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.

Sad

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


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

Crisis

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.

FSSP

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

NLM

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...

See

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 ;-)

Responsibility


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!

Tired

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...

JP

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

Non-residents:

  • 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.
Amen.


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

Update...

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.

Experience

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!!

Why Does God Permit Suffering?

I've just finished reading a fantastic article from the First Things on the square blog, on human suffering.

In the article Fr Neuhaus talks about one of First Things critics 'James Woods' and his struggle to believe. He continues:

When Wood was a teenager, he took a legal pad and listed in one column all the reasons for believing in God and, in the other column, the reasons against. He decided he didn’t believe in God, and the clinching reason was theodicy. It’s the familiar conundrum: In view of all the evil in the world, if God is good, he is not omnipotent; and, if God is omnipotent, he is not good. QED. People have been going around this track since the ancient Greeks and the Book of Job. Wood allows that the arguments that God endowed man with free will and that, in Christ, he suffers with his creatures are impressive, but they are finally not persuasive.


It's a familiar account of the everyday persons experience or intellectual grapple with trying to think about a 'good God', yet Neuhaus sums it up well when he calls it the Narrow escape syndrome which comes from an adolescent 'image' of God and way of thinking. The position that we give God a 'job description' and none of the human qualities we come up wh fit the bill...

As Neuhaus says:

I would suggest that the critical turn is in seeing the implications of the Christian name for God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is, Ultimate Reality is, Being is relational. Indeed, it is relationality, if I may be permitted the term, all the way down. Which is another way of saying what the First Letter of John says more succinctly: God is love. And love entails suffering.


Neuhaus then goes on to quote David Bentley Hart's Book The Doors of the Sea; Where was God in the Tsunami... Here is a little bit of the quote:

God has fashioned creatures in his image so that they might be joined in a perfect union with him in the rational freedom of love. For that very reason, what God permits, rather than violate the autonomy of the created world, may be in itself contrary to what he wills. But there is no contradiction in saying that, in his omniscience, omnipotence, and transcendence of time, God can both allow created freedom its scope and yet so constitute the world that nothing can prevent him from bringing about the beatitude of his Kingdom.


“Indeed we must say this: as God did not will the fall, and yet always wills all things toward himself, the entire history of sin and death is in an ultimate sense a pure contingency, one that is not as such desired by God, but that is nevertheless constrained by providence to serve his transcendent purpose. God does not will evil in the sinner. Neither does he will that the sinner should perish (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 33:11). He does not place evil in the heart. He does not desire the convulsive reign of death in nature. But neither will he suffer defeat in these things.

“Every free act—even the act of hating God—arises from and is sustained by a more original love of God. It is impossible to desire anything without implicitly desiring the infinite source of all things; even the desire of the suicide for the peace of oblivion is born of a love of self—however tragically distorted it has become—that is itself born of a deeper love for the God from whom the self comes and to whom the self is called. . . .

Until that final glory, however, the world remains divided between two kingdoms, where light and darkness, life and death, grow up together and await the harvest. In such a world, our portion is charity, and our sustenance is faith, and so it will be until the end of days. As for comfort, when we seek it, I can imagine none greater than the happy knowledge that when I see the death of a child, I do not see the face of God but the face of his enemy. Such faith might never seem credible to someone like Ivan Karamazov, or still the disquiet of his conscience, or give him peace in place of rebellion, but neither is it a faith that his arguments can defeat: for it is a faith that set us free from optimism long ago and taught us hope instead.


I think it's important to reflect deeply on this issue, because it's what many people struggle with and it's what many people when loosing a child, when their husband dies in a car crash, when a young mother is taken from her family through illness, or when there seems so much evil in the world in the form of terrorism, and when the ways of human beings seem short of what we believe to be 'good'... Those are the issues that affect man and that bother people in their every day life. It's not about providing an answer, but it is about helping people understand and to see God's love through you and me.

The Quote from Hart ends:

“Now we are able to rejoice that we are saved not through the immanent mechanisms of history and nature, but by grace; that God will not unite all of history’s many strands in one great synthesis, but will judge much of history false and damnable; that he will not simply reveal the sublime logic of fallen nature but will strike off the fetters in which creation languishes; and that, rather than showing us how the tears of a small girl suffering in the dark were necessary for the building of the Kingdom, he will instead raise her up and wipe away all tears from her eyes – and there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor any more pain, for the former things will have passed away and he that sits upon the throne will say, ‘Behold, I make all things new.’

Cardinal Hoyos


Over atFr Rays Blog he has quite a fascinating account of Cardinal Hoyos and his personality.

Apparently he once went disguised as a milkman to 'make' a drug dealer go to confession... Now that is zeal; It's such a shame getting to confession is very hard these days because of lack of availability of the sacrament or stupid times that priests seem to assign for confession, then when you do try and go, many are like 'erm... OK'.

Worth a read!!

Why the Church Exists


In his reflection on Sunday's Gospel, Fr Cantalamessa preached on the needs we have for a True Shepherd:

It is described thus: "Jesus, seeing the crowds, felt compassion for them, because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." Jesus sees the crowds, he feels compassion for them: this is what moved him to choose the 12 and send them to preach, heal, liberate.

Here we have some valuable information. We see that the Church does not exist for herself, for her own end or her own salvation; she exists for others, for the world, for the people, above all for the afflicted and oppressed.

He goes on by quoting Gaudium et Spes:

"The joys and the hopes, the grief and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the grief and anxieties of the followers of Christ. Indeed, nothing genuinely human fails to raise an echo in their hearts."

"Seeing the crowds, he felt compassion for them, because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd." The shepherds of today, from the Pope to the last village priest, appear to us in this light, as the deposit and continuation of the compassion of Christ. The late lamented Vietnamese Cardinal, Fran├žois-Xavier Van Thuan, who spent 13 years in the communist prisons of his country, in a meditation before the Pope and the Roman Curia said: "I dream of a Church that is a ‘Holy Door’ that is always open, that embraces all, full of compassion, that understands the pain and suffering of humanity, a Church that protects, consoles and guides every nation to the Father who loves us."


Now to me this speaks clearly of a Church focused (rightly) on others, on saving souls... That is why the Church exists; yet it has to bring it's beauty, tradition, Holy Mass to the world and not gather up in little cells and wet ourselves when someone nods a biretta from the Vatican. Yes I can understand people are very chuffed after suffering years of oppression and abuse, quite often from those of influence and of power just because they held on to the true faith, but let's not see this as a temptation to sail off into the Gregorian Mass sunset; no let's see it as an invitation to present the sacrifice of calvary to those who need it most and for those who need to come back to it.

click here for Fr Cantamalassa's reflection

Sunday, 15 June 2008

Anglicans do it again


A row has errupted over a service where two gay anglican clergymen exchanged vows in a version of a marriage ceremony.

The service, at St Bartholomew the Great Church in the City of London last month, used formal rites. The Reverend Peter Cowell and the Reverend Dr David Lord were already civil partners.

This is typical of the Anglican Church... Democratic Theology does not work, when they going to learn?

Click Here for the full story

Catholic Teuchtar

Quite a funny video on being Scottish at Catholic Teuchtar - view it HERE

On a side note, well done Ireland ;o)

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Feeling the Heat


Since moving to Suffolk I've spent a lot of time with my niece and nephew... One is 3 and the other is coming near to 18 months. I always find it funny that when they get tired, they get grumpy, yet in order to calm them down their Dad asks them both (remember their ages) if they are feeling the heat to which they respond by nodding their heads.

I feel a bit like that just now... I've recently come off what was a bit of a mammoth diet; and I'm finding it difficult to actually accept that I have lost weight, but more so accepting that because of my nature, I cant eat how everyone else seems too - otherwise KABOOM!

It's also interesting that as this confusion sweeps in, I all of a sudden cant be bothered with my faith. I cant be bothered to pray, I cant be bothered to go to mass and I cant be bothered with the Church.

I think one of the problems for me is that I give up all to easily at times... Somehow I manage to just narrow my mind into the one solution and all other solutions become pointless and thus out of my line-of-sight.

Yet the problem with the Church that continuously seems to be presented before me is that on one hand you have a bunch of people who go to Mass, get the God loves you story, receive communion and then go home, forget about God, go sleep with their girlfriends, use contraception, support all the labour party policies, accept everyone for who they are and that is it. They repeat the process day in and day out without any public challenge from the church.

Now on the other hand you have the uberdox Catholics who are generally faithful to doctrine, faithful to the life of prayer and so on, but who then bang on and on about the liturgy, bang on about dinners with Cardinals and bang on about the vestments the Pope wore. All of which to me seems so far removed from the vision of evangelisation and the life of grace that the Gospels promise and speak of. I was in the Pub last night and everything that my mates talked about was around jokes in NUTS magazine and my mate sharing the latest detective trick that he is learning in his police training. Not about vestments and clothes - normal people don't care about that.

I feel a little bit like St. Peter in Quo Vadis where he aks Quo Vadis Domine - Lord where are you going? And just like the response in Quo Vadis I know the Lord is going to ask me to go where I don't want too... Because that is where He Himself is going. Yet when the Lord responded to St. Peter, Peter responded with Joy - Can I do that?

As I sit here watching the World Triathlon Championships in Vancouver I realise that like those athletes pushing and pushing for a medal; I need to keep pushing physically, intellectually, spiritually and have the desire and will in my heart in order to keep striving to be faithful and in order to get to Heaven. And it is a Triathlon, it is hard and we will probably be falling over the line rather than sprinting, be we have to get there.

I think at times we all feel the heat, it's just about pushing and remembering that nobody is perfect, least of all 'me'; but in looking to Jesus Christ and in following Him and His Church, rather than a movement or a sect, we find salvation and with St. Peter, we find Joy.

How Can We Refuse This?

"Responsible men can become more deeply convinced of the truth of the doctrine laid down by the Church on this issue if they reflect on the consequences of methods and plans for artificial birth control. Let them first consider how easily this course of action could open wide the way for marital infidelity and a general lowering of moral standards. Not much experience is needed to be fully aware of human weakness and to understand that human beings—and especially the young, who are so exposed to temptation—need incentives to keep the moral law, and it is an evil thing to make it easy for them to break that law. Another effect that gives cause for alarm is that a man who grows accustomed to the use of contraceptive methods may forget the reverence due to a woman, and, disregarding her physical and emotional equilibrium, reduce her to being a mere instrument for the satisfaction of his own desires, no longer considering her as his partner whom he should surround with care and affection." - Pope Paul VI, July 25, 1968 in Humanae Vitae 17

TLR in the 21st Century


Catholics with attitudes has designed some good new T shirts; I particulary like this one, and also has a new design saying 'Trads Do it Ad Orientem' - I particulary like that one :o).

Check out www.catholicswithattitude.co.uk

TV is RANK



How rank is TV these days? I don't watch much TV other than the news, some political stuff, the obligitary 'have I got news for you', a funny film now and then and maybe if I have time catch up on EWTN on tinternet... Yet being home I've suddenly discovered how bad it is. My mother has subjected me to EastEnders, The Paul O'Grady Show, Loose Women... And the worst of all - BigBrother!!

Are people just stupid? I think Haldane is right; people just want to be entertained by a bunch of idiotic, camp, fishwive gossip, and pointless psychological experiments and just wallow in stupidity... Can real life really be so bad?

Well mad trad has a solution - turn over to sky news, watch Lisa Burke and Lucy Verasamy present the weather then all lives problems will be solved ;o)

Friday, 13 June 2008

Genks Petition Bishops

Fr Dwight at Standing on my Head has an excellent post on the idiotic petition published in The Telegraph calling on The Vatican to allow married men and women into the Holy priesthood.

I agree with Fr Dwight, and would like to add my own snippit. There are no vocations because the failure of the bishops and priests to remain faithful to Rome in most matters of the faith has destroyed the faith of the faithful. Also the seminaries have become hunting grounds trying to root out people who just want to be Catholic, I gave up trying to jump through hoops in the end - I simply couldn't understand why the faith I had been taught, understood from the catechism and proclaimed daily by Rome was being replaced by the protestant nonsense I found in the seminary. One day I remember talking in a class about the presence of Jesus and the Proffessor criticized me for making the point that if I a child asked me where Jesus was then I would point to the tabernacle... He said Jesus was just as present in you or me and that the tabernacle was a symbol.

I made mistakes myself, probably wasn't the best example in seminary, but I did have the faith; because of that I was made to feel like an outcast and a traditionalist... I'm neither, I'm simply Catholic. It was like playing hide and seek and for the bishops to play games like that is simply disgraceful.

Below is from a priest in Rome in response to the petition.

As a Catholic priest ordained 15 years ago and now doing further studies in Rome I would like to:



1. Affirm my wholehearted support for the ancient practice of celibacy for the presbyterate in the life of the Church.



2. Affirm my wholehearted support for the maintenance of clerical celibacy as a necessary sign to the world of the priority of the Kingdom of God and the call of Jesus, of love for Him and for His Church over other earthly ties.



3. Affirm my support for celibacy not just as a discipline, but as a practice grounded in the example of the Lord Himself, as a way of life that expresses the heart of the priesthood as a complete self-giving for the Church, as Christ gave Himself totally for His one bride - and so affirm that there are good doctrinal and theological reasons for this practice.



4. Affirm my wholehearted assent for the Church's definitive teaching concerning the reservation of the sacrament of Holy Orders to men alone.



5. Affirm my wholehearted assent to all of the Church's teachings, not as "Vatican policies", but as the teachings of Jesus Christ who gave His teaching authority to the Church's Magisterium.



6. Affirm my prayers for those who have left the priesthood, but my disagreement that they should be allowed back to active priestly ministry - such a move would be discouraging to those who have tried to maintain the promises they made at ordination and is a sign of a lack of respect to them.



7. Deprecate this petition as an attempt to further the culture of dissent in the Church, a dissent whose real nature is a refusal to believe, and so is opposed to the full act of faith, and so will do no good but will serve to encourage division in the Body of Christ.



8. Acknowledge that there is indeed a crisis in the life of the Catholic Church, but this has been caused by dissent from the teachings of the Church, a lack of thorough Catholic catechesis, a lack of holiness and prayer in the life of the Church, an unwillingness to evangelise culture with the fullness of the Catholic Faith and a growing antagonistic secularism in the world which dissent actually promotes.

I half hoped I might miscarry

This is a story published last week in the Gaurdian.

It's very interesting to read and is about a woman's fear of giving birth to a disabled child. In the words of a friend 'it's a KEY story'.

On a little note, please keep praying for people in the country; it's very much looking as if Euthanasia is just around the corner which puts everyone at risk of involuntary euthanasia which in a lot of countries where euthanasia is legal, is actually higher than volunatary euthanasia.

Mary, Mother of Jesus

Mary, Mother of Jesus,
give me your heart,
so beautiful, so pure,
so immaculate,
that I may be able to receive
Jesus in the Bread of Life,
love Him as you loved Him
in the distressing disguise
of the poorest of poor.

Amen

Let it be...

... No this is not a post on John Lennon!! But I wanted to share something on how somsetimes we need to say to God'let it be'.

I was happy / dissapointed this week, I wanted to go to the High Mass in Westminster Cathedral; I was looking forward to seeing some friends and also to go to the fantastic occassion. However I dad meetings in Scotland this week and I had to honor these so no extraordinary mass for me...

But in return for doing my job and my duty I've got to see a lot of friends at home, do a lot of good work in the relative quietness of home and then spend a good few days with a couple of good friends who serve as a tonic do some of the unberdoxy with some in the Church.

Yes things might not go to our plan, but in the end it's God's plan that matters.

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver

Got this from a fellow Mad Trad... Hope you enjoy it...

Malachai 3:3 says: 'He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver.'

This verse puzzled some women in a Bible study and they wondered what this
statement meant about the character and nature of God.

One of the women offered to find out the process of refining silver and get
back to the group at their next Bible Study.

That week, the woman called a silversmith and made an appointment to watch
him at work. She didn't mention anything about the reason for her interest
beyond her curiosity about the process of refining Silver.

As she watched the silversmith, he held a piece of silver over the fire and
let it heat up. He explained that in refining silver, one needed to hold the
silver in the middle of the fire where the flames were hottest as to burn
away all the impurities.

The woman thought about God holding us in such a hot spot; then she thought
again about the verse that says: 'He sits as a refiner and purifier of
silver.'

She asked the silversmith if it was true that he had to sit there in front
of the fire the whole time.



The man answered that yes, he not only had to sit there holding the silver,
but he had to keep his eyes on the silver the entire time it was in the
fire. If the silver was left a moment too long in the flames, it would be
destroyed.

The woman was silent for a moment. Then she asked the silversmith, 'How do
you know when the silver is fully refined?'

He smiled at her and answered, 'Oh, that's easy - - when I see my image in
it.'

If today you are feeling the heat of the fire , remember that God has his
eye on you and will keep watching you until He sees His image in you.

Thursday, 12 June 2008

Tomorrow & Always


Don't worry about tomorrow because the very same Heavenly Father who takes care of you today will have the same thought tomorrow and always. . . What does a child in the arms of such a Father have to fear? Be as children, who hardly ever think about their future as they have someone to think for them.
(Saint Pio of Pietrelcina)


This is related to my post about prayers earlier.

Wednesday, 11 June 2008

Theology on Tap...

Or rather in a bottle as the case turned out!!

Last night a friend and I were at the pub after a long tour of Edinburgh. As the conversation turned we thought about how really the sin of Pride is really the rock upon which we rest most of our sins.

Just a thought, but how often do go to Mass and not make a proper thanksgiving to God simply because we would have preferred a benedictine candlestick arrangement rather than two candles, on at either side... Hmmmmm

As I say, just a thought!

Do we will it?

I was having a look at Fr Ray's blog yesterday and I was struck by one of his posts about Catholic Schooling and the general breakdown of the Catholic School being linked to a breakdown not only in bishops and priests preaching the faith, but also a breakdown in the family, the very structure of the family and it's important role in Salvation. One of the visiting priests thought it might be a problem with convert clergy not having the experience of a Catholic Family itself, something I would completely reject.

But I think it's a lack of understanding the role of a Mother and Father. Their job for their children is to make sure they do everything possible so that their children get to heaven, likewise in a relationship; for those who we love we should want to help each other get to heaven. I think every family wants their child to be good, but I'm not sure they believe there is anything other than heaven, does the question about hell ever come into it?

If we truly 'will' our children and our friends and families to get to heaven, we must first of all will it for ourselves. That means we truly form our children and those around us with a faith that carries substance, that gives our children a formed conscience rather than a blank slate and that inspires them with our own desire to get into heaven.