Friday, December 31, 2010

A New Beginning...

Te Deum

No better way to end the old year and ring in the New!

Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli, tibi Caeli et universae Potestates:
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus: Sanctus: Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus:
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus:
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia:
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium:
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem,
non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu devicto mortis aculeo,
aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus. (Kneel)
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni,
quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum Sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum Domine,
et benedic haereditati tuae.
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies, benedicamus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum,
et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare Domine die isto,
sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua Domine super nos,
quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te Domine speravi:
non confundar in aeternum.

English Translation

We praise Thee, O God: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
All the earth doth worship Thee and the Father everlasting.
To Thee all Angels:
to Thee the heavens and all the Powers therein.
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry with unceasing voice:
Holy, Holy, Holy: Lord God of Hosts.
The heavens and the earth are full of the majesty of Thy glory.
Thee the glorious choir of the Apostles.
Thee the admirable company of the Prophets.
Thee the white-robed army of Martyrs praise.
Thee the Holy Church throughout all the world doth acknowledge.
The Father of infinite Majesty.
Thine adorable, true and only Son
Also the Holy Ghost the Paraclete.
Thou art the King of Glory, O Christ.
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou having taken upon Thee to deliver man
didst not abhor the Virgin's womb.
Thou having overcome the sting of death
didst open to believers the kingdom of heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God
in the glory of the Father.
We believe that Thou shalt come to be our Judge.
We beseech Thee, therefore, help Thy servants:
whom Thou has redeemed with Thy precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in glory everlasting.
Lord, save Thy people:
and bless Thine inheritance.
Govern them and lift them up forever.
Day by day we bless Thee.
And we praise Thy name forever:
and world without end.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord: have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us:
as we have hoped in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee have I hoped:
let me never be confounded.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI - nothing short of remarkable!

Recorded from Midnight Mass at St. Peter's.

It's been quite a busy year for Pope Benedict XVI. Besides his almost daily meetings with ambassadors groups, heads of States, and his weekly Wednesday audiences, his Sunday Angelus blessing for pilgrims, this year he took five trips outside of Italy, to Malta, Portugal, Cyprus, Spain, and the first state visit for a Pope to the United Kingdom. He beatified Blessed John Henry Newman, the first beatification Mass ever on English soil. He made four trips within Italy, created twenty four new cardinals, canonised six new saints. He established a new Pontifical Council for promoting the New Evangelisation and he concluded the Year for Priests this past June, with possibly the largest meeting of priests and the largest concelebrated Mass in history, with 15,000 priests present. He also recently led the Synod of Bishops on the Middle East.

Among his many writings and regular homilies and discourses throughout the year, of note this year are his Apostolic Exhortation on the "Word of God", his "Letter to Seminarians" and his "Letter to the Catholics of Ireland".

The Holy Father's schedule would be quite daunting for anyone, but for a man of 83 years old, it is nothing short of remarkable.

In the words of Peter Seewald, with whom he published an extensive and exclusive interview in a book entitled "Light of the World", where he says

"this man is a servant of the Church, a great giver, who completely exhausts himself in his giving.

In the next few days the Holy Father will celebrate the 12 days of Christmas by giving of himself more. Tomorrow at noon he will give his annual Urbi et Orbi blessing, the blessing for the city of Rome and for the world. On Sunday, this year marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, he will eat lunch with about 300 of the poorest of the poor here in Rome, who are served by the Missionaries of Charity, at "Dona de Maria" , Gift of Mary, here at the Vatican. He will lead Vespers on the December 31st and celebrate Mass on January 1st here at St. Peter's, for the Solemnity of Mary, the Mother of God. On January 5th he will visit with and bring gifts to children in Rome's Policlinico Gemelli hospital. On January 6th he will be here at the Mass of the Epiphany, and on January 9th, the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord, the Holy Father will baptise 22 infants in the Sistine Chapel, during Mass for the children and their parents.

by Monsignor Tom Powers


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Obedience to the Truth

The Pope talks about 'conscience'.

Yesterday the Pope addressed the Roman Curia on the occasion of Christmas greeting.
As usual, the some journalists, not unknown for their anti-Catholic views - John Cooney (Irish Independent), Bruce Arnold (Irish Independent), took a section of the address out of context and even misrepresented it. They missed the jewel at the heart of the message which was the message of conversion and the conscience. Here it is:

The driving force that impelled Newman along the path of conversion was conscience. But what does this mean? In modern thinking, the word “conscience” signifies that for moral and religious questions, it is the subjective dimension, the individual, that constitutes the final authority for decision. The world is divided into the realms of the objective and the subjective. To the objective realm belong things that can be calculated and verified by experiment. Religion and morals fall outside the scope of these methods and are therefore considered to lie within the subjective realm. Here, it is said, there are in the final analysis no objective criteria. The ultimate instance that can decide here is therefore the subject alone, and precisely this is what the word “conscience” expresses: in this realm only the individual, with his intuitions and experiences, can decide. Newman’s understanding of conscience is diametrically opposed to this. For him, “conscience” means man’s capacity for truth: the capacity to recognize precisely in the decision-making areas of his life – religion and morals – a truth, the truth. At the same time, conscience – man’s capacity to recognize truth – thereby imposes on him the obligation to set out along the path towards truth, to seek it and to submit to it wherever he finds it. Conscience is both capacity for truth and obedience to the truth which manifests itself to anyone who seeks it with an open heart. The path of Newman’s conversions is a path of conscience – not a path of self-asserting subjectivity but, on the contrary, a path of obedience to the truth that was gradually opening up to him. His third conversion, to Catholicism, required him to give up almost everything that was dear and precious to him: possessions, profession, academic rank, family ties and many friends. The sacrifice demanded of him by obedience to the truth, by his conscience, went further still. Newman had always been aware of having a mission for England. But in the Catholic theology of his time, his voice could hardly make itself heard. It was too foreign in the context of the prevailing form of theological thought and devotion. In January 1863 he wrote in his diary these distressing words: “As a Protestant, I felt my religion dreary, but not my life - but, as a Catholic, my life dreary, not my religion”. He had not yet arrived at the hour when he would be an influential figure. In the humility and darkness of obedience, he had to wait until his message was taken up and understood. In support of the claim that Newman’s concept of conscience matched the modern subjective understanding, people often quote a letter in which he said – should he have to propose a toast – that he would drink first to conscience and then to the Pope. But in this statement, “conscience” does not signify the ultimately binding quality of subjective intuition. It is an expression of the accessibility and the binding force of truth: on this its primacy is based. The second toast can be dedicated to the Pope because it is his task to demand obedience to the truth.


Sala Regia
Monday, 20 December 2010
© Copyright 2010 - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Friday, December 17, 2010

The ECHR and Ireland

When it comes to abortion and Ireland, where do we start? The best place to start is to check first what the Catholic church has to say about abortion and the ECHR ruling. (After all, I am an Irish Catholic.) :)
"The Irish Constitution clearly says that the right to life of the unborn child is equal to that of his or her mother. These are the fundamental human rights at stake. The Catholic Church teaches that neither the unborn child nor the mother may be deliberately killed. The direct destruction of an innocent human life can never be justified, however difficult the circumstances. We are always obliged to act with respect for the inherent right to life of both the mother and the unborn child in the mother’s womb. No law which subordinates the rights of any human being to those of other human beings can be regarded as a just law." From the Catholic Bishops website.
It might then be a good idea to start with a chronology of the abortion debate in Ireland . It all began in 1861 when abortion was prohibited under Offences Against the Person Act. In 1979 The Health (Family Planning) Act reaffirmed the statutory prohibition. However, The turning point came in February 1992 when Justice Costello granted an injunction in the High Court preventing a 14-year-old girl, pregnant as a result of rape from traveling to the UK for an abortion. The matter had come to the attention of the then Attorney General, Mr Harry Whelehan, when the Gardaí were consulted about getting DNA samples in anticipation of criminal charges. He obtained the injunction to prevent her traveling. This was appealed to the Supreme Court.

By a majority of three to two, the court found that, if there was a real and substantial risk to the life, as distinct from the health, of the mother, and that this real and substantial risk could only be averted by the termination of her pregnancy, this would be lawful. It accepted that she had threatened to commit suicide if she had to carry the child to full term, and that this constituted a real and substantial risk to her life. The court lifted the injunction.

Since then, between the jigs and the reels, no legislation has been passed to allow for abortion in cases where a woman's life is at risk arising from pregnancy. There was a referendum in March 2002, the third referendum on abortion, which proposed the 25th amendment, to allow for abortion where there is a substantial risk to the life of the mother. Danger of suicide was, however, not be considered a ground for abortion. The proposal was defeated, 50.4 per cent against, 49.6 per cent in favour.

The Irish people voted not to allow abortion in any circumstance.

In 2005 three women lodged a case at the European Court of Human Rights alleging Ireland’s lack of abortion services breached their human rights.

Who was behind this? The Irish Family Planning Association. They have a vested interest in abortion. It's a big business. And they have backing from Planned Parenthood. So, what's their point? That abortion is a human right. i.e. I want an abortion.

In July 2009 the Government obtained a guarantee from 27 member states that nothing in the Lisbon Treaty shall affect article 40.3.3. The treaty passed in October, having being presented to the Irish electorate a year previously and rejected. They didn't like our answer, so they told us to vote again and this time to vote YES otherwise the outcome would be catastrophic for the people of Ireland. The people capitulated.

In December 2010 The ECHR passed a judgement that the human rights of one of the three women have been breached by her inability to access abortion services in Ireland.

"But that “violation” does not relate to the ban on abortion as such. It only concerns the fact that there was no specific procedure in place to ascertain whether or not that applicant was entitled to a “lawful” abortion on the grounds that the pregnancy was endangering her life. This, however, can be repaired by establishing a legal procedure. And indeed, such a procedure, if correctly drafted, (and not cunningly crafted - my emphasis), could be a good occasion for ruling out, once and for all times, preposterous claims such as that of the applicant in the present case, whose life (as it turned out) never was in danger."
And that is the bottom line. The woman's life was never in danger. Instead it seems that all three complaints had been somehow planned and fabricated with the sole purpose of challenging the Irish ban on abortions before the ECHR.

"The Irish Constitution does not guarantee any “Right to Abortion” under any circumstances. In that context, the ECHR seems to have misinterpreted the Irish law. What that law foresees is merely that which is also recognised by the natural law of morality: in cases where a pregnant women requires treatment against a disease (e.g. cancer), such treatment (e.g. chemotherapy) may be given to her even if it may, as an unwanted collateral effect, cause the loss of the unborn child. A directly willed abortion, by contrast, is never morally admissible, given that pregnancy itself is not a disease.
According to the Director of SPUC's blog
"The court has misinterpreted the Irish Constitution and confused abortion with healthcare. The Irish Constitution does not confer any right to abortion, nor can the right to life of unborn children in any way be held to be in competition with the right to life of their mothers. Abortion is not healthcare, and Ireland, where abortion is banned, has the world's best record for maternal health. If implemented in law, this judgement would legalise abortion in a wide range of circumstances."

So, what do we do? We pray and take action. We put our trust in Almighty God to protect the most vulnerable and innocent in our society and not allow the forces of darkness and self-destruction take hold in Ireland. The most basic human right of all is the right to life of the unborn. The right to life of the unborn child is equal to that of his or her mother. These are the fundamental human rights at stake.

ECHR and Italy

At the beginning of November, 2009, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) decided that crucifixes must be removed from Italian school rooms. The decision was greeted with fury in Italy and has raised concerns in Greece, too. In Britain the case seems to have been dismissed as a typically Italian fuss. What has been completely left out of this debate, though, is the question of the democratic right of a nation to decide on its own culture and symbols.

Read the complete article here

(Spiked Online)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Abortion in the UK

Here's what happened in the UK

The Abortion Act 1967 sought to clarify the law. Introduced by David Steel and subject to heated debate it allowed for legal abortion on a number of grounds, with the added protection of free provision through the National Health Service. The Act was passed on 27 October 1967 and came into effect on 27 April 1968.

The Act provided a defence for Doctors performing an abortion on any of the following grounds:

To save the woman's life
To prevent grave permanent injury to the woman's physical or mental health
Under 28 weeks to avoid injury to the physical or mental health of the woman
Under 28 weeks to avoid injury to the physical or mental health of the existing child(ren)
If the child was likely to be severely physically or mentally handicapped.

Later laws

Changes to the 1967 Abortion Act were introduced in Parliament through the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990. The time limits were lowered from 28 weeks to 24 for most cases to reflect alleged improvements in medical technology justifying the lowering. Restrictions were removed for late abortions in cases of risk to life, fetal abnormality, or grave physical and mental injury to the woman.

Since 1967, members of Parliament have introduced a number of private member's bills to change the abortion law. Four resulted in substantive debate (1975, 1977, 1979 and 1987) but all failed. The Lane Committee investigated the workings of the Act in 1974 and declared its support.

In May 2008, MPs voted to retain the current legal limit of 24 weeks. Amendments proposing reductions to 22 weeks and 20 weeks were defeated by 304 to 233 votes and 332 to 190 votes respectively.

In 2009, the number of abortions was 189,100. In one year alone. No wonder modern civilization is on the brink of God knows what....