Monthly Archives: March 2007

Latin, Gregorian, Ad Orientem Novus Ordo Mass Monthly at St Brigid’s Fitzroy

Joseph sent me this copy of the announcement of the Mass last Sunday:

Solemn Mass in the Modern Roman Rite (Novus Ordo) “ad orientem”, in Latin with Gregorian chant at St Brigid’s Church, Fitzroy North, commencing Sunday, 25 March at 6pm

A new initiative is being launched to offer Mass celebrated in a way that more closely follows the teachings of the Second Vatican Council in its Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) to restore a greater sense of reverence, mystery, beauty and the sacred to the celebration of Holy Mass.

Solemn Mass in the Modern Roman Rite (the Novus Ordo) will be celebrated in Latin, with Gregorian chant and in an “ad orientem” direction for the Liturgy of the Eucharist: where Priest and Congregation together face Liturgical East toward the Tabernacle, in accordance with the venerable tradition.

Why: Many people think that the Second Vatican Council mandated the removal of Latin and Gregorian chant in the Mass and required the Priest to face the people when saying Mass. However, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy (Sacrosanctum Concilium) mandated none of these things. It actually required that Latin and Gregorian Chant remain an essential part of the Mass and
envisaged no change to the venerable tradition of the Priest and Congregation together facing the Tabernacle (“Liturgical East” or “ad orientem”).

This initiative of the Parish of St Brigid’s in conjunction with the Glorificamus Society seeks to answer the call of Cardinal Ratzinger, now His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI, for a return to a greater sense of reverence, mystery, beauty and sacredness in the celebration of Holy Mass, by recovering these traditions of Latin, Gregorian chant and ad orientem posture, for an authentic renewal of the liturgical rites sought by the Second Vatican Council.

When: Commencing on Sunday, 25 March 2007 at 6pm. It is hoped this will be a monthly event.

Next mass is apparently scheduled for April 29th at 6pm

Where: St Brigid’s Catholic Church, 378 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy North (Melways Map 2C Ref A4).

The Principal Celebrant will be Fr Maurizio Pettenà CS, Parish Priest of St Brigid’s. All are most welcome to attend. Mass booklets with full Latin/English
translations will be available for those without their own Novus Ordo missals.

For more information: This initiative is supported by the Glorificamus Society for the renewal of Catholic Liturgy. Contact us at for more information.

We invite you pass on this notice to as many people as you can. We look forward to welcoming you, your family and friends to these Masses.

Viva la Revolucion!Let’s get behind this endeavour and make it the start of a serious movement in our Church!


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Rights, Privileges, and Allegiances

“We Catholics,” concluded Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, “and here I am sure I speak, too, for other Christians and all people of faith — do not demand special privileges, but we do claim our rights. We come not to impose, but to serve, according to our beliefs; and to be given the freedom and support to do so, as long as these do not undermine the rights and freedoms of others.” (Zenit)

I know that Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor is probably better known for his platitudes than his incisive commentary, but I reckon thems fighting words. Possibly the addition of the “as long as” clause at the end blunts the cutting edge of the statement a bit (it is, after all, presupposed in the “we come not to impose” statement). Nevertheless, let this be heard: It is our right and our duty to serve our society according to our beliefs.

Of course one has great sympathy for the good Cardinal. He is, after all, the highest ranking Catholic in a country in which it was once a capital offense of treason to be Catholic. When emancipation was finally granted in 1830, it perhaps did seem to the government of the day that they were extending a privilege rather than a right. It seems that in politics, one can never quite shake that uncomfortable feeling that Catholics, for all their protestations of loyalty, do not ultimately give their highest allegiance to the state.

Fr Neuhaus, over on the First Things site, has been musing about a recent statement of the British Prime Minister that is not unrelated. Tony Blair had said:

But when it comes to our essential values-belief in democracy, the rule of law, tolerance, equal treatment for all, respect for this country and its shared heritage-then that is where we come together, it is what we hold in common; it is what gives us the right to call ourselves British. At that point no distinctive culture or religion supersedes our duty to be part of an integrated United Kingdom.

As Fr Neuhaus says, “No Christian who thought about it carefully could subscribe to such a statement.”


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Would you enter this box?

I mean, would you?

Zenit reports that Pope Benedict XVI has been fulfilling his priestly duty by hearing confessions of young people in preparation for the local World Youth Day celebrations this Palm Sunday in Rome. I mean sure, it would be really neat to have your own 3 minutes private audience with the Pope, BUT make your confession to him??? I must say I almost wet myself when I once entered the box at St Patrick’s to discover Archbishop Denis on the other side of the grill.

For all that, can you imagine yourself in a basilica, where there were 200 priests to chose from to whom you could make your confession–wouldn’t it be an act of pride to line up outside the Papal Box?

And think about how you would treasure his pastoral advice: you would be there with pen and paper scribbling it all down, you would keep it with you till your dying day–your very own privatised EX CATHEDRA Papal pronouncement for your life.

It doesn’t bear thinking about…

I really respect the pope doing this–after all, there is an example to be set and he sets it–but I just can’t for the life of me imagine myself going inside that box.


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Schütz gets published in Kairos

Kairos is our local Catholic Diocesan rag–a quality production thanks to the team at Catholic Communications Melbourne. We are, sadly, farewelling our long time editor Jeanette Mentha, who will be sorely missed around the office and in the courtyard at smoko time (although she has given up the nasty habit).

Coincidentally, the day after writing my “Descent into Hell” blog, Jeanette came into my office and asked me if I knew anything about the subject…

So she set me the task of writing an article, and here it is, all published, in this week’s Easter edition.

If I got paid for it, I would have to give up my status as an “Amateur Catholic Blogger”! No danger of that, methinks.

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Pope John Paul II Movie on SBS This Sunday and Easter Sunday at 10pm

TV Tonight has brought to our attention the fact that the motion picture of the life of Pope John Paul II will air in two installments on SBS beginning this Sunday night at 10pm and concluding on Easter Sunday night. I have it on good authority from Shannon that this is a must see movie and that the actors who play the pope get him spot on. .

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What or Who is a "Christian/Catholic Warrior"?

A little search on the new widget I have added to my side bar (from threw up a blogsite called “The Catholic Warrior“. On his page he has two prayers: the traditional “Prayer to St Michael” and the prayer that is often erroneously attributed to St Francis “Make me a channel of your peace”. Both prayers taken together perhaps answer the question I pose in the title to this blog.

I have been thinking about this because of that “Soldier’s Creed” business I unearthed in the blog below. The Creed has the statement “I am a warrior”. Maybe it is something of the “wild man” in us blokes, but to stand up and declare confidently “I am a warrior” does have a certain “feel-good” effect upon one.

So what is a “Christian/Catholic Warrior”? Peter Holmes has some answers in his blog review of “The Compleat Gentleman”. Peter also blogs about some of the old hymns we used to know in our Protestant days. In this context, “Onward Christian Soldiers” comes to mind. You may think that there is nothing to match this in Catholic circles, but “We stand for God” comes instantly to mind. I very well recall the sound of an entire cathedral full of Catholic folk (guys and gals) singing this at Bishop Anthony Fisher’s episcopal ordination in Sydney a few years back.

Having a strong interior spiritual warrior ethos is, I believe, almost essential for taking a stand against the many dangerous evils of the world which surround us. Particularly as male Christians, we are tempted by the big three–power, money and sex. So I suspect that, as I said at the beginning, there is a “St Michael” element in being a Catholic Warrior (the Archangel is my co-patron Saint, along with St Joe–blokey stuff) — the real need for evil to be faced head on without any cowardice.

But also, as I hinted in my comments on the afore mentioned “Soliders Creed”, there must be something of the St Francis also. The little fellow was a warrior in his own way, but also exemplified the fact that we live out our warrior ethos in peace, love, faith, pardon, hope, light, joy and (above all) forgiveness. This is not stuff for wusses.

So here, I think are the two elements of Catholic/Christian Warriorship: Always standing up against falsehood and evil, and always being a peacemaker acting in love toward every human being. What are your thoughts?


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"Petrol Sniffing Scourge Over": Can it really be?

I’m catching up with some reading and found this article in
The Australian
from March 17:

Petrol sniffing scourge defeated
The Australian, by Ashleigh Wilson

THE petrol sniffing crisis in central Australia is over.

After years of government inaction, dozens of inquiries and reports, and hundreds of young lives crippled by the debilitating habit, Aboriginal leaders, social workers and police told The Weekend Australian that the problem finally appeared to be beaten.

A cautious optimism is now spreading throughout the region, with only about 20 people believed to be sniffing in central Australia north of the Northern Territory border – down from about 600 just 18 months ago. …The dramatic development has largely been credited to non-sniffable Opal fuel, now rolled out across central Australia, and strong community leadership.

…”The crisis has passed,” says Blair McFarland, a social worker with close knowledge of petrol sniffing trends in remote communities in the Northern Territory.

If this is true, it is a cause for great thanksgiving. Back in 1996, I was called to be the head pastor of the community at Hermannsberg (West of Alice Springs). I didn’t accept the call in the end, but I did go up to have a look around. I had been there in the early 70’s as a kid, but hadn’t been back since the Missions were taken over by the Government.

The only way I could describe what I saw was that in the intervening 25 years Hermannsberg had “gone to Hell in a Handbasket”. Whether it can be called a cause or a symptom, one of the most devasting was the prevalence of petrol sniffing among the young people. The women of the town used to do “night patrols” of the dry river beds to find the kids sniffing and bring them back in. I was shown a number of recent graves where young men had been buried, having died from this practice.

So I rejoice that a solution has been found, and I pray that it is a lasting one.

By the way, I almost accepted the call. I was single at the time and planned to embrace celibacy as a way of life. Put simply, I didn’t because I didn’t.

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St Benedict’s Eucharistic Adoration Vigil (and Papa Benny’s weakness)

OK, one more blog for the night. I was highly amused to read the Pope’s confession of his “weakness” in his conversation with the Roman priestssome weeks back:

The Gospels tell us that by day he worked and by night he was on the mountain with his Father, praying. Here, I must confess my weakness. At night I cannot pray, at night I want to sleep.

Well, we can forgive him. He is an old man. But what’s my excuse? Last Saturday morning I got up before dawn to go to St Benedict’s in Burwood (Warrigal Road) where they made their first step toward establishing Perpetual Adoration in the parish by having a 24 hour vigil. (The Missionaries of God’s Love seminarians were there too at the same time, so I wasn’t alone). Anyway, I set myself the intention of prayerfully saying the Office of Readings and Morning Prayer. But sleep overtook me: an hour after sitting down in the pew I woke up–where had all the time gone?! Pope Benedict and I would have made good companions for Peter, James and John in the garden, methinks.

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While Anglicans and Episcopalians sweat it out, Swedish Lutherans have a bet both ways

We all know by now that the Episcopalian Bishops have rejected the recommendations of the Primates Tanzanian meeting for a Pastoral Solution to the crisis of communion in the Anglican Church.

In the meantime, the (Lutheran) Church of Sweden has declared that they will not comply with a government commission recommendation to recognise same-sex marriages. Well good for you guys, you might say.

BUT read the fine print: Archbishop Anders Wejryd went on to say that

The Church of Sweden of course will continue to give its blessing to same sex couples in partnerships, as we have done for some time. Same sex couples in committed, faithful relationships are entitled to God’s blessing.

I should point out to non-Lutheran readers that (despite the pretensions of the Lutheran World Federation) there is no such thing as a world wide Lutheran “communion” to fall apart over this matter (as in the Anglican case), nevertheless, the “North-South” thing could hit the LWF as hard as it has hit the Anglican communion because the growth Lutheran churches are all African and Asian. The General Secretary of the LWF himself is an African (but not in the Bishop Peter Ankola mould).

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It may not be the Church Police but…

the US Bishops are becoming rather more vigilant than in the past. Who’d have thought that we would ever see the day when the US Bishops Conference Doctrinal Committee actually issued a condemnation of a “Catholic” theologians erroneous assertions about Catholic doctrine? Yet that is just what has happened over Marquette University professor Daniel Maguire’s pamphlets on contraception, abortion and same-sex marriage. According to this Zenit report, in these pamphlets Professor Maguire has stated that “there is no authentic Church teaching that is binding on all members of the Catholic Church,” and that neither pro-choice or pro-life “is more Catholic than the other.”

Well, a pretty binding and Catholic response has come from the Bishops, who declared that

despite his claims to authority as a Catholic theologian, the views of Professor Maguire on contraception, abortion, and same-sex ‘marriage’ are not those of the Catholic Church and indeed are contrary to the Church’s faith.”

It seems that the patience of the Church with dissenters is wearing thin in places.

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