Friday 31 October 2008

Orissa: Priest Attacked in Anti-Christian Riots Has Died

Fr Joseph Kalathil, Vicar General for the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar hs sent this report.

Fr Bernard Digal, Treasurer of the Archdiocese, residing at Archbishop's House, 9/16 Satyanagar, Bhubaneswar, had been to Sankharakhol under Tikaballi P.S., Kandhamal district., on 23 August 2008 for official work. While he was camping at Sankharakhole, communal violence broke out and his vehicle bearing Reg. No. ORO-2- Q-6838 was set on fire. Fearing further violence and attack he took shelter in the jungle with his driver Mr Sisiro Pradhan, S/o Late Mr. Lokhono Pradhan. Looking for a safe place they walked through jungle and reached Dudukangia village near Kottimaha under Tikaballi PS. There a violent mob with latis ironbars and other sharp weapons attacked Fr Bernard, Mr Sisiro Pradhan and Mr Dondapani Mallick who joined them. Mr Sisiro Pradhan and Mr Dondapani Mallick ran away and took shelter in the jungle. Some miscreants attacked and assaulted Fr Bernard with , iron bars, sharp weapons etc. inflicting severe injuries on the head and other parts of the body. They left him on the spot totally naked and thinking that he was dead. However he regained consciousness but unable to move and frightened in the deserted place.

At about 6.30 in the morning Mr Pradhan and some of the villagers spotted Fr Bernard and gave some water to drink. With the help of the Gramo Rokhi of the village Mr Pradhan informed the police at Tikaballi by Phone. After one hour the Inspector of Police arrived on the spot with five constables. Seeing the serious condition of Fr.Bernard Inspector of Police drove Fr Bernard to the health centre at Tikaballi in the police jeep. After some primary treatment the doctor on duty referred the case to the District Headquarter Hospital at Phulbani and shifted Fr. Bernard to Phulbani in the hospital Ambulance. After a day's treatment the Doctors at Phulbani referred the case to Cuttack Medical College. Fr Bernard was brought to Bhubaneswar and admitted in Kalinga Hospital, Bhubaneswar. After three days of treatment in Kalinga Hospital he was shifted to Holy Spirit Hospital in Mumbai by flight as his condition continued to be very serious.

In Holy Spirit Hospital his condition slowly and steadily improved. Finally he was discharged from the Hospital. He further underwent Physiotherapy in Mumbai and felt better.

Fr. Bernard went to Chennai to meet a friend of him who was sick and hospitalized in Chennai. In Chennai he felt exhausted and sick and so got himself admitted to St.Thomas Hospital. There his condition became serious in spite of the care and treatment by a team of well known doctors. Finally he succumbed to death on 28 October at 8.50pm.


Fr Bernard Digal was born on 27 January 1962 in Tiangia village, Raikia PS, Kandhamal district., Orissa, as the fourth child of late Mahajan and late Lucia Digal. He has a brother and two sisters. He attended school in Tiangia, Mondasoro and Raikia and did his Intermediate in Phulbani College. He continued his higher studies in Calcutta and was ordained a Priest on 29 May 1992 for the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. He served the Archdiocese in various capacities such as Assistant Parish Priest, Parish Priest, Spiritual Director to the Seminarians, Vocation Director, Treasurer of the Archdiocese etc. He was committed to his responsibilities, was friendly, sociable, helpful outgoing, generous and very human. His untimely and sad death is a great loss to the Archdiocese and the people.

Fr.Joseph Kalathil
Vicar General
Archbishop's House
Satyanagar, Bhubaneswar.

© Independent Catholic News 2008

Is 3 parking tickets in 3 days some kind of record?

"She's once, twice, three times a parking ticket and I love her..."

I realised today that I left my car on the level for three days so I have three parking tickets. Doh! Forgot to move it the morning after I left it there and then forgot about it totally. Oh dear, I really have to sort my life out. If only traffic wardens didn't take their job so seriously...

More on "Weeding Out Gay Priests"

Rector: "Young seminarian, we have brought you to this room to test you psychologically to make sure you are not, you know..."
Seminarian, "Ah, I see. Righty-ho..."
Rector: "Did you like the ewoks in Star Wars. Remember, the little fluffy animals loved by ladies and men of a um, queer persuasion?"
Seminarian: "Certainly not! I was only too pleased when those cute little furry animals were slaughtered by the Empire!"
Rector: "Good answer!" Now I am going to show you some pictures. One is of Marilyn Monroe in that scene from The Seven Year Itch where the dress goes up a bit caused by the hot air in the car park."
Seminarian: "Right, okay."
Rector: "I will judge your response."
Seminarian: "I say, what a beautiful lady, I must say rector I feel a bit hot under the collar."
Rector: "Good answer my man. You're doing well. Sorry could you just shake my hand."
Seminarian: "Certainly."
Rector: "Splendid, a good firm, manly handshake. Good chap! Now I am just going to show you a range of soft furnishings, including curtains, a range of different coloured silk pillows and a chaise-longue."
Seminarian: "Oh how charming."
Rector: "Now, I want you to tell me which is your favourite coloured silk pillow?"
Seminarian: "The...erm, blue one?"
Rector: "I'm sorry that was a trick question, and by no means are you worthy of consideration for the Priesthood because you are clearly the type of man who likes soft furnishings. I'm afraid the seminary is not for you."
Seminarian: "But I...I"
Rector: "Next!"

New Vatican Document Urges Screening out of 'Gay' Priests

"God is not an obligation or a burden. God is my joy!" -- Fr. Mychal Judge

Damian Thompson posted a controversial blog yesterday about a new Vatican document encouraging "psychological tests" to screen out potential priests with a "deep-seated homosexual orientation". I think this is an over-reaction to the abuse crisis in the States. Some very good people could be screened out. Grace is an incredible thing. A man with same-sex attraction could still be very graced by God with the virtue of chastity and could live out his vocation as a Priest with great passion and love for God. If all candidates with "psychological" failings or flaws were screened out of the Priesthood there'd be none left. Jesus takes weak, frail human beings, with moral weaknesses and makes them into Saints. Were that not so, St Peter, who denied our Lord three times would not be up there waiting for us at the Gates of Heaven when we die.

Here is a link to a good blog on the life of Fr Mychal Judge. Above is a picture of Father Mychal Judge, who died giving the Last Rites to the dying in the World Trade Centre in 2001. His case for beatification was dropped rather unfortunately once the Church heard that some people said his orientation was homosexual. As far as I know, the patron saint of homosexuals or those who have the condition of homosexuality is St Sebastian, not because he overcame a same-sex attraction with a life of heroic virtue, but because of his martyrdom by many arrows.

Read the blog article here and let me know your thoughts. For the original source article click here.

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Incredible Iceberg Pictures

This spectacular series of images circulates via email and has also been posted on various websites, blogs and online forums. A description commonly included with the images claims that they depict a large tidal wave or tsunami wave instantly frozen as it breaks. However, the ice formation shown in the images is not an instantly frozen wave.

The photographs were taken by scientist Tony Travouillon in Antarctica. Many of the images can be seen in a gallery on Travouillon's website. The pictures do not show a giant wave somehow snap-frozen in the very act of breaking. The formation contains blue ice, and this is compelling evidence that it was not created instantly from a wave of water. Blue ice is created as the ice is compressed and trapped air bubbles are squeezed out. The ice looks blue because, when light passes through thick ice, blue light is transmitted back out but red light is absorbed. An article on the Alaska Science Forum notes:

The color of ice can be used to estimate its strength and even how long it has been frozen. Arctic Ocean ice is white during its first year because it is full of bubbles. Light will travel only a short distance before it is scattered by the bubbles and reflected back out. As a result, little absorption occurs, and the light leaves with the same color it had when it went in.

During the summer, the ice surface melts and new overlying ice layers compress the remaining air bubbles. Now, any light that enters travels a longer distance within the ice before it emerges. This gives the red end of the spectrum space enough to be absorbed, and the light returned at the surface is blue.

Arctic explorers and mountain climbers know that old, blue ice with fewer bubbles is safer and stronger than white ice. An added bonus for explorers is knowing that floating camps built on blue ice will last longer.

Thus, the deep blue colour suggests that the ice in the formation was built up slowly over time rather than formed instantly. Subsequent melting and refreezing over many seasons has given the formation its smooth, wave-like appearance.

My Friend Merv Doing A Highly Accurate Rocky Impression

Every Child Matters...or Every Family Matters?

From my work at ATD Fourth World several years ago, a charity that campaigns for the rights of the family, whose rights are often violated by severe poverty in the UK, my ears always prick up when I hear Social Services are interfering increasingly in family life. It has turned out that recently 7 children who are obese have been removed from their families and taken into care for anti-obesity treatment, under the concern that obesity amounts to neglect or even to abuse. Now, children being removed from their families is a great concern to me, a great concern to society and especially the Church.

The family is the unit in which children learn, grow and develop. If obesity is a great threat to a child's health and objectively speaking, it probably is, then if Social Services care that much for the child they should work with the family in the home and offer the family and child help. That children who are suffering from their obesity are being removed suggests that the Government do not care for the institution of the family or the best interests of the child. Because a child is overweight, it would seem his immediate connections with the family are being severed. This is very damaging! What is happening to these children? How long does this 'treatment' last? What does being removed and taken into care do for the self-esteem of the child (and let's face it, self-esteem and eating disorders are intrinsically linked) who is deemed 'at risk'? More and more it seems, the State is trying to 'parent' the nation, 'parent' children and it cannot. What is more, when the State tries to parent anyone, too often, it does so without love.

A child living in a family may learn bad habits sometimes but don't we all? No parents are perfect. The care system is riddled with failings, though many who are employed by it are very committed and passionate about their work. I am, however, yet to be convinced that the 'care system' knows how to care.

Click here for the article

Too Cold to Smoke or Even to Busk

I live in a flat where I cannot smoke because I live with my landlady and friend who is a non-smoker. I've just been outside for a fag and its too cold to stand out there smoking. Boo hoo. I've never tried to give up this the least of my vices and doubt I have the energy and willpower to do so. However, its freezing outside and smoking in arctic temperatures is not fun!

I've been doing more busking recently and have been trying to encourage a couple of people I know around town to use my exciting new busking amp (with microphone), but when it is so cold, busking is not fun either. Guitarists fingers suddenly start feeling numb and its not so nice and we only last about half an hour in town.

Tuesday 28 October 2008

More Obamania Concerns

Trying to get some accurate and objective reporting about Barack Obama these days is hard. You only really get it from people concerned about freedom, life and the Church..While there seems to be a kind of collective mass hypnosis about the "change" that Obama could bring to America and the World, it is worth pausing for a second and examining what his actions and beliefs really mean.

Gerald Warner on Barack Obama

Two Pilgrimmage Sites in One Day? That's Just Plain Greedy

Today I visited two shrines in Kent, one in Aylesford called The Friars, which is Carmelite and dedicated to Our Lady and St Simon Stock. The other shrine I visited was the Shrine of St Jude in Faversham nearby. It was by pure chance I saw the signpost for The Friars in Aylesford and got there in the car just in time for Holy Mass. I wanted to visit the Shrine of St Jude as he is a favourite Saint of mine and had been making a Novena to him for 9 days. Unfortunately I didn't realise Novenas are meant to be made nine consecutive Sundays, not nine consecutive days in a row. I hope he still listened anyway. Today is the Feast of St Jude and St Simon.

The Friars of Aylesford, Kent

Cardinal Keith O'Brien's Open Letter to PM Gordon Brown

In an open letter Cardinal Keith O'Brien explains to PM Gordon Brown the depth and gravity of the horror that the Government are intent on unleashing in the scientific field. He does so with great eloquence and seems to be one cardinal at least, who is fulfilling his apostolic mission to proclaim the truth of the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

28 October 2008

Dear Gordon

I write this open letter to you on a matter of immediate urgency, namely tomorrow’s debate in the Lords on the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill. Although I was relieved that last week’s debate in the Commons on the Bill did not address the issue of abortion, I remain convinced that the Bill is misguided and certain sections are potentially most harmful.

Among these is Schedule 3 which has never been properly discussed in Parliament. It provides for taking tissue from incapacitated adults and children without their consent for the express purpose of creating embryos for research. It will be debated in the House of Lords tomorrow (Wednesday 29 October) with Government support.

The Bill could allow for the derivation and use of human eggs from the ovarian tissue of aborted baby girls, a proposal which was first aired by the HFEA in 1994. The HFEA public consultation at that time showed that 83.2% of the 9,000 respondents opposed the practice, and even the few in favour underlined the necessity of consent.

Should this Bill become law, removing tissue from incapacitated adults or children, without their specific consent in order to create animal-human hybrid or other embryos would be permissible, as would creating artificial sperm or artificial eggs from bone marrow or even cord blood.
The grotesque implications of these procedures are utterly horrifying. The proposals in this Bill represent a breach of 50 years of ethical medical research. They by-pass the Declaration of Helsinki, the Human Tissue Act, the Mental Capacity Act and the Human Rights Act. Removing parts of people’s bodies without their consent, utterly flies in the face of all BMA and GMC guidance on consent to research.

Such behaviour was last seen under the Nazis. Following the liberation of the concentration camps in 1945, the full horrors of the Nazi’s atrocities were revealed to a shocked world. The hideous savagery of their experiments convinced the civilized world that such practices must be outlawed forever. I am appalled that you are promoting a Bill which seeks, by stealth, to create a regime where extracting tissue and cells from human beings no longer requires their consent or involvement.

I am staggered that you would endorse legislation, which describes the creation of embryos from a person without their consent as 'non-invasive' and which enshrines the concept of ‘presumed consent’ in UK law. This legislation would set a nightmarish precedent, by allowing scientists to experiment on those lacking capacity - in the absence of explicit consent - largely as they see fit.

I urge you to amend Schedule 3 of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill as a matter of great urgency and human decency.

Yours sincerely in Christ

+ Keith Patrick Cardinal O’Brien
Archbishop of St Andrews and Edinburgh

Tuesday 21 October 2008

The Wonderful Johnny and June

Novena to Saint Jude

I am to begin a 9-day Novena to Saint Jude. One should never presume, but I hope for an answer to praying to one of Heaven's most reliable and trustworthy Saints. I suppose they're all trustworthy really, mirroring, as they do, the Good God. However, I remain an unreliable and unworthy sinner, a lost cause of the Church so to speak, and hope for mercy and Grace.

Saturday 18 October 2008

Levi Stubbs RIP

Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops, a band that made some truly astonishing soul music has died age 72.

They just don't make them like this anymore.

Feast of St Luke, Evangelist

The weather in the UK is beautiful at the tradition when it is sunny and warm in October, apparently we call it a St Luke's Summer. It is apt then, that his feast is today.

Luke, the writer of the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, has been identified with St. Paul's "Luke, the beloved physician" (Colossians 4:14). We know few other facts about Luke's life from Scripture and from early Church historians.

It is believed that Luke was born a Greek and a Gentile. In Colossians 10-14 speaks of those friends who are with him. He first mentions all those "of the circumcision" -- in other words, Jews -- and he does not include Luke in this group. Luke's gospel shows special sensitivity to evangelizing Gentiles. It is only in his gospel that we hear the parable of the Good Samaritan, that we hear Jesus praising the faith of Gentiles such as the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (Lk.4:25-27), and that we hear the story of the one grateful leper who is a Samaritan (Lk.17:11-19). According to the early Church historian Eusebius Luke was born at Antioch in Syria.

In our day, it would be easy to assume that someone who was a doctor was rich, but scholars have argued that Luke might have been born a slave. It was not uncommon for families to educate slaves in medicine so that they would have a resident family physician. Not only do we have Paul's word, but Eusebius, Saint Jerome, Saint Irenaeus and Caius, a second-century writer, all refer to Luke as a physician.

We have to go to Acts to follow the trail of Luke's Christian ministry. We know nothing about his conversion but looking at the language of Acts we can see where he joined Saint Paul. The story of the Acts is written in the third person, as an historian recording facts, up until the sixteenth chapter. In Acts 16:8-9 we hear of Paul's company "So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. During the night Paul had a vision: there stood a man of Macedonia pleading with him and saying, 'Come over to Macedonia and help us.' " Then suddenly in 16:10 "they" becomes "we": "When he had seen the vision, we immediately tried to cross over to Macedonia, being convinced that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them."

So Luke first joined Paul's company at Troas at about the year 51 and accompanied him into Macedonia where they traveled first to Samothrace, Neapolis, and finally Philippi. Luke then switches back to the third person which seems to indicate he was not thrown into prison with Paul and that when Paul left Philippi Luke stayed behind to encourage the Church there. Seven years passed before Paul returned to the area on his third missionary journey. In Acts 20:5, the switch to "we" tells us that Luke has left Philippi to rejoin Paul in Troas in 58 where they first met up. They traveled together through Miletus, Tyre, Caesarea, to Jerusalem.

Luke is the loyal comrade who stays with Paul when he is imprisoned in Rome about the year 61: "Epaphras, my fellow prisoner in Christ Jesus, sends greetings to you, and so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers" (Philemon 24). And after everyone else deserts Paul in his final imprisonment and sufferings, it is Luke who remains with Paul to the end: "Only Luke is with me" (2 Timothy 4:11).

Luke's inspiration and information for his Gospel and Acts came from his close association with Paul and his companions as he explains in his introduction to the Gospel: "Since many have undertaken to set down an orderly account of the events that have been fulfilled among us, just as they were handed on to us by those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and servants of the word, I too decided, after investigating everything carefully from the very first, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus" (Luke 1:1-3).

Luke's unique perspective on Jesus can be seen in the six miracles and eighteen parables not found in the other gospels. Luke's is the gospel of the poor and of social justice. He is the one who tells the story of Lazarus and the Rich Man who ignored him. Luke is the one who uses "Blessed are the poor" instead of "Blessed are the poor in spirit" in the beatitudes. Only in Luke's gospel do we hear Mary 's Magnificat where she proclaims that God "has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich away empty" (Luke 1:52-53).

Luke also has a special connection with the women in Jesus' life, especially Mary. It is only in Luke's gospel that we hear the story of the Annunciation, Mary's visit to Elizabeth including the Magnificat, the Presentation, and the story of Jesus' disappearance in Jerusalem. It is Luke that we have to thank for the Scriptural parts of the Hail Mary: "Hail Mary full of grace" spoken at the Annunciation and "Blessed are you and blessed is the fruit of your womb Jesus" spoken by her cousin Elizabeth.

Forgiveness and God's mercy to sinners is also of first importance to Luke. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the Prodigal Son welcomed back by the overjoyed father. Only in Luke do we hear the story of the forgiven woman disrupting the feast by washing Jesus' feet with her tears. Throughout Luke's gospel, Jesus takes the side of the sinner who wants to return to God's mercy.

Reading Luke's gospel gives a good idea of his character as one who loved the poor, who wanted the door to God's kingdom opened to all, who respected women, and who saw hope in God's mercy for everyone.

He is often shown with an ox or a calf because these are the symbols of sacrifice -- the sacrifice Jesus made for all the world.

St Luke is the patron of physicians and surgeons.

Friday 17 October 2008

Well that was something else...

I think I may have found my vocation.

I decided tonight to go into town and do some busking as there is a guy called George who is usually in town who I sing Knockin' on Heaven's Door with. On my way, I saw a man called Jason who I know from Church who is homeless. He's just recently got out of prison. The police were walking with him and I had just seen them pour his beer away in front of him. After the police had finished with him we walked and talked together into town. We set up for busking a couple of Johnny Cash songs in a pedestrianised area with a cool guy who was playing mandolin. We were singing Folsom Prison Blues quite awfully, when suddenly a guy out of nowhere comes along and spits in Jason's face. I was horrified...this is the kind of thing that the homeless face in Brighton. I felt terrible because I had encouraged him to put himself in a public position and draw attention to himself. I felt awful for Jason. He told me he'd been hit that day in the face as well. We decided to call it a night after that incident but then he said he wanted to sing when we got to another area with seating outside a bar. He sings really loudly and well! He'll sing even better when he is sober...

We did a number of songs, including 'Knockin' on Heaven's Door', 'Folsom Prison Blues' and 'Panic'. Jason has all the balls I don't have so he was egging on the bystanders and customers to listen to us and give money. And they did! We made £10 in an hour! We belted out The Smiths' 'Heaven Knows I am Miserable Now'. I remembered the chords from when I learned it years ago. Given all that had happened that evening, I found it rather poignant. I feel this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Natalie Paruz 'Saw Lady'

She came, she saw, she conquered...

I just had an email from a talented lady called Natlie Paruz who busks in New York City, playing the Saw. She was interested to know which saint appears in stained glass windows with a saw. I discovered the saw is in general a sign of martyrdom, particularly for St Simon the Apostle (or Zealot as he is often known) and St Joseph, foster father of our Lord due to his carpentry.

I have never heard saw music before this but have listened to a couple of tracks on the website and they are really lovely. Below is a link where you can listen to saw music.

Today in Pavillion Gardens there was a fabulous busking duo crooning golden oldies who also had amps and microphones. I thought it was great. I met another busker today who unfortunately is having a terrible time because his father is terminally ill with cancer and he got a call today saying he had been taken to a local hospital. We had a chat about life and family. Say a prayer for him, Michael, and his critically ill father.

In Brighton there is such a large volume of musicians, buskers and street performers. It would be so nice to gather a few together to do more entertaining busking and put a bit of spirit back into Brighton town centre. One thing I like about buskers is that even though some feel they are viewed often as being 'just the rung above street beggar', as a busking friend, Gary, told me, they are not materialistic and in many ways have renounced much of what so many in society hold most dear in terms of material possessions, wealth and status. Nowadays, that is always something precious. What with the economic crisis being as it is, it may be that in the next year people in Brighton could do with some light musical relief from the hardships which are coming our way.

Persecution in India Worsening

St Alphonsus of India, please pray for the Persecuted Church

Early Monday morning, St Anthony Catholic Church at Yedavanahalli village in Attibele, near Hosur, in Bangalore Urban district, was set on fire - in spite of the presence of two police constables outside and the building.

Police said they had kept the main doors of the church open in order to take shelter during heavy rain. They the noticed fire at 1am i and called the fire brigade.

Eye witnesses said the fire was deliberately set by a group who went in and burnt Bibles and hymn books, as well as vandalising religious objects and breaking up a music system. The altar was damaged by fire and a photograph of the new saint Sister Alfonsa with a yellow sari and other decorations that were covering the images, were burnt on the feet of the altar.

Karnataka chief minister said the fire had been caused by an electrical fault, but witnesses said the electric system in the church was intact.

Human rights groups are appealing for a through police investigation.

Elsewhere, hundreds of Christians have been forced to renounce their faith and convert to Hinduism.

In Orissa on Monday, more than five thousand women held a demonstration calling for the marrriage on a nun who was raped on August 26 to the man who raped her.

The demand of the locals came on the day when three men were arrested in connection with the rape case. The women argue that in their tradition, if a man exchanged physical relationship with a woman forcibly, he should be married to the victim. "So we demanded that if the nun was raped, she should be married to the rapist," they said.

Source: Ancy DSouza/agencies

© Independent Catholic News 2008

Today is also the Feast of St Ignatius of Antioch

St Ignatius was martyred in 107.

There may be worse ways to be killed, but I can't think of many...The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church.

From Fr Ray Blake of St Mary Magdalen's Church

The second bishop of Antioch after St Peter, sentenced to be thrown to the wild beasts in the arena, sent to Rome suffered death their under Trajan in 107.

I tell you, my friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body but after that can do no more. I shall show you whom to fear. Be afraid of the one who after killing has the power to cast into Gehenna; yes, I tell you, be afraid of that one. Are not five sparrows sold for two small coins? Yet not one of them has escaped the notice of God. Even the hairs of your head have all been counted. Do not be afraid. You are worth more than many sparrows.

Pray to St Ignatius that priests and bishops will prefer death than denying their Lord in deed or word or thought, or by one act of mortal sin.

From The Ecclesiology of St Ignatus of Antioch

For Ignatius man does not have life of himself. Only God is self-life (autozoe). Man lives be participation. Because man is held captive in death by the devil his communion with God is of a distorted nature and ends in the grave. The act of restoration of permanent and normal communion between God and man can be accomplished only by a real resurrection of man by God Himself. (Ezek. 37:12ff.) "Who alone hath immortality." (I Tim. 6:16.) This immortality of God, however, is not to be separated in its bestowal upon creation, from God's energy of love. Therefore, "the drink of God, namely His Blood, ... is incorruptible love and eternal life." (Ign. Rom. 7.) The love of God is not a relationship (to pros ti) dominated by ulterior motivations. If God were within the realm of happiness and so dominated thereby, then all His relationships, if such could really exist, would be necessary. [ 6 ]

The life of God the Father, however, who by essence generates the Son and projects the Spirit, is personal and selfless love, which by grace and in complete freedom through the Son and in the Spirit creates ex nihilo, sustains, saves, and sanctifies creation, not by created means, but by His own uncreated energy. Salvation is not a mere restoration of proper relations between God and man. On the contrary man is saved by being restored to life which is given to created beings only by God. Saving grace, therefore, is the very uncreated life-giving energy of God which vivifies and justifies man by defeating the devil. [ 7 ] The flesh of Christ is the source of life and justification [ 8 ] not as flesh per se, but because it is the flesh of God. It is for this reason that St. Ignatius can say, "I desire the drink of God, namely His Blood." (Ign. Rom. 7; also Eph. 1.) [ 9 ]

Arms Manufacturer Quashes Protest

Article from The Argus:

In April 2005 The Argus ran a story about how an arms manufacturing company had managed to secure a ban on civil protest against the production and export of weapons to be used in war-torn countries. Over the years the company secured more than that, it secured a ban on civil protest even in Brighton's town centre, therefore a march against the factory was denied grounds by the Council.

EBO MBM Technology, an arms factory in Home Farm Road, Brighton, obtained a High Court ruling banning demonstrations of larger than ten people outside their premises and only permitting protests once a week.

An interim injunction has been in place since April 2004 which forbids anyone from entering an exclusion zone around the factory for the purpose of protesting.

EDO MBM is part of the US-owned EDO Corporation which supplies weapons components to governments around the world. The Brighton plant makes bomb release and interface equipment which has reportedly been used in Iraq.

The defendants argued that the Iraq war was illegal and so weapons manufacturers in the UK which make equipment for use by the British military there can be held responsible for war crimes.

Then a few days ago this happened.

'Baton-wielding police clashed with protesters yesterday as an anti-arms demo erupted into violence.

About a dozen people were injured as skirmishes flared during the demo – the latest in a series aimed at EDO/ITT, the Brighton-based weapons component manufacturer.

The main flashpoint occurred on Lewes Road, by the junction with Home Farm Road in Moulsecoomb, as hundreds of protesters came up against scores of police.

Officers closed both lanes of Lewes Road just after 1pm and prevented most of the group from moving south of the viaduct, which crosses the road.

Pepper spray was used on the crowd as it surged forward, attempting to break through the ranks of police. A number of people were hit with batons and needed first aid.

There were also other minor clashes around The Level as a small number of protesters managed to make their way into the city centre.

A handful of arrests were made.

Assistant Chief Constable Jeremy Paine criticised those involved in the demo.

He said: “There was clear intent to use violence and cause damage evidenced by the high level of tension among the demonstrators and articles observed and seized by police.

“Disruption was caused to citizens and motorists by a large gathering of protesters on the main A270 Lewes Road leading into the city.”

Hundreds of officers from across the country, including from the Metropolitan Police, Hampshire and Surrey, were deployed to oversee the protest.

It got under way just after noon, with protesters marching down Lewes Road from Falmer station.

They intended to arrive outside the EDO/ITT factory on Home Farm Road but were outflanked by a ring of steel formed around the building by several rows of police, fences and dogs.

It was an entirely different tactic from the one used during a similar demo on June 4, which led to violence when protesters were allowed right up the factory gates.

A spokesman for the Smash EDO group which organised the demo said: “Right from the word go police were basically saying, ‘We’re going to destroy you’. It was a completely disproportionate response.

“We were outnumbered but today has been a success because we’ve managed to get the message out there and show we are prepared to stand up and be counted for our beliefs.”

He confirmed that further highly publicised demos would be held in the future.

The number of officers present at the demo was criticised by Sussex Police Authority member Ben Duncan, who said: “There is a perception, rightly or wrongly, that the police do not have the resources to police our neighbourhoods properly and people are worried about crime as a result.

“Clearly they do not have a problem with resources at all if they can muster this many officers.

“In my view these protesters did not present a real danger and did not warrant this many police officers.”

Lionel Barnard, chairman of the police authority, disagreed.

He said: “We would be expected to make an appropriate response and take measures against this sort of demonstration. I believe that is what has happened.”

Mr Barnard said the overall cost of policing the demo would not be known for a number of days. However, the figure is thought to run into tens of thousands of pounds.'

I understand that many of the protesters are deemed by society and give themselves the title 'anarchist'. However, as far as I could see, their protest was peaceful and it is a bit worrying that unjust companies, backed by the State, can quash any kind of protest or dissent. Peaceful protest is meant to be one of our long cherished civil rights. It looks like it is disappearing fast. In this country i would imagine a small gathering of protesters against the local abortion clinic would end up in arrest also.

Today's Saint: St Margaret Mary Alacoque

The First Saint of the Sacred Heart of Jesus

From Catholic.Org

Daughter of Claude Alacoque and Philiberte Lamyn, Margaret was born on July 22, at L'Hautecour, Burgundy, France, was sent to the Poor Clares school at Charolles on the death of her father, a notary, when she was eight years old. She was bedridden for five years with rheumatic fever until she was fifteen and early developed a devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. She refused marriage, and in 1671 she entered the Visitation convent at Paray-le-Monial and was professed the next year.

From the time she was twenty, she experienced visions of Christ, and on December 27, 1673, she began a series of revelations that were to continue over the next year and a half. In them Christ informed her that she was His chosen instrument to spread devotion to His Sacred Heart, instructed her in a devotion that was to become known as the Nine Fridays and the Holy Hour, and asked that the feast of the Sacred Heart be established. Rebuffed by her superior, Mother de Saumaise, in her efforts to follow the instruction she had received in the visions, she eventually won her over but was unable to convince a group of theologians of the validity of her apparitions, nor was she any more successful with many of the members of her community. She received the support of Blessed Claude La Colombiere, the community's confessor for a time, who declared that the visions were genuine.

In 1683, opposition in the community ended when Mother Melin was elected Superior and named Margaret Mary her assistant. She later became Novice Mistress, saw the convent observe the feast of the Sacred Heart privately beginning in 1686, and two years later, a chapel was built at the Paray-le-Monial to honor the Sacred Heart; soon observation of the feast of the Sacred Heart spread to other Visitation convents. Margaret Mary died at the Paray-le-Monial on October 17, and was canonized in 1920. She, St. John Eudes, and Blessed Claude La Colombiere are called the "Saints of the Sacred Heart"; the devotion was officially recognized and approved by Pope Clement XIII in 1765, seventy-five years after her death. Her feast day is observed on October 17.

Thursday 16 October 2008

The Joy of Busking

Well having completed Module One of my Basic Book-Keeping course, I was told the folder for Purchase and Sales Ledger had not yet arrived for us trainee accountants. I must admit I did feel rather the tedium of numbers falling upon me and so walked home only to be met by a busker friend of mine. He's a good chap and is planning to go to India as he usually does for the winter. Quite a few people in Brighton do that. Busking on your own is a bit lonely and not really particularly entertaining for anyone. Together we sang Johnny Cash's 'Folsom Prison Blues' and The Smiths 'Please, Please, Please Let Me Get What I Want', which clearly went down a storm because by the end of the session we had made two pence.

Still, we're not in it for the money, right? Two homeless men walked by, one holding a guitar and sang along to Johnny Cash as we sung. We decided we should move on when a Big Issue seller called John from YMCA got to his pitch. We're not so poor, you see, so it would be a bit nasty to drag custom from him. Perhaps he and I could do more of it, maybe an hour a day. Maybe we'll get some more buskers involved over time and start the busking orchestra with the homeless I always wanted to start. May not be a money spinner but it might witness to the Gospel more than getting a record deal ever could. Doubtless we'd all end up in prison and sing Johnny Cash there.

God in the Dock: Only in America!

Hilarious news story below. Err...I thought it was we who had to answer to the Lord, not the other way round! Click here for the article.

A US judge has thrown out a case against God, ruling that because the defendant has no address, legal papers cannot be served. (LMAO)

The suit against God was launched by Nebraska state senator Ernie Chambers, who said he might appeal the ruling.

He sought a permanent injunction to prevent the "death, destruction and terrorisation" caused by God.

Judge Marlon Polk said in his ruling that a plaintiff must have access to the defendant for a case to proceed.

"Given that this court finds that there can never be service effectuated on the named defendant this action will be dismissed with prejudice," Judge Polk wrote in his ruling.

Mr Chambers cannot refile the suit but may appeal.

Mr Chambers sued God last year. He said God had threatened him and the people of Nebraska and had inflicted "widespread death, destruction and terrorisation of millions upon millions of the Earth's inhabitants".

He said he would carefully consider Judge Polk's ruling before deciding whether to appeal.

The court, Mr Chambers said, had acknowledged the existence of God and "a consequence of that acknowledgement is a recognition of God's omniscience".

"Since God knows everything," he reasoned, "God has notice of this lawsuit."

Mr Chambers, a state senator for 38 years, said he filed the suit to make the point that "anyone can sue anyone else, even God".

Today is the Feast of...

St. Gerard Majella, religious.

St Gerard is the patron of expectant mothers. He was born at Muro, Italy, in 1726 and joined the Redemptorists at the age of 23, becoming a professed lay brother in 1752. He served as sacristan, gardener, porter, infirmarian, and tailor. However, because of his great piety, extraordinary wisdom, and his gift of reading consciences, he was permitted to counsel communities of religious women.

This humble servant of God also had the faculties of levitation and bi-location associated with certain mystics. His charity, obedience, and selfless service as well as his ceaseless mortification for Christ, made him the perfect model of lay brothers. He was afflicted with tuberculosis and died in 1755 at the age of twenty-nine.

This great saint is invoked as a patron of expectant mothers as a result of a miracle effected through his prayers for a woman in labor.

Prayer: O Great Saint Gerard, beloved servant of Jesus Christ, perfect imitator of your meek and humble Savior, and devoted Child of the Mother of God: enkindle within my heart one spark of that heavenly fire of charity which glowed in your heart and made you an angel of love. O glorious Saint Gerard, because when falsely accused of crime, you did bear, like your Divine master, without murmur or complaint, the calumnies of wicked men, you have been raised up by God as the Patron and Protector of expectant mothers. Preserve me from danger and from the excessive pains accompanying childbirth, and shield the child which I now carry, that it may see the light of day and receive the lustral waters of baptism through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Teenage Idols

Last night I met a singer and songwriter called Mark Morris who I last saw at a gig when I was 17. I am now 31. The night was a "music industry" event with various "industry types" who I suppose I was meant to schmooze with and to whom I should give out my band's demos. He performed well and having done some of his own material he played some songs by his band, The Bluetones, which I used to listen to when I was at University. It was very nostalgic for me. Due to the fact he was one singer who I used to listen to obsessively I gave him my band's demo. He said he'd listen to it in the car on the way home. Turns out he lives in Tunbridge Wells. He did a lovely version of Neil Young's 'Old Man' which is ironic given that neither he, nor I are in the prime of our youth any longer. To be honest I felt too old to be there in the first place. Afterwards I went and stared at the moon on the beach and a big wave came along and soaked my jeans and shoes...anyway, putting aside dreams of rock stardom, today I have to do my (best nasal accent) accountancy course. How long, Lord, how long?

Wednesday 15 October 2008

Damian Thompson on More Liturgical Abuse

The Glory and Splendour of the Latin Mass

Is it time to go back to Traditional Latin Mass? Well anything is better than the scandal of liturgical abuse that is emanating from the Bishops of England and Wales. Apparently St Padre Pio suffered greatly in his body on account of the sins of those in authority in the Church and the associated abuse of the liturgy.

The Catholic Bishops of England and Wales are planning a “Youth Sunday” next month which is so politically correct, patronising and biased to the Left that it is beyond satire. It is also beyond Catholicism, playing barbarous tricks with the liturgy that break the Church’s rules governing the celebration of Mass.

Today's Saint: St Teresa of Avila

From American Catholic

Teresa lived in an age of exploration as well as political, social and religious upheaval. It was the 16th century, a time of turmoil and reform. Her life began with the culmination of the Protestant Reformation, and ended shortly after the Council of Trent.

The gift of God to Teresa in and through which she became holy and left her mark on the Church and the world is threefold: She was a woman; she was a contemplative; she was an active reformer.

As a woman, Teresa stood on her own two feet, even in the man's world of her time. She was "her own woman," entering the Carmelites despite strong opposition from her father. She is a person wrapped not so much in silence as in mystery. Beautiful, talented, outgoing, adaptable, affectionate, courageous, enthusiastic, she was totally human. Like Jesus, she was a mystery of paradoxes: wise, yet practical; intelligent, yet much in tune with her experience; a mystic, yet an energetic reformer. A holy woman, a womanly woman.

Teresa was a woman "for God," a woman of prayer, discipline and compassion. Her heart belonged to God. Her own conversion was no overnight affair; it was an arduous lifelong struggle, involving ongoing purification and suffering. She was misunderstood, misjudged, opposed in her efforts at reform. Yet she struggled on, courageous and faithful; she struggled with her own mediocrity, her illness, her opposition. And in the midst of all this she clung to God in life and in prayer. Her writings on prayer and contemplation are drawn from her experience: powerful, practical and graceful. A woman of prayer; a woman for God.

Teresa was a woman "for others." Though a contemplative, she spent much of her time and energy seeking to reform herself and the Carmelites, to lead them back to the full observance of the primitive Rule. She founded over a half-dozen new monasteries. She traveled, wrote, fought—always to renew, to reform. In her self, in her prayer, in her life, in her efforts to reform, in all the people she touched, she was a woman for others, a woman who inspired and gave life.

In 1970 the Church gave her the title she had long held in the popular mind: Doctor of the Church. She and St. Catherine of Siena were the first women so honored.

Teresa knew well the continued presence and value of suffering (physical illness, opposition to reform, difficulties in prayer), but she grew to be able to embrace suffering, even desire it: "Lord, either to suffer or to die." Toward the end of her life she exclaimed: "Oh, my Lord! How true it is that whoever works for you is paid in troubles! And what a precious price to those who love you if we understand its value."

Marvin Gaye: Save The Children/God Is Love/Mercy Mercy Me

Because if Obama is Muslim...

This is what COULD happen.

More on the Mysterious Obama

Are the US about to elect a Muslim President?

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Well I Wonder - The Smiths

Lovely words...We all feel like this from time to time.

But somehow still alive
This is the fierce last stand of all I am
Please keep me in mind"

Arrest at the Cathedral

Randall Terry meeting Pope John Paul II

In a worrying development in the US, Randall Terry a pro-Life activist has been arrested at St Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington Virginia, because he dared suggest that for Catholics to vote for Obama was morally not a good thing.

"It is with great grief that I report to you that I, Randall Terry, along with Brian Sherwood and Joseph Landry, were arrested on Respect Life Sunday, October 5, at St. Thomas More Cathedral in Arlington, Virginia. We were charged with trespass, held by the police for four hours, then released.We were arrested for handing out a pro-life brochure on the church parking lot entitled, Faithful Catholic Citizenship. Faithful Catholic Citizenship is based upon quotes from John Paul II from Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life.) Read it at (See link for Faithful Catholic Citizenship.)

The reason certain bishops find this literature alarming, is because it actually names Obama as a die hard supporter of child-killing. The argument is simple: since Obama would extend the murder of the innocent, a Catholic cannot vote for him with a clear conscience in this election. Certain bishops are hamstrung with the fear of losing their "tax-exempt status" if they name a candidate in an election cycle. So the name "Obama" is off limits, and so is any literature that names him.

The great irony is that we were arrested at St. Thomas More Cathedral. St.Thomas More was arrested, tried, and beheaded because he believed that the authority of the Church is not subject to the state. A greater irony still is that St. Thomas More refused to follow the English bishops in their servitude to Henry VIII. Those bishops betrayed God and the successor of St. Peter by their silence and obedience in the matter of Henry VIII's divorce, remarriage, and his hellish proclamation that he was the Supreme Head of the Church."

For the full story click here.

Pope Benedict XVI on Holy Communion

From Catholic News Agency

In interview published in the Wednesday edition of L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Benedict’s new Master of Pontifical Liturgical Celebrations, Monsignor Guido Marini, says he believes that people receiving Communion kneeling and on the tongue will become common practice at the Vatican.

Msgr. Marini’s comments were made during an interview with Gianluca Biccini on some of Pope Benedict XVI’s recent liturgical decisions and their meaning.

Biccini noted in the exchange that Pope Benedict distributed Holy Communion to people who knelt and received the host on their tongues during his visit to Brindisi (Southern Italy) last week.

When he was asked if this would become a common practice at the Vatican, Marini responded, "I believe so."

"In this regard it is necessary not to forget the fact that the distribution of Communion on the hand remains, up to now, from the juridical standpoint, an exception (indult) to the universal law, conceded by the Holy See to those bishops' conferences who requested it,” the liturgical master of ceremonies reminded.

Canada, Mexico, the Philippines and the United States are all countries that have been granted an exception from the universal practice of receiving Communion on the tongue.

It seems though that the Pope wants to provide an example for the Church, according to Msgr. Marini, “The form adopted by Benedict XVI is meant to highlight the force of this valid norm for the whole Church."

"It could also be noted that the (Pope's) preference for such form of distribution which, without taking anything away from the other one, better highlights the truth of the real presence in the Eucharist, helps the devotion of the faithful, and introduces more easily to the sense of mystery. Aspects which, in our times, pastorally speaking, it is urgent to highlight and recover."

A Million Children Will Pray the Rosary for Peace

From Zenit:

A million children will join in prayer Saturday, saying the rosary to ask God for peace in families and in the world.

The initiative, which began in Venezuela in 2005, has now spread around the world.

It consists in "instilling in the hearts of children the idea of praying for the interior peace of every human being and the peace and unity of families, countries and the entire world," according to a statement from the National Council of Laypeople in Venezuela, which helps sponsor the event.

The activity, the statement explained, has no cost, since it consists simply in praying the rosary "next [Saturday], Oct. 18, at 9 a.m., in classrooms, playgrounds, chapels, children's hospitals, parishes, orphanages, care homes, preschools and homes" - wherever each volunteer is.

And to be a volunteer, the only requirement is to spread the word and motivate people to participate in the initiative -- and of course, to pray the rosary Saturday.

Saint of the Day: St Callistus I

From Catholic.Org

Imagine that your biography was written by an enemy of yours. And that its information was all anyone would have not only for the rest of your life but for centuries to come. You would never be able to refute it -- and even if you couldno one would believe you because your accuser was a saint.

That is the problem we face with Pope Callistus I who died about 222. The only story of his life we have is from someone who hated him and what he stood for, an author identified as Saint Hippolytus, a rival candidate for the chair of Peter. What had made Hippolytus so angry? Hippolytus was very strict and rigid in his adherence to rules and regulations. The early Church had been very rough on those who committed sins of adultery, murder, and fornication. Hippolytus was enraged by the mercy that Callistus showed to these repentant sinners, allowing them back into communion of the Church after they had performed public penance. Callistus' mercy was also matched by his desire for equality among Church members, manifested by his acceptance of marraiges between free people and slaves. Hippolytus saw all of this as a degradation of the Church, a submission to lust and licentiousness that reflected not mercy and holiness in Callistus but perversion and fraud.

Trying to weed out the venom to find the facts of Callistus' life in Hippolytus' account, we learn that Callistus himself was a slave (something that probably did not endear him to class-conscious Hippolytus). His master, Carporphorus made him manager of a bank in the Publica Piscina sector of Rome where Callistus took in the money of other Christians. The bank failed -- according to Hippolytus because Callistus spent the money on his own pleasure-seeking. It seems unlikely that Carporphorus would trust his good name and his fellow Christians' savings to someone that unreliable.

Whatever the reason, Callistus fled the city by ship in order to escape punishment. When his master caught up with him, Callistus jumped into the sea (according to Hippolytus, in order to commit suicide). After Callistus was rescued he was brought back to Rome, put on trial, and sentenced to a cruel punishment -- forced labor on the treadmill. Carporphorus took pity on his former slave and manager and Callistus won his release by convincing him he could get some of the money back from investors. (This seems to indicate, in spite of Hippolytus' statements, that the money was not squandered but lent or invested unwisely.) Callistus' methods had not improved with desperation and when he disrupted a synagogue by shouting for money, he was arrested and sentenced again.

This time he was sent to the mines. Other Christians who had been sentenced there because of their religion were released by negotiations between the emperor and the Pope (with the help of the emperor's mistress who was friendly toward Christians). Callistus accidentally wound up on the same list with the persecuted brothers and sisters. (Hippolytus reports that this was through extortion and connniving on Callistus' part.) Apparently, everyone, including the Pope, realized Callistus did not deserve his new freedom but unwilling to carry the case further the Pope gave Callistus an income and situation -- away from Rome. (Once again, this is a point for suspecting Hippolytus' account. If Callistus was so despicable and untrustworthy why provide him with an income and a situation? Leaving him free out of pity is one thing, but giving money to a convicted criminal and slave is another. There must have been more to the story.)

About nine or ten years later, the new pope Zephyrinus recalled Callistus to Rome. Zephyrinus was good-hearted and well-meaning but had no understanding of theology. This was disastrous in a time when heretical beliefs were springing up everywhere. One minute Zephyrinus would endorse a belief he thought orthodox and the next he would embrace the opposite statement. Callistus soon made his value known, guiding Zephyrinus through theology to what he saw as orthodoxy. (Needless to say it was not what Hippolytus felt was orthodox enough.) To a certain extent, according to Hippolytus, Callistus was the power behind the Church before he even assumed the bishopric of Rome.

When Zephyrinus died in 219, Callistus was proclaimed pope over the protests of his rival candidate Hippolytus. He seemed to have as strong a hatred of heresy as Hippolytus, however, because he banished one of the heretics named Sabellius.

Callistus came to power during a crucial time of the Church. Was it going to hang on to the rigid rules of previous years and limit itself to those who were already saints or was it going to embrace sinners as Christ commanded? Was its mission only to a few holy ones or to the whole world, to the healthy or to the sick? We can understand Hippolytus' fear -- that hypocritical penitents would use the Church and weaken it in the time when they faced persecution. But Callistus chose to trust God's mercy and love and opened the doors. By choosing Christ's mission, he chose to spread the Gospel to all.

Pope Callistus is listed as a martyr but we have no record of how he was martyred or by whom. There were no official persecutions at the time, but he may well have been killed in riots against Christians.

As sad as it is to realize that the only story we have of his life is by an enemy, it is glorious to see in it the fact that the Church is large enough not only to embrace sinners and saints, but to proclaim two people saints who hold such wildly opposing views and to elect a slave and an alleged ex-convict to guide the whole Church. There's hope for all of us then!

The Most Extreme Modern Beds

I have just recently moved to a room in Brighton and because the room is small, decided to get rid of my double bed. Until I address the situation I am on the floor with a camping rollmat. I'm surprised how well I am sleeping. Perhaps sleeping on the floor is actually the most comfortable bed after all. Looking up beds, I just found this amazing website of extreme modern beds. They are very expensive but quite humourous.

My favourite bed in this montage is the last one. Fed up of tossing and turning every night? Well, those days are over with the fixed position bed which doesn't give you the choice because if you tried to switch position you would fall out of bed, injuring yourself on a hard wooden floor.

Disappointing to think that the floor, a bed that sounds rather penitential, turns out to be the best nights sleep I had in ages, and I wonder if anyone can anyone think of anything more strict and mortifying. I live near the beach, so perhaps I need to gather a bed of pebbles which could stick into the small of my back or something, or perhaps a bed of cuttle fish?

Makes me wonder though, maybe if I don't need a bed, I don't need a house. That could certainly cut down on bills, council tax and rent. I mean if less is really more...I often wonder what St Joseph Benedict Labre's parents' reaction was when he more or less told them he wanted to become a homeless saint.

Saint: "Mother, Father, after much career counselling from Trappist Monasteries I have decided what I would like to do. I want to become a tramp."
Saint's parents: "Well, Joseph dear, you know we love you and support you and we only want you to be happy, dear...but have ever considered accountancy?"

The Wisdom of St Francis

St Francis juggling animals in Heaven.

"Be conscious O human, of the wondrous state in which the Lord God has placed you...all the creatures under Heaven, each according to its nature, serve, know and obey their Creator better than you."

I have a lovely little book called, quite aptly 'A Little Book of St Francis of Assisi'. Each page has a little phrase of spiritual depth and beauty on it which I always find helpful. What everyone admired about St Francis of Assisi was not just the fact that he had renounced everything for Christ, not that he was generous to the poor, nor just that his union with God was perfect or that he was very fond of animals they of him. They admired him and we now revere him too for his great humility.

"It seems to me that I am the greatest of sinners, for if God had treated any criminal with such great mercy he would be ten times more spiritual than I."

Pray for us, Blessed Saint Francis, that we may imitate the humility and spiritual poverty of Christ.

"If you give sight to the blind, heal the paralysed, drive out devils, give hearing back to the deaf, make the lame walk, and restore speech to the dumb, and what is more, bring back to life a man who has been dead for four days - perfect joy is not in that.

If you knew all languages and all sciences and scripture, if you knew how to prophesy and to reveal the future, the secrets of consciences and minds of others - perfect joy is not in that.

If you could speak with the voice of an angel, and knew all the courses of the stars and the powers of herbs, knew all about the treasures in the earth, and the qualities of birds and fishes, animals, humans roots, trees, rocks and the deep waters - perfect joy is not in that.

If you could preach so well that you should convert all unbelievers to the faith of Christ - perfect joy is not in there.

Above all the graces and gifts of the Holy Spirit is that of conquering oneself and willingly enduring sufferings, insults, humiliations and hardships for the love of Christ...

If we endure cruel rebuffs patiently, without being troubled and without complaining, and if we reflect humbly and charitably when others speak against us - perfect joy is there!"

Oops: Is Obama a Muslim?

I was chatting with a good friend of mine in the US today. Rumours that Obama is Muslim and not Christian as he has publicly maintained have not gone away. His refusal to produce an authenticated birth certificate which is an essential item to run for President of the United States only adds fuel to the fire. One could ask the question how on earth that at the same time as the US is fighting a 'War on Terror' against radical Islamic forces who wish only for the overthrow of the US, could the country's citizens be considering voting for someone who has appeared in photos in full Islamic dress as recently as the 1980s. If it were true that he was Christian and not Muslim, Muslim leaders globally would be calling for his head because as he was born to a Muslim father, to renounce Islam is punishable by death. The fact is he is welcomed by Muslim leaders worldwide and they seem rather fond of him. My friend, who is usually correct on his hunches, predicts that he will announce his true faith once he assumes the Presidency at his inauguration. If he has been deliberately concealing the fact that he is Muslim, we are all in for big problems!

This link is by someone who has done some research into his Islamic connections.

Suicide Workshops?

From the beloved BBC:

How charming! Suicide workshops! Well, I suppose pottery isn't for everyone.

Australian euthanasia expert Dr Philip Nitschke says there is now enough support in the UK for his organisation Exit International to have a permanent presence here.

"When elderly people know they have prepared for potentially ending their life, then it gives them a better quality of life, they stop worrying and sometimes they even live longer."

Dr Philip Nitschke is in London to promote Exit International, a voluntary euthanasia information and advocacy group, andhas not had a smooth time since coming over from his native Australia.

Two of his suicide workshops in Dorset were cancelled after the venues pulled out.

But he insists there is enough UK interest in Exit International's work to allow a "chapter" of the organisation to be opened up shortly in London.

A public event was held by Exit International at Conway Hall in Holborn, central London, on Monday, to explain what it does - essentially giving people information on how to end their own lives.

It is illegal under the 1961 Suicide Act to aid, abet, counsel or procure the suicide of another, but Dr Nitschke held his event regardless.

Monday 13 October 2008

Saints Alive!

4 new Saints were made by Pope Benedict today, in order of appearance top to bottom:

St Alphonsa of the Immaculate Conception

St Mary Bernard (Verena) Butler

St Narcisa de Jesus Martillo Moran

St Gaetano Errico

St Edward the Confessor

From Independent Catholic News

King of England. Born in 1003, Edward was the son of Ethelred the Unready and his Norman wife Emma. He was educated at Ely and then in exile in Normandy, while two Scandinavian kings claimed the English throne in succession.

In 1042 he became king. In 1045 he married Edith, daughter of the powerful Earl Godwin. Some historians describe him as a weak ruler who paved the way for the Norman Conquest. Others praise his wisdom which kept the country at peace while Danish and Norman factions struggled for power.

He developed a reputation for holiness, familiarity with his subjects and generosity to the poor. He strengthened links between the English church and Rome.

On 28 December 1065, Edward's new abbey church was consecrated at Westminster. One week later he was dead. Nothing remains of the original building. In the 13th century it was demolished to make way for the present Gothic church. But Edward the Confessor's tomb remains well preserved - one of the few mediaeval shrines to survive the Reformation.

Many miracles were attributed to Edward the Confessor during his lifetime. In the centuries after his death a cult around him spread across the whole country. At least 17 churches are dedicated to him and he is depicted in numerous stained glass windows and church carvings - notably at Westminster Abbey, Trinity College Cambridge, York Minster and Faversham in Kent. He also features in many screen paintings in East Anglia and Devon.

His feast is celebrated today.

Today I Was Asked for Directions to An Abortion Clinic

I seem to be spending a lot of time on my knees recently. To save water from leaking from the shower onto the floor and flooding the flat below I shower on my knees. I spent a great deal of time on my knees last night in prayer. Today I implored someone to think twice about having an abortion from my knees and then prayed afterwards in Church that Our Lady would help her to make the right decision in the same position.

I was asked whether I could give a couple in a car directions to an abortion clinic in Brighton. At first I refused telling them and denied knowing where it was. I did know where it was. They drove on and I reflected that perhaps I had not said enough. I turned around and ran towards the car which had parked up to ask someone else where the clinic was. It was literally 2 minutes down the road.

I managed to catch them up and speak with them. I had resolved in my heart that if I could say anything to them which may be able to persuade them against their probable decision to terminate the human life in the mother's womb then I should.

Due to the sheer profundity of the decision that they were making and my limited ability as a human being to persuade anyone to make a moral choice because of the free will that God has accorded to each and every one of us, I approached the car and addressed them from my knees. I told the couple that I didn't really know how to say what I was about to say but that I was not doing it for my own sake. I implored the couple to defend the right of their child to live. They looked surprised and responded that they did not yet know whether she was pregnant or not.

But the experience has shaken me greatly. I feel that even though I advised them to respect the life in the womb that I still in effect told them where to go. I feel that I have assisted someone in procuring an abortion, even though I advised them totally against it. I don't carry any information on my person with an advice line on alternatives, counselling and assistance for those considering abortion. I know now that I will have to mention this in Confession. In hindsight I should have suggested an alternative. God, be merciful to me a sinner.

Given that they were strangers I knew not what more I could say. They said they would discover whether she was pregnant that day at the clinic. I am quite sure that in the sight of God I could have said or done more or used more eloquent words but I had limited time and knew they would feel my view inappropriate, an invasion of their privacy and more difficult because I am a complete stranger to them. I am sure there is a great possibility they think me mad. Be that as it may, I felt I had to say something. I feel terrible because I did tell them where the clinic was even though I implored the lady to reflect on the human life in her womb. I will never know what happened next...I felt that all I could finally say was may God bless her and that I would pray for her. It is very depressing living so near an abortion clinic, whenever I pass it in the car I know that countless innocent unborn children are killed there every year. I don't know whether large shouting groups with placards really helps the situation, but it is tragic how easy it is for human life to become so dispensible. Pray for her, for him and the unborn child.

As St Francis said, "Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up to now, we have made little or no progress."

The Carpenters

This is a really beautiful song. Karen Carpenter RIP.

It's MY Life

Well, as usual it has been an interesting Sunday. Having attended Mass and received Communion (though ever unworthy, I did go to Confession yesterday) I spent much of the day talking in pubs. "So what is new?" I hear the Court of Heaven crying. Well, something is. Something is new. I had a conversation with a brother parishioner and friend who I shall call Nicholas, because that is his name.

We talked at length about a great many things, amongst which cropped my sexuality and what I think will really make me happy. I explained to him my unhappy situation of being a man attracted to females but who also has the time-bomb of homosexual attraction just waiting to go off at any moment, which recently it has, albeit with my free, wilful and deliberate consent, which makes it even more mortally sinful. Thank God for the Sacrament of Penance. It isn't easy being a modern day Wilde. Suffice to say I was frank with him. Many gay men in Brighton are quite happy with their sexuality. I am not, never have been and never will be. Yet, it is not just my sexuality about which I feel most uncomfortable...its my life.

I have just turned 31. I could quite easily slip into a gay relationship and live 'happily' ever after. Deep down however, I know that no man can make me happy neither in this life nor the life to come other than Christ Himself. The only thing that makes us truly happy is God and His teachings as given us by Holy Mother Church and if you watch Bishop Fulton Sheen's talks on Love you will know what I mean. I am a self-centred person and live my life in Brighton following my own selfish pursuits. Deep down I know I don’t want that. I want to know what it really means to love.

I cannot really explain what happened next, however after our discussion I decided to pray in the Church (I have a key to the Church, being the Book-keeper of the Church, as I am). I went in and began to pray before the Tabernacle on my knees and though I may have by this point drank more than my fair share, I wept many, many, many tears and ended up by prostrating myself before the Altar of God still weeping. I then went to the Lady Chapel and wept more crying out "O Blessed Mother!" I wept so many tears that my body has not yet fully recovered. All I can say is it is the only time in my life in which I felt ready to die.

"What is this about?" I hear you, and the Court of Heaven cry. Well firstly this is about the Mercy of God who loves poor sinners like me. It is about repentance and it is about amendment of one's life. I shall not divulge fully what the outcome of my conversation with Nicholas was, but I shall tell you there was an outcome. I know now what I must do and where I must go. I know what I must do and I know that it shall not be easy. But then the course of true love never did run smooth. All I shall say, is that true love does not seek self. I have a chance to leave Brighton, to move to another town and live for just one other person.

I then returned home having bought a beggar some food and a beer. Nobody else had thought to do that, which is strange in a town so 'friendly' as Brighton. What with having drunk a bottle of wine myself today, who am I to begrudge him a beer? When I got home I watched a program on TV called 'It's MY Life'. In it a debate took place with a Muslim, a Catholic Priest, a gay Anglican Clergyman, a Hindu and an Atheist. Much of the conversation was about homosexuality primarily because an Anglican vicar pronounced himself the 'gay' vicar. The conversation was so very tedious and missed the point precisely. The point, if you choose to believe it, is above and even the Catholic Priest failed to make it with great conviction. God loves sinners and thirsts for us who though often entangled in mortal sin, deep down, thirst for Him. He also wants us to learn from Him because He is meek and humble of heart, so that patiently, gradually we may start to love as He loves and the great challenge is this: Love does not seek self. As St Francis said, "Let us begin to serve the Lord God, for up to now, we have made little or no progress."

Saturday 11 October 2008

Santiago De Compostela

Next year, if travel is still possible and my bank account still exists I'd like to go to Santiago De Compostela with my friend. Apparently there are lots of different 'ways' to make the Pilgrimmage. There is an English way, presumably where people take a thermos of tea and talk about the weather, a French way, a Portugese way, a Primitive Way and others. I wonder which way is the best?

The Brilliant Archbishop on the Three Loves

I'm overjoyed to have discovered Archbishop Fulton Sheen. Hope you are too.

Bush: The Boy Who Cried Wolfowitz

Outgoing President George W Bush has pleaded with nations not to take unilateral action on the financial crisis besetting individual economies. Hang on, didn't almost all the nations of the world plead with him not to take unilateral action on Iraq? Oh yes, they did! What did he do? Oh, yes, he ignored all of them.

"We must ensure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another," he said.

Ironic words coming from someone whose administration seems to have gone out of its way to act in the most unilateral fashion, blithely ignorant of the views of anyone outside of the White House, let alone Capitol Hill and the rest of the outside World!

From our beloved BBC:

US President George W Bush has urged other nations not to take any unilateral action in the current global economic crisis.

Speaking at the White House, he said countries must take co-ordinated action to tackle the market meltdown.

"We must ensure the actions of one country do not contradict or undermine the actions of another," he said.

He spoke as the Group of Seven and the International Monetary Fund held crisis talks in the US capital.

The Pope Who Won't Be Buried

It has been a long time since I have put finger to keyboard to write about our holy Catholic Faith, something I regret, but which I put larg...