Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It made me smile

I am always suspicious when a child at school prefaces something with the question - you're a Catholic aren't you Sir? Is it true that Catholics can't do this or that or did you read that in the paper etc.
Today the question was followed with a twinkling eye and then another question - what do you get when cross a Jehova's Witness with an atheist?
It appears to be somebody who walks down the road knocking on doors for no particular reason.

Monday, April 29, 2013


Father Zuhlsdorf has done us a great service, producing extracts from the Pope's latest sermon about the Sacrament of Penance. I reproduce it below with Fr. Z's own remarks cut - so as to hear only the Pope's voice as we read. The original can be found on the WDTPRS blog.

Commenting on the First Letter of St. John, which states ” God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all,” Francis Pope pointed out that “we all have darkness in our lives,” moments “where everything, even our consciousness, is in the dark”, but this – he pointed out – does not mean we walk in darkness:
“Walking in darkness means being overly pleased with ourselves, believing that we do not need salvation. That is darkness! When we continue on this road of darkness, it is not easy to turn back. Therefore, John continues, because this way of thinking made him reflect: ‘If we say we are without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us‘. Look to your sins, to our sins, we are all sinners, all of us … This is the starting point. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful, He is so just He forgives us our sins, cleansing us from all unrighteousness…The Lord who is so good, so faithful, so just that He forgives.”
When the Lord forgives us, He does justice” – continued the Pope – first to himself, “because He came to save and forgive“, welcoming us with the tenderness of a Father for his children: “The Lord is tender towards those who fear,  to those who come to Him “and with tenderness,” He always understand us”. He wants to gift us the peace that only He gives. ”  “This is what happens in the Sacrament of Reconciliation” even though “many times we think that going to confession is like going to the dry cleaner” to clean the dirt from our clothes:
“But Jesus in the confessional is not a dry cleaner: it is an encounter with Jesus, but with this Jesus who waits for us, who waits for us just as we are. “But, Lord, look … this is how I am”, we are often ashamed to tell the truth: ‘I did this, I thought this’. But shame  is a true Christian virtue,  and even human … the ability to be ashamed:  I do not know if there is a similar saying in Italian, but in our country to those who are never ashamed are called “sin verg├╝enza’: this means ‘the unashamed ‘, because they are people who do not have the ability to be ashamed and to be ashamed is a virtue of the humble, of the man and the woman who are humble. ”
Pope Francis continued: “ we must have trust, because when we sin we have an advocate with the Father, “Jesus Christ the righteous.” And He “supports us before the Father” and defends us in front of our weaknesses. But you need to stand in front of the Lord “with our truth of sinners”, “with confidence, even with joy, without masquerading… We must never masquerade before God.” And shame is a virtue: “blessed shame.” “This is the virtue that Jesus asks of us: humility and meekness”.
“Humility and meekness are like the frame of a Christian life. A Christian must always be so, humble and meek. And Jesus waits for us to forgive us. We can ask Him a question: Is going to confession like to a torture session?  No! It is going to praise God, because I, a sinner , have been saved by Him. And is He waiting for me to beat me? No, with tenderness to forgive me. And if tomorrow I do the same? Go again, and go and go and go …. He always waits for us. This tenderness of the Lord, this humility, this meekness …. ”
This confidence, concluded Pope Francis “gives us room to breathe.” “The Lord give us this grace, the courage to always go to Him with the truth, because the truth is light and not the darkness of half-truths or lies before God. It give us this grace! So be it. “
I will endorse Fr. Z's plea for us to frequent the Sacrament - and a reminder we have Confession at call at all our Masses.
Different voice, different Pope, different radio, same message.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Easter IV

Masses this weekend, sometimes called Justice Sunday, will be offered according to the books of 1962  as follows:

Saturday (Vigil) St. Mary's, Halifax 6.00 p.m.
Sunday             Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall, Skipton, 11.00 a.m.
                        St. Joseph's, Castleford, 3.00 p.m.

For your diary - Mass in Harrogate at St. Joseph's, Bilton, Harrogate on Sunday 12th. May at 4.00 p.m. Thanks to Fathers Byrne (PP) and Smith for this. I hope there will be enough Mass booklets this time.

Today I received a little package from the Latin Mass Society - thankfully not with some onerous distribution task, but a Sunday Missal I bought from them via the online second hand book and missal service   http://www.lms.org.uk/resources/second_hand_catalogue 
I recently gave my previous worn copy of Fr. Stedman's Sunday missal to a serious enquirer and have since sought to replace it. For a few pounds I have picked up a very decent replacement in super condition from the LMS. 
I wonder if anybody knows where I can obtain a copy of the new St. Edmund Campion missal and hymnal from an outlet in this country, which is published by the American Corpus Christi Watershed Organisation? 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I'm reading


Dr. James Haggerty's latest work about a former Bishop of Leeds and Archbishop of Westminster, John Cardinal  Heenan, has been waiting for about a fortnight on my bedside table (as has his work about a former Leeds priest and Archbishop of Westminster, Cardinal Hinsley). Heenan himself wrote a biography of Hinsley which I hope to read before tackling Haggert's opus.
I shall offer a commentary on the book when I have finished reading it. What is eminently clear is Heenan's love of the Priesthood and his notion of service and sacrifice.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Hassle in Heckmondwike

Fr. Abberton has contacted me with urgent news. Due to the need for the erection of scaffolding in the sanctuary at Holy Spirit for the next few weeks and not a few days, it will be impossible for the Mass to be celebrated there for the meantime. Father assures me he will make contact when he is able to resume.

Reminder - Mass resumes at Halifax on Saturday at 6.00 p.m. and on Sunday there will be Masses at Broughton at 11.00 a.m. and at Castleford at 3.00 p.m. - but not in Heckmondwike.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Back home for Good Shepherd Sunday

I have been away for a few days at the LMS training conference for priests and servers in Leicestershire. I was there in a teaching capacity, leading a group of six men aged 18 to 68 who were absolute beginners to serve the Low Mass. My eldest son attended as a student to learn to serve the High Mass.
Two of the young married men who were in my group and hailed from Glasgow confessed to being "blown away" by the content of some of my talks on the spirituality and symbolism of the simple Low Mass.  The eldest participant was similarly impressed with reading The Mass in Slow Motion by Mgr Knox at his own pace to place the Mass back in context for him.
I am unused to suddenly having my photograph taken whilst standing in front of some of my Power Point projections as I work, but this week has been something else. Another young man who had only ever encountered the old Mass once whilst on holiday last summer with his family was similarly moved by his experience of seeing the Mass close up. I was extremely privileged this morning to attend a "private" Mass served near perfectly by this lad at 7.30 a.m. The priest who said the Mass recalled that I had served his own first EF Mass years ago at our first ever Training Conference which at that time was only for priests and held in Oxford, where he said he had been well guided through learning it. This priest was the celebrant at one of our high Masses this week.
Our conferences work.
Bishop McMahon gave us an excellent homily for the transferred feast of the Annunciation at the Pontifical  High Mass and speech at the conference afterwards. The Bishop spoke from the heart and with warmth in a gently challenging way which provided ample discussion for me and my group over the following days.  
My group  had clearly been listening to what the Bishop had said and I was pleased that they were challenging his views and mine at our discussions "after class" in the following days. I was glad to talk with them for sessions which instead of being a five minute filler turned into sensible discussion lasting over half an hour at a time.
The combination of  Polish, South African, French, Scottish, English and Ordinariate of our Lady of Walsingham  priests with all imaginable political and social experiences and the English and Scottish servers made for a truly universal blend of Roman Catholicism.

Reminder- no Mass at Halifax tomorrow.

Broughton Hall - 11.00 a.m.
St. Joseph's, Castleford - 3.00 p.m. 
St Peter's, Leeds Road, Bradford - 3.00 p.m.  Sung Mass.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Late news and a mea culpa

Checking e-mail before heading for bed I've just learned that there is a Divine Sunday Service at Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike at 3.00 p.m. and so there is to be NO traditional Mass there on Low Sunday. I understand that the event will end at around 4.45 p.m.

Due to an oversight on my part there will be NO MASS at Halifax next Saturday (13th April) as Mgr. Smith will be away and I forgot to sort out cover. Mea culpa.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Low, Quasimodo and Divine Mercy Sunday

Masses for this feast,  where we see something of ourselves in Thomas filled with doubt and love.

Saturday - 6.00 p.m. St. Mary's, Halifax.

Sunday - 11.00 a.m. Sacred Heart, Broughton Hall, Skipton (sung)
               3.00 p.m. St. Joseph's, Castleford
               4.00 p.m. Holy Spirit, Heckmondwike

Monday - the Annunciation - 9.30 a.m. Sacred Heart, Broughton
                                          7.30 p.m. Immaculate Heart, Moortown,  Leeds

There will be seven public and at least 3 private Masses offered in just three days by at least five priests. Compared to the days when few priests dared to even request permission from Bishop Wheeler, who always gave permission anyway and who appointed the unforgettable Fr. Micheal Cresswell as a regular and permanent celebrant of the pre-conciliar Mass for the rest of his life and as a very dutiful member of the Marriage tribunal with a little flat and oratory attached to the curial offices before Hinsley Hall was ever thought of, we have come a long way. 
This was very convenient for people who lived in the diocese (and from afar) as Father was always on hand to offer Mass and as a gentle confessor to hear confessions.  When Father died in Argentina we became like many dioceses where the continuity of a private daily Mass at which people were welcome to attend somewhere in the diocese, albeit often in a cramped oratory or living room ended. There were of course other priests who continued to offer the old Mass every day in total privacy, the late Canon Ted Wilcock springs to mind. 

Now we, at least in this diocese, have been able to integrate ourselves in a way that there is no longer an obvious us/them and them/us attitude, this must continue to be the way forward. Let's get on with it instead of getting into a big sweat about the Pope's liturgical preferences. Let's face it - the EF is here and is here to stay. The Pope's personal liturgical style is his own as was Cardinal Ratzinger's under Pope John Paul II. Obviously no conflict there.
John Paul II's remit was not liturgical, it was astonishingly political and sexual - leading to the break up of the post Stalinist era and re-affirmation of the traditional teaching on the sanctity of life and value of marriage in view of the horrors of the second world war and its consequences.
Benedict's remit was in part liturgical and in part ecumenical - it was also about bringing balance.
Armed with what we have been given by the last two Popes we need to continue to support the Papacy   and our Pope Francis and not submit to the near despair of some of the naysayers I have read and heard. I know lots of good people who just carried on in the confused and confusing days of the Pontificate of Paul VI whether they liked it or not, but they never stopped believing that tradition has its place and that Paul was the Pope but moreover that Christian charity was overriding.
We need to accept what we have been given in the Missal of Pope John XXIII of 1962, the recent revised English Missal, Humanae vitae, Veritas Splendor, Credo of the People of God, Sacramentum Caritatis, Summorum Pontificum, Evangelium Vitae, Ordinatio Sacerdotalis and all the rest of the teachings and letters of Pope Francis' most recent post-war predecessors. 
Our new Pontiff now has a different mission but no less Catholic than those of Wojtila and Ratzinger, Montini, Sarto, Breakspeare or even Peter himself.

Christus vincit!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

First Friday

Friday is the first Friday of April.

Mass will be at Broughton Hall at 9.30 a.m. but there will be no Mass at Immaculate Heart Leeds. Instead the Mass will be there on Monday (the transferred feast of the Annunciation or the Incarnation). This will be at 7.30 p.m.
Confessions at call at both Masses. Thanks to Fathers Parfitt and Wiley for these Masses.