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Wednesday 30 April 2014

What a Cool Cardinal.

Is Britain Christian?

Vatican City,  (

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Lord Williams, who retired from leader of the Church of England in 2012, told the Telegraph that widespread worship in Britain was a thing of the past and the UK no longer was a nation of believers. His statements soon were countered by Prime Minister David Cameron, asserting Britain as a “Christian country.”
Earlier this month in article for the Church Times, Cameron said Christians should be more evangelical about Christians making a difference in others’ lives.
Disagreeing with Cameron, 50 public figures wrote a letter asserting the UK was "non-religious" and a "plural" society. They said asserting otherwise would cause "division" and "alienation."
Lord Williams clarified that even if the UK is "post-Christian" that does not mean it’s "non-Christian," as the UK’s "cultural memory is still quite strongly Christian."
The former Anglican leader further explained it’s "post-Christian," in the sense that most of the population are not practicing Christians.
Clarifying what is meant by a "Christian nation," he said such a nation "can sound like a nation of committed believers." He continued, “we are not that, ” but added, "equally, we are not a nation of dedicated secularists."
He said it comes down to defining terms:  "A Christian country as a nation of believers? No." However, if you consider a Christian country to be one “in the sense of still being very much saturated by this vision of the world and shaped by it?” He said, “Yes."
Reverend Justin Welby, current archbishop of Canterbury, has supported the prime minister's view of the UK as a Christian country and has written that it’s a "historical fact (perhaps unwelcome to some, but true)" that British culture, law, and ethics were founded on Christian teachings and traditions. (D.C.L.)

License to Kill? Persecution Watch in Britain

They class Roman Catholics and others motivated by pro-life beliefs as “ineligible” for important qualifications provided by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) even if they complete the training programme.
It led to accusations that the Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare, a branch of the RCOG, is unfairly discriminating against medical staff who act on grounds of conscience.

My phrase of the day

If you have a choice between dealing or living with either barbarians or civilized men, choose the civilized.

Law and Marriage

Interesting, but the good canon lawyer left out one huge possibility; that the marriage was never consummated and was never intended to be.

Many of us thought that Jackie wanted privacy and protection. Ari gave this to her in exchange for a "trophy wife" but, perhaps, not a wife.

Just a possibility which would change the entire argument....

Comment on The Deacon

I have supported Deacon Donnelly and his blog for a long time. I, therefore, would like to make some statements from this blog, as there are many people hurt and angry by the recent decision in his diocese.

First of all, the Deacon is not a lay person, he is a clergyman. His main role is not journalism, but administering certain sacraments, helping the priests and bishops, and organizing charitable works. Those are the main duties of any deacon in the Catholic Church.

Second of all, the Deacon is under obedience to his bishop in a manner which does not apply to us lay people. We are free of the hierarchical restrictions, right or wrong, of the Church. Even St. Nicholas spent a few days in prison unjustly, but he obediently waited for God's intervention. Obedience is a higher virtue than preaching. There is no merit in obeying some authority with whom one agrees.

Third, I was uncomfortable with both the censure and with the carrying on of the blog. Any bishop has a right to intervene in clergy activities. Now, if the bishop is in error, a lay person may disagree and carry on, but not the clergyman involved, which means that I considered the carrying on of the blog by others as not in the spirit of obedience. If I were a deacon's wife, I would not have continued the blog. Personal holiness and the holiness of relationship are more important than journalism.

Fourth, blogging is not the main way of spreading the Gospel. We do this in our daily lives, in our parishes, in our homes. The role of the blogger is like that of the journalist. To me, this is primarily the role of the laity, not the clergy. Journalism becomes political, and the clergy are not to be involved in politics, unless that is the charism of a particular order, such as Priests for Life. Blogging is important, otherwise I would not do it, but canonically, I do not have the same relationship with any bishop that a deacon would have. Deacon Donnelly has many ways of serving God and the Church besides blogging. A lay person may easily pick up his blog and do it under a different name, but doing the same good work.  There are many talented and bright lay people in England who could do the same thing as the Deacon was doing. Just do it.

Fifth, pray for the bishop. Hatred and rancor do not convert hearts and minds. Love and forgiveness do.

Lastly, unless you are living in the Deacons' diocese, this is not your immediate fight. We must work on our own turf. Those who are in the same diocese as the Deacon may respond to their bishop respectfully on this. However, if those who want to support him can do so properly and with respect, indeed, write to the bishop. Again, the Deacon was ordained for a specific diocese, not for the universal Church. The universal Church is our backyard as laity secondarily, not primarily and the same is even more true for a deacon or priest who has been ordained in and for a diocese. There are some clergy exceptions to this, but those exceptions must have the backing of their bishop. Notice that Michael Voris was obedient even though he did not have to respond is such a way but dropping the name Catholic from his TV network. I realize he did not own the name, and worked for another media group, but change he did.

There are other virtues to develop other than writing and journalism skills. Maybe God is calling the Deacon to a higher holiness through this unfortunate situation. We should pray for all involved.

I shall miss the blog, but I am sure a good lay person can do the same service to the Church in Great Britain.

Another Homerun by Fr. Ripperger

Say a decade for him each time you listen to one of his talks.

On Holiness in Youth

Many years ago, I was appointed to be on a pastoral team for seminarians in a seminary. I objected, but it was part of my job description as a professor, so I could not refuse, but I took a rather passive stance.

...that was until I realized the nonsense which was being shared at the meetings made up of priests who were in seminary formation.  Two amazingly bad ideas were held by the majority of the formators. The first was that seminarians did not have to aspire to holiness.

I was floored. The goal of a seminary is not merely the stuffing of knowledge into men who are going to be priests, but the formation of a man who will be a holy priest. The idea that seminarians could just be 'one of the boys", or take time to decide to embrace the path of holiness, amazed me. Now, there were structures set up in the seminary to allow for personal growth in holiness, such as private prayer time, the saying of the Divine Office, daily Mass and spiritual direction. But, the attitude among the priests in my group revealed a lack of faith that young people could be holy.

The second scary ideal of some of the priest formators centered on the fact that they saw seminary training as a time of discernment primarily. Again, this meant that these priests were not choosing young men who wanted to be priests, but those who thought that "maybe" they wanted to be priests. The attrition rate at this seminary in some years was fifty percent, which is a horrible statistic. (And, what a waste of money for the dioceses, some of which did not demand that the men who left had to pay back the tuition, room and board.)

Now, a young man does not need four years or six years to decide on a vocation. If it takes this long, there is a problem with both the discernment of the youth and the team which is supposed to be guiding him.

Let me make an analogy. Should a couple be engaged four to six years?  Of course not. In fact, the best marriages about which I have close knowledge are made up of couples who were engaged for a short time, such as three months.

The entire problem with these formation errors is a lack of faith in personal holiness. What does that tell one of the formators?

St. Therese of Lisieux was in formation. She was a novice mistress. She was "into" forming saints.

Seminaries should make it a priority to form saints.

Immediate Pray Request

Would someone please go to a shrine of St. Therese today and pray for a very important and immediate need for prayer? This is for a friend of mine's son-in-law.

Thank you.

UPDATE: prayer answered. Thanks, readers!

St. Therese on Purification

Ah! since that day love penetrates me and surrounds me; this Merciful Love each moment renews and purifies me, leaving in my heart no trace of sin. No, I cannot fear Purgatory; I know that I do not merit even to enter with the Holy Souls into that place of expiation, but I know too that the fire of Love is more sanctifying than the fire of Purgatory, I know that Jesus cannot will needless suffering for us, and that He would not inspire me with the desires I feel if He were unwilling to fulfill them.

Story of A Soul, Chapter 8

SS. Peter and John-The Call to Perfection

I have been reading and studying the epistles of SS. Peter and John today. They have written many of the same thoughts, in patterns which I have not seen before. In my degree, I, of course, took a Johannine class, but what was missing were the overlaps with Peter and Paul.

All these apostles write of perfection and purification, and in the epistles of Peter and Paul, one sees clearly that many of those reading or hearing these letters were already purified and living in a high state of perfection.

Some sections on this point follow from 1 John and other passages. All DR.

Behold what manner of charity the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called, and should be the sons of God. Therefore the world knoweth not us, because it knew not him.
Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God; and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when he shall appear, we shall be like to him: because we shall see him as he is.
And every one that hath this hope in him, sanctifieth himself, as he also is holy.
Whosoever committeth sin committeth also iniquity; and sin is iniquity.
And you know that he appeared to take away our sins, and in him there is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in him, sinneth not; and whosoever sinneth, hath not seen him, nor known him.
Little children, let no man deceive you. He that doth justice is just, even as he is just.
He that committeth sin is of the devil: for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose, the Son of God appeared, that he might destroy the works of the devil.
Whosoever is born of God, committeth not sin: for his seed abideth in him, and he can not sin, because he is born of God.
10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil. Whosoever is not just, is not of God, nor he that loveth not his brother.
11 For this is the declaration, which you have heard from the beginning, that you should love one another.

This is the expectation of SS. John and Peter, as I shall quote later, that the committed Catholic will move away from sin entirely, in the Illuminative and finally, the Unitive States.
Here is John again, describing the purgation and perfection of himself and his people. I John 4.

12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abideth in us, and his charity is perfected in us.
13 In this we know that we abide in him, and he in us: because he hath given us of his spirit.
14 And we have seen, and do testify, that the Father hath sent his Son to be the Saviour of the world.
15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God abideth in him, and he in God.
16 And we have known, and have believed the charity, which God hath to us. God is charity: and he that abideth in charity, abideth in God, and God in him.
17 In this is the charity of God perfected with us, that we may have confidence in the day of judgment: because as he is, we also are in this world.
18 Fear is not in charity: but perfect charity casteth out fear, because fear hath pain. And he that feareth, is not perfected in .charity.
19 Let us therefore love God, because God first hath loved us.
Here is St. Peter calling for purification. I Peter I

11 Searching what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ in them did signify: when it foretold those sufferings that are in Christ, and the glories that should follow:
12 To whom it was revealed, that not to themselves, but to you they ministered those things which are now declared to you by them that have preached the gospel to you, the Holy Ghost being sent down from heaven, on whom the angels desire to look.
13 Wherefore having the loins of your mind girt up, being sober, trust perfectly in the grace which is offered you in the revelation of Jesus Christ,
14 As children of obedience, not fashioned according to the former desires of your ignorance:
15 But according to him that hath called you, who is holy, be you also in all manner of conversation holy:
16 Because it is written: You shall be holy, for I am holy.
17 And if you invoke as Father him who, without respect of persons, judgeth according to every one's work: converse in fear during the time of your sojourning here.
18 Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as gold or silver, from your vain conversation of the tradition of your fathers:
19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb unspotted and undefiled,
20 Foreknown indeed before the foundation of the world, but manifested in the last times for you,
21 Who through him are faithful in God, who raised him up from the dead, and hath given him glory, that your faith and hope might be in God.
22 Purifying your souls in the obedience of charity, with a brotherly love, from a sincere heart love one another earnestly:
23 Being born again not of corruptible seed, but incorruptible, by the word of God who liveth and remaineth for ever.
and from I Peter 5:
10 But the God of all grace, who hath called us into his eternal glory in Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a little, will himself perfect you, and confirm you, and establish you.

Wanting to go into a cave

Not really, but I have been fighting with the Net all day and now in the evening.

I cannot believe this bad service.

Well, I can watch the Black Angus cattle in the next field, or the Killdeer racing around the yard, or look at the almost budding trees from my window.

Also, I was travelling today and as soon as I got back to Iowa, into the country, I was hit with an asthma flare.


I shall not list all the injuries I have suffered in the past week, but, like some other prayer warriors I know in Illinois, I have been subjected to Malice.

This is real, folks, so get ready. Many of us are wearing the wounds of war now. If you are not, ask yourself why.

From St. Therese, the Little Flower:

To offer oneself as a victim to Divine Love is not to offer oneself to sweetness - to consolation; but to every anguish, every bitterness, for Love lives only by sacrifice; and the more a soul wills to be surrendered to Love, the more must she be surrendered to suffering.

To Genty and Others

I do not have access to your emails unless you send them to me in a comment. I do not have to post the comments with emails. I cannot read your emails on your subscriptions. If you want to talk to me via email, please send me yours.

Thanks so much.


Love Is What Gets Us to Heaven

Can we remind each other of the great love passage, which is read at so many marriages?

If one is not living in these virtues, one must ask one’s self why.

These virtues have been given to all baptized Christians and nurtured in the sacraments of the Catholic Church.

“Love is patient and kind; love is not jealous or boastful; it is not arrogant or rude. Love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices in the right. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.” I Corinthians 13:4-7 RSV

This passage could be a weekly examination of conscience for one.

The opposites of the list of virtues are all sins: let me rewrite the passage.

“Unlove is impatient and harsh; unlove is jealous and boastful; unlove is arrogant and rude. Unlove insists on its own way; unlove is irritable and resentful; unlove takes joy in wrong and does not rejoice in right; Unlove walks away from suffering, doubts all things, despairs of all things, and gives up.”

One must love in order to join Christ and His saints in heaven. 

“Make love your aim…” I Cor. 14:1

The Land of Shadow Life

I have met five people in the States who are the walking dead. These five people have experienced no or little happiness in their lives. I do not know all the details of their lives, but they are baby-boomers and Gen-Xers who have never found joy.

I have thought about their deep, deep unhappiness and how they have dealt with years of living in shadows. Three of them do not go to any church and two do. The common denominator of all five is that they have not experienced God’s love in their lives.

They have been married and divorced, in one case, married and still married, in two cases and the other three are single and always have been. The sadness they carry around in their souls may be temporarily hidden by activity, a sense of humor, or even religiosity. But, none of them can hide the fact that they are deeply unhappy.

I have tried to be friends with these sad souls, but they do not like being around peaceful people. Almost as if they have to hide in a crowd of like-minded people, they choose friends, and even spouses, who have lived in the shadow worlds with them.

The shadows of their lives have been created by a light far away from their consciousness, a light which seem impossible for them to grasp. A few of the five do not believe in the source of the light, hating themselves and others, seeing all others as deceitful, falling into a great cynicism.

Some do not think the light is accessible because they have chosen to take the sufferings of the world on their backs, not realizing that God has already saved all mankind, through the redemptive act on the cross of Jesus Christ. These have not accepted the grace of salvation and believe they must save themselves and others.

As I stand on the edge of their shadow lands and look in, I wonder why they choose the darkness over and over again. Why do they not want the light of life to pierce through their darkness, illuminating not only their sin, but the love which God bestows on them daily?

“The dwarves are for the dwarves” was the cry of those unfortunate creatures in the last Narnia tale who would not accept the goodness, the purity, the light of heaven.

Love opens the door to the world of light, and leads one out of the land of shadows. I pray all five of these people choose life at some point in their lives. I pray that they want to live in the fullness of God’s love for them.

Ok Back in Business, sort of

Why the Internet is slower, not secure, and intermittent in this state is beyond me. We can send me into space and let them work in the space station whipping around the world, but one cannot get reliable Internet here.

Anyway, I shall post some things tonight, so hang on.