Friday, 31 August 2012

What do you look for in a priest?

At first glance, this may seem a presumptuous question. What right has anyone to try and determine the outstanding qualities that one looks for in a parish priest.

                                     Don Camillo comes pretty close to the ideal in my book

Unfortunately, the ravages of liberalism have brought a lower calibre to many who have received the sacrament of Holy Orders.

There is now a free for all in terms of clerical dress (or non clerical dress), liturgical ad libbing, improvised practices on the sanctuary, disregard for home visits and a definite no-no on all blessings of the home, the sacrament of Penance reduced to a cosy chat in a sacristy ante room under the banner of Reconciliation (was there ever a more PC word?) and.......a suspected lack of belief in the Real Presence.

I say suspected because, I cannot prove anything in this respect, other then a long litany of examples of disrespect and even sacrilege towards the Blessed Sacrament - I do have a hazy recollection of some research carried out c. 1985 ish where parish priests were asked to fill in an anonymous questionnaire with their views on this and other topics.

I do distinctly recall the main statistic as being 48% of priests actually not believing that the bread and wine becomes the Body and Blood of Christ.

But, we are blessed today with a resurgence (albeit limited) of the faith amongst the priesthood - so, without naming any and causing embarrassment I thought it would be interesting to draw up a 'hit list' of the most desired qualities that you would wish to find in a priest.
I am leaving aside the reverence factor per se, as, presumably, we would all wish for our PP to be deeply spiritual and holy in all respects.

Here is my attempt at defining the desired qualities; I have included what the dating agencies call a GSOH. The advertising agency, Saatchi and Saatchi used to place humour at the top of their employee specification list and I like that. You need humour in this life, especially if you are called to be a servant of God.

The list is not exhaustive, feel free to add any facets that you see as being vital:-

1. Orthodox - meaning a knowledge of and love of all things regarding Church doctrine and moral and social

2. Ability to communicate clearly and simply - using all of the technologies available.

3. Power of oratory - no referring to notes, ability to project the voice, hold a thread and complete in less
    than 6 minutes

4. Love of God by which I mean, among many things, the desire to spend at least one hour each day
    kneeling before a crucifix.

5. A strong sense of humour - I learnt long ago that you can say what you like to people but, for your
    message to have impact, you need to smile, even when on the phone.

6. Gravitas. A priest needs to know when to call a halt to a conversation or when a meeting takes the wrong
    route. He must tread the line that cuts between teacher and friend.

7. An overwhelming desire to save souls. That should be the prime goal of all priests.

8. A lack of fear with regard to giving evidence to the external aspects of the Faith (wearing black and white
    clerical garb, saying grace before meals in public and speaking out at public meetings where moral issues
    are debated).

9. Obedience to the Holy Father first, and the bishop second.

10. An awareness and love of tradition in terms of liturgy, vestments and procedures - no guitar Masses, no
     Frank Sinatra songs at funerals, no call me "Jim" tacks and definitely no standing to receive the Eucharist
     by hand.

And, if I was looking for a number eleven, I might choose aversion to a certain magazine as fitting the bill.

Thursday, 30 August 2012

Father Thwaites SJ and a travesty concerning his Requiem

Most people will have heard by now that the much loved and admired priest, Fr Hugh Thwaites, a man who, for all of his priestly life, celebrated the Tridentine Latin Mass, is to be buried at a concelebrated Requiem Ordinary Form Mass.

                                    Source: Hermeneutic of Continuity

That is a cruel trick; a vile and nasty attempt to wipe the eye of a dead priest.

Dare I say that it is typical of many liberal Catholic priests and laity alike.

The LMS claim that they feel certain that Fr Thwaites would have held a Society 'card' stating that the holder wishes to be buried according to the Rites of the Extraordinary Form of Mass.

That is not enough to guarantee that this will happen.

I have seen many good traditional Catholic friends, who would not have attended a Mass in the Ordinary Form if you had held a gun to their head, being assigned to the Novus Ordo after their death.

What is needed is for one's last will and testament to contain the wish to have a TLM Requiem Mass - with no deviation or exception.

That will ensure that you receive the required graces that a Latin Mass carries.

Juventutem London has a Facebook petition for Fr Thwaites (whose burial is tomorrow, I believe).
NB: I have since been informed that this page has nothing to do with JL although I did receive an email from them purporting to be running a petition. It does show that Facebook cannot be trusted.

Piers Darcy also suggests emailing the Head of the Jesuit Order in England and Wales; here are the details:-

A number of you have responded to my message (below) expressing 'disquiet' about the fact that Father Thwaites' wish will be frustrated. I would suggest that you send a 'nice' message to the Jesuit Provincial at  His name is  Father Dermot Preston SJ  

The Rosary Mile

Some years ago we used to attend Sunday Mass at Ty Mair, a chapel on the English/Welsh borders more commonly known as 'Courtfield' ancestral home of the Catholic Vaughan family.

                                   Ty Mair, "Mary's House" at Courtfield near Ross on Wye

The then matriarch of the family, Mrs Vaughan, produced a book on the history of Courtfield and, in it she described how Vaughans of an earlier era, when returning by horse drawn carriage back to Courtfield would commence saying the Rosary just as the carriage turned off the road onto the Vaughan estate.

There would then be a one mile journey down a track to the main house itself.

Their Rosary recitation became known as 'The Rosary Mile' and they would complete the five decades just in time as they drew up outside Courtfield.

It is a good habit and one that we, as a family, adopted many years ago both on leaving on a long journey by car or, upon our return.

It gives us not only spiritual protection but also physical protection against accident and tragedy and, it's another part of the fabric of traditional Catholicism.

For some concept of the history of the Vaughans (who, of course, gave us Cardinal Vaughan) this brief extract from 1880 goes just a little way to show what a spread of vocations went through that famous family:-

"Colonel John Francis Vaughan, of Courtfield, Herefordshire, whose death is announced as having happened on Friday last at Biarritz, at the age of 72, was one of the oldest and most respected members of the English Roman Catholic body. He was the father of the Bishop of Salford and brother of the Bishop of Plymouth. The eldest son of the Late Mr William Vaughan, of Courtfield, (who was deputy lieutenant for Herefordshire), by his first marriage with Teresa, daughter of the late Mr Thomas Weld, of Lulworth Castle, Dorsetshire, he was born in the year 1808. He was a magistrate and deputy lieutenant for Monmouth and a magistrate for Herefordshire and Gloucestershire &c. Colonel Vaughan was twice married - first in 1830, to Eliza Louisa, daughter of the late Mr John Rolls, of the Hendre, Monmouthshire; and, secondly, to his cousin, Mary Charlotte, only daughter of the late Mr Joseph Weld, of Lulworth castle."

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

What is rarer than an Essex Lion?

Well, an Essex EF Mass, of course. 

                                          Easier to find than an EF Mass

In the great and massive Diocese of Brentwood they have just one Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form - and that's at 4pm on a Sunday!

There have been more sightings of the now infamous "Essex Lion" than there have of a Latin Mass; pity those poor Brentwoodians who know little or nothing of the Motu Proprio, or the fact that the Holy Father wishes for guitars and similar instruments of the street to be cast out into the street or that he wishes for the Faithful to kneel and receive the Body and Blood of Christ by mouth.

Just for the record, Brentwood has 131 parishes and Mass Centres. One out of one hundred and thirty one is pretty dire.
I would have sacked any staff member who showed a similar lack of achievement.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Do you sprinkle?

That may sound like a rather personal question but I ask in all innocence.

                                            Is this "Sprinkle" or "Asperges"?

You see the Ordinariate have a pilgrimage at Walsingham underway and, it appears that "sprinkling" is part of it.

See the programme from Tenow8 blog below:-

Noon – Angelus and Solemn Mass at the National Shrine
2:30pm – Holy Mile and Rosary Procession to the Anglican Shrine.
3:15pm – Sprinkling at the Anglican Shrine
Pilgrims are invited to bring a picnic lunch.
This pilgrimage will be led by Monsignor Keith Newton.
I have two questions. One, what are they doing at the Anglican Shrine?
And two, what is sprinkling? Do they mean "Asperges"?
I trust that it does not have a sinister meaning (?) and, I do not wish to pour water (aherm) on this pilgrimage but it would be good to have a clarification of sorts.
The nub of what I am trying very clumsily to say is that, if the Ordinariate members have converted to the Catholic Faith shouldn't Anglican language and customs be ditched in favour of Catholic ones?

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Ten ways to give the devil the shoe horn

The world appears to grow madder at every minute.

                                                        "It was all going so well....and then 
                                                         Catholic bloggers came along"
Unborn children are slaughtered out of hand,  men "marry" men and women "marry" women whilst supposedly good Catholics in the public eye (and out of it) reject the teachings of Holy Mother Church to further their political ends.

Priests and Bishops trip over themselves to give witness at the altar of political correctness and climate warming and the guidance of the Holy Father is scorned and ignored by many who should know better.

The devil is having a field day and must have taken up golf having so much free time on his hooves.

The world is going to hell in a handcart (whatever that may mean) and Satan is considering early retirement, job done!

But....not just yet, Sonny Jim, there are a few actions that we can take that will ensure that the fightback will commence in earnest.

Just ten simple steps and you reduce Satan to a quivering blob of iniquity; here they are:-

1. Say the Rosary - daily

2. Renew your baptismal vows every week before Mass*

3. Say the St Michael prayer daily

4. Make a daily penance, just a simple act, nothing along the flagellation lines

5. Buy your parish priest a copy of the CTS 'Manual of Minor Exorcisms'

6. Abstain from buying/reading The Tablet/Cath News/National Catholic Fishwrap

7. Pray for the Holy Father

8. Keep a font of holy water in your home

9. Display a crucifix in your home

10. Pray for those who, in their last days on earth, fear death so much that
      they reject the Last Rites of Holy Mother Church

* Renouncing Satan

Priest: N., do you renounce Satan? Priest: N., abrenuntias Satanæ?
Sponsor/Catechumen: I do renounce him. Sponsor/Catechumen: Abrenuntio.
Priest: And all of his works? Priest: Et omnibus operibus eius?
Sponsor/Catechumen: I do renounce him. Sponsor/Catechumen: Abrenuntio.
Priest: And all his pomps? Priest: Et omnibus pompis eius?
Sponsor/Catechumen: I do renounce him. Sponsor/Catechumen: Abrenuntio.

Saturday, 25 August 2012

Is there a "Speak like a Roman" day?

I know, of course, that there is a "Speak like a Pirate" day, every September 19th and, no, you will not get me falling into piratespeak, oh no me hearties no ye won't!

"Sit iecundus tibi dies"

So, it seems very logical that we Catholics should indulge ourselves in a "Speak like a Roman" day - quid?

Now let me quickly explain, I am not a Latin scholar, I have forgotten what little Latin I did learn (but I can say the responses at Mass faster and more fluently in Latin than I can in English).

So, please disregard my following attempts.....

Loquerisne Latine?

Hic tibi placuitne?

Mea lingua latine est mala


Opus est mihi medico!..........................Valete!................................Vobis pluramas gratias ago

Or, maybe we should stick to "Introibo ad altare Dei...."

A hymn for those on the road to Walsingham

Fr Bede Rowe is keeping all of us up to date (by the minute almost) as the pilgrims wend their way, via few good pubs, by all accounts, to give honour to Our Blessed Mother at the Walsingham Shrine.

It seems only fitting to pray for those on the pilgrimage and to give them this hymn to send them on their way.

Friday, 24 August 2012

And something that every priest should have in his holster

EF Pastor Emeritus left a recent comment regarding the excellent Catholic Truth Society and, in particular, their book entitled 'A Manual of Minor Exorcisms'.

This, according to the good Father, is something no priest should be without...and I am certain he is right.

Mind you...I'm a bit uncertain as to what constitutes a minor exorcism; all exorcisms seem to me to be fairly major things but perhaps I am being influenced by The Omen and other films of that genre.

The CTS website is well worth a visit, you may view it HERE.

And you might like to buy a copy of this reasonably priced book as a gift for your Parish Priest; if he already has one he can give it to a seminarian.

Beautiful in any language


H/T to Le Petit Placide blog

When in Rome.....more on re-evangelisation

Thanks to a good priest friend and following my post of yesterday, I have been pointed in the direction of Rome.

Of course, where else would one look for guidance?

I only hope that those movers and shakers in the Vatican who are helping the Holy Father in his plans for breathing the flame of the Holy Ghost into those of the Faithful who might be better described as the "Faithless" also look to this same source, right on their doorstep so to speak.

A certain Monsignor Raffaello Martinelli, Rector of the International Ecclesiastical College, San Carlo and Primicerio of the Basilica of SS Ambrogio il Carlo al Corso, set about re-educating the great unwashed.

His method was to produce concise leaflets, roughly A5 in size and covering key elements regarding Catholic Doctrine and Social Teaching.

These leaflets he left at the back of the Basilica and, within two years, he found that he had distributed over 2 million of them. Two million leaflets! What an achievement!

Now, just think...these leaflets are all online.......all within reach of every parish priest AND every member of the Church (we are all bound to be teachers of the Faith are we not?)

Mgr Martinelli's website is HERE

And here is one of his leaflets on the subject of the devil - of course, these would need some trimming on the translation front as, at present, they are Google translations:-

What power does the devil have over us?
  • In the First Letter of John we read: "The whole world lies in the power of the evil one" ( Jn 5:19). Saint Paul speaks of our battle against spiritual powers (cf. Eph 6:10-17). It 'also because of his sin and its consequences (disease, suffering, cataclysms, and especially death) entered the world.
  • The devil generally acts through temptation and deception, he is a liar, "father of lies" ( Jn 8:44). He can deceive, mislead, or deceive. As Jesus is the Truth (cf. Jn 8, 44), so the devil is the liar par excellence. The French writer Charles Baudelaire said that the most perfect cunning of Satan is to persuade us that does not exist.
  • The devil has great power of seduction:
    • seduced Adam and Eve, of all the works done by the devil "the most serious in its consequences was the mendacious seduction that led man to disobey God" ( CCC , 394);
    • tried to seduce Christ directly (cf. Lk 4:1-13) or using Peter (cf. Mt 16:23); 
    • tries to seduce the disciples of Christ. The strategy followed to achieve this is to convince the man that a life lived in disobedience to God's will is better than living in obedience. Deceives the people persuading them that they do not need God and are self-sufficient, without the need of Grace and Salvation. Even deceives men falling, even by removing the sense of sin.
  • "The power of Satan is, nonetheless, not infinite. He is only a creature, powerful from the fact that it is pure spirit, but still a creature can not prevent the building up of the Kingdom of God "( CCC , 395). 
  • His action, in addition to being limited, "is permitted by divine providence, which guides the history of man and of the world with strength and gentleness. Providence should permit diabolical activity is a great mystery, but "we know that all things work together for good to them that love God" ( Rom 8:28) "( CCC , 395).

Because God "allows" Satan to "harass" the man?
Life on earth is a time of trial, during which God allows the devil to groped and 'test' the man, but never beyond his strength. But we know by faith that God is able to bring this evil a greater good because, by his grace, my heart goes out purified by the test and faith becomes stronger.

How Jesus acts with demons?
  • He first speaks frequently of the devil (see eg. Mt 4:10; Mk 4:15; Lk 10:18; Jn 8:44).
  • He also acts against the devil:
    • see the temptation of Jesus in the desert, he reacts strongly (cf. Lk 4:1-13). "The temptation in the desert shows Jesus, the humble Messiah, who triumphs over Satan by his total adherence to the plan of salvation willed by the Father" ( CCC , 566);
    • in the Gospel of St. Luke, we read that Jesus commands the demons, who recognize him as the Son of God (cf. Lk 4.41, 8.28 ...);
    • between the miracles that Jesus performed, there is liberation of diabolical possessions (cf. Mk 1.25 to 26, 5.2 to 20): realizing such healings, he "took our infirmities and bore our diseases" ( Mt 8:17);
    • several times the Evangelists tell us that Jesus practice various exorcisms , by which free people from the torment of the demons, thus anticipating the great victory that he will implement the prince of this world (cf.Mk 1.25 to 26), with his death and resurrection;
    • Jesus preached the coming of the kingdom of God, which is the defeat of Satan's kingdom: "If I cast out demons by the Spirit of God has come upon you the kingdom of God" ( Mt 12:28);
    • devolves power to cast out demons even to his apostles (cf. Mk 3:15; 6,7.13; 16:17); 
    • wins the whole world of evil with His death and resurrection. Jesus Christ defeated Satan and has definitely broken the rule of the evil spirit (cf. Col 2: 15; Eph 1, 21, Rev 12, 7-12), he is "the stronger one" who won "the strong" ( cf. Lk 11, 22). "Trust - says the Lord - I have overcome the world" ( Jn 16, 33); 
    • when, after his death, descended into hell , Jesus reduced "impotence, through death, he who has the power of death, that is, the devil" ( Heb. 2:14).

How do you win the devil?
In many ways, complementary
  • First with a genuine life of faith, characterized by trusting abandonment to the fatherly love and providence of God (cf. Lk 12, 22-31), and obedience to his will (cf. Mt 6, 10), in imitation of Christ the Lord. This is the safest shield.The most beautiful victory over Satan is the ongoing conversion of our life, which has its own special and continued implementation of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, by which God frees us from sins committed after our baptism, he gifts us his friendship , and confirmed with us the grace to withstand the assaults of the devil.
  • With a permanent vigilance "Watch. Because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goes about seeking someone to devour "( 1 Peter 5:8). 
  • Welcoming and witnessing, increasingly, by word and deed, the Gospel. This requires a full and courageous announcement of the Gospel: we must not be afraid to speak of the devil, and especially the victory that Christ has already reported on it and continues to bring in the person of his faithful. 
  • Struggling against her seductions and temptations. "The whole history of man is in fact pervaded by a monumental struggle against the powers of darkness fight started from the beginning of the world and will continue, as the Lord says, until the last day. In this conflict, the man has to struggle continuously to be allied to goodness, nor can he achieve his own integrity without great effort, with the help of God's grace "( Second Vatican Council , Gaudium et Spes , 37, 2).
  • Fleeing to avoid sin, which "is an offense against God:" Against you, you only, have I sinned. What is evil in your sight I have done "( Ps. 51.6). Sin sets itself against God's love for us and our hearts away from him. Like the first sin, it is disobedience, a revolt against God through the will to become "like God" ( Gen 3:5), knowing and determining good and evil. Sin is thus love of oneself even to contempt of God "( CCC , 1850).
  • Using discernment. "The Holy Spirit makes us discern between trials, necessary for the growth of the inner man with a view to "perseverance," and the temptation that leads to sin and death. We also need to distinguish between "being tempted" and "allow" the temptation. Finally, discernment unmasks the lie of temptation, whose object appears is "good, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable" ( Gen 3:6), while in reality its fruit is death "( CCC , 2847). 
  • Praying. "If God is for us, who can be against us?" ( Rom 8:31). The same Lord, the prayer of the Our ​​Father taught us to pray to God the Father: 'Deliver us from evil. " "Ask to be delivered from evil, we pray as well to be freed from all evils, past, present and future, of which he (the devil) is the author or instigator. In this petition, the Church brings before the Father all the misery in the world. Along with deliverance from the evils that overwhelm humanity, she implores the precious gift of peace and the grace of perseverance in Christ's return.Praying thus, anticipates in humility of faith the gathering together of everyone and everything in him who has "the keys of Death and Hades" ( Rev 1:18), "who is and who was and who is coming, the ' Almighty "( Rev 1:8) "(CCC , 2854).
  • Sometimes even resorting to exorcism.

What is an exorcism?
  • Exorcism is an ancient and particular form of prayer which the Church uses against the power of the devil.
  • Is called an exorcism "When the Church asks with his authority, in the name of Jesus, that a person or object be protected against the power of the Evil One and withdrawn from his dominion" ( CCC 1673).
  • It is "a kind of sacrament prayer" ( Rite of Exorcisms , Praenotanda , 11). The sacramental "are sacred signs instituted by the Church, by which sanctify different circumstances of life. They include a prayer accompanied by the sign of the cross and other signs "( Compendium of the CCC , 351). Among the sacramentals which occupy an important place blessings (of persons, meals, objects, places), the consecration of persons, the dedication of things to the worship of God, the blessing of holy oils, exorcisms. 

In what forms is practiced exorcism?
In two forms: simple and solemn.
    1. The simple form is one in which ordinary exorcism is performed at the celebration of Baptism. "Since Baptism signifies liberation from sin and from its instigator the devil, are pronounced one (or more) exorcism (i) the candidate. These are anointed with the oil of catechumens, or the celebrant imposes upon him the hand, and he explicitly renounces Satan. Thus prepared, he may profess the faith of the Church which will be "delivered" by Baptism "( CCC , 1237).
      1. "The solemn exorcism, called a major exorcism can be performed only by a priest and with the permission of the bishop. In what must proceed with prudence, strictly observing the rules established by the Church (cf. Canon Law, can. 1172). Exorcism is directed at the expulsion of demons or to the liberation from demonic possession through the spiritual authority which Jesus entrusted to his Church. Very different is the case of illness, especially mental, whose care falls within the scope of medical science. It is therefore important to ensure, before an exorcism is performed, which is dealing with the presence of evil, not a disease "( CCC , 1673).

      What other features does the solemn exorcism?
      • "The exorcism should take place in an atmosphere of faith and humble and trustful prayer, so as to avoid any impression of effectiveness automatic: the liberation from the influence is evil if and when God wants. If, as indicated in 35 of the Preamble, are some of the faithful, they are encouraged to pray intensely in accordance with Rite. 
      • Despite the confidence with which it is usually celebrated the rite of exorcism is not a private matter, but an event that involves the whole community. The Exorcist is in fact a member of the community, acting in the name of Christ and in the name of the Church, has a specific ministry. Even the faithful asking for exorcism is a member of the community, one of those members of the community must love of a preferential love: when it is in the power of the Evil One, in fact, he is the poorest of the poor, in need of help, understanding and consolation "( Rite of Exorcisms , Presentation CEI , nn. 13, 16).
      • Every act of exorcism is yes prayer for the release of the person possessed by the devil, but at the same time is the announcement:
        • the Kingdom of God and of Christ, who takes upon himself our infirmities, and that, as the only liberator and savior, delivers us from evil;
        • of total liberation (spiritual and physical) and mediated (through the Church) by the influence evil;
        • of the eschatological reality: a sign heralding the final victory of Christ over Satan, illness, death.

      How do you become exorcists?
      • The Exorcist (a term related to the greek verb exorkízein = ward) is a man of prayer, acting on behalf of the Church with the power of the Holy Spirit. A ministry that is God's gift, conferred by the bishop exclusively to priests in the diocese, and thus they exercised through the Church. Piety, knowledge, integrity of life, balance, discernment, theological and spiritual experience, listening skills are the essential requirements for a ministry that is also a path to holiness particular it leads to direct confrontation with the devil. In particular, the exorcist prudence is required to detect the presence of the evil one, and to observe the rules laid down by the Church.
      • The ministry of the exorcist, as well as liberation, it is also a ministry of consolation.

      How to recognize a demonic possession?
      Certainly. In fact:
      • "The extraordinary diabolical phenomena of possession, obsession, of harassment and infestation are possible, but in fact, according to experts, are rare" ( Rite of Exorcisms , Presentation CEI , 7).
      • The ritual of exorcism noted several criteria and clues that allow you to arrive with prudent certainty, the conviction that we are faced with a demonic possession. It is then that the exorcist authorized can perform the solemn rite of exorcism. 
      • Some of these criteria are: 
        • speak with the tongues of many words or understand; 
        • disclose distant or hidden things; 
        • prove forces beyond their condition;
        • vehement aversion to God, the Virgin Mary, the Saints, the Cross and the sacred images.

      There are prayers to be recited in minor cases of influence of the devil? 
      Certainly. In the Rite of Exorcisms are also:
        • prayers to be recited publicly by a priest, with the permission of the bishop, when judging wisely that there is an influence of Satan on places, objects or people, but without reaching the stage of a real possession;
        • a collection of prayers to be recited privately by the faithful, when they suspect with the merits of being subject to evil influences (cf. . rite of exorcism , Appendix II, Prayers of the faithful for private use ).

      What other tips gives the Church in regard to the influence of the evil one?

      Here are a few:
      • "Do not search for the sensational and avoid both foolish credulity that sees evil actions in each event and difficulties, and rationalism bias that excludes any form of intervention of the evil in the world;
      • be on guard against books, television programs, information media, which for profit exploit the widespread interest in unusual phenomena or unhealthy;
      • never use those who practice magic or profess to holders of occult powers or mediumistic or presume to have received special powers. When in doubt about the presence of an evil influence is necessary to apply first of all to the discernment of the priests and exorcists support of grace offered by the Church especially in the sacraments;
      • know the true meaning of the language used by the Sacred Scripture and Tradition and develop a proper attitude about the presence and action of Satan in the world;
      • remember that superstition, magic and, a fortiori, Satanism are contrary to human dignity and rationality and faith in God the Father Almighty and in Christ Jesus our Savior "( Rite of Exorcisms , Presentation CEI , 8).

      Of course, this is a little more than my friend MC was suggesting; we are now getting on to CTS territory but to think that this resource is there just at a few clicks of the keyboard........

      Thursday, 23 August 2012

      Teaching the great unwashed

      It's difficult to know how to approach this subject; how to even refer to those Catholics who have either never known the doctrinal teachings of Holy Mother Church or those who have genuinely forgotten them.
      My good friend Jason at Ascending Mount Carmel has a few interesting points to make on the subject.

      This yawning gap of knowledge does need bridging and the Holy Father has instructed the troops to set about creating re-evangelisation programmes but, if this process is in the hands of the you know whos, don't expect anything too riveting, or immediate, or effective, or in line with Church teaching.

      I have called them the great unwashed. I don't mean to be unkind; I could call them casual Catholics or CINOs or Modernists but "unwashed" says it all to me.

      They are in need of help to get them back on the path to salvation, to retrieve them from the wilderness of the past 50 years, to clean them up so that their Faith sparkles as it should.

      I have touched on this subject before and received many kind, positive comments, mainly by email.

      I cannot help but believe that those Catholics who blog have a role to play in the re-evangelisation process - the trouble is, we are addressing a section of the community who know nothing of blogging and its global network.

      How do we reach out?

      One way is to produce a newsletter at regular intervals either carrying basic and brief items of current Catholic affairs or, indeed, carrying snippets from the Catholic blogging world.
      This newsletter would then be made available online and those who have an interest in doing so would print it off and leave it at the back of their parish church (after first checking with their PP).

      One commentator, whom I shall refer to as 'MC' as I do not know if he wishes his name to be revealed sent me the following message:

      1. The way I see it is that 'the message' needs to go beyond those that read Catholic blogs. It seems to me that those who need to hear the message very rarely hear it.

      2. There is a need for an antidote to The Tablet. We already have one it is called the Catholic Herald but once again the people who need to read it do not seem to be the ones that ever read it.

      3. Who is the target audience?

      • Those who are generally un-catechised.
      • Those who love Catholicism but are embarrassed (due to the present climate) to go that step further i.e. the lady whom I mentioned who said that she was too embarrassed to ask for Holy water because she felt the priest would look at her as if she had gone mad. We need these people to be more confident and start talking openly about all aspects of Catholicism. We can encourage these people to be open about Catholicism once again. No more closet Catholics.
      • Those 'fringe liberals' who can still be 'saved' if they had it properly explained to them why the rules of the Church are actually present.
      4. A free monthly/bi-monthly one sided news letter would at least have some impact because:

      • Catholics always pick up anything that is free (sad but true).
      • If it is short then the chances are at least one article will be read - Long diatribes must be avoided.
      • Copies could be distributed in the editors own Church (and further a field if they could afford to print more).
      5. What is imperative?

      • The headlines and the article must be pithy and get over the points of view within 2 sentences.

      6. We need a network of enthusiastic Catholics who want to get the word out there.
      • It seems to me that we already have a network of enthusiastic people, they are called bloggers and many have the same goals. Of course, not all will be interested but that does not mean that bloggers can not be approached. I am quite happy to contact bloggers up and down the country to drum up support. Even if we only get 10 to start with then this is still a start.
      MC makes other points but these are the ones I would like to address first.

      MC believes that this might be a series of individual efforts whereas, I think a corporate approach might be best. Say, 6 bloggers who produce a monthly item that is then incorporated into the overall newsletter and then carried as a post by X number of bloggers who then proceed to print it off and distribute.

      MC has done some good groundwork here and produced a facsimile draft newsletter - I will post this shortly, meanwhile, please donate thoughts and comments and please remember, this is just one step.....others could follow - always eat the elephant slice by slice (old Pembrokeshire saying).

      Wednesday, 22 August 2012

      There's no such thing as a 'good sin'

                                                 Sin distorts us all
      The British Royal family are up to their necks in it yet again.

      As if serial adultery, nazi uniforms and using MoD helicopters to get to and from a stag party was not enough they now have Prince Harry appearing on film, naked and cavorting with young females.

      The media comment so far seems to take the tack "Well, he's a young man, he's got to sow a few wild oats before he settles down".

      But this episode is not just a few drinks too many or a punch up with a member of the paparazzi (although those are bad enough).

      This is a blatant, vulgar and crude affair that revolves around young Hal playing 'naked billiards' in Las Vegas.

      Not good. Very bad, in fact. A terrible example to other young men and women.

      And he's third in line to the throne.

      But sin is sin, it has three forms, original, mortal and venial.
      All are bad; there are no clauses that state: "Go free if you are below the age of 30"

      This 'no sin it's just a lad's romp' card is used in all sorts of situations but it just will not wash.
      I hear Catholics stating that they believe in their conscience so contraception is OK, so is IVF and so is disregarding Rome and the Holy Father.

      And that won't wash either.......and, maybe, it won't even absolve.

      Time for a touch of the DTs

      I know it's secular and I know the poet was not a Catholic but I love his poetry which, I believe, has echoes of Gerard Manley Hopkins.

      There is, I am sure, more than a hint of a Christian faith here.

      The poet is Dylan Thomas and the poem, Fernhill:-

      Enjoy-oh! As they say in Wales

      Now as I was young and easy under the apple boughs
      About the lilting house and happy as the grass was green,
        The night above the dingle starry,
          Time let me hail and climb
        Golden in the heyday of his eyes,
      And honoured among wagons I was prince of the apple towns
      And once below a time I lordly had the trees and leaves
          Trail with daisies and barley
        Down the rivers of the windfall light.
      And as I was green and carefree, famous among the barns
      About the happy yard and singing as the farm was home,
        In the sun that is young once only,
          Time let me play and be
        Golden in the mercy of his means,
      And green and golden I was huntsman and herdsman, the calves
      Sang to my horn, the foxes on the hills barked clear and cold,
          And the sabbath rang slowly
        In the pebbles of the holy streams.
      All the sun long it was running, it was lovely, the hay
      Fields high as the house, the tunes from the chimneys, it was air
        And playing, lovely and watery
          And fire green as grass.
        And nightly under the simple stars
      As I rode to sleep the owls were bearing the farm away,
      All the moon long I heard, blessed among stables, the nightjars
        Flying with the ricks, and the horses
          Flashing into the dark.
      And then to awake, and the farm, like a wanderer white
      With the dew, come back, the cock on his shoulder: it, was all
        Shining, it was Adam and maiden,
          The sky gathered again
        And the sun grew round that very day.
      So it must have been after the birth of the simple light
      In the first, spinning place, the spellbound horses walking warm
        Out of the whinnying green stable
          On to the fields of praise.
      And honoured among foxes and pheasants by the gay house
      Under the new made clouds and happy as the heart was long,
        In the sun born over and over,
          I ran my heedless ways,
        My wishes raced through the house high hay
      And nothing I cared, at my sky blue trades, that time allows
      In all his tuneful turning so few and such morning songs
        Before the children green and golden
          Follow him out of grace,
      Nothing I cared, in the lamb white days, that time would take me
      Up to the swallow thronged loft by the shadow of my hand,
        In the moon that is always rising,
          Nor that riding to sleep
        I should hear him fly with the high fields
      And wake to the farm forever fled from the childless land.
      Oh as I was young and easy in the mercy of his means,
          Time held me green and dying
        Though I sang in my chains like the sea.

      Tuesday, 21 August 2012

      A priest legend goes to his reward

      Thanks to Fr Tim Finigan for posting on the death of Fr Hugh Thwaites SJ.

      I never met Fr Thwaites but our paths crossed closely several times. From all accounts he was a giant of a priest in the spiritual sense and one who never ceased to fearlessly offer up the sacrifice of the Latin Mass and to spread the word of Christ's teachings wherever he found himself.

      This is from a talk he gave on the demonic.....may Almighty God have mercy on his soul and may he rest in peace, Amen.

      Traditionally black with a white collar - hard to beat!

      Instantly recognisable and best consumed facing.........well any direction really.

      "What will you do with my heart O Welsh Assembly?"

      Anyone who has a fascination for dull, tedious and boring occupations (such as watching paint dry or waiting for a stone to move) may also be interested in observing the Welsh Assembly Government in action (if that is the right word) on their televised proceedings.

      It is as though all those charged with the welfare and education of us poor sinners in Wales, are being drip fed on Mogadon and Prozac.

      Proceedings are slow and cumbersome and they all address each other by Christian  first name and that just leads to an unchallenging and dull environment and outcomes.

      But, someone must have given them a caffeine boost because they (the Assembly Members - AMs) are now
      determined to lay claim to our fundamental organs, heart, liver, lungs, kidneys and are proposing to make it legitimate for the state to grab whichever bit of us they fancy after our death (hopefully, after our death, that is).

      They have no right to do this and so, if you are a Welsh man or woman or, like me a poor Sais living in Wales, you might care to protest at such a Maoist policy.

      If so, please read this and make your views felt by registering a protest - thank you SPUC and thank you Jeff P for bringing it to my notice.

      Please click HERE

      Monday, 20 August 2012

      Where the FIUV went wrong

                                 Would you eat this one hour before receiving
                                        the Body and Blood of Our Lord?

      There has been a bit of a flurry in the past few days over mention of a possible return to the 3 hour fast before Holy Communion as documented by the FIUV.

      Australia Incognita, Fr Ray, Mulier Fortis and Joseph Shaw all remarked on the matter and there was some discussion about those who showed outrage at this Draconian approach that will  return us to the Dark Ages.

      Well, the normal politician's wheeze aimed at getting approval from whatever committee they might be attempting to bring round to their own point of view,  is to first suggest a drastic solution.

      In this case it could have been a return to the Midnight Fast - aaargh!

      Those outraged faithful in Tonbridge Wells, and Fitzroy would have gone apoplectic.

      And you come with the fall-back solution of a return to the 3 hour fast which all, greatly relieved that they are not going to be asked to go without their Sunday fry ups, accept as a good compromise.

      There are, of course, many from the traditional part of HMC who already observe the 3 hour smugness a sin? I think so.

      But....I well recall the days of the Midnight fast and how, as an altar server at the 10.30am Sung Mass, along with my fellow servers, we used to count the crashes throughout Mass as members of the congregation fainted.
      There were normally at least two or three; sometimes more if there was a long sermon.

      Ah......the good old days.

      Sunday, 19 August 2012

      The OF Mass can be reverent....but it is different

      This brief video clip sensibly sets out to highlight the differences between the Ordinary Form of Mass and the Extraordinary Form.

      It could be accused of being simplisitic in its presentation of the two Masses but I was left with the view that, although much preferring the Latin Mass, I would attend Mass in the vernacular if it was celebrated in a reverent and holy fashion.

      But, in the light of rumours concerning a new traditional rite being formulated and the EF Mass being celebrated versus populum I'm keeping my powder dry - see The Eponymous Flower's post on the subject.

      Saturday, 18 August 2012

      Blessed Titus Brandsma and his life

      This is a video made of a presentation given on Bl Titus Brandsma by the Prior Provincial of the British Province of Carmelites, Fr Wilfred McGreal, O. Carm.

      As a presentation it is deeply flawed (in my view) but see what you make of it (my critical points are listed below) - I'm afraid I opted out after four minutes.

      Here is my list of 'don't do' things when presenting:-

      1. Wear a tie, it looks sloppy if you don't and, if you are a priest wear a collar - essential
      2. Never sit, stand when you are introduced and stand to make your presentation
      3. Look your audience in the eye - difficult if you are seated with them
      4. If your presentation is being filmed avoid hand movements in front of the face
      5. Don't make your audience uncomfortable by having to twist around to face you - stand in front of them

      Oh, and for a number 6 - never wear socks with sandals

      EF Mass? OF Mass? EF Mass? OF Mass?

      EF Mass?.....................

      OF Mass?.....................

      ...............Oh, I think that it has to be EF Mass, don't you?

      Friday, 17 August 2012

      Is the magic circle starting to go pear shaped?

      First we have Bishop Mark Davies putting an orthodox stamp on Shrewsbury Diocese, then his Lordship's right hand man, Monsignor Philip Egan, an orthodox man according to the pundits is appointed Bishop of poor old Portsmouth Diocese and now, the Bishop of Lancaster, the Rt Reverend Michael Campbell, successor to the acclaimed Archbishop O'Donoghue, has drawn a line in the sand as far as teachers in Catholic schools are concerned and asked them to make a public profession of faith.

      This has resulted in shrieks from the left wing press and cries of "McCarthyism rules again".

      I don't quite get that; wasn't McCarthy anti communist?

       Is it just the act of asking people to come clean about their beliefs that results in such emotive language?

      What is wrong, precisely, with wishing to know where those who are in charge of educating and informing the young stand?

      Isn't that where the Catholic Education Council and the Bishops of England and Wales have gone so very wrong over the past forty or so years?

      They appear to prefer a sort of grey sludge and mediocrity delivery of religious education as opposed to orthodoxy and clarity.
      The thing I was always brought up to believe is that theology is black and white, no room for dissembling or equivocation.

      So now, out of circa 28 Bishops in England and Wales, for the first time since Vatican II we appear to have a growing number of good men who are not prepared to toe the party line.

      That's getting on for 11% - maybe not a great statistic but a damn sight better than zero.

      And, with more appointments looming, and the good offices of the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Mennini, we may hope to see that number of good men increase dramatically.

      Who knows, given time and the works of the Holy Spirit, the magic circle could disappear in a puff of smoke?

      A sin sensor would be helpful

                                                               "Ribit - ribit"

      Having something of a problem with vermin such as foxes, stoats, weasels, cats and squirrels who all seem hell bent on eating my bantams or destroying the birdlife of my garden I fell totally for a plastic frog on the shelves of my local poundstore.

      Not just any old common or garden plastic frog but one that incorporates a motion sensor so that, if a warm blooded being passes in front of croaks, loudly and scares the living daylights out of the potential  predator.

      Sadly, not being a classicist, it makes a "Ribit-ribit" sound rather than a "Koax-koax" one but, as Deng  Xiaoping once said: "I don't care if it's a white cat or a black cat as long as it catches mice" - are you still with me on this trot through the animal kingdom?

      So now, I have invested in a few of these frogs, guard frogs, really (ugh!) and dotted them around the orchard so that any unsuspecting carnivore will get the shock of its life and skedaddle for good.

      Sadly, the signs are (don't ask) that the vermin are still around - but one of the frogs certainly gave Mrs Linen the fright of her life as she was strolling through the garden.
      Note to self: 'Speak to wife more often'.

      It did strike me, however, that it would be a wondrous thing if we had some sort of inbuilt sensor that would emit a loud "ribit" just as we were about to commit a sin.

       Just as you reach for that extra Krispy Kreme doughnut - "RIBIT" - just one more tot before bed? "RIBIT" - about to poke fun at one of those charismaticky Catholics and double "RIBIT".

      In fact, it's such a sound idea that I'm surprised that the CDF hasn't commissioned some implant research so that we could all have one.
      Imagine, the confessionals would be empty (except that they're already empty), purgatory would become a distant memory (it's already a distant memory as far as Catholic education is concerned) and sin would be a thing of the past.

      Ooops! Sorry, forgot that sin is already a thing of the past!

      Forget it. Who needs reminding about sin anyway? "RIBIT"

      Thursday, 16 August 2012

      The Assumption Mass on film

      The only Sung Mass in Wales on the great feast of The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary was held at the church of The Sacred Heart, Morriston.

      Celebrant was Fr Jason Jones. Apologies for the sound on this clip, a few wows and flutters off stage.

      Wednesday, 15 August 2012

      Every home should have a crucifix....and every Catholic workplace too

      As well as being a source of spiritual comfort and a reminder to pray, a crucifix lends  a home a certain ambience.
      It makes a statement.

      Among other things, it states that you are Catholic and unafraid to be so.

      It would be good if more Catholic shops, warehouses and factories displayed a crucifix.

      The above picture is of my son's studio in Australia.

      Behold, O Kind and most sweet Jesus, before Thee I humbly kneel, and with the most fervent desire of my soul, I pray and beseech Thee to impress upon my heart lively sentiments of faith, hope and charity, true contrition for my sins and a firm   purpose of amendment. 
      With deep affection and grief of soul, I ponder within myself, mentally contemplating Thy five wounds, having before my eyes the words which David the Prophet spoke concerning Thee: 
       "They have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones."

      A plenary indulgence is granted on each Friday of Lent and Passiontide to the faithful who, after Communion, piously recite the above prayer before an image of Christ crucified; on other days of the year the indulgence is partial."

      Tuesday, 14 August 2012

      The Bride washed clean

      You and the ark of your strength

      When you receive a gift, are you the sort of person who keeps the box? A child's instinct seems correct: to tear off the coverings and get at the gift, for it is the gift that matters. But if you had a truly special gift, from someone special, you might be tempted to keep the box as well for sentimental reasons.
      But what if the gift and the giver were God himself? What would you do with the box?
      In his Gospel, Luke presents Mary as a box. To be precise, he portrays Mary as the ark of the covenant, as that box-like container which held the Ten Commandments inscribed in stone.
      The ark held three things which are all symbols of Jesus. First, the Ten Commandments, the foundation of God's covenant with his people. But Jesus is the mediator of the new and eternal covenant (Heb 9:15). Second, manna, the bread from heaven with which God fed his people in the desert. But Jesus is the true and living bread from heaven (John 6:48-50). Third, Aaron's staff which budded and flowered, a symbol of Aaron being chosen as priest. But Jesus is the great High Priest, the Shoot sprouting from the stump of Jesse (Isa 11:1).
      Just as the contents of the ark prefigure Jesus, so the ark itself prefigures Mary. The ark contained the old covenant, but in her womb Mary carried the New Covenant.
      As the ark was overshadowed by the divine glory (Ex 40:34), so Mary is overshadowed by the 'power of the Most High' (Lk 1:35). King David leapt and danced before the ark (2 Sam 6:12-6), and likewise John the Baptist leaps in his mother's womb at Mary's greeting. The ark stayed for three months at the house of Obed-Edom, causing an increased fecundity in that family (2 Sam 6:11). Mary stays with Elizabeth for three months, and Mary's pregnancy is the reason for Elizabeth herself having conceived.
      Faced with the ark, David said,
      Who am I that the ark of the Lord should come to me? (2 Sam 6:9)
      Likewise Elizabeth tells Mary,
      Who am I that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Lk 1:43)
      In the first reading, the ark is seen in heaven, juxtaposed with the woman clothed with the sun, the woman who gives birth to the Word of God. Mary is truly seen as a new ark, the ark of the new and eternal covenant.
      The loss of the original ark was a great blow to the people of Israel, for the ark was the guarantee of the special presence of God with his people. Where the ark was, God was present there in a special way.
      In Jesus, God is present in a truly special way. For in Jesus, the fullness of the divinity dwells bodily. Jesus is God-made-man, and so in Mary, the ark of the new covenant, God is fully present in space and time. Mary is the guarantee of the reality that God has become a human being, that God is present to his people -- and this time forever.
      Since the covenant of our salvation is eternal, it is fitting that the ark of this new covenant should not be lost as the old one was. Mary, as the new ark, is removed from the caprices and changeability of the earth, and placed as a celestial witness of the fulfilment of God's faithfulness to his covenant.
      But Our Lady is more than a box. She is a human being, and a thoroughly redeemed one. In her God has achieved perfectly what he desires for us all.
      Mary represents the people of God through the ages. She is the Virgin Daughter of Sion, longing for the coming of the Lord. She is the Church, the bride washed clean without spot or wrinkle.
      In her, God has triumphed utterly over sin and death, as a foretaste of that same victory which he will achieve in us all who hope in his mercy. In her at least one part of the Church already shares completely in the triumph of Christ. In Christ, God's gift of himself to us is so special, that even the box it comes in is worth keeping and glorifying.

      Published with the kind permission of   

      The best post of the year

      I often complain (or whinge) about the lack of Latin Masses in Menevia and the distance that the faithful have to travel to attend one.

             Not a Latin Mass in sight

      Not any longer. I read the current post on the blog 'A Catholic Comes Home' and felt very privileged, spoilt even.

      You see, we have the makings of a community here in West Wales, not many of us, probably about twenty or so all told (many more in the Confraternity of the Holy Cross but not all are local).

      But twenty good souls and true count for a lot.

      I do remember the bleak, dark days of 1988 when there was no EF Mass and no EF Mass Catholics to be had for 200 miles or so. And that lasted for over 12 years.

      But ACCH lives in a pleasant county of England that is also a black hole as far as TLMs are concerned. There are good Dominican sisters nearby but they do not have the Latin Mass  in their chapel.

      If you read A Catholic Comes Home's excellent post about attending an OF Mass in her parish you will see precisely what she is up against.

      Say a prayer for the Diocese of Portsmouth that, with the aid of their new Bishop, the Mass of all Time will be restored.

      Here is ACCH's post........A Catholic Comes Home

      Sorry but I just can't stand noisy Masses

      It's....the rustle of the vestments...deafening. And then when the priest opens the altar missal - aargh! my eardrums.

      But if you really would like a noisy Mass, come tomorrow, on the Feast of The Assumption,  to The Church of The Sacred Heart in Morriston, just outside Swansea.

      We are having a Sung Mass......but you won't need earplugs......we have The Newcastle Emlyn Schola and their angel voices.

      Monday, 13 August 2012

      Police "tread on" hosts at Mass

      This is not a good story but it does have a moral.

      A South Korean priest was celebrating Mass outside the site of a proposed new naval base (presumably, in protest).

      Police moved in and, in a brutish sort of way, knocked the priest to the ground and then proceeded to trample over all and sundry including hosts.

      We can assume that the hosts were consecrated as this violent act took place as communion was being distributed.

      The Diocesan spokesman stated that to wilfully tread on the Eucharist was an insult to Catholics.
      What he meant was that it is an act of sacrilege against Our Blessed Lord; an insult to God but not, per se, to Catholics.

      This was a bad act, poor procedure on the part of the police.

      The celebrant should not have been knocked to the ground but then......

      .....Holy Mass should not have been celebrated on a makeshift altar in front of a building site; the proper place for the celebration of Mass is inside a church. 

      The Body and Blood of Christ were put at risk needlessly.

      What they should have done is either offer up a Mass in their local parish church (not so attractive to the media and subsequent publicity) or, recited the Rosary at the site.

      I can remember my older siblings returning from a meeting outside the local town hall (I cannot recall the cause).

      They had prayed the Rosary silently, yes, silently - even more effective (in terms of impact upon those around them) than saying the Rosary out loud.

      Something to think on.
      Silence often has more impact than words and it does not put at risk  the Blessed Sacrament.

      A picture of the poor priest on the ground, trying to recover the hosts is here (UCA News). It is shocking.

      Also shocking is the official police statement:

      “There was no violent force throwing Father Mun to the ground or stepping on the Eucharist,” the police agency said in a statement.

      Oh well, that's OK then.