Friday, 18 October 2019

Francis' Amazon Synod

I have not written posts for a long time and cannot say when I will do another, not only because my health status depletes my energy levels but because in today’s Church there seems to be nothing but to comment on but damaging change, especially noticeable in the Synod on the Amazon where paganism is being applauded and accommodated. While our battle is “not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, powers and rulers of this dark age” (Eph.6v12), yet in temporal terms we are doing battle with the Church’s highest-ranking shepherds. Sadly, this has to include Pope Francis, whom the secular world has embraced because they see in him what many Catholics see, that is, an accommodation to the ways of the world: re-marriage after divorce (here), the anti-life practices of contraception (here) and homosexual acts (here) and even of paganism by seeking to the give the Church an Amazonian face (sinodoamazonico #7, here). 

This accommodation of secular ideologies and paganism is supremely regretful since the eternal welfare of souls is at stake. I cannot help but call to mind two texts from Holy Scripture that our shepherds seem in need of re-hearing and taking to heart. One is an instruction: “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Do not let yourselves be carried be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings” (Heb.9v13). The other is a warning: “Woe to you when the world speaks well of you, for that is how they treated the false prophets” (Lk.6v26). Those who were elevated by Francis to the Episcopacy, the Cardinalate or to high rank in Rome might well be troubled in heart these days; they may be concerned that they were elevated because they are seen as men who will not rock the Francis boat; men who do not fully adhere to the faith of the Centuries but are willing to adapt it (or even dispose of it) in order to gain the favour of the world -or perhaps just to feel themselves enlightened beyond the men of the past whose office they inherited; ‘Gnostic’ men with special insight and knowledge.

The buzz words of today’s episcopacy and the Synod -dialogue, listening and accompanying- are falsely applied to the Church’s mission. “Dialogue” has no place in Catholicism because we were not commanded to “Go, dialogue with all nations” but to “Go, teach all nations” (Matt.28v19).if they accept it, alleluia! If they do not, we don’t then syncretise The Truth with error; darkness with The Light; poison with The Food that leads to eternal life. Amazon Synod Fathers please take note: we are not meant to modify the Church according to pagan cultures but to replace paganism with Catholicism by authentic evangelisation: the faithful, unadulterated preaching of the Gospel. Paganism has nothing to add to the Divine Revelation given us by God Himself. If there are elements of the Faith that God has seeded in the ways of pagan religions they are there so that we can bring those seeds to fruition by showing how they prepare them for the Gospel, not so that we can adopt them. We have to be like St Paul and say “you are ignorant of the very thing you worship--and this is what I am going to proclaim to you” (Acts 17c23). Paul did not say let us add the unknown god to The Way.

As for “listening”, what see in Rome today is not genuine ‘listening’ but selective hearing; those of us who defend the True and Traditional Faith handed on through the centuries are not ‘listened to’ but dismissed; regarded as rigid and perhaps mentally ill and (here). Those who are listened to by Rome are those willing to modify (and thereby destroy) the Church in her structures, disciplines, teachings and liturgies by accommodating paganism and modern ideologies –a natural consequence of believing that Christ is not God-made-man -for if Christ was not God when He walked the earth, why listen even to Him?

Then there is the idea of “accompanying”; of walking with those who live a life Traditionally seen as a life of sin. How do we accompany someone who lives in sinful ways? To accompany rather than challenge them is to affirm them in their sins and put their salvation at risk by making their sins appear acceptable or even good: more holy than even a sacramental state. We are not called to accompany but to correct; with gentleness and respect sure, but also with clarity and conviction.

I am praying the prayer to St Michael and my Rosaries for the Synod, that the hearts and minds of our shepherds may love Truth, seek Truth, live Truth and advance The Truth. This world is filled with false lights where truth is distorted as it was in the Garden of Eden when the devil took the truth that man is made in the image and likeness of God and distorted it by presenting the tree of good and evil as a way of becoming more like God. It was this distortion and manipulation of the truth which caused man to fall into hell. Please God our shepherds do not do the work of the devil all over again by syncretising the Truth with the errors –the ideologies- of the modern world and of paganism.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

Congratulations and God Bless...updated

Andrew and Stephanie taking their vows before Our Blessed Lord…2.35pm 22nd June 2019

May God grant you, Mr and Mrs McDowell, His greatest graces today 
and in all the days to come.

Father Dickson

Dear Andrew and Stephanie,
A wedding day is a great day; a day where two people say to one another, “I trust you with all I ever was, all I am, and all I ever will be.” Today you your make each feel like the most important wonderful person in the world; you must do the same tomorrow, and the day after that, and all the days to come. While today you are the centre of attention from your new spouse; from your family and from your friends, remember today is not really your day at all; it is Holy God’s day, since it is His sacrament you have entered, and for His purposes. I pray for His blessing upon your future life together; upon on all the new life He may bring into the world through you, and upon the families through you which you yourselves came into the world.

Remember that you are not creating a world made for two; you are adding a new branch to two family trees, but you are a branch, not a new plant. Be prepared to seek help and support from your families when you need it, for you can never expect one person (your spouse) to be the answer to your every need -no one can be that for us but Holy God alone. As Saint Augustine said, “You have made us for yourself O Lord, and our hearts are restless ‘till they rest in Thee”.  Remember too however, that while you will seek the support of your families when you need it, you also need boundaries to ensure support is given only when asked for, or only when you have accepted an offer of support. otherwise that support can become intrusion, even interference.

I really wanted to include a nice, romantic note, and the first thing that sprang to mind was “Today, all your dreams come true” –but my head wouldn’t let me say that without adding “tomorrow, the nightmare begins”  - the reality of life's daily drudgery; of going to work and coming home to the paying of bills, the taking out of the trash, the repairs, the cooking, the cleaning and the nappy changing –and the even more difficult task off living together in give and take. All of which is followed by more work; more bills, more house cleaning, more give and take etc. What an adventure you are embarking upon! Bear in mind that once the romance of today wears off and the reality of everyday life sets in, you have God working with you. Life is not easy for anyone; we all take up our cross daily to follow the Lord, and marriage brings its particular difficulties and blessings as you seek to live with one another’s strengths (which can support you but can also overpower you) and flaws (which can drain you). You are jigsaw pieces that can never fit perfectly because each of us is marred by the defects that flow from the original sin, so bear with one another; be kind, be patient. Keep in mind that in all the “better or worse, richer or poorer, sickness and health”, Holy God is with you, and will fill your journey with His grace. Cooperate with that grace day by day by giving Him first place in your lives, for in marriage you provide the conditions in which your spouse’s spiritual life can thrive or depart, though your first responsibility is to save your own soul. Put the Lord at the centre of your life, your marriage and your family life. Pray together every day, and receive the Sacraments regularly. I pray that God bless you with health, happiness and holiness –today, and all the days to come.
P.S. I know I haven’t prayed for health and wealth; but I do pray for “enough to get by” as my mum would say, since “it‘s hard for the wealthy to enter the Kingdom of heaven”. (Mark 10v23).  “Build your treasure in” (Matt.6v19,20). Stay strong in The Faith.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

From Andrew: News of an upcoming Wedding...mine!

(Our E.F. Betrothal (engagement) ceremony; June 9th 2018)

I am writing to share some happy news with you. This past year and a half has been very eventful for me, encompassing both sadness and joy. I have become engaged to Stephanie Hogan (that's us in the picture above) which is a joy; embarked upon a new career, which is a challenge, and recently relocated to the South of England, 300+ miles away from family and friends, which has brought some sadness.  Still, it has reminded me of how much love an affection I have enjoyed during my life -and am still privileged to have. It is sad that many of my friends and family are unable to join us for the wedding due to the distance, but I know they hold us in their hearts and prayers, and I look forward to celebrating the Holy Sacrifice with them all in Durham a fortnight after the wedding (post honeymoon!)

On the topic of 'joining us'...I extend an invitation to both Masses: our Nuptial Mass and the Mass in Durham for our intentions. While every Mass is a public event, Stephanie and I warmly invite you to join us. For those who are unable to attend the wedding, the parish live-streams all its Masses so here is where you can join us on-line:

The details of our wedding are below. We humbly ask your prayers for our needs and intentions, and for our loved ones both near and far. We shall be praying for you too, that the Lord will sanctify us all and lead us all to the eternal enjoyment of the Beatific Vision.

Nuptial Solemn Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Saturday 22nd June 2019 at 2:30pm
at the Catholic Church of the Sacred Heart,
Richmond Hill, Bournemouth, BH1 1BZ

Sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form
Followed by a small buffet
Saturday 6th July 2019 at 12 noon
at Sacred Heart and English Martyrs Catholic Church,
Dunelm Road, Thornley, County Durham, DH6 3HA

Thursday, 7 March 2019

A Good Lent, Bishops, Priests and Laity

It has long been my practice on Ash Wednesday to preach about making Lent a time of real change. For too many of us Catholics Lent has become what is has for secular folk: giving something up for Lent only to take it up again afterwards. It’s like bracing ourselves for six weeks than letting go. The aim of spiritual renewal has gone for too many Catholics. Have we not all heard folk say “I’m trying to be good for Lent”? That is not a bad aim, but it is woefully inadequate and a wrong use of the sacred season. I have preached that when we get to the end of Lent we should have new habits: more patience, more prayer, more charity; less gossip, less greed, less selfishness. We should be changed people at the end of Lent, and that change should be a lasting change, otherwise we have had a bad Lent. Sadly, that change rarely comes about. I have never hidden the fact that I aim to get to the end of Lent more patient, more generous, more humble, more prayerful, more affirming of folk and more careful with my tongue: it is all too easy to sit with a group of people -even fellow priests- and complain about one’s Bishop, or the Pope, or the belligerent parishioner. We call it “sounding off in a safe place”, but that is nothing more than a justification of and a re-labelling of the sin of detraction. Since this is a sin into which I have fallen, I have had to find ways to avoid it and correct myself. Thus I give penitents the advice that if they are in a conversation where detraction is taking place to simply say “Well I can’t say anything because I have my own faults”, which might prick the conscience of those in conversation with us. And when we have had the misfortune to fall into detraction with the crowd we should quickly find something for which we can affirm the person whose reputation we have just damaged, so that some kind of reparation can be made.

Priests can often become victims of calumny and detraction from their parishioners (and sometimes brother priests) whose theological positions they do not share. Meanwhile the bishops and the Pope can be victims of calumny and detraction from the priests (and some laity). Today I am not only thinking about encouraging the laity to grow in virtue, but about the kind of Lent we need from our Pope and Bishops who all too easily harm the reputation of Traditional priests whose theological positions they are irritated by. So it seems to me the kind of Lent we need from the Bishops comes down to one thing: a return to upholding the doctrine of The Faith rather than espousing the ‘values’ of the world,  and the celebration of liturgy that puts God at the centre rather than the affirming and the uplifting of the people.

I have watched some videos on YouTube recently that show how very disturbed many Catholics are and what little hope many have of the Church getting out of her current crisis of faith. Why? Because they see Pope Francis as a abandoning Tradition with Amoris Laetitia, abandoning the Divine Command to teach and baptise all nations and as having stacked the College of Cardinal-Electors with men of his own ilk; men who are
willing to support Holy Communion for those in the adulterous situation of civil ‘remarriage’ after divorce;
willing to allow the recent summit on sex abuse to be used only as a (necessary) means of tackling the failures of presbyter-priests when in fact it was homosexual predation of seminarians and young priests by an Episcopal-priest (a cardinal) that brought abuse back into the headlines;
willing to say that all religions are willed by God and that anyone can be saved as long as they are following their paganism sincerely;
willing to promote liturgy that affirms the folk and seeks to give them emotional uplift rather than give praise, adoration and propitiation (appeasement) for sin to Almighty God).
It occurred to me that a number of cardinals and Bishops created by Francis may now be questioning their own Catholicism; that they may well be asking themselves:  “Am I only a Bishop/Cardinal because I have been judged far enough away from the Deposit of Faith to carry on the legacy of discontinuity with our sacred history? Do I really want to meet God as a man removed from the Gospel of Christ and distanced from the Apostolic Deposit of Faith God called me to defend and promote?”  Similarly, priests might be asking if they were advanced to ordination by their Bishop because they were seen as men sufficiently distanced from the Deposit of Faith.  If cardinals, Bishops and priests are asking such questions, then Lent is a great opportunity for change and re-conversion.
These are not easy days for anyone in the Church. All of us need to be changed people at the end of it. Whether Pope, bishop, priest or layman, we all need to grow in virtue by trying during this Lent to eradicate our faults and build their opposite virtues. 

We also need to recommit ourselves to the Deposit of The Faith as defined by the Council of Trent. Why Trent? Because Trent defined The Faith without ambiguity when it was under attack at the Protestant Revolt, and therefore the Council in light of which we must read the decrees of Vatican II so as to discern the continuity and discontinuity with The Faith contained therein, so as to abide by the continuity and discard the discontinuity. If today’s crisis has any cause -other than the wickedness of the devil which is at the core of all sin and division- it is that for the past 50 years the Church has read and implemented Vatican II the wrong way round: promoting the discontinuity and abandoning the continuity contained therein so as to garner favour from the contemporary age.  
Lord, help us all, especially those who govern and who are people of influence, to desire Truth; seek Truth, love Truth and live Truth -so that virtue may grow and charity abound. Per Christum Dominum Nostrum. Amen.

Monday, 4 February 2019

The War Against The Unborn

Pregnant mothers are the concern of Pro-life people everywhere; pro-lifers seek to help the mother find a better solution for themselves and their child than abortion, and to help post-abortive mothers to overcome the trauma of their abortion. 

Many post-abortive mothers deeply regret their abortions; many 'chose' abortion because they felt trapped by their circumstances and felt they had no choice but to abort their babies (so ‘freedom of choice’ and the ‘right to chose’ are not honest slogans). Thank God there is a place where post-abortion regret can become a healthy sorrow which is understood and absolved: the Christ's Catholic Church. While the Church is passionately pro-life, she is also passionately caring toward those who have taken the step of aborting their child or children, and offers absolution/forgiveness and healing (in that order) to those who have made such a choice. There are many ministries today that help such mothers find that healing, such as Rachel’s Vineyard. It would be shameful for any Catholic not to hold out the hope of emotional/psychological healing and the forgiveness by absolution for any mother who has accessed abortion. But it is equally wrong for legislators to give men and women the impression that abortion is OK by passing laws which allow it. Too many women and men have been swayed by the fact that “this is legal so it must be OK”. That is no different to saying, as many did 200 years ago, that “Slavery is legal so it must be OK”. Only after mothers have accessed abortion do they experience the trauma, depression of regret and the feelings of guilt so often brought on by abortion, or simply the feeling of being somehow blocked in life. Yet the war against the unborn goes on by those who promote abortion.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is reported to have said, “I’m here to represent all the people and the constitutional rights and limitations for all the people, not as a Catholic.” (SeeLifesite News here).  What an odd statement: he thinks unborn children (some of whom receive life-saving operations while still in the womb) need no representation against those who would take their life for reasons such as inconvenience to one’s career; the hiding of an illicit affair, or financial struggles. Apparently, if money is short; if you don’t want your husband or your lover’s wife to find out about your affair, or if you don’t want to miss out on that promotion or business trip, it is fine to kill your child –even up to the point of birth in some cases.

This is the attitude one detects in Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam who is reported to have suggested that a proposed bill allowing abortion up until the moment of birth would also allow doctors to refuse to resuscitate an infant born alive after a failed abortion "if that’s what the mother and the family desire." (See Lifesite News here)

What a horrific, Nazi-style society we in the West have become under the guise of women’s rights. What right does anyone have to kill children? I am horrified, outraged when fellow clergy abuse children, and most folk share that outrage. Yet many if not most of those same folk would support the killing of children just because of their location: they are inside the womb not out of it; out of sight is, apparently, out of consideration.

Yet if we fail to respect the humanity and dignity of the unborn we can never respect the humanity and dignity of the born; if we can kill innocent children in the womb, how are we ever going to justify the right to life for anyone? What foundation is there for social justice if we can take innocent life with abandon? Our right to a fair wage, to good working conditions, to good health care, good education, good housing, the right to freedom from violence and oppression, all depend upon us being alive to access those rights -and we cannot defend these rights for anyone is we don’t uphold the right to life for everyone regardless of their location. After all, the only difference between the born and unborn is their location: inside the womb or outside the womb. That said, Mr Northam does appear to want us to have the right even to kill the born “if that’s what the mother and family want”.

In these days when science has the standing that it does, there is no logic to the slogan “My body, my choice”, for it is not her body she is aborting: the child has his own DNA from the moment of conception; his tubal heart beat begins to beat at around day 18; his fingers and toes are present from around day 56. Fundamentally, he has his own body and his own right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Pro-abortion language is too often a a smokescreen, for both embryo and foetus simply and correctly describe a stage of human life: foetus, embryo, baby, infant, teenager and adult are all stages of human life. Yet human babies can be killed at will. What a Nazi society the West has become. This is not progress. This is the Culture of Death at its worst: the killing of children; the ultimate in child abuse which harms not only the child but the mother too (often physically as well as psychologically).

The West has become pro-abortion not for women’s rights, but to allow for sex without responsibility; we have a culture of hedonism which seeks pleasure by drink, drugs, and sex with abandon, -for which the unborn child pays with his life, and for which the mother will often find herself depressed, guilt-ridden and blocked. We must always seek to console and support; to heal and help the mothers, and protect and promote the life on the unborn child. This must not be a war on mothers -the pro-abortion folk are fighting that war. Our must be a war for the healing of those harmed by the Culture of Death; for the healing of post-abortive mothers and the protection of the unborn child. Never judge the mother; seek to heal her soul and mind, and always protect the unborn child.

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Youth Synod: Where have All The Father’s Gone?

Not all of the prelates we have today are true fathers of the flock of God. Rather than defend and promote the Gospel some seem keen to follow the ways of the world; for example, those who were eager to include the LGBT acronym in the documents of the synod. Where did this loss of good fathers begin? In my opinion it has to be traced back to modernism and its infiltration into Vatican II. It took hold when the Fathers changed the order of the purposes of marriage from procreation as its primary end to the building up of the couple. Although Vatican II tried to avoid speaking about a primary and secondary end (purpose) of marriage, it can be said not have achieved this since it stated, “Marriage to be sure is not instituted solely for procreation; rather, its very nature as an unbreakable compact between persons, and the welfare of the children, both demand that the mutual love of the spouses be embodied in a rightly ordered manner, that it grow and ripen. Therefore, marriage persists as a whole manner and communion of life, and maintains its value and indissolubility, even when despite the often intense desire of the couple, offspring are lacking.” (Gaudium et spes, #50), This appears to place both ends on an equal footing, but it begins by demoting procreation as the primary end of marriage, preferring to speak first of the growth and ripening of conjugal love, and the communion of life, only then does it progress to speak of marriage as a procreative reality. The 1917 Code of Canon Law (from which many students learned their theology prior to the Council since the Code is formed to protect the living out of Catholic Doctrine), is in contrast to that statement and to the 1983 Code which takes up the language of Vatican II:

1917 Code: Canon 1013
§1. The primary end of marriage is the procreation and education of children; its secondary end is mutual help and the allaying of concupiscence.
§2. The essential properties of marriage are unity and indissolubility, which acquire a particular firmness in Christian marriage by reason of its sacramental character.

1983 Code: Canon 1055 §1.
The marriage covenant, by which a man and a woman establish themselves a partnership of their whole life, and which of its own very nature is ordered to the well-being of the spouses and the procreation and upbringing of children, has, between the baptized, been raised by Christ the Lord to the dignity of a sacrament. 

While the Traditional Code places the procreation of children first the 1983 Code begins with the well-being of the spouses and progresses thence to the procreation of children.

The elements of the doctrine of marriage are not changed, but their order is, and this is significant since it is brings with it a distorting of God’s plan: the well-being of the spouses being placed before the couple’s primary blessing and duty to engage in the procreation of children (Gen1v28). This is the work of the devil. His clever tactic has always been the same; don’t try to ditch the Truth, just distort it. For example, God made man in His own image and likeness, and Satan used that truth against man: “if you eat you will be like God in knowing right from wrong”. One can imagine Adam and Eve reasoning that if God made them to be like Him it cannot be wrong for them to enhance that by eating of the fruit whereby they “will be like God in knowing good and evil” (Ge.3v5). But it was wrong. The devil successfully took a truth and distorted it, and he did the same with the modernists who took their ideas with them into Vatican II. In relation to marriage it seems precisely their placing of the relationship before procreation that provided the opportunity to call for the allowing of contraception, presumably to ensure the marriage relationship was fitting for the procreation of children.

From a secular point of view this placing of the marriage relationship first makes sense: if the marriage is not good children are brought into a situation of disharmony, stress, or even psychological/physical violence of one spouse toward another, so the quality of the marriage must be the first priority. But we are not secular people, and ought to follow God’s plan first (though NOT to the exclusion of secular considerations); we simply need to get back to putting procreation first. When people see themselves as marrying primarily (even if not exclusively) as a fulfilling of their own needs for companionship, fulfilment and/or affirmation, then when the drudgery of daily duties, the stresses of bills, work deadlines etc come into play dissipating the romance, the marriage can be experienced as dead; as no longer fulfilling, and divorce seen as the answer. The idea of following a vocation as a means of seeking one’s personal fulfilment/affirmation is erroneous, since vocations are first and foremost a call to serve God, not self, yet this idea of a vocation being about one’s fulfilment is rife and has affected the priesthood too: a man may be perfectly adequate at carrying out his priestly duties but become somewhat personally unfulfilled and seek to leave the priesthood to find that personal fulfilment and affirmation elsewhere. Thus marriages and priestly vocations fail because those entering into these states are placing their own needs before the vocational duty of serving God. It is good and perhaps ideal if one’s vocation is personally fulfilling and affirming, but it is not essential for the service of God –which involves the carrying of a cross.

The formation of Catholic clergy in the error that the quality of the marriage relationship is primary has also provided the opportunity to say that if the relationship is primary and not procreation, then ‘marriage’ between persons of the same sex is acceptable since relationship is the core aspect. We thus have a Church where priests of both ranks (episcopal and presbyteral) are in favour of the use of contraception (with the natural corollary of abortion when contraception fails) and same-sex relationships, are all said to be I conformity with the Lord’s Gospel and plan for marriage. Thus the so-called Synod on the Youth dabbled with the using and thereby authenticating ‘LGBT’ as an ontological reality and thus align the Church with the LGBT agenda. It appears from the scandal of bishops abusing their power to have seminarians ‘share their bed’ arises from clergy who have been malformed on sex, sexuality, marriage and personal fulfilment. Reportsof an American Cardinal’s alleged sexual misconduct with seminarians was not, after all, a case where two seminarians in an all-male environment fell into a same-sex attraction contrary to their natural pre-seminary desires (such as is said to happen in male prisons where released prisoners revert to heterosexual experiences after release), but a situation where one who had power over the life of another is (credibly) alleged to have used that power over them for his own ends.

It would be easy to lay the blame for the Synod’s flirtation with LGBT ideology solely on Pope Francis due to his ambiguous leadership on moral issues, but this would be too narrow: until all the Fathers of today’s Church come back to the received Tradition from their theological ramblings and take up the task of recovering authentic teaching on marriage and sexuality (as well a return to good catechetical teaching and transcendent liturgy) the rotting of the Church from the inside will be impossible to stop.

Monday, 22 October 2018

On The Synod

I promised blogs on Sunday Mass readings, but I thought I should first say a few words about the 2018 Synod on youth, and what I expect from it.

Well, as a faithful Catholic what I expect is direction on how to hand on to the youth the Deposit of Faith received from Christ and His Apostles. I think we have failed to do this for decades. Catechesis for children went from study of the catechism scaffolding upon which to build) to a fluffy Christ who just loves everyone, while out seminaries taught real call to conversion from sin because God loves everyone ‘wherever they are at’. What we have in the Synod then is a group of souls who do not appear to be well formed but think that to love the sinner is to celebrate and welcome the sin or, at the very least, tolerate it. It does not bide wel for the souls of the youth or the participants of the synod.

Many today repeat Our Blessed Lord’s advice “Do not judge” (Matt.7v1), even among the highest of ecclesiastics, but they do so without any reference to His related injunction “When you judge…” (Jn.7v24). So while as a faithful Catholic I expect the synod to affirm the fact that God loves all people and calls them to Himself by a life of virtue, as a realist what I think what we will get will be a demolishing of Catholic moral teaching in order to become ‘relevant’ to, and ‘inclusive’ of, today’s pagan world. The members of the synod talk about listening to the youth, but the youth are not well formed, if indeed they are formed at all. It is a sad thing that young people from Australia have felt the need to write to the Synod all-but correcting them, rightly saying that the youth cannot help form the Church until the Church forms them. Their excellent letter states:

“We can’t hope to take shape amidst confusion over issues such as contraception, sexuality, communion for divorcees and non-Catholics, married priests and female ordination. Such confusion is borne from senior prelates purposefully employing ambiguous language when addressing such issues, even in the face of Christ’s teachings, the Church Fathers and the clear dogma of the Church. Such ambiguity is neither charitable nor desired by the youth and needs to be addressed by this Synod.
“Some of the Synod Fathers wish to avoid a Church of ‘rules’ which fail to encourage a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. However these rules lead us to Christ, they always have. We need the Church to explain why and how this is.
“When the Church eschews the truth for policy-speak, young people are left with only superficial banalities to express their beliefs. Deliberately unclear words are, ironically, relied on and repeated with rigidity. The Church should not discourage young people following its rules in love, nor its priests from teaching them.” (see LifeSite News, here).

In light of the 2015/15 Synods we may well see the current Synod walk down the road of pagan sexuality rather than Gospel virtue, LifeSite News reporting that Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras is asking that the Church pay more attention to homosexuals and the “realities” they face, specifically mentioning “marriage,” surrogate pregnancy, and adoption, and Pope Francis again claiming that too many Catholics (I assume he means Traditionalists) are ‘rigid’, see LifesiteNews: “Be careful around those who are rigid,” he said. “Be careful around Christians –be they laity, priests, bishops– who present themselves as so 'perfect,' rigid. Be careful. There’s no Spirit of God there. They lack the spirit of liberty…”. And thank God for that -who wants to be liberated from the Gospel? Who wants to be liberated from the salvation it brings?

And may I note an assumption Francis makes? He states that Traditionalists see themselves as perfect, but I think the Confessional is more frequently visited by the Traditional Catholic who knows how imperfect he or she is; it is modern liberals who have abandoned the Confessional and appear to think they are doing well because they are involved in social justice, environmental issues, immigration issues, and the promotion of inclusion of those who are in public adultery or living out disordered sexuality.

By calling for liberty in morality one would only be asking the Church to play ‘footloose and fancy-free’ with Divine Revelation; thus as faithful Catholics we may rightly ask Francis to positively re-label ‘rigidity’ as ‘Commitment’, and the ‘rigid person’ as ‘committed; loyal’. That would, of course, be dangerous, because such positive labels show the modernisers to be lacking in commitment and in loyalty to the Gospel. We can only pray for the Synod members to hold fast to the teaching of the Ten Commandments and the Tradition handed on through 20 centuries of faith, rather than fall into being those who forget that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever; do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings” (Heb.13v7-9). Clearly there is no new teaching to be found; no ‘God of Surprises’, no matter how many times we are told there is. It seems that many of our shepherds (and sheep) are being carried away from the Divine Revelation by the novelties of today’s pagan society; by those who “follow their own desires” and “look for teachers who will tell them whatever their itching ears want to hear.” (2.Tim.4v3). Perhaps there are some shepherds who are happy to hear (or to be) such teachers, because it allows the living out of unnatural proclivities? Let us stay rigid (committed and loyal) Catholics; let us continue to speak the Truth which is Christ Himself (Jm.14v6) and not try to remake Him into a God of Surprises who, rather than being “the same today, yesterday and forever”, is submissive to and tossed about by man’s changing ideologies.

Let us pray for the Synod and for our shepherds, that the Holy Spirit will take their good intentions with their compassion for those who feel marginalised and focus them on helping the youth by a strong defence and promotion of the Gospel and its unchanging teachings; let us pray that they will have the courage and the will to present these teachings to the youth and the world with compassion and understanding, but with a firm yet kindly challenge. Let us pray that they do not fall prey to the enemy who seeks to make moral truth abhorrent and have our shepherds propagate his lies about what is good, beautiful and true. If our shepherds do not listen to the Holy Spirit and uphold established Catholic morality they are going to lead the youth down the road to perdition. As the above letter indicates, even good Catholic youth have seen that. I recommend their letter to readers -and to our prelates, especially those attending the synod.