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Herr kitty kitty AS WELL AS greeting the priests of the Birmingham Oratory during his visit to Britain, Pope Benedict seemed very pleased to meet another member of the community – a black cat called Pushkin. It happened after the Pope had spent some moments in private prayer in Cardinal Newman’s room. He came down in the lift and, as a door opened, bystanders say he heard mewing and looked pleasantly surprised. Fr Anton Guziel, one of the community, went and fetched the half-Persian puss. Pope Benedict, known to be a keen cat-

lover, appeared delighted to meet the moggie, who was suitably attired with a yellow and white ribbon about his neck. Inquiring as to Pushkin’s age – he is 10 –and stroking him while Fr Guziel held him, the Pope then spoke to the fluffy feline in “cattish German”, perhaps along the lines of “ah, Miez, Miez, bist Du aber schön!”. Pushkin extended a paw to the Pope who took it with a smile. According to Fr Anton, Pushkin maintained “a dignified and prayerful silence” throughout the happy encounter. The priest brought the cat with him two years ago when he joined the community and Pushkin has settled in as the Oratory cat.

My Uncle Newman

THERE IS at least one Anglican priest among the descendants of Blessed John Henry Newman and he was thrilled to be at Cofton Park for the cardinal’s beatification. The Revd Christopher Elliot Newman, 67, is a non-stipendiary priest, now retired while still helping out occasionally at Hexham Abbey, Northumberland. He thinks he is a great-great-nephew of Cardinal Newman but he cannot be certain. He attended the beatification with seven relatives, though he was not among the party who went up for a blessing from the Pope during the Mass. “We used to think we were descended from his brother, Francis, but the records are hazy. We might be descended from one of his uncles but the information about his antecedents are scanty. Nevertheless John Henry has always been in our hearts and is one of our family. However sparse the evidence it is something worth hanging on to.” Mr Elliot Newman has no intention of fol- lowing his ancestor’s path into the Catholic Church but believes the Church of England owes a great debt of gratitude to him. “I believe the Church of England’s rein- statement of the Eucharist as the heart of its worship would not have happened without the Oxford Movement and we are a better Church because of it. The Oxford Movement took a very Protestant Church by the throat and restored its place in the Catholic Church with a small ‘c’,” he said.

16 | THE TABLET | 2 October 2010

Virtue of obedience PARENTS AND PUPILS at Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School turned out in force to say goodbye to their former headmaster, Michael Gormally, who retired recently. Westminster Cathedral was packed on Thursday last week for a Mass of Thanksgiving concelebrated by 16 priests led by Mr Gormally’s predecessor, Fr Anthony Pellegrini. But many in the congregation were furious when Archbishop Vincent Nichols stressed in his homily the importance of a Catholic school being in communion with the bishop. The school’s supporters interpreted this as a reprimand for the long and bitter row they have fought with the Westminster Diocese Education Service over admissions. The popular voluntary-aided comprehensive school in west London recently lost a battle with the diocese over its criteria for allocating places and can no longer give priority to those pupils whose families are active in their parishes. Now the school is taking legal action over the diocese’s appointment of four foundation governors and is particularly unhappy that one of these is Westminster’s education director, Paul Barber. Parent governor James King who has three sons at the school said many parents did not appreciate being “lectured” by Archbishop Nichols: “Parents are supportive of the school but totally confused as to why a school that produces vocations (both from staff and pupils), starts and ends lessons with the Sign of the Cross, stops at midday to say the Angelus, has in-school Masses, Benediction and Confession weekly yet does not find favour with the Westminster Diocese Education Service.”

Know your Bible

INDIAN Catholics stand to gain more than spiritual enrichment if they learn their Bible. A quiz involving nearly half a million of Rome’s faithful in the state of Kerala offers a top prize of almost three times the average monthly salary. The first round of the Logos Quiz, which

The Pope shakes Pushkin’s paw. Photo: L'Osservatore Romano

took place last Sunday, involved 100 multiple-choice questions on the Bible followed by three written questions in case of a tie-break. More than 3,000 parishes across Kerala took part simultaneously, with the 15 people who came top going on to a final in November at the Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council headquarters.

Fr Joshi Mayyattil, secretary of the bishops’ council Bible Commission, told us that the winners in five age categories were awarded gold medals and cash prizes. A champion will be announced after the gruelling final, which includes audio, video, written, oral and Bible verse recitation tests. He or she receives 10,000 rupees (£140). Kerala is the largest Christian enclave in

India with nearly seven million Christians (including more than four million Catholics) – tracing their faith to St Thomas the Apostle who landed on the coast in AD 52.

Orare est laborare IF THERE is one aspect of Catholicism that can always be relied upon to cause controversy, it is liturgy. From arguments over the Tridentine Rite to the new English translation of the Missal and the arrangement of a church, worship provokes strong emotions. Now people in Britain will be able to be

far better informed about how we pray with the opening of a new liturgical institute. The Institutum Liturgicum has been set up by two Benedictine abbots, Martin Shipperlee of Ealing and Cuthbert Brogan of Farnborough and is the brainchild of Dom Daniel McCarthy OSB, who writes The Tablet’s weekly feature, “Listen to the Word”, and Dom James Leachman, another Tablet contributor. It aims to promote advanced research in, and other studies and publishing of, liturgy to prepare future university teachers and to form members of diocesan and national liturgical commissions. It will provide English language access to Licence and Doctoral degrees at the Catholic University of Leuven and the Pontifical Institute of Liturgy in Rome. The Institutum Liturgicum, which is housed at the Benedictine Study and Arts Centre at Ealing Abbey, west London, is intended to complement other educational programmes in liturgy and the work of the bishops’ Liturgy Office. The first courses begin in July 2011. More information is available at:

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