Showing posts from April, 2015

Confronting the Gay Agenda

It is so confusing for our children these days as the gay agenda moves forward with unstoppable momentum and screaming "bigot!" as loud as possible at anyone who dares raise a voice of concern or disagreement. This strikes me particularly at the moment with the "Gay Marriage" thing being debated in Ireland as Bruvver Eccles alludes to here. The desperate reality strikes me as I lead forty young people in my parish toward Confirmation. Just their understanding of relationships reveals a quite shocking breakdown in any concept of what constitutes Marriage, let alone Catholic teaching; and these are good, normal, Catholic kids.

The plight of our children can only be made worse because the source of clear teaching on these matters, The Church, seems, in places, rather at odds with itself. Sadly, some priests prevaricate on this issue which can ultimately achieve nothing else but to lead their flocks into confusion and dismay. Or they say nothing, which leads parishion…

Praying for Nepal & Asking God "Why?"

Really there seems so much to pray about at the moment in my life. My morning Rosary seems more urgent and important and is preceded and followed by more urgent pleas than I can remember in a long while. Sometimes when I pray, I pray this way, focused, urgent pleading. Sometimes in my life, I have just laid myself out before God, like a shipwrecked and half-drowned sailor washed up on some foreign shore.

I felt like at least one of this morning's urgent pleadings was answered very quickly with a couple of promising developments which were just openings that allowed me to act in a positive rather than a negative way. It may well be that my concern in both these regards was unfounded, and God just showed me there was no need to feel anxious. It could be that he presented me with an opportunity to love and effect the situation through my own generosity of spirit. I discerned the latter and so when that chink appeared, poured all the love I could in. We'll see what comes.

I hope …

How to Discern Your Vocation

Father Mike Schmitz is a priest I have been introduced to through the wonderful Chosen Confirmation programme I am currently running in the Parish. He is one of a number of excellent presenters that are involved with this exciting and accessible programme for teens. This video is Father Mike's infallible guide to discerning your vocation, which I thought might be worth sharing for Vocations Sunday:

Gay Conversion

I saw the above tweet today, the first thing it made me do was look up the Scripture:
Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither the immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor robbers will inherit the kingdom of God. ~ 1 Cor 6: 9-10 Of course, classically, if you do not think much of the Bible, you're not going to be too worried about what it says. So it doesn't form much of an argument in any religion to say "Our ancient book says..." it's just not a convincing argument for non-believers for very obvious reasons.

I read this article today on the BBC website: 'Culture war' of gay conversion therapy. As you might expect, it takes the line that gay conversion therapy is "kooky";
"There are lots of kooky therapies out there for all sorts of things and we don't ban them, we warn against them." In a very …

Facing death, standing next to Christ

“You will not grieve as do the rest who have no hope.” 1 Thessalonians 4:13
Dr. Gary Miller is someone I met over the internet. He is a Baptist Pastor, son of a Baptist Pastor, in Texas. Over the last few weeks and months, he has documented on Facebook, the gradual decline in health of his father, a much loved Pastor, a passionate Christian, and a real gentleman. I didn't know Don Miller except through the moving updates posted by Gary, but I have been moved to tears on several occasions by the journey to glory he has been on, by the unflinching faith and joy with which he has undertaken his final journey, secure in faith, walking every step with Jesus. And by the powerful prayers for and love directed at Don, Gary and the family.

Don died yesterday and this was Gary's final post. I have to say I found it deeply moving to be allowed to journey with Gary and his family. It is a beautiful journey undertaken with and in the love of Jesus Christ. Gary has kindly allowed me to share…

Boat Loads of Migrants

What horrible news we are hearing about the tragedy of those persecuted in their own lands, by ISIS or Boko Haram, who then risk and often lose their lives in a desperate bid to escape the slaughter. For these brave individuals, the only option is to board a flimsy craft over-loaded with similarly desperate people trying to escape the carnage in their own countries. Carnage which, I find myself realising, we are largely responsible for in Britain. Especially with regards to Libya, from where the people are fleeing as a direct result of Britain & France's intervention and lack of any cohesive plan as to what to do once Colonel Gaddafi had been deposed.

The current conflict in Syria has caused the worst humanitarian crisis this century. More than 3 million people have fled the country and many are making the perilous journey to seek safety overseas. A large number of those trying to get to Europe by boat are Syrians. Amnesty International has some of the individual stories whic…

In France, Police Foil Islamist Plot to Attack Churches

Shocking news from France this morning as open persecution of Christians takes a terrifying step closer to becoming a reality in the West. French police say they have arrested a man armed with several weapons, including a Kalashnikov and a handgun, who was planning to launch an armed attack on two churches in Paris. A number of news agencies have described the man as an Islamic extremist.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the man is 24-year-old computer science student who has lived in France for several years and had been under surveillance for several months. He was arrested on Sunday in Paris. He was accused of killing a young woman shortly before he was detained on Sunday.

The man, who had been flagged by security officials last year, was arrested after he apparently shot himself and called for an ambulance, according to AP.

A worrying, but unsurprising development, given the wanton and deliberate attempts by Islamic organisations to obliterate Christianity from the Middle…

Bishop Mark O'Toole on Vocation

That Vocations to the Priesthood are in crisis is an internationally accepted reality. I don't think it is rocket science to work out why either. To be a Catholic today is to be attacked by Catholics. I think Pope Benedict XVI went a long way to sorting this out, by making the essentials of the faith clear and that led many who felt disenfranchised in a community which no longer practised what it preached to feel part of the Church once more. However I do think the fundamental malaise remains and that is that many don't like other Catholics who take their faith seriously, some priests as well as lay people!

As Father Alexander Lucie-Smith points out in The Catholic Herald today: "People who oppose Catholic teaching from within the Catholic Church, particularly from within the institutional Church, always feel a huge amount of pain when challenged, and are never reticent about sharing it. They usually ignore, however, the pain they cause to ordinary believing Catholics in …

Vacancy for KS1/2 Teacher in Essex

Our Lady of Ransom is a good Catholic School in Rayleigh, Essex, run by a friend of mine. They are currently looking for a new KS1/2 Teacher to start in September. Mr. Parascandolo is one of the most committed and dedicated heads I have ever met and I would highly recommend the position. The ad here runs like this:

The Governing Body of Our Lady of Ransom Catholic School is looking to appoint an outstanding,enthusiastic and highly-motivated class teacher, to join our friendly and dedicated team.

Our school provides a happy, calm atmosphere with delightful children as well as supportive colleagues, governors and parents.

The successful candidate will need to be a strong practitioner committed to achieving high standards of pupils' learning.

The post would suit an experienced or newly qualified teacher who is either a practising Catholic or willing to support the strong Catholic ethos of our school.

The Governing Body is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children an…

The Catholic Vote

Yesterday I posted an article by Deacon Nick Donnelly bemoaning the current state of British politics. As we approach a General Election which many commentators consider will constitute a key change in the political landscape of our country, faithful Catholics feel marginalised and disenfranchised with the political system. In this, we are not alone, but the reasons we feel this way are probably minority issues which contradict directly the direction of social change adopted by the main parties.

The apathy and disaffection felt by the rest of society is, interestingly, having the same effect as it is on Catholics—pushing us out to the fringes as we feel increasingly abandoned by mainstream parties. On Twitter today, the fallout from Nick's article yesterday is a discussion about the merits or otherwise, of supporting UKIP.

Lucas Cambrensis has provided his own response to the feelings of disenfranchisement resulting from the political process in which he draws attention to the CBE…

Deacon Nick Donnelly: Who Can I Vote For?

Deacon Nick Donnelly of Protect the Pope offers some advice on who Catholics can vote for in the upcoming general election in a recent article which has been banned by a local paper because of its "political content". Deacon Nick explains:

The editor of the Barrow Evening Mail has banned my article on the General Election from their weekly Christian Comment section. He gave the following reason:

'It is highly politicised and as we are now in purdah (the period running up to an election during which newspapers must be extremely careful of what political content they publish), it is not appropriate for publication I'm afraid.'

Here's my banned article:

Every General Election I am faced with a dilemma as a Christian – which candidate and political party can I vote for in good conscience?

As a Christian I no longer trust the Labour party because of their actions against the Church when last in government. It was Tony Blair who destroyed the network of Catholic a…

"and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved" Mt 10:22

Talking to faithful doctors, professors, monks, nuns, priests, young people and lay people, one theme constantly resurfaces; our wish for faithful prelates, for courageous bishops and archbishops who would be prepared to stand up and defend Church teaching. Well in San Francisco, they have one, and just look at all the stick he is getting. Well, if you wish for proper Catholic leadership, perhaps a good way of showing the Lord that you're serious would be to get behind this man now and support him however you can?

On Wednesday, April 15, The San Francisco Chroniclereported “Prominent Catholics call on pope to oust S.F. archbishop.” The column began
“In an unprecedented move, more than 100 prominent Roman Catholic donors and church members signed a full-page ad running Thursday in The Chronicle that calls on Pope Francis to replace San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for fostering “an atmosphere of division and intolerance.” Photo number 6 of 13 accompanying The Chronicle

Twilight of the godless

There was a particularly interesting comment on page 3 of the print version this week's Catholic Herald which really caught my attention. It noted how the world's leading research organisation predicts that Atheists and Agnostics will make up a declining share of the world's population in the coming years, falling from their current 16% to just over 13% by 2050.

This struck me as being somewhat at odds with received opinion, at least received opinion here in Essex. I would have said that those with faith are increasingly marginalised, while Atheism appears to have unstoppable momentum and has become the smart choice for a generation who want some way to rationalise and justify what tends to be selfish and destructive behaviour (see here for example).

The article goes on to explain how, in fact, I live in a little bubble of self-deceipt here in Western Europe. Nowhere has the decline of religion been felt more keenly than here in Britain. Further, it is broadly perceived b…

Of Fathers & Broken Hearts

Yesterday was my Father's birthday. I haven't seen him for about 13 years now I suppose. He abandoned my mum, brother and I in the most acrimonious manner in 1999, after it was discovered that he was having an affair with a part-time typist who worked at the business and who is my age. The resulting fallout caused the most dreadful wound in the family which has continued to fester and effect his wife and children in an extraordinarily potent way, ever since.

I always feel melancholy on this day irrespective of how hard I try to ignore it or shut it out. I am grieving, I suppose. Grieving for what I have lost, grieving for what could have been, as well as what was. Fundamentally, an unbreakable bond was broken. Something I was always told could never happen. Something that contradicted all the laws of nature, family, love, everything. A Father abandoned his sons. He told me he wished I was dead. This wasn't just a broken marriage, it was a completely broken family. He didn…