Tuesday, July 31, 2007


I am a registered Doctor!! At last, I have been let leash on the general public, whom I intend to serve as best I can...

Tomorrow I take over my predecessor and start the job properly. Today was just induction.

Deo Gratias!

Monday, July 30, 2007

1st February 1977 - 16th October 1997

Invites are being sent out this evening. It is all being finalised. I'm very excited. The photo is a lovely studio portrait of my brother when he was about 4 years old, whilst still living in South Africa. More about Damian

Friday, July 27, 2007

Summorum Pontificum Video

There are many great celebration videos on YouTube, many of which seem to run with a repetitive theme (which, I feel, misses the point in many ways).

Here is a beautifully simple and powerful video (by 20 year old Kyle) which conveys something of the beauty and awe I long for in the Mass. See what you think:

Monday, July 23, 2007

The Father's Love

This Blog would not be complete without an emerging impression of fatherhood upon my life. The most important thing to note with my own capacity for this, is that that I never had a father myself when I was growing up. At the age of one, my mother was forced to leave her marriage, deciding that we were better without him. I am, of course, willing to accept this. It is part of who I am. But upon the realisation that I was going to become a father myself, I couldn't help feeling a little anxious about how I would know what to do! Perhaps this is normal for all fathers, but in my case I was lacking any previous experience of being 'fathered'.

On the positive side, at least this meant I was unburdened by a poor or unhealthy fatherly role-model. I am able to start from scratch, as it were. A natural spiritual source of support is my knowledge of God as Father of humanity, and my own personal source of heavenly grace which I know He will provide. Moreover, I seek the special intercession of St Joseph, foster father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who knows exactly what I need for this important role. After all, God Himself chose St Joseph to be His own comforter and source of family authority. So I am compelled to follow his example and inspiration.

I am also getting good example from other fathers I meet, principally through Church. I am further inspired by an excellent book I'm reading at the moment, and which my mother-in-law bought for my birthday; Father, The Family Protector by James Stenson. I could quote numerous things from this author, who was a successful headmaster (like my own father!), but will draw out this which I found exceptional:
If history has taught us anything, it is the astonishing resilience of human nature and the power of family love. People of passionate love and principled convictions can endure any hardship and surmount any obstacle. Nobody needs to be a victim of his past. Love endows power and direction to life and makes anything possible. Any normal man holding his child in his arms can find the strength to become a great father and a great man.
I am comforted in this task by the ways in which our Faith teaches us about true Fatherhood, as a model of God the Father's love for us. A good biblical summation of these promises is found in the CaFE series, which I have copied down and can remind myself of:
My child – you may not know me, but I know everything about you.1 I know when you sit down and when you rise up.2 I am familiar with all your ways.3 Even the very hairs of your head are numbered4 for you were made in my image.5
In me you live, and move, and have your being, for you are my offspring.6 I knew you even before you were conceived.7 I chose you when I planned creation.8 You were not a mistake, for all your days are written in my book.9 I determined the exact time of your birth, and where you would live.10 You are fearfully and wonderfully made.11 I knit you together in your mother’s womb12 and brought you forth on the day you were born.13
I have been misrepresented by those who don’t know me.14 I am not distant and angry, but am the complete expression of love,15 and it is my desire to lavish my love on you, simply because you are my child and I am your Father.16 I offer you more than your earthly father ever could,17 for I am the Perfect Father.18
Every good gift that you receive comes from my hand19 for I am your provider and I meet all your needs.20 My plan for your future has always been filled with hope21 because I love you with an everlasting love.22 My thoughts towards you are countless as the sand on the seashore,23 and I rejoice over you with singing,24 and I will never stop doing good to you25 for you are my treasured possession.26
I desire to establish you with all my heart and all my soul,27 and I want to show you great and marvellous things.28 If you seek me with all your heart you will find me.29 Delight in me and I will give you the desires of your heart30 for it is I who gave you those desires.31 I am able to do more for you than you can possibly imagine32 for I am the greatest encourager.33
I am also the Father who comforts you in all your troubles.34 When you are broken hearted, I am close to you.35 As a shepherd carries a lamb, I have carried you close to my heart.36 One day I will wipe away every tear from your eye, and I will take away all the pain you have suffered on this earth.37
I am your Father and love you even as I have loved my Son Jesus.38 For in Jesus, my love for you is revealed.39 He is the exact representation of my being40 as He came to demonstrate that I am for you41 and to tell you that I’m not counting your sins. Jesus died so that you and I could be reconciled.42 His death was the ultimate expression of my love for you.43 I gave up everything I loved that I might gain your love.44 If you receive the gift of my Son Jesus, you receive me,45 and nothing will ever separate you from my love again.46
Come home, and I will throw the biggest party heaven has ever seen.47 I have always been Father48 and will always be Father.49 My question is, will you be my child?50
1. Psalm 139:1 2. Psalm 139:2 3. Psalm 139:3 4. Matthew 10:29-31 5. Genesis 1:27 6. Acts 17:28 7. Jeremiah 1:4-5 8. Ephesians 1:11-12 9. Psalm 139:15-16 10. Acts 17:26 11. Psalm 139:14 12. Psalm 139:13 13. Psalm 71:6 14. John 8:41-44 15. 1 John 4:16 16. 1 John 3:1 17. Matthew 7:11 18. Matthew 5:48 19. James 1:17 20. Matthew 6:31-33 21. Jeremiah 29:11 22. Jeremiah 31:3 23. Psalm 139:17-18 24. Zephaniah 3:17 25. Jeremiah 32:40 26. Exodus 19:5 27. Jeremiah 32:41 28. Jeremiah 33:3 29. Deuteronomy 4:29 30. Psalm 37:4 31. Phillipians 2:13 32. Ephesians 3:20 33. 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17 34. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 35. Psalm 34:18 36. Isaiah 40:11 37. Revelation 21:4 38. John 17:23 39. John 17:26 40. Hebrews 1:3 41. Romans 8:31 42. 2 Corinthians 5:18-19 43. 1 John 4:10 44. Romans 8:32 45. 1 John 2:23 46. Romans 8:38-39 47. Luke 15:7 48. Ephesians 3:14-15 49. John 1:12-13 50. Luke 15:11-32

Friday, July 20, 2007

Birmingham Floods...

... make for tretcherous driving conditions!!

Also, here's a video of Maddy playing with Luke our cat:

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Graduation Day

The day has finally come, and it felt great, to graduate from the University of Birmingham with a Bachelor in Medicine and Bachelor in Surgery (MB ChB). But of all my achievements, my proudest one is being there today with my beautiful wife and baby daughter. Deo Gratias!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

About to Graduate...

Tomorrow morning I have the momentous privilege of being part of the 300-something medics graduating from the University of Birmingham. As part of the ceremony we will also be read the "Duties of a Doctor", which is the closest we will get to making a Hippocratic Oath! Its an exciting occasion, and I will have my Mother and ghostly Father (priest and spiritual director) present in the audience, with Wendy and Maddy watching the proceedings live from a television studio.

Today at the Oratory we had a funeral for an old lady called Mary, who was a member of the Union of Catholic Mothers. Wendy, a member herself, was present as a guard of honour as the coffin left the church. It was a poignant occasion, as all funerals are, of course. The colours of the Oratory have never been so resplendent to me; the glory and honour shown to God for the dignity of one of his daughters now leaving this life. The solemn exit of the coffin from church called to my mind the opposing image during the Baptismal Rite whereby a physical entry welcomes the Christian into the Church, the mystical Body of Christ. Now Mary was leaving the Church Militant, and embarking on her final journey to God's Kingdom. Such a journey must be met by us with both joy and mourning; what can we do but feel the loss and pain when a loved one dies? My experience of death within my own family has been a bitter and furious one. Death seems like such an abrupt end. Yet for the Holy Souls we must unite our prayers of despair and anxiety with God's infinate mercy, and appeal that our love for them may wet their tongue of any loss and pain they may experience on being cleansed of this world and its Sin.

This year I am arranging a 10 year commemoration of my brother Damian Coghlan's death. He was 20 when he died - such a young age, which made it hard to really engage with the legacy and impression he left behind; all thoughts and feelings at his funeral were mixed up with bitter suffering and raw pain. Now is a time to think in a joyous way about the gift his life was to us. I plan to present everyone present on Saturday, 13th October with a memorial book about his life. This will also include numerous photos of him growing up, from birth to his last year. Our joy can shine through once again, when we are healed from the mourning and hurt. I hope many of those people who knew Damian will share in this joyous day.

The last few days have been a comedy of errors and annoyances, which leaves me anything but joyous. It may surprise my readers to know I have a criminal past, and although it is for petty police cautions as a teenager, these things need careful consideration and scrutiny by the General Medical Council (the regulatory body responsible for ensuring a register of qualified medical doctors). Unfortunately important documents have got lost in the post (no doubt a result of the recent Royal Mail strikes) which leaves me in a real predicament! After everything I have been through to finish my degree, I may now have to defer my first job until I have full registration (which may be the time it takes to get a Criminal Records Bureau check!). I think the irony here is that people will be free to work without a recent CRB check coming through if they haven't declared any cautions or convictions, but myself - having declared something - now needs to provide full proof and documentation! It would have been nice to know all this a little sooner than 2 weeks before the commencement of my post. I suppose it is just an example of the temporal effects of Sin. I better get my book of indulgenced prayers out... and pray to St Anthony to find my CRB certificate!

Glancing at the News today, it has been "confirmed" that the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI uses the extraordinary form of the Mass (1962 missal) whenever he says Mass privately. This does not so much surprise me, but I have to wonder now that Summorum Pontificum has been issued, whether he will celebrate publically, an extraordinary High Mass for the Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross this year? That would be quite something. I have lots more to say about the Old Mass (whoops slip of the keypad, I mean extraordinary Mass) but it will have to wait. In particular, how can the Holy Father's wishes for reconciliation and unity be achieved from this document? Too long have we suffered divisiveness and conflict from "traditionalists" vs "liberals" or otherwise; when can we simply get on with practising our Faith with whatever form of the Roman Rite we choose? Time will tell...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Motu Proprio Network


After the landmark letter of the Pope, Summorum Pontificum, we are left as the Church with many things to prepare and put into place, in order that the full fruits of the Holy Father's wishes be realised. Central to this initiative is the organisation of local people who wish for the Extraordinary Mass to be celebrated freely and widely. An excellent first step in this, is the database begun by LumenGentleman Catholic Studies. At the time of writing, this geographical database has over 1000 members from all over the world, and I really think it needs more promoting. Here is a recent correspondance from the owner:
The response to this simple little project has been overwhelming. Deo Gratias!

I finally figured out a good way for registrants in the database to contact each other without making everyone's personal information available on the Internet for anyone to see.
There is now a search tool that lets you look for members in your area. When the results of the search come back, you will be able to click on a member's contact ID to send them a note from the web site. They can then respond to you if they so choose, at which point, you will have each other's email addresses and can pretty well take it from there.

Some of you have asked about signing up people "by proxy", people who may not be regular internet users. I have no problem with this, provided you have their permission. With this in mind, I have a proposal to make: I would like to invite every member of this network to talk to just five people in your parish, and ask them if they would mind you signing them up on the database. The math isn't hard to do, of course: if we all did this, the network would quickly grow to nearly 5,000 members, instead of just 1,000.

We need numbers to make this work. I see a lot of bishops are coming out with public statements and saying, "nothing is going to change in my diocese, no one here is really interested in the old Mss." I think that's misinformed opinion, and it would be nice to have the hard data to prove it.
It will be through 'grass roots' acts of the faithful that we will see true renewal in the Church, and the return of immemorial tradition to all aspects of Her life. Please do click on the link and sign up to this network, and ask others whether you could sign them up under your email address too.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Questions About Catholicism

I don't often get to explain my faith in a concrete way through a Q&A correspondence! But today I had the opportunity, to answer a non-Catholic christian friend in this way, so I thought I would share my humble attempts with you all. Comments and prayers would be welcome!
"What makes you a Catholic?"
This can be answered best by answering "What makes you a Christian?" and then going on from there to your second point. I am a Christian because I am baptised. This action of baptism is a real infusion of divine grace into my soul, which means I am reborn in Christ's Resurrection and Glory. That doesn't mean, of course, my Christian life ends there. Being a Christian is also about living my whole life IN CHRIST, and being humbly obedient to God, in his commandments, and in his will for my own life.

"Why is this different from other christians?"
We all have ONE baptism, so all christians share in this divine life. However, it is in the teaching authority of the Church that Catholics draw extra spiritual sustenance. Jesus founded the Church on St. Peter, who was the apostle of the apostles, a first among equals. When St Peter went to Rome, he became 'bishop' there, and his successors are known as the Papacy. The other apostles settled in other places, which in many cases still trace their lineage back to those apostolic times (eg St Mark and the coptic church in Egypt). An important part of the early Church was the Holy Spirit's complete guidance and protection given at Pentecost, which gave them the power to transmit the Faith through their teachings. These teachings are safely handed on to successive generations. All the churches quickly became reliant on communion, or agreement and sharing in the Truth of the Faith. When there was a dispute, the matter would need to be settled by Rome, in a similar way to the first council of the church held in Jerusalem (Acts) which was of course before Peter had settled in Rome itself. The conversion of the 'world empire' was always the will of the Holy Spirit, which explains St. Paul (and Peter)'s martyrdom in its centre of Rome. It was through the conversion of the Roman empire that Christendom spread all over the known world, and endured even after the collapse of the empire itself.

In all apostolic teaching, the Bible is the epitome, but by no means an exhaustive collection of the saving work of Christ.

As time went on, and especially in the 16th century, people decided to change and invent new doctrine and led people away from the Rock of Peter (Rome). Without any central teaching authority, they too quickly fragmented and bitter divisions resulted. Other christians differ in the degree of truth they hold to, and are only in communion with the Church (the mystical Body of Christ) in an imperfect way. Most specifically, the lack of an ordained priesthood and valid sacraments, makes it very difficult for other christians to preserve unity and the fullness of Faith, despite their undoubted zealousness and sincerity for what they believe.

"What makes you right with God as a Catholic?"
In a word, Grace. It is the reconciliation of Humanity with God, which Christ won on the Cross, which makes it possible for us to approach God and receive the Grace we need to become saints. Our justification before God is not just the way God sees us, but a process which he makes available to us, to sanctify us, perfect us, and make our hearts more like Christ. Humility is the first step, since we are nothing without God. The Sacraments, mainly Confession and the Mass (holy communion) are the principle means by which God chooses to sanctify us. The Mass is the greatest because it is Christ's body, blood, soul and divinity which are given us to unite us to his sacrifice on the cross, and to conform us to Himself.

"How does it change your life in comparison to a non-believer?"
We begin to display this divine life (or should) through the virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity (as well as Temperance, Fortitude, Prudence and Justice) in all our actions. Of course we don't become perfect overnight, but it is through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in our lives that we become ever closer to Christ. I would say personally, it is about dying to the world and living anew in Christ, and this gives us a detachment from worldly things. Ultimately it is about our desire for heaven and spending an eternity with God, which a non-believer may not wish to believe in or attain. This is a difficult question because generally I try not to compare myself with non-believers, or anyone for that matter, but to seek reconciliation with God amongst my own constant sinfulness. But I can't help noticing that non-believers blaspheme a lot more! And don't go to church!
Phew! Unusual and unclich├ęd questions, which I had the pleasure to answer really. There weren't very many soundbites which sprang to mind, which necessitated the length of my reply! Of course, the ecumenical question is a big one, which I'm not sure even the Church can answer to everyone's satisfaction. I think these questions must be answered with charity at the centre, which is something I pray and hope to have displayed. God bless!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Star Wars Celebration

As you can see from Wendy's catchy nursery rhyme, we have just got back from the Star Wars Celebration for Europe, which commemorates 30 years since Star Wars was originally released in cinemas! This was also the year my older brother Damian was born, who now deceased, would have definitely been at such an event if he was still with us! Indeed, you could not find a more knowledgeable and dedicated Star Wars fan, who naturally instilled some of the same geekish passion into his little brother (me)!

What an exciting event it was! The atmosphere was wonderful, with fans from all over Europe converging on the Excel convention centre in London's Docklands, to mingle, share, celebrate and entertain! There were lots of little kids there, which is wonderful, as we see the best ever Science-Fiction/Fantasy film been transmitted to the younger generation, for whom it was originally intended. An excellent feature for them (as well as the endless stores of Star Wars merchandise!) was a Dagobah Padawan Training stage, where some Jedi actors taught the essential lightsaber and force skills under the ominous threat of the evil Emperor and his apprentice Darth Vader!!

It was not only these fanatics who were dressed to impress; there were all sorts of excellent costumed people. Some of them were probably just paying guests, others were from popular fan organisations commissioned to be there, but all of them were enjoying every second of it (although it must be hot dressed as Chewbacca, left!) There is nothing to make a grown man become a boy like a jedi outfit!

There was a surprise around every corner; suddenly the crowd was whisked to one side by a legion of Stormtroopers to make way for the Dark Lord himself... only to disappear off into the crowd as if nothing had happened! There was a full size X-wing starfighter parked out the front of the exhibition hall to greet us; a replica set of the Tantive IV (featured in the first original scene, which was re-enacted with help from guests!) and the Millenium Falcon; some items from the Lucasfilm Archives (albeit disappointingly few); an art exhibition called the Vader Project (which was a lot of fun: the iconic Darth Vader helmet redesigned by a host of contemporary underground artists); celebrity signings and interviews...

And since we were only there for the first of three days, we caught the official opening ceremony, with Warwick Davies (small guy who played R2-D2 and Wicket the Ewok) as Master of Ceremonies introducing Mark Hamill (Luke Skywalker) and Ian McDiarmid (Emperor Palpatine) who both gave very amusing speeches. Mr McDiarmid was pleased to theatrically wish us "Happy Friday the Thirteenth!" as well as joke about the sound of planes overhead actually being the Death Star on its way to pick him up for dinner!

This was all wrapped up with an outdoor cinema performance of Star Wars (Episode IV: A New Hope) to raise money and awareness for Medicinema (a charity which I have now decided to support in memory of Damian, whose 10th year funeral anniversary I will commemorate this year). Maddy particularly enjoyed this screening, with squeels of excitement and delight!

I've Been to London...

Mad-el-eine, Mad-el-eine,
Where have you been?
"I've been to London
to Star Wars Extreme!"

Mad-el-eine, Mad-el-eine,
What did you there?
"I got a T-Shirt
from Daddy to wear!"

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fr Benedict Groeschel

On Thursday I was charged with the honour and duty of collecting Fr Benedict Groeschel from the airport. For those who do not know, Fr Benedict is the founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, based in New York's Bronx, which split from the Capuchins in 1987 to persue radical street evangelisation, and pro-life witness. After 20 years the order has grown to over 100 friars and sisters, working both in New York and further afield (including London and Bradford). Their work is a real inspiration to everyone they meet, and therefore it was exciting for me to meet their founder.

He is also the author of over 20 books, the host of several EWTN television programmes. He is Professor of Pastoral Theology at St Joseph's Seminary, Director of Spiritual Development for the Archdiocese of New York, and Chairman of Good Counsel Homes and St Francis House. He is also about to celebrate his 74th birthday. He was ordained Priest in the Capuchin Order at the age of 26, in 1959.

I found quite a frail but confident man, who was keen to tip the airline steward with the wheelchair, and ready to help read directions to me of how to get to Twickenham. Our conversations ranged from the nature of evil to the traditional Latin Mass (he is ready to dust off his 1962 Missal) but always interspersed with good humour and anecdotes. He was a pleasure to spend the afternoon with, and always insisting on other people's welfare above his own, despite everyone's readiness to help and accommodate him.

Before I left the Linacre Conference, full of inspiration from a keynote address by Fr Benedict, and all the other wonderful speakers, I ensured I received his special blessing. He recalled all the important things in my life, evidently having paid astute attention to everything I had told him previously.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

St Mary's University College

The Linacre Conference took place in a rather special location this year. Founded in 1850, this is generally acknowledged as being the oldest Catholic University in the UK. What I find remarkable is the interesting architecture, so was snapping away with my camera before I left on Saturday. Here are some facts about the original building from the University's website:
Strawberry Hill was originally a small cottage located in two or three acres of land by the River Thames. Horace Walpole, a son of the politician Robert Walpole, rented the cottage in 1717 and subsequently purchased it. He began to enlarge the house and added to the land, which now amounts to approximately 35 acres. Walpole did not follow the eighteenth-century fashion of classical building, but sought his inspiration in medieval styles. Some few of his contemporaries imitated his design and so this house and the idea it embodied take their place in the history of architecture as Strawberry Hill Gothic.

St Mary's University has a long and distinguished history as a Catholic college for the education of teachers. It was founded in 1850 by the Catholic Poor Schools Committee to meet the need for teachers to provide an education for the growing numbers of poor Catholic children. It started in Brook Green in Hammersmith in the charge of the Brothers of Christian Instruction with an intake of twelve young men. In 1899, the Catholic Hierarchy asked the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians) to undertake the administration of the College. Succeeding years saw an ever-increasing demand for Catholic teachers and by the 1920s the College at Brook Green was inadequate for its tasks. At Brook Green the College abutted onto Cadby Hall, the headquarters of the caterers, J Lyons & Company, and, at this time, Lyons also wanted to expand. They had money and St Mary's had land. The successful conclusion of negotiations on this happy juxtaposition enabled the College to purchase Strawberry Hill and build living accommodation and classrooms for about 250 students. The College at Strawberry Hill was officially opened in 1925; since then the College buildings have been enlarged to meet the needs of over 3000 students.

The last fifty years have seen dramatic changes in the social life of the country and in the official provision of educational facilities for all able to take advantage of them up to university level. St Mary's University has reflected these changes both in the way of life of the students and women were first admitted in 1966. Whilst the college was primarily concerned with teacher training up to 1975, courses leading to the University of London BA and BSc external degrees had been offered from 1920. In 1967 it became possible to stay for a fourth year to convert the Teacher's Certificate into a BEd degree. The first students for the then new London University BA, BEd, BH and BSc unit degrees entered in 1975. These degrees marked a new phase in the life of the College, for now only a third of our work is devoted to teacher education, and the title of the BEd degree has been changed to BA. Much effort is directed towards courses leading to BA and BSc two-subject degrees, together with taught MAs, research degrees and various diplomas; in the autumn of 1994, new single subject BA degrees were introduced.

A policy decision was taken in 1979 whereby the College changed its validation from the University of London to the University of Surrey. Our first students to gain qualifications under the University of Surrey received their diplomas in 1983 but, with effect from September 1983, all students registered with the University of Surrey. In July 1986, our first graduates from the University of Surrey received their degrees in Guildford Cathedral. The College's degree conferment ceremonies are now held in either the College Chapel or Westminster Cathedral.

The relationship with the University of Surrey developed progressively. The Senate and Council of the University of Surrey accorded us 'Affiliated College Status' in 1990 and from that year all undergraduate students have been recruited through UCCA (now UCAS). In 1992 the College was accorded 'College of the University of Surrey' status and in the same year a lay Principal was appointed for the first time. From September 1996 were accredited by the University of Surrey for taught degree programmes.

In September 2006, St Mary’s was granted the power to award its own taught degrees by the Privy Council following an 18 month period of intense scrutiny by the Quality Assurance Agency. In addition, following Privy Council approval, St Mary's now has the right to be called a university college and can apply for university status when it meets the criteria for this important stage.

New students registering from September 2007 can look forward to graduating with a St Mary's University College degree.
I will write more about my experience of the Linacre conference itself, when I have a little more time to assimilate all the notes I made. If you have any experience of this University College, feel free to post your comments. I am most interested whether it measures up to the quality of its 'Gothick' architecture, some of it designed by Pugin's distant relative, Sebastian Pugin-Powell!

UPDATE: Please see Joee Blogs excellent account of the Linacre Conference. I fear I may not have the time to write my own any time soon, and will certainly not beat this great account! I echo all of his reflections.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

New Poll on Sidebar

My last poll is obviously redundant, so here's a new one. Roll up, roll up!!

What will be the main fruit of Summorum Pontificum?
Reconciliation and growth of SSPX
More dioceses with an extraordinary Mass
Growth of Ecclesia Dei communities
Better integration of Latin Mass communities into parish life
More reverent celebration of the ordinary Mass
More priests learning extraordinary Mass
More extraordinary High Masses
pollcode.com free polls

Hello Motu!

We will look back on this day in history; the seventh day, of the seventh month, of the seventh year of the third millenium; with great joy and appreciation of the perfection which it so rightly reflects. The release of the Motu Proprio by Pope Benedict XVI, liberalising use of the traditional latin Mass (now known as the "extraordinary" expression of the Roman Rite) will hopefully usher in a period of true renewal and restoration in the Church. The Holy Father has rightfully acknowledged the "great love and affection" which the faithful such as myself, have towards these venerable liturgical forms. I hope this will now mean that my family can enjoy a share in the harmonious reconciliation with ordinary pastoral care within the Church, and no longer feel awkward and sidelined. This is a day of great joy and thanksgiving for the glory of God.
In this way the sacred liturgy according to the Roman manner made fertile not only the faith and piety but also the culture of many peoples. Moreover it is evident that the Latin Liturgy in its various forms has stimulated in the spiritual life very many Saints in every century of the Christian age and strengthened in the virtue of religion so many peoples and made fertile their piety.

In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.

It has clearly been demonstrated that young persons too have discovered this liturgical form, felt its attraction and found in it a form of encounter with the Mystery of the Most Holy Eucharist, particularly suited to them.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Family Friendly

Online Dating

This rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:

  • death (2x)
  • gun (1x)
I'm glad I'm a family-friendly blog!! On related news, Wendy and I took Maddy to the cinema on Thursday to see Shrek 3 at a special 'Newbies' screening. So now it's possible for us to continue our hobby of going to the pictures, even with a screaming baby!

Linacre Centre International Conference

Incapacity and Care:
Moral Problems in Healthcare and Research

An international conference to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Linacre Centre's foundation

St Mary's University College
Strawberry Hill
5-7 July 2007

Organised by Linacre Centre of Healthcare Ethics (London)
With Sponsorship from Ave Maria School of Law (Michigan)

I am really looking forward to this conference, which will be my first taste of what the Linacre Centre has to offer. I imagine it will really give me a huge boost, especially since the prospect of being a practising doctor is looming and makes me feel somewhat nervous.

Speakers will include Archbishop Mario Conti, Fr Benedict Groeschel, Dr David Jones, Dr Bill Sullivan, Dr Wendy Hiscox, Professor Desmond O'Neill, Dr Helen Watt, Dr Aaron Kheriaty, Anthony McCarthy, Dr Philip Howard and Professor John Finnis.


Here is what we were up to a fortnight ago when I didn't blog for a week:
Mevagissey Harbour
Maddy keeping us amused!
Beach at Goran Havan
Truro Cathedral
The Eden Project

Midnight Motu Proprio Murmurs...

I have just accidentally deleted half of this post because blogger insists on autosaving every mistake I make. But perhaps I should start by saying "sorry" for not being in my usual blogging state of mind. Perhaps its because I'm tapering off my anti-depressants, or perhaps its because there is some major family turmoil at the moment. Either way, something isn't right, because today I was deeply furious about liturgical abuse within the setting of a Tridentine Mass!!

But maybe all the things swirling around in my head, preventing me from sleeping, stem from the excitement about the upcoming Motu Proprio. Will it really change anything?? Well, suppose the Pope is suggesting that this venerable Rite of Mass is not only allowed to take place, but should also be esteemed and honoured, just as Our Lord and His Sacred Tradition should be adored and venerated. That would be quite something. Suppose this letter gives sufficient impetus for parish priests to not only want to learn the Old Mass, but also say it as part of their ministry to the world... That is a situation I long for. I suspect that the Old Mass will only be said where it is requested. Well, in that case it puts a lot of responsibility on the 1% of Catholics who are attached to this Rite, to talk about it with their friends, to encourage priests they meet, and to be prepared to financially support initiatives to broaden its use.

The most important question is why is any of this necessary? Well, the most fitting worship of Our Lord is something we can see communicated to Humanity throughout the whole of redemption history: from the Israelites to our present-day Church. We can either resign ourselves to the status-quo, that the present state of Western Catholic Worship is Spirit-inspired, or we can look back to how the Worship of the Church has organically evolved and been handed onto us; a treasure aesthetically and artistically. A true thing of beauty which has a certain impenetrable depth which only prayer and wisdom will approach. Many accuse 'Traditionalists' of being elitist. But maybe we, as Catholics, need to regain some positive 'elitism' in terms of the great responsibility God has given us of handing on the Faith to subsequent generations. The Mass in central to this, and I doubt each time I attend an average parish Mass, whether our children will be able to profit anything from the way these sacred mysteries are presented to us. (I perhaps want to distance myself from any reference to the Oratory, since this institution is very much an exception and doesn't represent what I see to be the dominant effect of the New Rite of Mass).

The Motu Proprio will throw up many questions. Perhaps all I can do is get on with my spiritual life and pray about them, rather than let the devil plant doubt and confusion in my mind. The gates of hell shall not prevail, and we must stay rooted to the Rock of Peter, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI.