Saturday 31 October 2015

Thank You

It is fitting that as Guild chairman, I extend gratitude on behalf of the Guild and of our readers to Supertradmum, who has, through her excellent writing on the Holy Faith, inspired so many of us with her words, helping to spread the fragrance of the Gospel and to enlighten us with her writings, which have always been measured with the charity of Christ, with candour, integrity and with great love for Jesus and His Holy Church.

May God bless Supertradmum, in all your undertakings and may God and Blessed Titus Brandsma watch over our Guild of Catholic bloggers in this, a time of upheaval and distress within the walls of the Church. Thank you, Supertradmum, for your witness to Jesus on this blog and may God shower His blessings on you and all who you know and love.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Good-Bye: Cassian to Blake and Back Again

And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountains green:
And was the holy Lamb of God,
On England's pleasant pastures seen!

And did the Countenance Divine,
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here,
Among these dark Satanic Mills?

Bring me my Bow of burning gold;
Bring me my Arrows of desire:
Bring me my Spear: O clouds unfold!
Bring me my Chariot of fire!

I will not cease from Mental Fight,
Nor shall my Sword sleep in my hand:
Till we have built Jerusalem,
In England's green & pleasant Land

I have been revisiting John Cassian's Conferences and commenting on these on my own blog. However, I want to share a few thoughts, as I have to say goodbye to this wonderful place, The Courtyard. Because of new political trends and events, I cannot write freely for an English audience on an English site. This fact grieves me. My heart is broken.

This blog has taught me many great truths of the Catholic Church. Without a foundation in truth, in the teachings of the Magisterium and the Scriptures, one cannot grow in holiness. Holiness, notes Cassian through the Desert Father, Abba Isaac, must be based on orthodoxy. The pure in heart seek only the truth of the Gospels, the long Tradition of the Fathers, and the doctrines and dogmas of Holy Mother Church. In the Church, we find safety from both heresy and eccentricity. In Christ, we find wholeness.

Cassian and Blake speak to my heart today.

And, did those Feet...

Perhaps the reason why John Cassian speaks to me these days is that he wrote at the end of the Roman Empire, living at the same time as St. Augustine, both witnessing the destruction of the greatest civilization of centuries.

Cassian and Augustine had to come to terms with an ending, without seeing the beginning; they did not see the flowering of monasticism, the Benedictine renewal of education and rural life, the Dominican and Franciscan revolt against gross greed and stupidity, the creation of Christendom in Europe. And was the Holy Lamb of God...

We are in the same place as Augustine and Cassian, the place of destruction, and the fall, though more subtle up to now, will result in the same sense of displacement and fear, disassociation and depression, in those who will not know what to do in the face of a total collapse of all that has been known and treasured.

Cassian and Augustine, Benedict and Bede had answers for their times.

Prayer, fasting, penance, including mortification, radical poverty, chastity and obedience---the mark of those who wanted and still want to follow Christ in the midst of chaos, were and still are the answers to the sadness and anxieties born out of the death of a civilization.

Only God brings order, not politicians, or governments, or armies. And did that Countenance Divine...

Like Cassian, like Augustine, I sit at the edge of the end of all things I have known and loved.

I have loved England and received life from the very dirt beneath my feet, the dirt of Glastonbury, the Dales, Dartmoor, pleasant pastures, the South Downs, Fountains Abbey, Hampstead Heath, clouded hills. Like Katie Scarlett O'Hara getting her strength from the red soil of Tara, the dark soil of England gave me life, and I gave it back, in my flower gardens, my teaching, my poetry, my own son. Burning gold...Arrows of desire....

The soil blessed by the blood of Cuthbert Mayne, Edmund Campion, Philip Howard, Ann Line, and so many others, now is being cursed by those who cannot see, and do not want to follow the footprints of Augustine, Lanfranc, Anselm, Etheldreda, those who walked upon England's green and pleasant Land.

My England has fast become a place of terror and uncertainty, verging on the very edge of legalized anti-Catholicism, falling into a new and worse dark age, one which has no excuse for ignorance of Christ.

My England, the small rural towns where I lived and raised my son, Sherborne, Petersfield, the lanes between flowering hedgerows, the singing of the birds in the lively morning chorus, the meeting of friends at the local shop or pub, are falling into a haze of memories, like old yellow photographs in an old black album, crumbling, fading. 

My years living in London, in West Kensington, Ealing, Tyburn, short times in Bayswater, likewise magical times of love and life, have morphed into sentences in poetry, plays and short stories. Like old type in ragged-edged books, my memories fade into one long paragraph of gratefulness.

But, my England no longer exists except in memory.

It is not that this England has stopped looking like a picture-postcard, but the air has changed. The last vestiges of secular humanism, which created the tolerance behind a great nation, has been choked by ideology and fear. I, like so many other Catholics, have become marginalized. I have been made a stranger in a strange land. I have been disenfranchised. O, clouds unfold....

Did those who lived in Germany in 1938 feel the change? Did those, like St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross understand the finality of the turning of the tide? Yes, some did. Most did not.

Years ago, a few of my commentators accused me of being negative about the future.

The future is here.

They have been silenced by reality. My England will be silenced by error, error with power.

I, like many others, are seen as “extremists”. Zeal for God's House will soon become a crime.

So, it has all happened before, and for much the same reasons, conformity being one of the foremost causes of tyranny.

Those who desire mediocrity will get it. It is already here, in schools, in churches, in literature, in music, in relationships. Those who desire excellence will be silenced. The intelligentsia always are targeted first. The Catholic intelligentsia had a long time to think about the future, which is now the present.

My England has been destroyed by those who have tried to wrestle power from God Himself-those aligned with the dark, Satanic mills. And, for a short time, God has allowed them to win a battle, but not the war. He won the war on Golgotha. I shall not cease from Mental fight...

But, this battle is for our purification. May a new England arise out of the ashes of the old, an England which again claims and desires to be Mary's Dowry, a beloved land of those who love Christ first, others second, and self third; a nation where Christ is King.

May my England come back again renewed in grace. May the Holy Mile at Walsingham echo again with Gregorian Chant, sung by all who live and go there. May we look up and see the chariot of fire...

But, I may never see this in my lifetime. I am resigned not to see the land I love the most renewed.

I have to stop writing to my beloved friends in England. I have to learn to live in more silence.

In Conference Nine, John Cassian, quoting the Desert Father, Abba Isaac, writes that we must learn to pray in silence.

Sitting at the edge of the fall of civilization may be a position of forcing us into silence.

But, why silence? Why praying in silence....? Cassian tells us and I extrapolate from his points.

To learn to listen to the right voices—the Voice of God and the voice of one's angel...How do we learn to recognize God's voice in the din of false voices?

To learn about one's self, one's sins and imperfections—like the rebellion which wells up when one is thwarted...How does one overcome self-will when one is constantly distracted? Silence focuses one.

To not share prayers with “hostile powers”, who wait to interfere with the desires of the heart...demonic influences which only wish us malice and personal damnation...How can one protect one's self from the unseen enemies? Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand...

To not distract others, with verbal prayers and utterances....How does one love the unlovable, including one's self, if not through silence?

Silence leads to purity of mind, heart and soul. Silence makes one must learn to wait for God.

Blogging has been done by me in silence, but now, God is calling me to a deeper silence, for the salvation of my own soul, for the protection of those I love the most. My “meditations” on this blog have come to this end.

For now, I have to leave this inspired blog, where I have been allowed to share some of my deepest dreams as well as the thoughts of some of our greatest writers, who works have provided me and you with many jewels upon which to meditate. I have met fantastic people through this blog. For that, I am truly, eternally grateful, now, at this time, remembering one dead, and two especially dear to me-- one who has been forced into silence, and the faithful administrator, to whom I am extremely grateful for entertaining my thoughts here.

But, as my vision of England fades into memory, and, then, will finally be purified in the scouring of my imagination by the intense Light of God, Which fashions one's memory, understanding, and will into His Own, I say goodbye to this lovely port of call of Catholicism.

I shall miss you all, and have, some, for a long time, missed your presence. Pray for me, and pray for all bloggers.

Jerusalem was not builded here, or, rather, it was, and came to be destroyed by an angry king. The City of Man prevailed, and I mourn this. Our Lady Mary must have mourned the loss of her own dowry in that Jerusalem so far away, at the foot of the Cross. The hearts of many were seen and are seen by her. She has this grace. She lived on earth with this knowledge in great silence. Mary, our Queen, with Her Son, waits for us on the other side of silence.

Slowly, but surely, we shall all have to move into silence. Our words may be for God alone, and not for those who wanted to listen, even for a short time. God will hear our words. He will respond to our cries for a new England in His Own time.

Blessed Titus Brandsma, who I have come to love through this blog, pray for us, pray for me. Help us to be strong and faithful like you were in the face of madness, stupidity, conformity, mediocrity, violence. Blessed Titus, intercede for England.

Monday 19 October 2015

Bl. Karl Mass - Washington, DC - 21 Oct 2015

Solemn High Mass
for the Feast Day of
Blessed Karl of the House of Austria

Wednesday, 21 October 2015, 7:00 PM

Old St. Mary's Church
724 5th Street NW, Washington, DC 20001

Celebrant: Rev. Fr. James Bradley
Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham

Special Guest: Princess Maria-Anna Galitzine
Granddaughter of Blessed Karl

Music by Musikanten, St. Mary's Schola, and St. Benet's Schola

Veneration of First Class Relic

Reception after Mass at Market-to-Market across 5th Street from St. Mary's Church.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass

Friday 16 October 2015

On The Rise of Witchcraft

Some of my friends who have decided to become hermits, and some of my friends who have actually started new orders, have come against a new evil, perhaps not seen for centuries--organized witchcraft. I refuse to use the term "wicca" as it sounds to trendy and too tame for the real deal.

Those with whom I have spoken realize that in some areas there are actually witches praying against Catholics who are isolated, Catholics who are starting new orders, either religious orders, or lay associations, which have been thwarted in their attempts to begin something new and necessary.

Some of these spiritual attacks, done on purpose, come from specific groups of people, especially in the United States, who want to bring down the power and influence of Catholicism. This is not the fiction of Malachi Martin, who, by the way, fictionalized facts to make these more acceptable to the the public, and to protect himself. This good man was even accused of being paranoid, when, in retrospect, many of the things of which he wrote are not only public knowledge, but in the msm.

The rise of witchcraft fills a spiritual gap for those who do not want to acknowledge Jesus Christ as Lord and Master. Those who want power, (and witchcraft gives people temporal power in certain areas of their lives), find ways to get power, not by submission to God, but by submission to the evil one.

Witchcraft morphs into other false paganism, but remains a practice of malice. Malice, one of the worst sins, according to St. Thomas Aquinas, involves the intellect, not only wishing evil on others, but devising ways to hate others. The Roman Catholic Church, the universal Church, which includes all the accepted Rites, such as the Byzantines, has been "under attack" for centuries by the powers of evil, but now, more and more Catholics are witnessing such evil in their lives, sent on purpose, from malevolent people.

Yes, there are people who wish Catholics evil. There are malicious people, who either derive some sort of control over their enemies by hatred, or who get some sort of perverted pleasure out of wishing others evil.

Witchcraft is only one "religion" which holds that one has the right to curse others. Voodoo also is a negative "religion" based on cursing and spells.

This is not the stuff of Hollywood. Recently, some holy men and women have expressed to me that they have seen sinister occurrences in their lives, and they actually know the persons who are wishing them evil. These holy people are attempting to start up a new order, and others are attempting to have houses of prayer, leading lives of contemplation and sacrifice, interceding for the Church and for individuals.

The rise of witchcraft means that there is a concerted effort to stop orthodox Catholic local groups from creating places of holiness.

Some people think that witches are merely outsiders, who are picked on by the larger community. But, the irony now, in 2015, is that the new large minority of people, not only the young, actually are "nones"--not members of any established church, either protestant or Catholic. These nones still want spiritual experiences, and even those who are "materialists" seek out power, which witchcraft can give.

Of course, satan asks a price, eventually, for this temporary power.

In both the western Church and in the eastern Church, witchcraft has been addressed at some councils, such as Elvira, Ancyra, and Trullo. However, the modern entertainment world has pushed the idea that witches of the past have been either misunderstood people on the edge of society, or those involved in common, neutral magic. There is no such thing as neutrality in the spiritual realms.

These times present a problem for loyal Catholics who may find themselves isolated either in urban or rural areas. The truth that one cannot live alone without some spiritual protection must be realized. All those who are pursuing holiness need protection, either from close friends, holy families, spiritual directors, or members of their parishes.

But, as my friends who are starting an order have discovered, "five is not enough".  The presence of holy groups of people in certain parts of the United States has created hostility--too many people hate the Church, and do not want to be challenged in their own secular worlds without God.

Sadly, as reported by the Beeb this past week, there are some fanatics who see witches where they are none and who want to find satan under every rock. As a leading exorcist states, "Satan is not under every rock. He is under every other rock."

Too often as Catholics we turn all our attention on the evil within the Church, which is blatantly obvious this week in Rome, forgetting that there are those who actively strive to bring down the Church in local areas by means of occult activity.

This past month, staying in a convent for several weeks, the dear nuns have shared with me the trying times of spiritual attacks in monasteries which are lights in the darkness. These attacks have resembled the script of  movie, involving both personal and group illnesses, severe financial setbacks, the lack of vocations, (who talks about abortiona and contraception as being part of the vocation crisis), and even dissension in neighbors where they, and orders like them, have tried to work and grow.

Yes, God tries His favorites, but we cannot ignore the unseen world, which is larger than the seen world. This is not the time for lone wolf Catholicism. We must all be aware of those trying to be saints in hostile territory and come together for prayer and support.

Some statistics: In 1990, in the States, there were 8,000 witches, (those who claimed they were). In less than twenty years, over 750,000 self-identifed witches or pagans were in the States.

In the United Kingdom, the numbers have been given on various sites online as about 13,000, again, self-proclaiming witches. This seems low.

In Australia, slightly less than 9,000 people claim to be witches.

As Catholics, we must support groups attempting to reach out to these individuals and groups with prayer and fasting. Pray for new orders and new lay associations. Pray for hermits.

We, of course, have the truth and power of Jesus Christ and of Holy Mother Church, but we cannot be naive or stupid. In British Columbia, the so-called witch capital area of North America, witchcamps advertise for youth, youth who are not protected by baptism or other sacraments.

We can see darkness growing both in and out of the Church. Both of these types of enemies want power over the one, holy, Catholic and apostolic Church. Let us pray for all those who may be vulnerable at this time, either in Rome, or elsewhere.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

Report: Feast of Ss. Cosma & Damiano‏ -- Italo-Albanian Greek Catholic Divine Liturgy in New York City

On Sunday, 4 October 2015, members of the  Arbëreshë, or Italo-Albanian , community of San Cosmo Albanese (a village in Calabria, Italy), gathered at the Church of the Most Precious Blood in New York City’s Little Italy neighborhood, to celebrate the 112th annual Feast of Saints Cosma and Damiano, the patron saints of the village. 

Mass was celebrated by Rev. Economos Romanos V. Russo of St. Michael’s Chapel, a Russian Catholic Community of Byzantine Rite, also in Little Italy, just a few blocks north, whose deep, booming voice is perfectly suited for the Italo-Greek Albanian Divine Liturgy.  Serving the Liturgy was Sub deacon Alexei Wolrornist and Anthony Russo, and representing the Military Constantinian Order of Saint George was Cav. Patrick O’Boyle. 

That Liturgy, Father Romanos explained, differed in many respects from the Latin.  A few noticeable differences include the way the sign of the Cross is made, which is right to left in the Byzantine form, with the first and middle fingers coming to a point with the thumb.  These three, fingers and thumb, symbolize the Trinity, while the two fingers alone represent the dual nature of Christ.  There is also no kneeling in the Byzantine Rite, and Communion is received with arms crossed over the chest and the leavened Host dipped into consecrated wine before being placed on the tongue. 

Father Romanos also conveyed how this Rite was brought from Albania to the hills of southern Italy in the 15th Century with faithful Albanian Christian settlers, the Arbëreshë, who fled the conquest and Islamization of their homeland by the advancing Turks.  Though he slowed down that advance, even George “Skanderbeg” Kastrioti, the Albanian hero, was not able to completely stop it.

So it was that in the following centuries Albanian villages sprouted up throughout southern Italy, especially in the regions of Calabria, Sicily, Basilicata, and Apulia.  The people were able to assimilate perfectly into their new land, but also retained their own language, customs, and cuisine throughout the centuries and up to this present time.   With their religious tradition they brought with them an icon depicting the Madonna holding the infant Jesus with her left arm and pointing to Him with her right hand.  This icon is known as the Hodegetria, Greek for “She Who Shows Us the Way.”

During his homily, Father Romanos reminded us that more people have given their lives for the Christian Faith in the 20th and 21st Centuries, than all previous centuries combined.  He also spoke about the patron saints of San Cosmo Albanese; the martyrs San Cosimo and San Damiano:  Arab Christians who lived by the motto “what you have freely received, freely give.”  They were physicians of both the body and of the spirit, and never took payment for their services.  The brothers suffered martyrdom in Syria during the great persecution of Christians by the Emperor Diocletian.  They were arrested by order of the Prefect of Cilicia and were hung on a cross, stoned, and shot by arrows before being beheaded for staying true to their faith.

The Cross and Hadegetria were available for veneration after Mass, followed by lunch, coffee, dessert, and a raffle downstairs.


Tuesday 13 October 2015

Russian intervention in Syria helps Christians, says Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop

One of Syria’s leading churchmen has welcomed Russia’s intervention.
Melkite Greek Catholic Archbishop Jean-Clément Jeanbart of Aleppo told Swiss television that Vladimir Putin’s intervention was a source of “hope” for the country’s Christians.
The Russian president, Archbishop Jeanbart told Télévision Suisse Romande, “serves the Christians’ cause”, even if Moscow was only serving its own interests.
Archbishop Jeanbart spoke of a “renewal of confidence” among Christians in Syria, adding that President Putin “is solving a problem”.
Russia escalated its military involvement late last month, launching attacks on Syrian rebels in Homs, and against ISIS in the formerly heavily Christian village of Al-Qaryatayn, which the terrorist group overran in the summer.
ISIS, which controls the east of the country, has carried out numerous atrocities against Christians and other minorities. However, the al-Assad regime has been blamed for the majority of the 200,000 deaths since the conflict began in 2011.

Saturday 10 October 2015

Russian Orthodox Church backs Russia's 'Holy Battle' against Islamic State in Syria

(Photo Source)

From AFP:

MOSCOW (AFP) - Russia's powerful Orthodox Church on Wednesday, 30 September 2015, voiced support for Moscow's decision to carry out air strikes in Syria against the Islamic State group, calling it a "holy battle".

"The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it," said the head of the Church's public affairs department, Vsevolod Chaplin, quoted by Interfax news agency.
Chaplin explicitly said the Church backs Russia's decision to deploy its airforce in Syria to attack Islamic State.
"This decision corresponds with international law, the mentality of our people and the special role that our country has always played in the Middle East," Chaplin said.
Chaplin said a council representing Russia's main religions -- Orthodox Christianity, Islam, Judaism and Buddhism -- would release a joint statement on Russia's role in Syria.
(Photo Source)
"In this statement, we will support the decision that was taken by our government," Chaplin said.
Russia's Orthodox Church, after years of repression under the Soviets, has regained much of its influence and built up close ties with the government despite a formal separation of Church and state. President Vladimir Putin is regularly depicted attending services.
Russia's Orthodox Church, after years of repression under the Communist rule is seen as a unifying force in Russian society during the Putin Era. Since his ascent to power, Putin has overseen the reconstruction or refurbishing of more than 23,000 Russian Orthodox churches destroyed under Soviet rule.
However, the statements from the church has sparked a wave of angry Arab responses and statements on social networking sites with some of them declaring a Jihad against Russia.

Wednesday 7 October 2015

Celebrating Our Lady of Victory in the Battle of Lepanto

O Victorious Lady, Thou who has ever such powerful influence with Thy Divine Son, in conquering the hardest of hearts, intercede for those for whom we pray, that their hearts being softened by the ways of Divine Grace, they may return to the unity of the true Faith, through Christ, our Lord. Amen      

Today is also the anniversary of Our Lady of Victory. In 1571, the Turks had amassed a large fleet for an invasion of Italy. Pope St. Pius V blessed a pre-emptive strike by a small fleet led by Don Juan of Austuria (the bastard son of the King of Spain) near the Gulf of Lepanto to save Western civilization. The two greatest naval forces ever assembled — 280 ships in the Turkish Armada, some 212 on the Christian side. Turkish Admiral Ali Pasha was so confident that he sailed proudly at the center of his own Armada, bringing with him on vessels just to his rear his entire fortune, and even a part of his harem.

 There seemed little hopes for the Christian armada. The pope requested that the faithful say the rosary for the victory of the Christian fleet. The passion for defending their own civilization against ruthless invaders also strengthened the muscles of those engaged in the close, bloody, violent hand-fighting when one vessel came alongside another.

The Christian fleet were aided by cannon power. Don Juan aimed his own galley directly at the heart of the Turkish armada, directly at the clearly colored sails of the Ali Pasha’s galley, with its great green flag, inscribed 28,000 times with the name of Allah in gold. Pasha was captured by Don Juan.

 The Christian victory was far more complete than anyone had dreamed. The victory seemed to many quite miraculous, and victory was immediately attributed to Our Lady Queen of the Rosary — soon to be called by a new title, Our Lady Queen of Victory. In 1573, the feast name was changed to "Our Lady of the Rosary."  Pope Pius X changed the feast day to October 7th to restore the celebration of the liturgy on Sundays.


For the last several years , the U.S. Council of Catholic Bishops orchestrated "The Fortnight for Freedom", two weeks of education, prayer and fasting to celebrate America's Constitutional First Freedom, the freedom of religious expression. In addition, many Christians are engaged in 40 days of prayer and fasting for America. The victory of the Battle of Lepanto ought to be another encouraging example on the power of prayer.

 h/t: National Review Online

Saturday 3 October 2015

Traditional Latin Mass on the Top of Mt. Kilimanjaro

Fr. Bartholomew, FSSP
On 30 September 2015, Fr. Antony Summich, FSSP, and Fr. Gregory Bartholomew, FSSP, each offered a Traditional Latin Mass on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.

"For I am sure that neither... height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." Rom. 9. 38-39.

For a photo of Fr. Summich, and a brief report from Africa, see this post at The Remnant.

Knights of Columbus Latin Mass
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