Thursday, July 29, 2010


Sandro Magister has an interesting article on Catholic-Orthodox relations under the title

"Ecumenism. The True Story of a War That Never Was"

It's worh reading.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


Thanks to Zenit I now know there is a website and association dedicated to promoting the work of Dietrich von Hildebrand an German Catholic philosopher, friend of Edith Stein, Adolf Reinach, Martin Heidegger and Edmund Husserl and part of the school of phenomenology. I have long admired the Catholic end of phenomenology since my days as a student of philosophy when a young American taught us. I am glad to be remaking the aquaintance.

Monday, July 26, 2010


I’ll attempt a Fr.Z on this from today's Irish Times:
The Vatican must no longer be granted immunity from equality legislation, in the name of liberty, equality, and even the Gospel

THE VATICAN'S recent Normae de Gravioribus Delictis document prescribes automatic excommunication for anyone involved in the ordination of a woman. In according greater penalties to those who "attempted " women's ordination than to clerics [Because with clerics it is traditionally considered enough punishment to reduce them to the lay state, excommunication still being a possibility, but with lay people excommunication, and in the case of attempting the ordination of a woman it is automatic, it is the only real punishment left] who abused children it has further shocked many loyal Irish Catholics prompting them to inquire about the theological reasons why the Roman Catholic Church objects to women's ordination.[She hopes. It think most people have their minds on keeping their jobs and paying their bills.]
A Vatican document issued in 1976 set out some of these arguments clearly.
1. That incarnation took place in the male sex and therefore women were excluded from the priesthood.
Logically, this means that women should be excluded from baptism as well, since it is an ancient teaching of the church that "whatever has not become incarnate cannot be redeemed". If the church insists here that "God became man" means God became male, then it cannot simultaneously argue that in liturgical language "man" means both male and female. [Apparently it was St. Gregory of Nazianzus who said 'that which was not assumed is not healed; but that which is united to God is saved.' What was assumed in the Incarnation was matter. Humanity and through humanity the created order is saved through the Incarnation. That matter is in the form of human nature with two genders, one nature in two complementary forms, male and female. Both forms of human nature are saved through Christ when baptised into Him but liturgically only the baptised male can be an image or icon of the Incarnate Word, the Saviour, as a historical person. A woman as a priest is like a man representing the Blessed Virgin.]
2. That no women were ordained in the New Testament.
Jesus did not ordain anyone.[There’s an infallible statement for you. So Dr. Condren you were there were you? A careful reading of the Gospels will easily show that Christ had only to speak for something to be so. His command ‘do this in memory of me’ and His breathing on the apostles were sufficient. They themselves understood their mission as permanent otherwise why pick a replacement for Judas? Why have imposition of hands in the early Church if it wasn’t fulfilling the Lord’s will?] Ordination as we know it today did not take place at all in the New Testament, and took another 300 years when Christianity and empire merged. [The good doctor needs to read more of the Fathers and less feminist propaganda.]
3. The practice of the, church has a normative character in the fact of conferring priestly ordination only on men, it is a question of an unbroken tradition throughout the history of the church
This is the argument from tradition whose logic is as follows: If something wrong goes on for five years it might be mortal sin; if it goes on for 10 years it becomes venial sin; if it goes on for 2,000 years it is no longer considered wrong, but tradition. [Where has the Church ever used that argument? Dr. Condren seems not to understand that the Church is her tradition. The Gospels are written tradition (cf. Lk 1:1; 1 Cor 11:23) and we have them because the Church preserved them and handed them on. This lady doesn’t even attempt to engage with the Church’s teaching.]
The argument from tradition. was also used against freedom from slavery, and many other issues in the history of the church. [Citation of which Church document? Just because an argument is abused by some doesn’t invalidate the argument.]
4. When Christ's role in the Eucharist is to be expressed sacramentally, there would not be this "natural resemblance" which must exist between Christ and his minister if the role of Christ were not taken by a man; in such a case it would be difficult to see in the minister the image of Christ
The church appears to be saying what feminists have suspected all along: that the image of Christ cannot be seen in a woman.[No, the Church is saying that in the Liturgy and the celebration of the Sacraments the priest functions as an icon of Christ the Incarnate Word who actually entered history as Jesus of Nazareth. It is the priest’s role to represent Christ as the one who speaks for His Father to humanity and for humanity to His Father. It’s not hard to understand if you have an open mind.] Does this not make nonsense of the whole of Christian moral theology, which is based on the fact that we must "see Christ in the image of our neighbour, man or woman"? [I thought the Church’s moral theology was based on reason aided by revelation. Seeing the human being as made in the image and likeness of God is not the same as seeing Christ in them – imagine asking a rape victim to do that!]
What are the theological criteria for deciding between what is authentic Christian theology and mere phallic worship? [Is this a Freudian slip? Notice the nastiness coming to the surface?] Over the years, man other arguments have been put forward to exclude women from ordination. Thomas Aquinas, for instance, could find no theological reason [Not so] for such exclusion, but eventually concluded that women, like slaves,[he doesn’t mention slaves] could not "signify eminence", and therefore could not become priests. (Mary Robinson, Mary McAleese?)[Has Dr. Condren bothered to read St. Thomas or is she relying on second hand sources? St. Thomas does give the argument short shrift and merely asserts that “we must say that the male sex is required for receiving Orders not only in the second (licitly), but also in the first way (in reality i.e. validly). Wherefore even though a woman were made the object of all that is done in conferring Orders, she would not receive Orders, for since a sacrament is a sign, not only the thing, but the signification of the thing, is required in all sacramental actions. Accordingly, since it is not possible in the female sex to signify eminence of degree, for a woman is in the state of subjection, it follows that she cannot receive the sacrament of Order." Summa Theologica Qn. 39, art. 1. St. Thomas is saying the one to be ordained must bear the likeness of the one he will represent. Women do not have eminence of degree he says, which is not the same as saying that they lack eminence of power, intelligence, creativity etc., but women are not men and do not stand in relation to God and creation as men do and vice versa. It seems to me that Aquinas is saying the ban on women’s ordination is rooted in the order of creation.]
Others sought to argue for women's subordination in the realm of nature but by 1976, even the Vatican knew better than to go down that road. In reality, they invented new arguments, and the one regarding Jesus's "maleness" was considered by many distinguished Catholic theologians to be "approaching heresy ". [Which theologians? No citations given. Something approaching heresy is still not heresy and new theological insights can often seem heretical or are painted as heretical by those threatened by those very insights as, I’m sure, Dr. Condren would agree.]
Before the Vatican issued the document it had asked the pontifical biblical commission to explore the biblical reasons for excluding women. Seventeen out of 17 members concluded that they could fine none. To their credit, several members resigned in protest at the use the Vatican had made of their work. [They were consulted and didn’t deliver. There are lots of scholars who disagree with them – e.g. Hauke, Butler]
The 1976 document was a watershed for many women who had sought to serve the church and had begun theological and ministerial studies to that end. Some persisted and, at least in Ireland, remained mostly impoverished and marginalised. [My heart weeps for them! They studied for a place in the Church that the Church had clearly and repeatedly said was not the Church’s to bestow and complain when the Church is consistent.]
Others despaired of remaining in perpetual opposition, and began to explore the deep seated psychological, anthropological and political reasons for the Vatican's stance. [When in doubt (or defeat) psychologise! Don’t for one minute actually question oneself.]
They looked, for instance to Scandinavia where, since the late 1960s, women had been ordained.[Note this is the Lutheran church and their orders are not valid in the eyes of the Church] However, a "let-out" clause allowed those male clerics who disapproved to maintain "clean dioceses" "clean parishes" s and even "clean vestments", i.e. those that an ordained female body had yet to defile.
But [Lutheran] the clerics [actually laymen] continued their deliberations. What would happen if a pregnant woman came to be ordained? If her foetus turned out to be a male child would apostolic succession automatically pass onto him? Would funeral or Eucharistic rites "take" if a woman priest happened to be menstruating?
The arguments raged until a cartoon appeared in the national newspapers. A male [Lutheran] cleric was depicted asking the Lord whether he should resign. The Lord replied: "Think of your salary my son."
Where equality legislation has been passed throughout the world, the Vatican has been granted immunity. But this latest document is the last straw. [Now she has worked herself up she really begins to lose it.]
In many impoverished countries in the name of religious freedom, such misogynist attitudes legitimise violent practices toward women and children. [A ban on women’s ordination is equivalent to beating up women and children. Am I missing something here? Dr. Condren’d idea of religious freedom is simple: one is free to believe what one wants to believe provided one believes what Dr. Condren wants you to believe.] All such immunity must now be withdrawn in the name of liberty, equality, and even the Gospel. She left out ‘fraternity’ but it probably stuck in her craw anyway. Instead we have the ‘Gospel’ even though scholars like Manfred Hauke and Sarah Butler have shown how the Gospel and the Church’s tradition excludes women from ordination.

Dr Mary Condren lectures at the Centre for Gender and Women's Studies in TCD and is director of the Institute for Feminism and Religion.

Yes, there is a war on for the soul of the Church. Arm yourselves with the truth.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I've been watching the Would You Believe? discussion and I have not been surprised. There are the usual predictable liberals: Frs. Enda McDonagh, Tony Flannery, Brain Grogan, (would be priest) Soline Vatinel, plus the ombudman Nuala O'Lone, a journalist from the Irish Catholic, a few Irish bishops including retired bishop Willie Walsh, and bishop John Kirby. There was the token gay Catholic, one of four people who were asked to write to the Pope (as if the Pope doesn't get enough post and those letters were likely to get past curia officials in Rome). It was typical RTE religious fare - work up the drama and exaggerate the issues.

My experience is that while the Irish Church is in trouble (but then when has the Church ever not been in trouble?) the people I meet are far more worried about keeping their children away from drugs and bad company, as well as in school/employment and ensuring that they have some faith/value system to get them through life.

Surely talk of changing structures is really a resort to clericalism, to wit 'the system is wrong (not us) change the system and all will be well'. Has that actually worked anywhere? Some people want power sharing; how that is supposed to work would be interesting to hear and would the representatives be paid? Has that worked for the Anglicans? Have these people forgotten that Christ spoke of a kingdom? It's His Kingdom, His Church, and His Body and kingdom's have Kings, with hierachies etc, the body has a central nervous system with a brain and the Church has a hierarchy, a system that goes back all the way to the Apostles and through them to Christ. He established it and the way it is comes from the way He established it and so the Church is ruled by her clergy. That rule is not meant to be like that of the world - it is supposed to be a service - but we are sinners and sometimes clergy behave like lords not servants.

Blaming Rome is easy especially when one has spent the last forty years ingoring Rome. Didn't bishop Willie Walsh once say he threw everything from Rome in the bin? Some of the clergy on the show, for all their heartfelt talk, have been in positions of power and influence all the while that the abuse was occuring - have they no questions to answer? In addition they have been spreading their liberalism and the crop is nearly ripe for harvest. Never before has the Irish Church had such an educated laity and yet such levels of ignorance of her beliefs and traditions. The people and clergy of the Church have been bombarded for years with propaganda that opposes the teaching of the Church and discouraged from even accessing that teaching. Simply put many are Catholic in name but de facto protestants in practice.

In addition there remains that old-style belief in the absolute power of the Pope, an echo of the respect that attached to the likes of Popes Pius XII and John XXIII. In reality that respect has long been abandoned and many bishops, clergy and laity around the world have for years simply ignored the Papacy. Now people expect that the Pope can snap his fingers and they'll all pay attention. If they had actually been listening and implementing Church teaching and discipline many of the abuseres would've been ejected long ago. That discipline was ignored and we are suffering the results.

Things are going to get rough in Ireland. The Church may split or large groups may break off. Perhaps it will be like the days of Iconoclasm where the Church was hit by waves of heresy before she achieved peace. The liberals have gotten wind that Benedict is capable of building on the work of John Paul II and real implementation of Vatican II (the real one, the one in the texts not the imaginary 'spirit of Vatican II' version) is on the way, a Vatican II understood in continuity with the Church's tradition not in rupture with it. Hopefully the Apostolic Visitation will make a difference.

Well, I for one stand with the Pope even if I'm the only one.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


Fr. Finnegan over at the Hermeneutic of Continuity has this notice:

Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, Lanherne Cornwall

DARLINGTON CARMEL (one of the very early Carmels to be established in England [1830]) is up for sale. The very few remaining sisters are soon to move out. At Lanherne we have known about this for several months and we have been to visit the establishment. Wonderful for our needs! The Sisters are not going to leave Lanherne, in fact another house is needed as a new foundation. The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate (see photo above) have a goodly number of vocations; especially sisters who at the moment belong to the “active” branch who have a vocation to the contemplative life. So another contemplative house is needed. There is a major problem. Yes, you’ve got it! The FSI have no money and the Carmelites at Darlington require one and half million pounds. If you know Darlington and the Carmel then you will be surprised that it’s going for only £1,500,000. It’s large and fine, in good order and a Grade 2 listed building.

So we are looking for a benefactor. Franciscans cannot own property and therefore a possible benefactor would continue to own the Carmel and would let the FSI use it – or a trust could be set up. It is possible that with a serious bit of thinking other activities may be considered - retreats etc. ALL is possible. May I remind you that the FSI use ONLY the 1962 liturgical books. A centre for traditional Catholics in the north of England would be a great help to many people.

Please pray that a benefactor or a group of benefactors may be found.

Please contact me and let me know your thoughts.

Father Joseph M Taylor
Lanherne Convent
St Mawgan

The Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate are unusual not only that they follow the 1962 Liturgical books and have lots of vocations but they also follow the First Rule of St. Francis the Regula Bullata of 1223 which is usually only followed by the friars, for whom, of course it was written. I don't know how that is applied in practice but it's interesting. So these Sisters are not Poor Clares but a new form of female Franciscan enclosed life. May they flourish like the palm tree!

Below is the only photo I could find of the Carmel:

Thursday, July 8, 2010


With the passing of the Civil Partnership Bill in the Seanad (Irish Senate) there remains only for the President to sign it into law. Perhaps she will take the opportunity to protect the rights of citizens who work for the Government not to have to violate their conscience. As it stands the Government has imposed its own morality on the nation and its servants and denied them the right to decline to co-operate. What next? Is the Government or some other body to use equality legislation to force clergy to solemnize such 'unions'? That no effort was made to include other forms of 'family units' such as siblings living together or friends who decide to share a home reveals that this is an ideologically driven law and a narrow one at that.

It seems to be beyond our Government's powers of comprehension that it can have no legitimate interest in any union that does not, or to be more exact, cannot produce children. The Government needs to support those unions which can produce, nourish and support children because these are the citizens of the future. Supporting unions that can't is wasting valuable funds, time and energy. In addition this is the State legislating in the bedroom, deciding to give 'equality' in the eyes of the law to one type of union that does not serve the State and the Nation in the way that the other, heterosexual, one does. One wonders not only how much financial support has been channeled by homosexual lobby groups towards this end or indeed, whether some of our representatives owe us an explanation of where their true loyalties lie.

After all, this is going to cost the State money at a time when we are nearly bankrupt (or rather we are bankrupt but can't admit it) and yet time and energy are wasted on a law to benefit a tiny minority, as well as to debate banning stag-hunting! It really does appear that the corrupt, the lunatics and the incompetents have been in charge for some time. God help us but we elected them.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This is the new Provincial of the Irish Capuchin province with the Minister General and one of our Definitor Generals. They are, from left to right, Brs. Peter Rogers (Definitor General, and of the Irish Province), Adrian Curran, Dermot Lynch (Vicar-Provincial), Mauro Johri (Minister General, Swiss Province), Des MacNaboe (Provincial), Sean Donohoe and John Wright. The Provincial and his Definitory were elected last Wednesday so this is old news. The Minister General presided with the help of General Definitor Peter Rogers and Br. Charles Serignat of the British Province but working as a translator for the General in Rome.

The new definitory begin their first meeting next week and we all await their decisions. Please keep them in your prayers.

Saturday, July 3, 2010


I should've mentioned the upcoming FOTA III conference before now but the prospectus can be seen here. It's on for next weekend and I hope to get down to it.

Provisional Programme

Saturday 10 July

10.00 Registration


Dr D. Vincent Twomey, SVD, Professor Emeritus of Moral Theology, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth
Sursum corda: An Introduction to Ratzinger’s Theology of Sacred Music

Fr Uwe Michael Lang, CO, Consultor to the Office for the Liturgical Celebrations of the Supreme Pontiff
Defining Criteria for Sacred Music: From Benedict XIV to Benedict XVI

Fr Sven Leo Conrad, FSSP, Liturgical Scholar (Germany)
Joseph Ratzinger and Johannes Overath: The Intellectual Connection


Fr Stéphane Quessard, Episcopal Vicar, Archdiocese of Bourges (France)
Towards a Renewal of Sacred Music

Dr Alcuin Reid, Liturgical Scholar (Fréjus-Toulon, France)
Ut mens concordat voci: Sacred Music and Actual Participation in the Liturgy

Fr Samuel Weber, OSB, Director of the Institute for Sacred Music, Archdiocese of Saint Louis (USA)
Benedict XVI on the Psalms in the Liturgy

19.30 Pontifical Vespers
Celebrant: Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Sts Peter and Paul’s Church, Cork

21.00 Organ Recital
Thomas Lacôte
Sts Peter and Paul’s Church, Cork

Sunday 11 July

11.30 Pontifical High Mass
for the Seventh Sunday after Pentecost
Celebrant: Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Palestrina, Missa Papae Marcelli (Lassus Scholars, Dublin)
Sts Peter and Paul’s Church, Cork


Dr Andreas Andreopoulos, Director of the Centre for Orthodox Studies, Department of Theology, University of Wales, Lampeter (Wales)
Music in the Orthodox Liturgy

Fr Alberto Donini, Lecturer in Sacred Music, Diocese of Brescia (Italy)
Gregorian Chant in the Liturgy according to Joseph Ratzinger / Benedict XVI

Dr James MacMillan, Conductor and Composer (Scotland)
The Spirit of the Liturgy: Rejoice in Tradition and Embrace the Future

20.00 Gala Dinner

Monday 12 July


Dr Frank Lawrence, Department of Music, University College Dublin (Ireland)
The Spirit of the Liturgy: Gregorian Chant as Mystagogy and Exegesis

Thomas Lacôte, Titular Organist of St Stephen’s Cathedral, Bourges (France), Composer, Professor at the Musical Academies (Conservatoires) of Orleans and Aubervilliers, Associate Professor at the Conservatoire National Supérieur, Paris
Liturgical Texts, Rites and Symbols and Contemporary Musical Creation: An Example for the Feast of the Dedication of a Church

Dr Kerry R. McCarthy, Assistant Professor of Music, Duke University (USA)
Listening to William Byrd

12.30 Solemn High Mass
William Byrd, Mass for Five Voices (Lassus Scholars, Dublin)
Sts Peter and Paul’s Church, Cork


Mgr James O’Brien
Annual General Report of St Colman’s Society for Catholic Liturgy

Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura
The New Evangelization and Sacred Music: The Unbroken Continuity of Holiness, Beauty and Universality

Ite O’Donovan, Director of the Lassus Scholars, Dublin (Ireland)
Choral Music in the Celebration of the Liturgy: A Musical Heritage of Inestimable Value, a Tradition to be Fostered and Protected …


Inquiries about the Conference may be made to the Society in writing, by telephone or by e-mail:
In writing: Terry Pender, Leeview, Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland
Telephone: 021-4813445/4813636 (within Ireland); +353-21-4813445/4813636 (from outside Ireland)

At the New Liturgical Movement they also note that:

St. Colman's Society for Catholic Liturgy
Fota III International Liturgy Conference
Gregorian Chant Workshop

Chanoine Wulfram Lebocq of the Institute of Christ the King will conduct a workshop on Gregorian Chant during the Fota III International Liturgy Conference.

The workshop commences at 9.15 on Saturday, 10 July at the Imperial Hotel, South Mall, Cork. It will resume on Sunday 11 July at 10 am and conclude on Monday 12 July with a third session commencing at 9 am.

The course is intended as an introduction to the singing of Gregorian Chant. No previous experience or knowledge of chant are required. The workshop is free.


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