Bishop Mark Davies writes prayer for the School of the Annunciation at Buckfast Abbey

Press release from the Diocese of Shrewsbury

The Bishop of Shrewsbury has written a special prayer for a new school dedicated especially to the task of the “New Evangelisation”.

The School of the Annunciation, Centre for the New Evangelisation, opened at Buckfast Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in Buckfastleigh, Devon.

It has been established by leading experts in Catholic education, including Dr Petroc Willey, a member of the Commission for New Evangelisation of the Diocese of Shrewsbury, as well as Dr Caroline Farey and Dr Andrew Beards.

The venture has the backing of the Rt Rev. Mark O’Toole, the newly-ordained Bishop of Plymouth, who said he was “delighted” to welcome the school into his diocese.

The Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, has also expressed his support for the initiative by writing a prayer for the school. The prayer reads:

“Mary, Mother of the New Evangelisation, as you prayed continuously with the Church at the beginning (Acts 1:14) be united with us now in prayer. Help us to return to the school of Nazareth and to echo your words in the hour of the Annunciation: ‘let it be to me according to your word’ (Lk. 1:38). Help us to rejoice in the wonder of the Incarnation and with you to treasure all these things and ponder them in our hearts (Lk 2:19). Obtain for us the courage to take our stand with you beside the Cross of your Son (Jn. 19:25) in the hour of Redemption. Guide us as we set out along all the ways of the earth to bring to our brothers and sisters the light of faith, hope and charity (Lk. 1: 39). All to the praise and adoration of the Most Holy Trinity, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit both now and for ever. Amen.”

Dr Willey was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation in 2012.

The Holy Father also appointed Dr Willey and Dr Farey as advisers to the Synod on New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Faith held in the Vatican.

On the foundation of the School of the Annunciation Dom David Charlesworth, the Abbot of Buckfast, said: “Following on the success of summer schools in previous years, the foundation of the School of the Annunciation promises to be the next phase in Buckfast Abbey becoming a centre for authentic Catholic studies in continuity with the great Benedictine tradition stretching back over 1,500 years in our country. May Our Lady of Buckfast bless this new venture.”

Bishop O’Toole said: “I am delighted to welcome this new initiative for the New Evangelisation at Buckfast Abbey, and I am grateful for the generosity shown by Abbot David and the monastic community in providing it a home and direction.

“The Diocese of Plymouth looks forward to working with the School of the Annunciation so that the Gospel may more effectively be preached in our society.”

The School of the Annunciation will begin by offering a Diploma in the New Evangelisation delivered by experts in this exciting and newly emerging field of activity and reflection in the life of the Church.

As well as the Diploma, the school is offering short summer schools during August to provide the unique opportunity to study the Catholic faith in the beautiful setting of the abbey, while sharing the monks’ life and prayer.

Dr Beards is the Academic Director; Dr Farey the Director of Studies; Dr Willey, Reader in the New Evangelisation, and Rev. Nick Donnelly the Director of Formation. The Academic Registrar is Monica Massarella.

Dr Beards said: “We have gathered together at Buckfast, a faculty of Catholic theologians and catechists who are experts in collaborative distance learning to create a unique experience in formation for the Church’s urgent mission of New Evangelisation.

“Our courses will be delivered through a creative mix of short residentials, e-learning and personal tuition. It is our hope that men and women in this country, and from around the world, will join us in this exciting new venture to take the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ into the heart of 21st century culture.”

The New Evangelisation is a vision for the mission of the Church promoted energetically by the last three popes.

This New Evangelisation has at its centre the need for all Catholics to be equipped to spread the Gospel and bring people to encounter the truth, beauty and dignity of Christianity and the Catholic worldview in an increasingly secularised society.

New Evangelisation involves engaging honestly with the genuine questions people today have about the cogency of Catholic faith. Above all the task is to bring others to encounter the life-transforming message of Christ and His Church.

39 comments to Bishop Mark Davies writes prayer for the School of the Annunciation at Buckfast Abbey

  • Dear Deacon Nick

    It is a beautiful prayer for a beautiful initiative.

    Our Lady of the Annunciation – Pray for us.

  • Jeanniiie

    Pray for us O holy Mother of God that we may be made worthy of the promises of God.

  • Kinga Gray Grzeczynska

    At the Annunciation, Our Blessed Lady said ‘yes’ to the Archangel Gabriel, God’s messenger.
    We all have to be strong and say yes to God, even though we know it will be hard or difficult.
    Hard times come before good times. Listening harder to God and being courageous is a great gift of the Holy Spirit
    You have made your sacrifices learned Professors, now reap your rewards and be blessed.

    Kinga Grzeczynska

  • Fr Tom Craig

    I knew once Pope Francis was announced to the world it wouldn’t be long before Maryvale was unstitched. I say unstitched because St Aelred wrote a treatise on friendship and said if a relationship was taking you away from Christ you should “unstitch” it. Longley knows which way the wind is blowing and picked enough thread to ensure it just fell apart. The wind blows were it pleases and the three amigo’s have been left in it’s wake.

    • tro

      Sour grapes, Mr Craig?

      • Wake up England


        Tom Craig (vide supra) calls himself “Father”. However, in my 2013 Catholic Directory, no such priest appears to be listed.

        I wish we could “unstich” the mystery of who this mystery clergyman is! One of our Separated Brethren perhaps?

        Perhaps “Father Tom Craig” could tell us who he really is?

        William Weber (Mr.)

      • Fr Tom Craig

        Not so much sour grapes as sadness tro. My wife did an MA in marriage and family ministry there so I have a lot of respect for these people. I knew the previous director through his work for the AOS. When Mgr Paul fell ill Eddie Clare was lined up to eventually replace him. This was not welcomed by the management at Maryvale. Eddie’s appointment first needed to be ratified with both Rome and various ecclesiastical bodies who validate Maryvale’s qualifications. During this time Rome was lobbied to block his appointment. When this failed they resigned en masse.

        Their loyalty to Maryvale throughout was total. They have too much love for the Church to damage it, but too much integrity to consent to something that is against their conscience or ethos, or to go against the manifest leadership of the Magisterium. So really they were hoisted by their own petard. Had they lobbied a Benedict led church and not a Francis led church they might have won and still be there. Now I fear for their future and here is why.

        Maryvale was never financially viable and ran at a loss. I fear their new venture, stripped of diocesan backing, will too. Many priests and bishops loathed Maryvale ( I do mean vehemently loathed) because it taught lay people such orthodoxy. They feared it. But it had strong support from Rome under Benedict so it was relatively safe. Its detractors were cowed and impotent. They even subsidised it financially. Now they are not and, emboldened by a new pontiff, they have already begun to “unstitch” Maryvale. How long before the New Evangelization for the renewal of the Church promoted by Pope Benedict is “unstitched”? For Caroline, Petroc, Andrew and Deacon Nick, trying to rebuild a new Jerusalem with lukewarm support from the magisterium and high levels of distrust from a majority of the clergy will be a hard slog.

        I wish them well for I believe as the wind blows where it will so will the Holy Spirit. It is all part of God’s most wise design and this fall out a mere ripple on the sands of time. They are people of immense integrity and professionalism that have been the collateral damage of a board that has seen which way the wind was turning and changed tack. I can imagine what dark arts and forces have been brought to bear and I truly feel sorry for them as the politics of this played out. [Moderated comment]

        • Wake up England

          Tom Craig:

          Yes Tom, all very poignant no-doubt.

          Are you a Catholic priest (unlikely) or a clergyman of the Church of England who claims to be “catholic” (more probable)?

          Why be so coy in answering such a straightforward question?

          • Fr Tom Craig

            William, I am both! I really don’t want you to appear paranoid and foolish but it’s really no secret. In fact I have always been open about being a former RC priest who swam the Thames. I really wasn’t being coy as I’ve posted previously on this when asked by others as to my status. In fact I answered you as soon as I read your post. I’m sorry you wasted your time investigating me, I could have saved you some time had you asked me. God bless, Fr Tom.

        • bernadette

          Thankyou Fr Tom (Ignore Tro- he is a strange fellow, devoid of any compassion towards fellow humans. He publicly attacked me in the most personal and slanderous way on the www for doing no wrong 14 months ago and has yet to apologise.) Your testimony is sad, as Maryvale was founded by our own John Henry Newman whom Pope Benedict insisted on beatifying in person on British soil in 2010.

          I know Maryvale to be an oasis of orthodoxy. It has blessed me greatly. The course I did was run by reluctant Catholics in need of a salary and not by the likes of those towering giants who have found a new home in Buckfast. My academic and catechetical experience of Maryvale was desolate. However, we must redouble efforts to pray for the new green shoots that have sprouted from it at Buckfast; to support them financially; to make known this new evangelisation and to stand firm on the prophetic pulse of JHN: to form an educated laity. This is the only way in which the New Evangelisation will become a reality. We could spend hours admonishing our shepherds, but what is the point ? We will not be asked what we thought of our shepherds on particular and final judgements. You and I will be asked what we did to make Christ known.

          • Fr Tom Craig

            Thanks for the kind words Bernadette. Let us pray together for William that his anger and aggression will be replaced with a true love for Christ and his fellow man. We cannot claim to love God if we hate our brother.

            I’m sorry that your experience of Maryvale was not what you might have hoped for but regardless, I’m sure your abundance of faith and charm makes you a wonderful catechist.

          • tro

            Now, now Bernadette that just isn’t cricket. Indeed, you have just presented a series of calumnies.

            It’s high time you ‘moved on’. Reflect on your actions. Find closure, and with that, some peace.

            God bless.

          • Wake up England

            Mr Tom Craig:

            Have no fear, dear man, I feel neither foolish nor paranoid.

            Given that I knew nothing at all about you, I feel very Miss Marple-esque for having almost guessed correctly; I must admit I did not envisage the fact that you were ordained a Priest and then became an Anglican.

            And I’m certainly not angry or aggressive towards you either, although I am most grateful for all the prayers I can get.

            In fact I greatly admire you for having the guts to decide the Church of Rome was not for you and to join the C of E. I wish more disgruntled Catholic Priests would take your lead and do likewise. I’m sure your journey cannot have been an easy one and I applaud you for your courage.

            I hope ACTA members are reading this post: here is a Catholic Priest who had the integrity to cross over to Canterbury.

            Within the Anglican Communion you can have women clergy and bishops. Clergy are free to marry (and I believe divorce). Divorced and re-married people are not forbidden to go to communion; and there are lots and lots of different forms of the Eucharistic service to choose from. You don’t have to believe in the doctrine of the real presence if you don’t want to; but if you do like the idea of benediction and processions, that’s fine too. You can embrace the 39 Articles or go to a mass which is far “higher” than anything we have nowadays. You’re free to be gay (or lesbian) and you’ll have a pick of many truly splendid churches, abbeys and cathedrals at your fingertips with the attendant marvellous feeling of “Englishness” which the C of E effortlessly exudes.

            I offer my warm and genuine admiration for Tom Craig.

          • Wake up England


            Would you mind if I reminded you of the words of the Our Father which we all say every day?

            It’s the bit “Forgive us our Trespasses, as we forgive them (or those, if you’re young) those who trespass against us”.

            In order to hope for Almighty God’s forgiveness for your sins, you are (as a condition) required by God to forgive Tro.

            I know it’s awfully obvious, but sometimes this most basic of Christian beliefs is somewhat overlooked.

            Forgiveness of others is aa absolute requirement for our own salvation.

            Of course we all have rows and fall out with people (and indeed we may thoroughly dislike them) but we must forgive them for their transgressions towards us; and wish for them that which Almighty God also wishes for them: Heaven.

        • Trulytruly

          Reply to Fr Tom Craig’s posting of March 2, 2014 at 11:55 am

          “Eddie’s appointment first needed to be ratified with both Rome and various ecclesiastical bodies who validate Maryvale’s qualifications.”

          Clearly this appointment was not ratified or else he would now be the Director of Maryvale. “Eddie” is clearly not the ratified Director of Maryvale, else his job title would be “Director.”

          (See the Maryvale Website –

          • Fr Tom Craig

            Trulytruly you are correct, this process takes an inordinate amount of time and is ongoing. What was clear however, was that the attempt to block the appointment by the previous acting director and others had failed as the process continued leaving those who opposed his appointment feeling they had to leave to continue the new Evangelisation elsewhere. It was obvious Maryvale wouldn’t be leading the charge. Until the process is complete Fr Eddie is now acting director ..[moderated comment]

            Whether Eddie is director or acting director is somewhat irrelevant. He was always going to be director and appointed with a view to taking over from Mgr Paul who’s illness brought matters to a head somewhat. Whatever the timeline Eddie was always going to become director and change the face of Maryvale according to the wishes of his masters.

          • Trulytruly

            Reply to Fr Tom Craig
            March 3, 2014 at 10:13 am

            “…this process takes an inordinate amount of time and is ongoing.”

            I believe this process has concluded at the end of September which is why “Eddie” is not the actual director.

  • Rifleman819

    Deacon Nick ,

    Bet ACTA folk are not pleased.Still they are the past and this initiative is the future.

  • Joseph Matthew

    How far is it from Bishop Conry’s place to Buckfast? I heard him talking about confession on “Sunday”. No mention of God.

  • bernadette

    Indeed/ Life itself is too short Tro. God bless you as well. I am certain you make Christ known and that is what matters. “closure” – that is the language of secularists.

  • bernadette

    Dear Wake Up England – in case it wasn’t already obvious: I have forgiven Tro and his friends who lined up to attack me with the most disgraceful slanderous lies. Public humiliation of the worst kind: they identified me on the internet publicly, they contacted my employer, they accused me of things which were untrue and have persisted since in spreading the same lies. Naturally, I had no choice but to forgive and it was surprisingly easy. My vocation has gone from strength to strength. I Thank you for reminding me to keep doing this. May God Bless you, Keep you and make his face to shine upon your heart. The world hated him, it will hate us. Let’s get over it and build the New Evangelisation.

    With love


    • tro


      That is a tissue of lies from beginning to end. You should be ashamed of yourself.

      Where is the evidence for these preposterous claims?

      I most certainly did not “identify” you, ‘publicly’ or otherwise, anywhere on the internet, or anywhere else for that matter.

      I have never levelled any accusations against you.

      Kindly desist from using Deacon Nick’s blog as a venue for pursuing your petty and scurrilous vendetta.

      I think you need you talk to someone.

      I do not intend to ‘engage’ with you again: that only serves to prompt more lies from you.

      Find something else to occupy your mind.

      You can count on my prayers.

    • JabbaPapa [Julian Lord]

      Bernadette, none of these things are true.

      Yes, there was a nasty argument on the www, but you were a direct participant in that argument, while most of us were sad onlookers.

      I hope you are well, but please stop airing this dirty linen, which can be of no interest in this thread where we should instead by welcoming this excellent news, and congratulating Deacon Nick on his wonderful new job.

  • bernadette

    Dear friends, shall we all agree to put aside all personal views at the start of this Lent and to pray, fast and almsgive for this new movement of the Holy Spirit ? The Feast of the Annunciation will be in 22 days’ time. Shall we come in agreement in prayer with one another, regardless of Ecclesial community, or even disparity of cult.

    God saw there was nothing for it, but to decide to become one of us. He chose to enter into our mess; The mess that we, ourselves, made. Even Mary in her human frailty could have said “no”. Shall we take her blind fiat as an example for us to say “OK, yes” we will work together …..We have messed up, but now we will start afresh ?

    On Sunday 16th March I would like to suggest that we all pray as never before for a New Pentecost on the Buckfast renewal and for all those involved.

    What the Church does not need right now is more division

  • Wake up England

    Tro, Bernadette Jabba Pappa

    I am extremely sorry that I have (albeit unwittingly) re-opened old wounds. This was not my intention at all and I apologise energetically to all concerned.

    WUE ad vincular

  • ms Catholic state

    Deacon Nick….please can you alert people to the gay propogandising film ‘Free’ which is being sent to all Primary schools today….under the smokescreen of tackling homophobic bullying. Please help as I don’t think our bishops will.

    • Michael B Rooke

      @ ms Catholic state

      An important point

      The moral inversion in such a proposal should be recognised.

      Moral inversion is defined in Isaiah 5:20

      Is 5:20 Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light, and light for darkness: that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter.

      Shakespeare put the same inversion into the mouths of the witches in Macbeth in Act1 Scene 1
      “Fair is foul, and foul is fair:”

      Pope St Pius X in his encyclical EDITAE SAEPE in 1910 on St Charles Borromeo wrote of moral inversion.

      9… They tried to destroy the Church’s doctrine, constitution and discipline. they were similar to those sinners who were warned long ago: “Woe to you that call evil good, and good evil.”[19] They called this rebellious riot and perversion of faith and morals a reformation, and themselves reformers. In reality, they were corrupters. In undermining the strength of Europe through wars and dissensions, they paved the way for those modern rebellions and apostasy. This modern warfare has united and renewed in one attack the three kinds of attack which have up until now been separated; namely, the bloody conflicts of the first ages, the internal pests of heresies, and finally, in the name of evangelical liberty, the vicious corruption and perversion of discipline such as was unknown, perhaps, even in medieval times. Yet in each of these combats the Church has always emerged victorious.

      Pope Blessed John Paul II in his encyclical Veritatis Splendor – the Splendour of Truth in section 93 spoke of martyrdom for truth.

      By witnessing fully to the good, they are a living reproof to those who transgress the law (cf. Wis 2:12), and they make the words of the Prophet echo ever afresh: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!” (Is 5:20).

      And again in Evangelium Vitae
      24. …. A large part of contemporary society looks sadly like that humanity which Paul describes in his Letter to the Romans. It is composed “of men who by their wickedness suppress the truth” (1:18): having denied God and believing that they can build the earthly city without him, “they became futile in their thinking” so that “their senseless minds were darkened” (1:21); “claiming to be wise, they became fools” (1:22), carrying out works deserving of death, and “they not only do them but approve those who practise them” (1:32). When conscience, this bright lamp of the soul (cf. Mt 6:22-23), calls “evil good and good evil” (Is 5:20), it is already on the path to the most alarming corruption and the darkest moral blindness.

      And yet all the conditioning and efforts to enforce silence fail to stifle the voice of the Lord echoing in the conscience of every individual: it is always from this intimate sanctuary of the conscience that a new journey of love, openness and service to human life can begin.

      And in section 58 on procured abortion

      58. Among all the crimes which can be committed against life, procured abortion has characteristics making it particularly serious and deplorable. The Second Vatican Council defines abortion, together with infanticide, as an “unspeakable crime”.54

      But today, in many people’s consciences, the perception of its gravity has become progressively obscured. The acceptance of abortion in the popular mind, in behaviour and even in law itself, is a telling sign of an extremely dangerous crisis of the moral sense, which is becoming more and more incapable of distinguishing between good and evil, even when the fundamental right to life is at stake. Given such a grave situation, we need now more than ever to have the courage to look the truth in the eye and to call things by their proper name, without yielding to convenient compromises or to the temptation of self-deception. In this regard the reproach of the Prophet is extremely straightforward: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness” (Is 5:20). Especially in the case of abortion there is a widespread use of ambiguous terminology, such as “interruption of pregnancy”, which tends to hide abortion’s true nature and to attenuate its seriousness in public opinion. Perhaps this linguistic phenomenon is itself a symptom of an uneasiness of conscience. But no word has the power to change the reality of things: procured abortion is the deliberate and direct killing, by whatever means it is carried out, of a human being in the initial phase of his or her existence, extending from conception to birth.

      Again in a homily
      Sin is not just a psychological and social matter, but an event that corrodes the relationship with God, violating his law, refusing his plan in history and overturning his set of values, “putting darkness for light and light for darkness”, in other words, “calling evil good and good evil” (cf. Is 5,20).

      • ms Catholic state

        Thanks Michael. My fear is that the Church will allow this film to be shown in Catholic schools, and all schools will secretly show it to primary kids. I haven’t seen it….but I certainly will not be allowing my kids to see it. In matters like this….parents are never consulted. Pure evil.

        • Michael B Rooke

          @ms Catholic state

          I think you are wise in your approach.

          In the UK primary school age is between approximately 6-14. In the Times newspaper atheists regularly propose that school children should not be taught religion until they are able to deal with its philosophical concepts. That of course makes faith not a gift of God but depending on the intellectual ability and as St Thomas Aquinas points out in SCG First Book Chapter 4 if it were a philosophical concept few would be able to attain it.

          “Accordingly the divine clemency has made this salutary commandment, that even some things which reason is able to investigate must be held by faith: so that all may share in the knowledge of God easily, and without doubt or error.
          Hence it is written (Eph. iv. 17, 18): That henceforward you walk not as also the Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, having their understanding darkened: and (Isa. liv. 13): All thy children shall be taught of the Lord”

  • BJC

    Totally off-topic but just came across this quote on the Creative Minority Report blog. Thought I might pass it on.

    “They want to be treated with oil, soap and caresses, but they should be beaten with fists.
    In a duel, you don’t count or measure the blows, you strike as you can.”” –Pope Pius X on Modernists

    • Augustine

      But I’m sure that some people at the time would have tried to twist Pius X’s off-the-cuff words and argued that he was now permitting Catholics to engage in duels.

      In fact as long ago as 1212, Innocent III had condemned duelling. (Denzinger 799, 1111, 1113f, 1830, 2022, 2571-2575, 3272f, 3672.

      The number of times this teaching was repeated indicates that many unfaithful Catholics were either ignorant or defiant of the teaching of the Church.

      Even confessors or physicians were forbidden (under pain of excommunication) to attend duels in case it encouraged the participants.

      No doubt the ACTA of the 13th century claimed that the “sensus fidelium” proved Pope Innocent wrong.

      But the ACTA of those days was in fact the “sensus infidelium”.

      And it was the “sensus infidelium” that was wrong.

      “Plus ca change – plus c’est la meme chose.”

    • Michael B Rooke

      @ BJC

      The phrase spoken of “They want to be treated with oil, soap and caresses, but they should be beaten with fists” is listed on the wiki account of Pope St Pius X and the quote is attributed to a book by John Cornwell ‘Hitler’s Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII.’

      To quote from some reviews on the US Amazon site of the above book

      “John Cornwell, author of Hitler’s Pope is an former seminary student and represents the epitome of alienated ex-Catholics who think the (mythical) “spirit of Vatican 2″ was betrayed by Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI and apparently no tactic is too low (aka ” the noble lie”) in attacking the Church, hence his playing the “Nazi card”. His book is a hatchet job of half-truths and insinuations right from the author approved cover which shows then Vatican Secretary of State Eugenio Pacelli slightly smiling while walking out of a doorway while some German troops are providing an honor guard. The UK release’s back flyleaf (presumably approved by the author) even identifies them as “Nazi soldiers”. The problem with this assertion or insinuation is the photo was snapped in 1927, when the Nazis were still a far-fringe movement and the soldiers are Weimer Republic troops. Pacelli was in Germany negotiating the Vatican-Germany concordat treaty.”

      “This book is but a Tower of Babel of lies, distortions, half-truth, worst-casing and prejudice mascarading as historical analysis, written by someone whose frustrated priestly vocation moved him to lash out against the Church and against a very good man to discredit the Church and thus, get even.

      Don’t waste your money nor your time on this work. If you want to read a real history of the life and times of Papa Pacelli, read Rabbi David G. Dalin’s The Myth of Hitler’s Pope: Pope Pius XII And His Secret War Against Nazi Germany, written not by a failed Catholic, but by an observant Jew who became indignant at the soiling of Pope Pius XII’s name, and who set out to set the record straight.”

      “Pius PP. XII (Eugenio Pacelli) has been brutally labeled by John Cornwell as “Hitler’s Pope.” This blanket execratation of a man without the exegetical assistance of facts, is abhorrent regardless of religious affiliation. This is simply the work of those interested in coercing the Catholic Church into following polls rather than steadfastly adhering to doctrinal criterions. David Limbaugh describes this event and other attempts similar to it, as an “anti-Christian Phenomenon.” Media outlets, secularists and others have this vested interest in imputing the role of the Catholic Church during this horrendous time in our history. Whatever its origins, these pronouncements do not justify the systematic distortion of historical reality. ”

      “I hesitate to classify John Cornwell’s investigation of Pius XII as history. It is largely a tour-de-force of character assassination aiming a dagger at the heart of the traditional wing of the Roman Catholic Church. It does this by the well-practised method (often used by disaffected ‘liberal’ Catholics) of vilifying not only Pius, but through him the present day centralist papacy that Cornwell so obviously despises. Thus, the real object of attack is John Paul II, portrayed here as the spiritual heir to all the retrograde, clerical-fascistic ideologies of Pius XII.
      Problems begin with the front cover photo. This attempts to smear Pius, at the time papal nuncio in Germany, by showing him taking a salute from German troops. But to anyone who knows his militaria, it’s obvious that the guard are wearing pre-Nazi era uniform. It’s worth pointing out that the cover photo in the US edition has been studiously cropped to eliminate the guard nearest the camera: in the United Kingdom edition, this cropping did not take place. One wonders whether the publisher considered American readers to be rather more informed on these matters and would recognise the attempted deception. Why use this photo then? The answer is obvious: Viking/Penguin hacks scoured the archives but were unable to find any photo showing Pacelli with Nazis. As he left Germany in 1929, more than 3 years before Hitler’s appointment as Chancellor, this is hardly surprising.”

      ” From a Protestant perspective, this book is unfair October 31, 1999
      By A Customer

      You have to read 370 pages into this book to get to the crux of the matter, Cornwell’s real aim:….

      …To do this, he invokes the name of Hitler in the title, conjuring up all the evil of history associated with that name, hoping some will rub off on the pope. He then calls him by his Christian name, stripping him of title and making him into a faceless bureaucrat. Finally, he associates him with every evil of the era, from fascism to McCarthyism, hoping for some revolt against John Paul II at the end, in a chapter which seemed hastily added on and beside the point until you arrive at page 370, the next to last page.
      This is history as polemic, and not necessarily well done either. The section dealing with Pius’ death is, frankly, dispicable. …

      A final word on Cornwell’s thesis: John Paul II has stood against so-called reformist movements, such as liberation theology, the push to ordain women and homosexuals, a more modern view of contraception, etc. If one has a problem with a strong, centralized leadership standing in the way of “reform,” there are plenty of denominations to choose from besides Catholicism, a sect not known in the past for its visionary reform. But speaking as a Protestant, frankly, Catholicism without a strong Papacy would be ridiculous, and I think Martin Luther would agree with me. ..”

  • ms Catholic state

    My children’s Catholic primary school said they know about the film ‘Free’, but don’t know if they are going to show it or not(the Head is away) and told me to put my objections in writing. I will be writing to the Chair of Governors too.

  • Kinga Gray - Grzeczynska LLB

    ms Catholic state

    May I suggest that you write to the Chair of Governors and to the Headteacher and clearly state your objections to your child/ren viewing this film.
    You could ask for your comments and letter to be discussed at the Governors meeting and also ask for you to be informed in writing as to the Governors comments.
    You may find that you are not alone.

    In fact you could add a statement in your letter which states that you do not wish you child/ren to view or to be informed about this film at all.

    I looked up the trailer for this film and I agree, as a parent, I would also object to my son seeing such a film. However, to clarify, I must say that my son is a whopping 6ft 22 years old and in the times of his junior school days, there were no threats of my son being taught something which I would call ‘not according to the way he was brought up at home.’

    And before I receive negative comments to my above statement, I will say that I brought up my son according to the standards that my beloved parents brought me up.
    Neither my late parents nor I would have allowed a school to introduce subjects to our children, which were considered unacceptable or inappropriate according to our Roman Catholic Faith.

    Although a school has Catholic in its title -it does not necessarily mean Catholic and teaching of the Roman Catholic Faith according to the Catechism of Christian Doctrine.
    Kinga Grzeczynska LL

  • LeonG

    After living through nearly 50 years of post-conciliar “newness” and “springtime”, this is yet another initiative doomed to failure. We have had the Charismatic Renewal Movement, ultimately very divisive); ReNew; New Dawn; the unorthodox and anti-modern church Neo-Catechumenal Way (which I spent 3 years as an inside observer and contributed to a diocesan inquiry about prior to a ban); a previous period of New Evangelism; the 1990s failed Decade of Evangelisation hijacked by the gay movement; and so on…………………

    What about a Restoration of what has been lost? Only the blessed Lord can make all things new but from what has already been established not by continuously shifting the liturgical and pastoral paradigm to suit an ever-changing society whose norms, values and mores are based on constant change. The more the church compromises, the worse the situation becomes. After almost 50 years of liberal modernist pretense that everything is just going along fine, it is self-evident that it is its own fickle and disorientating philosophies which are at fault. The continued repetition of the same neo-conciliar medicine can only fail.

  • Annie C.

    I notice that “Fr Tom Craig” posted on March 2nd at 11:55 a.m. an exact quotation of a remark of mine which I posted on [another] blog on 12 November 2013, in an entry written in defense of those who at that point had only just left Maryvale. My remark was “Their loyalty to Maryvale throughout was total. They have too much love for the Church to damage it, but too much integrity to consent to something that is against their conscience or ethos, or to go against the manifest leadership of the Magisterium.”.

    This correspondent should respect the basic decencies and not mark as his own someone else’s work. Please take note.
    [moderated comment]

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