Wednesday 29 February 2012

In case you didn't realise it....I'm paradoxically intent!

After many years in the traditional pew I no longer experience angst or even anger when I come under attack, although, I admit to being a bit ratty when I receive silly invective in the comments box at times.

Perhaps peace of mind is an age thing but, I also find that by attempting to laugh at myself and  at the inanity of both the world and the Catholic Church authorities in England and  Wales, life becomes worth living.

My blogging is a release of the pent up frustrations 23 years of fighting Bishops, teachers, nuns, priests and laity who have all done their damnedest to baulk the attempts of my wife and myself to bring our children up within the teachings of Holy Mother Church.

So it is good to be able to laugh a great deal of the time or, as Archbishop Sheen described it: "Be paradoxically intentioned"

Tuesday 28 February 2012

BBC Four's 'Catholics' part two

As the first programme in the series 'Catholics' produced such a flurry of comment I thought all might appreciate a reminder to watch part two.

Due to be screened at 9pm Thursday 1st March, the second instalment looks at children and, specifically, how they prepare to make their First Holy Communion.

Here is what the Beeb blurb says about it:

Episode image for Children
'Show me the child of seven and I'll show you the man', goes the Jesuit proverb. Award-winning documentary filmmaker Richard Alwyn observes the truth of the saying in this film about children becoming Catholic.
Filmed throughout Lent and into summer 2011, it focuses on the children of St Mary's Roman Catholic Primary School in Chipping, Lancashire. The tiny rural school has 33 pupils, six of whom are preparing to make their First Holy Communion.
Alwyn's lyrical, poignant film observes the essence of Catholicism being distilled into young children. Encouraged to celebrate the riches of the natural world and to remember those less fortunate than themselves, the children are also required to reflect on Christ's brutal death and resurrection. Occasionally, this graphic story of suffering might seem to threaten the children's infectious charm and innocence.
The local parish priest, Fr Anthony Grimshaw, now in his 70s, has a strong presence in the children's lives. To the younger ones he's the avuncular character who comes into school to read Winnie the Pooh. To the older ones, he is more 'on message', talking with them about faith and fielding questions about his belief in the existence of Satan in this world.
Around this observation of the Catholic life of the children and the school is the story of a handful of its pupils, aged seven and eight, preparing for their First Holy Communion. Here, the children are introduced to the bewildering mystery at the heart of the Catholic faith - when they believe bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Jesus Christ.
This beautiful film is full of the spirit of childhood and shows how being Catholic is a complex identity that can bring both agony and ecstasy."

Many year ago I knew Chipping, it has or had an excellent pub, The Dog and Partridge, so that element of nostalgia will add a little touch of zest to my viewing.

I will keep an open mind as to what sort of feast will be spread out for us but I am mentally reserving a bet as to how it will unfold.

That part of Lancashire is rich in Catholic Reformation history and we owe much to those men and women who gave their lives so readily.
I hope and pray that the content of the programme reflects their sacrifice as well as the Supreme one.

A psychometric test for Catholics

View these images and then state the designation that springs to mind...

And your answer is?..................................

Correct. Sad eh?

Now I understand where Lynne Featherstone is coming from

She has been in the news rather a lot over the past few days, commenting on marriage and stating that neither the Church, nor the State has rights over marriage (in this instance, homosexual and lesbian marriage).
The rights belong, so she claims, rather in Comrade Napoleon fashion, to the people.

I thought it strange for a Cabinet Minister to come out with a blunt claim such as this, taking on the collective might of the Christian denominations, but then I discovered that she is the Equalities Minister and a Liberal Democrat MP.

For any North American readers of this post, this party ranks as being slightly more extreme than the Loony Communist Party in my book.

And, as any fool knows, Commies and Lib Dems like to rule by coercion and bullying.

They are also, I suspect, the top party for (allegedly) having a history of MPs with rather peculiar sexual inclinations in their ranks, having long overtaken the Tories in this respect. I cite this fact only to illustrate that a moral code does not hold any awe for the party that introduced the holocaust of abortion to Great Britain.

Was it Chicago's Cardinal George who recently stated this gem of wisdom?

" I expect to die in my bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr"

The Faith is under more pressure today, globally, than, I suspect at any other period of history.
The ongoing and relentless onslaught of the abortionists, the anti-life brigade, the homomaniacs and eroticists must surely be at an all time high and, as Archbishop Sheen used to say:

"That makes it a wonderful time in which to be a Catholic"

So when the secular pressure becomes too much for me, the words of a well known hymn always spring to mind.
You seldom hear it these days and probably you would never hear it in an assembly of Nouveau Catholiques.

Here it is:

  1. Faith of our fathers, living still
    In spite of dungeon, fire and sword,
    O how our hearts beat high with joy
    Whene'er we hear that glorious word!
    Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death!

  1. Our fathers, chained in prisons dark,
    Were still in heart and conscience free;
    And blest would be their children's fate,
    If they, like them should die for thee:
    Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death!

  1. Faith of our fathers, we will strive
    To win all nations unto thee;
    And through the truth that comes from God
    Mankind shall then indeed be free.
    Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death!

  1. Faith of our fathers, we will love
    Both friend and foe in all our strife,
    And preach thee, too, as love knows how
    By kindly words and virtuous life.
    Faith of our fathers! holy faith!
    We will be true to thee till death!

   5. Faith of our fathers we will strive
       To win all nations unto Thee!
       And thro' the truth that comes from God
       Mankind shall then be truly free:
       Faith of our fathers! Holy faith!
       We will be true to Thee till death!

Monday 27 February 2012

Burning the Koran is wrong....

......And so is burning the Bible or a Missal!

An Islamic mob burn an effigy of the Holy Father

Yet the civil authorities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia routinely incinerate hundreds if not thousands of them each year.

Many naive or, possibly, evangelistic Christians are apprehended every day in Saudi Arabia as they arrive on their flight from the Americas or Europe.

In their luggage is a Bible, sometimes, many Bibles.

To bring any Christian literature into the country is against the law in Saudi and so, all materials will be confiscated and disposed of.

The penalties can be harsh but one thing is certain, the holy books will be burnt (hopefully, before any act of sacrilege can be committed).

It was a mindless act of stupidity on the part of those soldiers who burnt the copies of the Koran - but perhaps the Muslim community might like to get a perspective on the issue.

I might add Abbott to my Santorum Rosary pledge

In fact, I will, I like almost all that I read about the man but, above all, as with Santorum, I like the fact that he attracts bitter and vile criticism from his opponents, that means, in my book, that he has moral values and is not afraid to speak out when required to do so.

Just imagine, a Catholic President in the USA and another Catholic as Premier in Australia - things could be looking up.

Described as being " a socially conservative politician" - that rates an eight out of ten in my poll;  he is also accused of "wearing his Catholicism on his sleeve" - better and better.

Born in London to expat Australian parents he entered a seminary in 1980 but decided the priesthood was not for him.
He is not afraid to hit back at the leftish wing of the Catholic faith and, once when challenged by priests he responded with:

"The priesthood gives someone the power to consecrate bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. It doesn't give someone the power to convert poor logic into good logic."

Just as America needs a Santorum, so Australia needs an Abbott. The country is floundering in a morass of liberal political correctness, or so I read. I will have a chance to see at first hand in a few weeks time when I travel out there.

But, there is a caveat, according to his online biographical details, Abbott, (whilst being Pro Life) is also in favour of legal abortions on a highly restricted basis.

This view, if true, is totally unCatholic and unacceptable.
Strange that one who has studied theology and philosophy within a seminary environment can go down that route and still call themselves Catholic.
But, I guess, if Australia is as dissolute as we are told, then a Catholic leader who is prepared to bend his beliefs would probably do well in the polls.
Sad but true.

But then, that's what the liberal Catholics do is it not?

Perhaps Tony Abbott needs our Rosaries not just for his election but also for his faith.
He might like to look to Rick Santorum's firm moral stance as an example of a fearless approach to electioneering (and start wearing sleeveless cardigans).

Sunday 26 February 2012

Santorum has a woman problem? No, he has a Woman advantage!

Daily Telegraph blogger and Editor, Mike Smithson claims that Santorum is now slightly behind Romney in the latest forecasts, you may read the full post HERE.

And the reason why is explained here in a brief extract:-

"An aspect of the polling detail, however, highlighted a trend that we have seen in many surveys during the past month: Santorum is doing reasonably well with male voters but he is miles behind with women.
Thus in the ARG survey, Santorum led Romney by 43% to 32% with the men in the sample, while Romney led Santorum by 47% to 26% with the women".

Of course, what Mike Smithson does not realise is, that, Santorum has the power of Our Lady behind him. It is her intercession that will make this man the Republican nominee and eventual President, if Almighty God wills it.

And, if Rick Santorum maintains the sartorial advantage!

Santorum and his sleeveless jumper
 aka 'sweater vest'

A lament - for Ireland

A Róisín ná bíodh brón ort fé'r éirigh dhuit:
Tá na bráithre 'teacht thar sáile 's iad ag triall ar muir,
Tiocfaidh do phárdún ón bPápa is ón Róimh anoir
'S ní spárálfar fíon Spáinneach ar mo Róisín Dubh.
Is fada an réim a léig mé léi ó inné 'dtí inniu,
Trasna sléibhte go ndeachas léi, fé sheolta ar muir;
An éirne is chaith mé 'léim í, cé gur mór é an sruth;
'S bhí ceol téad ar gach taobh díom is mo Róisín Dubh.
Mhairbh tú mé, a bhrídeach, is nárbh fhearrde dhuit,
Is go bhfuil m'anam istigh i ngean ort 's ní inné ná inniu;
D'fhág tú lag anbhfann mé i ngné is i gcruth-
Ná feall orm is mé i ngean ort, a Róisín Dubh.
Shiubhalfainn féin an drúcht leat is fásaigh ghuirt,
Mar shúil go bhfaighinn rún uait nó páirt dem thoil.
A chraoibhín chumhra, gheallais domhsa go raibh grá agat dom
-'S gurab í fíor-scoth na Mumhan í, mo Róisín Dubh.
Dá mbeadh seisreach agam threabhfainn in aghaidh na gcnoc,
is dhéanfainn soiscéal i lár an aifrinn do mo Róisín Dubh,
bhéarfainn póg don chailín óg a bhéarfadh a hóighe dhom,
is dhéanfainn cleas ar chúl an leasa le mo Róisín Dubh.
Beidh an Éirne 'na tuiltibh tréana is réabfar cnoic,
Beidh an fharraige 'na tonntaibh dearga is doirtfear fuil,
Beidh gach gleann sléibhe ar fud éireann is móinte ar crith,
Lá éigin sul a n-éagfaidh mo Róisín Dubh.
Little Rose, be not sad for all that hath behapped thee:
The friars are coming across the sea, they march on the main.
From the Pope shall come thy pardon, and from Rome, from the East-
And stint not Spanish wine to my Little Dark Rose.
Long the journey that I made with her from yesterday till today,
Over mountains did I go with her, under the sails upon the sea,
The Erne I passed by leaping, though wide the flood,
And there was string music on each side of me and my Little Dark Rose!
Thou hast slain me, O my bride, and may it serve thee no whit,
For the soul within me loveth thee, not since yesterday nor today,
Thou has left me weak and broken in mien and in shape,
Betray me not who love thee, my Little Dark Rose!
I would walk the dew with thee and the meadowy wastes,
In hope of getting love from thee, or part of my will,
Frangrant branch, thou didst promise me that thou hadst for me love-
And sure the flower of all Munster is Little Dark Rose!
Had I a yoke of horses I would plough against the hills,
In middle-Mass I'd make a gospel of my Little Dark Rose,
I'd give a kiss to the young girl that would give her mouth to me,
And behind the liss would lie embracing my Little Dark Rose!
The Erne shall rise in rude torrents, hills shall be rent,
The sea shall roll in red waves, and blood be poured out,
Every mountain glen in Ireland, and the bogs shall quake
Some day ere shall perish my Little Dark Rose!

Saturday 25 February 2012

The man who could wield a spade as well as his intellect

The Life of Archbishop Ullathorne (part 2)

During his time at Downside, the young Ullathorne added manual labour to his daily routine of prayer and study; this is the Benedictine way - a blend of the ethereal and the earthly.

One of the many things that strikes me upon reading his autobiography is that, in that era, some 180 years ago, it appeared that young people were thrust into senior posts remarkably early.

Of course, WilliamUllathorne was a very obvious candidate for greatness but, straight from his schooling, and still a green deacon, he was sent to Ampleforth (it was a great school then) to hold a senior and responsible post (Prefect of Discipline) and then, shortly afterwards, Professor of Theology.

And, as the young Deacon Ullathorne began his duties he was faced with an issue of graffiti - have things changed so very little in the education system?

This is his account as he began his pastoral role at Ampleforth:

"Soon after this time my Superiors wished to advance me to the Priesthood, before I had completed the course of Theology.
But apprehending there might be difficulties raised by the Bishop about dispensation from time and interstices, a petition was sent to Rome, through Cardinal Weld, the Protector of the English Benedictines.

His Eminence replied that it belonged not to the dignity of a
Cardinal to act as agent as well as protector ; and so, to my individual satisfaction, I escaped from what I thought a premature ordination.

However, I was not destined to continue my studies ; but with the Rev. Mr. Sinnot, a deacon as well as myself, I was sent to assist the new Prior in restoring the Monastery and College of Ampleforth after the great desolation caused by the events above referred to.

Soon after arriving there I was appointed Professor of Theology to a small class ; but by the time I had prepared the first lesson the Prior had changed his mind, put an Irish Franciscan to that office, and appointed me Prefect
of Discipline over the school.

Although those who remained constant to the Order after the great desertion stood firm, yet there was still a flavour remaining of the
spirit in which they had been trained.

The new Prior was from the old house of Lambspring, and an old missioner, and was not accepted with perfect cordiality, still less the two members from Downside.
This spirit communicated itself to the school, which had too intimate relations with one or two Religious.

So no sooner had the new Prefect appeared, than there was chalked up on the walls, " No Hunt, No reform." I let the students have their little triumph for the day. But the next morning, after prayers, I let them know how surprised I was to find a college of boys with the manners of a pothouse. I observed that if one or two of them had chalked the walls in a style insulting to an entire stranger, the rest must have concurred, or they
would have removed the disgrace fastened on the whole school.

" I will not be severe with you," I said, " without necessity : I will give you till the next recreation hour to get the walls cleaned of their disgrace.

If it is not done by then, I will stop all the school work until I find out the
offenders. If I fail I shall conclude that the whole school is involved in the guilt, and shall punish by decimation."

At the next recreation the walls were quite clean.

Soon after, I expelled one of the older students and flogged a younger one, after which we became good friends and understood each other".

The Red Dragon and St Thomas More

Today, at 4.02pm to be precise, two ancient enemy nations will do battle - on the field of Twickenham!

Wales will play England at Rugby and....far be it from me (a humble Englishman) to attempt any psychological gain for my country but I was put in mind of the trial of St Thomas More as portrayed in 'A Man for All Seasons'.

It is one of the great films about one of England's greatest men and a saint of the Church.

In the film, More is betrayed by his erstwhile assistant Richard Rich who has accepted the badge of the Red Dragon, signifying his post as Attorney General for Wales.
You may view the scene here, it appears at around 3:50 but watch the whole clip, it's Paul Scofield at his best.

And St Thomas, picking up on this reward for treachery utters the immortal line: "For Wales Rich, for Wales?"

If Wales wins on the 25th I may live to regret this post. Until then...heh! heh!

And may the worst team win!

Why the Vatican needs Daleks

Well we are under global attack are we not? We are, as Bishop Finn once said: "At war."

And the Daleks seem uniquely equipped and organised to achieve world domination conversion, even if a tad violently.

They could be just the sort of ally that the Vatican could use right now, after all, they have a good hierarchical structure (unlike some organisations I could mention).
They have, at the top of the pyramid, a Dalek Emperor and, beneath him? her? - (they are a bit TV-ish, those Daleks), we have the Imperial Guard, then the four black elite (Cult of Skaro), the Supreme Dalek and so on.

Meet your new Bishop....

They could be the roaming modern Crusaders of Holy Mother Church, dispensing swift and certain justice wherever a Catholic Church is torched or a Christian hanged for their faith.
Sorting out secularism and other 'isms' with impunity.

Their bodywork is impressive, metal plates surmounted by various "arms" that can screw, cut or shoot at the enemy.

I would like to see forty such "Knights" marching (if Daleks march) down Wood Green High Street on a Saturday afternoon, scattering the Jihad evangelists left right and left again.

And perhaps the Vatican could transport a group to the USA to help the beleaguered faithful there?

Provided they could get up the steps I think they would go down a storm in the Senate or House of Representatives.

Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden - beware! The Vatican Daleks are out to excommunicate, excommunicate!

Friday 24 February 2012

Italy launches an edict marking official persecution of Christians

All seats sold out - The Colisseum
in 303 AD
Not that, Christians had not already suffered liberal bouts of martrydom and torture for hundreds of years but, on 24th February 303, under the Emperor Diocletian, an official edict was announced stating that all Christians (Catholics) were fair game for seizure of their possessions and forfeiture of their lives, generally being ripped apart by savage animals in the arena or crucified or burnt alive.

Have things changed much in the past 1700 years or so?

I think not. Today's persecutors are not Romans but Muslims, or, should I say, Extreme Muslims, Islamists.

Skim around the world taking a flying look at the countries where Christians are still being routinely murdered, restricted, abused....

China, India, Pakistan, Malaysia, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Morocco, Nigeria, Russia, Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Hungary, Cuba, Vietnam, Laos, The Yemen, Bhutan, Somalia, Sudan, The Gambia, Iran, The all over 50 countries worldwide take part....and with the exception of the two or three that are communist, the rest are all Islamic.

Offhand I can't think of any group of humanity that is so presecuted as the Christians.

Of course, it is coming to the UK, and it will be here sooner than you think.

Already, parts of some of our major cities are effectively "no go" areas for non Muslims - what effect would a Corpus Christi procession produce in Hackney or Wood Green?
A riot would result and the likelihood would be that the Christians would be the ones being arrested.

Or, if one walked through those areas wearing a crucifix or saying the Rosary - what would result?

Soon women will not gain entry to parts of our major cities if they are not wearing ankle length dresses and  face veils.

Of course, as Christians we can accept and even relish persecution but we also have responsibilites for the young and those yet to be born.

Perhaps we do need to raise our heads above the parapet a little more and undertake acts of public prayer as do Juventutem London and the Legion of Mary (and, of course, the Pro Life Groups).

What would be really good would be a major Rosary procession through the streets of Birmingham or Manchester to show the world the power of prayer.

Perhaps a few of the Bishops might like to organise such a thing.......whoops, a pig just flew by my window!

BBC Four's 'Catholics' - count me out

I chanced to come across a programme last night with the title of 'Catholics.'

Deeply suspicious, I sat back and watched only to witness some pretty bland television producing going on.

Would you go for a pint with these men?
It's the Linen on the Hedgerow acid test!
At first I convinced myself that this was a fly on the wall about Anglican seminarians, so fey and oblique were the comments being made by this group of young men.

And then, as reality began to dawn I imagined that this was an intake from the Ordinariate, still yet to be grounded in Catholic theology and philosophy.

One young man struggled to describe what the Mass meant to him.
I cannot recall his precise words so shall not attempt a complete quote but he waffled on, not once mentioning that it was an unbloody sacrifice, a repeat of Calvary with the continuing Victim redeeming us with His sacrifice.

He finished by saying (after many errs and pauses): "It's the Mass"

Most of those involved were asked to state what the priesthood meant to them. No one appeared to have an authentic viewpoint on this, no one mentioned that they were going to be "other Christs."

If they had been adolescent social workers I would have said that their views were reasonable if a shade green.

But these were Allen Hall seminarians!
The Bishop who ordained them was Archbishop Vincent Nicholls of Westminster - shock, horror! These were Catholic young men.

Small wonder we are in a mess. Is this the best that the seminaries can do?

A seminary, in one respect, should be like a University (Redbrick, of course).
It should accept a green student at one end and churn out a mature, literate, well rounded individual at the other.

I am trying very hard not to pick on individuals and to spread the load of criticism but really we do need some SSPX theology and spiritual integrity injected into the system.

Whenever I come across this sort of evidence, the more I feel less and less Catholic in the modern sense.

I have nothing in common with these people, seminarians, lecturers, Bishops.

We belong to different faiths.

Another X for the Bishops I'm afraid.

Thursday 23 February 2012

Aramaic Bible found in Turkey

H/T to Pewsitter for this story from a Turkish News Agency...though quite why the Vatican is "in shock" defeats me.....

Ancient Bible in Aramaic dialected Syriac rediscovered in Turkey
Ancient Bible in Aramaic dialected Syriac rediscovered in Turkey

The relic was ‘rediscovered’ in the depositum of Ankaran Justice Palace, the ancient version of bible is believed to be written in Syriac, a dialect of the native language of Jesus

Ankara / Turkey – The bible was already in custody of Turkish authorities after having been seized in 2000 in an operation in Mediterranean area in Turkey. The gang of smugglers had been charged with smuggling antiquities, illegal excavations and the possession of explosives and went to trial. Turkish police testified in a court hearing they believe the manuscript in the bible could be about 1500 to 2000 years old.After waiting eight years in Ankara the ancient bible is being transferred to the Ankaran Ethnography Museum with a police escort.

Ancient Bible will be shown in Ankaran Ethnography Museum

The bible, whose copies are valued around 3-4 Mil. Dollars had been transferred to Ankara for safety reasons, since no owners of the ancient relic could be found.
The manuscript carries excerpts of the Bible written in gold lettering on leather and loosely strung together, with lines of Syriac script with Aramaic dialect. Turkish authorities express the bible is a cultural asset and should be protected for being worthy of a museum.

Ancient Bible in Aramaic dialected Syriac rediscovered in Turkey

Syriac is a dialect of Aramaic – the native language of Jesus – once spoken across much of the Middle East and Central Asia. It is used wherever there are Syrian Christians and still survives in the Syrian Orthodox Church in India and a village in the vicinity of Syrian capital Damascus. Aramaic is also still used in religious rituals of Maronite Christians in Cyprus.
Experts were however divided over the provenance of the manuscript, and whether it was an original, which would render it priceless, or a fake. Other questions surround the discovery of the ancient bible, whether the smugglers had had other copies of the relic or had smuggled them from Turkey.

Vatican eyes the faith of the ancient relic

The Vatican reportedly placed an official request to examine the scripture, which was written on pages made of animal hide in the Aramaic language using the Syriac alphabet.
The copy of the ancient Bible is valued as high as 40 million Turkish Liras ( 28 Mil. Dollars)

What to do about the masses?

No, not the Masses, the masses. The millions of Catholics who never watch EWTN, read a Catholic publication, belong to a religious group and who mistakenly believe that blogging is something rather distasteful and dirty.

They know nothing of Summorum Pontificum, of Catholics being murdered in Pakistan and massacred in Iraq, to them Rick Santorum sounds like an instruction in Latin, in red, of course!

To them, IVF is a great and wonderful scientific advance and abortion is not nice but, when push comes to sweeping things under the carpet, it's OK.

They probably could not name more than two bishops of their country and, there are great lumps of Catholic knowledge that they have forgotten.

A destination for many Catholics
....they have forgotten that there is a dress code for Mass, that chattering loudly before and after is totally wrong, that there is a need to abstain on Fridays, go to Confession and Holy Communion during Lent, to be in a state of grace before going to Holy Communion, to kneel to receive the Body of Christ.....and they are not to blame for all of this.

No matter who is to blame, that is not what this post is about, it's about re-evangelisation......about informing, educating and guiding those who are lost and do not know it.

I do not mean, in any way, that these souls are inferior, necessarily than any other group of Catholics but two things of major importance struck me at the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma meeting last Saturday.

The first was that we  some Catholic bloggers are erudite in the extreme; that was more than obvious at the meeting. Their posts reflect their knowledge and their gift of communication but, much of what they write would go way above the heads of the group that I am focusing on, the average Catholic man or woman on the London bus or Manchester tram.

There is a need to find a means of communicating, without condescension and without patronising them, that gets the message of change, renewal and reform a la Benedict, across to them so that they begin to appreciate that it is forty plus years since they looked in a mirror.

The sector that I speak of are not the straightforward working class Catholics so much as the liberal Middle Class; they are the ones who have moved to Anglican mode and pick and choose their moral code according to their whim of the day.

Gregg, at A Brief Encounter has a good and informative post about Lent.

It is brief and simplistic but it flags up the main points that are not widely known, certainly by non Catholics and, uncertainly, by Catholics en masse.

With a marketing hat on I would say that posts and articles aimed at this section of the faithful need to be written in a language style that they comprehend, and it must still hold the attention. That does sound patronising does it not? But it's basic communication savvy.

Our Lord did not mention the Hypostatic Union when he was on earth but he did speak in the parable format that his audience knew and understood.
He, of course, was the ultimate communicator.

Now, not many editors will be tripping over themselves to "dumb down" the intellectual style of their magazine or newspaper but Catholic bloggers could do so very easily.
Not in every post, perhaps just once a week or fortnight there could be an inspirational post that would have both mass appeal and Mass appeal.

Providentially, I have never suffered with overtly intellectual overtones!

New Catholic blogger - from South Korea

Please give Jimin Kang a warm welcome by visiting his blog
De Maria, numquam satis.

I met Jimin at last Saturday's Guild of Blessed Titus meeting and have included this picture just to make him feel at home (or homesick)

One of the key dishes of South Korea - Kimchi
Normally accompanies most meals from breakfast onwards
a mix of chilli, cabbage, garlic...need I say more?

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Google drops Lent in favour of Heinrich Hertz - who?

Google, so well known for its graphic doodles noting the particular event of the day (Charles Dickens' bi-centenary etc) has flopped miserably with regards to Lent.

No image of a dry crust of bread and a glass of water, just a wavy coloured line to commemorate Heinrich Rudolf Hertz - 155 years old today, well, I suppose that's quite an achievement for a start!

Who he? I say but I am sure that the SAs among you already know the answer to that question.....he is, of course, the German physicist who clarified and expanded the electromagnetic theory of light that had been put forth by James Clerk Maxwell He conclusively proved the existence of electromagnetic waves by making instruments to transmit and receive radio pulses using experimental processes that excluded all other known wireless phenomena.

Oh, so that's alright then.

But I bet he didn't know who sent the light in the first place.

* A Wiki note, Hertz's father converted to Catholicism from Judaism.
Young Heinrich, unaccountably, became a Lutheran before snuffing it at the tender age of 36. RIP.

Why Ramadan is bad and Lent is good

Mmm.....good soul food!

How does the Christian Lent compare with the Muslim fast of Ramadan? Is one really good and one really bad?
I believe so and will explain my reasons why.

Let me begin by quoting my own programme for today.

 Determined to make a good start in Lent and somewhat overwhelmed by the flood of good posts on fasting and by one Stanislaus Baboolovski's comments on Facebook, I began Lent in suitable style.

One Ryvita avec Marmite accompanied by a green tea was my first meal of the day - about 15 calories methinks.

Now, this is not in any way intended to be a brag, in fact, my normal breakfast is not much more than that.

But I did want to draw attention to what my good friends emphasized in their posts, namely, that giving up a bar of chocolate is pretty naff really and that our forbears did much, much more.

I recall my own parents' account of their Lenten fasts in Canning Town; one main meal a day which was always, salt cod - for the whole of Lent.

No milk or butter and the two remaining meals measured out so that they weighed only a couple of ounces.

Compare this with the Muslim regime during Ramadan.
No food or drink from before dawn until 9pm each night.

And the Ramadan diet!
Surely, that must be a better and more penitential course?

Well, if one was to ask a nutritionist to compare the two fasts, the Christian one would win hands down.
It is positively unhealthy to ask the body to go without food and liquids for anything up to 18 or 19 hours a day over a lengthy period.
It is also bad for the body (and the soul) to gorge on food as many Muslims do before sunup and after sundown.
It does not just make it penitential, it makes it life threatening. Why?

Think of a Brain Surgeon on a Ramadan fast, or for that matter, a bus driver or tool cutter or a nuclear physicist. Without sufficient liquid intake (especially), the body and subsequently, the brain, begins to malfunction; it begins to commit one's actions to errors of judgement.

In short, the chances that you are going to kill or maim yourself or someone else increase greatly.

It was customary in every College that I worked in, to bar Muslim students from working with any form of potentially dangerous technology during Ramadan. They were a danger to themselves and to others around them.

Furthermore, College staff would be reminded that severe fasting is liable to bring on what can only be described as temper attacks, when a student would snap at another and then a row or even a fight would break out.

Imagine now that you are a visitor to a Muslim country during Ramadan.What you do not do is walk through the streets eating an ice cream or quaffing a coke. You would come under verbal and physical attack and, in some countries, you would actually be in breach of the law.

Neither do you walk near a mosque or any place where folk gather in groups, tensions are heightened and the atmosphere is volatile.
Even Turkey, which might be described as a moderate country in Muslim terms, is far from safe for the unwary traveller.

Yet many Muslims regard our Lent as nothing more than an effeminate joke.

Whereas, we believe, as always, that so much of Catholic teaching and practice comes down to sound common sense and that our duty is to fast and abstain responsibly and safely.

Fast hard, but not so hard that you place your life and the lives of
         others in danger.

Pray, the one thing that we can be liberal about in Lent

Alms, the third requirement of this period, give and give until it hurts

O Lord and Master of my life, take from me the spirit of sloth, despondency, lust of power, and idle talk;

But grant rather the spirit of chastity, humility, patience, and love to thy servant.

Yea, O Lord and King, grant me to see my own transgressions, and not to judge my brother; for blessed art Thou unto the ages of ages.

Tuesday 21 February 2012

Who am I? Where am I going? What am I doing?

The recent meeting of Catholic Bloggers (Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma) was, much as I dislike the phrase, thought provoking at the very least.

The lively talks, debates and more informal discussions over a pint at lunchtime, nudged me into indulging in a little navel gazing. I felt that a different and better sense of direction was needed as far as my blogging activities were concerned; I needed to review what I was posting and to assess what end result I was looking for.

The need to "know myself" was brought to the surface by meeting so many gifted and talented bloggers and followers - an "inspiration" of Catholic bloggers would be a good collective noun to describe those at Blackfen.

So, I set to, in the days after the meeting, to reflect and brood on the sort of blogger that I am.

My starting point was inspired by Mary O' Regan's sparkling talk on Journalism and Blogging.

I fell back on the old question that could be found in every sales training manual of the 70s - "What sort of an animal am I?" Except that, I decided that it would be more relevant if I aligned my blog with a newspaper so that the question would be: "What sort of newspaper am I?"

Sadly, I came to the conclusion that I am rather more Daily Mail than Daily Telegraph - more into sarky headlines and comment, short, snappy sound bites in print. Pretty much middle of the road in intellectual terms, appealing to the lowest common denominator.
You see, The Daily Mail is not a paper that I greatly value or admire so I was a shade crestfallen that my soul seeking had me flat on my face at the first fence.

And then I thought (desperately) that few Catholic bloggers could be aligned or identified with just one publication; in reality we are an amalgam of publications.

With this thought in my mind and with the idea of gaining a better yardstick for my own analysis, I decided to look at some of my fellow bloggers just to see how this exercise would shake down; I restricted it to British Catholic bloggers as my knowledge of the US media is hazy to say the least.

So first on my list was A Reluctant Sinner and The Path Less Taken. Those were, I decided definitely 60% Catholic Herald and 40% Daily Telegraph.

Whereas, A Tiny Son of Mary, is certainly 100% Catholic Herald.

Hilaire Belloc is  95% Times Literary Gazette  with 5% of The Catholic Herald while That the Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill has a most interesting profile broken down more as a cocktail of Catholic Herald, Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail - with a liberal dash of Big Issue!

I must call a halt there lest I unintentionally cause offence (not my style at all!)

So, then back to my profile; perhaps I could gain a little ground in the credibility stakes by segmentation also.
With a little bit of mental rearrangement I found that I could honestly regard my blog as now only being 75% Daily Mail. Good but not good enough, how would the remainder turn out?

Well, only 5% could be assigned to the Daily Telegraph and the same for The Catholic Herald. That brought me up to 85%.

Then, inspiration struck and I allocated 10% to Private Eye. Excellent!
But I still had 5% to go.

Much head banging and wailing and then.......

...........Help! Au secours! I now have to "man up" and say that, if I am brutally honest, that odd 5% probably belongs to The Sun newspaper! Wotta result!

Saturday 18 February 2012

Good day at Blackfen

Catholic Bloggers gathered at Blackfen Parish Church of Our Lady of the Rosary for Holy Mass, Adoration and Benediction followed by lunch and a Guild meeting.

Thanks go to Fr Tim for his kindness in hosting the event and for his work as Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma Chaplain, to Dylan Parry for organising the event and to Mary O'Regan for stepping in at the last minute to give a lively talk on Journalism and Blogging.

After such a good day in the company of friends, what better way is there to end?

Friday 17 February 2012

And now the morality pill!

Following hot on the heels of Modafil, the "wonder" pill that allegedly improves the brain to such a degree that it is estimated to increase exam grades by up to 10%, a new pill is being developed that will "enhance morality."

Details are sketchy but, of one thing I am certain, it will not form part of my prescription list.
But why should I be so, sniffy about it?

I am all in favour of serial child abusers being chemically castrated; if there was an anti shoplifting potion, the retail industry would be baying for it to be added to our drinking water so, why not a morality tablet?

For a start, there is a better way; education and nurture based on the Catholic Faith.
And, for another thing, morality differs from country to country.

There was outrage recently about the news report from China of a two year old child, tragically run down by a car and left to die in the gutter.
It was outrageous but, also, Chinese society has been groomed for this.

 The one child policy leading to abortions by the billion and the general result of 60 years of Communism where human life is absolutely not regarded as sacred, has brought a harvest of cold indifference.
In addition, to stop and help a dying child, places a burden of responsibility on the person.
The Good Samaritan in China is frequently the butt of all attendant expenses, medical fees, undertaker's costs and, often, blame for the incident.
Small wonder that they pass on by.

A morality pill would not work in China and in quite a few other places I know of.
In fact, it is hard to imagine how it could possibly work.

Would it be handed out on a daily basis in prisons throughout the land?
Or, maybe in the City of London and on Wall Street there would be vending machines, sort of moral ATMs, available for the banking fraternity.

And would there be instances of people overdosing and, as a result, walking the streets barefooted, begging for food for the poor?

Would Black Rod, at the commencement of Parliament each day, parade past members with a tray of pink pills designed to give all politicians a ten per cent lead in the morality stakes?

I don't think that even George Orwell could have imagined this.....or did he?

Meanwhile, I shall keep taking the tablets, Moses' tablets, that is.

Thursday 16 February 2012

Could you put a price on the face of a child?

There is a charity called Project Harar Ethiopia.

 It is not a Catholic charity, just a charity.
It exists to raise funds and send medical teams out to Ethiopia to operate on the faces of children, maimed by animals (hyenas, in the main) or disease, of which Noma is the most common.

One can imagine the damage caused by a hyena that has the strongest jaws per pressure per square inch of any animal in Africa. Their teeth carry gangrenous bacteria so that, any wound quickly becomes a necrotising mass of infection.

Noma? Well this is what the charity has to say about Noma..........

 Noma is an acute gangrenous infection affecting the face.
Its victims are mainly young children living in extreme poverty, chronically malnourished and with little access to medical care.
 Some 90 percent die within weeks of contracting this terrible disease, and survivors can be left severely disabled.
The disease was eradicated in Europe and North America a century ago, save for outbreaks in Nazi concentration camps.
 However, it persists in the world’s ‘noma belt’ -  countries, such as Ethiopia, which border the Sahara and have high levels of malnutrition and poor access to medicine. 
Noma develops when a child’s antibodies that normally fight external viruses become 'confused'. They turn on their host body, attacking the soft tissue of the cheek, mouth and nose. The World Health Organisation estimates that there are approximately 770,000 survivors of noma, with 140,000 new cases per year.

Survivors are left scarred and disabled.

They are frequently unable to eat or speak normally, and confront great social stigma.
Many individuals with a facial ‘difference’ are ostracised by their communities, and many of our young patients are denied their right to a school-place or even abandoned.
Our patients come from poor, remote regions of Ethiopia, where there is little prospect of treatment without outside help. 

I have not included any emotive pictures with this post, other than the one below.

This is my youngest daughter. She is a nursing sister and she has given up all of her leave this year to either raise funds or, in this instance, to travel out to Ethiopia as part of a team carrying out remedial maxillofacial surgery, usually in draughty tents that serve as operating theatres.

How does this square with all the other demands on your purse or pocket?
There are many good Catholic charities, countless good causes, there is Medecin san Frontieres, Aid to the Church in Need, Oxfam, CAFOD (hmm) and a hundred other organisations both at home and overseas.

So I really hesitate at asking any more of you.

My daughter would love, above all else, your prayers.

But, if you do wish to donate to the expenses incurred in getting her team out there, then may Almighty God bless you.

This is where you contribute:

Who was Archbishop Ullathorne?

Archbishop Ullathorne - a passing
 resemblance to Archbishop Longley
 In readiness for my journey to Australia in March, I thought that I should really find out more about the young Englishman who made such an impact on what was then a very young country.
I do know a little about William Bernard Ullathorne and what I know of him I like immensely.

He appears to have two overriding characteristics, holiness and decisiveness.
His decisiveness is shown from  an early age and when he travels to Australia to assume the post of Vicar General for that country, he wastes no time in stepping into the leadership role, assigned to him by the Holy Father.
Still a very young priest, a precocious 27 years of age, he tells his Aussie confreres what's what the minute he steps off the boat.
Such direct speaking goes down well in Australia and the die was then cast for Ullathorne's outstanding ministry, more of which to come over the next few weeks.

So this is a picture of the man commencing when he was a lad of fifteen years.

William Bernard Ullathorne was the eldest of ten children born into a Yorkshire family in 1803.
His father was a successful grocer and his eldest son must have inherited some of his father’s strong will and determination to succeed.

At the age of 12 he entered his father’s business and was set to work in the accounts office. This was, supposedly, a temporary measure (maybe to put young William under the watchful eye of Papa) prior to a second round of schooling but William had a desire to travel and the only way of achieving that dream was to go to sea.

At the tender age of fifteen, William was working as a hand on vessels plying their trade around the Baltic and Mediterranean.

It was while he was at Mass in a German town called Memel that he discerned what he later came to realise was a vocation.

Here is his account from his autobiography:-

“When Sunday morning came in the harbour, Mr Craythorne, the mate, said to me: ‘William, let us go to Mass.’ I fished up the Garden of the Soul  from the bottom of my sea-chest, and we set off through the flat town of Memel, with its numerous windmills for sawing timber, and its churches in the hands of the Lutherans, until beyond the town we reached a considerable wooden structure exteriorly not unlike a barn.

There was a square yard of grass in front of it, surrounded by a low wall, and on one side the walk to the door was a mound surmounted by a large wooden figure on a cross, round the front of which sat a number of aged and decrepit people singing and soliciting arms.
The Mass had begun when we entered the chapel, the sanctuary was profusely decorated with flowers, and two banners were planted on the sanctuary rails, one of which, I recollect, represented St Michael the Archangel.
I vividly remember the broad figure of the venerable priest and his large tonsure, which made me think him a Franciscan.

The men knelt on the right side, the women on the left, all dressed very plainly and much alike. With their hands united and their eyes recollected, they were singing the Litany of Loretto to two or three simple notes, accompanied by an instrument like the sound of small bells.

The moment I entered I was struck by the simple fervour of the scene; it threw me into a cold shiver, my heart was turned inward upon myself, I saw the claims of God upon me, and felt a deep reproach within my soul.
When we came out I was struck by the affectionate way the people saluted each other, as if they were all one family.
Whatever money was in my pocket went into the poor box, and when we got on board I asked Craythorne what religious books he had with him. He produced an English version of Marsollier’s Life of St Jane Chantal , and Gobinet’s Instruction of Youth, which I read as leisure served.

The venerable figure of St Francis de Sales and that of St Jane Chantal introduced me to a new world, of which I had hitherto known nothing.
A life filled with God and devoted to God was what I had never realised. Gobinet’s Instructions again took me into my conscience. Still there was much fancy in me, and I lived in a sort of rapture of the imagination until we reached London.
I then wrote home and informed my parents that I wished to leave the sea and return home.

This was speedily arranged and I was again employed in my father’s business.
My dear mother, however, unacquainted with the change that had taken place in me, wrote to me before I left the ship, expressing a hope that I should give no more trouble to them than the rest of the family.

I cannot remember how it was, but though there was then a young priest resident at Scarborough, to whom I went, and under whom, at his request, I resumed the catechism, I did not at that time make my first Communion.

I took evening lessons in French with Mr Pexton, already named, and in walks with him he interested me in College life and studies; and I renewed my old habit of general reading.

But in the midst of this course of life we happened to receive a visit from a linen manufacturer of Knaresborough, who had a son studying with the Church, at the Benedictine Priory of Downside.

He took a fancy to my brother James, who had a fine boy’s voice, and was a principal singer at the chapel. He pressed him to go to Downside as a Church student, and spoke warmly about it to my parents.

But my brother did not feel the attraction.
Whereupon I acknowledged how much I should like it, and made known the altered state of my mind.

My father wrote at once to Dr Barber, the Prior, and the matter was settled to my great delight. As Downside is near Bath, I preferred going by London on board a packet sloop.

But whilst anchored at the mouth of the Thames we were caught in a severe January gale, and had to cut and run with about fifty sail more – of whom one, a Dutchman, went down – and got safe into Harwich, where in consequence of floating ice in the Thames, I did not delay, but went on by coach, and arrived at Downside in the beginning of February 1823, being nearly seventeen years old.

The College, as well as Priory, were then packed in the old mansion, with considerable contrivance; but the new College and Chapel were in course of preparation.
I made the twentieth boy in the school.

The first thing that struck me was the good feeling and piety which prevailed among the boys, and the kindly relations which existed between them and their masters.
The whole tone of thins (sic) was in great contrast to all I had ever known, and threw a light into my mind as to the practical bearing of the Catholic religion.
The next thing that struck me was the absence of worldly knowledge and experience in the Superiors, as well as in the monks, who nevertheless, by their great dignity, piety, and kindness at once attracted my reverence and veneration.

It revealed to me a world in utter contrast to the world I had known before…”

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Ramsgate's not all bad

Ramsgate (aka Simony-on-Sea) is not all bad. It is a pleasant South East England seaside town, one of the five Cinque Ports.

It has been in the news quite a lot recently over the scandal of some rather ancient and beautiful altar vessels that the Monks of Ramsgate (now removed to Chilworth) had placed in the hands of auctioneers.
The chalices, monstrance and ciboria have been saved (DG) H/T to  Fr Tim and Fr Ray who guide to this press release HERE

But, as well as being a good place to enjoy a fish and chip supper or a dip in the sea, preferably before the aforesaid supper, Ramsgate is so very well endowed with Extraordinary Form Masses.

St Augustine's Abbey Church has EF Masses every Friday and Sunday and St Ethelbert's has one every Wednesday morning.

A pity that St E's can't manage a Sunday one.

This parish is under the guiding hand of Fr Marcus Holden, well known on the Catholic Media circuit for his excellent work.
What is more, Fr Holden originates from Pembrokeshire, close to Tenby, in fact.

And, yet more info - I had the privilege of serving at Fr Holden's first EF Mass celebrated at Our Lady of the Taper, Cardigan. a few years ago.

Here is a glimpse of a Mass held at the Abbey church of St Augustine described as being one of Pugin's gems,  Fr Holden is the celebrant at this wonderful Byrd Mass.

Who would opt for an OF Mass after witnessing this?

NB Apologies for confusing St Ethelbert's with St Augustine's earlier, this has now been corrected.

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Poor odds have never worried God

Throughout the history of the Catholic world we have wondrous examples of God's interventions when the odds have been weighed heavily against the side of the good and the Godly yet, all has come right in the end.

Goliath found out about the power
 of God the hard way
 The Battle of Lepanto, where, following Our Lady's intercessionary plea, the Almighty gave victory to the Holy League against the overwhelming might of the Ottoman Empire is just one of many examples.

In Old Testament times there is the story of Gideon's victory over the Philistines:

When the leader of the 30,000 strong Israelite army, Gideon, faced the Medianite army of 50,000, God told him to get rid of the cowards in his ranks; in so doing, some 20,000 troops left the army.
God again told him to reduce his ranks as He wished to demonstrate His supreme power.
He told Gideon to take the troops to the river to drink and to observe the way in which they drank.

Most of them threw themselves on their stomachs to drink but a few ran upstream and scooped up water with their hands without halting.

“That is your army” said God. 
Gideon was left with just 300 men but they went on to achieve outright victory over the enemy.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was fond of relating that story as an example of God's power, of how He will respond to our pleas but, more than that, how the issue of being outnumbered or of struggling against the odds is a thing that we should not give in to.

With God's help, anything is possible.

And so, when I read reports of the uphill grind that Rick Santorum faces and when I see the filth that is being trotted out on Facebook and on some anti Catholic blogs, I recall Gideon, Lepanto, Poitiers and other great victories and I say my Rosary - because that makes Santorum the odds on favourite!

The signs of a Christian - BBC fashion

The Radio Four Today programme this morning fielded a debate involving that darling of the Anglicanettes, Canon Giles Fraser and the man who is doing more to bring Christians back to their faith than any other, the jolly atheist, Richard Dawkins.

Dawkins claimed that we (the UK) were not Christian in any real senses as, although figures showed that X number claimed the title, most could not display any knowledge regarding the faith.

He intimated that, given the question: "What is the first book of the New Testament"there?" Most would respond with a shrug of the shoulders.

If then, we knew nothing of our creed, how could we lay claim to be part of it?

Canon Giles had obviously consumed more than one Weetabix for breakfast as he threw down a challenge, there and then, to the Prof.

"Tell me" he said "As a Darwinian could you please state the full title of 'The Origin of the Species'.

"Of course" blustered Dawkins, "It''s....."(all dissolve in fits of giggles). He could not recall it and, hoisted by his own petard, he could of course, by his own argument, no longer refer to himself as an atheist.

However, I do find myself grudgingly agreeing with the point made by Professor Dawkins. If we know nothing about Christianity - what does that say about our personal faith?

It says that we ignore it, we regard it as a tab that we can call on at times when we are feeling righteous. It says that our belief is about as strong as a glass of watered down skimmed milk.

There is, as always a balance. There is absolutely no requirement for us to be erudite about matters theological, to be able to frame an argument based on the hypostatic union.
What God requires of us is Faith in Him, Charity in our dealings with our fellow man and Hope in Christ's promise of redemption.

But, in the context of western society today we do need to know more about our Faith other than just the basics. There are so many secular influences and influences of another kind that surround us from day 'A' and stay with us until day 'X'.
We have to have knowledge in order to survive, to stand up to those in society who glibly make a case for abortion or euthanasia or IVF treatment.

I wonder how many Catholic Year 11s could answer the following questions:

1. How many Sacraments are there and what are they?

2. Why did God make you?

3. What are the gifts of the Holy Spirit?

4. To whom did God give the Ten Commandments to and in what form were

5. Who is the Father of Jesus Christ?

I may appear cynical but, unless the student was studying at The Oratory School, The Cardinal Vaughan or Coloma Girls' School (or, indeed, was a homeschooler) I don't think that many others beyond those boundaries would score five out of five.

And the answer to the Darwin question?...The Origin of the Species By means of Natural Selection - give yourself a gold star if you got that.

Monday 13 February 2012

My three favourite books.....

Thank you to Ttony who has tagged me for a meme originating from Mac at Mulier Fortis. Mac is moving on to Kindle and wants to know what books other bloggers would like to see in this form. I am not sure I could handle a Kindle book but I'll give it a try sometime. It does not specifiy that the book must be religious but I am taking it that is the case.

Ttony has asked me to come up with my three and then pass this on to five other bloggers......and I pray that they still speak to me at the end of it!

Now, I take it that the rule is for religious books only. So, I shall have to give this some careful thought.

My first choice has to be Archbishop Lefebvre's "Letter to Confused Catholics"
This good man has taken an awful lot of flak from the liberal left who have accused him of being right wing, a rebel, uncharitable and so on. If you read this book you will see that he was nothing of the kind. Direct, perceptive and holy, those are good words for this good man to whom we all owe so much. This book charts the nose dive that typified Catholicism in the wake of Vatican II. Horror stories abound. Clown Masses, sins written down on scraps of paper and then ritually set on fire in a dustbin set on the sanctuary, not so holy smoke!
This book is one that will be used by Church historians when this period comes to be scrutinised in 100 years time.

Number two would be any of the "Don Camillo"series. This may seem a little down market to some but I don't care one bit. They are good, entertaining, moral tales and they do me as much good as Peter Bristow's "The Moral Dignity of Man" would and I don't have a throbbing headache afterwards. They should be made compulsory reading in all Catholic Schools.

This is so hard. There are so many good books that I would not like to be without but, for a little pure inspiration I would have to include Ann Ball's "Blessed Miguel Pro".
This martyr of Mexico in the 1920s is one of my great heroes, he led a life of Christ and carried off his scrapes with authority (intent on hunting him down like a dog) with an air of sang froid and great humour.
Of course, they got him in the end and his death at the hands of a firing squad was caught on camera, making it all the more poignant.

And now for my five bloggers that I shall pass this meme on to:

1. Gareth at Catholic and Welsh will, I am sure have some powerful tomes to put forward.

2. I shall have to travel across the pond for The Little Way who has so much wisdom to impart

3. And, also to Tony Layne of The Impractical Catholic and
Outside the Asylum.

4. The Path Less Taken is a blog written by Mary O'Regan who also writes foor many well known newspapers and magazines including The Catholic Herald. Her current post on Sr Genevieve is a truly excellent one.

5. Finally, it would be really interesting to hear from Charlie at
Chasubles and Chalices. I am sure that Charlie has some good books up his sleeve and he's also of the age where he will end up reading more on Kindle than on paper!

So now, my blogging friends, it's over to you to nominate  your three favourite books for the Kindle selection and then name five more bloggers, contacting them to let them know of the challenge. Phew!