Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Tide Is Turning

This is a video I would suggest you watch, CMR drew my attention to it and it deals with the US organisation, Students for Life.

A few thoughts.  I am impressed by the many organisations represented here, it reveals that the pro-life movement is a truly ecumenical movment, exposing the lie that the only pro-lifers are old fashioned Roman Catholics.

We also see that they are more pro-life than the previous one, for a number of reasons: three being - they are the survivors of the culture of death - as they think about that they begin to lament the deaths of the  children of their generation who have perished in the ideological battle against life.  Secondly, they are further away from the naive sexual revolution of the Sixties.  Thirdly, they can see the fruits of this culture of death and the sexual revolution and it is not a pretty picture, they see a wasteland and have discerned it is the result of an assault on the most sacred of all rights - the right to life.

There is also great hope here.  As the US seems to be coming out of the darkest period of its history, its own holocaust, we in Ireland seem to be entering into ours, as I have said before on this blog, our pro-life movements can learn a great deal from them.  One of the lessons we can learn is that fringe pro-life groups rarely have success - they perpetuate the bias in a pro-abortion culture that pro-lifers are right wing lunatics who resort to illegal and murderous means to push their agenda.  

Those who are committed to the pro-life movement must come together in a mainstream movement, or alliance of movements, putting differences aside and working towards the goal of a pro-life culture.  Hearts and minds must be changed - pro-abortion groups have won the support of politicans and judges because they appear to be rational and compassionate, and seem to have the support of the people.  Pro-lifers must learn from this and begin lobbying in a rational way.

I pray we will see the day when abortion is made illegal and clinics all over the world are dismantled, and the memory of those little ones who perished be remembered with regret and prayer.  I hope one day, in those countries where abortion is legal, national shrines will be constructed with an eternal flame to the memory of children who have died and written over the door of these monuments: "We Shall Remember Them" and "Never Again".  

CTS Missal Gorgeous

Fr Finigan has provided us with a link to a sample page from CTS's version of the corrected translation of the Missal - I have to admit I was salivating - it looks absolutely gorgeous.  Just last week I put our parish order into Veritas for three copies for the three churches in the parish - there is a special discount price if ordered before June.  I hope the Veritas edition will be just as nice otherwise I will regret submitting the order.  From experience Veritas tends not to do great publications, but I hope they rise to the occasion and in the spirit of the new translation, present us with a masterpiece. 

One commenter on the site shares my apprehension, but consoles himself by intimating he will buy the CTS version - I will probably do that myself for my own Missal, but I think our official Missals in diocesan churches will probably have to be the Veritas edition.  I also wonder if the Veritas edition will include the Latin Mass in the back as does the current translation - always good to have the basic Mass texts in the same volume.

A Missal should be a work of art, a book worthy of the Holy Mysteries for which it is used.   Our functional approach to the liturgy has meant we tend to be functional and boring in our liturgical books and use art more inclined to conceptualism than sacred realism.  Given the darkness of the times, the empty place art has deviated to and the rich tradition of faith and culture Pope Benedict has been at pains to revive in the Church, I hope beauty will be restored to our books. 

I know some liturgist somewhere will remind me of the "noble simplicity" of the Roman Rite, but I do not think Bauhaus modernism was what was meant by the ancients when they used this phrase.   As far I am concerned the above illustration is a perfect example of noble simplicity which is supposed to leave room for true beauty rather than cloak religious art and liturgy in gray and uniform ugliness.

UPDATE:  I see the self-styled Association of Catholic Priests has issued a statement following their meeting with the bishops in which they voiced their opposition to the corrected translation.  See Fr Z's (peace be upon him!) commentary on the statement - always very enlightening.  It seems all did not go well at the meeting - perhaps for the first time in their career as clerics they found they could not bully the bishops or frighten them into giving into their demands.  Congratulations to our bishops, when it comes to the implemetation of the corrected translation they have the full support of the orthodox priests of Ireland, and the young priests in particular: we are right behind you, fathers in God! 

The Association's intention to meet in Portlaoise to discuss their response sound ominious, I hope for the sake of unity they will not ferment any more dissent on this issue, we in Ireland have had enough! 

Related to this I hear Bishop John McAreavey of Dromore, who was involved in the translation process, has been giving some excellent workshops on the new Missal, and some of the accompanying explanatory books are quite good, so congratulations to the Bishop and all involved.

Monday, March 28, 2011

And The Sun Danced....??

"Look, Pedro, it's ET...or is the sun spinning?"

A few years ago I was watching a documentary on Fatima, and some sceptics were trying to explain the miracle of the sun.  Now ordinarily they would just dismiss it as religious nuts having hallucinations, but the fact that 70,000 people saw it, among them devoted atheists, and that it was reported in a secular newspaper, means they cannot take refuge in that argument.  So they have to come up with something, after all one cannot accept on a scientific basis that the Virgin appeared at Fatima, that God exists and that a miracle was performed.

So as I was crunching away on some snack or other I was listening to the various theories one of which was that some sort of alien craft had come down on the crowds in Fatima.  Now I don't know how you would answer that one, to be honest.  Some poor devil who does not believe in God seemed quite content to introduce ET and his mates as a valid explanation for the miracle.  Now, we could, indeed, examine that particular hypothesis on its merits, scientific or otherwise, but let's face it, life is too short.

What prompts my post: Matthew Archbald, always a good read, has an article on the most recent "explanations" put forward as a means of undermining the miraculous nature of the event.   Enjoy, or a priest friend of mine would say, "knock yourselves out".  It is a pity that among those positing these weird ideas are members of the science faculty of the Catholic University of Louvain.   

All of this reminds me of the days I was studying Scripture in the Milltown Institute in Dublin.  Our lecturer was coming up with all sorts of strange ideas to explain away the miracles of Jesus.  One gem was that used to show Jesus never walked on water.  It seems that if you are in a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, at a certain time of day, when the sun is at a certain strength, and the tide is at such and such etc etc, if you see someone walking on the beach, it will appear as if the person is walking on water, and that's what happened.  "Right", says I, "and tell me now, ignorant man that I am: if the disciples were in the middle of the Sea of Galilee, and Jesus was only walking on the beach, how did he get out to the boat?"  Response: "You're so closed to new ideas."

Sometimes the "alternative" explanations require a greater act of faith than the original miracles!

All that said: the Fraternity is going to Fatima in June, would you like to join us?  A week's stay at the shrine: 10th- 17th June, with full board only €759.  For more details contact Therese at JWT Pilgrimages: 01 241 0800.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Of Gods and Men

I posted an video review of The Rite by Steven Greydanus a short time ago: a snappy review in thirty seconds, so here's his take on the hit movie Of Gods and Men:

Have you seen the movie?  If so, would you consider writing a quick review for our newsletter, Fraternitas?  I'm putting the last bits of the next issue together, so there is room for one more review - if you can get 500 words to me in the next few days there will be a prize.  Send it to me at my Fraternity email:  Send it as part of the email, not as an attachment, and include your name and postal address.

Friday, March 25, 2011


Pope John XXIII and myself did not get on for a long time.   I'll tell you why.  As I was growing up in the eighties I heard and saw a lot concerning Vatican II, and as I observed what was happening in the Church, I did not think Vatican II had been a very good idea, and the so-called "Good Pope John" who ushered in what seemed to tearing the Church apart was not high on the list of those I admired (neither was Archbishop Lefebvre, by the way).  He was adored by the more liberal proponents of the "spirit of Vatican II" and seeing what they were up to did not enamour him to me either.  However, as I began to wiggle my way out of a bad catechetical process and the "coffee-table Mass brigade" I began to discover that Vatican II had been very different from what I, and many of my generation, had been told.  

That began to change my attitude towards Pope John.  His treatment of St Pio (and I love St Pio), did not mean we suddenly jumped into a fire of fraternal harmony, but it eased tensions between us.  When he was beatified in 2000 I accepted the will of God and decision of the Church though not jumping for joy, but I welcomed it and congratulated him.  And when I finally got to Rome as a pilgrim and later living there as a seminarian, when in St Peter's I would go to his tomb, kneel before his incorrupt body and pray.  Bit by bit things are improving - we are moving in the right direction, it may be slow due to my fallen humanity, but we are getting there.   I now see that what he envisioned was tremendous, orthodox and evangelical, his best interpreters are Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI, not the "spirit of Vatican II" crowd.

My attitude towards Archbishop Oscar Romero was not much better - I always associated him with Liberation Theology - and Marxists who tried to reinterpret the Gospel according to their own materialist, revolutionary ideas.  Of course he was concerned for his people, but, as I began to discover, he was not a Marxist - like Blessed John XXIII he has been hijacked by an ideology, and used by the proponents of that ideology to further their own aims.  As Francis Phillips points out, Archbishop Romero was a holy man, a man in full communion with the Church, who based his struggle to defend his people on the Church's social teaching rather than The Communist Manifesto or Das Kapital.    Phillips in his article expresses his uneasiness with the visit of President Barack Obama to the late Archbishop's tomb: I can relate to that.

We, in the Church, have so much to reclaim - including the truth and authentic legacy of our heroes and saints, including Blessed Pope John and Archbishop Romero.  I would never class myself as a victim - but I do think that I, and many of my generation, have lost something of the Church's great tradition and people who should set our hearts on fire with love and enthusiasm, but raging ideologies within the Church have given us a distorted picture and we have to overcome that in ourselves.  That is why the pontificates of the Ven. Pope John Paul II and Benedict XVI are so important: they are helping us reclaim what is our inheritance in this Communion of faith and love, while still being open to the world and to new (orthodox) evangelical possibilities.  That is what Blessed Pope John XXIII was trying to do, and the Servant of God, Archbishop Oscar Romero in defence of his people.   Francis Phillip's article got me thinking about all that again, thought I might share it.   

And The Word Was Made Flesh

"You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to the angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open your heart to faith, O blessed Virgin, your lips to praise, your womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word."
St Bernard
Wishing you every blessing on this most holy solemnity.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

We Knew This Was Coming....

Do you remember a post I wrote a short time ago in reference to the Christian couple who were told they could not foster because they would not promote the homosexual lifestyle?  The subject of the post was that our society has crossed over the line and wondering if it is at all possible to turn back?  Well, another indication that the world is gone completely and utterly nuts, immoral and, yes, I will say it, satanic. 

Here is a news item dealing with what is referred to as Genetic Sexual Attraction.  What's that, I hear you say?  Well, put simply, in old fashioned, intolerant terms: incest.  It seems a father and daughter have conceived a child together and it also seems they are delighted with their relationship, putting their uncontrollable attraction to each other in terms of this "condition".  Read the article, lest you think I am a raving lunatic.   Apart from the whole situation being shocking, the tone of the article is worse - it seems to be sympathetic.  The father and daughter intend to continue their relationship and raise their child together. 

The last taboo is incest.  Already there are efforts being made in some quarters to pass over the boundary and work towards a more tolerant acceptance of close familial sexual relationships.  A number of months ago an unidentified Irish couple - a half-brother and sister, were making plans to marry and were intent on going through with it (their parents had had an extramarital affair, so the fact that the couple were half-siblings would not have been known).   

All of this is to be expected.  If we accept that men can marry men and women can marry women, and argue that once you love someone then everything is okay, then the flood gates have been opened to legitimise any sexual relationship, and that is what is happening.  There already is a movement among militant gays to abolish the age of consent to allow "intergenerational sexual relationships".  If that is successful we will see the legitimisation and institutionalisation of statutory rape and paedophilia - that will be ironic given recent Church scandals.

The most dazzling line in the whole article is: "We are not committing incest, but are victims of GSA".   To introduce abortion, pro-choice advocates used privacy, is the pro-incest lobby going to use the culture of victimhood?  

What's In A Name?

My silence over the last fews days has been due to preparations for Confirmation in the parish, which took place yesterday and went well, thank God.  My first year as a pastor has presented all sorts and I am learning.  While I assisted at Confirmation in my last parish, this year the buck stopped at my desk, so I had to make sure everything went smoothly, and it did.  We had sixty-eight children for the sacrament and all of them took a saint's name rather than conform to the new trend of picking the name of a pop stars or actor: there wasn't a Britney or Beyonce in sight! 

I would encourage priests when preparing the children to introduce them to the saints and tell them the stories of their lives - the children love them.  Every one of the children yesterday knew who their saint was and chose the saint rather than just the name, and they seem happy to start a relationship with their new patron.  Some chose names of parents, uncles or aunts, or other relations, but they also knew and chose the saint, and found something in common with them.  This provides a perfect opportunity to help the children move towards the practice of virtue by admiring the saint heroes and heroines and then, hopefully, imitating them.  I hope this good work that has been started will continue.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The Finer Points

My recent post on Akita has got me thinking, and as I was reading a few articles on the net I realise some clarification is needed with regard to reported apparitions.  The Church is very careful when it comes to reports of supernatural activity, and apparitions and visions are examined with great prudence.  Ironically it seems to be easier to discern and deal with demonic activity and preternatural events than heavenly and mystical manifestations. 

Normally when an alleged apparition is reported, the Church takes a neutral stance, she cautions her bishops and priests, and observes.  Officially these events do not have approval and so no cult can be established in the Church, although the devotion of the faithful is not curbed, but rather prudence is advised.  The Church tends not to forbid the faithful from attending alleged apparitions.

When the visions cease, the local bishop may appoint a commission to examine the events, the message and any reports of miracles.   The local bishop has the competence to deal with this investigation and the Vatican tends to leave the investigation to him.  His decision is usually accepted by the Church, so an investigation by the Vatican is not necessary.  Sometimes, in grave circumstances, the Vatican may intervene and remove a bishop's competence - this may occur if the bishop's investigation has not been conducted in accordance with the regulations or has been biased.  The Vatican may then ask the episcopal conference to conduct a new investigation or conduct one itself.

The commission reports back to the bishop with its findings, and he releases the decision.  This decision will fall into one of three categories established by the Church, and it is here that we have alot of confusion among the faithful and even controversy.  These categories are constat de supernaturalitate, constat de non supernaturalitate, and non constat de supernaturalitate.

The first, constat de supernatualitate, means it is established that these events are supernatural: with this decision the local bishop or the Vatican recognises that the apparitions or visions are authentic and worthy of belief.  The cult associated with these apparitions is permitted and considered praiseworthy.   Apparitions which fall into this category are Lourdes, Fatima and Guadalupe.   It is to be understood that while these apparitions are approved, they are still only private revelations, and so no one is bound to accept them, though if an apparition has been approved by the bishop or the Vatican prudence dictates those who do not believe not do engage in a campaign to have the decision reversed. 

The second, constat de non supernaturalitate, means that it is established that the events are not supernatural.  This is a negative judgement, and the faithful are bound to respect it: unlike the positive judgement, the faithful are not free to accept it even in a private capacity as to do so may be imprudent and damaging to the faith.  Such apparitions may manifest hostile attitudes to the Church or certain Church teachings.  Among those reported apparitions to have received this definitive negative judgement are the claims of "Mama Rosa" in San Damiano in Italy, the claims of Veronica Leuken in Bayside, USA, among others.

The third, non constat de supernaturalitate, is perhaps the most confusing the most misunderstood.  This one means that it is not established that the events are supernatural, this, however, is not a negative judgement, but rather a decision which allows the Church more time and space to continue her careful discernment.  What must be understood is that when a reported apparition has received this judgement there seems to be something in the events which cautions the Church against a negative judgement.   With this judgement the Church permits the faithful to go to the site of apparitions and allows priests to provide spiritual care for them.  Official pilgrimages are not permitted - an official pilgrimage being one organised and led by a bishop or priest, yet bishops and priest are permitted to go in a personal capacity and they must maintain officially that prudence and reserve the Church herself is exercising.   Further study is to be expected.  Normally this judgement is given if an investigation has been conducted while the alleged apparitions are ongoing and are not detrimental to the faith.  Alleged apparitions which fall into this category are Garabandal and Medjugorje.

Looking at a number of articles and websites a number of people are maintaining that this third judgement, non constat de supernaturalitate, is a negative one, and those who go to the apparition sites are being disobedient to the Church, and priests who go there are leading the faithful into scandal.  This is not true: until a constat de non supernaturalitate is given, the faithful may, with prudence, go on unofficial pilgrimage to such sites.  Such misunderstandings themselves give scandal since they erroneously disturb the consciences of the faithful.

A word on visionaries.  Not all visionaries have become saints.  In fact, if you look at the approved apparitions of the Church only a minority of visionaries have been beatified or canonised.   The fact that a visionary has not become a saint is not a good indication of whether a vision is authentic or not.  In a few cases the visionaries turned out to have problematic lives afterwards, as with the visionaries of La Salette. 

Some also believe that if a vision is authentic then the visionaries must enter priesthood or religious life.  Again this is not the case.  Few of those who received approved apparitions entered religious life or priesthood, most married and lived ordinary lives.  In fact as far as I know, among the approved visionaries who were not in religious life at the time of the apparitions, only three entered religious life: Sr Lucia of Fatima, Sr Adele Brise of Green Bay, and St Bernadette of Lourdes, and it is known that Bernadette entered at the request of others and some have speculated that she may not have had a religious vocation at all.   The Ven. Benoite Rencurel of Laus became a Third Order Dominican which, strictly, is not religious life. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Bless us, Holy Father Joseph

Off to Carmel today, so no chance to blog.  But to all my readers: every blessing for the great Solemnity of St Joseph: may he the Patron of the Universal Church, bless you and intercede for all your needs.  Let us remember today all fathers: may they learn from this loving foster father.  And all priests, may we become as Joseph to God's children who are in our care.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hail Glorious St Patrick

File:Saint Patrick (window).jpg

Yesterday we celebrated St Patrick's Day.  Between ceremonies and meetings with friends for the feast day I did not get a chance to blog.  

St Patrick is a most interesting Saint, one, though, who has been reinvented to fit in with the celebration of Irish nationalism.  As I was growing up I came to like St Patrick's Day less and less, and now that the forces of secularisation have created "Paddy's Day" and cut it from the religious, I have even less time for the "traditional" celebrations.   

Am I a killjoy?  Well I'm sure many will think I am.  But I do favour a proper celebration of the feast and an authentic honouring of the man whose feast it is - the spiritual father and apostle of the Irish.  St Patrick was an extraordinary individual: a man of deep faith - a man whose heart was firmly fixed on Christ and in communion with Rome, a man of the Scriptures and a man immersed in the theology of Christ and the Holy Trinity, as his works reveal - that is only to be expected given that he studied at the great school of Lerins. 

I believe we need to reclaim St Patrick - take him back from the bawdy drunken secularists who are using him as an excuse for a knees up - and worse as news out today tells us there has been a rush for the morning after pill in the last few days, God help us!   As we launch out in the process of renewal, St Patrick must have an important role, and Pope Benedict has alluded to this in his prayer for the Church in Ireland.  

The study of St Patrick's life and teaching will reintroduce the Church in Ireland to Scripture and orthodox theology, particularly to the concept of  ecclesial communion; to prayer and the importance of a personal relationship with God; to the beauty of creation, though with the caveat that we do not worship nature as our more "ecologically" minded people seem to.   Reflecting on Patrick's mission we can rediscover evangelical zeal and courage - no fearful hiding from issues with Patrick - excommunicating Coroticus and his soldiers was a daring act, yet it needed to be done. 

St Patrick was not afraid of negative public opinion - some of the established Christians in Ireland did not like him.  It seems he was too strident for them - he probably disturbed their comfortable, lukewarm Christianity, and so he challenged them.  There was no licking up to them, putting them on committees to keep them on side or doing everything he could to keep them in.  He preached the Gospel, and like St Paul he put it to them: "Take it, or leave it".   Yet he was also the soul of charity and tenderness: the virtues of prudent and charity helped him harmonise the zeal and gentleness.  It is the genius of the Saints which reveals how one can be tough and gentle at the same time: in recent years we have seen this in Blessed Teresa of Calcutta and Ven. John Paul II.

And Patrick is a true father.  In his Letter to Coroticus he is defending his Irish children, because, as St Paul said in his letters, Patrick has fathered us in faith, and so as we struggle with the various issues which seem to be creating problems for the Church here, we must turn to him.  Blessed John XXIII used to say the Lord every night before going to sleep: "Lord, I've done my best, it's your Church, look after it now" (or words to that effect).  So too with Patrick: we Irish should say to him: "Dear Father, Patrick, Ireland is your responsibility, look after it and help us do what we can to bring renewal".  It would be no harm if our Beloved Patron took his crosier and beat some sense into the Irish Church - it would do us all a little good.  Is that too negative?  Perhaps, though I think not. 

So now, how do we reclaim the feast of St Patrick?   As Christians we have Christianised pagan feasts before, though ironically this pagan feast was once a religious feast.  One possibility could be to add a second feast day in honour of St Patrick - his relics were not translated so that's a non-runner unless we kindly ask the Church of Ireland to allow us exhume his remains from the grave in Downpatrick (if any are left - if he's there at all) and translate them to a worthy shrine and then mark the day as a feast.  We could celebrate the day he arrived in Ireland or the day he established the Primatial See in Armagh - that could be celebrated as a day of evangelisation - and devoid of secular interest could be a feast to celebrate faith.  But those dates are now probably known only to God. 

All that said, why should we give up his dies natalis? So maybe it is time for some counter cultural revolutionary action.  Seeing as the orthodox Christians are now the dissidents in Ireland, we should do some dissenting from the national booze up.  A parade of our own with the Blessed Sacrament and a statue of St Patrick, Holy Mass and prayers and lots of hymns: good old fashioned hymns that rouse the soul - none of the anemic stuff that has bored us to tears for the last twenty years.   No guitars or fiddles just a good organ and strong human voices booming out "Faith of our Fathers" making the secularists nervous and wondering is Patrick himself coming on the clouds with a good hefty crosier to rid Ireland once again of the metaphorical serpents of paganism and disbelief.  Ah, one can but dream!

Rant over.  I had better say my prayers.  First Vespers of St Joseph - another wonderful feast. 

Is Akita Approved?

One commenter in the combox drew my attention to a piece by a Donal Foley which seems to suggest that the visions at Akita are not approved.  Foley is correct when he says that the Vatican has not approved the visions, however for an apparition to be officially approved, the recognition of the local bishop is all that is required.  Knock, for example, is in the same situation as Akita - never formally approved by the Holy See, though the visit of Pope John Paul II is taken by many to be an equivalent of Vatican approval. 
On the 22nd April 1984 the Bishop of Niigata (the diocese in which Akita is to be found) Bishop John Shojiro Ito approved devotion to Our Lady of Akita (see his pastoral letter here), and asked the Vatican to judge definitively, which it has not as of yet. Until the Vatican gives a negative judgement, which it has not yet, the decision of the local bishop is to be taken as the decision of the Church for now.    The process of authenticating visions is usually decentralised and the Vatican tends to let local bishops deal with the events.  Perhaps we think the Vatican has to approve visions rather than the local bishop - the situation with regard to Medjugorje is probably confusing people.  Medjugorje is a unique situation since there are issues there which require the Vatican to intervene.

For more information on approved and unapproved apparitions go to Miracle Hunter's website, which includes many official documents and statements.

Interesting Approach to Film Reviews

Found this review of The Rite on the net, it's good - concise and humourous, and actually hits the nail on the head. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Prayers Please For David

This morning I attended the funeral of one of my former students - David McKeown: he died in a car crash on Sunday, the details I will not go into.  He was only 20.   Please remember him in your prayers, and ask the Lord to be merciful to him.   He is the first of my former students to die and the shock of his death has somewhat overwhelmed me.   Please also remember his parents and two sisters: alot of healing is needed.

On Sainthood

Following on from my post on the revival of acclamation of saints in the Church, here is an excellent article by Ashley Samuelson McGuire on Shahbaz Bhatti and the stuff of saints.  I particularly like the opening paragraph which sums up what I have been preaching for the last seven years:
It wasn’t something in their DNA that made Pope John Paul II, Mother Teresa, and St. Francis of Assisi special. Their humanity was the same as everyone else’s. It was what they did with it that made them holy. And this should remind us that we are all the stuff of saints.
Few seem to take me seriously whenever I say this.  I have heard there is now a crisis of saints - people do not believe that they are called to be saints.  Ironically this disbelief exists alongside an attitude of presumption whereby people believe that everyone who dies is already in heaven.  Strange times indeed.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Signs of Demonic Possession

The Council of the Fraternity had a "Rite Night" recently - we went out en masse to watch the movie, followed by a very nice Italian meal - Genesius would have approved.   Having the read the book, I was brushing up on a few things and I was rereading a pamphlet by Fr Jeremy Davies, exorcist of the Archdiocese of Westminster, which is a very good introduction (available here).  Fr Davies pointed that while the Major Rite of Exorcism is reserved to the bishop and those priests to whom he gives the faculty, the minor rite, used in cases of demonic obsession and oppression, and for deliverance, can be used by any priest.  He advised priests to use this prayer very often, praying it over their parishes and over those who may be disturbed by the evil one.  I must look into this.  Brother priests who read this blog, this is worth considering.   Any ideas or suggestions.

The modern world actually manifests many signs of demonic activity - the evil one is having a whale of a time with men and women today, so there is a need for greater prayer, particularly the prayer of deliverance.  That said, the following video convinces me of this.  You may have seen this, but if you have not, watch it and you will clearly see the devil at work in the lives of poor souls.  Abortion is the fruit of demonic activity: Satan convinces women and men that a life does not exist in the womb until they decide it is a baby, and so if this child may be an incovenience, then an abortion is a praiseworthy thing to do.  As you watch this pray for the people you see. 

Here is an interesting question which I ask of my brother priests, and anyone reading this blog who may know: does your diocese have an appointed exorcist?   Each diocese is supposed to have one.  Let me know by email rather than through the combox (

Monday, March 14, 2011

Can You Hear The Crickets?

As I was listening to Newstalk radio this morning I tuned in to part of a news item which concerned HSE (Health Service Executive - the agency which oversees the health system in Ireland) failures with regard to child protection.  The Irish Examiner carried a story this morning on a report which revealed appalling failures with regard to the protection and care of children in the HSE system.   

According to the report: 13 children have gone missing in the last twelve months - add that to the hundreds in the last number of years - and don't forget the few hundred who died in state care.   Young girls in HSE care involved in prostitution.  No round the clock care provided.  Some children put in hostels unsupervised.  Add all that to an appalling record, and it seems the HSE is oblivious to it all.  The only thing HSE workers were concerned about was girls attending an all night prayer vigil in a Christian church!

Now, given the media frenzy with regard to child abuse in this country, you would imagine this would be front page news?  Well, eh, no, it's not, nor will it.  Why?  Because the media in Ireland seem to be only concerned with child abuse when they can crucify the Catholic Church.  Only Catholic priests can be abusers - not lay people and certainly not anyone in the secular world entrusted with the care of the vulnerable yet who, funnily enough, comprise, statistically, the larger percentage of child abusers according the SAVI report.  And the Irish media are not the only ones: today the BBC reported on a Protestant minister's conduct with a minor and referred to it as an "inappropriate relationship".  One wonders what they would have called it if it was a Catholic priest?

In response to these revelations the ISPCA wants the upcoming referendum on children's rights passed: this referendum will give the State more powers with regard to children, taking rights away from parents.  So here's the logic of modern Ireland: children in state care not being looked after properly, so we give more power to the state to take children away from families, so they can do what? 

Time for the media to cop itself on and go back to its founding principles: objective reporting.  Time for the media to abandon its left-wing, anti-Catholic agenda and take the blinkers off to see the reality in the world.  In fact as they fail to report on the abuse of children by others the media may be contributing to a cover-up of a major child abuse problem in this country.   If Catholic priests offend, by all means report it - it will do the Church a service, but be objective and look at the bigger problem.

It is time to think of the silent majority who face abuse day after day in their own homes, or those who face abuse and neglect in the state system.  Otherwise one might conclude that there is little concern for those who are abused, the only reason to report it is to thrash the Catholic Church.  If that is the case, it is an appalling way to use innocent victims to wage war on an institution whose teachings the media do not like.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Akita and the Japanese Earthquake

Following the disaster in Japan, the world is, thankfully, rushing to assist the people affected by the earthquake and tsunami, and prayers are being offered.  I would ask all members of the Fraternity to include the peoples suffering because of this disaster in their daily prayers.

In relation to this the CNA has an interesting article which looks the apparitions of Our Lady to a Japanese sister in Akita.  It seems Akita was near the epicentre of the earthquake, though, thankfully, it escaped the brunt of the disaster.  The article takes the message Our Lady gave to the sister, Sr Agnes, and it could be concluded that it is wondering if the message is being fufiled in this disaster, and perhaps even in the others which have hit us in recent years.  Here is the article, have a read and a think.

That said, we would do well to acquaint ourselves with the apparition - it being one of the more recent which have approved by the Church and having a message pertinent for our times. To be honest, since she came, the people of the world could hardly be said to have responded to Our Lady's call.

Video on the apparitions:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Santo Subito?

Shahbaz Bhatti with two of Asia Bibi's daughters

Remember the chants of "Santo Subito" at the Ven. Pope John Paul II's funeral?  Well, it seems it is happening again as spotaneous devotion to the murdered Pakistani Catholic Shahbaz Bhatti, whom I mentioned in my last post, is growing, not just in Pakistan, but throughout the world.  In an most unusual development even the bishops of his country are taking up the chant and are expected to petition Rome for a declaration of martyrdom which would, if given, clear the way for his beatification.   It is one thing to have the ordinary faithful calling for the glorification of a holy person, but when bishops, who are by nature cautious (and they need to be), are taken up with the spirit of devotion then something remarkable is happening.

First of all, we need to see the "Santo Subito" phenomenon in context.  There are those who dismiss it and prefer to trust a long, painstaking process examining the life, virtues and death of a candidate for sainthood.  I agree with that - the process is there and must be followed.  Even when the Holy Father grants a  dispensation from the "waiting period", the process must still be followed and carried out with the rigour. 

However, "Santo Subito" must not be dismissed either, and indeed the Church must listen most carefully to it.  This expression of the faithful's heartfelt devotion is in fact very ancient and in the early Church was seen by the Church as the movement of the Holy Spirit.  In reality it is the ancient acclamation which saw all our early martyrs and saints raised to the altars.   What happened at Pope John Paul's funeral was astonishing because for the first time in centuries the ancient acclamation made its appearance, as I heard it I realised the reform of the Church is actually happening: we are reclaiming our ancient heritage.

Of course as my former, beloved teacher of moral theology always insisted: prudence is importance, and it is necessary here also.  As the Church listens to the acclamation and opens her heart to it, she must discern if this is indeed the movement of the Holy Spirit, and I believe the process of discernment is the official process for beatification and canonisation.   So we should not fear the reappearance of the acclamation, but rather rejoice in it, it does not threaten the prudence of the process, but rather brings another dimension.  It also may reveal that the person acclaimed may have a very important message for our times, and building on the acclamation, the pastors of the Church should use it as a means of teaching the faithful through the life and example of the one who has touched their hearts.

In the meantime, we should watch what is happening with regard to Shahbaz Bhatti.   He seems to have been a remarkable man, one who knew what price he may have had to pay for his devotion to Christ and his work for religious freedom.  Some things he said:

“I want to share that I believe in Jesus Christ, who has given his own life for us. I know what is the meaning of ‘cross,’ and I follow Him to the cross.”

“Pray for me and for my life. I am a man who has burnt his bridges. I cannot and will not go back on this commitment. I will fight fanaticism and fight in defense of Christians to the death.”
And as a politician, speaking about politics (please note Catholic politicians):

“Even service in politics, without reference to the faith, remains empty and exposed to the Evil One.”
Here is a video of him: a wonderful testimony.  Note he was willing to give up his life for his faith and his people.  This is remarkable.

Think of it!  In an age when we Catholics are struggling for religious freedom in so many countries, in particular in the radically secularised West, we may now have a martyr and intercessor for religious freedom - has God given us a patron for these times?  If he has, no wonder the ancient acclamation has arisen once again in the Church.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Pakistan and Financial Aid

Murdered Catholic Pakistani, Shahbaz Bhatti;
possible future Martyr and Saint of the Church

Yesterday I got an email from our Chancery with an update on what has been happening with regard to a recent appeal for Pakistan - monies raised to help those effected by the floods.  As Christians it is our duty to look after those in need regardless of what their faith or political beliefs are. 

However I have to say it did smart to ponder over the large sums of money we are sending over to Pakistan as I recall the murder of a member of my Church for his faith and the persecution of other Christians, Catholics included, by Pakistani Muslims: a persecution the government of Pakistan is not only slow to stop, but could be said to be allowing by refusing to deal with the blasphemy laws which are being used to murder and jail our co-religionists.   Yes, as sinful human being I did say to myself that we should not give them another cent.  But the words of the Lord come to mind to pray for our enemies and to do good to those who hate us - providing for the victims of the flood, Christians also included there I'm sure, is a way of living this hard teaching of the Lord.

That said, I do have to wonder why our governments and Church agencies are not "talking" with the Pakistani government as they are coming with the cheques.  Surely we must used our influence to protect our brothers and sisters.  After all, Pakistan and her Muslim people must be brought to realise that many of the people who are helping them are of the same Communion as those they are jailing and killing because they will not convert to Islam. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Into Communion

"Come in, my brothers and sisters, you are all very welcome home! 
Georg...put the kettle on!"

Another great event yesterday: a number of Anglican priests and about 600 Anglican laity formally left the Church of England and are now perparing to enter the Church at Easter, forming the first wave of converts who will form the new Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham in the United Kingdom.  More are expected to join in the coming months and years.  I believe there are many who are in the wings observing and may in due course make the decision to enter full communion.

This Lent is indeed a grace-filled one as we can accompany them in spirit in these days of prayer and renewal as we welcome them into full communion.  Many of the Anglican priests among them are also preparing for ordination to the priesthood at Pentecost.

Fr Keith Newton, the Ordinary, and Frs Andrew Burnham and John Broadhurst, former Anglican bishops, have been working away preparing for the converts.  Media reaction has been, as one would expect.  The word "disaffected2 is being bandied about, and what is even more strange, the term "dissident", once beloved of a liberal secular media, has now suddenly become a negative term.  Funny that.  However, if you can ignore that then there is a good interview with one of the Anglican priests coming in, Fr Ed Tomlinson, on the BBC website which is well worth watching.  If this the calibre of priest we are getting, we are truly blessed.   He can certainly help our new generation of priests in promoting the reform - both authentic Vatican II and the current Benedictine one, which are actually the same reform at the end of the day.

A People Set Apart

Carnival is over, the great fast has begun, and yesterday all over the world Catholics line up to be marked with the ashes which symbolise their resolution to do penance and seek to conform our lives more to Christ's.  The traditional joke we often hear is that we are now marked men and women.  However those words from Scripture come to mind - today as we wear ashes in public we see the truth of those words that we are a people set apart - set apart to praise and serve the Lord.  An opportunity to bear witness to our faith.

Yesterday, also, our new government in Ireland was formed (is that an omen?  the Ash Wednesday Administration?).  I noticed that all the heads, new and old, were bright and shiney and clean - not a mark of ash anywhere in the Dail chamber.  At one time you would see TD's (Irish MP's) going about their daily toil with the ashes on their heads.  Indeed our former Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, who left office under a cloud, was famous for his big dollop of ash, proudly displaying the fact that he was a sinner like the rest of us.  Perhaps the day being so busy, our Catholic politicians did not get the chance to go to Mass or to a service of ashes. 

So I have an idea for next year.  Brother priests who read this (particularly those of you in Dublin), we'll grab the ashes, a good supply now, and park ourselves outside Leinster House and Government Buildings and do the needful for our public representatives as they hurry about trying to give our ailing ecomony the kiss of life.   It would great fun.  We could keep the ashes in brown envelopes to entice them over and when it's too late for them to flee we could do the "Tango" with a good splodge of ashes: "Remember, Deputy, that thou art Dust, and unto Dust thou shalt return."

All that said, seriously, Ash Wednesday can be a difficult day for some: in a secular country like Ireland  is it "permissable" to be seen wearing the ashes anymore?   Public witness to the Catholic faith is getting harder all the time, many tend to feel the need to blend into society.   At one time public processions were the norm - now they rarely happen, and yet when they do they can attract a good crowd.  I remember a few years ago I took part in the Rosary Rally in Dublin, and as we processed from O'Connell Street to  the Carmelite Church in Clarendon Street I looked back and saw a huge crowd praying the rosary as we made our way along.  The crowd was bigger than many public protests.  That certainly gives one confidence. 

With Corpus Christi in a couple of months, and with the Eucharistic Congress coming, it might be a good idea to restore the processions to the streets of our towns.  I know some may be nervous of protests, but confining these processions to enclosed gardens and church grounds where the public cannot see them is not a good idea.  If the Hare Krishna can dance on the streets, and fair dues to them, so can we. We cannot live under the shadow of the dark side of our history forever.    We must bear witness.   The death, and possible martyrdom, of Shahbaz Bhatti in Pakistan, a politician himself, should inspire us: he offered his life in witness to the Gospel, for the right to live and proclaim the Gospel in public, even in a society where the majority do not share our belief.  His sacrifice should push us out into the world again.  His heroism, I hope, may inspire Catholic politicians also: he did not push his faith out of his public life, but rather it helped him serve his people, gave him the strength to remain true to what he believed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Prayer Needed

There are incidents when we in the Fraternity of St Genesius realise what we are all about and what we need to be doing.  They also remind us of the grave responsibility we have - our association is not about hob nobbing with stars (we have not done any of that since foundation), but rather it is about prayer and spiritual accompaniment of those in theatre, cinema and the arts who sometimes have more than the usual spate of troubles.

Well, one such incident occurred last night - Charlie Sheen's video, made following his sacking.  He needs prayer, as do many in his business, and we will be praying for him in a special way.  So now, as Lent is coming I am asking my readers who are not members of our Fraternity to join us, to pray for Charlie and many other unknowns who are in difficulty.  Check out our website for details of membership and please sign up. Spread the news among your friends, get them to join us: prayer is powerful, it can change lives, it bears incredible fruit for others when offered with sacrifice.  Join our family of prayer, even if only as a Cooperator, where a few moments of prayer is all that is required.  Those few moments united with the entire Genesian family's prayer and sacrifice may indeed save someone.  


In Ireland we call it "Pancake Tuesday" where the hottest thing on the menu is a flat bread cake smothered in butter - hardly Catholic at all.  In other Catholic countries Shrove Tuesday is Carnival - the last day before Lent when they celebrate for the last time and then cease at midnight to begin the observance of the traditional fast for forty days or so.   Now I know modern celebrations of Carnival are hardly edifying and Lent doesn't figure for most of those jousting in the streets, but the idea of this great feast is still a good one if we mean to take Lent seriously.

The feast and the fast is very much a Catholic thing.  Our holy mother foundress St Teresa of Avila famously said that there is a time for penance and a time for partridge (she was particularly fond of partridge) and she is right.  Many think being Catholic is being prudish and a killjoy - teetotal and miserable - and perhaps many are.  Jansenism and, here in Ireland, the influence of dreary Victorian morality, has dampened our Catholic identity so we are more Calvinistic than Catholic in our approach to the faith, and mix that with a fondness for the drink and you get a strange creature.  

Being Catholic is, in reality, more joyous and riotous.  I think true Catholicism, when lived in its authentic dimensions, has a balance of feast and fast, faith and fun, observance and irreverence which is refreshing.  Just look at some of our great Saints and figures: Teresa of Avila, Therese of Lisieux, Pier Giorgio Frassati, G.K Chesterton, Thomas More, Philip Neri - none of those could hardly be described as boring.  Teresa loved her partridge and was well know for her wit, Therese spent recreation taking people off, Pier Giorgio was pushing carts through the streets of Turin with a gang of lads for the craic and climbing mountains, Chesterton was a laugh a minute shocking the straitlaced British establishment, Thomas More couldn't go to his martyrdom without a wry smile and a funny remark, and as for Philip - well he had to be seen to be believed!  I tell you, brothers and sisters, heaven is going to be some riot with that lot up there waiting for us!

So, for your Lenten penance, fast, pray, give alms, read Scripture, and for today - celebrate Carnival  - the Catholic way.  Forget the pancakes, if the heart can take it, eat cake - lots of creamy cake and then at midnight, sackcloth and ashes!  As for pious reading for the season in preparation for the feast of Easter (seven weeks of celebrations!! That's Catholic!), together the usual edifying stuff, this book: The Bad Catholic's Guide to Good Living - with lots of good inspirational ideas within.  

Now I'm off to do the samba on the roads of Rathkenny - I'll probably be doing it on my own, but at least I'll be having fun...until the men in the white coats arrive.  Happy Carnival!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Papal Visit To Ireland, June 2012?

Is Pope Benedict coming to Ireland to close the Eucharistic Congress in June 2012?  The Irish Independent is convinced he is.   Other news outlets are taking up the story, including the Belfast Telegraph.  Protests expected - no doubt about that.   Is it a good idea?  Perhaps.

For one thing it will provide an opportunity for victims of abuse to meet him and talk to him, and to actually see that he is not the unfeeling, evil ogre the press in Ireland and certain groups have made him out to be.  It will be a moment of healing for them and the Church in Ireland.  That is badly needed and can only be good.    It will also mean that the Congress organising committees will have to look again at their programme and exorcise certain elements, and a certain theologian, from their plans.  Recent conversations with many involved in the organisation over the last few weeks have only confirmed the truth of what I said in my last post on the Congress

Also, it might do something to push the Cause of the Venerable Matt Talbot who has been waiting in the wings for far too long.  There is a miracle, I believe, but I do not hear of anything being done about it.  As these things must remain secret, all I can say there is that a person who is known to me was mysteriously healed of a malignant tumour through Matt's intercession back in 2002. 

With reference to the last post: a Papal visit will ensure the corrected translation will be implemented as planned.  After all which Irish Bishop or MC wants to pop into the Papal tent before the Mass to explain to His Holiness that for the sake of sensitivity to senior priests the translation has been put on hold...... 

I think it would be a good idea if he came.   Only worry - RTE and print media's campaign of anti-Catholicism in preparation for the visit.   So we would have to endure that - but then a bit of penance in preparation for the visit would have its benefits.

The Last Sting?

You know, the Irish Times really can be a bad egg in Ireland at times.  It is constantly stirring things up when it comes to the Church.   It is Ireland's paper of record, and yet when you look behind some of their stories, you tend to find things are a little bit different than they reported.  One example is personal to me.  When I preached on the Civil Partnership Bill about a year ago, the Irish Times mentioned me in an article giving the impression that they had spoken to me: they hadn't.  The journalist never spoke with me - made no contact. Not only had they the incident backwards, they never bothered to check their facts and if they had they would had a very different, and indeed less sensationalist, article. 

Well, they are off again stirring things up with regard to the new translation of the Missal - again (more appropriately, as one commenter in the combox said, the "corrected translation").   As expected, with the Missal on course for Advent, the old guard is still furiously dribbling over their complan and the Irish Times are spoonfeeding them to keep bashing the Church. 

It seems our bishops have met them and the priests have expressed their concerns, or if the Times' tone is anything to go on, they ranted and raved at their Lordships.   In respose the bishops are due to come out with a statement.   For one thing these priests are members of the dissident Association of Catholic Priests (sic), a minority group of aging liberals that does not represent the majority of priests in the country, so the bishops need to bear that in mind.   This issue may be the last sting of dying wasp for the ACP generation, but we have to bear in mind that that sting can be dangerous and highly toxic.

In discussion with brother priests, I think many, if not most, are willing to accept the corrected translation, their main concern being how to help the laity adjust.  Having spoken with many members of the laity (many of whom are women), they have no problem.  As some women (please note ACP) have indicated to me, they have no issue at all, some have said: "It'll be easier than the change from the Latin".  The corrected translation is going down very well with younger priests and the seminarians - in fact they are waiting with baited breaths to get into it - there is excitement among many of them.  Our seminarians are the future priests of the Church, the ones who will be ministering when all the members of the ACP are gone - we should be listening to them. 

Ironically, in their rejection of the Church's new official translation, one of ACP's number, Fr Sean McDonagh, an ecologist, said:
'the excuse for using sexist language in the new translation smacked of Humpty Dumpty in Alice through the Looking Glass, where he said “when I use a word . . . it means just what I choose it to mean – neither more nor less.”'
Isn't that what these priests have been doing to Church teaching for decades - reinventing it, distorting it and manipulating it according to their own opinion so they can choose what it means, more or less? 

Interestingly, related to this, the dissidents in the US have given up the ghost, and have assented to the corrected translation.

The Dog, The Fish, The Angel And The Wife's Lover

File:Anonimo lombardo (sec. XVII), L'arcangelo e Tobia.jpg

This week, and only for two days this year, the Church reads from the Book of Tobit.   This is one of my favourite books of the Bible, and I think it is an excellent introduction to Scripture for those not used to reading it.  The story of Tobit, his son Tobias and their relation, Sarah, is a tender human story in which God reaches out to bring healing and assistance to people in need.   

The book is one of the Deutro-canonical books which were first included in Scripture in the Septuagint, the first Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible.  The Church accepts these books as Sacred Scripture and includes them among the canonical books, as does the Orthodox Churches.  During the Reformation, however, the new Protestant denominations rejected them as such, although many Protestants do read them and consider them important Judeo-Christian writings.  The Book of Tobit has found among the Dead Sea Scrolls.

To be honest, I think this book reveals God's sense of humour and that great hope which faith brings, a hope which fills our hearts with joy.  Comic scenes in the book seem to outweight the tragic: the scene of Sarah's father out digging the grave as the family celebrate (with great apprehension) her marriage to husband number eight, is the best I think.   Perhaps the best prayer for a married couple is included as Tobias and his new wife kneel down to worship on their wedding night (how many newly married couples do that, I wonder?).  It is also the book where the Archangel Raphael is revealed, and where devotion to him as an intercessor for the sick begins.

And of course, there is the dog  (Sorry, I love dogs).   Here, preserved in Scripture (5:16) is the wonderful relationship between mankind and the pooch, a relationship that has existed for millenia and has been a source of joy (and yes at times frustration as Rover will not do what he is told - or there has been another "accident").   All life, we are told, is reflected in Scripture, how true, even our love for the adorable mutt.

Of course two of the main themes are fidelity, as revealed in Tobit's devotion to God and the Law, and God's healing love, as revealed in the ministry of the Archangel Raphael.  We also see the power of God over evil.  Tobias's new wife has been tormented by a demon who has killed her first seven husbands before the marriage was consumated because he was in love with her (there's real disordered love for you).   The situation seems hopeless, but God can overcome all and it only takes a whiff of smoke from the burning of  fish liver, to drive the demon away - a few tips there for the makers of The Rite

Friday, March 4, 2011

Is This For Real?

One of my favourite cities is New York.  I spent two summers there as a seminarian working in a parish on Staten Island - Holy Child, being mentored by a wonderful priest, Fr Tom Devery.  After a year in Maynooth (the less said the better), it was a relief to see a good priest at work.  Fr Tom is now working as a vicar for clergy for the Archdiocese of New York - the perfect job for a man with a huge, priestly heart. 

Every Wednesday, my day off, I hopped on the ferry to spend the day in Manhattan.  The sight of the Statue of Liberty became a familiar one, as did the Twin Towers during my first summer (they were gone for my second).  Well it seems the Statue of Liberty may well go the way of the Twin Towers if this article on an Islamic website is to be believed.  Reading the article I have to ask myself, is this for real?  Have a look at the rest of the website.   This video is prominent:

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Legal Interference

Following on from my post on the ruling in Britain discriminating against orthodox Christians I see William Oddie has an interesting article on the Catholic Herald website.  A good point Oddie makes, and it has been made by others over the last couple of days, and well worth noting, the judgement seems to take it upon itself to decide what Christians should believe.  Briefly: Christians that can be trusted with children are those who sign up to the gay agenda, Christians that cannot be trusted and are dangerous to the proper development of children are those who believe the orthodox teachings of Christianity.  Simply: Christians who dissent from the moral teachings of the Church they claim to be members of, are acceptable and good; Christians who strive to live these moral teachings are not.  By the way, replace "Christians" with "Jews", "Muslims", "Hindus" etc for a full understanding of this judgement. 

All of this is most interesting when we consider that debate between Hart and Devlin: "Can the law legislate for morality?" - every philosophy student's introduction to philosophical ethics.   It seems the law now decides not only what is moral, but what various religions should believe.  I am reminded of what one of our former government ministers said a few months ago: it is the law that decides what is right and wrong.  By the way Fr Finigan has an excellent reflection on the judgement, so if you missed it, have a look.

On another topic, Oddie reminds me of the Sandbaek Report which has since become law in the EU.  According to this law individual European countries are funding abortions abroad through their annual contributions to the foreign aid budget.  So as I pay my tax bill - getting bigger every day, I can console myself with the thought that as my country is going down the tubes my money (and yours) is heading off on the gravy plane to Europe from where it will make its way into the pockets of Planned Parenthood or another such organisation to help murder innocent children in developing countries (Margaret Sanger and the eugenicists would be delighted - finally, ethnic cleansing blessed by the authority and budgets of white European governments).  And interestingly, when you ask their Lordships on the benches around Europe, or our elected representatives, why we are being forced to support this abomination, you can't hear their answers for the sound of the crickets!

Rant over.  Time to pray, and indeed talk to our representatives.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Money Spinner

My colleague over at the St Genesius Blog has come up with an interesting way of making money for the Church - punching priests...indeed!   Well, as I priest I would like to ask one question: can we hit back?

On that note, this video looks.....interesting.  Is this the idea Caroline?

Past The Point Of No Return......Well Past

Foster parents defeated by the new Inquisition
Unfit to be parents....because they are Christians

There are significant moments in human history when an event or a decision reveals that humanity has gone so far in the wrong direction that it is not possible to turn back without first meeting a major cultural disaster.  In recent history we see, for example, two moments in Russian history, first when Lenin arrived back from his exile in Switzerland, stepping onto the platform of Finland Station in St Petersburg, and then that moment when the members of the Imperial Family were shot - the Soviet Union was born and the world about to enter one of the darkest phases of its history.  Or again when Neville Chamberlain came back from Munich waving his agreement with Hitler in the air.  Some maintain that Chamberlain was not conned by Hitler at all - he knew what was coming - his diaries record so at the time - he just bought more time to prepare.  But at that moment Europe was already over the brink.

An article on the BBC website has reminded me that we are in a similar situation today.  It concerns the ruling of a British court deciding that a Christian couple cannot foster children because they cannot say that homosexuality is okay.    We have seen other decisions  like this in the recent past, but the judges' comments are most interesting.  According to the article:

Lord Justice Munby and Mr Justice Beatson ruled that laws protecting people from discrimination because of their sexual orientation "should take precedence" over the right not to be discriminated against on religious grounds.
I was talking to a lawyer friend of mine and to say that he is retching reading the judgement would be an understatement, one might say, I fear for his sanity.  Other reactions: Christian Legal Centre and Fr Finigan

This judgement is a bad judgement, and even though the judges, probably desperately afraid of seeing to be discriminating against Christians and breaching religious freedom rights, have said that their judgement does not discriminate against Christians.  Seems, m'lauds,  your wigs are on too tight - you might not like to think of yourselves as discriminating against Christians but your wishful thinking, m'lauds, is just that: wishful thinking; you are discriminating against Christians: you have nailed another nail in the coffin which is being built by radical anti-Christians and militant homosexualists to bury religious freedom altogether.  In ruling that religious freedom can be trumped by the homosexualist agenda these legal bright sparks have created another precedent which can (and will) be used to discriminate and persecute orthodox Christians, Jews, Muslims and members of other religions. 

Notice as you read: the couple were judged unfit to foster because they will not promote the homosexualist agenda. 

So have we passed the point of no return?  Reflecting on this I wonder if we can turn back, or has our society gone so far that we just have to go, once more, into the abyss?   The Scottish philosopher Alasdair McIntyre wrote in his work After Virtue that it seems we are going into the Dark Ages - perhaps we are.  Whatever is going to happen may just have to play itself out and we believers must, once again, hold fast to our faith, embrace martyrdom (in whatever form it takes, most likely bloodless now) and pray, knowing all the time that Christ is the Lord of history, and the victory is already his.  And it will fall to us to rebuild civilisation once again.

Well, I suppose, we just have to start planning the rebuilding project.  We will have to include a lot of counselling in the plans because after these judges and their pals are finished with the up and coming generation, there are going to be a lot of mixed up, hurt, abused and empty people who will not know whether they are coming or going never mind right from wrong.