Following the visit to Birmingham, of a team of 'scouts' from the Vatican, we now hear that the beatification ceremony for Cardinal Newman will be held in Coventry airport Longbridge car factory Oscott college Cofton Park.
At about this time last year, I posted a few times about Dom and Phil's sponsored bike trip,
Rome -Medjugorje-Walsingham. They hoped to raise £2500 for Youth 2000, and by the grace of God, their magnificent determination and gruelling efforts, and the generosity of many people, the total was eventually in excess of £4000.
I mention this now, because I see that Mulier Fortis has posted about a similar fundraising initiative:
Briefly, three young members of the Treloar family are set to cycle from Sidcup (Kent) to Rome, and hope to raise £1200 in sponsorship for two great charities: Mary's Meals and The Cardinal Winning Pro-life Initiative. Their fundraising page provides more information, here's a brief taste:
"The trip is a holiday and a pilgrimage, but we'd like to take the opportunity to raise money for two fantastic charities. We're funding the trip ourselves, so all monies raised will go directly to the charities, in equal proportion.
Mary’s Meals provides a staple, daily meal in schools for children in some of the poorest countries in the world, thus fighting poverty through tackling malnutrition and encouraging education. The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative provides non-judgemental practical, spiritual and emotional support for mothers in the UK, struggling with crisis pregnancy and the prospect of bringing up a child alone. "
The Treloars have also started their own blog: Via Romea
Links for Mary's Meals and Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative here and here
Please consider supporting the cyclists, it would be really great to break through their target, for the benefit of two very deserving charities.
From Pope Benedict's homily, given yesterday at the priestly ordination of fourteen deacons of the diocese of Rome:
"in prayer, the priest is called to rediscover the ever-new face of his Lord, the most authentic content of his mission. Only one who has an intimate relationship with the Lord can be seized by Him, can bring Him to others, can become His envoy. This involves a kind of 'remaining with Him' which must always accompany, and be the core of, priestly ministry, also and above all during moments of difficulty when it seems that 'the things to be done' must take priority. Wherever we are, whatever we do, we must always 'remain with Him'".
"The priesthood must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position. Anyone who aspires to the priesthood in order to increase his personal prestige and power has radically misunderstood the significance of this ministry. Anyone whose main goal is to realise an ambition of his own, to achieve success, will always be a slave to himself and to public opinion. In order to be noticed he will have to adulate; he must say what people want to hear, he must adapt to changing fashions and opinions. In this way, he will deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today."
It's easy to be critical of priests who in the course of their priestly duties appear to 'adulate' , 'say what people want to hear', and 'adapt to changing fashions and opinions'. It isn't what they are called to do, but these things happen through human weakness of one kind or another. Priests are likely to be vulnerable to human weakness, just as laity are. The overcoming of human weakness is a daily spiritual battle in which we (the laity) are engaged, and so it is for our priests.
Perhaps it's a good idea to pray regularly (even daily) for priests, remembering especially those who carry heavy crosses, or are in difficulties of one sort or another.
I heard recently of one priest who will no longer offer the Mass, he has many problems, and so I am adding him to my prayer list.
"'Your rod and your staff - they comfort me': the shepherd needs the rod as protection against savage beasts ready to pounce on the flock; against robbers looking for prey. Along with the rod there is the staff which gives support and helps to make difficult crossings. ... The Church too must use the shepherd's rod, the rod with which she protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor does it have to do with love if heresy is allowed to spread, and the faith twisted and chipped away as if it were something that we ourselves had invented."
In Government, Labour's answer to children arriving at school without breakfast, was the setting up of 'breakfast clubs' in schools.
Frank Field, Labour MP, and the coalition government's 'poverty czar' proposes a groundbreakingly, innovative solution:
“Why not get parents to give them their breakfast?
"Government authorities in Ordos City, a city of 1.6 million in northern China, demolished the city’s only parish on June 7 in order to make way for a larger road. Authorities also handcuffed the parish priest and a lay leader. The parish had been registered with the government and was not part of the underground church; the local Inner Mongolian bishop has been approved both by the Holy See and by the Communist government.
One source told UCA News, “How could the government demolish the church secretly in the middle of the night and cause the ‘disappearance’ of our Church leaders while talking about social harmony?”
The leading Catholic charity, Aid to the Church in Need, supports persecuted and oppressed Christians in many countries, including China, around the world.
The moving picture below comes from one of their new publications, "Heroic Priests", (priced very reasonably at £1.95) which you can find on ACN's excellent website :
This is Bishop John Hangdinxiang, who spent a total of 30 years in custody for his loyalty to the Holy See.
When he died in 2007, the authorities cremated his remains without a funeral, and his tombstone makes no mention of his being a Bishop. Bishop John refused to be cowed by the communist government and it cost him more than 30 years spent in forced labour camps, prisons and house arrest for the 'unpatriotic activity' of ministering to his flock.
The picture above shows him holding aloft a crucifix from the balcony of his cell to a hidden video camera.
"Susan Boyle, who achieved worldwide fame in 2009 on a British reality television show, will likely sing at a papal Mass during Pope Benedict’s September visit to the United Kingdom, according to a spokesman for the Church in Scotland. “Negotiations are still under way, but we expect Susan Boyle to perform as part of the papal Mass at Bellahouston Park” in Glasgow, the spokesman said.
Ms. Boyle, a Catholic, said last month that she has a deep devotion to St. Pio of Pietrelcina (Padre Pio)."
The Daily Telegraph reports that dozens of women are having abortions following fertility treatment:
"Data released under the Freedom of Information Act has shown that an average of 80 abortions are carried out in England and Wales a year on women who have undergone IVF treatment.
Around half of the abortions are carried out for women aged between 18 and 34, who are less likely to suffer complications in their pregnancies or conceive babies with abnormalities, raising the question that they may have had abortions for 'social reasons'.
Four in ten women who undergo IVF are under the age of 35.
Some women said they were pressured into IVF by their partners and others said they aborted their pregnancy after their relationship broke down.
Prof Bill Ledger, a member of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, which regulates fertility treatment, said: "I had no idea there were so many post-IVF abortions and each one is a tragedy.
Ann Furedi, head of the BPAS, formerly known as the British Pregnancy Advisory Service, said it was likely that every doctor carrying out abortions had treated at least one woman who had IVF treatment only to change her mind when it was successful.
She said: "For infertile people, overcoming the problem becomes a goal in itself."
Did I read that last statement correctly?
Furedi seems to be implying that the state of pregnancy is an end in itself, to which the birth of a baby is not necessarily related.
That would make the goal and rationale of infertility treatment a confirmed pregnancy, which a mother then chooses to continue, or abort.
Then the fertile and the infertile would be equally able to exercise a woman's right to choose, wouldn't they?