You are currently browsing the monthly archive for May 2007.

Since one of my cousins is a priest in Hong Kong, I have great interest in the Church in China and in Hong Kong.

Catholic News Service is reporting that Cardinal Zen of Hong Kong says that Chinese rule is affecting life in Hong Kong.

For people in Hong Kong, the first 10 years of Chinese rule has been “a long series of frustrations,” said Hong Kong Cardinal Joseph Zen Ze-kiun.”

On the surface, everything is like before,” Cardinal Zen told Catholic News Service in Washington May 30. However, he added, Chinese government authorities “are not keeping their promises.”

For instance, he said, although universal suffrage is contained in the Basic Law, the miniconstitution that governs Hong Kong until 2047, Chinese officials ruled out direct elections of the Hong Kong chief executive in 2007 and the special administrative region’s legislature in 2008.

Read the complete article here.

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Anyone who has worked in parish ministry for long enough has had to deal with people who don’t want to follow Church rules. You know the drill…no secular music, no dancing girls, only scriptural readings, etc. I am sure you can add plenty more to the list.

I bet you haven’t run into anyone quite like Margaret McClusky. My comments are in red.

From the Daily Record:

A devastated widow took out an advert in a newspaper to slam the priest who carried out her husband’s funeral.

Margaret McCluskey, 66, blasted Father Timothy Brosnan for his “cold and impersonal” handling of the service.

She said yesterday: “I’ve been very upset over this and had to see my doctor.
“He told me what the priest did has added to my grief.”

Dad-of-three John McCluskey, 65, of Bellshill, Lanarkshire, died earlier this month after suffering an aneurysm.

The retired engineer’s requiem mass took place at St Gerard’s Church in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, on May 10 in front of 250 friends and family

But raging Margaret, 66, was so upset by Father Brosnan’s conduct, she felt she had to lambast him publicly.

Her advert in her local paper, the Bellshill Speaker, said: “John was a quiet and unjudgemental man and I apologise for the very cold and impersonal ceremony by Rev Brosnan on John’s Requiem Day.

“God knows John deserved better. I knew him so well.”
Yesterday, Margaret, who had been married to John for 40 years, revealed the catalogue of complaints about Father Brosnan that had sparked her public dressing-down.

She said: “John wouldn’t have hurt a fly but Father Brosnan made it clear he didn’t want him in the church.

“We wanted four of John’s favourite hymns at the funeral but he told us we couldn’t sing them.” (Something tells me they weren’t liturgical hymns and probably weren’t hymns at all)

The family had also arranged for a local choir to sing at the service but we were told they wouldn’t be allowed into the church. (My guess is that they were either not a liturgical choir, or the organist required a bench fee which she didn’t want to pay.)

“We had a picture of John and placed it on his coffin before the service – but the first thing the priest did was take it off and place it on the floor face down. During the service, he hardly mentioned John or any of his family – it seemed very strange.”
Margaret was so furious, she said she threw Father Brosnan out of a car she’d hired for the funeral. (Ok, it shouldn’t have gone on the floor, but pictures do not belong on caskets during. Also, the homily isn’t a eulogy. The focus during a funeral Mass is supposed to be on God, not on the deceased)

She said: “After the church service, we went to Holytown Crematorium and Father Brosnan came. He said a few words and then marched out and went and sat in my funeral car. (What did she want, a song and dance number?)

“I said I didn’t want him in the car and he got out – I think he got a lift back from someone else at the funeral.”

Father Brosnan said he didn’t want to discuss John’s funeral service.
He added: “I really don’t know why Mrs McCluskey would say something like that. I won’t be contacting her as I think this is something that is best left alone.” (Wise decision!)

Read the article here.

People in grief can do strange things which are completely out of character for them. The only information I have is what is in this article and I can’t see what the priest did wrong, except for maybe his handling of the photo. There had to have been a better way to get it out of the way. Perhaps placing it on a small table away from the sanctuary or at the entrance of the church would have been a better solution. However, I don’t see the problem with the other complaints. We all want a priest who is warm, compassionate, and takes his time, but circumstances are what they are. Maybe he wasn’t feeling well, was tired, or just having a bad day. Maybe she imagined a completely personalized me-centered Mass.

The personal life of the priest shouldn’t interfere with his ministry, but he is human. I have bad days too and while I try to not let it interfere with my work and my dealings with other people, we are only capable of so much.

I pray that Mrs. McCluskey finds the love of Christ in her heart and forgives Fr. Brosnan for whatever slights she feels he committed.

Here is a weird article I found today.

Apparently rumors are circulating that Pope Benedict forgot a very important piece of paper when he traveled to Brazil.

From the International Herald Tribune:

Even the pope needs a passport.
But did Benedict XVI forget his when he flew to Brazil this month for his first papal visit to the world’s largest Roman Catholic country?

A respected Brazilian newspaper columnist insists the pope didn’t have it with him when he landed in Sao Paulo, and high-ranking officials from the Vatican to Brazil’s presidential palace aren’t commenting.

Merval Pereira, who writes for Rio’s O Globo newspaper, reported Tuesday that the Vatican secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, also showed up in Brazil without his passport.

The two were allowed to enter the country, but Pereira said the government found a way to penalize the oversight without causing a stir. It quietly fined Italian airline Alitalia SpA for allowing the two foreigners to travel without documentation to Brazil.

Read the complete article here.

When I was a child, the parish feast was one of the most anticipated events of the year. My home parish is Espirito Santo (Holy Spirit) and the parish feast is help each year on the last weekend in May.

This feast is more than a parish festival. It is a celebration of faith, family, friends, and food. The church parking lot is transformed into a carnival type atmosphere with food booths, games, and live music.

But the big event takes place on Sunday. The feast Mass is the biggest event of the three day period. The principal celebrant is usually either the bishop of the diocese or a bishop from Europe. Since Espirito Santo is a Portuguese parish, a bishop from Portugal usually attends.

After the Mass, there is a procession through the streets of the city. All the parish groups are represented in the procession and the streets are lined with people.

At Espirito Santo, the procession begins with a large red banner which reads, “Vinde Espirito Santo” translated means “Come, Holy Spirit”. All the large statues from the church are carried in the procession by men of the parish. The smaller statues are carried by the children from the parish school. Each statue was preceded by children and teenagers who dressed as the saint portrayed by the statue and many other children dressed as angels.

Here is a slideshow of photos from the procession. For photo captions, click on the white square on the lower left corner of the picture.

Pope Benedict’s new book, “Jesus of Nazareth” is currently #6 on the New York Times bestseller list for hardcover non-fiction.

So much for people not being interested in Pope Benedict. Record audience crowds and a bestselling theology book. Gotta love the pope! I pray that his book will rise to the #1 position and boot the atheist book out.

I received the Eucharist for the first time 19 years ago today. I was so excited…not because of the dress or the party after, but because I was finally going to receive Jesus. Yes, I was in love with church stuff even back then.

Today can’t get much better. The semester is finished. I got an A in my philosophy class, I don’t know about the others yet since I just submitted my term papers today.

When I got home, I had a wonderful package in my mailbox. Pope Benedict’s new book, Jesus of Nazareth. By the way, it is now listed at #14 on Amazon.com

Thanks for your patience with the pause in blogging. Blogging will be light as I take some time to relax before summer classes begin. I will be reading the new book.

Have a great week.

During the course of his flight to Brazil yesterday, the Holy Father held his traditional press conference for the journalists accompanying him.

“I love Latin America very much,” said the Pope expressing his joy at having the opportunity to visit the “continent of hope.” The aim of this journey, he said, “is specifically religious: to give life in Christ and to [help people become] disciples of Christ.”

Answering a question about liberation theology, the Holy Father recalled that “with the changing political situation, the position of liberation theology is also radically different. It is clear that simplistic forms of millenarianism promising immediate and real conditions of a just life were mistaken. The question now is how the Church must be present in the struggle and the reforms necessary to guarantee conditions of justice. It is precisely on this point that theologians are divided.”

Benedict XVI also spoke of Archbishop Oscar Arnulfo Romero of San Salvador, murdered in 1980 as he was celebrating Mass. Describing him as “a great witness of the faith,” the Pope expressed his conviction that the late archbishop “merits beatification, although his memory must be liberated from the ideological deformations of those who have sought to appropriate it for political reasons.”

Going on to consider the proliferation of religious sects in Latin America, the Holy Father said “they are a sign that people thirst for God. The Church must respond to this need with a highly concrete plan and in the awareness that, apart from announcing the Christian message, it is important to help people achieve just living conditions.”

Replying to a question concerning the Mexican parliament, which has just approved a law in favor of abortion, the Pope highlighted “the need for Christian politicians to remain coherent to their principles.” The Church, he said, “announces the Gospel of life; life is a gift and not a threat.”

For his part, Holy See Press office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi S.J. made it clear that “the Mexican bishops have not excommunicated those politicians, and neither has Benedict XVI.” However, he added, “legislation in favor of abortion is not compatible with participation in the Eucharist.” Upon being asked whether this meant that the politicians were effectively excommunicated, Fr. Lombardi said “no, they exclude themselves from communion.”

In his replies to journalists, Benedict XVI had declared that “such excommunication is laid down in the Code, it is not arbitrary, it is simply written in the Code of Canon Law. The death of an innocent, of an unborn child, is inconceivable. It is not arbitrary, and the Church express appreciation for life and for the individuality of life from the first moment of conception.”
VIS

John Allen has translated the complete text of the press conference into English, or you can access the Italian version here.

The Holy Father is on his way to Brazil. He left Rome’s Fiumiocino airport this morning and should be arriving in São Paolo around 5:30 est.

While in São Paolo, he will be staying at the monastery of São Bento (Saint Benedict).

Here is a link to the schedule for this trip.

As a person of Portuguese descent, I am delighted that Pope Benedict has chosen to visit Brazil.

Pray with me for him and the people of Brazil:

Avé Maria, cheia de graça, o Senhor é convosco.
Bendita sois vós entre as mulheres;
bendito é o fruto do vosso ventre, Jesus.
Santa Maria, mãe de Deus, rogai por nós, pecadores,
agora e na hora da nossa morte.
Amen.

h/t to the Ironic Catholic:

You scored as Traditional Catholic. You look at the great piety and holiness of the Church before the Second Vatican Council and the decay of belief and practice since then, and see that much of the decline is due to failed reforms based on the “Spirit of the Council”.

(Yes, some of it is)

You regret the loss of vast numbers of Religious and Ordained clergy and the widely diverging celebrations of the Mass of Pope Paul VI, which often don’t even seem to be Catholic anymore.

(Yes, I do. Don’t take this to mean that I don’t like the Paul VI Mass. I think it contained some much needed changes. I just don’t like what some people have done to it.)

You are helping to rebuild this past culture in one of the many new Traditional Latin Mass communities or attend Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy. You seek refuge from the world of pornography, recreational drugs, violence, and materialism. You are an articulate, confident, committed, and intelligent Catholic.

Well, not really. However, I am trying to keep the celebrations of the Paul VI Mass in line with the GIRM and Catholic teaching.

But do you support legitimate reform of the Church, and are you willing to submit to the directives of the Second Vatican Council? Will you cooperate responsibly with others who are not part of the Traditional community?

Absolutely! I do not think a return to a Pre-Vatican II Church or liturgy is the solution, but we do need reform.

http://saint-louis.blogspot.com – Rome of the West

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