Friday, 29 April 2011

Great Idea for the Feast Day of St Catherine of Siena

St Catherine's sarcophagus in Rome
The Anglican vicar-boss of London, Richard Chartres (ironically bearing the name of the great Catholic Cathedral and place of Pilgrimage), made reference to St Catherine of Siena, in his homily at the Royal Wedding earlier today.

It always makes me smile that the Anglican church acknowledges Catholic Saints. Even St Thomas More -- the (great, lay) Catholic Saint most opposed to the schism of Anglicanism is acknowledged as a Saint by the church he opposed at its very foundation by Henry VIII (not Christ as was the Catholic Church!).

The Anglican church, with its invalid orders, has no Saints of its own. All within in it of any real value (Churches, Sacraments, Icons, Abbeys etc.) are pale remnants of what was once Catholic (like the post-60s "roller disco" Catholic "Churches" are pale remnants of the beautiful, ornate, Catholic Churches raised-up before Vatican 2).

I've got a great idea!

Why doesn't the Catholic Church go back to the beauty, sanctity and surety of the pre-V2 days - and all the Anglicans convert?


Sorted!

Next problem please!

;-)

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Royal Wedding: What do Catholics Think?

Peter Phillips married Autumn Kelly
There's something happening tomorrow. It's been on the news. Some people seem excited, others less than impressed.

My invite hasn't turned up, so I'll watch it on TV.

But what to think about the whole thing? I suppose as a concept, you can't get much more Catholic an ideal as monarchy (what is God if not a monarch?). After all we all swear loyalty to Christ the King.

Yet I have met Catholics who are republicans (particularly, but not exclusively, those in or from Ireland) and others who are out and out monarchists.

"Our" monarchy is not Catholic, in fact you have to renounce your Catholicism if you 'marry in' to the Royal family as Catholics cannot be in-line to the throne: it is barred by law. The British Monarch is, ipso facto, the head of the Church of England, the established church, the Anglican church.

When Autumn Kelly (a Canadian national) married the Queen's eldest grandson Peter Phillips (11th in line to the throne) she had to renounce her Catholicism.

With more Anglicans converting to the Catholic Church, and talk of the law being changed so that eldest daughters can become Queen and Catholics be allowed to be heirs to the throne, might we say that the Royal family are Catholics-in-waiting; or should we think that a monarchy that has signed off the laws on abortion and homosexuality are all but lost?

As a Welsh Catholic I must admit that I find little resonance with what is essentially an English monarchy (apologies to Scots) and furthermore one that is all-but German because the establishment were so keen to enthrone Protestants and shut out anyone with a link to Catholicism.

Now before blog readers get irate (what? anger on the internet?) this has nothing to do with the sanctity of marriage, nor the happiness of the couple themselves, just the celebration of a Royal wedding.

I would be genuinely interested to know how Catholics feel about the monarchy per se.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

The Passion - BBC's Web-Page

The Blessed Virgin Mary had much to suffer.
I was pleasantly surprised yesterday to see this page on the BBC.

Aside from some early typically cowardly BBC get-out-clauses ("many" historians acknowledge Jesus lived - not most or virtually all... but "many"), it goes on to detail much of interest in regards to the Passion of Our Lord.

I found the audio piece on the plants of the Bible particularly interesting, and the experience and evaluation of Saints is included. Of course the bete noir of the media re. Good Friday (anti-Semitism) has its own sub-section, with some pretty wide intepretations of Scripture which absolves the Jewish authorities of all but slight involvement, whilst stating that Good Friday has made Catholics murderers down the centuries (talk of using a wide brush - are Catholics the 'softer' target?).

I'm not saying all the content is "bang on" (eg. thought-for-the-days audios) but a lot of the written content pleasantly surprised me.

Friday, 22 April 2011

Phones 4 U Advert Mocks Jesus Christ in Holy Week

This advert was run, yesterday Thursday the 21st, on the front page of the (London) Metro newspaper, which also has editions in other major UK cities.

It is given out free to commuters in the many thousands.

Phones 4 U are mocking the Sacred Heart of Jesus Christ in Holy Week, on Maundy Thursday, the day before Our Lord was tortured, mocked and died a hideous death for all mankind.

Please complain, calmly, lucidly and politely to the Advertising Standards Authority by clicking on this link.

They would not allow an advert mocking Judaism, Islam or homosexuality on their front page; why then allow an advert mocking Christ in Holy Week?

Catholics! Speak out. Defend your Lord and King. Remaining silent is a sin of omission which each one of us, aware of this scandal, will have to answer for.

Tell other Catholics and men of goodwill. Do not let Jesus Christ, who died for the sins of the world, be mocked just so a few phones can be sold.

Speak out. Spread the word. Defend Christ.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Are the Vatican Prepared for Welsh Invasion?

Huge congratulations to one of my favourite bloggers - A Reluctant Sinner - on getting invited to the Vatican's meeting of Catholic Bloggers.

It couldn't have happened to a better blogger! And he's Welsh too.

Da iawn bach!

Visit: A Reluctant Sinner

Monday, 18 April 2011

Communion in the Hand - More Arguments Against

With a h/t to Last Papist Standing, always a provocative, totally traditional and thoroughly Catholic read!




I know I am not a theologian, nor a bishop, nor a priest; but I cannot help but notice that Communion in the hand is growing in countries where belief in the Real Presence, including belief that the Host is the ENTIRE BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, is on the decline.

Just the other week I was surrounded by a well-meaning group of Catholics demanding Communion in both kinds because otherwise they weren't receiving the entirity of Jesus - in their opinion they weren't getting His Blood.

I argued against this. I stated the Truth, that the Sacred Species, the Host (under the outward appearance of unleavened bread) is the ENTIRE BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

They told me I was WRONG!

Honestly.

I told them to "go check with the priest," and I moved on to talk Church history and architechture etc. with another parishioner.

The priest did confirm with the group of people that they were wrong and that the Host is Christ in His entirety.

Now I had to speak out. It wasn't pride. It was not for ruffling feathers, or to be contentious. I genuinely get outraged, on behalf of my Lord and my God, when people - but especially Catholics, do not understand that the Church teaches us QUITE CLEARLY that the Host we receive is indeed the ENTIRE BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

I don't think the facts could be more obvious. Sadly, some people in the pews do NOT comprehend this. It is the duty of the Church, and its members, to impart this knowledge to the Faithful who may not understand.

It is my belief that Communion in the hand has resulted in this lack of understanding, and this lack of understanding is resulting in Communion in the hand.

It is not false piety, it is not being "holier than thou." It is quite simply the fact that I understand that the Host is the ENTIRE BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, and dear God in heaven knows that I, along with most people approaching His Altar, are unworthy ("simply say the word and I shall be healed") ipso facto Communion on the tongue is the ONLY logical conclusion if we (as we should!) truly believe that what we are receiving is the ENTIRE BODY, BLOOD, SOUL AND DIVINITY of OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

Michael Sheen in Port Talbot for The Passion

I'm not a big fan of the cult of Hollywood. However it always makes one happy to read of a media star promoting good things. It can reaffirm ones faith in humankind, that despite all the drugs, all the profanity, all the debauchery (on screen and off), there are those prepared to "do good."

Thus it is with a deep sense of joy I have been following the build-up to Michael Sheen's appearance in The Passion, a theatrical production taking place in Port Talbot over the Easter weekend.

For more info visit the National Theatre of Wales website.

It's funny because I can recall travelling through Port Talbot, as a child in the 70s, and thinking this was a place from hell. The sulphurous plumes, the yellow sky, the stench, and at night you would see the flames from the works. The smell above all else made me wonder who could live in the town, in close proximity to to those horrors. I can still remember looking at the serried ranks of houses with their washing on the lines and wondering if those clothes ever got fresh air to blow them clean, or would they too smell of sulphur and be stained yellow by the clouds belching out to the heavens.
Michael Sheen

That the same town should now be witness to Christ's Passion means that Salvation is possible even for the worst of us (town or human!).

Events like this are ever so important and having seen two Passion plays in recent weeks (one put on by the Clydach Catholic Church's parish members which tour many towns and cities, and one put on by our local junior school), it does remind you (and other members of the community - Catholic and otherwise) of the cost paid by Our Lord, the reason for His Incarnation, and the rejection, suffering, death and Resurrection which are all part of the Easter and Passion story.

An event of this magnitude, starring a 'famous' actor from Hollywood can only bring more attention to the Passion in Holy Week. I know Hollywood stars can rise and fall (witness Mel Gibson), but I'm not blind to the world - we all of us know that many people will be attracted to the message via a famous name, just as more people will go to a Clint Eastwood film than a Barry Dingle film (yes, I made that name up - please don't sue me Mr. Dingle, wherever you are!).
Port Talbot's Steelworks

So bravo to Mr Sheen for taking the plunge. Passion plays (whether sanitised or traditional) are never popular with the 'Islington elite' for various reasons and this all-so Catholic (in every sense) of occasions always strikes me as being the most at variance to the modern demand for inclusivity and false ecumenism (conversely whilst being the story of Redemption that is available to all).

In the week when a man is on the verge of being sacked for displaying a palm cross at work, on the weekend when Christ was cheered into Jerusalem as an all-conquering hero, we are reminded that Christ and His followers have much to suffer and have their crosses to bear, in witness of their Faith, in belonging to the Church that Christ established.

An event like this can only bring Graces to Wales, and help bring more Welsh people to the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

That can only be a good thing! Thanks Michael.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

In Your Face: the Sickness that Epitomises Secular-Modernism

Sorry for the lack of posts this week. Nothing more "exciting" than being busy with work and the family.

Thanks to 'Priest's Housekeeper' for her concern - but all is well.

I guess everyone out in the Catholic Blogosphere knows of the furore surrounding the two "snogging" homosexuals being asked to leave a pub.

As my missus said, if they were normal folks, they would acquiesce and apologise. Why do militant homosexuals seem to think that they have the "right" to do whatever they do -- to use the modern term -- "in your face?"

Catholics, peace campaigners, countryside campaigners, pro-lifers, socialists -- almost anyone and everyone can have public marches, demos etc. and do so in a well maintained, orderly way. Why is it that when homosexuals have their "pride" rallies, passers-by have to endure the site of grown men with their backsides hanging out, profane language, blasphemy and more? Homosexuals rarely seem capable of being measured, well-reasoned and orderly.


Everything is their "right," yet nothing is their responsibility. Is homosexuality therefore the ultimate symbol of modernism, surpassing even modern art; is it the epitome of and the sickness of the modern world?

Thursday, 7 April 2011

The Little Elf with Horns - who Tempted Christ

Pure evil?
I picked up a copy of the Redemptorists' Sunday Bulletin the other week and on reading it, thrust it into a pocket for future usage.

Sunday Bulletin is a slightly less happy clappy, fudgy and gooey version of their other bulletin Sunday Plus which I've written about in the past (that weekly offering promotes Buddhism, relativism and lukewarm 'take it or leave it' cafeteria Catholicism, primarily to youngsters).

This issue of the Sunday Bulletin is less openly offensive, but one worrying aspect struck me.

In numerous books I've read, whether theological, biographical or autobiographical, I have come across the fact that the Devil's main trick is to convince others that he does not exist. Exorcists especially are adamant on this point (read Fr Gabriel Amorth's books - it's also a point repeated in the recent Anthony Hopkins' film The Rite).

Just this week some "expert" has been doing the rounds explaining how 'evil' does not exist, but rather a lack of empathy. If only we all loved each other there would be no wickedness. As comforting as that might be to pupils in an infant school, the reality of the world is far more complicated and (sad to say) evil does exist as surely as fish fingers contain no fingers -- and often fish of questionable provenance.

Satan exists. Temptation exists. Whilst we do not need to be fixated on the former, I think all humans should be wary, and should be vigilant against the latter, for we all have a fallen nature, we are all human with our glaring human weaknesses.

The Devil's power exists in knowing our weaknesses and targeting them in subtle, powerful, manipulative and even in outwardly just ways. But to be fixated with Satan is wrong, as Our Lord and Our Lady give us the Graces and help we need to overcome Satan's temptations.

However, it is equally as wrong to make-pretend that Satan does not exist or seek to re-write his nature. The Bible clearly states he exists. That fallen angel who refused to serve God and obey the Divine Will tempted our forefathers, for the remedy of which Christ the Redeemer was born and dwelt among us.

To whitewash the Devil out of history is to undermine the Salvific nature of Christ's Incarnation.

Preachers who say the Devil (and/or Hell) doesn't exist may be trying to make our road easier and more comfortable (or to make churches seem more welcoming and "inclusive"), but to max out on clichés, life isn't meant to be a bed of roses, and the path to Hell is paved with good intentions.

Priests who try to ignore Satan totally (as opposed to putting him in his place) remind me very much of the 1980s when there seemed to be a spate of clerics --mostly Anglicans I think-- who were renowned for stating that there was no Virgin Birth, or that the Resurrection didn't happen. Dear God.

I have just finished reading With Us Today by Fr J Hardon SJ and God Has Not Changed by Alice Thomas Ellis. Both authors (who come at Catholicism from different angles, but defend the same Truths) say they know priests who do not believe in central tenets of Catholicism. Fr Hardon says a priest he met did not believe in Transubstantiation. Bizarre. Thomas Ellis asks why these people are priests at all if they do not believe (saying it is akin to her joining the Masons or the Hell's Angels)?

Yet here in the Redemptorists' publication (used in many churches I am sure), we have snide remarks about the Gospels and what I perceive as the undermining of Catholic Truth. On dealing with Christ's temptation in the desert, at the hands of Satan directly, surely one of the main Gospel texts which can be used directly to prove the existence of the Devil and thus of pure evil and malice, we have this rather bizarre couple of sentences:

What form did Satan take? We don't need to imagine the tempter as a little elf with horns and a tail, springing around quoting biblical texts. When we are tempted.... no such elf is required."

Now, as is usual in such fudgy, hedging-ones-bets, woolly language it is not heretical. It does not deny the existence of Satan. It would be crass to do so given the week's reading. However, one thing we can be sure of is that Satan did tempt Christ directly, Satan did quote the Scriptures at Christ, trying to twist them to his own ends and tempt God. How he appeared to Christ is kind-of irrelevant. If anything he would have appeared 'all sweetness and light' (like a thought-for-the-day cleric) to deceive. To dismiss Satan as "a little elf with horns" is childish, to say the least.

No he does not appear in a flash of lightning when we are tempted, but our souls are at risk from temptation and just as the Saints and Angels are there to help us in our daily battles (one should always remember the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel "defend us in battle"), so Satan and demons are abroad tempting us, or pushing others to put temptation in our way.

As you may have guessed I am no theologian, but I find it discomforting (to say the least) that this kind of infantile writing seeks to diminish the role of Satan and make him into some kind of kids' cartoon character red smurf who is banished to history books. That is as wrong as those who personify evil at every turn and become fixated by the occult.

In an age when fewer and fewer people receive the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinty of Our Lord at the Altar of God -- and Christ made it clear that to be saved we have to eat His Flesh and drink His Blood (a Gospel passage Protestants prefer to skim across) -- it is essential that the Church is not seen to demote evil from being a very real thing with an author, for just as Jesus Christ brought us Salvation, so Satan brought about our initial downfall from paradise.

I would rather have Faith in Christ and Love of the Blessed Virgin than ever fear Satan; but if I have to chose between fearing Satan and laughing at some "little elf with horns" I would rather the former, for the latter smacks of false pride and hubris.

The following prayer was written by Pope Leo XIII, a very Holy Pope and much-cherished leader of our Church. He was permitted, by God, to see the battle raging wherein Satan and his demons sought to destroy the Catholic Church. Rather than talk of "a little elf with horns" we would do will to daily recite this prayer, which used to be said after every Low Mass (the long version of the prayer is below the shorter version in English and Latin)




PRAYER TO ST MICHAEL THE ARCHANGEL

Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle, be our protection against the malice and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly host, by the power of God, thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Sancte Michael Archangele, defende nos in praelio. Contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium. Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur. Tuque princeps militiae caelestis, Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos, qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo divina virtute in infernum detrude. Amen.


Original Long Version of the Prayer

“O Glorious Prince of the heavenly host, St. Michael the Archangel, defend us in the battle and in the terrible warfare that we are waging against the principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the evil spirits. Come to the aid of man, whom Almighty God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of Satan.

“Fight this day the battle of the Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in Heaven. That cruel, ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold, this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay and cast into eternal perdition souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. This wicked dragon pours out, as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity.

“These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where the See of Holy Peter and the Chair of Truth has been set up as the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety, with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck, the sheep may be.

“Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious power of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly find mercy in the sight of the Lord; and vanquishing the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.

V. Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
R. The Lion of the tribe of Judah has conquered the root of David.
V. Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
R. As we have hoped in Thee.
V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.

Let us pray.
O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as supplicants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin Immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious St. Michael the Archangel, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all the other unclean spirits who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of souls. Amen.”
Roman Raccolta, July 23, 1898, supplement approved July 31, 1902,

London: Burnes, Oates & Washbourne Ltd., 1935, 12th edition.
 

Friday, 1 April 2011

Shame of Wales: Morning After Pill Decision a DISASTER

Nihilism and blasphemy supreme: life is assaulted at every turn
I don't know which facet of me is most upset, disgusted, angry and forlorn: as a Catholic, a father and a Welshman I am gobsmacked by the decision of "our" leaders in Wales to allow an abortifacient drug to be dished out free over the counter.

No doubt others, Welsh, Catholic and medical, will rip this decision apart in a methodological and professional way. As a "bod in the pews" all I can say is that this is an utter betrayal of Welsh youth; the Welsh youth who take the damned drug, and the Welsh youth killed by it.

Furthermore, there is no doubt at all that the availability of this drug (the usage of which on an ongoing basis will no doubt come back to haunt certain "users") will, definitely and absolutely, increase random, semi-anonymous, casual, meaningless sex with all the personal, communal and societal problems it entails.

Furthermore, can you imagine the nightclub-generation who "enjoy" a different "partner" (dear God I loathe that term with every bone in my body), getting to grips with this free-for-all? Who amongst this generation of pagans (pillaging their way through the ranks of the opposite sex) won't succumb to the temptation of casual sex with the promise of "you can grab a pill in the morning?"

Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs), casual sex, the abusive use of sex -- all this will continue, and the liberal idiots who have opened up another avenue to Hell will look on in disbelief (apart from the Satanic few who will celebrate).

Furthermore, let me tell you something. Abortions and teenage pregnancies will continue at their current high rate (or even grow). How so? Well, the generation who think Eastenders is a drama-documentary, who think gangster rap is something to aspire to, or who think Saturday night means guaranteed casual sex, will continue to sleep around. A busy week, a hangover, etc. etc. and bingo: more abortion and more teenage single mums.

Of course we can overlook two important aspects of this:
  • The morning after pill does induce an abortion - so the number of abortions is bound to sky rocket.
  • Teenage single-mums are often a societal "choice" to get a home, a guaranteed income.
Anyone who says otherwise is a fool or a liar. The Morning After pill is an abortifacient. It induces an abortion. Some may say it doesn't matter because the baby is a day or two old, but a life is a life. Is the murder of a 95 year old more acceptable because he's losing his marbles (oops - that is more acceptable to some liberals - how illiberal!).

As for teenage mums -- I knew one when I was in school who put "father unknown" on the birth certificate (both she and I knew the father - in my year) so she could get a house, cash hand-outs etc. etc. This has been going on for decades, and again liberals will close their eyes to it because they cannot accept their system is abused by people and actually increases the number of teenage mothers who are then housed (with all the attendant costs) by the tax-payer.

As usual the path to Hell is paved with good intentions, though I do wonder if this screaming liberalism is well intentioned at all, and not just an excuse to procure more casual sex for the hedonistic generation that will always try and blame someone else, something else, in fact anything else rather than hold themselves responsible for their own actions or inaction.

Please pray for Wales and the Welsh people, especially the youngsters embroiled in meaningless casual sexual encounters and the Welsh children aborted as a result.

Heaven forbid that we should ever have a generation of politicians or health professionals who take the bull by the horns and call for an end to casual sex and all the disease, drugs, violence, abuse and death associated with it! They don't do common sense, or self-restraint.

Link:
BBC Report - Morning After Pill Free in Chemists
John Smeaton of SPUC 

P.S. In case some accuse me of hyperbole in regards to the 'casual sex' generation, as with the case of single mother "choice," I have also known many of these people, especially via the workplace. In many of these I would often hear my workmates planning their weekends or discussing previous ones. It could be most disturbing (and sad), and I wasn't brought up in the posh-end of town.