Showing posts from September, 2014

Major Catholic Lay Family Initiative Launched

Please support and share this as widely as possible.

Voice of the Family is an initiative of Catholic laity from major pro-life/pro-family organisations. It has been formed to offer expertise and resources before, during and after the Synod. The group is offering assistance to Synod Fathers, such as research, expert briefings, speech-drafting, and professional support and contacts.

Voice of the Family argues that the following themes must be central to the Synod’s conclusions:
• Sacramental marriage, binding parents together in an indissoluble union, is the greatest protector of children both born and unborn.
• the inseparability of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual act is an essential defence against the culture of death.
• parents are the primary educators of their children.

By making a particular stand in defence of parents as primary educators, the Synod Fathers would be embracing marriage, the sanctity of human life, and the truth about human sexuality. The pot…

Pope Enigma

Pope Francis seems to be an enigma to some people. Many journalists who are no friends of the Catholic Church praise him and claim he is likely to change Church Doctrine on Christian Marriage because of some of his remarks to journalists - which are then selectively quoted (especially the "Who am I to judge" remark).

But he also says that he is a faithful son of the Church.

His faithfulness and orthodoxy were reiterated to me by Cardinal Pell when I met him at Buckfast earlier this month for the foundation Mass and celebrations for the School of The Annunciation.

Those who are campaigning to change the Church's teaching on Marriage, Homosexuality, Abortion and Contraception perhaps need to be aware of the following:

1. Letter of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, to the Carmelite Nuns of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires (June 22, 2010) asking for their prayers and sacrifices against the Argentinian Same Sex "Marriage" Law

Dear Sisters,…

Should we exclude those who have the most need of God's grace?

This is one of the cries that are most commonly heard about Holy Communion for those who are divorced and remarried. I have heard it many times myself. The idea is born of a misunderstanding regarding the way in which the Church teaches that Holy Communion is medicine for the sick. A false mercy. And a theology of the Eucharist which is relativistic and causing huge problems for the praxis and understanding of many lay people today.

As we run up to the synod, and considering many may have built up their hopes for a doctrinal change, perhaps it would be useful to reaffirm some basic points. I have heard the argument that the Eucharist is the most important thing someone's my life, the thing that keeps them a Catholic, but Christ came to the imperfect, not the perfect. One could argue that He didn't say at the last supper "do this in memory of me but only if you have been good, only if you went to confession today, only if you are perfect." He didn't put a conditi…

The 'Trojan Horse' Threatening our Catholic Schools

There is little doubt in my mind about the threat to the Catholic way of life posed by increasing pressure from a modern secular agenda which promotes sexual deviancy as a norm and undermines marriage, fidelity, respect and honour. At Buckfast, Cardinal Pell explained that Catholics must  be vocal and take the intellectual high ground on these issues, or we risk having our social capital continually eroded until our way of life is outlawed completely.

In this excellent article, Antonia Robinson gives flesh to the spectre stalking Catholic social capital in our schools. She explains:
Moral teachings have always been the front line of conflict between Catholic schools and state regulators: the difference now is that what is proposed would give the state powers that it didn’t have before.In the context of the consultation “British Values” are largely defined by the 2010 Equalities Act, already used as a big stick to beat Christians. The disingenuous use of “British Values” (or “values” a…

Breaking Blackfen

Alternatively, and somewhat bewilderdly entitled Why is the EF so Hated?
Looking at CC Father's restrained and thoughtful breakdown of the recent sad events at Blackfen, it really is hard to see what exactly is behind what has happened. Is Fr. Steven acting unilaterally or is this a strategy from above? If so, what on earth are the powers that be thinking?

One things is for sure, Fr. Steven's actions are very, very odd. Just a few years ago Fr Steven Fisher was the hero of the Latin Mass Society. And 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.

But now his blog has closed.

He was in his previous parish for just two years and has not been replaced (It is now served by a priest from a neighbouring parish.).

If one was unaware of this background and history…

Westminster Diocese Affirms Openness to Life

Have you heard about this?

The Choose Life, Choose Love Conference on Catholic marriage and family life was held at St Patrick's Church in Soho in March 2014. Speakers at the two day event included Jonathon Doyle, Founder and Director of CHOICEZ Media in Australia, and testimonies from married couples present. It might be appropriate to refresh our memories about this event as we approach the synod.

In addition, there were talks from Sr. Renee Mirkes OSF, PhD on exploring the themes of Humanae Vitae and the Domino Theory and John Henry Weston entitled "In the Service of, Men are called to Greatness". Sr. Renee is the director of the Center for NaProEthics [the ethics division of the Pope Paul VI Institute, Omaha, NE].

You can watch videos of all the talks here.

Please Support Bishop Drennan

On September 3rd, Clare Short broke the news that the Catholic Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway has donated €45,000 to local gay rights group AMACH!. The money donated came from the Maureen O’Connell fund.

In 2007, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Galway received a bequest of €7.8m from the late Maureen O’Connell, following the sale of her landmark Galway property “O’Connell’s” public house. The St. Augustine Conference is managing the spending of the bequest according to the terms of the Will, which states that “…funds should be used for the work of the SVP in Galway City and County.” The Conference is comprised of members of local SVP Conferences from throughout Galway.

In accordance with the aims and mission of the Society, the Maureen O’Connell Fund aims to tackle poverty in all its forms through the provision of practical assistance to those in need, specifically addressing poverty and isolation among older people, family poverty, child poverty, educational needs of …

Marcus Stock Appointed Bishop of Leeds

Pope Francis has appointed Mgr Marcus Stock Bishop-elect of Leeds diocese. Mgr Marcus is a proven administrator having been General Secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (November 2009 to date) and Acting Director of the Catholic Education Service (November 2011 to April 2013). He is widely considered orthodox and excellent. I know him mostly from his work Christ at the Centre (which ironically is only available online from the National Secularist Society website here).

If you want to know a bit more about Bishop Elect Stock's theology and vision, you could do a lot worse than read this document. I personally don't think it is the best thing out there, but it is certainly among the best, and holds an authentic theology and vision for Catholic education.

One of the things about Mgr Stock is that he has long been in the running for episcopacy, indeed, I was wondering whether he wouldn't be given Brentwood. I considered that would have been a ver…

Exaltation of the Cross

Yesterday was the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross. The Scripture at Mass was deeply pedagogical with a really important message for each one of us. The First Reading speaks of the Covenant as it originally was convened between the Hebrew people and God in Exodus. By looking at the origins of the Covenental relationship, we can learn a great deal about our relationship with God today; consider the Psalm yesterday "Do not forget the works of the Lord!".

The first reading was from Numbers 21:4b-9. The Book of Numbers is the fourth book of the Bible. It's name was taken from the census, or counting of the people, that takes place in chapters 1 and 26. The book was composed over a period of about 1,000 years. It tells the story of thirty-eight years of wandering in the desert from Sinai to the Plains of Moab just before the invasion of Canaan under Joshua. On a deeper level it is the story of how God acted in history to guide and protect His chosen people from Sinai to …

Some Thoughts on the Forthcoming Synod

A priestly friend has contacted me to share some important considerations regarding the forthcoming synod on the family, perhaps inspired by Róisín Gallagher's blog.

I think the synod is important for lots of reasons, certainly in the context of the continually "evolving" idea of family fostered and promoted by secular society. There is a huge impact for the Church too, because Vocations to the religious life come from families. I do worry that clergy consider the role of the laity needs to be expanded to cover for the lack of vocations to the priesthood. What really needs to happen is that the faith is spread in order to inspire young men and women to take up the religious life. Meanwhile, this cannot happen whilst our focus is on mediocrity, concession, and relativism of belief.
Anyway, some important points, concisely made and valuable to share:

A. Who is eligible to participate?
Canon 833 states that everyone who is to take part in an Ecumenical Council, a particular …

Please don’t tell me you think I should be allowed to remarry. It’s not as kind as you think it is.

I highly recommend you read this blog by Róisín Gallagher which states from an intensely personal perspective, Catholic truth far more eloquently than I could on this.

It contains some important perspective for priests:
It saddened me to learn that I wasn’t the only person to whom a member of the clergy had said “you’re being too hard on yourself”. Whilst these sound like kind caring words, when addressed to a person who has turned to you for advice on how to live a more authentic, more Christ-centered life, they can actually be the complete opposite. Worse still, when offered as a response to a confession of something clearly sinful it has the potential to be damaging. This is exactly my idea of a ‘false concept of mercy’.We are inundated with a wealth of life advice every day; I can read articles and blogs about how I should live. I can follow the example of countless celebrities and can embrace the pseudo freedom that the media wants me to believe I posses. I can be happy with this…

Jennifer Lawrence Naked Pics

Jennifer Lawrence is a really famous and very beautiful actress. Someone has hacked into her home computer and stolen some images there of her naked and spread them around the internet.

OK so I'm a little behind the times with this post, but honestly, I've been so busy!

If you were cynical, you might consider I was fishing for google hits with the title; I'll be honest, the idea may have crossed my mind. However, I do think this is issue is oxygen that will facilitate discussion of a really difficult and thorny modern problem. And if a few people come across this post and read it while searching for naked pictures of Jennifer, could they conceivably find it helpful?

It is also an issue that was brought to the front of my mind at Buckfast on Monday when Cardinal Pell addressed the prevalence, invasive nature, an insidious effect of internet pornography in our lives and on our society. This has long been a concern of mine not least because the availability of images of nake…

Blessings for us all from Buckfast

270 miles and 41/2 hours ago I was in Buckfast Abbey in Devon. I was deeply honoured to have been invited to the Foundation Celebrations for The School of the Annunciation by Dr. Caroline Farey, Director of Studies at the School, which was merely an idea just twelve months ago. It is difficult to look at the events of the last twelve months and not see the hand of God at work. After the disappointment and pain of the fracture at Maryvale, Petroc and Caroline had no idea what they were going to do. Today, I witnessed the birth of a new, exciting venture, designed to provide a higher education institution which will present an enormous variety of high quality courses that will help people deepen their faith and partake in the work of the New Evangelisation.

Rather than some clandestine, divisive venture, The School of the Annunciation is a living, working, embodiment of the tri-fold sources of Revelation: Scripture, Tradition, and The Magisterium. Enfolded within the rich Benedictine m…