Getting Banned

•October 27, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I have been (temporarily) banned from even looking at the WDTPRS blog of Fr John Zuhlsdorf. He didn’t appreciate my humour regarding a Knight of Columbus in what, to me, looked like a halloween wig. Although I disagree with Fr Z about just about everything – taste in real ale excepted- I do find his site stimulating. Indeed it was the thing that got me blogging, seeing such an abundance of blogs all leaning one way in terms of churchmanship. Anyway, before I was banned, another poster directed his audience to look here and several have. You are welcome!
No one is banned from reading this blog but I will moderate comments and remove anything offensive.


An Instinct for Unity

•August 18, 2008 • 3 Comments

I think it was George Carey, when he was Archbishop of Canterbury, who spoke about learning from the Catholic ‘instinct for unity’. As he saw it we had the ability to have profound disputes but remain united as one church, not fracture communion. I can’t help but think that this instinct is on the wane. Commentators regularly attack fellow Catholics, not excluding priests and bishops in the most aggressive terms. People are dismissed as ‘Sandalistas’, or as being part of a ‘magic circle’. This is all done in the name of ‘true catholicism’ and loyalty to Rome, not recognising that such divisiveness hits at the very heart of a worldwide communion.

The distinction between challenging someone’s ideas and attacking the person is a vital one and we lose it at our peril.

Accurate and noble translation

•August 11, 2008 • 6 Comments

One of the, doubtless unintended, casualties of the new translation of the Mass is the Creed and, especially, the wonderful line ‘of one being with the Father’. Not only is this translation highly accurate it is theologically clearer than the latin is! It is replaced by ‘consubstantial’ a latinate word derived from the word it is translating but neither clear nor beautiful. And this is just one of the losses brought about by turning the translation process into a politicised battle.

Liturgy Wars

•August 9, 2008 • 1 Comment

According to the Catholic Herald this week the new translation of the main Mass texts represents a ‘victory’ for those unhappy with the previous translation. I think the very fact that the language of ‘victory’ (and therefore, presumably, of defeat) is being used shows a serious problem. The liturgy has been turned into a place of conflict rather than Catholic unity. What good does it do the church to have a translation that, for many, will feel like a rejection and a defeat? Who wins from that?

Take and eat, take and drink

•August 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

The reception of communion is a bit of a hot topic at the moment. There are commentators who see Pope Benedict’s use of a kneeler at papal masses as a significant sign. The clock is about to be turned back and abuses- in their eyes- like communion in the hand and communion under both kinds for the whole people of God are to be done away with. Even the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship has joined in, commenting that recieving communion in the hand inevitably reduces reverence.
As someone who was born into the church of communion under one kind and who, as a server, held a plate under people’s chins, I see this very differently. I see no good reason to believe that Jesus’ words ‘take and eat, take and drink’ were ever intended only for clergy. Such an interpretation is the worst kind of eisegesis (reading into the text) not good exegesis. The catecheses of St Cyril of Jerusalem clearly demonstrate the understanding of the early church:

Let us, then, with full confidence, partake of the Body and Blood of Christ. For in the figure of bread His Body is given to you, and in the figure of wine His Blood is given to you, so that by partaking of the Body and Blood of Christ, you might become united in body and blood with Him. For thus do we become Christ-bearers. His Body and Blood being distributed through our members. And thus it is that we become, according to the blessed Peter, sharers of the divine nature .It was also Cyril who described ‘making our hands a throne for Christ’ as we recieve communion. Far from fostering irreverence this promotes a great sense of reverence. The restoration of communion under both kinds is one of the great blessings of the reform. We need to cherish and promote it, with reverence and love



Witch hunts

•August 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I wonder what Senator Joe McCarthy, the infamous hunter of communists with his ‘House Un-American Activies Committee’ would have made of the internet. What a wonderful instrument it would have been. Someone makes a remark and, within minutes, it is flashed around the world, (mis)interpreted, judged, condemned…

A priest at Mass dares to express his frustration with moves to bring abck the Extra-ordinary form of the Roman Rite (aka the ‘Old Mass’). His sermon is promptly published, with emphases and commentary, including the statement that ‘I am pretty sure that this observation will be passed along by my Roman readers’.  Passed along, that is, to the authorities. I am not saying I agree with what the priest said or how he said it. The point is this: what kind of church do we become if we follow the path of denunciation? Who does this serve? Surely not the vast majority of God’s faithful people.


•August 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment

This blog is a place for reflection on issues affecting the church and the world today. It seeks to celebrate the many gains of the Second Vatican Council and the years that have followed it and to oppose a mindless restorationism. Please join the conversation…