Saturday, 28 February 2009

Second gathering of the International Federation Juventutem

Report on the Second gathering of the International Federation Juventutem
in Bern, Switzerland, February 21-22, 2009 (

For the second time, representatives from Juventutem groups in various countries have met in Bern, Switzerland, on February 21st and 22nd, 2009.

The schedule was similar to the one last year. Over twenty Juventutem members had travelled to Switzerland for the occasion. They came from France, England, Ireland, Slovakia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Spain, of course Switzerland, and even Russia. Like last year, the aim was not to have many people, but rather to ensure diversity of representation.

The gathering officially started with Holy Mass at 3pm at the Villa Maria. Juventutem Ecclesiastical Assistant Fr Armand de Malleray offered a votive Mass of Saint John Bosco, Patron of Catholic Youth. In English and in French Fr de Malleray drew a parallel between St John Bosco’s time and ours, reminding us that the great apostle of Turin had had to overcome all sorts of suspicion and of opposition as the government accused him of working for the Vatican against the new regime set up by the Piedmont-Savoy sacrilegious monarch. King Victor-Emmanuel of Piedmont-Savoy had indeed invaded the Pontifical States, putting all Catholic clergy loyal to the Sovereign Pontiff in a very delicate situation. Despite the most obvious value of St John Bosco’s apostolates for the education of the youth and of the clergy, shaping young men into good and trustworthy subjects when so many others were falling into illegality and vices, these worthy initiatives were often hindered by civil authorities. This did not prevent the saint from working wonders at the service of God. Fr de Malleray said that current anti Catholic prejudice could sometimes discourage us in the XXIst century. However he added, we should be certain that God’s almighty grace could help us bare abundant fruit and achieve great things for his Reign - if only union with God was our essential and constant goal. Thomas Balsis from Lithuania served the Low Mass, which was concluded by the singing of the Marian antiphon “Ave Regina Cælorum”.

After thanksgiving, we met in the refectory for coffee. The Juventutem Federation’s flag was hanging on the wall. Like last year, the Sisters had prepared everything for us on the tables and really made us all feel at home. There was an informal time for greeting each other. It was good to see again many members who had come last year. For instance, newlywed Damian Barker from Juventutem England (YCA) had come with his wife. Some of us had seen each other in between, either at the traditional pilgrimage to Chartres, or at WYD in Australia. Vassili came from Moscow, where he leads the Gregorian schola for the Old Rite Mass.

Juventutem Federation President Gregory Flash then opened the official session. Each member introduced himself or herself and shared update on his or her group’s activities. Gregory said it was important to keep the Federation informed of what we were doing as Juventutem groups. He asked whether we had seen any improvement in our situations as the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum was making the Roman traditions of the Church better valued and accessible. It seemed that the multiplication of Mass centers in the Extraordinary Form could make it easier for more youths to hear about these traditions and benefit from them, but on the other hand, it also meant that each Mass center had fewer people attending, thus making the traditional setting sometimes less attractive for youths. Young people like it better when they see a sufficient number of other youths interested in the same things.

Juventutem Federation Treasurer Cosimo Marti reminded every member of last year’s decision when a €10 contribution per year and per person had been voted. He said that many had omitted to fulfill it. Gregory Flash said that it was not so much the amount of money that mattered, than the concrete manifestation of every member’s commitment it should express. Cosimo approved, saying that last year’s decision had set a €10 contribution “depending on each member’s actual resources”. He said the €10 represented less than one Coca Cola per month.

Cosimo also asked for the addresses to be updated, as a fair number of the 450 Juventutem Christmas cards he had sent two months ago had been returned to him due to incorrect address.

Gregory Flash then announced his intention to have a successor elected. He said that as he was nearing 30 years of age, and after several years serving a President of the Federation, he would be glad if another member could take over. He added that he had talked already with Raphaël Waldis about that possibility. Gregory said that he would still be active in the Juventutem chapter at the Chartres pilgrimage. Raphaël Waldis is a student in Switzerland and has been involved in Juventutem since the beginning, partaking in the first international gathering in Bavaria (August 2005) and subsequent WYD in Cologne, as well as at other events like the Chartres pilgrimage every year and WYD 2008 in Australia. Gregory said that of course anyone was free to vote for whoever they wished. We then proceeded with the vote, with Raphaël being elected at the first ballot. Several groups who did not have a representative physically present had sent a proxy. Raphaël thanked the members and said he was happy to be of help. The fact he lives in Switzerland will help for collaboration with Treasurer Cosimo Marti.

We then went back into the chapel for exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and adoration, served by Damian Barker, from England. It was a wonderful moment, all of us gathered before the Lord, fulfilling a very essential dimension of Juventutem’s spirituality centered on Eucharistic devotion, both through the Mass and through adoration, as depicted in our logo. After having exposed the Blessed Sacrament, Fr de Malleray recessed in the sacristy to hear confessions while we adored. He then came back and led us in praying a decade of the Rosary asking for strength and protection for the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. He reminded us of the fact a novena was currently being prayed all over the world for the Holy Father, ending the day after, on the Feast of the Chair of St Peter. We also presented to God the intentions of all Juventutem groups and supporters all over the world.

After adoration we cleaned the refectory and tidied up the chapel and sacristy, before making our way to Il Grissino, the restaurant where we were to have dinner. It was a very merry evening in a casual and convivial atmosphere. We were glad to have among us Mr Heinz Müller, an ebenist supporting Juventutem (although not a Catholic). The night was beautiful, with snow in the streets, then quieter than last year when it was carnival.

Dinner at the restaurant was a great opportunity for all to talk casually with each other and exchange news. French and English were the most commonly spoken languages. Many pictures were taken and Gregory and Raphaël suggested we changed seats after the main course, so as to allow for more opportunities to speak with everyone. After meal, everybody was free to walk around the city or just go back to their youth hostel and chat.

On Sunday morning 22 February we all met again at Holy Trinity Church for Holy Mass. Like last year the Secretary to the Papal Nunciature attended Mass in choir. Mgr Ruiz Mainardi had been assigned at the Papal Nunciature in Cuba, but his successor was equally pleased to pray with us. Unlike last year though, for want of available clerics, we had a Sung Mass and not a Solemn High Mass. It was served by male members of Juventutem from various countries, while others – boys and girls alike – joined in the schola to sing the Gregorian kyriale and proper of the Quinquagesima Sunday. Fr de Malleray offered the Mass and preached on Juventutem. He quoted Pope Benedict’s homily at Randwick on the last WYD in Sydney, and also Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos’ letter of support to the International Juventutem Federation last year.

After thanksgiving we met for breakfast at the Hôtel National where Dr and Mrs Gerd Weisensee joined us. Dr Weisensee has supported Juventutem from the beginning and had given a talk on pro-life legal issues related with health insurance at the first Juventutem gathering in Bavaria, August 2005. Breakfast was followed with a projection of pictures and films ( on Juventutem activities over the past year, mainly on the Eucharistic Congress in Québec, Canada, and at WYD in Melbourne and Sydney. We then had a time for sharing our experiences and our expectations as Juventutem members. Tomas Balsis, from Juventutem Lithuania, was presented with an ancient map of his country. It was quite unique to hear such a diversity of testimonies among a rather small group of people representing very diverse cultures and languages (with members from Spain, France, England, Ireland, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Lithuania, Slovakia, Italy and Russia).

We then met for lunch at Il Grissino where the waiters now know our group fairly well. The Nunciature’s Secretary came for lunch as well and was able to speak with Kieran, from Juventutem Ireland, his fellow citizen. Fr Arnaud Evrat, FSSP, the chaplain to Juventutem Switzerland, attended lunch as well. Some of us started departing in order to catch their trains back home, while others stayed longer. Some were shown around Bern by Cosimo Marti. That week-end has been a blessed time of fraternal gathering and it is a pleasure to see that the Federation is getting stronger through mutual friendship and prayer. We all gave thanks to God “Who giveth joy to our youth" - ad Deum qui laetificat Juventutem nostram.

(Click here for some photos.)

Friday, 27 February 2009

Killing the old and infirm could become law!

Please read Paulinus’ shocking post about the End of Life Choices (Scotland) Bill, which, he notes to be a euphemism for killing the unwell. Please do write to the MSP, Margot MacDonald, and express your concerns.

It is a very sensitive area, when all is considered. However, despite deep and profound compassion for the suffering of others, we cannot allow it to become lawful to kill off the aged, the sick or infirm. Please please please respond before the public consultation end on Monday 9 March.

Measured responses are best, and please note the distinction between euthanasia and electing not to partake of a particular treatment. The Parliament must be made to see that "assisted dying" is not the answer.

2009 Pluscarden Pentecost Lectures

from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life

The 2009 Pluscarden Pentecost Lectures

2nd - 4th June 2009 at Pluscarden Abbey, near Elgin

Holistic Ambiguity: A Western Theology of Nature

Pluscarden 2

This years series will be given by the Rev. Dr Tom Herbst OFM, lecturer at the Franciscan International Centre in Canterbury.

1. Tuesday 2nd June at 2.45 pm
A critique of Western empirical views of nature. The foundations of the Christian Tradition

2. Wednesday 3rd June at 10.15 am
The Fathers grapple with a Greek conundrum

3. Wednesday 3rd June at 2.45 pm
From a negative to a positive view of nature in the medieval period

4. Thursday 4th June at 10.15 am
The post-modern challenge to the Western theological synthesis

Each year the Abbot and Community of Pluscarden Abbey sponsor a series of four lectures by an invited Theologian on an aspect of Catholic Theology. Previous Lecturers have included Bishop Michael Evans, Fr Aidan Nichols OP, Fr Thomas Weinandy OFM Cap, Fr Anthony Meredith SJ and Fr Paul McPartlan.

The Lectures are held on the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday after Pentecost in St Scholastica’s Retreat House at the Abbey. They are open to all who wish to attend and are free.

Limited accommodation is available at the Abbey and those who wish to stay should book as soon as possible. There are also many places to stay in the Elgin area: contact the local tourist office: 01343 542666.

The Lecturer
Dr Thomas J. Herbst received a BA in History at the University of California at Santa Barbara, a M. Div. from the Franciscan School of Theology and a MA in Theology at the Franciscan School of Theology/Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He obtained a D.Phil. in Theology from the University of Oxford in 2001.

His academic interests include various disciplines of Historical Theology with emphasis in the Patristic and Medieval eras, Christian iconography, exegesis with special reference to the Gospel of John, and Systematic Theology with particular emphasis on Christology and the Theology of Nature. He is also interested in various fields of Franciscan Studies, especially Franciscan Christology and the writings of Francis and Clare.

Publications include:
The Way of Union: Sources and Reflections on the Johannine Dimension of Bonaventure’s Christology (Grottaferrata, Rome: 2005)

The Lectures


Grappling with an understanding of nature has been a concern of all world religions and Christianity is no exception. At no time has this been more acute than in the modern era in which we find ourselves. The emerging importance of ‘eco-spirituality’, and the sense of crisis that serves as an impetus, has assumed great importance in Christian apologetics in relation to science, technology and (Western) secular attitudes. At the same time, a theology of nature is increasingly important as a focal point within inter-Christian and inter-religious dialogue. The Western Christian tradition of natural theology is a rich one. It is impacted by, and a part of, the broader traditions of systematics, spirituality, mysticism and, especially, philosophy. Extending from the Judeo-Christian roots of scriptural revelation and the philosophical synthesis achieved by classical Christianity and the Greek intellectual tradition; maturing in depth and complexity in the Middle Ages, and jarringly challenged by modern and post-modern thought, a Christian theology of nature is a multi-valent exercise. A truly holistic view of the world and the human person within it is mandated by the Incarnation, yet often seems ‘just out of reach’. Simplistic solutions are rarely sufficient. The complexity of nature is matched by the complexity of its relationship with the Creator. In this year’s Lectures, Fr Tom Herbst will trace the developments towards an integrated Western theology of nature from pagan philosophy through Scripture and Patristics to a modern and post-modern understanding.

Lecture 1: A critique of Western empirical views of nature. The foundations of the Christian tradition

Introduction: A 20th century novel: Stephen King’s, The Stand; a theological response to the ecological crisis, engendered by the modern rationalist view demands a new paradigm, or at least a redemption and fresh interpretation of the old.

Part 1: Critique of Western empirical views of nature in terms of a narrow definition of rationalism. Reality = what can be manipulated. This presupposes that: 1. reality is anthropocentric, 2. there is no God and, 3. there is no spiritual animation of nature, 4. nature does not have a consciousness, is inanimate or simply biological necessity.

Part 2: The foundations of the Christian tradition; a scriptural response:
- Creation in Genesis and the implications of imago Dei.
- An examination of ‘the Fall’ and its implications on the Christian world view. Dualism in the West: A holistic metaphysics (taking account of the positive AND negative).
- Cosmic redemption in Paul’s Letter to the Romans.
- Ambiguous dualism and holistic eschatology as the implications of the hypostatic union are applied to the entire universe in the Book of the Apocalypse.

Lecture 2: The Fathers grapple with a Greek conundrum

Patristic Fathers grapple with a Greek conundrum- Plato solves one problem and creates another: ‘Union soteriology’ and the problem of ‘proximity’.

- The radical assertion of Nicea…
- to the radical assertion of Chalcedon: God and nature are utterly separate and inextricably unified.
- The pervasive problem of dualism (ex: Docetism/Gnostics).
- Origen: an encounter of objective and subjective. Where does one find God?
- Augustine: Illumination, caritas, and the archetype of the Two Cities (Civitatis Dei).

Lecture 3: From a negative to a positive view of nature in the medieval period

Christian iconography as a hermeneutic: the angry God of the Dark Ages.
- Global warming and the second coming of Aristotle.
- Three characteristics of the re-claimed holistic theology of nature: 1. History. 2. Affectivity and 3. Naturalism.
- The scholastic dream of a redeemed City of Man.
- Hugh and Richard of St. Victor, Bernard of Clairvaux, and the theology/spirituality of the 12th century.
- The Franciscan synthesis of old and new theologies of nature: Cosmic fraternitas in Francis of Assisi, the kenotic God of Clare of Assisi, and Christ in medias res in Bonaventure.

Lecture 4: The post-modern challenge to the Western theological synthesis

Prelude: The synthetic tradition of Scotus and Ockham to the fracture of Western intellectual unity in the fourteenth century.

The post-modern challenge to the Western theological synthesis:
- Nietzsche and nihilism
- Sartre and existentialism
- Radical subjectivism
- Radical determinism
- Human freedom and responsibility…etc.

For further information contact the Abbey at:

To book accommodation at the Abbey contact the Guestmaster at: guestmaster(at)pluscardenabbey(dot)org

The Confraternity of Saint Joseph

from the Sisters of the Gospel of Life

You are invited to the launch of our new project for men involved in the work of the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative.


Where: Pro-Life Centre, 104 Albert Rd, Crosshill, Glasgow, G42 8DR (about 2 minutes walk from Crosshill train station)

When: Thursday 19th March 2009

Time: 7.30 - 9.30pm


  • Short talk on the ‘Confraternity’
  • Time of prayer
  • Buffet & light refreshments
  • Plenty of time to chat

Who: YOU – we invite anyone interested in pro-life work, but especially men to come along, find out more and get involved.

To find out more, see here.

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Ash Wednesday

Just a small note to inform readers there will be Mass and Imposition of Ashes in the Extraordinary Form, 6.15pm, on Wednesday 25th, and the FSSP Oratory, 6 Belford Park, Edinburgh.

(image: Spitzweg's Ash Wednesday)

Friday, 20 February 2009

upcoming events - March [updated]

Friday 6 - Sunday 8 March
2nd International Student Pro-Life Conference
Carberry Tower, Edinburgh

Thursday 12 March
End of life choices talk (John Deighan)
6.30pm, Appleton Tower lecture theatre 3
11 Crichton Street, Edinburgh

Friday 13 March
Meeting regarding Chartres Pilgrimage
5.30pm, Glasgow University Catholic Chaplaincy
Turnbull Hall, 13-15 Sourthpark Terrace, Glasgow

Saturday 14 March
Una Voce Lenten Day of Recollection
11.00am, St Andrew's Church, Ravelston, Edinburgh

Saturday 14 March
Pro-Life Rosary Vigil
11am - 12.00 noon, outside Glasgow Royal Infirmary

Thursday 19 March
Sung Mass for St Joseph [EF]
6.15pm, FSSP Oratory, 6 Belford Park, Edinburgh

Thursday 19 March
Latin Solemn Vespers for the Solemnity of St Joseph
6.45pm, St Mary's Cathedral, Edinburgh

Thursday 19 March
Confraternity of St Joseph launch (see here)
7.30pm, Pro-Life Centre, 104 Albert Rd, Crosshill, Glasgow

Wednesday 25 March
Sung Mass for the Annuciation [EF]
6.15pm, FSSP Oratory, 6 Belford Park, Edinburgh


Please comment with details of further events.

Friday, 13 February 2009

Novena of Prayer for the Pope

To the members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter:-

Reading, England, February 12th, 2009: Novena for the Pope

Dear Members of the Confraternity of Saint Peter (CSP),

You are all well aware of the opposition which the Holy Father has faced in his efforts to reconcile the Society of Pius X. The current pressure from the media and others seems to not only threaten Pope Benedict's work with SSPX. It also seems as though some would like to see it work as a means to undermine his very teaching and governing authority for his pontificate.

Given these oppositions which the Holy Father faces; given the particular role of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter in working as a bridge for those who have grown apart from the Church in the last forty years; finally, given that we hold St. Peter as our patron and have a particular attachment to his successor, as also requested by our Superior General Very Rev Fr John Berg, FSSP, I would ask all of the members of the Confraternity of St. Peter to offer increased prayers at this time for strength for Pope Benedict XVI.

I suggest that each of our members may offer the following novena, which will be prayed as well by all our seminarians and priests, beginning on February 14th and concluding on the feast of the Chair of St. Peter, February 22nd.

Please remember that as a CSP member you can earn a plenary indulgence on that day, February 22nd, the second anniversary of the foundation of the CSP. On the same day the CSP chaplains will hold a meeting at the General House and will pray for all your intentions.

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Armand de Malleray, FSSP,
General Chaplain CSP


Novena (February 14 to 22)

Pater Noster, 3 Ave Maria, Gloria Patri

V. Orémus pro Pontífice nostro Benedícto.
R. Dóminus consérvet eum, et vivíficet eum, et beátum fáciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in ánimam inimicórum eius.

V. Tu es Petrus.
R. Et super hanc petram ædificábo Ecclésiam meam.

Orémus. Omnípotens sempitérne Deus, miserére fámulo tuo Pontífici nostro Benedícto : et dírige eum secúndum tuam cleméntiam in viam salútis ætérnæ : ut, te donánte, tibi plácita cúpiat, et tota virtúte perfíciat. Per Christum Dóminum nostrum.
R. Amen.

V. Mater Ecclésiæ, R. ora pro nobis.
V. Sancte Petre, R. ora pro nobis.

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory be.

V: Let us pray for our Pope Benedict.
R: May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

V. Thou art Peter,
R. And upon this Rock, I will build My Church.

Let us Pray,
Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant, Benedict, our Sovereign Pontiff, and guide him in your goodness on the way of eternal salvation; so that, with the prompting of your grace, he may desire what pleases you and accomplish it with all his strength. Through Christ Our Lord.

V. Mother of the Church. R. Pray for us
V. St. Peter. R. Pray for us

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

The Sisters Need Your Help

by Mulier Fortis

The Sisters of the Gospel of Life, who do such amazing work in helping women in crisis pregnancies have had a little crisis of their own, it seems.

Their trusty "tank," which was used to deliver prams, baths, cots and so on, literally blew up. Because of the urgency of deliveries and so forth, they needed to buy a replacement as soon as they could, and luckily, a suitable one came on the market quite quickly. However, they needed to borrow the money from a friend in order not to lose the opportunity, and now need to raise funds to repay the loan.

You can find more information on their website, but basically, they need any money you can spare.

The Sisters are at 106 Dixon Avenue, Glasgow, G42 8EL. I don't think they have a PayPal account, which is a shame... I shall suggest that they set one up. Cheques should be made payable to: The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Pray for the Pope

Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto!
Dominus conservet eum,
et vivificet eum,
et beatum faciat eum in terra,
et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. (Ps. xl:3)

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

Reminder - first Schola meeting

The new Schola's first rehearsal will take place this coming Thursday, February 5th. We will be gathering in the St Mary's Cathedral porch between 18:00 and 18:15 before walking over to Cathedral House and will be finished by 20:15.

If you own a Liber Usualis or Antiphonale (any edition), please bring this along, either for your own use or to lend to others.

See for more information.