Sunday, 31 July 2011

Guitar or Plainchant?....Guitar or Plainchant?......



                      Guitar or Plainchant?......Plainchant of course!

Dedicated to some good friends in Newcastle Emlyn - in the absence of a Sunday Mass today - chiz!

Saturday, 30 July 2011

No Masses in Menevia Diocese in August!

There's a lotta square miles in Menevia!

Yes, that's right, there are NO Masses in the Diocese of Menevia in August 2011. That's no as in zilch, zero, nil, b------ all!

Amazing huh? Oh, sorry, forgot to say "No EF Masses in Menevia in August"*

EF Masses? Oh, that doesn't matter then!

* Other than the LMS Pilgrimage Mass at the National Shrine at 3pm on 7 August

Revealed! The Bishop's training video

Have you ever wondered how our Bishops fine tune their minds so that they can cope with all the complex problems that face them - how they ensure that they are at the cutting edge of decision taking and innovation.
At last I am able to reveal their training video, it's a real eye opener!

Friday, 29 July 2011

Old but good - my version of 'Shine Jesus, shine'

For some obscure reason I found myself singing this beautiful hymn this morning and, much to my surprise then found that the excellent blogger Laodicea had posted the words. It is a great hymn that encapsulates all that we believe regarding receiving the Body of Christ at Holy Communion or worshipping Him at Benediction.

See also, Fr Z's post on Cardinal Canizares Llovera's sermon on how we should receive the Sacrament - kneeling and on the tongue!

I could only find this sung version of the hymn on Youtube, it is a little lacking in oomph and numbers and, what is more, the antics of the altar servers are most off-putting as they prepare the altar for Benediction, strolling on and off, arms by their sides and only the occasional genuflection.
But, it's still a beautiful hymn! -

O Jesus Christ remember when Thou shalt come again.......

Needs to be sung sans piano and with a bit more verve and gusto!

Time to say farewell to Channel 589?

Please DO adjust your sets!

Just in case you live outside of England and Wales, Channel 589 is the EWTN Channel - the Eternal Word Television Network founded by Mother Angelica with a large nudge from the Holy Spirit to get it going.
It started well with Mother A's fairly traditional homespun type of Catholicism; the good common sense type that one's Granny might have counselled you with but, in recent years the Channel's integrity levels seem to have dipped.

EWTN screens a weird mix of what one might call 'folk Catholicism' - a bit of Dana here and some University Graduates sounding off about sexual abstinence there. I do not mock the subject matter, just the saccharine way in which the Faith is presented.
And for some reason, all male presenters (other than Raymond Arroyo) seem to sport beards or moustaches. Now an occasional beard is acceptable but wall to wall carpeting is a bit of an overkill. As for moustaches......the very height of male vanity!

Now I'm really getting into curmudgeon mode, the set backgrounds look as if they are rejects from the Addams Family series, sort of 1950s style meets with Austrian kitsch. Ugh!
Could someone please also tell them that they could achieve better effects with a little subtle lighting and a plain background?

If you have children then they will be put off the Catholic Faith for life if they watch the Bible according to Mickey Mouse, the noxious and vomit inducing cartoon version of the Life of Christ.
As for the Daily Mass, I have never heard such monotonous wailing. No one looks very pleased to be there and there is a cantor with a most odd tone. Just what is going on?

Of course I am being judgemental and critical but then all too often the Catholic laity have been served up with luke warm offerings from their Bishops and the lay organisations that exist to promote the Faith and it really is time that what is offered to us is improved in its content and presentation and we should not be afraid to complain, loudly.

Now, we have lost Fr Corapi, and that leaves a very big hole for EWTN to fill. We do have the Papal Audience which is worth watching (every couple of months or so) and we do have Fr Groeschel, also very interesting and informative. We also have dear Auntie J doing her cookery thing - very nice.

What are the reasons for this dive into pop Catholic culture? Is it a battle for ratings? Or, is it that most if not all of the EWTN production and presentation team seem to be refugees from the Lutheran Church and have, maybe, brought this strange mix of lib Protestant/Catholic values with them?

We should be dancing on the tables at the thought of a Television Channel dedicated to Catholic news and views; instead, I find it all rather embarrassing and would rather my non Catholic friends did not see it.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Who would you most like to meet in Heaven?

Assuming, of course, that we make it to Heaven and also that, our loved ones might be first on the list – so just who else would we most like to meet?

The question used to be asked of us boys in the RE class of Sister Paul OP.
The good sister, herself, had a burning desire to meet with Hereward the Wake (“after St Paul, of course, boys”). What? Hereward the Wake? What would a good old Irish nun be doing with meeting an 11th century marsh vaulting rebel – oh, it must have been the rebel bit!

"I'm as surprised as you are Lord, but shall
I let him in?"

But it remains an interesting question. Who would it be? St Thomas More ranks high in my shortlist which also includes St Cuthbert Mayne, St Edmund Campion, St Catherine of Siena, St Maximilian Kolbe and, of course, our own Bl Titus Brandsma. But we are not restricted to canonised saints; so my list could extend to include Fr Donald Proudman OP., J.R.R. Tolkien, GKC and Hilaire Belloc, Archbishop Fulton Sheen oh, and Keith who borrowed £5 off me in 1971….it would be good to meet up with him again!

But…I almost forgot. I just have to include my Guardian Angel on my list. My guess is that he/she will be found in Heaven’s version of Intensive Care – much needed after looking after me!

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Can you think of any priests, Bishops or Archbishops who do not condemn homosexuality?

Aaahh...mmmm......let me think now....errr. there's Father A, B and P and Bishop R, S, G, well all of 'em really and then there's - don't go there!

Cardinal Robert Sarah

Well Cardinal Robert Sarah has stated in no uncertain terms that they are all in grave danger of finding themselves on the wrong side of Divine judgement. Here is what he said:

"If we have fear of proclaiming the truth of the Gospel, if we are ashamed of denouncing the grave deviations in the area of morality, if we accommodate ourselves to this world of moral laxity and religious and ethical relativism, if we are afraid to energetically denounce the abominable laws regarding the new global ethos, regarding marriage, the family in all of its forms, abortion, laws in total opposition to the laws of nature and of God, and that the western nations and cultures are promoting and imposing thanks to the mass media and their economic power, then the prophetic words of Ezechiel will fall on us as a grave divine reproach.”

Whew! Hot on the heels of Fr Vincent Twomey we have a senior churchman telling the world what the traditionalists have always held to...the true teachings of Christ, not the compromised teachings of Christ or the teachings of Christ according to the homosexual lobby or the anti life groups; the actual teachings of Christ as handed down to us by Christ Himself.

This Cardinal is not afraid to speak the uncomfortable (to many) truth. In May he addressed a gathering of aid organisations and instructed them that he had noted :

“a serious moral regression and gradual ‘silent apostasy’” in the western world. He also noted that foreign aid for Catholics “is not merely philanthropic and humanitarian assistance aimed at relieving a certain kind of distress, but also and above all it entails giving back to human persons all their dignity as children of God, and promoting an anthropology that also encompasses the religious dimension of human persons, namely their encounter with God.”

What is more, in his June address he said that:

"... in modern society “we no longer know what is evil and what is good. There are a multitude of points of view.  Today, we call white what we once called black, and vice versa.  What is serious, and make no mistake about it, is the transformation of error into a rule of life. 
“In this context, as priests, pastors and guides of the People of God, you should be continuously focused on being always loyal to the doctrine of Christ.  It is necessary for you to constantly strive to acquire the sensitivity of conscience, the faithful respect for dogma and morality, which constitute the deposit of faith and the common patrimony of the Church of Christ.”

Sometimes one feels an enormous sense of relief at hearing such sound teaching coming from a Cardinal; it comes at a time when so much tripe and nonsense has been flung around the ether by those who are supposed to be our shepherds that we almost begin to doubt our own sanity, and begin to think that we have just gone barking mad and, somewhere along the line, missed the big point.
That is not the case. The Church, always when faced with grim opposition, even from within, comes to the surface with an explosion of sound common sense thanks to a liberal helping of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. Deo Gratias!

Pray for Cardinal Sarah; pray for the Faith and pray (yes pray very hard) for our Bishops.


Cardinal Sarah hails from Guinea and on 20 November 2010, Pope Benedict XVI created and proclaimed him Cardinal-Deacon of San Giovanni Bosco  in via Tuscalona. He will have voting rights until his 80th birthday. On 29 December 2010, Cardinal Sarah was appointed a member of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples,  Pontifical Council for the Laity and Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Fr Twomey pulls no punches

What a relief! A Catholic priest who is unafraid of the Bishops and who is willing to speak out for the truth and the Faith.
for his account of Fr Vincent Twomey's outspokenness. Fr Twomey states that the Catholic Church in Ireland has been without leadership over the past 15 years.
 I might disagree with him on that point as I believe that there has been no leadership for over 25 years. I well recall the excommunications of the four SSPX Bishops; this happened at a time when the IRA was bombing and murdering unselectively in Northern Ireland yet many priests and community leaders took an active part (like gun running and hiding weapons) on their behalf. There were no excommunications then and no condemnations either.

Fr Twomey, author of many
 books on Pope Benedict XVI
But back to Fr Twomey,  emeritus professor of moral theology at Maynooth seminary who has also called for all Bishops appointed before 2003 to be sacked resign (even though there are, he admits, some good men among them); again, I beg to differ in one respect. Could not the Holy Father extend this invitation to resign to ALL Bishops of the United Kingdom and Ireland (with the exception of one) and make the cut off date 2010?

But who would fill their holy shoes goes up the cry?
Everyday priests just are not experienced enough in administration blah, blah.
Utter rubbish! We are endowed with some wonderful priests; some have parishes, some are bloggers, some are academics in various monastic orders and all would do a damn sight better than many of their lordships who are in place at present.

And now the cry of 'Bishop basher' will go up. Quite right. I am unashamedly a Bishop basher when my faith is saturated with those who would drag its followers down to the pit by their indifference, their inadequacy in following both Christ's teachings and the Holy Father's, their hesitation in answering questions on morality by the media and their half hearted responses. And all or almost all would go in one great sweep, the good, the bad and the other ones - a fresh start is what is needed.

So three cheers and huzzah for Father Vincent Twomey, long may he thrive! (and also may he have the opportunity to speak with the Holy Father and give him a personal briefing H/T to Jane Mossendew.

Ban the Burkha is becoming the call sign of the right wing extremists

It had to happen, of course, the English Defence League and National Front thugs are now spouting off about banning the burkha.
It's a good line to take as it is, in my view, the single most obvious way of stating "I'm set apart from you lot" and, for that reason, it does need banning, but it's a pity that the extremists have nobbled it so that more moderate voices may not use it for fear of being branded fascists.

The burkha mask is set to become the line in the sand of Islamic fundamentalist progress; to many Muslim people it represents the very essence of their faith and you cross that line at your peril.

France seems to have carried off a burkha ban very successfully but it may be too late for Great Britain. Some time ago I posted about parts of the country becoming no go areas for non Muslims and now it is starting to happen.

Sign of the times?

London's Tower Hamlets has been "Islamized" by person or persons unknown and declared a no go area for smoking, alcohol or music; it's almost enough to make me want to start up smoking again. And I would just desire above every other avenue open to me to process through the borough with a train of like minded folk singing plainchant!
It would be a step too far to say that we would carry an alcoholic supply with us - anyway, street drinking should be banned; I am with them there.

Apparently, the offending posters have been popping up all over the East End and council workers are rushing around ripping them down and the police are looking into it. If the Met force is anything like our local constabulary I would say that the poster stickers are quite safe.

But this activity is going to spread and it won't be long before dress code is added to the list of don'ts. "Don't expose your face if you are a woman over the age of 12" will be the next rallying cry.
And when that happens, we are only a hop and a skip away from Shariah Law and a public flogging for not wearing your mask.
Scroll forward another twenty years and it will be a public flogging (or worse) for being a Christian.

We live in interesting times as the Chinese say.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

You have ten seconds to choose between Heaven and Hell!

The clock is ticking and you HAVE to make a choice.....the right choice gets you to Heaven, the wrong one sends you to the other place.

Here are your options......get it right and you are made for (eternal life).......

Option 1.

Do you agree that Westminster Diocese was wrong to ban a Catholic lay organisation (Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice) from holding a guest speaker event on Westminster Diocesan premises?         

Option 2.

Do you agree that Westminster Diocese was wrong to allow an organisation for homosexuals (Quest) to hold a meeting on Westminster Diocesan premises?

Which option will you say "yes" to............................

I think I know.........see you all in Heaven!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

Drought, famine, disease and pestilence

Sudan, Somalia, parts of Kenya, Ethiopia, the list of countries facing the grim reaper due to drought and subsequent crop failure or warlords and oppression, is depressingly long; and that's only Africa.

Redundant in twenty years?

Back in the 1980s (so I recall) we had the Brandt Commission to look at world poverty and starvation and to come up with some suggestions as to how the wealthier nations could support the third world developing world emerging world (that's the latest pc descriptor).
The commission (under the steer of Herr Willy Brandt) came up with a series of suggestions as you would expect but one in particular has stuck in my memory (and not many things do these days).

It was the suggestion that the 'civilised' world create a tax per head of population - not a big tax as I recall, in fact, I think it was pennies; but this tax would be levied every year.
Like most tax ideas it went as far as the round file and all forgot about it pdq except for moi.

I like the idea of a compulsory tax aimed at totally eradicating world poverty say, in a 20 year time frame. I do not like the idea of the British Government giving our hard won dosh to countries that, to my mind, do not meet the description of starving and impoverished; I believe at present we contribute to countries such as Malaysia and China and, in my book, they should be able to look after their own.

But a yearly tax of, let us say, £1 per head of population (excluding the unemployed but only the unemployed) would yield a massive
£1 billion pounds! That's 1.6266 billion US dollars. Of course that's not just Great Britain, it must come from all of the European and English speaking world. So I calculate, very roughly, that the total population of GB., USA., Mainland Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand is c. 1.225 billion, lose 20% as being unemployed and you are left with the mathematically convenient sum of £1,000,000,000.
Now, multiply that over a twenty year perid and you have a grand total awful lot of noughts and cash!

Next comes stage two; Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith had a good article in The Catholic Herald recently covering the sound strategy of providing foreign aid in the form of vouchers rather than foodstuffs or implements which are promptly nabbed by the warlords who get rich on the back of their fellow countrymen's misfortunes. The vouchers help support the local economy and slowly the wheels of feeding the hungry start to roll.
But, of course, the income from taxation must be put to many uses remembering the old adage, "Give a man a fish and you feed him for one day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for life". It would be essential to create an comprehensive and lasting infrastructure; roads, railways, irrigation, reservoirs, anti erosion planting schemes, cooperatives, training (especially training) and so on.

This all sounds very simplistic I agree but it is, in essence, one of the main thrusts produced by the Brandt Commission so better minds than mine have thought this through. It should be possible to tackle one or two countries each year and maybe, just maybe, after twenty or thirty years one could say that there is no longer an emerging world but rather an emerged world.

The burning question is: would the European and English speaking communities of the world stand for an annual tax? I think that they would; after all, £1  or 1.6 US dollars is not too much to pay to have all those images of emaciated, dying children and pot-bellied infants removed for ever from our television screens.
Is it?

Friday, 22 July 2011


Wot me?

No! not that sort of seal you idiot!..........................

This one......

The world is turning in on the Faith, first Ireland and now Australia, where will it end?

The LMS Annual Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of Our Lady

            SUNDAY 7th AUGUST 2011

The National Shrine of Our Lady of the Taper
           North Road, Cardigan, SA43 1LT


                     12 noon: The Angelus followed by one hour with Our
                                    Lady of the Taper, Rosary & Traditional Hymns

                     1pm:        Lunch (please bring your own)

                      2.30pm:  Confessions

                      3pm:       Sung Votive Mass of Our Lady

                      4pm:       Tea and refreshments followed by


Please do all you can to support this important national pilgrimage and pay homage to Our Lady

Our Lady of the Taper, pray for Wales
Our Lady of the Taper, pray for us!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

"A funny thing happened to me on the way to Church today".....

How does your priest start the Mass? Is it along the lines of "Good morning everybody"
I believe that has become a bit passe these days - you see I do not attend Novus Ordo Masses so I am not too sure of my ground here but what I do know is that it is becoming increasingly commonplace for a priest to give a little chatty greeting and, all too often, to keep up a witty banter throughout proceedings.

"Good morning Father"
Recently I heard of a priest who made a wisecrack just before placing the host on a person's tongue - and, horror of horrors it was at an Extraordinary Form Mass! What can I say except that the priest in question is very, very new to the EF Mass and may be carrying some of his OF habits with him. I hope he will soon appreciate what the EF Mass (and the OF for that matter) is really about.

Some years ago just before we withdrew our children from the liturgical banalities they were being subject to they reported that, at their convent school Mass, the celebrant had asked (at the Consecration elevation) if anyone knew the test match cricket score. They never attended another Convent School Mass.

What has drawn my attention to this new(ish) custom is an article by a Daily Telegraph journalist, Michael Deacon - "A priest's true calling is to be a game show host, folks". He recently attended a wedding of friends (I'm assuming it was C of E but I could be wrong) where the priest constantly told little jokes throughout the service - how very droll! My recent post on the era of the 'ton up vicar' obviously needs updating; today we have the Bob Hope or the Tommy Cooper priest; it's only a question of time before we have the Consecration presented as a class conjuring trick (they probably already do this in Austria).

The thing that I find so very hard to understand is: don't they know that they are committing a sacrilege? What pleasure do they derive from making such mindless and unfunny cracks?
Sadly, they often seem to carry the congregation with them; the chap that related the host incident to me (also very new to the EF Mass and its solemnity) thought that it was screamingly funny and looked at me as if I was stark raving mad when I poured cold water over his mirth.

If cretinous ignorance is not at the heart of these asides it has, of course, got to be something a little more dark and sinister that is encouraging this trend.
That, also, would not surprise me in the least.
But the laity are complicit in all of this; the good old uncomplaining British man/woman in the pew sits back and does nothing. It only requires one or two people to have a discreet word in the priest's ear and, if that doesn't work, then a charitably worded letter to his Bishop.

And if that doesn't work, go to the SSPX!

Trouble is, it is so long since they have seen their reflection in a mirror they have forgotten just what manner of a Catholic they should be.

A new addition to my blog list

Those bloggers who feature on my blog list are all excellent; I only place blogs on the list that are good and true to the Catholic Faith.

I do not normally highlight any one particular blog but today I am making an exception. Mundabor's Blog is, in my opinion, one of the very best in terms of dry humour, traditional clarity and topicality.
So there. Please visit Mundabor...he is Italian...but not in the Berlusconi mould!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Christopher Dawson on the early Bishops

Described as "the greatest English speaking Catholic historian of the twentieth century" Dawson was greatly influenced in his writings by J.R.R. Tolkien.

One of our finest 20th Century
historians - Christopher Dawson

Converting to the Catholic Church in 1914 he wrote many books including; Medieval Religion and other Essays, The Age of Gods, Christianity and the New Age and many more besides.

Below is an extract from his essay on the early Bishops and he paints a picture that, I guess, many priests and laity would wish to see in their Diocese today.
A dynamic Bishop, unafraid to take on the power of the State, defender of the poor; a spiritual leader as well as a secular one.
Where did we go wrong?
The number of Bishops who today would match up to the profile described by Christopher Dawson is pitifully few; in England and Wales they are as rare as hen's teeth, America has a sprinkling of them, one in Kazakhstan and thankfully, a few are movers and shakers in Rome. I wish they would move and shake a bit more!

With Athanasius as a Christian name
you would expect this man to be a
mover and shaker -
Bishop Schneider of Kazakhstan

This is an extract from Dawson's writings on the early Bishops...........

"The Christian Bishop was, in fact, the dominant figure in the life of the time. His position was something entirely new, for which no precedent can be found in the old religion of the city-state or in the priesthoods of the oriental mystery religions.
Not only did he possess enormous prestige as the head of the Catholic Church, but he was the leader of the people in social matters also. 
He occupied the position of a popular tribune, whose duty it was to defend the poor and the oppressed and to see that the strong did not abuse their power.
He alone stood between the people and the oppression of the bureaucracy.

He was not afraid to withstand an unjust law or to excommunicate an oppressive governor, and the life and correspondence of St Ambrose or St Basil or Synesius or St Augustine himself shows how frequently a Bishop was called upon to intervene between the government and the people, and how fearlessly he performed his duty.

On one occasion it is recorded that the praetorian prefect was so offended by St Basil's freedom of speech that he declared that he had never in his life been spoken to in such a manner.
"No doubt", replied St Basil wittily, "you have never met a Bishop".....

The Church was also taking the place of the State as the organiser of charity and of the support of the poor. Every church had its matriculum or list of persons in receipt of regular relief, and enormous sums were spent in every kind of charitable work. All over the Empire, hospitals, orphanages and hostels for travellers were being built and endowed: so that the basilica was often the centre of a whole quarter which lived by and for the Church.

Thus the Church stands out in this dark age as the one hope of humanity both spiritually and materially. It saved the individual from being entirely crushed under the pressure of the servile State, and it opened to him a new world of social and spiritual activity in which the free personality had room to develop itself.
Hence, when the final collapse of the imperial government in the West took place, the Bishop remained the natural leader of the Roman population.
He was the representative of the old secular culture as well as of the new spiritual society, and it was through him, above all, that the continuity of Western civilisation was preserved"

Every word of Dawson's appraisal is a gem to be treasured; every sentiment expressed gives cause to regret that we have so few leaders today about whom it could be said that they played a part in ensuring the continuity of Western civilisation or that they would fearlessly stand up to the State.

Christopher Dawson was born in 1889 and, after his conversion he wrote extensively on the Medieval Church and the development of civilisation from those roots (a somewhat unpopular view in Protestant circles that would have one believe that all Catholics sprang out of a heitage of superstition and blind ignorance).
From 1958-1962 he was Chauncey Stillman Chair of Roman Catholic Studies at Harvard University.
He died in 1970 - RIP

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I don't go to Mass - does that mean I'll go to hell?

I wish I had a pint of Reverend James bitter for every time that a friend or relative has said that to me. It is uttered more as a provocative challenge than a genuine question.
It would satisfy their sense of defiance to be told: "Of course you'll b****y well go to hell you omadhaun" but, of course, none of us are able to fathom the extent of God's forgiveness and so it is not reasonable to present a response in that manner.

However, the catechism is unequivocal in stating that, a) missing Mass deliberately on a Sunday is a mortal sin and b) anyone in a state of mortal sin will consign themselves to hell. Therefore, if you defy the teachings of Christ and commit a mortal sin you are like one of the millions of snowflakes that are destined to everlasting agonies, as witnessed by St Theresa of Avila.

We know, do we not, that it is legitimate to hate sin because it breaks our link to Almighty God and also to hate it because it has the capacity to send us to eternal fire. Of the two the former is by far the better stance to take but, I have to admit that fear of hell and Satan have always held a particular horror for me and, as a result, I have always opted to endeavour to avoid sin in order to avoid hell, most unsuccessfully I hasten to add.
This is not the best route to take; love of Christ should be our main thrust but..... human frailty and all that.

The choice has been crystal clear to me since I was a small child and I really cannot understand Catholics (CINOs) who apparently cannot see the outcome to 'no Mass on Sundays'.
Try hard to behave and to keep God's law and you may make it to Heaven where we shall no longer experience the fears and sorrows of earth but will be happy beyond our wildest imaginations or......break God's laws and suffer the endless and hideous torments of hell that are so awful they are beyond description (although many of the saints and those who have witnessed visions of Our Lady have captured the essence of that nightmare place pretty well).
Here is Sister Lucia's terrifying account of her own vision as permitted by Our Lady:

"The rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in huge fires, without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. (It must have been this sight which caused me to cry out, as people say they heard me). The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repellent likeness to frightful and unknown animals, black and transparent like burning coals".

Hmm.....I know which road I shall be continuing down; after all, it seems such a piddling price to pay....go to Mass on Sundays and Holydays of Obligation, love God and love your neighbour and you get your stay out of jail card!

Remember too the words of Our Lady of Fatima after she had shown the vision of hell to Sr Lucia.....

To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to My Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of Reparation on the First Saturdays. If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated. In the end, My Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to Me, and she will be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world. In Portugal, the dogma of the Faith will always be preserved. Do not tell this to anybody. Francisco, yes, you may tell him.

‘When you pray the Rosary, say after each mystery: O my Jesus, forgive us, save us from the fires of hell. Lead all souls to Heaven, especially those who are most in need.’

Monday, 18 July 2011

How to make the Red Cross cross

Quite simple really, you only have to draw a link between the symbol of the cross and the Christian faith for Red Cross officials to go into denial mode. They have, as far as they are concerned, no link to Christianity.
I am not too sure that they make a similar claim when it comes to the Red Crescent.
In their own words they are secular, humanitarian, anything but that dreaded word: Christian!
Here is how they describe themselves:

We are a volunteer-led humanitarian organisation that helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are.

I believe that this denial of their Christian origins also materialises at Christmas time when Red Cross shop staff are directed not to feature cribs in their windows.
This does not square with what we, as Catholics, believe and today is the actual feastday of the originator of the Red Cross, none other than St Camillus de Lellis.
Originating from Bocchianico in Italy and born to a mother aged sixty (according to his biographer, Fr Martindale) he became a soldier and fought against the Turks. He gambled and he probably did all the other things that rough and ready soldiers did in those days but, eventually, he fell victim to a bullet from Christ. In short, he repented of his ways and began the process of becoming a Capuchin. But, whilst a soldier he had contracted a slight wound to his leg and this festered to such a degree that it remained with him for the rest of his life.
He finally established his own order, one that nursed and doctored to the needs of the sick and ailing and adopted the symbol of a Red Cross.

Today he is the patron saint, or one of them, of Doctors.
Here is his story taken from Fr Martindale’s account of his life:

“….in the hour of his bitter disillusionment, he saw two Capuchin friars, and vowed to reform himself. He broke his vow; twice more he made it and twice more he broke it. Now destitute, he entered a hospital to be tended at the price of his own service. He was dismissed because of his violent temper, his eternal quarrels, his insane love for gambling – he slept with cards under his pillow and, for a game, would desert the sick. He re-became a soldier; was not at Lepanto only because he had caught dysentery in Corfu; went through appalling campaigns against the Turks – the soldiery was reduced to such madness by starvation that they cut the very livers out of the dead and ate them. This Camillus would never do – he ate grass and horseflesh. He joined a particular regiment simply because it had a reputation for gambling; he went to defend Tunis; returned; was discharged at Naples as for ever unfit for military service (due to his leg wound). Every item he possessed he staked; he lost the lot – already, once in Naples he had staked his very shirt and lost it. But he was very tall, very strong save for his rotten leg. They offered to make him bricklayer in a Capuchin friary. He had to accept; but was so tormented lest this Franciscan environment should force him to keep his vow that he refused the very cloth the friars offered him to make a dress. He feared to commit himself to conversion….But the frightful cold of winter drove him to give in. And, in 1575, this more-than-prodigal-son, this man of wasted years and broken vows, did indeed give in.

He gave in; but not yet could he find his vocation. He tried and tried again to enter a religious order; but always the wound in his leg prevented him. His great succour was St Philip Neri, in Rome, founder of the Oratorians, that affectionate, gay-hearted, yet most understanding man, who finally turned the sick soldier’s ambitions towards serving, himself, the sick in hospitals, and so, towards the founding of that Congregation of Nursing Brothers which has perpetuated his name. In 1582 Camillus decided to group like-minded men around him, and willed that they should wear on their shoulders a Red Cross; and that in fact is the true origin of all later Red Cross movements”.
There, then you have it. That great organisation, the Red Cross, founded by a man of weak will, unsound in body but whom Our Lord was determined to make His own!
How we Catholics love our really bad sinners who become really good saints – don’t we?

He was ordained by the Bishop of a Welsh See, that of Asaph and his feastday is today  – 18th July

 St Camillus de Lellis – Pray for addicts and those whose wills bend easily to the secular world – pray for Doctors and Nurses - Ora pro nobis!

Whose Bible is it anyway?

I am referring to the 1300 year old St Cuthbert's Bible which is shortly to be put up for sale and is expected to make a cool £9 million or so.

This bible, described as one of the world's most significant books, was produced in the 7th century and is Europe's oldest surviving tome. At one time called the Stoneyhurst Gospel it was buried alongside this great Saint in 698 AD until it was disinterred in 1104. Its condition is said to be very good, red leather bindings and all.

The Anglican Dean of Durham Cathedral, the Very Reverend Michael Sadgrove states that (the red parts are my comments):

 "This wonderful book links us directly to the Saxon Christianity (ah, Saxon Christianity, not Roman Christianity!) of the North of England, and to the North's best-loved saint, (Um..what about the Venerable Bede?) Cuthbert himself.  Durham Cathedral owes its very existence to him, and we prize not only his memory, but also the treasures associated with him here at the Cathedral such as his pectoral cross and portable altar. (Yes, I bet you do matey!)

Now this Bible was crafted a good 400 years before the Reformation. England was a Catholic nation, Durham Cathedral (where the saint's coffin lay) was a Catholic Church. And back in the 7th century, St Cuthbert was a Catholic! So this beautiful book has got to belong to the Catholic Church right?

Wrong! CORRECTION ADDED AT 12.10 - it's not the C of E's it's ours! More detail at end of post.

Trouble is, I don't know who owns this valuable and holy item. I phoned Durham Cathedral but they don't know, I phoned some learned folk at Durham University and they don't know either.
My guess is, of course, the Church of England, you know, the one that came into being in the mid 16th century, long, long after St Cuthbert's Bible was produced.
So, by my reckoning, the Bible must belong to the Catholic Church and no one else!

£9 million would almost pay for another Papal visit!

Yes, would you believe (and fulsome apologies to the CoE) it belongs to us!   Well to the Jesuits to be more precise...but what are they doing by selling this relic?

What is the Society of Jesus going to spend £9 million on?

Don't answer that one!

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Should the Church return Murdoch's donation?

Rewind to the Summer of 2010 and the Papal visit to Great Britain is looming up like an express train. So are the costs and there is a constant muttering about how the Church is going to pay for the visit.

Some souls, including the laity of Great Britain coughed up into the general fund and some very well heeled souls (soles?) made individual and handsome donations.

Rupert Murdoch was one. It is claimed that he donated £100,000 to the cause. Now the BBC thinks that it should be paid back according to the presenter of the 'Sunday' programme on Radio Four. In fact, she actually equated the Church's acceptance of Murdoch's money with the selling of might almost believe that the BBC is prejudiced against the Catholic Church! Heaven forfend such a notion.
Now I come to the support of the Bishop who was in the hotseat for this interrogation interview; none other than Bishop Kieran Conry - please make sure that you are seated at this is a rare occurence for me to support a Bishop (especially KC).

He took the view that the Church should not pay back any donation received from Murdoch and I totally agree with him. How can we possibly judge the interior of a soul who makes such a donation; if he/she is a good person, fine; if they are a 'bad' person, fine also.
There is no barrier to individual almsgiving; in fact, it is a partial means of redemption and to deny a person that opportunity would be quite wrong.
Also, as Bishop Conry said: "Well the money's been spent now"

End of argument.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Would you leave your heart in San Francisco?

I was rather fascinated by the fact that Otto von Habsburg, last heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire ( who was laid to rest today, Saturday July 16th following a Requiem Mass at St Stephen's Cathedral, Vienna) has had his body interred in the crypt of the Cathedral while his heart is to be buried in a Benedictine Monastery in Hungary.

This seems to me to be quite a good arrangement. Not the interring bit, I mean the heart being removed and deposited in some desirable place.

I know that, not 5 miles from where I live, there is a ruined chapel with a stone sarcophagus that is home to the pickled hearts of I don't know how many Crusader knights whose bodies were buried in a foreign field but who obviously had a desire to have part of themselves reunited with the homeland by being interred on familiar ground.
Would you want your heart interred
at Brains? (ahem)

Where, I wondered, would I like my heart to be buried (you see I am (at heart) a romantic and not a curmudgeon). I immediately discounted Brains Brewery in Cardiff, home to the ambrosial Rev James Bitter. This would be too secular for my tastes and, anyway, the planning authorities might have a word or two to say at the prospect of a main street in Cardiff being excavated to house my heart.

"You can't put that hear there boyo" the planning officer would say (Welshmen never actually use the word 'boyo' but, apparently it annoys the hell out of Lord Kinnock so I take great joy in using it at every opportunity.
"It's against Section 4 sub section 18 of the Highways and Byways Act - where it states: "Hearts are not for the burying of on any main street in England or Wales due to possible incidences of a) future subsidence or,  b) dangers to public health".

I really would like my heart to be deposited in a holy place but I am also drawn to places that have a good memory for me, sites of special affection....mmmm......the cafe in Surbiton where I proposed to my wife?.....not a good idea ("Hearts are orff the menu today dear).

Along the banks of the River Thames...yes, that is an attractive proposition for me; I have spent many happy years fishing, swimming and boating on the Thames but it seems a bit occultish to go around burying hearts willy nilly.

I need, perhaps to look a little further afield and it really is a must to find somewhere sacred.

Got it! It has to be Lourdes. Not on the domain, of course and not in the town centre but, maybe on the banks of the Gave, a few hundred yards upstream from the shrine or, maybe, on one of the high slopes that look down on the town and the Basilica. I always feel a sense of coming home when I arrive in Lourdes, it would be good to feel that my heart is where my home is (?)

Where would you like your heart to be buried?

50 countries you might not wish to live in

H/T to Being is Good for highlighting the following video clip showing the 50 worst countries for the persecution of Christians.
48 of the 50 are Muslim countries with Iran being the most extreme case as far as converts to Christianity are concerned. Conversion carries the death penalty, automatically.
Top of the list is totalitarian North Korea; it must be a challenge enough just to live under that hideous regime but, for Christians it is much, much worse.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Smart lad wanted as Headteacher of what we hope will become a bog standard secondary school with low outcomes and no Catholic ethos

I remember, back in the days when I did an honest days work, advertising for a new Principal for a College of Further Education. Due to our location, in wildest Pembrokeshire, we attracted a somewhat challenging postbag of applicants.
There was the chap who wanted 'above all else to be in the beautiful Pembrokeshire countryside and walk my dog on the beaches' - way!
Then there was Craig, manager of the local wholesale carpet store 'Offcuts going cheap' who felt that he had had enough of the retail business and its long hours and fancied working in education because of the long holidays. I am still not sure if I was being wound up or not.

The bottom line and moral of the story is - it is not easy to recruit high quality applicants, especially into the education sector, but this is the task that Westminster Diocese has set itself, presumably in line with its new plans for the Cardinal Vaughan School....What? The Diocese has NO plans for the School? You must be joking, what kind of a omadhaun  person said that? Oh, the current School Governor...'nuff said.

Well that might narrow the field somewhat; you can just imaging the interview scenario....."Well Mrs (sorry Ms) Dullas-Ditchwater, could you please tell us how you plan to lower our results and reduce the school's Catholic ethos?"

"Well yer reverences I think that we can dispense with morning prayers, in fact, prayer of any kind is so discriminatory so it can all go, and we can disband that bunch of kids who think they can sing like angels, I'd replace them with a massed band of recorders backed up by a Caribbean steel drum quartet - that's pretty multi culchural ain't it? My next move would be to form an LGBT group so as we can call ourselves multi sexual, I think that the Arch would like that.
Then I'd do away with interviewing prospective pupils and asking them if they are practising Catholics or not - I like to consider meself an equal opportunites sort of person, especially as far as non Catholics and non Christians are concerned and then as far as the knows what I mean, the educashional programme; I'd introduce some really good sex ed stuff that I picked up in Soho last week and maybe even have a few modules on how to determine yer sexuality from the gay point of view. How's that fer starters?

"Well, Ms Dullas-Ditchwater, you have astounded the panel with what you have told us - the job's your Darling - when can you begin?"

Westminster Diocese bottles out of meeting

In all things to love and serve - but not as far
 as Westminster Diocese is concerned!

A good opportunity to build bridges or, at least to put their point of view across to parents of Cardinal Vaughan School pupils was lost last Monday night when Westminster Diocese decided against representation at an open meeting held to discuss the way ahead.

You do not need to employ a PR guru or to have any depth of knowledge regarding inter personal skills to understand that the Diocese (and Archbishop Nichols) are on the hind foot and have been in that position for some time.
Someone close to his Grace needs the courage to tell him that they are in a situation where, whatever  the final outcome, they just cannot win. In brief, when in a hole you should stop digging!

The Vaughan Parents were disappointed at the 'no show' by Westminster Diocese - here is their report of the meeting:-

"Monday night’s meeting between parents and governors, so long requested and so often denied, was a cause for both celebration and disappointment:  celebration because parents left governors in no doubt about their unity and passionate commitment to their children’s School, but disappointment at the lost opportunity to build bridges and move forward, because of the absence of any diocesan representation at the meeting.

The meeting had been advertised as an opportunity for parents to ask questions, both of the Governing Body and the Diocese, about decisions concerning the governance of the School and plans for its future direction.  Over 400 parents attended and took the opportunity to demonstrate their enthusiastic support, both for their elected parent governors and for the staff, represented by acting Head, Charles Eynaud and Deputy Head, Paul Stubbings.  Parents asked probing questions, principally of the Chairman of Governors, John O’Donnell.

Apart from the Diocese’s regrettable decision not to send an official representative, foundation governors Paul Barber (Diocesan Director of Education), Monsignor James Curry (Archbishop’s representative on the Governing Body) and newly appointed Kate Griffin (member of the Executive Board of the Catholic Education Service) were also absent.  This meant that there was no one who could answer with authority any question about overall policy or more detailed questions about why some foundation governors had been removed and others appointed.  The other absentee was Ike Offiah, one of the two foundation governors retrospectively designated as a “parent”, although he has no child in the School.

In attendance were foundation governors Rita Biddulph, Michael Craven, Gerry Kelly,  Bwalya Kwanga, Rory O’Hare and Mary Waplington, the other designated “parent” (with no child in the School), as well as elected parent governors James King, Jackie Knight, John Murphy  Andrzej Rumun and Janusz Zajaczkowski, and local authority governor, Sir Adrian FitzGerald.

Mr O’Donnell’s explanation that diocesan officials could not be present because the parent governors’ legal action against the Diocese remained unresolved prompted a question from a parent:  if the ongoing nature of the legal action was sufficient to prevent diocesan attendance at this meeting, why was it not sufficient to halt the process of appointing a new Head?  Mr O’Donnell replied that, because the appointment of a new Head was Governing Body business, it could proceed.

In answer to a question, Mr O’Donnell said that the process of appointing a new Head had stalled earlier in the year, because the “field was not strong enough”; his attempted assurance that “the search for an outstanding Head teacher continues” elicited a shout of “He’s behind you!” from the back of the Hall, to much laughter and tumultuous applause (Mr Eynaud and Mr Stubbings were sitting on the platform behind Mr O’Donnell).

Many of the pre-submitted questions, a list of which was circulated at the start of the meeting, were directed to the expected diocesan representative. Mr O’Donnell answered a question about the Diocese’s future plans for the School by saying, “The Diocese has no plans for the School”; this was greeted by disbelief.

A parent took the meeting through the Diocese’s actions since the beginning of the current dispute:  referral of its admission arrangements to the Office of the Schools Adjudicator, replacement of seven foundation governors (including two Chairmen of Governors) in two years, refusal to appoint current parents as foundation governors, objections to music scholarships, refusal to meet parents.  He concluded, “And you expect us to believe that the Diocese has no hidden agenda for the School?”  This was warmly applauded.

VPAG Chairman, Anna Brown, said, “We were delighted that so many parents cared enough to attend this meeting, called at relatively short notice at such a busy time of the school year.  A high proportion had questions to ask, and their support for the elected parent governors and the staff was wonderful to see.  It was gratifying to note that, when they were asked, on a show of hands, whether there was any opposition to the activities of the VPAG, only two hands were raised.

“We hope the Governing Body will take away from this meeting, and communicate to the Diocese, the absolute determination of Vaughan parents to preserve the ethos, traditions and standards of the School.  We call on the Archbishop, in anticipation of the government’s announced intention to amend the regulations, to appoint now two parents of pupils currently on the School roll.  We ask him also to use his good offices to bring this sad dispute to an end, by advising his foundation governors to ensure that a Head is appointed who will command support from all sections of the Governing Body.”

PLEASE NOTE: If you would like to sign the petition in support of the School Parents here it is