Saturday, 16 January 2010

A Sense Of Anticipation...

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while will realise that I'm a bit of a geek-wannabe. I like gadgets, especially my computer, my digital camera and my mobile phone.

Particularly the mobile phone.

Paradoxically, I don't actually make many phonecalls.

However, I have a reputation to maintain. My Year 11 students were flabbergasted to note that someone as middle-aged and un-hip as me could possibly be in possession of a snazzy mobile phone, even if it wasn't an iPhone... and I fully intend to keep them confused.

And it's time for my upgrade.

Some of my requirements have changed since my last foray into mobile technology: I now have a proper digital camera, so the camera function on the mobile is less important than before. However, I still believe in checking out how a phone feels, so, I popped into an O2 shop.

I was particularly interested in the Android operating system. Only one of the phones from O2 has this. I played around with it, but, compared to my Xda Orbit 2, it was clunky in the extreme, and, try as I might, I couldn't get the keyboard to respond correctly to my finger taps. Admittedly, my texting technique is rather rusty as I rely on my stylus at present, but I was really struggling. The loading speed was also rather disappointing.

The Xda seemed to have been discontinued, and I couldn't see any other stylus-operated phones. So, I settled down to explore the other phones on offer. Nothing really captured my imagination until I looked at the newest iPhone, the 3G(s).

My first experience of an iPhone had been when the incomparable Fr. Z let me have a look at his phone over lunch. I liked it a lot. However, when I came to actually considering an upgrade, I found that the camera was a lower spec than the one I had, there wasn't a stylus, and the cost of the phone was a little on the steep side.

The first two "issues" were no longer relevant, and the number of "Catholic" apps I'd seen advertised made the iPhone very attractive. The price, on the other hand, was still not to my liking. On my current tarrif, apparently, the phone would set me back £279 if I signed up for 18 months.

I looked. I definitely coveted... but not quite that much. I smiled, thanked the assistant, and left the shop...

...and promptly phoned customer services. There was a very nice chap on the end of the line, and I explained that I wanted a nice, new phone, but I wasn't willing to pay anything for the handset, not even if it had an app for making afternoon tea... and I was even less keen on paying anything extra on my current tarrif. He was a very, very nice man, and very helpful.

My nice, new, free, 32GB iPhone 3G(s) will be delivered on Monday...

Friday, 15 January 2010

"Stand Up" Update

First of all, there is a poll on the Stand Up for Vatican II website, asking whether the Church has abandoned Vatican II.

There isn't an option for "No, she merely supports what Vatican II really said, not what people wish it said" and so I had to opt for a simple "no."

Be careful - it's not the petition we want to sign. The poll is in the sidebar below the petition.

There's also a great "Testimonials" page, where people can say why they're standing up for Vatican II. Quite a few of the testimonies are rather different in character to that intended by Bernard Wynne and friends, I suspect...

Finally, it seems that the meeting is no longer to be held at the Convent, but has been transferred to the Combined Suite at the Westminister Thistle Hotel, 49 Buckingham Palace Road (corner of Bressenden Place and Buckingham Palace Road.)

UPDATE: Heheheheheh... it would seem that the authors didn't appreciate losing the poll - it's been removed, and no record of the results has been left (jolly lucky that Fr. Z had the foresight to get a few screenshots!) and the testimonials page also didn't appear to please them, as this has now been taken down... a little churlish of them, but only to be expected...

More Standing Up...

This week has been a little busy, so apologies for the lack of posts. I want to return to the Stand Up for Vatican II campaign, being coordinated by Catholics for a Changing Church.

Once again, I want to make it quite clear that I believe that Vatican II was one of the councils of the Church. I am not of the opinion that Vatican II should be "ditched." However, I do believe that there has been an orchestrated campaign to present the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in such a way as to indicate that there was a break from the "bad old days" prior to the Council.

I say orchestrated, because it cannot be accidental that the same themes are mentioned again and again as examples of the changes demanded by the Council (Mass in the vernacular, Mass "facing the people," the primacy of conscience, the need for the Pope to consult with his fellow Bishops and collaborative ministry are the most obvious examples which spring to mind) while examination of the actual documents reveals that, in reality, the Council had very different ideas.

I have already explained, at great length, (sorry!) about the Council's actual statements on the primacy of conscience and on papal infallibility. The inability of the self-professed "champions" of the Spirit of Vatican II to abide by the actual statements of Vatican II is quite striking.

Which brings me back to the Stand Up for Vatican II conference.

The groups which are supporting the campaign all object to some aspect of the teachings of the Magisterium. This puts them in the same camp as Martin Luther - only they are less honest than Luther, because they dress up their dissent as "what was really intended by the Spirit of Vatican II."

Reality check: what was really intended was what was promulgated... and we have it in black and white (or brown on yellow ochre if you're reading it off the Vatican archives!)

The three main speakers demonstrate how much dissent from Church teaching is involved here.

Sr. Myra Poole is a campaigner for women's ordination, and heads the Catholic Women's Ordination group. Her attitude to obedience is interesting (she's a Religious who has taken a vow of obedience.) On being instructed, by her Superior, not to attend the first meeting of Women's Ordination Worldwide in June 2000, she initially complied, staying nearby instead. The Tablet reported that:

"Sources close to Sr Myra say that this put an intolerable burden on her and that the struggle to choose between obedience to her superiors and her own deeply held convictions put her under enormous emotional strain. After much agonising, she withdrew. In the end, though, conscience did prevail, and she slipped quietly into the hall towards the end of Saturday afternoon's business..."

What??? Conscience? Her conscience told her she had to attend a meeting which defies the teaching of the Church?? And so she broke her solemn vow of obedience??

That doesn't sound much like the Holy Spirit at work. St. Joseph of Cupertino would go into ecstasies before the Blessed Sacrament, levitating... however, when given an instruction by his Superior, the levitation (and the ecstasy) ceased, simply because of the vow of obedience... make of that what you will.

Robert Nowell was a reporter at the time of the Second Vatican Council. He was a sub-editor at The Suppository, and translator of many of the works of leading dissident, Hans Kung, so it comes as no surprise to hear that he is highly critical of the Church.

Finally, Michael Winter is a former priest, who founded the Movement for Married Clergy. Putting aside any arguments that a married priesthood is more a matter of discipline than doctrine, not to mention red herrings about former Anglicans, we are again faced with someone who wants to change the Church because he hasn't found its teachings to his taste.

So far, I haven't heard any word of protest from our Bishops about this conference being held in a convent next to Westminster Cathedral...

Monday, 11 January 2010

Woooooooooo !

I must be losing my touch - as well as forgetting my beloved cat post, I nearly missed a major milestone. I passed the 250, 000 visitor point today, at 4:22pm GMT. The 250, 000th visitor was from Australia: Sydney, New South Wales to be precise!

I Nearly Forgot It's Monday...

Pretending to be a serious blogger with my last few posts, I nearly missed the important stuff: it's Monday, and that means a cat picture...

I also have Bones to thank for nearly spitting my tea over my keyboard when I read his excellent advice on what to do when one's Parish Priest is whisked off to higher things by the Vatican... I quite liked the idea of holding the PP to ransom for an exorbitant sum, bearing the Minor Basilica in mind:

"...With this money you may have lost your beloved Priest, but you can get the marble Sanctuary you always wanted and purchase the most elaborate Church lighting system in human history."

But I digress...

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Standing Up For What Vatican II Actually Said...

Yesterday's examination of the Stand Up for Vatican II website was quite an exhausting task. It is one of the clumsiest websites to navigate that I have encountered... nevertheless, in view of what they're trying to stir up, I settled down this evening for another session. It's a long one. Sorry.

One of my commenters pointed out that, on the surface, there was nothing objectionable in the petition being proposed. After all, Vatican II is one of the Councils of the Church, and, as such, its documents are part of the Magisterium. I will say once again that I have no problem with Vatican II: as I mentioned in my last post, what I have a problem with is people deciding what Vatican II said, (the "spirit" of Vatican II) while ignoring what it actually did say, and dismissing everything that happened in the Church before the Council.

Mgr. Marini, in his address to the recent Clergy Conference in Rome, pointed out:

" times it seems that some individuals are truly partisan to a way of thinking that is justly and properly defined as an ideology, or rather a preconceived notion applied to the history of the Church which has nothing to do with the true faith. An example of the fruit produced by that misleading ideology is the recurrent distinction between the pre-Conciliar and the post-Conciliar Church.

Such a manner of speaking can be legitimate, but only on condition that two Churches are not understood by it: one, the pre-Conciliar Church, that has nothing more to say or to give because it has been surpassed, and a second, the post-Conciliar church, a new reality born from the Council and, by its presumed spirit, not in continuity with its past. This manner of speaking and more so of thinking must not be our own. Apart from being incorrect, it is already superseded and outdated..."

So, Vatican II does not herald a break from the pre-Conciliar Church, but must be considered in the light of the Church's Tradition.

The primacy of conscience was the example I considered yesterday. Today, I want to examine what Vatican II said about papal infallibility and collegiality.

Collegiality of the Bishops is lauded by groups such as Stand Up for Vatican II as a fruit of the Council. However, Lumen Gentium, the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church produced at the Council states quite clearly:

"... But the college or body of bishops has no authority unless it is understood together with the Roman Pontiff, the successor of Peter as its head. The pope's power of primacy over all, both pastors and faithful, remains whole and intact. In virtue of his office, that is as Vicar of Christ and pastor of the whole Church, the Roman Pontiff has full, supreme and universal power over the Church. And he is always free to exercise this power. The order of bishops, which succeeds to the college of apostles and gives this apostolic body continued existence, is also the subject of supreme and full power over the universal Church, provided we understand this body together with its head the Roman Pontiff and never without this head." (LG n.22)

"... And this is the infallibility which the Roman Pontiff, the head of the college of bishops, enjoys in virtue of his office, when, as the supreme shepherd and teacher of all the faithful, who confirms his brethren in their faith, by a definitive act he proclaims a doctrine of faith or morals. And therefore his definitions, of themselves, and not from the consent of the Church, are justly styled irreformable, since they are pronounced with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, promised to him in blessed Peter, and therefore they need no approval of others, nor do they allow an appeal to any other judgment. For then the Roman Pontiff is not pronouncing judgment as a private person, but as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the charism of infallibility of the Church itself is individually present, he is expounding or defending a doctrine of Catholic faith." (LG n. 25)

Let's just spell it out here, for those who are having a little difficulty: Lumen Gentium was one of the documents arising from Vatican II. There is nothing in this document that I have any problems accepting. It's what I've said all along: if the Pope says it's so, then there's no argument. I may not like it, I may not understand it, but if he said it, that's an end to it.

"The laity should, as all Christians, promptly accept in Christian obedience decisions of their spiritual shepherds, since they are representatives of Christ as well as teachers and rulers in the Church." (LG n. 37)

"Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. In matters of faith and morals, the bishops speak in the name of Christ and the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra; that is, it must be shown in such a way that his supreme magisterium is acknowledged with reverence, the judgments made by him are sincerely adhered to, according to his manifest mind and will. His mind and will in the matter may be known either from the character of the documents, from his frequent repetition of the same doctrine, or from his manner of speaking." (LG n. 25)

The links section of the Stand Up for Vatican II website makes for very interesting reading. Four "Reform Groups" are mentioned and given links.

1) Catholics for a Changing Church - this group began in 1968 as a protest movement against the encyclical of Pope Paul VI, Humanae vitae.

Oh dear. Seems they don't actually believe in the stuff from Vatican II after all. They're certainly not interested in adhering to the judgements made by Pope Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI on this matter. Mind you, that was just how the group started... perhaps they've changed...

"Latterly through its [CCC's] periodical, Renew, it has looked at the future form of the Christian faith. We feel that if we don’t like what is on offer, it is incumbent on us to advance our own ideas for wider discussion."

Ooops. So much for the Christian obedience called for by Vatican II. This group has Bernard Wynne as its Chairman... he's the chap who complained to The Suppository about Fr. Tim's implementation of Summorum Pontificum in the parish of Blackfen, claiming that it was causing divisions. Obviously, "working in the light of Vatican II" as proposed by this group, namely open dissent from the Magisterium of the Church, isn't going to cause division... because heresy and schism are just so cuddly and inclusive...

2) The Advent Group (UK) - this group wants to reform the Priesthood, and to work for change in the Church and its ministry; they particularly aim to help priests and religious who have left active ministry.

Interestingly, the group celebrated its 40th anniversary of inauguration in 2009... which means that all these priests and religious have felt the need to leave active ministry because of the oppressive pre-Conciliar Church. Oh, no, sorry. My mistake. The group started five years after the end of the Council... *ahem* must be something to do with those windows of the Church which were opened to allow the Spirit to blow in...

In one of their news bulletins, this group actually criticised a Bishop because he didn't stop a priest who had fathered a child continuing in his ministry. It was, apparently, the Bishop who forced the priest to live a lie. Right. Because married men who father children through having affairs immediately leave their first wife and family to take up their responsibilities and not live a lie... And isn't the priest married to the Church? Or is that some dreadful pre-Conciliar idea which was ditched by Vatican II?

And, by the by, how loud would the screams have been if the Bishop had ordered him to leave the priesthood, do you think?

3) We Are Church (UK) - This lot campaign for women's "rights." Actually, what they mean is that they want women to be ordained priests. In their section on Women and the Catholic Church, they quote Angelika Fromm from We Are Church (Germany) - she says:

"The mere talking of "woman's dignity" is no longer sufficient, whilst treating women in the same church as [if] they were incapable of ordination."

*ahem* We are incapable of ordination. There's no "as if" about it. I don't have a problem with that. Similarly, I don't have a problem with the idea that men are incapable of pregnancy and childbirth. I don't think men are inferior just because they can't be mothers. Why should the statement that women can't be priests imply that the Church considers them inferior to men?

Angelika Fromm has spoken at CWO events... that's Catholic Women's Ordination. On their news and events section, they went to Rome, where...

"the speakers challenged the Papal ban on discussion of the issue, reminded listeners that in 1976, Catholic theologians had found no scriptural objections against women’s ordination, and linked the issue to Jesus’ gospel message of liberation and justice and worldwide issues of women’s poverty and oppression."

They advertise the Stand Up for Vatican II event...

... though, it seems that they also missed the bit in Lumen Gentium (that pesky Vatican II document again) which requires submission of mind and will to the judgements of the Roman Pontiff, even if they are only made clear by his manner of speaking. However, Pope John Paul II didn't just say it. He wrote it. Thus we read, in Ordinatio Sacerdotalis:

"Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful." (n. 4)

It might just be possible to get a clearer statement than that, but it's hard to see how.

4) European Network Church on the Move - this claims to be

"a spontaneous convergence of organizations – associations, communities, informal groups and networks – of European Christians who are in majority Catholic, sharing
(1) the vision of a Church prophetic, ecumenical, liberating, supporting, loving, which neither excludes nor discriminates and which follows on the steps of Jesus the liberator, and
(2) the will to work, respecting cultural and religious diversity, for peace, justice, freedom, human rights and democracy, including in the Catholic Church"

However, as its News section seems to link to stories concerning We Are Church and the European Federation of Married Catholic Priests, I think we can guess that these chaps are not going to have spotted the papal infallibility and submission of mind and will sections of Lumen Gentium either. Feel free to correct me if I'm jumping to conclusions.

In conclusion, I think that "Stand Up for Vatican II" as a slogan for this sad bunch - who can't (or won't) see that their vision of a Church made in their own image is an illusion - constitutes an offence under the Trades Description Act...
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