Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Father Sham knew us" - (the) accused

Tango has sent me the following:
(The accused has been denied bail after yesterday's court appearance)

31st March 2009
(Reported in the Sowetan newspaper today by Bafana Mahlangu)

Related content:
A humble, selfless priest
Protesters say Father Sham cared for his alleged murderer
Youth held over murder of priest

Father Lionel Sham was hit with a knife in the head, tied him up and his face wrapped in tape.

This blood-curling description is contained in a confession made by Philip Velaphi Malgas, 25, charged with Father Sham's murder. The priest went missing from his Mohlakeng home on Friday March 7.

Malgas appeared in the Randfontein magistrate's court yesterday and was denied bail.

Members of the Our Lady of Africa Catholic Church in Mohlakeng on the West Rand broke down in tears when the confession was read out.

Malgas's 20year-old friend was killed in an accident in Deneysville in the Free State. The two were travelling in Father Sham's car, a maroon Toyota Corolla that they are charged with stealing from his home.

The two men are also accused of having stolen a TV set, a DVD player, laptop and computer hard-drive. When caretakers went to Father Sham's home on March 8 they discovered a bedrooom covered in bloodstains.

In his confession Malgas said: "We knocked on his door and he opened for us because he knew us. We hit him with a knife in the head and he bled. We then tied his hands with tape and wrapped it around his mouth and nose.

"We drove to Denysville and my accomplice was the driver and we had an accident. There was another person in the car whom we had given a lift. He was also going to Deneysville."

The court also heard that police had been on the lookout for the missing car. Malagas was found a walking distance from the accident scene and had R(ands)1000 on him.

It has also been confirmed that the fingerprints found in Sham's car matched those of Malgas.

The case was postponed to April 24 for trial.

Source - www.sowetan.co.za


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pope Benedict celebrates Mass at the Roman parish of 'The Holy Face of Jesus'

Before the noon Angelus today when he, as always, embraced and addressed the Universal Church, the Holy Father had already been out and about, fulfilling his role as Bishop of Rome.

Here is a quote from his homily at Mass in the Roman parish of 'The Holy Face of Jesus':

"Allow yourselves to be illuminated by the splendour of Christ's Face so that infinite Love shines through your every gesture becoming part of your daily lives."

This is the second time our Holy Father has referred to The Holy Face in recent days. The first time was before he left Rome for Cameroon.

More on this as soon as time allows.

Pope Benedict at today's Angelus: Church in Cameroon and Angola has "filled my shepherd's heart with joy."

11.30 this morning St. Peter's Square: African students in Rome mounted a demonstration, in solidarity with Pope Benedict. They remained to pray the Angelus with him and the rest of the animated and supportive crowd. I wish I could have heard them but kto had no sound today, for which the commentatary repeatedly apologised. The Square was almost full. It seemed to me that there were many more slogan-bearing banners than usual. The kto camera zoomed on one which said simply 'AFRICA THE POPE' with a red heart between the first and second words.

Warmly and joyfully, the Holy Father made his reciprocal love abundantly clear. He indicated that he could not, in today's brief allocution, do justice to his African voyage, but he promised to enter into it more fully at the next General Audience on Wednesday.

(This will be broadcast on kto at 09.30 BST)

In Christo pro Papa

Friday, March 27, 2009

Father Sham: Why the conflicting reports in the South African Press? Why were even his family members given differing information?

From the beginning, it has struck me as inexplicable that one report could have stated there were no wounds on Father's body, and others said there were blood stains in the room in the Presbytery from which he was allegedly abducted. I now learn that he had in fact been stabbed above the eye, but that even his family were not told of this straight away and had to rely on conflicting reports. Why the delay, why the confusion? Who is responsible for the release of correct information to bereaved relatives? Grieving relatives should not have to endure this added cruelty in ordinary circumstances, let alone ones in which violence and murder are suspected.

Of course, if the relatives are not in South Africa one may understand there may have been a problem in establishing their identity and right to be informed. That having been acknowledged it still seems that the management of news about this tragedy, has been, whatever the reason, unsatisfactory, to say the very least.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

European/US media too busy attacking Pope to ask awkward questions about South Africa and the murder of Fr. Lionel

The funeral of Fr. Lionel Sham took place in Johannesburg, the day before Pope Benedict flew to Cameroon. Father was a Maronite priest of the Lebanese parish church of Our Lady of the Cedars of Lebanon. He had been robbed, kidnapped and strangled, and his body left in the open veld. His alleged killers, one of whom died in the crash of Father's stolen car, are alleged to have been young men whom he had helped in the past. His surviving alleged assailant is now on bail and on legal assistance, unless my latest reports are not entirely up to date.

I have relied on my correspondent 'Tango' to keep me up to date. It will be noted in previous comboxes on this subject that s/he has been careful to give information only and, apart from prayers, has not given a personal opinion. That silence speaks volumes.

After the first small reports of Fr Lionels's disappearance and murder, the mainstream media of my headline above have as far as I can see, more or less ignored the case. It was a brief distraction from their main goal, namely to continue their unprecedenedly savage attacks on Pope Benedict, who has shown in his actions that he has more care and understanding of Africa in his little finger than most of these journalists have in their entire bodies. They hide beneath an apparent concern for Africa, when in fact their true intent is to use any opportunity to vilify, insult, mock and discredit the Pope. They either hate him or misunderstand him because in the course of his sacred duty, he preaches a convinced moral and spiritual dimension which must be at the basis of any long term solution to the many prevalent problems in Africa. AIDS and its treatment is without question, a major one of these, but others, all of which the Holy Father addressed during his recent visit, are corruption, war, persecution, injustice, poverty, and worries about climate change............... If our western Media had given him plenty of credit for any of that, then they could at least be congratulated for balanced reportage. As it is, - no such matter.

The fact that Fr Sham's murder and its aftermath have been largely overlooked, is in some part due to the timing of events, and I'd be most gratified to find that when the latest 'Benedict bsshing' frenzy has died down, some journalists of integrity will follow up on the cases of Father Sham and the other priest who was murdered not long before him. Somehow I doubt it.....But I will be on the watch.

I speak of the majority of the media and am well aware of the several excellent defences of the Pope that are beginning to appear on the Internet. If there is a great deal more that I have missed, I will be profoundly happy to stand corrected. Also, I acknowledge that the media are fed and encouraged by people within the Church herself, people who as the Holy Father himself said in his recent letter to the universal episcopate, 'should have known better'.

Prayer, the first recourse, is available to us all, and I am certain that I bring all my readers with me, when I promise to use it for the repose of Fr. Sham and for his bereft and traumatised family and parishioners.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Pope Benedict: Interview on the plane home

Why hasn't this video been plastered all over the media?

Anyway, profound thanks to you Father Anthony.

To see video, link to Father Ho's blog on my bloglist below left.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Another way to support Pope Benedict

Please follow the Human Life International link at top of sidebar and sign this petition. We must take every possible opportunity to show solidarity with our Holt Father. May God, who has so richly blessed us in giving him to us, continue to shower him with abundant gifts of courage, fortitude, mercy, faith, hope and love.

Heartfelt thanks to Human Life International and their President Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer. And a big hat-tip to Clare A for putting me on to this.

God bless and protect our Pope. And God bless all here.

Have a glorious Solemnity of the Annunciation tomorrow.

In Christo pro papaa,

Monday, March 23, 2009

Two brave French Deputies use their blogs to defend Pope Benedict

Allez mes braves! Bien fait! Que Dieu vous benisse!

For full story use link to Zenit on sidebar bloglist.

For Tango and David: a note

Just to say I haven't forgotten, and will work on my promises after the General Audience on Wednesday.

God bless and keep you both,

Sunday, March 22, 2009

French Practising Catholics: Poll proves an 11% increase in their loyalty to the Pope and approval of his words and actions

In early October last year Le Figaro published the results of a Poll of French nationals.
(see my post of October 0/8)

The results were based on a sample of 1,004 people.

The second question these people were asked was:
"Are you satisfied with the direction being taken in this Pontificate?"
58% of PRACTISING Catholics answered affirmatively.

The most recent Poll of 600 French Catholics taken by Ifop for 'Le Journal du dimanche' during the furore about the Pope's comments on condoms, is reported today in Dimanche Sud Ouest. That paper states that "The proportio of French Catholics who wish the Pope to depart, has risen to 47% among non-practising Catholics, but drops to 31% among practising Catholics." You will note the negative way in which the information is presented.

Simple arithmetic shows therefore that 69% of practising Catholics now approve of Pope Benedict as opposed to 58% in the earlier Poll. THE 11% INCREASE IN SUPPORT IS GOOD NEWS FOR OUR HOLY FATHER, not bad as the French Sunday paper would have us believe.

I am aware that the first poll sample was about double that of the second, and one has to wonder why. In any case I cannot persuade myself from these figures that the popularity of Pope Benedict has diminished appreciably among practising Catholics because of his remarks about condoms. Of course it wouldn't. They are practising Catholics because they are loyal to the Church's teaching, or put the other way round, as practising Catholics, they are loyal to their Pope because he holds firm to the moral and spritiual teaching of the Church. In the same way it is no surprise that the lapsed are in dissent.

So take courage, 'Be not afraid' and enjoy what remains of Laetare Sunday.
Pray for our Holy Father. May God bless him and bring him safely home.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Press Complaints Commission: Catholics wake up!

If like me, you are disgusted and sickened to your soul by Jon Snow's treatment of Joanna Bogle on the C4 'interview' posted on Father Tim's blog today; and if you are even more offended by the Times Online cartoon of our most Holy Father wearing a condom on his head with a pin through it, I beg you to complain to the Press Complaints Commission. (link at top of sidebar here) When you get to the Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice site, click their sidebar at 'News Flash' and you will reach everything you need to register your protest.

Thanks to Fathers Tim and Ray, and to Mulier Fortis for drawing attention to the 'interview' and to the reasoned defence of the Holy Father on the condom debate which has come from Harvard University. Thanks also to 'Hoka' for alerting me to the Pro Ecclesia details, thus facilitating a quick way to complain.

May Our Lord, His blessed Mother, Saint Joseph and St. Benedict protect Pope Benedict from all his enemises; may the Holy Spirit grant him an abundance of His gifts and fruits; and may St. Michael defend us all in this day of battle.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

The Solemnity of St. Joseph: Towards a meditation

With comments in parentheses added today)

"The second Office reading is from Sermon 2 on St. Joseph by the great Franciscan preacher Bernardino of Siena, and it is helpful on the day of such an important saint about whom, ostensibly, we know so little. The extract opens with the claim that whevever God wishes to impart his grace to a person, or select him for a particular honour, he gives him all the girts needed to sustain him in the demands of that calling. (Surely our present Holy Father is a living example of the truth of this statement.)It is especially true of (his patron) Saint Joseph.

Bernardino has faith that Jesus would have especially kept his promise in the case of his foster-father and said to him after death, 'Good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.' At this point I have an annual twinge of poignant recollection that, as Joseph probably died before Jesus, he would have been among those Our Lord loved and led to the light from the darkness of hell. Perhaps the roots of Joseph's legendary fear of death lie in this.

Next we are reminded that the Church owes a great debt to Mary, because through her cooperation with God the Father, God the Son was able to enter into the world through the action of God the Holy Spirit. We owe Joseph special thanks and reverence too, because he played his part in bringing up the child Jesus to manhood and prepared him to go out into the world. In Joseph the integrity of the patriarchs and prophets is vindicated, and he had the amazing privilege of seeing in the flesh, the Messiah that God had prominsed to them.

We know from Luke's Gospel that Jesus was obedient to Joseph and paid him the honour and respect due from a son to his earthly father. Again Bernardino has faith that in heaven Christ will have transformed, completed and perfected His relationship with Joseph. In the light of this, Joseph the Carpenter, husband of the Virgin Mary, must be a powerful intercessor for us with Christ, to whom Bernardino appeals at the close of the Office ecerpt.

Reading Bernardino makes me think that the little we know of Joseph is actually a great deal, for in him, on a very human level, are lessons we should learn about doubt, obedience, love, service, and responsible love and protection of those in our charge."

from 'Thorn, Fire and Lily' copyright J. Mossendew 2004

A happy and blessed patronal feast day to our Holy Father Pope Benedict. Ad multos annos!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Preparation for Pope Benedict's patronal feast: Pt. 2 History and Lore of St. Joseph

"The tradition that Joseph was an old man at the time of Jesus' birth has its origins in the apocryphal 'Protevangelium of James'. The Greek 'History of Joseph the Carpenter' (5th or 6th century) is thought to have been instrumental in creating his cult, and in England his feast was celebrated before 1100 in the cathedral cities of Winchester, Worcester and Ely.

Bridget of Sweden (1303-73), Vincent Ferrer(1350-1419) and Bernardino of Siena (1380-1444) all encouraged devotion to him, possibly as an antidote to his presentation as a comic butt in the medieval Mystery plays. However, having adapted and directed some of these plays, I have found that some of them allow a deeply spiritual and poignant interpretation of Joseph's character and predicament. His feast seems to have been celebrated on March 19 since the fifteenth century and was supported by no less than Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1536). The Roman Missal of 1503 includes his feast, as do Carmelite Office books of 1480, and possibly the greatest impetus in the development of devotion to St. Joseph came from St. Teresa of Avila (1513-82), who dedicated her reformed Carmelite motherhouse to him and mentioned him frequently in her writings, saying she knew from experience that he helped 'in every need'. In 1621 Gregory XV added the feast to the Universal Calendar; in 1714 Clement XI composed a new Office; in 1847 Pius IX declared him 'Patron of the Universal Church'; and in 1962 John XXIII added his name to the Canon of the Mass. European devotion to St. Joseph has therefore been constant for almost a thousand years.

Not surprisingly, Joseph is the patron of fathers, bursars and carpenters, but perhaps most notably of the dying and of all who wish to die a holy death. This last patronage probably has its roots in the 'History of Joseph the Carpenter', which includes an imagined account of Joseph's fear of death. Wracked by self-criticism, he is comforted by Mary, and by Jesus, who promises protection and life to all who do good works in the name of His foster-father. This legend may explain the vast number of schools, parishes, hospitals and religious institutes that have taken St. Joseph as their patron."

Extract from 'Thorn, Fire and Lily' copyright Jane Mossendew 2004

Tomorrow: Towards a meditation for the Solemnity of St. Joseph

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Funeral of Fr Lionel Sham: Pictures

Thanks to Tango these can be found at http://citizenakertza.blogspot.com

"But the souls of the righteous are in the hand of
God, and there shall no torment touch them.
In the sight of the unwise they seemed to die: and
their departure is taken for misery,
and their going from us to be utter destruction: but
they are in peace.
For though they be punished in the sight of men,
yet is their hope full of immortality.
And having been a little chastised, they shall be
greatly rewarded: for God proved them, and found them worthy for himself.

Wisdom 3: 1-6

In preparation for Pope Benedict's patronal feast, the Solemnity of St. Jospeh: Pt. I


When I wrote, 'Thorn, Fire and Lily' in 2003 I chose the common Ash tree to represent St. Joseph. The brief extraxt here, explains why.

"Ash wood is white....extremely strong and durable, and is still used to make oars and tool handles.....

"There is one biblical reference to the ash, in Isaiah 44:14. Many authorities believe, in spite of its availability, that this tree, used for carving idols, was not the ash at all, but one of a variety of conifers. The Syrian ash (Fraxinus syriaca) grew, and still grows, in the Holy Land. It is not as tall as its European relative, but shares its other qualities. I like to think that St. Joseph would have known, appreciated and used it in his workshop, and perhaps even had a walking staff made from it. To make an ash walking stick, treat in exactly the same way as hazel. Whereas the hazel stick will be coppery, the ash stick will have a silvery-grey patina."

Here are the instructions from p.103 of the same book.

"To make a walking stick, or shepherd's crook, cut a rod in winter, selecting one that has the appropriate shape for a handle, and of a length suitable for the eventual user. Do not peel the bark but leave to season for six months. When the process is complete the bark will come away easily. Shape the handle with a file and then sandpaper, and then likewise the rest of the surfaces. Make several applications of furniture polish, buffing between each until the patina has depth. A really good crook would be a lovely gift for a bishop, or confessor......"

Well, most dearly beloved Holy Father, you already lead us with the most important shepherd's crook in the world, and which you wield with love, gentle firmness, mercy and wisdom. God be praised you do not need a walking stick. And yet you have so often told us of your need and desire for what one could call the 'walking stick' of our prayer. This you have day and night and in unreserved abundance, from your loving and obedient flock. And for today we pray a safe flight and a happy landing in Cameroon.
May Our Lady and St. Joseph watch over you as you bring Jesus Christ to the nations..
In Christo pro Papa,
God speed Pope Benedict XVI!

Pt. 2 tomorrow: 'History and Lore of St. Joseph'
all extracts from 'Thorn, Fire and Lily' copyright Jane Mossendew 2004

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Fr Sham (Cham), R.I.P. was strangled according to my latest news.

WE are indebted to 'Tango' for his latest news report, which is to be to be found in the appropriate combox below. Strangulation explains why there were no 'wounds' on Father's body.

Petition in Support of Pope Benedict: Update, a crumb of comfort, together with an antidote to the way his recent letter is being interpreted.

In the early days of the petition signatures were coming in at around 1.000 a day. By the time Pope Benedict issued his recent letter to the universal episcopote, they had slowed to a steady average of about 100 a day. In the 24 hours AFTER the letter was made public, 731 signatures were added. I find it hard to believe that the two are unconnected.

I have said this several times before and I'll say it again now. I consider that one of the most important aspects of this petition is that those signing are asked to say how many children they have. These children are the future of the Catholic Church, and in signing the petition their parents are entrusting them to our Holy Father Benedict. In other words they place themselves AND their children under his care. When you add the daily figures of the children a truer picture emerges of how many souls are involeved here.

The current figures are:

Signatories: 51,629
Children: 95,540

Total souls: 147,169

At this rate the children's figure will be nudging 100,000 by the beginning of next week.

In a situation as serious as this, I have to plead with all Catholics who have not already done so, to read the Holy Father's letter for themselves, in full. The same goes for Fr. Lombardi's comment on the letter. (For both these texts see Vatican Radio website, easily accessed via the Vatican's You Tube link at bottom of bloglist on the sidebar here.)

I beg you NOT to be influenced by garbled slanted comment in the secular media; do not be satisfied with the incomplete, and I'm afraid rather misleading, summary of the Holy Father's letter given on the website of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales. It really isn't enough for a full understanding of what the Pope has said. Further, please do not, for the same reason, be satisfied with the Vatican's You Tube soundbyte video of the Lombardi interview. Here follows a summary of the impression you will get from the three sources I have mentioned, and in which I draw attention to what they have left out.

1)The Pope has apologised for himself in almost grovelling terms, and admitted that he and the Vatican made mistakes; fair enough, except that he most certainly does not grovel. From some quarters you would get the impression that he has said that the lifting of the excommunications was one of those mistakes. Such an implication is blatant misrepresentation. Further, you will have no idea of the Pope's pain and disappointment in the reaction of some Catholics, who he clearly says 'should have known better'.

2)You will understand that the Pope is keen on 'ecumenism' and 'unity'

3) You will think that he hasn't expressed a view that seeks to examine the implementation of Vatican II, and that he hasn't said clearly that we will ignore at our peril, the traditions of the Church that had developed during the 1,960 years that preceded it.

4) You will imagine, as is true, that he has lots of Jewish friends to whom he is deeply grateful for helping him to calm matters down, but that he has not acknowlegesd with gratitude, the comfort he has received through the prayers and support of his loyal faithful.

5) You will go away without any idea at all that the letter enshrines a wake-up call to Catholics to stop hating and tearing at each other within the Church, and that instead they should love.

6) You would think that he is only concerned about the personal hurt inflicted upon him, instead of being more deeply wounded and shaken by the demonstrated lack of respect for the Petrine Office and obedience to the teaching Magisterium of the Church.

We Catholics have arrived at a terrible state of affairs, if we allow our most Holy Father to suffer and be misinterpreted in these ways without raising a storm of public protest in his defence and support. And yes, apart from all his other gifts and attributes, he is most worthy to be addressed as 'Your Holiness'.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Pope Benedict's letter: Official text in English now available

Click on Vatican's You Tube channel bottom of bloglist here; select Vatican Radio for full text.

Following in Father's footsteps: Another 'Tu es Petrus'

Please click on sidebar top for another version to accompany your prayer for our beloved Holy Father Benedict. It's always been there but thanks to Father Ray for giving me the idea to draw attention to it today.

Ad multos annos, most Holy Father!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Fr. Lionel Sham R.I.P.: Funeral and Memorial Mass times; and new report of Court hearing

These, thanks to 'Tango' are to be found in the combox of previous post here 'For Fr. Lionel Sham R.I.P. and his family'.

Tango: one thing is puzzling me: all the reports I've read say that there were bloodstains in Father's house, and yet another, allegedly police report, said there were no signs of wounds on Father's body. They said they awaited an autopsy which would determine the cause of death. Do you know what has happened there?

The most important thing to tell you from here though, is that as many of us who know the times you have given us, will be with you all in spirit. I hope someone has told the Holy Father, who arrives in Cameroon on the day of Father's Requiem.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tributes to Father Lionel Sham R.I.P.

I am humbled to have received tributes to Fr. Lionel from people who knew him and held him in great affection and respect. Please continue to leave these in the comboxes of this blog. I will gather them together on a full post eventually and am hoping to be kept up to date and that someone will let me know when his Requiem Mass will be held.

With continued prayers for the repose of Father's soul and for his stricken family, parishioners and friends.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Monday, March 9, 2009

Further report on Fr. Sham's murder

We are indebted to Tango, who has sent an update on Fr. Sham's fate. Please see combox in the previous post below.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

For Father Lionel Sham R.I.P. and his family

In Paradisum

May the angels lead you into paradise: may the martyrs receive you at your coming, and lead you into the holy city, Jerusalem. May the choir of angels receive you, and with Lazurus, who once was poor, may you hve eternal rest.

Father appears to have been abducted from his presbytery in the Archdioces of Johannesburg last Friday and his body has now been found.

For more about this tragedy see Pro Pontifice Maximo in bloglist on sidebar here.

Pope Benedict: Live kto tv Schedules Mon. March 9th - Wed. 25th inclusive


Should there be changes or additions, will notify day by day.

Mon. 9th, 09.50h. - Direct from Rome: The Holy Father's visit to Campidoglio
Wed. 11th, 09.30h. - " " " General Audience
Sunday 15th, 11.00h. - " " " Angelus

Tues. 17th, 15.00h. - " " Cameroon: The Holy Father arrives

Wed.18th, 09.00h. - " " " Visit to the President
11.15h. - " " " Meeting with Bishops
15.45h. - " " " Vespers

Thurs, 19th, 07.45h. - " " " Meeting with Islamic leaders
09.00h. - " " " Holy Mass
15.00h. - " " " Meeting with 'The World of Suffering'
17.30h. - " " " Special Meeting for Africa

Fri. 20th, 09.00h. - " " " Departure from Cameroon

11.45h. - " " Angola: The Holy Father arrives
16.00h. - " " " Meeting with the President
16.45h. - " " " Meeting with authorities
18.00h. - " " " Meeting with Bishops
Sat. 21st, 09.00h. - " " " Holy Mass
15.30h. - " " " Meeting with Youth
Sun. 22nd, 09.00h. - " " " Holy Mass
11.00h. - " " " Angelus
21.40h. - " " " Meeting with Catholic Movements
Mon. 23rd, 09.00h. - " " " Departure Ceremony at Luanda airport

Wed. 25th, 09.30h. - Direct from Rome: General Audience?
(This is in the kto schedules but NOT in the Vatican website's list of Audiences for the month of March - will clarify asap.)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Cardinal Vingt-trois of Paris voted the most macho man in France!

Yes it is true but I can't say more now. Have noted it here to remind me to explain on Laetare Sunday!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Pope Benedict and the SSPX bishops: A puzzle solved.

"Bishop Willaimson's position on the Shoah was unknown to the Holy Father in the moment of lifting the Excommunications." Fr Lombardi

Until I read this statement I had thought it likely that Pope Benedict must have known something about Bishop Williamson because of the role he played as Cardinal Ratzinger in trying to effect a reconciliation with Archbishop Lefebvre in 1988. Of course I accepted what Fr. Lombardi said but until yesterday had remained puzzled as to how Cardinal Ratzinger, whose power of memory is legendary and who is normally impeccably thorough and well-informed, could have missed this dangerous detail about Richard Williamson's views.

I say until yesterday morning. The postman delivered a book which I had ordered via Amazon a few days previously. The title: 'Let God's Light Shine Forth'; author Dr Robert Moynihan, editor of the American magazine 'Inside the Vatican'. The book is the distillation of many interviews that Moynihan was privileged to have with Cardinal Ratzinger, the last one taking place about three weeks before the death of Pope John Paul II.

I had only to read 66 pages before finding the answer to the puzzle. The famous 'Protocol of agreement' which Lefebvre signed with Cardinal Ratzinger on May 5 1988, and upon which he reneged the next day, would have restored the Archbishop's priesly faculties which Paul VI had suspended in in the mid-seventies. He would also have been granted the right to ordain a successor bishop.

In his hand-written note to the Cardinal of May 6th Archbishop Lefebvre insisted that the episcopal ordinations which he had originally planned for June 30th that year, should go ahead. He should be allowed to ordain more than one bishop. One, he said, would not be enough to cover the worldwide operations of his Society. He further insisted that the SSPX should be given a majority on the 7 man Roman Commission that he had agreed be set up to oversee it.

I now quote the relevant part of the paragraph describing what happened next:

"Vatican officials wanted Lefebvre to (my caps)SUBMIT THE NAMES OF HIS PROPOSED CANDIDATES FOR THE EPISCOPACY TO THE VATICAN'S CONGREGATION FOR BISHOPS, IN ORDER THAT THE DOSSIERS OF THE CANDIDATES COULD BE EXAMINED IN THE ORDINARY WAY. Ratzinger, aware that it would be difficult for that Episcopal review process to be completed between May 5th and June 30th, obtained the Pope's permission for Lefebvre to ordaine one bishop on August 15....

"Lefebvre refused that offer.....Despite an appeal from the Pope, a warning from the Congregation of Bishops, and a last-minute telegram from Ratzinger," Lefebvre went ahead and the rest is history.

One can only conjecture, as to why the Archbishop should have been unwilling to comply with Rome's quite reasonable request to see the dossiers on his four candidates. I will leave it to others to chew that one over. What IS important however is that it clearly shows that Rome, and of course, Cardinal Ratzinger himself, knew virtually nothing of them. I can find no record of even their names having been mentioned. Cardinal Ratzinger may have heard these names, but certainly nothing about the views of Richard Williamson.

Moynihan had noted earlier that in 1988 it was the Lefebvrists who had turned to Ratzinger in search of an 'understanding ear'. The Cardinal Prefect did what he could for them and when his efforts came to nought, he later said of the situation to Moynihan, "I did what was possible, but we were not granted reconciliation. And we certainly have to try, as far as we can, to keep the doors of reconciliation open."

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Father Mildew's back!


Father Mildew is back with the announcement that it's his 50th jubilee year of ordination. Congratulations Father. See his blog for a couple of suggestions as to where we may meet up with him.

Monday, March 2, 2009

bloggingLOURDES new spiritual bouquet for our Holy Father

LINK IS AT bloggingLOURDES in alphabetical bloglist in sidebar below left.

It begins on April 8th (Wed. of Holy Week)and lasts until Pentecost Sunday. There is however nothing to prevent our registration of Lenten fasts and abstinences, and works of spiritual and corporal spiritual mercy aswe go along.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Benedict XVI and the Blairs: For Mac

I think I can do this without violating my Lenten blogolutions.

Shortly after Tony Blair's retirement as Prime Minister, he and his wife were received in private Audience by Pope Benedict. They presented him with an oil painting of Cardinal Newman. As the gift was being handed over, Mrs Blair is alleged to have said she did not know how much the Pope knew about this, but Catholics in England were praying very hard for the beatification of Newman.

I trust our dear Holy Father, ever the gentleman and master of irony, left a discreet pause before making his alleged reply:
" I'm sure you are, but the trouble is.........miracles take a little longer in England."