Friday, May 23, 2008


If you look to the right, you'll see my disclaimer in the sidebar. It points out that I link to other people's blogs but take no responsibility for what they publish. The reverse is also true; if you take issue with what I say, feel free to challenge me by email or by posting a comment or by posting in response on your own blog. (If you choose to comment here, please let me know who you are, i.e. post your email address or blog URL).

PLEASE do not post silly comments on my fiancée's blog about posts here or about comments here. Lowdenclear doesn't run this blog, write the posts or decide what comments get published; I do. Although I love her dearly, and she loves me, we are not interchangeable. So whoever you are in Dublin, who offered her a comment on one of MY posts early this afternoon from an esatclear address, please direct your comments to me at this blog. And while you're at it tell us who we're talking to, please!

PS In your comment at Lowdenclear you referred to a commenter here and his family as good people; that was never an issue. I know that he is a good Catholic and both he and his family are very fine people. That doesn't mean, however, that good people cannot disagree about important things in good faith.

Friday, May 16, 2008

In dubiis libertas ...

I think there are lots of things that good Catholics can disagree about in good faith, unless and until the Magisterium rules definitively otherwise. Having said that, I think that any such disagreement needs to be settled by way of argument, that is a structured process of analysis and reasoning leading to a sound conclusion. Alan has made some interesting comments on my last post below with which I disagree and which I think need some analysis.
I'd prefer to acknowledge,accept and follow, even if it is woolly, an Eternal Rome rather than an Archbishop who attends ( he might be taking part,I am not certain) non-Catholic services celebrating the work of a man who has abandoned the Catholic priesthood in favour of the Church of Ireland.

This presents a false dichotomy. Either an Eternal Rome - which by definition lacks a living authoritative voice with which to reprove or command or an Archbishop who winks at apparent apostasy. In fact, what we have is a choice between an "eternal Rome" and an imperfect all-too-human real Rome, with a real voice which is whether we like it or not the voice of Peter. The concept of an Eternal Rome is alluring but ultimately illusory in that it does not have the divine mandate or guarantees that the (actual, humanly fallible and very often grubby) See of Rome does. Frankly one can accept and be subject to the actual Holy Father we've got even as one criticises one's local ordinary for imprudent actions.
I have problems with a Bendict XVI who praises the "healthy secularity of the state"

I think Pope Benedict has exactly the right idea, in that he praises a healthy secularity. This would be a great thing if it defended the right not simply of individual believers but also of the Church as a body to exist and interact in a corporate way in various societies. Put bluntly, compared to many theocratic societies we Christians never have had a problem with the Church and the State having their separate spheres. Our Lord mandated it and St Thomas (whom I tend to follow) explains it pretty clearly in his Treatise on Law (Summa Theologiae IaIIae 90-97) but especially in 95, art. 4, corp art.
and who wrote [23rd Nov.2006]"It is our fervent hope that the Anglican communion will remain grounded in the gospels and the apostolic tradition which form our common patrimony". No need for conversion, are Anglican faith & morals of the Apostolic tradition ?

I think the Holy Father is simply trying to make the best of a bad situation. He would rather the Anglicans held on the partial share they have in our common patrimony than throw it all overboard. (NB Insofar as they use the Nicene-Constantinopolitan creed and mean it, there is some meaningful common ground.)
I know that there are problems with SSPX & their regularity, but I still believe that I share communion of belief with them and the pre-Vatican II Popes, priests and bishops, which is more important than canonical legality, more than many of the official hierarchy of the Catholic church. All the same I am glad that in your comment you recognise the "SSPX leaning" as Catholics !

Again, a false dichotomy is advanced, or perhaps more than one. "Canonical legality" is not the supreme value in the Church certainly but neither is it as small a point as Alan seems to suggest here. A priest who lacks jurisdiction cannot validly absolve! This isn't a trivial legalistic quibble but a serious spiritual problem. As for the suggestion of a communion of belief with Pre as opposed to Post Vatican II Popes and bishops, it's simply a chimera. The Church believes now what she always has. The hermeneutic of rupture, as some have called it, is a blind alley whether it's of a liberal-modernist variety or of a more traditionalist stripe. It's also important to note that I recognise SSPX sympathisers as Catholics because the Holy See does! My judgment as an individual Catholic is of no particular weight; the judgment of the Church is what counts!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

We all survived again!!

St Patrick's Chapter walked, limped and was baked on its merry way to Chartres again this year. Led by yours truly (well actually led by a triumvirate and a unimulierate - i.e. 3 men and one woman) the 35 odd pilgrims (some of them very odd) battled heat, dust, blisters and aches-and-pains to cover 100 kms in 2.5 days. Most of them even managed to stay awake for the Dominican Rite High Mass at the end of it all.

The Irish Chapter started its spiritual journey again this year in the Collège des Irlandais with Mass celebrated (in the EF needless to say) by our Chaplain, Fr Michael Cahill. Unfortunately the first test of the pilgrims forbearance, longanimity and other such virtues was the delayed flight which meant that half of us missed it!

However, we had at least a very pleasant dinner and a few hours of sleep in a hot and sticky Paris. Saturday dawned fine and bright, and the Chapter assembled in good order for the March away from the Cathedral of Notre Dame. Except for the fact that I forgot to load the batteries into the loud-hailer. (Or bullhorn or whatever you want to call it.) Of course we had batteries - they were just in my baggage which was on a completely inaccessible truck. Nothing daunted, M. MacGuill de Clichy set off on a municipal bicycle (I kid you not) and found fresh batteries which with some coaxing got the chapter meditations and rosaries started via loudspeaker.

We had a Missa Cantata by a lake in Verrieres (where it must have been 25 degrees centigrade at least) and was certainly the hottest days walk that I could remember for 7 or 8 years. Anyway I made it as far as the last rest-stop where some kind friends (senior pilgrims from the UK who drive most and walk part of the route) gave me a lift to the bivouac.

Sunday was more of the same weather-wise, hot and sunny. Mass was in a forest this time, which was rather nicer in terms of the shade offered; the afternoon walk was even a little harder than Saturday's but we were all a bit more used to it by then. Sunday evening we had the long walk into the Bivouac at Gas which feels like it will never end until it suddenly does! We (not just the Irish but our Celtic cousins the Bretons with whom we march) got the comfy end of the campsite too; lots of weeds underneath us and very few rocks! There was Benediction and Adoration too but many of the Irish Group were just too tired to do anything more than eat and then sleep.

Pentecost Monday gave yet more brilliant sunshine, and my equally brilliant chapter kept up a round of mediations, prayers (in four languages but mea culpa no Dutch this year) and songs (including this one) that took us all the way to Chartres Cathedral itself. The High Mass was celebrated in the Dominican Rite! Msgr Pansard, the bishop of Chartres, was present and gave the final blessing; in fact he seemed at least gruntled but perhaps even pleased to be there.

Here he is giving his blessing in the final procession.

Anyway suffice it to say that we had a very good time, and even a little fun along the way. The Pilgrimage ended with Chez Nous, Soyez Reine echoing in a resounding chorus around the Cathedral and indeed on the parvis.

Our pilgrimage finished on Tuesday morning at 9.00 am with Mass in Notre Dame de Sous Terre, the very oldest part of the Cathedral, down in the Crypt. Of course, as the walking and praying (the more penitential aspects of the trip) were now over we feasted a little. Dinner on Monday night was good but if you're ever in Chartres lunch at the Café Serpente is a must. Our only disappointment this year: there was no confit de canard on the menu. Oh well...

All told it was exhausting and exhilarating in equal measure. Three days of prayer (some of it for the grace to survive the next hour or even the next few steps), penance (blisters, sore feet, aches & pains) and grace (we all got through it and are all still friends!) are over now until next year. (If you haven't yet tried Chartres but would like a little taster try one of these and see if you like the experience. If you do, then drop us a line and come on board next year!)

PS I came across a post on this blog which mentioned the possibility of an Irish Chapter going to Chartres next year! Then I realised that the poster Guillaume was referring to our Semi-Separated Brethern of the Pelerinage de Tradition. It goes from Chartres to Paris and gave rise to the comment by the editor of the Brandsma Review that it's a bit like the late T. A. P. Milligan's I'm Walking Backwards for Christmas! It includes the immortal lines
I've tried walking sideways,
And walking to the front,
But people just look at me,
And say it's a publicity stunt.