Thursday, 22 January 2015

I have seen the ring

Fr Michael Brown, at Gateshead Revisited, has a piece about Holy Island, here. Wonderfully a resident calls Lindisfarne a 'secular place'. You can see how secular it is in the history of the place here.

Fr Brown goes on to say

 I`ve always thought if we were serious about our heritage the Catholics would by now have built a great baroque basilica to house relics of the Northumbrian saints such as St Cuthbert`s ring ( last heard of at Ushaw).
 I have seen the ring, and seen it quite recently! So it is still there at Ushaw. I'm not one for inflammatory comments, but what we need to do, in my humble opinion, is to raise up a basilica not only for the ring, but to get in touch with the Abbot President of the EBC and get the true relics of St Cuthbert, and then storm the Galilee chapel in Durham Cathedral to get my very own Venerable Bones back.

I can see it all... I'm designing banners as we speak.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

They must not have heard

Bishop Declan Lang, the Minister for Foreign Affairs for the Bishops of England and Wales
Not sure why he's wearing a pectoral diamond 
of my award to Bishop Lang, of being Lion of Judah First Class (see here for the award details).

The Israeli border guards seem to have blocked a bunch of Bishops going into Gaza to pray with the Christian community there. Link to the story here.

Bishop Lang said

Being held up for eight hours at the Erez crossing was difficult and disappointing as we were unable to celebrate Mass with the people in the Holy Family parish in Gaza. It did, at the same time, give us a small insight into the experiences of the few Gazans who are allowed to come in and out of Gaza.
I wonder if they would have been so easily turned away if they were in full regalia in a series of black Mercedes!

Still... it's pretty bad form. And for a Lion of Judah as well...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Thank you Charlie

The BBC news brings us the report today (link here) that Churches in Nigeria are being set on fire and Christians killed because the Magazine Charlie Hebdo has a cover picturing Muhammad.

It is clear that the Muslims who did this (we cannot really call everyone who was outside Niamey's Grand Mosque an 'Islamist') identify the Magazine Charlie Hebdo with the West and the West with Christianity.

"Charlie Hebdo must be veiled/covered up/hidden from view"
This does not look overly Christian to me.
This is Magazine who in this week's issue says:

What made us laugh the most is that the bells of Notre Dame rang in our honour," the editorial stated. "We would like to send a message to Pope Francis, who, too, was 'Charlie' this week: we only accept the bells of Notre Dame ringing in our honour when it is Femen who make them tinkle.
The Catholic Herald has the quote here. They have shown disgusting images and cartoons not only of our religion and faith, but of the Blessed trinity Itself. If you are keeping this issue as a souvenir, then you are keeping virulent anti-Catholic filth. It would be laughable that these people in Nigeria assume that everyone in the West is Christian, were it not for the fact that death ensues.

Christians are being killed because of a Magazine which ridicules Christianity.

In the meantime, Charlie Hebdo, in the name of free speech will continue to act in way which brings about the deaths of innocent people - people with whom it has no connection, except for a more than faint contempt.

Friday, 16 January 2015

She is Still too Many!!!

How many times do I have to tell these people? Eh? How many.

Having posted on the delicate subject of too many images of the Mother of God in Churches before (here) I did not expect to have to return to it so soon.

It is just simply reasonable that we should not have too many pictures of her, everyone knows that. My own dear mother in the flesh quite understood it when coming home from Seminary that first time, having been told about the iniquitous situation of too many pictures, I proceeded to burn all the pictures I had of her, all the photos, holiday snaps, likenesses, charcoal etchings, and kept just one simple framed image. In order to mirror the spirit of the instruction I had received, I put it in a bag in the wardrobe of the spare bedroom of the east wing. Phew!

As I say she quite understood. But I digress.

So imagine my delight in seeing the above fresco of the Immaculate Virgin surely in the process of being whitewashed. Ahhh, my heart sung with joy (because i had already passed three images of the Mother of God), but then I stumbled on this...

and this...

That's it, I'm leaving Bologna to return to Blighty where we keep to such liturgical rules, and we produce things like this...

Clifton Cathedral, my alma mater, upholding the principles of the Spirit of something or other.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Sacristies of the World

I stole the title of your blog. Pleeeese forgive me! Blog here.

But only because I found this wonderful sacristy in Bologna. As you can see they added this little altar in the middle of it to celebrate the canonization of St Theresa of Avila. It is in the Church of St Martin.

God help the Church I'm in when Blessed John Henry Newman is canonized! Or better, God help the sacristy!

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

O Happy Horse

Or not so happy horse. It's about to be eaten and all.

Munch, munch, munch.

Eat, eat, eat.

Yum, yum, yum.

Monday, 12 January 2015

San Marino

The Most Serene Republic of San Marino is the world's second smallest country and as the crest portrays, comprises of three towers,

Third tower. I did not walk to this one.
Second tower, I did walk to this one.
First tower, I started at this one.
This is not the case of course, as the towers are only in San Marino city. The country itself is much larger than one town. You cans see, however, how difficult it was to attack and occupy.

It managed to avoid being incorporated into Italy by giving shelter to Garibaldi when he was being pursued by anti-unification forces, then when Garibaldi became top chap, San Marino asked to remain separate.

Do not forget that San Marino is named after Saint Marinus who lived in a cave off the rock where the city is now.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

She is too Many!

The altar of the Descent of the Holy Ghost
St Anastasia, Verona 
I remember when I was in seminary that we were told that you should not have more than one image of any saint in a Church. The clear meaning was actually that you should have as few images as possible, be they pictures, paintings, statues or any other manner of other thing.

So I wonder how my old professor would have dealt with this rather beautiful side altar in the Church of Saint Anastasia in Verona? I'm often not content with only one depiction of Pentecost... so why not have two? One on top of the other as it were?

Of course what should happen is that one of them should be whitewashed. That would solve the problem.

ANOTHER depiction of the Blessed Virgin Mary!
So you could imagine my consternation when I spotted this statue of the virgin IN THE SAME CHURCH! Well I was almost beside myself... then this...

Though this one does have knights paying homage and I suppose that is a good thing. But she's every where!

But have these people never heard of these directives? Obviously not because there was precious little whitewashed simplicity about the place at all.

Sheesh, how people manage in these places I shall never know.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Best of all Things

If I had a house
I'd wrap it for you

If I had a song
I'd sing it for you

If I had a heart 
I'd give it to you

For I would give you my best.

If I had a cake
I'd ice it for you

If I had a cat
I'd pet it for you

If I had a race
I'd run it for you

For I would give you my best.

So my house and my heart
My song and my cake
A cat and a race
And all manner of things
I will give to you now
And every day

For the best of all things should be yours.

But this is best of all things I could give
For this is my prayer to my God for you
And this is the silence of love for you.
Yes this is the best of all things.

Yes this is the best of all things.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Existential Statement

\it is the politeness that I love. No matter how much things get to you, you should always be polite - even if you're about to scrawl on a wall!

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Franciscans Invade

In a surprise move, the Franciscans (now wonderfully returned to their true poverty after they lost all their cash, link here) have invaded nativity scenes all over the country (well in St Stephen's Church Bologna anyway).

Of course it cannot be all Franciscans, as some are completely out of favour, such as the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. Perhaps they should not have worn blue. But the ones above are definitely brown so that is OK! Phew!

I think that the building on the right is a hotel, so the Pope should be fine as well. (Domus article here)

These cribs show us that all people come to the manger and worship the Christ-child, no matter how important in the eyes of the world or how unimportant. In the eyes of God we are equally loved as His beloved children: blue Friars or brown, rich or poor, woman or man, Gentile or Jew, living in rich apartments or gutters.

God came for us all.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Happy Epiphany

With a crib from Paray-le-Monial. It is life size and quite fine.

This is the place where St Margaret Mary received the vision of the Sacred Heart, and a more fitting message cannot be given again in our day.

I particularly like this King. He is prostrate (All nations shall fall prostrate before you O Lord) and almost pushes the gift to the Christ-child. He is not afraid of Him, but rather seems to be so in awe of the presence of Our Saviour that he cannot get too close.

Happy Epiphany.

Cancelled Mass

There will be no Masses at Swinburne this Sunday (11th January)

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Bishop Lang - Lion of Judah

All too often nowadays, the world seems to take easy sides on the Israel/Palestine debate. In the last post I mentioned the danger of downplaying Christianity's connection to Judaism.

The courageous Bishop Declan Lang, Bishop of Clifton
You can imagine, then, my joy in seeing the defense of Israel by my own Bishop, Declan Lang. Bishop Lang is the Chairman of the Bishop's Conference Department of International Affairs. (I have to admit that I find it a little ludicrous that the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales has an International Affairs department. They probably have a Department of Transport as well).

It all concerns the map issued by HarperCollins which omitted Israel! The Bishop told the Tablet (here)

“The publication of this atlas will confirm Israel’s belief that there exists a hostility towards their country from parts of the Arab world. It will not help to build up a spirit of trust leading to peaceful co-existence.”

It is wonderful to see a Bishop defending Israel for once. You do not often see Bishops standing up for the rights of both sides. You hear a lot about Palestine, but almost nothing about Israel.

Bishop meets Bishop
So I award Bishop Lang "The Chaplain Abroad" award of


And incidentally it was Bishop Declan who banned Tina Beattie (here), and continues to ban the Neo-Catechumenate Way from meeting in Clifton Diocese.

I've always liked my Bishops acting like Renaissance Princes!

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Circumcision forgetfulness

Today is the feast of the Circumcision. On this day, according to the law of the Lord, the Virgin Mary and St Joseph took Our Saviour to be circumcised. This was the first shedding of His blood for our salvation.

Saint John XXIII removed 'Circumcision' the title of the Feast and simply called it the Octave Day of Christmas.

The recent reforms, and the promulgation of the New Calendar, changed the Feast again. Now it is the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God, octave day of the Nativity, naming Day of Jesus.

Cardinal Ottaviani crowning Blessed Paul VI
In Marialis Cultus, 1974, Blessed Paul VI (the heroic promulgator of Humanae Vitae) said this:

In the revised ordering of the Christmas period it seems to us that the attention of all should be directed towards the restored Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God. This celebration, placed on January 1 in conformity with the ancient indication of the liturgy of the City of Rome, is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the "holy Mother...through whom we were found worthy to receive the Author of life." It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration of the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels, and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace.

I am highly in favour of heightened devotion to the Blessed Virgin, but I think that here we are out of step with modern needs. Jewish Christian relations have highlighted the dangers of "Israel forgetfulness" which in shorthand means that with the coming of Christ all dealings that God had with the Chosen People are forgotten. God's guiding of history, giving of the law, prophets and cult are relegated to something that happened in the past and can be forgotten about.

We are fools if we ignore the way God makes use of His creation. Israel forgetfulness leads to Incarnational forgetfulness, which leads to Manichaeism, Sabellianism, Marcionism, and any manner of other 'isms' and heresies.

God took flesh, and was subject to His creation. He was part of a race, a tribe, a people. He was circumcised in accordance with the Law. We cannot get rid of this part of the Incarnation, or airbrush it out, even to honour the Holy Virgin.

Of course I am not for one moment suggesting that this was thought of by those who compiled the Calendar! But the Feast of the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin could be returned to its original place on the 11th October.

The time has come, for our own sake and the sake of out relationship with the Jewish people, to restore the Feast of the Circumcision to its honourable and rightful place.

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