Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Oh Joy! the Feast of the Ascension approaches and we have the promise of a circus Mass!

Yippeee! Or should that be *x*!@*! I rather think the latter. But this is not Menevia...much like a circus we may be; this is deepest France where the Cirque Pinder has a really jolly liturgical experience lined up for all those ermm......modernists?.... liberal Catholics?.....Pagans?.....
What words would you use to describe a circus Mass?
Vulgar, profane, shallow, sacrilegeous? They'll
do for a start!

Fr Phillipe Kloeckner from Clermont is planning a big top event on this wonderful feast.
This is from the promotional blurb......

This year, the clowns will lead the procession of offerings. The prayer "Our Father" is to be said with all holding hands in a moment of communion. That particularly excited Fr  P. Kloeckner. "Everyone recites in their own language," he noted, because many nationalities are represented. Another highlight bound to be popular is: the blessing of the animals, mainly tigers and elephants! (Would it be unchristian to pray for a hungry tiger? or, maybe, a weary elephant?)

The celebration, at the initiative of the Pastoral Realities of Tourism and Leisure, is a great opportunity for the local church to be "open to the real world." "It shows that the Church is interested in all" he concludes. In 2010, the circus had hosted 400 people. .....(Bucket please Nurse, and make it quick!)

I must say that it stretches credulity somewhat to think that this sort of debacle is still taking place 6 plus years into the reign of Pope Benedict XVI......does the Diocese of Rodez embrace Clermont Ferrand, I wonder?

H/T to Thoughts from an Oasis in French Catholicism for leading me down this path.


Hmm....I guess we really know why, but I am referring, in this instance, to the way that schools named after a patron saint, fail to inform and educate as to regards the special qualities of that saint so that his or her deeds may be emulated by staff and pupils.

After a recent post on a Shropshire Catholic School that failed to give information regarding Blessed Robert Johnson I did a quick non scientific survey of school websites.
I lost the will to live after 17 schools and the score was 16 no mentions and only 1 school that gave a biographical sketch on its patron. Guess which school that was? None other than our own best loved Cardinal Vaughan you remember, the one that Westminster Diocese wants to command absolutely!
Cardinal Vaughan does it again!

So, in a vain attempt at naming and shaming, here is my list of offending schools...what an opportunity they have missed. It is a fundamental part of the faith (and good marketing practice) to give credit to one's sponsors or patrons.

1. St John Llloyd Llanelli
2. Bishop Vaughan Cathedral School Swansea
3. St Philomena's Carshalton
4. St John Fisher Purley
5. Corpus Christi Cardiff
6. John Henry Newman Stevenage
7. Mount Carmel Archway
8. Cardinal Pole Homerton
9. Cardinal Wiseman Greenford
10. St James Colindale
11. St David's College Cardiff
12. Mary Immaculate Cardiff
13. Newman Catholic College Harlesden
14. St Thomas More Wood Green
15. St Joseph's Wrexham
16. St Thoma Aquinas Birmingham

The headteachers of the above should be ashamed of their neglect of a golden opportunity!

Not a moveable Feast?

31st May

Hail, Queen of heaven, the ocean star,
Guide of the wanderer here below,
Thrown on life's surge, we claim thy care,
Save us from peril and from woe.

Mother of Christ, Star of the sea
Pray for the wanderer, pray for me.

O gentle, chaste, and spotless Maid,
We sinners make our prayers through thee;
Remind thy Son that He has paid
The price of our iniquity.

Virgin most pure, Star of the sea,
Pray for the sinner, pray for me.

And while to Him Who reigns above
In Godhead one, in Persons three,
The Source of life, of grace, of love,
Homage we pay on bended knee:

Do thou, bright Queen, Star of the sea,
Pray for thy children, pray for me.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Just what does a Bishop do?

Well, ermm.......he confirms of course, but he also does much more than that.
In commercial terms a Bishop (in England and Wales) would equate to a Chief Executive of a County Council or, maybe, a large multi national company.
But are such comparisons helpful?
 I believe that they are because, as well as valuing Bishops as Princes of the Church and Christ's representatives around the world, we need to be assured that they are loyal, trustworthy, capable and competent in all that they do.

Their remit is a wide one but no wider than the CEO of a Healthcare Trust or a Life Assurance Society; with a Bishop, of course, we expect a person who is strong in the faith, true to the Magisterium and a capable evangeliser.
But that is, arguably, 15 or 20 per cent of their work. The remainder of their responsibilities are on a more mundane but no less essential level.

First and foremost, a Bishop must be able to handle a workforce; he must have a talent for human resources and be able to assess character and personalities, both religious and lay. He must, for example, be able to weigh up a priest and determine where he will be be placed. No square pegs in round holes.
He must also be able to galvanise his priests and any religious answerable to him in such a manner that they too reflect the teachings of Holy Mother Church in all that they do.
And if a priest is found wanting it is up to his Bishop to take him on one side, assign him to a training programme or give him a good kick up the seat of his pants. All of the Bishop's men and women must proclaim the truth; no dissent regarding contraception, homosexuality or women priests, no alignment with any political party or lay organisation with dubious origins.

Most major organisations also have a dress code (although this, sadly, is undergoing a change). The Bishop should require of his priests that they appear as priests as well as behaving like them. No jeans and T shirts, no baggy shorts and sandals...just good old fashioned and irreplaceable black and white (and certainly no Baptist blues or Anglican greys!).

The Bishop, to use another metaphor, is a Colonel-in-Chief, and his regiment must be consistent in style as well as content. Uniforms serve a purpose, instant recognition, discipline and unity of intent; there can be no error or chance of error when it comes to the salvation of a soul. How many people, in a state of crisis, are likely to walk up to a slob on a shell suit and ask him: "Are you a Catholic priest?"

Symbol of authority -
the Bishop's crook
(or crozier for Australian
To continue with the military metaphor (which is not a bad one as we are at war) all ranks would be united in a common purpose, all would be bound by the daily training routine (at least one hour on their knees in front of the Blessed Sacrament). And all would be assigned targets and missions to perform - and report back on their successes or failures. And, most importantly, all would be expected to affirm their unwavering belief in the doctrine of transubstantiation.

The Bishop also must be something of an expert in Estates Management. An average diocese may have anything from 50 to 300 churches to maintain and that figure will double when presbyteries are taken into account. Then there are the schools and the odd convent or, even, commercial property that may be in the diocesan portfolio.
How well are they doing in terms of church maintenance? Not too good locally as most of our churches are taking on a distinctly musty and mildewed look - unloved would be another way of putting it. But it may be different in Northampton or Liverpool - I can only speak for Menevia.

Then there is the public persona of the post. Communications and inter- personal skills. A Bishop must display a multitude of talents when it comes to evangelising, public speaking, mixing equably with all levels of society. He must communicate well both verbally and via the written word, he must inspire and aspire in his words and works and....he must not be afraid of maintaining the truth, even to the point of trial and a prison sentence. The caving in over the homosexual adoption issue is nothing less than scandalous; what Government would have stood up to the prospect of 25 Bishops and Archbishops going to jail?

And, finally, part of a Bishop's role and a vital one at that, is to ordain, to confer the Sacrament of Holy Orders on young men. That is a process that does not begin on the day of ordination; it begins in primary schools, with altar boys, with the youth of the parish with young men and women who have worked in the world and found it wanting.
It does not begin with recruiting priests from alien cultures, from the developing world where their pastoral care and teachings are needed more than in comfortable middle England and Wales - that is a cop out! and, what is more, it is unsustainable. We need a strategic plan aimed at rejuvenating our seminaries so that they become full once more. Are the Bishops huddled in a group working on this project? Oh, please let me be wrong, but I do not think that is even on their agenda......I am happy to be contradicted here!

So how well do you think that your Bishop is fulfilling the duties outlined above? Is he an outstanding leader of all the priests and religious in his diocese, a communicator extraordinaire, a follower of all the Holy Father teaches a dynamic force for new vocations and well tended churches, a firm supporter and guide to Catholic schools on his patch, a tactician who has firmly set the salvation of souls as being his raison d'etre?

No?.......................I didn't think so,

Sunday, 29 May 2011


Some will have heard earlier of the death, earlier this month, of Arthur Crumly, MC to the Latin Mass Society for many, many years.
I never knew or even saw Arthur yet, this morning I stumbled across his blog, now frozen in time at December 2010.

Arthur's last post (literally) is a no nonsense guide on how to MC at a Missa Cantata. It is heaven sent as I think I may have to undertake these duties on the Feast of Corpus Christi and I am as rusty as hell, well, rusty anyway!
My trouble (apart from a low attention span that would put a goldfish in the shade) is that I only get to attend a Missa Cantata once in a blue moon and I find DVDs on 'How to Serve' distracting and inadequate.

Arthur's blow by blow instructions are just the ticket, provided I can remember to print them off.

If anyone else would like to take advantage of Arthur's legacy go to
Arthur Crumly's Blog and remember to say a prayer for his eternal soul!

We are never far from the demonic!

Much as in the same way it is said that in big cities one is never more than 12 feet from a rat, so it is with the demonic. The devil and his demons go rampaging throughout the world looking for souls to master and destroy and the evil one is never more than a few feet from us..

"Even priests can be affected
by the demonic"

Archbishop Fulton Sheen (whose cause for beatification is being forwarded in Rome right now) made a telling statement in one of his retreats for priests series. He said that, out of an audience of 50 or 60 priests, there would always be one or two who were tinged with the demonic.
 "Mention the sacrifice of Calvary as re-enacted in the Mass and they would begin to shift uncomfortably in their seats.
                                                    By the end of the day they would be gone!"

He would go on to state that this contact with evil surrounds us in our daily lives.

I do not mean (and the Archbishop did not mean) that such people were actually possessed of a demon (although that may have been the case in some instances), it was more a situation where some element of the demonic had been allowed to enter their minds. The avenues for such a possibility are, of course, endless and they perhaps pervade the life of the Church today more than at any other time in its history.
Pornography, paedophila, marriage breakdown, drug abuse, homosexuality, perversions of every form, disbelief in the the Sacred Species, "liberated" nuns, women priests, apostasy and just plain everyday secular wrongdoings.

All have an essence of the demonic but, normally, due to our practice of regular Mass attendance and reception of the Sacraments and the subsequent graces we receive, we are able to automatically fend off most, if not all that Satan sends our way. We should not forget, either, the power of our Guardian Angel who must be fully occupied in overseeing our spiritual welfare.

The author, Patrick Leigh Fermor in his book "A time to keep silence" records that, in monasteries, the holy men enclosed are subject to bombardments by Satan. He describes one monk stating that the skies over the monastery at night are dark with demons. This is a very real and powerful threat and it is only their strong mindset and inherent spirituality that keeps them safe.

But open minds are empty vessels awaiting the devil's potions. When we used to attend Mass at the Mill Hill Fathers rural base, Courtfield, on the Herefordshire/Monmouthshire borders, the great Father Hughes often used to include accounts of his travails in Africa in his sermons. He spent many years in the wilds, like most Mill Hill Fathers and Brothers, and most of the time he would be the only priest for many miles around. I remember his account of receiving a late night call to attend a dying woman some 30 miles distant.
Packing up his case containing the Blessed Sacrament and the sacred oil and all other materials necessary for the administration of the Sacrament of Extreme Unction (it was called that 50 years ago) he mounted his motor bike and set off for the distant village.
Arriving finally he was shown to a hut where the sick woman lay. He entered holding aloft his Tilley lantern only to see the woman lying on  a settle against the far wall. He had not fully entered the room before she turned to glare at him ferociously whilst her whole body levitated upwards for about 3 to 4 feet and she screamed: "I do not want you or He whom you bring with you."
Now, according to Fr Hughes, it was at this point that he turned on his heels and fled; returning to the Mission a damn sight faster than he came.
I am sure that he did flee for his life. A priest untrained in exorcism and unprepared physically and spiritually would be very hard put to counter a full on demonic attack. The great danger being, of course, that the demon might overpower him and take control.

But possession is not rare in underdeveloped countries where people have, for many years, been under the influence of pagan beliefs and ceremonies. And it is becoming increasingly common in the developed world where poor education (I mean poor Catholic education) and a lack of intellectual rigour are becoming increasingly prevalent. That is not just a malfunction of the social framework, it is, undoubtedly, Satan weaving the web of despair, dissolution and dissipation that affects so many young people today.

He has an easy target (although, since 2005 and the advent of Pope Benedict, we have begun to re-consolidate and even started regaining lost ground) but we now have two or three generations of 'latch key' children who are now parents and grandparents in their own right. And the seeds of indifference and neglect have long since grown to fruition even to the stage of being beyond recovery.
Economic statistics used to indicate (and probably still do) that, when a person has been unemployed for more than  18 months, the likelihood of them returning to the workplace was negligible. The habit of being idle and taking state handouts had become too ingrained.

 So it is with the spiritual life. Do nothing, take the handouts of violent video games, cheap cider, drugs, street crime, pornography and abortion as a means of birth control and you have a potent mix that provides easy pickings for you know who!

What can be done? How can one rewind the clock and get matters onto a footing where at least the young, the down and outs and homeless  are given a chance. We don't have the vocation numbers yet to launch a crusade, I'm not sure that, in episcopal circles, there is even a will to do so. But, we should not be prepared to roll over and accept what Satan throws at the world.

The best of weapons -
recourse to Our Lady
We must keep in mind the weapons that are at our disposal; heading the list, of course, is Our Blessed Mother, she whose heel is firmly planted on the head of the serpent. The Rosary is all powerful in this regard and is positively hated by Satan. Next comes recourse to the saints, especially those with accredited powers to overcome the devil and all his works and pomps (St Anthony, St Michael, (Padre) St Pio and St Paul of the Cross spring to mind, I am sure there are more).

Next come the outward signs of our faith that so many families neglect today. The blessing of one's house by a priest, the Epiphany chalk, a crucifix in the home, holy candles at hand, a holy water font at the side of the front door, a palm cross, statues of the saints and mementoes of the holy life - forget the strings of garlic......these things are the real McCoy and your doorstep need never be fearful of a visit by the dark angel.
And your children and friends will become encouraged to do the same; visitors to your house will benefit from exposure to the sacred rather than the profane.

Prayer to Defeat the Work of Satan

O Divine Eternal Father, in union with Your Divine Son and the Holy Spirit, and through the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg You to destroy the power of Your greatest enemy – the evil spirits.
Cast them into the deepest recesses of hell and chain them there forever! Take possession of Your Kingdom which You have created and which is rightfully Yours.
Heavenly Father, give us the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
I repeat this prayer out of pure love for You with every beat of my heart and with every breath I take. Amen.
Even if you can only do one thing, make it the placement of a blessed crucifix in a prominent position in your home and ask your family and friends to do the same. It may not get rid of the rats but it will certainly get rid of Satan.

Saturday, 28 May 2011

"Do you think Christ taught in English?"

28th May 1582 is the feast of Blessed Robert Johnson SJ. He won his martyr's crown, as did so many of his kind, at Tyburn. 

                                    Blessed Robert Johnson at Tyburn

Here is an extract of the account of his life:-

"Born in Shropshire, he became a gentleman's servant, but went abroad and was ordained priest at Douay and was sent on the English Mission in 1576.
In December 1580, after being arrested, he was sent to the Tower of London where he was viciously racked on three occasions. He was sentenced in November 1581 but his execution was postponed until May 1582.

On the scaffold he boldly answered the Sheriff that Elizabeth was as much Head of the Church as Mary had been. The Sheriff replied:"Thou art a traitor most obstinate".
Bl Robert replied: "If I be a traitor for holding the faith, then all our kings and queens and all our ancestors were traitors, for they maintained the same".
They then placed the rope around his neck and he began to pray in Latin. They then willed him to pray in English that they might witness with him: He said: "I pray that prayer which Christ taught." A minister cried out from the crowd: "Pray as Christ taught?" To whom, Mr Johnson replied: "What! do you think Christ taught in English?"
And so he won his crown with the Church's words upon his lips.

Also, on that day, he was joined in his sufferings by Blessed John Shert and Blessed Thomas Ford.
And also by Blessed Margaret Pole who suffered on Tower Hill.

Blessed Margaret Pole
There is a Catholic School that bears the name of Blessed Robert Johnson in Telford Shrophire. It is an utter disgrace that the school website makes no mention of Bl Robert Johnson and his stand for Catholicism.
I must do a quick survey of Catholic School websites that are named after a saint to determine how many feature the history of the faith. I am not confident of finding very many that do.

And for those who want to leave a comment to the effect that Christ taught in Aramaic - I know!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Confessions of a Catholic blogger

This week has seen the announcement, by his friends, that Fr Tim of THOC has just topped 3 million hits on his blog. 3 million! I had to go and lie down in a dark room after reading that.
It goes without saying that all kudos and congratulations are due to Fr T. It is a massive achievement and all done, apparently, so effortlessly.

Now I am fully aware that a Catholic blogger should not let 'hits' rule his or her life but, dammit, I am an ex marketing man and for 40 plus years have lived and breathed on statistics and figures and I cannot do without a daily fix of sitemeter! Fr Tim, I know, is not influenced by such mundane things but to us lesser mortals it is one way of determining whether what you write has any resonance, whether it is relevant or just a private rant.

Also, this week, following close on the heels of THOC's success, comes a treatise by that great but shadowy blogger figure, Mundabor

 The post is called 'Catholic Blogging in 17.5 Easy Steps'. It is a sound piece of advice and well worth reading if not actually following.
It makes clear the trap of self approval and personal gratification; so easy to fall into. The post also calls for anonymity as part of the process of "seeking wisdom, not martyrdom". I am not so sure about that element but it's too late for me anyway.

What did strike a chord with me was Mundabor's exhortation to be true to oneself, to write what you believe without fluffing around worrying what folk might think. I think that I have been guilty of that (although some might not agree).

So from now on you will get posts straight from the shoulder or should I say, heart? No more pussyfooting around, all will be black and white.
So many Catholic bloggers feature cats
is this the secret to a high strike rate?

But why do we blog anyway? I have tried to analyse what and why I do what I do and come always to the same conclusion; I do it because it is a wonderful means of expressing all one's pent up emotions and views regarding the Catholic Faith and its rights and wrongs. I also want the Catholic world to understand my standpoint - not necessarily agree with me, just to understand where I am coming from is fine. I also want people to comprehend what the faith was like fifty years ago, the good and the bad parts; we are in grave danger of losing our sense of 20th Century Catholic knowledge and culture and that would be sad.

The other part of my concern regarding blogging does involve a need for my blog to be read, not by milions but, equally, not by one or two Traddies locked in a garret somewhere. I see nothing wrong in that desire. If I thought that only one or two individuals read my blog I think I would chuck it in. I have only been at this lark for six months so I am still in my salad bowl as they say but hits do matter to me (although I have accepted M's advice and removed the counter, this exercise should not be about public triumphalism).

So how to achieve more hits? According to Mundabor it is back to being true to oneself, fine but I have to do more than that, surely?

I did  consider featuring a cat or two (sorry MF) but that would not be being true to my inner self. I have very little to do with cats although I have eaten a few in my time (not by selecting one off the menu I hasten to add, but by being served cat by my Chinese hosts at various banquets....sort of sweet and sourpussy) - aaaagh! - more profuse apologies, I think I will be losing readers by the score at this rate.
What other images are likely to strike a sympathetic note? Flowers? Hmmm.....more a female blogger thing I think.......birds?.......not really relevant......Blessed Titus Brandsma?......Yes, precisely.
I must say that I am enjoying being part of this growing Guild of bloggers....I appreciate the daily prayer, it binds you more closely to to your blog and it embraces others who, hitherto, have been just names. It gives one a sense of belonging and, believe me, if you have lived in a spirtual wilderness for 25 years, you do appreciate the company of fellow souls! 

           Blessed Titus Brandsma - Pray for all Catholic Bloggers!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

EWTN needs to sharpen up!

There has been ongoing comment on the blogosphere regarding the paucity of screenings of Tridentine Latin Masses on EWTN, channel 589. But, as far as I can see, those in charge of EWTN remain resolute in not screening any Latin Masses.

One of the few excellent programmes -
 but now they've ditched Fr Corapi!
 Every day there is a Novus Ordo Mass but, even at Easter this year, no EF Mass.
I believe that a balance needs to be struck; every few days I tune in to the Daily Mass screening hoping in vain for something of substance but, what do I see? A very pale version (even) of the OF Mass. The singing is appalling, dirge like, tuneless and lacklustre - and that's every day!

Maybe someone on the production board of EWTN is a closet Tridentinist and hopes that, by showing such banal liturgical travesties, the world Catholic population will turn away from OF to EF. A fond hope.

It's not just the Masses; with one or two exceptions, the broadcasting level ranges from the absurd to the embarrassing. I cannot believe that the people of America enjoy such drivel.
The big stars are Marcus Grodi and Raymond Arroyo and there's a very enthusiastic priest who speaks with verve and energy as if he believes what he is saying. The rest give the word mediocre a new depth to plumb.

Catholic programmes need to
be professional if they are to
have a value
Our own Jamie and Joanna Bogle struggle courageously on with a format that, as any television producer knows, is ratings suicide. How can two people talk about the Moors overunning Europe for 45 minutes and keep it interesting. It is pure dialogue, no film clips or even stills to bring it to life. They do a valiant job but, I'm afraid I am not among their viewing audience.

The rest of the format strikes me as being much akin to The Universe Catholic weekly. A bland look at the mundane happenings of Catholic life. Not for me.
I shall continue to watch the Papal Audiences and one or two other seasonal highlights but, for the rest, it's back to secular viewing, there's more chance of seeing a TLM screened there!

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

It's not the Latin - no really, it isn't!

This may come as a shock to some but, much as I love the Tridentine Latin Mass or EF Mass if you will, I could live without the Latin bit.
Heresy! You exclaim but hear me out.

Would English be acceptable?
The language of the English translation straight from the pre 1962 missal is extraordinarily beautiful; it rolls off the tongue: "I will go in unto the Altar of God. To God who giveth joy to my youth". It is comprehensible (although some passages need a little bringing up to speed). Trouble is, the English varies from missal edition to missal edition, not big variances but enough to throw you out if you are following the Mass (I won't even mention that aberration known as a dialogue Mass).

Now what would make me pronounce such a thing. One thing and one thing only and that is, if the Bishops of England and Wales agreed to make provision for 20% of their parish churches to celebrate the "English" EF Mass every Sunday, morning, that is, not 15.45 in the afternoon!

We would lose very little and gain a great deal. Of course, the full rubrics and content of the EF Mass would have to be observed, rigidly. There would be no booming out the words of the consecration, the host would be held by the celebrant betwixt index finger and thumb, all the minutiae of actions and inflections would still be there - it would just be in English!
Would it work I wonder? Would those who only attend the TLM accept the version a la Anglaise?
And would those who only attend the English Ordinary Form of Mass feel comfortable with an English Extraordinary Form?

Or, do we see in the actions of the Holy Father an inexorable grind towards a bringing together of both forms which, still leaving them distinct, makes them more like Low Tea and High Tea rather than Ordinary and Extraordinary?

And what would become of the Latin Mass Society? Would they morph to the "EMS"?

In the name of the Father,
and of the Son,
and of the Holy Spirit.
I will go in unto the Altar of God.
To God who gives joy to my youth.
Judge me, O God,
and take up my cause against the nation that is not holy.

Free me from the unjust and deceitful man.
For You, O God, are my strength,
why have You cast me off?
And why do I walk in sorrow,
while the enemy troubles me?
Send forth Your light and Your truth,
they have led me,
and brought me to Your holy hill,
and to Your dwelling.
I will go in  unto the Altar of God,
to God who gives joy to my youth.
To You, O God, my God,
I will give praise upon the harp,
why are you sad, O my soul?
And why do you trouble me?
Hope in God, for I will still praise Him,
the salvation of my countenance and my God.

Where there's a will there's a......

....Tridentine Requiem Mass!

I have lost track of the number of TLM attending friends and acquaintances who have died and then been subject to an Ordinary Form Requiem Mass.

Image: Sancte Missa
Unbleached candles - the perfect send off!
 Not, I hasten to add, from any desire of theirs, quite the reverse. Usually, it is the priest who is to blame. I arrived once at the funeral of a good friend who had been solid in his attendance at the TLM and who had eschewed all other forms. What then took place was a disgraceful charade as the priest (acting out of consideration for his widow "because she would not understand the Latin") had arranged a pseudo Methodist service with hymns such as "The old rugged cross" and more of the same.

Not what Catholics
Because my friend was an old wartime mariner, the British Legion had been allowed into the church complete with berets (which they kept on) and military flags which I understand are not allowed at a Catholic Mass (one reason why we Catholics are such poor supporters of Remembrance Day services).

That episode was a result of priestly management but, often, surviving relatives who are not of the faith just do not see the need or distinction between OF and EF and, given the option, will, of course, choose that which is at least in English.
And then there's the issue of what happens afterwards. Sadly, many Catholics opt for the "crem" - it's quick, much cheaper and you don't have to worry about tending a grave afterwards (and often you can short circuit the church and have the whole shebang in the crematorium's Chapel of Ease) - ugh!
But it unnaturally destroys the temple that God created - much better to let the earth have your remains.

The only sure way to make certain that your wishes are observed is to stipulate it in your will or, fill in an instructional Funeral form,normally available from your Parish Priest. If you elect for the form you will have to put a red line through hymn choices 1 to 4 and write in capital letters TRIDENTINE LATIN MASS ONLY!

Photo: Lacrimarum Valle
While you are about it you might like to make known the fact, should you fall ill, that you would like to receive the "Sacrament of the Sick" or, as I prefer to call it "Extreme Unction" - the last rites of Holy Mother Church. Again, this is something that carries all the wrong connotations with it and often even strong Catholics will shy away from requesting this sacrament on the grounds that they believe that it is a sign they are about to pop their clogs. That may be the case but even more reason for accepting it. The effects of this sacrament are profound indeed and not only strengthen spiritually but, often, have a strengthening effect physically; I have know people make a good recovery from near death immediately after receiving EU. Again, you would expect me to play the traditional card and I do not like to disappoint. The traditional form of this sacrament is the one for me. It's a real 'belts and braces' form that does not leave any room for doubt and, believe me, if you are seriously sick, you do not want to leave anything to chance.
I have received the modern form (one of them) when I was not in a position to argue. It's rather like being handed a glass of 18 year old malt whisky that, when you put it to your lips, tastes like water!

This may all seem rather morbid but when you reach a critical stage in your life and are suffering illness or approaching death itself - you tend to have other things on your mind!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

        Confraternity of the Holy Cross
Menevia Diocese

                 “We adore Thee O Christ and we praise Thee, because by Thy
                     Holy Cross Thou hast Redeemed the World”

·        Sunday 29th May, Mass at Sacred Heart, Morriston at 3pm
·       Sunday 5th June – Mass at Newcastle Emlyn 3pm

·       Sunday 12th June – Missa Cantata at St Therese de Lisieux, Port Talbot 5pm

·       Sunday 19th June Mass at St Benedict’s, Clydach 3pm

·       Thursday 23rd June, St Joseph’s Cathedral, Swansea SA1 2BX - 7pm Missa Cantata Mass of Corpus Christi followed by Benediction
       And procession – come if at all possible!

Menevia Diocese Extraordinary Form Co-ordinator: Fr Jason Jones

"Extraordinarii" - a good label!

My learned and distinguished friend, Professor Robin Whatley has had a letter published in The Catholic Herald that has now been reproduced in Mass of Ages.

It is not a good letter - it is a fantastic letter! It is reproduced in full below:-

..For all those Catholics who may have become depressed that our bishops are so loath to grant wholesale support to Pope Benedict XVI's Motu Proprio, when they thought that 'Summorum Pontificum' was the solution to all their yearnings, I offer the following.
There seems to be an interesting comparison between those who today attend Holy Mass in the sublime Tridentine Rite and special members of Roman armies. Given that the various priestly orders dedicated solely to that Rite enjoy almost an embarrassment of riches with respect to the large number of seminarians they attract, especially compared to those coming forward in what we might call 'ordinary' seminaries, the former will eventually, at least in Western cultures, become the vanguard of the priesthood.
Their ranks will be added to because many young priests are much more orthodox than their teachers and are volunteering to learn to celebrate Holy Mass in the Old Rite.
"Extraordinarii" - an elite fighting force!

We may, since the Tridentine Rite has come to be called the Extraordinary Form, refer to priest and congregation as the extraordinarii, which term was used in the Roman military system to describe those troops, usually a fifth of the infantry and a third of the cavalry,detached from the alae or wings that flanked the legions. The extraordinarii were under the direct command of the army commander and provided the vanguard to the column when advancing and the rearguard when retreating; dangerous tasks requiring particularly good soldiers.
My case is that, given time, it is the extraordinarii who will guide Holy Church back to her Traditional Catholic foundations, while leading us into the future and who will always safeguard her against further attempted subversion by the neo-Protestants.
Watched over by the Holy Spirit, supported by the Magisterium and commanded by our dear Holy Father, how can the extraordinarii not succeed?


Now I am aware that my fascination for 'labels' is irritating to some but we all live by the designations that surround us; English, African/American, Vegan, Carnivore, thinker, doer and so on. The Catholic Church has something in the region of 23 different rites (Armenian, Maronite, Syro-Malabar) and so on. All are distinctive in their own...um....rite - but all are Catholic! And some are extraordinarii!

Monday, 23 May 2011


The Holy Father has asked us to pray for China, today, especially. This is a country in torment; it has not known God for many decades yet there is still a hunger and yearning for that indefinable "goodness."
Our Lady of Sheshan - Pray for China!

It is a country where human life is cheap and the Catholic population survives intense and frequent persecution.
In the Hutongs (tenement areas) of Beijing, families live several hundred to a block with a shared yard and maybe only one tap and a lavatory between them. They are, in their way, fascinating places but you will not find any attempt to beautify the surroundings; they have lost all concept of beauty. No plants in pots, no attempt to tidy the yard. Often, the charcoal ashes from their cooking stoves are just tipped into the centre of the yard and the path goes over or around them. They have lost even the ability to see that they could improve their lives a little by tipping the ashes to one side so that they did not impede entry.

Christianity has a very long journey to make in China and Pope Benedict knows that our prayers will help to further the cause and help those who are most in need.

Pope Benedict's prayer to Our Lady of Sheshan reads:

Virgin Most Holy, Mother of the Incarnate Word and our Mother, venerated in the Shrine of Sheshan under the title 'Help of Christians,' the entire Church in China looks to you with devout affection. We come before you today to implore your protection. Look upon the People of God and, with a mother's care, guide them along the paths of truth and love, so that they may always be a leaven of harmonious coexistence among all citizens.
When you obediently said 'Yes' in the house of Nazareth, you allowed God's eternal Son to take flesh in your virginal womb and thus to begin in history the work of our redemption. You willingly and generously co-operated in that work, allowing the sword of pain to pierce your soul, until the supreme hour of the Cross, when you kept watch on Calvary, standing beside your Son, Who died that we might live.
From that moment, you became, in a new way, the Mother of all those who receive your Son Jesus in faith and choose to follow in His footsteps by taking up His Cross. Mother of hope, in the darkness of Holy Saturday you journeyed with unfailing trust towards the dawn of Easter. Grant that your children may discern at all times, even those that are darkest, the signs of God's loving presence.
Our Lady of Sheshan, sustain all those in China, who, amid their daily trails, continue to believe, to hope, to love. May they never be afraid to speak of Jesus to the world, and of the world to Jesus. In the statue overlooking the Shrine you lift your Son on high, offering him to the world with open arms in a gesture of love. Help Catholics always to be credible witnesses to this love, ever clinging to the rock of Peter on which the Church is built. Mother of China and all Asia, pray for us, now and for ever. Amen!

When is it right for a Catholic to swear?

A commenter on a previous post, David Werling of the very beautiful blog, Ars Orandi, pointed out, quite correctly, that the Protestant Bible is a different book from the Catholic one.
The seven Deuterocanonical books present in a Catholic Bible were excised from the Protestant one at the time of the Reformation. And Protestant scholars would refer to the missing seven as "Apocrypha".

Now that, to my mind, is not the only difference; the Protestant version has a different translation of the text which can bend or even change the original meaning and, I am sure that someone will come up with even more distinctions.

This is the only book to swear on!
What this means is that Catholics may only read their own version (the Douay Bible is generally taken as the foundation for all of the Catholic versions).

Now David's comment took me back a few years when I had to appear in a court of justice. No! no! You've got it all wrong; I was not in the dock I was there because it was my name on the licensed premises operated by my College at the time and I had to be sworn in as licensee.
I had given little thought to the whole exercise until the clerk to the court asked me if I wanted to be sworn in using a Bible. I responded that I would but that it would have to be a Catholic one.
He eyed me up suspiciously and stated that all bibles were the same. I refuted this politely and said that they must surely have a Douay Bible in court. By this time he and his fellow officials were loking a little nervous and looking around for the nearest fire exits.
The clerk went off to rummage in some cupboards and came back looking triumphant: "Look" He said: "I've found a Koran for you!"

He was most disgrntled when I told him that just would not do and I was beginning to regret not shoving our family bible in my case before going to the courtroom.
Eventually, a solution was arrived at. I would utter the atheist affirmation! This, after reading it through was actually quite acceptable as it did not deny God in any way and only vouchsafed that I would tell the truth blah blah.

After this stressful event I pondered on whether I was being pedantic in only being prepared to swear on a Catholic Bible - after all, it was the promise to tell the truth that mattered. But then I decide that I was in the right and that any compromise would have been wrong and the oath, in all probability, invalid as I would have had no belief in the book that I was swearing on. It could have been the Protestant Bible,  the Koran or the Bumper Book of Rupert the Bear Stories and it would have been wrong, quite wrong.

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Calm down Dear, it's not the end of the world!

"Err...maybe not 21st May this year..."

Well, according to Harold Camping, Saturday 21st May was scheduled to be the end of the world.....but, of course, it did not happen. Not so much a Rapture theory as a Rupture one.
It always surprises me how these fundamentalist Christians get it wrong so many times...not just Doomsday but also the second coming, the great chastisement and so on.
They really need to read their New Testament and pay attention to the words of Our Lord:-

 "But of that day and hour no one knoweth: no, not the angels of heaven, but the Father alone...."

It's not rocket science!

Saturday, 21 May 2011


I have just come from speaking on the phone to an elderly priest friend who was in Fatima for this year's Feast of 13th May and the rest of the week. He had an amazing story to tell; at about 1.30pm the sun danced once more as it did back in 1917. In his words:
"It began to rotate and change colours so we saw all the colours of the rainbow. It lasted ten to fifteen minutes."

May 13th 1917
If I remember correctly, it was at 1.30pm on 13th May 1917 that the sun danced for the first time.....I am not sure on that timing but it was again witnessed by a crowd estimated to be many thousand strong.
The spectacle apparently began during prayers in thanksgiving for the Beatification of Bl Pope John Paul II (who believed that it was the hand of Our Lady of Fatima that deflected the assassins' bullet).
However, whilst I know that my priest friend is totally reliable I cannot find any credible reference to this happening on the internet.

No Mass Sunday!

We in wild and windy West Wales will have no Sunday Mass for the next two weeks - an Extraordinary Form Mass, that is. Even then, we will only have one once a month and that is a 60 mile round journey but I am not complaining.
Well, I am really but it's more of a form of keening as they might say in Ireland.
A sort of sense of loss and mourning for something much loved that should be there but isn't.

Photo: Daily Telegraph
The most beautiful of Churches!
  So, instead, my heart and my soul will be with two of my daughters at Spanish Place, the Church of St James at 9.30am and arguably the most beautiful parish church in London (it also has excellent cafes within twenty yards that offer wonderful plates of bacon and eggs for a very reasonable price for after Mass).

Food for the body - after food for the soul!
It also has quite the most cosmopolitan congregation of any church in London, rich, poor, emigres, Irish and even a few English folk.

Long may it continue to offer the 'Mass of all Time'


It happened in the mid 1950s when I was a ten year old altar boy arriving to serve the early morning Mass at St Michael's and St Martin's, Hounslow.

I only got as far as the sacristy when Fr Steer, the curate came out looking grey and flustered and told me that a terrible act had taken place and that I was to go straight home. As I left the church I was aware of various men moving around the aisles, looking under benches and generally, poking around.

Later, it transpired that the church had been broken into during the night, the tabernacle forced open, consecrated hosts removed and the altar and hosts had been defiled.
My friend and fellow server, Anthony Tilley, had arrived five minuted before me and had been assigned to accompany a detective around the church grounds and extensive orchard. Coming across a host on the ground the CID man had bent down to pick it up but was stopped by Anthony who bravely told him that he could not touch it. Now Anthony was a bit of a rogue; wherever there was trouble he was to be found but he came shining through that morning, a little lad of ten commanding a police officer not to touch the consecrated host.

The whole parish went into a state of shock and all Masses had to be held at a side altar for many months after until a new tabernacle was installed and a Mass of Reparation held, celebrated, no less by Cardinal Griffin.
We went into penitential mode; daily rosaries in the side altar, acts of penance in the home; it was a dark and dismal period. Meanwhile, the main altar was shrouded off with echoes of Good Friday except that it was not just for a couple of days; more like a couple of months and the white shroud where the tabernacle used to be haunted us with its memories.
The old Canon who suffered from a bad heart had the news witheld for a few hours but had to be told before the day was out. I am sure this sacrilege reduced his life span because he was never quite the same and died within 18 months.

Needless to say, no one was apprehended for this crime, that really did not matter. What affected all was the thought of the gross act against the Body of Christ.

                                          Act of Reparation

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, I adore You profoundly and  offer You the most precious Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ, present in all the tabernacles of the world, in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which He Himself is offended. And by the infinite merits of His Most Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I beg of You the conversion of poor sinners.

Friday, 20 May 2011

Two poems, did one inspire the other?

Archbishop Fulton Sheen made the poem 'Lovely Lady dressed in blue'  popular and well loved at the height of his television fame in the 1950s.
It was written by an American, Mary Dixon Thayer, born in 1896.

Some may find it a shade over sentimental and some may find it uncannily similar to a poem written by Francis Thompson.

Here is the Mary Dixon Thayer poem, 'Lovely Lady dressed in blue'

Lovely Lady dressed in blue ----
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
Tell me what to say!
Did you lift Him up, sometimes,
Gently on your knee?
Did you sing to Him the way
Mother does to me?
Did you hold His hand at night?
Did you ever try
Telling stories of the world?
O! And did He cry?
Do you really think He cares
If I tell Him things-
Little things that happen? And
Do the Angels' wings
Make a noise? And can He hear
Me if I speak low?
Does He understand me now?
Tell me ---- for you know?
Lovely Lady dressed in blue ----
Teach me how to pray!
God was just your little boy,
And you know the way.

And now for Little Jesus by Francis Thompson (1859-1907)

Little Jesus, was Thou shy
Once, and just so small as I?
And what did it feel like to be
Out of Heaven, and just like me?
Didst Thou sometimes think of there,
And ask where all the angels were?

I should think that I would cry
For my house all made of sky;
I would look about the air,
And wonder where my angels were;
And at waking twould distress me
Not an angel there to dress me!
Hadst Thou ever any toys,
Like us little girls and boys?
And didst Thou play in Heaven with all
The angels that were not too tall,
With stars for marbles? Did the things
Play Can you see me? through their wings?
And did Thy Mother let Thee spoil
Thy robes, with playing on our soil?
How nice to have them always new In Heaven, because twas quite clean blue!

Didst Thou kneel at night to pray,
And didst Thou join Thy hands, this way?
And did they tire sometimes, being young,
And make the prayer seem very long?
And dost Thou like it best, that we
Should join our hands to pray to Thee?
I used to think, before I knew,
The prayer not said unless we do.
And did Thy Mother at the night
Kiss Thee, and fold the clothes in right?
And didst Thou feel quite good in bed,
Kissed, and sweet, and Thy prayers said?

Thou canst not have forgotten all
That it feels like to be small:
And Thou knowst I cannot pray
To Thee in my fathers way
When Thou was so little, say,
Couldst Thou talk Thy Fathers way?
So, a little Child, come down
And hear a childs tongue like Thy own;
Take me by the hand and walk,
And listen to my baby-talk.
To Thy Father show my prayer
(He will look, Thou art so fair),
And say: O Father, I, Thy Son,
Bring the prayer of a little one.

And He will smile, that childrens tongue
Has not changed since Thou wast young!


.....just because it's Friday

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Repent for the end is nigh!

The end, that is, of the Novus Ordo Mass (at least according to The Catholic Knight).

Picture: The Catholic Knight
Many have been speculating on how the EF and OF Masses are beginning to "merge" together, not, I am sure to become one, but to remain separate with a much more solid liturgical base.

We should remember that the EF Mass is not immune from change; even Archbishop Lefebre believed that a certain amount of 'progression' was required, it was just that other things got in the way.

Read The Catholic Knight post HERE

When General Absolution is legitimate

There has been much in the blogosphere in recent days, largely about a certain Bishop of Toowoomba whose shortcomings apparently included a common and frequent bestowal of General Absolution. I know not what brought about the desire to confer the Sacrament of Penance so freely; it must be tempting to think that one may instantly clear the sins of many, almost apostolic in some respects. But it also brings in its wake a feeling that Penance is not so serious after all. Sins can't be that bad since we can all give them the heave ho together and start again.

This is the norm!
There is the story of GK Chesterton who knelt in a queue for Confession (they did that years ago) at Westminster Cathedral. Very soon a message was passed to the Father Confessor who came out of the confessional and announced:
"I have a sick call to attend; I will only hear the confessions of those in mortal sin".
The line of would be penitents froze for a few seconds until, very slowly, GKC rose to his feet, flung his cloak over his shoulder and, very deliberately walked into the confessional.

An amusing story  but the point is, the priest did not just grant a general absolution to all there. He  
                                         chose the ordained path and GKC took it.

Fr Corapi, (God bless him) once stated that, if he was on a plane that suddenly began to show signs of crashing, he would, if physically possible, stand up and administer a general absolution to all present. That would be totally in order.
The Papal guidance on Pastoral Norms, published in 1972 specifically states that those receiving a general absolution must all portray contrition and have been exhorted to repent, but a level of assumption must come into the equation in Fr Corapi's scenario.

What then are the special circumstances when it is legitimate?

Firstly, when there is an imminent danger of death and the priest has no time in which to hear individual confessions. Secondly, it is lawful under a situation where a large number of the faithful are gathered together for a short period and when, the regional terrain or political situation may mean that they may not have another chance of absolution for some time to come. Then the priest may bestow the Sacrament of Penance to all who show contrition and who receive his exhortations regarding the avoidance of sin.
This does not apply, however, to pilgrimages or large assemblies of the faithful.

Here is the Papal document:-

Pastoral Norms Concerning The Administration Of General Sacramental Absolution

The Council of Trent solemnly taught that for full and perfect forgiveness of sins three acts are required from the penitent as parts of the sacrament, these acts being contrition, confession and satisfaction. It also taught that absolution is given by the priest, who acts as judge, and that it is necessary by divine law to confess to a priest each and every mortal sin and the circumstances that alter the species of sins that are remembered after a careful examination of conscience (cf. Sess. XIV, Canones de Sacramento Paenitentiae 4, 6-9: DS 1704, 1706-1709).
A number of local Ordinaries have been disturbed at the difficulty for their faithful to go to confession individually because of the shortage of priests in some regions. They have also been troubled at certain erroneous theories about the doctrine of the Sacrament of Penance and the growing tendency to introduce the improper practice of granting general sacramental absolution to people who have made only a generic confession. They have therefore asked the Holy See to recall to the Christian people, in accordance with the true nature of the Sacrament of Penance, the conditions needed for the right use of this sacrament and to issue norms in the present circumstances.
This Sacred Congregation has carefully considered these questions and, taking account of the Instruction of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary of March 25, 1944, makes the following declarations:
1. The teaching of the Council of Trent must be firmly held and faithfully put into practice. This implies a reprobation of the recent custom which has sprung up in places by which there is a presumption to satisfy the precept of sacramentally confessing mortal sins for the purpose of obtaining absolution by confession made only generally or through what is called a community celebration of Penance. This reprobation is demanded not only by divine precept as declared by the Council of Trent, but also by the very great good of souls deriving, according to centuries-long experience, from individual confession and absolution rightly administered. Individual and integral confession and absolution remain the only ordinary way for the faithful to be reconciled to God and the Church unless physical or moral impossibility excuses from such confession.
2. It can indeed happen because of particular circumstances occasionally occurring that general absolution may or even should be given to a number of penitents without previous individual confession.
This can happen first of all when there is imminent danger of death and even though a priest or priests are present, they have no time to hear the confession of each penitent.
In this case any priest has the faculty to give general absolution to a number of people after first exhorting them, if there is time, very briefly to make an act of contrition.
3. Apart from the cases of danger of death, it is lawful to give sacramental absolution collectively to a number of faithful who have confessed only generically but have been suitably exhorted to repent, provided that there is serious necessity: namely, when in view of the number of penitents there are not enough confessors at hand to hear properly the confessions of each within an appropriate time, with the result that the penitents through no fault of their own would be forced to do without sacramental grace or Holy Communion for a long time. This can happen especially in mission lands but in places also and within groups where it is clear that this need exists.
This is not lawful however, when confessors are able to be at hand, merely because of a great concourse of penitents such as can for example occur on a great feast or pilgrimage (cf. Proposition 59 condemned by Innocent XI on March 2, 1679: DS 2159).
4. Local Ordinaries and, to the extent that they are concerned, priests are bound in conscience to see that the number of confessors should not become reduced because some priests neglect this noble ministry (cf. Presbyterorum Ordinis, 5, 13, Christus Dominus, 30), while involving themselves in secular affairs or devoting themselves to less necessary ministries, especially if these ministries can be performed by deacons or suitable lay people.
5. The judgment as to whether the conditions mentioned above (art. III) are present and, consequently, the decision as to when it is lawful to grant general sacramental absolution are reserved to the local Ordinary after he has conferred with other members of the episcopal conference.
If a serious need arises of giving general sacramental absolution apart from the cases laid down by the local Ordinary, the priest is obliged, whenever it is possible, to have previous recourse to the local Ordinary in order to grant the absolution lawfully; if this is not possible, he is to inform the Ordinary as soon as possible of the need and of the granting of the absolution.
6. In order that the faithful may take advantage of general sacramental absolution it is absolutely required that they be suitably disposed: each should repent of the sins he has committed, have the purpose of keeping from sin, intend to repair any scandal or loss caused, and also have the purpose of confessing in due time each serious sin that he is at present unable to confess. Priests should carefully remind the faithful of these dispositions and conditions, which are required for the validity of the sacrament.
7. Those who have serious sins forgiven by general absolution should make an auricular confession before receiving absolution in this collective form another time unless a just cause prevents them. They are strictly obliged, unless prevented by moral impossibility, to go to confession within a year. They too are affected by the precept that obliges every Christian to confess privately to a priest once a year at least all his serious sins that he has not yet specifically confessed (cf. Fourth Lateran Council, c. 21 and also Council of Trent, Doctrina de Sacramento Paenitentiae, c.5 De Confessione and canons 7 and
: DS, 1679-1683, 1707-1708; cf. also Proposition 11 condemned by the Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office in the Decree of September 24, 1665: DS[2031]).
8. Priests are to teach the faithful that those who are aware of being in mortal sin are forbidden to refuse deliberately or by neglect to satisfy the obligation of individual confession, when it is possible to have a confessor, while they wait for an occasion for collective absolution (cf. Instruction of the Sacred Apostolic Penitentiary, March 25, 1944.
9. In order that the faithful may easily be able to satisfy the obligation of making an individual confession, let care be taken that confessors are available in the churches on days and at hours that are convenient for the faithful.
In places that are remote or difficult to reach, where the priest can come only at rare intervals during the year, let it be arranged that, as far as possible, the priest shall on each occasion hear the sacramental confessions of a group of penitents and give collective absolution to the other penitents provided that the conditions mentioned above (art. III) are present, so that in this way all the faithful, if possible, shall be able to make an individual confession at least once a year.
10. The faithful are carefully to be taught that liturgical celebrations and community rites of Penance are of great usefulness for the preparation of a more fruitful confession of sins and amendment of life. Care must however be taken that such celebrations or rites are not confused with sacramental confession and absolution.
If in the course of such celebrations the penitents make an individual confession, each is to receive absolution singly from the confessor to whom he goes. In the case of general sacramental absolution, it is always to be given in accordance with the special rite laid down by the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship. However, until the publication of this new rite, the formula of sacramental absolution, now prescribed, is to be used, but changed to the plural. The celebration of this rite is to be kept quite distinct from the celebration of Mass.
11. If one who is in a situation causing actual scandal to the faithful is sincerely penitent and seriously proposes to remove the scandal, he can indeed receive general sacramental absolution along with others but he is not to go to Holy Communion until, in the judgment of a confessor whom he is first to approach personally, he has removed the scandal.
With regard to absolution from reserved censures, the norms of law in force are to be observed, calculating the time for recourse from the next individual confession.
12. Priests should be careful not to discourage the faithful from frequent or devotional confession. On the contrary, let them draw attention to its fruitfulness for Christian living (cf. Mystici Corporis, A.A.S. 35 (1943), 235) and always display readiness to hear such a confession whenever a reasonable request is made by the faithful. It must be absolutely prevented that individual confession should be reserved for serious sins only, for this would deprive the faithful of the great benefit of confession and would injure the good name of those who approach the sacrament singly.
13. The granting of general sacramental absolution without observing the norms given above is to be considered a serious abuse. Let all pastors carefully prevent such abuses out of awareness of the moral duty enjoined upon them for the welfare of souls and for the protection of the dignity of the Sacrament of Penance.
In the audience granted on June 16, 1972 to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope Paul VI specially approved these norms and ordered them to be promulgated.
From the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, June 16,1972.
Paul Philippe Secretary