Wednesday, 30 April 2008
Some parts of the world have to wait until Sunday, and sadly I fear H&N may be one of them. However, I will write this for the universal Church. :-)
A very happy Ascension Day to all of you.
I'd just like to take this opportunity to welcome the new readers I've noticed over the last week or so, and to apologise for the lack of substantial posts recently. We're moving into exam season at school, so obviously I have to prioritise, as much as I'd rather blog! Facebook seems to eat into my free time too...
Anyway, a few thoughts on the Ascension:
As Christians, the Ascension is one of the most vital elements of our Faith, as shown by its prominence in the Creeds. It is perhaps Christ's greatest testimony to his own Divine mission and victory; that the Passion and death which he endured for us, and the Resurrection which we continue to celebrate in this Easter Season were the means by which Christ has conquored all for us and for the Father. The Ascension can be likened to the Father's seal of approval. This is not a chariot of fire for a faithful mortal, this is not the beggar's bliss with Abraham, it is even more glorious than the Transfiguration, for Christ ascends in his own right as God the Son to be enthroned in glory in Heaven. It is a clear and profound testimony to the sovreignty of Christ, to whom all authority on heaven and earth has been given over, and who will come again in glory. Jesus was the Messiah that nobody could have predicted, the suffering servant who won the Kingdom not in military might or a political Utopia, but through his own apparent failure, and ultimately his own death. After the Resurrection, Christ's ascension into heaven is a clear sign that Jesus of Nazarath is the Christ, and is the Father's only begotten Son. It points to the promise of heaven for those who believe in him. It is the sign and promise of our Christian hope.
Sunday, 27 April 2008
Thursday, 24 April 2008
Speaking to the Bulgarian magazine Christianity and Culture, Bishop Hilarion said, “We must realize that Orthodox and Catholic believers are no longer rivals. We are allies. The rivalry must be gone once and for all. If we understand that, proselytism will stop.”
The bishop said that “romantic ecumenism,“ which he said characterizes the World Council of Churches and the Conference of European Churches, is not viable. He said that many Protestants have created a “light version of Christianity, without apostolic succession, without sacraments, without strict dogmatic teaching and what is also important they don't require sticking to Christian moral norms.”
He said this version of Christianity, when it revises Christian theological or moral teachings to become more “modern” or “politically correct,” becomes “a direct way to spiritual death.” He said this version of Christianity had stopped recognizing centuries-old sins, and now even promotes them.
Bishop Hilarion’s statement comes just days after Pope Benedict addressed an ecumenical gathering in New York where he also denounced versions of Christianity that contradict apostolic teachings. At the gathering of about 300 people, the Pope said that Christian churches which change their beliefs by so-called ‘prophetic actions,’ often use a method of interpretation that is inconsistent with Scripture and Tradition.
The Holy Father added that this causes those interested in Christianity to become “understandably confused about the Gospel message itself” because they see Christians splintering and disagreeing about the beliefs of the faith.
Wednesday, 23 April 2008
John Henry Newman was born in 1801. As an Anglican priest, he led the Oxford Movement that sought to return the Church of England to its Catholic roots. His conversion to Catholicism in 1845 rocked Victorian England. After becoming an Oratorian priest, he was involved in the establishment of the Birmingham Oratory.
He died in 1890 and is buried at the oratory country house Rednall Hill.
The Catholic Church has accepted as miraculous the cure of an American deacon’s crippling spinal disorder. The deacon, Jack Sullivan of Marshfield, Massachusetts, prayed for John Henry Newman’s intercession.
At his beatification ceremony later this year, John Henry Newman will receive the title “Blessed.” He will need one more recognized miracle to be canonized.
The case of a 17-year-old New Hampshire boy who survived serious head injuries from a car crash is being investigated as a possible second miracle.
George was 'discovered' by English crusaders in the Holy Land, and became associated with England's crusading nobility, and eventually found favour with the Plantagenet Royal House. Through the devotion of the King and his courtiers, George came to be adopted as the patron saint of the Realm.
Of course, the Kings retained their own Royal Arms, pictured above and below, reminding everyone of their Norman heritage. (Two lions for Normandy, the third added by Richard Cour-de-lion during his reign in the twelfth century)
So today is a very English day, and is often ignored in a very English way too! In defiance of the Anglican dean of Southwark, I'll defy political correctness (or even ecclesiastical correctness) and post the words to a national treasure:
And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?
Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.
Sunday, 20 April 2008
As London prepares to go to the polls, and the rest of the nation groans under the weight of the collective ego of those Londoners who think that anybody outside the capital actually gives a monkey's, we Northerners can find comfort and a quiet but glowing sense of superiority in the latest verbal outpouring of professional waste-of-space Boris Johnson, pictured above with an even more useless hangover of man's complex evolutionary process on his right.
The hapless Tory candidate for London's mayoral elections has put his foot in his exceedingly large mouth again. Speaking on the BBC's Asian Network, the simpleton toff spoke thus:
"I'm down with the ethnics. You can't out-ethnic me. My children are a quarter Indian, so put that in your pipe and smoke it".
As much as I have no interest in the London (yes, that's right BBC, stop beaming us news about it in the North East!) elections, I can only say that if the good folk of London are mindless enough to elect this walking-timebomb, then they deserve what they will inevitabley get. He will make Caligula look sane.
Saturday, 19 April 2008
Pope Benedict yesterday addressed the general assembly of the United Nations, an organisation which he praised, calling it a "centre for the harmonising of the actions of nations". He spoke of the "common goals of peace and development", going on to challenge the UN in the words of Pope John Paul II to be a "moral centre" and a "family of nations."
He explained that even if the "universal objectives" of the UN "do not coincide with the total common good of the human family, [they] undoubtedly represent a fundamental part of that good."
He went on to speak about human rights and the rights of "the person as image of the Creator." He spoke of the UN's founding at the end of the tempestuous Second World War, in which "natural reason was abandoned", leading to the "(gross) violation..(of) human dignity."
The Pope also spoke of religious freedom. "The full guarantee of religious liberty cannot be limited to the free exercise of worship, but has to give due consideration to the public dimension of religion, and hence to the possibility of believers playing their part in building the social order." This in particular is clearly a challenge to countries such as Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China who continue to routinely persecute Christians.
Pope Benedict even managed to use the 'J' word:
"In my recent Encyclical, Spe Salvi, I indicated that "every generation has the task of engaging anew in the arduous search for the right way to order human affairs" (no. 25). For Christians, this task is motivated by the hope drawn from the saving work of Jesus Christ. That is why the Church is happy to be associated with the activity of this distinguished Organization"
The New Liturgical Movement has hinted that the Pope may soon announce the beatification of John Henry Cardinal Newman. According to the prominent blog, the Pope is expected to make the announcement in a few weeks time, with the ceremony to take place in Rome around October. More news when I hear it.
-Reactions to the Pope's visit to the US
-Biographies of local saints. (Why wait until the often-forgotten feast days?)
-Posts about the state of English Christianity.
And much more :-)
Friday, 18 April 2008
Thursday, 17 April 2008
Wednesday, 16 April 2008
"In news stories with a "conservative Catholics" angle, the church's most faithful frequently mention the nightmare of Mass as it was in the decades after the Second Vatican Council. Loaded words like "hippie" and "total mess" and "Brady Bunch" get thrown around."
Tuesday, 15 April 2008
Monday, 14 April 2008
Sunday, 13 April 2008
Confessiones, Book IV, 15
Thursday, 10 April 2008
A Dominican martyr. He was born in Rivoli, in Piedmont, Italy, and entered the Dominicans. Captured by Moorish pirates, Anthony became a Muslim and married. After a few months, he repented and put on his Dominican habit to preach Christ's message. As a result, Anthony was stoned to death in Tunis, in modem Tunisia.
The Blessed Virgin as depicted by El Greco
Hymn to the Virgin by Sir Walter Scott
Ave Maria! maiden mild!
Listen to a maiden's prayer!
Thou canst hear though from the wild,
Thou canst save amid despair.
Safe may we sleep beneath thy care,
Though banish'd, outcast and reviled -
Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
Mother, hear a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! undefiled!
The flinty couch we now must share
Shall seem this down of eider piled,
If thy protection hover there.
The murky cavern's heavy air
Shall breathe of balm if thou hast smiled;
Then, Maiden! hear a maiden's prayer;
Mother, list a suppliant child!
Ave Maria! stainless styled!
Foul demons of the earth and air,
From this their wonted haunt exiled,
Shall flee before thy presence fair.
We bow us to our lot of care,
Beneath thy guidance reconciled;
Hear for a maid a maiden's prayer,
And for a father hear a child!
Someone at school once composed a musical setting to this, I'll try to dig it out.
Wednesday, 9 April 2008
Wednesday, 2 April 2008
Via the Telegraph:
"Teenagers should be given the right to medically assisted suicide and the parents of terminally ill younger children should be able to choose euthanasia under proposals from members of Belgium's coalition government.
The plans to extend rules allowing doctors to perform euthanasia on terminally ill people suffering "constant and unbearable physical or psychological pain" comes amid heated Belgian debate on the issue.
Under existing Belgian laws, in place since 2002, patients, other than newborn babies, must be over 18 to qualify for assisted suicide, a situation that Bart Tommelein, leader of Belgium Liberals, wants changed.
Mr Tommelein, whose party is a key member of Belgium's coalition government, has pledged to bring forward new legislative proposals extending euthanasia to children and old people suffering from such severe dementia that they are unable to choose for themselves."
"There are more than 39 cases of euthanasia declared by doctors in Belgium every month, but the true figure is thought to be double that.
Euthanasia is currently permitted on infants and more than half of the Belgian babies who die before they are 12 months old have been killed by deliberate medical intervention.
In 16 per cent of cases parental consent was not considered. "