Friday, 28 February 2014

Bile and vitriol.....the liberals view of orthodoxy

Is Mr Bean a liberal Catholic?
This blog has been featured, of late, on some Catholic Forum websites.

There has been an increase in my readership, in fact (hold on to your hats) I am now in double figures!

Somewhat intrigued I followed the comments made by those who read these forums.

They are a very different type of person from those who normally comment on this blog who are, for the most part courteous and charitable (I can do obsequious, no problem).

They are, it appears, what you might term 'liberal Catholics', that is, Catholics who do not employ logic based on doctrinal teaching but, instead, rely on a sort of warped emotional religious outlook that bears no resemblance to the teachings of (and here I am going to offend them) Our Blessed see....they do not like to use reverent forms of address, they would rather speak in the woolly and rather silly language of the socialist.

I really do not mind if people object to what I have to say providing that they are polite and informed but these folk are neither.

The overriding message that comes across is that they actually 'hate' all elements of orthodoxy; the Latin Mass, the Rosary, piety in the pew, regarding priests as 'other Christs' rather than drinking mates, and much more besides.

And the thing is, it would appear that, to a man or woman, none of them have attended a Latin Mass; they all carry a rucksack crammed full of the rocks of blind emotion.

Beat me up by all means but do it from an informed base.

When I criticize the Novus Ordo with its all too frequent profane accompaniments, I do it because I have experienced the banal input from the parish gestapo who like to indulge in daft acts such as having a dustbin (trash can) on the sanctuary so that the children in the congregation may, at a given signal, place scraps of paper in it on which are written details of the things they dislike.
Positively paganistic.

I am quite certain that liberal Catholics do not read this blog but, should any stray here blown by some internet mistral (how poetic) I would just like to invite them to get on with matters concerning their own salvation and allow those of us who might be dubbed as being 'traditional Catholics', to get on with ours.


Thursday, 27 February 2014

101 Priest bloggers to follow on Google....

Blogging, or Googling, for a priest, is a most effective means of evangelising.

In fact, it is odd, is it not, that the Bishops have not established a dedicated priest in each Diocese with the role of reaching out to the Faithful (and the unfaithful) with the teachings of Christ....ooops, sorry, I mean, 'transcendental being' (according to the excellent Protect the Pope blog, that's what the mindless ones in the Church would like to use instead of 'Jesus Christ').

Joseph Atkins, editor of the Catholic Dating website, has produced a list of priests that Google. Good.

It does, however, have an American bias and, after a quick speedcheck, only two of our British blogging priests are mentioned but, maybe in the future when the list is updated, we will have more of a showing.

It is an interesting list and you may peruse it HERE but, a word of caution, not all of the priests featured are, how can I put this kindly?  On the same bus?

The list includes clergy from all corners of the Church - and why not?

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

The wrong reform of the reform....

Is this the finish? Have the snakes won?
A brief dialogue with a friend on Facebook brought me up short.

He stated that, for him, the 'brick by brick' approach was over.

And I agree with him.
It's just that I think that I have been ignoring the fact.
 Blocking out what is taking place in the Catholic Church at present. Not wishing to think the unthinkable.

In truth, I think the 'brick by brick' aspiration was over on 13th March 2013.

Dead in the water and, if we keep thinking that this is just a lull, we are deluding ourselves.

I state this not with any degree of pessimism; we've been here before in 1988 and the dreary years that followed.

Our curate in 1989 told all our fellow parishioners that we were heretics, just because we attended the Latin Mass.

Archbishop Ward of Cardiff Archdiocese proclaimed traditionalists as being "neo heretics"

My own Bishop wrote to me telling me that I was on the road to perdition...yes, really.

The bishops, in the early 90s were having a field one to hold them to account...they could ALL be mini popes tucked away in their rather unhumble houses and apartments and, as a man they all took it upon themselves to make life hard and cold for Catholics who wanted nothing more than to attend a Tridentine Latin Mass and bring their children up with some chance of them keeping the Faith, rather than throw them to the wolves of the Catholic Education system.

And now, we are back to square one.

Thankfully, we have one or two Bishops who at present are fighting our corner for us in England and Wales, but for how much longer?

The video clip below is appalling, it shows what an increasing number of Catholics expect from the Church and are beginning to demand from their Bishops who, no doubt, being men of putty, will bend to their demands.

This is the modernist vision of the reform of the reform.

People power. Faith and morals out of the window.

Keep a bucket handy when you watch it - oh, and there's a particularly beautiful hymn at the end.

That hymn says it all really.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Five go adventuring - again!

Publishers Jeeves and Radscarp have commissioned a sequel, specially written for an adult readership,  to one of Enid Blyton's 'Famous Five' series of children's books.

In the updated version, the Five are all now in their late sixties and members of ACTA (A Call to Arson).

The aims of this group are to overthrow the wicked Catholic Church by undermining its teachings on issues such as the sanctity of human life, women priests and  the celebration of the Latin Mass, a ceremony full of ritual and sinister chanting.

In keeping with the times there have been a few name changes for the five main characters.

Julian has become Darren, Dick is now Ciaran, while Anne (now a nun of sorts) is now known as Sister Kylie.
The tomboy George (Georgina) has changed to Grunty and the final member of the gang, the happy go lucky scruffy but loveable mongrel, Timmy, is now called Basil.

A spokesman for Jeeves and Radscarp said that:
"We plan to launch an updated version of 'Five go adventuring' featuring the charming  'gang' of friends and their hilarious adventures as members of ACTA and, if this is successful, fans can look forward to many more updated titles in the future".

Here is an extract from 'Five go adventuring again':

"Come on Darren" cried Cieran as he eased open the solid and heavy church door. "Let's see what we can vandalise inside".

"Wait for me boys" yelled Grunty:
 "Remember I've got to lug Sister Kylie around after she sprained her ankle when she fell off the tabernacle in the last church we did over".

The five entered into a darkened church where just one or two candles flickered in front of what the gang called effigies of the saints.

"Where's Basil gone now?" hissed Darren:
"Don't tell me he's still got his incontinence problem"

A low growl alerted them to Basil's presence.
 He was sitting on top of a pile of magazines and, yes, he was still having trouble with his old problem.

"Stop him, oh, stop him do" shrieked Grunty:

"He must not defile copies of The Tablet, it's our main organ for fomenting dissent aside from the Bishops Conference"

"Be quick with those matches said Sister Kylie, we need to start a really good fire this time. I want to see this old church go up in flames".

No sooner had she uttered these words than the Sacristy door was violently kicked open and there, silhouetted in the doorway, stood the figure of the parish priest Father Blogton.

A double click informed them of the fact that, he was holding his Burns and Oates, 12 bore pump action shotgun, and it looked as if he was prepared to use it.

"Run" they all shouted, apart from Basil who gave a loud whine and relaxed his bowels all over the copies of The Tablet........"

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Never been to an OF Mass?

No need to worry.

In the interests of equality and evenhandedness I felt that I should follow up on yesterday's post regarding feeling at home with an EF Mass with one for those Catholics (and others) who may not have attended an OF Mass.

First and foremost, informality is the word.

Dress code? Just about anything goes. Shorts and flip flops (thongs if you are Australian) for men, skimpy tops and mini skirts, if you are female and below the age of 75.

You will feel a glow of warmth as you approach the church as there will be a gauntlet  line up of happy smiling greeters for you to run through and embrace as if they were your long lost rich relations.

Once inside feel free to stroll up the aisle stopping off here and there for a friendly chat and to catch up with the latest goss from the Bingo club.

When entering your pew you may like to give a friendly nod in the direction of the tabernacle, if you can see it, that is.
We don't get fussy about all that pi stuff like going down on one knee.

Once seated you can wait for the Mass to start and stand by to respond to the first line of the liturgy from the celebrant: "Good morning everybody"

To which the response is: "Good morning Far----verr" Note that the tone rises several octaves on the ending of "Far----verr"

Now the Mass gets under way but please stifle any yawns as you will probably miss the prayers at the foot of the altar introductory prayers, the Lord have mercy, the Epistle and the Gospel; things move at a pace in the Novus Ordo.

Now, at the Offertory, young children take the water and wine and unconsecrated hosts up to Far----verr.

Ms Grunty O'Troffe (left) with her Special Minister Auntie

Please don't expect your own children to be asked to do this as the Parish Liturgist, Ms Grunty O'Troffe, who organises most things in the parish, likes her nieces and nephews to undertake these duties.

Now we approach one of the most important and profound parts of the Mass - the kiss of peace.

At a signal given by Far----verr, clasp the person sitting next to you in a warm embrace and plant a big juicy kiss on their cheek.
Repeat for the rest of the congregation, the church cat and, even, Grunty O'Troffe if you can bear it.

Next the Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion (we just call 'em 'Ministers', much more friendly) get cracking..

Ms O'Troffe's Auntie organises the 'Ministers' who all have to be over a certain age, if you know what I mean, normally 95 years of age at least.

When  you go to receive Holy Communion, you form a straight line and hold your hand out to receive the Host from Grunty's Auntie.

Then is not the time to worry about how clean your hands are and as to whether you washed them after cleaning up after Titti-poo's little accident (you know what cats are like) - just go ahead as you know that God loves us all whether we are clean or dirty, He's not worried about personal least, I don't think He is.

There, almost done.

After Far---verr leaves the sanctuary that is the time for you to 'chillax' as our dear Prime Minister likes to say, chat to your neighbour or give a yell across the church if you see someone you know - we are nothing if not friendly.

All in all you will find it a lorra lorra fun and much less demanding than the Latiney version

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Never been to a Latin Mass?

You are in for a disappointment.

I mean, I do believe that sometimes those of us who adhere to the EF Mass really ramp it up too much.

We rave and rant about how mystical, reverent and inspirational it is and then - for the first time visitor it's so-ooo quiet.

And the priest has his back to the congregation so you feel just a little

You came expecting the Latin, of course, but you have no idea when to stand, kneel or genuflect...and you just know that everyone is looking at you, waiting to see you make some fundamental mistake like sitting down when the rest of the congregation stand.

You come away bewildered and asking yourself what all the fuss was about.

 Next week it'll be back to the jolly old Ordinary Form, so much easier, and it's all in English (unless you happen to go to a Tagalog/Polish/Chinese/Urdu/Swahili Mass).

So let's dispel some myths.

First, don't feel unwanted just because there are no greeters on hand to give you a leery smile and an even leerier hug before you enter the church.

"I'm the parish greeter, but they won't have me at the Latin Masses!"

We at the traditional end of the Faith just happen to believe that you are grown up and should be treated like one, we are confident that you can find a pew in the church without some creep good soul guiding you to your seat.

Next, don't worry about everyone watching you - we are all so intently devout (ahem) that we would not notice if Noddy and Big Ears marched in to Mass.

And as for sitting, kneeling and nothing until you feel that you know what is what - and that may take quite a few visits.

Just sit and watch and pray.
You don't even have to follow the prayers of the Mass, you may pray to yourself or just meditate and soak up all that is taking place.

But, if you feel that the above advice is just a bit too laid back, here are a few key essentials that you may like to observe:-

1. Genuflect before entering your pew and, again on leaving when Mass has finished (not when you go up to receive Holy Communion or return).

2. Wear a mantilla, hat or scarf (if you are a woman) and if you wish to do so - it's a personal choice and no one will condemn you for going bareheaded.

3. Receive Holy Communion kneeling (if you are able, by all means stand if you are infirm) and by mouth. If you have not done this before just close your eyes and open your mouth reasonably wide with your tongue resting on your lower lip. The priest is adept at placing the Host gently on your tongue.

And that's just about it, really.

But don't expect to love the old Mass immediately. It takes time to establish itself in the hearts, minds and souls of those who have not experienced reverence, piety and peace in church before.

But there is one other effect from attending a Latin Mass that our old priest always emphasized when he sat round the dining table after a meal.

"The Latin Mass" he would say: "Brings special graces to those who attend"

And he was right.

Friday, 21 February 2014

If you drink Mystic Monk coffee......'ll need a Latin Mass Mug!

Regular readers will recall that these traditional mugs are available at a very modest price of £10 plus £4 for postage and packaging.

The proceeds, some £6.25 per mug, will go towards funding three or more young people to take part in this years Chartres Pilgrimage.

We are already on our second production run of mugs so please, place your order now lest you find yourself the only Catholic in Britain sans mug!

Just send me an email - and I will respond with my address.

Orders of 4 or more mugs qualify for a reduced postage rate.

You may also recall that these mugs make excellent gifts - ideal for your PP for example.

And you will be endowing a young man or woman with such graces that will undoubtedly strengthen and confirm their Faith for all of their lives.

Finally, these mugs are not just for coffee drinkers; they are also well suited to those who prefer tea, cocoa, complan, whatever.

Please note: Only orthodox Catholics qualify for this amazing offer.
Liturgists, Parish Artists, Greeters and others need not apply.

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Two young men and the gift of Faith

H/T to LF for this clip with Michael Voris interviewing two young Irish brothers who found the Church wanting and yet they still discovered the hidden truths of the Faith.

.....with more young people like the Bergin brothers, Ireland would be Catholic once again.

I have included the video plus a link as some people are having difficulty with the Youtube connection:       


Wednesday, 19 February 2014

A checklist for Catholic bloggers

And make sure that your images link clearly to the subject matter

1. Avoid alliteration. Always.

2. Prepositions are not words to end sentences with.

3. Avoid clichés like the plague. They're old hat.

4. Comparisons are as bad as clichés.

5. Be more or less specific.

6. Bloggers should never generalise.

Seven: Be consistent

8. Who needs rhetorical questions anyway?

9. Don't use more words than necessary. It's highly superfluous.

10. Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.

11. Use simple, easily comprehended words, that way you avoid obfuscation and discombobulation.

12.  Avoid using tautology. It's pointless to keep on endlessly repeating yourself.

H/T  to my non prodigal son Matthew who is about to return from New Holland.

Monday, 17 February 2014

Catholic Higher Education students lower the tone

I'm not sure that I'm right to totally blame the Catholic students of The University of Bath for this latest crass display in church.

It was a poor attempt in the parish of St Peter and Paul, Bath, with students fundraising for the homeless by donning woolly hats and baking cakes (or, maybe, half baking them).

The parish priest must shoulder the lion's share of blame for not having the fibre to tell the students in a patient and loving manner that they should not raise funds for the poor by wearing silly woolly hats to Mass and expect the priest to do the same.

This is at the level of clown Masses (although I am uncertain if the hats were worn during the celebration of Mass - the fact that they were worn in church at all is.....plain silly).

And to support a charity that was voted as being the "top gay friendly charity" by Stonewall is pretty scandalous.

There are plenty of Catholic causes that support the poor and homeless and not the gay and lesbian community if you want to organise funds.

But this sorry tale is just symptomatic of the mindlessness of the faithful (and some of the clergy) these days.

Instead of developing a fundraising concept based upon enhancing reverence and piety they go for the moron option.

It's easy see?  You don't have to engage brain.

Now, if they had a sponsored mantilla session in church, that would make sense.

Fashion Parade (3)

Christ the fashion setter - the bloody sacrifice that is repeated in
an unbloody manner at every Latin Mass

Fashion Parade (2)

Franciscans.....Norbertines.....Benedictines.....Dominicans.......where are the Jesuits?*

* Pilgrimage of Grace 1536
Foundation of the Society of Jesus 1534

Fashion parade (1)

Hair styles change......dress styles change......
....but the Latin Mass never changes. You see Holy Father - it isn't a fashion.

Are we right not to be offended?

Blasphemy, so I believe, is no longer a crime in British law. Shame.

The taking of the Lord's name in vain has become increasingly commonplace and, as with all things the familiarity aspect is leading to even greater examples of foul and profane language.

How ironic, to accuse the Son of God of blasphemy

Yet we Catholics, along with other Christians, sit back and do nothing.

Can you imagine linking the name of Allah or Mohammed to an oath in the company of  Muslims?

They would be down on you in a flash and you would probably be lucky to walk away in a straight line.

Not that I am recommending violence as a means of stamping out blasphemy.

There are, of course, occasions when a split second ejaculation can be a prayer rather than an oath.

This was explained to me by an old Irish Canon in Ross-on-Wye where we lived at the time.

"Very often" he said: "When we use the name of God or, even, Jesus Christ as an exclamation, it is a prayer rather than a blasphemy"

He meant, of course occasions such as accidentally locking the baby in the car together with the car keys and remembering that the handbrake is off.

Then, and only then, "Oh my God" is a prayer; a cry for immediate aid from the Almighty.

Use it in a text on your cell phone and it becomes a profanity, a breach of the Second Commandment and a most grievous sin.

But, thanks to the small silver screen in the corner of the sitting room, the use of the name of Christ or God the Father, has become 'acceptable' to those with little knowledge of the serious consequences of such exclamations.
I include (sadly) many Catholics who seem unaware of the grave offence they are committing, not only to God but to those who revere the Holy Name.

Wherever you are these days, on the train, in the pub, you can hear blasphemies left, right and centre.

What to do?

Risk a punch on the nose or worse by politely pointing out the error of their ways?

Would it do any good? Probably not.

But when the offender is a barman or a shop assistant or anyone in a face to face situation with the public, then I think we are entitled to make our case.

The thing is....will our complaint soon land us in court on a charge of being annoying?

We live in interesting times.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

The Vigil approaches....Cardiff calls

Cardiff 40 Days for Life bulletin:

This Lent, please support the cause HERE

Please make a note of these dates:-

Ash Wednesday 5th March -40 days for life starts and on behalf of the 40dfl team I would like to thank all those who have been able to commit to a planned hour(s) per week during Lent.
I know that this is not possible for everyone and want to encourage as many of you as possible to join the prayer vigil when you are able.
In preparation for the battle ahead there are 2 other important things happening:-

Sunday 2nd March in the Cornerstone opposite St. David's Cathedral Cardiff after the 11am Sunday Mass Robert Colquhoun, national director and international outreach co-ordinator for 40DFL, will be coming to speak to us about the campaign and his work. I am sure it will be very interesting.
You are all warmly invited to attend.
(There is all day parking on a Sunday in the Capitol Centre for £2)

Monday 3rd March in the Cathedral from 9am-6pm there will be Eucharistic adoration when we will be praying for the unborn and for our Lenten campaign to be fruitful and pleasing to God.
If you have signed up to the previous vigil(s) schedule then you can use the same password as last time. Please visit www.40daysforlife/cardiff for further details or e-mail me if you have any bother.
Together with prayer we CAN make a difference!

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Will the Papal flag fly over Westerham?

I mean, it's not as if we are an invading force. Sadly.

Father Ivan Aquilina, (good name) parish priest of St John the Baptist Church in Westerham, Kent, has applied for planning permission to erect a flagpole in the presbytery garden so that he may fly the Vatican flag in order that motorists passing by on the adjacent motorway, will know that there is a Catholic Church in the vicinity.

A sound idea. Well done Fr Aquilina, we need more priests who will undertake similar innovative steps to flag up (so sorry) the existence of the one true Church.

But the flag has hit a snag.....what has Mrs L put in my coffee?

Locals are up in arms, or, at least, in Westerham terms, a trifle agitated over the prospect of such an inflammatory act of flying the flag of another (enemy?) state.

Neighbours think that the flagpole will look out of place. Tsk! Tsk!

This all smacks of life in England pre the Catholic Emancipation Act of 1829 when we were not allowed to build our churches near a main road and our horse (the equivalent of a Honda Accord) could be summarily pinched by our Protestant neighbour if he took a fancy to it.

And, our tax bills were much higher than anyone else's because, of course, we were not just Catholics but Roman Catholics.

Fr A's more than reasonable application has been opposed by those who fear that the flagpole will rattle at night and that it will look unsightly.

 Poor dears. Don't they realise that the good priest could park a 30 foot yacht complete with rigging in his drive without any planning permission?

And that the clatter from a yacht's rigging would turn a deaf saint Protestant after just two hours worth of aural assault?

Perhaps that's the answer.

If Fr A's parishioners could lay their hands on a J/32 yacht and park it in his drive, then they could fly the Papal flag without fear of interference from busybodies.

Stand by to repel all nimbys!

Friday, 14 February 2014

A mug no Catholic should be without

Yes, if you like Fr Z's range of mugs then you will, I am sure, like the one featured below.

It bears the message 'Keep Calm and go to the Latin Mass' on one side and 'Chartres 2014' on the other.

Furthermore, it is available in both left and right handed versions.....(cough).

The Chartres Mug offer is part of a campaign run by The Confraternity of the Holy Cross (a group of Catholic laity and priests set up to promote the Latin Mass in rural West Wales) to raise funds in order to support young people from our diocese (Menevia) who wish to take part in the Chartres Pilgrimage this year.

There are some folk who believe that the young men and women concerned should raise the funds themselves but, as with all things, it is not quite as clear cut as that.

We are, for want of a better phrase, living in a region of economic deprivation and the young need all the help that they can get.

So, for a mere £10 (plus £4 for p&p) you could possess one of these fine coffee mugs for yourself (they also make excellent gifts, especially for priest friends and most especially for those priests who have yet to say the Latin Mass).

Please just send your email address to and I will respond with my postal address to which you may send a cheque.

For each mug purchased you will be contributing £6.25 to the Wales to Chartres fund. The remaining money covers the production and mailing costs.

Now, if you would also like to donate some hard cash to the fund, please go to our special fundraising page and make a small contribution, it's so very easy and relatively painless.

Here is the page

Thank you very much. You will be remembered in our prayers.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Out of respect for the Holy Father.....

....women wear a mantilla or veil.....out of respect for Jesus Christ......?????

I know I'm really pushing my luck here, me a mere man banging on about how good it is for a woman to wear a mantilla or scarf at Mass.

But, I just can't resist it; it's the juvenile in me.
It's the same compulsion to shock those who oppose the veil that I had at the age of sixteen when I appeared in front of my parents wearing a paisley patterned kipper tie and a black shirt!

Two great world leaders and (and Barack and Michelle Obama) - not subjugation, just respect

A solemn vow: I promise that this is my last post on mantillas for at least the next two days!

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

When is a Novus Ordo Mass invalid?

When it's a dance routine Mass?

Or, maybe when it's a Jazz Mass?

Of course, it's got to be when it's a Clown Mass, no?

OK, then it's the folk dance in silly outfits Mass

Ah, it's just got to be the plain and simple, informal Mass

Surely it can't be 'the Bishop looks silly' one?
Technically speaking, all of the above count as valid Masses.
 But in the spirit rather than the letter of the law I cannot believe that this is the case.
Would Almighty God allow His divine Son to be ridiculed in this manner?
See also the post on the NO by that great priest, Fr Peter Carota

Pictures from:

Rorate Caeli
Tradition in Action
Unam Sanctam Catholicam
The one true Catholic Church

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

If you've forgotten your mantilla..... can always wear one of these.....

Just a single tissue, not the whole box you understand

...even Mgr Bugnini believed that it was correct for women to cover their heads at Mass

This post was prompted by several comments extolling the virtues of using a tissue as a head covering in an emergency, see the link that started the ball rolling HERE.

There is, of course, a precedent for adopting such headgear....any non Sikh male attending a Gudwara, is required to place a handkerchief on their head, as a mark of respect.

I don't think they feel subjugated though.

Monday, 10 February 2014

Catholic and rural?

Oh what joys Holy Mother Church has squirrelled away for us in the green and pleasant (and flooded) land of Wales and England.

I have just come across an organisation that appears tailor made for me (and a few others who live non-urban lives).
Mr Titlark already knows about pigs
but he would really like to know if
a priest will take his bedridden Mother
the Sacraments
It is called 'Catholic and Rural' and it has its annual conference starting today and completing on Wednesday 12th February. Sadly, the conference is taking place in rural Cambridge and, that is just about as far away from Pembrokeshire as it is possible to get in this country.

This will be the tenth such conference held under the auspices of the Catholic Bishop's Conference of England and Wales and I would be interested to know just how many rural Catholics are aware of this body.

My next question is: "What do they do?"

Here is their conference programme and, I really do not mean to poke fun at them but, surely, rural Catholics want to know about parish federation schemes and episcopal plans to re-vitalise the Faith in areas where it is being overtaken by wiccan groups and the WI (much the same thing in my book). My comments in red....

Monday       4.00  Register and cuppa (a “cuppa” – that proves its rural)
         4.30  View from the Farm Gate    John Latham Snr.
         5.30  Evening Prayer
         6.00  Dinner
         7.30  The Church and the County or local Show   Keith Ineson
                  After-hours at the County Show                   Fr Tim Bywater
         9.00  Night Prayer

Tuesday       7.30  Morning Prayer & Mass 
         8.15  Breakfast
         9.15  The small rural parish and the Live Simply award   Jean Hurley & Lindy Head
        10.00 Coffee
        10.30 Flooding   Phil Rothwell, Head of Strategy and Engagement for the Flood
                  and Coastal Risk Department, Department of the Environment
(now this is one speaker who won’t be short of questions)
        Noon Midday Office
        12.30 Lunch  (The Bishop of East Anglia will be with us for lunch and the visit)
         1.30  Depart for Camgrain
(Camgrain, for a fascinating insight into the storage of grain)
         5.30  Evening Prayer
         6.00  Dinner
         7.30  The Pig Industry Mick Sloyan
(I refuse to comment on this one)
         9.00  Night Prayer

Wednesday 7.30  Morning Prayer & Mass 
         8.15  Breakfast
         9.15  Responding pastorally to flooding  The Revd Canon Peter Mortimer,
                  Ecumenical Adviser to the Bishop of St Edmundsbury and Ipswich
        10.00 Coffee - Please vacate your room
        10.30 The Village Pub is closing    Terry Stork, Advisor - Pub is the Hub.
        11.30 Business Meeting
        12.30 Lunch & Depart

Venue: The Red Lion hotel is adjacent to Whittlesfordbridge Parkway railway station.

Really, this is a very "nice" agenda but, it's just not in the real world, the real rural world, that is.

Here are a few topics I would have thought they might reasonably have discussed:-

1. How to respond to Pope Benedict's call for parishes to be federated.

2. Bringing the Faith to the old and infirm in the countryside (and that doesn't mean an EMHC on a       bicycle)

3. Making provision for the young to be catechised (because one priest told me that he would not go     into the local secondary school "because they're all going to lose the Faith anyway")

4. Estate management, how to cope with the churches that are damp, cold and neglected.

I think, instead of a talk on the village pub closing I might have included a session on 'The Parish church closing'.

So, there you have it. The Church of Nice and its 'nice' remedy to Welsh and English rural matters of Faith.

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Syria and Father Tigar

Our Lady of Damascus
"Blessed are you to have accepted for the first time in the history
 of salvation to have undertaken a mission in the heart of the
Arab world"

I just can't leave Fr Tigar's book 'Papist Pie' alone.

It was written during the Second World War and intended to inform young service men and women, many of them not Catholics but who might have had questions regarding matters of faith and morals.
They had been uprooted from their home lives and thrust into an alien arena, mixing with people that, perhaps, in a more normal life, they would not consider spending time with.

Those uncertain times created many questions regarding religion in the minds of soldiers, sailors and airmen and women and Father T's book was written specifically for that audience.

It is not a work of deep theology (perhaps why I like it so much), it is a concise series of questions and answers regarding the Catholic Faith.

Black and white. Unequivocal. As Our Lord intended His teachings to be transmitted.

Fr Tigar has one chapter with the title: "God's Foreknowledge" and several questions therein could have been written with Syria (or any war zone for that matter) in mind.

If I am honest, I also like the dialogue that this priest, long laid to rest, generates in the comment box.

I plan to pray to Fr Tigar as, I am sure that this great man must surely be enjoying God's reward for his labours.
I have a friend in Hampshire and I shall also pray to him for aid in her time of need.

Q. "Why does God allow people who have done no harm to anybody to be bombed 
      out of their homes?"

A. It is certain that God would not allow evil in any of His works unless He were so Wise and so Good that out of evil He can draw good. (an interesting explanation).
In some cases God allows people to be bombed because they were too absorbed in the material things of this short life, forgetful of the purpose why they are here, neglectful of their duty to God.(Ouch, that hurts, but he is right, of course).

In some cases God allows people to share in the redemptive work of Christ; they and Christ, their elder brother, offer up to God the Father their suffering in reparation for the sins of mankind, in the spirit of St Paul who said: "I fill up in myself those things that are wanting to the sufferings of Christ."

In some cases God is letting His children learn the danger of pride and self-sufficiency, just as a father lets his child learn the danger of fire by burning his fingers.

In other cases God allows people to be bombed for some mysterious reason which we cannot understand now, but shall understand one day when we are face to face with our Heavenly Father.

A. "If God is all just, why does He allow bombs to be dropped on innocent babies?"

What would you expect God to do? Arrange for bombs to fall only on those over seven years old? (They didn't mince words in those days)
If He has to keep bombs off babies, then oughtn't He to keep them from whooping cough, meningitis, teething pains and all other ills? Shouldn't God likewise put the fire out before babies fall into it?

The fact that babies are innocent does not affect the problem, which is, "Why does God allow evil into the world at all?"
To that question there is no neat, comprehensive answer, that at once clears away all difficulties.
It is a mystery. But bombs falling on babies do not show that God is unjust. Those babies are enjoying an eternity of perfect happiness, which no cruelty of man can take away from them.

If they were asked now whether they feel they have been treated unjustly, and whether they would like to come back to this life again, they would answer a thousand times "No"

They are the best judges; and so shall we be, one day, when we see the whole of God's plan for us.

Friday, 7 February 2014

Priests and moustaches

I return to pre Vatican II times to relate how we were always told that priest should not have moustaches.

"No" to a moustache but "Yes" to a dog collar

Why, oh, why should this be?

Because, of course, a moustache is an affectation, a sign of vanity.

You have to shave around a moustache or, at the very least, trim it from time to time.

You may even decide on one of a variety of styles for your moustache; from handlebar to Viva Zapata to Adolf Hitler - depending on your whim.

Whims are not for priests. Therefore, no moustaches for the clergy (sorry, Father R).

Here is what Father Clement Tigar* had to say about them:

Q. "Are priests allowed to grow moustaches? If not, why not?"

A. "In the Western Church priests are not allowed to have beards or moustaches.
Two reasons for this according to a sixteenth century ordinance are - the clergy should not seem to ape fashionable people, nor allow the hair on their upper lips to impede the drinking of the chalice (sic).
This is a matter of church discipline (remember when we had that? No?) and admits of exceptions.

In the East where beards are regarded as a mark of virility the law does not apply.

Moreover foreign missionaries and some religious orders, the Capuchins, for instance, are not bound by it.

Any priest, for health or other good reason, could be exempted."

So, there you have it. Moustaches are verboten, and quite right too.

Most of them look vulgar and pretentious.


* Extract from Papist Pie by Fr Clement Tigar SJ

Thursday, 6 February 2014

How do you prioritise good causes?

Most of us have a favourite charity or cause that we support.

Our Lady of Cardigan, patron for our cause

And then, a crisis pops up either on the horrific level of the plight of the Syrian refugees or, on a more individual level, that of the sad case of one of Fr Ray's parishioners, Paul.

We like to give to those unfortunates also.

So that may make my appeal look somewhat trite and unimportant.

No lives are at stake. No hungry person needs feeding; no naked bodies require clothing.

So what is my good cause and why does it merit a place somewhere on your 'priorities' list?

Well, the good cause is an appeal to raise funds so that three (or thereabouts) young people from West Wales may take part in the Chartres Pilgrimage this year.

It is not a big appeal as money goes; £1500 would just about cover our costs.

The costs include return fares to London, overnight accommodation in the City and then the £350 per head for the Pilgrimage fee.

We have a bit put by but need the £1500 to make it viable.

To summarise, it is a chance to embed the one true Faith in a young person - for life!

What a great gift to endow to a person; one that may last, Deo volente, for the next 60 or 70 years.

And who knows what soldiers for Jesus Christ will be strengthened by such an experience?

So, any contribution, no matter how small, will be appreciated, whether you are Welsh, English, American or from any other part of the globe.

Here is the link for donations -


On behalf of our group in Menevia, I thank you.

Please note, as we are not a registered charity, the payments will go directly to my personal account but all transactions will be scrutinised and verified  by two independent individuals.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

An evening with a Catholic curmudgeon


A Catholic curmudgeon......look familiar?
I have long been a fan of Clint Eastwood and now that Mrs Linen, Miss C. Linen and I are spending a few days at the modestly sybaritic Bluestone resort, we settled down, last night, to watch (yet again) the film that I consider the best in the Eastwood portfolio, Gran Torino.

He plays an ageing veteran of the Korean War coping with a terminal illness and a dysfunctional (ie modern Catholic) family.

The trappings of liberal Catholicism threaten to swamp him, from irreverent grandchildren misbehaving at his wife's Requiem Mass, to a fresh faced 'fourth former' of a priest who would make an excellent social worker but is at zero level when it comes to being a priest.

A young parish priest at odds with a curmudgeon
There are a number of good moral threads to this story including Clint's character 'Walt's' acceptance of his Hmong neighbours, the development of a young man in danger of just drifting through life, the fight between good and evil.

But, of course, the one overwhelming theme is that of the Sacrament of Penance, Confession, if you like.

Walt cannot bring himself to go to Confession after many years of not practising his Faith.

 He has a violent streak in him and the final scene involves him in a physical battle against a gang of Hmong thugs.

I can say no more without giving the storyline away.

It is, arguably, one of the most intensely Catholic films of the last 20 years.

But, there is a great deal of what the filmmakers describe as "strong language".

That means an excessive use of the 'F' word so this film is not for minors.


Monday, 3 February 2014

Abortion facts for the education sector

To be more precise, what we quaintly call, in Britain, the Further Education sector (most people from overseas regard Undergraduate and Post Graduate programmes as 'Further Education' but, there you go).

In the UK, Colleges of Further Education cater for all ages, all groups, but most of their students fall into the 16 to 24 age group; a prime audience for advice, information and counselling on the evils of abortion.

But, ask a College Student Counsellor what advice they give to students regarding pregnancies and they will trot out the same old "contraception and 'morning after' abortion pill type options."

I once asked a College Counsellor if she ever discussed or promoted abstinence from sexual intercourse as a fundamental principle for keeping young people safe and well (physically as well as morally), she gave me a very odd look.

So, the group who call themselves Abort 67 have been targeting FE Colleges to raise awareness of the horrors of abortion. Excellent. This must be a prime target audience.

Worthing College students who ignored the advice of their Principal
 Photo: Abort 67
Recently, Abort 67 stood with their posters outside Worthing College and the Principal, being forewarned, issued a call to the student body advising them to keep well clear.

Ha! That Principal would appear to know nothing of the mindset of the young; just say "No" and they will do it.

And do it they did, and Abort 67 reportedly, had a high level of interest shown in their display and information.

Even a Facebook entry from the Worthing police did nothing to reduce the numbers who flocked to the display...

Now, Abort 67 make a point of using graphic images of aborted babies on their posters and leaflets.

This upsets some people who believe that it does more harm than good but, I believe that, used sensitively (not using the posters in the vicinity of a primary school, for example) horrific pictures bring the reality of abortion home to those who see them, with an almighty force.

You will see the double standards of the education sector that, on the one hand,  warns against the "explicit images" used by Abort 67 and then promotes a "powerful" film on ethnic cleansing on the same page.

So, my point is that SPUC and the Forty Days' for Life and other Pro Life groups may like to consider setting up their stall outside FE Colleges as well as abortuaries.

That may actually cause some to think before a pregnancy occurs rather than afterwards.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Is it a bird? Is it a plane?, it's SuperPope!

The Italian street artist, Maupal, has painted a graffiti image of Pope Francis as Superman (or Superfran) as the tabloids have dubbed it, on the wall of a building in Rome close to the Vatican.

Flying through the air, right arm pointed to the heavens and clutching a black bag labelled 'Values' this piece of graffiti follows closely on the heels of the Holy Father appearing on the front cover of Rolling Stones magazine, a rather dubious privilege in my book.

And now, the Vatican has tweeted this image of the Holy Father. Poor man.

What has he done to deserve such 'Popestar' treatment? (Don't answer that).

A friend who was in Rome recently and attended Mass celebrated by Pope Francis in St Peter's, reports that all was in Latin and most reverent and prayerful.

But, there is little doubt that the liberal wing of HMC believe that the Pope is their man.

We shall see.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

White doves and Catholics

One of Archbishop Fulton Sheen's talks focused on a man who released a flock of white pigeons on an island.

A pre Vatican II pigeon
Now, anyone who has kept pigeons will know that they have one thing in common with rabbits, they reproduce at an alarmingly fast rate.

And so, according to the Archbishop,  this flock of island pigeons grew in numbers but, gradually, some less than white birds began to appear.

At first there were a few flecks of grey and then, very soon afterwards, the grey feathers began to predominate.

Six months later and the flock had reverted to the bog standard Trafalgar Square nondescript blue/grey bird.

There ends the Archbishop's tale which we shall return to.

Some two years ago our garden became a stopping off point for a pair of pure white pigeons.
They fed at our bird table and roosted in the farm buildings opposite and, before long, they had offspring and within what seemed like weeks, the offspring had offspring.

But, Archbishop Sheen was right, it was not long before the pure white strain began to be overtaken by the mottled and now we have reached tipping point as half the flock (now some 20 birds strong) are showing signs of being less than pure (white).

Archbishop Sheen was, of course, speaking in the 1970s and, even then, relatively fresh into the aftermath of Vatican II, he could see clearly what was happening to the faithful in the Church.

Gradually, the sanctity of Catholic life was being overtaken by something less pure, less immaculate.

A modern pigeon, looking unhappy and out of sorts

And now, forty years later, there is very little evidence of white plumage.

As allegories go, this one takes a lot of beating in my book.

Please note: Re my earlier post on the German bishops snubbing Pope Benedict, I have received news that this was not the case. The post has been removed as a result.