Wednesday, 24 June 2009

War isn't Hell. War is War, and Hell is Hell. And of the Two, War is a Lot Worse

Hawkeye: War isn't Hell. War is war, and Hell is Hell. And of the two, war is a lot worse.

Father Mulcahy: How do you figure, Hawkeye?

Hawkeye: Easy, Father. Tell me, who goes to Hell?

Father Mulcahy: Sinners, I believe.

Hawkeye: Exactly. There are no innocent bystanders in Hell. War is chalk full of them - little kids, cripples, old ladies. In fact, except for some of the brass, almost everybody involved is an innocent bystander.

Friday, 19 June 2009

The Beautiful Hands of a Priest

Today marks the first day of the year for Priests and to commemorate this occasion I have posted below a wonderful poem which I came across while searching for my next cross stitch pattern on 'Holy Needle' which Zetor author of Mog's Blog kindling made me aware of when I posted about my cross stitching activities last month (Catholic Cross Stitcher).

Beautiful Hands of a Priest

We need them in life's early morning,
We need them again at its close;
We feel their warm clasp of true friendship,
We seek it while tasting life's woes.

When we come to this world we are sinful,
The greatest as well as the least.
And the hands that make us pure as angels
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

At the altar each day we behold them,
And the hands of a king on his throne
Are not equal to them in their greatness
Their dignity stands alone.

For there in the stillness of morning
Ere the sun has emerged from the east,
There God rests between the pure fingers
Of the beautiful hands of a priest.

When we are tempted and wander
To pathways of shame and sin'
Tis the hand of a priest that absolve us.
Not once but again and again.

And when we are taking life's partner
Other hands may prepare us a feast
But the hands that will bless and unite us,
Are the beautiful hands of a priest.

God bless them and keep them all holy,
For the Host which their fingers caress,
What can a poor sinner do better
Than to ask Him who chose them to bless

When the death dews on our lids are falling,
May our courage and strength be increased
By seeing raised o'er us in blessing
The beautiful hands of a priest.

I really like the way it incorporates the priest's hands in every stage of our lives from birth till death.

God Bless Our Priests

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Catholic Quiz: What Kind of Catholic Are You?

The Catholic blog - Catholic Mom of 10 Militant has been debating what it is to be a traditional Catholic so for the fun of it I decided to see if I could find out and in my search came across

There are lots of different quizzes on the site including one entitled 'What Kind of Catholic Are You' and well I just could not help myself and gave it a go.

The quiz asked 25 multiple choice questions on all different aspects of the Catholic faith. I scored 90 out of 100 which labeled me a Very Traditional Catholic (was not really surprised).

Upon requesting more information I was told the following about myself

You'd like the church to revive the time-honored devotions, liturgical practices, and strong institutional discipline that prevailed before the Second Vatican Council—and you're hoping that Pope Benedict XVI will lead the church in exactly that direction. Your favorite hymn is probably a traditional Latin composition such as the "Panis Angelicus," and your favorite pope is probably a pioneer of the Church's great liturgical tradition such as Gregory the Great. You loved "The Passion of the Christ."

Some of what I read did have me smiling and other parts a little surprised however, I would like to comment that my favorite hymn is actually Tantum Ergo.

Go on have a go, take the quiz remember to have fun and not take it too seriously (and let me know your score) lol.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Birmingham Oratory Young Adult Group

Birmingham Oratory has recently begun a Young Adult Group which I have been attending. We meet for friendly discussion and debate on the first Thursday of every month. Last month we had a speaker on Islam and Sharia Law, which was both informative and insightful.

This coming month (July) we look forward to a speaker who is going to give a talk on the Humanity of the Un-born.
The group also tries to gather together once a month for a social event, in May a number of us visited the Dominican convent at Stone in Staffordshire where we joined in a Rosary festival. The weather was wonderful on the day and all the Sisters were very welcoming and even invited everyone on a short tour of the their convent. The photograph above is of the shrine of Our lady at Stone and was taken on the day when it was adorned with flowers.

This coming weekend (20th June) with the promise of good weather we are venturing outside again to Cannon Hill Park (pictured above) for boating and a picnic.

A few of us are also planning to attend the Vigil of Reparation in Honour of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary which is being held at the Birmingham Oratory on Friday night 19th/20th June, with High Mass will be at 8 p.m. on Friday (the Feast of the Sacred Heart) and Vigil following immediately afterwards in the Cloister Chapel. Where there will be Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Rosary & other prayers. Mass of the Immaculate Heart of Mary will be at 2.30 a.m. It will end with the Divine Mercy Chaplet at 3 a.m.

The Permanence of Marriage

As with many areas of Catholicism my desire to find out more has been stirred by debate. The debate of marriage has arisen many times among friends at university and coming from very diverse backgrounds and faiths we all have differing opinions and the discussion that evolves can be very interesting.

The area of Catholics and the breakdown of marriage from my experience appears to be a matter that individuals only really know a lot about if they have had the unfortunate business of being involved in such matters themselves, or perhaps as a priest, close friend or relative. Consequently I have found that if one is not careful they can make harsh judgements based on ignorance and misunderstanding.

After debating this topic among friends I decided as we all live in a world where divorce is becoming more frequent I should find out more so I got hold of two books both of which I have found very useful.

Firstly- What Binds Marriage?: Roman Catholic Theology in Practice by Timothy J. Buckley. (If you click on this picture I have included a link and you can browse through a couple of the pages).

and secondly- Divorce and Second Marriage. Facing the Challenge of Kevin T. Kelly.

both were very insightful books and I would struggle to recommend one over the other.

In the debate which I was involved the particular statement that had unsettled me had been:

"It may be against the Catholic Church's laws to marry a divorced person without annulment; however, doing so will only hurt your relationship with the Catholic Church. You can still have a good relationship with God..."

It took a little more searching before I could find an answer to this question which seemed to portray my thoughts well, in reply to one of my threads on Facebook someone wrote:

Modern man has a tendency to think that the "will of God" is always the same as their own desires. If the Church says something contrary to their own desires, then the Church must be wrong.However, the will of God is primarily transmitted through the Catholic Church. Far from being antagonistic, the teachings of the Church are in accord with the will of God.

One of my favorite passages from the Church Fathers comes from St. Augustine, and I think its relevant here:"Let us love our Lord God, let us love His Church: Him as a Father, Her as a Mother: Him as a Lord, Her as His Handmaid, as we are ourselves the Handmaid's sons. But this marriage is held together by a bond of great love: no man offends the one, and wins favour of the other. Let no man say, "I go indeed to the idols, I consult possessed ones and fortune-tellers: yet I abandon not God's Church; I am a Catholic." While you hold to your Mother, you have offended your Father. Another says, Far be it from me; I consult no sorcerer, I seek out no possessed one, I never ask advice by sacrilegious divination, I go not to worship idols, I bow not before stones; though I am in the party of Donatus. What does it profit you not to have offended your Father, if he avenges your offended Mother? What does it serve you, if you acknowledge the Lord, honour God, preach His name, acknowledge His Son, confess that He sits by His right hand; while you blaspheme His Church? Does not the analogy of human marriages convince you? Suppose you have some patron, whom you court every day, whose threshold you wear with your visits, whom you daily not only salute, but even worship, to whom you pay the most loyal courtesy; if you utter one calumny against his wife, could you re-enter his house? Hold then, most beloved, hold all with one mind to God the Father, and the Church our Mother. Celebrate with temperance the birthdays of the Saints, that we may imitate those who have gone before us, and that they who pray for you may rejoice over you; that "the blessing of the Lord may abide on you for evermore. Amen and Amen."-Expositions on the Psalms, Psalm 89 (88)

The Church is the Bride of Christ. Since Christ is God, and God is our Father. His Spouse, by extension, is our Mother. The two are of one Will, and would be impossible to have a bad relationship with one and a good relationship with the other.

Its common practice for parents to leave their children some portion of their estate when they die. Yet, if you despise your Father, do you expect your Mother will leave you an inheritance? Or if you despise your Mother, do you expect your Father to do the same? If we desire our spiritual inheritance and riches (Heaven), then we must love both our parents: the Blessed Trinity and the Church.

However this being said there are those out in the world who undoubtedly consider this to be wrong and would use their lives as a example.

My research has certainly been an eye opening experience and I would not consider it complete but simply paused at this moment in time. The most important thing I have learnt in all my research is that above everything divorce is the sorrowful breakdown of a family unit which devastates the lives of all those involved and for a practising Catholic is can place them in a daily spiritual turmoil and struggle with their most inner self.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Extraordinary Form - The Little Details

To help further my understanding of the Extraordinary Form I recently got hold of a copy of ‘The Mass In Slow Motion’ by Msgr. Knox it contains a series of sermons he preached which explore the Mass step by step, to show what it means to be a priest offering the Mass and what it means to the congregation offering it with him.

I have not read very much yet but it is turning out to be a fantastic read and just wanted to share with you a tiny bit of information a small little detail that you have probably never noticed before when attending Mass but which I found fascinating and am going to be sure to watch out for next time I attend an Extraordinary Form Mass. Here we are:

When the priest turns to the congregation to say Dominus vobiscum he is not allowed to lift his eyes from the ground to prevent him from getting distracted.

I know it is only a small detail but I do find them so fascinating I went to a Novus Order Mass today and watched the priest closely and he did not look up. I am not sure if the same rule applies for both forms of the Mass or if it were simply the personal choice of a more conservation priest or perhaps he simply was not looking anywhere (but he seemed to me to be purposely keeping his eyes low while his head was raised).

To me this little jester which more than likely goes unnoticed by nearly everyone emphasises the importance of the Mass and how it simply won’t do to be distracted from performing such an important task. I would even go as far to say that to allow oneself to be distracted would be to dishonor and disrespect God.