Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Christmas continues

2013-12-25 00.25.51

Every year I emphasise in the newsletter and the notices that the Christmas season continues until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord, and that we are invited to enter into the spirit of the Liturgy which presents us with a rich tapestry to deepen our understanding and, more importantly, our spiritual life as we reflect on the great mystery of that light which the darkness could not overpower.

There is a Flickr set of photos from our Midnight Mass at Blackfen, thanks to Mulier Fortis. I liked the above photo of the Gospel because of the panoramic view from celebrant to the Deacon chanting the Gospel towards the North. The Venerable Prosper Guéranger explains this with a quotation from the prophet Jeremias (1.14) "From the North, shall an evil break forth upon all the inhabitants of the Land." One of my earliest memories of the Mass, when I was about four years old, was my father explaining to me that the Gospel was sung facing North from earliest times to preach to the barbarians, like those in far away Britain.

Tonight, we will have Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with Benediction at midnight, accompanied by the fireworks of our neighbours which is actually quite a nice touch. We will sing the Te Deum (plenary indulgence on New Year's Eve) and tomorrow we will sing the Veni Creator Spiritus before Mass (plenary indulgence on New Year's Day.) One New Year's resolution that I have is to pay more attention to the plenary indulgences that can be gained on specific days.

Monday, 23 December 2013

FI Sisters' robust clarification

The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate have replied in a robust and dignified manner to the allegation that they have contributed to a "distorted mentality" among the Friars. Rorate Caeli has published the text of the Sisters' Official Notice of Clarification.

Rorate Caeli is providing frequent updates on the progress of the official intervention into the Franciscans of the Immaculate, a sad episode which is damaging the work of a fine Institute, and the work of the Church. Please continue to keep both the Friars and the Sisters in your prayers.

Papers for Australian Confraternity published

By the kind offices of Fr John Corrigan, Editor of The Priest, the journal of the Australian Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, the papers that I gave to the Confraternity earlier this year have been published on the website, and two of them in the current print issue of The Priest.

Here are links to the papers:
Here are links to pdf versions if you want to print them off:
The ACCC website has a rich collection of articles by a wide variety of authors and is well worth browsing. It brings back happy memories of my visit to Australia where I was made so welcome, especially by the kind hospitality of the ACCC Chairman, Fr John Walshe, but also by the generosity of many of the other priests of the Confraternity.

You should also have a look at Fr Corrigan's excellent Blog of a Country Priest.

The opposite of the "selfie"

Many thanks to a reader who sent me this timely photo of St John Baptist and the Agnus Dei, painting c.1520 from the church of Wiggenhall St Mary the Virgin, Norfolk (photo summer 2013)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Pope Francis affirms work of curial officials

Given his previous remarks about vipers, it was with some trepidation that I began to read the address that Pope Francis gave to the Roman Curia today. Many news services have picked up on the part where he warns of the danger of constantly inspecting and questioning. They have gone along with the narrative of the Holy Father constantly criticising the Curia.

However most of the address is positive in tone, illustrating a hallmark of this papacy where statements that are perceived as harsh are later moderated in other addresses. I was a little saddened by the "vipers" comment because I know priests who work at the Holy See with great integrity in an environment which can be difficult especially for those of a non-mediterranean background. As in any "Staff HQ" or civil service environment, there are careerists and dysfunctional superiors but there are also good hard-working men who have the Church's best interest at heart. So I found this passage very welcome:
[...] a very special and heartfelt "thank you" goes to those of you who have worked here for so many years with immense dedication, hidden from the eyes of the world. This is something truly admirable. I have such high regard for these "Monsignori" who are cut from the same mould as the curiales of olden times, exemplary persons… We need them today, too! People who work with competence, precision and self-sacrifice in the fulfilment of their daily duties.
The Holy Father went on to stress the importance of professionalism, service, and holiness of life, and warned against the temptation of gossip.

Spare a thought for the priests who work in the Roman Curia. It is not a job I would want for all the world but it is essential in the life of the Church that we have some sort of organisation at the centre. May they indeed be given the graces of professionalism, service and holiness.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Martin Dodwell to speak on Anne Line and Shakespeare

My good friend Fr Francis Coveney, parish priest of St Anne Line in South Woodford, tells me of an interesting event which some readers might like to know about. Here are the details.
Anne Line: Shakespeare's Tragic Muse
Sunday 2 February 2014, 3.30pm
A new biography has just been written by Martin Dodwell entitled “Anne Line: Shakespeare's Tragic Muse”. It will be of interest to admirers of St Anne Line, historians and Shakespeare scholars alike.

Martin Dodwell will be giving a talk on his new book in the Parish Hall (behind the Church) on Sunday 2 February at 3.30pm. Copies of the book will be available for sale. Benediction will follow in the Church at 4.30pm. 
St Anne Line Parish, Grove Crescent, South Woodford, London, E18 2JR
The Church is a short walk from South Woodford Station (Central Line).
The photos is from Mulier Fortis who wrote about a pilgrimage she made to South Woodford in honour of St Anne Line.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

A good point, well made

This appeared in my Facebook feed today. I thought it was a good way of making an important point to children. You might like to re-blog it.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Oath to be administered to Franciscans of the Immaculate

The Franciscans of the Immaculate have been going through a trying time recently. This seems to be getting worse. Rorate Caeli posted yesterday several documents relating the Franciscans of the Immaculate, including correspondence from Fr Volpi, the appointed Commissioner for the Institute.

We could all think of Orders, Congregations and Institutes where members have written against magisterial teaching. Occasionally there has been some intervention from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and in rare cases an individual has been suspended from teaching in the name of the Church. We all remember the furore over the polite and carefully worded report on the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The negotiations with the SSPX broke down over the nuance of an expression concerning the level of acceptance of Vatican II.

In the case of the Franciscans of the Immaculate (who have not contradicted magisterial teaching on faith or morals) their superior has been removed, their seminary has been closed, and their members are now to be asked to take an oath agreeing that the modern Roman rite is an "authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church." I hope that I am not being intemperate in describing this as rather harsh. I certainly don't recall others, whether liberal or traditionalist being asked to swear to such a specific question of fact. There are after all library shelves full of books by liturgical radicals arguing precisely the opposite: that the Novus Ordo was a a liberation from the encrusted barnacles of tradition and the opening of a bright new future for creative liturgy. Will they be administered an oath in which they must swear that it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition?

It would be reasonable to require those in communion with the Church to accept that the modern rite is, in itself, a valid rite for the celebration of the Eucharist. (Otherwise you would have to say that the Masses of Blessed John Paul, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis were all invalid.) The question of whether it is an authentic expression of the liturgical tradition of the Church is surely a legitimate matter for debate within the wider discussion of the hermeneutic of continuity or rupture. Famously, Cardinal Ratzinger described it as a "banal on the spot product": are we not allowed any longer to agree with him?

Actually, I think that the oath could be taken in good conscience anyway - the expression is capable of a range of interpretations without even the need for any mental reservation. Certainly the modern rite has many elements that have always been in the Roman liturgy, and has, broadly speaking, a traditional Roman structure with readings, offertory, canon, and communion in the traditional order. It is authentic in being valid for the celebration of the Eucharist, in being promulgated by a Pope and in being legitimate to use.

Please pray for the Franciscans of the Immaculate at this time of trial. Pray especially to Our Lady, Mediatrix, Auxiliatrix, Advocatrix and Co-redemptrix. Pray also to St Maximilian Kolbe.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Alison Davis RIP

Alison Davis was a great witness for the sanctity of human life and helped promote human life in response to calls for the legalisation of assisted suicide. Alison was born with spina bifida and suffered greatly during her life. Alison was at one time in favour of abortion and later wished to end her own life. She changed her mind on both these issues and became a great advocate of the right to life.

You can read further details at these links:

SPUC: Alison's Story
SPUC: Tribute by Colin Harte
Sister of the Gospel of Life: Alison Davis 1955- 2013
Catholic Herald obituary by Francis Phillips

Alison's carer, Colin Harte wrote the seminal book "Changing Unjust Laws Justly; Pro-Life Solidarity with the Last and the Least" (2005) in which he, with the support of Alison, championed the right to life of the smallest and weakest in contrast to the conventional wisdom of lowering the abortion time limit which would allow abortion for only such young lives.

Please remember Alison in your prayers. May she receive the reward of her labours.

Please see the Alison Davis blog for details of her funeral this Friday 13 December in Dorchester.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Golden Jubilee of Inter Mirifica

Sorry, 'Oly Father, the electromatic Ordo generator will not work properly now
because you 'ave abolished most of the commemorations and the octaves.

On 4 December 1963, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy Sacrosanctum Concilium was promulgated. Everybody is remembering that, so I decided in a contrarian moment to home in on the other document that was promulgated on the same day by Pope Paul VI, the Decree on the Media of Social Communications Inter Mirifica which I have mentioned in talks over the last couple of years. N.15 of this document said:
All the children of the Church should join, without delay and with the greatest effort in a common work to make effective use of the media of social communication in various apostolic endeavours, as circumstances and conditions demand. They should anticipate harmful developments, especially in regions where more urgent efforts to advance morality and religion are needed.
The first disk storage drive was produced in 1962, so computers were still in their infancy. The internet was some years off - it would be nearly twenty years before the network would be widely used by people at home.

Nevertheless, the principle that the Council set out is as relevant today as it was then: all the children of the Church should used the media of social communication effectively in the apostolate. A cultural difference is that at the time of the Council it was appropriate to speak in ponderous terms of offering technical training to laymen and the increase of school facilities and institutes for people to offer this “sound training.”

Nowadays any teenager with a smartphone can set up a blog or a twitter account in five minutes and broadcast his words of wisdom to the world. This ought to make it easier for us to evangelise and to support one another in the faith.

There is a "hermeneutic of continuity" aspect to Inter Mirifica; it continued in the tradition of the Church which has always tried to use the latest technology for the spread of the gospel. Binding pages together in codices was a great help, movable type transformed everything, and radio was enthusiastically taken up by the Holy See.

At the beginning of the delightfully titled encyclical Miranda Prorsus of 1957 Pope Pius XII set out a fundamental principle which again applies to inventions he would not have imagined:
Those very remarkable technical inventions which are the boast of the men of our generation, though they spring from human intelligence and industry, are nevertheless the gifts of God, Our Creator, from Whom all good gifts proceed: "for He has not only brought forth creatures, but sustains and fosters them once created".

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Congratulations to Jamie Bogle, new President of Una Voce

Congratulations to my good friend James Bogle who has been elected president of the Foederatio Internationalis Una Voce which exists "to to ensure that the Missale Romanum of Pope John XXIII (1962 edition) is maintained in the Church as one of the forms of liturgical celebration, and to safeguard and promote the use of Latin, Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony."

Among other worthy predecessors, Jamie (barrister - trial attorney) follows in the footsteps of Dr Eric de Saventhem and Michael Davies.

He said that he intends to carry out his new role by employing benefits bestowed by Pope Benedict XVI, not least in the motu proprio of 2007, Summorum Pontificum, that restored the traditional Latin Mass as one of the two approved forms of the Roman rite of Mass. He also would like to see its fruits integrated into the New Evangelisation.

May God bless the work of Una Voce and assist Jamie in his new post.

Friday, 29 November 2013

Culture war and the joy of the gospel

I was moved by this video of young men protecting the Cathedral of San Juan in Argentina. Pro-abortionists provoke them with various insults and physical assualts, including lesbian displays. There is no response except the recitation of the Rosary.

The abuse and intimidation that these good men put up with is diabolical. This is perhaps a good place to start in the discussion of what constitutes evangelisation and what can be dismissed as inward-looking concern. The culture war is real and we do need to stand up for the truth, taking the meekness of Christ as our model. It seems to me that these men are doing a good and courageous thing. They can help us find the boundary line between witness to the love of Christ, and that self-absorbed neopelagian narcissistic elitistm which, or course, we need to avoid.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Bishop Davies invites us to courage and constancy in faith

Bishop Mark Davies

Bishop Mark Davies has issued a pastoral letter for the Diocese of Shrewsbury for the close of the Year of Faith. He refers to the hostility shown to Our Lord on the Cross ("he saved others ... let Him save Himself) and recalls the violence and intimidation suffered by Christians in many parts of the world today. Bishop Davies helpfully refers people to religious freedom report of Aid to the Church in Need: Persecuted and Forgotten?

He points out that this persecution suffered by others gives perspective to the antagonism that we might experience and invites us to a renewed profession of faith. He recalls his own motto Nihil sine Christo (nothing without Christ) and calls us to turn to the grace of Christ and above all to Christ present in the Eucharist. He concludes:
I have no doubt that the future of our Diocese will be decided by the courage and constancy of such faith. In my first letter to the Diocese three years ago I echoed the prayer of the first apostles who said to the Lord: “Increase our faith!” (Lk 17:5). At the end of this Year of Faith I ask you to renew with me this same prayer in the Mass today where “the sacrifice of Christ offered once for all on the cross remains ever present” (CCC 1364). Before Christ our Lord, truly present in the Blessed Sacrament of the Eucharist, let us say: “Lord, increase our faith!” Increase our faith so that we may go from Mass every Sunday to give our own courageous and constant witness to Christ the King.
Here is a link to the text of the Pastoral Letter.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Juventutem High Mass Friday

This Friday 29 November at 7.30pm there will be a solemn High Requiem Mass at St Mary Moorfields (Eldon Street, London EC2M 7LS) for the repose of the souls of the benefactors of Juventutem.

Afterwards there will be a social for those aged 18-35 in the hall under the Church. (For the standard discussion, see my post on Age-limited Catholic events,)

The Mass itself is, of course, open to everyone and all are welcome.

UPDATE: A correspondent informs me that the illustration in the poster is by Martin Travers (d.1948) and is used to illustrate the Anglican Missal. Anglican Patrimony ...

Monday, 25 November 2013

Fr Kocik on priests participating at Mass in choro

The other day I posted my Catholic Dilemma article (published in the Catholic Herald) on the subject of Priests in choir at wedding. I suggested "you could print off from the internet an article about the meaning of a priest assisting at Mass in choir."

In 2006, Fr Thomas Kocik wrote just such an article for the excellent journal Antiphon: Preaching through the Choir: The Merits of Assisting at Mass In choro. I recommend this as an introduction, especially given our present context, that of a general preference for concelebration. As Fr Kocik points out, the priest should normally only celebrate Mass once a day. Most Bishops give their priests general permission to celebrate Mass twice on a weekday and three times on a Sunday or Holyday of Obligation if there is a pastoral need.

Very often, a priest attending a wedding, clergy funeral or diocesan celebration will already have celebrated his parish weekday Mass. There is no pastoral reason for him to celebrate Mass again and so the proper thing would be for him to assist at Mass in choro, that is, on the sanctuary, dressed in cassock and cotta, participating at Mass as a priest, but not concelebrating.

Alarm, scourging, anguish and rage - or not

You know how it is when the local paper reports on a priest who expresses polite and reasoned criticism of the proposed withdrawal of funds for a drop-in centre or something. He is always "furious" or "outraged". This week's Tablet article "The new culture war" is a bit like that with its subheading:
Parishes report a surge in Mass attendance, inspired by Pope Francis. Commentators, even in the avowedly secular Guardian newspaper, praise his openness and humanity. But a vocal conservative minority are enraged by the new Pontiff and all he stands for.
The article refers in particular to Fr Zuhlsdorf, Germain Grisez, Rorate Caeli, Sensible Bond, Hilary White, and myself. Here's my bit:
Fr Tim Finigan, a traditionalist priest in London, has expressed his alarm as "the bad news piles up". The priest is a scourge of "liberal commentators who rubbished the authentic Magisterium" of recent Popes. A recent entry in his Hermeneutic of Continuity blog shows anguish at the perception of disloyalty or lack of romanità ("We are neither ultramontanes nor Gallicans, but loyal Catholics ... who respectfully [take] issue with some of the statements or actions of the Vicar of Christ").
And here's the post that is quoted: Assent and papal magisterium. I'll leave it to you to decide whether you agree that it contains alarm, scourging and anguish, and whether it shows that I am enraged by the new Pontiff and all he stands for (and indeed whether the ellipsis and square brackets really give a true impression.)

I declined an invitation to be interviewed (that didn't work too well last time) and was in two minds whether to bother writing anything about this, but I suppose my reputation could be harmed if bishops or others thought I was enraged by everything Pope Francis stands for. (I'm not.)

That's all, really. Let me be clear that I don't hold any ill feelings towards the author of the article but just want to make available what I did in fact write so that people can draw their own conclusions. On a more general note, though:

Ceterum autem censeo Tabulam esse delendam.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

CD 274: Priests in choir at wedding

There seems to be competition among under 30s Catholics to have as many priests as possible at their wedding. I’d love to invite half a dozen priest friends but would prefer them to attend in choir. I am worried in case they might be offended.

I think that you know that this should not be a matter of competition so I won’t harp on about that except to emphasise that your first concern should be the dignified and reverent celebration of your wedding, and your spiritual preparation with your fiancée in order to lay a solid foundation for your married life.

On behalf of my brother priests, I would make a heartfelt plea to you to give them a way out if it is difficult for them to attend. Priests who run parishes may have a heavy schedule and it is not always easy to find supply priests to cover for them. For many priests it is a rare luxury to attend an event for personal reasons on a Saturday. Make sure that you don’t take offence if they have to decline your invitation.

Cardinals Cañizares and Burke have both independently raised questions about the routine practice of concelebration in the Roman rite so your own reluctance has some support. I find personally that if I have already had to say a parish Mass, the option of attending in choir is welcome: the priest can participate in a different and, perhaps more personally reflective way. Having said that, many priests are not familiar with the option of attending in choir. Some may not have a cassock and cotta (though many younger priests will.) It is not so much that priests will be offended; they may simply not be familiar with this way for a priest to participate at Mass.

Since these are priests well-known to you, the best approach is to talk to them personally and explain what you are proposing. You could print off from the internet an article about the meaning of a priest assisting at Mass in choir, and emphasising that this is a way of participating in the Liturgy as a priest.

Catholic Dilemmas column published in the Catholic Herald
Suggestions for Catholic Dilemmas are always welcome by email or via Twitter @FatherTF

Faith of Our Fathers DVD reviving knowledge of the English Martyrs

Devotion to the English Martyrs needs to be re-awakened. In the 1960s there was considerable interest before their canonisation by Pope Paul VI in 1970 but in recent years the fervour has grown lukewarm.

St Anthony Communications has produced a fine set of two DVDs which gives an excellent introduction which would be good viewing for schools and youth groups, and for parishes generally. Fr Holden and Fr Schofield take us on a travelogue in London, Lancashire, Yorkshire and other places of interest, showing hiding-holes for priests, and chapels of Catholic houses that sustained the faith a great cost during penal times. At Tyburn, one of the Sisters explains the process of hanging, drawing and quartering in a way that is all the more harrowing for her gentle and sober description.

The total running time of the DVDs is 114 minutes but the scene selection option makes it possible to show shorter extracts in class or for a parish group. You can purchase the DVDs from St Anthony Communications at £14.95 plus shipping.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Response to Synod Questionnaire

As promised, here is the text of my response to the Synod Questionnaire. I have tried to follow my own suggestions and keep it succinct and to the point.

I have tried to focus especially on the importance of giving the teaching of the magisterium on human life and the family as a positive and life-giving teaching, and on the importance of the apostolate of good Catholic families.

I do encourage you to make your own response. You can find the questions at the Synod's page at the Vatican website, or at the website of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales where there is the option to fill out the survey online. In addition to sending it in by the online survey or to your diocesan representative, you may send a copy direct to the Synod Office. (Via della Conciliazione, 34 - 00120 Citta del Vaticano -

Wow! Film with Russell Crowe as Noah ...

... and it also has Emma Watson, Ray Winstone and Anthony Hopkins. Some in the press hate Russell Crowe because he is humorously rude to them when they ask stupid questions. (Perhaps this is why "Master and Commander", arguably one of the best films evvvuuuuh, received little critical acclaim, and why nobody seems to have heard of the excellent "Proof of Life.")

The film is to be released next March. I'm certainly not expecting it to be a piece of bible scholarship but the trailer does promise some manly recognition of the power of God, and the prospect of seeing Russell Crowe as Noah, head-to-head with Ray Winstone is just too good to be missed. (It is scheduled for release next March.)

If only Russell Crowe or Mel Gibson would do something with the life of St Edmund Campion.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Our Lady as an example for our use of social media

Presentation titian

The book of meditations which I am using at the moment looks at the person of Our Lady in relation to her dedication which is celebrated in today's feast of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin. The author, relying on the doctrine of Our Lady's Immaculate Conception and her freedom from any actual sin, speculates:
"We must necessarily suppose that Mary bears patiently every annoyance caused her by others without, on her part, causing them the least pain: she excuses their defects, pardons their obvious faults, and in all circumstances shows herself tender, affable, gracious, and considerate."
We can give the author the benefit of the doubt here in presuming that he is referring to the ordinary ups and downs of daily life, rather than to grave injustice. In the latter case, we might need to make people at least uncomfortable. Rather than quibbling over such things, we could take a lesson from Our Lady in our use of social media. (And let me acknowledge unequivocally that I need to apply this to myself.)

The lovely picture is by Titian. I found it in Wikipedia Commons.

Catholic publication's astonishing encomium of Peter Tatchell

The above photo is of Peter Tatchell on the Euro Pride march in 2006. "Pope 'Betty' Benedict XVI - Queen of Homophobia" might be considered offensive to Catholics, no? The report on the Peter Tatchell Website, has further information:
"The Pope talks like a gay man, walks like a gay man and dresses like a gay man. Some people might conclude he is a gay man," said Peter Tatchell of the LGBT rights group, OutRage!

"If the Pope is gay, his hypocrisy is breath-taking. Why is he constantly bashing the gay community if he is gay? Is he using homophobia to deflect rumours about his own sexuality?"

Tatchell also helped to co-ordinate the 2010 Protest the Pope rally in London. In the wake of that, his website quotes him as saying:
"Thanks to everyone who joined the march. We made a difference. The protest was reported worldwide, which helped expose the Pope’s sexist, homophobic and reactionary dogmas to hundreds of millions of people."
Here is one of my own photos of what Tatchell describes as the "good-natured, carnival atmosphere." I was wearing clericals and a press pass and was rather close to the demo. I can't make any Pauline claim to persecution but I did get shouted at a bit :-)

pv 026

Tatchell is also on record as an advocate of pornography and Peter Hitchens ran down a letter that he wrote to the Guardian in 1997 defending the possibility of "consenting inter-generation sex", that is, sex between adults and children which he considered could be a great joy for the child.

Although he was distinctly unenthusiastic towards Pope Francis back in July, Tatchell more recently seems to have been on a charm offensive towards the Catholic Church. He has scored a spectacular success with an article by the Chief Executive of Alive Publishing, Mike Conway, in Faith Today, a title in that publisher's collection, entitled My Hero Peter Tatchell. This astonishing article is an encomium of praise for Peter Tatchell without any attempt whatsoever to challenge his record, of which the examples I have given are only a few indications of his campaigning against the moral teaching of the Church, his personal attacks against the Popes, and his extreme views on pornography and child sex which would be abhorred even my most mainstream secularists.

Of course one could write an article discussing Peter Tatchell's views along the lines of "Tatchell - formerly hostile, now a bit more concliatory" or "Tatchell - hostile to Christian moral teaching but good on human rights" or "Tatchell - we don't agree with lots of his campaigns but we do agree with his humanitarian concerns" or even "Tatchell - although he disagrees with Christian views still wants to allow them to be heard."

I'm not suggesting that any of these angles would necessarily be helpful, but at least they would make some sense. A completely uncritical "Peter Tatchell My Hero" angle doesn't.

Guild meeting - numbers needed

Just a reminder of the meeting of the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma on Saturday 30 November at Blackfen (here are directions.) Do come along if you can - it is great to meet fellow bloggers (and tweeters) face-to-face. There is plenty of time to chat over lunch.

The speaker has now been confirmed as Dr Adrian Treloar who will give an illustrated talk on the miracles of Lourdes from both a medical and spiritual perspective. I have heard the talk myself before and it is quite fascinating.

As we are providing the food, it would be helpful to have an idea of numbers. Please could you email me at to let me know if you are coming. (If you forget to do this or find at the last minute that you are free, do still come.)

Monday, 18 November 2013

Fr Hunwicke returns to the blogosphere

Fr John Hunwicke's last post on his blog Fr Hunwicke's Mutual Enrichment, was the fourth in a series of valuable posts on the phrase eodem tamen sensu eademque sententia which was used by Blessed John XXIII in Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, his address inaugurating the second Vatican Council.

He is now back, with a post today on the new Ordinariate Ordo Missae, You Need To Be Here. It would be a good idea to put a link to his blog somewhere where you can find new posts easily.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

A few days' rest in Eastbourne


Last week, before the preparation for Christmas starts in earnest, Fr Briggs and I managed to get away for three days' R&R in Eastbourne. The parish priest, Fr Raglan Hay-Will (an old friend from College days) is always very hospitable and allows us to invade his sacristy and to celebrate Mass in the morning in his beautiful Church of Our Lady of Ransom. I got to use the High Altar with its splendid reredos while Fr Briggs celebrated at the Lady Altar which has a much-prized frontal. Local members of the Latin Mass Society in Arundel and Brighton always find someone to serve Mass and are glad to have the opportunity to assist at Mass according to the usus antiquior.

No trip to Eastbourne is complete without a walk over Beachy Head and there are always new photographs to be taken as above. Here is one where my little camera did some hi-jinx with the low winter sun:


Thursday, 7 November 2013

Remembering Canon Redford RIP

In 1976-77, I spent a year at Wonersh and had the benefit of Fr (later Canon) John Redford's course on the psalms which was sensibly given to the first year to help them to gain spiritual fruit from the recitation of the Divine Office. He also ran an optional class in Hebrew which I took, and for which I have always been grateful.

Canon Redford was a convert from evangelical Anglicanism. He loved to tell the story of coming home from one of Billy Graham's crusade meetings in London with thousands of eager Christians pouring into the tube station. The platform attendant shouted "Alleluia! Mind the doors!" He had a lively sense of humour and, as a man with some distinct mannerisms, was the butt of jokes from the students which he always took in good part.

His firm and outspoken orthodoxy was not universally welcomed in the 1970s but his expertise in the scriptures could not but be respected. He has helped many students over the years to find their way out of the confusion of reductive biblical criticism and to love the word of God.

He is best known for his twenty-five years at Maryvale where was an integral part of that institution's provision of excellent Catholic further education for students from across the country. He died yesterday, 6 November 2013, on the morning of Maryvale's Graduation Ceremony (at which, among others, Auntie Joanna received her degree.)

May he receive the reward of his labours and rest in peace.

Cardinal Erdo and Blessed John Paul on surveys

Cardinal Erdo, Relator of the Extraordinary Synod Bishops on the Family, has given an interview to CNS (see the video above.)

He makes the point that the consultation was addressed directly to Bishops' Conferences but also to individual Bishops - and that they have the responsibility of consulting the Church entrusted to their pastoral care. He also makes it clear that this is not a survey of public opinion as though we might make the message of the Gospel or the magisterium of the Church depend on an opinion survey.

Many thanks to a correspondent for drawing my attention to a quotation from Blessed John Paul II's Familiaris Consortio. He speaks of the supernatural sense of faith in evangelical discernment but then says:
The "supernatural sense of faith" however does not consist solely or necessarily in the consensus of the faithful. Following Christ, the Church seeks the truth, which is not always the same as the majority opinion. She listens to conscience and not to power, and in this way she defends the poor and the downtrodden. The Church values sociological and statistical research, when it proves helpful in understanding the historical context in which pastoral action has to be developed and when it leads to a better understanding of the truth. Such research alone, however, is not to be considered in itself an expression of the sense of faith. (Familiaris Consortio n.5)

That Consultation: some suggestions

It is all quite normal procedure for the Holy See machinery. A document is produced with various questions for consultation: some of them straightforward and some of them seemingly convoluted, especially for those brought up in the English/US academic tradition. Responses are then collated into some sort of document for the Bishops meeting at the forthcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family.

Not unreasonably, our Bishops have run with the idea that everyone should have the chance to respond to the consultation and have used the tools now available to make it easy for people to respond either by email or online. In the culture of the Holy See this has come as a bit of a shock. (Remember Fr Zuhlsdorf's joke that at the Vatican it is "yesterday's technology tomorrow.") Adding to the fog of confusion have been the inevitable stupid headlines in English language media hailing the consultation as a way for lay people to change the teaching of the Church on contraception and gay marriage.

In Italy there are highly competent journalists who comment intelligently (and often with extensive inside knowledge) on Vatican affairs. In the English-speaking world, many journalists are still at the babyish stage of viewing the perennial teaching of the magisterium as similar to political policies that can be changed by popular vote. This is combined with a stubborn incomprehension of the fairly simple distinction between discipline and doctrine.

Enter the Press Conference, reported by CNS.
The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales put the questionnaire online in late October, on the SurveyMonkey site, leading to news stories about "polling" Catholics for their opinions and suggestions.

Asked at the Nov. 5 news conference whether that action was something other bishops' conferences should emulate, Archbishop Baldisseri said the "question answers itself" and was "not worth considering."
Archbishop Baldisseri's answer is a wonderful example of Vatican-speak. Does he mean that the question is not worth answering because the CBCEW's action is obviously foolish? Or that is is obviously the right thing to do? Or that the news stories are obviously daft? I suspect that the latter is what he actually intended, though with perhaps a hint of criticism of the CBCEW for acting too precipitately (or effectively) on the idea that the opinions of the laity should be included. This would be in line with the culture at the Holy See (and, to be fair, many large organisations): when under pressure from difficult publicity, make sure to shift the blame onto someone else. At the Vatican this is often done with skilful subtlety.

So what to do with the consultation? Bear in mind what will happen to your answers. There will be a process of collation. Answers sent to a diocesan representative will be collated before being sent for a central process of collation on behalf of the Bishops' Conference, and will then be sent to the Synod Office for a final collation for the Synod itself. This might seem a bit hopeless, especially since the consultation document is quite substantial and some of the questions are rather vague. However I would encourage you to take part. According to Archbishop Baldisseri, you can also send your answers direct to the Synod Office. (Via della Conciliazione, 34 - 00120 Citta del Vaticano -

One or two comments I have read seem to lay the blame on the Bishops of England and Wales for the content of the questions. This is unfair, since the questions were not set by them. They are the ones given by the Holy See's Synod Office in their Preparatory Document for the Synod.

Joseph Shaw considers it The worst survey in the world. Although I have sympathy with this reaction, I think the style is fairly typical of Vatican surveys of opinion. For what it's worth, my own advice would be to keep your answers as succinct as possible and to focus on what is important, especially the promotion of the teaching of Humanae Vitae as a positive, joyful and life-giving teaching that changes people's lives for the better. Remember too, that it is in the Anglo-Saxon exam tradition to insist that the answer must relate strictly to the question. This is not necessarily the case elsewhere.

I have completed the first draft of my own response and printed it off so that I can go through with a red pen and make corrections and revisions. When it is ready, I'll let you see it.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Thoroughly enjoying a Baptism

One of the functions I most enjoy as a parish priest is baptising babies. On Sunday, it was the turn of Caspar Emmanuel, second son of Matthew and Benna Schellhorn. Matthew is the Latin Mass Society Representative for Southwark North and we were blessed with a visit from Joseph Shaw, the Chairman of the Latin Mass Society and his family. (Joseph also has his own blog which is well worth reading.)

I wrote previously about Baptism in the Usus Antiquior and it is the form I usually use, though normally I do most of the prayers in English, with the exorcisms and the form in Latin. Yesterday it was Latin all the way through, which I enjoyed. We also had the blessing of the mother, Benna, after childbirth, and a prayer of consecration of Caspar to Our Blessed Lady.

Grace is not a substance and therefore I know this is a theologically inept expression, but here I am, holding a new little saint filled to bursting with sanctifying grace :-)

More photos...
Flickr Set: Matthew Schellhorn
Flickr Set: Joseph Shaw

St Kevin's in Dublin - a flourishing Summorum Pontificum apostolate

Two of my altar servers went on a family visit to Dublin over half term. For Sunday Mass, they went to St Kevin's Churchin Rathmines, Dublin 8, which is the home of the Dublin Latin Mass Chaplaincy. They were given a warm welcome by Fr Gerard Deighan and John the sacristan and were able to join the regular servers for the 10.30am Mass. The Church was packed with several hundred people both from Dublin itself and from as far afield as Wicklow.

Since the traditional Mass is the same everywhere with only minor differences (depending on the layout of the sanctuary and sometimes incidental local customs) servers are able to join in easily anywhere around the world that the older form is celebrated. I'm very grateful that the boys were made so welcome - many thanks to Fr Deighan and his team.

The Dublin Latin Mass Chaplaincy was established by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin on 15 September 2007, in response to Pope Benedict XVI’s Summorum Pontificum (the day after the Motu Proprio came into effect) to provide pastoral care for the faithful of the Archdiocese attached to the usus antiquior. It is great to hear that the apostolate is flourishing and I pray that it is a part of a new hope in the Church in Ireland after a bruising few years for those Catholics who have lived their faith with integrity. As you can see from the photo, there are works going on in the Church itself to restore it to its former beauty.

Here is a photo from the first Mass of Fr Kevin Young FSSP at St Kevin's last June:

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Zacchaeus story sung for children

The album "Joy is Like the Rain" was released by the Medical Mission Sisters in 1966. My father bought a copy to play to children at primary school in the hall during wet playtimes: I think he considered that it was at least a healthy alternative to the Beatles or the Rolling Stones.

Looking at the texts for today's Masses (I have to double-up on this since we have both forms of the Roman Rite in my parish) I started humming the song in the above video when reading the gospel of Zacchaeus in the modern rite.

There is a charming innocence and simplicity in the Sisters' songs which disappeared in the monstrous offerings of the seventies (covered in the Bad Hymns series by Eccles and Bosco is saved.) Perhaps they were trained in Gregorian chant and brought this timbre to jaunty guitar songs.

I think that this and one or two other tracks might even still be useful for an infant class learning stories from the gospels. But, just to be clear, not at Mass. For Mass, you can teach the children Gregorian chant.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Pope Francis celebrates ad orientem

Just for the record, really, the Holy Father has celebrated Mass ad orientem in the Patriarchal Basilica of St Peter. This will be some reassurance for parish clergy who celebrate Mass ad orientem in their parishes. Telegraph blogger Tim Stanley (who is always worth reading, by the way) has written about this today. In the article, he says:
The likeliest interpretation of this isn't that Francis is a liturgical conservative but rather that he just doesn't care about the protocol sensitivities of either trads or liberals. We have a Pope who, for better and worse, isn't that bothered about liturgy and is far more focused on evangelism and charity. That's bad in the sense that it means traditionalists have lost a champion in the Vatican (Benedict was a fairly reliable friend) but good in the sense that the liturgy is likely to become de-politicised. Face the people, don't face the people – all that matters is doctrinal orthodoxy and conducting the Mass in the right spirit.
I wouldn't go along with him 100% on the question of whether liturgical orientation matters - I think it is a significant help in fostering the reform of the liturgy - but he may well be right in his speculation on the motivation of Pope Francis (which, of course, we cannot know for sure.) And the liturgy wars do seem to be calming down a bit, with people more willing to tolerate different practices that are legitimate according to the Church's law.

Relics of St Anthony

Two relics of St Anthony of Padua are being taken to various Churches and Cathedrals in England. The website of the Diocese of Shrewsbury has an account of the visit to the Church of St Francis in Chester yesterday. There was a full Church for Mass, celebrated by Bishop Davies, and thousands of people venerated the relics

In his homily at the Mass, Bishop Davies spoke of how these visits "represent nothing less than the return of the Saints into the lives of the faithful and to the forefront of our Christian witness."

The Shrewsbury website also carries Pope Benedict's  General Audience address on St Anthony. (You might also like this story of a humorous incident in my parish involving St Anthony.)

The programme of visits is nearly over, but there will be veneration and Mass this evening at St George's Cathedral in Southwark, tomorrow at Westminster Cathedral, and on Sunday at St Peter's Italian Church in Clerkenwell. (See the programme for details.)

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Halloween service at Blackfen

We will be having a Church service for Halloween at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen. It will of course be first Vespers of the feast of All Saints (usus antiquior) at 8pm.

We also have a Missa Cantata for the feast day itself (also 8pm) and Missa Cantata for the Commemoration of All Souls at 10.30am on Saturday.

If you want to come for any of these celebrations, here are directions to the Church. On Thursday and Friday evenings, the parish club is open and you are welcome to come in afterwards as a guest, and join parishioners for a celebratory drink and discussion of current affairs with our team of bloggers.

Erasure releases "Gaudete"

A brother priest has alerted me to the digital release today by Erasure of the track "Gaudete" which is apparently the first single from a new album "Snow Globe" which is to be released as a CD and download bundle in a couple of weeks.

I confess that my knowledge of popular music nowadays is as close to zero as makes no difference so I had to look up the above details from the Wikipedia article on Erasure. This also informs us that one of the duo is a gay icon, which made me hesitate about posting this at all. However, on balance I agree with my correspondent that the problem is outweighed by the possibility of making Christ known to a secular audience at Christmas.

It is a good idea to know what singers are singing. This would apply to Lady Gaga's recent celebrated performance: I guess some of those cheering it might be less enthusiastic if they knew what she was actually singing about.

So here are the lyrics to Gaudete and a translation to help along the possible evangelising impact of Gaudete:

Gaudete, gaudete
Christus est natus
Ex Maria Virgine
Rejoice, rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the Virgin Mary —
Tempus adest gratiae
Hoc quod optabamus
Carmina laetitiae
Devote reddamus
The time of grace is present
This, what we have wished for,
songs of joy
Let us give back devoutly.
Deus homo factus est
Natura mirante
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante
God has become man,
To the wonderment of Nature,
The world has been renewed
By the reigning Christ.
Ezechielis porta
Clausa pertransitur
Unde Lux est orta
Salus invenitur
The closed gate of Ezekiel
Is passed through,
Whence the light has arisen,
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra contio
Psallat iam in lustro
Benedicat Domino
Salus Regi nostro
Therefore let our gathering
Now sing in brightness
Let it bless the Lord:
Greeting to our King.

(This also gave me a welcome opportunity to revise my knowledge of html for tables.)

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Video of LMS Pilgrimage to Walsingham

The Latin Mass Society have reminded me of their new video which documents the fourth annual pilgrimage by the Society to the ancient English shrine of Walsingham over three days in August 2013. Producing videos like this is an excellent way to make known good Catholic events and promote them to others, so I am glad to re-post it here. Look out for the next pilgrimage!

Thursday, 24 October 2013

A great day with the Confraternity


Fr Frank Marsden, Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett and Fr Jerome Bertram yesterday gave us food for thought at the Autumn Colloquium of the British Province of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. At the last minute the Colloquium had to be moved from the Oratory School at Reading and the Fathers of the Oxford Oratory kindly made their facilities available, including the well-appointed and recently established Hall and their beautiful Church of St Aloysius.


The Mass was celebrated by Bishop Jarrett (Bishop of Lismore, Australia): modern rite ad orientem in English but with Propers and Ordinary sung in Latin with Gregorian chant. Later in the day, there was a time of adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, followed by Benediction. Meals were taken at Browns restaurant next door thanks to a special "deal" with a set menu - it is rather posher than I remember it as an undergraduate.

There were about 60 clergy present during the day. Here is a group photo of some of them (you can never get a group of clergy all together at one time!)

BCCC 2013 group

At a mercifully brief and efficiently conducted business meeting a revised Constitution was approved and Officers and Trustees elected. A significant change to the Constitution allows for Deacons (permanent or transitory) and seminarians to be members of the Confraternity. If you are a cleric and agree with the objects of the Confraternity, I do encourage you to join and to come to the meetings either nationally or in the various local groups. They are a great opportunity to meet with other clergy, and to support each other in our life and pastoral work.

There is also a provision for lay people to become Friends of the Confraternity and this will be developed in due course.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Understanding "Lead us not into temptation"

An article in today's Telegraph is headed 'Blasphemous' Lord's Prayer corrected by France's Catholic Church. I think that 'blasphemous' is over-egging the pudding and that there is a danger of focussing on the wrong word.

The previous French version of "et ne nos inducas in tentationem" was: "Ne nous soumets pas à la tentation" (do not submit/subject us to temptation) and this is to be replaced by: "Et ne nous laisse pas entrer en tentation" (do not allow us to enter into temptation.)

Clearly we do not want to say that God would subject us to a temptation to be uncharitable to someone or to drink too much or to look at pornography on the internet. We would certainly prefer to say that we ask Him not to allow us to be tempted in such ways.

However I don't think that the translation of "inducas" is the problem, but rather the translation of "tentatio."

The word "temptation" in modern European languages now generally refers to temptations that proceed from concupiscence (the disordered desire consequent on original sin) or those which come about because of our previous habits of sin.

In the Greek New Testament, the word "peirasmon" was used in a different way, for example of the temptations of Christ - who did not suffer from concupiscence or past habits of sin. It is also used, for example, by Our Lord Himself when he said to the disciples "You are the men who have stayed with me in my trials" (Lk 22.28) It would be absurd to render this verse as though Christ were saying that the apostles had stood by him in temptations to sin (He didn't have any.) Our Lord was tested and put through trials by the devil at the beginning of His public ministry and finally through His passion. (This also applies to the depressingly common misunderstanding of Hebrews 4.15, especially in the Jerusalem Bible translation.)

Therefore we ask the Father not to lead us into the time of trial, not to allow us to be subjected to the onslaught of the devil. We know that He will not do anything that causes us to sin or in any way exacerbate the effects of original sin or our own past sins. We are asking Him to deliver us from evil, as the next clause in the Lord's prayer makes clear.

If we want to re-translate the Our Father, it would be better to recognise the modern use of the word temptation and replace that ("Do not lead us into the time of trial" / "Do not put us to the test" or some other such adjustment) rather than worry about the word "inducas."

Monday, 21 October 2013

Tomorrow: optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II

Fr Richard Duncan of the Birmingham Oratory has done a great service by publicising on Facebook the fact that tomorrow, 22 October, is an optional memorial of Blessed John Paul II according to the National Calendar for England and Wales. Here is a link at which you can download texts for the Missal and the Office of Readings in English and Latin so thanks to the Liturgy Office of England and Wales for this too.

I am glad to have been made aware of this and will be celebrating the optional memorial tomorrow morning. Next year, it will be for Saint John Paul II. The above photo will then be one of me with an actual saint! Some trads are rather critical of him, but I think he was a great Pope who brought many blessings to the Church and to the world. I am old enough to remember what a joy it was to welcome his election in 1978 and thrill to his powerful and effective witness against communism.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Have you got an 'ology?

My good friend Fr John Zuhlsdorf had a look at a non-magisterial fervorino of Pope Francis about “ideology” and wonders what the Pope really said:
The Pope’s language about ideology is so vague that I can’t for the life of me make out who or what he is talking about. It could be that he has a first name and a last name in mind, but I have no idea who she might be.
I too am puzzled by the use of the word ideology in this ferverino and others.

In general usage, "ideology" is used to mean the system of ideas at the basis of an economic or political theory, as in Marxist ideology, or more generally the manner of thinking characteristic of a class, as in bourgeouis ideology, or more generally still, some sort of visionary speculation. Napoleon used the word to ridicule his intellectual opponents, and Marx used it to engage in the struggle of ideas that would determine who had power within a society.

We believe that God has given us a spiritual soul which is able to think and form ideas. We need to espouse the right ideas so that we will act with truth and charity towards others, rather than the wrong ideas that will harm them. As Christians, we certainly accept such basic ideas as the principle of non-contradiction, but we are blessed with the revelation of God in the old and new testaments, and we follow and try to put into practice the teaching of Jesus Christ which we know from the Gospels and from the teaching of the Church which Christ founded. Necessarily, these teachings can be expressed in propositions - these are, if you like, ideas that we believe to be true both on human grounds and on the grounds of revelation.

Certainly we would not want to reduce the Christian faith to a set of propositions; it is more than that because we believe in a personal God and we should desire to do His will, and love Him with all our hearts. Nevertheless, if somebody says "I believe that all Jews should be exterminated", we Christians can and ought to reply (with many brave souls who did so in the face of persecution) "No, all people have the right to life and we must never kill an innocent person."

This last statement is a proposition which I passionately believe to be true. It is an idea, if you like. Does it form part of an ideology? I suppose it does really. But it is also fundamentally part of my Christian faith, my adherence to the person of Jesus Christ.

My personal following of Jesus Christ and His teaching does involve me in professing certain ideas, beliefs and values. In the case of whether it is legitimate to kill people just because they are Jews, I would be "rigid, moralistic and ethical", and even without much kindness to those who disagree and embark upon the path of extermination - though I would not think it a Christian thing to spit on their coffin.

New generation of lapsed

Often, when I talk to priests from Catholic countries, or countries that formerly had a strong Catholic life, I have a sense of déjà-vu, as though they are sincerely and earnestly addressing problems that we faced in England 30 years ago.

Some of the things that Pope Francis has said strike me in the same vein. It is great to hear that he told priests not to turn away unmarried mothers who bring their children for Baptism. When I was newly-ordained (nearly 30 years ago), in the inner-city parish I first worked in, more than 50% of the children that we baptised were of unmarried mothers. Sometimes these were single mothers but increasingly over the years “unmarried mother” has become a quaint expression. Many are cohabiting, and many nowadays have got married in a hotel or on a beach without any inkling that this is not what Catholics should do.

At funerals, when saying the Our Father, we used to get distracted by some in the congregation continuing with “For the Kingdom...” as is the Anglican custom. (You would let it pass without comment.) Now we often find that there are only a few in the congregation who actually know the Our Father. The BBC commentator on the announcement of the new Pope was ridiculed for this, but his ignorance is not by any means unusual. How would people know the Our Father if they do not say it in school, do not say prayers at home, and don’t go to Church?

It is no longer a question of being kind to the “lapsed” but of trying to get something across to the generation who do not know the "Our Father", people who have no contact with a Church at all, and no knowledge of the Christian faith beyond the distortions that they have seen in the media. On Catholic blogs we often highlight these distortions. We have to remember that for many people those caricatures of Christianity are all that people have in the way of religious education. If we don't give a considered and accurate account of Catholic teaching on "difficult" issues such as abortion, contraception and same-sex unions, we will leave people with the caricatures.

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Iuventutem Mass this Friday

Edmund Waddelove RIP

Edmund Waddelove who died earlier this week was one of my greatest benefactors in that he brought about my conversion to a love of the traditional Latin Mass in 2002 when his sister Agnes died. He asked me to celebrate the Requiem Mass in the old rite. I agreed, and then realised that I had a short time to learn the ceremonies. (The late Michael Davies was at the funeral and afterwards supplied me with some altar cards and an instruction booklet.)

Edmund was a stalwart of the Latin Mass Society and always a manly, good-humoured critic of liberalism in the Church. The photograph above shows him (front, right) holding a collage of his children to be blessed by Blessed John Paul II whom he admired greatly.

I will be offering Mass for the repose of his soul (in the old rite, of course) and ask, of your charity, for prayers for him. May the Lord bring him speedily to the worship of heaven, the fulfilment of the Mass which he loved so dearly.

Here is an obituary, written by his son, Adrian, which speaks for itself:
Edmund Waddelove was one of five men who promised the local priest that the North Wales village of Bettws-y-Coed would have a Catholic church.

Along with a Forestry Commission colleague his contribution was to dig most of the foundation trenches with a pick and spade. Two used their professional expertise as electricians. The other was a builder.

“Our Lady of The Woods” was consecrated five years later, in 1961, but it became a matter of great sadness to Mr Waddelove in his old age when he learnt that the church had been closed.

His death, at 94, followed a debilitating eight years that began with shingles.

He was born in Leigh in Lancashire and educated at Thornleigh Salesian College in Bolton.

His service in World War II with the Royal Artillery included the defence of Hawkinge airfield in Kent during the Battle of Britain. He received his Officer Commission in 1943 but always thought himself fortunate that immediately after D-Day, when in transit for embarkation to Normandy, his unit was stopped because the Allied casualties had been lower than feared.

His 34 year career with the Forestry Commission began in 1947 and included 11 years on Gwydyr Forest at Bettws-y-Coed. He later spent six years in charge of Delamere in Cheshire and in 1969 was promoted to become Chief Forester at Clocaenog near Ruthin.

He remained a lifelong committed Catholic with one of his proudest moments coming in 1980 during the Ordinary General Synod on The Christian Family in Rome when he shook the hand of Pope John Paul II as the Pontiff blessed a photo montage of his children.

His first visit to Rome had been in the 1950 Holy Year and he returned in both 1975 and 1983, and was present in 1982 and 2002 for the ceremonies at which St Maximilian Kolbe and St Jose Maria Escriva were canonised. He travelled, too, to Fatima in 2000 for the seers' beatification.

And for 18 years he made a major contribution to the Latin Mass Society which kept alive the traditional liturgy after it was dropped following the Second Vatican Council until its 2007 restoration.

He offered to be the organisation's Diocesan Representative for Menevia in 1978 and soon combined this with the role in Shrewsbury, and later assumed responsibility for the new diocese of Wrexham, too, when that was formed.

Simultaneously he served on the LMS national committee for much of the period and became widely respected for his perseverance and attention to detail.

Mr Waddelove received a Papal Blessing from Pope John Paul II in 1996 in recognition of this work.

His wife, Bernadette, died in 1997 after 53 years of marriage. They lost their first child, Judith, just before her first birthday and for 12 years cared for their last, Jane, who was severely handicapped both mentally and physically.

He is survived by their adult children Paul, Bernard, Adrian and Steve, and Claire who entered the Benedictine Abbey at Ryde on the Isle of Wight in 1980, together with 14 grand-children and 15 great grand-children.

A traditional Latin Requiem Mass is to be celebrated at “Our Lady Help of Christians” in Ruthin at 11am on Tuesday October 22.

Sunday, 13 October 2013

CD 274 on concelebrants at weddings

There seems to be competition among under 30s Catholics to have as many priests as possible at their wedding. I’d love to invite half a dozen priest friends but would prefer them to attend in choir. I am worried in case they might be offended.

I think that you know that this should not be a matter of competition so I won’t harp on about that except to emphasise that your first concern should be the dignified and reverent celebration of your wedding, and your spiritual preparation with your fiancée in order to lay a solid foundation for your married life.

On behalf of my brother priests, I would make a heartfelt plea to you to give them a way out if it is difficult for them to attend. Priests who run parishes may have a heavy schedule and it is not always easy to find supply priests to cover for them. For many priests it is a rare luxury to attend an event for personal reasons on a Saturday. Make sure that you don’t take offence if they have to decline your invitation.

Cardinals Cañizares and Burke have both independently raised questions about the routine practice of concelebration in the Roman rite so your own reluctance has some support. I find personally that if I have already had to say a parish Mass, the option of attending in choir is welcome: the priest can participate in a different and, perhaps more personally reflective way. Having said that, many priests are not familiar with the option of attending in choir. Some may not have a cassock and cotta (though many younger priests will.) It is not so much that priests will be offended; they may simply not be familiar with this way for a priest to participate at Mass.

Since these are priests well-known to you, the best approach is to talk to them personally and explain what you are proposing. You could print off from the internet an article about the meaning of a priest assisting at Mass in choir, and emphasising that this is a way of participating in the Liturgy as a priest.

Catholic Dilemmas column published in the Catholic Herald
Suggestions for Catholic Dilemmas are always welcome in the combox, by email or via Twitter @FatherTF

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

St Andrews and Canmore

This evening I am at St Andrews to give a talk this evening for Canmore, the Catholic Society for the university. As ever, there was a great welcome, and a well-attended Mass beforehand, good questions, Compline in the chapel, and a fine group afterwards to continue the conversation over a drink at one of the nearby hotels. It is always good to hear from readers of the blog. One such, Archie, was the first person to complain to me about the new policy of not having comments. He said that the decision limited his scope for procrastination.

Tomorrow morning, I will join Fr Andrew Kingham for Mass. He is both parish priest and chaplain to the University and has quite a bit on his plate with planned building works to Canmore itself, the home of the chaplaincy, which are already proceeding apace. He is a doctor of Canon Law which helped things along since it is always good for a dogmatists like myself to have a canonist around to keep us on the straight and narrow. I was also glad to learn more about the calendar of Scottish Saints and other interesting nuggets on the Catholic history of Scotland.

St Andrews has been a seed-bed for many priestly and religious vocations over the years this looks set to continue along with the equally healthy sign of good Catholic marriages. Please remember the students and their Chaplain in your prayers.

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Confraternity of Catholic Clergy - and an invitation to the laity

Wednesday 23 October sees the Autumn colloquium of the British Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I have advertised this here before but want to give a last-minute reminder because it promises to be such a worthwhile event. Here is some information from the Confraternity:
Due to unforeseen complications in the major building works currently taking place over the next 12 months at the Reading Oratory School, the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy has been obliged to re-locate the 2013 Colloquium. Both the Confraternity organising committee and the Oratory School apologise for any inconvenience caused, and plan to return the 2014 Colloquium to the Oratory School.

The Fathers of the Oxford Oratory have kindly agreed to host the 2013 Colloquium on Wednesday 23 October, which would have been the second day of our residential conference. The revised Colloquium will take the form of an extended day conference with meals, and will include - an event we have long desired – a final talk open to the laity (as Friends of the Confraternity). Places are limited due to the size of the meeting rooms, so please book early to avoid disappointment. This Oxford Colloquium provides an opportunity to dedicate the Confraternity to Blessed Dominic Barberi and Blessed John Henry Newman.
For priests who wish to book for the talks and meals, the Confraternity website has full information and a booking form.

Speakers will be Fr Francis Marsden: “Priesthood under fire - Past, Present and Future”, Bishop Geoffrey Jarrett: “The Priest as Teacher: Opportunities and Challenges for the renewal of adult Catechesis in the parish” and Fr Jerome Bertram, Cong. Orat: “The Conversion of England”

Fr Bertram's talk, at 7.30pm, is open to priests, friends of the Confraternity, the University and the laity. This will take place in the Oxford Oratory Church of St Aloysius and booking is not necessary. Do come along if you can. Not only is Fr Bertram a most engaging speaker but this will also be a good opportunity for priests and laity to meet up. I'm told that the initiative to have an open lecture was partly influenced by this blog, so do take up the opportunity!

New Latin hymn for Blessed John Henry Newman Salve Fundator

The Fathers of the Birmingham Oratory have commissioned Fr John Hunwicke to compose a new Latin hymn in honour of Blessed John Henry Newman whose feast day is tomorrow. At the Birmingham Oratory website, you can view the text and translation. It will be sung at first Vespers at the Oratory this evening, and after High Mass tomorrow.

(I confess to a tinge of disappointment at the © underneath. Would the Fathers perhaps consider making the text available under a creative commons licence?)

Monday, 7 October 2013

Suggested prayers

People have asked me to post the texts of these prayers which I currently say each morning.
For the Pope
Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Franciscum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Dominum Nostrum Iesum Christum Filium Tuum, Qui Tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, mercifully look upon Thy servant, Francis, whom Thou hast chosen as the chief Shepherd to preside over Thy Church; grant him, we beseech Thee, so to edify, both by word and example, those over whom he hath charge, that he may attain unto everlasting life, together with the flock committed unto him. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Against the persecutors of the Church
Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus, Domine, preces placates admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen

We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully to receive the prayers of Thy Church : that all adversity and error having been destroyed, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through Our Lord Jesus Christ: Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God for ever and ever.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Assent and papal magisterium

Various questions have arisen recently concerning the assent that we ought to give to the words of the Holy Father. I thought it might be helpful to give a few notes concerning the papal magisterium from classical Catholic theology. I have referred to the excellent Jesuit manual Sacrae Theologiae Summa published by BAC.

When the Pope defines ex cathedra a doctrine concerning faith or morals, he enjoys that infallibility with which Our Lord willed the Church to be endowed. To these definitions, we must give the assent of faith. Obvious examples are the definition of the Immaculate Conception by Blessed Pius IX in 1854 and the definition of the Assumption by Pope Pius XII in 1950.

The Pope also teaches with an authentic magisterium (teaching authority) that is not infallible. Examples of such teaching are the encyclical letters of the Pope, and decrees issued by the Holy See in forma specifica.

Decrees of the Holy See may be issued merely in forma communi. This approval means that they are legitimate, authentic and to be promulgated. But this approval does not make such statements to be formal decrees of the Supreme Pontiff. To such statements or decrees, we must give obedience, though we may internally disagree with them.

Decrees of the Holy See that are issued in forma specifica are those that are expressly published as the Supreme Pontiff’s own decrees. They are inferior to ex cathedra statements but, as part of the authentic magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff, they do not require the assent of faith but they do demand our religious submission of mind and will. Lumen Gentium n.25 affirms this.

Popes may also teach privately. Such teaching would be expressed, for example, in sermons, interviews or books. When Pope Benedict published his book Jesus of Nazareth, he said:
It goes without saying that this book is in no way an exercise of the magisterium, but is solely an expression of my personal search "for the face of the Lord" (cf. Ps 27:8). Everyone is free, then, to contradict me. I would only ask my readers for that initial goodwill without which there can be no understanding.
I mentioned this in a post three years ago and, I think reasonably, said that the same would apply to papal interviews with journalists.

Hence, if you are troubled by some statements that Pope Francis has made in his recent interviews, it is not disloyalty, or a lack of Romanita to disagree with the details of some of the interviews which were given off-the-cuff.

Naturally, if we disagree with the Holy Father, we do so with the deepest respect and humility, conscious that we may need to be corrected. However, papal interviews do not require either the assent of faith that is given to ex cathedra statements or that internal submission of mind and will that is given to those statements that are part of his non-infallible but authentic magisterium.

In the case of Blessed John Paul II and Pope Benedict, there were liberal commentators who rubbished the authentic magisterium, contradicted the traditional teaching of the Church, and generally treated those Popes with disrespect. We must never do this to the successor of St Peter. In giving a reasonable opinion which may disagree with an informal and off-the-cuff remark, we must always retain that Catholic spirit which respects the person and the office of the Supreme Pontiff, the successor of St Peter. We are neither ultramontanes nor gallicans but loyal Catholics in the tradition of St John Fisher, St Thomas More, St Catherine of Siena, St Vincent of Ferrer and others who from time to time respectfully took issue with some of the statements or actions of the Vicar of Christ.
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