Monday, September 15, 2008

1000 Years of Wulfstan

To mark 1000 years since the birth of the landmark Saint Wulfstan, my family and I attended an 'ecumenical procession' yesterday afternoon through the streets of Worcester (flanked by street performances by local school children about the life of the Saint) and a service of Evening Prayer in the Cathedral. Archbishop Vincent Nichols gave an excellent account of the Saint, and how we can faithfully be inspired by him. His Grace even went so far as to quote Pope Benedict XVI, and Saint Augustine as saying one must be within the body of Christ (ie the Church) to be with His Spirit (which struck me as an excellent thing to say at an ecumenical gathering).

Worcester Cathedral was a Benedictine Priory up until the Reformation, and Saint Wulstan was responsible for establishing the Faith in this part of the country as Benedictine Prior, and later as Bishop. He managed to be the only Anglo-Saxon Bishop to survive his position after the Norman conquest. He is responsible for many miracles, which were set to excellent Latin music by composer Adrian Lucas and performed for this occasion. I recorded a short section of this music and set a slideshow to it. I hope you enoy it!

R. Celebramus diem istum in Wolstano nobis venerabilem qui in Christo transmigravit ad locum admirabilem sanctificatis sanctificandis sanctis habitabilem.

Est ubi vera quies perpes sine murmure merces.

Office of St Wulfstan, matins responsory I (Sarum Use)
(sung in Plainsong yesterday)

R. Let us celebrate this day which, because of Wulfstan, is venerable to us, who passed over into Christ, to the admirable place, which is inhabited by saintly sanctified saints.

V. Where there is true peace without murmuring.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Message from BXVI ! is like a Catholic Youth version of Facebook. I enjoyed this site a long time ago when it consisted mainly of a discussion group. Now it has been chosen as the official site of Sydney World Youth Day.

Imagine my surprise when I see this in my mail inbox:

Following the link, I get an electronic message from the Pope. This is very 'cool':

Dear Friends,

Fifty days ago we were together for the celebration of Mass. Today I greet you on the birthday of Mary, Mother of the Church. Empowered by the Spirit and courageous like Mary, your pilgrimage of faith fills the Church with life! Soon I am to visit France. I ask you all to join me in praying for the young people of France. May we all be rejuvenated in hope!


Also, here is a Youth translation I prepared of the Pope's message:

Dr Frnds,

50 dys ago we wr tgtha 4 th clbrtn of Mss.
2dy I grt u on th brthdy of Mry, Mtha of th Chrch.
Empwrd by th Sprt & couragus lke Mry, ur plgrmge of faith fills th Chrch wth lfe!
Soon Im gonna visit France.
I ask u all 2 join me in pryin 4 th yng ppl of Frnc.
May we all b rejuvntd in hope!


Sunday, September 07, 2008


I have not written previously about the so-called apparitions at Medjugorje. Based mainly on the facts contained in the book written by the late Michael Davies, I concluded a long time ago that the events surrounding a supposed apparition of Our Lady were not worthy of belief, attention or wasted money and effort. If nothing else, I would simply obey the line of the Church, and the local Bishops, that there was nothing suggesting supernatural events (despite several thousand claimed apparitions).

Now, just recently, it has come to light that the 'visionaries' key spiritual advisor, Fr Tomislav Vlasic, has been subject to severe disciplinary measures by the Franciscan Order. Not only that, but the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith have authorised these measures. Fr Vlasic claimed to have been chosen by divine providence for his advisory role in the apparitions, and now has proven himself to be less than up to the job. Sure, we are all sinners; but managing to father a child to a nun really takes some doing.

I'm afraid this is just yet another slur against the motley crew, who continue to have support all over the world, mainly with 'charismatic' type Catholics who often have questionable views about the nature of the Church as it is. Do yourself a favour, and stop detracting attention away from true Catholic spirituality, like the apparitions at Fatima for instance.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Profession for Catholic Converts

In the old way of doing things in the Catholic Church, a candidate for "reception into full communion" would have to recite a Profession, which seems almost like an oath. The form of the Rite seems to be based around the Priest absolving the convert from excommunication. There will also have been some inquiry into whether the candidate's non-Catholic Baptism would have been valid, and if necessary Baptism is 'repeated' (even if only conditionally, just to make sure!)

I reproduce here in full the text of the Profession. The whole Rite can be found in the Appendix of the Rituale Romanum, which can be found here.

Although this profession is no longer required, with a new Rite being followed, I would encourage any candidates for the RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults) in the Catholic Church to study and meditate upon this text. The structure of the RCIA often assumes that everyone will be ready at the end of it at the same time; but some people feel they need longer, or indeed feel they could have been received earlier. In any case, from my experience with my wife Wendy (left, being confirmed), who underwent this process, I found it a time of immense Grace, which led me back to the Faith! The night of the Easter Vigil is a very special time to be received into the Catholic Faith.

Perhaps by studying this Profession, any candidate will be aware how 'ready' they really are. Enjoy!

The convert kneels before the priest (vested in surplice and purple stole,) and with his/her right hand on the book of Gospels makes the profession of faith as given below. If the person is unable to read, the priest reads it for them slowly, so that they can understand and repeat the words after him.

I, N.N., .... years of age, born outside the Catholic Church, have held and believed errors contrary to her teaching. Now, enlightened by divine grace, I kneel before you, Reverend Father ...., having before my eyes and touching with my hand the holy Gospels. And with firm faith I believe and profess each and all the articles contained in the Apostles' Creed, that is: I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell, the third day He arose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of God, the Father almighty, from there He shall come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit; the holy Catholic Church; the communion of saints; the forgiveness of sins; the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen.

I firmly admit and embrace the apostolic and ecclesiastical traditions and all the other constitutions and ordinances of the Church.

I admit the Sacred Scriptures in the sense which has been held and is still held by holy Mother Church, whose duty it is to judge the true sense and interpretation of Sacred Scripture, and I shall never accept or interpret them in a sense contrary to the unanimous consent of the fathers.

I profess that the sacraments of the New Law are truly and precisely seven in number, instituted for the salvation of mankind, though all are not necessary for each individual: baptism, confirmation, holy Eucharist, penance, anointing of the sick, holy orders, and matrimony. I profess that all confer grace, and that baptism, confirmation, and holy orders cannot be repeated without sacrilege. I also accept and admit the ritual of the Catholic Church in the solemn administration of all the aforementioned sacraments.

I accept and hold in each and every part all that has been defined and declared by the Sacred Council of Trent concerning original sin and justification. I profess that in the Mass there is offered to God a true, real, and propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead; that in the holy sacrament of the Eucharist the body and blood together with the soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ is really, truly, and substantially present, and that there takes place in the Mass what the Church calls transubstantiation, which is the change of all the substance of bread into the body of Christ and of all substance of wine into His blood. I confess also that in receiving under either of these species one receives Jesus Christ whole and entire.

I firmly hold that Purgatory exists and that the souls detained there can be helped by the prayers of the faithful.

Likewise I hold that the saints, who reign with Jesus Christ, should be venerated and invoked, that they offer prayers to God for us, and that their relics are to be venerated.

I firmly profess that the images of Jesus Christ and of the Mother of God, ever a Virgin, as well as of all the saints should be given due honor and veneration. I also affirm that Jesus Christ left to the Church the faculty to grant indulgences, and that their use is most salutary to the Christian people. I recognize the holy, Roman, Catholic, and apostolic Church as the mother and teacher of all the churches, and I promise and swear true obedience to the Roman Pontiff, successor of St. Peter, the prince of the apostles and vicar of Jesus Christ.

Moreover, without hesitation I accept and profess all that has been handed down, defined, and declared by the sacred canons and by the general councils, especially by the Sacred Council of Trent and by the Vatican General Council, and in special manner all that concerns the primacy and infallibility of the Roman Pontiff. At the same time I condemn and reprove all that the Church has condemned and reproved. This same Catholic faith, outside of which none can be saved, I now freely profess and I truly adhere to it. With the help of God, I promise and swear to maintain and profess this faith entirely, inviolately, and with firm constancy until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and publicly professed by all who depend on me and over whom I shall have charge.

So help me God and these holy Gospels.