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Showing posts from July, 2014

A New Priestly Blog

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To be honest, not much I read on the internet really moves me any more. But this really did.

Father James is a friend and priest of my diocese who has been Ordained five years this year. He has just started blogging, and his prose is rich in imagery and content. He has that wonderful knack of setting his subject matter in a temporal context which adds texture as you follow him in, and out of the frame, reflecting with him.

Please add his blog to your roll and visit his page regularly!

An Ordination- Deo Gratias!

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Lou & I really did have the most splendid weekend. I actually had a rather splendid week, with our year six leaver's Mass on Monday night, a meeting on Tuesday night which afforded the opportunity for a cheeky Nando's (which I will never pass up), and then a day at Berry Bros & Rudd's Wine School on Thursday with my brother-in-law to learn all about Spanish wine (which was, I have to say, absolutely excellent, and very enjoyable).

On Friday however, we were fortunate enough to be invited to attend the Priestly Ordination of Stefan Kaminski, bestowed by Archbishop Vincent Nichols, with Mgr Keith Newton, and a host of other clergy, at Our Lady of Victories, Kensington High Street. The Church was looking magnificent, the reredos having been recently renovated, it provided a fitting setting for such a special occasion.


I met Stefan's mum about eight years ago, when we started a degree course at Maryvale together. Stefan had just started studying for the priesthood…

Confirmations at St. Peter's, Eastwood.

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On Tuesday evening, I joined Fr. Jeff Woolnough and the parishioners of St. Peter's, Eastwood, on the occassion of the episcopal visitation and Confirmations. This was my first opportunity to meet Bishop Alan Williams myself.

Confirmation is a great Sacrament, it constitutes the completion of the Sacraments of Initiation, and provides tenable link with our bishops, the successors of the Apostles. Just as Jesus Baptised with water and the Spirit, so we Baptise our Children, claiming them for Christ soon after birth, and then with the Holy Spirit at Confirmation, which recalls the laying on of hands and invocation of the Spirit wrought by the Apostles in Scripture. The biblical record tells us that converts to the faith were first baptised, and then the Apostles “laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit” (Acts 8:17).

We define Confirmation as the sacrament of spiritual strengthening, in Latin, roboratio spiritualis. Our English word “robust” comes from the Latin robur, w…

Lovely First Pastoral Letter from Bishop Alan Williams

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Today in Brentwood Diocese, we received our first Pastoral Letter from our new Bishop, Alan Williams SM.

Louise and I have had a rather busy and joyous weekend attending the Priestly Ordination of Stefan Kaminski, the son of some dear friends of ours, Marie-Claire & Daniel. Marie-Claire and I studied together for five years at Maryvale. Subsequently, we have followed Stefan's progress through the English College in Rome with prayer and joy. We were very privileged to be invited and really did enjoy it—I'll write on it separately when I get a second—I have several posts in draft now and haven't finished any of them! The Ordination was such a joy, it needs to be shared, also in order that you might pray for Stefan and his family, as he begins his priestly ministry.

I was also fortunate enough to meet Bishop Alan properly for the first time on Wednesday, when he visited St. Peter's Parish in Eastwood in order to confer the Sacrament of Confirmation. Again, I have a pos…

Assisted Dying- Can You Be Bothered?

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If you are looking to gain a deeper understanding of the issues surrounding the assisted suicide bill which will be debated in the Lords today, you could do worse than read Greg Daly's blog for Catholic Voices which I reproduce in full below. Greg picks up on comments made by Poly Toynbee in the Guardian on Tuesday which put the two sides of the argument in stark relief for me. Madeleine Teahan has also address Toynbee's chilling comments in the Catholic Herald.

Mgr Keith Newton, head of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, has also issued the following statement: The Assisted Dying BillThe Assisted Dying Bill has its Second Reading in the House of Lords on Friday 18 July. If it became law it would make incitement to suicide routine in our society, thereby putting pressure on the most vulnerable to see themselves as a burden to society. The Church’s teaching is clear: that human life, from conception to natural death, is a gift from God. Christ calls us to offer those fa…

Mgr Keith Newton to Anglicans: Come & Be One!

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The decision of the Synod yesterday to "create" women "bishops" sounds the death knell for Anglo-Catholic aspirations of reunification with Rome. In a frankly, barking mad attempt to redefine and remake two thousand years of Christian Tradition, the Anglican Synod voted for the third time, to overturn centuries of practice and biblical teaching in a total capitulation of divinely revealed truths before modern temporal considerations. I frankly find it amazing how God's will can be discerned by repeatedly voting for what the world apparently wants. Evidently, the last two votes which were 'saturated in prayer', and produced a rejection of women bishops, didn't count as being God's will. Third time lucky. If at first you don't succeed, just keep plugging away. What better way to show the world that revelation doesn't exist, let alone matter. And this is the crux of the matter--the way that decisions are made within the Anglican Communion,…

Bishop O'Toole of Plymouth Speaks out on Assisted Dying

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I was so glad to hear from a member of his diocese, that the recently ordained ninth Bishop of Plymouth, The Rt. Rev Mark O'Toole has also spoken out on the Assisted Dying Bill which is due to be debated in the House of Lords on Friday, 18 July.

The Bishop, ordained on 28th January this year at the Cathedral Church of Saint Mary and Saint Boniface, was formerly rector of Allen Hall seminary in West London. I have to say, I keep hearing good things about the work he is doing in Plymouth--Deo gratias!

In a pastoral letter issued last weekend, Bishop O'Toole warned that the Bill raises "serious questions" about what sort of society we want to be:
"Our faith teaches us that all human life is sacred. Respecting life means that every person must be valued for as long as they live. Whilst we believe every person should be given appropriate treatment in their suffering we do not always use extraordinary means to extend life at all costs."At the same time it is not…

Bishop Egan Takes Action

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The Catholic Herald reports that Bishop Philip Egan VG BA, STL, PhD has led the way once more today, asking parishes in his diocese of Portsmouth to hold a Holy Hour of prayer on Thursday night before assisted suicide is debated in the Lords on Friday.


In a message to those in his diocese he wrote:
“Even if you are unable to join the community for this Holy Hour, please at least pay a visit to the Blessed Sacrament that day. In meeting Jesus, the Son of God, in the Holy Eucharist to receive His love and life, we are also contemplating the Perfect Human Being.“Jesus is the One who shows us in His humanity the Way to true happiness and human flourishing. He calls us to live not for self and for transient goals, but for God and for the love of others.

“When you meet Him, please pray that Parliament will firmly reject this Bill. Pray too for the terminally ill, and for the generous and selfless doctors, nurses and medical staff who care for them. Pray for those who will die today.
“Pray for …

The Episcopal Perspective

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I often wonder if there is a certain amount of insularity which is unavoidable for the episcopacy. Given the position of our bishops, it would concern me, from the position of a business leader, that organisationally, they might lack self-evaluation and perspective. In this regard, one has to look to the recent influx of new bishops, and hope that they bring with them some external perspective which could prove invaluable to the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

Fundamentally, what I am getting at here is my old clarion call about catechesis-- or the extraordinary lack of it we have experienced, and continue to experience. It's not just me either.
Clare Short is a Catholic mum of three beautiful children and has been married for 14 years.
She blogs over at Faith in our Families, always a good read. The other day she posted a really insightful reflection from the trenches, if you like, that is, from those who are in the muck and bullets, about the Synod on the Family. Havin…

Pope Francis asks victims of abuse for forgiveness condemns leaders who refused to help them

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Pope Francis faced an unenviable task today. He had to meet six victims of clerical sex abuse to listen to their stories and to offer some sort of impossible apology for what they have suffered at the hands of men they trusted because they represented the Catholic Church.

The Pope responded to this by begging forgiveness for the “sacrilegious” crimes committed by the “sons and daughters of the Church who betrayed their mission, who abused innocent persons.”

The Pope told six victims of priestly abuse – two from Britain, two from Germany and two from Ireland – that the Church would “weep” for its “grave sin” and must make amends for the suffering it has caused.

"I ask for the grace to weep, the grace for the Church to weep and make reparation for her sons and daughters who betrayed their mission," he said denouncing the abuse of minors as “worse than despicable”. The Pope said: “It is like a sacrilegious cult, because these boys and girls had been entrusted to the priestly cha…

Consecration Video: Bishop of Brentwood

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Live streaming was seriously lacking at the consecration of Brentwood's new bishop, the Rt. Revd. Alan Williams last week. However this video has just been posted on Vimeo which presents an excellent summary of the day's highlights:



Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop of Brentwood from Paul Desmond on Vimeo.

Armageddon Discovery Shows How Badly Dan Brown Got it Wrong

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Well, obviously, he got it wrong lots in The DaVinci Code, but he did give us all something to talk about again!

This week, on the CNA website, Bishop Arthur Serratelli, the bishop of Paterson, New Jersey, uses a fascinating archaeological discovery to show how Pope Francis articulates a fundamental Christian truth when he says:
“A Christian is not a monad, off somewhere alone. No, he belongs to a people, to the Church…A Christian without the Church is … not a reality… A Christian without the Church is incomprehensible: It is a thing of the laboratory, an artificial thing, a thing that cannot give life…The Christian is always a woman, a man of the Eucharist”  —Pope Francis, May 15, 2014 homily at Mass at Domus Sanctae Marthae. The news that the remnants of a 3rd century A.D. church have been unearthed at Megiddo, the venue for the New Testament's final battle at the end of the world (Rev 16:16) has demonstrated that Brown's assertion in the DaVinci Code, that the divinity of J…