Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Scams and Linkedin

I am sorry that so many friends whose email addresses were lodged in my address book have now received invitations (from me apparently), to join Linkedin.

It was none of my doing.

Linkedin appear to have somehow accessed my address list and sent an invitation out to all.

I shall be cancelling my Linkedin entry tomorrow - meanwhile, my apologies for any angst this may have caused.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Scam alert, Catholic priests used as bait

A few weeks ago I received an email from a priest I knew slightly.

It was a cry for help; he was stranded in Spain and his wallet and passport had been stolen, could I send him some money pdq?

Because I only knew him a little I hesitated and contacted some friends who might have been higher up his contact list - they had heard nothing.

Suspecting a scam I checked with the priest and he was at home happily tucking into his supper.

No Spain, no stolen wallet or passport.

This morning I received another email from a well known priest friend, an Oratory Father.

He was in Manilla and was asking for some instant cash help.....here is 'his' message:-

I really hope you get this fast. I could not inform anyone about our trip, because it was impromptu. we had to be in Manila, Philippines for a program. The program was successful, but our journey has turned sour. we misplaced our wallet and cell phone on our way back to the hotel we lodge in after we went for sight seeing. The wallet contained all the valuables we had. Now, our passport is in custody of the hotel management pending when we make payment.
I am sorry if i am inconveniencing you, but i have only very few people to run to now. i will be indeed very grateful if i can get a loan of £2,000  from you. this will enable me sort our hotel bills and get my sorry self back home. I will really appreciate whatever you can afford in assisting me with. I promise to refund it in full as soon as I return. let me know if you can be of any assistance. Please, let me know soonest. Thanks so much..

Of course, this is a hoax and I do not think that anyone would be fooled by it.
But, it is worrying that priests seem to be the lure to ensnare those who know them.

Caveat is the word.

A 25% increase in traditional Catholicism in Menevia

An amazing statistic that became apparent yesterday after Mass.

Concrete boots, a present from the Bishop - how thoughtful

A new family has joined the congregation (ambitiously estimated, on a  good day, with a fair wind in its sails) as being 24 good souls and true.

So we now have a traditional cohort of thirty. Huzzah and Hooray!

Just when it appeared as if we were in the doldrums with no new life in sight, we have six new 'parishioners' - a 25% surge in our numbers.

Of course, if you are in a city parish, this must appear to be very small beer but to us it is great news and we thank the Almighty for His providence.

If I also told you that this is a great family, strong and firm in their faith and outlook on life....I would not be telling a lie.

I now await the congratulatory telegram from the Bish.......could it possibly be the two fish wrapped in newspaper that arrived this morning?

Sunday, 28 April 2013

A point and a half - the orthodox Catholic's aperitif

This is a drink that places Campari and Martini (the wet version) in the shade.

It is not for the faint hearted. 

Those of a nervous disposition may drink it with slices of orange and lots of soda water.

Real Catholics drink it neat, with a great deal of ice. Before a meal.

It is, of course, a vermouth. Made with fortified wine and a secret selection of aromatic herbs. It may even do you good physically.

It certainly does you good mentally. But only one. Or maybe two at most.

Punt e Mes - a Point and a Half; an enigmatic name that I will leave you to ponder over.

My point (and a half) is, that this is an excellent drink, an extraordinary drink.

As the EF Mass is to the OF, so Punt e Mes is to Cinzano or Campari.

You did see the allegory rearing its ugly head way back, did you not?

But it's true.

After drinking a Punt e Mes your appetite will be honed so that you can eat a 24 ounce Steak Florentine, blue!

This post was inspired by the Whiskey Catholic blog.
A most excellent series of posts on Catholicism and, er, whisky (and the Eireannach version, whiskey).

It is a good, healthy (and Catholic thing) to enjoy, in moderation, all good things that the Almighty has placed within our reach.

It is anathema to the puritans and this world is becoming, by the minute, more prudish and puritanical.

So here's to Punt e Mes........Salute!

Friday, 26 April 2013

Shaking the bucket...for abortions!

A £10 donation to Virgin Money Giving's anti life fund
will support the killing of lots more of these cell type things
some people call babies

Now who would wish to donate money to support organisations such as BPAS, the abortion service that specialises in killing infants in the womb (plus counselling, of course)?

It appears that, some people are willing to throw a bit of cash in that direction even though, BPAS is not apparently short of a pound or two.

A certain James Ball has got the bucket shaking for BPAS because, in his words, women are intimidated by the 40 Days for Life campaigners outside abortuaries.

Let me say this once more....women are intimi....OK, I know you got the message, it was my brain that was struggling to comprehend it.

I have been on a few 40 Day vigils in the past five years and I have never witnessed a woman being terrorised as she enters the 'clinic'.

What I have seen is a lot of women terrorised by those who support the murder of babies and by so called Young Thugs Socialists.
They are not above threatening men also and it grieves me to think that I have signed up to the vigil organiser's protocol that states that all aggro must be met with a smile and Christian charity.

I still believe that Christian charity should be dished out Don Camillo fashion.

But I am, of course, wrong.

A fixed smile hides rising blood pressure but I pray through it all (and for the thugs) and it passes off, like water on a duck's back.

Now, we live, allegedly, in a free country, and it is entirely up to the individual to donate, or not, to whichever charity they wish.

But BPAS is a business, you might just as well give cash to Barclays Bank or Marks and Spencers, I'm sure they would welcome it but the fact is, they don't need it.

And, in the case of BPAS, surely they don't deserve it.

Their CEO, Ann Furredi, naturally enough, welcomes the bung; in fact, such spontaneous generosity often leaves her in tears.

Here is what she says about Mr Ball's enterprise:

"I just want to say a really BIG thanks for your donation page. – and, of course to donors. The comments are just amazing. The whole thing has actually reduced some of us to reaching for tissues! I guess it’s a bit novel for people to be so spontaneously generous to us.  It sends a lovely message to all our staff. We are feeling the love!"

“We are feeling the love”……..aah, isn’t that just so very nice?

Much nicer than “We are feeling the scalpel”

Fundraising has now stopped but will, almost certainly start again when the next vigil commences.

When it does, some people might like to leave a message (a charitable one) on their Facebook page ‘Boycott the 40 Days for Life’


Thanks to GM for this nudge.

If the Catholic Church was a patient....................

....Just what would be its state of health?

Well, in England and Wales, any medico making an analysis of Church ills, might well be inclined to declare the patient as suitable for the DNR ('Do not resuscitate') tag.

In fact, we are probably not so far away from having a large ticket tied to our big toe before being sent to the morgue.

But, the cry goes up, "Our parish has welcomers, lots of lay readers, Extraordinary Ministers, a vibrant parish council (is that an oxymoron?) and special services for the children on a Sunday, just what are you talking about?"

The fact is that, in England and Wales, the Church has dropped arches, poor circulation, chronic emphysema, limited vision and, it's overweight, clinically obese, in fact.

It is not quite yet dead but it does require remedial invasive surgery as well as a fitness programme to return it to full health.

To renew and re-invigorate.

Parishes that make the claim that they have a lively programme of church activities may well be telling the truth but they are missing the point, a busy and varied liturgical and social programme is fine but that is not the measure of success; it's only a partial performance indicator.

There are thousands of Catholics out there who are falling through the net and to whom, parish bible reading sessions are anathema.

And there are millions of non Catholics out there who, if presented with the average Diocesan newsletter, would move into reverse gear and put their foot hard down on the accelerator (gas) pedal.

The Church message has not changed; so why the problem?

It all has to do with focus and delivery.

Focus inasmuch that, so I believe, men and women are hungry for real meat and are not interested in  a faux Anglican Church comprising of middle class citizens and delivery in terms of the means that the Church employs to reach out to its existing members and to its potential members.

We have seen the great Anglican experiment of vicars drinking half pints of beer with the lads on a Friday night and then placing their Sunday Worship programme into the hands of a few members of the laity so that liturgy is trumped by nature displays from the primary school children and the Mother's Union clog dancing performance.

That has failed and quite rightly so.
 There is no substance to that just as there is no substance to most Catholic diocesan and parish activities.

Show me a parish with a blog or website that utilises the abundance of material available on the internet.

Where are the Facebook and Twitter entries?
 Non existent, while parish news is carried on poorly printed and highly boring A4 sheets left at the back of the church.

Of course, access to a computer is not available to all, but it is to the masses and full use needs to be made of it.

That's the delivery side, now for the focus.

If you treat the liturgy as a form of Playschool where you patronise and obscure, then it's no wonder that the pews are empty and folk look to the 'new' evangelical faiths.

Summorum Pontificum still applies.

Reverence towards the Blessed Sacrament still applies - stop bowing and start genuflecting.

Apply some rigour to attending church on a Sunday - cut out the chattering before and after Mass. Develop useful activities for the female altar servers ( not church cleaning) and get them off the altar.

Give the Sacrament of Reconciliation sitting in an armchair facing the priest the heave ho and re-introduce the Sacrament of Penance, in a confessional, at regular times.

Reception of Holy Communion in a reverent fashion still applies (in the Roman Rite) - bring back the altar rails, allow the faithful to kneel and to receive by mouth.

Above all else, open up the windows and allow fresh air to blow through the parishes, expelling the low oxygen levels and stale air of the past 50 years of headless chicken church management.

The Gospels are there.

Renewal is still possible; but the spirit needs to be willing.

We need leaders who have spirit and vision and who are inspired by the love of Christ to place us back on track.

Pray for Archbishop Mennini that he will long continue to give us the blood transfusion we so desperately need.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Feed my sheep includes the wealthy

Not 'the eye of a needle' but 'Fat Man's Agony' - a narrow gate to Heaven

I'm all for humility (yes, really, I am) but I also believe that the rich are most worthy of our succour and prayers.

Our Lord, when He walked the earth, was usually to be found in the company of those who had it all in terms of wealth, property or position (the harlots were there at the behest of their rich hosts remember, I don't include them in this).

The tax collectors, the landlords, the Pharisees and wheeler dealers.

If Paul Raymond (Raymond's Revue Bar) had been alive in 30 AD, Our Lord would have joined him for a meal.

And if Ozzy Osbourne, Donald Trump, Hugh Hefner (to name but a few) were throwing a heavy metal, cocaine and heroin get together in downtown Nazareth, (not that any of those people take or use drugs, I'm sure) - Our Lord would have made a point of attending - why look for a doctor among the healthy?

The point is that the poor have it made.

Their burden is poverty and it's an oystercard to destination Pearly Gates, via a few stops en route.

The rich however, still have the problem of squeezing through the eye of a needle.

Their temporal existence may appear all fast cars and loose women but they are on the fast track to Hades on the Handcart line.

They deserve our sympathy and our prayers; they have an impossible task ahead of them.
What have they got to look forward to?

What have they done to merit life eternal?

We all die in the same manner; we all enter the coffin, rich and poor alike, wrapped in a plastic zip up bag.

Mortality levels all.

But the roadsweeper, the lavatory attendant and the beggar have the advantage; they have the ladder in front of them.

In fact, they are half way up.

And when they die they know that, at last, they will not only achieve parity of esteem with the Duke of Westminster and the Rockerfellers but they will have gone some way to relieving the pains of Purgatory by their travails on earth.

So, maybe, rich men and women should be moved up the priority list a little, we are not an exclusive club, after all.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Look, you're Catholic, right?

And you're a member of the Royal Family, right?

Well then, you don't have to bring your children up in the Faith......

......that is really for the grubby little average Catholic parent to do.

And, if any of them fail in their duty - I'll be down on them like a ton of New Age Hymnals!

Times have changed......

H/T to OTSOTA @ The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma and Deacon Nick @
Protect the Pope

Picture: Wikipedia Commons

There's a devil in my garden

And he is eating my bantams.

"I'd rather have men in pink coats than Stourton"

As if life isn't hard enough with polecats, grey squirrels (thank you USA), badgers, stray dogs, feral cats, buzzards and weasels, we now have a fox, or, to be more precise, a Daddy Fox and a Mummy Fox.

I phrased it in this manner especially for readers of a nervous temperament.

 Dog fox and  vixen - for the more anthropomorphically challenged.

Now that fox hunting has been banned by an Act of Parliament (because those politicians and townies just can't bear to think of poor little foxy woxy being chased by naughty doggies. Pity about the aborted babies though), the fox population has rocketed and they are now as common as rabbits.

What to do?

I can no longer shoot the blighters as I've surrendered my shotgun licence (my Church of Wales farming neighbours are sensitive about an orthodox Catholic who owns a shotgun living next door to them, I can't think why).

Poisoning is illegal and indiscriminate.

But a solution has been found - and it does not involve late night rituals with bell, book and candle.

All it requires is a simple transistor radio - playing 24/7 as they say.

Placed beneath an upturned bucket to protect it from the elements I have found that Radio Four is particularly effective at keeping the varmints at bay.

And when Ed Stourton broadcasts of a Sunday morning, I have noticed that the whole countryside falls into a state of frightened silence.

If only dear Ed was on radio 52/365 the Welsh countryside would be rid of badgers, weasels, foxes and the like for good.

I think I might put it to Ed as a novel way of creating a new income stream....but, on second thoughts, maybe not.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Happy Birthday Will

William Shakespeare

And a Happy Feastday to English men and Women everywhere - today is St George's Day - and what did he do?

Why slay the dragon, of course, oops, sorry Wales.

But here are some lines that all Catholics who oppose Same Sex "Marriage" and the Etonisation of our religious and social values by one, David Cameron, should know by heart....author, William Shakespeare who was born on St George's Day.

I see you stand like greyhounds in the slips,
Straining upon the start. The game's afoot:
Follow your spirit; and, upon this charge
Cry 'God for Harry! England and Saint George!' 

Vive la Prance!

Today, it is highly probable that French Premier Hollande's government will approve legislation permitting Same Sex "Marriage"

                             "Not tonight Joseph"




Our Lady of Lourdes - Pray for France

St Denis - Pray for France

St Bernadette - Pray for France

St Jeanne D'Arc - Pray for France

St Michel - Pray for France

St Fiacre - Pray for France

St Jean Vianney - Pray for France

Monday, 22 April 2013

Help! Ayuda! Au secours!


Urgent help is needed. Not for me you understand but for a friend who is battling on behalf of the old rite Latin Mass - on behalf of all of us really.

I cannot say more, such are the forces ranged against those who labour to bring the Extraordinary Form of Mass back to our churches that matters are most sensitive and confidences have to be made.

But, if you can bring yourself to add a small novena to your already overloaded schedule of prayers, I know that success will be ensured and blessings brought upon your household.

The intercessor in this case is our blessed mother, Our Lady Undoer of Knots, because, of course, my friend faces a series of complications that must be overcome and who better than the mother of God to ask her Divine Son, on our behalf, to cut through those knots.

If you are a priest please consider dedicating a Mass to this cause - it really is gravely important and vital to the cause of evangelisation.

And, possibly, one day, all will be able to be revealed.

This simple novena to Our Lady Undoer of Knots begins today and ends on Tuesday 30th April.

And, on behalf of my friend, thank you.

 Virgin Mary, Mother of fair love, Mother who never refuses to come to the aid of a child in need, Mother whose hands never cease to serve your beloved children because they are moved by the divine love and immense mercy that exists in your heart, cast your compassionate eyes upon me and see the snarl of knots that exist in my life.
You know very well how desperate I am, my
  pain and how I am bound by these knots.

Mary, Mother to whom God entrusted the undoing of the knots in the lives of his children, I entrust into your hands the ribbon of my life.
No one, not even the Evil One himself, can take it away from your precious care. In your hands there is no knot that cannot be undone.
Powerful Mother, by your grace and intercessory power with Your Son and My Liberator, Jesus, take into your hands today this knot...(please remove the obstacles faced in this project) I beg you to undo it for the glory of God, once for all, You are my hope.
O my Lady, you are the only consolation God gives me, the fortification of my feeble strength, the enrichment of my destitution and with Christ the freedom from my chains.
Hear my plea.
Keep me, guide me, protect me, o safe refuge!

Mary, Undoer of Knots, pray for me

NB: I am trying to produce a tally of the number of novenas that are committed to. Please leave a brief "count me in" in the com box please, thank you.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

April in Paris.....Francois Hollande style

                                     Ah, the scent of CS gas on the Spring air!

I never knew the charm of spring 
Never met it face to face 
I never knew my eyes would sting
After a Gendarme’s mace 

April in Paris, chestnuts in blossom 
Priests being beaten, priests being seized               
April in Paris, this is a feeling 
That cannot be eased 

I never knew the charm of abuse
Never met it face to face 
I never new my arm was broken
‘Til we got back to base

It's April in Paris 
Whom can I run to? 
What have you done to my heart? 
What have you done to my heart?

With apologies to Johnny Mercer and co.

However so humble.......

...there's no place like Rome

Saturday, 20 April 2013

A prayer for America

For West and for Boston; for those who died or were injured, for their relatives and friends, for the communities where they lived and worked.

                                                                     Viva Cristo Rey!

Father, once again we are reminded
that any security we have as individuals
and as a nation, comes only from the
abiding hope and trust we have in you

Once again, we are cut to the heart 
at the loss of life and damage to peace 
that we have suffered as a nation. 

So, Father, today we come to You 
and we seek Your peace for the families and victims of the 
horrible tragedy. 
For those still lost in the rubble of destruction, 
we ask for the safety of Your hand. 
For those consumed by worry and fear 
as they try to locate missing loved ones, 
we ask for the comforting presence of Your Spirit. 

We seek Your peace for the emergency workers,
that You would guard their lives 
as they seek to guard the lives of others. 
Give them the wisdom they need to perform their duties 
above and beyond the levels of their training. 

And Father, we seek Your peace for our nation and our 
In the midst of our questions and uncertainty, 
we recognize that the unknown details of this day 
are already in Your grasp. 
We know You sent Your Son as the Prince of Peace 
and even this day falls under His command. 
Help us to find the strength and comfort we need as a 
to continue to humble ourselves, 
pray and seek Your face for a new day in America 
and a new hope for our world.

"Now may the Lord of peace himself give you
 peace at all times and in every way. 
The Lord be with all of you." [2 Thess. 3:16]

At the request of Mack Hall - and gladly responded to

Friday, 19 April 2013

Coming off The Pill

In my formative years, when hookers were only found on rugby pitches and generals were the only people with aides, there were three main Catholic publications in church porches throughout the country.

Their readership was quite distinct in both class and character.

At the cheap and cheerful end there was The Universe, the working Catholic man's newspaper.

The Catholic middle classes read the broadsheet Catholic Herald and, as Sister Catherine Walsh OP used to say: "It's the only Catholic newspaper run by Catholics, boys". And so it was and still is.

And then the Upper Class Catholics had a rather upper class publication called The Tablet. This was and is, in magazine format and carried rather more copy than pictures; it would then have been described as  "an intellectual read".

I think this hierarchy still stands except that The Tablet, as we all know, has become the mouthpiece of  liberal crassness; somewhat left of Arthur Scargill.

But it still retains, (among Catholics of the cafeteria variety) a sort of air of pseudo intellectuality, of being unassailable as an organ of the thinking Catholic.

The once exclusive readership has drifted so that both the lower and middle classes like to be seen with a copy under their arm.

It lends them, so they believe, a sort of pew credibility; it adds an air of 'better than thou' to those who buy a copy and then, on returning home, consign it to the re-cycling bin unread.

A group of young Catholics has started a campaign aimed at closing down The Tablet, (Tabula Delenda Est) I wish them every success in their endeavours.

But we all need to challenge this false air of intellectual authority that surrounds the editorial team and their Directors at The Tablet.

We need to question those who wave their copy around as proof of their forward thinking capacity and charitably point out the truth of the matter to them.

The Tablet is not now the thinking Catholic's magazine; it has evolved into 'Pseud's Corner'.
Please inform your Bishop, Parish Priest and you fellow parishioners of this fact.

In this clip below you can see three Catholics.

Can you tell The Tablet reader from The Universe reader or The Catholic Herald reader?

There's also a final clip showing an interview believed to be with a young Clifford Longley

Thursday, 18 April 2013

A 17th Century prayer for today

                                                     "March on boys!"

Sir Jacob, later Lord Astley, a Royalist fighting for King and country at the battle of Edgehill, in England's first civil war in 1642, uttered the following words as he led his men into battle:-

"O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day,
If I forget Thee, do not Thou forget me"

From a small amount of research I can find nothing to indicate that this leader of men was Catholic; in fact, the likelihood is that he was Protestant.

Yet, this is a great prayer; a sound prayer for each of us today whether we risk death by a terrorist bomb, a London bus or a final clogging up of the arteries.

We live in a world where the treadmill pace increases daily and where the hubbub of humanity drowns out the opportunity, for many, to speak at length to Our Lord.

This is a prayer that you can say as you board your train or take your seat at the office team meeting.

In particular, I like the final line that is often not included in what has become known as 'Astley's Prayer' - "March on boys!"

A brief history of Lord Astley may be found HERE

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Gay Masses OK.....but Catholic bloggers - get out of the Church!

Archbishop Nichols has proved, yet again, how unsuitable he is to lead the Catholics of England and Wales.

He has launched an offensive against Catholic bloggers (see Fr Simon Henry's post on the matter HERE)

The fact that Catholic schools are not fit for purpose, most of them, and that homosexual Masses are allowed to take place at Farm Street and The Tablet is still for sale at the back of most churches in the Archdiocese of Westminster is all tickety boo in the Archbishop's funny old way of thinking.

But to have Catholics sticking their heads up above the pulpit and witnessing and criticising those who 'run' the Church in England and Wales and beyond is verboten!

At least, in his book.

Catholic bloggers may not always get things right; sometimes we are too cavalier, sometimes we go a shade over the top. But we mean well, don't we?

And all that I read in the blogs written by Catholics would fall under the category of constructive criticism.

If we did not love our Faith we would not bother - would we?

But American Brandon Vogt has some wise words of advice for Bishops who have an aversion to bloggers.

I hope they read his post - HERE

And then, perhaps they might like a little time for reflection.

And then, perhaps they might tackle the inadequacy of RE in Catholic schools, call a halt to priests dressing like slobs, sort out the liturgical abuses, stop the sodo Masse,in short, set their own houses in order.

They might even like to start a blog.

Coming soon...Fatima!

This May we shall journey on pilgrimage to Fatima.

                                           Sister Lucia of Fatima

I have some reservations which appear quite irrelevant and possibly also impolite to Our Lady.

First and foremost is the fact that I love Lourdes. I like the way one enters the domain with the entrance surrounded by trashy piety shops selling flashing statues of the saints and rosary beads made out of orange pips and, immediately, a different atmosphere surrounds you.

The air of piety increases as you approach the Grotto until, at last, you are there and praying close to where Bernadette prayed and to where the Mother of God appeared.

I feel at home in Lourdes; I like the way in which you can pray most of the day at the Shrine, take the baths, undertake the Stations of the Cross and then go out for a glass or two of wine and a simple meal.

And, then, afterwards you may go back and pray again. Fantastic!

Fatima is an unknown quantity. It has interested me from an early age for all the obvious reasons.

But there is something a little frightening about Fatima.
It is of our own parents or grandparents lifetime and it is also several notches higher than Lourdes on the warning scale.

Pray, repent and do penance - three words that resound in our minds, not least because the world does not pray, repent or do penance - quite the opposite, in fact.

The message of Our Lady of Lourdes was, the same but softer; at least to my ears.

By the time of the first Fatima visitation the world had been awakened to the potential of Communism and its errors and the First World War, with its hideous loss of life was drawing to a close.
Modernism was spreading its poison within the Church.

And now, who knows what is in store for a world that destroys life so casually and ignores the teachings of the Son of God made Man?

Today is the Feast of St Bernadette who died in 1879. An appropriate day (coincidentally) for this post.

We shall be in Fatima for May 13th and for the Papal dedication.

We shall be in the company of a priest who only celebrates the old Mass.

We shall pray for you all while we are there.

And, after we have prayed, no doubt, we shall go and have a glass or two of wine and a simple meal.

In the manner of all Catholic pilgrims.

O Mary conceived without sin
Pray for us who have recourse to thee.
Our Lady of Lourdes,
Pray for us.
St Bernadette,
Pray for us.

O my Jesus
Forgive us our sins,
save us from the fires of hell,
and lead all souls to Heaven,
especially those in most need of thy mercy.
Our Lady of Fatima,
Pray for us.

Monday, 15 April 2013

How to stay positive and keep the Faith

Look, life as we know it could end tomorrow if North Korea kicks off or Iran, Israel, Russia, India, Pakistan and so on.

Our Catholic life is also uncertain;the new Holy Father is in the process of taking over the reins and, judging from yesterday's Mass at St Paul's Without the Walls in Rome, things are a bit muddled at present.

Note the mix up over reception of Holy Communion.

Some priests indicated only by mouth while others happily placed the Host in the hand. There can only be one right way so let's have some clarity please HF. Let's have leadership as well as humility, please.

As always, I turn to Archbishop Fulton Sheen at times of trial and tribulation.

He has an excellent series on world crisis, and personal suffering; physical and mental.

We can look forward to our tears being wiped from our eyes....nothing can harm us.....God is our Father.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Who would align Baroness Thatcher with a fascist?

Arthur Scargill?.............Ken Livingstone?........Peter Tatchell?.......George Galloway?

                     No, this is not a Fascist but a Communist - feel free to criticise

No, none of those (although they may have made a similar comment at some period in the last 34 years).

It was, in fact, a Dominican, the late Fr Herbert McCabe RIP who went into print in The Sunday Telegraph of 24th December 1989 under the headline: "Friars who preach against Thatcher"

Of course, those were the days when the younger Dominicans had lost the plot and were swanning around the West End of London in light blue cashmere sweaters and Austin Reed slacks of a Friday night.

Thank the Lord that this great order has seen the red light and largely (but not totally) reformed itself.

But this newsprint attack on the then Mrs Thatcher, while being perfectly legitimate, was both misguided and inappropriate.

I believe that only Church leaders should intervene publicly if there is due cause; to have priests popping off indiscriminately will only ever be a cause of division.

And, anyway, all criticism should be balanced.

Where is there, I ask, a report of a Catholic priest in England or Wales, who has launched a similarly vitriolic attack on a left wing political figure?

Has anyone slammed any of the afore named gentlemen men for their anti Catholic views or, for the fact that, for some of them, their policies appear to favour communist style dictatorships. Most notable, of course, was Galloway's friendship with Saddam Hussein.

Here is an extract from the article, my comments in red:

"Like other leading Dominicans in Britain, Father McCabe makes no bones about proclaiming either his political allegiance or his detestation (can we say that, as Catholics?) of Mrs Thatcher.
The core of Thatcherism was 'the notion that organised greed is the best way of running a society' (that may be his view but it's a pretty ambiguous one) So, said McCabe, like most of his brothers in the community of Blackfriars, Oxford, he voted Labour."

When, later in the article, Fr McCabe is questioned about Labour's appalling record he is less forthcoming:

"The number of unemployed, said McCabe, had trebled as soon as Labour left office in 1979. 
But had he chided the Labour Government when dole queues lengthened in the later 1970s?
Well, he replied rather lamely, he had a good deal to say about poor housing"
(Hmm, having a good deal to say about poor housing is alright, but it still does not amount to calling Mr Callaghan a commie premier).

You see, I think that it is acceptable, but inadvisable in the main, for the clergy to attack politicians and their policies. But, if they do, it should, at least be even handed.

I am in no way advocating fascism when I state that, if you tallied up the number of deaths caused by both fascist and communist regimes, you would find that the majority, by far, were caused not by Hitler and Mussolini but by Stalin, Kim Il Jung and Mao Tse Tung.

Graham Turner's piece in The Sunday Telegraph finishes with two paragraphs that paint a good (bad) picture of the state of the Catholic English and Welsh world in 1989:-

"Talking to Radcliffe and McCabe it is sometimes hard to believe that one is in the presence of holy men. The £20 that is the average amount of pocket money that Dominicans receive each month was "basically drinking money" said, McCabe.
(That could buy you a lot of pink gins in 1989).

When asked what would happen if a brother he admonished ignored his strictures, Radcliffe asked: 'You mean if he simply said, "Sod off?"

There are still holy men in the Dominican Order (suggesting that, perhaps Fathers McCabe and Radcliffe were not in that category), but the evidence suggests that its British Province, at least, is deeply infected by the secularisation
that is now destroying much of Western Christendom (this is 1989 remember).
Without a second, internal reformation, it could well die - and might indeed deserve to do so."

Well, Mrs Thatcher had her faults ( she also turned the fortunes of this country around quite brilliantly) but, given a choice a spending an imaginary evening in the company of her or Fathers McCabe and Radcliffe, I think I would opt for the Baroness.

May the souls of Margaret Thatcher and Fr Herbert McCabe OP Rest in Peace.

Turkeys to vote for Christmas

Pope to attend 500 years anniversary celebration of the Reformation?

I don't think so.

Friday, 12 April 2013

The West should bomb North Korea

Kim Jong Un may not need food but his
countrymen certainly do

No, not with High Explosives or nuclear warheads but with parcels of food and clothing  and simple leaflets proclaiming from whence they came and why.

The population of North Korea is in a dire state. Poverty, starvation and ignorance of the outside world are at the heart of their troubles coupled with a totalitarian system where son informs against father and daughter against mother.

Where executions are carried out routinely with the least cause and where gulag style prison camps proliferate, some being some 30 by 20 miles in size.

Small cities of misery, the fruit of communist ideology.

As Catholics we believe that, when faced with a foe, we should observe the following actions:-

….if thy enemy be hungry, give him to eat: if he thirst, give him to drink.
For, doing this thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head.

Romans 12.20

What would be the consequences?

Kim Jong Un might press the red button, possibly. But then, he might do that anyway.

He seems to be a fairly psychotic sort of a bloke. Not the type of chap you could enjoy a pint of Rev James with down the pub for fear that he would run amok among the peanuts and porky scratchings.

But that initiative (the food drop, that is) might just be the start of the tipping point that could topple his evil regime.

How can the world stand by (especially in the light of the various conflicts we have become embroiled in over the past 20 years) and do nothing to aid the poor, afflicted North Koreans?

At least if we bombarded them with kindness no one could accuse us of sabre rattling.

And if the drop was made by an aid organisation rather than a specific country, the regime in North Korea might find it harder to respond violently.

Clothe the poor and feed the hungry: not a bad maxim under the circumstances and much, much cheaper than a nuclear warhead.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

I believe, but how about you, Father?

Actuality rather than re-enactment

A recent conversation with a liberal Catholic Priest produced an interesting topic for debate.

That is, how many modern priests believe that, at the Consecration, the bread and wine becomes the actual Body and Blood of Our Lord.

Transubstantiation as we call it.

I was rather fed up with receiving a barrage of veiled assaults on traditionalists (or, as he preferred to call them, "Puritans") and, more in an attempt to halt the flow rather than launch a counter offensive I asked him a simple (as I thought) question.

I have raised this issue in earlier posts and been berated for not producing evidence so we will treat the following as hearsay rather than statistical fact.

Back in either 1984 or 1985 some research was published (so I claim) that showed that 48% of priests in England and Wales did not believe in transubstantiation. The  survey was from a base of 1,000 priests so, in market research terms, it was a small sample.

But that statistic, true or false, has stayed active in my mind ever since and I do speculate on just how many priests believe in the Mystery and how many just believe that what they are doing is remembering via a repeat of the Last Supper ritual.

So I asked this priest, whom I shall call Father Charles, having brought him up to speed on the research element, if, during the course of his socialising and meeting with his brother priests he had any idea of how many might believe or not as the case may be.

He looked as if he had bitten rather hard on a rusty four inch nail and, after a pause replied that it was a subject that had never cropped up in team meetings or retreats or days out for whatever purpose.

I found that rather hard to comprehend. Most professional people with a keen interest in their work tend to debate, discuss and dissect every particle of knowledge concerning their daily duties.

Most Catholics that I know (mainly of the orthodox kind, I have to say) also veer towards intense discussions on every aspect of the Faith; it's what we like to do; it produces greater knowledge and understanding - it is a good and wholesome pastime.

Surely a priest would know how his brothers feel about such an important issue?

So, perhaps those who attend OF Masses of the liturgically challenged kind, should stop and ask their priest if he does believe or if he is just doing the Protestant play acting thing.

It's a fair question, if asked courteously, and it would be most interesting to hear the answer. 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

The Church where G K Chesterton worshipped

Over the last week I have been ducking and diving betwixt Westminster and Northampton and even Birmingham Dioceses and, at one stage found myself near the Buckinghamshire town of Beaconsfield.

This semi rural town is home to the parish of St Teresa (de Lisieux of course) where GKC attended Mass on High Days and Holy Days.

GKC's gift to the parish of St Teresa

It is to this church that he donated a rather beautiful statue of Our Lady and the Christ Child and I have long wished to visit to gain first hand knowledge.

The church is most beautiful in a sort of 1920s (?) style but has had a carbuncle of a porch (foyer, really) added fairly recently.
This is all plate glass and swing doors and it jars greatly with the rest of the architecture.

Playschool catechetics

A display signifying Easter (three twig crosses on a pebble and grass Calvary) commands the left hand side, naturally, while, on the right is a pre Reformation font originating from Buckfast Abbey.

What a joy to dip one's fingers into a font that may well have received the hands of More and Fisher and countless other saints.

Redundant after 800 years of use

But that joy is short lived as the font is bone dry.

Inside the church a large holy water stoup made of what appears to be rosewood formica and stainless steel, blocks the aisle.

Other than that, I guess the church is pretty much as the great man would have left it (apart from the NO altar main stage.

How incorrect that faux altar looks when you peer to one side and view the original against the wall. Really very hard to comprehend.
It is rather like having a grand auditorium with a slick but trashy modern one set in front of the old.

The statue of Our Lady is, indeed, very fine but why, oh why, must so many priests set statues several yards above the head of the people?

It is hard indeed to appreciate the full beauty of the image when all you have is a worm's eye view.

Now, I have not checked my facts here but the Stations of the Cross deserve a mention on the plus side.
The work of Eric Gill?
No way of telling

If I am not mistaken they are the work of sculptor and artist, Eric Gill.
Each of the stations are carved in bas relief from stone and are exquisite in their simple style.

It is a great shame that the parish website carries no information regarding the statue or other works of art present in the church. Or, indeed, of its past illustrious parishioner

It is almost as if the PP is ashamed of his Catholic heritage.

Needless to say, there is zero evidence that the EF Mass is celebrated here or, that it even exists.

Why is it that so many of our churches feature displays that would look more at home in year one of Playschool than on church property?

The clergy must think that we are a simple old bunch who will accept whatever pap they push in our direction.

Sadly, I think that they may be right.

A fine altar and sanctuary - obscured by the modern

Monday, 8 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher RIP - she should have been a Catholic

Today the world mourns the death of a woman who broke the mould and who is equally both loved and hated.

I do not love her but I do greatly like and admire her.

What did she give this country (and the world)?

She proved (if it ever needed proving) that women can make exceptionally good and effective leaders.

She faced up to the communist unions and the 'closed shop' mentality and won.

No man should have to work underground on his knees and suffer with lung disease; she broke the stranglehold of the mining unions and closed down the Victorian style coal mines.

She aligned herself with President Ronald Reagan and, in so doing, made a powerful contribution to removing the threat from the axis of evil.

Gorbachev fell under her spell when she recognised that he 'was for turning' and turn him she did. Mrs T had him sewn up even before he was top dog in the Soviet Union.

She enabled thousands of council house tenants to buy their own homes and gain a foothold on the property ladder.

Under her rule thousands of small businesses started up; many failed but many succeeded and went on to become major contributors to the economy.

Inward investment (especially in Wales) boomed as never before and never since.

There were no nuances under Prime minister Thatcher; all was black and white.

She gave her views straight and without the pussyfooting around that we have become used to under Blair, Brown and Cameron.

And she led Britain in a war against all the odds, fighting to free the Falklands from the shabby and rhetorical Argentinian dictatorship.

She did not suffer fools gladly; not all of her decisions were the right ones; but she succeeded in removing the shackles of Britain being regarded as the lazy, dirty, idle old man of Europe.

She broke the power of the trade unions and she gave to the poor something that no other party could give.

Esteem and self respect.

I do wish that she had been a Catholic.

More than that I wish that she had been a Catholic with reform of the hierarchy in her sights.

She would not have minced around Eccleston Square.

She would not have pushed for same sex "marriage".

She should have been a Catholic.

May she rest in peace.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

A brief intermission but first......

.....a celebration of the Feast of St Mont de Pie-Thon.

A much loved saint adopted by Liberal Catholics everywhere and remembered, most fondly, for the 'Fish Dance' celebrated on 6th April each year in his honour.

I know that I regularly feature the following clip but I am most fond of it myself.

Followers of the dance may recognise a young Ed Stourton (right) partnered by (possibly) an equally youthful Father (now Monsignor) Atticus.

As I am (yet again) on the move I will not be able to post until Monday (cheers off stage left).

Friday, 5 April 2013

Will you marry me - Daddy?

There's another  fatal flaw in Prime Minister Cameron's plans to make Same Sex "Marriage" legal.

Actor Jeremy Irons has pointed out that, if the bill is passed, it will be quite in order for a father to marry his son.

This could be a very sound way for well heeled fathers to avoid the penalty of inheritance tax.

And, apparently, the question of breaking the law by committing incest is a non starter as incest only applies to those of different sexes.

Well David, that's another fine mess you've got us into.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

No, it is not Catholic to throw flowers at a coffin

Archbishop Vincent Nichols is reported as saying that the relatively new custom of throwing flowers at a cortege (a la Princess Diana's funeral) or leaving bunches of flowers on the roadside at the site of a fatal accident, is evidence that Britain is re-discovering its Catholic heritage.

I disagree.
I see nothing Catholic in such actions that totally omit any element of Christianity.
In Ireland and in France and some of the other Mainland European countries, crucifixes are erected and, even, small shrines established.

That is a good Catholic custom.

Faded flowers at the roadside are mawkish and secular.
Throwing flowers at a coffin may have an emotional value but not a spiritual one.

What action could or should Catholics make?

Prayers, of course, but maybe we do also need a physical sign or symbol of grief. But what?

A prayer card encapsulated against the weather? A cross?

Any suggestions...please forward to Eccleston Square (but don't throw them at the Archbishop)


Tuesday, 2 April 2013

21 MPs petition the Pope

                            Just who are these Catholic Members of Parliament?

Twenty one Catholic MPs have sent a petition to the Holy Father requesting that he consider abolishing celibacy for priests in Great Britain.

According to the report in The Daily Telegraph, they have based their plea on the grounds that it seems to work OK for the Ordinariates so, why not?.

I am not so certain that marital harmony in a clerical household does, in fact, work well (although I wish nothing but wedded bliss to those priests who find themselves in that position).

When the phone rings at 3 o'clock in the morning and Rev Hub has to crawl off to administer the Last Rites or, when the Parish Commissariat requests a meeting on the evening of their wedding anniversary, will life still be as harmonious as ever?

Being married is hard enough in its own right, without having the encumbrance of a dog collar round one's neck.

Being a priest must be hard enough in its own right without the encumbrance of a wife round one's neck.

But how thoughtful of our Catholic political representatives that they initiated this petition; they must have devoted some of their precious time normally dedicated to the war in Afghanistan, the economic recession, homelessness, the Health Service, the issues of national security and so on, to meddle in an area that they have absolutely no writ to dabble in.

Who are these people, let's have some names.

Do they represent all the Catholic MPs or are they a splinter group?

What brought about this unseemly interest in married clergy?

Do their non Catholic constituents know about this action?

What has the petition got to do with politics or MPs?

The DT article is HERE

Monday, 1 April 2013

A new career beckons.....professional sobber

                        Professional mourners are available from Coffinsulike.com

Apparently, there is a move to provide professional mourners at funerals, just so that it looks as if the deceased and his/her surviving family members were/are much loved folk, greatly missed by those around them.

There's nothing new in this concept. Dickens spoke of young Oliver Twist as having the right sort of sorrowful face and harrowed expression that made him a fit choice to lead the funeral cortege - a sort of professional orphan.

And, didn't the ancient Greeks have professional mourners to lead the ekphora or funeral procession? (Well, "there's posh" as they allegedly say in Wales).

An undertaker in Essex started the current trend and has found that Hull is the epicentre of demand. Hull? I ask you?

Twelve funerals have taken place in Hull, attended by these 'mourners' and you could say that it's been a tearaway success (oh, please).

So much so that it has prompted me to design a short course for those wishing to take up this profession and gain a National Vocational Qualification in Lachrymosology or, weeping if you prefer.

Here's a course outline:

Module 1 - Crying

This is a two day unit requiring delegates to undertake a series of crying modes.
These include: Gentle sniffing, heavy nose blowing, profuse tears down cheeks (known as the poke digit in eye technique), wailing, shrieking, blubbing, rolling on the ground and teeth gnashing.
Jewish delegates may opt for the garment rending session also.

Module 2 - Manifestations of grief

Half a day is dedicated to soot smearing and to rubbing ashes through hair. More advanced students (NVQ Level 1.5) may elect for the 'Iranian Massage' - that is, self flagellation with a rusty metal chain.
In the afternoon there will be sessions involving coffin clinging and banging head against any hard surface.

Module 3 - Processing and graveside routines

Special emphasis is placed on handkerchief style (wiping eyes, blowing nose and general waving around). Delegates will also get to experience the ancient 'mourner's walk', a sort of aimless ramble involving frequent falling on knees to give a solemn air of a profound sense of loss.
At the graveside there will be special 'holding back from the abyss' sessions whereby mourners appear to attempt to accompany the coffin into the grave. Earth eating is an optional extra.

There is also a module for orthodox Catholics.
It may take anything from one to two hours.

It's called, a Requiem Mass.