Friday, 27 February 2009

Life and Death

An old and dear friend popped in yesterday, she explained that she particularly wanted to see us, following the news of the death of Ivan Cameron, the beloved son of David and Samantha Cameron.

With great sensitivity and few words, she conveyed an understanding of how the parents and family of children with severe and life limiting conditions can sometimes be feeling, on hearing of the death of another such child, even one who is only known to them through the media.

Over the years, we have known a number of disabled children whom God has called to Himself: they have been fellow pupils with our sons, friends. Their funerals are always deeply poignant.

God has so willed, that the mortality of our own children is constantly part of our prayers. We pray for their lives, and we thank God for their lives.

We pray too, for the Cameron family, and for the soul of the child whom they called their beautiful boy, trusting in Him, Who came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.


Prayer, fasting and almsgiving are the staples of the Lenten season.
My prayers today have been very much for one of our sons who was admitted to hospital this afternoon (nothing major, just necessary), and for my husband who will stay with him throughout.
Fasting: I have never successfully fasted a whole day on bread and water, today it has been bread+butter and coffee.(and one egg).
Almsgiving: I wonder if a donation to the parish of Our Lady of the Rosary would count as almsgiving?

Petition to The Tablet

An online petition to the editor of 'The Tablet', Catherine Pepinster, and Deputy Editor Elena Curti, is underway with 568 signatures at the time of typing.The petition demands that an apology be made to Fr. Finigan over the article published in last week's edition.If you were as disgusted as I was at what some have described as 'a hatchet job' on an excellent priest, please sign it.It would be instructive for 'The Tablet' to understand how much support is out there for Fr. Finigan.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Ash Wednesday Mass in the Usus Antiquior

We are not parishioners of The Sacred Heart and St., Thomas in Exeter, but were delighted to join those who are, for Mass in the Extraordinary Form yesterday.It is only the second time that I have been able to attend this Mass and I know that I have much to learn.

Just a few observations:

The silence of this Mass is stunning-I found it an enormous help in uncluttering my mind and focusing on what was before me.
I know that the priest (at any Mass) acts 'in Persona Christi'; at yesterday's Mass, I perceived this again (struggling to find the right words here)with more depth during and after the Consecration.
It was a joy to kneel at the Communion rail to receive first the Blessing, then immediately, My Lord and Saviour.
Facing 'ad orientam' with the priest heightened my understanding of the priest praying with us, and for us.
Our children want to know more of this Mass.

After Mass, how lovely it was to pray the Memorare followed by the Prayer to St. Michael, the Archangel.

To attend Mass in the E.F., for us, involves a round trip of about seventy miles, an hour's travelling each way. Somehow, the extra effort required seems to remind us that Mass (in either Form) is the most important event of the day.

Sunday Mass in The Extraordinary Form is offered once a month here, and we are definitely going to be back!

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

My husband:my bishop!

I have just read 'Leaders after the Heart of Christ' ( still catching up ),on Fr. Aladics blog, which was pointed out to me by my husband!
I hadn't known that St. Augustine of Hippo had once addressed the fathers of families in his congregation as 'my fellow bishops'
As Fr. Aladics says:
'St Augustine was comparing the spiritual and pastoral leadership of a father to that of his own as a Catholic Bishop'.

And further:

'Like a bishop a married man is called to bring about the unity and the mission of his family - a living experience of Christ and the Church. What a great calling, what a wonderful thing it is to enable fathers to appreciate their mission, what a great thing for a married man to strive to fulfill, what a great and essential part of the New Evangelisation. We need Catholic fathers in this age. This is something which the world doesn't tell men, but it is certainly something which is worth pointing out - and how marvellously St Augustine pointed it out all those years ago in Hippo.'

It's good to be reminded of the truth, that married fatherhood is integrally important to Christian family life; fathers who, like bishops,sacrifice for, and take care of their flock spiritually, physically, pastorally.

Nearly twenty three years ago, God gave to me the most wonderful spouse, a husband who always understood the meaning and necessity of sacrifice,loving and giving selflessly his all, for his family.
I am both proud and humbled to be his wife.

This year, my husband's birthday falls on Ash Wednesday,so we'll be celebrating it today- I'm off now to make some preparations...

He hasn't ever asked me to address him as 'my lord'' but for his birthday, I just might!

Catching up...

Having spent a few days away with family, I am trying to read at an impossible pace, in order to catch up with events reported in the blogosphere, particularly, events in the Parish of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen.
The Tablet, a so-called Catholic weekly, has published a pretty unpleasant article written by Elena Curti, in which she attempts to criticise Fr. Tim Finigan, P.P. of Our Lady of the Rosary.


Has he eloped with the wife of the organist?
Funnelled the weekly collection into a private Swiss bank account?
Broken the seal of the Confessional?
Desacrated his church?

No, Fr., Finigan has done none of these things. He has incurred the wrath of Elena Curti and The Tablet because he has offered his parishioners the chance to regularly attend Sunday Mass in the Extraordinary Form .
At Fr. Finigan's parish there are FOUR masses which fulfil the Sunday obligation. His parishioners have choice.
Nobody has to attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form, but they can choose to.

In writing her article, Ms Curti must have realised that she doesn't have an argument re Mass in the E.F. so she slipped in something else, perhaps hoping that it would 'stick':

'There were also complaints about their priest’s refusal to support Cafod, his expenditure on traditional vestments and other clerical garb, the absence of a parish council and failure to account to parishioners how money from the collection plate was being spent.'

Some commenters on other blogs have suggested that these allegations may be actionable.
If Fr. Finigan receives professional advice that this is so, I hope he will let us all know, so that we can offer support. I would certainly be happy to 'dig deep' for this cause.
The tone of the Curti article was, I believe, intimidatory, perhaps intentionally so, in order to frighten off other Parish Priests who may wish to consider introducing the E.F. in their parishes.
As Curti concludes:

'And there could be many more Blackfens in the future'

I will keep Fr. Finigan and his parish in my prayers, and add a special intention that
the Blackfen model will be followed widely across England and Wales.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Overturning Roe V Wade?

Some good news from across the pond courtesy of Creative minority report

"North Dakota's House of Representatives has passed a bill recognizing a fertilized egg as a "person" worthy of rights. The bill, which now moves to the Senate, is a direct and legally interesting challenge to Roe V. Wade and is seen by many as a backdoor to outlawing abortion.

The House voted 51-41 yesterday declaring that a fertilized egg has all the rights of any person.

Rep. Dan Ruby, R-Minot, sponsor of the legislation was quoted as saying "This is very simply defining when life begins, and giving that life some protections under our Constitution — the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

He said that the language in the bill is what's required by Roe vs. Wade to overturn abortion. The backdoor legal maneuver is being called the "Blackmun Hole" in the Roe v. Wade decision. Justice Blackmun implied in the Roe decision that if the case were established that the embryo was a person, the argument for abortion would necessarily collapse. So with this legislation, the House (backed by a grassroots organization called Personhood USA) is acknowledging the "fetus" as a "person" and therefore claiming the right to life.

It's all quite brilliant if you ask me. But some pro-choice Democrats are arguing against the bill due to fiscal responsibility (HA! A little late for that isn't it? Interesting angle from the stimulus party?) because the bill will almost certainly land North Dakota in a long drawn out expensive court case.

Personhood USA has said that North Dakota isn't alone in this. Rep. Duncan Hunter has introduced H.R. 881, the Right to Life Act , on the federal level.

Amd five States have now introduced bills affirming the personhood rights of pre-born humans from the moment of fertilization including:
Maryland / HB925 Delegate Don Dwyer
North Dakota / H.R. 1572 Rep. Dan Ruby
Montana / SB 406 Sen. Daniel W McGee
South Carolina / H.3526 Rep. Liston Barfield
Alabama / SB-335 Sen. Hank Erwin

Oregon has begun a personhood amendment petition drive, and Mississippi's personhood amendment petition drive is expected to launch within weeks."

Monday, 16 February 2009

Cardinal O'Brien: the right to life

His Eminence, Cardinal O'Brien, has said in a letter to SPUC

"..I see the most fundamental issue at this present time is that of the basic right to life itself, which must be of basic concern to us all in the next general election".

Thank you Your Eminence.

Now, can we have a clear lead from the Bishops' Conferences of England and Wales, and of Scotland, and from every Catholic bishop in the UK, that will leave Catholics in no doubt that the right to life is the condition of all other rights and therefore a decisive element in considering whom to vote for at the next general election?

She's back!

Welcome back Jackie!

Giving Testimony to the Truth

Back in 2004, the Bishop of Baker (USA), The Most Reverend Robert Vasa, D.D., J.C.L., wrote a pastoral letter to his diocesan Lay Ministers in which he spoke of his need as Bishop to be assured that those who undertake a lay ministry in the diocese are, well...., to coin a phrase,
'fit for mission.'

Here is the letter and below some of the points he made:

'I also have a responsibility before God to be
a Shepherd and a Teacher.

A shepherd who does not check to see who is minding the flock is not
imitating Christ, the Good Shepherd.

You would be very angry at me if I permitted someone to teach your child who had been fired
from a teaching job for inappropriate actions with children. Your anger would be justified. You
would likewise have cause to be angry with me if I permitted a person lacking all faith in the Eucharistic Presence to serve as an Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion or to serve as a
Catechist for First Communion. A failure on my part to verify a person’s suitability for ministry
would be judged as seriously negligent. While I may want to ‘presume’ a person’s appropriateness for ministry such presumptions are not sufficient

As chief shepherd of the Church of Eastern Oregon I also need an assurance that those
who serve in official capacities hold interior dispositions consistent with Church teachings. Unfortunately,
in our present day, a presumption that this is so is not always valid. The only way I
can verify this is to ask, and so I am asking.'

So, what is the good Bishop asking?

He is asking, nay, requiring, that Lay Ministers:

' state unequivocally: “I believe
and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church teaches, believes and proclaims to be revealed
by God.” '

And just to be clear, he spells out what that means:

'A non-exhaustive list of these is provided in the form of individual affirmations. They include
statements on the inviolability of human life, the sinfulness of contraception, the evil of extramarital sexual relationships, the unacceptability of homosexual relationships, the wrongness of cohabitation before marriage, the significance of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, the legitimacy of Marian devotions, the existence of hell and purgatory, the uniqueness of the Catholic Church, the legitimacy of the Holy Father’s claim to infallibility and the moral teaching authority of the Catholic Church.'

Bishop Vasa continues:

'if anyone is unable in good faith to make the Affirmation then this indicates a need to study and understand the Faith more thoroughly before seeking approval for public ministry.'

Bishop Vasa's requirements seem to me to be a necessary pre-requisite for anyone wishing to assist the work of the Church, after all, who can give what he does not have?
Perhaps there are Dioceses in the UK that might profit from Bishop Vasa's approach to lay ministry, and reap the benefits.
From a parent's point of view, it would be wonderful to be assured that those who are involved in any such ministry to children, are themselves fully in communion with the Teaching and Magisterium of the Church, completely free of other agenda.

I wonder if Bishop Vasa has met Bishop O'Donoghue of Lancaster, UK? Somehow, I think they might have much in common!
And speaking of the latter, I am led to believe that a further instalment in the 'Fit for Mission' series may be out soon. I'll be looking forward to that.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Just do it!

They don't come cheap, even second or third hand.I should know, as we had to purchase one a few years ago.
The Sisters of Life have had to replace their MPV as it 'blew up'.
A kind friend loaned the purchase price upfront, and now needs to be repaid.
Can you help?

Be as generous as you can't afford, the Lord is never outdone in generosity.

Get this! - from Rabbi Levin

I couldn't possibly improve on Fr.Z's incisive and apposite commentary and emphasis on this piece from lifesite news, so I'm just doing what Fr. Z suggested. Therefore here it is:

12 February 2009

Rabbi: left-wing is destroying the Catholic Church

CATEGORY: SESSIUNCULA — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 10:29 am

A friend alerted me to this great article from LifeSite!

I ask bloggers, please, to consider posting this on your own sites.

My emphases and comments.

Left Wing of the Catholic Church Destroying the Faith Says Orthodox Rabbi

By Hilary White, Rome correspondent
Wednesday February 11, 2009

ROME, February 11, 2009 ( – The dissident, leftist movement in the Catholic Church over the last forty years has severely undermined the teaching of the Catholic Church on the moral teachings on life and family, [fantastic!] a prominent US Orthodox rabbi told Rabbi Yehuda Levin, the head of a group of 800 Orthodox rabbis in the US and Canada, also dismissed the accusations that the Holy See had not sufficiently distanced itself from the comments made by Bishop Richard Williamson of the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) on the Holocaust.

"I support this move" to reconcile the traditionalist faction in the Church, he said, "because I understand the big picture, which is that the Catholic Church has a problem. There is a strong left wing of the Church that is doing immeasurable harm to the faith." [Peter was Jewish. Can Rabbi Levin be Pope after Pope Benedict? Maybe 20 years from now?]

Rabbi Levin said that he understands "perfectly" why the reconciliation is vital to the fight against abortion and the homosexualist movement. [The man-centered view of the left detaches morals from reality.]

"I understand that it is very important to fill the pews of the Catholic Church not with cultural Catholics and left-wingers who are helping to destroy the Catholic Church and corrupt the values of the Catholic Church." This corruption, he said, "has a trickle-down effect to every single religious community in the world." [What an admission!]

"What’s the Pope doing? He’s trying to bring the traditionalists back in because they have a lot of very important things to contribute the commonweal of Catholicism. [YES YES YES!]

"Now, if in the process, he inadvertently includes someone who is prominent in the traditionalist movement who happens to say very strange things about the Holocaust, is that a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start to condemn Pope Benedict? Absolutely not."

During a visit to Rome at the end of January, Rabbi Levin told that he believes the media furore over the lifting of the excommunications of the four bishops of the Society of Saint Pius X is a red herring. He called "ridiculous" the accusations that in doing so Pope Benedict VXI or the Catholic Church are anti-Semitic and described as "very strong" the statements distancing the Holy See and the Pope from Williamson’s comments.

Rabbi Levin was in Rome holding meetings with high level Vatican officials to propose what he called a "new stream of thinking" for the Church’s inter-religious dialogue, one based on commonly held moral teachings, particularly on the right to life and the sanctity of natural marriage.

"The most important issue," he said, is the work the Church is doing "to save babies from abortion, and save children’s minds, and young people’s minds, helping them to know right and wrong on the life and family issues."

"That’s where ecumenism and inter-religious dialogue has to go."

Although numbers are difficult to determine, it is estimated that the Society of St. Pius X has over a million followers worldwide. The traditionalist movement in the Catholic Church is noted for doctrinal orthodoxy and enthusiasm not only for old-fashioned devotional practices, but for the Church’s moral teachings and opposition to post-modern secularist sexual mores. [And this is why progressivists will fight their reintegration in the mainstream Church.] Liberals in the Church, particularly in Europe, have bitterly opposed all overtures to the SSPX and other traditionalists, particularly the Pope’s recent permission to revive the traditional Latin Mass. [The TLM is the monster under their bed.]

The Vatican announced in early January that, as part of ongoing efforts to reconcile the breakaway group, the 1988 decree of excommunication against the Society had been rescinded. Later that month, a Swedish television station aired an interview, recorded in November 2008, in which Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the four leaders of the Society, said that he did not believe that six million Jews were killed in the Nazi death camps during World War II.

At that time, the media erupted with protests and accusations that the Catholic Church, and especially Pope Benedict XVI, are anti-Semitic.

Rabbi Levin particularly defended Pope Benedict, saying he is the genius behind the moves of the late Pope John Paul II to reconcile the Church with the Jewish community. [HO HO! The libs aren’t going to like that suggestion! They will attack the Rabbi especially on this point, suggesting that it was all JP II and had nothing to do with Card. Ratzinger… who is German, btw.]

"Anyone who understands and follows Vatican history knows that in the last three decades, one of the moral and intellectual underpinnings of the papacy of Pope John Paul II, was Cardinal Ratzinger.

"And therefore, a lot of the things that Pope John Paul did vis-à-vis the Holocaust, he [Benedict] might have done himself, whether it was visiting Auschwitz or visiting and speaking in the synagogues or asking forgiveness. A lot of this had direct input from Cardinal Ratzinger. Whoever doesn’t understand this doesn’t realise that this man, Pope Benedict XVI, has a decades-long track record of anti-Nazism and sympathy for the Jews."
Oh, what a great article.

Share this one around, folks! E-mail it. Bloggers! Highlight it!

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Catholic mother of 10

I am sorry to hear that Jackie Parkes, the Catholic mother of 10, is now off-line, I hope it will prove to be a temporary hiatus, and that she will soon feel able to continue her courageous and inspiring witness on-line, as a Catholic mother.

The Catholic mother of 10 blog, was among those which encouraged me to start my own.
God bless Jackie and her family.

Well done,Pilgrim Homes!

Fr. Ray has posted that a Brighton nursing home, run by a 200 year old Christian charity,Pilgrim Homes, has successfully faced down the city council over it's threat to remove funding because the nursing home would not make its residents answer intrusive questions about their sexuality.

Catholics and Christians everywhere,I am sure, would be happy to congratulate Pilgrim homes on the success of the principled stand it has taken, so I am providing below some contact details:


Pilgrim Homes Head Office : 0300 303 1412

the Nursing Home : 0300 303 1440

Monday, 9 February 2009

Human Life is beautiful..even when it's weak

I am deeply moved by the Holy Father's Message for the 17th World Day of the Sick, which will be celebrated on the 11th February, Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes. You can read the whole message here, below I include a couple of paragraphs:

"This year our attention turns particularly to children", the Pope writes in his Message, "and especially to sick and suffering children. There are young human beings whose bodies bear the consequences of incapacitating illnesses, and others who struggle against sicknesses that remain incurable even today, despite the progress in medical science".

"Daily dedication and ceaseless commitment in the service of sick children are an eloquent testimony of love for human life, especially for the lives of the weak and of those entirely dependent upon others. We must, in fact, vigorously affirm the absolute and supreme dignity of each human life. Though time may pass, the teaching incessantly proclaimed by the Church remains unchanged: human life is beautiful and must be lived to the full even when its is weak and enveloped by the mystery of suffering".

We live in a world where people often don't know how to respond when they come face to face with a severely disabled child, or adult. A common reaction is to stare in silence, or to look away,as if reminded of a problem sitting on the in tray, still waiting to be solved.

Occasionally, braver souls will offer a tentative smile, or even a kindly spoken word.

The Holy Father's words speak the beautiful truth, that the lives of those who are disabled are willed by God, written into His Divine plan; for some of us, His way of providing teachers of self sacrificing and unconditional love.

The Holy Father concludes:

"My very special greetings to you, dear children who are sick and suffering. The Pope embraces you, your parents and your families with paternal affection, and assures you of a special mention in his prayer, inviting you to trust in the maternal assistance of Mary Immaculate."

To be embraced by His Vicar on earth is to be embraced by Christ.

Thank you Holy Father, and thanks be to God.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Sunday afternoon

It was a pleasure to spent a few hours in the company of local members of the National Association of Catholic Families.We met together for lunch, prayers, and discussion of some of the common themes relating to the challenges of raising a Catholic family in a post Christian culture.

Our local representative had some information about the Frankfurt School, a Marxist movement having its origins at Frankfurt University,and aimed at demolishing, from within, the basis of civilisation of the target country.
To help bring this about, the Frankfurt School recommended :

1. The creation of racism offences.
2. Continual change to create confusion
3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
4. The undermining of schools and teachers' authority
5. Huge immigration to destroy identity.
6. The promotion of excessive drinking
7. Emptying of churches
8. An unreliable legal system with bias against victims of crime
9. Dependency on the state or state benefits
10. Control and dumbing down of media
11. Encouraging the breakdown of the family.

Any of the above sound familiar to anyone?

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Just wondering....!

Pictures courtesy of Hallowed Ground

Invisible Women

There's a great deal that I can relate to in this piece posted by Fr. Z.
The mother who wrote it speaks about the work that mothers do and their sacrificial role, apparently unseen, even unappreciated.

This sentence resonates particularly:

At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction But it is not a disease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of my own self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubborn pride. I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on.

Mothers don't need 'have it all' as an ideal, our vocation calls us to give it all, trusting in God's Providence and believing that He will never be outdone in generosity.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Follow that bus!

Well I had to give it a try!

thanks to Fr. T and Fr. R

Rabbi Yehuda Levin: 'When you Catholics sneeze, the rest of us get a cold...'

A defence of the Holy Father from Rabbi Yehuda Levin- another Rabbi who supports what the Holy Father is trying to do.

Zenit has the article, from which I have cut'n'pasted below:

Rabbi Yehuda Levin, spokesman for the Union of Orthodox Rabbis of the United States and Canada, visited senior curial officials last week to lobby the Church's support in opposing a gay pride march to be held in Jerusalem later this year. He hopes the Vatican and the apostolic nuncio to Israel can help him build a coalition of other religions and denominations to block the march.

"People who are saying that Pope Benedict is anti-Semitic and insensitive -- that's ridiculous," he says. "He [the Pope] has a decades-long track record of anti-Nazism and sympathy for the Jews." Levin also says he understands what the Pope is trying to do in reaching out to traditionalists as they have some "very important things" to contribute to Catholicism.

"I absolutely support him. Why? Because he understands the big picture, which is that the Catholic Church has a problem with a strong left wing that is doing immeasurable harm to the faith."

The Left," Levin says, "are helping to destroy and corrupt the values of the Church and that has a trickle-down effect on every religious community in the world." He points out that a Church of 1.25 billion members cannot be easily ignored. "When you [Catholics] sneeze," he warns, "the rest of us get a cold – we are affected by what happens."

Rabbi Levin also apologises for the reaction of some of his fellow Jews. "My guys have not acted with great sophistication," he says. "If he [the Pope] inadvertently includes somebody who's prominent in that movement and who says some strange things, is that a reason to throw out the baby with the bathwater and start to condemn Pope Benedict right away?" he asks. "Absolutely not."

That 'trickle down effect' line reveals, I think, a perceptive and healthy attitude to the Church.

'The Press got it wrong'

Thank God that some sanity is starting to filter through despite the misrepresentations in the media regarding the lifting of the excommunications of four SSPX bishops.

Gary Krupp, founder and president of the Pave the Way Foundation, an organization dedicated to bridging gaps between religions, affirmed that "the full story has not been told […]; the media got it wrong."

Krupp observed: "The media often focuses on one action without researching the details. This omission has made headlines, fueled a controversy and promoted negativity."

He affirmed that the public Holocaust-denial of Bishop Richard Williamson, one of the reconciled prelates, seemed to imply an affront against Jewish-Catholic relations.

But, the Jewish founder explained that his organization researched the matter "in depth, and inquired with Vatican officials in Rome and knowledgeable experts in canon law, in order to have a clear picture of what was done and why it was done."Krupp concluded by asking, "Should we allow the bizarre statements and beliefs of this one man, and media omissions, [to] damage Jewish-Catholic dialogue, which has consistently been highlighted as a major focus for the Catholic Church and this papacy?"

He answered, "We say no!"

Read the full article here
Thanks to Fr Z

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor expresses dismay...

The Daily Telegraph online reporting on the Bishop Williamson affair quotes from a letter apparently written by H.E. Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor to the Chief Rabbi, Dr. Jonathan Sacks.

Here is what the Daily Telegraph says:
The Cardinal, in a letter to Dr Jonathan Sacks the Chief Rabbi, a copy of which has been released to The Daily Telegraph, expressed his deep regret at the effect of the Vatican's move.

In the letter the Cardinal wrote: "I am writing to express my dismay at the effect of the Vatican decree... Specifically I naturally deplore the comments made by the Englishman, Rev Williamson, in his denial of the full horror of the Holocaust. His statement and views have absolutely no place in the Catholic Church and its teaching." Dr Sacks, in his reply to the Cardinal, warned that the episode has done "great damage" to relationships between the Jewish and Catholic faiths.

To add some balance, here is the view of another Rabbi, and here the observations of the Archbishop of Toronto, H.E. Most Rev. Thomas Collins, both links courtesy of Fr .Z.

I am at a loss to understand what Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor means by expressing 'dismay' at the courageous act of his, and my Pope, in lifting the excommunications of the four bishops of the SSPX. It seems to me that the reprehensible views of Bishop Williamson concerning the holocaust are a separate issue from that of the lifting of excommunications.

The Holy Father's actions are a praiseworthy and necessary step towards unity and reconciliation within Catholicism.

It saddens me to see the Holy Father criticised by those who should be leading our support.

I'll be praying for him and for the Cardinal.

Bishop Herman: 'I thought you should know'

Lifesite news has the following words of the Administrator of an Archdiocese, St. Louis, in the U.S.,
Bishop J. Herman.

The Bishop is talking about the Culture of Life and a new evangelisation, Catholics rediscovering their faith and identity as Catholics, and unashamedly living it.His words, though addressed to his own archdiocese, are relevant to Catholics everywhere and especially in the West; they are inspiring and I take them very much to heart.

By Bishop Robert J. Hermann, Archdiocesan Administrator

January 27, 2009 ( - I was very edified this past Saturday to see the Cathedral almost filled for the Pro-Life Mass. Then to see such a large contingent, on a very cold day, make a pilgrimage to the abortion clinic, praying the Rosary for Life, was truly heartwarming.

At the very moment I am writing this, our new president, Barack Obama, is being sworn into office. We congratulate him, and we pray for him, but we cannot condone his pro-death policies, even while we are happy that so many people feel they have new hope. We must do everything we can to oppose his pro-death-to-children efforts.

Joseph Bottum, in an article entitled "Abortion after Obama," writing in the January 2009 edition of First Things, pages 13-15, tells us, "Now the 2008 election has brought us the presidency of Barack Obama, the most consistent supporter of legalized abortion ever nominated by a majority party."

When asked about making decisions as to when a baby gets human rights, President Obama answered that "is above my pay grade." He also stated that he would not want his daughters "punished with a baby."

He has made it known that, upon taking office, he will remove all federal restrictions on funding embryonic stem-cell research. He also intends to sign the Freedom of Choice Act. Seldom has our nation ever been confronted with such an extreme measure. The Freedom of Choice Act will invalidate for the entire country all restrictions on abortion before viability, including parental notification, waiting periods and partial-birth abortion bans. President Obama has no problem supporting legislation that would even kill a child who survived a botched abortion.

If at this stage our anger is directed at President Obama, our anger is misdirected. Obama is not the enemy. He needs and deserves our prayers, not our condemnation.

As Catholics, we are not guiltless. It seems to me that when President Kennedy compromised Catholic teachings and accommodated political pressures in order to be elected to the highest office in the land, he set the tone for many Catholic leaders to follow and to compromise their Catholic principles to get ahead.

In our Supreme Court and in our Congress, we have a plethora of so-called Catholics who are failing to live their Catholic identity. Over 50 percent of our electorate voted for a president who is one of the most pro-culture-of-death candidates from a major party to run for the highest office of the land.

Yes, we can thank one-half of our Catholics for bailing out on their faith!

After almost 50 years of having 50 percent of Catholics abandoning their Catholic identity, we cannot expect to turn this culture around by short-term political efforts.

In order to bring about a transformation from a culture of death to a culture of life, we have to restore our Catholic identity.

This means that all of us, as Catholics, have to undergo a profound transformation. It means that we have to take a good look at every facet of our Catholic life, including the serious study of life issues, the regular and devout use of our Sacramental system, especially the devout and weekly attendance at Mass, the regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, the devout praying of the daily Rosary, and then the faithful, loving and firm witness to lax Catholics about our Catholic beliefs and practices.

We have to live our lives in such a way that we will be unafraid to witness to what we believe and live.

I may courageously say that I am willing to die to end abortion, but am I equally willing to say that I am ready to let my ego get ruffled daily for the same cause? Yet … that is where I need to arrive if I am to be a credible witness.

What a glorious opportunity we all have to make a difference in the pro-life cause. Until we are willing to be politically incorrect in order to be biblically correct, we will never convince anyone that our religion is worth living.

It does not take 100 percent of our Catholics to transform this country. If 75 percent of our Catholics were steeped in Catholic identity, the abortion issue would be over for our entire country. We have many, many evangelicals on our side in the culture of life. Look at how many more of them would flock to our side if we really lived our Catholic teachings! They, too, are looking for changeless principles lived out in practice.

But there is more! Our laxity in living our Catholic life has blinded us into not seeing the role of Satan in the culture of death. Satan is having a heyday in our midst, because he has managed to remain invisible in the culture of death, and our laxity has granted him that luxury. Since we are not steeped in the Word of God as we should be, we do not recognize his darkness in our society. Our first reading from Hebrews tells us, "The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart."

St. Paul tells us that our warfare is not against flesh and blood but against the power and principles of darkness. He also tells us that we should not let the sun go down upon our anger so as to give Satan a foothold. These readings are wake-up calls for us all. I bring this up deliberately, because I do not want us to fall into Satan's trap of getting us to hate President Obama or any of the pro-choice Catholic legislators in Congress. Being pro-life means that we engage far more in spiritual warfare than in political warfare.

That Satan is very alive in influencing all of us is his best-kept secret. Becoming steeped in the Word of God and the teachings of the Catholic Church exposes his evil machinations.

President Obama, pro-choice legislators and Planned Parenthood are not our enemies. Our enemies are the invisible forces masked behind these people. Most of them do not have a clue that they are being deceived by our common enemy, the devil. They are used by our common enemy, Satan, and his evil forces, to get us to hate so that we, too, will end up in a culture of death. President Obama and all pro-choice and pro-abortion legislators, as well as members supporting Planned Parenthood (and we have in our own state a national legislator who has received over $900,000 from groups that advocate for abortion rights) — these are not our enemies. They are used by the evil one to get us to hate them in our efforts to be pro-life and thereby ditch our pro-life efforts. We cannot fall for that trap!

We owe all of them prayers and fasting for their conversion. At one point, Gov. Reagan was California's very pro-abortion governor. Yet he became a very pro-life president. He repented and regretted the evil he supported.

We must bravely witness against supporting pro-choice and pro-abortion candidates in political elections, but pray daily for their conversion.

This is a great time to be a Catholic. This is a great time to witness to such a clear choice, the choice of Christ or the anti-Christ.

We have only one life to live, and Jesus is it!

If our focus consists only in counting votes, we will be discouraged. If our focus is on giving ourselves and our activities totally to Christ so that He can use our witnessing as He wishes, our hearts will be throbbing and radiating with life and joy.

This is a great time to wake up from our slumber of simply calling ourselves Catholic, and wage war against the forces of darkness in ourselves first and then in our culture, a culture which is resting on the premise that God does not exist.

Our actions and our lifestyles have to radiate the inner presence of Christ in the home and in the marketplace.

This is a glorious day and a glorious opportunity for any follower of Christ! We need to recover our Catholic identity, and we can do it!

Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The People's Republic of Britain?

I sometimes wonder how far off we are from the kind of totalitarian regime that exists in China.
'Big government' in the UK has led to ever deeper inroads into the privacy of individuals and particularly, families and their children, for whom our beloved government seems to believe that 'it knows best'.

The chilling words of Helen Brook, founder of the Brook organisation could almost be described as government policy:

'It is now the privilege of the parental state to take major decisions-objective, unemotional, the state weighs up what is best for the child'.

And now Jonathan Porritt who chairs the government’s Sustainable Development Commission has chipped in:

“I think we will work our way towards a position that says that having more than two children is irresponsible. "

Well why two, Mr. Porritt, why don't you just forbid anyone to have any children unless they have your permission?

I hope that no-one in the Catholic Church is going to equivocate on this...

Sad to say, but I have have had comments of the 'what, another one' sort in my time, from a Catholic priest and fear that I once embarrassed my Bishop by asking for a blessing for an expectant mother.

...however, if there is equivocation, I'll, I'll,

I'll either move to Blackfen, or Brighton!


Having gained a day off school, owing to the weather, our children went to the playing field to make the most of the snow.

One of our sons is among the three lads by the hedge, pelting a group of girls. And the girls are good shots, too!

My husband (not in view) is on our side of the hedge, lobbing a few at our son, and ducking..

Sunday, 1 February 2009

The Holy Father

The Holy Father doesn't, I'm sure, have time to read the Catholic blogs. If he did ever have time,
he would surely choose from some of the excellent ones that I have found so helpful and inspiring, I'm thinking particularly of blogs written by priests in the UK, USA, Ireland and elsewhere, (though only God knows how they find time to maintain blogs!)

But if the Holy Father ever did chance upon my blog, I'd want him to know that:

I pray for him daily,
giving thanks to God for the great blessing of his pontificate,
that the Holy Spirit will continue His work through His courageous and faithful Servant, Benedict,
our beloved Vicar of Christ.

(The picture was shamelessly lifted from Rorate caeli.)