Sunday, 31 March 2013

Liebster Part Two

Having failed to fully complete the requirements of my Liebster Award I hope to bring matters up to date with the set of questions posed by Ches of
The Sensible Bond.

Here they are:-

What inspired the title of your blog?

I was looking for a title that embraced meaning as well as being memorable. When I stumbled across Linen on the Hedgerow (a reference to the signal used in Ireland, in times of persecution of the Faith, to indicate that Mass would be celebrated at the house that hung its washing on the hedges to dry) I knew that I had found one that fitted my needs like a glove.

Why should people read your blog?

They shouldn't. They should avoid reading it at all costs (it's very bad for one's charismatic side)

What is your personal favourite post on your blog?

The man in the Vatican who never sleeps (but I don't really know why)

What has been the most popular (most viewed) post on your blog?

The one that I wrote concerning the devil, you may see it HERE. Apparently anything featuring the devil, mantillas, Ed Stourton or reception kneeling and by mouth receives great attention.

Which post on your blog has attracted most comments?

Really not sure. But this blog is blest with some very kind and charitable commentators - I value those contacts immensely.

What other hobbies or interests (beyond blogging) are you prepared to admit to?

My family, fishing, any country pursuits and Japanese food.

What are your hopes for the new pontificate?

That Pope Francis will celebrate the EF Mass in public; and that he will give most of the bishops of England and Wales a good spiritual kicking.

Where is your favourite place of pilgrimage, and why?

Lourdes is my favourite although, in May we plan to go to Fatima. Of course, being in Wales, I have a great affinity with the National Shrine of Our Lady of Cardigan but the diocese refuses to give our Mother a decent shrine so she has to make do with a 1970s hotel lobby. I love Lourdes because I feel truly at home there.

Who is your favourite spiritual author, and why?

Is Tolkien allowed? Pity. I think that it would then have to be Archbishop Fulton Sheen who should be canonised as a priority.

Which of these questions did you find it most difficult to answer?

Why should people read my blog? I can't really answer it sensibly.

Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the Communist Party?

That is a most personal question and I refuse to answer it Comrade Ches.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Last more blogging

At least until after Easter Sunday.

A few days in which to try and gather thoughts together and to remember the real issue.

I thank all who have commented and all who have taken the trouble to read this blog and wish you a very Holy and Happy Easter Feast.

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Seven myths regarding the Latin Mass

                          We should not expect our priests to entertain at Mass (or our altar  
                                             servers to do aeroplane impressions)

Having been brought up with the Latin Mass or Mass in the Extraordinary Form as we now call it, I find it more familiar and certainly easier to say than the English version.

The Latin rolls smoothly off the tongue while the English stammers and struggles to sound sensible and reverent.

The EF Mass attracts a great deal of adverse criticism and I regularly prune the comments box, lopping off those anonymous contributors who carp on about this or that concerning the 'Mass of all time'.

I have yet to read a comment that is sound or factual, most are in the realms of fantasy or ignorance.

So this is my attempt (for those born after 1980 or, who have not attended a real Latin Mass in the past forty or so years) to explode some of the myths bandied about by the liberal lobby.

1. "The priest gabbles the Latin"

 Have you ever travelled to France? Or Japan or Oman? Foreign languages, spoken as a first language are voluble and, to the novice listener, often sound unintelligible. They are not; it is just what we call fluency. The same applies to Latin, that's it.

2. "It's a dead language"

Not entirely sure what people mean when they say this.
Latin is at the root of many branches of the sciences and medics use it extensively.
It is also fundamental to many of the languages spoken in Europe including English, French, Spanish and Italian.
And, even if it is classified as 'dead', it is a truly wonderful thing to dedicate a language to the worship of Almighty God; a special language reserved solely for the purpose of giving praise to the Holy Trinity.

3. "We don't know what is being said"

What? I don't understand what you mean. If you look in any Latin missal you will see a vernacular translation alongside the Latin text - read it!

4. "I don't like the way the priest has his back to the congregation"

Let's make certain we know what is taking place here and why.
The priest is acting on our behalf, he is not asking us for forgiveness or for the chance of salvation or for any blessings; he is asking Almighty God for those things on our behalf.
He is acting as an intermediary, and, most vitally, the celebrant priest is the conduit that God uses to transform ordinary bread and wine into His own Body and Blood.
When you ask for anything it is common courtesy to face the person who will, hopefully, answer and fulfil your request; in this instance, Jesus Christ, present on the altar in the form of bread and wine.
If royalty was present you would not turn your back on them; what sort of leader looks backwards rather than forwards?

5. "But I don't speak Latin, the EF Mass is so elitist"

See point 3, the vernacular translation is there for you to follow.
In England and Wales in medieval times, even the peasant laity had a good grasp of Latin so there is nothing necessarily exclusive about it.

6. "Latin Masses are so quiet"

This is not a myth but I thought it worth including. If you have grown up with the dialogue Mass in the vernacular or, if you have not attended a Latin Mass for many years, there is a considerable shock element in the silence attached to the Extraordinary Form.
I view that as being rather like living in the centre of a busy city where noise is incessant and the roar of traffic is with you twenty fours hours a day. Take a break in the country and it will take you time to adjust and to appreciate that peace of mind that comes only when secular noises are excluded and fresh air inhaled.
The House of God should not be a place for noisy chatter and gossipping yet, in the Ordinary Form it so often is.
 The EF Mass allows you a number of options; you may follow in the Missal, you may follow at your own pace through personal prayer preferences or you may use the Mass as a backcloth to meditation - or you may do a combination of all three.

7.  "I find the Latin Mass thing to be old fashioned and out of date"

Fashion should not enter into the liturgical process; the fact is that the EF Mass evolved, after Christ's time on earth, providing the faithful with the most perfect means of us worshipping God and, at the same time, enabling us to fulfil His Son's request at the Last Supper.
In terms of format, that evolution had to stop at some stage; in terms of textual translation, there is a need to ensure that what is said at Mass remains intelligible.
We draw on tradition and ritual to link us back to when Christ walked the earth and to remind ourselves of our heritage - what Pope Emeritus Benedict called the hermeneutic of continuity.

And, if you wish to leave a comment please make it courteous and non anonymous.

Picture: Empower Lingua

Monday, 25 March 2013

The end is nigh

The end of Lent is within sight and, taking stock of my penances and mortifications I find that I have not progressed much further than the 'soft' options.

The ones lambasted by Fr J in his first Lenten sermon.

I cannot quote him word for word but the essence was that giving up chocolate and strong drink is not exactly penitential.

Yet that was what I did; I refrained from eating chocolate and imbibing beer and alcohol of all kinds. I also resolved (successfully) to ramp up my daily prayer routine and I fasted a bit.

That, basically, was it.

In my defence I plead a weak will and a lifestyle that should, by rights be sedentary and serene but, in actuality, is a manic mix of work, family and desperate DIYing on a property that, at times, seems to be falling down about our ears (why ears for goodness sake?).

That is probably the same for most of us but, nevertheless, Sunday will bring a special glow over and above the glory of the Resurrection.

Priority will have to go to a pint or two (but no more than that) of the Reverend James. A draught bitter that is, according to the Scribe of Jarrow, too sweet for manly Northerners but it suits my adolescent, softie, Southern palate.


But that can only come after we drive our grindingly boring 70 plus miles to Mass.
With a 3pm Mass the day is basically gone, you cannot do much beforehand and very little afterwards, except, perhaps, drink a glass or two of the amber liquid.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Nice church your Grace

In fact, it's a very nice church, and the doctrine's not bad either, those bits that were not excised or mangled by your forbears, and the position is excellent also...... please just remember that all of the above were once Catholic.....Canterbury Cathedral*, the doctrinal elements of the Anglican Faith and the post of Archbishop of Canterbury.

The inauguration of the new Archbishop of Canterbury

And, as far as the plywood altar and polyester vestments are concerned, they're yours - you can keep 'em.

But...please treat the accommodation with respect....

....we might want it back one day!

* Thanks to Fr Giles for correcting me

Thank you David Bereit, Shawn Carney, Robert Colquhoun....

....and in London, Stuart and Jan....

....and in Cardiff, Clare, Catrin, Rhoslyn, Colleen and all the other 40 Days for Life workers and volunteers, throughout the world.

Thank you on behalf of the unborn, the mothers and fathers, the abortuary workers and, of course, us; all of us.

It is surely an amazing feat to provide the organisation, tenacity and faith with which to mount a gruelling 40 Day vigil outside abortuaries; those death camps where,  they say, abortion is so safe but where, a regular flow of ambulances arrive to transport those women whose abortion did not go to plan and whose life is threatened.

See Stuart McCullough's blog HERE where his wife has a timely post.

Today is the last day of the vigil. If you have time, visit the groups at St Mary's Street, Cardiff, Bedford Square, Whitfield Street or Ealing, London.

See HERE for details.

And a prayer for all involved in the fight to protect unborn life:

Almighty God, our Father
you who have given us life 
and intended us to have it forever,
grant us your blessings.
Enlighten our minds to an awareness
and to a renewed conviction
that all human life is sacred
because it is created
in your image and likeness.
Help us to teach by word
and the example of our lives
that life occupies the first place,
that human life is precious
because it is the gift of God
whose love is infinite.
Give us the strength to defend human life
against every influence
or action that threatens or weakens it,
as well as the strength 
to make every life more human
in all its aspects.

Give us the grace....
When the sacredness of life
before birth is attacked,
to stand up and proclaim
that no one ever has the authority
to destroy unborn life.

When a child is described as a burden
or is looked upon only as a means
to satisfy an emotional need,
to stand up
and insist that every child is a unique
and unrepeatable gift of God,
a gift of God
with a right to a loving
and united family.

When the institution of marriage
is abandoned to human selfishness
or reduced to a temporary conditional arrangement
that can easily be terminated,
to stand up and affirm
the indissolubility of the marriage bond.

When the value of the family is threatened
because of social and economic pressure,
to stand up and reaffirm
that the family is necessary
not only for the private good of every person,
but also for the common good of every society,
nation and state.

When freedom is used to dominate the weak,
to squander natural resources and energy,
to deny basic necessities to people,
to stand up and affirm
the demands of justice and social love.

Almighty Father,
give us courage to proclaim the supreme dignity
of all human life and to demand
that society itself give its protection.
We ask this in your name,
through the redemptive act
of your Son and in the Holy Spirit.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

A Liebster Award - are you sure you want to read this?

My thanks go to Ches at The Sensible Bond for nominating me for a Liebster Award.

I now have a number of hoops to jump through to qualify for this honour, and the first set of hoops involves me in coming clean with eleven personal facts.

Are you sure you want to read this? Are you able to sift the fact from the fiction?

Leave a comment if you think you can identify the fictional points.

Here goes (deep breath):

Part 1

1. I am a cradle Catholic

2. I am 28 years old

3. My wife and my children are my greatest joy and I really do not deserve them

4. I like a glass of malt whisky, Paddy whiskey, red wine and Rev James bitter but not at the same time. (I also have a liking for Manhattans but now I am beginning to sound like a dypsomaniac)

5. I am a fervent admirer of Ed Stourton and Clifford Longley and read The Tablet avidly

6. Liturgical dances are a wonderful accompaniment to the Ordinary Form of Mass

7. Having voted Conservative all my life I have vowed never to give this party my support again. The same applies to Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP. Help!

8. For nearly 20 years I worshipped each Sunday in a chapel within our home mainly without a priest present

9. My household is dogless but, every time I see a whippet or lurcher in the street I have a strong desire to break the seventh commandment

10. Japanese food is my weakness, eaten accompanied to the strains of a Chinese Orchestra

11. My ambition is to live on the Island of Ithica but only if there is an orthodox Catholic priest also residing there, plus my family, of course

Friday, 22 March 2013

Forget the jeans and sweater Father

Palm Sunday - a chance to make your voice heard

This Sunday 24rd March, will see the rally in Trafalgar Square to oppose the Coalition's plans to legalize so called "marriage" between people of the same sex.

I had planned to go but have been thwarted, unavoidably.

If you are able to attend it will send an almighty message to our Dear Leader and his bunch of associates.

It starts at 2pm and finishes at 5pm - this is a wonderful chance to proclaim the sanctity of marriage between one man and one woman.

After all, if David Cameron gets his wicked way, we could all end up in the same boat as this clip shows:-

And a message from the organisers:

Dear Friends,
This is your time... your time to make the political establishment, the media elites and the small, well-orchestrated band of activists pushing their radical same-sex marriage agenda on the country step back and take notice.
This is your chance ... your  chance  to send the message more loudly and more clearly than ever before — that the British  people will stand up and defend marriage as the union of one man and one woman because they know that children have a right to a mother and a father.
This is your freedom  ... your freedom   to bring the broadest coalition of marriage supporters to the table — Protestants, Mormons, Jews, Roman Catholics, Greek and Russian Orthodox, Muslims, Hindus and those of no religious tradition — Christian advocacy organizations, women’s groups, those groups fighting for justice, news groups and educational institutions — all coming together for one single purpose:
To preserve marriage as the union of one man and one woman!
Be a part of this growing grassroots coalition to support this historic Rally for Marriage. Use the freedoms of conscience and speech for which our forebears spent their very lives so that we might live righteous lives in peace.  Use them or lose them!
No doubt many Christians, quite rightly, are constrained by duties at their local churches and I would not wish to take them away from that, but some might also feel that Christians should not be involved in worldly affairs on the Lord’s day. If that were the case, should we shut down all emergency services? Did not Christ heal on the Sabbath?
Some might feel that we should not be joining hands with the unsaved, least of all with those who adhere to a faith that we deem to be anathema; but did not the good Samaritan come to the rescue of a Jew, whilst the Pharisees passed by on the other side of the road?  
Finally, “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil,” this might indeed be the opportunity to speak to just one person about the Cross of Jesus Christ and His saving grace.
Please support the Rally for Marriage which has been organised by a French group, La Manif Pour Tous. They support traditional marriage and have organised a march at the same time, in Paris. The American people are also organising a march for marriage, two days later on the 26th March. So join us in making this a truly international push back against those forces that are determined to destroy our marriages, families, children and the nation.  If you wish to attend, here is when and where to meet:
Trafalgar Square, London
2pm-5pm Sunday 24 March
For more info:

Thursday, 21 March 2013

BBC Radio Four - programme planning

No, that's not my Church

                        A happy group of traditional Catholics 
                               all laced up and fresh from sniffing incense

I had an opportunity recently, to speak at some length with a Catholic priest of the liberal variety.
One who, by all accounts, likes to strut his stuff on the sanctuary and devil take the hindmost.

I cannot speak in anyway to verify that fact as I am careful to avoid the occasion of sin by never attending a modern Mass.

But he does have every look of the liberal about him. Not quite shell suit and trainers but close.

He spoke to me about puritanism and that had me foxed for quite some time until I realised that he was talking about me - Me! A Puritan?

Not just me, of course, he meant all orthodox Catholics, you know, us Papes who are so hung up on the smell of incense and lacy cottas.

I never, ever, enter into an argument with a liberal. You do not win converts by arguing and it generally ends up with both parties walking away bruised and embittered.

I do stand up for my Faith in a secular arena, provided again, that it is not some dreary, booze fuelled debate over the dinner table.
I am too old a serpent too be drawn by such detractors.

My priest friend droned on and on about how he wished for a dumbed down Marxist type simpler, less ritualistic Church and I only intervened when he blatantly went over the top with his comments.

Just enough for me to show him that I was not in accord with his train of thought but not enough to provoke a blazing row.

Where is this ramble leading?

Ah, yes, two things.
One, it is ignorant and insulting to believe that we traditional Catholics are only interested in the smoke and mirrors side of the Faith.

Yet this view is frequently bandied around by all who are not part of the hermeneutic of continuity.

Two, that there is nothing, absolutely, nothing for me and mine in the Ordinary Form of the Mass as celebrated by the bulk of the clergy today.
Those last nine words are, of course, critical.

There are many good priests who celebrate both forms reverently, ad orientum and in Latin. But by far the majority do as my NBF does and that is make up the liturgy as they go along, dragging the congregation behind them in a weird assortment of antics and pantomime.

That is not for me. I do not even believe it to be Catholic.

It is, in fact, another Church. Maybe it should have a distinct title; something like, the Partly Catholic Church or the Church of Latter Day Omadhauns.

Or am I being un Catholic also?

Any name suggestions will be forwarded to Eccleston Square. Anonymously.

God in Moscow

A report from the 40 Days for Life campaign in Russia.

Did you know that Russia was the first country to legalize abortion? In 1920?

Millions of babies die each year. Pray for the workers of 40 Days who labour in the fields of Putin's Russia today:

Today’s entire report is an update on Russia’s first-ever 40 Days for Life campaign.

“Russia was the first country to legalize abortion, in 1920,” Arevik explained. “As a result, abortion still remains the primary method of family planning amongst most Russian women.” At 143 million, Russia’s population is less than half that of the United States. But the number of abortions is astounding.
“Officially, more than one million abortions take place in Russia annually,” Arevik said, “but this number excludes abortions in private clinics and medical abortions. Unofficially, the number of abortions in our country is more than six million a year. Now is the time to repent for the sins of past generations and stop abortion in Russia!”
Even though this is only Russia’s first 40 Days for Life effort, she said, “God's work is so clearly seen in people's lives.”
In addition to the vigil in Moscow, prayer is also taking place in two suburbs – Shchelkovo and Lyubertsy – as well as the St. Petersburg-area city of Vyborg.
"Our group prayed at abortion clinics,” said Elena Menchikova of Source of Life Church in Vyborg. “It was an unforgettable experience meeting with the women at the door step of abortion centers. God gave us words of prayer, which would not have happened if we had just prayed at the church and did not come in contact with these women."
The church was asked to pray for a young woman whose mother wanted to force her to have an abortion. Some church members visited the family and showed them a model of a 12-week baby. “Both mother and daughter broke into tears,” she said, “and the unborn baby was saved.”
The campaign's community outreach even opened the doors to prison ministry (shown above).
"We showed women in the prison a film, 'Life from the Beginning to Birth.' The film touched these women," Arevik said, "and the officers saw the need to serve the women with post-abortion syndrome."
Young and old alike are joining the effort. There’s a group of 350 bible school students who pray every morning for an end to abortion. There’s also a ministry called Elder Generation that is joining in prayer.
“Many of the elderly people cried,” said Tatiana Derr, one of the ministry’s leaders. “But God will not forsake those who have conceived … the babies will be safe. We’re praying for our grandchildren and for their future.”
We’ve talked about campaigns in cold-weather cities – and Moscow is certainly one of the coldest. “Given our climate, prayer on the street was the biggest challenge for us,” Arevik said. “The second half of February is traditionally the coldest time of the year.” It is not uncommon for the temperature to remain below freezing, day and night, for the entire month. Early March isn’t much warmer.
The vigil participants in Moscow are already looking forward to another opportunity to pray. This time, many were uncertain about attracting attention. “Considering the Russian mentality, people are just not used to seeing people pray on the streets.” But in the future, she said, “we will be bolder.”

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

O, Naughty Jim

James Naughtie - expert on all things Catholic
That long time admirer of the Catholic Faith, broadcaster and veteran of Radio Four's Today programme, Jim (Jimmy) Naughtie, has made a boob with his commentary on the Papal Mass of Inauguration.

Describing the priests at the Mass distributing the Holy Eucharist, he referred to them "bringing the bread and wine".

O Jimmy, I suspect that was no error on your part but a little bit of the old Scots Presbyterian rearing its ugly 'heed'.

He knows jolly well that Catholics not only believe that the bread and wine are transformed into the Body and Blood of Christ but also KNOW it!

I wish whoever is in charge of Religious Affairs at the BBC would take Naughtie into the gents and stick his head down a pedestal while engaging the flush.

That is a much kinder retribution for making such comments than the Islamists would have applied had he made a similar 'blunder'.

A tip of the Biretta to EFPE whose comment led me to this post

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

A Catholic king deserves a Catholic burial

It is, of course, the issue of the mortal remains of Richard II of England.

           Did he have Welsh blood in him? He certainly has the
                air of a Cardigan man about him

Found and disinterred in a car park in Leicester (close to Bosworth Field) it has long been trumpeted that he will be re-buried in the Protestant Leicester Cathedral accompanied, presumably, by heretical prayers.

I have posted on this before and on the fact that, as he died a Catholic, and was first buried in sanctified ground according to the rites of Holy Mother Church, he should now have a Catholic resting place.

Furthermore, he should be re-buried after a special Tridentine Latin Mass has been celebrated in his honour and in his presence of his remains.

Forget the Sarum Mass, of course, it is likely, but by no means certain, that his original Requiem Mass was celebrated in the Sarum Rite but that is no longer in general use while the EF Mass is.

Now an unlikely call to arms has come from Cristina Odone (Odd-one) who has the following to say on the matter:-

"The prospect of a  Westminster Abbey state funeral, or of his being moved to York Minster (more than 1500 citizens of York have signed a petition for him to be moved there) would have horrified this pre-Reformation Catholic. No matter what his links to York; no matter how tickled his vanity by the offer of a pomp and circumstance send-off, he'd expect a Catholic burial.
Anything else would shock him. He wouldn't recognise the unfamiliar rites of an Anglican state ceremony. He'd regard the established Church as sacrilegious, the work of a hateful Tudor who'd taken the divine right of kings too far. When the bodies of the Russian royal family were found in a mineshaft in the Urals, they were laid to rest– with a proper Russian Orthodox service celebrated in a proper Russian Orthodox cathedral. Surely this Catholic king should be accorded the same respect?
So no more talk of York Minster or of the Abbey. Let Richard III be buried in Westminster Cathedral. John Francis Bentley's red brick building in Victoria is little-known outside the country's four million plus Catholics – it could do with a celebrity occasion to boost its profile. What better way to achieve this than by the reburial of a proud king and humble sinner?"

You may read the full account on CB's blog HERE

Well, Westminster Cathedral might ruffle a few Yorkist feathers but it's not a bad final resting place.

Mind you, I am sure that some blogger, somewhere, might come up with a genealogical link that determines that King Richard was a Welshman.

In which case I am sure that room could be made for him in Cardiff's Catholic Cathedral, if that is not an oxymoron.

Perhaps the final word should be left with those that WS attributed to Richard:

"I shall despair. There is no creature loves me,
                      And if I die no soul will pity me.
And wherefore should they, since that I myself
Find in myself no pity to myself?” 

Monday, 18 March 2013

"Just one Mozzetta"


Just one Mozzetta,
wear it for me,
beautiful symbol of Popery, (?)
Gold, red, white or cream
wear one Mozzetta
You'll look a dream.

Apologies to Wall's Ice Cream (and Giovanni Capurro) and, for some interesting news, read An Honour and a Responsibility's take on things.

Christianity at the Crossroads

Image for Christianity at the Crossroads
                              A cross - at the crossroads - geddit?

This is the title of a programme due to be aired tomorrow, Tuesday 19th March, on BBC Radio 4 at 9am.

It is being booted around by the Beeb that it is a debate on the two major Christian Faiths, the Catholic and Anglican Churches.

How's that? Take me slowly through this once more please Auntie.

It appears as if they are running a debate based on the fact that we have a new Pope and a new ABC.

But what about the Orthodox Church?

Blimey O'Reilly, partnering the Catholic Church with the Anglican is rather like harnessing a Great White to a budgerigar.

Who on earth would describe the Anglican Church as one of the two major Christian denominations....what's that?

John Humphrys? Ah, that explains it then.

I am guessing that this 'debate' will involve the usual Catholic 'experts'.

BTW, 'experts' in BBC terminology normally means ex priests, homosexuals, M & S nuns, Tablet stringers and any other Catholic nutjob* they can find.

It is not just ignorance on the Beeb's part. I am certain it is a deliberate move to attempt to rock the foundations of HMC.

We have many, many, good priests to select for such debates. Father Marcus Holden,  Fr Tim Finigan, Fr Ray Blake, Fr Simon Henry, Fr Aidan Nichols OP, to name just a few.

But then they would give sound Catholic responses and that's not what they want, is it?

I shall probably listen in at quite some distance from the radio. We have suffered too much from portable listening devices being picked up and hurled through the nearest window.

 Mrs L has the straightjacket all ready for me.

11 days left to renew your membership

                                      No membership fee required, just annual
                                                 Confession and Holy Communion

For those who may have strayed a little in the past year or so, a timely reminder that Holy Mother Church requires you to receive the Sacraments of Confession and Holy Eucharist at least once in the period of Lent.

At least, I have always understood it to include Confession but a quick check in the Catechism Compendium shows that only reception of Holy Communion is required.

Perhaps some learned theologian or canon lawyer could shed some light on this?

Not that it matters too much. If you have strayed at any stage (and, even if you have not) Confession during Lent is a very good thing.

And, of course, before you may receive the Body and Blood of Christ you do need to ensure that you are free from mortal sin.

The reason for the 'Easter Duty' rule is pretty obvious really.

The Church wants us to confirm that we are still members; if we drift we go into freefall spiritually, we begin to suffer the face in the mirror syndrome; we lose touch with the sort of person we should be.
We become secularised.

It's a little like eating alone, on every occasion. Over the years you imperceptibly lose the rationale for good manners.

Gradually you take short cuts and, before you know it you're down on the carpet gnawing at bones.

It is, of course, an added serious sin to fail to observe your Easter Duty but, if you have fallen away you may draw comfort from the words of Bishop Tobin of Providence Diocese in the US.

He issued this plea a couple of Christmases ago but the message still holds good for Easter, whether you have strayed, lapsed or are inactive.............

"....I decided against “fallen-away Catholic” for it suggests someone falling off a fence or out of a tree. The image isn’t helpful. 
And there’s really no such thing as a “former Catholic.” If you were baptized a Catholic, you’re a Catholic for life – even if you haven’t been to Mass for years, even if you’ve renounced the title and joined another Church. Your baptism infused your soul with Catholic DNA – it defines who and what you are. 
Thus, I’ve chosen the title, “inactive Catholic,” because even though you haven’t been “active” in the Catholic community for awhile, especially by attending Sunday Mass, receiving the sacraments and otherwise participating in the life of the Church, you’re still a Catholic. Sorry . . . you’re stuck with us! 
Perhaps the exact name isn’t very important though. What’s more important is why you drifted away from the Church, why you stopped coming to Mass, and what we can do about it. 
Did you leave the Church because you disagree with some of the Church’s teachings and practices; or because you found it boring and “didn’t get anything out of it”; or because someone in the Church offended you or disappointed you; or because you just got a little complacent, spiritually lazy, in the fulfillment of your obligations? Let’s look at each of these reasons. 
If you left the Church because you disagree with the fundamental teachings of the Church I’m afraid there’s not much I can do to help you. The essential teachings of the Church on matters of faith and morals aren’t negotiable – they weren’t made up arbitrarily by human beings but, in fact, were given to us by Christ. They can’t be changed, even if they’re unpopular or difficult to live with. I hope that you’ll take some time to really understand what the Church teaches and why. Sometimes, we find, good folks get bad information and that leads to confusion and then alienation. 
If you left the Church because you found it to be boring and “didn’t get anything out of it,” well, I understand. Sometimes, it’s true, leaders of the Church haven’t fed the flock very well – sometimes we haven’t provided sound and challenging teaching and preaching, and sometimes our worship has been banal and bland. Perhaps we haven’t been very kind or welcoming. I apologize for that; we can and should do better. 
On the other hand, when you attend Mass it shouldn’t be all about you – the focus is God! You should attend Mass to give, as well as receive – to worship the Lord, to ask forgiveness of your sins, to thank Him for His gifts and to pray for others. And for Catholics the most important reason to attend Mass is to receive the Holy Eucharist, the Body and Blood of Christ, the Bread of Life. You can’t do that anywhere else! 
If you left the Church because another member of the Church offended or disappointed you, I’m truly sorry for that offense and in the name of the Church I sincerely apologize. I hope you’ll forgive us and give us another chance. Members of the Church – including priests and bishops – are completely human. Sometimes we say things and do things that are totally unacceptable, even immoral. But let’s face it – we belong to a community of sinners – that’s why we begin every Mass by calling to mind our sins and asking for God’s forgiveness. The virtue of forgiveness is an essential part of the Christian life – we all need to seek and grant forgiveness now and then."

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Calm down dear, it's not even a crisis

There is so much misinformation floating around at present it is beginning to play on my nerves causing me to make simple typo eeorrers.

Pope Francis has barely got his knees under the desk and already we have a barrage of conflicting information about his past.

I don't know which direction he will lead the Church in but, for heaven's sake, let's cut him some slack and allow him to get on with the job.

After the news of Pope Benedict's resignation the Catholic world got a touch of the willies clean forgetting that, whilst Christ might be sleeping, He is still present and in charge of the ship.

Now, we have rumour and counter rumour as to the future.

It brings a childhood hymn  to mind -

That says it all really.

Hail glorious St Patrick....

.....dear saint originating from:-


Please pray for our Holy Father and especially for the Church in Ireland, that it may find true sanctity and love for the Son of God once more.

And here is a brief history of the great man......American pronunciation throughout (you say ma-raiders we say ma-rauders). 
Apologies if that appears rude to all you USA readers, it's just that we speak English over here.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

The Holy Father pays his bill

One might think that Pope Francis would send an aide to pay his hotel bill.

But, no, he did it in person - my thanks to JJ and CM for the picture: