Monday, 10 September 2018
I am sorry that there are so few postings for such a long time. I often get the urge to write a post but to be honest, the first obstacle to writing any posts was that they would probably be so negative in these days of scandal and self-destruction of the Church that they would not edify the reader or the writer. A second reason was that, as regular (or once-regular) readers of the blog will know, I developed some serious health issues over the last 12 months, and I don’t think it is good to blurb about them on a blog which is not meant to be a personal diary but a commentary on things Catholic.
That said, I do feel ashamed of the fact that I have not contributed anything to the Catholic blogosphere for a long time now, so I have tried to come up with a way of contributing to Catholic life without contributing to its self-destruction or my own ill-health. If I can I will post some short reflections on the Sunday Mass readings, so that I am at least offering some kind of spiritual food to Catholics. I may write on other topics as the notion takes me, but no promises… one such topic has been requested: what kind of things did I say in homilies at weddings and funerals that I might be able to share? What will come first I do not know; reflections on the Sunday readings or the homilies for weddings and funerals. Maybe not knowing will bring you here again...
Sunday, 27 May 2018
Sadly the people of Ireland have voted for the killing of unborn children. I know the ‘hard cases’ always get publicity, but the answer to these hard cases should not be “Kill the children!” but “Help the mothers!” (to overcome their difficulties). Ireland’s maternal death rate being one of the lowest in the world, it had the opportunity to remain a light to the world, but has become yet another country to align itself with the Culture of Death & Darkness purveyed by the Prince of Darkness.
The source of the vote for change was not so much the pro-death politicians or the physicians, or even the people of Ireland: two things lie at the root of the Irish vote to kill:  a kind of person-centred psychology which purveys relativism by saying “do whatever is right for you”; along with a script(!) which says “don’t follow any ‘scripts’ that others write for you; be your own Adult”, and , the failure of the Catholic Church to uphold the Gospel.
The window John XXIII opened to let in a bit of fresh air was not the opening of a window but the tearing down of a wall, leaving the Church open to a hurricane. And what a hurricane it was, gaining its foothold at the Second Vatican Council. From the time of the Council it appeared to many that it was a case of “All change” –and who can blame them? Almost everyone knew the saying “It’s the Mass that matters” for the Mass is the very source and summit of our lives being as it is [a] the making-present the Saviour in His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity; [b] His Saving Sacrifice on Calvary made present to us, and [c] Heaven on earth (for where God is, heaven is). The Mass is the only thing this side of heaven that gives perfect praise and thanksgiving to God while making perfect propitiation for our sins. Its Rites were carefully preserved over 1,500 years to enshrine its supremely sacred realities -so “if we can change the Mass, we can change anything”. And not just anything but everything: the way we worship (liturgy); what we believe (doctrine) and how we behave (disciplines) –creating, in essence, all-but a new faith system.
From the days of the Second Vatican Council we have had voices calling for the sort of things the Church has always shuddered at: contraception; Holy Communion for those in formal adultery and more. The abortion vote in Ireland is a consequence of the Church taking an almost ‘about face’ turn in worship (where it is in fact a literal about face!); and about face in doctrine and an about face in discipline, leaving all things to be seen as open to change (yet not all change is good –some change is malignant). Sadly, then, it is a failure of the Church over the last 60 years that has taken Ireland from an alignment with Christ the Light of the World to an alignment with the Prince of Darkness and his Culture of Death; a culture which seeks to end people rather than problems. It cannot be any one else but Satan who is at the root of this extensive rejection of life and light. How sad that he has had so much help from so many that he has deceived even those who should have known better (those in the upper echelons of the Church) for 50 years plus…
I do hope that there is no harsh judgement of the women and men who chose to abort their children when they feel faced with overwhelming difficulties and their internal and external resources to cope are virtually nil, for in reality they have been led to think abortion is just another aspect of health care and probably not told about the many post-abortion problems to be faced, of which problems there is growing evidence (cf. deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research), to say nothing of the physical riks to the mother attached to abortion (cf. NHS). It is my hope that these parents find the care they need from services such as Rachel’s Vineyard, which offers post-abortion healing to post-abortive mothers and fathers. Let us not blame the women and men who have been deceived; they need our care and healing touch. Rather, let us blame the one who deceived them –the Prince of Darkness- and his collaborators in the Church.
Friday, 25 May 2018
Lifesite News carries an article by Doug Mainwaring in which he relates that a homosexual man has reported that in a private conversation with Pope Francis the Pope told him “God made you gay”. CNN adds to the story:
‘Describing his encounter with the Pope to CNN, Cruz said: "You know Juan Carlos, that does not matter. God made you like this. God loves you like this. The Pope loves you like this and you should love yourself and not worry about what people say…” The Pope's words would amount to a significant departure from the teaching of the Roman Catholic Church, which considers homosexuality "objectively disordered" and contrary to God's law.’ Vatican spokesman Greg Burke told CNN on Monday: "We do not normally comment on the Pope's private conversations."
People may take this as an affirmation of the gay lifestyle by the Pope, but it is not -because it cannot be. It is not wrong for Francis to say to a homosexual ‘God loves you’, for God loves everyone He creates, but it must be followed with ‘But He calls you to a life of virtue, just as He does everyone else.’ However, if what Francis said was ‘God made you gay’ he errs in fundamental moral theology, for to say ‘God made you that way’ is to say God positively created someone with what the Church calls an intrinsic disorder. Further, it implies that Mr. Cruz is not called to battle against a disoriented proclivity that arises from original sin, since God deliberately or at least knowingly created that disorientation within him –and is it not Apostolic teaching God temps no one to sin (cf.Jas.1v13)?
It seems to me the Vatican Press Office must either deny the Pope said made this statement to Mr Cruz or clarify the Pope's words. If the Vatican Press Office continues to hold to its line that it 'does not comment on the Pope’s private conversations', then I grinningly await the day a faithful Catholic has a private conversation with Francis and emerges saying “The Pope said the best thing Catholic folk can do in this time of doctrinal and liturgical disorder/crisis is to return to the Catechism of the Council of Trent and the Tridentine Mass”. I wonder how long it would take for the Vatican Press Office to deny that had been said?
Saturday, 31 March 2018
I have always told my congregations at the start of Lent: This is not a time to give up chocolate, sugar or TV; it’s a start, but lent is a time for giving up sin and building virtues. If we are short-tempered, we must seek hard to practice patience; if we engage in calumny or detraction, we must keep a still tongue and seek something good to say about those we would rather criticise; if we are slothful, we must demand hard work from ourselves, for if we don’t get to the end of Lent and are not a changed person. If we don’t more clearly image Christ, we have failed somewhat. So how did your Lent go? Are you recognisably different now than you were six weeks ago? Even in some small way, recognisably different? I hope I am, but I doubt it.
How sad it is that the Easter ceremonies to which Lent leads are so badly attended these days. The great renewal of the Church we were promised at Vatican II has never come about; all we can point to is having more laity engaged in parish and Diocesan-based tasks. Having taken them from their proper apostolate of bringing the spiritual and corporal works of mercy to bear in society, we replace them with worker priests, removing both priests and laity from their authentic, divinely appointed roles. And no mtter how many ecclesial tasks we give the laity, when the Triduum comes around our Churches are not filled.
And yet Holy Thursday encompasses central Mysteries of The Faith: The Real presence of Our Lord in the Holy Eucharist; the Sacrifice that saves us, and the sacramental union with God in Holy Communion that He gives to us, and which comes to us though the priesthood which He ordained to make all of this preset and possible as a memorial of Him. We claim to believe that the Holy Eucharist is the Real Presence of God according to His Word: “I am the Living Bread which has come down from Heaven...”(Jn.6; Matt.26v26); we claim to believe that the Holy Eucharist perpetuates His Sacrifice on the Cross according to His word: “This is My Body given up for you...My Blood, which is shed for you” (Lk.22v19-20); we claim to believe the Holy Eucharist brings Heaven to earth since it brings Christ to earth -and wherever God is, Heaven is, and yet we ignore the Holy Eucharist on the very day Our Lord gifted It to us as His presence, Sacrifice and sacrament of unity with Him -and through Him, with one another. Many seem to have we forgotten that since every Holy Mass brings Heaven to earth we do not need to die to go to Heaven; we only need to come to Mass. Indeed to come to Mass is to come to Heaven, and thus to absent ourselves from Mass is to absent ourselves from heaven –and who wants that?
Good Friday is generally better attended; even many lapsed folk seem to recognise something special about Good Friday (“God’s Friday”), and turn up to acknowledge and celebrate His saving Passion. How could we not? On Good Friday Our Lord stretches our His hands on the Cross to say “This is how much I love you…will you not stay follow Me? I suffered intense anxiety in Gethsemane in presenting Myself before the face of My All-Holy Father carrying the shame of every one of your sins; I suffered the scourging at the pillar where My skin was ripped by welts embedded with bone, that you may have forgiveness for your sins of the flesh; My head is crowned with thorns to obtain forgiveness of your bad thoughts and attitudes; I am struck with blows and mocked that you might have strength to stand before the ridicule of the world and proclaim Me; I carry the wood of the Cross that by rising from falls under its weight of your sins, you may rise from mortal sin and be strengthened the earthly struggles of life; I endured the suffocation of crucifixion and the pains of death that you may have forgiveness for all of your sins and rise again to the life of grace. How can you doubt that I will welcome you back and forgive all your repented sins? See how much I love you. Who else has suffered for love of you as I have? I gave you My Life, My Love, My Mercy –you have prepared a cross for Me. I brought you from slavery to sin to the heights of grace: you have prepared a cross for me. Come to Me all you who labour, and you will find rest for your souls. Give me your sins, that I may have the pleasure of forgiving them. Leave your sins behind; become a new creation in Me. Come to me, and I will give you rest.
Holy Saturday we rest with Christ and wait to celebrate our share in His transfigured, Risen Body: we hear Him tell the Story of Salvation from the Fall to the Exodus and thence to Jerusalem; we recommit ourselves to Him by our baptismal promises; we welcome Him and heaven onto the altar; we offer the very sacrifice of His Body and Blood by which we are redeemed and sacramentally unite ourselves to Him in Holy Communion a spiritual intimacy greater than the physical union of husband and wife. How could we not desire to be present with the community on this Most Holy Night which brings the glorious new day; a day which stretches out before us the glory of heaven and our share in the eternal life, happiness and peace of the Most Holy Trinity in the company of saints, singing Holy, Holy, Holy…Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus Dominus Deus Sabaoth. Pleni sunt cæli et terra gloria tua.
Hosanna in excelsis!
PS. Please excuse typing and syntax errors: I cut and paste too much and cannot type to begin with!
Thursday, 25 January 2018
First of all, apologies that comments and assurances of prayers have not been published; I'm afraid I have been feeling very off-colour and low for some time and had not the physical or mental energy to attend to the Blog. But, having promised an up-date after the bronchoscopy review I think I should carry it through. The reviewing physician says the brushings taken during the bronchoscopy did not reveal any cancer or bugs, but that they were unable to see much because of the abscesses (I wasn't able to make much sense of that but her explanation continmued to be vague: "Its simply because the abscesses made viewing things difficult"). Further, she said the Chest X-ray I had on the day of the review shows that I have not recovered as they expected, so another CT scan is being ordered, the appointment for which I shall receive through the post.
So it seems that I am still progressing towards health but not there yet. This didn’t surprise me as the bronchoscopy was early in the year and though the first two weeks post-procedure were OK, the third week was one of constant haemoptysis (coughing up of blood -my family physician was unperturbed by this but sent of a sputum sample to check for infection anyway, but no treatment was prescribed as antibiotics are so over-used). Indeed I have remained breathless and extremely low in energy since my discharge from hospital in December, so considering that and the haemoptysis the need for another CT of chest did not surprise me.
I shall try to do blog posts on topics other than my health in the future, but I can’t say when or how often since my energy levels are so very low. Please bear with me. Thank you.