Saturday 30 August 2008

Book launch in Melbourne

A worshipper's guide to the Order of Mass of 1962 has been launched in Melbourne. For further details follow this link:

Thursday 28 August 2008

Down in the city

A new Planned Parenthood clinic in a minority neighborhood of Denver should be taken as an offense, affirmed the archbishop of the city. Archbishop Charles Chaput said this at a prayer vigil and march at the site of Planned Parenthood's new clinic in a primarily Latino and African-American suburb of Denver.
"Here in America, and especially here tonight, we need to remember two basic truths. Here's the first truth; Society has an obligation -- and Christians have a Gospel duty -- to provide adequate and compassionate support for unwed and abandoned mothers; women facing unintended pregnancies; and women struggling with the aftermath of an abortion. It's not enough to talk about 'pro-life politics.' The label 'pro-life' demands that we work to ensure social policies that will protect young woman and families, and help them generously in their need. Here's the second truth. Killing an unborn child is never the right answer to a woman's or society's problems. Acts of violence create a culture of violence -- and abortion is the most intimate form of violence there is. It wounds the woman, it kills the unborn child and it poisons the roots of justice and charity that bind us all into one human family."
(The photo is not of Denver, but of Darling Harbour in Sydney. But the whole of the Western World must be called to bear for its promotion of abortion.)

Wednesday 27 August 2008

Side by side

I celebrate the extraordinary form of the Mass every week in the College chapel at Campion. This has been a tremendous experience for me; hitherto, I have been celebrating Mass in the Old Rite just a few times a year and have never before had the opportunity to develop an intimacy or rythmn with the Old Liturgy. I look forward to developing a much better honed practice and understanding of this form of the Mass together with the students, who almost fill the chapel when this Liturgy is celebrated.

Sunday 24 August 2008

Straight in at number one

My first visit to Sydney city centre the other evening was with a small group of Campion students - we went in on Friday evening to find some of the city's homeless and to offer them food and friendship. This was a student initiative to reach out to the homeless in the spiritual abyss of a Friday evening in down town Sydney. We met and spoke with many people down by the harbour and in some of the main streets of the CBD. It was an attempt to express and share our faith. We met with openess and ease of conversation.
A sign of things to come - from small beginnings - the New Evangelisation.

Thursday 21 August 2008

If I were in England I would ...

... want to participate in this:
The Faith, The Family, The Future 25th-26th October 2008 at All Saints Pastoral Centre, London Colney, St. Albans A conference of hope for young people and families, focusing on:
• Fostering and exploring the beauty of the Church’s vision for marriage and the family
• Passing on the faith to the next generation and the role of the family in this work
• Promoting the growth of Catholic culture and vocations through the family
• Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Humane Vitae.

Over the weekend there will be many speakers, representing a broad panorama of Catholic thought and culture. With programs specially tailored to each age group, combined with the opportunity for retreat, spiritual reflection and renewal, the weekend provides a great opportunity for Catholics to renew their spiritual life, strengthening their families through meeting other young Catholics who share their hopes and views.For details, and booking, see the dedicated website or email

Monday 18 August 2008


The first "Theology on Tap" after World Youth Day in Sydney was quite a gathering. Four to five hundred young people met at one of the city's many pubs to listen to Bishop Fisher speak. Bishop Fisher, an Auxilliary Bishop in Sydney, was the Co-ordinator of WYD SYD.
The enthusiasm and interest of the young people was overwhelming as Bishop Fisher spoke. He told us that a huge number of Bishops from across the world who had taken part in WYD had contacted him to say that WYD SYD had been the best WYD ever! He had received innumerable emails from young people speaking of how they had encountered Christ in Sydney and experienced His Spirit. The Holy Father too, since his return to Rome, has spoken at every public ocassion about the event - he can't get it out of his head. Bishop Fisher spoke directly and warmly to the young people challenging them to respond to the Holy Father's call - to become the World Youth Day Apostles that the Holy Father had asked them to be.
Fr Fleming, President of Campion College, many of its students and myself took part in this evening's gathering; we sensed the keenness and the eagerness of this great throng of young people to exercise the Spirit's gifts in the New Evangelisation which is gathering momentum in Australia. It is a very exciting time to be "down under".

Saturday 16 August 2008

Picking up the ball again

Here I am with a whole new group of young people, picking up the ball again; in this instance an in-house soccer tournament called "The President's Plate". It began, in the early morning sun, with me blessing the tournament of four teams, one named after the Pacific's martyr saint St Peter Chanel, the other three named after English Martyrs. I wasn't at all surprised when the team with the College's English student won the trophy.

Friday 15 August 2008

A centre of Christian Life

I have slipped into the life of Campion College very easily - I take this as a sign of the vibrancy of the life of the Church here on the Campus, a centre of the Christian Life and a centre of formation for the Church today. For me, spending a day in the air, crossing the Equator and travelling to the other side of the planet happened and I scarcely noticed it. Far greater was the contrast in having left a place where the Church seemed alseep, to arriving in a place where the Church is immediately tangible and apparent. I haven't had the time yet to allow Australia to have an impact on me - Campion College has received and welcomed me from a far-flung corner of Europe, and I'm already at the living, breathing heart of the Catholic community of the students and staff of Australia's first Catholic Liberal Arts College. My appointment is as Chaplain to the College.

It is already evident to me that the College, like its patron - St Edmund Campion, who was at the forefront of the Mission of the Church in England during the second part of the sixteenth century, is leading the way in enabling young people to prepare themselves for the needs of the Church today. To endeavour to form leaders for the Church is a very courageous project, and I have been struck especially by the way in which the College resources and supports the students in terms of human, spiritual, intellectual, communal and recreational formation.

Young people in the UK who are looking for a place to study should definitely consider Campion College - this is a real Catholic centre of formation. Check out the website:

Tuesday 12 August 2008

Jesus walks

One legacy of World Youth Day which I have encountered since arriving in Sydney is the project whose works were exhibited "down town" during WYD. I was most surprised by the subject which the various artists worked upon, and extremely surprised by what they created. You see more of these ghastly statues on the Website.
However, I would be even more surprised to find such works of art in the UK. The British secular movement has cast all civic Christian religious forms to the four winds. Yet, here in Australia, the JesusWalks project is an evident sign of the need for the New Evangelisation. The website presents this project as follows;

Each work engages with the idea of “faith” in the contemporary cultural context. The artists incorporate their interpretations onto a fibreglass sculpture of the iconic image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

An "idea" of faith is not Faith. In the UK we are used to the neo-Pelagian project which, while keeping Christ conveniently packaged as an idea which we should know about and even toy with, nevertheless holds back from embracing Him as the necessary fulfillment of human life. It seems to me that this Australian art project reveals a keener openness to the New Evangelisation than neo-Pelagianism does, for these "ideas" focus, as you can see, upon the Sacred Heart of the Redeemer and therefore touch upon the centre of the Mystery of Faith. We should pray that this art project will lead many beyond the "idea" to the person of Christ himself. Incidentally, the statue I photographed is the only statue of the Sacred Heart I have ever seen whose hands are pierced. These holes in the fibreglass say a lot more than do all the pretty colours!

Saturday 9 August 2008

Safe arrival

This is my ninth day in Australia; in moving parish I would expect a good two weeks before you could get any sense out of me. Such is the warm welcome at Campion College that John and Neil, who have been in Sydney for World Youth Day, spent a day here with me, the students and the staff. John gave his testimony and, such was the impact that we are all still speaking about him.
The air is crisp, the sun is strong and the trees are full of bird-song. It is winter here, but it feels like high summer to a newly arrived englishman. My life as Chaplain to Campion College has begun; the second term started on Monday and the very full but rounded schedule of the College is in full swing.
It feels to me as if some big event has recently taken place in this locality; I have even bumped into groups of young people from England who have been here in large numbers. It is as though Sydney has just been the focus for a huge number of people!
Indeed, it has been a very good time to arrive, and I hope to return to a more regular posting.