Saturday, 31 December 2011

The LOTH New Year Blogger's Honours List


It has been a bumpy old ride, my first full calendar year as a Catholic blogger. But, on the whole, I have found it enjoyable if a shade challenging at times.
The greatest benefit to me has been the fact that blogging has brought me into contact with others of the same or similar mind and I have enjoyed the company enormously.

I have decided, therefore, to mention those whom I feel have helped me by their outstanding posts. The difficulty has been in limiting the list to 15 or so bloggers.
I have had to leave out so many good friends (a quick review of my bloglist will show you who they are).

Also, I have not included blogs written by our priests.
It would be an impossible task to try and sieve through these - they are all so very heartening and good!

So here it is, the Linen on the Hedgerow New Years Honours list for outstanding services to the Faith in general and me in particular (and not in any particular order) :-



1.  Services to the Catholic Social conscience (and mine, especially)   
      Laurence England - That the Bones you have crushed  may thrill

2. Learned theological debates that give me a headache -
    Outside the Asylum   (and Tony Layne also gets a bar to his award for  
    running  two excellent blogs (OTA and The Impractical Catholic)

3. Sound historical facts about the faith, well researched and written in a most  
    beautiful pictorial setting
     - Dylan Parry at A Reluctant Sinner

4. Most heartening blog that makes me feel Catholic again -  
5. For fearlessness and kicking Episcopal doors open –
    Catholic and Loving It, James Preece of course.

6. For writing the posts that I always wished that I had written –
    Mary O’Regan, The Path Less Taken

7. Squaring up to what the faith embraces and for being on the journey -
    Stuart  James eChurch blog

8. Hanging on in there, waiting for the full reform of the reform -
    Joyce at The Little Way

9. The hope for the future - those at Juventutem London

10. More hope for the future and a blog that puts me in a good frame
      of mind….Charlie J at Chasubles and Chalices

11. For having the sharpest mind on all matters theological but also
      for not blogging enough -
      Paul Priest at On the Side of the Angels

12. Reminding us of the glories of traditional bling….John Sonnen at

13. Giving us biting satire and poetry to match, Chris Wright at Left-Footer

14. Keeping the flag flying in a cold Calvinist climate……Brian at Umblepie

15. Punchy theology that's to the point and true to its name -
      Ron Garcia Making Things Visible


Thank you all and may God grant you a Happy and Peaceful 2012!

New Year Honours List for Catholic Bloggers!



Coming soon, in fact, at around 10 o'clock tonight...........

This is what's "down the road"


This, for those from overseas who might not know it, is the only site memorial that we in Great Britain have to our Reformation Martyrs - the men and women who offered up their lives and suffered most brutally for the sake of Our Blessed Lord and His Mass.

The memorial lies on a small traffic island at one end of London's Edgware Road facing Marble Arch.

It is hardly what one could describe as uplifting; a small, cracked roundel set into the pavement.

St Thomas More (yes I know he was martyred at the Tower, not Tyburn) would have said that this apology of a memorial was the result of "a weak clergy lacking in grace".

Somehow that quote resounds constantly in my ears these days.

I posted on this issue about 12 months ago when I had only just begun my blogging nightmare journey.
I did not really expect any sort of reaction from the Church authorities and I have not been disappointed.

But, really, it is shameful!

Would some brave soul bring this issue to the attention of Archbishop Nichols and would His Grace make the cause for a fitting memorial one of his New Year resolutions?

With the London Gay Pride event due to pass within a few hundred yards of Tyburn this summer would it not be a good and wholesome thing to mark what we Catholics deem important?


This post would not be complete without coverage of the 'new' image that is on display, just a few rope lengths from where the martyrs shed their blood - here it is.............

So profound, so moving, the "Jelly Baby" sculpture
standing at Tyburn - dedicated to.....what?

It was destined to be in place for 12 months up until April 2011 but from all accounts it's still there. Wonderful!

Friday, 30 December 2011

The British Army goes Gay on Parade to support Tesco!

In the rumbling row over supermarket giant, Tesco, sponsoring Gay Pride in London in 2012, I thought that this clip showing how the British Army has embraced homosexuality may be of interest.




Please may we have our bell back?

There was a time when the procedure for receiving Holy Communion was a well ordered affair, quite unlike the hesitant EF or the chaotic OF procedures today.

But, for this post I shall focus on the EF Mass just to show what a blooming good and even handed fellow I am..... aherm.

The Domine non sum Dignus takes place, the altar servers receive the Host and then.....erm, then a bit of a pause and one or two  souls timidly commence the process of leaving the pew while the Priest (and Our Lord) wait patiently by.

You might think that they were being invited to commit an act of self disembowelment with a rusty saw blade, such is their lack of enthusiasm to be there ready and waiting to receive their God.

The Priest (and Our Lord) are left waiting, not for long admittedly, but you just don't keep the Almighty hanging around while you wait to see if Mrs Hecklethwaite will make the first move.

In times gone by (yawn) we did not have this problem.
People would rise from their pews at the appropriate time and kneel in readiness for the most terrifying moment of our lives; that instant when we receive the Body and Blood of  Our Lord and Maker.

Why and how you ask?

Ivan Pavlov, famous Russian
scientist who liked bells
(and meringue desserts)
Well, you only have to look at the Russian behaviourist, Ivan Pavlov, for the answer. He it was who fed dogs on an experimental basis using bells as the signal that food was ready.

In time, he only had to ring the bell and the dogs would start salivating in anticipation.

They were ready for the meal. Ever since, this experiment has been known as 'Pavlov's dogs' but it is a mystery to me why a meringue pudding should have been named after him, perhaps it was the salivation bit (no puns here, please).

Now, back to the Dark Ages of ignorance and superstition (pre Vatican II).
In those days the altar server rang a bell prior to Holy Communion and this was the call to the feast.
Immediately, (we were all sheep then) the faithful would leave their benches and process to the communion rails (also covered with a communion cloth, rarely seen today).

Summoned by bells, just like
Pavlov's dogs


And when in the Mass was this bell rung?

The moment the priest commenced to consume the Precious Blood; it also acted as a signal for the servers to commence the second Confiteor.

You know what? It was all so much simpler then!

Of course, some would be left queuing but that really is no different to the present day. The more devout and  supple limbed would go down on one knee at the final "Domine non sum Dignus" and all was very satisfactory.

 The Lord would not be kept waiting.

Photo: Lex Orandi

* Perfectionists and liturgists may wish to point out that the Sanctus bell was also rung three times at the final "Domine non sum dignus" (pre 1960) but this is a part that was omitted reasonably, or so I believe.

Thursday, 29 December 2011

Blasphemy is good!

Oh yes it is! It's good for sales, good for circulation figures, good for audiences and good for TV ratings!

It is also, sadly, on the increase.

I am not an "End of the World is Nigh" wallah but we have to take notice of Christ's words regarding "A recrudescence of evil".

It is not yet of tsunami proportions but it is a swell that looks as if it is building pace in an attempt to engulf Christianity.

1987 saw the introduction of the "art" of Andres Serrano that was so foul it hardly bears description; that art form has continued up to the present day and now, in the past few weeks and months we have had the French play that involves an image of the face of Christ being smeared with excrement, the advertising hoarding in New Zealand (see A Reluctant Sinner's post) featuring Our Lady in connection with a pregnancy testing kit,  and, in the run up
to Christmas the song commissioned   for the Jonathon Ross Show (need I say more?) that was thankfully withdrawn from the schedules at the last minute.

And he calls Our Lord a "zombie" -
Tim Minchen
It was written by Australian lyricist and alleged comedian, Tim Minchen and is said to have described Jesus Christ as a "zombie" and the Virgin Mary as a lizard.
I have no great confidence in its withdrawal, it is bound to make an appearance at some stage and then it will spread like cancer, infecting the hearts, minds and souls of men.

Now, of course, we all know that none of these ad men, artists, actors and producers would even think of portraying the Prophet Mohammed in the same way as they portray the Son of God or His Blessed Mother.

This is unsurprising when you think of the penalties that Islam would undoubtedly wish to place on them; a fatwa would be issued and every young male follower of this faith would be out to get them in some shape of form.
Their limbs and lives would be at grave risk and remember, these comedians, chat show hosts and marketeers are not well endowed when it comes to having a backbone.
They fight with their mouths and paintings - show them a bit of Arabic script and they quickly slide underneath their stones.
They would get an attack of the trots from a Thinwa let alone a Fat one!

But that is not our way.

So what do we Catholics do?

We inflict something infinitely more fearsome upon the heads of the blasphemers; we expose them to the mercy of Almighty God - we pray for them! And we make acts of reparation.

We offer them our Christian love which, as the good Lord states, is equivalent to pouring hot coals on their heads.

How do we do that? By praying in groups outside the theatres, publishing houses, advertising agencies and art galleries.

By offering Masses in reparation for the grave sins of blasphemy and sacrilege and by prayer, here are two that are specific acts of reparation.

PRAYER OF REPARATION IN PRAISE OF THE HOLY NAME OF GOD - "THE GOLDEN ARROW"

May the most Holy, most Sacred, most Adorable,
Most Incomprehensible and Ineffable Name of God
Be always Praised, Blessed, Loved, Adored and Glorified,
In Heaven, on Earth and under the Earth,
By all the Creatures of God,
And by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,
In the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Amen.

Act of Reparation to the Sacred Heart / Actus reparationis

Most sweet Jesus, whose overflowing charity for men is requited by so much forgetfulness, negligence and contempt, behold us prostrate before Thee, eager to repair by a special act of homage the cruel indifference and injuries to which Thy loving Heart is everywhere subject.

Mindful, alas! that we ourselves have had a share in such great indignities, which we now deplore from the depths of our hearts, we humbly ask Thy pardon and declare our readiness to atone by voluntary expiation, not only for our own personal offenses, but also for the sins of those, who, straying far from the path of salvation, refuse in their obstinate infidelity to follow Thee, their Shepherd and Leader, or, renouncing the promises of their baptism, have cast off the sweet yoke of Thy law.

We are now resolved to expiate each and every deplorable outrage committed against Thee; we are now determined to make amends for the manifold offenses against Christian modesty in unbecoming dress and behavior, for all the foul seductions laid to ensnare the feet of the innocent, for the frequent violations of Sundays and holydays, and the shocking blasphemies uttered against Thee and Thy Saints. We wish also to make amends for the insults to which Thy Vicar on earth and Thy priests are subjected, for the profanation, by conscious neglect or terrible acts of sacrilege, of the very Sacrament of Thy Divine Love; and lastly for the public crimes of nations who resist the rights and teaching authority of the Church which Thou hast founded.

Would that we were able to wash away such abominations with our blood. We now offer, in reparation for these violations of Thy divine honor, the satisfaction Thou once made to Thy Eternal Father on the Cross and which Thou continuest to renew daily on our Altars; we offer it in union with the acts of atonement of Thy Virgin Mother and all the Saints and of the pious faithful on earth; and we sincerely promise to make recompense, as far as we can with the help of Thy grace, for all neglect of Thy great love and for the sins we and others have committed in the past. Henceforth, we will live a life of unswerving faith, of purity of conduct, of perfect observance of the precepts of the Gospel and especially that of charity. We promise to the best of our power to prevent others from offending Thee and to bring as many as possible to follow Thee.

O loving Jesus, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mother, our model in reparation, deign to receive the voluntary offering we make of this act of expiation; and by the crowning gift of perseverance keep us faithful unto death in our duty and the allegiance we owe to Thee, so that we may all one day come to that happy home, where with the Father and the Holy Spirit Thou livest and reignest, God, forever and ever. Amen.

Latin Version: Actus reparationis
Iesu dulcissime, cuius effusa in homines caritas, tanta oblivione, negligentia, comtemptione, ingratissime rependitur, en nos, ante altaria tua provoluti, tam nefariam hominum socordiam iniuriasque, quibus undique amantissimum Cor tuum afficitur, peculiari honore resarcire contendimus.

Attamen, memores tantae nos quoque indignitatis non expertes aliquando fuisse, indeque vehementissimo dolore commoti, tuam in primis misericordiam nobis imploramus, paratis, voluntaria expiatione compensare flagitia non modo quae ipsi patravimus, sed etiam illorum, qui, longe a salutis via aberrantes, vel te pastorem ducemque sectari detrectant, in sua infidelitate obstinati, vel baptismatis promissa conculcantes, suavissimum tuae legis iugum excusserunt.

Quae deploranda crimina, cum universa expiare contendimus, tum nobis singula resarcienda proponimus: vitae cultusque immodestiam atque turpitudines, tot corruptelae pedicas innocentium animis instructas, dies festos violatos, exsecranda in te tuosque Sanctos iactata maledicta atque in tuum Vicarium ordinemque sacerdotalem convicia irrogata, ipsum denique amoris divini Sacramentum, vel neglectum vel horrendis sacrilegiis profanatum, publica postremo nationum delicta, quae Ecclesiae a te institutae iuribus magisterioque reluctantur.

Quae utinam crimina sanguine ipsi nostro eluere possemus! Interea ad violatum divinum honorem resarciendum, quam Tu olim Patri in Cruce satisfactionem obtulisti quamque quotidie in Altaribus renovare pergis, hanc eamdem nos tibi praestamus, cum Virginis Matris, omnium Sanctorum, piorum quoque fidelium expiationibus coniunctam, ex animo spondentes, cum praeterita nostra aliorumque peccata ac tanti amoris incuriam firma fide, candidis vitae moribus, perfecta legis evangelicae, caritatis potissimum, observantia, quantum in nobis erit, gratia tua favente, nos esse compensaturos, tum iniurias tibi inferendas pro viribus prohibituros, et quam plurimos potuerimus ad tui sequelam convocaturos. Excipias, quaesumus, benignissime Iesu, beata Virgine Maria Reparatrice intercedente, voluntarium huius expiationis obsequium nosque in officio tuique servito fidissimos ad mortem usque velis, magno illo perseverantiae munere, continere, ut ad illam tandem patriam perveniamus omnes, ubi Tu cum Patre et Spiritu Sancto vivis et regnas in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Note:
A partial indulgence is granted to those who recite this prayer. A plenary indulgence is granted if it is publicly recited on the feast of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. This prayer was prescribed to be recited on this feast by Pope Pius XI.


Ex: Fisheaters

Monday, 26 December 2011

A Christmas Mass - EF come home!

Without any EF Mass within reasonable striking distance we hummed and hawed as to what we should do and, finally, with thoughts of the children as well as Almighty God, we opted for a local OF Mass.



I will not reveal the whereabouts of the church and, in all truth, the OF Mass was not as mind numbingly awful as I had feared.

Now please, bear in mind that I am not an expert on Mass in the Ordinary Form; it is almost one year since I last attended one and as I tend to stick my nose into my missal and plough on regardless, it is still a bit of a mystery to me.

On this occasion it was hard to cut myself off as we had two small children with us who, although beautifully behaved, demanded a certain amount of attention.
So I could not help but observe a few things.
Firstly, the new translation did not appear to make too great a difference; the Mass seemed formless and without a route of progression - just a series of prayers spouted forth on a fairly random basis.

The priest conducted proceedings from the steps at the foot of the altar, facing the congregation leaving the puritan style altar (unadorned by any flower or object) bare and stark.

He started his Christmas sermon by speaking about ET, the extra terrestrial, and how he was accepted, in all innocence by a group of children.

OK, we all know the rest but it conjured up unfortunate images in my mind and, I guess, in the minds of quite a few of those present - an alien with a pointy finger - not what I wished to reflect on.

At the Offertory, the priest did move to the altar and at Communion a dilemma was solved for us as he came to distibute the host on our side of the aisle.
He was, I think, a little taken aback when we all genuflected to receive by mouth but he recovered well.

The sole elderly altar server, dressed a la monk style, distributed on the other side and, flanking the both of them were two females (I am being charitable here) who dispensed the Precious Blood to those who wished to receive it. We did not receive.

Afterwards, there was a horrendous period of washing up when the two ladies consumed what was left in the chalices and then set to a polishing the vessels.

We left having fulfilled our Sunday obligation and actually feeling that we had, in some small way, made our presence at the Mass part of our fealty to the new born Christ child.

But I found the fact that there was a general lack of respect shown to the Body of Christ in the tabernacle (only a cursory bow and zero genuflections. throughout).
And during the Credo, only a few genuflected at the critical point.

Overall, it seemed sad that these people, and their priest, had somehow forgotten the context of what they were about. They had performed a public act of prayer, not in a ritualistic sense but rather as if they were enacting a necessary labour.

It reinforced my view that the two Masses are as different as chalk is to cheese or ET to Jesus Christ.

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Christmas - in the Po Valley!



If you have never read any of the Don Camillo stories then you are the poorer for it.

The Catholic priest with hands like joints of ham and a short fuse temper has the characteristics of so many of us. He also has close and intimate conversations with the crucified Christ in his church and a long running battle with communism and, in particular, the red mayor, known as Peppone.

Here is an extract from 'The Little World of Don Camillo'


"Christmas was approaching and it was high time to get the figures of the Crib out of their drawer so that they might be cleaned, touched up here and there and any stains carefully removed.

It was already late, but Don Camillo was still at work in the presbytery. He heard a knocking on the window and on seeing that it was Peppone went to open the door.

Peppone sat down while Don Camillo resumed his work and neither of them spoke for quite a long time.

'Hell and Damnation!' exclaimed Peppone suddenly and furiously.

'Couldn't you find a better place to blaspheme in than my presbytery?' inquired Don Camillo quietly.
'Couldn't you have got it off your chest at your own headquarters?'

"One can't even swear there any longer," muttered Peppone. "Because if one does someone asks for an explanation."

Don Camillo applied a little white lead to St Joseph's beard.

"No decent man can live in this filthy world!" exclaimed Peppone after a pause.

"How does that concern you?" inquired Don Camillo. "Have you by any chance become a decent man?"

"I've never been anything else."

"There now! And I should never have thought it." Don Camillo continued his retouching of St Joseph's beard. Then he began to tidy up the saint's clothing.

"How long will you be over that job?" asked Peppone angrily.

"If you were to give me a hand it would soon be done."

Peppone was a mechanic and he possessed hands as big as shovels and enormous fingers that gave no impression of clumsiness. Nevertheless, when anybody wanted a watch repaired, they never failed to take it to Peppone.
Because it is a fact that that it is precisely such bulky men that are best adapted to the handling of minute things.
Peppone could streamline the body of a car or the spokes of a wheel like a master painter.

"Are you crazy! Can you see me touching up saints?" he muttered. "You haven't by any chance mistaken me for a sacristan?"

Don Camillo fished in the bottom of the open drawer and brought forth a pink and white object about the size of a sparrow; it was, in fact, the Holy Infant Himself.

Peppone hardly knew how he came to find it in his hands, but he took up a little brush and began working carefully. He and Don Camillo sat on either side of the table, unable to see each other's faces because of the light of the lamp between them.

"It's a beastly world," said Peppone. "If you have something to say you daren't trust anyone. I don't even trust myself."

Don Camillo appeared to be absorbed in his task: the Madonna's whole face needed repainting.
"Do you trust me?" he asked casually.

"I don't know."

"Try telling me something and then you will know."

Peppone completed the repainting of the Baby's eyes, which were the most difficult part. Then he touched up the red of the tiny lips.
"I should like to give it all up," said Peppone, "but it can't be done."

"What prevents you?"

"Prevents me? With an iron bar in my hand I could stand up to a regiment!"

"Are you afraid?"

"I've never been afraid in my life!"

"I have, Peppone. Sometimes I am frightened."

Peppone dipped his brush in the paint. "Well, so am I, sometimes" he said, and his voice was almost inaudible.

Don Camillo sighed. "The bullet was within four inches of my forehead," said Don Camillo. "If I hadn't drawn my head back at that exact moment I should have been done for. It was a miracle."

Peppone had completed the Baby's face and was now working with pink paint on His body.

"I'm sorry I missed," he mumbled, "but I was too far off and the cherry trees were in the way."

Don Camillo's brush ceased to move....................

..........Peppone sighed and continued his painting.

"There is something wrong," he said suddenly. "They all look at me with different eyes now. All of them, even Brusco."

"And Brusco is thinking the same as you are, and so are the rest of them," replied Don Camillo. "Each of them is afraid of the others and every time any one of them speaks he feels as if he must defend himself."

"But why?"

"Shall we leave the politics out of it Peppone?"

Peppone sighed again. "I feel as if I were in gaol," he said gloomily.

"There is always a way out of gaol in this world," replied Don Camillo. "Gaols only confine the body, and the body matters so little."

The Baby was now finished and it seemed as if His clear, bright colouring shone in Peppone's huge dark hands. Peppone looked at Him and he seemed to feel in his palms the living warmth of that little body.
He forgot all about being in gaol.

He laid the Baby delicately upon the table and Don Camillo placed the Madonna near Him.

"My son is learning a poem for Christmas," Peppone announced proudly. "Every evening I hear his mother teaching it to him before he goes to sleep.
He's a wonder!"

"I know" agreed Don Camillo. "Look how beautifully he recited the poem for the bishop!"

Peppone stiffened. "That was one of the most rascally things you ever did!" he exclaimed. "I shall get even with you yet."

"There is plenty of time for getting even, or for dying," Don Camillo replied.

Then he took the figure of the ass and set it down close to the Madonna as she bent over her Child.
"That is Peppone's son, and that is Peppone's wife, and this one is Peppone," said Don Camillo laying his finger on the figure of the ass.

"And this one is Don Camillo!" exclaimed Peppone, seizing the figure of the ox and adding it to the group.

"Oh well! Animals always understand one another," said don amillo.

And though Peppone said nothing he was now perfectly happy, because he still felt in the palm of his hand the living warmth of the pink Baby; and for a time the two men sat in the dim light looking at the little group of figures on the table and listening to the silence that has settled over the Little World of Don Camillo, and that silence no longer seemed ominous but instead full of peace."



         A very Holy and Happy Christmas
                              Feast to all!

Jake Thackray RIP


A bit off track I know but I could not let the anniversary of this guy's death pass by without a post.

Jake Thackray was a folk singer turned poet and songwriter who drifted into the French "Chansonnier" tradition.

He soon left the folk clubs of the North of England and was snapped up by the David Frost cliques, performing regularly on TW3 and a host of other programmes.

Jake was a Catholic. He appeared to carry some personal tragedy with him at all times but he had a unique voice and style.

His songs were funny and a little bawdy at times.

Tragically, he had a weakness for strong drink and, whilst living near Monmouth, died aged 64 on 24 December 2002.

May God have mercy on his soul.

Here is arguably one of his finest pieces - Brother Gorilla...please note, it's a trifle risque...depending on your outlook....

Thursday, 22 December 2011

How much more better off would we be without.......?

 .......er....um....Bishops?


 
All church doors to be unlocked!


Well what a question. Who could ever think of such a thing?  Oh deary, deary me, quickly pass the sv!

But it’s a good one! Heh, heh.

Let’s break down the answer, point by point…..

We would not have…um….

 1. A Magic Circle – what? No cosy clique of men who can sit
     around of an evening chuckling at the Pope’s latest efforts to 
     draw the church closer to the teachings of Jesus Christ?
                                            
  2. We would not have the appallingly facile website dedicated to
      showing what a valuable job their Lordship’s are doing  
         http://www.catholic-ew.org.uk

 3.We would not have parishes closing down and Indian Masses
   being celebrated willy nilly. (Because there are simple steps one
   can take to reverse this decline)

 4. And no more Masses dedicated to homosexuals (or bank
     robbers, benefits cheats and shoplifters)

OK, OK, but let’s be a little positive here!

What are the benefits of being Episcopally challenged?

Answer - We would be able to start the brick by brick reclaiming and restoration process as follows:-

 
1. All churches to be left open during daytime hours

    2. Priestly discipline would be enforced (no more shell 
       suits, sorry Padre)

    3. The reopening of adoption agencies that reflect
       Catholic beliefs could take place

   4.Liturgical integrity could be ensured (strictly dancing
      on the sanctuary would be strictly prohibited)

   5. The Catechism could be taught in Catholic schools
       once more

   6. School admission policies to be reviewed and amended
       based on enrolling children from practising Catholic
       families

   7. A real evangelisation programme could be created and
       introduced

   8. Female altar servers could be refocused on a
       confraternity basis

   9. Traditional orders would be admitted freely to all the
       Dioceses

  10.The Ordinariate would get their churches (and a warm 
         rather than a tepid welcome)

  11. No more copies of The Tablet at the back of church

  12. ………………………over to you!

So what would be the backlash of such a move?

A question that Archbishop Mennini might ask -
I have it on good authority that he reads this blog every night (when he has difficulty sleeping).

Well. We would miss out by losing Bishop Mark Davies (chizzle)

And…….several golf clubs would collapse through a drop in membership fees!




Hey presto! No more Magic Circle!


Please note:
By pure coincidence Philothea on Phire has an excellent  post on Bishops today.

Of what use is a Diocesan website?

Is it to inform, educate and enlighten?


Well, virtually impossible, yes!
 Is it to help guide those in need of advice (whether that be where to find a Mass or how to find out more about the one true faith?)
Or, is it to show what a good job the Bish and his team are doing?

Or (yet again), is it just an ignored bit of new technology drudgery that has to be done?

I guess that all four could apply to many if not all of the Diocesan websites around England and Wales.

Their Lordships are still fixated in communicating via the medium of stone blocks for all the interest that they take in what is undoubtedly the most radical advance in communications (and, therefore, evangelisation methods) since semaphore.

This blog must appear as if it is one mega whinge about Bishops but, it's only because, when faced with crass mediocrity, I tend to get a bit ratty.

It is not hard to do a job well, in fact, it requires precisely the same amount of effort as doing a job badly.

But let's cut to the chase; let me take the Archdiocese of Westminster website for a start (I do hope none of my blogging friends had a hand in this).

The site carries an A to Z directory of any parish within its boundaries and the theory is that, with one click you are within striking distance of the parish (as opposed to Diocesan) website.

This is fine except that, it assumes that you know there is a parish church in this town or village in the first place.
Often there is not (as I have discovered) so then what do you do?

Ah, some thoughtful soul in Westminster has added a map so that you may zoom in on the area of your choice and see where the churches are by the little red blobs.

Only trouble is, it is so mind blowingly slow a process that a 3 legged geriatric tortoise could walk the distance before you can bring it up on the map. Bah!

And when you do finally get to the parish of your choice you make two interesting discoveries.


A Leap Year and an 'r' in the Month?
Gotta be a Latin Mass next Sunday

The first is that they only list regular Masses. So, feasts such as The Nativity and all the associated Masses are NOT listed - but this is only one of two occasions in the year when a lapsed Catholic might return to Mass!

What are they thinking of?

And second (a disgraceful second) is that, should the parish feature, at any time (like the fifth Sunday of the month every Leap Year) an EF Mass, it does not appear on the website, or, in my experience, on the church notice board.

Why do some priests ignore the Latin Mass when it comes to church notices?

This is not an isolated example, I believe that most parish or Diocesan sites fail in this respect.

One might almost think that there was a conspiracy against the TLM - oh, come, come!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

A Christmas Carol - and also a poem

CHRISTMAS CAROL


The kings they came from out the south,
All dressed in ermine fine;
They bore Him gold and chrysoprase,
And gifts of precious wine.

The shepherds came from out the north,
Their coats were brown and old;
They brought Him little new-born lambs--
They had not any gold.

The wise men came from out the east,
And they were wrapped in white;
The star that led them all the way
Did glorify the night.

The angels came from heaven high,
And they were clad with wings;
And lo, they brought a joyful song
The host of heaven sings.

The kings they knocked upon the door,
The wise men entered in,
The shepherds followed after them
To hear the song begin.

The angels sang through all the night
Until the rising sun,
But little Jesus fell asleep
Before the song was done.

Sara Teasdale

Do not despair Menevia!

It is happening all over the world, brick by brick as Fr Z might say.
It may not be happening too much in Menevia (or Westminster or Middlesborough for that matter) but, the light is coming just as it came two thousand years ago in Bethlehem.

The traditional faith is on the march, read about it here

This excellent blog also carries important news for children (as well as some adults)...Santa Claus is real...well of course he is but Philothea on Phire makes a great case for honesty!

How to make Tesco's eyes water!

We all know by now that Tesco is to drop one or two of their lesser charities (like Cancer Research) in favour of supporting a homosexual parade in London in 2012 - such a family oriented thing to do! See here for details.
Now a Tesco executive has come out and slammed those Christians who oppose homosexuality as being 'evil'. What aisle is he in I wonder?

There has been a  ripple of dissent from a few Christians but it is not going to knock Tesco off their course; they know that it will soon die down and that they will be left to get on with their odd sponsorship unimpeded.

But I do know that adverse local publicity, on a national scale, is a most efficient way of loosening the bowels of Head Office PR men and women.

Guaranteed to make a few eyes water!
What will cause a queue for the Cheshunt HQ loos is a series of letters to your local paper, calmly stating why Tescos policies are distinctly unfriendly towards families.

We all laugh at the 'disgusted of Tonbridge Wells' syndrome but it is most effective.
Almost as effective as asking the reticent doctor sitting next to you at a dinner party if he really enjoys carrying out abortions!

So please, do it.......WRITE NOW!

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Fum, fum, fum!

A Catalan Carol........



And the lyrics.....(better in Catalan)

On the twenty-fifth of December
Fum, fum, fum
A little baby was born
Blonde and pale
Son of Virgin Mary
Was born in a cowshed
Fum, fum fum
There, at the top of the mountain
Fum, fum, fum
There are two little shepherds
Well bundled up, well bundled up
In a skin and a cloak
They’re eating eggs and sausage
Fum fum fum
Overnight, the sun goes out
Fum fum fum
They see the glowing angel
Who tells them:
Now was born, in a cowshed
The Infant God, son of Mary
Fum, fum, fum
On the twenty-fifth of December
Fum fum fum
Is Christmas day
Very important
When morning Mass is over
We’ll eat very nice food
Fum fum fum
May God give us some holy celebrations
Fum fum fum
Be it cold, be it hot
It’ll be best, it’ll be best
Let’s make Jesus a great celebration
So he’ll want to give us Glory
Fum fum fum

A vint-i-cinq de desembre(Catalan)

A vint-i-cinq de desembre
Fum, fum, fum
A nascut un minyonet
Ros i blanquet, ros i blanquet
Fill de la Verge Maria
N’és nat en una establia
Fum fum fum.
Aquí a dalt de la muntanya
Fum, fum, fum
Si n’hi ha dos pastorets
Abrigadets, abrigadets
Amb la pell i la samarra
Mengen ous i botifara.
Fum, fum, fum
Nit enllà el sol desperta
Fum, fum, fum
Veuen l’angel resplendent
Que els va dient :
Ara es nat a l’establia
Deu infant fill de Maria
Fum, fum, fum
A vint-i-cinc de desembre
Fum, fum, fum
És el dia de Nadal
Molt principal
En sortint de les Maitines
Menjarem cosetas finas
Fum, fum, fum
Déu nos dó unes santes festes
Fum, fum, fum
Faci fred faci calor
Serà el millor, serà el millor
De Jesús fem gran memòria
Perqué ens vulgui dar la Glòria
Fum, fum, fum


If Christ came down to Earth once more where would you find Him?

Not among the tent dwellers of St Paul's, most definitely not.

Not even among the poor and dispossessed in Wapping or Brighton or the Bronx.

He would not be in Westminster Cathedral (some say He has not been there for some time)

No sign of him in the hospitals and hospices - what sort of Saviour do we have?

But, you will find Him in the City of London and Wall Street, mixing with the bankers and financiers.

He will also be a visitor to Parliament and other places where politicians dwell.

Look for Him in the nightclubs, the gay bars and casinos of the West End and the Latin Quarter.

You see.......He came to heal the sick; the spiritually sick.

Those who stand in most need of salvation.

The Scribes, Publicans, Pharisees, Bankers, Pimps and Prostitutes.


In these times we do need to turn over a few tables
 But we also need to pray for those in authority.

"It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick"

 So while it may be open season on bankers at present it should be remembered that they are in need of our charity - charity in the form of prayer.

And what of the Bishops, those who have spiritual rule over us?

They also are in need of our prayers and our pity. And also, at times, our constructive criticisms and the turning over of a few tables.

Monday, 19 December 2011

Christina Rossetti -

"Love came down at Christmas"



Love came down at Christmas, Love all lovely, Love Divine, Love was born at Christmas, Star and Angels gave the sign.
Worship we the Godhead, Love Incarnate, Love Divine, Worship we our Jesus, But wherewith for sacred sign?
Love shall be our token, Love shall be yours and love be mine, Love to God and all men, Love for plea and gift and sign.

Kim Jong-il is dead

                  "But I thought that I was The Dear Leader....."


May Almighty God have mercy on his soul and may the light of Christ shine once more in North Korea for the relief of the poor and oppressed

Found! The God particle!





An exciting breakthrough on the Higgs boson front.......scientists have discovered the God particle at every valid Catholic Mass in the world!

Wikipedia describes a particle as follows:-

In the physical sciences, a particle is a small localized object to which can be ascribed several physical properties such as volume or mass.[1][2] The word is rather general in meaning, and is refined as needed by various scientific fields.
Whether objects can be considered particles depends on the scale of the context; if an object's own size is small or negligible, or if geometrical properties and structure are irrelevant, then it can be considered a particle.[3] For example, grains of sand on a beach can be considered particles because the size of one grain of sand (c. 1 mm) is negligible compared to the beach, and the features of individual grains of sand are usually irrelevant to the problem at hand.

Seems pretty clear.

And for those who dislike the label of 'God particle' those all wise men of science are offering an alternative, it's Oom - yes, really. It stands for 'Origin of mass' or..........
................should that be 'Origin of Mass?'

Photo: Communio

Sunday, 18 December 2011

A poem on St Govan

 Further to my post in November concerning the Irish Saint and Welsh hermit, St Govan, Brigit at St Conleth's Catholic Heritage Association sent me an email and poem on this little known saint:


St Govan (Gavin) of Ireland and of Wales

"When I was on holiday in Wales a couple of years ago I came across this poem to Saint Govan:"

'St Govan St Govan, he built him a cell By the side of the Pembroke sea, And there, as the crannied sea-gulls dwell, In a tiny, secret citadel He sighed for eternity.

St Govan, he built him a cell Between the wild sky and the sea, Where the sunsets redden the rolling swell And brooding splendour has thrown her spell On valley and moorland lea.

St Govan still lies in his cell But his soul, long since is free, And one may wonder - and who can tell-
 If good St Govan likes Heaven as well As his cell by that sounding sea?'

A. G. Prys-Jones in D.M. and E. M. Lloyd, eds., A Book of Wales (Collins)

Saturday, 17 December 2011

The ten marks of a Catholic school

What makes a school Catholic?

It's name?

Not necessarily, in fact, I would not regard most Catholic schools in the UK as being Catholic in the sense that they reflect the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

Most do not.
Most employ a large number of non Catholic teachers who cannot reasonably be expected to embrace the Catholic "ethos", if that is the correct word to describe an institution that looks, sounds and behaves as a Catholic school should.
Ambience is not quite right either; and "identity" is a shade obscure, perhaps "spirit" is the word to be used.

Anyone wearing this could not have
attended a real Catholic school!

Does school X reflect the Catholic spirit?

Here are ten points that would entitle a school to claim that it has the "Catholic spirit"

  1. Morning class prayers or school assembly
  2. Crucifix on the wall of every classroom
  3. Weekly school Mass
  4. Catechism as the keystone of religious education studies
  5. No ‘sex education’ programmes (in the secular sense) taught
  6. School choir versed in plainchant
  7. Latin in the curriculum
  8. School ‘houses’ named after saints rather than animals or (worse) rock bands
  9. An ordained priest as School Chaplain
  10. A strict but fair regime of discipline


Photo credit: Traditional Catholic and originally from Fr Simon Henry

Friday, 16 December 2011

At Christmas - a family funeral. How sad, how beautiful!

I posted a few days ago on the sudden death of actress Hal Dyer, real name, Shirley Robbins.

Hal Dyer aka Shirley Robbins RIP
A comment rebuked me a little for not highlighting Shirley's peak career as being her appearances in the long running series, 'On the Buses' but, in all truth, I believe that Shirley's performances, par excellence, were in the various children's programmes that she graced with her warm and vivacious style.

Richard and Sheila Owen (whom I met briefly aeons ago) have sent me details of Shirley's Requiem.

They are as follows:-

Wednesday 21st December at 15.00 hours at the Church of St Bernard, Vicarage Road, Lingfield, Surrey, RH7  EZ

Floral tributes may be sent to the undertakers:

Alex Jones 1 East Grinstead Road, Lingfield Surrey RH7 6EP.  01342 832534


Mike and Shirley's children, Ben and Sarah, will also be organising a  memorial service at a later date, probably in Covent Garden.

Any death brings an element of sadness but the death of a good Catholic, having lived to a goodly age, also brings an element of wonder and beauty.
Living in God's good grace (as St Thomas More might have said) gives us the hope of eternal life and the hope also, ultimately, of a joyful reunion with one's spouse.

A beautiful thought; Mike and Shirley together again.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Relief is at hand!

No, not that, we all know about that important event. I am referring to relief for those of you kind souls who visit this blog from time to time.

This week, as from today, in fact, I am on the road (along with Mrs L) carrying out a mixture of family, business and social duties.
We start at Morriston today with Holy Mass and go onwards and eastwards from there. London, Nottingham and Birmingham are in our sights so it will be a busy week.

So......no whinging and whining and carping from me for a bit - a chance for you to recover your wits and lower your blood pressure.

But I just had to leave you with this image which comes from the
Vultus Christi blog via The Little Way.

Quite the most beautiful Virgin and Child I have seen.

Hope you agree. God bless. Back c. 17th December.


Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Cherry Tree Carol......



.... by Welsh singer,  Mary Hopkin

C'mon LMS give us a Mass for Christmas!

A Latin Mass on The Feast of the Nativity, in the country's largest Diocese, with the most churches and priests, headed up by the leader of all Catholics in England and Wales - not too much to ask for is it?

Give us a Mass Guv'nor!
There have to be a few retired priests who would have a burning desire to say the UA Mass on the anniversary of Our Saviour's birth?

Maybe the LMS might know one or two? No?

Ah well, if anyone knows of a Mass within, say, 20 miles of Welwyn Garden City, please let me know.

The northern outpost of the Archdiocese of Westminster
in 1650 - the only change is that they had more Masses
in those days!

Shirley Robbins RIP



Sad news reached me that Shirley Robbins (Hal Dyer) died this week.

Shirley's stage name was Hal Dyer. you may still not be any wiser but she played so many parts in so many television favourites it hardly bears a count.
Z Cars, The Bill, Emergency Ward 10, Robin's Nest and, of course, on the buses where she played opposite her husband, Michael Robbins.

Shirley/Hal also featured in Doctor at Large and a whole variety of children's TV programmes including Rentaghost and Grandad.

I knew Mike Robbins rather better than Shirley but used to regularly meet both of them at what used to be the British European Airways centre in the Cromwell Road, (where I went for my morning coffee and they went to jet off to various exotic destinations).

They were a delightful couple and Shirley looked and acted the part of the dizzy blonde whilst, in reality, she was an intelligent and amusing person.

Both Mike and Shirley were outstanding Catholics and played a major role in Catholic amateur dramatics in the London area.

Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon her. May she rest in peace. Amen.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Today's carol - 'with wings of fire'

An unusual format for this beautiful carol from the land of the Basques.

Sting is, or was, a Catholic I believe, not too sure about the dancing nymphs though.

It did not happen with Mohammed, or with Buddha or with any other religious leader.....

...only the coming of Christ was foretold.

Today is the anniversary of the death of that great Priest, Archbishop Fulton Sheen who, one day will be canonised.

This clip features his voice as he talks about the one (the only one) whose coming was prophesied....Christ the Saviour of the world!



If you want a Christmas present with a difference, buy a CD set of the Archbishop's retreats and sermons - they are just so very good.

They are available from St Anthony Communications http://www.saintant.com/



       Prayer for the Canonization of Archbishop Fulton Sheen


Heavenly Father, source of all holiness, You raise up within the Church in every age men and women who serve with heroic love and dedication.
You have blessed Your Church through the life and ministry of Your faithful servant, Archbishop Fulton J Sheen.

He has written and spoken well of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and was a true instrument of the Holy Spirit in touching the hearts of countless people.
If it be according to Your Will, for the honour and glory of the Most Holy Trinity and for the salvation of souls, we ask You to move the Church to proclaim him a saint.

We ask this prayer through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Bishop and the Vaughan....

Damian Thompson reports in depth on the latest Cardinal Vaughan School news regarding the Bishop who states that Michael Gove never spoke to Archbishop Nichols.....you may read it here (Telegraph Blogs)

Meanwhile...........


                                     Would you buy a used car from this man?


Picture: Daily Telegraph

What's a Bishop to do? Faced with looming disaster

2012 round the corner and another 15 priests will retire from the Diocese and there are  no seminarians in the wings.

There are at least two parishes (out of the Diocese of Much Dithering) where the PPs are in quite poor health and could go into hospital or worse at any time.

The Diocese comprises some 60 parishes and 5 of them are already "closed" due to shortages; parishioners of the closed parishes have to travel a few miles to the nearest functioning parish.

That means, (quick scribble on the back of the Monte Cristo box) - only 37 operational parishes out of the 60!

 It's enough to put a Bishop off his golf.

Well, there just has to be a solution.

 After all, Our Lord said that even the gates of Hell would not prevail against His Church so a shortage of vocations is nothing more than  a bit of theological grit in the episcopal Vaseline.

There  is nothing that cannot be resolved, except that, sitting on hands is not an option, or shouldn't be.

So how?

We-eell, it's always easy to come up with answers when it's not your head on the block so I make the following comments in all humility. They are just strategies that I would think appropriate if I was a Bishop (Heaven forfend!).

First, call the troops together and put the situation to them. The priests must be involved and should fully comprehend what they are facing.

If anyone comes up with a cunning plan - great! But, if not, move to Plan B as follows:-

1. Rationalise the Diocese along Deanery lines, creating not individual parishes but clusters of parishes. The aim is to keep every parish functioning and every church open.

2. With a total of 60 churches in the Diocese they will now be in 6 groups or Deaneries each comprising 10 parishes. The priests will operate from a single Deanery base. There will be, approximately 3 priests at each base, serving the ten parishes between them.

3. The priests will have a rota to ensure that one of them is always on call at each 'centre'.

4. Redundant presbyteries can be used to generate income (not necessarily sold off, they could be rented out or  used for commercial purposes)

So far so good but all that has really happened has been a stay of execution. Numbers of priests will continue to decline, the clusters will shrink and a few years down the line there will only be one priest per ten parishes.

A Plan C is needed.

Plan C

Invite one of the traditional orders to establish a foothold in the Diocese. Give them a central base and a roving brief so that they provide a peripatetic service to those who wish to attend Mass in Latin.

Better still, offer one of the larger redundant presbyteries as an internship centre for seminarians - linked to one of the traditional seminaries. That way you establish a platform to attract young men from the Diocese to the priesthood as well as creating a steady flow of talent into the Diocese.

I forgot to mention that Plan A should have come first.....

Plan A

PRAY!


Of course, none of the above will happen (although Bishop Mark Davies has made the important move with regard to inviting the ICKSP to host a parish in his Diocese).

What will happen is this; as priests die or retire, their remaining colleagues will be called upon to stretch themselves across parish boundaries in order to cover calls for Mass and Last Rites. Many churches will shut down and be sold off.

More priests from the developing world will be drafted in to help out.

Vocations will really go into freefall (who would wish to be a priest faced with such problems?).

The old, sick and infirm will be left without a Mass and, in many instances, without the Sacraments.

And then.......we are back in the 17th century with just a few missionary priests ministering to a dwindling core of Catholics.

Ho hum!