Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Pontificia Academia Pro Vita

I just spent the most incredible weekend at a conference for the Pontifical Academy for Life, a friend of mine was given tickets, it was excellent. I wanted to blog about it briefly, AND point you in the direction of their website where you can already read some of the wonderful presentations we were given, the rest will be translated and online soon. The theme of the congress was The Christian conscience in support of the right to life, and it was the most amazing mixture of discussions on various pro-life issues from experiementation on embryos to the abortifacient nature of Levonorgestrel (the "Morning After Pill"). I particularly enjoyed the presentation of Prof. Roger P George on Political Obligations, Moral Conscience and Human life, in which he explains very clearly the fallacy of the position of Catholic politicians who vote for abortion. I really suggest you read it because it's excellent. I'd like to quote a section on Bishops who refuse communion to these people:
If my analysis so far is correct, the question arises: What should the leaders of the Church do about people like Cuomo and his successor as New York’s Governor, Republican George Pataki who evidently takes the same position? What should they do about those who claim to be in full communion with the Church yet promote gravely unjust and scandalous policies that expose the unborn to the violence and injustice of abortion? In the run up to the last election, St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke offered an answer. He declared that public officials who support abortion and other unjust attacks against innocent human life may not be admitted to Holy Communion, the preeminent sacrament of unity.

Pro-life citizens of every religious persuasion applauded the Archbishop’s stand. Critics, however, were quick to condemn Archbishop Burke. They denounced him for “crossing the line” separating church and state. But this is silly. In acting on his authority as a bishop to discipline members of his flock, who commit what the Church teaches are grave injustices against innocent human beings, Archbishop Burke is exercising his own constitutional right to the free exercise of religion; he is not depriving others of their rights. Freedom is a two way street. No one is compelled by law to accept ecclesiastical authority. But Archbishop Burke—and anyone else in the United States of America or other freedom respecting nations—has every right to exercise spiritual authority over anyone who chooses to accept it.

There is a name for people who do accept
the authority of Catholic bishops. They are called “Catholics.”
The speakers also addressed the issue of "the intollerance of tollerance", which obviously ties into the Holy Father's frequent references to "the dictatorship of relativism." A paper by the Most Rev Anthony Fisher on conscience went rather deeper than my mind could take in during the lecture, particularly after a pleasant Italian lunch(!) but I plan to print it out to read later. AND THEN we had an audience with the Holy Father. The address he gave is currently only available in Italian, but some online news articles have discussed it in varying depth: CNS, EITB, and SperoNews.

Also had a lovely time in Rome, on our free day (Sunday) I went to a traditional mass said by Msgr. Ignacio Barreiro Carámbula, the director of HLI in Rome, where he gave an excellent homily in Italian and English on Christ's temptation, and we were lucky enough to bump into him again outside the Chiesa Nuova that afternoon, and managed to muscle in on a tour he was giving to some visiting Americans, he pointed out some interesting architectural features in the area, while we waited for the church to open (half an hour late... Italian time keeping!) and then he talked us through some aspects of the interior of the church, including the beatiful sacristy. After he'd gone I managed to convince Niamh that we should stay just 15 minutes more at Chiesa Nuova so I could pray for a little longer at the tomb of St Philip for some absent friends, and particularly for the formation of the Oratory at the Holy Name in Manchester.

We spent time at St Peters, visited the tombs of the Popes, including our beloved JP, and before we left yesterday morning went to (very early) mass with the Missionaries of Charity. Coincidentally yesterday's Gospel was Mt 25:31-46, "Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me." which so sums up the MCs... so that was lovely.

Should make a new lenten resolution to blog more :) Bless you!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Five Random Things Meme

Joee Bloggs tagged me to write 5 random things about myself.

Gosh these Meme's are pointless (what does Meme mean??) but enable us to be even more egotistical than usual, so why not indeed?

I'm not sure I can think of 5 things people don't know... I guess that wasn't the task though, was it? ok...

1) When I was 16 I was flying an aeroplane (actually flying it, me and the pilot, I had control (Sir) at the time) when the engine failed. Luckily I didn't think that was a big deal, and assumed we'd just glide like a glider, so didn't panic, and rather more luckily, the engine started again.

2) I am unable to ride a bicycle (yes, you do forget) although I plan to learn, and then to buy a pink 125 cc scooter... when I get a job

3) I passed out in a taxi and woke up in the middle of nowhere, but I did wake up, and the taxi driver did drive me home, I hope his intention was just to drive me home the long way so as to overcharge me. That was the first and last time I got stoned.

4) The UK theme on Radio 4 made getting up at 5.20 for placement all seem worthwhile.

5) I started going to mass because the protestants didn't drink or smoke, and had very strict morals. Who says God doesn't have a sense of humour?!

I tag Adamo, who won't respond because he has a Serious blog, and Chris, same applies. Laura, who is Queen of Memes, Niamh, because I haven't linked to her before, and Jude because I like her (not that I don't like the others, of course)