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Showing posts from May, 2013

Confronting the Islamic Issue

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I have long held a fascination with Islam; the people, the culture, the Kaba, the texts. This has led to a lot of reading. Reading Al Qur'an, commentaries, histories and polemics. Trying to understand the complicated interplay of Islamic culture and philosophy. What Islam preserved and gave us; Averoes, the Alhambra, Avicenna, Aristotle even. What it represented to us in the West; wresting the Holy Land away from us in the Muslim conquests of the Levant (632–661), Al-Andalas and the Caliphate of Cordoba (711), the fall of the Byzantine Empire (1471), Reconquista in 1492,  the Great Seige of Malta (1565),the Battle of Lepanto (1571). Does that seem like a lot of war?


Today, Islam is still deeply controversial throughout the world. Islamic countries are restless. The Arab spring seems to be disintegrating into anarchic violence. In this country, on the 22nd May, we had the horrific incident where a British Soldier was knocked down in the street, in broad daylight, by a car, whose o…

Fools in Mitres

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It appears I was not alone in feeling somewhat dismayed at reading the man who pretends to be the bishop of Salisbury's letter to Lord Alli of Norbury in the Telegraph. I was made aware of the existence of this letter by Peter Tatchell on Twitter who put it as follows:



Perhaps it is too obvious to even point out, but clearly Peter is disinterested in the integrity of what people say as long as what they say supports his skewed view of the world. Let me explain:

It seems, in a tour de force of relativism, The 'Bishop' of Salisbury, the Rt Rev Nicholas Holtam, suggested Christians should “rethink” their interpretation of Scripture in light of changing attitudes towards homosexuality in society.

In a strongly worded intervention as members of the House of Lords prepare to debate the Government’s draft legislation introducing gay marriage, Bishop Holtam told peers that allowing gay couples to wed would be a “very strong endorsement” of the institution of marriage.

Bishop Holt…

Sunday Scripture: Corpus Christi (YEAR C)

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"Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Ps 119:105
Welcome to this, the forty-fifth of my reflections on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass.

I have undertaken this project, regularly posting background information on the readings at Sunday Mass as part of my own prayer life. I have found it helps me to do a little study before I go to Mass about the readings, what the theme of the week is, how it follows on from the previous week's readings and what is being said.

In sharing this, I hope to help you too get more from the Bible and Sunday Scripture readings. Perhaps it might give you confidence in the value and legitimacy of the Bible, or perhaps it might inspire you to pray the Divine Office or investigate the weekly readings for yourself.

I see this as very clearly part of what the Church teaches about the Bible:
This heaven-sent treasure Holy Church considers as the most precious source of doctrine on faith and morals. No wonder herefore that, as…

In Thanksgiving for Brentwood Catholic Youth Service

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Brentwood Diocese, purportedly, has the best Youth Service in the Country. This is more than just conjecture, it is the opinion of many people involved with Youth Work I have spoken to over the years, and was certainly affirmed by all who attended Sunday's  wonderful Mass of Thanksgiving at Brentwood Cathedral.

Brentwood Youth Service has been a success due to the involvement of many characters over the years, but perhaps it would be reasonable to say none more so than Sarah Barber and her husband James, here pictured together in Lourdes at a joint Brentwood/Liverpool pilgrimage in 1987.


Sarah has been Diocesan Youth Director for twelve years and has made a huge contribution to the spiritual life of young people in our diocese over that time. She has now secured a position with CAFOD, which is very exciting. I'm sure she will continue to make a huge contribution to the life of the Church in her new role.



The Mass was con-celebrated by three of our Brentwood clergy, Fr. James M…

Sunday Scripture: Trinity Sunday (YEAR C)

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"Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." Ps 119:105
Welcome to this, the forty-fourth of my reflections on the theology of the Sunday readings at Mass.

I have undertaken this project, regularly posting background information on the readings at Sunday Mass as part of my own prayer life. I have found it helps me to do a little study before I go to Mass about the readings, what the theme of the week is, how it follows on from the previous week's readings and what is being said.

In sharing this, I hope to help you too get more from the Bible and Sunday Scripture readings. Perhaps it might give you confidence in the value and legitimacy of the Bible, or perhaps it might inspire you to pray the Divine Office or investigate the weekly readings for yourself.

I see this as very clearly part of what the Church teaches about the Bible:
This heaven-sent treasure Holy Church considers as the most precious source of doctrine on faith and morals. No wonder herefore that, a…

Joining the Brotherhood...

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On Thursday my dear friend and business partner Andrew & I were enrolled in Southend-On-Sea Catenian Association at the Park View Suite, Chalkwell. The Catenians is an international association of Catholic laymen which aims to foster brotherly love among members, develop social bonds among members and their families, advance the interests of the members and their dependants, assist young Catholics in their choice or pursuit of a career and to establish, maintain and administer benevolent funds.

The association was started in 1910 by John O'Donnell, inspired by a Pastoral Letter from Bishop Louis Charles Casartelli, Bishop of Salford. Bishop Casartelli set out his stall with his first Pastoral Letter entitled ‘The Signs of the Times’, written a month after his consecration. He urged Catholic laymen “to go forth to all the interests of the commonwealth of which we are part”, going on to say that he wanted the laity to play their role “…in matters social, municipal, philanthropi…