An Anniversary and a Discovery

Tomorrow, Good Friday, is the tenth anniversary of my priestly ordination, at least in terms of the civil calendar, ie 14 April. In liturgical terms I was ordained on Sabbato in albis, ie the Saturday within the Octave of Easter, which will be 22 April this year. Keeping this liturgical dating will allow for a more festive recollection and thanksgiving.

Yet, the Day of the Cross is not such a bad one to have even such a modest anniversary. Continue reading “An Anniversary and a Discovery”

Coptic Solidarity during the Triduum

The massacre inflicted in Egypt by Daesh on our Coptic brethren at worship in their churches on Palm Sunday is still fairly fresh in our minds. The first bombing was inside a church at Tanta, on the Nile delta, during the Palm Sunday liturgy, killing 27 and injuring or crippling 78 people. Soon after was a blast at the Coptic pope’s cathedral in Alexandria, again during the liturgy but at the entrance to the church as the bomber had been stopped by police. 17 people were killed, including three police officers, and 48 injured. Pope Tawadros was not injured.

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The aftermath of one of the bombings (Stringer/AFP/Getty image)

Continue reading “Coptic Solidarity during the Triduum”

Missal Wars Revived

As you may know, Pope Francis has apparently ordered a review of the 2001 Vatican document that currently undergirds any new liturgical translations, viz. Liturgiam authenticam. No one in the Vatican is answering any questions about the alleged committee performing the review, including its alleged director, Archbishop Arthur Roche. For those who hoped that under Pope Francis a new age of transparency would appear will be sorely disappointed by now.

If this committee of review really exists, then Gerard O’Connell at America Magazine, lists two reasons for it which touch on truth. One reason is that it serves to promote the agenda of Pope Francis to effect a more radical decentralisation of the Church by radically empowering that novel, post-conciliar creature the bishops’ conference. Decentralisation has a nice sound to it. Centralising tendencies must always be resisted, yes? Let’s ignore for now its less helpful bedfellow, fragmentation. That’s for another post. Continue reading “Missal Wars Revived”

A Jeremiad against Pedantry

Though well and truly ageing, I am still capable of naïveté. As a feed for the monastery website I have set up and linked an Instagram account. By means of it it was hoped that tasteful shots taken from those amazing modern pocket computers, the smartphone, might afford visitors and enquirers a little insight into our life at Douai. The world-wise among you are probably already shaking your heads.

In quick succession last summer were Breakfastgate and Lunchgate, when your correspondent posted photos of a monastic breakfast and a monastic lunch taken in the refectory garden (in holiday time our meals are informal). A few people found them decadent, shocked that monks might eat homemade bread with homemade jam and washed down by a mug of coffee, or have glass of wine with the Sunday luncheon roast. But these were minor niggles really. Continue reading “A Jeremiad against Pedantry”

Merton the Rigid?

On Facebook this evening I posted a quotation, asking people to guess its author without recourse to Google. There were some interesting guesses, but one canny lady got to it by a clever process of questioning and reasoning.

The author was none other than Fr Thomas Merton OCSO (or O.C.R. as it was), from his 1950 pamphlet “What is Contemplation?” as published by Burns & Oates as title 7 in their Paternoster Series. This is early Cistercian Merton, grappling intellectually and manfully with spiritual things. Reading this particular little section, I was stopped in my tracks on page 13: Continue reading “Merton the Rigid?”

The end is nigh?

As we enter into the last weeks of the liturgical year the readings get more eschatological. The preacher here today was of a mind that we should not ever be prone to thinking that we are in the last days. To be sure, there has been many a Protestant sect that has predicted even the very day of the parousia, with results we can all to easily guess. Yet the end has to come some time, and both our Lord and the apostle assure us that there will be signs of its impending arrival.

What a year it has been. IS/Daesh apocalyptic atrocities, the disaster in the Yemen, a new cold war between Russia and the West, renewed attempts at militant Muslim terrorism in the West (most of which we will not hear about for a long time to come), an even more fanatical North Korea, and the election of Donald Trump. Continue reading “The end is nigh?”

Purgatory Revisited

This morning I was down to celebrate the conventual Mass, and on this day every November we offer Mass for the deceased relatives and benefactors of the English Benedictine Congregation. It got me thinking on purgatory, and I was propelled a little further along by something I read in the latest (and last?) from the pope emeritus, Benedict XVI: Last Testament in his own words, translated by Dr Jacob Phillips (one of those bright young things at St Mary’s University, Twickenham) and hot off the press and into our mailboxes this past week. Continue reading “Purgatory Revisited”