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Showing posts from August, 2009

Stephanus vocabitur ...

What lovely news to hear that on the vigil of the Feast of Saint Augustine, Alexander Morrison, our old boy, took the cloth as a Norbertine novice. He now has the name Brother Stephen. Brother Stephen was a founder pupil at Chavagnes from 2002 to 2005 and then went on to read French at Oriel College, Oxford, where he graduated this summer. Please keep Brother in your prayers!

Single and faithful ... a role for lay apostles?

Is it possible for a layman to be called to serve God in the single state, in the midst of the world?

The Church is divided into Laity, Deacons, Priests and Bishops. This is its hierarchical structure, ordained by Christ himself. (cf Lumen Gentium)

The evangelical counsels (or counsels of perfection) are an invitation made by Christ to clergy and laity alike. Hence this invitation comes directly from Christ, and we are all urged to accept it in some way or another.

Since the beginning of the Church, some people accepted the counsels of perfection in a more external way than others (not marrying, not owning property, submitting themselves to obedience. Forms of life sprang up, after the apostolic period, that promoted the public profession (often, especially later, under life-long vows).

There is no ontological difference between a professed religious and a layman. There is an ontological difference between an ordained man and a layman. Hence the nature of a vocation to the priesthood and …

In response to a letter accusing the Pope of heresy on the Four Last Things ...

Dear Jennifer,

Thanks for the letter and enclosure you sent me a while back. In them you suggested a dialogue about the popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI. You also implied that perhaps they were not popes at all.

Your main problem was that they emphasised universal salvation and thereby effectively denied all the Church’s doctrine about sin and the need for redemption from it.

You took issue with the idea that “hell is not God’s initiative”; that souls send themselves to Hell.
My response is not going to be sophisticated, I’m afraid. I think that if you want to find texts to hang the popes with, you can find them. I have plenty of texts that people have sent me that do this, if you ignore all the other evidence. Taken in context, and in a spirit of docility, they are not for me a source of impossible dilemmas.

The Second Vatican Council asks us to give an assent of our intellect and will the frequent and clearly expressed teaching of the Pope. You complain that texts you have seen are do…