Saturday 27 June 2009

The New Catholic Manliness...

Vincenzo seems to be back on form, and I was very interested in the article he posted this morning on how the over-feminisation of the Church has driven away the average Catholic man from the pews, but that this trend now seems to be reversing.

It's a long article, by Todd Aglialoro in Catholic Culture, (a site I hadn't noticed before) but it is worth reading it in full.

I find the ideas fascinating, partly because I personally loathe all the touchy-feely stuff, with the emphasis on "how-I-feel," "sharing" and made-up, "inclusive" liturgy (apparently the more "feminine" side) while I am very drawn towards the traditional liturgy, with it's specific, scripted and highly symbolic actions (described to me as the "more masculine" approach), along with a rational approach to the Faith.

Maybe it's my scientific training...

Having said that, I feel the need to go and paint my nails a nice shade of pink...

Latin Lessons...

Someone asked Fr. Tim how he went about teaching our young altar servers what they need to do at the Mass.

First rule seems to be "keep it short and sweet." Twenty minutes or so. No long lessons, especially as he holds them after Benediction on Saturday. Some of the servers will have been serving at the morning's Low Mass, and then been running around outside during Adoration, before coming back in to serve for Benediction... and the youngest of our servers are about 7 years old...

"Keep it varied" is the second rule. So today, Fr. Tim led the boys in a short stint of "let's say the prayers at the foot of the altar out loud together," followed by "thurible drill," followed by "how to pass the boat."

Most amusing was the final item: "spin the biretta"... vital for budding MCs!

Thursday 25 June 2009

Recitation Of The Divine Office...

Shawn Tribe of the NLM has written what I consider to be the best summary concerning private recitation of the Divine Office by the laity. You can read it HERE.

Twitch of the mantilla to Deo Volente

Tuesday 23 June 2009

Comparisons... (Tongue Firmly In Cheek)

Further to my reflections on how to get used to the Usus Antiquior, my favourite Neanderthal has a few helpful reflections to share...

Being a guy, (I had to type that very carefully indeed... I really don't want to upset him!) Cavey chose a car metaphor. The Usus Antiquior compared to the Novus Ordo is like a Lamborghini compared with a Chevy.

I'm blonde. I know very little about cars. I've never driven a Lamborghini. And, lacking the sort of looks which encourage men to excuse one's blonde tendencies, I've never been given a lift in a Lamborghini... to be honest, I didn't even know how to spell it. I've never been in a Chevy either...

Cavey was way ahead of the game here. He provided photos. And a pretty good description. It had me laughing out loud and scaring the cat.

Monday 22 June 2009

Aren't There Any Real Catholics In Public Life...?

The Apostleship of the Sea, a charity which describes itself as an agency of the Catholic Church, has invited Cherie Blair to launch its annual appeal.

This is despite the fact that Mrs. Blair continues to attack Church teaching. I'm not referring to the legislation brought in by her husband, but to the stuff she herself has said and written.

A while back there was a rumour that Mrs. Blair was going to get a top Vatican job at the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences... until it was pointed out by several blogs that she had happily supported the Family Planning Association at the Labour Party Conference, and had spoken out against Catholic teaching on contraception and women priests.

In an interview in yesterday's Sunday Telegraph, Cherie Blair said,

"...though I like to think of myself as a good Catholic, I couldn't have had the career I had without contraception. The fact is, even in Spain, France and Italy there must be a lot of Catholics who bend the rules."

For a start, failing to observe the teachings of the Church is not bending the rules. It is breaking them. Yes, I'm certain that many Catholics do break the commandments of the Church, but this is a matter for repentance and the confessional, not a reason to throw out the rules. One wouldn't want to throw out laws against fraud, for example, just because a lot of politicians seem to indulge in it...

That Mrs. Blair believes she can consider herself a "good" Catholic despite ignoring the teachings of the Church shows a serious lack of understanding. One would not be considered a "good" citizen if one blatantly and openly disobeyed the laws of the land. The laws of the Church are no less important.

If a charity wishes to have the endorsement of the Catholic Church, and the open access to parish-based collections and fund-raising opportunities which such endorsement affords, then that charity needs to ensure that its spokesmen do not openly contradict Church teaching.

John Smeaton suggests writing to Captain Paul Quinn, O.B.E, National Director, Apostleship of the Sea, to protest the decision to invite Cherie Blair to launch their annual appeal. This can be done by email or by letters sent to Herald House, 15 Lambs Passage, Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8LE.

Sunday 21 June 2009

That Celibacy Thing...

Time Magazine has used the excuse of Fr. Alberto Cutie's departure from the Catholic Church to justify calling for the Church to allow married priests.

The idea is, you see, that, while many priests feel freed from sexual longing and a desire for personal intimacy on entering the Church, many do not. At least, that's the argument put forward by Donald Cozzens, professor at John Carroll University and author of Freeing Celibacy.

In my humble opinion, that has to be one of the most stupid arguments against priestly celibacy ever written. It is somewhat akin to suggesting that, because some married people still experience sexual feelings towards people other than their spouse, fidelity in marriage is an unreasonable expectation.

It is related to the modern inability to accept that one is capable of living without sex.

A priest is required to be celibate (I'm not considering convert clergy who were married before they became Catholics) and he makes a promise to that effect at his ordination to the diaconate. He has had plenty of time (generally five or six years) in which to consider whether or not he would be better suited to the married state. The promise is made freely, for the sake of the Kingdom of God. It is a sacrifice, to be sure, but it's made freely.

The priest does not promise that he will never experience feelings of a sexual nature. He promises that he will not act upon those feelings. The same thing actually applies to Religious.

If you read the Time article carefully, you'll see that it's not really about allowing priests to marry. Advocates of celibacy reform are actually calling for the Church to abandon the law prohibiting priests from marrying or being sexually active.

It's pretty obvious where this is coming from...

Brick By Brick..?

Just a quick aside (I'm posting what I can while I have the energy!) It seems that the "modern" free-standing altar which was in the middle of the sanctuary at Westminster Cathedral has been given the heave-ho... permanently.

A lot of people were apparently pretty happy when it failed to appear at Archbishop Vincent Nichols' installation, though it was expected to make a reappearance. However, it seems that the wooden platform on which the altar stood has been removed, and the wooden floor underneath has been restored.

Very interesting...

Twitch of the mantilla to Damian Thompson.

Parental Rights & Responsibilities...

There is an excellent letter in this week's Catholic Herald, in which Edmund Adamus, director of the department for pastoral affairs of the Diocese of Westminster, highlights the dangers posed by some of the recent attempts to introduce mandatory sex education in this country.

Mr. Adamus points out that there are striking similarities between the stealthy undermining of parental authority by the state today (particularly the authority of Christian parents) and the aggressive subversion of the same in National Socialist Germany in the 1930s.

He also points out that three families in Germany have recently been charged and convicted under a law, introduced by Adolf Hitler in 1938, which outlaws homeschooling. The parents tried to exercise their legal right to withdraw their children from sex education classes where content was at odds with their moral convictions.

Although homeschooling is not illegal in Britain, it is being made more difficult. At present, if a child has never been to school, the Local Authority has no right to interfere in the child's education. Once a child has been to school, the Local Authority has the right to visit the child at home to carry out inspections. This is a loophole which the government is seeking to close. There are also calls to make it impossible for parents to withdraw their children from sex education classes... and, surprisingly, the Catholic Education Service is quite happy with this idea.

Pius XI protested against the erosion of parental rights in 1930s Germany. Pope John Paul II informed parents that their rights included the unrenounceable responsibility to protect their children's morality... the Catholic Education Service, if it is to continue calling itself Catholic, has no right to hand over responsibility for our children's moral education to the State.

Twitch of the mantilla to John Smeaton.

More About Indulgences...

In my last post, I mentioned that the condition of Sacramental Confession, necessary for a Plenary Indulgence, had to be completed within a wek either side of the indulgenced work.

Dorothy questioned me about this, as she had read that Confession could be as much as 20 days either side.

I couldn't remember where I'd read the requirement, but it started to bug me (I'm like that) and so I went and hunted through a few of my old prayer books - old as in "the ones I bought when I first returned to the Church," many of which were actually rather traditional (without me realising that fact.)

The only references to indulgences mentioned "a few days" or, as in the Apostolic Constitution of Pope Paul VI Indulgentiarum Doctrina, "several days before or after" (n. 8)

That seemed a bit vague. I still had the strong feeling that I'd read a week either side as being the usual time allowed. So, I decided to see what Fr. Tim had written about indulgences... I knew he'd posted on the fact that Plenary Indulgences were not impossible to get, and I was sure that he'd have mentioned the conditions, especially since he's so hot on Confession!

Sure enough, he linked to both Indulgentiarum Doctrina and also to a document from the Apostolic Penitentiary given in January 2000, The Gift of the Indulgence. The latter document makes a specific reference to the "several days" being about 20 (p. 4) which clears that question up.

A little further digging on the internet revealed that the idea of seven days before or after (eight including the day of the indulgenced work itself) was in fact the norm, and that this had been relaxed by the Apostolic Penitentiary in 2000... a relatively recent development which had slipped under my radar!

So, apologies, Dorothy... and it seems you won't have to rearrange your Saturday timetable after all!
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