Anna Arco's Diary

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Posts Tagged ‘Catholicism

Pope to go to Birmingham Oratory

Pope Benedict XVI will visit the Birmingham Oratory during his trip to Britain, it emerged today.  While he is there he will visit Cardinal John Henry Newman’s rooms.

There had been some doubt about whether the Pope would visit the Oratory because of controversies within the Birmingham Oratory community, but it is an obvious stop for the Pontiff because Newman lived there in his final years. It holds his library as well as the relics that were found when grave was opened in 2008.

A spokesman for the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales said that the visit’s organisers had asked Birmingham City Council for the use of Cofton Park for Newman’s beatification on September 19. He said that, while the details still had to be worked out with the City of Birmingham, they hoped that at least 80,000 people would be able to attend.  The site is near Rednal, where Newman’s Oratorians had a house and where the Fathers of the Oratory were later buried. Cardinal Newman’s grave is there.

The spokesman said: “Cofton Park will have more historical resonance, because it is next to Rednal. The Oratorians used to take their recreation in Cofton Park.  What is important is that it enables a visit to the Birmingham Oratory. If it all works out, the Pope will make a private visit to Newman’s rooms.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by annaarco

June 24, 2010 at 2:23 pm

Romero remembered: a new documentary

America Magazine blogs point out that there is a new documentary about Romero entitled “Monseñor: The Last Days of Oscar Romero.” which is due to come out. They’ve got a trailer for the film, here.

I tried to embedd it but really couldn’t work it out.
Meanwhile over at the New York Review of Books, Alma Guillermoprieto writes about the film. She also remembers Archbishop Oscar Romero’s murder and how it ruptured El Salvador. Guillermoprieto interviewed Archbishop Romero and spent time in the country after Romero’s death. Her account is compelling and beautifully written, though critical of the Church’s hierarchy.

Here is a portion of Guillermoprieto’s article in the NYRB but the whole piece is worth reading.

But for the Church rank-and-file Romero has become an extraordinarily meaningful figure, as a quick Internet search of his name can attest. We can find evidence of this in yet another work intended to commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of his death: a documentary film, Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero, directed by Ana Carrigan and Juliet Weber, and produced by the Kellogg Institute at Notre Dame, a Catholic university.

Read the rest of this entry »

Written by annaarco

April 26, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Who was asked to defend the Church against Hitchens and Fry?

7912990Catholics in this country continue to be troubled by the intensity and forcefulness of the anger directed towards the Church at the Intelligence Squared debate “The Catholic Church is a force for Good” held at Methodist Central Hall in Westminster some weeks ago. The debate was disastrous for the Catholic side, despite valiant efforts from both the MP Ann Widdecombe and Archbishop John Onaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria.

One question I keep hearing from Catholics who were there was: “Could they find no one else to defend the Church?” Read the rest of this entry »

Leaving only empty Halloween pumpkins behind

5296520As the reaction to the European Court of Human Rights ruling about crucifixes in state school classrooms yesterday continues to roll out, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Vatican’s Secretary of State said the ruling was leaving Europe behind with nothing more left of its Christian patrimony  than empty Halloween pumpkins.

He said: “I say unfortunately Europe of the third millenium allows us only to keep the pumpkins left over from recent revelry before November 1st while taking more valuable symbols away from us.”

The Halloween custom of lighting Jack-o-Lanterns has spread across Europe as has the custom of wearing costumes, while the following two days, All Saints and All Souls are fading in public consciousness.

Italians, except for those on the far left, have rallied to defend the patrimony and the tradition which keeps crucifixes in classrooms. From the Vaticanista Andrea Tornielli, who writes that Europe has voted for Barabas by denying its Christian roots, to the leader of the main left-wing opposition party Pierluigi Bersani, Italians have defied the ruling. They say that it represents the tradition, culture and history of Italy. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by annaarco

November 4, 2009 at 3:18 pm

A Dominican answers questions…

Fr Philip Neri Powell OP offers a very helpful Q&A about the Anglican provision on hisDomine da mihi hanc aquam blog.

Here’s the first one:

1). What’s the difference between the current pastoral provisions for allowing married Anglican clergy to become Catholic priests and this new arrangement?

Under the pastoral provisions of John Paul II a married Anglican priest may be admitted to Catholic Holy Orders at the discretion of a local bishop. He will have to take some classes and pass a few exams before ordination. After ordination, he can be assigned to a Catholic parish as an administrator or associate pastor. He may not serve as a pastor. Whole Anglican parishes may come over as well and be included in what is called “Anglican Use” parishes. These parishes use a version of the Book of Common Prayer for their liturgies and are usually served by a former Anglican priest. In all cases, the individual priest and the parish remain under the direct jurisdiction of the local bishop.

Written by annaarco

October 23, 2009 at 9:47 am

Abandon hope all ye who enter here…

dantes-inferno-1It has captured the imagination of poets like TS Eliot, painter-poets like William Blake and in recent years it has been turned into a musical, but in its newest incarnation, the Divine Comedy (or rather part of it) has inspired a video game.

The Independent carried the story about Dante’s Inferno TM, a video game which serves as a bit of an electronic Virgil leading a virtual Dante–played by YOU–through the nine circles of Hell, over the weekend. The game has been “crafted” by Hollywood script writer, Will Rokos, who wrote the script for the 2001 film, Monsters Ball.

He said: “I really got into re-imagining Dante as a flawed hero with a dark past, and his determination to save the love of his life from a terrible fate. It was a truly unique experience to re-create one man’s hell, one circle at a time.”

The promo video for the game looks extremely violent and you need to click a button to say that you are 18 or over. The player must fight his way through the different levels of Hell which Dante described so carefully in in his 14th Century poem, but as re-imagined by Rokos.

The game’s slogan: “An abducted soul, a lifetime of sins, a journey to the depths of despair. Dante’s Inferno™ is a third-person action adventure adaptation of the medieval epic poem The Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.”

Armed with a “death scythe” which is “your main nailing weapon” and the “Holy Cross” which “shoots holy magic” at your enemies, you will be able to travel through the different levels of Hell on the “side of the righteous” come February next year.

As far as I remember, most video games are set in mystical or mythical worlds–I remember one from the early days–which was set in a New Age sort of universe. Given that Dante’s epic poem is considered to encapsulate–in a literary form at least–the Christian Medieval mindset, I’m not sure whether one ought to be worried about the fact that this Hell has been reduced to a strange, Lord-of-the-Ring-esque (the movie version) orc-infested darklands myth. Granted, the first part of Dante’s poem is a predominantly allegorical vision of sin and sinfulness. The circles of Hell in the game are limbo, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud and treachery, a simplification of Dante’s circles of Hell. Regardless, it does seem like a pretty hopeless place, but not all that allegorical. I imagine one hopes for respite from the game quite quickly…

It’s probably silly to object to it too much, but somehow the idea of this virtual reality Hell (as envisaged by Dante, Rokos and the designers at EA) makes me a bit uncomfortable.

Written by annaarco

October 12, 2009 at 11:35 am

Can we learn from the Alpha Course?

alphaThe Intentional Disciples (a United States based group blog “devoted to the baptismal call, spirituality, gifts, vocations, ministry, work, history, theology, evangelization, formation, bad jokes, and pastoral support of lay Christians seeking to live their faith in the 21st century”) have an interesting discussion up on their blog regarding the rapid spread of the Alpha Course, a Christian evangelical movement pioneered by Nicky Gumble at Holy Trinity Brompton. (The Alpha Course/Alpha Movement/phenomenon was featured in Time Magazine last year). Read the rest of this entry »

Written by annaarco

October 4, 2009 at 8:18 pm

Academic who stood opposite Cherie Blair at Angelicum made member of Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences

LB_Janne_Haaland_Ma_172353cJanne Haaland Matlary, professor of international politics at the department of political sciences of the University of Oslo, Norway has been made a member of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences

Dr Matlary was the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs for Norway and a member of the Christian Democrat Party between 1997 and 2000. She is a convert to Catholicism and already serves on the Pontical Council for Justice and Peace and is a consultor on the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Readers will remember the fuss, last year, over Cherie Blair giving a talk at the Angelicum in December. The event was a conference on Women and Human Rights, in honour of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Mrs Blair’s high profile and controversial talk, garnered all the media/blogging attention. Dr Matlary’s talk was very good but went largely unnoticed.

She sets the fundaments for her debate, by arguing that human rights are absolute and unchanging, not to be changed by political will.

“They are inborn, pre-political and apolitical, not given by politicians, not to be taken away or changed by politicians.”

Later she speaks about abortion, in the context of women’s rights–in the context of equal rights.

She said: “In the case of the abortion debate, the fierce struggle which continues and
which will continue is about the terms of the debate: if the question is “under which conditions can human life be taken?” one has to consider the constitutional norms of right to life and the international instruments of human rights that state this as the highest norm. If the debate is cast in pragmatic terms, e.g. as a women’s issue, this is not necessary.

“The abortion issue was decided when the terms of the debate were decided. But abortion represents a water-shed in Western politics precisely because it exhibits a total cleavage in views on what is legitimate democratic politics and procedure. “

For the full text of her speech at the Angelicum, please follow this link

Written by annaarco

October 2, 2009 at 1:55 pm