Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Music of Civilisation

On the Pilgrimage the wonderful Max (when we had finished singing Mfumue) started singing the Our Father in Swahili... as you do.

This is the same Max who preferred to learn the Dies Irae in Latin and the Russian National Anthem (in Russky) instead of studying for his A-Level, so this should not be a surprise.

However, to me, it was the theme tune of a computer game called 'Civilisation'. It was around when I was an Undergraduate (fondly called 'Civ'), and eventually I got a copy and this was the theme tune.

Now Max is seldom wrong (not that he admits anyway) so I looked it up, and it is the Our Father in Swahili, composed by Christopher Tin for the computer game. Wiki here.

The version here is by Brigham Young University choir. Latter day Saints (Mormons to me and you). The site for their uni is pretty damned impressive. I wish we could get Catholics with such fervour. This is my favourite version to date (I have listened to far too many).

And it is bound to be sung on the Chartres Pilgrimage next year, so come along and hear a bunch of scouts and a demented chaplain abroad singing it!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Non soli scouti, sed sacerdotes

Priest with Biretta at rakish angle. 
OK, Mr Squires my Latin teacher would be squirming as we speak. But, I care not!

Priests and brothers of the friars
Behold, Anglophone priests on the Chartres Pilgrimage...

An Australian, a Benedictine and a Norbertine walk into a bar...

...only to find the Norbertine had already been there, so there were no crisps left!

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

So long ago ...

It seems an age that I was on the Chartres Pilgrimage.

Since then I've been giving a paper on Gender theory in the South of France (yes it was a real conference!) and am now back with work on the thesis and getting to grips with the idea of Our Lady Saint Mary Glastonbury.

But I found a picture on my phone of a member of the Institute of Christ the King (they wear blue pompoms).

He was such a nice chap.So I took a picture of him. He seemed worried at the prospect of appearing on a blog by a chaplain abroad - So I will not use his name, and no one will ever know its him!

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Off to Glastonbury

My Bishop appointed me as Parish Priest of Our Lady St Mary of Glastonbury, and of St Michael Shepton Mallet, when I saw him last week.

We priests always look to the dedications of parishes to see who we've got to work with - rather I suspect in the same way that parishioners trawl the internet to find out about their new Parish Priest!

So I am delighted to have the Archangel Michael, the one who we pray will thrust down Satan and his wicked spirits to Hell. The Devil is prowling around, and who better to have on your side than a time-served Devil-fighter.

And Our Lady St Mary of Glastonbury! Our Diocesan shrine (of which I will become the Rector), which is the oldest (I think) to Our Lady in England, possibly further afield, is a place of pilgrimage for generations.

So I am more than lucky with the two patrons of my new parishes.

I will pray for my new parishioners as I prepare to take over the parishes in mid September.

If you are one of them... then pray for me!

Friday, 2 June 2017

First stage to Chartres

Well, we're an hour behind but that's ok.

The weather is good and supposed to be not so bad for the walking tomorrow.

Boats, boats, boats. There are lots of people in flash cars doing a canonrun. Don't really know what that is all about. I just hope they are not going from Paris to Chartres across fields. Or rather if they are that they will give a lift to a chaplain abroad, abroad.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

My New Parish

young people craning their necks to hear where Fr Rowe is going
will be announced this weekend.

I saw My Lord, the Bishop of Clifton on Wednesday and he told me where I am going.

It will be announced to the Parish this weekend, so I cannot say anything at the moment, but as I'm off to Chartres today, I won't be able to put anything up about it until next week. I'm very excited!

So... if you are my new parishioners, and have found your way to this blog, then ...


Friday, 26 May 2017

New Cards

After the Chartres Pilgrimage is over, on the next morning we Priests say Mass in the crypt of the Cathedral. They have become much more accommodating and welcoming over the years, but there is still a bit of a harrumpf when it comes to Missals, Vestments and especially Altar Cards.

So what does every well stocked priest need? A set of travelling ones! I'd made some before but they were unsatisfactory. The central one would not stand up. So, I made some new ones. They are rather spiffy, and most importantly, they stand up! (It's all to do with sticky tape, scissors, laminating pouches, a guillotine - don't get too excited dear French readers - but the exact method must remain a secret, or else the 'Worshipful Company of Altar Card Makers' will hunt me down).

So if you're in Chartres Cathedral the day after the Pilgrimage ends and you find yourself in the crypt, then come over and have a gander.

Chartres must be close if I'm printing Altar Cards!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Do we still believe in marriage?

Of all the thorny subjects in the world, this one really should not be thorny at all. We have come to a pretty pass when we can look at this title and instead of thinking “Now, what is that silly Father Bede up to now? Of course we believe in marriage!”, rather our minds veer towards “Gosh, Fr Bede, this is pretty contentious stuff, you could be struck off the Pope’s/Cardinal’s/Bishop’s Christmas card list for this!”

So, we still believe in marriage? Good question.

Let’s look at it point by point. Do we believe that marriage is the stable union of man and woman, designed by Almighty God for the enrichment of the human soul, and the begetting of the human race? Yes, I think we do. However, society does not. It, through its laws, and, more influentially through its television programmes and soap operas, presents a vision of marriage which is not lifelong, exclusive or open to life. At base, it is not even a union between a man and a woman at all. That has been ‘redefined’. Two men, or two women, may now contract a ‘marriage’. And this union is not essentially lifelong. Why should it be? If it happens like that, all well and good but if not, then that’s fine. And it cannot be for having and raising children, as the nature of such unions is not biologically open to any form of a natural conception of human life. And who knows what the grand social experiment will have on the little ones who are brought up in this world, being told that anything goes, that they can express themselves in any way they like, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone. Let’s face it, they can even decide they’re boys if they’re girls, and girls if they’re boys. Where does marriage stand in all this?

Do we believe in marriage? If by ‘we’, you mean Catholics, then ask those around you next time you’re in Mass what they think about it. Do they think Frank and Bob are married? Should they be able to adopt? Should a 16 year old be able to align themselves to a different gender? And if you get the answers you expect, then turn from that person and ask someone under 20. You see, the social experiment has been at work on them for quite a while now. We may believe it, but you have to ask who ‘we’ are.

So, what about our hierarchy? Well, we got the concession that we Priests won’t be prosecuted for refusing to marry two men or two women in church; we are exempt from this so-called equality legislation. I think our forefathers might have died for less, but never mind. However I do not remember us marching in the streets to defend marriage as the French did. Our adoption agencies were closed down for refusing to place children with same sex couples (though some shamelessly continue to do so while claiming links to the Catholic Church, even with Bishops’ approval and parishes’ fundraising), and our schools are too tainted by government ideology to be able to present the truth of Catholicism without watering it down with relativism. So, do we really believe in marriage, when our defence of it was a few raised voices at the time of its redefinition (but not too much, we are English after all and it wouldn’t do to make a fuss), a waved piece of paper saying we won’t have to do it in our Churches, and an almost complete capitulation in every other sphere of social life?

Actually, I’m not sure we do believe in marriage that much after all. If I say that I love you more than life itself, but then cannot be bothered to help you when the chips are down, then my words and my actions are at odds. I am a hypocrite. You should not believe what I say. What can you tell about what the Catholic Church believes about marriage by her actions in the social realm? What is our defence of marriage? Of family life? Of the raising of children?

To be frank, I think that we have conceded the fight, and have retreated into a little Catholic box where we can define what we believe and what we do, and we do not have to engage with the nasty world.

It will be the death of us.


This article appears in the Latin Mass Society Magazine 

Monday, 22 May 2017

A Chartres Surplice - a school and God's own county

The first of the final two coats of arms is that of Chavagnes International College, of whose Scouts I am privileged to be chaplain. Fine and brave Scouts they are indeed! Search on the search thing to the right of this post and find out the most wonderful and marvellous things that they do.

This very blog is thanks (or curses) to Chavagnes. It is because of this that I am a 'chaplain' (to the school) 'abroad' (for France is sadly no longer under the British crown).

And this last one is the flag of Northumberland. This windswept county is beautiful, simply stunning. It retains the rugged honesty and integrity of place which is lost in so many areas of the country. Northumberland has it in spades. It is the place of my family and birth. The flag, though a recent invention, is based on an account of St Bede the Venerable of the flag draped  on St Oswald's tomb in the 7th century. To my intense irritation, it is often flown upside down. Top left should be gold. Not red. Gold.

So there you have it, my Chartres surplice. I hope that it survives more than one year, but if it does not, then it will have been worn to the glory of God and in honour of the Blessed Virgin. I beg the intersession of the saints and blesseds who are thereon, and I carry with me in my heart all the rest.

Come to Chartres! Come because of a sweet love of Our Lady. But if you cannot, then pray for us. And we will pray for you - for the whole world.

Let us, like knights of old, ride into battle against sin, the world, and the Devil carrying Our Lady's token, knowing that should we fall in the attempt, that she will cradle us in her arms and when this life ebbs away, smooth away our troubled hearts, and kiss our brow as only a Mother can.

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