Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Tired Priest Scribbles........

We have had a very long day today: I'm quite tired and still have some stuff to look over for tomorrow's recording sessions.  We started the season, so the worst is over: we are into it.   The members of production team are very professional and helpful, so we are being well looked after.  Our producer is happy with today's work, so that's good.  The staff in the dining room are wonderful: lovely Rosie who has fed us every time we come here is as happy and genteel as ever.  There is a new chef, Hernandez, and boy he is good: we won't starve.

The new season is called Forgotten Heritage: Europe and Her Saints.  We start with the six patrons of Europe, and then devote ten other programmes to notable European Saints. Not all the important ones are there: in order to ensure that most areas of human life are represented we had to leave some out. We hope viewers will find the new season interesting.

We had dinner with Fr Mitch Pacwa  (always a pleasure) and he gave us some wonderful insights into a number of contemporary issues.  We will be his guests on his weekly live television show on Wednesday evening (7pm US Central time), so if you have nothing else to do, switch on.

A quick surf around the net reveals some very good stories: the Council of Europe has ruled that euthanasia should remain illegal throughout Europe: that is a wonderful judgement, and it may effect the practice in Switzerland and Holland. Hopefully they will have to close shop.  

According to the latest count 93 US bishops have spoken out against Obama's bill: that too is good. Will it stop Obama's plans?  We shall see.  For my American readers, here is a petition calling for Obama to rescind the HHS mandate.
An interesting story from Ireland: the ACP are seeking to help nuns who have been wrongly accused.  This short article relates how innocent sisters are being forced to admit to abuse they never actually committed. That is no surprise - false allegations have been made about innocent parties, and unfortunately, given the current climate, it is easier for superiors to go with the allegation rather than challenge it.  I have little time for the ACP, but they are right in what they are trying to do here, and they deserve credit for that.  In fact, they are doing what others should have done long ago. 

Fr Barron has some interesting things to say about Obama's attack on religious freedom: there are a few points worth noting as we observe the way things are going in Ireland.

Back to work, and then beddie byes!  Night, night!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Irish Bishop May Face Criminal Charges For Preaching The Gospel

My attention has just been drawn to an attack on the Bishop of Raphoe, Bishop Philip Boyce, by an atheist who is offended by the bishop's homily during a pilgrimage to Knock last August.  In fact this atheist, Fine Gael party member, John Colgan, has reported the bishop to the Gardai (Irish Police), who in turn are preparing a file for the Director of Public Prosecutions, and it may happen that Bishop Boyce may well faces charges.  The charge is the old chestnut, "incitement to hatred".  The fact that the Gardai are preparing a file means that they believe there may be a case to answer.

Here are the two extracts from the bishop's homily that may be, it seems, illegal in Ireland:
"The moment of history we live through in Ireland at present is certainly a testing one for the Church and for all of us. Attacked from the outside by the arrows of a secular and godless culture: rocked from the inside by the sins and crimes of priests and consecrated people, we all feel the temptation to lose confidence. Yet, our trust is displayed and deepened above all when we are in troubled and stormy waters. It is easier to be confident when we ride on the crest of a wave, when the tide is coming in. Not so easy, however, yet every bit as necessary, when what is proclaimed by the Church namely the truth of faith with its daily practice and influence on behaviour, is under severe pressure."
"For the distinguishing mark of Christian believers is the fact they have a future; it is not that they know all the details that await them, but they know in general terms that their life will not end in emptiness."
For the full text of the bishop's homily, which is very good, see here.

The complaint has been made by John Colgan, a retired chartered engineer and economist from County Kildare.  He was the leader of the "Campaign to Separate Church and State" in the 1990's so he has a history of antagonism against the Catholic Church.  He was also an unsuccessful Fine Gael candidate in parliamentary elections.  From the article in the Irish Independent, Mr Colgan seems to describe the passing on of the Christian faith to members of the Christian faith as "hostile propaganda".  So I take from that we are not allowed, in his eyes, to teach the faith to members of our own religion. 

We shall have to see if the DPP is foolish enough to go ahead and press charges, if he does, then it will be time for bishops, priests and faithful to roll in behind Bishop Boyce and oppose them.  Are things bad enough in Ireland for such stupidity to reign?  That the freedom of religion and freedom of expression so cherished by the founding fathers and mothers of our nation, can be put aside because a non-believer is offended by a Christian pastor proclaiming the Gospel?  The answer to that question is, sadly, yes: we are near that stage.  However, I personally think, at this time, the DPP will pass on prosecution: such a decision would go down very badly with many.  There is already a lot of anger.

We must pray for Bishop Boyce.  He is a good bishop, orthodox, gentle and compassionate.  He is a Discalced Carmelite, so a brother of mine in the Order.  We entrust him to the maternal intercession of our Holy Mother, St Teresa, and to the prayers of his great friend, Blessed John Henry Newman.

To be honest, this appears to be another black mark against Fine Gael: first the unjust attack on our Church and Pope by the leader of the party, Enda Kenny in July, creating a serious diplomatic incident and exposing Ireland to international criticism; then they close down the embassy, and now it seems a member of their party is trying to prosecute a Catholic bishop, not for neglecting his duties with regard to child protect procedures, but because he preaches the Christian faith at a Catholic shrine.

God help us, is it not time for the ordinary Catholics of Ireland to rise up against this insane tyranny?  I think if anyone needs to be prosecuted for inciting hatred, it may well be Mr Colgan.

An Inconvenient Pattern

A quick post in the midst of our prep.  I was scanning the net for my daily fix of news when I discovered this interesting article on global warming; it's in The Telegraph online.

James Delingpole is musing over the recent figures released from climate experts (released discreetly it seems) that cast more doubt over the possibility of global warming.  It seems, according to the figures, global warming stopped 15 years ago, and it seems the earth's temperatures are falling.  We might, David Rose of The Mail on Sunday suggests, be heading for another mini ice age!

Perish the thought, my beloved Greenies: global warming is as true as overpopulation and the Y2K bug which threatened to down planes at Midnight 1999-2000 AD, sorry CE.  Of course it has been noted that the term "Global Warming" has been abandoned quietly in favour of "Climate Change" - just as "safe sex" with a condom became "safer sex" ie "well, actually, we can't guarantee you won't get AIDS, but you might be a little safer (teensie weensie bit saf-er) with our special priced condoms".

See a pattern here?  The usual suspects are getting caught out - their dire predictions are not coming true; their quick and easy solutions are not working - in fact they are making problems worse. That is why they are starting to get tyrannical.  They can no longer persuade, nor fool the people - their opponents are being proved right.  Now is the time to take out the opponents so the only side the general populace get to hear is theirs - the "new orthodoxy".  That is why the Catholic Church is such an enemy - she has been around so long she can smell a rat as soon as it appears.   That might explain Obama's course of action: use might, power and force to push the agenda through - to hell with the people. 

We shall keep an eye on such developments.  In the meantime, if all this global warming stuff is nonsense, will Al Gore have to give back his Nobel Peace Prize?  Nah - his story fits the views of the committee, why let a little inconvenient truth get in the way?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Back From The Dead, Kind Of....

Greetings to you all from Birmingham, Alabama!  I know I said in my last post that the blog would go silent for a couple of weeks, and it may just yet, but imagine our surprise when we discovered we have a computer and Internet access in the EWTN guesthouse.  Fr Owen suggested I continue to blog - recording the filming process - a sort of diary, but I'm not sure about that because the schedule is packed.  But if I get a moment, I will blog a post, or post a blog, or whatever the correct phrase is here.

Now of course an online diary might just be fun, recording the producer's tantrums, the camera men's strike, the joys of make-up ("Wrong shade, Harvey! No thanks, I think I'll pass on the lip-gloss".), the re-recordings, the slips, the frustrations, the subsequent confessions and holy hours in reparation - all the tragedy and the underlying comedy which is TV.  But, to be honest, it is much tamer than that - working with solid and good people for whom EWTN is more than a job, it is a mission.  God bless them all.

We had a very long day yesterday - three flights.  The Dublin to Atlanta direct is gone, so we had to fly to New York (JFK), then to Atlanta and then to Birmingham, AL: we were like zombies by the time we arrived.  Thanks to numerous cups of coffee, Neurofen (I have a cold and a touch of tonsillitis) and prayer, we kept going.  We almost lost our bags at one stage - or at least we thought we lost them, but all was sorted thanks to lovely lady in Atlanta, Miranda, pure southern belle!   Our producer Brian and Al, one of EWTN's volunteers, collected us, and brought us to the guesthouse.  We also met a new friend (Hi Chris!) as we were anxiously waiting for our luggage at  baggage claim in Birmingham airport, he was travelling back to Birmingham from Illinois - a long journey for him too .  So it was an interesting day.

This weekend we will continue our preparation, recording starts at 8.30am Monday morning: our producer wanted us here for a day or two before recording so we would get over the jet lag and look refreshed and good on camera.  God bless his innocence - all the sleep in the world will never a beauty out of this priest! Not even the make-up man, trowel in hand, could do that.  Anyway, please keep us in your prayers.

So what's happening in the world?   A quick scoot around the net reveals that the bishops of the US are getting ready for battle over Obama's attack on religious liberty.  I must say I am delighted.  In a post on Thursday I compared Cardinal-designate Dolan to St Ambrose, well the spirit of Ambrose is reawakening all over the US as bishops are refusing to fold and are leading their flocks against Obama and his cronies - among whom are a number of high profile liberal Catholics.  This battle is actually uniting orthodox and liberal Catholics, so those in Obama's administration are probably finding that their allies are deserting them - or at least I hope they are.

Bishops are now even talking about civil disobedience (see here also)!  Well the spirits of Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr are on the move too.  If Catholics in the US actually united and faced Obama on this they will effect a change.  It seems the most obvious option is to bring Obama down in the election later this year.  The Catholic vote is a significant one, and now as the freedom of religion is at stake (not only for Catholics, but for others as well), it is time to put aside political differences and party politics and to unite behind one candidate who will give a guarantee that he/she will stop Obama's bill.  Time for Catholics to talk to the Republican candidates.  William Oddie has a very good article in the Catholic Herald. 

It is also time for Notre Dame to redeem itself and take back the Honorary Doctorate of Laws it gave to Obama a couple of years ago: here is a good excuse.  I doubt if Fr Jenkins could endorse Obama's actions, seeing as the President of Notre Dame was at the March for Life this year.  Time for him to rebuild bridges here, I think.

In other news, I see the spirit of Obama is moving in University College London - the Catholic chaplaincy has been told that it must now invite pro-abortion speakers to even up their pro-life talks.  Time here to say "No".  As one person asked, does this mean the pro-abortion clubs must now invite a pro-life speaker "to even things up" ?  I doubt it - such decisions tend to go in one direction.  In the world of culture, Matthew Archbald writes about some new movies coming out of Hollywood - they do not seem to be too favourable to the Catholic faith.

Anyway, that's all for now. Work awaits.  I will be offering Mass at 1.30pm (Central) in the friar's chapel, so I will remember you all. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

EWTN Calls

Early tomorrow morning I head off to Alabama with my friend, Fr Owen Gorman, to record a new series of Forgotten Heritage, so the blog will go silent for a couple of weeks.  We have a heavy schedule ahead of us, so we ask your prayers that all will go well.  I'll see you all when I get back.

Ambrose Is Back!

Among the great Bishops of the Church, St Ambrose ranks as one of the most prominent.  As a preacher, he was lauded for his style and catechetical genius, as an administrator, he was efficient and human, and as a defender of the faith, he was mighty and strong.  The Holy Spirit possessed this humble bishop and formed a powerful disciple of Christ, a loving father, a wise soul and a heroic man.  He is the model, par excellence, for all bishops.

He had to face the tyranny of the secular state and did so without fear.  He was compassionate and understanding, but he was a servant of the Truth, and so he was fearless when he had to proclaim that truth even to an emperor.  Remember when we Catholics speak of Truth, we do so not only as objective reality as opposed to relativism, but we also speak of a person - Jesus Christ who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.

Many of you will know of St Ambrose's struggle with the Emperor Theodosius.  There was a tense relationship anyway between the saintly bishop of Milan and the Imperial Court: politicians and rulers tend to feel very uncomfortable when they hear of a man of holy principles.  Such a man tends not to compromise for the sake of the state, but rather, inconveniently for the seculars, holds fast to the rules of God.  Such holy people are too "rigid" to be pliable and manipulated.

When the emperor, Theodosius II massacred 7,000 people in Thessalonica in 390 in revenge for the murder of the governor, Ambrose excommunicated him and imposed several months of severe penance on the emperor to atone for his sin before he was readmitted to communion with the Church.  Ambrose did not give in, he stood steadfast even in face of the considerable pressure imposed by the Imperial Court.   Despite this Theodosius did his time, saw the error of his ways, and he was readmitted.  He and Ambrose developed a good relationship, one which so good that at Ambrose's funeral Theodosius was gushing in his praise; embarrassingly so, some thought.  Ultimately, despite a violent nature, Theodosius was a good man, and Ambrose had to help him break that flaw in his character which made aspects of his rule tyrannical.

Ambrose was not a hard man, he was gentle and understanding, but there were times when he had to use his power and faculties for the good of the Church and her members, and, as in the case of the massacre of the people of Thessalonica, he had to defend the dignity of human life.  It seems another Ambrose has arisen, this time in the US: Archbishop, soon to be Cardinal, Timothy Dolan, has been forthright in meeting the challenge Barack Obama has created for the Church. 

In meeting this challenge, Cardinal-designate Dolan must be supported, and I hope the Church in the United States will fall in behind him and face down this secular ruler who seeks to impose his will on Catholic citizens and make them conform to his anti-life agenda.  In other words, it is time to break that tyrannical streak which is in Obama and the pro-abortion brigade in the US.  After all, that very streak has left a body count of 54 million children in the last 40 years. 

As for those of you in Ireland who may be asking the question, "Such issues do not concern us" - well, they do, because we now have a government in Ireland which has a similar tyrannical streak.  Given the developments with this commission examining the European Court of Human Rights's decision on abortion in Ireland, we may soon see infanticide legally established in Ireland.  Three members of that commission are in fact die-hard advocates for abortion on demand, so we need to learn from our brothers and sisters in the US.

O Lord, we pray, send us an Ambrose!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Conversion of St Paul

I was visiting a painter friend of mine, Richard Moore, who is working on a couple of commissions for us: a painting of St Genesius to be presented to the Holy Father during our pilgrimage to Rome in April, and a series of paintings depicting the life and martyrdom of St Genesius, which he is doing in watercolour.  I was stunned by the beauty and dynamism of the works, and the portrait of Genesius for the Pope was very engaging.  When the works are finished I may upload some of them on to the blog.

Richard normally paints landscapes and city scenes, but a couple of years ago we engaged him to do a realist painting of St Genesius to compliment the Icon: the image of the martyr I use on my blog (above right) is a detail from the painting - the model was an Italian actor.   As we were discussing the series of watercolours, I asked him how he was going to depict that dramatic moment when Genesius was touched by the Holy Spirit and converted: Richard went silent, he was deep in thought.

What a challenge!  To depict in an image the dramatic turn of a human heart, an overwhelming encounter with God - an upheaval    It is so easy to fall into melodrama, and even easier to stumble at the final hurdle and fail.  The greatest artists are those who can capture that moment.

The Conversion of St Paul, the feast we celebrate today, is an event which offers such a challenge to the artist.  Some chose not to show Paul's face, just the dramatic fall, the twisted body, the shock on the faces of Paul's companions.  But this event presents all of us with such a challenge - not merely to try depicting the event on canvas, but rather to see it in the context of our own lives - a moment of conversion for all of us. 

How would we react to such a revelation?  Such revelations, though not as dramatic as Paul's, are part and parcel of our daily lives as God reaches out to us and calls us into a deeper relationship with him, and anoints us as his missionaries in the world.  How do we respond to that call?  How do we as Christians manifest in our daily lives the same light that floored the bigot Saul and made him the Apostle Paul? 

Now there's something to reduce all of us to silence as we work it out, prayerfully.  Happy feast day. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

In The Hot Seat

Thanks to Orbis Catholicus Secundus, a photograph of the Venerable Pope Pius XII in the dentist's chair!  So next time you must endure the twice annual visit, lie back and call upon this Venerable Pontiff.  Who knows, perhaps the holy man may work a miracle and you won't need those dentures at all.

He Has A Dream

If you are liable to lose your cool or suffer from blood pressure when the issue of abortion is raised, do not follow the link or read this.  

Yesterday Barack Obama celebrated the anniversary of the Roe v Wade judgement by proclaiming that abortion is the way that "our daughters" may have the chance of fulfilling their dreams.  See an article reporting on his speech here

I would like to ask this gentleman a few questions on this: which daughters is he referring to?  The ones who were lucky enough to get the chance to live?  Or the millions of little girls who are being aborted because they are not little boys?  Is he talking about white daughters or black daughters?  Because when it comes to little black girls they are being murdered more often than little white girls in the abortion clinics of the United States. 

He says that this anniversary is the chance to recognise the "fundamental constitutional right" to abortion.  The right to kill the unborn child?  God save us from such a horror!  And God save us from people who promote such an inhuman atrocity.

As I was reading this article, another black American came to mind: another who spoke about dreams - the dreams of the daughters and sons of America - the Rev. Martin Luther King.  I do not think the dream that good minister had for the children of America is the same one the first black president has.  One man spoke of life and the utmost respect which is due to life, which is sacred; the other speaks of destroying it for convenience and selfishness. 

We must pray and make sacrifices so Obama's dream may never come true. 

Prayer to the Holy Innocents

O Blessed Martyrs,
sweet Children of Bethlehem,
as you laid down your lives for Christ
before you ever knew him,
help us to lay down our lives in love for him,
that we may serve, praise and glorify him all our days.

Hear our prayers, O Holy Innocents,
for those who have perished through the crime of abortion,
as they were deprived of life here on earth
may our Merciful Father grant them life eternal in heaven.

Intercede that those who carry out, promote and legislate
for the death of the innocents of today
may come to see the truth of what they are doing
and turn away from this evil.

Bless those mothers who are under pressure to abort their children;
those who are in distress, console them,
those in financial need, assist them,
those who are weak and wavering, strengthen them;

and for those who have yielded
gently come to them
and remind them of God's loving mercy
which wipes away all sin
and soothes all wounds
and restores peace in our hearts.

O Holy Innocents, pray for us.

UPDATE:  See Fr Z's blog for a related article on Obama and his agenda.  Seems the National Catholic Reporter (affectionately known as the NC Fishwrap) is blaming the bishops for such a narrow definition of conscience.   Typical "progressive" (sic) stuff: conscience is not the voice of God, but rather what I think myself at any given moment regardless of what is right or wrong.  I suppose they are quoting Blessed John Henry Newman to support their flawed ideas - sure sign that they have never actually read The Letter to the Duke of Norfolk, or if they did they did so with blinkers on. 

And talking about blinkers on, read Patrick Madrid's recent offering.  At first you'll scratch your head and say "Never", but then again, think about it: in the age we live in all things are possible: who would ever have thought that we would be killing our young with the full blessing of governments and even with the support of some Christian denominations.

For a more uplifting read, see Archbishop Chaput's talk at the Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life a couple of days ago: a wonderful piece of writing with a lot of wisdom and hope.  An excellent analysis of evil: 
"My point is this:  Evil talks about tolerance only when it’s weak.  When it gains the upper hand, its vanity always requires the destruction of the good and the innocent, because the example of good and innocent lives is an ongoing witness against it.  So it always has been.  So it always will be.  And America has no special immunity to becoming an enemy of its own founding beliefs about human freedom, human dignity, the limited power of the state, and the sovereignty of God."
You can replace "America" with Ireland or any other country - no state has immunity.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Of Governments And Demons

The Villa Spada, the former Irish embassy to the Holy See

Further to my post below on the Irish public's dissatisfaction with the government's decision to close the Irish embassy to the Holy See, it seems that a number of TDs (members of parliament) and senators share the public's concern. 

Last week I was told that a large number of TDs and senators turned up at a protest in Buswell's Hotel, just across the road from Leinster House (the parliament building), the Ireland Stand Up campaign.  Michael Kelly in an article for Catholic World Report, says that 82 of them made it their business to attend, including, I believe, the Leader of the Opposition, Micheal Martin. 

Another interesting piece of information provided by Kelly is that, so far, the government has received 96,000 postcards protesting the closure.  I wonder how that will translate into votes?  I'm sure the government parties have already worked that one out.  But, I suppose, given that they have an absolute majority and, saving any mass protest by backbenchers, which is unlikely, the government will run for a full term, so the will of the people is of no consequence on this matter.  They will probably hope the issue will go away.

On another issue, Steven Greydanus has a very good review of the new exorcism movie gracing our screens: The Devil Inside.  I am afraid it does not get good reviews, and it seems it is another opportunity for film makers to bash the Church, but this time from the extreme traditionalist side, which I suppose is a novelty. The Rite, which starred our own Colin O'Donoghue, gets a favourable mention in the review.  Which reminds me I must see if I can persuade the Film Club in Dublin to show The Rite some evening, perhaps we might get a guest exorcist in for the talk and he can scan the crowd for potential clients!  I joke, as usual!!

UPDATE:  Can we hope for a revolt within Fine Gael which may force Enda Kenny to do a u-turn with regard to the embassy?  I hope so. 

I see one suggestion being made by a Fine Gael TD is that the two embassies could share the Villa Spada.  Having been in it a few times when living in Rome, I do not think that would be practical - it may be too small.  I presume if a u-turn is on the cards, the ambassador to the Holy See and his office will probably take up residence in an apartment near the Vatican City State. 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Final Straw?

If there is one image which Americans love to use about their country it has to be "the land of the free" - it is an image enshrined in their National Anthem, and it sums up the aspirations which those going into politics bring with them as they seek to govern the vast federal entity which is the United States of America.

Well, many Americans are finally waking up to the realisation that their land is not as free as it is made out to be and those entrusted with protecting this freedom are the very ones engaged in wiping out their citizen's liberties. 

I am referring to President Obama's ultimatum to Catholics to get ready to violate their consciences (if I may quote Archbishop Timothy Dolan) as he will force them to accept his will as regards health care plans and their inclusion of contraception, abortifacients, and sterilisation.  And to tie it all up neatly, it is a Catholic in his administration, Kathleen Sebelius, who will enforce it. 

There is alot of reaction to it, and you have probably read alot about it, but there are a few good articles/posts.  The Catholic Herald, and Gateway Pundit which has a video of Archbishop Dolan's reaction.

I see a few of Obama's Catholic supporters are stunned.  Sr Carol Keehan, who supported him and even recieved a gift of one of the pens he used in his inauguration, is against the decision - I hope this is a sign she will have a change of heart.  And Cardinal Mahoney, emeritus Archbishop of LA, is also appalled.

Well, Catholics have one year to get ready for the forced imposition of Obama's plan.  Given the ideological nature of this president and his administration I do not think the decision will be reversed. So there is only one thing that can stop it: consolidating the Catholic vote against Obama in the November election, get him out and put in a pro-life president who will respect freedom of conscience and freedom of religion, and reverse the bill. 

And then it may be time for the Ordinaries of Ms Sebelius and the other Catholics in Obama's crew who have been consistent in attacking the faith,  to do what they should have done a few years ago...

Friday, January 20, 2012

Issues Over The Eucharist

When it comes to the Eucharist, in recent times there have been endless rows over who can and cannot receive.  Many of these rows emerge because the people involved do not have a proper understanding of the Eucharist, usually through little or no fault of their own, or if in irregular situations feel excluded from the Church because they are not allowed to receive Holy Communion.  Situations are often made worse when some priests disregard the rules concerning reception of the Eucharist and then we have all sorts of practices which only confuse people.

In the UK there is a storm brewing over a child with Downs Syndrome whose First Holy Communion is being postponed for two reasons: questions over the child's ability to understand what the Eucharist is, and the family's non attendance at Mass.   I was going to offer a few thoughts on it, but I found a blog which says exactly what I would have said, so I refer you to it and recommend you read it. 

Point of information: the Church does not exclude people from the Eucharist because they have a disability. I have given the Eucharist to many with Downs Syndrome and found them to be very devout when they know they are receiving Jesus.  Indeed I worked in a parish where one of the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion had Downs Syndrome and she was very conscientious and respectful: a model for the others.

*    *    *

Another issue.  I received an anonymous letter a couple of days ago concerning abuses at Mass, heretical teachings and refusal by priests in the church concerned to use the new translation of the Missal.  As I have no way of knowing who you are and contacting you, I would like to advise you here, as I share your concerns. 

Write to the local bishop with copies of the evidence that you have - even though the priests concerned are Order priests, they are still subject to the jurisdiction of the local ordinary when it comes to heretical teachings and the liturgy.  Write also to their Superior General in Rome - you can find the address on the internet.  If you hear nothing within a reasonable length of time, write to the new Papal Nuncio, again with your evidence and a copy of the letter you sent the local bishop, and write also to the following addresses in Rome with the same information:

Concerning the heretical teachings:  write to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith:

H.E. Cardinal William Joseph Levada,
Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith,
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11
00193 Roma,

Regarding the liturgical abuses and refusal to use the new translation: write to the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments:

H.E. Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera,
Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of Sacraments,
Palazzo delle Congregazioni,
Piazza Pio XII, 10
00193 Roma,

I believe the people you are concerned with are already known to the above Dicastries, so if anything is to be done to resolve issues, they need to know how things are. 

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Foundation Day: Fifth Anniversary

Today the Fraternity celebrates the fifth anniversary of its foundation.  Holy Mass will be offered for all our members and their intentions.  Thanks to all of you for your prayers and dedication.  May St Genesius with whom you intercede for the needs of the men and women of the theatrical and cinematic arts, watch over you, bless you and intercede for your needs and intentions.

In the five years we have spread throughout the world to fifteen countries - just a couple of week ago we got our first member from Korea.     There is more work to do, and at this stage we are struggling to keep up!  I suppose that can only be a good thing.

Among the celebrations for our fifth year will be a pilgrimage to Rome to the tomb of St Genesius (see link above); a Mass in Corpus Christi Church in London on the 8th March - it was in that church that the Fraternity was "born" - where the inspiration came; and of course the big event of the year, the feast of St Genesius on the 25th August - it is a Saturday this year, so that should make it easier for people around the country to come: put the date in your diary!  Members, friends, or those who just pop over to look at this blog - you are all welcome to the feast day Mass and reception afterwards.  More about that anon.   In the meantime................

A happy anniversary to you all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

More Media Hypocrisy

When a political party imposes the whip, there are no problems - members of parliament must, and generally do, follow the party line even if it goes against their personal beliefs: the media has no problem with that.

When a newspaper makes sure its journalists follow the ideological leaning of the paper - or its owners, the staff generally go along with that and ensure the "ethos" of the journal is preserved;  media has no problem with that.

When left-wing universities demand allegiance from its staff and end the contracts of those who resist the ideology of Marxism and Socialism, the incidents are usually covered up and the veneer of academic harmony and liberty is given a second coat of varnish; again, the media has no problem with that.

When the Catholic Church demands obedience of its priests and requires them to support publicly the very teaching they swore to uphold as they were ordained, then the media has a problem with that.

Archbishop Nienstedt of Minnesota is feeling the whack of the secular crosier as he exercises his God-given right as Bishop and pastor of his people to ensure his clergy support the Church's efforts to resist the destruction of marriage.  Some of his priests are resisting, and all but one of these are hiding behind anonymity as they complain to the press.   As for the one who is publicly defying his Bishop, and in this case also the teaching of the Church, he has been warned that if he continues he will be suspended - correct and right procedure, and media are furious.

What hypocrisy from the media!  We must pray for Archbishop Nienstedt: he is fulfilling his office as pastor of the flock and suffering for it - may the Lord bless him in his efforts.   Do we have another Ambrose here? I hope so, and I hope we will have many more!  Let us also pray for those priests who are failing to fulfill the promises of their ordination in teaching and upholding the Catholic faith in its fullness.

Related to the above item, I draw your attention to the homily Cardinal-designate, Archbishop Dolan of New York gave in St Patrick's on Sunday - he takes on the sexualised culture of our time.   I think we have an Ambrose here!  Report on the homily here.  His blog is here, well worth following.

And other interesting news: it seems the Anglicans have set up a "reverse Ordinariate" to receive Catholics who wish to enter the Anglican communion.  The reverse ordinariate is the brainchild of the Anglican Church of Peru, taking the inspiration from Pope Benedict.  It seems a Catholic bishop, three priests and their parishioners are going over.   The idea is a little different, however: their ordinariate is a temporary arrangement to allow reflection on both sides before the bishop, priests and people enter into full communion with the Anglican ecclesial community.

Well, good luck to them, hope they're happy. We might see the idea catch on in other Anglican dioceses.

One Step From The Edge

Late Palmar de Troya anti-pope Peter II: I don't think that mitre is photoshopped!

There is a whole area of life on the fringes of the Catholic Church which remains a mystery to the majority of the faithful - providentially for the most part.  One of the more unusual of these alternative lives has to be the whole area of the anti-popes - yes, my dear friends we do have more than a few pretenders to the Chair of Peter still knocking around.   St Hippolytus has a lot to answer for.

Well I was scanning the net when a link on Fr Gabriel Burke's fine blog led me to this post which tells us that the pope of the Palmar de Troya sect died last July - that slipped under the radar.  

For those not initiated into the weird and wonderful world of schismatic traditionalists, the Palmar de Troya sect was founded in 1975 by Clemente Dominguez who claimed he was having visions of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  His alleged revelations led him to re-establish the seat of the papacy in the local village and he claimed God had chosen him as the new pope - it seems Pope Paul VI had been kidnapped and, I think, was supposed to dead and replaced by an impostor - or something like that.

Anyway Dominguez proclaimed himself Pope Gregory XVII and reigned happily until 2005 when he died and was replaced (without a conclave) by his right hand man, Manuel Corral, who styled himself Peter II - no presumptions there I see.  I see Peter II has proclaimed his predecessor a saint. Well, poor old Peter II popped his clogs on the 15th July last, and following another conclave, another gentleman has succeeded to the papacy of Palmar de Troya: Sergio Maria who calls himself Gregory XVIII. 

That's it in a nutshell, but if you want to hear more just hop on your virtual surfboard and take a trip through the more psychedelic corridors of the net.  Among the colourful characters you will meet is Pope Pius XIII, a former Capuchin priest who got himself elected in a log cabin up in Washington State in the US - although I think the poor man is dead now.

Anyway whether you do or not, spare a thought for all these people and say a prayer. Thanks to the craziness of the post-Conciliar period they fell in between the cracks and were led astray.  Many of them hanker after a glorious past which probably never existed outside their nostalgia and seek to set right the problems the Church is facing by their retreat into the world of fantasy: if only everyone else followed them, then everything would be alright, or so they think.

All of this should be a salutory lesson to us: we must stay humble and faithful, and pray the Lord preserves our wits. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

People Not Happy, Not Happy At All

I must say I am surprised - pleasantly surprised.  It seems, according to a report in The Examiner newspaper today, that the Irish people are not happy with the government's closure of the Irish embassy to the Holy See.

Indeed it seems some people see ideology at work and one person claimed the closure of the embassy was more due to the Minister for Foreign Affairs' alleged hatred for Catholicism than economic reasons, and compared the Minister, Mr Eamon Gilmore, to Oliver Cromwell. (Note for those not familiar with Irish history and Irish insults: to be compared with Oliver Cromwell is, for us Irish, perhaps the worst insult that can be thrown at anyone - Oliver Cromwell massacred, burned and pillaged his way around Ireland - he was also a ferocious anti-Catholic bigot, who martyred numerous innocent Catholics for their faith).

According to the report, based on information obtained from the Department of Foreign Affairs under the Freedom of Information Act, of letters and communications received by the Minister concerning the closure, 93% disagreed with the closure and reject the excuses offered by our political masters.  Many of them see that our reputation abroad will suffer - and they are right: as I mentioned before, certain diplomats and commentators abroad have been scratching their heads to figure out what is wrong with the Irish. Let's not blame the Irish, just the government. 

So, will we see a u-turn in the near future, or will ideology trump common sense, the will of the people and Ireland's collapsing international reputation?  

Fr Gabriel Burke has a very good post related to the above - the outgoing Australian ambassador to the Holy See stressing the importance of a residental diplomatic presence at the Vatican.  He confirms what many people say about relations with the Holy See:
“It is the oldest organisation in the world, and it does have a huge network,” he said.  In fact, “as recently as the Balkans War, some of the best information as to what was really happening on the ground was not held by the CIA or the KGB but, in fact, right here in Rome by the Holy See.”
Only a country intent on an isolationist policy can afford not to have a residential diplomatic presence in the Vatican. 

The Most Fundamental Of All Rights

Last night I was watching ITV 1's broadcasting of the 2002 movie, Bloody Sunday which deals with the massacre by British Army forces of fourteen Civil Rights demonstrators during a peaceful rally in Derry, Northern Ireland, on the 30th January 1972 - we are coming up to the 40th anniversary of the killings.  I had never seen it, so I took the opportunity.

As an Irishman it was difficult to watch, particularly when you know that for most of those forty years those who died were branded as terrorists by the British government, and that following a travesty of an enquiry - the Widgery Tribunal, the soldiers were not only exonerated, but some of them actually decorated by Queen Elizabeth.   It was particularly hard to watch as men who went to the assistance of the wounded waving white hankies in a gesture of peace, were shot in the back by the soldiers.  I found myself wondering last night, if the Queen should not have been a bit more forceful and explicit in her speech in Dublin Castle last May.  The things she regretted perhaps merited something stronger than a general statement, particularly in the light of the fact that she bestowed her honours on men who gunned down innocent civilians. 

But we must leave the past and move on - at the end of the day not even a queen dressed in sackcloth and ashes kneeling outside the Guildhall in Derry will bring those people back, and as Christians we must forgive.  That day sparked a conflict which cost the lives of thousands of innocent men and women on both sides, and there was no excuse for that: there are many others who should don the sackcloth and ashes and make serious reparation for their deeds.  In the wake of  a murder spree that lasted over thirty years, there are many who must come to forgive and get on with their lives, difficult as that can be.

In the light of all this, at this time of year, our thoughts go overseas to the US as the Church and various organisations mark another attack on human life - the legalisation of abortion in 1973.  Over these days people mark the anniversary all over the US with numerous events and rallies, reaching a climax when hundreds of thousands will travel to Washington DC for the commemorative ceremonies on the 22nd and 23rd January: the annual March for Life.  The highlights of these events in Washington will be Holy Mass and a Vigil in the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and the rally down the Mall to the Capitol building. 

The March for Life is one of the biggest, if not the biggest rally in Washington in each year and, as always, completed ignored by the media.  A few pro-abortion protesters will turn out, so if there is a news report they will get most of the limelight - the usual media "objectivity". 

What I find most interesting is that like the relatives of those gunned down in the streets of Derry who were trying for years to bring the full truth of Bloody Sunday out into the open, the pro-life cause has been struggling for a similar time to bring the full truth about abortion into the open.   In recent years those involved in the pro-life cause see themselves as part of another Civil Rights movement - and that is exactly what they are, though there are those who dispute it.

There is no more fundamental civil right than the right to life.  Indeed, if the right to life is denied to any one person, that in effect nullifies every other right, and we give to our legislators the power to strip away any or all of our rights should they see the need to do so - whenever they want.  

Those who support abortion are blind to this and are so because those who legislate for abortion are of the same mind set, and they have little to fear - for now.  But the tide could turn - indeed it is already turning and the monster is beginning to devour its young.  When you look at abortion figures you see this.  For example, in many parts of the world, most of the victims of abortion are girls - aborted because their parents want a boy.  What does the radical feminist movement say to that? Nothing.  They are happy to allow, and indeed ignore, a holocaust of girls in order to preserve "a woman's right to choose".   Imagine a world without women: it won't happen, but we could see, in many parts of the world, a serious reduction in the number of women and what will that do for women's rights? 

Another possibility: some scientists, financed by the homosexual lobby, are looking for a gay gene which would prove that homosexuals are born with their orientation, and so this discovery would further enhance their arguments.  If a gay gene were found (it hasn't by the way, no evidence at all so far), it may, in places, lead to a holocaust of children who had this gene to prevent the birth of "gay children".  I think that is very likely, and we may see the homosexual issue resolved, not by means of conversion or normalisation, but by extermination.  I believe someone once referred to such as methodology as the "Final Solution".

Other cases: the disabled are disappearing, but not through the eradication of conditions, but the eradication of those with them.  The number of children with Downs Syndrome is dropping considerably - that can only be through abortion.  And abortion is used as the handmaid of inhuman scientific processes like IVF.  The recent case in Australia where a healthy twin was aborted in place of its sick sibling is a fine example of that (the media called it "tragic" - that's rich!).  Every day somewhere in the world babies are being aborted because, thanks to IVF, there are too many children in the womb - space needs to be created.  Who dies? The one nearest the scalpel.

In Scripture we hear of the crime that cries to heaven for vengeance - surely abortion is one of these, and the blood of the innocent cries out to God.    Revenge is not something Christians, or any pro-life people should even consider: God will deal with those who are guilty of this massacre - those  who carry out and promote abortion (legislators too, by the way).  We must pray for these people for, if they do not repent, their souls may well be lost.   As Christians and members of the pro-life movement, like the victims of violence in Northern Ireland, we must forgive, but also work for justice and try to bring an end to this senseless and meaningless murder of the innocent.

As for us in Ireland, as I said before, I think abortion is coming.  At least one of the two parties in government favours the introduction of abortion: the other party has many members who are also pro-abortion, so the time is right for the pro-abortion movement in Ireland.  The Church is weak, and as the late journalist Mary Raftery (the one who broke some of the abuse stories) said: now is the time to bring in abortion when the Catholic Church is so weak it will not be able to object. 

That is true: if abortion came in tomorrow there might not even be a whimper from the Church in Ireland - the media would just rehearse some of the abuse reports again and silence her.  This is a situation which needs to be dealt with quickly - if the government is planning legislation, we must be ready to oppose it, and use whatever we have to meet the challenge, including the excommunication of Catholic legislators who vote for any such bill.  

This is the time to start building alliances both within and outside the country to prepare for this struggle.  Our good pro-life friends in the US can be of assistance here.   If abortion is not legalised, well and good, but we must be ready.  Perhaps if the government sees a strong pro-life movement ready for battle (and many voters in their ranks), they might think twice, after all, legislators do not live on bread alone, but on every vote that is cast in their favour in the ballot box, and most of them live under the perpetual fear of famine.  Time to remind them that the next time they skip over to the larder, they may find it empty.

And now, a prayer for all victims of violence - those who died in conflicts, those who were abused, and the millions of innocent children killed in the womb or destroyed in labs; and let us not forget the millions of children enslaved in suspended animation in the freezers of IVF clinics around the world.
O Mary,
bright dawn of the new world,
Mother of the living,
to you do we entrust the cause of life
Look down, O Mother,
upon the vast numbers
of babies not allowed to be born,
of the poor whose lives are made difficult,
of men and women
who are victims of brutal violence,
of the elderly and the sick killed
by indifference or out of misguided mercy.

Grant that all who believe in your Son
may proclaim the Gospel of life
with honesty and love
to the people of our time.

Obtain for them the grace
to accept that Gospel
as a gift ever new,
the joy of celebrating it with gratitude
throughout their lives
and the courage to bear witness to it
resolutely, in order to build,
together with all people of good will,
the civilization of truth and love,
to the praise and glory of God,
the Creator and lover of life.
(Blessed John Paul II)

Thursday, January 12, 2012

No Gong For Ron

This story is all over the Internet.  As the 1961 papers of the Nobel Prize committee have been released, they reveal that the committee turned down the nomination of J.R.R. Tolkien for the Nobel Prize for Literature: he had been nominated by C.S. Lewis.

The committee did not consider the writer worthy of the prize because they considered his prose bad and his work "has not in any way measured up to storytelling of the highest quality".  So in plain language: he can't write nor can he tell a good story, so no prize. 

Well, posterity has proved the committee wrong on one of those points - he was an excellent storyteller - his prose may not be consistently perfect, but his ability to create new worlds and enchant the imagination is unparalleled.

I have little time for the Nobel Prizes - a number of rewards in recent years reveal that the committee favours a particular agenda and usually picks its laureates in the light of that agenda - hence they gave Barack Obama the Peace Prize just after he was elected - for doing nothing. 

Blessed John Paul II had been nominated for the Peace Prize many times for his role in bringing down communism and his work for human rights and dignity, but one of the members of the committee said in an interview, which I heard, that they will never give John Paul the prize, not until he changes the Church's teaching on contraception and sexual ethics.  There's objectivity for you.  Needless to say the Blessed Pontiff was not so easily bought.

I imagine the committee have since repented of giving the Peace Prize to Blessed Mother Teresa: her acceptance speech pleading for the lives of the unborn in the face of the culture of death must have put them out.

As regard their attitude to Tolkien, it is not unusual. Academia has tended to look down its nose at him and would not consider his work to be literature in any shape or form.  Yet The Lord of the Rings saga is one of the most enduring works in the English language, and though, perhaps, not in the same league in terms of literary merit as Shakespeare and Dante, his work ranks alongside them in terms of readership, popularity and its legacy.

That said, here is something which I have just come across - a movie based on the appendix of The Lord of the Rings, made in 2008.  It is set in the Third Age and tells the story of the rise of Sauron and the birth of Aragorn, Born of Hope.  It is on the net and available there for free.  I am embedding the movie in this post, so if you have time you can watch it - I have not seen all of it myself, but I hope I will get time later.  So something to tide us over until The Hobbit (Part 1) comes out at Christmas.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Nail On The Head....

Two great pieces for you, detailing bias in the media and the attitude of liberal secularists to Christians.

Mgr Charles Pope has a marvellous article on his blog reflecting on how we Christians are branded intolerant and bigoted while our accusers, who are imposing their agenda on society and trying to force us to accept it, see themselves as "victims".  This article is a must read.

The second is Marc Coleman's radio show on Newstalk, which I was listening to last evening.  He explores the media bias in Ireland and wonders why Irish journalists home in relentlessly on the usual suspects, the Catholic Church among them, but ignore others.  Again, this is well worth listening to (Tuesday Parts 1 and 2). 

An interesting fact Marc discusses is the "infiltration" of RTE, the national broadcaster, by the Workers' Party.  To those who are not familiar with Irish politics, the Workers Party was originally part of Sinn Fein, whom you all know.  They are extremely left wing - Marc calls them "Stalinist" in the programme, and they had links to some of the most tyrannical communist regimes - communist Poland and North Korea among them. 

While, at their best, they never had more than 2% of the electorate behind them, there are/were a large number of Workers' Party people working in RTE, hence the organisation's left-wing position and hostility to the Catholic Church: the WP hates the Catholic Church. 

Interestingly, former members of the Workers' Party are now members of the present government.  Our present Minister for Foreign Affairs, Eamon Gilmore, was affiliated to the Workers' Party when the organisation was known as Official Sinn Fein.  Mr Gilmore is the one responsible for closing the Irish embassy to the Holy See.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Need For Consistency

You may be aware of the row that is going on in the Archdiocese of Detroit concerning Real Catholic TV and its use of the title "Catholic". Michael Voris, the front man for the TV company, is being told he must stop using the title Catholic since he does not have permission from the Archbishop of Detroit, his Ordinary.

This is an issue of canon law, and Ed Peters explains it all in his canon law blog.  It seems the plot is thickening as the question of jurisdiction has now been raised - it seems that Real Catholic TV may actually be officially domiciled in the Diocese of South Bend, so it is up to the Ordinary there to grant the title and not Detroit.   It will be interesting to see how this pans out.

Some maintain that Detroit is going after Voris because of his conservative position on Catholic teaching and his manner of broadcasting - I am not going to comment on that because I do not know all the facts, nor can I read the mind of the Archbishop.  I do know, however, that the title "Catholic" can only be used by a group or organisation with the permission of the bishop of the diocese in which they are based.  When the Fraternity was founded and we were applying for official recognition in the Church, we had to petition the bishop for permission to call ourselves a Catholic association.  That's the law of the Church, and it is there to protect the integrity of the Church and her teaching, and I agree with it.

Now, to be honest, I do think there is a need for consistency with regard to this law and its implementation.  There are many organisations, groups, institutions and institutes which use the title "Catholic", but are as far from orthodoxy as the Inferno is from the Arctic.   Dissenters trade under the title Catholic, and theologians, who are more renowned for their rebellion than their willingness to believe in orthodox Christianity, run about with "Catholic theologian" stamped on their academic passports.   Now the stripping of such a title with regard to theologians teaching in Catholic institutes is a matter for CDF, but local Ordinaries also have jurisdiction over groups and organisations trading in their territories.   Is it not time now to call a halt and start to pull them up as Voris and company have been?

You see, there remains the impression, be it true or false, that authorities are happy and quick to tackle conservative Catholic groups, but leave the self-styled "progressive" groups alone and free to do whatever they want.  This does not inspire confidence at all. 

Some suggest that the liberals and dissidents would not obey the bishop if he asked them to stop calling themselves Catholic - of course they wouldn't - disobedience is their trademark.  But that should not deter an Ordinary nor his officials from reminding them, and the public, that the particular group cannot call itself Catholic and is not recognised as being Catholic.    Others have suggested some bishops are afraid of these groups and so prefer to leave them alone.  We cannot ignore that suggestion because it may be true in some cases, and we respond to that with prayer and encouragement, and take a few tips from St Catherine of Siena who knew how to remind people of their duties, with charity of course.

And that last point is one we must bring to our consideration of the Detroit-Real Catholic TV situation: we presume good faith on the part of all involved and pray the situation will be resolved in a manner which is good for the Church.

The World Is About To End....Yippee!!!!

That headline may lack sensitivity in these troublesome times as people fret and worry over the Mayan prophecy which claims that the world is going to end at midnight on the 21st December 2012.  Indeed.

I was watching part of a documentary the other evening on Channel 4 which dealt with the prophecy and how people were getting ready for the end of the world.  One gentleman is selling bunkers and apparently they are going like hotcakes - there's an enterprising man for you.  Others are teaching courses on survival techniques for a post-apocalyptic planet.  I was scratching my head: how in the name of all that is holy can anyone escape the end?  All the survival techniques in the world are no good when this planet pops over the edge of oblivion.

Do I believe the Mayan prophecy?  Well no, I don't - I think the above cartoon may have an element of truth to it, and so too the argument that the prophecy fits into a Mayan world view which is limited to a certain cycle, so the end has to happen at that date in order to bring the cycle of cycles to a perfect end.  The prophecy may be more about a mythical symmetry than anything else.

Could the world end at the midnight 21st December 2012?  Yes, of course it could.  And it could end tomorrow at 1.25pm as we are all tucking into our ham salad sandwiches and eyeing up the pastry for the next course - there may not be a next course. 

Jesus tells us two things in the Gospel about the end, and both of them nullify the hysteria over the Mayan prophecy.  First - we will not know the day or the hour of the second coming of the Lord - which will be the end: so bang goes the prophecy.  Secondly, we as Christians must live each day as our last - so we must expect the end at any moment, and one moment in the future will be our last.  That spirituality of the ever-present last day is a powerful spur to living a life of virtue. 

And how do we, as Christians, respond to the coming of the end? We rejoice for, as we are told in Sacred Scripture, when we see the Lord appear on the clouds, we lift our heads high, for our liberation is at hand.  We do not run around buying bunkers or learning how to survive on a wasted planet, we live holy lives and learn how to live as Saints in this world so we will live like Saints in the next. 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where He Has Gone, We Hope To Follow

The Feast of the Baptism of the Lord is an opportunity for all of us to reflect on our own baptism - that moment when we began our lives as Christians by entering the waters made holy by Jesus himself. 

As I explain at baptism ceremonies, Jesus went into the waters first, we follow him, and as we do so, we enter his life so, as St Paul says, we no longer live, but Christ lives in us and we live in him: his life is ours, and united with us, he can transform us.  We can then say in faith, that where he has gone we hope to follow, because we walk in his footsteps guided by him in grace.

An interesting aspect of the Gospel account of the Baptism of Jesus, is the moment when the Father proclaims Jesus as his Son: at that moment we find out who he is and what his mission is.  Contrary to what many think, when we enter into the life of Christ we do not lose ourselves, but rather find ourselves: we discover who we truly are and what our mission here on earth is - and of course what our destiny is. 

Pope Benedict explores this beautifully in his homily at the inauguration of his papacy:
If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and he gives you everything. When we give ourselves to him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ – and you will find true life.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Report On New Nuncio's Ordination

Annus De Fide

Today Cardinal Levada of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith released its Note with Pastoral Recommendations for the Year of Faith in response to the Holy Father's Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio, Porta fidei, see here for the text of the Note.

The Year begins on the fifieth anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council and twenieth anniversary of the promulgation of the Catechism: 11th October this year, and ends on Solemnity of Christ the King the following year, 24th November 2013. 

As the Cardinal points out: 'The Year of Faith is intended to contribute to a renewed conversion to the Lord Jesus and to the rediscovery of faith, so that the members of the Church will be credible and joy-filled witnesses to the Risen Lord in the world of today - capable of leading those many people who are seeking it to the "door of faith".'  At the heart of the Year, then, will be the person of Jesus Christ, a renewal of our faith in him, a radical catechesis based on the Catechism, and a major push to all involved in the New Evangelisation.  

The Note offers a number of recommendations for the Year for the various levels in the Church: universal, episcopal conference, diocesan and parish.    A Synod of Bishops in October 2012 will be devoted to it, and World Youth Day in Rio in 2013 will take it as its theme.  

At the episcopal conference level, I note a recommendation with regard to local Saints - Ireland should take careful note of this.  As I have often said, and as my friend over at Fr Willie Doyle's blog noted just a few days ago, there has been an appalling lack of interest in the holy people of our country.  As the Note correctly points out: "the Saints and Blesseds are authentic witnesses of faith".

At parish level, I see the Cardinal is aiming at a major catechesis - priests should offer cycles of homilies on the various aspects of the faith, the creed, encounter with Christ, and faith and the Church.  That is badly needed.   We will have to get thinking.  It might be no harm for groups of priests to get together and help each other in this.  Any takers, brothers?

The Year of Faith is a great opportunity, I hope the Church in Ireland takes it.  The various other Years passed us by - Rosary, Eucharist, Pauline - I do hope we won't let this pass: it is a marvellous gift to us as we work towards reform and renewal.   And not only for Ireland, for the whole Church.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Nuncio Ordained, New Cardinals Announced

Cardinal-designate, Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York

As I mentioned earlier, Mgr Charles Brown, our new Nuncio, was ordained Archbishop in St Peter's Basilica today, by Pope Benedict - EWTN covered the ceremony, and it was beautiful.   May the Lord grant him every grace as he prepares for his mission to Ireland.

The Vatican have also just annouced the names of those who are to receive the red hat in February - the Consistory is to be held on the 18th.  Among the future Cardinals is Archbishop Tim Dolan of New York: there will be great celebrations there.  He is a regular visitor to Ireland and often visited us in Drogheda.  He is also one of the Apostolic Visitators to Ireland, investigating the seminaries, which was no easy task.  May the Lord bless him as he is raised to the Cardinalate.   Here is his reaction to his elevation: as always - humble, self-effacing and practical. 

Here is the list of Cardinals designate. 

First the Curial/Roman Appointments:

1. Msgr. Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples;
2. Msgr. Manuel Monteiro de Castro, Major Penitentiary;
3. Msgr. Santos Abril Y Castellò, Archpriest of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major;
4. Msgr Antonio Maria Veglio, President of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People;
5. Msgr. Giuseppe Bertelli, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President of the Governorate of the same State;
6. Msgr Francesco Coccopalmerio, President of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts;
7. Msgr JOÃO Braz de Aviz, Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life;
8. Msgr Edwin O'Brien, Pro Grand Master of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem;
9. Msgr. Domenico Calcagno, President of the Administration of the Patrimony of the Apostolic See;
10. Msgr Giuseppe Versaldi, President of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See.

The Metropolitan Archbishops, Primates, etc:

11. His Beatitude GEORGE Alencherry, Major Archbishop of Ernakulam-Angamaly of the Syro Malabar (India);
12. Msgr Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto (Canada);
13. Msgr Dominik Duka, Archbishop of Prague (Czech Republic);
14. Msgr Willem Jacobus Eijk, Archbishop of Utrecht (Netherlands);
15. Msgr. Giuseppe Betori, Archbishop of Florence (Italy);
16. Msgr Timothy Michael Dolan, Archbishop of New York (United States);
17. Msgr. Rainer Maria Woelk, Archbishop of Berlin (Federal Republic of Germany);
18. Msgr John Tong Hon, Bishop of Hong Kong (China).

The Holy Father is also raising another prelate and three priests to the Cardinalate, all of whom are over eighty:

1. His Beatitude Lucian Muresan, Major Archbishop of Fagaras and Alba Julia of the Romanians (Romania);
2. Rev. Julien Ries, priest of the Diocese of Namur and professor emeritus of history of religions at the Catholic University of Louvain;
3. Fr. Prospero Grech, OSA, Professor Emeritus of various Roman universities and Consultant to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith;
4. Fr. Karl Becker, SJ, Professor Emeritus of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Consultant for many years the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

A Must for Little Christmas

Okay, I know some will get this and others won't - you have to be a Downton Abbey fan and know the character of Carson the butler.  When I saw this on the web I thought it was hilarious and decided to share it with you: A Very Carson Christmas.