Showing posts from June, 2009

If only it was a Catholic Church...

Ely Cathedral

Lincoln Cathedral

Westminster Abbey

St Bartholomew's Church, London Road, Brighton

I was sat on the grass, Providence Place, outside St Bartholomew's Church off London Road yesterday. You can lie on the grass and look up at the Ark like Church that towers over London Road. It is apparently, the tallest Church in Europe. It is a formidable and imposing structure. And then I had a thought...if only it were a Catholic Church! Then I thought of other Churches which are more imposing and beautiful, such as the ones pictured above. I thought...if only they were Catholic Churches! I don't know about St Bartholomews, but all the other ones were definitely nicked by Protestants during the reign of Henry VIII. Why didn't someone at the time say, "Oi! Get your filthy mitts off our Churches!"

I wasn't expecting a call from the Ecumenical Council of Churches anyway...


Oratre fratres!

I drove up to the Brompton Oratory for another fix of Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Sunday. I was right at the back of the very ornate and beautiful Church so I was unable to get an eyeful of the Sacred Vestments. Suffice to say however that they will have been splendid. It was, of course, the Feast of SS Peter and Paul. St Peter, enthroned, was dressed up to the hilt in red and gold.

The choir sang some wonderful polyphony and chant, but of course, due to the fact that the Oratory is so spacious, it is difficult for them to really fill the Church with sound. Not so much a problem, when we have a large choir, at St Mary Magdalen's Church, Brighton.

These are exciting times at BN1. Existing proposals for renovation of the building look like they will make a huge impact on an already beautiful Church. Hopefully the Church will be given the financial go-ahead to begin the work. Apparently, in the plans for the renovation, the gallery will be restored and the Choir wi…

Kylie Considering Conversion to Catholic Faith

Kylie Minogue is considering conversion to the Catholic Faith...question is...will Jason follow?

Is this the greatest duet of all time?

Is this the best duet since the Song of Songs?

Are they talking about their love for each other or Christ's love for His Bride, the Church?

Yes, this song is littered with theological reference...

African Women with HIV 'Coerced into Sterilisation'

Courtesy of The Guardian

Women in Africa are being sterilised without their consent after being told the procedure is a routine treatment for Aids, a lawsuit will claim. Forty HIV-positive women in Namibia have been made infertile against their will, according to the International Community of Women Living with HIV/Aids (ICW). The group is preparing to sue the Namibian government over at least 15 cases.

Campaigners also report coerced sterilisation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia and South Africa, where according to one report a 14-year-old girl was told she could have an abortion only on condition that she agreed to sacrifice her reproductive rights.

The ICW has documented cases in Namibia where HIV-positive women minutes from giving birth were encouraged to sign consent forms to prevent them from having more children. Jennifer Gatsi-Mallet, its co-ordinator in the country, said: "They were in pain, they were told to sign, they didn't know what it was. They thought …

Alan Keyes Blog

Dr Alan Keyes is at the forefront of the Pro-Life movement in the US. He is a former Republican senator who is outspoken against Obama and his mafia of Planned Parenthood funded cronies. He has been arrested recently along with others at the Notre Dame protest. He vehemently defends the dignity of human life and is loyal to the Magisterium of the Church. He's the kind of politician of whom St Thomas More most surely is proud! He writes very well also.
"What's the difference between a conservative politician and a Republican? The conservative remembers his principles when he's in office. The Republican only acts as if he remembers when he needs our votes to put him there."~ Dr Alan Keyes from blog post, 'Conservative vs. Republican: What’s the difference?'
Click here to see his blog.

Spiritual Healing

I had a chat with someone of whom I am very, very fond yesterday. She told me that she was planning to go to a 'spiritual healing' event in Leicester Square and that she had been going for quite a while every now and then. She is a 'cradle' Catholic, but like quite a few Catholics is unconvinced by the teachings of the Church. As a convert, it always saddens me greatly when I talk to Catholic friends who feel so distant and removed from the life of the Church, who cannot believe even some of the most central tenets of the Faith and who, having been given the Faith in childhood reject it in the hope of discovering some other spirituality which will answer the core difficulties we face in life. It is common, of course, for people to wander away from the Catholic Faith, or even to still attend Mass but remain unconvinced of the truths revealed to the Church and to find other religions and philosophies more appealing.

At the same time, the popularity of 'new age' re…


I've just reconciled the St Mary Magdalen's bank accounts with the parish figures! Oh the emotional rollercoaster that is accountancy! The highs! The lows! The blood, the sweat and the tears! Oh happy day! Praise be to God! Oh, yes! Once I was blind! But now I see! Oh Lord! There is no obstacle that Your Grace cannot overcome!

Some Dignitas Patients Could Have 'Lived For Decades'

Dr Anne Turner: her son Edward (centre) has raised questions over assisted suicide.
Photograph: Johnny Green/PA

We can only assume that when this photo was taken, these doctors were not discussing assisted suicide, but then, hey, in their profession, I guess they need a sense of humour...

Today The Guardian pens a good article [shock!] about the concerns raised by several organisations about the way in which Dignitas operates. Dignitas, is, of course, the world-renowned 'clinic' where you can get bumped off at your own request and at a price that's high.
'Senior doctors will tomorow express concern over the number of Britons suffering from non fatal illnesses such as rheumatoid arthritis and kidney disease who have used the Swiss suicide service, Dignitas.Their fears were raised after the Guardian obtained a list drawn up by Dignitas which reveals the medical conditions which have driven 114 Britons to end their lives at the clinic.The document shows that while many had te…

Today is the Feast of St Thomas More & St John Fisher

Pope John Paul II named St Thomas More as Patron of politicians. I think, in our country, they could do with his prayers, but then so could we all! St Thomas More, pray for our Government and parliamentarians that the honesty and integrity you showed in your career may be reflected in theirs!

The Telegraph today pens some amusing jokes at the MP's, err, well... expenses.
Why did the MP bang his head?Because he'd blacked out all the light bulbs he bought on expenses.Gordon Brown announced that no MP's will be able to claim furniture expenses from now on. It was a cabinet decision. Why did the MP cross the road? So he could claim a second homes allowance.
Here's one of my own MP expense jokes I just made up...A murderer, a bank robber and an MP are all sent to prison. In a cell the three exchange stories of how they came to be sentenced for their crimes. They ask each other, "What are you in for?"
When asked by the other two, the murderer replies, "Mur…

Solemn High Mass at Our Lady of Consolation & St Francis

Today I drove Fr Ray Blake over to Our Lady of Consolation & St Francis in West Grinstead, for a very beautiful Solemn High Mass. Fr Matthew Goddard, recently ordained said Mass in the Extraordinary Form in a packed parish, with Fr Sean Finnegan as Deacon and Fr Seamus [forget the surname!] as Sub-Deacon. It is a Church etched into Catholic English History as a hiding place for priests and religious who arrived in Shoreham, during the Reformation under Henry VIII, when Catholicism went underground. How very apt it is that this should be a parish where the Latin Mass is being embraced so ardently, a place where Tyburn martyrs spent possibly some of their last days of freedom. It is also a shrine and site of pilgrimage.

I received a blessing from Fr Matthew, which I was told has some purgatorial escape potential for a grateful soul, which was given in Latin. I was even given the privilege of jumping the queue because of an urgent transportational need, and met, briefly the architect …

The SS Strike Again!

Presumably, another gay couple put in an adoption request with social services...

Courtesy of Daily Mail

A mother had her twin babies taken from her by social workers after she joked that their caesarean birth had ruined her body. She and her husband endured five rounds of IVF costing £38,000 to start a family, only to have social services take their children within weeks.

The parents insist social workers acted needlessly, but have been warned their six-month-old boy and girl could be put up for adoption following a secret Family Court hearing last week. The babies, who were born six weeks prematurely, were taken into care after hospital staff warned that the first-time parents were struggling to care for them.

Nurses reported that the mother appeared to feel ' bitter' towards her children after her joke about the caesarean's effect on her body. And when the desperate woman lost her temper at social workers who had taken her babies, officials said she had 'anger problems&…

The 'C' Word

Chastity, that is. It's the new taboo.

Not terribly interesting yet still quite interesting piece in The Guardian by someone who for a year decided to go chaste. The comments are a bit on the harsh side.

Click here for more. It appears in the 'Life and Style' section of their website. Bemusingly, the abortion debate always appears in the 'Life and Style' section of The Guardian website. I don't know. I understand abortion is an issue of 'Life', but quite what it has to do with 'Style' I have no idea.

The main thrust, ahem, of the article appears to be that the lady concerned was fed up with getting plenty of sex but no love, so gave it up for a year to see what would happen. The main result appears to be that in her self she was happier. What is also interesting is the opposition she got from friends about her choice. It is almost as if people find people practising chastity, for whatever reason, very threatening.
August 'Increasingly, my vow ha…

The Ottaviani Intervention

I was just looking at the Fisheaters website and came across this fascinating letter from a prominent Cardinal Ottaviani to Pope Paul VI, which appears to be a prophetic warning on the content of the Novus Ordu.

Letter from Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci to His Holiness Pope Paul VI
September 25th, 1969

Most Holy Father, Having carefully examined, and presented for the scrutiny of others, the Novus Ordo Missae prepared by the experts of the Consilium ad exequendam Constitutionem de Sacra Liturgia, and after lengthy prayer and reflection, we feel it to be our bounden duty in the sight of God and towards Your Holiness, to put before you the following considerations:

1. The accompanying critical study of the Novus Ordo Missae, the work of a group of theologians, liturgists and pastors of souls, shows quite clearly in spite of its brevity that if we consider the innovations implied or taken for granted which may of course be evaluated in different ways, the Novus Ordo represents, both as a who…

Pope Benedict Explains St John Vianney's 'Virtuous Circle' Secret

Benedict XVI is urging priests to not become resigned to empty confessionals, but to help people rediscover the beauty of the sacrament by deepening their understanding of the Eucharist. The Pope stated this in a letter to the priests of the world, on the occasion of the Year for Priests, which begins Friday in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the death of St. John Mary Vianney, the Curé d'Ars.

The saint "taught his parishioners primarily by the witness of his life," the Pontiff affirmed. "It was from his example that they learned to pray, halting frequently before the tabernacle for a visit to Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament." He taught them about the Eucharist, but it was "most effective when they saw him celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass," the Holy Father said.

He added that the saint "was convinced that the fervor of a priest's life depended entirely upon the Mass" and "was accustomed, when celebrating, also to offer …

Campaign for Day of Discrimination

Join my Campaign for a UN International Day of Overt, Shameless and Blatant, Discrimination! For just one day people of all different creeds and colours, religions, sexualities, abilities and social nuances should have the opportunity to say, 'No', to whomever they please, on whatever basis they choose.

It is time to put aside our political correctness for just one day a year, in which we can say 'Yes!' to whomever we please, at our own liking, and 'No!' to whomever we please. Church community centres will be able to say to gaggle of cackling witches, who want to hire the hall, "No, I do not think that your group is entirely suitable for this space, please try somewhere else."

It would also mean that gay clubs would be able to say, to the straight couple who have an unnerving passion for Abba, Kylie and the Village People, "No, we can't stand seeing straights canoodle all evening, sorry, gays only. That kind of stuff you get up to is sick and u…

You Don't Have to Look Like This to Be a Witch...

But it probably helps!

The Telegraph has reported that...
A coven of witches is accusing the Roman Catholic church of religious persecution after being banned from using a parish social centre for a Halloween gathering [Why that's All Hallow's Eve, surely?]. Sandra Davis, the "high priestess" of Crystal Cauldron [Let's see now. How many cliches can we fit into the title of just one witch coven?] group in Stockport, Greater Manchester, said she was shocked to be told that the pagan group was not considered to be compatible with the church's "ethos" [How shocking!].

Mrs Davis, 61, booked Our Lady's Social Club in Shaw Heath, Stockport, for the group's annual "Witches Ball" due to be held in October. She hoped to attract up to 150 people to the social evening offering a buffet dinner and music from an Abba tribute band and selected the hall because it had disabled access.

But when she went to pay for the booking she was told by the manage…

Does Anyone Think These Taser Police Are...

...a little heavy-handed? This was in Nottingham by the way.

How to Cash In on the Swine Flu

Yesterday I asked my parish priest what standard parishioner procedure should be in case of a Swine Flu outbreak in Brighton.

If one contracts Swine Flu and is on death's door should we...

a) Stay at home in quarantine and wait for the priest to come over to give us the Anointing of the Sick?

b) Stay at home in quarantine and wait for the priest to come over to give us the Anointing of the Sick, but keep waiting and die without the Last Rites because he doesn't, perfectly understandably, want to contract the Swine Flu?

c) Go to Church to die in the pews with a host of other Brightonians, having wailed to all and sundry about the End of the World and the need for repentance?

d) Spend our last few days on Earth cashing in on the outbreak by selling doctor's masks and cassocks with hats and odd sticks on Western Road at a bargain price of just £5.99, with the advertising hook of, 'Buy two beaks, get a third beak free'?

e) Simply offer it up for the conversion of sinners, th…

Cutting Your Own Hair

I just cut my own hair. Is this a sign of...

a) Vanity?
b) Poverty?
c) Eccentricity?
d) Stupidity?

Answer: Mostly b. I can tell you one thing for nothing...I'm keeping my hat on! The hardest bit is the back of the head. My hair has been getting long and I've sure I have been causing scandal when altar serving. Also, it felt so heavy and was becoming very irritating, so it just had to go.

For those who want to try it. Here is a quick guide.

Step 1: Get some scissors.
Step 2: Find a mirror.
Step 3: Just snip away and see what looks good.
Step 4: Then once you think it looks reasonable, keep obsessively snipping and experiment. Remain unsatisfied and keep snipping until you look ridiculous, safe in the knowledge that even though you look silly, you've saved yourself ten bob and cannot blame the hairdresser.
Step 5: Get another mirror and show yourself the back of your head. Ask yourself whether you like it. Nod politely, because being English you'd never want to put yourself out of …

The UK "Send Them Back" Home Office

I am taking a break from the Church accounts as it feels as if my head is being stewed in a casserole of assorted numbers, figures and decimal points. Still, irritating as getting the books to balance is, it is nothing in comparison to the deeply repugnant UK Home Office, who I was told this morning are sending a man, who has lived in the UK for 17 years with his wife and family, back to the Congo where his fate is far from assured to be safe.

It appears quite bizarre that the recent election results were so promising for the BNP, when, to all extents and purposes, the UK Government, under Labour, have quite a staggering track record for sending people who fled terror, persecution, political exile and violence, to seek asylum on our shores back to those countries, seemingly without a second thought. It also appears quite bizarre that under Labour, our borders have been relaxed for people who have decided to come here for economic reasons from within the EU, having been welcomed with op…

Sextuplets Joy For Irish Couple

Courtesy of BBC News

The mother of Ireland's first ever set of sextuplets has told how she and her husband declined without hesitation the option of aborting some foetuses. Nuala Conway, 26, of Dunamore, County Tyrone, gave birth to four girls and two boys 14 weeks early last month.

She said that 14 weeks into the pregnancy, she and husband Austin were told about the risks of proceeding. "But we knew without discussion what we both wanted. These babies are a wonderful gift from God," she said.

"Whatever God laid out for our lives, we were taking it," she told the Sunday Express newspaper.

Abortions in Northern Ireland are still strictly limited and can go ahead only if it can be proven that the pregnancy would damage the physical or mental health of the woman. Mrs Conway's babies were delivered by a team of 30 people at the Royal Jubilee Maternity Hospital in Belfast and all arrived within the space of five minutes. The babies, conceived without the aid of IVF…

IVF Embryo Fiasco

Story from The Telegraph
A couple's last hopes of having another child have been shattered after a blunder at an NHS fertility clinic saw their final usable embryo implanted in another woman.
The error was made after a doctor at the clinic failed to carry out checks that require all fertility procedures to be witnessed and verified. The woman who mistakenly received the embryo was told of the mistake shortly after it occurred and had a termination.The unnamed couple, who wanted to try for their second child, have spoken of their devastation and disbelief after winning a legal battle against the IVF Wales clinic, in Cardiff. Nine embryos had been created using IVF in 2000, and the woman, a 38-year-old hospital worker, subsequently gave birth to a son three years later.The remaining embryos were stored until 2007 when she and her husband, a 40-year-old printing plant manager, decided to try for a second child. One of the embryos had survived and they travelled to the clinic for treatm…

Giant Saint - Giant Picture

Today is the Feast of St Anthony of Padua. He helps you find stuff. Try it it works! He helped me find my gardening job today - literally - I didn't have a map. All I knew was it was, 'somewhere near the race course.' Said a prayer to St Anthony and there it was at the next turning. Job's a good 'un! Now I am off down the pub to blow my earnings in a way in which St Anthony would not be pleased. Thank God for the merits of the Saints I say...

Brightonian Born at 24 Weeks

This is one of two or three stories in The Argus I read with interest today. The other was the Guerilla Gardeners story and I read a horrifying piece about a homeless man whose was set alight while in his sleeping bag in New Road, in the town centre. Such things are not as rare as you would think, especially in Brighton. I believe some people consider it some kind of a sick blood-sport.

I read this story in The Argus today, however, which took my eye because of the fact that this little chap was born at 24 weeks. It is amazing the lengths that the medical profession will go to as long as a baby is considered 'wanted' or viable. At 24 weeks, the Government says that a baby is viable outside of the womb therefore that is the upper limit. Yet it is so arbitrary, really - there is no concrete reason other than 'viability' for why some unborn children should be given the assurance of medical care and protection and some could be aborted. I mean, at 23 weeks abortion is legal…

Tridentine Mass Altar Serving Training

Tomorrow, altar server Extraordinare, Andrew, will be teaching me to serve at Mass in the Extraordinary Form. In preparation I was looking for something on YouTube, but it doesn't seem that there is a training video. Ah, well! Hopefully, I will get the hang of it tomorrow...Aha! Found one! Website looks good. Sancta Missa, it is called.

Eco-Anarchy in the UK

Those green fingered hippies are at it again!

Story from The Argus

Guerilla gardeners have broken back into the community green they created after it was chained off by a security firm. For the past month residents around Lewes Road, Brighton, have been enjoying the recreation space they carefully installed on the derelict site of a demolished Esso petrol station at the corner of Edinburgh Road.

They cleared rubble, laid a circular lawn, brought in benches, flower pots, sculptures and other decorations and planted flowers and shrubs into eyesore concrete blocks. The site had previously been disused for five years but since it was spruced up during a series of "guerilla gardening days" it has been well used by residents. They have taken responsibility for locking it each night and opening it in the morning. Their activities had gone unchecked by the site's owners until Tuesday, when they arrived to discover a security firm had chained up the access gate and installed a warni…

Corpus Christi Liturgical Splendour at St Mary Magdalen's

Rev. Dr Alcuin Reid (Deacon: left-wing), Fr Sean Finegan (Celebrant: centre-forward) and Fr Raymond Blake (Subdeacon: centre-back)

What do you call a Solemn Sung Mass with a Choir singing Byrd's Mass for Four Voices, interjected with Gregorian Chant, including a sequence composed by St Thomas Aquinas, adoration and procession of the Blessed Sacrament and three of the countries most revered priests celebrating the Tridentine Mass, with six altar servers in tow?

The answer? Corpus Christi at St Mary Magdalen's, last night. It was a stunner.

Click here for more pictures. Hopefully I will obtain a copy of Rev. Dr Alcuin Reid's homily which was very good indeed. The Altar was so beautifully decorated with flowers and as you can see, the Sacred Vestments looked sublime.

Lazarus Syndrome?

Story courtesy of The Telegraph

A 23-year-old man, Michael Wilkinson, came back to life half an hour after doctors declared him dead in a rare example of a phenomenon known as Lazarus Syndrome.

Mr Wilkinson was pronounced dead by staff at the Royal Preston Hospital on February 1. But 30 minutes after he was given the Last Rites doctors realised that his pulse had returned. He survived for two days before being pronounced dead a second time.

An inquest in the city heard that his return to life was known as Lazarus Syndrome - the spontaneous return of circulation once attempts at resuscitation have failed. The syndrome takes its name from the biblical story of Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus. There are only 38 recorded cases in the world.

For full story click here...

May he rest in peace.

Judgment and Mercy

Today is the Solemnity of Corpus Christi

My friend 'J' just popped over and gave me a pair of trousers he had been given, which didn't fit him. He told me yesterday that the judge yesterday made it explicit to him that he must not 'blow over' in morning tests for alcohol in order to attend his drug rehabilitation group and to get methadone.

He had to explain to the judge, "Your honour, I am trying but it is really hard because I am an alcoholic and so often 'blow over' in tests in the morning because I have had too much the night before." He has been very concerned that in failing the alcohol test that he would blow over so many times that he would get sent back to jail because the group do not allow you to join if you have alcohol in your system.

This seems rather unfair, given that so many of the people on this programme require treatment for drug addiction...yet so little leniency is shown to people who suffer the dual addiction of drug and alcoho…

War is in Their Hearts...

"Yes, yes, pour it away! It's a bye-law...No alcohol!"

New York City Deputy Police Commissioner watches as Prohibition agents pour illegal liquor into a sewer in 1921.

On the seafront today I happened upon a man I know who was begging outside a Brighton hotel. As I approached from afar it was clear the hotel security were talking with him. As I got closer I noticed an unmarked, black car pull up and two fully uniformed policemen get out and walk over to him. The policemen and I arrived on the scene at the exact same time. It was odd timing. He had a beer in his hand and was begging. He was not causing a 'scene', just sat on the ground.

What next took place was not a surprise really, because all of the homeless and hostel chaps who beg near anywhere in Brighton come in for close attention from the police and the not-actual-police police, otherwise known as CSPOs. Obviously they were going to pour away his drink and ask him to move on.

The policeman who poured his drin…

Great Catholic Quotes

A commenter has kindly informed me of this rather good Catholic Quote website called, err...'Quote Catholic'. Nice resource for Catholics. Thanks for that.
"Where there is charity and wisdom, there is neither fear nor ignorance. Where there is patience and humility, there is neither anger nor vexation. Where there is poverty and joy, there is neither greed nor avarice. Where there is peace and meditation, there is neither anxiety nor doubt."St. Francis of Assisi

"He who is the beginning and the end, the ruler of the angels, made Himself obedient to human creatures. The creator of the heavens obeys a carpenter; the God of eternal glory listens to a poor virgin. Has anyone ever witnessed anything comparable to this? Let the philosopher no longer disdain from listening to the common laborer; the wise, to the simple; the educated, to the illiterate; a child of a prince, to a peasant."St. Anthony

"We were looking for a ‘good shepherd,’ and instead we got a Ger…

Chickens in Uproar Over Griffin Egg Scandal

Chickens are said to be outraged by the egg attack on Nick Griffin, Leader of the British National Party.
One chicken, Mrs I. Peck Byrdfeed of West Grinstead said, "As a member of the chicken community I am appalled that what could potentially have been one of my eggs has been associated with the BNP. I am shocked and appalled. I mean, things are bad enough for us chickens as it is. Already we have our eggs nicked off us by farmers on a daily basis. Some of my mates live in the most appalling conditions already in battery pens where you couldn't swing a mouse, let alone a cat. So, we don't welcome news that those eggs are now being so inextricably linked to the leader of a neo-fascist brigade of Union Jack waving thugs."
Nick Griffin, who was the victim of the egg hurling incident outside Westminster, where he had been situated as part of an elaborate publicity stunt, said, "I was splattered. It's a very sad day for British democracy. It seems the ruling polit…

Lauda Sion Salvatorem

Tonight the St Mary Magdalen's Choir were practising this Sequence for Corpus Christi on Thursday. Good, eh?

Courtesy of Thesaurus Precum Latinarum

When Pope Urban IV (1261-1264) first established the Feast of Corpus Christi, he requested St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) to compose hymns for it. This is one of the five beautiful hymns Aquinas composed in honor of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. In addition to Lauda Sion, St. Thomas wrote Adoro Te Devote, Pange Lingua, Sacris Sollemnis and Verbum Supernum. Lauda Sion is the Sequence before the Gospel on Corpus Christi. The last two verses comprise the well known Bone pastor, panis vere.
Meanwhile...for all you liturgical eye candy enthusiasts...check out Fr Ray Blake's blog for exclusive photography of the Sacred Vestments he's wearing on Corpus Christi on Thursday night. Look at the floral embroidery on that!