Monday, September 28, 2009

"You make me feel so young!": Pope Benedict to Youth

Well, the song title is not exactly what he said to Czech Youth and their friends gathered from Slovakia, Poland and Germany at the end of this morning's Mass. After a young man and woman had presented him with the results of their collection to aid African Youth and promised to be at the next WYD in Madrid, he addressed all the young people. He began his remarks with great good humour by saying that their "enthusiasm and generosity makes even the Pope feel young". He spole in Italian so most of the crowd had to wait for the Czech translation to be read out before they understood his little joke. Then they applauded long and loud, and he laughed. It was a delightful moment.

There was another wonderful touch on the part of the University authorities at the end of last evening's meeting with the Academic community. As the Holy Father greeted individuals, a small schola sang the Proper Plainchant Antiphon and Introit from the Mass of the First Sunday in Advent...."Ad te levavi animam meam..................."

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Swedish TV programme doesn't suggest the Pope knew: Associated Press report today.

I haven't seen the programme so I'm not sure if the AP report is accurate. What does seem clear is that the programme gunned for Cardinal Castrillon as the prelate mentioned in my previous post. The ignominious act of accusing the Pope of lying was committed today by the Berlusconi family owned newspaper 'Il Giornale', with its headline, 'He lied'.

The best thing I have read today about this issue is an article by Dr Robert Moynihan, published as 'Letter 29 from America'. It is comprehensve in its analysis of the different aspects of the situation and I cannot recommend it highly enough. It can be found in full by clicking the link Scroll to the last but one post. I've put this blog in my sidebar list today.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Is Swedish TV about to accuse our Holy Father of lying?

Trouble brewing for Pope Benedict according to Rorate Caeli and Catholic Church Conservation.
Swedish TV apparently will claim tonight that because the Swedish Nuncio knew and because 'a certain curial Cardinal' knew about Williamson's Shoah denial, it stands to reason the Pope must also have known and therefore lied about not knowing. What rubbish! Exactly who in the Vatican did the Nuncio tell? Who in this Cardinal? Who else in the Vatican knew? I cannot believe the Holy Father did, but it's possible if not probable that he's in for even more stormy waters than last time. Please get out your Rosary and pray it for him. Pray it more intensely than ever before.

In Christo pro Papa

Monday, September 14, 2009

Clare, our new contributor, reflects on Spiritual Motherhood

Published below is the first part of Clare's article. The full article arrpears on the 'Spiritual Mothers of Priests' blog (link at top of sidebar here) I'm delighted she has chosen this particular subject for her first contribution.

Clare, a warm welcome aboard the "Oasis". Wishing you a calm sea and a prosperous voyage!


The idea of Spiritual Motherhood is not new to the Church. The very first spiritual mother was Our Lady, whom the early Christians called ‘mother Mary’. Her care has always gone far beyond the realm of physically caring for people. Jesus’ entrustment of St John to his own mother, made from the Cross, is perhaps where the first spiritual mother began her mission. It appears that her little home in Ephesus where she lived with St John (‘the disciple Jesus loved’) was regularly visited by the followers of Jesus who regarded her as their mother in the Lord. Since then, Mary’s maternal care has reached to all Christians (indeed all people who call on her) and as a result the role of motherhood has always had an honoured place in the Church.

Any woman of any age can be a spiritual mother, it is not necessary to be married and a physical mother oneself. Women have always been immersed in prayer for souls, whether those of their own children, like St Monica, or for others, like Our Lady. St John Bosco had a remarkable mother, Mamma Margaret, who nurtured first him, and then, as he developed his ministry, the urchin children who came to him for help. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, though a lifelong celibate, had the spiritual and physical care of many thousands of people as well as her own nuns.

In our time, when women assume new responsibilities and achieve prominent positions in society, the question is often asked: why can they not enter the priesthood? Two thousand years of tradition, based on the all-male attendance at the Last Supper, the first Eucharist, is not going to be changed and for some this seems unfair. Nevertheless, Christ was male, and each priest as ‘another Christ’ must reflect this, which women cannot do. When was the last time we saw an Icon of Christ as a female?

However, motherhood is integral to the feminine genius and unique to women. To be a spiritual mother it is not necessary to have a strong natural maternal instinct or a love of domesticity. One does not have to be interested in bootees, sewing or the right way of making cup cakes – admirable though these things are. All that is needed is a deep love of God and the things of God, and a longing to bring other to him. In days gone by, people would call this a ‘thirst for souls’. The spiritual mother may personally know her spiritual child or children, or she may not. Either way, she prays and sacrifices with the same intention: the spiritual well-being and ultimate salvation of particular souls.

There is a story about an American woman who was visiting a friend one day. While they were chatting, the friend's young son came in with his friends. For some reason, the visitor noticed one of the friends, though he wasn't especially striking to look at. She found herself including him ever after in her prayers. Years later, she met up with the old friend and rather tentatively mentioned this young boy, who would be fully grown. She received the answer: "Oh him? He's a priest!" it was then that she realised that God had required her prayers for this young man. I imagine she would have continued to pray for him. Spiritual mothers are led to pray for certain people, whether it seems like a whim, or not. It might be as a result of hearing a sad story about a child or someone far from God, or it could be a spiritual 'adoption' of a prominent churchman, even the Pope! Those in leadership have especial need of such prayers.

There is no special way of praying or making sacrifice. One can recite the rosary, visit the Blessed Sacrament, light a candle, give alms, and offer up various sufferings – there are many ways of practising Spiritual Motherhood, but the focus is ‘maternal’ in that it incorporates the moral, spiritual and physical well-being of the one being prayed for. This is akin to a mother’s three-fold duty: to care for her children’s physical needs, to instil in them a sense of right and wrong, discerning wisely the things of the world and finally, to teach them about God, prayer and our faith.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fr George Byers' great new blog: "Papist Jackass"

Have just received a link to Fr's new blog from a reader correspondent. A grateful and enthusiastic mantilla twitch to Christine for alerting me. The link is now in the sidebar at my alphabetical bloglist. Fr has posted his homily for yesterday's beautiful Feast of Our Lady's Nativity with photographs of the seminarians gathered in her praise.