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Archive for September, 2010

Pope’s Eye View


(Photo by Joe)

This is how the Mass at Bellahouston looked for the faithful. But how did it look for the Pope?

At his General Audience yesterday, Pope Benedict described Glasgow as a ‘city embellished by beautiful parks’. In his words to the English-speaking pilgrims, he recalled how he ‘celebrated Mass in Glasgow in the presence of many bishops, priests, religious and a great concourse of the faithful against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset at Bellahouston Park, within sight of the place where my beloved predecessor celebrated Mass with the Scots twenty-eight years ago.’

When speaking in Italian at the same audience, he gave a longer description of his meeting with the beloved church in that dear green place:
It was an occasion of intense spirituality and of great importance for the Catholics of the country, considering also the fact that on that day occurred the liturgical feast of Saint Ninian, the first evangelizer of Scotland. During that liturgical assembly, gathered together in attentive and participative prayer, made yet more solemn by traditional melodies and inviting chants, I recalled the importance of the evangelisation of culture, especially in our age in which a pervasive relativism threatens to obscure the unchanging truth of the nature of man.
(Poor quality translation by me.)

Distraction: I must confess that when I heard the Pope’s unusual trun of phrase at the end of his homily (‘The Church now belongs to you!’), it did remind me of a well known traditional melody.

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I had a look today at the Holy Father’s address to representatives of other religions, as I hadn’t noticed anything about it in the media coverage. Tucked away in there is an interesting reflection on science and religion:
Within their own spheres of competence, the human and natural sciences provide us with an invaluable understanding of aspects of our existence and they deepen our grasp of the workings of the physical universe, which can then be harnessed in order to bring great benefit to the human family. Yet these disciplines do not and cannot answer the fundamental question, because they operate on another level altogether. They cannot satisfy the deepest longings of the human heart, they cannot fully explain to us our origin and our destiny, why and for what purpose we exist, nor indeed can they provide us with an exhaustive answer to the question, “Why is there something rather than nothing?”
The quest for the sacred does not devalue other fields of human enquiry. On the contrary, it places them in a context which magnifies their importance, as ways of responsibly exercising our stewardship over creation.

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Deo Gratias (iterum)

Congratulations to three new Passionists – Barry Rooney from Ireland, Francis Trias from Scotland and Gareth Thomas from Wales – who were to make their first profession today at Saint Patrick’s Retreat, Crossgar, County Down. I was sorry I couldn’t be there today but offered Mass for our three new brethren. (I’m looking for photos, chaps, if you have them.)

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Deo Gratias


“He is reputed to be the most learned ecclesiastic in England. In my judgement he is one of the most humble and loveable men I have met in my life.”

Blessed Dominic of the Mother of God describing Blessed John Henry Newman in a letter to the Superior General of the Passionists, Father Anthony of Saint James, October 1845.

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Pope’s £4.2 Million Gift to Glasgow


I’ve been reading so much nonsense recently about the cost of the Papal Visit. It was refreshing to read something about what Britain will gain financially from Pope Benedict’s presence among us.

After a wonderful day in Glasgow yesterday at Mass with Pope Benedict, I returned to the city today to have a look at Bellahouston without the crowds and then to spend some time with my Passionist brothers at Saint Mungo’s. I bought a newspaper in the railway station on my way home. The front page of Glasgow’s Evening Times had the eye-catching headline “Pope’s £4.2 Million Gift to Glasgow”. The article goes on to say:
The effect of the open-air Mass is expected to be felt far beyond Bellahouston Park as Glasgow took centre stage before a TV audience thought to be one billion strong. Glasgow City Council leader Gordon Matheson, who was introduced to the Pope, said this was an extraordinary chance for the city which had an immediate economic boost of £4.25million. He said: “People across the world will see Glasgow at its best. It is an unprecedented opportunity to profile the city to the world. It’s been a joyous occasion.”
No complaints here about the cost of the visit!

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