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Pope hails power of love at Lourdes
Bishop Patrick OʼDonogue On the reaction to Fit for Mission P7
A N Wilson
Hilaire Belloc: a neglected English Catholic hero P8
Pope Benedict XVI prepares to anoint a pilgrim with holy oil during a Mass for the sick at the Marian shrine of Lourdes in south-west France on Monday, September 15
POPE BENEDICT XVI has told pilgrims at Lourdes that the Sign of the Cross is a symbol of a love which is stronger than evil. Visiting the shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes as a pilgrim on Sunday, Pope Benedict said that the Sign of the Cross that the Virgin Mary made to St Bernadette Soubirous was a symbol of our faith, which speaks of God’s love. In his homily on Sunday morning he said: “It tells us that there is a love in this world that is stronger than death, stronger than our weaknesses and sins. The power
of love is stronger than the evil which threatens us.” Over 160,000 people were gathered for the Pontiff’s Mass on the rain-soaked La Prairie, a large meadow at the Marian shrine, which is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the apparitions this year. Sick and suffering pilgrims come from all over the world to take the waters at the shrine and pray for the Virgin’s intercession, hoping for cures. Benedict XVI said that the Virgin Mary revealed the universality of God’s love for men in Lourdes. He said: “She invites all people of goodwill, all those who
suffer in heart or body, to raise their eyes towards the Cross of Jesus so as to discover there the source of life, the source of salvation.” The Church, he said, has the mission of showing God’s loving face through Christ. “Let us turn our gaze towards Christ,” he said. “It is he who will make us free to love as he loves us and to build a reconciled world. For on this Cross Jesus took upon himself the weight of all the sufferings and injustices of our humanity. He bore the humiliation and the discrimination, the torture suffered in many parts of the
world by so many of our brothers and sisters, for the love of Christ. We entrust all this to Mary, Mother of Jesus and our mother present at the foot of the Cross.” Many of the pilgrims from around the world were brought to the papal Mass on stretchers and in wheelchairs. Ten different languages were used during the liturgy, and Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor was among the pilgrims. The Pontiff said that the jubilee celebrations encouraged pilgrims “to embark upon a journey of faith and conversion”. He said: “Today, Mary comes to
meet us, so as to show us the way towards a renewal of life for our communities and for each one of us. By welcoming her Son, whom she presents to us, we are plunged into a living stream in which the faith can rediscover new vigour, in which the Church can be strengthened so as to proclaim the mystery of Christ ever more boldly. Jesus, born of Mary, is the Son of God, the sole Saviour of all people, living and acting in his Church and in the world. “The Church is sent everywhere in the world to proclaim this unique message and to invite people to receive it through an authen
tic conversion of heart. This mission, entrusted by Jesus to his disciples, receives here, on the occasion of this jubilee, a breath of new life.” In the evening the Pope took part in a Eucharistic procession. After spending a long time in silent adoration in front of the Blessed Sacrament at the open-air altar in La Prairie he addressed the pilgrims to speak again of Christ’s love, saying that Christ in the Eucharist was also Christ future and Christ past.
Papal trip reports: Page 4-5 Editorial comment: Page 11
Lourdes ʻmiracleʼ Natasha Lavattiata on a new healing P8
Matt Thorne Jean-Luc Godard and the Church P13
FEATURES 7-9 COMMENT 10-11 CHARTERHOUSE 16
A Priest’s Guide to Hearing Confessions
Fr Michael Woodgate
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The author is a parish priest and teaches at St John’s Seminary, Wonersh
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Leeds bishop disciplines priest at the centre of church closure row
BISHOPArthur Roche of Leeds has banned a priest in his diocese from celebrating Mass publicly, in the latest development of his controversial church closure programme. Fr Mark Lawler celebrated Mass in the church of St John the Evangelist at Allerton Bywater after the church had been officially closed. In a formal decree last Saturday the bishop wrote: “In spite of my Decree that the
closure of the Church of St John the Evangelist, Allerton Bywater, was to take effect on 23 August 2008, public Mass was celebrated by Fr Mark Lawler in the church on a Sunday subsequent to the Decree ordering its closure.” Bishop Roche said that Fr Lawler had ignored a further warning, and so is now forbidden to celebrate Mass in public, to preach, to hear Confession or to celebrate other sacraments publicly. “This action I take out of
pastoral concern for the people in my care,” the bishop wrote. After moving to the parish in 1999 Fr Lawler introduced the Novus Ordo Mass in Latin and plainchant, with the support of the parish council. The parishioners of St John the Evangelist have campaigned against the closure of the church since it was first announced. In July some chained themselves to the church’s railings in protest. With the help of a canon
lawyer the parish are appealing against Bishop Roche’s original decree of closure on the grounds that it incorrectly names the church as St John the Baptist, not St John the Evangelist. Because of this error, they say, the original decree is null and void, and so any decrees following it are also invalid. Neither Fr Lawler nor any spokesman for the diocese was available for comment as The Catholic Heraldwent to press.
Vatican’s favourite player signs for QPR
Bruce says: ‘Nice to see you, Holiness’
THEVATICAN’Sfavourite footballer, Damiano Tommasi, has signed for London club Queen’s Park Rangers. The 34-year-old midfielder joined the Championship side after a long career in which he has become almost as famous for his philanthropy as his football. After an injury during a pre-season friendly in 2004 Mr Tommasi, then playing for Serie A side Roma,
insisted on a one-year contract with the club with wages of only £1,200 a month –out of fairness. At the time teammate Francesco Totti earned £800,000 a month. An editorial in Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romanopraised this “unusual decision... in a world where others earn hundreds of thousands of euros and in which those who already earn millions ask excessive amounts to renew their contracts”. A pious Catholic who has given a great deal to charity, Mr Tommasi also used to act as altar boy at religious functions organised by the Roma team.
VETERANtelevision host Bruce Forsyth met Benedict XVI at the Vatican last week on a trip he organised as a 49th birthday present for his Catholic wife. The 80year-old entertainer was in the Eternal City
with third wife, Puerto Rican former Miss World Wilnelia Merced. Afterwards the entertainer said: “I did manage to talk to the Pope but I wouldn’t like to say what I said. It was a wonderful day, but the heat took it out of me.”
INSIDE: RECORD NUMBERS AT LONDON SEMINARY PAGE 3