Category Archives: Church

Pope Benedict’s Speech

HOLY SEE PRESS OFFICE EMBARGO
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EDINBURGH – 16.09.2010 – 11.45
Holyroodhouse (Park)
Meeting with the Authorities
Original text

Your Majesty,
Thank you for your gracious invitation to make an official visit to the United Kingdom and for your warm words of greeting on behalf of the British people. In thanking Your Majesty, allow me to extend my own greetings to all the people of the United Kingdom and to hold out a hand of friendship to each one.
It is a great pleasure for me to start my journey by saluting the members of the Royal Family, thanking in particular His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh for his kind welcome to me at Edinburgh Airport. I express my gratitude to Your Majesty’s present and previous Governments and to all those who worked with them to make this occasion possible, including Lord Patten and former Secretary of State Murphy. I would also like to acknowledge with deep appreciation the work of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on the Holy See, which has contributed greatly to strengthening the friendly relations existing between the Holy See and the United Kingdom.

As I begin my visit to the United Kingdom in Scotland’s historic capital city, I greet in a special way First Minister Salmond and the representatives of the Scottish Parliament. Just like the Welsh and Northern Ireland Assemblies, may the Scottish Parliament grow to be an expression of the fine traditions and distinct culture of the Scots and strive to serve their best interests in a spirit of solidarity and concern for the common good.

The name of Holyroodhouse, Your Majesty’s official residence in Scotland, recalls the “Holy Cross” and points to the deep Christian roots that are still present in every layer of British life. The monarchs of England and Scotland have been Christians from very early times and include outstanding saints like Edward the Confessor and Margaret of Scotland.

As you know, many of them consciously exercised their sovereign duty in the light of the Gospel, and in this way shaped the nation for good at the deepest level. As a result, the Christian message has been an integral part of the language, thought and culture of the peoples of these islands for more than a thousand years. Your forefathers’ respect for truth and justice, for mercy and charity come to you from a faith that remains a mighty force for good in your kingdom, to the great benefit of Christians and non-Christians alike.

We find many examples of this force for good throughout Britain’s long history. Even in comparatively recent times, due to figures like William Wilberforce and David Livingstone, Britain intervened directly to stop the international slave trade. Inspired by faith, women like Florence Nightingale served the poor and the sick and set new standards in healthcare that were subsequently copied everywhere. John Henry Newman, whose beatification I will celebrate shortly, was one of many British Christians of his age whose goodness, eloquence and action were a credit to their countrymen and women. These, and many people like them, were inspired by a deep faith born and nurtured in these islands. Even in our own lifetime, we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.

I also recall the regime’s attitude to Christian pastors and religious who spoke the truth in love, opposed the Nazis and paid for that opposition with their lives. As we reflect on the sobering lessons of the atheist extremism of the twentieth century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus to a “reductive vision of the person and his destiny” (Caritas in Veritate, 29).
Sixty-five years ago, Britain played an essential role in forging the post-war international consensus which favoured the establishment of the United Nations and ushered in a hitherto unknown period of peace and prosperity in Europe. In more recent years, the international community has followed closely events in Northern Ireland which have led to the signing of the Good Friday Agreement and the devolution of powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly. Your Majesty’s Government and the Government of Ireland, together with the political, religious and civil leaders of Northern Ireland, have helped give birth to a peaceful resolution of the conflict there. I encourage everyone involved to continue to walk courageously together on the path marked out for them towards a just and lasting peace.
Looking abroad, the United Kingdom remains a key figure politically and economically on the international stage.

Your Government and people are the shapers of ideas that still have an impact far beyond the British Isles. This places upon them a particular duty to act wisely for the common good. Similarly, because their opinions reach such a wide audience, the British media have a graver responsibility than most and a greater opportunity to promote the peace of nations, the integral development of peoples and the spread of authentic human rights. May all Britons continue to live by the values of honesty, respect and fair-mindedness that have won them the esteem and admiration of many.

Today, the United Kingdom strives to be a modern and multicultural society. In this challenging enterprise, may it always maintain its respect for those traditional values and cultural expressions that more aggressive forms of secularism no longer value or even tolerate. Let it not obscure the Christian foundation that underpins its freedoms; and may that patrimony, which has always served the nation well, constantly inform the example your Government and people set before the two billion members of the Commonwealth and the great family of English-speaking nations throughout the world.
May God bless Your Majesty and all the people of your realm. Thank you.

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Our tainted nature’s solitary boast!

I love Mary, the mother of Jesus. Catholics call her ‘Our Lady’. And she is a real lady. She is also powerful. Why? Because she was conceived without sin! No sin = powerful.  By God’s grace, of course. She has the power to crush the head of the serpent. (Gen 3:15).   On her feastdays I always remember the words of Wordsworth about Our Lady –

“Our tainted nature’s solitary boast.”

Here’s the full poem:

Mother! whose virgin bosom was uncrost
With the least shade of thought to sin allied;
Woman! above all women glorified,
Our tainted nature’s solitary boast;
Purer than foam on central ocean tost;
Brighter than eastern skies on daybreak strewn
With fancied roses, then the unblemished moon
Before her wane begins on heaven’s blue coast;
Thy image falls to earth. Yet some, I ween
Not unforgiven the suppliant knee might bend
As to a visible Power, in which did bend
All that was mixed and reconciled in Thee
Of mother’s love with maiden purity
Of high with low, celestial with terrene!
W.Wordsworth

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Cosmology!

Sr ANNE LYONS PBVM, writes a letter in today’s Irish Times. She suggests that women don’t boycott Mass on the 26th September, as suggested by the monk’s mother from Cork. Sr. Anne is also from Cork. She intends to send a postcard to the Cardinal!

Her issues:

A cluster of issues needs to be addressed collaboratively: the church’s style of governance, its use of power, decision-making, the role of women, and the use of inclusive language.

i.e. woman priests.

She goes on to say:

Although women are moving into positions of leadership and collaboration in our secular institutions, the Catholic Church lags behind. It preaches equality, but practises exclusion. Pope John Paul II apologised to women and spoke passionately about their inclusion, but women have no place at the table where decisions are made that shape the church and their own lives. It has been said that if the sin of men is pride, the sin of women is passivity! I can no longer be passive or silent regarding systemic injustice to women in the church.

I have been an active member of the RCC for quite a while now and have never suffered an injustice as a woman. I have always felt included and when decisions are made in the parish, all parishioners are invited to take part at parish councils etc and parish meetings. If some women choose not to take part, that their choice. But to say we suffer an injustice is absolutely untrue. What does she want? To live in the presbytery?

Finally, she says that she longs to be more fully respected, valued and included. She says:

Years of patient study have made us ready to play our part in nourishing the impoverished soul of the church but offers of service are met with rebuff or deafening silence.

What exactly has she offered to do? Say Mass? There are great religious sisters all over the country doing tremendous work and are greatly appreciated for the work they do: just to name a few areas they work in – Addiction Centres, Formation, Catechetics, Healthcare, Chaplaincy, Justice, Prison Ministry, Counselling/Psychotherapy, Refugees/Advocacy, Education, Spirituality and Family Ministry. That’s pretty included.

Finally, she says

As long as the official church ignores women, it will continue to fly on one wing and to flap round in endless circles, and its soul will wither. – Yours, etc,

With all due respect to Sr. Anne, it is some of the nuns who are flying around on the wings of new age angels and flapping round in endless ‘circles’ of new age dancing on airy fairy notions of a false spirituality of ‘Sacred Circle Dance’ and the ‘Dances of Universal Peace’ as advertised on one religious sisters website. Oh, and Cosmology. Sorry what? that’s right – Cosmology!

I hope she reads this.

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Serving Tea.

I know a woman who did a degree in theology. Following her primary degree, she decided to do a Masters. On obtaining her Masters she announced she was going on mission to Africa, and hoped to be working in a university. When I asked about her work, she replied, “oh, I don’t mind if I just get to make the tea, I just would love to be in the university environment.”
As it happened the mission was put off for a while and in the meantime she ended up in another country where she went to a Catholic conference. She introduced herself to the organisers and told them about her qualifications and if in any way she could help, she would be delighted. The organisers thanked her and asked her if she wouldn’t mind helping out with the teas as they had no one to serve the tea. She left the conference and reported that it was the worst conference she ever went to, not what she had expected at all.

Ambition is a terrible thing.  To serve or to lecture, that is the question!

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Bah! Humbert!

What’s happening?

August 2010:  Humbert Summer School has its annual gathering of hacks to discuss politics and culture and the Church. It was set up by John Cooney, a columnist with the Irish Independent newspaper. Cooney has been writing articles in his column about the Catholic Church hierarchy and his dream to erase the current group of bishops and replace them with his ‘chosen few’ and above all to oust Cardinal Seán Brady. His inside contacts in Rome inform him who should take the seat of Armagh and he writes about it. Groupies?

He belongs to a group of like minded individuals who oppose Church teaching on many issues especially women priests and the way bishops are appointed. They want democracy!  This year he has invited from America  ‘bishop’ Bridget Mary Meehan and the keynote speaker was Robert Blair Kaiser who has told Irish Catholics to ” Tell bishops to ‘get the hell out of our cathedrals.”

To understand all of this nonsense you need to understand Irish History and General Humbert.  The rebellion of 1798 failed. In a strange sort of way one wonders if the hand of God was in it.  Had the French revolutionaries won – where would we be now?  We would be a Republic of the French revolution type. We would be ‘enlightened ones’. Instead Ireland had to wait more than a hundred and thirty years before freedom of a sort came. First in 1922 and finally in 1937 with the Irish Constitution.  It was very pro-Catholic. Why? Because Catholics had suffered persecution by the British for almost 300 years, persecution that tried to wipe out the Catholic Faith in Ireland, persecution of the sort that had never been seen anywhere, not even in China or Japan. The Constitution was drawn up, not to establish a secular Enlightenment ideology that some of the ‘rebels’ of 1798 had wanted, but a true Republic based on freedom of religion and the protection of Catholic/Christian/religious believers to live in peace and harmony without interference from any tyrannical, imperialistic, foreign rule.

So, it appears that Cooney is fighting the secular ‘enlightened’ side of the battle and every year he celebrates Humbert’s arrival in Killala Bay, Co. Mayo and enlists ‘enlightened’ generals from overseas to fight his battles.  Will someone please tell him that they lost and that the battle is over.

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Conscience

A human being must always obey the certain judgment of his conscience. If he were deliberately to act against it, he would condemn himself.

“Man has the right to act according to his conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience. Nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters”.

Conscience means ‘with knowledge’. So we have to do our homework. You don’t just make serious decisions without weighing up the pros cons and consequences.  

The  present day government is certainly ‘without knowledge’.

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Hope – the expectation of “future good things”.

Last week the Justice Minister, Dermot Ahern, said he leaves his religion outside the door when he is legislating. Religion, he said “clouds” a person’s judgement. I wonder what his religion is?

True religion enlightens the mind and heart. According to Pope John Paul II, the Church, is the custodian of fundamental truths and values. These fundamental truths and values have given hope to people for the last 2000 years, to young and old, to the sick and the dying.

In effect, by leaving religion outside the door, he’s leaving God outside the door, while he makes decisions that will affect future generations.

In 1985, Pope John Paul addressed the Youth of the World:

In you there is hope, for you belong to the future, just as the future belongs to you. For hope is always linked to the future; it is the expectation of “future good things”.

What “good things” is the Minister offering to the future generations?

….only God is the ultimate basis of all values; only he gives the definitive meaning to our human existence.

Pope John Paul II.

Pope John Paul also said:

Only God is good, which means this: in him and him alone all values have their first source and final completion; he is “the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end”. Without him-without the reference to God-the whole world of created values remains as it were suspended in an absolute vacuum. It also loses its transparency, its expressiveness. Evil is put forward as a good and good itself is rejected. Are we not shown this by the very experience of our own time, wherever God has been removed beyond the limits of evaluations, estimations and actions?

So what is the Minister of Justice offering to the Youth of the World – a vacuum, where evil is put forward as a good, and good itself is rejected. Shame on him.

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