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    We come to you, most holy Virgin. We are children of England, your dowry. Keep us faithful to the Gospel of Jesus your Son. Keep us in the unity of the Catholic faith and the power of hope.

    Mother of love, protect all the families of England. Help them to stay together. Give them the happiness of loving and passing on life.

    You are the Mother of Christ, our Saviour. Open our hearts to people who are suffering. May each of us offer signs of friendship and welcome to people who are less well off than us.

    Faithful Virgin, help us in our lives. Help us to choose the way in life that Jesus wants us to follow. May we face the problems of life today, together with people of other Churches and religions.

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God. Life. And how the two collide.

image@http://hebrewbible.wordpress.com/

image@http://hebrewbible.wordpress.com/

Why do bad things happen to good people?

This year has proved challenging to the extreme as I have watched very good and undeserving colleagues brought to their knees by false, vindictive accusations. They linger on the brink of a nervous breakdowns; and are shadows of their previous confident, professional and creative selves. It has been painful to stand on the sidelines and observe this decline.

This BIG question has been on my mind for some months now and has caused me psychological pain and physical heartache twinned with and much introspection about where I stand regarding my Faith. I regret to say, it has shaken me to my very Christian core, and it has gradually dawned on me that  I’m always waiting for answers to prayers.

I have prayed long and hard about this situation, and it has grown steadily worse. Seven months of waiting. No answers. No light.

59686610_640 (1)

An example of excellent apologetics.

Piers Morgan interviews a pretty remarkable Ryan Anderson about his views on marriage . Ryan displays tenacity, and doesn’t waver under  pressure and derision from the interviewer, Suze Orman and the studio audience.

http://blog.heritage.org/2013/03/26/video-ryan-anderson-debates-marriage-with-piers-morgan-suze-orman/

Truly:- like a sheep thrown to the wolves.

These quotes are from Biblia.com (a wonderful resource at to have at the tips of your fingers) from the New Revised Standard Version: – Father Jonathan referred to this quote during his homily this morning. It’s so apt for what you will witness in the video clip below.

Coming Persecutions

(Mk 13:9–13Lk 21:12–17)

16 “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves; so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves. 17 Beware of them, for they will hand you over to councils and flog you in their synagogues; 18 and you will be dragged before governors and kings because of me, as a testimony to them and the Gentiles.

marriage

From the outset of the ‘interview’ or rather the ‘attack’, Anthony O, (can’t catch his name) a representative from the SPUC, is besieged with stares of horror and gasps of disbelief. I found their behaviour so interesting, and to be frank I feel pity for them. What they heard Anthony say really shocked them. By their reactions he seemed to be talking about marriage from a bygone era on another galaxy. They are products of the perfect examples of people who exist in the secular culture in which we live.

It seems obvious to me that having Anthony O. on the programme was not because they wanted to hear or somehow understand an inkling of what he was sharing but rather to highlight that there is someone or rather a society of people, who do not support the redefinition of  the  institution of marriage which has always been accepted as one adhered to by heterosexuals  for the purposes of cohabitation and the intrinsic need for a partner and ultimately (God willing)  procreation.

I feel an affiliation to most of what Anthony had to say but felt rather let down by some of his retorts. His attempts at refutation and qualification were inadequate towards the end of the interview. Why oh why would anyone agree to discuss a topic such as this on morning t.v?? Bravo Anthony for having a go and I can say for sure that he fared much better than I ever would.  An eleven minute slot on morning t.v is definitely not enough time to convey sound Catholic teaching on the dignity and purpose of the Sacrament of marriage. As a result, the presenters and the recruited journalist ended up throwing knives thick and fast giving very little space for Anthony to answer any question fully.

I am shocked that Kally Rose (journalist) went as far as calling Anthony homophobic. What an insult. Anyone who is not in the know about what’s been going on in Britain regarding this debate will most probably also deem Anthony to be a barbarian from another time.

Just to set the record straight on what I know about issues raised:-

  1. People with same-sex attraction have always been on earth. This is no new phenomenon.  Sadly they have endured  and continue to endure verbal derision , attacks on their lives and discrimination because of the lifestyle choices they make.
  2. Even in the most ‘enlightened’ circles, the topic of same-sex attraction manages to ruffle feathers, get people moving and shifting or even departing. No matter how the press want to portray an ‘accepting all inclusive, all-embracing society’, this is still a topic which can cause arguments and embarrassment.
  3. Devoted, practising Catholic parents would accept their child with same-sex attraction with arms open wide, with absolutely no intention of forcing them to change. It’s impossible to change something inherent. It is their duty as Catholic parents to encourage their child (who may be a practising Catholic/or not as the case may be) to live a chaste life, just as other siblings may be encouraged to do the same as heterosexuals. It would be their duty to do this, but to continue loving their child.
  4. It’s important to know that there is another choice available out there for gays who don’t want to live a homosexual lifestyle. Believe it or not, there are gays who feel this way! I happen to know of a fair few. I started  following a blog written by this guy who has decided to live a life of chastity. Yes he is Catholic, and he calls himself Steve Gershom.  Pretty amazing is an understatement! His blog is a must-read.

Super-slogan: The age of casual Catholicism is over; the age of HEROIC Catholicism has begun.

image@http://catholicismrocks.wordpress.com

image@http://catholicismrocks.wordpress.com

Creature on the loose.

image@swordofpeter.blogspot.uk

image@swordofpeter.blogspot.co.uk

To really ‘Imagine’…?

imagine (2)

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world

You, you may say
I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one
I hope some day you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

John Lennin lyrics.

I have read two posts this morning which referred to John Lennin. One mentioning that the anniversary of his death was 8th December,  and the other was included in the article mentioned over at Auntie Joanna’s  from the CNA. (Do visit to read an excellent piece!) There is no need to ‘imagine’ a secular world anymore,  because we living in the midst of it! Heaven and hell are not going anywhere, and this is where our personal choices are going to make a difference as to how we live in the midst of it.

Aunty writes:-

As I look back 30 years, it is such a very different Britain:  it was still possible to speak openly of male/female marriage as the foundation for any society, and it would have been impossible for anyone in public life to be taken seriously in proposing that two people of the same sex could marry. Supporters of  abortion  still felt obliged to preface their speeches with some statement to the effect that abortion was in general regrettable before continuing with “but…choices…cases of neccesity…”.   And it was still normal to expect that anyone who wanted to be active in public life should not cohabit but should marry, or live as a single person.  It’s very difficult now to convey all of this:  today’s young Catholics simply cannot really know what it was like to live in a culture where some  moral norms, while under steady attack, were still  praised in public. And in our praying and campaigning, we had public support: in the 1970s it was still possible to muster 80,000-100,000 people in London to cheer pro-life speeches and to march to Downing Street, and the 1980s saw huge pro-life prayer-vigils, candle-lit processions, packed cathedrals…’

Emphasis is the Salmon’s.

(Copied from Catholic New Agency) 

Chicago, Ill., Oct 23, 2012 / 07:15 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Cardinal Francis George of Chicago has said that the “secularizing” of American culture is a “much larger issue” than political causes or the outcome of the presidential elections, warning against a rise of anti-religious sentiment and restating his fears of a future persecution in the United States.

“The world divorced from the God who created and redeemed it inevitably comes to a bad end. It’s on the wrong side of the only history that finally matters,” Cardinal George said in his Oct. 21 column for the Catholic New World.

He said the 2012 political campaigns have brought to the surface “anti-religious sentiment, much of it explicitly anti-Catholic, that has been growing in this country for several decades.” Secularism, he said, is just “communism’s better-scrubbed bedfellow.”

Cardinal George also touched on reports that he believes a successor of his will be martyred. Those stories came from his remarks to a group of priests several years ago.

“I am (correctly) quoted as saying that I expected to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square,” the cardinal wrote.

However, he said the reports left out his last phrase about the bishop who succeeds a possible martyr: “His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the Church has done so often in human history.”

The cardinal said he was trying to express “in overly dramatic fashion” what the “complete secularization” of society could bring.

“What I said is not ‘prophetic’ but a way to force people to think outside of the usual categories that limit and sometimes poison both private and public discourse.”

Cardinal George said his predecessor Cardinal George Mundelein acted similarly in his 1937 criticisms of Adolph Hitler, whose Nazi government had dissolved Catholic youth groups, silenced the German bishops in the media and tried to discredit the Church’s work through putting on trial priests, monks and sisters accused of immorality.

Cardinal Mundelein had warned that there is no guarantee “that the battlefront may not stretch some day into our own land.” American Catholics’ silence could mean that “we too will be fighting alone.”

While Cardinal Mundelein never saw persecution at home, Cardinal George warned against trends that follow the example of the John Lennon song “Imagine,” which imagines a world without religion.

“We don’t have to imagine such a world; the 20th century has given us horrific examples of such worlds,” he said. He denounced the violence of “the nation state gone bad” which claims an absolute power to decide questions and make laws “beyond its own competence.”

Cardinal George closed by reminding Catholics that God “sustains the world, in good times and in bad.” Jesus Christ has “overcome and rescued history.”

“Those who gather at his cross and by his empty tomb, no matter their nationality, are on the right side of history. Those who lie about him and persecute or harass his followers in any age might imagine they are bringing something new to history, but they inevitably end up ringing the changes on the old human story of sin and oppression,” the cardinal concluded. 

 

An Advent Message from Southwark’s Shepherd.

advent_12_pastoral (1)I am particularly fond of our spiritual Shepherd who oversees the vast pastures of the diocese of Southwark: His Grace, Archbishop Peter Smith.  His Advent pastoral letter  is worth ‘chewing over’ as he highlights the ever important alertness to be taken by Christians to live as faithful followers of Christ.archbishop_peter_160(Highlighted text is my comment)
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The season of Advent is given to us as a “spiritual wake-up call” as we prepare ourselves to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, and look, in the longer term, to the final coming of Christ and the completion of the Kingdom of God at the end of time. (As Christians, we await Christ’s return to earth, our lives should be lived as such, not just as Christmas time.) In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges his disciples to “stay awake”. Advent, which begins the Church’s new liturgical year, is a time for us to be alive and awake, to become ever more watchful and faithful disciples. It is a time to witness to the life and hope which has been given to us in and through Jesus Christ, in whom we see made visible the God we cannot see. It is a time to look forward with hope and confidence to renewing our personal relationship with Christ in our hearts so that we can live out our faith in our daily lives. (We need Spiritual ‘fuel’ to keep us going on this Christian Journey:- Advent is the perfect stop to refuel and re-energize) A key question for each of us, is to ask “What is God asking of me?” This is the question which I want each of you to consider and reflect upon prayerfully, not only this Advent, but throughout the course of this Year of Faith.

Beginning with the Incarnation, and culminating in the Paschal Mystery, the coming of Christ reveals and celebrates God’s faithful and unconditional love for all people and for all time. He revealed himself as the God of unconditional love and compassion, who has a passionate care and concern for our salvation and our eternal well-being. Advent is a unique opportunity each year to allow God to deepen our faith and proclaim that love by the way we live and relate to others. It is especially a time, given to us by the Church, for us to focus on our relationship with the person of the risen Christ – an opportunity to make a new start with ourselves, with God and with others. It provides a more focused time to open our hearts to God in prayer, to allow God’s grace to change and mould us into clearer images of Jesus Christ, and to live as renewed and more faithful disciples. So we need to take to heart Christ’s challenge to all of us in today’s Gospel: “Stay awake, praying at all times for the strength to survive all that is going to happen, and to stand with confidence before the Son of Man.”

We cannot hope to be changed, to be gradually transformed into more mature disciples, unless we keep alert to the opportunities of grace which God offers us day by day. The work of transformation and redemption is God’s work. It is literally a “labour of love” which God pursues through, with and in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. This season of Advent is a special time for us to co-operate with that work, opening our hearts to the presence and power of the Holy Spirit working in our lives. It is a time for us to make use of all the means which Christ has given his Church for our renewal and transformation – especially the gift of Holy Scripture, the Sacraments of the Eucharist and Reconciliation, and the gift of personal prayer. (This paragraph to me, is the most important part of the message.There’s nothing new being said here, but it is set perfectly in the context of the whole letter) 

Pope John Paul II, (The one and only!)whose life and ministry made such a profound impact not only on the Church but on the whole world, reminded us that, “To be Christians has never been easy, and it isn’t easy today either. To follow Christ means having the courage to make radical choices that often go against the current. (The ever-present secular tidal-wave.)Do not be afraid to accept this challenge. Be holy men and women. Do not forget that the fruits of the apostolate depend on the depth of the spiritual life, on the intensity of prayer, of continual formation and sincere adhesion to the directives of the Church.” (We are always growing as Christians into the person that God intends us to become. We’ll never know all there is to know. This is the beauty of our Faith. By SINCERELY following the directives of the Church, we’ll be taking steps on the path of knowledge, understanding and Truth.)

Through the Church, God, in Christ, offers us again and again the love, nourishment and strength we need to continue on our journey of faith – a journey towards the fullness of life and love in the kingdom of our heavenly Father. (This is the reason why we, as Christians need to be an active parishioner in our churches.) As we make that journey day by day, we should do so with hope, confidence and joy. These are gifts of the Holy Spirit which we need to ask for in our prayer, and which he asks us to share with those around us. We are called to be the “light of the nations”, the “salt of the earth”. Like Christ we too live with the life of the Holy Spirit and we too are called “to bring the good news to the poor, to proclaim liberty to captives and to the blind new sight, to set the downtrodden free, to proclaim the Lord’s year of favour.” (Lk. 4: 18-19)

We are all called to proclaim the Gospel in the first place by the way we live. And we can only do that if we open our hearts fully and allow the Spirit, who dwells in the very depths of our being, to transform us more and more into the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. Only with his help will we have the courage, the strength and the power to do as he asks of us – to proclaim the Gospel of God’s love, to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, to welcome the stranger, to clothe the naked, and to visit the sick and those in prison. I pray that each one of us may grasp the opportunity that Advent gives us, listening to God’s Word, rejoicing in his gifts and confident of his love for us and for all people.

“Father in heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love,
and our minds are searching for the light of your Word.
Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour
and give us the strength to grow in love,
that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in his presence
and welcoming the light of his truth.”
Yours devotedly in Christ,

Archbishop of Southwark

Given at Southwark,
26th November 2012

From the shores of England!

                                           

Cardinal Rafael Merry de Val

He was accustomed to recite this prayer daily after the celebration of Holy Mass. I came to know of this litany a few months back and it’s a hard one to pray initially. It pushes the boundaries against all secular sentiment, and made me realise how just much my thinking and expectations have been formed by the thinking of the day.

Litany of Humility

O Jesus meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver, me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.

That others may be loved more than I, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That in the opinion of the world, others may increase, and I may decrease,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, Jesus grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I become as holy as I should,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

NO HUMAN RESPECT

“Never act with a view to pleasing the world. Let us have the strength to bear criticisms and the disapproval of the world. Let us have no human respect. Provided that God is pleased, what does the rest matter?” Card. R. Merry del Val
Cardinal Rafael Merry del Val was an exceptional and extraordinary man, of noble birth. From the first years of his life he had one unique and most noble goal: to be a Priest of God.
He was a dynamic figure at the Vatican in the early 20th century.

Rafael Merry del Val was educated at Ushaw College in the north of England. He commenced his studies at Ushaw College in 1883 before he went to Rome in 1885.

Ushaw Seminary ,Durham,Summer 2009

Ushaw College was the major seminary for the north of England and was formed in 1808 by students who had fled some years earlier from Douai College in northern France during the French Revolution. It expanded over the decades and by 1962, at the opening of the Second Vatican Council it housed 400 students, although some were secular students. It was ordaining about 22 priests per year. Following the introduction of the changes in the 1960′s the numbers dropped quite dramatically and by 2010 there were less than 30 students. Sadly, it was closed by the English hierarchy in June 2010.

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