Sunday, March 21, 2010

Statement from the Oratory

It has now been officially announced that our Holy Father will personally beatify Cardinal Newman during his visit to England in September. Great!

The downside is it will take place in the derilict concrete sprawl of Coventry Airport, familiar to those present at the JPII Mass in 1982! I find this a bit disappointing from a liturgical and aesthetic point of view, and the likely implication that the English Oratories are probably being sidelined. However, here is the official statement:

The Fathers and many friends of the English Oratories are delighted by the official announcement that our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI will beatify our founder, the Venerable John Henry Newman, in the Archdiocese of Birmingham during his visit to Britain in September. Newman made his home in the Archdiocese for all his adult life, first in Oxford, where he lived as an Anglican and was received into the Catholic Church, and later in Birmingham itself where he founded and worked in the Birmingham Oratory for over forty years.
The Holy Father’s life-long devotion to Newman has made a profound contribution to understanding the depth and significance of our founder’s legacy. His decision to beatify Newman in person confers a unique blessing upon the English Oratories and all who have drawn inspiration from Newman’s life and work.
We joyfully look forward to welcoming the Holy Father, as well as the many pilgrims and visitors who will come to the Beatification ceremony and visit Newman’s shrine at the Birmingham Oratory.
We also look forward to the challenging work of preparing for the Beatification in conjunction with Church and civil authorities. We pray that the Beatification will fittingly reflect both Newman’s significance for the Universal Church and the honour paid to our Archdiocese and our country by the Holy Father’s presence among us.
Very Rev. Richard Duffield
Provost of the Birmingham Oratory
and Actor of the Cause of John Henry Newman

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Happy Mothering Sunday

Mother of God, mother of mine.....

-- Posted From Wend's iPod Touch WiFi (4.5Mb/s)
Virgin Media Broadband

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Sad comment about Baptism

An unfortunate commentator commented the following on a post I had written about baptism:
According to Acts 2, those who were baptized heard the word about Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. They believed what they heard (the gospel), and understood about the repentance from sins. They responded by being baptized. Throughout the book of Acts, those who are baptized understand the reasoning for it.
There is no authorization for the baptism of babies in scripture.
Stop making up things. You will give account.
Constance V. Walden
Of course, it is not the first time people come up with this argument, based around the protestant obsession of 'Faith Alone' (sola fide) which seems to actually attempt to limit the power of God's grace over our lives. I find apologetics frankly quite infuriating, mainly because any such discussion ends up straying away from reason and towards; "I'll have to check that with my pastor..."

Perhaps there isn't any firm authorisation in the scripture that we should baptise babies. But there certainly is authority in the Church, the "pillar and ground of the Truth" (1 Tim 3:15) which has passed on the noble tradition of baptising our infants in the same motherly way that the Church nurtures us. So to simply quote what the Church says on this matter helps to put it far more eloquently than I;

From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism. Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: "Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)
According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ's death, is buried with him, and rises with him:
Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:3-4)
The baptized have "put on Christ.” (Galatians 3:27) Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies. (cf. 1 Cor 6:11, 12:13)
Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the "imperishable seed" of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect. (1 Pet 1:23; cf. Eph 5:26) St. Augustine says of Baptism: "The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament.”
Born with a fallen human nature and tainted by original sin, children have need of the new birth in Baptism to be freed from the power of darkness and brought into the realm of the freedom of the children of God, to which all men are called. (Council of Trent [1546] cf. Col 1:12-14) The sheer gratuitousness of the grace of salvation is particularly manifest in infant Baptism. The Church and the parents would deny a child the priceless grace of becoming a child of God were they not to confer Baptism shortly after birth.
The practice of infant Baptism is an immemorial tradition of the Church. There is explicit testimony to this practice from the second century on, and it is quite possible that, from the beginning of the apostolic preaching, when whole "households" received baptism, infants may also have been baptized. (cf. Acts 16:15, 33; 18:8; 1 Cor 1:16)
Baptism not only purifies from all sins, but also makes the neophyte "a new creature," an adopted son of God, who has become a "partaker of the divine nature,” (2 Cor 5:17; 2 Pet 1:4; cf. Gal 4:5-7) a member of Christ and coheir with him, (cf. 1 Cor 6:15; 12:27; Rom 8:17) and a temple of the Holy Spirit. (cf. 1 Cor 6:19)
The Most Holy Trinity gives the baptized sanctifying grace, the grace of justification:
  • enabling them to believe in God, to hope in Him, and to love Him through the theological virtues;
  • giving them the power to live and act under the prompting of the Holy Spirit through the gifts of the Holy Spirit;
  • allowing them to grow in goodness through the moral virtues.
Thus the whole organism of the Christian's supernatural life has its roots in Baptism.

Perhaps Ms Walden might, by her own rationale, explain why she would advocate Baptism in the USA, when scripturally Baptism only took place in Palastinian water?