Friday, 28 December 2007

Christmas around the world

It was rather encouraging to see pictures on Andrew Cusack's blog of Christmas celebrations in Iran, which to be honest wasn't something I expected to encounter (please note that this is nothing to do with politics, merely the fact that Iran's Christians are a minority who I am afraid I had not considered much before).

You may disagree with me on this, and I may well be wrong, but I would consider it accurate to say that at this time of year more people consider the situation in the Holy Land than usual, but at any rate, I am sure many of you will find these descriptions of Christmas in the Holy Land interesting.

Possibly the most encouraging story which I have encountered so far this Christmas however, has been this one of churches in Baghdad.

I for one look forward to adding all of these to my currently non-existent "Commonplace Book" and coming back to to them each Christmas. Amongst everything which has been happening recently, this news is greatly encouraging. Deo Gratias!

Holy Mary, Mother of the Church, pray for our brethren in the Middle-East.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Happy Christmas!

Yes I know today is the feast of St John the Apostle, but we are still in the Christmas octave and I did not get round to wishing you a Happy Christmas earlier. As you can see, I haven't posted anything for a while (although I narrowly managed to miss Mac's cull earlier this year!)mainly because I have been without easy access to a computer and have been trying to devote more time to prayers, study, and so forth. I can't promise anything for now, but heartily recommend this honest post by Cathy. God bless you all, and I wish you all had a holy and happy Christmas!

Monday, 3 September 2007

Well, where do we start?

Not long ago, I came across a rather intriguing message in the comments box. The commentator 'John' seems to have misunderstood my last post about the suppression of religion in China. Looking at this post, I don't quite understand how he came to his conclusion-that I was in some way endorsing religious persecution. This comment has not been published because it was frankly bad-mannered and deserves no attention. Please note that I am not particularly offended by his personal insult (tasteless), but by an offensive remark about the Holy Father which he made-whether it was aimed at the office or the office-holder is unknown to me, but in either case it was not a clever thing to say.

I only intend to say this once: I am aware that people say and do unpleasant things over the internet, and I am aware that this blog is likely to be encountered by non-Catholics and also by a number of people who do not agree with me, but I will not tolerate bad manners or publish inappropriate matter.

Now, 'John' was clearly not a Catholic. Please pray for him.

Saturday, 11 August 2007

That'll teach 'em!

Courtesy of Don Jim, I just came across this story about the Chinese goverment's declaration that "re-incarnations of living Buddhas" are invalid without their approval. Now, I am not going to discuss Buddhism here, but I find this sort of thing exemplifies the arrogant attitude of atheists in positions of authority. Is it me, or is there something completely ironic about those without religion dictating to religious believers what they should accept?

Anyway, as I have said before about the situation in China and Tibet, let's pray for our brethren there, but also for the conversion of non-Catholics (including the Commies and Secularists-that will really annoy them!). I believe that in doing so we may perform a work of spiritual mercy.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Viva il Papa!

I know that it is now a week after the Holy Father released Summorum Pontificum, but we should still be grateful for this wonderful grace. Thank you Holy Father!
Across the blogosphere are a number of posts deriding the bishops and expressing delight that they have been upset by the Motu Proprio. Please pardon this small rant, but that kind of thing really annoys me. The actions, views, and comments of some bishops can be unfortunate, but Catholics (especially those who consider themselves more Traditional) should remember that the bishops are the successors of the Apostles. We may well not get on with the office-holder, but we should still respect the office which they hold.
So as not to end on a sour note, there has been a rather encouraging reaction from the Archbishop of Mumbai, which further demonstrates how the need for genuine liturgical renewal is hardly a 'Eurocentric' issue. Let's thank God for such a wise reaction, and for a Pope who has granted a great boon to the entire Church.

Deo Gratias!

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Looking and loving

Don Marco has a particularly wonderful meditation on a painting of Christ crucified with Saints Francis, Benedict, and Romuald. I do not presume to place myself alongside dear Father Marco, but must admit I do enjoy walking around art galleries in order to look at Christian art and then meditating on what they can say to us. Enjoy!

Friday, 15 June 2007

Feast of the Sacred Heart

I wish you all a very Holy and Happy feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Our Lord is something in need of revival, and is given highly informative raise from the Servant of God Pius XII in his encyclical Haurietis Aquas, which I recommend heartily.

Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, have mercy on us!

Saturday, 2 June 2007

The foundation of Faith, Hope, and Charity

Blessed be the holy Trinity and undivided unity: we will give glory to Him, because He hath shown his mercy to us.
I wish you all a very Holy and Happy Feast of the Most Holy Trinity tomorrow. If you think that you already know all there is to know about this mystery (or not), then it will be of no small benefit to read this excellent article.

Monday, 28 May 2007

The need to rejoice

Over the next few weeks, I will be posting a series of brief meditations on the need for Catholics to rejoice. We are living in a world which is troubled because so many people have refused to listen to God. The consequence of separation from God, Whom is Love, is unhappiness. This unhappiness is manifest in many ways: violence, lack of respect, and distrust-to name but a few. It is very easy to be down-hearted about the state of the world, but we must never let this affect our trust in God. Look at a depiction of the Crucifixion, and the love of God for a fallen race is shown. Look at the condemned thief turning to the sinless Word dying for sin and turning to the dying Son of God to plead for help, and the grace of God to a sinner is shown. Monsignor Gilbey pointed out that we should thank God daily for sending His Son into the world to redeem us, and that I think that is an ideal place to begin to realise that we have something to be thankful for.

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

150th Post!

Dear readers,
Once again, I apologise for the lack of posting. I am afraid that I have nothing special to write about, as I have not been following events on the blogosphere lately.
As this post is the 150th since I launched the blog in January, it would be nice to write a special post, but circumstances have not allowed this. I am considering a temporary hibernation from this blog, or possibly a complete break, but have decided nothing yet.
God bless you all, and I wish you all a happy feast of the Ascension of Our Lord for tomorrow.

Monday, 30 April 2007

St Catherine of Siena

The soul, who is lifted by a very great and yearning desire for the honour of God and the salvation of souls, begins by exercising herself for a certain space of time, in the ordinary virtues, remaining in the cell of self-knowledge, in order to know better the goodness of God towards her. This she does because knowledge must precede love, and only when she has attained love, can she strive to follow and to clothe herself with the truth.

Thus begins the Dialogue of St Catherine of Siena with God the Father. St Catherine is undoubtedly one of the most eminently holy children of the Church, as well as one of my favourite saints. Gueranger writes: From the very commencement, there was something heavenly about this admirable servant of God, which we fancy existing in an angel who had been sent from heaven to live in a human body.

For such a lovely saint, it is entirely appropriate that the 'secret' prayer of the Roman rite should be so marvellous:

In the virginal fragrance of the virutes of blessed Catherine, whose feast-day we are are keeping, together with the saving victim to be laid upon Thine altar, may our prayers, O Lord, mount on high to thee. Through Christ our Lord.

Happy Feast Day!

Friday, 27 April 2007

Be nice to Auntie Beeb!

For those of you who do not know it, "Auntie Beeb" was an epithet used not so long ago to describe the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC). Now most of use are aware that in recent years Auntie Beeb has not exactly been kind, polite, or considerate towards the Catholic Church. In fact, Auntie has been downright rude, virulent, and bad-mannered towards the Church (to put it as mildly as possible) on several recent occassions. It was with some surprise then, that I came across this article entitled Concern over Pope's Latin Mass move (thanks to Rorate Coeli). My first concern was: why on earth would the BBC care about the possibility of removing restrictions on what Father Faber called "The most beautiful thing this side of Heaven"? And then I realised: They intend to put across the worst spin possible in order to confuse those who don't know what the fuss is about. I am rather too tired to go and point out the laughable errors, so please enjoy-especially the very good comment by a Protestant about Catholics following the Bible!

Thursday, 26 April 2007

The Incorruptibles

Our venerable brother in Christ and fellow blogger Andrew has a characteristically marvellous post on the incorruptible bodies of saints with some splendid pictures and descriptions of their lives. One of these, St Jean-Marie Vianney, is mentioned in a rather interesting little story Fr Tim has treated us to. Enjoy!

Sunday, 22 April 2007

The Sacrament of Love

I have been wondering lately if we take the Mass for granted. I am afraid that I have done so in the past, and in retrospect, that was-and is-a silly and sinful thing to do. I recently came across this marvellous website of Padre Pio devotions, and found a very simple yet profound remark of his:

If only we knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass.

Now that is an uncomplicated dose of the truth. I do not intend to say much further on this matter other than: we should constantly thank God for the adorable Sacrament of the Altar, and always be grateful for being able to hear Mass. If you need some further inspiration, click here.

Saturday, 21 April 2007


Dear readers, once again I must apologise for my lack of regular posting. As I have said before, it is not easy to maintain a blog and be a student at the same time-and yes, I know that I am not the only one to do so.
I will be unable to post regularly over the next week or so as I will be very busy, and intend to devote some private time to recollection, as I will be twenty in a short time, and feel it is important to take stock of my life and where I am heading.
Please pray for me, and I will pray for you.

Friday, 20 April 2007

By George?

There was a rather extensive article in today's Telegraph about St George's Day. I am sure that the non-British readers of this blog will be aware that for many years now, there has been considerable demand for St George's Day (April 23) to be made a national holiday in Britain. Now, I am in favour of this to be done, but am rather disgruntled with the attitudes of some people behind it. I seem to remember the London celebrations last year of St Patrick's day to have fallen on the Sunday. Now just how many of the people celebrating then were actually of Irish extraction? And just how many of them were practising Catholics?
I wouldn't be surprised if more than a few of the crowd were of the 'not keen on organised religion' persuasion, and there were probably a few people there who didn't exactly feel warm towards the Church, forgetting that it is thanks to the Church that St Patrick's Day even exists. Like it or not, St George's Day (or any other saint's day) is a religious feast, not just an excuse for getting drunk and having a day off from work. It has been established by Holy Mother Church so we can thank God for having provided us with such a courageous saint and martyr. It's time for us to win back this day from the secular missionaries!

Monday, 16 April 2007

Happy Birthday Holy Father!

Emitte wishes the Sovereign Pontiff Pope Benedict XVI his very best congratulations on the happy occassion of His Holiness' eightieth birthday. Ad multos annos!

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto,
Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra et non tradat eum in animam in inimicorum ejus.

Saturday, 14 April 2007

Prayers under the snares

Please forgive the rather tongue-in-cheek title of this post. Yesterday, I decided to see if this blog is blocked in China using the marvellous Great Firewall of China. I had tested this a few months ago, and the blog was accessible from China. What's new? I can now officially declare that Emitte Lucem Tuam is blocked! Now I can't say that I am terribly upset about this (because I am not), but I am surprised that it took them so long to do so. I rather suspect that my recent post about Tibetan Catholics pushed them to do so. You will be pleased to hear that I do not intend to indulge in vain-glory by boasting about the Commies having recognised an enemy, instead I propose that since I am no longer able to provide reading or otherwise for the good people of China-as many bloggers are, that we 'help them from the outside'. In other words, I propose that we should pray more fervently for our brethren in China. Those who have upheld the Faith in such adversity are an example of steadfastness and integrity, as shown by a recent post by Fr Zuhlsdorf. Please say at the very least an Ave Maria for them now.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum,
Benedicta tu in mulieribus,
Et Benedictus Fructus ventris tuis, Jesus.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei,
Ora pro nobis peccatoribus,
Nunc, et in horae mortis nostris.

Thursday, 12 April 2007

Coming to a Parish near you?

I expect that most of you have watched the splendid video of order being restored to an altar for a celebration of the Traditional Roman Rite. Speaking of which, I am sure that like me, you are feeling just a little disgruntled with the continued hype over when exactly the speculated Motu Proprio arrives. Well, I was silly enough to be encouraged by the rumours that it would be released before Easter, I should have known better. I am making a firm purpose of amendment not to indulge in any further speculation about when it is going to appear. Instead, I am going to double my efforts in praying for the lifting of restrictions on the celebration of this Rite, and invite all of you (who have not done so already) to join me in doing so.

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Our brethren in the East

Watching the televised Urbi et Orbi (or any other televised event at the Vatican for that matter), I am always struck by the many nationalities of those present. One always expects there to be pilgrims from Germany, Poland, the Philippines and so forth. Hence, one is often surprised when learning of the Catholic communities in countries where we do not expect them. I came across this very moving account of the small Catholic community in Tibet, which I earnestly recommend reading. And when you've finished reading it, remember them as well as all Catholics (especially in Asia) in your prayers, and pass the news onto other people.

Ecclesiae tuae, quaesumus Domine, preces placatus admitte : ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Mercifully receive, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the prayers of thy Church: that overcoming all adversity and error, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God for ever and ever.

Sunday, 8 April 2007

In case you didn't know already

Mr McCarthy has a thoughtful post on the meaning of Easter, something we would all do well to reflect on.

Easter greetings!

Resurerrexi, et adhuc tecum sum, Alleluia. Posuisti super me manum tuam, Alleluia. Mirabilis facta est scientia tua. Alleluia, alleluia.

I am risen, and yet with thee, Alleluia. Thou hast put thy right hand upon me, Alleluia. Thy knowledge is become marvellous, Alleluia, alleluia.

I wish you all a very Holy and Happy Easter!

Thursday, 5 April 2007


Lucky old me (Don't worry, I am not being smug, I am being sarcastic). This evening I am going to have my feet washed, and I can't say I'm looking forward to it. It may well be accepted by all religions and cultures that the feet are probably the least attractive parts of the anatomy. Hence, the idea of a priest In Persona Christi washing my feet makes me feel more than a little uncomfortable, and I daresay the apostles weren't exactly keen on the idea when Our Lord performed this task. Let us follow the advice of Gueranger:

"the feet are those earthly attachments, which so often lead us to the brink of sin. Let us watch over our senses, and the affections of our hearts. Let us wash away these stains by a sincere confession, by penance, by sorrow, and by humility; that thus we may worthily receive the adorable Sacrament, and derive from it the fulness of its power and grace."

Gueranger, The Liturgical Year-Passiontide and Holy Week. Translated by Dom Laurence Sheppard OSB, 1929. London, Burns Oates & Washbourne Ltd.

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Dress code for Mass

This morning I came across an American group named the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), who happen to have a blog. Scrolling down the page, I came across a very good post on appropriate dress for Mass. Now, given the nature of their website etc, this is a good demonstration of how showing respect for the Domus Dei is not just a pre-occupation of the 'Rad-Trads'. Of course, we should not stop there. It is quite possible for even the most immaculately dressed person to behave improperly in church. Nevertheless, it is good to see how this is a concern for more than just a few Catholics. And as we are in the season when many irregular church-goers come along to liturgical celebrations, this is definitely a topical issue. And whilst I'm on the subject, I would like to ask the ladies who read this blog if they wear a mantilla (headscarf) or not in church. Rest assured that I am not setting off on an inquisition, but am interested in how many Catholic ladies do these days.

Saturday, 31 March 2007

Holy Week in the Holy Land

There are some rather interesting photos of the Latin Rite Community's Holy Week celebrations in Jerusalem. I will probably not be posting regularly for a while, so I wish you all a prayerful and blessed Holy Week!

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Making the most

I am told that a priest whom I know once remarked "Rather than consider what you can do for Lent, consider what Lent can do for you". I am pondering this excellent maxim and feeling rather annoyed with myself for not having made the most out of this great season. I don't know about you, but Lent seems to have whizzed by with incredible speed. Now, I could start mooching around and feeling sorry for myself, but I don't think I will be taking that path. We should always remember that it is never too late to 'make a start' in our spiritual lives, but we should also remember that we don't have much time left. And I am not just referring to Holy Week, we should always be ready to meet Almighty God, since we know not the hour nor the day. This is no reason for despair however. We should constantly pray for the gift of perseverance, and I hope that this prayer by St Alphonsus Liguori will be of help:

Our dear Redeemer,
relying on Your promises,
because you are faithful, all-powerful and merciful,
we hope, through the merits of Your Passion,
for the forgiveness of our sins,
perserverance until death in Your grace;
and at length we hope, by Your mercy,
to see and love You eternally in Heaven.

A Catholic Prayer Book, 2001 (Revised Edition), Catholic Truth Society, London.

It is not too late, but don't delay. I wish you all a prayerful Passion week. And in the meantime, I strongly recommend reading Don Marco's latest posts.

Saturday, 24 March 2007

A thought on the rumour

With the blogosphere buzzing for the last few months with the rumour of a Motu Proprio being granted in order to lift restrictions on the Traditional Roman Rite, I had resolved to keep quiet (I was not ignoring the elephant in the room, I was wasn't giving it attention), but have decided to finally share my thoughts with you on this matter.
We have had a number of rumours and suggestions from from credible sources which suggest that the Motu Proprio is imminent. Most of these however, are just unconfirmed rumours and have not been made in writing. The general consensus appears to be that it is a matter of "when, not if". Whilst this may well be the case, we simply cannot be sure. With this in mind, I am convinced that we should stop speculating on when it is going to appear. Instead, we must pray for the Supreme Pontiff and for the Holy Church, and we must also be patient-I know perfectly well that this is not easy, but by supporting the Holy Father through prayer, we will achieve more.
Our Blessed Lady, Seat of Wisdom and St Joseph, patron of the Universal Church, pray for us.

Latest news

Dear readers. It appears that my last post has caused some of you undue worry. If this is the case, then I apologise. I assure you that I have not been gravely ill, but I have been having a tough time lately. If any of you have been concerned, then I am very sorry for having worried you. Once again, thank you all for your much-needed prayers and support, please keep them coming, as I have several important intentions.
God bless you all, Emitte.

Friday, 16 March 2007

A moment of respite

Dear readers, thank you all for you prayers-they are much appreciated, but still needed. I have interrupted my temporary absence from the blogosphere in order to post a little today. A few days ago, Fr Nicholas very kindly wrote an excellent post about the Massimo miracle. Given this, I do not intend to say anything myself on the subject, but instead treat you to the description of the miracle from Antonio Gallonio's Life of St Philip Neri (An ideal Lenten meditation, I think):

in a strange way, Paolo was called back to life through Philip's prayers. He opened his eyes, and to the amazement of everyone who was present, replied to Philip in a clear voice...Philip asked him, 'Are you ready to die, or to continue longer in this life?' He replied that he wishd to die, for he knew that he had a certain place set aside or him in heaven, to enjoy the splendour of God, the Best and the Greatest, for ever. And so, in his longing for death, as if he were entering the land of the living, he breathed forth his spirit a second time, in the sight and embrace of the holy Father; this was on the 16th March, in the year 1583

The Life of St Philip Neri, Antonio Gallonio. Translated by Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory. Family Publications, Oxford. 2005.

Sunday, 11 March 2007


Dear readers, thank you very much for the much-needed and much-appreciated prayers, they are still needed. Since my last post, everything is still difficult and I will be unable to blog regularly over the next two weeks. Again, please accept my apologies. In the meantime, I have several appeals:

1. I am sure that most of my readers are committed Catholics who already pray daily for the intentions of the Holy Father (as we all have a duty to do), but I am sure you will agree that His Holiness is especially in need of further prayer at the moment.

2. On March 19th we will celebrate the feast of St Joseph. Please do not neglect to commemorate this feast in some way, either by attending Mass, saying the Rosary, or by some form of private devotion to St Joseph. He is of course, the patron saint of a happy death (which we should pray for daily), but we should also use the opportunity to pray for the intentions of Holy Mother Church, since St Joseph is also patron of the Universal Church.

3. Finally, I would like to ask for your prayers again, although I know perfectly well that both the Holy Father and the Church take priority over my intentions (and the former are also merited), but I am still in need of your prayers.

Thank you all for your charity and support, which although undeserved, are still greatly appreciated.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Just to let you know

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last week. Everything is especially difficult at the moment, so please remember me in your prayers.

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

A magnificent occassion

There is a fascinating post at Wanton Popery about the coronation of Napoleon as Emperor. I was especially delighted to learn that the popular story of Napoleon having taken the crown from the Supreme Pontiff's hands in order to crown himself is a myth. Deo Gratias!

Saturday, 3 March 2007

Things are looking up

Deo Gratias! Yesterday I was leaving my house when I remembered a picture I saw at Christmas of a Franciscan with a traditional tonsure, then I looked up. The sun was shining, and the sky was beautifully clear. "Hmm" I thought, "this can't last for long. Happiness rarely does last for long this side of Heaven". As it happened, yesterday wasn't a 'perfect day'-although as I get older I often realise there is no such thing, but a number of things on the blogosphere and internet which have taken place over the last week have cheered me up immensely. As I don't intend to be selfish, I will now share them with you in no particular order:

1. I found out from Zenit this morning that Bishop Girotti has re-iterated the Church's condemnation of freemasonry (My goodness, how old-fashioned of him-Hurray!), and has warned priests who affiliate themselves with the movement that they will have consequences to face (Ooh! Discipline!).
2. Bishop Vada has reminded "a prominent Catholic public person" (also known as Nancy Pelosi-although a number of people might question His Lordship's use of the word 'Catholic') that abortion is "diametrically opposed to the clear and consistent teaching of the Catholic Church as well as to the clear and consistent teaching of God Himself in the Ten Commandments." About time one of the Bishops reminded Ms. Pelosi.
3. Carolina Cannonball has written a hilarious post about her line of work and co-habiting couples.
4. Our beloved friend Monsignor Schmitz has some wonderful things to say (more so than usual)-I won't spoil them for you!
5. Cardinal Biffi has said some simply marvellous things to the Holy Father about the guises of the Antichrist.
6. I have just found some exquisite pictures of Carthusian houses around the world (follow the link at the top).
7. In case anyone has missed it, Fr Ray wrote a highly intelligent post about the purpose of fasting (Cafod take note).

Many thanks to: The Cornell Society, Mac McLernon, Carolina Cannonball, and Fr Ray Blake. Have a good weekend, and enjoy the above links!

Thursday, 1 March 2007

Thoughts on Confession

Joee has asked me to write a post about confession, and as I do not like to dissappoint my fellow bloggers, I will oblige as best as I can.
The sacrament of confession is probably the most neglected of all the seven sacraments, and this is one of the greatest problems facing the Church today. All Catholics are required to go to confession once a year, and as one must be in a state of grace in order to receive Holy Communion, more frequent and regular confession is advisable (You may remember my earlier post on that subject). I can tell you from personal experience that adopting such a pattern is extremely valuable to one's spiritual life. Of course, as well as going to confession on a regular basis, it is of no small importance that we make a good confession (Frs Zuhlsdorf and Finigan both have advice on this). Is it possible to make a bad confession? Yes, if one were to conceal something from the priest. If we love God, then why would we hide something from Him? Almighty God knows our deepest thoughts, but we confess our sins to Him through the priest in Persona Christi. To forget a sin unintentionally is not sinful, but to wilfully hide a sin from God is dishonest to say the least. In receiving this sacrament, we should open ourselves to God's grace, as He will not force His way in, hence we should have no qualms about opening our most intimate depths to the ineffable gift of His grace.
As with all of the sacraments, a human sign is used-in this case, sorrow. Not only do we confess our sins, but we also express our sorrow for sin. A priest reminded me a few months ago that the priest sits in judgement in order to discern whether or not the penitent is sorry for having offended God, the priest is not judging whether or not the penitent is guilty of these sins. On a recent episode of Desperate Housewives, I recall a woman repeatedly visiting her confessor and boasting of her sexual escapades. Evidently the writers have missed the point. Someone who really knows what sin is, and is truly sorry for having offended God by sin would surely not abuse the gift of God's forgiveness.
Above all, remember that however hard it might be, you will never lose anything by going to confession. Certainly it takes determination and even courage, but it is a small price to pay for the precious and priceless gift of God's mercy.

Wednesday, 28 February 2007

Thoughts on fasting

Fr Ray has a short but excellent post on the true purpose of fasting. About time someone reminded Cafod. I am not going to criticise anyone, but if a 'Catholic' charity forgets about why one should fast during Lent, then they are sending out the wrong message, and risk a good opportunity for their spiritual lives. We Catholics need to remember that our vocation is to know, love, and serve God in this life. If fasting can aid us in this respect, then all the better, but we should do so as penance for our sins. And as I am sure you know, our Blessed Lord has some good things to say about it:

And when you fast, be not as the hypocrites, sad. For they disfigure their faces, that they may appear unto men to fast. Amen I say to you, they have received their reward. But thou, when thou fastest anoint thy head, and wash thy face; That thou appear not to men to fast, but to thy Father who is in secret: and thy Father who seeth in secret, will repay thee.

Matthew 6:16

Tuesday, 27 February 2007

A change of tide

There is a very encouraging article about a parish where it has been decided that girls will no longer be recruited as altar servers. Now, before the egalitarian readers of this blog (if there are any) start to shriek, please allow me to explain the benefits of such a decision. It was once considered a great privilege to serve Holy Mass. It was a means by which many vocations to the sacred priesthood were discovered and nurtured. On this basis alone, it should be clear that a parish priest who only permits boys to serve Mass is not a misogynist, but is trying to encourage young men to consider a vocation as a priest or religious (and goodness knows we need them). Unfortunately, the current trend nowadays is that it must be something which everyone can enjoy. Again, this is a well-meant idea, but poorly considered. Serving the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass should not be something 'to enjoy', it is a responsibility and a privilege, and this should be remembered as such. In case anyone would like to hear a lady's view on the subject, I can do no better than to recommend this article by Joanna Bogle. And please don't hesitate to share your views!

Saturday, 24 February 2007

I love it when they talk like that!

Thanks to The Cornell Society for posting this wonderful news about an Archbishop's reminder. Deo Gratias!

Tuesday, 20 February 2007

The benefits of the internet

Who wold have thought ten years ago that the internet would be so useful for Catholics? Recently, I joined Facebook, and was delighted to find The Imitation of Christ online. This spiritual classic is divided into many short chapters, and thus would be ideal to a read a meditation a day during Lent.

Saturday, 17 February 2007

A little disclaimer!

Now dear readers, I thought it only fair to offer you a little explanation. I am unable to respond to all of your comments and questions for several reasons:

1. I am a full-time student, hence cannot spend as much time as I like dedicated to this blog.
2. Some of these questions and/or comments require a carefully considered and written answer-not only do you deserve a carefully written reply, but bloggers must accept responsibility for their writings, hence they often take a while!

Please rest assured that I will try and answer any questions or comments you may have, but this does take time (and a little patience).

Pax tecum.

Friday, 16 February 2007

And what are you doing?

There isn't much time left, so in case you haven't already, it may be worth considering how to make the most of the upcoming season of Lent. At this point, I would like to share one of the most useful maxims I have heard from a priest on the subject: "Don't think what you can do for Lent, but think what Lent can do for you". I am always wryly amused when agnostics and atheists spend ages discussing what they will be giving up (well, God does work in mysterious ways). We need to remind ourselves that Lent should not be an excuse for a diet-our spiritual and temporal needs should not be confused. Having said that, Catholics seem to have forgotten about the benefits of austerity in our spiritual lives. Many people are horrified by the use of a cilice, forgetting that such mortification was practised by many people in the middle-ages. Nor was it used for masochistic purposes, another priest reminded me last year that mortification was of no value unless offered to God. Hence, if you intend to follow a gentler form of mortification (such as giving up alcohol), do so for the love of God and not for your own sake. Another suggestion is to revive the practice of a particular devotion, or invest in some spiritual reading. In order to help my dear readers, I will post a short meditation or link every few days. Stay tuned for details, and pray about it.

A Bitchy Bulgarian Bishop

Ad Jesu per Mariam has just brought a debacle in Bulgaria to my attention. One of the youngest Orthodox bishops has called the Supreme Pontiff a heretic. Bad move Nickolay. Whether or not the Pope appeals to you, you don't insult God's representative on earth. Furthermore, Cardinal St Robert Bellarmine demonstrated that the Pope cannot be a heretic. No-one is impressed by this impertinent outburst, so let's change the subject.

Thursday, 15 February 2007

An exceptional evening

Yesterday, I broke with my Valentine's day tradition of watching Brief Encounter to head to town for a very interesting talk on the Jacobites organised by the Royal Stuart Society. Fr Nicholas Schofield was present, and afterwards we had a pleasant talk in a local pub about blogging, vocations, and parochial life. A most enjoyable evening!

Wednesday, 14 February 2007

A little light humour

This morning, a random thought came to mind, inspired by Martin Mosebach's The Heresy of formlessness. When Monsignor Annibale Bugnini (for those of you who don't know, he is responsible for the liturgical 'reforms' of Vatican II and trying to extinguish the old rite) dies, he is met by his guardian angel to take him before the Most Just Judge. En route, the angel says to Bugnini "You certainly know how to amuse us", to which he replies "How do you mean?". "Well", says the angel, "we have been celebrating the divine liturgy for a while now. Did you really think you could make your own up?".

Tuesday, 13 February 2007

A dear price to pay

Following yesterday's post about the courage of a young Albanian, Fr Ray has helped to bring the dreadful situation under the communists to mind. No doubt about it, people need to know about this, as the press in Britain seems to turn an obstinately blind eye to the treatment of Catholics abroad. It's time for a reality check, we may not be in a favourable position as Catholics in Europe, but we are much more so than some of our brethren around the world. And yet in this situation, our faith has survived, and will continue to survive. As Saint Paul says in the second epistle to the Corinthians: We suffer persecution, but are not forsaken; we are cast down, but we perish not. I refuse to intimidated by the militant atheism which pretends that religion is dead. Take the situation in Poland, where the practise of Catholicism was hampered, but not stopped by Nazi slaughter or by Communist pressure. The gates of hell shall never triumph against Holy Mother Church-and never forget it.

Monday, 12 February 2007

They will also persecute you

If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you

John 15:20

Fr Blake has posted a heart-rending story about an Albanian Catholic, which has moved me immensely.

A truly happy day

Yesterday I dropped into South Ashford for Fr John Boyle's first Mass in the Traditional Roman rite. It was a truly moving occasion, and I would like to offer my very best wishes to Fr John. Ad multos annos!
It was also a very special occasion for the Doyle family. Congratulations on Madeleine's baptism! Deo Gratias!

Saturday, 10 February 2007

The miracle which confounds sceptics

For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality

1 Corinthians 15:53

Mac has a highly readable and intelligent post about the undecayed bodies of saints (to be fair, I've never known any of her posts which aren't readable and intelligent). This is one of those occcassions when I am instinctively moved to thank God for his gifts of nature and grace. I have never seen a saint's body as incorrupt as St Bernadette's, but last year I was visiting Assisi and was able to see the preserved body of St Clare. St Clare's body showed no signs of decay for a few days after her death, but when they soon appeared, they applied wax to her corpse, and so it has been unchanged for over 700 years. Deo Gratias!

Friday, 9 February 2007

Newman on friendship

This is my commandment, that you love one another, as I have loved you.

John 15:12

Thanks to Don Marco for posting a sermon by the Venerable John Henry Newman on friendship. Earlier on this week for a laugh, I had a look at 'advice for single people on surviving Valentine's day' (or something to that effect), which suggested telling our friends and family that we love them-decidedly one of the better suggestions. It reminded me that we need to thank God each day for the gift of good friends. Decidedly, I am somewhat biased in this matter, as I am always especially delighted to make friends with other Catholics, since our faith unites us in a way which non-Catholics rarely understand. This doesn't mean I value my non-Catholic friends less than my Catholic friends, it simply means that I am favourably inclined towards making friends with my brethren, this is one of the meanings of the phrase: 'charity begins at home'. We need to love one another above all because Our Blessed Lord has told us to. A priest once remarked to me 'Love isn't really talked about these days. And the world's take on the word love is divorced from its true meaning'. And on that note, I think it's time I re-read Deus Caritas Est.

Wednesday, 7 February 2007

Let all mortal flesh keep silence

How sad it is that earlier today, I attended a concert where there was greater concentration given and attention paid by the audience than by some people at a Mass I attended on Saturday. I am pleased that the performer was given the silence which any musician deserves when performing, but it reflects badly on Catholics who talk to one another during Holy Communion. Not long ago, I heard a sermon given by a priest whom had invited an Orthodox lady to Solemn Mass, only to be told "Your people have no respect for the sacred, Father. They were talking to one another, parents were letting their children run around screaming, and a telephone went off". Unfortunately, that last item is something which many of us are all too familiar with these days.
Decidedly, one of the many things about the Traditional Roman Rite which I love dearly is the silent Canon. There is a very fine homily on this, which was given at the launch of CIEL UK.
Before Christmas, I was blessed with a very beautifully celebrated Missa Cantata. Somebody asked me afterwards: "How long was it?", to which I replied "I honestly don't remember, but there is no passage of time in Heaven, and we were given a glimpse of eternity." This is what the sacred liturgy must be rembered as : a foretaste of the Divine liturgy. Not something which is planned or suggested, but something which raises our minds to Heavenly things. And few things are as effective in this respect as silence is.

Saturday, 3 February 2007

Regular confession

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just, to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all iniquity. The first epistle of St John 1:9

Recently, Terry of Abbey Roads 2 wrote a rather thoughtful post about the sacrament of confession and its fruits.
It seems to me that more young Catholics are going to confession these days, and I find this very encouraging (especially with the catechetical crisis which still plagues the Church). Of course, we must remember that there are still too few Catholics going to confession, which is ultimately to their own spiritual loss. Well, what can we do about it? By first of all adopting a healthy and mature approach towards receiving this sacrament on a regular basis, before we recommend the practice to our brethren. Here are some suggestions for those whom find it especially difficult, or are nor used to regular confession:
1. Invest in a copy of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine (also known as the Penny Catechism), which is available from CTS and Tan Books. Remind yourself what the ten commandments are, what sin is, what is a mortal sin etc.
2. Before going to bed, examine your conscience, and if you have committed a sin-be it venial or mortal-then express your sorrow before God in the form of an Act of Contrition.
3. Adopt the practice of receiving this sacrament on a regular basis ie once a month, which will make it easier.
4. Don't rush straight to the confessional after entering the church, but first of all prayerfully and carefully examine your conscience, pray to Our Lady, or your patron saint to make a good confession.
5. Afterwards, remember to thank God for the gift of His grace and mercy, and perform the penance your confessor has given you (and don't hesitate to say more prayers as further penance).

More footage of Papa Pacelli

Tip of the biretta to Fr Nicholas for a simply marvellous video of Pius XII in his latter days. Thank you so much Father!

Thursday, 1 February 2007


Joee has 'tagged' me to say five random things about myself. Here is what came across my mind:

1. I used to be an ardent devotee of The Sound of Music (I still enjoy the film, I'm just not such an ardent devotee these days).

2. I am very particular about how tea and coffee are made and consumed (and I have a rather unsettling skill of making other people change their habits in this matter to mine)

3. When I was very young I could speak Italian very well, these days I only speak a little.

4. I am told that I do rather convincing impressions of characters from The Simpsons.

5. I wish I could play the piano in the style Chico Marx (RIP) played.

Vigil of the Purification

For the feast of the Purification of Our Lady tomorrow, there will be a sung Mass and blessing of candles at Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane in London at 6.30 PM. On another subject, I recently finished reading The idea of the Oratory by Father Raleigh Addington, and thought this might interest you. In 1848 on this day at Solemn Vespers (First Vespers of the Purification), Father John Henry Newman admitted nine men to the Oratorian habit, and the English Oratory was officially founded the next day - Deo Gratias.

Appeal for your assistance

Emitte would like to appeal to our dear readers to sign a petition to Tony Blair to grant Catholic adoption agencies exemption from the incoming sexual orientation regulations, which threaten the consciences of thousands of people, and are amongst the most damaging legislations against Catholics in Britain. Thanks to Catholic Church Conservation for bringing this to our attention. Please lend your support and prayers. Our Lady, refuge of sinners, pray for us.

Sunday, 28 January 2007

Conversi ad Dominum

Fr Ray Blake has a rather encouraging post about the celebration of the Novus Ordo Missae ad orientem (facing the East). Catholics often assume (wrongly) that the Novus Ordo (New rite) can only be celebrated versus populum (facing the people). To explain this, I can offer no better answer than to look at a short pamphlet on the subject by Michael Davies. There are extracts from his book The Catholic Sanctuary and Vatican II on the Latin Mass Society website. More recently, an excellent book was written by Fr Uwe Michael Lang, entitled Turning towards the Lord. In this book, Fr Lang explains that the celebration of the Novus Ordo ad orientem is not forbidden, and that the celebration of the Mass in this orientation was in fact the norm for the early Church. In some Catholic churches, the celebration of the Novus Ordo ad orientem (for instance, the Brompton Oratory) is not unknown, but still remains an unusual practice in most Roman rite churches. Yet signs that this practice is growing appeared last year, when Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith (the secretary for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments) gave a very favourable address at the presentation of the Italian translation of the book. What is particularly encouraging however, is that a parish priest has taken the favourable decision to celebrate Mass ad orientem in his own church. Let us pray that more parish priests will be willing to do so.

Saturday, 27 January 2007

Warning: Don't marry a Catholic!

I have just found a rather interesting and readable article entitled Don't marry a Catholic. This gem (written in 1952) points out the potential flaws of marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, and is extremely relevant for people today.

Ecce sacerdos magnus

Fr Tim Finigan has a rather helpful post on how to greet a Bishop. This may be helpful when on Thursday the 22nd of February, Bishop Alan Hopes maybe addressing young people at the Brompton Oratory. Anyone aged between 18 and 35 is welcome (you do not have to be a Catholic to attend). Stay tuned for details.

Thursday, 25 January 2007

The saintly student

Reading Antonio Gallonio's Life of St Philip Neri this morning, I came across this wonderful description of our Holy Father's life as a student, and thought I would share it with you:

"While Philip was occupied in his secular education, he did associate with his fellow students from time to time, and had long discussions and arguments with them about obscure points of natural science, but he was at the same time extraordinarily fond of being alone, and spent long periods in nightly vigil. As Saint Paul recommends, he discerned the invisible things of God through the means of visible things, and scrutinised His eternal power and divinity to the furthest extent possible for a mortal man doomed to die.
He often did the round of the Seven Churches of Rome, with no one to keep him company: these churches were the ones most distinguished for their liturgyand the indulgences granted by the Popes...Whenever an opportunity occurred to curb the irrational desires and longings of his mind, he seized upon it eagerly, striving always to gain mastery over himself. That is why he was always advising his sons to try to conquer themsleves even in the most trivial matters , if they wanted to be able to overcome in the greater struggles."

This is thought to be the earliest known life of St Philip, and is a fairly recent translation by Fr Jerome Bertram of the Oxford Oratory (it is also the first English translation). The Life of St Philip Neri is published by Family Publications, Oxford. Warmly recommended!

The Conversion of St Paul

Praedicator veritatis, et doctor gentium in fide et veritate.

Preacher of the truth, and teacher of the gentiles in faith and truth.

I wish all readers a very happy feast of the Conversion of St Paul. Fr Zuhlsdorf has posted an excellent meditation for today's feast. Deo Gratias!

Tuesday, 23 January 2007

St Raymund

Os justi meditabur sapientam, et lingua ejus loquetur judicium; lex Dei ejus in corde ipsius.

The mouth of the just shall speak wisdom, and his tongue shall speak judgement: the law of God is in his heart.

Today is the feast day of St Raymund of Pennafort (1175-1275). St Raymund was the author of a Summa on morals and conscience, for which he was given the title 'Eminent minister of the Sacrament of penance'. Whilst he died at an unusually old age for a saint, he was not unusual amongst them in knowing of when he was to leave this world, and spent the last 35 years of his life preparing for his death. St Raymund, pray for us.

Monday, 22 January 2007

One up for the Latinists!

The Bone Chapel has a rather interesting and amusing post about Haitian Catholics in the USA whom surprised a Bishop (favourably-no, apparently this is for real) by singing the Te Deum in Latin. If only more Catholics would be so willing and enthusiastic! During the so-called 'penal-days', when the Protestant authorities in England had executed a Catholic priest, the British clergy and exiles in Rome would sing a Te Deum. I doubt many Catholics these days are familiar with this glorious hymn, but it seems that gradually, things are heading in the right direction.

Address to Institut

The New Liturgical Movement has very generously posted Cardinal Arinze's address to the Institut Superieur de Liturgie. I will shortly be posting a commentary on this address, but in the meantime, let me say how refreshing I found this particular point which he made:

young people will not desire to join a band of clerics who seem uncertain of their mission, who criticize and disobey their Church and who celebrate their own "liturgies" according to their personal choices and theories.

Spot on, Eminence. Many young Catholics whom I know are not impressed by liturgical 'creativity', and are fed up with being patronised by older Catholics whom suggest they want something more 'accessible' or 'friendly'. Stay tuned for further reflections.

Over in Rome...

John Paul at Orbis Catholicus has very kindly mentioned the daily intentions for the octave of Christian unity from the Raccolta. He has also been kind enough to post a picture of some smartly dressed canons. Thank you very much!

Friday, 19 January 2007

Catholicism and masculinity

Tip of the biretta to Argent by the Tiber for linking a very good article on 'Why we need real men'. Ladies, this is not just for the gentlemen, please read it and enjoy!

News of the old rite

There is a rather concise and readable article in the US Spectator by Thomas J. Craughwell about the Holy Father's reported talks with French Bishops over allowing greater celebration of the traditional Roman rite. He points out (quite correctly) that: "He (Pope Benedict) is not going to abolish the New Mass.". If a Catholic to whom you are talking to begins to panic, then politely point out that the lifting of restrictions on the old rite does not herald a replacement of the Novus Ordo. Not by a longshot. I have met a number of such Catholics whom will avoid even a Novus Ordo Mass in Latin like the plague, and if you are to mention your interest, they often cry "Why go back to all that?" (I am not intentionally being polemical, this has happened to me). It seems that many opponents of the traditional Mass are afraid that it will replace the Novus Ordo Missae. Not in this papacy-the Holy Father may (and hopefully) end the restrictions on the traditional Rite, and pursue a 'reform of the reform', but he is very unlikely to ban the post-conciliar Ordo.
My one complaint with Craughwell's article is when he states "the traditional Mass with its traditional theology". The Catholic Church has altered the liturgy, but it cannot add or subtract from the sacred Deposit of Faith, and so the theology which formed the traditional rite should theoretically be the same as that which forms all rites of the Church. Otherwise, this is an admirably succinct and intelligent presentation of the changes to the liturgy-ideal reading for those whom are new to the situation.

Call to youth!

Just to let the young Catholics of Britain know that there will be a talk for young people on Thursday 25th November at 8PM in St Wildrid's Hall at the Brompton Oratory (follow the link at the top for details on getting there). Father Julian Large will speak on "Who or what is the Devil?". If you are able to attend, then I strongly recommend you do so, as Fr Large is a very gifted and witty speaker, and this is a wonderful opportunity to meet people. Please also try and bring some friends along. It does not matter whether they are Catholic or not, as long as they are aged between 18 and 35. Spread the word!

Thursday, 18 January 2007

St Bernardine

Against all heresies has a very interesting post on St Bernardine of Siena, another neglected and forgotten hero of the Church. Tolle legge!

Tuesday, 16 January 2007

The secretary's fashion

A story in the Telegraph today caused me wry amusement. You may have been aware of the popularity the Holy Father's secretary Don Georg Gänswein has with many Italian women, but I don't think anyone could have foreseen that Donatella Versace would be inspired by Don Georg to design a new collection for Men's fashion week in Milan. There is something oddly satisfying about this. With the rise of militant secularism and hostility towards religion in Europe, it is perhaps encouraging that a senior cleric should be so respected by one of the world's most influential fashion designers (albeit in a rather unusual way). It is also encouraging that Miss Versace says she likes "Gregorian Garb", perhaps this might encourage our clergy to revive some of their traditional outfits!

Monday, 15 January 2007

Papa Pacelli's life

Thanks to our friends at Hallowed Ground (they really are too kind to us) for linking a film about the life of the Venerable Pope Pius XII. Unfortunately, I am unable to hear it, but the images are simply unforgettable. As the delightful hymn says: "Oh Mother, I could weep for joy"!

Sunday, 14 January 2007

Cromwell the royalist?

A close friend of mine (a history student) said the other night "Oliver Cromwell was not a republican"-and he was being serious (or so he said). He argues that Cromwell did not abolish the King's office. "Perhaps not" I replied, "but that was no excuse for him to kill the King". That action can be classified as treason and the republican's dream. Now don't worry here ladies and gentlemen, the person in concern is an ardent patriot and supporter of the Royal family. Hence, I was just a little surprised when he stated this, and expressed his admiration for Cromwell. This after all, was not merely someone whom had the nerve to try the King, but also to execute him, and allow the Puritans to enforce their own distorted and miserable version of religion on the English people. Furthermore, Cromwell's behaviour in Ireland, particularly towards Catholics was that of a murderous tyrant. Cromwell may have been an excellent general, but that does not excuse his behaviour.

Saturday, 13 January 2007

The Coronation Rites

For those of you whom may be interested, the Reverend Dr Donald Gray will be giving a talk on the Coronation Rites at All Saints Church, Margaret Street in London.

More thoughts on Wilde

Following my earlier post on the Vatican's endorsement of Oscar Wilde's wit, there is a rather interesting article about his relationship with Catholicism. Thanks to Don Jim for linking this!

The Cathedral which never was

There is a rather interesting post at the New Liturgical Movement about some of the original designs for Liverpool's Catholic Cathedral. A poignant display of what might have been.

Seminary Boy

I recently finished reading John Cornwell's account of his life in a minor seminary (a college for boys whom would later be training for the priesthood). Let me say now that I wouldn't normally rush to buy a book by Cornwell (the way he unjustly smeared the reputation of the Venerable Pius XII in Hitler's Pope filled me with indignance), but was very interested in reading of what a minor seminary would have been like. Cornwell refreshingly refrains from writing a 'what an awful a Catholic childhood I had' type of book, and looks back on his years in the seminary with warmth and humour, and I dare say that many Catholics of a certain age will identify his reaction to the post-conciliar Church. Seminary Boy has a number of sad and tragic stories, but is nevertheless a satisfying and illuminating book which portrays a lost way of life.

Bishop Challoner

Tip of the biretta to our friend Joee Blogs for drawing our attention to a wonderful post on Bishop Challoner by Monsignor Langham. Thank you both for your efforts to raise the profile of a neglected and heroic prelate.

Friday, 12 January 2007

New recruits for Northern Ireland

I was reading the Times earlier today (which I don't normally, as I generally read the Telegraph), and read a rather surprising story. Apparently, a number of Polish immigrants are helping fill the 'Catholic quota' of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Whilst I am pleased that there should be more police in the British isles, I fail to understand the point of such quotas. On this I agree with Ian Paisley Jr, who pointed out (rightly in my opinion) that candidates should be selected on the basis of their skills, and not on their religious beliefs. This attitude of 'so many candidates must be X' may be well intended, but little thought seems to be given to the consequences.

Tuesday, 9 January 2007

Vintage prayers

Here's something unexpected! The Cornell Society has posted a fascinating post about an Ecclesiologist whom safeguards precious statues from post-conciliar iconoclasts. But wait a moment, it gets better yet! They came across prayer cards for the Second Vatican Council-who would have thought of this?

St Robert Bellarmine

I recently enjoyed a delightful CTS pamphlet about St Robert Bellarmine (1542-1621), which I found in a second-hand bookshop. This little gem by Robert Gallagher S J may unfortunately be out of print now. Saint Robert is probably most known nowadays for his links to the policy of sedevacantism, which the Rev. Gallagher's book does not discuss. Instead, we learn of the saint's love for theology, his ardent defence of the Holy Catholic Church in a time of crisis, his reluctance to be made a Cardinal, his uncompromising search for truth in matters of Faith, and his remarkable sanctity. Over the last forty years or so, a number of Catholics seem unjustly embarrassed about the history of the Church, particularly during the so-called 'Counter-Reformation', which has unfortunately resulted in a lack of knowledge of Church history, and even worse, of many of the saints whom the Lord gave us at this critical time. St Robert Bellarminem, pray for us.

Sunday, 7 January 2007

Il Papa parla

Fr Zuhlsdorf has a characteristically witty post about the Holy Father telephoning the French Bishops. Ad multos annos!


A friend today showed me a rather unpleasant letter in the Catholic Times by a priest in the arch-diocese of Birmingham. He called the Oratories of Birmingham and Brompton "liturgical sideshows", and accused Catholics whom attend those churches as being part of a "ghetto". Why on earth would someone be so ill-mannered and insensitive as to use such terms of derision? Here's something for this priest to think about-the purpose of the Oratory (or of any Catholic church) is for the salvation and sanctification of souls, not as a private club for Catholics for various tendencies. Granted, there are some people whom began to attend the Oratory because they were distressed by liturgical abuses, or because they were in need of uncompromised Catholic teaching, but many of these people have benefited immensely from their 'transfers' from other churches. Before anyone even considers labelling such people as 'reactionary' or 'refugees', they should carefully consider how distressing it is for many Catholics when prayers which they have always said are dismissed as "outdated", or when worst of all, they see the Blessed Sacrament treated with disrespect and sacrilege.
Please be aware that I am not trying to start an argument here, but I get very annoyed when the Oratory is unjustly derided, and I am shocked that a member of the clergy should adopt such an attitude. Let us pray that the gift of Charity will lead us away from such situations.
There are some simply wonderful pictures at Hallowed Ground. One of my personal favourites is of a Bishop on horseback. I had originally been very excited as I thought that this was a picture of the Venerable Pius XII, but on closer inspection I found that this was not so. However, there is still a marvellous picture of Papa Pacelli. Enjoy!

Saturday, 6 January 2007

Feast of the Epiphany

Vidimus stellam ejus in Oriente, et venimus cum muneribus adorare Dominum.

We have seen His star in the East, and are come with gifts to adore the Lord

We were blessed this morning with a Missa Cantata celebrated in honour of the Epiphany. The Little Oratory (attached to the Brompton Oratory) was overflowing with the faithful who came to adore our Blessed Lord. Many thanks to Fr Patrick Doyle for celebrating this Mass, to Fr Rupert McHardy for acting as ceremoniere, as well as to the Brothers of the Little Oratory for serving, and to the choir under the direction of Mr Patrick Russill. Deo Gratias!

Emitte wishes all readers a happy and blessed Epiphany!

Friday, 5 January 2007

Wilde and the Church

The Australian has a rather interesting story about a new book of Oscar Wilde's 'wit', which has been put together by the Vatican's head of protocol, Father Leonardo Sapienza. Well ladies and gentleman, do you have any ideas on what's going on? I don't. Most people are aware that Wilde was more than competent at delivering sharp comments, yet he did not seem to set such a high value on his witticisms. In A Handful of Authors, G. K. Chesterton pointed out that Wilde "was a charlatan. I mean by a charlatan one sufficiently dignified to despise the tricks that he employs". Many people are also aware of Wilde's sexual relations with other men, and his subsequent prison sentence, but how many know of his relationship with the Catholic Church? Wilde was not received into the Church until he was on his deathbed, but he had admired Catholicism for many years, and was nearly converted at an earlier age at Brompton Oratory. Yet inspite of his affairs and delayed conversion, we should remember Chesterton's observation that "He desired all beautiful things - even God".

Mass for the New Year

Our dear friend Joee Blogs has posted some marvellous pictures of Mass at St Bede's Church, London on New Year's Eve. Many thanks to Mr Vernon Quaintance for doing an exemplary job-as he always does.

How long is your Christmas?

Doesn't it always surprise you how many shops will have their Christmas decorations before November and then remove them with incredible speed as the New Year arrives? No surprise then that after weeks of preparation, Christmas whizzes by and we wonder where the time has gone. Personally, I think that we should leave the decorations until Christmas eve, and follow the Polish custom of leaving them there until the feast of Candlemas (February 2nd), which would allow us to appreciate Christmas for longer, and then keep the new year blues at bay!

Relics galore!

Tip of the biretta to Monsignor Mark Langham (the administrator of Westminster Cathedral) for a simply fantastic post on relics which are housed in the Cathedral.

Wednesday, 3 January 2007

A sight for sore eyes

Let's not beat about the bush! I have a soft spot for tasteful and splendid clerical dress. This is not a case of mere epicurism. It is highly important that priests should dress as priests and not as businessmen or artisans, for theirs is a craft and profession unlike any. Furthermore, the decline of clerical dress in the aftermath of Vatican II is hardly an improvement. So it was with delight that I found some gorgeous pictures of chasubles and birettas at Dappled things. Enjoy!

New Year's Honours and adventures

Congratulations to friend and blogger of renown Joee Blogs on his recent knighthood! If that wasn't enough excitement for the New Year, he was recently kidnapped by trendy nuns, but is now safe and sound. As Bertie Wooster would say: "You do live, don't you Joee?"

Tuesday, 2 January 2007

Masses on the feast of the Epiphany

The octave of Christmas is supposed to end with the feast of Epiphany on January 6th. However, the Bishop's conference of England and Wales decided to move it to the next Sunday. Fortunately I am happy to report that there will be at least three Masses in the traditional rite at the Oratories (the old calendar cannot be changed so easily).
Many thanks to Matt Doyle for advertising Mass at the Birmingham Oratory. There will also be a sung Mass at the Oxford Oratory at 12.15PM, and a sung Mass in the Little Oratory (part of the Brompton Oratory) at 11AM.

Dante - the musical!

You really couldn't make it up! Monsignor Marco Farina - whom directs the choir of the Lateran basilica in Rome - is composing a stage version of Dante's The Divine Comedy, according to Catholic World News. Now it is not my wish to discourage Monsignor Farina, but isn't this project a little ambitious? When I read The Divine Comedy several years ago, I had to keep on looking at the notes in order to understand whom the characters in Hell, Purgatory, and Heaven were. Dante's work is a political and social satire as well as a theological meditation, hence this is going to be rather more heavy-going than Mary Poppins! And provided that the plot is unaltered-it will definitely not be affected by political correctness. On that count at least, it might be rather refreshing! Thanks to fellow blogger Argent by the Tiber for bringing this to our attention.

Monday, 1 January 2007

We Believe

At the moment, I am re-reading We Believe by the late Monsignor Alfred Newman Gilbey (RIP). This excellent and highly readable book is based on courses of instruction which Monsignor Gilbey gave to his converts to Catholicism. We Believe is published by the Saint Austin Press, London, and is available in Catholic Truth Society (CTS) bookshops. I highly recommend you invest in a copy as soon as possible!

Most amusin'

Clerical blogger Fr Tim Finigan has posted a very funny post on what will NOT happen in 2007, which you can find at The hermeneutic of continuity. Thanks very much Fr Tim! Happy New Year!

Annual High Mass

This morning, I was delighted to attend the annual High Mass in the traditional Roman rite at St James's Church in Marylebone, London. If you happen to be in London in early January, I earnestly recommend attending this celebration of the Mass of ages in an exquisite church, with fine music. Thanks to Fr Terence Phipps, the rector for celebrating this Mass.
Afterwards, there was a chance to meet some familiar faces and good friends-it happens easily when we generally head in the same direction for Mass!-and I had a rather good chat with a friend in the afternoon as we had lunch. Deo Gratias!