Friday, 30 January 2009

Photo caption

' What's your problem? The guy said sorry,now
all I have to decide is which See to throw him into'

Pro-life homily

A beautiful, heartfelt and moving homily for the Annual White Flower Appeal, from Plymouth priest, Fr. Guy de Gaynesford.

I have heard it said that priests are sometimes reluctant to give a homily that focusses on abortion because, they are concerned about the possible presence in the congregation of abortion-affected women. I pray that such priests will be courageous in preaching the truth, remembering that such women are often in great need of the healing that only Christ can bring. Sometimes, the priest's carefully worded homily can be the place where a recognition of that need for healing may begin.

Thanks Fr. de Gaynesford, and thanks John Smeaton

SSPX and Vatican 2

Reading through Brian Mershon's piece,'Vatican Insider Projects Speedy SSPX Resolution' , in the Remnant, it occurs to me that, if Mgr. Ignacio Barriero, chief of Human Life International's Rome Bureau is right-

"They won't be asked to accept the Council," Monsignor Barreiro said. " There is nothing dogmatic regarding faith and morals in the council documents," he emphasised. " Many have elevated the Council as if it were a superdogma, when in truth,it was not dogmatic at all."

-just where does that leave the rest of the Catholic flock?

We live in interesting times!

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Interview with Fr. Cantalamessa

Zenit has an interview with Fr. Ranieri Cantalamessa, preacher of the Pontifical Household, in which Fr. Cantalamessa explains some of the challenges facing Christian families.

In the style of Fr. Z., I have emphasised and commented.

Interview With Father Cantalamessa

By Mercedes de la Torre

MEXICO CITY, JAN. 27, 2009 ( The preacher of the Pontifical Household says that today's Christians should follow the example of their first predecessors: bring a change to society with their testimony rather than focusing on changing laws.

Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa suggested this strategy in his address to the theological congress at the 6th World Meeting of Families, held Jan. 14-18 in Mexico City.

In this interview with ZENIT, he explains the challenge he sees facing Christian families.

Q: One of the great problems with families of our times -- as you affirmed -- is the lack of love. What solution can families of today, faced with modern problems, find in sacred Scripture?

Father Cantalamessa: As I said in my address, marriage is born of humility, of an act of humility; it is to recognize your dependence, the need for another, and it does not stay alive and healthy without humility.(yes, this is very important) Pride is the No. 1 enemy of marriage and causes love to disappear.

I think that today, more than defending Christian matrimony in face of society and culture, we have to improve the quality of the Christian family, [and] work so that Christian families are truly a place where the initial plan of God is fulfilled, ( the Christian family is not just a convenient lifestyle option ) which is that man and woman experience within the couple a love that brings them to desire the infinite and eternal Love.

Q: During your conference, you affirmed that Christians should engage the world more with acts than with words, as it was in the first centuries of the Church. Could you tell us then what richness we can find in the biblical message to restore the testimony in favor of the Gospel, of life and of the family?

Father Cantalamessa: I have said -- and I think -- that the first Christians, especially in the first three centuries, changed the laws of the state with their customs. Now we cannot pretend to do the opposite, that is, change customs with the laws of the state. As citizens we should do everything possible so that the state adopts good laws, positive laws that are not contrary to life, but this is not enough. It is not enough because in a pluralistic society like that of today, Christians in certain countries are already the minority and thus we are closer to the situation of the first centuries than the Middle Ages, when Christians were not defended by the state, but by their lives and testimony.

Q: What is the current deconstruction of the family and how is this opposed to the plan of God, as you explained in Mexico?

Father Cantalamessa: They are extreme situations: It is as if man wanted to reinvent man, woman, marriage … with certain "un-human" conclusions. (man thinking he can go one better than God) For example the project of abolishing the sexes, this plan according to which there is not a defined sex, [and] in which each one constructs his life according to his desire for masculinity, femininity or something more variable -- it is unacceptable, of course. It goes against human nature.

The deconstructionism also proposes to abolish maternity, because it sees maternity as slavery.( or punishment, as President Obama has it) The woman is enslaved by maternity so it is thought to give birth to children in another, very artificial way. These are truly dangerous proposals -- "un-human."

I have a lot of confidence in people's common sense and also in instincts, in the desire for the opposite sex that God has placed in the person and the desire for maternity and paternity, which are values that God has placed in the human heart.(wired into our being and purpose) But I think that these proposals can do a lot of damage, like Marxism. Marxism has been recognized as a great evil for society, but it left a lot of victims. In the same way this revolution -- the gender revolution -- before being recognized as something "un-human," can cause a lot of damage.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Silence of the Shepherds

Three cheers to Fr.Ray for giving voice to what many must be feeling at the apparent silence of the Bishops' Media office regarding the lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX four. As Fr. Ray says, much of the negative (at times misinformed) reporting seems to originate in the English media.

They can't all be on annual leave, surely?


The Bishops' Conference of England and Wales has issued the following press release:


Press release

Issued by the Catholic Communications Network

Catholic Bishops’ Conference statement on lifting of excommunications of SSPX Bishops

A spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference of England & Wales said:

“The Bishops of England & Wales acknowledge the lifting of the excommunication of four SSPX bishops.

“The Bishops draw attention to the fact that this is the first step in enabling the fraternity of SSPX to move towards full communion and doctrinal unity within the Catholic Church.

“In harmony with Pope Benedict XVI, the Bishops of England & Wales hope that this act will consolidate reciprocal relations of trust and to intensify and stabilise the relations of the Fraternity of SSPX and the Holy See.”


Saturday, 24 January 2009

In the post today...

Sorry about the poor quality of the photo (did I mention my lack of technical skill?), but these have just arrived from family publications.

My husband and I will have discussions about who is reading which first.

Of course, our older sons and daughters may wish to have a read, too.

They will need to form an orderly queue!

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Priests have need of our prayers

When I was trying to find something else, I came across this at The Deacon's Bench:

Prayer for Priests

Almighty God, look upon the Face of Jesus Who is the eternal High Priest, and have compassion on Your priests in today's world. They are but weak and frail human beings. Stir up in them the grace of their vocation. Keep them close to You so the enemy may not prevail against them, so that they may never do anything in the slightest degree unworthy of their sublime vocation.

O Jesus, I pray for Your faithful and fervent priests, for the unfaithful and tepid ones; for those laboring at home and abroad in distant mission fields; for those who are tempted; for those who are lonely and desolate; for those who are dying; and for those who are in purgatory.

But above all, I recommend to You the priests dearest to me; the priest who baptized me; the priests who absolved me from my sins; the priests at whose Masses I have assisted and who gave me Your Body and Blood in Holy Communion; the priests who instructed me or helped me by their encouragement. I pray devoutly for all the priests to whom I am indebted in any other way, in particular for (mention your special intention for your special priest). O Jesus, keep them all close to Your Heart and bless them abundantly in time and in eternity. Amen.

O Mary, Queen of the Clergy, pray for us; obtain for us many and holy priests.

Praying for Priests- so much more efficatious than criticising their weaknesses.

...and further to my earlier post..

I see that on the current vacancies page of the Bishop's Conference, Cafod, the charity and international aid agency that uses its skills to tackle global injustice and poverty, is seeking to recruit
a Creative Manager-Editorials , salary £34,839-£38,324 +benefits.

a Cafod Diocesan Officer-Enhanced, salary £23,885-£26,395 +benefits.

So, how many children would that sort of money feed?
Possibly upwards of 7000, on the Mary's Meals model.

Just popping into church for a fishing licence...

Some of the first apostles were fishermen by trade,eking out a no doubt precarious existence on the seas, lakes and shores in the Holy Land.When Jesus called them, He said that He would make them fishers of men.
I don't know if in A.D. 33, it was necessary for fishermen to be in possession of a licence, but fishing today is a fairly heavily regulated business. And a licence is a must-have, just as a driving licence or road tax disc.
So, hard-pressed fishers/drivers/senders of mail/pensioners, and other residents of a Devon village have welcomed the decision to turn their church into a part-time Post Office.


Mary's Meals

The Daily Telegraph has a piece on the Scottish charity, Mary's Meals, which provides 350,000 school meals for children every day. The cost per child seems to be as little as £8.50 per year- for UK parents, that's less than a week's worth of school dinners.
Headed by Magnus MacFarlane-Barrow, father of six, Mary's Meals does not conform to any known business model, (how refreshing-a charity that is a charity, not a business), and...wait for it...doesn't do targets!
Definitely sounds like my kind of charity.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Obama: right on abortion?

'President Obama understands that abortion is a divisive issue' - from the White House web site.

Well yes, doesn't abortion impose division between the mother and her child?

between the father and the child?

between present/future siblings and the child?

between the wider family and the child?

division, separation, death.

Yes, Mr. President, I think I see what you're saying there- do you?

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord

The death of of Bishop Lindsay has been announced:

Bishop Hugh Lindsay, RIP

It is with great sadness that the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle reports that Bishop Hugh Lindsay, Bishop Emeritus of Hexham and Newcastle, died suddenly on Monday afternoon, 19 January.

Requiescat in pace.

Bishop Lindsay's body will be received into St Mary's Cathedral on Sunday 1st February 2009 at 6.30 pm and Mass will be celebrated. There will be a vigil of private prayer which will end with Compline at 8.30 pm.

Bishop Lindsay's Requiem Mass will be celebrated at 12 noon on Monday 2nd February 2009 at the Cathedral, followed by burial in the Cathedral Crypt.

Click here to visit the Diocese of Hexham and Newcastle.

May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, rest in peace, Amen

....And to Christ, what is His

O Jesus, through the most pure heart of Mary,
I offer You all the prayers, works, joys and
sufferings of this day, for the intentions of your Divine Heart

This is a daily prayer, and one of our well-worn favourites.

Claiming from Caesar what is yours

A friend emailed to advise that it's worth checking whether child tax credits for the tax years ending 02 and 03 were paid. I'd better mention that this applies to UK tax payers with families. There is a deadline 31/01/09 I think.
It works like this:

1) Find your P60s for 2001-2 and 2002-3 and note the Final Tax Code.
2) Ring 0845 302 1463 and ask whether the Children's Tax Credit was applied for those years. They'll ask for your NI number then the Final Tax Codes for those years and will tell you whether or not you've already had the credit.
3) If not, they'll ask you to write in enclosing the P60s, giving details of your children's names and dates of birth and asking for an assessment due to Children's Tax Credit not having been applied.

Good Luck!

Monday, 19 January 2009

A difficult decision...

I have been putting this off for some time now, but it seems the moment has come.
For a number of years, I have been a Governor: first at the special school, and now at our Catholic Primary. Though I have really enjoyed being part of a school governing body, it's not my vocation.

Marriage and family life is.

It has become increasingly difficult to find the time to give to governance, without compromising that which needs to be given to the family.

So, I think I've got to make that phonecall...
Please say a prayer for me.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Living Humanae Vitae

The joy and consolation of living Humanae Vitae is expressed by trusting in God's wonderfully creative design for familes. It is He who bestows the gift of new life. Married couples are called to co-operate in that Divine design. It helps when we put our trust in God, accepting that He knows the plan and purpose for our lives.
People outside the church (and sometimes those within) often have difficulty with the 'trust in God' bit. I don't think this was always the case, but the march of secularist materialism and the primacy of 'my body, my choice' has caused much disorientation, as I think a recent conversation demonstrates. This isn't verbatim, but here is the gist:

" So you've got eight kids ?"

" Yes, that's right, eight lovely children, they're..."

"so was that deliberate, did you plan it?"

"well, we believe children are a gift from God, so.."

"are they all yours, then?"

" Oh yes, all our own natural children"

" Well I never heard of anyone with eight kids before, with all that cooking and washing, you must be a glutton for punishment!"

" taking care of our children certainly involves lots of work, but I don't consider it to be a punishment, you see..."

" Oh well, whatever floats your boat.."

Friday, 16 January 2009


Our eldest and youngest sons are home today, the elder because he doesn't go to to college on Fridays, and the younger because he isn't well enough to be at school.So the day started a little later for them, with a welcome lie-in, while we prepared the breakfast for the three who were going to school. The youngest daughter was quite excited at the prospect of spending the day at the Special school, where she will transfer in due course.
It's been a real blessing and a sign of God's Providence, that two excellent Special schools are near enough for our sons to attend daily, especially as one has a marvellous provision for students over the age of 19 years. Both sons love to get out and about, and this is a regular feature in their education programmes, which are designed to help them with daily living skills and independence.I believe our older son has visited pubs, shops and cafes recently, while the younger lad has been content with only visiting shops. Tesco's is particularly good for a visit, with it's wide aisles, bright lighting, appetising smells and helpful staff. It also has those special trolleys which clip on to the wheelchair, so you can actually collect your food as you go round. Our sons like to help with selecting the food........they are also very proficient at shelf clearing, with a sweep of the arm!
'Postman Pat' videos are much favoured by our disabled sons, so it was that in the hour between three and four, our Divine Mercy Chaplet was accompanied by the strains of 'Pat thinks he's a very happy man!'

Thursday, 15 January 2009

Praying for.....

There is a sense of anticipation and hope in the air as we all await the announcement of the successor to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O' Connor. In this situation one can speculate as much as one likes, but the most useful thing to do is to pray. The Prayer for England isn't heard in churches much, these days, but it remains one of my favourites.


O Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother, look down in mercy upon England your Dowry, and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in you. By you, it was, that Jesus our Saviour and Hope, was given to the world; and He has given you to us that we may hope still more. Plead for us your children, whom you did receive and accept at the foot of the Cross,O sorrowful Mother. Intercede for our separated brethren, that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the Chief Shepherd, the Vicar of your Son. Pray for us all, dear Mother, that by faith fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God, together with you in our Heavenly home.

I don't know of a similar prayer for Wales, but in praying for the Westminster succession, Wales is included, naturally.

Name of a blog

I have been impressed by the quality of so many of the Catholic blogs out there, in different ways they all seem to' spread the word'. I think it's called evangelising. And all have interesting and original titles which often give a clue to the intentions of the author in writing the blog, or his/her background. Not being blessed with a strong literary streak, I struggled a bit with the naming of this blog.I tried to think about where I wanted to go.....ultimately of course, where God is.
Then our youngest daughter came back from school, "Home " she said, and in that single word took me back a couple of years to a convent chapel in Wales.
We had been on a weekend retreat, hosted by the good sisters at their convent.It was the last Mass on the last day, we were all tired, but particularly the youngest daughter. She wanted to move around more freely than is appropriate at Mass and I was concerned that she would distract the priest, or the sisters, some of whom were quite elderly.It was one of those moments when I was on the point of taking my daughter outside when an angel, in the form of a sister, whispered " Don't worry, she is at home in her Father's House."

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Welcome to all readers, or indeed, any...
It's a while since I first thought of doing my own blog, and inspired by some of the many great Catholic blogs out there, it's time for me to 'put out into the deep'. Actually, writing a blog does seem a little like putting out into the deep, as I have no idea if anyone will read it, and on a practical note I'm not very good at the technical side of things... there will probably be lots of horrible mistakes! Bear with me and if anyone knows who is the patron saint of blogs, I'd be glad to hear..