Wednesday 29 June 2011

Journalist Who Railed Against Papal Visit in Untruthful Reporting Shock

Well, it is never pleasant watching people feasting on the sins of others. However, just this once, let's feast. Johann Hari, the Orwell Prize for Journalism winner and columnist for The 'Independent' has been caught red-handed making up quotes for interviews, by cutting and pasting them from books or other interviews and using them in his own.  Feasters today include Damian Thompson of The Telegraph, Toby Young of The Telegraph and Janet Daley of er...The Telegraph. Anyone would have thought there were some ideological battle going on between the writers for left-wing publications such as the preposterously titled 'The Independent' and right-of-centre publications such as The Telegraph.  

Naturally, Hari is (publicly at least) in denial of his mis-reporting, and is now going into 'Corapi mode', defending himself against accusations agains him in the media on his own blog - but not too convincingly. His liberal media friends have rallied round him, of course, because any Orwell prize winner who employs a slightly Orwellian writing style is serving a 'greater good' if he is serving the liberal agenda and furthering the liberal cause.

The lesson is, of course, don't trust a liberal as far as you can throw them. It looks like Hari is, rather like the Early Christians, being thrown to the lions. There is some irony in that - this was the man, after all, who filled so many column inches with reams of hate-filled bile against Pope Benedict XVI, who consistently attempted to denigrate his character and link him somehow as the 'commander-in chief' of a worldwide paedophile ring and who used all the influence he could to besmirch the character of someone who was, in fact, at the forefront of the Church's effort to combat the scourge of child abuse within the Church.

The problem with liberal journalists, you see, is that they don't really like 'objective truth'. They like 'their truth' - even if their truth is not grounded in factual truth. Apparently, it is okay, as far as the liberal elite of journalists can see, but that is the problem. They don't do objectivity.

Monday 27 June 2011

More From Friday's Soho Mass

Juventutem London have alerted me to Dr Joseph Shaw's Flickr page, on which you can find lots of images of the Mass for the Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist. The LMS Chairman himself has posted an article on his blog.

Sunday 26 June 2011

St Patrick's Church, Soho

St Patrick's: Restoring timeless beauty to the Church
Damian Thompson recently posted on the re-opening of St Patrick's Catholic Church in the heart of Soho, after a £3.5 million pound restoration project that has made what Dr Thompson described accurately as, "the future" of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. St Patrick's does not disappoint. It is a stunning piece of architecture, truly glorious.

The Solemn High Mass for the Feast of the Birth of St John the Baptist was exquisite. Juventutem's schola sang both chant and polyphony beautifully. Fr Patrick Heywood was celebrant, Fr Sean Finnegan was deacon and Fr Tim Finnigan was sub-deacon. Fr Aiden Nichols OP preached excellently on the forerunner of the Lord and herald of the Messiah who was to baptise Christ in the River Jordan and proclaim the beginning of His Ministry on Earth. Fr Ray Blake was tucked away for the majority of the duration of the Mass hearing Confessions.  Now that is what I call Catholicism!

Afterwards, at a meal at a local Goan curry house, Providence sat me next to one of the interviewers for the Mass of Ages job, Dr Joseph Shaw, Chairman of the LMS. We got on well, given that only days before I had been plotting to send him a dozen dead puppies in the post for not giving me the editorship job. That's usually how we do things in Brighton. You can take the LMS out of Brighton but you can't take the Brighton out of the LMS. I also had a chance to talk with Anthony Ozimic of the SPUC who was delightful and he discussed his latest work on abortion and its effects on moral character, available (I think this is the one) as a PDF here.

I had a chance to speak with Paul Smeaton who has a Catholic blog entitled Smeaton's Corner and also the charming anonymous author of The Catholic Youth. I really don't like London as a rule, but when you are attending a Mass at St Patrick's you forget that you are in London because the beauty of the liturgy and the Church itself takes you up to Heaven. I understand that Churches like St Patrick's are built to the greater glory of God, but it really is quite palatial and I think that given that there is so much ugliness in London, as well as great poverty, it is a marvellous thing that a poor Catholic man can walk into St Patrick's and think, "I am home. Thanks be to God."

St Patrick's is a centre of evangelisation as well as serving the homeless community of the district. Both their mission to the poor and the restoration project are covered nicely in this Guardian article. All in all, the newly restored St Patrick's Church does not disappoint!

Thursday 23 June 2011

Look who it is!

George and I covering Hero by Enrique Inglesias. He dedicates this song to Diane, who makes a special guest appearance. They are grateful for your prayers.

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Gay Masses

Don't worry...I didn't go dressed like this to the Mass of Ages interview!

Gay Masses

Well it was quite a while ago
When I first heard in Soho
There is such a thing as Gay Masses

I thought “You must be kiddin’ me?
Our Lady and St Gregory?”
Do you think they approve of these Masses?

Oh it’s sacrilege! It’s sacrilege!
What on God’s green earth are Gay Masses?
This is a rather queer affair
But let’s call it 'pastoral care'
This is Soho
So we have Gay Masses
Gay Masses

I was rather quite aghast
Oh that Martin Prendergast
Was organising Gay Masses

How long's this been going on?
It really sounds a little wrong
Has the Diocese embraced his madness?

Oh it's scandalous! It's scandalous!
Ae they celebrating Gay Masses?
Is the Archbishop in despair or does he really just not care?
This is Soho
So we have Gay Masses
Gay Masses

Well I’ll tell you now straight out
I have sympathy no doubt
But the Lord doesn’t care for our preferences

The orientation that He deems
Fit for worship is the East
We’re all human
Despite our differences

But His sadness! His sadness!
Has the Lord been reduced to this crassness?
Try the Brompton Oratory
St Patrick’s you will see
Catholics worshipping Him in gladness
Gay Masses

I understand in this country
LGBT community
Is something that’s very much in fashion
But it really doesn’t mean
Our Lord or Lady do agree
With the rise of LGBT Masses

Let’s face facts here!
Let’s face facts here!
This is just a pick up joint for some fags, dear!
It's a subversion of the Mass
A perversion of the Mass
This is not what the Apostles imagined
Gay Masses

Come on, lads and lasses!
Lads and lasses!
We don’t need these awful Gay Masses!
The Lord wants you in His Church
You're not the last you're not the first
But come on let’s think of saving our asses
Our asses

Oh it’s sacrilege! It’s sacrilege!
What on God’s green earth are Gay Masses?
It's a rather queer affair
But let’s call it 'pastoral care'
This is Soho
And they have Gay Masses

Monday 20 June 2011

Voris Speaking in London in August

I've just been notified of a talk being given by one Michael Voris of Vortex fame in London. You can join the Facebook group here.

The talk will be entitled 'Living the Faith Radically' and it will take place on Sunday 24th August 2011 at Regent Hall, 275 Oxford Street, London W1C 2DJ.

Paul Smeaton of Juventutem has created the Facebook page. Tickets are £5 which is a snip. I'd like to go and buy that man a pint. He works very hard for Holy Mother Church. He deserves a warm welcome just because he's one of those 'prophetic Catholic voices' that doesn't take prisoners and doesn't mince words. He teaches the Faith in season and out of season, much to the irritation of many. 

Presumably, Mr Voris has been warned to expect incoming torpedoes, but I expect he is getting used to that kind of thing.

Buy a ticket today on Paypal at Paul Smeaton's Blog.

Mass of Ages

So close, yet so far...
Sadly, I didn't get the editor job at Mass of Ages magazine for which I applied and was interviewed on Friday. Congratulations and good luck to the new Editor, who apparently used to be either be a journalist for, or editor of, The Catholic Times. Experience appears to have won the day over (still relatively) youthful enthusiasm.

Ho-hum...back to the drawing board. Actually, where is my drawing board? I suppose the one good thing about it is that I'll have more time to concentrate on my local magazine covering homeless news. One parishioner at St Mary Magdalen's on Sunday said that reading one article, Brighton and Britain in general are starting to seem more than a little "Kafkaesque".

Quite how I am going to develop and distribute the magazine while living on £60 a week is anyone's guess, but say a prayer for its success and for the LMS too. Their work continues to be very important for the Church. Hopefully, one day I'll walk into Westminster Cathedral and find their magazine for sale. They have asked whether I might like to make some contributions in terms of writing to the new look magazine and said that I would be refunded my train fare. I'm going to write and ask them not to send me my money back, but to keep the £20 and send me a membership card because I do think that the LMS still has a hugely important role in the Church - especially in terms of training Priests in the Extraordinary Form and in raising awareness of the Traditional Latin Mass. I hope the new magazine manages to capture the hearts and imaginations of the youth.

Hmm...If I joined would I get a retrospective discount off my payment for the Walsingham Pilgrimmage in August?

The Hypocrisy of Brighton and Hove City Council

When George and Diane make a bit of noise on a few occasions they are thrown onto the street and have their locks changed, are summarily evicted without notice and are placed into a dive of a hostel in inner Brighton surrounded by smack heads leading the lifestyle one of them went to rehab to leave. They are informed that they "are unable to live in a self-contained property".

When American Express build a new building to hold offices for their employees they start early in the morning with cranes and create a huge amount of noise and carry on into the evening.

When local residents hold a massive banner outside of their property saying, "AMEX MAKES OUR LIVES HELL" what do the Council do?

Nothing. They do nothing. They say nothing. The Council wouldn't know justice if it woke them up at 6 in the morning.

Prison Planet YouTube Account Loses 'Honours'

I'm a regular reader of Prison Planet, the site hosted by Alex Jones. It is a site routinely derided in what Belloc described as the "official" press.

A good indicator of whether a modern website is good at investigative reporting is to look at the advertisers on the site. If big corporations are advertising, then it probably isn't doing its job very well.

Last night, it was reported on Prison Planet that YouTube has mysteriously deleted all the 'honours' that the Prison Planet had built up over a long time, in terms of viewing records. The deletion came after Prison Planet posted a video exposing the Google chief Eric Schmidt at the 2011 Bilderberg meeting in St Moritz. The loss of honours, in the opinion of Alex Jones and his team, prevented the video from 'going viral'.

Two George Orwell quotes spring to mind:

"Anyone who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy finds himself silenced with surprising effectiveness".

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."

The Kind of Catholic Charismatic Conference I Would Consider Attending

A Priest walks into a Church packed with men and women, young and old...

"Lord, we just want to make a sacrifice of praise. May You ever be adored, worshipped and revered in Your holy Sanctuary, O beauty ancient and new. Lord, we just just want to lift Your Name on High and praise You, Allelulia. Lord, we pray for all the people here. We pray also for all those poor Souls in Purgatory, all the Priests who have served in Your Church in this parish and all our deceased brothers and sisters. Lord we praise You. Lord, we just want to honour and glorify You in Your Tabernacle, the place where You dwell. Let's all, now, brothers and sisters just genuflect before Our Blessed Lord in recognition that at the Name of Jesus every knee will bow. Lord, have mercy on us, Your people. Mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Lord, we just want to honour and revere these relics on the Altar, those of St Vincent, here, who suffered and was martyred for the sake of You and Your Holy Church. Lord, we pray that by the intercession of St Vincent, we may be given the courage to bear witness to You in Your Church and be made worthy of life everlasting, through Jesus Christ Our Lord, Amen. Amen. Pray for us St Vincent."

"Lord, we now just want to honour Mary, ever Virgin, the Holy Mother of God, who did merit to bear within her most pure and spotless womb the Lord of Lords and Most Holy Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. O Mary, Mary. How sweet is your holy name. May your name be ever on our lips, Mary, Blessed and dear Mother. Pray for England, thy dowry, that all of our brothers and sisters may be joined in the One True Fold, under your mantle and under the reign of our beloved Pope, Benedict XVI. Lord, we pray for our Sovereign Pontiff. We pray, Lord, that he may be protected from all of his enemies and guarded from all the malicious intents of those who seek to undermine the Petrine authority, for Thou hast given him to us, to feed us, his lambs and his sheep. Lord we pray for all the Bishops, the Shepherds of Your flock that they may be holy and always wise. May they be bold in proclaiming the Gospel of Your Only Begotten Son, Our Lord Jesus Christ and always have a fatherly love for these children of their Dioceses. Lord, we pray for those in the Anglican community who seek full communion with the Holy See that they may be shown generosity by those in authority in the Church and be treated as loyal sons and daughters of the Church, so they may know that the One True Church is their true home and obtain life everlasting. Amen. Lord, we pray for those distanced from the Church of Rome, such as the SSPX, that through good will and negotiation, the Holy Spirit may heal the wounds within the Church. We just want to see these wounds healed, Lord and Thou alone canst heal them. Do I hear someone talking in tongues? Yes, yes I do. O Lord, it looks like someone here has a word for us tonight..."

(Choir starts up) "Kyrie eleison...Christe eleison."

"Has someone been given the gift of translation of the word? Yes, I hear it now. Lord, have mercy. I too am being given the ability to speak in tongues. I can feel it now. Here it comes. Gloria in excelsis Deo, in terra pax hominibus, laudamus te, benedicimus te, glorificamus te, gratias agimus tibi, propter magnum gloriam tuum...Yes, Lord, we want to praise You in the sacred language of Your Church."

(A congregation member groans with pain)

"Lord, I hear someone in pain. Is it a bad back? Yes, yes, it is a bad back. Lord we pray for that person with the bad back. May they, by the intercession of Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman, be healed, but if it is not God's will, may they learn to offer the pain up for the Salvation of Souls and the Suffering Souls in Purgatory. Lord, I just pray that the people here will be generous for next week's collection for the Lourdes fund, so that she and all those in the parish who suffer ailments both spiritual and physical may be able to be washed in the waters of Lourdes, know the powerful intercession of the Blessed Mother of God and so draw closer to Her Divine Son."

"O Lord, I just want to pray for all those Priests in the United Kingdom who do not show Thee due reverence and who commit liturgical abuses. Lord, have mercy. Lord, we just pray that Bishops and Priests will be generous in implementing Summorum Pontificum and grant to the Faithful the beauty of the Mass of Ages, so that the two forms may mutually enrich one another and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass may once more give Thee true reverence and worship in spirit and in truth. Lord, we pray for generosity from our Bishops and Priests in implementing the will of the Holy Father, that Priests may learn to say Mass in the Extraordinary Form and offer to the Faithful what was held holy for previous generations, so that we may hold this treasure holy as well. Lord, we pray. We pray that Altar Rails will make a return to the Church and that the Faithful will begin once more receiving Holy Communion on the tongue kneeling, as is the norm of the Universal Church. We pray that we will all deepen our love for You, Lord Jesus Christ, in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. May You be revered, O Lord, may Your Heart be loved, revered, honoured and glorified in every Tabernacle, in every Church, at every moment, around the whole world, even until the end of time. O Lord, we're just going to adore You now and have a half an hour of Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, O sweet Sacrament Divine, and half an hour of silence before You, the Great God, for verily Thou art a hidden God, O sublime Majesty..."

"O Lord, I can hear someone speaking in tongues..."

(Choir starts singing Adoremus in aeternum...)

Sunday 19 June 2011

Relic Sells for $4.6 million

I don't think the Church would get away with this nowadays, but the World can sell relics...and how!

Protestants must be up in arms about this....

Saturday 18 June 2011

Is Derren Brown the Most Sinister Man on Television?

Derren Brown: Inadvertently teaching us Catechism?
I recently watched Derren Brown's Channel 4 programme 'Hero at 30,000 feet' through gritted teeth.

The premise of the programme is that the arch-magician-hypnotist can take a man whose personality is rather inhibited, reserved and easily frightened and turn him into a man who can, under hypnosis, land a plane using one of those flight simulators, convinced that the pilot has fallen seriously ill. I guess he's the kind of man who would argue that the Apostles gained the courage to leave the Upper Room and proclaim the Resurrection by  the power of suggestion, rather than the Holy Spirit.

I found the programme seriously disturbing. I know that hypnosis is not mentioned in the Catechism, but I really do feel that Mr Brown falls into that category of persons to whom the following can be attributed:

Divination and magic

2116 All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to "unveil" the future.48 Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone.

2117 All practices of magic or sorcery, by which one attempts to tame occult powers, so as to place them at one's service and have a supernatural power over others - even if this were for the sake of restoring their health - are gravely contrary to the virtue of religion. These practices are even more to be condemned when accompanied by the intention of harming someone, or when they have recourse to the intervention of demons. Wearing charms is also reprehensible. Spiritism often implies divination or magical practices; the Church for her part warns the faithful against it. Recourse to so-called traditional cures does not justify either the invocation of evil powers or the exploitation of another's credulity.

We can, of course, all fall prey to it, but it is the 'desire for power over time, history and in the last analysis, other human beings' bit that I think is important in this case as is 'even if this were for the sake of restoring their health'. Hypnosis, and the power of putting people into a trance like state and using psychological suggestion sounds all very innocuous, but I do not believe that the power that Derren Brown holds over his 'subjects' is Christian in any sense or good. Derren is, as a matter of fact, a lapsed, baptised Catholic, but he seems to have got awfully wrapped up in the mysticism of the occult, as well as the psychological manipulation of others.

The way in which he just 'zaps' people into trance reminds me of those fundamentalist Protestant charismatics who can just 'make' people go down on the floor as they are 'slain by the spirit' (quite what kind of spirit it is is open to interpretation) as they are whipped into a frenzy of religious hysteria. Only after the 'miracle', in many cases, do doctors find that there is significant damage to the individual who had been 'healed'.

As you watch the documentary, you can see more and more that Brown is on a massive power trip. He takes this shy and retiring man and moulds him into his 'creation'. He basically thinks he is God, which is never healthy.

The touching thing about the programme is the good faith of his 'patient' who, when on the plane is seen making the Sign of the Cross several times and kissing his Rosary. Much like the 'healing' services of Protestant evangelicals, Brown's methods concern me. It makes for interesting entertainment (and money in the pocket of C4 and Brown) but it makes a farcical gameshow of a man's life by means of quite foul deception. It is as if he is constantly between fantasy and reality. You can see how, during the show, the man is being exploited (though he has given his permission) in being Brown's showpiece. He believes he is a great hero and fully believes that he has just landed a plane which could have gone down in disaster, only to be told that though Derren is 'proud of him', it has all been a fantasy in a flight simulator. We don't know whether he has actually got over his fear of flying afterwards. It's just entertainment for us.

There is also this sense that Brown is playing God, when he appears to the man physically by putting him into a trance while he is sleepy, taking him outside and talking to him while he is in a 'sleepwalking', dream-like state. Derren becomes the man's alter ego, or ID or sub-conscious self or something. Just to develop the well-known argument that 'God-like powers' are dangerous in the hands of those who have not been given them from on High for the Salvation of Souls (like several Saints down the ages have been) Derren takes the man to a railway track, binds him to the track in a hypnotic state and allows a train to come along the track and just manages to help the man to save himself from being killed by the on-coming train. When you watch it, you think to yourself, "Who has put this psychopath on TV?" Well, you might not but I did. Unlike Derren, I don't know what you're thinking.

I watched it and several times wanted to kick in the screen. If I had these hypnotic talents and could use the power of suggestion to Derren Brown I'd be tempted get him to lay down on a couch and say to him:

"You are Derren Brown. You are a dangerous individual. You have abandoned the Faith that was given to you when you were baptised into the Life of the Trinity and have since left the Fold only to become a occultist and all round psychic hobbit. You are perhaps the most sinister man on television, dressing evil up as good, fooling your victims by methods of deception, usurping the role of God in a person's life and ambivalent of the consequences as long as you get your paycheque. Return to the Faith that was given to you when you were young and do not consider yourself to be the master of anyone's destiny. Now 'wake up' lest the Devil seize your soul and drag you down into the fires of Hell with all of those fallen angels who disobeyed Him and now know only His wrath. Oh and do go to Confession."

But I don't have those powers of suggestion and what is more I am not Derren's Maker and Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ, the Alpha and the Omega, to Whom belongs all power, times and seasons, everything and everyone. Only God can change Derren Brown and only with Derren's free will and co-operation. There is a realm that belongs to God alone and this is one of them. I know that Channel 4 thinks this is great TV and hypnosis is popular and all that, but at the end of the day, do we know how this individual copes with the aftermath of such a treatment? How do we know that he isn't going to have a nervous breakdown having been put through this pressure and psychological manipulation? What if, one day, thinking himself a 'hero' he puts himself in a dangerous position that he should not as a 'successful' policeman instead of the 'normal' insurance broker he was before? I'm sure there are heroic insurance brokers out there in a different sense. What if God gave that man the personality He gave him for his own good and God's good reasons, rather than Derren's?

Even if his 'treatment' has 'worked', is it not quite wrong for an individual to have such autonomy and power over another's life and personality?  I wonder if Channel 4 will do a programme in which they make a gay man straight with Derren's superpowers? I know that wouldn't be popular, about as popular as the suggestion that sex education is sexualising children but hey, Derren 'can do all things'! Magicians (in the programme Derren describes himself as such) are 'anti-Priests'. They wear black for a reason but it isn't a good one. They are anti-Church and anti-Christ. What Derren does, though it is dressed up as virtue, is deceitful and very wicked and if you decide to watch the programme then you'll see what I mean. But that's just a suggestion.

Morrissey: "I'm a Traditionalist"

'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' ~ Morrissey

I'm not sure he meant it quite how some of us would understand that statement, but somehow, I can't imagine Morrissey, who is Catholic, being taken with a Novus Ordo Mass celebrated with the kind of cheesy music for which it has sadly become so widely associated. I can't see him being taken by the charismatic movement either, but there we go. He is fiercely individual.

Never one to shy away from 'controversy', I can't help thinking that this song speaks for many of those who, deemed to hold 'eccentric views', and who find themselves outside of the mainstream, have the plug pulled on them - like a certain ex-Anglican minister who has joined the Ordinariate, for example.

There are, of course, others who share in the Lord's suffering from being misunderstood and become outcasts in their own community. For me, Morrissey has, lyrically, at least, been someone who manages to communicate the feelings of those who find themselves rejected, misunderstood or who don't quite 'fit in'. He would be a fine person to communicate the Catholic faith were he to return to it publicly and not be so guarded, but that is between him and God. I'm shocked to find out that he no longer has a record deal. I would imagine if he reformed with The Smiths a record deal would suddenly appear rather quickly in the post, but that is between him and Johnny Marr, who is not God, but is what I believe they call a 'guitar god'.

It must be so awful to be a celebrity and have the level of adulation that Morrissey and Marr receive from their fans. The worse thing for celebrities must be that vanity that leads them to walk around thinking, 'Don't you know who I am?' only to die and meet Christ and be told, "No." All of our celebrities must be awfully humble people since their souls are at such risk.

Friday 17 June 2011

Just a Thought...

I am heading off for an interview in London. It starts at 'the Hour' of 3pm. Please say a prayer for me and keep George and Diane in your prayers. They're not in a good way.

Just a thought. Wasn't that Choosing to Die programme, presented by Sir Terry Pratchett actually a snuff movie?

Aren't snuff movies actually illegal?

Just a thought.

Update on George and Diane

George and Diane are today being moved to Grand Parade.

In Brighton it is called, by the homeless, 'Crack Central'.

Aren't Brighton and Hove City Council just so kind to their 'Substance Misuse' Clients, especially those who have come off drugs and drink?

Pro Ecclesia Et Pontifice Methodist Hall Talk Torpedoed by....

...Westminster Cathedral?

No, it can't be!

Read the story here. It is starting to look like 'they' are successfully silencing honest Catholics.

Wednesday 15 June 2011

George and Diane Locked Out of Flat While They Were Out...

George and Diane are now homeless. Their locks were changed by the managing agents of the property while they were out today.

The managing agents blame the Council saying they got the order from them. The Council blame the managing agents who received complaints of "anti-social behaviour". Everybody is passing the buck. They've had no letter of warning, just a verbal warning of eviction, followed by reassurance from someone from the agency that "everything was cool" and "not to worry". Both are rather upset to put it mildly. The overall lettings management agency is Graves and Pilcher. The Council is Brighton and Hove City Council.

There was no court order, just eviction. George tried to get written proof of any complaints made against them from Graves and Pilcher and he was just stonewalled. Legally, I do not know where they stand, but for the time being everything is mayhem. Say a prayer for them. Brighton and Hove City Council have made one of their mental health clients homeless. No ifs. No buts. That is the truth of the matter. I'll write more when I've got time. For the time being, please keep them in your prayers.

Tuesday 14 June 2011

Bishops Issue Pastoral Guidance for the Faithful at the Last Judgement

The Bishops Conference of England and Wales have issued pastoral guidance for the Faithful concerned about how to respond on the Last Day, when the dead will rise again in the flesh to be judged by the Lord Jesus while those still alive shall see He through whom 'all that is made', was made, coming in great power on the clouds of Heaven.

While the rest of nature trembles in fear of the decrees of the Just Judge, the Bishops Conference recommend that...

"In England and Wales it is through this action of walking solemnly in procession that the faithful make their sign of reverence in preparation for receiving..."

...our eternal judgement, reward or condemnation.

The Congregation for Divine Worship have recognised a request from the Bishops Conference that our judgment... the Dioceses of England and Wales is to be received standing, though individual members of the faithful may choose to receive it while kneeling. However, when they receive it standing, it is recommended that the faithful bow in reverence before receiving it.

The recognition, according to Fr Tim Finigan, has already led to the Archbishop's Council in Westminster deciding that it can see 'no place for the re-introduction of altar rails in the Diocese, and has informed the Historic Churches Committee of this decision.'

Interesting. The Bishops Conference can receive their judgement standing if they wish. I'm quite certain I'll be making that final Pilgrimage on my knees. Of course, I'll stand up if the Lord should ask me to.

We should practice kneeling more if only for our Bishop's sakes! This is one Day that we know that the Bishops Conference of England and Wales cannot move to the following Sunday, though if that Day were in our generation, they'd probably give it a try.

We'll be crying out "Dominus est! Kyrie eleison!" What will the Bishops be crying out? "Everybody, now, form an orderly queue, single file, in procession, and, give a slight bow."

Monday 13 June 2011

Complain to the BBC

I have been alerted to the sad news that tonight, 9pm, BBC 2 are airing a programme hosted by Sir Terry Pratchett called, not particularly imaginatively, Choosing to Die.

Do you want to watch someone being voluntarily euthanised? Well, tune into BBC IPlayer tonight and you can do just that. Yes, the days when Mary Whitehouse would complain about sex and violence are long since behind us and now the BBC are given free 'licence' to propagate exclusively for assisted suicide on behalf of Sir Terry Pratchett, Lord Falconer, Baroness Mary Warnock and all those misanthropic, malevolent persons of influence who yearn for the day when the terminally ill and elderly are booking themselves into their local NHS primary care trust to have themselves put down because, let's face it, "nobody likes being a burden". What is it with their rabidly obsessive death fetish?

It is terribly depressing that the author of so many children's books thinks assisted suicide and euthanasia is a good and noble thing. Has Sir Terry ever tried explaining his moral position to children? "Yes, kids, your granny is a bit like your pet dog. When a dog gets ill you take it to the vet and you have it put to sleep because its suffering. I look forward to the day when we can do the same for granny. Unfortunately, we can't do that at the moment because the evil Government say people can't have other people kill them on their behalf." I wonder how children would react to that. I think there may be a few tears and maybe a rubber band in your eye, but, by all means, give it a go, Terry.

Complain to the BBC about this exercise in State propaganda for a sickeningly nihilistic liberal elite as well as a Government running out of money, now considering culling the elderly and terminally ill. Can we please, please, please cull the jobs of these apparachiks in the media who are content with not only offending vast numbers of Catholics, other Christians and all people of sound and sane moral judgment with voyeuristic documentaries into the tragic and premature suicide of a terminally ill man, but do so in such a peculiarly biased way that I am starting to wonder whether perhaps the Bilderberg group are controlling our television viewing also? Knocking off the elderly, eh?  Well, that's one way to reduce population. I'm sure Henry Kissenger approves. The BBC is a vile, deceitful, wretched, cancerous arm of the State that needs lopping off and sharpish. It should be privatised and then people could actually choose whether they want to pay a licence fee for this kind of insidious garbage, so eerily redolent of Nazi propaganda, or, indeed, not!

Read also: Ecumenical Diablog and John Smeaton

Happy Feast of St Anthony of Padua

There's much about which I'd like to blog, but I'm preparing for a job interview on Friday and it is a job about which I feel very enthusiastic. For the time being, a very happy Feast of St Anthony of Padua, Wonderworker, to you all.

Sunday 12 June 2011

Bilderberg 2011

Bilderbergers: Yes, they've even got to our children...
Well, this year's annual Bilderberg meeting in St Moritz, Switzerland, has passed off relatively unreported. Relatively unreported, that is, by the mainstream media.

Other 'alternative' news sites, on the other hand, believe that a highly secretive meeting of some of the World's most influential politicians, businessmen and important types is indeed a story worth reporting. Can you imagine the media not reporting widely, for example, on the G8?

Of course, the internet has changed things quite a bit, so public knowledge of the Bilderberg meeting is greater than it was, so much so that The Guardian has reported on it this year, reporting The Evening Standard's Charlie Skelter's coverage on what he's been able to see of the meeting - a giant white security fence. The Telegraph tends to steer well clear, but for blogger James Delingpole and his erstwhile awareness-raising of man-made global conning for which he last year received a prestigious journalism award.

High-level security at St Moritz
But that's pretty much it. The meeting of such international 'luminaries' as our very own Lord of Darkness, Peter Mandelson, Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of, Chris R. Hughes, Co-founder of Facebook, Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, Craig J. Mundie, Chief Research and Strategy Officer at Microsoft Corporation, Reid Hoffman, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of LinkedIn, the Vice President of the European Commission, the President of the European Council, the Director General of the World Trade Organization, the President of the European Central Bank, the President of The World Bank, and the Executive Director of the United Nations World Food Programme, the US Deputy Secretary of State, the Commander of USCYBERCOM and the Director of the National Security Agency, representatives from every major US think-tank, senior figures from the National Bank of Belgium, the Nordea Bank of Denmark, the Deutsche Bank of Germany, the Investor AB bank of Sweden, the Oesterreichische Kontrollbank AG of Austria, and the Investimentos bank of Portugal, the Chairman of Barclays bank...(gasp for air)...

It's not a lizard, but it is Peter Mandelson: Ah well... same difference!
...the Chairman of HSBC, the Chairman of Goldman Sachs, the CEO of TD Bank Financial Group, the Vice Chairman of Citigroup and the former Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank, the former, German Minister of Finance, the current British Chancellor of the Exchequer, the current Greek Minister of Finance, the current Italian Minister of Economy and Finance, the Governor of the Bank of Canada, the former US Secretary of the Treasury and the former Governor of the Federal Reserve Board, Henry Kissenger, David Rockerfeller and many, many more is, more or less, unworthy of note in the vast majority of mainstream media outlets.

Why is what Belloc described as the "official" press not covering this more and being a lot more critical? The reason, of course, is that the official press are ran by arch-capitalists who would fit nicely into the Bilderberg 2011 meeting. While planning for the next year, depending upon your view of things, fortunately or unfortunately, nobody from the Vatican was represented. Not even from the Vatican bank, no stranger to controversy itself! For a full list of attendees click here. What really annoys me is that not only is this yearly event closed off to any public scrutiny or public accountability, not only is it shrouded in secrecy, an insult to democracy and lacking even the pretense of transparency, but few in the mainstream media even want to report on it.

These powerful businessmen, oligarchs and billionaires anoint our leaders. Tony Blair was present at a meeting in 1995 before he was to take over from the late John Smith. This year, ostensibly ideologically opposed politicians, George Osbourne and Peter Mandelson, were present at the same meeting enjoying each others company and sharing ideas for the future. This isn't a golf club we are talking about. This is an unaccountable, utterly undemocratic global congress. Whose interests do our leaders serve? Ours, or the interests of a global cabal of multi-billionaires?

This year, an Italian European Parliament member, who was presumably not on the guest list, was beaten up by security guards outside the Survretta hotel venue where the round of talks took place. MEP beaten up by security guards? Not a story? It isn't in the official press. It is in the non-official press. But the alternative press are just crackpot conspiracy theorists, aren't they? Well, it appears not...

Do also watch the video of the moment when Peter Mandelson's idea of a global elite jaunt in the area surrounding the hotel went a little 'off-course' and the group were met by a load of protesters with cameras. Classic stuff! You can walk, Mandy, but you can't hide! Scumbag! Poor old Ed Miliband. How unfortunate for him and Ed Balls that they were exclusively revealed to be disloyal "plotters" as soon as they entered into Parliament. This ugly "plotting" trait is, of course, totally alien to the vast majority of politicians. When you think of "plotting" one doesn't think of Peter Mandelson, Tony Blair, those who ousted Thatcher and Nick Clegg or David Cameron, does one? They're the good guys, remember! The "official" press, as Belloc said, has the power to break politicians, but it also has the power to make them. I'm not sure who, should Miliband fall, will be the next Labour leader. I thoroughly expect, however, that his successor either will be or will have been chosen guessed it...a Bilderberg meeting! Isn't it just a little bit weird how chummy politicians are with the banks that not only caused the financial collapse, but some of the very same banks that were then bailed out with public money!

Nothing to see here. Move along now....

Happy Feast of Pentecost

Strawberries like great tongues of fire
Check out this great blog called Catholic Cuisine: Recipes for Celebrating the Feasts and Seasons of the Liturgical Year.

Saturday 11 June 2011

Divisive Liturgy # 2

Bishop Drainey of Middlesborough celebrates Mass at Lourdes 

Image courtesy of Catholic and Loving It! A lot of purple. Was it Lent or something?

'Now, the priest - the "presider", as they now prefer to call him - becomes the real point of reference for the whole liturgy. Everything depends on him. We have to see him, to respond to him, to be involved in what he is doing. His creativity sustains the whole thing. Not surprisingly, people try to reduce this newly created role by assigning all kinds of liturgical functions to different individuals and entrusting the "creative" planning of the liturgy to groups of people who like to, and are supposed to, "make their own contribution". Less and less is God in the picture. More and more important is what is done by human beings who meet here and do not like to subject themselves to a "pre-determined pattern". The turning of the priest toward the people has turned the community into a self-enclosed circle. In its outward form, it no longer opens out on what lies ahead and above, but is closed in on itself.'
 ~ Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger in The Spirit of the Liturgy, p.80 (2000, Ignatius Press)

That book is well worth reading and re-reading

Divisive Liturgy

Looking forward to full Communion
While re-reading a recent copy of the Mass of Ages, the quarterly magazine produced by the LMS, I noticed an article entitled 'In Unity with Pope Benedict' by Fr John Hunwicke.

The ex-Anglican minister who has joined the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham writes, updating us on his journey towards full communion with the Successor of St Peter. Unfortunately, Fr Hunwicke, as the Transalpine Redemptorists report, has had his Ordination to the Sacred Priesthood of the Catholic Church delayed, or deferred, for reasons which have not been explained. He has an interesting blog, which will serve and does serve as a marvellous document of his transition from Anglicanism, to the Ordinariate set up by Pope Benedict XVI.

I believe that the article is well worth posting in its near entirety and I do so below:

'At the moment, except for the overwhelmingly sad fact that I lack the fullness of communion with the Holy Father and with Catholics throughout the world, I have a very satisfying liturgical life.  In my church, the altar was never shifted around; Mass has always been celebrated facing the East. I say Mass every day; on Sundays the Mass is Novus Ordo but in a translation which is in the tradition of Anglican worship: "Vere dignum iustem est" becomes for example, "It is very meet, right...": Tudor English which - I trust you noticed - even reproduces the very sounds of the Latin. My people reply, when I greet them, "And with thy Spirit". I invariably use the First Eucharistic Prayer, the Canon Romanus, in an old English translation authorised for use in American ex-Anglican Catholic parishes.
And, on one morning a week, I say the same form as a Low Mass.  But on the other five mornings, I celebrate, in Latin, the 'Tridentine' Mass.  Standing at the foot of the altar and saying the psalm 'Judica Me' makes me a member of that great band of pilgrims who have gone up to Jerusalem to offer sacrifice in the place the Lord has ordained: surrounded, often by enemies, but drawn ineluctably by the Light and Truth which shine from that Holy Mountain and the Tabernacles where the Lord dwells.
If I express my own human doubts and inadequacies, the server instandly tells me to stop whinging: "Spera in Deo"! But...did I speak about a "great band of pilgrims"? I should have referred to the One Pilgrim; the Incarnate Lord who went up to Jerusalem to offer the One Sacrifice of Himself which suffices for all time. As I say "Aufer a nobis" and walk up those steps, I act as Alter Christus and enter into the Sancta Sanctorum to make present the One Day of Atonement in which the Eternal Son offers Himself to the Father.
My anxieties? Will I be able daily to offer the Holy Sacrifice according to this august and wonderful Form when I have entered into full communion? Of course, being in communion with the See of Peter is a privilege (some of your fellow Catholics seem unaware of how great a privilege) which would outweigh even having to say Mass in a rite far more unhelpful than the ordinary form. I am quite clear about that. you see just a little of what I mean? In Newman's time, Anglicans made their way into the Lord's Fold with a joyous sense that they were leaving an environment of faulty and marred worship and entering the place where the Lord received - as far as can happen in via - was fitting. Read, if you haven't already, the accounts of Catholic worship in Blessed John Henry Newman's semi-autobiographical novel, Loss and Gain. My apprehensions are that i shall indeed be entering a place where the Voice of Peter speaks loud and clear, but that the worship...need I [...] be more explicit?'

No, you need not be more explicit Fr Hunwicke and you have the sympathy and approval of not just LMS members who read Mass of Ages, but many Catholic clergy and laity within the Church. The good Reverend continues...

'I would expect some readers to be suspicious. If this man so proudly confesses his acceptance of the entire teaching of the Church and his love for the Mass of Ages, why has he lingered so long in terra aliena? I think you need to understand the history of the Catholic Revival in the Church of England.  It began as a movement which was anti-Papal...'

Hang on...Isn't there a movement like that within the Catholic Church?

'...and upheld the Church of England as the true Catholic Church of this land.  But many of its members soon saw how silly this idea of 'Branch Churches' was. Soon there was an unashamed 'Papalist Movement'. Why did it stay in the Church of England? Because of a trust in Truth as certain to prevail; a sense that if one stayed and prayed and fought, the day of a corporate unity between Canterbury and Rome would come. This trust was fortified by the ARCIC ecumenical process, which explicitly envisaged the full organic unity of England and Rome. The ordination of women has made it quite clear that this hope is now - permanently - frustrated. Such a 'reunion' can now never happen.'

Gosh. What breathtaking and refreshing honesty. I can imagine that such honesty concerning personal anxieties over whether a Priest will have the freedom to maintain regular celebration of the 'Tridentine' Mass, a comparison of the Church's liturgy now and in the days of Blessed John Henry Newman, laced with a sense of sadness, and finally sigh of lament that the ARCIC ecumenical process was, in the light of Anglican liberalism, doomed to failure, would offend some individuals among very senior members of the Hierarchy.

Well, Fr Hunwicke, I am sure I do not speak for myself alone when I say that you have my unequivocal support and that I am greatly saddened that, with the deferral of your Ordination, you have felt compelled to close down your blog and stop documenting your ministry in what should be days of joyful expectation, as you move towards your ordination and entrance into full communion with the See of Peter.

I hope and pray that whatever obstacles are in the way of your ordination are removed and may Blessed John Henry Newman intercede for you that this happen quickly. Be reassured that there are many of us who believe very much that your contribution to the Church, your ministry and proclamation of the Gospel online is now and will be in the future, of immense value, in terms of building up and strengthening the Body of Christ.

Celebrate Brighton: Standing up for Vatican II?
 'Celebrate Brighton'

I have called this post 'Divisive Liturgy', so let us finally take a look at some. Here is something that is going on at Cardinal Newman Catholic School in August. It is called Celebrate Brightona 'Catholic Charismatic Conference' which takes place annually. It is what I would call divisive liturgy, since it certainly appears to take the Sacred Liturgy of the Church and reshape it or remould it into something akin to a Pentecostal healing service. It appears to be a charismatic conference which is about taking God to ourselves as experience, rather than allowing ourselves to be taken up to God, by God, in the mystery of the Mass.

It is aimed at 'Christians and Catholics', rather than Catholics. It appears to be about having an 'experience of God', especially the Holy Spirit, which runs at variance with the Church's teaching on the Third Person of the Trinity. It appears to be rather Protestant in its vision. This kind of liturgy, in my opinion, is dangerous and divisive. Much more dangerous and divisive than the Extraordinary Form. It is the kind of liturgy that could put off many disaffected Anglicans from joining the Ordinariate. It is the kind of liturgy which has been condemned on numerous occasions by Pope Benedict XVI for placing man, instead of God, at the centre of the Church's liturgical action.  Time and time again the 'charismatic movement' has been shown to lack roots or give people faith that is anything more than surface level enthusiasm. It is the kind of liturgy that is so alien to the Sacred Tradition of the Church, that it resembles the Evangelicalism that Blessed John Henry Newman predicted would die out sooner, rather than later.

What I find particularly interesting about the promo video from 2008 is that none of the actual liturgy is present in it. There is this sense in which the video maker wants to show you pictures of waves crashing against Brighton's shore, rather than a school gymnasium with a hundred men and women waving their arms in the air as if they are in some weird US evangelical cult. There is a sense in which they know that if they actually showed you the liturgy, it would put you off. I am sure nobody will mind me saying that this is a great failure of such liturgy. It is unable to teach people the Faith. There has to be 'teaching' as well, because the liturgy doesn't do any teaching - it is all about personal experience. I think if the LMS were to do a video about a 'Catholic Charismatic Conference' (because everyone knows that Gregorian Chant is the charismatic music that won over England to the Faith) organised by them, there would be no need for waves crashing against the shore, because the best advertisement for the Latin Mass, is the liturgy itself, the beauty of the music, the beauty of the vestments, the beauty of the choreography of the Mass, the reverence, the devotion, the obvious emphasis upon the very centrality and dependence of everything and everyone upon God.

Let us be clear and speak boldly. England was not won over to the Catholic Faith by 'Majesty' or 'Shine Jesus Shine'. By the 600s the Mass celebrated by the missionaries sent by Pope St Gregory I the Great was recognisably a Latin Mass, celebrated Ad Orientem. The music of the Chuch was Gregorian Chant.

England came to the Catholic Faith because Benedictine monks went from town to town singing this chant, putting on Catholic Charismatic Conferences all over the land that was to become known as Our Lady's Dowry. Quite what St Augustine of Canterbury and Our Blessed Lady think of the divisive liturgy of Celebrate Brighton, is anybody's guess. Arm-waving liturgy like what I imagine takes place at this conference suggests not that there are two Forms of worship in the Church which can mutually enrich each other: Novus Ordo and Extraordinary Form, but two totally different ways of worshipping God in the Church - Evangelical and Catholic, because there the Novus Ordo is celebrated in such a manner as to make it unrecognisable from a regular Novus Ordo mass celebrated according to the laws of the Church. No. Liturgy like this suggests rather that there are not two forms of mutual enrichment, but two Churches. Would the priests and laity or even Bishops who endorse or attend 'Celebrate Brighton' have the same understanding of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as Fr Hunwicke or an understanding of the Mass that is more than slightly different? It is very worrying.

Yes, Fr Hunwicke, Blessed John Henry Newman converted at a time when the Church was healthier and when liturgy reflected the Splendour of the Church and Her greatest Treasure - the Eucharistic Lord. We need you, Fr Hunwicke and many more like you. May Our Lady of Walsingham protect you and watch over you all the days of your life and your ministry in the service of her Divine Son.

Thursday 9 June 2011

What Does this Press Release Actually Mean?

Another blog alerted me to a report from Independent Catholic News which highlights the terrible effects of a local law making it illegal to give food to the homeless. ICN reports...

'We've been sent a cautionary tale by the St Vincent de Paul Society in Florida, USA, where it is already illegal to feed homeless people in public parks. The tell us the Orlando Sentinel reports that three people last week were arrested, accused of illegally feeding homeless and charged with violating an ordinance restricting group feedings in public parks. The ordinance requires groups to obtain a permit and limits each group to two permits per year for each park within a two-mile radius of City Hall. Arrest papers state that the three helped feed 40 people Wednesday night. The ordinance applies to feedings of more than 25 people. Police waited until everyone was served to make the arrest.

“They basically carted them off to jail for feeding hungry people,” said Coleman. “For them to regulate a time and place for free speech and to share food, that is unacceptable.”

Orlando Food Not Bombs has been feeding the homeless breakfast on Mondays for several years and dinner on Wednesdays for five years.

The penalty for violating Orlando’s ordinance is 60 days in jail, a $500 fine or both.'

Nice, eh? Jailed for giving a homeless man a sandwich. Unfortunately, there are attempts to make it so here. I had thought that Westminster City Council had backed down on making sandwich-giving illegal, but I am now not so sure. There's no way His Grace Archbishop Vincent Nichols would allow that. He'd be furious with the injustice of it and he'd make that sense of righteous fury known to the media.

On the 24th of May, Westminster City Council issued a press release on the 'negotiations' with agencies, which I guess includes representatives from the Mother Church of England and Wales, concerning the homeless in the Westminster piazza. The piazza is, I assume after all, the property of the Cathedral. This is the outcome. My emphases, bold, deep purple.

Westminster meets with soup run providers to seek solution

Tuesday, 24th May 2011
Westminster Council has met with soup run providers to seek a solution over their distribution of free food in and around Westminster Cathedral.
At a meeting on Saturday (May 20), discussions were held on how the council can work with soup run providers to help to find ways in which volunteers can give their time to help the homeless.
The consensus among those attending is that indoor provision of indoor soup runs is the most preferable route forward (Got that? Indoors good. Outdoors bad -  it's good but it doesn't 'look' good).
A committee, made up of providers, homeless charities, residents and the council, has now been established to look at the options to do this.
Westminster wants to work with soup run providers to reach a long-term arrangement to get people off the street and into long-term support to help improve their lives.
The council has decided not to proceed with the rough sleeping byelaw in a designated area in Victoria and its aim is to see whether there are alternatives to a soup run byelaw. If no solution can be found, the council will look to progress the byelaw. (Well, thanks for telling us your game plan WCC. The aim is to see whether there are alternatives to a soup run byelaw. If WCC decides there are no alternative to it, they'll do it anyway. Surely the 'alternative' to making it illegal to give sandwiches to the homeless is to keep it perfectly legal to give sandwiches to the homeless?) 
Cllr Daniel Astaire, Westminster Council’s cabinet member for adult services and health, said: "Our entire approach to homelessness and rough sleeping is about improving people’s lives. We don’t believe that soup runs in their current form help to achieve this and this meeting is one of the many steps we will take to see if we can address these concerns while supporting soup run volunteers in their laudable aim of helping those in need. There is willingness from all sides to harness our collective resources to explore a way forward – most immediately through the establishment of the committee - and I hope that all parties will rise to the challenge to avoid having to go down the legislative route."
Jeremy Swain, Thames Reach Chief Executive, said, “The meeting was extremely constructive. This is an issue that invokes a passionate response and it was valuable to have an open and frank exchange. The consensus is that indoor provision of soup runs is the best option to explore, as well as the contribution volunteers can make in other settings, such as hostels. To find a practical solution will require on-going dialogue between residents, the soup run providers, charities and the council – and this meeting has been helpful in paving the way to do this.”
Charity Thames Reach, The Passage and Crisis as well a number of soup providers and residents were among those who attended the meeting at Westminster City Hall.'

It is pretty obvious that this is phase one of a stitch up. The press release employs some quite benign sounding doublespeak. I've no doubt in my mind that the plan of Westminster City Council is to go down the byelaw route - but only if they can get away with it - only if they can convince people that all other avenues have been exhausted. The questions: How many homeless people were given the opportunity to speak at this meeting? Do these people get no say in how they are treated!? Oh no! God forbid that a homeless man should sit at the table and give his opinion! Heaven forbid! Much better that men from Crisis and Thames Reach, probably an annual salary of £35,000-£75,000 a year should give the Council the homeless man's opinion!

This stinks, and to high Heaven too. What kind of vipers are the Westminster City Council! The great crime, the huge, glaring sin here is that all of the agencies, including the Council, are marking out homeless men and women as being of a different status to other men and women. If a friend buys me a sandwich and gives it to me in the piazza, then that is not a crime, but under the potential byelaw, giving a sandwich to a homeless man would be punishable as a crime. That is ridiculous. It is beyond parody. It is unspeakably evil to give any credence to the notion that somehow homeless men and women are different kinds of persons, or 'sub-persons' or even 'non-persons'.

Thank God that His Grace Archbishop Vincent Nichols will never allow this byelaw to get passed. He will do everything within his power to stop this. He will defend his poor from the rooftops of the Cathedral, from the pulpit, in the Council, outside the Council, in the piazza, to the media, to the people, because he is a brave, courageous and benevolent Father in God to the poor. His Grace is a true champion of the Church's treasures. He will never allow them or the Faithful who show the poor kindness to be subjected to a brutal and inhuman law that denies their fundamental human rights. He has never publicly betrayed the Gospel of Our Lord Jesus Christ before. He will never do so again.

Tuesday 7 June 2011

George and Diane Face Eviction Tomorrow

I am afraid I have bad news. Long term readers will know of George and Diane, a couple that I know well, who with the assistance of Caroline Lucas MP, were able to leave Percival Terrace, a squalid excuse for temporary/emergency accommodation on the seafront of Brighton and into a temporary one bed flat on the border of Kemptown and Whitehawk. Today I report on a story of the powerful, rich and strong exercising power brutally over the powerless, poor and weak.

Since being at the new flat George, and especially Diane, have made great progress in trying to build a new life.  Diane, who I wrote about in an issue of The Catholic Herald last year, concerning the issue of drug addiction, has given up both alcohol and drugs.

Due to complaints from one resident concerning "noise pollution" both have now been told by the owners of the property that they have just one day - that's right - ONE DAY - to get out of the accommodation. Suffice to say I am furious and upset (though not as furiously upset as George and Diane obviously are) that all of a sudden the rug has been pulled from them and they are once again facing a situation where they are homeless and back in terrible accommodation in Brighton. Up to press, the couple were, on moving into their property, reassured that even this far improved accommodation was temporary - that more suitable accommodation for Diane would be offered later, since the flights of steps leading up to the flat aren't ideal for her bad back and legs. All this makes the potential move back to a homeless hostel even more bizarre.

According to my latest conversation with Diane, the Council seem quite content to put both George and Diane in either a hostel in Grand Parade (which is full of alcoholics and drug addicts) or the very same temporary hostel which they left, Percival Terrace (which is full of alcoholics and drug addicts). Diane did detox at Mill View Hospital relatively recently and has been 'clean' ever since. She had given up her drug addiction to cocaine before entry into the new flat. Since living at the new place, there have been difficult times, a few arguments, but her progress in recovering from drink and drug addiction has remained strong.

George and Diane, once again, stand to lose everything - in terms of possessions - but also the progress that both have made. Diane will be placed into a place of great temptation concerning drugs. She is bi-polar as well and is now severely depressed. I cannot believe that her 'keyworker' has not looked into any legal rights she may have concerning eviction notice. I cannot for the life of me believe that the Council and social services really consider that a woman who has made such progress in giving up her addictions belongs in a hostel surrounded by drugs and drug addicts!

Mears: All over Brighton. All over Council vans.
I am also aghast at the lack of mercy shown to this couple by the neighbour, who turns out to be one of the Mears family. He lives beneath the couple facing eviction. Mary Mears, a Councillor who owns the Mears and Sons stall at the Open Market, which is soon to be demolished and turned into flats could perhaps have a word with her relative or family member and sort him out a little. George is, I imagine, doing everything within his power not to give into the temptation to 'sort' the neighbour 'out' himself. How would this Mears family member feel if he were just kicked out onto the street and placed in a hostel surrounded by junkies? Well, I suppose that is not something about which  the much more wealthy individual has to worry.

Apparently, the same man allegedly also had a woman with a baby evicted from the same premises because the baby cried at 'inconvenient' times of the day and night, according to George's other neighbour, who, in stark contrast to the member of the Mears clan (or shall we call it the 'mob'?), has shown George and Diane nothing but kindness.

As you can imagine, as a friend of theirs, I, like them, feel somewhat powerless, but I fear greatly for Diane's mental health and the possibility that having made so much progress with her addictions, she will feel like she has entered once again into the squalor of Percival Terrace and back into a drugs scene. This is the place where things were not just bad. Things were really, really bad. George, too, has his temptations. They do not deserve to be put through the squalor of the hostels once more. They do not deserve to be ground down into the dirt and evicted with just one day's notice! They deserve, like we would all like, a little bit of understanding.

The last time I saw Diane, I went to a pub with both and she was happy. She seemed serene and peaceful, even though life was up and down. She'd been out to a charity shop to buy herself a nice dress and some shoes. She was thrilled with them.

Now, she sounds absolutely devastated. This neighbour and the company who own their residences do not understand that they are putting Diane in a place of grave temptation and danger and whether it is legally acceptable or not, they are causing untold psychological damage to a woman (and a man ready to explode) by asking them to leave the premises immediately.

Let me emphasise this: They are not being evicted for drugs. They are being evicted because one of the Mears family, who apparently tried to buy out the whole of the building where they live, but failed, has taken exception to the couple and, using his influence with the owners of the building (whoever they are), is having them moved out.

I understand that people can get annoyed by noise. The man, however, does not realise that he is making the couple homeless and once again in danger of falling prey to the drugs underworld of Brighton. It does not take much for an ex-user to become a user again. It can be a relatively small thing. But a massive upheaval like very sudden homelessness is just the kind of thing to break you. All that is needed is to be pushed 'over the edge'. Being made suddenly homeless and finding yourself in the hell-hole emergency accommodation that you joyously left, which you pretty much only associate with crack, is the kind of thing that would make you want to give up your good intentions and perhaps spit in God's eye.

Please pray. Pray hard for them. They deserve a lot more than this. A heck of a lot more. In deep winter, they put a homeless man up for a night or two because he was freezing in the cold of Brighton at night. They give, they always have done, fully shaken, pressed over, to others in need, yet they will find themselves with no help from those they helped now, because all of their friends are either homeless or in hostels. All their kindness to others will now be kicked back in their faces. Diane's faith is strong. It has been for a long, long time, but George's faith is weak. They will both wonder: 'Where is God now? What have we done to deserve this!?'

I see that Councillor Mary Mears's latest blog post concerns the impromptu 'climate' campsite on the Old Steine in Brighton. Mary appears to be very angered by it. Hmm...Well, if she doesn't want another tent on the Old Steine, because I'm quite sure George and Diane are ready to knock homeless hostels on the head, perhaps she could have a word with her rather unmerciful family member/relative at Arundel Court, or perhaps the company that are kicking my friends out onto the street tomorrow? Any way you can help them, Mary, would be much appreciated. They may have had an argument or two but they don't deserve this and, for my part, I won't rest until news like this is all over Brighton. It looks like my first magazine is going to be a four-pager at this rate.

If you are making the Novena to St Anthony of Padua, include them, please, in your prayers. I entrust them to his prayers. If not, just pray for them. More than that, I doubt, can we do. I tell you what though. I might just put a link to this article on Councillor Mary Mears's blog. It's important that she knows what the actions of her relative/family member has caused or certainly could cause. God help the Mears's. God help George and Diane.

If George and Diane are to be asked to leave the flat at Arundel Court, then justice demands that they are given a fair warning of eviction so that either they can make other living arrangements, or the Council can respond adequately to the needs of Diane, a client of the mental health services division of Brighton and Hove City Council.

Damian Thompson on Ad Clerum of Archbishop Conti

Archbishop Conti of Glasgow
Damian Thompson today looks quizzically at a recent Ad Clerum from Archbishop Conti of the Diocese of Glasgow, Scotland.

The nub of the Ad Clerum is that there is apparently "no call" for the Traditional Latin Mass in Scotland.

Is this true?

Well, one way to find out is if there is just one Catholic from Scotland who reads this blog, who would like a Priest in Scotland to celebrate the Traditional Latin Mass, or would like to "call" for it to be celebrated more in Scotland, they can make their name known in the comments box.

Since if there were only one Catholic person in Scotland who would like to see the Latin Mass being celebrated in the Diocese in which he lives, that would mean that there was not "no call" for the Mass of Ages to be celebrated. If just one person, but by all means more may do so, would like to come forward, then that would be appreciated. Just one call (and I think Universae Ecclesiae and Summorum Pontificum will back me up here) is enough for there to be a call - which would be more than "no call". I think I've made my point. God bless readers.

As an afterthought, the Archbishop certainly opens up a debate. If there was "no call" for Confession from the Laity, would the Archbishop recommend that the Sacrament of Reconciliation should not be promoted? Aren't Bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals and Priests meant to be leading the Laity towards Salvation, encouraging prayer, devotion, holiness of life? Isn't that what a good Shepherd does? Or have I missed something?

Sunday 5 June 2011

The Hermeneutic of Continuity

The Catholic press has suffered in the decades since the Second Vatican Council, I expect not just in terms of quality and Catholicity of content but in terms of sales. Now it faces stiff competition from the free, alternative news and opinion sources of individual blogs.

There was, I presume, a time when Catholics would receive their copy of The Universe and even The Tablet and rejoice.

Looking over a volume of 'From the Archives of The Universe Catholic Weekly' the other day, I was filled with wonder at photographs from what appears to have been a 'golden age' for Catholicism in the United Kingdom. I saw a marvellous image of G K Chesterton and his wife walking into Westminster Cathedral, for instance. This 'golden age' seems to have been from the late 1800s, through the decades until the ravages of the Second World war, or rather its aftermath, and the resulting 1960s 'new age'.

It appears to have been a time when Priests and Bishops behaved and dressed like Priests and Bishops, when the laity voluntarily built shrines to Our Lady in the East End of London, when couples loved the Faith so much that they would get married in freshly bombed Churches, when processions were massive, piety and devotion to the Rosary was strong and the Catholic identity ran through British Catholic life like a stick of Graham Greene's Brighton Rock. In that novel, the innocent Rose tells bad boy Pinkie that suicide is a "mortal sin". Pinkie's response is that "one more won't hurt". Nowadays, presumably, Pinkie would tell Rose that you can't talk to people about Salvation and ask her whether she means something about climate change.

The archive images are fascinating, but they throw into sharp focus the present age and how aspects of Catholic worship, liturgy and dress are absolutely unrecognisable from what they once were.  When you compare the ornate vestments, birettas and lace albs that were just what Priests and Bishops wore routinely, it just appears as if everything was taken so much more seriously in those days! There was a sense of timelessness and majesty to the images. The Faithful really were faithful. Full of faith. That is certainly how it appears, anyway.

'From the Archives' Hardback Book
You can search through the Total Catholic website for the individual copies of 'From the Archives' which you can buy (they are cheap, by the way!) and I see that they have compiled a book, interestingly, due to the popularity of the series among Catholics who look back not only with nostalgia, but also those who look forward to a restoration of the Catholic identity and a widespread embracing of the Church's roots in the United Kingdom.

It always strikes me that it appears that many senior Priests and Bishops are embarrassed by the Church's past in the UK. I have a feeling the time will come when future generations of Catholics will feel embarrassed by them. This isn't just history. This is our history. These are our roots! These are images of Bishops, Priests, Religious and Laity with whom we are still in communion, as much as we are with the Saints! I recommend the series very much.

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...