Monday, 21 July 2008

Closing down

Well I'm back from Lourdes and with that I've come to a few decisions.

Mad Trad has sort of become a popular blog. I have readers from all across the globe and what's more is that people e-mail me to say how much they enjoy the blog and how it has helped them; so it with some regret that I am going to stop blogging.

My reasons are personal and it would be inappropriate to share these on such a public sphere, but for what it's worth it's been a pleasure and a privilage to get to know some of you and to be able to contribute something to your day, week, month or year that has helped in some way.

I'm going to leave the combox open for now and in a week or so I'll close it down for good.

I ask for your prayers...

God bless


Friday, 18 July 2008

Tears in Heaven

I'll never forget the first time I heard this song... My father had just returned home from 2 weeks in the North Sea; being a fisherman, he often spent a long time away from home and so when he came home on a Thursday evening I would often get a 'late night'. On this particular evening, we noticed that there was a show on featuring Eric Clapton so we tuned in. Eric told the story about being addicted to drugs and loosing his son and why he wrote the song tears in heaven. Listening to those rough notes and the harsh voice of clapton, with just my dad and I in the room, spending time with one antother is one of my best memories.

One thing which continues to suprise me about a lot of songs, is the mention of the words 'God' and 'Heaven'. This song in particular shows a deep desire to know that his son is safe in the arms of God... Yet I'd be suprised if any massive music star was to come out and say I'm a Catholic.

Pope John Paul II said that in the dialouge with aitheism, we must not start with the proofs of God, bit with a profound reflection of mans solitude. That sounds very vauge, but it actually is the best basis to begin. When the son of a non-believer dies, I'm sure some sort of prayer or cry to God would come forth from their heart... It's on that level, that qwe should approach our culture and addressing the thirst people have for God.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Gift of Tears

I was just musing over the 1962 Missal (as I do from time to time) and I found some spectacular prayers; prayers that I'd never heard of and certainly didn't expect. The 1962 Missal is particulary beautiful for prayer... Whenever I struggle I normally have a look through and I find the prayers that I need at that present time. The beauty of these older prayers is that they are so precise; Raymond Arroyo said in his blog that priests e-mailed him all the time saying they are not sure what some of the prayers that were hashed up by the ICEL results even in priests not really knowing what the prayers are saying and thus they do not know what they are asking God for... (worrying)

This particular prayer I found was for the gift of tears.

Omnipotens, et mitissime Deus, qui sittienti populo fontem viventis aquae de petra produxisti; educ de cordis nostri duritia lacrimas compunctionis; ut peccata nostra plangere valeamus, remissionem que erorum, te miserante, mereamur accipere Per Dominum Nostrum Jesum Christum.

Almighty and most merciful God, who, to quench the thirst of thy people, did draw a foundtain of living water out of a rock, draw from out stony hearts tears of compunction, that we may be able to mourn for our sins and win forgiveness for them by your mercy. Through Jesus Christ...

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

A Vocation Story

A few weeks ago, I recieved a friend request from which is a special site set up for Catholics all over the world to try and connect with one-another. Low and behold, it was a cloistered nun... And not just any cloistered nun... One of Mother Angelica's own Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration, Sr Marie St. Paul. Here is her vocation Story.

The first glimpse of my vocation as a religious came to me when I was 8. The details are hazy now, but I remember having a dream where Our Lord came to me as a young Boy. When I awoke the next morning I knew without a doubt that He loved me and that, in some mysterious way, I belonged to Him. The realization of His love was tangible to me for quite a few days. Many years would pass before I grasped the full import of that dream.

Thanks to my Mom and Dad’s great faith, I was baptized and raised a Catholic. After my Confirmation the Holy Spirit took me in hand and so began the journey of discerning my vocation. I started to read more about the saints and the Church. The Faith really came alive. At the same time I was determined to pursue my dreams of joining the military. After graduating from Northern Arizona University and being commissioned a second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force, I went to my first assignment on active duty. To put it succinctly, I was miserable. To be honest, even though I was trying to live a more faith-filled life, I was still pretty worldly. It was a big struggle for me. Our Lord is very patient, thank goodness!

One weekend in May, I attended a Marian-Eucharistic Congress. One of the last scheduled activities was a procession with an exact replica depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe. As she was passing by, I said to Our Lady, rather casually, “Change my heart.” Since most of the people were attending the procession, I headed down to the Adoration Chapel. As I looked at Our Lord and He looked at me, it became clear to me He was calling me to be His Spouse. I decided to go to Confession to a little retired Jesuit priest, told him I thought I had a vocation, and burst into tears! Poor Father, he didn’t know what to do with me!

A few months later (during which I wavered back and forth, back and forth!) I was attending Sr. Marie André’s Investment in Alabama and I was able to speak with Mother Angelica. I was pretty sure she was going to tell me I was crazy and I didn’t have a vocation and that would be the end of it. Well, after about a minute of my pathetic stammering, she said to me, “Yes, you have a vocation.” I was shocked and relieved and then, really, really happy! I headed out to St. Michael’s Hall and at the time, there was a picture hanging there of a young boy. It was actually a picture of the Old Testament Joseph in his multi-colored coat, but when I looked at it, the memory of my dream came flooding back to me. It was a very comforting and enlightening confirmation from Our Lord.

I was just reading in a document from the Holy See where we as religious are called to be vocation animators. I pray my story and the sisters’ stories lead many young people to discern whether Our Lord is calling them to lead a life consecrated wholly to Him. I can only say that during my religious life, with all its struggles and trials, I have never known such joy. Our Eucharistic Lord is this Joy, my very Life.

“I do so dearly believe that no half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the Light unflinchingly.”
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, 14 July 2008


I have to say, I have nothing against Vatican II... I just don't like the way it was interpreted.

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Here I am Lord, Send Me

Feeling in one of my Youth 2000 moods today! This guy actually has a fantastic voice and I think the video works well with all the scripture.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Rough Sea's

The Monks of Papa Stronsay (who are now in the process seeking communion with Rome) were featured on a documentary a while back... This is well worth a watch (if you have a spare 20 mins).

These guys are hardcore... Mass at 4:00AM! I could barely make half 7 when I was in seminary never mind 4AM.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Unfinished Thoughts

Yet another example of how spectacular the Classical Guitar really is...

Thursday, 10 July 2008

How to build a new world

Get a pipe organ like this:

Heads up to Pellegrinaggio Cross the Ponte Sisto is a blog I dip into now and then.


Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Special Day

Today is a special day for me, this evening I make my engagement for the Hospitalite De Notre Dame De Lourdes.

Please remember my friends Gavin, Julian who will join me in committing our lives to coming to Lourdes year on year; for the sick, disabled and all those who want to come to 'bathe in the water'. We all did our first stage together and have been friends ever since. This also year also marks the 6th anniversary of my coming home to the Church and to the faith that I love.

Please also remember in your prayers my Grandfather Paul Johnston who served in Lourdes for over 50 years and for 25 years made his commitment to the Hospitalite De Notre Dame he was also a former Chief Brancardier of the St. Andrews and Edinburgh Pilgrimage. He's a man never far away in my prayers and used to take me to Mass every morning to serve before School. requiescat in pace.

This is a particularly special year to be able to do this in as it's in the Jubilee year celebrating the 150th anniversary of the apparitions to St. Bernadette.

For those who want to know more about the Stage, write in the combox and I'll reply when I get home.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Trad's do it Ad Orientem

Ad Orientem is Back!

Thanks to Love of Your Love for this

I had read about this previously, but I hadn't actually seen it. Marvelous...

Monday, 7 July 2008

Open our Eyes

This is an excellent video clip talking about the blind man and how we can too be blinded by thinking we know how God will work. The sound quality isn't so good, but it's well worth a listen.

Sunday, 6 July 2008

St. Maria Goretti

If it wasn't on a Sunday this year, today we'd be celebrating the feast of St. Maria Goretti...

Here is her story:

One of the largest crowds ever assembled for a canonization—250,000—symbolized the reaction of millions touched by the simple story of Maria Goretti.

She was the daughter of a poor Italian tenant farmer, had no chance to go to school, never learned to read or write. When she made her First Communion not long before her death at age 12, she was one of the larger and somewhat backward members of the class.

On a hot afternoon in July, Maria was sitting at the top of the stairs of her house, mending a shirt. She was not quite 12 years old, but physically mature. A cart stopped outside, and a neighbor, Alessandro, 18 years old, ran up the stairs. He seized her and pulled her into a bedroom. She struggled and tried to call for help, gasping that she would be killed rather than submit. “No, God does not wish it. It is a sin. You would go to hell for it.” Alessandro began striking at her blindly with a long dagger.

She was taken to a hospital. Her last hours were marked by the usual simple compassion of the good—concern about where her mother would sleep, forgiveness of her murderer (she had been in fear of him, but did not say anything lest she cause trouble to his family) and her devout welcoming of Viaticum. She died about 24 hours after the attack.

Her murderer was sentenced to 30 years in prison. For a long time he was unrepentant and surly. One night he had a dream or vision of Maria, gathering flowers and offering them to him. His life changed. When he was released after 27 years, his first act was to go to beg the forgiveness of Maria’s mother.

Devotion to the young martyr grew, miracles were worked, and in less than half a century she was canonized. At her beatification in 1947, her mother (then 82), two sisters and a brother appeared with Pope Pius XII on the balcony of St. Peter’s. Three years later, at her canonization, a 66-year-old Alessandro Serenelli knelt among the quarter-million people and cried tears of joy.

I took this from American Catholic - really decent site, even has a St. Anthony search engine haha.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

The Eucharist - A Symbol?

I think one of the crisis's we meet in the Church today is that we view the Eucharist as a symbol, rather than the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. When I was young, I thought the Eucharist was a symbol; just a pointless act of remembrance. I like the story from George Weigals book about Flannery O'Connor were she said 'well if it's a symbol, then to hell with it'. I completely agree.

Many leave the Church simply because they don't know the faith; modern forms of Catechises have taken the shape of wild liturgies. Recently I was at a School with Pax Christi who's idea of a liturgy was to have some Scottish plainchant (not one of the things that makes me proud to be a Scot), long winded prayers about peace (which have no meaning unless you first recognise that peace is a fruit of something i.e. Justice) and which talk about issues such as poverty (which is important, but far removed from issues which matter to the students such as day-to-day life relationships, chastity, morals, life and faith). No wonder the kids were laughing all the way through.

When faith becomes something removed from our lives and transferred onto more Amnesty International terms we loose something of the meaning. I'm not saying we shouldn't care about human rights, of course we should, but bearing witness to the divine meaning of life applies at all levels of life and not just to dictatorships. Applying that principle in some circumstances rather than in all waters down our faith which has it's summit in the Eucharist - the body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ. There has to be a renewal of Catechises in this country which doesn't treat kids as morons and which doesn't adapt the C-Beebies approach to communication.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Oil and Me

A Catholic take on the fuel Crisis ;)

Thursday, 3 July 2008


One of my fondest memories of seminary was our visit to Rome in March 2007. Rome is a place I've always wanted to visit and when we went there, I felt as if I was home myself.

The thing that I will never forget was our visit to the Scavi. For those who've never been or who do know know what it is, Scavi literally means excavations (sorry if I'm wrong). After Puis XI died, the people of Milan wanted to honor his memory (as he'd been their bishop before his election as Supreme Pontiff); they built a huge marble tomb and sent it to Rome to be fitted underneath St. Peters Basilica. According to George Weigal it was simply too big...

I always find Italians funny people - in Lourdes they won't share lifts with you and in Edinburgh they've all but taken over - so it was no surprise when Weigal mentions that it being to big might have just been a Roman pride issue as the Milanese are apparently quite efficient. Whatever the reason, Pius XII ordered the floor to be lowered to allow for the new tomb... What was found was an entire Roman set of streets and tombs and the remains of St. Peter.

When you walk in the Scavi you feel literally as if you've been transported in time. You walk along what was a Roman Street (Vatican Hill) and you see early tombs and also the graffiti which was everywhere. Modern Rome is full of Graffiti so it's good to know not much has changed in 2000 years. I actually got a telling off from the tour guide as being curious I climbed into one of the excavations (just to have a look you understand). She was quite good about it really, she came up quietly and asked if I understood the significance of where I was... Needless to say my head was held low of a few moments.

What makes the whole thing stunning is that above is St. Peters and you are down walking around the final resting place of St. Peter the Rock. When the excavations were taking place Rome was occupied by the Nazi's, so the archaeologists must have worked there largely in secret. I wonder what they were thinking as they slowly discovered that lost city underneath the Holy Roman Church.

When you exit the Scavi you come into the tombs of the Popes, personally speaking I've never been so moved in my life. You are amongst the men who guided the Church through the good and bad and who were chosen by God to lead his Church. My own favourite is John Paul II's tomb. The steady line of people passing through makes it hard to stay there for any period of time, but I managed to get to the side of the stream of people and kneel for what seemed like a few moments (but was closer to 15 minutes) and pay my respects to the man who helped me come home.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Quick Update

Well Im here in Lourdes...

Sorry about the spelling and bad grammer; its the french keyboard.

I cant find anything out re the extraordinary form Mass... I mentioned it to someone fairly high up last night and was told its 'a senstive issue': I have also enquired to a few friends who live and work here but its almost as if the mass doesn't exist. hmph!!!

Last night I registered my stagé with the Hospitalité and this year I've been given more of a free reign to work at the station and airport... I am pleased as its very intense when you work in the sanctuary either in the grotto and or the baths. You have to remember many people wait all of their lives to come and bathe in the water and when you're struggeling yourself its hard to help those prepare for the moment properly. I also met quite a few of my regular readers... One of them introduced me to his friends as 'The Mad Trad'. Nice to know the brand is working.

Say a prayer for me please!

Bach was Spanish...

...No he wasn't really, but I thought that would get you fellow mad trad music lovers going. Here is Bach's Cello Suite No. 1. Notice it's on a guitar (see I told you it was a fantastic instrument).

One of the reasons I like guitar so much is because it lacks the diversity that other instruments have; even a piece which is composed for eastern european music or for the ancient psalms end up sounding like a spanish dance of some sort. Enjoy.

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Off to Lourdes

By the time most of you read this I'll be in Lourdes. I'll be here for 18 days so the I've put a thin line of blogs ready to cover the period. Here is a tribute to Lourdes by a great organist - enjoy!!

Monday, 30 June 2008

The Faith of St. Paul

“In the letter to the Galatians he provided for us a very personal profession of faith, in which he opens his heart to the reader of all times, and reveals the deep driving force of his life. ‘I live by faith in the Son of God who has loved me and given himself up for me’ (Gal. 2:20). Everything that Paul does begins from this centre. His faith is the experience of being loved by Jesus Christ in a completely personal way; it is the awareness of the fact that Christ has faced death not for some anonymous person, but out of love for him - for Paul - and that, as the Risen One, he still loves him. Christ has given himself for him. His faith comes from being transfixed by the love of Jesus Christ, a love that shakes him to his core and transforms him. His faith is not a theory, an opinion about God and the world. His faith is the impact of the love of God on his heart. And thus his faith is itself love for Jesus Christ”.

I thought I'd dedicate this post to my old friend 'Holdingonforahoyos1962'... This quote shows how the popes theology is built on the entire christian experience which comes from a personal encounter in Jesus Christ.

Bad looser

Sex pest, liar, liberal and pro-choice Bill Clinton has another title... Bad looser.

Thanks to Fr Dwight for this.

The headline in the telegraph is 'Barack Obama must kiss my ass for support'. If anyone see's Barak Obama, tell him to ask Monica for advice first.

On another note, even the Republican Choice is poor this time around... Pro-Life lobby will need to watch it's step and we wont have the same support from anyone of the candidates as we did from George Bush.

Nutty Anglicans

I think it's safe to say the Anglicans have officially gone mad.

Read all about the Bishop of Manchester Ordaining his Wife Here!!

Sunday, 29 June 2008

Classical Gas

Theme song for The Sandalistas the Damien Thompson talks about... This would be good for a liturgical dance ;-)

Archbishop Romero

A while back, Fr Dwight over at Standing on my head posted on Archbishop Romero of El Salvador.

Archbishop Romero is often seen as one of those 'true missionaries' by liberals. It's funny how these liberals who bang on about the film 'The Mission' and about God's love, then support liberation theology. As Fr Dwight points out, The Archbishop never actually did support liberation theology, he did however stand up for his people! There is a difference.

Pope John Paul II believed firmly that evil consumes itself and that the only thing capable of defeating evil, is Love which is shown by bearing witness to the divine meaning of life.

Fr Dwight also comments on the situation with Rome and his possible cannonization. Well worth a read.


"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it."

You know, this whole farce with the SSPX is really beggining to annoy me. I'm not suprised that they didn't accept the offer from the Holy Father, yet I am dissapointed.

All they were asked to do was to accept the primacy of the Holy Father and not insult him... Given an opportunity to continue their work in theological dialouge and actually work with the Church and not against it.

All I can see in them not accepting this offer is a a typical example of 'self importance' and pride. It's also a mistake to think that people cannot disagree on certain points of theology (hence my quote). 'The Archbishop' as he was called asked the Church to do 'the experiment of tradition' and it's working. Vocations in the traditional orders are flourishing and within the Catholic world there is an openess to the 'Gregorian Mass'. Yet the SSPX by not responding postively to this offer has only gone and shot itself in the foot. Let's hope people can (like the Transalpine Redemptorists up on Papa Stronsay) feel free to come home to Rome and that we welcome them with open arms.

Pauline Year

Here are some pictures courtesy of NLM for the new Pauline Year

I think it's worth noting just how spectacular all of this looks...

From the Vespers yesterday.

Coverage of the Papal Mass today.

Check out the New Pallium. Personally I much prefer this.

It's so apparent the despite Pope Benedict XVI's appearance, he's a real force to be reackoned with in the world and in the Church... It makes you proud really to be a Catholic.

The Pope imposing the Pallium on the New Archbishops...

Just a word on the Urbi Et Orbi decree on the indulgences... The language is a bit wild. I really think whoever wrote that must have been writing something for the 15th century. Although I like mass in Latin and like language to be used which raises our hearts and minds, I think people have to understand what on earth the Holy Father is saying and I don't think the decree is written well at all. I'm sure people will disagree and cry me all sorts for saying that but I'm thinking in terms of someone sitting in craigmiller in Edinburgh or Broomhouse, or canning town in London... Those people need to understand this too and I don't think using phrases like 'august pontiff' helps.

Sunday Smile

Bless, O Lord, this creature beer, that Thou hast been pleased to bring forth from the sweetness of the grain: that it might be a salutary remedy for the human race: and grant by the invocation of Thy holy name, that, whosoever drinks of it may obtain health of body and a sure safeguard for the soul. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. -from the Roman Ritual

And May my time in Lourdes bring many pints just like it!!

Saturday, 28 June 2008

Manual Labour

Last night despite feeling quite tired and with my ankle sore, I helped my brother-in-law shovell 4 tons of bark for his new 'project'.

I like manual labour... I think it does something for the soul, and when you're working with others, it brings you together as 'men'. That might sound a bit old fashioned, but I really value my masculinity and I get a worrying sensation (especially with the governments new equality bill which is rooted in discrimination) that the sense of what it is to be a man, is somehow being lost.

Nice to see the boys from Papa Stronsay working hard and literally willing to build up the Church (they are in the process of seeking full communion with Rome).

Quite Stunning

Friday, 27 June 2008

Love & Sacrifice

You know lately, I've been wondering 'where is God?'. I've been doing my spiritual reading and so on and trying to talk in prayer, but I've not been able to really connect... It's like I phone and the number is always busy.

Today, my sisters partner collapsed and was rushed into hospital. Being with a bit of a gammy ankle just now, it's a bit difficult to get around and very difficult to drive - yet I managed to get myself into the car, drive to my sisters and then from there to the Hospital in Bury St. Edmunds.

After a good long wait, we finally saw somebody and discovered that they wanted to keep him in overnight... Being the bearer of bad news is never easy, and especially when you have to tell your sister 'it's a bit more serious than we first thought'. So I called the house, and asked my sister to make up a bag of basics so her partner wouldn't need to stay in with just his clothes he had on. The idea was I would drive back from Bury and then drive out again with the bag. When I arrived I found her packing the bag, putting some pictures in of the kids and holding back the tears.

When we arrived back at the Hospital, Laura just took the driving seat and made sure everything was OK, and most of all that her 'boy' as she calls him was OK, that he was comfortable and was aware of how much she treasured him. She was 'expressing her love' whilst putting her own comforts and needs as a second which for many people is the hardest sacrifice we can ever choose to make. That in itself is a mirror image of the Love of God, who 'sent His only Son, so that we might have life'

It's when you see the relief and the small things that people do to comfort one another that you realise where God really is. He is in those small things, the things that make 'life' bearable, the things that bring us a sigh of relief and the things that make us value what we have...

That might sound a bit like a silly ignatian 'God is in the flowerpot' story, but nevertheless it's our ability to see God in what is True, Good and Beautiful that proves to us He exists and which serves as a subtle reminder that God is with those who we might think is without Him; it's maybe up to us to help reveal the full picture.

Thursday, 26 June 2008

News from the Arroyosphere

Taken from Raymond Arroyo's Blog at EWTN:

Since the broadcast of this week's World Over, my mail box has runneth over with correspondents outraged over the Bishop's Conference inability to come up with a clean, faithful, lyrical English translation of the Mass prayers and readings. Many wrote of their desire to hear language at Mass that "uplifts" and "challenges." One woman said, "It shouldn't sound like the conversation we have over coffee after Mass. We are there to seek God, not each other. The prayers should sound different." I am inclined to agree.

A good number of our correspondents suggested that we simply scrap the endless translating and simply celebrate the new Mass in latin. But presumably you would still need a standardized English translation of the scripture for reading from the pulpit.

One of the funniest reflections on the translations of prayers currently used in the Mass came from a pastor who wrote: "As a priest I sometimes scratch my head wondering if even God can figure out what we're asking. A couple of examples: The Collect for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time asks God to "help us seek the values that will give us lasting joy in this changing world" and one of the Collects in Advent asks God to "open our hearts in welcome."

I think a good many hearts would welcome a standardized Catholic Bible that actually contained the readings of the Gospel heard at Mass. This, it seems to me, would be a good place to begin. With time tested Bibles like the Douay and the Catholic Revised Standard Edition already in print, couldn't we just use one of those versions and spare ourselves the expense and anguish of endless Scripture translations?

As for the canard that Catholics yearn to "pray in contemporary language at Mass," lets look at the Hail Mary. For centuries English speaking Catholics have prayed, "...the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou amongst women..." My grand parents said it. My parents said it. And my children say it today. There is a musicality and rhythm in the old language that adheres it to the memory and the heart. Translators would do well to remember this as they go about their business. Catholics like things that last, even audible things. And while I realize this might put the "Liturgical Translator Industry" quickly out of business, some things are more important than staying in business. Transcendent worship of God would certainly qualify.

Pro-Life Revolution

This is one of the T Shirts for the pro-life revolution which is a massive new youth programme being run by some old friends of whom I worked with in Glasvegas (Or Glasgow for those unfamiliar with banter). Yes the picture is awful, but I've not yet had a shave. For some reason I think being unshaven makes me more agressive in the gym and I really need to be agressive otherwise KABOOM (as my one year old nephew likes to say to me)

Pray, Pray, Pray

Fr Z

Mark over at Rise & Pray

And but not least:

Fr Tim

All are asking us to offer prayers so that the SSPX can come home and enter into a regular cannonical situation; this is a very worthy cause and I wholeheartedly reccomend it to you.

NLM also leads on the story

As well as praying for the SSPX, maybe you could also pray for a fellow blogger Mark, from Rise & Pray and who co-founded the FSSP Vocations Blog for Scotland & Ireland and the The Traditional Vocations Blog. Thanks.

Abortion: Prevention & Healing

Fr Tim has posted an excellent piece on the reasons why women have abortions and how the Church must respond.

I should mention that LIFE has been saying this kind of thing for years however often they are snubbed in Catholic circles and why? Who knows.

I particularly liked the emphasis on chastity which is different from abstinence. Living a chaste life adds a dimension to saving sex that the message of abstinence forgets. Chastity is a virtue, a gift from God as well as a discipline (a difficult one in my own opinion), whereas abstinence is just a discipline and there is no meaning other than practical prevention against STI's.

One thing that I did notice is that whilst everything said in Fr Tim's post is good, it did sort of miss out anything about the many women who could find healing in the Church but who are afraid to walk through the doors because of how they see people in the Church. Of the young students I speak to many tell me of their experience of condemnation from people rather than reaching out in love.

This is why this blog has been critical of the approach by SPUC at times. I know many wonderful people who work for SPUC, but a lot of the comments from John Smeaton lately have been unhelpful. I also see no sense in a political lobby group who do not lobby and who do not actually work in parliament. I would like to point out that SPUC have many arms in the UK which contribute well in the field of Education and also the excellent work done by British Victims of Abortion; however the political side of things must face up to facts - if you don't actually lobby and don't contribute where the government gives you a chance to contribute then you wont get anything done.

That aside, the 'I know it all' approach must go and we must respond with alternatives for these women and at times men in desperate situations... As Fr Tim rightly points out; it's not enough to say 'it's a child' they know it is; we need to say 'how can we be of help and enable you to keep the child'. Steven Covey in his book 7 habits of highly effective people coined a phrase which I like:
'seek first to understand, then be understood'.

LIFE as a charity is committed to that with the housing programme, Gemma Fund, Zoe's place hospices and counselling care programme for women in crisis pregnancy situations, but also in post abortion trauma. In the words of George Bush (a man I admire in many ways) we must respond by saying:
'we love you, we love your baby and we want to help'

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


Recently I've become more and more aware of how far away I feel from both the God and the Church just now...

I don't have any sort of community, the parish I registered with here is meant to be good and yet not one person has said hello or taken the time to speak to me. They do have the Extraordinary form once a month but they have it in a parish which is out on some country lane in the middle of nowhere and it's not even said properly. It's a shame as they have a beautiful blessed sacrament chapel in the main parish church but it's not used (who knows why).

Out of sheer desperation I went along to a parish charismatic prayer group (I know...); the people are lovely, but old... And this is truly 1970's charismania. That's not my bag baby!!

Maybe this is projection, I'm not sure, but I think my experience is similar to that of many Catholics. As soon as they move from a place where they could be Catholic, they suddenly find when they move that the gem they had before only exists in a few places and now they cant worship or belong as they did before.

I'm now seeing the effects on my own spiritual life. I know I'm responsible for my spiritual life and that I cant blame anyone else, but at the same time I feel resentment that being a Catholic is so difficult today, not so much as living in the world but as actually trying to belong to the Church and feel as if I'm in a truly Catholic parish without having an agenda, but just wanting to be around others who want to get to heaven and who want to save souls.

I feel very lost at the moment; please say a prayer for me and always remember if you see a new face it's up to you to make them welcome.


The Remnant has a great interview with the superior general of the FSSP. I really support the FSSP, value their ministry and unity with Rome and I'm very impressed with this interview.

Well worth a read

The Restoration of Guitar

Since one of my passions is classical guitar I thought I'd share with you something of this much under-appreciated instrument. Guitar has been boycotted lately with the cum-bye-ya ma lord lot so here is something of how stunning it can really be. This is Julian Bream (legend) and John Williams (Robot) with Debussy's Clair de Lune.

This is Sor Study in B Major again with the legend that is Julian Bream.

For those of you who know the film 'The Deer Hunter' here is the famous Cavatina which never ceases to move me.

Many people know that J.S. Bach wrote lute suites; what they don't know is that many guitarists have transposed these for classical guitar.

This is the famous theme from Schindlers List.

And the first song that the mad trad himself learned to play - Romance de amore (which isn't as romantic as it sounds as it was made for an early blue movie)

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

SSPX & Rome Update:

More coverage of the possible homecoming of the SSPX:
Fr Ray Blake


Apparently the conditions are:

  • The commitment to a proportionate response to the generosity of the Pope.
  • The commitment to avoid any public intervention that does not respect the person of the Holy Father and that could be negative for ecclesial charity.
  • The commitment to avoid the claim of a magisterium superior to the Holy Father and not to propose the fraternity as opposed to the Church.
  • The commitment to demonstrate the will to act honestly in full ecclesial charity and respect of the Vicar of Christ.
  • The commitment to respect the date - set at the end of the month of June - to respond positively. This will be a condition required and necessary as immediate preparation for the adhesion to have full communion ("come preparazione immediata all’adesione per avere la piena comunione").

Notice, no mention of vatican II or acceptance of the Novus Ordo - however I suspect that these are points on which any catholic would have to be able to sign in order to declare themselves a member of the Church so presumably this is based upon accepting the will of the Holy Father which states that new books must be respected.

YouTube Day

A little bit of fun

I've seen this before and I really liked it - it's good having all those quotes from the Fathers ;)

The fantastic Poor Clare Nuns from Mother Angelica's monsestary singing one of my favourite hymns 'O Sacrum Convivicum' which means 'O sacred Banquet' written by the great St. Thomas Aquinas

And the divine Mercy Prayer

The Holy Father on the Eucharist

The Eucharist: gift of God for the life of the world" - the Holy Father said: "The Eucharist is our most precious treasure. ... It is the Sacrament par excellence ... It contains all the mystery of our salvation, it is the source and the summit of the activity and the life of the Church".

"It is, then", he continued, "particularly important that pastors and faithful should always seek a more profound understanding of this great Sacrament. Each will thus be able to strengthen his faith and better achieve his mission in the Church and in the world, recalling the fecundity of the Eucharist for his personal life, and for the life of the Church and the world".

"Participation in the Eucharist", said Pope Benedict, "does not distance us from our fellow man; quite the contrary, being the most exalted expression of God's love, it calls us to commit ourselves alongside our brothers and sisters to facing the challenges of the present and to making the planet a pleasant place to live. To this end, we must struggle tirelessly so that all people may be respected from conception to natural death, that our rich societies may welcome the poorest and restore their dignity, that everyone may feed themselves and their family, and that peace and justice may shine out on all continents".

The Pope, who had been speaking French, then pronounced a few words in English: "I sincerely hope that this Congress will serve as an appeal to all the faithful to make a similar commitment to a renewal of Eucharistic catechesis, so that they themselves will gain a genuine Eucharistic awareness and will in turn teach children and young people to recognise the central mystery of faith and build their lives around it".

After encouraging pastors and faithful "to renew their concern for their preparation for receiving the Eucharist", the Pope said that "despite our weakness and our sin, Christ wishes to dwell within us. ... For this reason we must do everything possible to receive Him with a pure heart, ever seeking to regain - through the Sacrament of Confession - the purity that sin has blemished".

Benedict XVI pointed out that "sin, and especially grave sin, opposes the action of Eucharistic grace in us. ... People who because of their situation cannot take communion, will find strength and salvific effectiveness in a unity of desire and in participation in Mass", he said.

"The Eucharist is not a meal among friends. It is a mystery of alliance", said the Pope. "We are called to enter this mystery of alliance, conforming our everyday lives to the gift received in the Eucharist".

The Pope called on people to ask God for new priests for the Church, and to pass this invitation on to the young, "that they may joyfully and fearlessly respond to Christ. They will not be disillusioned. May families be the birthplace and the cradle of vocations".

Before concluding his remarks, the Holy Father called on everyone "to join me in praying for the success of the next International Eucharistic Congress, which will take place in 2012 in the city of Dublin".

Drink, Drink, Drink...

I could do with one of these this week... Prayers please!

Monday, 23 June 2008

SSPX Coming Home?

Reports are now flying in that the SSPX might be coming home to Rome after a new Vatican offer...


Fr Z's Comments

Fr Ray Blake's Comments

NLM's Comments

Mark's comments & Rise and Pray

NLM's Report that the SPPX have confirmed the offer exists

This is huge... I just hope and pray they take the offer now; unlike Fr Z I think the debate about religious freedom and tolerance is very important. I'm not ecumenical in the modern sense of the word, but i am passionate that people should be free to discover the truth rather than being made to believe. People always must be free to worship and must be free to express how and what they believe to be true - the Church's job is respond with the compassionate truth that the truth is to be found in the Catholic Church instituted by Christ and we must do this in love. God gave people free will so why shouldn't the Church.

Dying son

Today is a special day in the liturgical calendar that I can relate too. This is the feast of St. John the Baptist the precursor (or the nativity of St. John the Baptist or the Birth of St. John the Baptist). I remember on this day 2 years ago, I was in the Scots College in Salamanca Spain preparing to go to seminary. It was a time when those preparing to go to seminary (who'd been accepted by their bishops) went on retreat together and go to know one-another. I'll maybe share more on the retreat later on, but I want to reflect on the feast.

The priest who celebrated the Mass told us in the Homily a bit about the liturgical significance of feast. He said how really when you think of this feast you would normally associate it with a sort of Christmas feast and not a summer one. He then went onto explain that as the sun goes down earlier, and the days get shorter the Church reflects on the mission of it's members.

Like the shorter days, St. John the baptist was in many ways a 'dying son'. He prepared a way for the Lord... The emphasis was never on St John himself, it was always on the coming of the Lamb of God - it was on Jesus. We celebrate the Nativity of the Lord when the world is in Darkness and easter in a time of new life; so too do were celebrate the nativity of St. John the Baptist when the days become darker.

The priest said how we should focus on how we view ourselves; how the focus should never be 'on us' but rather always on Jesus Christ. We become less in the eyes of the world so that Jesus may become all, to desire nothing in order to possess everything which is Jesus Christ (cf St. John of the Cross)

I was always very moved by the fact that (even though the priest and I never got on in terms of visions of the Church) I am called to be a dying son of God, to die to myself and to become born again and raised up by the power of the Gospel.

Religion Vs Faith

Fr Z Hits the spot with this post on the translations of prayers for Sundays Mass.

In particular he talks about the concept of religion; I've heard many priests preach against religion and putting it at war with faith - they say religion is bad and that true faith is not religious. Yet Fr Z tell us how religion is a virtue and not so much a temptation.

Well worth a look.

Defenders of the Faith...

...And wearing the Holy Habbit ;-)


This is just a bit of a rant really, but the other day I was reading the First Things Blog and there was a tribute to Tim Russert who was a fairly well know Catholic Broadcaster.

One of the tributes went thus:

“He prepared for broadcasts the way he had prepared for Mass back in his altar-boy days. ‘Part of your responsibility was to be punctual,’ he wrote. Sometimes he had to go wake the assistant pastor, who liked his sleep; if Russert did not do what he was supposed to do, the service would not happen. ‘It all seemed so natural then, but when I look back on it, I’m struck by how much responsibility we had,’ he wrote. ‘We wern’t even in high school yet, but age-old traditions with great meaning depended on our showing up on time and doing the job exactly right.’”

I think this is something which has sadly been lost in the role of the alter server... I remember when I was an Alter Boy having to make up rotas and being accountable directly to the Parish priest; then later on all of that was done and we were really just on the alter to make the Mass 'look nice'. Towards the end of serving I found that I felt a bit of a display tool rather than anything else; especially when they introduced alter girls, it seemed a little bit of an effeminate thing to do in the fact that people wanted us to be pretty, not to actually assist the priest.

In many ways young people have been declared 'too young' you have responsibility and yet we have a whole generation who struggle to 'be' responsible. Young people aren't stupid, but when you're told all the time that you're irresponsible, then you begin to believe it. Maybe it's time we thought seriously about how vital the role in assisting at the alter of God is and not about playing equality politics which is essentially a using young people for our own agenda's and that is an abuse.

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Trad Retreat

I've been asked by Young Catholic Adults which is the UK branch of Juventutem is having a Traditional Retreat at Douai Abbey 4th -6th July 2008

During the weekend of the 4th- 6th July Young Catholic Adults will be running a Traditional Retreat at Douai Abbey, the retreat will be led by Br. Christopher Greener who will give a series of talks on St. Benedict. The weekend will be full-board (except for the Sunday lunch). Douai Abbey, situated on high ground in the Berkshire countryside overlooking the beautiful Kennet valley towards the distant Hampshire downs, is within easy reach of London, Reading, Oxford and many places of interest. It provides an ideal setting for quiet reflection, retreats and for conferences.

Hospitality has been a special concern of monasteries from the earliest times. St Benedict teaches in the Rule "All guests are to be welcomed as Christ". All rooms are fully en-suite offering accommodation for guests in the Bl Hugh Faringdon , St Alban Roe and the St Benet Biscop buildings.

One of the comments frequently made about Douai is that it offers an environment and atmosphere of peace and serenity, where the cares of daily life can be left behind.

  • Places are limited so please book early
  • YCA will have it’s own area set aside
  • There will be a social bar available in the evening
  • A Marian Procession will take place on Saturday 5th July in the Abbey grounds
  • Traditional Mass will be celebrated on Sunday 6th July

The cost of the weekend will start at 25 pounds to 88 pounds.
For more information and booking details, please click HERE

Unfortunately I myself cannot go as I'll be in Lourdes, but I really reccomend it!


Following Marks post over at
Rise & Pray about being tired, I too am feeling tired however I'll be keeping the blog up. I'm going to be away as of the 1st of July in Lourdes doing my stage for 3 weeks so I'll not have much time to blog. Plus I'm not sure of weather I approve of too much internet access on retreats and pilgrimages - surely part of the point is to give up some of that connection with the wider world and go on retreat.

Also this year is a very special year... I'm making my engagement for the hospitalite de notre dame de lourdes after 5 years of service. It's basically my lifelong commitment to live in the spirit of the Hospitalite and to live my life in the way our Lady asked us to do in Lourdes. Also it's a lifelong committment to going to Lourdes (every year)and helping the sick and disabled.

I ask you all to pray for me... My engagement is on the 9th of July so please keep the date in your diary...


Saturday, 21 June 2008

Christ in the Pentagon

One of my favourite orders is the Marians of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. I heard about them through the story of Fr Donald Calloway MIC who's conversion story is simply amazing.

Every month I get an E-Mail from them letting me know a little about their order and the priests at work. This month is a story about one of their priests who is a chaplain at the pentagon. The story is very moving, and you can read it HERE

Love Letter

Well tonight I was bored so I decided to go the gym; after the gym I was still bored so I decided to jump in the Car to Bury St. Edumunds and go and watch a film. Upon arrival at the cinema I discovered the only film showing at that time was... wait for it... 'Sex & the City'.

Needless to say it was full of things it shouldn't have been and I found myself looking at some of the outfits thinking 'she looks like a stuffed parrott', whilst the girl sitting next to me 'ummed' and 'awwed'. I should also mention the Louis Vitton shoes didn't seem to resemble shoes; more like my old Rugby boots with glitter on... But there was something in it which did interest me which was a part were Carrie (the lead role) in preparation for her new book was reading 'Great Love Letters, by Great Men'. Being a bit of a Romantic myself I sat back and enjoyed the beauty in the words.

Here is one from Beethoven to his 'immortal beloved':

Good morning, on July 7

Though still in bed, my thoughts go out to you, my Immortal Beloved, now and then joyfully, then sadly, waiting to learn whether or not fate will hear us - I can live only wholly with you or not at all - Yes, I am resolved to wander so long away from you until I can fly to your arms and say that I am really at home with you, and can send my soul enwrapped in you into the land of spirits - Yes, unhappily it must be so - You will be the more contained since you know my fidelity to you. No one else can ever possess my heart - never - never - Oh God, why must one be parted from one whom one so loves. And yet my life in V is now a wretched life - Your love makes me at once the happiest and the unhappiest of men - At my age I need a steady, quiet life - can that be so in our connection? My angel, I have just been told that the mailcoach goes every day - therefore I must close at once so that you may receive the letter at once - Be calm, only by a calm consideration of our existence can we achieve our purpose to live together - Be calm - love me - today - yesterday - what tearful longings for you - you - you - my life - my all - farewell. Oh continue to love me - never misjudge the most faithful heart of your beloved.

ever thine
ever mine
ever ours

Roll on the laughs

Friday, 20 June 2008

Divine in the Ordinary

I know many people don't like St. Josemaria Escriva, I remember having a good few talks about his spirituality and views of mortifications with many people. I remember having to stand up for him a few times at the Trad torture camp (or properly named the Ignatian Spirituality Centre in Glasgow). Needless to say I'm a fan and I think this 'Key' quote is something we need to seriously consider and relfect on in our everyday lives:

"He waits for us everyday, in the laboratory, in the operating theatre, in the army barracks, in the university chair, in the factory, in the workshop, in the fields, in the home, and in all the immense panorama of work. Understand this well: there is something holy, something divine hidden in the most ordinary situations, and it is up to each one of you to discover it."
- St Josemaria Escriva

A lot of people have the view that because you do a certain job or work in a certain movement or are ordained then suddenly you are holier than the rest of the general public; the reality couldn't be further from the truth. We are all called to be great saints...

Taking it forward

I had to laugh when I saw this, but in many cases I think it's a true reflection of what has happened in the Church in the last 40 years. I remember reading Cardinal Grey's Biography and the author mentioned how the Cardinal was deeply troubled by how things with changing left, right & centre and how priests and the laity were impatient when implementing Vatican II.

The Cardinal felt people had to be careful in flying off the handle when change came in and how when things change too quickly people often implemented what 'they' wanted and not what the Church had asked for.

Cardinal Grey certainly suffered as he was of the first generation of Bishops who saw his priests leaving the clerical state en mass, something which he asked Mother Theresa for counsel upon when she visited Edinburgh... He felt as if he had failed them in someway, but he also couldn't understand how priests didn't seem to understand their duty and the seriousness of the vows they had taken.

The Church is now on the brink of a major shift in thinking. The pendulum is about to come back to the middle, yet we have to be careful we don't push it too far the wrong way, otherwise gravity dictates that it will swing left again.

Pictures like the one above are a symbol that people are deeply angered about their faith almost being destroyed and the sheer impulse and momentum gained by the gift of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass has reflected that... But let's not hark back to the glory days of the Church which in my view never was! Let's take this beautiful form of worship and present it to the world in order to bring each and every person to the sacrifice of Calvary... That's not very ecumenical, but then neither than am I and neither is the truth.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Pope Annoyed with the Bishops...

... Is the latest rumour from Holy Smoke. It's no real surprise to be honest, I would just love to hear what the Pope actually thinks.

As I said yesterday, bishops are only to happy to hit you over the head with their 'pastoral' staff in terms of implementing their latest 'action plans', but when it comes to the implementing the will of the Holy Father then there is silence, reluctance and they suddenly disappear - you cant even find them in their own Cathedral!

When are we going to get Bishops who stand firm for the faith and not their own agenda?

I like Damien's summary of the deputy editor of the tablet's reaction to what Cardinal Hoyos had to say:

The Tablet isn't out yet, but I can't wait to see how it reports the latest development. Normally, the Bitter Pill plays down news that it doesn't like - and boy, you should have seen the thunderous features of its deputy editor Elena Curti at the press conference! She practically performed a (liturgical) dance of rage. If only I had thought to capture it on my mobile…

Abortion Numbers Rising

the Department of Health have just published their Abortion statistics for England and Wales 2007.

This information is obtained from the abortion notification forms returned to the Chief Medical Officers of England and Wales.

In 2007, for women resident in England and Wales:

  • the total number of abortions was 198,500, compared with 193,700 in 2006, a rise of 2.5%
  • the age-standardised abortion rate was 18.6 per 1,000 resident women aged 15-44, compared with 18.3 in 2006
  • the abortion rate was highest at 36 per 1,000, for women age 19
  • the under-16 abortion rate was 4.4 and the under- 18 rate was 19.8 per 1,000 women, both higher than in 2006
  • 89% of abortions were funded by the NHS; of these, just over half (57%) took place in the independent sector under NHS contract
  • 90% of abortions were carried out at under 13 weeks gestation; 70% were at under 10 weeks
  • medical abortions accounted for 35% of the total compared with 30% in 2006
  • 1,900 abortions (1%) were underground E, risk that the child would be born handicapped


  • in 2007, there were 7,100 abortions for non-residents carried out in hospitals and clinics in England and Wales (7,400 in 2006)

LIFE have produced a Press Release which is informative and I think is well worth reading; I also urge you to pass this on to any contacts you may have.

These figures show once again how ineffective the pro-life movement in the United Kingdom has become; this should serve as yet another sign that they must unite and come together and work together and put personality issues to the side so that the focus can continue on saving lives.

Fulton Sheen

I'm a big fan of Archbishop Fulton J Sheen; I think he was one of those men who stood as a true prophet in his time. Mark, over at Rise & Pray has some excellent videos of him and especially on the subject of Temptation. Fulton sheen isn't one of those overly pious people who avoid these subjects; he accepts the human condition. That acceptance does not mean he says it's OK to sin; no, it means he can more fully understand why we sin, and how to try to overcome it.

There is a another video of him and communism; it's really well worth a watch, just under 3 mins in length and as well as an attack on communism, it's a plea for people to look to truth and not to ideology.

Couple of Prayers

Here are a few prayers I was sent a while back which I think is good to through, and with these take a quiet time in prayer at least once a week. It's never good to always think about the future, but it doesn't harm to entrust that future to God and to always ask his blessing and protection for our actions.

Prayer for a Good Husband or Wife

O Jesus, lover of the young, the dearest Friend I have, in all confidence I open my heart to You to beg Your light and assistance in the important task of planning my future. Give me the light of Your grace, that I may decide wisely concerning the person who is to be my partner through life. Dearest Jesus, send me such a one whom in Your divine wisdom You judge best suited to be united with me in marriage. May her/his character reflect some of the traits of Your own Sacred Heart. May s/he be upright, loyal, pure, sincere and noble, so that with united efforts and with pure and unselfish love we both may strive to perfect ourselves in soul and body, as well as the children it may please You to entrust to our care. Bless our friendship before marriage, that sin may have no part in it. May our mutual love bind us so closely, that our future home may ever be most like Your own at Nazareth.

O Mary Immaculate, sweet Mother of the young, to your special care I entrust the decision I am to make as to my future wife/husband. You are my guiding Star! Direct me to the person with whom I can best cooperate in doing God’s Holy Will, with whom I can live in peace, love and harmony in this life, and attain to eternal joys in the next.

Prayer for Purity

Jesus, Lover of chastity, Mary, Mother most pure, and Joseph, chaste guardian of the Virgin, to you I come at this hour, begging you to plead with God for me. I earnestly wish to be pure in thought, word and deed in imitation of your own holy purity.
Obtain for me, then, a deep sense of modesty which will be reflected in my external conduct. Protect my eyes, the windows of my soul, from anything that might dim the luster of a heart that must mirror only Christlike purity.
And when the “Bread of Angels becomes the Bread of me” in my heart at Holy Communion, seal it forever against the suggestions of sinful pleasures.
Heart of Jesus, Fount of all purity, have mercy on us.

Wednesday, 18 June 2008


More from the telegraph on the post I published at the weekend about an Anglican Priest blessing a gay civil partnership.

The Bishop has responded by waving his Mitre rather than addressing the profound moral problem... I admire him for standing up the the renegade priest and for pointing out that charging to get into a Church is simply not on; but I do not see why Bishops feel scared to stand up for what the Christain faith teaches which is that this type of civil union between two men is wrong. All the bishop has done has clubbed his priest over the head with his Staff and failed to provide any moral leadership.

I think this is a problem in the Catholic Church today as well as in Anglicanism. It seems that Bishops seem more concerned about waving the Staff in governance but less so in teaching and santifying. I don't apply this to all bishops, but I would say a good majority are like this. It shows a real poverty of spiritual fatherhood and real lack of leadership.


My friend holdingonforahoyos1962 and I were having a running joke about the term experience... I think he sums up his objection to it very well:

I was having a discussion about this in the pub on Friday and I’m coming to the conclusion that the separation of experience and reason is the ultimate ineptitude. All experience is rational and so to speak of experience in an objective sense rather than a subjective sense is what we need to establish. Unfortunately, the problem is that the term “experience” has been adopted exclusively by liberals to denote various conflicting and diverse views which cannot be reconciled with objective truth. One man’s experience is not necessarily another man’s and hence if we continue to speak of experience or rest our arguments upon it we are at the mercy of relativism cutting us down in one fell swoop by saying… “that’s your experience, not necessarily mine. Let’s agree to disagree.” This leaves us with a society where the common good is the pursuit of choice rather than truth…

I came to appreciate this in full yesterday when I was with a group of people delivering a day of talks about peace; I've never felt so embarrased to be a Christian in all my life. More of this soon.

Irish Eyes

For many of you the Civitas Blog will be of interest. It's run by a Tory think tank and it's good for Classical Liberal thinking which should not be confused with confused modern liberalism.

I really liked their article on why the Irish voted no: the full text is shown below...

Shortly before last week’s unexpected referendum decision in Ireland, a journalist in the Scotsman explained why the Irish had chosen to reject the Lisbon Treaty despite the benefits the EU have showered on their country in recent years. He wrote:

‘The anti-EU lobby … have plastered Ireland with posters warning that the treaty will force Ireland to surrender its sovereignty on moral, military and financial matters. One conjures up the memory of Ireland's patriot dead from the 1919-21 war of independence from Britain. "They died for your freedom. Don't throw it all away. Vote no," it reads.’

The EU is, indeed, a giant prison that is steadily being erected around Europe’s populace as they go about their daily lives. It is being built by and to benefit an unelected and unanswerable elite.

Notwithstanding all the sweeteners thrown their way from Brussels to soften them up, the Irish know full well how much sweeter the fruits of freedom taste. That is why the Irish rejected the Treaty, much to the fury of the Euro-elite whose plans to strengthen their stranglehold over the lives of ordinary Europeans that decision has temporarily thrown into chaos.

We should be grateful, therefore, for the opportunity the Irish have temporarily provided the rest of us to mobilise against the giant con-trick that is the EU. Let us hope that the House of Lords uses its comparative political independence wisely tomorrow when the Government seeks to have the Lisbon Treaty ratified despite its rejection by the Irish.

So, on the count of three, let us all join in a rousing chorus of that ancient Gaelic ditty:

When Irish ayes aren’t smiling, sure it’s like from prison being sprung
Praise the Lord for Lisbon's rejection, you can hear it from angels being sung.
When Irish Europhiles aren’t happy, elsewhere in Europe all seem bright and gay
And when Irish ayes aren’t smiling, sure the noes steal your heart away.

Hilarious from Benedict Ambrose over at Tremendous Trifles.

And thanks to Fr Tim for pointing this out...

Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Academy for Life's New Boss!

Benedict XVI named Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Fisichella of Rome as the president of the Pontifical Academy for Life, simultaneously elevating him to the dignity of archbishop.

Archbishop-designate Fisichella, 56, succeeds Bishop Elio Sgreccia, who retired for reasons of age. Bishop Sgreccia turned 80 earlier this month.

The new president was the rector of the Pontifical Lateran University.

This is quite an interesting and exciting development; I have heard a lot about this guy as the rector of the seminary I went to was supervised in his licence in theology by Fisichella - the rector certainly wasn't orthodox in liturgy, theology, or ecclesiology so I'm interested about Fisichella. He also gave the 2008 Scotus Lecture which is an anual academic event at the National Seminary in Scotland... I hope he went back to the Vatican and told them to sort it out.

I am assured that he's sound though, there is just a niggle at the back of my mind which is worrying me.

His assistant at the Lateran is a Scottish theologian and Priest (who's name escapes me) from Aberdeen who is a former presbyterian minister and he met Fisichella when he was learning English in Aberdeen (strange place to learn English); the story goes that Fisichella asked him to come and study for Rome and he did...

I also have a personal interest in terms that it's now the pontifical academy for Life who could do a lot more in terms of bioethical research and academic discussion.

Be Apostles...

From the VIS: from the Popes visit to Brindisi

Turning then to address young people, the Holy Father explained how he well understood both their enthusiasm for life and the problems afflicting them. "In particular", he said, "I understand the burden weighing upon many of you, and upon your future, because of the dramatic problem of unemployment. In the same way, I know that your youth is threatened by the lure of easy earnings, and by the temptation to find refuge in artificial paradises or to allow yourselves to be attracted by warped forms of material satisfaction.

"Do not let yourselves be ensnared by the trap of evil", he added. "Seek a life rich in values, in order to create a more just society, one more open to the future. ... It is up to you ... to ensure that progress becomes a greater good for everyone. And the path of goodness, as you know, has a name: it is called love".

"The love of God has the sweet and compassionate face of Jesus Christ", said the Holy Father, "and thus", he told the young people, "we have come to the heart of the Christian Message: Christ is the answer to your queries and problems. ... Follow Him faithfully. And, in order to be able to meet Him, love His Church, feel responsible for her, do not seek to avoid being - each in his or her own environment - courageous protagonists".

"You are the young face of the Church. Do not fail, then, to make your contribution so the Gospel she proclaims may spread everywhere. Be apostles to your peers".

Go out and 'Hug' one another...

Is the message from the new present new president of the Pontifical Council for the Family.

The Pope has been impressed with the 71-year-old prelate's statements on the family which have made him almost a household name in Italy. In January Cardinal Antonelli issued a "decalogue for the family" in which he gave 10 tips for a lasting and fruitful marriage and a happy home. Italians were shocked to see they included advise to both husbands and wives never to stop making themselves attractive to each other.

He also said couples should find the time to cuddle each other and to pursue common interests. "Make yourselves lovable by grooming yourselves and paying close attention to your personal appearance," the cardinal said.

"Above all, show respect and tenderness towards the other through words of appreciation and of gratitude, smiles and glances, caresses, gestures of affection and appropriate gifts." The advice came in one of three letters to Catholics in Florence that the cardinal has written on the subject of the family this year alone.

Full article in The Catholic Herald

Monday, 16 June 2008

The Pope's Clothes

I don't normally post on this... But look at what the Pope is wearing!

'Oooooohhh' I hear you say...

Is this what the Pope talks about when he calls for an integration of the old and new?

I know a few Tablet readers that this will upset when they see this ;o)

I should mention the photo has been swiped from Fr Ray's Blog

This is the Pope in Brindisi Fr Ray also has a full account of what the Pope said which is far more important than the vestments but still it's nice to see some of these older customs coming back... Just awaiting the maniple now and all those kittens will be safe once again. (reference to the facebook group 'Everytime a priest celebrates Mass without a maniple, God kills a kitten) very funny!!