Sunday, 30 September 2007

The Busiest Saint in the Business....

Prayer to St Michael

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio.
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae coelestis,
Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute, in infernum detrude.

Litany of St. Michael the Archangel

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.

Lord, have mercy on us. Christ, hear us.
Christ, graciously hear us.

God the Father of Heaven,
Have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
Have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Trinity, One God,
Have mercy on us.

Holy Mary, Queen of the Angels, pray for us.
St. Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Most glorious attendant of the Triune Divinity,
*Pray for us is repeated after each invocation
Standing at the right of the Altar of Incense,
Ambassador of Paradise,
Glorious Prince of the heavenly armies,
Leader of the angelic hosts,
Warrior who thrust Satan into Hell,
Defender against the wickedness and snares of the devil,
Standard-bearer of God’s armies,
Defender of divine glory,
First defender of the Kingship of Christ,
Strength of God,
Invincible prince and warrior,
Angel of peace,
Guardian of the Christian Faith,
Guardian of the Legion of St. Michael,
Champion of God’s people,
Champion of the Legion of St. Michael,
Guardian angel of the Eucharist,

Defender of the Church,
Defender of the Legion of St. Michael,
Protector of the Sovereign Pontiff,
Protector of the Legion of St. Michael,
Angel of Catholic Action,
Powerful intercessor of Christians,
Bravest defender of those who hope in God,
Guardian of our souls and bodies,
Healer of the sick,
Help of those in their agony,
Consoler of the souls in Purgatory,
God’s messenger for the souls of the just,
Terror of the evil spirits,
Victorious in battle against evil,
Guardian and Patron of the Universal Church

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
Spare us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
Graciously hear us, O Lord.

Lamb of God, Who takes away the sins of the world,
Have mercy on us.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael,
That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let Us Pray

Sanctify us, we beseech Thee, O Lord, with Thy holy blessing, and grant us, by the intercession of St. Michael, that wisdom which teaches us to lay up treasures in Heaven by exchanging the goods of this world for those of eternity, Thou Who lives and reigns, world without end. Amen.

Relying, O Lord, upon the intercession of Thy blessed Archangel Michael, we humbly beg of Thee, that the Holy Eucharist in whose presence we kneel, may make our soul holy and pleasing to Thee. Through Christ Our Lord. R. Amen.

The Chaplet of St Michael

O God, come to my assistance.
O Lord, make haste to help me.
Glory be to the Father, etc.

Say one Our Father and
three Hail Marys after each of the following
nine salutations in honor of the nine Choirs of Angels

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Seraphim may the Lord make us worthy to burn with the fire of perfect charity. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Cherubim may the Lord grant us the grace to leave the ways of sin and run in the paths of Christian perfection. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Thrones may the Lord infuse into our hearts a true and sincere spirit of humility. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Dominions may the Lord give us grace to govern our senses and overcome any unruly passions. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Powers may the Lord protect our souls against the snares and temptations of the devil. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Virtues may the Lord preserve us from evil and falling into temptation. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Principalities may God fill our souls with a true spirit of obedience. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Archangels may the Lord give us perseverance in faith and in all good works in order that we may attain the glory of Heaven. Amen.

By the intercession of St. Michael and the celestial Choir of Angels may the Lord grant us to be protected by them in this mortal life and conducted in the life to come to Heaven. Amen.

Say one Our Father in honor of each of the following leading Angels: St. Michael, St. Gabriel, St. Raphael and our Guardian Angel.

Concluding prayers:
O glorious prince St. Michael, chief and commander of the heavenly hosts, guardian of souls, vanquisher of rebel spirits, servant in the house of the Divine King and our admirable conductor, you who shine with excellence and superhuman virtue deliver us from all evil, who turn to you with confidence and enable us by your gracious protection to serve God more and more faithfully every day.

Pray for us, O glorious St. Michael, Prince of the Church of Jesus Christ, that we may be made worthy of His promises.

Almighty and Everlasting God, Who, by a prodigy of goodness and a merciful desire for the salvation of all men, has appointed the most glorious Archangel St. Michael Prince of Your Church, make us worthy, we ask You, to be delivered from all our enemies, that none of them may harass us at the hour of death, but that we may be conducted by him into Your Presence. This we ask through the merits of Jesus Christ Our Lord. Amen.

...and the Spirit said : 'You cannot defeat me; for I am Hope...'

Fr. Echert's point about the priest not needing to wait for the faithful to initiate requests for the traditional mass but, lacking such interest, he is perfectly within his rights and, indeed, merely being a good shepherd of the souls entrusted to his care, to explain to them why it would be enormously beneficial to them to have a traditional mass available.

Daily Traditional Mass Restored : Diocesan priests speaks out on tradition, the Mass and the Pope's MP

Interviewed by Michael J. Matt
Editor, The Remnant

Fr. John Echert offers first daily traditional

Mass at Holy Trinity since 1969
Editor's Note: We are very pleased to present the following interview
of Father John Echert— pastor of the Church of St. Augustine (site of
the Indult Mass here in St. Paul/Minneapolis since 1984) and the
Church of the Holy Trinity (So. St. Paul). Ever since Pope Benedict
XVI released his historic motu proprio in July of this year, we have
maintained that not only the prayers of traditional Catholic
laypeople have been answered, but also those of countless tradition-
minded priests within the diocesan structure of the Church. It is
also our contention that a seismic shift in the direction of
Tradition is taking place. As persecution of the Church throughout
the world becomes imminent, it shouldn't surprise any Catholic that
God in His mercy would allow this dramatic restoration of the Old
Mass (even on a daily basis) as part of the process by which we might
all strengthen our resolve and prepare our souls for whatever
eventuality may be in the offing. Fr. Echert's courageous compliance
with the wishes of the Holy Father is well worth considering and
perhaps could be seen as a model for other diocesan priests trying to
return to Tradition during these turbulent days in the life of the
Church. MJM

Michael Matt: Can you give us some background on your priestly career
thus far, i.e., your areas of expertise and maybe a word or two on
the apostolates you've served?

Fr. John Echert: I was ordained twenty years ago, though my awareness
of a vocation to the priesthood goes back about forty-five years (I
just turned fifty).

Even as a little boy I knew that I wanted to be a priest, and
expressed that dream to my parents and any priest who would listen.
Without doubt my vocational awareness was awakened by the traditional
form of the Mass, even at that young age. My parents were in the
church choir and I have lasting memories of the beautiful music, the
smell of incense, and the graceful movements of the priest in the
sanctuary. Were it not for those early experiences which occasioned
a very strong desire in me to be a priest, I do not know that I would
have found sufficient inspiration in subsequent years.

As for my assignments as a priest: after having served three years in
a large suburban parish, I was sent away for studies in Sacred
Scripture to the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and the Ecole
Biblique in Jerusalem, after which I spent a dozen years teaching in
my field at the local major seminary and Catholic university. During
this period I also served as a Catholic Chaplain in the Air Force
Reserves and Air National Guard, and was twice deployed to desert
locations in connection with the War in Iraq. Five years ago I began
assisting at the local Indult Parish, and a bit over two years ago I
was assigned as pastor of two parishes, one of which is that same
Indult Parish at which I had assisted.

MJM: So, how is life these days for a tradition-minded priest serving
in the military chaplaincy?

Fr. Echert: I have been connected with the military since 1975, at
which time I enlisted in the Air Force right out of high school.
Years later I received a commission as a Catholic Chaplain. With
regard to the issue of serving as a priest in the military, it is not
without its complexities. When we are serving our own religious
communities we have full freedom to operate as we would with any
civilian congregation or individual. But when we function within the
context of the broader military community, there are limitations.

Recently, as a response to a Protestant Chaplain who was too
evangelical with troops, the military curtailed many aspects of our
public function as chaplains. This actually seems preferable to
having the troops exposed to evangelization by non-Catholic chaplains
and to requiring Catholic chaplains to dumb-down their invocations to
the lowest common religious denominator—which is now quite low, given
the plurality of religions and chaplains in the military.

The military follows the principle of "religious liberty": one has
the right to any religion, but no religion is favored or excluded—
unfortunately! Once in Kuwait I had a Satanist request to use the
chapel altar, and in Qatar I had Wickens request religious support.
In both cases I did not accommodate them but these are examples
of "religious liberty" at its worst. Still, at least one fourth of
our military troops identify themselves as Roman Catholics on their
dog tags (whether or not they attend Mass), and we represent the
largest single religious group. Let me add that with regard to the
present situation in Iraq, over time I have reconsidered my position
on the war and its aftermath; still, my months of priestly ministry
to the troops there were rewarding. As they say, "there are no
atheists in foxholes"—or behind sand dunes.

MJM: So, some years ago you began offering the Traditional Mass.

Fr. Echert: I began offering the traditional form of the Mass about
five years ago, at a time when there was a need for a priest to
assume primary responsibility for the weekly Indult Mass. I had the
advantage of college Latin studies and so my language skills were
functional. I was encouraged by close traditional friends to learn
the Mass and request permission from the local bishop to say the Mass
at the Indult parish.

I learned the Mass through videos, attending the Tridentine Mass
itself, and with the assistance of a priest friend who was steeped in
tradition. For weeks I offered the Mass in private and, once
comfortable and after approval, I began offering the weekly Indult
Mass. Beyond my love for the traditional language and form of the
Mass, I was also becoming more familiar with aspects of traditional
thinking, through books and publications (to include The Remnant) and
conversations with tradition-minded Catholics.

MJM: In the first sermon you preached after July 7, 2007, you said
something that hadn't, to my knowledge, been considered before: You
said it is well within the spirit of Pope Benedict's motu proprio for
a priest to actually initiate with his parishioners the discussion of
the benefits of restoring the old Mass. Can you explain?

Fr. Echert: The Holy Spirit works in many ways and through the
instrumentality of human beings. If we are called to evangelize the
nations with regard to Christ and the Church, it is also legitimate—
and imperative, may we say—to evangelize with regard to tradition,
including the traditional form of the Mass. In other words, instead
of waiting for the Holy Spirit to whisper to the souls of the
faithful or for someone to stumble into the world of tradition,
should not traditional parish priests be inclined to introduce the
souls entrusted to them to the traditional form of the Mass? It
seems to me that the allowance of the Holy Father that any priest can
privately offer the traditional Mass without restriction, at which
the faithful may be present, suggests this as support for this view
and even a means to accomplish this end of the evangelization of

MJM: You recently restored weekday Masses according to the
Traditional Rite both in your Indult parish as well as in the other
parish (non-traditionalist !) you serve as pastor (thus providing
Catholics with daily access to the Traditional Mass). Can you tell
me why you took this dramatic step in accord with the MP?

Fr. Echert: The past model for the now defunct Indult system often
became the means to contain, control and restrict the traditional
Mass and Sacraments—the "leper colony" approach. The new model
allows for an expansion of the traditional Mass and Sacraments to any
parish or community which desires it, with minimal restrictions
(faithful who request it and a priest capable of offering it). While
I could have continued with the old model and scheduled all
additional traditional Masses at the former Indult parish, I didn't
do that because I see a positive value in introducing this venerable
form of the Mass into my other parish as well, with the consequence
that more Catholics will have contact with and access to the
Tridentine Mass. Again, it is a method of the evangelization of

Thus, I used the following strategy: in the former Indult parish, I
changed some weekday Masses to Tridentine; but in the other parish, I
also added some Tridentine Masses to the existing schedule. In both
cases, I have heard very few complaints from those accustomed to
English Masses only—many of whom are now attending both forms of the
Mass and learning more about tradition every day. I suspect that
Pope Benedict XVI sees value in having the Novus Ordo and the
Tridentine forms of the Mass side-by-side in parishes in order that
contact with the traditional Mass by the faithful will eventually
lead to a reform of the Mass of Paul VI or a complete return to the
traditional form.

MJM: Communion rails are reportedly being reinstalled and table
altars permanently removed from some churches that now offer the old
Mass around the world (most recently, Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of
Dublin designated St. Kevin's church in Dublin as a chaplaincy where
Mass will be celebrated regularly using the 1962 Missal, and the
priest in Dublin is now permanently restoring the interior of the
church building to accommodate the Traditional Mass.) What are your
thoughts on this development and how do you account for such a strong
desire among priests to implement Benedict's MP that they'd
voluntarily renovate their sanctuaries to facilitate this initiative?

Fr. Echert: In my own parishes, this is being accomplished even now.
In the former Indult parish we have eliminated the free-standing
altar completely, even for the Novus Ordo Masses. By the grace of
God and with many words, my Parish Council (with only one
traditionalist among the dozen members) was recently persuaded of the
value of this change. Many parishioners who attend only English
Masses urged me to eliminate the free-standing altar, and several
guest priests who have assisted us at the English Masses later told
me that saying the Mass ad orientem was a most reverent experience
for them. In my other parish, which has only now been introduced to
the Tridentine Mass, we are presently soliciting funds to restore the
Communion Rail that was discarded decades ago. Again, even from
among those who are only familiar with English Masses, there are many
who support this restoration plan.

Two months ago, I had our parish carpenters rebuild the front steps
to the High Altar, which, ironically enough, they were quite happy to
do since a previous pastor had long ago directed these same men to
remove them.

MJM: On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, you compared
the Church's rediscovery of the traditional Mass to the rediscovery
of the true Cross in AD 312. This is a fascinating analogy and I
wonder if you would be good enough explain what you mean by it.

Fr. Echert: It is the comparison of something which is most sacred
and precious that had been lost—or taken—that has now been restored
to its rightful place. In one case it was the most sacred relic of
the Church: the True Cross of Christ; in the other case it is the
most sacred worship of the Church: the Traditional Mass. Just as our
Lord taught in the parables recorded by Saint Luke (chapter fifteen):
there should be great cause for rejoicing when that which is lost has
been found! In many ways, having been nearly without the traditional
form of the Mass for forty years (practically speaking), I anticipate
that as this Mass is more widely restored to its rightful place, the
faithful will appreciate it all the more—that is the experience of
many already.

MJM: Archbishop Raymond Burke of St. Louis was, I believe, the first
bishop to introduce daily Masses according to the old Rite after the
MP (I'm told he's now set up a program to teach Latin and the old
Rite to the many young priests requesting instruction, as well).
Bishop Finn, who himself recently offered the Old Mass in Kansas,
also seems to be looking in that direction, as does, obviously, the
Archbishop of Dublin, Ireland. Is such a thing possible here in St.
Paul, and is there any move to establish traditional personal
parishes here?

Fr. Echert: Thus far there has been no official communication to
priests in this diocese with regard to the implementation of the motu
proprio. I am not complaining about that silence, as it is
preferable to other dioceses in which there have been directives
which may thwart its implementation. I know of several priests—
mostly young—who are interested in learning the Tridentine Mass and
hope for opportunities to say it publicly. I have an open invitation
to them to offer Mass in my two parishes.

For the short term, then, it appears that in this diocese my
parishes will remain the primary parishes to serve traditional
faithful, though I know of Catholics in many other parts of the
diocese who are requesting the traditional Mass of their pastors.
This is the beauty of the motu proprio: it falls to the faithful and
pastors (the grass roots) to bring about the resurgence of this Mass,
rather than from the top down—which did not work well or at all, in
countless dioceses.

As to personal parishes (those which are strictly and fully
traditional) , I pray that such parishes will be allowed in every
diocese and region worldwide. It is a very complicated matter to
have a fully functioning mixture of Novus Ordo and Tridentine
faithful and Sacraments in the same parish and it would be preferable
for both pastor and congregation that there would be exclusively
traditional parishes. My hope is that one day I will serve as pastor
of such a parish. Locally we have had the support of the Ordinary
for a limited use of the Tridentine Mass since the Indult was first
granted; pray for a generous response to the allowance of the Holy
Father for bishops to establish personal parishes in their dioceses.

MJM: In an interview with Vatican Radio on September 13, Cardinal
Castrillon Hoyos explained that Pope Benedict's MP affirms the right
of any priest to use the "extraordinary form" of the Latin liturgy
even without his bishop's permission. The Cardinal seems intent to
prevent certain liberal bishops from frustrating the Pope's plan to
restore the old Mass as they did with John Paul's 1988 MP Ecclesia
Dei. Why do you suppose the Pope is so determined to establish wider
use of this Mass that he would even encourage his priests to offer it
without their bishops' permission if it comes to that?

Fr. Echert: The Pope is affirming a universal right which belongs to
all clergy in good standing with the Church, as is fitting for his
supreme office and the matter at hand. One thing I learned in the
military: a subordinate authority does not have the right to
countermand the law of a higher authority. In spite of the fact that
Pope John Paul II asked for generosity on the part of bishops in
establishing Indult parishes in their dioceses, this approach did not
work. In my own state, there were only two Indult parishes with
weekly Sunday Masses, which meant that many Catholics had to drive
incredible distances to attend a Tridentine Mass (one man drove 500
miles round trip to my parish). Had this motu proprio entrusted
primary responsibility to the bishops to establish the traditional
Mass, there is no reason to believe the outcome would have measurably
exceeded that of the Indult in the past.

In spite of incredible pressure to the contrary—as was widely
reported—the Holy Father entrusted responsibility for responding to
the needs of the faithful into the hands of pastors. And while there
will be many pastors who will not comply, there are many more
parishes than dioceses, and traditional Masses will soon be found
scattered everywhere.

MJM: There are a few traditionalists who still argue that so-
called "approved" traditional priests are more or less in business
only to undermine "unapproved" traditionalist priests. Judging from
your sermons, however, undermining anyone except modernists and
liberals doesn't seem to enter your mind. You seem to have a good
relationship with the priests in the SSPX, for example, and I've
heard you recommend The Remnant from the pulpit. Is it fair to say,
then, that you offer the old Mass because you regard its restoration
as vital for the life of the whole Church and that you are not
attempting to undermine anyone?

Fr. Echert: I offer the traditional Mass for its own value and for
what it has to offer to the faithful and the future of the Church. I
have never offered the traditional Mass with any ulterior motive of
undermining other expressions of tradition. I am on good terms with
priests who belong to the SSPX and have worked with the local Society
pastor on some pastoral issues of mutual concern. I am an avid
reader of The Remnant and many other traditional publications and
books. These are difficult times and sadly there is much discord
among traditionalists. Even at my Indult parish there is not
universal agreement on many of the fine points of liturgy, theology
and strategy, and so the issues get battled out in the parking lot or
at coffee and donuts in the church hall. I know that there are many
Catholics and clergy in particular who view the Indult as a means to
keep Catholics from SSPX and other expressions of tradition but this
has never been a motive or goal for me. I believe that the
multiplicity of adherents to tradition has collectively helped to
bring about this important step of Pope Benedict. As you note, I
principally go after the modernists, who should be the common enemy
of all traditionalists— and all Catholics!

MJM: Father, put your prophet's hat for a moment. How's all this
going to end? If the Mass is restored widely and throughout the
whole world, would that change everything, or is it too late?

Fr. Echert: It is never too late, unless we are living in the end
times, of which I am not yet convinced. It will be like seed which
is widely scattered but in a variety of difficult and sometimes
extreme conditions. Here and there a seed will take root but it will
be some time before the field is clothed in the mantel of tradition.
There will be many clergy who will resolutely oppose it and refuse it
to the faithful, but there will be others who will enable it.

There are certainly some initial hurdles, but, over the course of
years—less than a blink of the divine eye—this Mass will be widely
found throughout the Church. One of the looming questions is what
impact it will have upon the Novus Ordo Mass. Will there be
a "reform of the reform," as some suggest, or a replacement of the
reform with the traditional form? One concern I have is that some
priests—including some good-willed priests who are misguided—will
offer Tridentine Masses in their parishes, but may allow some modern
practices to infiltrate the traditional Mass: altar girls, the new
lectionary, Communion in the hand. Hopefully, clarifications from
Rome will prohibit such aberrations.

Let me sum up my hope with this biblical lesson: forty is often a
number of testing (Israel in the Old Testament, our Lord in the New
Testament). We have wandered through a veritable desert for forty
years but now have a glimpse of the Promised Land (forgotten land).
We have not yet arrived, by any means, but we have taken a giant step
in the right direction. May the Lord now speed us on our pilgrimage
back to tradition!

MJM: If you had to choose one rite of Mass to offer exclusively every
day for the rest of your life which would it be, New or Old? Why?

Fr. Echert: The traditional Mass, hands down! It was the Mass which
first inspired in me a vocation to the priesthood and it is the Mass
which I intend to offer until my last breath on earth.

Friday, 28 September 2007

What were they thinking of ????

{ If I was in His Holiness' place I would have been holding my hands together too - But in my case it would be to stop me slapping our smug ex-PM}

Tony Blair to deliver New York Catholic lecture

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair will be the guest speaker at a major New York Catholic fundraising event.

Mr Blair has accepted the invitation by Cardinal Edward Egan to deliver the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner on October 18, 2007, in the Grand Ballroom of the Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

“We are most grateful to the former Prime Minister for accepting our invitation. In 1947, our speaker was another Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill. It is a distinct honor that we will have Mr. Blair with us this year,” said Cardinal Egan.

Over the years, the Smith Dinner has raised millions for charitable works throughout Greater New York, especially in the area of health care for the needy.

The event honours the memory of Al Smith, the former governor of New York, who was the first Catholic to be nominated by a major political party to run for President of the United States. Although unsuccessful, historians maintain that the Governor’s presidential bid paved the way for the candidacy of President John F. Kennedy.

{ Now call me a little bit over-scrupulous if you wish, but TONY BLAIR!!!??? A man whose record of conspiring with the culture of death over the years is anathema to all catholicism stands for ? Turkeys wouldn't invite Bernard Matthews as a guest speaker, the NSPCC wouldn't be grateful for a guest appearance from King Herod; but Oh No ! Tony's married to a catholic and even attends mass, so he must be ok - mustn't he ? Well I hate to go all 'ad hominem' but if Tony Blair's brand of Christianity was around in ancient Rome the lions would have died from starvation...I think Cardinal Egan should be ashamed of himself; why doesn't he just go the whole hog and appoint Richard Dawkins as the foundation's honorary president ?}

...should I feel guilty at being sceptical ?

Workshop to help parishes serve families

The Everybody’s Welcome project of the Catholic Bishops Conference of England and Wales is holding a workshop to help parishes meet the needs of families. It will be led by Janette Davidson, an experienced leader in family ministry in Australia. Family Sensitive Approaches to Parish Life takes place at the Britannia Hotel, Wolverhampton, Sunday October 21st. The session begins at 9.30 am, finishes in time for Mass at 12 noon and lunch will be served at 1pm. The registration fee is £5 per person and includes lunch if required

In Memory of Paul VI

VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 27, 2007 ( Benedict XVI says his predecessor Pope Paul VI was prophetic because he showed the inherent contradiction in "progress" that lacks ethical and spiritual foundations.

The German Pope said this at a concert held Wednesday in honor of Paul VI on the 110th anniversary of his birth, Sept. 26, 1897.

At the end of the performance, Benedict XVI greeted those in attendance and then spoke of the "spirit of evangelical wisdom" with which Paul VI guided the Church during and after the Second Vatican Council.

The German Pontiff continued: "With prophetic intuition, he understood the hopes and fears of the men and women of that time, seeking to highlight the positive aspects and illuminate them with the light of truth and of the love of Christ.

"The love he fostered for humanity with its achievements, the marvelous discoveries, the advantages and rewards of technology and science, did not stop him from bringing to light the contradictions, errors and risks of scientific and technological progress detached from a strong reference to ethical and spiritual values."

The Holy Father said his predecessor was "prudent and courageous in guiding the Church with realism and evangelical optimism, fueled by indomitable faith."

He said that Paul VI "hoped for the coming of the 'civilization of love,' convinced that evangelical charity constitutes the indispensable element for building an authentic universal brotherhood."

“Only Christ, true God and true man, can convert the human soul and render it capable of contributing to the realization of a just and supportive society," Benedict XVI added. "Let us pray that his example and his teachings will be an encouragement and stimulus for us to love Christ and the Church more and more, enlivened by that indomitable hope that sustained Paul VI until his death."

The concert was held by the Festival Pianistico Internazionale Arturo Benedetti Michelangeli, and included musical selections by Vivaldi, Bach and Mozart. Soloists included Marco Rizzi on the violin and Alexander Romanovsky on the piano.

Agostino Orizio, 85, directed the orchestra. He was a student of Michelangeli. He is also a native of Brescia, as were both Michelangeli and Paul VI, to whom he is linked by personal friendship.

For your diaries...

From SPUC:

The Lawyers' Christian Fellowship has called for Christians to rally
outside the Houses of Parliament in London, England, on the 27th of October to show opposition to abortion. It will be 40 years since the Abortion Act was passed, leading to some 6.7 million abortions in Britain. Please try to attend.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

My embarassing conclave conclusion....

late afternoon...
radio4 hinted the conclave would be over soon, so there was a disconsolate howl from the children when 'Yu-gi-oh' was replaced with BBC news 24.
Who was it going to be ? That Ukrainian ? Arinze or his protege ? Crom Cruach - Heaven forfend !? Martino - please no !? That Latin American Opus Dei guy the US blogs were recommending ?
My partner arrived home with a mountain of stories ready to relate about work,after my abrupt shushing her and two minutes of desperate apologes and an explanation as to why I was rude, she charitably calmed down and asked me nonchalantly who it was going to be ?
My response of how the bloody hell should I know went down like a lead balloon ! More apologies ensued.
Who did I want it to be ?
My reply of we'll get who the Holy spirit wants sounded naiively superstitious and credulous to my over-rationally agnostic spouse; so I changed tack...
' We need Ratzinger or someone like him; but there isn't a hope in hell - too many progressive bastards around - he's a bloody brilliant demi-god - but he's hated by so many ! Your mother has more chance of becoming Pope.'
I turned to the kids...
'say a quick prayer it's not Martino or a liberal !' they obliged having no idea what they were asking for; but trusted my sincere fervour in the request.

Then who should come on the screen but David-bloody-Barrett?? My best mate from my seminary days - I ended up the shelf-stacker in ASDA, he became Bishop's secretary and diocesan chancellor and a few years away from an episcopacy. The BBC reporter asked him what kind of pope he wanted - the response of holy praying pope as not exactly what the reporter expected or wanted...
My partner started recounting to the kids how adorable but 'flakey' Fr David was - how it took him seven years to find time to baptize our youngest...[I had insisted that he HAD to do it]
My eldest started asking about the assassination attempt on JPII and the story of the little girl who needed an operation, but Paul VI was friends with her rural parish priest and he had paid for her operation and told the priest to make sure the girl dedicated her life to the Immaculate heart of Mary [Our Lady of Fatima] It was that cured young girl in the crowd wearing the huge rosette that made John Paul II bend down and the bullets miss his head... {I don't know if the anecdote is true but my kids' eyes light up with wonder at it}
Then came the announcement - Joseph ??? It can't be ??? It is ! Oh My GOD!!!!! IT IS!!!!

The way my wife and kids describe it might be a little 'florid' ; but according to them it was a 'When Harry met Sally moment'...

Neighbours stopped in the street outside our open windows. Passers-by stared in the direction of our house...

A Male voice emanating , screaming 'YES! YES ! YES!!!' for minutes on end, shouting heavenward
'THANKYOU...I LOVE YOU...OH THANKYOU!!! YES-YES-YESSSSS !!!!' tears in my eyes, banging my fist on the floor in abject ecstasy...

God gave us Benedict; and half my neighbours can no longer look me in the eye without blushing and scuttling off - a story my kids love to embarass me with at every family gathering...

Harry - you suggest that many clerics were disappointed at his election - I reply 'ORCHIDS!!' - for a lot of them the roof of their smug complacent situationist pragmatic relativist world fell in - to them it was a nightmare made manifest ! upset ? They were livid ! It was a cataclysm of cosmic proportions to them....

I hit my knees at ever opportunity and thank God for the overwhelming bounteous grace He has bestowed upon His undeserving Church by giving us Benedict XVI.

Now put that in your pipe and see if white smoke rises !!!

The Pastor Preaches...


VATICAN CITY, SEP 26, 2007 (VIS) - In his general audience, which was held this morning in St. Peter's Square in the presence of more than 20,000 people, the Pope resumed the catechesis he had begun last week on St. John Chrysostom.

This Father of the Church was appointed as bishop of Constantinople, capital of the eastern Roman empire, in the year 397 and immediately began planning the reform of the Church. said the Pope. "The austerity of the episcopal palace," he added, "had to be an example to everyone." In fact, thanks to his "concern for the poor," the saint "was also known as the 'Alms-giver' ... and he created a number of highly-regarded charitable institutions. "

"As a true pastor, he treated everyone cordially. ... In particular, he always showed tender concern for women and particular interest in marriage and the family. He invited the faithful to participate in liturgical life, which his creative genius would make particularly splendid and attractive." However "despite his kind heart, ... because of his continuous dealings with the civil authorities and institutions, he often found himself involved in political questions and intrigues, ... and was condemned to exile" where he died in the year 407.

"Of St. John Chrysostom it was said," the Pope continued, "that God caused people to see in him another Paul, a Doctor of the Universe. ... Chrysostom's ideal vision is clearly expressed in his commentary to the first pages of the book of Genesis," in which he meditates upon "the eight works accomplished by God in the sequence of six days." The saint wishes "to lead the faithful back from the creation to the Creator, ... the God of condescension ... Who sends fallen man a letter: Holy Scripture."

The bishop of Constantinople also refers to God as "tender Father, Doctor of souls, Mother and affectionate Friend." In the end "it is God Who descends towards us, He takes bodily from, ... dies on the cross, ... and truly becomes God-with-us, our brother."

"In addition to these three stages - God Who is visible in His creation, God Who writes us a letter, and God Who descends towards us - there is a fourth stage in the life and activity of Christians: the vital and dynamic principle of the Holy Spirit Who transforms the reality of the world. God comes into our lives ... and transforms us from within."

In his commentary to the Acts of the Apostles, St. John Chrysostom proposes "the model of the early Church as a model for society, creating a social 'utopia' ... and seeking to give a Christian soul and a Christian aspect to the city. In other words, Chrysostom understood that it was not enough to give alms, to help the poor one case at a time, rather that it was necessary to create a new structure, a new model for society ... based on the new Testament. For this reason, we may consider him as one of the great Fathers of the Church's social doctrine."

With St. Paul, St. John Chrysostom "supported the primacy of human beings, including slaves and the poor." This contrasted with the structure of the Greek 'polis' where "vast sectors of the population were excluded form the right to citizenship; " in the Christian city, on the other hand, "all are brothers and sisters with the same rights."

At the end of his life St. John Chrysostom returned to the theme of "God's plan for humanity," reaffirming that "God loves each of us with an infinite love, and therefore He wants everyone to be saved."

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

The 'Penny' catechism revival...

[with thanks to The Hermeneutic of Continuity]

Credo - new pocket catechism
Frs Andrew Pinsent and Marcus Holden, authors of Evangelium, have written a new pocket catechism called "Credo: The Catholic Faith Explained", published by the CTS. It is cross-referenced to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the Compendium. A6 sized booklet with 112 pages, it sells at £2.95

How can there be a revival in parish visiting ?

After my last posting I received this comment from 'pp':

You seem to have a thing about pastoral visiting. Apart from taking Holy Communion to the sick and housebound etc., in two different parishes over 15 years I've tried several times to systematically visit my parishioners . After a few weeks of mostly fruitless knocking on doors I have given up in frustration. I've offered to visit people and bless their homes - only 5 asked for it. Even my requests to visit to prepare the way for baptisms, funerals etc. are being increasingly shunned.What do you advise?

Well ? I understand your frustration pp.

I've been in the same boat on more than few instances in my various times as a pastoral assistant - weeks on end being drenched through with leaking shoes and aching limbs ; knocking on doors and receiving little reward from any of it - doors slammed in face or worse being told to get lost with a smile or a future promise , kids being told in stage whispers by their parents to tell me they're not in, lectures from ignoramuses about how evil catholicism is, or how defunct, or hypocritical or how rich and corrupt or how perverted... the only doors that are ever opened were usually amongst those whom the church has abandoned - the elderly or housebound who aren't on the 'extraordinary ministers' communion list' - their prayer cards and rosaries and family portraits are in prominent places - they haven't two brass ha'pennies to rub together but they haven't abandoned the church ; yet the physical local church has abandoned them....these holy individuals had to rely on the company of Our lady and the Saints [and Richard Whiteley/Carol Vorderman, Bet lynch and Vera Duckworth and that nice weatherman !!]

I was generally pitied by the Parish Priest ; who usually tried to keep my spirits up with 'you're doing a grand job - things will get better ' [they never did] - but one curate in particular made my life a living nightmare by ridiculing,humiliating and demeaning me for my lack of any success [implying it was my sheer ineptitude, laziness and abject incompetence in every regard that led to it [and letting everyone who'd listen [including the bishop - and he rubbed my failure in the vocations director's face at every opportunity !] know how crap I was]...

The ethos of parish visiting has vanished from the system and will need massive assistance from the top in many ways - One of the best ways is a crack squad of special forces !! the jehovah's witnesses and mormons do it - the jesus army does it - why do we run away from it ?

The Redemptorists used to exert a lot of time and energy revitalising parishes with their parish missions - but sadly now they're making too much money through their inane , uninformative and frankly banal pamphlets and books - so have given up on their main corporal and spiritual works of mercy...The diocesan administration doesn't give two hoots - the deanery is pretty useless as an entity these invariably the priest is left to sink or swim on their own....

Parishes need to become social entities - and this is going to be a long and arduous process - but the major source of this rejuvenation HAS to be from the priest himself - there has to be more interaction - an open door policy - communal buildings for all ages - and slowly, steadily, sensibly the formation of a community... if it was up to me I would have a church hall open 24/7 - for the old folks to gather and chat /watch tv/play cards and board games drink tea and have snacks - for the mums and toddlers to drop in - for the kids to come after school - the bored teens to meet in the evenings - even for the adults to drop in for coffee after chucking out time at the pub - open all night so that anyone who felt lonely could drop in for a coffee , read a book or watch some tv or chat with another human being rather than feeling trapped by four walls at home...sounds crazy and idealistic doesn't it ? Nevertheless that's what I believe a Church hall should be....but you can start in little ways.

But how can a priest do anything about a non-responsive parish ? Well for a start the priest has to become aware of himself and both his limitations in , and requirements for, survival in the priesthood. If a priest knows who he is and what he is about he is just about capable of anything. The history of the church reveals this...[why do you think the first thing the progressive neo-protestantising modernist liberals did to catechesis was to excise the whole history of the saints from our heritage ? because their view of the church and its people was highly contrary to the way the saints lived their lives in and for the church]

The problem is two-fold and both are sourced in priestly formation - The priest is simply incapable and ill-equipped to perform the duties expected of him - because the whole notion of priesthood has been twisted out of all coherent shape...

The seminary system deliberately propagates the ethos of 'pastoral ministry' whereby the priest is no longer a 'fatherly shepherd' but a pseudo social worker/counsellor - there is no space in this ideological perspective for a priest 'living among' his parishioners - No! rather the priest has to 'live for' them - it's a rather nasty distortion and perversion of the notion of priestly sacrifice....the priest is virtually forbidden and precluded from ever considering himself belonging in a community.

Lacordaire said a priest had to be a member of every family but belong to none...the progressive liberal 'marxised' view of priesthood denies this absolute necessity for cordial conviviality from the priest - rather than sharing and easing the burdens of the parish, interacting with them on every level and loving/understanding/LIVING WITH them - the priest is expected to become aloof and non-interactive - to 'deal' with clients and their difficulties/issues/social problems - almost like the way a counsellor/psychiatrist doesn't socially interact with their clients. Like every leader with the burden of responsibility - it must be lonely at the top !!

Secondly comes the intellectual perspective and distortion of the priesthood on a personal level - the crisis of identity. We're all aware of the massive 'intellectual' onslaught on the notion of presbyteral ministry - everyone is the same - nobody is different - we're all just as good and capable and talented as each other ; and "I have a right to be treated in exactly the same way as others; and do exactly what everyone else does"! It's totalitarian and hegelian in outlook - difference is the enemy of conformity and must be dialecticised away - a priest is expected to spend all his time reciting the mental mantra of 'equanimity' - this takes two forms of subtle difference :
a] 'I'm just the same as everyone else....'
b] 'I'm just as good as everyone else'

Now there are real psychological problems with this:
a] The seminarian is usually a devout catholic - in this sensibility there are two aspects :
[i] they are more aware of their sinful character
[ii] they do not adhere to the sinful ideologies of secularism that the majority revel in.
[this gives a massive tension and interior contradiction of the person feeling on the one hand much worse and on the other much better than the average human being]

b] the seminarian is not treated in the same way as everyone else. Yet again there is the dichotomy of the exclusivity of the priesthood 'having a special unique character' and this affords reactions from others - some of respect due to their position , others of abject hostility and antagonism because of their unusual position and in others either an avidity or a reticence to interact because of their role - no matter what way this comes across a seminarian is never treated 'just like everyone else'.

c] This equanimity mantra is narcissistically charged with the sin of spiritual pride in its two forms :
[i] presumption - I'm the same as everyone else but I'm not really - I'm better, I have superiority and spiritual extraordinary powers that others do not - I have authority and greater responsibility - I am so so so much better - I give up sex for this, I have to live in virtual poverty spending al my time on these people - I am with people when they are at their lowest - i comfort the mourning - I hear their secret inner lives in the confessional -I speak from the pulpit and people have to listen to me - I am superior to these people.
[ii] Despair - I don't really live a life - I don't have to work for a living, I don't have the problems/struggles of family life - I don't have a life partner - how can I even be considered a real man as I'm a sexless inexperienced hollow shell of a man - I don't have real responsibilities - when I say I'm just as good as these people I know it's not really true - they have to live their lives in the outside world - I don't. When I encounter the bereaved or distressed I am an outsider - a looker on - I never really live life - these people do - I'm less than they are....I envy them - I want to have what they have - kids to love and care for , a partner to hold and share every sexual and social intimacy, a job where I have to earn my living -deserve what I get , I want mates to eat and drink and share my life with - that's real living - my life is lifeless...

See how this psychological outlook can lead to all manner of problems ? I've repeated them in earlier postings but when it comes to being a capable , efficacious priest this outlook is deadly !
another side-effect of it is the way it contaminates every other aspect of the priest - but none moreso than within his prayer life - they come together in a toxic mix to infect the fundamental aspects of everything the priest believes in - his catholicism - and his belief in/relationship with the church and all it teaches...

It can take many forms - it could begin with compromises on the moral teachings - nothing wrong with a bit of rubber ,why shouldn't a divorcee remarry if her first husband was a bastard , why should that gay parishioner be deprived of sexual intimacy he's doing nobody any harm ?
Seminary with its specious educational programmes laden with heretical historicist revisionist versions of theology, scripture, morality etc is a hothouse for germinating the seeds of crisis in faith - and it teaches it all so badly in virtual soundbite form that it is very easy to misconstrue the relationships between 'facts' - and the biggest source of loss of faith is not really understanding the article of faith in the first place - A few of the ordained seminarians from my old seminary got together a few years ago - during the consumption of copious amounts of alcohol a lot was revealed - not about their private lives of course - but what they really believed in [now bear in mind some of these priests are in high up catechetical/educational positions in their respective dioceses] - most didn't believe in the assumption or immaculate conception or most of the gospel miracles - some of them no longer believed in the virgin birth or the 'real incarnation' or the existence of the holy spirit or the real presence in the eucharist or the efficacy of the sacraments or the resurrection - and a couple were having severe doubts about the 'actual' interventional existence of God !!!!

You think this is an isolated case ? That maybe the clerics were being a little too dishonestly dismissive of their faith for mere shock value and it was more the alcohol talking than anything else ? possibly ? we can but hope....but we must be aware that there are many priests out there with an identity crisis - they have no idea who they are, what they believe in , what they stand for, and what in the name of all sanity they should be doing about it !!!???

Now you're asking me why I consider parish visiting important - let's make this clear - I don't - It's what it reveals which is important . I know that a priest knowing, understanding and loving his parishioners is absolutely imperative ! I am also aware that a church environment can be highly deceptive...
Sometimes the scruffy couple who put 50p in the plate can be multi-millionaires living in the big mansion, sometimes the family arriving en-masse in their suits and ties and posh frocks putting £20 in the plate might live in a grotty dive in abject poverty - the young couple all sweetness and smiles on the sunday morning , might be the abusive alcoholic or the suicidal manic depressive on the monday morning.... the joking mother with not a care in the world in the front pew might be a nervous wreck at home worried about her teenager kids' lifestyles or her younger kids being bullied or being badly taught , or her dying mother, her father with alzheimer's or the lump in her breast or her husband 'working late in the office 'with the young secretary. The shy people who never say a word by the church door might have wonderful lives , capabilities or talents they wish to share , but their self-effacing reticence could prevent that from ever happening unless the priest personally goes out of his way to directly get to know that individual....get my point ? People need to feel wanted, to feel special, to feel loved. Every innovation the church has come out with recently just seems to concentrate the negligence and neglect and isolation the ordinary parishioner feels...We're always spouting on about how much we care and how we should all love our neighbour...but these days how many of us even know our next door neighbour's name ? let alone talk to them ?

Priests need a life of prayer in order to survive and thrive - for most of them to pray they need to live their life as a long prayer - which requires interacting with their parishioners in order to fulfil their vocation and ministry.

You ask me how ? I say the how is easy enough once enough understand the 'why' ; and are able to support each other in actuating the how ...

Monday, 24 September 2007

I'm sorry but I had to laugh...

So we're now having the bare-faced audacity to atempt to train foreign clergy to adapt to British society when the majority of Our home-bred priests are distinctly 'out of sorts' with their own communities - refusing to consider pastoral visiting; and precluding the confessional to a few minutes before a vigil mass...Shouldn't we be training our own priests first ?

Overseas priests offered course for life in England and Wales
A new course specifically for foreign priests wishing to serve the Catholic Church in England and Wales has just started at the northern seminary of Ushaw in Durham.
The three week induction programme, endorsed and recommended by the bishops of England and Wales, aims to provide the priests with practical advice and information that will enable them to integrate into UK life and make effective use of their pastoral skills in an alien culture.
As well as input on the cultural and historical context of the English Catholic Church, students will get the opportunity to experience life in a parish, meeting with parishioners and joining in liturgical celebrations. The course will seek to dispel unhelpful notions of Britishness, such as maids cycling across village greens, warm beer and drinking tea to address questions of contemporary cultural identity and complex social issues in a modern liberal democracy. The aim will be togive the visiting priests a practical understanding of what life is like for priests ministering in the UK's diverse and changing society.
Students will look at issues affecting the Church in England and Wales in the third millennium - power, authority, the role of women, lay/diaconal ministry, ecumenism and much more. This is important preparation for future pastoral work and liturgical celebrations.
Top-up English classes will also be available, but students will need to have achieved a certain level of proficiency in spoken and written before enrolment. This year's course has attracted students from Eastern Europe, India and Africa.
The Rector of Ushaw Seminary, Fr Terry Drainey said:
"Having spent 18 years of my adult life living and working in Spain and Kenya, I have been immensely grateful to all those who helped me become aware of the rich differences of other societies and cultures. This is especially true in the sensitive area of pastoral care and ministry."
Fr John Dale, National Director of Pontifical Mission Societies added: "There has always been an exchange of clergy between countries; this year we celebrate 50 years of Fidei Donum - priests from these islands sharing their ministry in Africa and Latin America. This exciting new course will help clergy become confident and effective pastors in England and Wales. In turn, we will be reminded that we belong to a universal Church which is alive and full of hope."

Will they get the hint ?

Be Men of Prayer, Pope Urges Bishops
Says They Are Called To Know Christ Deeply
CASTEL GANDOLFO, Italy, SEPT. 23, 2007, (

The prayer of a bishop is not only a commitment, but a necessity, says Benedict XVI.The Pope said this upon receiving in audience at Castel Gandolfo on Saturday the participants of a meeting of recently ordained bishops.

The Holy Father spoke to the 112 prelates, all of whom were named bishops in the last year, of the "the apostolic and pastoral character of the 'bishop's prayer.'"

The prelates participated this week in the annual gathering for newly ordained bishops organized by the Congregation for Bishops at the Regina Apostolorum university.

The Pontiff told the bishops that like the Twelve Apostles,

"we were called above all to stay with Christ, to know him more deeply and to take part in his ministry of love and his relationship of full confidence in the Father."

"And the Apostles understood well that listening in prayer and then proclaiming what they heard must have first place among their many tasks," he added.

Benedict XVI said that the organizational tasks and commitments of a bishop are numerous, "but the first place in the life of a successor of the Apostles must be reserved for God."

The Pope also reminded the prelates that through prayer

"the pastor becomes sensitive to the needs of others and merciful toward all."

He added as well that "the pastor rooted in contemplation knows how to welcome the needs of others, which become his own through prayer."

Never tire

The Holy Father said that the bishop must also create opportunities for the faithful to pray:

"In the cities in which you live and operate, often frenetic and noisy, where man runs and loses himself, where one lives as if God does not exist, may you be able to create places and occasions of prayer."

He encouraged the prelates to "never tire" of helping parishes, schools and families become places of prayer.

He urged them in particular "to make the cathedral an exemplary house of prayer, above all of liturgical prayer, where the diocesan community gathered together with their bishop can praise and thank God for the work of salvation and intercede for all men."

"Be men of prayer!" urged Benedict XVI. "The spiritual fecundity of the ministry of the bishop depends on the intensity of his union with the Lord."It is from prayer that a bishop must draw light, strength and comfort in his pastoral activity."

A True option for the poor....

Christ Makes Church Rich With Poverty, Says Pope
Reflects on Parable of Dishonest Steward
VELLETRI, Italy, SEPT. 23, 2007, (

Christ makes his followers rich with his poverty, Benedict XVI said in two reflections on the parable of the dishonest steward.

The Pope made a brief pastoral visit today to the suburbicarian Diocese of Velletri-Segni, the titular see to which he was appointed as cardinal from 1993 through his election as Pope, to present to the town of Velletri a bronze column celebrating his pontificate.

The column, with scenes of his life engraved on it, was placed in the plaza of the Cathedral of San Clement, where the Holy Father celebrated Mass.

During the homily the Pontiff said that the lesson of the dishonest steward in the Gospel of Luke illustrates that

"no servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.'"

The Holy Father continued:

"Mammon is the original Phoenician term that evokes economic security and success in business; we could say that in wealth is found the idol in which one sacrifices everything to reach personal success."Therefore a fundamental decision is necessary -- the choice between the logic of profit as the ultimate criteria of our action and the logic of sharing and solidarity. "The logic of profit, if it prevails, increases not only the disproportion between poor and rich, but also the devastating exploitation of the planet."When, on the other hand, the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails, it is possible to correct the course of action and orient it toward proportional development, for the common good of all."

A decision Benedict XVI added,

"In the end it is a decision between egoism and love, between justice and dishonesty, and a final choice between God and Satan."

The Pope referred to the prophet Amos who "stigmatizes a typical style of life of someone who lets themselves be drawn in by a selfish search for profit in every possible way and is transformed into a thirst for gain, a contempt for the poor and in exploitation of the poor for their own advantage."

"The Christian must energetically reject all of this," said the Holy Father,

"opening his heart, on the contrary, to feelings of authentic generosity."

"A generosity that, as St. Paul tells us in today's second reading, is expressed in a sincere love for all and is manifested in the first place in prayer. A grand gesture of charity is to pray for others."

Upon returning to Castle Gandolfo, Benedict XVI continued his reflection on profit and the equal distribution of goods at midday in his address to the crowds gathered to pray the Angelus.

"Money is not 'dishonest' in itself," he said,

"but more than anything else it can close man up within a blind egoism. What is needed therefore is a sort of 'conversion' of economic goods: Instead of using them for one's own interests, we need to also think of the necessities of the poor.

"Christ did not enrich us with his wealth, but with his poverty, that is with his love that motivated him to give himself completely to us."


On the topic of profit and the equal distribution of goods, the Pope said that

"one does not contradict the other, provided that their relationship is well-ordered."

"Catholic social doctrine has always sustained that the equal distribution of goods is a priority," added the Holy Father.

The Holy Father acknowledged that profit is legitimate and just, but added:

"The crises of hunger and the environment are denouncing, with growing evidence, that the logic of profit, if it prevails, increases the disproportion between rich and poor and a harmful exploitation of the planet."When the logic of sharing and solidarity prevails on the other hand, it is possible to correct the course of action and orient it toward proportional and sustainable development."

And you thought it was a benign inoffensive 'gentleman's club'

When I think how many Parishes and catholics have links with the Rotarians?
Whom can one trust nowadays ?

From CFNews:

The Rotary Club is an organization that is most often associated with its drive to end polio. However, in a new report on the group, Life Decisions International (LDI) exposes what it claims are ties to pro-abortion and population control programs.

In his recent report titled, 'Rotary's Dance With Death: Population Control Agenda and Ties to Pro-abortion Groups Eclipse Good Works,' the President of LDI, Douglas R. Scott, Jr., stated, 'It would be impossible for any person with an intact conscience to turn a blind eye to Rotary's ungodly associations and population control programs.

One may offer up any excuse or justification he or she desires, but there is no way that anyone who truly cares about human life, born and pre-born, could be associated with Rotary International. No way whatsoever.

'The report, which is featured in the Summer 2007 edition of LDI's Special Reports, begins by outlining Rotary's beginnings in 1905. In 1943, Rotary adopted its famous 'Four-Way Test' which consists of four questions that business people should apply to everything they 'think, say or do': Is it the truth?Is it fair to all concerned?

Will it build good will and better friendships? Will it be beneficial to all concerned? While the report praises Rotary Clubs for their goal of eliminating Polio, it strongly opposes their positions on population control and abortion.

Scott points out the contradiction posed by he clubs' goals saying, 'with one hand Rotary Clubs are helping save the lives of children by inoculating them against polio.

With the other hand Rotary Clubs are working with population control agencies to advance the Culture of Death.' 'This is no different than a hospital that commits abortions on one floor and has an advanced prenatal unit on another. It's another example of society's schizophrenia when it comes to how we treat pre-born human life,' said Scott.

LDI's president also gives round on this by looking at Rotary's ties to pro-abortion and pro-population control agencies such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). 'Rotary had an admirable start,' Scott said. 'But one need only apply its own Four-Way Test to see the group has lost its way.' The report may be accessed on LDI's website: [CNA]

Saturday, 22 September 2007

A Fun Party Game - Werewolf !!!

[This is great fun - we played a version of it in University]

Werewolf is a simple game for a large group of people (seven or more.) It requires no equipment besides some bits of paper; you can play it just sitting in a circle. I'd call it a party game, except that it's a game of accusations, lying, bluffing, second-guessing, assassination, and mob hysteria.

The Rules
Setting Up
Assemble a group of players. An odd number is best, although not absolutely mandatory. There should be at least seven players; nine or eleven is better.

Make up a set of cards, one for each player, with a role written on each one:
One "Moderator"
Two "Werewolf"
One "Villager (Seer)"
All the rest "Villager"

Shuffle the cards and hand them out, face down.
Each player should look at his card, but must keep it secret.
Only the moderator reveals his card and shows himself to be the moderator.

Two players are now secretly werewolves. They are trying to slaughter everyone in the village. Everyone else is an innocent human villager; but one of the villagers secretly has the Second Sight, and can detect the taint of lycanthropy.

The Game:

Night and Day
The game proceeds in alternating night and day phases.

We begin with Night.
At Night, the moderator tells all the players "Close your eyes." Everyone should.
The moderator says "Werewolves, open your eyes." The two werewolves do so, and look around to recognize each other. The moderator should also note who the werewolves are.

The moderator says "Werewolves, pick someone to kill." The two werewolves silently agree on one villager to tear limb from limb. (It is critical that they remain silent. The other players are sitting there with their eyes closed, and the werewolves don't want to give themselves away. Sign language is appropriate, or just pointing, nodding, raising eyebrows, and so on.)

When the werewolves have agreed on a victim, and the moderator understands who they picked, the moderator says "Werewolves, close your eyes."

The moderator says "Seer, open your eyes. Seer, pick someone to ask about." The seer opens his eyes and silently points at another player. (Again, it is critical that this be entirely silent -- because the seer doesn't want to reveal his identity to the werewolves.)

The moderator silently signs thumbs-up if the seer pointed at a werewolf, and thumbs-down if the seer pointed at an innocent villager.

The moderator then says "Seer, close your eyes."
The moderator says "Everybody open your eyes; it's daytime. And you have been torn apart by werewolves."

He indicates the person that the werewolves chose.

That person is immediately dead and out of the game.

He reveals his card, showing what he was, and leaves it face-up.

Now it is Day.
Daytime is very simple; all the living players gather in the village and lynch somebody. The mob wants bloody justice.
As soon as a majority of players vote for a particular player to die, the moderator says "Ok, you're dead."

That player then reveals his card, and the rest of the players find out whether they've lynched a human, a werewolf, or (oops!) the seer.
There are no restrictions on speech. Any living player can say anything he wants -- truth, misdirection, nonsense, or bareface lie.
Contrariwise, dead players may not speak at all.

As soon as the sun comes up and the moderator indicates that someone is dead, he may not speak for the rest of the game.
No dying soliloquies allowed.

Similarly, as soon as a majority vote indicates that a player has been lynched, he is dead. If he wants to protest his innocence or reveal some information (like the seer's visions), he has to do it before the vote goes through.
No player may reveal his card, to anyone, except when he is killed.

All you can do is talk.
Once a player is lynched, night falls and the cycle repeats.

Everyone closes their eyes, the werewolves (or werewolf) secretly select someone to kill, the seer (if alive) secretly learns another player's status; then the sun rises, one player is found dead, and the remaining players begin to discuss another lynching. Repeat until one side wins.

The humans win if they kill both werewolves.

The werewolves win if they kill enough villagers so that the numbers are even. (Two werewolves and two humans, or one werewolf and one human.) At that point they can rise up and slaughter the villagers openly.

In Case It's Not Totally Clear
The villagers are trying to figure out who's a werewolf; the werewolves are pretending to be villagers, and trying to throw suspicion on real villagers.
The seer is trying to throw suspicion on any werewolves he discovers, but without revealing himself to be the seer (because if he does, the werewolves will almost certainly kill him that night, since he's the greatest threat to werewolf national security.) Of course the seer can reveal himself at any time, if he thinks it's worthwhile to tell the other players what he's learned. Also of course, a werewolf can claim to be the seer and "reveal" anything he wants.
The only information the villagers have is what other players say -- and who dies. Accusing someone of being a werewolf is suspicious. Not accusing anyone is also suspicious. Agreeing with another player a lot is suspicious, and therefore so is pretending not to agree with another player. Never voting to kill a particular player is very suspicious for both of them -- unless it's the seer who knows that player is innocent.
Technical NotesWhen everyone closes their eyes at night, it is best for people to also start humming, tapping the table, rocking back and forth, or some such noise. This will cover up any accidental sounds that are made by the werewolves, the seer, or the moderator.
The moderator should stick to the script to avoid mistakes or clues. If he says "Open your eyes, werewolves" instead of "Werewolves, open your eyes," a player may misconstrue the command before the last word.
The moderator should be careful to always talk towards the center of the group. If (for example) he turns to face the seer when he says "Seer, select someone," the werewolves may detect the change in acoustics.
It is really important that dead players not speak, and the moderator not speak outside his official capacity -- even to correct a blatant misstatement about a matter of record. (I've seen a game where one player -- a werewolf -- recited the history of the game up to that point: "X was murdered, then we lynched Y, then Z was murdered..." And he swapped two names, a night-murder and a day-lynching, to confuse matters. It would be unfair for a dead player to say "Hey, that's not right, I was lynched!")
There are several reasons to have an odd number of players (including the moderator): There will be an odd number of living players during each day, which prevents tie votes on lynchings; and the game will always end with a lynching. If there are an even number of players, you can get ties, and the game will end with a night-time murder -- which is anticlimactic, because everyone knows when the sun goes down that the game will end at dawn. (Because the werewolves are certain to kill a human and win.)
But more importantly, the humans' chances are significantly weaker when there are an even number of players (including the moderator.) This is probably because an even game always ends with a night-time murder, and an extra murder is always to the advantage of the wolves; whereas an extra daytime lynching could help either side.
This game can produce a lot of shouting (during the day) and a lot of humming (at night.) Don't play where the neighbors will complain. ("Don't mind us, we're just deciding who to kill!")

Friday, 21 September 2007

For Posterity...

Damian Thompson's Holy Smoke blog had a posting regarding universities giving out degrees in aromatherapy. As a poor victim of university theology courses I got a bit carried away one day and wrote this - I'm not entirely sure what some of it means , but I'm sure it was sincerely felt at the time...

I suppose that when studying aromatherapy ; as it is theoretical and anecdotal; it would ascribe itself to being highly ordered and self-regulatingly structured - every aspect of it would be covered - every scent having a corresponding ester or allocated chemical to link with the denoted affect. Aromatherapy may not have any validity , but there would be an inherant 'nouogony' [if that's a right word to invent] - massive cause and effect structures - huge matrices intertwining illness - substance- remedial effect.
Like Galsworthy inventing the Forsyte family tree - everything has to fit.Now for comparative religion study you have to be absolutely engrossed in the symbolism, myth, philosophical anthropology, socio-cultural sentiment and vast amounts of history.
Yet again because it is all considered as superstitious nonsense deriving from human-external phenomena interaction or genetic socio-cultural psychological effects within the individual, group and community; it would all have to possess defined structure with theories fitting in every possible gaps in knowledge.But Lecturers in Theology have absolutely no desire for any such structure or order whatsoever to return to that which was once an academic meta-science.
No longer will there be a systematic structure that you would find in the old natural theology textbooks or Denziger.
They solely wish for it to remain the pragmatic chaotic mess that it is today as it suits their: a] intellectual ignorance, arrogance, laziness and reticence to further study any specific subjects they have no desire to.b] hard won laissez-faire 'I can do whatever I bloody well want' , teach/lecture/investigate/write about what interests me; and I can denote it as a theological study of contemporary relevance and academic pertinence.
This second aspect manifests itself in a wide variety of forms/endeavours/pursuits etc.
It could be a history of a specific time period of interest, or a study of the philosophy of religion since 1800, one might be a medievalist, or someone more interested in sociology or a new ideology like post-modernism, feminism, environmentalism, marxism;They might wish to resort to a theology which is utterly scriptural, or grounded in the enlightenment or the post feuerbach atheism, it could be limited to a few favourite philosophers like Kant or Hegel; or it might be phenomenological, or existential, or logically positivist, deconstructuralist, postmodern, feminist, post hegelian geist european philosophy of history......
Whatever it is - it must not be historical, or holistic, or dogmatically discursive, there must be no grand schema interlinking all aspects.
No, rather it must be ideologically based - a minimal amount of theory imposes itself and interacts with everything and thus proves the self-correcting ideology - everything must be perceived and analysed and either adopted or expunged according to its conformity with the ideology. That which does not fit is either surplus to requirement,or a mere exigence, an unnecessary complication/obfuscation, an intellectual illusion/delusion.
Notice how people rarely leave university today with masters or doctorates in theology - no it is invariably a certain 'type' of theology ; a flavour ; an ideological perspective which cannot interact or integrate itself with any other - it's a specialisation!!!In other words the theology taught today has very little to do with the academic pursuit known as theology from the pre-1930's.
The two main sources of this was Bultmann and Hegel and all who were contaminated subsequently.
It was the age of ideology and pragmatism and neither mixed well - instead of a rationally formulated 'mystery' forming aspects of dogma; aspects of reality or social interaction or the psyche or political thought were irrationally imposed upon the microcosmos /macroanthropos to form a homogenous system where the irrational dogma imposed itself to form the untenable inscrutable self-contradiction !!!
Rather than returning to kant's antinomies and incongruous self-contrary premises [i.e. acknowledging that the ideology didn't fit their system] the prevailing pragmatism allowed them to adopt a post-hegelian dialectic in a marxist struggle where the ideology becomes reactionary and all-prevailing and the ideal to be imposed upon everything.
One need only look at feminist theology, or neo-protestantising marxist 'catholic' theology, or the radically political neo-con theology, or any other pseudo-ideology branding itself as theology - e.g. the latest assortment melded into a chaotic morass in the 'Caritas social action' book to realise that this theology has virtually nothing to do with what was previously denoted as Theology.
Those days have gone: the scientific considerations , the philosophy, the reason , the metaphysically speculative cohesive congruency, the conformity with scripture and morality and natural theology and divine revelation - all that has vanished like mist in the sun.
Theology can be classified today as anything a theologian wants to call it.It's like modern art ; deconstructuralist literature, post-symbolic poetry...theology hasn't an infinitessimal part of even the false authenticity of aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy may be an utter falsehood - but at least it's a rationally coherent falsehood.
Contemporary secular schools of theology haven't possessed that intellectual integrity for nearly a century.

From The SPUC : Something to Seriously Consider...

Statement of Medical Care Principles

These help you to tell healthcare workers about the standards of medical practice you expect to receive.

The principles

Those responsible for administering medical care should pursue the following objectives:

[i]Sustaining life

[ii]Restoring health where possible

[iii]Preventing deterioration in health and alleviating suffering.

[iv]Quality of life assessments should not be used to determine that the individual is no longer entitled to due respect, care and treatment.

What the principles mean in practice

The following points are to guide those who are involved in caring for patients. They may be updated from time to time.

[i]Every patient is to be respected as a human being with inherent human rights, especially the right to life and respect for intrinsic dignity.

[ii]Every patient is entitled to receive all appropriate medical and nursing care.

[iii]The provision of food and fluids, even when artificially delivered, is ordinary care to which each patient is entitled for so long as he or she is able to assimilate it.
[iv]Medical treatment for everyone is to be applied for as long as it is appropriate in dealing with the patient's condition.

[v] All care and treatment should be given in accordance with the established medical ethical teachings of the Hippocratic tradition, in harmony with the religious tradition of the patient.

[vi]No decision to withhold or withdraw treatment should be made with the intention of bringing about the death of the patient.

The Patients First Network Service

What does this service offer me?

Patients First Network

Patients First Network (PFN) helps you to let doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers know how you expect to be treated in hospital if you are mentally incapacitated. PFN fights against euthanasia.
If you join the Network, we give you a card and a medallion which alert medical staff, along with your family and carers, that you wish to receive appropriate medical treatment and care. Nothing should be done deliberately to end your life, nor should your health care team withdraw treatment with the deliberate intention of causing your death. The PFN's statement of Medical Care Principles is here.
You will also have the support of a confidential telephone service which can advise you and your family on end-of-life issues.
Why do I need this service?

Changes in medical guidelines and in law (The Mental Capacity Act 2005), mean that patients may be at risk from decisions to stop giving them food and fluids or to stop giving them medical and nursing care.

Joining the Patients First Network doesn't mean that you are asking doctors to keep you alive for ever. It doesn't mean that medical treatment should never be withdrawn. Treatment can be withdrawn which is of no benefit (which is not helping to sustain life, reduce suffering or improve health). Treatment which is intolerable can be withdrawn. While you remain able to make decisions and communicate with the doctors, they must always consult you and obtain your consent to treat you.

Who is this service for?

Patients First Network is available to anyone over the age of 16. It is particularly important if you are likely to need serious medical treatment in the near future and may be mentally incapacitated and therefore unable to communicate with doctors or give consent for treatment. This may arise in conditions affecting the mind (a brain injury or Alzheimer's for instance) or mental incapacity following a stroke or an accident.
In these situations when you lose 'capacity' to make decisions other people have to make decisions about what treatment you should have.
If you are caring for a vulnerable person we encourage you to join so that we can support you if difficulties arise at the end of life for the person you look after.

How do I join?
Details of membership are here.

Telephone Support Service

0800 1691719

This is a confidential telephone support service.
We offer a first point of contact for relatives and friends of patients in hospital who may be in danger of euthanasia by neglect. A sympathetic listener is always there if you need someone to talk to about your fears and concerns for someone you love.
We are available to take calls from hospital staff to confirm the wishes of any member of the Network who is in a critical state in hospital.
A growing team of Patients First Network volunteers is there to support a vulnerable person in hospital at critical times, if no next-of-kin is available.
Patients First Network needs the support of its members in order to offer them the help they need. However, the telephone support service is available to anyone.
We urge carers, next-of-kin and friends to call us at the earliest stage possible when a vulnerable person is nearing death and there are any concerns about the situation.
The Patients First Network volunteers who answer calls are trained befrienders.

[with thanks to Richard on]