Showing posts from July, 2015

Summer Pilgrim

Just about to take off for Lourdes. As we approach the anniversary of Ruth's death on the 29th, it is a great comfort to me that the family and I will be in this wonderful place of pilgrimage. Our visit coincides with the diocesan pilgrimage and the BCYS too as well as lots of our diocesan trips. It's like, in some way, England comes to Our Lady at this time of year. If you would like me to pray for you at the grotto, please leave a comment and I promise to hold your intentions before the Blessed Mother.

Traditional Liturgy: Booming Vocations

Since first experiencing the Extraordinary Form of the Mass a few years ago, I have developed a sort of a craving for it. It's a bit of an itch that's hard to scratch, because provision is not great. We have the EF once a month in my own Parish and our 11:30 Novus Ordo is beautiful liturgy, so it's not a huge issue. However, I do feel really drawn to the beauty and transcendence of the EF and will go whenever I can. This love affair drew me to St. James', Spanish Place a few weeks ago as I reported here for a first Mass of a newly ordained FSSP priest, Fr. Ian Verrier.

It was heavenly liturgy; stupefyingly beautiful music, a Mass in which I felt I could really raise my heart and mind to God. But the homily by Fr. Armand de Malleray was the really electrifying and extraordinarily different experience for me. It really sparked my interest in the FSSP.

I spotted this interesting interview in the Catholic World Report from last month. There is a lot of current interest in…

Archbishop Gänswein on Synod: 'Why do some pastors want to propose what’s not possible?'

There's an important report on Catholic Culture today:

Archbishop Georg Gänswein has questioned why some bishops—particularly in his native Germany—are proposing the admission of divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion, when that step is "not possible." The prefect of the pontifical household, who has worked closely with both Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, also spoke about the similarities between the two in an interview with +1, a publication of the International University of Catalonia. Archbishop Gänswein said that speculative theories about the resignation of Pope Benedict, which point to some pressure or motivation beyond the outgoing Pope's brief resignation statement, are "altogether devoid of foundation." Despite the difference in approach between the two Pontiffs, "I believe that Francis thinks about it the same way" as his predecessor, said Archbishop Gänswein. "It’s not that he’s not interested in the fight against rela…

Leading Advocate of Evangelisation Appointed as Aux Bishop to the Belly of the Beast!

It's really not often that someone as high profile and well known as Fr. Robert Barron seems to be appointed to the episcopate. This morning, however, brought an announcement from Word on Fire that this had actually taken place.

Fr Robert Barron has been named as one of three new auxiliary bishops of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Pope Francis. Hollyweird- the belly of the beast!

On his Facebook page, Fr. Robert posted:
Friends, Pope Francis has appointed me auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. You can read my full reaction at the link below. Please pray for me and be assured that the mission of my Word on Fire apostolate will continue, and with the Lord's grace, not just continue, but also flourish and grow. Christ's peace be with all of you! Fr. Robert is well known for his strong commitment to evangelisation, he is the founder of the “global media ministry” Word on Fire, which produces programmes for WGN America, EWTN, Relevant Radio and YouTube. He is…

On Scandals in the Church

When I expressed my heartbreak at the scandals that rock the Church once, someone said to me; "where else do you expect Satan to be at work?"

Fr. Francis Coveney writes:

The very act of receiving Holy Communion is a statement that we wish to be in full union with Almighty God. And we cannot be in full union with Almighty God if we are living a life (and intend to continue living a life) that is incompatible with keeping all of the Ten Commandments.

For a priest (or God forbid, a bishop or a Cardinal) to celebrate the Sacraments while living in a state of mortal sin – or intending to commit a mortal sin – is to commit an act of sacrilege.

At the Council of Jerusalem (Acts 15:29) the Apostles decreed that although Pagan converts were not bound by the Jewish dietary and hygiene laws, they were to be bound by the moral law - and specifically mentioned avoiding "pornea" (that is illicit marital relations).

As all Catholics (but especially priests and bishops) should kno…

Priests Speak of their Joy in Priesthood

Perhaps this is the perfect antidote to my last post. 10 priests from the diocese of Arundel & Brighton, UK, speak of their JOY in priesthood as part of the diocesan Golden Jubilee celebrations.

Their love for the priesthood is moving and inspiring. Particularly of note is what they have to say about the importance of Confession, both the humbling experience of hearing Confession and the way in which this leads them to their own Confession. This is the metanoia which is at the heart of the Gospel and which we seem to be missing from much of our experience of faith these days. This Greek word is associated with the English word "repentance", but in psychological terms, relates to the process of experiencing a "break down" and subsequent, positive psychological re-building or "healing". When we hear the Good News of Jesus, we "change our minds" and recognise our own need for healing. This awakening to our need for grace drives us to examine ou…

Breaking Blackfen II

Readers may recall the heartbreak and tragedy at Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, last September (which I covered here).

Back then, I noted how Fr. Steven's actions were very, very odd and in contrast to how, just a few years ago he was was the hero of the Latin Mass Society: he denounced the cowardice of his Diocese in changing the terms of reference of the Catholic Children's Society to accommodate gay/lesbian adoptions. It was also reported on Forest Murmers that he argued against the censorship of priest-bloggers on his own blog.

Well, it now appears that all our worst fears have become a reality. CC Father notes the public resignation of Steven Fisher as PP here and Joe Shaw reports on the tragic trajectory of this man here.

He clearly is in desperate need of our prayers.

Even if they showed more sensitivity than to publicly expose what they knew was going on, practically everyone knew this was going to happen when he was appointed. The big question for me is, if so ma…

Supporting parents, the primary educators and protectors of their children

I've had three children go through "catholic" education. One of the great conversations amongst Catholics of my age is about the terrible job done by Catholic educators with respect to sex ed. We were taught all about contraception in Biology classes, but nothing about relational context, let alone anything about what the Church teaches on this. I often thought this might be because of a lack of commitment to this teaching from those responsible. An over-reliance on conscience was prevalent at the time and this no doubt contributed to the lack of diligence in this regard. Most of all I blame those who have oversight in the diocese for ensuring Catholic education was Catholic. Interestingly, the same man is in charge now, and, as a father who has had three sons go through the Catholic system, I'm sad to say, nothing has changed. The provision for sex ed for our kids is truly attrocious- harmful I would say.

It's not all doom and gloom however.

This excellent artic…

Photo's from the Guild Day at Ealing

As anticipated, the The Guild Day at Ealing (details here) on Saturday was a great opportunity to deepen our faith and meet other Catholics. I have written the whole day up here if you want to know what went on. My friend, Paul Abbott accompanied me with his camera, and took a few choice photos which I am posting here for your edification and enjoyment:

A Day on the Family in Ealing

I'm feeling on top of the world this morning, home from Mass and after a wonderful day yesterday at Ealing Abbey for the Guild of Our Lady & St. Joseph's day of Catholic study on The Family: The Fundamental Cell of Society. I was privileged to have the company of my son Mike and a couple of friends, Joao Pereira and Paul Abbot, and we all traveled up from Essex together. We got there in time for Mass with the Benedictines, celebrated by one Brother who was 60 years a priest on that day!

Initially, the take up for this day was low. This wasn't a surprise; the day clashed with the Proclaim15 event in Birmingham and the LMS AGM at Westminster Cathedral. We also did not have any "star speaker", the last Guild Day I attended in Soho, we had Bishop Phillip Egan, who no doubt drew a crowd just to see him. Despite these issues, we received a good number of registrations in the week running up to the event and quite a number of people showed up on the day.

Based on c…

Papal controversy— "Scandalous changes", Samanes Park, Guayaquil (Ecuador) Monday, 6 July 2015.

I have seen a lot of consternation expressed over the last week about some remarks the Holy Father made in a homily in Ecuador. This was somewhat overtaken by the extraordinary events of yesterday, but they are still for many, more disconcerting than the bizarre gift of the Bolivian President.

CNN put a definite spin on the comments with their article here. Daniel Burke, their religious editor, thinks that Francis was hinting at "scandalous" changes for the Catholic Church. While this may well be wishful thinking on the part of CNN, Burke's interpretation is not idiosyncratic, and so we, the faithful are left scratching our heads at these words from Francis' homily in Ecuador:
"Shortly before the opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, the Church will celebrate the Ordinary Synod devoted to the family, deepen her spiritual discernment and consider concrete solutions to the many difficult, significant challenges facing families in our time. I ask you to pray ferven…

Papal Hammer & Sickle Controversy

You might, like me, have thought that this was some cheap political trick by the Bolivian President, Evo Morales. Certainly, the Pope appears very aware of the inappropriate nature of this gift, even saying to the President "that's not right!" (video here). As Pope St. John Paul II said back in 1978:
It is wrong, to state that political, economic and social liberation coincides with salvation in Jesus Christ. However, there is a little more resonance to it than first meets the eye.

Spanish new outlet La Voz explains that the cruciform hammer & sickle is actually a replica of the cross made by the Spanish Jesuit priest Luis Espinal, murdered in 1980 by paramilitaries for his commitment to social struggles in Bolivia.

After his arrival in Bolivia, Pope Francis made a stopover in the place where Fr. Espinal was riddled with bullets.
"I stood here to greet and especially to remember. Remember a brother, a brother of ours, a victim of interests that do not want him t…

Mega-Church Founder Led to Catholicism by Mary

Ulf Ekman was a hugely prominent mega-church founder in Sweden who entered the Catholic Church a little over a year ago.

I think Catholics find it hard to understand just how big a move this is for someone who is brought up as a Protestant; but to put it in some perspective, most Protestants see Catholicism as the anti-room to hell, as the author Sherry Weddell (a convert herself) explains well here:

Ekman revealed that the Blessed Virgin Mary led him and his wife to the Catholic Church, and said that loving Jesus means to love the Church. "It was a real experience for us. It was like several missing pieces fell into place, and so much started to make sense. There was a deep sense of 'arriving' that came to us," Ekman explained in an interview with The National Catholic Register, talking about the reception with his wife, Birgitta, into the Church on May 21, 2014.
Read more at…

Cardinal Pell: Same-sex marriage votes show society is abandoning Christian foundation

Breaking news from The Catholic Herald

Cardinal Pell is at it again, teaching the Catholic faith, holding true to the deposit, taking back out social capital! Thank God for him!

The cardinal said the culture wars are entering a new phase which can only be fought by lay people The Vatican’s Secretariat for the Economy has said that the outcome of May’s same-sex marriage referendum in Ireland and the decision of the US Supreme Court on the same issue clearly show the extent to which Western society is abandoning many of its Christian legal foundations. In his address at the Fota VIII International Liturgy Conference in Cork, Cardinal George Pell called the Irish referendum “a victory for John Stuart Mill and utilitarianism.” He told the conference delegates and speakers that the so-called culture wars “are entering a new phase of political struggle which can only be fought by lay people.” Speaking about the importance of recovering the mission of the laity and drawing from St John Paul I…