Friday, 30 September 2011

Holy Father issues an order and...4 years on.....yawn...zzzzz!

"...blogging... should be made a serious criminal offence...."

Remember 29th December 2007?  No? Well you should because the Holy Father sent forth a command around the globe to the effect that all Bishops should look to their exorcist missiles and prime them ready for use - and, if they only had one or two Diocesan Exorcists, they should gear up and get a team together - Satanism is on the march as we well know.

I do not believe that this message from Pope Benedict, Christ's representative on earth and recipient of the wisdom of the Holy Spirit; Head of the Catholic Church and Vicar of Rome, ever reached England and Wales.

That, at least, would be a charitable explanation of why the CBEW snooze while the devil charges around destroying souls.

I have worked for one or two big organisations in the past and there was always one rule that was ever observed;
"when the CEO says jump...then do it pdq and do it high".
Without that obedience to a single, supreme (in an earthly sense) source all becomes anarchy, chaos and confusion allowing the enemy to thrive and flourish at will.

But the Bishops appear to put two episcopal digits in the air to all that comes from Rome.
Could it be that the old enemy (not England) has already penetrated the walls of Dunblessin House? Is 'the smoke of satan' whisping through the carpeted halls of Archbishops' residences throughout the land?

Just to refresh your memory this is how the press reported the issue back in 2007:-

The Pope has ordered his bishops to set up exorcism squads to tackle the rise of Satanism.

Vatican chiefs are concerned at what they see as an increased interest in the occult.
They have introduced courses for priests to combat what they call the most extreme form of "Godlessness."
Each bishop is to be told to have in his diocese a number of priests trained to fight demonic possession.
The initiative was revealed by 82-year-old Father Gabriele Amorth, the Vatican "exorcistinchief," to the online Catholic news service Petrus.
"Thanks be to God, we have a Pope who has decided to fight the Devil head-on," he said.
"Too many bishops are not taking this seriously and are not delegating their priests in the fight against the Devil. You have to hunt high and low for a properly trained exorcist.
"Thankfully, Benedict XVI believes in the existence and danger of evil - going back to the time he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith." The CDF is the oldest Vatican department and was headed by Benedict from 1982, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, until he became Pope in 2005.

Daily Mail

Intent on discovering whether there was any truth in my suspicion that no extra exorcists have been appointed in England and Wales (or that a Diocese even had an exorcist in the first place) I emailed 21 (only 21, not every Media contact has an email address - unbelievable) Diocesan Media Communications Officers, telling them that I intended to publish the results.

To date only 2 have responded. And one of those was a  "no show" inasmuch that the priest concerned, Fr Derek Turnham of Stokesley, North Yorkshire, refused to relay the information to me.

He does not appear to like Catholic bloggers. OK. That's his prerogative, no problem there. But in his capacity as a media information type person doesn't he have a duty to pass on information? Well?

Here is what Fr T has to say about my request:-

Dear Richard

Thank you very much for kindly responding with the information about your research.

I am afraid that for personal ethical reasons I am not prepared to co-operate – I believe that blogging as currently manifested should be made a serious criminal office because of the significantly negative comments that are so often made about people who are trying to do their best are so destructive to the good of society.

This statement speaks for itself, I will make no comments on the sentiments Father Turner expresses as I am sure that every Catholic blogger will have their own views on this matter.

If a journo from The Sun newspaper (I use the word loosely) contacted him and asked him for the same information...would he refuse?

Has he not heard of the Holy Father's words of encouragement on the new media technologies and those who dabble in them?

Fr Turner was very free in granting an interview to The T****t magazine (I use the word loosely) allowing them a fly on the wall insight into his domestic life, so why so coy about the number of exorcists in the Diocese?
Unless, of course, there are none and the Pope's order has not been obeyed.

And now, a big thank you to Fr John Harvey of Brentwood Diocese. He responded by return giving complete information as requested. He, also, may not approve of my blog or of Catholic bloggers, I do not know. But I do know that he was professional and confident enough to reply, and that's just plain Christian courtesy and sound business practice.

So, all that time has elapsed since Pope Benedict's request to his Bishops and little or nothing appears to have been done in response to that request, certainly in England and Wales.

Zilch....nothing, no reply.

That fact, in itself begs the question.......when you make a demand surely you follow through to see if your orders have been obeyed?

So why has Rome been silent for the best part of four years?
Is someone keeping the HF in the dark?

Maybe I need to make a phone call to find out more.....where's that number?
.....ah, yes, here it is....666......ooops!

Postscript: H/T to Berenike for pointing out that the Vatican denied (at the time) issuing such a request to the Bishops. There appears to be two views here but, even accepting that the Vatican is right and Fr Amorth wrong, we should still have exorcists in every Diocese - teams of them!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Feast of the Archangels - Hosanna!

This picture has got an interpretation
 but really, life's too short, sorry!

The Feastday of the Archangels, Michael, Raphael and Gabriel - what power is in those names. I read somewhere in the past year that the road to salvation is made more certain by daily recourse to these three Archangels and, ever since then, I have included them in my night prayers - too good a tip to ignore methinks.

The above painting is attributed to Andrea del Verrochio and the story involves Tobias, a healing, a wicked father-in-law, a fluffy dog and a pet fish that can, amazingly go for walks on a lead sans water! Sorry to appear trite but the story in the only online version I can find is very disjointed and I am ultra busy preparing for my departure for the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma meeting on Saturday. So that's it, really.

And now for some good prayers to our great Archangels.................

St Gabriel the Archangel

O God, who from among all the Angels did choose the Archangel Gabriel to announce the Mystery of Thine Incarnation: mercifully grant that we who keep his feast on earth may feel the effect of his patronage in heaven. Who lives and reigns, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen

O Blessed Archangel Gabriel, we beseech you, intercede for us at the throne of divine Mercy in our present necessities, that as you did announce to Mary the mystery of the Incarnation, so through your prayers and patronage in heaven we may obtain the benefits of the same, and sing the praise of God forever in the land of the living. Amen.

Prayer to St. Raphael the Archangel

O glorious Archangel, St Raphael, great Prince of the heavenly court, illustrious for your gifts of wisdom and grace, guide of those who journey by land or sea, consoler of the afflicted, and refuge of sinners: I beg you to assist me in all my needs and in all the sufferings of this life, as once you did help the young Tobias on his travels. And because you are the 'Medicine of God,' I humbly ask you to heal the many infirmities of my soul, and the ills which afflict my body, if it be for my greater good. I especially ask of you an angelic purity, which may fit me to be the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Be pleased, O Lord God, to send to our aid St Raphael the Archangel: and may he, who, we believe, stands forever before the throne of Your Majesty, offer unto You our humble petitions to be blessed by You. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel

Supported by the intercession of blessed Michael, Thine Archangel, we humbly beseech Thee, O Lord, that the service we pay with our lips, we may lay hold of with our minds. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who lives and reigns with Thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, world without end. Amen.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon your Holy Name, and as supplicants we implore your clemency, that by the intercession of Blessed Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel St Michael, You would deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who roam about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen. 


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

March with Our Lady in London October 8th

The annual Rosary Crusade of Reparation march will take place in London on Saturday October 8th.
It is a heartening and deeply spiritual experience to walk through the City's streets, singing hymns and reciting the Rosary and affirming one's Catholic faith.

Motorists stuck in the traffic will look at you as if they would like to see you re-routed via Tyburn Tree, but, no matter. They will only be delayed by a few minutes, say a prayer in response to their glaring looks.

The march leaves Westminster Cathedral at c. 1.45pm and heads off to the London Oratory where Mass and Benediction are normally offered.

And this year the march will be led by none other than the
 Rt Reverend Monsignor Keith Newton, Protonotary Apostolic and Ordinary of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.

So, dust off your zimmer frames and get cracking!

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

New design preview for the Union Jack

The new Union Jack - no cross, see?
Now, as any schoolboy or girl knows, the Union Flag (to give it the correct handle) is a design comprising the crosses of St George, St Andrew and St Patrick (tough luck St David and Wales, you have been ignored).

Take those crosses away and you are left with the white flag of surrender. But who would wish for those crosses to be removed from our beloved flag?

Well, we only have to look at that bastion of neutrality and dodgy banking practices, Switzerland, to see what could, just could happen here.

You see the role of the Swiss (Oh, I really am so very sorry) over the past few years or more has been one of benificence, especially towards Muslims wishing to settle in that beautiful country, home of cuckoo clocks and alpen.
They have allowed Muslims from Eastern Europe and Turkey to settle in their country and now, quite naturally, those nouveau Suisse want to place their mark on their adopted home.
In brief they want the Swiss Government to remove the white cross from their red flag because, as any fool knows, the cross is just such an awful, debasing, Christian symbol in today's world.

Ah, you say, but that is in Switzerland, a foreign country where they speak a different language and yodel instead of using cell phones - it could never happen in dear old Blighty.

Well, when they have the call to prayer echoing around the dreaming spires of dear old Oxford City and open recruitment to join jihad on the streets of London, anything can happen.

And where, if we removed our crosses would it leave us?
With a white flag, of course - how very appropriate!

Who would be pleased at such a move?
Well, yes, of course, the Muslim community, or some of them, might fire off a few Kalashnikovs down Finsbury Park way but the real winners would be the Welsh nation!
We have discriminated  against our Welsh cousins for far too long so, perhaps the new Union Flag would look something like this.....?

Yes, dear Cambrian friends, I do know that
the real Welsh flag also has a cross on it!


Monday, 26 September 2011

Why in Latin?

Fr Clement Tigar SJ was a great priest and a great writer on all matters theological. For many years he was Rector at the seminary for late vocations, Campion House at Osterley, West London and, as a very young man, I often passed him in the street but he was distant and aloof; his mind was ever on a higher plane (certainly higher than mine).

One of his lighter (but no less interesting) books is called Papist Pie, a collection of questions and answers about the faith published in 1945.

Here is the chapter on "Why in Latin?"

"Why are all your services in a language no one can understand?

They are not. The evening service always contains prayers in English.
The Mass, which is the central act of worship, is in Latin, for many reasons. The Catholic Church is not just the church of this or that country, it is world-wide. Its members feel at home, because they can take part in the same service, in the same language, all over the world.

Again, Latin being a dead language, is free from those changes in the meaning of words, inevitable to a modern language, and is therefore more suitable for expressing with exactitude those doctrines which never change, because eternally true.

Catholics attending Mass do not need to follow every word of the Mass. They understand that it is the official act of sacrifice, instituted by Christ, which the priest offers up in the name of Christ, for the people. They can either follow English translations in their prayer books, or join their own private prayers, in their own private way, to the official prayers of the priest.

The Mass is an act rather than a prayer.

It is both reassuring and good to see the clarity of Fr Tigar's reasoning and, though basic, the teaching is as true today as it was then.

"The last good Pope" (according to Calvin)

There is little doubt that Pope Gregory I (Gregory the Great) was a truly great Pope and leader of the faithful.
His reign was from 590 AD to 604AD, 14 glorious years in which time he wrote copiously leading to him being dubbed "The Father of Christian worship"

He cultivated art within the Church at a time where there was considerable dissent as to whether Catholic churches should be adorned with paintings and statues - but this Pope stood firm and was responsible for the beginning of a rich history of artists, sculptors, architects and, of course, musical composers.

The thought of a Catholic church without statues is almost impossible to consider but here is an account of how Pope St Gregory I  handled the matter....

"On one point nearly all Early Christians agreed - that there should be no religious statues. So recently in their memories lived the idea of the worship of images that no reminder on this plane could be tolerated.

Many went further and would have no pictures either. Here the Pope saved the cause of sacred art for all time.
He reminded those who were against all  art that there were many people who could neither read or write, and for them pictures were of the greatest assistance.
Painting can do for the illiterate what writing does for those who read...."

Pope Gregory's heritage,
7th Century Basilica of today's Saints,
Cosmas and Damian - Rome

Sunday, 25 September 2011

"Blogging should be made a serious criminal offence" states priest

Yep, this is true, or at least the statement is true. All will be revealed next Friday 30th September in a post I am working on regarding exorcists - until then, please keep me in your prayers...who knows what one may find when you begin looking under stones?

And on a lighter, more positive note.....

It was reported in Saturday's Daily Telegraph that London's Hyde Park is to introduce a series of 'natural' features to enable children (not kids, please note) to understand and learn about the wonders of nature.

'Glory be to God for dappled things..'
 The features will include that modern version of the village pond now known as a 'dipping pond' and, get this, children will be able to slosh around collecting water boatmen, caddis larvae and all manner of aquatic creepy crawlies - marvellous.
If you want to learn about Almighty God and you are six years old then a dipping pond is a brilliant place to begin.

Please God the Health and Safety fascists and the Nanny Society will not get to hear about this.

Saturday, 24 September 2011

Welcome to hell - have a nice eternity!

You're enjoying your life, you are successful, have plenty of money, a fast car, house in the stockbroker belt, 3 children and a beautiful wife...pretty damn good eh?

Only trouble is, you no longer practice your faith (well you do go to Midnight Mass at Christmas and you do give the children Easter Eggs) and, to cap it all you have had an affair at the office (over now, of course) and you did have to stick the knife in on Johnson in Marketing  so that he got the push and you got his job - but then, that's business isn't it?
Confession is just a distant memory and the reception of Holy Communion, likewise.

And then, just as you are en route to a meeting that could result in a massive bonus for you - Wham! Crash! Bang! - you have just stepped out in front of an eight ton London Transport Bus and you are mutton, deceased, dead as a parrot.

Now you are coming to...aaargh! blinded by a bright light and then the vision and then...ten seconds are in HELL!

Come on in, things are just hotting up!

Reality begins to set are here for eternity, like forever....longer than forever...and there's no get out of jail card, no plea bargaining, no time off for good behaviour...just eternal fire, demons, souls in agony, torments, tortures....pain, humiliation, degradation, no day or night just sheer hell.

H/T to Fr Z for his one liner on the subject that set my mind racing.
Like most people, my faith is a bit of a struggle at times but I have never wavered from the fear of the prospect of eternal damnation brought down on my own head by my own deeds.

I have weighed up the various options (like missing Mass on Sundays or robbing a bank) but alway, always come to the conclusion that the effort to stay in a state of grace is so well and truly worth it.

What kind of omadhaun would play Russian roulette with a revolver that has all the chambers full?

 Not me.

Regular Confession, Mass and Holy Communion - no worries mate!
 As they say in New Holland.

See also Fr Dwight Longenecker's post

BTW - a typo on Fr Z's post regarding Fr Ray Blake and his attack by the homosexual lobby - the headline reads:
"Fr Blake of Brighton taking flake (sic) from bullies for being Catholic"

'flake' huh?  is that the homosexual version of flak?

Friday, 23 September 2011

Violence, pornography and sex at the cinema - but no smoking please!

Licenced to kill, seduce, lie and cheat - but not to smoke!

Yes, this says it all really. The fact that those in authority who seek to invoke the nanny state on the one hand but open the door for Satan on the other are now about to set another silly piece of regulation into force.....films showing people smoking are to be censored and issued with a classification code alongside PG which stands for 'Anything goes' 15, meaning 'you are 15 years old so it's about time you learnt about depravity and 18 meaning 'be prepared to come face to face with Lucifer'.

Ah me, at times I do long for those days of innocence when a man and  a woman were handcuffed together for night time scenes.....I'm talking about 'The Thirty Nine Steps' what were you thinking?

Honi sont qui mal y pense!

Fear not Father Ray Blake.......

..........there's an old RAF saying.....


stop press...stop press.....stop press......


Awoke today full of apprehension after hearing news that various bits of  old satellites and space stations are about to enter the earth's atmosphere and make contact with terra firma (should that be terror firma?).
The Today programme news was less than helpful, they reassured their audience by stating that the fragments (some the size of a bus) would only weigh in the region of tens of hundreds of pounds when they hit earth.
Phew, for one minute I thought they might be dangerous!

And then...I looked out of my window only to see a large lump of twisted, rusty metal in our front drive! Goodness, (I thought), it didn't even wake me up.
And then I realised in the grey light of dawn; it was only my car.


"Prayer is the best weapon we possess, the key
that opens the heart of God"

The feast of a great saint, one who died only in 1968 and whose funeral is recorded on film.
The accounts of Padre Pio, the miracles wrought through his intercession, the episodes of bilocation and his ability to read the souls of men are almost too numerous to select any particular one. So I have chosen to feature an extract regarding the day that he received the stigmata (20th September 1918)

It was June 15, 1921, and in answer to a question posed by Bishop Rossi, Padre Pio said: "On Sept. 20, 1918, I was in the choir of the church after celebrating Mass, making the thanksgiving when I was suddenly overtaken by powerful trembling and then there came calm and I saw Our Lord in his crucified form.
"He was lamenting the ingratitude of men, especially those consecrated to him and favored by him."
"Then," Padre Pio continued, "his suffering was apparent as was his desire to join souls to his Passion. He invited me to let his pains enter into me and to meditate on them and at the same time concern myself with the salvation of others. Following this, I felt full of compassion for the Lord's pains and I asked him what I could do.
"I heard this voice: 'I will unite you with my Passion.' And after this the vision disappeared, I came back to myself, my reason returned and I saw these signs here from which blood flowed. Before this I did not have these."
Padre Pio then said that the stigmata were not the result of a personal request of his own but came from an invitation of the Lord, who, lamenting the ingratitude of men, and consecrated persons in particular, conferred on Padre Pio a mission as the culmination of an interior mystical journey of preparation.

This video clip (sorry about the awful and inappropriate guitar twanging) gives a very moving picture of the piety and devotion this great saint had when celebrating the Holy Mass, the Mass of all time, the Tridentine Latin Mass - "he suffered at every consecration during Mass". Worth remembering that Vatican officials treated him abysmally and, for many years he was treated as an outcast, even after his death.

Padre Pio, St Pio - Ora pro nobis

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Are you tempted?

It is not, of course, a sin to be tempted but it could be a sin if we yield to our temptations depending upon what form they take.
It would also be a sin to dally in the shop window of temptation - the occasion of sin!
No, dear they are not halos!

Remember that Our Lord was tempted in the desert and remember also, who it was that tempted him, it is the self same devil that tempts us.
The trials of temptation should, according to Thomas a Kempis, be used against the devil. How? By offering our torments, (for such they can be) as an act of penance. That is not to say that we should wallow in temptation but that we should regard it as one might regard a disease or illness.

"Bear it and offer it up" was the mantra learnt at my Mother's knee and it's not a bad one to abide by although, a scraped knee is perhaps easier to bear than a fixation on drugs, detraction, food, gambling, pornography or alcohol (or doughnuts).

By accepting the sacrifice of temptation we turn the fire back on the enemy; we make the torture bearable, even, in a spiritual sense, enjoyable -
 "Bring it on - nothing can hurt me, God is my Father" goes the cry.

                                          On resisting temptation
                                           by Thomas a Kempis

As long as we are in this world we shall always have to face trials and temptations. As it says in the Book of Job - "What is man's life on earth but a time of temptation?"
That is why we should treat our temptations as a serious matter and endeavour by vigilance and prayer to keep the devil from finding any loophole. Remember that the devil never sleeps, but goes about looking for his prey.
There is no one so perfect or holy that they never meet temptation; we cannot escape it altogether.

Yet temptations often bring great benefits, even if they are disagreeable and a great burden; for in temptation a man is humbled, purified and disciplined.
All the saints passed through many trials and temptations, and that was how they made spiritual progress, while those who could not stand up to temptation fell away and lost their salvation.

However holy a religious order may be, however remote a place, temptations and difficulties will still be found there.
Man is not entirely safe from temptation as long as he is alive, because the source of temptation lies within us - we are born in concupiscence.
When one trial or temptation leaves us, another takes its place, and we will always have something to endure, because we have lost the blessing of human happiness.

Many people try to run away from temptation and all they do is fall more heavily. We cannot be victorious if we only run away, but patience and true humility will give us strength to defeat every enemy.
A man will not make much progress if he rejects the actual temptation but fails to root out its actual cause. The temptation will soon come back and he will suffer worse.

It is by slow degrees, by patience and long suffering with the help of God that you will win the victory, not by harshness and impatience.
When you are tempted, seek guidance often from others; and do not yourself deal harshly with someone else who is tempted, but comfort him as you would wish to be comforted yourself....

...For this reason we should not despair when tempted, but beseech God all the more fervently, to aid us in His mercy in every kind of distress; for, as St Paul says:

"With the temptation itself, He will ordain the issue of it, and enable you to hold your own"

...Trials and tribulations test what progress a man has made; it is there that merit is found, and virtue better revealed.
It is no great thing for a man to feel fervour and devotion to God when he is not troubled; but if he patiently maintains his spiritual state in a time of adversity, then there is hope of great progress.

And do not forget, either, your Guardian Angel:

O my good Angel whom God hath appointed to be my Guardian.
Enlighten and protect, direct and govern me this day/night and for evermore.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Bishop of Linz sacks a priest for being orthodox

H/T to Laudem Gloriae for this appalling bit of news.....
Bishop Ludwig Schwarz of Linz

...and now for some appalling doggerel.....

The Bishop of Linz
Seems to like sinz
But, with a name like Schwarz
You expect a few wartz

After Ogden Nash (with apologies to the great man and to anyone who bears the surname Schwarz (except Ludwig, that is).)

Photo credit: Coo-ees From the Cloister Blog

Robbed - of the Latin Mass!

From the book, Catholics, by Brian Moore comes the film of the same name.

The film 'Catholics' was made in the early 70s and priests, at the time, told their flocks that: "It can never happen".

Well, it did.

In the film, the great Cyril Cusack plays Fr Manus who makes a stirring and profound discourse around 02.15 - that says it all.

If ever you have a chance to see the film in its entirety, do so; you will not be disappointed but you may be surprised at the ending.

The second great shame is that Ireland today is but a pale shadow of its Catholic roots - would it be too great a connective leap to say that, with the loss of spirituality (mainly derived from the Latin Mass), came a vacuum that brought secularism, apostasy and...paedophilia?

Here is the clip.................

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

A scenario for Friday abstinence

It's Friday night and you go to friends for dinner having told them, some days beforehand, that you don't eat meat on Fridays.

Now the stuff of nightmares for Catholics
on a Friday night
As the main course arrives on the table you see that it is Beef Wellington (or Boeuf Wellington if you have executive friends).

What do you do?

A) Politely leave the meat and eat the carrots and potatoes making "umm,
     delicious" type noises

B) Wait until no one is looking and slide the offending piece of beef into your
      pocket or handbag

C) Slip the beef secretly to the family dog/cat/goldfish and hope for the best

D) Pretend you have a black eye and slap the beef over the 'bruise'

ANSWER: You do none of the above - you eat the meat without complaint.

No sin has been committed but a sin might be committed if you gave rise to offence and possible scandal by rejecting the meat. Your intentions were pure, no problem.

HOWEVER.......If halfway through the meal your hostess suddenly screams and says: "Swipe me but I've just remembered you are a card carrying Papist and you don't eat animals of the mammalian persuasion on Fridays"
You then have to go to some lengths to prove that your silence was born out of courtesy and not out of weakness on your part. Over to you.

Monday, 19 September 2011

The Papal Visit - 29 years on!

1982 was the year,  Pope John Paul II was the Pope and Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff was the venue.
A group of us men (it appeared to be a men only occasion back then) gathered at the side of the A40 just outside Ross-on-Wye at 4am to catch the designated coach to Cardiff. I knew only a few of the others, Ted Drake-Lee RIP and Richard Vaughan of the famous Courtfield Vaughans and Bernard Hyde, a family friend who was on the charismatic road to Heaven (arms outstretched and eyes rolling upwards like a puppet on ecstasy) - but I must not malign the afflicted!

It was still dark when we arrived in Cardiff and disembarked at Pontcanna. we had been given a very officious briefing on the coach by a military looking gent wearing a black beret and sporting  a walrus moustache; our little group of four were allocated a 'paddock' of around 3 acres in size and given a format as to how pilgrims were to be placed within the paddock "fill from the back and NOT the front!"

Pontcanna Fields, Cardiff 1982
"Two's company, three's a crowd
We settled down in the early dawn and ate cold bacon sandwiches washed down with flasks of tea and coffee plus a few hip flasks of whisky and eagerly awaited both our pilgrims and the Holy Father. I believe that JPII was due to arrive at 11am and our paddock was at least 3 back from the stage where he was to celebrate Mass.
At 9am no bodies had presented themselves for our allocation and we were beginning to feel about as useful as a chocolate teapot; then, joy of joys, a group of four presented themselves and were duly escorted to the back row (it was on the principal of 'those who are first shall be last' etc).

Another hour or more elapsed and it became obvious that there was not going to be the turnout that the organisers had hoped for. We debated about releasing our four pilgrims from their bleak corner but the order came from above that they must remain in position.
I am always guided by the old adage 'rules were made for the guidance of wise men and the observance of fools' so I walked across and released them so that they could get a ringside position, much to the chagrin of the military gent who was looking decidedly flushed and angry.

Taking off my yellow beret and sash I stuffed them into my yellow bag and told all present of my plans for desertion. Some stayed put and some followed and the military gent huffed and puffed and, in a bit of a strop, grabbed his yellow bag which turned upside down whereupon about 30 miniature bottles of gin fell out - ah, the flush was alcohol based, not anger!

The rest is history as they say. The hymns were abysmal (even though then I was then still a Nervous Disorder Catholic) and Pontcanna Fields never got more than a couple of hundred thousand people but, I had seen the Pope and attended his Mass.

'The Bishops' work'

There are a lot of souls awaiting salvation in England and Wales

The following is a page taken from the website of 'Welcome to the Catholic Church of England and Wales'. It is a description of all that the Bishops of England and Wales are called to do. says nothing about saving souls. Am I missing something?

"The values of the Gospel – peace, love, truth, justice, charity – are unchanging, eternal truths. Yet the world is changing constantly. The Church therefore has a prophetic calling to read these ‘signs of the times’ and interpret them in the light of the Gospel.

The Church is called to reflect on the interface between Christianity and society. Do our schools, hospitals and prisons reflect the depth of Christ’s love for humanity? Do our laws protect and cherish all humans, rich or poor, sick or well, as made in the image and likeness of God?

In England and Wales, our work includes promoting marriage and family life, work in the education and healthcare sectors, environmental concerns, supporting the priesthood and religious life, dialogue with Christian Churches and members of different faith communities and much more.
Internationally, the Church works and collaborates with people and organisations in many countries around the world. The breadth of the Church's work takes in aid and development, global justice and peace, support and solidarity with the Church overseas and missionary work to highlight but a small cross-section".

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Headteacher wanted...Salary c. £90k



School Group 6
(Salary Range: L33-L39)
Diocese of Westminster
The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
89 Addison Road, Kensington, London W14 8BZ
Telephone: 020 7603 8478 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              020 7603 8478      end_of_the_skype_highlighting
The formation of the whole man, his intellect, his heart, his will, his character and his soul.
Cardinal Henry Manning (1807-1892)
Following the retirement of the Headmaster, Mr Michael Gormally, the Governors of this extremely popular, over-subscribed, high-performing and very successful Catholic Comprehensive School for Boys (roll 960 including mixed Sixth Form of 346) seek to appoint a Headteacher as soon as is practicable.

The successful candidate will be a practising Catholic fully committed to supporting the Catholic ethos of the School, a leader with the ability to manage and inspire a dedicated and talented staff team to meet the academic and pastoral needs of a broad range of pupils achieving well above average academic results.

"The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School is a very successful school whose pupils attain exceptionally high standards as a result of very good teaching coupled with very good leadership and management."
Most Recent Ofsted Inspection Report
Through its ethos and sound Catholic teaching, the School aims to prepare its pupils to undertake their duties as Catholics in society. Working in partnership with parents and the wider community, your responsibility will be to foster in our pupils a love for the Church which will help them to grow and develop as they make their way through life.

Application packs and arrangements to visit the School are available from the Bursar on the above telephone number.
CLOSING DATE: Thursday 29 September 2011 at 12 p.m
Diocese of Westminster

Contact information

The Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School
89 Addison Road, Kensington, London W14 8BZ
020 7603 8478 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              020 7603 8478      end_of_the_skype_highlighting

The Church owes a debt to the SSPX

The Church owes the Society of St Pius X a huge debt as do we as a family. It was the Society that kept the Latin Mass at the top of the post Vatican II agenda and, equally as importantly, held the Church to stay true to the teachings of Christ when all around was dissolving into the abyss.

For years the Catholic media referred to Archbishop Lefebvre as 'The Rebel Archbishop' and other similar derogatory titles. The clergy, or many of them, classified the Society as schismatic and fundamentalist yet the priests I knew were far from both (although there are a few amongst them who would classify for that description, but very few).

Since the Vatican and Bishop Fellay (who is, I believe, one of the holiest men I have ever met), have been in talks the phraseology has altered a little. Now they are referred to as the SSPX or 'the Society' and quite right too.

But, there is one exception. One blogger who refers to the Society as 'Lefebvrists' and talks about them 'submitting' to Rome. Oh deary me no! That will not do. That is not so very Christ like, it's not even polite.

I will not name and shame but I do pray that she gets a more measured slant to her blog in future. It's a blog that I do not normally follow as I find that it leads me down the route of venial sin (if a few strong oaths count as venial sin, which I rather think that they do).
But I shall stop by on a once a month basis just to see if she is behaving with Christian decency.
And if she's not then I shall offer up a Mass for her - that reminds me of a time spent in a convent in Rome whilst on pilgrimage.

The nun in charge of pilgrim accommodation had obviously been to the Goebbels School of Hospitality rounded off with work experience at the Pyongyang Dear Leader Hilton. She was outrageously rude, especially to Mrs Linen who, let me tell you, has angel blood in her veins. She shouted and ranted at us if we sat in a wrong chair or walked too fast or too slow. It got so bad that we nicknamed her 'Sister Satanas.' Her vile nature was obscuring the whole point of our being there and, on the last day, whilst kneeling at Mass, a quick nudge from my Guardian Angel pushed me into offering up my Mass for that awful nun.

After Mass we came out of the chapel and were about to leave the convent for a meal and a glass or two of chianti collapso when I was grabbed and embraced enthusiastically by the aforesaid nun. She was smiling and laughing and looking even slightly coqettish. She then embraced my wife warmly also and with many blown kisses and flutters of fingers, we were waved off by this little saint of a nun.

Never before have I experienced the consequences of prayer so swiftly and so obviously - the power of the Eucharist!
And who knows? It may work with that certain blogger also.

Homosexual lobby adopts animal rights tactics

In the past ten years or so the animal rights movement in Great Britain has implemented some pretty horrific campaigns against those who earn a living breeding animals for scientific research. The worst campaign involved a family who farmed guinea pigs in the English Midlands and who were targeted by these criminals.
What transpired took place over several years but the main threats against the family were as follows: all suppliers and contractors were contacted and threatened with violence if they continued to supply the farm.
As a result no central heating oil was delivered along with feedstuffs and all other items that a farm and domestic accommodation rely upon.
Then the staff and their families were threatened and they sought work elsewere.
Of course, the farming family were themselves threatened with being burnt out and then, the recently deceased Grandmother was dug up from her grave and removed by the activists.

And now the homosexual lobby are commencing a similar campaign against pro life organisations in the US. At present it is non violent but it is, potentially, immensely harmful. They, under the banner of the organisation, All Out, have delivered a petition to PayPal requesting that all banking facilities be withdrawn form the pro life groups - and guess what? PayPal are said to be considering the request.

Here is a report sent to me by GM, to whom goes my thanks:-

"September 15, 2011 ( - Homosexual activists are pressuring PayPal to cut off the accounts of pro-family Christian organizations that oppose the homosexual political agenda and uphold sexual morality, and PayPal is showing signs that it may capitulate to their demands.
The homosexual organization behind the effort, All Out, claims that such organizations as Tradition, Family, and Property, and Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), as well as pro-family Christian activist Julio Severo, promote “hate, violence, and intolerance” and are “extremist.”
Pro-homosexual groups

“Thanks to PayPal, its (sic) easier than ever to send and receive money across currencies and continents - but it is also PayPal’s responsibility to make sure this technology doesn’t fall in the wrong hands. Anti-LGBT extremists all over the world are currently using PayPal to fundraise for their dangerous cause,” writes All Out.
“Not only is it against PayPal’s rules to promote promote ‘hate, violence, [and] racial intolerance,’ hate groups also damage PayPal’s brand and credibility. We ask that PayPal join the fight against online hate and immediately shut down the accounts of anti-LGBT extremist groups using the service.”
All Out says that is has collected almost 35,000 signatures on its online petition.
According to the European homosexual news service PinkNews, PayPal has responded by stating, “We take very seriously any cases where a user has incited hatred, violence or intolerance because of a person’s sexual orientation.”
Although it adds, “we also take into account the rights of free speech and freedom of religion,” PayPal reportedly goes on to note, “we regularly review organisations and websites that use our service, and stop working with those that break our Acceptable Use Policy.” has created its own online petition at the website, which states: “I protest the attack by homosexual organizations on Christian activists Julio Severo, Americans for Truth About Homosexualty (AFTAH), and Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP). I encourage PayPal to affirm the right of pro-family organizations to use its service and to reject attacks on the Christian faith and other religions that uphold sexual morality and defend family values.”
Please sign the petition to stand up for religious values, conscience and free speech.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Taking steps to save life in the womb

David Aron is a young man setting out on a solo walk along the historic River Thames, 184 miles in total from 7th to 14th October - and all to raise funds for The Good Counsel Network, an organisation that works hard on behalf of the unborn and those considering abortion. David needs our prayers and....
....our money.
It is a most worthy cause; at first thought, I envied David the route that he is taking, along the beautiful Thames Valley (being TV, that's Thames Valley, raised myself) but then I remembered that, at the seaward end of the river, it becomes a tad bleaker and the riverside pubs disappear. And then I thought...184 miles? Stone the crows!......where's the sponsor button!

Here is the link for donations and here is a Thames verse to speed him on his way...

                                         Twenty Bridges from Tower to Kew -
                                        Wanted to know what the River knew,
                                      Twenty Bridges or twenty-two,
                                 For they were young and the Thames was old
                                       And this is the tale that the River told:-

                                     "I walk my beat before London Town,
                                       Five hours up and seven down.
                                  Up I go till I end my run
                                          At Tide-end-town, which is Teddington.
                                        Down I come with the mud in my hands
                                                  And plaster it over the Maplin Sands.
                                       But I'd have you know that these waters of mine
                                       Were once a branch of the River Rhine,
                                     When hundreds of miles to the East I went
                                           And England was joined to the Continent.

                                    "I remember the bat-winged lizard-birds,
                                        The Age of Ice and the mammoth herds,
                                        And the giant tigers that stalked them down
                                       Through Regent's Park into Camden Town.
                                       And I remember like yesterday
                                    The earliest Cockney who came my way,
                                When he pushed through the forest
                                                                        that lined the Strand,
                                        With paint on his face and a club in his hand.
                                             He was death to feather and fin and fur.
                                             He trapped my beavers at Westminster.
                                                He netted my salmon, he hunted my deer,
                                                He killed my heron off Lambeth Pier.
                                        He fought his neighbour with axes and swords,
                                 Flint or bronze, at my upper fords,
                                            While down at Greenwich, for slaves and tin,
                       The tall Phoenician ships stole in,
                                            And North Sea war-boats, painted and gay,
                                        Flashed like dragon-flies, Erith way;
                                        And Norseman and Negro and Gaul and Greek
                                     Drank with the Britons in Barking Creek,
                                 And life was gay, and the world was new,
                                  And I was a mile across at Kew!
                                      But the Roman came with a heavy hand,
                                        And bridged and roaded and ruled the land,
                                        And the Roman left and the Danes blew in -
                                        And that's where your history-books begin!"

Rudyard Kipling

It's true...Catholics are a funny lot!

And to prove it Fr James Martin SJ has written a piece on Catholic humour (or humor as he mistakenly spells it!).
It is a fine piece and the views expressed are sound but....most important of all, some Catholic bloggers need reminding that we should have a sense of humour, sorry, humor, and that, in itself,  is a very good thing. Click on the link at the end of this post.

And my contribution comes as:

"What's the difference between a supermarket trolley and a charismatic?"

Answer: "A supermarket trolley has a mind of its own"

That should fill the combox up nicely.

Friday, 16 September 2011

Our Lady of the Taper...bring light to the trapped miners

The Jarrow Scriptorium reminded me with his post that I also intended to post on the three trapped Swansea miners and, of course, offer prayers for the soul of the miner who has been killed in this awful accident.

We remember, also, the families and friends who will be undergoing severe stress at this moment. Who better to turn to in our hour of need than Our Lady.
Whether we pray to her Perpetual Succour or her Taper aspect, it does not matter; what matters is that we pray.

And, if I recall correctly the Chilean miners also had a great devotion to their patron saint, St Laurence while St Barbara is also a patron and St Anne, mother of Our Lady is yet another.

Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan

Out of the depths I have cried unto thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice. O let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

Our Lady of the Taper - Pray for the trapped miners and their families


All miners are reported dead - Our Lady of the Taper bring them eternal light!

Fish on Fridays is not compulsory

Ever since the Bishops of England and Wales announced the return of Friday abstinence some of my Catholic friends from the Clegg wing of the faith have set up wails of:
"But fish is a luxury, how can that be a penance?"

Sad, I know but many do seem to labour under the misapprehension that one HAS to eat fish on a Friday from now on.

The rule is, of course, to abstain from meat; you are then free to consume eggs, cheese, fish, pulses, tofu, quorn and any other item of food other than meat!

The point is, of course, that this should be a small penance, not, as the BBC phrased it on this morning's Radio 4 News "a form of voluntary punishment for Catholics".
A penance could be regarded as self punishment but that is not how we Catholics perceive it.
A penance is more of a willing acceptance of a form of suffering or denial made as an offering to Almighty God. It is essentially, both penitential and sacrificial in nature.

The Friday penance is also a very important nudge in the ribs so that we may be  reminded that it was on a Friday that Our Lord died for us on a cross.

A penance is also a source of God's grace and an essential part of our spiritual growth and improvement.

The school history books of the 1960s used to claim that fish on Fridays was introduced by Henry VIII, (if I recall correctly) as a move to support the ailing fishing industry of the country. That would mean that eating fish was compulsory every Friday. A difficult law to enforce.

What twaddle! Even a fourth form schoolboy could see through that lie; fish in the 16th century would have been salted or pickled, if it was available at all in inland England. Fresh fish would have been the preserve of those living around the coast and, to top it all, we were all probably living off gruel and cabbages in those days.

Fish on Friday......

Catholics? Can't stand 'em! is now back on the Friday menu, thanks to the Bishops of England and Wales - but how many Catholics realise that it is a Church requirement that we must also engage in a fish dance on Fridays also?

A brief training clip follows:-

Thursday, 15 September 2011

In brief.....random notes

The Diocese of Menevia has a new website, very nice...but designed by Blackgoat Visual Communications.....what's in a name?

A new (and young blogger) who needs support....please visit Sean Gough - we need young blood!

Tomorrow we return to abstinence from meat on Fridays...not fasting, abstinence!

At the first Mass in the new translation a certain priest asked for letters from his parishioners stating how dissatisfied they were with it...for sending on to his Bishop

The ads for the post of Headteacher at the Cardinal Vaughan School appear this week, pray that a good, sound, traditionalist is appointed

No EF Masses in Menevia Diocese for the remainder of September (we've only had one anyway)

Daily Telegraph blogger  and teacher, Katherine Birbalsingh, claims that wearing the niqab cuts women off from the world

Orbis Catholicus Secundus blog has carried a series of photos of the Popes who have celebrated the EF Mass. They include, Pius XII, John XXIII and JP II - when will Pope Benedict join the gallery?

Holy Father preaches to Bishops - to observe the sanctity of life and to cherish, in the faithful 'divine filiation'

The peasant on the cross

The 14th and 15th centuries must have been marvellous times if you were an artist in Italy. Not only did the commissions for great works of art flow freely but one would have worked in the midst of a throng of like minded creative geniuses. Sparks of inspiration would have sprung into the air over a glass or two of vino and the competition engendered would have provided a spur to minds already overflowing with artistic fervour - there is nothing like a little competition to encourage the pursuit of excellence.

The two great artists, Donato di Niccolo do Betto Rardi (aka Donatello) and Filippo Brunellesco were like minded friends and this is the story of how they vied with one another to produce the finest figure of Christ to grace a crucifix.

"Donato, who was always called Donatello by his friends and relatives, was born in Florence in the year 1383, and produced many works in his youth; but the first thing that caused him to be known was an Annunciation carved in stone for the church of S. Croce in Florence. For the same church he made a crucifix of wood, which he carved with extraordinary patience; and when it was done, thinking it a very fine piece of work, he showed it to fellow artist, Filippo Brunellesco that he might have his opinion upon it. Filippo, who expected from what Donatello had said to see something better, when he looked at it could not help smiling a little.

 Donatello, seeing it, begged him by their friendship to speak his mind truly, upon which Filippo, who was frank enough, replied that he seemed to him to have put on the cross a peasant and not Jesus Christ, who was the man most perfect in everything that ever was born. Donatello, feeling the reproach more bitterly because he had expected praise, replied,

"If it were as easy to do a thing as to judge it, my Christ would not look like a peasant; but take some wood yourself and make one."

Filippo without another word returned home, and, saying nothing to anyone, set to work upon a crucifix, and aiming to surpass Donatello that he might not condemn himself, he brought it to great perfection after many months.
Then one morning he invited Donatello to dine with him. Donatello accepted his invitation, and they went together to Filippo's house.
Coming to the old market, Filippo bought some things and gave them to Donatello, saying, "Go on to the house and wait for me, I am just coming."

Brunellesco's Crucifix

So Donatello, going into the house, found Filippo's crucifix arranged in a good light; and stopping to consider it, he found it so perfect that, overcome with surprise and admiration, he let his apron drop, and the eggs and cheese and all the other things that he was carrying in it fell to the ground and were broken. Filippo, coming in and finding him standing thus lost in astonishment, said, laughingly.

"What are you about, Donatello? How are we to dine when you have dropped all the things?"

"I," said Donatello, "have had enough. If you want anything, take it. To you it is given to do Christ’s, and to me rustics."

From Vasari's 'Lives of the Painters'

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Summorum Pontificum - 4 years on and no change in Westminster

Today is the great feast of The Holy Cross and also the anniversary of Pope Benedict's Summorum Pontificum that came into force in September 2007.

The Exaltation of The Holy Cross
Rome style
Ask a Catholic man on the Clapham Omnibus what SP is and you will be met with a blank stare. Ask lots of Catholic men and women and you will receive more of the same.
Ask some priests and the success rate goes up a little but not by too much.

The fact is, the average Catholic appears to do little more than sit on the parish commissariat, read The Universe and go to the Novus Ordo Mass ( Nervous Disorder Mass as Stella Hook, a great Catholic, used to call it).

The writ of the Pope does not appear to be worth much in Great Britain today. How can the layman or woman be blamed for their ignorance if  the Bishops and priests appear not to hear what comes forth from Rome.

The status quo in Westminster Archdiocese has not altered, as far as I am aware, since 14th September 2007. EF Masses on a Sunday are still as rare as hen's teeth, and this is the lead Diocese of England and Wales.

 Blimey O'Reilly! What is Archbishop Nichols doing?

Shouldn't he be leading from the front when the Holy Father sends a message to the world?

4 years ago there were few EF Masses
in Rome - now they are plentiful.
Why can't Westminster do as they do
in Rome?
Why hasn't he put in place a priest training programme so that at least one third of his priests may learn how to celebrate an EF Mass? That is what the HF wants is it not?

And why hasn't the Archbishop sent an ad clerum to his clergy asking them to reinstate communion rails? That is what the HF wants is it not?

The talks between Rome and the SSPX begin today but I have a sinking feeling that they will come to nought. If the hierarchy cannot obey Pope Benedict's requests and guidance there is no future for such an orthodox order as the Society. They can see that the Church is still in the grips of modernism and who could blame them for not wishing to place their neck in the noose?

And for those who may wish to have the essence of SP refreshed, here is a brief extract:-

Art 1. The Roman Missal promulgated by Paul VI is the ordinary expression of the 'Lex orandi' (Law of prayer) of the Catholic Church of the Latin rite. Nonetheless, the Roman Missal promulgated by St. Pius V and reissued by Bl. John XXIII is to be considered as an extraordinary expression of that same 'Lex orandi,' and must be given due honour for its venerable and ancient usage. These two expressions of the Church's Lex orandi will in no any way lead to a division in the Church's 'Lex credendi' (Law of belief). They are, in fact two usages of the one Roman rite.

It is, therefore, permissible to celebrate the Sacrifice of the Mass following the typical edition of the Roman Missal promulgated by Bl. John XXIII in 1962 and never abrogated, as an extraordinary form of the Liturgy of the Church. The conditions for the use of this Missal as laid down by earlier documents 'Quattuor abhinc annis' and 'Ecclesia Dei,' are substituted as follows...........