Friday, 30 May 2014

It's not the Latin, stupid!

I have watched, with some fascination over the past few weeks, several bloggers and FB commentators making statements with regard to the Ordinary Form of Mass celebrated ad orientem and in Latin.

They state that such Masses are reverent and inspire one to greater devotion.

I do not deny that.

                         The EF Mass evokes reverence, instils piety

Many years ago at Courtfield (Mill Hill Fathers) we attended the Novus Ordo celebrated in a most reverent fashion.
 If we had not moved to Wales to a parish where Sunday Mass took on all the aspects of a play centre for 3 year olds, we would probably still be (unthinkingly) attending our reverent OF Mass back in Herefordshire.

So I do understand....up to a point.

And that point is that the new Mass, whether said in Latin and facing East, is nothing but a pale shadow of what it should be.

Great chunks of the Tridentine Latin Mass (I still like to call it that) were cut out and ditched by Bugnini's committee and a very hard element of Protestant liturgy was inserted.

A horse designed by Mgr Bugnini's committee
The SSPX like to claim that there are 62 different elements of change between the two forms.

Well, I'm not counting but I do know that the late Fr Hugh Thwaites referred to the Novus Ordo as "water" and the TLM as "milk" and I think that is a very charitable way of describing the distinction.

I might have used the analogy of alcohol free lager and red wine but, there you go!

So it's not just the Latin, it is the structure of the Mass and the words incorporated into that structure that are vital and, just as you cannot serve two masters, so, you cannot, fruitfully, combine the OF and the EF.

The very essence of the Novus Ordo encourages an  indifference to piety and a lack of reverence most commonly portrayed by the lack of respect shown to the Blessed Sacrament.

Yes, the OF Mass can be reverent and certainly, celebrating it in Latin and ad orientem helps but it is not enough - it still remains 'ordinary' and, for the Lord, only the 'Extraordinary' will do.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Whatever happened to......

....communion rail cloths?

Altar or Communion rails - an extension of the altar itself

We hear a great deal today about altar or communion rails and how, in some churches they are being restored to their rightful place - hooray! But we seldom hear mention of communion cloths.

Indeed, if you are below the age of fifty or have converted to the Faith within the past fifty years, you may not even know of the existence of such things.

Dare I say it? If you have attended Mass at an SSPX chapel, you would know of their existence as they are in use at every Mass celebrated by an SSPX priest (the same may apply to other traditional orders, I'm not sure on that point).

But, as a small altar server it was part of my pre and post mass duties to lay out the communion cloth on the rails and this took some small measure of skill.

I am afraid that we altar servers were a competitive bunch and, as it took two servers to lay out or retrieve the cloth (it was in two lengths, one for each side of the aisle) it became a race - albeit a rather graceful race as we could not appear to be unseemly in the process, to either unfold the cloth to its full length or to fold it into 18 inch sections, concertina fashion.

The function of the cloth, of course, was to catch any particles of the Host that may have fallen between priest and communicant - we did not have Holy Communion under both kinds in those days, it was deemed then totally unnecessary, as indeed, it is today.

And, after the cloths were gathered up after each Mass in Hounslow parish, they would be consigned to Sisters John, Agnes or Francis de Sales who acted as sacristans and who knew how to devoutly treat the cloths in case of particles being attached. (I cannot find a reference as to how they were treated and it would be interesting if some erudite soul could cast some light on this).

But, communion cloths do enhance the reverential aspect of receiving Holy Communion and it would be no bad thing to see them restored along with the altar rails.

And now for those who are spluttering into their warm milk and shrieking: "This man is obsessed with minutiae and ritual!" let me say that we cannot take enough trouble to ensure the sanctity and safety of the consecrated Host - we need communion cloths so get over it!

Now I can hear some of those who have not choked on their beverage of choice crying out: "But the altar rails are a barrier betwixt priest and the people of God and they must be chopped up into small pieces and burnt at the first opportunity".

Not so.
The tradition is for altar rails to be made in the same materials as the altar.
 They are, in fact, an extension of the altar and that is an excellent way of embracing (may I use that word?) the people of God without having an unseemly mob trampling over the sanctuary.

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

It's not always a sin to simulate Mass

Adults should never simulate Mass

Last year we had American nuns feebly trying to act as priests and offer "Masses" and, last week we had reports of the Austrian couple who were excommunicated for "simulating" a Mass, pretending to be a priest, in other words.

But, before we rush to condemn let us remember those simulated Masses that have done so much good over the years.

I am talking, of course, of the Masses simulated by five year olds, when a dining chair becomes an altar, a tea towel performs the duty of altar linen and Dad's 1966 village squash tournament trophy is transformed into a golden chalice.

I don't know if young children still 'play at being priests' as they did when the Latin Mass was globally celebrated; there is not so much mystery about the Novus Ordo to inspire a child to attempt an imitation.

But, if it is an excommunicable offence, then I hold my hand up as must thousands of others who, between the ages of five and seven, would have pleased Our Lord greatly by their efforts to join in His great sacrifice by holding pretend Masses.

Indeed, I know of one young man who is now in a seminary and whose favourite occupation as a small boy, was to play the priest at Mass.

I was fortunate in having a wooden chalice shaped ex tobacco jar to employ for the purpose.

Grandfather's tobacco jar - perfect for pretend
Masses but never to be used at real ones!
Sadly, according to the news last Friday, the priest who advocates the homosexual cause, Fr Michele de Paolis, presented Pope Francis with a wooden chalice .

Not a gift that should be used other than at a simulated Mass!

Monday, 26 May 2014 election year!

I was unable to use the information sent to me by a friend prior to the elections held last week for the European Parliament (Wales) and for local council representation (England).

Sorry, Friend.

But, it is equally relevant to the looming General Election due to take place in May 2015.

Historically, the Catholic vote in Britain has always gone to the Labour Party.
And that has always mystified me.

Scratch most Labour MPs and you will find a socialist or, even, a communist past.

That can only mean one thing for Catholics......ultimate destruction of the Faith is the hidden agenda of hard line socialists and reds.

The Conservative Party has disgraced itself in the past few years, most notably by pushing through legislation for homosexual "marriage" and I dislike the way in which David Cameron leaps on every bus but the Christian one, in order to gain a few votes.

As for the Liberal Democrats, their track record regarding homosexuality and other unmentionables, is pretty must be a prequisite to becoming a LibDem MP!

So, UKIP beckons and, they appear, at this stage, to be capable of giving the big three something of a bloody nose come 2015.

Now the following message was one sent, so I believe, by Bishop Thomas Burns of Menevia to his clergy.

I am not one of Bishop Burns' most fervent supporters but, his message here is fair and an example of how a good bishop should lead his flock.

Read his comments now on the Welsh Election (in light) and then in the spirit of the 2015 General Election (in bold):

Dear Monsignor/Canon/Father/Deacon

Two documents (plus one in Welsh) are enclosed for local use, at choice,
regarding the upcoming ELECTIONS TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT.  Please
encourage people to vote. That is the important thing. It is estimated that
the greater the turn-out, the less will be the chances of a populist result.
Sadly, a great deal of information currently available contains inaccuracies
and selective argument. Prejudice governs many publications. People are to
be encouraged to research carefully the truth of many promises that are made
- and the gaps that appear because some policies are not mentioned.
ENCLOSED: Prayer for Europe.

Catholics are to be advised that they cannot vote for an intrinsic moral
evil that they may find in a candidate's manifesto - even if the rest of the
manifesto conforms to their own views and to sound teaching.  Catholics are
urged to research what candidates stand for, and discover their attitude to
questions of conscience. We should encourage all Christians to be involved
in politics. Our Christian duty to vote is to be emphasised. In addition, we
can advise that a distinction is valid between politicians who fail to
exercise their responsibilities and those who are dutifully committed,
though sometimes being burdened with unjust criticism and distorted

OK, so far so good.

I certainly get the drift of Bishop Burns' message but, if we follow it to the 'T' we, of course, will not be able to vote for any candidate or party.

I do not think that any of the contenders are likely to repeal the law on homosexual "marriage" (for example) so how, therefore, are we to proceed?

I have always considered the abortion issue as being the overriding determining factor when it comes to casting a vote, and with all parties being in favour of it have tried to determine which one was the most likely to reduce the number of weeks 'window' in which abortions may be carried out.
There may also be an opportunity to take a long term guess as to which party might, (unlikely at present, I agree) make abortion illegal once more - don't look to the LibDems for this.

Of course, I am making abortion and same sex "marriage" the two key elements regarding where I place my electoral (as opposed to pectoral) cross - but, I do not think that too many of you will disagree with that.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

The desk of a Catholic blogger

The Go and Announce blog by Meadows 59 recently published a photograph of his desk.

OK, no big whoop (as they say) but I think that a blogger's desk is a reflection of his or her character.

It can give an interesting insight into that person....possibly.

Here is Meadow 59's picture:

Most importantly, to my mind, is the prominence of the Latin Mass mug.
The rest is pretty neat and tidy, much like his blog

So now for my desk......the words 'neat and tidy" do not immediately spring to mind but I like it.

On the right hand side is St Edward Bear, once used when skyping my grandchildren in Australia but now redundant since their return to Blighty.

Various photos of grandchildren and then - shock, horror! A skull!

It used to carry a sign with the message 'Tonight, maybe?' as per the German monastery that I once read about that has a painting of the Grim Reaper with the 'Tonight' message in the Refectory so that the monks may contemplate death whilst eating.
It appeals to my darker side.

Behind my computer screen is a statue of the Madonna and Child, possibly Anglican in origin.

On the Christ Child's right shoulder rests a holy card sent by a friend from the Holy Land (thank you Joanne).
And, either side are two of my favourite saints, Thomas More and John Fisher (Ora pro nobis).

To the right of the statue of Our Lady is my 'Extraordinary in Latin' clock reminding me that it is high time that the Latin Mass is returned to its rightful place and made available to every parish at a reasonable hour on Sundays and Holydays.

On the far left a book case with some, but not all of my collection of religious books.

A picture of Mrs Linen...(of course), my father's regimental badge (The Irish Guards), some Japanese bric a brac and a model boat given to me by my son when he departed for Oz some 10 or more years ago.

 I suppose that, by rights, I should now return it to him as I no longer need its magical properties to sail me to Melbourne.

But! I almost forgot...just peeping out from behind the skull is a framed paper.

It is an attestation of the consecration of a chalice written by none other than Bishop Fellay himself.

A future relic, maybe?

It is dated 6th January (Epiphany) 1990 and it reminds me of the dark days when a Tridentine Latin Mass could not be attended for love nor money between here and Bristol some 160 miles distant.

That is why we needed the chalice; we built a chapel in our old school house and a travelling priest used to come every month or so to catechise the children and hear our confessions and offer the Holy Mass.

Much to the rage of our bishop and to the delight of quite a few souls who found their way back to a deeper Faith as a result of having a Latin Mass in Pembrokeshire once more.

Possibly, one or two of you might also like to post a picture of your desk on your own blog?

Friday, 23 May 2014

Clues to a Catholic heritage.....

....are present in the fabric of our society.

At least they are in Wales and I am sure that the same applies elsewhere in Britain.

A town with some character - in 1872
when this was painted
Haverfordwest is the county town of beautiful Pembrokeshire in West Wales and is a pretty unassuming sort of a place.

Cromwell did his best to destroy Haverfordwest and its imposing castle in 1648 and then the town planners and councillors came along in the 1980s and finished the job for him.

The town straddles the Western Cleddau River and, before the Protestant Reformation, was home to two monasteries together with a number of convents and a leper colony.

The usual structure of care and welfare that existed when Wales was a Catholic country.

Wherever you look, on the streets of Haverfordwest, there is evidence of its Catholic past.

A pub called 'The Friars' is built on part of the site of a Dominican Friary, founded in 1246 it was also known as St Saviour's until Henry's men demolished it forcing the holy preachers out into the countryside to starve.

Not Franciscans but Dominicans whose Friary
was on this site
Amusingly, the pub sign depicts a jolly Franciscan monk (well, a monk is a monk to the Protestant mind).

Just two hundred yards from the Dominicans is the ruins of an Augustinian Priory, having met the same fate under the 'dissolution', a prime example of an euphemism if ever was.

Street names reveal just how the Catholic presence must have permeated society.

Here are a few....

Magdalene Street, Pyx Parade, Augustine Way, Nun Street, Pilgrim's Way, Zion Hill (where a second floor niche that once housed a statue of Our Lady still remains) and numerous Church Streets and Lanes.

And the street sign that says 'Hole in the Wall' refers to the Dominican Friary and its entry hatch that allowed food and supplies to be delivered to the friars on a regular basis.

Many, of course, deny that Wales was once Catholic but the evidence is there, before your very eyes, if you just raise them above street level.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

"Neither fire, faggot nor scaffold..."

On 22nd May 1538, Blessed John Forest OSF, won his martyr's crown, not by being hanged drawn and quartered but by being burnt alive.
In this particular instance the flames were held back by the strong winds and the sufferings of this great man extended over a longer period.

Blessed John Forest -
 St Ethelreda's, Ely Place
Picture: Wikipedia

Here is an account of his final days and death:

Franciscan at the age of seventeen, professed Observant at Greenwich, Confessor of Queen Catherine of Aragon, as a strenuous opposer of the divorce he was imprisoned for two years at Newgate.

There he composed a book on the Authority of the Church and the Pope, for which he was condemned to die, but neither torture nor coming death could force him to acknowledge the King's supremacy.

After three years' delay he was sentenced to be burnt as a heretic.

On the stand at Smithfield he faced the Lords of the Council, with Latimer mounted on a pulpit.

To the apostate's (Latimer's) heretical invectives the martyr's rejoinders were so complete that Latimer in his rage exclaimed, "Burn him, burn him! His words are enough."

He was carried to the gibbet and suspended by a chain round the waist over the pile prepared.

The flames were kindled and further fed by the image of a saint cast into the burning mass.

The martyr prayed:"Neither fire, faggot nor scaffold shall separate me from Thee, O Lord."

He bore the agony with invincible patience and with the ascending flames the holocaust was consumed.

Blessed John Forest and the Martyrs of England and Wales - Ora pro nobis!

See also Supremacy and Survival's account of Blessed John Forest HERE

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The ultimate, ultimate in portable altars

There have been a few posts this week regarding portable altars...the sort that a priest might like to add to his baggage allowance to enable him to celebrate Mass in Machu Picchu or Ulan Bator or, wherever.

Fr Z has a natty little number that neatly counterbalances his Colt .45 on the other shoulder and, someone else (many apols. I seem to have lost it) featured one also.

But this one, this portable altar, is the ultimate.

It is, if you will pardon the expression, a real priest's altar.

It is not for the Novus Ordo priest, it is not, even, for the Novus Ordo Ad Orientem priest.... is an altar for a real ale, red wine, pistol packing Tridentine Latin Mass priest.....see for yourself

This is not for the faint of heart...this is for Extraordinary priests!

 In the church of Our Lady Queen of Martyrs and St Ignatius in the tiny hamlet of Chideock, Dorset, home to many fine English Martyrs, lies this 'portable' altar crafted out of finest English oak.

In the past, after the 1988 'excommunications' we had visiting priests in our part of Wales who celebrated Holy Mass on a wallpaper pasting table and that appears positively limp wristed when compared with what Fr Hugh Green and his confreres had to carry.

Incidentally, his fellow martyrs included Fr Thomas Pilchard, Thomas Salmon and William Pike, a fishy bunch, if ever...oof!

This church is undoubtedly the best in Britain (a proud boast) and it beats me why Joe Shaw and his merry men at the Latin Mass Society don't organise annual pilgrimages there...but then much of what goes on at the LMS these days is a bit of a ....OK, don't let's go there!

But please spare a thought and an intercessionary plea to these fine men who must have hefted this lump of an altar around the hills and combes of Dorset and its surrounding countryside.

They must have been a strong bunch, both physically and spiritually.

 Borne out by the fact that the executioner spent half an hour delving into Fr Green's body cavity in order to find his heart and afterwards, the soldiers played football with his severed head.

An account of his death is here at Supremacy and Survival blog.

Please Sir, I'm gay!

Reports from France where a school in Nantes is encouraging male pupils to attend classes wearing skirts are one of the latest in the round of 'down towards the sewer' type of stories in the news.

It appears that only by dressing as a girl can a male pupil show 'equality' - tosh!

"There are no LGBTs at St Custard's, even
 Fotherington-Thomas is straight"

Now, a North London School (where else) has established a LGBT club alongside its array of other extra curricular activities such as rock climbing and bee keeping. This from The Times of 13th May.

We are now seeing the poisonous fruits of the repeal of Section 28, legislation that gave schools the authority to exclude the promotion of sodomy (more HERE).

The floodgates are open and it must surely only be a matter of time before we have a Catholic Secondary School with a 'girl's uniform for boys day' or a lesbian clog dancing club.

At the Highgate School, for that is the one that has established the LGBT Club, this move seems to contradict the statement on their website which reads:-

"We are also aware that sometimes girls just want to be girls and boys just want to be boys, and that is fine. For our part, we simply want our pupils to feel happy and confident enough to be themselves, and we feel that the positive interaction between pupils is a central part of that process. Above all, we want our pupils to not only be tolerant of difference, but to celebrate that difference, be that one of gender, sexuality, race or religion. Having girls here makes that diversity possible and natural".

Does the same 'celebration of difference' now extend to transvestites and transsexuals?

It seems that it does.

But, caveat, the school is treading on dangerous ground.
I note that the Sixth Form Geography students are to undertake part of their A Level programme in Morocco.....might be best not to mention the LGBT thing whilst there!

Having one's students beheaded is not easy to explain to anxious parents.

H/T to Valerie U for the story.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Bigotry and hatred on the streets of London

Just four years ago we in Britain were blessed with a visit from Pope Benedict that sparked off a storm of protest led, most noticeably, by a group called 'Protest the Pope.'

This, in turn led to Deacon Nick Donnelly starting his blog called 'Protect the Pope' - now, sadly, closed down by his Bishop.

But, it is interesting, looking back, to witness the bigotry and venom expressed by the usual gang of suspects, Dawkins, Tatchell and others.

It is, indeed, quite frightening to see the mob in full flow; but, even more frightening to think that it is not just the Pope that their bile is aimed at.

It is aimed at Jesus Christ and his Church.

And, of course, it is also aimed at us.

Get used to it, this is just the tip of the iceberg. It's getting worse by the minute.


Monday, 19 May 2014

This disgusting and irreverent worship must stop!

Yes, I know this has been around for a while and it is very beautiful but, someone obviously believes it to be disgusting and irreverent else why would the shackles have been placed on the wonderful Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate?

Keep the FFI in your prayers.

Sunday, 18 May 2014

A March for Life London?

It seems such an obvious thought that, for once, I had the prudence to investigate and find out if there was a planned March for Life London.

After all, Birmingham has one, Melbourne also and there is even one, so I am told, in the USA - just a little one.

Well, of course, Fr Tim of The Hermeneutic of Continuity flagged up the idea 3 years ago, in response to The Catholic Herald posing the same question.

Nothing appears to have materialised.

Maybe it links back to my previous post about a Catholic Britain that has never actually recovered its confidence since the Protestant Reformation - we're all too pc to stand up and be counted.

We are just grateful to be here and to be left in comparative peace (apart from issues such abortion, euthanasia, gay adoption, same sex "marriage" etc., etc).

Nothing must be done to rock the boat....meanwhile the tiny corpses stack up.

One might think that one of the established London Rosary sort of marches might combine with the pro life groups and stage a stonking great march (instead of the measly 2,000 or so that usually attend).

And, if the Cardinal of Westminster and the Archbishop of Southwark were to lead it, what a marvel that would be!

Just a thought.

Saturday, 17 May 2014

What if.......

.....what if the Protestant Reformation never took place?

New York today...but could it be an everyday
sight in London or Cardiff if the Reformation had not taken place?
I mean, if it had never taken place in Britain; what sort of country would we have today?

The most obvious element would be that Westminster Cathedral would not exist.

No need for it. we would have Westminster Abbey just a few hundred metres away at the other end of Bulinga Fen.

And the same would apply for all those ghastly modern Catholic churches that look like something out of Dr Who; we would have many hundreds of traditional churches from the centuries before the 16th to worship God in.

But, that's the physical side of things.

What would WE be like today, we Catholics of the British Isles.

I ask that question because for three hundred years after the Reformation we have been 'invisible' Christians born out of the persecution of the Faithful up until the Catholic Emancipation act of 1829.

Prior to the Act most Catholics had endured a heavier tax burden than their Protestant neighbours and, if any passing non Catholic took a fancy to our horse, we had to hand over the reins and walk off.
Rather like handing over the keys to your VW Passat in today's world.

And we were not allowed to build our churches on main roads or in any prominent position.

I believe that such oppression has conditioned us today so that we still keep a low profile, not seeking out trouble, avoiding the limelight, playing the part of St Peter when he denied that he was a follower of the Lord.

We are grateful to be allowed to exist.

We keep quiet when friends extol the virtues of IVF or proclaim the joys of same sex 'marriage' and an equal, inclusive society.

And when the subject of abortion crops up, we steal away, anxious not to upset the status quo.

Am I being overly harsh? 

Let's return to the picture of a Catholic Britain today with no illustrious history of the martyrs, no St Thomas More, no St John Fisher.

We would have Blessed Sacrament processions through the city streets, maybe (a bit of a big 'maybe') we would all stop at mid-day and say the Angelus - wherever we were, in the street, at the pub, in the office - just as we did before the 1530s.

And priests, some of them, would walk the streets freely in their cassocks and monks and nuns would be visible in their habits.

Holidays of Obligation would be real feastdays and there would be carousing throughout the land.

Catholics would be visible and able to wear crucifixes or rosaries without restraint.

But...I am overlooking one other hiccup in our recent history - the Second Vatican Council.

That, appears to share many of the outcome characteristics of the Protestant Reformation.

An emasculated liturgy, a removal of the more obvious signs of our Faith (Benediction, Confessions, priestly attire, crucifixes in the home, house blessings) and much more.

In some ways it would be better called the 'Second Reformation' because it finished the job started by Henry VIII.


Friday, 16 May 2014

Ten things not to do in church

                                  Do not pray 'fisherman' fashion

When in Lourdes recently I attended Benediction only to walk out after a few minutes before the service had even started.

I have been in auction rooms and beer gardens that were far more reverential than the hubbub caused by the faithful as they turned their backs on the tabernacle and shouted to each other.

But, you see, I am unworldly in the ways of the NO Catholic.

I have dubbed them as "sushi" Catholics - they pick up what appeals to them and reject what does not. They are blind to the rich variety of Christ's offerings that are laid before them.

So, just in the very unlikely chance that any sushi Catholic is reading this, here is a list of what not to do in church:-

1. Do not turn your back on the tabernacle - the True Presence is there.

2. No applause at any time, you are not in a theatre, you are in God's house.

3. Do not speak to anyone other than in a whisper and only then if necessary.

4. When praying, keep your hands together, it's incorrect, in the Roman rite to do the "one that got away" pose.

5. On entering your pew or passing in front of the Blessed Sacrament, do not bow. Go down on one knee (and I mean go down, none of this silly curtseying bit).

6. Restrain your children, in a kindly manner; take along plenty of children's religious books but, if infants bawl, don't worry - God prefers that even to plainchant!

7. Leave your shorts, revealing tops and uber casual clothes at home; remember, you are in God's presence.

8. Do not refrain from lighting a candle, before or after Mass but do not press a button to charge an 'electric' candle abomination.

9. Certainly do not stroll up to receive Holy Communion, this is a very frightening process, you are about to receive the Body and Blood of your Creator; keep your hands together and your eyes down - and walk with a purpose.

10. Above all else, do not chew gum or eat in church; get your hands out of your pockets and do the best possible exercise, let your knees touch the floor!

Now, who am I to flag up these points?

And why, indeed, have I not mentioned that men should not wear hats at Mass but that women should keep their heads covered?

To answer the first question, I am unimportant in the scheme of things but, out of love for my fellow man, I do wish as many of them as possible to be saved - and these are some of the preliminary steps towards that process.

Secondly, as far as the hats and veils issue is concerned....this will follow on naturally if you apply the ten point plan.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Go down on your knees on 17th May


Because some bright twit has appointed it the 'International Day against Homophobia'

"Bucket please, nurse"

I regret having to repeat what, for us Catholics has now become a mantra - 'it's the sin not the sinner' but it's true.

Then, of course, there are those that get upset over use of the 'sin' word.

And, certainly, we are not phobic (scared) of homosexuals, they are sinners just as we heterosexuals are sinners and those who follow a life of celibacy have both my prayers and admiration.

The real problem is that homosexual acts are different in format, from robbing a bank or mugging an old lady.

Evil as those crimes may be, they do not disgust us in the same manner as homosexual acts.

And I trust that we all know why and that I need go no further on this point.

The great Lisa Graas has an excellent post on the subject HERE.

I believe that the explosion of the acceptance of homosexuality by society poses the greatest threat to Christianity in the world.

Our schools are under pressure to incorporate 'John and Jim' type teaching into an already unacceptable programme of sex education.

Parents, many of them, are afraid to stick their heads above the parapet for fear of being cast as 'homophobes' or, worse, arrested.

Our adoption agencies have all but vanished in the face of same sex couples adopting poor, innocent children.

And our priests will soon be arraigned in court for refusing to officiate at same sex "weddings".

Above all, however, there is now a fear about speaking out against homosexuality, even in the Catholic world.

"Who am I to judge" has caused enormous damage to our moral authority.

We are not a baying mob picking up stones.

We are not hypocritical Pharisees blind to God's commands.

But we are parents, grandparents, priests, teachers, aunts and uncles who do not wish to see those in our care subjected to immoral blackmail and intimidation.

So, on Saturday 17th May, go down on your knees and say the rosary and remember Lourdes and Fatima (especially).

Pray for sinners, pray for the world - and do penance!

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

What a Martian wants

"I crave for something mushy and bland, take me to your Bishop"

Sadly, there is little evidence to suggest that Martians are in the slightest bit interested in the traditional Catholic Faith.

They have openly rejected the concept of Baptism in favour of mashed potatoes.

That's right, you heard correctly, mashed potatoes.

They are not concerned with the teachings of Holy Mother Church and a life of redemptive suffering, they only want....yes, you've got it....mashed potatoes!

They would make excellent liberal Catholics....

....the imprisoned priest responds

Consumed by fire...and love - Blessed John Forest

The year is 1538 and, in a few days time, on 22nd May, Father John Forest, Franciscan Friar, is due to be put to death, in a most excruciatingly painful fashion, for his Faith.

He has received, in his prison cell, a letter of love and comfort from the troubled Catherine of Aragon, wife (soon to be ex wife) of King Henry VIII.

And now, in the manner of all good priests, ever concerned for the welfare of their sheep, he replies to Queen Catherine. The text is a direct copy so, at times, the grammar may seem a little odd…

“Most Serene Lady and Queen, my daughter most dear in the bowels of Christ, - When I read your letter I was filled with incredible joy, because I saw how great is your constancy in the Faith.

In this, if you persevere, without doubt you will attain salvation.

Doubt not of me that by any inconstancy I should disgrace my grey hairs.

Meanwhile I earnestly beg your steadfast prayers to God, for whose spouse we suffer torments, to receive me into His glory.

For it have I striven these four and forty years in the Order of St Francis.

Meanwhile do you keep free from the pestilent doctrine of the heretics, so that even if an angel should come down from Heaven and bring you another doctrine from that which I have taught you, give no credit to his words, but reject him; for that no other doctrine does not come from God.

These few words you must take in lieu of consolation; but that you will receive from our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom I specially commend you, to my father Francis, to St Catherine; and when you hear of my execution, I heartily beg of you to pray for me to her.

I send you my rosary as I have but three days to live”

This letter should be read and re-read by those to whom false ecumenism is their main goal in life.

An account of Blessed John Forest's death will be posted on his anniversary - 22nd May.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

A love a priest

Catherine, Queen of England, writes to her confessor

Imagine that the Catholic world is turning in on itself, that government is inflicting ever more secular solutions and ignoring the one true Church in favour of heresy and apostasy.

Sound familiar?

Well, we are back in the 16th century and Henry VIII's protestantisation of England and Wales is just in its early stages; yet to come is the removal of the Latin Mass and the imposition of a weak and feeble parody in its, we really are still in the 16th century.

A noblewoman writes to her confessor who is suffering torture and pain in jail where he has been thrown because of his adherence to the Faith and to the foundation stone of the Faith, the Latin Mass.
He awaits news of his impending execution.

The noblewoman is none other than Catherine of Aragon of Spain but much loved by the men and women of her adopted country.

And her priest? Blessed John Forest, Franciscan and martyr.

Here is her letter of love and compassion - tomorrow, Deo volente, I shall post Father Forest's reply:-

My venerated Father,

You who have been accustomed to advise others in doubtful cases know best what advice to give to yourself; and with your piety and learning you know without doubt, and even desire if need be for the name of Christ to undergo death and refuse nothing in such a cause.

Be brave, then, and courageous, for if in these torments you have some pain to bear you will receive an eternal reward, which if anyone were to be ready to lose both you and I would count him to be mad.

But, alas, you leave me, your daughter, born to you in the Wounds of Christ, for a time at least you leave me in the greatest sorrow, for I am losing in you the man who has taught me the most in divine things.

If I may freely say my wish, I had rather go before you through a thousand torments than follow you after a time.

Yet I trust in the Lord that I shall see you not very long hence, when I shall be taken to the calm life of the blessed.

Farewell, my honoured Father, commend me always to God, now and from your place in Heaven.

Your most sorrowful daughter,


Monday, 12 May 2014

The Franciscan Friars and Oliver Cromwell

The link between the two appears tenuous.

The FFI was not formed until  1998, some three hundred years after Cromwell ravaged Ireland using the phrase "Nits make lice" as a justification for the mass extermination of children and young people (especially).

The logic is good, the aim is bad; kill off the nits and the ideals and Faith of a nation never reach fruition to become the more dangerous lice.

My good friend, Mike Carroll (Ora Pro Nobis) reminded me of this when he commented on the scandalous fact that the founder of the FFI, Fr Stefano Manelli, has been forbidden to visit his parent's grave. See Fr Z on the matter HERE.

Here is an extract from Mike's comment:

..." If you look at the vocations video of the FFI it is not exactly portraying a dusty relic. It is very upbeat, modern, and really in a vein more befitting the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal i.e. the 'cool friars from the Bronx'. Somewhere in the mix of this came the rise of the Latin Mass and the powers that be don't like it and are panicking - because if a religious order that is portraying itself as vibrant and modern is turning to the Latin Mass then their Bugnini Novus Ordo experiment really is in danger..."

Here is the FFI's vocations video:-"

So, are the shocking attempts to shackle this Order part of a planned and cynical campaign to nip in the bud an aspect of the orthodox Faith that is attractive to the young?

So attractive, in fact, that vocations are booming and a considerable following of, mainly, young Catholic laity, beginning to emerge.

If this is the case, and, I suspect it to be so, it reminds me of another incident when a similar turn of events took place.

Step back to the early 1980s when all was in disarray and all hope on the verge of extinction.
Gradually, the order formed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, the Society of St Pius X, took on prominence.

Word of their existence spread slowly, no internet then, of course, and their very being was like a breath of fresh air to those of us who hungered for something more than a protestantised Mass, banal hymns and sermons on the sanctity of Ghandi.

But, in 1988, the more than reasonable request that the Society made, namely, to be allowed to select their own bishops rather than have Vatican stooges imposed upon them, resulted in Archbishop Lefebvre going ahead and consecrating his four good men and true; well, he got it right with three of them!

The result was the so called 'excommunications' but, more than that, for us poor grassroots laity, it meant that the bishops had received a clear and unequivocal signal that it was legitimate to bash the traditionalists - and bash us they did.

And one of their key moves was to ban any publicity or advertising of Tridentine Latin Masses that were scheduled.

Our own dear bishop actually stated that he did not want children attending such Masses (hence, of course, the reason why so many EF Masses were held at 6.30pm on a Wednesday).

"Nits make lice" was rearing its ugly head yet again.

More was to follow; young priests who were celebrating the old Mass were persecuted by their bishops and many left in a state of shock and despair.

I still pass one or two in the street today and they look unhappy and betrayed to the point of being furtive.

Because of our stance, we were dubbed as 'heretics' by our curate  - more was to follow; our children were isolated and ignored at their Catholic school and excluded from parish life.

We made the decision to never again attend a Novus Ordo Mass and so began a very strained period that lasted, in the main, until Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope.

Now that the same type of sinister moves are being made against the FFI we can, I think, expect more of the same.

It always used to be said that what was needed to re-vitalise the Catholic Faith in England and Wales, was a good dose of persecution.

So relish the fact that we are part of the re-vitalisation process and prepare for more to come.

And cling on to the fact that we are not suffering the fate of so many of our martyrs: death on the scaffold - not yet, at any rate.


Friday, 9 May 2014

Bishop Williamson and the Ukraine

Before you read this post please understand that I hold no regard for Bishop Williamson.

In fact, about three years ago I walked out of a Sunday Mass because he was the celebrant and gave a most unsuitable sermon.

However, I do remember quite vividly the 1988 'excommunication' of the four SSPX bishops and Bishop Williamson's television interview afterwards, with startling clarity.

I cannot find it on Youtube but here is the critical sentence and I am pretty confident that it is word for word accurate.

Remember that he gave this interview after the news that he and the other three had been excised from the Holy Roman Church.....this is what he said:-

"People will remember the true Church when the fire and brimstone falls from the skies; they will remember the one true Faith when the tanks begin to roll across the borders....."

That soundbite has relevance today when we regard the situation in the Ukraine.

Although we have been sheltered from world news for almost a week in holy Lourdes, it would appear as if it is only a question of time before the tanks begin to move over the borders and fire and brimstone fall from the skies.

The question is....will people remember the one true Church?

And will the Holy Father consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary

I suspect that Bishop Williamson was only half right in his predictions.

Here is a clip of the consecrations in 1988...and on Monday I hope to post on the effect the consecrations had on the traditional Catholic world and how we are now seeing a reappearance of that effect.

I have not had time to view the complete clip, it is possible that the interview is included,


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Typical Lourdes

Lourdes is full of LGBTs, I mean, of course, Libyans, Germans, Belgians and Tanzanians.

And still the nationality count goes up. It is, in reality, a microcosm of the Catholic world.

This is brought home more keenly by the fact that Latin Masses are as rare as pork pies in a mosque - Ooh! Am I allowed to say that?

We have been unfortunate (in missing the ICKSP Pilgrimage and Cardinal Burke by one day) but fortunate in having an EF Mass courtesy of the Order or Malta for the past five days.

It strikes me that traditional groups should leave their EF Mass schedules at the Domain information office....keep hammering it home that there ARE Latin Masses in Lourdes.

Also, a small poster on the Domain pilgrimage information board (totally out of date) would be helpful (and a few left in nearby cafes while you're at it).

We are very good at hiding our light under a bushel!

So here are some pictorial views of la belle Lourdes!

Waiting for Mewlier Fortis
Just follow the instructions
Dedicated to members of The Confraternity of the Holy Cross, Menevia

A happy pilgrim...nationality unknown...ahem



Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Once more unto the baths dear friends....

Tridentine Latin Mass in the upper basilica last Sunday
....this morning there were many more men queuing up for the early baths and I was about number sixty in line.

From the women's section came a continuous series of sweet French and Italian hymns, while, from our side came a gabble of voices seemingly intent on discussing all matters worldly.

That, I believe, answers the question I posed yesterday, namely, which is the more reverent of the two sexes?

Women win hands down.

Next to me in the queue, three Italian gents were discussing the best method of constructing an IKEA flatpack chest of drawers.

"You must begin with the drawers" said one.

"No, no, most definitely not!" said another while the third chipped in with: "You must definitely commence with the carcase working from the final stage back to the first!"

They settled down once the brancardiers had prised their fingers from around each other's throats.

On the other side of me two French gentlemen were in dispute over their petanque techniques.

"You must use the three middle fingers of the right hand and give the wrist a flick at the last second...."

I gave up trying to say my Rosary and joined in the debate.

Anglo French relations are now at an all time low.

Some brief accounts.....yesterday I felt a great affection for an elderly Englishwoman who hissed in my ear: "I never go to the Novus Ordo, it's a complete waste of time!"

And I felt for another poor soul who confided in me that she had taken the baths twice but had not been cured. What?

We also met two young people from Wales after the Order of Malta Latin Mass.
One of them is a very accomplished singer but I shall not release any further details lest I embarrass him.

It is difficult to find peace at the Grotto unless you go at sun up or late at night.

In the past five days we have listened to more contemporary hymns than I care to recall.
None of them were uplifting; all of them were dirge like.

What a sorry state we have come to.

Nonetheless, Lourdes is one of the great Catholic experiences, but you have, at times, to turn a blind eye to some of the administration elements.

As one queues on the benches awaiting the baths, the brancardiers like to fuss and officiate. I suppose it's because they have so little to do.

They growl out orders in French, sotto voce...."go down there, no, not there you English fool, THERE!"

And then when you sit they tweak your sleeve and mutter: "Look, there's half a centimetre of space between you and the next man, move up vite, vite!"

No sooner do you move rather uncomfortably close to your neighbour than the brancardiers call for you to stand and about turn, and quick march for a few seconds before they give the command to be seated again and the whole process repeats itself: "Look M'sieu, there's a half centimetre gap..."etc., etc.

But I must not be too unkind to our French cousins, after all, a nation that can transform two lettuce leaves, a section of boiled egg and half a tomato into a delicious salad and charge you 12 Euros for the pleasure of eating it, can't be all bad.

Can it?


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

More from Lourdes

Thanks to the Order of Malta we are able to attend an EF Mass daily at 12 noon in the Sacre Coeur Chapelle on the first floor of the Order's HQ.

Yesterday's celebrant was Fr Anthony Talbot who hails from Worcester so we were told.

And now, a correction. I misunderstood EFP2s comment regarding the golden crown of Our Lady.
So, a biretta tip to our PP, Fr JJ, for kindly putting me right.

It is the massive gold crown over the Rosary Basilica that was funded by the generosity of the Irish back in 1924....troubled times for Ireland.

Six decades on Our Lady's Rosary
And Fr JJ has pointed out a fact that, I suspect, not too many know.
That is, that the statue of The Immaculate Conception, also with a gold crown, shows Our Lady holding a six decade Rosary.

This is the type of Rosary that Bernadette used; it was common to the region and the sixth decade was in honour of the Immaculate Conception.

Candles have been lit for the intentions of all

Several things occur to me regarding this visit.

Firstly, it is abundantly clear that French plumbers and electricians are now responsible for the administration of the internet in France.

Secondly, there are many more priests on the streets of Lourdes wearing soutanes - hurrah! Vive le soutane!

And, thirdly, there are also many more professional beggars around.

That does not worry me particularly but they all have very small children in tow and these are used cynically to extract cash from the pilgrims.
Small children should not be sleeping on street corners on scraps of cardboard.

Today was my second day running for the baths and I am back at the hotel awaiting Mme Linen who reappears some two hour after I have surfaced.

The reason?

Many more women than men take the baths; the queues are four or five times as long.

Ponder on that.

Is it because women are more pious than we men?

Or, is it that women are more in need of spiritual healing?

Just a thought.

And, finally, we were greeted, yesterday by the Grand Master of the Lourdes ACTA Lodge Number 666, here he is below.........


Monday, 5 May 2014

Lourdes - God's waiting room

When you enter the town of Lourdes you are entering a wholly Catholic world.

Priests and religious are everywhere and just about every person on the streets is a pilgrim.

Of course, the visibly sick and infirm are much in evidence but all of us who are here, I suspect, would lay claim to being sick and infirm, if not physically or mentally, then certainly, spiritually.

This was certainly true of the troop of men and women who gathered at 8am this morning to wait patiently for the baths to open at 9am.

We shivered as we sat on our hard benches and some looked apprehensive, some uncertain and some just plain scared.

The experience must be a pale shadow of the final judgement; we wait, we pray, we suffer from poor nerves until, the moment comes when we lose our worldly possessions, our clothes and our dignity and stand before Almighty God in much the same way as when we entered into this world.

The waters of the Gave (assuming that there must be some sharing of the spa waters with that of the river) flow into the River Jordan and we are healed by the hand of Our Lord responding to the request of his mother.

 Lourdes is a complete and utter defeat for those who support murder in the womb and the killing of the sick and elderly.

Here you are surrounded by many who, if the state and the feminists had their way, would not be with us today.

The most moving sight of our pilgrimage so far was a line of 8 to 10 year olds, each pulling an invalid carriage containing a sick child of a similar age.

The faces of the petit brancardiers were lit up with their sense of purpose and the poor, sick children obviously took great courage from their friends.

Of course, we are all bound together; German, French, Bolivian, Austrian, American, English and all other nationalities under the Lourdes sun.

And the main common denominator, after our shared Faith, is when a Latin prayer is said or hymn sung.

Then we become as one, loud and confident and, yes, even, inclusive!

Tomorrow, we hope to repeat the experience.

Sunday, 4 May 2014

Lourdes water......and grass

Our Lady's gold crown was donated by the people of Ireland
(Biretta tip to EFPastoremeritus2)
Saturday was our first full day in Lourdes and we made several visits to the Grotto and to the information office to enquire about Mass in Latin.

We were met with a rather patronising smile and told that there was only one EF Mass in Lourdes each week and that was at 9am in the Upper Basilica.
Surely,  we said, there must be more than one Mass per week.

A very firm "Non" was the response.

Leaving the Domain intent upon finding a coffee we bumped into our good friend, Julian Chadwick, Knight of the Order of Malta and ex Chairman of the Latin Mass Society.

Knight of the Order of Malta, Fra Julian Chadwick
Julian was sitting with Fr Ronald Creighton Jobe Cong. Orat., and announced that there was a Mass about to be celebrated in the Sacred Heart Chapel of a nearby hotel.

So much for patronising smiles and firm "Nons".

Fr CJ left immediately to prepare for the Mass while we chatted with Julian.

Lourdes is full of members of the Order of Malta and he explained that the USA had chartered three jumbo jets and Britain two, flying in many hundreds of sick and infirm.

So, on our very first day we were able to attend Mass and, afterwards, return to the Domain where we drank the water and I, much to the concern of Madame Toile de Lin, ate the grass.

You see, Our Lady instructed Bernadette to drink the water and eat the grass, acts which brought down great scorn upon her head from the sceptical locals.

So I feel that it is only right to follow suit...although I believe that Mme TdL is secretly planning to use this action on my part to have me detained under the Mental Health Act when we return to the UK.

 Due to the uncertainties of internet connections here in Lourdes, I am not always able to respond to comments, my apologies.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Protect the heretic

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

So now we are in Lourdes and soaking up the holy aura that permeates every inch of the town.

But I cannot switch off my brain from thinking of the latest in the Protect the Pope saga.
 I am sure that Deacon Nick and his wife will, by now be heartily sick of the whole shebang and even wish that the blog had never been started in the first place.

They need our prayers.

But I also read on That the Bones you have crushed may Thrill blog that Lancaster Diocese is the recipient of an ACTA meeting next Tuesday.

And that, frankly, gives me a massive spike (in my blood pressure).

I intend to set off shortly for the Grotto and to sit and pray and meditate, for quite some time.

I shall pray for Deacon Nick and Martina, his wife.

I shall pray for Bishop Campbell.

 I shall pray for those who follow ACTA.

And, of course, I shall pray for all bloggers, followers, tweeters and members of the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

I can do no more that place my concerns into the hands of our blessed Mother.

Other posts on the subject are at Bara Brith, Lucas Cambrensis and Fr Z.


Friday, 2 May 2014

What the Bishop did

I must be the only fish in the pond who has not made any comment on the Protect the Pope affair (apart from a few oblique references).

James Preece is following an interesting line of enquiry while there are a few who hold hard to the view that we must respect our bishops and that Bishop Campbell is a good man.

Well, as eny fule knoe, ever since the Glencoe massacre, one has never been able to trust a Campbell!

But my take on the sad affair is that, yes, the Bishop does have the right to demand absolute obedience from a member of his religious team.

But, when faced with a blog that is sound in Catholic doctrine and truth,  to shut it down must be an act of weakness and pride.

No leader who is strong and confident objects to being challenged.


Thursday, 1 May 2014

The journey begins here....

Our Lady of Lourdes, but not as Bernadette saw her
Picture: we begin our haul to Lourdes for one week's pilgrimage.

Why is it that Our Lady always chooses off the beaten track places to endow with her presence? (Fatima, La Salette, Akita etc).

We drive to Stansted and then fly to Biarritz and then it's a two and a bit hours train journey to Lourdes.

I note that, in the past four days, the little town of Lourdes has suffered an earthquake, some 4.0 on the Richter scale...enough to tip you out of bed, just.

I know that because a 3.8 earthquake bumped me from my slumbers in Hiroshima some years ago - a rude awakening if ever there was.

It will be our fourth visit and I look forward to visiting the Grotto as soon as we have shaken the dust of Ryannair off our feet.

Of course, the image of Our Lady of Lourdes that we know so well is actually nothing like the Lady that St Bernadette saw.

And if you look at the height of the Grotto you will begin to understand that Our Lady of Lourdes did not have a willowy sort of appearance but was, in fact, rather short;  typical of the build of Pyrenean women of the time.

St Bernadette became exceedingly cross with the Church authorities when they presented the town with its first statue showing Our Lady as tall and graceful.

I am certain that her real appearance was not lacking in grace, just grace in a different form to the one that visitors from Paris and beyond would have been used to.

If you read Dr Halliday Sutherland's book 'A Time to Keep' (he who valiantly took on Marie Stopes in the famous court case and tragically lost) there is an interesting account of how a local lass, Jeanne Abadie, who had followed Bernadette to the Grotto area, threw stones in the direction that Bernadette was looking in, hoping to hit the Mother of God.
Before the missiles had even left her grubby, ignorant hands, however, Our Lady had moved so that the stones landed far away from her.
 On each occasion, Our Lady reappeared in another spot so that her attacker was constantly confounded.

Sutherland visited the Shrine in 1923 and his account is partly gleaned from the writings of Father Martindale on Lourdes.

Here is a Lourdes poem I found, written by Sr M Therese:-

Lady of Lourdes
Untouched by Adam's curse - our Mary's soul!
Like great bell tones the Pontiff's edict rings -
While every heart on earth re-sounds the word,
And all earth sings.
Comely she stands before a shy young girl
Who tells her Ave, trembling to await
The bright air broken by a word - "I am
O happy cave, majestic rock that felt
Her feet press lightly as they do in dream,
Whence waters brimmed with healing break their source,
And with life, stream.
From every countryside and city square
A troop of pilgrims crowds upon the way:
Some come to kneel in child-eyed wonderment,
Some come to pray.
She dries her children's tears as mothers do,
And pours a draught of grace from prayer-cupped hands,
That each may journey back refreshed and glad
To better lands.
O Virgin, let thy fleet compassion's spark
Light up the murky paths we stumble on;
Give us the warmth of thy embrace when earth's
Cold pain is gone.

All song and glory to our Father rise
And to the Christhead (Mary's Only Son!)
With Their swift Spirit winged with love for Both,