Thursday, 28 November 2013

To Blackfen, the bloggers' parish of Our Lady of the Rosary

Memories of the inaugural meeting that
determined the establishment of the Guild
Tomorrow I shall board the Iron Horse in Pembrokeshire to begin my journey to Blackfen where, on Saturday, 30th November, Feast of St Andrew, the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma will gather for Mass at 10.30am followed by Benediction and Confessions and then a talk by Dr Adrian Treloar on 'Medical aspects of Miracles: Drawing us to Faith'

And, at 1pm a fine lunch in the Parish clubhouse (donations to be made for the victuals).

Finally, at 2.30pm an informal meeting.

All good, sound, orthodox Catholic stuff.

I look forward to it immensely.

If you are joining the merry throng, you may find the 'How to get to Blackfen' directions from the parish website helpful.
They are to be found HERE.

And, if you are unable to be there, please spare a prayer for the Guild and its followers.

So, there will be a brief intermission and posts will resume as normal on Monday 2nd December.

What has Wales done to deserve such treatment?

Oh, woe, woe and thrice woe, pity the poor afflicted Catholics of Wales.

Here we are, hungry for the Latin Mass and for the clear doctrinal teachings of Christ and what do we get?

A trinity of Bishops for the three dioceses of Wales who are most accomplished, it appears, in the episcopal art of sitting on one's hands.

At least Nero produced a good tune while Rome incinerated.

The lead Diocese (Archdiocese of Cardiff) embraces our capital city and a fair old slice of English borderlands.
But does it provide in accord with Summorum Pontificum?

Hardly at all. One or two doughty priests offer the Mass of all Time in far flung corners of the Archdiocese but that's it.

In fact, by my very rough reckoning, less than five per cent of diocesan priests are able to offer the Latin Mass.

Menevia is much the same.
Home to the National Shrine of Wales, Our Lady of Cardigan, (not that you would know it) it again offers lip service to those who follow the old rite.

Not that the work undertaken by those committed priests who minister to the traditional community is not appreciated. It is just that we should have more.

And, finally, the Diocese of Wrexham, under new management since last year when Bishop Peter Brignall was installed.

This Bishop is certainly following in his predecessor's footsteps (ahem).

The Diocese appears to have been either overtaken by Martians or the victim of a selective nuclear strike, judging by the resounding silence emanating from North Wales.

Just how, I wonder, has Bishop Brignall fulfilled his installation pledge of resolving to build up God's Church?

There's not much in evidence on the Diocesan website.
 The Bishop's diary lists the usual vitally important series of diocesan meetings and then, for Holy Week we have Maundy Thursday replaced with 'The Lord's Supper' and Good Friday has disappeared to be replaced with a 'Celebration of The Lord's Passion.'

Nitpicking, I may be but I dislike the most serious and grave days in the liturgical year being subject to euphemisms.

To be a traditional Catholic in Wales in these troubled times you definitely need brains, or, rather, Brains.

No, this is not a call to the intellect (on this blog, you cannot be serious?) but it is a call to Brains bitter.
To be more specific, the Reverend James bitter from Brains Brewery in Cardiff.

I find the occasional pint, or two, of "the Rev" as it is colloquially known, goes a long way to reducing my blood pressure that is so subject to episcopal inadequacies.

But, I would forgo that pleasure if their Lordships stepped up to the mark and provided us with an EF Mass in every parish on every Sunday and Holyday.

That would certainly build up God's Church, if that is what the Bishops want.


Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The magic Mass that makes children disappear

Our eldest daughter is, (Dg) a staunch traditional Catholic.

In fact, I vividly recall her words when, ten or more years ago, she left home for University and Mrs Linen and I held our breath to see if the ship would float or sink.

Our fears were groundless. As she was studying in Cardiff there was no chance of a Latin Mass but she reported how she had gone to a Novus Ordo on her first 'independent' Sunday and came away profoundly underwhelmed.

Her words ring in my ears today: "There's no need to worry Daddy, the new Mass was so bad it's certain that we are doing the right thing."

And now, as the mother of two small children and living on the northern boundaries of the Archdiocese of Westminster, she has returned to the new Mass despite her feelings towards it remaining unchanged.

Why? What could be the cause of such a move?

Well, Westminster is not exactly the hot hub of Latin Masses.
In fact they are as rare as a rib-eye steak in a vegetarian restaurant.

And, where they are available they are scheduled at times that make it virtually impossible for small children to attend. Not by chance, methinks.

So, our daughter has returned to the OF Mass and we applaud her move.
It is vital that small children grow into the Faith by means of practice and example and, in the absence of a Latin Mass, a vernacular one will do for the time being.

And, she reported, after her first Mass, on something quite magical that took place.

At the start of Mass the celebrant called all the children present up to the sanctuary whereupon, various lay people emerged from the shadows and led the children out of the church by a side door.

Naturally alarmed by such a move she retrieved our two grandchildren aged five and two respectively and received a studied glare from the priest as a result.

The Mass commenced and then, abracadabra, the children reappeared half way through, clutching sheets of paper with their artistic efforts.

You can imagine the scene, at a period of utmost importance in the Mass, when twenty five children mill around complete with their drawings.

And then, just as my daughter expected things to settle down, the children were taken away for a second time, never to be seen again.


Actually, more like black magic really.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What abuses existed before Vatican II?

I promised a friend that I would write on my experiences (as a callow youth) in the years preceding the Second Vatican Council.

One question that she posed was: "There must have been abuses because the changes were accepted so quickly and readily" (my paraphrasing of her comments).

Well, I am sure there were abuses but whatever they were they were not recognised as such.

By and large, the Church in Westminster Diocese (which was the only region within my knowledge at that age) was boringly the same as it had been for many years. For centuries, in fact.

Mass was in Latin, not a Novus Ordo in sight.

We had processions back then. Many processions especially in May and June
Parishioners knew little of divorce and even less about cohabiting before marriage.

Admittedly, there were a few illegitimate children (morality tends not to fluctuate too much over the centuries).

Homosexuality was barely visible, not just in Catholic circles but in society generally.

Priests were not known as anything other than models of spiritual probity (although one or two rather nasty occurrences took place in the late 60s, especially in Chertsey, Surrey, a diversion beyond the boundaries of Westminster).
And every parish had nuns
(who looked and acted like nuns)

There was a sort of rather fierce disciplinarianism about many of the older priests and that was not altogether welcome or a good thing.

Discipline is one thing, control is another.

But, above all else, we had obedience within the ranks of the laity.

A level of compliance that would not be recognisable today.

We lived and breathed fealty to our Parish Priest, our Bishop and the Holy Father and the rupture of that loyalty may, I believe, may be the key to why the Catholic Faith changed more or less overnight from being an assured place of redemption to an uncertain retreat of those who believed in the concept of revolution.

The loyalty ruptured because of the changes that were taking place in society.

"Change is good" became a sort of silent mantra.

I recall the laity being called to a conference in Liverpool, possibly in 1962 or 1963.

There they were invited to "speak out" and give form to the concerns that they had regarding the Catholic Church.

This was heady stuff. No one had ever asked the opinion of the laity before.

In fact, the laity had never had a voice as such before. Now, suddenly, the chance arose to "out" your Parish Priest for being stern and strict.

But remember, we were still in the post war era. All of society was on the move challenging the code of conduct that existed.

The sixties was a period when the boundaries of decency were being dismantled daily.

'Lady Chatterley's Lover' was featured in the high courts and won the case against charges of obscenity in favour of freedom of speech.

Homosexuality, a criminal offence in 1960, was declared legitimate in the Sexual Offences Act of 1967.

London Theatres began to feature plays and musicals where nudity and promiscuity took centre stage, literally. A move that would have subjected them to prosecution only a few years earlier.

And the Beatles, Rolling Stones and other rock groups suddenly made anti establishment views fashionable.

Change was in the air and it infected most people.

The Catholic laity was not immune, they found their collective voice and began to think liberally (aided, by some of the clergy).

Requiem Masses began to be "joyful" occasions where the life of the deceased was celebrated and all thought of praying for the immortal soul forgotten.

My own parents, staunch Anglo Irish Catholics fell hook, line and sinker for all that was taking place.

Why?  I cannot fathom a certain answer to that one.

They certainly did not subscribe to the popular calls for change and I can only put their ready acceptance of all that the Church threw at them down to blind obedience.

In the Reformation era, Catholics in England and Wales switched their allegiance from Christ and Rome to heresy and Canterbury within a remarkably short period of time.

And, in a similar time frame in the 1960s and 70s, Catholics moved from the doctrinal certainty of the Faith to a mishmash of liturgy and an uncertain concept of Christ's truth.

I recall attending Mass while on honeymoon in Dulverton in 1972 only to hear the 'Latin' Mass sung in English in a direct translation from the pre 1962 missal.

The singing was most definitely not plainchant but Gelineau psalm style.

Back home a few weeks later and the congregation at Mass began to vote with their feet and walk out after Holy Communion. Priests would stand in the porch in an attempt to stem the exodus.

Despite the fever of change, Mass in the vernacular did not appear to be meeting with approval.

I remember one Canon exhorting his flock by saying: "It's still the same Mass, you know".

But, of course, it wasn't the same Mass and many left the Faith. Laity, priests and nuns just got up and walked away, released by a breaking of the covenant of perceived and actual truth.

Were people unhappy with Latin? I don't think so. And, certainly the modern myth that Latin was unpopular because it was "gabbled" is just that, a myth.
Priests then spoke Latin fluently; it was their second tongue and, of course, it flowed and was more voluble as a result.

I believe that the only two factors influencing the faithful were the element of obedience and that of being caught up with the desire to 'change and modernise'.

Remember, this was the era of house renovation and DIY when people of impeccable taste would panel over Georgian doors with sheets of hardboard and hack off any architectural decorations of beauty that even hinted at being old or traditional.

Brass was replaced by plastic and good taste was cast to the wind.

All had to be hidden behind a façade of wood and plaster; all had to conform to modern tastes; all character and continuity with the past had to be eradicated.

And that really is a metaphor for the changes that swept through the Church.

Latin Mass in Herefordshire

"O Mary conceived without sin,
pray for us who have recourse to thee"

On Sunday 8th December, Feast of The Immaculate Conception, there will be a sung Latin Mass at the monastery of the Poor Clares at Much Birch, Herefordshire at 6pm.

The Newcastle Emlyn Schola will be in attendance and thanks should go to the LMS Cardiff crew who are introducing some excellent communication initiatives proving that, even in a Diocese where the Latin Mass is, how shall I phrase it? About as popular as the Black Death, it is possible to break down barriers by means of good and positive actions.

At any rate, what better way to celebrate this great, great feast of our Mother?

Here is the address:

The Poor Clare Monastery
Much Birch

Monday, 25 November 2013

A reflection on the war dead

Red for peace, white for ............
November is the month of the Holy Souls and the month where  also, on Remembrance Sunday, we remember those who sacrificed their lives  in times of war so that we could be free from slavery and genocide.

The red poppy is a symbol (as well as being a fund raising tool for disabled service men and women) of that sacrifice.

The link to the poppies of Flanders fields, almost as prolific as the German and Allied Forces corpses, is a poignant one that encourages us to remember with sorrow and gratitude.

It is not triumphalist, it does not represent war or victory or glorification of battlefield slaughter.

A kind reader commented on my Remembrance Sunday post, that he was not familiar with the white poppy campaign, one that, ostensibly symbolises peace rather than war.

This stance rather leads to a 'when did you stop beating your wife' situation as far as the red poppy wearer is concerned.

Those who wear the white poppy are, in my opinion, gravely deluded. They are ignorant.

We tend to link to opposites so, if the white poppy stands for peace, the red must stand for war.

Not so.

To me the white poppy represents not peace but pacifism and, again, with our love of opposites, it is assumed that, if you are anti pacifism you must be a warmonger

Again, not so.

I have little time for war but, equally, little respect for those who advocate pacifism at the time of war.

Many Quakers have struggled with their consciences and then, God bless them, signed up for duties as medics, stretcher bearers, ambulance drivers. Tasks often more hazardous than those undertaken by the troops.

There is no hiding place for the conscientious objector when your own country goes to war.

We are all bound to get behind our respective governments at such times and bind together for the common good.

Few of us wanted the Iraq War but, once committed, we should have supported our leaders and, above all, our military.

That is why the symbolism of the white poppy brigade is iniquitous and those who wear one should hang their heads in shame.

Was it Belloc who penned the lines:

"Pale Ebenezer thought it wrong to fight, but Roaring Bill ( who killed him)  thought it right"

That should be writ large on the headstones of those who spurn the red for the white.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Good news! - Bishop 0 - Parishioners 1

Looks a perfectly good church, just needs a considerable bit of renovation.
St Winefride's, Aberystwyth

Readers may recall the long drawn out battle of Aberystwyth where the local Bishop (Tom Burns) wished to sell off the old church to developers and build a nuchurch out of town.

Convenient financially for the Diocese of Menevia but not logistically for the parishioners.

Well, news has reached me today that the Bishop has shelved plans to build a new church out of town and (so I believe) reverted to the concept of renovating the old church.

I would not wish anyone to think that I am being triumphalist over this, far from it.

A great deal of money has been squandered on planning fees and so on.
 It is a hollow victory in many ways.

But, it is a victory for the 240 or so parishioners who signed a petition to retain their accessible parish church and I think that a modest huzzah (no exclamation mark) may be allowed.

And, in all of this, spare a prayer for the Bish for whom it must have been a humbling experience, to back down; and for those who supported him.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The two Masses and a stark comparison

If you are a devotee of the new Mass, you may not wish to watch this video. It leaves you in no doubt as to which form of the Mass is the most profound, most reverent and most focused on the Holy Trinity.

There are, however, some OF Masses that have a far greater aura of sanctity than the example shown.
Where Latin is used and the Mass celebrated ad orientem.

But, even so, there is a stark difference between the two.

We should not forget that many priests 'have' to celebrate Mass in the Ordinary Form.

Immense pressure would be brought to bear on them if they attempted to introduce the Mass of all Time, the Latin Mass.

O gentle Jesus, call Thy priests back to Thee. 
Lay open their hearts to hear Thy call, and answer Thy call with fervour and a burning love to lead Thy flocks to Thee. Amen.

Mexico's Campion - Fr Miguel Pro SJ

Today, November 23rd,  is the feastday of Blessed Miguel Pro, Mexican, Jesuit and Martyr for the Faith.

There are many heroic figures who died for their Faith in the 20th century but Miguel Pro must surely rank up there with St Maximilian Kolbe, St Teresa Benedicta and, of course, Blessed Titus Brandsma.

Fr Pro came from a large but relatively wealthy Mexican family.

He joined the Jesuit Seminary and, one year later, Mexico was embroiled in one of the most savage persecutions of Holy Mother Church.

Priests were executed in the streets, religious disbanded and many of the prominent Catholic laity disappeared never to be seen again.

Churches were desecrated and defiled being turned into stables much as in England and Wales in the times of Henry VIII and Elizabeth I.

Fleeing from the anti Catholic government, Fr Pro completed his studies in Europe only returning to Mexico in 1926 suffering from a severe gastric complaint.

The persecutions were still in full flow but this did not cause the young priest to pause for thought.

He threw himself into the spiritual fight against the regime of President Calles.

He ventured into areas occupied by the authorities and visited houses fearlessly to bring the Sacraments to the young and old, the living and the dying.

Before long the police and militia targeted him as public enemy number one. And her had many escapes, often adopting a number of disguises to fool his pursuers.

On one occasion when being shadowed by the police, Fr Pro grabbed the arm of a young woman and embraced her as they walked up the street, throwing the police off the scent in the process.

A series of bomb attacks aimed at the Calles Government resulted in Fr Pro and two of his brothers, Humberto and Roberto being caught up in the dragnet following the blasts, innocent, as they were, of any involvement.

Without any trial, the authorities swiftly executed Fr Pro, only 36 years of age.

He was taken from his cell and marched into the prison yard where he refused a blindfold.

In the true style of a martyr he blessed the firing squad before declaring his innocence before Almighty God.

Kneeling in prayer he held his Rosary in one hand and a crucifix in the other, and then, standing against the bullet pocked wall, he spread out his arms to form a cross and cried out : "Viva Cristo Rey"

He fell as the rifle shots cracked out and a soldier delivered the coup de gras to the broken body.

That is very much a paraphrased version of a short but intensely spiritual life on earth, one that closely resembles that of St Edmund Campion in his final years.

Fr Pro was, by all accounts, a great wit but his humour never strayed into realms of immodesty.

In particular, I like the prayer that he wrote, it is a prayer for the sick and the troubled.

It is not a sweet, prayer couched in flowery words; it is not a prayer for the faint hearted.

But it comes straight from the heart of Blessed Miguel Pro and, as such, must surely be heard by Jesus Christ, Christ the King!

    Prayer of Bl Miguel Pro

Does our life become from day to day more painful, more oppressive, more replete with afflictions? 
Blessed be he a thousand times who desires it so.
 If life be harder, love makes it also stronger and, only this love, grounded on suffering, can carry the cross of my Lord  Jesus Christ.

Love without egotism, without relying on self but enkindling in the depth of the heart an ardent thirst to love and suffer for all those around us: a thirst that neither misfortune nor contempt can extinguish…..I believe, O Lord; but strengthen my faith….Heart of Jesus, I trust in Thee; but give greater vigour to my confidence.

Heart of Jesus, I give my heart to Thee; but, so enclose it in Thee that it may never be separated from Thee.

Heart of Jesus, I am all Thine; but take care of my promise so that I may be able to put it in practice even unto the complete sacrifice of my life.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Does the Bishop know?

The blogger who operates the Paddling Upstream blog (Mummymayhem) has a post that jogged my mind.

It touched a raw nerve, something that had been niggling my subconscious for a few weeks (or years, time flies here in Western Menevia).

Where once St David stood, you may now take a course
in praying mantras
You see I have a thing about Buddhists and Yoga....I think the two fit quite neatly
 into the same sentence, don't you?

My hang up, if I may call it that, is that the whole shebang is sham, pseudo, false, shallow.

Of course, yoga is fine as a form of physical exercise but it comes, all to often, with an agenda that is as far from Catholic doctrine as it is possible to be.

And then it merges into Buddhist philosophy.

Buddhism masquerades under several false guises; 'love,' 'natural harmony,'  'at one with nature'.

All of the Buddhists I have met appear to be pretty humourless, rather entwined with their own regard for what they see as the 'truth'.

A few pints of Reverend James and a large, rare ribeye steak would do most followers of the Buddha a power of good I feel.

And so, when I see Catholic Retreat Centres advertising Yoga Training Sessions I begin to feel a little queasy. And when I enter the websites of those Yoga organisations who are booked in at St Non's I feel that surely the Bishop (His Lordship, Thomas Burns) cannot know that one of his centres is being used for such purposes. You may visit their website HERE.

If nothing else, the association of Buddhism/Yoga with a Catholic retreat centre sends all the wrong signals - to Catholics and non Catholics alike.

I know St Non's; it has a beautiful repro chapel in its grounds and a holy well that once was on the pilgrim route for those visiting nearby St David's Cathedral.

And the remains of the original chapel are still there on the clifftop looking out towards Ireland where so many of the monks came from in the 8th and 9th centuries.

It is a holy place; there are echoes of the Faith at every turn.

But now, when they mention "Chanting" as part of the events programme, they don't mean Plainchant but Buddhist chants and that is plain wrong.

It would be shameful to lose that Catholic aura to the philosophies of Ying and Yang.

The St Non's website is tarnished with this sort of faux spirituality.

"Celtic Nature Spirituality" are the words used to describe the essence of St Non's.

I would perhaps have chosen:

"Catholic Sacred Holy"

I puzzle at the use of the word "Celtic". Many local people believe, quite sincerely, that St David did not belong to the Catholic Church but to the Celtic one.

In fact, there was no such thing as a 'Celtic Church' - the only form of Christianity in Wales, up until the 16th century, was Catholic. Full stop. End of argument.

Now, I am quite certain that Bishop Burns does not read this blog (and I don't blame him for that).

But, he should vet all religious websites within his own Diocese.

And he should take steps to ensure that they all conform to Catholic principles.

"Ah", the cry will go up from the nuns who run the retreat centre (whatever you do, don't look at their photographs, nuns not wearing habits is one thing I told you not to look, there's a health warning with this post!
"Ah", the nuns will say: "But we need the money to keep St Non's going"

In which case I would say to all orthodox Catholics looking for a spiritual base surrounded by natural beauty as well as the beauty of the Catholic Faith in Wales, book your pilgrimage/retreat group into St Non's, it will improve your Karma no end.

The death of Catholic hopes and aspirations

The John F Kennedy Memorial at Runnymede
On 22nd November, 1963, John F Kennedy, President of the United States of America, was shot down, like a dog, on the streets of Dallas.

As violent deaths go it was close to the top, taking place, as it did, so publicly in front of the world's newsreel cameras and alongside his wife who cradled his shattered head in her arms in the mad dash to the nearest hospital.

It was only some years after his death that the media began seeping news of marital infidelities and domestic discord. The media has a tendency to do that after the death of great men and women.

I am not saying that they were wrong, I do not know, one way or the other, and today is not the day for scandal mongering.

I do remember the build up to Kennedy's election; how the unthinkable became fact and a Catholic was sworn in to the most powerful office in the world.

Every morning at assembly, Sister Catherine Walsh OP, would beseech us to pray that Kennedy would get elected, and our prayers were heard and, on 8th November 1960, the USA had a Catholic President for the first time in history.

We owe a great debt to John Fitzgerald Kennedy; his facing up to Kruschev in the Bay of Pigs incident, his breaking of the unions hold on industry and his work on behalf of the civil rights of all citizens.
And many more endeavours as well.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him, may he rest in peace. Amen

Thursday, 21 November 2013

At last - a well reasoned case in support of the Ordinary Form

So rude to turn your back
on the members of the assembly

There is no shortage of balanced posts and articles on the values and integrity of the Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) on the internet but, apparently nothing in the way of a reasoned argument in favour of the Novus Ordo (Ordinary Form) of the Mass.
Why, one must ask, are the liberals so coy about producing support in favour of what once was called 'Mass in the vernacular'?

Well, in the interest of fair play I have stepped into the breach and drafted a few words, bullet points, really, that go to prove that the OF Mass is a Mass of depth and liturgical profundity.

Here is my case in favour of the new Mass:-

1. The OF Mass is in English, unless you are in London, Hull, Birmingham or Cardiff in which case it might be in Spanish, Mandarin, Tagalog or Welsh.

2. The celebrant faces the congregation (how ill mannered it is to turn your back on people).

3. The congregation has a real role to play (as opposed to praying). They can greet other parishioners, arrange the felt banners, organise the dance routines, take small children out of church so that they may have fun, process up the aisle at the Offertory, saving the sacristan the chore of placing the hosts and the water and wine on the credence table), undertake the readings and, even, distribute Holy Communion and purify dry the sacred vessels afterwards so that the priest does not have to do anything.

4. The OF Mass is so diverse, you never know who is going to say what and the celebrant usually ad libs a bit just to keep things lively and people focused.

5. The priest's vestments are colourful and, invariably, of man made fibres. Polyester rules OK?

6. The bidding prayers in Mass link us right back to the times of the Reformation (only then it was just the Protestants who incorporated them into their liturgy).

7. You do not have to genuflect (or bow) to the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle (that's if you can find it).

8. There's no painful kneeling to receive the Son of God, all you have to do is sashay stroll up to the communion rails sanctuary.

9. And you may receive in the hand despite the fact that your hands may not be spotless and, certainly, not blessed by the Bishop as a priest's are at ordination.

10. You may also chat to your neighbours, or those across the aisle, no emphasis on silly acts of reverence.

11. Humility is out the window, it's a dress code that says "Come as you please". God loves us all even if we are bareheaded, mini skirted and sleeveless (women) or in shorts, trainers and T shirt (men).

12.Girls may serve on the altar even though there is nothing for them to do; it's inclusivity, see?

Well, I think you will agree. That proves for once and for all that those who spout on about the beauty and God centred aspects of the old rite Mass are completely off beam. Nutters, in fact.

And here is an appalling account of how a group of young Catholics "stumbled" across a Latin Mass and suffered grave harm as a result....

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

New or Old.......what's the difference?

Purely coincidentally, there appears to be a common theme emerging (is that a thread?) among several bloggers in Wales.

One in which I have been drawn into, not by their excellent posts that appeared, more or less at the same time as my rather less illustrious offerings, but by pure providential serendipity (what those in other churches might term 'chance').

The essence of the matter is the well worn case of EF or OF - is there a difference? Is one better than the other?
 Here, I have to say that I have taken the liberty of trying to paraphrase the context of the posts from Ragazzagallese and Lucas Cambrensis and I hope that I have not mis-judged them.

                                          This renders words superfluous

Both writers are young and present interesting views but, Lucas Cambrensis speculated on the fact that, if all Masses today reverted to the old rite, liturgical abuses would still take place.

An interesting point and one that none of us with any degree of certainty, can comment on.

But, he goes on to state that he suspects such abuses were in place prior to the introduction of Mass in the vernacular.

Aha! Here, at last I can claim some degree of expertise because, of course, I was around in those days. Those were the golden days of my youth.

Let me put some perspective on that last statement.
 I was an altar server from the age of five and, from the age of nine, my family home was less than fifty yards from St Michael's and St Martin's Church, Hounslow.

Now Hounslow, for the geographically challenged, lies at the eastern end of London Heathrow Airport's main runway (Are you still with me? Please hang on for a few minutes more).

Priests arrived in Hounslow from all corners of the world, on a weekly basis. We had many fine American priests, French ones, German ones and so on.

And I was in the firing line for the duties of default server.
 Most mornings I would troop into the sacristy never knowing who the celebrant might be or where he was from.

But, in the midst of all this multi-cultural ministry, never once did the words or format of the Mass differ.

Every Mass was the same.


Well, of course, because the language and words were constant.

But, also, the priest was invisible. He had no identity.

Well that's not quite true. He had the identity of Christ ( but I didn't fully appreciate that then).

And, with such an identity he was, of course, truly Christ like, diminishing his own presence to act as the link between us, the great unwashed and Almighty God.

I don't think you get such an aura of priestly invisibility at a new Mass but I am open to correction as I never (or hardly ever) attend a new Mass; I am not experienced in the ways of the new other than by distant memory.

Of course, there are many theological distinctions between the OF and the EF but I like the late Father Hugh Thwaites' summary of them.

The new Mass, he said, is like water, while the old Mass is milk.

That is a very apt way of comparing the two in my book.


Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Yet another good case for the Latin Mass....

....where are the well balanced and well reasoned cases for the Ordinary Form?

And I agree with the priest who commented on my last post to the effect that the OF Mass, if celebrated reverently and so on, is a thing of beauty. But, diminished beauty when compared with its Extraordinary counterpart.

The Latin Mass or the new Mass...... which?

This video clip presents some (just some) of the differences between the Ordinary and Extraordinary forms of the Mass.

It takes less than ten is well worth the time

Monday, 18 November 2013

"Come and See" is more like "Go and Lapse"

According to the excellent website Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, currently, some 96% of children who attend a Catholic school, will lapse from the Faith.

That is one appalling statistic.

All of my working life I have been driven by a results based accreditation of performance ideal.
That means, in plain English, that you produce spectacular results or you are out on your backside.

And quite right too. The same should apply to those who have driven such a low level and uninspiring programme of Catholic RE over the years.

How many young souls have been lost to God over the years as a result of an impoverished and perverted religious syllabus?

Indifference, apathy, idleness and incompetence have all played their part.
And, evil intent must be added to that tally.

When our children were young we had the heretical programme called 'Weaving the Web' to contend with.

Opposition to that meant that you were isolated and castigated within the school/parish social network; not that it worried us one little bit, but, such antagonism did effect our children who bore the brunt of modernist Catholic sniping.

Catholic parents, today, have a primary level equivalent programme called; "Come and See".

I'm afraid that the title alone has me reaching for the sick bag.

And, according to Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, "Come and See" carries on the fine tradition of omitting any mention of sin and other key factors of the Faith.

Here are some of PEEPs main concerns regarding "Come and See":-

The Book consists of 262 pages, including five full page illustrations and many smaller illustrations. Twenty pages cover “Other Faiths”, and the first forty-three pages are devoted to telling teachers HOW to teach, even though they are, presumably, trained and qualified professionals, many perhaps with more experience than the author. Eventually, on page 44, the book starts outlining WHAT to teach.

Were I to cover every heresy – explicit and by omission - in this Programme my review would have to be as long as the 200 pages which cover the teaching to be given, so I will cover just the more serious omissions, remembering that we can commit Heresy by omission. Pages 44,45 and 46 have Grids showing all the Scripture references, Topics and Themes taught throughout the Primary school, covering ages 4/5 years – 10/11 years. When these grids are compared with the 1994 ”Catechism of the Catholic Church” (CCC) which Bl. Pope John Paul II declared “the Norm for teaching religion” they reveal some of these serious omissions.

For example -

1.  The attributes of Almighty God are not taught, such as He is everywhere so always close to us, though these are found in the CCC;

2.  Spirit and what the word Spirit means. They need to know this for

3.  Angels, Guardian Angels, the Devil and his evil spirits who are all omitted as well, even though covered in the CCC;

4.  That we are in the Image and Likeness of God because we have Spiritual Souls with Intelligence and Free Will,( 7 paras in the CCC.)

5.  Adam and Eve, the Fall, Original Sin and even Sin itself are all omitted in spite of having 60 entries in the CCC. This makes it impossible to explain the Incarnation and the Redeeming Passion and Death of Our Lord, so we get nonsense such as the Saviour will rescue us ‘from those who threaten us,” (on page 53.)

6.  Grace, which has over 20 entries in the CCC is never even mentioned, not Actual Grace, Sacramental Grace or Sanctifying Grace / Supernatural Life. So the teaching on           
7.  Baptism is incomplete. It is several times merely presented as “a welcome or invitation to belong to God’s family.” There is no mention of S.John ch3 v1 ff where Jesus explains to Nicodemus that unless a man is born again of water and the Holy Spirit he cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. The CCC teaches Grace/Supernatural Life in over 90 entries, so why omit it? This rhyme helps teach it -
When little babies are baptised, God’s greatest Love is shown
For then he gives new Life to them, A life that’s like His own.
We thank you Lord for this great gift, The treasure of our race
Our Lady’s soul was full of it. The Angel called it Grace.

8.  The Incarnation There is no mention of why Jesus, the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity became Man, though on page 102 we are told “the Word became a human person”. This is not true. Jesus was, is and always will be the Divine Person who became Man to redeem us from sin and hell.

A shame that, after all this time, the Bishops can't produce a doctrinally sound religious syllabus for schools.

Do they, I wonder, lie awake at night fretting over the fact that, only 4% of Catholic children going through the Catholic School system, will keep the Faith?

And, if they don't lie awake tossing and turning, why not?

Are they content to survey a scene of abomination and not suffer any regrets?

Which point leads one to consider whether the Bishops are a force for good or........something else.

Every so often a shaft of light appears

Imagine the scene, a busy London tube station, commuters rushing to and fro in order to conduct the affairs of Mammon.

"Get your free Rosary beads here!"

London traffic contributes to the noise level, the whole scene is one that reflects the madness of modern society - and then, above the commotion, you hear voices crying out: "Free Rosaries, would you like a free Rosary?"

What is going on? There are two people distributing Rosaries to the passers by.

The two people concerned attend the Latin Mass at the parish of St Bede's, Clapham Park.

That is all I know.

But what an excellent initiative. Someone deserves a medal.
Those who stand and offer Rosary beads deserve one also.

H/T to my youngest daughter who witnessed this going on and who  attends the old rite Mass at St Bede's.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

"But it's so quiet"

This is probably the comment most frequently uttered by those Catholics who attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form for the first time.

And, of course, it is quiet. Why the surprise?

When they go to little Johnny's school to see his solo recorder performance does the audience chatter throughout?

Or, when they attend a live performance (play, ballet, opera) do members of the audience wander around, chatting throughout the performance?

And, before anyone points it out, yes, this is an SSPX priest celebrating Mass....faultlessly!

You only see your mother once a year?

You mean no weekly visits?

No long distance communications?

And you ignore her requests when you do speak? 

Why do you neglect your own mother like that?

Don't you know that you are hurting her with your shallow way of life and your lack of love?

A weekly visit is not too much to ask, especially as she is not so far from you; and you could speak to her everyday as any decent son or daughter would.

That would please her. You know, do you not, that she loves you more than you can ever imagine?

And that her main wish is that you would return to her family and to her Son's embrace.

So don't be a 'Christmas Catholic' come back now in preparation for Advent that begins on Sunday 1st December.

Return to the Faith and please your mother


Friday, 15 November 2013

From Fr Holden

Photo: Here's a great post from our friends at Catholic Memes!

Father Marcus Holden has this image on his Facebook entry.

It's from Catholic Memes (God bless 'em).

It says it all really. One picture is worth ten thousand words.....

Thursday, 14 November 2013

I think I'm going feral

As a Catholic I mean.

Here in rural Wales, life has taken on a slightly surreal aspect.

A traditional rabbit

Six weeks ago a large white buck rabbit appeared in our garden.

Mrs Linen immediately applied superglue to the gun cabinet and forbade me to Google lapin au pruneaux recipes.

The rabbit stayed with us for days and the days merged into weeks. It was joined by another white rabbit.

A doe.

My wife gave them names. She hoped for an outcome. She had visions of a garden full of fluffy baby white bunnies.

I knew that the odds were stacked against them.
 It's wild down here; we have foxes, wild cats, badgers, mink, stoats, polecats, buzzards and things that go bump in the night.

So, the buck disappeared (I think the Bishop may have eaten him).

And then, inexplicably, buck numero two appeared.

I caved in and bought some rabbit feed (just for fattening purposes, you know).

Did I mention the pigeons?

Some white pigeons put in an appearance and began to breed, actually.

And then they were joined by some recusant rough Trafalgar Square types of pigeon who have now, a la ++ Fulton Sheen's story, of how a man released white doves on an island and how eventually, through indiscrimination, their progeny turned mottled and then bog standard blue (an allegory for liberal Catholics, see).
 We now have a garden that resembles pet's corner at the zoo.

What to make of all this?
Down in peaceful Pembrokeshire this is 'hold the front page' sort of news.

The thing is both rabbits and pigeons seem to be thriving on this outward bound type existence (I'm also providing corn for the pigeons, in case you hadn't guessed - purely for fatt.....well, you know the rest).

It strikes me that these animals are much better off outside the hutch or pigeon loft, free of the care of their owner and free of the bars that hold them.

Maybe, I could go the same way, be free, feral and better off.

Where's the nearest SSPX?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A beggar, a drug addict, a layabout....a complete loser....

.....but not in the eyes of God.

The poet, Francis Thompson died on 13th November 1907 in St John's and Elizabeth's Hospital, London.

He died alone apart from a dedicated nurse who stayed with him that night to see him leave this life that he appeared so at odds with.

Yet, beneath an exterior of neglect and intemperance, lurked a God given talent for composing some of the most beautiful and deeply spiritual prose.

His life seems to be a series of ever unfolding disasters, many brought about by his own absent mindedness, his lack of awareness of the world around him and, later on, the opium to which he became addicted.

Born in Lancashire in 1859, his parents converted to Catholicism and young 'Frank' grew up in an intensely religious household. 
Sent to Ushaw at the age of eleven, it appeared that young Francis was destined for the priesthood but, it seemed as if he did not fit in at school and he suffered bullying from his fellow classmates.

For whatever reason, his father decided, in the manner of most Victorian fathers, that his son was not suited to the priestly life and guided him to medical studies in the hopes that Francis would follow in his footsteps and become a doctor.

Sadly, this young, unkempt, outcast of a youth took to sampling medical drugs, specifically, laudanum.

This began his physical and mental downfall and, the final straw came when Francis sold his medical textbooks to fund his drug habit which had, by then, progressed to opium.

Francis was now on the road to perdition and began living rough on the streets of London. 
Paradoxically, during this period, he wrote poetry on odd scraps of paper and began a series of failed attempts at rehabilitation.

A publisher who was also a Catholic, took an interest in this 'spectre' of a man (who had arrived on his doorstep wearing a ragged coat and minus shirt and socks) and even published some of his poetry resulting in a small income for the starving man.

He was sent to Storrington in Sussex to live with the Norbertines in the hope that his removal from London would break the drug habit and his association with the good Fathers would restore him spiritually.

But there was no stability in Francis and he was soon back in London and staying with the publisher, Wilfred Meynell who made a second attempt to redeem him by sending him to the Francisans in Pantasaph in North Wales.

Here, at last, Francis seemed to find an uneasy peace and he stayed for five years during which he had his first book of poetry published.

In true form, however, he returned to London where he took on the appearance of a living skeleton.

Falling ill he was admitted to the Catholic St John's and Elizabeth's Hospital where he died shortly afterwards.

Most Catholics know him for his famous poem 'The Hound of Heaven' but Francis Thompson wrote many more excellent poems, some, admittedly rather Victorian in terms of flowery prose.

'The Kingdom of God' is arguably his next best appreciated poem (see the video below) but I also like 'A Holocaust' because the language used is most graphic.

And for those who do not know the meaning of the word 'caitiff' - as did I, it means a cowardly person.

Apologies for the rather annoying animation

A Holocaust

'No man ever attained supreme knowledge, unless his heart had been
torn up by the roots.'

When I presage the time shall come--yea, now
Perchance is come, when you shall fail from me,
Because the mighty spirit, to whom you vow
Faith of kin genius unrebukably,
Scourges my sloth, and from your side dismissed
Henceforth this sad and most, most lonely soul
Must, marching fatally through pain and mist,
The God-bid levy of its powers enrol;
When I presage that none shall hear the voice
From the great Mount that clangs my ordained advance,
That sullen envy bade the churlish choice
Yourself shall say, and turn your altered glance;
O God! Thou knowest if this heart of flesh
Quivers like broken entrails, when the wheel
Rolleth some dog in middle street, or fresh
Fruit when ye tear it bleeding from the peel;
If my soul cries the uncomprehended cry
When the red agony oozed on Olivet!
Yet not for this, a caitiff, falter I,
Beloved whom I must lose, nor thence regret
The doubly-vouched and twin allegiance owed
To you in Heaven, and Heaven in you, Lady.
How could you hope, loose dealer with my God,
That I should keep for you my fealty?
For still 'tis thus:-because I am so true,
My Fair, to Heaven, I am so true to you! 

Something missing?

A ten minute film that encapsulates what we have lost.... "architecturally bankrupt" a nice turn of phrase......

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

"How much did you steal?"

Judas the thief
One of the great mysteries of life is how so many liberal Catholics ignore the teachings of Holy Mother Church and, abandoning normal good and discerning taste, appear to enjoy banal presentations, acts and hymns as presented at many modern Masses.

I long ponder on this.

My conclusion is that there is an underlying cause; a hidden agenda that, even they, may be unaware of.

Guilt is an occupation of the conscience that may be either fully admitted or concealed in the sub consciousness of the mind.

And why should those liberal Catholics feel guilt?

Because, in many instances they have ditched the Faith of their fathers and mothers and elected to opt for a conscience driven belief subject to emotional responses rather than logic and revealed truths.

They practice contraception, they may be complicit in abortion and they often believe that homosexual acts are perfectly acceptable as 'love' is what they are all about.

They have not looked in their spiritual mirror for many, many years.

The late *Archbishop Fulton Sheen spoke of a young woman who begged him to meet with her brother who was a drug addict and whom had been diagnosed with some form of mental condition.

"If his problems are of the mind, I can do nothing for him, if his problems are spiritual, I will meet with him" Said the great man.

Archbishop Sheen met with the young man and invited him to talk about himself.

After 45 minutes, he stopped the youth and asked: "How much did you steal?"

"I haven't stolen anything" replied the young man.

"How much did you steal?" persisted the Archbishop.

"Nothing, I stole nothing" said the man.

"How much did you steal?" thundered Sheen.

"About three thousand dollars" said the young man.

Archbishop Sheen had discerned that the young man was not mentally ill per se but had a neurosis caused by some deed he had committed.

In this case the man had stolen the money from his local church and the essence of guilt had weighed him down so much that he had taken solace in drug taking and a dissolute lifestyle.

Now, I am not suggesting that liberal Catholics are all thieves in the same sense as the young man who took money from the Church but they are dishonest in their denial of Christ's teachings and in the resulting deeds that accompany disobedience.

That dishonesty is met with denial. "I stole nothing" they will cry.

And from that echoes the words of the apostles: "Not I Lord"

* This is a paraphrase of the story carried on one of ++ Sheen's CDs.

A statement from the ACTA conference

You may view the interpreted version HERE

Or, even, the actual one HERE

Christmas shopping at Carmel Books


Many years ago a certain Robin Pannell developed a Catholic book enterprise called Carmel Books, dealing both in new titles as well as second hand.

Robin operated from, if my memory is correct, Plymouth and I met him once or twice in the 1990s.

Sadly, Robin died some years ago (RIP) and that was the end of Carmel Books - or so I thought.

Now, it appears as if the business did not end with the death of Robin; it is alive and well and, most importantly, has a blog as well as a website.

Please help support this most vital element in Catholic information and education by adding Carmel to your blogroll.

And, if you are stuck for an original Christmas gift....look no further.

Monday, 11 November 2013

A letter to Pope Francis

Your Popliness

We represent a lotta people, OK?

We like what we have seen of you so far, you have our respec' and we especially like the way you handle a beachball - you're a cool dude HF!

So, as we are most of the peeple of the Church we want you to listen up and show a bit of dissernment, innit?

Most of us ar reely gud Cafflicks and sum are preests and even deekons, so you gotta listen man.

Now, we need to move with the times and give ourselves a realitty check. We can't no more be nasty to peeple who have extreem affecshuns for goats and cravvats; and if we relly meen we luv eech other we need to let gays guys like other guys and the same for the ladies innit? And the same goes for those who are a bit AC/DC - if yu noe what we meen?

So pleese give us some wimmin preests and let our man preests get married and forget about all that contrasepshun rubbish.

And, if yu could get rid of the Latinistas once and four all yu wuld do us all de big favur.

Yours till the goats come home

Mrs Spud McGillicuddy
Hon Sec A Call to Apostasy (ACTA)

Goodbye Bishop Budd, a happy retirement....

Mgr Mark O'Toole
Mgr Mark O'Toole - new Bishop of Plymouth

Picture: Catholic News

....and welcome Monsignor Mark O'Toole, please the Lord that you will be more charitable to those who love the Latin Mass than your predecessor.

At last Bishop Budd has gone. I wish him well in retirement but he was no friend of traditionalism and appeared to allegedly (cautious, you see) not manage his parishes with a firm hand.

Bishop Mark II, as I shall call him, will inherit one gem of a church from Bishop Budd, that of Our Lady and the English Martyrs at Chideock, a pleasant village on the Dorset coast.

This little church is steeped in the history of the Faith in England and has something like five martyrs associated with it.

During the Reformation it was a barn where Mass was celebrated illegally according to the laws at the time.

If you can gain access to the first floor (the old sacristy) you may still see faded frescoes dating from that period.

After the Reformation, some time after, the barn was converted to a chapel, much of the funding coming from the famous recusant family, the Welds.

Faded glory, frescoes in the sacristy at Chideock

It is now one of the most beautiful churches in the country, rich baroque, statues, an air of piety and reverence so intense that you could almost believe that England was still a Catholic country.

But this little church lies idle for most of the time.

Other than a very healthy trade in tourists, there are few Masses offered here.

It is served, I think, from Beaminster, and therein lies a tale (which I cannot repeat for fear of spreading scandal and of possible litigation) but Bishop Mark would do many a great favour by looking into the management of Chideock to restore the Mass in the Extraordinary Form as have his brother Bishops,  Davies and Egan.

Our Lady and the Martyr's Church should, by rights, be the flagship of those who love the Latin Mass, a place of pilgrimage remembering the martyrs of both England and Wales and, a parish in its own right.

But, back to Bishop Emeritus of Plymouth, Bishop Budd.

The West Country faithful have endured his writ for a long time. I am sure some will be raising a glass or two of fermented apple juice in joy at his retirement.

Here is an extract of a report on Bishop Budd's retirement taken from the Plymouth Herald:-

Re Vatican II....(my comments in red)

".....Some commentators say changes made by the Second Vatican Council went too far – especially in allowing the local language to be used during Mass, rather than the traditional Latin.
Bishop Budd said Plymouth diocese has remained free of such liturgical in-fighting (hardly surprising as this diocese must have the smallest number of Latin Masses in the UK - and I know why) but the rise of conservative priests is a concern (Why so?).
He said: "The reinstatement of the Latin Mass has not been a huge issue here – although I have not been promoting it, I must admit.(But weren't you supposed to be promoting it Bishop? What about Summorum Pontificum?) What is interesting is that a lot of younger priests want to go back to that clerical rite where the participation of the people is minimal. The reformed liturgy we practise now is the one changed by Vatican II – it gives the congregation a vocal and active part to play."(Ah, so that's it, a "vocal and an active part to play" - what tosh).