thornley in Co. Durham) and Andrew McDowell are blogging at Catholic Collar and Tie.  

You can also read an interview with Fr Dickson on "Why the Old Form thrives in my parish".    

Fr Dickson offering High Mass in his parish last year

Friday 1 June 2012

A true Catholic, and even more a Catholic Bishop, cannot ignore the Pope's gestures.

Auxiliary Bishop Schneider
on the Homepage of the
Shrine of Maria Vesperbild.
The Eponymous Flower carries the following post about Bishop Athanasius Schneider.  He is certainly not afraid of speaking out and though what he says might  be thought of by some as controversial or even divisive, we might recall the example of Our Lord in the Gospels: 

"Many therefore of his disciples, hearing it, said: This saying is hard, and who can hear it?   ...After this many of his disciples went back; and walked no more with him" 

(Jn 6. Douay-Rheims Bible).


Bishop Schneider Says: Communion in the Hand is a Great Wound in the Church

A reform of the Church is advanced by an end to Communion in the hand and 'supper tables'.  Proceedings and Old Liberal committees will play a completely subordinate role.

(  "The more committees, the more proceedings, the more fear of public opinion and the politically correct, the less there will be real reforms in the Church."

This is what Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider from Astana in Kazakhstan said on Pentecost Sunday at the Swabian pilgrimage Maria Vesperbild.

For Msgr Schneider it is "more than clear that the Church has experienced a great crisis."

Communion is Handed out Like Bread

The crisis  shows itself in its most gripping in the declining Liturgy, for the prelate:  "Today's manner of receiving Communion spread throughout the world is a great wound."

The body of Christ has been received "without recognizable sacral gestures of worship".

Hand communion leaves one with the impression as if one is taking a regular meal, which "one puts in ones' own mouth".

The Bible gives a different example of reverence

Msgr Schneider recalled that the angel and prophets in Holy Scripture knelt before Jesus Christ:

"How great is the contrast between  today's widely spread form of hand communion with the minimalistic signs of reverence on the one side and the glorious examples in Holy Scripture and the examples of Catholics from the past two thousand years, and  also the edifying examples of our own associates, parents, grandparents on the other side."

The example of the Pope

Msgr Schneider recalled then that Pope Benedict XVI has been distributing Holy Communion in the mouth since Corpus Christi of 2008 to the faithful on their knees:

"A true Catholic, and even more a Catholic Bishop, cannot ignore the Pope's  gestures."

That would be a true renewal

For the Auxiliary Bishop it would be a poignant sign of Faith if all the Masses world-wide "were brought back to clear signs of reverence, silence, the holiness of the music".

He criticised the supper table very carefully:  priests and people should interiorly and exteriorly look together upon Christ -- he said.

All faithful should "receive the body of Christ self-evidently in the state of sanctifying grace, having gone too confession, and  to receive it directly in the mouth with the piety of a child."

In this Msgr Schneider sees "powerful sings of a true renewal in the Church".

In such Masses a God fearing man should fall on his knees and say:  "Verily,  God is among you"  [1Cor 14 24-25]

A Church of Believers -- not of Church-tax payers

The Auxiliary Bishop explained in his sermon an example of reform from Kazakhstan.

In the city of Karaganda the Catholics built one Church every 35 years under the Communists.

The authorities allowed only a lowly, utilitarian building without towers or a cross.

For two years the faithful -- also the elderly and the children --- were occupied with the building.

They dug even in the earth, in order to put the church deeper in order to allow for a larger interior space.

Without Discussions or Commissions

After the completion of construction there was no Bishop far and wide who could have blessed the church.

Actually the parish priest -- he was called Pater Alexander Chira by everyone -- promised the faithful that God would send a Bishop.

On the day of the blessing he appeared himself with a mitre and shepherd's staff in the church.  He was a secret Bishop.

According to a woman who witnessed the event, there were even more tears flowing than holy water.

The church blessing is an example for Msgr Schneider "of true reform of the Church without a lot of commissions and discussions."

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Marriage Matters

Hundreds of thousands of people from over 140 countries are currently attending the World Meeting of Families in Milan to discuss issues affecting marriage and family life. Pope Benedict travels to Milan on Friday to meet with those attending the 5-day event and will remain in the northern Italian city until Sunday.

Among the participants at the meeting is my friend Edmund Adamus, Director for Marriage and Family Life at the Diocese of Westminster in London. Susy Hodges spoke to him just before his departure for Milan. As a married man with a toddler son, Edmund speaks at first hand about some of the practical challenges of raising a family and about the threats facing the institution of the family in today's secularised society.

Asked about the current state of the family, Edmund concedes that it is a "bleak" landscape given "the enormous breakdown in family life" that has occurred in Britain over the past few decades. At the same time, he says surveys have shown there is "a real desire" among young people to achieve "a renaissance of family life."

When it comes to his own family and the lessons he has learnt as a husband and father, Edmund says one of those lessons was realising the need to make "a clear distinction between work time and family time", especially in view of the growing influence of information technology and its "invasion into family life."

Listen to the full interview by Susy Hodges with Edmund Adamus:

MP3 RealAudio