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Saturday 19th August–Saturday 26th August 2023

AUGUST IS THE MONTH OF THE IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY


Twentieth Week of Ordinary Time


Dear parishioners,


Pope St. Pius the Tenth, pray for the Church!



Monday is the memorial of Pope St Pius X, and the collect brings together the features of his papacy which had great significance in his day and were profoundly prophetic for our own.


The prayer in our missal goes:


O God, who to safeguard the Catholic faith

and to restore all things in Christ,

filled Pope St Pius the Tenth

with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude,

graciously grant

that, following his teaching and example,

we may gain an eternal prize.


Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.


The prayer draws upon St Pius X’s motto for his papacy ‘Instaurare Omnia in Christo which means, "to restore all things in Christ." and are originally the words of the Apostle Paul to the Ephesians (1:10).


St. Pius X, pope from 1903 to 1914, inspired by God with heavenly wisdom and apostolic fortitude, saw the dangers of worldly modernism infiltrating the church and the duty of all the faithful to pass on the Sacred Tradition of the Catholic Church. He understood the signs of danger in the church of the early twentieth century, which may now be coming to fruition, saying, "...the great movement of apostasy being organized in every country for the establishment of a One-World Church which shall have neither dogmas, nor hierarchy, neither discipline for the mind, nor curb for the passions, and which, under the pretext of freedom and human dignity, would bring back to the world (if such a Church could overcome) the reign of legalized cunning and force, and the oppression of the weak, and of all those who toil and suffer’


The celebration of mass, is the most visible sign of the church’s tradition or our breaking with it. It is at the heart of who we are and how we say mass proclaims who we are and what we believe. It is I think, reasonable to say, that any mass said in the fourth century, would have been recognisable to someone living a thousand years later in the fourteenth century, even though the culture, popular language, governance, national identity etc. had changed greatly. The catholic faith had been passed on, developing integrally as branches grow on a tree or sometimes being pruned carefully and gently or like a branch which dies, sometimes quietly falling out of use over time. In such manner, Catholic Tradition continued to grow in the same direction and always looking like the same tree. Revolution and sudden change, until the late 1960’s was never, ever part of the Church’s Tradition. Why should modern human beings be treated any differently from humans in any age? We are the same sinful creatures in need of God that we have always been and will be til Judgement Day. As St Pius X said, ‘"It is an error to believe that Christ did not teach a determined body of doctrine applicable to all times and to all men, but rather that He inaugurated a religious movement adapted, or to be adapted, to different times and different places.".


The slow gradual development of the Tradition meant the Liturgy celebrated throughout the world in the 1950s would have been recognisable to someone time-travelling forwards five hundred years from the 1450s. Pope Pius X wrote, "I accept with sincere belief the doctrine of faith as handed down to us from the Apostles by the orthodox Fathers, always in the same sense and with the same interpretation." Likewise, Pope Benedict XVI wrote later that century regarding the Traditional Latin Mass ‘What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful’.


By passing on the same sacred tradition throughout the ages, The Church grew and grew; peoples were evangelised, and wherever you went in the world, it was the same mass, the same sacred tradition passed on in the same Sacred Language. Needless to say, since revolutionary change has hit the church, the opposite has happened and we are now in catastrophic decline. No Revolution has ever been a friend of the Church. As St Pius X said, ‘"The true friends of the people are neither revolutionaries, nor innovators, but traditionalists."


To safeguard the catholic faith and what has always been handed down to us from Christ through the ages: this is what inspired St Pius the tenth. This is Catholic even though in very recent times, ‘Surprises’ and ‘Innovations’ have been the thing. But in Catholic Tradition if new ideas or practices are not in accord with what has gone before then the church has always dealt with these by ‘restoring’ herself to the Tradition. This is what the Counter Reformation was all about in the sixteenth century against un-catholic innovations from the protestants. Such restorations can be seen in the work of all church reformers, particularly in religious orders who have over time moved far from the original teaching and charisms of their founders. Always we restore, always we go back to who we are – the body of Christ, God’s church, always we restore all things in Christ’.


However, the number of surprises and the revolutionary innovations in the practice of the novus ordo mass since 1970 has in some places made the mass look quite different from what even our grandparents knew, never mind the imaginary time traveller coming from the fourth or fourteenth centuries. Yet it was never the intention of the Fathers of Vatican II to create a new mass outside of Catholic Tradition, as can be read in the Council Documents on the Sacred Liturgy and Church Music. Nevertheless, radical thinkers led the way with the destruction and abandonment of recognisably catholic worship, buildings, art, devotions, music, religious observance and religious life and morals since the 1970s. This is visibly represented by the throwing out of sacred objects from our churches, with even a collection of saints relics sent to the crematorium by the Jesuits in Oxford. The Jesuits have now gone from that church as their order drastically diminishes, and that same church, minus the cremated relics, has now been greatly restored by the Oratorians. (Shaw, p11).


Would someone time travelling from the 1950’s now recognise the Mass in some places? He/she would certainly see a religion with many of the markers of his catholic faith visibly practised in worship gone, a religion constantly seeking surprise and innovation, rather than the continuity that meant what had been in A.D. 400, was so in 1400 and was equally so in 1960. To quote Joseph Shaw, would they recognise ‘the extirpation of Latin, the wholesale re-writing of texts, the reversal of the normal direction of worship, the smashing of altars, the dismissal of expert choirs, the destruction of whole libraries of liturgical, spiritual and theological books’ and before they almost disappeared entirely as is the case now, ‘the nuns in short skirts? (p 13). Our ancestors would certainly not have recognised the questions that are now being raised in the current novel 'synodal process' as being questions for Catholics at all.


Perhaps, a mass in many - a - catholic church today may look more like a communion service in any local protestant church, than it would to the Catholic mass said in A.D. 450, 1450 or 1950. Certainly, some people will argue that this is exactly what they want, that this is a good thing and so what’s the problem? So what if we lose who we are as we open ourselves to diversity and inclusion, abandoning our own practices and traditions to do so? But the Church, successfully growing to spread throughout the world, always was diverse and inclusive, transnational and trans-tribal, even as for most of her history, the Mass of Ages was said in the one, universal sacred language. The Church is inclusive and diverse and always has been: following the Lord’s command, all who repent of their sins and turn to Our Lord are welcome in this place, all who repent and turn to Him are united together by the mercy and love of his Sacred Heart.


Following St Pius X, Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict also saw the danger the church of novel teaching, surprise and innovation, and observed the loss of reverence and the sacred in our worship. They both tried in many ways to restore the sacred traditions of the church within the novus ordo celebrations of the mass and in various religious observances to promote a continuity with what has always been.

Guided like Saint Pius the Tenth, restoring our tradition is all about finding who we are again in the world and not becoming more and more like it. Following Our Lord Jesus Christ, we have always been, and must always be, in the world, but not become one with it, or we will, to quote Cardinal Muller yet again, disappear. This is the principle, which also led our parish patron, St Thomas More, to surrender his life. To restore all things in Christ, as St Pius X taught, we need to come back confidently and bravely to ourselves as Church, embracing and living who we are as Catholics with all the traditions that identify us, and so return to the Eucharistic Heart of Jesus from which all graces through the church flow. St Pius said, ‘"The greatest obstacle in the apostolate of the Church is the timidity or rather the cowardice of the faithful."


If you follow Catholic news, it may be tempting sometimes to feel that we are lost at sea and heading for the rocks. But hear the words of that great and holy pope, St Pius the tenth one more time, "Let the storm rage and the sky darken - not for that shall we be dismayed. If we trust as we should in Mary, we shall recognize in her, the Virgin Most Powerful "who with virginal foot did crush the head of the serpent."


So, giving encouragement to each other, and so strengthening one another (1Thess 5:5) let us continue, in the words of Monday’s collect, to follow the example and teaching of Pope St Pius the tenth and so restore all things in Christ that we may gain the eternal prize. Amen to that, and we ask Pope St Pius the tenth to pray for The Church.


Quotations from Pope St Pius X from the very helpful ‘A-Z of quotes’ for our saint.

Quotations from Joseph Shaw from his excellent ‘The Liturgy, the Family & the Crisis of Modernity’, Os Justi Press 2023. Available on Amazon (inluding Kindle).

Quotation from Pope Benedict XVI letter to the bishops with’ ‘Summorum Pontificum’ .

Cardinal Muller’s interview on EWTN available on Youtube.


God Bless

Fr. Jonathon


 

UPCOMING EVENTS



Tickets are available after mass and we are looking for donations for raffle prizes and cupcakes. Raffle items (e.g. gift sets, toys, bottles etc.) must be in new condition and in original packaging and can be given to Fr. Jonathon, Melissa or ticket sellers. We are also looking for bakers who might be able to donate cupcakes. Face painters also needed. Please contact the parish office if you are able to help with any of the above or if you are available to lend a hand on the day.

 

ESCORTED PILGRIMAGE TO KNOCK SHRINE, Ireland, 2nd October 2023. £699.00 per person sharing. Price includes flight, all transfers, 4 nights’ in Knock House Hotel with full board. All entertainment and excursions included. Day trips to Westport, Ballintubber Abbey, Croagh Patrick, Fr. Peyton Centre & National Museum. Single supplement £150.00. Contact Patricia or Natali on 01268 762 278 or 07740 175557 or email knockpilgrimages@gmail.com.

 

PARISH PILGRIMAGE TO LOURDES.

23rd October to 27th October 2023. Please contact the parish office by the 23rd August if you are interested in joining us. Limited availability.

 

ST THOMAS MORE GOLF DAY to be held Thursday 21st September 2023 at Birchwood Park Golf course, Swanley. Anyone interested in taking part please contact Tony Brooke. 07833707016. There will be the usual charity raffle attached to the day in aid of taking sick / disabled to Lourdes. You will be offered a chance to be involved in the raffle in early September.

 

EXTRAORDINARY MINISTERS OF HOLY COMMUNION AND LECTORS - Formation Day 2023 Saturday 14th October 2023, 10.00 a.m.-4.00 p.m. For Parishes in the Deaneries of Bexley, Bromley and Greenwich Venue: St Stephen’s Church, 26 Deepdene Road, Welling, Kent DA16 3QL If you are a lector or extraordinary minister you are encouraged to put this in your diary and attend it. Please let me know if you are going so I can let them know numbers.

 

A DAY WITH MARY

St. Saviour’s, Lewisham on Saturday 19th August from 9.30 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. Bring packed lunch. Tea and coffee provided. St George’s Cathedral, Lambeth Road, Southwark on Saturday 26th August 2023 from 10.15 a.m. to 5. 15 p.m. Bring packed lunch. Tea and coffee provided.

 
 

PARISH NOTICES

SPUC NOTICES

DEATHS

MASSES AND INTENTIONS FOR THE TWENTIETH WEEK OF ORDINARY TIME

AUGUST PRAYER


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