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APRIL 13 2012 THE CATHOLIC HERALD
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Archbishop hails ‘wave of prayer’ for footballer
BY DAVID V BARRETT
ARCHBISHOP VINCENT Nichols spoke of the “great wave of prayer” which was seen publicly when Bolton Wanderers footballer Fabrice Muamba collapsed on the pitch, prayer that can “support and transform personal distress”, in his Easter vigil homily.
The archbishop also spoke of the care shown by those looking after those with dementia, care which is “a sign of God’s goodness” and “crucial for our well-being”.
Made new by Christ, he told the congregation in Westminster Cathedral, we should take strength from our faith and “build up our friendships, our families and our society. And how our world needs such builders, such workers of hope!”
Easter is about the light of the Resurrection, he said. “We are partakers in the light. We are its bearers. If the light is to spread, it relies on us to do it... So we who rejoice in the resurrection, also share in its fruit. It changes our lives.”
This was the culmination of five homilies the archbishop preached over Holy Week.
On Palm Sunday Archbishop Nichols presented “the challenge and invitation of this Holy Week: to accept that Jesus, the man of sorrows, is the truth of God; to accept his way of living, whatever it involves, to be the way of life; and to accept the help, the grace, he gives us.
“This help, this grace, starts with the work of forgiveness, in the sacraments of baptism and reconciliation. They are very much part of our Holy Week journey. Through the power of that grace we may indeed be his disciples and, by the power of that grace alone, be brought to salvation.”
At the Chrism Mass in Westminster Cathedral last Tuesday Archbishop Nichols introduced the congregation to the “striking new vestments”. The geometric designs on the vestments symbolise the first five books of the Old Testament, Jesus surrounded by the four evangelists, and the five wounds of Christ.
“This day you witness we priests renewing the promises of our ordination,” he said. These are “to discharge faithfully the sacred office of teaching, not seeking any gain but moved only by zeal for souls” and “to be faithful stewards of the mysteries of God in the Holy Eucharist and other liturgical rites” – or more simply “to preach the Word and to celebrate the Mass”.
On Maundy Thursday he spoke of the mystery of the Holy Mass.
“In the Eucharist, Jesus makes new the sacrifice of the Old Law. In the Eucharist, Jesus offers to us the gift of new life. Through our participation in the Eucharist, we are indeed made new, for, as St Paul has told us, every time we ‘eat this bread and drink this cup’ we are proclaiming, here and now, the death of Christ, the death by which we are given that new life.”
On Good Friday the archbishop spoke of “how the action of God in Christ, in his suffering and death on the cross, accomplishes the forgiveness of our sins”.
Human beings, he said, “habitually try to avoid or minimise the consequences of our own actions... We are skilled, and always have been, at passing on to others the responsibility for what we ourselves have done.”
But in Jesus “we see this pattern reversed. He suffers, he dies, because he, the innocent one, takes to himself the blame and guilt due to us. We, who are guilty, avoid the consequences of our actions. He, who is innocent, accepts the consequences of what we have done.
“He is indeed the new Adam, making us new through his death on the Cross.”
At the Easter Vigil Archbishop Nichols said: “Christ has won the great victory. Our task is to fashion the small victories, the single candles which share in that same light.”
He went on to speak of the ways that we can do this.
“In recent days we have heard of the extent of the burden of dementia. Tonight we thank God for the numerous families and friends who spend their time and energy caring for those with that disease. Governments may understandably speak of the economic value of this care. We salute it as a sign of God’s goodness and as crucial for our well-being.
“We hear of the agonies of personal illness and trauma. Yet in response we know that there is a great wave of prayer, seen with unusual publicity in the case of the young footballer Fabrice Muamba.
“This prayer, our prayer, can always support and transform personal distress. It is a true sign of the light of the Risen Christ in our lives.”
Dr Michael Jackson and Archbishop Diarmuid Martin carry the cross through the streets of Dublin
Dublin witnesses first Good Friday ecumenical procession BY DAVID V BARRETT
GOOD FRIDAY brought the Catholic and Protestant churches in Ireland together, walking behind the Cross.
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin and his Church of Ireland counterpart Dr Michael Jackson, led the first ever ecumenical procession through the city. They carried an icon of the crucifixion by Brother Eric de Saussure of the Taizé community in France, which combines Catholic and Protestant traditions.
After a short joint prayer service outside the Church of Ireland Christ Church Cathedral they led the 450strong procession through the streets of Dublin for half an hour, finishing at the Catholic St Mary’s pro-cathedral where there was a Taizé prayer service at the foot of the Cross.
Archbishop Martin said: “We offer the symbol of the Cross as we commemorate the day in which
God revealed himself in an extraordinary way as the one of who would lead us to salvation. We offer it to those who join with us on our journey and in our meditation. We offer it to those who pass by. Together, we offer it to those who care to notice and those who do not.”
Dr Jackson said the procession showed “that what unites us in Christ is more significant and transformative than whatever divides us”.
Science and Religion: Is Synthesis Possible?
Also discussions with:
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● Fr Robert Grabner on Christ’s suffering
● Miles Leeson and Roy Peechey on Catholicising the Curriculum
Also facing up to uncomfortable facts:
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● Fiorella Nash on maternal mortality
● William Oddie on the scandal of abuse And a review of spiritual advice from the new Bishop of Aberdeen And much more
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First Minister backs call for Christians to wear crosses
BY ED WEST
ALEX SALMOND, Scotland’s First Minister, has welcomed Cardinal Keith O’Brien’s call for Christians to wear a cross.
Speaking at Edinburgh’s St Mary’s Cathedral in Edinburgh, the cardinal said that “for all Christians, the symbol of the cross is central to our faith” in his Easter Sunday homily.
Cardinal O’Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh and St Andrews, urged Christians to make the cross “more prominent in their lives” and to wear it as “a symbol of their beliefs”.
He said: “So often the teachings of Jesus Christ are divided and ignored. So often those who try to live a Christian life are made fun of and ridiculed and marginalised.
“Perhaps the more regular use of that sign of the cross might become an indication of our desire to live close to that same Christ who suffered and died for us, and whose symbol we are proud to bear.
“Displaying the sign of the cross, the cross of Christ should not be a problem for others – but rather they should see in that sign an indication of our own desire to love and to serve all peoples in imitation of that love and service of Jesus Christ.”
Alex Salmond said: “This is an entirely reasonable proposition by the cardinal – the freedom to profess a faith is one of the basic human freedoms, and should be regarded as such.”
Seven-month-old Thomas Marino takes a shine to Cardinal O’Brien’s pectoral cross Paul McSherry
Quoting Pope Benedict XVI’s statement at Westminster Hall that religion was “a vital contributor to the national conversation”, the cardinal said: “I cannot but voice my concern at the increasing marginalisation of religion, particularly of Christianity, that is taking place in some quarters, even in nations which place a great emphasis on tolerance”.
“I know that many of you do wear such a cross of Christ, not in any ostentatious way, not in a way that might harm you at your work or recreation, but a simple indication that you value the role of Jesus Christ in the history of the world, that you are trying to live by Christ’s standards in your own daily life.”
Two women who say they were discriminated against when their employers barred them from wearing the cross are currently trying to get their cases heard at the European Court of Human Rights.
Think tank: religious are more Left-wing
BY ED WEST
NEW RESEARCH suggests that religious people are far more likely to take Left-wing positions on a range of issues.
The research, by the think tank Demos, implies that churchgoers are more liberal on issues such as immigration and equality.
The Faithful Citizens report also finds that people who identify with a faith are more likely to volunteer, be politically engaged and to become active citizens in their neighbourhoods.
Jonathan Birdwell, the author of the report, said: “Progressives should sit up and take note. Their natural allies may look more like the Archbishop of Canterbury than Richard Dawkins.”
The report found that 55 per cent of religious believers placed themselves on the Left of politics, compared with 40 per cent who put themselves on the Right. They also found that religious people were more likely to value equality over freedom. The report, based on an analysis of the European Values Study, also finds evidence that people who belong to a religious organisation are more likely to be very interested in politics, to have signed a petition and to have participated in a demonstration.
Labour MP Stephen Timms said that his party could draw “energy and inspiration” from faith groups.
NEWSBULLETIN Pope names representative for Eucharistic Congress CARDINAL Marc Ouellet, president of the Congregation for Bishops, has been appointed papal legate to the 50th International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin in June.
Bishops, which deals with appointments, Cardinal Oullet was Archbishop of Quebec City, which hosted the last International Congress in June 2008.
The Canadian cardinal will represent Pope Benedict XVI at the Congress.
Before taking up his present position as prefect of the Congregation for
Up to 25,000 pilgrims are expected to attend each day of the Congress, including 12,000 international pilgrims representing more than 100 different countries.
State to take schools off Church THE IRISH government is to begin a process of transferring hundreds of Catholic primary schools out of Church control.
Ruairi Quinn, Ireland’s minister for education, said on Tuesday: “This is the most radical change in primary education in Ireland since the state was founded in the 1920s.”
A report commissioned by Mr Quinn lays out a road map for the transfer of patronage of Church schools. The first phase involves identifying 50 schools in Dublin and 43 Irish towns where there is the greatest demand, the government argues, for multi-denominational education.
The report warns against a “big bang” approach, instead arguing for extensive parental consultation and close co-ordination with patrons of primary schools.
Cafod calls for plan on poverty CATHOLIC aid agency Cafod told the Government and the United Nations on Good Friday that urgent action is required to agree a global plan to tackle poverty. Good Friday marked exactly 1,000 days until the start of 2015, when the Millennium Development Goals agreed a decade ago are due to expire.
Cafod’s report said the milestone should serve as a “grave warning”.
Burglars target Bedford church THE CATHOLIC Church of Our Lady in Kemptson, Bedfordshire, has been burgled three times in two weeks.
Canon Seamus Keenan said the incidents, which led to £500 worth of damage, had “surprised and upset parishioners”.
He said: “I’ve been here for 10 years and this is the first time this has happened.” Fr Keenan said he was considering installing CCTV.
Midlands church closes during day ST MARY’S the Mount Catholic church in Walsall is to close during the day after a series of thefts. Canon Peter Taylor made the decision after 42 years of keeping his church open during the day.
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Bishop: Britain is at mercy of sinister ideas
Bishop Mark Davies says efforts to purge culture of Christianity leave us open to evil ideologies
BY DAVID V BARRETT
PEOPLE trying to reduce the influence of Christianity in Britain may open the way to sinister ideologies, Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury has said.
In a hard-hitting Easter homily Bishop Davies attacked those who were undermining Britain’s Christ ian legal and cultural heritage, without which we will be “left at the mercy of passing political projects”. He accused “modernisers” of trying to turn the clock back to pre-Christian times.
Speaking in Shrewsbury cathedral, “a cathedral which has witnessed many chapters of England’s history”, the bishop said that Christ’s Resurrection has shed his peaceful l ight on all of humanity – but that “many of us uneasily recognise this Easter an effort to obscure, to place in shadow not only the Christian inheritance of this land but our very nature, our destiny and our ultimate good”. The last phrase echoed Pope Benedict XVI’s words in Bellahouston Park, Glasgow, on his state visit to Britain in September 2010.
Bishop Davies quoted Blessed John Henry Newman on Christianity’s arrival in this country: “The fair form of Christianity rose up and grew and expanded like a beautiful pageant from north to south.” The influence of Christianity on Britain was so powerful that “he who recollected the old pagan time would think it unreal... so marvellously was heaven let down to earth,” said Cardinal Newman in 1850.
“Yet today we are becoming increasingly aware that there are those in leading positions within our society who wish to see history somehow reversed, who wish the very light which Christianity brought to these islands would recede,” said Bishop Davies.
“This is often done under the plausible intention of ‘modernising’, yet it is in reality an attempt to turn the clock back: as if the Gospel had never arrived in this land, never shaped its laws and culture and never formed the basis of our civilisation.
“They are sometimes called ‘anti-Christian’ as Christians do indeed suffer as a consequence of new laws and regulations.
“But in fact the mentality is ‘pre-Christian’. They see progress only in terms of moving this nation away from its Christian inheritance, from the very roots of its laws, its culture, its life,” Bishop Davies said.
Quoting Psalm 117, the bishop said “They wish to discard ‘the cornerstone’ on which so much good in our society has been built.”
He quoted Pope Benedict telling the Bundestag during his visit to Germany in September last year that it was from faith in God our Creator that the very idea of human rights and of equality
Bishop Mark Davies of Shrewsbury celebrates the Chrism Mass at Shrewsbury Cathedral before the law arose, and that the inviolable dignity of every human person came to be recognised. “Otherwise, without such a foundation we would become subject to any passing ideology.”
The experience of the past century, he said, is that “the most poisonous ideologies have arisen within the Christian nations of Europe. Thus Nazism or Communism attempted to discard the
Christian inheritance of faith and morality as if i t had never existed.
They sought either to return to the pagan past or to ‘re-create’ and ‘redeem’ humanity by political will and ideology with terrible consequences.”
Bishop Davies concluded: “If Christianity is no longer to form the basis and the bedrock of our society then we are, indeed, left at the
Photo: Mazur/catholicchurch.org.uk mercy of passing political projects and perhaps even the most sinister of ideologies.”
The blog of the Freethinker, which describes itself as “the voice of atheism since 1881”, said that Bishop Davies’s homily was the “most offensive Easter sermon of 2012”.
Terry Sanderson, president of the National Secular Society, called it “ludicrous”.
Over 3,500 adults are received in England and Wales
BY DAVID V BARRETT
MORE THAN 3,500 adults were received into the Catholic Church in England and Wales last week.
They included 1,397 catechumens, who had prepared to be baptised, and 1,843 candidates, who had already baptised in another Christian tradition.
The largest numbers were in the dioceses of Westminster (734), Southwark (481), Brentwood (333), Birmingham (255) and Portsmouth (206). The total of 3,695 also included those who had joined the ordinariate. Easter is the traditional time for reception of new members of the Church through the Rite of the Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA), the liturgical and catechetical process for adults joining the Church.
Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton, chairman of the Department for Evangelisation and Catechesis of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, said many of those who went through the RCIA said they first became interested in the Catholic Church through a family member or friend.
“So we should bear that in mind always in our dealings with people,” the bishop said. “We are all sowers of the seed. If we show ourselves to be happy, optimistic, humble and generous, then it’s more likely we will draw people to God and be signs of the Kingdom.”
The figures are down on last year, when 3,931 adults were received into the Church, in addition to the 795 who joined the then new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.
Last week around 250 former Anglicans were accepted into the ordinariate in a “second wave” of growth.
James Bradley, communications officer for the ordinariate, said: “There were about 200 receptions into new ordinariate groups with their pastors, and about 50 into existing groups.”
They bring the total membership of the ordinariate to around 1,200.
In Croydon, 65 former members of St Michael and All Angels Anglican Church, including the former vicar, the Rev Donald Minchew, were received into the ordinariate by former Anglican bishop Mgr John Broadhurst.
Over 50 were received into the ordinariate in Darlington by the Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton; they included the Rev Ian Grieves, who hopes to be ordained in the ordinariate in the coming months.
In his homily Mgr Newton said: “The journey you embarked upon on Ash Wednesday through the days of Lent to your reception into the full communion of the Catholic Church this evening is a model of the whole of your Christian life.
“It has meant for each of you, in a particular way, leaving behind what has been comfortable and familiar and stepping out in faith,
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Priest is ordained in middle of cancer fight Dr Rowan Williams honours martyr
BY ED WEST
A PRIEST has been ordained during Holy Week after being told that his cancer treatment had failed.
Fr Graham Turner was ordained by Cardinal Keith O’Brien at the hospital chapel at Salford Royal Infirmary on Easter Monday. While studying at the University of Nottingham, where he gained a BSc Hons in Chemistry and later a PhD, he felt the call to become a Catholic.
After some years of work as a research chemist he studied at the University of Glasgow and gained an MSc in Information Technology and then worked as a computer programmer, before following a vocation.
He lived in a presbytery in St Andrew’s for five years, helping with the care of retired priests.
Accepted as a student for the Archdiocese of St Andrews and Edinburgh and completing his priestly formation and academic studies while based at the Pontifical Beda College in Rome, Fr Turner was ordained to the diaconate while in Rome in June 2010 and was preparing for ordination to the priesthood in June 2011 when he was diagnosed with leukaemia.
In Holy Week Fr Turner’s father George contacted Cardinal O’Brien saying that Fr Turner’s treatment had failed and there was nothing more that they could do. The cardinal agreed to ordain him before he underwent further treatment.
BY DAVID V BARRETT
PILGRIMAGES and a commemorative service will celebrate the millennium of the martyrdom of St Alfege, an 11th-century Archbishop of Canterbury.
The celebrations begin on his feast day, Thursday April 19, with a service at Southwark Cathedral followed by a pilgrimage by foot, bicycle, public transport or specially chartered Thames Clipper to St Alfege Church, Greenwich.
In the afternoon Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams will preach at the Millennium service, which will also include the first performance of a specially commissioned anthem by Roxanna Panufnik.
St Alfege, or Alphege, is remembered as a martyr for justice and a reconciler of divided peoples. Born near Bath around 954 he entered Deerhurst Priory in Gloucestershire as a Benedictine monk but left to live as a hermit. In 976 he was appointed Abbot of Bath, Bishop of Winchester in 984, and in 1006 Archbishop of Canterbury.
In the reign of Ethelred Canterbury was sacked by the Danes and Alfege was taken prisoner. He refused to let his people raise the massive ransom demanded for him, and on April 19 1012, while feasting at Greenwich, the Danes killed him. When Cnut, the King of Denmark, took the English throne, he let Alfege’s remains be taken to Canterbury Cathedral.
certain in the knowledge that we do so in company of Jesus who prayed the night before he died that his disciples might be one. It is a journey that must be total and complete. But like all journeys in the faith, it is one leading to joy and fulfilment.”
Other groups of former Anglicans were received into the ordinariate in Harlow, Essex, Portsmouth, Hampshire, Maidstone, Kent, and Blackpool, Lancashire.
In the United States communities of former Anglicans in Philadelphia and Indianapolis were received into the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St Peter. In his Holy Week message the American Ordinary, Mgr Jeffrey Steenson, compared the journey to full communion for both individuals and groups of the ordinariate to the journey of Moses and the Chosen People from captivity to the Promised Land.
Nearly 40 former Anglican priests in America are currently studying to be ordained Catholic priests. The first ordinariate candidate was expected to be ordained to the diaconate on Wednesday this week.