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Showing posts from September, 2012

Extraordinary Conversion Story...

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I found this conversion story on Facebook. I found lots of parallels with what she experiences in the Mass and Scott Hahn's description of what he experienced.

The bit that really caught my attention was this:

"We were actually a group of goddess worshiping pagans and I was a priestess. I was a leader in the community. I taught classes, wrote songs, led rituals, the whole shebang. And for those of you who don't believe in these sorts of things, I was able to do all sorts of unbelievable things, like mild prognostication and other creepy stuff. The allure of these "gifts" is such that I will not go into details. Suffice it to say, my group was astonished that anyone would be willing to give up such power. One of the most chilling comments during my "confession" to my group was from the group leader, "There's a reason we used to kill oath breakers."

Have a read and see what you think:
By Christie Martin

I had a choice to make and it was my ve…

Of Mermaids and Dis-information...

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The Discovery Channel trumpets itself as 'Factual Channel of the Year'. I have subscribed to the Sky documentary channels for years now at great expense I might add, but have always been disillusioned and frustrated by the pap they produce. It really is drivel, aimed at titillation and spin, capturing audience attention with hyperbole and unbelievable truths.

The latest example I have experienced has just about finished me off. I have laughed at Finding Bigfoot scoffed at Born Survivor and explained to my kids how von Däniken's theories were debunked forty years ago while watching Ancient Aliens don't even get me started on any of the programmes with 'theological' content, suffice to say they peddle every Templar/ Jesus is married/ a Pagan/ an alien/ never existed/ is still alive/ myth ever conceived. but I recently caught an Animal Planet show called Mermaids-The Body Found which is a spoof documentary, which doesn't explain itself as a spoof at all, but b…

The 'McDonaldisation' of Martial Arts

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This is something I wrote in 2007 about the way martial arts training is changing in the digital age:


I have thought about this for a while, and I would like to ask for thoughts on the matter. I am looking at this idea from sociological perspective and one of the areas of focus for this is cultural anthropology, but I also thinking about social criticism.
There is a book by George Ritzer called The McDonaldization of Society, which details the developing "fast food" mentality of our society. Essentially it is making the argument that our culture is becoming too fast paced and people want results as of yesterday. Patience is no longer needed when you have the world at your fingertips thanks to computers and the internet.

According to Ritzer, McDonaldization means "the process by which the principles of the fast-food restaurant are coming to dominate more and more sectors of American society as well as of the rest of the world."

In the book, there are a few criteria …

Sunday Scripture: Twenty-Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

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Welcome to this, the eleventh of my reflections on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass. 
This is a very special Sunday for me as it is the day on which my daughter will be Baptised.
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you, answer some questions you may have, help you to see how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps begin to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series here.
This Sunday the theme for the readings might be summed up as:
The Work of the Holy Spirit in Our Hearts

The readings are: Numbers 11:25-29Psalm: 18:8, 10, 12-14; Response: v. 9.Second Reading: James 5:1-6Gospel: Mark 9:38-43, 45, 47-48First, a little preliminary survey of each of the books.
I will post the same, or similar prelims week …

A New Bishop For Portsmouth!

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I am so excited about the appointment of Bishop Philip Egan. He is a friend of my Parish Priest (mind you, I'm beginning to think everyone is a friend of my PP) and I have heard wonderful things about him, extremely intelligent and loyally Catholic, a true servant of Christ and His Church. Surely this is what we need, now more than ever? To inspire vocations, we require inspirational bishops and priests. To inspire the faithful, we need intelligent theologians who can communicate the beauty and relevance of Christ's revelation about the truth of our existence. Check out Bishop Egan's address to his new diocese, reported by Father Ray which is clearly demonstrative of the new bishop's propensity in these regards!
"Dear fellow pilgrims on life's journey, we inhabit a remarkable century, the 21st, which despite the current economic distemper, is witnessing momentous advances in every domain of human knowledge and endeavour, with new discoveries and new applicatio…

Exciting Maryvale News...

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On September 22nd it was announced that Dr. Caroline Farey, B.A.(Hons), M.Phil(Cantab), M.A.(Theol), STB, Ph.L, S.T.L, Ph.D(Lateran), and one of my favourite people in the whole world, has been appointed by the Holy See as an expert to the forthcoming Synod in Rome on The New Evangelisation for the Transmission of the Christian Faith, to be held from October 7th-28th.

She will join Deputy Director, Dr. Petroc Wiley, B.D., S.T.L., Ph.D, in Rome for this as he too has been appointed to the Synod.

Maryvale ask you all to offer prayers for a successful Synod and in thanksgiving to God for his generosity in enabling Maryvale to have two such wonderful members of staff represented at this historical event as well as for singling out Maryvale for its work in the transmission of the faith. Obviously this constitutes a powerful affirmation of the Holy See's regard for Maryvale with its new ecclesiastical status.

The appointments mean Petroc & Caroline will give their opinions and g…

Today I have a New Hero...

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It has been an awful week for the police with the tragic death of two dedicated WPC's in Manchester at the hands of what can only be described as a mad man. There has been a great deal of discussion over the week with respect to arming the police as well as asking how the police at large will react to this brutality.

I think many of our friends stateside laugh at the unarmed British bobby, but I feel proud that officers are not, by and large, armed. I think part of the reason is that I have had some very negative experiences with the police force and I wouldn't want any recurrences of incidents such as the murder of John Charles de Menezes. I have no truck with the arguments that say such mistakes are the price we have to pay: collateral damage if you will. It is not Catholic to assert that you will accept some evil in order to achieve the greater good—it is Utilitarian.

But also, I think that the philosophy behind our preference for an unarmed force is one of policing by con…

UK & Ireland Natural Family Planning Conference 2012

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I have been asked by my friend Jackie Parkes to help publicise this up and coming event:
UK & Ireland Natural Family Planning Conference 2012Natural Family Planning refers to teaching methods that use the cyclical pattern of female fertility to help couples achieve their fertility intentions. 
We are holding an NFP conference to help us learn more about this subject and to network with others teachers in the UK and Ireland. Please join us!

Conference DetailsWhen: Saturday 10th Nov
ember, 11am – 5pm. Registration & refreshments available from 10.15am.
Where: The ReachOut! Centre, 6 Oxford Place, Manchester, M14 5RZ.
Speakers: • Dr John Kelly is a retired Obstetrician Gynaecologist who has previously worked in both London and Birmingham. He is a specialist in Symptothermal methods who promotes NFP in the UK and abroad.
• Dr Phil Boyle is a General Practitioner and a Certified FertilityCare Medical Consultant. He runs two NaProTechnologyTM clinics in Ireland.
• Dr John-Paul O’Sulliv…

Man Displays the Ultimate Support for Feminism?

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Loved this in the Jewish Chronicle:





This extraordinary picture of a veiled Chasid was recently taken at Ben Gurion Airport.

Its wearer must either fear the threat of some particularly pestilential mosquitos or, more probably, wants to protect himself from the sight of women with bare arms or short skirts.

Before you mock this as an outlandish fundamentalist fad, let us commend it as a fashion that more could follow.

If men are genuinely worried for their spiritual welfare by the way women dress, let women wear what they please and men don the veils.
[Emphasis mine]

Sunday Scripture: Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year B)

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Welcome to this, the tenth of my reflections on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass. 
Thank you for taking the time to read my blog. I sincerely hope that this reflection will inspire you, answer some questions you may have, help you to see how fantastic Sacred Scripture is and perhaps begin to share some of my love and passion for the Bible as you begin to comprehend how layered and multi-faceted, and what a carefully considered part of the Mass the readings are. If you want to know how these posts came about, please read my first post in this series here.
This Sunday the theme for the readings might be summed up as:
Jesus the Wisdom of God
The readings are: Wisdom 2:12, 17:20Psalm: 53:3-6,8; Response: v. 6Second Reading: James 3:16-4:3Gospel: Mark 9:30-37First, a little preliminary survey of each of the books.
I will post the same, or similar prelims week on week, for each book as we encounter them. I've re-done the one on the Gospel of Mark this week, adding much more detail.

The Gospel According to St. Matthew

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Today, 21st September 2012, is the feast of St. Matthew. In honour of one of my favourite Evangelists (I have four favourites all together), I thought I would post some detail about the Gospel he authored, including my opinion about its origins, audience, characteristics and its context within the Synoptic problem.


Before I began studying, I thought I knew that all the Gospels were written by people other than Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, hundreds of years after Jesus' death and Resurrection. It was inspiring to embark on a detailed study of all the sources which led me to a position where I now am sure that this is not the case. Matthew’s Gospel, the first book of the New Testament, is held by the Church’s tradition (dating from the second century) to be the first of the Gospels:
"...let us remember that the tradition of the ancient Church agrees in attributing to Matthew the paternity of the First Gospel. This had already begun with Bishop Papias of Hierapolis in Frisia, in…