Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Before Christ’s second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers. The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth will unveil the “mystery of iniquity” in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh. ~ Catechism of the Catholic Church (675)

Thursday, 21 May 2015

On Saints and Scholars

"We're back!"
St Patrick drove them out. His Successors invited them back in. I must confess that I haven't been praying much about Ireland until recently when it has dawned on me (I'm a little slow, you know) that the culture of death strangling most of Europe is about to wrap its constrictor-like form around the land of 'Saints and scholars'.

We should pray very much for this coiuntry. We shouldn't be surprised, even if we are horrified by Ireland's free-fall collapse. What a King did for England, the Church itself has done for Ireland, which is made the more disturbing because Ireland's stunning apostasy has occurred with no threat of violence whatsoever and within a single generation. If they vote yes, then the Irish are actually voting for their own destruction, whereas in England the cultural and religious revolution and its horrendous aftermath was imposed from above.

If the 'exit polls' in the referendum for Jesus Christ Vs Satan are anything to go by, this will be a most democratic rupture with its Christian roots, with Christ and His Church. Perhaps they look out at Europe and feel the need to keep up with the Jones's in our general embrace of a godless ideology. Of course, the collapse of the Catholic Faith, the collapse in vocations in these Isles is seen by some English Cardinals as a kind of 'second Spring' under the reign of an Argentinian Pope with record high 'approval ratings' that are not necessarily representative of the Court of Heaven. Or perhaps the post-1960s Catholic Church in Ireland, through its classy, modern, 'relevant' liturgy, widespread irreverence towards the Blessed Sacrament and the sins of its clergy and Bishops, has done enough to secure the demise of Ireland's long-standing identity as a Catholic nation. For some reason I think of Fr Ray Kelly's 'classy' and 'relevant' rendition of Leonard Cohen's 'Hallelujah' wedding anthem at a Nuptial Mass. It really encapsulates so much.

Other countries are not, quite yet, so foolish though I suspect the powerful would deem them so. Brave Hungary and under pressure Poland remain more than merely 'culturally' Catholic and it is seen - though Poland remains under threat - in the laws of these countries. These countries however, did not have the nuclear explosion of the sex abuse crisis that Ireland had. Still reeling from that calamitous outrage, you might hope that the Bishops of Ireland, for instance, in Dublin, might launch a final salvo to save Ireland from the abyss of sexual slavery and sin being legislated into the laws of the land but many Bishops are like those who celebrate the country's patron saint. St Patrick may still be wheeled out for Guinness Day in Ireland but his message is completely erased from the celebrations. With some exceptions, it would seem that whatever Apostolic zeal Ireland's prelates had, most have had it mysteriously drained out of them.

Hollywood: Cheery, optimistic stuff in 'San Andreas'
Some are hoping that His Holiness Pope Francis might say something to instill the fear or even love of God back into the Irish but it has been said that Pope Francis believes this is something for the 'local Church' to do, a belief that unhappily co-incides with a rather lacklustre local Church that cannot even bring itself to tell its membership that voting for same-sex marriage puts you out of Communion with the Church.

The fact that some Bishops in Ireland are telling the Irish 'Who am I to judge?' how you vote could, perhaps, be just another aspect of the Francis Effect recently heralded by Fr Linus Clovis in a concise and erudite talk. It would be great for His Holiness to say something in defence of Ireland's comparatively impeccable and hitherto pro-life, pro-traditional marriage laws but like many I am not holding my breath. I read a blog post recently by a US priest who indicated that what the Church is looking at is like looking at a tsunami coming towards you. There is nowhere to go, there is nothing you can do, but pray. 

It is interesting to note that, with a growing number of Catholics, Hollywood retains its affection for the apocalyptic, with 'San Andreas' coming out at the end of the month of Mary. Like death and/or the Second Coming of Christ as Judge, 'The Big One' is not a matter of if, but when. Really, seriously, Irish Bishops and all Bishops have to return to the inconvenient truth that we are all going to die and face Almighty God and have to give an answer and that we should live this life to prepare for this, within the Ark of Salvation, the Catholic Church. Let us not wait for greater chatisements than we have yet known to do this. We will face God and either Heaven or Hell forever. This means turning our lives towards God, not directing our lives towards our own sensuality and our own selfish will. As 'whole nations' are 'annihilated' as forewarned by Our Lady of Fatima, through artificial contraception, laws that promote abortion, homosexuality, the devastation of sin and sacrilege, and the whole 'culture of death' opposed so vigorously by Popes Benedict and St John Paul II we would do well to note the annihilation of the Faith taking place within the Church because only Christ's Church can confront and oppose the evil in the World.

Yes, even the devastation we survey in various nations wrought by a powerful elite under the influence of the prince of this World is as nothing compared to the supreme betrayal of Our Lord that has been witnessed within the bosom of the Catholic Church itself by those entrusted with so much authority and so much responsibility. We must pray and pray hard. Pray for Ireland and at this time of grave crisis in the Church, we must thank God for those who, unafraid of reprisals that could be levelled in their direction, say what must be said in times when confusion and uncertainty over the Truth becomes so widespread for the Salvation of Souls and the good of the Universal Church. Pray for more of such as these. Most Irish Bishops may have invited the snakes back into Ireland, but thank Almighty God for this gentleman and scholar, this man with the spirit of the Saints.



Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Your Official Catholic Blogger's Voting Guide

Step 1: Walk into polling booth with polling card and remove Pritt Stick glue and image of Christ the King from pocket.

Step 2: Take polling card and fasten image of Christ the Eternal King in a space where yet no other name appears, perhaps sticking the image at the top of the polling card, since 'He must be King until He has put all his enemies under His feet and the last of these enemies is' Caroline Lucas.

Step 3: Mark a clear X next to the image of Christ the King to show that in no way are you spoiling your ballot paper, but are, in fact, beautifying it with the image of our Redeemer.

Step 4: Pray the prayer for the conversion of England and leave the polling booth.

Friday, 24 April 2015

Church of Not Very Nice Really


Having dealt so speedily with Bishop Finn of Kansas City, the latest Bishop to fall mysteriously under a bus during the Francis papacy, I imagine that faithful Catholics will be hoping that His Holiness has 'a word in your ear' with Archbishop Cupich for giving Holy Communion to a public non-Catholic and will also be hoping that His Holiness will be lending his considerable papal authority in support of the under-fire 'a bit too Catholic for San Francisco', Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone. Of course, we shouldn't imagine that the Successor of St Peter is some kind of CEO of a multinational corporation or some kind of 'NGO', but there are times when some people could be forgiven for that misconception.

May the soul of Cardinal Francis George, through the mercy of God and with the assistance of the prayers of the Our Blessed Lady and all the Saints and Martyrs rest in peace. His questions, for us, still remain unanswered. The more time goes on, the more mysterious and arbitrary appear the decisions in Rome about who is in, and who is out, who stays and who simply has to go. I'm sure Pope Benedict XVI said some very perceptive and wise things about justice when he gave an address at the German parliament. Mild mercy and swift justice, like 'the Spirit, blows where it wills' at the moment.

Pray for the Pope, for all faithful Bishops and for all Bishops and Cardinals that true justice and true mercy will both be and be seen to be proclaimed in Holy Mother Church.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Missionaries

Chester Cathedral window dedicated to the Reformation in England
When on a recent visit to Chester, I was pretty dismayed when I toured its Cathedral to see nearly an entire window dedicated to Henry VIII with his court of advisers giving the thumbs up as he embarks on the dissolution of the monasteries and the enforcement of the Act of Supremacy. Did he send them out as Tudor 'Missionaries of Mercy'? I guess those were different times and different ways were employed.

I hope I am completely wrong and the two years of 'hypersensitivity training' I have undergone has been for nothing. We should all welcome a year of Mercy. Let's go with that. Who could oppose mercy?

Think of all the initiatives in parishes and Dioceses that could come from a grassroots renewal of devotion, promotion of the Sacraments and the works of mercy. A top-down, one size fits all model of mercy would be, I think, a little outside of what Vatican II expressed as desirable. Subsidiarity is surely the key, so that the local Church, while always remaining in Communion with the Pope and Bishops is able to promote mercy according to the particular needs of that area, without rupturing the fragile unity and Catholicity of the Church by abandoning the necessary link between doctrine and pastoral practice and thereby making visible a breach in the hull of the Church. I do rather have deep-seated fears of the newly appointed 'missionaries of mercy' that Pope Francis wishes to send to be welcomed by Dioceses around the globe. I hope they are not Volpi-clones, sent to dispense 'mercy' as endured from a certain Vatican-sent Commissioner, chosen, as he was, to flood with his own unique brand of tenderness and compassion, the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

Time will tell. Prayers could make all the difference. I have several Protestant friends and have been discussing with them the Kasper proposal and the upcoming Synod. It is amazing how little Protestants seem to understand of what is going on within the Catholic Church. All the news (but not gossip, of course) on the Synod was news to them. Two of them expressed astonishment that the Catholic Church could even countenance the Kasper proposal, knowing what the Church believes about the Holy Eucharist and what it has consistently taught regarding marriage, the natural law and divine law. One friend said, "If the Catholic Church did that, that would be huge...that would mean it no longer believed in marriage as a permanent union." So basically, even Protestants with little contact with the Catholic Church think the Catholic Church is in auto-destruct mode, with massive ramifications for the world.



I had emphasised, as a Catholic, what it could do to the fabric of the Church. I found it intensely interesting that the Protestant replied, "Nevermind the Church...what about society!? That would mean the Church sanctioning the breakdown of the family and marital break-up." Yes, indeed. Of course, that is exactly what it would mean, as Voice of the Family have made known and shouted from the rooftops. If the Church is to become no longer a moral voice in society for the family and marriage, it is hard to see how the Church could remain a moral voice at all. Why believe anything She says? Most of my Protestant friends are evangelicals, which, ironically, is an 'ecclesial community' that Pope Francis has gone some way in 'reaching out' towards.

We are all, as Catholics, called to be missionaries of mercy, to extend mercy towards others. We are also called to proclaim the truth in season and out of season and there is no contradiction between these two. I'm not sure to which period of the Church's history Pope Francis is pointing when he talks about a time when we could or should have been more merciful and why it is he feels that the Church can go beyond its previous 'limits' of mercy. I'm confused as to what this might mean. There are no limits to God's mercy, because God's mercy is inexhaustible and infinite. There are, however, limits to which we creatures will feel bound by, say, if we do not desire to change, or do not desire Salvation. The Church has never really said anything different to that. How much 'further' can Francis go without turning mercy into liberalism and sanctioning of sin?

"Nobody expects...": One Peter Five got there first...
The limits on God's mercy - if we dare say that - are limits we place there ourselves for our own feelings of comfort, protection and security. We would rather refuse the Cross. We fear going 'out to the peripheries' - that is - outside of the comfort zone of our own moral laxity and self-love. There is no sin that the Church does not desire to forgive in the name of Jesus Christ. There are, however, sins - 'reserved sins' if you please - that we do not want forgiveness for because we know that might take us out of our comfort zone and leave us completely dependent on God and His mercy and His grace.

The reality is that it is we as individuals who fear change, or avoid true repentance. The Church, as ever, holds up to us an Ideal of human life, or, rather a Person - Jesus Christ, the way, the truth and the life. We avoid His way, we often shun His Truth and we miss out on Life in all its fullness, the eternal life that He wishes to give to our souls. Let's be frank. That's the real reason the Reformation happened in England. That's the real reason we do not follow Christ perfectly as we should. I hope the missionaries of mercy will be in the service of Jesus Christ as He revealed Himself, imparting the mercy of God to the repentant and preaching the mercy of God to all who will hear for a false mercy will only bear witness to a false Christ. I hope that they do act in such a way which will cause scandal, as has been seen with the Franciscans of the Immaculate, or damage or impair that fragile communion that exists within the Body of Christ.

Finally, I don't, but others do, have first hand remembrance of the 'wreckovation' period during the 1970s in the Church, when Sanctuaries were destroyed in order to make way for a new liturgical revolution that re-orientated the parish churches. Many have taken time, raised and spent money to restore Churches to at least a reflection of their former glory. We all know of cases where priests have, courageously, restored both the Sanctuary and the liturgy of the Church to make it more fitting for the worship of God. Pray for them, that the hard work they have put in to give God glory, is not reduced to rubble by any 'missionaries' who think, like the knights that skewered the head of St Thomas Beckett, that what they do, they do in the service of the monarch.



I suppose what many clergy and some Bishops may be disconcerted about when it comes to papal 'missionaries of mercy' is not the promotion of mercy 'at a local level', but perhaps the very anti-thesis of the Benedictine vision of the Church renewing Herself from the bottom up - the most ambitious exercise in micromanagement ever undertaken by the Catholic Church in Her entire history. It would be a humble one, though...naturally. Evangelii Gaudium showed us the what without explaining too much the why. It looks like Misericordiae Vultus (or is it Vulpus?) is showing us the how. Let's hope that how is the very epitome of Christian mercy and love.



The martyrs of the Reformation in England and Wales exemplify the truth that, at the end of the day, the Christian is the one who accepts following, in life and in death, the One Who was nailed to the Wood of the Cross, Who hung there to bleed to death to the delight and the derision of the crowd, with only a few people there to offer some kind of human consolation. These martyrs also understood that anyone who stood underneath that Cross shared in the pain and humiliation of the One they loved. Are we followers of Jesus Christ or followers of the World? Do we want to follow Him? Do we want to imitate Him? Do we want to imitate them?

Pray. Pray. Pray for the Pope, for Cardinals, Bishops, priests and the Church throughout the world.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Haec est dies quam fecit Dominus exultemus et laetemur in ea....


This is the day when adulterers end their adulterous relationships. This is the day when fornicators cease their extra-marital dalliances, those co-habiting set wedding dates and/or boot each other out of their flats until marriage. This is the day when thieves and brigands hand back the spoils of their crime and do penance. This is the day when the mean and avaricious learn generosity to the poor. This is the day when abortionists repent of their crimes and those who have procured them seek the height, the depth and the inexhaustible riches of God's mercy.

This is the day, indeed, when mafiosi bosses put down their guns and open hospitals for poor, sick children instead. This is the day when alcoholics, crack and smack heads take up the Cross and join the relevant anonymous meeting groups, when those who watch porn take a hammer to their laptop, when those who frequent houses of iniquity consider renting property outside of the city centre.

This is the day when the single re-dedicate themselves to lives of celibacy, the married to devotion, constancy and fidelity, priests to singular devotion to Our Lord and His Blessed Mother and all Catholics throw themselves on God's mercy, receiving His Absolution in Confession and His Body and Blood in Holy Communion.

This is the day when Shepherds preach the truths of our sinful proclivities and the Salvation on offer to us and teach the faithful to guard against mortal sin. This is the day when manipulative prelates and those who bully clergy pursue the path of justice and peace towards those in their care and put Christ and His Church first, renouncing their own agendas and holding their tongues only at those times when the Gospel demands it. This is the day when German Church tax collectors, like St Matthew, renounce their old way of life and pursue, with singular apostolic zeal, the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.



Allelulia! Allelulia! Allelulia!

This is the day, this is Divine Mercy Sunday, the Second Sunday of Easter, in which the Church, because of the unfathomable Mercy of Her Divine Bridegroom, opens the floodgates of His Mercy for sinners, that we might repent of our sins and find in Jesus Christ not a severe Judge, but a merciful Saviour, whose desire is not to punish us according to our transgressions, but bring us to the inheritance of His Saints, Eternal Life in the Presence of God forever, forever united to Him, Body and Soul.

There have been a lot of strange things said about mercy recently, some things that are authentic and some that do not seem very authentic. Mercy does not gloss over our sin but entreats us to be confronted by our sin, to confront ourselves and to seek, in sincerity of heart, the God of Mercy. It always involves us turning away from our sin and turning towards the Lord. It means recognising that we need to, that we want to make a break with that which enslaves us and recognising that Jesus alone can liberate us from sin.

Apologies for all readers for not posting up the song below earlier. I know that all readers will appreciate just what a beautiful hymn this is, communicating so eloquently the joy of Easter and the mystery of our redemption!



The Papal Bull for the Extraordinary Year of Mercy can be read here. 

Immediate and somewhat worrying commentary can be read here.

I hope those 'missionaries of mercy' are not the kind that the Franciscans of the Immaculate have had to endure.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Breaking: Appointment of New Bishop Could Signal Major Adjustments to the Golden Jubilee


With a different bishop will come a different style. New reports suggest that the Rt Rev. Richard Moth, who is leaving the Bishopric of the Forces to become the new Bishop of Arundel and Brighton, could signal significant changes to the AMEX stadium-based Golden Jubilee of the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.

A newly appointed committee for the activities to be promoted during the Golden Jubilee have reportedly been asked to 'push the boundaries of ecclesiastical celebrations'. Guest speakers already invited are to be kept, but new speakers are also expected to be invited as the event takes on a more masculine, or even militaristic tone. It is thought that the new Bishop will want to distance himself from the original plans drawn up under the disgraced Bishop Kieran Conry and 'beef the event up' a little, promoting a more manly Diocese with strong and firm leadership from the top with deaneries set to be disbanded and parishes set to be merged into 'batallions'.



While the Archbishop of Canterbury will still be able to wax lyrical about his views on Christianity and Fr Timothy Radcliffe will be able to impress upon his audience some very private understandings of Christian morality, the Orthodox Church are to be represented by the man who's finger is always hovering over the red button, Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin, whose absence from public life recently promoted major news outlets around the world to issue 'Where's Putin?' cartoons, in which readers had to find Vladimir Putin in a crowd of figures wearing similar clothing, is set to be a big name booked for the mega Church celebration.

Ecumenical gesture: Vladimir Putin

It is expected that Vladimir Putin will enter the AMEX stadium from above, parachuting out of a Russian Bear fighter jet, with a live Russian bear and, having wrestled with the bear in mid-air, will continue the wrestling competition on the football pitch, before dusting himself down and giving an ecumenical talk on the powerful intercession of the Mother of God that he experienced while venerating the belt of the the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Cast out from the BBC for striking a colleague across the face for gross culinary negligence - and therefore one who can now be sought on the 'peripheries', the former Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson is said to be under consideration as a public figure who could speak ably on God, cars, driving, aggression and manliness. His talk will be entitled, "When I drive the new Ultima 1020bhp supercar, I begin to understand what it must be like to be God."

Clarkson: The only man left at BBC before his sacking
In order to promote masculinity within the Diocese as part of a new emphasis from the former Bishopric of the Forces, in a one-off mass gun licensing event, each Catholic who attends the AMEX event will be issue with a shooting rifle. Ten thousand grey collared doves will be released from a bulging net in the centre of the football pitch before those in attendance will be able to ready, aim and fire, a pastoral event that could see anything between 5,000 to 9,000 doves fall from the sky onto the turf below. The clean up operation from this event alone is expected to exceed the Diocese's initial six figure budget dramatically. Following this, children will be invited to play the traditional English village fete game, 'Whack a Rat', but with a twist to cultivate children's desire to hunt God's creatures and if necessary, to kill wild animals, as live rats are used and children learn to 'splat a rat'. A hundred ferrets have been ordered should the AMEX event run out of rats. Animal rights campaigners are concerned but as yet no moves have been made to curtail the programme's broad ambitions.



The multi-cultural nature of the city by the sea and Sussex and Surrrey's multi-ethnic communities will be served by various forms of hunting events during the day. A large, see-through container housing a variety of whales will be visible at the back of the stadium where Japanese Catholics will hunt with spears, making this family friendly day out an exciting event that will see clear water turn red with the spoils of sport, while the Filipino community will be entertained by cock-fighting. The Spanish community will be entranced by bull-fighting and anybody who complains about the nature of the event will be court-marshalled and, if necessary, taken outside and shot, after a short, but entirely just - and impartial - military trial.



The entertainment, having wowed a bloodied and thrilled congregation with renewed interest in various bloodsports, will end when the new Bishop will ride into the stadium upon a stallion, chasing a skulk of foxes before saying, 'Tally-ho! Before this Mass let us turn to the Lord and ask His mercy for those times when we have failed to live up to our baptismal promises, as we say, 'Lord, you were sent to heal the contrite. Lord, have mercy...' as Mass begins. It is thought and hoped that in the wake of this unique Church day out, all memory of the tenure of Bishop Kieran Conry will be quickly forgotten and the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton will experience the comradeship and the excitement of a newly energised Catholic community. The event may also serve, unintentionally of course, to distract attention within the Catholic community from the upcoming Most Appallingly Disastrous Synod in the History of the Church. TM

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Christ is Risen

A happy, holy and blessed Easter to all readers.

Don't let any prelate spoil the Octave of partying and rejoicing...whatever he says or does!

Christ has risen as he said. Allelulia!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Support the 500 Priests


500 Priests have signed to say that they are in full accord with Jesus Christ our High Priest, the Eternal Word and will defend His Sacred Words, which will never pass away, on marriage and wish to be faithful to Him.



In support of our priests, our families, and our Church


You may have seen the recent letter from more than 450 priests in support of the Church’s teaching on marriage.

We would like to invite you to sign the letter below, to be sent to the press in support of them, and to encourage others to sign it.

To sign, please leave your name and your diocese in the comments box below, or if you prefer email them to me or to one of the coordinators:

Mark Lambert (mark@landbtechnical.com) or Andrew Plasom-Scott (andrewplasom_scott@me.com)

The Letter:

Dear Sir,
We, the undersigned, wish to endorse and support the letter signed by over 450 priests in the recent edition of the Catholic Herald.
As laity, we all know from our own family experiences, or those of our friends and neighbours, the harrowing trauma of divorce and separation, and we sympathise with all those in such situations.
It is precisely for that reason that we believe that the Church must continue to proclaim the truth about marriage, given us by Christ in the Gospels, with clarity and charity in a world that struggles to understand it.
For the sake of those in irregular unions, for the sake of those abandoned and living in accordance with the teachings of the Church, and above all for the sake of the next generation, it is essential that the Church continues to make it quite clear that sacramental marriage is indissoluble until death.
We pray, and expect, that our hierarchy will represent us, and the Church’s unwavering teaching, at the Synod this autumn.
Yours faithfully,
 ____________________________

Saturday, 28 March 2015

The Synod and the Cross

There is no 'easier way' for the follower of Christ
It is good to see that, among others, Edward Pentin has taken up Cardinal Vincent Nichols' disconcerting media response to the 'letter of the 500 priests' stating their - shock horror! - unwavering support for the Church's teaching. I - among many - don't think that His Eminence's media statement is very prudent. Bizarrely, it pits a Cardinal - one Cardinal - for he claims to speak for nobody else in the Bishops' Conference - against 500 faithful priests in England and Wales, among whom are priests in his own Archdiocese.

Of course, it may be that there are many priests who felt they could not sign that letter. One gives his reasons in the Catholic Herald, reasons that I personally don't find particularly convincing, but nonetheless, they are his reasons. A priest who signed is more convincing because he is writing about his convictions. So is this one.

Nevertheless, the Cardinal's comments suggest we seem to be moving very quickly from a 'free and open' atmosphere of debate over the Synod's proposals to 'criticism of the Synod on the Family is gossip and gossip is evil so stop it'. The Pope's comments concerning 'gossip' over the Synod are worrying but they are nicely general and vague. Cardinal Vincent Nichols, who I had thought was 'good with the media', has been overtly specific in his statement. It's not just anyone he has directed his opposition towards - its 500 clergy in particular, 500 clergy who did not address their letter to the Cardinal. Clearly, the English Hierarchy are feeling somewhat 'on edge'.

I personally agree with Cardinal Burke that these incendiary ideas should never have been put up for debate in the first place because they so obviously sow confusion, give rise to the promotion of error, sow division and even rancour. It places the Church in a state of war. It makes very open the wound of disunity with the Church that has existed for a long time. Pope Francis's predecessor made it well known that he considered it wrong to confuse error and dissent from the Magisterium with contributions to a fruitful debate or 'dialogue'. That served to irritate liberals but maintained the Petrine ministry as the primary source of unity in the Church, grounded in the Magisterium, rather than make that same ministry a source of disunity reflecting human opinion based on a modern anthropological discourses that fail to take seriously the actual teachings of Jesus Christ and His Church.

Here we are, however, in 2015, being coerced into that very debate which was settled by Our Lord, whose message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins has successfully - at times more successfully than at others - been transmitted by His Apostles to their Successors down the ages. The entire Gospel, whole and undiluted has been handed down faithfully, through thick and thin, weathering the storms even of the greatest crises in the Church's history. Is that time coming to an end? Faithful Catholics can never say it is. The truth, even if judged a lie, even if crucified, will rise again.

Indeed, while the Synod comes closer into view, it is also a time when something else comes into view, something that serves to remind us of precisely what is at the root of the current grave crisis afflicting the Church. During Holy Week, we will remember vividly in the liturgy how Christ's enemies conspired to arrest Him, imprison Him, interrogate Him, place Him on trial, mock Him, scourge Him, crown Him with thorns and crucify Him.

We will recall how a dishonest and violent man was preferred in the place of the Lord when a crowd were asked who Pilate should set free. We will see the glory of God, Christ crucified, the Saviour of the World, out of love, permitting all manner of evil to be perpetuated against Himself to gain for us our redemption.

In all of this, we see the effect of our own sins and how our sins have caused Jesus so much pain and suffering, but, as well as this, we see what it means for Christians to bear witness to their Lord. Where the Head has gone, so the Body must follow. We see that the renunciation of self-interest and self-love is the guiding principle for the Christian who seeks to follow the Lord because we are commanded to love God with our whole heart and our neighbour as ourselves. The Christian is given a powerful insight into the very nature of God and the true nature of love - a love that is not self-seeking at all. Quite simply, there can be no Christianity, for the Christian, without a share in Christ's Cross, if we wish to enjoy the radiance of the Resurrection.

We see how much Jesus suffered to establish the Church as His Bride, how much the Bridegroom has loved the Bride, that He should empty Himself even of His Precious Blood for Her. This is mercy and it is not a glib, easy, artificial mercy. It is hard, it is painful, it is, frankly, gruesome. It is blood, sweat, tears, courage, fortitude, prayer, agony even, yet a loving act that is freely undertaken by the Lord. Can we, as Christians, expect our lives, our temptations, our lifestyle choices, our daily choices, our very existence to be without those sorrows and tribulations and sufferings that our Divine redeemer accepted for love of us?

The Synod's primary protagonists propose a new era of 'mercy' shown to those who from a rudimentary understanding of what the Eucharist is, should understand is no mercy at all. Mercy, compassion and love, in this framework set out by the Synod does not challenge us to do as Jesus not only taught us to do, but by His example, actually did do. "If anyone wishes to be a follower of mine, let him renounce himself, take up his cross daily, and follow me."

This is the message that the Synod - if it wishes to be in continuity with the teachings of all Popes, Doctors of the Church, Saints and Church Fathers - as well as Jesus Himself - should propose again for the Church and the World. Are you a homosexual? Deny yourself, renounce yourself and follow Jesus. Are you divorced and remarried? Renounce yourself, take up your cross daily and follow Jesus. Whoever you are, whatever your situation, the answer is Jesus Christ and His Cross. Whoever you are, do as Jesus has told you to do.  Follow in His bloody footsteps. Follow Him, don't follow the crowd, the ways of the world that lead to perdition and unhappiness.

Jesus offers us a new way of living that does not do away with pain and suffering but makes it bearable, because his burden is light and his yoke is sweet. He is your Saviour. He is my Saviour. The Church acts in His name and carries out His mission, not her own project, for She has no mission of her own, no novel niceties that can make the narrow way broad or the straight way crooked. Jesus makes the narrow way joyful, because we have been given the power to live as sons and daughters of God. He liberates us from sin, He does not liberate us from our own duty to refuse evil and choose good. We can choose truth, goodness and purity, a love that is disinterested even in our own interest if that conflicts with God's will and God's law. By ourselves we can do nothing, but with Jesus, we can do things we never thought possible.



If the Synod wishes to propose to mankind once again the glorious truths of marriage and the family - something it is yet to even start to attempt to do, then put forward as examples those courageous men and courageous women throughout history who have sought Jesus and found Him, who have lived in mortal sin and escaped it, who have been in the snares of the Devil but triumphed over him, who by their lives made following Jesus Christ, carrying their own Cross, appear to be what it truly is, attractive and beautiful, inspiring and life-changing.

There is no Christianity without the Cross. We cannot follow Jesus and remain at odds with His teaching. We have to make choices in our lives and there are choices that we make will take us towards God and choices that will lead us away from Him. The Church cannot propose another way than that offered by its Divine Spouse without deceiving its members or leading them into the abyss. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life. With Him, we can overcome every obstacle, we can leave a life of sin and self-love behind. We can be enabled to share in the life of the Trinity itself and love as God loves. It is not easy. It does require effort, prayer and fidelity to Christ. It does involve our will.

A Church that offers a different kind of Salvation to that which is proposed by Jesus Christ will save and serve nobody. Having accepted a lie, it could even end up serving the father of lies, the Devil himself. We all want Easter, we all want the Resurrection, but as the Synod and so many in the Hierarchy make abundantly clear, the Cross is as unpopular as ever. There would have been no Resurrection without the Cross that came before it. May we all embrace it with gratitude that our loving Saviour has endured it for us and broken the power of sin and death for us. May the Church and its ministers always be faithful to Jesus Christ Crucified and in so doing, show us His great love, His great mercy and His ardent desire for our salvation.

500 priests have signed a letter and 400 laity have signed a petition stating their fidelity to Jesus Christ and His Teachings. In doing this, they have shown their love for Jesus and His Church and their acceptance of the Cross. It cost Jesus Christ so much - everything - to give us Himself, His Body and Blood, to make us members of His Church.

What a terrible betrayal of Him it would be, if at the Synod, He were to be rejected by His own people once again and those in official authority over the people of God, once more, make Jesus Christ an object of scorn, spit and derision and make Jesus Christ, once more, appear loathsome in the sight of men.  Far from achieving the permanent exclusion of this 'troublesome preacher' from the Temple of God, they would only show once more that what looks like certain defeat, a curse, is the sign of Christian Victory. When Benedict XVI lamented a dictatorship of relativism, few of us thought he was talking about the Church. Those who came in his wake can crucify the Truth again if they like, but they shouldn't be too surprised when it rises again.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

What Can the Laity Do to Support the Clergy?

Two things spring to mind.

1. Pray the Rosary for the Clergy

2. Sign this I-Petition in support of those clergy who have signed the letter to the Press defending Catholic teaching and Church discipline.

Any other thoughts? Write them in the comments box.

I've written a piece on the incredibly disappointing comments by Cardinal Vincent Nichols for the Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Happy Feast


Happy Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord to all readers. 

Here in Arundel and Brighton, an announcement was made over the weekend that we have a new Bishop, Bishop-elect the Rt Rev. Richard Moth. Many congratulations to him and the Bishop-elect can be assured of my poor prayers as he endeavours to bring healing and the charity which comes from God to the Diocese. He has quite a 'job' on his hands, in the words of his predecessor. I pray especially that he will bring hope and encouragement for the clergy who have been 'through the mill' both before, during and after the sudden and unexpected resignation of Kieran Conry.

Perhaps today, more than in recent times, clergy must surely need the support, encouragement and fatherly care of their Bishops set in authority over them. At this time, when so much appears to be going haywire in Rome, faithful priests must wish and pray that prelates watch over them with great care, affection and love as they endeavour to fight for the triumph of not just mercy, but justice and the proclamation of the saving truth of Jesus Christ our Lord, at a time when it confusion regarding the divine truths of the Holy Faith are under such threat from within the Church.

What priests certainly don't need - and don't appreciate - is warnings coming from those placed in authority over them, by those senior figures who decide not to serve the truth of Jesus Christ, but instead who lord their authority over the clergy - in a manner which cannot be described one of humble service of the truth - so as to further an agenda that seeks to undermine Christ's teachings and the mission of the Catholic Church, that sacred mission that priests accepted upon their ordination.

May the Blessed Mother of God, Mary, most holy, watch over the new Shepherd and Father to both clergy and laity, guiding him to serve in humility her Divine Son, bless and keep him and help him to bring healing to the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton.  May he serve the People of God with great zeal, with great charity, with prudence and with fatherly care, most especially towards the clergy.

May he show a special support to those clergy who are brave enough to speak out at a time of crisis in the Church over issues of pastoral concern which affect every priest in every Diocese, as they strive day by day to serve the Lord Jesus Christ and bring both truth and mercy to the souls in their care. Unless I am ill, dead, or happen by chance to be in another Diocese that day, I will see the new Bishop at the AMEX stadium.

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