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.