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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Communists continue to persecute the Church in Vietnam

We were sent the following report from a religious Brother asking for prayers for the Catholic Church and the Redemptorists in Vietnam where persecutions continue to rage:

The archdiocese of Hue, in central Vietnam, has been subjected to a campaign of negative propaganda in the state-controlled media, following public protests against the government's confiscation of a Catholic school there.

Almost simultaneously, an ultimatum has been sent by public officials to leaders of the Vinh diocese, ordering the removal of a large statue of Our Lady at a Catholic cemetery.

Meanwhile in the northern region, parishioners of Thai Ha in the Archdiocese of Hanoi were told that another plot of land claimed by Catholics as Church property would be put under State's administration.

Verbal attacks against the Church erupted in Hue after the publication of a statement by Archbishop Stephen Nguyen Nhu The and his auxiliary, Bishop Francis Xavier Le Van Hong in which the prelates strongly objected to the confiscation of a Catholic school in the Loan Ly parish and the brutal violence of police against parishioners who had protested.

The school, adjacent to the parish church of Loan Ly, was built by parishioners in 1956. From the beginning, it had been used as a Catholic school until local government officials seized it following the Communist takeover of South Vietnam in 1975. Even since then Sunday catechism classes have still been allowed--under a large picture of Uncle Ho, the Communist leader, rather than a crucifix. Since 1999, however, local officials have sought to convert the school into a hotel-- a proposal that has encountered heavy public opposition.

On September 13, authorities and police barricaded the school building. Hundreds of parishioners immediately protested. Protesters started pulling down the fence, prompting thousands of police to rush to the scene, where they attacked parishioners with batons and stun guns.

In their statement issued on September 23, the two bishops of Hue expressed their "shock and frustration with the way the government had unilaterally solved the Church property issue by the employment of violence"� and called for "peaceful dialogue."

In response, Hue Television ran a series of interviews in which government agents posing as Catholics verbally attacked the prelates. Newspapers in Vietnam have fiercely attacked Father Joseph Ngo Thanh Son, the pastor of Loan Ly parish, accusing him of plotting and directing the protest by his parishioners--although the priest had been in the hospital and was not at his parish at the time the incident took place.

In the Diocese of Vinh, Father John Nguyen Van Huu, the pastor of Bau Sen parish, reported on September 24 that local authorities had sent him an ultimatum to remove a large statue of Our Lady of Lavang which his parishioners built on the top of a mountain in the parish cemetery. The People's Committee of Bo Trach issued a decree, stating that the statue must be demolished as it was built "outside the religious premises."� The deadline for parishioners to remove the statue was set to be on Saturday, September 26. A day earlier, however, bulldozers were sent to the site to threaten parishioners. As of Sunday, September 27, thousands of Catholics were still protesting at the site.

In a different part of the country, Father Matthew Vu Khoi Phung and representatives of Redemptorists and parishioners of Thai Ha parish, in Hanoi, were summoned by the People's Committee of Dong Da to be told that their lot of land at Ba Giang Lake would be confiscated and placed under State control. After the conversion of one lot of parish land into a public park last October, in April local authorities bulldozed another lot of land, preparing to sell it to private investors.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Navarro-Valls on Pope Benedict XVI

Saturday 26th September
the Pope gave the Infant Jesus of Prague
a beautiful golden crown

Navarro-Valls, who worked for almost two years with Benedict XVI, was interviewed by the Spanish daily El Mundo about his work at the Vatican and some aspects of the two Popes he served under.

Speaking about Benedict XVI, he said he considers him "the Pope with the largest and most brilliant personal bibliography in all of Church history. His conceptual wealth is fascinating. And I think people also outside the Catholic circles are aware of it. "

The former Vatican spokesman does not believe that the Holy Father is a cold person. "I would say the opposite. The manner in which he is moved—which is more frequent than believed—is to not react passionately in response to things," he said.

He also found that the most unique aspect of his Pontificate is his "confidence in the rationality of people, in their ability to seek the truth," and the great obstacle he faces is, "as he himself said a few days before he was elected pope, the dictatorship of relativism."

From Catholic News Agency

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Holy Pope Liberius -there is a place for reparation

For many years,
I and others,
have thought and spoken badly of Pope Liberius.
Thinking and saying that:

Liberius was the weak Pope;
Liberius, was the first Pope to not be canonised;

Liberius was the Pope who unjustly excommunicated St. Athanasius;

Liberius, was the perfect historical example to use
when you want to justify disobeying the Pope

Recently a friend said to me:
"Well after all,
Pope Liberius unjustly excommunicated St. Athanasius
and it is Athanasius, not Liberius, who is the saint."
This gave us reason to investigate the matter more fully.

Today, 23 September is the ancient feast of Saint Liberius, Pope and Confessor.

Page for 23 September, Acta Sanctorum.

There are many who condemn Pope Liberius
based upon the investigations of historians.
Historians since the 1500's
have tried to piece together an accurate account of history
but there is nothing conclusive
that should condemn Pope Liberius.

How many know that
Pope Liberius was considered a Saint
for over a thousand years?

There is no proof that he signed ambiguous statements in exile.
There is no proof that while in exile he signed anything at all.
There is no proof that while in exile he excommunicated St. Athanasius.

Fathers of the Church who knew him personally
or lived in his time spoke highly of Pope Liberius:
Saint Ambrose, Pope Saint Anastasius I, St. Basil the Great.

There is more that enough doubt on these matters
to regret ever having thought badly of the holy Pope
who suffered exile precisely
the Nicean Creed
and because
he would not condemn St. Athanasius.
Immediately before he was sentenced with exile,
the Emperor Constantius rebuffed him with the sentence:
"You would defend Athanasius against the world!"

There is a lot of evidence in favour of Pope Liberius.
We have decided to gather some of the evidence together
in order to champion his reputation.
The first article has been professionally translated from French.
It was written by the very reputed Church Historian
Fr. Rohrbacher.
It is here:
Holy Pope Liberius Blog

We would like to have the full Acta Sanctorum article translated from Latin.
If anybody would like to help pay for translations
they would be most welcome
would assist us in making reparation

in championing the reputation of Holy Pope Liberius.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A brief reply to Brendan


Thank you for your comment, Brendan, where you concluded:

“Granted, the liturgy of 1962 has been greatly freed by the 2007 motu proprio but you could have regularized yourself after the Episcopal Consecrations of Archbishop Lefebvre. What you say now of Summorum Pontificum, the FSSP said basically of Ecclesia Dei.
What changed?”

Human beings do not work on the level of the Law alone. If they did it there would never have been the Great Schism with the East; nor the revolt of the Protestants; and nor the crisis leading up to and following the 1988 Consecrations. There are always many factors involved in breakdown: scandals, miscommunications, human motives, injustice and mistrust. Each of those words is laden with wounds that are too painful to open; and revisiting them does not help in forging the way forward. Suffice it to say that as Cardinal, Pope Benedict said that we were treated as “lepers” in the Church, which is a fair statement about the ecclesial climate. However, there were brave souls who did reconcile in 1988, other didn’t for various reasons. What changed?

Since 1988 for one thing there is a new Pope who gives very clear messages and who desires to do everything possible for traditional Catholics. The last Pope probably wanted these improvements too; but, in the climate, the lepers either never heard or didn’t believe their ears. I think that it is better to leave the past with the affirmation that here and now, in 2009, there have been sufficient gestures from the Holy See to re-establish a new relationship of charity and trust.

The words of the Letter of Pope Benedict to the Bishops explaining the Motu Proprio made this pertinent avowal: “Looking back over the past, to the divisions which in the course of the centuries have rent the Body of Christ, one continually has the impression that, at critical moments when divisions were coming about, not enough was done by the Church’s leaders to maintain or regain reconciliation and unity. ... This glance at the past imposes an obligation on us today: to make every effort to enable for all those who truly desire unity, to remain in that unity or to attain it anew.” By this, he announces the need for further efforts on the part of the Church hierarchy which I read as an appeal for a reciprocal effort on our part. A new attempt on the part of the hierarchy demands that we too forgive the past and rebuild in a better climate.

In the Motu Proprio the Pope began building bridges by giving far more than was ever expected. Yes he allowed each and every priest in the Latin rite to offer the old Mass; but he went further, giving the whole of the old ritual; and, even more, he officially recognised that the Old Mass was never abrogated; (-that alone was a profound gesture; a balm to the wounds of many old Fathers). Understanding the situation, Benedict XVI, is addressing the different levels that have contributed to this division: The interpretation of Vatican II according to tradition, justice for the old Rite and reform of the Church in many areas. By this wide ranging activity he has laid a foundation upon which a lasting reconciliation can be built. Priests of good will must recognise this and co-operate; it is an obligation. Whatever about the time between 1988 and 2007, where, for some, there was an impossible climate; since the Motu Proprio, I am not aware of anything that could now excuse a priest from refusing to live within the structures of the Church.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.


Brendan has left a new comment on your post "A brief reply to Brendan":

Fr. Michael Mary, thank you for your reply. Please understand that my question was not meant as a challenge or deceptive. I understand your position more clearly now.

Monday, September 14, 2009

No "State of Necessity"

In the September 2009 Newsletter of the SSPX in the UK Fr. Paul Morgan says that there is a state of necessity in the Church and he then uses the Editorial to announce to his readers that “the latest position of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer” is that we now claim that “the Society’s Confessions and Marriages are invalid!!”

Let us first state that there is no state of ‘necessity’ in the canonical sense of the word. This idea of necessity is an untraditional use of a canonical term that, like charity it is hoped, will cover a multitude of sins. But will it?

The present situation in the Church may be called a crisis but there is no justification since 14 September, 2007, for breaking Canon Law by exercising illegitimate and possibly even invalid ministry: adding thereby disorder to disorder.

What necessitates breaking Canon Law to celebrate the Old Mass when the Church on 7 July 2007 gave full permission for every priest in the Church to use the 1962 Missal exclusively? -None.

If a priest could both offer the Old Mass and hear Confession with faculties, what necessity exists whereby he is compelled to break the Church's Law to hear Confessions, quite possibly invalidly? -This is unnecessary, even irresponsible.

And, yes, if a priest could offer the Old Mass and receive jurisdiction or delegation to celebrate the sacrament of Marriage, (and the Church legislates that he must have this for the Marriage to be valid), what necessity is there for him to celebrate the form of Marriage without jurisdiction or delegation and thereby invalidate a couple’s marriage? -It is surely unnecessary and even reckless.

Therefore, I deny that any priest is compelled by necessity to break the Law of the Church: Since 14 September 2007 every priest may legitimately offer the Old Mass, hear Confessions with jurisdiction, and celebrate Marriages validly if he would but obey God’s Law.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

14 September 2009

2nd anniversary of the implementation of the Motu proprio Summorum Pontificum

Thursday, September 03, 2009


Over the summer, many yachts come to Stronsay from all over. Often the visitors also want to see Papa Stronsay as well. We had one such visit from a couple who had sailed from Germany. Afterwards they invited us aboard their yacht.

Explaining how it all works.

Father Blessed their boat.

Goodbye, and may God protect you on your travels!

A place of Pilgrimage

On a recent Pilgrimage to Ireland, It was out great joy to be able to visit Skellig Michael, a great mountain island off the coast of County Kerry. It was once home to a community of monks, and is now a place of pilgrimage. We were able to get out to it, but the weather was too rough for the boat to land, so we saw it from the water.

The two Skelligs. Skellig Michael in the background was once home to about 12 monks, but now only the uninhabited Monastery remains as a sight of pilgrimage.

Skellig Michael.

Skellig Michael in the background.

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R. sung Mass in the parish Church of Ballybunion for some friends in Kerry

On the return journey, needing somewhere to say Mass, we went to our good friend Fr. Wadsworth in Bury.

Our five students were already there for the night before departing the next day for the seminary.

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