Monday, December 14, 2009
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Sunday, October 18, 2009
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Austin Ivereigh has emailed a correction which we are happy to carry: he condemns Michael Moore's pro-abortion views. We are glad to hear it. It is after all entirely characteristic of The Guardian to tamper with people's words with a view to creating divisions in the Catholic world.
From Austin Ivereigh
This is the email I sent to John Smeaton of SPUC and asked him to publish it under his post. He has ignored me. Let’s see if you have the guts and integrity to publish it.
In my piece for the Guardian which John Smeaton refers to, I never call Moore a “committed Catholic”. Those words were added by the editor in the standfirst. What I say in the piece is that Moore goes to Mass each Sunday. When I questioned whether this was true in a post for America magazine (read it here ) I received an emphatic message from his office which led me to apologise for questioning the fact (my apology is here ). As for failing to mention that Leo XIII in the same year as Rerum Novarum spoke out against abortion, mea culpa– but I don’t see anything worth apologising for. I have a strong record of speaking out against abortion, and I deplore Moore’s failure to do so.
Journalist and Commentator
5 Cumberland St, London SW1V 4LS
Thursday, October 15, 2009
From Lifesitenews: The head of the United Nations' food agency has said that population
control is not necessary to combat food shortages. Dr. Jacques Diouf told a
synod of African bishops meeting in Rome this week that "On the earth,
there is a sufficient number of financial means, effective technologies,
natural and human resources to eliminate hunger in the world once and for
all." [LifeSiteNews.com, 13 October] Dr Diouf's position
is in marked contrast to the calls for population control frequently made
elsewhere in the UN system.
Friday, October 09, 2009
Monday, August 31, 2009
The Kennedy clan is the most prominent Catholic family in the highly dynastic world of US politics, and it is firmly pro-abortion. How did this come about? The promise of money and allies from the abortion lobby was underpinned by a group of dissident Catholic theologians who actually had a formal meeting in 1964 to coach family members in the sophistical distinctions they could make to rationalise their position. What they advocated appears to have been basically the familiar claim that a politician can be 'personally opposed' to abortion but as a matter of policy various considerations, from the need to maintain public order to the 'distress' of a woman who might be refused abortion, can justify voting to make abortion easier in every possible way - as if the state's duty to defend the lives of the innocent could be set aside so easily.
Mr. Jonsen writes that the Hyannisport colloquium was influenced by the position of another Jesuit, the Rev. John Courtney Murray, a position that [AGAIN… pay attention…] "distinguished between the moral aspects of an issue and the feasibility of enacting legislation about that issue." It was the consensus at the Hyannisport conclave that Catholic politicians "might tolerate legislation that would permit abortion under certain circumstances if political efforts to repress this moral error led to greater perils to social peace and order."
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Business as usual in The Tablet last week - claiming that abortion is just 'Catholic' issue and that therefore Catholics should not let it get in the way when they decide what political policies to support (er, right!). This is a central tenat of the implicitly or explicitly pro-abortion dissident network of 'Catholic' organisations which feed off the Church and neutralise her public teaching. On this occasion The Tablet was addressing not a UK issue but an American one, so Archbishop Chaput pf Denver has posted a reply. (H-t Damian Thompson) In part:
Last week a British Catholic journal, in an editorial titled “US bishops must back Obama,” claimed that America’s bishops “have so far concentrated on a specifically Catholic issue - making sure state-funded health care does not include abortion - rather than the more general principle of the common good.”
It went on to say that if US Catholic leaders would get over their parochial preoccupations, “they could play a central role in salvaging Mr Obama’s health-care programme.”
The editorial has value for several reasons. First, it proves once again that people don’t need to actually live in the United States to have unhelpful and badly informed opinions about our domestic issues. Second, some of the same pious voices that once criticized US Catholics for supporting a previous president now sound very much like acolytes of a new president. Third, abortion is not, and has never been, a “specifically Catholic issue,” and the editors know it. And fourth, the growing misuse of Catholic “common ground” and “common good” language in the current health-care debate can only stem from one of two sources: ignorance or cynicism.
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Those who strive to be Politically Correct have been tearing each other apart over the demands of Muslims to adhere to their own customs. Special sex-segregated sessions at public swimming pools with vastly stricter dress codes have been established by many left-wing local authorities, and have attracted criticism from other lefties. A Labour minister walked out of a Muslim wedding when he discovered men and women had separate rooms, and has been practically accused of racism by a Labour peer. Sharia courts have been recognised as legitimate forums for arbitration by the Government, to the dismay of those who think they are sexist.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
It seems that following the demise of the Pro-Life Party as a political party, a new party was formed which would be specifically Catholic. The Pro-Life Party never won any seats but it got some good publicity for life issues at election times, and won a battle with the BBC over an election broadcast. To have the BBC accused of exercising 'censorship' in a court ruling was an important acheivment.
Monday, August 17, 2009
The final two modules are aimed at young people over the age of 16 and deals with methods of contraception.
There is no discussion of the morality of the methods with the focus on function and effectiveness. The manual hails condoms as 98 per cent effective in avoiding pregnancy, and the Pill, the coil and hormonal injections as 99 per cent effective, but says that NFP methods are far less reliable.
"If you have a regular menstrual cycle, it [NFP] is 80 to 98 per cent effective, but can be lower if your cycle is irregular," the manual says. "NFP is not often suggested for teenagers who might not be considering committed relationships as yet." The manual was criticised by NFP teachers who insisted that their methods were nearly 100 per cent effective.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
Warning: contains nudity.
See Catholic and Loving It for more commentary. If you don't want your 9-year old to see material like this, don't send him or her to a Catholic school where Archbishop Nichols' ideas on sex education have influence.
Thursday, July 30, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Saturday, July 18, 2009
Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate.
Friday, July 17, 2009
'A fundamental commitment to the teaching and practice of the Catholic Church, particularly as expressed by the documents of the Second Vatican Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.'
This is explained in more detail: 'The word 'fundamental' relates to the key objectives of the organisation as formally written and as corporately pursued. It is tolerant of some variety of emphasis in expression and in operation, but not of deviation from ultimate loyalty to the Church, nationally or internationally.'
Head of Marriage Care exhorts Church to re-think the family.
Gay couples can lay equal claim to their married heterosexual counterparts when
bringing up children in stable relationships. That is one of the many
challenges laid down by Terry Prendergast, Chief Executive of Marriage Care, in
a speech to members of QUEST, the community of lesbian and gay Catholics at
their annual conference this weekend. His remarks come as a timely contribution
after many Catholic adoption agencies have, in recent months, had to agonise
about whether to fall into line with new legal arrangements which oblige such
bodies to make adoption available equally to same-sex as well as heterosexual
Mr Prendergast will address the gathering in Leicester with his wife, Kate, a
lecturer in social policy at Brunel University. The conference theme is:" We
Are Family: New Thinking for the Twenty First Century."
"Statistically, children do best in a family where the adult relationship is
steady, stable and loving, " he says. "Note that I stress adult, not married,
since there is no evidence that suggests that children do best with
heterosexual couples, " he adds.
A dominant theme of his address centres on how the Church has often built up a
romantic image of a golden age of the nuclear family which, in truth, has not
really found expression in reality, often with unwelcome consequences for those
that "do not fit." These include single parent families, and also co-habiting
and same -sex families. He says that often "those individuals.want to live good
lives according to the precepts of the Gospels. They are an advert for the
Church, an advert that the Church often ignores, or consigns to the waste bin."
He says that in all relationships, the institutional aspects are less important
than the sacramental qualities, "the presence of God mediated through
commitment, consent and covenant. The move from the institutional to
companionship, choosing for love, has been marked, possibly more deeply, in
co-habiting and same-sex couples."
Inspired by Professor Margaret Farley's book, Just Love: A Framework for
Christian Ethics, Mr Prendergast lays out seven norms or criteria for
evaluating the richness of relationships and family:
Do no unjust harm,
Terry Prendergast is Chief Executive of Marriage Care, formerly CMAC, and has
been in that role since 2000. He was born in West Yorkshire and joined the
Montfort Fathers in 1967. He left the Montfortians in 1970, marrying Kate. He
trained as a social worker in 1975 and as a Psychotherapist in 1980, but has
been involved in management in the charitable sector since 1989. He has an MA
in Managing Change in Community, from Bradford University. He is concerned
about long-term relationships, their management and support, as well as the
development of their spiritual and sacramental aspects
For further comment, Terry Prendergast can be contacted on the following mobile
number: 07771 768631.
Kate Prendergast's address is entitled: "Chance, Choice and Caritas," and will
also feature as part of the conference proceedings . It is hoped a full
transcript of the paper will be available soon after the conference on the
Quest website at www.questgaycatholic.org.
Sit Stephen Wall, a former adviser to both Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and
Tony Blair, will be the after dinner speaker on the evening of Saturday July
18th. Sir Stephen has been a member of Quest since January 2008.
The 2009 Quest Conference will be the 27th in the organisation's history and
will take place between 6pm on Friday July 17th and 4pm Sunday 19th July at
John Foster Hall at the University of Leicester.
Thursday, July 16, 2009
Fr Tim Finnigan has posted on the latest Government initiate: to promote masturbation by children. Yes, things have really got that bad. 'An orgasm a day keeps the doctor away', says the leaflet. This has now been roundly condemned by Peter Bradley, Deputy Director of Kidscape, a charity concerned with bullying, including the sexual bullying which, unsurprisingly, is on the rise in schools. His message:
Sexual bullying has become much more prevalent. On the Kidscape helpline we used to get maybe one or two calls a year. Now we are getting two or three a week. It’s probably the tip of the iceberg.I wonder what Kidscape think of the latest initiative from NHS Sheffield which has prepared a leaflet for young people telling them that it is good to have an orgasm a day, and encouraging them to masturbate. (See the promotional article in "Children and Young People Now".) The booklet is, of course, strongly endorsed by the Family Planning Association and the Brook, whose spokesman extols the value of sex education before adolescence. (See also the report from the Christian Institute: Pupils told: regular sex is good for you.)
How long will it be before feminists, child safeguarding agencies and ordinary parents begin to cotton on to the clear and present danger that this kind of explicit sex education presents to their children?
Friday, June 19, 2009
Comment: Luke Coppen makes a good case for Benedict XVI being what commentators said before his election, a man who cracks down on abuses. The Holy Father is doing it in different places and on different subject with seriousness, but no fanfare - sometimes even with a degree of necessary secrecy. As Coppen points out, this means that his reforming zeal has gone largely unnoticed; it also fails to fit the stereotype of a liberal reformer which many commentators assume is the only kind.
Investigating America's seminaries: Not long after his election Benedict XVI oversaw an apostolic visitation of seminaries in the United States. The investigation was inspired by the clerical sexual abuse crisis of 2002 and covered all schools of theology as well as college-level seminaries, houses of formation, and academic institutions that form future priests.
Scrutinising American female religious orders: The Pope has also ordered a wide-ranging investigation of American women religious. The apostolic visitation of institutes of women religious in the United States, which is currently underway, covers approximately 400 apostolic religious institutes of women and approximately 59,000 women religious. It is likely to lead to a shake-up of American female religious life.
Deposing the leader of an African Church: Earlier this month Pope Benedict accepted the resignation of Archbishop Paulin Pomodimo of Bangui, the most senior Catholic cleric in the Central African Republic (CAR). The resignation followed a visit to the CAR by a papal emissary, Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, in March. It is widely thought that the Pope requested the archbishop's resignation because he tolerated priests keeping mistresses.
Calling for a thorough accounting of abuse in Ireland: Also this month Pope Benedict called for a profound examination of the state of the Irish Church following a damning report into "endemic" abuse in schools run by religious orders.
Crisis talks with the Austrian bishops: And this week Pope Benedict held an emergency meeting with the leaders of the Austrian Church. The gathering followed the appointment and subsequent resignation of Gerhard Wagner as auxiliary Bishop of Linz and reports that priests in senior positions in the diocese live with mistresses. The Pope reminded the bishops of "the urgency of going deeper in the faith and the integral fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Church" - a coded message that the Austrian Church is in serious need of reform.
These events together show the determination with which Pope Benedict is confronting the gravest scandals in the Church today. They have all had considerable publicity, but nevertheless have not created the perception that Benedict XVI is a bold reformist pope.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
This has rendered Damian Thompson speechless and it has had the same effect on us. But focaccia was used as the host at a Mass in Linz, Austria, and under the appearance of focaccia the Blessed Sacrament was paraded around in this 'monstrance'. That's assuming focaccia is valid matter, which it probably is; it is certainly illicit.
Hat-tip to Cathcon.
Monday, June 15, 2009
Read James Preece's brilliant analysis of the clerical abuse scandals and Catholic culture. Here's the money quote:
This is like saying "stealing is okay, as long as you don't steal anything somebody will notice" or "lying is okay, as long as nobody finds out". Essentially, the Bishops are saying "it's okay with us if priests abuse their power, as long as they don't do anything illegal".
What concerns me most of all is this: As long as the culture remains in place, the potential for harm continues. As long as the culture remains in place, the potential for "[hiding] behind a clericalism which is prepared to protect vicious behaviour at the expense of defenceless innocents" remains in place.
This is simply unacceptable.
This is partly why this blog has never been shy about reporting clerical abuse stories - something which the aggressive liberals in the comments boxes have never been able to understand, and which has got us in trouble with conservative Catholics as well.
Clericalism and ultramontanism is not the answer to the problems of today. Yes, we have problems of disobedience of legitimate authority justly exercised, and in those cases the authority should be supported. But this is not the opposite problem as the sex abuse being covered up by bishops: it is another example of the same problem.
How so? The sex abusers were disobedient. Their bishops didn't approve of the abuse; they asked them to stop. The abusers were breaking canon law as well as the natural law. The abuse persisted because of a failure of legitimate authority. But it also persisted because of the false deference towards that failing authority.
Because no-one wanted to confront and denounce the bishops and religious superiors who were failing to exercise their authority, out of deference to that authority, they were enabled to go on not exercising their authority.
The clerical club which protected the abusers, without necessarily approving of them, is also tolerating priests who commit liturgical abuses, refuse to give the faithful communion kneeling, refuse to teach the whole gospel, and turn their parishes into centres for left-wing activism.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
The actual proposals here don't threaten serious damage to homeschooling, but the threat is always there.
From CFNews: A review of home education in England is expected to recommend a national registration scheme for home educators. It is also expected to say local authorities should have the right to visit any child taught at home.
The government commissioned a review to find out whether local councils were monitoring home educated children, or offering parents enough support.
But the government has also been concerned that home education could be a cover for abuse. The review, conducted by former director of education for Kent, Graham Badman, will say that parents who home educate should have to register annually on a scheme administered by local councils. But a parent's right to home educate will not be challenged, ministers have said.
Local authorities currently have no statutory duty to monitor children educated at home. But they must ensure that all children are receiving a suitable education, either in school or otherwise.
Children's Secretary Ed Balls said: 'We will ask local authorities to provide easier access to extra support for those home-educated children who need it - particularly the relatively high proportion of home-educated children who have special educational needs and others who need or want to access services that would otherwise be provided through their school.' He said asking home educators to register would bring England into line with other European countries.
Scotland differs slightly from the rest of the UK in that local authorities are encouraged to inspect home educating families at least once a year.
But home educators say authorities should stop treating them with suspicion and concentrate on giving them support.
Ann Newstead, spokeswoman for home education group Education Otherwise, said: 'If one thing could come out of this review which would mean it was not a complete waste of public money, it would be that the decision to home educate is treated with respect and as a positive choice.'
The review is not expected to propose any minimum standards or set subjects. It is understood the review has not found any evidence that home education was being used specifically to conceal trafficked children, or forced marriages.
Children's charities have urged the government to tighten up rules regarding home education. NSPCC head of policy and public affairs, Diana Sutton, said current legislation was 'outdated' and a system was needed to deal with cases where local authorities had concerns.
Estimates of how many children are home educated vary from between 20,000 and 80,000 children. [BBC]
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
This really beggars belief, so let's hear it direct from the website of the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle. If you didn't have sufficient reason to stop supporting CAFOD before, you do now: they have arranged for a Catholic pilgrimage to be led, in part, by a pagan leader with a view to him imparting his spiritual wisdom to pilgrims. For the other reasons, see our dossier on CAFOD.
From the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle: A Brazilian of the Yanomami tribe will be the special guest at CAFOD's annual pilgrimage to Holy Island this year.
Davi Kopenawa Yanomami is a member of the Yanomami índios in Brazil, and a spokesman on tribal issues and Amazon Rainforest conservation. CAFOD supports Hutukara, an indigenous grassroots organisation of which Davi is president. He will be joining pilgrims for the day on June 13 to walk across the Pilgrims' Way from the main land to the island. Davi will also lead the reflection at key points along the way with reflections from his own tradition, focussing on how we live in harmony with God's creation.
CAFOD Hexham & Newcastle Diocesan Manager Anne-Marie Hanlon said: "This is a real honour for us, and we are thrilled to have Davi coming to Holy Island this year. He is an inspirational speaker and comes from a tradition where people are still fundamentally linked to their environment. It will be very interesting to hear what he has to say about climate change, and also to hear how his customs value the stories of his ancestors just as he will hear how we revere our Northern saints.”
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
From CFNews gives a long commentary on the affair from Mgr Schoonans., here. He discusses the multiple inaccuracies of the article by Archbishop Rino Fisichella in the Osservatore Romano of the 15th of March, which it shares with other attacks on the local ordinary who reminded the abortionists that, under canon law, they were excommunicated latae sententiae (ie without him having to do anything). Mgr Schoonans also reports that Mgr Lombardi, the Vatican press officer, appeared to try to re-interpret remarks of the Holy Father to make them compatible with support for the Recife abortion (which he falsely suggested was an example of 'indirect' abortion: medical treatment such as chemotherapy not aiming at the death of the unborn child, which brings it about).
The most worrying thing here is the impression of divisionsn and open dissent at the highest reaches of the Vatican.
Here is an extract.
3. Divisions in the Church
1. According to RF, the attitude of Archbishop Cardoso undermines the credibility of the Church. But the Church and its pastors do not deserve to be credible unless they proclaim the truth. The Gospel does not recommend that we please men, it calls us to be faithful to the message which it is our mission to announce. As regards abortion, the Church's doctrine is expounded with clarity in major documents such as Gaudium et spes (1965), para. 51 § 3 ; cf. para. 27 § 3 ; Code of Canon Law (1983), para. 1398 ; 1314; 1323 s. ; Donum vitae (1987), para. 3 ; Evangelium vitae (1995), para. 62 ; Catechism of the Catholic Church (1997), para. 2271, 2322.
RF's article was published in the French edition of the Osservatore Romano on 17 March. It is astonishing that it fails to echo the statements of His Eminence, Cardinal Re, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Bishops, published in La Stampa on 7 March. Could RF have been unaware of this statement when he signed his article? In this statement, Cardinal Re declares, with regard to the double abortion performed at Recife: " it is a crime in the eyes of God. The excommunication of the person performing the abortion is just". On 14 March, Dom Cardoso, Archbishop of Olinda and Recife, received a letter of praise from that same Cardinal. The Church's position is also reaffirmed by Father Gianfranco Grieco, Head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, in La Stampa of 7 March.
2. The Osservatore Romano is the unofficial mouthpiece of the Vatican. It publishes pontifical texts. It also publishes articles at the request of certain dicasteries. It also publishes texts proposed by authors considered to be knowledgeable about and respecting of the Church's doctrine. This prestigious publication is particularly necessary at a time when the media pronounce with assurance on any issue. As Molière wrote, " People of quality know everything without ever having learned anything. " (Les précieuses ridicules, scene 10). With some notable exceptions, adherence to an elementary code of ethics, for example, checking the sources on which relies, does not appear to be a priority. In the case under examination, those in charge of the Osservatore Romano let through a text containing serious inaccuracies and omissions and biased in every sense of the word. To cap it all, instead of putting a stop to the circulation of this article in foreign languages, the publication's Director arranged for the text to be circulated in different languages. The Vatican's mouthpiece is therefore seriously adding to a muddying of the waters in as far as it is failing to comply with its mandate as a faithful mouthpiece, palming off on its readers products which are doctrinally dubious.
3. On 20 March, a few days after the appearance of RF's article, while meeting the authorities in Luanda, Benedict XVI made reference to the abortion. The Pope regrets that the abortion is being presented as a matter of maternal health. Let us quote the strong words pronounced by the Pope:
"How bitter the irony of those who promote abortion as a form of maternal healthcare! How disconcerting the claim that the termination of life is a matter of reproductive health!" (Osservatore Romano, French edition, 31 March 2009, pages 4 and 15).
Whence immediate protests from certain journalists, whose reasoning can be summarised as follows: " Abortion is a matter of reproductive health. Yet the Pope is against abortion. Therefore he is opposed to reproductive health, which must include therapeutic abortion." According to this sophistic argument, the premature twins constitute a serious danger to the young Carmen and are themselves in danger, and so it is necessary to go ahead with the abortion.
The next day, in Luanda, Father Federico Lombardi S.J., Head of the Vatican's Press Office, felt obliged, even authorised, to blunt the authority of the Pope's statement, quoted above. The statement did not relate to therapeutic abortion, as understood by the ideologists of reproductive health and safe motherhood. In a context in which he is commenting on the Pope's words, Fr Lombardi goes so far as to affirm, incautiously, that the Catholic Church has " always allowed indirect abortion ", when treatment given to a pregnant woman in order to save her life "results in the death of the foetus " (Cathobel, 23 March). The double abortion performed on Carmen would be therapeutic and would thus, in the twisted logic of the Reverend Father, escape the sanction of Canon Law. It would not be condemned by the Pope who moreover - it is added- said nothing, in Africa, on the events in Recife. It is therefore difficult for Father Lombardi to have avoided compromising the Holy Father by creating the impression that the Pope did not condemn the double abortion in Recife, on the grounds that this double abortion was therapeutic! It follows that the Pope would have implicitly disagreed with Archbishop Cardoso!
Admittedly, Father Lombardi asserted, in Luanda, that he did not have all the necessary information regarding the Recife case. However, his statement poses a fundamental problem. Is it normal for a journalist, even a highflyer, to set himself up as an authorised interpreter of what the Pope has just said, especially if his interpretation has the effect of blunting the edge of the Holy Father's statements? It would doubtless be necessary to clarify the levels of expertise and authority. Should the Pope's words be so obscure as to need deciphering by an unofficial media magisteriium?
4. Serious grounds for concern have emerged in circles close to the Pontifical Academy for Life and the Pontifical Council for the Family:
a. Incomprehension and sadness on the part of a considerable number of Christians, engaged for several years in multiple pro-life programmes encouraged by the Church. A feeling, often well-founded, of having been " abandoned " by their pastor.
b. Perplexity and shame on the part of many members of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who are wondering how such a faux pas could have occurred, and what action will be taken.
c. Discredit affecting the President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, who has undermined his own moral, theological and scientific authority. Loss of confidence in the President and disillusionment. Many members of the Pontifical Academy for Life fear that RF's statements will compromise them at rank and file level. There will be a down-sizing in aid of all kinds earmarked for the activities of the Pontifical Academy for Life.
d. Fears of a weakening of the Pontifical Academy for Life: its members will be less motivated and will become divided among themselves. There is already talk of only convening members of the Academy every two years. But where is this decision coming from, if confirmed? Is it, as rumoured in certain circles, the prelude to the burial of the Pontifical Academy for Life, at a time when the attacks on life are incessantly multiplying ?
5. In his Letter to the Archbishops of the World, dated 10 March 2009, the Holy Father, quoting the letter to the Galatians (5, 13-15), wrote: "If you bite and devour one another, be warned: you will destroy one another " Referring to the question of Archbishops following the lead of Archbishop Lefebvre, this quotation also deserves to be repeated in relation to the scandal of Notre Dame University and the harrowing story of Carmen and her twins.
Monday, June 08, 2009
A note on a form of liturgical abuse from Fr Z.
"Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment. " (Spirit of the Liturgy p. 198)
This message has been brought to you by Sober Inebriation Weblog.
If you should encounter applause during Mass in your parish do not panic. Immediately after Mass go out and get a copy of Pope Benedict’s book "The Spirit of the Liturgy" by Ignatius Press and give it to your pastor as a gift. Be sure to highlight the above passage on page 198. Yellow highlighter works really, really well.
Friday, June 05, 2009
From CFNews: Although the explicit visual material in the 'All That I Am' sex-education programme triggers off alarms on pornography-filtering computer programmes, Archbishop McDonald is permitting the resource for primary and secondary schools to be used in mixed classes the Diocese of Southwark. 'All That I Am' is sponsored, and partly financed, by the government's Teenage Pregnancy Unit. Parents are objecting to the scheme which they call 'institutionalised sex abuse'. The Catholic Church teaches that parents' rights on sex education are 'inalienable'.
See also Catholic Mom of 10
Comment: this is a relief. Tony Blair is at least suffering some fallout from his outrageous outburst attacking the Pope over condoms. The story was reported in the Tablet last weekend.
From CFNews: According to an item in the Guardian, a spokesman for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor says that the former Archbishop of Westminster "does not envisage joining the board the Tony Blair Faith Foundation at this stage". Yet on Friday afternoon the Faith Foundation website was still announcing: "HE Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster, will join the Advisory Council once he has retired as Archbishop."
This item was shortly followed by a statement issued by a TBF spokesman. "We can totally understand Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor wanting to review his commitments now he has retired as Archbishop of Westminster. The Foundation has always valued the private advice he has offered and welcome him continuing to do so in his retirement.
"While they support the broad aims of the Foundation, we do not expect the Advisory Council members to agree with Tony Blair on every aspect of policy past or present. Their role is to provide advice and guidance, alongside many other senior religious'.
From CFNews: Catholic adoption societies which refuse to offer children to homosexual couples face closure following a tribunal ruling.
Judges ruled in a test case that the charities, which find homes for hundreds of children each year, will be breaking the law if they refuse to accept same-sex couples as adoptive parents.
The ruling means some Catholic agencies face a choice between abandoning their adoption services or their religious principles.
The ruling means some Catholic agencies face a choice between abandoning their adoption services or their religious principles.
One diocese has already said it is likely to close its adoption charities.
Some of the long-standing charities have not opposed adoption by same-sex couples since Labour's 2007 Sexual Orientation Regulations stated that no organisation or company may discriminate against gays.
But yesterday's appeal ruling by the Charity Tribunal confirmed that those which have stuck to Catholic teaching must now do the same or give up trying to get children adopted.
In its appeal, the Catholic Care charity, run by the diocese of Leeds, said that the right to discriminate against homosexual couples was 'a principle of a Catholic organisation'.
But following the ruling a spokesman for the diocese said: 'As the charities cannot provide unrestricted services without being in breach of their obligations to act in accordance with the tenets of the Roman Catholic Church, it seems likely that the charities will need to close their adoption services and a flagship service of the charities will be lost.
'We are concerned about the possible impact this will have on potential adoptive parents and children.'
Tribunal president Alison McKenna ruled that the Catholic Care charity was 'a well-respected voluntary adoption agency which has made a significant contribution to the provision of adoption services in this country and facilitated many successful adoption placements'.
But she and two colleagues said the charity's activities would be unlawful if it went on refusing to accept gay adoptive parents.
Other Catholic adoption agencies declined to comment. [MailOnline]
The news that the Catholic Adoption Agencies had lost their case before the Charity Tribunal 'is sad but was certainly not unexpected, at least as far as I was concerned, writes barrister Neil Addison in his 'Religion Law Blog'.
'What the agencies were trying to do was to change their objects so as to add the following
"The Charity shall only provide adoption services to heterosexuals and such services to heterosexuals shall only be provided in accordance with the tenets of the Church. For the avoidance of doubt the Roman Catholic Bishop of Leeds from time to time shall be the arbiter of whether such services and the manner of their provision fall within the tenets of the Church"
They argued that this would enable them to operate because of the exemption for Charities under Reg 18 of the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007which say
"18.-(1) Nothing in these Regulations shall make it unlawful for a person to provide benefits only to persons of a particular sexual orientation, if-(a) he acts in pursuance of a charitable instrument, and (b) the restriction of benefits to persons of that sexual orientation is imposed by reason of or on the grounds of the provisions of the charitable instrument"
From a legal point of view the Tribunals decision seems to me to be very questionable, the Tribunal said (para 21)
"regulation 18 could not be relied upon by the Appellant to permit activity which was no longer permitted, or which was made unlawful, by another regulation. As the Preliminary Ruling made clear, this was because the Tribunal understood regulation 18 to permit discrimination by charities only when their activities did not stray into the areas covered by the other regulations"
Frankly that is a legally fatuous remark and completely circular reasoning since if reg 18 only applies to activities which are not covered by the SOR's anyway then why would any Charity need to rely on reg 18 at all ? Before the comments section of this Blog gets overload I should add at this point that reg 18 is not some sinister " legal loophole" in the SOR's designed by cunning homophobes, it is the standard type of exemption given to Charities in every other area of Discrimination legislation so as to permit Charities(and we are only talking about Charities) to offer specific services to Women/Specific Races/Specific Nationalities/People with specific disabilities etc. If the Charity Tribunal decision stands unchallenged then every other Charity is now subject to every other type of Anti-Discrimination legislation and, incidentally, the commission decision makes it more difficult for there to be specific Charities providing services for Gay and Lesbian people.
However the irony is that even had the Catholic Charities won their case before the Tribunal it would have been a pyrrhic victory. As the Tribunal pointed out local authorities would refuse to deal with an Adoption Agency which was clearly and directly discriminatory in its objects and the Agency in that situation would have had no way to challenge such a refusal by a local authority.
Leaving aside the fact that the potential views of local authorities should have been irrelevant to the decision the Tribunal was supposed to be making which was whether the proposed change in objects was legal or not; the Tribunal was undoubtedly correct in their analysis. That is why I, as Director of the Thomas More Legal Centre have been advising Adoption Agencies for a year that they should amend their objects to read as follows
"The Charity shall not have power to engage in any activity which it knows, or reasonably believes, is contrary to the teaching of the Catholic Church; the formal opinion of the Bishop of [ ] shall be final in any question as to what is the teaching of the Catholic Church"
Such a provision in the objects of the Charity would, of course, have prevented them choosing either same sex, or unmarried heterosexual couples, as adoptive parents and they would have had to concentrate on married couples who according to the teachings of the Church (and millenia of human experience) are the appropriate unit to raise and nurture children. Had a local authority then refused to deal with one of the Catholic Agencies then the local authority would itself have been acting illegally by engaging in Religious Discrimination. Why none of the Catholic Agencies even tried this route I do not know. It certainly could not have been any more unsuccessful than the route they did choose. [http://religionlaw.blogspot.com/2009/06/catholic-adoption-agencies-lose-case.html ]
Tuesday, June 02, 2009
Catholic Charismatic Renewal, which originated in a charismatic event in the USA in 1967, has branches all over the world, including England, Wales and Scotland. Recently the English branch announced that, due to financial difficulties, they would be closing their office at the All Saints Pastoral Centre at London Colney (a facility owned by the Archdiocese of Westminster), and probably ceasing to publish their magazine 'GoodNews' and teaching resources. The Tablet reported (16th May 09)
For a lengthy treatment of Catholic charismatic liturgies at a conference in the USA, see John Vennari here.
But it gets worse. Fr Pat Collins writes in an earlier edition of GoodNews of a particular prophecy made by a one charismatic leader as though it were a fifth gospel. He explains his approach in deciding which of the spontaneous and mutually contradictory babblings to believe:
Over the years I have heard many prophecies. It is notoriously hard to know whether they come from God or not. However, there are some which have considerable authority because of the circumstances in which they were spoken, the acknowledged giftedness of the people who spoke them, and the way in which they evoked an answering amen of approval in the Christian community. On Pentecost Monday 1975 such a prophecy was given by Ralph Martin in St Peter’s Basilica, Rome, in the presence of Pope Paul VI.
The Church has a very long experience in dealing with alleged prophecies. Are these the criteria used by the Church? No. Has this been assessed and approved by the proper authorities? No. But never mind - Fr Collins believes it because he thinks Ralph Martin has the Spirit, and they supply a theme for the entire issue of Goodnews.
Pope Paul VI on Sept. 3rd 1969 at Castelgandolfo referred to phenomena which "not only offend canon law but also the very heart of Catholic worship, since we find them, dispensing with the institutional structures of the authentic, real and human Church, in the false hope of setting up a free and purely Charismatic Christianity, but which is -really amorphous, evanescent and blown about by any passing wind of passion or fashion. " On Sept. 24th 1969: "Many who talk about the Church today say they are inspired by a prophetic spirit. They make risky and sometimes inadmissible assertions, and appeal to the Holy Spirit as if the Divine Paraclete were at their service at all times; they sometimes do this, unfortunately, with an unspoken intention of freeing themselves from the Church's Magisterium, which enjoys the assistance of the Holy Spirit. May God grant that this Presumption of elevating a personal judgement or personal experience into a rule or criterion of religious doctrine may notcause havoc. May God never allow that treating these private opinions as charismatic gifts and prophetic inspirations should lead astray so many good and well-meaning people." On Oct. 25th 1972: "a pretentious charismatic sufficiency will not preserve an authentic vivifying presence of the Holy Spirit in these spiritualistic trends, in which, sadly enough, it is often easy to see dissent or profane mentalities infiltrated. The needs of theChurch are very different."
Pope John Paul I had a lot to say, and said it before his election. His very short life as Vicar of Christ on earth, only thirty-three days, providentially brought to the notice of the world what he had written. Addressing St. Theresa of Avila in his book Illustrissimi he says:
Charismatic experiences are not anyone's private reserve. They may be given to anyone: priests and laymen, men and women. It is one thing though, to beable to have visions, and quite another to actually have them. In your Libro de las fundaciones I find written: "a woman penitent told her confessor that the Madonna often came to see her and stayed talking for over an hour, revealing the future and many other things to her. And as something true occasionally emerged from all the nonsense, it all seemed to be true. I realised at once what it was all about ... but merely told the confessor to wait for the result of the prophesies, to find our for himself about the penitent's way of life and to look for further signs of sanctity in her. In the end ... it was seen that her visions were all fantasies." Dear St. Theresa, if only you could come back today! The word "charisma" is squandered. All kinds of people are known as prophets, even the students who confront the-police in the streets, or the guerrillas of Latin America. People try to set up the Charismatics in opposition to the pastors. What would you say? You who obeyed your confessors, even when their advice turned out to be the opposite of that given to you by God in prayer?"
Our present Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, when he addresses Charismatic groups follows the usual format. There is a kindly greeting. There is a word of pleasure and approval that they have gathered in Rome because their choice of Rome shows that they understand the importance of being rooted in that Catholic unity of Faith and charity which finds its visible centre in the See of Peter. Then he teaches, and the teaching, if analysed, is a series of warnings. In general these are:-
- Fidelity to the authentic teaching of the Faith. Whatever contradicts this doctrine does not come from the spirit.
- Value the gifts which are given in service of the common good.
- Pursue that charity alone which brings the Christian to perfection.
Time and again the Holy Father stresses the need for good leaders and good priests with the requisite theology. But in practice, if these leaders and priests become part of the Charismatic Renewal and do not remain outside it, they become moulded by it, gradually moulded by emotional experiences which overthrow in them that which constituted them a possible safeguard for others. If they remain outside, they carry no weight because these Charismatics are not charismatics in the sense that St. Theresa of Avila was.
In many places, and not only in the more developed nations, the charismatic renewal is limping badly, diminishing in numbers and in the power of the Holy Spirit, and even dying.
There is hope, he adds. Yes, there is indeed hope that CCR is dying. The great experiment, which it was 'prophesied' would revitalise the Church, has clearly failed - and not for want of enthusiasm or resources. The Popes have warned us against it and the theological problems it raises are manifest. But it is still active in parishes and dioceses up and down the country, and should be exposed for what it is and opposed. Do not let them lead another generation of impressionable, and increasingly badly-formed, young Catholics down the path of Pentecostalism.