Saturday, 31 October 2009

Apostolic Constitution: some clarification of the celibacy issue

(31 Oct 09 - RV) Vatican Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi has issued the following clarification of the announced Apostolic Constitution regarding personal ordinariates for Anglican entering into full communion with the Catholic Church:

"There has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an
Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli, that the delay in publication of the Apostolic Constitution
regarding Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic
Church, announced on October 20, 2009, by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to more than “technical” reasons. According
to this speculation, there is a serious substantial issue at the basis of the delay, namely,
disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision.

Cardinal Levada offered the following comments on this speculation: “Had I been asked I
would happily have clarified any doubt about my remarks at the press conference. There is no
substance to such speculation. No one at the Vatican has mentioned any such issue to me. The
delay is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and
references. The translation issues are secondary; the decision not to delay publication in order
to wait for the ‘official’ Latin text to be published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis was made some time

The drafts prepared by the working group, and submitted for study and approval through the
usual process followed by the Congregation, have all included the following statement, currently
Article VI of the Constitution:

§1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites
established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be
accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of
married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis
coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement “In June” are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must
submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.
§2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as
a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition
the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the
order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy

This article is to be understood as consistent with the current practice of the Church, in
which married former Anglican ministers may be admitted to priestly ministry in the Catholic
Church on a case by case basis. With regard to future seminarians, it was considered purely
speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule
might be petitioned. For this reason, objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married
seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and
the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See.”

Cardinal Levada said he anticipates the technical work on the Constitution and Norms will
be completed by the end of the first week of November".

With thanks to De Cura Animarum

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Anglican bishop ready to convert

                                                    The Rt. Rev. Bishop John Hind

From Standing on my head :

"This amazing bit of news just breaking is truly momentous. A sitting Church of England Diocesan bishop has announced that he is ready to convert to Rome and be re-ordained."

Thanks to Fr Longenecker

Friday, 23 October 2009

Nun volunteering as abortion clinic escort in Illinois

Has this Sister's Order had it's Apostolic Visitation yet?

HINSDALE, Illinois, October 23, 2009 ( - A Dominican nun has been seen frequenting an abortion facility in Illinois recently - but not, as one might expect, to pray for an end to abortion or to counsel women seeking abortions, but to volunteer as a clinic escort.Local pro-life activists say that they recognized the escort at the ACU Health Center as Sr. Donna Quinn, a nun outspokenly in favor of legalized abortion, after seeing her photo in a Chicago Tribune article.

Thanks to Lifesite News

The Pope of Christian Unity

When the Holy Father gave us  Summorum Pontificum, some folk weren't happy. There were mutterings that 'he isn't even a trained liturgist'.
Now that an Apostolic Constitution has been announced, under which, Anglicans who wish to become Catholics will be able to do so, en masse, whilst retaining elements of their Anglican heritage which are consistent with the teaching of the Catholic Church, some negative reaction is starting to be voiced. Soon perhaps, we will hear complaints that he isn't even a trained Ecumenist, as if  the Holy Father is a remote figure who doesn't understand the issues, and is  somehow damaging the work of Christian Unity.
But the goal of Christian unity can only lead us in one direction: to Christ and through the Church that He founded on the Rock of Peter. The Church that is One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

In a post entitled 'Whose Ecumenism?',      Fr. Z cautions readers to :

"Be alert.

The liberal Catholics will try to pull a sleight of hand.  They will attempt to get you to believe that what Pope Benedict is doing is not true ecumenism. 

They will claim to be the sole arbiters of true ecumenism.

They will claim that conservative Catholics, traditional Catholics are not interested in true ecumenism.

But true ecumenism is not about compromise on essentials, giving away fundamental elements of our Catholic identity."

Fr. Z. has given the Holy Father a new title which he encourages readers to use:

'The Pope of Christian Unity'

How very apt!

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Archbishop Chaput,Denver, USA: Conscience, Courage and Children with Down Syndrome

 So much of Archbishop Chaput's article, posted below, is as true for the UK as for the US.

The highlights are mine, phrases or sentences that particularly resonate with me, as a Catholic mother of  children with disabilities, including Down Syndrome.

"What kind of people are we becoming, and what we can do about it?

A number of my friends have children with disabilities. Their problems range from cerebral palsy to Turner’s syndrome to Trisomy 18. But I want to focus on one fairly common genetic disability to make my point. I’m referring to Trisomy 21, or Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is not a disease. It’s a genetic disorder with a variety of symptoms. People with Down syndrome have mild to moderate developmental delays. They have low to middling cognitive function. They also tend to have a uniquely Down syndrome “look”—a flat facial profile, almond-shaped eyes, a small nose, a short neck, thick stature, and a small mouth that often causes the tongue to protrude and interferes with clear speech. People with Down syndrome also tend to have low muscle tone. This can affect their posture, breathing, and speech.

Currently, about 5,000 children with Down syndrome are born in the United States each year. They join a national Down syndrome population of roughly 400,000 persons. But that population may soon dwindle. And the reason why it may decline illustrates, in a vivid way, a struggle within the American soul. That struggle will shape the character of our society in the decades to come.

Prenatal testing can now detect up to 95 percent of pregnancies with a strong risk of Down syndrome. The tests aren’t conclusive, but they’re pretty good. And the results of those tests are brutally practical. Studies show that more than 80 percent of unborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are now terminated in the womb. They’re killed because of a flaw in one of their chromosomes—a flaw that’s neither fatal nor contagious, merely undesirable.

The older a woman gets, the higher her risk of bearing a child with Down syndrome. In medical offices around the country, pregnant women now hear from doctors or genetic counselors that their baby has “an increased likelihood” of Down syndrome based on one or more prenatal tests. Some doctors deliver this information with sensitivity and great support for the woman. But too many others seem more concerned about avoiding lawsuits, or managing costs, or even, in a few ugly cases, cleaning up the gene pool.

We’re witnessing a kind of schizophrenia in our culture’s conscience. In Britain, the Guardian newspaper recently ran an article lamenting the faultiness of some of the prenatal tests that screen for Down syndrome. Women who receive positive results, the article noted, often demand an additional test, amniocentesis, which has a greater risk of miscarriage. Doctors quoted in the story complained about the high number of false positives for Down syndrome. “The result of [these false positives] is that babies are dying completely unnecessarily,” one medical school professor said. “It’s scandalous and disgraceful . . . and causing the death of normal babies.” These words sound almost humane until we realize that, at least for that professor, killing “abnormal” babies such as those with Down syndrome is perfectly acceptable.

In practice, medical professionals now can steer an expectant mother toward abortion simply by hinting at a list of the child’s possible defects. The most debased thing about this kind of pressure is that doctors know better than anyone else how vulnerable a woman can be when she hears potentially tragic news about her unborn baby.

I’m not suggesting that doctors should hold back vital knowledge from parents. Nor should doctors paint an implausibly upbeat picture of life with a child who has disabilities. But doctors, genetic counselors, and medical school professors should have on staff—or at least on speed dial—experts of a different sort.

Parents of children with special needs, special education teachers and therapists, and pediatricians who have treated children with disabilities often have a hugely life-affirming perspective. Unlike prenatal caregivers, these professionals have direct knowledge of persons with special needs. They know their potential. They’ve seen their accomplishments. They can testify to the benefits of parental love and faith. Expectant parents deserve to know that a child with Down syndrome can love, laugh, learn, work, feel hope and excitement, make friends, and create joy for others. These things are beautiful precisely because they transcend what we expect. They witness to the truth that every child with special needs has a value that matters eternally.

Raising a child with Down syndrome can be hard. None of my friends who have a daughter or son with a serious disability is melodramatic, or self-conscious, or even especially pious about it. They speak about their special child with an unsentimental realism. It’s a realism flowing out of love—real love, the kind that courses its way through fear and suffering to a decision, finally, to surround the child with their heart and trust in the goodness of God. And that decision to trust, of course, demands not just real love, but also real courage.

The real choice in accepting or rejecting a child with special needs is never between some imaginary perfection or imperfection. The real choice is between love and unlove, between courage and cowardice, between trust and fear. And that’s the choice we face as a society in deciding which human lives we will treat as valuable, and which we will not.

Nearly 50 percent of babies with Down syndrome are born with some sort of heart defect. Most face a lifelong set of health challenges. Government help is a mixed bag, and public policy is uneven. Some cities and states, like New York, provide generous aid to the disabled and their families. In many other jurisdictions, however, a bad economy has forced budget cuts. Services for the disabled have shrunk. In still other places, the law mandates good support and care, but lawmakers neglect their funding obligations, and no one holds them accountable. The vulgar economic fact about the disabled is that, in purely utilitarian terms, they rarely seem worth the investment.

That’s the bad news. But there’s also good news. Ironically, for those persons with Down syndrome who do make it out of the womb, life is better than at any time in our nation’s history. A baby with Down syndrome born in 1944 could expect to live about twenty-five years. Today, people with Down syndrome routinely survive into their fifties and sixties. Most can enjoy happy, productive lives. Most live with their families or share group homes with modified supervision and some measure of personal autonomy. Many hold steady jobs in the workplace. Some marry. A few have attended college. Federal law mandates a free and appropriate education for children with special needs through the age of twenty-one. Social Security provides modest monthly support for persons with Down syndrome and other severe disabilities from age eighteen throughout their lives. These are huge blessings.

And, just as some people resent the imperfection, the inconvenience, and the expense of persons with disabilities, others see in them an invitation to be healed of their own sins and failures by learning how to love. About 200 families in this country are now waiting to adopt children with Down syndrome. Many of these families already have, or know, a child with special needs. A Maryland-based organization, Reece’s Rainbow, helps arrange international adoptions of children with Down syndrome. The late Eunice Shriver spent much of her life working to advance the dignity of children with Down syndrome and other disabilities. Last September, the Anna and John J. Sie Foundation committed $34 million to the University of Colorado to focus on improving the medical conditions faced by those with Down syndrome. And many businesses now welcome workers with Down syndrome. Having a job and earning a paycheck gives these special employees pride and purpose. These things are more precious than gold.

Every child with Down syndrome, every adult with special needs—in fact, every unwanted unborn child, every person who is poor, weak, abandoned, or homeless—is an icon of God’s face and a vessel of his love. How we treat these persons—whether we revere them and welcome them or throw them away in distaste—shows what we really believe about human dignity, both as individuals and as a nation.

The American Jesuit scholar Father John Courtney Murray once said that “Anyone who really believes in God must set God, and the truth of God, above all other considerations.” Here’s what that means. Catholic public officials who take God seriously cannot support laws that attack human dignity without lying to themselves, misleading others, and abusing the faith of their fellow Catholics. Catholic doctors who take God seriously cannot do procedures, prescribe drugs, or support health policies that attack the sanctity of unborn children or the elderly, or that undermine the dignity of human sexuality and the family. And Catholic citizens who take God seriously cannot claim to love their Church and then ignore her counsel on vital public issues that shape our nation’s life. God will demand an accounting. As individuals, we can claim to be or believe whatever we want. But God knows our hearts better than we do. If we don’t conform our hearts and actions to the faith we claim to believe, we’re simply fooling ourselves.

We live in a culture in which marketers and media compulsively mislead us about the avoidance of suffering, the denial of death, the silliness of virtue, and the cynicism of religious faith. It’s a culture of fantasy, selfishness, and illness that we’ve brought on ourselves. And we’ve done it by misusing the freedom that other generations worked for, bled for, and bequeathed to us for safekeeping.

What have we done with that freedom? In whose service do we use it now?

John Courtney Murray is most often remembered for his work at Vatican II on the issue of religious liberty and for his great defense of American democracy in his book We Hold These Truths. Murray believed deeply in the ideas and moral principles of the American experiment. He saw in the roots of the American Revolution the unique conditions for a mature people to exercise their freedom through intelligent public discourse, mutual cooperation, and laws inspired by right moral character. He argued that, at its best, American democracy is not only compatible with the Catholic faith but congenial to it.

But Murray had a caveat. It’s the caveat that George Washington implied in his farewell address and that Charles Carroll—the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence—mentioned in his own writings. America depends as a nation on a moral people shaped by their religious faith and, in a particular way, by the Christian faith. Without that living faith animating its people and informing its public life, America becomes something alien and hostile to the very ideals it was founded on. As his caveat, Murray wrote this:

Our American culture, as it exists, is actually the quintessence of all that is decadent in the culture of the Western Christian world. It would seem to be erected on the triple denial that has corrupted Western culture at its roots: the denial of metaphysical reality, of the primacy of the spiritual over the material, [and] of the social over the individual . . . Its most striking characteristic is its profound materialism . . . It has given citizens everything to live for and nothing to die for. And its achievement may be summed up thus: It has gained a continent and lost its own soul.

Over the years, I’ve learned that when God takes something away from a person, he gives back some other gift that’s equally precious. A friend of mine has a son with Down syndrome, and she calls him a “sniffer of souls.” He may have an IQ of 47, and he’ll never read The Brothers Karamazov, but he has a piercingly quick sense of the heart of the people he meets. He knows when he’s loved—and he knows when he’s not. Ultimately, we’re all like my friend’s son. We hunger for people to confirm that we have meaning by showing us love. We need that love. And we suffer when that love is withheld.

We need to be the best people we can be. And, first, we need to be the best Catholics we can be. By our words and by our actions, we need to be witnesses. So: Speak up for what you believe. Love the Church. Defend her teaching. Trust in God. Believe in the Gospel. And don’t be afraid. Fear is beneath your dignity as sons and daughters of the God of life. Changing the course of American culture seems like a huge task. But St. Paul felt exactly the same way. Redeeming and converting a civilization has been done once. It can be done again. But we need to understand that God is calling us to do it. He chose us. He calls us. He’s waiting, and now we need to answer him."

Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M Cap., is the archbishop of Denver.

Thanks to First things

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

The meaning and purpose of Ecumenical Dialogue

The Vatican has announced an Apostolic Constitution in which:

the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure
that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates, which will
allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving
elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony. Under the terms of
the Apostolic Constitution, pastoral oversight and guidance will be provided for groups of
former Anglicans through a Personal Ordinariate, whose Ordinary will usually be
appointed from among former Anglican clergy.

A joint statement by the Archbishop of Westminster and the Archbishop of Canterbury was also released this morning, from which I quote:

The Apostolic Constitution is further recognition of the substantial overlap in faith, doctrine and spirituality between the Catholic Church and the Anglican tradition. Without the dialogues of the past forty years, this recognition would not have been possible, nor would hopes for full visible unity have been nurtured. In this sense, this Apostolic Constitution is one consequence of ecumenical dialogue between the Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Rowan Williams has put his signature to the above paragraph, i.e. he agrees that the prospect of full communion with Rome is a legitimate outcome of ecumenical dialogue.

If forty years of ecumenical dialogue has brought some groups of Anglicans to a point where they wish to ask to be admitted to full communion with the Catholic Church,is that sign of conversion, or convergence? 

Two years ago, this month, two representatives of  theTraditional Anglican Communion, were appointed to make the formal request to the Holy Father, to be admitted to full communion with the Catholic Church. That is, they made the request shortly after the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum.( The Anglicans, with whom today's announcement might resonate, are not just concerned about the attempted ordination of women to priesthood). 

Just before doing so, I have read, (but can't find the link), they visited a shrine of Our Lady in England and deposited in that shrine a kind of 'credo'; a statement of their beliefs.
I don't know if that shrine was Walsingham, but it seems possible given that  Walsingham  is Our Lady's foremost English shrine for both Catholics and Anglicans.

Wasn't it in Walsingham, that Our Lady made it known, that when English pilgrims came to Walsingham, the Faith would return to England?

We do live in exciting times!
God bless the Holy Father and God bless all those  who may now seek to cross the Tiber, and enter into full communion with the One True Church.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

The Relics of St. Therese escorted home

"After an incredible few days touring England and Wales the relics of St Therese have now returned to Lisieux. A number of people were chosen by the organisers to accompany St Therese including two members of our Quo Vadis Group. In the photograph above you can see Phil and John as they wheel the relics into the chapel."

Our son Phil, (pictured left), spoke to us of the enormous privilege and joy it was, to be involved in helping escort the relics of St Therese, from England to Lisieux, in France.

Thanks to Fr. Langridge, Southwark Vocations blog

Ah, so it is mens' fault after all....

....they just haven't adapted to the Catherine Pepinster world view.

If you haven't already voted....

...please consider doing so, here. This is the poll organised by Bath University, which wants to hear public opinion about the legalisation of assisted suicide. The University is hosting a lecture on Tuesday 27th October, by Lord Joffe who continues to campaign for the legalisation of assisted suicide. The poll asks

'Should assisted suicide be legalised for the terminally ill?'

At the moment the poll stands at 93% against, with a total of  2,170 votes cast.

That's a great figure, but it could be more...

Friday, 16 October 2009

Some reflections on the Visit of St Therese's Relics

What is it about  St. Therese of Lisieux that has drawn people in their thousands, during the month long visit of her Relics to our country?
There have been many attempts to answer this question, ranging from  'it's Catholic idolatry' to 'whatever floats your boat' to 'it's my favourite saint' and so on.
I think one of the best answers came from Mgr. John Armitage during Wednesday's  Youth Liturgy at Westminster.He told us that we were mistaken in thinking that we had come to see the Relics of St. Therese;  the Saint is not trying to draw us to herself, she is pointing us to God. God is the destination, St Therese is a signpost to that destination.

Signposts, of course, tell us which way to travel to the desired destination, and St Therese shows us her own Little Way. The essence of the Little Way is to accept the work, joys and sufferings of each day as God's will for us. To accept them with joy and with love. To perform  even the humblest tasks with the greatest love that we can, and to offer our sufferings in union with Christ, who suffered death for love of us.

During her earthly life, St Therese showed a great love for the Sacred Priesthood, consecrating herself  for priests as 'an apostle to apostles'. She was concerned not only for priests, but also for the souls whom they serve.It is hardly a mere coincidence that  the visit of her Relics to the UK took place during the current Year for Priests.We can ask with confidence that St Therese would intercede for our UK priests, for a renewal of their priesthood, and for many more vocations to the priesthood.

Towards the end of her earthly life, St Therese said that she wanted to spend her Heaven doing good on earth. That so many thousands attended the visit of her relics to the UK is itself a sign that St. Therese is busy about her task.
The Relics of St Therese have now left England to return to Lisieux, but I sense it is only the beginning, that we haven't yet seen the fruits that are to come through the intercession of St Therese, fruits for which we can all continue to pray.
St Therese of the Child Jesus of the Holy Face, pray for us.

Friday, 9 October 2009

The Nobel peace surprise

"Mr Obama becomes the third sitting US President to receive the prize. The committee said today that he had “captured the world’s attention”. It is certainly true that his energy and aspirations have dazzled many of his supporters. Sadly, it seems they have so bedazzled the Norwegians that they can no longer separate hopes from achievement. The achievements of all previous winners have been diminished."

Times online

Thursday, 8 October 2009

'The rejection of Humanae Vitae has everything to do with everything...the meltdown of western civilisation'

Stephen Fry's shameful slur against Polish Catholics

About 5 minutes in, here's what Stephen Fry said:

"There's been a history, let's face it, in Poland, of a right wing Catholicism which has been deeply disturbing for those of us who know a little history and remember which side of the border Auschwitz was on.."

Gerald Warner of the Daily Telegraph has a great comment  on this  disgusting, insulting assault on Catholicism, and Polish Catholics, from which I quote:

"That is beyond outrageous. It slanderously suggests that Auschwitz was run by Polish Catholics, not by German Nazis. “A little history” is right. Just how very little history Fry knows is demonstrated by that crassly ignorant statement. Auschwitz was on Polish soil, ergo it was a Polish institution? As for which side of the border Auschwitz was on, it was actually in Upper Silesia which had been annexed to Germany in 1939. It might, of course, be argued that the Poles built Auschwitz – if slave labour counts.
The first prisoners in Auschwitz were Polish intellectuals and members of the resistance. Altogether, 150,000 Catholic Poles were murdered in Auschwitz, including Saint Maximilian Kolbe. Between two and three million Catholic Poles were killed in the Second World War. Polish pilots fought in the RAF in the Battle of Britain.
Note Fry’s insidious use of the dog-whistle term “right-wing Catholicism”: the propagandist employment of the phrase “right wing” has recently been expounded by several bloggers on this site. Catholicism is neither “right-wing” nor “left-wing”: it professes certain moral precepts that are unchanging and non-negotiable at the behest either of focus groups or pressure groups."

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

C-FAM : Petition for the Unborn Child

Help C-FAM Gather 1,000,000 Signatures  

 This petition is to be presented to the U.N. at the next session of the General Assembly.C-FAM  is countering  attempts by Marie Stopes International to force recognition of abortion as a human right.Here is the link, and you can chooseto read the petition in any one of 19 different languages.

  "The right to life of every human being, from conception to natural death, each child having the right to be conceived, born and educated within the family, based on marriage between a woman and a man, the family being the natural and fundamental group unit of society."


 The reality of abortion is that the youngest and weakest humans can be killed by older, more powerful humans. It's the legalised killing of the defenceless.

Talking about abortion as a 'human right' seems puts it on a par with welfare benefits,  as  something to which you have an entitlement.

If the U.N. succumbs to pressure and lists abortion as a human right, entitlement  to exercise that right will emerge, against which a doctor/nurse's conscience ethics or beliefs will not prevail.

And fathers' interests in the child they have fathered will be completely subjugated to those of mothers who may excercise their 'right' to abortion along with their right to cast a vote, or claim sickness benefit.

My post about my son's computer....(2)

.....prompted my husband to suggest that we see whether the filter on our son's computer  will allow specifically pro-life sites such as SPUC, Lifesite news etc.

Perhaps my earlier post brought on a  computer/filter tantrum as it's refusing to connect to the internet at all !

One more question for the techie guy, tomorrow!

My post about my son's computer... (1)

...has generated a great deal of interest around the international blogosphere!
This is  mainly owing to other kind bloggers who have posted on their own blogs about my original post (and provided links).

Many thanks to:
Catholic and Loving it 
Fr. Finigan
and anyone else who I am not aware of.

Over the last few days,there have been very many more visitors to At Home In My Father's House than it usually attracts; you are  most welcome and I hope you will all continue to visit-as often as you can!