Monday 30 September 2013

Controversial Lord Slams Divans, Launches Scathing Attack on Britain's Favourite Bed

The bed most offensive to God?: The classic divan with under-bed storage
By Bill Gardner
Religious Correspondent 
The Argus

Shocked parishioners of Brighton's Catholic churches walked out distraught yesterday as they heard of God's detestation for divan beds.

Divans slammed, but set for bounce back

The divan bed, well known for its comfort as well as useful under-bed storage facility was at the heart of a controversial statement in yesterday's reading that sent shockwaves through the Catholic community, 67% of whom are said to own the offending instruments of sleeping luxury. In the biblical passage read out at Mass yesterday, the controversial Lord blasted the divan, leaving communicants wondering whether they should approach the Sacred Banquet of Holy Communion, having slept on a divan bed just the previous night.

'Woe to those ensconced so snugly in Zion
and to those who feel so safe on the mountain of Samaria,
Lying on ivory beds and sprawling on their divans,
they dine on lambs from the flock...'

That's better!: An ordinary bed construction pleasing to the Lord
Catholic quilt complex

In what has since become known as 'Catholic quilt complex', many worshippers complained of the Lord's controversial words over one of the nation's favourite beds. One worshipper who came to Mass five minutes late and left immediately after Communion said,

"You have to get to know the Lord first before you make up your mind about some of the things He says. Sometimes He just gets angry and blows His top over something that appears relatively small and unimportant - divans being a case in point. He did this especially in the Old Testament. It's a part of His personality and you just have to get used to it. What can we say? 'In a quilt I was born, a sinner was I conceived'. I think you have to supply a corrective to the divan thing and that is that Jesus's approach is much more gentle and caring. Perhaps if the Lord were to know just how popular the divan was to become in the 21st century, He might have thought twice about saying that. I can understand how many think that's just offensive to modern sleepers."

The first time they tried this, he was lowered on a divan
How did Jesus treat the divan?

Speculation is rife that some of the Lord's healings in the New Testament may have had to be 're-done' because of God's dislike of the divan.

For example, the man lowered through the roof in the Gospels, we are told, is lowered down on a 'bed'. Theologians suggest that the first time the man was lowered through the roof, he was on a divan. Knowing He was to fulfill the whole law, His Apostles sent him back up the roof saying, "Look, the Lord wants to heal you, but lose the divan already! You know how much His Dad can't stand them!"

In another example, the healing of Jairus's daughter, theologians speculate whether the Lord Jesus, approaching the bed of the young girl may have realised that she was sleeping on a divan and only healed her out of his boundless compassion, in spite of his obvious misgivings about the luxury bed with the useful under-mattress storage facility so loved by the people of today.

Theologians continue to ponder on whether the Lord possibly checked under the sheets first to make sure it wasn't a divan and, seeing that it was an ordinary bed without the useful compartments for storage, healed the girl.

Mercy: The Lord heals Jairus's daughter even though she's on a divan?
As can be seen in the re-construction, the family and friends of the young girl clearly tried to cover up what kind of bed she was sleeping on. Some speculate that she was moved to a different bed, which was not a divan, while others maintain she was indeed on a divan, but the Lord, knowing everything, looked with pity and compassion upon the young girl and in His mercy healed and raised her up anyway.

Argus survey reveals crisis at heart of Catholic Church

An exclusive Argus survey of two Catholics in the region suggested that if God's position on the divan does not change substantially within the reign of Pope Francis the slumbering Church will eventually die due to lack of members. Many Catholics hope that Pope Francis will enable the Church to get with a more comfortable programme for the Church's members all round, but if he does not come up with the goods many in the Church will take at face value the words of the Lord who told the crippled man to 'take up thy bed and walk'.

'Memory foam': A mental affliction affecting many Catholics
My 'memory foam' agony

These angered Catholics, however, will take up their beds and walk out of the Church with one man saying...

"I've suffered all my life with this kind of Catholic quilt complex. Why should I have to change my bed, or even my sheets, for religious reasons? Why is the Catholic Church always interfering in the bedroom? It hurts so much, it really does no good at all for my memory foam."

'Memory foam' is a mental condition that affects many Catholics, the image to the left showing exactly what happens when Catholics are indoctrinated by the Church with notions of sin or Salvation. The graphic image let's Argus readers know just how impressionable are the minds of these Catholics, that they absorb both shock and information (shocking information) so readily.

Two minutes of pop perfection there. William, it really was nothing. It was your journalistic integrity, now lampooned regularly on the internet.

Sunday 29 September 2013

The Rich Man and Lazarus

The 'rich man' who suffers eternally is the one who ignores Jesus Christ, in his own lifetime and, blind to Him, never sees Him in this life, or the life of the world to come.

It is striking that the Lord Jesus says this. Firstly, because the name of one man that He raises from the dead is called Lazarus, who He names in the parable today.  Secondly, of course, because He Himself will rise from the dead on the third day following His Passion and Death, during which He seems like something less than human, something cast away and scorned.

I've no doubt that this parable is to awaken within hearers the desire to love the poor and to show them Christian love and therefore be witnesses to the Lord who loves the poor. It is obvious that, since the beginning of the Church the followers of Our Lord Jesus Christ have been identified with the service of the poor. In the 21st century, this is still the case today. St Cosmos and St Damian, whose feast we celebrated last week, is but one example.

Searching for Christ in His Holy Parables

Yet every parable the Lord gives is Christological and we are always to search for Christ in them.  Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, but Lazarus is to die another natural death later on and remain dead even if his soul is immortal. The Lord dies once but will live and reign forever more as both King and Judge. He, too, like Lazarus, is the one who will 'rise again from the dead' but to the glory of the Resurrection in His Sacred Body. Yet it is He, also, who people will not believe, or believe in, Who people will neglect and ignore at our eternal peril. People will not believe in the need to repent despite that His Church calls men to do so after His glorious Resurrection, Ascension and His sending of the Holy Spirit to His Bride, the Church.

Who is the rich man? 

The rich man is humanity - all of us - me, you, etc - but the hearers of this Gospel parable will be firstly Christians. It is to the Gospel's hearers, to the Church and then to the whole World to which the Church preaches the Truth that the parable is aimed, that we may repent and follow Jesus.

Who is the poor man?

Who is Lazarus? There can be little doubt that Lazarus is the poor man at our gate in literal terms who the Lord loves and raises up, for 'He raises the poor off the dunghill and sets him among princes, yea, even the princes of his people.' Today's collection was for CAFOD in most English churches. Well, CAFOD do (dubiously Christian) good work overseas. The Lord doesn't say that Lazarus is overseas. He says he is at our gate. He is very close by in all senses of the word! Of course, the Lord is pointing to the poor man at our gate, outside and within our Church communities and homes.

How easy it is for us to ignore our Salvation, to neglect our Saviour!
But is the Lord saying something else more as well? We can be assured that His Divine Words are most certainly saying more. Jesus becomes a type of Lazarus. We are the rich man in our flawed, fragile, fallen human nature, whether we be materially rich or materially poor, financially secure or not, feasting excessively or not. 

Why? Because whatever we have or indeed don't have, we would prefer the pleasures and passing enticements of this World than Him. In fact, most of us would prefer anything but Him, because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life and we have our own way, desire or seek our own truth and want to live our own kind of life. We need Him, He who identifies with the poor man, Lazarus, the man at the gate, in order to bring us to Salvation. Jesus tells us this parable, that we may see how much we need Him - so that we might repent and love Him with our whole heart.

If we ignore the poor man, 'Lazarus', a 'type' of man who in truth is the discarded and ignored Lord Jesus, Who we ignore out of selfish pride and selfish sinful habit, the man Who will lovingly die for us in His Passion - the 'Man of Sorrows' - yes if we ignore Jesus Christ, we will surely befall the fate of the rich man! 

"Sorry Lord, now's not a good time..."
Looking for Jesus or Looking Elsewhere?

Where is Jesus? Where have we ignored Him? Do we ignore Him or neglect Him first in our hearts? Do we push His presence out of our hearts when He is 'knocking at the door', when He is at the gate of our hearts? There He is, in our hearts, calling us lovingly to commune with Him and to pray to Him yet we resist. There He is, calling us to virtue and we resist, instead choosing our own wills! Do we drive the Lord Jesus out from our hearts through our selfishness and sin? I can say, yes!

The Lord is ever calling us to Himself, to converse with Him, to pray to Him, to cast all our cares upon Himself so that He may assist us with His love, mercy and grace, but so often, He is knocking at the door and we say, 'Now is not a good time!'

Oh, He is always knocking at the door until, tired and exhausted He slumps like Lazarus outside my heart while I feast on whatever my heart desires at the time, leaving my soul arid, dry, embittered and without Him Who I have been told to love with my whole being! Yet what do I love Him with? The spiritual equivalent of a fingernail! He is 'lucky' to get an hour's prayer out of me a day in total and in doing so, I consider Him the fortunate one! 24 hours in a day, He gets one, and I think, O haven't I done well! O what malice, what stunning ignorance of a blind and deaf sinner! For 23 hours in a day, Lazarus is ignored!

Ignored by Christians: The Lord God Almighty Himself
Jesus: The Lazarus of the Eucharist 
Have we ignored He who rose from the dead that we may live, fed by His Heavenly Food in the Blessed Sacrament? Do we receive Him in a State of mortal sin and make sacrilegious communions? Do we neglect to visit Him in the Tabernacle? Do we pay no attention to the neglected Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar? Do we receive Him lovingly or indifferently?

At this time, if ever there were a poor Man, a Lazarus most neglected, most discarded and most unloved, there is He, in the Tabernacle! How many pass Him by and how few pay Him any attention! Daily there is God in every town, in every Tabernacle waiting for us to visit Him. How He yearns for us. Yet we would rather do other things! How perverse is the nature of the rich man, we, humanity, when the Lord of all the Universe wants us and we reject or ignore Him!

Jesus neglected and ignored in the Confessional
Jesus: The Lazarus of the Confessional

Do we ignore the neglected Jesus at the gate when He is waiting for us in the Confessional, so that we may not suffer the fate of the rich man and die out of His love? How patiently does this most ignored Jesus wait for us in the person of His priest, yearning to give us His mercy so we may not die out of His friendship, yet we resist due to the perversity of our nature and flee His light, His goodness and mercy! Yet there He is at the gate of the Confessional, poor, neglected, ignored - we don't even see Him!

Jesus: The Lazarus of the Priest

We are called to assist spiritually and temporally our Priests who stand in the place of Jesus in the Church's Sacraments and who have been indelibly marked made by ordination as 'alter Christus'. Do we help and assist them and our parish, financially, practically and spiritually by our prayers. How indifferent we are to our priests so much of the time, yet it is they who bring us Jesus, the only true and lasting riches we should seek!

Jesus: The Lazarus of the Suffering and the Persecuted Church

The suffering souls in Purgatory await our prayers to God. What do we do for them? They who are so helpless and who are unable to assist their own selves? The persecuted Church around the World, especially in the Middle East, riven by terrorism and the desecration of Churches, while the slaughter of Christians continues unabated await our prayers and support. How interesting it is that while the genocide of Christians goes on every day, this is not of the least interest to the world's media! The media is never interested in Lazarus. Are we interested in aiding them with at least our prayers?

The glory of Jesus and the triumph of Lazarus turns 'worldly triumph' on its head

Yes. Lazarus dies neglected, unloved and alone, forgotten in the hearts of rich and worldly men interested only in furthering their own pleasure and excess. Jesus is the Victim of our sins. As sure as 'Lazarus' is taken into the 'bosom of Abraham' at his death, so Jesus, the true Lazarus, is taken after His Passion and Death and Ascension to the Bosom, yet more, to the Right Hand of the Eternal Father. Lazarus's comforting is a 'type' of the triumph of Jesus over sin and death, to reign at the Right Hand of God the Father, so that those who refuse the love, mercy and grace of the true Lazarus, the One who 'comes back from the dead' is appointed Judge of both the living and the dead and a 'great gulf' exists between those who choose Him in this life and will live forever with Him and those who do not choose Him in this life, who die without Him and who shall live without Him forever more.

And so Holy Mother Church continues to warn Her children and the whole World of the fate of those who ignore Jesus, the true and victorious Lazarus, who died but dies no more, who suffered but will suffer no more, yet Who suffered and died and rose again for the love of us all. Ignore Jesus at your peril! Christians are called to recognise Him in all those places in which He can be found. Yes, in the poor man at the gate, yes in the sick and imprisoned, but also in those most neglected of places - our hearts, our souls, in the Most Holy Eucharist, in the Sacrament of Penance, in the Holy Souls, in His priests, in the persecuted Church around the World. 

Let us not be blind to Jesus, since He has said that those who ignore Him in these places where He can be found, ignore Him at our eternal peril. Jesus is the One Who reigns not just in the Bosom, but at the Right Hand of the Father Almighty. He is comforted. His suffering and torment on Earth over, He lives forevermore. We, too, will live forever more, but we must choose our eternal destiny. Will we repent and seek Jesus for grace so that we will live lives of peace, justice, virtue, mercy and victory with Him, or will we choose eternal separation from He Who is the True and Everlasting Lazarus - the glorious Resurrected One, Jesus Christ, Our Blessed Lord.

'If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they believe, if one rise again from the dead.'

Pope Francis Taking Ecumensim to a New Level

Photo by Elisabetta Pique: Rabbi Skorka in front of Santa Marta
Courtesy of Vatican Insider.

'Argentina’s Rabbi Abraham Skorka, in this interview, tells how Pope Francis and he are making history by their friendship, and reveals that they dream of travelling together to the Holy Land soon', Gerard O’Connell, Rome
'Never before in the history of Christian-Jewish relations have a Pope and a Rabbi celebrated their friendship by living in the Vatican together for several days, sharing all meals, including on two Jewish festivals and the Sabbath at which the Rabbi said prayers in Hebrew, and discussing what more they can do together to promote dialogue and peace in the world.

That is what actually happened over the past four days at the Vatican guesthouse (Santa Marta) where Pope Francis lives and where his friend from Buenos Aires, Rabbi Abraham Skorka, has been his guest from September 25 to this day.

“I eat with him at breakfast, lunch and dinner every day. He cares for me, and controls everything regarding my food to makes sure it is all kosher, and according to my religious tradition. These are festive days, and I have to say certain prayers at meals and, I expand the last prayer and translate it. He accompanies me together with the others at table -his secretaries and a bishop, and they all say ‘Amen’ at the end”, the Rabbi said.

By acting in this way, the Pope and Rabbi are sending an extraordinary message of friendship, dialogue and peace not only to their respective religious communities but also to the whole world. And they plan to do even more together, Rabbi Skorka revealed when we talked together at Santa Marta, on September 27.

He and the Pope are planning to travel together to the Holy Land next year. The Israeli and Palestinian authorities have invited Pope Francis, and the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople, Bartholomew1, wants him to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic meeting of his predecessor, Athenagoras, with Paul VI in the Holy City.

“We are dreaming of traveling together to Israel soon, and the Pope is working on this subject”, the Rabbi said. “I dream of embracing him at the Kotel, or Wailing Wall, and I will accompany him to Bethlehem, in the Palestinian territories. His presence can help a lot at this moment when the peace talks are starting again”, he added.

Skorka sees a deep spiritual significance for both of them in being together at the sites that are sacred to their respective religions. “I do not cease to be a Jew for him, and he goes on keeping his own faith. But the two spiritualities have to have a point of encounter. We cannot live in a world where we reject each other, we must build bridges.”

He believes his friend “has become a spiritual reference point for the whole world, not just for the Catholic Church” as was evidenced recently when he called for a day of prayer and fast for peace in Syria.

“Ours is a spiritual journey”, he said of their friendship which dates back to 1997 when Bergoglio became coadjutor bishop of Buenos Aires archdiocese. “Like him I don’t much like the protocol, and like him I too go for the essentials”, he added. Since then, they have done many things together, including producing an interview book – Sobre el cielo y la tierra (‘On heaven and earth’) that has been translated into several languages and will soon be in Hebrew too.

“We hold to different traditions, but we are creating a dialogue that has not existed for centuries. Both of us believe that God has something to do with our friendship and with what we are doing. There are too many coincidences for it all to be mere chance”, said Skorka, 63, who is Rector of the Latin American Rabbinic Seminary.

“We come together without burying our identities. I spoke to him about evangelization, and he stated emphatically that the Catholic Church cannot engage in proselytism”, he said...'

Click here for full article...

Saturday 28 September 2013

Thursday 26 September 2013

Into Great Silence

Having already made a dramatic impression on the life of the Franciscans of the Immaculate, one has to ask whether it is all part of some strange Jesuit plot?

Not everyone is called to 'go out to the peripheries'. Some are called to be simply faithful husbands and wives, devoted to family, others to the contemplative life, others to the active life. I have been out to the peripheries and have now learned not to let the peripheries know where you live. I wouldn't wish that on a family!

To me, the time I have with Jesus is precious. It really is not that much time I spend with Him. I wish I could spend more time with Jesus than I do. I appreciate the opportunity to spend an hour with the Lord at Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament.

Thankfully, it is quiet there in the Church. That hour is more valuable than any active service I may do for those who I see in the 'real world'. Of course, it is the 'real world' that messed them up and where nobody showed them the love of Jesus.

Frankly, if you don't spend time with Jesus in quiet, in prayer, your service to those in whom you serve Jesus will be poor. Prayer and works go hand in hand. Works without prayer will be fruitless. Without peace and quiet, it is difficult to pray. Thankfully, the Holy Father went on:

'While reading the catechism is necessary, it’s not enough, he said. “It’s necessary to know Jesus in dialogue with him, talking with him, in prayer, on your knees. If you don’t pray, if you don’t talk with Jesus, you don’t know him.”'

St Francis: Enjoyed periods of peace and quiet
But we need peace and quiet to pray! Also, what about finding Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament? What about finding Jesus in the Gospels (Dei Verbum, anybody?), or in the works of the Saints that you may find in a library? What about the Dominican's study and prayerful meditation, the fruit of which is preaching? What about finding Jesus in the Sacrament of Penance?

Please, Holy Father, Your Holiness, do not present us with a reductionist, one-dimensional vision of the Christian life and mission. There are a variety of gifts to the Church, of which the service of the poor is but one. St Francis of Assisi received the stigmata while in ecstatic prayer in a peaceful and quiet location in La Verna.

I know that people will say, 'Laurence, you're taking the Holy Father's words out of their context' or 'Laurence, you're misinterpreting what he is saying' but maybe if the Holy Father were to say less things 'off the cuff' old grumps like me would be less grumpy. We have a duty to love the Holy Father, but surely the Holy Father has a duty to teach us the fullness of the Faith, not one aspect in isolation, divorced from the rest. Jesus can be found and served in the poor in the real world. He can also be found in every tabernacle in every Catholic Church in every Diocese around the World until the End of Time. It is notable that at this time belief in the Real Presence of Our Lord in the Eucharist is at an ebb. It is also noteworthy that while His Holiness has described the poor as the 'flesh' of Jesus, He has said not a great deal at all about the Lord's Flesh and Blood in the Most Holy Eucharist.

'You won't find Jesus there mate!'
Please, Holy Father, teach us to love Jesus in the poor and neglected, but also too in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, for He is our Life, our Heavenly Food, our Salvation. Did not St Peter say, 'Lord, increase our Faith'!?

Teach us, also, to pray, so that in a world so full of enticing illusions, we find our true Reality in Him.

I'm getting more than a bit narked off with writing not completely supportive posts about the Holy Father. I'm considering going 'into great silence' myself for a while. The fact that His Holiness said you won't find Jesus in a library when that's probably where Pope Emeritus Benedict is right now is a little 'insensitive'.  Grrrrr!!!

Monday 23 September 2013

Digesting Excommunication: Questions

A thought popped into my mind today following news of the excommunication of an Australian heretical priest. The thought was this:

'Did Pope Benedict XVI excommunicate anyone?'

So, I've just done a search. This pontificate just gets more perplexing. It's a rollercoaster. No two days are the same. So here's the gist:

Just two orders of excommunication have come from the Pope in the 20th century, none in the 21st. The most famous excommunications of recent (though not my recent) memory are Fidel Castro, excommunicated by Blessed Pope John XXIII and the Lefebrevists (forgive me if I never spell it right) who were declared automatically excommunicated by Blessed Pope John Paul II. I don't know whether it was he himself or a Diocesan or other Bishop who pronounced the excommunications. Excommunications which have come through the Pope's office are rare. Incredibly rare. Yet out of the blue, today it happens! If I've missed out on any other papal excommunications, forgive me and let me know what I've missed out.

In the case of the Bishop of Toowoomba, the Bishop William Morris was, I believe laicised, not excommunicated, though I am happy for someone to correct me. Benedict XVI didn't like just excommunicating people. It wasn't his style. He had the exterior of a rottweiler, but was on the inside something of a chihuahua. That's a compliment, by the way. In examining this Wikipedia article on excommunication, throughout the 20th century, these events were incredibly rare, rarer in the 21st.

Greg Reynolds holds his heavenly P45 certificate
But now we get to Pope Francis...

In fact, excommunications usually - almost always - come from a Diocesan level, unless the one being excommunicated is a Bishop perhaps, so it is strange therefore that Pope Francis and Rome acted 'unilaterally' in excommunicating a renegade priest supporting lady priests and homosexual acts.

It is strange - especially in the light of the Pope's recent interview - that such action was taken out of concert with the Bishop of the Diocese in which the priest ministered in his own heretical - though not uniquely heretical - way. The interview with Pope Francis made it clear that the Pope believed this concerning complaints about orthodoxy:

"It is amazing to see the denunciations for lack of orthodoxy that come to Rome. I think the cases should be investigated by the local bishops’ conferences, which can get valuable assistance from Rome. These cases, in fact, are much better dealt with locally."

Others have noted that this is a problem because at a local level, so often, nothing happens to stop wolves from entering the sheepfold and tearing the lambs to pieces. I say this because behind the scenes Bishops even in dear old England seem to be working towards advocating similar things and then denying anything ("nothing to do with me guv'nor") when challenged about it. So are we to be glad about this extraordinary measure which we are told came through (at least) the Pope's office, or a little concerned? It is not so obvious as one would at first think.

Benedict XVI laicised a scandalous Bishop. He lifted the excommunication on the Lefebrevist Bishops. I don't think (correct me if I am wrong) he excommunicated anyone. Perhaps Pope Francis, because he has laid the groundwork of a media-friendly first six months and because he is near universally popular within the Church feels he can do this and still hold the ship together. We hope and pray he can and governs wisely. We don't know, we certainly cannot read his mind. I'm sure we should wait for more facts to emerge, but...

Two things have me concerned though:

First: If this came straight through or from the Pope, then it is unusually 'ultramontane' for His Holiness to do this, even if this kind of action is welcomed by faithful Catholics fed up to the back teeth of heretical priests and even Bishops. Why praise collegiality with the Bishops and then excommunicate a renegade priest soon afterwards? Why not just let the Bishop do it, or get the Bishop to do it? I thought the Pope was not a 'renaissance prince' governing the Church as his personal fiefdom. Sorry to sound irreverent, but I'm confused by this. Two conflicting messages are coming through.

Second: No reason was given for the excommunication. Tim Stanley says, 'Well it's obvious', and so it us...who trust in the orthodoxy and soundness of our beloved Pope. However, excommunication without a reason is a little 'authoritarian' if it comes straight from the top when a Bishop at Diocesan level could have done it perfectly well. I know I'm beginning to sound like a Tablet columnist, but first media reports are suggesting an extraordinary use of papal privilege in exercising the Keys at a time when the same Pope is calling for important decisions to be handled by local Bishops. I'm glad Pope Francis is taking charge of the Church when, at a local level, Bishops cannot be trusted necessarily to act for the good of the flock, as witnessed recently when Bishops allow wolves to come in and campaign for the kind of things this renegade priest is into. However, I'd sound a note of caution too. Can the Pope just excommunicate whoever he likes and give no reason? This excommunication has been delivered from the top down to the bottom. There is no suggestion it was done in concert with the Bishop of the Diocese. Without wishing to go against my advice concerning how to be loyal to the Pope this morning ("pray, hope and don't worry"), I'm wondering what would happen if the Pope woke up one morning and decided someone in the Church was too 'Conservative'?

Er...we love you Pope Francis!

Yikes. For all you priests, bishops and cardinals in Rome, may I suggest you hold back on that new car and go for something a little more Franciscan. If the car you are thinking of buying is newer than 2005, I'd think again. Quite where this whole episode leaves ACTA and Terence Weldon...and the more traditionally-minded Owlie is anybody's guess! I hope I don't get a certificate through the post tomorrow. I wouldn't wish it on Owlie nor even a wilful heretic. Ultimately, excommunication is the measure of last resort to bring someone back to Jesus Christ and His Church. St Pio of Pietrelcina told us all intrigue and scandal is useless compared to the glory of Heaven, but did he see Pope Francis's first six months coming?

Breaking! Pope Francis Excommunicates Heretic!

H/T Te Deus Laudamus

We should never rejoice over the excommunication of anyone, certainly not a Catholic priest, since such a severe measure is designed to bring the excommunicated to repentance and communion with the Pope and Bishops, not to consign them forever to oblivion.

The first 'head to roll' in the Franciscan pontificate is a liberal priest who advocated women priests and affirmation of the gay lifestyle and it is said to have come from the authority of His Holiness himself.

Who would have thought it? Either people (including myself) have misread Francis widely off the mark, or this Pope wakes up in the morning and just goes on to have 'one of those days'. Read all about it here. Click here for another report on the same story. Yikes! It really looks like 'dialogue' has limits after all! Also, was this a decision taken with a sense of 'collegiality', because there are some English Bishops who might want to pipe down a little and get a grip on some problematic liberal priests and laity in their Diocese.

Wow. Only six months in and the binding and loosing of the Keys has been used on a liberal. I did not see that one coming. The Tablet had better get in line pronto, but I expect we'll see an interview with the dissident next week within its pages. The MSM are not going to like this story. I'd just like to re-pledge my loyalty and obedience to Pope Francis...

Pray for the renegade priest, that he repents of his heresies and returns to communion with St Peter.  


How to be Loyal to Pope Francis Even When You Feel Weird About Him

1. Pray for His Holiness every day. Dedicate a Rosary for his intentions as often as you can.

2. Do what he tells you to do. Pope Francis's papal teaching isn't contrary to your Catholic Faith. If anything, his emphasis on the poor is an opportunity for you to embody the Catholic Faith.

Take up the challenge from the Successor of St Peter to be a bold witness for Jesus Christ.  Feed the poor, clothe the naked, do the works of mercy the Lord asks of you. If you cannot, contribute to the work of others who do. Our Lord told us He would judge us on this, the work of love for Him. Works of mercy will help you to live less selfishly and deepen your faith and love for the Lord.

3. Love the Blessed Virgin Mary.  God has given us (another) Marian Pope. If you don't have a Marian devotion, develop one. If you already love Our Lady, love her more and be devoted to her.  I think it was St Maximillian Kolbe who said that you can never love Our Lady too much because nobody loves her as much as Jesus, her Divine Son and He will not be outdone in love!

4. Trust in God and trust that God is at the Helm of His Church. If your faith is shaken by press reports or even the direct quotations of the Pope that can be construed at contradicting traditional Catholic teaching, remember that the Head of the Catholic Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, is Jesus Christ Himself. Offer up any tribulations that you experience during this papacy since it is efficacious to do so. Great merit will be won by those who are able to withstand, with God's grace, the storm of a 'challenging' papacy.

Whatever happens, the Church cannot be destroyed. Were it to be destroyed to Her foundations, the Lord can raise Her up. Stay, do not leave. The only perfect liturgy is in Heaven which is where you want to go. Trust in God, trust in Our Lady. If you hear strange teachings that strike you as being foreign to the traditional understanding of the Church and of those things pertaining to Salvation, remember that these things are passing. God has given us in the Catechism a great treasure and resource. Unless it is banned, buy one, keep one and be faithful to the Magisterium. If, in the 21st century, a Third Vatican Council is called, expect the worst. That way, you won't be disappointed when the proverbial hits the fan.

5.  Do not give in to hatred or acrimony. The Devil seizes any opportunity he can in order to spread within souls distrust, disloyalty, fear, hatred, anger and vices displeasing to the Lord. In order to repel him, be on guard not just against any strange teaching, but against anger or hatred of any kind. Guard yourself and keep yourself in holy charity. Be patient and persevere in the good. Overcome evil with good. Exhaust yourself in love. Have faith. No Pope is perfect and were you Pope, the Church may fall into ruin. There may be few left because you would have excommunicated 90% of believers.

When the Lord asked us to love even those who we find it challenging to love, He meant it. Do not give into hatred, commend everything to the Lord. No two Popes are exactly the same. God sends us different Popes at different times for different purposes known to Him. Pope Francis asked your prayers that he would not make many mistakes. He has the humility to understand he makes mistakes. While Benedict XVI disproved the idea you cannot have more than one Pope at the same time in the same Church, even he has already accepted obedience to his Successor. Do not start the Society of Benedict XVI.

If, as is likely, you start thinking the Pope is a Protestant, recall that every time you do so, you become a little more Protestant. Be merciful and if you feel that anybody, even the Pope, is persecuting you, Jesus Christ has already told you what to do in return. Take as a model of obedience St Pio of Pietrelcina, who offered many of his sufferings in reparation for liturgical abuses, as well as for the conversion of sinners and Salvation of souls. Do the same. Be brave, be courageous, be holy, be wise as serpents, but innocent as doves. The Lord loves a cheerful giver. So give to Pope Francis time and prayers and to the Lord all glory, all power, all praise, worship and empire. The Church and the Kingdom belong to Christ, not to you, nor even to the Pope. It is Christ's Church, His Bride, not yours. All Catholics need to remember that, from layman to Pope.

Friday 20 September 2013

Pope Francis on Abortion

Let us give thanks to the Lord, that His Holiness Pope Francis has today spoken up in defence of the unborn. May His Holiness continue to be a voice for the poor, the discarded, the unwanted and the victims of human oppression, among whom are the countless unborn babies aborted in the World on a daily basis.

'Each one of us is invited to recognize in the fragile human being the face of the Lord, who, in his human flesh, experienced the indifference and loneliness to which we often condemn the poorest, either in the developing nations or in the developed societies. Each child that is unborn, but is unjustly condemned to be aborted, bears the face of Jesus Christ, bears the face of the Lord, who, even before he was born, and then as soon as he was born experienced the rejection of the world. And also each old person and - I spoke of the child, let us also speak of the elderly, another point! And each old person, even if infirm or at the end of his days, bears the face of Christ. They cannot be discarded, as the "culture of waste" proposes! They cannot be discarded!'

~ Pope Francis

I have a funny feeling the media will not report it, but this will be a welcome boost to those who have dedicated their lives for campaigning for the unborn child.

Thursday 19 September 2013

Well...What do you make of that?

There is an interview with Pope Francis on America magazine. I believe the original interview was done in another publication.

I don't know how they got one when His Holiness called me the other day to say he'd do an interview with me before their one.

What do you make of the 'exclusive' or is that 'inclusive' Pope Francis interview?

There are elements to it that I find unsettling for different reasons. I do like his emphasis on the Sacrament of Confession - surely something some of our Bishops need to promote actively.

One thing that I sense about the pontificate of Pope Francis is that we are seeing a re-defining of the papacy. There is something about his pontificate which is unlike anything I've seen before. What is a Pope for? I had always thought that the Pope is the Successor of St Peter who guards the Deposit of Faith with his life. I had always thought that in his doing so, we find communion with him.

There is a likeable naivity about Francis the man, but it is odd to hear these statements coming from a Pope. I would say it is unique. 'Doctrine' and 'legalism' seem to be things that is less important than a relationship with Jesus Christ to him - but here's the thing - doctrine is obviously important to groups like Quest and ACTA, since they seek its removal from the Church. There is a clear and present danger of the enemies of the Church running roughshod, creating anarchy in the Church. Traditionally, the Pope stands for Christ, against the wiles and assaults of the enemy.

These are strange times. Times in which the Deposit of Faith is under severe attack. Why leave it to others to defend it vigorously? Do not his comments make those who defend the Church's teaching more readily and openly look like cruel dogmatists? Aspects of this interview will be music to the ears of those who seek to overturn the Church's teachings. Other parts will not. Parts will feel like a smack in the teeth to those who defend the Magisterium day in, day out, in their work for the Church and to pro-lifers this will be a bombshell of significant proportions. Plenty of people will be happy to take advantage of the vagueness or open-endedness of some of Pope Francis's answers.

These kind of groups are happy to call themselves Christian without adherence to the Church's doctrines - without loyalty to the Magisterium. How seriously do Quest and ACTA take the Sacrament of Confession? Once doctrine is watered down or perceived to be watered down, would that not take souls away from the Sacrament of Penance in which we find mercy and grace?

Also, I always suspected that the Pope was a sinner (like myself and the rest of the human race). What I don't get from Pope Francis's interview is a sense of divinisation - that Jesus desires to make us into Saints.

There seems to be something surprisingly horizontal about his theology. I am still digesting His Holiness's interview. I find myself having to go back and back again asking, 'Did he really just say that?'

I'd be interested in your thoughts. I'm stunned. Or is that petrified?

Terence Weldon's Exciting New Book Launch

Not to be outdone by mystics of the Church of yesteryear, Terence Weldon is to publish his new spiritual guidance book for Catholics entitled 'The Irritation of Christ'.

Modelled on the great spiritual work by Thomas A Kempis, Weldon introduces new methods of irritating Our Lord, by acting as a thorn in the side of the Church who wishes to expose as many souls as possible to spiritually dangerous and scandalous practices.

An excerpt of the new book has been seen before publishing in which Our Lord tells the servant:

Christ: "Soul. Now you've got Bishop Kieran on board in your scandalous, dissident homosexual organisation, you are really becoming incredibly irritating. My love and patience is infinite, but you really do take the biscuit."

Soul: "Speak Lord, but your servant isn't listening. I have dedicated my entire life to irritating You and bringing my erroneous ways into Your Bride, the Church. I am hearing that You don't necessarily agree with my tactics of promoting sodomy and imperiling souls wherever I go, as I go about undermining the authority of the Magisterium while spreading a gospel of licence, but regardless and no matter what You say, my malformed conscience says otherwise and I prefer my own will."

The book is recommended reading for anyone who wishes to irritate Christ on a regular basis, or for anyone who wants to subvert the Church by convincing Bishops to go along with their efforts to homosexualise the Church and to effect in vain a change in the Church's teaching on sexuality and marriage.

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Young Catholic Adults Retreat

During the weekend of the 18-20 October 2013, Young Catholic Adults will be running a national weekend at Cold Ash Retreat Centre just up the road from Douai Abbey (which was booked up this year).

* It will be include the following Priests:- Fr Goddard FSSP, Fr de Malleray, Fr. Pearson O.P. and Br. Wilson O.S.B.
* There will be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung/HighMass, Confession and socials.
* Gregorian Chant Workshops will also be running, this year led by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge

Weekend rates: £99.00 for adults, £69.00 for Students and U/E ( weekends starts on Friday evening with supper and finish on Sunday after lunch.
Saturday night only - £60.00 for adults, £50.00 for Students and U/E Full Board
Bed and Breakfast - £35.00 for adults, £30.00 (for student - U/E) per day
Non - residential and full board - (Friday & Saturday) - £45.00 for adults, £40.00 for (for student - U/E) per day
Non residential (includes meals) - £30.00 for adults, £25.00 (for student - U/E) per day
Non residential and no meals - £20.00 for adults, £15.00 (for student - U/E) per day.

To download a booking form please see :-

How to get to Cold Ash Retreat Centre (near Thatcham, Berkshire)

Car - Roughly halfway between Reading and Newbury, Cold Ash Retreat Centre is within easy reach of these towns as well as London, Oxford, Bracknell, Winchester and Basingstoke. The A4 (Bath Road is a couple of miles and the M4 is just 4 miles away.

Trains - The nearest railway stations are Thatcham and Newbury, with a regular service on the line from Reading to Taunton. It's just c. 45 minutes from London Paddington. The local railway station, Thatcham, is a couple of miles away (and has plenty of taxis available). Timetables and other information are provided by

Buses - Weavaway operates a bus service from Newbury Town Centre via Thatcham Broadway to Tilehurst, which stops at Cold Ash along the way.

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Dorothy Day

I think Dorothy Day always knew she would be misunderstood.

I guess that's why she started her own newspaper.

Thank you to a Facebook friend for supplying me with this gem of a quote.

Monday 16 September 2013

Mortal Sin Kills the Soul, Confession Brings it Back to Life

Which one removed 'mortal' and 'venial' sin from the language of the Church?
I'm looking on Google for the Vatican II document that supports the idea that guidance on mortal sins and venial sins are outdated in the formula penitents would use in order to confess sins. That sin is mortal which severs the soul from God, meriting eternal punishment if it goes unconfessed or unrepented before Death.

Perhaps someone could also look at the documents of the Second Vatican Council and let me know when you find the passage in which it is clear that the Church has dispensed with 'mortal sin'. This is not the first time a Bishop has said that either this language is unhelpful or irrelevant to modern times. Perhaps CC the Bishops on this as well. I think they need to know just how seriously God takes the Confession of one of his children and how much He desires to grant His mercy to these same children.

This is, I believe, what His Holiness was saying in his rather good homily on mercy yesterday though I do wonder whether His Holiness is looking at the same statistics as that of the LMS in terms of the Church's health. What does the Holy Father mean when he says that the Church 'has never been so well as it is today'? Perhaps it is unfair to infer, but was the Church less 'well' under Benedict XVI and Blessed John Paul II?

Of what continent is the Holy Father speaking because Europe, for instance, is a spiritual wilderness. How can the Church be 'well' when even the Pope in Rome believes we can no longer talk to people in the 'same way' about God as we did in the 1950s? Does he also mean 'Catholic people'? Is this not what His Lordship, Bishop Kieran Conry said when he said that you cannot talk to young people about Salvation?

If Confessions are up due to the 'Francis-effect' that is wonderful news. Are we really saying that even though young people are coming back that the old language of sin and salvation is unhelpful and not understandable to modern man? Why would a Bishop rejoice in Confessions being up but not be able to treat the subject seriously enough to take this opportunity to offer some serious teaching concerning this vital element in the salvation of souls?

Not for the first time, I'm perplexed. All this and Heaven too, if I make it! Next, I'll be hearing that if God has pity on me and grants my soul entrance into Heaven, after painful purification in the fires of Purgatory, Bill Gardner will be greeting me at the pearly gates asking me for an interview!

Still, who am I to judge? The Holy Father is certain that the Church will not collapse while all objective criteria suggest that changing demographics, artificial contraception, abortion, marxism, liberalism and a range of factors, of which liturgy forms a not insignificant part, have all contributed to the collapse of Faith that we are already in. Perhaps His Holiness is speaking of the secrets of Fatima which he has read. The Lord never promised that the Church would not suffer, nor did He say it would not suffer collapse. He said the gates of Hell would not prevail against Her and that He would be with Her always, until the End of Time and that She, like He, would rise again.

"I dare say that the Church has never been so well as it is today. The Church does not collapse: I am sure of it, I am sure of it!"
September 16, 2013
Your Holiness, I realise that your words need proper context in the Court of the Gentiles, but you just only last week said 'absolute truth' was not something you would discuss even with a believer. It is encouraging to know with 'certainty' that you do believe the Church will not collapse.

Photo Competition

Which of these pictures has been doctored?

I see that on Friday 13th September, just a matter of days after fitting up Fr Ray Blake good and improper, The Argus ran this piece, again by Bill Gardner, on 'homeless people injecting bath salts during deadly poke parties.'

Will that be the 'messy' poor again, Bill?

Is shame a completely alien concept to The Argus? It would certainly appear so!

1st prize for the competition will be an evening trapped in a cage underwater at the Sea Life Centre, Brighton, with Bill Gardner, surrounded by some rare breeds of shark and a small school of pirhanas.*
2nd prize is an meal for two at Harry Ramsden's Fish and Chip Shop at the Marina with reporter Bill Gardner. **

3rd prize is a free copy of The Argus signed personally by a now infamous rogue journalist who handed in his conscience and his principles when he obtained his NCTJ certificate and who currently makes his living off fitting up Catholic priests for money and sadistic pleasure.***

*Should you win this prize, you may come to believe that you are in a cage with an unusual predator as well as facing them outside of the cage and require a round of counselling after the event. You may well be right but That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill accepts no responsibility should you come out of the experience requiring psychological help because you came face to face with an unexpectedly horrifying and bloodthirsty creature inside the underwater cage.

**Should any Catholic win this competition, metal cutlery will not be provided, instead the use of the small, wooden fork will be encouraged. Regardless of your religious affiliation, it is advised that you do not open your heart to the now infamous journalist, nor converse with him, since he will most likely misrepresent you in his next feature for The Argus and diminish your reputation in the public eye. That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill accepts no responsibility should the reporter drag your name through the mud within a week of your mealtime chat at Harry Ramsden's.

***You may wish to use the free copy of The Argus to ring around the advertisers found therein and advise them not to bother with this visciously anti-Catholic newspaper. That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill accept no responsibility for the loss of revenue that may be incurred by this appalling local rag, riddled from beginning to end with amateur journalism and a lack of noteworthy content, but for its blatant hypocrisy.

An Apology

Dear readers,

I have taken down a post I wrote yesterday which I wrote in a pique of over-excitement.

I said that I had produced a new magazine for Brighton called The Eye of a Needle in which to defend the poor and that I wished to produce a number of them for distribution in Brighton.

I have, for a long time wanted to see a new magazine in the area and had been working on one that would put homelessness issues at the forefront of a new local paper.

In this instance, I wished to use the magazine to defend the name of Fr Ray Blake after a truly terrible article by Bill Gardner, since this priest does much for Brighton's poor and to see his name be tarnished merited some response from the Catholic community in Brighton, among whom are many who feed the poor.

This was an idea that came solely from me as a parishioner of Fr Blake's Church and it was not an idea in which Fr Blake had input.

Foolishly and outrageously, I advised readers to send cheques or to donate to St Mary Magdalen Church, giving readers the impression that the Church itself had a funding role to play in this initiative.

I unreservedly apologise to Fr Blake, to the parishioners of his Church and to his Bishop for suggesting such an action to readers of this blog and I beg their pardon.

I should have asked readers to donate to me personally if I had wanted to produce such a magazine, rather than seek a Catholic Church's approval and involvement in the project without seeking the support first of the priest and his parishioners.

Presumptuously and with a reckless lack of regard for the reputation of both the priest and the parish, I asked readers to do this, when, in fact, as a parishioner I have no authority or right whatsoever to make such a request.

For this, and for giving the public impression that Fr Blake or St Mary Magdalen Church was somehow linked or involved with the project, The Eye of a Needle I apologise.

I ask for forgiveness for my transgression from my priest, from his parishioners and from anyone who may be offended by the presumptuous nature of my action.

In a keen desire to see the restoration of Fr Blake's reputation and for justice to be done in his regard, I advised action that was never within my competence or authority to advise and, had I wanted such an initiative to be funded through his parish, I should have sought the advice and blessing of my priest, something I lamentably failed to do.

May God forgive me and grant to me a measure of wisdom and prudence that I may not so offend Him again.

If I consider in the future to start a small newspaper in Brighton it would be something that I would undertake in an entirely private capacity. If readers would like to read the article that I would like to publish in this small newspaper to Brighton, visit The Eye of a Needle blog here.

Laurence England

Friday 13 September 2013

Good Lord

Who do Buddhists pray to?

Atheism and Salvation

Allegory of Salvation by Antonius Heusler
Can atheists and agnostics attain to Salvation?

I was asked a similar question by a friend the other day, when he asked me about his parents and how they do not believe. I answered that I could not possibly give the judgment that is God's alone to give in the case of individuals and that we are also told that God does not judge everyone in the same way. I told him he should pray for them. It was one of those moments when my 'conscience' afterwards told me, 'that was a little feeble'. The man himself was a Christian, if not Catholic, so I went onto give him a small summary of what we believe and how this does, in fact, differ to what non-Catholic Christians believe. I talked about sin, salvation and how we as Catholics wish to die in a State of Grace, in God's friendship, rather than in a State of Mortal Sin.

What did Jesus say about this?

'And he said to them: Go ye into the whole world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall be condemned.' (Mark 16)

To me, that seems very clear and quite uncompromising. It sounds to me that if there is Salvation for atheists and agnostics, the Lord may know of it, but He has not told us of it, therefore we should keep proclaiming the uncompromising Faith that He Himself (and His Apostles after Him) preached. The Church's position on conscience followed in the light of natural reason offers hope of the Salvation of those who are outside of the Church and of Her Faith, but it is dangerous to point to this as being the 'end of the story'. Ultimately, we must encourage, for their eternal good, the conversion of all, including ourselves, since it would be sinfully presumptuous to suggest that all will go well with atheists, agnostics, or even those who are outside of the visible Church on Earth.
No 'Guarantees' of Salvation for Believer and Non-Believer

The Church doesn't have much more than that to go on and it doesn't give a 'blessed assurance' to believers either, since we do not know, but hope that our faith will bear fruit in good works and that we will persevere to the end, in a State of Grace and that the Lord, in His goodness will take pleasure in saving us.

Of course, it may be that there is a secret that God is withholding from the Church and the World (that He lets people who don't believe into Heaven through a back door out of His great mercy), but I would say it is kind of dangerous for the Pope to give people the idea that they can be saved without belief in Jesus Christ and His One Holy Catholic Church. I believe they call it 'endangering souls'.

I get the feeling when the Pope does this thing that his popularity with the World increases, but the atheists and agnostics don't feel a need to convert, 'because the Pope just told me I don't have to.' Just saying, 'I'm okay, you're okay' doesn't lead souls to repentance - something we all need in order to save our souls, but this is the sad development of years of water-muddying within the Church since Vatican II's 'spirit' was released into the parishes and Dioceses.

Popes Will Be Judged Also

Like all of us the Pope will have to give an account to God and we are informed by the Tradition of the Church that his judgment will be much, much more strict than will be ours, since he has repsonsibility for millions of souls in his care. Yep, Popes (and laymen) can go to Hell for all eternity. If Priests can go to Hell (and take many souls with them), and Bishops can go to Hell (and take many more souls with them), Popes too can go to Hell (and take a heck of a lot of souls with them).

Unfortunately, the more the Pope makes ambiguous statements like this, the more His own flock may begin to believe that ecclesiastical freemasonry won the day at his election. We shall wait and see, with baited breath, where the Holy Father clearly wants us, on the edge of our seats.

Pray for the Holy Father, for holy Priests and for holier Bishops, to whom has been entrusted the great duty of teaching the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Faith.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Rosary Crusade of Reparation October 2013

Dear Friend of Our Lady,

A change to the policing arrangements for our annual procession is threatening the future of the Rosary Crusade. The resulting increase in cost is over £2000.00 which is well in excess of the whole of our current budget. We have decided that this year's procession will go ahead, trusting in the generosity of the Faithful and relying on the assistance of Our Lady. Whether next year's will go ahead will depend largely on this appeal and on the collection after this year's Crusade.

What can you do to help?

1) Pray! We are sure Our Lady wants this great devotion to continue, so please ask her to move enough hearts to generosity!

2) Send a donation now! (Cheques payable to The Rosary Crusade of Reparation to be sent to The Honourable Treasurer, The Rosary Crusade of Reparation, 72 Kilmartin Avenue, London SW16 4RE; donations can also be sent directly to our bank account or donations can be made via the Donate button at the top of the website.

3) Consider setting up an annual standing order to our account to secure the future of the Crusade - if only 200 people donated £10.00 each year, this would cover the additional cost.

4) Circulate this petition to your friends and mailing lists. Many people making small donations are just as effective as a few people making large donations.

The future of the Crusade is in your hands -- please help in any way you can. God Bless you!

Sincerely in the Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Francis Carey
The Rosary Crusade of Reparation

With the change in arrangements, the safety of the procession is also more reliant than usual on the Rosary Crusade marshalls who ensure an orderly procession. In recent years, the number of volunteers for this vital role has been decreasing and it is important for us to reverse this trend. If you are able to help on the day, please get in touch with me by return email. 

The role involves mainly the stewarding of the procession to ensure that participants do not stray either into oncoming traffic or onto the pavement. If you need further information, please contact me by email or by telephone on 01494 729223.

Please note that the time of this year's procession is 2:15 PM (a change from previous years) on Saturday, 12 October 2013. Full details on the website,

The Argus Begin Their Defence of the Super-Strength Lager Rights of Brighton's, Shhh, Say it Quietly, 'Messy' Poor

Bill, what were you thinking?  And I'm not talking of the golliwog endorsement...
Just for a laugh I picked up a copy of The Argus to see whether they were doing their usual job of resiliently defending the rights of the 'messy poor'.

Under the headline 'Super-strength booze ban bid,' The Argus today reveal how Hastings Borough Council are implementing a ban on super-strength alcohol, because of the anti-social behaviour problems caused when (I think it might just be the poor, you know) drink it. Over the next few days, check out the comments under the article to find out just what Brighton's 'good people' think of Brighton's street drinkers.

'The Argus, revealed in July that Brighton and Hove City Council is developing a city-wide accreditation scheme allowing stores to advertise themselves as responsible retailers if they agree to a set of conditions including not selling super-strength beers and ciders.'

I looked in the Editorial page to see whether anyone from The Argus has highlighted the obvious hypocrisy of the Council's idea, when the whole ethos of Brighton is one of embracing the hedonistic lifestyle and denouncing anyone who criticises it because its a city of 'live and let live' where 'all lifestyle choices are welcome'. We might add that all lifestyles are welcome here, as long as the poor do not embrace them! Heaven forfend!

Are we saying some of the poor are 'messy'?

The lager choice of many an irritating little....
According to The Argus, the Hastings pilot scheme has gone relatively well, depending on whether you believe this flagrant policy targeting the 'messy' poor is either ethical or even wise, given that they'll most likely move onto vodka.

'The ban in the town centre, the Old Town and Central St Leonards areas, will launch on October 18.  The anonymous resident who organised the campaign said the petition was started because the community could no longer put up with street drinkers fighting in the sreet, open drug dealing and obscenities shouted in the street'.
He said: "This is a good, positive step forward and we will see what happens come October. It might just mean that street drinkers get drunk on low-strength alcohol. We just hope that the message will get through to off-licences that we are fed up with them selling alcohol to people who are obviously drunk and that street drinkers need to think about themselves as part of the community."

So, no word yet though, in opinion, from the vigilant Hollingbury based-defenders of the poor of Brighton, a proportion of whom are addicted to super-strength alcohol and who regularly ask parish priests for money to get to Southampton and then Hastings the next day, to see 'dying relatives'. Obviously, though, what with Bill Gardner, who I see is on a programme on ITV tonight, called Fear and Loathing Online about internet trolls (I guess it takes one to know one, eh, Bill?) being such a splendid campaigner for the poor to do whatever the poor want to do without any other members of the community commenting upon it in any way whatsoever, I expect to hear his thoughts soon.

Coming to a town near you, if you are poor and drink Skol
Of course, it could just be that Bill and The Argus news team have no real concern for the 'messy' poor, secretly resent them like much of Brighton and just wanted to stitch up a Catholic priest by misrepresenting his considered thoughts on the poor and the Church after all. Could it possibly be so?

Nothing in the Editorial today about this latest news from The Argus that suggests that something like prohibition is coming to Brighton - targeted explicitly at Jason and his friends - but I wait with baited breath for them to defend the super-strength alcohol rights of the 'messy' poor?

What a wonderful campaign this will be for The Argus to lend its considerable support in the Brighton area - The Argus's 'Special Campaign for the Super-Strength Lager Rights of Brighton's Street Drinkers'. I can see it now. A-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!

I can't wait for this campaign
 O yes! You'll be waiting a lifetime for such a campaign from that quarter of Brighton! The Argus news team - you really are a bunch of jokers. How's about me and George buy a van, go to wholesalers and make a packet out of selling street drinkers Skol Super in our 'ice-cream van'? It's only 'business' after all. Of course, a percentage of our takings will go to our rehab house for the poor and to the Church building fund, naturally.

The Argus: Little Form in Defending the Poor of Brighton

It was my friend George, of course, who was stitched up by the local authority, the police, his housing association and, eventually, the lap-dog of the local authority, The Argus, who printed a few years ago that he and Diane were running a 'crack-den' at their home, when, in fact, they were both poor crack addicts who had other poor and homeless crack addicts back to their flat to smoke crack.

They didn't always smoke crack. Often they took heroin too. However, when I visited Sheffield Court to learn Johnny Cash songs with George, they weren't doing crack or heroin and I couldn't see any crack and there was nobody else there smoking crack, so its possible they just had friends round at irregular times with similar drug taking issues as them at the time in a town awash with drugs and the mass taking of class As in every club in the city. George and Diane certainly were not 'dealing'.

Sheffield Court, from where George and Diane were evicted

Evicted and Shoved from Pillar to Post

In the end, just 0.1 mg of crack cocaine was found in the entire flat, for which George had to pay a £180 fine. Now, half the police force in Brighton know George by his first name, despite the fact that in every club in Brighton cocaine is being snorted in toilets with near total immunity from prosecution!

The local authority and Moat Housing got their wish though, and George and Diane were shoved out for good from beloved Sheffield Court flat, which was what their 'nice' neighbours, Moat Housing, the police, the local authority and the powers that be, against which they had no real defender, wanted all along. For some reason, The Argus made it appear (with attending video of the huge 'drugs bust') that a huge drug operation involving about ten police officers ramming in their New England Quarter door had been 'successful' and that a source of Brighton's drug problems had been stamped out for good. A case for misrepresentation? I'd say perhaps so!

'Crack den': Odd because George and Diane's place was perfectly normal
The Poor: Scapegoats of Brighton's Sins

In the end, George and Diane were both made homeless, slept on the streets for a while, until they ended up in the privately-owned dump, Percival Terrace, which makes loads of cash out of housing benefits from the drug addicts, mental health sufferers, alcoholics and other homeless men and women, charges exhorbitant rent from the local authority and leaves their tenants in utter squalour. From here they were sent to such 'dives' as 17-19 Grand Parade and other such horrific tenements owned by the rapacious Baron Homes Corporation Ltd, sister company of Brighton's biggest property company, Baron Estates. Not that you could have learned about the injustice of that firm through reading The Argus, mind. Not to 'blow' my own trumpet, but if they had any sense, they'd employ me as their 'homelessness correspondent' because I'm developing quite a 'contacts' book.

So let's hear it for those champions of Brighton's poor, The Argus. A more lazy and, dare I say it, rather hypocritical bunch of hacks you would be hard pressed to find. How keen was The Argus to point out the speck in Fr Blake's eye, when the beam in their own is yet to be removed. If they cared about the poor, they would indeed write about what they have to live through, how they are stigmatised and exploited by ruthless private landlords. If they cared, they would interview those on the streets and hostels, including the much maligned street-drinking homeless community whose only real crime is that they can't afford to drink in pubs and have nowhere else to congregate but upon the street.

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