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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Tuesday, February 03, 2009
The new Democratic president of the USA has already taken the below actions which each over-turn the previous Republican administration’s policies. Taken together they show, from the Catholic point of view, the strangely divided nature of American politics:
The President has:

• Signed an order which will forbid American use of ‘water-boarding’ torture.
• Indicated a more dialogical and humble approach in dealing with Islamic states and populace – who can, perhaps justifiably, often feel patronized by the West.
• Signed an order to close Guantanamo Bay prison camp within a year and bring the detention of potential enemies more transparently under international conventions, which Christian-inspired understandings try to defend against abusive treatment of individuals.
• Required senior White House staff to take a pay freeze.
• Signed an Executive Order that will free millions of dollars for abortions overseas.
• Announced that he to start giving hundreds of millions of US money to the UN Population Fund, the work of which includes supporting & actively enabling abortion around the world.
• Appointed a UN Ambassador who has pledged that his administration will ratify the UN Convention on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW). The CEDAW committee has now powerfully pressurized 93 counties to make abortion legal.

N.B. It is not at all easy at this stage, if ever, to state with conviction whether the new American administration will prove to be better or worse than the previous one. But it is worth remembering that the Catholic Church teaches that a plan to make things “better” undermines itself if that plan necessarily involves making things worse for a certain class of humans- such as unborn babies or torture victims.

The very meaning of human “goodness”, “happiness” and “fulfilment” are undermined if certain humans are excluded by man from plans to create goodness, to find happiness and to bring (some) people to fulfilment. Such exclusion happens completely when directly killing an unborn baby and partially when unjustly imprisoning someone, and/or torturing them.
(cf. “Imagine the potential” video on YouTube)

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:12 am

As you leave Mass today you will be offered our special Planned Giving newsletter. The diocese encourages us to have a Planned Giving Drive every four years – our time has now come up. We realize many of our parishioners may also be feeling financially uncertain at this time, and have been very generous with regard to our community.

The main thrust of this drive will be to encourage all to reflect, as part of the increasingly needed budgeting, what it is appropriate to give towards the running of the parish, and to consider doing this through the special envelopes on a Sunday. It does not necessarily mean giving more. We should note that we are certainly having difficulties making ends meet and have reviewed our income and expenditure and are making cutbacks.

Next week a parishioner will explain this in a bit more detail and the following week we will be inviting those who are not in our Planned Giving scheme whether they would like to join it, and asking others if they’d like to change the amount given. . Such planning enables us to plan for the future based on a predictable steady income.

It’s not normally celebrated on a Sunday, but as we are in the middle of celebrating the Year of St Paul, for the 2000th anniversary of his birth the 12 noon Mass today will be for his feast and we have a special display in the porch.
Please pick up various book marks and cards and the pink prize Crossword competition.
N.B. The diocesan commissioned Icon of St Paul can be reverenced at the Shrine of Our Lady of Willesden, Nicoll Rd, Harlesden, from today until 31st January.
“You were chosen in Christ before the beginning of the world”

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:11 am

Next Sunday is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul.
It’s not normally celebrated on a Sunday, but this year each parish is permitted to celebrate one Mass for the feast. This will be 12 noon
Periodically, the Church sets aside an entire year to encourage all of us to focus on some particular and important aspect of our Faith.This year, we are given an opportunity to honor one of the great saints and founders of the early Church — the Apostle Paul.
In order to commemorate the 2000th anniversary of his birth, Christians all over the world will celebrate “The Year of St. Paul” from June 28, 2008, to June 29, 2009.
As Pope Benedict XVI said in his announcement, this special “Pauline” year is an invitation to join with “The Apostle of the Gentiles, who dedicated himself to the spreading of the good news to all peoples, [and] spent himself for the unity and harmony of all Christians,” adding,“May he guide us and protect us in this bimillenary celebration, helping us to advance in the humble and sincere search for the full unity of all the members of the mystical body of Christ.”
“From [St. Paul] we draw a very important lesson: what counts is to place Jesus Christ at the center of our lives, so that our identity is marked essentially by the encounter, by communion with Christ and with his Word.” — Pope Benedict XVI, The Apostles from Our Sunday Visitor website

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:10 am

Three days before Christmas Pope Benedict addressed senior Vatican staff. Some of his remarks, reproduced below, were very prominently reported in Britain - not because he said them, he said many other profound, beautiful things over the holiday period that did not hit the headlines - but because respected “gay activists” called them “offensive”. Here are the remarks, towards the end of his reflection upon 2008. They were made, let us remember, on the occasion of celebrating God becoming a man, born of the womb of a Woman, in order to be the Bridegroom to his bride, the Church - rich gender-filled themes indeed, but perhaps increasingly subversive of modern values.

What is needed is something like a human ecology, correctly understood. If the Church speaks of the nature of the human being as man and woman, and demands that this order of creation be respected, this is not some antiquated metaphysics.
What is involved here is faith in the Creator and a readiness to listen to the “language” of creation. To disregard this would be the self-destruction of man himself, and hence the destruction of God’s own work.
What is often expressed and understood by the term “gender” ultimately ends up being man’s attempt at self-emancipation from creation and the Creator. Man wants to be his own master, and alone – always and exclusively – to determine everything that concerns him. Yet in this way he lives in opposition to the truth, in opposition to the Creator Spirit.
Rain forests deserve indeed to be protected, but no less so does man, as a creature having an innate “message” which does not contradict our freedom, but is instead its very premise.

These comments were "irresponsible and unacceptable", the UK's Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement said. Vladimir Luxuria, a transgender former Italian MP, called his words "hurtful". In modern Britain it is worth remembering, lest we forget, that Christianity sees gender as a much deeper, richer reality than simply the biological, and is convinced that it is profoundly “irresponsible” and causes deep, long-lasting “hurt” to ignore it.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 11:09 am