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New venue announced for Newman beatification
BY ANNA ARCO
ORGANISERS of the papal visit have announced a new venue for John Henry Newman’s beatification, almost halving the number of people able to attend.
AVatican team, led by Dr Alberto Gasbarri, visited the new site on Monday, choosing a Birmingham park over Coventry Airport, which had been originally earmarked for the ceremony.
Cofton Park – the venue in Birmingham ultimately chosen for the main event of the papal visit in September – can hold around 80,000 people, according to an early estimate by organisers. Coventry Airport would have been able to accommodate approximately 150,000 faithful.
A spokesman for the Church said the location had been chosen because of its closeness to Rednal, where Cardinal Newman was buried. He said the new location would also enable the Pope to go to the Birmingham Oratory.
Pope Benedict is expected to go straight to Cardinal Newman’s rooms and pray in his private chapel dedicated to St Francis de Sales. St Francis coined the phrase Cor ad cor loquitur, or “Heart speaks to heart”, which is the motto for the papal visit.
The spokesman said: “Coventry was being discussed in good faith but as the detail of the planning became more apparent and the Pope was keen on something with more historical references and links to Newman the attraction of moving it to Cofton Park became more apparent.
“After lengthy discussions with the Vatican we were hoping for something with close historical references. And Cofton is our preferred venue in Birmingham.”
There were some doubts about whether the Pope would be able to go to the Birmingham Oratory because of controversies within the community. Two members were removed to abbeys in Leicestershire and Scotland last month while a third was sent home. In December last year Fr Paul Chavasse was replaced as Provost of the Birmingham Oratory and actor for Cardinal Newman’s Cause.
Fr Richard Duffield, the current Provost of the Birmingham Oratory, said: “It’s marvellous news. We’re utterly delighted. It was the Holy Father’s personal wish to come here and now he’s able to come. I believe – and I don’t want to put words in his mouth – that he is pleased too.”
Mgr Andrew Summersgill, who is in charge of organising the papal visit on behalf of the bishops of England and Wales, said the “original intention had been to locate the beatification in a venue that had some experience of a papal celebration – Coventry Airport”.
“But we came back to looking at a place that would be more explicitly connected with the ministry and with the life and the death of Cardinal Newman, and to try to weave that theme much, much more obviously and carefully into the day of the beatification. So Cofton was chosen because it is immediately adjacent to Rednal, which is the house where Cardinal Newman would go and spend some time, both to work and to have some peace and quiet.
“It is, of course, the site of his burial and, as I understand it, it would also be a place with which he personally was quite familiar, where he would have walked and visited while he was at Rednal.”
Councillor John Mutton, the leader of Coventry City Council, said he received a phone call last week from Archbishop Vincent Nichols of Westminster explaining that Coventry would not be the venue for the beatification Mass.
He told the Coventry Telegraph that the archbishop said that
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Pope gives pallium to two English archbishops
Benedict XVI gives the woollen pallium to Archbishop Peter Smith, above, and Archbishop Bernard Longley PA
BY CINDY WOODEN
POPE BENEDICT XVI has given a pallium to 38 new archbishops from around the world, including Archbishop Peter Smith of Southwark and Archbishop Bernard Longley of Birmingham.
Placing the woollen band around their shoulders, Pope Benedict told them it was a Gospel “yoke” – not a heavy burden, he said, but a sign that by remaining united with the Church in faith they would have the strength to face whatever challenges come their way.
The Pope said: “Communion with Peter and his successors, in fact, is the guarantee of freedom for the pastors of the Church and for the communities entrusted to them.” When Archbishop Longley received the pallium he told the Holy Father that he looked forward to welcoming him in his diocese for the beatification of Cardinal Newman. “Yes, I’m very much looking forward to it,” the Pope replied.
The archbishops came from 26 countries, including Vietnam. The Pope gave them the woollen pallium as a sign of their sharing authority with him over the faithful in their archdioceses.
In his homily the Pope said the Church had faced persecution throughout history, but it suffers greater damage “from that which pollutes the faith and Christian life of its members and its communities, attacking the integrity of the mystical body, weakening its capacity for prophecy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face”.
Jesus promised the Church would be free – not just from physical destruction, but also from spiritual defeat by the Devil, he said.
Unity with the Church and with the Pope, he said, guarantees that “the local Churches and bishops’ conferences have freedom in relation to local, national or international powers, which can, in some cases, block the Church’s mission”.
But he said that, even more importantly, communion with the Pope “is the guarantee of freedom in the sense of full adhesion to the truth, to the authentic tradition, so that the people of God are preserved from errors concerning faith and morals”.
The pallium is the “yoke” Jesus spoke about, he said. It does not weigh down the person carrying it, but supports him in his unity with the rest of the Church, the Pope added.
Giving and receiving the woollen band is “a gesture of communion” with the Church whether it is threatened with “political interference or other harsh trials”, he said.
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BY CINDY WOODEN AND STAFF REPORTER
ARCHBISHOP Vincent Nichols of Westminster has welcomed the creation of a Pontifical Council for New Evangelisation.
The archbishop said many Catholics were familiar with the challenge of evangelising in secular cultures where a sense of God had been “eclipsed”.
He said: “New vitality, confidence and sensitivity are needed in order to propose afresh the great gift of the Christian faith, which serves our humanity and brings such joy to everyday life.
“This faith is not a theory, nor an ideology, nor a political agenda. It is knowledge and love of the person of Jesus Christ who, for those who accept him, becomes the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
His comments followed an announcement on Monday by Pope Benedict XVI that the new council would find ways
“to re-propose the perennial truth of the Gospel” in regions where secularism was smothering Church practice.
Leading an evening prayer service at Rome’s Basilica of St Paul Outside the Walls, the Pope said there were areas of the globe that had been Christian for centuries, but where “the process of secularisation has produced a serious crisis” in people’s sense of what it means to be Christian and to belong to the Church.
He said: “I have decided to create a new organism, in the form of a pontifical council, with the principal task of promoting a renewed evangelisation in the countries where the first proclamation of faith has already resounded and where there are churches of ancient foundation present, but which are living through a progressive secularisation of society and a kind of ‘eclipse of the sense of God’.” Commentators have suggested Italian Archbishop Rino Fisichella will lead the council.
Cardinal to perform Hippopotamus Song
Dutch football star becomes a Catholic
BY MARIE-GABRIELLE ARCO
CARDINAL Keith O’Brien will be singing the Hippopotamus Song by Flanders and Swann in St Mary’s Metropolitan Cathedral on August 28.
In a celebration of his 25th anniversary, the Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh will join members of the Really Terrible Orchestra (RTO) to sing the song made famous by its refrain, “mud, mud, glorious mud”. The RTO, a group of Edinburgh’s “musically disadvantaged”, as their website says, was founded by Alexander and Elizabeth McCall Smith.
The song’s lyrics – notably the line “his inamorata adjusted her garter” – have caused some apprehension. But Richard Neville-Towle, the RTO’s musical director, told the Scotsman: “We have managed to adapt the words to make it appropriate to [Cardinal O’Brien] and the event.” The cardinal said he had never before sung the Hippopotamus Song in the cathedral.
BY MIGUEL CULLEN
WESLEY SNEIJDER, one of the stars of the Dutch football team, has become a Catholic, it emerged this week.
Sneijder, nicknamed “the Sniper”, has scored two goals in the World Cup and has been named man of the match twice. He is known as a dead ball expert, specialising in free kicks.
He said he was persuaded to convert by his girlfriend, Dutch soap actress, model and presenter Yolanthe Cabau van Kasbergen.
He said: “Yolanthe gave me a rosary blessed by a priest in Italy. We pray every morning using the rosary. Now, with me here,
we do it via the phone.
“We visit a church every week... I love those services. We spend a lot of time there [in the Duomo in Milan].”
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