Thursday, 28 February 2013

Sede Vacante


I was interviewed by the BBC outside the Vatican but I can't really remember what I said. I do hope it was ok. Apparently it was live so there you go.

Strange times indeed.


The crowds in St Peter's square are beginning to gather to bid farewell to the Holy Father as he prepares to fly to Castel Gandolfo.

Get rid of it!!!

Time for Pope Benedict's arms to go!


Last night I was the guest of Fr Withoos of the Ecclesia Dei commission at the Domus Australia. After holy hour in the beautiful church and a fine supper we met Cardinal Pell who is out for the conclave.

The Domus is excellent and available for individuals or groups:


Quite a privilege today to be able to say mass in St Peter's and on the altar on the altar of the naviculam of St Peter. This little boat from which St Peter in faith walked on the waters.

In my part of St Peter's this morning of the six altars I could see, four were in the extraordinary ancient form. That is not representative I know but it is pretty damned impressive!

Nunc Tempus Acceptabile

Now is the acceptable time. Today is the day of change.

You become much calmer the more hysterical the media gets. And also with the fact that we know what is going to happen. Eight o'clock tonight there will be no head of the Church.

So we get a new one. That's about it. No drama. No terror. Nothing much really.

Le pape est démissionné, vive le pape.

I still wish he hadn't done it. But there are lots of things I wish I hadn't done. So I can guarantee that my desires are not necessarily right.

Nunc tempus acceptabile. Nunc.

Wednesday, 27 February 2013


By chance in today's office we are instructed to "say the prayers". The preces are only said on certain days in certain seasons.

They contain the prayer for the Pope. And it will be the last time that this present Holy Father is prayed for in the preces.

We pray for our most blessed father Benedict. May The Lord preserve him and give him life, make h blessed on the earth and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

Rome says Goodbye

You would never imagine this anywhere else on the world.

The Final Audience

The content of the Pope's words will be recorded better elsewhere. Let me say that the final audience was dignified, mirroring the whole of Benedict's reign. There is a genuine love and affection for him and we will continue to pray for him, as he has asked us to.

Then I saw an African nun open a beer bottle with her bare hands.

We have nothing to fear.

All nations

Such is the attraction of the truth that all nations come and bow the knee before Christ. This is the message of the epiphany. Here all nations come to the Vicar of Christ. Even the crescent moon flutters in front of the bones of St Peter, the first Pope.

Cardinals and Bishops, priests and religious, and Christ's lay faithful come here to give honour and thanks to a servant of God.

There is excitement and the hurried voices of groups of people. And a little behind me is the rosary being recited in Italian.

And that is what I should be doing now.

Behind Germany

Such a suitable place to be. There are flags everywhere and the place is place is packed.

This is the Pope who supposedly didn't 'connect' with people.

Live from the VATICAN

half past eight in the morning and the crowds are beginning to gather. The media is here and the atmosphere is very relaxed. All are coming to see the successor of Peter and to pray for him and for the church.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Castel Sant'Angelo

It was Hadrian's mausoleum. It was the Pope's treasury. It was a sanctuary and then a prison. Now it is a tourist destination. But my God it's a fine view!

De Ritis

This is a window display of De Ritis. This used to be, and to an extent still is, an expensive shop of a certain seventies taste. So how marvellous to have this in the window. How I hope that such changes will continue in the pontificate to come.

Tell your priest to wear pink.

Gearing up

As you can see from the photos, the world is coming to Rome and press stands are being built outside St Peter's. There is not much of a buzz but I suppose that all that will be there for the last audience tomorrow.

In the mean time we ran into Mgr Wadsworth the head of ICEL. Very good chap indeed.

Monday, 25 February 2013

All a bit worrying

As I go off to Rome my mind is filled with many different emotions. Excitement of course because I will be there at the moment that the Holy Father steps down. But if I'm honest, a little bit if worry to.

You see it has now been eight years or so that on a parish level you could always say that you were simply following the vision of the Holy Father. This could all be very different very soon. We know (well, trust) that the next man will be sound and holy. But there was a lot to be said for being able to follow his liturgical style.

Still, there's nothing we can do about it. Just pray. That's all.

Saturday, 23 February 2013

Off to Rome

Quite by chance some weeks ago, a friend and I decided that this half term would be a good time to go to Rome for a little break, and to do a spot of shopping (where else can a well dressed priest get collars nowadays?).

After this, of course, came the momentous decision by the Holy Father to step down from heading the Church of Christ. There are many upshots, but one of them is that I shall be in Rome when the Holy Father stops being the Holy Father. Of course we have kept him in our prayers, and it is good to know that we will not be without a Pope for too long...

but I do wish people would just shut up. Cardinals among them. Do we really need Cardinals shouting their mouths off about clerical celibacy and women priests? The impossibility of the ordination of women was sorted a while ago. If you don't believe me then go and read ordinatio sacerdotalis. And the issue of clerical celibacy is so dead in the water that we might as well mince it up and pass it off as horse beef.

The members of the Church are so often their own worst enemy. We undergo sustained attacks from the secular media, so... I know, what shall we do? Let's give them a gun and draw a target on our backs. If you want martyrdom then go and do it spectacularly... tell the world that as a prince of the Church you cannot stand by and watch the innocent slaughter of millions of children in the womb and go on a  hunger strike in front of an abortion mill and invite the media along. But do not 'unwittingly' subject the faithful to death by a thousand snide remarks, which leads not to martyrdom but only to lapsation.

So off I go to Rome to pray for the successor of Peter. May our present one be strong, and the one to come stronger.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Tu Es Episcopus

His Excellency Mons Lang
I know that the day is the Chair of Peter, but I want to celebrate the chair of Clifton.

The concelebrated chrism Mass at Clifton Cathedral. The Cathedral is an architectural mess.
Me processing out of said Mass in the days when I concelebrated. 
The present incumbent is Bishop Declan Lang (best known most recently for the courageous move in banning Tina Beattie from the diocese. She can still visit, but that's about it!) and after a meeting yesterday, I am pleased to announce that he, in true kindness and generosity, has allowed me to stay for another year in Chavagnes. This is the school year ending 2014.

Chavagnes International College
Truly I will continue, for the foreseeable future, to be a Chaplain abroad.

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Church Suffering

"The Church Suffering exists in Purgatory. It is composed of souls who are staying in Purgatory, waiting to be  liberated. We people on earth, part of the Church Militant are aiding them by our prayers. They are being purified for the sins they have committed on earth. They cannot help themselves because souls are out of time and they cannot go to confession, they cannot pray for themselves. There are lots of ways to pray for them, for example in November in our College, Chavagnes International College masses said by our dear chaplain are for the dead. It is a good time to pray for the dead of our families and friends."

"The Church Suffering is the Church being purified for the sins they have committed. They do not live in time, they have no body, just their souls are suffering, but they need to be prayed for and the Church Militant has to remember to pray for them and those we can help. To do that we can make our own prayers or making a Mass for the dead. We need to pray for them because they might have been part of our family or the Church. The Church Triumphant prays for them too. They pray that their punishment may seem short for them and that they go to heaven."

Saturday, 16 February 2013

The Church Militant

"The Church Militant is the Church on earth. They have free will, they can do what they want. Human beings have souls and bodies. We can confess to priests. The Church has some religious and laity to pray for us and  for the souls in purgatory. The Church Triumphant prays for the Church Militant to help us. They are an example for us."

"The Church Militant is the visible Church. It is formed by the human beings with the hierarchy (priest, pope...) The Church Militant prays for the Church Suffering to help them to get to heaven The Church Triumphant prays for the Church Militant to help us in our battle against the devil and make our own lives better."

"The Church Militant is the Church on earth. It is made of a monarchy, the Pope, the Bishops, the priests and the laity of the Church. The Church Militant is on earth to save their souls. We try not to break the ten commandments and not to sin. If we do we go to see a priest for confession. We can ask for the help and the prayers of the Church Triumphant because they can pray for us. We help the Church suffering by our prayers so that they can go te heaven faster."

The Church Triumphant

"This is the Church now in heaven contemplating the presence of Almighty God. They have been judged and found worthy. She's made by the saints, angels and Our Lord. She prays for the Church Militant and the Church Suffering. The Church Triumphant prays for the Church Suffering for help them to be purified. The Triumphant prays for the Church Militant to help them in the battle against the Devil."

"The Church Triumphant is the Church in heaven, contemplating the presence of Almighty God, which has been judged by God. The Church Triumphant is praying for the Church Suffering which has committed sins on earth, but they cannot go to confession. The Church Triumphant is praying for the Church Militant which is committing sins on earth, but the Church Militant can always go to confession. The Church Triumphant will always pray for us and for the Church Suffering and we can ask them to help us. They have all pure souls."

Friday, 15 February 2013

The Wall

The wall in my form room had been terribly blank and so as I said I had started to paint it. It was not just a wall covering device, but was to be a depiction of the three fold nature of the church. The Church Militant, the Church Triumphant and the Church Suffering.

We had done quite a bit of work in our classes on the subject and so I wanted to show the boys that what we had done was something to be proud of. The boys had to draw pictures of the saints and find out about them and also have to write about the various sections of the Church. I'll write up what the boys say in the next few days.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Fasting Boys

It is always a tricky thing to try to explain the Church's teachings to anyone and I have to admit that it was with a certain trepidation that I approached Ash Wednesday.

The chef had already been spoken to...

... morning break was without cake. Lunch was soup and bread. Afternoon tea was without cake and supper was plain pasta with oil. And no eating between meals.

Oh and I also had them banned from going to the 8 a huit to buy food.

There is nothing so horrifying to a boy than to tell him that he cannot eat what he wants. But I manfully entered into the fray, and said that it was the teaching of the Church and that it was obligatory, and that they had to do it, and how they could offer it up.

And I must say that the day after the fact I am so proud of them. They did not find it easy - not physically of course, but psychologically - but they did it. There was no moaning at meals, and they all did it with such great grace.

It is simply true that if you ask things of them that they will rise to the task. You do not have to dumb down the Church's truth, just ask them to do it.

Happy Lent.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A boy's view

The boys' reaction to pope Benedict's démission has been interesting. I first had to assure them a number of times that this did not mean that the Pope was dead , but that he was retiring. Of course they diid not really know what that meant - do any of us really. They asked wonderful boy-like questions "will he still wear white", "will he still be called Pope". Actually both good questions as they point to deep questions.

But the boys have a deep love for Blessed John Paul II and they really did not understand why His Holiness would retire because he was getting old, when Pope John Paul did not. I explained of course.

Of course they picked up the skittishness of the masters and as the new day has dawned and the masters are calmer, so are the boys.

They still have a firm belief that I am in with a chance (if I am Pope then I cannot set them maths homework) - so call Paddy Power, the boys think I'm a dead cert!

Monday, 11 February 2013

The Resignation

This has been quite a shock for the whole world. But there you go. He is Pope and the Supreme Legislator. He, within reason, can do what he wants.

The funny thing is that last week during one of my religion classes, the boys asked me this very question "what would happen if the pope resigned?"

The answer of course is that no one really knew. That he would have to promulgate law to allow it and then we would see.

So that is it. That is what he has done and we will get on with it. Of course there are implications, but we now must see it as an opportunity for the Holy Spirit to continue to guide the Church. We received the Holy Father that we needed. We will receive another.

We do not know what brought him to this. Perhaps it was the inside view of what happened as Blessed John Paul II grew weaker and weaker and this is his way to try to stop the jostling of divisions and parties in the Church. Perhaps... we do not know.

He did it with prayer. And so we will pray for him.

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