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 didst 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 supreme 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.

Monday, 7 April 2014

Fanfare for the New World Order Church

I can see the theological point in baptising a child of a lesbian couple. I honestly can. I can even see the point in baptising a child of a lesbian couple (Who's the Daddy? Will the child even know the Father in Heaven?) solely because of a desire to bring Salvation to a soul - even if strong doubt remains over whether the child will be 'raised and educated in the Faith'. Prudence might suggest some kind of delay with assurances sought that the pair themselves desire Salvation and to live in accordance with the Teachings of the Church, but, who, who on God's green Earth, invited the cameras in - the world media?

Queen of the Clergy, pray for our priests
Even if you are going to do this, following Pope Francis's pastoral praxis on 'not turning anyone away' or 'closing doors', why invite Reuters or whoever to come and film the event - including excessively controversial lesbian kiss in the House of God photo opportunity and the interview with the lesbians using the occasion to campaign for 'same-sex marriage' in the Church?

Does the very fact that they behaved in such manner not suggest a serious lack of Catholic formation of the 'couple' and that therefore this occasion is an occasion of grave and serious public scandal? The Francis Effect is moving at breakneck speed and watch, because a watershed moment has been passed, in the full glare of the media, so expect more of the subtly diabolical over the next few years taking place in the Church. For this is not just any baptism, but, now that its in the media, it is the World's 'first LGBT baptism'. Naturally, the child was conceived, through 'assisted reproduction'.

To add insult to blasphemy, the Godmother of the child is the Argentine President who has made it plain she is totally at odds with Catholic teaching. Who will speak out? If priests around the World reject politically motivated 'LGBT baptisms' will they be left hung out to dry by not only the World, but the Catholic Church as well? I get the impression that the unqualified mercy preached by Pope Francis - which in outcome can become mere tolerance - might get quite a few of the clergy in a spot of bother.

When a Person Looks for Himself, Does He find God?

“When a person searches for his or herself, they find God."

I dispute this. I only find God when I search for God. Even in a Church, if I ignore the Tabernacle, God is there, but I have not spotted Him. If I search for myself, I find myself and I am not God. Very often the search for self is about dethroning God. I search for and find myself 99% of the time. It isn't very rewarding. Neither is it good or beautiful. If it is "honest", it is because, quite honestly, I am very selfish.

"Maybe, they don’t succeed in finding him".

I don't dispute this since in searching for ourselves, we usually find ourselves, not God.

"But they are going along the path of honesty, searching for the truth, for a road of goodness and a road of beauty…"

I dispute this. To search for yourself often leads to introspection, depression, unhappiness, selfishness and ego-centrism which we know as Pride. Of this I am guilty. I do not recommend it. Seek Christ with your whole heart.

"They’re on the right road and it’s certain they’ll find God!"

I dispute this. Here is contradiction #1.  His Holiness has already said, "Maybe they don't succeed in finding him", yet now His Holiness says, "they" who are searching for themselves, who perhaps do not succeed in finding him, now "certainly" find Him because they are "going along the path of honesty, searching for the truth, the road of goodness and beauty." There are no caveats here. There should be. One who searches for beauty may find it in the Latin Mass. Another may find it in the National Trust, another in a brothel or gay sauna. What a lover of beauty St Augustine of Hippo was and he definitely found God...Bigtime!"

"Sooner or later, they will find him."

I dispute this. When? Can it ever be too late?  This is contradiction #2. His Holiness has already said, "maybe, they don't succeed in finding him."

"But the road is a long one and some people don’t find him in their lives."

I do not dispute this, but this is contradiction # 3. "Some people", now, "don't find him in their lives", even though His Holiness said it is "certain" they will find him.  If they do not find him in their lives then, having searched for themselves, instead of God, can they hope for Salvation, or should we be warned that Christ wants to save us from everlasting death through a relationship with Him in His Body, the Church?

"They don’t find him consciously."

I do not dispute this, but ask whether in contradiction # 4 we can seriously find God unconsciously or sub-consciously in such manner that we are oblivious that we have found Him at all. A state such as this for the vast majority of people would surely denote a total absence of Faith. We would describe a total absence of Faith, as, if not as a conscious rejection of God Himself, agnosticism, or, as in a wilful rejection of God, atheism.

"But they are very true and honest with themselves, very good and lovers of beauty."

Cue this sweeping generalisation from the Successor of St Peter who, as part of the Deposit of Faith, teaches the doctrine of Original Sin. Yes I dispute this assertion also. In searching for ourselves instead of searching for God, in preferring our own will above the Will of God, we are not necessarily being very true and honest with ourselves. We can go further and suggest that, in fact, we are gravely deceiving ourselves or have been deceived by the Deceiver, the Devil. I know very good people, but it is God Alone who is Good and has given them wonderful virtues.

"So that in the end they have a very mature personality..."

Having a mature personality will profit me nothing if I die, impenitent, in mortal sin.  Not that I possess one, mind.

"...capable of an encounter with God, which is always a grace."

Capable of an encounter with God in this life, or in the next? He, or indeed I may be "capable" of an encounter with God at his or my Judgment, upon his or my Death, but are he or I ready? Would it not be better that he or I encounter God's mercy, forgiveness, mercy and grace in this life rather than face Judgment without it.

"Because an encounter with God is a grace.”

But, Your Holiness, the person has not encountered God, but himself.  That is all he has encountered for all of his life (as well as beauty). Is there not a danger that such a person may be at risk of encountering himself for all eternity, instead of God, Whose Face never shall he see? It is not a grace to hear from the Lord, 'Depart from me, you accursed, I never knew you, go with your curse upon you into the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels.' It is a curse. Are we seriously saying that happens to nobody but the mafia?

"Late have I loved You, O Beauty so ancient and new., late have I loved You."

"Yet you were deeper than my inmost understanding and higher than the topmost height I could reach."

St Augustine
This is surely what His Holiness means because, if truth be told, this is the kind of stuff I expect to find in a new age shop in Brighton. When the Catechism tries to address this issue it does so soberly, prudently and is still able to communicate that Christ is always necessary for Salvation because He is the Saviour of Mankind Who alone can save us. We cannot presume the Salvation of anyone but those known to be in Heaven by the Church of God.

Nothing in Scripture, nothing in the writings of the Saints and the Fathers of the Church or the Popes suggests that Jesus is in any way indifferent as to whether we believe He is our Saviour, or not.  Nothing that Jesus said could possibly give us room for presumption concerning our salvation or that of others and if His Holiness keeps talking like this, unless Jesus Christ has let His Vicar onto a very big secret indeed, let us be quite clear: there is no reason why you should become a Catholic or even teach the Faith to your children. After all, they'll find God in 'their own good time' and they'll do it, 'my way''.

As I live, says the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked man; rather let him turn from his evil way and live.

The Heart of the Gospel

"Behold this Heart which has loved men so much, and yet men do not want to love Me in return. Through you My divine Heart wishes to spread its love everywhere on earth."

The young people next asked the pope what was the reason for his great love for the poor. “Because it’s the heart of the Gospel,” he replied. “For me, the heart of the Gospel is about the poor."

A blogging priest recently described Pope Francis as a "puzzle inside a riddle wrapped in an enigma" and I must confess that I, too, find Pope Francis's thought and homilies puzzling and at times disconcerting and I was quite taken aback by much of his thought expressed in the interview to some Belgian youths. Despite the Church having one of the most verbose Popes in living memory, trying to understand 'where Francis is coming from' I still find to be something of a challenge that I did not experience in the reign of Blessed Pope John Paul II or Benedict XVI.

I understand here that we have a Pope who speaks 'from the heart' and 'off the cuff' and that we should, perhaps, not try to read too much into words that are apparently not carefully prepared for public consumption. Yet, with Francis, certain things either chide or niggle away at you. At one point, it seems, "mercy" is the heart of the Gospel, as it is today in his homily. At another point, the poor, "for me", are at the heart of the Gospel. Yet, you could be easily forgiven for thinking that, equally, for Pope Francis, challenging the "throwaway culture" is at the heart of the Gospel, or fraternal sharing, justice or solidarity are at the heart of the Gospel. For many high ranking prelates in the Church today, "ecumenism" is at the heart of the Gospel and it certainly seems important to Francis.

With Benedict XVI and with Blessed Pope John Paul II, it was quite clear that at the heart of the Gospel was or is Jesus Christ and his transforming love, mercy and grace. Both made it quite clear that the Gospel, given to us by Our Lord, taught by His Church, touches everything, every individual, every family, every society, nation, that nation's politics and economics and every individual's thought, word, commission and omission. It touches marriage, our respect or lackthereof for human life.

It touches whether I blog, whether I am charitable to others, or not, how I spend my money, whether I am chaste or give into sexual temptations, whether I pig out in Lent, or restrain my self, whether I turn up for work, or lay in bed instead, or whether I decide to knock blogging on the head for Passiontide. For me, it is difficult to pin down the 'heart of the Gospel' to one thing and I really expect that for Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, while her work was in the service of the poor and dying, the poor and dying, to her, were not necessarily 'the heart of the Gospel' because even the little 24 hour on call Saint of the poor was concerned with loving Jesus in the poor, loving Jesus and serving Him alone.

"For me" the heart of the Gospel may be about the poor, but equally "for him" it may be about devotion to his marriage and his family, but whatever the 'heart of the Gospel' is for a man or woman, it would be surprising and worrying if Our Lord Jesus Christ was not absolutely at the heart of it because His Heart is meant to be everything to the Christian who is helpless without his Saviour. Our Lord's words on Marriage are quite clear and for one man this may well be at 'the heart of the Gospel'. For a contemplative lay man or woman, nun, monk, friar or priest, devotion to the Sacred Heart, to the Holy Eucharist, to Our Lady may be at the 'heart of the Gospel' or perhaps finding Jesus in living in community. To another, 'self denial' could well be at the 'heart of the Gospel' since Our Lord told His followers to 'deny yourself, take up your cross and follow me'. Are they not all right? As long as the focus is the Lord, they surely are.

"This is the banner of the Gospel, not of communism: of the Gospel! But it’s poverty without ideology…. And it’s for this reason that I believe that the poor are at the centre of Jesus’ message."

If we are not to fall into the trap of creating idols out of Faith, we have to immerse ourselves in the raw fact that without Jesus Christ, nothing we undertake for the good of humanity and its materially poor will be a success.  We could go further still and say that unless we are undertaking some good for Jesus Christ, seeking, if failing as we do, to fulfill the will of God, little we do for humanity will benefit mankind or profit ourselves. For this reason, I also find the following a little troubling...

“We’re all brothers and sisters. Believers, non-believers or whether belonging to this or that religious confession, Jews, Moslems… we’re all brothers and sisters! Human beings are at the centre of history and this for me is really important: humans are at the centre (of society). In this moment of history, humans have been pushed away from the centre, they have slid towards the margins and at the centre --- at least right now --- there’s power, money and we must work on behalf of human beings, for men and women who are the image of God.”

On the face of this statement there is nothing to trouble the Christian. Nobody can deny that we are all, indeed, 'brothers and sisters' created in the image of God and that in this moment of history, humans and our needs are being pushed to the margins by those who worship false idols of power and money, but has there been a moment in history when this has not been the case? We can acknowledge that things are 'really out of hand now' but is not the problem rather created by us because we human beings fail lamentably to put Jesus Christ and His Gospel at the centre of our lives, our families, our societies, our nations? Of course, to put Jesus Christ first and to proclaim Him and to build all our hopes, dreams and aspirations on a relationship with Him might not immediately go down well with Moslems and Jews (and Freemasons) but it would be 100% faithful to the Lord when anything else but fidelity to Christ will yield little in terms of freedom or a more just society. The great tyrant is sin. The great tyranny of sin is enthroned by moral relativism. Jesus Christ is the Liberator!

If the 20th century taught us Catholics one thing, it should surely be that we don't have anything better to offer the world than Jesus Christ. A part of that expression of love for the Lord may well be the relief of the poor, but it is surely important that we make plain that any mission for the poor is a mission firstly for the love of the Lord Jesus.

I've been reading a book on the KGB and British defectors who infiltrated MI5 but who were working for Moscow and it is clear that all of them thought they were doing a great service for humanity. None of them, of course, had much thought for the Lord Jesus Christ. They all believed we were 'brothers and sisters' or rather 'comrades' and all believed that to fulfill the ultimate destiny of the human race we must work against power, money (and the capitalist class system) and put human beings firmly at the centre of economic and political life. It did not work out well, but then, when you abandon God, our only Sovereign Good, what do we expect but misery?

If - and it is - for all of us Catholics, our sole mission was to love Jesus Christ and to fulfill God's will for our lives in matters both great and small and we strove with God's grace to be faithful to that mission, I suppose that not only would the poor be better loved, fed and cared for, but marriage and family life would be bliss, 'same-sex marriage' would be overturned by populations convinced by the truth of Jesus Christ, abortion, instead of the unborn, would be wiped out and sin - and all attraction to power, money and 'worldliness' - would dissipate because the Devil and the self would be the chief enemy of every Christian. Why are we not that? Why are we not Saints - the real and ultimate purpose for which we were created?

"Jesus repeats it so often: “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid!’ And he says it many times, doesn’t he? And why’s that? Because he knows that fear is a rather ‘normal’ feeling. We’re afraid of life, we’re afraid when faced with challenges, we’re afraid in front of God. We’re all afraid, all of us."

And with good reason. Why are we afraid? Because at the heart of the Gospel is our sin, our need and longing for Jesus Christ, our need for repentance and turning towards the Lord constantly! And if we are doing this, the poor will most certainly know it since they will be surely among the beneficiaries! Even politicians, when caught with their fingers in the till, if they embraced repentance, might resign!

“And I’m pleased because these young politicians, be they of the left or of the right, they’re speaking a new language, with a new music, a new political style."

I have placed my trust in neither princes nor politicians and, if ever it was, now is not a good time to do so. Once a politician, always a politician and no matter what language they're speaking, you can't really place your trust firmly in them. Today they tell you they've no plans to redefine marriage. Tomorrow, they redefine marriage. Today, they tell you there are 'no plans to introduce assisted suicide', tomorrow they offer a free vote on it because giving the State the right to kill its elderly, terminally ill and 'unproductive' is a 'matter of conscience'. Today they tell you they are fighting communism and terrorism, tomorrow they're funding terrorists, undermining the family and espousing militant atheism. I don't even trust Nigel Farage, for a 'new political style' has masked how many a tyrant?!

St Francis of Assisi taught us that there is something worse than poverty - lacking Jesus Christ!
St Francis taught us that there is something better than riches - Jesus Christ!
St Francis of Assisi taught us that there is something better than this life - possessing Jesus Christ in this life and for all eternity!

Too long, too long. I should give it up for Passiontide.

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Underwater Blessed Virgin

How wonderful that the deep sea divers respond to her discovery by kneeling...on the sea bed.

Apologies by anyone (else) who was taken in by the story that this was related to the search for the missing Flight 370. It appeared on my Facebook feed as such and I believed it. This video was made in 2013 and it is concerns the region of Bohol, where concerns about explosive mining (or something) led the Government to place a statue of the Blessed Virgin underwater in order to protect their fish from explosives (or something??!!)

I've had it with this story. You look it up!

Friday, 4 April 2014

New Pope Francis Interview Given to Belgian Youth

Courtesy of Vatican Radio

An interview showing Pope Francis answering questions from a group of Belgian young people has been broadcast on the nation’s public Flemish TV station, VRT. The young people, who were accompanied by Bishop Lucas Van Looy of Ghent, put their questions to the Pope in English and he replied in Italian. Their meeting was filmed on March 31st inside the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican.

Link to the original interview can be found here.

The group of Belgian young people included a non-believer who said she was inspired by the words of Pope Francis. When they began by asking the Pope why he accepted this interview, he replied that he considered it highly valuable to speak about the worries of the young. The Pope was then asked : “Are you happy? And why?”

“Absolutely, absolutely (laughing) I’m happy! And it’s a tranquil happiness because at this age one no longer has the same happiness of a young person, there’s a difference. There’s a certain interior peace, a strong sense of peace, of happiness, that comes with age. But it’s a road that has always had problems. Even now there are problems but this happiness doesn’t go away because of the problems. No, it sees the problems, suffers because of them and then goes forward, it does something to resolve them and goes ahead. But in the depth of my heart there is this peace and happiness. It’s truly a grace from God, for me. It’s a grace and it’s not through my own merit.”

The young people next asked the pope what was the reason for his great love for the poor. “Because it’s the heart of the Gospel,” he replied.

“For me, the heart of the Gospel is about the poor. Two months ago, I heard a person who said (on hearing this): ‘But this Pope is a communist!’ But no! This is the banner of the Gospel, not of communism: of the Gospel! But it’s poverty without ideology…. And it’s for this reason that I believe that the poor are at the centre of Jesus’ message. All you have to do is read it. The problem is that this attitude towards the poor has sometimes during history been made the subject of ideology.”

The girl among the group who is a non-believer asked Pope Francis what message he has for all young people:

“We’re all brothers and sisters. Believers, non-believers or whether belonging to this or that religious confession, Jews, Moslems… we’re all brothers and sisters! Human beings are at the centre of history and this for me is really important: humans are at the centre (of society). In this moment of history, humans have been pushed away from the centre, they have slid towards the margins and at the centre --- at least right now --- there’s power, money and we must work on behalf of human beings, for men and women who are the image of God.”

Today, the Pope went on, “we’ve become part of a throw-away culture”: Children are discarded, people don’t want children, or less of them, small families: Old people are also discarded: many elderly people die because of a hidden euthanasia, because nobody takes care of them and they die. And now young people are being discarded.” The Pope noted that the unemployment rate among people below the age of 25 is almost 50 percent but said his meetings with some young Argentine politicians gave him hope and trust.

“And I’m pleased because these young politicians, be they of the left or of the right, they’re speaking a new language, with a new music, a new political style. And this gives me reason to hope. And I believe that nowadays young people must take the lamp and go ahead. They must be courageous! This gives me hope.”

Asked about the search for God, the Pope replied:

“When a person searches for his or herself, they find God. Maybe, they don’t succeed in finding him but they are going along the path of honesty, searching for the truth, for a road of goodness and a road of beauty… they’re on the right road and it’s certain they’ll find God! Sooner or later, they will find him. But the road is a long one and some people don’t find him in their lives. They don’t find him consciously. But they are very true and honest with themselves, very good and lovers of beauty, so that in the end they have a very mature personality, capable of an encounter with God, which is always a grace. Because an encounter with God is a grace.”

A young man asked the Pope what he learnt from his own mistakes. The Pope replied describing mistakes as “great teachers of life”:

"They’re great teachers, they teach you so much. They also humiliate you because somebody may feel a superman, a superwomen … but then you make a mistake and this humiliates you and puts you in your place. I would not say that I have learnt from all my mistakes: No, I believe I haven’t learnt from some of them because I’m stubborn (laughing) and it’s not easy to learn. But I have learnt from many mistakes and that’s been good for me. It’s also a case of recognizing our mistakes. I make a mistake here, I made a mistake there…. And also being careful not to go back and make the same mistake."

A young women asked him: “Do you have a concrete example of how you learnt from a mistake?”

“One example, in the conducting of the Church’s life: I was named Superior (of the Jesuits in Argentina) when very young and I made so many mistakes because of my authoritarianism, for example. I was too authoritarian: at the age of 36… and then, I learnt that one must dialogue, one must listen to how others think…. But I didn’t learn this for ever after! It’s a long road.”

The next question for the Pope is straight to the point: “What frightens you?”

“Well, of myself (laughing) Fear…. But look in the Gospel, ‘Jesus repeats it so often: “Don’t be afraid! Don’t be afraid!’ And he says it many times, doesn’t he? And why’s that? Because he knows that fear is a rather ‘normal’ feeling. We’re afraid of life, we’re afraid when faced with challenges, we’re afraid in front of God. We’re all afraid, all of us. You mustn’t worry about being afraid. You must feel that but not be afraid and then ask yourselves: ‘Why am I afraid?’ And in front of God and in front of yourselves, try to shed light on the situation or ask help from another person. But fear is not a good advisor because it gives you bad advice.”

The pope then goes on to explain that there is “bad fear and good fear.” Good fear is like caution: It helps us not to fall down. And then there is bad fear: This blocks you and doesn’t let you do anything. And you must reject it.

The final question from the young people to the Pope was an unusual one: “Do you have a question for us?”

“The question that I want to ask you is not an original one. I’m taking it from the Gospel. Where is your treasure? That’s my question. Where do you keep your treasure? On what treasure does your heart rest? Because your life will be where your treasure is kept…. This is the question that I’m asking you but you’ll need to reply to it yourselves, on your own (laughing) at home.”


Thursday, 3 April 2014

The Outcast

The outcast: Bishop Egan of the Diocese of Portsmouth
Today's must read - and its a shocker that will render you speechless - is Protect the Pope's piece on the involvement of Mgr Marcus Stock, General Secretary to the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, in the letter signed by Greg Pope to Catholic parliamentary MPs in the wake of Bishop Egan's exemplary defence of the Blessed Sacrament.

Protect the Pope picked up the story from Life Site News's Hilary White that gave more details of the letter from Greg Pope reassuring Catholic MPs that there will be no official reproach and certainly no refusal of Holy Communion to those who have voted for, among other policies, 'same-sex marriage'.

According to the words of Pope Francis, it is those who are outcasts in society - those who are shunned, persecuted for the cause of right, who face the rejection experienced by Our Lord -who obtain Salvation, rather than the self-assured, those who want to just get along moving with the tide of society, who just wish to 'fit in' into a comfortable religiosity that has no convictions and ultimately, no true faith.

We can be assured then, that Bishop Egan has the support of Pope Francis for his bold, courageous and holy stand for truth, justice and above all, for his call to politicians to respect the Most Holy Sacrament by abstaining from Holy Communion until they come back into communion with Our Lord and the teaching of His Church.

“No prophet is accepted in his hometown”. It was a place where he never worked miracles because “they had no faith”. Jesus recalls two biblical episodes: the miracle of the healing of the leper Naaman, and the meeting of the prophet Elijah with the widow of Serapta who shared her last morsel of food and was saved from famine. “Lepers and widows – Pope Francis explained – in those days were the outcasts of society”. And yet, these two outcasts, welcomed the prophets and were saved, while the people of Nazareth did not accept Jesus because “they felt so strong in their faith”, so sure of their faithful observance of the Commandments, they felt they had no need for other salvation”.
“It is the tragedy of observing the Commandments without faith: ‘I save myself because I go to the Synagogue every Saturday, I try to obey the Commandments, I do not want to hear that the leper or the widow is better than me!’ They are outcasts! And Jesus tells us: ‘if you do not put yourself on the margins, if you don’t feel what it is to be an outcast, you will not obtain salvation’. This is humility, the path of humility: to feel so marginalized that we need the Salvation of the Lord. He alone saves us, not our observance of the law. And they did not like this; they were angry and wanted to kill him”.
- Pope Francis, 23 March 2014

Pray for Bishop Egan and pray for the turncoats, the cowards and the traitors that surround him. It must be a lonely job being a faithful Bishop who cares more for the Opinion of his Lord than the compromises and denials of the Faith that emanate from his spiritually worldly brothers who prefer the opinion of men. God help him and may God have mercy on those who have turned away from his bold stand for Jesus Christ.

Write to Bishop Egan and thank him. You may have other choice words for his brother Bishops. I am certain that Bishop Egan doesn't bear a grudge against them. I think His Lordship must have known that in stating the truth fearlessly and reading the riot act to British parliamentarians, that only those Bishops in Heaven, like his model, St John Fisher, would back him.

I suppose if you are going to stab a brother Bishop in the back and hang him out to dry, its best to do it with as much gracious 'collegiality' as possible. What does Cardinal Vincent Nichols and the majority of the Bishops Conference think Holy Communion is? Candy? Bread? Wine? Would they prefer the comforts of this world to the point of bringing God's wrath down from Heaven upon them and the unrepentant criminals in Parliament they seek to confirm in their sin?

What a way to be remembered in Church history. What a way to be remembered by those who are Faithful to Christ. What a way to gain the whole world and lose your immortal soul! And for what?! Westminster?!


Bishop Philip Egan
Bishop’s House, Bishop Crispian Way,
Portsmouth, UK
Phone: (44) (0) 23 9282 0894

Cardinal Vincent Nichols, president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales
Archbishop’s House
Ambrosden Ave.
London, UK
Phone: (44) (0) 020 7798 9033

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Papal Examination of Conscience

 Controversial idea, I know, but...

Have I appointed someone who has deliberately suppressed a religious order that was once thriving due to its traditional charism?

Have I ignored pleas from the Faithful for justice to be done to religious communities persecuted by those who I have appointed?

Have I given scandal to any of the Faithful by not preparing homilies, speeches, or being careful with my words in interviews? Has confusion resulted?

Have I defended the Deposit of Faith vigorously, guarding it, as it were, with my very life?
Do I make it appear that there exists a section of the Church which, for little justifiable reason, I loathe?
Do I insult sections of the Church who are my sons and daughters in Christ?  Do I temper justice with mercy in their regard?
Do I care for souls in my care or am I emphasise too much, concern for the temporal? Do I care for the temporal needs of those in my care, or emphasise only the spiritual?
Do I act in accordance and in obedience to the Church's law or do I simply make it up as I go along, especially if there is some secular public recognition and consternation among a section of the Faithful to be gained from it?
Have I, through careless word, or through misguided action or omission, given encouragement to heretics, schismatics and to enemies of the Bride of Christ in my temporary care?
Do I take care to make known to all the Faithful my fatherly care and love for all of them?
Have I acted with double standards towards Bishops who spend a lot of money on their residences, churches or sites used for ecclesiastical duties?
Am I at times authoritarian or do I try to 'micromanage' situations?
Do I make it appear at times as if Christ's Truth is up for negotiation, or to be tailored, refashioned or suppressed, according to the particular age in which we live?
Do I do things to be seen by others, like unparalleled baby-kissing, abandoning the venerable customs of my predecessors, photo-opportunities, "selfies", embracing the disfigured, or going to Confession spontaneously to a surprised priest where there just happens to be a cameraman in position?
Have I promoted indifferentism at times? Am I careful to denounce Freemasonry and the evils it promulgates and brings into the Church when membership of it is embraced by Catholics of rank both high and low?
Have I, at times, considered the Catholic Church to be my personal possession, instead of that of Jesus Christ, or do I consider myself to be more master of it than the custodian and steward that I am?
Do I draw upon the wisdom of Fathers, Saints, Doctors of the Church and my venerable and saintly predecessors in my theology, homilies and pastoral catechesis, or do I show an unrestrained preference my own novel ideas
Do I give the impression through word, action, or omission that repentance is not necessary for Salvation?
When I go to Confession, do I make a humble examination of conscience first, imploring the help of the Holy Spirit to enlighten and teach me an understanding and recognition of my sins?

Feel free to add more.

Pope Francis on the Sacrament of Marriage

In the UK and Europe, 'same-sex marriage' dominates public debate - a debate that it is unlikely will be ended by statutory law. In the Church, debate - which used to be recognised as dissent - is ongoing. Surprisingly, and worryingly, there continues a debate within the Church on divorce, remarriage and Holy Communion and all under the watchful eyes of Pope Francis.

Yesterday, I did actually feel quite convicted of sin by our Holy Father, as His Holiness lambasted 'anesthetised Christians', 'sad Christians' and 'Chrisitan hypocrites' for not sharing the joy of the Gospel with others and for giving into a kind of 'formalism'. It's a fascinating, if at times little incoherent homily that at first had me scratching my head, but later on I realised that 'formalism' is something that indeed can stifle the spiritual life and guilty I stand. Given that the language was quite vitriolic, naturally I realised that yesterday's homily was also a goldmine for the growing Pope Francis Little Book of Insults. If there is anyone out there who wants to translate these nuggets into Latin, give me an email.

Today, however, His Holiness has had some quite beautiful things to say about the Sacrament of Marriage and the Blessed Trinity

“When a man and a woman celebrate the sacrament of marriage, God, so to speak, is ‘mirrored’ in them, He marks them with His features and the indelible character of His love.”

Even God “is a communion of the three persons of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who live forever and are forever in perfect unity. And this is the mystery of marriage: God makes one existence of the two spouses — the Bible says ‘one flesh’ — in the image of His love, in a communion which draws its origin and its strength from God.”
'The real ‘wedding gift’ is this: Your marriage is a reflection of the Holy Trinity'
The Pope then asked those husbands and wives present if they are aware of this “great gift” that the Lord has given them: “The real ‘wedding gift’ is this: Your marriage is a reflection of the Holy Trinity, and with the grace of Christ, you are a living and credible icon God and His love.”

“The plan that is inherent in the Sacrament of Marriage is truly wonderful! It takes place in the simplicity and also the fragility of the human condition. We know the many trials and difficulties that the lives of a married couple encounter... The important thing is to keep alive the link with God, which is the basis of the marital bond.”

Joking, the Pope added: “You don’t need to call the United Nations to your home to make peace: a small gesture is enough, a caress, and tomorrow is a new day.”

Beautiful words, I think. I wouldn't call the UN to solve any crisis, personally, but I thought it worthwhile posting up some positive papal teaching rather than dwelling too much on the invective of the past day or two. It's important, in my opinion, for the Pope to offer positives as well as negatives in teaching the Faith. I must say though, that with all the same-sex marriage going on in Europe, the US and now the UK, Rome has been eerily quiet on the subject. The vast majority of English Bishops are silent on the matter of the most breathtaking power grab in living memory by the UK Government over the institution of marriage. Perhaps one day, someone in Rome and another senior prelate in England will take the Church off the anesthetic and speak out against the law. It can't be all left down to Bishop Egan, a few priests, a few religious, and a few laity.


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