Tuesday, 6 December 2016

The Immaculate Conception

Mass as usual at 12 on Thursday and also Extraordinary Form Missa Cantata at 7pm with music by the Westland Singers. Rigidity checks will be available for the young.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Silence (and Manners in Church)

Silence seems to be all the rage at the minute, what with Pope Francis` silence in the face of a request from the four cardinals for clarification. Hitherto he hasn`t been noted for silence. The papal reflection on November 23rd strangely, in discussing the works of mercy, spoke of the importance of resolving doubts! Also there was a premier in the Vatican of the new film Silence based on the novel by Shūsaku Endo ( the `Japanese Graham Greene)` which I have long found thought-provoking in telling the story of Jesuit missionaries in Japan who abandoned their faith rather than accept a martyrdom which would also have meant death for many of their converts.

However,continuing on the theme of silence the liturgy Commission of England and Wales brought out a document on the place of silence in the Mass. They only discuss the Ordinary Form. The problem is that in the OF silence can only happen as a pause which is rather unsatisfactory as no-one knows how long the pause will be and so cannot be entered in to as there is no telling when the celebrant will move on. They talk about the silence of the congregation during the readings, offertory and Eucharistic prayer but there isn`t silence in church at these points as someone is reading aloud. It is one of the great strengths of the EF Mass that it affords time for silent prayer by the congregation especially at a Low Mass during the offertory and canon. Nevertheless I thought it was interesting that the topic was being explored and towards the end there is a useful section on the importance of silence before Mass which is becoming very hard to find. Strangely we`ve not received any notice of this document in the diocese unlike Cardinal Nichol`s opinion on Cardinal Sarah`s call to say Mass ad orientem which we received very quickly.

Just before devotees of the EF Mass start feeling smug about all this I came across this useful film. Embedding is disabled  but do look at this link.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Youth Sunday

I must say I don`t normally make much of a fuss about Youth Sunday aka the Feast of Christ the King. However at the Extraordinary Form Mass this morning I mentioned it to highlight that we have a good number of youth who come each week. They have never struck me as rigid or hiding something. Where I do find an annoying rigidity is among those who are rigid in their refusal to see anything good about the EF. We have to put up with a lot of stick at this end of things such as visiting priests who think it so clever or amusing, when they preach or make an appeal, to say the first couple of sentences of their sermon in Latin. Or are quite happy to make an appeal but then, I hear, actively dissuade people from attending the EF. The arrogance astounds me as well as just the lack of respect and straightforward courtesy. Or those who throw their hands up in horror at the mention of the EF Mass as being completely beyond the pale and not to be taken seriously in the life of the diocese and at best to be tolerated and certainly not encouraged. The letter to the bishops accompanying  Summorum Pontificum said, lest we forget: What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.. 

Those who throw a stone at young Latin Mass enthusiasts should think first about themselves and in what matters they may be unacceptably rigid before doing so.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Four Cardinals and a Pope


The situation with the four cardinals who sought and failed to get clarification from the pope on Amoris Laetitia is a fascinating one. For those not aware of what has been going on there is a summary here.

What interests me is what kind of canonical procedure the four plan to use for their formal correction of the pope. I don`t have any doubts about Cardinal Burke`s vast canonical expertise but all I can get as far as is canon 1404 Prima sedes a nemine judicetur ( The First See is  judged by no-one). Yet Cardinal Burke says there is a procedure for correcting a pope so I look forward to finding out what it is and how it works. Apart from St Paul challenging St Peter at Antioch all that comes to mind is the posthumous trial of Pope Formosus  (Pope Beautiful!) in 897.I wonder what precedents Cardinal Burke has in mind? Interesting times indeed.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Young People at Una Voce Scotland's Annual Requiem Mass -

In the light of the Holy Father`s recent comments about there being something suspicious about young people who attend the Extraordinary Form, here`s a few of them speaking about it last Saturday at Una Voce Scotland`s annual Requiem.

Saturday, 12 November 2016

As You Like It

It would be interesting to ask young Catholics how they respond to these videos.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Education, education, education

I was interested to read that the teaching of Latin and classics is being proposed for state primaries by Professor Dennis Hayes, from the University of Derby. The article is here. Here is a flavour:

“As a minimum Latin and classics should be taught in every primary school and continued into secondary school with the addition of ancient Greek,” said Hayes, adding that the subjects could be offered by state schools through the Classics for All programme or the use of retired Latin teachers.

He (Prof Hayes) said he wants to “start a debate” about his proposals in his home county of Derbyshire. It follows critical comments he made at the Commons education committee’s purpose of education conference last week.
"If you go to Derbyshire schools, the kids are basically not learning anything.
“There’s these lovely kids in Shirebrook for instance. They’re great kids, but they’re not being taught anything. They would love Latin.”

Hayes said the teachers in his teacher training session would “hate” the idea of a move to teach classics in all schools, because they “think the only thing you need is Google. They confuse information with knowledge”.

I have some experience of this in that I helped with a Minimus course at St Mary`s. Forest Hall back in 2008. The children did respond well. The picture is of our main helper who made herself a Minimus costume. (Minimus is a Latin course for primary school children and is based on the life of a mouse (Minimus) on Hadrian`s Wall.)

I imagine this will go down like a lead balloon but I`m glad it`s even being raised

One of the benefits of studying classics is gaining an understanding of the world that Christianity entered and it helps us to appreciate the difference Christianity made to our Western world.Of course Gibbon said that the spread of Christianity had undermined the Roman spirit and led to the empire`s fall, despite the eastern empire lasting in continuity until 1453. More useful have been the recent comments of classical historian Tom Holland in the New Statesman. His article Why I was wrong about Christianity is well worth a read. It recounts his early aversion to Christianity and his gradual realisation that the values we take for granted as the hallmark of a civilised society are not as obvious to good people as we may think. He writes:

The longer I spent immersed in the study of classical antiquity, the more alien and unsettling I came to find it. The values of Leonidas, whose people had practised a peculiarly murderous form of eugenics, and trained their young to kill uppity Untermenschen by night, were nothing that I recognised as my own; nor were those of Caesar, who was reported to have killed a million Gauls and enslaved a million more. It was not just the extremes of callousness that I came to find shocking, but the lack of a sense that the poor or the weak might have any intrinsic value. As such, the founding conviction of the Enlightenment – that it owed nothing to the faith into which most of its greatest figures had been born – increasingly came to seem to me unsustainable.

A follow-up Spectator article (Western values are more Christian than classical) makes the following point:

Agnostics are generally reluctant to admit the debt that Western morality owes to Christianity. Why? Because it makes them dependent on something that they are not comfortable with, that they enjoy disdaining. Since childhood they have confidently assumed that religion is nonsense – it is awkward to admit that one form of this ‘nonsense’ underlies their most basic moral responses. Easier to pretend that universal humanism just comes naturally – evolves maybe? Holland is contributing to an important ‘back to basics’ mood: an urge to reflect on the roots of Western values – even if they’re embarrassingly religious.
  I don`t suppose much will come of this but maybe one day!