Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pope Benedict: The Church must be free to preach the Faith....

There is much in the Holy Father's Address given on Monday to the Bishops of the Philippines on their Ad Limina visit, and so  much of what he says applies far beyond the geographical boundaries of the Philippines.
The full text is here.

Pope Benedict touches upon a number of themes including one we heard recently, during his visit to the UK, concerning  the voice of the Church in the public square:

"..the Church’s prophetic office demands that she be free "to preach the faith, to teach her social doctrine ... and also to pass moral judgments in those matters which regard public order whenever the fundamental human rights of a person or the salvation of souls requires it".
 The Holy Father also gave some encouragement to Catholics working in the vineyard of social communication...a contemporary example of which is of course, the the blogosphere:

 "A specific area in which the Church must always find her proper voice comes in the field of social communications and the media. The task set before the whole Catholic community is to convey a hope-filled vision of faith and virtue...........
............It is important that the Catholic laity proficient in social communications take their proper place in proposing the Christian message in a convincing and attractive way."

Say a prayer for those Bishops, they are great defenders of life who have just had their Conference's  website hacked. 

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Advent Wreath...

Thanks to the kindly Curt Jester who has provided  this year's Advent wreath.

Censorship and the Internet

Should law enforcement agencies i.e. the police  be given powers to require the taking down of a website, without a court order?

It seems this is under consideration by the Serious Organised Crime Agency, which has asked nominet (which runs the.uk part of the internet) to discuss ways of dealing with domain names used in connection with criminal activity.

If by 'criminal activity'  they mean things such as money scams, terrorism, child porn,  I would have no problem with such sites being closed. Even so, I think the police should be in possession of a court order. This would go some way to protect them (the police) from the suspicion of acting arbitrarily   and it reinforces the notion of the police service as being accountable.
Richard Baron at Analysis and Synthesis has some apposite comments on this proposal, particularly this:

"Fourth, there are sites that express extreme political, social or religious views, or that give general advice (as for example www.fitwatch.org.uk , which was recently closed down at the request of the police, and soon afterwards reappeared).
It would be totally unacceptable for Nominet ever to close down such a site at the request of law enforcers, without a court order. This is so, however extreme the views expressed.
If law enforcers could close sites like this, it would hand them a huge power of censorship. Of course they would promise not to abuse it, but future law enforcers might well abuse it. The power would also lead to self-censorship, as people moderated their comments for fear of provoking the authorities into asking Nominet to act.
So as far as this fourth category goes, the only acceptable policy for Nominet to have would be that it would always reject requests that were not in the form of court orders".

Fr Finigan mentions difficulties which could be faced by Catholic (and other Christian) bloggers:

  "The danger for Catholic blogs is that "equality" legislation is increasingly opposed to the free expression of Catholic doctrine. Pope Benedict reflected on this in some of the less controversial parts of his recent interview "Light of the World" and in his excellent book "Truth and Tolerance". If law enforcement agencies are allowed to decide motu proprio that a site must be closed down, we have then moved another step nearer to a police state. "


Monday, 22 November 2010

That Interview given by the Holy Father...

The Holy Father gave an interview.. a series of interviews.....which are about to be published in the form of a book, "Light of the World". The book is embargoed until Tuesday 23rd November, but the Vatican's own newspaper, 'L'Osservatore Romano' drove a coach and horses through the embargo yesterday, by publishing extracts from the book.

Among the extracts were some relating to the problem of prevention of AIDS by the use of condoms.

The Pope's remarks were quoted, out of context, by L'Osservatore Romano, and this has given rise to huge media speculation and comment, mostly of the  'Pope OK's Condoms'  kind.

An interview given by the Pope is an interview...given by the Pope.

It is not an official teaching of the Church.
It is not part of the Magisterium
It is not a Papal Bull, an Encyclical, or a Motu Proprio

The Holy Father  is permitted to have personal opinions (which are fallible, not infallible, just as mine or yours  are), isn't he?
The Pope's personal opinions will certainly be of much more interest than, say, mine, but they remain personal opinions.

So, what did he say? The CWR has a report here

Jimmy Akin has a helpful perspective here

My comment would be that the Holy Father's personal view, if I have understood it correctly,  seems to be that the prophylactic use of condoms against sexually transmitted diseases is not a solution to the problem of STD's.
The western world has been awash with condoms for years and they haven't helped. Even the manufacturers of condoms admit that condoms are not, by themselves, effective.
We need to have an honest look again at the whole  truth and meaning of human sexuality.
A first step towards this, in some cases, might be  a recognition that to knowingly risk the passing on of such a disease might  itself be immoral.

Thanks to Jimmy Akin
The Bones

Saturday, 20 November 2010

I write like......

I've been having some fun with the 'Analyse your Writing' website, following Mulier Fortis's latest post.
Using a fairly random selection of my blogposts has produced a certain lack of consistency in the results: 

I apparently write like: PG Wodehouse,  Edgar Allen Poe,  Stephen King,  James Joyce,  Dan Brown,  Ian Fleming,  David Foster Wallace,  HP Lovecraft,  Vladimir Nabokov  and  William Shakespeare!

It seems I do not write like any authoresses... should I be concerned about that?

Friday, 19 November 2010

Prayer Request

Of your charity, please say a prayer for my elderly uncle- he's had a fall which has put him in hospital. Probably he has a broken hip, together with some dehydration and hypothermia.

Thank God my brother called in earlier today, to visit him.....because of that unannounced visit, my uncle is now being looked after on a warm hospital ward instead of lying on the cold floor of his front room, semi-conscious and immobile.

Monday, 15 November 2010

Not quite Advent......

............But it's not far away. I found the lovely unborn Baby image ( in the sidebar) on Fr. Z's great blog, and promptly 'borrowed' it.

Many thanks to Fr Z.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Please pray for the Reverend John Gilbert

Please say a prayer for Rev.John Gilbert, an Anglican vicar who has informed his parish that he is to join the Roman Catholic Church.
It appears that Rev. Gilbert will not be crossing the Tiber on board the great ship, Anglicanorum Coetibus, but under existing provisions.
After he announced the news to parishoners, Rev. Gilbert received  a spontaneous round of applause.
So, maybe...others might  be inspired to join along with him....?

The parish he leaves behind  is listed on the Forward in Faith website.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

It could be said.....

"It could be said that the bits and pieces of each day’s jigsaw puzzle are put together at the altar;that the separate, often discordant notes of a day in our life are fused into one flowing symphony;"

"...at Mass we are astonished at the nearness of a God who comes to us disguised as our emotions, our bodies and our needy lives..."

"The Eucharist guarantees that every relationship is sacred; "

But would that be true.....?

Fr Finigan has a great fisk (I think that's the word) of an article in a diocesan paper, from which the statements above are quoted.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Founder of Mary's Meals needs your vote!

From  the website of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal:

Feed 10,000 hungry children for a year without spending a dime?
A click of your mouse here is all it takes http://heroes.cnn.com/vote.aspx to cast your vote for Magnus MacFarlane–Barrow for CNN Hero of the year.
Magnus is the founder of Mary's Meals: a grassroots charity feeding more than 420,000 impoverished children in their place of education in 15 countries. It only costs $10 USD  to provide a daily meal to a school child in Malawi. The $100,000 CNN prize will enable Magnus to offer nourishment and hope to 10,000 new children through Mary’s Meals. Learn more ways to help at www.marysmealsusa.org

I don't know much about current exchange rates, but the Mary's Meals website mentions that it costs about £6.15 to feed a hungry child for a year. Mary’s Meals provides daily meals in school for over 400,000 children in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Eastern Europe. 

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Plymouth Diocese launches Vocation Survey

A vocations survey has been launched in the Plymouth Diocese with a questionnaire about how we promote vocations in our communities. Members of the laity are invited to participate in this survey.
Bishop Christopher writes: "Vocation is basic to understanding the Christian life, rooted in the gift of God's grace in baptism. There is no one living their Christian life, who has not received a personal calling from God to do some service for the Lord's Kingdom. This thought was very dear to our newly beatified John Henry Newman.
"This survey has a narrower but very important focus - the calling to priestly ministry, or diaconate ministry, or consecrated life. The community of the Church needs these more particular vocations in order to maintain its true character. It needs, above all, the ministry of the priest so that the whole community can become more and more the Body of Christ built up through the Eucharist, a community of faith, hope and love.

More information and link to survey here

Monday, 1 November 2010

Half Term Visitors

It's been a lovely, if slightly crazy, half-term week.

In fact, I could rename this year's October break from school as 'Family Week', as we were visited by five families, most of whom stayed for a few days (though not all at once!) and, of course, our own student son and daughters managed to get home for most of, or part of the week.
There was a great deal of cooking...  meals for up to twenty people at a time. Arranging seating at the dining table, with a garden table to supplement worked very well, and no-one seemed to notice if the crockery or the cutlery didn't match...
There was laughter, conversation, walking (sometimes of the dog), playing, collecting and dropping off at the train station, food shopping (Sainsbury's might have been a bit puzzled at my repeated visits)and sightseeing. There was the  joyful renewal of  old friendships as well as newer ones, catching up, opening up, exchanging news advice and views.
There was prayer, its highpoint of course, Mass on Sunday, where we managed to fill two pews.....

And  there were the fond farewells- some of our visitors travelled hundreds of miles to be with us at half term; it's the sort of compliment we can't fully repay since travelling for our two disabled sons has to be limited. But they too, need to meet people, make friends, socialize. What a true gift it is, to have family and friends who understand this and are prepared to honour us all with their wonderful company.