Richard III – A Very Ecumenical King?

Nottingham, England, Mar 25, 2015 / 02:25 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- KingRichardIII 

In preparation for the reinterment of the remains of Richard III, a 15th century English king whose body was only recently rediscovered, Cardinal Vincent Nichols of Westminster has offered Compline and a Requiem Mass for the late monarch. “This evening we fulfil a profound and essential Christian duty: that of praying for the dead, for the repose of their eternal souls,” Cardinal Nichols preached during a March 23 Requiem Mass said at Holy Cross Priory in Leicester. “The prayer we offer for him this evening is the best prayer there is: the offering of the Holy Mass, the prayer of Jesus himself, made complete in the oblation of his body and blood on the altar of the cross, present here for us on this altar.”

Richard III was born in 1452, and reigned over England from 1483-1485, when he died in the Battle of Bosworth Field. He was the last king of the House of York; he was succeeded by Henry VII, founder of the House of Tudor. His corpse was buried without pomp, and subsequently lost. It was found in 2012 under a parking lot in Leicester, 30 miles south of Nottingham, on the site of Greyfriars, a Franciscan friary dissolved during the English Reformation.

His body has been kept at the University of Leicester, and was processed to Leicester Cathedral, an Anglican church, on Sunday. That evening, Cardinal Nichols led a Compline service at the cathedral, during which Richard’s coffin was sprinkled with holy water, and incensed. “This sprinkling with holy water is a reminder that King Richard, at the beginning of his life, was baptised,” the cardinal reflected. “He was thereby called to live as a follower of Jesus Christ.” “The deepest intentions of Richard have always been hard to fathom. Yet that is often true for many of us. Within the depth of his heart, amidst all his fears and ambitions, there surely lay a strong desire to provide his people with stability and improvement.”

Cardinal Nichols noted Richard’s achievements, including a development of the presumption of innocence, the concept of blind justice, the practice of granting bail, and translating laws into the vernacular, while adding that “nevertheless his reign was marked by unrest and the fatal seepage of loyalty and support.” “All of this reminds us, if we need reminding, that baptism does not guarantee holiness of life or saintliness of nature. But it gives a fundamental and enduring shape to a journey through life, in all its struggles and failures.” He recalled Richard as a man of prayer and “anxious devotion,” who composed a surviving prayer and established chapels. “We pray that, being brought into the presence of that Divine majesty, Richard may be embraced by God’s merciful love, there to await the final resurrection of all things in the fullness of time.”

Until its reburial, Richard III’s body will remain at Leicester Cathedral. More than 20,000 visited the cathedral to view the coffin. The reinterment will be held at the cathedral on Thursday, led by Justin Welby, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury.

On Monday, March 23, Cardinal Nichols said a Requiem Mass at Holy Cross Priory, a Dominican parish in Leicester. He wore a chasuble known as the “Westminster Vestment,” which is believed to be from Richard III’s own wardrobe. The chasuble’s embroidery matches that described from his inventories, and has been dated to the third quarter of the 15th century. The Mass was attended by several bishops from across England and Wales, as well as by Tim Stevens, the Anglican Bishop of Leicester. Msgr. Thomas McGovern, administrator of the Diocese of Nottingham – which includes Leicester – commented that “it is fitting that, after 530 years, Richard III’s mortal remains are once again laid to rest, this time in Leicester Cathedral, the mediaeval Catholic parish church of Leicester, not far from where they were first buried by the Franciscan friars after the Battle of Bosworth.” “Just as Mass would have been offered for the repose of his soul by the priests who buried him, we do him the same service tonight, asking Almighty God to receive him into the kingdom of heaven with his sins forgiven. May he rest in peace.”

Cardinal Nichols remarked during his homily that “during this week, Mass is being offered in many Catholic Churches for the repose of the soul of King Richard III. Rightly so. That is exactly what he would have wished, having himself set up at least one chantry chapel for Masses to be celebrated for the dead of both sides of the Battle of Towton in 1461.” “This evening we pray that the merciful judgement of our loving God is extended to him in every degree, for we know that it is only the gift of God’s mercy that protects us from the demands of God’s justice … We offer this holy Mass that even while his remains are lying in the Cathedral nearby, his soul is united with God in the glory of heaven there to await the final resurrection of all things in Christ.” “This was the hope he held in his heart. This is the hope we hold for ourselves and our loved ones too. We share this one hope and the faith and love which accompany it. In this grace we pray for this dead King and we pray that the kingship in Christ, given to us all, may truly guide our lives and make us builders of that eternal Kingdom here in our world today.”  Source

Comments invited…

Germany: Split in Bishops Conference…

.- A German cardinal has publicly opposed the words of two other German bishops who have suggested that the nation’s Church can form its own policies without direction from Rome. Cordes

Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes [Ed: pictured left] published a letter earlier this month objecting to the pronouncements of prominent leaders of the Church in Germany that the nation’s bishops’ conference will pursue its own program of pastoral care for marriages and family regardless of the outcome of October’s Synod on the Family.

At a Feb. 25 press conference following the German bishops’ plenary assembly, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising, who is president of the conference, stated, “We are not a branch of Rome. Each conference of bishops is responsible for pastoral care in its cultural context and must preach the Gospel in its own, original way. We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and family here.”

Cardinal Marx, whom the German bishops have chosen as one of their three delegates at the upcoming Synod on the Family, added that there are “certain expectations” of Germany in helping the Church to open doors and “go down new paths,” and that “in doctrine, we also learn from life.”

He was echoed by Bishop Franz-Josef Bode of Osnabruck – a fellow synod delegate – who called the Synod on the Family a “historically important” moment and a “paradigm shift,” urging that “the reality of men and the world” be a source for theological understanding.

Cardinal Cordes – who was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Paderborn and is president emeritus of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum – published a strenuous objection to the media statements of his fellow German bishops in the form of a March 7 letter to the editor of Die Tagespost, a prominent German language Catholic newspaper.

“Since the words of the highest representative of Catholics in Germany have a guideline-like character, and create substantial waves in the media, it makes sense to object publicly to some of the utterances, in order to limit the confusion which they have caused,” Cardinal Cordes wrote.

The cardinal noted that the February press conference was focused on the Synod on the Family, and on particular of the proposal by Cardinal Walter Kasper – another German – to admit some among the divorced and civilly remarried to Communion.

“The problem was addressed with the beautiful words of ‘new solutions’ and ‘opening doors’,” Cardinal Cordes wrote.

He responded to Cardinal Marx’ characterization of the Church in Germany as an exemplar by saying that “if he wanted to express that Germany is example in leading the faithful to a giving oneself up to Christ, then I think the bishop is fooled by wishful thinking. The existing German ecclesial apparatus is completely unfit to work against growing secularism.”

“It was not without reason,” Cardinal Cordes wrote, that Benedict XVI strongly urged the Church in Germany to become less worldly during his 2011 visit there.

“In themes of faith, realism counts above all,” the cardinal reflected. “Therefore one has to consider the facts.” He noted that a recent survey shows that among Catholics in western Germany, only 16 percent believe God to be personal: “all other Catholics see in God a faceless providence, an anonymous fate along the lines of a primordial power. Or they simply deny his existence flat out. What do they think of when they pray the Our Father? So there is no reason to pride ourselves on our faith if we stand in comparison to other countries.”

Cardinal Cordes then commented on Cardinal Marx’ ecclesiological statements, saying his “theological blurriness makes you wonder,” adding that statements like “we are not a branch of Rome” are more suited “to the counter of a bar.”

“The head of the German bishop’s conference certainly has some competence when it comes to a second edition of the hymnal or the changing of the pilgrim route to Altötting,” Cardinal Cordes stated. “But the president argues something entirely different.”

“The president argues about the drama of the divorced and remarried! This matter reaches far beyond regional particularities of a pragmatic nature, of a given mentality and cultural background. This matter is bound to the very center of theology. In this field not even a cardinal can loosen such a complex Gordian knot in a single swordstroke. He has the sacramental theology of the Council of Trent. He has also the words of Benedict XVI, who only recently (January 21, 2012) told the Roman Rota, the ordinary court of the Apostolic See, that no-one can simply brush over binding legislation of the Church when it comes to pastoral matters. A responsible shepherd cannot be guided by a blurred ‘mercy.’ And while the president repeats that regarding the Magisterium, he wants to ‘stay within the community of the Church,’ he either ignores the limits that this Magisterium gives to pastoral care, or he is carefree in making a statement to make himself sound good.”

Cardinal Cordes lamented that in Cardinal Marx’ comments, the idea of communion – among bishops, and with the Bishop of Rome – was sorely lacking, “even though the bishops expressly promised ‘unity with the College of Bishops under the Successor of Peter’ during their episcopal consecration. The sentence: ‘We cannot wait for a synod to tell us how we have to shape pastoral care for marriage and family here’ is not imbued with a spirit of ‘Communio’.”

He charged that the message sent by Cardinal Marx “seems to be the result of an ‘obedience that goes ahead’, a deeply political strategy which creates ‘facts’ in order to dominate the process of decision-making and to put pressure on their colleagues.”

“Particularly deplorable are the statements during the press conference that the ‘new solutions’ – everyone knows what is meant – can be theologically justified,” Cardinal Cordes wrote. “Does he want to say that the dogma of the inseparability of marriage becomes intolerable because of the life situations of remarried people?

Cardinal Cordes then turned to the comments made by Bishop Bode, who had cited Gaudium et spes, Vatican II’s pastoral constitution on the Church in the modern world, as a support for his conclusion that “not only does the Christian message have to find resonance with men, but also men must find resonance with us.”

Cardinal Cordes responded, saying that while Gaudium et spes does state that “nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in the hearts of Christ’s followers,” the fathers of Vatican II “came to the conclusion that it would be erroneous to see the ‘signs of the times’ in the life of men simply as a ‘source of faith’ … and formally excluded the embarrassing fallacy that any challenge of the Church as such would be a source of faith.”

In contrast, he noted, the Second Vatican Council’s dogmatic constitution on divine revelation, Dei verbum, “leaves no doubt that faith in the Catholic Church feeds solely from Sacred Scripture and the Magisterium.”

“Independent of this unambiguous direction, it would be paradoxical to ascribe to a small part of the Church, who live in spiritually regrettable but objectively still irregular situation, the function of a source of faith,” Cardinal Cordes noted.

He concluded, writing that “May the shepherds who gather in Rome this autumn also give guidance to  the majority of practicing members of the Church, on how to ever deepen their marriage and to root it in Jesus Christ, so they may be testimonies of God’s power in the life of man for their contemporaries.”

“May the synod fathers come to the conclusion to pronounce deep respect for those who never married a second time – who due to their faithfulness to their first marriage commitment, did not enter a second union. Those cases also exist.”

Comment:

So, what’s a German Catholic to do now?  We’ve already had one critic of an English Bishop who wrote to warn his priests not to support  Charities that are not faithful to Catholic teaching, declare on this blog that “Bishop Egan he is surely subject to the norms of the Conference of Bishops for England and Wales…” so what ARE these “norms” for bishops’ conferences?  He who shouts loudest get to boss everyone else? What then? 

Bishop Vs “Catholic” Charities…

Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth has urged his clergy to support only those charities whose work is compatible with Church teaching.  

Bishop Egan wrote to his priests asking them to undertake a review of the charities they support by the end of the year.

Bishop Egan PortsmouthIn a letter he explained: “A number of people have asked me in the last couple of years since becoming bishop about third-party charities: which ones our parishes and the diocese itself can work with and support, and under what conditions. 

“After a lot of discussion and reflection, and having sought advice from those both inside and outside the diocese, I have decided to issue the attached guidance.

“I am reluctant to burden you with yet more work but I would like to ask you to undertake a review of all the relationships your parish has with external charities,” the bishop said, asking for such a review to be done by the end of the year.

In his guidance notes Bishop Egan said parishes should avoid raising money for charities that “engage in or closely co-operate with” initiatives promoting artificial birth control or abortion.

Another example he gave was Confirmation candidates volunteering to help at a soup kitchen or to redecorate a shelter for ex-prisoners. In this particular case, the bishop said, the charity also distributed condoms and gave abortion advice as part of its Foodbank boxes. In order to avoid scandal, he said, such volunteering would “need to be accompanied by a clear public statement distancing the Confirmation candidates from these activities”.

In a third example Bishop Egan described a charity offering workshops on “domestic dispute resolution” to schools. In this case, he said, the charity had also won an award from Stonewall for its transgender programmes and work with same-sex couples.

He said that working with such a charity in a way that suggested an endorsement would constitute “formal co-operation in gravely immoral acts”. If it were “impossible to so dissociate the co-operation with the charity from these issues” or if the “charity itself is so influenced by them in its other activities or thinking [then] … the virtue of prudence would counsel against any co-operation with them”, the bishop concluded.  Source

Comment…

It seems clear to me that CAFOD is definitely in the frame (if only a Scots Bishop would similarly warn against Catholics supporting SCIAF) but why on earth doesn’t the Bishop go that extra mile and name them? All well and good alerting his priests to the importance of checking out charities but they should be given all the information available to educate themselves about the true nature of some of these organisations presenting themselves as “Catholic”. All too often these “charities” hold views and act contrary to Catholic teaching, particularly Catholic moral teaching.  So, I’m giving the Bishop seven out of ten for writing to his bishops on this subject, but he doesn’t merit full marks for failing to spell out – literally – the names of the charities of concern.  What about you – what mark do YOU give the Bishop out of ten?

Irish Bishops Embarrassingly Weak…

Below is the statement issued by the Irish Bishops ahead of the referendum in May on same-sex marriage.  It is truly cringeworthy stuff.  Editorial comment has been inserted, briefly, to highlight some of the key weaknesses.

‘Marriage is important – Reflect before you change it’ – Statement of the Irish Catholic Bishops’ Conference 10 March 2015  referendum

Within weeks the people of Ireland will be asked to vote in a referendum that will change the meaning of marriage in the Constitution of Ireland.

Marriage is of fundamental importance for children, mothers and fathers, and society – all of us need to reflect deeply before changing it.  We ask the people of Ireland to consider very carefully the profound implications which this constitutional amendment would have on the family environment and on our understanding of parenthood.
Ed: we “ask” the people of Ireland to “consider carefully”… ?  Shouldn’t that be “we warn the people of Ireland of the consequences, both here and in eternity, of voting  for this immoral legislation?

We respect the views of people who think differently to us (Ed: do we?  I don’t)  trusting that our sincerely held views, grounded in faith, will also be heard and respected.
Ed: it’s not “our views” that matter.  It’s God’s moral law that the Irish Government seeks to overturn. That’s a heck of a lot more important than any human viewpoint.

We come to this debate believing that the union of a man and a woman in marriage, open to the procreation of children, is a gift from God who created us ‘male and female’.  Reason also points to the truth about human sexuality that makes the relationship between a man and a woman unique.  Mothers and fathers bring different, yet complementary gifts and strengths into a child’s life.

We cannot support* an amendment to the Constitution which redefines marriage and effectively places the union of two men, or two women, on a par with the marriage relationship between a husband and wife which is open to the procreation of children.
* Ed: nor may any Catholic support this amendment to the Constitution, without incurring the wrath of God – you forgot that bit, Bishops.

We are concerned that, should the amendment be passed, it will become increasingly difficult to speak any longer in public about marriage as being between a man and a woman.  What will we be expected to teach children in school about marriage?  Will those who sincerely continue to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman be forced to act against their conscience?  Can a way be found to protect the civil rights of gay people without undermining the fundamental meaning of marriage as commonly understood across cultures, faiths and down the ages?
Ed: yet again we find this fundamental error, of accepting the legitimacy of homosexual behaviour, in the first place, instead of condemning it as unnatural and gravely sinful. They leave themselves open to the obvious criticism that they are objecting only to the use of the M word – call it something else, not marriage, and we’re fine with it. What a ridiculous and ignorant position to hold.

Already, in The Children and Family Relationships Bill, it is proposed to remove mention of mothers and fathers from a whole raft of previous legislation.
Ed: and precisely where is the episcopal outrage at this proposal?

We encourage everyone to think about these issues and to vote on May 22nd.
Ed: excuse me?  You “encourage” the souls in your care to “think about these issues” and to vote… eh… how? on May 22nd? What’s to think about? There’s only one way for any Catholic to vote – isn’t there?  Why not say so? What is WRONG with you men? Are you faithless? Cowards? What then?

The effects of this proposed amendment will be far-reaching for this and for future generations.
Ed: the effects of this proposed amendment will be far reaching in eternity!  Or don’t you believe that?

We say to all voters: Marriage is important – Reflect before you change it.
Ed:  unbelievable.  What the Irish Bishops SHOULD be saying to all voters is: do NOT change the Constitution on marriage and if you vote to do so, be prepared to, literally, take the heat in eternity.  Afraid this would be counter productive? You forget about the grace of God and anyway, that’s not your concern. Your duty is to proclaim the truth, to warn of the consequences of defying God’s law, and then be at peace. How you can sleep at night having published such a wimpish statement on such a crucial issue, is a mystery to beat any Mystery of Faith.

We invite people of faith to bring this decision to prayer.  In the coming weeks, and particularly in May, the month of Mary, we call for prayer for Marriage and the Family.  END.
Ed: O, give it a rest. Throwing in a mention of prayer at the end, doesn’t fool anyone of even average intelligence.  It’s a very true saying that when the Faith goes, the Morals quickly follow.  We’ve known for a long time now that the Bishops of Ireland, like the Bishops of the UK have long since lost the Catholic Faith if ever they truly held to it. 

In conclusion…

Catholics of Ireland – there is only ONE way for you to vote in the forthcoming referendum on same-sex “marriage” and you have a duty to cast that vote – NO! NO! NO!  

Comments invited…

Bishop Williamson – Excommunicated!

BpWilliamsonwebsite

Illicit Consecration revealed by Rorate going on in Brazil at this moment

French blog Riposte Catholique mentions today that the Consecration of Fr. Jean-Michel Faure (a former member of the Society of Saint Pius X) by Bishop Richard Williamson (expelled from the same Society in 2012) was to have been kept secret – until Rorate revealed it to the world in a worldwide exclusive text, forcing the hand of those involved who had to admit it would take place.

 Why was it kept secret? Probably because those involved wished to present the event as a fait accompli. As Riposte Catholique also informs, the Nunciature in Brazil informed those involved of the canonical penalties that will be applied as a consequence of the act.

 ***

 The act is taking place right now in Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro State, Brazil, exactly as Rorate had revealed (thanks to our very reliable sources, as our readers can now verify by themselves).

 A Spanish-language blog of the so-called “Resistance”  (former members and associates of the SSPX, that left that Society due to the contacts with the Holy See) is covering the ongoing event and posting images, such as the one below.  Source

Comment

There can be no justification for what Bishop Williamson is doing today, beyond the need to keep himself in the headlines. Quoting himself on his website banner doesn’t seem to have cut the mustard, so something had to be done, I suppose. Still, a schismatic act, when there is no state of emergency to meet the conditions in Canon Law, means automatic excommunication.   The only good thing that may come of this, is that some, at least, of the SSPX faithful who followed this arrogant rebel in his daft “resistance” (to nothing) movement may now come to their senses.  That’s what I think – what about you?

Update:  the illicit consecration did take place, so the penalty of automatic excommunication applies. 

A Very Happy Feast of Saint Joseph!

Dear St Joseph, pure and gentle,
guardian of the Saviour child,
Treading, with the virgin mother,
Egypt’s deserts rough and wild.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

He who rested on thy bosom
is by countless saints adored,
Prostrate angels in his presence
sing hosannahs to their Lord.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

Now to thee, no gift refusing,
Jesus stoops to hear thy prayer;
Then, dear saint, from thy fair dwelling,
give to us a father’s care.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

Dear St Joseph, kind and loving,
stretch to us a helping hand;
guide us through life’s toils and sorrows
safely to the distant land.

Dear St Joseph, spouse of Mary,
blest above all saints on high,
When the death shades round us gather,
teach, O teach us how to die,
teach, O teach us how to die.

Comment:

Share your favourite prayers and stories about St Joseph.
He is a very powerful saint indeed,
but not a lot of people know that
so let’s spread the word…

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

St PatrickSNAKESHail, Glorious St Patrick

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, dear saint of our Isle,   On us thy poor children bestow a sweet smile;   And now thou art high in the mansions above,  On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

On Erin’s green valleys, on Erin’s green valleys,   On Erin’s green valleys look down in thy love.

Hail, glorious Saint Patrick, thy words were once strong  Against Satan’s wiles and an infidel throng;   Not less is thy might where in heaven thou art;   O, come to our aid, in our battle take part.

O come to our aid, O come to our aid, O come to our aid, in our battle take part.

In the war against sin, in the fight for the faith,   Dear saint, may thy children resist unto death;   May their strength be in meekness, in penance, their prayer,   Their banner the cross which they glory to bear.

Their banner the cross, their banner the cross, their banner the cross which they glory to bear.

Thy people, now exiles on many a shore,   Shall love and revere thee till time be no more;   And the fire thou hast kindled shall ever burn bright,   Its warmth undiminished, undying its light.

Its warmth undiminished, its warmth undiminished, its warmth undiminished, undying its light.

Ever bless and defend the sweet land of our birth,   Where the shamrock still blooms as when thou wert on earth,   And our hearts shall yet burn, wherever we roam,   For God and Saint Patrick, and our native home.

For God and Saint Patrick,   for God and Saint Patrick, for God and Saint Patrick, and our native home. shamrock

Comment

Ireland is in a terrible state these days, in terms of the Faith. They have a referendum on same-sex marriage  looming, with all the polls showing a likely victory for its proponents.  Yet, Irish missionaries have spread the Faith worldwide and the faithful persevered (think “Mass rocks”) during times of persecution.   Little wonder, then, that Satan is working his diabolical disorientation on them big time and with bells on, during this dreadful crisis in the Church.

This thread, then, is to allow us to remember to pray for Ireland on this national Feast Day, but also to  share our favourite prayers, hymns, memories and – yes, we MUST have some – jokes!  I’m not sure this will be generally known outside of Ireland, but, as we (in the UK) prepare for a General Election, it might be helpful to our politicians to know that unemployment has been virtually wiped out in Ireland because they have raised the school leaving age to 65…