a day of masses for the dead…

November 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

Model of the Abbey of Cluny

This Feast, in commemoration of all the faithful departed souls in Purgatory, was instituted in the Benedictine Monastery of Cluny by Abbot Odilo in the year 998. On this day, the Office of the Dead is recited by the clergy. Pope Benedict XV granted to all Priests the privilege of saying three Masses of Requiem:

  • one for the faithful departed souls in Purgatory;
  • one for the intention of the Holy Father; and
  • one for the Priest’s intention.

If this date falls on a Sunday it is transferred to the following day.

O God, the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of Your servants departed full remission of all their sins, that, through our devout prayers, they may obtain the pardon, which they have always desired. Who live and reign, world without end. Amen.

℣ Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord.

℟ And let perpetual light shine upon them.

℣ May they rest in peace.

℟ Amen.


Mary is the ‘rosa mystica’ – Bl. John Henry Newman

October 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

℣Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix. ℟Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.

Mary is the most beautiful flower that ever was seen in the spiritual world. It is by the power of God’s grace that from this barren and desolate earth there have ever sprung up at all flowers of holiness and glory. And Mary is the Queen of them. She is the Queen of spiritual flowers; and therefore she is called the Rose, for the rose is fitly called of all flowers the most beautiful.

But moreover, she is the Mystical, or hidden Rose; for mystical means hidden. How is she now “hidden” from us more than other saints? What means this singular appellation, which we apply to her specially? The answer to this question introduces us to a third reason for believing in the reunion of her sacred body to her soul, and its assumption into heaven soon after her death, instead of its lingering in the grave until the General Resurrection at the last day.

It is this:—if her body was not taken into heaven, where is it? how comes it that it is hidden from us? why do we not hear of her tomb as being here or there? why are not pilgrimages made to it? why are not relics producible of her, as of the saints in general? Is it not even a natural instinct which makes us reverent towards the places where our dead are buried? We bury our great men honourably. St Peter speaks of the sepulchre of David as known in his day, though he had died many hundreds of years before. When our Lord’s body was taken down from the Cross, He was placed in an honourable tomb. Such too had been the honour paid to St John Baptist, his tomb being spoken of by St Mark as generally known. Christians from the earliest times went from other countries to Jerusalem to see the holy places. And, when the time of persecution was over, they paid still more attention to the bodies of the Saints, as of St Stephen, St Mark, St Barnabas, St Peter, St Paul, and other Apostles and Martyrs. These were transported to great cities, and portions of them sent to this place or that. Thus, from the first to this day it has been a great feature and characteristic of the Church to be most tender and reverent towards the bodies of the Saints. Now, if there was anymore who more than all would be preciously taken care of, it would be our Lady. Why then do we hear nothing of the Blessed Virgin’s body and its separate relices? Why is she thus the hidden Rose? Is it conceivable that they who had been so reverent and careful of the bodies of the Saints and Martyrs should neglect her—her who was the Queen of Martyrs and the Queen of Saints, who was the very Mother of our Lord? It is impossible. Why then is she the hidden Rose? Plainly because that sacred body is in heaven, not on earth.

from Meditations and Devotions, by
Blessed John Henry, Cardinal Newman, Cong.Orat.

un œuf est un œuf

October 16, 2010 § Leave a comment

Whilst we support the general thrust of what Mr Reade says concerning the greatest Festival in the Church’s year, we must remember that he is merely a layman. He is speaking as a ‘bishop’ or rather as various friends of mine would say,

an official of the department of State called the “Church of England”.

However, his orders or rather lack therof, notwithstanding, Mr Reade makes a very good point about the lack of knowledge surrounding the real message of Easter, following on from the campaign for the real message of Christmass. We give you what the ‘Christian’ Institute says on its website, with our comments or editorial marks in red, just to clarify, you understand.


An egg recommended by a layman to an ecclesial community. We feel sure that the Sovereign Pontiff would approve of this despite its heretical recommendation.


The Bishopof Blackburn has called on supermarkets not to be hesitant to stock a ChurchEcclesial Community of England Easter egg that carries a message about Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection.

The Church Ecclesial Community said last month that some retailers maybe reluctant to sell the egg because of its overt Christian theme.

But Rt Revd Mr Nicholas Reade said there would be high demand for it and encouraged stores to put it on their shelves.


The product, called the Real Easter Egg, is made from fair trade chocolate. Its box carries a message about Good Friday and Easter SunDay, and depicts a hill with three crosses on it.

The Bishop said: “With seven million people going to church” and others going to Church at least once a month and another seven million supporting the ethos behind Fairtrade, there should be substantial demand”.

He added: “I recently came across a truly shocking statistic: more than 80 million Easter eggs are sold in Britain every year, and not one of them mentions the name of our Blessed Lord Jesus Christ.”


The Bishop has written to all 250 Anglican clergy lay men and women masquerading as clerics and 300 Church Ecclesial Community of England schools in Lancashire, urging them to get behind the Christian egg

He appealed to the clergy lay people masquerading as clerics, saying: “Can I ask for your help with this, in encouraging church schools to consider their support, by commending this project to your parish community, and raising awareness in your local shops and supermarkets, to make these plans a reality?”

The eggs have been developed by Manchester-based The Meaningful Chocolate Company, working in consultation with a number of churches ecclesial communities and dioceses departments of state.


Donations from the profits will be made to two charities: Baby Lifeline and Traidcraft Exchange.

Last September it was revealed that thousands of schools were adopting a standardised spring break, rather than moving it to coincide with Easter.

Research by The Daily Telegraph newspaper found that schools in a third of local authority areas had adopted a fixed two-week break.


Religious leaders criticised the move for downplaying the significance of Easter for the sake of convenience.

Local councils determine the holiday dates for state schools. A survey of half the local councils in England by The Daily Telegraph found that one third had adopted or were about to adopt a fixed spring break.

However, 46 out of 73 authorities said their schools’ spring holidays will continue to correspond to the date of Easter.

There now, isn’t that a better reading of what the “Christian” Institute says. We thought so.

So liturgical dance could kill you

October 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Thank you very much to Fr Z for this post, which I am quoting in full. I hope he doesn’t mind. Of course Fr Z is quoting Fr Blake of Brighton, where a friend of mine AMNW can be found in the serving team.

My friend Fr. Blake, the great P.P. of St. Mary Magdalene in Brighton, gets a tip of the biretta for this    o{]:¬)

From ICN:

Card. Wako

An assassination attempt on Cardinal Zubeir Wako, the Catholic Archbishop of Khartoum took place on Sunday. The attack happened as the Cardinal was leading the Eucharistic celebration at the Comboni Playground in Khartoum.

A suspect, who was identified as Hamdan Mohamed Abdurrahman,  infiltrated the congregation and joined the liturgical dancers in front of the altar. He made his way to the front of the group and held up a dagger within four steps of Cardinal Wako, before he was spotted by the Master of Ceremonies, Mr Barnaba Matuech Anei who was next to the cardinal, who caught and disarmed him. He was then handed over to the security guards who had missed him earlier.

“The man  might have infiltrated and entered the playground early, and hid himself amongst the faithful because we had very intense security check-in at the gates,” Mr Matuec said.

“We want to find out what was his mission in the Church was, and why he was carrying a dagger with him. [Why he had a knife?  Why do you think he had a knife?  Was he going to give it to the Cardinal as a gift?  Did he want His Eminence to autograph it?] After that, we will see what to do next. We must know his background and identity. If he has people backing him to carry out such actions in the church, we would like to know,” he said


The Catholic Church has filed a case against Hamdan. When interrogated on Monday at Military Central Committee of the Sudan Armed Forces, Hamdan testified that he was an Arab Misseriya from Southern Kordofan State. He is being detained at the police station in Khartoum and will be taken to the court for further action.

International experts warn that the life of Christians in Northern Sudan will be in danger if Southern Sudan secede during the self-determination referendum.

Let that be a warning to you!  Liturgical dance can kill you!

It’s been killing liturgical dignity for years.

CNA‘s story.

Mary is the Janua Cœli: the Gate of Heaven

October 13, 2010 § Leave a comment

Mary is called the Gate of Heaven, because it was through her that our Lord passed from heaven to earth. The Prophet Ezechiel, prophesying of Mary; says,

the gate shall be closed, it shall not be opened, and no man shall pass through it, since the Lord God of Israel has entered through it—and it shall be closed for the Prince, the Prince Himself shall sit in it.

Ave Maria, gratia plena, Dominus tecum.

Now this is fulfilled, not only in our Lord having taken flesh from her, and being her Son, but, moreover in that she had a place in the economy of Redemption; it is fulfilled in her spirit and will, as well as in her body. Eve had a part in the fall of man, though it was Adam who was our representative, and whose sin made us sinners. It was Eve who began, and who tempted Adam. Scripture says:

The woman saw that the tree was good to eat, and fair to the eyes, and delightful to behold; and she took of the fruit thereof; and did eat, and gave to her husband, and he did eat.

IT was fitting then in God’s mercy that, as the woman began the destruction of the world, so woman should also begin its recovery, and that, as Eve opened the way for the fatal deed of the first Adam, so Mary should open the way for the great achievement of the second Adam, even our Lord Jesus Christ, who came to save the world by dying on the cross for it. Hence Mary is called by the Holy Fathers a second and a better Eve, as having taken that first step in the salvation of mankind which Eve took in its ruin.

How, and when, did Mary take part, and the initial part, in the world’s restoration? It was when the Angel Gabriel came to her to announce to her the great dignity which was to be her portion. St Paul bids us

present our bodies to God as a reasonable service.

We must not only pray with our lips, and fast, and do outward penance, and be chaste in our bodies; but we must be obedient, and pure in our minds. And so, as regards the Blessed Virgin, it was God’s will that she should undertake willingly and with full understanding to be the Mother of our Lord, and not to be a mere passive instrument whose maternity would have no merit and no reward. The higher our gifts, the heavier our duties. It was no light lot to be so intimately near to the Redeemer of men, as she experienced afterwards when she suffered with him. Therefore, weighing well the Angel’s words before giving answer to them—first she asked whether so great an office would be a forfeiture of that Virginity which she had vowed. When the Angel told her no, then, with the full consent of a full heart, full of God’s love to her and her own lowliness, she said

Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it done unto me according to thy word.

It was by this consent that she became the Gate of Heaven.

from Meditations and Devotions
by the Blessed John Henry, Cardinal Newman

The Sacrament of Penance

September 27, 2010 § Leave a comment

Monday in the Eighteenth Week after Pentecost

Penance is a disposition of the soul, an interior attitude, intimately connected with Christianity. Christ in his first sermon said,

Repent, the kingdom of God is at hand.

St Matthew 4.17

Repentance is a change of outlook, fresh orientation of thought, combat and deed. It means putting off the old Adam, with his purely human values and appreciations, and a putting-on of Christ with his values, his ambitions.

Penance is not an affair of any given moment, of any one day; it is an attitude to be maintained all through life. The weekly confession imposed by their rule on all religious is an act of penance, raised to the rank of a sacrament. Each one is a new orientation towards God, a return to the rod that leads to heaven.

As Christ on the eve of his Passion gave us the Blessed Eucharist, so on the day of his resurrection he gave us the sacrament of penance. The gift of his mercy followed the gift of his love.

In the hours of his Passion, what mercy Christ showed! Mercy to Peter, who had declared that he did not even know him; mercy to the penitent thief who, when he turned his head towards the dying Saviour, turned his heart to God; mercy to the traitor, whom he met with the words:

Friend, wherefore art thou come hither?

Did not all these pardons show that he forgives as he loves: “usque in finem“, to the very end?

Yet Christ, when he passed on his divine power to his Apostles, made one condition. The words by which Jesus instituted the sacrament show that his pardon was given only when the Church, his Bride, was prepared to give hers. According to St John, the words of that institution were,

Receive the Holy Spirit; when you forgive men’s sins, they are forgiven, when you hold them bound, they are held bound.

St John 20.23

Christ forgives sins only when the priest, successor of the Apostles, and thus the Church itself, is ready to forgive them.

Christ is so entirely at one with his Church that it is impossible to offend him without offending her also. Sin does not only wrong God, it also wrongs God’s Church, and Christ esteems the wrong done to her so great that not until it has been expiated does he grant his forgiveness.

It shows how real our membership of the mystical body is, how great the social as well as the personal meaning of this sacrament, as of all the others. The whole body is sanctified by the confession of the individual. It is an occasion of real reparation, not for our sins and faults only, but also for the shortcomings of many others.

Confession, the sacramental act of penance, does not only re-orientate ourselves, but also the whole community. By our confessions we build up the Church; who strengthens the Vine, strengthens all its branches.

Let us pray that the Lord may be always in our heart and on our lips, so that our confessions may be pleasing to God. May they be such that, united to the Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the merits of the blessed Virgin Mary and of all the Saints, to the good done in the world and the evil which is overcome, they may obtain for us the pardon of sin, increase of grace and the reward of eternal life.

from With the Church: Meditations on the Missal and the Breviary
edited by Father Mathias Goosens OFM
published 1962, cum approbatione ecclesiatica

thy sins are forgiven

September 26, 2010 § Leave a comment

Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

James J. Tissot 1836-1902, The Palsied Man Let Down Through the Roof, Brooklyn Museum

Lord, in today’s Gospel, what power you manifest! If you heal the body, you first, by a greater miracle, heal the soul. You begin by what for us is the most important: peace of mind.

Our hearts desire peace and happiness, which none but you can give. Purify our souls of sin and the tendency to sin — the two great obstacles to interior peace. Help us to be faithful to your commandments and to our vows, that so we may attain eternal glory.

Jesus is once again in Capharnaum, his own city. As soon as his arrival is known, the sick begin to throng around him. The house is already full, when men appear, carrying another stretcher. Impossible to enter the house, but the bearers were determined, by one means or another, to bring their palsied friend to Jesus’ feet. They climb on the roof — the house was a low one — carrying the sick man with them, and let him down, just at the Master’s feet.

The sick man looks trustfully at the Saviour; the onlookers stand breathless with suspense. What will happen now? Then Jesus breaks the silence, looking tenderly on the sufferer:

Son, take courage, thy sins are forgiven.

But some of the Scribes say to themselves,

He is talking blasphemously, God alone can forgive sins.

Jesus reads in their hearts as in an open book, and answers their unspoken thought:

Tell me, which command is more lightly given, to say to a man, Thy sins are forgiven, or to say, Rise up and walk?

He spoke to the sick man:

Rise up, take thy bed with thee, and go home.

They see the miracle; before their eyes the palsied man rises and walks; impossible to question the power of the divine Healer of soul and body.

(cf. St Matthew 9, St Mark 2)

What must the sick man’s joy have been when he heard those words

Son, take courage, thy sins are forgiven.

There was a moment when we too, with a palsied soul, were carried into the presence of Jesus. Shortly after our birth, pious parents had us carried to the church, that the waters of baptism might heal us and give us life.

In later life, paralysed by the sins we have ourselves committed, we too, after a sincere and contrite reception of the sacrament of penance, have heard those blessed words: Your sins are forgiven. Are we thankful enough for the grace the sacrament brings us? One of our daily prayers should be: My God, I thank you for your many pardons!

Our weekly confession is of great value to us.

Do we fully appreciate a sacrament in which an infinite God, insulted by his own creatures, at the first sign of sincere contrition not only forgives but forgets the sins which he casts behind his back?

We are weak and inconstant; not withstanding our best resolutions, we sin again and again. The Scriptures tell us that the just man himself falls seven times a day.

Life is a continual struggle against the wiles of the devil, and confession is always necessary because it gives us not only pardon, but also grace to persevere and ever to make a right choice between good and evil.

Our weekly confession is of great value to us. Each one brings us more grace and reduces our evil tendencies, thus making it easier to do what is right. By it, we learn to know ourselves better and to be more vigilant. We learn humility when we find how often we have to confess the same faults. Well employed, weekly confession is a sure path to perfection. If it becomes merely a burden, there is something that is checking us on the road to holiness.

The miraculous healing of the palsied man’s soul and body are but a shadow of God’s love and power. The sick man went to Jesus to implore, with faith and confidence, the cure of his body — how much more he received! God always gives us more than that for which we pray.

We too must go to Jesus whenever we feel the burden of sin. Our thoughts can be so mean, our words so hard, our conduct so uncharitable, our judgement so rash! There are days when, whatever our efforts, all seems to go wrong. Let us lift our eyes to Jesus and tell him of our shortcomings; then we shall hear him say

Courage! your sins are forgiven.

Dear Lord, we come to you full of hope and trust, just because our sins weigh so heavily on us. Cast a look of love upon us, and heal us.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners!

from With the Church: Meditations on the Missal and the Breviary
edited by Father Mathias Goosens OFM
published 1962, cum approbatione ecclesiatica

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