Archive for February 2010
Well it’s back to prize ring for another Catholic-themed mental boxing match. It’s the Spectator-hosted debate to be held at the Royal Geographical Society at Kensington Gore. A new set of sparring partners come together for a friendly debate on a frivolous but promisingly entertaining topic this coming Tuesday: “England should be a Catholic country”. Discuss.
There are some heavyweight champions throwing punches in this match. On the “For” side we’ve got Cardinal Cormac “The Red Belt” Murphy O’Connor, Dom Antony “The Sometimes Furious” Sutch OSB, and Piers Paul “The Shack-Attack” Read while the “Against” side consists of Matthew “Rage against Relics” Parris, Lord “Vorpal Bunny” Harries and Stephen “The Tattooed Bruiser” Pound. Read the rest of this entry »
Yes. I know. I am obsessed. Here it is.
Give us a mind that is humble, quiet, peacable. patient, and charitable and a taste of your Holy Spirit in all our thoughts, words and deeds.
Give us a lively faith, a firm hope, a fervent charity, a love of you.
Take fromus all lukewarmness in meditation and all dullness in prayer.
Give us fervour and delight in thinking of you, your grace and your tender compassion towards us.
Give us, good Lord, the grace to work for the things we pray for. Amen.
Mgr Mark Davies, mentioned here late last year, was installed coadjutor bishop of Shrewsbury diocese yesterday on the feast of the Chair of St Peter. Archbishop Bernard Longley preached about the episcopate and Christ’s promise to the Church. More pictures, here. Full text of the homily can be found here.
Over on the New York Times Opinionator section, the academic, literary theorist and legal scholar Stanley Fish reviews a new book Disenchantment with Secular Discourse and asks whether there are actually secular reasons upon which policy decisions are made.
The first paragraph:
In the always-ongoing debate about the role of religion in public life, the argument most often made on the liberal side (by which I mean the side of Classical Liberalism, not the side of left politics) is that policy decisions should be made on the basis of secular reasons, reasons that, because they do not reflect the commitments or agendas of any religion, morality or ideology, can be accepted as reasons by all citizens no matter what their individual beliefs and affiliations. So it’s O.K. to argue that a proposed piece of legislation will benefit the economy, or improve the nation’s health, or strengthen national security; but it’s not O.K. to argue that a proposed piece of legislation should be passed because it comports with a verse from the book of Genesis or corresponds to the will of God.
There’s a flourishing discussion about papalotry, or the inordinate and uncritical adulation of popes, going on between the blogs of America Magazine and Commonweal. I’ll leave papalotry to my betters (Gregory Wolfe offers some good thoughts) and focus on its origins. Catalyst for the debate was Commonweal editor Paul Baumann’s critical post about a speech that Pope Benedict made a few weeks ago when he was made an honorary citizen of the town of Freising, a suburb of Munich where the Pontiff spent his seminary years.
It is perhaps fitting that Mr Baumann’s post is entitled “Confusing Images” because both its focus and intentions were confusing. Ostensibly Mr Baumann is reacting to another Commonweal blogger, Fr Robert Imbelli, who had simply posted up the Pope’s speech entitled “Images of Gratitude”, uncritically. Mr Baumann professes himself surprised by “the adulation the Pope’s remarks elicited”. He describes the speech as “unexceptional and thereby perfectly suited to the blandness of this particular civic ritual” but then proceeds to give to give it a meticulous going over.
He writes: “His appreciative recollections concerned family, neighbours, Catholic feast days, walks in the countryside, the numinous aura of Freising’s medieval cathedral, and cherished memories of his ordination. ‘At the seminary we were one family,’ the pope recalls, and Freising ‘became a real homeland to us, and as a homeland it lives on in my heart.’ The war and the crimes of Nazi Germany are mentioned, but seem vague and distant shadows in Benedict’s telling of the hardships and joys, the cold dormitories, study halls, ‘and so forth’ of his seminary training. Tellingly, he concludes by praising the ‘real Bavarian culture’ of his youth.” Read the rest of this entry »
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the genial Schwabian who leads the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, passed the retirement age for Curial department leaders, two years ago. He turns 77 this year. It is interesting to note that the names doing the rounds in Vaticanista gossip are mostly from German-speaking countries.
Senior Vatican watcher Andrea Tornielli has mentioned Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Mueller of Regensburg as well as the Bishop of Basel Kurt Koch who had an audience with the Holy Father on Saturday.
+Mueller, from Mainz, is a professional ecumenist and the President of the Commission for Ecumenical Relations of the German Bishops’ Conference. His doctoral thesis was on the Protestant theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and entitled “The Church and Sacraments in Religionless Christendom. Bonhoeffer’s Contribution to an Ecumenical Sacrament Theology”. He served as professor of Dogmatic Theology at Munich’s Ludwig-Maximilian University and still holds an honorary professorship there.
As the smoke clears after the furor in the British press over the Pope’s so-called attack on the Equality Bill, the Domincan students at Blackfriars, Oxford, take the time to unpack the part of Benedict XVI’s speech to the Bishops of England and Wales at the ad limina visit in Rome last week which set off fireworks . Br Lawrence Lew OP sets out to explain the problematic aspects of the Equality Bill as well as what is meant by Natural Law. It offers a reasoned contrast to the hysteria of recent headlines and is well worth a read.
Where American Evangelicals have Pat Robertson who blames earthquakes, hurricanes et al on Divine displeasure, European Catholics have Fr Gerhard Wagner, (the-man-who-was-almost-auxiliary-bishop-of-Linz).
After last month’s terrifying earthquake devastated Haiti and killed over 150000 people, Mr Robertson said the country was cursed for having entered into a pact with the Devil. Fr Wagner first caught the international media’s attention in January last year when he was appointed auxiliary bishop of Linz, for suggesting that it was no coincidence that Hurricane Katrina destroyed five abortion clinics and countless nightclubs. This Sunday he told the Austrian weekly Der Kurier that while he couldn’t judge whether the Haitian earthquake was an act of a vengeful God, but that it was interesting to note that 90 per cent of Haitians practice voodo.