Showing posts from April, 2013


It is still early days in the Pontificate of Pope Francis. Happily the first burst of coverage in the mainstream media with its focus on trying to contrast "good" Pope Francis with suddenly " not nearly so nice" Pope Benedict XVI , has passed. It is now " back to governance" with Audiences taking place, Appointments of Bishops being made, all on a routine basis.

There are some novelties surviving. The Holy Father is living in the modern apartment  in Casa Santa Marta intended for newly elected Popes, and receives visitors there, rather than using the Papal Apartments and the reception rooms there. He says his daily Mass publicly in the Chapel of Casa Santa Marta, and photos show him in white cassock and zucchetto sitting among the congregation before Mass - though lately it seems, somewhat closer to the front. His daily homilies at this public Mass are not published by the Holy See Website, but the Vatican Information Service publishes excerpts and a brief…




In the days when "Brittania waived the rules" as the wags had it, it was not easy being a Catholic, if it ever has been.

Even in his native Ireland, James Dixon found that to be so. Because Erin had long since ceased to belong to its people, but rather to the English invaders. King George III sat upon the English throne for 59 years. He had the misfortune to suffer periodic bouts of apparent insanity induced by the disease known as porphyria. One of his other misfortunes was to lose the American colonies in their struggle for independence.

Closer to home, the Irish also developed the idea that they ought to rule in their own country.And in 1798, the United Irishmen rebelled against British rule. Most of the leaders of the Rebellion were in fact highly educated Protestants rather than Catholics. Nevertheless the popular support inevitably came from the Catholic majority. The Rebellion was bloodily repressed in short order. Then the fierce effort to find and punish the perpetrat…


The Holy Father has appointed F. Antoine Tarabay O.L.M. as Bishop of the Eparchy of Saint Maron of Sydney of the Maronites ( Catholics 150,000, Priests 45, Permanent Deacons 1, Religious 47). 

The Bishop-Elect was born in Lebanon in 1967 and ordained Priest in 1993.He has been Superior of the Saint Charbel Convent in Sydney  and succeeds Bishop Ad Abi Karam who resigned on reaching the age limit.

Let us hope that the appointment of Bishop-elect Tarabay renders Father Peter Joseph who is familiar with both the Maronite and Roman Rites, available now for Episcopal appointment to one of the several Australian vacancies outstanding. He is a devout and scholarly yet very practical Priest of very wide experience.


Whilst the false spirit of the Council folk in Brisbane are still gathering their wits together after the initial news, Archbishop Mark Coleridge is moving decisively forward with his plans for an Oratory in the Archdiocese. The Archdiocesan newspaper " The Catholic Leader" reports :

Oratory plan for BrisbanePublished: 21 April 2013
By: Paul Dobbyn
IN a first for the Church in Australia, diocesan priests in Brisbane archdiocese will have the opportunity to live their vocations in a more structured community. This follows Archbishop Mark Coleridge's permission and support for the formation of the Congregation of the Oratory of St Philip Neri in the archdiocese. This could occur as early as 2015. Archbishop Coleridge said the Oratory, while offering a structured community, would also provide priests with more flexibility than a religious order. "Above all, it is a community of charity in the spirit of St Philip Neri, the 'joyful saint'," he said. The Brisb…


 We were privileged last night to attend the performance of Handel's
 " MESSIAH" Oratorio in Holy Name church Wahroonga. The Choir of Saint Mary's Cathedral sang, complemented by a superb orchestra.The acoustics of the fine church are excellent and there could not have been a better venue. The Blessed Sacrament had of course been removed to a suitable place of Repose in the Presbytery.

His Eminence Cardinal George Pell was warmly welcomed and he saw his Cathedral Choir give a truly sublime performance of the sacred work. The significance of the many Prophetic texts in the work was only heightened by the inspiring crucifix ( an excellent piece of modern art) suspended over the Sanctuary and its great shadow cast left and right, inside the Apse, by the lighting.

When the time came for all to stand in honour of our Saviour at the Alleluia Chorus it was the crowning moment of a profound and deeply moving religious experience.

We learned that Cardinal Pell himself was to have…


101 Years ago to-day, in 1912, the 14th of April was also a Sunday.

They did not know the day or the hour :: our three Heroic Catholic Priests did not know that on Sunday the 14th April, 1912 they had celebrated their last Holy Masses.

"Every Mass as if it is your first....  Every Mass as if it is your last.."
WARNINGS At 9.00 a.m. the CARONIA, headed in the opposite direction, informed TITANIC of "bergs, growlers and field ice"ahead. And at 20 minutes to 12.00 the NOORDAM advises "much ice"in the same position. At 18 Minutes to 2.00 pm the BALTIC signals icebergs and field ice 250 miles ahead. Three minutes later the German AMERIKA reports passing 2 large icebergs.At 7.30pm the CALIFORNIAN reports 3 large icebergs sighted - this message is NOT posted in TITANIC or passed to Captain Smith.At 9.30 pm MESABA reports heavy pack ice and large icebergs encountered.
ON WATCH At 10.00pm the Watches are relieved First Officer Mr. Murdoch relieves Second Officer Mr, Light…


After years of consideration since the Synod of Bishops on Sacred  Scripture, the Pontifical Biblical Commission is beginning the finalisation of its position on " Inspiration and Truth in the Bible".The Commission's President is Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The Holy Father Pope Francis spoke very directly and pointedly , making a number of points and emphasising truths that would discomfort those inclined to equivocate, especially in ecumenical spheres :

“Sacred Scripture,” he reaffirmed,“ is the written testimony of the divine Word, the canonical memory that attests to the event of Revelation. However, the Word of God precedes the Bible and surpasses it. That is why the centre of our faith isn't just a book, but a salvation history and above all a person, Jesus Christ, the Word of God made flesh. It is precisely because the Word of God embraces and extends beyond Scripture that, in order to properly under…


All praise and honour to AUSTRALIA INCOGNITA that excellent Blog for bringing this marvellous news to my notice after I have been anguishing over my last post and missing what is happening. :

"Some wonderful news to share - a reader  has alerted me to a press release announcing that an Oratory will be established in Brisbane by 2016.

The Oratory, as many will know, was founded by St Philip Neri, and Oratories around the world are famous for their liturgy and orthodoxy.  Indeed, many Australians will perhaps most be familiar with the fabulous Brompton Oratory.

Here is the press release from the Brisbane Archdiocese:

For the last two years, a new initiative for the Church in Australia has been quietly and slowly developing behind the scenes.  It has now reached a significant early milestone with this first public announcement released today.

With the permission and support of Archbishop Mark Coleridge, a Congregation of the Oratory in formation is to be established within the Archdioces…


There are some Posts I would prefer not to write. This is one of them. But if one is to be credible more broadly, it is necessary to address difficult issues - even when one would prefer to remain silent.

" UBI PETRUS , IBI ECCLESIA" is one of those fundamental Catholic phrases that encapsulates an essential truth. " Where there is Peter, There is the Church". It is true in multiple ways. Yes, where we find the teaching of the Pope we find the teaching of the Church. And physically, where we find the Pope, we find the heart of the Church. In so many ways, as members of Christ's Church we are oriented toward , and bound in Faith and love to the Successor of Saint Peter in our spiritual life. 

Does this mean that we believe each and every Pope is a person who is perfect - never makes a mistake at all, or an error of judgement? Does it mean that we regard everything each Pope does as something necessarily to be emulated? Plainly, no. 

We know the doctrinal truth of P…

"...... NOT EVEN A PRIEST...."

Our regular readers know well that the " full and active participation" in the Holy Mass which the Second Vatican Council urged upon the faithful, is not running around doing things and playing dress-ups like wanna-be clergy, rather it is the total engagement of mind and heart and spirit with what the Priest is doing at the Altar.

In pursuit of that goal, I have long recited in my mind with the Priest the prayers at the elevation of the gifts. Even with those Priests who take the option of reciting the prayers silently, it is a simple task and I know the prayers by heart . ( For some perverse reason the prayer at the mingling of the water and wine - the old " Haec commixtio..." refuses to enter my memory!)

Imagine then , my concern when I am confronted by a Priest who has usually elevated the bread and put it down and proceeded to the next step before I am half finished. As time has gone by, his " speed " has increased and lately, to such an extent that I l…