Friday, 19 October 2012

St Philip Howard

Today, at least in the Diocese of Arundel & Brighton, is the Feast of St Philip Howard.  He is one of the martyr patrons of SSIM.  Please pray today for all members of SSIM, especially Steven McKenna whose seat on Chapter is that named for St Philip.

Here is some information about St Philip from Wikipedia:

Born in the Strand, London, he was the eldest son of Thomas Howard, 4th Duke of Norfolk and Lady Mary FitzAlan, daughter of Henry FitzAlan, 19th Earl of Arundel. He was baptized at Whitehall Palace with the Royal Family in attendance, and was named after his godfather, King Philip II of Spain. At the age of fourteen, he was married to his stepsister, Anne Dacre. After years of estrangement, they were reunited and built a very strong marriage.
Nineteenth-century engraving byWilliam Barraud depicting the Earl of Arundel in the Tower of London.
In 1569, on 1 October, Philip Howard's father, Thomas Howard, was arrested for his intrigues against Queen Elizabeth I. His father was attainted and executed in 1572, but Philip Howard succeeded to his mother's heritage upon the death of his grandfather, becoming Earl of Arundel in 1580.
Howard, and much of his family, remained Catholics during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, when it was very dangerous to do so. They also attempted to leave England without permission. While some might have been able to do this quietly, Howard was second cousin of the Queen. He was committed to the Tower of Londonon 25 April 1585. While charges of high treason were never proved, he spent ten years in the Tower, until his death of dysentery. He had petitioned the Queen as he lay dying to allow him to see his wife and his son, who had been born after his imprisonment. The Queen responded that "If he will but once attend the Protestant Service, he shall not only see his wife and children, but be restored to his honors and estates with every mark of my royal favor." To this, Saint Philip replied, "Tell Her Majesty if my religion be the cause for which I suffer, sorry I am that I have but one life to lose." He refused and died alone in the Tower. He was immediately acclaimed as a Catholic Martyr.
He was buried without ceremony beneath the floor of the church of St Peter ad Vincula, inside the walls of the Tower. Twenty nine years later, his widow and son obtained permission from King James I of England to move the body to the Fitzalan Chapel located on the western grounds of Arundel Castle. His tomb was moved to the Catholic Arundel Cathedral in 1971 and remains a site of pilgrimage.

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Ss Peter & Paul, West Wittering

News has just come in of the visit made recently by Dom Anselm to the Church of Ss Peter & Paul, West Wittering in the Anglican Diocese of Chichester.  Once a Catholic Church, its early history is related on the parish website:

The church building, dedicated to St.Peter and St.Paul, who were the two great leaders of the Christian Church in its early years, is either the third or fourth church on this site. Shortly after St.Wilfrid started converting the South Saxons (from whom Sussex takes its name) to Christianity, a small wooden church was built here around 770AD. It is possible that after a couple of hundred years or so, that building was replaced by another, which may have been of wood or stone. What we do know is that between 950 and 1010 AD, the church was destroyed by fire during a raid by Vikings from the Isle of Wight.
font-WWDuring the reign of King Canute (who reigned 1016-1035) the villagers rebuilt their church in stone. It lasted not much more than 100 years, because when the Normans took over following the Battle of Hastings in 1066, they set about rebuilding almost every church they came across. They knocked down the Saxon church, and re-using some of the old material they built a new one, the present building, in about 1150.
If you stand at the west end of the church and look about you, you can see evidence of over a thousand years of the history of the building. After just thirty years, in 1180, it was extended by piercing the south wall and supporting it with pillars and arches, to provide a south aisle. Alternate pillars are circular and octagonal in cross-section, and their tops are decorated with delicate carving, now very much eroded.

More on the Year of Faith

Recently we posted some suggestions (here) for what SSIM members can do to observe this current Year of Faith.  It might be helpful to record here some other sensible suggestions that are being made.

Friday Observances
Bishop Kieran of Arundel and Brighton suggested that Catholics may wish to pause at about 3pm on a Friday afternoon to recall our Lord's saving passion and death on the cross.  Other things from our tradition which one might do on a Friday to witness quietly to the Faith include observing the Church's discipline of Friday abstinence, that is refraining from meat flesh for the entire day.   One might alos recite the Litany of the Sacred Heart and /or attend Mass on the first Friday of the month in honour of the Sacred Heart.

Visual Signs and Symbols
The Catholic tradition values external symbols of our Faith and endows them with blessings and the use of them with indulgences.  The newly consecrated Bishop of Portsmouth, Bishop Peter Egan has suggested, for those of us who drive, that we display a rosary or other devotional item in our cars.  This is a simple and effective witness to our Faith and one that is visible not only when we are present but also wherever the car is parked.  Another way is to wear a cross or crucifix or perhaps a holy medal or scapular (such as the Carmelite Brown Scapular) - dare I say it, even the SSIM lapel badge!

Our outward behaviour
Bishop Egan has also suggested we make the sign of the cross and say grace when out for a meal and when eating at home as well as saying 'please God' when someone tells you there hopes and aspirations and 'thank God' when they give you some good news.

All of these are small simple things we can do to show our Catholic culture, which is rooted in Faith, in un-obtrusive and un-pretentious ways.

Lastly, one of our members, Dom Anselm Carpenter, OSB sent this link to a video of Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham delivering the first in a series of talks about the Faith.

Sung Mass at Tewkesbury Abbey

Steven McKenna, a member of the SSIM Chapter and a teacher, recently took years 3-13 of his school to Tewkesbury Abbey to celebrate the feast of their school patron (St Edward) and the 25th anniversary of their current foundation.

Mass was celebrated in the medieval abbey.

Please pray for the Anglican community who now worship there and for the unity of the Church.

St Buithe Monastery, Ireland

Our friend and member, John Shanahan, sent us the following:

Nearby Drogheda is the 5th-century Monastery of St. Buithe. On the grounds of the ruined monastery is the 5.5-metre Muiredach's High Cross, regarded as the finest high cross in the whole of Ireland. It is named after an abbot, Muiredach mac Domhnaill, who died in 923 and features biblical carvings of both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. 

We are reminded of the devotion of those who have gone before us, especially to the Holy Scriptures. The cross at Monasterboice reminds us of the visual form of the catechism from ancient times.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Bl John Henry Cardinal Newman, Cong. Orat.

Today is the feast of Blessed John Henry Newman.  Strict rules govern how those beatified but not yet canonised are celebrated liturgically so in most of England and Wales today's celebration has the rank of an Obligatory Memorial.  In the three houses of the Congregation of the Oratory (which he brought to these islands) today is a Feast.  Likewise this will be the case in Churches dedicated to him as also in the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham who claim him as their secondary patron.

For most, if not all, former Anglicans who have made the same journey as Newman to the peace of communion with the See of Rome, the 'one true fold of the Reedemer', Cardinal Newman will have been an important part of the transition from 'shadows and images' to the fulness of truth.

Below is the appointed hagiographical reading for the Office of Readings/Mattins for today.  In it Newman describes the way he was able to accept without doubt the doctrines of the Catholic Church and so be in a state of intellectual calm.

May Blessed John Henry Newman pray for us all!

From the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman, Priest

(Apologia Pro Vita Sua, Chapter V: Position of My Mind since 1845, London 1864,pp. 238-239, 250-251)

It was like coming into port after a rough sea.

From the time that I became a Catholic, of course I have no further history of my religious opinions to narrate. In saying this, I do not mean to say that my mind has been idle, or that I have given up thinking on theological subjects; but that I have had no variations to record, and have had no anxiety of heart whatever. I have been in perfect peace and contentment; I never have had one doubt. I was not conscious to myself, on my conversion, of any change, intellectual or moral, wrought in my mind. I was not conscious of firmer faith in the fundamental truths of Revelation, or of more self-command; I had not more fervour; but it was like coming into port after a rough sea; and my happiness on that score remains to this day without interruption.
Nor had I any trouble about receiving those additional articles, which are not found in the Anglican Creed. Some of them I believed already, but not any one of them was a trial to me. I made a profession of them upon my reception with the greatest ease, and I have the same ease in believing them now. I am far of course from denying that every article of the Christian Creed, whether as held by Catholics or by Protestants, is beset with intellectual difficulties; and it is simple fact, that, for myself, I cannot answer those difficulties. Many persons are very sensitive of the difficulties of Religion; I am as sensitive of them as any one; but I have never been able to see a connexion between apprehending those difficulties, however keenly, and multiplying them to any extent, and on the other hand doubting the doctrines to which they are attached. Ten thousand difficulties do not make one doubt, as I understand the subject; difficulty and doubt are incommensurate. There of course may be difficulties in the evidence; but I am speaking of difficulties intrinsic to the doctrines themselves, or to their relations with each other. A man may be annoyed that he cannot work out a mathematical problem, of which the answer is or is not given to him, without doubting that it admits of an answer, or that a certain particular answer is the true one. Of all points of faith, the being of a God is, to my own apprehension, encompassed with most difficulty, and yet borne in upon our minds with most power.
People say that the doctrine of Transubstantiation is difficult to believe; I did not believe the doctrine till I was a Catholic. I had no difficulty in believing it, as soon as I believed that the Catholic Roman Church was the oracle of God, and that she had declared this doctrine to be part of the original revelation. It is difficult, impossible, to imagine, I grant;—but how is it difficult to believe? …
I believe the whole revealed dogma as taught by the Apostles, as committed by the Apostles to the Church, and as declared by the Church to me. I receive it, as it is infallibly interpreted by the authority to whom it is thus committed, and (implicitly) as it shall be, in like manner, further interpreted by that same authority till the end of time. I submit, moreover, to the universally received traditions of the Church, in which lies the matter of those new dogmatic definitions which are from time to time made, and which in all times are the clothing and the illustration of the Catholic dogma as already defined. And I submit myself to those other decisions of the Holy See, theological or not, through the organs which it has itself appointed, which, waiving the question of their infallibility, on the lowest ground come to me with a claim to be accepted and obeyed. Also, I consider that, gradually and in the course of ages, Catholic inquiry has taken certain definite shapes, and has thrown itself into the form of a science, with a method and a phraseology of its own, under the intellectual handling of great minds, such as St Athanasius, St Augustine, and St Thomas; and I feel no temptation at all to break in pieces the great legacy of thought thus committed to us for these latter days.


O God, who bestowed on the Priest Blessed John Henry Newman the grace to follow your kindly light and find peace in your Church; graciously grant that, through his intercession and example, we may be led out of shadows and images into the fulness of your truth. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Monday, 8 October 2012

The Year of Faith

The Holy Father in Rome, yesterday opened the Synod of Bishops on the 'New Evangelisation'.  Specifically this refers to the evangelisation of those already baptised.  To many of us the phrase 'bringing back the lost' has resonance here.

So what is it that SSIM is proposing to its members for this upcoming Year of Faith which begins on October 11th and will run until the Feast of Christ the King 2013?

Our apostolate as members and friends of SSIM involves visits to places of former Catholic worship and so for us, bringing back former Catholic worshippers to the practice of the Faith is very closely linked to what we do. We would propose three very practical things for this Year of Faith:

1) Read the Apostolic Letter of His Holiness, Porta fidei.  In this way we can conform our thinking in this area to that of the universal church as articulated by its Chief Pastor.

2) Actively participate in diocesan and parish activities to deepen our understanding of the faith.  In many churches these will include studying the documents of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  Revisiting these authoritative texts, prayerfully and under the guidance of our pastors will help us understand how we in our own generation, must interpret and hand on the faith in conformity to the continuos apostolic tradition.

3) Organise a visit to a former Catholic place of worship nearby.  Ideally this will be a place associated with a local saint or important event in the history of the local Catholic Church.  Invite someone you know, a friend or family member to join you, someone who no longer practices their faith.   In this way we can re-introduce people gently to their Catholic heritage and open up discussion about our shared patrimony.  A pic-nic or pub lunch thrown in for good measure will do no harm and may well do a lot of good!