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Showing posts from February, 2013

A Decade Ago...The Cardinal Who Would be Pope.

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This is really fascinating and well worth watching. A decade ago, and just two years before he became Pope, EWTN's Raymond Arroyo interviewed the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who had been Prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for 22 years. The CDF, previously known as the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition (wherefrom arose the names Roman Inquisition or Holy Inquisition popularly used in reference to the 16th century tribunals against witchcraft and heresy), and after 1904 called the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office, is the oldest of the nine congregations of the Roman Curia. Among the most active of the congregations, it oversees Catholic Church doctrine. Its offices are housed at the Palace of the Holy Office at the Vatican.

What we see here is Joseph Ratzinger before he became Pope, speaking about liturgy, about his vision for the future, about the sex abuse scandal, about the Papacy of John Paul II, and about…

Cardinal Keith Patrick O'Brien Resigns

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Following the allegations in Sunday's Observer newspaper that the Cardinal had acted inappropriately some thirty years ago, it has been announced this morning that the seventy-four year old, who is in poor health, is stepping down.

This feels like another blow to the Church. There will now be no representative from the U.K. in the Conclave.
The Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has accepted on the 18 February 2013 the resignation of His Eminence Cardinal Keith Patrick O’Brien from the pastoral governance of the Archdiocese of Saint Andrews and Edinburgh. This information will be announced and published in the Osservatore Romano of Monday 25 February 2013.

The Cardinal had already presented last November his resignation in view of his 75th birthday on 17 March 2013, and it was accepted by the Holy Father with the formula 'nunc pro tunc' (now for later). Given the imminent Vacant See, the Holy Father has now decided to accept the said resignation definitively.

I have had th…

Catholic Schools and Education.

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Further to my post a couple of days ago which considered the state of Catholic Education, and what (if anything) to do about it, Michael Merrick has pointed me to some very interesting comments of his own on the subject.

In his first post, he discusses a question which I have heard for some time now in Catholic circles: Is it right for our Mass-going population to continue to fund schools which are Catholic in name only? This question was bravely posited by the Rt. Rvd. Bishop Michael Campbell in a pastoral letter. Michael notes:
It is worth saying that, until relatively recently, this question would simply not have been asked, or at any rate not framed in such terms. Indeed, the very use of the words ‘Catholic in name only’ (or CINO in shorthand) is itself provocative for those who have not and do not necessarily see the role of Catholic schools as being ‘Catholic’ at all, at least not with a capital ‘C’. That the Church should compromise its generous access and influence within ma…

Sunday Scripture: The Second Sunday in Lent (Year C)

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Welcome to this, the thirty-first of my reflections on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you. You might find that it answers a few questions you may have, but most of all I hope that it will show you how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps enable you to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted it is, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are.

If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series here.

I would like to think this regular blog would be a great help to anyone who reads at Mass, to enable them to foster a deeper understanding of the message they are trying to impart to the congregation.

There are several different ways to read this post. I would suggest the first thing to do is to look at the relevant readings. You might then want to look…

The Catholic Academic Initiative

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I want to expand on some thoughts concerning Catholic education. I am suggesting that there is some disconnect between Catholicity and our Catholic Schools. I think that in some schools, Catholicity has somehow evolved into a holistic "every child matters" approach to inclusive education rather than being about a seriously different approach to academic study. This is not to discount the excellent Catholic teachers who I know are out there battling away, but rather, knowing some of them, I would like to support, encourage and thank them for what they are doing.
Why? I think this has happened as a result of a growing false understanding of the Christian ethic as being non-judgemental. Also, a lack of decent Catholic apologetics and a dearth of academic engagement with the more controversial aspects of Catholic doctrine. I wonder what a survey of Catholic teachers would reveal about their adherence to Catholic doctrine regarding the real presence? The necessity of the Sacrame…

Bishop Thomas on Pope's Resignation

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My Apostle, the Right Reverend Thomas McMahon, Bishop of Brentwood, comments on the Pope's decision to resign:

11 Feb 2013I heard with great surprise the news of Pope Benedict’s resignation this morning. I am obviously saddened to hear of the Pope’s state of health. He is very much in my thoughts and prayers.It is characteristic of his integrity and clarity of mind that he has made this courageous decision. It shows clearly his great concern for the pastoral well-being of the Church.Pope Benedict is remembered very fondly in our country as a result of his visit to the UK in 2010. He brought inspiration and encouragement to Christians of all denominations and indeed members of all faiths. He will also be greatly appreciated for his accessible yet profound teaching of the Christian Faith. Indeed, the Year of Faith which Roman Catholics are currently celebrating is very much the Pope’s own initiative.I would ask all people of goodwill to keep Pope Benedict in their prayers at this im…

Redford Day

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On Sunday, I got up early and gathered the family. We jumped in the car and drove up the M1 to Birmingham to Maryvale for a special day celebrating the life of Canon John Redford. He has developed Pancreatic cancer and is increasingly unwell. It was wonderful to have a day like this, perhaps before he withdraws completely from public life.

Maryvale is an International Catholic Distance-Learning College for Catechesis, Theology, Philosophy and Religious Education. It has been erected by the Holy See as an Ecclesiastical institute so that it can also offer degrees of the Holy See, at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

I studied theology at Maryvale for five years, graduating in 2011 with a level 2:1 BA (Hons) in Divinity (73%). I had lots of questions about my faith and found a lot of the more controversial aspects challenging and difficult to accept. I think like many people, I had slipped into a position where, never having heard the reasons for the Church's teaching on IVF, co…

Bishop Christopher Coyne on Lenten Fasting & Abstinence

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I met Bishop Coyne on Twitter (@bishopcoyne). He is a great figure to follow, as he regularly makes apposite comments and posts reflections on scripture daily. We did plan to meet up when he was in Rome for the ad limina visit last year, and I was on a jolly, but alas, he was too busy on the day. He is currently an auxiliary bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Indianapolis.
Today he posted this comment about fasting during Lent on his Facebook page, which I thought was very interesting and worth sharing~
I'm one of those who does not count Sundays in Lent as days of fasting and abstinence. I do this for many reasons, much of which, I guess, comes from my studies in liturgy and history (I have a doctorate in liturgical studies). You know, if you count up all the days from Ash Wednesday to Holy Saturday, there are forty-six days in Lent. But if you subtract the Sundays, there are forty days. That is because the ancient practice was that Sundays were outside of the fast.
Sunday…

The Universal Call to Holiness (Lumen Gentium)

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Every year, Father Kevin puts on a series of talks or reflections for Lent. They are always very good and, in my opinion, constitute a real aid to our journey through Lent. The evenings take place at Nazareth House in Southend and every years take a different theme. I was honoured to be asked to present a talk myself a few years ago when the theme was 'The Last Words of Jesus', but we have also had really good speakers like Rev Dr. Andrew Pinsent who gave a superb talk on Faith and Science and Father Tim Finigan on the Reform of the Reform.

This year, inspired by the Holy Father and the Year of Faith, the theme is The Legacy of Vatican II. Last night (Thursday 14th February) was the first talk by Fr Martin Boland, Dean of Brentwood Cathedral. His talk was entitled: The Universal Call to Holiness (Lumen Gentium). Father Martin is one of Brentwood's really talented priests (we are so blessed to have so many) and also authors a very well written blog.
I found Father Martin&#…

What They are Saying About the Pope

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Some of the best stuff on the Pope.

Ttony at the Muniment Room has an excellent post here where he remarks:
His decision was taken some time ago: he told his brother six months ago, but he started dropping in on Celestine V rather longer ago. It's not unreasonable to suppose that everything he has done in the last two or three years has been done with his leaving in mind, and with his leaving everything in as good a condition as possible for his successor. Ttony explains that his......initial reaction - that he should have stayed on to death - is being replaced by an appreciation that Pope Benedict probably has a rather better idea of what he should do than me. We have had eight years - eight game-changing years - from a Pope who couldn't have been expected to last anything like this long. We are seeing the supernatural eddying into the natural world through his decision. The historian Timothy Stanley suggests that Benedict XVI will be known as...
...a leader who tried to as…

The Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

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On Monday we had wonderful celebration of our Parochial Feast. We were joined by our wonderful Ordinariate priests Fr. Jeff Woolnough, Fr. Lee Bennett, Fr. Bob White and their communications officer, Fr. James Bradley along with the Ordinary, Mgr. Keith Newton. What a pleasure it was to welcome them into our Parish. We had a beautiful Mass, and Mgr. Keith spoke brilliantly, mentioning the Pope's shock resignation, as well as preaching on the Gospel.

There's a good explanation of the Ordinariate here along with an explanation of why it was created here.

Fr. Kevin asked me to take some pictures of the occasion which you, beloved reader, are privileged to view before they are used anywhere else!


Fr. Jeff from St. Peter's Eastwood who is a great friend and is much loved and respected.


Fr. Lee from Benfleet.


My two oldest sons, Michael and William.


Fr. Kevin, our Parish Priest and Dean of Southend with Mgr. Keith Newton, the Ordinary.

The Ordinary of the Personal Ordinariate of …