Saturday, January 21, 2017

Restrictions on what Catholic schools are allowed to teach...

...are being urged by Britain's "integration tsar". She is called Dame Louise Casey, and she seems to think that it is up to her to announce what the Catholic Church is to teach in its schools.

Read here.,..  and write to your Member of Parliament explaining that it is unacceptable for Dame Louise - or any other public official - to try to drag us back to the 18th century in this way.   Our freedoim was hard-won, and when justice was finally achieved with the Catholic Emancipation Act shortly before Queen Victoria came to the throne, it was long overdue.

...and in America...

...somehow reassuring to see a President take his oath on a family Bible, and the Cardinal Archbishop of New York leading everyone in prayer... see report here.  Cardinal Dolan chose the Book of Wisdom - a very Catholic choice...

Francis...

...of Assisi...the real man behind the statue-looking-cute-by-the-bird-table, was the subject of our  first parish study evening of 2017 here.   Evensong, Mass, and then a light supper, and a DVD: Bishop Robert Barron, talking about the Pivotal Players in Church history. Among the things to think about: St Francis' life didn't involve a single bolt-from-the-blue conversion moment. Rather, it was a series of calls from God, each one deepening the relationship and taking the adventure further. The call to radical poverty, the call to rebuild the Church, the gathering of a band of brothers...and all along, it is a challenge and with plenty of human difficulties, even while the essential message is joyful.  After learning the story - it's all filmed in the lavish countryside and sunshine in the places where St Francis prayed and  lived and laboured, and its pace and beat are just right, for thinking and pondering it all - there are study-guides for some further pondering, to be used with the Scriptures and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, copies of which were handed round by Fr C...

Among the things to study were the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy.  Plenty to challenge us all there... not just the feel-good stuff about feeding the hungry and visiting the imprisoned, but  "to bear wrong patiently..."

We finished by praying the popular "Instrument of they peace" prayer, and took copies home to pray again silently at the end of the day...

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

On Amoris Laetitiae...

...here's a Bishop talking sense.

While the Maltese Bishops are allinamuddleandgoingnowhere, here's a voice of wisdom with a practical way ahead: Read here

And while you're about it, here's some more common sense on a related topic:

Auntie Joanna and EWTN...

...read here...



The Maltese Bishops...

...now need to be corrected. Their statement on marriage doesn't conform to the Church's unchanged and unchangeable teaching. The Pope can't change this teaching. Amoris Laetitiae doesn't and can't change this teaching. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will now need to take action...and in the heightened atmosphere this isn't going to be easy. The message of Amoris Laetitiae has to be read through  the hermeneutic of continuity - St John Paul the Great gave magnificent teaching in Familiaris Consortio and in Veritatis Splendor, and  all the tools are provided for a clear response to the muddled thinking of the poor Maltese bishops, who are betraying their flocks by the confused and impoverished statement which denies the fundamental truth at the heart of the sacrament of marriage.

Pray for Pope Francis: he will need real humility in dealing with this. He often - and rightly - speaks of the need to be humble, to be open to the voice of the Spirit and not to get trapped in self-esteem and so on. The office of Peter is an unenviable one. People will love to gloat on the difficulties of his position - and he has made a number of people angry with his criticisms of the Roman Curia and so on, enabling not a few to enjoy the prospect of the challenges now facing him. He now needs prayer - a lot of loving prayer - to enable him to tackle the responsibility of teaching the truth about marriage.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Propaganda...

...at a mainline railway station. A massive, lavish  wide-screen video sponsored by a bank, promoting same-sex marriage. It  stretches across the entrance to the platforms, and imposes itself on every passenger arriving at the station, intruding into every part of the concourse.

In the 1950s in Eastern Europe, railway stations broadcast political slogans all the time along with the train announcements: "The next train to Wadowice departs from Platform Eight Socialism is the Way of the Future with our brothers in the Soviet Union".   And people did not - could not - complain because it would mean serious trouble for themselves and for their families, with action from the police and the public authorities. There was no one to whom it was possible to complain, and no possibility of a fair hearing if one did.




Tolkien and Catholicism....Evolution...problems in the Church...

...all this and lots more in the latest FAITH magazine, now on-line....

read here...

Monday, January 16, 2017

Major renovations...

...at Bogle Towers. Complete rebuilding of bathroom, heating system etc, requiring massive works... We are sort of camping there...it has been uncomfortable but the work is progressing.

I spent part of last week in Scotland, editorial board for FAITH magazine. Stayed with the wonderful Sisters of the Gospel of Life in Glasgow.  Their work has hugely expanded over the years since their foundation, and they now have a great team of helpers, providing all sorts of things for needy families...they are involved with the Rachel's Vineyard retreats...and their convent life has its own pace and rhythm, starting very early...Holy Hour...then off to the Cathedral for Mass, collecting a couple of people along the way...

The Cathedral stands along the waterfront, a little gem among city slabs and concrete...glowing and warm inside, and very beautiful since its renovations, the Gothic pillars with delicate ribbons of blue and gold. In the sanctuary are statues of St Andrew and St Mungo.

The train ride to Edinburgh swept us through snowy countryside...a warm welcome on arrival, a good meeting.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Evenings of FAITH...

organised by the FAITH Movement, at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1. Nearest tube: Piccadilly  Circus.

All welcome. Talks start 7.30pm.  The entrance to the hall is in Golden Square, clearly marked at number 24...


DateTitleSpeaker
Tuesday 7th FebruaryCan we be sure God exists?Fr Matthew O'Gorman
Tuesday 21st FebruaryThe disaster of sinGregory Farrelly
Tuesday 7th MarchJesus Christ: Saviour and redeemerFr. Philip Miller
Tuesday 21st MarchThe Church: Christ’s voice to the worldFr. Michael Dolman

The real Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict...

...emerges from this interview w. Peter Seewald.  It's a must-read.

I came to know Peter Seewald through working on the EWTN feature on Pope Emeritus Benedict...he (Seewald) is a superb writer, a serious thinker, and a very well-read man who is good company. At our first meeting, over coffee in Munich, I remember him mentioning the biography of BXVI  on which he had at that stage fairly recently embarked...I realised just how much work and worry and care he was putting into it, reading and pondering on so many things.  The book will be the culmination of all his interviews and discussions and the long years of friendship which began when Seewald was a journalist on a major German newspaper, with a young family and many questions about life, God, the Church, and the true meaning of things...and it will also be the result of his own study and reflection and the spiritual journey that he has made under Benedict's gentle example.

Clare Anderson and I interviewed Peter Seewald for the first part our TV feature on Pope Benedict, which was broadcast by EWTN a couple of years ago. (The second half, filmed in Rome last May, will be broadcast this year...)

Ratzinger/Benedict is one of the great minds of our era. He will one day be hailed as a Doctor of the Church.   His role at the Second Vatican Council, his years at the CDF and his superb book(s) on the life of Christ, plus his rich theological insights - presented so readably and with such grace - have been huge gifts to the Church  and will resonate for all the years to come...and all this has come with considerable suffering, as he has been endlessly misrepresented and villified over the years, his character attacked, his motives questioned, his actions challenged in malicious and cruel ways. He's one of the Church's heroes:  all of us are in his debt.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

...and the Ordinariate?

How's it going?

An insight here...

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

More plans for...

....London's Catholic History Walks.   We are launching a new series of SUNDAY afternoon walks along the banks of the Thames in March.

All the info is here...get the dates in your diary now, and spread the word!