30 January 2009
27 January 2009
commemorates Holocaust victims
Fr Patrick Brennan’s blog Humblepiety Fr Patrick Brennan of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, England, reminded me that today is Holocaust Day. It is a day that, above all, commemorates the millions of Jews who died in the Nazi concentration camps.
British clean up Belsen, April 1945
Many others died in them also. I came across accounts of two different Masses celebrated in Belsen after its liberation. The first is one of the most poignant descriptions of a Mass I have ever come across and is from an article by Lord Molyneaux, former head of the Ulster Unionist Party, I witnessed the dead of Belsen: we must always confront tyranny, that he wrote for The Daily Telegraph on this date five years ago. I was astonished to discover that James Molyneaux, a young officer at the time in the British Army, had been educated in a Catholic school in Northern Ireland.
The most moving experience came on the second morning as I was walking from what had been the luxury SS barracks which our troops had transformed into a hospital. My attention was drawn to two packing cases covered by a worn red curtain. A young Polish priest was clinging to this makeshift altar with one hand, while celebrating Mass. Between his feet lay the body of another priest who probably died during the night. No one had had the energy to move the body.
I had no difficulty in following the old Latin Mass, having been educated at St James's Roman Catholic School in County Antrim, and, although an Anglican, I had gained a working knowledge of all the rituals. Still supporting himself against the altar, the young priest did his best to distribute the consecrated elements. Some recipients were able to stumble over the rough, scrubby heathland. Others crawled forward to receive the tokens and then crawled back to share them with others unable to move. Some almost certainly passed on to another - probably better - world before sunset. Whatever one's race or religion one can only be uplifted and impressed by that truly remarkable proof of the ultimate triumph of good over evil.
The other account of a Mass in Belsen after liberation was by an Irish Jesuit, Fr Michael Morrison, who was a chaplain with the group that liberated Belsen.
During his time in Belsen, Morrison witnessed many horrors but he also had times of great joy. After the first few days of total chaos, Morrison began to set himself up properly. When his work of anointing the sick and the dead began to lessen, Morrison decided to hold the first Mass to be said in the camp. However on the day he was supposed to hold the Mass, it poured rain. The rain was so bad that Morrison thought of canceling the Mass as he felt that no one would come. When he walked out on the makeshift altar he was stunned to see hundreds of people of many different religions waiting. He felt this to be one of the greatest moments of his life and so began to say Mass every day. This is from a BBC page.
Father Morrison clearly wasn’t aware of the Mass offered by the Polish prisoner-priest but both accounts surely are a testimony to the power of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and to the presence of faith and hope in God and of the presence of God’s love in the midst of evil.
25 January 2009
On Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Obama Issues Statement Defending “Right to Choose”
Obama Revokes Abortion Funding Policy, Will Fund Overseas Abortions with Taxpayer Money
Both articles are by John Jalsevac.
Neither story should surprise anyone since Mr Obama has never hidden the fact that he is one of the most extremely pro-abortion politicians in the USA. But it seems that because of the colour of his skin many have chosen to ignore this. The story below shows the devastation that Roe v Wade and the pro-abortion mindset has had on the African-American population in the USA. While Mr Obama's wife and children are descended from slaves he isn't. The original slaves were taken from west Africa whereas he is the son of a Kenyan who was doing third-level studies in the USA. Kenya is in east Africa and has no historical connection whatever with slavery in the Americas.
LifeSiteNews also carries the following article:
At March, Black Pastor Warns Obama not to Preside over “Genocide” of American Blacks
WASHINGTON, DC, January 23, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The most well received speech at the March for Life this year was that of an African American pastor from Frederick Maryland. Pastor Luke Robinson began noting that the election of the first African American President of the United States was a fulfillment of “part” of the “Dream” of Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.
Speaking of the inauguration of the “first black President” of the United States, Pastor Robinson explained: “So many African Americans and other folks cried and shouted because the inauguration was part of the deferred dream come true.” But, he added, “we come here to deal with some unfinished business as it relates to the ‘dream’.” Then, using Barack Obama’s own rhetoric, Pastor Robinson used the phrase “We need change now more than ever” which would accentuate the rest of his talk. “We are calling on the President of Change, President Barack Obama,” he said, “to be an agent of change as it relates to the lives of over one million children who will be slaughtered in this, his first year as President, by a horrible practice called abortion and ‘a woman’s right to choose’.”
The most striking portion of Robinson’s speech came as he begged Obama not to preside over the genocide of African Americans. “We need change Mr. President because every day about 4000 babies die by abortion. Every day Mr. President, people with your ethnic background any my ethnic background die in astounding numbers. Abortion is the number one killer of African Americans in this country.”
“We make up about 12% of the population and about 34% of all abortions are black babies. In the last 36 years over 17 million African American babies have died by abortion alone. We need to change this picture. We need to stop this slaughter of the innocent preborn.“Please Mr. President, be that agent of change that can commute the sentence of over 1400 African American children and over 3000 children from other ethnic groups sentenced to die every day in this country by abortion.”
“We need change and we need it now.”“I pray with so many others,” he said, “that your administration will preside over the end to abortion and to the black genocide in America.” “At the conclusion of your term in office, may it never be said that you presided over the largest slaughter of innocent children in the history of the country and that African Americans became an ever increasing minority under your hand.”
Among those present at the March for Life was Frank Padilla, founder of Couples for Christ:
Frank Padilla, founder of the international pro-family organization Couples for Christ, spoke to LifeSiteNews about the "global attempt to destroy the family, destroy marriage, and destroy life". In the Philippines, where the group began, pro-life groups are fighting a "reproductive health" bill that would fund and promote the distribution of contraceptives, including those that cause abortion.
24 January 2009
At the time of their meeting, St Francis de Sales was visibly disturbed and touched with pity for the unfortunate Martin. St Francis realized that the poor man would remain forever ignorant of God and the rich mysteries of the Faith and that his lack of instruction would forever keep him from receiving the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist.
22 January 2009
21 January 2009
The Diocese of Cloyne in the south of Ireland has been in the news quite a bit these last few weeks, with many asking that Bishop John Magee resign over the way he handled allegations of child abuse by priests. However, no charges were brought against the two priests in question.
But yesterday’s Irish Times carries a story about a newly-ordained priest of the diocese, Fr Seán Corkery, Serving up a new vocation. He is a former professional chef.
One particularly interesting point in the article reads:
Corkery was wondering if he would have the confidence to be a leader. He was also unsure as to whether he would have the ability to ‘put words on tragedy’ for families impacted by sudden deaths.
‘In sad tragic times the priest is the voice of the community. You have to be there for people in the devastating times and know what to say and do. You have to try to put some shapes on the tragedies. I was wondering if I would have the confidence to do it.’
There seem to be more and more tragedies in Ireland in recent years, suicides, murders, road-deaths involving young people and so on. The Church is still the place where people try to come to terms with these and try to make sense of them. And in the last year a number of funerals of persons who could be described as agnostics have taken place in Catholic churches in Ireland.
Death seems to be the one situation where people are seeking the Good News from priests.
Pray for Father Corkery that he may have a long and happy life serving the people of his diocese and that he may lead others to consider the priesthood. Maybe too, with his professional background, he’ll become an Irish equivalent of Filipino-American Fr Leo Patalinghug of Grace Before Meals!
There is an account, with photos, of the ordination of Father Corkery on 22 June last year on the Cloyne website.I've been having trouble lately uploading photos.
17 January 2009
It’s a cliché to say of a holy man that he was ‘lie a brother’, ‘like a father’. But there must have been some special quality in the young Anthony that led people to love him as a son.
You can access the full reading here on the website of Dr Marcellino D’Ambrosio.
On a more serious level, I once heard a Columban working in Japan telling how a blind parishioner of his shared in a group that one of his favourite gospel passages was that of the healing of Bartimaeus, the blind man, in St Mark 10:46-52. And they came to Jericho; and as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a great multitude, Bartimaeus, a blind beggar, the son of Timaeus, was sitting by the roadside. And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, "Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!" And many rebuked him, telling him to be silent; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" And Jesus stopped and said, "Call him." And they called the blind man, saying to him, "Take heart; rise, he is calling you." And throwing off his mantle he sprang up and came to Jesus. And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Master, let me receive my sight." And Jesus said to him, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." And immediately he received his sight and followed him on the way.
What touched the blind Japanese man was the fact that Jesus didn’t presume to know what Bartimaeus wanted but asked him ‘What do you want me to do for you?’ I know that, especially when I was younger, I tended to think that I knew what others ‘needed’.
16 January 2009
Traditionally Christian countries and regions in the West such as Australia, Canada, Europe and the USA are more and more becoming militantly anti-Christian and anti-human rights in their legislation or attempts at legislation. For example, the Abortion Law Reform Bill, passed in Victoria, Australia, last year, contains the following words:
abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman.
Despite any conscientious objection to abortion, a registered nurse is under a duty to assist a registered medical practitioner in performing an abortion in an emergency where the abortion is necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman.
Only seven? Amateurs! Since September all Quebec students from primary school entry to high school graduation, whether enrolled in public or non-funded private schools, must attend Quebec's new Ethics and Religious Culture course (ERC). And teachers, regardless of their beliefs, must teach it. Read the full story here.
09 January 2009
Father Phalan writes of his confrere: ‘His life's commitment is summarised by the phrase still so well known throughout the world - "The family that prays together stays together" - and it is as true now as ever before.’
He writes further on: ‘The family that prays together takes time to put into practice what they say they believe and so they can listen for truth in God's word, they can let Christ work in their lives - and listen to one another. They do so with the Virgin Mary who has been the Mother of the Irish for centuries.’
The Irish Times is considered by many to be the leading newspaper in Ireland. When I was young it had a relatively small circulation and was known as a ‘Protestant paper’ because it was read mainly by Protestants and had a history of being pro-British. It is encouraging to read an article such as this in it.
Father Peyton was born in County Mayo in the west of Ireland but emigrated to the USA as a young man. There is a memorial centre in his honour in his native county. Archbishop Michael O’Doherty, the second non-Spanish archbishop of Manila, was also born in County Mayo, as was Father John Blowick, co-founder of the Columbans. Mayo is also the location of Knock Shrine and of Croagh Patrick, the mountain on the summit of which St Patrick is reputed to have spent 40 days in prayer.
I used to have a tape of Father Peyton leading the rosary. I listened to it from time to time while driving – something I wouldn’t recommend, as his voice was what we call in Irish leadránach. In other words, it would put you to sleep! I also noticed that in the Litany of Loreto he said ‘Vessel of singular devotion’ instead of ‘Singular vessel of devotion’. I’m not sure if he always said that but I’m sure our Blessed Mother smiled every time he did.
I came across this item on Father Peyton’s visits to the Philippines:
In 1951 Father Patrick Peyton CSC first visited the Philippines to conduct a Rosary Rally at the University of Sto. Tomas. Then in 1958 Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Cardinal Santos invited Father Peyton to bring the Family Rosary Crusade to Manila. On December 6, 1959 the first Rosary Rally was conducted at the Luneta where a crowd of 1.5 million gathered to listen to Father Peyton. From the first Rally in 1959, 14 major Rosary Rallies soon followed in the key provinces of the Philippines. Since then, the ministry in the Philippines has been expanding and developing to bring the message that The Family That Prays Together Stays Together ™.
The cause for the canonization of this great priest began in 2001.
06 January 2009
Bartolomé Estebán Murillo (1617-1682)
Though it’s not a holyday of obligation in the Philippines, the bishops back in the 1970s, I think, made St Joseph the Worker on 1 May the principal feast of the saint. But there was a strong reaction from the people and, like the Irish bishops with the Epiphany, they quickly reverted to 19 March.
I remember a teacher at Dublin City University telling me in the early ‘90s that while very few attended the daily Mass there, when there was a holyday of obligation the chapel was full for the extra Masses celebrated. The young people were freely choosing to fulfil their obligation. However, a few years ago the Irish bishops, in their wisdom, dropped both Ascension Thursday and Corpus Christi as holydays of obligation, moving them to Sundays. Despite the fact that the Ascension is a ‘biblical feast’ in the sense that Corpus Christi isn’t, it being more of a devotional feast, and is meant to be celebrated 40 days after the Resurrection, and despite the fact that we are supposed to be ecumenical, it seems the bishops never consulted either their own people or the Anglicans, the second largest group of Christians in Ireland and who observe the same major feasts as Catholics.
When I was based in Britain from 2000 till 2002 doing mission appeals, very few parishes I visited had a Sunday evening Mass. One that did was near Leeds University and quite a few students were at that Mass. One, who chatted with me after Mass, was actually a student in Ireland and had come over to see his favourite soccer team, Leeds United, play. But he went out of his way to go to Sunday Mass, God bless him.
Here in the Philippines President Gloria Arroyo in her wisdom has tinkered with every single specifically Filipino holiday, including Independence Day, 12 June, and has been much criticized for separating them from their roots and meaning. She’s all in favour of long weekends for government workers, with holidays switched to Fridays or Mondays. Ironically, 12 June was set as Independence Day by her father when president, Diosdado Macapagal, the date of a declaration of independence in 1898. That date replaced 4 July, the date on which the Republic of the Philippines became independent of the USA in 1946.
Back in the early 1980s the businessmen of Cebu City hijacked the Feast of the Santo Niño, the Holy Child, and now the secular celebration of the Sinulog, as it’s called, overshadows the religious festivity, which commemorates the arrival of the Christian faith in the Philippines. The Sinulog is a religious dance that has become a secular one. It seems to me that the Church authorities in Cebu went along with this.
When the Whit Monday holiday, observed on Pentecost Monday, was moved from that day to the first Monday of June in Ireland, its roots were lost, the Christian faith diminished that little bit more. It’s now simply the June Bank Holiday. The faith was further diminished in England and Wales and in Ireland when Sunday was made into an ordinary working day for so many.
I discovered just recently that the term ‘bank holiday’, which in Britain and Ireland means a public holiday, is used here in the Philippines and in the USA when a bank has to be closed because it has run out of money. That has happened to a number of rural banks here, or banks that would deal mainly in smaller amounts of money.
One of the realities in the Philippines that still shocks me is that Sundays and even Christmas Day are working days in department stores and supermarkets. The only days that are truly holidays for the vast majority are New Year’s Day, Good Friday and All Saints’ Day.
The only remaining holydays of obligation in the Philippines are the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God (New Year’s Day), the Immaculate Conception and Christmas Day. But it has to be acknowledged that the churches aren’t packed on 8 December, even though Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception is the principal patron(ess) of the Philippines.
To all, as we say here in the Philippines, ‘Happy Three Kings!’
05 January 2009
02 January 2009
‘The world needs to be saved from senile ex-Hitler Youth Catholic bigots’. The particular ‘senile ex-Hitler Youth Catholic bigot’ referred to in a comment on World Have Your Say, a blog on the BBC Radio website. It’s topic for 23 December was Does the world need to be saved from homosexuality?
The first entry begins with these words: The Pope has said that saving humanity from homosexuality is just as important as saving the rainforest.
A couple of other comments: The Pope is promoting hatred.
That statement is one of the most intolerant public statements I have ever heard. If the pope had said that on radio or had a show on A&E he would have been cancelled…
Below is the relevant part of the Holy Father’s message to the members of the Curia, the Vatican administration, on 22 December. The translation is by Bishop Michael Campbell OSA, coadjutor bishop of Lancaster, England. Thanks to Jackie Parkes for sending me a copy.
Since faith in the Creator is an essential part of the Christian Credo, the Church cannot and should not confine itself to passing on the message of salvation alone. It has a responsibility for the created order and ought to make this responsibility prevail, even in public. And in so doing, it ought to safeguard not only the earth, water, and air as gifts of creation, belonging to everyone. It ought also to protect man against the destruction of himself.
What is necessary is a kind of ecology of man, understood in the correct sense. When the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman and asks that this order of creation be respected, it is not the result of an outdated metaphysic. It is a question here of faith in the Creator and of listening to the language of creation, the devaluation of which leads to the self-destruction of man and therefore to the destruction of the same work of God.
That which is often expressed and understood by the term “gender”, results finally in the self-emancipation of man from creation and from the Creator. Man wishes to act alone and to dispose ever and exclusively of that alone which concerns him. But in this way he is living contrary to the truth, he is living contrary to the Spirit Creator. The tropical forests are deserving, yes, of our protection, but man merits no less than the creature, in which there is written a message which does not mean a contradiction of our liberty, but its condition. The great Scholastic theologians have characterised matrimony, the life-long bond between man and woman, as a sacrament of creation, instituted by the Creator himself and which Christ – without modifying the message of creation – has incorporated into the history of his covenant with mankind.
This forms part of the message that the Church must recover the witness in favour of the Spirit Creator present in nature in its entirety and in a particular way in the nature of man, created in the image of God. Beginning from this perspective, it would be beneficial to read again the Encyclical Humanae Vitae: the intention of Pope Paul VI was to defend love against sexuality as a consumer entity, the future as opposed to the exclusive pretext of the present, and the nature of man against its manipulation.
If you can find any mention of homosexuals or homosexuality by the ‘senile, ex-Hitler Youth Catholic bigot’ in that long quotation you could also check out this story: Vatican U.N. delegation calls for end to unjust discrimination against homosexuals .
The Vatican itself is partly to blame for the misrepresentation of the Holy Father's message by much of the world's media. Although English is the major international language in today's world, its website still doesn't have an English translation of the Pope's message. Surely it should have every important message of the Pope ready in English to be disseminated immediately. But you can read the message in German and in Italian .