Friday, June 13, 2014

El Camino con Padre Joe y Señor McSorley

My dear friend Fr Joseph Lappin and a colleague of his, Mr McSorley a teacher at St Thomas Aquinas High School in Jordanhill, are walking the 500 miles of the Camino from St Jean Pied-Port to Santiago de Compostella, starting on 22nd June and finishing on 23rd July, DV. My admiration for their efforts is great, especially as it is for such a good cause, Mary's Meals. I hope they will accrue many spiritual graces on the way for them and those for whom they will pray (hint, hint).

Please pray for them.

You can follow and support them at the following links:
Twitter: :@STACamino
Instagram: frlappin/PadreJL

You can donate to their appeal for Mary's Meals: HERE

I'll keep you updated on their progress.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Are we the only Christians left?

That may sound an arrogant thing to say but it would seem that the Church of England by Law Established has abandoned all notion of the transcendent let alone God Almighty.

Yesterday I was preparing dinner and listening to Radio5 Live’s Drive programme. You can hear the whole thing"> HERE.

Somewhere between 6 and 7 there were a series of reports from Lichfield Cathedral about a vigil for the unfortunate young man ">Stephen Sutton.

Now, don’t get me wrong I am not criticising Stephen Sutton who seems to have done a great deal of good with the time he had left on this earth when given a terminal diagnosis. God rest his soul.

But the whole carnival surrounding death seems to be precisely that: a carnival. The crowds, some of the creepily voyeuristic from the interviews on the radio, were decked in yellow. It was all about celebration. The Dean of Lichfield Cathedral came on and continued the narrative “…blah, blah blah…positivity…blah blah blah…celebration…blah blah blah… colourful…blah blah blah…social media”. The was not one single mention of God, death, facing one’s Maker. The awesome terror of facing the possibility of extinction is just treated as a kind of ‘Meh’ moment. The Catholic blogosphere will occasionally mention the very unCatholic practice of eulogising the dead or worse - orations over the catafalque where vices are praised as virtues. But for a churchman to leave out all mention of death, judgement, heaven, hell, facing the Almighty and the redeeming power of the Resurrection of Christ seems a terrible sin of omission.

The Church of England is blessed with a wonderful service and words of commendation of the dead:

“MAN, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.
   In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O LORD, who for our sins art justly displeased?
   Yet, O LORD GOD most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.
   Thou knowest, LORD, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, LORD most holy, O GOD most mighty, O holy and merciful SAVIOUR; thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee.
¶ Then, while the earth shall be cast upon the body by some standing by, the Minister shall say,
   FORASMUCH as it hath pleased Almighty God, in his wise providence, to take out of this world the soul of our deceased brother, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; looking for the general Resurrection in the last day, and the life of the world to come, through our LORD JESUS CHRIST; at whose second coming in glorious majesty to judge the world, the earth and the sea shall give up their dead; and the corruptible bodies of those who sleep in him shall be changed, and made like unto his own glorious body; according to the mighty working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.”

This is recognisably a Christian prayer and one I wouldn’t mind at my own funeral, but for the fact that I am  Latin Rite Christian. I hope it was used for Stephen Sutton.

There is a steady cultural shift, curious in this Culture of Death, of not mentioning death at all (have you noticed how much the media have taken of late to using the phrases ‘passing on’ or ‘passing away’ or just ‘passing’?)

The whole thing of secular funerals is bewildering to me. Does these people not mourn their dead? No sadness, just a celebration? Don’t their hearts ache seeing their loved ones in the ground? Of course as Christians we have a joyful hope of the Resurrection, but we should mourn as Martha and Mary mourned Lazarus and as Our Lady mourned the slain Lamb of God.

Celebrations? Bright colours? Eulogising? No thanks – give me a Christian death and a Christian funeral. If the attendees are uncomfortable with an explicit commending of me to my Maker, too bad. It will be my last act of witness to Christ.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Meat sacrificed to idols

Could anyone help me out here? I understand that one of my favoured pizzas at Pizza Express is made with ritually slaughtered meat  over which  invocations are made to a god I do not recognise as the Holy & Undivided Trinity. It rather seems it me that in conscience I'll have to stop eating them and let Pizza Express know as much. Am I right?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Smokescreens #2

Richard Dawkins also spoke against Pope Benedict during his visit, a visit when the subject of clerical child abuse was raised again and again.

Let me remind you of the teaching of the Catholic Church on child abuse:

2389 Connected to incest is any sexual abuse perpetrated by adults on children or adolescents entrusted to their care. The offense is compounded by the scandalous harm done to the physical and moral integrity of the young, who will remain scarred by it all their lives; and the violation of responsibility for their upbringing.

That's pretty unequivocal, yes? What does Dick think:

In an interview in The Times magazine on Saturday (Sept. 7), Dawkins, 72, he said he was unable to condemn what he called "the mild pedophilia" he experienced at an English school when he was a child in the 1950s.
Referring to his early days at a boarding school in Salisbury, he recalled how one of the (unnamed) masters "pulled me on his knee and put his hand inside my shorts."
He said other children in his school peer group had been molested by the same teacher but concluded: "I don't think he did any of us lasting harm."

So, RD uses child abuse, which the Church unequivocally condemns, as a stick to beat the Holy Father, yet thinks it does not lasting harm. Protest the Pope was a smokescreen for people with some pretty loathsome views. The two I've mentioned thus far are the least obnoxious. Watch this space.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Smokescreens #1

In the furore over Harriet Harman's involvement with NCCL at the time it was affiliated with the Paedophile Information Exchange (PIE), you may have missed mention of Geoffrey Roberston QC, author of The Case Against The Pope and a speaker who addressed the Protest The Pope rally.

So now it turns out Geoffrey Roberston QC, now a Recorder, I believe, was on the board of NCCL in 1974 at the time it was affiliated with PIE. So a man with supposed oversight of the governance of an organisation affiliated to a bunch of paedophiles nearly all of whom ended up serving time for paedophilia and/or child pornography offences decides to point out the mote in the eye of Pope Benedict.

Looks like he's been trying one of the oldest tricks in the book to divert attention from his own protection of paedophiles, by omission or commission, malice or ineptitude, by throwing mud at a man who finally, properly addressed one of the biggest scandals to hit the Church when others had dodged it.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

On pointing out the Emperor's sartorial inadequacy.

Sorry to keep banging on about it, but there are no more married gay couple than there were last night in England. Any more than there is a validly ordained Archbishop of Canterbury or that Her Majesty's Government could change the Laws of Physics.

Pointing out The Real and The True remains a duty for Catholic Christians.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Gay marriage. Civil marriage. Meh.

So, the (as Martin Kelly terms it) soi-disant, ersatz Scottish Government will enact a law to allow same-sex couples to marry (in the legal sense of the word). You never saw this coming? Thought you could stop it? Whatever. It's here. So what does one do with it? The answer, I think, is that we treat anything other than sacramental marriage with utter indifference.

I would favour the Church petitioning the S-D ESG to remove its powers to solemnise marriage in Catholic churches. Catholics, if they wish to marry should follow the French pattern and visit the mairie to get the civil  registration and marry sacramentally afterwards in church as joyfully as possible - full High Mass, best fig, smartest vestments, bells pealing , preferably on another day.

But here's the rub: Catholics should be encouraged to make as little fuss as possible over the civil part: turn up casually dressed, say, with two witnesses who are random strangers. Stay just within the law, but treat the whole process with all the solemnity of applying for a tax disc. Because that's just how dignified civil marriage became last night in Scotland.