Saturday, July 31, 2010

Why the feeling, particularly at this time, of wanting to come home?

Firstly, I think the reaction is instinctive.. It's to do with how I regard myself as a human being. I am a Catholic Englishwoman. I embraced this state when I was sixteen years old, independent of upbringing, just before Vatican II began, and have never regretted the decision, which was very definitely intellectual as well as spiritual. The transition from the low Church of England to Catholicism was essential when I realised that all the history books I had been fed up to the point of my 'conversion' had been written as if the Faith began with the Reformation! I very soon realised that pre-reformation Faith had effectively been blotted out. I have spent the rest of my life trying to reconnect the links. No Catholic Priest or nun ever thought they needed to put this to me. I think they must have known that I would work it out for myself. Anyway the result is that not only am I a pre-Vatican II catholic, I am a pre-Reformation Dowry of Mary Catholic!. This does not mean to say that I am a rabid Tridentinist or that I ignore or dispute Vatican II, properly interpreted, (and for that interpretation I look to the Holy Father). It does mean to say that as much as I know that the faith did not begin when Protestantism took grip of my country in the reign of Elizabeth I, so too it did not begin in the mid-19 sixties when Protestantism began to take hold within Holy Mother Church.

I hope this goes some way to explaining the emotional reasons for my wanting to be at home at the present time. Even if I could fulfil the wish, it would make not the slightest bit of diference to the present situation. But I hope you will not be surprised, nor condemn me for the desire.

My second reason for wanting to be there, is that although I read everything that is said on the Internet, it is almost impossible to know what to trust. If you were to believe Vatican Radio you would think that everything was hunky-dorey. One is left with the uncomfortable concern that they are going along with an anti-propaganda 'campaign'. Most importantly, by no means is one convinced that the Holy Father knows what is going on. The idea that he may not, fills me with dread. Deep inside me, I know that I could only really trust the impressions gained from actually being in the streets and 'tube' of London, and from going to Mass in various churches. That way I could get the feel of what is going on..

It is not to be. And so I pray the Rosary and a Novena every day before the Blessed Sacrament in the church of St. Romain for the intentions and safety of Pope Benedict XVI during his visit to England during September this year.

God bless all here,
In Christo pro Papa

The EMG Presents: Noel Coward - There are Bad times just around the Corner

"Bad Times Just around the Corner" Noel Coward

Ironically truthful, truthfully ironic it always was. It still is. But in August 2010, much of it would seem a fairly accurate description of the feeling of many English Catholics, if posts in the blogosphere and my inbox is anything to go by! Some of you may wish 'the rats' WERE ACTUALLY preparing to leave the BBC'! From all accounts I have to sympathise with you. Also I'm of the opinion that England has quiet enough 'manure' to be going on with.

(Coward video following.)

Why on earth then, do I want to come home? I will attempt an explanation this evening.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Video del Botafumeiro de la catedral de Santiago

Coming soon before bedtime, the giant censer (botafumeiro) of Santiago Cathedral in live action

I've known about it for years, but this is the first time I've ever seen it live, courtesy of kto at the end of this morning's Mass from Santiago. (Please God I will see it again when our Holy Father visits in November.) The thing weighs about 175 pounds and is about 5 feet tall. It takes eight men at the end of ropes in the sanctuary to control it. The present version was cast in 1851 and is suspended from a pulley, put there in 1604, in the dome of the Cathedral

The video I will post was made on the feast of St. James three years ago. The colour is poor but the tremendous excitement is conveyed, as is the faith of Spain... and also the power of the thing as it comes low enough towards the end of its flight for one of the 8 to grab hold of it and stop its motion. Its power twirls him round three times. The same effects were palpable and visible this morning.

Here, we usuall have fireworks to celebrate July 25. Who needs them, when you can have the botafumeiro!

God bless Spain, and of course , all here.

On the feast of St. James: recent news about the old Pilgrim routes to Santiago de Compostella and other relevant musings

A happy and holy feast of St. James to everyone.

Last week Zenit reported that 7 Spanish and 7 French bishops met for the second time to further plans for a joint effort in preserving the old Pilgrim routes and to develop their potential as a 'privileged place for evangelisation'. The bishops are to be thanked and encouraged for this response to one of the major emphases of Pope Benedict's pontificate. Not only are the bishops making their initiative during the Jubilee Year of St James in Santiago itself and which the Holy Father will himself visit in November, but it is a POSITIVE response to his recent announcement of a new dicastery for the re-evangelisation of Europe, and shows up the critical statements from other English episcopal quarters as negatively unhelpful.

(Instead of rubbishing the Pope's lead, it would be much more constructive to take a leaf from the Spanish and French bishops' book and start looking at our own pilgrim routes in England and Wales, to Canterbury for instance, particularly since the Feast of St Thomas of Canterbury has recently been properly restored to our national calendar. The English and Welsh conference asked for this. Why is it that they do not all seem able to 'join op the dots' here? Don't they remember that until Henry VIII despoiled Canterbury and had all references to St. Thomas a Becket removed from the liturgical books, there were four major centres of Pilgrimage in Christendom: Jerusalem and Rome of course, and Santiago and Canterbury, the latter remaining fixed, at least in our literary patrimony, by Geoffrey Chaucer. But I digress.)

Only one the French bishops is mentioned by name in the Zenit report and that is Cardinal Archbishop Ricard of Bordeaux. The other diocese involved is that of Toulouse. As yet I've been unable to find out who the other five prelates are and will ask Pere Marchand about it the next time I see him. St. Romain is only 2km away from a pilgrim route which runs through Aubeterre and that is the resaon why its parish church is dedicated to St. Jacques. (It has a 14th century facade. The rest of the church was destroyed during the Wars of Religion but was rebuilt during the 17th century.) I once saw a map of three major routes that traverse France, and I have to admit to disappointment that only seven bishops were at these meetings. I should imagine that at least double that number occupy relevant sees. One hopes that the seven will evangelise and encourageme their brothers! So far no word has reached me of anthing being planned in this diocese of Angouleme.
The full Zenit report is here.

In Christo pro Papa


Saturday, July 24, 2010

Friday, July 23, 2010

Tagged for Mac's Prayer Meme by 'Stella Maris'

Before I wade into the tagging and linking, a note about why Meme's can be productive, particularly at this time when orthodox catholics need to get together, and nail their colours to the mast of the Barque of Peter as publicly and as definitely as they can. So special thanks to Mac for starting this one.

To start with, the Meme is a way that better known and more widely read bloggers can give 'a leg up' to lesser known blogs. Sometimes one's attention is drawn to like-minded blogs about which one had not previously known. This has just happened in my own case. I've been tagged by Fr Abberton who writes the 'Stella Maris' blog, and I was delighted, more because I now have him on my bloglist than because of the meme itself. (Not only that, but it turns out that Father was born in Sheffield, as was I, and that he is still in Yorkshire. A real find. )

Before giving my three favourite prayers and the taglist I must say a thank you to Father for including in his post, a clear set of instructions for exercising the meme

Of course Mac must know what a difficult task she has set us. To begin with, what does 'favourite' mean. Does it mean those prayers we love to offer because we find them consoling, or does it mean those which we love to say with great frequency as part of our daily routine? If one lists the Rosary as one of one's favourites a difficulty arises because whilst the Rosary IS a prayer of a most special kind it is actually made up of several prayers, including the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Salve Regina at the end. It is indeed a favourite of mine; so is the Angelus, so is the Litany of Loreto. These three are part of my daily routine, so perhaps that could be my list of three, The Rosary, the Angelus, the Litany. However, I think I'll try to interpret Mac's 'favourite' as meaning single, discrete prayers, and even then it's a difficult choice to make. In the end I decided to solve the problem by making my list of three prayers which I first committed to memory more than fifty years ago and which I have consistently prayed ever since. Of course I imbibed the Our Father, the Hail Mary and the Glory be before thatYou'll just have to take it that they are the bedrock and excuse me if you think I've chaeated.

So here are the three, not in any order of preference.

1. The Memorare
I love this because it always fills me with peace, confidence and security in Our blessed Mother's concern for us and protection of us. It makes me feel connected with that moment at the foot of the Cross when our Lord spoke to the disciple he loved and to His mother.

2. Prayer to the Holy Spirt. 'Come O Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of the faithful and enkindle in them the fire of thy love. etc.I love this because otherwise I might forget the powerful fire of creativity of the Spirit. And it reminds me that the Holy Spirit is Wisdom and Consolation.

3. The Commendation
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I give you my heart and my soul.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, assist me in my last agony.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, may I breathe forth my soul in peace with you.

When I was young, I prayed this with some trepidation. Now I pray it with great urgency. It is very precious to me.

Here are the people I have tagged: Richard Marsden of 'Bashing Secularism';

Annie of the LMS Arundel and Brighton blog;

Fr S. of 'Clerical Reform';

Fr. Sean of Valle Adurni

and Brian of 'Whitesmoke Ahoy'.

If any of them have already been tagged,please let me know and I'll find other candidates!

Protect the Pope through Prayer, Truth and the Law.
God bless all here
In Christo pro Papa

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

St. Mary Magdalene

"Addressed by her own name, Mary recognises her maker and straightaway calls Him 'Rabboni', that is, 'Teacher'. Outwardly it was he who was the object of her search, but inwardly it was he who was teaching her to search for him." (Pope St. Gregory the Great, Homily 25)

Have a happy and holy feast day everyone.

(And protect the Holy Father through prayer, truth, and the Law.)

In Christo pro Papa.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Return to Blogging; a Rosary from Knock

Quick update on health: Vast relief and thanks be to God, tests showed blood to be absolutely normal. Cause of vertigo still undiagnosed - dosage of medication increased; may have to see a specialist if no real improvement before next Tuesday when I'm to see the doctor again.

In the meantime during enforced 'stand-off' there have been two things which have impressed me and in very different ways. Firstly, there has been a news item warning of danger to the Pope and his Catholic flock, as the result of possible extremist action on behalf of certain groups during the Holy Father's visit to the UK in September. Two days ago, a dear friend in Philadelphia sent me a link to the National Catholic Register I read the article, worried, watched and waited and then Fr. Tim Finigan posted a most helpul link to a new site, Protect the Pope (see top of sidebar here and also in alphabetical bloglist.) Thank you Father. I pray that everyone reading this will make sure they follow that site.

From the very beginning, I have worried that something like this may be round the corner. And I have suspected that it may be one of the reasons why the whole Papal visit is being so tightly controlled and scaled down. I'd say the Brit Security system is finding 'the stiff upper lip' difficult to maintain at the moment. From this standpoint the opinions of our English and Welsh bishops are almost totally irrelevant. (That's a complex matter, and impossible to treat here, although I will do so if anyone challenges me.)

The second thing that has been so precious to me over the past few days of not knowing what's wrong with me, is the most marvellous torrent of love and prayer I have had in your private messages. There is no way in which I can properly express my thanks.

And this morning the postman brought me the Knock Rosary. It is so beautiful and reminiscent to me of the one our Holy Father used in Fatima two months ago..............

God bless all here. I hope to be back tomorrow.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

No more blogging until have bloodtest results

Further explanations here

In the meantime, have a happy and holy feast of St. Benedict.

God bless all here.

In Christo pro Papa

Friday, July 9, 2010

Papal visit to UK: Holy Father will not fly home via BA

This according to Catholic Herald today.

It is the first of the Holy Father's voyages from which he will not return by courtesy of the hosting country's airline. It may seem a small matter but I think it is indicative of the prevalent attitudes in our country. Chris Patten, also in today's Catholic Herald, says that Britain's international reputation rests of the way it handles this historic visit. (Too true, as I hinted on this blog some weeks ago.)

Also some weeks ago, Archbishop Nichols spoke on Vatican Radio, evincing confidence that Britain would extend every politeness and hospitality to the Holy Father. This little news item about the homeward flight indicates that he maybe disappointed. In any case, I pray that Scotland will distinguish itself, and that England may not disgrace itself. Wales of course has been left out of the loop. Another bad mistake in my view. I have some Welsh blood, and I admit it boiled in the face of Archbishop Smith's Vatican Radio interview after the imposition of his Pallium for Southwark.

And is today really the right day for Bishop Conry to tell the world that he thinks the New Evangelisation Dicastery is an ill-conceived idea? (Again reported in the Catholic Herald.) This is the man who some months ago said that we shouldn't have too much concentration on Confession, a view in diract opposition to that of the Holy Father, who is aware that the Sacrament of Confession has all but disappeared in many places.. Bishop Conry is the same man who said that it's impossible to speak to young people about Salvation. Pope Benedict does exactly that, and brilliantly, every time he has the opportunity, the most recent example being at Sulmona.

(Personal health note: Have low blood pressure. Full diagnosis cannot be made until results of blood tests come through. Blood taken today so maybe not long to wait. In meantime vertigo continues.)

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.

In Christo pro Papa

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Bishop Koch (Cardinal Kasper's successor) makes a wholesome beginning.

Well his article 'What moves me? More honesty please!' is undated at Catholic Culture, so it may not be his first statement since the beginning of his new tenure, but rather, an influential factor is his appointment. We will see, but for a long time, I have not seen anything so refreshingly straightforward and unequivocal on the subjects he treats, e.g. attitudes (within the Church) to the present Pope, interpretations of Vatican II etc.. An excellent and encouraging read. Highly recommended.

In Christo pro Papa

Monday, July 5, 2010

Doctor's appointment 10.15am Thursday

I am going in to his surgery, so hopefully he won't be able to avoid seeing me! Another doctor btw; and I'll be driven there by a friend. Next post asap.

God bless all here.

In Christo pro Papa

Sunday, July 4, 2010

After meeting with Sulmona youth Pope Benedict goes 'home'.

I haven't seen any official translations yet but here follows a little of my understanding of what he said to them in farewell.

"Now I must go home and I am most sorry to have to leave you............ But I go home as a serene father, knowing that his children are growing up well."

At that point, whilst Benedict smiled more broadly and naturally than I've seen him do for months, I burst into tears. Tears of happiness that this beautiful exchange had taken place, but also, tears of anxiety that he will not leave England in September with the same serenity. Prayers, prayers, prayers, that for the Lord, he may.

Papal Mass at Sulmona: Times

Today (Sunday): France 10am; UK 9am; EWTN (ET) 3.30am

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The Pope is NOT considering abdication: So says Dr. Moynihan (ITV editor) and I wholeheartedly agree with him..

However, tomorrow for the second time in 15 months Benedict XVI will venerate the relics of Pope Celestine V, the only one of his predecessors to have resigned the papacy, in the face of ungovernable corruption and a bunch of cardinals who 'were no better than they should have been', which is to put it mildly.

You can read the story here at Zenit, and Dr. Moynihan's full text here at the Canterbury Tales blog, courtesy of Taylor Marshall..

Pope Benedict's visit to Sulmona will be broadcast live by EWTN and kto tv tomorrow - 9.30am French time, 8.30 British, and 3.30 Tulsa time (with the usual encore later on in the day)

The last time he was there, our Holy Father left HIS OWN PALLIUM on the tomb of his predecessor Saint Celestine. Doctor M. invites us to consider the message he was sending us through this action.

More tomorrow, DV.

God bless our Pope.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Non-appearance of Doctor; report on Mass

We spent a most frustrating day yesterday, waiting for Doctor Derouet, who never arrived. We know he is under great pressure because his partner-in-practice has just retired. He is therefore trying to do the work of two men. He hasn't contacted us so we don't know whether to expect him today or not.

There were only ten of us at the Mass. This was disappointing but not unexpected. For one thing it was the hottest day of the year so far (33 in the shade); for another, many of those who attended in February are of 'a certain age' and are away staying with their younger family members. I had all of you with me in my heart and the thought was comforting that in this way you filled the church to overflowing. It was a quiet and very recollected Mass, lit by the evening sun and accompanied by the most melodious bird-song streaming in through the open west doors. The birds seemed to be concentrated round the church building and only fell completely silent at the Consecration.

Yesterday we were celebrating the feast of St. Cybard who is patron of our diocese and Protector of Angouleme. He was a sixth century Benedictine monk, thought to have been from the Perigord region. After profession at the Abbey in Angouleme that now bears his name, he spent 44 years as a hemit in a grotto beneath the ramparts of the city. One can still visit his grotto and the bishop offers Mass there every year on July 1st.

St. Cybard Abbey, close to the Grotto. is among the oldest in southwest France. One of the reasons why I love living here is that one has a really strong sense of connection with Christian antiquity. Of course the known history of the area goes back to before the first Christian evangelisation. Nevertheless it is through the many ancient abbeys and churches that St. Cybard and many other local saints come alive to us. They are not merely stone ciphers from a dead past. They are not cut off from us by the passage of centuries. They are like roots which reach deep deep down into the soil and soul of France and I love them both for themselves and for their achievements. It is because of this personal experience that I understand Pope Benedict in a very special way when he talks of need not to lose touch with 'the Christian roots of Europe'. To me it is not only a question of academic fact, but of the very air I breathe. To me those roots are spiritually tangible.

Of course, yesterday evening I could not forget that on July 1st the old calender celebrates 'The Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ'. In my old St. Andrew Missal the feast is introduced as follows:
"The feast............was instituted in 1849 by Pius IX and raised to the rank of a double of the first class by Pius XI on the occasion of the nineteenth centenary of our Saviour's death.
By reminding us of the scene of Calvary and of the blow from the lance which pierced our Saviour's side, the liturgy of this feast is at pains to emphasize the meaning and tremendous significance of this fact in relation with our salvation......our Redemption, effected by the Blood and the love of our Saviour."

I had assumed that Abbe Marchand would bring consecrated Hosts with him for the Communion at Mass. I didn't realise that he had reposed sufficient Hosts in the tabernacle of Our Lady's chapel. When he approached it and reappeared with the Ciborium my heart lurched and I almost didn't want our Lord to be taken from the safety and purity of the tabernacle. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion but in those moments I realised that He could and must be taken because He allows it............because of the indescribably, incomprehensibly great love He has for us. Then came a further inexpressible shock and joy.................... I was to receive a Host before Whom I had adored and prayed every day since Palm Sunday. Totally incapable of saying more I conclude here with the final prayer from the Litany of the Precious Blood, a Litany which I will pray every Friday from now on.

"Almighty and everlasting God, You have appointed Your only-begotten Son the Redeemer of the world and have willed to be appeased by His Blood; grant us, we pray, so to venerate the price of our redemption and to be defended by its power against the evils of this life, that we may enjoy its fruits for ever in heaven. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen."