Friday, 31 January 2014

Hold that Tigar!

Fr Clement Tigar SJ was a great and holy man belonging to an order that, pre you-know-what, still had depth and integrity.

In the 1960s I lived just around the corner from Campion House in Osterley, a seminary for late vocations, where Fr Tigar ruled the roost.

He was an austere man (as, I believe, so many saints were) and, despite the fact that I doffed my school cap to him as we passed, he barely acknowledged me; maybe his mind was on higher things (undoubtedly).

He wrote many books, including my favourite, 'Papist Pie', a series of brief questions (supposedly framed by a non Catholic) matched with concise answers framed by the great man himself.

If you read the contents, one thing above all others stands out - the fact that Church teaching is black and white.
 Theology, within the framework of HMC is ultra precise, there's no room for ifs and buts.

And that is how it should be. Christ did not come to found imprecision and committee type debate, He came to found His own Church, infallible in every way in her teachings.

Here are a couple of extracts from 'Papist Pie' -


"Why are Catholics so intolerant? Why can't they join with their fellow Christians in acts of worship?"

Fr Tigar's response:

"Because it's against orders. Catholics belong to a Church which believes in discipline, and one of her rules is "no worship with Non-Catholics."
But, why does she give this order?
Because she is firmly convinced that she has a sacred trust from God to hand on to her children the truth revealed by Christ, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

A service necessarily involves some expression of belief in the truths about God and about Jesus Christ.
She would be false to her trust if she allowed her children to join in services not authorized by herself, because she could not be sure that in such services the whole truth and nothing but the truth was being imparted.

She casts no aspersions on Non-Catholics who worship God in their own way; on the contrary she has the deepest regard for their evident sincerity and goodness, but since she knows that she alone possesses the full truth of God's revelation, she cannot allow her children to worship at Non-Catholic services".


"Is it not best to keep an open mind on religious questions, instead of subscribing to this or that sect?"

Fr Tigar's response:

"No. An open mind is often a vacant mind. A mathematician who had an open mind on the possibility that twice two might or might not make four would have a vacant mind.

Religious questions are questions of truth and error, and there is an obligation on every man to find the truth".

Thursday, 30 January 2014

Don't let ACTA get away with it

You would be forgiven for believing that there is a massive groundswell of opinion in the pews that calls not just for change but for a drastic re-configuration of Catholic doctrine.

That is not the case. The British branch of ACTA has, allegedly 1500 'active' members.

I am uncertain as to what ACTA means by 'active' but, I shall be charitable and guess that they mean card carrying members.

But, any group that bangs on about women priests and women conducting "communion services" and other such matters, really needs to do some navel gazing to determine whether they are on the right bus.

As an ex PR man I can testify to the fact that, if you shout a message loud and hard, it will, in time, be believed by the masses (not a ploy that I used, I hasten to add).

 Therefore, this group needs to be challenged, in a charitable way, before they gain acceptance through apathy and ignorance.

They are due to meet with Bishop Egan on March 6th (in an earlier post I quoted from ACTA's minutes of a meeting when they expressed disappointment at Bishop Egan closing the door to them. Now I am pleased that he is going ahead with a meeting as the ACTA regional team need to be told a few home truths, and + Egan is the man for the job).

So, please email His Lordship at and respectfully request that, when he meets with ACTA he bans them from using Diocesan premises for any of their meetings.

Let's nip it in the bud.

And, while we are at it, please write to your own bishop asking that ACTA be barred from using Church premises.

Excellent posts on ACTA are available at:

De Omnibus Dubitandem Est
Protect the Pope

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

A letter.....from beyond the grave

Today I came across some old correspondence from Anne Roch Muggeridge, dated January 1995.

If you do not recognise the name let me tell you that, apart from being the wife of John Muggeridge and Daughter-in-law of broadcaster, Malcolm Muggeridge, she was a writer of some substance on matters concerning the Catholic Church.

Her works include 'The Gates of Hell' and, her most popular book, 'The Desolate City'.

The background to the letter came from one of her sons who stayed with us in Wales for a few days and he subsequently asked his mother to send me a copy of her book.

The letter was an unexpected bonus and I feature it here because it gives an insight into both the state of play in the Church at that time and, of course, how she regarded the decline into clown Masses and similar.

At the time Anne accepted the validity of the Novus Ordo but, I believe that, shortly afterwards, she only attended the Latin Mass, having become totally opposed to the NO.

Here is her letter:

"My dear but idiot son, Matthew, who is in the Legionaries of Christ has asked me to intrude upon your religious privacy, and send you a copy of my book on the state of the Catholic Church.
He tells me that you cannot bring yourself to attend the Novus Ordo, and, believe me, I know how you feel about that.

Our Bishop gave us an old rite Latin Mass under the indult, and we've attended it since July 1985, but only for Sundays.

We get treated like half wits and schismatics, but the Mass has been a God send. Do you have access to one, even if it's a long way?

I feel grief and rage over what has happened, but I do, at the time of writing, anyway, accept the validity of the Novus Ordo when it's said according to the mind of the Church.

Of course, one often wonders about specific Masses here and there, whether certain Masses are so said.
We have found good priests and decent Masses, and we go to them on weekdays.

I'd leave the Church and pray privately but I can't leave Our Lord - if He has to stick it out, I can, though generally in a bad temper. 
And one's children need an allegiance to the Faith in bad times as in good.

I know you've thought all this. I'm saying it because my dearest Matt asked me to, because of my own experience and sorrow.

This is a dreadful time. Pray God it ends soon.

Yours in Christ,

Anne Muggeridge 

Shortly after writing this letter, Anne (so I was informed) stopped attending the Novus Ordo Mass.
She died, in her 75th year, on 14th September 2010. May she rest in peace.

Her son, Matthew, had befriended my son, also called Matthew, when he came across him in Lourdes.

My son was 17 years of age and had travelled across France solo and he appreciated the support given to him by his namesake.

Matthew Muggeridge was an outstanding young Catholic who had an intuitive way of communicating with all that he met.

At the end of his stay, as we said goodbye at Haverfordwest Station, he tackled a group of yobbish youths who were shouting and running around the platform.

In clerical wear he approached them and chatted with them as if he had known them all their lives and they immediately stopped their mullarkey and were soon eating out of his hand - literally, as he had produced a bar of chocolate and was busy passing it around.

The exhortation: "Feed My sheep" can begin with a bar of Cadbury's Dairy Milk.

Tuesday, 28 January 2014

All it takes is four men

Sometimes it is good to have all male or all female groups.

It provides an opportunity to work in unison without fear of  breaking any of the shibboleths that surround the sexes.

A friend sent me this information on an organisation calling itself The Four Men Prayer Groups.

They describe themselves as "God's Marines" - we might call them "Commandos for Christ".

The concept is simple but profound, watch the video clip and see for yourselves.

It is a format that we would do well to ally ourselves with in Britain:

White doves - what would St Francis say?

"You're free, free, free! And dead, dead, dead"
Doves released by the Holy Father from the balcony overlooking St Peter's Square were, to be finicky, not doves but white domestic pigeons. Nonetheless, they were pet birds.

That little ceremony needs to stop, and stop now.

Apart from being rather wet and mushy symbolism it is an act akin to releasing a pet rabbit in a wolf enclosure at the zoo.

Or, taking one's cat for a walk around Piccadilly Circus, sans lead.

Domestic pets are unable to fend for themselves in the wild; they are at the mercy of nature red in tooth and claw (and beak).

They should not be sacrificed for the sake of a good photocall opportunity.

Italians may have a different regard for such matters but, in Britain and, I suspect, North America, we have a sensible but humane outlook as far as animals are concerned.

Pigeons should remain in their lofts.

We already have a perfectly good white dove at our disposal.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Door closed to ACTA in Portsmouth

Cells of the ACTA (A Call to Action) group seem to be popping up everywhere; Lancaster, Birmingham, Brighton,  where next - Chipping Sodbury,  Llandewi Brefi?

This group claims (and I am sure they are right) that many of their members are ordained - that really makes their shenanigans all the more shameful.

Meetings are planned in the Westminster Archdiocese and Southwark in February but, it appears that Bishop Egan of Portsmouth, great man that he is, has said "no" to meeting with them in the foreseeable future.

A few knaves and a joker or two!
This from the September 2013 minutes of the ACTA meeting attended by Tom Woodman, Peter Birks, Derek Reeve and Claire McKenna. Well, at least four people attended, they could have had a game of bridge.

"It was suggested that all Portsmouth members should be informed that Bishop Philip Egan had found himself unable to meet with us and that they be encouraged to express disappointment to him by post...."

OK, so good English is not one of their strengths but it is heartening to see at least one of our bishops having the fibre to refuse to meet with such a hobbledehoy bunch.

I do not think that ACTA is going to move into a position of power or influence any time in the near future, but there is no room for complacency.

So what can be done?

The finest strategy instantly available to all of us is, of course to pray for them; offer up Rosaries, make penances on their behalf and, if you are a priest, perhaps say a Mass for them - but don't, whatever you do, make Church premises available to them.

A Prayer for those who challenge the doctrines of the Faith

O God, everlasting creator of all things, remember that the souls of unbelievers were made by Thee and formed in Thine own image and likeness.
Remember, that Jesus, Thy Son, endured a most bitter death for their salvation.
Permit not, I beseech Thee, O Lord, that Thy Son should be despised any longer by unbelievers,  but do Thou graciously accept the prayers of holy men and of the Church, the Spouse of Thy most holy Son, and be mindful of Thy mercy.

Forget their idolatry and unbelief and grant that they too may some day know Him Thou hast sent, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our Life and Resurrection, by whom we have been saved and delivered, to whom be glory for endless ages. Amen.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

What does hell sound like?

We have to rely on our imagination when it comes to hell.

That and the reports of the three children of Fatima who were allowed a glimpse of the inferno with the souls in torment.

It is not a good subject to dwell on, although, we should constantly remind ourselves of the consequences of mortal sin.

Back in 1990 a Finnish newspaper reported on how a group of mining engineers had, purportedly, sunk a drill hole some nine miles in depth into the core of the earth.

They struck a cavity and with the sensory equipment at their disposal, they recorded what they believe to be the screams of human souls in torment in hell.

It is a hoax.

The story has no apparent basis in fact, nor would one be duped by such a tale.

Hell is not nine miles down; it is not a place that we on earth will ever come yet.

But the recordings of the screams are worth listening to.

They are blood chilling to the extreme.

Could you imagine, just for one minute, that this recording would be played after Mass one Sunday (rather than having a display of Tango routines on the sanctuary).

It might give the congregation something to reflect on.

Because, of course, despite the fact that these sounds are unpleasant in the extreme, they cannot be one fraction as bad as the real screams of souls in agony and torment in hell.

Listen, if you are feeling brave, but have a glass of malt whisky by your side, you might need it afterwards....and Complan just will not do!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

I don't want my priest smelling like a sheep!

The Holy Father has addressed the clergy, calling on them to have something of the smell of sheep about them - Ewe de Cologne, if you like (ouch!).

Pope Francis wants the priesthood to be less concerned with self absorption and more hands on with the flock.

Here are his words on the subject:

“This is precisely the reason why some priests grow dissatisfied, lose heart and become in a sense collectors of antiquities or novelties — instead of being shepherds living with ‘the smell of the sheep,’” he said.
“This is what I am asking you,” he said with emphasis, looking up from his prepared text, “be shepherds with the smell of sheep,” so that people can sense the priest is not just concerned with his own congregation, but is also a fisher of men.

I understand his meaning and without question he is right.
But our priests, surely, should not be tainted with the smell of the flock?

They should be of the flock but not in it, if you get my meaning.

He then proceeds to talk about priests being "fishers of men".

That statement, too is, needless to say, completely appropriate being, Our Lord's own words.

So what's it to be?

The smell of sheep or the smell of fish?

The answer is, both. We need, first of all, fishermen to catch the souls and then good shepherds to care and nurture them.

But the fishermen need to be discerning; those that wish to wriggle their way into the Church without any intention of abiding by the teachings of Christ and the guidance of the Holy Father are best, how shall I phrase this charitably?

Chucked back, that's 'em back in the pond from whence they came!

Prompted by Petrus at Men are Like Wine

Friday, 24 January 2014

Pre Vatican II - and OCD

One of the many elements of Catholic life before the Second Vatican Council came along was the problem that many priests had with OCD, obsessive compulsive disorder.

This took the form of excessive hand washing and led to many and various skin conditions as a result.
The hands of sufferers always looked red and raw and, sometimes they would even bleed.

Why? Why did such a condition, if not usual, then certainly not unusual, prevail among the clergy?

The obvious answer would be that there was a much greater element of reverence given to the Blessed Sacrament then.

There was, I believe, a very real awe of the True Presence.

We had communion rails and communion cloths, just in case any fragmentation between hand and mouth occurred.

Forty Hours devotion took place regularly in every parish, we had The Guild of the Blessed Sacrament, Benediction every Sunday and, of course, we had what I shall call the Tridentine Latin Mass.

The TLM demands reverence and extreme care of the consecrated host, to an exacting degree by today's standards.

No layman or woman would ever dream of touching a host pre 1960.
In fact, no lay person would even touch the sacred vessels (and I don't do so even today, on the odd occasion that I might serve at Mass).

Everyone received the host kneeling and by mouth - and that says it all really.

The poor priest charged with the responsibility of holding the Body and Blood of Christ, Son of the Living God, must have felt tremendous pressure.

It used to be said that a priest celebrating a Latin Mass, even with the best of intentions, committed a basic fourteen venial sins in so doing.
Quite how that was worked out I do not know but it illustrates the extreme concerns there were regarding piety and the liturgy.

The result, I assume, was the obsession with hand washing, perhaps it exists today to a lesser degree, but I doubt it somehow.

And that form of OCD was then replaced with another - an Obsessive Catholic Disorder as the Catholic Church went into freefall and parish life, in its varied and diverse forms, ceased to exist.

But, before that happened the Faith, certainly in England, enjoyed a relatively high profile.

We had processions through London on a regular basis, Father Peyton and his Rosary Crusade came to London in the early Fifties, there were trans Diocesan Passion Plays, performed in the public arena; at Speaker's Corner you could listen to the likes of Mgr Ronnie Knox (he was always referred to as 'Ronnie Knox' by priests and laity alike) and Fr Donald Proudman OP., and, even, exhibitions of the Faith at Olympia and other centres.

On television, each night the viewing ended with the Epilogue and the Church had a fair slice of the action with priests and bishops regularly speaking on faith and morals.
Cardinal Heenan, of course, was always on the small screen, fighting the Catholic corner with vim and vigour.
The phrase "Who knows what's down the road" would not have been heard from that great man.

The Catholic Church had a real presence in the broader community and one of the phrases often used by those who were not Catholic was "I don't go along with the Catholic religion but I respect the Church because everything is black and white, there are no uncertainties"

That presence has disappeared today.

Ecumenism has been a blind alley leading to much joining of hands but no teaching of the truth.

In fact, it has had the reverse effect with Anglicans and others who are left with a false sense of security, believing that all will be saved whether you believe in divorce, contraception, abortion, euthanasia or homosexual practices.

The OCD of Vatican II is still with us when we hear Catholics speak of "the Spirit of Vatican II" as if it were the fourth person after the Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

What is important about Vatican II are the proceedings themselves where recognition of the value of the old Mass, of a Latin liturgy, of plainchant and Benediction and so on, were highly valued and emphasized as such.

We need to constantly remind ourselves of that fact.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

There is no such thing as 'Early Christianity'

It seems that even some well educated people believe that the Catholic Faith is just one other denomination, lined up alongside Baptists, Anglicans, Methodists and so on.

St Peter, not an 'Early Christian' but
an 'Early Catholic'  Pope and martyr

They trot out the term 'Early Christians' whether speaking of those who died in the arenas of the Roman Empire or those saints and martyrs who are only remembered by the churches that bear their names, now in Protestant hands.

A favourite line, uttered in all ignorance by non Catholic friends is (on discussing St David's Cathedral, for example):

"Such a glorious church, why don't the Catholics have churches as beautiful as this?"

The fact is that historical ignorance and clear reasoning have combined so that there is no concept of England and Wales (or, Europe, for that matter) being wholly and singularly Catholic.

We have been fed the mush handed out by Protestant historians that Christianity existed as a form of generic religion until such time as King Henry VIII came along and regularised worship into a format that became The Book of Common Prayer (and the Novus Ordo Mass).

And we Catholics compound the matter also by using the term 'Early Christians' when we really mean 'Early Catholics'.

People have forgotten (or never known) the fact that there have been something like 55 Catholic Archbishops of Canterbury preceding the figure of 36 Protestant ones.

The fact that the Protestant Church has never canonized one of their members seems to have been lobotomised from the collective memory.

All Protestant saints are, of course, Catholic and it's the biggest scam in history to pass them off as belonging to the Church of England or Wales.

One of the many effects of the Protestant Reformation on the Catholic population, has been that they have, often for many good reasons, kept a low profile both politically and socially.

And when the Emancipation Act of 1829 came into being, we were so grateful that we have, ever since, been passive to the point of being obsequious and fawning.

Perhaps, just as Native Americans have won compensation and recovery of assets for land and property stolen from them in the past, the Catholic Church could sue for something similar although, as a commentator pointed out some time back, we could ill afford the upkeep of many of the Cathedrals and Churches.

Personally, I would settle for two things.

The term 'Early Christians' to be erased for ever, and free entry to what were once Catholic places of worship, places such as Westminster Abbey and Winchester Cathedral.

And, maybe, to have a Catholic as Archbishop of Canterbury once more.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Nil by hand

      Why, oh why does the awful practice of receiving Holy Communion in the hand continue?

 Why do not more priests insist that the Body and Blood of Christ must be received by mouth, preferably whilst kneeling?

It seems such basic common sense, that, in order to protect the Host, reception should not be by hand.

This video clip demonstrates, very well, the issue of fragmentation.

Equally relevant is the increasing practice of people walking out of church with the consecrated Host in their pocket.

Reception by mouth eliminates the fragmentation issue and helps prevent Host abduction.


Monday, 20 January 2014

Latin Mass, young priests.....

....a great combination

Another Catholic King, another Protestant grave?

"He that is shut out is soon forgot within" King Alfred the Great
First we had the discovery of the mortal remains of King Richard III, a Catholic king of England, and now we have the new find of what is left of an even earlier king, one Alfred the Great, also a Catholic.

There is a prejudice, in Britain today, of  using the 'C' word - Catholic.

Pre Reformation churches are referred to as 'Christian', and very early chapels and churches are described as 'Early Christian'. Whereas, as we know full well, they were Catholic.

Not Anglican Catholic or Celtic Catholic, just plain Catholic, the Faith that has its hub in the panting heart of Rome.

Since the recent discovery of King Alfred's bones, there are already moves afoot to re-inter in an alien Church, one that both kings would have thought of as heretical, and rightly so.

Dr Dominic Selwood has an excellent piece in The Daily Telegraph in which he calls for the remains of Alfred to be given what he calls a "fitting tomb" in Westminster Cathedral. He also has some pithy final comments about the way British history is viewed, well worth reading.

Finally, Dr Selwood suggests that it would only be right to bury King Alfred with a Latin Mass (OK, please let's not go down the Sarum route, I am sure His Majesty would be more than happy with a TLM).

That, in Dr S's words would be "the full old English".

Sunday, 19 January 2014

BBC sacks 400 staff members in two years

          Has anyone been awarded the Order of the Boot at the Beeb?

Sorry, sorry, sorry.......correction, please note THIS IS A CORRECTION, I was wrong, wrong, wasn't the BBC, (God bless them) it was Pope Benedict who sacked 400 paedophile priests within a two year period.

The BBC?........well, they are thinking about it.......??????

Correct versions of what took place in Rome are HERE

And, HERE......

.....and HERE

But the BBC, employer and contractor to Sir Jimmy S, and others (I must emphasize that these people are not paedophiles, no trials or judgements have been made (I think that covers me) and quite a few more......(allegedly).........have sacked sure, really.

A Catholic family

There can be no finer ambition in life than to bring your children up in an ethos that fosters the seed of Faith and engenders piety and love of Our Blessed Lord.

It is relatively easy to do (at least, on paper) but how many Catholic families undertake such a thing?

I know of some who kneel on the left hand side of the Church who would claim that such a regime would be a form of indoctrination, I think that they are probably right; we do need to indoctrinate in the true sense of the word and that process begins very soon after birth when the new born are admitted to the family of Christ through Baptism.

And how many Catholic families sit around the dining table and recite Grace before meals?

Few, in the non traditional camp, I suspect.

When I broach the subject with non traditional Catholic friends they look at me as if I have suggested that they should barbecue the family cat......hmmm.....OK, don't let's go there.

But simple acts such as praying together, living the Christian life every hour of every day rather than just half an hour on a Sunday morning, will give children the best possible start to life.

Recently, New Liturgical Movement featured a post on the young Catholic Artist, James Gillick.

I have never met James but I have known his uncle since we were eleven year olds together at a particularly challenging Dominican school, back in the mists of time.

James Gillick's mother is no other than Victoria Gillick, upholder of Catholic parental rights in the 70s and 80s. She attended the same school (St James' Burnt Oak) but we never met as boys and girls were strictly segregated.

It was a great joy, therefore, to find a video clip showing the daily home life of James Gillick and his wife and children.
And, when I saw James for the first time in this clip, I did a double take as he looks so very similar to his Uncle Bernard whom I last saw about 55 years ago (gulp!)

I will not use the awful phrase 'role model' and, instead, state that this branch of the Gillick clan is an inspirational example of a good Catholic family.

Wikipedia also feature James Gillick HERE

And here is a video of James at work in his studio


Friday, 17 January 2014

The new church that is 1400 years old

St Teilo, born in Pembrokeshire circa 500 AD
Way back in the mists of time (so we may imagine), roughly in the 7th Century, a small group of Welsh Catholics gathered around a simple shelter wherein they had laid a sacred stone, carved in a primitive manner.

This shelter was on the banks of the River Llwchr, meaning, 'the old church in the marsh',now called Tal-y-Bont near Pontardulais.

Over the years (we are still imagining) the shelter took on a more structured bearing and was eventually dedicated, as a church, to a local saint, one, St Teilo.

Before long the church had a stone construction and became a building of some substance despite its location being somewhat isolated, but, all parts of Wales were isolated then.

As was the custom in those days, Catholic churches were elaborately furnished and decorated, at least as far as the walls were concerned.

Every inch of space would be given over to paintings (too early for frescoes, see?) depicting scenes from the Bible and the life of Christ.

This was not done by Early Christians so much as Early Catholics, (somehow, we tend to airbrush over the fact that the British Isles were once Catholic, not Baptist, Methodist or Anglican but, Catholic and only Catholic).

A friend bought me a guide book to this church when we visited and I would like to quote a passage from it.
It shows how so very easily a wrong word here and there can create a false impression:-

...."The Church's rich and intricate decoration was representative of the glory that awaited the good Christian (not 'Catholic' note) in heaven, and would serve as a diversion from the latin mass (sic) performed there (what?) every Sunday..."

Quite why our fathers needed a diversion from the Mass is beyond me, but, there we go.

Some ten years after Michaelangelo completed the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, an artist or artists commenced work on the walls of St Teilo's.

We have now arrived, of course, in the 16th Century and we all know what took place half way through that period, do we not?

Henry VIII developed not only a lust for women and power but also for wealth.

He decimated the churches and the monasteries, casting out the religious and breaking their longstanding pact of aiding the poor and the aged and infirm by feeding, educating, nursing and employing them.

And, he destroyed all signs of Catholicism while helping himself to all the sacred precious vessels he could lay his grubby little hands on.

The walls of St Teilo's were subject to limewash thereby covering up all the beautiful scenes and images that Catholics hold so dear.

No longer did chants hang upon the air, no longer was the Latin Mass celebrated there.

Instead, an anglicised and heavily edited form of worship replaced the Latin, much, indeed, like today's Novus Ordo.

Gradually, as the countryside of Wales became even emptier as the folk made their way to the towns and cities in search of gold, St Teilo's fell into disrepair, neglected by its new owners.

The church  of St Teilo in a state of decay c. 1973
It ceased to be a church in 1852 and then it just remained, each year becoming more and more of a ruin just used for the occasional funeral services of those few who remained, until, in 1973, its doors closed for good.

In 1984 the Church of Wales gifted the building to St Fagan's National History Museum of Wales.

Now, St Fagan's (pronounced 'Faggan's) is a place of a most unique and wonderful nature as the site of many acres is famous for the original buildings from around Wales that have been saved, painstakingly and carefully de-constructed, brought to the village of St Fagan's, just outside Cardiff, and lovingly put back together again, as good as the day that they were first built.

Pembrokeshire Longhouses, Victorian miner's cottages, chapels, farmhouses, churches, barns, pig sties, they are all there.

And there, you may view the new St Teilos, looking much as it must have looked in 1520 (the year it was judged, architecturally, to be at its zenith).

The whitewash on the original walls was removed, flake by flake, to reveal the Catholic glories beneath and then the murals were transported, as much as possible in sections, to be restored and the missing parts painted anew using the same sort of vegetable and mineral paints that would have been used by artisans in the 16th Century.

The result is breathtakingly, spectacular. The colours are vibrant to the point of being gaudy.

How much we could learn from the church architecture and art of times past and, how wonderful it would be, to have a special one off Mass celebrated there in the 'new church'.

A Latin Mass, of course.

Do pay St Fagan's a visit, you will not be disappointed and.......entry is free, even for English folk like me!

As it is today

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Why men don't wear mantillas in church

No matter how handsome the hat, it should
not be worn by men in church. The late Roy Campbell.
There's the obvious reason, of course, a mantilla, veil or headscarf is an item of feminine attire.

But. why then do men not wear a cap, a fedora or trilby at Mass?

Because, in Western Catholic society, the norm is for a male to remove headgear upon entering a house.

It is a mark of respect to the host.

If I, or any of my brothers entered the family home still wearing a school cap or a hat my dear father would immediately challenge such behaviour with the words: "Is thy father a Jew?".
At which point the offending article would be removed with haste.

Now, leaving aside what St Paul had to say on the matter, it is a fact that a woman may enter a home without removing her headgear and not cause offence. Do you see where we are coming to?

The protocol has been set; men do not wear hats in the home. Women may.

In Church, the same applies and, I hate to use this well worn phrase, but.....before Vatican II, all women wore the veil or mantilla to Mass. It was plain good manners.

I am not going to go into the reasons why and the beauty that such humility brings because this post on Catholicism Pure and Simple covers it so very well.

I am also, I suspect, preaching to the converted.

But, if you are not one of the converted, and, provided that you are female, give the matter some serious, mature, non knee jerk reflection - (please).

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Oklahoma City.........twinned with Hades

I particularly like this statue of Satan,
 perhaps Oklahoma could use a replica?
Last week the news broke regarding a group of Satanists who are submitting a planning proposal to have a massive statue of Baphomet, a pagan idol with the head of a goat, erected in Oklahoma.

Oklahoma is inextricably linked in my mind to a rather wholesome view of the United States.
A place where people (or folks as they are called) drive around in smart little pony and traps (surreys) singing pleasant songs and slapping their thighs in a rather disarming manner.

The women (gals) are all fresh faced and they all wear check shirts atop slightly scruffy (but very clean) blue jeans.

This is, obviously, how it was in Oklahoma pre Vatican II.

It is different today.

For the life of me I can't see why any sane person would want a statue of a goat anyway, not that I've anything against goats, you understand. I am in no way capraphobic.

After all, I am a broad minded soul and believe that goats should be free to live their lives without being judged by those of us who are not goats; who are not that way inclined, if you like.

But, it may surprise you to know that I am quite taken with the idea of a massive goaty statue.

I think that the planners should give the concept the thumbs up, after all, it may illustrate to people  folks, that the devil is both real and grotesque. He is not just a bogey man, he is alive and kicking and doing very nicely, thank you.

And, if some simple minded peo folks are attracted to the idol and wish to have their kids (kids....get it?) photographed sitting on Satan's lap, sobeit.

It will just speed the downward spiritual spiral that the world is in and hasten the return of Christ to earth.

Then, of course, there will be much bleating and gnashing of teeth from the Goat loving community.


Monday, 13 January 2014

O priest you are not a social worker....

.....or a political activist, or, indeed, a committee member.

Your task is to anoint the sick, hear the confessions of the healthy, offer the Sacrifice of the Mass and to save souls as a shepherd saves his flock:-

Prayer of St Norbert

O Priest, who are you?
You are not yourself  because you are God.
You are not of yourself because you are
 the servant and minister of Christ.

You are not your own because you
are the spouse of the Church.
You are not yourself because you are the
mediator between God and man.

You are not from yourself
because you are nothing.

What then are you?
Nothing and everything.

O Priest! Take care lest what was said
to Christ on the cross be said to you:
'He saved others, himself he cannot save'

A tip of a white biretta to GD

Sunday, 12 January 2014

The Roth of God

Father George Mary Roth of the FFI gives a homily on the issue of the loss of Faith.....and what the devil hates to hear.....

Pray for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, see.......The Eponymous Flower

ACTA Conference aims to de-stabilise

Members of a group aimed at giving autonomy to the citizens of West London, ACTA (A Call to Acton) have issued a press release giving details of their planned conference and how its aim will be to discuss how to destabilise the established order of government.

"It's ridiculous that all control is focused in Westminster and the Mayor's Office" stated their spokesman commissar, Mr B. L. Zeebub. "We insist that every borough should have it's own Premier, Mayor and, even, Lord Mayor".

The release describes how the group intend to draw in other London boroughs and town councils around the country.

Members of ACTA at their last conference. Chairman
Comrade Ms Dave O'Foggerty front centre

They report that they are in talks with a group known as ACTB (A Call to Barking) whose members are said to be mad at central government for imposing regulations on them.

Other groups being formed around the country include ACTU (A Call to Ugley), ACTIQ (A Call to  Indian Queens) and, from Wales, ACTM (A Call to Mumbles).Wales will also form a sub group with the citizens of the village of Llareggub, who, apparently, are not expecting much of an outcome from the conference.

I an exclusive interview Ms Dave O' Foggerty outlined the conference agenda which will include a demand for Ealing Common to be designated as a National Park and the very popular Bingo Hall to become the 'Central Cell' of government and to be re-named as Doris Day House, after the famous socialist singer who once said about Acton: "Que sera, sera!"

Saturday, 11 January 2014

The Catholic Blogger's Comments Code

At first I thought that it would be interesting to write a code purely for Catholic Bloggers and then realised that all that one needs is contained within the Ten Commandments.

So, perhaps it is in the control of our comment boxes that we need to look, in order to preserve Christian charity, from both without and within.

1. Thou shalt not publish anonymous comments - alas, I fall foul of this often, especially as some anons can be very enlightening. Stronger resolve needed.

2. Thou shalt not tolerate blasphemy, rudeness or wilfully engage in scandal, calumny or detraction.

3. Thou shalt respond in a kind and courteous manner, even if you are replying to one who is as daft as a brush.

4. Thou shalt publish all comments, even ones critical of oneself, provided that they are politely worded - an important one this as several bloggers create a skewed picture of the topic under discussion by only allowing comments of those who agree with their views.

5. Thou shalt abide by the doctrines of Holy Mother Church and not elasticate Her teachings in your responses. Easy to do in the heat of the moment when you sense that you are on a losing wicket.

6. Thou shalt pray for all those who leave a comment, especially those who disagree with your post.


Friday, 10 January 2014

Poison - on the internet

I am one of those who believes that the internet has a greater good value than bad.

Possibly a strange comment to make when one observes the tidal wave (not tsunami) of filth and depravity that is spawned by the world wide web.

But the internet has given me (at least) contact with a parish that has no boundaries, that contains people who hold the same views as myself, and those people have opened up to me the hospitality that was once shown by Our Lord to sinners.

Forgiveness, love, compassion and companionship.

Pretty good, really.

But, yesterday, I received a series of messages from a priest whom I believed was a Facebook friend.

Alas, it was a scam.

The "priest" claimed he was on a special retreat in Canada. OK, that's believable.

But, in the course of many conversations he revealed that it was ultra cold in Canada with temperatures minus 5 degrees.

A small warning bell began to ring. I have never been to Canada but, I think that - 5 degrees is probably a tad on the warm side for January.

To cut a long story short he asked for money to aid an adopted Ugandan boy who was undergoing kidney surgery.

Bingo! The penny dropped.....but not completely.

This priest, I should add, is a well known and much loved traditional 'other Christ'.

I was almost sucked into the scam. I phoned him up at his UK base......and, heavens to Betsy, I spoke to him who was, supposedly, on retreat at a Canadian monastery.

End of story.

The priest has asked that I publicise this as much as possible.

He also asked me to 'put the fear of God' into the fraud by letting him know that Interpol was on the case.

I was pleased to do this but not before I had dangled a possible contribution of £5000 before his eyes.

That prospect excited him greatly.....and then I gave him the bad news!

Thank God I'm Catholic...can we still say that?

If it's not the Government's thought police on our tail it's the Catholic Mutaween. 

This picture, is, I find, most refreshing.

A tip of the biretta to Fr AT.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

High Society

                                                        What's not to like?                             Picture:
I would imagine that, in the wake of what appears to have been going on in the first year of this papacy, the congregations at SSPX Masses must have increased considerably.

And why not?

Let me state here and now that I am not a member of the SSPX laity but I would have no qualms in attending one of their Masses if it was down the road from where I live.

As a family, we do owe a great debt to the Society of St Pius X.

In the bleak years from 1988 to 2005, we only had the Society (apart from occasional forays to London some 270 miles distant where we could attend St James' Spanish Place).

Even then, we had to travel long distances to attend Society Masses.

All orthodox Catholics are indebted to the Society in many ways, not least of which was the spread of Latin Masses in dioceses throughout the land.

Without the SSPX we would have far fewer Latin Mass centres around Britain.

The spread happened as a result of some members of the laity using the threat of the SSPX opening a possible Mass Centre in the diocese.  This news was guaranteed to galvanise the bishop into action.

This is how it worked. Someone would let slip the fact that the SSPX were sniffing around the diocese looking for an old chapel to buy up as their next Mass Centre.

Now, I don't know if this would be a genuine fact or a made up one, I would hope the former.

The knack was to release this info to a person or persons firmly with their feet in the NuChurch.

This would result in a fairly immediate phone call to the bish and, hey presto!
Next thing would be a Tridentine Latin Mass being offered regularly at one or two of the diocesan churches.

The bishops fear the SSPX more than they fear the devil!

But, I sense that, among many orthodox Catholics, there is a certain reserve about attending Society Masses.

I don't quite know why.

They are licit and, what is more, they are one hundred per cent liturgically accurate.

That is not to say that our priests who have to offer both the OF and EF Masses are, in any way, liturgically untrue, it is just that Society churches are designed for the task.

The sanctuary is architecturally perfect and, if you are an altar server, you will appreciate how important that is.

I do, however, have some issues with the SSPX, minor ones really.

I don't agree with their obsession regarding women's clothing. For example; I believe that, provided due modesty is observed, it is not the right of anyone to criticise dress styles.

And, due to the pressured peripatetic role of most of their priests, the important after Mass pastoral care element is, all too often, missing.

This morning I was reading some background to the late Michael Davies, great man that he was, may he rest in peace.

Michael Davies was a fully paid up member of the Society and really, that ought to be good enough for anyone harbouring any doubts about attending their Masses.

Here is a link to an interview Mr Davies gave to Christian Order, the last interview before he died.

At the end of the interview he makes a somewhat prophetic statement, really referring to his Catholic instruction:

“…sorry, I tend to think in this way, blame it on the Jesuits”

So, before condemning the SSPX and its good works, may I suggest that you do two things.

Available at £11.95 from Carmel Books
Firstly, read Archbishop Lefebvre’s excellent book: ‘Open Letter to Confused Catholics’

And, secondly, attend one of their Masses.

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Catholic.......err..... education?

Nothing appears to be taking place with respect to sorting out Catholic primary and secondary religious education in England and Wales - no attempt made to put some vim and vigour and integrity into the curriculum.

When our four children went through a Convent School education in the eighties and early nineties we, as parents, found that in the early years class, pupils seemed to be fixated on the story of Zacchaeus and his climb up the sycamore tree, all the better to view Our Lord as He passed by.

It's a good story, fine.

But the lesson programme went on for the whole year.

At the end of the year there were enough paintings of Zacchaeus and the tree to wallpaper the interior of Westminster Cathedral, twice over.

Strangely, the same programme was taught through all the key stages up until the children departed, one by one, for secondary school at the age of eleven. The content matured a little but not much.

I suspect that things have not improved greatly.

So, perhaps it is 'education' itself that is at fault.

There used to be an old joke told in education circles back then that was based on sex education in schools and how parents would howl if they were told that it was to be changed to sex training.

The inference being that training is about learning by involvement and practice.

Our seminaries train rather than educate priests of the future; in fact, they are providers of a truly vocational education in more than one sense of the word.

So why can we not at least 'train' our secondary pupils in the Catholic Faith and Religion?

The whole ethos of  a school could be changed if it was used as the training arena for RE.

History, Geography, Politics, Social Care, Welfare, Community involvement, art, archaeology, a whole host of subjects could be integrated into a vocational training format.

What was that old saw of the academic world?

"Tell me and I shall forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I will understand"

Sounds pretty good to me.


Monday, 6 January 2014

"What are the nuns doing that they cannot answer the phone?"

Well, Holy Father, if they were Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate they might have been doing this....

But..if they were of the Order of the Sisters of the Bus......

                        .......they might have been doing this!

Picture 1. Holy Cross Books

Picture 2. WDTPRS

Saturday, 4 January 2014

A time for blessing...

Today, we use chalk, much less messy than blood

Much has been written on the blessing of the Epiphany chalk and the subsequent 20 + C+M+B + 14 inscription that is made on your door lintel or, even, your front door.

Many priests will be preparing to bless the chalk in this quietly moving ceremony and to distribute it to their parishioners.

You may read more about it HERE, HERE and HERE.

And, if you can find a parish that does not offer the EF Mass but does offer the blessing of the Epiphany chalk........I'll eat my chocolate hat!

The letters 'C, M, B' stand for the Magi, Caspar (or Gaspar), Melchior and Balthazar.

But...some like to believe that it stands for 'Christus Mansionem Benedicat' (May Christ bless this dwelling)

I like to believe that it stands for both.

A Blessed Epiphany to all of you Gentiles!

Friday, 3 January 2014

Come, Holy Ghost....come quickly

Confirmation, by Giuseppe Maria Crespi, 1712

Do you remember the day of your Confirmation?

You do? How providentially fortunate for you.

My memory is now just a hazy blur, but then, we are going back to circa 1953 when most of you, my dear friends, were in the waiting room of the Lord, yet to be summoned.

I cannot recall whether it was Cardinal Bernard Griffin or Bishop Craven that conferred me with the power of the Holy Ghost...for that is what it is....power.

Power to be a soldier for Jesus they say that anymore? Has Fr Volpi banned it yet?

To a young lad, whose father had served in the First World War and who had two brothers who had fought  in the Second World War, (one in the South Lancashire Regiment and one in the Commandos), such a phrase was a call to action (no, not that bunch of twerps, I mean real action, standing up for the Faith and taking all incoming fire without flinching).

Do we do that anymore?

Our priests (not the ones that we all know and admire, who are excluded from this post) seem to enjoy keeping a low profile, not entering any debate that might get a little know...punchy.

Some years ago in our local town, a disreputable person (allegedly) applied for planning permission to open a sex shop.

Mrs L and I sent in an objection fully expecting the local PP and his parish council to be way ahead of us.

But, when the County Council deliberated on the subject, only the local Baptists,  had raised our heads above the parapet besides ourselves.

Not many priests it seems, wish to enter the public arena. Not many would, for example, set up stall in the town square to preach against secularism.

And as for the laity.....pooh! White feathers blowing on the breeze, happy to be pushed in any direction the world wishes to blow them to.

Read now the words of the Bishop during Confirmation:

Fill them with the spirit of Your holy fear, and sign them with the sign of the cross + of Christ in mercy for eternal life. Through the same Jesus Christ... in the unity of the same Holy Spirit, God, world without end. Amen. 
 Adimple eos Spiritu timoris tui, et consigna  eos signo crucis + Christi, in vitam  propitiatus aeternam. Per eumdem  Dominum... in unitate ejusdem Spiritus  Sancti, Deus, per omnia saecula  saeculorum. Amen

Do not those words send a shiver of excitement down your spine?

And then, the Bishop administers the much anticipated but gentle slap on the face:

......symbolizing that the Christian is now a soldier for Christ and must endure suffering and the persecution that comes from conflict with the world. A hymn might now be sung if the candidates are numerous.

So, having received the indelible seal of the Holy Spirit, binding us to Him until the day of redemption, why are we less than keen to go out and fight the good fight?

Why are the numbers at 40 Days for Life Vigils so low?

Why are we afraid to show the world that we are Catholic?

Where are the crucifixes in our homes? 

And, why don't we stand up to our bishops, demand a decent Catholic education in our schools, fight for the return of the Latin Mass and oppose all those wishy washy, half baked sentiments coming from Westminster and Birmingham (see Protect the Pope).

I guess it's because the grace we receive at Confirmation demands and requires a matching input from us.

We need commitment. 

We need to pray the Rosary, to live the Fatima life of prayer and penance.

To shrug off our air of passive indifference.

Remember, when you look on your breakfast plate of bacon and eggs; the hen who provided the egg was passive, only the pig providing the bacon was committed.

Still time for Carols....

This press release was sent to me by my good friend who used to blog as A Reluctant Sinner.

It refers to a Carol Service at The Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, Soho on January 9th at 6.30pm.

And afterwards....mince pies and galettes des rois - what are they?

 They are King's Cakes, no less, so much for 'O' Level French.


Charity No: 1142667
Friends of the Ordinariate Epiphany Service of Lessons and Carols
To coincide with the third anniversary of the setting up of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham, a service of lessons and carols for the Epiphany will be held on Thursday 9 January 2014 at 6.30pm at the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, London W1.
The service, which will be led by the Ordinary, Monsignor Keith Newton, has been devised with the guidance of Monsignor Andrew Burnham, an Assistant to the Ordinary and an expert on music and liturgy. It will feature post-biblical readings, drawn from the riches of the British spiritual tradition, alongside lessons from the scriptures. The service will conclude with Benediction.
Music will be provided by the well-known Schola Cantorumof the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School and its organist, Iestyn Evans. Guest readers will include the Catholic journalist, Christopher Howse, Catholic politician, Sir Edward Leigh MP, and Headmaster of the Cardinal Vaughan Memorial School, Paul Stubbings. The evening has been arranged by the Friends of the Ordinariate and there will be a retiring collection for its work. Refreshments will include wine, mince pies, and galettes des rois. All are welcome.

Thursday, 2 January 2014

A Sunshine Award

Thanks to my dear Friend Eccles (who lives an austere existence as a hermit on an island on the great River Thames) I have the honour of being a recipient of a Sunshine Award.

Having feverishly scanned the New Year Honour pages of The Daily Telegraph only to find that, yet again, a clerical error has robbed me of the insignia of The Order of the Garter, I am pleased, nay ecstatic, to receive an honour that is well above that of the Garter, err...if you follow me.

The down side is that I have to reveal ten facts about myself.....and that comes hard.

On a more positive note, I have also to nominate ten other blogs whom I believe are worthy of an award.
Plus, of course, my nominees should respond in like by naming their top ten etc.

So here goes for the first part.....facts about moi....

1. I am an Englishman by nature despite having a fair dollop of Irish blood and living in Wales.

2. I have four adult children who constantly amaze and inspire me.

3. By instinct, I am a countryman and enjoy shooting and fishing when I get a chance

4. I would like to be interred* in the church of Our Lady and The English Martyrs in Chideock, Dorset (visit it if you possibly can).  * But only when dead.

5. On occasions (and only on occasions) I  drink a real ale called The Reverend James ('The Rev'). That is my only contact with Anglicanism.

6. Most Tuesday evenings in the off season, I may be found taking part in the pub quiz at 'the Brides' in Littlehaven - in rather boisterous and slightly naughty company.

7. Thanks to the Providence of the Almighty, the last 25 years of my career in education have been spent travelling in some weird and wonderful parts of the world.

8. I have eaten and enjoyed (as a result of number 7) dog, cat (delicious), scorpions, bees, sea slugs, cactus, snake, kangaroo, crocodile and many more of God's creatures.

9. As the youngest of seven, I grew up in Hounslow which is now at one end of the main London Heathrow Airport runway.

10. I like dogs, but only really lurchers or whippet type ones that can run like the wind.

There. All has been revealed, now for my ten top bloggers......

1. Mark at De Omnibus Dubitandem Est (which roughly translates as the bus has left, you'll have to take the bike)

2. An English Catholic in Hong Kong whose blog is called Non Angelus sed Anglus which (as any fule kno, is a geometrical reference)

3. Goes to Longbows and Rosary Beads (at last, a female blogger). Pearl of Tyburn is a good friend but, more than that she is a Britophile (and there ain't many of those around these days).

4. The Society of Such Pius Gents is, I believe, a relative newcomer to the scene but is highly deserving of an award.

5. The Low Churchman's Guide is, I am sure a Catholic blog hiding under an Anglican surplice but, either way, he/she/them get my vote for being dry and witty (but such an award may be too Low Church for them).

6. Now here's one to amaze and surprise, I am nominating the LMS Cardiff blog for an award because they are so jolly alive. Not often I praise the LMS but Macklin Street could learn a lot from their Cardiff crew, well done!

7. And another one for Wales....Paddling Upstream (it's what they are forced to do in the Archdiocese of Stackshire) keeps the traditional flag flying for Welsh Catholics and those of us who live in Wales.

8. These awards are getting a distinctive Welsh flavour as I nominate Lucas Cambrensis for a Sunshiner. Luke is, I believe, a man with his feet in the modern Church but his orthodoxy is heartwarming. I hope to meet up with him one day.

9. Back to England and that stalwart blogger Ora Pro Nobis (the traditional Catholics slogan for 2014). Not only that but Mike C works in FE and, having served 25 years in that sector, he has my sympathies.

10. Finally, an American blogging friend, Patrick Button. Patrick has done a bit of travelling and earns my respect, especially for his travels in some pretty unfriendly territory. God bless you Patrick.

So that's it, it only remains for me now to inform those good folk and to thank them all for their inspiration, sense of humour and Faith.

There are some elements of the FFI that are most disturbing....

*Thanks to the vagaries of Blogger, I have re-posted this piece, hopefully, in a better format.

For a start, they like to wear beards…..


…And, they also have a great devotion to Our Lady (swoon)


…from time to time, so it is said, they like to s********d! yes, that’s right, s********d! – disgusting!

           Levitating Friars, whatever next?

….and, wouldn’t you just know it…..

              Of course, they just have to pray outside abortuaries

There is little doubt that this Order is on the slippery slope…..

                ….definitely going downhill fast!

…to cap it all they apparently like to sing inflammatory chants!

                        Anyone would think that they were Catholic!