Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Pop over to the Cnytr

... to congratulate her on her marriage and to encourage her to start a Jap-Cath-Navy blog.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

In Our Time

BBC Radio 4's In Our Time is one of my favourite radio programmes. If you're interested in the history of ideas, it's always worth a listen. They've just launched a new website with an archive of all their past episodes.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Deaths of the Saints

Not for the Faint-Hearted
I was browsing for images of St Blaise today, and stumbled across this surprsing image of the saint. Now, it's not pious iconography, but I'm sure that at least some of my readership will enjoy the Deaths of the Saints blog. (Maybe this comes under the Punk Catholic heading...) If you're not squeamish, you should probably check out St Agatha, St Theobald and St Bartholomew.

St Joan of Arc
More in tune with the Hermeneutic of Continuity, the excellent Matt Alderman has recently completed two images of St Joan of Arc - here and here.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Pope to English & Welsh Bishops: Look to Newman

In this morning's Bolletino we have the Holy Father's address to the Bishops of England and Wales. (The Scots have their own episcopal conference, and the whole of Ireland has a single hierarchy, in case you were wondering.) Damian Thompson has his own take on what the Pope had to say. (Little praise, plenty of coded warnings.) However, I prefer to focus on what the Pope says about Newman:
Make it your concern, then, to draw on the considerable gifts of the lay faithful in England and Wales and see that they are equipped to hand on the faith to new generations comprehensively, accurately, and with a keen awareness that in so doing they are playing their part in the Church’s mission. In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free. Cardinal Newman realized this, and he left us an outstanding example of faithfulness to revealed truth by following that "kindly light" wherever it led him, even at considerable personal cost. Great writers and communicators of his stature and integrity are needed in the Church today, and it is my hope that devotion to him will inspire many to follow in his footsteps.
Much attention has rightly been given to Newman’s scholarship and to his extensive writings, but it is important to remember that he saw himself first and foremost as a priest. In this Annus Sacerdotalis, I urge you to hold up to your priests his example of dedication to prayer, pastoral sensitivity towards the needs of his flock, and passion for preaching the Gospel. You yourselves should set a similar example. Be close to your priests, and rekindle their sense of the enormous privilege and joy of standing among the people of God as alter Christus. In Newman’s words, "Christ’s priests have no priesthood but His … what they do, He does; when they baptize, He is baptizing; when they bless, He is blessing" (Parochial and Plain Sermons, VI 242). Indeed, since the priest plays an irreplaceable role in the life of the Church, spare no effort in encouraging priestly vocations and emphasizing to the faithful the true meaning and necessity of the priesthood. Encourage the lay faithful to express their appreciation of the priests who serve them, and to recognize the difficulties they sometimes face on account of their declining numbers and increasing pressures. The support and understanding of the faithful is particularly necessary when parishes have to be merged or Mass times adjusted. Help them to avoid any temptation to view the clergy as mere functionaries but rather to rejoice in the gift of priestly ministry, a gift that can never be taken for granted.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Round Up...

Cnytr has twisted my arm, and made me remind you all that she's blogging again. Pester her and persuade her to post more about her trip to Rome, her forthcoming wedding and her new puppy.

Incidentally, she and Deirdre seemed to have had a most excellent time when they met up in Rome. I'm thrilled that Deirdre has promoted me to the rank of 'Interesting Person'. I love Rome 'blogs, so I'm also adding her friend Elizabeth to my Blogroll. I presume they both have examinations at the moment, so I'm expecting both of them to do a lot of blogging as I always did when I had examinations. ;)

Matthew of the Holy Whapping posts the funniest thing I've read so far this year. He shows that quite apart from being a fine rubricist, Fortesque offers tips on semantics, airlibe travel and anger management.

Finally, I have been following the Blessed Columba Marmion Novena over at Vultus Christi. Marmion is the Summa of St Thomas, converted into spiritual theology, along with a dash of St Paul. I'm a huge fan of his Christ: The Ideal of the Priest and have just started his Christ in His Mysteries.

Having issues and the defining issues?

I stumbled across the following article and something struck me. The author says:
How come the deciding issues of whether one is a member of the church or not always seems to come down to issues concerning sexuality.
The usual suspects, gay marriage, abortion, etc are always and ever the issues that we are told are the defining issues as to whether or not we are catholic.
Has anyone ever heard of a bishop saying that tax fraud barred one from being a catholic? Has ever a bishop clearly and unambiguously spoken so strongly against the evil of poverty - one in six of the world's population are starving?
The author's point of view is not uncommon these days, and demonstrates how the media filters people's perceptions of the Church. You'll note that he mentions abortion as being one of those issues 'concerning sexuality' which is a defining issue. I would argue that the question of abortion primarily concerns the value of life - the 5th commandment rather than the 6th commandment - and that the author neglects to mention the Church's resistance to euthanasia.

Yes, the meaning of sexuality is one of those areas where the teaching of the Church meets most resistance in the modern world. But it's not something which the Church obsesses about. It's the media who are sex-obsessed. It seems to me that papal and episcopal statements are combed by the media for passing references to sexual morality, these are then cherry-picked and reported, and the rest of what the Church has to teach is neglected. When the Church speaks out against poverty or on environmental issues or against greed, it simply doesn't make headlines. Why? Because it doesn't really titillate the head-line makers. It doesn't attract the attention of the sub-editors. A fair reading of the speeches and messages of any of the recent Pontiffs - they're all available on the Vatican website - will show that the Church speaks out on a whole gamut of issues and offers a radically challenging and uplifting vision of the human person.

Meanwhile, the author of that article presents the following as his parting shot:
Also, is there not something unusual about bishops going on and on in such solemn tones on matters of sexuality while they adorn themselves with chains, crosses, rings and long frocks?
Is one ever struck by the visual appearance of so many bishops?
Again, it seems to me that the problem is with the imagination of the author... Normal episcopal regalia becomes chains, crosses, rings and long frocks... And if he's talking about Irish Bishops, he should be very well aware that they normally present themselves for public consumption in a clerical suit.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Long time, no blog...

I'm afraid it's been much too long since I've blogged regularly. I sometimes feel like posting a rant in the key of St Bernard or St Gregory the Great about how the cares of the world and the pastoral life are keeping me from 'blogging. Of course, they complained that their activity was keeping them from contemplation, which is much more worthy and noble, so I guess I'll just keep quiet.
Anyway, Fr Z has dug some interesting stuff out of my archives in order to mark today's feast of St Agnes. The Vatican's Youtube channel has some great footage of the traditional blessing of the lambs.

Since I last blogged, Jane & Lizzy have updated their template, so we look forward to hearing more from them. *Hint-hint*

I should also give a 'shout-out' to Seraphic whose book is being launched shortly.

What else? Deirdre has an excellent post for those who might be considering studying in Rome. The Irish Catholic has a new website. And Cardinal Newman is going to be beatified! (I've long been a fan.)

As I often do when stuck for original content, I'll conclude with an except from one of his Parochial and Plain Sermons. This was written when he was an Anglican, but it certainly has something to say to us as we celebrate the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.
[L]et me remind you, my brethren, how nearly the whole doctrine of ecclesiastical order is connected with personal obedience to God's will. Obedience to the rule of order is every where enjoined in Scripture; obedience to it is an act of faith. Were there ten thousand objections to it, yet, supposing unity were clearly and expressly enjoined by Christ, faith would obey in spite of them. But in matter of fact there are no such objections, nor any difficulty of any moment in the way of observing it. What, then, is to be said to the very serious circumstance, that, in spite of the absence of such impediments, vast numbers of men conceive that they may dispense with it at their good pleasure. In all the controversies of fifteen hundred years, the duty of continuing in order and in quietness was professed on all sides, as one of the first principles of the Gospel of Christ. But now multitudes, both in and without the Church, have set it up on high as a great discovery, and glory in it as a great principle, that forms are worth nothing. They allow themselves to wander about from one communion to another, or from church to meeting-house, and make it a boast that they belong to no party and are above all parties; and argue, that provided men agree in some principal doctrines of the Gospel, it matters little whether they agree in any thing besides.

But those who boast of belonging to no party, and think themselves enlightened in this same confident boasting, I would, in all charity, remind that our Saviour Himself constituted what they must, on their principles, admit to be a party; that the Christian Church is simply and literally a party or society instituted by Christ. He bade us keep together. Fellowship with each other, mutual sympathy, and what spectators from without call party-spirit, all this is a prescribed duty; and the sin and the mischief arise, not from having a party, but in having many parties, in separating from that one body or party which He has appointed; for when men split the one Church of Christ into fragments, they are doing their part to destroy it altogether.

But while the Church of Christ is literally what the world calls a party, it is something far higher also. It is not an institution of man, not a mere political establishment, not a creature of the state, depending on the state's breath, made and unmade at its will, but it is a Divine society, a great work of God, a true relic of Christ and His Apostles, as Elijah's mantle upon Elisha, a bequest which He has left us, and which we must keep for His sake; a holy treasure which, like the ark of Israel, looks like a thing of earth, and is exposed to the ill-usage and contempt of the world, but which in its own time, and according to the decree of Him who gave it, displays today, and tomorrow, and the third day, its miracles, as of mercy so of judgment, "lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake and great hail."