Saturday 31 October 2015

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy

I attended the annual Colloquium for the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy last week at St Edmund's College in Ware (a continuation on English soil of the English College that was founded by Cardinal William Allen at Douay in Flanders, France in 1568). As ever, it was a great opportunity to meet up with brother priests who really do feel like brothers and so a great boost to feeling part of the wider Church. My only complaint is that there are so few priests from 'oop North' who are members of the Confraternity - wonderful as it was to meet all you fellows from London and the South East! Can I encourage my brothers from more northern climes to join the Confraternity and come along to their events. 

Fr Tim Finigan also has a report on the Colloquium.

 Bishop Robert Byrne celebrated Mass with us.

 You can't really tell. but this is me celebrating Benediction in the beautiful Pugin Chapel.

 The school holds the original copy of "Adeste fideles" 
- originally written as a Benediction hymn.

 The chapel containing the relics of St Edmund.

 Beautiful ceiling of the chapel.

 You can't miss the chapel, adjacent to the front of the college's main reception.

Monday 26 October 2015

Amsterdam visit

I attended the Vigil and Investiture Services in Amsterdam for the Grand Priory of the Netherlands last weekend. (Here for further details and pictures.) The Vigil Service took place in the charming church of Our Dear Lord in the Attic, dating from a time when Catholicism was outlawed in Amsterdam and several "hidden churches" provided for the spiritual sustenance of the beleaguered Catholic Community. This is the only one left and still functions as a church. We were only having the traditional Vigil Service for postulants who were to be received into the Order the next day but I was very pleased to see that the altar was set up for the Traditional Mass, complete with altar cards and missal. Very interesting in the heart of liberal Dutch Catholicism.

 With some of the members from the British Grand Priory
after the Vigil Service.

With the Commander of the Commandery of Costa Rica, 
Knight Commander Maarten Kampen.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Even Jeremy Corbyn kowtows to China

Even the rebellious and outspoken Leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn capitulated from his usual maverick approach to the conventions of life and appeared in white tie and tails for the State Banquet last night in honour of the Chinese President, Xi Jinping. Even the great protesters will bend the knee before the power of the Chinese Yuan, it seems. 

While the great and the good capitulate for the sake of all that lovely Chinese money, we might spare a prayer for the Christians of China, who are still suffering persecution. We hear quite a bit about the Dali Lama and political dissidents, but the fate of Christians in China is often ignored by the West. 

Earlier this year the news broke of the death of Bishop Cosmas Shi Enxiang of Yixian  (here). 

Report from the Telegraph earlier this year:
A 94-year-old Chinese bishop who had been imprisoned since Good Friday 2001 has reportedly died, triggering renewed criticism of the Communist Party’s draconian curtailment of religious freedoms.
Relations of Cosmas Shi Enxiang, the underground bishop of Yixian in northeast China, were informed last Friday that he had passed away, according to UCA News, a news agency covering Catholic issues in Asia. No cause was given. He had not been seen in public since he was detained 14 years ago.
“My parents and the bishop’s other siblings are particularly sad,” Shi Chunyan, the bishop’s great niece, told the agency.
“They had been unsuccessfully trying to discover his whereabouts for many years. Now the answer to their questions is that he is dead.”
Bishop Shi, who was originally from Hebei province, was arrested in April 2001 at the Beijing home of his niece and had been held ever since in a “secret location”, according to the report
The bishop spent around half of his long life in prison or labour camps, the Catholic news agency added.
The bishop’s death means that there is now only one Chinese bishop still being held in secret detention, it added. His name is James Su Zhimin, from Baoding, a city around 90 miles from Beijing, and he has been held since October 1997.
Thaddeus Ma Daqin, the bishop of Shangahi, has been confined to a seminary outside Shanghai since using his ordination to denounce the Party's control of religion in 2012.
Cosmas Shi Enxiang was ordained as a priest in 1947, two years before Chairman Mao’s Communist Party seized power and set about jailing Christian leaders, driving out missionaries and dismantling or destroying churches.
Bishop Shi’s troubles began in 1954, three years after the officially atheist Communist Party had formally severed ties with the Vatican.
He was arrested for the first time that year and spent much of the following three decades forced to perform hard labour in Heilongjiang and Shanxi provinces, according to UCA News.
He was ordained a bishop in China’s underground Catholic church in 1982 but was imprisoned again between 1989 and 1993 before his final arrest in 2001.
Today there are an estimated 12 million Catholics in China, many of whom refuse to worship within the Communist Party controlled Catholic Patriotic Association.
Members of China’s underground Catholic church have found themselves affected by the “anti-church” campaign currently sweeping Zhejiang province.
Last May government officials were accused of unleashing demolishing teams on statues depicting Biblical scenes at a site of Catholic pilgrimage in the city of Wenzhou, which has a large Christian community. Hundreds of Protestant churches have suffered partial or total destruction because of the campaign.
“The authorities’ behaviour is reminiscent of the smashing of church property during the Cultural Revolution,” one Wenzhou Catholic said last year.

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Chavagnes Studium - A new Catholic Liberal Arts Centre

Chavagnes International School is expanding to include a Catholic Liberal Arts Centre, so that students (from the School or elsewhere) can take up their unique educational offering at the tertiary level. Click to read more about the Chavagnes Studium

Thursday 1 October 2015

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy Colloquium

Booking is now nearing the cut off date for the 2015 Annual Colloquium run by the Confraternity of catholic Clergy. 27th - 28th October. I have been to these before and they have always proved excellent both in content and in the sense of camaraderie and fellowship among the clergy present.

This year’s conference takes place in the beautiful and historic setting of St Edmund’s College, Ware. We will make use of the school’s fine Pugin chapel for our liturgies. 

Speakers include 

Fr John Hunwicke
of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham,
who will speak on the Magisterium

Fr David Marsden
a member of the recently founded Irish Confraternity,
and lecturer at Maynooth,
who will speak about priestly formation

Fr Nicholas Schofield
archivist to the Archdiocese of Westminster,
who will give an introduction to the fascinating history of
St Edmund’s College. 

Bishop Alan Hopes and Bishop Robert Byrne will both join us during the Colloquium. 

The cost of the Colloquium is set at the very reasonable sum of £50, all inclusive.

(Please note, only paid-up Members of the Confraternity may attend the Colloquium. A Membership Application and Standing Order Form are therefore attached to the booking form.)