THE CATHOLIC HERALD AUGUST 10 2012
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Bishop: keep your eyes on Jesus in marathon of life Bishop McMahon tells young Catholics who are setting out to evangelise London during the Olympics to follow light of Christ every day
BY DAVID V BARRETT
“RUN the race of life always with your eyes fixed on Jesus,” Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood told hundreds of young people last week on the first day of the Joshua Camp.
The camp is being held at St Bonaventure’s Catholic high school in east London, a mile away from the London 2012 Olympic Park.
Described as “the biggest mission for Catholics in England this year”, the 12-day Joshua Camp is hosted by the Sion Community, which focuses on evangelisation in the Church.
Bishop McMahon celebrated Mass at the camp, welcoming participants from 21 countries on every inhabited continent.
In his homily the bishop highlighted two Olympic themes: carrying the torch and running the race. He said that “in ancient Greece, the concept of light was revered and was seen in contrast to darkness” with light and the torch becoming “a symbol of faith and hope in a darkened world”. When he had welcomed the Olympic torch past his cathedral in Brentwood, he said, he liked “to think that people also gathered to see and support those who were carrying the light”.
Bishop McMahon challenged the young people at the Joshua Camp: “Do we try each day to follow Christ our light? Are we light bearers to our world, to those around us, by our way of life, by the way that we witness to Christian values?”
Echoing Pope Benedict XVI’s words to young Catholics during his visit to Britain in 2010, when he reminded them of Blessed John Henry Newman’s motto, “heart speaks unto heart”, the bishop said: “I want you to look into your own heart and ask yourself: ‘What kind of person do I want to be?’”
“The ancient Games were nothing to do with medals made up of precious metals or national flags
The 12-day Joshua Camp held next to the Olympic Park was attended by 170 people aged between 18 and 30
Photo: Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk and anthems, but rather about “individual strength, skill, training, discipline and commitment”, the bishop said.
He continued: “It is sad when the emphasis today is solely on achievement. The earliest emphasis of the Games was on taking part rather than on achievement and success.” He urged those present to see “life as a race, a marathon, with only one thing necessary for us Christians, and that is not the winning so much as the keeping our eye on Jesus, remembering that our faith is not first and foremost built on teachings or doctrines or rules and regulations but around a person, the person of Jesus.
“The very important question we need to ask ourselves is this: ‘Is the person of Jesus real in my life or just notional?’ In your relationship with the Lord are you a Sunday acquaintance or a weekday friend?
“Run the race of life always with your eyes fixed on Jesus, knowing that this race isn’t for winners but rather for finishers,” the bishop said.
The young people at the Joshua Camp, which is set up under the authority of the Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, are receiving three days of training and catechesis about how to be a true Christian presence at the Olympic Games. They will then be out in teams to churches and venues across London to serve and evangelise, including inviting local young people to engage in sport, to be a part of music and drama workshops and to be artistic and creative. The Joshua Camp’s website urged young Catholics to “bring a sleeping bag, a Bible and an open heart”.
Daily liturgies, from the Office of Readings to the celebration of the Mass, are presented in a variety of languages.
Fr Simon Penhalagan, president of the Sion Community, said they had around 170 young people, mainly 18 to 30, who were “really enthusiastic to share God’s love with both people coming to London and the people of London as well”. The Olympics focus on the body, “so we’re encouraging people to think about the whole person as well”, he said.
A number of Olympians have said they hope to visit the camp if their timing allows, but one former Olympian has taken part in the Joshua Camp. Sister Catherine of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal, then Kirstin Holum, was an American speedskater in the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, coming sixth in the gruelling 3,000m race.
The Catholic electro-pop band Ooberfuse, who are based in London, will perform at the Joshua Camp on the evening of the closing day of the Olympics. Their set will include their winning entries to the World Youth Day 2011’s global song contest and tracks from their latest album Seventh Wave.
Ooberfuse singer Cherrie Anderson said: “It’s an exciting opportunity to be part of this initiative which brings together groups from across England and the world creating a joyful Christian presence in the capital. The Olympics alone have been the cause of so much celebration for so many people from all around the world.
“It will be an amazing experience to not only participate in this on the last day of the Olympics but also as Pope Benedict XVI says ‘to speak with courage and humility about Jesus who is the source of Hope in our lives’.”
Breakaway group seeks unity with Rome BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE ENGLISH leader of a breakaway traditionalist group has said that he wishes to be reconciled with the Catholic Church.
Bishop David Bell, 41, is head of the Society of Pope Leo XII, which upholds the pre-Vatican II teachings of the Church, particularly the older form of the Tridentine Mass. The society claims to have 73 bishops and 500 priests, and to be responsible for congregations totalling 8.5 million people.
In the eyes of the Church Bishop Bell’s ordination as a bishop is valid but illicit; he was ordained by bishops with the Apostolic Succession and has passed this on to other bishops he has ordained, but all of this is without the sanction of the Catholic Church.
A report in the Italian newspaper La Stampa last week said that Bishop Bell, who calls himself Archbishop of London, had prepared a “curse” against Bishop Mario Meini of the Diocese of Fiesole, Italy, but he said that this was incorrect.
“I issued a decree of anathema because he said I wasn’t a bishop. Only the Holy See can make such a declaration,” he said.
Bishop Bell met Pope Benedict XVI at a Wednesday audience in June 2011 and kissed his hand. “How did I meet the Holy Father? I asked,” he said, stressing that he applied to meet him as head of the Society of Pope Leo XII.
He said that he accepts the infallibility of the Pope. “We don’t speak out against the Holy See,” he said, emphasising that doctrinally they are close to the Church. “As far as we are concerned there’s very little difference at all,” he said. The one important point is the Tridentine Mass, which Pope Benedict has brought to greater prominence in the Church.
Bishop Bell confirmed that the Society of Pope Leo XII is “in talks” with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. “The Holy See has held private talks with illicit bishops for hundreds of years,” he said.
He accepted that if they were to come back into full communion they would have to accept the authority of the Church. “We intend to bend, to work more closely with Rome,” he said. He said that talks had already been held with officials at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
He said that if and when he would accepted back he will be a titular bishop only, without any episcopal power within the Church, and accepts that “my hands will be tied unless or until the Holy See decides otherwise”.
“It is a long journey and will take a long time,” he said.
Bishop David Bell meets Pope Benedict
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Bishop: true logic of equality means legalising incest
BY DAVID V BARRETT
THE BISHOP of Aberdeen has raised a storm of protest after saying the Scottish government should make polygamy and incest legal if it is truly committed to equality.
Bishop Hugh Gilbert, the first Scottish bishop to be appointed by Pope Benedict XVI, told the Scottish Catholic Observer: “You can’t have a meal without food and you don’t have marriage without a man and a woman. This isn’t just social convention. It’s not something any government can change. It’s a fact of life.
“The truth is that a government can pass any legislation it likes, it can legislate to say everything with four legs is a table, even when it’s a dog and not a horse, but that won’t make it so. Why is it all right for a man to marry another man, but not all right for him to marry two women? If we really want equality, why does that equality not extend to nieces who genuinely, truly love their uncles?
“And if you say that such things don’t happen, that they are mere freaks of nature, extreme examples dreamed up for the sake of argument, I say you need to spend more time in the parish.”
He went on: “As Bishop of Aberdeen, I know there are gay people among the community of the Church. I promise I will always respect
Bishop Hugh Gilbert and love them and uphold them in their relationship with the God who loves them. But I won’t marry them. It just can’t be done.”
Equality Network, the progay marriage group, called Bishop Gilbert’s remarks “offensive and uncalled for”.
Tim Hopkins, director of Equality Network, said: “We are very disappointed the Bishop of Aberdeen should choose to compare same-sex marriage to polygamy and incest. That is offensive and uncalled for.
“Let’s have a respectful discussion about the Government’s proposals, rather than complaints about something imagined that forms no part of those proposals,” he said.
The Latin Mass Society www.lms.org.uk 020 7404 7284 11-13 Macklin Street, London WC2B 5NH
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