Thursday 29 September 2011

For Catholics With Time on Their Hands

...and devotion to Our Lady in their hearts.

How to make a wire Rosary.

Watch Our Lady Rosary Maker's YouTube Channel for the other episodes in the Rosary making series.

Welcome to the World of Mears Group Plc

Making People Smile: Is that a Chelsea smile?
The Eye of a Needle

Recently, I visited a friend of George and Diane in her Council flat in Brighton.  A young lady who suffers depression, having had 5 children taken from her in her life by social services, we talked with her and I asked if she would allow me to take some footage of her property.

She wasn't offended when I said that I wasn't very impressed by the Council if this was what they were offering as accommodation to Brightonians.

Thankfully, she is being moved soon to a new Council property, though she admitted she has not seen the place to which she will be moved.  As you can tell from the video below, the walls of the house are in a shocking state of disrepair and are in need of plastering and decorating.  Like a couple of Council houses I have seen, the Council and/or the Mears Group who are responsible for the upkeep of its property, don't provide carpet to its residents.

Bob Holt, CEO of Mears Group
According to this article, the Mears Group seem to be doing rather well financially.  Its CEO, Bob Holt, boasts of the company with responsibility for the maintenance of social housing in Brighton having been 'debt free' for over 13 years. It is a company which, according to Growth Business UK, has brought the 'Mears Group from sales of £12 million when it listed on AIM in 1996 to £305 million today'.

Great. Well, I'm all for people being successful, but if this company are really doing that well then why do they seem unable to maintain this Council property in Brighton to a barely minimal standard. This company must need no reminding that they are on the receiving end of a staggering average of £2,020,105 a year from Brighton and Hove City Council for their services (Source: Openly Local), which, looking at the video below of a friend's Council house, seems to be rather an excessive pecuniary reward, for a not very good job. Certainly, the resident living there was rather down about where she lived.

Over winter she had to live on friend's sofas in order to keep warm because, as you can see from the video, the grill over the door that came off after a daughter tried to break in, having lost her key, never was put back on the hinges. The wood was so rotten that the door came right off and couldn't be put back on. So the Mears team just grilled up the back door, but not particularly well, since it allows air and light through. So in winter, the resident was freezing cold when it hit minus 6 degrees. She asked the Mears team to sort it out, of course, but it never was. To be honest, looking around at the place, it kind of felt like the whole house could fall down at any moment. I hope a lot of people read this, I really do and I hope the 'House of Mears' that seems to have an iron grip over the housing of the poor in Brighton falls down like the house of cards that it is. They have a reputation in Brighton, does the Mears clan. One of the Mears appears is a Councillor.

Not, that said, that it is only Brighton and Hove City Council that are in a cosy relationship with the Mears operations. Openly Local, the website that provides information on Council's spending and Council's suppliers makes it quite clear that the Mears Group provides exactly the same services for:

  • Birmingham City Council (Total spend: £1,502,739, Average monthly spend: £1,502,739)
  • London Borough of Bromley (Total spend: £169,749, Average monthly spend: £169,749)
  • Blackpool Council (Total spend: £674,791, Average monthly spend: £337,395)
  • Newcastle upon Tyne City Council (Total spend: £2,623,661, Average monthly spend: £437,276)
  • London Borough of Lambeth (Total spend: £471,040, Average monthly spend: £471,040)
  • Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (Total spend: £2,551,119, Average monthly spend: £283,457)
  • Cornwall Council (Total spend: £1,874,663, Average monthly spend: £468,665)
  • Leeds City Council (Total spend: £396,751, Average monthly spend: £396,751)
  • Peterborough City Council (Total spend: £53,291, Average monthly spend: £53,291)
  • London Borough of Barking and Dagenham (Total spend: £15,606, Average monthly spend: £15,606)
  • North East Lincolnshire Council (Total spend: £85,777, Average monthly spend: £28,592)
  • Dover District Council (Total spend: £338,107, Average monthly spend: £112,702)

It looks like Brighton and Hove City Council are the most generous in their spending on these boys. Ironically, after I'd visited this property, I went to get my hair cut at a barbers on the edge of town and the guy next door to me, also getting his hair cut, was a Mears worker. They wear t-shirts with the Mears logo on one side of the breast and the Brighton and Hove City Council logo on the other. There I was, sat next to one of the workers, with the evidence of their shocking abandonment of their properties to disrepair in my pocket on my video camera. The hairdresser tied this white thing around my neck to stop hair going down my back. I'd never had a barber do that before and so asked if he was cutting my hair or my head off! I hope the Mears clan don't get any ideas.

I guess you could say this is a mutually beneficial relationship. It is also Councillor Mary Mears of Mears and Sons who arranged for the destruction of the Open Market, for it to be renovated and for flats to built there on the site. I think most people accept that Councils are a little dodgy and that how they award contracts is probably on the dodgy side. I think what most people would find a little shocking is just what little effort some of those contractors put into the properties over which they have responsibility and the appalling living conditions of those who have to live there, those who have no choice where they live. I don't know. Maybe they maintain the Council's housing stock well and this is something of an abberation. Or maybe, it is a case of the resident being 'not worthy' of having her house repaired. I hope they get the place fixed up before the next poor soul has to live there, but I wouldn't bet on it...

Iranian Pastor to Die Tomorrow for Apostasy from Islam

May God and the prayers of the Blessed Virgin be with him
Courtesy of Tom Chivers, The Telegraph

'I wrote the other day about Troy Davis, a man who faced the death penalty in America. Hours after I wrote it, he was killed. I maintain it was an appalling and brutal act, whether he was innocent or guilty. But in the coming days, another man will probably be executed. He is definitely guilty of the crime of which he is accused. He admits it. But the fact that it is a crime at all would, if it were not so tragic, be almost funny.
Youcef Nadarkhani, a Christian pastor in Iran, stands accused of apostasy. His "crime" – forgive the sarcastic quotes – is having once been Muslim, but now being Christian: from turning from one monotheistic Abrahamic religion which recognises Jesus Christ as a holy figure, to another monotheistic Abrahamic religion which recognises Jesus Christ as a holy figure. He has been asked three times to recant his beliefs, but has refused. If he refuses a fourth time, he could be executed at any time; he will be asked again today, and could die tomorrow.
This is, of course, against international law, for what little that means. More surprisingly, it is also apparently against Iranian law: Pastor Nadarkhani was not, it seems, a practising Muslim before he converted to Christianity, so there is no apostasy. One Iranian court ruled that this meant he was innocent; the Supreme Court, however, decided that because he has Muslim ancestry, he remains guilty. On such utterly fatuous threads a man's life hangs.
His legal team includes Mohammed Ali Dadkhah, a courageous Iranian Muslim who himself been sentenced to nine years imprisonment for his legal human rights work in the country (or "actions and propaganda against the Islamic regime", as the fantastically paranoid Iranian government considers it). Those of his team who remain out of prison are to attempt to appeal, although there is no right to do so. And, in a system as Kafkaesque as Iranian Sharia, you wouldn't bet much on the appeal working anyway.
It's easy as a secularist to focus on the little things that go wrong in countries that are mostly right: attempts in the US to blur the line between church and state, or prayer in school here in Britain. When some daft medievalist tries in a futile fashion to impose their idea of religious morality on the country – I'm thinking of the ghastly Stephen Green of Christian Voice, or the little band of Islamists who want to impose Sharia in British courts – we get panicky: but we often forget the real, brutal theocracies in other countries. Here in Britain, secularism, mercifully, has by-and-large won: you can worship who you like and what you like, and, up to a point, mock others for what they believe, too. That is important. But in Iran, and Saudi Arabia, and Yemen and Pakistan and a handful of other Islamic states, the brand of God you choose to believe in can be a matter of life and death.
I want to push you towards a petition or a JustGiving site or something, to contribute to the release of Pastor Nadarkhani, but there doesn't seem to be an organised campaign and I don't know whether a petition signed by a few Britons would really make much difference. Instead, I've written to my MP, to ask him to encourage the Foreign Office to express to the Iranian government their principled opposition to the death penalty in all forms, and to its appliance for religious bigotry in particular. You can do the same at Please do, and also read David Allen Green's fantastic blog in the New Statesman for more information.

Wednesday 28 September 2011

Rosary Crusade of Reparation 2011

Do try and join the 27th Annual Rosary Crusade of Reparation taking place on Saturday 8th October 2011. I attended last year's Crusade and it was very prayerful as well as being a marvellous day.  Rather excitingly, this year's Crusade will be led by Mgr Keith Newton of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham.  Much like the LMS Walking Pilgrimage to Walsingham, the intention is for the conversion of England and Wales.  The Rosary Crusade starts from Ambroseden Avenue outside Westminster Cathedral at 1.45pm and ends at the Brompton Oratory, where, last year at least, there were hymns, prayers to Our Lady and Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament.

Tuesday 27 September 2011

Introducing Brother Felix...

I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "So what is this guy listening to in his white van?" This week I have been listening to The Beautiful South album 'Carry on Up the Charts' which I bought for 50p from a Car Boot Sale at the Brighton Racecourse on Sunday. I also bought The Best of David Essex, which is just pure comedy, also for just 50p. What bargains! There are, it has to be said, only two stand out tracks, of which this is probably the most outstanding. I have to buy CDs for my van because the radio doesn't have reception.

David Essex. Classic. I hear he is in Eastenders now.

George and Diane were kind enough to buy me this delightful nodding monk called (from now) Brother Felix. I love him and I'm not selling him, partly because its a gift and partly because I rather like him. Isn't he fun!? Readers, Brother Felix, Brother Felix, readers. He's good at answering questions concerning the hot Catholic issues of the day. So why not let's ask him a couple?

Today he answers questions concerning the issue of homosexuality and the Catholic Faith. Brother, what say you on the thorny and troublesome issue of homosexuality and the Church's unpopular Teaching. Is She right and free from error in this matter and, indeed, all matters concerning Faith and Morals?

That looks like a yes! The Church has spoken, we had no need for a mystical friar, but a mystical friar we have in Brother Felix, who is, I think, something of an ascetic Franciscan who sits atop of my fish tank. Brother, what say you on the thorny issue of homosexuality and the Church's Infallible teaching? Do those who challenge the Church's Teaching on homosexuality have any sound theological basis for their strange doctrines? Is there any way Church teaching could or should change?

Sorry, boys. It looks like this matter is now well and truly settled. Yet will the pronouncements of this holy friar make a difference to those who seek to subvert, undermine or destroy the Catholic Church? Only time will tell...Can I get this thing blessed?

Monday 26 September 2011

"Blessed Are You When..."

Is this meant to be the Holy Spirit,  Hell or Purgatory?
Regular blog readers will be aware that Fr Ray Blake has received some astonishing emails from Anglicans involved in the 'LGBT' movement in Brighton for his commentary on the 'Illiberality of a Hove MP' who wants to see Churches that do not allow gay 'weddings' suffer absurdly severe penalties from the State.

Fr Blake's post, which really was quite mild, pointed out that the stance of Mike Weatherley, MP for Hove, was anti-liberal as well as being offensive not just to Christians, but to Muslims and to Jews as well. We all know that several Christian denominations have, let's say, softened their stance on the issue of homosexuality and on homosexual relationships. Those denominations not built on rock, but on sand, have, in the storm-tossed times of the 21st century, updated their view on this 'burning issue' of the day.

Fr Blake then received an email, among other emails, from someone called Richard Ashby and also Nigel Nash of the Brighton and Hove Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement.  In the comments section of that post, Keith Sharpe, author of the 'provocative', and to say the least, 'controversial', Gay Gospels book made numerous and varied defenses of his belief that God thinks homosexual acts are just fine and dandy, just as he does, also, in his tawdry book. I did hear him give an interview on Radio Sussex recently about his book and I have to say that he received more than one phone call on the radio dismissing his ideas entirely. The presenter didn't sound particularly convinced either.

Now, Anglicans believe what Anglicans believe and despite the Anglican Communion's long historical opposition to homosexual acts, as well as its current one, depending on which Anglican with which you talk, some Anglicans (in addition to liberal pick n' mix Catholics) are always going to believe that Sacred Scripture backs them up 100% even if an Evangelical Southern Baptist and a Catholic can both agree that Scripture is pretty clear on this one. The only difference is that the Catholic would say that while God condemns as wicked the act of homosexuality, God does not 'hate fags', but rather, loves sinners. The Catholic might add that while the 'curing' of homosexuality is unlikely, as Catholics we pray 'only say the word, and I shall be healed'. Chastity is, of course, the goal. We are all sinners in the Catholic Church and it is our sins which we desire to be washed away and our souls to be healed through daily prayer and the Sacraments of Penance and the Eucharist. Like many Christians, it is perhaps the homosexual's daily prayer to make his heart more like unto His Heart and through conforming his life to Christ, he may rightly hope for Heaven. Furthermore, some, a small minority perhaps, of homosexuals find after years that they meet someone of the opposite sex who they love, who they marry and with whom they have children. You don't hear much of that from the LGBT lobby, but it is well-known that it does happen and the LGBT community should get over it.

Fr Blake's patron's lips were padlocked

Quite why Anglicans who are homosexual and promote homosexuality in Brighton are furious with Fr Blake, a Catholic Priest, for defending Catholic teaching, as well as Islamic and Judaic teaching is still a great mystery. Did he do it in an over-arching, offensive or mocking tone? No, he most certainly did not.  Indeed, many of Fr Blake's posts which I have read have displayed a great pastoral care, sympathy and compassion for those struggling with the Cross of homosexuality. However, in this area, like so many others, unlike various prelates and priests in Holy Mother Church, Fr Blake both online and offline in the Pulpit always points to the Cross of Our Saviour and reflects in his blog Catholic teaching. What on earth else is a blogging or indeed any Catholic priest, supposed to do, but that?

One does not require a huge imagination to realise that as a Catholic priest in Brighton, Fr Blake is priest and confessor to a not insignificant number of his own flock who carry the Cross of homosexuality and who, like all men carrying Crosses, fall under its weight. From my own experience as a man who has fallen under that weight, I can tell you that Fr Blake is a gentle and merciful confessor to his people. Even the penances he gives are small and I believe he takes much more upon himself. What Fr Blake does not do is lead people into error or into sin by preaching some 'other kind of Gospel' to 'itching ears' like Keith Sharpe (I'm sure Keith can source the Scriptural references) appears to be doing. With those of his congregation who do suffer same sex attraction, Fr Blake is, I believe, on jolly good terms. He is always very joyful, kind and rather humourous company, regardless of the sexual orientation of his parishioners. He treats us all like the children of God that we are.
Sadly, this is not a photoshopped image...

Regardless of this, his commentary on the Hove MP and the comments he received in support of his piece upset the leadership of the Brighton and Hove Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement and one can relatively safely assume, Changing Attitudes Sussex, led by Gay Gospels author, Keith Sharpe. The mysterious Richard Ashby emailed Fr Blake with this...

I need to tell you that your comments have caused widespread offence to members of the Christian Gay Community, and many of the comments made by other members of your blog, allowed publicity by you, are nothing less than inflammatory and inciting of hatred about members of the gay community.

It is an offence in this country to incite hatred against any group of people, and that is exactly what you are doing by allowing and promoting the kind of bigotry you are condoning. The comments are also causing grave offence to Catholics, many of whom I know are appalled by what you and fellow members of your congregation write.

Dear Nigel Nash, quite probably Keith Sharpe and Richard Ashby, whoever on Earth you are, I need to tell you that your intimidation and threatening actions against Fr Ray Blake have caused widespread offense to members of the Catholic community. Many of the comments you have made on Fr Blake's blog and not to mention your emails are nothing less than inflammatory and inciting of hatred about members of the Catholic community. There are plenty of homosexuals in Brighton who believe what Fr Blake believes. What on Earth gives you the idea that you speak on behalf of all gay men, nevermind all gay, Christian, men and most especially all gay, Catholic, men? It is an offense in this country to incite hated against any group of people and that is exactly what you are doing by promoting the kind of bigotry you are condoning. You and your Brighton 'LGBT' Anglican friends are incredibly bigoted against the Catholic Church and Her loyal Priests who hold fast to the Teachings handed on by the Lord Jesus Christ to St Peter and the Apostles and to his and their Successors today.  The Reverend Ian Paisley's more chilled out about the Catholic Faith than you lot and he's more honest about his prejudices!

You cannot bear to hear the truth of the Gospel! It is your ears, not his, which are burning and you cannot bear it when the Gospel is preached in its entirety! In what sense are you Christians?! Because you say that you love?! How can you say that you love?! You despise the truth that comes from God and you persecute those who proclaim it even mildly, gently and, yes, even those who work tirelessly for Christ and His Gospel, ministering to homosexuals with great compassion and with the tender love that comes from God! You want us to believe what you believe, but you say nothing that is new - you just spread your sin around and then you have the audacity to call it virtue and write books about great it is, even blaspheming the Holy Name of Our Blessed Lord, only to express surprise and shock when people, religious or not, tell you that that is not Christianity!

Were you to lead others and, indeed, us, you would lead them and us to our own Oblivion - that, that is how loving you are! To you, love is something that takes place when a man gets physical with a man or when a man condones it or promotes it and the only 'woe' to you is toward those who disagree with it or suggest that it is in any way sinful. That is not love! Love is about self-sacrifice, self-denial and the desiring only of the spiritual and temporal good of another!

For Heaven's sake, get a grip of yourselves, grow up and please accept and respect that even the Office for National Statistics revealed recently that most certainly not all people believe what you believe and that some people are Catholic. Some, like me, are Catholic and carry the Cross of homosexuality. Get over it and most of all get over yourselves! You can call me a bitter old queen if you wish, but believe me when I say that I have nothing, absolutely nothing on you!

If you must pick on someone, pick on me, or are you really like the devils who enjoy concentrating on Catholic Priests?! If you want to get to Fr Blake, because it is obvious from your email that you want his Bishop to close his blog down because you are just 'so offended' (pass me the sick bag), then believe me when I say you will have to get through an army of us, to whom Fr Ray Blake is a holy confessor, confidant in times of need and perennial teacher of the Most Holy Faith. I've seen at least one gay man other than myself crying on Fr Blake's shoulder, so before you try and drag his name through the mud because he said something that 'offended' you, remember that his supporters are plenty and plenty of them are homosexuals.

'The Gay Gospels', indeed! What a joke! There's more 'Gospel' in this blogpost than there is in your entire book, Keith. Just who are these charlatans who imagine, for a second, that the Bishop of Arundel and Brighton is going to listen to their tiresome 'hate speech' fairytale, rather than defend a popular Priest loyal to the Pope, the Magisterium and to the Heart of Jesus!? LGBT surveys?! On your bike, lads! No Catholic Bishop worth his salt would countenance such a thing! Sling your hooks! We're Catholics and we tend to all love one another at Christ's command despite our varied weaknesses and sins! We don't need to hold a sodding 'LGBT forum' just to prove to men that we endeavour to carry out Christ's command of holy charity. It is obvious to us that it is you who are lacking in love, not us and most assuredly not Fr Ray Blake!

Anyway, we're usually too busy discussing the Faith with Fr Ray after Mass at a nearby pub for all that LGBT nonsense. If you want to spout your gay lifestyle-affirmation agenda, it is a free country and you may do so, at your own spiritual and indeed, eternal peril, but please, for Heaven's sake, leave the Body of Christ - the Catholic Church - and Her loyal priests, alone, until the day, God willing, that you repent of your heresies and join the rest of us sinners in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. I'm done...Oh, and by the way, why have you left the transgendered and bisexual communities out of your organisation's name, 'Brighton and Hove Lesbian and Gay Christian Movement'? They must feel terribly excluded and 'deeply hurt and offended'. And more than that, whatever will become of Portslade and Peacehaven? What shall become of those towns without you?

Amateurs! Moreover, losers! Take it away, Freddie!

Friday 23 September 2011

Pray for the Holy Father in Germany

I've read some interesting blog posts today, among which A Reluctant Sinner writes an excellent piece on the rough treatment of another brave Priest by his Bishop, following complaints from vociferous elements of the gay community. He preached Catholic Faith and paid the price. This is what we usually say of Martyrs who suffer at the hands of the godless. Sadly, today, the virtuous suffer at the hands of even their own Shepherds.

Another good read is James Preece's post on the new website from Catholic Voices that, somehow, against all the odds, fails to mention either Our Lord Jesus Christ or Our Blessed Lady. Were it not for the fact that the Catholic Voices project was launched in order to represent the Faith in the media during the visit of Pope Benedict XVI, I doubt it would mention the Holy Father either, but let us not be too critical, because after all, Austen Ivereigh's new Catholic Voices website does talk very eloquently about the project becoming a school of "new Christian humanism". I hate to be dismissive of Austen's projects, but "new Christian humanism" does sound like the kind of thing Hans Kung might invent or say he invented. Hey! Now, I think about it, maybe he did invent it and Austen is just re-inventing it and re-packaging it!

As a matter of fact, another post I read today, I forget where I read it, concerns the very same Hans Kung, of Germany, who has been speaking out about the "Putinization" of the Catholic Church under the reign of Pope Benedict XVI. It really is one of the slimiest interviews I have read in a good, long while.

The interview is with Der Spiegel and you can read it here, if you can bear it for Friday penance. There is so much that Kung says which is objectionable, but even the prospect of a relatively successful Papal visit to the Successor of St Peter's homeland seems to get Hans into a lather. Of the 70,000 attending one of the Holy Father's Masses, Kung says...

"They're not all believers; the crowd will include many curious onlookers. The believers who will attend are mainly conservative Catholics with no interest in reforms. There are also notorious young, hysterical Benedict fans who are also always present at the major papal events. Most of them are recruited from strictly conservative groups."

Supporters of the Holy Father are "notorious, young and hysterical". Is that "rad, trad and dangerous to know"?  Every fibre of my being desires to be charitable to Hans Kung, but so far my body isn't responding to my brain's signals. What really comes across is the carping bitterness of the modern German theologian whose great vision of the Church in the 21st century is now in decline, while desire for sound, orthodox teaching and liturgy is on the increase. It is so sad that after the colossol failure of the Vatican II experiment whose adherents still dominate the Catholic Church in the West, Kung and his supporters are still blaming traditional Catholics in the Church for the lack of new Priests coming through. Come on...liberalism has been the default setting of the Church on the ground in parishes and Dioceses for a long, long time. Does he really think that it is the failure of modern Catholic liberalism to totally capture the heart of the Supreme Pontiff that is to blame for a dearth of vocations? Could the problem not be liberalism and its tenets that are to blame?

The abuse crisis occurred under the watch of liberals within the Church, even at high levels of the hierarchy, but for Kung the abuse crisis has no link to the trend within seminaries for seminarians to believe and be taught, from the 1970s onwards, that Heaven and Hell were quaint fairytales believed only by medieval anorexic mystics who were mad anyway. No...

"If you put it that simply, I'll give you a simple answer. Ratzinger's predecessor, John Paul II, launched a program of ecclesiastical and political restoration, which went against the intentions of the Second Vatican Council. He wanted a re-Christianization of Europe. And Ratzinger was his most loyal assistant, even at an early juncture. One could call it a period of restoration of the pre-council Roman regime."

Make sense? No, the answer to the question about the abuse crisis does not make sense. So, it isn't just one Pope, the current, reigning one, but two that Kung dislikes immensely. He speaks as if the re-Christianization of Europe is, like, er, a bad thing. Do read the interview, but don't if you have a heart condition. It really is an exercise in maintaining your composure and, to be honest, if you are unable to do so, you've passed the test. Catholics should be horrified by the flagrant disloyalty of Kung and the downright disgraceful assertion that Pope Benedict XVI behaves like a former shady KGB man who rose to the top of the Church and now bullies Her into submission to his will and whim.

The opposite is, in fact, true. If it were not, he would not have given Holy Communion to a dissident in the hand today when it was totally and utterly obvious that it is his preference to distribute Communion to the Faithful kneeling and on the tongue. He is always gentle, even with those, even in authority in the Church, who deserve to have their heads knocked together. It is so sad that Kung cannot see that the liberal experiments which damaged the Church so badly and ruined the faith of so many is not the answer to the restoration of the Church. It is, he, sadly, who is intransigient to reforms - not the Holy Father and his "notorious, young, hysterical" supporters in the laity, the Priesthood and in religious life. By the time you get into the second page of the Der Spiegel interview it really does begin to sound as if Hans Kung has been possessed by the spirit of Martin Luther, but one fears that that might have happened about 40 years ago. Poor man. Pray for the Holy Father in Germany. May God bless him and preserve him and give him long life. Long may His Holiness reign. May it be long and continue to be glorious.

At least we can rest assured that the man in charge of the Catholic Voices project is poles apart from Hans Kung's disastrous, dissenting theology and that as far as the East is from the West, that is how far apart are Austen Ivereigh's views and those of the embittered and rather sad modern theologian, Hans Kung, though it possible that they could discuss, amicably and in a spirit of fraternal affection, a "new Christian humanism".

Thursday 22 September 2011

Pray for this Priest and His Bishop

H/T Linen on the Hedgrow and Laudem Gloriae

After a smear campaign was launched against Fr. Andrzej Skoblicki (Diocese of Linz) by a small group of liberals who didn't like his preaching the unvarnished truths of the Catholic faith, Bishop Ludwig Schwarz has decided to suddenly dismiss the pastor from his parish--this in spite of the signed petition presented to the bishop by parishioners who love their priest. The reason the bishop gave for the dismissal was that Fr. Skoblicki could not "settle fears" and maintain a "Christian community."

Fr. Skoblicki offered his thoughts in an interview:
I have been under contract to preach to and exhort the people that the Eucharist is the presence of the Lord Jesus, to recognize His Body and Blood, and to recall that one can not receive Communion in a state of serious sin, from the earlier Linz Bishop, Maximilian Aichern, and later then from Bishop Schwarz. I have also always said that the unity of the work of the Holy Ghost is and always the fruit of the presence of Jesus in all the hearts of men.
KATH.NET: What do you want for the Diocese of Linz?

P. Andreas Skoblicki: That it uses its many possibilities and resources for the good and that they finally separate from the load of the past by a prayer of deliverance or expiation and free the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to declare it to the people without fear and relativistic confusion. Otherwise I wish the Diocese that they obey St. Peter, the Pope. I also thank the Diocese that they allowed me to work here, so I could experience certain conversion and could experience the nearness of God and His mercy.
When asked what plans he had for the future, the priest answered, "I want to be holy."

You can read the entire interview here.

Please keep this priest (and the bishop) in your prayers.

To send Fr. Skoblicki a message of support, you can write to him at this address:

Wednesday 21 September 2011

We are the Titanic...

The United Kingdom, Europe and the US that is, not the Catholic Church.

The parallels are similar...The liner pilots of the country drove too fast to break new pay records (bankers, politicians etc), in a bid to make the liner attractive to the super-rich, then hit an iceberg (sub-prime mortgages and attending banking crisis) and now the UK and the Eurozone are going down very quickly indeed.

Now for the fate of the 'third class' voyagers. Surely a Government has to pass a bill before it informs the terminally ill (unproductive) that their benefits may be cut from next April, if, or as the Government hopes, when, such a bill is passed? The very rich will ride the economic catastrophe playing out before our eyes at the moment, but it looks like the 'safety net', for what that net is worth (net worth?),  is about to be cut. Mind you, the women and children rule doesn't really apply any longer does it? New third class voyagers include old men and women who will be cut and as for the unborn, that cutting procedure started long ago...I expect there is a link there somewhere. The escape boats are for foreign investors, obviously.

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Praying for Silence

Pray silence please for the Mass and St Thomas Aquinas
On Sunday I went to Mass at St Joseph's Church in Brighton and was struck by a few things that made me wonder whether or not the new translation is making a difference to the liturgical life of the Church already.

My impression is that, unfortunately, much still depends upon the Priest who is celebrating the Holy Sacrifice, which is really a great shame because I had got the sense that with the new translation that the Priest may decrease so that Christ may increase. Why do some Priests hog the Mass? Why can't they let go and let God?

Clearly the Priest there has been versing his congregation very well in the new translation and he noted at the beginning of Mass how the translation had deepened the "devotional" aspect of the Mass. I don't think he used the word "reverent" but he seemed to be saying that the Mass with the new translation was more prayerful, devotional and perhaps contemplative. I wholeheartedly agree with him...but...

At various times during the Mass the said Priest talked about how important it is that there is a great deal of silence in the Mass, because we live such busy lives that we do not have enough time of silence in which God can speak to our hearts. All of this was highly agreeable and head-noddingly worthy, but I couldn't help wondering if maybe the spiritual need to impress upon the congregation our need for holy silence may best be said before Mass has started when seemingly all parishioners bar two veiled ladies near the front of the Church were talking to their neighbours in the pews about a myriad different things when I have been taught that before Mass (if we are able to get there with time to spare) we are to pray and spiritually prepare for Mass.

Secondly, I know that Sunday is the day of the Resurrection and Glorias ring out of every Church, but I was really quite burdened on Saturday at the Vigil Mass with a sackful of guilt and the Priest omitted the Confiteor with its thrice-breast-beatingly contrite "through my fault, through my fault, through my own most grievous fault", asking for Our Lady and all the Saints to pray for us and skipped straight through to the shorter version of "Have mercy on us, O Lord. For we have sinned against you. Show us, O Lord, your mercy. And grant us your salvation" to the "Lord, have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy" bit. Why? It seems like a little thing, but sometimes a man just wants to beat his breast before Almighty God thrice and implore the help of the Angels and Saints.  Is the Priest trying to say that God loves us so don't concern yourself with it? Someone will have to fill me in on this, but I would have thought that the Confiteor is there in the Missal for the Priest to lead the Faithful into an acknowledgement before Almighty God of our sins and omissions. I hope I don't sound like a Jansenist, but can they just really shorten it on a whim like that?

Anyway, aside from the one-armed consecrations and the fact that the said Priest described "our Eucharistic Ministers" as such and omitted to mention that their use is still considered by the Universal Church to be something "Extraordinary", one could definitely and palpably sense that the new translation of the Mass is more prayerful and is more devotional and all of the things the Priest welcomed in it, if, if only the Priest would stop talking, ad-libbing during the Mass and adding his own perfectly sensible, but highly distracting commentary on the Mass, during the Mass.

During the Gloria the Priest told us that we should pause for silence after "we praise you", after "we bless you", after "we glorify you", after "we adore you", after "we glorify you". Why? Well, in the Priest's terms, this is so that way we can turn a prayer of the Mass, during the Mass which is recognised by the Catholic Church as prayer - into a prayer. Why? Why the emphasis on our pausing, our reflecting or silence? We don't turn it into a prayer. It is a prayer. Apart from the readings, nearly every word of the Mass is a prayer. I know that the Priest is very well-intentioned, I just think that in order to introduce more reverence into the Mass, while the new translation is a vast improvement, all that a Priest has to do is step back a little and do what Fr Zuhlsdorf keeps saying  - "Say the black, do the red."

I don't mean this to be a huge moan, I just think that everything the Priest is asking for in the Mass is correct and praiseworthy - silence, devotion, reflection, prayer, pausing to reflect on where our lives are going, seeking God's Face etc. It's all wonderful - its what the Holy Father has been saying for ages. But if that is going to be achieved in Mass, then he is going to have to take his advice to heart and be more silent himself, surely? Personally I found it difficult to pray before Mass, during Mass and after Mass and, as you can now glean, it wasn't just because my guilt was getting me down. I wonder whether what he is really asking for is the Traditional Latin Mass.

Sunday 18 September 2011

"You Have Made Britain Sit Up and Think..."

Cameron: Clear blue sky thinker?
These were the words that Prime Minister David Cameron used to describe the effect of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom. Perhaps, looking at those words, it is only in the light of the Prime Minister's recent statements and the political direction he is taking us that we can assess that he was indeed talking about the country, rather than himself. 

I find David Cameron a little confusing, for a Conservative, that is.  That said, he is, in a way, to the Conservative Party what Tony Blair was to the Labour Party, only his 'modernisation' programme for the party is not about removing clause four and becoming more attractive to business and Rupert Murdoch, but about removing traditional Conservative values, such as respect for the institutions of marriage and the family and replacing them with new values grounded in new ideologies grounded in a distorted perception of human 'equality'. Both modernisation programmes are quite similar in that they are about attacking the traditional roots of the mainstream parties for Labour and Conservative and replacing them with a new ideological framework. I wonder how the Conservative Party as a whole feels about Cameron's support for the legalisation of 'gay marriages'?

I wonder whether it is an Oxford thing.  The elitism of Oxford seems to generate a political class who think in parallel lines to the rest of society and then impose those views or debates on society from above. This is the place where politicians and those who will enter the media become divorced from reality.  They are treated as if they are royalty as students. They are waited on hand and foot by commoners at dinner time. Everything about Oxford University seems to say, "You are the chosen ones," and nobody else really matters that much. One suspects that it is taught that virtue is something that happens in the head in a philosophical way and the same for vice - whatever vice is.  I wonder whether in order to get to the gates of Hell, you have to walk through Oxford first.

On a recent visit to the town, I was given a great tour by Once I Was a Clever Boy of the sites relating to Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman and his time in the Oxford Movement and read with interest that the Methodist preacher John Wesley was very much rejected by Oxford's students because he preached about 'moral laxity'. I don't have much truck with Methodism myself, it doesn't make a great deal of sense to me as a Catholic, but it is interesting that Wesley suffered such rejection by Oxford's students just for preaching something that sounds like basic Christianity. Perhaps the rejection of objective moral values for our parliamentarians is something that happens at University, in the same way as the rejection of objective moral values is something that starts in school and in the broken homes of the rioting underclass.

There has always been a trend for our parliamentarians to have been educated in Oxford, and the dining halls of the colleges feed the next generation of politicians, where they discuss the World and put it to rights, drinking fine wine while the homeless not so far away shiver in winter. From here the students receive absolutely no experience of any other life other than being thought of as incredibly 'bright and special' and go on into a particular field of employment (politics, media, business, industry) rather smoothly and are never really exposed to the realities of life for the majority of people in the UK. The vast majority of Oxford graduates will never know what it is like to be unemployed, in any sense poor, in any sense excluded, or perhaps even included in society. They are always taught that they are the elites. They are, apparently, the cream of the nation's talent and they are more or less always told that that is what they are even if they are relatively mediocre, but they know enough influential people to get ahead in life anyway.

I do wonder whether the whole 'equality' obsession for gay couples is such a vote winner. Aside from the vociferous calls of lobbyists for the gay equality movement, is your average voter really going around thinking about the need for gay men to be able to get married to each other all day and, more importantly for Cameron, is that what your average Tory party member is really thinking about.  The 'debate' about 'gay marriage' is something that takes place in the media and it is one driven by the media and politicians. We all know that it is not a real debate because the outcome is more or less assured every time.

To me, the 'debates' that we have in this country about 'gay marriage', euthanasia and assisted dying, abortion, contraception and the rest are kind of like notional tussles which take place at Oxford's dining tables only they are had in parliament, the civil service and in Government think tanks. These never were and are not now, debates that have been instigated by your average, (dare I say it) white van man, in a local pub. Much of the opinion in this country is formed by the media, but that is not to say that on all the issues, the media and the political elites have convinced everyone of their rightness of their liberal views. Hence, as Damian Thompson so eloquently wrote this weekend, we have the English Defence League. Now that I'm a white man van, I should obviously join up. At least they are running a campaign to restore a public holiday for St George's Day.

So, when we look back to Mr Cameron's words about Pope Benedict XVI and in discussing the effect of his visit, he was talking about the country, rather than himself, in a way, that is really a very Oxford thing to say. Perhaps more than Muslims, our political and media class actually have a problem integrating with the rest of society. They move in their circles and we move in ours and never the twain shall meet.

Last night I watched a rather painful, if at times interesting debate for last week's Sunday Morning Live concerning the aftermath of 9/11, the War on Terror and asking whether Muslims were being 'demonised'. More perhaps even than Muslims, do our Oxford and Cambridge political and media class live in a ghetto (is Oxford the 'training camp'?) in which new, fanatical and inhumane ideologies are exchanged which are then released like a toxic virus on the rest of us. Just look at who is the driving force behind the assisted dying campaign - a Lord, Charles Falconer (Cambridge) and a Baroness, Mary Warnock (Oxford). Muslims do need to integrate but so do our politicians. Liberalism is actually a rather elitist ideology - more elitist, even, than traditional Conservativism or Marxism. I get the impression from the private revelations given to the now Blessed Elena Aiello, which we can believe if we choose, that Our Blessed Lady agrees with me. Oxford students will agree with me when I say that it is always good to have friends in High Places.

I hope this post isn't offensive to Oxford Catholics. I do think that the Catholic Faith is the only bulwark against the liberalism which has dominated society from the top-down and there are many examples of the Most Holy Faith in Oxford producing men and women of who do not share the relativism of David Cameron or Baroness Warnock. I just get this overwhelming sense that when Mr Cameron, or indeed so many of our political and media class say things about their desire to help 'the ordinary working man or woman', well what would he or they know about it?

Thursday 15 September 2011

Support a Catholic Man's Walk for Good Counsel Network

Auctions: Buy cheap, sell high
Well, that was a busy day. I received a call today and spent the day moving furniture and antiques bought by a young Israeli chap who owns a shop in Kemptown. He had invested in goods for his shop at Scarborough Fine Arts Auction House in Southwick and I was called to assist him in moving his new stock. He said he misses Israel everyday, describing it as paradise. I guess he must have lived in a nice part of it!

As well as paying me for my services, he was also kind enough to donate to me a TV, freeview box, video player, two mahogany cabinets and a huge wooden cabinet. I don't know what to do with them now, but there we go, perhaps I can sell them at a car boot sale that I am planning to do on Saturday in Shoreham, as there is still stuff from St Mary Magdalen's that needs to be sold which has rested in the garage for a long time.

Slowly, the van is coming into its own. We did two runs to the auction houses and managed to fill the van both times. He did make an offer to me to sell his stuff at car boot sales and split the profits 50/50, which I may take him up on in future. It is incredible how cheap he managed to pick up some great stuff. I'd love to buy stuff too but I have what they call a 'cash flow' problem at the moment, so am unable to actually buy stuff in order to sell it on, but in a little time, who knows. I have another job tomorrow. Anyway, enough of my wheeling and dealing business, here's someone who is doing something that is actually beautiful (if perhaps painful) and Christian. His name is David Aron and he is doing a walk for The Good Counsel Network that makes the LMS Walsingham Pilgrimage look like, er, a walk in the park...

Our Lady of Good Counsel
Walking to Defend Life

David is walking the entire length of the Thames Path Way (184 miles long) in eight days (Fri 07 Oct 11 - Fri 14 Oct 11) for The Good Counsel Network.

As we know, the Good Counsel Network is a pro-life charity that helps women in the most difficult and desperate situations with financial, moral and spiritual support, who would otherwise feel they have no other option than to have an abortion. Their work is founded on the beliefs and teachings of the Catholic Church. The centres are open to all women regardless of background or beliefs. If you want to find out more about them visit or visit their blog.

The Thames Path Way Walk

The Thames Path Way (184 miles long) follows the course of the Thames River from the source (near Kemble, Gloucestershire) to the Thames Barrier (London). David will be walking the Thames Path Way solo and averaging 23 miles per day whilst carrying all his kit (tent, sleeping system and food etc), which will weigh approximately 28 lbs (12.7 kg), for eight days (Fri 07 Oct 11 – Fri 14 Oct 11).

On the first morning of his walk (Fri 07 Oct 11) he will hear the Traditional Latin Mass at St Dominic’s (Dursley, Gloucestershire). After completing his walk (Fri 14 Oct 11) he will hear the Traditional Latin Mass at Corpus Christi (Maiden Lane, Central London) in the evening, which the Latin Mass Society organises for the work of the Good Counsel Network.

Every donation, however small or large, is an essential contribution to the continuation of the great work that The Good Counsel Network does by saving thousands of unborn lives. 184 miles. Good grief. I hope he has a stick. I'll stick some money in his online tin. Come on, readers, be generous and give him some of your money. As it happens, David, I saw a beautiful icon of Our Lady of Good Counsel today and didn't know that it was her. She sold for apparently £190 at the auction. I couldn't have bought her anyway, but the painting had beautiful little gems around the outside on the frame. I wish I had my camera today. For those interested in the auction at Scarborough Fine Arts click here for their upcoming auction which should be in late October.

Support David and The Good Counsel Network today by clicking here. Our Lady of Good Counsel, ora pro nobis.

Wednesday 14 September 2011

The Most Holy Rosary in Latin

 Pope Benedict XVI: Another Pope of the Rosary
As I said in previous posts about the LMS Ely to Walsingham Pilgrimage, I had never prayed the Rosary in Latin before and I was quite taken with it because it was strikingly the same, yet different. I still have the LMS booklet with all the prayers used in the Rosary in Latin and in English and so last night dug it out and prayed the Rosary in Latin on my own for the first time. I really like it in Latin. I get the feeling that it is more suitable for prayer because it is more respectful of God's majesty and transcendence but the prayer is still definitely filial.

Something about it is a little more meditative as well, more soothing to pray. It seems to free you up to think about the mysteries rather than concentrating on the meaning of the words - which is ironic given that to us the language is foreign or even alien. I'd recommend giving it a go, if you haven't tried praying the Rosary in Latin already.

I also got the feeling Our Lady likes it in Latin. Of all ladies she is the beautiful Lady and a beautiful lady deserves romantic and beautiful language which is mysterious and reverent. I also find it quite appealing praying in the language that Sts Francis, Dominic and countless others prayed, but that could just be a hint of Pride. Fr Bede (who appears today on Juventutem's blog told us Our Lady also likes one decade in French. Now that is laying it on thick! I'm sure if you search for it in French you will find it online. Someone has created a Rosary in Latin blog which you can read here. Say a decade in Latin for the SSPX, why not, that way you'll make Our Lady, (most likely) the Holy Father and the SSPX happy at the same time.

SSPX to Meet Cardinal Levada Today

St Piux X prayer card available today! 
H/T Ecumenical Diablog

On 14th September - the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Bishop Fellay, SSPX, and a bunch of others are being received by Cardinal Levada of the CDF. Anything could happen - it could be good news, it could be bad news.

If you missed the novena, say a Rosary and one or all of the following;

Prayer for England

O Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of God and our most gentle Queen and Mother look down in mercy upon England thy Dowry and upon us all who greatly hope and trust in thee. By thee it was that Jesus our Saviour and our Hope was given unto the world and He has given thee to us that we might hope still more. Plead for us thy children whom thou did receive and accept at the foot of the cross O sorrowful Mother, Intercede for our separated brethren that with us in the one true fold they may be united to the Chief Shepherd the Vicar of Thy Son. Pray for us all dear Mother that by faith, fruitful in good works we may all deserve to see and praise God together with thee in our heavenly home. Amen.

You can purchase a St Pius X prayer card, among a numerous range of prayer cards now available at The Bones's Catholic Store. However, it is obviously far more important that we pray for reconciliation and the healing of the wound in the Body of Christ. All together now...

Monday 12 September 2011

Gay Gospels Author in Waterstones Booklaunch

St Dominic: "You show me yours and I'll show you mine..."
Well done to the Bishop of Paisley!

I also read that the The Gay Gospels author who defended the practise of homosexuality on Fr Ray Blake's blog, and who deems that he is a higher authority on matters of Sacred Scripture than the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, will be launching his heretical and rather scandalous book on Thursday 22nd September, 2011 at Waterstones in Brighton.

The 'controversial' book, The Gay Gospels is written by Keith Sharpe, a chap who is Chair of 'Changing Attitudes Sussex' and he will be launching his book in Brighton at one of the leading national chains of bookshops.

Hmm...very interesting. I wonder if he will be taking questions? I do sometimes wonder whether those who seek to change Church teachings while rewriting Salvation History and draping it in a Gay Pride flag so much as to consider even 'enlightening' us about Our Lord's 'sexual orientation' are open to their own attitudes being changed. I do so hope so because I would like to attend his book launch and ask Mr Sharpe by what authority he makes the claims that he makes in his book which is said to be a hit with at least one MP, Ben Bradshaw, who said:

'As a Minister in the Government which introduced civil partnerships in the United Kingdom, and as a committed Christian in the Anglican Communion, I believe it is important that Christians have the evidence and arguments to rebut the anti-gay approach of Biblical fundamentalists. Everybody involved in the debate over the place of gay people in the Church and in society generally should read this book. It is a faith - and life-affirming book for the LGBT community, it is a terrific read and I recommend it wholeheartedly.'

So, anyone who holds fast to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is a 'Biblical fundamentalist'? I doubt very much whether it is so much a 'life-affirming' book for the LGBT community as it is a lifestyle-affirming book for the LGBT community and I can't see how an endorsement from one of our MPs is such an honour either, but there we go. The Changing Attitude Sussex website includes a survey of the local LGBT-ness of local Sussex's Anglican churches. I wonder if they are considering doing something similar in Sussex with Catholic Churches. It wouldn't surprise me, you know, but, thanks be to God, it is highly unlikely any Catholic Priests would take the bait. It is interesting really, how much Mr Sharpe has in common with Protestant biblical fundamentalists, if you think about it. Both he and they reject the Catholic Church's role as Sacred Arbiter and interpreter of Holy Scripture and hold their Bibles close to their chest saying, "It's mine and it means what I want it to mean!" I wonder if someone had, say, written a book concerning Catholicism and homosexuality that supported the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, whether that person would get a book launch at Waterstones. I doubt it myself.

The Bones's Catholic Store

Catholic bracelets: Buy two for just £5...
I've been updating my Bones's Catholic Store and it looks a lot more organised now, divided, as it is, up into pages and sections for the relevant Catholic devotional items.

I can obtain these delightful Catholic bracelets now at a wholesale price and am selling them for £3.50 each, two for £5.00, so if you wish to purchase one or two just give me an email.

Today I will be uploading some absolutely delightful Catholic posters and prayer cards which were sent to me, so keep your eye out for some new products for sale. Also, St Francis of Assisi, anyone?

He is 26 cm high and is yours for just £8.99.

Friday 9 September 2011

Abortion: An Impossible Debate?

Two blog posts have caught my eye today, one from Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith for The Catholic Herald and one from Ed West for The Telegraph, both arguing the depressing futility of the abortion 'debate', in the wake of this week's thumping Commons majority in support of the caring, compassionate, ruthlessly efficient industrial killing machine that is Marie Stopes and their friends, the BPAS. Some have blamed the pro-life movement for not moving themselves, together, on the amendment, but even with the higher number of pro-life MPs, I do think that the pro-life movement in the 21st century, when campaigning and lobbying MPs, must by now realise that it is going through the motions. Our parliamentarians, apart from a small minority, are not interested in changing the law on abortion, in the slightest. I expect that most of our MPs think abortion is a good thing because it means that after they've got home from thieving from the public purse on their second homes and duck houses and go and see their mistresses, or indeed misters, then it is good to have a back up plan when one or the other gets up the duff. All in all, I expect the majority of our MPs are more feral than most youths on council estates.

Not, I might add, that campaigning on behalf of, and defending, the unborn is futile. Who knows who might be 'won over' to the pro-life cause by our words? But it does seem that the with the whole Life issue, in general you are either in one camp or the other and moral positions, however illogical and contrary to Divine and natural law they appear to us, are held by the pro-abortion advocates no matter how many heated words are exchanged. There are some people in the middle however - both in terms of the unborn children dying while the debate takes place and those born who are 'yet to decide' whether they believe that abortion is morally wrong or right in certain circumstances. It is, after all, relatively few who argue for abortion in any circumstance whatsoever...apart from in the House of Commons that is. I expect Parliament was bought off in the 1960s and that it is still being bought off today, but then, we knew that already. If you think that's prejudice, well, it is no different to the prejudice MPs had against Nadine Dorris MP and the pro-life cause as a whole, except that my prejudice is grounded in my experience as a voter.

Ed West, at the end of his article, suggests that the only way...

' will ever win the debate is by publicising videos of medical abortions. This was the successful method used by the animal rights movement, especially by groups such as PETA, which forced people to see what actually went on in farms. Likewise the anti-slavery campaign publicised details about ships carrying slaves. I’d have much more respect for a metro-Lefty pro-choicer who was willing to witness the reality of medical abortion, and still back it, just as I have respect for meat eaters who are prepared to witness animal-killing. But I suspect that if most people saw the reality of “choice” they would be inclined to think twice...'

I shall not link to it, but has the Abort 67 campaign got him thinking (you'll have to look it up on Google, but be warned)?

Curl Up With a Good Book...

The Gospel according to Keith
While browsing the comments on Fr Blake's post, The Illiberality of a local MP' I noticed a comment from someone called Keith Sharpe who took the opportunity to plug his book, The Gay Gospels, in which he gives a 'rainbow' slant to Sacred Scripture. By the way, I did rather enjoy the bit in Michael Voris's speech in London when he said that the rainbow had been nicked from the Catholic Church (and the Jews also) by the gay movement. Anyway, that is an aside.

As far as I know, Mr Sharpe is not a Catholic, so I shouldn't spend too much denouncing him on my blog, as outside of the Church, the idea that you can rewrite Salvation History according to your sexual or ideological preferences is even more widespread than it is within Her. Similarly, heresies of every kind are (surprisingly) even more widespread outside of the Church than they are inside of Her. If we were to tackle every example of modern 'spiritual' books written by moral relativists with an ideological agenda we really would be here all day. However, given that Mr Sharpe took so much time and effort to pop up on a Catholic Priest's blog in order to defend the practise of homosexuality, let's examine his arguments...Actually, let's not because the Church has spoken and in Her Teachings She cannot err.

All I'll say is this: There are no 'Gay Gospels'. The Good News for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered people is that the Lord Jesus died for you as much as He died for anyone else. Upon Himself, He took your sins and your guilt and shame also, even your 'Pride'. The Good News for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgendered people is that despite the heavy Cross you carry, the Lord Jesus loves you unconditionally and desires an intimate relationship with you. He looks upon you, as He looks upon all, with tender compassion and love. You have been called to be witnesses not to sexual licence nor even to your own sexuality, but to the Resurrection and to the high life of chastity for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

If ever you should fall, know that the Lord receives you with the same tenderness in the Sacrament of Penance in which your souls is restored to your Baptismal glory. The Lord did not come for the righteous, but for sinners. Embrace the Cross that for reasons unknown to you, has been given you, in imitation of the Saviour Who in embracing suffering, contempt, ridicule and death in this World, opened up the glorious gates of the next for you. He is your true Spouse and no other will satisfy, no matter how attractive they may be in this passing World, for the sufferings of this World are passing and you must never forget the eternal bliss of the one to come, which is your destiny, if you embrace Christ and His One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

Anyway, why not curl up with a good book, rather than a tawdry book that more or less asserts that St Mary Magdalen, after her conversion, went on to set up brothels all over the Holy Land.

Alan Bancroft has written a book entitled Catechism with the Thoughts of the Cure of Ars, James Preece has written an excellent review of it on his blog and I must say I found it a rather interesting alternative to the Penny Catechism published by the CTS. The quotes from St Jean Vianney are well-chosen and nicely placed. It is simple, but like any good Catechism, goes straight to the point in language which is easy enough for children as well as adults to understand. I'd recommend Alan Bancroft's translation of the Hugues d'Orfeuille book happily.

You can buy it at St Paul's Multimedia for £9.95. Perhaps I should think about getting some in at wholesale price and selling them on The Bones Store.

Thursday 8 September 2011

Traditional Latin Mass at Arundel Cathedral

Let's pack out those pews...
I've been informed by a local LMS representative is organising a High Mass in Arundel at noon on Saturday 5th November.

Very exciting!

I'll certainly be endeavouring to attend the Mass. If you are in the area, or would like to be in the area to attend the Mass then put the date in your diary.

As we know, the Diocese of Arundel and Brighton is at the forefront of the liberation of the Traditional Latin Mass, with Mass in the Extraordinary Form being celebrated in Horsham, Lewes, Brighton, Seaford, West Grinstead, Bognor Regis and Arundel.

May God bless His Lordship for continuing to show generosity and love in exposing the Faithful to the great gift to the Church and the great mystery of the Mass of Ages. What joy!

Singing on the Beach

From a nice afternoon out at the beach with Paul Smeaton, George and Diane. Let me know what the sound levels are like, as I have no sound on my computer. I should have asked him to sing that song that goes, "I left my boat at the shore..." because every Catholic loves that one!


Prince Charles: St John the Baptist of environ-mentalism
Prince Charles is calling upon the World to repent of its flagrant abuse of the environment.

The Royal has, as we know, since his youth inhabited a small forest on the edge of Tunbridge Wells where he has been warmed only by a small, ecologically friendly heater powered by biofuels.

He has lived from berries which he has sourced locally from the trees and has lived a life of outstanding frugality, leading the way as a pioneer in survivalism and using only the local environment as a perfect steward of creation in order to preserve Mother Earth for future generations. We should all listen to this man because he has always practised what he preaches.

Now that the Royal, who has never even set foot in a car, let alone a private jet or other polluting modes of transport and whose only source of lighting is a beeswax church candle, has called upon the World to do environmental penance to save the earth we would do well to listen to him. Speaking from his small hut, waterproofed only by oak leaves, the Prince said, "Now, the axe is already laid unto the root of the tree...but I will always make sure I plant another one afterwards for future generations..."

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Advertisement Break

Catering for all your van needs in South East England
I have set up a website for a new operation with my van. Gardening, house clearances, deliveries, light removals are my main ideas so far, but with a little help from a Government grant, I'm sure I could find people with cleaning NVQs, catering NVQs, plumbing and decorating and plastering NVQs who have nothing to do during the day.

In my head I have a lot of ideas of how this van could maybe one day bring employment to myself and certain people I know, as part of David Cameron's Big Society vision, but as our MPs have emphatically made clear, this society is not big enough to advise counselling outside of the abortion industry (that wants people to have abortions) for people procuring abortions (who are not always sure).

All in all, its a rather small society at the end of the day, isn't it, and one that doesn't really like the very small? I must say I find this video of Nick and Dave laughing their heads off after Nadine Dorris's amendment was put in clinical waste is rather distasteful. If you had hoped the Lib Dems without Evan Harris (former MP) would be less viciously anti-life, then I guess you may be disappointed, but perhaps not terribly surprised.

If you need anyone with a van or a gardener or anything, just give me an email at the sidebar, especially if you want me to clear your house after you've decided to sell all your own, give to the poor and join a religious order...Also, if you want to go on pilgrimage in the UK, I can be your support vehicle, for a fee.

If you haven't read it, do read Fr Ray Blake's post on the local Hove MP who is doing fantastic promotional work for those who still believe that homosexuals should never hold any public office, ever. It isn't a view I hold, of course, but with people like Wetherley around, I can see why people used to think that and why some still might...

Saturday 3 September 2011

In Honour of the Old Translation of the Novus Ordo

Dale Farm Gypsy Eviction

Dale Farm: Gypsy community facing brutal eviction
I must say I find the vitriol surrounding the eviction of the Dale Farm travelling community rather ugly. The gypsy communities are often Catholics who take the Church's teachings deadly seriously. The usual newspapers and the usual columnists are lining up to condemn them. Why is it that there is such an insult-sensitive embargo on Jews and gays, but other victims of the Nazis Holocaust are still absolutely fair game? It doesn't make much sense to me.

At Walsingham there were quite a few Irish gypsy travellers who were camped up for the Youth 2000 group that hold their event at Walsingham every year. They have big families and take marriage very seriously. That may be a separate and unrelated issue, but, still, there is something rather nasty about the way in which they are discussed. Josephine Siedlecka of Independent Catholic News has written a piece on the background information to their eviction from Dale Farm which is posted below. One thing that does strike me is that should the bottom fall out of the UK economy and people were forced to live in vans and tents, as they do in Sacramento at tent city, which emerged after the sub-prime mortgage fiasco, suddenly I'm sure people would be a lot more understanding of their situation...

'Tensions are rising at Dale Farm in Essex - as bailiffs with bulldozers, employed by Basildon Council, prepare an £8million operation to demolish the homes of more than 100 Traveller families. The following article by ICN editor, Jo Siedlecka, (originally published in Shelter's Roof magazine, on 4 November 2008) - gives background information on this story. In the three years since it was written, the Dale Farm community has endured continuous harassment and uncertainty over the future of their homes and a succession of legal efforts to save them have been defeated.

Travellers on a site in rural Essex are under siege from Basildon council, reports Jo Siedlecka Dale Farm near Wickford, in rural Essex, is one of the largest Gypsy and Traveller sites in Europe. Around 500 people live on the site in caravans, camper trucks and prefab chalets. Some of the plots have little gardens and small shrines. Children’s play facilities are shared between families.

 The site, a former scrap metal yard, is overhung by electricity pylons. A makeshift fence of corrugated iron sheets and heaps of tyres separate it from adjacent farmland. Relations between newcomers on the site and the rest of the community have deteriorated over the years.

When the first Travellers arrived 10 years ago and bought the land, they obtained planning permission for 12 permanent residences and settled in quietly. However, when a large influx of families followed, John Baron [No relation to Baron Homes, I hope!], Conservative MP for Billericay, the local paper and the Daily Mail began a campaign aimed at their eviction.

In 2004, when around 50 Traveller children arrived at the small village primary school in Crays Hill, population 2,000, other parents withdrew their children en-masse and the head teacher, staff and board of governors all resigned. The school, with its new pupils and staff has since had a very good Ofsted report. Basildon district council has been trying to evict the families for years. Last December, the council decided to use section 178 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, to enter the land, evict the residents and demolish their dwellings.

This would have left them homeless, as the council would not have been able to offer alternative accommodation. Earlier this year, a group of more than 50 Traveller families were granted a reprieve in the High Court. In his 26-page judgment, Mr Justice Collins said the eviction order could not stand and he ordered more time to investigate concerns about the families’ welfare. Judge Collins said sick and vulnerable persons and children attending school had not been given proper consideration, nor had anti-racist legislation been fully complied with.

The judge warned the Travellers that they would not be able to stay on the illegal sites permanently, but said: "I think that the approach has been that the sites should be cleared, rather than a consideration of whether there are families whose circumstances are such eviction would be disproportionate."

Unacceptable evictions 

In his ruling, Judge Collins was particularly critical of Basildon council’s bailiffs, Constant and Co. After watching footage of a Traveller eviction it carried out in Hertfordshire, he said: "The conduct was unacceptable and the evictions were carried out in a fashion which inevitably would have led to harm to those affected. "The council must reconsider the use of the firm and ensure that any eviction is carried out in as humane a fashion as possible." Judge Collins gave Basildon permission to appeal against his decision, saying the case raised ‘important points’ over what appeared to be the ‘insoluble problem’ of providing sites for Gypsies and Travellers.

Traveller spokesman Grattan Puxon said the ruling "represents a major legal victory for Britain’s long harassed gypsies and travellers, many of whom have seen their homes mercilessly bulldozed". Dr Keith Lomax, the solicitor representing the travellers, said: "This is a wake-up call to councils. Those that don’t provide legal living space will find they can’t rely on enforcement powers." Ray McKay, spokesman for Basildon council told ROOF: "The Travellers at Dale Farm are in breach of planning law. We want them to go. They have used all manner of legal procedures to delay matters, but we are committed to moving them on. There are legal residents on the site, but the rest have to go." He added: ‘Basildon has one of the largest number of sites for travellers in the country, about 103 sites. Perhaps other councils could also offer more provision.’

He concluded: "They would get more sympathy if they were poor. But they are not. They alienate communities. They don’t integrate. It’s their choice. In the end we all have to follow the law. They are not our responsibility." While at odds with many, the Travellers have the strong support of the local churches and some neighbours. The Bishops of Brentwood, Chelmsford, and other Catholic and Anglican clergy have all visited Dale Farm.

A small cabin intended for meetings, health projects, IT and literacy classes, was officially opened on the site with the blessing of the local Catholic parish priest, Father John Glynn of Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Wickford. There were speeches by Lib Dem peer Lord Avebury, Clive Mardner, director of the Equality Council, who sponsored the project, and Richard Sheridan, the National Gypsy Council president. Lord Avebury said: "The bulldozing of Dale Farm would be a disaster." Sheridan said: "If we are evicted it will be a traumatic experience for all the families who have nowhere to go."

Commenting on the court decision, Father John said: "This judgment is a welcome stay of execution. The great thing is that it draws attention to the situation of these individual families. I hope this will now lead to a proper dialogue between all the parties."He added that local churches, have offered to help bring the sides together for talks.

Low life expectancy 

One of the main supporters of the travellers is Sister Catherine Reily, a Catholic nun and social worker who has been visiting the community for eight years. She said: "Irish Travellers are one of the smallest ethnic groups in the UK. At any one time, more than 20 per cent are homeless. Most are unable to read or write. Their life expectancy is 20 years lower than the national average."

She said: "They find it hard being in a house or flat. Those who do settle say they miss the sounds of the birds and wind and rain on the roof." A stay in hospital makes them unhappy. Sister Catherine said one young girl, who had cystic fibrosis and eventually died, would regularly vanish from her hospital bed at night and then reappear in it the next morning. She said: "I’m sure the family were taking her home." Sister Catherine said: "Travellers in rural areas are often the target of abuse and blamed for everything from fly-tipping to petty crime. Some do misbehave, but the majority are law-abiding. "If they had more official transit sites they’d be no trouble at all, but councils have sold off many of their old sites. Travellers are shy of doctors and social workers, she said, and often the caring professions are nervous of them as well.

"A few months ago there was an outbreak of meningitis. The doctor wouldn’t visit unless I went with her. The children miss out on vaccinations and healthcare. "If they had some education it would help them get work and integrate better. But many families have to move every few days. The children don’t get a chance to stay in school for long." Just one Travellers’ site in England has permanent nursery, health and training facilities: The Westway, an old site underneath a motorway flyover in West London. The services were set up by Westminster council with the Catholic Children’s Society. The children all attend local schools. "I would like to see more facilities like that around the country," Sister Catherine said. "Generally Travellers get very rough treatment from the authorities.

Here at night police helicopters sometimes fly low over the site, making a rattling noise through the camp. "It reminds me of the way the South African regime treated people in the black townships during the days of apartheid."

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