Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Holy Mary,
Holy Mother of God,
Holy Virgin of Virgins,
Mother of Christ,
Mother of divine grace,
Mother most pure,
Mother most chaste,
Mother inviolate,
Mother undefiled,
Mother most amiable,
Mother most admirable,
Mother of good Counsel,
Mother of our Creator,
Mother of our Savior,
Virgin most prudent,
Virgin most venerable,
Virgin most renowned,
Virgin most powerful,
Virgin most merciful,
Virgin most faithful,
Mirror of justice,
Seat of wisdom,

Cause of our joy,
Spiritual vessel,
Vessel of honor,
Singular vessel of devotion,
Mystical rose,
Tower of David,
Tower of ivory,
House of gold,
Ark of the covenant,
Gate of heaven,
Morning star,
Health of the sick,
Refuge of sinners,
Comforter of the afflicted,
Help of Christians,
Queen of Angels,
Queen of Patriarchs,
Queen of Prophets,
Queen of Apostles,
Queen of Martyrs,
Queen of Confessors,
Queen of Virgins,
Queen of all Saints,
Queen conceived without original sin,
Queen assumed into heaven,
Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Queen of peace....

Sunday, 28 October 2007

Fascinating facts about where I live: The Land of The Raven

Uncertainty...Anti-Abortion Civil War ???

Damian Thompson seems highly enthusiastic of the 'Realistic Approach' towards being authentically and effectively 'Pro-Life'. I am more than a little disconcerted by this.

From The Holy Smoke Blog.:>
It is fascinating to read between the lines of Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor’s excellent article in The Sunday Telegraph calling for a new approach to fighting abortion. He has firmly aligned the Catholic Church with one side in the civil war splitting the pro-life movement. And he has picked the right side, in my opinion.

Cormac Murphy-O’Connor's abortion stance is commendable

Pro-lifers broadly divide into two camps. The first is hard-line: it is dominated by the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child (SPUC), which – believe it or not – actually welcomes the Government’s refusal to contemplate reducing the 24-week upper limit for abortions.

This is because SPUC believes that a slightly lower limit will increase the number of abortions (which might well be the case if the reduction was just a couple of weeks). But another factor may be its members’ disgust at any compromise with those people – actually the vast majority of the British public – who want abortion to remain legal but also believe that 200,000 “terminations” a year is far too many.

The other camp, the realists, recognises two things. First, 40 years of (often heroic) witness against abortion by pro-life campaigners has got us absolutely nowhere. British public opinion – moulded by the BBC - thinks of the pro-life movement as a coalition between Mary Whitehouse grannies, hypocritical priests and redneck bigots. OK, so it’s an unfair caricature, but let’s not pretend that it hasn’t stuck.

Second, despite the negative associations of the phrase “pro-life”, that same public opinion is slowly changing its mind about abortion. The process has taken many years, but it’s finally dawning on people that the killing of babies who can survive outside the womb is, well, a bit controversial, don’t you think? Also, many feminists, including Germaine Greer, are fed up with the way old-style liberals present this awful procedure, which does tremendous violence to a woman’s body, as something desirable in itself.

A substantial lowering of the time limit for abortions may be some way off, but it can be achieved only if pro-lifers forge alliances with pro-abortion (sorry, I can’t being myself to say “pro-choice”) MPs who are troubled by late-term abortions and the killing of foetuses as a substitute for contraception, which was not the intention of the 1967 Act.

As the Cardinal puts it: “While upholding the principle of the sacredness of human life, I believe it is both licit and important for those in public life who oppose abortion to work and vote for achievable and incremental improvements to an unjust law. That is why I would support in any way I can MPs who take this stance and are pushing for a reduction in the upper time limit and opposing the removal of existing safeguards.”

Quite right. Take a look at the website of the charity LIFE, which is pro-life in the fullest sense of the term. This is where the future lies.

[You See This is where Damian and I part ways - because I am a lot more hesitant to throw my lot in with their Eminences....]
My Response:

Any stick to beat a dog Damo ?

I don't understand what exactly is going on - except an exercise in amelioration and placation of people's 'good taste' and sentimentality over presumed 'extra suffering and awareness' at the later date.
[Something which any embryologist would tell you isn't true anyway - self-awareness and pain receptivity begin a lot earlier in development, and besides which , would MP's or the cardinals feel better about the slaughter of the unborn if the embryos/foetuses received a general anaesthetic first ? Yes I'm being specious and distasteful about murder - but I'm not the cleric negotiating with the conspirators/supporters in the greatest genocide humanity has ever known am I ? ]

This argument of viability is so fallaciously absurd it's something redolent of Aristotle's 'vegetative'/'animal' stages - an abject obscenity - we're talking about human beings who would all survive if left in the womb for the allocated time nature intended - whether it's three months or nine and a half; it's ludicrous to equivocate in this way. But if it makes some people hesitate for whatever reason - fair play to anyone who uses it to save a life - but there isn't much solace to a foetus when 'kill' merely becomes 'kill earlier'...

Will this reduce the amount of abortions in any way ?
Will it prevent the abortions of any foetus with any 'abnormality' up to birth ?
Or abortions for mothers to whom an assessed 'potential psychological damage' would occur should the pregnancy continue , up to birth ?
Does this diminish in any way the chance of the 'abortion on demand before 12 weeks' proposals which will most assuredly become law after the october review ? Or will it increase the chances of it ? Placate the wavering MP's sensitivity to the issue ?
Will this save any lives whatsoever ? Or will it make the hesitant expectant mother dismiss any consideration of pain or suffering because the law has been changed to ensure it doesn't happen [when it hasn't , won't, and couldn't !!] ? Could this actually increase the amount of abortions?

I just simply don't understand the rationale for this 'compromise' whatsoever - except in the obvious outcome that it makes more people less disconcerted and more comfortable about the genocide of the unborn - an exercise in making people feel better about it.

I understand the motivation - gnawing away at the time period in the hope that it becomes less and less till potentially zero or only the morning after pill is legal or whatever aspirations the cardinals hope for as the 'best and only chance' - but exactly what price are we paying for this ?

The language of the cardinals' joint letter was pragmatic to say the least - it didn't outrightly categorically condemn or use the language indicative of what abortion actually is - rather it sought to gather in all those of every colour on the issue to come together and act towards this 24-to-16 policy ? sure it covered its back with a few interspersed pro-life absolutes - but any reader would understand that this was a most dangerous game.

What do they presume to campaign for next ? A sixteen to twelve week ? Are they thinking like the gay activists that because they got sixteen they should campaign for thirteen ?

Would it not have been better for the cardinals to state 'we welcome any reduction in the abortion rate - but...." [and follow it will a firm stance on abortion - what it is , how it happens and how obscene a violation of both the mother and society that it truly is] ?

Rather they have toned down the negative language in order to 'gather like-minded forces' - for all I know this 'forging of alliances' could be sending us all to hell in a handcart....and sending potentially millions in the future into the hospital incinerators because it makes abortion more tolerable and socially acceptable.

Admittedly I can understand SPUC's reticence to do any 'deals with the devil' and in the process not grasp hold of any opportunity which could in the long-run save lives merely through their moral recalcitrance...that would be reprehensible of them....
I can understand too Life's desperate motivations and machinations to do anything to prevent any more loss of life at any cost - willing to make a deal with anyone about anything in order to save life ; because otherwise the price would be too high...

But what are we really doing ?
Objectively - looking directly in the mirror....
What are we doing ?
Saving lives ? or conspiring in the signing of a death warrant for millions in the future
because we helped desensitise millions of future mothers to the reality of what abortion truly is ?

I don't know !
But I would be extremely reluctant to pat their Eminences on the backs and fervently declare that this weekend they were definitely about the Lord's business...because at the moment I'm biting my lip and my brain is aching thinking about the whole thing. I wish I could be as certain about it as you Damian; but I remember Aesop's fables:

p.s. The statement that the Cardinal has allied the Catholic Church to one side of the argument is frightening me somewhat upon the twentieth re-reading - I really would appreciate any feedback from as many of you as possible - please!

'Bella' - a "must see" says Cardinal - Plus Eduardo's Real Beauty.

Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, said the film, released today in the United States, "has a message that is so connected to life: to the problems of life, the challenges of life, the value of life." The cardinal wrote to his fellow bishops encouraging them to host advanced screenings of "Bella" with the hope of spreading the film's message.

The film won the 2006 People's Choice Award at the Toronto Film Festival.

"Bella" is a story about a young pregnant woman who loses her job, and a man who is unable to recover from a tragic accident in his past. Their friendship changes their lives and brings new hope to both.

The film features actors Eduardo Verástegui, Tammy Blanchard, Manual Pérez and Ali Landry.

The Beauty Within....

Verástegui, a teen heartthrob during his years as a professional musician supermodel and actor, once voted the most beautiful man in the world ; is now known as a Catholic role model. After a spiritual conversion that brought him back to Catholicism, he is now an outspoken defender of the right to life, chastity and his faith. This video will bring you to tears...

The Free Man - By G.K. Chesterton

The idea of liberty has ultimately a religious root; that is why
men find it so easy to die for and so difficult to define.
It refers finally to the fact that, while the oyster and the palm
tree have to save their lives by law, man has to save his soul
by choice. Ruskin rebuked Coleridge for praising freedom,
and said that no man would wish the sun to be free.
It seems enough to answer that no man would wish to be the sun.
Speaking as a Liberal, I have much more sympathy with the idea
of Joshua stopping the sun in heaven than with the idea of Ruskin
trotting his daily round in imitation of its regularity. Joshua was
a Radical, and his astronomical act was distinctly revolutionary.
For all revolution is the mastering of matter by the spirit of man,
the emergence of that human authority within us which, in the noble
words of Sir Thomas Browne, "owes no homage unto the sun."

Generally, the moral substance of liberty is this:
that man is not meant merely to receive good laws, good food:
or good conditions, like a tree in a garden, but is meant
to take a certain princely pleasure in selecting and shaping
like the gardener. Perhaps that is the meaning of the trade
of Adam. And the best popular words for rendering the real
idea of liberty are those which speak of man as a creator.
We use the word "make" about most of the things in which freedom
is essential, as a country walk or a friendship or a love affair.
When a man "makes his way" through a wood he has really created,
he has built a road, like the Romans. When a man "makes a friend,"
he makes a man. And in the third case we talk of a man "making love,"
as if he were (as, indeed, he is) creating new masses and
colours of that flaming material an awful form of manufacture.
In its primary spiritual sense, liberty is the god in man, or,
if you like the word, the artist.

In its secondary political sense liberty is the living influence of
the citizen on the State in the direction of moulding or deflecting it.
Men are the only creatures that evidently possess it.
On the one hand, the eagle has no liberty; he only has loneliness.
On the other hand, ants, bees, and beavers exhibit the highest
miracle of the State influencing the citizen; but no perceptible
trace of the citizen influencing the State. You may, if you like,
call the ants a democracy as you may call the bees a despotism.
But I fancy that the architectural ant who attempted to introduce
an art nouveau style of ant-hill would have a career as curt
and fruitless as the celebrated bee who wanted to swarm alone.
The isolation of this idea in humanity is akin to its religious character;
but it is not even in humanity by any means equally distributed.
The idea that the State should not only be supported by its children,
like the ant-hill, but should be constantly criticised and reconstructed
by them, is an idea stronger in Christendom than any other part
of the planet; stronger in Western than Eastern Europe. And touching
the pure idea of the individual being free to speak and act
within limits, the assertion of this idea, we may fairly say,
has been the peculiar honour of our own country. For my part I
greatly prefer the Jingoism of Rule Britannia to the Imperialism of
The Recessional. I have no objection to Britannia ruling the waves.
I draw the line when she begins to rule the dry land--and such
damnably dry land too--as in Africa. And there was a real old English
sincerity in the vulgar chorus that "Britons never shall be slaves."
We had no equality and hardly any justice; but freedom we were really
fond of. And I think just now it is worth while to draw attention
to the old optimistic prophecy that "Britons never shall be slaves."

The mere love of liberty has never been at a lower ebb
in England than it has been for the last twenty years.
Never before has it been so easy to slip small Bills
through Parliament for the purpose of locking people up.
Never was it so easy to silence awkward questions, or to protect
high-placed officials. Two hundred years ago we turned out
the Stuarts rather than endanger the Habeas Corpus Act. Two years
ago we abolished the Habeas Corpus Act rather than turn out
the Home Secretary. We passed a law (which is now in force)
that an Englishman's punishment shall not depend upon judge and jury,
but upon the governors and jailers who have got hold of him.
But this is not the only case. The scorn of liberty
is in the air. A newspaper is seized by the police in
Trafalgar Square without a word of accusation or explanation.
The Home Secretary says that in his opinion the police
are very nice people, and there is an end of the matter.
A Member of Parliament attempts to criticise a peerage.
The Speaker says he must not criticise a peerage, and there
the matter drops.

Political liberty, let us repeat, consists in the power of
criticising those flexible parts of the State which constantly
require reconsideration, not the basis, but the machinery.
In plainer words, it means the power of saying the sort of
things that a decent but discontented citizen wants to say.
He does not want to spit on the Bible, or to run about
without clothes, or to read the worst page in Zola from the pulpit
of St. Paul's. Therefore the forbidding of these things
(whether just or not) is only tyranny in a secondary and
special sense. It restrains the abnormal, not the normal man.
But the normal man, the decent discontented citizen, does want
to protest against unfair law courts. He does want to expose
brutalities of the police. He does want to make game of a vulgar
pawnbroker who is made a Peer. He does want publicly to warn
people against unscrupulous capitalists and suspicious finance.
If he is run in for doing this (as he will be) he does want to proclaim
the character or known prejudices of the magistrate who tries him.
If he is sent to prison (as he will be) he does want to have a
clear and civilised sentence, telling him when he will come out.
And these are literally and exactly the things that he now cannot get.
That is the almost cloying humour of the present situation.
I can say abnormal things in modern magazines.
It is the normal things that I am not allowed to say.
I can write in some solemn quarterly an elaborate article explaining
that God is the devil; I can write in some cultured weekly an
aesthetic fancy describing how I should like to eat boiled baby.
The thing I must not write is rational criticism of the men
and institutions of my country.

The present condition of England is briefly this: That no Englishman
can say in public a twentieth part of what he says in private.
One cannot say, for instance, that--But I am afraid I must leave out
that instance, because one cannot say it. I cannot prove my case--
because it is so true.

Seventh Meditation of St Francis de Sales - On Hell

1. PLACE yourself in God’s Presence.

2. Humble yourself, and ask His Aid.

3. Picture to yourself a dark city, reeking with the flames of sulphur and brimstone,[or your personal imagined image of hell] inhabited by citizens who cannot get forth.

1. Even so the lost are plunged in their infernal abyss;—suffering indescribable torture in every sense and every member; and that because having used their members and senses for sin, it is just that through them they should suffer now. Those eyes which delighted in impure vicious sights, now behold devils; the ears which took pleasure in unholy words, now are deafened with yells of despair;—and so on with the other senses.

2. Beyond all these sufferings, there is one greater still, the privation and pain of loss of God’s Glory, which is for ever denied to their vision. If Absalom cared not to be released from exile, if he might not see his father’s face, 2 Sam. xiv. 32.
how more painful will it be to be deprived for ever of the blessed vision of God?
3. Consider how insupportable the pains of Hell will be by reason of their eternal duration. If the irritating bite of an insect, or the restlessness of fever, makes an ordinary night seem so long and tedious, how terrible will the endless night of eternity be, where nought will be found save despair, blasphemy and fury!

Affections and Resolutions.
1. Read the Prophet’s descriptions of the terrors of the Lord, Isa. xxxiii. 14. “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?”
and ask your soul whether it can face them—whether you can bear to lose your God for ever?
2. Confess that you have repeatedly deserved to do so. Resolve henceforth to act differently, and to rescue yourself from this abyss. Resolve on distinct definite acts by which you may avoid sin, and thereby eternal death.

Give thanks, offer yourself, pray.

Now the Long Winter Nights are closing in....

How about gathering round with your friends/family to play some boardgames ?
My Family have dozens but this Christmas we're going for an all-out blitz because in spite of all the video games and dvds we possess ; the most fun we have is playing boardgames !
Over the next few days I'll give some recommendations:

'Wizards' from Avalon Hill is a very long 'race against time' fantasy boardgame. The playing area is composed of snowflake-shaped magical/elven/common tiles so the game is different every time it's played. The plot is quite intriguing - One of the seven high wizards is a traitor and seeks to destroy the land - but the identity of the wizard is unknown to all - you are a young apprentice who must train to be either a wizard, sorcerer or druid and gain experience by performing many tasks/epic quests across the land ; in order to prove your worth to begin the quest to find the hidden wizards , collect their gemstones and place them upon the druid stones to thwart the demons invading the land . Sound tough enough ? Well the enemy wizard has sent his demons out to thwart your quest - unless enough tasks are completed every fourteen turns; one of the land tiles is destroyed by demons !! Not only that once you have spent hours and travelled many hundreds of miles performing dozens of quests and received some gemstones from their respective wizards - the few remaining wizards must be encountered and one of them is the evil wizard who will steal all your gemstones and your hunt for the stones must begin again !! It's a really fantastic game to play if you have a long afternoon ahead of you. It's virtually nothing to look at, merely pieces of cardboard , but a lot of time and energy was spent composing the variety of tasks and events within the game - Imagination is at the heart of it all....Copies are extremely hard to find and expensive due to its rarity [looked on ebay and it's £50 !!! [My ex-Landlord stole my first copy and Nicky threw out our second copy because she thought the box contents were a bit messy ???!!]

But Miracles do Happen and Some Angel of the World Wide Web has made a downloadable version of it for Java 1.4 at

- A great thing about this game is that this can be played by one person just as easily as by a family !!! {n.b One thing I would recommend is that if you do play the computer version, change the tasks required to thwart the demons from 10 to '2 per person' - it makes the game a little more 'fair'}

Seriously lose yourself in a fantasy world for a few hours : Visit the witch and claim your reward,escape from the dragon's lair, climb the mountains and encounter the three high sorcerers - run for your life while the demons destroy the land from beneath your feet !

What's more - it sure beats an hour of watching 'Deal or no Deal'

New Blog

Welcome to the Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative!
Welcome to our new blog! You may have noticed that our website is now defunct - instead we’ve decided to start a blog to stand alongside the Sisters of the Gospel of Life blog.
Over time we’ll build this site up with back-ground information about the Initiative, statistics and other information about pro-life issues, as well as news regarding events and our activities here in Glasgow.
So keep watching!

Saturday, 27 October 2007

London March and Service for Life....

Only too sorry I cannot be there...plans were thwarted at the last minute.

I ask you all to put aside a few minutes for silent prayer for all those millions silenced over the past four decades - we talk of 6.7 million british babies killed; but the global figure of 46 million per annum means three abortions occur every two seconds...and that doesn't include the millions of chemically induced ones.

Plus we also have to made our voices heard : loudly and clearly !

Abortion on demand is already here in all but name; but many powerful political forces wish it to soon become law.

have more details.

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Now followers of Christian teachings are being banned from fostering...

From Christian Concern for Our Nation: Committed Christian couple, Vince and Pauline Matherick, have been told they will not be reregistered as foster carers following their refusal to sign an Equality policy which forbids discrimination on the grounds of homosexuality. Mr Matherick, a 65 year old minster at South Chard Christian Church and his wife, Pauline, have been fostering since 2001 and have looked after 28 children. Earlier this year they were asked to agree to a new Equality policy which would require them to say that homosexual relationships were equal to heterosexual marriages if asked by a child about such relationships.

Mr Matherick explained that he and his wife had never discriminated against anybody, but that they would not teach children about the practice of homosexuality because the Bible condemns any kind of sexual practice outside of a marriage relationship.

[thanks to Catholic Action UK]

A voice from our past....

You know this is so poignant to what Damian Thompson yearns for: the voice crying in the wilderness; the single person willing to address the whole ridiculous debacle and shatter the collective self-delusion.

People are very experienced of the backlash to Humanae Vitae - the equivocations of millions of the laity to justify anything they wished to do in that single antagonism they threw as a 'J'accuse' against anything the Vatican pronounced - the abject ignorance of some clergy; who didn't understand the fundamental moral ramifications intrinsic within HV ; and consequently took every measure within their grasp to either uphold or repudiate papal authority - with irrational fallacies on both sides verging upon mendacity and heterodoxy.

Yet somehow amidst all the revisionist furore 'how it all began ?' seems to have been lost - a collective amnesia has ensued regarding the whole issue's origins....
It all started because a little man in westminster said that 'he had all that he could stand, and wasn't going to take it any more'

It was an open secret that conclave 80 in 1958 was the zenith of the northern european power - amidst all the gossip [and the ensuing conspiracy theories] it was well known that the French, Dutch etc had won a supreme ideological victory; and they began to believe that they could manipulate the whole fabric of Holy Mother church into their envisaged image and likeness - it began through journal articles and narcissistic semi-autobiographical 'visions for the people of God' publications - then the NE bishops began to believe all the hype [especially with all the praise and adulation coming from academia and the US] and thought they could say and do anything they wished ; and the "cowardly" vatican would subserviently conform : "bowing to those from the superior intellectual heartland."

They primarily launched volleys along the broadside of the church's morality regarding life and sexuality - they started with homosexuality and euthanasia - but their main thrust was a devious manipulation of certain passages in casti conubii and the allocutios of Pius XII to the doctors and widwives - they started making liberal proclamations regarding use of the pill and condoms - and rome hesitated : reluctant to 'come down hard'; the overwhelming silence or mediocre equivocation merely fanned the flames of the NE bishops progressive fervour and soon the edicts coming from the episcopal palaces became outrageous ! Yet still Rome was reticent to take on 'the heart of the new movement' it was all left to one man to say : "No! I'm not having any of this!"

Why this is forgotten by this country is beyond me ; but it was Cardinal Heenan - outmanned and out-gunned - surrounded on all sides by hostility ; who did Rome's job for them : It was he who took the fight to His Holiness and demanded satisfaction.

Admittedly there still remains the 'conspiracy theory' that Humanae Vitae was composed in such a way as to cause as much furore as possible ; and in the aftermath all the liturgical 'reforms' could be processed without the necessary scrutiny....

...but nevertheless Humanae Vitae is of such fundamental significance [I really wish people would read the thing and realise what it's saying - it has hardly anything to do with artificial contraception - it's our fundamental natural law moral defence against all the prevailing heinous crimes against humanity and sexual authenticity occurring around us on a pandemic scale.

I know I have a slight personal bias in emphasising Humanae Vitae [it was promulgated on the day I was born; and the anti-catholic public ridicule which ensued is the main reason I was defensively baptized as Paul] - but we have Humanae Vitae as a beacon of human reason and authenticity and fundamental moral understanding of the human person and the Godlike graces made manifest in human lovemaking - directly through the strength of character of one man willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of Moral Truth.

I'm not sure if Hume would have been able to do it ; I'm practically certain sweet caramac wouldn't have bothered his bum : But Heenan did take on the fight - because nobody else would ! With little support from anyone around him.

We may have no desire for a resurrection of the Full Heenan of blessed memory ; but when it comes to his moral fibre and unswerving integrity on this single issue - if we had just one among the NCoB who possessed a fraction of it and used it to defy the national sacrileges and travesties and profligacies ; then this island would undergo an ecclesiatical and spiritual revolution never heretofore imagined.

Successful Catechists Aren't Acting, Says Pope

[His Holiness astounds us all yet again !!!! P.]

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 24, 2007 ( Being a teacher of the faith is more than just a job, says Benedict XVI, it is something inseparable from living a Christian life.

The Pope said this today to more than 30,000 people who gathered in St. Peter's Square to participate in the general audience. The Holy Father, continuing his reflections on figures of the early Church, spoke of St. Ambrose, bishop of Milan, who was a key figure in the conversion of St. Augustine.

"Without speaking a word, he spoke with the testimony of life," the Pope said of the catechetical method of the bishop of Milan.

Ambrose was born in Trier, which formed part of the Roman prefecture of Gaul, in the year 340. After his father's death when Ambrose was still a boy, his mother took him to Rome to prepare him for a civil career.

His was sent to Milan around 370, said the Holy Father, where the Church was deeply divided over the Arian heresy. Ambrose intervened to bring peace, and was spontaneously acclaimed bishop of Milan by the people, despite the fact that he wasn't even a baptized member of the Church.

The bishop, who had no formal religious education, recounted Benedict XVI, began to study Scripture using as a guide the writings of the third-century Christian writer Origen of Alexandria.

The Pope said that Bishop Ambrose learned from Origin the practice of meditating on Scripture known as "lectio divina," and from that point the bishop's preaching and writing "emerged precisely from prayerful listening to the word of God."

Regarding St. Ambrose's catechetical style, however, the Pontiff said that it was the bishop's example that counted more than his words.


The Holy Father gave as an example the experience of St. Augustine, which he recounted in his "Confessions." Augustine's conversion, said the Pope, didn't come about as a result of Bishop Ambrose's "beautiful homilies," but rather as a result of "the testimony of the bishop and the Church in Milan, which prayed and sang, united as a single body."

From Bishop Ambrose, continued the Holy Father, Augustine learned the importance of "reading sacred Scripture in a prayerful attitude, in order to truly receive it in one's heart, and to assimilate the word of God."

Benedict XVI said that the heart of Ambrosian catechesis lies in truly assimilating the word of God: "Scripture itself, profoundly assimilated, suggests the content of what one must announce in order to achieve conversion of hearts."

"Catechesis is inseparable from the testimony of life," he added.

"Educators of the faith," said the Pope, "cannot run the risk of looking like some sort of clown, who is simply playing a role."

The catechist, he added, "should be like the beloved disciple, who rested his head on the master's heart and there learned how to think, speak and act."

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Plea for Life

Please sign this petition to reduce the legal gestational age for abortion from 24 weeks to 16 weeks :

It reads:

"Given the advances in medical science over the past two decades, most babies now born after 24 weeks gestation are completely viable. They also have a fully developed central nervous system and feel pain in just the same way as a baby born at full term.
It is therefore unspeakably cruel for foetuses who have reached this gestational age to have their lives terminated by abortion."
Of course we should be petitioning for a zero tolerance of the genocide in the womb - but small steps forward are better than none.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Thanks to the Catechists....Well ? The ones who actually do their job!!

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 22, 2007 ( The prefect for the Congregation for Clergy said catechists are an asset to parishes and a promising sign for the Church today.

Cardinal Cláudio Hummes made that affirmation in a letter sent to catechists Thursday, feast day of St. Luke the Evangelist, marking the prelate's first year of service as prefect of the Vatican dicastery that also oversees catechesis.

The cardinal said to catechists: "You are one of the most promising signs with which the Lord endlessly comforts and surprises us. In a dedicated fashion and with passion, seek to acquire and exhibit that image, which is required of teachers, educators and witnesses of the truth, by faithfully passing on that truth to contemporary man, in all of its fullness and integrity.

"I urge you to pray and cultivate with trust a relationship of love, devotion, attentiveness and silence with the Lord."

The letter expressed the cardinal's gratitude and exhorted catechists to a deeper relationship with God.

Quoting Pope Paul VI's apostolic exhortation "Evangelii Nuntiandi," Cardinal Hummes wrote, "May the world of our time, which is searching, sometimes with anguish, sometimes with hope, be enabled to receive the Good News not from evangelizers who are dejected, discouraged, impatient or anxious, but from ministers of the Gospel whose lives glow with fervor, who have first received the joy of Christ, and who are willing to risk their lives so that the kingdom may be proclaimed and the Church established in the midst of the world."

It's Ironic that amidst all this , in the centre of England - A Town with a higher percentage of catholics than any other in the region; a town that once had two senior schools {I will not go into why they were closed} - my thirteen year old son and twelve year old daughter have received not one second of formal catechesis since they left primary school...
Surely Vatican II was categorical on the issue of mandatory instruction for all children ? The response of the local curate was that the mass was a more than adequate source of instruction...So that put the mockers on a Sunday School.

What of NORES - our diocesan educational service ? surely they must feel some duty or responsibility to instruct these disenfranchised catholic children ?
Think again !
Perhaps it's financial resources ? The purse strings are very tight what with declining mass attendance etc - surely they must be concentrating funds where they feel its the most appropriate ?
Well after checking the Charities commission's records what do I discover ? The Diocese spends an unmitigated fortune on education ; and what do I see within the small print ?

Religious Education Advisers' personal expenses [note - NOT wages] - £ 239,523.00 !!!
[please note this does not include any parish based catechist - as they paid from a separate account]

Well I'm sure the ordinary faithful within the diocese are ignorant this abject profligacy ; and I wouldn't be surprised if His Lordship was a little perturbed on his installation when he discovered exactly how much was being flushed away by a select few clerics and professional laity ; especially when thousands of children have been abandoned and deprived of any instruction in their faith.

I'm not sure whether to send NORES £1.50 in 5p pieces or a bottle of Nytol to help them sleep at night...

Monday, 22 October 2007

Don't watch the video - Just close your eyes and listen....

Beau Soir - Debussy

Lorsque au soleil couchant les rivières sont roses
Et qu'un tiède frisson court sur les champs de blé,
Un conseil d'être heureux semble sortir des choses
Et monter vers le coeur troublé.
Un conseil de goûter le charme d'être au monde
Cependant qu'on est jeune et que le soir est beau, Car nous nous en allons, comme s'en va cette onde:
Elle à la mer, nous au tombeau

Translation of Lyrics
When the rivers are rosy in the setting sun,
And a mild tremor runs over the wheat fields,
An exhortation to be happy seems to emanate from things
And rises towards the troubled heart.

An exhortation to enjoy the charm of being alive
While one is young and the evening is beautiful,
For we are going on, as this stream goes on:
The stream to the sea, we to the grave.

The Message Goes Skywards....

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Nothing I wasn't aware of already....

What Kind of Reader Are You?
Your Result: Obsessive-Compulsive Bookworm

You're probably in the final stages of a Ph.D. or otherwise finding a way to make your living out of reading. You are one of the literati. Other people's grammatical mistakes make you insane.

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Job Security Is Key for Society, Says Pontiff

Pope Affirms That the Family Is Not Just a Catholic Value

Benedict XVI says a lack of job security, which inhibits young people from starting a family, affects the authentic development of society.

The Pope made that affirmation in a message sent to the president of the Italian episcopal conference, Archbishop Angelo Bagnasco, on the occasion of the 45th Social Week of Italian Catholics, under way through Sunday.

The Holy Father affirmed that the social week should be "considered and promoted also in the context of international relations. ... Precisely because of the social foundations of human life, the good of each individual is naturally interconnected with the good of all humanity."

The task of laypeople, he said, is "to work for a correct ordering of society ... and to cooperate in the just organization of social life together with all other citizens, each according to their skills and under their own autonomous responsibility."

The Pontiff also mentioned the importance of the family, a topic hotly debated in Italy in recent months. He said that questions involving the "respect for life and the attention that must be given to the needs of the family based on marriage between a man and a woman" are important.

"These are not just 'Catholic' values and principles, but shared human values to be protected and safeguarded, like justice, peace and the defense of creation."

Benedict XVI urged Italian Catholics to respond to the challenge of job security "not by giving up and withdrawing into themselves but, on the contrary, with renewed dynamism, opening themselves trustingly to new relationships and not neglecting any of the energies capable of contributing to cultural and moral growth."

He said that "when lack of job security does not allow young people to build their own family, the authentic and complete development of society is seriously compromised."

The Holy Father concluded his message by turning his attention to the relationship between religion and politics.

He said: "The absolute novelty brought by Jesus is that he opened to way to a freer and more human world, with full respect for the distinction and autonomy that exists between what is of Caesar and what is of God.

"The Church, then, if on the one hand she recognizes she is not a political player, on the other she cannot but concern herself with the good of the entire civil community, in which she lives and operates. To that community she offers her particular contribution, forming the political and business classes in a genuine spirit of truth and honesty, with the aim of searching for the common good and not for individual profit."


Shock- Shock, Horror-Horror ?.....or No Big Deal ?

Harry Potter's Mentor and All round Ultimate Wizard , Albus Dumbledore ; has been revealed by Author J.K. Rowling to have been a Homosexual !

His struggle in his youth against his former best friend Grindelwald , who 'turned to the dark side' had been given further 'poignancy' in the revelation that Alby was veritably 'in besot' with him; and had his romantic hopes dashed when he had to destroy the object of his affections in order to save the world....

In the grand scheme of things does this really matter ?
Well to the Evangelical Christians who think the cold is God's way of telling us to burn more gays ? It's the end of civilization as we know it - a corruption of minors worse than when Socrates downed his last Hemlock and soda.

To the GLBT activist and pressure groups this seems to be the supreme furtherance in vindication of everything they stand for...

So Ostensibly what does this mean ?
Well to the kids it's going to be either something to have a little smirk at, regurgitate a few distasteful jokes for a few weeks and then get on with life....

Only to the 'Involved', the 'Relevant', those seeking to 'save the children' and 'save the homosexual from themselves' ; and those who think that homosexuality means you axiomatically plunge headfirst into the gay cultural lifestyle ; and justify everything occurring therein - only amongst these will it make a blind bit of difference.

Don't hold your breath....

...for a fair objective narrative.

Starting Monday 22nd October on BBC Radio 4 [15.45 - 16.00]
Series of Lectures by Eamonn Duffy on:
"Ten Popes Who Shook the World"

1.St Peter
2.St Leo the Great
3.St Gregory the Great
4.St Gregory VII [Hildebrand]
5.Pope Innocent III...
...10.Pope John Paul II

Just hope I don't throw the radio out the window again [snapped my arial off during one of melanie phillips diabolical rants on 'The Moral Maze']

St Alphonsus Liguori - Sermon on Scandal pt 1

"The wolf catcheth and scattereth the sheep." - (John 10:12)

The wolves that catch and scatter the sheep of Jesus Christ, are the authors of scandal, who, not content with their own destruction, labour to destroy others. But the Lord says: "Woe to that man by whom the scandal cometh" (Matt. 18:7). Woe to him who gives scandal, and causes others to lose the grace of God. Origen says, that "a person who impels another to sin, sins more grievously than the other." If, brethren, there be any among you who has given scandal, I will endeavour this day to convince him of the evil he has done, that he may bewail it, and guard against it for the future. I will show, in the first point, the great displeasure which the sin of scandal gives to God; and, in the second, the great punishment which God threatens to inflict on the authors of scandal.

First point. On the great displesaure which the sin of scandal gives to God.

1. It is, in the first place, necessary to explain what is meant by scandal. Behold how St. Thomas defines it: "Scandal is a word or act which gives occasion to the spiritual ruin of one's neighbour" (2, ii. q. 45, art. 1.) Scandal, then, is a word or act by which you are to your neighbour the cause or occasion of losing his soul. It may be direct or indirect. It is direct, when you directly tempt and induce another to commit sin. It is indirect, when, although you foresee that sinful words or actions will be the cause of sin to another, you do not abstain from them. But, scandal, whether it be direct or indirect, if it be in a matter of great moment, is always a mortal sin.

2. Let us now see the great displeasure which the destruction of a neighbour's soul gives to God. To understand it, we must consider how dear every soul is to God. He has created the souls of all men to his own image. "Let us make man to our image and likeness" (Gen. 1:26). Other creatures God as made by a fiat - by an act of his will; but the soul of man he has created by his own breath. "And the Lord breathed into his face the breath of life" (Gen. 2:7). The soul of your neighbour God has loved for eternity. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love" (Jer. 31:3). He has, moreover, created every soul to be a queen in Paradise, and to be a partner in His glory. "That by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature" (II Peter 1:4). In Heaven He will make the souls of the saints partakers of His own joy. "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord" (Matt. 25:21). To them He shall give Himself as their reward. "I am thy reward exceeding great" (Gen. 15:1).

3. But nothing can show the value which God sets on the souls of men, more clearly than what the Incarnate Word has done for their redemption from sin and Hell. "If," says St. Eucharius, "you do not believe your Creator, ask your Redeemer how precious you are." Speaking of the care which we ought to have of our brethren, St. Ambrose says: "The great value of the salvation of a brother is known from the death of Christ." We judge of the value of everything by the price paid for it by an intelligent purchaser. Now, Jesus Christ has, according to the Apostle, purchased the souls of men with His own Blood. "You are bought with a great price" (1 Cor. 6:20). We can then say, that the soul is of as much value as the Blood of a God. Such, indeed, is the language of St. Hilary. "Tam copioso munere redemptio agitur, ut homo Deum valere videatur" (So plentiful a redemption was given, that man might seem to be worth God.) Hence, the Saviour tells us, that whatsoever good or evil we do to the least of His brethren, we do to Himself. "So long as you did it to one of these My least brethren, you did it to Me" (Matt. 25:40).

4. From all this we may infer how great is the displeasure given to God by scandalizing a brother and destroying his soul. It is enough to say, that they who give scandal rob God of a child, and murder a soul, for whose salvation He has spent His blood and His life. Hence, St. Leo calls the authors of scandal murderers. "Quisquis scandilizat, mortem infert animae proximi" (whosoever scandalizes, brings the soul of his neighbor to death). They are the most impious of murderers; because they kill not the body, but the soul, of a brother, and rob Jesus Christ of all His tears, of His sorrows, and of all that He has done and suffered to gain that soul. Hence the Apostle says: "Now, when you sin thus against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ" (1 Cor. 8:12). They who scandalize a brother, sin against Christ; because, as St. Ambrose says, they deprive Him of a soul for which He has spent so many years, and submitted to so many toils and labours. It is related, that St. Albertus Magnus spent thirty years in making a head, which resembeled the human head, and uttered words; and that St. Thomas, fearing that it was done by the agency of the Devil, took the head and broke it. St. Albertus complained of the act of St. Thomas, saying: "You have broken on me the work of thirty years." I do not assert that this is true; but it is certain that, when Jesus Christ sees a soul destroyed by scandal, He can reprove the author of it, and say to him: "Wicked wretch, what have you done? You have deprived me of this soul, for which I have laboured thirty-three years."

5. We read in the Scriptures, that the sons of Jacob, after having sold their brother Joseph to certain merchants, told his father that wild beasts had devoured him. "Fera pessima devoravit eum" (Gen. 37:20). To convince their father of the truth of what they said, they dipped the coat of Joseph in the blood of a goat, and presented it to him, saying: "See whether this be thy son's coat or not" (v. 32). In reply, the afflicted father said with tears: "It is my son's coat: an evil wild beast hath eaten him" (v. 33). Thus, we may imagine that, when a soul is brought into sin by scandal, the devils present to God the garment of that soul dipped in the blood of the Immaculate Lamb, Jesus Christ - that is, the grace lost by that scandalized soul, which Jesus Christ had purchased with His Blood - and that they say to the Lord: "See whether this be Thy son's coat or not." If God were capable of shedding tears, He would weep more bitterly than Jacob did, at the sight of that lost soul - His murdered child - and would say: "It is My son's coat: an evil wild beast hath eaten him." The Lord will go in search of this wild beast, saying: "Where is the beast? where is the beast that has devoured My child? When He finds the wild beast, what shall He do with him?

6. "I will," says the Lord by his Prophet Hosea, "meet them as a bear that is robbed of her whelps" (Osee 13:8). When the bear comes to her den, and finds not her whelps, she goes about the wood in search of the person that took them away. When she discovers the person, oh! with what fury does she rush upon him! It is thus the Lord shall rush upon the authors of scandal, who have robbed Him of His children. Those who have given scandal, will say: My neighbour is already damned; how can I repair the evil that has been done? The Lord shall answer: Since you have been the cause of his perdition, you must pay me for the loss of his soul. "I will require his blood at thy hands" (Ezech. 3:20). It is written in Deuteronomy, "Thou shalt not pity him, but shall require life for life" (Deut. 19:21). You have destroyed a soul; you must suffer the loss of your own.

The Red Town - a parable by G.K. Chesterton

WHEN a man says that democracy is false because most people are stupid,
there are several courses which the philosopher may pursue.
The most obvious is to hit him smartly and with precision on the exact
tip of the nose. But if you have scruples (moral or physical)
about this course, you may proceed to employ Reason, which in this
case has all the savage solidity of a blow with the fist.
It is stupid to say that "most people" are stupid. It is like
saying "most people are tall," when it is obvious that "tall"
can only mean taller than most people. It is absurd to denounce
the majority of mankind as below the average of mankind.

Should the man have been hammered on the nose and brained with logic,
and should he still remain cold, a third course opens: lead him
by the hand (himself half-willing) towards some sunlit and yet secret
meadow and ask him who made the names of the common wild flowers.
They were ordinary people, so far as any one knows, who gave
to one flower the name of the Star of Bethlehem and to another
and much commoner flower the tremendous title of the Eye of Day.
If you cling to the snobbish notion that common people are prosaic,
ask any common person for the local names of the flowers,
names which vary not only from county to county, but even from
dale to dale.

* * * * *

But, curiously enough, the case is much stronger than this.
It will be said that this poetry is peculiar to the country populace,
and that the dim democracies of our modern towns at least have lost it.
For some extraordinary reason they have not lost it. Ordinary London
slang is full of witty things said by nobody in particular.
True, the creed of our cruel cities is not so sane and just as the creed
of the old countryside; but the people are just as clever in giving
names to their sins in the city as in giving names to their joys
in the wilderness. One could not better sum up Christianity than by
calling a small white insignificant flower "The Star of Bethlehem."
But then, again, one could not better sum up the philosophy
deduced from Darwinism than in the one verbal picture of "having
your monkey up."

Who first invented these violent felicities of language?
Who first spoke of a man "being off his head"? The obvious comment
on a lunatic is that his head is off him; yet the other phrase is far
more fantastically exact. There is about every madman a singular
sensation that his body has walked off and left the important part
of him behind.

But the cases of this popular perfection in phrase are even
stronger when they are more vulgar. What concentrated irony
and imagination there is for instance, in the metaphor which
describes a man doing a midnight flitting as "shooting the moon"?
It expresses everything about the run away: his eccentric occupation,
his improbable explanations, his furtive air as of a hunter,
his constant glances at the blank clock in the sky.

No; the English democracy is weak enough about a number of things;
for instance, it is weak in politics. But there is no doubt
that democracy is wonderfully strong in literature. Very few books
that the cultured class has produced of late have been such good
literature as the expression "painting the town red."

* * * * *

Oddly enough, this last Cockney epigram clings to my memory.
For as I was walking a little while ago round a corner near
Victoria I realised for the first time that a familiar lamp-post
was painted all over with a bright vermilion just as if it
were trying (in spite of the obvious bodily disqualification)
to pretend that it was a pillar-box. I have since heard
official explanations of these startling and scarlet objects.
But my first fancy was that some dissipated gentleman on his way
home at four o'clock in the morning had attempted to paint the town
red and got only as far as one lamp-post.

I began to make a fairy tale about the man; and, indeed, this phrase
contains both a fairy tale and a philosophy; it really states almost
the whole truth about those pure outbreaks of pagan enjoyment to which
all healthy men have often been tempted. It expresses the desire
to have levity on a large scale which is the essence of such a mood.
The rowdy young man is not content to paint his tutor's door green:
he would like to paint the whole city scarlet. The word which to us
best recalls such gigantesque idiocy is the word "mafficking."
The slaves of that saturnalia were not only painting the town red;
they thought that they were painting the map red--that they were
painting the world red. But, indeed, this Imperial debauch has in it
something worse than the mere larkiness which is my present topic;
it has an element of real self-flattery and of sin. The Jingo
who wants to admire himself is worse than the blackguard who only
wants to enjoy himself. In a very old ninth-century illumination
which I have seen, depicting the war of the rebel angels in heaven,
Satan is represented as distributing to his followers peacock feathers--
the symbols of an evil pride. Satan also distributed peacock
feathers to his followers on Mafeking Night.

* * * * *

But taking the case of ordinary pagan recklessness and pleasure
seeking, it is, as we have said, well expressed in this image.
First, because it conveys this notion of filling the world
with one private folly; and secondly, because of the profound
idea involved in the choice of colour. Red is the most joyful
and dreadful thing in the physical universe; it is the fiercest note,
it is the highest light, it is the place where the walls of this
world of ours wear thinnest and something beyond burns through.
It glows in the blood which sustains and in the fire which destroys us,
in the roses of our romance and in the awful cup of our religion.
It stands for all passionate happiness, as in faith or in first love.

Now, the profligate is he who wishes to spread this crimson of
conscious joy over everything; to have excitement at every moment;
to paint everything red. He bursts a thousand barrels of wine to
incarnadine the streets; and sometimes (in his last madness) he will
butcher beasts and men to dip his gigantic brushes in their blood.
For it marks the sacredness of red in nature, that it is secret
even when it is ubiquitous, like blood in the human body,
which is omnipresent, yet invisible. As long as blood lives it
is hidden; it is only dead blood that we see. But the earlier
parts of the rake's progress are very natural and amusing.
Painting the town red is a delightful thing until it is done.
It would be splendid to see the cross of St. Paul's as red as
the cross of St. George, and the gallons of red paint running down
the dome or dripping from the Nelson Column. But when it is done,
when you have painted the town red, an extraordinary thing happens.
You cannot see any red at all.

* * * * *

I can see, as in a sort of vision, the successful artist
standing in the midst of that frightful city, hung on all sides
with the scarlet of his shame. And then, when everything is red,
he will long for a red rose in a green hedge and long in vain;
he will dream of a red leaf and be unable even to imagine it.
He has desecrated the divine colour, and he can no longer see it,
though it is all around. I see him, a single black figure against
the red-hot hell that he has kindled, where spires and turrets stand up
like immobile flames: he is stiffened in a sort of agony of prayer.
Then the mercy of Heaven is loosened, and I see one or two flakes
of snow very slowly begin to fall.

More Purgatory Puzzles....

Remember :
The Angel must tell the truth
The Demon must lie
The Human can do either....

A: I am an Angel
B: A is an Angel
C: B is not a Demon

A: I am an Angel
B: A is an Angel
C: If you asked me, I would say that A is Human

A: I am an Angel
B: C is an Angel
C: A is not a Demon

A: I am an Angel
B: C is an Angel
C: If you asked me, I would say that A is Human

Sixth Meditation - St Francis de Sales

On Judgment.


1. PLACE yourself in the Presence of God. 2. Intreat Him to inspire you.


1. When the time comes which God has appointed for the end of this world, and after many terrible signs and warnings, which will overwhelm men with fear,—the whole earth will be destroyed, and nothing then left.

2. Afterwards, all men, save those already risen, shall rise from the dead, and at the voice 39 of the Archangel appear in the valley of Jehoshaphat. But alas, with what divers aspects! for some will be glorious and shining, others horrible and ghastly.

3. Consider the majesty with which the Sovereign Judge will appear surrounded by all His Saints and Angels; His Cross, the Sign of Grace to the good and of terror to the evil, shining brighter than the sun.

4. This Sovereign Judge will with His awful word, instantly fulfilled, separate the evil and the good, setting the one on His Right Hand, the other on His Left—an eternal separation, for they will never meet again.

5. This separation made, the books of conscience will be opened, and all men will behold the malice of the wicked, and how they have contemned God; as also the penitence of the good, and the results of the grace they received. Nothing will be hid. O my God, what confusion to the one, what rejoicing to the other! Consider the final sentence of the wicked. “Depart from Me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.” Dwell upon these awful words. “Go,” He says—for ever discarding these wretched sinners, banishing them for ever from His Presence. He calls them “cursed:” O my soul, what a curse: a curse involving all other maledictions, 40 all possible evil, an irrevocable curse, including all time and eternity; condemning them to everlasting fire. Think what that eternity of suffering implies.

6. Then consider the sentence of the good. “Come,” the Judge says—O blessed loving word with which God draws us to Himself and receives us in His Bosom. “Blessed of My Father”—O blessing above all blessings! “inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the beginning of the world.” O my God, and that Kingdom will know no end!

Affections and Resolutions.

1. Tremble, my soul, at the thought. O God, who will be my stay in that hour when the pillars of the earth are shaken?

2. Abhor your sins, which alone can cause you to be lost when that fearful day comes. Surely I will judge myself now, that I be not judged;—I will examine my conscience, accuse, condemn, punish myself, that the Judge may not condemn me then. I will confess my faults, and follow the counsels given me.


Thank God for having given you means of safety in that terrible Day, and time for repentance. Offer Him your heart, and ask for grace to use it well. OUR FATHER, HAIL MARY, GLORY BE.

Gather your bouquet.

Saturday, 20 October 2007


Deborah Kerr, CBE (30 September 1921 – 16 October 2007)

Wednesday, 17 October 2007

Forty Years...and No Time Off For Good Behaviour!

My Parents [with my elder sister in-between]

They celebrated their Ruby Wedding Anniversary last Sunday.

I'm not exactly the best for picking presents...

But what do you get your parents for a wedding anniversary?

I bought a piece of the berlin wall - but thought they'd throw it at me...

Technically my father is a scottish laird, an austrian count and he owns an acre of the moon so what exactly do you buy someone like that ?

My elder sister and her husband bought them a cut glass ruby-red bowl.

My other sister and her boyfriend bought the commemorative crystal glasses...

So what did Nicky and I buy them ?

Take a wild guess - I bet you'd never guess in a million years...

A lamp-post !!

Yes an olde-fashioned lamp-post !!!

Why ???

I have no idea : but for one fleeting delusional moment I thought it might be a good idea !!! Unfortunately it was the moment I had the debit card on me...

They were polite enough , but I can just imagine my mother at work...

her colleagues asking her what did she get for her anniversary ?

A wide screen lcd tv,roses, orchids, champagne,crystal glasses, a cut-glass bowl...oh,and a lamp-post!!!

I'm a bad son !

The Autumn Meme - from WhiteStoneNameSeeker

When does Autumn begin for you?

When the kids return to school. Long memories of kicking leaves all the way home - the smell of freshly polished parquet floors, new exercise books and damp's also the dark foggy mornings [relieved a little when the clocks go back]

What is your favourite aspect of Autumn?

The significant ends/beginnings to the months - The angelic feast days - Hallowe'en and All saints/souls days - the smell of burning wood/leaves and the gunpowder in the air from the fireworks.

What is your favorite Autumn memory?

The long walk home from Blackheath firework display with my friend Dean - hours of discussing life, the universe and everything in-between - and the stars were like dancing angels on midnight velvet... you felt like you needed to grab hold of the earth in case you were swept off into infinity....a really clear crystal sharp night where even one's breath seemed to be alive...everything just felt so real. I really should have said the night I met my partner [Oct 11 1992]- but that was an unmitigated fiasco I will recount some day when I've had too much alcohol...

What do you like to drink in the Autumn?

Coffee - milky , sweet; comforting in an assuringly inoffensive way.

What’s your favorite Autumn food?

cottage pie - Just beef mince, an onion, bisto best , creamy butery salty mashed potato - a little piece of heaven !

[I also dip cheese sandwiches in my coffee but that may revolt some!]

What is Autumn weather like where you live?

Constantly raining , bone chilling damp...either a freezing frosty night or days it rains forever, foggy's not mist - it's FOG!

What colour is Autumn?

Brown - mud everywhere, rotting leaves are brown, stews and coffee are brown - it's a root-vegetable season...

What does Autumn smell like?

Fog and wet tarmac.

Christmas shopping in Autumn?

Not bloody likely ! I'm still hunting for presents seconds before the last shop closes on christmas eve [and even then I'm running out to the local garage at midnight to see if uncle X wouldn't mind antifreeze and a pirelli poster and an out of date ginster's pastie for Christmas - No? will have to open one of my presents and pass it on instead ]

If you could go anywhere in the Autumn, where would you go?

Somewhere Eastern European - Prague , Budapest...etc

Do you have a favourite Autumn chore?

giving out sweets to the kids at hallowe'en - not staying in bed for the extra hour when the clocks go back because i'm to frightened my body clock will make me oversleep !

What is your least favourite thing about Autumn?

Lack of Money - It's always the time I develop holes in my shoes and the bills are always higher and the kids' christmas presents need saving up for - for some reason I seem to spend two months squelching every autumn because there's never enough money available for new shoes....

What is your favourite Autumn holiday?

The Truth ? Well I love going through the shops and seing what new things they are trying to flog for hallowe'en - and I love chocolate ! But if you mean rest away from the ratrace ? it's that little hour's extra sleep you can get when you've woken up way too early for work; got ready and been at the point of running out the door..then realise you have extra time to doze !!! that's worth a dozen fortnights in the bahamas !

What’s your favourite kind of pie?

What else ? steak & kidney - I'm english ! Two world wars and one world cup etc etc etc.

Do you have a favourite Autumn book?

Yes - Vatican by Malachi Martin - great book to read on the cosy dark nights - a great page-turner I use for a break from the intricate hyper-intelligent sci-fi or the 'deep' nineteenth century european literature....

How about a favourite Autumn poem?

I know I should say Keats' ode ; or something by Gerald Manley Hopkins - but it was one Autumn night waiting for a train home that I sat cross-legged on a dodgy electric heater reciting Chesterton's 'The Secret People' into a videocam for a documentary I was making - I had floppy brideshead hair, a new lace-up goth shirt, pirate boots, and it was the last time I wore my favourite raincoat before my dodgy landlord stole it. I was a vain git when younger...and the poem seemed to whisper authentic english 'enigmatic wisdom and hidden resources' - something I was certain I exemplified !!??? Those were the days !!!

If I were Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster I should...

Fr Ray Blake asked - I'm only an ASDA shelf-stacker and that's where God wishes me to be; If I were even a priest someone would have poisoned the altar wine by my second sunday in the parish...

Ok - here's my nightmare scenario !!!!

[ In a fantasy Benign [but draconian] dictatorial province ]

I should ask his Holiness for seven retired bishops emeritus of renown as temporary auxiliary Bishops : two to co-ordinate the financial/administration aspects of the diocese - the other five to form a quorum with myself to investigate the roles of a] The priesthood b] catechesis and religious education c] Liturgy d] Social and pastoral policy e] the Laity
...within the entire province.
I would then ask His Holiness for two independent vatican teams:
One to investigate and discern every aspect of the National Conference of Bishops.
The other to Investigate seminary formation and national priestly life [including an inquiry into the national conference of priests].

Then I would inform every bishop and priest and church employee that they were to be expressly canonically forbidden to comment on the procedure to either the media or within any form of newspaper or journal - with the guarantee that after trinity sunday they could say whatever they wished - but they must expect consequences if it is contrary to Holy mother church's teachings on faith and morals - they could call me all the names under the sun and expect no retribution.

I would then place everyone upon notice that I would at the last sunday before Lent:

1.Suspend :
a] RCIA , catechetical , 'faith formation' and every other form of religious instruction 'initiative/programme' including 'continuing training and development'
b] RENEW, 'Echoes', 'driven by the spirit', 'build my church', 'Pax christi', 'Justice & Peace', 'home is a holy place' ,'who am I ?', 'ministry of welcome' , 'vulnerable & marginalised' and any other intra-diocesan organisation/programme/initiative.
c] All Oecumenical Activities/programmes/initiatives
d] 'Sharing in His Life' and all other liturgical programmes/initiatives.
e] The department of pastoral afairs
f] The Education commission and education service
g] all training for/awards of the catholic certificate in religious studies
h] all sales of audio/video/resource literature
i] all youth ministries.

2. Abolish Caritas and any other organisation financially supported by the faithful , when it is solely a heterodox, immoral and reprehensible mouthpiece for all things destructive and contrary to Holy Mother Church . And as for the rest who are guilty by association ? they'd be on probation - I'd suspend every other affiliate of the national conference of Bishops on an employee pro rata maximum wage of £10,000.

3. Temporarily close down all seminaries; and provisionally suspend all national priestly formation - every seminarian would become the personal guest and temporary 'pastoral assistant' to their respective diocesan bishop. Every trainee religious would be requested to return to their chapterhouse and be under the temporary personal care and scrutiny of their provincial. These measures would include the Venerabile Collegio Inglese. Every cleric , religious of nun working or studying abroad [apart from in developing world missions] would be recalled.

4. Close St Patrick's Soho and any other faith centre found to be heterodox or suspect; and place St Joseph's pastoral centre on 'special measures'. These places can always be re-opened but under my terms !

5. Place every member of Westminster cathedral administrative staff on provisional suspension; and inform the respective diocesan bishops that I should expect this provision extended to every other cathedral in the province.

6. Every permanent Deacon would be informed that they are temporarily 'pastoral assistants' to their respective Bishops ; and expect this position to last a minimum of two years - all occupational and family requirements should be speedily dealt with to ensure a minimum of twelve hours per week assisting and being personally trained/guided by their Bishop: and that they will be expected to preach a sunday and weekday homily in their respective parishes. All other parish duties would be suspended.

7. Every parish extraordinary minister of holy communion, catechist, liturgist, musical leader etc will be offered the opportunity to enter into training for the role of pastoral assistant through which they would administer weekly communion to the sick, elderly and housebound and ensure that every parishioner/parish family received a pastoral visit ; they would also be trained to assist in all chaplaincies - prison/hospital/homeless/care homes etc and liaise/accommodate themselves to organisations such as the SVP, legion of Mary etc. They would also be trained in performing Eucharistic services where access to reception of the Blessed sacrament is available daily to every resident of every urban and rural Mission parish.

8. The suspension of the saturday evening 'vigil' mass and its replacement with a sunday evening mass. Every Holy Day of Obligation would also be expected to retain an evening mass which could accommodate working catholics and children from state schools.

9. The provisional removal of all school catechetical or sacramental preparation material and its temporary replacement with resources published solely by Ignatius press.

10. Every Parish [including mission parishes] would have mandatory Sunday Devotions and Benedixion, Friday Mass, at least one weekday evening mass, a minimum hour-long parish gathering after a Sunday mass, a weekday Novena devotions to Our Lady, a Holy Hour and the minimum of an hour confessions - all confessions would occur during exposition of the blessed sacrament and holy communion would be made available to all in a short service after confession. The priest assigned to a mission parish must ensure he is present for a minimum of two afternoons/evenings within the mission parish excluding any other ministerial duties.

From Ash Wednesday to Holy Thursday within the entire Province it would be declared a period of Reflection, Examination of personal and collective conscience , Penance & Reconciliation...
Every able cleric , lay-person and organisation would be requested to compose a journal of their personal/collective experiences during this period - their regrets, sorrows, failed aspirations and their firm desire for amendment.

During this period I would spend some diocesan resources to buy a temporary television channel available on Satellite cable and Freeview - laden with catechetical, spiritual and reconciliation material gathered from the vast amounts of neglected media resources
in the EWTN archives

Upon spy wednesday - I would link up every Bishop in their respective cathedrals via satellite and together we would hold a provincial wide penitential service - requesting the services of every priest from a religious order to assist the hearing of confessions in EVERY parish in the province.

From Easter Monday for the next month - EVERY cleric would be requested to spend a fortnight on retreat - their places being taken by religious orders or borrowed international clerics. During this time a questionnaire will be distributed to every catholic in the province - intricately detailed with all aspects of their spiritual, intellectual, family, social, communal and parish life.

Then ?
What do you think I would do ?
Hold some great pastoral council ? a gathering of clerics and laity to discuss, discern and deliberate in committee and clades and inner rings ?
Think again !!!!
Everyone's filled in a questionnaire - their voices will be heard and not one word will be lost - all will be reflected and discerned by those who possess the pastoral duties and responsibilities over the faithful - but a 'democratic' Council where the ordinary person's voice is drowned out by the 'occupational clergy' and professional laity ; and Truth, authenticity and sincerity are abandoned and every principle descends into a mire of 'relevancy' and 'social awareness' and 'personal ministry' ?

You've got to be kidding ! I've seen the havoc they wreak !!!

Rather I would listen to every voice - But first comes the Clergy - they've had nearly a year to reflect and discern their ministry - a fortnight in private seclusion and prayer....

Then would come the Amnesty :
Every Bishop, priest and religious will be given the opportunity to confess any social wrongdoing, sexual indiscretion, dereliction of clerical duties, any heterodoxy or abandonment/loss of faith [personally and solely to the quorum under the seal of confession [with their own bishop present if requested]] under the guarantee that [unless it's criminal assault] their sins/failings/change of life will be forgiven with understanding and they may be laicised with the guarantee of employment and social care/welfare for life ! Yet should they wish to continue in the priestly life ;they must submit to the personal guidance, support and shepherding of their Bishop .

This would last until Trinity Sunday: Then would come the Purge....
What would this entail ?
How would I know ?
Assuredly the dismissal of many heretical catholic academics, the revocation of licences and the 'silencing' of all those who refuse to teach or adhere to the faith and moral teachings of holy Mother Church. Perhaps the closure of all seminaries ? An 'excommunication' of the Tablet from being sold in any church establishment ? the removal/replacement/transfer of many clerics with possibly a considerable amount of priests being sent for re-training or undergoing intense clinical psychological assessment and therapy ? the promotion/early retirement of many ?

It would depend upon the deliberations of both the quorum and the independent papal commissions.
maybe many institutions/organisations/commissions/initiatives would resurge or resurrect under new administrations.
Perhaps every catechist/ RE teacher/catholic school headteacher in the whole country might need a considerable amount of time in re-training ?
Perhaps the whole notion of priesthood needs rethinking ? No longer trapped in the four walls of the presbytery six days a week , alienating themselves from their communities and disenfranchising the faithful in the process - a return to the sacrificial spiritual centre the shepherd, the shoulder to cry upon, the ear to listen, the firm hand to guide, the gentle whisper to advise , the teacher from the pulpit to instruct and support of the community being a member of every family yet belonging to none ?
And we continually see the priest as a solitary figure - isolated and alone - disparate from the parish as in this marxist sociological false construct he must alienate himself from them in order to be an effective objective pastoral minister - almost like a scapegoat with no solace or support from any - especially his fellow brother priests - rudderless and receiving no direction from his 'protector' bishop - THIS MUST CEASE !
This could take years, decades, generations ?

But a Cardinal Archbishop - a hinge descendant of the Apostles in whom the fulness of priesthood is encapsulated - HAS to exercise his spiritual , teaching and pastoral authority over his flock lest he abrogates his duties and responsibilities - he reneges on his vows...