Tuesday, March 21, 2017

2017 Launching a new Confraternity in Scotland: May 13

Further details from the2shrines@gmail.com

The event will take place in Bannockburn, Stirling, and the proposed format is as follows:

From 10am (TBC): Holy Hour concluding with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament;
11am: Procession from Holy Spirit Church to Our Lady & St Ninian's Church with traditional devotions;
12 noon: Sung Mass;
2pm: Inaugural Meeting to formally establish the Archconfraternity.

13 May will be the 100th anniversary of Our Lady's 1st Apparition at Fatima so we will also incorporate the devotions necessary to obtain the plenary indulgence associated with the centenary.

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Saturday, March 18, 2017

St Catherine's Trust Family Retreat: 31st March to 2nd April

Bookings are coming in. Don't miss out! Book now for the Family Retreat in the Oratory School near Reading with Fr Serafino Lanzettta. Details and booking here.


The Family Retreat is back in the Oratory School near Reading this year, for Passion Sunday weenkend (the weekend before Palm Sunday), led by Fr Serafino Lanzetta of the Gosport friars. Details and booking here.

The Family Retreat, run by the St Catherine's Trust, is designed to make it possible for the parents of small children to attend a retreat without leaving their children behind. We arrange activities for the children during the spiritual conferences. Everyone is welcome, however: you don't have to bring children with you!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Government bans independent midwives: in the Catholic Herald

I've been trying (with some success) to get Catholic and pro-life news outlets to take an interest in the shocking story of the banning of 'independent' midwives in the UK: that is, midwives who are employed by individual women to assist them in giving birth, rather than the NHS or a private hospital or 'birth centre'. Independent midwives had a fantastic safety record, but the Government regulator, the Nursing and Midwifery Council, has told them their insurance is 'inadequate': just not what 'adequate' actually means.

Why is this a Catholic story? Because the culture of the NHS is far from pro-life, and independent midwives offer a client-focused alternative. In the NHS women routinely face pressure to have abortions, pressure to limit family size after Caesarian sections (which is related to pressure not to have a natural birth after a section), pressure to limit family size for any and no reason, pressure to stop having children after a certain arbitrary age (you can be 'high risk' at 35), and a patronising and totally out of place pep-talk on contraception, which is apparantly a legal obligation following childbirth. Independent midwives are not as a group committed to any special pro-life principles, but they have the freedom to care about their clients and genuinely respect their choices and values. If you are having a tough time with the NHS on any of these issues, they are a safe harbour. But no longer.

If you want to protest, see the website 'Save Our Midwives' for suggestions. The story has also appeared in Church Militant.

From the Catholic Herald.

In preparing for the birth of our first child, we considered all the available options. Our research was not reassuring. Expectant mothers could talk to midwives, but it may not be the one who would assist at the birth. There was a birthing pool, but it might not be available when the moment came. Yes you can give birth at home, if a midwife was free. When it comes down to it, the mother’s preferences and plans for birth might, or might not, have some application when labour starts

Our friends’ experiences of the NHS didn’t reassure us either, and it seems they were not untypical. A recent study reported women feeling unsafe and frightened while in NHS facilities, describing their experience as being treated “like cattle” or being “on a conveyor belt”.
See the rest there.

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Shaming men into virtue: a text-book case from Matt Walsh

Matt Walsh writes:

How can we expect our children to be righteous, to be generous and disciplined and faithful and godly, if their own father has not provided a demonstration of those traits? How can we demand virtue in others that we can hardly locate within ourselves? How can a real man rely on his wife to carry this burden alone or primarily? We, as men, are called to be the spiritual light to our family. When we engage in weak, shameful, selfish and childish behaviour, we dim the light. After a while, the light goes out altogether and our family is left to stumble around in the darkness. This is one of the many reasons why we need to reject porn and other vices, all which serve to lessen us, emasculate us and extinguish the light.
Well it is true, of course, but is this really the best way to inspire men to take up their role, as Walsh puts it, of 'leadership'? And what kind of 'leadership' does this, in fact, suggest? So far, it is just one of example. An example of suffering. Sounds a bit like a doormat, doesn't it?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Pilgrimage to Caversham 2017: photos


Our Lady and St Anne, Caversham, houses the official Marian Shrine of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, crowned by Papal mandate: the shrine image is below.




It was the Ember Saturday of Lent, and we had five 'prophecies', Old Testament readings, before the Epistle and Gospel, rather like the Easter Vigil.





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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Me on Newsnight: last night

Last night I was, briefly, a talking head on Newsnight, talking about Pope Francis. The main problem was to get the presenter - and, I suppose, the audience - to have the smallest understanding of the concept of Catholic doctrine, what the Pope's function is, and what schism means. That didn't really leave much time for anything else.

In the UK you can see the whole programme online here, from 18:30 - 22:16 mins:

They've put a little clip on Twitter:

Maybe someone can let me know if the whole thing goes up on YouTube.

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Friday, March 10, 2017

The empty Imperial throne

Over on Rorate Caeli I've posted an article by James Bogle, former FIUV President, LMS Committee member and author of a book on Bl Charles of Austria, on the role formerly played by the Holy Roman Emperors (and indeed by the Christian emperors of Rome) in Church affairs, and the consequences of the disappearance of the Emperor from Europe's life.

It is easy to point to periods of conflict between Pope and Emperor. Conflict is inevitable over time and itsn't always unhealthy. What is worse than the conflict between the two pillars of Christian society, the spiritual and the temporal, is the disappearance for practical purposes of one side of the conflict: the disappearance of lay leadership in the Church. This is a point discussed in the FIUV Position Paper on the Extraordinary Form and the Laity.

It is not that the Pope since 1918 has made himself the Emperor; it is that the Catholic Emperor's power has been taken by people outside the Church.

I was very struck recently reading Valentin Tomberg's discussion of the symbolic meaning of the figure of the Emperor. He wrote, in part:

Europe is haunted by the shadow of the Emperor. One senses his absence just as vividly as in former times one sensed his presence. Because the emptiness of the wound speaks, that which we miss knows how to make us sense it.

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Thursday, March 09, 2017

Pilgrimage to Caversham and the Ember Saturday: 11th March

Coming up this Saturday!


We combine the annual Latin Mass Society Pilgrimage to Our Lady of Caversham with the Ember Saturday of Lent, and this way we have a splendid celebration of the Ember Saturday in this rather special church of Our Lady and St Anne.

This important medieval shrine was restored in the 1950s, and is worth a visit. The liturgy of the Ember Saturdays is always worth making an effort to experience, with its extra readings and lovely chants. We will also have the Newman Consort to sing polyphony.

There is more about the pilgrimage here.

Wednesday, March 08, 2017

Pray for the Pope

Alwys a good idea, never more so than now. From my 'Chairman's Message' in the latest Mass of Ages, the quarterly magazine of the Latin Mass Society.


Pope Francis, like all Popes, faces great challenges and difficulties; at the current moment of crisis much depends on his words and actions. This seems a good time to renew the practice of regular prayer for the Pope. The prayer below, from the 1953 Manual of Prayers, approved by the Bishops of England and Wales, can also be used publicly after Prayers after Low Mass. (I have added the name of Pope Francis.)

For the Sovereign Pontiff

V. Let us pray for our holy Father the Pope.
R. The Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

Let us pray.
O Almighty and eternal God, have mercy on thy servant Francis, our Pope, and direct him according to thy clemency into the way of everlasting salvation; that he may desire by thy grace those things which are pleasing to thee, and perform them with all his strength. Through Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

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Monday, March 06, 2017

Declaration on Sacred Music

I'm a signatory of this declaration; I'm cross-posting the below from Rorate Caeli.


In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Instruction Musicam Sacram (promulgated March 5, 1967), a Declaration on Sacred Music Cantate Domino, signed by over 200 musicians, pastors, and scholars from around the world, is published today in six languages (English, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, French, and German). This declaration argues for the continued relevance and importance of traditional sacred music, critiques the numerous serious deviations from it that have plagued the Catholic Church for the past half-century, and makes practical suggestions for improving the situation.

Readers are encouraged to read the text (reproduced below in full) and to disseminate it far and wide as a rallying-point for Roman Catholics who love their great heritage, and for all men and women who value high culture and the fine arts as expressions of the spiritual nobility of the human person made in God's image.


A Statement on the Current Situation of Sacred Music

We, the undersigned — musicians, pastors, teachers, scholars, and lovers of sacred music — humbly offer this statement to the Catholic community around the world, expressing our great love for the Church’s treasury of sacred music and our deep concerns about its current plight.

Saturday, March 04, 2017

What exactly is wrong with sex ed for four-year olds?

There is a lot this weekend in the Catholic press and online about a proposal to establish mandatory sex education in schools for children from the age of four. Since the reasons Catholics and others are worried about this are not always articulated very clearly, I thought I would try to set at least some of them out.

The problems can be summarised under three headings: the content of typical sex education; the classroom context in which this education is delivered; and the role of the state vis-a-vis parents. In this post I'm only going to talk about the first of these, the content, although the others are important as well.

Interviewed alongside SPUC's excellent Antonia Tully, a certain Lucy Russel (sp?) on BBC Radio Cardiff (listen here), who campaigns for sex education (sounds an interesting job), tried to reassure listeners about the proposal by saying that, of course, it would be 'age appropriate'. Four-year-olds would not be told about sex positions, but about 'holding hands', and asked about whether they were comfortable with people holding their hands and so on.

Friday, March 03, 2017

How not to treat a lady

So what's the quid pro quo?
Over on Catholic Gentleman, Sam Guzman has re-posted a discussion of 'How to treat a lady' written by  John Cuddeback, a Philosophy prof at Christendom College. On Cuddeback's own blog it is part of a series. It doesn't say a great deal of substance, but here is its conclusion.

Women are deserving of special reverence not because of weakness, but because of strength. In women, a man can intuit the presence of something that transcends his comprehension. It is in reality something of the divine, something that is somehow his to cherish, to serve, and to protect. Just what it is, and how best to respond to it, he will need to spend a lifetime trying to discover.

I've discussed this kind of thing before, but I'll go over it again because clearly this needs repeating.

Thursday, March 02, 2017

LMS Easter Triduum in London

Taking place in St Mary Moorfields in the City of London (EC2M 7LS), at more consistent times than at the past: Tenebrae at 9pm, and the main Triduum services at 6pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.

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