Friday, November 30, 2007

Spe Salvi Nos

First came Love ...

Now he has Hope ...

The long awaited second Encyclical Letter of Pope Benedict XVI was published earlier today and here it is:


The Seminarians

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Update on the Carthusian Nun thing

Thank you to all of you who left comments under that post, I am deeply grateful. I received an e-mail from a friend on the issue and as well as forwarding it to my friend in Oxford I would like to copy and paste it here.

It seems that the ceremony for establishing "deaconesses" was in many ways similar to the ordination of deacons. According to the 19th canon of the First Council of Nicaea says that they did not receive the imposition of hands and are therefore to be considered laity, albeit that they were sometimes numbered among the clergy. On the other hand, .there was some form of laying on of hands in at least some cases - the 4th century Apostolic Constitutions include a laying on of hands for establishing deaconesses. Of course, laying on hands does not imply the conferral of the sacrament of orders: all manner of liturgical actions include the laying on of hands (including simple blessings). On the whole subject of deaconesses, Aime George Martimort's book is useful.

Anyway, it is noted in the 1917 Catholic encyclopedia that "[t]he only surviving relic of the ordination of deaconesses in the West seems to be the delivery by the bishop of a stole and maniple to Carthusian nuns in the ceremony of their profession." More detail is found in the article on the Carthusian Order:

"The Carthusian nuns have retained the privilege of the consecration of virgins, which they have inherited from the nuns of Prébayon. The consecration, which is given four years after the vows are taken, can only be conferred by the diocesan. The rite differs but slightly from that given in the Pontifical. The nun is invested with a crown, ring, stole and maniple, the last being worn on the right arm. These ornaments the nun only wears again on the day of her monastic jubilee, and after her death on her bier. It is a consecrated nun who sings the Epistle at the conventual Mass, though without wearing the manible. At Matins, if no priest be present, a nun assumes the stole and reads the Gospel. There are also lay sisters, Données, and Saeurs Touricres. Famous among Carthusian nuns have been St. Roseline of Villeneuve and Bl. Beatrix of Ornacieus."

Note that, in this description, they do not customarily vest as deacons and, while they do certain things usually reserved to deacons, they do not do anything that requires the power of orders. They also do not sing the Gospel at Mass.

I have no idea whether these privileges remain in force following the reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. It is entirely possible that they do. Even back in 1917, the writers of the Catholic Encyclopedia could note that these nuns "have never been numerous", I doubt that there are many today.

Facebook ... the world is smaller than we think.

Being in touch with the youth, as I am, and being a youth myself (that is, youthful, rather than yoof, note the 'f') I am a member of facebook, the on-line networking site, where one can share photographs, messages and e-mails, Where one can tell the world one's mood by updating the 'status'. In brief, as a priest friend of mine says, an invention to save friends and aquaintences actually speaking to each other.

On this website one can find many different groups to join, some of these are fun, others political, others religious, a whole mish-mash, but it's always interesting to see ones friend's groups, to see their political or religious affliations.

For example, a friend of mine recently joined the group named "I'm a bleeding heart liberal and proud of it". Another friend, from the other side of the politcal perspective joined the group "I support Francisco Franco in the Spanish civil war" (I find this interesting given most members of facebook were born after 1938).

Then we move on to some of the more ecclesiastical groups, for example the fun "pick-up lines for Catholics", including 'you must be the third secret of Fatima' and 'you've got stunning scapular-brown eyes'. As a seminarian my membership of this group is purely academic.

"Bring back the biretta", "liturgical snobs anonymous" and "say the black do the red" are a few of the more popular groups concerned with the extra-ordinary rite, of which there are a plethora. I'm sure many of our readers have heard of the group "everytime a priest says Mass without a maniple God kills a kitten", although I'm not entirely sure He does.

I'd encourage all our readers, who are members of facebook, to join the group "Vocations group" which is, as the name suggests, a group for promoting vocations in the Catholic Church.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Catch up

We're in between essays at the moment so find below a couple of posts catching our readers up with recent events in the life of the Seminarians!

A Weekend in Oxford

I spent last weekend in Oxford. And what a beautiful weekend it was. I was visiting a friend who was celebrating his birthday and we attended Mass and Exposition/Benediction at St Aloysius. The liturgies there were as beautiful as one could imagine, it was hard to imagine that it is just an ordinary parish church. Holy Mass on Christ the King was particularly grand, the first Mass in the Ordinary Form I have ever attended with a Deacon and Sub-Deacon. The choir was incredible, the singing of 'Christus Vincit' was remarkable.

My friend and I attended the Ordination of Br Joseph to the Diaconate, which was quite impressive in itself - the Bishop sang the prayer of Ordination. The Litany was gorgeous. We were slightly late (arrived at the homily) and there were no seats so my friend wanted to leave, I convinced him to stay until after the ordination itself - we left after the Credo. Fr Anton told us the next day that there was a grand bun-fight afterwards, which I was sorry to miss as I recognised the Bishop's Deacon and hoped to have a chat with him but the Birthday Boy's needs prevailed. I know he's reading this so I'll say 'Hello' now!

There is so much more to do there, I must go again soon!

Female Deacons of St Bruno

While in Oxford I was confronted with a very interesting situation. My friend told me about a community of Carthusian Nuns soe of whom are ordained Deacons and are the onlt women in the world given this unique privilege. I suggested that perhaps they are Biblical style Deaconesses, but no he insisted they are ordained by the Local Ordinary, wear the stole, proclaim the Gospel and preach.

Has anyone heard of these? I haven't even heard of Carthusian Nuns never mind Deacon Nuns!

Pontifical Requiem Mass

I know its been a while and you've probably all seen and read reviews elsewhere but this was our first experience of such a Mass so we would like to express our wonder and awe to you dear readers.

The atmosphere in Westminster Cathedral was wonderful, everyone dressed in black, women wearing black mantillas. The choir was incredible, we had always thought all Requiem Masses had to be simple chant but this Mass was polyphonic. The Bishop did a very good job considering the pressure he was under as the first Bishop of England and Wales to say Mass in the Extraordinary Form since 1969.

There were so many rituals we have never seen before that intrigued us and roused many questions such as:

Why does the Bishop wear a chalice veil on his lap?
Why are there two Deacons and a Priest wearing a cope? (One of the Deacons may have been a Sub-Deacon wearing a Dalmatic instead of a Tunicle and the priest may have been a Deacon wearing a Priest's Biretta of course)
Why couldn't the Bishop remove and replace his own Mitre?
What is with the conference of clerics surrounding the Bishop everytime he returns to the faldstool?

It was a wonderful experience nad one I hope to have again. Unfortunately the Absolutions at the Catafalque were cancelled at the last minute but hopefully that will be restored next year.

The only thing that ruined the day for us was after Mass outside the Cathedral when we overheard some dreadful 'ecclesial bitchiness' criticising the Bishop's homily, his Mitre and the mistakes he made. His homily was good, he spoke about the importance of preparing for one's own death and how we shouldn't take that important time of life away from a person who is dying, as well as the importance of praying for the dead.

Many prayers were said for Bishop Arnold among the Seminarians and we hope that is not the last time we see him or indeed any other Bishop in such an important and privileged position.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


We haven't logged on for a while (2 more essays to go) so it was nice to see so many comments asking after us. Well, the flu (sorry Mac ... cold) season is over for another year and we are all returning this eveing from our Free Weekend. Unfortunately we haven't toime to post any more than this but we will catch you up ASAP!

God Bless

The Seminarians

Friday, November 16, 2007

Pontifical Requiem Mass at the Faldstool

Don't forget this Mass followed by Absolutions at the Catafalque tomorrow at Westminster Cathedral, 2pm. Hope to see some of you there!

Archbishop Maurice Couvre de Murville RIP

Some of our brethren are attending the funeral of the Archbishop today so we keep the repose of his soul firmly in our prayers.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

It's been too long

Seminary life is somewhat busy at the moment, essay deadlines are coming up (one every two weeks), its also flu season - ladies if you think your husbands and sons have bad man-flu try living with 30 celibate men with it, you'd think the plague had hit! Thus Orthfully Catholic has been somewhat quiet of late. I shall therefore take this opportunity to try and keep you updated on our activities of late.

Wednesday evening was an absolute delight. The new men wanted to thank the house for helping them to settle in so quickly and accept them as par of the community so easily and so they cooked supper for us all. We had a four course meal consisting of Bruschetta, Smokers Sorbet, Chicken in a Basket and Chocolate Cheesecake. The most wonderful meal I think I have ever had here! We at Orthfully Catholic would like to take this opportunity to thank the cooks for their hard work and delicious meal.

The November festivals were kept with due ceremony of course. All Saints was a marvel, First Class Relics were put on display around the chapel for veneration. Lauds and Mass were celebrated beautifully. On All Souls we all received our indulgence by celebrating Sext in the graveyard followed by prayers for the dead and blessing of the graves. After a major debate among staff and students as to whether or not the Gloria should be removed from the liturgy we had a Requiem Mass for the War Dead on Remembrance Sunday followed by a laying of the wreath at the Memorial Plaque for those Seminarians who died in World War I and their names and ages were read out after the 2 minute silence - all of them were in their early 20's. The Gloria was removed after the organist refused to play it.

I think that is all we have done other than write essays, study hard and try to stay alive during the flu invasion.

God Bless

The Seminarians