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Showing posts from November, 2014

The Plague of Faithless Leaders

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I really hurt for our Anglican brothers and sisters this morning as, listening to Today on Radio Four I heard the former Bishop of Oxford, explain how he feels that readings from the Qur'an should feature in the next Coronation, when Prince Charles succeeds to the Throne.


No seriously, he did.


In a debate on the role of religion in British public life, Lord Harries, now an independent peer, praised what he called 'the hospitality' shown in a service last year at Bristol Cathedral.

How desperately disappointing that someone who has dedicated his life (one assumes) to the preaching of the Gospel has so little belief in the objective truth of his religion that he feels it necessary to capitulate to another ideology.
Can you imagine Muslims reading passages from the Bible at the installation of a Kalif? It is unthinkable, simply because these are competing ideologies. It is one thing for scholars and intellectuals to argue about the relative merits, the common ground, and t…

Building Bridges Catenian Style

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At Southend on Sea Circle's November 2014 Meeting we were blessed with the mass visitation of a happy Band of Boisterous Brothers from the following elite Circles: Brentwood, Epping Forest, Upminster, & South Bucks: Deo gratias.

Although due to commitments as a School Governor I was personally unable to attend, my dear friend and former Circle President Paul Abbott reports as follows:

Much fraternal merriment was had, when after Dinner, Bridges were constructed: Blue Peter style, by each of the five participating tables: For some, their attempts were "a bridge too far", a "bridge over troubled waters" etc. However, the winners managed to "Bridge that Gap", as in "Mind the Gap"! The organiser of this mini engineering project, and righteous Judge was Brother Mathew Stewart of Sunny Sarfend Catenian Circle XIX.

These four photos by Paul F Abbott:

(a) Visiting Brothers:

At Southend on Sea Catenian Meeting: November 2014: A happy fraternal band o…

Serious Questions for CYMFed

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I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. ~ 3 Jn 4 If you're bringing your kids up in the faith, you know you are up against it. They are constantly bombarded with the prevalent secular agenda. They're frankly heroic if they can avoid or ignore or counter the temptations and ideology that surrounds them today. They are constantly told that "God is dead", that religion causes wars, that abortion, contraception, pornography are healthy and normal and freeing.

Why then, would you want them exposed to speakers at variance with Church teaching at a Church organised event?

Clare Short, over at Faith in our Families, draws attention to just this agenda at next year's Flame Congress. CYMFed (Catholic Youth Ministry Federation – England and Wales) are the organisers of Flame 2 which they describe as
“…the largest National Catholic Youth event of 2015, taking place in the SSE Wembley Arena on Saturday 7th March 2015… The SSE Wembley Arena…

Why No One Comes to Church on Sunday

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Great blog from Fr. Dwight Longnecker yesterday who completely understands the issues we are facing (in the West at least):
"No wonder people have stopped going to church because if your religion is no more than Moralistic Therapeutic Deism why bother dragging yourself off to a dreary building early on a Sunday morning to sing awful hymns with awful people and listen to some guy or gal read from a 2000 year old book and then drone on about being a nicer person peace and justice all are welcome gather them in and songs about eagles.
You get my point.
People are dropping out of church because it simply doesn’t make sense." According to Anglican Blogger Archbishop Cranmer, (and the 2015 British Election Study) there is no decline in the Catholic Church in this country, numbers are steady due to immigration, whereas Anglicanism will soon be obsolete unless there are some rapid changes. See here.

What I don't understand is why the majority of the Catholic hierarchy, and so many o…

A Good Appointment in Rome Today!

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Vatican Radio reports today that His Eminence Robert Cardinal Sarah has been appointed by Pope Francis as Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. This is a good appointment thanks be to God! Cardinal Sarah is a man of God.
Cardinal Sarah was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Konakry in Guinea in 1969 (incidentally, on the very day of the Apollo 11 moon-landing, July 20th), and appointed as Archbishop of that See just over ten years later. In 2001, he was appointed Secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples; since 2010, he has served as the President of the Pontifical Council “Cor Unum.” He was made a Cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI at the consistory of November 20, 2010. 
Fr. Alexander Lucie-Smith comments in the Catholic Herald that we can expect clarity and leadership from this Cardinal. Fr. Lucie-Smith goes on to say: The Church in Africa has a clear and sharp understanding of the division between immanent and tr…

Brentwood & Westminster Leading the Way Amongst our Youth

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How wonderful to hear that our Diocesan Youth Retreat Centre, Walsingham House, which is managed by two fine Catholic young men; Michael Barwick and Leighton Walker, recently received input from Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) who help highlight the suffering of persecuted Christians. 
The Walsingham House team in their retreat work often speak about persecuted Christians, with reference to ACN.
Leighton has written some excellent things about the persecution of Christians on his blog, see here. He writes: 
As Christians, we are witnessing the persecution of our brothers and sisters throughout the world. We are not bound by blood, but we are bound by spirit. Let us not forget the words of St Paul about how we are one body with many parts. When one part suffers, every part suffers with it. I also want to commend Westminster Diocese’s Youth Service for entering into partnership with ACN and highlighting their important ministry: see here.
I believe it so important for more of our diocesan y…

Catholics by Brian Moore

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CC Father has recommended Catholics by Brian Moore for me to read. Most of the action of the novel takes place on an island monastery in Kerry off the southwest coast of Ireland. It is set in the future, near the end of the twentieth century after the Fourth Vatican Council. The story tells of a young priest sent by the authorities in Rome to fully implement Church reforms in an Irish monastery that still celebrates the Catholic liturgy according to older rites.I've just got to a bit where an old Irish Monk, Fr. Manus, explains to Fr. Kinsella, the young priest, why he has been saying the Mass in the Extraordinary Form. It's really rather stirring and instructive, so I thought I would share it here:
The Mass! The Mass in Latin, the priest with his back turned to the congregation because both he and the congregation faced the altar where God was. Offering up the daily sacrifice of the Mass to God. Changing bread and wine into the body and blood of Jesus Christ the way Jesus told…

On The Destiny of Humanity: The Meaning of Marriage

This video is truly beautiful.

I've said before that despite all my mistakes in life the one truly good thing I managed to do was to hold on to a true, Catholic understanding of marriage. I went into my marriage with utter commitment, to build a family and to be together always. To smile and suffer together, to sacrifice whatever needed sacrificing for this woman.

Being married changed me. It added Louise's femininity to my masculinity in a way that rounded my rough edges; formed me for parenthood; it added to my whole in a way which could not have been achieved without that singular unification which we call marriage.

Society tries hard today to diminish this institution today in so many ways, but the fundamental truth of our complimentary is integral to our very being and a part of the universe that surrounds us.

There are some beautiful illustrations and deep understanding of that complimentary and unity here; especially like the couple that say "mathematically 1 + 1 …

Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s surprising comment on ordaining women

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There seems to be considerable fuss this morning over some comments made by Primate of Boston, Cardinal Sean O'Malley's comments on "60 Minutes" on Sunday night.

The usually excellent Greg Kandra posted this on his blog:

I guess I wasn’t the only one who did a double-take when I heardthison “60 Minutes” Sunday night:
Catholics who thought Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley’s remarks about Kansas City Bishop Robert Finn’s suitability for office were provocative have another interesting comment to ponder: If he were to start a church, he would “love to have women priests.” In an interview with “60 Minutes” on CBS that producers said took more than a year for them to persuade him to do, O’Malley seemed troubled by reporter Norah O’Donnell’s question as to whether the exclusion of women from the Church hierarchy was “immoral.” O’Malley paused, then said, “Christ would never ask us to do something immoral. It’s a matter of vocation and what God has given to us.” “Not everyone need…

Wondering how to reignite the faith in the West? Study André-Joseph Léonard

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The Catholic Herald reported yesterday that the new Archbishop of Sydney has said that by the time of his retirement he wants a Church filled with vocations to the priesthood and religious life.

In his homily at St Mary’s Cathedral during his installation Mass yesterday, Dominican Archbishop Anthony Fisher said:
“What will this Archdiocese look like when, God willing, I retire in 2035? My hope is for a Church in which the Gospel is preached with joy, the wisdom of our tradition mined with fidelity, the sacraments celebrated with dignity and welcome, and the seminaries, convents and youth groups are teeming with new life.“That will depend hugely on three factors: our clergy and religious; our families; and our young people.” If this is a goal the Archbishop truly wants to achieve, some simple research would suggest that the best way to get there is quite simple: be Catholic.

In my blog on Bishop Schneider the other day, I mentioned that vocations from more orthodox dioceses outstripping…

Update on the Tetanus/Sterilisation Issue in Kenya.

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My friend Ruari McCallion has been keeping tabs on developments in this story. He reports:

"He did not say this was a smoking gun, but...“Somebody seems to have loaded it”.

UNICEF 'categorically denies' combining contraceptive chemical with tetanus injection; in the immortal words of Mandy Rice-Davies, "They would say that, wouldn't they?". The samples that were finally obtained by the Kenyan doctors are now going to be tested in the UK, which could help to make things a bit clearer.

A Dr. Giuseppe Benagiano asserted that WHO does not test anything secretly.Benagiano, a Dean of the faculty of Gynecology and Obstetrics at the University of Rome and former head of the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics, maintains that “birth control vaccines do not exist”, and that research in this area has persistently failed.

Actually, birth control vaccines have been in widespread use for a couple of decades. I wonder if he is aware of them? Here's a quic…

Ecclesiology with Michael Voris

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I have to say, I thought Michael Voris' ecclesiology here was really rather beautiful. His exposition of Christ's love for His Church is one which evokes the Scriptures and reminds me of ecclesiology lectures with Dr. Tim Kelly!




This program is from ChurchMilitant.TV

Bon Secours Home, Tuam

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At our last Catenian meeting, our President, Tom Kennedy, read out a very moving letter received by a lady who works in the Legion of Mary office in Dublin from Fr Paul Churchill who is a Spiritual Director of the Legion of Mary. He wrote this letter about his father who was cared for by the sisters at Tuam who were so scurrilously attacked in the media earlier this year (Caroline Farrow has much more detail about this here). As always, bad news travels fast, and irrespective of how in error or how malicious a rumour is, you can be sure that, by the time the truth comes out, the world has moved on, and the initial attack will have done its damage. Still, I think it is well worth publicising this letter, which gives an honest and appropriate perspective from real experience of Tuam. It is also expressive of the very real pain caused to many by this story.


Dear Maria,My father was one of the children reared in the Bon Secours home in Tuam in the 1920s and 1930s, the one in the news rece…

The Problem with Porn

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This post won't deal with all the problems there are with pornography, but it will attempt to address some. It's got some philosophy in it too.

I found this great post on Emma Scrivener's blog about porn. I think it is always good to read information on this from a woman's perspective because of stuff like this:


This woman's reaction to page 3 of The Sun makes sense to me, because the subtle normalisation of sexual images in newspapers is implicitly condoning the sexualisation of women. True femenism should seek to dismantle such out dated stereotypes. Instead as Germaine Greer famously laments, her brand of feminism seems to have merely achieved a reality wherein the girls can now act in as inappropriate, drunken, and lecherous manner as the boys. Not much of a step up for society!

There is an interesting argument about prudishness that asks why anyone should be offended by bare boobs. It states that the human body is natural and we should not be embarrassed abou…

The Speaking Tour of a "silenced" Priest

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Tony Flannery is an Irish Redemptorist Priest who gives the whole order a bad name. Why? Because he consistently and emphatically repudiates Catholic teaching and encourages the notion that all opinions are valid, his most of all, and that the Church misleads its flock. I worry for him in an eternal sense, I really do. I also weep for all the good, hard work done by so many priests which Flannery undoes. Someone like this does untold damage. So much so that I have blogged about him several times, most recently here, when Cardinal Lavada, former prefect of the Vatican’s CDF (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) dismissed Flannery's claims that he was shouted down about married priests and conscience, and cites Flannery's blatant and published heresy as the reason the CDF were forced to intervene.

This weekend, in a most Gospel appropriate article for Aleteia, Greg Daly twists a whip of chords and presents an important profile of the determined heretic who stands clearl…

Bishop Schneider- Modern Prophet & More on Synod14.

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I have blogged before about the wonderful teaching & example of Bishop Athanasius Schneider. I first came across him when his little book Dominus Est!was recommended to me by my Parish Priest. It was one of those books that really changes your perspective, grounded in solid catechesis and deeply personal, it provided me with a profound understanding of the link between the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist and personal devotion and relationship with God. It showed me how developing a deeper relationship with Jesus through this precious gift could change and deepen my faith.

As a pastor & leader, Bishop Schneider strikes me as a sincerely humble man who simply promotes Christ in a heartfelt and authentic way, without any agenda or subtext. His purpose & aim is to make Christ known and loved and to show how living a Christian life is powerful and transformative for us, and for these reasons I find his teaching very nourishing.

Bishop Schneider must come in for quite …

Bishop Mark Davies Pastoral Letter on Overcoming the Crisis of Marriage and the Family

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I must share with you this wonderful pastoral letter from Shrewsbury Diocese which was read at all Masses there today. I have copied it from the Shrewsbury Diocesan website in order to further publicise this important message from the wonderful Bishop Mark Davies:


My dear brothers and sisters, On this Remembrance Sunday we recall the great crises faced by generations before us in the conflicts of the past century. Last month, Pope Francis invited bishops from around the world to meet with him in Rome to address what we might call a crisis of our time: the crisis of the family. This is experienced in some parts of the world in poverty, war or persecution; but in western countries like our own, it is a crisis most often caused by ideologies opposed to the sanctity of human life and the institution of marriage and the family. The Catholic Church has long opposed these mentalities and the devastation they have wrought on individuals, societies and especially among the young and most vulne…