Saturday, 31 August 2013

Garden and Other Statues in Lewes Fleamarket

Is this the statue that will grace my allotment?

I went to Lewes yesterday and popped into a local fleamarket where I discovered a nice range of garden statues and other religious statues. I am looking for a nice statue for the allotment and found a nice St Therese of Lisieux. I guess she will be wanting some kind of roses archway or something at the back of the allotment. There were other statues as well, which are quite reasonably priced. He had more than one St Therese of Lisieux and a couple of statues of Our Lady.


It was so sad to see this statue of St Anthony of Padua without a head for Our Blessed Lord. Is there anything we can do to save this statue and repair it? It has been there since the last time I went into the fleamarket and it really angers and saddens me that the Lord has no Head! I think you will agree with me that something must be done!


Aaaaagggggh!!! Moving swiftly on. More statues here, some nice, some not so nice.




As you can see, there are two nice statues of St Joseph with the Child Jesus, a gigantic magi for a Nativity scene and a huge statue of Our Lady Immaculate. I must confess that I wonder what Our Lady would look like if she were painted. Pretty good, I reckon. The picture is a bit blurry, but she is perfect but for some damage to her fingers. Yet here she is languishing in a fleamarket in Lewes.  Maybe a parish needs a statue of Our Lady out there. I know there are restorers out there who can help to make statues as good as new. Something must be done!

Friday, 30 August 2013

Litany of Syrian Saints

May God be praised for the result of yesterday's vote in Parliament. I consider what happened in Parliament yesterday to be nothing short of miraculous. I am sure that while the US and, going by this piece, Israel are unhappy about this vote, which reflects the distaste British people now have for 'humanitarian intervention' on the basis of deeply suspect evidence, the House of Commons will also be thanked by Syrian Christians, by whom Assad is supported, in the face of Islamic fanaticism, persecution, violence and extremism. 

Quite how Israel benefits from the Muslim Brotherhood toppling Assad's regime is beyond me, but then I'm no expert on politics in the region or the strategic end-games in the middle east. The next time Israel wants the US and the UK to fight wars on its behalf, they should just be honest and say so.

Let us pray for the Christians of Syria and for peace in the middle east and 'pray ye, for the things that are for the peace of Jerusalem'. Eyes now turn to the US, Obama and Congress. May the Saints of Syria intercede for the region...May their prayers assist the Nobel peace prize winner to avert WWIII.

Litany of Syrian Saints
For private use only

Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison, Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Christe audi nos, Christe audi nos.
Christe exaudi nos, Christe exaudi nos.

God, the Father of Heaven, have mercy on us.
God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
God the Holy Ghost,
Holy Trinity, one God,

Holy Mary, pray for us.
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
St Michael,
St Gabriel,
St Raphael,
All ye Holy Angels and Archangels,
St John the Baptist,
St Joseph,

All ye Holy Patriarchs and Prophets, pray for us.

Blessed Peter the Apostle, and first Patriarch of Antioch, pray for us.
Blessed Paul the Apostle, born in Tarsus,
Blessed Paul the Apostle, blinded and converted on the way to Damascus,
Blessed Paul the Apostle, enlightened and baptised at the Street called Straight,
Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, models of humility and justice at Antioch,
Blessed Luke the Evangelist,
St Ananias of Damscus, laying thy holy hands on Blessed Paul the Apostle,
St Manahen, disciple of the Lord and foster-brother to Herod Antipas,
All ye holy Syrian disciples of the Lord,
All ye holy Syrian innocents,

St Apollinaris, pray for us.
St Felix of Nola,
St Abraham of Arbela,
St Dorotheus of Tyre,
St Eusebius of Samosata,
St Anthony of Antioch,
Fr Francois Mourad,[1]
All ye holy Syrian Hieromartyrs,

Ss Victor and Corona, pray for us.
Ss Galation and Episteme,
Ss Cosmas & Damian,
St Romanus of Samosata,
And thy Holy Companions Ss Jacob, Philotheus, Hyperechius, Abibus, Julianus and Paregorius,
St Anastasius of Antioch, and thy Holy Companions Ss Julian, Celsus and Marcionilla,
Ss Romanus of Caesarea and Barulas,
St Andrew Stratelates and thy 2953 Holy Companions,
St Julian of Cilicia,
All ye Forty Soldier Martyrs of Sebaste,
St Eusiginius,
Ss Sergius and Bacchus,
All ye holy Syrian martyrs,

St Ephrem the Syrian, pray for us.
St John Chrysostom,
St John Damascene,
All ye holy Syrian teachers of the Faith,

St Evodius, pray for us.
St Ignatius of Antioch,
St Herodian of Antioch,
St Theophilus of Antioch,
St Serapion of Antioch,
St Asclepiades of Antioch,
St Babylas of Antioch,
St Eustathius the Great of Antioch,
St Anastasius II of Antioch,
All ye holy Patriarchs and Bishops of Antioch,

Pope St Anicetus, pray for us.
Pope St Sergius I,
Pope St Gregory III,

St Cyril of Jerusalem, pray for us.
St Sophronius of Jerusalem,
All ye holy Syrian Bishops and Patriarchs of Jerusalem,

St Maron, pray for us.
St John Maron, first patriarch of the Maronite Church,
St Mar Awtel,
St Domnina of Syria, Virgin and disciple of St Maron,
Blessed Abdel Moati, Francis and Raphael Massabki, and thy Holy Companions,

St Birillus, ordained by the Blessed Apostle Peter, pray for us.
Ss Philo and Agathopodes,
St Jacob of Nisibis,
St Frumentius, Apostle to Ethiopia,
St Maruthas, Father of the Syrian Church,
St Romanos the Melodist,
St Cosmas the Melodist, and foster-brother to the Damascene,

St Palladius the Desert Dweller, pray for us.
St Thalassius of Syria,
St Alexius of Rome, the Man of God,
St Simeon Stylites,
St Baradates,
St Auxentius of Bithynia,
St Simeon Stylites the Younger,
All ye holy Syrian Priests and Levites,
All ye holy Syrian Monks and Hermits,

St Philip of Agira, pray for us.
All ye holy Syrian Confessors,

St Serapia, pray for us.
St Margaret of Antioch,
Ss Domnina, Berenice and Prosdoce,
St Basilissa,
All ye holy Syrian Virgins and Widows,
All ye holy Syrian Saints of God, intercede for us.

Be merciful, spare us, O Lord.
Be merciful, graciously hear us, O Lord.
From all evil, deliver us, O Lord.
From all sin,
From thy wrath,
From sudden and unlooked for death,
From the snares of the devil,
From anger, and hatred, and every evil will,
From the spirit of fornication,
From plague, famine and war,
From revolution,
From all false prophets,
From the errors of Mohammed,
From jihad,
From infidelity, heresy, paganism and heathendom,
From everlasting death,

Through the mystery of thy holy Incarnation, deliver us, O Lord.
Through thy Coming,
Through thy Birth,
Through thy Baptism and holy Fasting,
Through thy Cross and Passion,
Through thy Death and Burial,
Through thy holy Resurrection,
Through thine admirable Ascension,
Through the coming of the Holy Ghost, the Paraclete,
Through thy apparition on the Road to Damascus,
Through thy rebuke and blinding there of proud Saul, enemy of thy Church, and persecutor of Christians,
Through thy conversion and enlightening there of this foe, and his elevation to the blessed and most glorious office of Apostle to the Gentiles,
Through his preaching of thy Holy Gospel,
Through his witness to thy Name amongst the Heathen,
Through his faithfulness to thee, even unto death,
Through the blood of thy Holy and Blessed Syrian martyrs,
In the day of judgment,

We sinners: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst spare us: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst pardon us: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst bring us to true penance: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to govern and preserve thy holy Church: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to preserve our Apostolic Prelate, and all orders of the Church in holy religion: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to humble the enemies of holy Church: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to give peace and true concord to Christian kings, princes, and rulers: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant peace and unity to the whole Christian world: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst call back to the unity of the Church all who have strayed from her fold, and to guide all unbelievers into the light of the Gospel: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to give discernment and wisdom to the rulers of nations: we beseech thee, hear us.

That thou wouldst vouchsafe to confirm and preserve us in thy holy service: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst lift up our minds to heavenly desires: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst render eternal blessings to all our benefactors: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst deliver our souls, and the souls of our brethren, relations, and benefactors, from eternal damnation: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to comfort the afflicted people of thy Holy Syria, we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to give and preserve the fruits of the earth: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe to grant eternal rest to all the faithful departed: we beseech thee, hear us.
That thou wouldst vouchsafe graciously to hear us: we beseech thee, hear us.
Son of God: we beseech thee, hear us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, parce nobis, Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, exaudi nos Domine.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Christe audi nos, Christe audi nos.
Christe exaudi nos, Christe exaudi nos.

Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.
Christe eleison, Christe eleison.
Kyrie eleison, Kyrie eleison.

Pater noster [in silence, until:]
Et ne nos inducas in tentationem, sed libera nos a malo.

Domine exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad te veniat.

Oremus:

For world leaders:
O God, who taught the hearts of the faithful by the light of the Holy Spirit, grant that, by the gift of the same Spirit, we may be always truly wise, and ever rejoice in his consolation. Through Christ our Lord. amen.

Against Persecutors of the Church:
O Lord, we beseech thee, crush the pride of our enemies and humble their insolence by the might of thy hand. Through our Lord Jesus Christ… amen.

In any tribulation:
O Almighty God, despise not thy people who cry out in their affliction: but for the glory of thy Name, be appeased and help those in trouble. Through our Lord Jesus Christ… amen.

For our enemies:
O God, who art the Lover and Guardian both of peace and charity, give to all our enemies peace and true charity, and grant the remission of all their sins, and by thy might deliver us from their snares. Through our Lord Jesus Christ… amen.

For the defence of the Church:
Almighty, everlasting God, in whose hand are the strength of man and the nation’s sceptre, see what help we Christians need: that the heathen peoples who trust in their savagery may be crushed by the power of thy right hand. Through our Lord Jesus Christ… amen.

In time of war:
O God, who bringest wars to nought and shieldest by thy power all who hope in thee, overthrowing those that assail them; help thy servants who implore thy mercy; so that the fierce might of their enemies may be brought low, and we may never cease to praise and thank thee. Through our Lord… amen.

For peace:
O God, from whom are holy desires, right counsels and just works; give to thy servants that which the world cannot give; that both, our hearts may be disposed to obey thy commandments, and also, the fear of enemies being removed, our times, by thy protection, may be peaceful. Through our Lord Jesus Christ… amen.

Domine exaudi orationem meam, et clamor meus ad te veniat.
Exaudiat nos omnipotens et misericors Dominus. Amen.
Et fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace. Amen.



[1] Not canonized, shot by Islamists 2013.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

'Just War'? No, Its Just War Another War...

What would happen if Catholics or Muslims tried this on in London?
...like all the rest.

I really do wonder sometimes. Let's just imagine for a while that a some Muslims, or even some Catholics, got together and got loads of guns, ammo and bombs from a nation friendly to the idea of an uprising against HM Government, that gave us such nuggests as 'gay marriage' and abortion - the killing of citizens in the womb by the State.

Let's just imagine that either the Muslims or the Catholics in the UK thought democracy had had its day and wanted either a full-scale theocracy and Sharia law (in the case of Muslims) or a Catholic monarch in the case of Catholics. Imagine that either of these two parties were funded and backed by either some Islamic country abroad or by, I don't know, Poland, or something, in the case of Catholics.

A whole gang of people have been sent loads of weapons and ammunition, rockets, guns, you name it. Do we really imagine, in such a scenario that a leader considered illegitimate in the eyes of these two communities would be asked to join David Cameron for friendly talks around the table? Or would, instead, the full force of the State be brought to bear in order to impose order and the rule of law on the civillian population, the armed combatants imprisoned, probably slain?

I don't think, in such a scenario, in an attempt to topple 'democracy' in order to replace it with something more 'reliable' and 'stable', like monarchic rule or theocracy, the Catholic or Muslim militants would be given much time or show much mercy. I don't think it would be long before, should a 'civil war' break out, the armed forces would be slaying the militants left, right and centre, by any means at their disposal.



From what I've seen, I'm not convinced Assad is responsible for the chemical attacks anyway. Exactly how long would a rebellion against what more or less constitutes a masonic government in the United Kingdom be tolerated? How long would the rebels last? My guess is not long. Perhaps, in such a scenario, some foreign nation would intervene to launch a humanitarian war. Perhaps, but would it really be in their economic, political or natural interest. My guess is only if there were some serious natural resources at stake.

The seriously disturbing thing is that the UK and the US are arming more or less the same people they were 'hunting down' in the wake of 9/11, from Afghanistan to Iraq and beyond. Obama is doing what George W Bush did only while holding his hand up in a 'peace sign'. I find it rather incredible that the nobel peace prize winner could end up leading us into WWIII, but there we go. I guess that's kind of what antichrist's do.

The war against Syria is not a 'just war'. It's just another war.

Solemn Profession at the Norbertines of Br Stephen

There are some wonderful images, at the LMS Chairman's blog, of the Solemn Profession of Br Stephen Morrison at the Norbertine Community of Chelmsford.

I met Br Stephen when I visited the community of Premonstratensians a while back. Pray for him and pray for the very wonderful Norbertine order at St Philip's Priory.

He very kindly invited me to go to his Solemn Profession and I'm afraid I don't have any excuses that won't sound absolutely pathetic, so I'm sorry for not making it, Stephen, and may God reward you for your generosity to Him and bless you in your vocation. May it be glorious and fruitful.

Many congratulations to him. I so wish I was there! Here is a photo of Br Stephen with Br Pius Collins in Lazio that I robbed from Br Stephen's Facebook page.


Many congratulations to Br Stephen on profession of his Solemn vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. If, like me, you don't really understand the world of solemn vows, simple vows, monastic formation, what it all means and the rest, there is a rather good explanation here.

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Who Supplied ACTA with a Safe Haven?

At a press conference the President of Evangelisation and Catechesis tells journalists he denies supplying a venue as a 'hide-out'...

The Catholic world reacted with shock this week when it was revealed by a leaked memo on a parish newsletter that 'A Call to Action' (ACTA), the terrorist organisation which online intelligence agencies suspect to be linked to overseas dissident organisation 'Call to Action' (CTA), are alleged to having been supplied with sanctuary by President of Evangelisation and Catechesis, Bishop Kieran Conry. It is also believed that the ACTA splinter group have used weapons of Mass-destruction on their own people in the past and are intent on doing so again.

CDF Inspectors Assess Source of Lethal Toxic Gas, Condemn WMDs

CDF inspectors are already based in Caterham, in the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton, trying to assess whether ACTA have used weapons of Mass-destruction on their own people, but because the rebels are spread out over a large area of England, forming their own cells in different regions, inspectors maintain it is difficult to assess at the current time whether they have been used on the Faithful.

It is alleged that among conventional WMDs used on civilians, such as guitars, Communion in the hand, 'extraordinary' ministers of Holy Communion, altar girls and felt banners, a lethal toxic spirit has been used on the Faithful, emanating from the mouths of pastors of the Church, that puts its victims at ease and leaves them doubting in the existence of sin, Heaven, Hell and the need for Confession and to reform their lives.

Satellite images of rebel hideout in Caterham
Intelligence Points to Caterham as Base for Rebel Hideout

Intelligence agencies have gathered credible evidence that Caterham, Surrey, is to be a focal point for the group of rebellious and dissident militants who seek to overthrow the teaching authority of the Church, known as the Magisterium, as new attempts to undermine the Church's authority are endorsed by the violently sectarian terrorist organisation that many have described as 'fundamentally Protestant'.

A full-scale land invasion by forces loyal to Rome is considered unlikely at this stage, but it appears possible that the Surrey region will be hit by a aerial bombardment of miraculous medals, scapulars and penny catechisms in an effort to bring the dissidents to the table for talks. If these efforts fail, Rome may resort to more severe means in order to contain the rebel faction known as ACTA, though such talks is said to be 'sabre-rattling'.

Intelligence gathered: CDF working on plans to stop rebels in Caterham
'Schismatic Spring'?

It is unknown yet whether Rome General, Pope Francis, is aware of the gathering in Caterham and what, if anything, he will do about it, since rebels, including those who support and arm them within the Church perceive a general relaxation in discipline and doctrinal teaching in the papacy.

It is feared by forces loyal to Rome that while Pope Francis himself is orthodox in Catholic belief, the atmosphere of his papacy is being perceived by dissidents, rebels and liturgical terrorists as giving the green light to what has been dubbed a 'schismatic Spring' that is taking place across the Church around the West in particular. 
CDF Inspector: Can he bring ACTA rebels to the table?

With His Holiness's emphasis on 'dialogue, dialogue, dialogue', the rebel forces see such quotes as an endorsement of dialoguing endlessly about their campaigns for women's ordination, an end to priestly celibacy, a 'new way of thinking' about marriage, divorce and remarriage and a new vision of the Church that does away with such matters as sin and Salvation.

Questions remain for President of Evangelisation and Catechesis

While CDF inspectors ascertain the truth as to whether President of Evangelisation and Catehesis, Bishop Kieran Conry, has given his personal approval to the ACTA terrorist cell meeting, forces loyal to Rome are disturbed that a Prince of the Church should be perceived to be permitting the rebel splinter group - alleged to have WMDs in their possession and to have used them in the past - sanctuary and refuge in a Surrey-based parish.

Rome is by now aware of the encouragement the ACTA rebels gain in their cause when permitted to find sanctuary in any Diocese of the Catholic Church in England and Wales and will be concerned that they have found a foothold in Arundel and Brighton. More updates as they come in...

Monday, 26 August 2013

Pray for Peace



Once more, the Western nations are being cruelly deceived. When will we learn that our political masters do not care for either truth or justice! Go to alternative news sites - the media are almost certainly controlled and they are almost certainly not telling the truth.

Pray for Syria, pray for Egypt, pray too for the Christians at risk from extinction from both countries. In fact, pray for Israel and the entire Middle East and, while you are at it, the whole World, since Syria claims to have its weapons targetted on Israel if it is attacked. The West is arming the rebels in Syria and Egypt, Russia are arming the Syrian regime.

Pray. Repent. Go to Confession. We know not the day nor the hour at which we will be called to give an account of our lives to God. You wouldn't think it reading the press, and I'm no military analyst, but it looks rather like the fate of much of the middle east and elsewhere hangs in the balance. Nothing good has been achieved by the West's meddling in Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt or Syria. Only bloodshed has resulted from these 'excursions'. Politicians should know they have been deceived by those they trusted before and should, by now, realise everything they vote on has been discussed months earlier at some gathering of globalists anyway. I believe it was held in Watford this year, was it not? Politicians should know when to draw the line.

Do you really want Russia to draw the line for you?

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Has Change Shattered Our Faith?


The Catholic Church asked itself this question in 1976. The answers it gave were optimistic. Is it time to ask the same question in 2013, when only 75% of those remaining Catholics who didn't walk away in the radical 70s believe  the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament today?

Read more at The Guild of Blessed Titus Brandsma for a book review of a pamphlet created in the immediate aftermath of the changes that swept through the Church in the wake of the Second Vatican Council. There's an interesting review by another Guild member of some of Mgr Benson's books on the same site. That's right - I'm plugging the Guild. If you are a Catholic blogger faithful to the teaching of the Church, do think of joining.

Our Lady of Czestochowa



It is the Feast of Our Lady of Czestochowa today.

It is also a bank holiday.

See...Our Lady hasn't given up on England after all.

Now, please can we have all our other Holy Days as holidays as well?

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Did Your Parish Priest Mention 'the H words' Today?

The parish priest at the morning Mass I attended mentioned Hell, Heaven, Damnation and Salvation. I really fail to see how any parish priest could sing or proclaim the Gospel today without mentioning the 'H' words - Heaven and Hell in his homily.

It's kind of obvious what Our Blessed Lord is talking about. You wonder how a priest manages to wriggle out of this one. The parish priest at the evening Mass at the other Church I attended somehow managed to get through the homily without mentioning the 'H' words but then again even the Holy Father managed it today.

'He went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And some one said to him, "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And he said to them, "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, `Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, `I do not know where you come from.' Then you will begin to say, `We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!' There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."'

The Lord granted to St John Bosco a vision of what it means to die in a state of mortal sin and it ain't pretty. God, be merciful to me a sinner and save me in your love! Save our souls from everlasting death! We Catholics need to hear about Heaven and Hell. These are our two possible final destinations for eternity and in order for us to be saved, we need to be told what we need to be saved from. If we persist in our sins to the end we will be damned. If we persevere in a State of Grace we can hope for salvation. Pray that the clergy will not fear telling their flock about Heaven and Hell, sin and salvation. May they and our Bishops be brave in proclaiming the truths of the Gospel.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

World Powers Shaping Up for Something Big?

Yikes. Syria is a potential flashpoint with Russia and William Hague is banging the drum. Is it an oil drum or some other kind of drum? We don't yet know, but 'humanitarian principles' is one motive I doubt.

Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Egypt...then Iran?...the West is driving ahead with a foreign policy that is taking in, by hook or by crook, middle eastern states.

Exactly for how long is Russia going to put up with the line of middle eastern states being overthrown, undermined and eventually invaded? Until the West gets to the border of Russia? Okay, I admit my geography is bad but you get the gist.

Meanwhile, are the world powers gearing up for something big? Really big? The last time they did, we had this in the United Kingdom.

National Service? Oh boy. Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.

Tu es Petrus

The phone call by His Holiness Pope Francis to an Italian student in Padua who had written to His Holiness about his hopes for the future after graduation has raised eyebrows, including those of Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith.

Pope Francis asked to be called 'tu' by the Catholic layman. Fr Alexander says that this is noteworthy because the more polite and reverent 'lei' is used for addressing members of the hierarchy of the Church.

As Fr Lucie-Smith goes on to say,

...'it is a little bit like the Queen inviting you to call her Lilibet. And it goes further. The Pope provides us with a theological justification for this informality. The student said of the phone conversation, “He said to me, do you think the Apostles would have used the polite form with Christ? “Would they have called him your excellency? They were friends, just as you and I are now, and with friends I’m accustomed to using ‘tu’.”

I'm less concerned about the 'tu' or 'lei' thing and more concerned about Pope Francis's justification for introducing this element of informality into the conversation 'between equals'. Do we or do we not know whether the Apostles would have used the polite form with the Lord? As one commenter on the Herald website called Annie has pointed out, the Apostles consistently called Jesus, 'Lord', 'Master', 'Teacher' or 'Rabbi', all these titles being from their outset and in their immediate meaning 'honorific'.

If the Holy Father wishes to break down the formal barriers between Pope and people, Shepherd and sheep, then as for the way in which His Holiness does this is going to be a ball entirely 'in his court,' so to speak. It reminds me a little of those moments when one addresses a Priest as 'Father' or a Bishop as 'My Lord' and they say, "No, no, just call me Barry!" or something.

Priests and Bishops should not 'lord it over' their flock, but equally they should be comfortable enough with the Office into which they have been called to accept the titles that come with it. If everybody called their parish priest by their first name you may soon have a situation when the idea of ontological change becomes forgotten and the sacredness of the priesthood becomes lost because we are all 'mates'.

Jesus said to His Apostles, "You call me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If then I being your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; you also ought to wash one another's feet. For I have given you an example, that as I have done to you, so you do also. Amen, amen I say to you: The servant is not greater than his lord; neither is the apostle greater than he that sent him. If you know these things, you shall be blessed if you do them." 

In this one passage we receive a re-run of the washing of the feet of the Apostles (who were all men) while Jesus accepts the title of Teacher and Lord. The humility of the Lord, who washes the feet of the Apostles, some of whom are scandalised by the very idea, is not destroyed by His acceptance of the titles 'Lord' and 'Master' because this is an acknowledgement of the Truth that sets them free. If Jesus is just 'best mate' and they are too focused on that then how can they discover their need for the mercy that flows from His divinity, His condescension and His generosity.

The office of the papacy, the office of Bishop, the office of the priesthood - these are sacred things. It may be that Cardinals love to be called 'Your Excellency', it may be that some cannot bear it and curl up and die a little inside each time it is said. If they curl up and die a little inside, then are we not talking of the humiliation of the priest which comes with the office? However, how the individual Churchman feels about it is not the point. It is not primarily about them, as persons, but the Office which they have assumed and accepted at some point in their life as a priest, or bishop or pope.

I feel privileged to be on friendly terms with some Catholic priests. It is a great joy to be in the presence of priests, partly because they have wonderful personalities and often a great sense of humour but also because when I am in the company of a priest I am in the presence of a 'Father in God' to me. Those who say, 'Don't call me Father' forget that when they say, "Oh, just call me Kevin!" they deprive me of a spiritual father, making me, even if momentarily, a spiritual orphan.

Let us pray that on this the Feast of the Apostle, Saint Bartholomew, priests, bishops and the pope grow to be comfortable in the skin - the Office - that the Lord has given them and never try to deny what they are out of a sense of false humility, or out of misunderstanding of the great dignity in which they have been vested by the Lord Jesus Christ. Titles in the Catholic Church for priests, bishops and the pope come from being 'Alter Christus'. We only call people by such titles as 'Father', 'My Lord', 'Your Excellency', 'Your Holiness' because of Jesus Christ and the powers He has given those who He has called into His service.

Of course, none of this 'tu' or 'lei' stuff would have occurred if the Pope was English...

Wet Walsingham Pilgrims

The news reports suggest that this is to be a wet, wet weekend, at least on Saturday. A washout, in fact. Say a prayer for the pilgrims making their way from Ely to the Walsingham on foot with the LMS for the conversion of this poor country. You can follow, as usual, the pilgrims' progress on the blog of the Chairman of the LMS.

I expect there will be some, perhaps many, making their heroic way to Walsingham praying for the protection of the Traditional Latin Mass declared by Pope Benedict XVI to have been 'never formally abrogated' but which, in the light of the decision to restrict it for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, may be under general threat.

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for England, for the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and pray for the safeguarding of the Mass of Ages. Ora pro nobis!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

The Media and the Pope

Humble shoes, but still red: How Pope Francis could make everyone happy?
Tim Stanley has written a good post on his impressions of the still young papacy of Pope Francis.

The article is very refreshing and because it is about His Holiness, is also quite challenging. Pope Francis is a Pope who continues to surprise. He doesn't like the idea of comfortable Christians and from what we have seen so far, may well leave his flock on the edge of our seats.

A week or two ago His Holiness told us not to try and convert the poor man, but to give to him and 'Jesus will do the rest'. This week, he tells us that if we do not give the poor Jesus Christ then we have done very little for them.

I'd never heard of Leon Bloy, for instance, but after my second slice of vanilla cheesecake to celebrate the Feast of St Pius X, I am once reminded that I am a pig, just as Bloy says when he talks of Christians who are not virtuous or heroic. To me, he sounds a bit up himself, but then its easy for poor sinners like me to react against the exhortations of great Saints.

One thing that is starting to annoy me about how the media deal with Pope Francis - rather than what the Pope says - is how he is still being spun as the 'humble, radical Pope' unlike all the other 'proud, boring Popes', like Blessed Pope John Paul II, who was so 'boring' he was credited with much to bring down communism and the Soviet Bloc. Neither did I find Benedict XVI boring. How can someone with such a brilliant mind, with so much knowledge of the Church and especially the Church Fathers be 'boring'. If you could mine Benedict XVI's mind it would be a treasure trove.

Nowhere is this 'humble, radical Pope' media message so tedious as in the imagery of Pope Francis washing the feet of Catholics (and sometimes non-Catholics and ladies in defiance of the law of the Church) on Holy Thursday. I don't want to shake up the world of any non-Catholics out there, but there is something you need to know about Holy Thursday. On this day in the Church's calendar, nearly every Priest who is exercising his faculties within the Church - especially if he has his own parish - will be washing the feet of his parishioners because the General Instruction of the Roman Missal has it as an option to do so. It is, as it appears to be, an act of humble service, re-enacting the time when the Lord Jesus washed the feet of his Apostles on the evening of the Last Supper when He instituted the Holy Eucharist. In other words, Pope Francis humbly did what the vast majority of priests around the entire globe humbly do on Holy Thursday.

If Pope Francis, having celebrated the liturgy of Holy Thursday (and been faithful to the Church's law) had then gone out into St Peter's Square in order to round up some paupers in order to wash their feet outside of the liturgy after Mass, he could have washed the feet of as many Muslims, ladies, Hindus, atheists and whoever he wanted perfectly licitly. This would be both radical and humble, and after having washed their feet and kissed them he could say, 'I'll be back in ten minutes' in order to present them with a bag of money and a round of sandwiches each. This would be both a radical and humble example of service and love for the poor, instead of an instance of the Bishop of Rome bending or breaking the liturgical law to conform to his own will, rather than that of the Universal Church, the governance of which has been entrusted to His Holiness. To the World the foot-washing on Holy Thursday may have appeared humble, but to the Church the message was this: 'It's okay to break the Church's liturgical law. The law of the Church does not matter'.

I'm not saying this because I can't 'get over' Holy Thursday. I'm saying this because journalists continue to bring out photos of Pope Francis doing what every priest does on Holy Thursday and suggesting that this photo makes the Pope incredibly humble and radical. It isn't. It's just what Priests do. I've also given up on the idea that Pope Francis will follow the ancient tradition of his predecessors and wear red shoes, or even red sandals as a sign of holy poverty, holy humility and holy respect for the Blood of Christ and the blood of the martyrs of the Church, in which he walks.

Daily, we hear more martyrs are being added to that glorious list of souls; in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere across the globe Christians shed their blood for Christ and for His Church. Muslims are marking the doors of Christians with a black Cross as they go through the neighbourhoods targetting the Faithful for execution. How is that for 'uncomfortable Christianity'? Pope Francis, as Cardinal Bergoglio, might well have thought the Regensburg Address of Pope Benedict XVI to have been a bad idea and a destructive message in the Church's dialogue with Muslims, but that doesn't mean that Benedict XVI was wrong.




Just as Fr Blake makes the case for the Regensburg address of 2006, the Church cannot 'reason' or 'dialogue' with a section of Islam that has dispensed with the faculties of 'reason' in pursuit of ideological and religious zeal that is indifferent to the suffering of others. With the best will in the world, Islamists hell-bent on wiping Christianity from the Middle East are not going to listen to Pope Francis as His Holiness calls for an end to bloodshed and for more 'dialogue'. Only a Miracle is going to bring peace and stability to Egypt now. Let us pray that the Blessed Mother of God, will aid the Christians of the region with her prayers and open the eyes of the Islamists whose dreadful, vengeful fury continues to wreak destruction upon the land to which the Virgin and Child fled to find refuge with St Joseph, to escape the murderous King Herod.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Join Us on Our Retreat on Sea

'Retreat on Sea': English Catholics set up an offer to rival that of those in the US
With Michael Voris and Fr John Zuhlsdorf of WDTPRS offering a luxury 'Retreat at Sea', a small group of English Catholics, including priests and laity have organised a rival 'Retreat on Sea'.

While Voris and Fr Z take guests on a cruise from Ft Lauderdale to the Bahamas on cruise liner Royal Princess, the English offer is, I think you will agree, just as exciting and easier on the pocket.

Leaving Newhaven Harbour at 6am, join the 'Retreat on Sea' while fortunate guests who can afford the fee of £39.50 will be able to take in the beautiful coastline of England - as long as they are on the top deck as they leave England - and arrive in sunny Dieppe, France just four hours later. There, in France, guests will be able to buy some cheap cognac and cigarettes, pay a visit to a local Church and enjoy the exciting Saturday market of the beautiful coastal French town.

Stock up on booze and fags at a Dieppe Hypermarket
As well as enjoying a talk from one or two renowned blogging priests on the theme 'Vatican II: Looked Good on Paper', guests will be able to enjoy some of the refreshing drinks available on the Newhaven to Dieppe cruise liner (guests will have to pay extra for them).

Guests can also try some delightful food (you have to pay extra for that too and you might see it again) as well as take time to contemplate the mystery of God on the ocean. Those on retreat will be able to blow out the cobwebs in the spiritual life by going up onto the top deck while travelling on the choppy waters of the English Channel. A packet of playing cards will be available for guests in case they run out of things to do while on the journey.

'Ferry 'cross the mersey': Northern Catholics organise a 'retreat on sea'
Meanwhile, in the North of England, another group of Catholics, supported by Bishop Mark Davies, are also offering their own luxury retreat on sea, with the Bishop of Shrewsbury giving a 15-minute talk on the Restoration of the Liturgy as guests are treated to a retreat upon the iconic ferry that bridges Liverpool to Birkenhead.

Though it is a Catholic initiative, guests will still be treated to 60s Gerry and the Pacemakers hit 'Ferry Cross the Mersey' at the end of the crossing. A spokesperson for the Bishops Conference of England and Wales said, "While the Bishops Conference is not supporting these nautical retreats directly, I think these two boats should be able to hold all the people interested in the Latin Mass, though it is possible that they might all fit on the Liverpool boat, let's be honest."

The West Vs Russia Over LGBT Issues: It's War!

Fry, homophobes, fry! Are Olympic-sized disagreements over the promotion of homosexuality set to go nuclear?
With Olympian comedian Stephen Fry striding like a colossus across the World stage, courting Prime Minister and marriage hitman David Cameron in a pub over a couple of pints and a packet of pork scratchings, the question on everyone's lips is: 'Has the World has been plunged into a new era of 'cold war' uncertainty?'

New images show that the UK Government has developed a range of big gay nuclear bombs with which to deter Russia from continuing to enact or act on any legislation that might in some way prohibit the promotion of homosexuality in society and especially to Russian children.

Fry, discussing his meeting with David Cameron was frank about the exchange with the Prime Minister.

"Basically," said Fry, "I told the Prime Minister - if these Russians don't want sodomy being promoted in the streets, the media and in schools, are you going to do the decent thing and nuke the lousy homophobes? Because I'm such a well known TV personality, because of my natural charisma and Wildean wit and because I gave him a free dinner for him and his lady wife at my pub, how could he resist? He said to me, "Stephen, I know what you are saying and while I take everything you say on board, I will mention some of the things you have talked about to Vladimir Putin at the next G8 meeting. It is time Russia got with the programme and I'll have a pint of Harvey's, please."

The new range of LGBT nuclear warheads bring to public attention what has long been suspected - that the West takes the battle for gay rights and homosexual marriage so seriously, it is even planning to take the rainbow flag into the next World War, placing it in the heart of Moscow. The image above is from the first test of the big gay nuclear warhead which was unleashed on a part of Egypt in which some Coptic Christians were huddled in a Church, fearing for their lives as they ran from the Muslim Brotherhood. 

According to unconfirmed reports, the UK Government decided that, knowing Egypt was going up in flames anyway, while telling the mainstream news media not to mention the burning and looting of over sixty Churches in the space of 48 hours, now would be a good time to test the rainbow warhead, because within a week or two Egypt will look like a fallout zone anyway. 'And anyway', said one civil servant 'they were only bigoted Christians, after all'.

Gay campaigner and activist Peter Tatchell, however, remains unconvinced that the reports of a nuclear homophobia deterrent are true and that David Cameron was really only interested in a free drink and the promise of a 'lock in' with some TV celebrities at a future date.

The veteran human rights and LGBT campaigner, said:

"It's great that David Cameron met Stephen Fry but what's the actual outcome of this meeting? David Cameron said he would support nuking Russia into oblivion but he hasn't said he'll do it  himself. We want to know whether he'll press the red button if they don't back down on the prohibition of homosexual propagdana."

The Grapes, the East End pub in which Cameron and Fry held the meeting is said to have a 40-foot nuclear bunker built into it, accessed via a secret shaft underneath the cellar, which is said to have the capacity to hold nearly the entire 1% of homosexuals who make up the diverse population of the United Kingdom, but sadly, nobody else.

News like this is leading some international observers to wonder whether it is a coincidence that the big gay warheads tested on the Copts have arrived just at the time that national service is to be reintroduced in a private members bill to the United Kingdom. As a matter of historical fact, the United Kingdom has had national service every time there has been a world war. Are the major World powers shaping up for taking us into WW3 over gay rights? All the major indicators suggest that the cold LGBT war could be about to get very hot indeed.

Monday, 19 August 2013

Where is the Corpus?


This Crucifix outside St John the Baptist had a metal body of the Lord upon it. It has disappeared, leaving the Cross. I hope nobody has nicked it for scrap metal but nothing in this town would surprise me. I hope there is a much more logical explanation.

Horticulture Update...Horticulture Update...

If weeds grow through gravel, how easily do vices!
Employment

If weeds, which are unsightly to our eyes, can grow through gravel, or even on concrete, how much easier then can vices, which are unsightly in the sight of God, grow in the soul.

That's the fruit of my meditation, having spent another day on my knees harvesting weeds at St Cuthman's Retreat Centre in Horsham. Let it never be said I am workshy, readers. My knees are killing me.

I am reminded once more than when you spend a day picking weeds out of gravel that when you close your eyes at night, you can still see them. You close your eyes and all you can see is weeds! In order to remove weeds from our soul, we need to confess our sins and be faithful to prayer, examine our consciences and take out our vices by the root.

The Lord removes weeds and sow virtues in our soul. To grow a beautiful garden, with a variety of beautiful plants takes commitment and faithfulness every day. It is no different for us with the soul.

Butterflies around buddleia at St Cuthman's

St Mary Magdalen, when she saw the risen Lord, mistook him for the gardener. The Lord is the Gardener of our soul. We are the garden. We can do not very much to create a beautiful garden in our soul. We must always have recourse to the Head Gardener, who Alone can assist us to tend to our soul, through prayer and the Sacraments.

Anyway, more about St Cuthman's Retreat Centre. This beautiful house with 25 acres of gardens, including a lake infested with duck-eating mink, that all along belonged on human beings as fashionable items of clothing, is owned by the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton. I was working next to bees and butterflies today which are attracted to buddleia. It is set in very beautiful surroundings as you can see in the picture below.

Stunning setting with 25 acres of land
Hmm...drink it in! I'm being employed for a few weeks one day a week to liberate the place from weeds. Hermits used to live in these grounds in hermit huts. Now we can see why! They knew they were onto good deal! Apparently the house used to belong to some Anglican missionaries and the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton obtained it. It is now a retreat centre for Catholics and non-Catholics as well. There is a little chapel which houses Our Blessed Lord and they have a priest come and celebrate Mass there more or less every day.

Weeding with England's Gardens
At lunchtime I sit and talk with the staff and others who are there from time to time. Today I talked to a nun who I discovered was a nun when I asked her, 'And what is your role here?' Looking back, she was wearing blue and white clothes and a Cross so I should have guessed. Oops! She belongs to the Sisters of Mercy!

Sadly they don't have many new vocations, though they did have one 40-year-old lady joint them this year, so I told her I what I had heard, that the Orders that seem to attract younger people are those which maintain traditional spirituality and marks of Catholic identity such as the wearing of habits etc, etc. Thankfully, she didn't seem offended at all. She was a very nice lady and I know the nuns at Sisters of Mercy, based at St Joseph's Rest Home next to St John the Baptist Church are very good indeed.

It might not look like I did much, but believe me, the roots in this gravel path are very deep! I wonder whether, in this time of Pope Francis, when the Church is called to reach out to the poor and those 'on the peripheries' of the Church, whether the Church's retreat venues may one day play some role in the service of the poor in England. I've been thinking just recently what the pontificate of Pope Francis, with His Holiness's emphasis on the poor means for Diocesan Bishops and the Dioceses in general. I'm sure the Bishops are brimming with ideas.

I can just imagine coaches of the poor being driven for respite stays at Hinsley Hall and I'm sure Pope Francis would approve greatly of this. What a wonderful witness to the Gospel that would be. Out with the enneagrams, in with the poor!

Hinsley Hall, Leeds, Yorkshire: Does Pope Francis's pontificate herald the time to open wide its doors to the poor?


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Devotions

For the Feast of the Assumption, Fr Ray Blake and I decorated Our Blessed Lady with gypsophelia. We placed our Heavenly Queen on top of a ladder clothed in white fabric and placed on the steps beneath some vases of gypsophelia.

The clever idea was Fr Blake's - the big idea was clouds, what with it being the Feast of the Assumption.

Other parishioners commented on how nice she looked, even if she was literally 'peeping' out of the gypsophelia clouds.

This is a picture of two of the Acolytes at St Mary Magdalen Church, reverencing the Mother of God on the Feast of her glorious Assumption into Heaven.
  



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Allotment

I am continuing with the work on the allotment. I wish I had taken a 'before' shot. All I'll say is that it was like a wasteland of weeds and grass. From time to time a couple of friends come and assist me, others come and just relax for a while. I'll put up a picture upon its grand opening. It is situated up in Whitehawk and there are amazing views from the allotment over the sea. I don't feel like I'm in Brighton at all when I'm up there. We've had some lovely sunshine here and yesterday George and Diane came up for a while. Here is George giving a thumbs up and Diane doing a rather good impression of St Therese of Lisieux, the Little Flower so loved and graced by the Lord Jesus. Say a prayer for them.


I'm currently looking into buying a garden statue of Our Lady, the Sacred Heart or one of the Saints for the allotment. I think St Cuthman's could do with one as well. Let me know if you need any Catholic gardening done. I charge very reasonable rates and always welcome the work.

The Mass Sleep Out

According to the Brighton Benefits Campaign...

'Groups all over the country are sleeping out on the night of August 24th to protest at the way bedroom tax and other benefit cuts are threatening the security of people's homes, resulting in mass homelessness.

Bedroom tax is a cut to housing benefit for council and housing association tenants who are living in houses deemed to have "spare" bedrooms, according to inflexible government rules brought in this April.

This month, the introduction of the overall benefit cap will threaten the security of many more people in Brighton and Hove, as their housing benefit will be cut, leaving them unable to pay the very high private rents in the city.'

I'm going to go along and tell them that this leaflet promised me 'The Mass' as well as a 'Sleep Out', so 'Where in the Mass you promised me?' See if there is one in your area of the country and if you're in Brighton this is a good thing to support 'in solidarity' with those whose lives will be negatively affected by the cuts. Your Bishop would approve and so, I'm sure, would Pope Francis.

Age of Mary

If you suffer from epilepsy, best not to gaze too long at this picture of Our Blessed Lady.

I have found an excellent resource site on Our Lady of Fatima, the message of Fatima and a wonderful source of devotional material to the Blessed Mother of God.

Age of Mary is a website set up to raise awareness of the era in which we now live, when the message of Fatima remains so important.

It also has the Little Office of Our Lady in English, with all the hours included, an online Rosary, the total consecration to Mary, information on the Brown Scapular and Miraculous Medal.

I haven't seen that many websites dedicated to Fatima, but of those I have seen this is surely the best.

Sunday, 18 August 2013

St Pius X Ecumenical Initiative Launched in South East England

Hidden side to St Pius X: Advocated controversial 'Balloon Masses' of 1910
Wednesday 21 August will see the first joint celebration between the Catholic Church and the SSPX in Catholic Churches for the Feast of Pope St Pius X.

The liturgical celebrations will be kicking off this week at one Catholic Church in a coastal region of the South - with final touches to the schedule being applied in the days running up to the exciting joint initiative.

So far it is known that hitherto unknown liturgical preferences which developed during St Pius X's pontificate will be a part of the Mass concelebrated by several SSPX priests with Diocesan priests in the region.

The controversial 'balloon Masses' of 1910 are being revived as the ecumenical initiative seeks to build on common ground shared by the SSPX and the post-Concilliar Church.

After the Ad Populum Balloon Mass, with a local schola singing the Gregorian chant in Latin, Catholic priests and faithful will meet and celebrate the Feast in the local community hall, where all present will sign the oath against Modernism. The new oath against Modernism defines modernism as anything that was promoted within the Church between the years 2005 and 2013 that attempted to reconcile the Church with her past.

One local priest, enthusiastic about the initiative said, "I'm really excited about this. Here we see a blending of the two rites of the Church harmonising together in absurd duality, bringing in some of the most dynamic and inflatable aspects of the Novus Ordo, alongside the beauty and ancient timelessness of the Mass of Ages."

The SSPX spokesperson was unavailable for comment, but one regular SSPX churchgoer said, "I never knew that St Pius X - that great defender of the Church from the pernicious heresies of modernism - had revived under his own pontificate the ancient 'balloon Masses' which were part of the early life of the Holy Roman Church, until these liturgical displays of devotion were destroyed amid the turbulent persecution under Diocletian. I think this will really help Catholics and the SSPX to see their relationship in a new light and bring about a greater sense of fraternity and understanding. I'm very wary of 'healing Masses' but a 'helium Mass' sounds like something else altogether."

Updates on this exciting news as they come in.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Mummy, What is a Pelagian?

Who was Pelagius?

We have heard much about him recently. Pelagius, we know, asserted that we could merit Heaven by our own efforts. His doctrine made Christ and His Sacrifice on the Cross unnecessary. Wikipedia tells us that...

'Pelagius (fl. c. 390-418) was an ascetic who opposed the idea of predestination and asserted a strong version of the doctrine of free will. He was accused by Augustine of Hippo and others of denying the need for divine aid in performing good works.

For him (according to them), the only grace necessary was the declaration of the law; humans were not wounded by Adam's sin and were perfectly able to fulfill the law apart from any divine aid. He denied the more specific doctrine of original sin as developed by Augustine. Pelagius was declared a heretic by the Council of Carthage. His interpretation of a doctrine of free will became known as Pelagianism.'
His crimes are in light blue, bold. Because of Original Sin, Pelagius's doctrine is, of all the heresies to fall into, one of the easiest to fall into because while we are wounded creatures because of Original Sin, we desire to be good and to do good. As believers, we also desire Heaven and to keep God's commandments. So often, however, we want to be 'good without God' (since to seek separation from God is in fact our natural human state) - or imagine that we can be, which, ironically, is what some militant atheists maintain they either are or can be - 'good without God'. As others have commented, I find it hard to understand why the accusation of Pelagianism should fall particularly at the feet of 'certain traditional communities' within the Catholic Church but we should examine why it is so. These communities were not named, so it is difficult to assess which communities the Holy Father was thinking of when His Holiness said it. It certainly opens up an interesting discussion.

As far as I can see, Pelagianism, if you strip Pelagius of his asceticism, could equally be applied to the 'liberal Catholic' position, not, I hasten to add, that the Holy Father is that. If Pelagianism can be reduced to someone saying, 'I'm good without God', then the liberal Catholic falls surely into the same category because if Catholic teaching on sin and salvation is rejected, Christ's Sacrifice isn't required in that scenario either. These false ideas, His Holiness has criticised as well. Yet, Pelagianism is more than this since Pelagius was suggesting that through the human will we could merit worthiness of Heaven - a teaching that contradicts the Catholic doctrine that not only are we afflicted by the effects of Original Sin but that Heaven is always a gift from God above that is His alone to grant and of this great gift nobody, short of Our Lady and her Divine Son is worthy and even Our Lady won her unsurpassable merits from He who she bore.

Yet, clearly, the human will is important to God. The commandment to 'love the Lord thy God with all thy strength, all thy heart, mind, understanding' suggests that God is not indifferent to the human will, since the will is involved in both worship and the love of God. The exercise of the human will is also involved, of course, in loving our neighbour. Christ Himself says, 'If you love me, keep my commandments'. We cannot 'keep the commandments' without the exercise of the human will.

So what are we to make of Pelagius's heresy? Well, the follower of Our Lord Jesus Christ is called into relationship with Him. Jesus says, 'Apart from me, you can do nothing'. So, Our Lord calls us to greatness, virtue and holiness. He even says, 'Be perfect, even as your Heavenly Father is perfect' while knowing that this is a task entrusted to us that is impossible for us in human terms. He does not however say, that it is impossible. We could say that it is improbable, but that the Saints remind us that while sanctity is a lifelong 'labour of love', that holiness is possible. In the Saints we see the perfection of Christian charity even if they were not always perfect people.

A good example is St Augustine of Hippo, Pelagius's great opponent. His 'Confessions' show us a man whose life was riddled with misunderstandings, heresies and various sins, but who, following his conversion to the Catholic Faith grows in virtue and holiness so much that he is infused with the love of God. Yet St Augustine would not attribute his wonderful ministry or his sanctity to himself or his own efforts, but to the God who he grew in his turbulent relationship with. In humility he would and did attribute any good that he achieved to God who is Infinitely Good. He also lamented and implored God's mercy for his failings.

With St Augustine, it is obvious that the will is involved intrinsically in the love of God. We can see this quite clearly. Yet he, more than many perhaps in his time, had a deep understanding of the fickle, weak, stormy nature of the human will and his absolute dependence on God. St Paul, too, says, 'the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.' And yet, both St Paul and St Augustine of Hippo 'merited' Heaven. They 'merited' Heaven not because of their heroic efforts but because of the treasury of graces they sought from the Lord. The merits they sought were not their own but belonged to Christ who dispenses them to those who 'seek' and 'find', who 'knock' and ask the Lord to open the door to them. They knew only too well that without Him, little good could be done by them.

This week, His Holiness has commended to the Faithful the Holy Rosary of the Blessed Virgin Mary, asking whether those who he greeted in his homily for the Feast of the Assumption pray it 'every day' while encouraging those present to do so. The Rosary teaches us dependence on God. The prayers of the Rosary remind us that we are sinners in need of God's grace. The mysteries show us the truths of the Catholic Faith - that what has been wrought by God for our salvation is all because of His condescension - His abasement - in the life, death and resurrection of Christ. We 'deserve' nothing, but Christ gives us everything we could possibly desire such that it is beyond our comprehension - Heaven itself!

What is missing from Pelagius's teaching is Grace. We can never 'merit' Heaven but if we ever should 'merit' Heaven, it would only be because of the graces and merits of Christ that had been showered upon that we humbly accepted. The truth is that we are stubborn creatures as capable of acts of great virtue as we are of acts of great wickedness. We can easily delude ourselves, but we are weak. We carry around with us always a nature which is wounded. We can turn away from God in a moment and yet seek His mercy in another and you can bet that we will seek His mercy with less enthusiasm than that which we turned away from Him!

We are conflicted creatures. We 'see the good and do not do it' and 'see the bad and do it'. We are always in a battle of wills. Shall I do God's will or shall I do my own will? Which is more pleasurable? What am I more likely to choose? Which is the easier and which is the harder for me, a sinner? The Saints are those who saw the futility of overcoming evil or vice by their own powers and entrusted themselves entirely, body and soul to God knowing that without Him they could do nothing - certainly nothing very good. Their lives were lives of surrender, abandonment to God's will because He is the all-powerful God, their own personal efforts paltry in comparison to His unfathomable grace and mercy. In the Catholic Church they discovered the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Everything St Thomas Aquinas learned and then taught, he learned on his knees. Francis of Assisi only became Saint Francis of Assisi because he spent whole nights in prayer begging, imploring, insisting that God come to his aid and make haste to help him. St Francis saw that all the World had to offer him was pitiful in comparison to Christ and stripped himself of everything only so that he could be more closely conformed to Jesus and love Him without the distractions of earthly possessions and worldly pursuits. Was he a Pelagian? No. Was he deeply in love with his Maker? Yes!

We hear so much in the Church how much God loves us. We know that God loves us, but how can we do as Christ has asked and love God? Our love for Him will always pale into comparison with His love for us, but only God can teach us, help us, aid us to love Him. Only God can save us from ourselves and so we should turn towards Him every day, every hour, every moment that we possibly can, so that He may accomplish in us what He desires to be accomplished in us - the transformation of poor, sinful, misguided creatures into Saints who by the infinite merits of Christ, inherit Heaven, to the glory of the Triune God in time and in eternity.

It is this - this - that I have discovered by being graced by God to meet Catholic priests, monks, friars and lay persons with love for the Usus Antiquior. Those who I have met with love for the Traditional Latin Mass know well their weakness and know human efforts cannot win Heaven. What they do teach is that we are called into a wonderful relationship with Jesus Christ, that because of Him we can dare to call God 'Father', that we can turn to Him, that His grace and power changes our lives, that He desires to make us holy and that with His help we can love Him, that He is the prime Mover not only in the Mass but in orientating our lives towards Heaven.

They teach devotion to the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. They teach that we can turn our lives, our thoughts, our whole being around to Him and co-operate with Him so that we may attain to Salvation and bring the message of Salvation to all around us. Theirs is a truly missionary spirit. They have zeal. They want to save souls. Often they teach that to love and serve the poor is to love and serve Jesus Christ. They teach that in our spiritual battle with the World, with the Devil, with the flesh and with ourselves we are not just helpless, but entirely dependent on God. I don't think that is Pelagian. I think that is the fullness, truth and beauty of the Catholic Faith.

We see that the word 'Pelagian' can be used lightly and yet it might mean totally different things to different people. Before he was anything else to the Church, Pelagian was a heretic who denied central teachings of the Holy Catholic Church. As well as this, falling into the trap of thinking we can 'save ourselves' or 'merit Heaven' by our own actions is something that can happen to traditional Catholics and non-traditional Catholics. In this sense, the Father of Lies does not discriminate when he perpetuates them upon God's children! The idea that we can be 'good without God' can afflict just about anybody - believers and atheists alike! The children of the Church are in danger of 'Pelagian' theology if Bishops emphasise feeding the poor at the expense of proclaiming our need for Salvation. In other words - when it comes to falling into error, it is more complicated than simply pointing to the 'traditional types in the corner of the room'. We can all fall into error and heresy. It's not hard to 'achieve'!

Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God, that we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

The Pontificate of Abuse

I have in the past had some experience of abusive relationships. They are profoundly painful even when you love the person involved. It ...