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Archive for September, 2008

Una Voce


On Saturday, Una Voce Scotland held their Annual General Meeting in our Hall. The meeting was preceded by a High Mass in the Extraordinary Form celebrated by Monsignor Hugh N. Boyle. The meeting included a talk entitled Summorum Pontificum – One Year On given by Dr Alcuin Reid, the co-editor of the journal-in-preparation Usus Antiquior which will appear in print for the first time at the beginning of 2010.

Here are some details from Thomas’s photos:


The Schola in action


Incensation at the Offertory (-this has the hazy quality of a painting by some well-known French artist)


Attentive-looking Servers


This rather dark photo was taken by me in the Sacristy after Mass


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Novena Sermons


Frank has created a new site for the talks Father Augustine and I gave during the Our Lady of Sorrows Novena. He has uploaded this year’s talks to the site and hopes to add those from 2007 and 2006 (see the sidebar for their present location). You can listen or download here.

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Pope Benedict’s Address

Pape aux Bernardins

Pope Benedict was his usual humble, profound self as he addressed an audience of about seven hundred of France’s brightest sparks this afternoon.

Rocco has the full text in English here; the French text (and a video and audio of the speech) can be found on KTO.

The theme of the Pope’s lecture was the origins of western theology and the roots of European culture. The College des Bernardins was the ideal setting for a talk which began with a reflection on the role of monasticism in the development of European culture. The monk’s aim of quaerere Deum (seeking God) was the key notion which the Holy Father used to bring together the teaching of Scripture and the challenges of our contemporary world, particularly in Europe.
He concluded by affirming:
…Just as in the past, when behind the many images of God the question concerning the unknown God was hidden and present, so too the present absence of God is silently besieged by the question concerning him. Quaerere Deum – to seek God and to let oneself be found by him, that is today no less necessary than in former times. A purely positivistic culture which tried to drive the question concerning God into the subjective realm, as being unscientific, would be the capitulation of reason, the renunciation of its highest possibilities, and hence a disaster for humanity, with very grave consequences. What gave Europe’s culture its foundation – the search for God and the readiness to listen to him – remains today the basis of any genuine culture.

In the middle of his theological reflection, there was a warning from this most musical of Popes about the dangers of poor singing. The Holy Father referred to Saint Bernard (whose Abbey of Clairvaux had built the College des Bernardins) who, he said, describes the confusion resulting from a poorly executed chant as a falling into the “zone of dissimilarity” – the regio dissimilitudinis. He went on:
Bernard is certainly putting it strongly when he uses this phrase, which indicates man’s falling away from himself, to describe bad singing by monks. But it shows how seriously he viewed the matter. It shows that the culture of singing is also the culture of being, and that the monks have to pray and sing in a manner commensurate with the grandeur of the word handed down to them, with its claim on true beauty. This intrinsic requirement of speaking with God and singing of him with words he himself has given, is what gave rise to the great tradition of Western music. It was not a form of private “creativity”, in which the individual leaves a memorial to himself and makes self-representation his essential criterion. Rather it is about vigilantly recognizing with the “ears of the heart” the inner laws of the music of creation, the archetypes of music that the Creator built into his world and into men, and thus discovering music that is worthy of God, and at the same time truly worthy of man, music whose worthiness resounds in purity.
-Let this serve as a warning to all those who are inclined to be a bit off-key when they chant (-I’m not naming names here, Charlie).

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The Collège des Bernardins

Tomorrow afternoon, Pope Benedict will give a lecture in Paris to representatives of the world of culture (philosophy, science, art…) and of political and public life (the European Union, Unesco…). The lecture will be given at the Collège des Bernardins, a medieval building which was the Cistercians’ student house at the University of Paris until the French Revolution, after which it became a salt warehouse, then a school and, finally, a barracks for the Sapeurs pompiers (- Paris firefighters are considered as being part of the Army).

I first heard of the most recent change-of-use for this building during the homily given by Archbishop Vingt-Trois at Cardinal Lustiger’s funeral. So far, this fascinating project has received very little coverage in English-speaking media. One of the Cardinal’s last projects, its aim was to transform this beautiful building into a centre for the dialogue between faith and culture. After five years of work, the College des Bernardins re-opened last week, having undergone a 50 million euro facelift, funded by the French Government, the City of Paris, the Diocese of Paris, companies which acted as private sponsors and individual benefactors.

As well as being a centre for lectures, conferences and exhibitions, the building will be the new home of the Ecole Cathedrale (Cathedral School), set up by Cardinal Lustiger in 1984 as a centre of formation both for the seminarians of Paris and the general public. It will also house the newly founded Institut Jean-Marie Lustiger, whose aim is to promote the thought of the late Cardinal.

The present Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal André Vingt-Trois, paid tribute to his successor’s vision for the Collège des Bernardins in his opening address (in French) last Friday. He summarised the basis for the project in these words:The conviction which moves us to launch this vast project is as follows: Christian Wisdom, which flows from the Jewish tradition and the writings of the New Testament, has something to add to the debates of our time.

The website of the Collège des Bernardins carries a huge mass of interesting information, but seems at the moment to offer it only in French. However, for the linguistically challenged, there are also some good photographs and videos. It gives an immediate sense of the scale of the project, not just in terms of building works but also in relation to the breadth of its programme. You can find a somewhat secular summary of the project (in English) on the website of one of its corporate sponsors, Foncière des Régions. A Vatican Radio interview (again in French) with the Cultural Director of the Collège des Bernardins, Vincent Aucante, carries not only an introduction to the centre but also some very interesting observations on that most French of preoccupations, Laïcité (-in English, we don’t even have a word for it), and how this project shows the positive change in attitudes to the question of Laïcité in contemporary France. For those Catholic bloggers who delight in despairing about the future of the Church in France, the Collège des Bernardins is yet another sign of hope.

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Saint Gemma Blog


Glen Dallaire has recently set up a blog called simply St Gemma Galgani. He says: This blog is devoted to St Gemma Galgani. I will post her writings and examples of her heroic life in hopes that it will inspire in others a greater love and devotion for Jesus and Mary. The author endeavors always to be in full communion with the Catholic Church and its teachings. Glenn is a happily married father of six children who first got to know about Saint Gemma through the internet.

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Pope Benedict’s Prayer at Ground Zero

O God of love, compassion, and healing,
look on us, people of many different faiths
and traditions,
who gather today at this site,
the scene of incredible violence and pain.
We ask you in your goodness
to give eternal light and peace
to all who died here—
the heroic first-responders:
our fire fighters, police officers,
emergency service workers, and
Port Authority personnel,
along with all the innocent men and women
who were victims of this tragedy
simply because their work or service
brought them here on September 11, 2001.

We ask you, in your compassion
to bring healing to those
who, because of their presence here that day,
suffer from injuries and illness.
Heal, too, the pain of still-grieving families
and all who lost loved ones in this tragedy.
Give them strength to continue their lives
with courage and hope.

We are mindful as well
of those who suffered death, injury, and loss
on the same day at the Pentagon and in
Shanksville, Pennsylvania.
Our hearts are one with theirs
as our prayer embraces their pain and suffering.

God of peace, bring your peace to our violent world:
peace in the hearts of all men and women
and peace among the nations of the earth.
Turn to your way of love
those whose hearts and minds
are consumed with hatred.
God of understanding,
overwhelmed by the magnitude of this tragedy,
we seek your light and guidance
as we confront such terrible events.
Grant that those whose lives were spared
may live so that the lives lost here
may not have been lost in vain.
Comfort and console us,
strengthen us in hope,
and give us the wisdom and courage
to work tirelessly for a world
where true peace and love reign
among nations and in the hearts of all.

Pope Benedict XVI
Prayer at Ground Zero
New York, 20 April 2008

H/t to Rocco

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Our Lady of Sorrows Novena


Our Lady of Sorrows Altar at Saint Mungo’s

Today we began our annual Novena to Our Lady of Sorrows. Father Augustine preached on the first of the Seven sorrows of Mary. You can find the novena prayers here. Frank Trias recorded the sermon which should be available here in a day or two.

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