Friday, 28 August 2009

Ahem...ahem..what's this ? Pope was right regarding Condoms ?

from Zenit

The director of Harvard's AIDS Prevention Research Project is affirming that Benedict XVI's position was right in the debate on AIDS and condoms.

Edward Green stated this in an address at the 30th annual Meeting for Friendship Among Peoples in Rimini, sponsored by the lay movement, Communion and Liberation.

Green, an expert on AIDS prevention, said that "as a scientist he was amazed to see the closeness between what the Pope said last March in Cameroon and the results of the most recent scientific discoveries."

He affirmed: "The condom does not prevent AIDS. Only responsible sexual behavior can address the pandemic."

Green continued, "When Benedict XVI said that different sexual behavior should be adopted in Africa, because to put trust in condoms does not serve to fight against AIDS, the international press was scandalized."

The Pope made this statement in a meeting with journalists en route to Africa last March.

The scientist affirmed that the Holy Father spoke the truth. He noted, "The condom can work for particular individuals, but it will not serve to address the situation of a continent."

Change habits

Green added: "To propose the regular use of the condom as prevention in Africa could have the opposite effect."

He explained the phenomenon of human behavior called "risk compensation," whereby a person "feels protected and thus exposes himself more."

The researcher and medical anthropologist asked: "Why has an attempt not been made to change people's customs?"

"The world industry has taken many years to understand that measures of a technical and medical character are of no use to solve the problem," he added.

Green highlighted the successful policies that have been implemented in Uganda to battle AIDS, programs based in the "ABC" strategy: "Abstain, Be faithful, and, as a last resource, use a Condom."

He reported: "In the case of Uganda, an impressive result has been obtained in the fight against AIDS.

"The president was able to tell the truth to his people, to young people, that on occasions some sacrifice, abstinence and fidelity are necessary.

"The result has been formidable."

Thursday, 20 August 2009

From Yesterday's General Audience : Real Priests for Life

I offer a warm welcome to the English-speaking visitors present at today’s Audience, including the pilgrims from India and Nigeria. Our catechesis considers Saint John Eudes whose feast we celebrate today. He lived in seventeenth-century France which, notwithstanding considerable trials for the faith, produced many outstanding examples of spiritual courage and insight. Saint John Eudes’ particular contribution was the foundation of a religious congregation dedicated to the task of giving solid formation to the diocesan priesthood. He encouraged seminarians to grow in holiness and to trust in God’s love revealed to humanity in the priestly heart of Jesus and in the maternal heart of Mary. During this year let us pray in a special way for priests and seminarians that, inspired by today’s saint, they may spiritually “enter into the heart of Jesus”, becoming men of true love, mercy, humility and patience, renewed in holiness and pastoral zeal. My dear Brothers and Sisters, upon you and your families I invoke God’s blessings of joy and peace!

Bishop D'Arcy yet again leads the way...

Fr Jonathan Hill , fellow diocesan and one of the dwindling decent hopes for the future amongst our clergy* ; has informed us on his blog that the wonderful Bishop D'Arcy [yes he of the Notre Dame controversy] has taken a stand regarding the modern negligent positioning of the Tabernacle. Why Bishop D'Arcy was never appointed cardinal says more about the US church than anything else...

* [the recent promotion of new Deans for the diocesan restructuring was not only controversial ; but in my opinion quite depressing - a few adored and respected devoutly orthodox gems truly deserved their positions ; but more than a few eyebrows were raised at certain appointments of clerics who should be..[derogatory detractive comments deleted]

Spiritual Mothers of Priests

...and while we're at it - Catholic Grande-Dame ; the Blessed Jane M-F of the French Oasis - has started yet another blog ; this time grounded upon the Cardinal Hummes incentive to physically, morally and spiritually support our Priests !
With a score of illustrious females on a par with our adored 'Dona Nobis Pacem' ; we could conquer the world !

Back to the Obamination

Don't just read what Loz has to say on this issue ; read everything he's written on his blog recently ; This guy should be a leading catholic journalist - NOW!

Just remembered this...

I'm watching the battle-axe beyond compare - Peggy Mount - in the film 'Sailor Beware'. It reminded me of the glorious episode of the Sweeney where Diana Dors guest starred as the mother from hell - Lily Rix!

Bit of Politics.

Regettably she failed to become the next Speaker [although I begged her to stand again should the Tories oust John Bercow] ; but it now looks like Ann Widdecombe could be the front-runner to take over from Francis Campbell; and become our next ambassador to The Holy See . The Cameronite Tory hierarchy cannot abide either her popularity among the Conservative heartlands or her conscientious dogmatic idealism ; so they would love to get her out from under their feet - Which is all to our benefit!

Fr Tim Finigan - His Hermeneuticalness - has pricked our consciences regarding our voting habits ; and although being of good canonical rectitude by not promoting any suggestion we either remain within the larger parties and fight for the pro-Life cause from within or join a distinctly pro-Life party ; he has nevertheless informed us of 'Resurgence'
[formerly the political party - the Pro-Life alliance [which now exists as a campaign group]] Check them out - discern one's options; and think of the potential consequences of your action when you place the X on the ballot paper. Remember we are first and foremost members of the One, Holy, Catholic & Apostolic Church - NOTHING should prevent us from acting accordingly. Here's one of Resurgence's stances:

Hope for the Future

1.1 Our vision and hope is for a United Kingdom and a European Commonwealth built on the twin pillars of a just democracy and a fair market economy. These must be constructed from the bottom up with the consent of the people and a renewal in moral virtue and responsibility.

True democracy must be responsible and based on absolute and unchanging core values which are ethical, such as the sanctity of all human life and the rule of just and reasonable law.

A market economy must not deny any citizen access to the essentials for playing their part in society. A fair market economy will also be inclusive to encompass free enterprise; private, mutual or public ownership; moderated to the extent that State intervention may best secure and serve the best interests and dignity of the individual citizen.

All economic principles, mechanisms and methods are secondary and subject to the development of the human person and the common good.

1.2 The rights, responsibilities and dignity of citizens must be clearly enshrined and understood. Social justice requires of each individual that which is necessary for the common good. The common good of a society cannot be provided for unless each individual/citizen receives all that they need to discharge their social function. In order to promote the common good of humanity these core values must be a shared vision out of which a common agenda can be agreed.

1.3 Our vision for the United Kingdom is formed on the defence of our historical Christian Democracy which is being attacked and undermined by anti-religious forces. It must be raised up and restored to provide a moral example for the renewal of decency, dignity, honesty, integrity and respect for all. This must be acknowledged by the civil/lay Head of State (Monarch), Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. Our aim is a Democracy founded on Christian principles of Peace, Truth, Justice and Freedom.

1.4 In the words of John Paul II, on the rededication of Europe at the Shrine of Our Lady of Europe in Gibraltar:

Through the Church’s presence since ancient times the message of the Gospel has contributed to the very formation of the culture and consciousness of the various European nations. Christianity is not just part of European culture; it is the spiritual ‘form’ of European man’s approach to the basic and universal questions. It is appropriate that there should be a shrine which will help Europe to recall its Christian heritage and inspire all who come to pray there to build the future of the continent on that solid foundation. Only a strengthening of the spiritual and moral values rooted in “the truth of the gospel” (Gal 2:5) can guarantee that the Europe of the third millennium will be a place of harmony, peace, freedom and respect for life and human dignity.

1.5 Our vision for Europe is formed on the – Europe for Christ! – Charter:-

Europe stands before a crossroads. Europe owes much of its culture to the Gospel lived by Christians – solidarity and human rights, universities, hospitals and cathedrals. Today, however, we risk betraying the soul of Europe. A dictatorship of relativism and a culture of death are omnipresent. Christians are increasingly discriminated against and watch a political tendency in which a humanism inspired by the Gospel is ever increasingly banned into the private sphere.

And yet we have also understood that when God is not our Father, that we are no longer brothers and sisters! For this reason it is important for the future of this continent that we base our culture again on Christ. We seek a Europe in which freedom of religion and conscience is respected, a young and dynamic Europe, one that is a sign of hope for the world.

For this we pray and work


Marriage Care's Terry Prendergast has been up to his nefariously unethical tricks again ; only a month after he was dismissing the nuclear family [a la ekklesia] More can be read at the links below ; but I could only fairly comment if I read more - although many of our catholic lady-bloggers out there have been banging-on about sex education in our catholic schools since the blogosphere started - maybe it should all be collated and sent off to the Holy See before January's ad limina?

Catholic Action UK
The Muniment Room
& The Sensible Bond


The Guardian reports on Tony Blair doing 'the God thing' ; giving a speech at Holy Trinity, Brompton ; you should all by now know what I think of the gentleman concerned ; but the link's here anyway.


Now : Regarding the whole US 'health-care' issue :

a] I'm an old-fashioned 'leftie' - not a communist, nor a trotskyite, nor a Nu-Labour supporter, nor a supporter of the socialism rightly condemned by Their Holinesses Pius IX, X & XI ; but one who supports Christian social democracy ; [akin to the teachings within the magisterial social teaching of Holy Mother Church , the Gospels and the Corporal and Spiritual works of Mercy ; and the private-property promoting distributism of Belloc and GKC ] - but given that all these names have now been usurped by groups which are far from Christian, social or democratic - I have very little choice but to call myself either a 'leftie' or a catholic socialist [with a whole barrage of conditionals].
b] From my perspective the very notion of an absence of Universal Health Coverage within a society is an abomination ! It contravenes the Judaic laws of Noah [mandatory and axiomatic from natural law for any community] and is in utter contrariety to the commands of Our Lord and Saviour to Love our neighbour. The very notion of someone with an inability to pay being deprived of medical care is an obscenity - and for a tax-paying nation to be refused adequate healthcare for all is technically a form of judicial murder-by-omission. It is a gross dereliction of duty and abrogation of responsibility to protect and serve the society within the government's remit.
c] In regards to his political life ; I consider Barack Obama to be a monster - He is a man who has promoted and legally accelerated the culture of death to the degree of systemic genocide. I will not give detailed accounts on his wallowing in the blood of the unborn - but it is readily available for all to read elsewhere.
d] It is regrettable ; but too many Catholics within the US have fallen into two categories within the political sphere.
[i] 'Left' - willing to compromise and jeopardise , or utterly repudiate; the mandatory, obligatory pro-Life stance demanded from every Catholic ; in order to promote an ostensibly more just and equitable society. An obscenely deluded recourse ; a reprehensible collaboration with evil.
[ii] 'Right' - Where monopolist , corporate , capitalist, dehumanising and disenfranchising violations against the state's duty towards implementing the collective corporal works of mercy [which cannot be exercised by the individual]; are promoted through a 'low taxes:small government' agenda ; and Catholics - conducive to the right's 'pro-family values', and ostensibly 'pro-life' principles ; delude themselves into believing that a few congruent ethical stances validate the whole package. They do not - and ultimately far too many consider themselves republican first at the expense of their catholicism ; or worse - incorrectly presume that catholic political and social teaching conforms to this right-wing agenda.

e] Because of these phenomena we're left in a terrible situation :
[i] the left are willing to 'sell out' their Pro-Life principles for the provisions of Universal Health Care ; which will of course , in an Obama tenure, mean an extension of state-funded abortions ; irrespective of the diabolical duplicity and mendacity of the Obama camp that this will not occur [ h/t to Luke Coppen for this link to the Catholic Key Blog ]

[ii] the 'Right' have been deluded/indoctrinated into believing over the decades that the Welfare State , and consequently Universal Health Care provisions, are morally repugnant to the point of being 'anti-Catholic' ; as state coercion to provide care and support "promotes indolence, introduces inhumane social engineering ,denies personal charity and is a poor and ineffective means of enforcing society to act like a collective of benevolent individuals" ; thus although the anti-Life position of the Obama propositions may remain the main bone of contention ; the very notion of universal health care is seen as wrong !

The 'Left' [and one need only refer to Catherine Pepinster's despicable editorial in last week's Tablet] are willng to allow the culture of death to thrive if Universal Health Care is the result.
The 'Right' don't only oppose the culture of death ; they also oppose the very concept of Universal Health Care in itself !

f] Now I'm far from a friend or supporter of the US National Conference of Bishops ; but the position they've been forced into has been caused by pressure from the Right and Left - and thus they're compelled to for once in their life - promote the Authentic Catholic Position - Universal Health Care without any conspiracy or compromise with the Culture of Death.
This is something the Obama administration cannot and will not provide - BUT - if Catholics actually took a stand [when nearly 20% of all medical care is provided by catholic institutions] and cast aside their anti-catholic political contaminations of either exteme political persuasion ; something could be done to take the issues out of Obama's hands and into the public domain. Alas for US Catholicism - this will not happen - self-interest and political ideology has poisoned the well.
Is Obama's health care plan viable ? Of course not - it's fomented by those willing to sacrifice human life for any political self-advancement - it's intrinsically and extrinsically evil in its intended furtherance of the Culture of death via abortion and Euthanasia. It is far too high a price to pay - even if a few million had their lives saved or extended through this healthcare provision - the price of paying for even a single murder of an unborn child is too much - and we risk our very souls at contemplating such a collaboration with evil.
Is the 'Right's' opposition to it pure and unsullied ? No - while they maintain this is a Life-issue; when it comes to the underlying position - it's the very notion of a covert 'Commie' welfare state which they loathe - They're ignorantly oblivious to the core of catholic teaching that we are obliged to care for our neighbour at all levels - a a personal, community and national level.
Universal Health Care is a Catholic principle - but they'd rather choke on their own vitriol than ever concede the point or ever contemplate that their version of Catholicism in this regard is far from that within the Gospels.

Repost : Eduardo Verastegui - Movies for Life

Ignatius Insight Blog has details of the San Francisco 'Movies for Life' Awards.
I didn't think much of the winners to be honest ; but see for yourself here :

Thought it appropriate for me to re-post this :

Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, said the film, released today [October 2007] 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...

Update: H2O news talks to EV [h/t Luke Coppen]

Repost : St Thomas Aquinas on seeking the grace for a devout life...

Grant me, O merciful God, to desire eagerly, to investigate prudently, to
acknowledge sincerely, and to fulfill perfectly those things that are pleasing
to You, to the praise and glory of Your Holy Name.

Do You, my God, order my life; and grant that I may know what you would have me do; and give me to fulfill it as is fitting and profitable to my soul.

Grant me, O Lord my God, the grace not to fall either in prosperity or
adversity, that I be not unduly lifted up by the one, nor unduly cast down by
the other. Let me neither rejoice nor grieve at anytime, save in what leads
to You or leads away from You. Let me not desire to please anyone, nor fear
to displease anyone except You.

Let all things that pass away seem vile in my eyes, and let all things that are
eternal be dear to me. Let me tire of that joy which is without You, neither
permit me to desire anything that is outside You. Let me find joy in the labour
that is for You; and let all repose that is without You be tiresome to me.

Give me, my God, the grace to direct my heart towards You, and to grieve
continuously at my failures, together with a firm purpose of amendment.

O Lord my God, make me obedient without dispute, poor without despondency,
chaste without stain, patient without complaint, humble without pretence,
cheerful without indulging the senses, serious without being morose, active without
recklessness, fearful of You without despair, truthful without
double-dealing, devoted to good works without presumption, ready to correct my
neighbor without arrogance, and to edify him by word and example, without

Give me, Lord God, a watchful heart which shall not be distracted from You by
vain thoughts; give me a generous heart which shall not be drawn downward by any
unworthy affection; give me an upright heart which shall not be led astray by any
perverse intention; give me a stout heart which shall not be crushed by any adversity; give me a free heart which shall not be claimed as its own by any
unregulated affection.

Bestow upon me, O Lord my God, an understanding that knows You, diligence in
seeking You, wisdom in finding You, a way of life that is pleasing to You,
perseverance that faithfully waits for You, and confidence that I shall embrace
You at the last.
Grant that I may be chastised here by penance,
that I may make good use of Your gifts in this life by Your grace,
and that I may partake of Your joys in the glory of heaven:
Who lives and reigns; world without end.

Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Ella Fitzgerald sings 'Love for Sale'

Cole Porter gets me through stacking the fish shelves each morning - if ASDA FM is on loud enough I can belt the songs out without being detected ; otherwise I'm singing them to full orchestra in my head.... My Uncle Tom died last week - a great man without an enemy in the world who lived but a stone's throw from my house and stood by the gate every day with a smile , ready for a chat with anyone who passed by - losing his presence is like being exiled from a part of reality .
His sister 'My Auntie Madge' ; dead for many years - was a Jazz Singer with the Joe Loss orchestra ; and at her best she could have given Ella a run for her money....

Monday, 17 August 2009

A re-post : Just to remember...

A dismal Tuesday one November an eternity ago ; with "rains that might put out the sun, and rid the sky of stars"{GKC}...

Drenched , trudging through London: shoes squelching, hair dripping; disconsolate and oblivious to the world around me ; I was lost in more ways than one.
My Partner was suffering from severe post-natal depression ; she had recently miscarried.

I had lost my promotion and was falsely-accused of theft. Eviction loomed, an ex-landlord had stolen most of my belongings, I'd been trainfare-dodging to reach university ; and a vindictive anti-catholic lecturer was ensuring I would never attain my degree....and friends ? Well ?

In my despondency, God and I were on far from friendly terms.
The Church was at least dry - the confessional light beckoned.

Patiently enduring my tirade the priest inquired:
"So you think God's ashamed of you?

Or is it you're afraid others think you're a failure?

Listen : A father and son were taking their donkey to market. Along the way a merchant mocks them for not riding it - the father mounts - but some students accuse the father of mistreating his son - the old thriving from the labours of the young - they swap places. Some old men reprimand the 'selfish' son for forcing his father to walk - so both ride the donkey, until another accuses them of animal cruelty. Finally they carry the donkey ! At market the crowd laugh at the foolish pair. The donkey breaks free , falls into the river and drowns....

"Son, you're frightened of your own shadow - God's telling you :"Be not afraid !" why won't you trust Him ? Your child is in heaven watching over you . Go home! Love your wife and children and leave the rest to God; and to hell with anyone else's opinion ! For those who refuse to fear the Lord end up fearing everything and everyone. Don't fall into this trap. Trust in God and Holy Mother Church."

Diana Dors said: "The most terrible thing in the world is for someone to feel unloved";

St Francis de Sales advised: "It is never enough to love someone - that someone has to know they are loved".

When love seems no more than an illusion , if we fail to believe in the truth or worth of our lives ? We die inside.
For the lonely and disenfranchised there is a desperate yearning for recognition and vindication - a clinging to any available source ; whether fleeting , self-harming or irrevocably compromising; any price is worth paying to feel 'somebody' ; to briefly alleviate the pain.

'Compensating' for spiritual loneliness can lead the best of us commit the most terrible acts; and excuse similarly reprehensible actions in others - tyrannical : simply to be acknowledged or 'respected' ; alienating everyone through fear ; or conversely masochistically submissive ; never daring to jeopardise any relationship by potentially offending; thus depriving oneself of any sincerity, authenticity or self-respect...and like all habit-forming drugs ?

I am certain this anxiety is the major cause of not only our personal sins and failings, but also the English Church's negligence in its duties and responsibilities ; and thus the emptying of our pews.

Why else should we be failing so miserably ? Unless we're contaminated with a spiritual pride which refuses to believe in the Love of God, and Truth - the Person of Christ - subsisting within His Mystical Body the Church.

Is it possible we have forgotten to let our neighbour know they are loved ? And in the process rarely hear it ourselves, and when we do our pride prevents us from believing it ?

Anxiety, together with an abject fear of antagonism ; and the saddeningly desperate yearning for recognition indicates how lonely, scared and untrusting of God [and our Catholicism] we have become.

Surely above all things the Cross is the absolute symbol of Hope in hopelessness ?

It doesn't have to be this way....