Saturday, 17 July 2010

Conform To The Church...

I get so tired of hearing so-called educated people declaring that the Church has to change and move with the times. What they actually mean is that they want the Church to condone whichever sin they have a particular difficulty in overcoming.

I used to have the same attitude. It's what led me away from the Church.

First nail in the coffin: doubting the authority of the Church (I believe in God, I'm a Christian, but the Church just makes this stuff up because it's got a thing about sex being bad... it's just rules made by celibate men in frocks in the Vatican...)

Next nail: the Sacraments are just representations (well, I don't need to go to church, I can pray just as well at home on my own... Jesus is there anywhere I pray)

Next nail: the Bible (don't be silly - that miracle stuff doesn't happen in real life. It's just a myth, a story told to get a point across...)

Then the next nail in the coffin: Jesus is no longer Son of God (you can't believe all that Resurrection from the dead nonsense... Jesus was just a good and holy man... and he wanted us to love each other unconditionally...)

Next nail: morals. (If we love others unconditionally, we won't judge them. It's wrong to judge others. After all, if it isn't hurting anyone, it must be ok...)

And so on, and so on, until finally, God does not exist. We are just the sum of our experiences and biology, and are here for a few years, and that's it. There is no afterlife, therefore the only thing that matters is the here-and-now... and therefore I will do whatever seems good for me, because that's all there is.

My reversion was a bolt from the blue: I knew God existed, I knew Jesus was the Son of God, I knew that he had died for me, I knew that he knew I would reject him, and knowing this he still died for me... and I also knew that he had left the Church as the living deposit of the Truth. I had to make a decision, and it seemed a pretty straightforward one... It's the same decision we all have to make.

Either you believe that Jesus is the second Person of the Trinity, God the Son, or you don't.

If he is the Son of God, then you have to accept what he said, or there are rather serious implications. God cannot lie. So, the Church, founded on St. Peter, has the authority to loose and to bind.

If you call yourself Catholic, you have to accept the teaching of the Church. All of it. No pick 'n' mix. No cafeteria selection of the bits you like and find easy to swallow. It's all or nothing.

If you start to declare that the Church has to change, then you are no longer accepting the word of Jesus Christ... you are effectively calling God a liar.

And you are no longer Catholic.

Friday, 16 July 2010

OSV Great Catholic Sites...

Our Sunday Visitor puts together an annual Catholic Internet Guide, and they are asking for submissions of favourite sites. To encourage participation, if any of your recommended sites are picked, they'll give you credit (either by full name or initials; your choice) and a free copy of the guide.

Note that there is a link at the bottom of the post HERE - I can't give the direct link, as I've completed the survey and you end up on the final acknowledgement page - presumably to avoid multiple entries. Don't leave your answers as a comment on the actual post - they obviously have an automated survey set up. You also need to know the URLs of each of your favourite sites.

Twitch of the mantilla to Joe over at Defend Us In Battle.

Meme With A Twist...

Leutgeb, over at Bara Brith, alerts us to the news that The Suppository is running a series called "What would you say to the Pope, if you had a Private Audience with him?"

She then starts off with what, in my humble opinion, is the most perfect answer.

Definitely Worth A Re-Post...

I posted on this three years ago, and the LOLcat photo caption reminded me of it. I looked up the post on my mobile phone, and started to read it out to some of my colleagues. I didn't get very far, though, because I kept breaking down in tears... I thought I'd share the laughter - it's been a busy day, and I haven't time to blog on anything else.

How to Give Your Cat a Pill...

1) Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as if holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to cheeks while holding pill in right hand. As cat opens mouth pop pill into mouth. Allow cat to close mouth and swallow.

2) Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Cradle cat in left arm and repeat process.

3) Retrieve cat from bedroom, and throw soggy pill away.

4) Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten.

5) Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call friend.

6) Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get friend to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down, remove ruler and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7) Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered Doulton figures from hearth and set to one side for glueing later.

8) Wrap cat in large towel and get friend to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force cat's mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.

9) Check label to make sure pill is not harmful to humans, drink glass of water to take taste away. Apply band-aid to friend's forearm and remove blood from carpet with cold water and soap.

10) Retrieve cat from neighbour's shed. Get another pill. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with elastic band.

11) Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw Tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom.

12) Ring fire brigade to retrieve cat from tree across the road. Apologise to neighbour who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap.

13) Tie cat's front paws to rear paws with garden twine and bind tightly to leg of dining table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed, hold cat's mouth open with small spanner. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of fillet of steak. Hold head vertically and pour pint of water down throat to wash pill down.

14) Get friend to drive you to the emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table.

15) Arrange for RSPCA to collect cat. Ring local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters.

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Pilgrims' Progress...

The intrepid trio are doing pretty well - they crossed the Alps yesterday, hope to be cycling to St Maurice today, and are aiming to be in Italy or somewhere round the border tomorrow.


You can check out their progress on the blog, though they are having to use Facebook as well, because the computer they were using wouldn't allow access to the blog.

They have been so encouraged by your support that they have moved the goalposts and upped their fundraising target to £5000... so far they have raised at least £2,407, which is amazing. You can donate online if you still haven't done so.

Juventutem Weekend At Douai Abbey...

I was asked by Damian Barker to advertise a weekend for 18-35 year-olds at Douai Abbey in September.

The weekend will be led by Fr. De Malleray FSSP (head of the international Juventutem Federation) at Douai on 10-12th September 2010. The cost to students will be £25, while for others it is £51; more details can be found on the website, by emailing, or by phoning 07908 105 787.

The Mass on Saturday at 11am promises to be rather special - Ensemble 1685 will be providing the music - and it will be followed by a Marian Procession in honour of Our Lady of Fatima. These events are open to anyone who wishes to attend.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

New Blog...

Ok, I'll admit it... it's new to me.

But seriously, this looks like a very good blog indeed... written by Joe and Brian, two "husband-father-attorneys" writing an Alaskan Catholic Blog with a side of Michigan Catholic Blog.

Seeing it was such a good blog, I was heartened to note that my post on angels grabbed their attention.

Anyway, I would advise you to pop on over to Defend Us In Battle, and tell them I sent you!


I am a tremendous fan of Agatha Christie's novels, especially the ones with Hercule Poirot. I always found Miss Marple a little more difficult to take because of her genteel elderly English spinster ways, but Hercule Poirot, being more Continental, appealed to my nature (I'm half German.)

However, I could never quite picture the moustaches which Christie described as fascinating everyone who saw them. These moustaches made Poirot instantly recognisable... and also made people wonder if he was a hairdresser. Moustaches, in my experience, were simple affairs which adorned a gentleman's upper lip, ranging from Hitler-esque toothbrushes to long caterpillars which extended down to join with a beard. If the moustaches were flourishing, they might be more bushy, as worn by Stalin, but that was pretty much as far as my imagination took me. The film portrayals of Poirot did very little to help. Peter Ustinov, in my opinion, was definitely not Hercule Poirot, and the pictures of him on the cover of my copy of Death on the Nile used to irritate me beyond belief.

When David Suchet started to play Poirot for the TV adaptations, I thought it was a bit closer to the mark. Suchet had succeeded in portraying all the fussiness described by Christie in her novels. But the moustaches still didn't make any sense. Why did Poirot have to struggle to keep his moustaches out of the soup? Suchet's moustaches didn't look as if they would go anywhere near soup unless it was of the cup-a-soup variety...

And then, after the Pontifical High Mass at the end of June, I went to the Buckingham Arms for a little liquid refreshment. As I ordered my pint of "novus ordo Eurofizz" (that's lager, in case you were wondering) I found myself confronted by the most impressive pair of moustaches, I have ever seen... waxed at the points and flourishing profusely... so much so that I asked permission to take a photo.

There is some sort of society for gentlemen who like to grow "proper" moustaches, apparently...

Monday, 12 July 2010

Weird Or What...?

I agree with Patrick Archbold, over at Creative Minority Report, that this is one of the weirdest things you'll read - I mean, it's right up there with Paul the Psychic Octopus...

There is this abortion clinic in Rockford, Illinois. Pro-lifers have been standing outside, offering options and counselling to the women who enter the clinic. After ridicule and harassment of the pro-lifers didn't stop them, the clinic decided to prevent any of the women from hearing what the pro-lifers were saying.

But they weren't content with having people escort the women past the protesters. So they set up huge boom box radios, and started blaring out a local radio station at full volume to put the kybosh on any rational discussion.

That seems pretty weird to me - but it gets weirder.

One of the pro-lifers rang the radio station and explained what was happening. The DJ took the side of the pro-lifers, and started chanting "God bless pro-lifers!"

This upset the people at the abortion clinic.

So, what do you suppose they did? Turn off the radio...? (no, the women would hear those pesky pro-lifers saying reasonable stuff that might persuade them not to kill their babies!) Change the station...? (no, it might happen again, and that would be another pro-life radio station out there!)

Well, what the landlord of the clinic did was to stand outside, and whenever he thought the DJ might just say something pro-life, he started up his chainsaw.

Yes, you read that correctly. A chainsaw.

Nothing like confronting your customers with the truth of what you're doing, I suppose, but I doubt that it makes for good PR...

Angels & Demons...

His Hermeneuticalness is treating the Parish to an examination of the Creed through his sermons at Mass, article by article. This is no lightweight introduction: three weeks in, and we're still on article one.

Yesterday's sermon concentrated on the existence of the angels, and it gave me plenty of food for thought, some of which I hope to share with you here.

It was fascinating to be reminded that the fallen angels have already been vanquished by Christ, through his Passion, Death and Resurrection. C.S. Lewis, in his classic, The Screwtape Letters, pointed out that we are apt either to disbelieve in the existence of the devil altogether, or to believe in him too much, and take an unhealthy interest in him. It is too easy in the current climate to allow oneself to think of the devil as the opposite of God, and therefore view good and evil as opposite sides of the same coin. But the devil, as the first of the fallen angels, is merely a creature, and is therefore subject to God's authority.

Even though the fallen angels are more powerful than all the tanks and bombs in the world (as an acquaintance of Fr. Tim's described it - after having had the experience of meeting one) the good angels are more powerful still, and they will come to help us if we ask. They are not to be confused with fairies or good luck charms - Our Lady was frightened when she encountered St. Gabriel, and had to be reassured. That is one of the reasons I like the portrayal of the archangel in Franco Zeffirelli's Jesus of Nazareth as a bright light, only visible to Our Lady herself, and also I like the picture by Henry Tanner - though I don't think much of his Virgin Mary!

I found Fr. Tim's description of the devil as a chained dog particularly helpful. To any baptised person, the devil has been banished by Christ, and is like a chained dog. However much the dog may snarl and bark, he cannot hurt us... unless we get too close, within the reach of the chain, or worse, actually unchaining him. That is what we do when we dabble in the occult - in tarot cards, crystals, ouija boards, fortune telling, spiritualism, seances and so on. When I was a child, a "magic" shop meant somewhere to get juggling balls, books on card tricks and stuff like that. Now it has a very different meaning, and tarot cards and spell books are on sale in the High Street, marketed for susceptible teenagers.

We also need to pray more to our Guardian angels, and also to the Guardian angels of those we love. I find it inexpressibly comforting to think that I have my very own angel, whose sole aim is to help me get to heaven. Finally, we need to use that prayer to St. Michael, composed by Pope Leo XIII after a vision which left him white and shaking:

Holy Michael the archangel, defend us in the day of battle.
Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, O prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
thrust down to hell Satan, and all wicked spirits
who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen.

Très Amusante...

Londiniensis used to be a frequent commenter here... now he seems to spend more time tweeting. Anyway, he alerted his fellow twitterers to the following advert which is doing the rounds on Facebook...

Sehr amüsant...

Sunday, 11 July 2010


I couldn't get the whole of the Immaculate Conception Basilica into a single shot, so I took a couple of photos and photoshopped them together.

I think I need to experiment a bit more with Photoshop - I'm not in Vincenzo's league - but it is great fun!

Return Of The Mac...

It feels as if I've been away for ages and ages... in fact, it's only been a week. I wanted a brief break, without feeling as if I had to find something to put up on the blog each day... however, over the past day or so, I've been feeling somewhat restless, and I realised that I really wanted to get back to the blog, despite not having anything important to say...

Leutgeb invited me over for a cup of tea and a chat, so, having tidied the sacristy after the Sunday evening Mass, I went to see her. In the cool of the evening, we decided to sit in the garden, and I admired the various plants... some of which turned out to be weeds.

I never quite understand why some plants are designated as weeds... but then I was never particularly hot on botany. I'm quite content to divide the plant kingdom into flowering plants, trees and bushes. Vegetables exist, but I'm not too fussed about them. Fruit gets tacked on to the flowering plant category.

Anyway, the patch of plant stuff I captured with my iPhone is, apparently, the herb garden bit. Leutgeb broke off leaves from various plants and we rubbed them to release the smells, which were heavenly. She tried to encourage me to grow some herbs in pots on a windowsill - but I pointed out that the kitchen window is the one with the cat flap, which would be inviting disaster, while the others don't get much in the way of sunshine... as well as being the locations where Sylvester likes to sit and watch the world go by... There is also the problem of his tendency to munch on any greenery...

I was given a bunch of lavender to take home, and I promptly stuck it in a tiny vase to sit beside a candle and statue of Our Lady. Hopefully, Sylvester won't notice it up there...
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