Monday, October 22, 2007

Bishop Roche on the anti-MP bandwagon

Local action as appropriate: Bishop Roche of Leeds has issued a document to his clergy 'clarifying' the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum (which apparently he can't spell). As with the document from Conti, and the one hastily withdrawn by Hollis, this is a crude attempt to frustrate the Pope's intentions. Roche claims, without any support from the document, that the group of faithful desiring the Traditional Mass must come from a single parish; that parishes with more than one Mass on a Sunday, or with daily Masses in the week, may not make one of them a Traditional Mass; he insinuates that priests who get round this by saying more than one Mass in a day will get into trouble for 'binating' (unlike, apparantly, priests who binate in the 1970 Mass); and he claims the right to make decisions about what priests can say the Traditional Mass, and under what conditions.

The whole point of the MP is that, because bishops have shown so much reluctance to allow the Traditional Mass, their power to stop priests saying it has been withdrawn. Roche simply can't stop priests saying the Mass.

More information from Fr Z here and Damian Thompson here.


Monday, October 15, 2007

SORs in the classroom


From CFNews: The Christian Institute writes : 'The Sexual Orientation Regulations do not apply to the curriculum or to teaching, the High Court has ruled. The wording of the Regulations in Great Britain is identical on this point to the Regulations in Northern Ireland. There is therefore a direct read-across from the recent Belfast judgment which applies to all of the UK. This means that homosexual campaigners cannot insist that the Regulations require the use of pro-homosexual story books in primary schools. Nor can they sue schools over the content of lessons. Some diversity trainers have already quoted the Regulations in an attempt to force teachers to promote homosexuality in the classroom They can no longer do so. Confusion over how the Regulations schools arose because similar regulations covering religious discrimination specifically exempted the curriculum to avoid legal clashes over the religious content of lessons. When the Regulations covering sexual orientation discrimination were published there was no such exemption. Understandably, this led many to infer that the Government intended the Regulations to apply to lessons. Under pressure, a Government minister admitted in the House of Lords that how the curriculum is taught 'is caught by the regulations'. But during the Belfast court case. Government lawyers tried to backpedal on that point. We are therefore delighted that the judge clearly ruled that the Regulations do not apply to the curriculum or to teaching. This ruling applies to all of the UK'.


Brown feels the heat on family policy?

Briefing: this is significant as the first admission that there is a problem in the tax and benefits system discriminating against marriage and stable relationships.

From CFNews: In a major shift in policy, a cabinet minister has called for married couples to get tax incentives from the Government in recognition of the benefits their children and society gain as a result of the union. In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, Andy Burnham, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, says there is a 'moral case' for promoting the traditional family through the tax system. 'I think marriage is best for kids,' he says. 'It's not wrong that the tax system should recognise commitment and marriage.'

His comments will be seen as a sign that Gordon Brown intends to seize another area of policy from David Cameron, following his raids on Tory proposals for cutting inheritance tax, penalising non-domiciled workers and introducing a flight levy.

The Conservative leader has promised to put support for marriage and the family at the heart of his manifesto for the next general election.

Until now, the Government has been reluctant to support marriage, arguing that it would be wrong to discriminate against single parents and cohabiting couples.

As Chancellor, Mr Brown scrapped the married couple's allowance, replacing it with a children's tax credit paid to all parents.

In his recent party conference speech, the Prime Minister cited the Bible as he sought to highlight differences with the Conservative Party on family policy when he said Labour stood for 'a Britain that supports as first-class citizens not just some children and some families but supports all children and all families'.

Last year, Alan Johnson, the Health Secretary, insisted marriage was 'not for everyone' and said the Government should concentrate on children. Ed Miliband, the Cabinet Office minister, also recently refused to say that marriage was the ideal family structure.

Mr Burnham, who is married with three children, stresses that he is not 'judgmental' about single parents, divorced people or cohabiting couples. He lived with his partner before getting married and his first child attended his wedding.

'I don't seek to preach to anybody,' he says. 'But in an abstract way I think it's better when children are in a home where their parents are married and I think children do notice if their parents are married or not.'

The tax system should, he adds, 'recognise' the benefits of marriage for the good for society. 'There's sometimes a metropolitan myth that Labour people are all a bit liberal,' he says. 'I don't think the Tories should have a monopoly on this kind of thinking…. This is totally where Gordon is coming from, your roots and your family are everything.'

Labour's tax policies have been the focus of intense criticism following Alistair Darling's Pre-Budget Report this week.

In particular, reform of capital gains tax has meant that 1.7 million workers who own shares in their employers are facing an 80 per cent increase in tax if they sell them.

On Friday night Channel 4 News reported that Lord Jones, the trade minister, had vigorously opposed the move but was overruled by the Treasury, a claim it denied.

The suggestion that Labour might introduce tax incentives for marriage follows Iain Duncan Smith's social policy review for the Tories earlier this year, which proposed that there should be a transferable tax allowance for married couples in order to make it easier for mothers to stay at home with their children.

They also vowed to remove benefit incentives that encourage couples to live apart.

Mr Burnham admits there is a 'fault line' in the Labour Party between those who think the state should support marriage and those who do not.

'One of Labour's strengths to me is that we're not judgmental about what happened to people in their lives,' he says. 'You help people in whatever circumstances they find themselves, but the system shouldn't be biased against marriage, it should recognise it.'

George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, said on Friday night: 'For two years David Cameron has been making the case for recognising marriage in the tax system and Gordon Brown has been attacking him for it.

'This is further confirmation that we are in command of the agenda in British politics. [Telegraph]


Rosary Crusade of Reparation, London

took place last Saturday, without the controversial Bishop Longley.

From CFNews: More than 1600 people marched through London yesterday, praying the Rosary, singing Ave's and praying in reparation for sin in England. Starting at Westminster Cathedral they walked through Belgravia, past Harrods, finishing with Benediction at the Brompton Oratory. In the sermon we were reminded that the Rosary was the weapon that won, against all the odds, the battle of Lepanto, saving Europe from Islam. We too are in a real battle, to defend families, the unborn and the whole of our society from the attacks of secularism and atheism.

London march

Many NACF members and friends were there. One of the 'bobbies' marshalling the march, surprised by the size and 'good atmosphere' of the march asked, 'is this the first year' and then commented that he had never seen such a big religious demonstration. The crusade has grown in recent years. Its greatest advocate, Fr Hugh Thwaites, a long time friend of the NACF was not there this year (he is now over 90) but was, we were told, fervently praying for the success of the crusade.

See Fr Finigan's post here.


Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Statue of Our Lady in Chelsea?

Action: please pray today for the meeting tomorrow. See the promoters site here.

From an email: Please pray for a meeting on October 10th 2007 of the Westminster City Council which is in the process of deciding whether to give Frances Scarr permission to erect a beautiful statue of Mary Most Holy on the Chelsea Embankment as a focus for prayer, as a national memorial in atonement and reparation to God for the burning of the statues and destruction of the monasteries and the national rebellion against God and his holy Church during the Reformation.

It is hoped that this statue will be erected almost on the exact spot where Thomas Cromwell ordered the statues of Our Lady that had been seized from shrines all over England to be destroyed on bonfires, the ashes of which were then thrown into the Thames. One of those statues was that of Our Lady of Walsingham.


Homosexuals: privileged to break the law


From the Irish Independent, in part, by Kevin Myers: One night last June, four firemen on their engine were driving through a parkland in Bristol called the Broads, a place where homosexual men gather, though not usually to play chess.

From the engine, the firemen shone their torches into the bushes, and revealed four men having group-sex. The firemen then drove away.

One of the four homosexuals then complained to Bristol fire brigade that he had been the subject of homophobic intrusions by the firemen. Following a three-month investigation, during which the four firemen were suspended, last week two of them were fined £1,000 each, (proceeds, naturally, to a gay charity), one was given a written warning, and one was demoted. All have been transferred to different stations, and all must attend -- ah: no doubt you were wondering when the grisly e-word was going to appear in this wretched affair -- an equality course.

For the full story see here.


St Walburge’s, Preston: Traditional congregation ejected

Briefing. This is an appalling act: it suggests the the Parish Priest, and perhaps the diocese, simply does not want the church to survive. See the earlier post on the threat to this fine church here.

From the local paper, the Lancashire Evening Post (hat-tip to Cathcon): A group behind a Latin mass held at an under-threat Catholic church in Preston claim they have been thrown out.

The organisers held the traditional mass at St Walburge's Church, in Pedder Street, Ashton, for three weeks – attracting more than 400 people to the church and boosting flagging attendances which had led to the famous building being named as one of 10 churches across the city threatened with closure.

But the group says that the church has now stopped them holding the weekly services and only offering them once-a-month mass, forcing them to move to St Mary Magdalen's Church in Penwortham. See the full story here.


Thursday, October 04, 2007

More pro-abortioin campaigning by the UN


From C-Fam: A new global initiative was launched by various UN
agencies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in New York last week that
includes a call for legal abortion. Among the sponsors of the initiative called
"Deliver Now for Women and Children" is the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), a UN
agency that persistently denies they support abortion in any way, shape, or

Marketed as a campaign to raise awareness of the Millennium Development
Goals (MDGs) on maternal and child health, the agenda of "Deliver Now" includes
a call for “safe abortion" which is synonymous with legal abortion. The
campaign is coordinated by The Partnership for Maternal, Newborn & Child
Health, chaired by Kul Gautam, the deputy executive director of UNICEF and
assistant secretary-general of the UN, and whose members include among others:
the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, International Planned Parenthood
Federation, government development agencies from the US, UK, Canada, and
Bangladesh, as well as WHO and UNFPA.

The campaign lists a number of severe maladies that effect maternal health
and concludes “most maternal deaths could be prevented if women had access to
and could use professional care.” "Deliver Now" defines “quality care” as
including “services before and during pregnancy, childbirth and the postpartum
period, as well as safe abortion.”

The "Deliver Now" website features the stark tagline, “More than 10,000,000
deaths per year. Too many to ignore.” This enormous number is the conflation
of two numbers; the total number of childhood deaths per year from all causes,
said to be 10 million, and the number of deaths women suffer from maternal
causes, a highly suspect number claimed by some UN agencies to total 500,000
per year.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the child mortality
numbers are calculated from official sources including birth and death data
derived from vital registration, census, and/or household surveys. On the other
hand, the maternal mortality statistics are questionable estimations at best.
According to the WHO, the primary source for maternal mortality statistics,
“data on maternal mortality and other causes of death are often unavailable or,
where available, are unreliable due to deficiencies in vital statistics
registration systems.” Dr. Joseph Chamie, the former head of the UN Population
Division, official statisticians of the UN, states the 500,000 number used for
maternal deaths cannot substantiated and he refused to use it.

Pro-family UN watchers are concerned that the disproportionate focus on
unsafe abortion based upon questionable maternal mortality figures detracts
from addressing the major health risks to pregnant women in the developing
world. Experts say these are severe bleeding, eclampsia and obstructed labor.
By UNFPA’s own admission in a 2004 report, the most important means of reducing
maternal mortality is not access to contraceptives and legal abortion but the
presence of skilled birth attendants and access to emergency obstetric care.

Abortion proponents often link unsafe abortion and maternal mortality to
push for legal, so-called “safe” abortion. Critics of this argument are quick
to point out that in Poland, when abortion was severely restricted in 1993, the
country showed a sharp decline in the abortion rate and a decline in maternal
deaths. In Ireland, where abortion remains illegal, the country reports one of
the lowest maternal mortality rates in the world. By contrast, while the United
States has had abortion on demand since 1973, this year the US reported a rise
in maternal deaths.

The next scheduled event in the "Deliver Now" campaign is the Women Deliver
Conference in London from October 18-20 which also focuses heavily on abortion


Bishop Burke: no communion to anti-life politicians


From CFNews: In an essay certain to have an impact on American politics, Archbishop Raymond Burke of the Archdiocese of St. Louis has criticized lax attitudes concerning the reception of the Holy Eucharist. His words continue a long-standing debate about whether Catholic politicians who support abortion rights should receive communion. Archbishop Burke's essay, titled 'The Discipline Regarding the Denial of Holy Communion to Those Obstinately Persevering in Manifest Grave Sin,' appeared in Periodica De Re Canonica, a publication of the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. In it, the archbishop counseled that pastors should actively intervene to ensure that communicants receive Holy Communion worthily, basing his reasons on a detailed interpretation and analysis of canon law. Canon law is composed of the rules and regulations governing the Catholic Church. It outlines the rights and duties of the faithful of all orders of church life: laity, vowed religious, clergy, and bishops. Canon law is also the inspiration for much of the democratic legal system that exists today. The archbishop writes in response to a statement of the United States' Conference of Catholic Bishops, 'Catholics in Political Life', which was adopted in June of 2004.

The statement was written to answer questions about the proper disposition of Catholics in political office who supported immoral public policies, especially the legalization of unlimited abortion. The bishops' conference document, while stressing the importance of worthy reception of Holy Communion, refrained from creating general guidelines. It said: 'such decisions rest with the individual bishop in accord with the established canonical and pastoral principles. Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.' To this, Archbishop Burke responded: 'the question regarding the objective state of Catholic politicians who knowingly and willingly hold opinions contrary to the natural moral law would hardly seem to change from place to place.'

Archbishop Burke argued that the American discussion had overemphasized Canon 916, which concerns the duty of Catholics to practice honest self-examination so that they should receive Holy Communion in a state free from mortal sin. This overemphasis worked to the detriment of the observation of Canon 915, which concerns the duty of the minister of the Sacrament to ensure that those who recieve Holy Communion are properly disposed. Proper disposition for Holy Communion requires the communicant to be in a state of grace, that is, free from unrepented mortal sin. The archbishop also clarified that the denial of Holy Communion was not necessarily an act of excommunication, but the exercise of a moral duty on the part of the minister 'to respect the holiness of the Sacrament, to safeguard the salvation of the soul of the party presenting himself to receive Holy Communion, and to avoid scandal.' Such action, he said, must take place with deliberation and prudence. Grave and public sinners 'must be cautioned not to approach to receive Holy Communion.'

The archbishop advises pastoral conversation with such persons 'so that the person knows that he is not to approach to receive Holy Communion and, therefore, the distribution of Holy Communion does not become an occasion of conflict.' Though such action does not concern only notorious sinners who are politicians, Archbishop Burke underlined public officials' unique duties: 'Catholics in public office bear an especially heavy burden of responsibility to uphold the moral law in the exercise of their office which is exercised for the common good, especially the good of the innocent and defenceless.'

Archbishop Burke closed his essay by admonishing priests and bishops to fulfill their difficult duty: 'No matter how often a bishop or priest repeats the teaching of the Church regarding procured abortion, if he stands by and does nothing to discipline a Catholic who publicly supports legislation permitting the gravest of injustices and, at the same time, presents himself to receive Holy Communion, then his teaching rings hollow. To remain silent is to permit serious confusion regarding a fundamental truth of the moral law.'


Monday, October 01, 2007

'Gay' Masses

Action, please: please support the protests. The Masses take place in Warwick Street, Soho, on the First and Third Sundays of each month at 5pm. The protest begins at 4.45pm; see a map here.

This week's Catholic Herald carries a long 'feature' article on the 'Gay friendly' Masses arranged in the diocese of Westminster. As this blog has frequently pointed out, these Masses are being used as a platform to attack Church teaching. The organisers explicitly support groups and organisations which promote an immoral lifestyle, and were themselves an official group in the 'LondonPride' march. The article includes comments by both the protesters and the organisers, and while the protest, organised by Pro Ecclesiae et Pontifice, is peaceful and prayerful, and deliberately based on the opposite side of the road, it is still impossible to ignore. For PEEP's latest Newsletter, which has more commentary on the protests, see here.

The article quotes Martin Pendergast, notorious opponent of Church teaching and organiser of the Masses, as attacking the coverage of the Masses by Pro Ecclesiae et Pontifice, Christian Order and 'Catholic Action'. Assuming he means this blog, this is our first mention in the national press, so thank you very much! However, our criticisms can't be described as 'vitriolic, highly personalised attacks', so perhaps he didn't...

The urgency of the protests is redoubled by a point made in the Catholic Herald: bishops all over the country, and even the world, are looking at these Masses as a model for the pastoral care of homosexuals. This flawed model - putting the pastoral care of homosexuals into the hands of people who reject all the Church teaching relevant to such care - must not be allowed to spread. Bishops looking at the Warwick Street Masses must be made to realise that bringing it into their dioceses will cause bigger problems than it will solve.


£1.2 million: salaries of support staff for the Bishops' Conference

More about where our money goes in the English and Welsh Bishops central burearocracy. Remember, though, that every bishop also has his own team of people wasting even more money.

Hat-tip to Damian Thompson: see his post here.


Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen