Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Anna Silvas, Amoris Laetitia and the call to prayer

Those who are following the internal ructions over Pope Francis' seeming promotion of the abolition of the concept of the need for repentance from sin in the context of marriage and related sexual sins will know that a Conference of laypeople was held in Rome last week on Amoris Laetitia a year on.

The various talks from the Conference are being published over at Vox Cantoris Blog.

Anna Silvas

One of the key speakers at the conference was University of New England academic Dr Anna Silvas, and her talk is now available online.  Here is a taster to encourage you to go read the whole thing:
...Two years ago or so, a young friend of mine who is a teacher and passionately committed in her Catholic faith, took a new job in a new Catholic School. One day some of her Year 8 students did a class exercise in ‘politics’. Her students were in the second year of high-school, so they had been through eight years of Catholic schooling, and through the whole sacramental ‘program’—horrible word that; what does its use signify? She asked that if they were a candidate for an upcoming election, what would would be their policies. To her surprise, every one of them, except for one boy, nominated same-sex marriage and the LGBT agenda. So she began to engage them in remedial conversation. That brought home to me how far the values of a purely secular modernity have more ascendency among ‘Catholics’ today, than the values of the life in Christ and the teachings of the Church...
Now, in the few short years of Pope Francis’ pontificate, the stale and musty spirit of the seventies has resurged, bringing with it seven other demons. And if we were in any doubt about this before, "Amoris Laetitia" and its aftermath in the past year make it perfectly clear that this is our crisis. That this alien spirit appears to have finally swallowed up the See of Peter, dragging ever widening cohorts of compliant higher church leadership into its net, is its most dismaying, and indeed shocking aspect to many of us, the Catholic lay faithful...
Pope Francis has absolutely no intention of playing by anyone’s ‘rules’—least of all yours or mine or anyone else’s ‘rules’ for the papacy. You know well what he thinks of ‘rules’. He tell us so constantly. It is one of the milder disparagements in his familiar stock of insults. When I hear those who lecture us that Pope Francis is the voice of the Holy Spirit in the Church today, I do not know whether to laugh at the naivety of it, or weep at the damage being done to immortal souls.... 
My dear fellow-believers in Christ Jesus our Lord, this false spirit shall not, cannot ultimately prevail... 
The call to prayer

Dr Silvas' talk includes a call to prayer, following the examples of St Benedict, St Bruno and many others down the ages, and reaching back to the examples of Our Lord in the Gospels.

I think she is absolutely right on this: the best thing we can all do is learn especially the prayer of the Divine Office, perhaps adding Prime and Compline to our daily regimes.  I will say more on the value of this form of prayer as an aid to rebuilding the broken down walls of the Church in future posts.

Tuesday, 25 April 2017


Please pray for the repose of the souls of all those killed in our wars, and all those who have served.

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Sacra liturgia Conference

Thinking of heading to Europe in the near future?  Then why not consider timing your visit so you can attend the Sacra Liturgia conference in Milan!

The liturgy and the life of the Church

In the conference announcement, Bishop Dominique Rey, Bishop of Fréjus-Toulon, France, noted that:“
Sacra Liturgia’s initiatives serve as a reminder of the primacy of grace in Christian life and mission. Our worship of Almighty God comes first. It forms us and nourishes us and only when we are thus equipped can we carry out our particular mission in the world. That is why the Sacred Liturgy is, as the Second Vatican Council so clearly taught, nothing other than the source and summit of Christian life. That is why I have convened Sacra Liturgia conferences in Rome, New York and London and why, next June, we shall meet again in Milan.  The question of authentic liturgical formation and celebration remains crucial for the Church and for her mission in the twenty-first century.”..
Conference programme

Here is some of the background from the Conference website:
The conference is open to all.
 From June 6-9, 2017, conference sessions in both Italian and English, with simultaneous translation of all presentations, will be held at the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart (Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore) which is centrally located in Milan next to the Basilica of Saint Ambrose, where many of the conference's liturgical celebrations will take place.  
The full programme to be released at Easter will include Vespers and Mass according to the Ambrosian Rite (in both its ancient and modern uses) in the Basilica of Saint Ambrose, the Metropolitan Cathedral (Duomo) and in other locations to be announced. One afternoon will be kept free for cultural visits including a special visit to the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and the Duomo. 
Full time registrations are open now. Part time registration will be possible after Easter when the full conference programme is published. 
Delegates are responsible for their own accommodation arrangements. The Sacra Liturgia Secretrariat is happy to give recommendations for local accommodation upon request.
Speakers lined up include Cardinals Burke and Sarah, and many prominent priests, religious and laity.

You can find more information on the conference website.

**PS Latest advice is that tickets are likely to sell out early, certainly by the end of April.  So if this impulse is on you, you might need to  move fast!

Monday, 10 April 2017

RIP John Clarke **

On the weekend one of Australia and New Zealand's greatest satirists, John Clarke, died aged 68, while walking in the Grampians with his wife, Helen.  He had two daughters.

Satire is a difficult genre, but one vital, in my view, for the health of any community.

And Clarke's incisive, searing, bone-dry pieces of social and political commentary have long played an important role in exposing things for what they are.

He first gained fame in New Zealand in his persona of Mr Fred Dagg Esq.   His absolute best work, in my view, was the TV show The Games, made in the lead-up to the Sydney Olympics.

But it is his weekly political pieces, of which I was privileged to long ago hear some the very first efforts, as a teenager growing up in New Zealand, that have surely had the most impact over the years.

I have to admit that I'm one of that loyal band of fans who waited eagerly each week for his Thursday spot on the ABC, and have done so for many years now, and will miss his work immensely.

Please pray for the repose of his soul.


I'm adding some links to, and short extracts from, the best obituaries as I find them.

Tony Wright (Fairfax):John Clarke: words and ideas were his delight; nature his sustenance
John Clarke seemed to operate at a higher plane than the rest of us.
His eyes twinkled with secret mischief, as if life never stopped showering him with a stream of lunacy that only he could interpret satisfactorily.
He neither drank nor smoked: his vice - better to call it his delight, for there was an attentive elegance about him - was observing.
Watching him surrounded by friends at his dinner table at the terrace house he and his wife Helen shared in Fitzroy was to study an artist at work.
As the guests - a barrister here, a landscape painter there, characters of note and not, friends from the inner city and from the country - stoked themselves on wine and launched themselves with a little of their host's dexterous prodding into increasingly unrestrained conversation, John Clarke, utterly sober, grew intoxicated, the eyes dancing.
He was drinking in voices, words and ideas....
Robyn Williams (ABC): John Clarke was a genius, a friend and a man of science

...The first thing to understand about John Clarke is that he was a genius. He cherished words and used them in such wonderful ways: as a big beery singer; as a sensitive poet; as a sheep shearer in wellies singing to the stock; as a playwright; as a slightly amused politician sitting with Bryan Dawe never missing a beat, never recording a bummer; and as a conversationalist...
 The second thing is that John's comedy and satire was as cutting as a laser beam, but it was never snide or bilious. He was there for the fun and the gentle send up — far more effective than the steel-capped boot.
The third thing to understand is his scholarship. Read his classical works rewritten. They capture the essence of every artist he emulated...
Max Gillies (Guardian): a sardonic dramatist who punctured pomposity
When their going gets particularly sticky, politicians invoke our Values. John Clarke had no need to invoke them – he exemplified them. Those Anzac values of the sardonic viewpoint and the absurdist consciousness, together with a delight in their fanciful expression...
 His art erupted from a molten core of outrage, fed through an intricate analytical array and finally seduced by the delight in its expression.

Pray the Office...

Buy the book then go to my Saints Will Arise website to learn how to use it (link also in the book itself).