Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Godzdogz: The Stations

Some wonderful stuff on Godzdogz for Holy Week.

Br. Robert Verrill OP gives a reflection on the First Station of the Cross

Br. David Barrins OP gives a reflection on the Sixth Station of the Cross

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

As if we weren't in enough bother....

He's back, and he's all Messianic:

"Come unto me, all ye that are NewLabour...."

Yes, yes and thrice, yes (apart from the punching bit, obviously...)

If anyone uses the words ‘Pope’ and ‘resign’ in your presence punch them. This whole thing is a stitch up, partial and misleading stories fed by liberal church functionaries to liberal journalists and misreported out of a mixture of malice and stupidity. The enemies of the faith inside and outside the visible church are terrified that the Pope will take this opportunity to clean the augean stables and so they are trying to throw as much manure at him as possible in the hope that he will be too weak to tackle them. They are using the tried and tested tactic of distorting the reasons for secrecy surrounding processes for solicitation under the seal and ignoring the problems created by the limitation period. But even if the Pope had a thousand lovers of every age, gender and species and feasted on the bodies of his enemies he shouldn’t resign. The Pope is the final earthly judge he is neither impeccable nor omniscient, he is infallible in faith and morals when defining catholic doctrine and he is the supreme magistrate of the universal church. Even if the morals and ideology of his critics were perfect (instead of crying out to heaven for vengeance) it would be totally unacceptable for a living Pope to submit himself to the judgement of anyone, down to and including media manipulated public opinion.

Aelianus puts it in a nutshell, God bless him, over at Laodicea

Monday, March 29, 2010

So you don't have to...

Here's your all-purpose, cut-out and keep, atheist rent-a-mob comment on any blog from The Telegraph to CiF as it relates to the Holy Father at the moment:

....who is surprised at the behaviour of a former member of the Waffen-SS... Ratzinger the down The Vatican...sell all the art treasures...flying spaghetti monster...imaginary friend...Mafia-controlled...white-bearded-man on a Popery here!!...

[continues for 569 spittle-flecked comments]

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Oh, the irony...

Those who have spent the last 20 years calling the Holy Father God's Rottweiler or most recently The Enforcer now seem to be complaining that 'The Vatican' didn't have its nose in the books or chapel houses of every Catholic Diocese in the world.

How did these impeccable left-liberals become such ardent Ultramontanists?

Saturday, March 27, 2010

What the...?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010


Where to begin.

This must be what it felt like at the beginning of the Counter-Reformation. Quite clearly the Augean Stables need cleared out and in my book there is only one man capable of starting the job. It is too much to expect tha Almighty God will spare him to complete the work but we should pray God the Holy Father's successor will be a man of similar vision and courage.

Some of the representatives of the victims of abuse could not accept the Pope's apology. I guess they never will and I'm sorry and I pray for them.

What is it that non-Catholics don't get? The teaching of the catholic Church is explicit and stern:

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.

Her Master was sterner still:

It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.
Luke 17:2

That won't stop them trying. The stain is on the priesthood. In the common mind the words priest and paedophile are virtually synonymous, resulting in this kind of slander (though quite what Fr Magee was doing in a Masonic Lodge in the West of Scotland is anyone's guess. Very ecumenical.)

I am bewildered, but know I shouldn't be. Priests are men and men are fallen. We can change systems and put protection into place, as we have in hospitals and social care homes but we can only cut down the risk. The Holy Father can institute reforms but the changes have to take place in the hearts of a billion or more Catholics.

Why are we surprised? Is the Truth damaged because men can't live up to it? No. What do we do? Maybe we should demand a little more. That our seminaries are better run. That our seminarians and priests hold the teaching of the Church in public and in private. That the fullness of the Church's teaching is pronounced from the pulpit. that there is a return to asceticism, prayer and discipline in the clergy.

But we as lay people should also demand a little more of ourselves. Do we pray the Rosary for priests? Do we pray for good vocations. Do we fast and do penance? Do we pray for the victims of abuse. Are we faithful in our own lives? Do we hold the teaching of the Church in public and in private. Do we support priests and appreciate them? Are we willing to stand up for the Holy Father when the sneers come at work or at dinner parties or in the pub?

It's time to clear up the mess. And it starts with all of us.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Church Militant

Like I need excuses to waste time....

From the people who brought you Cheezburger

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Rough justice

Our tribulations, such as they were last week were related to a lawsuit. I need to be careful what I say here in that things are not completely settled yet.

The background is this: when our extension was being built all was going well, a price agreed, work going to plan, until the builder came to us midway through the job to say there was “a shortfall”. In essence he had made an estimating error, hadn’t read the detailed spec and was £15000 down on the job and wanted us to pay for it. For all that we are well paid this was a big piece of work for which we had saved up for five years and budgeted and borrowed. We told him exactly this and that any extra work would be paid for but a contract was a contract.

The job was finished and paid in full when he came to us afterwards demanding an additional £15000 in cash. We told him firmly but politely to get lost. Then the letters started arriving with grave threats of litigation from his solicitors. Then the summons. Then the hours of going through submissions and defences. We thought he had a couple of items that warranted paid – small things adding up to a few hundred pounds and withholding the wages of a worker is a sin. We offered to settle out of court for any additional work he thought he had done. We offered repeatedly and with increasingly generous sums. He was belligerent, he would not move, he wanted his day in court. He submitted quite clearly fraudulent documents into court. He was so stupid that the documents quite demonstrably could not have been produced on the day they were dated (they included items which could only have been known about some six months later than the putative date on the document).

So after half a dozen offers we found ourselves at the doors of Glasgow Sheriff Court. If you have Perry Mason or Rumpole or Judge John Deed in your head, forget it. This was a room about double the size of an average living room with a large table and what looked like an Ikea desk on a dais at one end and a small witness box to one side (again, straight out of MFI), two solicitors and a part-time Sheriff (Note: a Sheriff in Scotland is not a John Wayne character but a judge in second-tier courts)

We sat through two days of the builder in the witness box. He lied. He lied after taking a solemn oath. He lied about the work he had done. He lied about the specifications he had seen. He lied about the shortfall. He lied to such a ludicrous extent that even the Sheriff and his own lawyer couldn’t hide their laughter. By day two the Sheriff was looking out of the window with a glazed expression on his face. After lunch on day two the Sheriff indicated he wanted an end to proceedings or the costs would exceed the sum craved. He was right. The builder managed to hustle some money from us, money we had offered months before to make the whole thing go away, but the costs are extortionate and the whole thing a waste of time. I've delayed submitting my doctoral thesis for over a year, although I think I could have a reasonable stab at a Masters in Contract Law now. I took three days annual leave and cancelled a clinic, two postgraduate teaching sessions and two ward rounds to listen to someone traduce me and my family while lying on oath and all without redress or ability to respond.

We could have avoided it all, but he hustled and hustled to get money out of us to the point where simple human dignity would not allow us to be hustled any more. We’d answer his charges and defend ourselves – stand up to the bully. We ended up shelling out a heap of costs for the privilege of cutting down his demands to somewhere near what we had offered him months before with the added privilege of watching him perjure himself in the dock.

What does all this mean?

Well, not a lot in the great scheme of things. I feel ashamed I failed to protect my wife and family from this man. I feel the system of justice in these matters is an organised form of hustling. There are times when I feel vengeful and I have to remember my Lord’s response in worse circumstances.

More positively I know the Lord walked with me. My Lenten efforts have been rubbish this year as I’ve given in to the emotional pull of it all, but perhaps they are assuaged by listening to false accusations from a lying witness as my Lord did and being unable to make reply. I understand Psalm 23 much better than I did and it is a daily consolation. Job had it much worse.

As I said before, we are not out on the street, we love each other as a family, we are supported by loving family and friends who have rallied to our aid, we are in good health, there is food on the table. In the end a fat bully lied after taking a solemn oath to get some money out of us.

Worse things happen. It probably happens every day in every lawcourt in the land.

To those of you who have prayed for us, God bless you. Holy Mass will be offered for your intentions.

St Nicholas, pray for us.
St John of Capestrano, pray for us.
St Thomas More, pray for us.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Getting there

Your prayers buoy us up.

Thank you and God bless you.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

A couple of days of tribulation

Mrs P and I are about to have a few days of difficulty. Nothing that will put our souls in peril. Nothing life threatening. Nothing that will threaten us as a family. Nothing that will put us out on the street or lose the things that matter to us. But we are about to have a difficult couple of days. By Friday it will all be over. By God's good grace we will get through.

All we ask is that you pray for us.

Holy Michael, the Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our stronghold against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray; and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host, by the power of God cast into hell Satan and all the evil spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Dungeon, fire and sword

With the dissolution of Catholic adoption agencies, the power to teach elements of the Catholic Faith having been taken away by Ed Balls we now face the prospect that having forced the Church of England by Law Established into 'celebrating' same-sex civil partnerships, other clergy may be headed the same way.

Ben Summerskill of Stonewall gives the following assessment of where we are headed:

“Right now, faiths shouldn’t be forced to hold civil partnerships, although in ten or 20 years, that may change.”

Did you get that? "Right now" they "shouldn't be forced" but "that may change". I suppose we at least know where we stand.

Those priests now coming to ordination will face a situation, presumably, that before their silver jubilee that they will be forced into acts against the teaching of the Catholic Church under some sort of Civil Constitution of the Clergy. Presumably we'll all eventually face a Test Act of some description. Anyone who doesn't accept the full bhoona of Stonewall's demands might be deprived of tertiary education, public office, employment in any public service if history is any guide to the way things are going.

St John Fisher, St Thomas More and St John Ogilivie pray for us!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Spring - sprung

Now, Christ, Thou Son of Righteousness,
Let dawn our darkened spirits bless,
The light of grace to us restore,
While day to earth returns once more.

Thou who dost give the accepted time,
give, too, a heart that mourns for crime,
let those by mercy now be cured
whom loving kindness long endured.

Spare not, we pray, to send us here
some penance kindly but severe,
so let Thy gift of pardoning grace
our grievous sinfulness efface.

Soon will that day, Thy day, appear
and all things with its brightness cheer:
we will rejoice in it, as we
return thereby to grace, and Thee.

Let all the world from shore to shore
Thee, gracious Trinity, adore;
right soon Thy loving pardon grant,
that we our new-made song may chant. Amen.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010


In The Telegraph at the weekend:

'I pray twice a day. I am not keen on the current abortion law. And I admire Pope Benedict. As far as I am concerned, the Church needed a tug in the direction of greater respect for tradition.'

Not sure my Scots neighbours will agree, but Top Bloke in my book.

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