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Showing posts from August, 2014

Evangelical Musician Vicky Beeching on the Contradiction of her Sexuality

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Lots on Twitter about Vicky Beeching "coming out" in The Independent today. My first response was "she wasn't out?" as I had always just thought she was SSA. I have always felt a great deal of empathy with Vicky, her perspective is occasionally predictable (see here for example), but more often intelligent and informed. I have always admired the preparation she does before she speaks on a subject. I guess the vacuousness I occasionally feel exasperated with could be my hang up, as to my ear, she tends to say predictable things about homosexuality, female ordination, the direction of the Anglican communion (i.e. more relativism, more liberalism, etc, etc, etc). But despite that, my overall take has been more positive than anything else. She is a person with sincere faith who has achieved a degree of success and has always tried to explain the relationship between modernity and Christianity. If anything, her over-apologetic style is what has frustrated me before…

Hearts & Spirits stirred as Brentwood goes to Lourdes with a New Bishop!

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The week before last was the Brentwood Diocesan Pilgrimage to Lourdes and I must apologise that I have only just managed to finally finish my blog on the trip. This event annually coincides with Brentwood Catholic Youth Service's annual Summer Lourdes Pilgrimage. The Youth Service goes to Lourdes in Spring too, but Summer is the big pilgrimage, with four coach loads of young people heading off to help our VIP's in whatever way they can. There's a nice bit on BBC iPlayer here, from Peter Holmes' show on Sunday, which features the Bishop, Fr. James, Roisin and my son Michael (amongst others).

Both of my oldest sons joined them for the second time, but the pilgrimage also coincided with the 5th anniversary of my daughter Ruth's tragic death and we really did not want to be apart as a family for this day. As much as I want it to fade into ignominy as a date, it never fails to sneak up on me with the power to elicit a sickening sense of loss. The loss of course, is alw…

Trust in The Lord

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This Sunday's homily at Leigh-on-Sea from Father Kevin was one of those that seemed to speak directly to me. All week I have been thinking about my own witness to the faith with concern for the degree to which I am prepared to follow the teachings before me. I sometimes feel sad that people are upset by what they think the Church teaches, usually because they do not fully understand it. Trying to explain it in love is always a daunting task (especially in light of the fact that in today's society, the message is so counter-cultural), though my experience is that informed teaching is usually received with great joy (as people tend to be able to recognise the truth when they hear it, even if they don't like it). Of course, occasionally people just do not want to hear you. When this happens, I feel like a bit of a failure, I feel like I have let them and God down. I also sometimes get upset because people take offense, even Catholics, who are sometimes surprised by one aspec…

Imam Can Teach Us So Much...

This moved me to tears. This extraordinary man studied to be an Imam for ten years. Listen to him explain how honest study of the Qur'an brought him to faith in Jesus Christ. We can learn so much from his witness and his perspective on faith. He talks about his family, who tried to kill him when they found out about his conversion, with such love! He speaks about his journey to faith in Christ, his reasoning, and his perspective on the many gods in India. Fascinating and valuable!

Diploma in the New Evangelisation launched by the School of the Annunciation, Buckfast Abbey, Devon, England

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David Clayton writes on the NLM blog today:

Consideration of the liturgy and beauty is central to evangelization. Visual art in particular has a role to play - it teaches and informs us through its content, it's beauty helps to direct and deepen our worship of God in the liturgy and in a context outside the church, it's beauty draws all men to itself and then beyond to the source of all beauty, God, so opening their hearts to be receptive to the Word when offered to them.   My good friends at the newly established School of the Annunciation situated in the grounds of Buckfast Abbey in Devon, England understand it deeply. I am delighted to learn of the launch of their Diploma in New Evangelization. Taught through a combination of residential weekends and online this means you can take it wherever you live.  The New Evangelization is a fashionable phrase to bandy about (to the degree that anything to do with the Faith can be fashionable!). When I finally read Benedict XVI's…

Disobeying the Pope

Fr. Ray Blake made some really interesting observations at the beginning of July regarding the lack of action currently on Catholic blogs. “Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church,” he said. “Today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”

Fr. Ray's thinking is that in the previous pontificate “there was a solidity and certainty in Benedict's teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood.” He added, “Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.”

Cardinal Raymond Burke suggested a different approach recently. Cardinal Burke, who serves as head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, the Pope has made a strategic decision to focus on making the Church appealing, and thus bishops and priests “are even more compelled to underline these teachings (on…

Ad Orientem

The direction the priest faces at Mass seems to be one of the most controversial aspect of liturgical discussion today.

How many times have you heard the Old Rite referred to as 'Mass with the priest turning his back to the people'? For the uninitiated, going to Mass with the priest's back to you can be rather disconcerting if you do not understand why.


The LMS have just produced this great informative new video explaining the history and relevance of Mass ad Deum. Watch it and make up your own mind.


St. Jean Vianney, Pray for Us!

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Today is the feast of St. Jean Vianney, Patron Saint of Parish Priests and a real inspiration to many. Here are some of his words of wisdom to reflect on today:


MY CHILDREN, all beings in creation require to be fed, that they may live; for this purpose God has made trees and plants grow; it is a well-served table, to which all animals come and take the food which suits each one. But the soul also must be fed. Where, then, is its food? My brethren, the food of the soul is God. Ah! what a beautiful thought! The soul can feed on nothing but God. Only God can suffice for it; only God can fill it; only God can satiate its hunger; it absolutely requires its God! There is in all houses a place where the provisions of the family are kept; it is the store-room. The church is the home of souls; it is the house belonging to us, who are Christians. Well, in this house there is a store-room. Do you see the tabernacle? If the souls of Christians were asked, "What is that?" your souls wou…

Pax Vobiscum

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When I was a young chap, I spent a great deal of time in Lourdes working with the sick and handicapped. These trips, sometimes twice a year, at Easter and summer, presented an opportunity for me, as I saw it, to put my faith into practice. Looking back on it, especially in the context of the study I have done since, I very much see this as part of my search for the true meaning of Christianity.
I am Christian by birth, but what does that mean in terms of assent? If I was not born Christian, would I choose Christ? If I did, what would draw me to dedicate my life to the Catholic Church? At the time, the best answer I could find was to give up my time, money, pursuit of my career, more worldly friendships, and follow Christ in the most vivid, practical way open to me. I saw this as inspired by St. Francis of Assisi's radical discipleship, the best model of Jesus' call (Mt 4:19; 8:22; 9:9; 19:21; Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27). As a young man, these words of Jesus bothered me incessantly (alb…

URGENT - JOIN IN ADORATION ON AUGUST 1st, DAY OF PRAYER, ADORATION AND SOLIDARITY FOR PERSECUTED CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ, SYRIA & MIDDLE EAST

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I am re-posting this notice from the NLM Blog which Dr Kwasniewski put up several days ago as a reminder of the FSSP’s initiative to keep today, August 1st, as a day or prayer especially for persecuted Christians in the Middle East.

Friday, August 1, 2014 is the day chosen by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter (FSSP) for a worldwide day of Public Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the Blessed Sacrament in supplication for our persecuted brethren in Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East:
The Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter asks all of its apostolates around the world to dedicate Friday, August 1 to a day of prayer and penance for the Christians who are suffering terrible persecution in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East.
August 1 is the First Friday of the month and the Feast of St. Peter in Chains, which is celebrated as a Third Class Feast in FSSP houses and apostolates. It is the feast in which we read of the great power of the persevering prayer of members of …