Sunday 29 March 2009

A warning shot

Many countries in recent years have produced films which portray some of the harsher real-life aspects of society - "hanging their dirty washing in public". In France there was "La Haine", in the UK "Trainspotters" and "Goodbye Charlie Bright", from Brazil "The City of God". From Australia we now have "The Combination", a film which focuses upon the tensions between white Australians and Lebanese newcomers in modern Australian cities. The film probes deep into Australian culture and personality, not only raising awareness about the kind of social problems which other countries have been coming to terms with for decades now, but also presenting in a very graphic way, the fact that a new era is beginning in Australia which echoes some of modern Australia's own beginnings. It is a quite a daring film to have made, the first half seeming to say that white anglo-saxon Australia is under threat, the second half taking the message to a deeper level and challenging some of white anglo-saxon Australia's values. This is, I think, a much more important film than "Australia". What influence a film has on a society, if any, is hard to measure. But there is a warning given by this film to both the settled and the new settlers that Australian society is presently undergoing a fairly radical change, a kind of change that is not easy to accomodate.

Saturday 28 March 2009

The sea, the sea.

This year at Campion we're putting together a calendar of excursions; so far we have been to visit and enjoy some of Sydney's better known beaches. it's quite striking what can take place on a Sydney beach, even with no sharks around.

Goodness only knows what was going on!

Friday 27 March 2009

Re-discovering womanhood

A group of Campion students and myself have joined in a series of seven evenings looking again at Woman through the prism of JPII's beatiful Letter "Mulieris Dignitatem". Over 120 young people are coming together for these evenings at the Notre Dame Campus in Sydney led by Sr Mary Madeline OP of the Nashville Dominicans. Male and female anthropology, in the light of Catholic Truth, is a daring subject matter in today's culture, but the size and eagerness of this group of young people is witness to the need that exists to present the Church's vision of God's plan for humanity as clearly and fully as possible.

Thursday 26 March 2009

Tales by firelight

To celebrate the feasts, last week, of St Patrick and St Joseph, we held an evening bonfire and regaled one another with tales, poems, songs and little catecheses about these two towering saints. These evening bonfires on Campus are tremendous yet simple events in which the Culture of Life is experienced. So much for their antithesis - the secular Halloween!

Tuesday 24 March 2009

Wisdom down under

Yesterday at Campion College we were treated to a marvellous presentation of the development of culture in Europe during the past two thousand years and its influence on the whole world. Brother Christian Moe FSC from Melbourne, delivered a superb talk to the College about the foundations and development of European culture. He covered the two millennia in about fifteen minutes and beautifully proposed to the young students their mission to bring together faith and contemporary culture. Here is someone who has his finger right on the pulse of the New Evangelisation. What a wonderful mission Campion College is engaged in! You can find articles by Bro Moe on .

You came into the world today

Lord Jesus Christ, You took our human nature upon Yourself. You shared our life and death, our childhood and adulthood.
You also shared our time in the womb. While still God, while worshiped and adored by the angels, while Almighty and filling every part of the universe, You dwelt for nine months in the womb of Mary. You were our Redeemer in the womb, our God who was a preborn child.
Lord Jesus, we ask You to bless and protect the children who today are in their mothers' womb. Save them from the danger of abortion. Give their mothers the grace to sacrifice themselves, in body and soul, for their children. Help all people to recognise in the preborn child a brother, a sister, saved by You, our Redeemer in the womb.
Mane nobiscum Domine - Stay with us Lord!

Saturday 21 March 2009

A superb website

The website of the Sydney Congress embracing the New Evangelisation is now available. Do take a moment to inform yourself and pass on the link:
Through this website you can volunteer to help with the Congress and also register your interest in becoming a Delegate.
Full registration will be availble through the website soon.

Thursday 19 March 2009

A year for priests

On 19th June this year, the Feast of the Sacred Heart, the Holy Father will open the Year for Priests. How fitting that this Year will begin on that Feast and in the presence of the relic of the heart of St John Vianney.
The Sacred Heart is the feast of the priesthood. Christ wanted his love to be incarnate in the world through his priests. He died on the Cross so that we could celebrate the Eucharist!

And how fitting that the Holy Father is associating St John Vianney with this Year - the Cure d'Ars who called the Priesthood "the love of the Heart of Jesus."

Already there are many who, in groups or individually, support priests through their prayer or sacrifices; in this coming Year, priests may be the recipients of this type of support coming from the whole Church, and coming from St John Vianney himself. We need it - it is essential in the New Evangelisation. The photo was taken in December last just outside the Holy Door in St John Vianney's church in Ars.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Spotted at last

The resident Campus possum - and reputedly blind - but famous now across the globe!

Sunday 15 March 2009

Chavagnes International College, in France, is a small Catholic senior boarding school for boys, with a good track record of university entrance (including Oxford) built up over the last seven years and an excellent pupil-teacher ratio, and which prides itself on the quality and character of the education it offers.

Two Open Weeks for prospective pupils are being held this Spring/Summer: 20th – 25th April and 4th – 9th June. During these weeks it is hoped to provide an insight into life at the college. By following classes and taking part in our array of extracurricular activities (choir, sport clubs, photography club, literary club, horse riding etc) we hope to showcase exactly what our school can offer the next generation of Catholic gentlemen.

For more information visit

Saturday 14 March 2009

Stations of the Cross on Campus

Holding the Stations of the Cross outside is becoming quite a custom. Here at Campion we have begin on Campus but will move onto the public streets as Lent progresses. Thanks go to the carpenter who made this excellent cross for us; it has been blessed and consecrated for Divine Worship.

Friday 13 March 2009

Confident proclamation of Christ

One of the most important legacies which was given to the Church in England by the Martyrs was the capacity to stand up for Christ and the truth on our own two feet, and until recent decades, Catholics knew how to do that. We used to know how to defend truth, how to stand out from the crowd and speak for Christ and the Church. And even though the Second Vatican Council sought to confirm that very mission we have lost much of our confidence to do so.

Cardinal Pell's recent discourse at Oxford has addressed that very thing. It is very fitting that Oxford, which was at the time of the Reformation such a centre of Catholicism, should have been the setting for this address. He called Catholics "to recover their genius for showing that there are better ways to live and to build a good society ... [and] ... to recover their self-confidence and courage."

He also put his finger squarely upon the centre of today's secularist attack which, he said, wants "to undermine the witness that [the Church gives] to the reality of Christian Revelation."

Regaining our self-confidence will be a great work of grace; indeed, it is something for us to pray for - that we will be open to God building us up to be unself-conscious ambassadors for Christ. We thank Cardinal Pell for taking the trouble to come to Oxford and to speak so clearly to us as a father and as a pastor.

Thursday 12 March 2009

Putting it in context

I reproduce here an entire sermon, given by Fr Benedict Groeschel CFR, on 20th February this year, to the Legionaries of Christ in New York. This sermon not only sets the present circumstances of the Legionaries of Christ in context, but speaks to the whole Church in such a genuine and grace-inspired way that it holds wisdom for us all. (I post it here becuase you may not otherwise have the opportunity of reading it.)

"Well, brothers and sisters, I'm delighted to be here and grateful to God that I can talk, because I came down with laryngitis yesterday. And I wanted to be with the members of the Legionaries and of Regnum Christi in a time that obviously is one of great suffering, of pain, but also of promise.
It happened just by an unusual circumstance that this little book of mine, "The Tears of God," arrived yesterday. I wrote it and sent it to the publisher a year ago. The name of the book is "The Tears of God: Persevering in the Face of Great Sorrow and Catastrophe." And so I brought several copies with me. It's hardly a book; it's a long essay with prayers, but I hope that it will be helpful to you all.
And first of all, let me say that the Legionaries have many friends, and I've been on the phone with a number of members of Regnum Christi who are friends and associates of mine, especially through the Institute for the Psychological Sciences, which I am a faculty member of. And I'm so delighted to know that the spirit of the Lord is with you in this time of suffering and that people are holding on.
Now: "You all need reform!" We ALL need reform! When do we need it? Every single day, no matter what goes on. Send anybody around to me who says, "They need reform!" and I'll tell them, "Wake up, smarty!" Our Divine Savior says, "The time has come, and the Kingdom of God is at hand. Repent and believe the good news." And that is something that must go on every single day.
When I was a young fellow, fourteen years old, I saw a book: "The Confessions of St Augustine." And I started to read it. The only translations were old Anglican translations in very stilted language: Dr. Pusey's translations. And it intrigued me. (I skipped over the parts about the Manicheans.) But the whole story of St Augustine, not only his conversion, but also his great belief on every page that God, that Christ, called to him no matter what was happening, even before his conversion. He wrote, "You called me with an unheard voice, and you pushed me on with a hidden goad."
Right in the first paragraph, there is a sentence. It almost knocked me on the ground when I read it: "You have made us for yourself, oh God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you." And down through the ages, the spirit of St. Augustine has guided religious orders in the West over and over again (St. Benedict, St. Francis, St. Dominic, many, many others... St. Ignatius). And on into modern times. "You have made us for yourself, oh God, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you."
And in St. Augustine, you read a great deal about human weakness, about how much we need every day to be converted. You'll never read in St .Augustine: "We've arrived." Absolutely not.
And at times, in individual lives, and sometimes in corporate lives, events occur which are difficult for us to comprehend, to get our arms around. And often, not always, but often, the answer is a personal, individual call to repentance on our part, on OUR part. And the willingness to go on.
The friars, work with the poorest section of society, and we get along very well with humble people. Right during the priests' scandal, this great scandal four years ago, two of our brothers are walking down Broadway. It's a little hard to miss us, you know. (At least we LOOK religious; I wish we WERE that religious.) And this truck driver with a leather jacket and a handful of keys walked by the two brothers. He turned around and he says, "Hey brothers, don't let the turkeys get you down."
It's a great motto. Now, it's not elegant, and those of you who speak English in a second language: get someone to explain to you why they call them turkeys. (How do you say it in Spanish? "Pavo" is turkey?)
Now, what goes on is that each individual soul is called in the way that the Holy Spirit calls us to turn all of the events of life -- successes, failures, joys, sorrows, virtues, and even sins -- to turn them all into our personal repentance and following of Our Lord Jesus Christ. The Legionaries of Christ were built and sustained by a deep Christological theology and devotion. It will stand you in the best stead at this time. This is not the Legion of anybody except of Christ.
And I encourage you... my little book is about this. That's Christ on the cover with tears running down his face. This painting was made in the 19th century. No one knows who made it, but it shows Christ in the agony, crowned with thorns, and the tears running down his face. The tears of Christ are the tears of God. He weeps with us. He wept in the garden. He wept at the death of his friend Lazarus. Don't ever, ever think that he does not weep even now.
If you look at the religions of the world, there are unique qualities about each of them, that were founded by sincere people, far away from Christianity, and perhaps with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in those cultures: Buddhism, for instance. And in those religions, God never suffers. In the Jewish religion, from which we come, God gets mad. He gets annoyed. He also gets happy; he rejoices when things are going well. But in Christianity, God suffers. An incredible, impossible thought. The absolute, infinite, divine being, eternal, unchangeable... That he could weep: This is the mystery of the Incarnation. Christ comes and weeps with us. He suffers with us. We have the unthinkable reality of a God who dies. Incomprehensible. Theologically, we have explanations through the Councils of how it could happen, but it's a mystery of mysteries. And the devotions of the centuries, especially of the Sacred Heart, reveal that Christ in a mysterious way suffers with us today.
Pope John Paul quoted the French writer Léon Bloy that "Christ is on his cross till the end of the world in his Mystical Body." And so Christ suffers with you in a very special way.
Years from now, you'll think back on these difficult days, and I hope you'll remember that Christ suffered with you. Let the cross be your guide. St. Augustine says, "When the cross was first preached to the few who believed, it was mocked by the multitudes. But by the power of the cross, the blind saw, the lame walked, the lepers were cleansed, and even the dead rose so that even among the powers of this world, men would come to believe that there is, in fact, nothing more powerful than the humility of God." Nothing more powerful than the humility of God.
And if I may say this as a friend to your community, this is a time when the face of Christ, covered with tears and sweat, calls each of us to participate in the humility of God. Amen."

Monday 9 March 2009

FWC Retreat from Campion College

Many thanks to all who supported, with prayer, the recent FWC Retreat which I led for Campion College students in Sydney. Thanks also to Srs Madeline and Rachel OP, and to Fr Terence Mary OFM Conv. who helped me to direct the young people. Thirty six students took part in two very grace-filled days and nights of Adoration. We had some lovely meals too - here you see a Risotto in progress.

Wednesday 4 March 2009

Short Blog-gap

I know that there are a number of student retreats happening this coming weekend; Campion College Annual Student Retreat is taking place also this weekend. Let us pray for each other that these Retreats will bear much fruit.

Tuesday 3 March 2009

Will he come?

I have indicated before, on this Blog, my sense that the Church in the UK needs help from outside. The possibility of a visit by Pope Benedict XVI - the second great architect of the New Evangelisation - would be a such an enormous grace for the Church in those countries. Now that there are real suggestions being made that he be invited to visit England and Scotland, we should make this a prayer intention filled out by sacrifices. Bishop O'Donoghue has given us the first basis of a vision for the Church, but Benedict XVI, who is more foresighted than any other, and who knows the needs of the Church in the UK, could lead it on to the the next stage, of embracing the New Evangelisation wholeheartedly, and help it put in place all those things which are now necessary for its upbuilding. But first we need the vision, and we should ask God to bestow the vision for the New Evangelisation in the UK personally through His servant Benedict XVI.

Sunday 1 March 2009

A new year begins

Today at Campion College we held the Mass for the start of a new year, welcoming especially the new first years and presenting them with their undergraduate gowns. Here they all are together with Dr Daintree the head of the College and Dr Rizzo. Today is a day of much grace for us for we recognise the Lord blessing the College through the induction of a new first year.

O Lord Jesus Christ, keep these young people in your love. Let them hear your voice and believe what you say, for you alone have the words of Life. Teach them how to profess their faith, bestow their love, and impart their hope to others.

Make them convincing witnesses to your Gospel in a world so much in need of your saving grace. Make them the new people of the Beatitudes, that they may be the salt of the earth and the light of the world at the beginning of the third Christian Millennium.

Mary, Mother of the Church, protect and guide these young men and women of the 21st century. Keep us all close to your Maternal heart.


(Prayer of Pope John Paul II at Toronto World Youth Day, 2002)