Tuesday, 31 January 2012

The sin of simony - alive and well and living in *Ramsgate

Simony is one of those words that seldom makes an appearance in a conversation these days.
I guess it was used quite a lot in the time of Martin Luther as, of course, the selling of indulgences, was a good example of simony.

It applies not just to holy words or acts leading to indulgences but also to sacred objects, blessed rosaries, chalices, reliquaries, monstrances and the like.

But then, who in their right minds would wish to sell a monstrance?

It's laughable. How would you sell one?

On Ebay?.............nope.....in the small ads...nope again.....

Oh.....surely not by public auction?

'Fraid so....Fr Ray Blake has the story covered.

Impious is the word he uses.....good word that.

NB The good monks have now moved to *Chilworth, but Ramsgate sounds better!

Monday, 30 January 2012

Forget the poor, it's the rich that need our charity

He earns £100,000 each week amounting to well over £5 million pounds each year but no one questions his right to that money, or his skills and ability that enable him to command such a sum.

He is not alone.
In the UK and Mainland Europe, there are literally hundreds more like him, with a spread of adoring supporters worldwide.

He is, of course, footballer, David Beckham.

Compare him, if you will with the vilified Mr Stephen Hester, the hatchet man brought in to turn around the disaster that was the banking icon, RBS. He has probably studied and trained for a similar period of time as Mr Beckham, admittedly, on a more academic pitch, but the value that Mr Hester brings is not one of entertainment.

He has averted a crisis of proportions unimaginable that would have had a major impact on the living standards of every man, woman and child, in the UK and beyond. The impact on the poor man, woman and child would have been disastrous.

Hester saved RBS (and the country) many billions, of which, his annual bonus of c. £950,000 seems small fry - what David B would earn in ten weeks!

But the tragedy of all this anger that is now directed at the banking community (bankers are the new estate agents) is, that we have overlooked just how much they need prayers and charity, for their future is a bleak one and I am not talking about a hardening of the arteries and type two diabetes.

We seem to have forgotten that Christ, when He walked the earth, was not overly concerned about the fate of the poor (because he knew what their fate would most likely be).
He was most concerned for the rich and their spiritual welfare.

Where was Our Lord to be found most evenings once His mission had begun?

Not preaching to the old and infirm, or young families with many mouths to feed - he was eating with the filthy rich, the tax collectors (bankers?) the pimps and the prostitutes, the business community.

He knew the danger that they were in and, on the principle of not finding a Doctor among the healthy, there He counselled, preached and guided.

Matthew 19: 23-24:
And Jesus said to his disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."

Sunday, 29 January 2012

An extraordinary experience, today's Missa Cantata

Something happened at Mass this afternoon and I don't know what  it was or why it occurred.
At least five of us in the congregation, choir and serving on the altar independently experienced it.

It was not influenced at all by the music, beautiful as it was; it was felt as soon as Mass started with the Asperges.

The feeling was palpable, as if Christ Himself had suddenly materialised on the sanctuary.

If Christ was present, so were His angels, it was St Augustine who said that:

"When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the divine victim immolated on the altar."

They were certainly present today; I have never quite experienced anything similar before. 
It was if a voice was saying: "Nothing matters except Me, all will be well "

Now I apologise if this all sounds rather schmaltzy or spiritualist, even. It was nothing like that.
It was a profoundly Catholic experience, I cannot say more than that.

But a friend who was present emailed me with this sentence that goes a long way to summing it up:

"The Mass was so beautiful today;  the reverence shown to Our Lord was very moving. The gentle bows in adoration; the pauses in the Gloria Patri...; the genuflections......it was all so lovely. I wanted it to last and last".
Just for the record, this clip is the same Mass (Orbis Factor) that was sung by the Newcastle Emlyn Schola today.

And....a reminder, for me, as to why the Holy Mass is so critical to our welfare
 from the Catholic Bible website


"At the hour of death the Holy Masses you have heard devoutly will be your greatest consolation. 

By devoutly assisting at Holy Mass you render the greatest homage possible to the Sacred Humanity of Our Lord. ...

Through the Holy Sacrifice, Our Lord Jesus Christ supplies for many of your negligences and omissions.

He forgives you all the venial sins which you are determined to avoid. He forgives you all your unknown sins which you never confessed.
The power of Satan over you is diminished. 

By piously hearing Holy Mass you afford the Souls in Purgatory the greatest possible relief.  

Through Holy Mass you are preserved from many dangers and misfortunes which would otherwise have befallen you. You shorten your Purgatory by every Mass.

Through the Holy Mass you are blessed in your temporal goods and affairs.
When you hear Holy Mass devoutly, offering it to Almighty God in honour of any particular Saint or Angel, thanking God for the favors bestowed on him, etc., you afford that Saint or Angel a new degree of honour, joy and happiness, and draw his special love and protection on yourself.  

Every time you assist at Holy Mass, besides other intentions, you should offer it in honour of the Saint of the day. 

In holy Mass, in obedience to Christ's command, "Do this in remembrance of me," we of the Church offer perfect praise to the heavenly Father, and sanctify ourselves and the world by the power that flows from the priestly office of our eternal High Priest, Jesus Christ.  

The benefits of even one holy Mass are infinite and include the whole world. The blood of the new and everlasting covenant was "shed for you and for all."  

In every Mass that is offered the Church remembers before God "those who take part in this offering, those here present and all your people, and all who seek you with a sincere heart." In a special way those who have holy Mass offered and those for whom a Mass is offered partake of the grace of the Eucharistic sacrifice.  

The Church which offers Mass each day includes not only the faithful on earth, but the saints in heaven, as well as the suffering souls still awaiting entrance into heaven. 

It is a pious and praiseworthy custom for the faithful to have Masses offered for their particular intentions, and especially for departed friends and loved ones. It is a laudable Catholic practice when requesting Mass for a special intention to make an offering both for the support of the priest who will celebrate the Mass and to provide for the needs of the altar as well as the materials required for the holy Sacrifice.

It is very sad that so many non-Catholic Christians consider the Mass to be an abomination.  It is just the opposite.  It is the one-time sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross recreated, through time and space, in an unbloody fashion, just like Jesus did during the Last Supper". 

The SSPX - are they really Elves?

The Church has been beleaguered before.
 Many times has the Holy Father been isolated and besieged; many priests, Bishops and lay men and women have gone to meet their death at the hands of evil.

And now wars, famine, pestilence and disease abounds.

Morality is at an all time low.

The Devil appears to be gaining ground.
Wherever one looks there is pornography, violence, dishonesty, greed, corruption, exploitation - and human life has never been held so cheap.

All appears hopeless, all is lost.....but could the Society of St Pius X provide us with the required force to repel the works and pomps of Satan?

If only those in the Vatican could offer a little more and if only Bishop Fellay's men could unbend a shade, then we could win the Battle of Helm's Deep and all future battles.

They could be the saving Elves that we so desperately need right now!

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Make my day punk!

If you think that you can get away with blasphemy, with throwing filth at the image of the Son of God, of taking His name in vain, in abusing statues of His Blessed Mother, in propagating lies about pagan festivals being the prototypes of Christian ones (The Little Way), in destroying the life in the womb that He created, in assaulting His priests, His chosen ones, in taking the lives of the aged and the infirm, of experimenting on embryos in order to undertake the great 'good' of finding a cure for this, that and the other, if you think, for one minute you can get away with promoting mortal sin through the defence of homosexuality, licentiousness and immorality -

Think again!....Make my day!

"I have ten shots and you don't know how many I've used....so take a chance, make my day.....I'm taking a bead on you......"

The Diary of an Unborn Child

Who could fail to be touched by this post written by Fr Bernhard Speringer ORC. For British readers, substitute Mommy for Mummy etc.

October 5: Today my life began. My parents don’t know it yet, but I am here. I’m a girl; I’ll have blonde hair and blue eyes. All my genetic imprints are present, also that I will have a weakness for flowers.....

Read the diary in full here at KATH.NET and, of course, be ready for the shock.

Santorum is right about the NHS

It's taken me a little time to brew over the remarks made by Rick Santorum regarding the National Health Service of England and Wales.

At first, my knee jerked in accord with most Brits when I heard what he had to say. You may see for yourself in this video clip.


At the time, Santorum was under a bit of pressure with a mike thrust under his nose, but he must be able to take that, and then he comments that the NHS "devastated British society".
He also stated that it spelt the end for the British Empire. I think our Empire was at an end long before Nye Bevan brought in the NHS but let's overlook that and focus on whether we were "devastated" by health reforms.

As a nation we love the NHS, despite the fact that it's under the thumbscrews of consultants who rule the roost and ensure that management and practice are firmly rooted in the 1940s.

It is horrendously expensive, wastefully so and it's also pretty crap!

What do I mean by that?

I mean that it uses old technology (if it uses technology at all); it cannot put patient records online so it relies on paper files going back to the days prior to penicillin, the General Practice service is risible and can only half cope with coughs and colds (any complaint outside of runny noses is a mystery to the Doctor).
Again, electronic communications appears beyond them and as for patient satisfaction surveys - forget it!

When you finally, after many months, struggle to a hospital for a consultation you have to beat the consultant to a pulp before he/she will authorise an operation or a scan or any bleep thing for that matter.

And when, after a year or two, you are admitted for your operation, you are fed food that appears to have passed its sell by date in the days of Florence Nightingale.

But we love it - we cherish it, because, you see, it's free! And because the nurses are such angels (which they are).

Well, we do pay extortionate taxes to fund its profligate lifestyle but that's all right, we must be grateful and not complain. It was much worse for Grandfather who had to have his leg amputated with a penknife and a rusty saw with no anaesthetic!

The point is, that a catchall state funded organisation is pretty well bound to be full of flaws.
If you remove the competitive edge, provide a thick tissue of bureacracy so that no challenge to the system can be upheld, instigate political correctness to the enth degree, allow racial discrimination (from the ethnic minorities involved)  and alien cultural practices to flourish and chuck well over £700 billion at it, what do we expect?

When Santorum made his NHS comment he followed through by mentioning the name of one Margaret Thatcher, whom he obviously admires. Good.

Having seen the Lady Thatcher film, The Iron Lady this week I was reminded (by newsreel footage) of just what a grim Britain she inherited back in 1979.

Constipated by trade union greed and menaces, violent with mobs running out of control, communists behind every door of industry and commerce. Banana Republics around the world were getting out of hand and threatening British outposts and citizens.
The poor were being well and truly kept poor and then, a Lincolnshire grocer's daughter came along into a heavily male dominated Parliament and kicked it all into touch.

Whatever one thinks about her, she was one amazing woman and leader. I just wish that she had been Health Minister in the Heath Government rather than Education Minister, she would have given the NHS a good shaking.

What has all of this got to do with the Catholic Faith and Rick Santorum?

Well, I'm still saying my Rosary for Rick's success.
 If ever the US (and the world) needed a good Christian leader, now is the time.
And we should not write him off just because he criticised the NHS.
Rather we should embrace him with our hopes and prayers and wish him every success.

Anyone who can damn the Health Service and praise Lady Thatcher in one sentence has got to be Presidential material.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Seven Up! The week's top posts

1. Suffering should be regarded as a gift from God; but there are many types of suffering and to be the parent of a child with a disability must rank as being close to the top of the list - hard for both parent and child.
Making Things Visible carries a post with a message from that inspirational leader, Archbishop Chaput.

2. This week we remembered the 39th anniversary of Roe vs Wade. The day that the earth lost a large portion of its light as we began a more efficient slaughter of the innocents. Anthony Layne marks the day with his usual pithy and punchy approach - a day of shame and repentance.

3. Left Footer, (stout man that he is) has started another blog dedicated to the practice of swimming in the sea, preferably when you have to break the ice to enter in. This should be part of every Bishop's spiritual exercise - heh! heh!

4. The Blog of a Country Priest (good title) carries a post on how one cannot convert people to the faith by argument; something that I heartily agree with but, often fall by the wayside in following.

5. A new blog (for me) and one that I stumbled across on the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma blogsite. Ethelredasplace carries a good post on the dangers presented by the "games" industry - more like "occult" industry.

6.  James Preece never fails to hit the target and score a  high impact. His post on Dangerous Emissions and CAFOD is bullseye material, read it HERE

7. The threat of Islam. Is there a country in the world that has a Muslim base and that does not persecute Christians - can't think of one offhand.
 EF Pastor Emeritus  (I almost typed Emiritus!) has yet another tragic story of how nuns cope with rampant discrimination by Saudi emigres.

And if we had an eight day week, I would award Signor Mundabor a gold star for his great post on niceness. We all live in a nice society where everything is very nice...trouble is, the inhabitants of Sodom were nice also - and look what happened to them.

The nun that said "No" to the Pope

In the aftermath of Mary Johnson's piece about obedient mindless nuns (those who wear the habit and lead a life according to their vows), we have an outspoken nun who is now a Saint - Sister Angela Merici.

The story of her life is told HERE

                                                   Prayer to St Angela

Saint Angela, you were not afraid of change. You did not let stereotypes keep you from serving. Help us to overcome our fear of change in order to follow God's call and allow others to follow theirs. Amen

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Was it something I said?

I noticed, recently, that my blog had been removed from the sidebar list of a priest blogger. That is his absolute right.

But, I was saddened by this. Had I offended him by some view expressed rather too stridently?

Was it that he did not like my comments on Bishops?

I don't think that I would retract anything that I have said over the past 14 months but I am truly sorry if I have offended this priest, because, of course, I have offended one of Christ's own which is as good as offending the good Lord Himself.

I do not care at all about being dropped off the favourites listing but I would have liked an email from him telling me why.

Is there a protocol for bloggers? A code of courtesy and conduct? I rather sense that there is an unwritten, loose form of way of carrying on; the trouble is, no one tells you about it, you just bump from rock to rock finding out the painful, hard way - trial and error.

Perhaps some erudite soul with a love of constitutional matters might cobble together a Catholic Blogger's Code?

Or, does one exist?

Misinterpreting the Faith

"Asparagus me..............."

There were some excellent additions to my 12th January post regarding misinterpretations of the faith - all of them funnier than my originals.

Here they are.....

'Asparagus me.....' - is courtesy of Sandy at A Catholic Comes Home (whom I wish would post more)

Purgatory - Left Footer states that it is neither a laxative nor an anti-Conservative witch-hunt.

Lauds - not for cricket, more for early morning prayer according to Porta Caeli

Fr Whelan states that the Barque of Peter is not an angry growl from the Pope

Webmaster Gareth, another Papal one -And, if the Popes don't like something they don't say, "Let him have Asthma"

Fr Abberton (Stella Maris) says -  the dialogue on entering the Confessional is NOT, "Bless me Father, for you have sinned"! And the humeral veil is not funny

The Little Way (with a French bias) - And the Confiteor is a prayer confessing sinfulness, not a person with a penchant for roasting duck.

Tony Layne - pithy as ever - The mantilla can't be found over a small fireplace

And Compline is not a powdered milk nutritional supplement available in a range of delicious flavours...states Mark at Joe Versus the Volcano 

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Nuns - are they a force for good or....?

The nuns always laid on a welcoming
ceremony when the Bishop paid a visit
An American ex Nun has published a report stating that she believes that Vatican officials (and, presumably the Holy Father) are afraid of them, nuns, that is.

Too damn right they are! A US nun of the liberated feminist variety is enough to scare Attila the Hun.
The ex sister in question, Mary Johnson, claims that it is the lack of nunnish clothing ie a wimple and habit that makes the Cardinals jittery. It has become a sign that the woman in question is modern, liberal and not afraid to question authority.

I would have thought that all of those attributes would be classified in the 'bad' file.
Don't nuns take vows of poverty, obedience and chastity?

And humility must come under the poverty tag just as keeping oneself pure and free of rebellious thoughts and actions must come under chastity.

As for obedience - that went out of the window years ago.

H/T to Luke Coppen of The Catholic Herald for flagging this one up and also to Bloomberg who ran the story.

Here is an extract from Mary Johnson's article, my comments are in red.

Nuns in Street Clothing Shouldn’t Frighten Vatican: Mary Johnson

Almost 400 religious institutions throughout the U.S. were studied as part of this “apostolic visitation,” and a final, confidential report on the nuns’ activities was submitted to the Vatican in December.
Why investigate nuns? (Why? Because they were/are running riot in total disobedience to the Faith and a cause of great scandal) Because, Vatican officials said, they were concerned for the sisters’ welfare. But as a former nun -- I left the convent in 1997 after 20 years as a sister in New York, Rome, Washington and Winnipeg, Canada -- I know what the church leaders won’t publicly admit: American nuns frighten them.
I should qualify that remark: Not all U.S. nuns scare the Vatican. The Catholic hierarchy dotes on those who wear long habits with hanging rosaries, unquestioningly obedient nuns (Isn't that what nuns are supposed to be?) who staff Catholic institutions for less than it costs to employ laypeople. (This is not an employment opportunity, it's a vocation!)  But these conservative sisters, who are represented by the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, make up less than a tenth of the approximately 50,000 nuns in the U.S. The majority align themselves with the more liberal Leadership Conference of Women Religious.

Second Vatican Council

In 1965, when the Second Vatican Council issued a decree calling all nuns to renewal, most American sisters embarked on a demanding, often painful process of discernment and revitalization. (What? by discernment does she mean learning to apply make-up? And by revitalization, well what does she mean?) They tried on normal clothes, branched into new ministries (like what?) and abandoned traditions that kept members childishly (I was educated by nuns of the ultra traditional variety, Dominicans and others and childish is not a word I would have used about them) dependent on superiors.
Some sisters felt that renewal went too far; others thought it didn’t go far enough. The number of American nuns has shrunk by almost 75 percent since 1965 (Is there a message in that statistic?)  But those who remain have learned to listen to their consciences, (nice one, Sister, nothing like a bit of diminishment by appearing virtuous) make decisions collectively and, more audaciously, speak their minds -- even if it means opposing the Vatican.
To Rome, these liberal nuns are voices of dangerous dissent: (at last, a statement that one can agree with) Cardinal Franc Rode, who initiated the new investigation of American sisters, stated on Vatican radio two years ago that U.S. nuns display a suspect “secular mentality” and “feminist spirit.”
In 1976, at age 19, I joined Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, a traditional community of nuns. Liberal American sisters in polyester didn’t appeal to me; Mother Teresa’s mission to the poorest did. I didn’t realize the community would observe every Vatican decree as though it came directly from God. (Well, they do come direct from God - or have I missed something?)
I was told that the highest use of my intellect was its unquestioning surrender in obedience; my superiors would always tell me what God asked of me. Eventually, I came to see that the Missionaries of Charity’s anti-intellectualism (oooh!) and rigid separation from the world stunted our work and each sister’s development. Modern nuns’ encouragement of individuals’ gifts and responsibilities no longer seemed like egocentric selfishness -- it seemed like oxygen. (More like carbon monoxide)
Sometimes I think that if I had joined one of those modern communities, I might still be a nun. (What a stinger to end on, you've got to hand it to Sr Mary, she certainly knows how to damn with faint praise).


I did not particularly like the nuns of my childhood, most of them were harsh and severe. Conservative, even.
But they were all amazing examples of humility, obedience and, I am sure, chastity.
They reflected God's love, albeit in a somewhat direct manner. I do not view them through rose tinted glasses, they did have faults but, by and large, they were a good bunch.

They may have been obedient to Rome but there was nothing subservient about them; they challenged the Diocesan education authorities as a matter of course. They had to fight hard for every bit of kit and technology and every resource that was available.

They did not kow tow to the Archbishop or Cardinal of the time; I once witnessed the Headteacher nun giving Cardinal Heenan a real ear bashing for not featuring the school in one of Westminster's televised ceremonies.
He left the school a very chastened man but not before Sister Catherine had knelt to kiss the ring on his finger.

That's what I call a real nun.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The Welsh Connection - in the US Presidential election

It appears as if the unfortunately named, Mitt Romney (who would name an infant after a child's glove?) is both a leading Presidential contender and a Mormon to boot.

Lord Parry....
.....Brigham Young - hmmm!
The word "Mormon" conjures up images of stern, bearded men with a handful of obedient wives and a playing card pack of children. I do not know if this is an accurate picture of the present day Mormon male. I suspect that most of them have done away with the beards and wives and adopted lightweight mohair suits and iPhones these days.

My late good friend Lord Parry of Neyland (a good guy despite being a Labour Peer) used to tell a story about the early Mormons and, like all good and faithful Welshmen, he had found a link that led from sleepy Pembrokeshire in West Wales right to the capital of Latter Day Saints - Salt Lake City in Utah.

A tenuous link one might suppose.
What was it that Pembrokeshire had that was of interest to Mormons?

The answer is women.

Apparently, and according to the noble Lord, Brigham Young's family hailed originally, from the western banks of the River Cleddau, not far from a hamlet called Port Lyon, once home to Lord P.
As a digression, Port Lyon, which stands on the banks of the Cleddau, was so named after the call coming from the boats and ships that found their way upriver to that place whereupon, spotting the hamlet of cottages, the call would go out "port lee - on".

Now as Lord Parry also quoted this story I fully admit that the main account may be apocryphal but I leave you to make that judgement.

Back to Mr Young whose family still (allegedly) farm the banks of the Cleddau.

The early Mormons had plenty of zeal but very few women (to marry and bear children) and so, what was more natural than Brigham sailing across the pond and up the Cleddau to his homeland to recruit young Welsh maids to return with him to the land of promise that was America.

And so it was. And not just one trip was made but several over a period of years.

I often wonder about this and picture those young women, wide of hip and broad of bosom, as farm lasses were in those days, and I speculate that, if one strolled down the streets of Salt Lake City today, would you be able to identify those with a claim to be great, great grandchildren of the men who made such perilous journeys in order to secure a wife?

And does Mitt Romney know of this important link that could open up his campaign to the Welsh expatriate vote (a powerful force in the USA).
If not, he could be onto a winner and I will have helped a Mormon get into The White House. Oh joy!

Note: Lord Parry of Neyland came from Baptist stock and never wavered from that faith. He thought that the Catholic faith, and me in particular, highly superstitious and eccentric.

He was one of those people who had contacts at the highest level wherever you went in the world and he was a close friend of many US Presidents; George Bush Senior and Jimmy Carter, in particular.

There's a frog in my bucket!

La grenouille est morte!
The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen used to tell this tale and, whilst it is very well known in the world of Catholic bloggers, I felt it was worth a re-run.

The Archbishop used this little  parable to illustrate, very graphically, how those in the modern Church have drifted off into oblivion, forgetting the vital facts about the Church's teachings on faith and morals because they have absorbed the deadly warmth of a secular, material society.

It is a simple story and, from memory, I will relate it as the great man once did:

"...you take a frog from its wild environment and you place it in a bucket of water where it swims around happily.

Then you slowly, very gradually, begin to heat the water.

Not by much, a degree or half a degree a day until quite some time later the day comes when you look in the bucket and the frog is dead.

It was not aware of any increase in temperature, so gradual was the increase.
And then, it died!"

So it is with our Faith. If we remove ourselves, for whatever reason, from the mainstream of the Church, and become distracted by earthly things, we don't notice the increase in temperature that occurs until, one day, it is too late for us and we are dead!"

This is the case with so many Catholics inasmuch that they attend Mass on a Sunday but totally disregard most teachings of the Church and all guidance of the Holy Father.

The temperature has risen and, to all intents and purposes, they are spiritually dead.

This might be a good starting point for the Bishops when they come to put into place Pope Benedict's call for an evangelisation programme in October this year.

Re-evangelisation should be Phase One!

A new blog that underpins the petition

Reception of Holy Communion by tongue only is as controversial as, say, mantillas, dress codes in church, women priests and many other current topics.

Not too frail nor too proud to
kneel before Him
It is, however, more important than any other concern and a petition to the Holy Father, asking for withdrawal of the permission to give the Eucharist in the hand, (started by two Australian priests) is now doing the rounds.

Now it appears, those two priests also have a new blog called, disarmingly, Restore Communion on the Tongue The link takes you straight to a recent post quoting from one of the Holy Father's books and giving his views. It is worth reading.
H/T to Kate Edwards of Australia Incognita

Monday, 23 January 2012

Stand back! - I'm armed and will not hesitate to defend myself!

I have had a series of nasty communiques from someone representing the abortion lobby (not so much lobby as thuggish bloodthirsty mob).

At first I was a shade nonplussed. Why me? There are many more eloquent defenders of human life out there...what have I done to deserve this diatribe...and on a post totally unrelated to life and murder issues.

And then I became a little puffed up that "the mob" had deemed me worthy of such illiterate, unbalanced rants, but that soon disappeared.
There is no merit to being attacked in such an apparently harmless way; harmless because it was not a series of threats to my loved ones or a violent physical attack, just an unpleasant rant with horrific terms and phrases with regard to the child in the womb.
The only harm was to my privacy; the fact that unwholesome views and words had invaded my combox.

Then, of course, I realised that I was not in the way of harm.

I am well armed with lethal weapons.

In my right hand is my Rosary and to the left of my front door is a holy water stoup. Nothing can hurt me! God is my Father!

But a prayer or two on behalf of those "Anonymous" commentators will not go amiss.

I have deleted their comments and, sadly, from now on, will no longer publish 'Anonymous' entries. If you have to comment anonymously, please add your name or nom de plume at the end of the comment.
Thank you.

                            Pope Benedict's prayer for the unborn child

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.
Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.
Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.
Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.
Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.
Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.
Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.
Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.
Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.
Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True God and Saviour,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.

Let's join with the USA!

The historic and catastrophic Roe vs Wade case had its anniversary yesterday and, thanks to Fr Shelton I have learnt that it is now a national day of penance for American Catholics, dedicated to the preservation of life and against acts that violate the human body.

When the 22nd January falls on a Sunday, then the penitential day moves to the Monday. So today we mourn; and pray; and offer up our Masses if we are fortunate enough to be able to attend a weekday Mass.

It seems to me that the whole Catholic world needs to be mindful of today's anniversary and to join with America in offering up acts of mortification in reparation for the slaughter of the innocents.

I will not quote the numbers of infants murdered in their mother's womb - just one would be one too many.

But a prayer to Our Lady of Guadalupe would not go amiss, along with whatever form of penance you are able to commit to.


Holy Mother of God and of the Church, our Lady of Guadalupe, you were chosen by the Father for the Son through the Holy Spirit.

You are the Woman clothed with the sun who labours to give birth to Christ while Satan, the Red Dragon, waits to voraciously devour your child.

So too did Herod seek to destroy your Son, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and massacred many innocent children in the process.

So today does abortion, by killing many innocent unborn children and exploiting many mothers in its attack upon human life and upon the Church, the Body of Christ.
Mother of the Innocents, we praise God in you for His gifts to you of your Immaculate Conception, your freedom from actual sin; your fullness of grace, your Motherhood of God and the Church, your Perpetual Virginity and your Assumption in body and soul into heaven.
O Help of Christians, we beg you to protect all mothers of the unborn and the children within their wombs.
We plead with you for your help to end the holocaust of abortion. Melt hearts so that life may be revered!

Holy Mother, we pray to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart for all mothers and all unborn children that they may have life here on earth and by the most Precious Blood shed by your Son that they may have eternal life with Him in heaven. We also pray to your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart for all abortionists and all abortion supporters that they may be converted and accept your Son, Jesus Christ, as their Lord and Saviour.

Defend all of your children in the battle against Satan and all of the evil spirits in this present darkness.
We desire that the innocent unborn children who die without Baptism should be baptized and saved. We ask that you obtain this grace for them and repentance, reconciliation and pardon from God for their parents and their killers.

Let there be revealed, once more, in the history of the world the infinite power of merciful love.
May it put an end to evil. May it transform consciences. May your Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart reveal for all the light of hope.
May Christ the King reign over us, our families, cities, states, nations and the whole of humanity.

O clement, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary, hear our pleas and accept this cry from our hearts!

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Protectress of the Unborn, Pray for us!

"Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who am your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."
(Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego)

Sunday, 22 January 2012

If you've got a problem - Ask Auntie

Our Father's last will and New Testament

Dear Auntie

My Father left me and my brothers and sisters a rich legacy in His will, and I am very grateful for it.

The trouble is, He specified very clearly how He wanted His children to spend the inheritance and, whilst I try to do what he wanted, (but am far from perfect), most of the rest of the family just do more or less as they please with all that He left them.

To make matters worse, as time has gone on, they have more or less forgotten all that our Father asked of us; they genuinely think they are doing what is right, but, in reality, they are very wide of the mark.

They have distorted and perverted all that He left them and when I challenge them they tell me that I'm an old fashioned fundamentalist - an extremist even.
They accuse me of being disloyal and right wing, some even go so far as to call me snide names like 'Taliban Catholic'.

They ignore all of our Father's directives regarding music, liturgy, the sacraments, women priests, homosexuality, birth control, Extraordinary Eucharistic Ministers, abortion, married clergy, reverence, and many more besides.

I know that this will have hurt my Father's feelings and I want to do something to help them understand precisely what His words in the will meant, there is no way that there could or should be any diversity of opinion as to their meaning but they have weaselled out different versions so that the original will is barely recognisable.

So what should I do?

Disheartened of Tonbridge Wells

Dear Disheartened of Tonbridge Wells

This is quite a common problem and one that is rapidly increasing in magnitude.
It is always upsetting when families fall out.
There are several things that you can do.

Firstly, you should pray for them and offer up your Masses on their behalf. Your Father will hear your prayers in Heaven and will respond to them.

Secondly, do not go down the route of arguing matters of faith and morals with them. No one has ever been won over to the true course of the faith by arguing.

Thirdly, become a Catholic blogger. It may take some time but your family will start to read your blogs and some of them (not all) will begin to realise just how far they have drifted from your Father's wishes as expressed in His will.

With much affection

Auntie (no, not that Auntie!)

Saturday, 21 January 2012

It's the keys stupid!

According to the Houses of Parliament Chairman of the Speaker's Advisory Council, one Dr Jonathan Drori,  the great British public is "put off" by the iconography of Parliament, namely the portcullis motif.

Dr Drori states that the logo is "hardly welcoming" and even describes it as "intimidating".

If that works for Parliament.......then it must work for the Catholic faith!

The British are "put off" by
the Houses of Parliament logo

So it seems that people are not put off the faith by....

Papal infallibility......Or the ban on  priests of the female gender......

...Or the Doctrine of Purgatory?- No, it's none of those things....it's....the keys!

Of course, come to think of it, the Papal Coat of Arms is so very intimidatory with its iconography of the crossed keys (so ominous, keys).

Keys represent authority and discipline, restraint, even. They are a symbol of authority, of opening or closing, binding or loosing - very offputting.

So, I hope that those in the Vatican who are responsibe for such things will give priority to removing the key image and replacing it with something much more user friendly, a smiley face perhaps?

Much better than those horrid keys!

Communion on the tongue!

If you wish to see reverence and respect for the Body of Christ restored once more, please sign this petition originated by two Australian priests.

Countercultural Father has the link..................HERE

Friday, 20 January 2012

Ten more things the devil wants us to believe

If the leader is absent  don't follow the flock!

1. Purgatory does not exist

2. An all loving God would not permit hell to exist

3. The gates of Heaven are open to all

4. Priests are just plain men

5. The Pope does not know about marriage/sex/family life etc

6. Doing your own thing at Mass is good

7. Obedience means saying nothing and doing less

8. Nothing matters as long as your heart is in the right place

9. If your conscience is clean - so are you!

10. You are an exception to the rule

One a day...the best of the week's blogs

1. How many times has someone said to me: "I love God but I just can't agree with the Pope" to which I normally lose my cool and offer a string of expletives, so silly is this statement.
David Gray gives a more adult and reasoned account why this is a silly thing to say and believe and he backs it up with intelligible, comprehensible facts. Read it HERE

2. I really would like to Riverdance my way to a Catholic Heaven.....thanks Stuart of eChurch, for managing to combine the ethereal (post on the Sixteen singing the Misere) to the more earthly. Marge Simpson finally finding out about the one true faith, all within the space of three posts - brilliant! Read it HERE

3. May a child with Down's Syndrome receive Holy Communion? A thorny issue that Caroline Farrow has tackled with sensitivity. I am minded of that wonderful priest of English origin and who lived in France (bad memory for names). He had a young man who suffered from DS as his sacristan and server. I am sure he would have received the sacraments also.
 Read Caroline's post HERE.
For what it's worth, I believe that the church should err on the side of permitting the child to receive (forget about instruction if he cannot comprehend it). Any person suffering from a mental disability and, presumably, not having a balance of reason, must be innocent of any sin. What say you?

4.  I am from time to time, a mite critical of the LMS. I want them to succeed in what they do, it's just so frustrating when they don't get things right (on the odd occasion). The Diocesan blogs of the LMS are not overly inspiring with the exception of the Arundel and Brighton one. It's run by Annie whom I  met at the inaugral Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma meeting and Annie is not afraid to broach and tackle some sensitive subjects that, all too often, tend to be shied away from. So HERE is a sample post from her.

5. Apparently, if you want one word that will fill your com box up you have to look no further than 'Mantilla'. It is a subject that will not go away. Some love it, others hate it and those in between like the idea of it but are too wimpish to wear one at an OF Mass. Shame! But what right have I, a mere male, in posting on this subject? Read about it in a post from the Community of Catholic Bloggers blog - HERE

6. And from Rorate Caeli a little piece on traditionalism...we are all traditionalists really, it's just that some got a bit lost en route. Read HERE
And thanks to Ioannes Patricius for bringing this post to my attention.

                                               THE END

But why only six? Is it the old adding up problem again?

No. It's just that this week I spent two days in a rather different world, far from reality and the harshness of life.

No-oo, not on a retreat, I just crept out of retirement for a bit to do a touch of consultancy in the city of dreaming spires, brown sherry and hog whimperingly drunk undergraduates - Oxford, no less!

So that's why there are only five top posts from top blogs this week.
 I told you my maths is bad!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

National Shrine to Our Lady closed!


What Lourdes? No!

Fatima then? No again!

Walsingham? No, of course not.......it's WALES!

Sad but true. The National Shrine of Wales, Our Lady of the Taper, open to receive pilgrims daily since the 14th century has now locked its doors except at weekends and when a Mass is celebrated.

That means that, if you happen to be passing through the peaceful rural town of Cardigan and wish to pray your respects to Our Lady of the Taper - tough luck!

The reasons for locking the doors to the church and shrine are not clear.
Cardigan has always been a quiet non violent sort of place and the shrine is a short step out of the town centre, away from any pubs and bars.

So why close the shrine?


The Magnificat

My soul doth magnify the Lord:
And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour
Because He hath regarded the lowliness of His handmaid: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed.
For He that is mighty hath done great things to me: and holy is His Name.
And His mercy is from generation until generations, to them that fear Him.
He hath showed might with His arm: He hath scattered the proud in the conceit of their heart.
He hath put down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the lowly.
He hath filled the hungry with good things: and the rich he hath sent empty away.
He hath received Israel His servant, being mindful of His mercy:
As He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed for ever.

Monday, 16 January 2012

Does a Vigil Mass fulfil your Sunday obligation?

I ask this question very obviously from the standpoint of one who resides on the traditional side of the Catholic Faith.

Which is it to be?

Most Catholics would, of course say, YES! It certainly would fulfil one's obligations.
And, you know what? I lean towards agreeing with them, but only at an angle of about 20 degrees.

I believe that, if no Mass is available on a Sunday, then a Vigil Mass the night before must be regarded as valid in terms of obligation.

But..if an EF Mass was available on the Sunday....Saturday night would be out.

Unless, of course, I was a shift worker and could not make the Sunday Mass.

We are faced with this situation some Sundays in Menevia Diocese and I think it is perfectly legit to attend on the evening before under these circumstances.

Some disagree; I would really like to know where the Latin Mass Society stands on this point.

Do they accept a Vigil EF Mass or not?

The meeting.....it's official!

When shall we three meet again?
In thunder, lightning, or at Blackfen?
Definitely no witches, or wizards for that matter, allowed.
The next meeting of The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma has been announced as Saturday 18th February commencing with Holy Mass and Adoration at 10.30am at the church of
Our Lady of the Rosary
Burnt Oak Lane, Sidcup, Kent
DA15 8LW
All thanks to Fr Tim Finigan, Chaplain to the Guild and Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Rosary.
The guest speaker for the day will be Father Sam Medley SOLT and, if you have never heard Fr Sam give a talk, your life has been incomplete up until now.
Lunch will be available, followed by a Guild meeting and prayers and, possibly, just possibly, an adjournment afterwards to a place of refreshment and friendly banter.
There is an open invitation to Catholic bloggers to attend, you do not have to be a Guild member, so please join us on the day (or join us as members if you wish by following the details on the Guild blog HERE.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

Changing water into........cash. Wales - what a nation!

What can you say about a land that so often succeeds against all the odds, even in times of global economic recession?

Wales has done it again with the launch of a new product from Halen Mon a company located on the isle of Anglesey, ancestral home of A Reluctant Sinner.

Halen Mon  produces a range of expensive table salts that can be found in uber upmarket delicatessens around the world.

Now they have launched a new product; it's designed for cooking those delicate vegetables such as new baby potatoes or purple brussels sprouts still on the stem.

What can it be? What essential is missing from the top chef's list of receipts?

Nothing less than  sea water in a jar! What!

Yes, dear reader, all you do is to buy a jar of this delicious....err.....condiment, is that the word? Add it to a pan of the aforesaid vegetables and cook for the required period.

And, to accompany this dish of epicurean proportions - how about a tin (can if you are American) of Pembrokeshire air? It's fresh and bracing and very reasonable in price, please contact me to place your orders.

So what, you may ask, has this got to do with Catholicism?

A good question; well, it put me in mind of the Diocese of Wrexham, that poor and desolate wasteland that embraces the Isle of Anglesey, better known in these parts as Ynys Mon, where traditional Catholics are as common on the ground as pork pies in a synagogue.

Poor old Wrexham Catholics have been opening jars of the spiritual equivalent of sea water for a long time now and supplementing the range with cans full of fresh air.

The trouble is, that it does not make for a healthy diet; these items may be OK as supplements (if you cannot be bothered to source the real thing yourself) but you cannot thrive on them.

You grow thin and pale, or at least, your soul does. And you hunger for a slab of a rarely done EF Mass or an Afternoon Benediction - real food!

This is allegedly, a year of change for the Diocese; Bishop Regan is due to retire.

Get a can of  Vat II  now!
It will add a real insipid flavour
to your spiritual life!

Let us hope and pray that the Holy Father will send a shepherd who knows a thing or two about animal husbandry and who will feed his flock well - but not on sea water or fresh air.

Cana - " The water saw its God and blushed"

The Marriage Feast of Cana, as well as being Christ's first public miracle, holds a special place in my affections.

“When Christ at Cana's feast by pow'r divine, Inspir'd cold water, with the warmth of wine, See! cry'd they while, in red'ning tide, it gush'd, The bashful stream hath seen its God and blush'd.”
It was one of the readings at our wedding. That is one reason.

It is also a mighty lesson in the intercessionary powers of Our Lady and a wonderful example of God's mercy towards us, even over a relatively trivial thing like running low on wine at a wedding.

It would have been embarrassing to have run dry, a great loss of face would have been involved but, it would not have been the end of the world.

Our Lady, with a mother's perception, knew that an embarrassment for the host family would be painful to bear.
She also knew that Our Lord had the power to put matters right - "Whatsoever He shall say to you, do Thee".

 This is a great example of the innate faith and compassionate nature of Our Lady.

The more one dwells on this aspect, the more one's respect and devotion to Our Lady grows.

GOSPEL (Jn. 2:1-11). At that time there was a marriage in Cana of Galilee: and the mother of Jesus was there. And Jesus also was invited, and his disciples, to the marriage. And the wine failing, the mother of Jesus saith to him: They have no wine. And Jesus with to her: Woman, what is it to me and to thee? my hour is not yet come. His mother saith to the waiters: Whatsoever he shall say to you, do ye. Now there were set there six water-pots of stone, according to the manner of the purifying of the Jews, containing two or three measures apiece. Jesus saith to them: Fill the water-pots with water. And they filled them up to the brim. And Jesus saith to them: Draw out now, and carry to the chief steward of the feast. And they carried it. And when the chief steward had tasted the water made wine, and knew not whence it was, but the waiters knew who had drawn the water; the chief steward calleth the bridegroom, and saith to him: Every man at first setteth forth good wine; and when men have well drank, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now. This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee: and manifested his glory, and his disciples believed in him.

To be concerned for the feelings of the host is one thing but to actually know that her Son is the only person in the room and in the world who can make matters right without any fuss or hoo-hah, is quite another.

There are many elements within this account that provide us with a perfect route map for our own faith.

First and foremost is trust in God and in his Mother's intercessionary power.

Second is that, if Christ could intervene on a domestic issue such as this, how much more will He intervene on our behalf when life or death is at stake?

Then we have the implicit trust in God. "Do whatever He tells you" - that is a maxim for all time.

And also in the Miracle at Cana we have a link to the Eucharist, the changing of matter as at the Miracle of the Loaves and Fishes and, ultimately, at the Last Supper when bread and wine was changed into the Body and Blood of Christ.

All of the above is taken from a sermon given by Fr Jason Jones at a Vigil Mass in the Extraordinary Form at the Church of the Sacred Heart, Morriston, Swansea. Father's homily contained much more of import but the above account is the best my poor memory can achieve.

At least it proves that I listened, Father!