Sunday, 21 June 2009

All the world's a-twitter

Just joined. Look for me there.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Blog-gap underway

Holidays are the order of the day.

Familiaris Consortio revisited 12

The elderly, 27.
Some cultures manifest a unique veneration for the elderly, honouring them as witnesses to the past and a source of wisdom for the present and the future. Other cultures set aside the elderly in unacceptable ways, causing suffering and spiritual impoverishment to the family.

The Church wishes everyone to discover the role of the elderly, particularly within the family.
The elderly help us to see the hierarchy of human values - the things that are most important set beside the things that are less important. They show us the continuity of generations and the interdependence of God's people. They often have a charism which can bridge generation gaps before they are made! How many children have found understanding and love from their elderly relatives, and how many elderly people have found the crowing of life's gifts in their children's children!

Friday, 19 June 2009

Familiaris Consortio revisited 11

Children, 26.
Children have a special place in the family, for their dignity is to be embraced and developed. The smaller the child, the more this is the case. The Church shares this concern, for Christ himself said: "Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the Kingdom of heaven."

Children are the hope of our lives and our societies. The imparting of values, duties and aspirations by parents is the heart of any society. Concern for a child, even before birth, is the test of all human relationships.

The way that Christians care for children should be distinctive, allowing children to contribute to building up of their family and to the sanctification of their parents.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

The love of the heart of Jesus

These words of St John Vianney by which he describes the Priesthood as "the love of the heart of Jesus" lead us, in a most beautiful way, to understand the very nature and being of the priest. Christ died on the Cross and He desired that His love be incarnate in the world through the humanity of those men with whom He shares His Priesthood. And, He died so that we could celebrate the Eucharist!
What a great grace is the Year of the Priest! What a great moment for the Church to be enlarged and enriched! What a visionary gift Benedict XVI gives to support the great Movement of the New Evangelisation which is gaining momentum within the Church, by seeking to uncover anew the beauty of the Priesthood! May this year bring about a renewal of the Priesthood in the Church and in the life of every priest.

In 1998 I first came across a book by Elizabeth Wang; it was a book about the Priesthood. In it was this image - a copy of one of her paintings. This image has remained in my mind and heart since then because, I think, it expresses so much of the beauty of the Priesthood. With thanks to her I include a copy of this image here. Image by Elizabeth Wang, copyright (c) Radiant Light 2009, Code: T-01584-OL, "When faithful priests enter heaven they are given a tremendous greeting and welcomed as 'other Christs'"

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

In print at last

Tomorrow, a book is to be published which contains a paper written by me. "A pure heart create for me" flows from the series of talks given last year at St Patrick's, Soho, to honour the fortieth anniversary of the visionary Encyclical "Humanae Vitae". My part in this series focussed on the media and media culture. It was a great joy for me to have been invited to give one of these talks in Soho, and especially as I was asked to speak on a favourite theme of mine - the media. "Humanae Vitae" speaks not only about the inner truth of marriage, but also presents the true mission of parenthood in the contemporary era, at the same time as serpentine secularism is presenting its own deadly message. The book is available from Family Publications. Happy reading.

Familiaris Consortio revisited 10

Men, paragraph 25.
In the family, men are called to live the gift of themselves as husbands and fathers. In his wife he sees the fulifilment of God's plan for him and he is called to respond with profound respect for her. He is called to live in a deep friendship with her, and to love her in a new way - the way in which Christ loves the Church.

Love for his wife, as mother of his children, and love for his children is the natural way in which a man finds fulfilment in his fatherhood.

Cultural and social attitudes can distract a father from his family and his involvement in the education of his children. These influences need to be controlled, and both individuals and society should be convinced of the unique and irreplaceable role of the father in the family.

Absent or oppressive fathers can create psychological and moral difficulties for all the other members of the family. But rather, every father is called to reveal and relive the Fatherhood of God by nurturing the hamonious and united development of his family, by exerecising generous responsibility to each successive new life concieved under the heart of his wife, by the personal care he has for his children's education, by his work and by his personal witness to Christ and the Church.

Monday, 15 June 2009

Familiaris Consortio revisited 9

(The Dignity of Woman, 22 - 24.)
Both marriage and the family, whose relationships consist in welcoming, respecting and promoting each one of its members, underline the equal dignity and responsibility of women with men. This equality is confirmed by the word of God. God manifests the dignity of woman in the highest form by assuming human flesh from the Virgin Mary, calling her the new Eve and presenting her as the model of redeemed woman. The way in which Christ related with women in the Gospel tells us of the special esteem in which he held them. And St Paul teaches that, in Christ, there is neither male nor female - we are one in Him.

With respect of the family and the home, social and cultural attitudes have coloured the role of women. However we judge social and cultural attitudes and gender issues, the value of women's maternal and family role should be recognised, especially in the context of their public and professional roles, if we wish wish society and culture to be truly and fully human. For a real integration of women's roles within society we need a "Theology of Work" in order to shed light upon the relationship between work and the family, and therefore upon the original and irreplaceable meaning of work in the home and in child rearing. It needs to be clear, at the very root, that all people, in every sphere of life, work with equal rights and responsibilities.
Even so, women must never be compelled to work outside the home nor be made to do any work other than looking after their own family. Any mentality which doesn't recognise this must be overcome. This means that men should give total respect for the dignity of women and that society should foster conditions which favour their work in the home. The Church too must actively promote the equality of women in the fullness of their feminine identity.
Even today that mentality persists which considers the person as a thing, an object, an economic entity; women are its first victims. Slavery, pornography, prostitution and all forms of discrimination are to be overcome definitively, so that the image of God be respected in every human being.

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Sydney's annual Corpus Christi procession

Today, despite rain showers, at least five thousand people came into the city to walk with Christ in the Corpus Christi Procession. One of the auxiliary Bishops carried the Blessed Sacrament, followed by the other two auxiliary Bishops and the Cardinal. The Procession moved from St Patrick's church, built on the site of the house where the Blessed Sacrament was first consecrated in Australia at the beginning of the nineteenth century, to St Mary's Cathedral, where there was solemn Adoration, Sermon and Benediction. This public witness was of a kind which draws one to the Catholic Church - a humble and direct witness to the person of Christ alive in His Church, a real gesture of love for Him, and a clear manifestation of the reality of the Church. I haven't witnessed a public procession like this since my years in Spain.

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Familiaris Consortio revisted 8

Marriage is also the hinge of the wider family of relatives and members of a household. The Christian family is a new and richer experience of the purely human family, for the Holy Spirit gathers believers and links them with Christ and with each other in the Church. The Christian family is a specific revelation of the Church. So, every family member is called build the family into a community of persons, making the family the school of a deeper humanity. This happens through love, servive and sharing.

The basic opportunity for building communion is the educational exchange between parents and children. Through love, respect and obedience, children contribute to the construction of the family. Through an unrenounceable ministry, parents serve the needs of their children, especially by enabling children to acquire their freedom. This takes place through a living awareness of the gift which parents receive from their children.

Like any society, real communion in the family requires sacrifice, understanding, forebearance, forgiveness and reconciliation. Selfishness, discord, tension and conflict can wound coummunion. But every family is called by God to unity, and the Sacraments are the means by which the Christian family can move towards the kind of communion which is willed by God. (Familiaris Consortio, 21)

Friday, 12 June 2009

Drawing near

On the eve of the beginning of the Year of the Priest, the Holy Father outlined the profile of the priest, citing a description of Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard (1874-1949), archbishop of Paris during the Second World War: "The eternal paradox of the priest: He has the contraries within himself. He reconciles, at the price of his life, fidelity to God and fidelity to man. He has the air of poverty and powerlessness. He does not have the political means, financial resources, or weapons, which others use to conquer the earth. His power is to be disarmed and 'to be able to do all things in him who gives him strength.'"

Thursday, 11 June 2009

A time of grace approaches

The Year for Priests promises to be an intense moment of faith for the priests of the world, together with Benedict XVI. We are called every day - and much more so during this year - "to be ever more authentically that which we already are, [to] conversion to our ecclesial identity of which our ministry is a necessary consequence, so that a renewed and joyous awareness of our 'being' will determine our 'acting,' or rather will create the space allowing Christ the Good Shepherd to live in us and to act through us." (Archbishop Piacenza)

"Our spirituality must be nothing other than the spirituality of Christ himself, the one and only supreme High Priest of the New Testament and his mission to reveal the Father and his wondrous plan of salvation. This mission of Christ carries with it the building up of the Church: Behold the Good Shepherd who gives his life for the Church."

"We must be laborers for the building up of the one Church of Christ, for which we must live purposefully and faithfully the communion of love with the Pope, with the bishops, with our brother priests and with the faithful. We must live this communion with the unbroken pilgrimage of the Church within the very sinews of the Mystical Body."

"Run spiritually in this year with a 'wide open heart,'" the archbishop urged, "so as to inwardly conform to our vocation the better to say, in truth 'it is no longer I who live but Christ who lives in me.'”
(The Photo above was taken in Ars with priests of the Society of St John Vianney.)

Friday, 5 June 2009

Website re-launched

And Registrations are now open:
The first Congress of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere - here in Sydney, this July.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Familiaris Consortio revisited 7

With paragraph 17 we begin with the real meat of this letter - a full understanding of what the family is and a complete vision for its life.
God's plan for the family shows us what the familys is and what it is called to do. The mission of the family flows out of its identity. Every family holds a responsibility which comes directly from its own dignity. So, the Holy Father calls families to become what they are.
Every family is called to embrace its inner truth, for in doing this the family will embrace its mission, a mission which finds its fulfillment in the Kingdom of God. The inner truth of the family is that it is called to guard, reveal and communicate love - it is called to be a living reflection of and a sharing in God's love for humanity, and the love of Christ for the Church.
Looking at the concrete life of the family we can see how it is called to embrace its mission. Love has a fourfold mission in the family:
1. To form a community of persons.
2. To serve life.
3. To participate in the development of society.
4. To share in the life and mission of the Church.
Forming a Community of Persons.
This is the first task of the family. The power for this task is love, for it is love which gives meaning to human life. The love given and received between members of a family is the essential basis of this community.
The foundation of family communion is the communion between husband and wife. Marriage taps the natural basis of human love, enabling spouses to fully express the true inclination to love which the human person has. In Christ, God takes this basic human inclination and confirms, purifies and elevates it in the Sacrament of Marriage. In this Sacrament, the Holy Spirit enriches human love with Divine Love. This is how marriage becomes a Sacrament of Christ's love for the Church. The gift of the Holy Spirit transforms the love of the spouses, bringing their lives together on all levels - body, character, heart, intelligence, will and soul, and reveals a new communion of love between them. This is what Christ does with marriage between baptised people.
Marriage then, reveals the personal dignity of husband and wife - a dignity acknowledged by mutual and total love. Polygamy, on the other hand, is a direct negation of God's plan.
(Paragraphs 17 - 20)


When I spoke in the previous post about a shower, I meant to say that it was a real shower. The car is parked and stationary!

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

Atmospheric Heads

Over the weekend a group of us visited the coastline of Sydney's Eastern Suburbs. After a period of morning sun, showers began to develop and the photo below is a view from the towering cliffs of the South Head, looking across the mouth of Sydney Harbour to the North Head. A cohort of little tornados was visible to the eye, whipping up sea spray into the low clouds; the shower passed and the sun came out again.