Sunday 30 November 2008

We have a Gig at the Albert, Tuesday

Good Evening Brighton, we are The Astonishing and we are going to rock your World, gently and with a deep sense of melancholy. To listen to our unholy dirge, click here.

Mark Glasby, Keyboardist.

Lawrence Elwick, harmonica, looking genuinely astonished.

Ali Tupman, Drums

Me, Laurence England, in my longer haired days, guitar and vocals, propagating something other than the Catholic Faith, another good reason why being in a band is irreligious.


Just gimme fishsticks!
Just feed me fishsticks!
I’m a fishy misfit!
Gimme gimme fishsticks!

Well I don’t mind if
They fail EU Directives!
Mother flippin’ fishsticks
I need my daily fishstick!

Walk into the kitchen
When noone is in
Grab a pack of fishsticks
They’re gone in two short minutes!

I want my fishsticks!
I need my fishsticks!
I don’t care
I don’t care if they’ve been scraped off the factory floor!
I don’t care
I don’t care if they’ve been scraped off the factory floor!

Someone call the sherrif
Put me on the fish list
Someone should arrrest this
Funky frickin' fishstick terrorist

Top of my Christmas wish list
A delivery of sticks o' fish
But its a risky business
Are these really fresh fish?

I need my fish fix!
This could become an illness
People doubt their freshness
I’ll get fishstick sickness!

I want my fishsticks!
I need my fishsticks!
See I don’t care
I don’t care if they’ve been scraped off the factory floor!
Oh I don’t care
I don’t care if they’ve been scraped off the factory floor!

(Middle Eight, Guitar Solo)

Some people like digestives
The fishstick is detested
A fistful of red fish sticks
Makes them see a red mist!

This fishstick sin is
Spoiling all my dinners!
Ruining my fitness!
I snack on fishstick biscuits!

Lord save me from the fish stick!
The wicked wicked fishstick!
I don’t wanna impale this
Soul upon a fish stick!

Heal my fishstick sickness!
Save me from the fish stick!
Lest I dwell in fishstick hell for forever oh for evermore!
Lest I dwell in fishstick hell for forever oh for evermore!
Lest I dwell in fishstick hell for forever oh for evermore!

(Repeat in outro to fade)

Saturday 29 November 2008

'Fame! I Wanna Live Forever! I Wanna Learn How to Serve! Fame!'

I'm the tall, thin, brown haired man at the back of the row with three servers in it. This is one in a selection of pictures taken by a parishioner called Mele at Mass which are available on Fr Ray Blake's blog. Don't worry I won't let fame go to my head, Father.

Top Ten Lies of the Secular World

At 10, a new release, our Blessed Lord had an affair with the penitent St Mary Magdalen and gave her a child the bloodline of whom exists to this day. The whole point of the sinless Lamb of God is not that He had no sexuality, but that he did not act upon it and took upon Himself, in His Blessed Body, all of our sins, our concupiscience and faults when He died on the Cross.

At 9, another new entry, Judas was doing our Blessed Lord a favour and acting in accordance with His Divine Will in betraying our Lord into the hands of His enemies for 30 pieces of silver and our Blessed Lord thanked him for it. The Mystery of Evil is as mysterious as the Mystery of Faith, however, although our Lord we are told, knew all that was to take place, He was not happy with being betrayed by someone He counted as a friend.

At 8, a stalwart contender which seems to hang about secular society eternally, our Lord Jesus Christ was a 'good teacher' but not the Son of God. As far as I am aware, not only did our Lord not do a PGCE course in education, but only the Son of God could rightfully claim to teach us the truth about God and man, suffer and die for mankind's sins and rise again to ascend to the Heavenly Father having established His Holy Church on Earth. A 'good teacher' might say, "Love one another", but only the Son of God could say, "I am the Resurrection and the Life, anybody who believes in Me shall not die, but will have eternal life".

Rolling in at 7, masturbation is not a sin, but is perfectly natural and healthy. Not to do it makes us go insane. Chastity is difficult, and I am guilty. Chastity is more difficult for some than others, but to say masturbation is natural and healthy is a secular lie. Not only is masturbation based on fantasy, given that nobody else is there, but it objectifies the human being and the individual loses sight of the real value of the human person and distorts the notion of love. It isn't natural because in order to make a baby there needs to be one other person least. Similarly, two men have never made a baby, nor two women, nor a heterosexual couple using contraception. Not to give in to these temptations may be terribly annoying for those of us who are sex addicts, but no-one ever got locked up in an asylum for practicing chastity. Some Holy Martyrs were killed for it though...

At 6, a climber, the Crusades were a terrible thing and weren't the Church horrid to those lovely Muslim hoards who were just innocently smoking hookas and playing chess with their mates, when suddenly a bunch of Crusader Knights came along and killed them, their wives and children? The Crusades were launched in response to Islamic aggression and to protect the pilgrims under attack in the Holy Land. If a defence of the Christian realm had not been launched, this country, all of Europe and the West would have been under Sharia Law long ago.

At 5, we shouldn't give money to beggars because they'll only spend it on hard drugs and booze. Helping them is something the council, society or the Government should do. I can't remember the last time someone gave me money when I didn't spend it on fags, alcohol and feeding my inexplicable and unhealthy addiction to fishsticks. Too often this secular lie leads us to do nothing for Christ in the Poor, not even giving our time, energy, love, money, food, possessions and mercy. The poor will indeed be with us always, and to love them, feed them and clothe them and yes, give money to them is to serve Christ and learn that it is in giving that we truly receive.

At 4, when we die there is nothing and nothing happens. Not only is this secular lie depressing but it is terribly damaging to all of us. Life, then becomes a wholly fruitless endeavour of no eternal importance and of no real significance at all. It is also a very convenient way of escaping the simple but profound truth that when we die we will have to answer to someone else other than ourselves, namely, our Maker and Redeemer.

Straight in at number 3, the Church is horrid because it is against contraception and this is the main cause of the spread of AIDS and HIV in the developing world. The main cause of the spread of AIDS, HIV and all sexually transmitted diseases is that people are shagging around without thinking of the consequences. If the Church were to change the Doctrine against contraception, She would be telling big porky pies to all of society, leading us into error and acquiescing with the disturbing, vacuous and meaningless sex that we may enjoy if we do it, but is in no way an objective expression of human love. There is only one sure fire way not to get AIDS. Keep your todger in your trousers until you meet someone you can truly cherish, love and protect in the Sacrament of Marriage, which is eternal and reflective of the beauty of God's Love.

A high climber at 2. Abortion is a 'right' because its 'my body'. Nobody has the right to kill, that is something enshrined in all human hearts and in the rule of law of every country on Earth. The fact that countries abuse this law with capital punishment and abortion laws makes a mockery of every act of human rights legislation ever passed. It may be 'your body', but the baby's body is not an extension of yourself, but another human being alive in your womb. It is a human life, which we should not kill. Hitler thought the lives of the Jews were a great inconvenience. An unwanted pregnancy may be thought of as a great inconvenience, but we have no more right to kill the child in the womb than Hitler had the right to take the lives of innocent Jews. I use Hitler as an example, because the worldwide rate of abortion makes the Holocaust dwindle in comparison. This simple truth extends to the embryos the Government wants to strip and destroy in order to 'save lives' as seen in the Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act'. If you want to 'save lives' Mr Brown, don't kill.

And at 1, Top of the Pops in terms of secular lies, the Church covered up the true teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ, quashed other gnostic 'gospels' and buried the 'real hidden meaning' of our Lord Jesus Christ and the Church is nasty for doing so. Our Blessed Lord built the Church on St Peter and the Apostles when he said, "Peter, thou art the Rock and upon this Rock I shall build My Church and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against it. Whatsover you bind on Earth will be considered bound in Heaven and whatsoever you loosen on earth will be considered loosened in Heaven." The succession of all Apostolic authority from Pope to Bishops to Priests is derived from the authority that Christ gave to St Peter and the Apostles to baptise, teach all nations, absolve sins and offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for the conversion of the World and to strengthen communicants with the Precious Body and Blood of Christ. The main reason that people like 'gnostic' gospels with hidden meaning is that people do not like the Truth and the unalterable fact that the Gospel of Christ as proclaimed by Holy Mother Church is inconvenient, difficult, unpalatable to those who live in falsehood and Holy. Our Blessed Lord was crucified because society rejected the Holy Son of God. The only real reason that the Church is so unpopular is because society perpetually rejects the Holy Teaching of God.

Now, time for Confession...I've fallen into mortal sin this week yet again and committed all kinds of offences against God's unalterable Law of Love of God and neighbour and am in dire need of Absolution, so that I can receive the Precious Body and Blood of Christ tomorrow in a State of Grace.

Friday 28 November 2008

Obama Skips Church Following Election

Why not come to Mass, Barack? The US could do with a Catholic president since the last one got popped may not be so popular but at least little babies would get a chance to live.


President-elect Barack Obama has skipped church services since his election to the presidency, using Sunday to work out at the gym.

His habits differ from his two immediate predecessors President George W. Bush and President Bill Clinton, who both consistently attended Sunday church services following their election victories.

An Obama aid explained to that the Obamas did not wish to disrupt churchgoers with their large entourage.

“Because they have a great deal of respect for places of worship, they do not want to draw unwelcome or inappropriate attention to a church not used to the attention their attendance would draw," the aide reportedly said, adding the family “look[s] forward to finding a church community in Washington, D.C.”

While campaigning, Obama infrequently attended church services aside from a series of appearances in the pews and pulpits of South Carolina churches ahead of its primary.

For two decades, Obama and his family attended Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, but resigned his membership following controversies regarding its pastor Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

Dear God, Please Help Me

I always post up a Morrissey song every few days. He is a cradle Irish Catholic. When The Smiths rose to critical acclaim and to general stardom in the 1980s he distanced himself from the Church in the media, largely, I expect, because he felt like an outcast. The song 'Bigmouth Strikes Again' has the superb line, 'And now I know how Joan of Arc felt, now I know how Joan of Arc felt, as the flames rose to her Roman nose and her hearing aid started to melt.'

This sense of being an outsider has always permeated all of his material, which is why his following is pretty devotional and fanatical. He has always kept his sexuality to himself though he once claimed to have a supernatural grace of being beyond sexuality, almost transcending it. However, his solo material in recent years has revealed a reawakening of his Catholicism as suggested by his comment in an interview, "Those Catholics, they sear you, they do, sear you." He always maintained that whatever you want to know about Morrissey is in his songs, so there was really no need to discuss his private life. His music is an honest outpouring of his heart, from a man who has clearly suffered from a certain amount of rejection, difficulties in forming relationships and his struggles with his sexuality. This song, which is very beautiful, breathtakingly frank, honest and therefore, totally disarming.

I often dream of the singer and I wonder whether he has the spiritual gift of appearing to his fans and giving them some strange sense of consolation. He once came in my dream to listen to my band play. He became very frustrated that we were all sitting around chatting around a table and wanted to listen to our material, but I said, "Later, later, we're having a good time here." He ran off and I ran after him to say, "Morrissey, come back!" The other night he came to me and gave me a big hug, something which his fans seem to hanker after rather a lot. Amazing what the sub-conscious is capable of!

Its perfect Morrissey weather here in Brighton, by the hasn't stopped pissing it down all day. Coastal town too, that they forgot to close down etc...

Tybun Convent & Tyburn Martyrs

The Tyburn Convent in London has a rather flash new website with a lovely pictures section of sacred relics from the 40 martyrs of England and Wales. It also has a tiny description of the lives and ends of the martyrs who shed their blood for Christ and the Catholic Faith. I believe they are called Sisters of Perpetual Adoration which means that at any time, 24 hours a day, at least two sisters are praying before the Blessed Sacrament for the salvation of poor sinners.

Lovely website, click here for more.

Go on Mozzer, my son

Wednesday 26 November 2008

Feast of St Leonard of Port Maurice

Saint Leonard of Port Maurice was a most holy Franciscan friar who lived at the monastery of Saint Bonaventure in Rome. He was one of the greatest missioners in the history of the Church. He used to preach to thousands in the open square of every city and town where the churches could not hold his listeners. So brilliant and holy was his eloquence that once when he gave a two weeks' mission in Rome, the Pope and College of Cardinals came to hear him. The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin, the adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and the veneration of the Sacred Heart of Jesus were his crusades. He was in no small way responsible for the definition of the Immaculate Conception made a little more than a hundred years after his death. He also gave us the Divine Praises, which are said at the end of Benediction. But Saint Leonard's most famous work was his devotion to the Stations of the Cross. He died a most holy death in his seventy-fifth year, after twenty-four years of uninterrupted preaching.

One of Saint Leonard of Port Maurice's most famous sermons was "The Little Number of Those Who Are Saved." It was the one he relied on for the conversion of great sinners. This sermon, like his other writings, was submitted to canonical examination during the process of canonization. In it he reviews the various states of life of Christians and concludes with the little number of those who are saved, in relation to the totality of men.

The reader who meditates on this remarkable text will grasp the soundness of its argumentation, which has earned it the approbation of the Church. Here is the great missionary's vibrant and moving sermon...(Click here for more...)

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Today is the Feast of St Catherine of Alexandria

St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day is November 25th. She is the patroness of philosophers and preachers.

St. Catherine is believed to have been born in Alexandria of a noble family. Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius.

Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the Faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison, and while Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius' wife and two hundred of his soldiers. He had them all put to death.

Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel, and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine's was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.

Maxentius' blind fury against St. Catherine is symbolic of the anger of the world in the face of truth and justice. When we live a life of truth and justice, we can expect the forces of evil to oppose us. Our perseverance in good, however, will be everlasting.

Lap Dancing Is Just A Bit of Innocent Fun Chairman of Lap Dancing Association Tells MPs

This story from The Guardian is verging on parody. I scoured google images looking for an unerotic picture of a lap dancer (research purposes only of course, your honour). Strangely I couldn't find one...

I suppose you could measure sexual stimulation by the amount of men paying a visit to the lavatory after the lap-dancing show to, there must be another way of quantifying it. Perhaps, I'm the only man who lacks self-control...I'm no prude, but this guy's argument is hilarious.

Lap dancing "is not sexually stimulating", the chairman of the Lap Dancing Association told a parliamentary committee today.

Simon Warr made the claim, which was greeted with scepticism by MPs, while he was giving evidence to the Commons culture committee as part of an inquiry into the operation of the Licensing Act.

The government is under pressure to change the act so that lap dancing clubs have to be licensed as sex encounter establishments.

At the moment, they are licensed in the same way as pubs and clubs, which has led to complaints from councils who believe that they do not have the power to stop clubs being opened in their areas.

In their evidence to committee, Warr and colleagues from the Lap Dancing Association claimed that their clubs should not be classified as sex encounter establishments because they were providing hospitality, not sexual services.

But Warr astonished the committed when he argued that sexual stimulation was not part of the clubs' attraction.

"One of the biggest problems we face is that not enough people understand the business blueprint of our clubs," he said.

"Actually, our premises are not sexually stimulating. It would be contrary to our business plan if they were."

At this point, Philip Davies, the Tory MP for Shipley who was questioning Warr, said he found that hard to believe.

"You are saying that the purpose of a lap dancing club is not to be sexually stimulating? Most people would find that a rather incredible claim," Davies said.

Warr replied: "Then you need to go to a club, because the purpose of a club is to provide entertainment. It's to provide alcohol, it's a place of leisure.

"All right, the entertainment may be in the form of nude or semi-nude performers, but it's not sexually stimulating." (LMAO, no of course not, how could we think it such!)

Davies responded with even more astonishment.

"So if I did a straw poll of all the customers who came out a lap dancing club and said 'Did you find that in any way sexually stimulating?' I would find a big resounding fat zero? On that basis you would have a lot of dissatisfied customers."

Warr replied by asking: "How do you measure sexual stimulation? What is the definition of sexual stimulation?"

So remember guys, there is nothing erotic about a scantily clad, perfectly formed female writhing around on a dancefloor and then striding over to you and performing suggestive routines in relative close proximity to your crotch. Nothing erotic about that. Its all innocent, harmless entertainment...It's like playing Monopoly or something, just when you have to give money to the banker you put it in the lady's stockings.

For more click here.

US Bishop Tells Catholic LGBT Community What They Do Not Want to Hear

A US Bishop stunned a Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries Conference 2008 by firmly proclaiming the Gospel. If our Blessed Lord had told people merely what they wanted to hear, in His Earthly Ministry, not only would He have lost the many souls He had won, but He would have been giving them falsehood, rather than Truth. I do not recall an English Bishop saying something so radical for a long time...

If living the Gospel were easy we'd all be Saints in a day or two. The Gospel is not easy at all and God never promised us an easy ride in this life!

Coadjutor Bishop Jaime Soto of Sacramento shocked his unsuspecting audience at the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries conference with a keynote speech that gently but firmly condemned the homosexual lifestyle as sinful, and celebrated extra-marital chastity, according to the California Catholic Daily. "Sexual relations between people of the same sex can be alluring for homosexuals," Bishop Soto told the conference, "but it deviates from the true meaning of the act and distracts them from the true nature of love to which God has called us all. For this reason, it is sinful..."

Click here for more...

Franciscans Telling It Like It Is

Monday 24 November 2008

Are We Born Believing in God?

Click here for a quite interesting discussion on the Today programme this morning about a Cambridge University lecture this week Dr Justin Barrett, who will argue it is the natural default position of children to believe in God.

This challenges the view of some atheists that religion is learned through family indoctrination. Dr Barrett, from the Institute for Cognitive and Evolutionary Anthropology at Oxford University, discusses whether religion or atheism is learned with scientist and writer Professor Lewis Wolpert.

Looking for a Patron?

I've found a good website which details an A-Z of patron saints.

Abandoned Children: Jerome Emiliani
Academics: Thomas Aquinas
Accountants: Matthew
Actors: Genesius; Vitus
Advertising: Bernardine of Siena
Advocates: Ivo
Agricultural workers: Watstan
AIDS Sufferers: Therese of Lisieux
Air travelers: Joseph of Cupertino
Altar boys:John Berchmans
Altar servers: Tarsicius
Anesthetists: Rene Goupil
Angina sufferers: Swithbert
Animals & birds: Francis of Assisi
Animals (sick): Beuno
Apologists: Justin
Apothecaries: Nicholas
Appendicitis: Elmo
Archaeologists: Jerome
Archers: Sebastian
Architects: Barbara; Thomas the Apostle
Armorers: George; Laurence
Art: Catherine of Bologna
Artists: Luke
Astronauts: Joseph of Cupertino
Astronomers: Dominic
Athletes: Sebastian
Authors: Francis de Sales
Aviators: Joseph of Cupertino; Therese of Lisieux Babies: Zeno of Verona

For B - Z click here.

Sunday 23 November 2008

Vatican Confirms: All You Need is Love

Story courtesy of BBC

A Vatican newspaper has forgiven the late English singer John Lennon for saying four decades ago that The Beatles were more popular than Jesus.

In an article praising The Beatles, L'Osservatore Romano said Lennon had just been showing off.

Lennon told a British newspaper in 1966 - at the height of Beatlemania - that he did not know which would die out first, Christianity or rock and roll. At the time, the comparison sparked controversy in the US. The semi-official Vatican newspaper marked the 40th anniversary of The Beatles' "White Album" with an article praising Lennon and the Fab Four from Liverpool.

The paper dismissed Lennon's much-criticised remark that the Beatles were more famous than Jesus Christ as a youthful joke. The paper described the remark as "showing off, bragging by a young English working-class musician who had grown up in the age of Elvis Presley and rock and roll and had enjoyed unexpected success".

L'Osservatore Romano recently got a new editor and now - apart from chronicling the Pope's daily doings and printing the texts of papal speeches - it sometimes runs articles on entertainment on inside pages, together with extensive reporting on world affairs. In a half-page illustrated article, the paper praised The Beatles for what it called their "unique and strange alchemy of sounds and words".

The newspaper said The Beatles's songs had shown an extraordinary capacity for survival and the White Album album remained a "magical musical anthology". In another article on the same page entitled "Twilight of the gods" the newspaper lamented the passing of the golden days of Hollywood and said the mysterious fascination of the star system of Hollywood in the 1950s had been superseded by the cult of so-called celebrities.

Although Pope Benedict has criticised many aspects of modern pop culture, he now allows the newspaper of the tiny independent Vatican state to reflect the reality of the world outside in a way that would have been unthinkable in the days of Pope Paul VI who reigned during heyday of The Beatles.

Self-Interest Will Destroy World, Says Pope

Zenit reports today that Pope Benedict XVI gave his homily on the words of the Gospel on the Feast of Christ the King.

Do good and the Kingdom of God will be realized in our midst, act according to self-interest and the world will be destroyed, says Benedict XVI.

The Pope said this today, the solemnity of Christ the King, in a reflection on the Final Judgment before praying the Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square.

Referring to the parable of the Final Judgment in Matthew's Gospel -- "I was hungry and you gave me to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me" -- the Holy Father said the passage "has become a part of our civilization."

"The images are simple, the language is popular, but the message is extremely important," he said. "It is the truth about our ultimate destiny and lays down the criteria by which we will be judged."

"Who does not know this passage," the Pontiff asked. "It has marked the history of peoples of Christian culture, their hierarchy of values, their institutions, and their many benevolent and social organizations."

The Kingdom of God, continued Benedict XVI, "is not of this world, but it brings to fulfillment all the good that, thanks to God, exists in man and history. If we put love of our neighbor into practice, according to the Gospel message, then we are making room for the lordship of God, and his Kingdom will realize itself in our midst.

"If instead, each of us thinks only of his own interests, the world cannot but be destroyed."

The Pope also reminded the faithful that the "Kingdom of God is not a question of honors and appearances, but, like St. Paul writes, it is 'justice, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.'"

"The Lord has our own good at heart, that is, that every man have life, and that especially the 'least' of his children be admitted to his feast, which he has prepared for all," he said. "Because of this he has no use for the hypocritical ones who say 'Lord, Lord,' but have neglected his commandments.

"God will accept into his eternal kingdom those who have made the effort every day to put his word into practice. This is why the Virgin Mary, the most humble of his creatures, is the greatest in his eyes and sits as Queen at the right of Christ the King."

Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

On Friday I went with my parish priest to the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes, Rottingdean, as he was hearing Confessions and the Community of St John were there giving a talk on the healing nature of the Sacraments. There was Holy Hour for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. I expect this is one aspect of Catholic worship of which non-Catholics are mostly unaware. That we bow in veneration and adore what to non-Catholics would appear as a large white wafer in a jewelled and golden Mmnstrance must seem absurd. Yet to us Catholics, we believe that what is held in the monstrance is no longer that, but our Blessed Lord Himself.

Many of the Saints now venerated by the Church learned the Love of God in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. St Teresa of Calcutta, St Joseph Benedict Labre and countless others had an enormous devotion to adoration of the Most Holy Eucharist. It is not surprising. To be before the Blessed Sacrament is to be before God. To gaze upon the Blessed Sacrament is to be gazed upon by God. This is our faith...

So, you see, the Catholic life, even for a poor and lonely singleton such as me, is not without a sense of Romance. Fr Ray Blake in his homily on the Feast of Christ the King, spoke eloquently about the liturgy of the Church, at its best, being the language of lovers. St John of the Cross is one mystic whose writings express in poetic form his love for God, transcending all other loves, rapt in love with Love Itself.

Nobody can see God and live, the Lord said to Moses on Mount Sinai. Yet, now we behold Him on the Altar and He gazes upon us with tender love. How easy it is for us to keep God at arms length in our lives. How easy it is for us to run away from love! However, to gaze upon the Blessed Sacrament is to be gazed upon by God and suddenly there is nowhere else to look. And when Jesus looks at us, He does not look at us in an accusatory way. He is the true Lover, who sees the heart, gazes into it and then when the soul recognises its utter weakness and desperation, yearning for Him, is embraced by Him. The True Lover then takes the soul to Himself and caresses it as if it were the most valuable and precious thing on Earth. His Perfect Love for us teaches us in the interior of our hearts the love that we should have for our neighbour.

To be Catholic should be like a life long love affair. It should be like a marriage. Yet, was any marriage ever easy?! In this World, has any marriage been without trials and difficulties? From Him we can run if we choose and how often does our weak nature seek independence and earthly pursuits for our own pleasure? Ah, but God is the Perfect Husband, ever faithful and ever ready to take us back to Himself until we realise our unfaithfulness and he gently whispers into the ear of our soul, "You have run and now you realise you are poor without Me. Now, let Me love you."

If, in Holy Hour, God's love can penetrate my poor, stubborn heart then I am pretty convinced His love can penetrate anyone's. The one great difference in this marriage is this: The wife is always in the wrong.

Saturday 22 November 2008

Happy St Cecilia's Day

Angel to St Cecilia: "No, you don't tune it like that. Oh, go on with you, pass it here."

From The Lives of the Saints by the Rev. S. Baring-Gould, M.A., published in 1914 in Edinburgh.

The story of S. Cecilia is not without beauty and merit. There was in the city of Rome a virgin named Cecilia, who was given in marriage to a youth named Valerian. She wore sackcloth next to her skin, and fasted, and invoked the saints and angels and virgins, beseeching them to guard her virginity. And she said to her husband, "I will tell you a secret if you will swear not to reveal it to anyone." And when he swore, she added, "There is an angel who watches me, and wards off from me any who would touch me." He said, "Dearest, if this be true, show me the angel." "That can only be if you will believe in one God, and be baptized."

She sent him to Pope S. Urban (223-230), who baptized him; and when he returned, he saw Cecilia praying in her chamber, and an angel by her with flaming wings, holding two crowns of roses and lilies, which he placed on their heads, and then vanished. Shortly after, Tibertius, the brother of Valerian, entered, and wondered at the fragrance and beauty of the flowers at that season of the year.

When he heard the story of how they had obtained these crowns, he also consented to be baptized. After their baptism the two brothers devoted themselves to burying the martyrs slain daily by the prefect of the city, Turcius Almachius. [There was no prefect of that name.] They were arrested and brought before the prefect, and when they refused to sacrifice to the gods were executed with the sword.

In the meantime, S. Cecilia, by preaching had converted four hundred persons, whom Pope Urban forthwith baptized. Then Cecilia was arrested, and condemned to be suffocated in the baths. She was shut in for a night and a day, and the fires were heaped up, and made to glow and roar their utmost, but Cecilia did not even break out into perspiration through the heat. When Almachius heard this he sent an executioner to cut off her head in the bath. The man struck thrice without being able to sever the head from the trunk. He left her bleeding, and she lived three days. Crowds came to her, and collected her blood with napkins and sponges, whilst she preached to them or prayed. At the end of that period she died, and was buried by Pope Urban and his deacons.

Alexander Severus, who was emperor when Urban was Pope, did not persecute the Church, though it is possible some Christians may have suffered in his reign. Herodian says that no person was condemned during the reign of Alexander, except according to the usual course of the law and by judges of the strictest integrity. A few Christians may have suffered, but there can have been no furious persecutions, such as is described in the Acts as waged by the apocryphal prefect, Turcius Almachius.

Urbanus was the prefect of the city, and Ulpian, who had much influence at the beginning of Alexander's reign as principal secretary of the emperor and commander of the Pretorian Guards, is thought to have encouraged persecution. Usuardus makes Cecilia suffer under Commodus. Molanus transfers the martyrdom to the reign of Marcus Aurelius. But it is idle to expect to extract history from romance.

In 1599 Cardinal Paul Emilius Sfondrati, nephew of Pope Gregory XIV, rebuilt the church of S. Cecilia.

St. Cecilia is regarded as the patroness of music because of the story that she heard heavenly music in her heart when she was married, and is represented in art with an organ or organ-pipes in her hand.

Thursday 20 November 2008

Community of St John

Fr Ray Blake has posted this piece on his blog for St Mary Magdalen's Church. I'm going to give him a lift and attend the Friday talk on Confession and Holy Mass in Rottingdean, which is a stone's throw from Brighton.

Friday 21st November
7.30pm Talk and Ministry ‘The Healing Power of Mass and Confession’
followed by Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament with the
opportunity for confession or spiritual guidance… Church

Saturday 22nd November
9.30am Rosary for Life

10.00am Holy Mass

10.45-12.15pm Pro-Life Meeting
Opportunity for local groups to share experience, information
and support after the HFE Bill.
5.45-6.15pm Confessions
6.30pm Vigil Mass of Christ the King
8.30pm-10.00pm Candlelit Vigil ‘The Power of Prayer’
Meditation, music, quiet Adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

Korean Child Guitar Genius Sungha Jung

Incredibly this child plays the melody and the vocal arrangement at the same time. He even plays Canon in D! Slightly depressing, I am a 31 year old guitarist and he's about 5 and he can do things I wouldn't even try! Still, that's child prodigies for you!

Wednesday 19 November 2008

St Thomas Aquinas Converts Abortionist

Courtesy of Catholic Online

The Spanish daily “La Razon” has published an article on the pro-life conversion of a former “champion of abortion.” Stojan Adasevic, who performed 48,000 abortions, sometimes up to 35 per day, is now the most important pro-life leader in Serbia, after 26 years as the most renowned abortion doctor in the country.

“The medical textbooks of the Communist regime said abortion was simply the removal of a blob of tissue,” the newspaper reported. “Ultrasounds allowing the fetus to be seen did not arrive until the 80s, but they did not change his opinion. Nevertheless, he began to have nightmares.”

In describing his conversion, Adasevic “dreamed about a beautiful field full of children and young people who were playing and laughing, from 4 to 24 years of age, but who ran away from him in fear. A man dressed in a black and white habit stared at him in silence. The dream was repeated each night and he would wake up in a cold sweat. One night he asked the man in black and white who he was. ‘My name is Thomas Aquinas,’ the man in his dream responded. Adasevic, educated in communist schools, had never heard of the Dominican genius saint. He didn’t recognize the name”

“Why don’t you ask me who these children are?” St. Thomas asked Adasevic in his dream.“They are the ones you killed with your abortions,’ St. Thomas told him. “Adasevic awoke in amazement and decided not to perform any more abortions,” the article stated.

“That same day a cousin came to the hospital with his four months-pregnant girlfriend, who wanted to get her ninth abortion—something quite frequent in the countries of the Soviet bloc. The doctor agreed. Instead of removing the fetus piece by piece, he decided to chop it up and remove it as a mass. However, the baby’s heart came out still beating. Adasevic realized then that he had killed a human being,”

After this experience, Adasevic “told the hospital he would no longer perform abortions. Never before had a doctor in Communist Yugoslavia refused to do so. They cut his salary in half, fired his daughter from her job, and did not allow his son to enter the university.”

After years of pressure and on the verge of giving up, he had another dream about St. Thomas.

“You are my good friend, keep going,’ the man in black and white told him. Adasevic became involved in the pro-life movement and was able to get Yugoslav television to air the film ‘The Silent Scream,’ by Doctor Bernard Nathanson, two times.”

Adasevic has told his story in magazines and newspapers throughout Eastern Europe. He has returned to the Orthodox faith of his childhood and has studied the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas.

Should the Church be Ashamed of the Crusades?

Excellent article on the Crusades from Jerrilyn Szelle Holladay on Catholic Online.

“What about the Crusades?” The question seems more like an accusation, implying that the powerful Europeans attacked a simple and peaceful people on their home turf for no reason.

Using the Crusades as a club to bludgeon the West into guilty silence is a modern practice that has more to do with twentieth century events like the First and Second World Wars and the strains of passivism these engendered, than with the reality of the 12th and 13th centuries.

In fact, the Muslims were proud of the Crusades. After all, they won. And the Europeans? The Crusades were the first stirring of coordinated defense against centuries of attack by Muslim forces. Until the 20th century the Crusades were viewed as honorable wars, by all sides.

So, be ready when someone flips you the Crusades trump card. The historical context is the key to this puzzle, not 20th century sensibilities. The events leading up to and following the Crusades place them where they belong in the flow of history.

The Middle East was once the Christian Heartland

It’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Long before the advent of Islam in the 7th century, the Middle East was the heartland of Christianity. Jesus was a Palestinian Jew. All the major doctrines of Christian theology – the Trinity, the Incarnation, etc. -- were hammered out in the great and ancient Sees that go back to the earliest history of the Church. With the exception of Rome, all were engulfed by Islamic conquest. – Jerusalem, Alexandria (Egypt), Antioch (Syria), and Constantinople – all submerged....(click here for more).

Tuesday 18 November 2008

What Happens If You Sing Hymns at Night in San Francisco?

With thanks to Creative Minority Report

Homeless Brighton Couple in Cemetery Not 'In Need'

A high density of homelessness is a well known statistic to Brightonians. The couple pictured above however, who are sleeping in a local cemetery in a tent have hit the headlines of the Argus however because of the Council's insistence that they are not 'in need' of supportive accommodation.

For the full story click here.

A homeless couple face spending the winter living in a tent in a graveyard because council officials say they do not need urgent help.

Karen and Richard Smith pitch their tent after dark each night in a Brighton cemetery so they do not become a target for gangs. At dawn, they pack up and begin their daily routine – washing in public toilets and selling magazines to Brighton shoppers.

Now they are preparing to spend a second Christmas outdoors after being repeatedly turned down for housing by Brighton and Hove City Council because they are not in “priority need”. They claim that if they were addicted to class A drugs they would be whisked into bed and breakfast accommodation by outreach workers.

Instead, they make a living from the charity of passers-by while they wait to see if the council can find them a home. Mrs Smith, 40, who has a heart condition, believes another winter outdoors could kill her. She was briefly housed while she recovered from an operation earlier this year but was then thrown back on the street – and handed a £140 council tax bill.

She said last night: “It is freezing cold, muddy and wet. This winter’s going to be even worse than the last one. I think it could finish me off. The last two mornings I’ve got up and haven’t been able to speak for hours because of the cold.”

The couple have been through 15 tents in two years, sapping the cash they raise selling magazines on the streets. Mrs Smith is a familiar sight outside HMV in Western Road, while Mr Smith, 44, sells the Big Issue outside the nearby Waitrose.

Mrs Smith said Brighton and Hove City Council told the couple they might be housed early next year but has not offered them anywhere to stay until then. She became homeless after fleeing a violent relationship in 2000. She and her three children were housed by social services in Portsmouth but ended up living in squats. Eventually her son was taken into care and the family split up, with Mrs Smith having nowhere to go but the street. She said homelessness was a trap from which it was almost impossible to escape, adding: “The first couple of months living on the streets are scary. You don’t want to get used to it. You want to be part of society. I have qualifications in business and computing. I could be doing something better with my life. But without an address it’s impossible to get anywhere.”

A council spokesman confirmed the couple did not meet requirements for emergency housing. “The homeless legislation we have to work to sets out which category of household the council has a duty to provide accommodation for. Ms Smith and her husband applied to us for housing last year and then again earlier this year. In both cases they were found not to be in priority need under homeless legislation.”

US enters into the Heart of Darkness

For full story click here.

Obama's transition team is busily preparing a thick sheaf of Executive Orders for the President-elect to sign the day he takes office. And in a reprise of what happened when Bill Clinton took power 16 years ago, the pro-life policies of the Bush Administration will apparently be the first to go.

Obama appears set to reverse existing Executive Orders that protect taxpayers from having to fund abortions at home and abroad. Moreover, Bush’s prohibition against the vivisection of tiny humans (aka embryonic stem cell research), will almost certainly go by the wayside.

Another pro-life policy on the ideological chopping block involves the U.N. Population Fund (UNFPA), which unabashedly supports China’s inhumane one-child policy.

We know. It was the Population Research Institute whose investigation in China led the Bush administration to cut off funding to the UNFPA for the past seven years. We have continued to monitor the situation in China, and we stand by our assertion that the UNFPA was, and is, involved in coercive abortions in China.

PRI’s original report, entitled “UNFPA, China, and Coercive Family Planning,” is based on an investigation conducted by PRI researchers in China’s Sihui County. Relying on interviews with over two dozen victims and witnesses, the 2001 investigation found that coercive abortion and sterilization practices were taking place in that county where the UNFPA had supposedly instituted a "client-centered and voluntary family planning program." In fact, PRI’s investigation revealed that the UNFPA shared an office with the very Chinese family planning officials who were locking up women and carrying out forced abortions.

Prompted by this investigation, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell sent his own research team to China, which independently verified the facts that PRI had gathered. As a result, Powell himself urged that the U.S. government stop funding the UNFPA. Said Powell in a 2002 letter to Congress: “UNFPA's support of, and involvement in, China's population-planning activities allows the Chinese government to implement more effectively its program of coercive abortion.”

Heartwarming Maradona Story

Lovely story about the Argentine infamous in England for his legendary footballing talent and gratuitous cheating in the 1986 World Cup.

Courtesy of Times Online

While Diego Maradona has maintained a rather distant and aloof presence on his first return to Scotland in 28 years, his mood lifted in one magical moment for Adam Brown, a 13-year-old ball boy, last night.

As Argentina trained at Celtic Park in preparation for the friendly with Scotland at nearby Hampden Park on Wednesday, a message on the giant electronic screens read "Celtic welcomes Diego Maradona and the team of Argentina to paradise".

But it almost turned into a nightmare for Maradona, who had misplaced a St Christopher's medallion he had been given to look after by Fernando Gago, the Real Madrid midfielder.

The stocky 48-year-old led a frantic ten minute search for the lost pendant, as his staff and a dozen ball boys - Celtic's Under-14 squad – formed a police-style cordon and walked down the pitch before Brown found the crucifix on a chain.

A joyous Maradona, who had been fairly quiet during the warm-up and a nine-a-side practice game which he refereed, whooped with delight, bounded up and embraced Brown. He then gave him his woolly hat in gratitude amid cheers from a few spectators in the stands.

"He just said thank you to me," a delighted Brown said. "I will probably frame the hat and gloves."

Bishop of Lancaster Blasts Liberal Catholics

Click the link for the full story from The Telegraph

The Rt Rev Patrick O'Donoghue, the Bishop of Lancaster, has claimed that graduates are spreading scepticism and sowing dissent. Instead of following the Church's teaching they are "hedonistic", "selfish" and "egocentric", he said.

In particular, the bishop complained that influential Catholics in politics and the media were undermining the Church. While not naming names, he suggested that such people had been compromised by their education, which he said had a "dark side, due to original sin".

Prominent Catholics in public life include Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, and Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister. Bishop O'Donoghue, who has recently published a report on how to renew Catholicism in Britain, argued that mass education has led to "sickness in the Church and wider society".

"What we have witnessed in Western societies since the end of the Second World War is the development of mass education on a scale unprecedented in human history - resulting in economic growth, scientific and technological advances, and the cultural and social enrichment of billions of people's lives," he said.

"However, every human endeavor has a dark side, due to original sin and concupiscence. In the case of education, we can see its distortion through the widespread dissemination of radical scepticism, positivism, utilitarianism and relativism.

"Taken together, these intellectual trends have resulted in a fragmented society that marginalizes God, with many people mistakenly thinking they can live happy and productive lives without him...

Graffiti Just Outside My House

I just popped out for my first cigarette of the day and suddenly recognised the dark grey wall just to the right of my flat has been daubed with graffiti. The wall as far as I know, has never been used for this so this must count as something of a first for my street. The culprit has put a rather large and very rude message up for the residents of the neighbourhood to admire. Basically it depicts a huge penis with semen coming out of it. It is a great shame that someone's property has been defaced like this and also that the 'artist' who goes by the name of 'stupid youth productions' has gone in for the crudest imagery possible.

I don't however, harbour real resentment of those who commit the crime of defacing walls or facias with graffiti. It seems to be an aggressive outlet for young people who were failed by the education system to express a talent to a society that gave up on them long, long ago. It is the cry of those whose voices are seldom heard. It says, "Look at me! Pay me some attention! Nobody cares about me or my views or my talents and this is what I have been reduced to!"

Doubtless if the young person who did this is caught he will receive a fine and community service removing graffiti, either his own or other people's, but will his enthusiasm for art ever be channelled into something life-giving which recognises his talent? I would imagine that this is very rare. Barnados released a report recently which suggested that the British people are 'scared' of children who are seen as 'feral'. Children may be becoming more out of control, as a result of broken families, poverty and a lack of love having been shown them by society, but none are truly 'feral'. We seem to lack a Christian understanding in this country for those who are trying to express their utter frustration with their own lives, with how society has rejected them and how the education system has left them without hope. It would be better, when young adults or children are found doing graffiti that following the obvious 'slap on the wrist' they were involved in projects which tried to develop their talents in a more positive way. But that would take serious funding and serious love, wouldn't it?

Update: The Council have come and cleaned it up already. If only they were so efficient at housing the homeless. See article above.

Pro-Lifers Defend 'Italy's Terry Schiavo'

Terry Schiavo died when her feeding tube was removed at her husband's request in 2005.

Courtesy of Zenit

Italian associations are making last-minute appeals for the life of Eluana Englaro, after Italy's Supreme Court ruled Thursday that her father's wish would be granted and her feeding tube will be removed.

Englaro, 37, has been in a coma since 1992, when she suffered a car accident. Her case has been called Italy's version of the Terri Schiavo battle that raged in the United States in 2005, and ended in Schiavo's death by dehydration and starvation.

For 14 years, Englaro has been in the care of a group of nuns who, according to Cardinal Ennio Antonelli, president of the Pontifical Council for the Family, are the only ones "close to the young woman who still fight for her life." Her father has led the legal battle to have her feeding tube disconnected.

"Many words have been said in Eluana's case," the cardinal stated. "The most beautiful and persuasive of these are those [spoken] by the nuns: 'If there is someone who considers her dead, may they leave Eluana to continue with us, who feel she is alive ... Leave us the freedom to love and to give ourselves to one who is weak.'"


Last weekend, more than 500 representatives of Italy's Centers for Aid to Life gathered to ask Parliament for an emergency measure that would protect people in situations like that of Englaro.

The Movement for Life organization also wrote Italy's president, requesting that he use his "moral authority so that Eluana can continue to be fed by the nuns of Lecco, who have cared for her until now."

Carlo Casini, president of the movement, affirmed that the court's decision "endangers thousands of seriously impaired people who depend on society's capacity to receive them. In short, it endangers all of us when we become marginalized or useless."

Casini added that "the battle for life and for the family is becoming ever harder," so that "reasonable work is not enough; it's necessary to pray more."

The Science and Life association also weighed in on the decision, affirming that it is "a true and authentic death sentence." Their statement asked caustically if the state would follow the example of those nations that prescribe the death penalty, and allow Englaro's death to be filmed, so that "our children and grandchildren can see how an Italian citizen can be condemned by a judge in a civil and democratic state to die of hunger and thirst."


Cardinal Antonelli, nevertheless, expressed his hope that "in the last minute, the case will be reopened and ideology will not completely blind consciences."

"Eluana is in a 'vegetative state,' but she is not a vegetable. She is a person who is sleeping," he said. "The person, also when she is sleeping or disabled, conserves all of her dignity. The person is valuable in herself, not for what she produces or consumes, or for the pleasure or satisfaction she gives to others."

Today's Saint

St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, Virgin

Born in Grenoble, France, in 1769, Rose joined the Society of the Sacred Heart. In 1818, when she was forty-nine years old, Rose was sent to the United States. She founded a boarding school for daughters of pioneers near St. Louis and opened the first free school west of the Missouri. At the age of seventy-one, she began a school for Indians, who soon came to call her "the woman who is always praying". Her biographers have also stressed her courage in frontier conditions, her singlemindedness in pursuing her dream of serving Native Americans, and her self-acceptance. This holy servant of God was beatified by Pope Pius XII in 1940 and canonized by Pope John Paul II in 1988.

Monday 17 November 2008

The Ecstacy of St Francis

"Look, Holy Angels, its four in the morning and you think you can just barge in here with your lute and play a gig! I've got to get up early tomorrow you know! Oh all right, one more and that's your lot! Anyway, that last one was meant to be in D major."

Pope Benedict XVI on the Parable of the Talents

Courtesy of Zenit

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

The Word of God this Sunday -- the penultimate of the liturgical year -- invites us to be vigilant and active, in awaiting the return of the Lord Jesus at the end of time. The Gospel passage tells the parable of the talents, reported by St. Matthew (25:14-30). The "talent" was an ancient Roman coin of great value and precisely on account of the popularity of this parable it has become synonymous with personal gifts, which everyone is called to develop.

In reality, the text speaks of "a man who, going abroad, called his servants and handed over his goods to them" (Matthew 25:14). The man in the parable represents Christ himself, the servants are his disciples and the talents are the gifts that Jesus gives them. For this reason such gifts, apart from natural qualities, represent the riches that the Lord Jesus has left us as a legacy, so that we bear fruit with them: his Word, deposited in the holy Gospel; baptism, which renews us in the Holy Spirit; prayer -- the "Our Father" -- that we address to God as sons united in the Son; his forgiveness, which he commanded to be brought to all; the sacrament of his immolated Body and his Blood that he poured out. In a word: the Kingdom of God, which is Christ himself, present and living among us.

This is the treasure that Jesus has entrusted to his friends, at the end of his brief life on earth. Today's parable considers the interior attitude with which this gift is accepted and valued. The mistaken attitude is that of fear: The servant who fears his master and fears his return, hides the coin in the ground and it does not produce any fruit. This happens, for example, to those who, having received baptism, Communion, and confirmation bury such gifts beneath prejudices, a false image of God that paralyzes faith and works, so as to betray the Lord's expectations.

But the parable puts greater emphasis on the good fruits born by the disciples who, happy at the gift received, did not hide it with fear and jealously, but made it fruitful, sharing it, participating in it. Indeed, what Christ gives us is multiplied when we give it away! It is a treasure that is made to be spent, invested, shared with all, as the Apostle Paul, that great administrator of Jesus' talents, has taught us.

The Gospel teaching, which the liturgy offers us today, has even entered into the historical and social sphere, promoting an active mentality among Christian populations. But the central message regards the spirit of responsibility with which the Kingdom of God is to be accepted: responsibility toward God and toward humanity. This attitude is perfectly incarnated in the heart of the Virgin Mary who, receiving the most precious of gifts, Jesus himself, offered him to the world with great love. Let us ask her to help us to be "good and faithful servants," so that one day we can take part "in the joy of our Lord."

Today is the Feast of...

St Elizabeth of Hungary

"She lays her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretches out her hand to the poor; yes, she reaches forth her hands to the needy. She is not afraid of the snow for her household: for all her household are clothed with scarlet. She makes herself coverings of tapestry; her clothing is silk and purple. Her husband is known in the gates, when he sits among the elders of the land. She makes fine linen, and sells it; and delivers girdles unto the merchant. Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness. She looks well to the ways of her household, and eats not the bread of idleness. Her children arise up, and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her. Many daughters have done virtuously, but you excel them all."

St. Elizabeth was born in Hungary in 1207, the daughter of Alexander II, King of Hungary. At the age of four she was sent for education to the court of the Landgrave of Thuringia, to whose infant son she was betrothed. As she grew in age, her piety also increased by leaps and bounds. In 1221, she married Louis of Thuringia and in spite of her position at court began to lead an austerely simple life, practiced penance, and devoted herself to works of charity.

Her husband was himself much inclined to religion and highly esteemed her virtue, encouraging her in her exemplary life. They had three children when tragedy struck - Louis was killed while fighting with the Crusaders. After his death, Elizabeth left the court, made arrangements for the care of her children, and in 1228, renounced the world, becoming a tertiary of St. Francis. She built the Franciscan hospital at Marburg and devoted herself to the care of the sick until her death at the age of 24 in 1231.

St. Elizabeth is the patron saint of bakers, countesses, death of children, falsely accused, the homeless, nursing services, tertiaries, widows, and young brides. Her symbols are alms, flowers, bread, the poor, and a pitcher.

Saturday 15 November 2008

The Public Outcry on 'Baby P'

As Catholics, we condemn outright the taking of human life whenever it is found. We pray for the families who have lost their children to the brutality of man's violence. We condemn utterly the actions of those who have either acquiesced in, or committed by hand, child murder.

Speaking personally as a Catholic, however, it seems to me that there has been much in the news this week about the slaughter of innocent life, of lives whose promise was snuffed out by evil and also by the mental illness of those who have perpetrated the crimes that have been brought to light this week in the news.

What I find frustrating about the news coverage of the horrifying stories of child abuse and murder this week is the complete blindness of those in public office who now, at the despatch box in the House of Commons denounce the taking of innocent human life as if they are moral guardians of the country, while, at the same time, renounce not their endorsement and active support for the existing abortion laws of the UK. The hypocrisy of our leaders is shameful and their words are hollow, for if they cannot condemn and campaign against the horror of abortion then their stand for the protection of innocent life outside of the womb does not hold any credence!

We Catholics know where we stand. We condemn the evil that has been brought to light this week and pray for the victims of the crimes and the repentence and rehabilitation of those who have committed it. However, for Gordon Brown and David Cameron to make political capital out of their 'care' for innocent life is a scandal, because both are in favour of abortion and their voting records are visible for all to see in the HFE Bill.

Is child murder so shocking to the nation?

Is it so shocking in the light of the fact that thousands of innocent children are slaughtered in the womb every year?!

To me, and to most Catholics who are pro-life (for it is not necessarily a given nowadays) it is not shocking, no, because the culture of life has been so eroded that for modern man and modern woman, infanticide is a daily societal norm taking places in buildings in nearly every town.

It would appear, listening to Radio 4 this weekend, that to the panel who unanimously condemned the barbarism that has been inflicted upon innocent life this is a new and deeply disturbing phenomenom. Disturbing it is, but new? No! Not new at all! It is happening every day and I would posit that the very people who condemn the actions of those who inflicted this injustice now still to this very day, many of them, support the right of people to murder children in the womb. I could post up pictures or videos of what takes place in an abortion but they are too horrendous to show.

Instead, I would suggest that a society that has allowed freely and openly for child murder in the womb is one that gradually, little by little, degenerates into a society that cannot see life as sacred or of worth at all. The society that allows, or even worse, promotes the taking of human life before birth will fail to uphold the rights to life of those outside of the womb also, yes even children outside of the womb. I would posit that the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church has been right all along...and yes, the permission and promotion of the one has indeed led to the other.

People are looking desperately to blame social services, to blame the perpetrators of these crimes against children. Blame is surely theirs for their inactions and their actions respectively. But the blame is also ours, because we with our acquiescence in and acceptance of abortion and our subsequent failure to condemn it for what it is, have created what Pope John Paul II rightly called, the 'Culture of Death.'

Parish Priest at Risk of Excommunication Over Ordination of Women

From Catholic Online

Fr. Roy Bourgeois is a Maryknoll Priest, ordained to the priesthood in 1972. From the beginning of his priestly ministry he has worked with the poor and the oppressed. He has taken public and sometimes controversial stands against Latin American leaders who have not respected human dignity or demonstrated concern for the oppressed or the poor.

He founded the “School of the America’s Watch” in 1990 to call attention to what he has long maintained was American complicity in some of the very unjust activities he had dedicated his life and ministry to expose, oppose and change.

Thus far, though Catholics of various political persuasions could - and often do - disagree with him and his political leanings, he has certainly been within his rights to engage in this work. He has also not veered from Catholic teaching in so doing. However, all that changed on August 9th when Fr. Bourgeois chose to become a “concelebrant” and homilist at the attempted ordination to the priesthood of Janice Sevre-Duszynska. The attempted “ordination” occurred at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Lexington, Ky.

Now, Fr. Bourgeois has decided to engage in a new crusade, one which involves public and direct defiance of the Holy See and a repudiation of the unbroken teaching of the Magisterium of the Catholic Church concerning sacred ordination.

According to a letter which Fr. Bourgeois released to the Press, he has received a letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It gave him a certain period of days within which he was to recant his “belief and public statements that support the ordination of women in our Church, or (he) will be excommunicated.” This action followed the priests public rejection of efforts from the leadership within his own religious community to return him to fidelity with the teaching of the Catholic Church.

More Sad News from India

From Asia News

The government of Orissa has permitted today's demonstration by Swami Laxmananda Saraswati Sradhanjali Samiti in Bhubaneshwar, despite New Delhi's concern that it could unleash further inter-religious violence. Meanwhile, anti-Christian violence continues in Orissa, with churches demolished and Christians arrested under the false accusation of "instigating conversions."

The extremist Hindu group called for the march in protest against the failure to arrest the killers of Laxmananda Saraswati, leader of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), murdered on August 23. Although the police maintain that Maoist groups are responsible, the Hindus have used it as a pretext for anti-Christian pogroms.

At least 1,500 policemen will keep watch to prevent incidents. But in Kandhamal, there is great fear that the march is a pretext for a resumption of the attacks, which have never really ceased. At least 50,000 participants are expected, and the organizers have posted flyers everywhere calling for the arrest of the assassins, but also "to stop the conversions and the killing of cows" and to "defend Hinduism and tribal culture."

In this atmosphere, on the night of November 12 three Christians were arrested under the accusation of "inducing" to conversion some of the inhabitants of a suburb of Bangalore. The leaders of the Christian associations have organized a campaign for their release.

The All India Christian Council (AICC) reports the information provided by Christian leaders in Karnataka: a man, Chandrashekhar, and two women, Kamlamma and Sandhya, were invited to the house of the man's sister, in the neighborhood of Jeevanahalli in Bangalore, to pray for the health of her son.

When they left their home at the end of the prayer meeting, the three were met by a group of about 15 militants of the Bajrang Dal, the youth branch of the VHP. The fanatics beat the man, then called the police accusing the three of inducing a group of inhabitants to conversion. A business owner confirmed the false accusation for the police of Fraser Town.

Chandrashekhar's sister says that she called him to pray for the health of her sick son, and rejects the accusations as "unfounded." Sam Paul, secretary for the public affairs of the AICC, says that "this is one of many examples of Christians who are falsely accused of forcible conversion by Hindutva forces. They are, of course, innocent. The sad reality is that, in India today, legal harassment of innocent Christians is common."

Meanwhile, on the night of November 11, the Catholic church in the village of Tiangia was razed to the ground. The church, which had escaped the earlier violence because it was still being built, was supposed to be inaugurated soon.

According to the AICC, since August 24 in Orissa, violence has been seen in 14 of the 30 districts in the state, with damage in 315 villages. 4,640 homes have been burned, 53,000 people have been displaced, and 60 people have been killed, including two pastors and a Catholic priest. Two women have been raped, 151 churches have been destroyed, and the attacks still continue today. In Bihar, a church has been damaged. In the state of Chhattisgarh, four sisters were attacked. In Jharkhand, Hindu fundamentalists attacked a church and tried to "reconvert" the Christian faithful. Four churches have been damaged in Kerala, Tamil Nadu, and Madhya Pradesh. In New Delhi, two churches have been damaged, and another four attacked. In Punjab, three Christians have been detained by the police under false accusations. In Uttar Pradesh, three pastors have been beaten, together with the wife of one of them. In Uttarakhand, two Christians have been killed, a priest and his employee.

Oh the Eighties!

Good Backing Vocals too...

Kirsty McColl RIP

Lovely Marianne Faithfull Song

Friday 14 November 2008

Someone asked me yesterday whether I had an obsessive compulsive disorder.

I said, "No, no, I washed my hands of that only minutes ago. Give me a second, I've just got to go to the bathroom."

Lord, they say only the good die young.

I knew there was a reason I was still in the land of the living.

Today is the Feast of...

St Lawrence O'Toole

As a boy, he was taken away to a distant area. On being recalled from exile, he offered himself to the Bishops of Glendaloch. He was made Abbot, and by his humility and the warmth of his love, provided a shining example of goodness. After becoming Archbishop of Dublin, he reorganized the Cathedral clergy from a Secular into a Regular body, and himself shared their Common Life. In this Office, he was most conspicuous for his wonderful gentleness and his special love towards the poor. He was the mediator of peace between Ireland and England, and while attending the English King on a visit to Normandy, he was taken with fever and died in the Monastery of the Regular Canons at Chiemsee in 1180.


I just called my Dad to wish him a happy's on the 21st. Today is the 14th.

If anyone does It will be because...

If No One Ever Marries Me

If No One Ever Marries Me

If no one ever marries me
And I don't see why they should,
For nurse says I'm not pretty,
And I'm seldom very good

If no one ever marries me
I shan't mind very much,
I shall buy a squirrel in a cage
And a little rabbit-hutch;

I shall have a cottage near a wood,
And a pony all my own,
And a little lamb, quite clean and tame,
That I can take to town.

And when I'm getting really old
At twenty-eight or nine
I shall buy a little orphan-girl
And bring her up as mine.

by Lawrence Alma-Tadema

St Christina the Astonishing

"St Christina the Astonishing, Come on down!"

My band, who've got a gig tonight at Hove Town Hall, were named after St Christina the Astonishing. An act of profound hubris on my part, something which is regularly my downfall, but I formed the band at a time when I had been learning about the life of this Saint and wanted to name my band after her.

I would imagine that Heaven takes a rather dim view of modern pop/rock music, no matter how good people's intentions are simply because pop/rock bands are inherently idolotrous, often ludicrous and very often, not very good. If there is music in Heaven, and we hope there is, it is the sound of choirs of saints and angels singing in their adoration of the Blessed Trinity. We know this because Pope Benedict XVI denounced it publicly relatively recently. Rock music that is. I do intend to renounce it one day, but at the moment I am a bit hooked. I love my band, I love rehearsing with them, music gives me an outlet for my frustrations and anxieties and performing music panders to my insatiable self-love and gratuitous ego.

St Christina was astonishing. St Joseph Benedict Labre is a patron of mental illness but sufferers also have a patroness in St Christina who was very misunderstood in her life by virtually all who encountered her.

This biography can be found here. Born to a peasant family, orphaned as a child, and raised by two older sisters. At age 21, she experienced a severe seizure of what may have been epilepsy. It was so severe as to be cateleptic, and she was thought to have died. During her funeral Mass, she suddenly recovered, and levitated to the roof of the church. Ordered down by the priest ("Young lady, get down here this instant!”), she landed on the altar and stated that she had been to hell, purgatory, and heaven, and had been returned to earth with a ministry to pray for souls in purgatory.

Her life from that point became a series of strange incidents cataloged by a Thomas de Cantimpré, Dominican professor of theology at Louvain who was a contemporary recorded his information by interviewin witnesses, and by Cardinal Jacques de Vitny who knew her personally. She exhibited both unusual traits and abilities. For example, she could not stand the odor of other people because she could smell the sin in them, and would climb trees or buildings, hide in ovens or cupboards, or simply levitate to avoid contact. She lived in a way that was considered poverty even in the 13th century, sleeping on rocks, wearing rags, begging, and eating what came to hand. She would roll in fire or handle it without harm, stand in freezing water in the winter for hours, spend long periods in tombs, or allow herself to be dragged under water by a mill wheel, though she never sustained injury. Given to ecstasies during which she led the souls of the recently dead to purgatory, and those in purgatory to paradise.

People who knew her were divided in their opinions: she was a holy woman, touched of God, and that her actions and torments were simulations of the experiences of the souls in purgatory; she was suffering the torments of devils - or she was flatly insane. However, the prioress of Saint Catherine’s convent testified that no matter how bizarre or excessive Christina’s reported actions, she was always completely obedient to the prioresses orders. Friend of Louis, Count of Looz, whose castle she visited, and whose actions she rebuked. Blessed Marie of Oignies thought well of her, and Saint Lutgardis sought her advice. She died 24 July 1224 at Saint Catherine’s convent, Belgium.

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...