Saturday, December 31, 2011


The Angelus rings again in Saint Romain

This was my best intangible and lasting Christmas present of 2011. The bell had been silent for more years than I care to remember. For some reason the commune chose this year to authorise the repair of the automatic mechanism and so since Christmas Eve the Angelus has been ringing out, as it always used to, three times a day -at 7am, noon and 7pm.  I cannot think of a bettter way to be woken up each morning! Deo gratias.

Happy New Year everyone!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Consistory in February? Sandro Magister seems fairly sure.......... ( updated Friday 30th Dec)

He goes through the usual stuff about not giving the red hat to Archbishops  who have an emeritus Cardinal in their Dioceses. He hints that an exception could be made for Archbishop Timothy Dolan, but consigns Westminster to having to wait until next time, as if that is already a fait accompli. One would love to know what is behind his apparent certainties. However, on va voir.


Update: A February Consistory is looking ever more likely. Vatican Insider reports that Goldsmiths, Savi Brothers have received an order from the Vatican of rings for new cardinals.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

♫ The Coventry Carol (Collegium Vocale Gent) ♪

Saint Silcaire de Brantome pray for us.

Holy Innocents day...

....or Childermas as it was once called. It also used to be the practice to remember the slaughter of the Innocents every week during the twelve months that precede December 28th on the day of the week in which the feast will fall in any given year. I will try to remember that each Friday during the coming year by making some special act of reparation..
"My eyes are spent with weeping; my soul is in tumult; my heart is poured out in grief...because infants and babes faint in the streets of the city." (Lam.2:11) And now they are being massacred in their millions even before birth.One is rendered dumb by the heinous wilful enormity of it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Holy and Happy Christmas to all my readers - Dominus dixit ad me

Sixth century Old Roman chant for tonight's Introit. Now that's tradition for you!
The Vatican begins broadcasting in 15 minutes. When the Mass is over, and before bed, I'll post a lullaby for the new born King.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

To be considered in the New Year.

The futile wrong-headedness of comparing this pontificate with the previous one.

Pope lists five lessons from World Youth Day 2011 for the New Evangeliza...

Benedict XVI: A 'Part-time Pope' of feeble governance.

So Marco Politi ('veteran vaticanista') judges our present Holy Father. What arrant nonsense. Clearly the man is living on another planet. Unfortunately that planet is possibly a satellite of the Vatican. Ay, there's the rub.

 Rome Reports has an interesting snapshot of today's papal address to the Curia. see next post.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

For Saint John of the Cross: the Apple Tree and the Eglantine

In the Advent section of my garden the Apple Tree and the Eglantine grow side by side. I planted the Apple Tree nine years ago, and very deliberately, for St. John of the Cross. The Eglantine appeared from nowhere around about the same time. All I can think is that a passing bird had dropped a rose hip some years previously.. At the time I had already written the entry for Saint John in my first book and it was about to be published.

I shalll visit the garden tomorrow, even if it is raining, because today I was reminded by something that I myself had written in 2001, that there is a connection between the Apple Tree and the Eglantine:
"In his commentary on his poem 'The Spirtitual Canticle', St John explains that the apple tree represents the Cross, and the rose tree, the understanding, memory and will of the soul'"

Both are mature plants now, the apple about seven feet in height, and the eglantine, more spready, shrubby, and very thorny, about four, and huddled against the trunk of the former as if for guidance and protection.

The recording in the video above is beautiful to my ear and only marred by the singer's failing to separate 'the' and 'apple' from one another , so we get 'Jesus Christ the-yapple tree'. Nevertheless the rest of it is so beautiful that I gladly forgive his infelicitous lapse  in enunciation!

Nothing to represent the rose tonight. Maybe tomorrow..

God bless.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Oasis response to John Smeaton's request to sing for the Unborn this December

Some of the other versions are just as good, if not better in some respects. Check them out when this one finishes..
As you all know 'The Oasis' is in France so I can't come and sing at Piccadilly, Green Park or Waterloo Tube stations but I'll be singing here! For details of the London gatherings leading to Christmas, see John Smeaton in sidebar here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Quote of the day: h/t to Fr George Byers (Holy Souls Hermitage)

At Lourdes Our Lady said to Bernadette Soubirous, 'I am the Immaculate Conception'. not 'I am the Immaculate implantation'.

Spiritual Mothers CR News 5: Fr Mark Kirby preaches to Spiritual Mothers in Tulsa

For text see here at Father's blog 'Vultus Christi'

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tota pulchra es Maria, by anonymous composer

For the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception.

It's Bolivian. I can't find out anything else.

Angouleme Cathedral yields up some astonishing secrets

On November 3  a lead casket was dug up  from beneath a slab in the transept of the cathedral. According to archeological and historical experts (as reported in the 'Charente Libre' December 5 2011) the three skeletons that the casket contained are without any doubt, those of the grandparents and father of Francis I of France (born 1494 at Cognac). It seems that the bodies of the three were hacked up by the Huguenots. After things 'calmed down' the faithful collected all the pieces and reassembled them for burial in a secret location. And there they stayed for almost six centuries until a few weeks ago. It makes me wonder what is underneath St Romain church. There is known to have been  a church on the site since the time of Charlemagne.

More details when I've found time to study the newspaper report in detail, not easy at this time of year!............  

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Give me Contemplative Participation. It is so profoundly 'active'.

Anyway, this is what I will be pursuing between now and Christmas, as I try in any case to do all the year round..
I will occasionally post music between now and the 'Urbi et Orbi' on Christmas Day, but that will be all, unless in the interim something terrible happens.

In Christo pro Papa Benedetto.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Confirmation in south-east Charente: final part

Confirmation Names:
The baptismal names of the Confirmands were in small print at the top right hand corner of the service sheet. Bishop Dagens read them out at the end of his homily. There was no mention of Confirmation names, either at that point or during the Confirmation itself. Pehaps the French don't keep this custom as we do in the Anglophone world - at least I hope we still do.

Creed or Renewal of Baptismal vows?
Although the Service sheet indicated a 'Profession de Foi des Jeunes' followed by the Profession of Faith 'de l'assemblee' with the Apostles Creed being printed out for the purpose, in fact the Confirmands were taken through the renewals of Baptismal vows, as at the Easter Vigil. Many of the Congregation did not know whether to join in the responses or not. And in any case they were not printed in the provided sheet.

The Confirmation began with the singing of  'Veni Sancte Spiritus' in French with the Latin response 'Veni Sancte Spiritus' repeated at the end of each of the ten verses. It was a dreary and not at all memorable tune and I couldn't help longing for the Chant not merely to satisfy my own taste but to hand on to the young, an important  part of tradition, particularly at a rare opportunity provided by events such as the Montmoreau Confirmation...

Then according to the sheet we should have witnessed the laying on of hands. We did not. The bishop stood behind the altar,  versus populum, flanked by his two assistant priests and all in a straight row and the three of them raised their hands to just above shoulder level with palms toward the line of candidates assembled outside the sanctuary. . Later I realised that they had reminded me of a trio of Indian chiefs. .I'm glad not to have thought of it at the time or I should have been dangerously close to laughter. I don't know what justification there was for each confirmand not receiving the laying on of hands individually. When I was confirmed there were at least twenty  of us and we all went up separately and knelt before the Archbishop's chair to receive that part of the rite . Our sponsors handed him a card with our chosen Confirmation name written on it so he was able to address each one of us and announce the new name for all to hear.

Although  I gather that the annointing with Chrism is regarded as the central act of the Rite these days, and indeed it was carried out with proper dignity 'according to the book',  I was somewhat discomfited by the way the 'laying on of hands'  was, or should I say was not conducted on Sunday.

Two further incidents caused me quite a shock. At the Consecration during the Mass Bishop Dagens did something I've never seen before. He elevated the Host BEFORE consecrating it. And after the words of Consecration, lifted It even higher so that It was above his head.  Has anyone seen this done before?

Another thing happened later on at the sign of peace. I've read in several places that it is counted as a minor abuse if the priest leaves the altar and comes down among the congregation to exchange the sign with all and sundry. Bishop Dagens walked the length of the church giving the sign to the persons  at the nave end of each row. Is there a different rule for bishops?  Much as I was honoured to exchange the sign of Peace with my bishop, I really would have preferred it, had he earlier taken the time to 'lay hands' properly and not symbolically, on the those being confirmed.

I've already tried to make it clear that I went to this Mass with absolutely no intention of 'nit-picking', but the things I have mentioned took me by surprise and unsettled me..

Perhaps people will share their experiences of Confirmation both now and in the past.

btw Since Pere Marchand's arrival there has been almost a complete disappearence of EMHCs at our local Masses. I'm glad to say there was no sign of them at all at Montmoreau. .


Wednesday, November 30, 2011

006 Advent II - Introit - Populus Sion

I think 'beefy baritone' of Montmoreau would like to have done this.! Anyway, prayers for a blessed second Sunday in Advent, 2011.

South-east Charente Confirmation: Part Two

There were seven confirmands, six youngsters and one adult. I don't know whether they had anything with which to compare the rite which took them forward from Baptism. I do know this though,  that they would have felt the  warmth of welcoming approval that reached out to embrace them from the assembled community. I know that, and it was the best part of Sunday morning's celebration. I think the power of our singing surprised Bishop Dagens. He commented on it anyway. Those seven were well and truly confirmed. And yet there were things about the liturgy which unsettled me, and I'll post about them next time.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Confirmation in the south-east Charente Part One

The Church:
Montmoreau St Denys, externally a solid 12th century edifice of stern but imposing Romanesque beauty . Inside it was clearly inhabited by a caring parish who could afford to heat the building well. We were early and having entered by a side door into the north transept, easily found seats close to the sanctuary.

First impressions before Mass
As usual in the churches of our deanery , I was depressed by the bare altar. Instead of the Benedictine candlesticks, behind the altar in a broad semi-circle were six stands with an elecrtically operated  'flame' atop each. I couldn't work our where the Blessed Sacrament was hidden. (Sadly, I am used to that terrible feeling of confusion and loss.)

Music for the Mass was still being rehearsed right up to the moment when the entrance procession began. There was no choir and even though I established later that there was a harmonium in the church, it appeared that the music would be led by a lady lutenist who also played the clarinet, a violinist, and one man with a very loud and powerful baritone voice. I have to admit that the rehearsal was preferable to the seemingly endless procession of busy-bodying women in and out of the sacristy which I witness on most Sundays during the half hour before Mass begins. None of that here. What a relief! There appeared to be three of four young male altar servers assembling for duty, attired not in cassock and cotta but in those drab alb-like garments that somehow always look ill-fitting and grubby.

Beefy baritone took us through some of the responses but his mike was head-burstingly loud. By that time the church was almost full and the congregation gave him as good as he was giving. At least these sheep are not going to feebly bleat I thought, and even began to relax..

Please understand me. I did not attend this liturgy with the intention of being critical and sour. I wanted it to be wonderful for the sake of the confirmands . I desperately wanted not to be distracted by dubious liturgical practice. But over the years I have witnessed some terrible things. Matters have improved over recent years but nevertheless those deeply ingrained memories still make me nervous.

As the procession came out of the sacristy and headed to the west door, I noticed that Bishop Dagens was clutching his mitre in his left hand. Well,  I thought, at least it's going to be an improvement on Bishop Crowley's 1986 Confirmation, in Chelsea, when he caused reactions ranging from uneasy disappointment to affronted outrage, by conducting the rite totally without time-honoured episcopal headgear.

More tomorrow

Belated thanks to 'Linen on the Hedgerow'

Thank you Richard for choosing me as the blogger with whom you would most like to share a bottle of wine.
I'm glad you chose that form of beverage because it would take (slightly!) longer to drink than a cup of tea or coffee, thus giving us more time to chat. I warmly reciprocate your wish and expect the odds on our meeting are in favour of its being at a London pub blogfest somewhere near Westminster Cathedral. Maybe next year?

I prefer a 13% Bordeaux or Chilean red. How about you? If we can't agree, we can always fall back on a pint or two of real ale. Shepherd Neame's 'Bishop's Finger' is my favourite! Seriously it's one of the few things I miss about England - notice I said things, not people.

God bless and thanks again,


Saturday, November 26, 2011

Confirmation at Mass tomorrow morning.

The Mass will be the only one in our entire Deanery tomorrow. Thanks to my auto-mobile friend Christiane, I am able to travel the 18km to Montmoreau where the Confirmation will be 'conferred' by our Bishop Dagens during that Mass.

It will only be the fourth occasion in my life that I have attended a Confirmation: the first in 1962 when I was myself confirmed by Archbishop King of Portsmouth (of blessed memory) at St. Laurence's church in Petersfield; the second at St. Mary's Cadogan Street, Chelsea (1986?) where I was a chorister when Bishop Crowley, then auxiliary in Westminster, came to 'do' the Confirmation; and the third at Arundel Cathedral in 1998 where then Bishop Murphy-O'Connor was celebrant during a Mass in which I played a minor role as sponsor to one of the girls at Elmhurst Ballet School in Camberley.  It will be impossible to get through tomorrow morning without reflecting on these three events, but I will reserve prayers at the Mass for the young French Catholics who will, in that holy hour, be receiving this Sacrament.

I hope to report on Monday.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Novena for Seminarian Philip Johnson

The Novena begins this coming Wednesday and culminates on the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. See Fr Z for more details.

Whatever happened to the promised consideration of restoration of Holy Days?

Perhaps I dreamed it, in wishful thinking mode, but I thought that after the BCEW plenary meeting in the Spring of this year, Archbishop Nichols stated publicly that the bishops had all gone back to their dioceses to consider the 'pastoral needs' of the matter and that we would hear something about it after the next meeting in November. Well, that has just happened, and as far as I can see, nothing has been said at all. I hope for correction if I've overlooked something.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Archbishop Nichols publishes book on St. John Fisher

'Pastor in Valle' was at the book's recent launch and writes about it here He has not yet finished it, but so far seems impressed.That is encouraging since I greatly value his opinion

Saint John Fisher is one of my favourite martyr saints and I will therefore buy the book.
I have known for some time (courtesy of Wikipedia) that the then Fr Nichols specialised in the 'theology of St. John Fisher' during a year's study for an MA in Theology at Manchester University, that degree being awarded to him forty years ago in 1971..I do trust that the present volume is the result of further reflection and research over the intervening years, and is not merely an edited version of the original thesis, trotted out now merely because the author is the current Archbishop of Westminster.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

XIII. Haydn St. Cecilia Mass, Hob. 22 5 Marc Minkowski.

I think Haydn must have been familiar with today's Office reading from Saint Augustine, in which he answers the question 'What is singing with jubilation? It means' he says, 'to realise that words are not enough to express what we are singing in our hearts'.

Happy Saint Cecilia's day!

"I will rejoice in you and be glad, and sing psalms to yourname, O Most High. When I sing to you my lips shall rejoice."
(Responsory at the Office of Readings for the Memoria of St. Cecilia.)

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Bones does even better with 'Universae Ecclesiae'

Link to his blog 'That the bones you have crushed may thrill'; in the sidebar here

Saturday, November 19, 2011

'The Ballad of Summorum Pontificum" by 'Bones' of England

Right, times is desperate! Get learning the refrain and next time you're in St. Peter's Square for a papal Audience, team up with some like minded English Catholics, PREFERABLY YOUNG, and give it some welly so the Holy Father can hear it as he passes in the popemobile. Make sure you have lots of Union flags so that he can identify where the noise is coming from. Display the refrain on banners in print large enough to be read:

Terrible for an old lady to be inciting this sort of action, but I've just about reached the end of my tether, one which has been stretched, pulled and frayed almost beyond endurance for half a century.. I realise going to Rome is expensive and beyond most of our pockets. Maybe it would be possible to organise peaceful performances on the home turf.

God bless and well done Laurence!

For the Feast of Christ the King: Regensburger Domspatzen: Christus vincit

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Speculation on next Consistory: February 2012?

On November 14 Sandro Magister claimed that 'word is going round the Vatican' that the next Consistory will be in February next year. He speculates that if Benedict XVI adheres to previously established practice, Florence will possibly/probably yet again not make 'the purple' because it has a surviving emeritus Archbishop, who is not yet 80 - Cardinal Enrico Antonelli (75) . From an English point of view it would yet again rule Archbishop Nichols of Westminster from the running. Cardinal Murphy-O'Connnor is not 80 until August. If on the other hand the Consistory is delayed until later in the year............
Whether or not Pope Benedict really intends to retire on his own 85th birthday, he may decide on a February Consistory as possibly his last chance to affect the composition of the College at the next conclave.

Perish the thought.
I mean of course, perish the thought that he may be considering retirement.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

More from Maestro Monsignor Guido Marini

Vatican official notes Pope's attention to detail in liturgy :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) and shares his  personal thoughts whilst standing at Pope Benedict's left hand during Mass. 'At those moments I think to myself, " I am at the side of the Vicar of Christ," and I renew my faith.' I think this is my favourite quote, particularly on St. Leo the Great's day: But perhaps this one is even better: 'I pay attention to everything that goes into the rite in order to really help those participtating to experience God and to help those who are in a spirit of adoration.'

Thank you, dear Monsignor. May Our Lord and His blessed Mother watch over you and grant you a safe and successful trip to Benin and bring you safely home to Rome.

Pope Benedict and the personal significance of the South Tyrol

ZENIT - Pope Remembers His Mother's Stories

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Will Benin be the Pope's last long voyage? Sounds as if it should be if we want to keep him with us.

Pope reported to have Arthrosis

Personally, I think that Arthrosis is only one aspect of the problem and in any case it can't have been helped by that crazy woman who knocked him down a couple of Christmases ago. Aside from that, itt's quite clear to anyone who observes him closely that he has difficulties of balance. He has a tendency to fall over. This cannot be helped by the failing sight in his left eye, which is the case according to some reports, but which has been unmentioned/overlooked/ignored, by nearly all commenters.

May God help our dear Pope Benedict.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Bad news from Ireland -updated

According to the French blog 'Salon Beige', the Irish government has announced that it will close its Embassy to the Holy See, giving the Euro crisis as the reason. I hope that Fr Gabriel Burke and perhaps Fr Hogan will comment tomorrow.

A sad day indeed.

Update: Father Hogan has posted on his blog 'Ex Umbris et Imaginibus' - and again here.  The second linked post contains text of Cardinal Brady's reaction and also a link to comment by David Quinn.
Thank you Father

Pope Benedict: Three days that changed the world

Go here to read Vatican Radio's draft translation of the Holy Father's homily at this morning's Mass.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Church Triumphant, Militant and Suffering

As long as we live, we are members of the Church Militant. As such, yesterday we turned our souls to give thanks to God for the Church Triumphant; today, and traditionally for the rest of November, we pray for the Church Suffering (in Purgatory). The reason I love this time of year is that the Church draws our attention to her essential composition, makes us realise to which part of her we as yet belong. And tries to make us each year more fully aware of how we should behave in reaction and relation to the other two vast and innumerable hosts that exist beyond/outside earthly existence.

I had another fall on the eve of All Saints, this time over a lurking vacuum cleaner outside the dining room door. At first I thought I may have broken a bone in my hand, but although it is horribly blue and swollen and looks as though it has done at least one round with Mike Tyson, I think it will be all right. I could make it the excuse for the brevity of this post. That would not be honest. Truth is that I can't find words to express the vastness of the Divine economy of the Church of Christ. Several beloved composers have tried to do it in music  -   first those monks who wrote the Plainchant Requiem, then Victoria, Mozart, Dvorak, Berlioz -  and I list Verdi and Faure, even though they were not believers.

I think Victoria is my man, but then that is for another day.

God bless all here,

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

O Quam Gloriosum est Regnum - Victoria

"Oh! how glorious is the kingdom wherein all the saints rejoice with Christ; they are clothed in white robes; they follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth."
Feast of All Saints - Magnificat Antiphon at Second Vespers.

November 1, the Feast of All Saints

"Almighty and everlasting God, it has been granted to us to celebrate on this one feast, the merits of all Your saints; we pray that through this great host of our intercessors, You would pour out on us the longed for abundance of Your mercy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who being God, lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, for ever and ever. Amen"
(Collect at Mass - translation from Saint Andrew Daily Missal, 1962)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Spiritual Motherhood

Please note that at the top of the right hand sidebar here, I have begun to transfer links to blogs and sites of specific interest to Spiritual Mothers and their friends. The above image comes from the original booklet published by the  Congregation for Clergy at whose site the full text can be found.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

That blasphemous Paris play: Cardinal Vingt-trois ignores Christian revulsion and condemns violent protests of 'integriste-lefebvrists'

The Cardinal, in an interview with Radio Maria, said he had not seen the play. Oh, come on your Eminence, do you really expect us to believe that you don't know that this play involves desecrating the face of Christ with human excrement? We are not interested in your partisan battles with the 'Integristes'. By all means, if you must, then take this opportunity to have a crack at them, but what we really wanted to hear from you was an absolute condemnation of the play itself. As Catholics we expected you to defend and build up the body of Christ in a Europe that is falling to pieces.

To say the least, not impressed; to say the most, devastated.

Meanwhile on the other side of 'La Manche', we have the good bishop of Shrewsbury, giving heart to our priests. Thanks be to God.  An episcopal bench is only as loyal to Peter as is the nuncio of the country in question. Prayers always for Archbishop Mennini and for his French.equivalent.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

'If I only had time'? Well, you'll get an extra hour tonight as long as you don't forget to put your clocks back.

Noel Coward once famously mused on 'the potency of cheap music'. I think this is a fair example of the phenomenon. Saint Ephraem knew a thing or two about it. He would have changed the words only minimally and turned it into a hymn of love for the Holy Trinity.

Back to plainchant on Tuesday!

Anyway God bless, and don't stay up too late.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

'High Master' Pope Benedict takes the boys on a 'school journey' to Assisi

First instruction for the journey, 'No fighting at the back!'

Later instruction at Assisi, 'No fighting whatsoever, ever.'

Palestrina - Missa Brevis - Kyrie

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

The Eve of 'Assisi 2011'

Trust our Holy Father:

'I will do everything I can to make a syncretistic or relativistic interpretation of the event impossible.'
Pope Benedict to his friend Lutheran pastor Peter Beyenhaus in a letter dated March 4, 2011.

The letter also makes it clear that the Holy Father knew that the only way he could control the event, which would have been celebrated in any case, was by going to it himself.

See here and here

Also I think he wants us to understand the train journey as a better witness of pilgrimage, than a plane or helicopter flight. He is due to arrive in Assisi at 9.45am after a journey of an hour and a half. So, be with him in prayer from about 8am tomorrow morning,(7am UK time) and in the meantime God bless you, and sleep well..

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Important footnote to last night's post

The events described last night took place several years before I met my husband. He knows all about them, and of their importance to me. They have not affected or diminished the happiness of the 23 years of marriage with which God has blessed us, and for which we continually give thanks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

'Love hurts', recorded by the group 'Nazareth' in 1976

The song is raw, and disturbing in its raging and impotent agony.. It certainly expresses how I felt in 1976 when I gave up 'the love of my life', and then my father died. It took me thirty years to get over those losses, but then in 2006, I began to learn what Christ's Love is really about. No words can begin to convey my gratitude for the beginning and continuing of that healing knowledge..

I think my credentials as a Gregorian, Polyphonic, Latinist are well known here

So I do hope the next post doesn't shock too much!

Spititual Mothers Community Room News 2 Three of the recent best to warm your hearts.

1.Cardinal Piacenza on 21st century priests

2. Study finds Priests leading happy healthy lives

3. Dr. Jeff Mirus takes the long view on dissenting priests, and a very hopeful and positive view it is

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Holy Father at work with cat

h/t to Catholicism Pure and Simple.

Unfortunately I don't think this was taken at the Vatican, although it could just be at Castel Gandolfo. It's probably at one of those places on his travels, where a cat was supplied to keep him company. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Spiritual Mothers Community room News 1: Irish Vocations

ZENIT - Got a Vocation? An App to Help You Find Out

Since I posted this, Fr Gabriel Burke has put up more details on his blog.
See here

Thank you Father. It's so heartening to see these initiatives being reported, particularly after all the recent negative news.

With the assurance of prayer for you and for the Church in Ireland,

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Susan, er, what did you say her name was?...................

Of course I know it, but am not going to print it here.

Thanks to 'Reluctant Sinner' and 'Protect the Pope' for keeping us informed this day about the ignorance, at best, of this poor female, and what has happened as the result of her deeply inflammatory, defamatory  and totally inaccurate remark about our dear Pope.

Surely, those who are against him in the Church, will realise that this kind of  ill-informed idiocy will not help their cause.And I think that those outside the Church who are determined to denigrate him, have begun to 'shoot their bolt'. Well actually, I think that began in the build up to his visit to the UK last year. There was media 'over kill' beforehand, and then people saw for themselves that a great lie had been told to them. People have to buy newspapers, or at least I think they still do, but I suspect that the British mainstream media knows that in 2010 if forfeited the trust of its captive readership.

Ms SS is way off the mark.

More on this as the moment dictates. God bless all here.

In Christo pro Papa

Loving Pope Benedict to bits - literally!

Official title of this clip - 'Benedict XVI embraces Mother Veronica Berzoza, founder of Iesu Communio. Rather I'd say, she embraces him in the emotion of the moment. It didn't surprise me as she had already spoken of her love for him during her earlier Testimony at the meeting of New Evangelisers. His response is typically warm and gracious and it is clear from Mgr Ganswein's expression that she has not overstepped the bounds of propriety. All the same, being English, it shocked me a bit at first!

Three cheers and many prayers for Bishop Michael Smith and his Diocese of Meath, Ireland

ZENIT - Irish Diocese Gets Taste of 2012 Eucharistic Congress

Monday, October 17, 2011

Eve of Saint Luke: Barbara Bonney "Laudate Dominum" Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Saint Luke, pray for us.

Spiritual Mothers of Priests:The Oasis welcomes a new feature

Some Oasis readers may know that I have another blog that is supposed to concentrate on news which is of specific interest to Spiritual Mothers of priests and their friends.(link in right hand sidebar here) When it started, the Oasis was not half as busy as it is now, and over recent months I have been constantly worried by not having the time to maintain the other blog. I've therefore decided to bring the Spiritual Mothers into the Oasis. From now on any news which is relevant to them will appear here and not on the original Spiritual Mothers blog. I'm not going to delete the site. It has many relevant links in its sidebar, and even though I may eventually find time to duplicate them in the right hand sidebar here., I'll probably leave things as they are over there.

The last week has gone by very quickly and really I could have done with more time off to catch up spiritually and practically, but then as a retired teacher, I am used to that sensation! As it is, My intention was to post about this weekends events connected with the New Evangelisation, but the Vatican site has already published the Holy Father's promised Motu Proprio on the subject of the 'Year of Faith'. Studying that has taken up the rest of my spare time today. My only fear is that certain types of priests and bishops will give as little attention to it as they have done to some of his other initiatives. I pray that this fear proves to be unfounded.

God bless and preserve our dear Pope Benedict.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Week's retreat from Blogging but DV when I get back, probably 'There'll be some changes made'....

I hope to be back next Monday, and no, I'm not sneaking off to Father Z's blogfest at the Coal Hole in the Strand, more's the pity. Oh and I'm not, as the song says, gong to 'change the way I strut my stuff'.  That might prove a tad undignified! Just a few adjustments but definitely not in style or content. In any case there's a lot on my plate at the moment and I need the space. If you can spare a Hail Mary for us, Colin and I will be most grateful.

God bless all here.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Living through 'Lepanto II', 2011. Yes, now in the third millennium!

As you can see, the painting below is not of the Battle of Lepanto but of St. John Bosco's dream  of the 'Barque of Peter' and the two pillars towards which the Holy Father is trying to guide her. (They are seen there on the horizon, the one pillar surmounted by Mary our Blessed Mother and the other by the Blessed Sacrament. I for one believe the saint's dream to have been prophetic. I should be surprised if any readers here are unfamiliar with it.  (For brief background, read here. ) The link leads you to an enlarged version of the painting and you can clearly see which part of the dream it depicts. The dead Pope lies on the deck. His successor has taken over. I am not going to invite opinion about when 'Lepanto II' began, but sure as eggs, we are up to our necks in it now.

If the Battle of Lepanto took place as the response of Christendom to the gravest peril in her history at that time, what now? It was a single naval battle that took place in a specific geographical area on a particular date. Now it is very different and it is worse. Christendom is attacked not only by the Ottomans, but by the secularism, atheism and hedonism  of the West, and from within her own fortress. And any day we can read  over our morning coffee what the dissidents have said a few hours earlier. It is a cancerous and sprawling horror. That is what we are called to fight in 'Lepanto II'..

440 years after Lepanto we are facing an even more grave peril. Pius V, who called the Church to prayer at a time when news of his exhortation must have taken some time to get through, apparently 'knew 'of the Lepanto victory  before the confirming news got through to him a fortnight after the battle. He reigned only six years. Our dear Holy Father Benedict has already reigned longer. But his task is incomparably more complex. 

Saint Pope Pius V, Our Lady of Victories, Our Lady of the Rosary pray for our Holy Father Benedict and for us, his flock.We are in that churning sea. We must fight. And we will do it with the help of your Rosary.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tomas Luis de Victoria - Ave Maria

The eve of Our Lady of the Rosary 2011: The 1,000th post on the Oasis.

This blog was three years old on September 20th. Thank you dearest Mother for helping me to keep going during those years. Every time I ask, you still keep saying, 'Do as He tells you'. Every day at Adoration, I give my 'Yes'. The blog will continue unless that 'Yes' demands that it be silenced.

I beg your prayers and now go to find some special music and an image to mark this day.

God bless all my readers and also the SPPX leaderhip as they enter into deliberation this weekend. I have never been, and do not intend to be, affiliated to the Society in any way, but it is clear to me that our Holy Father longs for their reconciliation. I can never forget that as Cardinal Ratzinger, he wept on the day that
 Archbishop Lefebvre changed his mind.

'All shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well.'

Prefect of Congregation for Clergy in LA, and on St Bruno's day, hats off to the King of Liqueurs

Cardinal Piacenza in LA takes fearless swipe at the 'We are Church' brigade.
ZENIT - Profile of a Priest

Rorate Caeli has  a  pointedly good extract too..

Have a holy and happy feast of Saint Bruno - a day which we traditionally celebrate with a post-prandial glass of Green Chartreuse, the king of liqueurs and the most effective digestif ever invented. Thanks be to God and to the monks of the Grande Chartreuse.
Aside from the usual bottle and its famously strong contents, there is another even more powerful version. I don't know whether it is still available but it used only to be supplied on special order from the monastery. I can't remember what alcoholic proof it was but the monks recommend it be treated with great respect and taken on a lump of sugar like a vaccine!

 Saint Bruno, pray for us.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Fr. Barron comments on Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Germany

This is very, very good. Father concentrates on Pope Benedict's addresses to the Bundestag, and to the Ecumenical Council. Also, if you haven't already found them, Fr Lombardi's comments on the address to Seminarians are highly recommended.  See here

'Os iusti meditabitur sapientiam' -Gregorian Chant

Gradual from today's Mass, 1962 Missal
The mouth of the just shall mediate wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgment.
v. The law of his God is in his heart and his steps shall not be supplanted.

Have a holy and happy St. Francis' day.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pope Benedict's visit to Germany: Part 5: girl altar servers, reception of Holy Communion, and who's been blowing the Roman pipe of rumour'?

Girl altar servers:
I don't intend to rehearse the argument about  girl 'altar boys'. They are licit in Germany and the Holy Father, who never has them in Saint Peter's would have wanted to avoid the almost certain outcry there would have been had he banned them from his German liturgies. But at least one wished that some taste had been exercised when it was decided what they would wear, particularly at a Papal celebration. The 'girls' at the Berlin Mass (and with Dylan Parry I wondered whether they were in fact grown women) must have been deeply devoted to their 'serving' role and completely lacking in worldly vanity, in order to wear such ugly garments, which looked as if they had been salvaged at the last minute from the used flour-sack pile at the local mill or bread factory. The result was to make the girls stand out as proverbial sore thumbs. I am sure that cannot have been the intention of the 'organisers'. My commenter, 'Genty' suggested that a general feature of this trip was that girl servers outnumbered boys. I can't say I noticed that and haven't had time to check the videos, but if he is right it would lend weight to the argument that the minute girls enter sacristy and sanctuary, boys tend to make themselves scarce.

The manner of receiving Holy Communion:
The fact that most of the German faithful received in the hand was quite startling. There can only be two reasons for this. One, an ignorance of the Holy Father's example and teaching on the matter, or two, a determination to ignore those things, either in complete disagreement with him or in the belief that listening to the Holy Father is a mere option.. This above all (apart from at Erfurt Cathedral) showed the German Church to be stuck firmly in the 70s and 80s. Since Pope Benedict began his practice of giving the Host on the tongue to kneeling faithful, there has been, and continues to be, a steady increase among congregations at his publicly televised Masses in Italy and other European countries, of those who are following suit. His teaching by example is being seen to work. But not in his native land. Germany is definitely far out on a limb.

Papal resignation?
Even before the Pope left Germany the rumour about his intention to resign next year on his 85th birthday had begun to circulate and was said to have its source in the Vatican and to be doing the rounds there. Why was this rumour publicised at this particular moment? I do think it was by design and not by accident.

Here are my instinctive and considered answers:
1.The Vatican is well known to house its own 'gossip shop', and the people who involve themselves with it rarely, if ever, act for the good of the Church.

2. Only the most naive would imagine that there is not in the Vatican, a group which is opposed to Benedict's vision for the future of the Church.

3. Using quotes from 'Light of the World' and from Mgr Georg Ratzinger's recently published book, 'Mein Bruder der Papst', they manage to hint that the Pope will resign. Of course they would have been well-pleased if the German trip had been a complete disaster. 'Well tough that it wasn't' they say, 'but let's circulate the rumour anyway'.

4.This rumour is so negative and potentially damaging because it frightens the truly faithful who know of the Holy Father's increasing physical frailty, and because it encourages those who are more concerned about the election of his successor and trying to influence the next conclave in a modernist direction. In short it is potentially wounding to the Body of Christ. The above makes me suspicious of this rumour and those who have launched it.

As Shakespeare said:
 'Rumour is a pipe
Blown by surmises, jealousies, conjectures'
and I for one am among those who 'will stop the vent of hearing when loud Rumour speaks'.
At the beginning  of Henry IV Part II, Rumour admits thus of himself:
'Upon my tongue continued slanders ride
The which in every language I pronounce
Stuffing the ears of men with false reports.'

'Genty' also laments that the Holy Father looked so weary and resigned in Germany, in contrast to his energy and positivism when in the UK last year. I think this is explained by the fact that he saw the UK as new territory for evangelisation and that inspired the effectiveness of his visit to us. In Germany, sadly, he knew what awaited him and what to expect from his own.

When he got back to Rome he was quoted as having said at last Wednesday's General Audience that the visit had been 'a feast of faith'. I couldn't remember his having said that and checked the recording. I could not find that quote. I did find in his speech to the Evangelical Council that he had said their meeting was 'a feast of shared faith'.

Pray, pray, and pray unceasingly for our most Holy Father..

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pope Benedict's visit to Germany - Part 4: 'Censored' (?) Papal speeches and powerless or blighted Bishops?

The speeches of the Pope that were not televised live:

Perhaps the Vatican self-censored its own cameras because it was nervous about the manner in which the Pope would be received. From a Catholic point of view it is therefore extremely difficult to know whether the visit was a huge success or not. It is a ground for some concern that the reduced live programming was perhaps the result of intervention from internal German Catholic groups, but I tend to the opinion that it was probably the Vatican that curtailed the comprehensive nature of the coverage. This was strikingly obvious when compared with the very much more open presentation of all the other trips of his pontificate.
We still do not know how these groups received his speeches. German and non-German mainstream reporting has been bitty and, as we have regrettably come to expect, sometimes ignorant and inaccurate. However we can only be grateful to the Holy See that it has published the texts of all these speeches. Taken together they give a thorough overall picture of the Church's relationships with Jews, with Moslems, with the Orthodox, and with non-Catholic Christians, particularly as they have developed in Germany since the end of the second World War. And who better to give such a concise and telling history lesson than Joseph Ratzinger who lived his adolescence and then 60 years of priesthood through the entire epoch in question?

Turning now to the speeches to Catholic groups, the one to Seminarians was the most beautiful. How is it possible for a man to be so forceful in the points he makes and yet to be so gentle and loving?  I regret that we weren't able to see the reaction of these men. And even the implied criticism in the speech to the Council of the Central Committee of German Catholics did not come over harshly but as an important warning all the same. Pope Benedict acknowledged that the Church in Germany is "superbly organised", but he went on immediately to ask, "is there a corresponding spiritual strength?" And he went on, "If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective."  Basically the message was, 'You are too big and too impersonal. Get small.' This reminded me so much of Cardinal Ratzinger's reservations about Bishops Conferences, as they appeared in 1985. (The Ratzinger Report pages 58 ff.) In the last full address before the departure ceremony, to Catholics engaged in the life of the Church and Society, the Holy Father spoke of  'change'. He most definitely was not thinking of the kind of change longed for by progressives, that the Church must 'get with it', abolish celibacy, start ordaining women and allow the homosexual lobby to force a redefinition of marriage. He did not mention any of these things but powerfully quoted Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who replied when asked what should change in the Church , "You and I". As I understood it both she and he were talking about that constant inner personal  conversion that with God's grace should characterise our earthly pilgrimage. Neither was talking about the above-mentioned wished for changes in doctrine and practice.

And the entire programme of our Holy Father's speeches and homilies in Germany was shot through with the precious golden thread of his pontificate. Namely: No active apostolate will be truly and fully fruitul unless it is based on prayer and closeness to the Face of Christ, adored in the Eucharist.

The attitude and influence of the German Bishops:

I didn't know a lot about the post-conciliar Church in Germany before this morning's study exercise at the Vatican website, that is apart from the exasperating Hans Kung, and the fact that the Central Committee of German Catholics is thought by some to be the most powerful and wealthy (?) lay organisation in the world.  I am now a lot better informed, thanks to our Holy Father, about religious belief and lack of it, in his native land. I didn't expect the Berlin Mass to be wonderful, but as you know I was shocked rigid by it. Archbishop Woelki,who is very young at 55,  has only been in possession of his See since August this year. He has not yet (according to Wikipedia) received his pallium. He looked uncomfortable and miserable throughout the Mass. I felt quite sorry for him. He is a 'Benedictine' appointment and I wondered at the time whether he felt dreadful about presenting such a spectacle and such awful music to the Pope. Also at the time, the feeling began to grow that the German bishops have willingly or otherwise ceded their control to the laity. This feeling grew steadily as the Holy Father's visit unfolded. By the time I found Peter Seewald's lament that the 'organisers' of the youth vigil had entirely neglected any spiritual preparation for the event, I was more or less convinced that those organisers were not people with whom Pope Benedict (or you and I for that matter) could see eye to eye as far as prayer and the liturgy are concerned. And I wondered how many of them were lay people. The other thing that jarred constantly during the trip, Mass outside Erfurt Cathedral being the only exception, was the insistence on the part of most people of being more concerned to look for themselves on the big screens and to wave inanely at the camera when they spotted themselves. There was hardly any sense of reverence or absorption in what was going on at the Altar. The Pope and the bishops probably didn't see this pathetic display, for which thank God, but for those of us who had to watch this childish narcissism, it was  distracting and deeply disturbing. Conversely, one little girl wept, I think at the beginning of the prayer vigil, and I wept with and for her..

Of course some of the bishops may have approved of the over-loud and shallow music and I noticed two or three of them joining in with the 'lyrics'.  Men in mitres and chasubles shouldn't be allowed to embarrass themselves and us in such a way.

One can only pray that the bishops who do not like the way things have gone will be able to get this huge and ugly genie back in the bottle.

Cat feeding time here, and then cooking. Last post of this series as soon as I have time.


Up since first light and still running behind time

Spent the morning studying all those missing German speeches of the Holy Father on the Vatican website. Quite an eye-opener for me, I can tell you. They make me feel even more let down that we were not able to receive them live. There is a video link to all of them and from the two I have watched, it is clear that they were conducted behind closed doors. Cameras were indeed excluded. We therefore have very little idea about the atmosphere of interaction at these meetings, or of how the Holy Father's words were received.

To be continued later. Will probably have something up by tea time, with prayers for the help of my Guardian Angel!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Feast day of St Therese of Lisieux

Father Mark Kirby is posting a triduum in honour of Saint Therese. It can be found through the sidebar here, at 'Vultus Christi'.
Have a holy and happy day everyone, especially those members of The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma who are meeting at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen today in response to Fr Tim's kind and gracious hospitality. I am so sorry I cannot be there, but am offering prayers for a fruitful meeting and a happy blogfest afterwards.

(Part 4 of my series on the Holy Father's German visit will follow tomorrow, DV. It's a short working day here, and the available time must be mainly devoted to domestic responsibilities . I leave for Mass at 6pm. So a late supper at about 8pm.)

Friday, September 30, 2011

Pope Benedict's visit to Germany: Part 3 Some more reflection on questions raised in Part I

4 Virtual silence on the Erfurt Mass

The occasion was a  perfect example of how to celebrate  and adorn the Mass of our truly Holy Father, in accordance with the teaching by example and precept, that he has continually given during his pontificate. If you missed it, I do encourage you to watch it. Here is a link to kto. (Instructions on how to reach the right page are given here because the direct link doesn't work. I promise you that your efforts will be rewarded. Bad memories of the Mass in Berlin will be wiped away. You will not be distracted from prayer as you watch. Erfurt is at the geographical heart of Germany, and if this Mass is anything to go by, it is at its spiritual heart too. Thank God Pope Benedict will have this to remember from what will probably be his last visit to his native land.
(Instructions: a) When you reach kto click Programmes in left sidebar menu
b) click the first choice 'Programmes de la Semaine' c) click 'semaine precedente' along the top of screen choices. Then will come up the schedule for the week 19-25 September d) click 'SAM' i.e. Saturday
e) Scroll to 08.53 Voyage du Pape - Messe du Saint Pere a Erfurt  f) click the rectangular button with an arrow inside which appears to the right of the programme time and title.)

I have not seen any complimentary remarks about this Mass, which is a matter of great perplexity to me. Apart from anything else it showed that it is possible, when the will is there,  to have an outdoor Mass with huge numbers of people in attendance, without descending into the Woodstock/Glastonbury mode. The people of Erfurt knew their Cathedral Square was small, so they built vertically against the Cathedral's south external wall to accommodate their several excellent choirs. Also it was a stroke of genius to have the cathedral doors open, and apparently the sound of its majestic organ  being relayed outside, with the cameras giving intermittent shots of the cathedral interior. The impression was of a people clinging to their church with love, honour and thanksgiving. Far from being sidelined and forgotten, the ancient and holy building was made an integral part of the celebration. When the great medieval bell rang out at the end, it seemed to sing of Erfurt's, and indeed of the Holy Father's message to the world. 'He who hath ears to hear, let him hear.'

5 The many unbroadcast meetings

Below is a list of the meetings which kto did not televise according to their original schedule.
a) with the Jewish community
b) with the Moslem Community
c) the Ecumenical Celebration was televised, but not the meeting with the Ecumenical Council that preceded it.
d) the meeting with Orthodox
e) the meeting with Seminarians
f) the meeting with the Council of the Central Catholic Committee (not to be confused with the final meeting before departure with active Catholics.)

Also there was no reportage of the Pope's meeting with the German hierarchy, although such reportage was never advertised or promised.. The meeting with  French bishops in 2008 at Lourdes was televised, as was the meeting with the UK bishops at Oscott last year. Why were the German bishops spared this public exposure. Perhaps the Pope was going to say something very stern to them and it had to be kept private to spare their blushes, if indeed some of them have any blushes to spare. I will say that the Bishop of Berlin looked miserable on Thursday night, but was clearly visible at all the other liturgical events in Erfurt and Freiburg, joining in with the Latin bits and all that.......................

I can't remember the first meeting it was that kto had expected to televise, and then found that it could not, probably c) above. They did announce at the last minute that they would not be able to cover it because 'the cameras have not been invited'. After that they gave no reason and made no excuses for not sticking to their originally published schedule. Was it the Vatican that kept them out, or who was it? We will probably never know. Perhaps these events were considered too sensitive. It should also be noted that kto has always presented such meetings in full. In the UK the almost minute by minute live streaming was superb. Why was the German coverage so 'edited' ? Comparison with the UK experience made it stand out as very odd indeed. I am no conspiracy theorist, but it is hard to avoid the feeling that the coverage was 'censored'. Someone, or some group, was being protected, or protecting itself, and it certainly wasn't the Pope. The Vatican website has the texts of all his speeches at the meetings listed above, which I have not yet had time to read, but as far as I can see there is no clear record of what actually happened at these meetings..Not good.

To be continued in Part 4, DV tomorrrow.  I had hoped to get further than this today but persons from Porlock have punctuated the daylight hours and there are 5lbs of tomatoes on the kitchen table waiting to be dealt the morning. I hope to be back with you by tomorrow afternoon.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Pope Benedict's visit to Germany: Part 2 Some possible answers to questions posed in Part I

1. The Berlin Mass.
On further reflection I've become increasingly convinced that Pope Benedict and his Master of Ceremonies were at least half-prepared for this Mass. Regardless of what the German Bishops may or may not have said beforehand, the Pope must have been perfectly well aware of the state of the Church in his native land. He knows all about the power of that Central Committee of the Catholic laity and its Council. Apart from anything else he is extremely close to his brother and reads the German Press. The question is, why did he not allow Mgr Marini to attempt control of matters, as happened before the UK visit? Of course Mgr Marini may have managed to tone things down a little, but to the outside world, the Mass was nothing less that an insult to the Holy Father and proof that those who run the Church in Germany disagree with his teaching on liturgy and assume a right to ignore it. Many of the grass- roots laity, who feed the wealth of the German Church,  seemed completely ignorant of that teaching, .

My reflection therefore leads me to ask another question. Perhaps I was almost right in my post on the morning after the Mass, when I suggested that the Holy Father may have said to Mgr Marini, 'We'll have to let them do this.' Now I am wondering whether he added, 'We must let them tell the truth about themselves'. Our Holy Father is in constant search for the TRUTH. He would not want to be a willing part in its misrepresentation. Maybe he wanted orthodox Catholics in the rest of Europe to see what he and they are up against.

2 & 3. The absence of Adoration and Benediction from the Youth 'Prayer Vigil and the louche decadance of the 'cabaret' that was performed in their stead, thank God not in the presence of the Holy Father.

With the memory of Hyde Park and more recently of World Youth Day still fresh in the mind, this was a real shock. One had been confidently looking forward to what has now become a familiar scene, that of the Holy Father leading a silent multitude in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. The first sentence of his address to the German youngsters bolstered that confidence because he referred to WYD and said said that he 'hoped' he would be able to repeat that special moment here with them in Freiburg. His hope was not to be fulfilled, and one is left wondering whether something happened during the course of the event that made him think better of it. I have tried to watch the entire event again on kto, but found to my astonishment that contrary to their usual practice they do not supply a video of the full event. In fact all you can see is a four minute resume which is the sum total of what the kto bosses judged fit for repetition in posterity. Considering the beauty of the Eucharistic Adoration from the Holy Father's Lourdes visit in 2008, I am not surprised at their decision. (Indeed Pastor in Valle, ' Il faut que la France survive.')

At the time, I thought it was a fatal mistake to have all this crass pop performance stuff while the Pope was present.(At Hyde Park, it wasn't so crass, and in any case all took place before the Holy Father arrived. Once he did, the atmosphere changed utterly.)
The following lament from Peter Seewald's interview about the German Papal visit, linked on WDTPRS this morning, speaks volumes: 'As a preamble to the youth meeting at Freiburg organisers gave young people the chance to vote on various  topics such as women priests and homosexuality, leaving out any spiritual preparation for the event.'

As it was, the Holy Father seemed acquiescent enough during the lighting of the candles, and he reminded them when he spoke that they had just 'imitated' the Easter Vigil. Who knows how many of them knew that that was what they had done. It still at that point seemed a perfect introduction to Adoration and Benediction. The Holy Father left and one thought he had gone to vest in a cope and to bring Our Lord back with him. It did not happen.

What took place instead  was an absolute disgrace. German youth was appallingly let down by those 'organisers'. I still thought we were waiting for the Holy Father to reappear, but then  a rather rough looking male individual came on wearing huge white wings and something, I cannot remember exactly what, clamped to his head. As I watched I began to feel as if I was in some Berlin 'boite de nuit' of the Sally Bowles era. At this point I began to pray with all my might that the Holy Father had called it a day and gone off to have a late supper. Worse was to come. With the 'white winged' person there was a troupe of half naked male adagio dancers, who began to climb all over each other. Now I know the skills involved in this kind of performance. I am no prude; I know the theatre and all its many styles. Some of you may recall that both straight Drama and musical theatre were areas  of expertise during my long career as a teacher and performer. But in this horrendous German aberration a limit was reached and passed.

But before that, I think Benedict XVI had changed his mind about bringing the Lord into such a snake-pit. Don't know when it happened or what exactly caused it . But something happened, I am sure.

Part 3 tomorrow: (In which one will be forced to consider the role of the media both of the Church herself and of the MSM)

4. Virtual Silence on the Erfurt Mass
5  The many unbroadcast meetings
6. The attitude/influence of the German bishops
7. Almost complete lack of effect of Pope Benedict's example regarding reception of Holy Communion
8  The timing of talk about his possible resignation
9 Failure to be realistic about his increasing physical frailty

Also to be considered: the power of a laity out of control;  German Catholicism: rich and routine; and. looking at the camera.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pope Benedict's visit to Germany: Some as yet unanswered questions. Part I

1. Why was the music and general manner of the Eucharistic celebration in Berlin permitted to be so very much contrary to the Holy Father's ofttimes indicated preferences?

2. Why was there no Adoration and Benediction at the youth 'Prayer Vigil on Saturday night? A remarkable and deeply sad omission, surely?

3. Why was that dreadful dance drama performed after the Pope left, rather abruptly I thought? (If you didn't have the misfortune to see it, I'll describe it later on in the second part of this post.)

4. Why has the Mass from Erfurt earlier in the day, not been hailed as the best demonstration of reverent liturgical and musical excellence of the entire trip? (It was superb. The Sunday morning Mass was good, but even that was spoiled by a thumping syncopated piano at the Introit, and at other points..

5. Why were more of the Pope's many meetings not televised as scheduled?

6. Why did the German Bishops judge that the rest of the Catholic world would approve of the way the German church showed itself to the Holy Father?

7. Why were they apparently happy to show to us, even if the Pope didn't see, that his example about the reception of Communion is unknown or ignored in  Germany?

8. Why has this moment seemed the right one to raise the issue of whether Pope Benedict might resign next year when he reaches his 85th birthday?

9. Why do normally observant commenters keep insisting on the Pope's physical resilience when in fact it is clear that he is increasingly frail? I posted recently, with link to video proof about a fall he had at CG after a private concert, and there has been a recent photo of his walking with a stick. He nearly fell at the end of his last meeting in Germany but nobody remarked it at the time or commented on it later, at least not as far as I have been able to ascertain.

I hope to attempt sensible answers to these questions tomorrow. In the meantime, I've no doubt that my readers will be ahead of me.     .

Stetit Angelus (gregorian offertorium)--Palestrina

For the celebration of tomorrow's Feast of SS The Archangels Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. I pray you will all have a glorious day and will be able to partake of 'The Bread of Angels'.. This recording is the best and the most appropriate I could find on You Tube, given limited time available  for the search, and the fact that the new order crams the great Archangels together on the same day. Such a terrible shame!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The History of St Vincent's -

The History of St Vincent's - Solly Street, Sheffiled

I post this mainly for my own records. There is a picture of the High Altar in front of which I was received into the Church in 1962. I had to wait three years because of my father's opposition. He gave in when I was 19.

Anyway it is a valuable record of Catholic history in South Yorkshire.

Saint Vincent, Saint Louise and Saint Catherine Laboure, pray for us.

The Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul

I 'met' Saint Vincent for the first time in 1959. As a middle of the road Anglican at the time, I didn't know there had been any saints since the death of the last Apostle!  I was sixteen years old. I thank God for His great mercy, for Saint Vincent, for his Congregation of the Mission and for the Daughters of Charity who brought me into the Church.

I trust you have all had a happy and holy feast day..

Having been recently knocked sideways by the deaths of two people who are close to me, and some of the liturgical horrors that took place during the Holy Father's visit to Germany, I hope to be able to post again either tomorrow or Thursday.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Tonight's Mass in Berlin:

 What a liturgical and musical 'carve up'. I thought Mgr Krajewski would explode at one point. Mgr Guido Marini kept his cool, but how did it get past him? He must be chewing his pillow tonight. Or perhaps the Holy Father said beforehand, 'We'll have to let them do this.' And so they were all able to endure it.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Pope meets with Jewish community in Berlin

Pope meets with Jewish community in Berlin

 Just for the record, since kto tv had the meeting in their schedule and then didn't broadcast it.
Doesn't tell you much does it. Just a load of catholic prelates as far as  I can see. But as I say, just for the record.....

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Ireland, you have been robbed of the mass!

Very many thanks to Richard  Collins for posting this video at 'Linen on The Hedgerow' this morning. I'm reposting it here because I think as many people as possible should view it, whether or not they have seen it before.

Click here to read Richard's post.

Of course for forty years I mourned the almost complete loss of Latin from the Church's liturgy. However what is really upsetting in this clip is the Abbot's repetition of his Father General's instruction from Rome, namely that the Mass was from now on to be seen as a 'symbolic ritual'. When this is repeated to the gathered faithful it is like watching their Catholicism being brutally ripped from them.


Pope’s Brother Discusses Holy Father’s Love for Liturgy, Learning and Simple Joys | Daily News |

Pope’s Brother Discusses Holy Father’s Love for Liturgy, Learning and Simple Joys Daily News

Read Edward Pentin's piece for the National Catholic Register.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pope addresses agnostics in a televised speech in Germany

Pope addresses agnostics in a televised speech in Germany

14th Sunday after Pentecost (Sermon, 9/18/11)

14th Sunday after Pentecost (Sermon, 9/18/11)

Father Mark's first podcast Sermon.
Wonderful to HEAR his words and his voice.

Great interviews on EWTN with Deacon Nick (Protect the Pope) and David Kerr

Listnen here to their moving and fascinating memories of Pope Benedict's visit to Scotland and England last year.
Thanks to Deacon Nick for the link.
btw Towards the end of the programme Cardinal O'Brien certainly proves that he 'knows his oatcakes'! He seems to have been well prepared for the Ganswein proviso!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Casablanca La Marseillaise

Definitely an unintended post.

Here, dedicated in gratitude to 'Pastor in Valle' for his current series on the history and character of the French, is one of my favourite filmic moments of all time. I must have seen it at least 100 times. It still brings me to my feet; it still makes me weep. And of course laugh, when Claude Rains in his final line of the clip, finds an excuse to close Rick's Cafe. And then has his 'winnings' handed to him by a passing waiter. Of course 'The Marseillaise' itself is part of the commemoration of that horrifically brutal Revolution. But it is a glorious tune and some of the words are truly inspiring. Oh yes Father, France must survive.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Stabat Mater (Pergolesi) - Emma Kirkby

For tomorrow's memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows:
Kirkby and Bowman directed by Hogwood.

It may have since been bettered, but not to my knowledge.

Why doesn't the leadership of the Catholic church in England truly follow the Pope?

There are many possible reasons, political and ideological.. But until they change their tune, I mean really change it, and put unity with Peter as their supreme goal, I'm afraid we will continue to flounder. I am sick at heart that our Pope continues to say one thing whilst the BCEW goes on saying something quite different. Liturgically they seem determined to oppose him. Why? I don't know. I am an English Roman Catholic, before I am an English catholic person.. I don't want to be critical of Archbishop Nichols, but he just doesn't command the same loyalty as that I bear toward our Holy Father Benedict.XVI. He could of course command that same loyalty.........

Enough for tonight. A bit depressed as you can no doubt tell. Sorry.

New blog by Sean Gough

Link to his blog here
Welcome to the Catholic blogging family, Sean!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Christus Factus Est - Felice Anerio

Westminster Cathedral Choir - Gradual for tomorrow's Mass - Exaltation of the Holy Cross

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Bach - Cantata BWV 140 - Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme: Pope Benedict's favourite Cantata

(Munich Bach Choir)

"I remember a concert performance of the music of Johann Sebastian Bach - in Munich in Bavaria - conducted by Leonard Bernstein. At the conclusion of the final selection, one of the Cantate, I felt -  not through reasoning but in the depths of my heart - that what I had just heard had spoken truth to me, truth about the supreme Composer, and it moved me to give thanks to God. Seated next to me was the Lutheran bishop of Munich. I spontaneously said to him, "Whoever has listened to this understands that faith is true"...

Pope Benedict from his General Audience catechesis August 31st 2011
(Full text here)
Later addition: It's a less than satisfactory translation. Need to comment in a later post.

Friday, September 9, 2011

"The Pope is almost a one-man proof of the existence of God"

 The present Pope that is. So says William Oddie in the UK Catholic Herald. It's a shame that I can't link the relevant post because its title is too long. (The second time this has happened recently.) I'm not sure that Dr Oddie is aware of this technical  obstacle to wider and more easy dissemination of his thoughts.  However the full title of the post is as follows: "AT 84 THE POPE IS PREPARING FOR A GRUELLING VISIT TO GERMANY WHICH WOULD EXHAUST A MAN 30 YEARS YOUNGER.. HOW DOES HE DO IT? WELL, THERE'S AN ANSWER TO THAT.." You can link to the Catholic Herald in the sidebar here and find the post in the Comment and Blogs section. I suggest in all humility that the subheading, used as the title of this present post here, would have been more grabbingly effective as a headline. Do please take the trouble to find it because it is well worth reading. Dr. Oddie certainly 'gets it' as regards our dear Pope Benedict.

On reflection, I'll have the courage of my convictions and strike the word 'almost' from this post's title!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Salve Sancta Parens (Feasts of the BVM, Introit)

In celebration of the Birthday of Our Lady - with the monks of Solesmes. Have a holy and happy feast day everyone.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Where is the Crossdrum Chalice? Let us do all we can to help get it back to Ireland for next year's Eucharistic Congress.

My Irish readers will probably know more about this chalice than I do and I hope they will forgive and correct any inaccuracies in the following details.

Apparently the chalice was found in Co. Meath in the mid-19th century close to the skeletal remains of a priest who is now believed to have been a relative of St. Oliver Plunkett. Between then and now it is thought to have been handed on from person to person and eventually found its way to America. There is a group in Dublin at the moment who are trying to locate its whereabouts and bring it home for the Eucharistic Congress next June.

My mother-in-law, Kathleen, who lives in Dublin, celebrated her 91st birthday today, and she told me about the chalice during our phone conversation last night. She gave me the name of an American Jesuit who has researched and written about the chalice, one Rev. Dr Thomas Gaffney-Taafe. She doesn't have a computer but I promised to surf the web today and see if I could find more details. No success so far, no wikipedia page, although I did find mention of Fr Taafe in connection with the subject.

On Saturday Kathleen is going on a week's pilgrimage to Assisi and Padua. When she gets back on September 18th she will send me all the details she has about this chalice and the personalities involved in the story.. I will post them here then. In the meantime if anyone knows anymore details, they will be gratefully received in the combox here. If you prefer confidentiality please email me at

Our Lady of Knock, pray for the Church in Ireland. Amen

Monday, September 5, 2011

Swing Time - Rogers and Astaire: Pick yourself up, Clip 2 ...........

and after....................

Walk Kansas Encouragement - Pick Yourself Up, Dust Yourself Off, Start A.: Fred Astaire learns to dance....:

Sorry, just couldn't resist a couple of clips from the Film Swing Time with Fred and Ginger
Clip 1: Before...........i

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Concierto 31811:The Pope falls at Castel Gandolfo, but picks himself up, dusts himself off and starts all over again! Deo gratias.

Many thanks to Mary for this link. The Holy Father's obvious concern for Cardinal Bartolucci is particularly poignant, since he himself falls up the step just prior to leaving the courtyard. He rights himself quickly having landed on his knees and you'll miss it if you blink. The crowd gasps and then breaks into cheers of relief when it is clear the no injury appears to have been sustained. It doesn't seem that the Vatican has reported or commented on the incident but judging from today's Angelus everything seems to be all right. I was glad to see that Mgr Ganswein was at the window when the Holy Father left and was probably helping him down the step(s) from the window.  

Something beautiful for Sunday: the recent Bartolucci concert at Castel Gandolfo

Coming shortly DV

Friday, September 2, 2011

Who was St. Gregory the Great? Benedict XVI tells us in his own words

On the Eve of the Feast, have a holy and happy St. Gregory's day everyone.
Don't you just love it when our Holy Father says something, in all innocence, about some great saint, that strikes one as an accurate description of himself! (for example the last sentence in the above video.)

Thursday, September 1, 2011

ZENIT - 22 New Seminarians Start Studies in Ireland

ZENIT - 22 New Seminarians Start Studies in Ireland

I very much hope that Fr Gabriel Burke will offer on his blog, an interpretation/explanation of the figures for the past few years as recorded in this Zenit report. Simplistically, I wonder if Father can tell us whether these 'new' seminarians are of a 'dissident' complexion, or are they 'Twomey/Benedict men'?

Catholicism by Fr Robert Barron

One I recommend as a priority for your shopping list. Can be preordered at Amazon and will be published September 6. It's advertised at £13.49 but if the price reduces between now and publication date, you will pay the lower price if you have preordered.  Pre-order price at is $18.09

Vatican Radio - New Evangelisation part 1: A Pope and his students

Vatican Radio - New Evangelisation part 1: A Pope and his students

Father Twomey gives this interview. As we hoped/expected he was present at Castel Gandolfo for the meeting of Pope Benedict with his former doctoral students.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

My response to an Interview with Archbishop Nichols on WYD 2011

Too true Your Grace. Thank you. It is so good to hear you say that we should 'pay attention' and 'listen very carefully' to the Holy Father, not just youth, but all of us, bishops and laity alike. Thank you particularly for restoring Friday abstinence and for your encouragement of Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. May we now look forward to some more developments in England and Wales that would also be a sign that the Pope's teaching and vision for the Church are being acted upon in full earnest?. I'm thinking particularly, though not exclusively, of seminary selection procedures and the design of the curriculum in those institutions.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Mons. Guido Marini - The Papal Master of Ceremonies [of Pope Benedict XVI]

A special thank you to Monsignor Guido Marini and Monsignor Konrad Krajewski for their tireless and devoted service to the Sacred Liturgy and to the Holy Father, particularly during the recent WYD.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Trying to catch Benedict XVI's personality and effect in a single phrase.

During WYD some loyal Catholic journalists and bloggers have attempted to do this. Were there a prize for the best effort, it would surely have to go to Madeleine Teahan of the UK Catholic Herald who described him as a 'meek man of mighty action'. Even so it  would be just as true if the words were reordered to read, 'a mighty man of meek action'. But as Damian Thompson said on Holy Smoke, she is definitely a young writer to watch. Trying to explain Pope Benedict's success with the young, Damian also said he thought it was due to his 'grandfatherly charm' and 'spiritual message'. The young Ordinariate Deacon Bradley who sang the Gospel at the opening liturgy, described Benedict XVI as 'truly a shepherd and pastor and his very person emphasises that'. These three quotes are all true, but somehow none of them  completely encapsulates the loving humility and greatness of our present Pope. The one person whom I would have hoped to be able to do this is the frequently excellent Elizabeth Scalia,, aka The Anchoress. But she disappointed me, writing that she felt that 'our introverted little professor pope is starting to enjoy these large gatherings'. I'm sure she meant it to be affectionate and there may even have been irony here, but the effect is to diminish the Holy Father. To start with, the word introverted according to my dictionary describes the psychological condition of a person 'who is interested chiefly in his own mental processes and his standing with other people, this making him shy and unsociable'. Pope Benedict may be shy, but certainly not for the reasons that the use of that word would suggest. And he is certainly not unsociable. He is deeply concerned about the individuality of each person who is presented to him, as is constantly attested to by those fortunate enough to have experienced such close encounter with him. His 'grandfatherly charm' is not something shallow, assumed or accidental. It is part of his nature. Young people recognise how genuine this is and that he is truly a profoundly  spiritual grandfather to them all. In an age when the family is so fragile and under attack from all sides, there could not be anyone better fitted than Benedict XVI to fill this role in our times. I am convinced that is a large part of the reason why the young flock to the shelter of his arms. He may be relatively little in physical stature. But he is a humble giant in his professorship, in his teaching of the Faith. But even that pales into insignificance when you are in his presence. Whatever your age, you become conscious of being blessed and drawn into  that special something that emanates from him in almost tangible waves, almost visible beams of light. It is, I believe a gift of the Holy Spirit. Its name is love, not just any old love, but the truest, soundest love we can ever know, namely the merciful and compassionate Love of Jesus Christ our Saviour.

As the seminarian said to him when welcoming our Holy Father to Madrid Cathedral before he offered Mass there, 'May God preserve you for the good of the Church'.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

WYD brings 160 million euros into Spanish capital

The figure is the estimate of the Madrid Chamber of Commerce. Has anyone noticed any reports of 'climbing down' being done by the relatively small number of protesters, to whom the media has given so much coverage?When featuring the good financial news this morning, the UK Catholic Herald could only find a report in Spanish. It ought to be a major headline across the world. Is it? If not, why not? Has Reuters sent out the news only to be ignored by the mainstream secular media? Or hasn't it? Reuters itself has behaved inaccurately and irresponsibly, reporting that there were one and a half thousand at the Vigil on Saturday! Even if one allows that this ludicrous underestimate was perhaps the result of a careless error, it is the kind that should never be made by a global news agency, which up until now has commanded unquestioning trust and respect.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Complain to the BBC about its 'coverage' of WYD in Madrid

Like Fr Blake I do not pay the fee. I don't even listen to Radio 4. I only know what the BBC is up to from reports on the Internet. Everyone who reads this blog must already be informed enough to know that the Corporation follows an anti-Christian, anti-Cathollic agenda. As Fr Blake also says, it probably won't make the slightest bit of difference, but it is our urgent duty to register a complaint. Here is the address, given to me by 'Et Expecto' in my combox this evening:

Friday, August 19, 2011

Ave Maria - Tomás Luis de Victoria

In celebration of the Holy Father's meeting with Spain's young University Professors at the Escorial Monastery of Saint Laurence this morning. It certainly beat last September's Strawberry Hill gathering into a three cornered hat!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spanish economy set for gain, not pain as result of WYD

All the mainstream media reports I've read this week emphasise Spanish protests at the cost of the event. Not one has mentioned the benefit to the Spanish economy of the six-day spending presence of over a million young people in Madrid. One has the impression that Spain is boiling over with resentment against the Church and against the Pope. As in Britain before the Papal visit, the media are giving priority coverage to relatively very small groups. In spite of this it all turned out very differently. I hope observers of the British experience remember it when reading these reports about Spain.

It was therefore with great pleasure and relief that I read 'Catholic Culture' this morning. Please go there and absorb a few simple facts in order to readily counter the anti-WYD bleatings you may hear from those who are still in thrall to the once respected Reuters,  and NYT for instance. If there are people who are determined to ignore, or to place no value upon, the spiritual benefit of WYD and the Christian witness of this vast assembly of young people, then  it is their sad loss. The media also seems unwilling to highlight WYD as presenting a very different face of modern youth from the one recently shown in the UK riots. How encouraging is the faith and witness of these young people. The media may ignore them. We do not. We admire and support their efforts to secure Faith, in and for their future. It is our duty to support them in their hope.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Holy Day Restoration: Pt 2: The need for a return to the full truth and practice of the Catholic faith

In his letter to Julia Ashenden, Archbishop Nichols could only offer two argumemts in favour of moving  certain feasts, from their 'correct' liturgical days to the nearest Sundays. Both arguments are pragmatic and are presented as a solution to a perceived problem, although he does not elaborate on its roots and nature. On the surface the solution was supposed to be seen as making things easier for people as they struggled with 'the pressures of economic life' and for priests under the stress of running a parish singlehandedly.

Plainly, what the bishops really wanted to address was the falling Mass attendance on Holy Days. I mean the figures were out there and could not be hidden. I'm not convinced that the decline in attendance happened as the result of 'the pressures of economic life', if by that His Grace means the need of many people to be at work rather than getting up an hour earlier, or going to Mass on the way home from work.. It is more likely
(imho) that fewer and fewer people went to Mass on those days, because they no longer felt that it was sinful not to go. As Archbishop Nichols himself affirmed in an interview, I think with the Daily Telegraph, in 2010, 'the old language of mortal sin, for example, was a misguided attempt to motivate the faithful'. Aside from the fact that this 'old language' is still used in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, even if you agree with the Archbishop, and surely if you no longer use that language then it is your duty to find another way of motivating the faithful. Has this been done? I don't see any great sign of it. I cannot remember the last time I heard sin mentioned, mortal or venial, from an English Catholic pulpit, or the last time I heard an exhortation to pray for the soul of the deceased at a Catholic funeral. (The above observation is based on long personal experience of Mass attendance in Sussex, Devon and several districts of London. It is backed by the witness of friends in those same areas and in the dioceses of Portsmouth, Birmingham, Southwark and Clifton.).  The major drive seems to have been to make people feel secure and comfortable in the faith in the hope that as a result they will flood the churches. Well no, actually they haven't. One could argue that they have just gone on being less and less rigorous with themselves, more and more self indulgent and lukewarm in faith.. Many of them, and over several generations, have never had the full faith preached to them, and many, particularly those who were part of the Anglican influx in the immediately post 1992 era, seem to have been received without full instruction. From the bishops' point of view, I think that this can be explained, to some extent by several historical, ecclesial and socio-political factors.

Fifty years ago it seemed desirable that British Catholicism should come out of the ghetto and be seen no longer as some exotic alien sect whose members had more loyalty to the Pope and Rome than to the Queen and the lands of their birth.  They and their bishops did feel the need for acceptance at 'home'. I lived through the period and I understood that motivation. Then came all the changes in Catholic practice following Vatican II, the gradual loss of Christian faith and the secularisation of Briitsh society at large. Catholic leaders increasingly went for the ecumenical option with the Church of England. ARCIC may have faltered on certain doctrinal differences but in fact the Roman church  whilst holding onto its doctrines, in practice did much which had the effect of concealing them, in the organisation and presentation of its churches and their practice. (I sometimes wonder whether that was the reason why the blatantly inaccurate translation of the Mass was accepted.)  Further, Catholics themselves have not seemed aware that Anglo-Catholics themselves split into two groups (at least). The first major group stuck with tradition and the second aligned itself with the 'spirit of Vatican II'.

If I go into most Catholic churches in England (and in France) it is like going into a low church of England - the type I left at my conversion to Catholicism. The differences then were plain to see, and most of them sprang from the Catholic belief in the Real Presence of Christ on the altar in the tabernacle. Now those differences have largely disappeared. Our Lord has been pushed out of the way to a side chapel; there is no  lamp in the main sanctuary; no communion rail etc. etc. Many people no longer genuflect towards that side chapel as they enter the pew.  Catholic identity sank further and further below the parapet.

I am not surprised that there is a crisis of faith in the Real Presence. Constant chipping away at the externals has undermined the belief they represent.

Then the C. of E. threw in the bombshell of women's 'ordination'. What on earth was the point of ARCIC anymore?

So, returning to 2006, what did our good bishops do? Did they really address the  problem of low Mass attendance on Holy Days? Did they determine on a church-wide mission to properly catechise the faithful? Did they instruct their priests to preach the meaning and importance of these days, and that we go to Mass, first and foremost because we love it and not because it is a duty. We go, glad of an extra opportunity to adore, thank and contemplate the mysteries of our faith in God? I don't know the answer to those questions. But I know from Archbishop Nichols' letter that they appealed to Rome to dispense English and Welsh catholics from attending Mass on 3 Holy Days. They wanted to leave the days as they were and just remove the obligation. Rome wouldn't wear it as the Archbishop attests. It all seems like the line of least resistance and a misguided attempt to go along with the 'zeitgeist'. It is weak, and above all it is a negative reaction. I simply do not see how you can hope to strengthen faith whilst telling people to do less than they have always been expected to do before.

The visit of Pope Benedict does appear to have given, (at least some) bishops fresh courage, but to reintroduce Friday Abstinence will seem a rather contradictory act UNLESS the Holy Days are restored. Of course there is one difference in the two obligations. Obedience to the Friday abstinence rule cannot be monitored in the same way as can Mass attendance. Non-observance of the first will surely mean a visit to Confession. Ah, Confession! - another practice that has gradually been allowed to fall into lack of regular use
Back to that lost sense of sin which I remarked on earlier.

Before completing this post I read the August 12 'Praytell' blog on Aquinas and the sins of the blogosphere. It is considerations of this kind that make Catholic blogging most sensitive and dangerous. Indeed there are some bloggers who are probably guilty of these sins listed as follows: defamation, backbiting, detraction, tale-bearing and derision. As you know I fight not to fall into them myself, and when I have, I always feel rotten afterwards, and say so. But I think that most of us are fired by love of our Lord and of the Faith He left us and there are times when we rant in anxiety and frustration that both are being discredited and inadequately defended by those who have authority or influence in the Church. We know the Faith we were taught and thank God that it continues to shine in the teachings of our Pope. Pray for him, for all our bishops and that we may celebrate Epiphany, Ascension and Corpus Christi on their correct days in future. And please write to your bishop begging him that these Holy Days be restored.

I leave you with a closing quote which has particular reference to Corpus Christi.
"The Pope (Urban IV) asked St Thomas Aquinas to complete the mass and Office, and in 1264 published a Bull commanding observance of the feast and its date, but he died shortly afterwards. Succeeding popes took great pains to secure celebration and the Council of Trent spoke of it as a triumph over heresy. Almost from the beginning, the custom of carrying the Blessed Sacrament in procession was part of the ceremonial. The feast became popular possibly because this allowed the faithful to witness publicly to their faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, and to proclaim their gratitude to God for the spiritual benefits it brought to them." (Copyright Jane Mossendew 'Crown of the Year' Continuum 2005)

This still holds true, if last September's Hyde Park Vigil is anything to go by. So please your Lordships, restore Corpus Christi as well as Epiphany and Ascension. Its resonance in the Catholic mind is equal to, if not even greater than, that of the other two feasts.
A holy and happy feast of the Assumption to all here.