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St. Mary Magdalen's
Catholic Church
Willesden Green
London NW10
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Saturday, October 17, 2009

As Catholics we don’t use the bible as a manual, something that might be expected to give clear needed answers to any relevant question of the day. That is more the job of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the collection of teachings of Christ in His Church which have developed down the ages in response to cultural needs.

Nor do Catholics place great store by short “proof texts” to win arguments. The history of large, tragic, scandalous division in British Christianity since the Reformation has proved beyond reasonable doubt that both sides of most issues can fairly easily quote the Bible in their defence. The Bible which was written by the Church compiled by the Church, declared inspired by the Church, needs to be interpreted by the Church. Again the Catechism provides this need.

We certainly can and do use the Bible to support the tradition of Catholic teaching. But primarily we use the inspired word to inspire us, to guide our relationship with God and others – and in the daily challenges that life throws up. Here are some inspiring parts of the inspired Word, on various themes.

Comfort: John 14:1-3; Revelation 21:4; Psalm 23:4

Worry: Matthew 6:25-34; Philippians 4:6-7; Psalm 46

Guidance: Romans 12:1-2; Psalm 32:8-10; Philippians 4:4-7

Illness/Pain: 2 Corinthians 12:9-10; Mark 4:37-41; Psalm 103:1-4

New Life: Romans 10:9-11; Ephesians 2:4-9; Titus 2:11-14

Prayer: Luke 11:1-13; John 14:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

Jealousy: Luke 15:25-32; Galatians 5:19-26; James 3:13-18

Failure: Hebrews 4:14-16; Jude 1:24-25; Psalm 73:26

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:24 am

Saturday, October 10, 2009

The broadsheet newspaper The Guardian recently published an article, by Tanya Gold, with the headline:

“Ignore the bells and the smells and the lovely Raphaels, the Pope's visit to Britain is nothing to celebrate. Gordon Brown is 'delighted', David Cameron is 'delighted'. I am 'repelled'.”

Among other things she states of the Pope, "Joseph Ratzinger has colluded in the protection of paedophiles and the deaths of millions of Africans".

The editor of the Daily Telegraph’s internet blog, Damian Thompson, wrote an article upon this piece on his blog headlined “The Guardian's repulsive attack on Pope Benedict XVI”. Fr Tim Finigan on his internet blog makes the following points which respond to the specific accusations the Guardian makes. He writes:

1. Pope Benedict did not attempt to cover up child abuse allegations while Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He ensured that the proper canonical process was instituted, not excluding the involvement of the civil authorities. The Church has unambiguously recognised the importance of handing cases over to the police. Anti-Catholics might remember this from their anti-inquisition propaganda as "handing over to the secular arm": the right and proper procedure in such cases.

2. The Pope is not responsible for millions of deaths in Africa. The evidence shows that countries showered with condoms have the greater problem with HIV/AIDS.

3. One of the first things that Pope Benedict did was to institute the removal of Marciel Maciel.

4. Under Pope Benedict, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has been tasked with dismissing from the clerical state any priest guilty of any sexual offences against anyone U-18

5. The Catholic Church is currently rather more vigilant on these matters than many other organisations. See for example the pathetic excuses that have been made for the behaviour of Roman Polanski. Had he been a priest, no doubt the Guardian would have had an article complaining about those who have excused his behaviour.

When the Pope went to Australia in the summer of 2008 secularists used the occasion to attack the Catholic Church and attempt to relate every possible story to the scandalous behaviour of priests who have abused children. It seems the process has started here. Watch this space.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 12:24 pm

Saturday, October 03, 2009
YEAR FOR PRIESTS JULY 2009-2010(4th October 2009)

Archbishop Vincent Nichols writes:

The Year for Priests, called for by Pope Benedict XVI, is to be a year, in which, as a Church, we say that we are proud of our priests, that we love them, honour them and recognise with gratitude the witness of their lives and the generosity of their pastoral work.

During this Year of the Priests, as a Diocese, we will centre our effort around a renewed practice of prayer. In every parish we will centre this effort around prayer before the Blessed Sacrament and the Rosary. I hope that every parish will devote an hour each week to prayer for priests before the Blessed Sacrament and that a rhythm of Forty Hours devotion can be established around the Deaneries. I hope that this renewal will reach to our schools too.

This practice of prayer, as well as study, will sustain us in our life together, it will enable us to thank God whole-heartedly for the gift of our priests and, I believe, it will be the source from which new vocations to the priesthood will spring.

Watch out for a special Holy Hour on some Tuesday mornings. Also our Rosary group is praying for vocations after morning weekday Masses.

Please see the Prayer cards at the back. The American iconographer, Marek Czarnecki, has written of the icon on this card that it is "based on a fifteenth century Greek prototype; here Christ is shown in Latin Rite vestments with a gold pelican over His heart, the ancient symbol of self-sacrifice. The borders contain a winding grapevine and altar prepared for the celebration of the liturgy of the Mass; in the borders are smaller icons of Melchizedek and St. Jean-Baptiste Vianney."

Melchizedek was a mysterious priestly figure of the Old Testament who prefigures Christ in his offering of bread and wine. St Jean-Baptiste Vianney is currently the patron of priests involved in the parochial ministry but during the coming year Pope Benedict XVI will proclaim him patron saint of all priests.

posted by Sinead Reekie at 9:34 am