Monday, 30 June 2008

Seminary of the future?

YouTube's finest. Enjoy :-)

"Orthodox and mainstream"

The Times has today run a rather long article entitled "Come all ye faithful", which lauds the Catholic Church in the UK (although focusing almost entirely on England and Wales) as "thriving", something which I'm sure we can all take pride in.

Alban McCoy, a Franciscan and chaplain at Cambridge University, implies that this current Catholic revival is enjoyed partly due to the chaos which seems ready to tear apart the Anglican "inclusive" church experiment. Further, the delightfully named Fr. Terry Tastard of Holy Trinity Church (Brook Green, London) speculates that as many as five hundred Anglican clergy may seek to convert if the CofE goes ahead with its plan to consecrate female "bishops". One can't help but feel that the Anglo-Catholics have been truly isolated; they are clearly opposed to the liberalism of Anglicans of the UK and the US, and yet they merely a convenient ally for the burgeoning ultra-protestant evangelical wing finding a voice at GAFCON in Jerusalem.

But I digress. The paper immediatley hits upon the winning formula. Father Peter Geldard, of the University of Kent sums it up thus, "Its orthodox and mainstream". Praise for Benedict XVI's recent moves is also present, mentioning a thriving "Tridentine" Mass at the Brompton Oratory.

My favourite part of the article was by far the description of Timothy Radcliffe O.P. as "that perculiarly Dominican phenomenon, an orthodox radical." Orthodoxy is clearly the key remedy to the Church's woes.

The effects of Catholicism's revival, the great Benedictine voyage to rediscover Roman Catholicism's identity are already being felt, Fr Alban McCoy of the "dynamic" Cambridge chaplaincy says "we've had to buy extra communion hosts... we had 15 converts this year. And we've had 14 vocations to the priesthood and religious life since 2000." If this sounds like a drop in the ocean to you, dear reader, the good news is that the trend appears to be spreading.

In 2003, in England and Wales, a phenomanally low 23 people entered the seminary or religious houses. Last year the number had risen to 44.

Let's hope these trends continue!
Deo gratias!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Another pretty liturgy picture :-)

From the Toronto Oratorty. Don't you love the Bishop's chasuble?

Thought you'd like this:

SS Peter and Paul; Roman style!

A beautifully dignified entrance.

Seven candles. Not a "Two Ronnies" sketch.

A view of the new-old-new-old... the Benedict XVI pallium.

Ut unum sint! The Patriarch is a captivating man. I was listening to him speak last night on the CTV broadcast from the solemn vespers. He is a man who the Holy Father can "do business with."

Kneeling. Tongue. Paten.

Need we say more?

Saturday, 28 June 2008

SS Peter and Paul

"I say to thee: That thou art Peter; and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And whatsoever thou shalt bind upon earth, it shall be bound also in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose upon earth, it shall be loosed also in heaven."

"Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, ... according to the spirit of sanctification, by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ from the dead; By whom we have received grace and apostleship for obedience to the faith, in all nations, for his name; Among whom are you also the called of Jesus Christ."

Sunday June 28/29

Solemntity of SS Peter and Paul, Apostles

Collect: Lord our God,
encourage us through the prayers
of Saints Peter and Paul.
May the apostles who strengthened the faith
of the infant Church help us on our way of salvation.
We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ,
your Son, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

From "":

Veneration of the two great Apostles, Peter and Paul, has its roots in the very foundations of the Church. They are the solid rock on which the Church is built. They are at the origin of her faith and will forever remain her protectors and her guides. To them Rome owes her true greatness, for it was under God's providential guidance that they were led to make the capital of the Empire, sanctified by their martyrdom, the center of the Christian world whence should radiate the preaching of the Gospel.

St. Peter suffered martyrdom under Nero, in A.D. 66 or 67. He was buried on the hill of the Vatican where recent excavations have revealed his tomb on the very site of the basilica of St. Peter's. St. Paul was beheaded in the via Ostia on the spot where now stands the basilica bearing his name. Down the centuries Christian people in their thousands have gone on pilgrimage to the tombs of these Apostles. In the second and third centuries the Roman Church already stood pre-eminent by reason of her apostolicity, the infallible truth of her teaching and her two great figures, Sts. Peter and Paul.

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


SYDNEY (AFP) — Catholics attending a mass by Pope Benedict XVI in Australia will be handed condoms by protesters angered by his opposition to contraception, homosexuality and abortion, organisers said Tuesday.

The protest will be staged by the NoToPope Coalition of Christians, atheists and gay groups during Catholic World Youth Day celebrations expected to draw hundreds of thousands of pilgrims to Sydney next month.

"We will march to be with the pilgrims to hand out condoms to the pilgrims, the Catholic youth," spokeswoman Rachel Evans told a news conference.

"(We will) say to them, 'Take up the campaign within the Catholic church to allow the Catholic church to promote condoms'," she said.

Evans said the peaceful protest would condemn the pope's stance against condoms, homosexuality and abortion, describing the pontiff as "a bigot" over same-sex relationships.

A pastor from Sydney's Metropolitan Community Church, Karl Hand, said the pope was misrepresenting Christian views.

"I'm compassionate towards people who need condoms, who need abortions, who need all sorts of recognition of their relationship and it's just not being provided by this massive worldwide church," he said.

"A lot of the views being taken up by the pope are anti-humanity in general, so that's upsetting."

The coalition includes the Metropolitan Community Church, Atheists Sydney, Community Action Against Homophobia and the Socialist Alliance, among other groups, the statement said.

The coalition plans to hold a public rally in the city on July 19 and then march toward Randwick Racecourse, where pilgrims will be gathering for a papal mass the next day which is expected to draw 500,000 people.

The five-day celebration of Catholic youth has been billed as a major boost to the economy of Australia's largest city, attracting up to 125,000 international visitors.

But there has been a stream of grumbles over the event's cost, its impact on businesses as well as the inconvenience it will cause the city's residents.

About 26 percent of Australia's 21 million people described themselves as Catholics in the most recent census, while 19 percent said they had no religion.

Priests take note!

Remember this from January?

Novus Ordo can look great too! :-)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Closer and closer

From the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations:


Domenica 29 giugno 2008, Solennità dei Santi Apostoli Pietro e Paolo, il Santo Padre Benedetto XVI celebrerà l’Eucaristia, alle ore 9.30, nella Basilica Vaticana, con la partecipazione del Patriarca Ecumenico Bartolomeo I.

Il Patriarca Ecumenico e il Santo Padre terranno l’omelia, reciteranno insieme la professione di fede e impartiranno la benedizione.

Concelebreranno con il Santo Padre i nuovi Arcivescovi Metropoliti, ai quali il Pontefice imporrà il sacro Pallio preso dalla Confessione dell’Apostolo Pietro.

Rough translation:

"Holy Mass of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul presided by the Holy Father Benedict XVI with the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The Holy Father Benedict XVI will celebrate the Eucharist at 9:30 on Sunday the 29th of June 2008, the Solemnity of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, with the participation of the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I.

The Ecumenical Patriarch and the Holy Father will deliver the homily, recite the profession of faith, and impart the blessing.

Concelebrating with the Holy Father will be the new Metropolitan Archbishops upon whom the Pontiff will bestow the sacred Pallium taken from the Confessio of the Apostle Peter."

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Nazir-Ali to boycott Lambeth '08

The reporter once dubbed "the blood-soaked ferret", Damian Thompson of 'Holy Smoke', has broken the gripping news that the Anglican Bishop of Rochester, Pakistani-born Michael Nazir-Ali, will be boycotting the meeting of Anglican Bishops at Lambeth this summer.

The following is taken from Mr Thompson's blog:

The news that Michael Nazir-Ali, Bishop of Rochester, is boycotting the Lambeth Conference is a seriously important story. Bigger than anything happening at Gafcon.
Nazir-Ali is building a creeping power base inside the Church of England among ordinary churchgoers. That makes his absence from Lambeth a really high-profile setback for the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Rochester says he is staying away from Lambeth in protest at the presence of pro-gay bishops; other evangelical bishops may follow suit (and I reckon the numbers would be even larger if Nazir-Ali didn't annoy his colleagues so much with his self-importance).
But - and this is the crucial point - Nazir-Ali's popularity in England has very little to do with anti-gay sentiment. It's almost entirely the result of his brave stance against the creation of islands of Sharia law in Britain.
To me, by far the most shocking episode in the Church this year has been Dr Williams’s call for the extension of watered-down Sharia, and his slippery attempt to extricate himself from the controversy. The Pakistani-born Nazir-Ali has caught the mood of the nation as no other bishop has; his boycott of Lambeth will remind us all that the C of E has utterly failed to grapple with the challenge of radical Islam.
I hope Islam will loom far larger on the agenda of the Lambeth Conference than the issue of homosexuality. At any rate, bishops, fasten your stoles: we’re in for a bumpy ride.

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Deo Gratias!

One hundred posts and still going!

Exams, holidays, laziness; none have been able to prevent this blog continuing. I even have a few people reading it. Hopefully there'll be even more posting during the summer months as I have more free time on my hands. :-)

Valle Adurni

I would advise any readers who do not already do so to consider reading that most eminent Catholic blog "Valle Adurni". Of particular note today, is this post, detailing aspects of patriotism, obedience, and the martyrdom of SS. Thomas More and John Fisher.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Saint Alban

Albanum egregium fæcunda Britannia profert
("Fruitful Britain holy Alban yields").

From Wikipedia:

Alban sheltered a Christian priest (Geoffrey of Monmouth's later interpolation giving his name as "Amphibalus", the name for the cloak) in his home, and was converted and baptised by him. When the "impious prince", as Bede has called him, sent Roman soldiers to Alban's house to look for the priest, Alban exchanged cloaks with the priest and was arrested in his stead at Chantry Island. Alban was taken before the magistrate, who was furious at the deception and ordered that Alban be given the punishment due to the priest if he had indeed become a Christian. Alban declared, "I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things." These words are still used in prayer at St Albans Abbey. St Alban was eventually sacrificed to the Roman gods and was condemned to death. He was taken out of the town across the River Ver to the top of the hill opposite. The reputed place of his beheading is where St Albans Cathedral now stands.

In June 2002 a clavicle (collar bone), believed to be a relic of St Alban, was presented to St Albans Cathedral and placed inside the saint’s restored 13th century shrine. The bone was given by the Church of St Pantaleon in Cologne, Germany. St Pantaleon's, like St Albans Cathedral a former Benedictine abbey church that had a shrine dedicated to St Alban, has possessed remains believed to be those of St Alban since the 10th century. It is entirely possible that further relics were acquired by the church in the 16th century at the time of the Dissolution of the Monasteries in England, when many such relics were smuggled abroad to prevent their destruction. St Albans Abbey was dissolved in 1539.

I have a relative who lives in a small village outside modern St Alban's, and during a visit earlier this year I was privileged to visit the Cathedral. I will readily admit that I am not easily impressed by Cathedrals; the close proximity of Durham Cathedral, one of the most beautiful structures ever built by man, sort of spoils the rest. However, I can honestly say that St Alban's Cathedral took my breath away. The first thing you notice is the sheer length of the nave and chancel.

The next thing one notices, upon entering the cavernous interior of the cathedral, is the stunning array of primitive wall paintings. The medieval paintings found on the pillars of the nave (highlighted) are truly remarkable, and each was originally above a small stone altar at which Benedictine monks could say Mass individually.

I believe that this last picture, above, is situated next to the Shrine itself and may depict St Willaim of York. It reminds me of the painting of St Cuthbert in the Gallilee Chapel of Durham Cathedral, above the tomb of St Bede, which is shown on the sidebar of this very blog :-)

When thinking about the circumstances of St Alban's noble martyrdom, his selflessness, and his testimony to the fact that there is indeed "no greater love" than to "lay down one's life for one's friends", I find it hard not to draw parallels with the martyrdom of St Maximillian Kolbe. Both victims of a tyranny. Both exchanged their own lives to save another. Both brought such glory to God by doing so.

Millenia apart, God called each to a painful vocation of martyrdom, and each responded with such unlimited and self-giving love as to seek to imitate Christ's own.

St Alban!

Ora pro nobis!

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Now THIS is advertising!

Stolen from Forest Murmurs

Northumbrian Water is starting to treat churches as businesses rather than charities and charging churches for the amount of area (i.e. roofs and car parks) that will collect rainwater and discharge it into the sewer network. This could raise most churches’ water bills by hundreds if not thousands of pounds - especially any with extensive roofs and lots of gutters.

The Bishops of Newcastle, Durham, and Hexham and Newcastle have already written to Northumbrian Water and OFWAT and to local MPs about this issue but unfortunately with no effect- Northumbrian Water say that they are acting within the rules and making a change in this area would disadvantage their other customers. There is now an online petition asking the Prime Minister to instruct water companies to change their policy. Please register and pass this email onto anyone else you think will sign it. The petition needs at least 15,000 signatures to be noticed and at present stands at about 4,300 so responses are needed as soon as possible and not later than July 7th. You can register your name on the petition by clicking on the link below:

Friday, 13 June 2008

A tasty treat: Anglican fudge

Have a look :-)

OK, so its a little bit odd. But it makes a point...

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Long time no... er... blog...

The last time I posted, I used one of these.
Dear readers,

With exams set to finish in just under a week, I will soon resume regular blogging. Although I have little time to write anything substantial now, I'll be reading other blogs, and will be curious to find any new ones. If you're reading this, and haven't got your (blog's) name in the list to the right, comment and I'll put you up. Unless I don't like you. But that almost never happens...

Normal posting will resume shortly. Keep checking back here, and soon you'll start to see some gloriously regular posting.
In Christ,