Saturday, 26 June 2010

Brothers of the Good Shepherd

Having informed readers of the foundation of the Little Sisters of the Good Shepherd, the sister congregation of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, and also the first reception of the veil, we have the greatest pleasure in informing you of another excellent initiative of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, a congregation of brothers, the Institute of the Angelus, as an house of formation for brothers ad experimentum under the moderation of M. l'Abbé Regis Spinoza.

The Institute proclaims its belief that the vocation of male religious should be better known to raise a revival among younger generations who too often think of brothers as "people who failed to become priests." This is obviously wrong, they rightly say, because the brothers are souls who are chosen of God to serve His Church and by the evangelical counsels of obedience, poverty and chastity who are, like the Lord, giving their lives for the glory of God and the salvation and sanctification of souls. Thus, the image of the friar "tuck" in Robin Hood and other images having a similar purpose to destroy the real meaning of the gift of self through various ministries in which the brothers can thrive from any point of view.

The Brothers of the Good Shepherd will be in two branches, first, the teaching Brothers. Some of them have opted to serve young people by introducing them to art or crafts. The Institute of the Angelus is developing this educational project. The brothers teachers will receive adequate training to their condition. In fact, over two years, which correspond to the "year of formation" and "novitiate", they are trained in spiritual, liturgical and doctrinal teaching. It is required for the Brothers secondary education. Some are going to university by correspondence at the end of "noviciate", after receiving the habit, at least for the standard license to teach in secondary schools. Others will deal with the administrative organization of the school. In the third year, following their commitment to the Institute and private vows, to be renewed every five years, they will receive additional training depending on the educational choices they have made.

The second branch will be coadjutor Brothers, who will receive training in their own spiritual state ("Catechism of the vows") and in areas of liturgical and doctrinal instruction. They will mostly develop their ability to perform manual activities serving not necessarily in a school.

Friday, 25 June 2010

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part XXX)

On 15th April, 1902, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Letter In Amplissimo on the Church in the United States of America to James, Cardinal Gibbons, and the Archbishops and Bishops of the United States:

"4. We are not unaware, Venerable Brothers, of all that has been done by every one of you for the establishment and the success of schools and academies for the proper education of children. By your zeal in this respect you have clearly acted in conformity with the exhortations of the Apostolic See and the prescriptions of the Council of Baltimore. Your magnificent work on behalf of the ecclesiastical seminaries has assuredly been calculated to increase the prospects of good to be done by the clergy and to add to their dignity. Nor is this all. You have wisely taken measures to enlighten dissidents, and to draw them to the truth by appointing learned and worthy members of the clergy to go about from district to district to address them in public in familiar style in churches and other buildings, and to solve the difficulties that may be advanced. An excellent plan, and one which We know has already borne abundant fruit. Nor has your charity been unmindful of the sad lot of the negro and the Indian-you have sent them teachers, helped them liberally, and you are most zealously providing for their eternal salvation. We are glad to add a stimulus, if such be necessary, to enable you to continue these undertakings with full confidence that your work is worthy of commendation."

Friday, 18 June 2010

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part XXIX)

On 20th November, 1901, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Urbanitatis Veteris to the Archbishops and Bishops of the Latin Church in Greece on the foundation of a Seminary in Athens:

2. Moreover, if We are to speak of Christian issues, the Greek practice of the sacraments has always been approved by Us: in the ceremonies and sacred rites which Greece takes care to preserve spotless, as they have been received from their ancestors, We have always paid reverence to this image of ancient custom and majesty joined with variety. And since it is both right and expedient that these rites should remain as incorrupt as they are, We have restored to its original plan and pristine form the Roman College, named after Athanasius the Great, for students of the Greek rite. Likewise the reverence due to the Fathers and Doctors which Greece has produced, and they were by God's benevolence many and great, has only increased with time. Practically from the beginning of Our Pontificate, We have determined to give greater honor to Cyril and Methodius. It has been Our desire, led by devotion, to make better known from east to west the virtues and deeds of both these men so that they, deserving of a universal Catholic name, may be more reverently cherished by Catholics everywhere.

3. Moreover we are delighted to no little degree by those of Our predecessors to whom Greece gave birth and race, and frequently We recall how wisely they aided and abetted the Christian Church as it progressed through hard and difficult times in those days. How bravely most of them, as Anacletus, Telesphorus, Hyginus, after accomplishing great labors, underwent martyrdom. Although, to tell the truth, We scarcely ever recall the Popes of Greek origin without grief and longing because of the great loss brought about by the misfortune of later centuries. We refer to that ancient union, free from discord, by which Greeks and Latins were held together for their mutual profit when that part of the earth which had produced Socrates and Plato often provided the Supreme Pontiffs. The sharing of man and great blessings would have remained if concord had remained.

4. However, in no way should our spirits lose courage by recalling ancient memories, but rather be inspired to salutary vigilance, to fruitful labors. Continue to exercise your episcopal duty skillfully, as indeed you do: labor so that whoever obeys your sacred authority may everyday be more aware of what the profession of the Catholic faith demands, and learn from your example to unite the proper love of their country with a love and zeal for their holy faith. As for Our part, We will be zealous to defend, preserve, and strengthen the Catholicism in your midst with all possible labor and exertion. We know full well the great role played for the protection of morals, for civil discipline, and for the very glory of the Catholic name by the education of souls and the practice of the arts of the mind. For this reason, We founded some years ago a college at Athens in which Catholic youth might have the opportunity to give themselves to letters and, in particular, learn the language which at the hands of Homer and Demosthenes produced such splendor. Recently your joint letter of 9 September urges the introduction there of something similar which would look to the education of young clerics. You have Our agreement and consent; to be sure We judge it most useful and most opportune that that house of letters at Athens, which We have mentioned, be accessible also to students of sacred things. There they may give themselves over to the practice of more refined humane studies, and not be permitted to come into contact with theology or philosophy before they have thoroughly learned their ancestral tongue and literature in their own chief city. By this means they will better protect the dignity of their vocation and will carry out more usefully their ministry. Therefore We have willingly taken up your suggestion to establish such a seminary for young clerics of the Latin rite, but of Greek birth, as well as other easterners of the Greek tongue. At another time in a letter, We will describe the plan of the whole enterprise and the regulating principles of the institution.

Monday, 14 June 2010

The Essence of the Priesthood - Modern Requirements

Stuart Milligan

It is with a touch of irritation that I write this piece, and a sense of bemusement. At the end of this week, I had read from Father Zuhlsdorf that the great Saint John Vianney will not, as promised, be proclaimed as patron of all priests. It has been 'explained' that the Cure D'ars is not sufficiently representative of the form of life conducted by the 21st century priesthood. Did the man who became a Victim for our Lord, through offering the clean oblation, who spent many hours in a cramped confessional, who converted his town and its environs and put Satan to flight, not approach the sanctity necessary to inspire us all? Or did the Frenchman not engage in the adequate quantity of social justice and equality schemes?
Such absurdity begs the pertinent question what is the essence of the priesthood? A sense of novelty pervades our culture, where an item or an aspect must appeal to whims and sentiments. Yet, what we lack is not a treasure, but a sufficient reverence and consideration for the many great gifts we have been given. In our fickleness we have cast aside pearls and taken up in eagerness what truly belongs to the swine.
Let us therefore turn to the teaching of the Church, who is 'the pillar and foundation of truth' (1 Tim. 3:15), which will preserve us from modernist innovations and from being tossed about 'by every wind of doctrine' (Eph. 4:14). The great Council of Trent condemned the heretical position of the 'reformers' that, 'there is not in the New Testament a visible and external priesthood; or that there is not any power of consecrating and offering the true body and blood of the Lord, and of forgiving and retaining sins; but only an office and bare ministry of preaching the Gospel'. It must be noted that the offering of the Sacrifice of the Mass is given first place, and not the evangelizing of peoples, although this certainly flows out from the efficacy of the Oblation upon the Altar.

Day by day, the priest ascends to the place of sacrifice accompanied by the Immaculate Mary and surrounded by the angels. At the foot of the Altar, he confesses his sinfulness, humbling himself before the congregation and pleading for mercy from the Eternal Father. No man is worthy of such a dignity that surpasses the angels, and no man can take such a calling upon himself (Heb. 5:4). Saint John Chrysostom writes accordingly, 'The work of the priesthood is done on earth, but it is ranked among heavenly ordinances. And this is only right, for no man, no angel, no archangel, no other created power, but the Paraclete Himself ordained this succession' (On the Priesthood). What a truly awesome sight it would have been to be present when holy Elijah called down fire from heaven to consume an animal, yet the priest of our Lord Christ, calls down the Source of all life, the Holy Spirit to bless this offering (Veni Sanctificator omnipotens aeterne deus: et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini praeparatum), so that it may be borne by the hands of the angels to the sight of His Divine Majesty. For many epochs, men could not even offer a sacrifice worthy of a single life, but now, according to the condescension of the Word, a sacrifice is offered that is worthy of God.

The priest, a man taken from many to confect the Eucharist, for the praise and glory of His name and the good of all holy mother Church, must recognise His unworthiness to stand in the Person of Christ. As he is called to offer the perpetual yes of the Son to the Heavenly Father, the priest must be conformed more closely than all to the Lord. From the very moment of His incarnation in the terrestrial paradise that is the womb of the Mother of God, grace flowed by His divine Person to His Sacred Humanity, consecrating Himself to the High Priesthood whereby He offers Himself. Priest and victim. Accordingly the ordained must himself, although sinful and erring, live the life of a continual oblation before God. He must in his own person become the offering at the altar. Christ was and remains (Hebrews 7:25) the eternal high priest of our religion, showing His precious wounds before His Father, from which out poured blood which cries out for forgiveness more than Abel's (Heb 12:24). We have been released from the snare (Ps 124:7), even though we were 'children of wrath by nature'(Eph 2:3) worthy of the fiercest punishment. However, through the ineffable mercy of our Good Lord, a sacrifice of propitiation has been offered sufficient for the salvation of all.

The ministerial and sacramental priesthood of the New and Everlasting Covenant is called to perpetuate the Pure Offering predicted in Micah 1:11 to acknowledge the greatness of God's Most Holy Name. Above the head of the priest after each consecration, the Sacred Victim is held aloft for our adoration, and 'our eyes are on the Lord our God till He show us His mercy' (Ps 122:2). His whole life must be dedicated to this offering, his heart lifted up (Sursum corda)to his treasure in Heaven. He is however not alone, the Holy Spirit Who proceeds from the Father and the Son, constantly remains with him, as He did with our Lord Jesus, bestowing grace upon him. The priest must turn to the help of Christians, the Mother of God, whose mantle protects the priests of her Son in a most special manner. For her to reject His priests, would be to reject her Son. He is required to humbly plead for all men, most especially those under the care of Mother Church, for whom the Sacrifice in the first place is offered for. Yet, his prayers are not restricted to those under his care, but must extend to all men, of whatever nation, culture or language, most importantly for the salvation of their souls. No social justice programme can more effectively live the sojourn of the Saviour on earth who set aside the glory due to His Person and humbled Himself (Philipians 2:6-7), who came to die. Social justice which has its place can only ever free man from economic burden but abandons him still to sin and slavery to corruption. It has been said that if they had been four more men of the holiness of Saint John Vianney on this earth, Satan would have been completely powerless, simply because of the efficacy of the prayers poured out from such a tender, loving heart.
Such truths that I have outlined, however uncultured they may be stated, with poor rhetorical skill, should astound all of us. It is most likely that the profound nature of the priesthood is an aspect (in fact, it is the actual reality) of Holy Orders that few Catholics even recognise, beyond a mere notion of a social worker in robes. It is a deplorable fact, yet, we have lost the realisation of the gift and the glory that is the priesthood.
We have now come to the conclusion of the year of the priesthood that our beloved Holy Father in his wisdom had called, but prayers are more than ever needed for our pastors. At the end of their lives, they will be called to account for the souls entrusted to them, and such a burden is terrifying responsibility. Let us therefore venerate our priests as Christ Himself.
Must more could be written concerning the Sacred Priesthood, including the Sacrament of Penance, his prayer, celibacy, Marian devotion, yet I will leave such components to those qualified to do so.
May the grace of our Lord Christ be with you all. Glory be to thee, our God, glory be to thee and praise to His spotless Mother.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Proclaim an Holy Year for Nuns!

As the Holy Year for Priests comes to a close, it is surely time to turn our minds to another section of the members of the Church that has been an essential part of our Catholic heritage since the first days of the Church and a source of countless blessings, namely consecrated virgins and widows. Therefore, dear reader, we urge you to ask Ecclesiastical Authorities to dedicate a special year to give thanks to God for Nuns and to pray for Nuns and for more Nuns.

Please proclaim an Holy Year for Nuns!

St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association proposes to keep such a year from 1st February next, the feast of St. Brigid of Ireland.

Ora pro populo, interveni pro clero, intercede pro devoto femineo sexu!

Friday, 11 June 2010

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part XXVIII)

On 20th August, 1901, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Reputantiubus to the Archbishop of Olomouc, and the Archbishops and Bishops of Bohemia and Moravia on the Language Question in those Regions:

6. In this matter the holy clergy should surpass in example all others. Indeed, it is at variance with their office to mingle in such dissensions. If they should reside in places inhabited by people of different races or languages, unless they abstain from any appearance of contention, they may easily incur hatred and dislike from both sides. Nothing could be more detrimental to the exercise of their sacred function than this. The faithful, to be sure, should recognize in fact and practice that the ministers of the Church are concerned only with the eternal affairs of souls and do not seek what is theirs, but only what is Christ's.

7. If, then, it is well known to all alike that the disciples of Christ are recognized by the love that they have for one another, the holy clergy must observe this same love mutually among themselves far more. For not only are they thought, and deservedly so, to have drunk much more deeply from the charity of Christ, but also because each one of them, in addressing the faithful, ought to be able to use the words of the Apostle, "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ." [Phil iii.17]

8. We can easily admit that this is very difficult in practice, unless the elements of discord are erased from their souls at an early time when they, who aspire to the clerical state, are formed in our seminaries. Therefore, you must diligently see to it that the students in seminaries early learn to love one another in a fraternal love and from a genuine heart, as those born not from a corruptible seed but an incorruptible one through the word of the living God. [Pt 1.22 f.] Should arguments break out, restrain them strongly and do not allow them to persist in any way; thus those who are destined for the clergy, if they cannot be of one language because of different places of origin, still may certainly be of one heart and one spirit.

9. From this union of wills, indeed, which must be conspicuous in the clerical order, as we have already intimated, this advantage among others will follow: that the ministers of the sacraments will more efficaciously warn the faithful not to exceed the limits in preserving and vindicating the rights proper to each race, or by excessive partisanship not to do violence to justice and overlook the common advantages of the state. For we think that this, according to the circumstances of your various regions, should be the principal task of priests, to exhort the faithful, in season and out, to love one another; they should warn them constantly that he is not worthy of the name of Christian who does not fulfill in spirit and action the new command given by Christ that we love one another as He has loved us.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

First Mass of Fr Simon Harkins

reposted from Transalpine Redemptorists at Home

Today in Edinburgh Cathedral, Father Simon Harkins, F.S.S.P. celebrated his first Mass in his home country and home town. The Mass was celebrated in the presence of His Eminence Keith Cardinal O'Brien, who also preached at the Mass. It is the first time a Cardinal has assisted at a first Mass in the extraordinary form in his own cathedral. Below are lots of photos - too many to caption - but they are fairly self explanatory:

Father Harkins before Mass.

Very Rev. Fr Josef Bisig, F.S.S.P was assistant priest.

Rev. Fr. Anthony Mary, F.SS.R. meets the Cardinal.

Prise d'Habit - Petites Soeurs du Bon Pasteur

On 19th June 2009, two foundresses of the excellent Little Sisters of the Good Shepherd were received in simple vows and took the veil in the Church of the Institute of the Good Shepherd, St. Eloi in Bordeaux. With a number of professed Sisters and a new home at Bargemon near Cannes, the Little Sisters are now ready to receive postulants.

Notre Seigneur, Bon Pasteur, nous Vous prions de protéger les Petites Soeurs!

Friday, 4 June 2010

The Voice of... Pope Leo XIII (Part XXVII)

On 16th May, 1901, Pope Leo XIII issued his Encyclical Gravissimas to the Patriarch of Lisbon and the Bishops of Portugal on Religious Orders in Portugal:

1. In the midst of the serious concerns which distress Us more daily on account of the war declared on religious orders in many areas, the joint letter, eminent and full of dignity, which, in fulfillment of your pastoral duty and your reverence for your Ruler, you recently sent to your Faithful King, was an extraordinary consolation to Us. For nothing could be more pleasing to Us than to see you promptly unite both to defend religious congregations and to support their needs and usefulness. Therefore nothing pleases Us more than to approve your zeal and to honor your efforts with the praise they deserve.

2. Indeed, there is little wonder if you, both as those who preside over the Church and also as citizens of Portugal, find fault with the recent decrees against religious societies. For it is clear that they are contrary to the rights of the Church and to the rights of the faithful to choose a state of life; they deprive the state of not a few outstanding benefits which flow to it from religious institutes, as the authors of these decrees themselves admit in no uncertain manner.

3. What must be thought of the conditions imposed by the government of Portugal on religious families if they are to survive, you have already eminently declared. This must be kept in mind throughout, however, that in accord with the discipline of the Catholic Church, no religious order can exist or prosper if its novitiate and vows are removed. Therefore the laws proper to each Institute, if perhaps necessary, are to be brought into conformity with civil prescriptions; but this must only be done in such a way that the dignity of the individual religious be preserved and, most importantly, that the nature of their holy state be kept entire and intact.

4. With joined forces, you must decide how to meet the losses and dangers which oppress religious societies and in what fashion you may more aptly provide for their preservation in your midst. Indeed it is proper that the Holy See hand over to the joint judgment of those who can weigh more closely, by being present as you are, the mind and intentions of the civil authorities and the circumstances of situations and places. For the rest, the Apostolic See itself will not fail to take care to draw up a suitable way of life according to proper norms and dispensation for religious forcefully removed from their domiciles.

5. Continue therefore to strenuously defend the cause of religion and civil society, which will only have a favorable outcome if you indicate to your faithful a clear and proper method of acting in public. Continue also to exert every effort to unite and increase Catholic forces and to foster publications and organizations which defend the Church's rights. Diligently foster that harmony of wills which puts aside private opinions and partisan political rivalries. These We most earnestly request of you.