Friday, November 26, 2010

On Condoms...

[T]he conjugal act is destined primarily by nature for the begetting of children, those who in exercising it deliberately frustrate its natural power and purpose - sin against nature and commit a deed which is shameful and intrinsically vicious.
Since, therefore, openly departing from the uninterrupted Christian tradition some recently have judged it possible solemnly to declare another doctrine regarding this question, the Catholic Church, to whom God has entrusted the defense of the integrity and purity of morals, standing erect in the midst of the moral ruin which surrounds her, in order that she may preserve the chastity of the nuptial union from being defiled by this foul stain, raises her voice in token of her divine ambassadorship and through Our mouth proclaims anew: any use whatsoever of matrimony exercised in such a way that the act is deliberately frustrated in its natural power to generate life is an offense against the law of God and of nature, and those who indulge in such are branded with the guilt of a grave sin.
No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted. This truth of Christian Faith is expressed by the teaching of the Council of Trent. "Let no one be so rash as to assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands, instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able that He may help you."

Encyclical Casti Connubii (on Christian Marriage) Pope Pius XI, 1930. Paragraphs 54, 56, 61

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Birmingham Oratory Prayer Chain

Please say the following prayer daily for the intentions of:

- The health and welfare of the community of the Birmingham Oratory of St Philip Neri
- The continuity of the tradition established by Blessed John Henry Newman
- The safe return of the three Birmingham Oratorians in absentia
    Look down from heaven, Holy Father, from the loftiness of that mountain to the lowliness of this valley; from that harbour of quietness and tranquillity, to this calamatious sea.

    And now that the darkness of this world hinders no more those benignant eyes of thine from looking clearly into all things, look down and visit, O most diligent keeper, that vineyard which thy right hand planted with so much labour, anxiety, and peril.

    To thee, then, we fly; from thee we seek for aid; to thee we give our whole selves unreservedly; thee we adopt for our patron and defender.

    Undertake the cause of our salvation, protect thy clients; to thee we appeal as our leader, rule thine army fighting against the assaults of the devil; to thee, kindest of rulers, we give up the rudder of our lives, steer this little ship of thine, and, placed as thou art on high keep us off all the rocks of evil desires, and with thee for our pilot and our guide we may safely come to the port of eternal bliss. Amen.

    Monday, November 15, 2010

    Newman on the Mass

    Many people look at the Latin Mass and think it absolutely pointless and unintelligible. A common criticism of the Mass pre-Vatican II was that it was rushed and garbled. I must say that because the Latin Mass is only said nowadays by Priests who love and cherish it, there is undoubtedly greater care taken in observing the Rite. Perhaps previous abuses were part of the problem resulting in wholesale reform?

    However, Blessed John Henry Newman provides his own enthusiastic analysis of this criticism in his work of fiction Loss and Gain. When asked by his sceptical Protestant friend, in a final attempt at dismissing Romanism, how he could justify the garbled Mass, when it was said in a manner which ignored the presence or even understanding of the congregation, the zealous Catholic answers:

    " will be faith which will enable you to bear the ways and usages of Catholics, which else might perhaps startle you. Else, the habits of years, the associations in your mind of a certain outward behaviour with real inward acts of devotion, might embarrass you, when you had to conform yourself to other habits, and to create for yourself other associations...
    "to me nothing is so consoling, so piercing, so thrilling, so overcoming, as the Mass, said as it is among us. I could attend Masses for ever, and not be tired. It is not a mere form of words,—it is a great action, the greatest action that can be on earth. It is, not the invocation merely, but, if I dare use the word, the evocation of the Eternal. He becomes present on the altar in flesh and blood, before whom angels bow and devils tremble. This is that awful event which is the scope, and is the interpretation, of every part of the solemnity. Words are necessary, but as means, not as ends; they are not mere addresses to the throne of grace, they are instruments of what is far higher, of consecration, of sacrifice. They hurry on as if impatient to fulfil their mission. Quickly they go, the whole is quick; for they are all parts of one integral action. Quickly they go; for they are awful words of sacrifice, they are a work too great to delay upon; as when it was said in the beginning, 'What thou doest, do quickly.' Quickly they pass; for the Lord Jesus goes with them, as He passed along the lake in the days of His flesh, quickly calling first one and then another. Quickly they pass; because as the lightning which shineth from one part of the heaven unto the other, so is the coming of the Son of Man. Quickly they pass; for they are as the words of Moses, when the Lord came down in the cloud, calling on the Name of the Lord as He passed by, 'The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.' And as Moses on the mountain, so we too 'make haste and bow our heads to the earth, and adore.' So we, all around, each in his place, look out for the great Advent, 'waiting for the moving of the water.' Each in his place, with his own heart, with his own wants, with his own thoughts, with his own intention, with his own prayers, separate but concordant, watching what is going on, watching its progress, uniting in its consummation;—not painfully and hopelessly following a hard form of prayer from beginning to end, but, like a concert of musical instruments, each different, but concurring in a sweet harmony, we take our part with God's priest, supporting him, yet guided by him. There are little children there, and old men, and simple labourers, and students in seminaries, priests preparing for Mass, priests making their thanksgiving; there are innocent maidens, and there are penitent sinners; but out of these many minds rises one eucharistic hymn, and the great Action is the measure and the scope of it... And you ask me whether this is not a formal, unreasonable service—it is wonderful! Quite wonderful. When will these dear, good people be enlightened? O Sapientia, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia, O Adonai, O Clavis David et Exspectatio gentium, veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster."

    Sunday, November 07, 2010

    New LMS website

    The Latin Mass Society Head Office have overhauled their website which can be found at the memorable address of It features an improved interactive map of all the Latin Masses in the country, so that wherever you may be you can see at a glance where the nearest one is. As well as all the usual features and resources, there is lots to explore, with updated photo galleries linked into the new Flickr environment.

    There are exciting new links to umbrella organisations; the Gregorian Chant Network and the Society of St Tarcisius, which is a new Sodality of Altar Servers trained exclusively in the Extraordinary Form.

    Tuesday, November 02, 2010

    Melanie Martin Photography

    Click on the title above to go to a fabulous photographer's web-page. If you are considering some photos for anything special, forget the studio and go to Mel! You will not regret it!

    Monday, November 01, 2010

    All saints

    ALL SAINTS- white, first class feast

    Gospel: Matthew 5:1-12
    And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him. And opening his mouth, he taught them, saying: Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land. Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill. Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. Blessed are the clean of heart: for they shall see God. Blesses are the peacemakers: for they shall be called children of God. Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when they shall revile you, and persecute you, and speak all that is evil against you, untruly, for my sake: Be glad and rejoice, for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.
    Todays Gospel and image from my 'invaluable' 1962 missal, full of so much of the 'treasures and richness' of The Church.