Monday, 30 September 2013

"There's something wrong with the Church..."

A video clip featuring Bishop Fellay of the SSPX...what's not to like?

H/T to California Latin Mass

Yes, I do know that there are difficulties between Rome and Econe but, can you honestly say that +Bernard Fellay is a raging heretic or schismatic?

I have met this man.

He epitomises saintliness. I attended a Mass that he celebrated and I received the Blessed Sacrament from him.

He also, incidentally, consecrated a chalice for my family chapel.

I approached him before Mass with the request (at the time we had a small chapel in Pembrokeshire, where we said a 'dry' mass most Sundays and then had a real Mass whenever a priest came to stay).

Bishop Fellay was most suspicious, wary, I guess, of anything dodgy in the way of sedevacantism or the demonic.

He gave me a thorough interrogation; this was not going to be easy.

"Why are you having Mass in a private chapel?"

"Why do you not attend a normal Latin Mass?"

"Who is this priest who comes to say Mass for you?"

Eventually he said: "Come back and see me after Mass, I will give the matter some thought"

He walked off with my precious chalice in his hands.

And, when I went to the sacristy after Mass he told me that he was prepared to consecrate the chalice. Phew!

But first, he had to write out an attestation of consecration - in Latin - fluently and without thinking, as if it were his first language.

A fragment of Catholic history - Bishop Fellay's note of consecration
for a chalice

I am not, by choice an SSPX follower.
25 years ago they were the only option for a traditional Catholic family living hundreds of miles from the bright city lights.

The Society carries it's own agenda of problematical issues, foremost of which, is the puritanical attitude of some of their priests.

But, can you really fault them?

If you stood one SSPX priest alongside one of our OF only priests you might be shocked at the physical distinction, let alone the spiritual.

The Society priests bear the mark of the cross and it shows in their faces and in their demeanour and, who knows, before long we might all be beating a path to their door.




No Sex Box please, we're Catholic

I am not a prude and I am not a puritan but I find this subject distasteful to the extreme.

Even writing this post, I feel, adds a touch of voyeurism to the topic to be discussed so, forgive me, if I am oblique in my description of a television programme due to be screened shortly.

The executives of Channel Four (should that be Carnal Four?) are well known for their ability to pick up an intimate and sensitive topic, to give it a crude and sensationalist treatment and then have the nerve to present it as a piece of social record; a service to the community.

Whereas, of course, we would call it pornography.

Here's how Channel 4 describe the programme:

In a few days time they (sic) will be premiering 'Sex Box' a participatory programme Sex Box is a new sex talk show with a difference; a panel discussion about the real sex lives of people, with one exceptional twist. In a unique television format inspired by the work of sex researchers, three couples have sex, then talk about it afterwards, while the feelings and sensations are still vivid and truthful. involving couples and sex and panel discussions.

They discuss their experience with the programme's host, agony aunt Mariella Frostrup, in front of a studio audience and with a panel of experts: internationally syndicated sex columnist Dan Savage, sex body language and relationship expert Tracey Cox, and psychotherapist, broadcaster and author Phillip Hodson......

........Sex is integral to our lives. It's one of the strongest human drives. But few of us talk about it openly and honestly to those that matter most: to our partners and to young people. Many of us find it difficult or embarrassing to talk about sex.

So there you have it; the last paragraph is the justification bit. They actually go on to state that their aim is to help stamp out pornography and "reclaim sex" whatever that means.

More cant may be found under their pompous heading 'Corporate Responsibility'.

Here is an extract:

 Accountability
We aim to promote responsible behaviour.

Community
We aim to continue to play a responsible role in the community.

One does wonder at  morals of the producers and those couples who are taking part in this most important piece of journalistic hum-bug.
I believe that ferrets and weasels have a higher code of moral conduct.

But this is just one more example of how the world around us is hell bent on striving to find even lower depths of depravity.

A letter of protest (I know but we ought not to give up on protesting) is the only means we have, other than prayer, to try and slow down this process.

Here are the contact details for C4's CEO, David Abraham:-

Channel Four
124 Horseferry Road
London
SW1P 2TX






 

Sunday, 29 September 2013

"Consider yourselves already dead"


The American Catholic yesterday carried a fine post featuring clips from the 1949 film '12 O'Clock High'.

Gregory Peck plays a WW2 USAF commander who addresses his aircrews about to embark on a fraught and dangerous mission.

His message could apply to us all today (see yesterday's post HERE).

I am not being either alarmist or fatalistic when I state that, within a very few years, we will have Catholic martyrs in the west just as, today, we have them in the east.

If trends continue at the current pace, in 20 years time we will have full blown Sharia law on the streets of London.


Try walking down Oxford Street in 2033 dressed in a mini skirt and sleeveless blouse (if you are female, of course).

Or strolling back from the off-licence with a bottle of Vino Collapso about your person.

You will be fortunate to escape with a flogging.

So Wingco Peck's message is an apposite one, a mantra that we Catholics should adopt (if a martyred saint has not already laid claim to it).

With a rather large leap of the imagination into a world of fantasy (something that I am increasingly good at these days), one might imagine Gregory Peck as the Pope addressing his cardinals.

Those words might cause a certain tightening around the collars amongst their Eminences.

A foretaste of what may be to come perhaps?



Saturday, 28 September 2013

So, you think you are a Catholic right?

But are you really a Catholic? 
One who lives, eats and breathes the Faith?

We need more than pious expressions
By that I do not mean spending your day with your hands clasped together and an annoyingly pious look on your face.

I mean that, in every action of your working or social day life, do you weigh up responses and actions and words so that you both reflect the light of Christ and convey to those around you that you are one of the Flock, not one of the herd?

It's not easy.

It's going to get tougher.

The pressure on Christians, and on Catholics in particular, is becoming more intense daily.

This is not an 'Apocalypse Now' sort of a post, but, it must be admitted, that the end of times should ever be in our thoughts.

This is a post concerning the downward spiral of morals and morality; the decline of decency and the upsurge of war, terror, famine and pestilence.

Back in the 1970s, the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen was proclaiming that "Christendom is dead.....Christendom is finished" - but he went on to say that Christianity was still alive.

45 years later it may be true to say that Christianity is in its death throes; the Holy Father has said that the Catholic Church could fall like a house of cards. He does not mean (I trust) that it will disappear off the face of the earth, we know that, in the end "my Immaculate Heart will triumph" but we are likely to be flattened and scattered just as a house of cards, when it collapses.

I trust that I will not be around to see Holy Mother Church in extremis.

But the young Catholics of today will have to face....what?

Not just abuse and derision, we have had that ever since Christ trod the earth.

They will have to face actual persecution, imprisonment and, as in Egypt, Syria, Kenya and Pakistan at present - a real and bloody martyrdom.

Persecution, in the western world, will take the form of accusations and trials for those who resist the incoming tide of sewage.

Same Sex "Marriages", collaboration in abortions, opposition to fundamentalist Islam (which will, mark my words, morph into everyday Islam) - in short, any form of opposition to the politically correct agenda, whether outwardly secular or, inwardly, from within the Church, will result in Catholics suffering for the Faith.

Not just Catholic Doctors and Nurses but also clerical and administrative workers, social workers, hoteliers and those in the hospitality industry, pharmacists, the list is endless.

Sooner or later, all will be called to witness their Faith.

What can be done?

Right now we can pray the Rosary, live the Fatima message of penance and reparation.

We can also recognise that apparently minor drift such as allowing Muslim prayer rooms in Catholic Schools and 'Inter faith' visits to the local mosque or temple, are actually far from being 'inter faith' and are purely one sided, encouraging Catholics to participate in idolatry and heresy.

Priests who stray from Canon Law in their dress, behaviour or liturgical abuses need to be brought to account.
Bishops should be reported to the Nuncio or Rome direct.

And our fellow Catholics must be made aware, not by shoving latin texts down their throats but by reasoned, charitable debate - they have a very long journey to make, not having looked in the mirror for quite some time.

We need to make our Faith shine out so that, by our deeds, words and actions, we show that there is opposition to moral decay; that the forces of darkness cannot command the high ground - that ground belongs to us and we will not surrender it.

It may surprise some to learn that the majority of Muslims believe that we church going Christians are a degenerate, immoral bunch of savages.

One small way of rolling back those misconceptions is to say Grace before meals when in mixed company; inaudibly to ourselves (and God) and by making the sign of the Cross.

If you have not done that in public before, it takes a little bit of teeth gritting until you get used to it.

I remember having a coffee at Heathrow Airport a few years back when my attention was caught by a young woman at a nearby table, about to tuck into her meal. She paused for a second, blessed herself, said Grace and then blessed herself again.

That example gave me the courage to start saying Grace before meals in public.

It is the young Catholics who will inspire and enthuse and ensure Our Lady's promise will be fulfilled.



Friday, 27 September 2013

Just what sort of a Catholic are you?


Want to know if you are a traditional Catholic, a liberal or a reactionary, misguided omadhaun?

"Umm....maybe I'm in the omadhaun category"

Take this test that will tell you precisely where you stand in the Church.

Left, right or centre.


Please check through from 1 to 12 selecting one option from each numerical unit.

Each point is a question based on an action, preference or belief:-


 1a) Prefer to receive Holy Communion standing and in the hand
 1b. Receive Holy Communion kneeling by mouth
 1c) Sitting in a circle and passing the Body of Christ around

2a) Dislike electric candles
2b) Have an affection for felt banners in church
2c) New age incense and Buddha sticks are your thing

 3a) Mass with clown priests and fancy tricks turns you on
 3b) You inhale deeply when the thurible passes by
 3c) Dancing on the sanctuary holds a certain fascination for you


4a) Latin is the universal language of the Church
4b) Inclusive language in all things man sorry! person
4c) Any language is OK (as long as it’s not Latin)


5a) Reserve hair and nail clippings just in case you become a saint
5b) Believe that we all go to heaven (apart from Adolf Hitler and a few others)
5c) Want to come back to earth as a butterfly

6a) Like Mass in churches that are rectangular with stained glass
6b) Prefer Masses in round churches round like a distorted spaceship
6c) Adopt a ‘let’s do it here’ approach as to where you attend Mass

7a) ‘‘Shine, Jesus Shine"
7b) "Faith of Our Fathers"
7c) "I wish I was a Wriggly Worm"

8a) Pray quietly with joined hands
8b) Hold the ‘invisible beachball’
8c) Wiggle your hands in the air whilst ululating

9a) Read the missal version of the kiss of peace
9b) Go for the full on lips approach
9c) Give your neighbour in the pew a bear hug


10a) Debate on the concept of hypostatic union in the pub
10b) Have difficulty in naming the seven sacraments
10c) Don’t know what a sacrament is

11a) Read The Catholic Herald
11b) The Catholic Times
11c) Remove old copies of The Tablet for re-cycling

12a) Drink vanilla and peach tea
12b) Red wine or real ale
12c) Alcohol free lager shandy


Now, here is the analysis of your scores:

If you answered as follows (1b/2a/3b/4a/5a/6a/7b/8a/9a/10a/11c/12b)

Then, congratulations, you are a true blue, traditional a Catholic - an asset to any parish.

We recommend:

Keeping on the path you have selected, the following steps will help you:-

a) Break into Salve Regina at the top of your voice when in the bank or supermarket
b) Ask your priest if he will drop the Lakota Mass and replace it with a Latin one.
c) Knee in the groin any professional parish 'greeter' who meets you outside church

However, if you scored read as: (1a/2b/3c/4c/5b/6b/7a/8b/9c/10b/11a/12c)

You are definitely in the liberal category (hard luck). You probably also favour women priests, married clergy and believe that mortal sin died the death some few minutes before Vatican II sat for the first time.

We recommend:

a) Buy a copy of the Catechism and memorise it
b) Say the following line before you climb into bed each night: "Dogma is unchangeable, the Catholic Church is our authority" - repeat this several thousand times.
c) Take more exercise - try touching the floor with your knees regularly.

And, finally, if you scored as follows:- (1c/2c/3a/4b/5c/6c/7c/8c/9b/10c/11b/12c)

You are a misguided omadhaun and need to purify your system, start by drinking five gallons of holy water a day and then:

We recommend:

a) Attend regular colonic irrigation sessions, North Korean style
b) Burn all unCatholic possessions such as buddha place mats and photographs of your bishop.
c) Cancel your liturgical dance classes and take up plainchant

And, should you fall outside of all of those categories, then, sorry, but you are on the wrong bus.

We recommend:

a) A do it yourself lobotomy kit comprising one club hammer and a cold chisel

And, if you conduct point a) successfully, you will be relieved to know that there is no point b) or c).


Thursday, 26 September 2013

Remains of King George VI to be re-interred in Westminster Cathedral

Well, that might give one or two folk in Lambeth Palace an attack of the vapours.

Let's imagine a few more public figures and where they might be re-buried.....

Queen Elizabeth I to be given a Requiem Mass at The London Oratory

or, maybe

Sir Ian Paisley to finish up (when he does actually die) at St James's, Spanish Place.

Stephen Fry (God bless him) when the time comes should, perhaps go to somewhere a little more humble, St Patrick's Soho Square, a mere stone's throw from a certain watering hole much favoured by the Fry fans.

But the whole concept of taking people away from their spiritual (or atheist) roots is risible.

Some 18 years ago, Tescos wanted to develop part of the Welsh town of Carmarthen so that they could have another superstore and massive car park.

The trouble was that the site that they identified as being the best they could get, had once been a monastery and cemetery for the monks.

Never ones to over worry about religious sensitivities, they went ahead to develop but not before agreeing for the mortal remains to be exhumed and re-buried accompanied by a full TLM, a Latin Mass no less.

It can be done. It should be done with the remains of Richard III.

There is an interesting post at The Hermeneutic of Continuity.
 Fr Tim covers the case of the Christian preacher, a Reverend Williamson, arrested in Scotland for "shouting" in the street.

We could have an interesting debate as to whether he was shouting or, as I suspect, speaking in a manner designed to carry his message effectively to those who passed by.

The fact is, that this poor man was bunged into the chokey for 5 hours - because he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

But Fr T also mentions a television programme of the 80s, almost erased from my brain cell, 'Not the Nine O'Clock News'

Here is the clip referred to:


                           

Rich pickings for many future posts at NTNON...thank you Father T.

Every Catholic parent should read this

There are some inspirational blogs out there but, every so often, you come across a post that is not just well crafted but also shows great insight and the ability to make the point clearly and effectively.
Catholic Tide carried the link to the Archdiocese of Washington HERE.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

The EF Mass 'cannot' be banned



In my previous post I speculated on a Plan B if the unthinkable happened and the Latin Mass was banned.

It was a speculation.

I hope that it will never happen and, yes, I do know that it 'cannot' be banned but, sometimes life throws a googly at you and the impossible becomes possible.

I would like to thank those who commented and to post here, a comment made by a young Catholic woman named Hannah.

If there is anything to make me feel on top of the world (apart from two pints of Rev James), it is to see the witness of young Catholics.

Here is Hannah's comment, I hope she will forgive me for bringing it to the fore:-


"The Traditional Latin Mass cannot be banned and thank God for that.

I would be completely heartbroken if that happened. The banning of the Latin Mass would be the cherry on the top of this Chastisement the Church is undergoing.

The Church is under the judgement of God.
I pray that it will come to end.......soon.


To those who cannot attend a reverent Liturgy, have hope.

The Church will return to her former glory. You may think I'm crazy for saying that, but it's true.

Our Lady triumphs in the end. We must continue to hope and pray.

And, especially, give God due worship at the Holy Sacrifice.

The Latin Mass means so much to me. I will always love my traditional Catholic Faith.


I feel so close to God at the Latin Mass. I really can't describe it.
The Latin Mass is indescribable. I feel sorry for those who hate it.

Only the worst enemies of Holy Mother Church could hate it, could hate tradition and our heritage.

If you haven't been, GO! GO GO GO! You will never regret. It's amazing to sit there in silence before Mass without having to listen to the yakking before and after Mass.

It's amazing not to have to watch people treat God like a cracker aka Communion in the hand.

It's amazing not to see armies of lay people handle God ahd the sacred vessels.

It's amazing to be able to kneel to receive the Holy Eucharist on the tongue at the altar rail. And so on and so on.

Most of all, it's amazing to be able to lift your mind and heart to God in a Mass where you KNOW Heaven meets Earth."

Thank you Hannah.


Monday, 23 September 2013

Ite Missa est?

                                            Would you follow this Man?

I am indulging myself here in a little bit of gazing into the future (not necessarily a good thing but sometimes it is useful to prepare a strategy to cope with the peaks and troughs that our Faith throws at us).

What would happen if Rome announced the end of the Latin Mass?

Well, apart from the liberal lobby throwing their hats in the air, I suspect that, on the surface, life would carry on as much as usual.

Some priests would buckle down and revert to OF mode only; maybe the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate would elect to part company with Rome pro tem.

And the traditional orders......the FSSP, ICKSP and Transalpine Redemptorists.......would probably be setting out on the path to Econe.

Congregation numbers at SSPX Masses would swell to unimaginable proportions and some might even find their way, tragically, into the sedevacantist camp.

Assuming that the ban on the Latin Mass was not made by the Holy Father speaking infallibly, those traditional Catholics who did not wish to attend the Novus Ordo would be left facing the dilemma - the Pope or conscience.

As several people have pointed out of late, it is not necessarily a sin to disagree with the Pope.

It might be a sin to disobey him but, if the HF speaks (informally) then presumably, with the benefit of spiritual guidance and an informed conscience, it would be in order to go one's own path to salvation.

There have been several cases of precedence for such actions, most famous, of course, being the stand taken by St Athanasius.

And St Catherine of Sienna was not backward in coming forward to tell the Pope where he was going wrong.

I am not, of course, advocating a course of action, I just find it helpful to have a Plan B to hand.

Because, if such a ban did at some stage in the future, come into being, we can be certain of one thing.

That is, that our more liberal Bishops, will jump to obey in a fashion somewhat akin to the speed of greased weasel ****.
Sorry to be coarse, I just could not find a more suitable phrase for such a situation.

I hate to imagine the excesses that their Lordships will indulge in, not least of which will be their actions of retribution against those priests and teachers and other members of the laity who have been the grit in their jar of Vaseline for so long.

The question for my conscience is going to be: If stuck between St Peter and a hard place, what should I do?

Answer: Pray hard and follow the Mystical Body of Christ as He intended us to follow.

Saturday, 21 September 2013

Another aspect to the niqab



My previous post, 'Yes, it's time to ban the veil' was largely written by a Muslim cleric but a friend has pointed out that in certain Muslim countries such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, women are not only bound to wear the veil (or be flogged) but to also abide by other aspects of a male dominated culture that flits in and out of Sharia Law.

A woman may not travel alone. If she does leave the home fortress she must be accompanied, by a close senior relative, at all times.

If she wishes to earn a living wage in a situation where she might come face to face with a man (heaven forfend), then she must undertake her duties behind a grille. 

One so dense that you cannot make out if there is a person on the other side or not.

Banks, travel agents and the like have such a female friendly arrangement.

If she goes to school, college or university, it must be within an all female environment just in case any poor male inadvertently glances upon an unveiled face.

In Saudi, women may not drive a car and the electoral vote has been closed to them (a law change means that women may vote from 2015).

Such 'laws' are enforced by a non too user friendly religious police force (mutaween) who punish minor offences with a few slashes of the rather nasty whips they carry.

For something really serious like having a cup of tea in a hotel lobby with a non related male, women are carted off in shackles and chucked into jail.

And if they ever get out and return home then they must enter the family abode via the women's entrance, never, of course, via the men's.

So, to those Muslim women who wish to walk the streets of Britain masked in what is rapidly becoming a symbol of fundamental Islam, the message must be "Do as they do in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia" or abide by the culture of the country.

Thanks to a friend for flagging these points up.

Yes, it's time to ban the veil

"Smile please"

It is disingenuous for Muslims to claim that wearing the niqab or burka is Islamic.

The requirement to conceal the face does not feature anywhere in the Koran. It is an archaic, aristocratic custom originating in ancient Persia that spread to Byzantium and was later adopted by misogynistic Muslim society.

Many Muslims have been conditioned to conflate culture with religion and befuddle liberal Britain that this is a principle of religious freedom and human rights when it is neither.

It is against Islamic law for masked women to undertake a pilgrimage to Mecca or to perform their daily prayers.

If women are prevented from hiding their identity at Islam's holiest shrine, why is it necessary for them to do so here?

Britain must join France and Belgium in outlawing all public anonymity.

Anything less would amount to sexist discrimination against British men who are not permitted to conceal their identity in public.

There.

That's rather well phrased don't you think?

Trouble is, those are not my words; they appeared in a letter to the editor of The Daily Telegraph earlier this week.

I wish that I could have phrased the issue so well and so succinctly.

The author?.................now let me see........

.....of course, it was none other than Imam Dr Taj Hargey of the Muslim Educational Centre of Oxford.


Photo: www.iconophilia.net

Friday, 20 September 2013

"Would you like to light a candle?"

Setting the world on fire
There does not seem to be an abundance of good news (as opposed to Good News) in the Catholic Church at present and, at times, I find myself thanking the Lord for all the converts that He breathes the gift of Faith into.

Where would we be without our converts?

Who would chip in and correct us cradle Catholics when we make so many of our assumptive mistakes?

And God bless those converts who have made the double somersault.

The first somersault was when they were received into the Church; and the second....when they found their way to orthodoxy and the Old Rite Latin Mass.

I am especially impressed by those young men who converted to the Faith and then became priests. What a journey they have undertaken - and on our behalf.

So, when I read of young Catholics setting up an evening of evangelisation, my attention span suddenly bursts into life.

And when that evening of evangelisation takes place at my old parish church of St Patrick's, Soho Square, I tend to spill my evening glass of embalming fluid in my haste to read all about it.

Fr Alexander Sherbrook is the PP and an excellent man at that.

He would qualify for a five star excellent rating if he celebrated the Latin Mass but you can't have everything.

This account featured on Big Pulpit - always worth a daily read and the actual post is HERE.

Read it and rejoice.



Thursday, 19 September 2013

The exclusive Ordinary Form

Belgian Catholics get together before Mass
 in the spirit of universality

I hope that I will be forgiven for taking a peek at a blog that I normally steer clear of (avoiding the occasion of sin).

I was somewhat amused to read that the blogger had posted how, on a visit to Poland, she had attended Mass (in Polish, would you believe) and that she found it an uplifting experience that emphasized the universality of the Church.

Well, this lady has backed the wrong horse on this occasion.

I would be most interested to learn from her, the content of the bidding prayers or, even, precisely what formed the subject matter of the sermon (yes, I know it's not part of the Mass but let's not get picky here).

The fact is, that with all the liturgical variances in the NO Mass, you don't stand a snowball's chance of comprehending just what is being said unless you are reasonably fluent in the language.
I may be wrong but I do not think that missals in Serbo-Croat with an English translation alongside, are readily available.

Now, stand by for the nostalgic pre Vat II bit; I remember, quite well, the fights that broke out in Belgian churches (especially) when the French speaking Belgians fell out with the Dutch speaking ones.

People clutched each other's throats in an early form of the kiss of peace and rolled around the aisles in a wonderful display of universality.

This went on for some months until, in a spirit of sensible inclusivity, the various groups (one mustn't forget the Walloons, the Flemish or the Luxembourgish speakers) all went their separate ways and adjusted their Sunday obligation to a church where a Mass in their tongue was celebrated.

Thus was a form of spiritual ethnic cleansing created.

I believe that this was replicated globally as, many years later, whilst sipping indecently large gin and tonics in Madras, my young friend Theresa, (who was Catholic as it transpires) told me that there was no longer a Mass in Latin that all could attend.

Instead, she said, there was a Mass for the Tamils, one for the Hindi speakers and several more for speakers of other dialects.

Sadly, these divisions reflected very closely, the  caste system of India.

The one occasion where all castes would combine together, the Tridentine Latin Mass, had gone and in its place were services that rigidly enforced  separation and division. Catholic apartheid.

Closer to home we now have a marvellously diverse selection of Masses to attend, ranging from Tagalog to Mandarin (pity about the Cantonese speakers) and Polish to Syro Malabar - but nothing much in Latin.

Close to where I live, in Wales the Welsh speakers (all two of them), attend the Mass in Welsh, a few Indians attend the Syro Malabar Mass and the rest, with greatly reduced options to fulfil their Sunday obligation, attend a Mass celebrated in broken English.

So universal! So uplifting! So.......(I must stop it there for the sake of Christian charity.

It would be unfair of me to reveal the name of this blogging lady but I do hope that she will stick to cooking in future.


And I shall stick to my inclusive Extraordinary Form.


H/T to my A & B friend for flagging this up












What it means to be an Altar Server



A wonderfully moving clip from Two Sense Films


                

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

Come to Cardiff....

....a metropolitan city, one of Europe's least well known but full of character, pleasant brasseries, art galleries, museums, and a death clinic!

Err....not that one!

Come and spend a happy hour or two in exceedingly good company where you will make a few new friends and be insulted and abused for your Faith by many.

I am referring, of course to 40 Days for Life Cardiff, that begins on Wednesday 25th September.

What will you get out of your Cardiff Experience?

Well, grace will be bestowed upon you in plenty.

You may also, (if you are over a certain age) receive fallen arches and a touch of sciatica.
And, if you are younger, you will be enthused and inspired by standing up in public, praying the Rosary and singing the Salve Regina.

The Vigil will take place on the opposite side of the street from the BPAS abortuary at 106-107 St Mary's Street.

The organisers would be appreciative of online or phone booking (so that a supply of vigilantes (?) may be maintained at all times).

However, if you just happen to be passing by, I am sure that informal 'drop ins' would be welcome.

And, if you can't stop just yell out (as one young man did last time round) "God bless you all".

Here are the contact details for more information:

  Tel: 07580275698                                         
  e-mail: clare40dfl@gmail.com

Four candles?.................

....just one will do.

A priest friend related that, when taking the Blessed Sacrament to the sick, he is rarely, if ever, is met at the front door of the house by someone bearing a lit candle.

A sad insight into one of the more simple but vital elements that have been lost in the Church.

This seemed like a prompt from Heaven to make sure that a supply of blessed candles is always at hand.

One for receiving the Lord into your home and two for...well, you know....um, should the Last Rites be required.

And three just in case the three days of tribulation should occur when we least expect it (which is precisely when it will happen).

The fourth?

Well, one for luck providence.

While on the subject of candles I have to relate a story regarding one of my granddaughters, just two years old and going by the name Eva Florence (EF, of course).

At Mass recently, as the four acolytes processed down the aisle, little EF who is blessed with cast iron lungs, triumphantly bellowed: "I like this bit, swords of fire, I love swords of fire"

You know what EF?

So do I.



Monday, 16 September 2013

The Little World of Bishop Corny

(With apologies to Giovanni Guareschi)

Number ten in the series - Mosques of the World


Bishop Corny was transfixed. His head slightly bent forward, his delicate, sensitive hands firmly clasped together.

He gazed intensely at the table surface, not moving a muscle.

The clock ticked on his study wall but, all else was silence until, with a yelp of delight he seized a piece of the jigsaw in front of him crying: "Oh joy, I have found the missing piece of the mosque's minaret!"

For, indeed, he had struggled valiantly over the past 18 weeks, desperate to complete the 1000 piece jigsaw, number 10 in the series of Mosques of the World.

He was not aware of the knock on the door or of the appearance of his Diocesan Choreographer Sr Miriam Tursiops who boldly proclaimed to His Lordship that he was wanted on the phone.

"Not now, not now" hissed the Bishop, "I think I may have got the link to finishing this jigsaw. Tell 'em to buzz off"

Sr Tursiops turned dramatically and sashayed out of the room, considerably put out at receiving such abrupt treatment at the hands of the man to whom she had dedicated her dancing career.

The Bishop feverishly returned to his task, violently hammering in pieces of the jigsaw in spaces that were, all too plainly, not meant to receive them.

He was so desperate to complete this project that he failed to hear the ecumenical call to prayer that the local Ayatollah was, even now, nasally chanting from the Cathedral's steeple.

"It's 12 O'Clock Bishop, time for the adhan" trilled Sr Tursiops and, by the way, I've another caller for you on line one"

"It'll have to wait" snarled the Bishop, "And tell whoever is on that phone to stop cold calling me"

The good sister flounced out once more only to return a few minutes later to tell the Bishop that the mystery caller had telephoned for the third time and that she had used some very unnecclesiatical language on him.

"Good" said Bishop Corny, "I hope now that I can be left in peace to finish my jigsaw"

"Trouble is" replied Sr Tursiops, "It was Pope Francis wanting a word with you".

All of a sudden, 1000 jigsaw pieces were swept off the table and on the floor.

"******** it all" said the Bishop, burying his head in his fine, sensitive hands.







Sunday, 15 September 2013

Remember the one about the Bishop who wanted to sell off the old church?.....

....and build a new one well out of town, far from the hub of humanity?

I have posted on it before under the heading, The Battle Of Aberystwyth but, just to refresh memories in a few words:-

Bishop Thomas Burns of Menevia tried to move quickly to clinch a property deal that would net him some capital with which he would, presumably, aim to reduce the considerable debts of the Diocese as well as build a new church.

Some say, allegedly, that he moved a shade...um....er....snakily?
Is that the right word?
At any rate, those parishioners who are opposed to the move do say that (allegedly) not all was revealed when it should have been - I cannot verify that...my stance is one of being a reporter (not a journalist) and I am trying to present things as evenly as possible.

Some months ago the affair was placed before the Town Council who, also, came out unanimously, in favour of rejuvenating the old church and keeping the in town community together.

And now......the good parish priest, Fr Neil Evans, who was thrust into this row just as it was erupting, has written an open letter to the Bishop.

Here it is.

I leave you to draw your own conclusions:-

                                                                      3 September 2013
Dear Bishop Tom,
Thank you for visiting us at the weekend, for celebrating Mass, and for speaking to the congregation after each Mass about the future of the parish. Strong views were expressed on all sides but I feel that (in the meeting after the 11 o'clock Mass) a consensus began to form around the idea of setting up a forum of experts and interested parties to establish the facts (with the help of a newly commissioned independent structural survey) as the way forward to reconciliation and healing in the parish which clearly, and thankfully, is what everyone seems earnestly to desire. Let us pray that such an agreed course of action will indeed take place and that it will have the happy result of bringing us all closer together.
On a less happy note, I'm sorry to say that I was dismayed to learn that you recently arranged a meeting in Carmarthen with a small group of ("eight or nine") parishioners to discuss with them the way forward as a parish, without informing me of the meeting or inviting me to participate. If consulted, I would have pointed out the importance (pastorally) of avoiding the impression that the future (demolition) of St. Winefride's is being discussed (mainly or exclusively) only with members of Penparcau Church / Aberaeron Church, because (if true) this in itself would seem to confirm the lack of support from St. Winefride's.
This decision (not to inform me of the meeting) seems to me to indicate a certain lack of respect for me both as parish priest and as a Trustee of the Diocese, and I feel therefore that I have no choice but to press you to accept my resignation from the Board of Trustees which previously you declined to accept. I don't believe that having secret meetings with parishioners without informing the parish priest is the best way forward.
From the beginning of our discussions, Bishop Tom, on the future of the parish, I have consistently argued for openness, transparency and inclusivity — the importance of dialogue and of listening to, respecting and responding to all points of view.


Therefore, as you and the Vicar General know, for a long time I have been uncomfortable with the restrictions of so many confidential meetings, confidential letters and confidential conversations regarding the future of the church in Aberystwyth. I feel there is something unhealthy about so much secrecy. It creates suspicion and a lack of trust – as in the present case, as parishioners learn about this secret meeting in Carmarthen and want to know who was invited, how they were chosen and for what purpose.
As I have stated on several occasions, I feel that our situation in Aberystwyth would have been resolved much earlier, and more amicably, if as Trustees we had agreed to commission an independent structural survey to be carried out on St. Winefride's, and committed everyone to accepting the conclusions of such a survey as a basis for discussion.
As you know, I am also unhappy, indeed I was quite shocked, that Peter Lindsay arranged for the locks on the presbytery door in Aberystwyth to be changed (twice) without asking my permission as parish priest. Peter says he did this on his own authority. As I mentioned in my letter to Peter, although not an expert in Canon Law, I feel sure that such an (unauthorised) action is contrary to Canon Law.
As a Trustee, -have also been concerned that„. as Trustees we have-not been kept fully ______  informed of developments – for instance, it has recently come to my attention that, as Trustees, we have instructed a new firm (Asbri) to represent us in our dealings with Ceredigion County Council. This happened before the last Trustees' Meeting but we were not informed of this significant development, nor were we informed that a few days prior to our last meeting Aberystwyth. Town Council (unanimously) rejected the Diocesan plan to demolish St. Winefride's, and (unanimously) accepted the parishioners' plan to renovate and extend St. Winefride's. I do not understand this reluctance or failure (of our advisors) to keep the Board of Trustees fully informed, nor do I think that it is acceptable. Of course, the Council of Clergy is even less enlightened about the situation in Aberystwyth.
I realise that on the subject of Aberystwyth my voice has often been a lone, discordant, voice on the Board of Trustees, and I think therefore that it would be more congenial to replace me on the Trustees with someone who would be more sympathetic to Diocesan plans and procedures and so I resign from the Board of Trustees with immediate effect.

Once again, I thank my fellow Trustees for their confidence in me when inviting you to appoint me to the Board of Trustees in June 2010.

Saturday, 14 September 2013

Confession.....a nice chat?

A comment left by a well respected member of the Catholic laity on my previous post made me think that I might have been too unkind in believing +Conry's interview on the subject of lapsed Catholics showed him to appear weak and imprecise.

I searched again for more evidence and, first one on Youtube that I came to showed a clip with +Conry being interviewed by Ruth Gledhill giving his now well known views on Confession....not a list of sins these days, more a chat.

So, how does it go?

Penitent: "Bless me Father for I have sinned (or, rather, I may have upset God a little), it is six weeks since my last Reconciliation.
Now, let me see, on Tuesday I murdered my granny and, on Thursday of the same week I poisoned all of my work mates in the staff canteen; well, all except Bob because we play snooker in the inter parish championships together..."

Priest: "Well, my boy, that's grand of you to come and have a wee chat about all of this. I'm really glad you spared Bob because we need to get a few wins in over St Knobbly's team and, as for your granny (God love her), as she was over the age of 75 years I think we can say that you just helped her on her way to Heaven a bit prematurely".
Now, we don't 'do' penances any longer so please just go off and focus hard on winning that snooker tournament and try not to lose again"


Now please, if you can possibly bear it, view the following video clip of Fr Robert Barron speaking rather more generally on the Sacrament of Confession (not reconciliation).
Fr Barron communicates using his voice (well), his hands, eyes and general body movement (as should any good communicator. 
He does not go "erm" every few seconds, he knows his subject, he knows his Faith - and, above all else, he has 'passion'

                             


A good Japanese friend and mentor who, many years ago, coached me in the ways of doing business with his countrymen by saying: "You must have passion in everything you do".

And that, among many other things, is what is lacking in Bishop Conry.


What do you look for in a Bishop?

Do you look for a warm character, one who oozes holiness and yet is fearless and outspoken when it comes to speaking up for the Faith?

A man who is unafraid to tell the truth regardless of the consequences?

A clear, positive speaker who makes his point without hesitation or prevarication?

A beacon of light and a leader and role model to his priests?

And, one who is, to paraphrase the late Alice Thomas Ellis, a Catholic?

Well please feast your eyes on this interview with Bishop Kieran Conry (who proudly proclaims that he never reads blogs).

Really, My Lord? And I thought you were the epitome of a modern Catholic bishop.....

 
Shortly I shall be running a poll on Bishop Conry and how inspirational you, dear reader, find him.
 
I shall post on that once my pulse has slowed and heartbeat returned to normal after watching this Bishop frankly and lucidly expounding on lapsed Catholics (I thought it was non pc to call them that these days).
H/T to Deacon Nick at Protect the Pope for his post on the ACTA and the Bishop.
 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate - on film

The Eponymous Flower has a post concerning the appointment of Father Bruno Alfonso as the man now in charge of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, a man reputed to be opposed to the Latin Mass and all that follows in its wake (piety, reverence, adherence to doctrine, clear moral authority).

It is hard, very, very hard, to see a good sense of purpose in this move to "discipline" this devout, orthodox and successful order. 

And if the move is not good then, it is something else.

Those readers 'young' enough to recall the novella, 'Catholics' by Brian Moore and the subsequent film of the same name, will, doubtless be struck by the similarity between a remarkably prophetic work of fiction and the events unfolding in Rome today.

In the book/film, an order of monks in Ireland, is refusing to say the new Mass and continues to celebrate the Latin, much to the delight of the faithful.

Rome despatches a modern young priest to kick the Abbot and his monks into place...sounding familiar?

Watch this clip to see fiction become reality.....




And now for something totally different.
 I am taking the rest of the week off for a period of reflection and prayer. I no longer smoke so I cannot crush a cigar in the manner of Don Camillo when he wished to undergo a penance so I will have to think of something in its place.
 A blogging interlude seems a good starting point.

Me too!


Monday, 9 September 2013

A time for prayer and a time to gather?

".....And a time to blog"
Father Ray Blake and the issue of the Brighton journalist have occupied the minds of many over the past three or four days and little more needs to be said except that, it is good to see how the Catholic family responds when one of their best loved priests is under threat.

Now Father Ray is considering a dignified withdrawal from blogging, and who could blame him?
He is not leaving because he is bruised and battered, he will shoulder any amount of abuse on behalf of the Christ.

He is leaving because he does not wish to bring acrimony or embarrassment to his brother priests and his bishop.

Well, acrimony they should deal with and, if embarrassed, they need to go and sit on a hard rock on a mountainside somewhere for a few days and reflect on their purpose in life.

We can do little for Father Ray other than to offer him our support by leaving a comment HERE and, most importantly, by dedicating a daily rosary on his behalf this week - a spiritual bouquet that will help him return to us with all haste.

NOT A TIME FOR SILENCE

All things have their season, and in their times all things pass under heaven.      
 A time to be born and a time to die. A time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.     A time to kill, and a time to heal. A time to destroy, and a time to build.      
 A time to weep, and a time to laugh. A time to mourn, and a time to dance.      
 A time to scatter stones, and a time to gather.
A time to embrace, and a time to be far from embraces.

A time to get, and a time to lose. A time to keep, and a time to cast away.      
 A time to rend, and a time to sew. A time to keep silence, and a time to speak.      
 A time of love, and a time of hatred. A time of war, and a time of peace.      
 What hath man more of his labour?      
 I have seen the trouble, which God hath given the sons of men to be exercised in it.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Fantastic increase in confessions

"Let me see, that's the fifteenth person today making it,
ermm, umm, a 65% increase over last Saturday's stats."

Madeleine Teahan of The Catholic Herald has reported on an apparent 65% increase in the number of Catholics receiving the sacrament in our Cathedrals in England and Wales. You may read it HERE.

Some, even, are attributing this phenomenon to the coming of Pope Benedict's successor, Pope Francis.

Well, I genuinely would not like to pour cold water on this report especially, as an increase was verified by Fr Tim Finigan at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen.

But, I have to take issue with the research processes as carried out by the Bishop's Conference of England and Wales.

It seems that they carried out this exercise by email and phone.

Well, that's OK but you do need to have a sound understanding of research methodology before you set off down this path.

Put crudely, you need to know how to frame your question; you see, there is a desire in human nature, to give a response that is pleasing to the questioner.

Therefore, using a commercial example, you might pose the question: "Have you seen an increase in the sale of widgets since we launched our television advertising campaign?"

This will undoubtedly produce a "yes" response, or, at least, a strong bias in that direction.

So, if the Bishops' man or woman phrased the question linking it to the advent of Pope Francis, I am not exactly saying "Phew!  Blow me down! That is amazingly good news"

Furthermore, I am rather sceptical about forming a quantitative research conclusion from an exercise that, by its nature, is informal.

Have priests in Cathedrals been keeping a tally over the past few years, as to how many attendees there have been at the 4pm Confessions session?

I very much doubt it and, unless they have done this, it is impossible to arrive at an accurate result figure.

Fr Tim's response, however, falls into the qualitative category and is perfectly good and fine. He has noticed an increase in young adults (especially) attending Confession and that is excellent news and accurate research on a quality rather than quantity basis.

So the report from the Bishops must be viewed with some reserve.

As a learned professor friend of mine said to me yesterday: "Of course, if you start from a base of zero then just five confessions is going to look like a bxxxxy good result!"

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Bishop Conry....read blogs carefully before appearing on television

The Bishop should know better than to make comments without apparently absorbing precisely what Fr Ray stated on his post.

And he should never have made an apology - a man out of touch with his Faith....and reality.

Here is the BBC News report on Fr Ray....view it at 9.55

http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b039fq9t/South_East_Today_06_09_2013

Priest forced to say sorry to his Bishop




Of course, this character is fictitious and bears no resemblance to any priest of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, all of whom are perfectly sound and respectable.

Peace in Syria - pray and fast today!

Shlom lekh bthoolto Mariam....

A Prayer for Peace in Syria


Hold back the hand of our politicians O Lord
let them not strike those whom they wish to destroy,
regardless of blame and accusation.
Let your Peace triumph so that little children may live and grow in your love.

And, with the intercession of your Blessed Mother whose wishes you have always granted, bring peace to Syria and her neighbours,
Bring your light to the Islamists, dictators and foreign powers.
Give hope to your people, feed your lambs and guard your sheep.

Keep us from the easy solutions of retribution and vengeance,
bring us the gifts of wisdom and peace;
let good counsel prevail and, at all times, keep us within your fold.
Amen.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Made a conscious and adult decision to leave the Catholic Church?


Fed up with the Church opposing homosexuality, abortion, IVF and same sex 'marriage'?

Disgusted that some priests are paedophiles, that hypocrisy rages through the Vatican and that the Holy Father presides over untold riches in the form of paintings, chalices and priceless books and manuscripts?

Think that becoming a Buddhist is a good idea?.....or an agnostic?....or, just nothing at all?

Wrong, wrong wrong.

The Church on earth is imperfect. But, in Heaven it is perfect.

Remember two very important things; firstly, the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ.
It may err in its ministry because of human weakness.

Secondly, the Church is our Mother.

Yes, our Mother.

How would treat your own mother if she was suffering abuse or had made an error?

Would you walk away and say: "I don't believe in mothers any more"

Or, "My mother is disgusting, I'm going to put my faith in some other mother"

Father Barron speaks here on leaving the Church....


This morning I wrote a post on the poor......

....and how Fr Blake has been so scandalously treated by a stringer on his local rag, The Argus.

But, it seems that the Catholic blogging world and his friend have leapt to the defence of the good priest.

So, I have deleted my post because it was not as good as anybody else's and there is nothing worse than poor repetition.

But, you might be interested to know about the Argus.

The Argus is, (as any fule kno) a monster with one hundred eyes whose main task in life appeared to be to guard the white heifer.

Pray for Fr Blake who has this monster to contend with


Hermes did a good job by polishing him off with a stone.

This, story, of course, leads to the old chestnut.....

"What is the difference between a stringer on The Argus and a pilchard?"

Answer: One is oily, smelly and has poppy eyes.....and the other is a fish"

Thursday, 5 September 2013

"Bless me Father, for I am a future Bishop"

Creating a towering inferno effect....

Bishop Kieron Conry of Arundel and Brighton, has stated that he had difficulty in thinking of sins to confess as a small boy.

He lied, therefore, making up sins so that he would have something to reel off in the confessional.
 I am sure he is not the only boy to have done this.

The trouble is, that the Bishop was really laying the blame for such lies, on the repressive clericalism that existed before 1969 (cough).

I never had any such problem at that age; seven year old boys, in my experience, generally have access to a wide range of sinful acts ranging from theft of a tadpole to placing a drawing pin in an older sister's slipper.

And many more in between.

But, just in case there are any young future Bishops out there, here is a prompt list of some of the deadly sins that a typical seven year old Catholic boy might commit:-

1. Switching the church hall instant coffee for gravy granules

2. Emptying the contents of a firework into the thurible, for discovery at a later date

3. Standing on the edge of the cassock of a kneeling altar server (when on acolyte duties) - this does produce rather spectacular results as the kneeling server performs a backwards somersault upon getting to his feet

4. Flicking pellets at the church cat

5. Placing small dead animals in Sister Rosario's desk drawer

6. Removing the clappers from the sanctuary bells

7. Serving at Mass with your pet white mouse in your pocket

8. Placing itching powder on the collar of the MC's cassock

9. Creating a towering inferno effect when entrusted with the thurible

10. Treading on the toes of senior clergymen whilst serving, specifically, Monsignor Derek Worlock

There, Bishop Conry, that doesn't look too hard does it?

Picture: Angelus Online

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

How to be a 'U' Catholic in ten easy lessons

'U' or 'Non-U' - which are you?
                                               

Recently, Annie Elizabeth at Defende nos in Proelio blog, wrote a post that touched on the now forgotten (alas) social etiquette guide of 'U' and 'Non-U'.

Now for those of a certain youthful age, let me explain the intricacies of 'U' and 'Non-U'.

This test, for want of a better word, was introduced by Socialite, Nancy Mitford and the 'U' stood for Upper Class, or Non Upper Class in the case of 'Non-U'.

So, words and actions became designated as such.

Those who lean to the liberal left will, by now, be sneering at such upper class twaddle but I have always been led to believe that this distinction between what was upper and lower class had its roots in love for one's fellow man.

How so?

Because, there is in life, a right way and a wrong way of saying and doing things.

Therefore, to use the word 'serviette' would be classed as 'Non-U' and incorrect, whereas 'napkin' is 'U' and right.

When eating soup it is 'U' to scoop with the spoon going away from you rather than bringing it towards you which is trés  'Non-U'.

Please stay with me here, I am now getting to why it has good sense and charity at its heart.

If there is no common code of good manners, then that leaves the person who drinks their tea from the saucer liable to uncharitable jeers and snide remarks from their peers.

On the other hand, if there is a clear definition of right and wrong, then it is up to the individual to choose as to whether to follow the accepted and acceptable pattern.

One 'Non U' thing that drives Mrs Linen to distraction is the way people hold their knives and forks (and, here, please note that this is purely for the benefit of British readers and I beg forgiveness of any of my American friends who may see this. It is a well known fact that Americans use a fork as a knife and a knife as a...well, you don't want to know that).

The thing Mrs L gets feverish over is when people hold a knife and fork as they would hold a pen; and I quite agree with her.

So now apply this code to the Catholic Faith where we have the situation of many poor, ignorant, liberal Catholics who have forgotten (if they ever knew it) how to behave at Mass.

Purely as an act of Christian charity I have compiled a list of all the 'Non-U' elements that may arise when attending Holy Mass.

Here it is:-


       'NON U'                                                                  

1. Talking in Church                                                  

2.  Not wearing a mantilla (females) or wearing a hat (males)                                          
3.  Chewing gum

4. Wearing short skirts and upper wear that reveals arms from shoulder to cuff (females) and shorts and tee shirts (males)

5. Failing to acknowledge the Blessed Sacrament when you enter or leave your pew (bowing is a definite no-no, most 'Non-U').

6. Receiving Holy Communion standing and in the hand

7. Clapping in Church

8. Females serving on the altar

9. Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion

10. Buying a copy of The Tablet

Avoid all of those and you are on track to becoming a better Catholic -
a 'U' Catholic!