Saturday 21 March 2009


We're having a High Mass tomorrow (Laetare Sunday) so the new rose vestments will get their first official airing (they were blessed last week.) I shall do my best to get photos... though someone else is in charge of Fr. Tim's snazzy camera, so I'm limited to what I can capture on my dinky little phone (which will, of course, be in "airplane mode" so no-one can phone me in the middle of Mass by accident!)

Family & Faith Day...

We had a family day in the parish today. It started with our usual Saturday morning devotions (Low Mass, Exposition, Confessions and Benediction) and then Margaret Mizen came along to speak about how her faith had helped her and her family survive the murder of her son, Jimmy, last year. I hadn't realised that the trial is actually on at the moment, so she and her family need all the prayers you can spare. She was an inspiring speaker, and it was a moving occasion.

After Margaret spoke, we had lunch in the Large Hall. Lots of families were in evidence, and the beefburgers and cheeseburgers went down a treat. Once lunch was over, there were four separate sessions for the different groups: young children were led in various activities in the Small Hall, teenagers had a talk from Fr. Tim in the church, adults had a talk in the Large Hall, and grandparents had their own group in the Sacristy.

Here you can see Fr. Tim checking out some of the latest technology with a few of the teenagers. There were about 20 young children in the Small Hall, and about 12 teenagers (I think) - not everyone could stay right to the end, but we all finished up with prayers and a blessing for the children (and families) in the church, and then a quick cup of tea before going home.

It was a really great day. Thanks are particularly due to the Treloar family who were responsible for organising the event, though many other families chipped in to help. Fr. Tim indicated that he hoped this would be a regular parish event. Watch this space for details of the next Family Day.

Friday 20 March 2009

Complaining About Press Standards...

The Times decided to run an extremely offensive cartoon last Wednesday (18 March 2009) which depicted the Holy Father with a condom on his head.

The Pope is Christ's representative on earth for around 1.13 billion people.

A similar attack on the Prophet Mohammed was greeted with outrage by Muslims worldwide, and the cartoon was deemed unacceptable.

So why is it unacceptable to depict the Prophet Mohammed in a cartoon, but it is ok to pillory the Holy Father for stating the teaching of the Catholic Church (especially when those teachings are actually backed up by evidence)?

Is it possibly because Catholics don't answer back or protest when the Church is attacked?

Time to speak up in defence of our Holy Father. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor did actually write to the Editor to complain, but we need to drive the point home.

First, write to the Editor in Chief. I have to admit that I couldn't quite work out, from The Times website, who that was. However, the Times Online Editor in Chief can be reached by email, as can The Times Editorial Departments for Home News and Foreign News. There's no harm in sending emails to all three... better to send too many than too few.

And then, contact the Press Complaints Commission. They have an online complaints form, which makes it easier. You can have a look at the Code of Practice, but the category you need to note is Section 12 (i):


i) The press must avoid prejudicial or pejorative reference to an individual's race, colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation or to any physical or mental illness or disability.

The publication date was 18 March 2009. You also need to include the internet link. The most relevant one is, I think, this one.

Now Who's Ignoring The Evidence...?

The Pope is killing thousands of people with HIV/AIDS because he won't allow condoms... because condoms have been shown to be the most effective way to reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, haven't they?

Well, no, actually. The evidence points the other way.

"We have found no consistent associations between condom use and lower HIV-infection rates, which, 25 years into the pandemic, we should be seeing if this intervention was working."

In an interview with National Review Online, Dr. Edward Green, Senior Research Scientist and Director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Centre for Population and Development Studies has said quite clearly that the Holy Father is spot on with his comments that condoms aggravate the problem of HIV/AIDS.

"The pope is correct," Green told National Review Online Wednesday, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments." He stresses that "condoms have been proven to not be effective at the 'level of population.'"

"There is," Green adds, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys', between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates. This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction 'technology' such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by 'compensating' or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology."

Green added: "...The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates..."

Now, how long do you think it will be before the mainstream media admit this one? No, I'm not going to hold my breath either!

Twitch of the mantilla to LifeSite News.

Thursday 19 March 2009

Confraternity Of St. Joseph

The Cardinal Winning Pro-Life Initiative (the primary apostolate of the Sisters of the Gospel of Life) has launched a new project for men involved in the pro-life cause: the Confraternity of St. Joseph.

"...So often abortion is characterised as an issue which does not concern men at all. While the devestating effect that abortion has on many women is beginning to come to light, little attention is paid to the effect that it can have on men. Like women men have a part to play in building a culture of life. If we are to truly embrace life, all hearts must be converted."

The Confraternity blog can be found HERE.

Wednesday 18 March 2009

Shocking News: Pope Upholds Catholic Teaching!

The mainstream media have gotten their knickers in a twist. The Holy Father has stated quite clearly that condoms are not the solution to the HIV/AIDS crisis, neither in Africa nor elsewhere.

That is hardly surprising. The Church has always opposed the use of condoms, as it has every method of artificial birth control.

The particular quote which seems to be causing most outrage is: "One cannot overcome the problem [of HIV/AIDS] with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem."

This is not a reference to the fallibility of condoms. It is pointing out the blindingly obvious fact that the belief that condoms protect against HIV/AIDS means that people will be less likely to stop engaging in promiscuous sexual activity.

This has been the experience, reported by the UN, of the Phillipines and Thailand. In the 1980s and 1990s, the two countries had very similar rates of HIV/AIDS infection. In Thailand the government went all out to promote condom use, while in the Phillipines, a program promoting abstinence was introduced. Result? According to the UN's own figures, in 2008, 650,000 people were estimated to be HIV positive in Thailand, while less than 1000 people in the Phillipines were infected.

How utterly thick does one have to be to miss the obvious connection here?

There is also the hoary old chestnut that the Holy Father, by opposing the use of condoms, has been the direct cause of thousands of deaths due to HIV/AIDS.

I fail to understand why people who ignore the teaching of the Catholic Church on chastity and continence will actually balk at ignoring the Church's teaching on the use of condoms... "Yes, well, I'm not worried about contracting an STD through casual sex, and I'm not worried about endangering my immortal soul by committing a mortal sin... but I'd better make sure I don't use a condom, because that's a really bad thing..."

The Holy Father is merely restating the truth... truth which was first rejected as unpalatable in 1968 when, in Humanae Vitae, Pope Paul VI stated that use of contraceptives would lead to increased sexual activity outside marriage.

Our beloved Holy Father really needs our prayers at this time.

Tuesday 17 March 2009

Forty Hours Devotions...

Phil over at the Isle of Wight has advertised that St. Mary's in Ryde are going to hold the Quarant' Ore devotions for the intention of increasing vocations to the priesthood, starting at 8pm on Friday 27th March and finishing with Solemn Mass and procession at 11am on Sunday 29th March.

There's a timetable of activities (Mass, Rosary, Divine Mercy chaplet, opportunity for confessions) over at his blog.

If you're in the neighbourhood, why not pop along and spend some time in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament... sounds like an excellent way to start Passiontide.

A Blog After My Own Heart...

I've just discovered an excellent blog - Countercultural Father - by Ben Trovato. His profile description is a work of art in itself. I am only sorry I didn't spot the blog before...

It would seem that Ben feels very strongly about The Suppository... and thinks that, instead of complaining, we should actively campaign to revive the journal... by, say, including free music CDs. I have to say that my favourite suggestion was for a recipe page...

...and so Ben has a recipe for Oecumenical Stew!

There's also a poll in the side-bar: Why do you love The Tablet?  Do pop over!

Monday 16 March 2009

Year Of The Priesthood

Northampton Seminarian was first to pick up on the news that the Holy Father has announced a "Year of the Priesthood" from 19th June 2009 - 19th June 2010.

The year's particular theme will be "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of the Priest" and will be opened at Vespers on 19th June (Solemnity of the Sacred Heart) by Pope Benedict.

The year coincides with the 150th anniversary of the death of the Curé d'Ars, St. John Mary Vianney. At the end of the year, the saint will be declared patron of all the priests in the world.

I have to say that I thought the Curé d'Ars was patron saint of all priests... but then remembered that he's the patron of the secular clergy.

St. John Vianney is one of my favourite saints, and I like to think of him quietly egging me on when I'm having problems getting stuff organised for the Chrism Mass demo (and the problems always seem to dissolve when I turn to him!)

Monday Musings...

I've actually managed to dash home briefly between holding detentions for some pesky Year 7 boys and getting to Mass at Blackfen this evening.

A few years ago there was a book with the title "101 Uses for a Dead Cat"... it was, of course, only a joke, but the title has provided me with a germ of an idea. I am planning to start a series of blog posts along the lines of "101 Uses for The Suppository."

Unfortunately, other than lining my cat's litter tray, I can't really think of many other uses.

Any suggestions?

Sunday 15 March 2009

Cardinal To Join The House Of Lords?

Shurely shome mishtake?

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor is, according to the rumours, in line for a peerage when he retires.

He has certainly done everything in his power to be as accommodating as possible to the Labour government, first under Tony Blair and then under Gordon Brown... the SORs passed with scarcely a murmur from the Cardinal, as did living wills, human-animal hybrid embryos, human embryo experimentation, same-sex "marriage"... Being rewarded for his lack of opposition with a seat in the House of Lords seems only fair...

It is, however, a little strange. I was under the impression that bishops in the Church of England sit in the House of Lords until they retire, after which they relinquish their seat.

Why would a Catholic bishop be treated any differently from an Anglican one?

Has his accommodating attitude been that useful to the government?

Just a thought...
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