Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Now here's a good idea Bishop.......

......the thing is, are you awake My Lord?

Again, having prepared a short piece on initiatives that the Bishops of England and Wales might like to consider in order to fulfil the requirments of Summorum Pontificum, I find the excellent Fr Z has trumped me with a piece about the order of the Austrian Canons Regular of Klosterneuburg who have accepted the invitation of Bishop Murphy of Rockville Centre Diocese in the USA., to assume full pastoral care for two parishes. Wunderbar! However, there is some doubt as to whether they will  be celebrating the TLM.......my guess is that this will be the case but it may not be at once.
Now come on my Lords, if it can be done in America it can be done in Britain (with the help of the FSSP and ICKSP),  just think of the advantages:-

1. You get to fulfil the needs of sections of the laity in your Diocese who have been gnawing away at your ecclesiastical socks, asking for Mass in the Extraordinary Form on a regular basis (by that I mean not at 2.30pm on a Wednesday afternoon in the farthest flung parish you can find).

2. The Holy Father will be greatly pleased that you have (at last) taken notice of what he has asked of you...err, I assume you would be pleased that he is pleased?

3. You relax  the problems of too many parishes and not enough priests. No more drafting in of itinerant priests to help you out over periods of sickness or holidays.

4. You will be able to scrap the (bizarre) plans you had regarding recruiting some nice young priests from Zambia - a big saving on fares and it also means that they will stay in Zambia to minister to Zambians who are in dire need of them!

5. You will also be able to show a marked increase in Baptisms, Weddings, Funerals and, of course, Mass attendance figures will shoot up.

6. The number of converts, in the course of 3 to 5 years, will also show a marked increase.

In short, Bishop, you will actually be fulfilling your role pretty much as Our Lord intended it to be fulfilled. And you might also like to go the whole hog and think about inviting retired priests who are stuck in convents or caravan parks in your Diocese and pay them a small stipend to say the TLM wherever they are able to do so. Maybe even in the convent chapel...it might even bring some nuns back to the Faith!
According to an elderly priest friend of mine there are quite a few retired priests who celebrate the TLM in a solitary fashion, spread around the country. I would not wish to involve them in duties beyond their retirement, they have surely earned a rest but a Sunday Mass in their chapel with a live congregation - that might be welcomed by them.

And, if you think that all of this is so much bunkum, I have only this to say, in the immortal words of Ronnie Barker........


Last chance in November....

..to pray for the release of your family, friends and even those who have no one to pray for them

A soul being carried to Heaven

"O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offences and negligences, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."

Satan put to flight!

Church of The English Martyrs, York

*This day, in 1587, Bl Alexander Crowe, Priest, met wth his death on the scaffold and received his martyr's crown. From humble origins as a bootmaker in York, he progressed to becoming a servant in the seminary at Rheims and was eventually accepted as a seminarian and ordained in 1584.
He arrived under cover in England in the same year and applied himself to the dangerous task of normal priestly duties for the best part of two years before he was arrested and put on trial at York.
He was found guilty and sentenced and, on the night before his execution, he was witnessed to be physically wrestling in his cell with an invisible adversary. He prayed continuously all the while. This continued for some time before he exclaimed "Laudate Dominum" and sank to the floor exhausted. Upon questioning he explained that Satan had attacked him 'in a monstrous form' and had told him that, as his soul was already lost, he should not wait for the gallows but commit suicide at once. At the point of his greatest mental and physical agony Our Lady and St John the Evangelist had appeared and put the devil to flight.
The following day, on the gallows, Satan made one last effort and threw Bl Alexander off the ladder.
He was not at all shaken and, getting up he smiled, re-mounted the ladder and continued to win his crown.

Blessed Alexander Crowe, Priest and Martyr 30th November 1587 -

* Modern calendar places the day of execution as the 13th November

Monday, 29 November 2010

Because it was Catholic, stupid!

The vicar and parishioners of St Cadoc's (Church of Wales) Church in Llancarfan, near Cardiff are excited about finding 'mind blowing' rare medieval frescoes beneath the white plastered walls of the church. The paintings (ironically, one depicts St George (of England) slaying the dragon (symbol of Wales) are many and varied and the church, to its credit, has taken all the required conservation steps in order to preserve them for posterity.
Believed to date from the late 15th century the paintings are now, understandably faded, but were obviously brightly coloured at one stage.
This is great news and all seem suitably surprised but why? Most pre Reformation Churches in England and Wales were lavish in their wall paintings, bright vivid colours are an accepted part of Catholic Church history. It was only after Henry VIII had his evil way with the monasteries and churches that they were first pillaged and sacked and then commandeered by the new Protestant faith for their own acts of worship.

This meant that all "Romish" imagery was destroyed and defaced and, in the case of the frescoes, lime plastered over. The puritan streak ran strongly through the early Church of England and Wales.

St George slaying the dragon

Such acts of vandalism have largely destroyed the
works of art beneath and that is why the St Cadoc
discovery is so important.

But in all the website offerings and media excitement,
there is not one mention of the dreaded "C" word - Catholic!

The King and Queen observing from the battlements

Christian woman faces death penalty in Pakistan

Fr Z has weighed in on the issue of 45 year old Asia Bibi, a Pakistani Christian woman who faces the death penalty in Pakistan because, when challenged by Muslim co-workers, to convert to Islam, Bibi responded that she was a member of the true faith, Christianity.
The mother of five, has already been found guilty and convicted under Pakistan's blasphemy laws which are, of course, totally biased in favour of Islamic teaching. Her family has been tortured by Muslim mobs and she was badly beaten up before being taken into custody.

45 year old Asia Bibi

International efforts are taking place to have the sentence rescinded and, on behalf of the Vatican, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, President of the Council for Inter-religious dialogue has travelled to Pakistan to meet with ministers and to express the Holy Father's plea for clemency.
Since the blasphemy laws came into being over 1,000 cases have been heard with over fifty per cent of them involving charges against Muslims.  Archbishop Lawrence John Saldhana of Lahore claims, however, that there is a major difference between the way that Christians charged under the law, are treated as opposed to Muslims. He stated that:
"When a Christian is accused of blasphemy then his or her family and the entire Christian comunity often pay the consequences". He went on to say that when a Muslim is found guilty they pay as an individual and no other party is harmed.
The Pakistani Government is now faced with the decision of releasing Asia Bibi and accepting enormous civil unrest and rioting or, to proceed with the sentence and be blacklisted by the Western world.
Pray for her and her family that she will be released soon and all convictions quashed.

STOP PRESS: Online appeals can be made to the President of Pakistan here.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Why does the West ignore Arab slavery?

This may or may not come as a surprise but slavery, in various pernicious forms, is alive and well in many Middle Eastern countries. The reasons behind its popularity are not hard to find. Firstly, the use of slaves is almost a part of Arab culture, dating back several centuries; the Arabs, of course, were the main traders in African slaves to the West Indies and the USA.

Shackles these days are economic based rather than iron
Secondly, there is unparalleled wealth in most of the Middle East and this, coupled with yet another cultural attitude of not working oneself if you can pay someone else to do it makes for a perfect backcloth to the trafficking of slaves.
Where do they come from? Well, it varies somewhat from country to country. Saudi tends to prefer Phillipino 'workers' for its hotel and tourist industry while the  manual jobs go to Bangladeshis and Indians from the poorer states such as Goa and Kerala as well as Pakistanis. Most taxi drivers and menial task workers come from these countries.
In the United Arab Emirates there are less Phillipinos and more Indians, Pakistanis and Afghanis.
But, you will not see a sign of a shackle or bullwhip; it is a little more subtle than that.
The Arab nationals who 'employ' these unfortunates do so on a bond basis. That is, slaves workers are recruited in their home country by agents and their air fares are paid. They pass immediately to an employer in, say, Kuwait, where they surrender their passport. There lies the rub. They are now hostages to fortune. In the main they are married men who will now live in communes often 14 or 15 to a bedroom. Their meagre salaries are just enough for them to live on with a little left over to enable them to send subsistence cash back home. At the end of their 3 or 5 year bondage they may return home but all too often they are not able to afford to do so or their employer reneges on the deal and refuses to release their passport. Another ploy is for the employer to release them but to retain a cash amount (owed wages) which is only payable when they return.
I have met men who have not seen their families for 10 years or more and who have no potential for being able to afford retirement back home.
Even more sinister is the trade in young teenage girls from deprived parts of India and the Phillipines (these only come, I believe, from non Muslim regions). I have seen them, flown in by the hundred and lined up at Riyadh airport awaiting collection.Their fate is to work as domestic servants, Heaven help them! The term domestic servant may cover a multitude of sins, literally.
Of course, Kerala, Goa and the Phillipines are intensely Catholic parts of the world but there is no freedom of religion in Saudi Arabia and very limited access to churches in Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain and other parts.
The long term fate of these girls is, I suspect, largely unknown, and working conditions terrible. I  admit that I have no hard evidence regarding their treatment as domestics other than supposition based on Arab behaviour in other social areas that I have witnessed and hearsay from expats living in the Middle East.
It is a sad fact that Britain and the US subscribe so unquestioningly to the economies of these countries, due almost entirely to the dependence on trade of which, arms and weaponry is no small part.
The Phillipino contingent tend to me better organised and often have cooperatives (of a sort) that help to monitor conditions and, ostensibly, speak out against injustices.
They meet in small groups in hotel rooms on Sundays in Saudi where they go through the Mass, redolent of recusant times when a 'dry' Mass was all that was all too often available. If caught they risk deportation or worse, a public flogging.
I know of no Western organisation other than the Anti-Slavery Society http://www.anti-slaverysociety.addr.com/  that acts on behalf of these people, spare a prayer for them during Advent and for their employer/owners that they may become enlightened and give to these slaves the civil and religious liberties that they are entitled to.

The Nagasaki Martyrs live on in chant and prayer

On 15th September 1627, 23 Japanese priests and converts were martyred for their faith. Two years later, three more Portuguese Franciscans were added to the list making up the Twenty Six Martyrs of Nagasaki.
The remaining Catholic population of the region went underground and, even today, Nagasaki has a concentration of Catholics greater than any other area in Japan.
Some of the Crypto-Christians found their way to a small island called Ikitsuki where, in relative isolation they were able to continue as Catholics albeit without priests. Over the intervening period the liturgy and worship of these people became somewhat distorted; they were a peasant community and had little in the way of missals or any guidance as to  how to proceed with their faith, totally cut off, as they were, from the outside world. In the mid to late 19th century, Japan opened up its barriers and freedom of worship began to become acceptable once more.
The liturgical elements became mixed with Shintoism and Buddhism and the latin that they spoke by word of mouth also took on a pidgin, phonetical form.
Today, the remnants of this religious mix still survive and there is even a professional choir called Oratio (Orashio) Kai. I have a CD of their work and I have to admit that, whilst it is fascinating it is definitely for  committed historical tastes.
Sadly, when Catholic Missionaries moved back into the territory in 1865, only a percentage of the islanders returned to the mainstream faith and the rest, the Kakure, continued with their blend of Latin and Japanese Plainchant.
What is relevant is the way in which the faith, once rooted, is impossible to destroy, even over the course of 400 years.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Advent is here! Rejoice, fast and do penance!

Veni, veni, Emmanuel
captivum solve Israel,
qui gemit in exsilio,
privatus Dei Filio. 

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel. 

Veni, O Sapientia,
quae hic disponis omnia,
veni, viam prudentiae
ut doceas et gloriae.

Gaude, gaude, Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel. 

Veni, veni, Adonai,
qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice
in maiestate gloriae. 

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel. 

Veni, O Iesse virgula,
ex hostis tuos ungula,
de spectu tuos tartari
educ et antro barathri. 

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te, Israel. 

Veni, Clavis Davidica,
regna reclude caelica,
fac iter tutum superum,
et claude vias inferum.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel. 

Veni, veni O Oriens,
solare nos adveniens,
noctis depelle nebulas,
dirasque mortis tenebras. 

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel. 

Veni, veni, Rex Gentium,
veni, Redemptor omnium,
ut salvas tuos famulos
peccati sibi conscios.

Gaude, gaude Emmanuel
Nascetur pro te Israel.


Come, O come, Emmanuel,
and ransom captive Israel,
that morns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

O come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

O come, o come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
in ancient times did give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem,
form ev'ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict'ry o'er the grave.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav'nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

O come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death's dark shadow put to flight. 

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

O come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven's peace.

Rejoice! Rejoice! 
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel! 

The Cross in the room, another sign of Grace

Archbishop Vincent Nichols has asked British Catholics to consider ways in which we can demonstrate our faith - to let the light of Christ shine out.
A previous post covered saying an Act of Grace before Meals, in public as well as private but we can also make a statement in our own homes.
The crucifix has become, for many non Catholics, a mark of repugnance, something to shy away from. Even many young Catholics, will not display a crucifix on a wall in their flat or house for fear of offending friends.

32 Crucifixes may be too many but one on the wall
sends a message
We need to overcome this and pretty damn quick! Every Catholic home should have at least one crucifix and preferably two, one in a public room (kitchen or living room or hallway) and one in the bedroom (s).
It is a constant reminder to us of our need for piety and a silent call to prayer during the day.
If you have friends who object to the presence of Our Lord on the cross, then, they are not true friends.

And remember, at Christmas, the crib and the Irish custom which has always been practised in my family, of lighting a candle in the window to show that the Holy Family would find a welcome in your home. As for Epiphany chalk, does anyone else know of this custom?

Friday, 26 November 2010

The time of Bl Pio Nono - sound familiar?

Pope Pius IX

It is not the task of a Pope to plaster over the surface, making all thing plain and even; it is the task of a Pope to teach and guide, to open up the windows, to blow fresh air through a Church that may have become stagnant and turgid, to be confident in debate and to right the errors of a secular and materialistic world. That is precisely what Pope Benedict XVI has done during the course of his papacy but the account that follows shows that other Popes also have met with great opposition both from within the faith and outside it.

"The reign of Pius IX (1846-1878),  the longest in the annals of the Papacy, was, in the political sense,  a time in which many troubles, already ripening before the Pope was elected, came to their unpleasant maturity.
And it was a reign marked by serious losses to the public position of Catholicism in almost every country of Europe. But in the purely religious sense these same years were years of immense recovery and new gains. They are the years in which the many new teaching orders of women begin effectively to re-Christianise the education of women in France, Spain, Belgium, Germany and Italy. They are the years in which, slowly, and as by a series of miracles, the two great Orders of Benedictines and the Preaching Friars came back to life. The principal figures in each case are Frenchmen, Dom Gueranger for the Benedictines and Lacordaire and Jandel for the Dominicans. France is also the scene of the heroic life of St Jean Mary Vianney (1786-1859), the Cure of Ars, and of many apparitions of Our Lady (1830, 1846, 1858, 1871), the best known of which are the series at Lourdes in 1858 to the child who became St Bernadtte Soubirous. Italy has St John Bosco and St Joseph Cottolengo to show, and the young Passionist St Gabriel of the Sorrows.
And the recognition of the Papal primacy reaches a new fulness in the final stages of the movement for the definition of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception. This was proclaimed by Pope Pius IX (December 8, 1854) by a personal act, in response to the urgency of all the Bishops of the Catholic world. The most striking evidence, however, as to the Church's essential independence of all but the grace of her divine Founder and her divine Guide was the General Council of the Vatican (summoned for December 8, 1869). Here the episcopate of the whole world gathered in numbers never known before, and after defining in singularly reassuring fashion the traditional Catholic belief in the value of reason and of its rights in the field of religion, it passed on to define anew the universal primacy of the Roman Pontiff in the Church of Christ, and also that in the exercise of his teaching office as Supreme Teacher of the whole Church he enjoys that infallibility which was promised by Our Lord to the Church itself."

Phillip Hughes (A Popular History of the Catholic Church)

I could add:

130 years on and we have a similar situation and a similarly great Pope to lead us. At present the Catholic media and Blogsphere are acting as though they are on a boat in a storm and Christ is sleeping. He may be sleeping but He is with us and with the Holy Father

Old Royal Air Force saying:


Now they want women Deacons!

H/T to Get Religion www.getreligion.org who carries the story of US teacher, Diane Dougherty. Ms Dougherty has ambitions at taking on the Catholic Church in a move to achieve for women, the status of Deacon. Now, I am not all that keen on male deacons but female ones fill me with dread. Dread as a consequence of many issues but none of them being a dislike of women. Moral support comes from a priest, Fr Roy Bourgeois, who is already under Vatican scrutiny for participating in an "ordination of a female priest" two years ago.

Fr Bourgeois, left and two deaconesses

The Atlanta Journal, (who originally reported  the story) describes Ms Dougherty as a woman who shares her house with two cats (she must be loveable), smiles a lot and has 'eyes that flash with intellect'. Wow! In brief then: "She hardly looks like someone flouting centuries of tradition, challenging the Roman Catholic Church". What? You mean no Martin Luther costume? No Cromwelian helmet and pikestaff? Just the same old boring twin set and pearls (a definite sign of evil in my book).
According to DD she is at the forefront of a womens' movement that is determined to make a break with tradition, one that has resulted in over 200 women being ordained or created deacons in the other (small 'c') catholic church in the USA in the past few years.
The question is, does the Holy Father stay awake at night worrying about Ms Dougherty and her movements........I think not.

LMS or TPST?....LMS I think

They will be all a flutter in Macklin Street at this but, when it comes to the Extraordinary Form of Mass training programmes for priests, I support the LMS - faint, swoon.
The reason for posting this is that I have just received, through the post, a leaflet from the Traditional Priests' Support Trust, part of the purpose being to elicit funds for the aforesaid purpose of training.
Fine. Nothing wrong with that, maybe it is an offshoot of recalcitrant LMS bods who want to do it their way. I have no problem with that.
The but, (there is always a 'but') is that this group, the TPST, has all the hallmarks of being SSPX.

The LMS Priest training programme

Again, I have absolutely no problem with that, per se. My problem is that they should be clear and unequivocal as to whom they are. I have donated small sums in the past to this organisation without appreciating they were, apparently, SSPX.
I would not do so now. The climate has changed since Summorum Pontificum and the onus is on the SSPX to come back whilst there is still a chance.
Now, a plug for the good old Latin Mass Society; they have organised some excellent programmes for priests and have developed a 'critical mass' of candidates for the Traditional Mass - well done them, they need our support as being the largest and best equipped priest training intiative we have.
That's my view on the issue; you must support whichever of the two you wish.

Confession - before Advent

   Forgiveness, God, for all my sins
I seek at last,
  the sin in word, the deed in heart, 
 foul sin compassed.

                          In heedless youth I broke the rule,
                              made grievous slips,
                         offered fair women of gleaming teeth
                               lascivious lips.

Now  I am an old, old man
and after sinful years
    I seek no feast but that my cheeks
                                   be wet with tears.

         Medieval Irish Lyric

1585 and Bl Marmaduke Bowes takes to the scaffold

A leading Yorkshire layman, Bowes was, for some years, an apostate, fearing to lose his goods and land. He would, never, however, refuse sanctuary to priests on the run and he held open house for these brave men.
The tutor to his children, under examination by torture, informed on Marmaduke and he and his wife were thrown into prison at York before being released under a 'bond of reappearance'.
At his trial he was found guilty and, within three days of his execution, he was reconciled to Holy Mother Church, professing that he hoped that his martyrdom would make recompense for his period as an apostate.

"This day is salvation come unto this house"
Luke xix - 9



And, the quote of the week is..................................

                          BUT THERE ARE NO GOOD LIBERALS"

Thursday, 25 November 2010

If you're dying...do you call for the parish administrator?

Something a Deacon just cannot do

My guess is not and now here comes the unkind cut; all too often a sick call request to the Presbytery results in the appearance of a Deacon. I am sure Deacons are good and well intentioned people but, in extremis, I would want a priest to hear my confession and/or to administer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction euphemistically called, these days, The Sacrament of the Sick.
On two occasions in the past month urgent requests on behalf of potentially dying relatives and friends have resulted in a Deacon arriving to administer Holy Communion. I suppose I should be grateful that it was not an Extraordinary Minister.
Priests are, busy people (at least all the ones I know are) but the salvation of a soul is the very essence of their  vocation. It must be a tremendous feeling to have administered the last rites to someone who has not been near a confessional in 50 years - a soul snatched from the grasp of the devil! A real and wonderful success for their priestly aims. And just think how many souls a priest could save by this method over the years, hundreds, maybe thousands.
A Deacon turning up deprives that person of the Sacrament of Penance, it's as simple as that. In a management situation one would review the duties that occupy the priest and see if the roles could not be exchanged. The Deacon remains at the Presbytery drafting sermons or doing the Diocesan accounts while the priest goes out to do what he is there for.
It can't be as simple as that can it?

No Robins on logs, Snowmen or Stagecoaches in the snow!


I am talking about Christmas cards, of course, and,  in Fr J's sermon last Sunday he stated, quite rightly, that unless a card featured the infant Christ, it was not, in fact, a Christmas card. In recent years we have seen a massive shift away from featuring any religious symbolism on Christmas cards with the result that all too many young people now do not associate Christmas with the coming of Christ; in fact, to them, it is not a religious feast at all - it is just a good chance to party and receive gifts...what's Jesus Christ got to do with it?


I know that I am preaching to the converted but the message is loud and clear, keep the Nativity scene on your cards.
Well designed cards are available from SPUC http://www.spuc.org.uk/ Aid to the Church in Need http://www.acnuk.org/ or, for something really exclusive, from Daniel Mitsui http://www.danielmitsui.com/


Happy Thanksgiving - A Catholic Feast?

A Happy Thanksgiving to all US readers

Despite  strongly held views that Thanksgiving is rooted in USA Protestant history, there are equally strong beliefs that it owes its origin to Catholic settlers.
One of the Catholic versions involves an indian chief called, Squanto, of the Patuxit tribe,  who was a baptised Catholic and, so the story goes, it was as a token of thanks for his mediation that the settlers rewarded his tribe with a feast in grateful thanks.
From the rather conflicting evidence I would not wish to put any folding money as to who or where the actual tradition started, but it was bad news for turkeys!

Squanto, Chief of the Patuxits

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

My take on the Pope and the condoms issue......

He knows what he is saying, he knows what he is doing, he is the successor to St Peter, Christ's Vicar on Earth. God bless our Pope!

Royal Wedding to take place in Catholic Church

Sorry, I meant to say, "Ex Catholic Church". Westminster Abbey has been designated  as the church where Prince William and Kate Middleton will be wed.
Good job Kate is not a Catholic as the wedding would, undoubtedly, not be taking place as heirs to the throne are free to marry Sikhs, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, rattle snake dancing Evangelical Protestants, Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormons, Jains, Monster Raving Loony Charismatics but not CATHOLICS!
I do love living in an equal opportunities society :)

Westminster Abbey
Non Catholic friends often say: "Why don't you Catholics have beautiful churches like ours?" Aherm...

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Inter Faith week is here....hip, hip, pass the bucket!

Yes, Inter Faith Week commenced Sunday 21st November (cue pictures of groups of disparately dressed young men and women from various ethnic minorities). Commenced is probably the kindest word I could use; I certainly could not say 'was launched' or even, 'began' and certainly not 'opened with a bang'. More like a yawn.
Dedicating a week to inter faiths is pretty puerile really, I do not see much evidence of the Finchley Mosque mob participating or the Coventry Gurdwara clique. Much, much more work is required before these elements can be brought into the equation and brought in they need to be.

A picture of Inter Faith Week 2009 - stimulating stuff!
This is one coalition initiative that needs to take a personality test; the online blurb warbles on about 'strengthening relations,' and 'increasing awareness' - oh, please, I thought we had lost that meaningless term back in the eighties! but building a 'positive profile' now that really tells you what it's all about.
Perhaps I am being a shade hard on Eric Pickles and others of his considerable ilk. But I do find an Inter Faith week that focuses on those with 'religious and non-religious beliefs' a chutney of a different nature. What have non-religious folk got to do with Faith Week? They ain't got none and, I guess they don't want none either. And, if they do want some then a series of meaningless coffee mornings or Sitar demos down the Labour Club is not going to give them much of a clue as to the love of Christ for Man.
Whoops, sorry, shouldn't have mentioned Christ just then; I forgot that Inter Faith really means no faith whatsoever!

Viva Cristo Rey! Happy Feastday Bl Miguel Pro!

Blessed Michael Augustine Pro

One of my favourite Saints, Bl Miguel Pro, Priest and Martyr was born on 13th January 1891. As a child he was possessed of a mischievious sense of humour and this continued even through his priestly vocation as he was apt to play good natured practical jokes on those around him.
He became a Jesuit novice in 1911 and was ordained in Belgium in 1925. The following year, despite suffering from chronic ill health, he returned covertly to his native Mexico where the Church was under a bitter and violent persecution. His childhood exploits stood him in good stead as he travelled, in the course of his ministry, in a variety of disguises, very much the modern Campion.
He was finally apprehended and executed by firing squad. Seconds before the shots rang out he prayed the Rosary for  his accusers and murderers to be forgiven. At the moment of death he cried out: "Viva Cristo Rey" - Long live Christ the King!

Graham Greene in his book 'The Lawless Roads' describes the course of events:-

"In July 1926, Father Miguel Pro landed at Veracruz. He was twenty five years old and a Jesuit. He came back to his own country from a foreign seminary much as Campion had returned to England from Douai. We know how he was dressed when, a year and a half later he came out of prison to be shot, and he may well have worn the same disguise when he landed (the equivalent of Campion's doublet and hose): a dark lounge suit, soft collar and tie, a bright cardigan. Most priests wear the mufti with a kind of uneasiness, but Pro was a good actor.
He needed to be. Within two months of Pro's landing, President Calles had begun the fiercest persecution of religion anywhere since the reign of Elizabeth. The Churches were closed, Mass had to be said secretly in private houses, to administer the Sacraments was a serious offence. Nevertheless, Pro gave Communion daily to some three hundred people, confessions were heard in half-built houses in darkness, retreats were held in garages. Pro escaped the plain clothes police time again and again. Once he found them at the entrance of a house where he was suposed to say Mass; he posed as a police officer, showing an imaginary bag and remarking, 'There's a cat bagged in here' and passed into the house and out again with his cassock under his arm.
Followed by detectives when he left a Catholic house, and with only fifty yards' start, he disappeared altogether from their sight round a corner - the only man they overtook was a lover out with his girl.
The prisons were filling up, priests were being shot, yet on three successive first Fridays Pro gave the Sacrament to nine hundred, thirteen hundred and fifteen hundred people.
They got him, of course, at last (they had got him earlier if only they had known it, but they let him go). This time they made no mistake, or else, the biggest mistake of all. Somebody had thrown a bomb at Obregon's car in Chapultepec Park - from another car. The evidence, since then, points to Government comlicity. All the assailants escaped but the driver, who was shot dead. A young Indian called Tirado was passing by, fled at the explosion and was arrested. He was tortured without effect: he persisted in declaring himself innocent.
The police pounced on those they feared most - Pro and his two brothers, Humberto and Roberto, and Luis Segovia Vilchis, a young engineer and Catholic leader. No evidence was brought against them; they were not tried by the courts. The American Ambassador thought he could do more good by not intervening and left next day with the President and Will Rogers, the humorist, on a Pullman tour; one South American Ambassador intervened and got a reprieve - timed too late to save any but Roberto.

He prayed for his enemies before being executed
Pro was photographed by the official photographer, praying for his enemies by the pitted wall, receiving the coup de grace; the photographs were sent to the Press - to show the firmness of the Government - but, within a few weeks it became a penal offence to possess them, for they had an effect that Calles had not foreseen."

Thousands thronged the streets for the funeral of Bl Miguel Pro


Dedicated to my good friends Professor Robin Whatley and his wife, Caroline

The prayer below was composed by Bl Miguel Pro; it is a hard prayer to say with conviction but it is especially beneficial to those with a serious illness....

Does our life become, from day to day, more painful, oppressive, more replete with afflictions? Blessed be He a thousand times who desires it so. If life be harder, love makes it also stronger, and only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ.
Love without egotism, without relying on self, but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish….I believe, O lord; but strengthen my faith…. Heart of Jesus, I love Thee; but increase my love. Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigour to my confidence. Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee. Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

Bl Miguel Pro

Richard Pate, Bishop and Martyr

23rd November 1565 and Bishop of Worcester, Richard Pate, died for the faith as a result of his sufferings and privations in the Tower of London.

The Bishop, for some time, aligned himself with Henry and accepted the Royal Supremacy and was appointed Ambassador to Charles V in Spain. Upon being summoned by the King, Richard Pate fled to Rome and was reconciled to the Faith.
Pope Paul III made him Bishop of Worcester in 1541 and he was one of the two English Bishops to assist at The Council of Trent.
Upon the accession of Mary, he returned to England and took possession of his See.
When Elizabeth became Queen Bishop Pate voted against every Anti Catholic measure she tried to introduce and refused to take the Royal oath of allegiance. He was initially committed to the Tower for an 18 month period before being released into the custody of 'Jewel' at Salisbury. However, he was recommitted to the Tower where he died after 6 years of suffering.
This biography differs slightly from the Wikipedia entry but is from a reputable Catholic source.

Padre Pio - his kind of watch

Time for reflection

The Path Less Taken has been running a series of posts on St Pio. They reminded me of Fr Corapi's account of a wealthy woman who interupted the Saint whilst he was meditating. "Oh Padre Pio". Warbled the woman. "Please tell me something nice".
He leant over and whispered in her ear: "Death comes soon".

Monday, 22 November 2010

St Philemon - one of the early martyrs and a friend of St Paul

Our Lady Queen of Martyrs' Church, Chideock
Not a great deal known about this saint whose feastday it is (along with St Cecilia). More seems to be known about his slave, St Onesimus.

Philomen was a wealthy individual who shared his goods with the poor and needy and whose house became a meeting place for converts and catechumens. St Paul addresses him warmly in his Epistle to the Colossians as his 'dear and intimate friend.'
He and his wife, Apphia were stoned to death in Colossae.
For some reason, he is cited as the Patron Saint of Dancers so, in one of Holy Mother Church's wonderful quirks, he shares his feastday with the Patron Saint of Music, St Cecilia.
Saint Philomen and Saint Cecilia - Ora pro nobis

1963 - The Catholic dream ends and America's nightmare begins

22nd November 1963 and the whole world is thrust into shock at the news of the assassination of President John Kennedy on a Dallas boulevard. Most people old enough, will recall where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news that was to stun the world.

A horror made all the worse by being able to see it unfold in slow motion....

Of course, it is fashionable to name call JFK these days; we hear the woman chaser accusations ad nauseum but, at the time these facts or fictions were not aired and we saw Kennedy as a clean cut Catholic male who had the capacity to bring change into the lives of many thousands. He and his brother, Robert, took on the unions and the racists and the mafia to such a degree that the hold these groups held on the USA was broken for ever.
In this month of the Holy Souls we can remember the tragic Kennedy clan in our prayers:

"Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May they rest in peace. Amen"

Bishop capitulates......an opportunity lost!

Following on from my post regarding the SSPX Bishop, Richard Williamson, it now appears (H/T http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/ ) as if he has agreed to Bishop Fellay's demand that he sack his newly appointed lawyer who has Neo Nazi links. This means that the expulsion order will no longer be enforced; I think most Catholics will be deeply disappointed, Bishop Williamson is the one man capable of wrecking the talks between Rome and Econe aimed at reconciling the SSPX back into the fold.

Prayers are needed for a positive outcome to talks
I have a great respect for the SSPX and, for many years, they provided my family with the main source of Masses, travelling, as we did, some 160 miles to our closest Mass centre. However, they have three big faults:-

1. The preoccupation of some SSPX priests regarding women's dress. The sermon at St Josephs and St Padarns  in London on a Sunday is frequently taken up with a 30 minute diatribe against women wearing trousers. Have they never been to Pakistan? I asked them once why they had this preoccupation, where was the theological sense in all this (provided that women dressed modestly, what is the problem?). I was told that women were required to dress as they dressed at the time of Christ. What about men then, I asked: they also wore long robes so why should they be excluded...no answer.

2. The lack of pastoral care offered by the Society. Their priests are always working at full stretch, taking the Mass around Great Britain and, as a result, the all important element of pastoral care just does not exist.

3. Bishop Williamson....long regarded by the media and the populace at large as a nutter.

I hope and pray that the talks have a successful outcome, Bishop Fellay is a very learned and saintly man but there are obstacles in both camps. Despite attending SSPX Masses (as is licit to do so) I have always felt that a prolonged separation from Rome would alter the nature of the Society until, at some stage, reconciliation would become impossible and the Society then become Protestant. Prayers are needed!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

SSPX to ditch Bishop Williamson?

Bishop Richard Williamson

H/T to http://australiaincognito.blogspot.com/ for news concerning the Bishop with extremist and undoubtedly bizarre views regarding the holocaust. Following on yesterday's resignation of his lawyer, Bishop Williamson has, apparently, taken one step too far by appointing a new lawyer with alleged Nazi sympathies.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General, SSPX

General of the Society for St Pius X, Bishop Bernard Fellay, has issued (20th November) a directive to Bishop Williamson demanding that he sacks his new lawyer 'or face expulsion' from the Order. News also reported by Chris   Gillibrand http://cathcon.blogspot.com/

Saturday, 20 November 2010

A cry for peace from a 3 year old, and then he is shot dead

3 year old Adam, shot through the mouth
This is 3 year old Adam who was brutally martyred by Islamic fundamentalists on 31 October in Baghdad. May God receive his soul into Heaven.
He was one of seventy innocents (Assyrian Catholic Christians) who were murdered in their church. H/T  http://orbiscatholicussecundus.blogspot.com/
This does not make comfortable reading; terrorists entered the Church and began shooting the congregation indiscriminately. Little Adam shouted to the gunmen to stop and then one forced a gun into Adam's mouth and shot him.
Christians in Iraq are under massive threats to their lives. They are murdered in their Churches and now they are being targeted in groups or singly. They are shot out of hand or, often, blown up if they are in a group.
Pray for peace to come to Iraq, pray for the souls of the Holy Innocents murdered for the Faith and pray also for those who commit the acts of violence against them that God may remove the scales from their eyes and enlighten them as to the truth.
If you wish to help please visit http://www.unheardcries.com/

Congratulations Cardinal Raymond Burke!

His Eminence, Cardinal Raymond Burke


Words of pronouncement uttered by Pope Benedict XVI this morning

This morning the Holy Father conferred the red biretta on Archbishop Raymond Burke and twenty three of his fellow bishops. Cardinal Burke has long been known for his orthodox approach (as have most, if not all,  of the new intake). Tonight, the Holy Father will host a reception for the whole consistory at the Apostolic Palace. H/T http://whispersintheloggia.blogspot.com/

A man of letters? Moi?


              I write like



The Holy Ghost comes today to Spanish Place!

Today, at 11.30am at St James' Spanish Place, Bishop George Stack will confirm candidates in the old rite of Confirmation as arranged by the Latin Mass Society. I pray for all the candidates on their journey to become Soldiers of Jesus Christ, we desperately need them.

Roy Campbell

Almost 75 years ago, another confirmation took place in Spain; that of the great Catholic poet and writer, Roy Campbell and his wife. The Spanish Civil War was at its height and priests and Catholics were being routinely persecuted and martyred:


"Our confessors, the discalced Carmelites, the holy martyr, Father Eusebio, and Father Evaristo, came to see us, saying that Cardinal Goma had heard of the risks we had taken to shelter monks, and that, as we were constantly risking our lives in the new catacombs, he was anxious that we should be confirmed - 'just in case'. He was ready to overlook the fact that our instruction was still imperfect, because we were in mortal danger, and he had offered us the great honour of being personally confirmed by a Prince of the Church. 
It was no longer safe to be seen in religious habit, though the diehard, Evaristo, a great roaring lion of a man whose laugh could shake the rafters, deliberately flaunted his habit in broad daylight, and it used to make me feel six inches taller to stride beside him as his body-guard down the streets.
At three a.m., while it was still pitch dark, we picked up the two Fathers of the Carmelites' in their 'full-regimentals' as Carmelites, and walked through the dark, empty streets to the Cardinal's palace. We were thrilled and exhilarated, like children robbing an orchard, for we were committing an entirely innocent but extremely dangerous crime in the eyes of our masters. On that day, before dawn, began an entirely new chapter in our lives, which had hitherto been somewhat drab and dull compared with the new splendours of experience for which we were lucky enough to be preserved."

Roy Campbell (Light on a Dark Horse)

Roy Campbell was a South African by birth but lived a great deal of his life in England and his adopted Spain. He even lived. for a while, in a remote cottage in North Wales. He was a larger than life character who lived life to the full and most dangerously. He converted to Catholicism togerther with his wife, Mary and two daughters, in 1935.
The seventeen Carmelite monks who were in attendance at his Confirmation were, some days later, taken out and shot by the Communist forces.
During the Spanish Civil War 12 Bishops, 4,184 Priests, 2,365 Monks and some 300 Nuns were martyred by the Reds. Accounts of numbers do vary but these figures seem to be the most accepted ones.
After the war, Campbell lived in Portugal where he died, tragically in a car crash in 1957. Apart from producing great literary works (losing acclaim because of his politically incorrect support of General Franco) he also translated some of the great Catholic mystical works, notably, St John of the Cross.

Friday, 19 November 2010

This is one Christmas gift I do not want!

Currently being marketed by USA toy manufacturers, Hasbro and retailers, Toys r Us is the special Ouija Board aimed at the eight year old girl market.  Unbelievable but true. I recently posted on the inroads made by satanism in today's world and this is yet another frightening example. As far as I am aware this product has not yet reached the British market but, with the easy access offered by online sales, it is only a question of time.


When your child attends a party in future can you be sure that this "game" will not be produced? The dangers on any mind let alone an impressionable and immature one, are immense.
We know to avoid horoscopes (horroscopes), tarot cards, mediums, fortune tellers and the like but this is an insidious move on the part of a secular society.
Any ouija board found in a house should be taken out and burnt and, if your child has had access to one, your priest should be informed (and should take action) immediately.


Enjoy yourself as much as you like - if only you keep from sin!

               St John Bosco

La Notre Dame de Guadalupe - Elle est Arrivee!

Croeso! Welcome to Wales to the sacred image of Our Lady of Guadalupe (clothed in green to represent South America rather than the traditional blue), now installed in the Church of Our Lady of the Taper, the national shrine at Cardigan.

Next Sunday, 21st November, there will be a sung Tridentine Latin Mass at 3pm followed by Rosary and Benediction.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

An outward sign of Grace

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, in the aftermath of Pope Benedict's visit has asked us to be more public in demonstrating our Catholic faith. Good. Few would argue with the sentiment but some might query how precisely, we bring it about.
Forget the XXL Rosary prominently displayed around the neck, the 'I am a Catholic' T shirt or the bumper sticker proclaiming: 'If you can read this you must be a Catholic.' He was not thinking of such things; what he meant (I interpret) is that he wants us to show our Faith by example so that the light of Christ emanates from our personalities. Again, helping old ladies across the road is good, any Good Samaritan deed is to be commended as being what ++ Nichols had in mind.

Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts which we receive from Thy bounty. Through Christ, Our Lord. Amen

But there is more to it than that. We can make public displays of our Faith without ramming it down people's throats or being overly and offputtingly pious. We can abstain from meat on Fridays (as many still do); this often produces questions which give an opportunity to gently enlighten as to our beliefs.
We can also say our Grace before meals in public. My wife and I have been doing this for some years and, each time I do it I cringe internally, moral coward that I am.
However, last week in the arrivals cafe at Heathrow's Terminal 4, we observed an attractive young woman in her late twenties cross herself before tucking into a very unpenitential slice of Black Forest Gateau.
It cheered me considerably,  we were not alone and since then I have made my public Grace without the usual butterflies.
We need to do this more. Every time we eat in private or public we need to thank God, our benefactor and show the world that we are Catholic.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The exorcist squads.....where are they?

A 1940s child's view of devils - courtesy of Fr Gerard Scriven, White Father
In 2007 the Holy Father issued a directive to all Bishops requesting that they take urgent steps to create or strengthen their teams of exorcists. What has happened? The truth is, I don't know, I can't get a clear answer from any Bishop's press office that I contact. I suspect that not very much has happened.
Yet, Pope Benedict issued his orders in full appreciation that the forces of Satan are on the march (apologies if that sounds like Lord of the Rings speak but Tolkien, I am sure was cognisant of the way the world was going when he wrote his trilogy).
Satan is real, demonic influences surround us, abortion, terrorism, euthanasia, genocide, child abuse, family structure in freefall, secularism and the host of other corrosive elements that we now face on a daily basis.

The Exorcist - not too far from the truth
I recall having a conversation with the Westminster Diocesan exorcist, Fr B, many years ago. He told me that he had been commissioned to exorcise a house and had duly arrived with the key and his required sacramentals including a holy water stoup and sprinkler (someone will tell me the latin name for such an item, I am sure). He had not reached very far into the house before he became aware of a most oppressive and overpowering presence, the air chilled imediately to a sub zero temperature and he was, naturally petrified. "What did you do then, Father" I asked.
"Dropped everything and fled" he responded. "It was beyond me to remain there any longer". We tend not to think too deeply about such subjects which is all well and good, but we should not, in any way, underestimate the grip that is on the world and pray regularly and frequently to St Michael and Our Lady. Only two years ago Cardinal Tettamanzi issued a ten point caveat regarding the devil, here it is:

10 points regarding the devil

  1. Do not forget that the devil exists
  2. Do not forget that the Devil is a tempter
  3. Do not forget that the devil is very intelligent and very astute
  4. Be vigilant concerning your eyes and heart – be strong in spirit and virtue
  5. Firmly believe in the victory of Christ over the tempter
  6. Remember that Christ makes you a participant in His victory
  7. Listen carefully to the word of God
  8. Be humble and love mortification
  9. Pray without flagging
  10. Love the Lord your God and offer worship to Him only

Cardinal Tettamanzi’s Decalogue against Temptation