Wednesday, 31 August 2011

A small gift for Archbishop Conti

This is Archbishop Mario Conti of Glasgow where any priest with a desire to conform with the traditional liturgical practices as practiced by the Holy Father is apt to be met with a Glaswegian kiss (aka a headbut). Hence, any traditional priest brave enough to comment on goings on in this diocese, does so anonymously.

Now Archbishop Conti is 77, which places him two years past his sell-by date. Let us pray fervently that the Holy See will appoint a suitably devout and orthodox man in his place - Glasgow deserves a break!

In the meantime, Archbishop Conti continues to contradict the ethos established by Pope Benedict. His Grace has now advised his priests that Holy Communion should be given into the hand of the standing faithful. We all know that to be wrong - the ruling is clear, those who wish to receive kneeling and by mouth are free to do so.

So, as a farewell gift to Archbishop Conti, here is a Cardinal, the great Cardinal Raymond Burke speaking on the subject.

At last! A mystery solved and a role for young women in the Church

For many years I have laboured under the impression that The Legion of Mary is/was an organisation for women only. Learning more about them from family and friends has put me right but I remember (or thought I remembered) this group from my early days in our parish of Hounslow. In fact, all three of my sisters were in this sodality. Wrong!

It transpires that they were in the Children of Mary, an all female group under the protection of Mary Immaculate and Saint Catherine Laboure and the Miraculous Medal. Now it all make sense, St Michael's and St Martin's Parish had a convent of the Sisters of Charity and this was the order empowered to establish local groups of the Children of Mary.

And here they are...Children of Mary. Two of my sisters
 lead the procession and my eldest brother is on the
 right hand side of the priest
It fulfilled, in many respects, what altar serving does or should do for boys, encourage vocations to the priesthood. The Children of Mary were sort of proto nuns although, by the 60s I guess that a lifetime spent in a convent held little attraction for young women - the death watch beetles were well entrenched by then.

Of course, they had a real role in parish life; they acted in a sacristan capacity, they de-waxed the many candle trays, they organised social events, they prayed as a group and they formed an important part of processions, pilgrimages and all "public" events that the parish was concerned with. They probably did a lot more besides. They were a mirror image of young men on the altar - perfect!

Where are they today? Never seen hide nor hair of one since those days but just think of the vital role that they could play today. Young evangelists, leaders of moral opinion amongst their peers, vanguard of support for the parish priest.
Bring 'em back fast.....take those young girls off the altar, give them a set of Sodality prayers and a Miraculous Medal on a blue ribbon and they're off!

Then we might see a return of vocations to the convents, but only if the orders of women pull themselves together and put on the yoke of Christ once more...but that's an  issue for a future post.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

No blog day!

I am taking a day off blogging and giving anyone who wanders onto this site a bit of a well earned respite - you see, it's my one hundred and eleventieth birthday and I am off to celebrate in a sedate (but not overly so) style.

For those who are not Tolkien fans, this is
Bilbo, not me!

Monday, 29 August 2011

An invitation to all Catholic bloggers*....

And for my next trick.......

  I plan to place my head into the lion's mouth!
Yes, after the world and his friend have commented on altar girls here is my take on the matter.
They are wrong, out of place and should not be on the sanctuary......all of the sound, rational reasons have been well made, especially by William Oddie of

I cannot add much more to that other than to feature Cardinal Arinze's words on females altar servers under the heading: "It was all a mistake".

This is not a question of equality although, I do freely admit that not enough is done to provide for young women in serving a parish. Perhaps a special guild should be set up with this in mind. Their duties should not be any more menial than an altar boys.....any ideas re patron saints for such a guild?

The voice crying in the wilderness

Today's feast...the beheading of St John the Baptist


“Be consoled, be consoled, O my people!” says your God.
 Speak to the heart of Jerusalem, and call out to her! For her malice has reached its end. Her iniquity has been forgiven. She has received double for all her sins from the hand of the Lord.
 The voice of one crying out in the desert: “Prepare the way of the Lord! Make straight the paths of our God, in a solitary place.
 Every valley will be exalted, and every mountain and hill will be brought low. And the crooked will be straightened, and the uneven will become level ways.
And the glory of the Lord will be revealed. And all flesh together will see that the mouth of the Lord has spoken.”

                          St John the Baptist, Martyr - Ora pro nobis

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Will there be blood? The bloggers meet for the first time!

Shadowlands carried a post yesterday with echoes of the planned meeting of Catholic Bloggers under the auspices of Bl Titus Brandsma. It was a clip from the 'Only Fools and Horses' series.

Now I would like to throw my metaphorical beret into the ring and follow through with this clip from a film that bears no resemblance to historical fact and stars a once great Catholic. It is, of course, Braveheart and the scene is set for a guild of bloggers meeting -  the EF lobby come face to face with the OF mob (I leave you to decide which is which).
Warning: Contains gratuitously obscene words (but only one or two).

                           But, remember.....they are both on the same side!

He would have loved Reverend James!

William Beer knew his saints as well as his ale
Today is the feastday of St Augustine of Hippo, son of yesterday's Saint, his mother, St Monica.
Ironically, just as Mama is patron saint of alcoholics, so, son Augustine is patron saint of brewers! I just love the way that Holy Mother Church appoints things with no thoughts of political correctness.

I will not go into St A's early life, this blog is far too virtuous for such romps but, it is so very reassuring to know that a lad who loved too much and drank too well ended up as a Doctor of the Church and a much learned and loved saint - there lies hope for us all!

As an expert on all things alcoholic I am certain that St Augustine would have forgiven The Reverend James brew its Anglican heritage and enjoyed a pint of the ambrosial (or, even, Ambrosian) nectar.

Hippo is now within the borders of Algeria, a much troubled country with a powerful undercurrent of  Islamic fundamentalism (see the DVD 'Of Gods and Men') and all who labour in those fields require our prayers.
This gives me an opportunity to correct two erroneous impressions regarding my views.
Comments have been made that I am anti Muslim and biased towards Muslims.
Firstly, I am very anti Islam and very opposed to the teachings contained within both the Koran and Hadith but I do not oppose Muslims per se and any feelings towards those of that faith I hope are enshrined in a Catholic manner.

Secondly, (and this is a common error on the blogosphere), to be biased means that one leans towards or is in favour of something. To be prejudiced is the opposite. Therefore it would be true to say that I am prejudiced against fundamentalism but biased towards traditional Catholicism. There endeth the first lesson! Apologies to those who know the English language.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Don't raise your glass to St Monica!

Patron of alcoholics, addicts and wayward children

Today is the feastday of St Monica and, as patron saints go, she must be in great demand these days as, among her many attributes, she is the Patron of alcoholics. I cannot begin to imagine what it is like to suffer from an addiction to alcohol; pure hell, I guess, so please, say a prayer today for all who are afflicted in this manner but do not raise a glass to this worthy saint.

In fact, she was one herself which makes her patronage all the more poignant. In addition she was married to a foul tempered pagan by the name of Patricius (not the Porta Caeli Patricius - ha, ha! I am sure he is a most even tempered chap). That marriage would have driven anyone to drink but, on top of that she had a wayward, carousing womanising son, St Augustine no less!

Her infinite patience finally won over Patricius and he was received into the Faith and died not long after.  It was then that Monica dedicated her life to God and, in her charity, looked after the poor and the wayward.

She was very obviously, a woman of considerable inner strength as she refused Augustine entry to the family home after he had taken up with a dubious bunch of Manicheans whilst studying in Carthage.
Undeterred, as with so many children, Augustine resumed his debauched lifestyle in Carthage but Monica, like all good mothers, never stopped praying for his conversion. For 17 long and arduous years she prayed and followed him around Italy until he met with St Ambrose who had a profound effect on the 33 year old delinquent.

Little by little, she edged her son back towards the light until the day came when he announced that he was newly converted.

A lesson there for all parents whose children have apostasized!

On Holy Saturday 387 AD Augustine was baptised by St Ambrose himself and Monica became Ambrose's faithful follower.

Within four years she announced to Augustine:

"What I am still to do, or why I still linger in this world, I do not know. There was one reason, one alone, for which I wish to tarry a little longer: that I might see you a Catholic Christian before I die. God has granted me this boon, and more, for I see you his servant, spurning all earthly happiness. What is left for me to do in this life?"
She died about two weeks later at the age of 56, Augustine was then 33.
Her relics are enshrined at St Augustine's Church, Rome near the Piazza Navona.

Here is St Monica's prayer on behalf of alcoholics......

Blessed Lord, Saint Monica was the mother of Saint Augustine and for many years prayed, cried, and did penances for her son. As a result, he became a Doctor of the Church and one of Her greatest theologians. She is the patron saint of alcoholics and other addictions, and children who disappoint their parents, so I ask her to pray for all those I know who are taking a long time finding a true relationship with You, especially those trapped by addictions. I also ask her to pray for all parents. Lord, give them signs of hope. And I offer up my sufferings as penances on behalf of those who most need Your forgiveness.
Saint Monica, pray for us. Amen.

And here is her prayer for wayward children who have lost the faith......

Exemplary Mother of the great Augustine,
you perseveringly pursued your wayward son
not with wild threats
but with prayerful cries to heaven.
Intercede for all mothers in our day
so that they may learn to draw their children to God.
Teach them how to remain close to their children,
even the prodigal sons and daughters
who have sadly gone astray.


Friday, 26 August 2011

Michael Voris - another opportunity missed

I never made it to London to hear Michael Voris speak. I am still biting my knuckles and kicking the cat (I don't actually own one but if I did I would kick it, sorry cat lovers). I like this man immensely yet he seems to attract quite a degree of criticism from fellow Catholics.

They appear not to like his 'slick performance' - would that we had a few more 'slick performers' - to me that just means someone who is able to communicate in a lively fashion. They say that the human attention span lasts for 30 seconds when being addressed (sermons included) so you need to be pretty damn slick to hold an audience for an hour or more.

They (the ubiquitous 'They') also do not like the fact that he is a layman - come on! No Bishop is going to speak out on behalf of the faith so welcome the fact that a layman does so. And why shouldn't a layman speak out? Don't Catholic bloggers sound off on every facet of the faith? All that Voris is doing is making video clips and personal appearances whereas we do the same thing (less effectively) on the blogosphere.

I am also somewhat filleted over the fact that I missed out on the pub session after the show (let alone the lunch beforehand). What an opportunity to meet Fr Ray Blake and so many of the other big bloggers. Chizzle!

Michael Voris -
"I come not to bring peace but a sword..."
Matthew 10:34

But, seriously, there is nothing wrong in having someone speak out confidently and confrontationally - Archbishop Sheen did it, St Edmund Campion did it, St Thomas More acted in such a manner and all manner of lay members of the Catholic Evidence Guild did it over many years at Speaker's Corner - so there is a precedent! It's just that Voris does it bigger and better.

Now some have stated that he (Voris) did not always present the facts in an authentic manner; by which I believe they mean that Voris got some of his theology slightly wrong. That may well be, as stated earlier, I was not there.  But, if Michael Voris did get some aspects wrong then we should judge him as a man who gets up to speak more or less ex tempore, no notes, no visual prompts; I guess that even Aquinas may have trod in the brown stuff once or twice under such circumstances - that's not an excuse for the chap, just a reason why absolute perfection might escape us all under similar circumstances.

God bless Michael Voris and may his next stop be Cardiff!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Never kiss on your first date.......old SSPX saying

I owe a great deal to the Society of St Pius X. They were, for many years, our only source of an EF Mass celebrated in a church. Their Bishops confirmed our four children when no traditional confirmations were available and, yes, they are valid confirmations.

So it is with great anticipation that I await the outcome of the planned meeting on September 14th (H/T The Jarrow Scriptorium) between Bishop Fellay and Vatican officials. It is, by my reckoning at least the third meeting that has been held under our present Pope's guidance and we all need to pray pretty damn hard for a good and fruitful outcome.

A handshake would do!

I am an optimist, never mind that glass half full rubbish, I have no concept of reality (according to Mrs Linen) and always, always believe that next week is going to be my turn in the National Lottery or that Bishop Burns is going to insist on every Menevia parish having at least one EF Mass every Sunday.

And so it is with brimming confidence that I await the signal on or soon after the 14th see......apart from anything else, the date is significant.

It is the Feast of the Holy Cross AND......the anniversary of Summorum Pontificum. This day has not been selected at random, it is a very holy ploy on someone's part to invoke the Holy Spirit to bring the Church together again.
The Feast of the Holy Cross is a feast of exultation and triumph - if you do nothing else between now and the 14th September, say this prayer in the hope of a reconciliation.........and, maybe, a fraternal kiss!

We adore You, O Christ, and praise You,
Because by Your Holy Cross You have redeemed the world.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Monsignor Ronald Knox - would have been a great blogger

He died at the age of 69 years on 24th August 1957. In my family home the name 'Ronnie' Knox was in common use, mainly by the many priests and seminarians from Ware who frequently visited (and often stayed on for two or three weeks).

A wit and a classicist - there were
quite a few like him before 1970!

As with so many great Catholics, Mgr 'Ronnie' Knox was a convert who was received into the Church in 1917. A year later and he was ordained - he had enjoyed a spectacular period at Oxford where he excelled as a classicist.

This was a  man of great talent, he was witty, erudite and devout but he never lost the common touch.

He was the author of many books on the faith and, in particular, his 'Mass in slow motion' (written from his talks to schoolgirls on the subject) is to be treasured. In it the Monsignor likens the Mass to a dance (not the liturgical dance kind that we know and hate today), but a dance where the priest and the server first tentatively approach the Lord with the prayers at the foot of the altar. It climaxes at the Consecration and Holy Comunion before winding down to the 'Ite Missa est' and the last Gospel.
He also translated the St Jerome Vulgate from the latin into English painstakingly bringing the Old and New Testaments up to date in a language style that made the Bible accessible to all - I am particularly grateful for the manner in which he brought the letters of St Paul into the 20th century as some of them were impossible to construe with any meaning.

He lived, of course, in the time of Chesterton and the two were great friends, Mgr Knox actually gave the sermon at GKC's Requiem in Westminster Cathedral, and, like Chesterton, he enjoyed writing detective novels and wrote a series of ten; this is a man who packed his life full of value.
He was not altogether approved of, especially by his fellow clergy who found his style of writing and his views somewhat out of sync with the ultra conservatism of the times. His views on indulgences verged (so his accusers believed) on disrespect as he stated on several occasions that he thought the Church should make them available: "when we get up to make room for an old lady on a bus". He was also not one for Marian devotions (which does, admittedly, make him hard to admire). 
 It is reported that he claimed: "......most of the literature about her (Our Lady) and the popular devotions connected with her leave me cold.”

The following passage is a good indication of his somewhat unorthodox views and is taken from his obituary in The Point, July 1958:-

"....As the above comments are phrased, one might get the impression that Monsignor Knox thinks that Saint John (despite all the doting senility he ascribed to the Saint) actually wrote the Holy Gospel according to Saint John. Not so. “Saint John,” writes Knox, “never really sat down and wrote a Gospel; what we’ve got is the result of a series of Press Conferences, at which his disciples were plying him with questions all the time.” The series of reminiscences that were thus “elicited from him piecemeal” were later shuffled together, the Monsignor says, and made into the Fourth Gospel. And so it happens that Monsignor Knox in the Gospel of Saint John, readily and without scruple blames those unknown disciples: “It looks as if their notes got muddled.”
A few weeks before his death, Monsignor Knox completed work on a new English translation of the autobiography of Saint Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower of Jesus. The book has just been published in this country and has been hailed as witness to the “abiding influence” of the late Monsignor.

It is impossible to look at Knox's life in the faith and not see strong similarities between him and some of our priest bloggers today, in particular,
Humour has always been an integral part of Catholic life, from the gallows humour of St Thomas More and the Martyrs to the likes of Chesterton, Belloc,  Tolkien (anyone who created a Hobbit must have had a great sense of the absurd) and, of course, Evelyn Waugh who was a personal friend of the Monsignor.
Perhaps Knox's most extravagant jest was his radio hoax which he pulled off in 1926 which is believed to have been the inspiration for The War of the Worlds hoax orchestrated by Orson Welles in 1938.
Knox's broadcast came out of the blue on an unsuspecting audience; London was being invaded, rioters were storming Broadcasting House. It was a very obvious spoof but it succeeded in panicking many people who were, as then, unused to serious subjects such as a news broadcast being parodied and the BBC had to issue the following reassurance the next day......

“Some listeners, who apparently only heard part of Father Knox's talk at 7:40 this evening did not realise the humorous innuendoes underlying the imaginary news items and have felt uneasy as to the fate of London, Big Ben and other places mentioned in the talk. The preliminary announcement stated that the talk was a skit on broadcasting and the whole talk was, of course, a burlesque. We hope that any listeners who did not realise it will accept our sincere apologies for any uneasiness caused. London is safe. Big Ben is still chiming, and all is well.”

Remember him in your prayers today - he would have made a great blogger!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

10 burning questions that demand an answer

Why is it that we soldier on, going to Mass, being (or trying to be) good Catholics and accepting the same old no change message?

Catholic laity are treated like mushrooms
- kept in the dark and, every so often a load
of crap is dumped upon them!

Of course, we sound off on our blogs and to like minded friends but it ends answers to our questions.

Here are my ten questions that I would like someone (even a Bishop) to provide answers to...

1. Why do we have Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion?

2. Why does Archbishop Nichols allow Masses to continue at Warwick Street,
    where homosexuality is held up as something to be valued?

3. When will the Holy Father celebrate an EF Mass in public?

4. Why is the EF Mass not taught at seminaries?

5. Why do Bishops not impose discipline (dress, liturgy, general behaviour) on
     their clergy?

6. Why are Catholic schools so appallingly bad (most of them) at catechising
    the young?

7. Why do Bishops not welcome support from traditional orders such as the
     FSSP and the ICKSP?

8. Why do priests remove communion rails and insist upon the faithful
    standing to receive the Host?

9. Where are our great apologists when it comes to representing the faith on
    television and radio?

10. When will Bishop Regan of Wrexham Diocese retire?

This list is not exhaustive, please feel free to add to it.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

It starts with a flower festival and ends with Walt Disney!

I do not normally comment on happenings in the Protestant Church except when they impinge on Catholic matters but I have to make an exception in this case.

St David help us! Still, it's probably
 the most animation this Cathedral has
seen in the last 475 years!
Flower festivals in church leave me cold (sorry Arundel Cathedral flower arrangers). They come about third on my curmudgeon's dislike list after guitars and Euphemistic Ministers (thank you Catholic and Welsh for that title).
Why? Because although people say that they are done for the greater glory of God, I believe that they attract for all the wrong reasons and detract from the Real Presence in the tabernacle.

In addition, they are the soft start to other 'activities' in church.....the Primary School play, a choral concert and now.....Walt Disney!

Not, of course, in a Catholic church but in what used to be a Catholic church, St David's Cathedral in the far west of far flung Pembrokeshire.

This must surely fall under the category 'Amazing but True' -  a special Friday* night screening is being promoted of the Disney "Up" animated film - more like 'Down' in my book.

The film was first premiered in 2009 and features a 78 year old widower who hitches balloons to his house and floats off with a young boy on board...ahem....let's leave it there shall we?

But what the H*** is it doing in a holy place like St David's Cathedral?

*Friday 26th August

And yet another!

There is a plethora of new, good Catholic blogs at present - is it seasonal I wonder?

Mulier Fortis has details of one and Shadowlands another. I like both of them very much.

Several more have popped up in the last few days but are lost in the ether......check on the blog sites.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Today's feast - Pope St Pius X

This is a special day. The feastday of a saint who was alive when my parents were young adults; a saint whose works are within living memory (my wife has a friend locally who was 6 years old when he died (she has just celebrated her 103rd birthday), a saint who led the way to block the advances of modernism.

The eyes have it - Pope St Pius X
Giuseppe Melchiorre Sarto

All of the photographs of this man show a personality not to be trifled with; in particular, his eyes never seem to vary from photograph to photograph - they are level, unwavering and constant, just as our faith should be.

Now let me guide you to some holiday reading, perhaps by a limpid pool of blue water with a glass of chilled La Ina and a bowl of salted almonds at your elbow...tempted?.....of course you are, it is Pope St Pius X's encyclical on modernism.......
.............Pascendi Domini Gregis.....enjoy (as they irritatingly say):-

You will find it here......Click!

Diabolical dialogue!

There is an interesting series of posts, starting with Rorate Caeli and continuing on the LMS Chairman's Blog, on the subject of audience participation participation of the faithful at low Mass.

I guess that what really focuses our minds is the dreaded dialogue Mass where the congregation mumble latin responses woodenly and in the style of a primary school class.

I remember its introduction well (although not the year). I was still a regular altar server and was thrown into a state of utter confusion by the babble coming from the rear. It's rather like what happens at a large Corpus Christi procession, the front half is singing verse 6 of Ave Maria while the rear end is still on verse 2 - mayhem!

The Tower of Babel - at a Dialogue Mass
near you!

Joseph Shaw posts about the impossibility of the faithful reciting the 'Suscipiat Dominus' prayer before the Preface and that is the case except that, this is the one prayer in a dialogue Mass that the congregation tend to leave well alone. Why?

Ah......even some (or quite a few actually) EF altar servers get this part wrong and give the response as soon as the priest has completed the 'Orate fratres' prayer.
What should happen is that the priest slowly returns to face the altar still reciting the prayer; the server gives him a count of 10 to finish and then comes in with the 'Suscipiat'.
Now congregations in a dialogue Mass always appear flummoxed at this point and, apart from the server, all are silent - good, it should be that way all through the Mass.

The dialogue concept is an aberration and one that should not, under any circumstances be revived. It distracts, it prevents the server from picking up on important signals, it sounds painful and drawn out and it prevents decent and reverent participation in the form of prayer and meditation.
Sadly, according to Rorate Caeli, it is legal and all set to be encouraged.
Is nothing sacred?

Friday, 19 August 2011

Is the Queen anti Catholic?

I know that HM and the late Cardinal Hume used to schmooze a bit (in the most Christian sense of the word) and that she used to refer to him as "My Cardinal" - a phrase that somehow rankled with me, raising spectres of an earlier Queen Elizabeth I guess.
But, on the whole Queen Elizabeth the Second has not gone out of her way to give any sort of impression of overt affection for the Catholic Church. Apparently, she did fleetingly smile when she greeted Pope Benedict last September but then quickly reverted to her "I've just stepped in something nasty" expression.

"Eccleston Square Smithers and make it
quick, it's open season for Catholic Bishops"

Of course, she is head of a heretical faith and there is every reason why she might have a downer on Papists but we Romans are, by and large these days, loyal and faithful servants to the Queen (but God's first). In fact, it was not so long ago that we had a prayer for the monarch immediately after Low Masses were said. How many Protestant churches have a default prayer for Her Majesty?
My press cuttings files reveal a report from the late 90s with a headline that reads....."Queen bars Catholic Masses at the Tower of London". This refers to a gentleman by the name of Peter Bearcroft, who, by some deft negotiations, had arranged for Mass to be celebrated regularly in the cell of St John Fisher.
A small group of Catholics would meet up and discreetly attend Holy Mass. This was with the permission of the Governor of the Tower, and, when he retired, Mr Bearcroft applied anew for permission to the new Governor and, after some bureaucracy, the matter was referred to HM Queen Elizabeth who flatly rejected the matter stating that her decision was: "...because of the problems this would  cause for the governor" a major insurrection of Catholics...or the storming of the Houses of Parliament by the Legion of Mary?

Of course, at her coronation, HM swore an oath to uphold the Protestant faith so one cannot really get too shirty except that, we are, by and large,  loyal servants of the crown and it would be good to be on the reciprocal end of things for a change.

After all, we are the only section of society barred from royal accession or, even, from being Prime Minister.
You can be Sikh, Muslim, Buddhist or 39th Day  Coming of the Anti-Christ Free Homosexual Revisionist and marry into the royal family or be PM.
But...if you are a Roman Catholic...forget it!

Absolved at a distance. This post is not for the faint hearted!

A barn in Fr Green's time and now
a church, one of the best examples
of Catholic 'Reformation' history
Today is the anniversary of the day that St Hugh Green met his savage death and gained his martyr's crown - 19th August 1642.

This was the England of Charles I and Fr Green had left his flock in Dorset to flee the country when he was arrested. He spent five months under foul conditions in prison before being taken to be executed on the outskirts of Dorchester. The night before his execution he had been warned of what was to take place by three women and they were taken to be hanged in advance of the martyr.
Fr Green was not able to communicate with the women in any way but it had been pre-arranged that, at the moment of execution, at a certain signal, he would give them absolution.
He was taken, strapped to a hurdle, to the scaffold but kept some distance from it until the women had been hanged. The women made their agreed confession at the foot of the gallows, the signal was given and Fr Green gave them absolution from afar.
As they were about to be hanged, two of the women turned towards Fr Green crying out "God be with you Sir" but the third turned her face away from him.

An eye witness account:

"Then it was the turn of the priest. The hanging was cursory and when he was cut down he was able to sit upright: then did the butcher cut him open and turned the flap upon his breast, which the holy man feeling put his hand upon his bowels, and looking on his bloody hand laid it down by his side, and lifting up his right hand crossed himself, saying three times, 'Jesu, Jesu, Jesu mercy!'
The which although unworthy, I am a witness of, for my hand was on his forehead, and many Protestants heard him and took great notice of it; for all the Catholics were pressed away by the unruly multitude except myself, who never left him until his head was severed from his body.
Whilst he was thus calling upon Jesus, the butcher did pull a piece of his liver out instead of his heart, then with his knife raked on the body of the blessed martyr, who even then called on Jesus, and his forehead sweat, then it was cold, presently again burned; his eyes, nose and mouth ran with blood and water, his patience was admirable, though his inward groans gave signs of those lamentable torments which, for more than half-an-hour he suffered"

This statement from a Dame Willoughby.

Faded murals on the wall of the barn in Chideock where
Fr Green celebrated the EF Mass - now the Church
of Our Lady and the Martyrs, Chideock, Dorset.
Well worth a visit if you are nearby.
                                   St Hugh Green - Ora pro nobis

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Of what use is an empty cross?

None, really. It is just a piece of wood, or two pieces of wood, it signifies a hollow, sanitised Protestant version of.......what?.......certainly not the sacrifice of the Son of God on Calvary...... no sign of the redemptive power of suffering and God's love for us in allowing His Son to be shamed, humiliated, beaten and executed as a common criminal.
Archbishop Fulton Sheen called it a symbol of totalitarian regimes, a cross without the saving Victim has no sacrificial element, it has no saving grace.

Bland, meaningless, insulting!

A number of comments have been made following my post regarding the ten things you would not find in a Catholic home; my tenth item was a wooden cross.
This may have been puzzling to some people so I set about finding Archbishop Sheen's famous talk on the value of the crucifix as opposed to the cross.

I recalled that I gave my CD set to my terminally ill sister in the hope that it would bring her some comfort in coping with her suffering. I do not know if it did. She died some six months later with no acknowledgement, not that I was looking for any.

My next step was to Google the matter and, much to my chagrin, I found that Mundabor had beaten me to it with a post in July. I cannot improve on that post. I wish I knew some Italian swear words.

So, straight from Mundabor's Blog comes part of ++ Sheen's sermon on the cross....

Re-browsing the exceedingly beautiful “Life of Christ” from the great Fulton Sheen (a book that, if you ask me, should be obligatory reading in every RCIA, or confirmation class) I stumbled upon this very beautiful concept which, once again, made on me a profound impression (emphases always mine).
“The modern world, which denies personal guilt and admits only social crimes, which has no place for personal repentance but only public reforms, has divorced Christ from His Cross; the Bridegroom and Bride have been pulled apart. What God hath joined together, men have torn asunder. As a result, to the left is the Cross; to the right is the Christ”. [...] Communism comes along and picks up the meaningless Cross; Western post-Christian civilization chooses the unscarred Christ.”
“Communism has chosen the Cross in the sense that it has brought back to an egotistic world a sense of discipline, self-abnegation, surrender, hard work, study, and dedication to supraindividual goals. But the Cross without Christ is sacrifice without love. Hence, Communism has produced a society that is authoritarian, cruel, oppressive of human freedom, filled with concentrantion camps, firing squads, and brain-washings”
“The Western post-Christian civilization has picked up the Christ without His Cross. But a Christ without a sacrifice that reconciles the world to God is a cheap, feminized, colorless, itinerant preacher who deserves to be popular for His great Sermon on the Mount, but also merits unpopularity for what He said about His Divinity on the one hand, and divorce, judgment, and hell on the other. This sentimental Christ is patched together with a thousand commonplaces. [...] Without His Cross, He becomes nothing more than a sultry precursor of democracy or a humanitarian who taught brotherhood without tears”.

Ben Trovato of Countercultural Father pointed out that Opus Dei members keep an 'empty' cross to remind them that they must be prepared to shoulder it throughout their lives, some religious orders also display a cross for the same purpose. All  that is good and fine.
 But, for those Catholics who put a cross rather than a crucifix on their wall they might like to consider the implications. Is it a denial of Christ? Is it just a euphemistic symbol? Is it a means to avoid meditating upon the shame and the agony associated with the crucifixion? ( Some Protestants believe that we Catholics enjoy keeping Christ permanently crucified without realising that the sacrifice on Calvary was not a one off and that the same sacrifice is made in an unbloody fashion at every Mass celebrated every day throughout the world).

Reflective, saving, poignant and fulfilling!

It is a scandal that, at one of the churches that I travel to for Sunday Mass, a large empty wooden cross hangs over the altar - the ultimate insult to one who made His sacrificial offering on our behalf.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Why are our seminaries also Woolly Mammoths?

Yes, frozen in time, lost in the mists of  50 years or so of history, the Catholic Seminaries are something of a shambles.
Please do not get me wrong. We have a small but growing population of good seminarians who have a taste for something more than guitars and tambourines on a Sunday; who want to do more than be jolly nice social workers and some who even wish to fulfil their vocation by merging into diocesan life and organising their parish. they want to save souls? That is what a priest is meant to do. Save the sinners, bring back the lapsed, counsel the Godly ones, rebuke the twittish ones but, in all things work towards the salvation of his flock.

What do they need in order to be good shepherds? Well, they need an orthodox outlook to begin with and they need to have some backbone and integrity. And it would help them in their role immensely if they were finally able to celebrate both forms of Mass.

Does this ring any err....bells?
If so, you're out!
 Why? Well, Father Christopher Smith on Chant Cafe has a very good post on the matter so please take a look; I do not think even the pinkest of limp wristed Catholics could find too much to object to there.

Sadly, we are led to believe that many young men who apply to their bishop as candidates for the priesthood are sunk before they begin if the review panel or Studies Director gets a sniff of anything like incense about their person.
If I was 20 years of age and believed that I had a vocation I would have no truck with what is generally on offer. Can you imagine being a closet traditionalist in the midst of a bunch of liberals, many of whom being, allegedly, homosexual in orientation?
I would hie me to the nearest FSSP or ICKSP PDQ!

That is, perhaps a message that those in charge of the seminaries might like to ponder upon. If they continue in their 1960s style of religious education they are going to drive more and more potential priests into the arms of the traditional seminaries.

What Father Smith concluded in his post was that there should be room for both forms of the Mass to be part of the everyday liturgy. That I believe is right (even though wild elephants could not drag me to an OF Mass as it is normally celebrated). But by dismissing those orthodox men the modern seminaries are closing the freezer door on themselves and electing to remain Woolly Mammoths.

Roll on climate change!

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Ten things you will not find in a Catholic home

  1. Statues of heathen deities Ganesh, Buddha etc
  2. An Ouija board
  3. Poster of Che Guevara
  4. Contraception pills
  5. Abortifacients
  6. Taize CD
  7. The Tablet
  8. A crystal
  9. Astrology charts
  10. A wooden cross

And.......certainly not......

...this book or any other by this man!

Four more last things....

A portable (allegedly) altar used by St Hugh
 Green and his fellow priest martyrs at Chideock

This is the second post instalment regarding St Hugh Green, leading up to his feastday on 19th August 1642.

This holy priest ploughed his spiritual furrow in rural Dorset, dodging and weaving to avoid the pursuivants, those officials who hunted down priests, tortured them and then brought them to trial so that they could have the satisfaction of watching them butchered like hogs.

He spoke, in his last few days, on "The last four things" and then, closer to the time of his execution he spoke to his accusers and fellow jailmates.....

"There be four things more: one God, one Faith, one Baptism, one Church. That there is one God we all acknowledge, in whom, from whom, and by whom all things remain and have their being.

That there is one Faith appears by Christ's praying that St Peter's faith (He said not faiths) should never fail; and He promised to be with it to the end of the world.

That there is one Baptism; we are all cleansed by the laver of water in the Word.

That there is one Church, holy and sanctified: doth not St Paul say that it is a glorious Church without spot or wrinkle or any such thing? Now the marks of this Church are sanctity, unity, antiquity, universality, which all of us in all points of faith believe. But some will say that we are fallen off from this Church of Rome, but in what pope's time, in what prince's reign, or what are the errors none can discover.
No, this holy Church of Christ did never err. By the law I am now to die for being a priest.

Judge you, can these new laws overthrow the authority of God's Church?
Nevertheless, I forgive you, and pray God for all."

                                          ORA PRO NOBIS

Monday, 15 August 2011

Woolly Mammoth found in Westminster Diocese!

A current phrase that is bandied around somewhat is "the elephant in the room" referring to a large problem or issue that overshadows all else.

Well, in Westminster Archdiocese they have a Woolly Mammoth in the room, frozen in time, long passed its sell by date ("use by 7th July 2007") and still no sign of the ice melting.

Mammuthus Westminsterii
I refer to the scandalous fact that, out of all the Diocese of England and Wales, only Westminster has not moved forward one step since the Holy Father's Motu Proprio regarding the responsibilities of the clergy in providing the Extraordinary Form of Mass wherever there was a demand.

Where may you attend an EF Mass in London (Westminster) on a Sunday?

The London Oratory 9am 
St James, Spanish Place 9.30am (thank you Fr Colven and the priest who comes to celebrate Mass each week (but please use a microphone)

St Edmund's, Ware (where?)

Holy Trinity and St Augustine, Baldock (one Sunday per month)

And that's it! Hardly a lavish offering, not exactly what Pope Benedict had in mind!

Westminster is small geographically but big in terms of Catholic population, it is a Diocese that includes the capital city of London - is that meagre offering good enough?

Let's just look at the profile and resources of Westminster.....

214 Parishes
417 secular priests
263 priests belonging to a religious order
49 - assorted others

That's a total of 729 priests!
Yet all that Archbishop Nichols can manage to provide is 3.25 EF Masses on a Sunday! Extraordinary! More than extraordinary it is a cause for scandal!

By my rough reckoning that makes the Sunday Mass score something like this:-

OF Masses circa................ 400
Homosexual Mass................. 1
EF Masses......................... 3.75

What are the Traditional Catholics of Westminster doing about it? Holding prayer vigils in the Piazza? Nope. Creating petitions to forward to Rome? Nope. Writing to the Papal Nuncio? Maybe.

As an ex Westminster Diocese Catholic I appeal for all to write to Archbishop Nichols in the first instance and then to Archbishop Mennini - perhaps then we can slice the Woolly Mammoth up and let the ice melt away for good.

Did Our Lady die? I don't think so!

Many thanks to this Sunday's sermon from Fr J for some thought provoking material - at least it was thought provoking for me....I have always just assumed the facts about the Assumption.

15th August - Feast of
The Assumption of The Virgin Mary
Did Our Heavenly Mother die before she was assumed? Of course not (although Pope Pius XII was careful to remain ambivalent on the subject).

St Paul said: "The wages of sin is death".......and if you take this statement to its logical conclusion....Our Lady was Mary Immaculate, born without the stain of Original or any other sin on her soul. She was and is unblemished, pure, radiant in her virginity and totally unknown to any offence against God whatsoever.

Therefore, she was, so some of us believe, assumed into Heaven to physically join her Divine Son at a moment of intense spiritual ecstasy...She could not die, she did not die, she was not liable to bodily corruption as she was spiritually incorrupt.

As the Eastern Church would put it...she fell asleep...The Feast of the Dormition of Our Lady. How utterly wonderful!

                                        A prayer for The Assumption:-

The ark which God has sanctified,
Which He has filled with grace,
Within the temple of the Lord
Has found a resting-place.
More glorious than the seraphim,
This ark of love divine,
Corruption could not blemish her
Whom death could not confine.
God-bearing Mother, Virgin chaste,
Who shines in heaven's sight;
She wears a royal crown of stars
Who is the door of Light.
To Father, Son and Spirit blest
may we give endless praise
With Mary, who is Queen of heaven,
Through everlasting days.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

The 2012 Olympics could cost as much as £20 billion!

And then something like this happens.........

Just a footnote on another matter. Some people have left comments on other blogs accusing me of having "strange ideas".
I would just like the following to go on record:-

1. This blog represents my views and mine alone (as well as the Holy Roman Church)

2. My blog has no connections with any priest from any Diocese.

3. My blog is not connected in any way with any Catholic organisation (although it may well carry information at times on behalf of others)

4. Finally, I am not sure what is meant by "strange ideas" - I do admit to a childish sense of humour, a dislike of cant and pomposity, an aversion to CINOs and a passion for Reverend James bitter - mea culpa!

A saint for our times - Maximilian Kolbe, Martyr

Today is the feastday of this great saint who died for love behind the barbed wire of a modern hell, Auschwitz.

This video clip tells his story far more effectively than my words would,
                                  St Maximilian Kolbe Ora pro nobis!

“Courage, my sons. Don’t you see that we are leaving on a mission? They pay our fare in the bargain. What a piece of good luck! The thing to do now is to pray well in order to win as many souls as possible. Let us, then, tell the Blessed Virgin that we are content, and that she can do with us anything she wishes” (Maximilian Mary Kolbe, when first arrested).

Prisoner's Prayer to Saint Maximilian Kolbe

O Prisoner-Saint of Auschwitz,
help me in my plight
Introduce me to Mary, the Immaculata,
Mother of God. She prayed for Jesus in
a Jerusalem jail. She prayed for you
in a Nazi prison camp. Ask her to comfort
me in my confinement. May she teach me
always to be good.
If I am lonely, may she say "God is here."
If I feel hate, may she say "God is love."
If I am tempted, may she say "God is pure."
If I sin, may she say "God is mercy."
If I am in darkness, may she say "God is light."
If I am unjustly condemned, may she say "God is truth."
If I have pain in soul or body, may she say "God is peace."
If I lose hope, may she say: "God is with you all days, and so am I."