Sunday, 31 August 2014

Christianity without the Cross

Matthew 16 : 21-28 Douay Rheims

21From that time Jesus began to shew to his disciples, that he must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the ancients and scribes and chief priests, and be put to death, and the third day rise again. 22And Peter taking him, began to rebuke him, saying: Lord, be it far from thee, this shall not be unto thee. 23Who turning, said to Peter: Go behind me, Satan, thou art a scandal unto me: because thou savourest not the things that are of God, but the things that are of men.
24Then Jesus said to his disciples: If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. 26For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul? 27For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels: and then will he render to every man according to his works.
 28Amen I say to you, there are some of them that stand here, that shall not taste death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

I prefer this version of today’s Gospel reading as Our Lord says to Peter “thou art a scandal to me” as well as calling him “Satan.” The word “Satan” means in Hebrew – an adversary, or one that opposes. So Peter who had just recognised Our Lord as the Christ now fails to understand what that actually means.

I know very good people, Christians who refuse to have crucifixes in their homes or wear necklaces with a crucifix. For them Jesus is always risen. Some former Catholics have rejected  or rather moved away from the crucified Christ maybe to join more “joyful” Churches.

I think there can be a problem in Catholicism in almost “wallowing in the cross.” By this I mean almost an awe and admiration given to those who are suffering and seeing it as something that distinguishes the religious and holy.

It is true that we are all called to suffer and endure but St Pio who suffered enormously was instrumental in setting up the Hospital for the Relief of the Suffering.

Oftentimes we see good Catholics with sad, miserable faces (mea culpa) when the main characteristic of the Saints in suffering was joy. It is this dichotomy to make our faith joyful and attractive even through many sufferings.

Jesus has redeemed us by His Holy Wounds and we should participate in His sufferings making up what is lacking (1.) in a joyful, cheerful way. Not easy but necessary if we wish to keep our young people in the Church.

1.     .  (2 Corinthians 11:24)”Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for his body, which is the church”

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Why did Benedict resign?

Terry has an amusing post here and Catholic in Brooklyn has some interesting points here.

My view is that the pressure from ultra traditionalists was too great and harming the unity of the Church - that it was them rather than "liberals" who were/are most problematic to Benedict.

Tina Beattie has an article about Pope Francis not doing enough for women here.

To be honest I find it best to avoid extremists from both sides.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

More wonderful words from the Holy Father!

Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!

Every time we renew our profession of faith reciting the “Creed,” we affirm that the Church is “one” and “holy.” She is one because she has her origin in God Trinity, mystery of unity and full communion. The Church is holy in as much as she is founded on Jesus Christ, animated by His Holy Spirit filled with His love and His salvation. At the same time, however, she is holy and is made up of sinners, all of us, we every day experience our own fragilities and our miseries. Now, this faith that we profess pushes us to conversion, to have the courage to live daily the unity and holiness, and if we are not united, if we are not holy, it is because we are not faithful to Him. However, He does not leave us alone; He does not abandon His Church! He walks with us. He understands us. He understands our weaknesses, our sins, and he pardons us. Always he pardons us. He is always with us, helping us, and makes us to be less sinners and to be more saints, and to be more united.

1. Our first comfort comes from the fact that Jesus prayed so much for the unity of the disciples. [...] He prayed for unity, and He did so above all in the imminence of His Passion, when He was about to offer His whole life for us. It is that which we are continually invited to reread and meditate, in one of the most intense and moving pages of John’s Gospel, chapter 17 (cf. vv. 11.21-23). How lovely it is to know that the Lord, just before dying, was not concerned about Himself, but thought of us! And in His heartbroken dialogue with the Father, He prayed in fact that we would be one with Him and among ourselves. See, with these words, Jesus makes Himself our intercessor with the Father, so that we can also enter into full communion of love with Him. At the same time, He entrusts us to Him as His spiritual testament, so that unity can become increasingly the distinctive note of our Christian communities  and the most beautiful answer to anyone who asks us the reason for the hope that is in us (cf. 1 Peter 3:15).

2. “That they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me” (John 17:21). The Church has sought from the beginning to realize this intention, which is so much in Jesus’ heart. The Acts of the Apostles remind us that the first Christians were distinguished by the fact of having “one heart and soul” (Acts 4:32). The Apostle Paul then exhorted his communities not to forget that they are “one body” (1 Corinthians 12:13). However, experience tells us that there are many sins against unity. And we do not think only of the great heresies and the schisms; we think of the many common failures in our communities, of “parish” sins, at those sins in the parishes.. Sometimes, in fact, our parishes, called to be places of sharing and communion, are marked sadly by envies, jealousies, antipathies. And this chitchat is carried to all. How much this chitchat exists in the parishes! This is not good. [...] This is not the Church! One must not do this, we must not do it! We need to ask the Lord for the grace not to do this.

This is human, all right, but not Christian! This happens when we seek the first places, when we put ourselves at the center, with our personal ambitions and our ways of seeing things, and we judge others; when we look at the defects of our brothers instead of their gifts, when we give more weight to what divides that to what brings us together.

3. In face of all this, we must make a serious examination of conscience. In a Christian community, division is one of the gravest sins, because it renders it not the work of God but a sign of the devil, who by definition is he who separates, who ruins relations, who insinuates prejudices. Instead, God wants us to grow in the capacity to accept, forgive and love one another, to be ever more like Him who is communion and love. Herein lies the holiness of the Church: in recognizes herself as the image of God, filled with His mercy and His grace. [...]

Dear friends, let us have these words of Jesus resound in our heart: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matthew 5:9). Let us ask sincerely for forgiveness for all the times we have been the occasion of division or incomprehension within our communities, knowing well that communion is not attained except through constant conversion. And let us pray that the daily fabric of our relations can become an ever more beautiful and joyful reflection of the relation between Jesus and the Father.

Source Zenit here

Pope's Audience on the Church

Dear Brothers and Sisters:

We affirm in the Creed that the Church is one and that she is holy. One because she has her origin in the Triune God, mystery of unity and full communion. Holy since she is founded by Jesus Christ, enlivened by his Holy Spirit, and filled with his love and salvation. While we, the members of the Church, are sinners, the unity and holiness of the Church arise from God and call us daily to conversion. We have an intercessor in Jesus, who prays, especially in his passion for our unity with him and the Father, and with each other. Unfortunately, we know well the sins against unity--jealousy, envy, antipathy--which come about when we place ourselves at the center and which occur even in our parish communities. God’s will, however, is that we grow in our capacity to welcome one another, to forgive and to love, and to resemble Jesus. This is the holiness of the Church--to recognize the image of God in one another. May we all examine our consciences and ask forgiveness for the times when we have given rise to division or misunderstanding in our communities, and may our relationships mirror more beautifully and joyfully, the unity of Jesus and the Father.

I offer an affectionate greeting to all the English-speaking pilgrims and visitors present at today’s Audience, including those from England, Malta, and Canada. May Jesus Christ confirm you in faith and make you witnesses of the holiness and unity of the Church. May God bless you all!

[Original Text: English] From Zenit here

Breaking the Code of Silence: The Irish and Drink

By Dr. Garrett O'Connor, Contributor
February / March 2012

“Drinking in Ireland is not simply a convivial pastime, it is a ritualistic alternative to real life, a spiritual placebo, a fumble for eternity, a longing for heaven, a thirst for return to the embrace of the Almighty.”
– John Waters

We Irish are known for being courageous, compassionate, spiritual, creative, difficult, resourceful, witty, sad,  lovable, clannish, hot headed, devious, self-destructive and brilliant. Sociologists agree that we have been the most successful and accomplished immigrant group in the United States, with the possible exception of the Jews. Since our arrival in the U.S. in the early 1700s we have excelled in business, education, medicine, the law, religion, the military, entertainment, construction, professional sports, and, last but certainly not least, politics and organized crime.

For all that success, it is sad to say that we are still known as a race of drunks. Read more here

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

If the Catholic blogosphere is to survive then our bloggers must become more Catholic |

Mary O ' Regan writes at link below:

If the Catholic blogosphere is to survive then our bloggers must become more Catholic |

Managing low self-esteem & pride

Many people who suffer with depression can be plagued by feelings of low self worth either as a consequence of being ill or actually leading to depression. This is particularly problematic for the Catholic, especially when a whole lot of guilt adds to the mix.

A common thought of the depressed Catholic is “I should not feel like this if I had more faith.” Or “I am such a loser – what kind of a mother, father, teacher, person am I to be so lethargic, anxious, down, depressed?”

If you ask me, I’ve come to realise that depression can be tied up with a lot of hidden pride. This might sound controversial but I am speaking here essentially about my own experiences. Disclaimer: I am not saying that all depressive illness is caused by pride as we know there are real genetic, hereditary, circumstantial, biological and chemical factors.

However, that said. We know that all Catholics are called to humility. We are even to view ourselves as the least, worst of all. The Litany of Humility is a great tool. The book “Humility of Heart” by Fr Cajetan Mary da Bergamo is excellent also.

The Saints, all without exception saw themselves as the greatest sinners and thus remained or became humble.

This can be problematic for the depressed Catholic trying to become a Saint. They already feel bad about themselves and then to regard themselves as the worst sinner can be too overwhelming and even make their illness worse.

I would advise a Catholic suffering from depression to avoid the dark night of the soul type of spiritual reading and read something like John Vanier’s gentle “ Understanding Depression. “
Spiritual advisors should encourage the sufferer in a simple, gentle examination of conscience, advise confession and then recommend they rest & trust in the Lord’s great mercy. Scruples may be common at this time and it is important that the sufferer is consoled and assured they are not offending God by being ill. Their thoughts of despair are not a consequence of sin, lack of faith or sin against the Holy Spirit, but rather a consequence of overwrought nerves and an overwhelmed mind.

This can bring spiritual comfort and enable the self-esteem/worth of the sufferer to remain intact. We all need to esteem ourselves in the same way that God loves us with an infinite love.
How then does pride enter into this? We may have thought ourselves “good” Catholics and got the shock of our lives when we who were stalwarts of the faith succumbed to this depressive illness. “Who me Lord? Are you kidding?”

Then our pride kicks in and instead of humbling ourselves and accepting what is after all a loving cross given to us, we rail about and make it worse.

It is right that we should seek treatment for depression as with any other illness and avail ourselves of medical and psychological help.

Essentially, though if we realise we are not “rubbish” but loved by God; we are not yet saints and should humble ourselves gently – without beating ourselves up, we may assist our recovery and returned equilibrium.

“The prayer of him that humbleth himself shall pierce the clouds.” – Ecclesiasticus 35:21

( Maybe self-acceptance is better than the term self-esteem - thanks to Sean Saunders for the clarification.)

Litany of Humility

Our Lord asks us in Matthew’s gospel to learn from Him “for I am meek and humble of heart” (Matt 11:29), as he is described in the first line of this prayer below. We ask in this litany, composed by Rafael Cardinal Merry de Val (1865-1930), the Secretary of State for Pope Saint Pius X, that God fill our hearts and souls with genuine humility, an essential virtue for holiness. After all, as we read in the letter of St. James “God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

O Jesus! meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed,
Deliver me, Jesus. (repeat after each line)
From the desire of being loved,
From the desire of being extolled,
From the desire of being honored,
From the desire of being praised,
From the desire of being preferred to others,
From the desire of being consulted,
From the desire of being approved,
From the fear of being humiliated,
From the fear of being despised,
From the fear of suffering rebukes,
From the fear of being calumniated,
From the fear of being forgotten,
From the fear of being ridiculed,
From the fear of being wronged,
From the fear of being suspected,
That others may be loved more than I,
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it. (repeat after each line)
That others may be esteemed more than I ,
That, in the opinion of the world,
others may increase and I may decrease,
That others may be chosen and I set aside,
That others may be praised and I unnoticed,
That others may be preferred to me in everything,
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should.

I might rework this post and change self-esteem for self-worth: since I came across this:

"Self-esteem, the offspring of pride, is more malicious than the mother herself". St. Padre Pio

Monday, 25 August 2014

Humanity urgently needs hope, writes Fr Timothy Radcliffe

I am constantly astonished by the courage with which people face terrible challenges: unemployment, terminal illness, the breakdown of relationships. We hope for our children, many of whom face long term unemployment, some of whom have lost their faith. We also pray for the millions of young people in Europe who are struggling to imagine a future. May they find hope.

And our war weary world needs hope. The Ukraine is boiling. There is a band of violence stretching east from Nigeria, the Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Syria, Iraq, the Holy Land, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Millions of people are fleeing their homes. A hundred thousand Christians are killed every year for their faith. And so today, humanity urgently needs hope.

Albert Reynolds - Requiem Mass

Sinn Féin's Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness outside of the Sacred Heart Church in Donnybrook

Pictures taken from RTE Gallery here

Andrew & I watched the Funeral Mass. It was very prayerful, with a nice mix of music by the Palestrina choir & others. There was a time when my liturgical radar would have been out in it's false piety (mine that is!). So pleased to be relieved from all that. May the soul of Albert Reynolds, peace-maker, rest in peace.

Pope's Condolences here

Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart

Our Vision

Our vision – based on the love in the Heart of Christ, as expressed in The Gospels – is to help to build a society where people can live to their full potential and alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, thereby avoiding the many unwanted issues caused in society by problem drinking.
We freely choose to go without alcohol, as a gesture of love in return for God’s love for us and out of concern for those struggling with alcohol. In their devotion to the Sacred Heart, Pioneers strive to love unconditionally as Jesus does, they aspire to accept challenges that come their way, and they endeavour to reduce their own egoistic
needs so that they can enter into communion with the Heart of Christ.

Pioneers - Interceding for the Addicted Link here

I am a lifetime Pioneer - never had an alcoholic drink.

Trench Priest

The edifying and inspirational tale of Irishman William Doyle. This work follows him through his childhood, his vocation to the Society of Jesus and finally his posting to the trenches as a military chaplain in World War One.

Buy here

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Down and out on the streets of Dublin

'When I came back after the weekend last week two people were dead, but nobody cares because they're homeless," Dennis Morris from Outreach, a joint programme run by the Simon Community and Focus Ireland, informs me. "They were only in their 30s." - See more at:

“ But you,” he said “ who do you say I am? “

“ But you,” he said “ who do you say I am? “  (Mt 16 : 13-20)

When I used to teach RE I used to ask the pupils who or what they thought God was like? Some used to say a policeman, a caretaker, a father, a teacher and so on. When Jesus asked the disciples “ who do people say the Son of Man is?” He received various answers – John the Baptist, Elijah or one of the prophets.

If He was to ask us individually, right now, who would we say Jesus was?  What does He look like? To me personally, He looks very much like images of the Sacred Heart. I remember  an old lady telling me she did not like the Sacred Heart pictures as a child, finding it frightening. She chose not to have such images as an adult. I notice a friend describing some of the images as “florid.” I like them.

Is Jesus a friend for us, our God, our Saviour,  “ the Son of the living God ” as St Peter confesses? Do we find Him a Judge, a harsh taskmaster? Are we frightened of Him? Do we even know Him? Do we feel we have to make certain devotions, litanies, penances & sacrifices before we know who He is? Or do we rather wish to make reparation for our many sins out of love for Him rather than fear?

Pictures by my daughter Katherine Parkes.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

All Men are Brothers

“ All men are brothers. “

“ Call no man master, for ye are all brothers. “ It is a revolutionary call which has been put to music. The last movement of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony has that great refrain – “ All men are brothers. “ Going to the people is the purist and best act in Christian tradition and revolutionary tradition and is the beginning of world brotherhood. “ Dorothy Day “The Long Loneliness.”

Exaltation through Abasement

5 For it was not to angels that God subjected the world to come, of which we are speaking. 6 It has been testified somewhere,

“What is man that thou art mindful of him,
or the son of man, that thou carest for him?
7 Thou didst make him for a little while lower than the angels,
thou hast crowned him with glory and honor,[b]
8 putting everything in subjection under his feet.”
Now in putting everything in subjection to him, he left nothing outside his control. As it is, we do not yet see everything in subjection to him. 9 But we see Jesus, who for a little while was made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for every one.

10 For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the pioneer of their salvation perfect through suffering.[c] 11 For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren, 12 saying,

“I will proclaim thy name to my brethren,
in the midst of the congregation I will praise thee.”
13 And again,

“I will put my trust in him.”
And again,

“Here am I, and the children God has given me.” Hebrews 2 10-13 RSV Ignatius Catholic Study Bible.

(Vatican Radio)  The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has announced the theme selected by Pope Francis for the upcoming World Day of Peace.  The theme, “Slaves no more, but brothers and sisters” will be the title of the Message for the 48th World Day of Peace, celebrated on 1 January 2015.  It will mark the second time Pope Francis celebrates the Day of Peace since he has risen to the papacy.

A note from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace provides details about why the theme is relevant today:

Many people think that slavery is a thing of the past. In fact, this social plague remains all too real in today’s world.  Last year’s Message for 1 January 2014 was dedicated to brotherhood: “Fraternity, the Foundation and Pathway to Peace”. Being children of God gives all human beings equal dignity as brothers and sisters.

Slavery deals a murderous blow to this fundamental fraternity, and so to peace as well. Peace can only exist when each human being recognizes every other person as a brother or sister with the same dignity.

Too many abominable forms of slavery persist in today’s world: human trafficking, trade in migrants and prostitutes, exploitation, slave labour, and the enslavement of women and children.

Shamefully, individuals and groups around the world profit from this slavery. They take advantage of the world’s many conflicts, of the economic crisis and of corruption in order to carry out their evil.

Slavery is a terrible open wound on the contemporary social body, a fatal running sore on the flesh of Christ!

To counter slavery effectively, the inviolable dignity of every person must be recognized above all. Moreover, this acceptance of dignity must be anchored solidly in fraternity. Fraternity requires us to reject any inequality which would allow one person to enslave another. It demands instead that we act everywhere with proximity and generosity, thus leading to liberation and inclusion for everyone.

Our purpose is to build a civilization based on the equal dignity of every person without discrimination. To achieve this will also require the commitment of the media, of education and of culture to a renewed society pledged to freedom, justice and therefore peace.

The World Day of Peace, initiated by Pope Paul VI, is celebrated each year on the first day of January. The Holy Father’s Message is sent to all the world’s Foreign Ministers and also indicates the Holy See’s diplomatic line during the coming year.

(From archive of Vatican Radio)

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Blogging as Catholic Action

St Pius X : .


JUNE 11, 1905

 The field of Catholic Action is extremely vast. In itself it does not exclude anything, in any manner, direct or indirect, which pertains to the divine mission of the Church. Accordingly one can plainly see how necessary it is for everyone to cooperate in such an important work, not only for the sanctification of his own soul, but also for the extension and increase of the Kingdom of God in individuals, families, and society; each one working according to his energy for the good of his neighbor by the propagation of revealed truth, by the exercise of Christian virtues, by the exercise of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Such is the conduct worthy of God to which Saint Paul exhorts us, so as to please Him in all things, bringing forth fruits of all good works, and increasing in the knowledge of God. "May you walk worthily of God and please him in all things, bearing fruit in every good work and growing in the knowledge of God."[3]

11. Above all, one must be firmly convinced that the instrument is of little value if it is not adapted to the work at hand. In regard to the things We mentioned above, Catholic Action, inasmuch as it proposes to restore all things in Christ, constitutes a real apostolate for the honor and glory of Christ Himself. To carry it out right one must have divine grace, and the apostle receives it only if he is united to Christ. Only when he has formed Jesus Christ in himself shall he more easily be able to restore Him to the family and society. Therefore, all who are called upon to direct or dedicate themselves to the Catholic cause, must be sound Catholics, firm in faith, solidly instructed in religious matters, truly submissive to the Church and especially to this supreme Apostolic See and the Vicar of Jesus Christ. They must be men of real piety, of manly virtue, and of a life so chaste and fearless that they will be a guiding example to all others. If they are not so formed it will be difficult to arouse others to do good and practically impossible to act with a good intention. The strength needed to persevere in continually bearing the weariness of every true apostolate will fail. The calumnies of enemies, the coldness and frightfully little cooperation of even good men, sometimes even the jealousy of friends and fellow workers (excusable, undoubtedly, on account of the weakness of human nature, but also harmful and a cause of discord, offense and quarrels) -- all these will weaken the apostle who lacks divine grace. Only virtue, patient and firm and at the same time mild and tender, can remove or diminish these difficulties in such a way that the works undertaken by Catholic forces will not be compromised. The will of God, Saint Peter wrote the early Christians, is that by your good works you silence the foolish. "For such is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."[6]

Source here

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

On class envy, poverty and saintliness

On class envy, poverty and saintliness

My reading at the moment is very much based on Fr William Doyle SJ; Dorothy Day – Catholic activist; Catherine de Heuck Doherty – founder of the Madonna House Apostolate and the Pope.

“Jesus and Voluntary Poverty Jesus, the Son of God, practiced voluntary poverty. He chose to be born in a stable without any of the accoutrements of a middle class life style.” - See more at:

The moral doctrine of poverty from New Advent here, has tons of information.

It’s the “ middle-class” bit that intrigues me. You see, one of my friends thinks I suffer from “class-envy”. It is actually very true. Another friend thought I might suffer from an “inferiority complex”. That is actually true too. Obviously, I suffer from neuroticism & narcissism as well.

We grew up in a close-knit neighbourhood, of predominantly English, Irish, Italian, and West-Indian families. My dad, the 10th of 11 children had come to England from Co Dublin in search of work in the late 1950s. Many of the other immigrants had done the same.

We lived peacefully with our neighbours and as children enjoyed play outside on the streets. When I was 11, I passed the 11 plus as did my mother, and went to the Girl’s Catholic Grammar.

One thing I noticed was that although I had the correct school uniform, many girls had the “better brands” ie Clarks. So it amuses me when the middle classes go on about “brands” because they tend to dress their children in brands, - Marks & Spencers- Clarks etc. Obviously the Upper Classes can use Burberry & the like. So school uniform is not really class-free, which is the point I’m making.

Reading about Fr William Doyle inspires me because of his wonderful spirituality and holiness. He was born William Joseph Gabriel Doyle, in Melrose, Dalkey, Co Dublin, in March 1873. I was amazed to read that the family had many domestic servants, including a cook, maids, valet, nurse and parlour maid.

Dorothy Day’s family had a servant until they moved after the San-Francisco earthquake, though she writes in “The Long Loneliness” – “ Our poverty did not last long. “
Catherine Doherty was born in 1896 to a deeply devout and wealthy, aristocratic family. More information here

What intrigues me most about my reading, is why people from comfortable, well-off backgrounds would actually choose “holy poverty?”. Also is it easier to choose rather than endure because you have no choice.?.

Pope Francis has much to say about poverty:
 “A way has to be found to enable everyone to benefit from the fruits of the earth, and not simply to close the gap between the affluent and those who must be satisfied with the crumbs falling from the table, but above all to satisfy the demands of justice, fairness and respect for every human being.”  (Pope Francis, Address to the Food and Agricultural Organization, 6/20/13).

Pope Francis was born, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on December 17, 1936, to Italian immigrants. In his recent Apostolic Exhortion, Evangelii Gaudium, he says: "I prefer a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets, rather than a Church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security”.

Continuing, on with my rambling thoughts. My thoughts get drawn to the distributism of GK Chesterton, and there is a good discussion here about similarities between Dorothy Day & Chesterton’s ideas.

Owning property, is always seen as a good thing by the middle-classes. The distributists think it good too. My thoughts are that owning property can prevent total abandonment to God. If one is fortunate enough to have been handed down property, wealth and has savings in the bank, is one’s faith compromised? Obviously, there is prudence & a desire to provide for one’s family which is good.

I must be sounding very anti middle-class now. Which I am and am not. Having adopted many middle-class practices with my own family, particularly buying their shoes from Clarks, I still am loathe to leave my “working-class” background.  More to come.

(Deacon Tony Flavin touches on some of this in his post "Privilege" here)


The Long Loneliness by Dorothy Day
Father William Doyle by O’ Rahilly
Fragments of My Life by Catherine de Heuck Doherty
Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis

On my wish list:

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Peter Maurin - the unused dynamite of the Church


Writing about the Catholic Church,
a radical writer says:
“Rome will have to do more
than to play a waiting game;
she will have to use
some of the dynamite
inherent in her message.”
To blow the dynamite
of a message
is the only way
to make the message dynamic.
If the Catholic Church
is not today
the dominant social dynamic force,
it is because Catholic scholars
have failed to blow the dynamite
of the Church.
Catholic scholars
have taken the dynamite
of the Church,
have wrapped it up
in nice phraseology,
placed it in an hermetic container
and sat on the lid.
It is about time
to blow the lid off
so the Catholic Church
may again become
the dominant social dynamic force.

Source here

Monday, 18 August 2014

Pope Francis on Emeritus Popes

I return to this idea, which may not be liked by some theologian. I am not a theologian, but I think that the emeritus-pope is not an exception. But after many centuries he is the first emeritus. Let us think about what he said, I have got old, I do not have the strength. It was a beautiful gesture of nobility, of humility and courage.

But if one thinks that 70 years ago emeritus bishops also were an exception. They did not exist, but today emeritus bishops are an institution.

I think that the emeritus pope is already an institution because our life gets longer and at a certain age there isn’t the capacity to govern well because the body gets tired, and maybe one’s health is good but there isn’t the capacity to carry forward all the problems of  a government like that of the church. I think that Pope Benedict made this gesture of emeritus popes. May, as I said before, some theologian may say this is not right, but I think this way. The centuries will tell us if this so or not. Let’s see.

But you could say to me, if you at some time felt you could not go forward, I would do the same! I would do the same. I would pray, but I would do the same. He [Benedict] opened a door that is institutional, not exceptional. Source here 

Pope Francis on Iraq

Q. You know that recently the U.S. forces have started bombing the terrorists in Iraq, to prevent a genocide, to protect minorities, including Catholics who are under your guidance. My question is this: do you approve the American bombing?

A. Thanks for such a clear question. In these cases where there is an unjust aggression, I can only say this: it is licit to stop the unjust aggressor. I underline the verb: stop. I do not say bomb, make war, I say stop by some means. With what means can they be stopped? These have to be evaluated. To stop the unjust aggressor is licit.

But we must also have memory. How many times under this excuse of stopping an unjust aggressor the powers [that intervened] have taken control of peoples, and have made a true war of conquest.
One nation alone cannot judge how to stop an unjust aggressor. After the Second World War there was the idea of the United Nations. It is there that this should be discussed. Is there an unjust aggressor? It would seem there is. How do we stop him? Only that, nothing more.

Secondly, you mentioned the minorities. Thanks for that word because they talk to me about the Christians, the poor Christians. It’s true, they suffer. The martyrs, there are many martyrs. But here there are men and women, religious minorities, not all of them Christian, and they are all equal before God.

To stop the unjust aggressor is a right that humanity has, but it is also a right that the aggressor has to be stopped so that he does not do evil.  Source  here

Catholic in Brooklyn: Karl Rahner Was Right - Part 1: The Changing Face ...

I think Catholic in Brooklyn raises good points at link below:

Catholic in Brooklyn: Karl Rahner Was Right - Part 1: The Changing Face ...: There is an interesting psychological phenomenon that was identified in 1972 called "Groupthink". Wikipedia [ HERE ] gives us t...

The Practice of Humility

" I will strive to get a great contempt for myself, to think little of and despise myself, and to pray and desire that others may do the same. I have nothing which God has not given me; I can do nothing without God's grace. " Fr William Doyle SJ 25th November 1906

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Just ordered

Born and raised in Essex, Maajid Nawaz was recruited into politicised Islam as a teenager. Abandoning his love of hip hop music, graffiti and girls, he was recruited into Hizb ut-Tahrir (the Liberation Party) where he played a leading and international role in the shaping and dissemination of an aggressive anti-West narrative. While studying for his Arabic and law degree, he travelled around the UK and to Denmark and Pakistan, setting up new cells.Read more on Amazon here

Pope Francis on women & families

I wish also to acknowledge the outstanding contribution made by Korean Catholic women to the life and mission of the Church in this country as mothers of families, as catechists and teachers, and in countless other ways. Similarly, I can only stress the importance of the witness given by Christian families. At a time of great crisis for family life, which we all know, our Christian communities are called to support married couples and families in fulfilling their proper mission in the life of the Church and society. The family remains the basic unit of society and the first school in which children learn the human, spiritual and moral values which enable them to be a beacon of goodness, integrity and justice in our communities.

Pope's Address to Korean Laity above & here

St Mogue's Island

Picture credit Bawnboy festival 2014 here

We had a great visit last week to nearby St Mogue's Island.

Info from the parish website here & below:

Having completed his monastic training in the late 5th century, St Aidan (Mogue) is said to have founded his first church on his island birthplace on Port Lake. The main centre of Christian worship then switched from Kilnavart to Port where a small monastic settlement was established. This continued through-out the medieval period. Indeed the ruined church on the island is of late medieval style. Roman records dating from 1416 and 1426 mention a chapel on the shore. Templeport, Teampeall an Phoirt in Irish, means the “church on the back of landing place”. The parish derives its name from this. In 1590, under the Elizabethan Inquisition, the church was ceded to the Anglican Church. Catholic worship then reverted to a barn type Church in Kilnavart.

More information here & below: very interesting story about the clay:

History of St. Mogue’s Island and Templeport

Taken from Bawnboy and Templeport, History Heritage Folklore, By Chris Maguire here & below:

Templeport = Teampall a Phoirt, the church of the landing place.

It was on Inis Breachmhaigh, now known as Port, Inch or Mogue’s Island, that St. Mogue, the illustrious bishop of Ferns was born. Mogue’s ancestry is traced back to Colla Uais, one of whose leading families was the ‘Fir Luirg’ of Loch Erne. The father of Mogue was Setna, son of Eric, and his mother was Eithne who belonged to the Ui Fhiachrach, so that paternally and maternally Mogue was of noble origin.

One night while his parents were sleeping, the vision of a star descending from the heavens and falling on each, betokened the future greatness and sanctity of their yet unborn son. Owing to this circumstance, many persons afterwards called him ‘Son of the Star’. The day following, a report of this miraculous vision spread abroad, and many wise persons predicated, that as a star led the Magi to adore Christ, so in like manner did this same sign portend, that a son should be born to his parents, full of the Holy Spirit. and shortly afterwards while travelling in a chariot, Eithne was met by a Magus on the way. Having heard the sound of the vehicle, this magician said to his companions: ‘This chariot runs under a King’. On meeting the chariot and finding it occupied by Sentna’s wife and her companion, he said to the former; ‘Woman, thou hast conceived a wonderful son, and he shall be full of God’s grace’.

The beautiful legend of St Mogue’s birth is very well preserved in the Parish of Templeport, and here we give its outlines.

St. Killan or Caillin of Fenagh, on awaking one summer morning finds the ground covered with a miraculous fall of snow. His herd of cattle had stampeded during the night and tracking their hoof-prints in the snow he finds them on the shore of Templeport Lake gazing towards the island. At the same time there was a house on the island inhabited by a weaver, and in answer to the saint’s enquiries, the weaver’s wife informed him that a strange woman who craved shelter the evening before, had during the night given birth to a son, and that a hazel distaff which she had held in her hand had burst fort into blossom. The weaver had taken his boat with him to look after his nets on the lake and there was no means of sending the infant over for baptism. Urged by St. Killen, the weaver’s wife seeks for something flat on which to float the child over to the mainland, and told that anything will do. All she can see is the enormous flagstone which forms the hearthstone in the cottage, and this she cannot move. She is told to place the child on it, and she does so, when lo! The stone moves to her touch and the infant is miraculously wafted to the other side of the lake. Having been baptised, the infant is brought back in the same miraculous manner, and with him on the flagstone the wonderful bell – Mogue’s Bell – which was for centuries afterwards to be venerated in the island church.

The subsequent history of the flagstone is interesting. For centuries afterwards it plied to and fro from mainland to island whenever any of the Teallach Eathach were to be buried in the island graveyard, the coffin being placed on the stone which then without human agency, conveyed it to the burial grounds. One day a pair of young lovers endeavoured to test its powers. They took up positions on the stone which conveyed them out onto the lake. Midway on the journey the stone cracked. One half sank to the bottom bringing with it the irreverent pair, and the other half completed its journey to the island, where some say it may yet be seen. The holy water font in Kildoagh Church and now in St. Mogue’s Church, Bawnboy is said to be made from part of it.

St. Mogue founded many monasteries the first of which was on the island, Inis Breachmhaigh (now St. Mogue’s island) in Templeport Lake. This church was the chief religious centre in Templeport throughout the whole medieval period, at first on the island itself and then jointly on the island and the mainland pier, leading to the island and sanctuary. Port - meaning the landing bank or pier. We do not know the date of the foundation on the island, but Roman documents of 1414 and 1426 show that the church on the mainland had been built. The original site - the one on the island – was not dropped and forgotten. Its name was preserved and incorporated in the joint title, St Mogue’s of Inis Breachmhaigh and St. Mary’s of Templeport. There are carved stones on St. Mogue’s island as well as the ruins of a church. It can be said that throughout the whole Penal Times, Mass was furtively celebrates, intermittently on the island. The mainland church was confiscated in 1590 under the terms of the 3rd Inquisition of Queen Elizabeth and transferred to the State Church of King James 1st in 1609. The present church on the mainland, St. Peter’s, was built or reconstructed in 1815.

St. Mogue’s island has been used as a burial ground for hundreds of years, it is now officially closed except for a few families whose ancestors are buried there. It is easy to understand why people should wish to be laid to rest in such a peaceful spot. Twenty five graves are marked there with headstones and crosses. St. Mogue’s clay(or mortar) which can be collected inside the ruins of the old church on the island is said to be an insurance against fire of drowning. It features in the story of the Titanic disaster when Mary McGovern, Corlough, attributed her rescue to the St. Mogue’s clay which she carried on her person.

One Heart at a Time

One Heart at a Time

We need each other. We need these places of belonging. Hidden in our hearts is the God of compassion, the God of forgiveness, the God of peace. In Calcutta we have communities where Muslims, Hindus and Christians live together. In other areas of Calcutta, on one side there is a Muslim community, on the other a Christian community, with all the tensions you can imagine. We cannot resolve the problems of Northern Ireland, Calcutta, between Israel and Palestine. We cannot resolve the problems of Haiti and the problems in some parts of South America. But what we can do is change the world -- one heart at a time.

Jean Vanier, Address to the Business Community, April 05 Link here

Pope Francis in South Korea

A great post from Terry Nelson here

United Nations News Centre - Adopting resolution, Security Council approves sanctions against militants in Iraq, Syria

15 August 2014 – Expressing its “gravest concern” that parts of Iraq and Syria are now under the control of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Al-Nusra Front, the United Nations Security Council today placed six individuals affiliated with the terrorist groups on its Al-Qaida sanctions list and threatened measures against those who finance, recruit or supply weapons to them. Link below:

United Nations News Centre - Adopting resolution, Security Council approves sanctions against militants in Iraq, Syria

Friday, 15 August 2014

Feast of the Assumption

On November 1, 1950, Pius XII defined the Assumption of Mary to be a dogma of faith: “We pronounce, declare and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma that the immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul to heavenly glory.”

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Happy Birthday Katherine! (For tomorrow :)

Catholic Guilt

St Maximilian Kolbe. (Interesting beard & very relevant if you get my meaning!)

I was planning on doing a post on Catholic Guilt, but found this. It suffices:

Whenever you feel guilty, even if it is because you have consciously committed a sin, a serious sin, something you have kept doing many, many times, never let the devil deceive you by allowing him to discourage you. Whenever you feel guilty, offer all your guilt to the Immaculate, without analyzing it or examining it, as something that belongs to her…

My beloved, may every fall, even if it is serious and habitual sin, always become for us a small step toward a higher degree of perfection.

In fact, the only reason why the Immaculate permits us to fall is to cure us from our self-conceit, from our pride, to make us humble and thus make us docile to the divine graces.

The devil, instead, tries to inject in us discouragement and internal depression in those circumstances, which is, in fact, nothing else than our pride surfacing again.

If we knew the depth of our poverty, we would not be at all surprised by our falls, but rather astonished, and we would thank God, after sinning, for not allowing us to fall even deeper and still more frequently.

—Letter of Saint Maximilian Kolbe