This is the first Sunday for many decades, apart from illness, that I have not attended or celebrated Sunday Mass – probably for more than seventy years. I wasn’t even able to receive Communion.
The first reading in the breviary today has Job’s troubles just beginning. It all lies ahead for him… I took some consolation from Job, because his good fortune was restored in this life, unlike the good Lord’s, and I still believe that the only just verdict for the judges is to quash the convictions.
…..Muslim chants floating into my cell. I wonder who he is….I am not sure what religion he follows as he claims to be a god or a messiah. A bit noisier tonight with at least one fellow shouting out in distress.
Fidelity to Christ and his teaching remains indispensable for any fruitful Catholicism, any religious revival. This is why the “approved” Argentinian and Maltese interpretations of Amoris Laetitia are so dangerous. They go against the teaching of the Lord on adultery and the teachings of St Paul on the necessary dispositions to receive Holy Communion properly.
Called unexpectedly for a medical check this morning. All was well, although my blood pressure (standing 120/80) was low, as I suspected, because I was feeling a little lethargic.
God our Father, I pray for all my fellow prisoners, especially those who have written to me. Help them all to see their true selves; indeed, help me, too, to do this better myself. Bring all of them some peace of mind, especially those who most certainly do not possess it.
Easter Sunday, 21 April 2019
I cannot remember the last time I did not celebrate Easter with a community or in a church. This has probably been my invariable practice since before I reached the age of reason. I have celebrated the Easter ceremonies as a priest for nearly fifty-three years. But not this year.
When phoning friends and family during my exercise spells outside (the only permitted time to phone), I was asked a number of times whether I was able to attend Mass, receive Communion during the Triduum, or even participate in an ecumenical service. My answer was no.
I was not able to prepare the Easter candle outside the cathedral affirming that all time, all ages, all glory and power belong to the (risen) Christ.
I was not able to turn in the sanctuary to face the congregation and see the light from the newly lit candles spread slowly but surely in fits and starts through the dark vault of the cathedral… I renewed my baptismal promises quietly to myself, not with the newly baptised and the cathedral congregation. And, of course, I could not consecrate the bread and the wine or receive Communion.
Easter Monday, 22 April 2019
While I could find very little religious television on Good Friday, this was not the situation on Easter Sunday, and I watched every program as a religious substitute for the real thing…The English program Songs of Praise was a beautiful Easter service celebrated in St Mary’s [Anglican] Church, Portsmouth, UK, many hymns, with a couple from Handel, including “My Redeemer Liveth”…The news clip of the Holy Father’s Easter Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Square showed an immense congregation filling even the Via della Conciliazione. It is strange that Christian programs at Easter don’t address the central message.
I have spent a good part of the last three days opening letters of support and Easter greetings. They nearly always promise prayers, which is consoling, and often contain good advice, prayers, poems, or holy cards. I found today something of an anticlimax after yesterday’s feast, so when one message urged me to remember that each day passed meant that one less remained, I was heartened. The thought is almost banal, but it cheered me.
Prison Journal, Volume 1: The Cardinal Makes His Appeal, by George Pell is published by Ignatius Press