Sunday, February 18, 2018

Standing room only...

...in church this morning, with some 30 candidates being baptised or confirmed and lots of friends/family/godparents etc swelling the always substantial normal Sunday congregation for the 11 am sung Mass.. We were squashed into the pews but more and more people kept arriving, crammed into the back and up along the side aisles...

Children in traditional white outfits, glorious singing, the splashing of water at the baptisms and the glittering of candles in procession...the solemn words of Confirmation quietly said again and again as each candidate knelt before Mgr Keith Newton...


Saturday, February 17, 2018

I thought this report (see below) was a spoof....

...but it isn't.

Read here...

CENSORSHIP...

...good grief. What is happening to our poor country? Read here.

Over and over again, in the 1970s and 80s when pornography or the promotion of a homosexuality to children  was discussed,  at any suggestion of control or blocking even the most horrible material, people would cry out that nothing must ever be banned,  any such censorship was evil. And when there was a debate about it, they would say "I disagree with you completely - but I would defend to the death your right to your speak your point of view."

Not any more.The very same people  and organisations, plus new ones, are now calling for rigid censorship, and banning of a point of view they do not like. They do not seek to ban porn,  or sexually explicit material for children. They just want to block opinions they do not share. They just want to silence people who have views that are opposed to their own.

Let us hope that  goodwill, common sense, and freedom of speech will one day prevail.

Friday, February 16, 2018

On thus bus...

...I've been reading WIND FROM HEAVEN, about the poetry and plays of Karol Wojtyla. It carries a recommendation from a friend, Prof Tracy Rowland, and on the strength of that, I asked for it as a Christmas present.  So my copy has a special value to me as it was a gift from my husband, and has a loving message from him.

It's an excellent read. Among much else, it makes one think about the innate value of words and language - something which has become of increasing interest as I've discovered the origins of place-names and their meanings, and then of course come to see how these link into language generally. London's Horseferry Road - the old horse-ferry, owned and run by the Archbishops of Canterbury at Lambeth and operating across to Westminster, enabled people to take goods across the river. Fer - to carry. Think transfer, confer, prefer....

The future Pope John Paul pondered this through the Theatre of the Spoken Word in wartime Krakow - no props or costumes, and performances in private houses and under threat from Gestapo discovery. The beauty of language flourished...

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Miracles and Pope Paul VI...

...and the latest technology concerning unborn babies. Read here.

In life, Bl Paul VI  had many who attacked him in the media and in Catholic gossip. Some tried to slander him viciously, and did not stop even if that involved undermining the Church's unity and mission: the Pope  spoke memorably and sadly of the "smoke of Satan" entering the sanctuary of the Church. He was a Pope in difficult times for the Church. But history is now re-evaluating his life and times: those who still try to sneer at him sound vacuous.

Paul VI gave us the Credo of the People of God, Humanae Vitae, Evangeli Nuntiandi,  and the beginnings of the notion of the Pope as missionary leader of a missionary Church. Along with many pontificates in history, his was marked by unsuccessful attempts at Church/State politicking - ostpolitik was not useful. And the liturgical reform got off to a dreadfully messy start. But that is now finally coming right with younger clergy seeking  dignity, order and beauty in the celebration of the Mass and an audible and visible liturgy having taken root as central to heartfelt prayer. And St John Paul the Great transformed ostpolitik into something quite different the moment he was elected.

Intercession to Bl Paul VI will become part of Catholic life over the next years, and will prove fruitful.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

A traditional Ash Wednesday Mass...

...but -  for the first time for me -  in the Ordinariate form. The church was, as with all churches on Ash Wednesday, very full (and apparently had been packed for the lunchtime Mass too). Being a central London church, right by London Bridge, its Ash Wednesday congregations include large numbers of people who work nearby, ie not necessarily people with any particular knowledge of the Ordinariate.  So when this evening's Mass began and  FrC. announced that it was in the Ordinariate Form, one sensed a ripple of interest.  But as the Mass began it just felt  normal and there is something so...oh, I am not expressing this very well, but...reassuring about this annual start of Lent, and the pastor marking himself and all the flock, one by one, with ashes. It's somehow real and grounding, in this often narcissic modern Britain.

In my childhood, the Lenten ashes were just a dab of dry dust, imparted with a quick movement, somehow not very memorable.  Today priests seem to be much more active with the holy water when blessing the ashes, to make a thick paste which thus marks a clear and very definite cross on each forehead. There also seems to be more emphasis on having people bring their previous year's palms to be burned to make the ashes...it all makes the thing fit together and there is a sense of being part of the whole Church and Lent being very important.

DO CHILDREN IN LONDON TODAY...

...KNOW THE LORD'S PRAYER?


If they don't, here's a way to help them. Read here.  Use the email address given to enquire about other parts of Britain too.

Monday, February 12, 2018

A teacher at a Catholic school has been dismissed and parents are angry...


The teacher celebrated a same-sex "wedding" - all the trimmings,  lavish reception, people invited to contribute towards a luxury honeymoon, etc etc. When St Peter and Paul school explained that she could not return to her teaching job, angry parents were outraged, and gathered at the school to protest.

The info is here

But the journalist writing the report just can't seem to grasp the concept of a Catholic school.

Such a school must have integrity. It cannot both teach and oppose what the Church knows and understands as the truth. The Catholic Church understands that she must guard, teach, and celebrate the truth about the human person.

No one is forced to teach in a Catholic school. There are a great many other things to do with one's life. The decision to teach in a Catholic school is job-specific.

This is what the Catholic Church teaches on same-sex unions:

2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex. It has taken a great variety of forms through the centuries and in different cultures. Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained. Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity,141 tradition has always declared that "homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered."142 They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.
2360 Sexuality is ordered to the conjugal love of man and woman. In marriage the physical intimacy of the spouses becomes a sign and pledge of spiritual communion. Marriage bonds between baptized persons are sanctified by the sacrament.



What on earth is the CofE establishment trying to cover up?

...There's something really weird going on with this Bishop Bell case. The latest twist is that Bishop bell's niece is now being treated rather unfairly. Read here.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Sunday Mass...and then a cheery, talkative pub lunch...

...after which I walked across London Bridge, in the crisp chill of a wintry day, I loathe the ugliness of the horrible Walkie-Talkie , probably the ugliest building produced in any British city in my lifetime (and there has been a great deal of ugliness). Across the other side, looking westwards, St Paul's remains a reassuring presence with that grey dome against the sky. There's a useful coffee-shop near Monument tube station where I tackled a few emails, and then home through the dusk.

Been reading...

...or rather, re-reading, Joseph Ratzinger's Many Religions, one Covenant...excellent, important read.

Friday, February 09, 2018

Absolutely great...

...REALLY GREAT listening:  Bishop Robert Barron with evangelical Dr William Craig...do listen to this:  it will inspire and challenge you.

There are good things happening in America...

Bishop Barron will be speaking at the Eucharistic Congress to be held in Liverpool this September.

CATHOLIC WOMEN: 2018

The Catholic Women of the Year Luncheon celebrates its Golden Jubilee in 2018

To mark this, we will be holding a special celebration Luncheon in the Autumn - and we invite nominations for the 2018 Catholic Women of the Year. We are looking for the "unsung heroines" - women who joyfully and prayerfully serve the Church and the community, as mothers, teachers, Sisters, holders of public office, or workers in all sorts of jobs, upholding Christian moral values and caring for those in need, in their local parish and/or beyond. 

To nominate some one, all that is needed is a letter giving a short account of why the person should receive the honour. The four Catholic Women of the Year are chosen by secret ballot by a committee drawn from representatives of  the main Catholic women's organisations.

Nominations can be sent via our web page at www.cwoy.org ,  by email: cwoynominations@gmail.com  or by post to: CWOY, 33 Asburnham Tower,  London SW10 0EE, and should arrive before April 13th 2018.

Catholic Women of the Year Jubilee Committee 2018





Thursday, February 08, 2018

And Evensong...

...here, and a reminder that we must bring our palms to church this week, so that they can be burnt to make ashes for the forthcoming Ash Wednesday.

...and to St Mary's...

...at Twickenham, to continue the history research project. 

The refectory, young people hunched over their food, baseball caps on backwards, a lot of shrieking and shouting.

The wintry beauty of the lawns, and a red bus trundling along Waldegrave Road in the dusk.


Tuesday, February 06, 2018

On a sparkling, bright, fresh wintry Sunday afternoon...

...I hurried to Westminster Cathedral to lead another History Walk. I thought there might be half a dozen people.  There were over forty! A wonderful crowd, including some students visiting from the North American College in Rome - wonderful chaps, and it was great to meet them.

Walking through Westminster, past the Green Coat Boy and the Greycoat Hospital, and across Horseferry Road, and down towards the Abbey, is a route crammed with history...the only odd feeling at the moment is the startling appearance, or rather disappearance, of Big Ben. One looks up - and there it isn't.  The great clock is lost behind scaffolding, as is the tower: at dusk it looks even odder, like a grim square giant  unlit candle with a tiny wick (the tip of the tower) barely visible on top. Bleak.  However, the work needs to be done, and it's right that Parliament has decided to get a grip on the project.




...and... IMPORTANT...

...on China and the Vatican, read here...

Saturday, February 03, 2018

China: depressing news....

...that the Church seems to be on the brink of doing a deal in which the Chinese government will have a major say in the appointment of bishops. This is a very, very bad plan. Christ appointed Peter and the Twelve. He didn't urge them to make arrangements with the Roman bureaucracy to establish their successors.

Pope St John Paul got it right when dealing with governments. You are polite and courteous and have useful dealings, you emphasise that government is service and that God seeks to sanctify all such work - but you hold fast to the complete truth and freedom of the Church. No deals, no power-sharing, no special arrangements, no wannabe-throne-and-altar schemes.  Peter is the rock. Not Peter-n-the-government-of-this-bit-of-the-world. The Church must be free to be what she is, to fulfil the glory of what Christ called her to be and to do on earth until he returns in glory.

Cardinal Zen has heroically been pleading with Pope Francis to abandon the scheming. As has happened too often in the life of the Church, the heroic local bishop is ignored in the face of what seems expedient...and then, when t the wider perspective is seen, and the history is written, people sigh...

Friday, February 02, 2018

A TRADITIONAL CANDLEMAS...

...at Westminster Cathedral...a grand procession of choir and clergy up that great  aisle, all holding candles and followed by a surge of  candle-bearing faithful. A great joy to enter into this on a cold night...and even though it marks the end of the Christmas season, which brings a momentarily bleak thought, Candlemas is a lovely feast. The choristers sang, and the candles glittered and glowed, and we were reminded again of the Light that has come into the world...

"Auntie Pollyanna"....

....and if you want cheering up, read Auntie here...

...and also..

... a full report of yesterday's event at Church House: read here.


...and more on Bishop George Bell...

...and the bizarre action of the Church of England in attempting to revive the campaign against him

Read here...

and an excoriating analysis by Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail, here...

And also, read today's excellent leader in the Daily Telegraph...


Thursday, February 01, 2018

CHURCH HOUSE, Westminster...

...is a rather splendid place, beautifully equipped and with fine portraits of Anglican worthies....a mix of good architecture, good taste, and the latest equipment. The right place for a serious meeting about Bishop George Bell. It was a privilege to be invited to chair the event.

A number of resolutions were passed, urging that  Archbishop Welby apologise for his "significant cloud"  statement about Bishop Bell,  and that Bell's portrait be reinstated at Chichester and his name restored to the house in Canon Lane which was opened in his honour. We also urged a full Synod debate about Lord Carlile's report at the earliest opportunity.

Not coincidentally, the Church of England issued a statement yesterday announcing that further information had been received about Bishop Bell and that they were liaising with Sussex police on the matter. It's not clear why police should be involved: if the suggestion is that Bishop took part in some criminal activity, he cannot be prosecuted because he is dead. And why is he being named at all? Archbishop Welby appeared to indicate that the Church of England would accept the serious criticisms made by the Carlile Report and would act accordingly: a major recommendation was that a person of whom a serious allegation is made should not be publicly named because it implies that the allegation is true.