Saturday, 28 March 2009

Pope Benedict the Great?

(H/t to http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity।blogspot।com for the photo)

Pope Benedict the XVI has come in for much criticism lately, especially since the problems with Bishop Williamson. However, what we have actually witnessed is a few dissenting voices, who I suspect were never enamored with Cardinal Ratzinger and his theology, trying to put the boot in when they perceived the Pope to be at his most vulnerable.

How has Benedict reacted? He has been extraordinary! The open Letter to the Bishops of the World is a masterly explanation of why he lifted the excommunication of the Society of Pius X (SSPX) Bishops. Regarding the doctrinal issue, the Pope makes the following important points:

“The Church’s teaching authority cannot be frozen in the year 1962 – this must be quite clear to the Society. But some of those who put themselves forward as great defenders of the Council also need to be reminded that Vatican II embraces the entire doctrinal history of the Church. Anyone who wishes to be obedient to the Council has to accept the faith professed over the centuries, and cannot sever the roots from which the tree draws its life.” (Letter to the Bishops)

The Holy Father generously refers to the numbers of priests and religious involved with the SSPX and the work that they do, and asks. "Can we simply exclude them, as representatives of a radical fringe, from our pursuit of reconciliation and unity?" Furthermore Benedict states:-

“But should not the great Church also allow herself to be generous in the knowledge of her great breadth, in the knowledge of the promise made to her? Should not we, as good educators, also be capable of overlooking various faults and making every effort to open up broader vistas? And should we not admit that some unpleasant things have also emerged in Church circles? At times one gets the impression that our society needs to have at least one group to which no tolerance may be shown; which one can easily attack and hate. And should someone dare to approach them – in this case the Pope – he too loses any right to tolerance; he too can be treated hatefully, without misgiving or restraint” (Letter to the Bishops)

Again there has been vociferous carping against the Pope relating to his comments that the promotion of condoms promotes AIDS. Again even some in the Church have added their dissident voices. Yet this is the teaching of the Church! The Church cannot change its position on these issues, like a political party, the Pope was simply stating Catholic teaching. It’s a pity that we hardly ever hear Catholic teaching about the immorality of artificial contraception being preached in our Parishes, it’s a pity the Pope has to preach this doctrine almost single –handily. But he does so and he does it fearlessly and he is a hero for doing so. Let us all pray for Benedict that he continues to do such a good job.

Friday, 6 March 2009

A dyslexic Moment – Apologies


Sorry if anyone received the first version of the post below by automated email giving the wrong time and place for the YCA retreat, it is definitely the 18-20th September 2009! The mistakes at

http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/news.htm


Also at:-

http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/events.htm

Have been corrected.

Young Catholic Adults (part of the Juventutem Federation) Douai Abbey


The Marian Procession July 5th, originally uploaded by ps99ddb.

During the weekend of the 18-20 September 2009. Young Catholic Adults will be running a Traditional Retreat at Douai Abbey, the retreat will be led by Juventutem Ecclesiastical Leader Fr de Malleray .

Places are limited so please book early

* YCA will have half of the whole retreat centre to itself
* There will be a social in the evening
* Fr. de Malleray FSSP head of Juventutem will preach the retreat,

Mass will be in the Extraordinary form.

The cost of the weekend will be:-

Saturday 19th – Sunday 20th September (full board)*

48 pounds full-board (except Sunday lunch)
25 pounds for students/low waged/unwaged

Or to come for 3 days:- Friday 18th - Sunday 20th September

88 pounds; 45 pounds for students/low waged/unwaged)
*All costs are full board - apart from Sunday lunch

Come for the day

Or come for the day on Saturday 19th September
Suggested donation 5 pounds (extra for meals)

How to book - limited places so please reserve your place early

To reserve your place FOR THE WEEKEND (no deposit needed if you are coming for the day on Saturday 5th July), please a 20 pound deposit (NON RETURNABLE) to Damian Barker, Flat 5, 12 St. Catherine Street, Kingsholm, Gloucester, Glos. GL2 9DU (please make any cheques payable to YCA).

See http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/news.htm for more details

Thursday, 5 March 2009

"Catholic with Attitude" blog



Fr. Tim Finigan writes on http://the-hermeneutic-of-continuity.blogspot.com/, "Shaun Bailham, a young student of Theology and Religious Studies at St Mary's, University College, Twickenham has recently started a blog called Catholic with Attitude." Fr Finigan continues…. “I am always interested to hear about St Mary's....it was a teacher training college. In recent years, it has developed greatly and was recently given the power to award its own taught degrees and is looking forward to gaining full university status.”

I have had a look myself and I would certainly recommend this blog! You can find it at:- http://catholicwithattitude.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

MESSAGE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY FROM POPE BENEDICT



MESSAGE FOR WORLD YOUTH DAY

VATICAN CITY, 4 MAR 2009 (VIS) - "We have set our hope on the living God" is the theme of the Holy Father's Message to young people for the Twenty-fourth World Youth Day, which is due to be celebrated on 5 April, Palm Sunday. The text was published today in four languages: Italian, Spanish, English and French. Extracts from the English-language version are given below:

"1. Youth, a time of hope"

"We are all aware of the need for hope, not just any kind of hope, but a firm and reliable hope. ... Youth is a special time of hope because it looks to the future with a whole range of expectations. When we are young we cherish ideals, dreams and plans. Youth is the time when decisive choices concerning the rest of our lives come to fruition. Perhaps this is why it is the time of life when fundamental questions assert themselves strongly. ... These are questions that become insistent when we are faced with obstacles that sometimes seem insurmountable. ... We then ask ourselves: where can I obtain and how can I keep alive the flame of hope burning in my heart?

" 2. In search of the great hope

"Experience shows that personal qualities and material goods are not enough to guarantee the hope which the human spirit is constantly seeking. ... Politics, science, technology, economics and all other material resources are not of themselves sufficient to provide the great hope to which we all aspire. This hope 'can only be God, Who encompasses the whole of reality and Who can bestow upon us what we, by ourselves, cannot attain'. This is why one of the main consequences of ignoring God is the evident loss of direction that marks our societies, resulting in loneliness and violence, discontent and loss of confidence that can often lead to despair".

"The crisis of hope is more likely to affect the younger generations. In socio-cultural environments with few certainties, values or firm points of reference, they find themselves facing difficulties that seem beyond their strength. ... For some (unfortunately a significant number) the almost unavoidable way out involves an alienating escape into dangerous and violent behaviour, dependence on drugs and alcohol, and many other such traps for the unwary. ... But how can we speak of this hope to those young people? ... The main task for us all is that of a new evangelisation aimed at helping younger generations to rediscover the true face of God, Who is Love. To you young people, who are in search of a firm hope, I address the very words that St. Paul wrote to the persecuted Christians in Rome at that time: 'May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit'".

" 3. St . Paul, witness of hope

"When Paul found himself immersed in difficulties and trials of various kinds, he wrote to his faithful disciple Timothy: 'We have set our hope on the living God'. How did this hope take root in him? In order to answer that question we must go back to his encounter with the Risen Jesus on the road to Damascus . At that time, Saul was a young person like you in his early twenties, a follower of the Law of Moses and determined to fight, ... and even to kill those he regarded as God's enemies. ... After that encounter, Paul's life changed radically, ... he was inwardly transformed by the Divine Love he had met in the person of Jesus Christ. ... From being a persecutor, he became a witness and a missionary. He founded Christian communities in Asia Minor and Greece , and travelled thousands of miles amid all kinds of perils, culminating in his martyrdom in Rome . All this for love of Christ.

"4. The great hope is in Christ

"For Paul, hope is not simply an ideal or sentiment, but a living person: Jesus Christ, the Son of God. ... If we are not alone, if He is with us, even more, if He is our present and our future, why be afraid?"

"5. The way towards the great hope

"Just as He once encountered the young Paul, Jesus also wants to encounter each one of you, my dear young people. ... But perhaps some of you might ask me: How can I meet Him today? Or rather, in what way does He approach me? The Church teaches us that the desire to encounter the Lord is already a fruit of His grace".

"Persevering prayer opens the heart to receive Him. ... Make space for prayer in your lives! To pray alone is good, although it is even more beautiful and fruitful to pray together, because the Lord assured us He would be present wherever two or three are gathered in His name".

"Take part in your parish liturgies and be abundantly nourished by the word of God and your active participation in the Sacraments. As you know, the summit and centre of the life and mission of every believer and every Christian community is the Eucharist".

"6. Acting in accordance with Christian hope

"If you find your sustenance in Christ, my dear young people, and if you live profoundly in Him as did the Apostle Paul, you will not be able to resist speaking about Him and making Him known and loved by many of your friends and contemporaries".

"The Church depends on you for this demanding mission. Do not be discouraged by the difficulties and trials you encounter. Be patient and persevering so as to overcome the natural youthful tendency to rush ahead and to want everything immediately".

"If Jesus has become your hope, communicate this to others with your joy and your spiritual, apostolic and social engagement. ... Make choices that demonstrate your faith. Show that you understand the risks of idolising money, material goods, career and success, and do not allow yourselves to be attracted by these false illusions. Do not yield to the rationale of selfish interests. Cultivate love of neighbour and try to put yourselves and your human talents and professional abilities at the service of the common good and of truth, always prepared to 'make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you'. True Christians are never sad, even if they have to face trials of various kinds, because the presence of Jesus is the secret of their joy and peace.

"7. Mary, Mother of hope"

"The Virgin Mary, Mother of Hope ... who incarnated the hope of Israel , who gave the world its Saviour, and who remained at the foot of the Cross with steadfast hope, is our model and our support. Most of all, Mary intercedes for us and leads us through the darkness of our trials to the radiant dawn of an encounter with the Risen Christ".

"Mary, Star of the Sea, we ask you to guide the young people of the whole world to an encounter with your Divine Son Jesus. Be the celestial guardian of their fidelity to the Gospel and of their hope".

MESS/WORLD YOUTH DAY/... VIS 090304 (1210)

V.I.S. -Vatican Information Service.
Copyright © Vatican Information Service 00120 Vatican City

Monday, 2 March 2009

Juventutem in Bern, Switzerland, February 21-22, 2009


Young Catholic Adults, originally uploaded by ps99ddb.

(The full report can be found at:-http://www.youngcatholicadults.co.uk/news.htm)

For the second time, representatives from Juventutem groups in various countries have met in Bern, Switzerland, on February 21st and 22nd, 2009.

The schedule was similar to the one last year. Over twenty Juventutem members had travelled to Switzerland for the occasion. They came from France, England, Ireland, Slovakia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Spain, of course Switzerland, and even Russia. Like last year, the aim was not to have many people, but rather to ensure diversity of representation.

The gathering officially started with Holy Mass at 3pm at the Villa Maria. Juventutem Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr Armand de Malleray offered a votive Mass of Saint John Bosco, Patron of Catholic Youth. In English and in French Fr de Malleray drew a parallel between St John Bosco’s time and ours, reminding us that the great apostle of Turin had had to overcome all sorts of suspicion and of opposition as the government accused him of working for the Vatican against the new regime set up by the Piedmont-Savoy sacrilegious monarch. King Victor-Emmanuel of Piedmont-Savoy had indeed invaded the Pontifical States, putting all Catholic clergy loyal to the Sovereign Pontiff in a very delicate situation. Despite the most obvious value of St John Bosco’s apostolates for the education of the youth and of the clergy, shaping young men into good and trustworthy subjects when so many others were falling into illegality and vices, these worthy initiatives were often hindered by civil authorities. This did not prevent the saint from working wonders at the service of God. Fr de Malleray said that current anti Catholic prejudice could sometimes discourage us in the XXIst century. However he added, we should be certain that God’s almighty grace could help us bare abundant fruit and achieve great things for his Reign - if only union with God was our essential and constant goal. Thomas Balsis from Lithuania served the Low Mass, which was concluded by the singing of the Marian antiphon “Ave Regina Coelorum”.

After thanksgiving, we met in the refectory for coffee. The Juventutem Federation’s flag was hanging on the wall. Like last year, the Sisters had prepared everything for us on the tables and really made us all feel at home. There was an informal time for greeting each other. It was good to see again many members who had come last year. For instance, newlywed Damian Barker from Juventutem England (YCA) had come with his wife. Some of us had seen each other in between, either at the traditional pilgrimage to Chartres, or at WYD in Australia. Vassili came from Moscow, where he leads the Gregorian schola for the Old Rite Mass.

Juventutem Federation President Gregory Flash then opened the official session. Each member introduced himself or herself and shared update on his or her group’s activities. Gregory said it was important to keep the Federation informed of what we were doing as Juventutem groups. He asked whether we had seen any improvement in our situations as the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was making the Roman traditions of the Church better valued and accessible. It seemed that the multiplication of Mass centers in the Extraordinary Form could make it easier for more youths to hear about these traditions and benefit from them, but on the other hand, it also meant that each Mass center had fewer people attending, thus making the traditional setting sometimes less attractive for youths. Young people like it better when they see a sufficient number of other youths interested in the same things.

Cosimo also asked for the addresses to be updated, as a fair number of the 450 Juventutem Christmas cards he had sent two months ago had been returned to him due to incorrect address.

Gregory Flash then announced his intention to have a successor elected. He added that he had talked already with Raphaël Waldis about that possibility. We then proceeded with the vote, with Raphaël being elected at the first ballot. Several groups who did not have a representative physically present had sent a proxy. Raphaël thanked the members and said he was happy to be of help. The fact he lives in Switzerland will help for collaboration with Treasurer Cosimo Marti.

We then went back into the chapel for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and adoration, served by Damian Barker, from England. It was a wonderful moment, all of us gathered before the Lord, fulfilling a very essential dimension of Juventutem’s spirituality centered on Eucharistic devotion, both through the Mass and through adoration, as depicted in our logo. After having exposed the Blessed Sacrament, Fr de Malleray recessed in the sacristy to hear confessions while we adored. He then came back and led us in praying a decade of the Rosary asking for strength and protection for the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. He reminded us of the fact a novena was currently being prayed all over the world for the Holy Father, ending the day after, on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. We also presented to God the intentions of all Juventutem groups and supporters all over the world.

After adoration we cleaned the refectory and tidied up the chapel and sacristy, before making our way to Il Grissino, the restaurant where we were to have dinner. It was a very merry evening in a casual and convivial atmosphere. We were glad to have among us Mr Heinz Müller, an ebenist supporting Juventutem (although not a Catholic). The night was beautiful, with snow in the streets, then quieter than last year when it was carnival.

Dinner at the restaurant was a great opportunity for all to talk casually with each other and exchange news. French and English were the most commonly spoken languages.

On Sunday morning 22 February we all met again at Holy Trinity Church for Holy Mass. Like last year the Secretary to the Papal Nunciature attended Mass in choir. Mgr Ruiz Mainardi had been assigned at the Papal Nunciature in Cuba, but his successor was equally pleased to pray with us. Unlike last year though, for want of available clerics, we had a Sung Mass and not a Solemn High Mass. It was served by male members of Juventutem from various countries, while others – boys and girls alike – joined in the schola to sing the Gregorian kyriale and proper of the Quinquagesima Sunday. Fr de Malleray offered the Mass and preached on Juventutem. He quoted Pope Benedict’s homily at Randwick on the last WYD in Sydney, and also Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ letter of support to the International Juventutem Federation last year.

After thanksgiving we met for breakfast at the Hôtel National where Dr and Mrs Gerd Weisensee joined us. Dr Weisensee has supported Juventutem from the beginning and had given a talk on pro-life legal issues related with health insurance at the first Juventutem gathering in Bavaria, August 2005. Breakfast was followed with a projection of pictures and films (www.juventutem.org) on Juventutem activities over the past year, mainly on the Eucharistic Congress in Québec, Canada, and at WYD in Melbourne and Sydney. We then had a time for sharing our experiences and our expectations as Juventutem members. Tomas Balsis, from Juventutem Lithuania, was presented with an ancient map of his country. It was quite unique to hear such a diversity of testimonies among a rather small group of people representing very diverse cultures and languages (with members from Spain, France, England, Ireland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovakia, Italy and Russia).

We then met for lunch at Il Grissino where the waiters now know our group fairly well. The Nunciature’s Secretary came for lunch as well and was able to speak with Kieran, from Juventutem Ireland, his fellow citizen. Fr Arnaud Evrat, FSSP, the chaplain to Juventutem Switzerland, attended lunch as well. Some of us started departing in order to catch their trains back home, while others stayed longer. Some were shown around Bern by Cosimo Marti. That week-end has been a blessed time of fraternal gathering and it is a pleasure to see that the Federation is getting stronger through mutual friendship and prayer. We all gave thanks to God “Who giveth joy to our youth" - ad Deum qui laetificat Juventutem nostram. Taken from (http://www.juventutem.org)