Wednesday, February 28, 2007

FSSP Lenten Retreat, London

Recollection on St Patrick's Day

With the gracious permission of the Archdiocese of Westminster, the priests of the Fraternity of Saint Peter will preach a Day of Recollection in central London on the theme :
- Preparing for Easter -

Saturday 17th March, 2007

Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory,
Warwick Street
24 Golden Square,

10.30 Tridentine Sung Mass
Lunch (please bring a packed lunch)
1 pm . First talk
2 pm . Second talk
Followed by Confessions, & ending at c. 4.30 pm with Benediction

There is no cost to participate – You are warmly encouraged to invite any interested persons

The Traddies from Tassie!

For information on the Classical Roman Liturgy in Tasmania, Australia (Archdiocese of Hobart), please visit the 'Tassie Traddies' blog. Please pray for them, and for the Church in Tasmania.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

A thought I had yesterday...

... St. Austin's homily (Mattins, first Monday of Lent) is an absolutely brilliant argument vs the often-found-Prostestant-view that 'I am saved by faith and it doesn't matter how I act'. Now, most of the Prods I know who hold that view actually perform many good works just... because. After all, Our Lord remains their example in this. But they hold the strange view nonetheless. Which has always mystified me.

The point being, are we sheep or goats?

Yes, I know this isn't a coherent post. But tough. I haven't got time to be coherent. I have to go and teach rock-n-roll to twelve year olds. What would the Holy Father have to say about that, I wonder!? This is a Catholic school. Honestly. At least inside my classroom.


Sunday, February 25, 2007

News from Zenit on the Post-Synodal Exhortation - really quite lovely:

"VATICAN CITY, FEB. 23, 2007 ( Benedict XVI announced that he will soon sign the apostolic exhortation on the conclusions of the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, held in 2005.

"I can say that I will soon sign the postsynodal exhortation on the Eucharist, which will then be available to the Church. It is a document that calls for meditation," the Pope said Thursday during a question-and-answer session with the Roman clergy in the Hall of Blessings.

"It will help both the liturgical celebration as well as personal reflection, both the preparation of homilies as well as the celebration of the Eucharist. And it will serve to guide, illuminate and revitalize popular devotion," added the Pontiff.

The Holy Father said that the document addresses the importance of Eucharistic adoration: "During the synod of the Eucharist the bishops spoke much about their experiences, how new life is restored in communities when this adoration, also nocturnal, takes place, and how in this way new vocations are also born."

The synod was on the theme "The Eucharist: Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church." It was the first of Benedict XVI's pontificate."

We have a wonderful, and very patient Holy Father.

Saturday, February 24, 2007


Today the Schola will be singing at the Solemn Mass, and it will be beautiful. Today's Tract is one of my favourites, so I'm very excited.

There is a collection of photos from Father Berg's visit, here.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Lent is Beautiful

It has once again come to my attention that each day of Lent has it's own liturgy - and it is beautiful. Lent is beautiful. While being the great penitential season, it is the time when the Lord spoils us poor creatures the most! I pray that we all may gain an abundance of the Lord's grace and peace through a close following of the Lenten liturgies, which we have received out of the Heart of the Church.

Lent is beautiful. Just look in your missal.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Sexagesima in Melbourne

Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Very Rev Fr John Berg FSSP gives support to Juventutem Australia

The Very Rev Fr John Berg FSSP, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, today met with the Juventutem Australia executive as part of his visit to Australia. Here Father is presented with a JA t-shirt by National Secretary, and 2005 pilgrim, Miss Eve Woolven. Juventutem Australia deeply appreciates Father's support.

Father Berg will be in Melbourne until the 22nd of February. He will be celebrating the Solemn Mass of Quinquagesima Sunday, and preach at both Burke Hall, and St Aloysius'. A picnic and Vespers follow the Solemn Mass.

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C'est tres chaud, mais...

We are currently experiencing very warm weather. It is so warm that it's hot. That is not the point of this post.

The point of today's post is centred upon my thought that the comment 'you must be so hot in that' is, at most times, quite rude. Particularly when it is directed at a lady.

Firstly, the female body is a cross. It is good, beautiful, life-bearing, and mysterious, but while all these things, and a great gift from God, ask any woman in any state of life, and I'm sure she will concur with a truth that has existed since the Fall. Only our Blessed Mother is in full and perfect possession of the glorified female body (and soul). It's a wonderful mystery. I suppose that this is simply a tale from the ensuing exile written by one experiencing acute symptoms of Original Sin. And a little too much sun.

In the Liturgy, the Church clothes herself in the finery of her wedding garments, and goes forth to meet the Lord. She is finely detailed in her prayer, lavish in her gestures, joyful in her song, expectant in her silence, and modest in her mystery. She looks beautiful, sounds beautiful, smells beautiful, and protects her most sacred treasures with a certain pleasing and holy aloofness. In the order of grace, she communicates herself, and affects and transforms her members according to the Holy Will of God. No one is left untouched, or unchanged. The Master makes all things new, and beautiful.

The Liturgy transforms one's sensibility. It begins to heal the disorders wrought by both Original Sin, and one's actual sins. It is most wonderful, miraculous, and painful, all at the same time. This is particularly pertinent in the case of those underlying maladies, specific to each indivdual, that one would rather not admit. Especially if we think that we have already conquered them by our own efforts.

Our culture is undergoing the crisis of a lack of true masculinity - what it means for a man to be a man, and a man of God. From the feminine perspective, it is a horrible crisis, because without real and right-ordered men, a lady doesn't know how to be a real and right-ordered woman. I think it works both ways.

The Liturgy transforms one's sensibility. I am blessed to know the most beautiful, feminine, and God-fearing women. The are entrely decent, intelligent, modest in dress and decorum, and importantly, each rightly according to her temperament. In this way, by her temperament, each lady is different, but her end is one and the same. The sanguine and the melancholic may appear a little differently, have a different interior life, and way of relating in the world, but they share in the same life of grace infused by the one Lord, as daughters of the one Church. Sometimes it can be difficult for them to appreciate one another. Particularly for the self-pitying melancholic.

Modesty is one of the Fruits of the Holy Spirit. Our Lord was perfectly modest. In Philippians, St Paul admonishes the faithful 'Gaudete in Domino semper, iterum dico, gaudete! Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus.' We are to be joyful - and our joy is to be true and sensible, and well-ordered. So we can see indeed that the Lord is worthy of every joy and every praise. This right-ordering of things seems to be at the very heart of modesty. Since the Lord has created us to live in the visible order as fleshy human beings, we must let our 'modesty be known' as befits the created order. Angels need not think about culture or clothing, but men do. Nonetheless, as the hymn 'Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence', reminds us, both angels and men are similarly subject "to the Presence." The Liturgy transforms one's sensibility, and one becomes mindful that all things, according to their nature, are to be rightly ordered toward God.

Each of the angels appears before the Lord in right fashion, carrying out his duties as befits his state. Thus men so do as the Lord has ordained according to His wishes. Men are not angels, and it takes time for them to discern the ways of the Lord. He helps them along quietly. Sometimes it is painful, but there is always joy at the end.

Let your modesty be known before all men. Do this in the world. Be ordered to the Good. It's really rather beautiful. It's results are beautiful. But it was never going to be an easy task. Here the treatise turns to narrative.

I am a plain melancholic. I would be more than content to pass the rest of my days in a formless smock. It's a case of those things which I have already spoken, and it is awfully difficult for me to find clothing. I refuse to buy three pieces of clothing when one would be sufficient (a top for under a top and something over that top), and can't seem to solve the mystery of lovely blouses having their two top buttons removed in the manufacturing process. Lack of sleeves is also a problem. Today's city expedition was a failure.

The irony of the story is that I found something close to home, just as I knew I would. I think I bought a man's shirt for a blouse. I can only tell by the buttons - which are covered - and this one has all its buttons. And sleeves. Oh the irony of having recourse to male clothing - which isn't at all masculine! The disorder of it all! At least you now have the story.

The Very Rev Father John Berg FSSP, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter, is visiting us. We are having a picnic after tomorrow's Mass. The forecast is for 38C. If it is the Lord's Will, it will snow.

Really, it comes down to this: if it is hot tomorrow, please don't ask me if I am hot. In aestu, temperies. And if it snows, I'll bring my jacket.

Fine. 1st Vespers follows...

Friday, February 16, 2007

Suavis Est

While surveying the location of visitors to this blog, I noticed the following and thought that it was sweet:

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Keep the Faith

Over the past few months, Father has delivered a series of wonderful lectures on the Catholic Faith. Last night marked its conclusion. Photos are courtesy of the resident photographer.

Preach the faith in season, and out of season, in snow, and in 36C!

Posing post the post-class, and pre-Lenten supper.

Certainly an opportunity of great grace. Please pray a Gloria Patri for a very special intention! The Lord is wooing - who can resist Him? Love the Church, Keep the Faith! There is nothing greater, nothing sweeter! Deo gratias.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

This may be unpopular around here...

... but if anything good came of the changes made to the Calendar in the 1960s, it has to be that in the new rite today is also the feast of Ss Cyril and Methodius, Apostles of the Slavs and Co-Patrons of Europe! It's been cheering me up all day long! (And Cyril did die on 14th February, so it's not mad.)

Gospodi pomiloi!

St Valentine, pray for us! Ss Cyril and Methodius, pray for us!

(also apologies to everyone I owe emails to. This having an actual job lark eats up one's time something awful...)

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Juventutem Sunday

Let Sexagesima be known in these parts as 'Juventutem Sunday'. To quote the lovely JMR from this time last year:

"Oh, and has anyone looked at the Communion Antiphon for sexagesima yet? If you haven't, do. And laugh a little bit. And then take it as an excuse to pray for all involved in Juventutem, if you will. Not that excuses are needed, but, well... it won't hurt!"

Please add a confident prayer for the eternal repose of the soul of Mr WE Morris.

Finally, may I please ask for your prayers... a Tota Pulchra, through the intercession of Saints Scholastica and Perpetua, and a Gloria Patri through the intercession of Saints Joseph, Benedict, Lawrence, and John the Baptist? Thank you most kindly, and I assure you of my prayers.

Finally, to quote myself at this time last year, quoting Saint Paul:

"Et dixit mihi: Sufficit tibi gratia mea: nam virtus in infirmitate perficitur. Libenter igitur gloriabor in infirmitatibus meis, ut inhabitet in me virtus Christi."

I'm quite certain that it will be the same quote in 2008.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Happy Feast of St Scholastica

It rained today!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Church and State

Today I arranged for the Australian government to pay me for going to church. I'll be on annual leave for the entirety of Holy Week. They can hardly argue with my supporting documentation! It's a great blessing, and I am very thankful.

Please remember Dom Christopher Andrews OSB, and his brother monks of Clear Creek in your prayers. I think Father would only approve of photos of himself online if they served as a lasting reminder to pray for him. He sang Mass beautifully on Sunday - and his Latin was quite French. Please pray for him.

Our next visitor will be the Very Rev John Berg, FSSP Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of St Peter. Father will be in Melbourne from the 16th-22nd of February (Chair of St Peter). He will preach at Burke Hall and St Aloysius' on Quinquagesima Sunday, 18th February, celebrating the Solemn Mass that morning at 11am at St Aloysius'. There will be a pre-Lenten picnic following, with Solemn Vespers and Benediction at 4pm. Deo gratias.

Monday, February 05, 2007

How could I forget to mention...

... this? Actually, the truth is that I assumed I had, and then looked back at the Juve blog to discover, to my shock, that I completely and utterly forgot to tell you all...

The weekend before last, I was in Stone (Staffordshire, UK) for a study weekend on the theme of 'Goodness', based, obviously, on St. Thomas's Summa Theologica. For those who don't see the link, suffice to say that Stone is the mother house of one of the female Dominican congregations in England. The group was nice and big (but not too big) and comprised of mainly students, with a couple of people like me (grown-up but think we're still students), a local priest, the OPs running the sessions and a random Benedictine monk from Ealing (which is why Perpetua's post reminded me of this). Sessions were on goodness in general, God's goodness (actually, we cheated and did perfection because it was easier) and the problem of evil. There was a mixture of talks (lecture-style) and more interactive work beginning with the objections and not being allowed to read St. Thomas's corpus until afterwards. I was already able to see the advantage that a really brief forray earlier this year into introductory scholastic theology has brought about!

If anyone gets the chance to do this, or something similar, I heartily recommend it. In fact, there used to be a group in our London chaplaincy which did approximately the same thing, though far less intensively. Even getting a group of mates around and, starting with the questions, seeing what you come up with can be a good way to go about it. It's much more like what Aquinas intended and I suspect that a lot his writing came out of debates with students.

Of course, there were added benefits. For all the lack of the traditional Mass (in fact, we were treated to the once-a-month folk Mass of the parish!) I was accorded some wonderful opportunities. Stone has certain historical links with Bl. Dominic Barbieri and Ven. John Henry Cdnl. Newman, amongst others. And a fine collection of relics, all duly venerated including a first class of St. Catherine; a large chunk of St. Thomas More's hair shirt; some of St. Francis de Sales' writing; and, not least, the desk of St. Pius X!

On a rather more random note, our Benedictine kindly gave me a lift back to London with one of the Dominican sisters and our stop-off for afternoon tea in Warwick produced some wonderful reactions from passers-by. We spent the rest of the way playing 'The Vicar's Cat'.

Septuagesima at St Aloysius'

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Septuagesima at Burke Hall

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Novus Blogus II

So, there it is. You will be invited to make the change - but you must make it. Must, you hear? Nothing will be changed...


A Benedictine

Today I had my first Benedictine encounter. I saw him quietly come into the church in simple habit, and drape himself with his monastic vesture. I saw him praying before Mass. I saw him work at the altar. I saw his elevations. I saw the Eucharistic Christ sprout from his hands like a flower. I felt the Benedictine habit against my face as I received his first blessing. I put my fingers on his hands as he asked for prayers. I saw his wonderful countenance. So much humility, joy, and firm sensibility.

Earlier in the morning, I had candles at my throat.

I saw all these things, these most amazing things, and there isn't much to say.

God, help me.

Novus Blogus

Blogger is forcing the Juventutem Blog to change formats and adopt the 'new and improved blogger' - we don't have much say in the matter. It's universal.