Saturday, January 24, 2009

News from Rome

Earlier today it was announced in Rome that the Holy Father has lifted the 20 year excommunications imposed upon the bishops by Pope JPII who were consecrated by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.
I am sure that those who hear Mass tomorrow at the SSPX church in Keighley will feel that the Holy Father has gone a long way to address grievances referred to him by Bishop Fellay. I rejoice in the Lord for them that the path to dialogue has been opened.

Just after Summorum Pontificum was published a priest I know had been speaking to a Vatican Official at the time who had made no secret of the fact that the Motu proprio was in fact just a start to further Benedictine Reforms. It is a good time to be a Catholic.

Meanwhile I expect that there will be a lot of muck being thrown at the Pope given that Bishop Williamson is a holocaust denier, or would have us believe this. Bishop Williamson also has some unusual views about The Sound of Music.
How do you solve a problem like Richard?

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Octave for Christian Unity

I have no desire to be controversial but I must confess to being mystified by what is meant by Christian Unity. It cannot mean that there is a new truth out there waiting to be discovered which will be suddenly become clear. We have the Truth - we have the Church. The reason we have disunity is because of disobedience and rejection of the Truth by people breaking away from the Church, founded by Christ upon the rock which is Peter. You are Peter and upon this rock I will build my Church. My vision of Unity is a wholesale return to the Catholic Church by those whose ecclesial communities have become estranged. The document on Ecuminism in the documents of Vat II is not the horror story some over enthusiastic people might portray it to be. It is a very beautiful document.
I have always found the following prayer, as well as the Prayer for England very good at focusing my mind on these issues.

O God, you bring back to the right way those who have gone astray, you gather the scattered, and keep together those you have gathered. Mercifully fill Christian people with the grace of your own oneness, that they mey reject all division and, being one in communion with the true shepherd of your Church, be able to serve you as you should be served.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

For the Epiphany

The arrival of the wise men always fills me with great interest. Maybe because amid the hay and animals - some colour arrives with the camels - there is more hustle and bustle around the stable. These wise men fascinate me. They are gentiles - non-Jews, they have travelled a long way. They are searching and continue to do so until they find the Child. They are expecting to find a child who is also a King, so they go to an obvious place - to a Palace, but when they do not find Him they enquire further and again set off to find their goal. Upon finding the Infant Prince of Peace, they worship him, leave their gifts and depart. In all of this, they are an example to us all.

Unwittingly they alerted Herod to Christ's existence and as the scriptures tell us the Holy Infant was a threat to Herod, a threat to the establishment and of course a threat to Satan, the Prince of Darkness. The Child Jesus is a contradiction, here in a manger is God.

The world as we know it, does not recognise Him, often does not even search for Him, but He is there for all people. But the world will not recognize Him because it is blind to God's message which has been occluded by sin.

Our Nativity accounts are in many ways so simple , yet so pregnant with meaning, but the world goes round in circles trying to explain in human terms what God has done. The world sees everything else but God. Why?

The Gospel message is often unwelcome, because it challenges us, it makes us ask ourselves (or at least it should) if what we do is right, it asks us where we place God in our lives.

As in the time of Herod for many people the world revolves around them. But it doesn't. The Gospel is rejected because it doesn't suit this or that sort of lifestyle.

Recently Our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI gave an address to the Roman Curia, before Christmas about the youth, about love and about the family.

What was reported was totally inaccurate - I would say a deliberate lie, and made the Pope out to be homophobic and terribly negative, when his words were about something else. He hadn't said what was reported. Misinformation is rife. Jesus came to bring us peace and to lead us to the truth.

The stable shows us that poverty is important - a poverty that places God first and everybody else second. The stable also shows us that there is a poverty which as a Church and as a society we need to work against - those who struggle to survive need to be helped.

The stable, the crib, is a wonderful place for us to stop and to look.

God becomes one of us, He takes on our weakness and vulnerability, so that we have strength and support. At the same time God does not pat us on the back and say that it will be OK and that we don't need to worry, no, He takes those burdens on His own back - He will carry them for us. God freely bestows His grace by the power of the Holy Spirit. Yes, people may say I can do it myself, I don't need God's grace but the fact is we cannot. If we delude ourselves into thinking that it is possible we not only fool ourselves but place our salvation in great jeopardy.

God comes to us to help us, to save us, to redeem us. He gives us strength and courage. Mary, the Blessed Mother herself wondered how this could happen. She herself marvelled at these events.

The Magi - those wise men, may have had ideas of who they were looking for, but they didn't give in when there was no child at the Palace. They were searching for the answers but not an answer they had thought of but an answer given to us all by God.

We can search and enquire and can come to believe in a god, but it is only by God's free choice to reveal Himself to us that we can find the right answer. He is the way, he teaches us the truth and through Him we find life. In all our daily toils, in our struggles in life, when we are searching, God is the answer. Everything else will fall into place, but we must let God in. With our Faith comes Hope and all we need. We are loved by God no matter what. We can turn to Him at any time. His Grace is there for us.

We need to be open to God's work, to be like those wise men and Our Lady, kneeling before Him and letting Him rule our lives and hearts. We can kneel before Him in wonder, in awe and in adoration and giving thanks at every Mass and every time we come before him in the tabernacle - our modern day crib.

Sermon (slightly adapted) given by Rev. Fr. T. Wiley, co-ordinator for the Extraordinary form of the Extraordinary Form of Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany at St. Joseph's, Castleford. January 4th. 2009.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Happy Epiphanytide

Mass this evening at Halifax was for the Epiphany. Fr. Smith, who was full of cold, spoke on the similarities between the gentiles (us) and the three Wise Men.
Father Smith will be away next week and I'm delighted to say that our old friend Fr. Richard Aladics, who is on holiday here from Australia, will offer the Mass next Saturday at St. Marie's.

Tomorrow there will be Mass at Broughton at 11.30a.m. followed by Benediction.
Mass at 2.30p.m. at Holy Spirit, Bath Road, Heckmondwike.
Mass at 3.00p.m. at St. Joseph's, Pontefract Road, Castleford.

As for me....back to school on Monday!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Come Holy Ghost, Creator come

My friend and rep for Middlesbrough was at our Mass at Batley today, having recently returned from holidaying abroad. We were able to pass our time after Mass by discussing further arrangements for the Low Week Priest Training Conference planned for 2009 and discussing positive developments in Middlesbrough, Salford and Leeds Dioceses.
Priests in Salford and Liverpool should expect a mailing in the next week or two inviting them to the First Northern LMS Conference to be held at Ushaw Seminary from April 20th. -23rd. 2009.

Mass at Batley which saw a dozen in attendance, was offered at the Lady Chapel. The Veni Creator was recited after Mass for the indulgence and we then sang the Alma Redemptoris Mater.
Mass had been offered at Broughton earlier today at 11.30a.m.

God Bless the Pope!