Friday 30 April 2010

Some Facts About Abortion...

I would encourage anyone, Catholic or not, to watch the following film about the facts of abortion which are not under any kind of dispute. Unfortunately, the music which goes along with this video is awful, so I was forced to watch it with the sound turned down. It makes the video no less effective.

Thursday 29 April 2010

Breaking News...Breaking News...Breaking News

The Times reports the latest on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office memo scandal. Bishop's involvement in blue, bold.

'The civil servant in charge of the Pope’s visit to Britain has been suspended and is to be investigated for misconduct after a memo lampooning the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church was leaked to the press.

All the staff involved in producing the memo are to be sent on “urgent diversity training” and will have nothing further to do with organising the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Britain in September. (Oh my..."urgent diversity training"...a pretty severe reprimand there. Poor guy! You can just imagine him. "No! Sack me! Do anything! Just don't make me do 'urgent diversity training'!")

Anjoum Noorani, 31, circulated the memo where proposals included having the Pope open an abortion clinic, launch a brand of Benedict condoms and bless a civil partnership. As head of the Papal visit team, he had initially been merely assigned to other duties after a diplomatic storm broke out this week over the document.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: “As we have made clear publicly, it was a foolish document that did not in any way reflect FCO views. Although it was intended only for internal use, it was ill-judged, naive and disrespectful of some key tenets of the Catholic faith. It has caused great offence and done considerable reputational harm to the standing of the Diplomatic Service. Having considered all of the facts carefully we have taken the decision to ensure that staff involved in the production of the memorandum undergo urgent diversity training and have no further involvement in the visit. In one case a member of staff will be suspended pending a misconduct investigation. The FCO very much regrets this incident and is deeply sorry for the offence which it has caused. We strongly value the close and productive relationship between the UK Government and the Holy See and look forward to deepening this further with the visit of Pope Benedict to the UK later this year.”

The memo, entitled “The ideal visit would see” was distributed across Whitehall including Downing Street. Bishop Kieran Conry of Arundel and Brighton says in tomorrow’s Tablet: “The most disturbing thing is that it creates an awkward feeling, that there is a residue of anti-Catholic bigotry around. It suggests that it is OK to ridicule and vilify the Catholic Church and its beliefs.” He said that it was “silly and embarrassing” but would not damage relations between the Church and the Foreign Office.

Sir Peter Ricketts, Permanent Under Secretary at the Foreign Office, personally called Archbishop Vincent Nichols to apologise after the memo was made public.

Peter Hain, the Welsh Secretary, also called Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff to express his objection to the Foreign Office officials’ behaviour, The Tablet reports. While some have dismissed the memo as a joke, some senior government sources believe that the brainstorming session would have been taken seriously.

The Bishop of Hallam, John Rawsthorne, said that the memo was “very silly and very embarrassing” and that it was worrying that it could come from “so serious a department of state.”

Bishop Thomas McMahon of Brentwood said: “It was ill-judged and insulting not only to the Pope but to millions of Catholics around the world.”'

I'm in the Pub

I, Laurence, a poor sinner, write as your man in Brighton and urge you, in the name of Christ Jesus, to celebrate St Catherine of Siena's Feast Day by feasting as the Church commands, by drinking some Guinness, smoking some fags and playing some chess, as I am doing.

I write this because I'm the third man in this chess tournament and am therefore redundant, receiving not the attention which my soul, steeped in the unruly and ruinous sin of Pride, feels it deserves. Or, I could just be bored as the game is moving at a snail's pace.

I have spotted a computer in the corner of the pub which is free to use and so, in the name of Christ Jesus, I have used it so that you may know of my whereabouts for no reason whatsoever, save for the vague and fleeting enrichment of your internet reading and my personal entertainment for just five brief minutes.

May news of this evenings conduct edify all readers and encourage them in the celebration of the Feast of St Catherine of Siena, who, were she a Brightonian, would have come here too, probably before she devoted herself wholly to God.

The music, too is edifying, as 'Mother's Little Helper' by Rolling Stones just played on the PA. The pizzas are nice here and the staff supply both chilli oil and garlic oil for those who wish to anoint their pizzas before consuming them to the punters great delight.

May God bless this pub and all who enter herein, as apparently it is managed by a Catholic and gives all its profits to charity, from which charitable endeavours, its name originates.

The Feast Day of St Catherine of Siena

Today is the Feast of St Catherine of Siena. You can read all her letters here at the site, helpfully titled, 'Letters of St Catherine of Siena'. This is one she wrote to another Larry, this one in Bologna.

The site gives a brief introduction and background to each letter and then publishes the spiritual letter in full. St Mary Magdalen Church has a rather lovely statue of St Catherine. How incredible it is to think that this lady, who gave encouragement and advice to a timid and beleagured Pope Gregory XI, aiding his return to Rome from Avignon, was a lay person!


The familiar but ever-noble theology with which this letter opens, leads first to a severe description of the unworthy and mercenary man, which is followed by a temperately wise discussion of the true use of worldly pleasures and goods. "Whatever God has made is good and perfect," says Catherine--"except sin, which was not made by Him, and so is not worthy of love." The modern religious Epicureanism which would applaud this sentiment would, however, be less contented with the sequel; for Catherine never forgets the anti-modern position that, though possession be legitimate to the Christian, it is, after all, "more perfect to renounce than to possess," and that the man who has preserved true detachment of mind towards this world's goods will, by inevitable logic, come to hunger, sooner or later, for detachment in deed.

It is a curiously tranquil letter to have been written in trance. Whatever the mysterious condition may have been, it evidently did not rob Catherine of her mental sanity and sobriety. The Doctor of Laws to whom it was addressed was a person of considerable importance in the public and legal life of his time. One cannot help suspecting a personal bearing in the severe description of the hard man--evidently a lawyer--who makes the poor wait before giving them counsel: yet, perhaps, the suspicion is unwarranted, and the letter carried to Misser Lorenzo nothing more searching than a general account of the temptations to which his profession was subject.

In the Name of Jesus Christ crucified and of sweet Mary:

Dearest brother and son in Christ sweet Jesus: I Catherine, servant and slave of the servants of Jesus Christ, write to you in His precious Blood: with desire to see you a lover and follower of truth and a despiser of falsehood. But this truth cannot be possessed or loved if it is not known. Who is Truth? God is the Highest and Eternal Truth. In whom shall we know Him? In Christ sweet Jesus, for He shows us with His Blood the truth of the Eternal Father. His truth toward us is this, that He created us in His image and likeness to give us life eternal, that we might share and enjoy His Good. But through man's sin this truth was not fulfilled in him, and therefore God gave us the Word His Son, and imposed this obedience on Him, that He should restore man to grace through much endurance, purging the sin of man in His own Person, and manifesting His truth in His Blood. So man knows, by the unsearchable love which he finds shown to him through the Blood of Christ crucified, that God nor seeks nor wills aught but our sanctification. For this end we were created; and whatever God gives or permits to us in this life, He gives that we may be sanctified in Him. He who knows this truth never jars with it, but always follows and loves it, walking in the footsteps of Christ crucified. And as this sweet loving Word, for our example and teaching, despised the world and all delights, and chose to endure hunger and thirst, shame and reproach, even to the shameful death on the Cross, for the honour of the Father and our salvation, so does he who is the lover of the truth which he knows in the light of most holy faith, follow this way and these footsteps. For without this light it could not be known; but when a man has the light, he knows it, and knowing it, loves it, and becomes a lover of what God loves, and hates what God hates.

There is this difference between him who loves the truth and him who hates it. He who hates the truth, lies in the darkness of mortal sin. He hates what God loves, and loves what God hates. God hates sin, and the inordinate joys and luxuries of the world, and such a man loves it all, fattening himself on the world's wretched trifles, and corrupting himself in every rank. If he has an office in which he ought to minister in some way to his neighbour, he serves him only so far as he can get some good for himself out of it, and no farther, and becomes a lover of himself. Christ the Blessed gave His life for us, and such a man will not give one word to serve his neighbour unless he sees it paid, and overpaid. If the neighbour happens to be a poor man who cannot pay, he makes him wait before telling him the truth, and often does not tell it to him at all, but makes fun of him; and where he ought to be pitiful and a father of the poor, he becomes cruel to his own soul because he wrongs the poor. But the wretched man does not see that the Highest Judge will return to him nothing else than what he receives from him, since every sin is justly punished and every good rewarded. Christ embraced voluntary poverty and was a lover of continence; the wretched man who has made himself a follower and lover of falsehood does just the contrary; not only does he fail to be content with what he has, or to refrain through love of virtue, but he robs other people. Nor does he remain content in the state of marriage, in which, if it is observed as it should be, a man can stay with a good conscience; but he plunges into every wretchedness, like a brute beast, without moderation, and as the pig rolls in filth, so does he in the filth of impurity.

But we might say: "What shall I do, who have riches, and am in the state of marriage, if these things bring damnation to my soul?" Dearest brother, a man can save his soul and receive the life of grace into himself, in whatever condition he may be; but not while he abides in guilt of mortal sin. For every condition is pleasing to God, and He is the acceptor, not of men's conditions, but of holy desire. So we may hold to these things when they are held with a temperate will; for whatever God has made is good and perfect, except sin, which was not made by Him, and therefore is not worthy of love. A man can hold to riches and worldly place if he likes, and he does not wrong God nor his own soul; but it would be greater perfection if he renounced them, because there is more perfection in renunciation than in possession. If he does not wish to renounce them in deed, he ought to renounce and abandon them with holy desire, and not to place his chief affections upon them, but upon God alone; and let him keep these things to serve his own needs and those of his family, like a thing that is lent and not like his own. So doing, he will never suffer pain from any created thing; for a thing that is not possessed with love is never lost with sorrow. So we see that the servants of the world, lovers of falsehood, endure very great sufferings in their life, and bitter tortures to the very end. What is the reason? The inordinate love they have for themselves and for created things, which they love apart from God. For the Divine Goodness has permitted that every inordinate affection should be unendurable to itself.

Such a man as this always believes falsehood, because there is no knowledge of truth in him. And he thinks to hold to the world and abide in delights, to make a god of his body, and of the other things that he loves immoderately a god, and he must leave them all. We see that either he leaves them by dying, or God permits that they be taken from him first. Every day we see it. For now a man is rich, and now poor; to-day he is exalted in worldly state, and to-morrow he is cast down; now he is well, and now ill. So all things are mutable, and are taken from us when we think to clasp them firmly; or we are snatched away from them by death.

So you see that all things pass. Then, seeing that they pass, they should be possessed with moderation in the light of reason, loved in such wise as they should be loved. And he who holds them thus will not hold them with the help of sin, but with grace; with generosity of heart, and not with avarice; in pity for the poor, and not in cruelty; in humility, not in pride; in gratitude, not in ingratitude: and will recognize that his possessions come from his Creator, and not himself. With this same temperate love he will love his children, his friends, his relatives, and all other rational beings. He will hold the condition of marriage as ordained, and ordained as a Sacrament; and will have in respect the days commanded by Holy Church. He will be and live like a man, and not a beast; and will be, not indeed ascetic, but continent and self-controlled. Such a man will be a fruitful tree, that will bear the fruits of virtue, and will be fragrant, shedding perfume although planted in the earth; and the seed that issues from him will be good and virtuous.

So you see that you can have God in any condition; for the condition is not what robs us of Him, but the evil will alone, which, when it is set on loving falsehood, is ill-ordered and corrupts a man's every work. But if he loves truth, he follows the footsteps of truth; so he hates what truth hates and loves what truth loves, and then his every work is good and perfect. Otherwise it would not be possible for him to share the life of grace, nor would any work of his bear living fruit.

So, knowing no other way, I said that I desired to see you a lover and follower of truth and despiser of falsehood; hating the devil the father of lies, and your own lower nature, that follows such a parent; and loving Christ crucified, who is Way, Truth and Life. For He who walks in Him reaches the Light, and is clothed in the shining garment of charity, wherein are all virtues found. Which charity and love unspeakable, when it is in the soul, holds itself not content in the common state, but desires to advance further. Thus from mental poverty it desires to advance to actual, and from mental continence to actual; to observe the Counsels as well as the Commandments of Christ; for it begins to feel aversion for the dunghill of the world. And because it sees the difficulty of being in filth and not defiled, it longs with breathless desire and burning charity to free itself by one act from the world so far as possible. If it is not able to escape in deed, it studies to be perfect in its own place. At least, it does not lack desire.

Then, dearest brother, let us sleep no more, but awaken from slumber. Open the eye of the mind in the light of faith, to know, to love, to follow that truth which you shall know through the Blood of the humble and loving Lamb. You shall know that Blood in the knowledge of yourself, that the face of your soul may be washed therein. And it is ours, and none can take it from us unless we choose. Then be negligent no more; but like a vase, fill yourself with the Blood of Christ crucified. I say no more. Remain in the holy and sweet grace of God. Sweet Jesus, Jesus Love.

Abortion Survival Baby is Most Read Telegraph Article, Columnists Silent

The tragic and appalling death of a baby boy who survived an abortion, after an alarm had been raised that he moving is the most read story on The Telegraph website.

Yet, none of the columnists or bloggers are touching this story. I hope that at least one of the Catholic writers there will post on it. No surprises here, but I don't think either the BBC or The Guardian will touch this story with a bargepole, or even report it.

Commenters from the public on the Daily Mail site are largely aghast at how this could happen. The fact of the matter is that this happens quite a lot. Babies are left on shelves to die. There should be a full parliamentary investigation into the scandal of abortion in the UK and in every European country, but, of course, that is highly unlikely. There is too much money at stake now for politicans to change the law.

To the right is a picture of a baby born at 22 weeks who survived not an abortion, but premature birth, with adequate medical care and attention.You can see for yourselves, then, what the baby boy who was left to die will have looked like.

This story has gone global and you have to give some credit to the mainstream media for at least picking up on it and letting it run, because for years now horror stories concerning abortion have not made any mileage and, let's face it, there are plenty of horror stories concerning abortion out there, primarily because there are millions of abortions taking place every year worldwide. Every abortion is a horror story. Every abortion is a crime against the child.

Click here for an even more in-depth account by Zenit News Agency of the shameful and outrageous true story shameful concerning the scandalous neglect of a baby whose only 'fault' it appears, was that he had 'two malformations, in his palate and lip'. This baby, it appears, was aborted for 'cosmetic reasons'. What has become of Italy!? St Catherine of Siena, pray for us!

Wednesday 28 April 2010

The Telegraph Covers Abortion Survival Baby in Italy

Pictured left is Rossano Calabria, where a baby who had survived an abortion was found still alive two days later by a Catholic Priest. The Priest prayed by the body of the baby and realised that the child was moving. It was still alive. The baby later died in intensive care, but the story has sent shockwaves through Italy.  

The Telegraph reports that on the baby boy abandoned by Italian doctors to die after a botched abortion.

The 22-week infant later died in intensive care at a hospital in the mother's home town of Rossano in southern Italy. The mother, pregnant for the first time, had opted for an abortion after prenatal scans suggested that her baby was disabled.

However the infant survived the procedure, carried out on Saturday in the Rossano Calabria hospital, and was left by doctors to die. He was discovered alive the following day – some 20 hours after the operation – by Father Antonio Martello, the hospital chaplain, who had gone to pray beside his body.

He found that the baby, wrapped in a sheet with his umbilical cord still attached, was moving and breathing. The priest raised the alarm and doctors immediately arranged for the infant to be taken to a specialist neonatal unit at a neighbouring hospital where he died on Monday morning.

Italian police are investigating the case for "homicide" because infanticide is illegal in Italy. The law means that doctors have had an obligation to try to preserve the life of the child once he had survived the abortion.

The Italian government is also considering an inquiry into the conduct of the hospital staff. The case has reignited controversy on the legality of abortion in the proudly Roman Catholic country.

It could also raise questions in Britain over the legal upper limits for abortion and the viability of the foetus – or its ability to survive outside of the womb. A spokesman for the ProLife Alliance said: "There cannot be anybody in the world who is not horrified by a story like this nor anybody in the UK who would not support a massive reduction in the upper limit for abortion."

Most abortions at 22 weeks simply involve the induction of the birth which normally results in the death of a young foetus. The case is causing uproar in Italy because it is the second involving a foetus of that age surviving the procedure in just three years.

The other involved a baby in Florence who weighed just 17oz when he was aborted at 22 weeks because of a suspected genetic disorder but lived for three days. Since 1978 abortion has been available on demand in Italy in the first three months of pregnancy but is restricted to specific circumstances – such as disability- in the second trimester. The government is considering a review of the working of the laws.

The case also comes as figures in Britain revealed last week that the number of babies born weighing only 2lbs has more than doubled in just two years. Yet the proportion of tiny babies born stillborn has nearly halved, the health service statistics have shown.

The figures do not reveal at what stage the babies were born but a child weighing under 2lbs is likely to have been born at least three months early. They will inevitably include some born alive at an age when they could, in other circumstances, have been aborted.

More than 200,000 abortions are performed each year, most for non-medical reasons within the legal upper limit of 24 weeks gestation. The increasing number of babies surviving below 24 weeks, partly because of advances in medicine, has led to widespread calls for the legal upper limit to be further reduced. Attempts to lower the limit failed in Parliament in 2008. In 2005 a baby boy in Manchester was born alive at 24 weeks after surviving three attempts to abort him. He is now a five-year-old schoolboy.

Feeling Sorry for Gordon Brown...

...well, a little bit sorry for Gordon Brown, in as much as he's a victim of his own isolation as Prime Minister. He's surrounded by people who all think about modern politics like he does and he suffers near absolute seclusion from the life of ordinary voters who comprise the rich tapestry of human beings with differing views on election issues in the United Kingdom.

Most of us have been two-faced gits at some point, but really and truly, this kind of snide, opportunistic and devilishly nasty behaviour is second nature to politicians, especially, one imagines, major politicians. Perhaps he's been hanging around with Peter Mandelson too much, but I doubt that's the reason. This is how people get to the top. It isn't just Tony Blair who perfected the suave fixed grin and sincere handshake electioneering manoeuvres we all grew to hate, while his heart burned with lust for votes, power and, as we now know, money. He was the arch-politician.

I'm afraid that the Prime Minister's comments picked up by his still active microphone after he had stopped being overtly charming and nice to Gillian Duffy of Rochdale are truly representative of how the average politician or political party leader thinks of voters, even loyal 'lifelong' voters for their respective parties. To say that voters, even partisan voters like Gillian Duffy, are taken for granted by our elected officials and the parties, does not even remotely do justice to the majority of Parliaments' level of contempt for the ordinary 'man in the street'. I expect it has always been this way.

Unfortunately, Gordon Brown's 'meet the people' initiative, which ended in unmitigated calamity, demonstrates quite neatly the chasm between our elected representatives and us. I mean, think about it. Can you imagine what he might have said if he had been approached by an irate Catholic who, despairing of the Labour Party's attitudes to Life issues and so called 'equalities', told him what she really thought of his tenure? The Prime Minister probably would have got into the car and said something like, "****ing Catholics! Don't ever make me meet one of those crackpot papists again!"

Yet, still, I feel sorry for Gordon Brown. He was only doing what politicians have always done. He met someone to get their vote in view of the media, a vote which, ironically, he had in the bag anyway, shoring up, as politicians so often do, the loyalists, while, deep down, resenting her and most voters because he had to come down from his ivory tower for five minutes and mix with the great politically unsanitised or uncorrected.

Gillian Duffy may be a little bigoted, after all, she was banging on about the East Europeans as if they'd just landed in Rochdale by military aircraft and taken over the town hall, but, Gordon Brown's dismissal of her concerns really do tell you everything you need to know about why Labour and all the mainstream parties will one day have a battle on their hands in stopping parties like the BNP from gaining prominence in British Politics.

If Labour and the mainstream political parties do not take heed of Gillian Duffy, then an election which is most probably dead in the water for Labour and Gordon Brown, at least now, will continue to be dead in the water for them and other mainstream parties in the future. The message to the Prime Minister and the major political parties from the Duffy debacle is that not everyone has bought the New Labour political correctness campaign. People still, thank God, think for themselves, even if some of those views are a little prejudiced towards immigrants and veer towards scapegoating. People won't be bullied by Gordon Brown, or indeed Ed Ball's into a 'new' way of thinking, when people are free to think for themselves. Perhaps that is why Ed Balls was so keen on reaching the minds of the young.

The strangest thing about politics is that politicians want people they actually quite despise to vote for them. That, essentially, is why there can be very little integrity in it. Gordon Brown today met someone whose vote he wanted only because she was a Labour voter, yet, he didn't really want her vote because for someone like her to vote for him would actually, to him, be a bit embarrassing. If the woman, you see, really is a 'bigot', then why does he want her vote? I mean, Gordon Brown is hardly Nick Griffin, is he, or Nigel Farage?

Gordon has described himself, apparently, as a 'penitent sinner' after having met Gillian Duffy to apologise, only to probably get into the car, ask whether his mic was off and to tell his aides she was worse than he thought she was first time round. The politican's sin is not a nice one, have no doubt. The politician's sin is in having an ugly level of pride that reduces everyone he meets to a singular political concept - a vote. This isn't just Brown's sin. It's Cameron's and its Clegg's sin too and we all suffer this sin in varying degrees. Sometimes our desire to be loved dwarfs our desire to love. Believe me, though, these guys, all three of them, will say and do more or less anything, a-n-y-t-h-i-n-g, if they think they can get your vote, while, all along, thinking you're an absolute nob. That's politics!

What with Brown's voting record on abortion, human embryology legislation, civil partnerships and the rest, I didn't think he really believed in sin, but the Prime Minister's sudden conversion could yet make him the St Mary Magdalen of the general election. Perhaps now that he has admitted in public his error and his sincere (cough) contrition in front of the media, he'll be ready to greet the Holy Father joyfully with the rest of us on his arrival into the UK. Of course, it is unlikely he will be in charge by then, but hey, Gordon, Christ loves 'penitent sinners' and only sinners are welcome in His Church, so what with your frank admission you'll fit right in. You might not be Prime Minster in September, Gordon, but God loves you. That's the main thing, for you, for me and all of us. I'm a poor sinner and relatively frequently, I'm penitent, and we Catholics know that if the Sweet Eyes of Pity in Heaven look down upon us with such great tenderness and affection, then Our Blessed Lord and His Holy Mother look upon you in the same way. Still, while you are still in power...

Sort the Foreign & Commonwealth Office 'Papal Visit Team' out will you!

Monday 26 April 2010

'Catholic Voices' Should Learn from St Paul: "I am for Christ"

Are you for Jack Valero?

Are you for Austen Ivereigh?

Are you for 'Catholic Voices'?

If we are not 'for Christ', as St Paul said, we are for nothing or nobody. If we are not for Christ, we are useless.

Mulier Fortis has highlighted an exchange of e-mails which suggests that all is not well with the media team drawn together to defend the Holy Father and the Holy Church by Jack Valero and Austin Ivereigh, 'Catholic Voices'.

Take comfort, James Preece and any Catholic bloggers overlooked or looked at and then dropped by the 'Catholic Voices' team, in their search for the fresh Catholic voices of men and women who strive to live the Most Holy Faith and who strive to bear witness in deed and in word to the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Take comfort in the fact that St Paul, model of all Evangelists, was imprisoned for the Faith and was silenced, for a time, but that he was released not only to give his hearers some much needed home Truths on his release, but to dish those Truths out with great Love. It is sad, indeed, that a vocation so high and a privilege so great and lofty as that of preaching the Most Holy Faith should be tarnished and spoiled by worldly motivations such as the protection of reputation, at the expense of talent, honesty and genuine zeal for the Gospel.

When it came to 'Catholic Voices', many were 'called' but few were 'chosen'. But, I have particular sympathy for James Preece because he was 'in', since he was invited to a training day in London and then suddenly he was 'out'. In the case of James, I suspect that his very sudden omission was due to his speaking nothing but the Truth and his very just criticism of some very high profile figures in the Church over the issues related to the Catholic Education Service (CES) and Marriage Care, which have caused grave scandal to the Faithful, may have been deemed to be too close for comfort by either those very senior figures or those who are close to them.

Many are paid very hansomely for their service to the Church in the media and from out of the wages, often very low wages, of ordinary parishioners are their wages paid. I am a gardener. I am paid by the hour £10 for every hour I work by my clients. If, at the end of the day, the garden looks rubbish, I lose the contract and rightly so.

With many paid by the Church (and time will tell whether perhaps this may be the case for 'Catholic Voices') for their activity in the media, the garden remains rather weed ridden at the end of the day. One wonders whether their hearts are truly 'for Christ'. Are they lazy or just bad at their jobs? I don't know who, for instance, goes home with a paycheck every month for their media work for the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, but, whoever they are, perhaps they should consider another vocation. Still, that very criticism has even been levelled at more than one of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales.

James Preece, in terms of his commitment to defending Life and the Family, his bold and truthful blog, his loyalty to the Magisterium of the Church and the Holy Father, his appearances in the media already defending the Church and the Pope and his very genuine human warmth, made him an ideal candidate for 'Catholic Voices'. What concerns me is that James Preece is most definitely 'for Christ' and that is very evident every day to those of us who read his blog. Yet, he has been omitted from the team and no apparent reason has been given. If the 'Catholic Voices' team and those who lead it are not for Christ, His Church and His Vicar on Earth, then what it sets out to achieve will not flower as it should, it will not blossom, indeed, it will whither and die.

Fresh Catholic voices should indeed be encouraged for the duration of the Holy Father's visit and beyond. However, Our Blessed Lord and His Apostles had no need for media darlings. St Peter, remember, was a fisherman and became the leader of the 'fishers of men'. The Apostles had no need for media savvy, suited, pin-striped professionals. They spoke the Truth and they did so with Charity. The Apostles in the UK are the Bishops of England and Wales. They are the Catholic voices which need to be heard. The Laity simply do not have their Authority, since their Authority has been given them by God Himself. The question is and it is becoming more and more a valid question...Are they for Christ?

Sunday 25 April 2010

Did the Foreign Office 'Cover Up' the 'Papal Abuse' Document'?

It certainly seems to have 'covered up' for the Papal abusers. Instead of sacking them for cocking up a diplomatic visit by another Head of State, they've 'transferred them to other duties'.

Oh boy! This is priceless! Could this be a real 'Papal abuse' cover up?!

The Vatican and the Government have been trying to dampen down this story. The Foreign Office, however, haven't helped matters, inflaming the Vatican by insisting that the guilty party concerned in what amounts to yet another 'dodgy dossier' scandal, has been moved on, not to the dole queue, no, but to a different role, presumably in the same department.  Oh dear!

Talk about moving Papal abusers around rather than handing them over to the relevant bodies! I'll bet that Harriet Harman wants to ring the poor lad's neck, because we know that if there is one thing that lady cannot stand it is prejudice, discrimination and a lack of respect for equality and diversity! Go get him Harriet! I'll bet she's chomping at the bit!

Gerald Warner's take on the scandal is rather a good read as well, examining the difference standards practised during the case of the nurse wearing a Cross and the Christian hoteliers asking couples politely for sodomy not to practised on their premises, with the pretty light punishment of Government workers who grossly insult the leader of the World's 1 billion Catholics, along with millions of Catholics (we shouldn't pretend all Catholics are offended) to whom he is St Peter's Successor and Vicar of Jesus Christ on Earth. The whole debacle does make a total mockery of Labour's 'Equality and Human Rights Commission' nonsense, which, is good, because, well, it always was nonsense.

What is it with new Labour and 'dodgy', or should I say, "sexed-up" dossiers? This seems to be something of a habit and the latest one, like the last one, funnily enough, was full of lies and was a bit of a joke as well. Could this be the same department that came up with the grounds for the Iraq War? It sure bears the hallmarks!

The Telegraph reports that...

'One highly-placed source in the Vatican said: “This could have very severe repercussions and is embarrassing for the British government - one has to question whether the action taken is enough. “It is disgusting. Britain’s ambassador to the Holy See has been in to see the Secretary of State and explain what happened and this will all be relayed to the Pope. It’s even possible the trip could be cancelled as this matter is hugely offensive.” 

Cardinal Renato Martino, the former head of the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, said: “The British government has invited the Pope as its guest and he should be treated with respect. To make a mockery of his beliefs and the beliefs of millions of Catholics not just in Britain but across the world is very offensive indeed.”'

I doubt very much whether this will end up in the cancellation of the Papal Visit. Hopefully, this fiasco will encourage the Government to bend over backwards in aiding the visit of the Holy Father and force it to apologise profusely for ever having allowed the Abortion Bill of 1967 to have been enshrined into British law, along with its ludicrous 'equality' legislation and murderous Human Embryology and Fertilisation Act, appalling results of which are now coming in. You can bet that's just the tip of the iceberg. Hopefully, now the British Government will work day and night, desperate to ensure that the Papal Visit is both a diplomatic and profound success of historic proportions and welcome Pope Benedict XVI and the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ with open arms.

Hang on...News just in from The Times...A headline you will not believe! Holy Father! No! Don't do it!

'Pope declares War on Britain: Swiss Guard Posted to Dieppe - Troops Could get to Newhaven by Tuesday'. 

I don't know. Sigh. If only...Come, Holy Father, and liberate this land from the tyranny of atheism!

Behead the Foreign Office!

Pictured left: Me and some friends in Brighton town centre today.

Tim Collard, is a 'retired British diplomat who spent most of his career in China and Germany. He is an active member of the Labour Party'.

He has written a blog post which is interesting in as much as he tries, desperately and, encouragingly for Catholics, utterly in vain to defend the Foreign Office, for whom he used to work, with a 'You Catholics! You can't take a joke!' angle on the Papal visit document which escaped from the Foreign Office into the hands of the World's media. Oops!

We expect spin from Labour and, given that Tim works in the media, now we're getting it from their supporters and activists in the media as well.  It is a poor and rather shoddy article and for that reason alone, vaguely amusing. Read it here. He's getting quite a few comments already!

The Foreign Office is Extremely Lucky We are Not Muslims...

That's nearly all I'm going to say...

Click here for The Telegraph's and here for The Daily Mail's accounts of the shocking level of puerile time-wasting and deep-rooted, vicious anti-Catholicism embedded in the heart of the British Government and establishment.

The Guardian certainly didn't go to town on this story, giving it just four small paragraphs. Hardly that surprising, really, given their zealously liberal line on current events and unsurpassed loyalty to the new Labour, secular-state based atheist machine, for whom moral values like 'we shouldn't kill unborn children' are just something about which to giggle inanely during a brainstorming session.

According to the BBC News website, which somehow still manages to end a story about rabid anti-Catholicism in the civil service, in the run up to the Papal visit, by discussing the abuse scandals...

'A source told the BBC News website the individual since moved to other duties had called the group together for "some blue-skies creative thinking about how to make the visit a success", but their discussions had become "a joke that has gone too far".'

"A joke that has gone too far". Yep. That pretty much sums up new Labour.

Read also Damian Thompson's reaction.

Saturday 24 April 2010

SPUC Holds Roadside Protest on 42nd Anniversary of Abortion Act

Local pro-life activists and representatives of Brighton's division of the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC) held a 2-hour roadside protest today on Preston Road, Brighton.

With the Saturday sun shining and day trippers from  South of England and beyond flocking to come to Brighton, parts of Preston Road were gridlocked between 11 am and 1pm, when the protesters arrived for the demonstration this morning.

I just happened to be passing myself in the car, so I stopped and took a few photos of these men and women standing up for the unborn. Just before stepping out onto the road to go over to the other side to get a good picture, a car drove by and I heard a man shout out at one of the protestors, "F**k off!"

That was only at 11am, just as the protest started, so I wonder just how these brave souls fared for the next two hours.

I couldn't stop for long myself as I was on my way somewhere, but was glad that I had managed to talk with the organiser and take a few photos of these men and women who, I do not doubt for a second were on the receiving end of more than one or two insults.

Judy Law, representative of SPUC, who organised the roadside protest said, "Today's protest is an annual event and this year it marks the 42nd anniversary of the passing of the Abortion Act in 1967. We come here every year to protest against the tens of thousands of abortions carried out in the UK every year."

There were, as far as I could see, at least three parishioners of St Mary Magdalen Church present at the roadside protest. The protestors carried signs saying, 'Women deserve better than abortion' and 'Abortion kills babies and hurts women.'

I asked Judy whether the Brighton SPUC group had considered a similar protest outside Wistons Clinic, the local abortion centre ran by the British Pregnancy Advice Service (BPAS).

She answered, "Some time ago we did try with the help of another pro-life group to protest with photographs of abortions outside the clinic but were moved on by the Police pretty soon. It would be good if we could hold a demonstration there in the future or organise similar protests to this more frequently."

I put my name down on the SPUC's list for further information at a local level and would like to join the local group. I wasn't aware that one operated in Brighton.  The roadside protest is a good idea in terms of exposure to the public and visibility. A dignified presence outside Wistons Clinic should, though it has been tried before and stopped by police, be encouraged.

The Scourge of Child Abuse is not a Catholic Phenomenom

Jack Valero, Head of the new group defending the Church in the media, Catholic Voices, has written a piece in The Times. Many columns have been written about the abuse scandals which have made it onto the front page of various newspapers. He asks the pertinent question. When will public attention turn away from the Church on this issue and onto the families and other institutions within which the majority of child abuse takes place? There is great danger of the Church being made a scapegoat of a society in which the abuse of minors is a very real, ever present danger...
'When I was growing up in the late 60’s and early 70’s sexual abuse of minors by relatives or older friends was not uncommon. But none I knew had been abused by priests; the perpetrators were teachers and relatives.

And that has been the case ever since. In all my years trying to help people with their spiritual struggles, none of those who have confided in me that they were abused as children has ever told me they had been abused by a priest.

It seems amazing that, despite moving within Catholic circles for so long, the first victim of clerical sexual abuse I ever met was when I appeared recently on the BBC Big Questions programme.

Yet the knowledge that there has been abuse by priests, and that it was, in many instances, poorly handled by bishops, is inescapable. As the gracious statement of the English and Welsh bishops yesterday makes clear, “Catholics are members of a single universal body. These terrible crimes, and the inadequate response by some church leaders, grieve us all.”

There can only be one response by Catholics to what has happened: it starts with acknowledgement of shame and fault, and leads through contrition and compensation to reparation and, eventually – with God’s help --- healing.

I shall be among those Catholics across the UK who, each Friday in May, as the bishops urge, offer their prayers that justice be done, reforms be swiftly introduced, and the Church’s house be put in order. Above all, I shall pray for the victims of abuse and their shattered trust. I shall pray that through trust in God they might again learn - if this can’t happen now - to trust and love.

But I have another feeling, which is almost as strong; namely, that sexual abuse of minors is not a “Catholic” problem, and that the blowtorch directed at the Church on this issue reveals something unhealthy about society around us. What had begun to be talked of in the 60’s has become a problem so endemic that it seems at times too big to be tackled; and rather than tackling it, we have created a surrogate – the Catholic Church – to take the flack which belongs more widely.

The statistics are scattered about, but not hard to find. Professor Charol Shakeshaft of Virginia University studied 290,000 cases of alleged abuse in the ten years between 1991 and 2000. Out of a sample of 225 teachers who admitted to sexually abusing a pupil, not a single case was reported to the authorities.

Yet the John Jay College of Criminal Justice study of 2004 – independent auditors commissioned by the US bishops -- found 10,667 people who made allegations about sexual abuse by priests and religious in the 52 years between 1950 and 2002 (roughly 200 a year compared to the 29,000 a year in public schools). The allegations were made against 4,392 priests, of whom 56 per cent were accused of only a single incident, some of which were never proved.

As a result of the Dallas norms introduced by the US Catholic Church in 2002, last year the entire Catholic Church in the US – which has 65m members – received six contemporary allegations of clerical abuse. In the UK, where the Nolan Report of 2001 led to strict guidelines, the Catholic Church is unique among institutions for making public each year the number of allegations of sexual abuse by priests. For 2007 the number of such contemporary allegations was precisely four for the whole of the UK – in a Church of about 5m.

At least in the UK and the US we can now state with confidence that the Catholic Church in the UK is one of the safest environments for children and young people.

Who else can claim this? A recent investigation by the Associated Press into sexual abuse by American teachers found that in the five years between 2001 to 2005, over 2,500 teachers were convicted of sexual abuse -- that’s 500 teachers a year, compared to six priests. AP discovered that most of the abuse never gets reported, and cases reported often end with no action. And no one – not the schools, not the courts, not the state or federal governments – has yet found a reliable way to keep abusive teachers out of classrooms.

In Sweden’s secular state schools, a recent study found that 60 per cent of girls and 40 per cent of boys have been abused. Even in Ireland at the height of the abuse scandal exposed by the Murphy Report, the number of pupils that had been sexually abuse never exceeded five per cent. Consider Britain, where the latest yearly report from the NSPCC gives a figure of 21,000 sexual abuse allegations in 2009.

Aren’t we missing something? More than 75 per cent of all sexual abuse of minors happens in the family, perpetrated by family members, mostly those who are married, and by others known to the victims. Most of it is never spoken out. Only seldom is a relative denounced.

Thanks to the media the Catholic Church has been brought to task. Its failures have been highlighted. And reforms have been put in place – above all by Pope Benedict XVI. He has been the first Pope to meet with victims, to lift the wall of silence, to fast-track the punishment of priests through laicisation. He promises action, and is delivering. Guidelines of the sort that exist in the US and the UK are being drawn up for application to the universal Church. The Church is putting its house in order.

But when it is in order, what then? Will public opinion then be able to turn to what has been going on behind closed doors – in the heart of families, under the veil of silence – in far greater numbers, and for far longer, and with far greater impunity? Who, in those places, can the media hold to account? Who there can introduce Catholic Church-style guidelines and reforms?'

Friday 23 April 2010

Happy St George's Day!

The Guardian reports that...

'Gordon Brown marked St George's Day today by flying the flag of St George over Downing Street.

It is the first time in recent years that the flag has been raised at Number 10 to mark the annual occasion.

Downing Street has two flagpoles, and the red-and-white banner will fly alongside the union flag.

Other UK government buildings in England that have two flagpoles were also encouraged to fly the St George's flag. Where just one flagpole is available, such as the Houses of Parliament, the union flag – which takes precedence over national flags – should be flown.

Brown will also fly the Scottish saltire on St Andrew's Day and the Welsh dragon on St David's Day. Northern Ireland does not have an official national flag to fly on St Patrick's Day. The move follows a review of flag-flying practices ordered by Brown when he became prime minister.

Downing Street said that, in accordance with protocol, the union flag would fly on the "superior" pole, deemed to be the one closest to Buckingham Palace. Brown's spokesman said: "The prime minister's view is that of course we should celebrate our Britishness, but celebrating our Britishness does not mean we cannot also celebrate our Englishness, Scottishness, Welshness or Northern Irishness."

The last time Downing Street raised the flag of St George was during the 2006 football World Cup.'
Interesting. An appeal to nationalism, or call to conversion? That St George...wasn't he a Catholic? When he wasn't slaying dragons and rescuing maidens he was obviously covering up for paedophile priests. I mean, he was Catholic, wasn't he?

Here is Brighton you can't move for the street parties. Booze is flowing out onto the streets and people are embracing each other in fraternal love and a spirit of holy joy, in scenes not witnessed in Brighton since Gay Pride last year. There's early music bands playing in the streets, happiness, dancing, merriment and mirth. The rich and the poor are mingling, sharing folklore stories and swapping shoes with holy, properly gay abandon.

Thanks be to God for the Labour Government, who called for a recognition of this national Holy Day so that the nation which once gazed up fondly at the loving countenance of the Blessed Virgin from her lap, so sweetly and gladly that she called it her own Dowry, could recall its patron saint, St George and so that we may joyfully celebrate his Feast and invoke the saintly knight heartily as a mighty intercessor, in the continued defense of Christendom against the evil and pernicious rise of secular atheism. Gosh, we'll all have headaches tomorrow but it is a special day and one I'll remember for years to come.

Thanks Gordon!

'Pope Can Come to the UK', Say Election Debate Leaders

Courtesy of The Telegraph

In response to the question from Michael Jeans on whether the leaders back the Pope’s visit to Britain?


"I do think it’s welcome that the Pope is coming to Britain and if were your Prime Minister I would want to support that visit and make sure I could do everything in my power to make it a success. There are millions of people in our country who would welcome that, who share the Pope’s Catholic faith and I think we should try and make a success of it but do I agree with everything the Pope says? No. I don’t agree with him about contraception, I don’t agree with him about homosexuality and I think the Catholic church has got some very, very serious work to do to unearth and come to terms with some of the appalling things that have happened and they need to do that but I do think that we should respect people of faith, I think faith is important in our country. I think faith based organisations, whether they are Christian or Jewish or Muslim or Hindu do amazing things in our country, whether it is working in our prisons or providing good schools or actually helping some of those vulnerable people in our country, so a country where faith is welcome, yes. A good visit from the Pope, yes, but does that mean we have to agree with everything he says? No."


"My wife – I’m not a man of faith – my wife, Miriam, is Catholic, my children are being brought up in her faith so I have a little bit of an insight into the immense feelings of anguish in the Catholic community here and elsewhere and I think many Catholics themselves feel really extremely torn apart by what’s happened and I think they do want to see the Catholic church express greater openness and repentance. You can’t keep a lid on sin and of course you need to move with the times. I do welcome the Pope’s visit but I hope by the time he does visit there is a greater recognition that there has been terrible, terrible suffering, there has been abusive relationships which have left immeasurable scars on individual people’s lives and we need a process of openness and then healing. You can’t undo the tragedies of the past but you can be open about them so people can start to move on."


"I’ve met some of the people who have rightly complained about the abuse that they were subject to when young and it never leaves them, it’s something that is with them always and no matter what you can try to do to help, there is always this problem that they have to face up to every day that they were abused, cruelly abused, by people in whom they placed their faith and trust. So the church has got to deal with these problems and it has got to make sure there is an open and clean confession about what has happened and that we help those people that have been put into difficulty by this abuse. But you know, I welcome the Pope’s visit to Britain and I want him to come to Britain for two reasons. One is the Catholic church is a great part of our society and we should recognise it as such and I hope every British citizen wants to see this visit by the Pope take place and secondly, we must break down the barriers of religion that exist in our world. The faiths must come together and recognise that they have common values and common interests. We all believe that we should be good neighbours to each other, I’m from the Presbyterian religion but I support the visit. I not only support it, I want religious faiths to work more closely together in society." 

Now that is what I call electioneering 2010...

Prime Minister Gordon Brown was the man who invited the Holy Father so he can't much backtrack now, even if he wanted to, which he doesn't, and he certainly doesn't want to alienate the Catholic voters on whom he and his cabinet have been urinating throughout his tenure before an election. Fair enough. Gordon Brown is a Presbyterian, which is a Christian denomination. It is notable, therefore that he didn't describe himself as a Christian, but, then given both the unpopularity of Christianity in the UK and his scandalous voting record on all issues relating to the defense of the most vulnerable in society, especially the unborn and human embryoes sought by the scientific community for harvesting and injecting with the DNA of cows, that is hardly surprising.

Nick Clegg? Well, he may be a massive atheist and probably reads The God Delusion for some wise Dawkinsian maxim to mull over before bedtime, but, still, he is married to a Catholic, as he told us, having reassured the nation that he isn't like those Catholic mentalists. His being married to a Catholic (and we all know how 'liberal' some Catholics can be) won't stop him and Dr Evan "Call me Dr Evil" Harris, from doing all they can to liberalise abortion law and send abortions through the roof on the assumption of power. I expect that, secretly, he genuinely dislikes or even hates the Pope and all for which he stands.

David Cameron managed to do what David Cameron does best, winking to atheists, fondling Church haters and Protestants, molesting Catholics, groping Hindus, whispering sweet nothings to Sikhs, courting Jews, snogging Muslims at the back of the cinema and eyeing up just about anyone with a capacity to vote for him, all in one swift, terribly insincere, pathetically transparant and vacuous statement. Still, that's David Cameron for you. David Cameron probably does not hate the Pope, but he probably does think, much like Tony Blair, that the Pope needs to wear more Armani around Altar and start dishing out contraceptives to nuns who should become Priests.

Still, it is heartening to see that the Catholic Church is worth a question at election time during another tedious if mildly entertaining TV debate, even if it is a question drenched in anti-Catholicism. All round, the election debate was an amusing affair. It was particularly amusing when, I think, at some point Cameron started laying into the highly industious Polish community when discussing immigration. Nick Clegg started ranting about "criminal gangs" and the Gordon Brown was left muttering something about our borders. Sounds like he must be a keen gardener as well.

The Church and the Pope are still important, even at election time. The UK still hates Catholicism, that much we know. The Church is now viewed by a Catholicism-despising public with even more suspicion than before, seen, as it is, as the World's largest concentration of paedophiles, the 'Light of the World' in as much as it attracts pederasts like moths to a bulb. But, it is still worthy of the attention of our dear elected party leaders, vying for the attention and the votes of demonically possessed atheists as much as they are courting the not insignificant Catholic and other major religions vote.

The scandal of abortion, presided over and voted for by all three party leaders should really be the issue over which the major party leaders lock horns, so to speak. They won't do that, of course, because the unborn child does not have a vote, or a voice, or a say. We can safely assume that by the time the next leader of the United Kingdom is elected, the elderly will also come under increasing attack in the friendly guise of euthanasia and assisted suicide, primarily because these men believe in very little. This country has been sleepwalking into a state-sponsored, Third Reich-inspired, industrial killing machine for quite some time now.

When he arrives, the Pope won't defend the woeful record of this country's efforts to defend human rights, life and dignity. He doesn't rely on anyone's vote or opinion, save the Opinion that will judge him. He is truly an independent voice and I, for one, am sure that when he comes to this country, he will bear witness to that Voice to which all three candidates refuse to listen. For when the blood of so many innocent lives has been spilled in one country, how could anyone remain silent? Newspapers are debating this morning who won this debate. When it comes to the most important issue facing the nation, the protection of human life itself, these three candidates are losers.

Therefore the Pope wins. Hands down.

Thursday 22 April 2010

Popes, Bishops, Priests...and Laity


The Catholic Education Service (CES) has appointed a new Pope. It was bound to happen. The CES has long been considered a schismatic branch of the Catholic Church, not paying too much attention to the Deposit of Faith guarded by the reigning Pope, Benedict XVI.

The new Pope to be given a position of great authority in the CES is, quite incredibly, though nowadays perhaps not too surprisingly, a retiring Labour MP by the name of Greg Pope, not to be confused with Pope St Gregory I the Great. Neither Pope Benedict XVI, nor Pope St Gregory I the Great would be particularly encouraged by the new Pope recruited by the CES.

As Damian Thompson eloquently points out, in May 2008, Greg Pope voted 'No' to a reduction in the limit on abortions to 16 weeks. Why? Well, your guess is as good as mine, but I would imagine that Greg Pope MP is one of those Kungian Catholics who basically don't believe that a human being is a human being when its heart is beating, even audibly, to doctors and interested expectant mothers and fathers, in its mother's womb, at, say, 8 weeks onwards.

Meanwhile, the Bishops of England and Wales have released an official statement calling for general repentance for the abuse scandals which have taken place in the United Kingdom. You can read it here.

There has been such a crazed media furore over the abuse scandals and the Bishops have kindly waited for it to die down before putting it back into the headlines again. Still, at least they have said something. It would have been helpful, I am sure, for the Bishops of England and Wales to have stood up and spoken out more when the media were harpooning the Holy Father like merciless Japanese whalers, but, still, late, as they say, is better than never. The statement seems almost so rigorously orthodox in parts that one wonders whether it was, in fact, passed down by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to the Bishops and then onto the World...

'Now, we believe, is a time for deep prayer of reparation and atonement. We invite Catholics in England and Wales to make the four Fridays in May 2010 special days of prayer. Even when we are lost for words, we can place ourselves in silent prayer. We invite Catholics on these days to come before the Blessed Sacrament in our parishes to pray to God for healing, forgiveness and a renewed dedication. We pray for all who have suffered abuse; for those who mishandled these matters and added to the suffering of those affected. From this prayer we do not exclude those who have committed these sins of abuse. They have a journey of repentance and atonement to make.'

Can anyone remember the last time the Bishops of England and Wales called upon Catholics to place ourselves before the Blessed Sacrament and to pray, to do penance on Fridays and to make reparation for our sins and the sins of the whole World, let alone the Church's clergy? If this is coming from them, in terms of spirituality, then it is heartening indeed.

Perhaps the penances done by many in atonement for the lukewarmness of so many Bishops, along with heartfelt supplication that God may make the same Bishops holy, is paying off after all. If not, thank the CDF and the Holy Father, 'whose wise and courageous leadership is so important for the Church at this time' and who issued instructions with words to the same effect, calling for repentance and Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in order to foster a more loving and reverent appreciation of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar among the Faithful.

There are, of course, problems with the entire Church, or at least the Bishops, continually and repetitively taking responsibility and apologising for the sins of a small minority of Priests and Our Blessed Lord is, we know, fully aware of who is guilty in regard to the unholy scourge of child abuse and who is blameless, but, encouragingly, at least this statement suggests that the Bishops of England and Wales might actually believe in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. Perhaps that should be the real headline here...

The abuse scandal is often as shocking and as heartbreaking as it is often portrayed even by an anti-Catholic media. However, listening to BBC Radio 4 on the way back from a gardening job today, I began to wonder at the motivations of some of the more prominent campaigners speaking out for the victims. When asked whether they welcomed the latest statement by the Bishops, one campaigner said something to the effect that the Church "which is considerably wealthy (my local parish just about scrapes by and still somehow affords sandwiches for the poor), needs to put its money where its mouth is and sell its assets and buildings in order to help the victims". So, the Church is to help the victims, primarily, financially? This we can only assume, since it must be a financial recompense, rather than a spiritual renewal of the Church about which the campaigner talking.

Without wishing to sound crass or uncaring, as far as we know, money does not help mitigate or heal the deep wound of abuse in childhood. Financial compensation - and as far as we can see there has been rather a lot of money handed over to the victims of child abuse by sinful Priests already, even though the entire Catholic Church as an organisation, and a charitable one at that, is not to blame for the sins of those Priests - is a pretty shallow and poor method of helping the victims who are traumatised by abuse. Money won't heal their minds or dare I say it, yes I dare say it, even save their souls. Only Christ can do that. It is the same Christ who has called us to forgive those who have wounded us, and to forgive them from the heart, that said that anyone who offends the 'little ones' would one day prefer to having a millstone tied round his neck and thrown out to sea.

If those who speak on behalf of victims of child abuse within the Church are really just concerned with money, rather than actual justice (or, dare I even utter the word, yes I do dare, 'mercy'?) then their calls to see the Church strip Herself of Her assets and buildings (as if Church's aren't closing down enough already)  in order to compensate those wounded, betray a vulgar and rather base motivation in their continued media-led campaign for justice.

One begins to wonder whether some of the men and women campaigning for justice for those affected by the abuse scandal just want to see the Church Crucified for the sins of a small minority and make a shed load of cash out of the show, like so many prominent rabid atheists and media giants, who appear to wish more and more scandal, shame and misery upon the Church just so that She may, like Her Founder, the Most High Jesus Christ, go through a gruesome and very public Crucifixion. Cough, Richard Dawkins, cough.

There is no doubt that the Church in the United Kingdom has, because of the abuse scandals in this country, Ireland and beyond, inherited a credibility problem in the eyes of many. The Church, however, even with a set of largely lukewarm and embarrassingly ineffective Bishops and indeed, some scandalous Priests, will still preach the Gospel 'in season and out of season'. We have, after all, a wonderful Pope and some fabulous and holy Priests. The Church will emerge from this, God willing, like one who has been purged, or has benefitted from a serious catharsis.

Catharsis, too, is exactly what victims of abuse truly desire. The injury of childhood abuse does not have a monetary value. It is a psychological and spiritual wound. Therefore, the credibility of some campaigners for justice in the aftermath of the abuse scandal would fare better, I suggest, if it didn't become more and more apparant that their desire for justice is grounded in revenge and the love of money. Anyone whose motivations are such as these should have a major credibility problem.

We should not be ashamed of our Most Holy Faith, nor of the Catholic Church, nor should we be ashamed to belong to Her and thereby to Christ Who is Her Bridegroom. Those in authority in the Church can lament the past, bewail the sins of Her members and still go on to fight the good fight to the finish for the love of God.

But what of the victims? The victims have, due to the sinfulness of some clergy been handed a Cross to bear which is heavy and painful indeed. Yet we should not be ashamed to tell the victims of abuse that their true and abiding home, still, is the Catholic Church. Our Lord Jesus Christ does heal the wounded, the sorrowful, the neglected, the tortured, the anguished and the abused.

Our Lord Jesus Christ does this through the Ministry of His Church and has the Power to do this even by merely by being placed on the Altar and adored, for He, Jesus Christ, is Lord and God of all. In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, in the pierced Heart from which pours forth His love, His mercy and His infinite compassion, even the victims of terrible and diabolical abuse within the Church can find the Grace and capacity to forgive. We must not be ashamed to say that. Nor should we be ashamed to say that God can heal and forgive those who are guilty of abuse within and without the Church, for Jesus Christ, Who is Compassion and is Love, is also Lord and God of all.

Across the UK, Shelter is Highly Precarious

Jamie Lindley last night appeared at the Soup Run. It was his first experience of receiving coffee and sandwiches at the Peace Statue.

Evicted after an argument and fight with an overbearing and violent landlord, his slide into homelessness was quick and sudden, demonstrating just how precarious having a roof over your head can be, in Brighton and across the United Kingdom.

"My girlfiend," he says, "is still at the flat in Hove. We've been living there for 6 months, together. She is studying to do childcare, which is very brave, I think, after all we've just been through. She recently suffered a miscarriage."

It was over a nasty comment by his landlord that an argument and fight broke out between Jamie and him.

"The landlord has a key to the house and he lives next door. He has a habit of just walking in without knocking and he came in at 5pm yesterday, very drunk. He walked over to the fridge and just took out a couple of beers and sat down. He started talking to me and my girlfriend and when he heard about the miscarriage, he arrogantly said, 'Well, at least that is one less person to pay rent.' It took me a while to work out what he had said and I couldn't believe it! I saw red and hit him. He then threw me against a wardrobe and kicked me around a bit. He was stronger than me and I've got a lot of bruises and grazes. The police were called by the neighbours and he threw me out. Now I'm on the streets and I've never been in this situation before. My girlfriend has been walking around with me a bit trying to help sort stuff out."

Jamie spent last night and the night before outside St Patrick's Nightshelter in Hove. A homeless man on the Soup Run gave him a woolen blanket to keep him warm against the cold night. The nightshelter also gave him a blanket and promised that because he could prove he had a 'local connection' in terms of how long he has lived in Brighton, he would be eligible to stay there. They were full that night and last night but promise he will hopefully gain access to the shelter tonight because they are 'moving someone on'. He isn't a big drinker and doesn't do drugs. He is touch with the local Connexions service, the Clocktower Sanctuary and St Patrick's Nightshelter and gets sandwiches from the Soup Run.

He is also getting help from the local St Vincent de Paul group (SVP). "The local soup run people told me about the SVP. I now have a job already, amazingly through Connexions, with a local firm doing sales and the SVP shop are going to help me get some smart clothes for the job. The Clocktower Sanctuary also have a fund for emergency clothing so I am really grateful to them and all the people and charities who have helped.

At 21, his story was tragic, but he remains upbeat and optimistic. He is, in a way, a success story of the care system, something which we don't hear so much.

"I was taken into care at the age of three by social services. My mother is serving life imprisonment for the murder of my father. I'm not in touch with her currently. We've been writing to each other but three months ago she tried to blame me for her crime. My experience of the care system was okay. It was hard going from care home to care home, and then into foster care. You're never sure whether they are fostering you because they care for you, or just for the money. I know others who have had big problems in the care system in terms of abuse, but I managed to escape that."

Now that Jamie is 21, his care order, under which he was cared for by social services, has expired and so going it alone in the World and having to look after himself totally is a new experience. The last few days have certainly been a brutal and violent entrance into this period of his life. His story reflects just how tenuous having a home can be, but also how effectively agencies combatting homelessness can be when all of the procedures are in place and when people fit the criteria to access help. Sadly, Jamie says, it isn't the experience of all homeless people in Brighton.

"I talked to one homeless man," Jamie said, "who is being deported back to Crewe. He doesn't want to go back and, for all we know, he could be fleeing from a violent family life or something else nasty. I don't think its fair that the Council just want to ship homeless men and women out of Brighton back to lives and cities with which they have no personal connection any longer. People should be allowed to settle here."

At 21, Jamie can get support from the Clocktower Sanctuary. As a resident in Brighton, he has a 'local connection' and can prove it. But for many rough sleepers in Brighton and Hove, not meeting such criteria can be a severe impediment to accessing much needed help and support.

Wednesday 21 April 2010

Don't worry Christopher...

...I won't buy any Porsches or places abroad with donations, like Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, not.

UPDATE: I have had 4 kind offers of donations already!

Anyway, there's also this 50 inch plasma TV screen which would really be helpful for this blog...I'm looking for something between £900 and £1500 and I know how generous Catholics can be when there is an urgent need...

No, seriously, thank you to all who have donated and have kindly pledged offers to help buy a camcorder for Catholic blogging purposes. I'll keep you in my prayers.

Dear Lovely Readers...

Well, if anyone reads this blog, they must know by now that I'm a budding amateur journalist. I am interested in Catholic news at a national level, of course, but I live in Brighton and am interested in local events, news and people whose lives touch upon some of the most important aspects of the Holy Faith.

My primary motivation for this blog is to defend Holy Mother Church in increasingly secular times. At times I allow my more self-indulgent side to take over, I admit, but I sincerely wish for this blog to bear witness to Our Lord Jesus Christ, His Truth and His One Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

By trade I am a gardener and work is picking up gradually. However, I am not able, currently, to afford a digital camcorder which costs £129.00 from Argos in a one-off payment.

The only reason I could buy that 12-string is because I could pay it off in £20 installments weekly because the guy at Badlands Guitars (for all your guitaring needs) is nice. I've got bills to pay and mounting parking fines courtesy of Brighton and Hove City Council to pay off and make no money whatsoever off the back of this blog.

It is with this in mind that I ask whether there are any kind benefactors out there who would consider donating money to me so that I can buy a camcorder for the sole purposes of this blog, so that it may be used to the Glory of God and the interest and joy of the readership of this blog.

What you give to me in terms of money for this purpose will be repaid to you, hopefully, hundredfold, in terms of interesting interviews and, who knows, maybe even music and amateur drama depicting the lives of the Saints.

I would love to interview on camera some of the men and women whose lives and stories have been documented on this blog, as well as people of influence both within the Church, priests and laity, maybe even a Bishop here or there, as well as perhaps challenging some of the men and women of influence outside of the Church, at a local level, on some of the most pressing issues that concern the Catholic Church in the UK today.

My email is if you would like to donate. If you would like to donate anonymously, then you can send a cheque to me, Laurence England, at St Mary Magdalen Church, 55 Upper North Street, Brighton BN1 3FH. I can pick up the money there because I'm the Secretary. The camcorder pictured above is particularly useful because it apparently has a facility with which you can directly upload film to YouTube and then, conveniently, whack it onto the this webpage. Splendid...

May God abundantly bless all the readers of this blog and all Catholic bloggers.

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...