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Showing posts from May, 2014

The Hierarchy, Cardinal Kasper, Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate, & all that.

I started off extremely skeptical about this video, I don't have a huge problem with Vatican II, except when it is considered in isolation as the last word in Catholic doctrine, ignoring everything that has gone before, but by the time I got to the bit about Cardinal Kasper (at about 16:45) I found myself agreeing with pretty much everything being said!


Pope in a Hornet's Nest

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I often wonder how Pope Francis is perceived outside of the frenzied and constant analysis of those of us inside the Church. Obviously we have the secular press to help us gauge the temperature, but as we have seen, that tends to distort the picture to a quite extraordinary extent, emphasising things he hasn't said in order to feed the meme that the Church is going to change it's teaching on one dogma or another.

The Holy Land, as it has been throughout history, remains a melting-pot of different faiths and cultures. Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Drews, Bahá'í, and Zoroastrianism all try and live there in some degree of peace, some more successfully than others as we know.

Fr. Raymond Blake posted yesterday on the Pope's visit to the Holy Land, which led me to this article in the Jerusalem Post. Fr. Ray is disappointed that the long heralded meeting between the Pope and the Patriarch Bartholomew failed to yield any exciting ecumenical breakthroughs between East and W…

Pope Francis: Child Abuse Like a Satanic Mass

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In an hour long question and answer session with journalists on the way home from his visit to the Holy Land, Pope Francis has described the crime of child abuse as a betrayal of the Lord’s body:
"Sexual abuse is such an ugly crime ... because a priest who does this betrays the body of the Lord. It is like a satanic Mass," At a briefing in the Vatican on Tuesday, Father Lombardi discussed some of the highlights of Pope Francis’ interview and explained that for a believer, equating the crime of sexually abusing a child with the sacrilege of celebrating a satanic mass, is arguably the strongest possible condemnation.

I agree and I think his turn of phrase here articulates a basic truth about this sort of crime: it is diametrically opposed to everything the Church holds and teaches. Abuse does so much harm, literally destroying lives. This is true in any context, but surely more especially in the context of love and trust which constitutes the relationship of a priest or bishop…

Maryvale—Resurgent!

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It has been widely discussed in many and varied circles, that there have been troubles over the last year or so at Birmingham's Maryvale Institute.

Maryvale is an institute of higher learning in the arch diocese of Birmingham, renowned for its depth and orthodoxy. When I studied there, Rev. Dr. Richard Conrad told me that the B.A. at Maryvale had more breadth and more depth than the theology degree available at Oxford, and was a fraction of the cost. My own experience certainly bore this out; we studied a huge range of subjects with an emphasis on educating us and not simply achieving an academic degree. As the leading centre of Catholic formation in the country, Maryvale attracts the brightest and best lecturers, many of whom teach in Rome and are religious, thus deeply committed to the founding ideology of the institute for a well educated laity.

Maryvale has pioneered a "distance-learning" technique, which facilitates learning at pre-graduate and post-graduate level …

Our Parish Pilgrimage to Lourdes

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I have spent the last week on Pilgrimage in Lourdes, France. Lourdes is a small town in the foothills of the Pyrenees mountains, on the border with Spain. The town is famous for the Marian apparitions of Our Lady of Lourdes which occurred in 1858 to Bernadette Soubirous.

Lourdes is a very special place for me. It is where I met my wonderful wife in 1989, and has become one of those places which seem central to the story of our lives. I went back to Lourdes last year for the first time in some 16 years, after spending many springs and summers there as a youngster with the HCPT and ACROSS, helping handicapped children and adults. You can read about that here. This year, the Parish went on pilgrimage there and Louise suggested I take our youngest son John.

This meant I was in Lourdes without Louise for the first time ever, which was a bit strange. It was also the first time I have been with my dear friend and parish priest, Father Kevin Hale. Also, I got to travel with all my wonderful …

Looking Forward to a New Chapter

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There is a great feeling of hope growing around Brentwood's new bishop-elect, Fr. Alan Williams SM, MA, PH.D, who is currently Director of The National Shrine of our Lady at Walsingham. Everything I hear is positive and exciting about our new appointment. This weekend saw the diocesan pilgrimage to Walsingham, but also the National Association of Catholic Families' pilgrimage weekend also to Walsingham.

For example, Bishop-elect Williams gave a talk at the pilgrimage yesterday where he spoke about the role of Mary and the teaching of the Church. Religion is about conversion, or it's about nothing at all stated the soon-to-be-bishop of Brentwood. He holds that we need to convert people to the Catholic faith because it's true. Wow! This is the sort of stuff we are longing for isn't it? It confirms Father Kevin's comments on Sunday:
It is a great comfort to us all, and to me personally, that our new Bishop Alan Williams - has been not only the Director of the Natio…

Homily for VIth Sunday in Easter

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A great homily from Fr. Kevin Hale this week. It particularly struck me in the light of a week spent in Lourdes, and my present re-reading of Pope St. John Paul II's writings in Crossing the Threshold of Hope. Covering similar ground to Fr. Kevin this week, John Paul II puts the current dilemma in a long view relief and a philosophical context derived of the Cartesian turning toward self. He places man in a sphere of coexistence and faith in a profoundly anthropological constitution. He explains that the standard doubts and questions we have about God's existence and our concern that he is hiding
"would only be legitimate if man, with his created intellect and within the limits of his own subjectivity, could overcome the entire distance that separates creation from the creator" (p. 38). In other words, when you think carefully about the relationship between God and man, how much do you think God can actually reveal about Himself without totally confusing us? Jesus is…

Before Bishop Alan comes to Brentwood—Brentwood goes to Bishop Alan!

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On Saturday our diocese of Brentwood went on pilgrimage to Walsingham. I would have loved to have joined them, but having just returned from a very busy pilgrimage to Lourdes I was, frankly, rather exhausted!

I was represented by the best possible ambassador however, in my son Michael. He met our Bishop-elect Fr. Alan Williams SM, MA, PH.D, and shook his hand, telling him we were all praying for him. He also walked the last mile in from the Slipper Chapel carrying the statue of Our Lady of Walsingham bare-foot!

Here is his take on his first pilgrimage to Walsingham—England's Nazareth:
On Saturday, May 24th I travelled to Norfolk with the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service to visit the Shrine of Walsingham. Upon arriving we entered the Catholic Shrine of Our Lady in Walsingham which was overflowing with pilgrims; we gathered for holy Mass together, which was concelebrated by our Bishop-elect Father Alan Williams SM. After Mass we were greeted by our Bishop-elect and had the chance to…

Mo Ansar Exposed

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Mo Ansar is someone I have crossed swords with before. I like to think I'm an easy going sort of chap, willing to have a discussion on most subjects, particularly if your opinion is an informed one. As you might guess, I am interested in debating religion, especially with those who claim to hold exclusive rights to truth as Islam does. Islam has long been a fascination of mine and I have read quite a bit on it and spoken to lots of different people. However, my experience of Mo Ansar is that he is reactionary and obtuse, eager to shut-down any argument that isn't going his way.

This expose is particularly pertinent at the moment I think as we sit and wait to learn the fate of the 200 Nigerian girls kidnapped by Boko Haram, and the news that due to Sharia Law in Sudan, 8 month pregnant Meriam Yehya Ibrahim who faces a death sentence for apostasy can have her baby before she is killed. Can you hear the vocal condemnation of the Muslim community? Do these examples not show us th…

Michael Voris- The New Church

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Michael Voris has finally admitted that there is a "new" Catholic Church emerging. Has he finally capitulated to modernism? Has he decided that progress is, after all, inevitable? He explains all about the new emerging Church in his latest Vortex episode. Travelling around the world, meeting and speaking with groups of faithful Catholics has given him excellent insight into what is going on inside the Church all around the globe:



As I have said before, I think Voris is a bit like a modern day Old Testament prophet. His message is often really uncomfortable, but his focus is always about supernatural faith, against error, and for God and His Church.

His articulation of the concerns of so many who contact me: the confounding of the orthodox, the lauding of heterodox by Church establishment, the apathy of bishops, the way that being good, and loyal, and faithful- supporting more reverence and catechesis, only seems to get you into lots of hot water with the diocese.

The essent…

Please pray for Bishop Elect Robert Byrne

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Today at 11am, Father Robert Byrne, a close friend of my close friend and Parish Priest, will be ordained Auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham. Watch the Episcopal Ordination here.




Father Kevin referred to this important event in his homily on Sunday, saying:
On Tuesday one of my oldest friends is going to be consecrated a Bishop; he will become the new Auxiliary in Birmingham. I am sure it will be a moment full of rather mixed emotions: we’ve know each other since we were students and seeing someone who is close to you being given the dignity of an Apostle is something that doesn’t happen everyday.  He explained to me how he was called see the Papal Nuncio in London who read him a letter from the Holy Father appointing him; and he said in a few minutes my life had changed dramatically.You might think being made a Bishop is something someone might aspire to or desire; it obviously isn’t something you apply for! To fulfil the role of an Apostle, is to accept modelling yourself on Christ the …

Modern Medical Madness...

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Here's a true story that a member posted on our Facebook Catholic's page, requesting prayers for a particularly difficult situation that has arisen in his life. I think it demonstrates how messed up our society is regarding right and wrong and what's best for any individual. It is reproduced here with permission: I'd like to bring a quasi-personal matter to the group and ask for prayers, please.
My wife and I are friends with a young woman, now in her mid 30s, who is nominally Catholic. I'll call her Anna, but it's nothing like her real name. Anna was born with cerebral palsy, caused by a drunk driver who hit the bus queue that her mother was standing in when she was six months pregnant. Anna is hemiplegic and part of the right side of her brain is missing.A couple of years later, her mother gave birth to twin girls,who contracted meningitis at the age of six months. One died and the other has been left with severe learning difficulties, as well as a life-long p…