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!

Monday, January 09, 2017

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith...

... is led by the excellent Cardinal Mueller, who speaks with firm, undramatic clarity.   Worth reading him here...

The Church's teaching on marriage cannot and will not change. And so Amoris Laetitiae has to be read with that truth clearly in mind as an ever-present reality. Of course it's always worth saying more: the truth has to be taught again and again and again.  Marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman, open to new life, establishing a family. It is a sacrament. It is all about Christ and his Bride, the Church. It is  not man's invention: it goes back to God's original plan. It is sacred.

I think that the good Cardinals who have raised "dubia" about this want to have it all set out in greater details and repeatedly, and that may well be useful. But it can't change what already is the case, taught consistently - sometimes well and sometimes less well, sometimes with immense depth, and sometimes in a chattier way, sometimes to people eager to listen and accept the teaching, sometimes to a world where many try to deny it and pretend that the Church could change. It is the task of every Bishop and every Cardinal to affirm the teaching clearly. Sometimes they may want to debate it, or criticise the way in which it has been put, or denounce some one for not putting it - but the most important, the most essential  thing is simply and courageously to teach it, and help all to live it.

When Amoris Laetitiae was first published, my own spouse telephoned me with some enthusiasm: we liked its clear affirmation of the Church's teaching on marriage, especially after what had seemed to be some contentious wrangling at the preceding Synod. I think we were not alone in sensing some  relief at a document which  announced the truth about marriage amid the noisy clamour of propaganda and laws promoting same-sex unions and cohabitation and so on.

Of course more can be said and will be, but the Church's teaching and discipline on marriage cannot change.

The traditional Mass...

...for Epiphany, and the Wise men had reached the crib after travelling via various places in the church. A rousing carol at the entrance procession.  Everyone seemed to sing the Gloria with greater gusto than usual. The Gospel with its haunting description of the Wise men :"and opening their treasures, they presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh..." There were some wonderful hymns (Anglican patrimony: it's an Ordinariate parish). Illustrating the way in which the Church has now spread across the globe, Fr C  noted in his sermon the countries from which members of the congregation came: it's a very, very mixed parish with people from the Caribbean, the Indian sub-continent, the Philippines, various parts of Africa and Europe and the Americas... and we pondered the Old Testament reading about all the peoples, and the fulfilment in the New Testament and the Church...

And afterwards, chocolates and delicious special bread with the coffee... and then the men hauling down the great Christmas trees on either side of the sanctuary, and children scurrying about helping to put away the glittering baubles until next year...

But what a pity that we couldn't have it on the actual DAY of the Epiphany, Jan 6th.  Moving it to the nearest Sunday means it loses none of its glory, but something of its specialness as a bright light in a January week, and the sense of the rightness of things,as the Christmas days reach twelve... Sundays are always special: no travelling to work but instead Mass, time for a proper lunch  a whole different dynamic from the moment the day dawns. But to have a specialness on a weekday is a triumph of light... DEAR BISHOPS: PLEASE CAN WE HAVE OUR FEAST-DAYS BACK???  Evening Mass on Epiphany was a joy - and afterwards the celebrations would continue at home or in a pub with friends, or in the parish. Doing it on Sunday means we miss out on that midweek party and the fullness of appreciating the sense of things having a time and a season...