Showing posts from May, 2015

The Pope's Theologian

The Catholic Herald reports that Pope Francis and members of the council of the Synod of Bishops met earlier this week to review input from around the world for October’s synod on the family and made their final suggestions for the synod’s working document.

The office of the synod’s general secretary will incorporate the suggestions and have the document translated, said a statement issued after the meeting.

“The publication will take place in a few weeks,” it said.

The Vatican sent every bishops’ conference the conclusions of the extraordinary synod, along with 46 questions related to how well the Church supports families and how Catholics understand Church teaching on marriage, sexuality and family life. Bishops were to solicit responses to the questions, compile them at the national level and return them to the synod office.

The Herald notes that, as the council was meeting with the Pope on Monday and Tuesday, the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of Germany, France and Switz…

My Irish Autopsy

So the inevitable capitulation to secular nicety in the face of reality has taken place in Ireland, the land of my Mother.

I feel very sad about this I have to say, especially as I have Irish roots. I'm watching posts from family there and relations here, on Facebook, supporting the yes vote and saying things like "hopefully people will see sense". People see this as a simple issue, they seem to think this is about equality, about discrimination, about whether we like gay people or not.

Even if those voting do not see it in these terms, this is how the "Yes" campaigners have sought to portray the debate. The very fact that this is true is demonstrative of just how huge the failure of the Church in Ireland has been. Mary O'Regan puts this in stark relief in The Catholic Herald where she asserts that it is the Irish Church’s failures which have caused people to pick secularism over faith

It will now be interesting to watch how the political parties attempt t…

School of the Annunciation signs partnership agreement with Franciscan University Steubenville, USA.

Great news today!

The School of the Annunciation, Buckfast Abbey, has signed an agreement with Franciscan University Steubenville to form a collaborative partnership.
In the first phase of the partnership Dr Andrew Beards, Academic Director at the School, has joined the online teaching staff of Franciscan University’s popular online, distance-learning MA in Catechesis and Evangelisation (MACE).  Dr Beards joins a faculty teaching US students that includes Dr Hahn, Dr Bob Rice, Sr Johanna Paruch and Dr Petroc Willey.
News will follow in the coming weeks and months on further developments arising from this exciting collaboration between the School of the Annunciation and Franciscan University.
Fr Guy de Gaynesford STL, the Rector of the School of the Annunciation, writes:

‘All those associated with the School of the Annunciation will naturally be absolutely delighted to learn of the beginning of this exciting collaborative partnership with a world renowned Catholic university.  The remar…

Heir of Sorrows

Sadly, I have never been much of a fan of Prince Charles. I have always found him a bit of a disappointment, his much ridiculed eco-activism, his rather grubby affair with Camilla are elements which were only compounded by a childhood formed by Private Eye's Heir of Sorrows series and Spitting Image probably didn't help.

Despite my prejudices, I could not help but be impressed and deeply moved by what the Prince said and did in Ireland this week. I mean deeply moved; especially by his profound words at Mullaghmore yesterday. I was pretty stunned by his meeting with Gerry Adams. No doubt the Prince knows that Adams' position is the result of a rather shabby political deal which was stitched together and has put the ringmasters of the murderous IRA into senior political roles and garlanded them with civilised respectability. Respectability that has provided them with a political vehicle to push abortion and Same Sex Marriage.

No doubt Charles' anguish at the loss of the …

Oh Ireland - I despair!

So today it has emerged that Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin has declined to comment on the position of those Catholics who may vote Yes in Friday’s same-sex marriage referendum. It was not his policy “to tell others how to vote”, a spokeswoman said, while he stressed “that people should be informed”.

With so much in the balance, the Archbishop prevaricates and fails to teach the faith or to stand up to the tide of secular wrong thinking sweeping over his people! How can an Archbishop not have a policy to tell his people the truth of so straightforward an issue as this?

Influential supporters of the Yes vote are not so circumspect as the Archbishop, the recently appointed lecturer at our main teacher training college, St. Mary's, Mary McAleese has been most vocal in presenting her subjective and confused reasoning.

The Irish Times article goes on to explain how Archbishop Diarmuid was pushed for a clarification on the issue because he had totally confused everyone up to this…

Plymouth Bishop's Plan for Evangelisation

In huge contrast to yesterday's worrying and nasty blog subject, today I am pleased to bring you something very encouraging!

Bishop Mark O'Toole, recently Ordained to Plymouth Diocese, continues to delight and impress with his Catholicity (it seems incredible that I even have to say that of a Catholic bishop really doesn't it?)

When I received the LMS Magazine at the weekend, I was delighted to read an interview with Bishop Mark which is available here. In it he articulates a clear plan of action which seems to follow on naturally from his recent excellent Pastoral Letter on Vocation. In that letter, he stated his belief that the challenge faced by the Church today is not a lack of vocations, but rather a lack of responses. The solution to this problem seems obvious to me, and I'm no bishop! Mark O'Toole is, and thankfully he seems to see it clearly. Young men will not answer the call to a luke-warm vision of Catholicism. If the Catholic Church does not stand for …

Cardinal Nichols is Queering the Church

I was shocked by the news that Cardinal Vincent Nichols would be saying a special Mass at Farm Street for LGBT Catholics.

The controversial Soho Masses were a source of grave scandal for some time before Vincent Nichols was honoured with the title "Cardinal". Not because they were a point of evangelism to a marginalised community, but because it was clear that they weren't. Instead the Masses were transformed into something else. Political rainbow flags were displayed, bidding prayers expressed things at variance with Catholic teachings, in short, the Masses had been transformed into protests against the Church’s teaching. For this reason they were, and are, hugely inappropriate.

Ultimately, Cardinal Nichols was called to Rome where the head of the CDF, Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller took action to ensure they stopped. This was also reported in The Catholic Herald who wrote that the then Archbishop Nichols:
...said today that, while the Masses will stop, pastoral care …

Is Pope Francis closing the door on the "innovators"?

This weekend I have been praying for unity in the Church. The Catholic Church bears unique charisms which protect it from error. over the centuries this has been demonstrated sometimes in quite dramatic form.

Infallibility is the protection given by the Holy Spirit to the pope so that he will never teach error in matters of faith and morals. 

But the open divisions I have witnessed since the Synod on the family have scared me and scandalised me terribly. To be honest, having studied Catholic theology, most of what has been said by the likes of Cardinal Kasper and Cardinal Marx should never have been said. I have personally wrestled with the dialogue and the prospect of a change in stance which would amount to nothing less than an acceptance of relativism and a turning away from the deposit of faith--in contradiction with the veryraison d'être of the Papacy, which is to hold fast to the fides quae, the faith which was deposited by Christ.

This can not happen.

I feel so sad that ther…


I would like to warmly encourage readers of my blog to seriously consider attending two excellent events that Brentwood Catholic Youth Service (BCYS) are providing transport for:

March For Life : Saturday 16th May

Bishop Longley of the Diocese of Birmingham has given a special invitation to men to attend. The event begins at Birmingham Cathedral with a time of prayer and reflection, followed by a walk of witness through the streets of Birmingham. The day includes music, song and pro-life speakers such as the amazing Gianna Jessen. Anyone who has heard her testimony knows that her journey of life is truly inspirational and that she is an amazing witness to the true value of human life from conception to natural death.

A BCYS coach departs at 6:30 am from Brentwood Cathedral and returns to at 7pm. BCYS are preparing young people for the day with an optional meeting on 13th May in Brentwood Cathedral Conference Room at 7pm. Here they will hear more about the event and make banners for t…

Going to Hell

One of the most enduring theological debates that has coloured my Catholic perspective has been the one that considers who will go to hell. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
Our Lord warns us that we shall be separated from him if we fail to meet the serious needs of the poor and the little ones who are his brethren. To die in mortal sin without repenting and accepting God's merciful love means remaining separated from him for ever by our own free choice. This state of definitive self-exclusion from communion with God and the blessed is called "hell." ~ CCC 1033 My dear brother-in-law is a deeply intelligent man and someone who I think has been largely put off Christianity because of what he has perceived as an inherent threat in the doctrine, i.e. if you don't believe and do what we say, you will burn in hell for all eternity. He was, if I recall correctly, pleasantly surprised to discover that unbelievers burning in hell is not quite as much of an inherent…