Monday, 31 October 2011

Remember the Iraqi martyrs in your prayers today

Just one year ago and Catholic Iraqis were massacred in the Cathedral of Our Lady of Salvation.

Adam, a four year old child pleaded for the shooting to stop, the terrorists put a gun to his head and shot him along with 49 other members of the congregation and, of course, the priest celebrant.

The following clip tells the story in a moving and measured fashion - remember 31st October 2010 - pray to Our Blessed Mother for peace and justice for all Christians being persecuted in the world today.

Mr Barber, please close the door on the way out!

Picture: Caritas in Veritate

There's no easy way to say this but, in the aftermath of the Cardinal Vaughan School battle (and victory) to retain their identity and autonomy and the great appointment of Mr Paul Stubbings as the new Head, why is Paul Barber, Director of Education for Westminster Diocese still a School Governor?

He needs to move on in order to give Mr Stubbings a clean canvas upon which to work his skills. It just is not fair for one who opposed so much and who advised Archbishop Nichols in this affair, to remain on the Board...he must go...tout suite!...right away!

For Mr Barber's own sake also, he needs to go; he is now the spectre at the feast and he cannot possibly hope to function well or be at ease as a Board Member under these circumstances.

So here is a note of farewell, from...who else?

A Barbershop Quartet!.....Goodbye world, Goodbye......


Sunday, 30 October 2011

Christus vincit, Christus regnat!

The great feast of Christ the King and a double celebration as the High Mass celebrated at St Benedict's, Sketty, near Swansea was probably the first one to be celebrated there since the early 70s.

40 plus years of indifferent, banal church music replaced, at a stroke by the beautiful singing of the Newcastle Emlyn Schola  - wonderful!

A goodly sized congregation attended at 3pm and, for many, it was the first Latin Mass they had been to since Vatican II and the introduction of Mass in the vernacular.

Sorry the pictures are not too good, the camera had an attack of the vapours at such high excitement!

Thanks to Fr Neil Evans, Parish Priest and to Fr Jason Jones, celebrant, and to the Schola Newcastle Emlyn the altar servers.

What will you be doing tonight?

                                               Burning a Catholic.....


                                       .....dabbling in the occult?

Saturday, 29 October 2011

What if I attended Mass tomorrow and.....

...wore a hat?

As a male, I mean. Could I enter the church and take my place in a pew wearing, let us say, a pretty natty fedora?

OK in the Synagogue but not in a Catholic church
that's the custom you see?

Would anyone notice? I think that they would...a man wearing a hat in church would stick out like, well, a man wearing a hat in church!

Would people be scandalised? I would hope so. It is our culture, unlike that of the Jew, Muslim, Sikh or Hindu, for men to go bareheaded at Mass; in church, at all times.

It would be grossly wrong and offensive to do such a thing. As a boy at home I was not allowed to even enter the home wearing my school cap.

"Is thy father a Jew?" was the usual challenge from my Pa and, of course, I would remove the offending article pretty damn quick.

I believe that few men would enter a home with their hat still on. It is not just in church that this rule applies, our culture extends into the home situation as well.

And when men who are wearing a hat meet a priest or a  woman, what should they do? Well they should take it off as a mark of respect, they should doff it to use a quaint old word.

Now, when a woman enters a church, how should she be dressed as regards to headwear?

What does our culture say in this situation?

A good Bishop!

At last we appear to have a man who knows how to Fr Ray Blake's Account of the first meeting of the Confraternity of Catholic clergy here also featured on



Friday, 28 October 2011

Help! we are under attack (again)

You will have seen (on both sides of the pond) how we are under fire for professing to be Catholic.

No visible signs of our faith, no literature regarding our faith, no mention of our faith, no spiritual aid to those in need, no prayers, no Christ, no means of salvation......that's according to those in authority over us, the Government, our employers, the private and the public sector.

         "Finding the right work is like discovering your own soul in the world"

The Thomas More Legal Centre provides help to those who are brave enough to stand up for their beliefs and to be "dry" martyrs for Christ.

They need funds to support the massive increase in their workload as a result of the growth of secular beliefs (and Islamic ones) in our society.....

.....the following is a case in point..if you can help with cash...all well and good, if not, pray like mad!

Subject: Help defend Catholic freedom of speech

Dear Friends,

Please see the announcement below which will be covered by the
Catholic press this week.

In brief, a Catholic mental health nurse has lost her job because, in
a professional discussion with a colleague, she made available a
booklet providing case histories of the mental health consequences of
abortion. The booklet was deemed to be 'religious' and she was
dismissed for 'distributing materials which some might find offensive.

The nurse's case is being supported at an Employment Tribunal by the
Thomas More Legal Centre, of which I am the Chairman; it will be
heard on 15th November. We also intend to bring a case in the County
Court arguing a breach of her right to freedom of expression under
Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

This is not an isolated problem. An unrelated case reported last week
concerned a man demoted for saying on his facebook page that he
thought new laws allowing civil partnerships on religious  premises
were 'an equality too far'. His public sector employer deemed this a
breach of their diversity policies and moved him as a disciplinary
measure from a  £37k post to one earning £21k per annum.

If we do not take action, and establish some legal judgements setting
precedents, the ability to express any Catholic moral view will
effectively become unlawful.

Please help if you can, either by making a donation, or by offering a
pledge against the need to meet any legal costs that might be awarded
against us if we fail. Please forward this message to as many people
as you think may be interested in helping, and please put it on any
blogs you may be running. Please pray for our success.

With many thanks,

Richard Kornicki
Chairman, Thomas More Legal Centre
Reg. Charity No.1121184

Donations to: Thomas More Legal Centre

Do you speak Bishopese?

No? Well here is a brief selection of phrases that will help you understand the meaning of what many of our Bishops say.....

"I have established Mass in the Extraordinary Form in my Diocese in accord with Summorum Pontificum"

"I have one parish 68 miles from the nearest city that celebrates the EF Mass once a month (except when there is an 'r' in it)  on a Wednesday at 3.30pm"

"There is little demand for Mass in the Extraordinary Form in my Diocese"

 "I ignore all representations made to me"

"The teachings of the Church with regard to homosexuality are quite clear"

 "I am relaxed about homosexuals having the Mass framed around their spiritual needs"

"None of my priests have any desire to say the Latin Mass"

"Any troublemakers are dealt with by being given particularly hard and arduous roles and by being placed in far flung parishes"

"There are no traditional applicants for the priesthood"

"I grill them at interview stage and get rid of any with traditional leanings"

"In my Diocese we have independent Catholic Adoption organisations"

"I've washed my hands of the issue and now Catholic children may be fostered by homosexuals"

"I abide by the guidance of the Holy Father and the teachings of the church"

"The Pope does not know what goes on in my Diocese, I am the best judge of interpreting church teachings and bringing them up to date"

"I like to play golf on Thursdays"


"I like to play golf on Thursdays"

Thursday, 27 October 2011

The man in the Vatican who never sleeps....

.....perchance to have nightmares. He walks around St Peter's always looking into the distance but, at the same time, alert for any untoward movement within closer range.

 He never scowls, neither does he smile very often. He is impassive; he commands his team with a stare.

Even Swiss Guard officers quail before his advance.

He looks and is powerful in a physical and mental sense; he has the hopes and fears of 1.2 billion Catholics on his shoulders; one slip, one split second's loss of concentration and he could fail in his prime role.

He works long hours, he travels across time zones but cannot afford the luxury of jet lag, neither can he relax with a lunch time Punt e Mes.

Nothing phases this man but his mind is constantly in overdrive, always expecting the unexpected.

Who is he?

Domenico Giani, Inspector General of the Corpa della Gendarmeria at the Vatican, Head of the Holy Father's personal security team and whose only reward is his salary and his loyalty and affection for Pope Benedict - and ulcers!

Besides the Pope Domenico Giani is the most
photographed man in Rome

A Hollywood star with a good habit!

Prompted by Clare's post at Battlements of Rubies I have found this clip of one of America's (or Britain's) greatest actresses, Deborah Kerr.

She starred in two "nun" films, Black Narcissus and Heaven Knows Mr Allison, along with Robert Mitchum - both excellent films.

Here she is in scenes from both - a pity we do not have too many nuns like her today (except in the more traditional orders)

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The prayer of a Priest....on a Sunday night

Tonight, Lord, I am alone.
Little by little the sounds died down in the church,
The people went away,
And I came home,

I passed peole who were returning from a walk.
I went by the cinema that was disgorging its crowd.
I skirted cafe terraces where tired strollers were trying to prolong
the pleasures of a Sunday holiday.
I bumped into youngsters playing on the footpath,
Youngsters, Lord.
Other people's youngsters who will never be my own.

Here I am Lord,
The silence troubles me,
The solitude oppresses me.

Lord, I'm 35 years old,
A body made like others,
ready for work,
A heart meant for love,
But I've given you all.
It's true, of course, that you needed it.
I've given you all, but it's hard Lord.
It's hard to give one's body; it would like to give itself to others.
It's hard to love everyone and claim no one.
It's hard to shake a hand and not want to retain it.
It's hard to inspire affection, to give it to you.
It's hard to be nothing to oneself in order to be
everything to others.
It's hard to be like others, among others, and to be of them.
It's hard to always give without trying to receive.
It's hard to seek out others and to be unsought oneself.
It's hard to suffer from the sins of others, and yet
be obliged to hear and bear them.
It's hard to be told secrets, and be unable to share them.
It's hard to carry others and never, even for a moment, be carried.
It's hard to sustain the feeble and never be able to lean on
one who is strong.
It's hard to be alone.
Alone before the world.
Alone before suffering,

Son, you are not alone,
I am with you,
I am you.
For I needed another vehicle to continue
my Incarnation and my Redemption.
Out of all eternity, I chose you.
I need you.

I need your hands to continue to bless,
I need your lips to continue to speak,
I need your body to continue to suffer,
I need your heart to continue to love,
I need you to continue to save,
Stay with me, son.

Here I am, Lord;
 Here is my body,
Here is my heart,
Here is my soul.
Grant that I may be big enough to reach the world,
Strong enough to carry it,
Pure enough to embrace it without wanting to keep it.
Grant that I may be a meeting-place,
but a temporary one,
A road that does not end in itself,
because everything to be gathered there,
everything human, leads towards you.

Lord, tonight, while all is still  and I feel sharply
the sting of solitude,
While men devour my soul And I feel incapable
of satisfying their hunger,
While the whole world presses on my shoulders with
all its weight of misery and sin,
I repeat to you my "yes" - not in a burst of laughter,
but slowly, clearly, humbly,
Alone, Lord, before you,
In the peace of the evening.

Fr Michel Quoist RIP 

Michel Quoist, priest: born Le Havre 18 June 1921; ordained priest 1947; died Le Havre 18 December 1997.

This man has done more for Christianity than most of our Bishops

Adrian Smith, employee of Trafford Housing Trust in Manchester, made a statement to the effect that Churches should not be forced to carry out same sex weddings.

A Facebook entry crosses the divide
between public and private but, it was
an entry made in Mr Smith's own time

That statement was made privately (if Facebook entries can be deemed private) and it was done in his own time, not that of his employers.

As a result he has been demoted to a lesser position with a corresponding reduction in salary.

I do not know which Christian denomination Mr Smith belongs to, it does not actually matter in this context, he has offered up his livelihood for what he knows to be true - he has become a "dry" martyr!

I do know that his lead is a brave one; it takes courage to stick your head up above the parapet, especially if you believe that measures will be taken against you.
Before long I can envisage civil prosecutions being applied as a result of anyone swimming against the flow of sewage that society forces upon us.

Well done Mr Smith, you have my prayers and, I am sure the prayers of many others to support and strengthen you.

What can we as Catholic bloggers expect in the future? Much of the same I suspect.

Now, we await a move from our Church leaders. Will one or some of them (or, even 20% of them - see Ecumenical Diablog) stand up in front of the cameras and state that the Trafford Housing Trust and other organisations like them are wrong. That David Cameron is also wrong to pursue his goal of same sex marriage for homosexuals and lesbians and, before long, for those who might wish to wed their poodle or pet goat.

If Cardinal Heenan was alive I can assure you that every portal in the media would have been kicked open by now and the good Cardinal would have stated the position of the Church clearly and unequivocally - none of this "Who knows what's down the road?" nonsense.

As a matter of fact, I do know what is down the road if we continue along this involves hellfire and damnation!

A little begging is good for one's soul

On that premise, therefore, here goes.

The Confraternity of the Holy Cross is a group of circa 50 laymen and women and a few priests who strive to support the development of the traditional liturgy and the EF Mass here in wet and windy South & West Wales.

So how do we do that? Well, fairly informally it has to be said. We do not have a structure really other than a priest at the helm appointed by the Bishop to be Diocesan Co-ordinator for the EF.

But we do provide information as to Mass times and locations, we raise funds for Priest Training as organised by the Latin Mass Society and we are in the throes of launching our own blog in order to keep our members supplied with news of global Catholic events. Our members, or some of them, have independently formed a fine choir.

But...we do need a few things such as vestments, especially maniples, bourses and altar veils; in fact we can fruitfully use any materials used at a TLM.

If you can help, please contact me on

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Could we rustle up 40 martyrs for England and Wales today?

I mean, could we? Are there forty men and women out there who would step up to the mark and say in ringing tones:

"I am a Catholic true to the teachings of Jesus Christ and I oppose all that the secular world is trying to force on me.
I oppose Mass in its vernacular, freestyle version as displayed by so many priests, I oppose the killing of infants in the womb and the sick and elderly in their beds, I oppose all sins of the flesh which society is fixated with today, namely, gluttony, homosexuality, adultery, paedophilia and so on; I oppose experiments on the human body and all moves to detract from the Christian family and its values.
I abhor the blasphemies and sacrileges which the world commits upon all that is sacred and holy and I maintain that the Catholic Faith is the one true faith and the Mystical Body of Christ.
I hold true to belief in the sacred species and to the promise of the cross, that is, redemption and eternal life for those who die in God's grace".

Are there forty brave souls who would state this or similar?
In the full knowledge that the next step would be a severe racking in Wormwood Scrubs or Belmarsh in an effort to get you to recant.
Then would come a public trial with all its lies and deceits.

And, finally, you would be placed on a hurdle, strapped down and positioned so that your head was beneath the tail of the horse and, therefore, liable to receive all the ordure that an hour long journey would bring.

Could you really face the humiliation of being dragged along Oxford Street, through the crowds of shoppers, past John Lewis's, past Selfridges until, at last you come to Marble Arch and Tyburn's Tree?

Now comes the final pain and indignity, you have a noose placed about your head and you know that you are about to be hanged until semi conscious and then your body will be violated by the knife and the saw and your heart plucked out before your very eyes.

Are there forty men and women out there that would face up to what our blessed martyrs faced?

I know a few priests who have the courage but I think we would struggle to make forty.

Today is the Feast of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales - remember them and have recourse to them, we need their support today!

Thirty four came from England and six from Wales


Lord have mercy on us, Christ have mercy on us. Lord have mercy on us. Christ hear us.
Christ graciously hear us.
God the Father, Have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.
God the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Mary, Queen of Apostles, Pray for us.
Mary, Queen of Martyrs, Pray for us.
St John Houghton, Pray for us.
St Richard Reynolds, Pray for us.
St Augustine Webster, Pray for us.
St Robert Lawrence, Pray for us.
St John Stone, Pray for us.
St Cuthbert Mayne, Pray for us.
St Edmund Campion, Pray for us.
St Ralph Sherwin, Pray for us.
St Alexander Briant, Pray for us.
St John Payne, Pray for us.
St Luke Kirby, Pray for us.
St Richard Gwyn, Pray for us.
St Margaret Clitherow, Pray for us.

St Margaret Ward, Pray for us.
St Edmund Gennings, Pray for us.
St Swithun Wells, Pray for us.
St Polydore Plasden, Pray for us.
St Eustace White, Pray for us.
St John Boste, Pray for us.
St Robert Southwell, Pray for us.
St Henry Walpole, Pray for us.
St Philip Howard, Pray for us.
St John Jones, Pray for us.
St John Rigby, Pray for us.
St Anne Line, Pray for us.
St Nicholas Owen, Pray for us.
St Thomas Garnet, Pray for us.
St John Roberts, Pray for us.
St John Almond, Pray for us.
St Edmund Arrowsmith, Pray for us.
St Ambrose Barlow, Pray for us.
St Alban Roe, Pray for us.
St Henry Morse, Pray for us.
St John Southworth, Pray for us.
St John Plessington, Pray for us.
St Philip Evans, Pray for us.
St John Lloyd, Pray for us.
St John Wall, Pray for us.
St John Kemble, Pray for us.
St David Lewis, Pray for us.
Let us pray. Oh God, in whom there is no change or shadow of alteration, you gave courage to the Holy Martyrs. Grant unto us, we beseech you, through their intercession, the grace to always value the Holy Mass. May we be strengthened to serve you in imitation of the courage of these Holy Martyrs. We ask this through Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, forever. Amen.

Prayer from The Last Welsh Martyr blog

Monday, 24 October 2011

The Seddon Deadly Sins

Yep, watch out New Holland, I am heading your way, well, next March to be precise. We (Mrs L and me) will be staying in Belgravia with our son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters.

The flights are booked, the bank manager is in intensive care and I am busy brushing off my scout hat and burning my corks so that I will blend in well with the locals.

I love Australia and look forward to attending EF Masses as celebrated in the Melbourne Diocese so very sensibly in parishes shared with OF priests.
It is FSSP country and we shall be there for Easter so, hopefully, a triduum is in view...we shall see.

Maybe..even...a trans world blognic? Who knows? We shall be staying in the Melbourne suburb of Seddon aka Belgravia.
And, certainly I shall pay this little bistro a visit. It's name is a real's called...wait for it!

THE SEDDON DEADLY SINS! - Ripper, as they allegedly say.

Yes, a chaplain must be a priest

A Symposium on the shedding of blood, death and resurrection

Yes, a most important event for your calendar and it's at the prestigious University of Winchester (formerly known as King Alfred's College) and here you really have to see Left Footer's post, click here.

Dreaming spires, oak panelled studies
 and....blood on tap!
Now, as Catholics we are familiar with the phrases 'shedding of blood' and 'death and resurrection' - they are clear and unequivocal as far as we are concerned but, down in gentrified, leafy Hampshire they have a different meaning.

In Winchester those phrases mean......zombies! Yes, you read correctly, zombies, the living dead. I am not, of course referring to the inhabitants of that beautiful city or to Catholics of a certain westerly leaning but to a learned convention, a symposium no less that is due to be held on 28th October, but what the University authorities cleverly call a "Zombosium".
 I do love academic wit.

Here are the first two paras of the University's blurb on this learned event:

“Zombies now feature widely in film, television, new and social media, gaming, comics and literary texts,” said Dr Marcus Leaning, Lecturer in the School of Media and Film at the University of Winchester, who is organising the conference. “Our Zombosium has attracted more than 17 speakers from across the world, all anxious to share their research into this huge phenomenon.”

The keynote speaker at Zombosium is Dr Ian Conrich, Editor of the Journal of British Cinema and Television and a leading authority on contemporary horror cinema. Dr Conrich has written over 16 books and contributed to more than 50 books and journals. He will present a talk at the event titled An Infected Population: Zombie Culture and the Modern Monstrous.


Really, from reading this c**p one might almost believe that zombies exist.
There is really only one way to find out for certain.....attend the zombosium.

And my prediction for curriculum development at Winchester University.....remember you read it here first...a BSc in Zombie Studies!

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Canon Law and the Chaplain issue

Thanks to Amette who left a comment regarding the school chaplain issue.
The appointment of a chaplain is covered under Canon Law 564....and the person appointed should be a priest. Does this place Archbishop Nichols in breach of CL?

This is what it says:

Can. 564 A chaplain is a priest to whom is entrusted in a
 stable manner the pastoral care, at least in part, of some community or
 special group of Christ's faithful, to be exercised in accordance with
 universal and particular law.
Can. 565 Unless the law provides otherwise or unless special rights
 lawfully belong to someone, a chaplain is appointed by the local Ordinary,
to whom also it belongs to appoint one who has been presented or to confirm
one elected.
Can. 566 §1 A chaplain must be given all the faculties which due pastoral
care demands.
 Besides those which are given by particular law or by special delegation,
a chaplain has by virtue of his office the faculty to hear the confessions of the
faithful entrusted to his care, to preach to them the word of God, to administer
Viaticum and the anointing of the sick, and to confer the sacrament of
 confirmation when they are in danger of death.
§2 In hospitals and prisons and on sea voyages, a chaplain has the further
to be exercised only in those places, to absolve from latae sententiae censures
are neither reserved nor declared, without prejudice to can. 976.
Can. 567 §1 The local Ordinary is not to proceed to the appointment of a
 chaplain to a house of a lay religious institute without consulting the Superior.
The Superior has the right, after consulting the community, to propose a
 particular priest.
§2 It is the responsibility of the chaplain to celebrate or to direct liturgical
he may not, however, involve himself in the internal governance of the institute.

Well, that all seems pretty clear and straightforward.
 Now how could a layman hold this position in the light of the law?

Saturday, 22 October 2011

I have a confession to make: it is about homosexuality

After much agonising of my conscience, I have decided to "out" myself.
I know that I am laying myself open to attack from the prejudiced, and I expect a sackful of hate-mail tomorrow morning.

But I can keep my secret no longer, and it is this: I disapprove of homosexuality; I find public displays of sexual desire between members of the same sex distasteful; I think that even long term and faithful relationships between homosexuals can never be more than a parody of heterosexual marriage; oh, and the very thought of buggery disgusts me.

I have other prejudices, too, which I may as well get off my chest while I am in this confessional mood. I believe that there is a number of character weaknesses to which male homosexuals are particularly (but by no means exclusively) prone - cattiness, selfishness, promiscuity and cowardice among them....

....What prompted me to "out" myself in this way was Wednesday's leader in the 'Sun', commenting on Peter Mandelson's refusal to react to the assertion made on 'Newsnight' by Matthew Parris, a newspaper columnist and former Tory MP: "I think Mandelson is certainly gay."

"The fact is: Mandelson is gay," the paper said.  "He also has a brilliant mind.  He is also a talented politician.  And it is also true that times have changed.  The British people will not turn on Mandelson because he is gay.  And they will sympathise with him for the way in which he was 'exposed'.  We say to Mandelson: tell the truth.  You will win respect for your honesty."

The 'Sun' was right about one thing.  Times have certainly changed when the editor of what was once the country's greatest bastion of political incorrectness is prepared to say that an admission of homosexuality should not count against a politician.  But I wonder if the paper is right to imply that the majority of the British people have undergone the same conversion.  I suspect not - and I hope not, which is why I venture today into the politically incorrect breach.

If my suspicion is right, the great majority of us still believe, in our heart of hearts, that there is something nasty and wrong about homosexual intercourse.  What has changed is that it is no longer considered respectable to say so publicly.
 Whereas half a century ago it was a jolly brave thing to invite scorn by admitting to a weakness for the love that dared not speak its name, today all the opprobrium is directed against those of us who disapprove of the love that shrieks its name from California to Clapham Common.

Our condition has even been given a fancy-sounding name, "homophobia", as if we are suffering from an irrational disorder.  If I thought that this was indeed the case, I would keep very quiet about my affliction.  But it is because I believe that homophobia is right, and nothing to be ashamed of, that I feel I should say so. 

Let me say at once that I am not suggesting that homosexuals should be victimised.  I would not wish any man to lose his job simply because he finds other men sexually attractive.  Nor do I think that anybody should be rude to homosexuals, let alone harm them physically.  What I do think is that the proper attitude to adopt towards homosexuals is one of tolerant disapproval, because homosexuality is an unsatisfactory and often squalid and unhappy way of life, and nobody should be encouraged to take it up.

Perhaps some will think it is too late now to try to soften the remarks that I made at the beginning of this column, which many will have found offensive.  But I would like to record with perfect truth (although how people will mock the familiar 'apologia' of the bigot) that Some of My Best Friends Are Homosexuals.  I realise that some excellent qualities are particularly to be found in homosexuals - wit springs to mind - and of course many of the worlds's greatest artists have been homosexual. 
I know, too, that many homosexuals have fought valiantly for their country and that many bore calumny and violence with astonishing bravery at a time when they had to expect it.  They are not all catty cowards, by any means.

Above all, I would like to say that if any of my four sons turns out to be homosexual, I will not love him the less for it. 

What appals me, though, is the way in which militant homosexuals seem to be engaged in a massive recruitment drive, with the Gay Pride marches and those flesh-creeping advertisements for Gay Exchange and other similar chat-lines, shown night after night on the television.

I do not mind a bit what homosexuals get up to in private (although I do not like the idea of it).  But it is when they go public that my stomach turns.  The homosexual lobby seems to have moved on from its campaign to redress civil wrongs to proclaiming that it is positively a good thing to be gay.  Well, it isn't.  In far too many cases, homosexuality is a squalid and - since the advent of Aids - a downright dangerous way of life.  The less that society disapproves of it, the more likely are the young to get into it while they are going through what may be only a phase.

All I ask is that these people shut up about it, and stop pretending that homosexuality is as normal and healthy as the love between a man and a woman.  I applaud Mr Mandelson's refusal to "come out".  I hope that other homosexuals follow his example and stay firmly in the closet, where they can do none but themselves any harm.

Huff! You say and maybe much more but.....these are not my words...they are an extract of an article written by journalist Tom Utley, and published in The Daily Telegraph some 13 or so years ago.

However, I do like the sentiment he expresses; it sums up much of what I believe about homosexuality and those who follow that path.

I do not think that it is "homophobic" to criticise homosexuals, I even do not think it is "homophobic" to say that one dislikes them, as a generalisation.
One may dislike a person but still hold a Christian love for them.

It would be "homophobic" to find it impossible to remain in the same railway carriage as one or to run screaming from the room when a homosexual enters.

Tom Utley now writes regularly for The Daily Mail. He is a father of four boys and a Catholic.
I hope he will forgive me for airing this article from the 1990s.

What to wear at Mass or, rather, what not to wear

This is always a fine topic for lively debate and a full combox although, I am not airing it for that reason.

This dishes it out but, perhaps
the Vatican dress code policy
might be better.
Where did "ugly" come from?

The dress code for church is a matter that has gone by the board in most parishes today and, literally, anything goes.  I am not just talking about mantillas here, I am sure that good Catholic women have had enough of Catholic men telling them what to place on their heads, I am aiming this post at men in T shirts, women in skimpy dresses and children looking as if they have just strolled in after a romp in the garden.

Ashley E McGuire on Altcatholicah has a well balanced piece on the issue, let's face it, it should be no great deal, we should all by instinct look our best when we appear before Almighty God.
But, somehow, dress is such a sensitive issue. There is a certain priest of a certain order in London who bangs on about it ad nauseum. He is right to mention it but not so that by constant repetition, he drives people away from the Mass.

So please read Ashley McGuire's post (and take that hat off your head in church. Unless, of course, you are a woman).

APOLOGIES - I cannot give credit for the photo, lost the reference, but thanks to whichever blog it came from.

Friday, 21 October 2011

I'd like to be a chaplain but not a charlie!

School Chaplains, now there's a title to titillate if ever there was one. In my day a school chaplain was strictly for the public schools sector (sorry, those hailing from North America, can't explain, just think reverse terminology of your system).

This man is a chaplain Chaplin

The phrase conjures up images of sixth form cads such as Flashman and Barber with their little fags (don't go there America) called Valero Minor and Ivereigh Minimus.

Now it appears, all Catholic Secondary Schools are encouraged to have a chaplain, at least that is what I assume from reading the Westminster Diocese website.
Well, good and well done and, even, huzzah. I think that is fine and admirable. you were expecting a 'but' were you not?
 But...what sort of priest is appointed to be a chaplain to a London Secondary School with 1800 students on its register?

Oh, shock, horror, the postholder does not have to be a priest.

 OK, (I think), I can live with that but it would have to be on the proviso that the lay appointee had a suitable CV covering a generous helping of religious education experience and qualifications plus, ideally, a background in commerce to provide that all important aspect of being in touch with the real world. I am sure that is as straight as I can put it and who would gainsay that?

Put it another way, I quite fancy such a post, there is a dire need for it in this (West Wales) part of the world.

So what do you think should be the duties of a chaplain? I've only got a scanty idea, I could be miles apart from reality but here's my stab at the job description:

Counselling? .....well, maybe...not too sure about this. You see I have operated many training programmes for counsellors and I quickly came to the conclusion that most of the poor souls on the course were in dire need of counselling themselves. They all, or nearly all, had massive emotional and psychological hang-ups.
I am sure that careful counselling of the right kind could be a good thing for young people but there is rather too much psycho babble out there for my peace of mind.
For me, counselling young people would have to be a very closely monitored process...and therein lies the rub because all counselling has to be confidential - not easy that one!

Bullying issues - now I am sure that a chaplain could play a good role here. There is much to be done to develop the right sort of ethos and strategies to stamp out unacceptable behaviour.

How about leading the school in prayer, say at assembly? Or, organising religious visits that might possibly link in with the National Curriculum? Not bad, not bad.

And then there could be RE although, I am uncertain as to how secondary schools, even Catholic ones, are timetabled for this subject.

Well, I could go on and, no doubt some of you may have some excellent suggestions to make but what we arrive at is that this post is not just a job for someone with a few hours free each week.

This is a vital role. It demands some professionalism, some degree of teaching competence as well as inter personal skills and experience.

So I was somewhat surprised to be told of a well known school that has a chaplain (approved of by the authorities) who is (wait for it) twenty four years old.

Now I am attempting to be as charitable as is humanly possible but a 24 year old chaplain is stretching things a tad. He may be a wonderful person, an outstanding scholar, an erudite bloke - but has he got what it takes to speak to boys from the age of eleven to sixteen and to advise and guide them?

He certainly knows now't about Summorum Pontificum or the recognition enjoyed by the SSPX but that is not the end of the world.

The issue is, does he know the catechism?

And just in case you think that I am being ageist - you are correct!

And, as an extra point of mild interest, both the Cardinal Vaughan and London Oratory Schools have chaplains and they are both priests.

A Jesuit and the Duchess of York

This may seem an unlikely heading but the year is 1676 and Charles II was on the throne ruling a Protestant country. His brother James, the Duke of York was, somewhat embarrassingly for the King, a convert to the Roman Catholic faith.
What is more, James (later to become James II of England and James VII of Scotland) married, after the death of his first wife, Mary of Modena, a Catholic who became the new Duchess of York.
It was to this young girl that Fr Columbiere was appointed chaplain and then took up his duties at St James Palace.

The following account is from the Vatican Archives....

"He (Fr Columbiere) took a vow to observe all the constitutions and rules of the Society of Jesus, a vow whose scope was not so much to bind him to a series of minute observances as to reproduce the sharp ideal of an apostle so richly described by St. Ignatius. So magnificent did this ideal seem to Claude that he adopted it as his program of sanctity. That it was indeed an invitation from Christ himself is evidenced by the subsequent feeling of interior liberation Claude experienced, along with the broadened horizons of the apostolate he witnesses to in his spiritual diary.
On 2nd February 1675 he pronounced his solemn profession and was named rector of the College at Paray-le-Monial. Not a few people wondered at this assignment of a talented young Jesuit to such an out-of the-way place as Paray. The explanation seems to be in the superiors' knowledge that there was in Paray an unpretentious religious of the Monastery of the Visitation, Margaret Mary Alacoque, to whom the Lord was revealing the treasures of his Heart, but who was overcome by anguish and uncertainty. She was waiting for the Lord to fulfill his promise and send her "my faithful servant and perfect friend" to help her realize the mission for which he had destined her: that of revealing to the world the unfathomable riches of his love.
After Father Colombière's arrival and her first conversations with him, Margaret Mary opened her spirit to him and told him of the many communications she believed she had received from the Lord. He assured her he accepted their authenticity and urged her to put in writing everything in their regard, and did all he could to orient and support her in carrying out the mission received. When, thanks to prayer and discernment, he became convinced that Christ wanted the spread of the devotion to his Heart, it is clear from Claude's spiritual notes that he pledged himself to this cause without reserve. In these notes it is also clear that, even before he became Margaret Mary's confessor, Claude's fidelity to the directives of St. Ignatius in the Exercises had brought him to the contemplation of the Heart of Christ as symbol of his love.
After a year and half in Paray, in 1676 Father La Colombière left for London. He had been appointed preacher to the Duchess of York - a very difficult and delicate assignment because of the conditions prevailing in England at the time. He took up residence in St. James Palace in October.
In addition to sermons in the palace chapel and unremitting spiritual direction both oral and written, Claude dedicated his time to giving thorough instruction to the many who sought reconciliation with the Church they had abandoned. And even if there were great dangers, he had the consolation of seeing many reconciled to it, so that after a year he said: "I could write a book about the mercy of God I've seen Him exercise since I arrived here!"
The intense pace of his work and the poor climate combined to undermine his health, and evidence of a serious pulmonary disease began to appear. Claude, however, made no changes in his work or life style.
Of a sudden, at the end of 1678, he was calumniously accused and arrested in connection with the Titus Oates "papist plot". After two days he was transferred to the severe King's Bench Prison where he remained for three weeks in extremely poor conditions until his expulsion from England by royal decree. This suffering further weakened Claude's health which, with ups and downs, deteriorated rapidly on his return to France.
During the summer of 1681 he returned to Paray, in very poor condition. On 15th February 1682, the first Sunday of Lent, towards evening Claude suffered the severe haemorrhage which ended his life.
On the 16th of June 1929 Pope Pius XI beatified Claude La Colombière, whose charism, according to St. Margaret Mary Alacoque, was that of bringing souls to God along the gospel way of love and mercy which Christ revealed to us".

Part of St Claude's legacy was to leave a rich collection of writings and this following piece is extraordinarily beautiful, I hope you agree....

St Claude de la Colombiere (Jesuit: 1682)

Oh Jesus, you are my true friend, my only friend.  You take a part in all my misfortunes, you take them on yourself, you know how to change them into blessings.  You listen to me with the greatest kindness when I relate my troubles to you.  You have always balm to pour upon my wounds.  I find you at all times, I find you everywhere.  You never go away.  If I have to change my dwelling, I find you there wherever I go.  You are never weary of listening to me.  You are never tired of doing me good. I am certain of being beloved by you if I love you.  My goods are nothing to you and by bestowing yours upon me you never grow poor.  However miserable I may be, no one nobler or cleverer or even holier can come between you and me and deprive me of your friendship.  And death, which tears us away from all our other friends will unite me forever to you.  All the humiliations attached to old age or to the loss of honour will detach you from me.  On the contrary, I shall never enjoy you more fully and you will never be closer to me than whenever everything seems to conspire against me, to overwhelm me and to cast me down.  You bear with all my faults with extreme patience and even my want of fidelity and my ingratitude do not wound you to such a degree as to make you unwilling to receive me back when I return to you.  Oh Jesus, grant that I might die loving you and that I may die for love of you.  Amen.

A plague on.......

I am a great fan of Damian Thompson who writes for The Daily Telegraph and has a very good blog, Holy Smoke.

I used to be a commentator in his combox but then it all got a bit too trollish for wimpish me and I stopped.

I was not doing any good and it was not doing me any good.
But I do occasionally drop by and see what people are saying. Paul Priest (OTSOTA) keeps the flag (and the flak) flying for the faith and for sanity and I also enjoy the comments made by one, Benedict Carter.
I know not whether he bloggeth or not.

Benedict's comments, I think under Damian's Archbishop Nichols post are very interesting.

I am not an ' end of the world is nigh' merchant, and neither, I am sure is BC but he does have a post of it is:

"A French nun, Sister Madelaine Porsat, who died in 1843, was a seer. She had a vision of seven plagues coming before the end of the world and the Second Coming.

The sixth one is universal bankruptcy.

"Voici la sixième plaie, la crise du commerce. Le commerce marche à sa fin, parce que la roue du char n'a plus son pivot, la confiance.

("Here is the sixth plague, the crisis of commerce. Commerce approaches its end because the wheel of the cart no longer has its pivot, confidence.")

The only link I found in a quick search online was to a book in French, 'Voix prophétiques: Prophéties modernes proprement dites' by a JM Curique.

Can anyone tell me if they have read this book, and what are the other 6 plagues, including the seventh to come?"

Time to get planting out those cabbages, I reckon!

And please spare time to visit this blog by Charlie J who is, dare I say it? The world's youngest blogger - I await contradiction.

Young Catholic bloggers need our encouragement so please drop by on Chasubles and Chalices to say Ni Hao!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

May the Saints preserve us!

Yes, it's that time of year again when Catholic bloggers look in their diaries to see if there is anything of calendar importance to blog about and - bingo! Out leaps the 31st October at them.

Halloween is with us yet again and likely to be even more satanic in its excesses and its spread.
Back in 1990 I happened to be on a study programme in Concord, Massachusets at this time of year and was both shocked and fascinated by the range of devilish costumes, masks, sweets etc that was available in the shops (stores).
This did not, as far as I was aware, exist in Great Britain, we only had the jolly old pumpkin faces and a lit candle.

But rapidly, over the intervening years, as is so often the case, we have caught up with America's lead in excesses of the satanic kind.

"Aaah", I hear "But it's only a bit of fun". Well if you believe that dressing a 3 year old up as a corpse or putting a zombie outfit on little Johnny is fun, please don't invite me round to Sunday lunch.

The means and manner in which the world laps up this grotesque perversion of a perfectly good Catholic feast is manifested by Marks and Spencers shop assistants dressed as witches with theatrical blood seeping from their nostrils. Jolly good fun! What next? Police officers parading as Chuckie? Traffic Wardens as Dracula? Well they are half way there aren't they? The traffic wardens I mean.

Satan and his demons must be laughing their socks off. There they were, labouring away for centuries with temptation and sins of the flesh and all the time the answer was staring them in the face.
"Make them think that it's all a joke and, bit by bit, soul by soul we will harness them" It's positively Tolkienesque.

So, Catholic parents, now is the time to regain the lost ground and reject the way of the world. Recreate the proper feast of All Hallows Eve, the eve of All Saints Day. Throw parties, dress up your children in the garb of the saints, yes, even light a bonfire - flame is cleansing and flame is light.

Not eternal fire, just a bonfire for the feast!
Remembering the Holy Souls in Purgatory is also part of All Hallows Eve festivities and, if you wish, you may flavour the evening with these suggestions, courtesy of Fisheaters:

From the English Catholics we get begging from door to door, the earlier and more pure form of "trick-or-treating." Children would go about begging their neighbors for a "Soul Cake," for which they would say a prayer for those neighbors' dead. Instead of knocking on a door and saying the threatening, "Trick-or-treat" (or the ugly "Trick-or-treat, smell my feet, give me something good to eat"), children would say either:
A Soul Cake, a Soul Cake,
have mercy on all Christian souls for a soul cake!
Soul, soul, an apple or two,
If you haven't an apple, a pear will do,
One for Peter, two for Paul,
Three for the Man Who made us all.
While Soul Cakes were originally a type of shortbread, it is said that a clever medieval cook wanted to make Soul Cakes designed to remind people of eternity, so she cut a hole in the middle of round cakes before frying them, thereby inventing doughnuts! Fresh plain cake doughnuts would be a nice food to eat on this day.

And,  instead of occult imagery employ the holy imagery of Mother Church.
Dress the children as their patron saints, enjoy good wholesome food, that is potato crisps shaped like potato crisps rather than pentagram shaped, light candles but around a blessed statue of the faith. And please tell this to your Catholic Primary School Headteacher and your Parish Priest.

In brief, have a good time rather than a bad time!

All it takes is 60 seconds.....

......Father Sam Medley SOLT produces a fine blog, A Medley Minute, and his postings are often accompanied by a one minute video clip...hence, a Medley Minute.
They are all good and uplifting but this one held a particular appeal for me...

Visit his blog if you have not already done so. We are blessed in this country, by having this young priest with us, labouring on our behalf, make the most of him, he could be moved back to the USA or to Russia or who knows where?

A moral dilemma (and a cat is involved)

As a Catholic am I entitled to kill a neighbour's cat because it is stalking my bantams? What would St Thomas Aquinas have to say on the matter I wonder?

This is the moral dilemma facing me (the topical one at any rate).

If I shot this marauding moggy it would equate with breaking the 'Thou shalt not steal' commandment but what other options do I have?

I know that if I approach my neighbour and make a case for restricting the cat in some way it will be met with a point blank refusal; a cat is, after all, a free agent able to roam the fields and hedgerows as it will. Fences will not contain it. The only solution would be for the neighbour to make the cat a 'house cat', never to see the great outdoors again - that seems a bit harsh.

Bantams may safely to avoid a cat-astrophe!

Meanwhile, as pastor of a flock I have a duty of protection towards them. It's not as though my bantams are pets precisely; they have essential functions like laying eggs and eating all the things that creep under the earth and providing my garden with enrichment (if you get my drift).

And I cannot keep them penned up either. My bantams are all either pure blood Old English Game or second generation thereof and that means they are, basically, as wild as the Jungle Fowl that they are descended from. They would pine and fall sick if confined, even in a roomy pen.

Now, in the context of global warming, economic meltdown, war, famine etc., this problem is pretty paltry (oops! sorry) but I find it refreshing to have such parochial issues to worry about from time to time; it takes my mind off the four horsemen of the Apocalypse (and Bishops) and boots me back into being some sort of sane(er) person.

So, after some internet research I have come up with the answer which I am happy to share with Mulier Fortis and other cat lovers...I shall commence a novena to St Gertrude...who she?

Patron Saint of cats of course......but hold on...shouldn't I be looking for a patron saint of chickens?

Well, after another web search I find that I should be praying to St Brigid of Ireland, patron saint of poultry keepers.......I shall do both!

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Smacking to become illegal in Wales - but go ahead and have an abortion

Is it a giant magic mushroom?
Or a nuclear explosion?
No, it's the Welsh Assembly version of
The Houses of Parliament!

Today's latest nonsense from the Welsh Assembly Government is a vote to introduce a law banning the smacking of children in Wales.
This follows on closely from yesterday's move to make it illegal to have body piercings below the age of sixteen whilst abortions may be carried out virtually regardless of age.

Now I am not advocating smacking one's child but I do believe that this sort of decision should be left in the hands of the parents rather than a bunch of, well you know what they are!
Equally, I abhor body piercings but, again, do not believe that legislation is a means of effective action. Lawmaking should be done with regard to public safety, national security, protection of goods and property and so on.

It should not involve itself with the colour of a woman's lipstick or the side a man parts his hair - that must be determined by the individual.

The hypocrisy is, of course, that young girls are being influenced and counselled into having abortions whilst the Assembly worries about how many piercings they have or whether they were smacked last night.

The people of Wales deserve much better than their current government. Much better.

This is how to communicate and inspire

I am not a particular fan of Tim Collins, late of the British Army. But his eve of battle speech to his troops is an excellent example of how one in authority should convey the ethos and aspirations of a society that should then be employed in the fight to come.

How I wish that we had a majority of Bishops who could make known (to young people especially) the essence of the Catholic faith and explain why that faith is the only one that will win the battle against the forces of evil.

Given on 19th March 2003

"We go to Iraq to liberate not to conquer. We will not fly our flags in their country. We are entering Iraq to free a people and the only flag which will be flown in that ancient land is their own. Show respect for them.
There are some who are alive at this moment who will not be alive shortly. Those who do not wish to go on that journey, we will not send. As for the others I expect you to rock their world. Wipe them out if that is what they choose. But if you are ferocious in battle remember to be magnanimous in victory.
Iraq is steeped in history. It is the site of the Garden of Eden, of the Great Flood and the birthplace of Abraham. Tread lightly there. You will see things that no man could pay to see and you will have to go a long way to find a more decent, generous and upright people than the Iraqis. You will be embarrassed by their hospitality even though they have nothing. Don't treat them as refugees for they are in their own country. Their children will be poor, in years to come they will know that the light of liberation in their lives was brought by you.
If there are casualties of war then remember that when they woke up and got dressed in the morning they did not plan to die this day. Allow them dignity in death. Bury them properly and mark their graves.
It is my foremost intention to bring every single one of you out alive but there may be people among us who will not see the end of this campaign. We will put them in their sleeping bags and send them back. There will be no time for sorrow.
The enemy should be in no doubt that we are his nemesis and that we are bringing about his rightful destruction. There are many regional commanders who have stains on their souls and they are stoking the fires of hell for Saddam. He and his forces will be destroyed by this coalition for what they have done. As they die they will know their deeds have brought them to this place. Show them no pity.
It is a big step to take another human life. It is not to be done lightly. I know of men who have taken life needlessly in other conflicts, I can assure you they live with the mark of Cain upon them. If someone surrenders to you then remember they have that right in international law and ensure that one day they go home to their family.
The ones who wish to fight, well, we aim to please.
If you harm the regiment or its history by over-enthusiasm in killing or in cowardice, know it is your family who will suffer. You will be shunned unless your conduct is of the highest for your deeds will follow you down through history. We will bring shame on neither our uniform or our nation.
[Regarding the use by Saddam of chemical or biological weapons] It is not a question of if, it's a question of when. We know he has already devolved the decision to lower commanders, and that means he has already taken the decision himself. If we survive the first strike we will survive the attack.
As for ourselves, let's bring everyone home and leave Iraq a better place for us having been there.
Our business now is north!"

Certainly, in the aftermath of the Irap liberation there is much that we may criticise but, if the Archbishop of Westminster wrote a similar letter regarding the Catholic faith, I for one would be flocking to his banner.

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

You can have an abortion but no ear studs!

The good old Welsh Assembly is poised to commit yet another classical piece of hypocrisy as it starts to move towards making it illegal for under 16s to have body piercings. But, of course, you may have the ultimate body piercing of a baby removed from your womb - no problem! no laws broken, except for Almighty God's and who these days cares about that?

So,  we in Great Britain (and especially Wales) can congratulate ourselves that we have modelled a society that makes it illegal to buy fireworks, cigarettes and alcohol below the age of 18 and to have body piercings below the age of 16 but...wait for can get an abortion under the age of 16!

I guess not many people will have watched the Welsh Assembly in action on television......but, should you switch on at such a moment let me assure you that it is more dynamic and inspirational to watch stones move.

Strep crep et frag....

You need to be an Ogden Nash fan to understand that heading, what I really mean is -  here are a few odd ramblings.....

Can an atheist get insurance against 'acts of God?'

There are 3 religious truths:

Jews do not recognise Jesus Christ as the Messiah
Protestants do not recognise the Pope as head of the Christian faith
Baptists and Methodists do not recognise each other in the off licence (liquor store)

...and for the queries file.....

When did the Protestant Church canonise a saint?


Is the New Mass translation available in the Adamawa or Hiri Moto languages - Latin was just so inclusive wasn't it?

And.....recognise this language?...and the prayer?... first correct answer gets the LOTH Award for Obscure Knowledge...

Avvon d-bish-maiya, nith-qaddash shim-mukh.
Tih-teh mal-chootukh. Nih-weh çiw-yanukh:
ei-chana d'bish-maiya: ap b'ar-ah.
Haw lan lakh-ma d'soonqa-nan yoo-mana.
O'shwooq lan kho-bein:
ei-chana d'ap kh'nan shwiq-qan l'khaya-ween.
Oo'la te-ellan l'niss-yoona:
il-la paç-çan min beesha.
Mid-til de-di-lukh hai mal-choota
oo khai-la oo tush-bookh-ta
l'alam al-mein. Aa-meen.

Monday, 17 October 2011

If you were a car what sort of a car would you be?

Maybe a charismatic car?..............

Hmm.....not good at holding the road and
high on fuel consumption

Or a modernist car?.....
Styling stuck in the 1960s and poor acceleration.
Limited vision means that
it cannot see other cars on the road
(or the road itself)

How about an ultramontanist car?.......

Excellent vision and all round performance,
combines the best elements of engineering
with state of the art technology

There's a lot to be said for an SSPX model......

Pretty safe model that can shrug off
any scrapes with other road users
but now has a rarity value

You could try the Sedevacantist car....if you enjoy being cramped up....

Trouble is, no seats! Also lacking one wheel
as well as other vital components

But there is certainly something about a traditional model...

Guaranteed to get you to your destination
safely and comfortably. It combines
all that is traditional with cutting edge
precision and quality - extraordinary vehicle!