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Tuesday 31 December 2013

Stay for The Priests for Life

Beautiful Pastoral Letter from Bishop Kieran

Pastoral Letter, Feast of the Holy Family, 2013

Dear Brothers and Sisters of Arundel & Brighton,
About a month before Christmas, one of the weekend papers must have asked the question, “What do we call the period between Christmas and New Year?” and fortunately the answer was given in a letter the following week: we call it Christmas. We are still celebrating it.
Christmas is a good example of how our own experiences, even our religious experiences, can be shaped and formed by the society we live in and the culture that surrounds us. We need to be attentive to what is being done to us, especially when we think that we’re not being influenced by it, and that we are immune to the effects of advertising and other things aimed at changing the way we think and behave.
Most families are probably still glancing -a bit more nervously now - at the remains of a turkey, a turkey that turned out to be just a bit bigger than was needed, just like last year. There are probably presents around somewhere that haven’t been looked at again since last Wednesday, and may never be looked at again. But we allow ourselves this extravagance because we are told, in another context that “We’re worth it.” And of course Christmas is ‘all about the children’ and you can’t do too much for them.
Christmas is not all about children, and you can easily do too much for them. Christmas is first of all about God, and ourselves and God. It is about what God wants for us and what God can quite reasonably expect of us, given all the he has done for us.
Putting children at the heart of Christmas automatically pushes the focus of the celebration onto families, and this is a very narrow focus. What about the other end of the spectrum of life, an older generation who very often are made to feel part of family celebrations, but not always, because they’re difficult and they’ll spoil things? What about people who do not have families and may be spending these days alone? Is Christmas not about them too? In fact, is it not possibly more about them, and including them?
Our own western society has a very limited image of family. It tends to present it as just two generations and in terms of parents and the number of children they have. If someone were to ask you, “How many are in your family?” would you think to include grandparents, cousins, aunts and uncles? They are actually family, and if you do what they call a ‘family tree’ you can see this quite clearly.
Today the Church asks us to look again at a wider family, a much more inclusive family. The second reading, from St Paul’s letter to the Colossians, does talk explicitly about family, urging wives to be submissive and husbands to be gentle with them, in language that would get him a queue at the door after Mass today. But before that, he talks in much more general terms, asking us to examine our relations with all people. He asks us to be clothed or covered with compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience, and in the same way as our ordinary clothes say so much about us, so should these things. People should be able to see straightaway our compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience. These are the things that are drawing thousands and thousands to St Peter’s Square every week to welcome Pope Francis, a man wearing these qualities, his ‘heart on his sleeve’ and offering a very clear example of what the follower of Christ should look like. I was in one of our schools just before Christmas, for a day of reconciliation, when about one in five of the Catholic students went to confession. One girl came to me and said she wanted to come to me in particular: I didn’t know her and asked why, and she said, “Because you’ve met the pope.”
Paul goes on to say, “Teach each other, and advise each other, in all wisdom.”
This doesn’t mean lecture or correct, it means modelling behaviour that builds up and strengthens the bonds within our Christian family, and then finally outside our Christian family. This will only be done through compassion, kindness and humility, gentleness and patience.
I hope that the last few weeks have not been too much of a strain and worry for you, above all if you are on a low income. At this time we have to be particularly conscious of those who feel the same pressure to provide the whole Christmas package for their children, but who simply cannot afford it and may have slid into or gone further into debt.
I hope, too, that the year ahead is kind to you, and it will be all the kinder if we are kinder to one another.
This is perhaps the only opportunity I have to thank all those who very kindly sent me a card for Christmas; your kindness and gentleness gave me real support and strength. Thank you.
With all good wishes for a happy and peaceful 2014, and my prayers for you all.
+ Kieran

Big Brother on The Borders

Malta in Tears

And hope from the Pope...pray, please.

I love this country and the people there, but like Ireland, it is no longer Catholic and no longer a democracy.

Read the entire article-I am in grief as I am surrounded by Obama Cs.....

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz of Louisville, Ky., the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, issued his letter to President Obama, requesting "temporary" relief from the massive penalties that will be imposed on Catholic non-profits that refuse to comply with the mandate. 
Here is Archbishop Kurtz's letter:
Dear Mr. President:
On behalf of the Catholic bishops of the United States, I wish you and your family every blessing in this New Year.  The bishops pray regularly that you and our other public officials will have renewed strength to fulfill the duties of your office with integrity, justice and compassion. 
In this regard, your Administration recently relaxed the rules governing individual health plans under the Affordable Care Act, so Americans whose current plans have been canceled may claim a “hardship exemption” from some requirements.  This is the latest in a series of actions to advance the ACA’s goal of maximizing health coverage, while minimizing hardships to Americans as the Act is implemented.  For example, the ACA exempts small employers from the mandate to offer health coverage, and you have suspended this mandate for all employers through 2014. 
One category of Americans, however, has been left out in the cold: Those who, due to moral and religious conviction, cannot in good conscience comply with the HHS regulation requiring coverage of sterilization and contraceptives. This mandate includes drugs and devices that can interfere with the survival of a human being in the earliest stage of development, burdening religious convictions on abortion as well as contraception. To date, at least 90 lawsuits representing almost 300 plaintiffs have been filed to challenge this mandate, and the Supreme Court has agreed to hear two of these cases in its current Term. Most lower courts addressing the issue have found merit in the plaintiffs’ claims and granted at least temporary relief, while some courts have denied relief or have yet to act

Read more:

And I wrote this below on the Guild blog re: ssm but the persecution is the same and will be-fines for being Catholic.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

A Time-Machine Back to 1581: the Death of an Enlightenment Democratic Monarchy

In this day and age of relativism, camps of opinion arise like midges on a hike in Alaska. One brushes away 
one set of  "arguments", only to find dozens flying into one's face. The media frenzy over the events 
f the past three weeks is not going to subside. On the contrary, we Catholics are entering into a 
new era of Church-bashing which will not go away.

The days of toleration for differing religious opinions, or at least, Catholic teaching, is over.

I watched two days of the Parliament hearings of witnesses regarding the civil union or rather 
same-sex-marriage act. I usually do not watch television, but I was visiting a friend who wanted 
to watch this swarm of opinions based on sola fide, sola scriptura; each man and woman on the panel
 proved to be his or her own pope.

The Church of England witnesses, as they were called, had eloquent and keen questions and answers.
 So did Archbishop Peter Smith and his legal team. I was impressed by the firm and clear positions 
given by these two groups.

Not so other groups, like the Church of Wales representatives, who waffled.

What did astound me was the out and out rudeness of some of the questioners, all of them MPs, 
not to be named here. One can look at my blog for names. I merely want to point out the lack of respect towards those representatives of organized religion. At several places in the presentation of answers by 
Archbishop Peter Smith, some members laughed out loud in derision for the Catholic position on 
marriage, pre-marital sex, and our anti-contraception, anti-abortion positions.

What came to my mind was that I could have been in a time-machine, taken back to the i
nterrogations of Edmund Campion, Ralph Sherwin, or Robert Southwell et al.

The entire meeting of this Parliament panel on both days was a sham. The smug hypocritical statements 
of the members of Parliament shone out like words of old transcripts in a history of Recusant trials.

Parliament determines moral and religious policy in Britain, not the churches.

Parliament in 2013 mirrors Parliament in 1581, or 1585 or 1681, this last the year of the martyrdom
of St. Oliver Plunkett. I have seen his head in St. Peter's Church, Drogheda. His face is peaceful, but reveals pain.

We honour martyrs in the Catholic Church almost daily. We of this Guild honour Titus Brandsma, 
who was martyred and is a Blessed. But, do we really want martyrs in 2013? Do we feel uncomfortable 
watching Peter Smith being derided? Do we want our leaders to stand firm on the ancient 
eachings of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church?

I hope we feel proud and strengthened by the witness of Truth.

I hope we stand with our leaders.

I hope we can see clearly that the actions of Parliament will lead to the type of society created under 
Henry VIII and Elizabeth I, where those who kept the Faith were fined, suffered financial loss, ruin, 
disgrace, if not martyrdom. Catholics will not be able to be registrars or superintendents of registrars. 
Catholics may not be able to be teachers in some schools. The Catholic priests may be in a position 
of disobedience to certain laws after judicial decisions.

Parliament acts just as it has since the Protestant Revolt. Parliament was given powers over the 
private consciences of the people of Britain and it will take those powers and use those again and 
again and again. Five hundred years of practice makes this pattern of oppression all too easy. There are precedences. 

We are witnessing the death of the modern Enlightenment democracy as a philosophy of governance
We are witnessing the sliding back to a time when religions were not allowed to stand in the marketplace 
and speak Truth.
The powers that be have not changed their philosophies. They have renewed an older pattern of intolerance 
which is wedded to the very power of Parliament.

The Catholic Church has not changed Her Truths, Revelation and Tradition.

We are, again, Non-Conformists, and as in the past, consequences will follow strongly held beliefs.

I hope those who belong to the Guild of the martyr Titus Brandsma know how to stand firm in the storms 
that will blow across Great Britain. We have an excellent example. Brandsma upheld the bishops' decisions 
and the clarity of teaching that Catholicism and Nazism clashed. Catholicism will always clash with falsehood.

As Catholic journalists, we of this Guild can follow our patron to whatever consequences may follow.

I, for one, will write as long as I can for Christ and His Church.

The Feast of The Theotokos

My favorite Marian Feast is tomorrow-the Feast of the Mother of God, the Theotokos, the God-Bearer.

Here is a troparion from the Byzantine tradition.

It is truly meet to bless thee, O Theotokos,
ever blessed, and most pure, and the Mother of our God:
more honorable than the cherubim, and more glorious beyond compare than the seraphim.
Without corruption thou gavest birth to God, the Word.
True Theotokos, we magnify thee.

And the icon is of Our Lady of Sitka, Alaska.

Maybe we have six years here

The Death of The West Revisited

I hope you are shocked this happened in Italy.

Highlighting another blogger today

Queen Mary of England

And Christians Voted for This Man Twice

Exodus 20

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
20 And the Lord spoke all these words:
I am the Lord thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.
Thou shalt not have strange gods before me.
Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth.
Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me:
And shewing mercy unto thousands to them that love me, and keep my commandments.
Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain: for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that shall take the name of the Lord his God in vain.
Remember that thou keep holy the sabbath day.
Six days shalt thou labour, and shalt do all thy works.
10 But on the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: thou shalt do no work on it, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy beast, nor the stranger that is within thy gates.
11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them, and rested on the seventh day: therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it.
12 Honour thy father and thy mother, that thou mayest be longlived upon the land which the Lord thy God will give thee.
13 Thou shalt not kill.
14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
15 Thou shalt not steal.
16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's house: neither shalt thou desire his wife, nor his servant, nor his handmaid, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is his.
18 And all the people saw the voices and the flames, and the sound of the trumpet, and the mount smoking: and being terrified and struck with fear, they stood afar off,
19 Saying to Moses: Speak thou to us, and we will hear: let not the Lord speak to us, lest we die.
20 And Moses said to the people: Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that the dread of him might be in you, and you should not sin.

Persecution Watch Again....and again...and again

Two Prayer Requests

Today, I was talking to a man who said to me that because Jesus lived a long time ago and because he, this man, had never seen anybody raised from the dead, or had never seen a miracle, he could not believe.

This man told me he had to see to believe. I could not convince him of any of the truths of the Catholic Church, because he wanted to see God. He does not read religious books. Sadly, he use to read the Scriptures, but no longer does so.

I can only pray for him. I pray that God gives him the gift of Faith.

Will you join me in prayer for this man, who is a lapsed Catholic, and has been for 44 years? Please join me in asking God to take away all the barriers which stop the growth of the gift of Faith given to this man 64 years ago in baptism.

I want you to get down on your knees today, at this year's end, and thank God for all the gifts He has given to you, most especially the gift of Faith.

Without faith, you would not be believing in the Resurrection without seeing Christ raised from the dead.

Without faith, you would not believe in the Presence of God in the Eucharist.

Without faith, you would not read books, say prayers, listen to those who teach the Truths of the Church.

Do not take for granted this wonderful gift.

And, most importantly, choose one person tonight, and for this year, to pray for, requesting that this person be given the gift of Faith.


Hebrews 11:1

Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition (DRA)
Now faith is the substance of things to be hoped for, the evidence of things that appear not.

Pray A Decade And Listen to This

Say the decade for the priest giving the talk, Fr. Chad Ripperger.

A Superstition Proved False

There is a saying among some Irish Americans that where one is on New Year's Eve, one will be in the next year all year.


This is absolutely not true in my life.

I am not an Irish American, so maybe such things only work for them.

The Czechs and Luxembourgians do not seem to have superstitions, at least in my family.

Happy New Year!

This is so cool....

Why are liberals so touchy?

I accidentally used the term "Obamacare" in a conversation with a Catholic and WWIII almost happened. Wow! I was told that was a totally pejorative term, not to be used by loyal supporters of POTUS. I was told I was a Republican, which I am not, (an Independent, of course), and I was accused of not caring about the poor, which is a joke, of course, as I am extremely poor.

Liberals react to words instead of waiting and discussing why a word may be perjorative. Can we not enter into discussions without this instant heat of offense being taken, which ends all chances of objective, rational discussion.

The conversation ended with the person walking away saying that other good presidents, such as FDR, was not liked, either. We were not discussing presidents, we were discussing the ACA.

I did not start the conversation, btw. I would loved to have heard this person's opinion of the Duck Dynasty furor, but I guess that will have to wait.

And Anita is on a roll this week.....

Anita Moore has left a new comment on your post "Why are liberals so touchy?": 

...sigh, people around here have an Obama chip on their shoulders.

I thought that was an Iowa thing. At least, that's what it says in The Music Man!

Oh, there's nothing halfway about the Iowa way to treat you, if we treat you, which we may not do at all!

There's an Iowa kind of special chip-on-the-shoulder attitude we've never been without that we recall!

A Tragic Divide

After finishing Martin's book Will Many Be Saved?, I had a brief discussion with two people on inculpable ignorance. Of course, there is a difference between those who have never heard the Gospel and those who have and rejected it.

The tragic difference may be objectively defined in four areas of belief and unbelief.

The first are those who have never heard the Gospel. I met young people from the old Soviet Union who had never seen Bible or heard of Jesus Christ. They are among those who were not responsible for ignorance, and, therefore, not culpable. I met these youth in the 1990s.

Martin refers to an author who thinks there are lights given to each human to choose for or against God. However, there is, according to some, the moment when a young person chooses the route of the moral life, and persists in that road. creating a "primary orientation to his moral life."  Of course, grace is offered over and over by God.

However, modern technology and the high media coverage of Catholicism has ended that, even in the old Soviet areas.

Secondly, those who have access to information and have heard about Christ and His Church, and for whatever reason turn away from this knowledge, or do not respond because of sloth or other sins, are culpable.  God keeps calling these people over and over, until God lets them go on their own way via their own free will. Tragically, many people in our Western World fall into the category of the "practical atheists", those who do not believe that their actions determine eternal life.

Thirdly, there are those who choose evil, who choose to not follow God's ways on purpose, knowing exactly what they do. These are the Satanists, the witches, Masons and so on. Most of them know what they are doing for power, for status, for prosperity.

The fourth group is the one which many people refuse to consider as culpable-the lapsed Catholics.

The way God sees lapsed Catholics is entirely different from the way He sees those in the other three groups.

The baptized Catholic who has fallen away is under Canon Law-the others are not.
The baptized Catholic who has fallen away is judged by a higher standard than those who have never been given grace. The rules for marriage for lapsed Catholics are different from those who have never been Catholic, which many people do not understand. The real tragedy of the lapsed Catholic is that those who have fallen away have traded the most precious gift they ever had, faith in the Catholic Church, for what?

This last group is the hardest to bring back "home". I know from personal experience that the lapsed Catholic is sometimes the person most against the Catholic Church.

The new evangelization demands that we understand the differences in those who have never heard the Gospel, to those who ignore the Gospel, to those who hate the Gospel and to those who had the truth but gave it up.

Pray that you can understand to whom you are speaking and their real needs. And, pray for those who refuse graces, which God gives over and over and over, until He decides to let a person go their own way.

He respects and loves us too much to force us or manipulate us to love Him.

Here is a good article which should give us all hope.