Tuesday, 30 August 2011

To Caen... and Beyond

Still not being able to walk terribly well, the move to Chavagnes continues apace.

The car was packed and the journey to Portsmouth made. France beckons.

It is certainly true, as my dear grandmother used to say, that you go through life and then one day you wake up - dead. It seems an age ago that the whole 'chaplain to Chavagnes' thing began and now here I find myself, waiting for a ferry a few days before the start of term.

I don't wake up and and find myself dead, but sort of almost frenchified!

Sent from my iPhone
With the help of my Guardian Angels

Monday, 29 August 2011

Grrr... electricity

So everything was going swimmingly... Me feet were sore, weary and bleeding just a little bit, but what do you expect from a pilgrimage to Walsingham. But what was annoying, most annoying was my own stupidity.

No phone changer. I used Dr Shaws as much as I could, but ... lovely photos until Oxburgh Hall, and then nothing. Sorry about that. And not even that I couldn't post, I couldn't take pictures either, so I'll trawl and refer to other sites.

I'm investigating a solar solution.

Our Lady of Vengeance protecting the family of Oxburgh Hall

Friday, 26 August 2011

A nice lady eating

A place to stay

The first night after walking. We have tea. Ian so very very happy to have tea. It's been wet all day and not the best walking conditions.


A pub pilgrimage

It began with rain

The pilgrimage has begun and God has blessed us hid children with rain from heaven. So we are ever so slightly damp.

St Etheldreda's has a find statue

Thursday, 25 August 2011

St Ludovic and a Walsingham Pilgrimage

I love the feast of St Louis of France, now a patron of mine as I'm Aumonier of Chavagnes! His letters to his don just before he died are quite beautiful. Do look them up.

And moving from the French... Today is the beginning of the Ely to Walsingham Pilgrimage, of which I am proud to be chaplain this year.

I'll put some pictures on as we go.

May King St Louis of France and the Holy Saints of England and Wales join in the song of praise of the Blessed Virgin as we go on our way to Walsingham!

Sent from my iPhone
With the help of my Guardian Angels

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The Altar of the Poor Clares in Woodchester

One of the things which always fascinates people, when it is explained to them, is the reason why Priests kiss the altar at Holy Mass.

I have to tell them that it is not that I am fond of altars, in the same way as one might be fond of a maiden aunt, and so give her a quick peck on the cheek. Rather it is something much more intimate.

In the Extraordinary Form of Holy Mass the pray that accompanies this kissing of the altar is this:

Oremus te. Domine, per merita Sanctorum tuorum, quorum reliquiae hic sunt, (Osculatur Altare in medio) et omnium Sanctorum: ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen.Trans: We beseech Thee, O Lord, by the merits of Thy Saints, whose relics are here, (Celebrant kisses the Altar stone) and of all the saints, that Thou wouldst vouchsafe to forgive me all of my sins. Amen.
And that gives the game away.

The Priest kisses the Altar Stone which contains relics of those how have died and now are in heaven. We are joined together with the countless ages and the whole Church, on earth, in heaven or in purgatory.

The altar then is important, but only really as a receptacle for the relics of the saints.

The Poor Clares have moved out of Woodchester, and the Convent is up for sale. So what would you remove first of all? What would your priority be? Silver? Gold? Paintings? Vestments?

After the Blessed Sacrament, I would have thought it would be the relics...

...apparently not.

Monday, 22 August 2011

The Abortion Clinic

On this feast of the Immaculate Heart I spent the morning praying outside the Abortion Clinic in Bristol. It is organised by a faithful and dedicated group.

The place is evil.

There are family houses abutting the place. Children play yards away from the killing of innocent human life.
Postmen have to go up to the door to deliver letters about the death of children.
Van drivers have to deliver the tools of the death trade.
Other people work next to this place where the souls of the unborn scream.
Taxi drivers take two souls to the place where one will meet God.

All of us are complicit and I am as well for not being there every day of my life.
Pray for them all.

(I borrowed the picture from this website, which shows what can be done by normal individuals)

Sent from my iPhone
With the help of my Guardian Angels

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Yikes and Yowzers!

I’ve now left the Parish of St George in Warminster.

I’m neither one thing nor another. Not a Parish Priest, not a Chaplain.

Don’t have a place to live. Not doing much.

Ho hum…

Saturday, 20 August 2011

More Chavagnes Scouts at Chartres

Following a link from the LMS Chairman's blog, I came across a whole series of photos from Chartres this year. They can be seen here.

Apart from the terrible vanity of such photos as this one:

I have selected a few of my new school. And they are not just scouts. Some are in disguise, such as these:

Of course, even Scout Masters are included are not free from being photographed:

And some are wonderfully militaristic:

My favourite, by far, is this:

I've said it before and I'll say it again, with this lot, you could take over the world!

Friday, 19 August 2011

How to Receive Holy Communion

As we have seen in the past few weeks, since the Bishops’ conference after Easter, there have been a number of changes to the way we live out our faith. Their intention is to restore a clear sense of our Catholic identity, what it is to be a Catholic, and to re-establish a sense of reverence in Holy Mass. To this end, they have restored the ban on eating meat on Fridays. The revised Friday Penance comes into effect from 16th September.

They have also made adjustments to the manner in which we receive Holy Communion. A new Instruction has been published as follows: 

“In the Diocese of England and Wales, Holy Communion is to be
received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive Communion while kneeling. However, when they communicate standing, it is recommended that the faithful bow in reverence before receiving the Sacrament.”

There are two new things here. First, permission to kneel for Holy Communion has now been restored. It remains the normal way for receiving Communion at the Extra-Ordinary Form Latin Mass (with exceptions made for those who are unable to kneel, who can receive standing). It is now permitted at celebrations in the Ordinary Form of Mass too. (It is the way in which Holy Communion is administered at Papal Masses).

The second new element is the “bow”. Those kneeling make an act of reverence by the very fact of kneeling. Those who choose not to kneel, are “recommended” to “bow in reverence before receiving the Sacrament”. Up till now, it was suggested that forming a queue for Holy Communion was in itself an act of reverence. Our Bishops have decided that there is nothing reverential about a queue, and so they have asked us to bow before receiving the Blessed Sacrament in Holy Communion. 

From now on, all who come forward for Holy Communion are warmly encouraged to bow before receiving Holy Communion, (or to kneel if you so choose).

Worship God with your bodies, and not just your minds!

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

A Priest Alone

I have just completed my last bulletin for the parish. Actually that is not true because every week I write an A5 thing for the back of it, and as Fr Tom will not be here until October, I have written several of them to fill in the gap. You will see them here, as I like to keep my hand in.

But the weird thing is this, on the top of the bulletin where it says:
Parish Priest: Fr Bede Rowe
It now reads
Parish Priest: vacant


It now begins to hit me that from Sunday evening at 6.45ish pm, I will have no people. I will be a priest without people. I know that that is not much of a problem, and my priesthood is not dependent upon there being a congregation, or even of my having people to guide and minister to, but after five and a half years of being the PP of souls, to have this gap before going to Chavagnes is strange. No - strange does not cover it.

They are my people, my children. I must look after them, care for them. I must teach them, and keep them from harm. I must chastise, but weep with them while I do it. I must rejoice with them, in the knowledge that I bring Christ to them not myself. I bring the presence of Christ not just in the Blessed Sacrament, but in my poor mortal frame, my poor soul, so inadequate a man to be configured to Christ. And I, for my part, I am completed by being able to offer Holy Mass for them, by them being the ones who I teach, who I watch grow, who I am a spiritual Father to. Those whose sins I take from their souls.

And for a few weeks I will not have anyone.

Most strange.

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Woodchester and the fate of the Poor Clares

Woodchester Priory
The Holy Biretta

On a day out recently I went with a few others to Woodchester. There I found this rather lovely carving on the south porch of Woodchester Priory Church, dedicated to the Annunciation. How wonderful to see a biretta on display! A few years ago I would have to now start explaining what a biretta is, but how things change! In my little church in St George’s in Warminster (which is mine for about five more days) I wear the holy biretta at all Masses, in both forms. So everyone knows what a biretta is nowadays! The Church used to be a Dominican Priory until eventually they pulled out in the 1960s.

This is a post card of it in its heyday. You can see the east end of the Church on the left. Everything else was demolished in the 1970s. It is a terrible loss of a fine building. There is a good history of the Church here

One recent sadness of Woodchester is when the Poor Clares left just this year. I’ll put up a few pictures from the convent soon, but the Poor Clares were brought to mind in the Priory Church. The bones of the dead sisters have been dug up and reinterred in the Church graveyard. This makes me ever so sad. They do not even have their own graves. I know that they are just mortal remains, and that the poor sisters were probably so humble that they would not have minded, but we have an obligation to honour the women who gave their lives to the service of prayer in the Church. I just don’t really think it is fitting.

Rest eternal grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.
May they rest in peace. Amen.

The Assumption

How wonderful when we celebrate the things that happen to someone else! Today we rejoice with the Blessed Virgin. She was taken up into heaven when her time here was over.

It’s as if something wonderful happened to you and I rejoice with you about it. If you win the lottery I will rejoice at your good fortune. Also…
1 I’d be a bit jealous because I’d like all that cash.
2 I’d wish I had bought a ticket.
3 I’d make sure that I was very good to you, so that you’d help me if ever I was in need.
4 If someone needed anything then I’d tell them about you.

In the same way we should rejoice with the Blessed Virgin.
1 I will be jealous of the Virgin Mary, for I too want to be in heaven, body and soul. It would make my soul sing!
2 I wish I had lived a life like hers, which would have meant that I would be worthy of the honours of heaven, instead of my selfishness.
3 I will be very good to her, loving her and asking her prayers, lighting candles to her, and giving her flowers, so that she will help me whenever I am in need.
4 If anyone is in need then I will tell them about the Virgin Mother of God. I will tell them about her humility and all encompassing love for Almighty God. I will tell them of her mighty strength and powerful courage. I will tell them of her love for us, her children, and how she will do anything so that we can be with her in heaven worshipping Her Son for ever.

But she did not win the lottery! She was honoured by her Son because it was not fitting that one who was not touched by the stain of Original Sin should suffer the corruption of the flesh. He took her and raised her to be with Him totally in Heaven. He simply loves her so much.

“By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory.”
Venerable Pius XII

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Defence of Catholic Rights against the NHS

The liberal agenda has always been at heart deeply illiberal; You can believe anything… except Catholicism.

At last Catholic rights has been defended. This article in the Telegraph reports Catholic Nurses who have refused to work in an abortion clinic. Eventually the NHS have said that they cannot force these good women to be complicit in the death of the unborn child. The nurses were defended by the Thomas More Legal Centre (link here).

The case is believed to be the first in which the Equality Act has been used successfully to defend a “pro-life” position as a philosophical belief and could have implications for other Christian medical staff.
The nurses, who are both from overseas and do not wish to be identified, were moved from their normal nursing duties at a London hospital to work once a week at an abortion clinic.
They were required to administer two drugs to pregnant women - Mifepristone and Misoprostol - to cause an induced miscarriage. The process, known as “early medical abortion”, is an increasingly common method of terminating a pregnancy and does not involve surgery.
When the nurses discovered that they were participating in abortions they objected but were told by managers that they must continue with the work.
One hospital manager allegedly told the pair: “What would happen if we allowed all the Christian nurses to refuse?”
However, the hospital later backed down after the Thomas More Legal Centre, which specialises in religious discrimination cases, took up their case.
After receiving a letter from the centre, the hospital initially told the nurses that they would be excused from administering the abortion-inducing drugs but would have to remain working at the clinic.
The nurses’ lawyer, Neil Addison, wrote again to the hospital stating that the nurses would still be “morally complicit in abortion” if they continued to work in the clinic as nurses in any capacity. The hospital eventually conceded and the nurses were allocated to other duties.

The extraordinary thing is that it is now a philosophical position to believe that life begins at conception. This concession could well open up many more claims of inequality against Catholics. In itself this is incredibly important for the people involved, so that they cannot be forced to be involved in an evil action. But it is also the first step in bringing about the rights of the unborn child. If a child in the womb has no rights, then there is very little that can be done, but if it becomes philosophically possible to believe that life begins at conception (in the law of course), then it is a starting point to try to afford rights to the unborn child.

It is a bizarre way of going about it, of course, but anything that could begin to bring about the corrosion of the lie which says that a child in the womb has no rights, is to be welcomed.

In the meantime, we pray.

Friday, 12 August 2011

St George's - An Exemplary Parish!

I always knew that it was true!

Now Dr Shaw at the LMS Chairman's blog agrees. Link here. I have to say that by putting in a series of Masses according to the Traditional Rites was by far the easiest thing to do. And is a GOOD THING.

Go and read the blog entry it is well thought out and reasoned.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

She Suffered

The Suffering of our Lady is often seen in pictures of her Immaculate Heart. There are swords which pierce it, and sometimes it drips with blood. You can see that in the picture above.

It is quite a disturbing picture. When we think of Our Lady then often we have very light images. Pictures of Our Lady of Lourdes, with the smiling Virgin, or images of her with her arms stretched to her children. All correct, of course, but we know also of the deep suffering that she endured. Hers was not a simple, easy life. It was one which was full of worry and care. What else would it be, when she saw her Son, who she knew was destined for great things, going step by step to His inevitable death.

When she ‘pondered these things in her heart’ it is not a series of happy thoughts and memories which she thought about and smiled, as if they were remembrances of holidays or parties. No. When she ‘pondered’ she thought through the consequences, trying to see what it all meant. And as she knew her Son better than anyone else, she saw to the heart of the matter, she saw that it would lead to the lonely road to Golgotha.

The suffering of the Virgin would have been spared her by her Son, but He, who made all things, could not stop the cares, worried and exquisite pain of His mother.

The Immaculate Heart is a sign of suffering in the world, and a sign of identification of our Lady with us. She suffered and was infinitely loved by Her Son, so we can bear our suffering too. And as she is our mother also, she suffers with us, with a mother’s care, devotion and love.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The Theology of Riots

With riots passing through our country at the moment, the questions of why these things are happening come to the fore. The truth is that there is seldom an easy answer and there are often many contributing factors.

Here are some of observations:
1                    They are generally young and the riots are not based on any ideology - they are not protesting against anything.
2                    The violence is directed towards looting and destruction.
3                    It takes place during holidays and is organised/has a pack mentality.

And there are questions:
1                    Is it to do with lack of employment?
2                    Is it a result of social deprivation?
3                    Is it the result of the breakdown of the family?
4                    Do these young people have a sense of value and belonging to a community?
5                    Do they have a ‘future’ which modifies this destructive behaviour?

There are theological issues:
1                    Catholic social teaching stresses that the individual must be valued in any social person with rights and responsibilities within that society.
2                    There is the theology of the possession of private property which must be respected and also the call on those with property and wealth to us it for good.

Contributing factors for an individual within a riot situation can be:
1                    Following the pack.
2                    Peer pressure.
3                    Desire for goods which you cannot afford.
4                    Desire for goods to sell on.
5                    Any combination of the ‘questions’ raised above.
6                    Class/social war.

At the heart of these riots are individuals. These contributing factors may shape an individual’s culpability in any action, but it still comes down to the decisions of the individual.

This has to be at the heart of any theological reflection on these riots. Fundamentally it concerns the freewill decisions of individuals not just to break the law, but to destroy and steal. There is no ideological factor at play here which could justify the destruction of property, and, though possible, it is unlikely that the theft is actually the result of genuine need which cannot be met by legal means.

We do no one any good if we down play the importance of free will.

One has to choose to do these things. They are not the inevitable result of social circumstances. Even in the worst places in the world, in areas which have been infected by ‘structures of sin’, they are always “rooted in personal sin, and thus always linked to the concrete acts of individuals” (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis).

We believe in human decisions and consequences leading to an eternal judgement. If any of these elements are missing, then you can do what you like. If we challenge an individual’s ability to make a decision (by stating that they are the product of their environment), or a meaningful consequence to that action (they get away with what happens, or they think that there will be no discernible result), then why not do what you like? And if there is no eternal judgement then as long as you get away with it on earth, then there really is no comeback on the individual.

There is no real theology of a riot. There is a, however, a theology of freewill.

Mugabe and the White African

Two of my parishioners who are getting married soon gave me a copy of this DVD. They directed and shot it, Andrew Thompson and Lucy Bailey.

It really is excellent. If you get a chance, then watch it, or buy it, or give it as a present. The tag line is "If good men do nothing, evil will prevail." It is the account of the struggle of Mount Carmel Farm and one family trying to keep their home. These things can pull at our heart, but this is real. Real people, real situations, real evil. The humanity and faith through it all is outstanding.

The Website is here.

Saturday, 6 August 2011

For Many - For All (part three)

So we have to ask now what ‘For Many’, and ‘For All’ mean. Well that seems quite obvious. If I pay the entrance fee for the cinema for many of you, then if all of you present yourself at the kiosk, you will not all get in, because I have only paid for many of you. If I pay for all of you, then if you all turn up, you can all get in.

So does this follow, when we will now say that Christ’s Blood was shed ‘for many’ and no longer ‘for all’? Are we really saying that Christ only pays the price for some and not all?

We cannot say that it is only ‘for some’ because we know from both Scripture “we are convinced that one has died for all” (II Cor. 5.14) and Tradition “we must confess that the Redeemer shed his blood for the salvation of all” (Catechism of the Council of Trent) that Christ’s Blood was shed so that all may have access to eternal life. So why did Christ use the words ‘for many’?

Perhaps the best way to understand it is going back to my cinema example. If I pay for all of you, then if you wish, then all of you can go into the cinema, but that does not mean that all of you will. Some of you may decide that the cinema is not for you and you do not take me up on my offer. You all have the possibility to get in, but I will not make you all go in. So practically, only some of you will take me up on the offer. It will be for many of you, and not all.

If this seems a little convoluted, then what is the danger when we say ‘for all’? The danger is thinking that the price has been paid, and so no matter what you do, or think, or say, you will get in… not that you can get in, but that you will. The translation ‘for all’ can lead to the belief that everyone will be saved, no matter what they do or how they act. Come the end, it has been shed for all of us, and so we’ll all go there together. This is seductively attractive, but not right. God will not force our salvation, we have to do our part. We all have the chance, but not all have to be saved. It is our choice.

Salvation has been won for all, but only ‘many’ will respond.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Government epetition for a Catholic King

Title: Remove anti-Catholic Discrimination re. the Monarchy.
Government Department: Cabinet Office.
Description: Remove the ban on the Monarch being a Catholic or converting to Catholicism.

Could our next King be Catholic?

How many times do we have to try to do this? Every now and then we hear politicians say that they will remove anti-Catholic legislation which would allow the monarch to be married to a Catholic or even, shock, horror... convert to Catholicism. They usually say it around election time!

I do not really believe in Government by e-petition and I very much doubt that they would actually change the law, but how wonderful if our politicians had to stand up in Parliament in front of the world and declare themselves to be discriminatory towards our faith. It would at least be a definitive statement, and not the usual, "Oh it's just too difficult to do."

It needs 100,000 signatures... mine is one, so tell everyone you know, and ask them to sign it!


Thursday, 4 August 2011

Consecrating the World

The Children of Fatima
In 1917, starting on 13th May, the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to three little children at Fatima in Portugal. They were Lucia Santos, and Jacinta and Francisco Marto. Our Lady revealed three secrets to the children. The second of which was as follows:
You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world.
Pope Pius XII, obedient to the Mother of God performed both of these actions. First on October 31st 1942, he consecrated the whole of the world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This was during the dark hours of the Second World War and many say that after this act the War took a turn that would eventually lead to peace. And in 1952 in the Apostolic Letter Sacro Vergente anno he consecrated Russia to the Immaculate Heart.

Venerable Pius XII

The Immaculate Heart is not a saccharine sweet devotion, but is a powerful weapon against the forces of darkness which are unleashed by War and Godless regimes. If ever you feel powerless when watching the terrible things reported on our news channels, then ask the prayers of Mary’s Immaculate Heart. She will interceded always for us.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The Month of the Immaculate Heart

The Immaculate Heart of Mary

August is the month of the Assumption and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. In the new calendar the feast of the Immaculate Heart was moved by Pope Paul VI in 1969 to the place it occupies in the ordinary calendar, on the Saturday after the feast of the Scared Heart. However in the Extra-ordinary form of Holy Mass, it retains its place as the Octave Day of the Assumption, and so is celebrated on August 22nd.

In the image above, we see the Blessed Virgin take hold of her heart and offer it to us. Were she to do this, then we would have the power to cherish and protect her heart or crush it in our hands. This is the true love which, in her simplicity, Our Lady gives to us. She gives us her heart to guard, or to destroy. We can destroy it by our selfishness, pride and sins, for which mother would not be saddened to the core by seeing her children so arrogant and foolish? Or we can cherish it by protecting her honour and her name.

I have always found it very foolish of people to dishonour the Virgin Mother of God. She, of course, is kindness itself and would do nothing about it - what else would you expect?

So why do I say they are foolish? Well, let me tell you: you can take my name and trample it underfoot; you can run down my reputation; you can blacken my memory and make my name a byword that people would turn their faces from. And I hope I would not retaliate too much.

But, if you say one word against my mother… then there would be no fury greater, no anger more blazing, no ire more unquenched… And I’m just a man.

Think whose mother she is!

Yes, I’ve always found it VERY foolish when people run down the Virgin Mother of God. Very foolish indeed.
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