Sunday 29 September 2013

On Guardian Angels

In our times, it seems as if the New Age movements have co-opted the teaching on our Guardian Angels. The Church has had a consistent teaching on angels, based firstly on the Scriptures, both Old and New.

Angels dot the Bible landscape in various roles from warriors, messengers, to helpers and counselors. The three great angels, Michael, Gabriel and Raphael are all mentioned in the Old Testament, by role and by name. These angels appear in the New Testament as well, with Raphael being referred to in Tobit, as one of the seven angels who stands before the Lord, and noted in Revelations 8. I merely quote one verse here in this post.  Psalm 90:11: "For he hath given his angels charge over thee; to keep thee in all thy ways."

Our Guardian Angels have their own feast day this week, a Memorial on October 2nd, and are also found in the Scriptures. One may think that the angel which took Peter out of prison, for example, may have been his own.

But, the references abound and the theologians down through the ages have written about guardian angels, including St. Thomas Aquinas. who, when discussing the hierarchy of angels, puts our guardians at the lowest level of angels.

I think a review of what these angelic beings are really like may be necessary to clear up the fog created by New Age nonsense. I cover just a few points.

First of all, angels are spirit and not matter. That they take on human form, such as Raphael did in the Book of Tobit, is a miraculous event, most likely involving the angel appearing as human in order to aid humans. The dualists of our day want to make angels into material beings, which is not true. Many fantasy movies, books and games confuse youth on this aspect of angels, sadly. Some anime stories confuse spiritual beings with material ones, giving both demons and angels material aspects. The new game art confuses traditional aspects of angels on purpose, in my opinion, blending good with evil.

Second, they are extremely intelligent, more than we are. Their intellect informs our intellect, moves our senses, and inspires our imagination for good.

Third, some Fathers state that only the baptized have angels and some state that all men and women have angels. However, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, it seems as only the baptized, that is Christians, have angels. Here is the quotation, using Basil as a reference. The fact that St. Thomas Aquinas states that all humans are given angels from birth lends weight to that argument and he quotes St. Jerome. Here is Jerome from a commentary on Matthew 8.

"The dignity of human souls is great, for each has an angel appointed to guard it." 

I think the jury is out on this one. The CCC seems a bit confusing as the first sentence contradicts the second.

336 From its beginning until death, human life is surrounded by their watchful care and intercession.202 "Beside each believer stands an angel as protector and shepherd leading him to life."203 Already here on earth the Christian life shares by faith in the blessed company of angels and men united in God.

However, whether one gets an angel at birth or at baptism, the fact that God gives us a powerful aid in the fight against evil is a huge blessing. One should take time to thank both God and the guardian angel for this protection.

Four, children and baptized babies do not become angels at death, which I actually have heard people say in England. We are completely different creatures with a human soul. I would hope that this manner of speaking would pass away, if these statements are mere colloquialisms.

Five, angels stay with us all the time, but according to St. Thomas Aquinas, remove themselves for times for reasons known to God, such as times of trial.

Six, angels do not grieve, states Aquinas, (nor do the saints in heaven, by the way). They experience bliss constantly, even in serving us as guardians.

Seven, the angels do not have gender. They are not male and female, and the feminization of their features in art is a sad, relatively modern convention. 

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Report: Catholic Identity Conference 2013

The second Catholic Identity Conference was held in Weirton, West Virginia, on the weekend of 20-22 September 2013.  Speakers included Chris Ferrara, Michael Matt, Fr. Gregory Pendergraft, FSSP, John Rao, John Vennari, James Vogel, Michael Voris, and John Henry Weston.  For a complete report, including photos, see here.  Also here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Feast Day of Our Lady of Walsingham

Every Catholic in England should have a love for Our Lady of Walsingham, and the devotion for the love and care Our Mother has for this country.

Take a minute and say the prayer for our dear country, through the intercession of Our Dear Queen.

Prayer to Our Lady of Walsingham
O Mary, recall the solemn moment when Jesus, your divine Son, dying on the cross confided us to your maternal care. You are our Mother; we desire ever to remain your devout children. Let us therefore feel the effects of your powerful intercession with Jesus Christ. Make your name again glorious in this place, once renowned throughout our land by your visits, favours and many miracles. Pray, O Holy Mother of God, for the conversion of England, restoration of the sick, consolation for the afflicted, repentance of sinners, peace to the departed. O Blessed Mary, Mother of God, Our Lady of Walsingham, intercede for us. Amen.
You may enjoy reading this play on her today.

Monday 23 September 2013

The Feast of St Pio of Pietrelcina

This is the last Mass to be celebrated by Padre Pio.

A friar of whom Rome most certainly did not approve until after his death.

Now, forty five years after his death, we call on the intercession of St Pio for Holy Mother Church and orthodoxy today.

“After my death I can do much more......
                      .....I will stand at the door of Heaven and 
              not get in until the last of my spiritual 
children has entered”.

 Richard Collins - Linen on the Hedgerow

Sunday 22 September 2013

Pascendi Dominici Gregis Part Three

Sheep Farming at Coulaghailtro The Isle of Jura in the background

The Isle of Jura in the background  © Copyright Patrick Mackie and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The Modernist as Reformer is the title of this section. I do not think I need to make detailed comments on this part. It is clear that the problems in the seminaries happened long before Vatican II, and that Modernism was the underlying heresy of the changes in the seminaries. I think that the creation of the so many conferences and committees which proliferate, especially in the States, are a direct result of the Modernist desire to de-centralize the power of Rome.

Needless to say, one can read this section with a one-to-one correspondence of known abuses in the Church today. I would go so far as to state that there would be very few Catholics who have not, at one time in their lives, not been affected by Modernism. The question for us all now is, "Is it too late to do anything about this heresy of heresies?" 

As one reads this section, one may be surprised at the amount of topics listed by Pope St. Pius X which are still popular, if not more so, today in 2013. My highlights....

38. It remains for Us now to say a few words about the Modernist as reformer. From all that has preceded, some idea may be gained of the reforming mania which possesses them: in all Catholicism there is absolutely nothing on which it does not fasten. Reform of philosophy, especially in the seminaries: the scholastic philosophy is to be relegated to the history of philosophy among obsolete systems, and the young men are to be taught modern philosophy which alone is true and suited to the times in which we live. Reform of theology; rational theology is to have modern philosophy for its foundation, and positive theology is to be founded on the history of dogma. As for history, it must be for the future written and taught only according to their modern methods and principles. Dogmas and their evolution are to be harmonised with science and history. In the Catechism no dogmas are to be inserted except those that have been duly reformed and are within the capacity of the people. Regarding worship, the number of external devotions is to be reduced, or at least steps must be taken to prevent their further increase, though, indeed, some of the admirers of symbolism are disposed to be more indulgent on this head. Ecclesiastical government requires to be reformed in all its branches, but especially in its disciplinary and dogmatic parts. Its spirit with the public conscience, which is not wholly for democracy; a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to the lower ranks of the clergy, and even to the laity, and authority should be decentralised. The Roman Congregations, and especially the index and the Holy Office, are to be reformed. The ecclesiastical authority must change its line of conduct in the social and political world; while keeping outside political and social organization, it must adapt itself to those which exist in order to penetrate them with its spirit. With regard to morals, they adopt the principle of the Americanists, that the active virtues are more important than the passive, both in the estimation in which they must be held and in the exercise of them. The clergy are asked to return to their ancient lowliness and poverty, and in their ideas and action to be guided by the principles of Modernism; and there are some who, echoing the teaching of their Protestant masters, would like the suppression of ecclesiastical celibacy. What is there left in the Church which is not to be reformed according to their principles?

Friday 20 September 2013

Pascendi Dominici Gregis Two

Obviously, in the three posts to which I am limiting myself on this great encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, I cannot unpack everything. But, I want to highlight a few points which to the discerning mind are extremely topical this week. Here is Pope St. Pius X on the overlap of the false idea that religious sentiment must allow for the evolution of dogma or doctrine. This is connected to the basic faulty thinking on the source of religion and the source of religious yearning in humans. Recently, on a highly popular English blog, I was reading that moral dilemmas cannot be solved as humans do not have the means to determine revelation, as God has spoken to us in a cloud. This popular idea is linked to relativism, but also a deeper mistrust of an institutional teachings of the Catholic Church or any direct revelation found in both the New and Old Testaments. One author claimed that as Christians we still can make decisions for good or evil after we die, as then we shall see things clearly. Of course, the moral subject being discussed was the good or evil of homosexual marriage.

Too bad that the author has no clue as to the philosophy of natural law or the infallibility of Revelation as taught by the Catholic Church. Of course, when Protestants or New Agers deny Tradition, the impulse for religion becomes purely personal and subjective. Then, one falls into false hope for yet another try after death. According to this author on the blog I was reading, no one can make true moral decisions as humans simply do not have enough information at this time to do so. Progressivism-as in Star Trek, will enable the soul to evolve and mature. So, too, doctrines and dogmas will change as humans get more intelligent.

Sola everything, (as in sola fide, sola gratia, solus Christus, sola Scriptura, and sola gloria) has led to sola nothing. And as Catholics, we know this is the logical end of throwing out the Tradition and Revelation of the Church.

This type of relativistic and non-rational thinking has crept into the Church to the point of making a separation between dogmatic, liturgical, moral,  exegetic, ascetic and apologetic theologies and pastoral theology. I have bold-faced the sections which are pertinent.

There is no distinction between pastoral and the other theologies. Of course, the Modernist fallacy of separating heart and head began in the Protestant Revolt, as seen in many of the emphases on emotions, enthusiasm and personal, private conversion outside an established Church. The number of errors which emanate from the division of the Christian religion from both Revelation and Tradition form the basis of Modernist heresies. I call this particular one I am looking at today the heresy of sincerity. So many people believe that if they are sincere, they are correct in their judgements about morality and doctrines.

Fill in the blanks as you read....according to the Modernists...The words from the Encyclical are in blue. I give one for the background and the second for the problem. I cannot review all the hydra-heads of Modernism, but many of the heresies come from older ones, such as Pelgianism, Donatism, Arianism and Fideism. But, I want to stick with subjectivity and relativism here.

Here it is well to note at once that, given this doctrine of experience united with the other doctrine of symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be true. What is to prevent such experiences from being met within every religion? In fact that they are to be found is asserted by not a few. And with what right will Modernists deny the truth of an experience affirmed by a follower of Islam? With what right can they claim true experiences for Catholics alone? Indeed Modernists do not deny but actually admit, some confusedly, others in the most open manner, that all religions are true. That they cannot feel otherwise is clear. For on what ground, according to their theories, could falsity be predicated of any religion whatsoever? It must be certainly on one of these two: either on account of the falsity of the religious sentiment or on account of the falsity of the formula pronounced by the mind. Now the religious sentiment, although it may be more perfect or less perfect, is always one and the same; and the intellectual formula, in order to be true, has but to respond to the religious sentiment and to the Believer, whatever be the intellectual capacity of the latter. In the conflict between different religions, the most that Modernists can maintain is that the Catholic has more truth because it is more living and that it deserves with more reason the name of Christian because it corresponds more fully with the origins of Christianity. That these consequences flow from the premises will not seem unnatural to anybody. But what is amazing is that there are Catholics and priests who, We would fain believe, abhor such enormities yet act as if they fully approved of them. For they heap such praise and bestow such public honour on the teachers of these errors as to give rise to the belief that their admiration is not meant merely for the persons, who are perhaps not devoid of a certain merit, but rather for the errors which these persons openly profess and which they do all in their power to propagate.

If sincerity and good will are all that are needed to obtain holiness, then we should all be saints. And, if we are evolving in spirituality as a species (lol), should not societies be getting better rather than worse? As to the separation of the theologies, is not that error common among those both priests and laity who want to accomodate all belief systems, including atheism?

Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and as clearly flows from their principles. For amongst the chief points of their teaching is this which they deduce from the principle of vital immanence; that religious formulas, to be really religious and not merely theological speculations, ought to be living and to live the life of the religious sentiment. This is not to be understood in the sense that these formulas, especially if merely imaginative, were to be made for the religious sentiment; it has no more to do with their origin than with number or quality; what is necessary is that the religious sentiment, with some modification when necessary, should vitally assimilate them. In other words, it is necessary that the primitive formula be accepted and sanctioned by the heart; and similarly the subsequent work from which spring the secondary formulas must proceed under the guidance of the heart. Hence it comes that these formulas, to be living, should be, and should remain, adapted to the faith and to him who believes. Wherefore if for any reason this adaptation should cease to exist, they lose their first meaning and accordingly must be changed. And since the character and lot of dogmatic formulas is so precarious, there is no room for surprise that Modernists regard them so lightly and in such open disrespect. And so they audaciously charge the Church both with taking the wrong road from inability to distinguish the religious and moral sense of formulas from their surface meaning, and with clinging tenaciously and vainly to meaningless formulas whilst religion is allowed to go to ruin.

To be continued...

Thursday 19 September 2013

What it means to be an Altar Server

          A moving film on what it means to be an altar server - released by
         Two Sense Films    


Posted by Linen on the Hedgerow

Wednesday 18 September 2013

Young Catholic Adults Weekend

During the weekend of the 18-20 October 2013, Young Catholic Adults will be running a national weekend at Cold Ash Retreat Centre just up the road from Douai Abbey (which was booked up this year).

* It will be include the following Priests:- Fr Goddard FSSP, Fr de Malleray, Fr. Pearson O.P. and Br. Wilson O.S.B..

* There will be a Marian Procession, Rosaries, Sung/HighMass, Confession and socials.

* Gregorian Chant Workshops will also be running, this year led by the Schola Gregoriana of Cambridge

Weekend rates: £99.00 for adults, £69.00 for Students and U/E ( weekends starts on Friday evening with supper and finish on Sunday after lunch.
Saturday night only - £60.00 for adults, £50.00 for Students and U/E Full Board
B & B - £35.00 for adults, £30.00 (for student - U/E) per day

Non - residential and full board - (Friday & Saturday) - £45.00 for adults, £40.00 for (for student - U/E) per day
Non residential (includes meals) - £30.00 for adults, £25.00 (for student - U/E) per day
Non residential & no meals - £20.00 for adults, £15.00 (for student - U/E) per day.

To download a booking form please see :-

For general enquiries about the weekend please ring Margaret on 07515 805015 or Damian on 07908105787.

Young Catholic Adults
How to get to Cold Ash Retreat Centre (near Thatcham, Berkshire)

Car - Roughly halfway between Reading and Newbury, Cold Ash Retreat Centre is within easy reach of these towns as well as London, Oxford, Bracknell, Winchester and Basingstoke. The A4 (Bath Road is a couple of miles and the M4 is just 4 miles away.

Trains - The nearest railway stations are Thatcham and Newbury, with a regular service on the line from Reading to Taunton. It's just c. 45 minutes from London Paddington. The local railway station, Thatcham, is a couple of miles away (and has plenty of taxis available). Timetables and other information are provided by

Buses - Weavaway operates a bus service from Newbury Town Centre via Thatcham Broadway to Tilehurst, which stops at Cold Ash along the way.

Young Catholic Adults

Tuesday 17 September 2013

A Review of A Great Pope And A Great Encyclical

Every time I read the great Encyclical, Pascendi Dominici Gregis, by Pope St. Pius X, I am amazed at how prophetic it was and how timely it is today. I would like to quote a few sections which apply directly to the politics of several nations in the West and politics within the Church.

We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church's open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.
In the recent past, in 2012,  Pope Emeritus Benedict stated that the grave problems involved enemies within the Church. These are those who do not obey the Teaching Magisterium of the Church in matters of correctly forming their consciences to conform to Tradition and Revelation, as in the matters of contraception and abortion, marriage, liturgy.

The saintly Pope Pius X writes that the Modernists,  are wont to display a certain contempt for Catholic doctrines, or the Holy Fathers, for the Ecumenical Councils, for the ecclesiastical magisterium; and should they be rebuked for this, they complain that they are being deprived of their liberty. Lastly, guided by the theory that faith must be subject to science, they continuously and openly criticise the Church because of her sheer obstinacy in refusing to submit and accommodate her dogmas to the opinions of philosophy; while they, on their side, after having blotted out the old theology, endeavour to introduce a new theology which shall follow the vagaries of their philosophers.
We can see this in the so-called pro-choice Catholic politicians, or in the Catholics who maintain that civil unions for homosexuals do not contradict either natural law or the Church's teaching. And, the brilliant Pope continues
Concerning immanence it is not easy to determine what Modernists mean by it, for their own opinions on the subject vary. Some understand it in the sense that God working in man is more intimately present in him than man is in even himself, and this conception, if properly understood, is free from reproach. Others hold that the divine action is one with the action of nature, as the action of the first cause is one with the action of the secondary cause, and this would destroy the supernatural order. Others, finally, explain it in a way which savours of pantheism and this, in truth, is the sense which tallies best with the rest of their doctrines. 
This is the great error in the thinking of the leaders in the United States and Europe, who contradict natural law on the basis that somehow, God is working in some sort of false progressivism (the Star-Trek heresy) which holds that we, in 2013, are smarter and holier than the 2,000 years of Christians who have gone before us. Arrogance stands firm against the Church. Of course, when natural law is ignored or twisted into some type of relativism, the supernatural order in a nation erodes and, finally, is destroyed. We have had plenty of warning, over a hundred years, in fact, to get ready for the onslaught on religious freedoms we see today. This encroachment of Modernism did not suddenly happen. The date of this Encyclical is 1907. The prophetic nature of this document will even more clearly be seen in my second part which I shall post in a day or two, on the nature of Church and State relations. But, look carefully at the inspiration in this section: God was trying to get our attention 106 years ago. Who was paying attention? Who is now?

Here is the holy Pope again:
For we are living in an age when the sense of liberty has reached its fullest development, and when the public conscience has in the civil order introduced popular government. Now there are not two consciences in man, any more than there are two lives. It is for the ecclesiastical authority, therefore, to shape itself to democratic forms, unless it wishes to provoke and foment an intestine conflict in the consciences of mankind. The penalty of refusal is disaster. For it is madness to think that the sentiment of liberty, as it is now spread abroad, can surrender. Were it forcibly confined and held in bonds, terrible would be its outburst, sweeping away at once both Church and religion. Such is the situation for the Modernists, and their one great anxiety is, in consequence, to find a way of conciliation between the authority of the Church and the liberty of believers.

Friday 13 September 2013

In The Shadow of The Triumph of The Cross

I was at Notre Dame for six years and have a degree from there. Being at Notre Dame creates a sensitivity to the great Feast of the Triumph (or Exaltation) of the Cross. as it is the patronal feast of the order. The order is called the Congregation of the Holy Cross. I also had the nuns of this order for eight years of elementary school. The order produced many excellent teachers.

The founder, Blessed. Basil Moreau, C.S.C., created the order in 1837 in order to meet the terrible needs of the French people after the destruction of schools and churches in the French Revolution.

His love of the Eucharist and the Cross became central devotions of the order. In 1842, Father Moreau sent a small group of priests and brothers to the wilds of Indiana in order to help both the French settlers, the English settlers and the very few Natives left in the area. Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C and his men founded Notre Dame with a small log cabin and a vision of education.

The mission of the order from the beginning was education of the mind and the heart. One of their own is a saint, Saint Andre Bessette. It is ironic that the high-powered, intellectual order (my teacher-nuns were top-notch), has a simple porter for a saint. It is about this humble brother that I want to write in order to highlight the patronal feast day, which is tomorrow.

The Triumph of the Cross is the feast resulting from the finding of the true Cross in Jerusalem by St. Helena in 326. Some historians put the date of the feast as early as the dedication in Jerusalem of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in 335.

The Exaltation of the Cross remains a huge feast in the East. Can one imagine if the West developed processions and special devotions at this time to honor the Cross "on which held the salvation of the world"?

Saint Andre Bessette lived a life in the shadow of the Cross. He was orphaned by the age of twelve, and finally entered the Congregation of the Holy Cross in 1870. He was 25. Because he was not highly educated, and a brother, Saint Andre was made the porter at the Notre Dame College in Montreal.

The authorities began to notice something. People were coming to visit this lowly porter. People would ask his for prayers and they were healed.  Saint Andre was one of these persons who attained holiness through grace and prayer at an early age. But, he was to live until January 6, 1937. It was estimated that at his funeral, a million people came. 

One wonders at such an unknown, unimportant person being so close to God, but this is the way of God.

Saint Andre understood the Cross. He did not shrink from humility or suffering. His charism of healing was a direct result of prayer and simplicity of heart.

The largest church in Canada, Saint Joseph’s Oratory of Mount Royal, is a direct result of Saint Andre's love of Saint Joseph. 

The connection between the Exaltation of the Holy Cross and Saint Andre inspires all of us today. We all have various calls and gifts from God. Most of these are unknown to the larger world. Nothing matters except that we accept the smallness of our beings and cling to the Cross of Christ.

The Triumph of the Cross is the personal triumph of the salvation of each one of us. Saint Andre cooperated in his love and prayer with graces God gives to all of us. Just as Christ's Death was missed by most of the world, just as Our Lord's Passion occurred in an obscure part of the world, witnessed by very few, so too, Saint Andre's little life remained hidden until God decided to show the world the little light.

No suffering is wasted in God. No life is too small not to create life in others. We can triumph in the Cross daily.

Wednesday 11 September 2013

A Collection of Collective Memories

I remember where I was when President John F. Kennedy died. Exactly. I was in Latin Class, with Sister Gabriela, when the President of the High School, a famous Monsignor, came on the intercom and announced the President has been shot. He asked the entire school to say the rosary. We knelt down by our desks and did so. We stayed in class and about 40 minutes later, Father came back on the system and announced that the President had died of the assassination attempt and school was closed for the day. We all were to go home.

I was 14.

I remember vividly the day Senator Robert Kennedy was shot, June 5, 1968. It was the beginning of summer vacation and I was helping my mother wash windows outside. I was up on a ladder with my turquoise blue transistor radio listening to WLS Chicago teen music when the broadcast was interrupted to announce this tragedy. Robert Kennedy, in my mind, was the best of the lot. He had been shot the night before, but died in hospital later the night of the second day. The report said he was in hospital. I had seen both Kennedy brothers in person, as they had visited our city. I had heard a talk by Robert Kennedy. This was close to home. I recall how I felt, like I had a great rock inside. I was afraid.

I was 19.

I remember exactly where I was on 9/11. I was working to help set up a fine arts college in Canada, (a college which is going strong), as I was a curriculum adviser, when my neighbor came over and told me to hurry, and come to her apartment to watch something horrible on cable television. It was early in the morning in Alberta. We did not have a TV.  We got there, sadly, in time to see the second plane hit and the towers go down. It might have been a BBC transmission. The towers collapsing created a shock even to the Canadians. But, tragically, some Canadians told me that day that the Americans deserved this attack. I could not believe this statement coming from pacifists. It was hard being in a foreign country during that time.

My son was with me, of course, and he was 13.

I think the mind, heart and soul are formed by how one reacts to such events. I learned in Latin Class on November 22, 1963, that America was not a safe place. That people could kill leaders. That Catholics were targets. I learned that life was precious and fragile. I learned that even so-called beautiful people were vulnerable.

On June 5, 1968, I learned that some Catholic families are marked for tragedy rather than greatness; that life is short; that one could take nothing for granted; that America was a dangerous place. I learned that even a promising, young life could end suddenly, which I had seen before, but this event impressed me more.

On September 11, 2001, I learned that America was no longer the land of complete freedom, but a land hated by many. I learned that my son's life would not be as peaceful as mine; I learned that America would be changed for the worse after the initial unity of pain and shock. The day after 9/11, mainly because I was in another country, I ordered cable television to follow the news.

I knew immediately why the day had been chosen for many reasons; knew because of my own family history, which made that day sacred as well as Catholic history; that the attack had been made on purpose because of the Feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary, the Triumph of the Battle of Vienna, a victory which took place over two days on the 11th and 12th. The 1683 defeat of the enemies of Christendom had occurred because of the devotion to Mary. Pope Innocent XI made it a feast day in honor of Mary's intercession. Blessed John Paul II restored the feast in 2002. No accident there....

Our lives are shaped by many things and some are tragedies, either personal or collective. The collective memory of our Western culture has been purposefully destroyed by revisionist history, but the corporate memory of the Church is a long memory, one of triumph over sin and death. Catholics also forget that patriotism is a minor virtue in the Catholic Church. In our days of cynicism, perhaps the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary can restore pride in a sub-culture which once was the culture of Europe-the Catholic culture.

God bless all the families impacted on this day. And may the souls of the faithful departed, through the Mercy of God,  rest in peace. Amen.

Sunday 8 September 2013

Suggestions on Spiritual Theology Books

Many people look for excellent books on prayer and the spiritual life in a sea of popular writing. A classic book known to us oldies is Spiritual Theology by Fr. Jordan Aumann.  Some of my Gen-X and Millennial friends have re-discovered this gem, and I pass the hint on to you.

As most of you know, and as indicated in the introduction before the author begins in earnest, spiritual theology is both speculative and practical. In this day and age of many siren voices singing songs on how to become holy, Aumann's approach, from a more traditional base, provides the wanderer with some clear guidelines. As some of you know, I have done an extensive unpacking of Garrigou-Lagrange on my website, but for newbies, this book gives a foundation.

It has always been the duty and joy of the laity to take responsibility for spirituality and prayer. One cannot merely depend on sermons, or confessional advice. In these days, this duty seems more urgent than ever. That this author is used in spiritual theology courses 101 indicates that the level is introductory. However, if one is not familiar with some of the basic teachings of the Catholic Church on the virtues, for example, or prayer, this book can easily be understood side-by-side with the CCC.

One can also check and see if these downloads are still working at this site, which gives a good list of Fr. Aumann's works.

One can also check out this link.

Sadly, the book is out of print, but some of my younger friends have found copies recently.

Another decent book is this one below for starters. Every time I go online to Amazon, I am shocked at the price of these out-of-print classics.

I have these books in Illinois, which does not help me in Dublin, but I can recommend the Dominican writers as a rule on spirituality.

Happy Update: I just got back from Holy Mass and the subject of the sermon from the Prior of the Whitefriar's Carmelites was on the laity taking personal responsibility for their salvation and holiness. Bravo, Prior. Adults must appropriate the Faith at a mature level. This is part of our baptismal duty and we have the graces necessary to do so.

That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill: Unlike the Local Authority, At St Mary Magdalen's We Treasure and Love Our Irritating Little B******

That The Bones You Have Crushed May Thrill: Unlike the Local Authority, At St Mary Magdalen's We Treasure and Love Our Irritating Little B******

Friday 6 September 2013

Ideas for Parents for The Pope's Special Request for Prayers and Fasting

St. Ephrem Doctor of the Church: a Syrian

The Pope has called all Catholics in the world to a time of fasting and prayer tomorrow.

Can you imagine the spiritual power if we all did this?

Here are some suggestions for Catholic parents on observing this time with your children.

If you can get to church, even if your parish is doing nothing, go and sit before the Blessed Sacrament with the children for at least a half hour.

At home, you can do these things:

1) read the parts in the Bible where the Nation of Israel and the Hebrew People before that time fasted and prayed for peace; here are some passages:

Josh.6:17-19 cf. 7:20-21

Ezra 8:23

Esther 4:16

Esther 4:3 

Jonah 3:5-10

Nehemiah 9:1

1 Maccabees 3:47-49

2) eat simply-my mother would give us lunches on fast and abstinence days of cream cheese and Ritz crackers, tomato soup, carrot and celery sticks; fish sticks and fried potatoes; toasted cheese sandwiches;

3) be quiet in the house; this leads to an attitude of prayer-no football, or baseball or whatever on the tv;

4) remind them that they are joining the entire Church in this fast; get out the globe and maps; talk about the Universal Church; find the Vatican on the globe and so on;

5) say the rosary together out loud;

6) make a spiritual bouquet for peace; make and color little booklets and put them under a statue or by the icon of the Sacred Heart or Divine Mercy picture;

7) read the lives of the Syrian saints: here are a few; there are dozens, including Popes and Doctors of the Church: I left on the links for parents or kids to look up their lives:

Saints Cosmas and Damian
Saint Serapia
Ephrem the Syrian
Luke the Evangelist
John Chrysostom
John of Damascus

color these saints
look up prayers to these saints
talk about the Church Triumphant 
and the Church Militant;

8) be an example of a fasting and abstaining parent. 

Wednesday 4 September 2013

Pope Francis Calls for Day of Fasting & Prayer for Syria and the Middle East

During his Sunday Angelus message, Pope Francis called upon Catholics everywhere to join him in a day of prayer and fasting for peace in Syria, where civil war has left thousands dead, and the involvement of other powers threatens a still wider war, this coming Saturday, September 7, the vigil of the Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of God.  The Patriarch of the Maronite Catholic Church and the Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Antioch have joined in this effort.  See here.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Tuesday 3 September 2013

How We Arrived on the Brink of WWIII; A Photo Essay

Photo posted by member of the US ArmyA man holds the body of a dead child among bodies of people activists say were killed by nerve gas in the Ghouta region. 
The Outstanding Public Debt as of 02 Sep 2013 at 11:12:12 PM GMT is:

$ 1 6 , 7 4 6 , 5 7 6 , 5 3 3 , 5 3 9 . 5 4

In short, we have sown discord in every facet of our lives.  May God have mercy on us all.

My thanks to Google Images and their search engine that allowed me to think of an image and find it in moments.  
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