Friday, February 29, 2008

Links to other posts that affect us

The East Anglian Seminarians reported the Inter-Seminary Football Tournament. Naturally some of our lads went up - unfortunately not as many as we'd have liked as it clashed with our Day of Recollection. From what we heard upon their return it was a great weekend. We have been talking about making it an annual event and a different Seminary hosting it each year, as the EA lads said its great to meet other Seminarians and compare Seminary life.

Karen from San Diego has given the Brits some tips on dealing with earthquakes. This has been hotly debated at the Seminary because a number of Seminarians said they were woken up by their beds rocking in the early hours of the morning. They were all relieved to hear it was a natural event and not bed-rocking demons. However, not all students had this experience, only handful of those on the top floor and none of those on the next floor down. The Bursar has been worried that if it was as violent as they describe it that it may have caused some structural damage that will only become apparent later on.

Lenten Practices

We are now half way through Lent so we feel it is a good time to tell people about two things we are doing during Lent to emphasise the importance of the Season.

The first is something we do every year which is to have no accompaniment during the Office. Two members of staff take it in turns to be 'Chief Hummer' sitting next to the Cantor and humming the Psalm tone in his ear so he stands and sings a perfect antiphon and first line of the Psalm. This is beautiful and we tend to find that the singing is a better quality than with the organ. Something one or two of us miss from previous years is the lack of a monotone for the incipit, Concluding Prayer and Blessing and Dismissal, but hey, you can't have everything.

The second thing is a new addition to our traditions. At Ten O'Clock every night the Angelus Bell rings, all students stop what they are doing and pray then Magnum Silentium begins and is broken at Breakfast (8am). The Student Common Room is exempt from this so the pessimists among us thought everyone would simply go down there, but no it is empty, every student keeps the silence. Some of us are campaigning to make this a permanent feature.

Friday, February 22, 2008

HFE Bill

Last night a few of us went down to Portsmouth Cathedral to listen to Lord Alton and others speak about the atrocities of abortion and embryonic research.

It was billed as a lecture on Human Animal Hybrids but actually turned out to be a series of talks on how to campaign against the Bill. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn't what I expected it to be but was very pleased with what was said.

There are some postcards advertising Passion for Life to be sent to MPs. We asked for a box load and are asking students to take them out to parishes and places where they carry out their pastoral placements, we are also giving them to visiting priests to take to their parishes. If you see any of these postcards take a handful, send one yourself and hand them out to people. We must do anything we can to stop this Bill going through.

Don't forget to petition the Prime Minister to ask him to allow MPs to vote by conscience and write to MPs asking them to vote against the Bill.

Orthfully Catholic would like to thank Bishop Crispian Hollis, for hosting this fantastic evening, its good to see our Bishops actively supporting these issues.

Seminary Deacons

Last evening we celebrated a very special Mass. One of our new Deacons exercised two of his rights, the first was to lead the Penitential Rite and the other was to preach. It was his first time for both.

The Principal Celebrant began with the Sign of the Cross and Dominus Vobiscum of course and the Deacon began the Penitential Rite by reminding us that Jeremiah calls us to conversion and then led us in a troped Kyrie.

The Homily was about how names are important. In the Gospel Lazarus clearly has a name, Our Lord gives him a name, Abraham gives him a name and even Dives gives him a name. The Rich Man doesn't have a name, he has been given the name Dives in tradition but this is simply the Latin for Rich. Thus the story is not just about loving our neighbour no matter what his social status as we were taught in Primary School but that God gives status and reward to all his creation as long as they are faithful to him, if they are not they do not receive the status of even a name and are thrust into the eternal fires of Hell. He also enjoyed talking about wearing purple and fine linen in his freshly laundered alb and Lenten Dalmatic.

Back in the Valley

We saw this post on Karen's blog and thought something had gone horribly wrong at first then we found out for ourselves that it is indeed true, Fr Sean is back!

Welcome back to Blogland Father, and more importantly welcome back to the OC blogroll!

Thursday, February 21, 2008


I guess you really have to hear me growling this whenever someone describes something they have been doing during the current season that is anything but penitential to understand it, but trust me any Seminarians who know me will be in stitches right now.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is to say that there have been recent debates in the Seminary about whether groups of us should engage in social activity during these forty days, particularly after two house groups went out together, one to have dinner and the other to go bowling.

One other such excursion occurred last night when a few of us went to the local theatre to see a pre-West End production of Dickens Unplugged. If any readers are familiar with The Reduced Shakespeare Company they will know who produced it. It was a marvellous performance reducing about 10 or so of Charles Dickens' major works into a 90 minute performance of drama, song and dance. I haven't laughed so much in a long time (those who know me will be in stitches again at that comment). It included two excellent comical adaptations of David Copperfield and A Christmas Carol. One or two books were summarised in the form of a two minute song accompanied by an acoustic guitar. It also included scenes from the life of Charles Dickens himself who apparently had an obsession with performing the bludgeoning scene from Oliver Twist which eventually saw him shuffle off this mortal coil. The whole thing was performed by 5 English men who basically played an American appreciation band who tour the world introducing the delights of Charlie Dickens who walked the streets of London Town.

The Director of Studies, who arranged the trip, suggested afterward that our next public performance be Vatican II Unplugged '16 documents in 60 minutes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

SSPX and the new prayer

See Fr Z for an interesting post on how the SSPX has stated they will not be adopting the Pope's new prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the 1962 Missal. So much for respecting the Holy Father and not really being in Schism (we have no problem using the 'S' word).

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

St Paul and the perfidi

We have just finished a very interesting Scripture class. Before Half Term we handed in an essay on St Paul's letter to the Romans and today began to look at his second letter to the Corinthians. At one point in the class the lay lecturer handed out a photocopy of an article in The Times about the new prayer for the conversion of the Jews in the 1962 Missal. He then asked us to read the old prayer and the revised prayer and make known any points of interest. After a few interesting comments he simply pointed to the collect of each prayer and said, 'The old one is Romans 11 and the revised one is 2 Cor 3'. Silence.

By the way, can anyone who is more liturgically knowledgable than us tell us if when the revised prayer is published the 1962 Missal will become the 2008 Missal?

Monday, February 18, 2008

Bless us Father Duddleswell!

Every now and then to entertain ourselves a few of us at the seminary go through a period of watching a television series on DVD, last term a Seminarian obtained the Region 1 version of Heroes as we got fed up of having to wait a whole week to see the next episode. We managed to watch the entire season before it finished on BBC2.

The same Seminarian came back from Half Term with the first series of 'Bless me Father' having bought it on Amazon after seeing a reference to it on another blog. We sat and watched a few episodes after supper last night. Its really very good, very well researched and not at all anti-Catholic. No one would get away with making such a programme today.

The irony of it is that it was made and shown in the late 70's but set in the 50's so it would have attracted a large Anglo-Catholic audience despite its many anti-Anglican references but I doubt it would have had many Catholic fans as they were all too busy setting up the new Spirit of Vatican II Church!

We highly recommend it to anyone and can't waith for the next session!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

The Prince of Egypt

Last night, with nothing doing after supper at the seminary, a few of the brethren decided to watch the film "The Prince of Egypt", by now, of course, we all know the song "Miracles" from its part in this years X factor.

The film is a beautiful portrayal of the call of Moses and the freeing of the Hebrew slaves. In this day and age we have lost the ability to visualise and imagine the original history from the book of the Exodus, so to have it shown in such detail was very moving for me.

It shows what God can do through us, despite our own weakness and failings. It made me run to my room and read the book of the Exodus. I'd like to share this passage with you, it has helped me in my vocation, and perhaps it will help others in their discernment of God's call.

Ex 3-4:16 : The angel of the Lord speaks to Moses through the burning bush. He tells Moses of God's plan for him, to lead the people of Israel from their oppressors to the promised land, flowing with milk and honey. But Moses says "Who are you" and God replies "I will be what I will be". But Moses says "They will not believe me", God shows Moses signs by which they will believe. But Moses continues "I am not eloquent", but Gos says that He will tell Moses what to say. But Moses continues to avoid this calling "My Lord, send someone else". And finally God is annoyed!

I love this dialogue between the greatest prophet of the Old Testament and God, Moses tries all attempts and excusses to avoid his vocation, but God has an answer for all his worries. This is like us sometimes, we try desperately to avoid the obligations and reality of our vocation, but God does the work, they are His words we use, and (while we ultimately have free will to say 'no') we accept and work the Lord's wonders!

Happy Birthday Fr Boyle

Orthfully Catholic would like to give their best wishes to Father John Boyle on the occasion of his 50th Birthday!

God Bless you Father,

The Seminarians

Seminarians Fasting from CAFOD

Fr John Boyle and Fr Tim Finigan have posted some very interesting information on CAFOD. While we at Orthfully Catholic believe in and support the work of the Bishops of England and Wales to help the Third World we cannot in all good conscience support the work of CAFOD because of their position on the use of contraception in the fight against HIV/AIDS and their employment of a celebrity who claims to be a Catholic and yet lives with his girlfriend and uses contraception.

We prefer to support agencies listed by Frs Boyle and Finigan, particularly Aid to the Church in Need. During Lent at the Seminary we have the option to have a fasting lunch every Friday so participation in Lent Fast Day becomes unnecessary.

We would like to urge all our readers to give their Lenten alms to these Catholic Agencies that actually keep the teachings of the Faith in their work.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ecumenical Surrealism

I had just finished Matins, Lauds and my Morning Offering today and was walking along the Ambulacrum toward the pigeonholes to see if the Postman had brought me any treats today (he hadn't, in fact he hasn't all week) when the doorbell went. There being no staff in on a Saturday and being the only person in the vicinity I answered it. Can you guess who was on the other side?

Yes, Jehovah's Witnesses! A Dutch gentleman and an Afro-Carribean lady who come from the neighbouring villages were doing their rounds in the area and thought they'd pay a visit to the seminary because of course we all have the same aim in mind! We had a lovely chat comparing ministries; they asked how long we train for and how many students there are for the priesthood today. Neither of us negated the other's faith and the conversation ended with an exchange of names and the ceremonial handing over of Watchtower and Awake magazines. They invited the Seminarians to join their meeting at Kingdom Hall if ever we could make it.

I have always wondered what I would say if a JW were to knock on the seminary door, and now I know. Surreal!

Pope Benedict on the Permanent Diaconate

See the Northampton Seminarian for an excellent post on this subject.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Sundays in Lent

This is a conversation that many Catholics have during this season, its as traditional as purple vestments and ashes! Do Sundays count in Lent, are we allowed to 'give up' giving up, are they an oasis in the desert, or not ...

Some people say they are such an oasis. Lent is 40 days excluding Sundays! Also, Sundays are solemnities, we don't fast normally on Sundays. Sunday is the day of Our Lord's resurrection, a time for joy, not sorrowful penance.

Other people say that Jesus went into the desert for about 40 days, not exactly 40 days, and He fasted for the whole time. They also say that for normal Sundays we have the Gloria and A- at Mass, but in Lent we don't, is the Church trying to say something.

My personal opinion, which I humbly offer is this. Lent is a time of spiritual growth, through fasting, alms-giving and prayer, it is not a time where we can 'beat our personal best' as it were. We must be penitential, but remember that we are moving towards the joy of Easter.

So, be joyful everyday, especially on Sunday. Be less penitiential, but remember we are still in Lent and if you are giving up something like smoking, where a relaxation wouldn't be helpful, don't give in.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Oh Dear Dr Williams

When I first heard of the Archbishop of Canterbury's blunder I thought he'd just done a Regensburg and defended him as I defended the Pope. However, I discovered he has actually been suggesting Islam is a true religion and that Britain will soon be a Muslim State. I don't think so do you?

The best part of the last few days is the number of people who have, upon discovering I am a seminarian, asked me, 'So, what are you going to do with your Archbishop?'

However, this is nothing in comparison with a comment in a newspaper by a practising Christian who said, 'Jesus will be turning in His grave'. Nice One!

I'm giving up posting for Lent

No, not really but I'm sure that's what many of you have been thinking as we have been away for so long.

Our thanks to the Hermit for starting Lent with a bang.

In the seminary Lent has so far been as it should be. Ash Wednesday began with Matins and Lauds. During Lent we don't have musical accompaniment for the Offices so two cantors had to sing with only the Musical Director's humming as a reminder of the next tone. They did a marvellous job! Lunch was Vegetable Soup, supper was almost Chicken Curry until someone reminded the kitchen that it would be a sin, possibly even a mortal sin, to eat it so we sat down to Fish and Chips instead! Mass was beautiful, although there weren't enough ashes for my liking. Last year the Sacristans made their own but that caused the fire alarm to go off at 3 o'clock in the morning so we made do with Hayes and Finch's freebies and they just don't send enough.

Now we're all on Half Term, though many of us are staying on to finish essays that should have been handed in on Friday but weren't because this term is just so busy.

Orthfully Catholic would like to wish their readers a Holy and Hope-Filled Lenten Season!

God Bless!

Thursday, February 07, 2008

February - the month of the Holy Family - and the beginning of Lent

So, lent has begun again. I'm sure I'm not alone in being challenged by this season of the Church's year. Yesterday we changed to a different volume of the breviary, nice and red.

Part of the struggle at the beginning of lent, I find, is trying to find something to give up. Nothing too onerous, nothing to demanding (the devil rejoices, I was once told in confession, over the sinner who tries more than he should and falls, than over the sinner who tries what is managable and falls, becuase the latter will not get so discouraged). I have friends who are somewhat scrupulous about what to give up, it must be something completely free, without any other motivation. I disagree, I think that so long as there is some spiritual motivation, and we try to bring this motivation to the fore then there is no problem. I'll offer an example, giving up sweets, some might be scrupulous that their motivation is weight-loss, perhaps it is, but they have decided to try during the season of lent, a season of spiritual mercy, so try to cultivate the spiritual motivation of mortification and penance.

So, good luck everyone, as we enter into the desert with Christ. Try not to forget two elements of the season, joy and perseverance!!!