Friday, 21 September 2012

The Catholic Faith: Statues and Candles or Rattles and Drums?

Please click on this image and read the article. See what you think.

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Sometimes I wonder if certain Catholics have a self-destruct button. Not in the sense of doing themselves harm via drugs, corruption or similar (though that is bad enough) but in the way the attack or undermine Catholicism.

It may not seem it to the modern mind, but attacks that undermine our Faith (the Faith/Church left to us by Our Lord Jesus Christ, truly God and truly man) are worse than anything a person may do to him or herself.

Sins committed by Catholics are bad of course, but there is always Redemption, Forgiveness, Prayer, Sacrifice/Penance and Reparation. In the afterlife there is Purgatory. God will always give every soul all it needs to obtain Heaven. It is up to that soul (via free will) whether it accepts the Graces of God, especially those gained via the Sacrifice of Christ crucified and the Graces that flow through the Sacrifice of the Mass.

But when a Catholic attacks dogma, Catholicism, the Mass etc. it can have dire effects on others: it can make others lose their Faith, and lead to generations of families, communities and even nations losing the Faith, losing the Sacraments.

That is why leaders of society and religion (and families!) have such a heavy burden on their shoulders, because how they pass on the Faith and show a good example will have many more ramifications than how a lone individual might give in to sin and do damage to his own soul.

Perhaps this is why it always surprises or even shocks me when religious (priests, bishops, nuns etc.) undermine the Faith in others. The changes since Vatican 2 (the vast majority of which were not mandated by V2) are prime examples. Since the altar rails were ripped out, tabernacles placed in alcoves off to one side, statues removed, exquisite workmanship replaced with breeze blocks, and ancient beautiful chants replaced by sickly Kum By Ya style "hymns" - it is no accident that the pews have emptied.

Of course the world has changed since the 1960s, but why have some religious decided to chase after that world, moulding churches and liturgy to fit the world, rather than making the Church, the Mass and all therein an oasis of sanity, reflection, sanctity and prayer that everyone in the world could escape to?

That's why I was so gobsmacked on reading the above bulletin. The Catholic nun seems to celebrate creating an empty, Protestant--style "church" that was acceptable to Protestants, yet which some Catholics turned away from, not even believing that it was a Catholic Church (let us assume that the nun was dressed in Marks & Spencer's slacks rather than a recognisable habit) or at least that a Catholic Mass was celebrated there.

Look at the text again. No statues, no candles, no Stations of the Cross... can we assume a table rather than an altar? It seems Thomas Cromwell himself would have pinched himself with glee to imagine that a Catholic Church could appear as such, with the added joy of Zimbabweans "swaying to the rhythm of their traditional music."

One wonders if they ever pass around a collection plate for fear that a Catholic might vomit into it having to endure such an empty, faithless, vacuous place devoid of everything our Catholic forebears struggled in defence of, paid taxes and faced ruination to celebrate, or even faced the rack and the rope to witness for.

This nun thinks the Gypsy (whoops! Roma) ladies had no experience of the universal church... Oh boy. I am trying so very hard not to swear! The truth is that Catholic churches the world over were full of statues, Stations of the Cross, altars, Latin (but that's another story*) and people!

Watch the film The Mission (based in the South American jungles) now they were Catholic Churches. Go to the Italian Chapel created by Italian PoWs in WW2 on windswept Orkney. Even in Nissan huts and using basic materials those PoWs created a building of beauty, prayer, Sacrifice and Faith (in a protestant country).

What is this celebration of a Protestantised place? I don't want "different ways of worshipping" and if I do I will go out and discover thoroughly Catholic ways full of beauty and prayer (perhaps an Eastern Uniate Church, an ancient Monastic liturgy etc.).

I have been in Catholic Churches in many countries and there are always a wide range of Catholics, from the four corners of the world and of many social stratas. None seem to worry that their Catholic church is Catholic! Yet here we have a nun seemingly chuffed that she is able to point out the wrong attitude of these Catholic ladies!

As always, I must say that I am no expert in cannon law, or a liturgist and my knowledge of Catholicism isn't anywhere near as good as it ought to be. However, all I want -- and I suspect all that most Catholics have wanted, especially when the (spiritual) bulldozers were called into churches in the 70s and 80s -- is for us to have Catholic leaders who promote, protect, espouse and defend Catholicism!

I don't think that's too much to ask!

Many people ask "is the Pope Catholic?" (I won't mention what the bears do...) and we know the answer. Luckily they don't ask us so often about those a little further down the Church hierarchy, those who (as just one example) allow "homosexual Masses" which, in the official church hall afterwards, promote groups which endorse homosexual activity, promiscuity and general celebration of the Sodomitic worldview.

Please! Just let us have Catholic priests, Catholic bishops and Catholic religious and laity who are prepared to defend and espouse the Catholic Faith! So many of us Catholics are weak, frail and lukewarm (and I include myself) and this is why we need strong Catholic leaders to remind us what our duties are.

We don't need empty, Protestant rooms with drums and rattles (albeit hidden under a table).

The writer should be gently reminded that even at the Mass Rocks in Ireland, under the terror of the Elizabthan Protestant yoke, the Catholics gathered would know they were celebrating the Catholic Mass (methinks her idea of a Mass Rock would include guitars and drums). And there wouldn't have been a rattle in sight!



The Mass Rock - An Irish Poem

*I am reminded of Hilaire Belloc's book The Path to Rome. He details the pilgrimage taken through France to Rome. When he stopped to hear Mass he would recognise and be able to join in the Latin chants etc. When a friend followed Belloc's footsteps he found Churches in which he could not follow the Mass as it was in French or Italian... luckily no Tagalog, Esperanto or indeed Klingon! ;)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Prayer Card: St Therese

I love this card not only because of the iconic image of St Therese, surely instantly recognisable to all Catholics, but because of its background.

Let me explain.

On the rear of the card are initials that look like DJL (from a group of cards I got from a charity shop, belonging to a Daphne Lewington) and the date 31st October 1942.

When one considers the fateful events happening in 1942 (surely the turning point of WW2) that, like the Russian revolution, Our Lady forewarned of at Fatima in 1917, it reminds me of how important our Faith is in times of distress, sacrifice and loss.

Just the other day I was moving some books and came across an old favourite, Abbe Trochu's large tome on the Cure D'Ars (published by TAN books). We sometimes think that Saints are so unlike us, free of our weaknesses, doubts, cares, worries, stress etc. but the truth is quite, quite different.

On seeing the Cure D'Ars book I immediately thought of that great saint (patron of parish priests) who was forced into the Napoleonic French Army, went AWOL (and so was a "criminal") and struggled to be accepted into the seminary (struggled being an understatement).

A prayer card of a beloved saint can bring such comfort, induce some beautiful, prayerful moments. I can only imagine this was the case of this lovely card just prior to the Battle of Stalingrad at the height of WW2.

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

New BBC History of the World: More Atheist Bunkum?

Would most Beeb journalists be pro-Life? or pro-Abortion?
So Andrew Marr, BBC pundit and one time editor of The Independent is doing 'The History of the World' in 8 episodes for the BBC.

Another atheist, liberal viewpoint put out as fact. I recently read that The Guardian (a notoriously liberal pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-drug usage [etc.] newspaper), which has one of the lowest circulations of the dailies, has the biggest circulation amongst papers read at the BBC. For the record, The Independent is possibly even more anti-family, anti-life and anti-Catholic than The Guardian!

Seems the 'culture wars' are not ongoing at the BBC, rather the militant atheists consider the battle won, and are not afraid to push their slant on the world as the only way to see things.

One of my sons told me the other day that most people in the UK still believe in Creation, yet (he asked) 'why do they promote evolution as if it were fact in science classes?'

The 'culture war' is closed as far as the people running our schools are concerned. Just as they teach (most, if not all) children that condoms stop disease and abortions - when the truth is that condoms promote promiscuity and lead to an increase in disease and abortions.

Prof Richard Dawkins today asked who would vote for someone with the whacko beliefs of Mitt Romney. We might also ask who would vote for someone with the whacko beliefs of Richard Dawkins (or indeed Andrew Marr); yet the majority of these people with their extreme, "leap of faith" beliefs (from drug usage to God, from evolution to man-made climate change) are not voted in, they feel they have won the culture wars and now control the BBC, Hollywood, newspapers and the schools.

And so now we get another Beeb series promoting the pet theories of Messers Marr & Co; promoted (lest we forget) through the State TV service that we all pay for.

We have yet to have a major BBC series (I mean 9pm weekday on BBC1) which promotes our Christian heritage, the proof of Creation, and a Christian-centric history series that does not belittle our heritage, our history and our Faith.


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Following Jesus? Then eat His Flesh as He Commanded!

I was pottering away the other day at work and on the radio there was a piece about the Mormons, in light of the USA presidential election. I think it was Radio 2, but it may have been Radio 5 (I tend to switch over to follow the news/phone-in progs).

There was a lady on from the Mormons in the UK, and various callers followed, including other UK-based Mormons. The one thing they all seemed to push (obviously taught to do so to non-Mormons) was that they are a Christian Church, that they follow the teachings of Christ etc.

Hmmm.

It seems to me that like all heretics (etc.) these people are missing the point. Christ established the Catholic Church as His Bride, with St Peter as the first Pope.

So how can you claim to follow Christ and yet spurn His legacy? He established His Church with the Pope at its head. Yet these people seem to wish to follow the writings of later men who teach against Christ's Church, as if they know better than Jesus Christ.

Not forgetting of course that Christ also established the Mass at the Last Supper, and said that you can't have life in you unless you eat his flesh and drink his blood (in Holy Communion). He didn't say this to be a "populist" or garner support -- it is not an 'easy sell.' He said this because it is The Truth. he left us His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity in the Tabernacles of the world as spiritual sustenance in our long journey towards Heaven.

Yet these people who say they follow Christ spurn His Church and spurn His Flesh and Blood, against His Commandment.

The Catholic Church was founded by Jesus Christ with St peter as the first Pope, and the Holy Eucharist as its Unbloody Sacrifice (remember the early Church practised all this - it is well documented).

So when protestants/heretics tell you otherwise or promote the idea that they "follow Christ" they are talking through their hats.

Christ established One Church, One Sacrifice, One Pope - and we still have them to this day, just as He promised we would have them.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

All Roads lead to Rome - via G.K. Chesterton

I read this in an old email received from the American Chesterton Society (ACS), who are organising a pilgrimage to Rome:

November 12-20, 2012, I have the privilege of leading a group in Chesterton's footsteps through Rome. We will visit all the important holy sites such as the Catacombs, St. John Lateran, and St. Peter's, and we will attend a Mass celebrated by Cardinal Raymond Burke in the Vatican. We will also visit the beautiful coastal town of San Benedetto where there is a Chesterton school! We will attend a general audience with Pope Benedict XVI, and to top it off, a two-day international Chesterton Conference with speakers from all over the world.
 
This will be a once-in-a-lifetime trip that will also be Chestertonian in every sense: spiritual, educational, and gastronomical. We will be walking in the footsteps of the martyrs and the saints. "Moments filled with eternity" in the Eternal City. 

Wow. 

If you are an American, unlucky. You're not Welsh. Well we can't have everything.

Nonetheless, you can donate $100 to the ACS, which will then be doubled by a kind benefactor. What's more for every $100 you donate, you get a chance in the draw to win two tickets to the Rome ACS Pilgrimage.

You lucky people. Almost makes me wish I was an American.

I said almost... ;-)