Sunday 27 December 2009

Majestic Irish Cathedral Destroyed by Fire

(image: RTÉ)

The north-central Irish Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise has suffered the tragic loss of its 150-year old cathedral yesterday morning in what may have been an act of arson. Just a few hours after the bishop celebrated Midnight Mass, the fire broke out. By the time it was extinguished the beautiful interior was completely gutted.

A video showing the destroyed cathedral can be seen here. The Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise, Dr Colm O'Reilly, has said he will restore St Mel's Cathedral in Longford , though it will cost over €2 million. Bishop O'Reilly said he celebrated midnight mass to a packed Cathedral. He said that it was an extraordinary contrast the next morning. Construction on St Mel's started in 1840 and it opened in September, 1856.

More on this story here.

Though details of any fundraising efforts have yet to emerge, the Diocese can be contacted as follows:-
The Diocese of Ardagh and Clonmacnois
Diocesan Office,
Ballinalee Road.
Co. Longford.
Phone: +353 (0)43-3346432
Fax: +353 (0)43-3346833
Email: ardaghdi at

The Cathedral itself is a Neo-Classical structure begun in 1840 by Bishop William O'Higgins. The inspiration for the design by Joseph B. Keane was said to be the Madeleine Church in Paris, the Pantheon and St. John Lateran - although he executed a similar design for St. Mary's in Clonmel.

The cathedral is cruciform consisting of a nave, two transcripts, two aisles and a spacious sanctuary. The nave contains 24 large columns local limestone and windows by the noted Harry Clarke. The original high altar was of French marble. The erection of this building cost £60,000 which was a vast sum to collect during a time of evictions, persecutions and famine.

The completion of St. Mel's was deferred for ten years due to the effects of the famine. The roof and tower were completed under Dr. Kilduff who succeeded Dr. O'Higgins in 1853. Bishop Kilduff blessed the Cathedral on 24th September, 1856.

Longford Cathedral 'Before'

Under Bishop Woodlock, most noted for his contribution to the cause of the Catholic University, further additions were made and the Solemn Consecration took place on the 19th May, 1893, the fifth-third anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone. The belfrey was completed in 1860 after a design of John Bourke. The portico in 1893 to the design of the great George Ashlin.

Longford Cathedral 'After'

An Taisce, the Irish Heritage Trust, described it thus: "……… St. Mel's Cathedral, begun to the design of Joseph Keane in 1840. While the portico lacks the sophistication of Keane's great Dominican Pope's Quay Church in Cork, the interior, by contrast, is now regarded as noblest of all Irish Classical church interiors. It is designed in the style of an early Christian basilica, with noble Grecian Ionic columns and a curved apse. It also shares the remarkable distinction of being the only major Catholic Church in Ireland to have actually been improved by internal reordering, when the fussy later altar was removed and replaced by a simple modem table altar, which accords harmoniously with the early Christian style of the interior. The tower and portico give a striking approach to the town from Dublin."

Longford Sanctuary 'Before'

In the 1970s, the noted Cathedral wreckovator, Cathal Cardinal Daly, to whose credit Belfast and some of Armagh Cathedrals' present state can also be put, was Bishop of Ardagh and Clonmacnoise. The high altar and stalls were removed, leaving the Sanctuary without any clear focus, the present altar being too small to make any visual impact. The insertion of a tapestry to add impact to the 'President's Chair' where the high altar and tabernacle once stood, is singularly ineffective.

Longford Sanctuary 'After'

The words of Desmond, Cardinal Connell, who was Archbishop of Dublin at the time, during an interview with The Sunday Business Post, published on 4th March, 2001, come to mind. "Asked whether he had any plans to build a cathedral in Dublin. (At present, the Anglican Church of Ireland has two cathedrals in the capital – Christ Church, the diocesan cathedral, and St Patrick's, the national cathedral. The Catholic Church has only a `pro-cathedral') reresponded: ‘None whatsoever. If I had the wealth of Croesus itself, I would not build a cathedral because liturgy and architecture at the moment are in such confusion that anything that would be built at this stage would be rejected in a very short time.’"

The restoration of St. Mel's is greatly to be hoped for, both a physical and a moral restoration, an Irish Church rising from the ashes.

Bishop Colm O'Reilly, one of only a handful of Irish Bishops to have celebrated the Traditional Latin Mass publicly in recent years, has promised that St. Mel's will be restored but Bishop O'Reilly is 75 on 11th January, 2010. By that time, there will be three vacant Sees in Ireland (six, depending on your point of view). The question is whether the restoration of Longford Cathedral will be in the hands of another 'Godfather of Irish Sanctuaries' or a Bishop after the Holy Father's own heart. Only time will tell. Qualis Pastor, talis Parochia.

St. Mel of Ardagh pray for us!

Saturday 26 December 2009

The Pope who finished the Council of Trent

On this day in 1559, Giovanni Angelo Medici was elected Pope, taking the name Pius, the fourth of that name. Among his many achievements can be numbered the final sessions (XVII-XXV) of the Council of Trent that took place from 1562 to 1563.

His other great achievement is the Profession of Faith of the Council of Trent or the Creed of Pope Pius IV, which, with the Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed and the Athanasian Creed, is one of the four Authorised Creeds of the Catholic Church.

It ends thus: "This true Catholic faith, outside of which no one can be saved, which I now freely profess and to which I truly adhere, I do so profess and swear to maintain inviolate and with firm constancy with the help of God until the last breath of life. And I shall strive, as far as possible, that this same faith shall be held, taught, and professed by all those over whom I have charge. I do so pledge, promise, and swear, so help me God and these Holy Gospels."

However, despite what we would consider to be towering achievements for the Catholic Faith, the gentleness of Pope Pius IV with which he treated the weak creatures who strayed from the path of the Faith, meant that his own orthodoxy was doubted by some in his own day. One fanatic, the wretched Benedetto Ascolti, even attempted to assassinate the Pope!

Of further interest is this venerable Pope's appointment to the post of Cardinal Nephew - by then the precursor of the Cardinal Secretary of State rather than the sinecure of a Pope's relation - his fellow Milanese, Saint Charles Borromeo. Pope Pius IV was succeeded by yet another Saint, Pope St. Pius V, after his death on 9th December, 1565.

All ye holy Pontiffs, pray for us!

Thursday 24 December 2009

Pope Benedict XVI Attacked

Reports (BBC and CNN) are coming through of an attack made upon the person of Our Most Holy Father the Pope as he entered St. Peter's Basilica this evening for Midnight Mass. Pope Benedict XVI appears to be unhurt and continued immediately with Mass. Roger, Cardinal Etchegaray was taken to hospital following the incident. A statement from the Holy See followed.

Dominus conservet eum,
et vivificet eum,
et beatum faciat eum in terra,
et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. (Ps. xl:3)

Thanks be to God for Pope Benedict XVI!

Christmas Eve in Sweden

In Sweden we really start celebrating Christmas a long time in advance with the beginning of Advent and St. Lucy's Day which is taken very seriously here in Sweden. Here in Gothenburg the whole city is covered in lights from Liseberg Park to the Harbour. This year the really cold weather has helped to create the perfect atmosphere (especially if you are warm and indoors looking out the window!).

The Swedes, being a particurly difficult people, prefer to celebrate the birth of Christ on December 24th. (Same thing with Easter - we really are a tricky bunch!) Traditions differ between families, but for most people Christmas is one of those seasons when you enjoy spending time with your family. We decorate the Christmas tree together, cook, drink glögg (mulled wine) or julmust (very sweet like beer but with no alcohol) and eat far to many oranges, knäck (fudge), lussekatter (St. Lucy buns eaten right through Advent) and pepparkakor (little ginger bread men). Then, at precisely three o'clock Christmas starts for real - with Donald Duck on TV.

After about an hour of pretending not to laugh at the same silly things as the year before it's finally time to start eating. A traditional Swedish Christmas dinner or julbord is a huge meal with many differnet kinds of inlagd sill (pickled herring) and ägg (eggs - sometimes mixed together as gubbröra), rödbetor (beetroot), salad, prinskorv, fläskkorv and isterband (types of sausages), köttbullar (meatballs), rödkål, grönkål and brunkål (different kinds of cabbage - pickled and cooked), sweet bread, julost, bondost, herrgårdsost, prästost and getost (types of cheese), salmon, omelette, rökt ål (smoked eel), lutfisk, a special fish dish, paté and all sorts of pickles and condiments.

Recipes for the most important dish julskinka, the Christmas ham, are handed down through generations - they still all manage to taste exactly the same. The ham is enjoyed with mustard or apple sauce and is often accompanied by dopp i grytan, which means 'dip in the cauldron,' a slice of vörtlimpa (sweet bread) that's been dipped in the water in which the ham's been boiled.

Another Swedish Christmas tradition is the julbocken or Christmas goat. In the same way that the julbord is a reminder of pagan feasts the julbocken is pagan tradition based on the legend of the god Thor who used to ride in a chariot drawn by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr but the tradition has been Christianised into the devil who would appear to menace St. Nicholas in the medieval mystery plays. In past centuries people used to play pranks disguised as the julbocken in the same way as on the Dymmelonsdag ('clapper Wednesday'). This is very like the Julebukking of Norway.

In some places, the julbocken brings the presents to children instead of jultomten, the Swedish Santa Claus. Unfortunately, not in my city. I would have loved a Christmas goat to bring me presents! Some towns such as Gävle build huge straw goats for the celebrations. Small straw goats wrapped in red ribbon can also be bought as a Christmas decoration.

There is also a tradition of carol singing associated with the julbocken that is very similar to the Wren Boys of Ireland.

Sunday 20 December 2009

St. Peter's Basilica and the 1962 Missals

The Italian Latin Mass blog reports that a practical obstacle of no small moment has long been imposed upon Priests wishing to celebrate Mass using the Missal of 1962 in St. Peter's: the Sacristy of the Basilica did not preserve even a single Missal for the Extraordinary Form.

Every Parish Church and Chapel of Ease, not to say Cathedral, would have accumulated Missals over the centuries, but, suddenly, everything disappeared from St. Peter's. Who knows what happened: it seems that a liberating or renewing book-burning must have taken place in the immediate post-Conciliar period.

Father Stefano Carusi, a Priest of the Institute of the Good Shepherd (seen to the left above), has released the letter he sent to the Cardinal Archpriest, to lament the fact and point out how, in the words of those in the sacristy, it appeared clear that absence of missals was not accidental.

Now, we are pleased to make known that the Archpriest, who is also the Cardinal Vicar for the Vatican City State, Cardinal Comastri, has pledged to make available four copies of the 1962 Missal... and only a mere two years and three months after Summorum Pontificum came into force.

When asked to comment on the day following the celebration of Pontifical High Mass in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of the Basilica on 18th October, 2009, by Archbishop Raymond Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, His Eminence said: "The Mass represented an extraordinary event, an event authorized on the occasion of the conference." The Cardinal declined further comment, but another Vatican official said the Mass probably was the first pontifical high Mass using the 1962 Rite to be celebrated in St. Peter's Basilica in almost 40 years.

Venerable Pope Pius XII pray for us!

Saturday 19 December 2009

Venerable Pope Pius XII

Today, the 19th of December, 2009, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, has received in private audience His Excellency, Archbishop Angelo Amato, Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. In the course of that audience, the Holy Father has authorised the Congregation to promulgate the decree recognising the heroic virtue of Pope Pius XII and declaring him to be Venerable.

In the modern era, the process of Canonization, of which the decree of heroic virtue is the first step, was firmly established by the Decrees of Pope Urban VIII and Pope Clement XI. By a Bull of 5th July, 1634, Urban VIII definitively reserved to the Holy See the faculty of granting cultus to individuals and prohibited their veneration prior to the judgement of the Holy See.

It had previously been the practice, despite, it must be said, a Decree of Pope Alexander III in 1170, renewed by Pope Innocent III in 1210, for Bishops to render people Blessed at least to be honoured in their own Dioceses, although it was for the Pope to extend such devotion to the Universal Church, which is, to render them Saints in the technical sense. However, the Pope could also make localised Decrees in some cases. For example Blessed (now Saint) Rose of Lima, who Pope Clement declared to be patroness of Peru, and Pope Clement X declared to be patroness of South America, the Philippines and the East Indies, and also Blessed (now Saint) Stanislaus Kostka, who Pope Clement X declared patron of Poland and Lithuania.

Special mention must be made of the monograph of one Prospero Lambertini "the cleverst man in Christendom," once Promoter of the Faith, an official of the S. Congregation of Rites, who would later become Pope Benedict XIV. The monograph was entitled De Servorum Dei Beatificatione et Beatorum Canonizatione and for more than two centuries remained - and to an extent remains - the basic text on the subject. The two examples of Rose of Lima and Stanislaus Kostka are mentioned at lib. I, cap. xxxix of that monograph. Two early editions (1743 and 1749) are available at Google Books. (See if you can spot the reference to vampires when Lambertini discusses the post mortem state!)

The document relating new procedures introduced by Pope Benedict XVI gives a summary of the history of the procedures involved.

Venerable Pope Pius XII, pray for us!

Kilcrea Abbey

A little further from my home in Blarney away to the south west is Kilcrea Abbey. Kilcrea is certainly one the best preserved monastic ruins in County Cork. The story of the Abbey intertwines a number of themes that have appeared on this blog.

On the south bank of the River Bride, to the west of Ovens, Ballincollig and the City, lie the remains of Kilcrea Abbey. It is the most visible of all the monastic ruins in the County.

Ovens itself is the location of the Ovens Cave which contains a Mass Rock in a chamber about 100 yards from the entrance along a gallery that is only five or six feet high. Mass Rocks are found all over Ireland in secluded spots where Mass could be said by fugitive Priests away from the notice of the persecuting English who had outlawed the Mass and the Priesthood among the provisions of the Penal Laws. So there remains plenty of physical evidence of the cruel persecution and the stubborn fidelity of the Catholics in this area of Cork.

Kilcrea Abbey was founded in 1465 for the Franciscans by Cormac Láidir MacCarthy Mór, the chief of his name and Lord of Muskerry. He was later buried in the Abbey. A monument erected in his memory reads in Irish:

In ndílchuimhne ar
Chormac Láidir MacCárthaigh
Tiarna Mhúscraí
an té a bhunaigh an mhaiistir seo
d'Ord Phrionsais
agus a chuir faoi choimirce bhríde í
d'éag 1494
gura sona Dé a anam a dea-bheart
Coiste Cuimhneacháin 1965-1966

That translates as:

To the sweet memory of
Cormac the strong MacCarthy
Lord of Muskerry
who founded this Abbey
of the Order of Francis
and who placed it under the patronage of St. Brigid
in the year 1494
may God give his soul his good measure
Commemmoration Committee 1965-1966

The Abbey was dedicated to the patronage of St. Brigid of Kildare. Less than a century later, in 1542, the Irish Commissioners of Henry VIII set about the work of dissolving the religious houses of Ireland but it was not until 1577 that Cormac McTeige MacCarthy, of the family of the founder, received the lease of the property from the Commissioners. However, faithful to the wishes of his forebear, he did not expel the Franciscans in taking possession of their property. He died in 1584 and the convent was raided twice by the authorities between his death and the fall from favour of Sir Cormac Diarmuid MacCarthy, when the Abbey was confiscated again by the English Government in Ireland.

However, the Franciscans returned quietly at the beginning of the 17th century but in 1650 the troops of Cromwell occupied the buildings of the Abbey and the nearby Castle. From that point onwards, the Abbey fell gradually into ruin until it became a National Monument at the end of the 19th century although that did not mean it was a dead museum piece. The Franciscans continued to appoint Priors to Kilcrea well into the 19th century and the Abbey continues to be a burial ground for the local people to this day, like so many of the ruins that punctuate the landscape of Ireland, reminders of the glories of past glories and past persecutions.

As well as the founder and his decendants, the famous Bishop O'Herlihy of Ross was buried near the high Altar in 1579. Bishop O'Herlihy was one of the few Irish Bishops to attend the sessions of the Council of Trent but shared with many the distinction of imprisonment in the Tower of London where he was consigned by the infamous and bloody President of Munster, Perrot.

Another notable burial in Kilcrea is Art O'Laoghaire, a martyr of the Penal Laws. Returning from exile, where he had served the Empress of Austria with distinction, he was hunting one day when a local magistrate named Morris took advantage of one of the Penal Laws of William III that required Catholics to offer up their horse for sale if it be demanded by a Protestant.

O'Laoghaire would not offer up his horse and they quarrelled. The magistrates of the area met and declared O'Laoghaire an outlaw. He was shot dead at Carriganimna, close to Macroom, by a force of English soldiery.

His wife, Eibhlín Dubh, an aunt of the great Daniel O'Connell, composed the Toramh-Chaoineadh Airt Ui Laoghaire or Lament for Art O'Laoghaire. His epitaph reads:

"Lo Arthur Leary, generous,
Handsome, Brave, slain in
His bloom, Lies in this humble
Grave. Died May 4th.1773.
Aged 26 years."

"Having served the Empress Marie Therese as
Captain of Hungarian Hussars, he returned
home to be outlawed and treacherously shot
by order of the British Government, his sole
crime being that he refused to part with a
favourite horse for the sum of five pounds."

St. Brigid of Kildare, patroness of Kilcrea, pray for them!

Sunday 13 December 2009

Fifteenth Monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin

The fifteenth monthly Mass in the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin took place this afternoon. Appropriately enough, there were 15 in the resignation, including a number of small children. This is the second highest attendance in the last six months.

Last year, in response to requests from members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association in SEVEN Parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin for the provision of Mass celebrated according to 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays, Bishop James Moriarty, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, provided ONE Mass each Month in ONE Parish.

Bishop Moriarty (b. 13th August, 1936) was ordained a Priest of the Archdiocese of Dublin on 21st May, 1961. On 26th June, 1991, he was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop in the Archdiocese of Dublin and consecrated a Bishop by Desmond, Cardinal Connell, on 22nd September, 1991, with the title of Bishop of Bononia. On 4th June, 2004, Bishop Moriarty was appointed Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin. He was installed as Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin in Carlow Cathedral on 31st August, 2004. Bishop 'Jim's Christmas Letter for 2009 to the faithful of the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin is entitled Message of Hope.

In his Message of Hope, Bishop Jim states: "Christmas 2009 comes to us in tough times. As this economic winter bites people are worried about money, jobs, the roof over their heads, and the future of their families." As a Diocesan effort at "reaching out," 45,000 fridge magnets will be distributed to the Churches in the Diocese during the course of Advent. In previous years, the Diocese distributed a similar number of Christmas decorations, representations of the crib, icons and candles (45,000 in 2003 and 45,000 in 2004) to the people of Kildare and Leighlin.

Last year, in response to requests from groups in SEVEN Parishes across the Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin for the provision of Mass celebrated according to 1962 Missal on Sundays and Holydays, Bishop James Moriarty, the Bishop of Kildare and Leighlin, provided ONE Mass each Month in ONE Parish.
[UPDATE: Bishop Moriarty offered his resignation to the Holy Father on Wednesday, 23rd December, 2009, saying: "However, with the benefit of hindsight, I accept that, from the time I became an Auxiliary Bishop, I should have challenged the prevailing culture... I will endeavour to continue to do my best, as I have throughout my 48 years of ministry, to share Christ’s light and hope for the world."]

St. Conleth of Kildare pray for us!

Saturday 12 December 2009

CHRISTVS REGNAT - December, 2009

Articles in the December, 2009, issue of CHRISTVS REGNAT include:
  • Introduction to the Report to the Holy Father on the Second Anniversary of Summorum Pontificum
    An outline of the contents and methodology of the report that the International Federation Una Voce presented to the Holy Father in October, 2009.
  • Report on the FIUV General Assembly XIX
    A personal recollection by one of the seven members of St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association who travelled to Rome in mid-November.
  • The Irish Liturgical Calendar
    Part one in this series covers the period 1835 to 1914. It traces the interaction of the Universal and the Irish calendars, as well as the fate of local feasts under the various reforms of the rubrics during that period.
  • Sir Francis Cruise, M.D.
    A biographical sketch of the Dubliner who was an acknowledged world expert on The Imitation of Christ and who also found time to contribute to civil society as President of the Royal College of Physicians in Ireland, Governor of the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Senator of both the University of Dublin and of the Royal University of Ireland, and who was rewarded by both the British Crown and Pope St. Pius X for his services.
  • Jansenism, the Liturgy and Ireland
    A Jesuit repost to the proposition that Irish liturgical practice reflects a Jansenistic spirit that infected the whole of Irish Church life three centuries ago.
  • The Instability of Heresy
    From the writings of Msgr. Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet, Bishop of Meaux.
  • Astronomical Allusions in the Book of Job
    A survey of the delicate task of translation and its impact upon the sense of Sacred Scripture, contrasting the Septuagint, Vulgate and Irish language texts. The author provides evidence from the internal astronomical references that places the authorship of the Book of Job several centuries earlier than the date that is commonly-held by modern scholars.
  • Report on Masses for the Holy Year For Priests
If you would like to subscribe to CHRISTVS REGNAT please e-mail us here.

Wednesday 9 December 2009

Archbishop Sheen in Dublin

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was born in El Paso IL on 8th May, 1895. He was ordained a Priest on 20th September, 1919. On 11th June, 1950, he was consecrated a Bishop in the Basilica of Ss. John and Paul in Rome. He was named as Bishop of Rochester NY on 26th October, 1969. He died on this day thirty years ago, 9th December, 1979.

These recordings of Archbishop Sheen speaking about St. Thérèse of Lisieux in the Carmelite Church, Whitefriar Street, Dublin, Ireland, in 1973, are introduced by the late Fr. J. Linus Ryan, O.Carm. Archbishop Sheen was a regular visitor to Whitefriar Street, particularly in 1969, 1971, 1973 and 1975. He was a firm friend of the Community there.

Tuesday 8 December 2009

Ireland and the Immaculate Conception

The feast of the Immaculate Conception of Mary, or Giniúint Mhuire gan Smál in the Irish Language, is one of the dearest feasts to Gaelic hearts.

Devotion to Mary's Immaculate Conception, although it is to be found in the earliest days of the Church, was not placed upon the Universal Calendar of the Church until 1708 by Pope Clement XI. Likewise, although the feast of the Immaculate Conception was being celebrated in Ireland long before 1708 (it is included in the calendar of the Martyrologium of Tallaght, c. 790, and the Féilre of St. Aengus, c. 800, and Synods in 1614, 1631 and 1685 declare it a holyday), we can trace the devotion in Ireland from before 1708, largely through the Franciscan Order and the friendship with Spain, whose Monarchs prided themselves upon their zeal for the Immaculate Conception.

The Irish Franciscan, Blessed John Duns Scotus, known as the Subtil Doctor (Doctor Subtilis), was the first to posit the solution to the great obstacle to the universal acceptance of the doctrine, namely, how could Mary be conceived free from all sin before the Redemption that her Son was to accomplish on Calvary had won the freedom of Mankind from sin.

Fr. Luke Wadding, O.F.M., had learned the pratice of devotion to the Immaculate Conception from his family. He had written a life of Blessed John Duns Scotus, the Vita Scoti. In 1618, King Phillip II of Spain appointed Fr. Wadding as theologian to the embassy that he sent to Rome to promote the definition of the Immaculate Conception as a Dogma of the Catholic Faith. Fr. Wadding was a mere thirty years old at the time.

Writing from Spain in 1625, Count Philip O’Sullivan Beare, nephew of the great O'Sullivan Beare, hero of Dunboy, makes reference to Ireland’s devotion to Mary and in particular to her Immaculate Conception. Likewise, the Irish College in Seville (founded in 1617) was dedicated to the Immaculate Conception.

Hugh MacCaghwell, O.F.M., Archbishop of Armagh (d. 1626), composed a tract and a litany honouring the Immaculate Conception. Several other Franciscans such as Florence Conry, Archbishop of Tuam, John Ponce or Punch (professor at St. Isadore's in Rome with Wadding), Anthony Hickey (pupil of the great Archbishop MacCaghwell and professor at St. Isadore's) and Bonaventure Baron (also of St. Isadore's) wrote tracts in Our Lady’s honour on the same theme.

The link between St. Isadore's and present-day Ireland is a direct one in that, when the Papal States were invaded in 1870, many precious manuscripts that had been lodged there, having been saved from destruction at the hands of the heretic invaders at home, were returned to Ireland, to the Franciscan Convent at Merchant's Quay, Dublin, where the Church known as 'Adam and Eve's' is more properly called the Church of the Immaculate Conception.

On the eve of the feast of the Immaculate Conception in 1650, the Catholic Confederation, sitting in the City of Kilkenny, and which then governed almost the entire Kingdom of Ireland solemnly consecrated the Kingdom to the Immaculate Conception of Mary in the following terms:

“By a unanimous vote of the Supreme Assembly it was decreed that the Virgin Mother of God, under her title of her Immaculate Conception, should be solemnly and publicly proclaimed Patroness of the Kingdom of Ireland, and that as a perpetual memorial to the happy event, the feast of the Immaculate Conception should be solemnly observed in Ireland from that day forward until the end of time.”

*The image of the Immaculate Conception in this post is by Giovanni Battista Tiepolo (1696-1770), dated 1767-69, housed in the del Prado Museum in Madrid.

Saturday 5 December 2009

Latin Mass in Every Parish

The Open Door is a Catholic Magazine that is distributed in Parishes across North Kildare. This week it carried this article:

* * *


Pope Benedict XVI would like every Catholic parish in the world to celebrate a regular Tridentine-rite Mass.

Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos told a press conference in London that the Vatican was writing to all seminaries to ask that candidates to the priesthood be trained to celebrate Mass according to the extraordinary form of the Latin rite, also known as the Tridentine Mass.

The Cardinal, who was visiting London at the invitation of the Latin Mass Society, a British Catholic group committed to promoting Mass in the Tridentine rite of the 1962Roman Missal, said it was "absolute ignorance" to think that the Pope was trying to reverse the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.

"The Holy Father, who is a theologian and who was involved in the preparation for the council, is acting exactly in the way of the council, offering with freedom the different kinds of celebration," he said.

Cardinal Castrillon said the Holy Father wants all parishes to celebrate Mass in the Latin rite. "All the parishes", he said, "not many, all parishes, because this is a gift of God. It is very important for new generations to know the past of the church," said Cardinal Castrillon, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which works to help separated traditionalist Catholics return to the Church.

Pope Benedict XVI has issued a directive allowing all Catholic priests to celebrate the Latin Mass and uses the older ritual himself for private Masses, saying ‘it is a matter of a twofold use of one and the same rite.’

* * *

Inside the same issue they carried this announcement:

* * *


The Tridentine Mass will be celebrated in Celbridge parish church on the evening of Tuesday December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, at 7.00pm.

This traditional form of the Mass, which will be remembered by older parishioners, is celebrated with the priest facing the altar and using the Latin form for all the liturgical prayers.

Holy Communion is received in a kneeling position and on the tongue. The rite of the Tridentine Mass does not incorporate any of the changes and additions made in the decades after Vatican Council II.

Our Holy Father Pope Benedict is urging all parishes worldwide to use the Latin rite of Mass alongside the Novus Ordo Mass which became the norm after Vatican Council ll. This Council did not ban the older traditional Mass rite, but allowed Mass to be said in the vernacular form of language; other changes were introduced into the Novus Ordo Mass since the council.

The rite of the Tridentine Mass does not offer the use of extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion, altar girls or lay readers.

* * *

This Mass is not being organised by St. Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association but we applaud the Parish of Celbridge and the Archdiocese of Dublin for their excellent work.
UPDATE: The Mass took place this evening with a congregation of 300+. The priest was Fr. James Larkin, P.P., who said that the decade in which the Church was built was a historic one in that the Stations of the Cross that were on the walls had been created in 1851, the Immaculate Conception had been proclaimed by Pope Pius the Ninth in 1854, Our Lady appeared in Lourdes and told St. Bernadette that she was "the Immaculate Conception" and in 1859, the Church in which they were attending Mass was opened with Mass in the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, the same form that they were celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass tonight. Well done Celbridge!

The Round Tower at Waterloo

To the north of Cork City, just a few miles north of Blarney, up the valley between the Boggera and the Nagle Mountains, the Martin River flows down towards the River Lee. Fr. Mat Horgan was Parish Priest of Blarney in the 19th century. He was a man of many talents and a great supporter of Irish Catholic heritage. The name of this great Corkonian deserves to be better remembered. He gave a lecture in 1839 which included his own translation into Irish of an ode by Horace.

He was a historian and the author of many learned articles but only one book on the Tithe War of 1834 when a Protestant Minister called Ryder called out the English soldiers to collect contributions to the Protestant Church that were imposed by law even upon Catholics. 12 died and many were wounded to satisfy his greed.

Fr. Mat was known locally as "the man who built the Round Towers". In fact, he built two, one at Waterloo and another at Whitechurch both in the north of County Cork. There was great controversy among the antiquarians of the time regarding the true origins of Round Towers that dot the landscape of Ireland. Fr. Mat proposed the solution that seems so obvious now that they were bell towers and places of storage and refuge. To demonstrate his theory, he built the two towers. He died in 1849 at the age of 46 and was buried beneath the tower at Waterloo.

Across the gap along the road to Mallow you reach the River Clyda above which sat Castle Barrett or Castlemore that was once the stronghold of the Templar Knights of Mourne Abbey, who arrived around the year 1200. The Boggeras have a desolate appearance above Mourne Abbey. No wonder that they are the home place of "the man from God knows where".

Into our townland on a night of snow,
Rode a man from God knows where;
None of us bade him stay or go,
Nor deemed him friend, nor damned him foe,
But we stabled his big roan mare;
For in our townland we're decent folk,
And if he didn't speak, why none of us spoke,
And we sat till the fire burned low.

The River Clyda will be well-loved of all Cork people in exile in Dublin because, as you sit on the train from Dublin, it and the Blackwater are the first signs of the land of streams that announce that you are home again in dear old Cork.

[UPDATE] Since I posted this another great Irish poem has been brought to my attention. I was sitting down watching Darby O'Gill and the Little People and enjoying the nonsense when my Grandma started reciting the correct form of the poem quoted by Sean Connery incorrectly in the film. Instantly I realised that it would go well with my post on the Round Towers and I asked her to write what she could remember of it:

By D.F. McCarthy

The pillar towers of Ireland, how wondrously they stand
By the lakes and rushing rivers through the valleys of our land;
In mystic file, through the isle, they lift their heads sublime,
These gray old pillar temples, these conquerors of time!

Beside these gray old pillars, how perishing and weak
The Roman's arch of triumph, and the temple of the Greek,
And the gold domes of Byzantium, and the pointed Gothic spires,
All are gone, one by one, but the temples of our sires!

The column, with its capital, is level with the dust,
And the proud halls of the mighty and the calm homes of the just;
For the proudest works of man, as certainly, but slower,
Pass like the grass at the sharp scythe of the mower!

But the grass grows again when in majesty and mirth,
On the wing of the spring, comes the Goddess of the Earth;
But for man in this world no springtide e'er returns
To the labours of his hands or the ashes of his urns!

Two favourites hath Time--the pyramids of Nile,
And the old mystic temples of our own dear isle;
As the breeze o'er the seas, where the halcyon has its nest,
Thus Time o'er Egypt's tombs and the temples of the West!

The names of their founders have vanished in the gloom,
Like the dry branch in the fire or the body in the tomb;
But to-day, in the ray, their shadows still they cast
These temples of forgotten gods--these relics of the past!

Around these walls have wandered the Briton and the Dane
The captives of Armorica, the cavaliers of Spain
Phoenician and Milesian, and the plundering Norman Peers
And the swordsmen of brave Brian, and the chiefs of later years!

How many different rites have these gray old temples known!
To the mind what dreams are written in these chronicles of stone!
What terror and what error, what gleams of love and truth,
Have flashed from these walls since the world was in its youth?

Here blazed the sacred fire, and, when the sun was gone,
As a star from afar to the traveller it shone;
And the warm blood of the victim have these gray old temples drunk,
And the death-song of the druid and the matin of the monk.

Here was placed the holy chalice that held the sacred wine,
And the gold cross from the altar, and the relics from the shrine,
And the mitre shining brighter with its diamonds than the East,
And the crosier of the pontiff and the vestments of the priest.

Where blazed the sacred fire, rung out the vesper bell,
Where the fugitive found shelter, became the hermit's cell;
And hope hung out its symbol to the innocent and good,
For the cross o'er the moss of the pointed summit stood.

There may it stand for ever, while that symbol doth impart
To the mind one glorious vision, or one proud throb to the heart;
While the breast needeth rest may these gray old temples last,
Bright prophets of the future, as preachers of the past!

Friday 4 December 2009

Archbishop Emeritus of Southwark

Father Finegan reports that the Holy See has just accepted the resignation of his Grace, the Archbishop of Southwark, in accordance with the provisions of Canon 401 § 2.

The Archdiocese of Southwark had, according to the Annuario Pontificio 2005, a Catholic population of 385,384 and a proportion of 980 Catholics per Priest. The Archdiocese also has Masses in the Gregorian Rite every Sunday in FIVE Churches: St. Bede's, Thornton Road (daily); St. Ethelbert, Ramsgate; St. Mary Magdalene, Wandsworth (and every Friday); Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen (and every Saturday); St. Thomas Aquinas, Ham.

The Archdiocese also has monthly Masses in the Gregorian Rite in FIVE Churches: St. Raphael's, Kingston (first Tuesdays); St. Francis, Maidstone (first Sunday); St. Simon, Ashford South (second, fourth and fifth Sundays); St. Mary, Chislehurst (every Friday and third Sunday); St. Andrew, Tenterden (third Sunday).

The Diocese of Kildare and Leighlin had, according to the Annuario Pontificio 2005, a Catholic population of 191,222 and a proportion of 1,217 Catholics per Priest. The Diocese has Masses in the Gregorian Rite every Sunday in NONE of its Churches.

The Diocese has monthly Masses in the Gregorian Rite in ONE Church: Cill Mhuire, Newbridge. Many Churches in the Diocese will not permit even a single Mass in the Gregorian Rite to take place.

Father Finegan asks for prayers for Archbishop McDonald. Let us pray for an Archbishop McDonald.

Thursday 3 December 2009

Procession for the Immaculate Conception

A Torchlight Procession in honour of Mary Immaculate to take place in Rome on 8th December, 2009, at 7 p.m., for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The pilgrim statue of Our Lady of Fatima will be carried n the Torchlight Procession 'aux flambeaux,' through the Via del Corse, presided over by a Cardinal.

The procession will leave the Church of Gesù e Maria at 45, Via del Corso, (in front of San Giacomo) and will arrive at 8 p.m. at the Basilica of Santa Maria sopra Minerva for Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Information can be obtained from Canonico Don Giuseppe Luzuy of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest:

Tel./fax: 06 66 24 922
Cell: 335 345 163