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March 30th, 2015

Novus Ordo is a Penance

Excuse me while I vent a little…

This Lent, for my many sins, offences and negligences—and for the manifold needs of my family— I decided to try to go to Mass each day.  It’s difficult, because I’m not entirely happy going to the Pixies in Mounttown, and the Novus Ordo  as it is often celebrated constitutes a danger to one’s faith. Fortunately I have a choice of several churches without having to get into the car. But you never know quite what to expect.

I can just about bear the “Good morning, everybody!”, and the sycophantic response “Good morning, father”, which are now de rigueur almost everywhere. But at so many Masses  the ad libbing  and the altering of the text of the Mass (even the plain words of scripture) are becoming intolerable.   I find it very difficult to believe that the celebrant is  aware of the fact that he is offering the sacrifice of Calvary in an unbloody manner, changing bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ.  All too often, his manner indicates a belief that he is merely celebrating a memorial of the Last Supper.  He seems to think  his primary function is to entertain the congregation, and maybe to edify them a little as well. Sometimes he recites most of the Mass in a relaxed, conversational style. The rubrics are an optional extra: he thinks nothing of breaking the host before the Consecration;  and changes  “for many” (the actual words of Our Lord) into “for all”—presumably because he believes everyone is saved.

Recently Father, vested in just alb and stole,  told the mainly elderly congregation that they ought to  be happy, as there was nothing worse than a miserable old person; and so they shouldn’t be worrying about their children. I thought this was singularly unhelpful: of course all parents are concerned about their offspring—in these times more than ever.  He had a real opportunity to help stress the importance and the efficacy of prayer—and he muffed it. One lady in the congregation was so distressed by this tacky celebration that she didn’t go to Communion: she told me she would go to a later Mass.

The best  Novus Ordo I have been to in recent weeks was at Our Lady Queen of Peace on the Merrion Road.  When I arrived, a little early, Benediction was going on. The O Salutaris, the Tantum Ergo, the Divine Praises, Deus Qui Nobis,  Adoremus in Aeternum—the lot. The Mass itself was reverent, and the brief sermon workmanlike. Proof, if proof were needed, that even the Novus Ordo can be spiritually uplifting if priests would only just follow the rubrics: say the black, do the red.

Queen of Peace is run by Opus Dei. Wouldn’t you know?


March 25th, 2015

Hell Fire and Generative Living

Here’s another set of Straws for the Camels’s Back, this time from 1999…

In a Kilkenny city church in the first quarter of the 20th century, the Redemptorist missioner leaned forward in the pulpit and gestured as though removing a rabbit from a hat. “If I were to take the lid off hell fire and reach down my hand,” he bellowed, “the first person I would pull up by the hair would be a Kilkenny man!” Afterwards, in the sacristy, he noticed that one of the servers, Jimmy Weekes, aged about 10, was looking preoccupied, and asked what the matter was.

Well, Father,” said Jimmy, “I didn’t like what you said about the Kilkenny man being in hell.”

Ah, son, you must understand that there are lots of people who don’t live the kind of lives they should be living, and they need shaking up, spiritually. That’s my job as a missioner. When I go to Cork, I say it’s a Cork man.”

Around 40 years later the same James Weekes was my parish priest at Bovey Tracey in the Plymouth diocese.

Now that we actually need a bit of old-fashioned Redemptorist brimstone, see what they  have on offer instead. This it what goes on at Marianella (“A World of Difference”) their Centre for Study and Renewal in Dublin 6:

“HUMAN SEXUALITY: ENERGY FOR RELATIONSHIPS AND SERVICE. 13-18 June 1999. Fran Ferder fspa and John Heagle. The course explores our psychosexual journey toward relational maturity and personal wholeness. With biblical spirituality and contemporary psychology as a background, the course will address issues of sexual healing, authentic intimacy, reverence in relationships and the call to generative living. Cost IR£200 (including a deposit of IR£50)”


Celebrating the Inner Child

That nugget came from Intercom, the magazine which I understand is sent free to priests. There’s lots more ads like that, and the compilers would all appear to have advanced diplomas in Applied Paraclerical and Pseudospiritual Jargonics. “Celebrating the Inner Child”, says one. “Exploring in a faith context the wisdom and power available through contact with the child within.” Another one, on NEW INCLUSIVE COMMUNITIES, seeks help in setting up a new Christian support/community group “in the process of coming to birth”. Then there’s a Six-Day Creative Retreat, given by Sr Pauline McGrath OP and Fr Paddy Greene SJ: “A journey of creative spirituality using colour, clay, movement & dream work, and a time for silence and savouring the gifts of nature. Please bring casual clothing.”

Among the features is Clio’s Diary, “the Jottings of One Road-Weary Irish Traveller”. After praising the reordering of the church at Newtownshandrum in Co. Cork, it describes the timber cross which has “an unusual multi-coloured cloth hanging from its arms”. A nearby notice reported a Holy Week liturgy of healing where pieces of cloth brought by parishioners to represent their unexpressed pain were stitched together. “ The resulting 22 foot long cloth was draped from the cross on Good Friday and remained there till Pentecost, I discovered. A beautiful idea from the local Liturgy Group. Simple yet expressive. (Clio will find out the whole story for a future Intercom).”

I can’t wait.


Our Brown Shirt Award

Katholiken raus! Anti-Catholicism in the media plumbs new depths of bigotry all the time. But this passage from the Irish edition of the Sunday Times makes columnist Liam Fay the clear winner of our Julius Streicher Brown Shirt Award for 1999:

“For sheer throat-clenching nausea, nothing you will ever encounter in any gin palace, speak-easy or ale-house can equal the inherently repulsive sight of a chummy gathering of the scrubbed-faced, the cow’s licked and the devoutly pious attempting to whoop it up in a wholesome manner…They are intoxicated with their own piety and are, therefore, a danger to both themselves and others.”

He is talking about the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association, which has been celebrating its centenary with a rally in Croke Park. (As the Irish Family pointed out, Fay’s piece was written before the event.) To find anything to equal such frenzied loathing of ordinary Catholics you would have to dredge the files of the Volkische Beobachter. But Streicher would not have regarded himself as a liberal and a pluralist, which Mr Fay presumably would.

I would have thought that this kind of hate-mongering was now against the law. Don’t laugh, but it is also probably in breach of some section of the National Union of Journalists’ Code of Conduct. The only ones who could take action on that front are Mr Fay’s fellow NUJ members. How about it, my gallant Catholic hacks?

The PTAA in fact deserves the gratitude of thousands of Irish families for rescuing them from alcoholism. I really admire those who have struggled to throw off their addiction, many of whom would have been at that rally in Croke Park. Then there are those who have decided to make the sacrifice of abstaining for life from one of God’s gifts, purely out of love for Him and for their neighbour. They are better men than I am.


Doing the Paradigm Shift

I only read The Tablet, house journal of liberal British Catholic establishment airheads, in the line of duty. The temptations against faith to which it gives rise are fairly easily resisted, as its brand of neo-modernism could only impress those already in its toils.

The temptations against charity are more serious. In a column with the twee new-agey title “Lay Lines”, Mr Clifford Longley rubbishes the Council of Trent: he has to, really, because as he himself admits, its impossible to reconcile Trent with the views of his ecumaniac friends on the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission.

Mr Longley make use of a contrivance called the Paradigm Shift (sounds like a 1930s dance, as someone once said). It enables one to ditch the Counter-Reformation entirely by describing it as “one particular historically conditioned cultural expression of Catholicism”. The weakness of this device is that you can use it equally well to rubbish the whole of Revelation. More advanced modernists than Mr Longley actually do.

Mr Longley argues that the Mass regularised by St Pius V was “new and strange” to 16th century British Catholics, and that the state-imposed Anglican Communion Service was closer to their old Sarum Rite. Tell that to the Cornishmen who described the new English service as gwary Nadelek (a Christmas game) and gave their lives to defend the Holy Sacrifice in the Prayer Book Rebellion of 1549. There was, in fact, not that much difference between the two Latin rites—certainly not from the perspective of the laity. Anyway, Pius V allowed for the continuation of any rite more than 200 years old, which would have ensured the survival of the Sarum Rite if the Counter-Reformation had succeeded in England. The Dominican Rite—which is older than that of Trent—is still in use in some places.


Tridentine Schmidentine

That word “Tridentine” will really have to go. I wanted to ignore the whole grotesque Sineád O’Connor “ordination” affair, although this unfortunate young woman certainly deserves great sympathy for being exploited in so many ways in the course of her short life.

But when otherwise intelligent people think that those of us who prefer the old Latin Mass are somehow involved with Ms O’Connor one’s patience becomes strained. They must be forgiven, however, because the media have been giving this impression by referring sloppily to something called the “Tridentine Church”. There’s not much one can do about that. But when the Irish Times actually said that the “rituals” used by Ms O’Connor’s mentors had been banned by Vatican II I hoped to persuade them to correct the error, as most readers would have got the impression that the Latin Mass had been officially abolished.

I was put in touch with a lady bearing the encouraging title “Readers’ Representative”. It quickly became evident that the title was Orwellian; she considered her function was to fend off cranks, of which she clearly thought I was one. She admitted she knew nothing about the subject at issue, and thought this ignorance made for impartiality. When I told her Vatican II did not ban any “rituals” and that therefore a correction was needed she refused to check independently to discover whether I was right, and told me I could write a letter to the editor if I liked. So much for the boast of the Irish Times that it corrects mistakes when these are pointed out.


That Irish Catholic ad

It was inexcusable that an Irish Catholic advertisement was banned from the airways, and the editor David Quinn, who has done so much to liven up the paper in very difficult circumstances, deserves every support. Yet I experienced a little unworthy frisson of schadenfreude over the incident. You see, quite a few years ago I myself received similar treatment—only at the hands of the Irish Catholic.

I hasten to add that this was well before the days of Mr Quinn. I placed an ad for a Latin Mass to take place in Knock, which was duly accepted. Then, a few days later, I received a message by telephone that the editor would not accept the ad after all. No reason was given, and the editor was not contactable. I wrote the editor a polite letter asking why the change of mind and received a rude note which said merely: “I do not give reasons.”

I saw red, and spoke to a friendly barrister who told me the editor’s conduct probably amounted to breach of contract, as the ad had been accepted. So I wrote what I admit was a nasty letter pointing this out. (The barrister had also said I wouldn’t get damages unless I could prove financial loss, but I didn’t mention that.)

Within a few days I received a furious letter not from the editor, but from the Managing Director—no less—of the British Catholic Herald (who controls the Irish Catholic). He began by telling me my conduct was quite outrageous, and defying me to do my worst. He ended by telling me I could have the ad—provided I altered the format to fit in with the usual style. This of course I did.

March 22nd, 2015

Forget the Bishops: it’s all up to us

The Gospels don’t flinch from telling us that the first disciples were cowards,  says Rev. Peter Mullen in his always readable Eternal Life column in  the latest issue of the Salisbury Review. But they didn’t spin the gospel narrative to show themselves in a good light. After they had run away they came back  and preached, taught and worked miracles just as Our Lord had predicted they would, and then gave their lives as the first Christian martyrs.  Mr Mullen, a retired Church of England clergyman, continues:

Compare and contrast the old and the new. Some disciples of Christ, prominent leaders in the church, have denied him and traduced the gospel for 40 years. But, unlike the first disciples, they have not come back to make good. Certainly none has been martyred. One only thinks the pity is that, having done such damage to the church, they did not imitate the first disciples on Maundy Thursday and run away and stay away. Instead, they have hung around, clinging to their mitres, their palaces and their vast and effete synodical bureaucracy.  And the result of all their doings has undermined the gospel and the church.

He doesn’t spare us Catholics, either.

The Catholics have ditched the Latin Mass. They have done this partly because of their slavish attachment to modernity, as if it were an item of their faith that today always knows better than yesterday. They have also invented new and ugly forms of services, rather as many modern architects design ugly buildings because they despise the past and are envious of their elders and betters. Unable to produce anything themselves which is other than already ugly and crumbling with obsolescence before the foundations are finished, they wish only to pull down and destroy the good that has gone before.

Rev. Mullen points out that the period of liturgical revision, really vandalism, has seen the biggest desertion of the pews in all church history. This, he says, is because the new services have nothing of the beauty of holiness in them, but are really vapid and useless—the theological equivalent of junk food. The new services have emasculated and undermined Christian truth, because they don’t face the facts of life.

Anything not nice, like sin and judgement, has been fairly thoroughly expunged. This is to offer a lying vision of human nature.

We need to know that we are sinners under judgement, for only then can we kneel down and receive the glorious gospel of God’s forgiveness. One wants to ask these failed leadership charlatans and incompetents, these euphemising bourgeois, why they jump up and down and throw their arms in the air so much. What is there to be joyful about? If we were not mired in sin, why should Christ bother to come and save us? The modern theologians fail to understand human psychology. They underplay human wickedness with the result that they are bound also to underplay redemption. They may pipe but I will not dance to their tune. No evil, no death, no worms, no vile bodies—so all their talk of salvation is worthless, for all their banana-split smiles and hideous backslapping.

So what’s to be done? he asks.

There are four things we must do if we want to avoid destruction. We must recover intellectual rigour. We must understand what manner of people we are: not rather nice people actually who have no need of the Saviour; but sinners under judgment. We must recover moral seriousness and return to the laws which God set down under Moses. That is, we must stop regarding men and women as mere consumers of sensations and thrills—any thrill will do. This is the pig philosophy which destroys the dignity of mankind made in the image of God.

We must return again to the beauty of holiness. Words and music that reveal the world charged with the grandeur of God. We must stop trivialising holy things. And most important, we must ask God to make us desire him. St Augustine said that the best way to understand how much God loves us is to think of erotic love between a man and his wife. We must ask God to kindle in us an intensity of affection and desire for him that will transform our lives. We don’t adore God naturally. We must beg him to make us desire him.

All this is not for the hierarchy to do. They have failed, They are apostate. They can’t do it. We must do it, the traditional laity.  We who used to be called the holy common folk of God.




March 19th, 2015

Merciful hour?

The quality of mercy is not strained,

It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven

Upon the place beneath: it is twice blessed;

It blesseth him that gives and him that takes:

‘Tis mightiest in the mighty: it becomes

The thronéd monarch better than his crown;

His sceptre shows the force of temporal power,

The attribute to awe and majesty,

Wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;

But mercy is above this sceptred sway,

It is enthroned in the heart of kings,

It is an attribute to God Himself,

And earthly power doth then show likest God’s

When mercy seasons justice.

—The Merchant of Venice

How good to hear that our Holy Father has declared a Jubilee Year of Mercy!  Mercy is surely at its most authentic when applied to those  whom one most dislikes. I can do no better than once again to quote Fr John Hunwicke:

One particular group on the periphery of Church life, the Franciscans of the Immaculate, must be mightily relieved by this announcement. I expect their restoration to a proper canonical state will be the main content of the Bull on Mercy to be published on Low Sunday.





March 16th, 2015

On Being Like Rabbits

Department of the blooming obvious: the British Government’s advisory board on drugs has just woken up to the fact that giving schoolchildren information about drugs may actually encourage them to take drugs.  At best, they say, it may be pointless, and at worst, actually harmful.

I suppose it’s too much to hope that the authorities may eventually wake up to the fact that school sex education is equally counter-productive.  “How to” information is at best unnecessary.  At worst,  it encourages experimentation, unless it is  imparted in an unequivocally moral context, which is virtually impossible.  As an outspoken American Catholic lady once put it to me, on the subject of sex-ed: “Fill their heads with all that stuff and they’ll be at it like bunnies.”  She’s right: teenagers are extremely combustible.

The peddlers of contraception and abortion, of course, want our youngsters “to be like rabbits” (to quote our beloved Holy Father slightly out of context). It’s the best way to boost sales.

When you talk to some disenchanted and lapsed middle-aged Irish Catholics they will tell you  they were  in woeful ignorance about reproductive matters throughout their formative years. I don’t believe it. They would have had to go about with closed eyes and ears.


March 12th, 2015


In a trenchant and challenging interview given to Mass of Ages, magazine of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales, American Professor Peter Kwasniewski of Wyoming Catholic College says the recent synod in Rome was a colossal wake-up call to the Church and to the faithful. “It showed us, in no uncertain terms, that many of our ‘shepherds’ were like drunks and madmen, and that we cannot sit back and take for granted that the Faith is safe.”

Modern Catholics, says Professor Kwasniewski, are trained to take what is given to them and don’t stir themselves to action very easily.

That was the problem with a the reception of Vatican II and the reformed liturgy: the ‘experts’ spoon-fed us all this stuff and we choked it down, instead of spitting it out and demanding to see the ingredients. But you can see to an astonishing extent that this wasn’t working with the Synod. The experts tried to pull the wool over our eyes and it failed not only among us, but even among themselves. The Machiavellians were too clever by half. It came as a resounding warning to the Church militant.

So, in short, the Synod galvanised many Catholics around the world to take up their catechisms and defend the Faith. This is all to the good and, in God’s mercy, may portend a still greater opening of minds and hearts to traditionalism, which has been attentively clued in to the hermeneutic of rupture and discontinuity  for five decades and offers a coherent, convincing way out of the madness.

Professor Kwasniewski describes  Cardinal Raymond Burke as a truly outstanding defender of the Catholic Faith, and believes he will become, more than ever, a worldwide ambassador for the Old Rite—for the theology, spirituality, fine arts, discipline and law that sustain it, and for the traditional Catholic doctrine on faith and morals. “However you look at it, Cardinal, Burke occupies the moral high ground and the cause of Tradition will continue to enjoy his wise, gentle and generous patronage.”



March 9th, 2015

The Joseph Goebbels Award

Quite a few years ago I used to invent phony  prizes in the old Stramentarius column for people I considered to be guilty of aesthetic,  liturgical or other outrages. For instance, I recall my Genseric Award for Theoretical and Applied Vandalism—a golden power-hammer. This went to some PP or other in the West of Ireland who had wreckovated his church in a particularly hideous fashion. (Another suitable candidate would have been Bishop Éamonn Casey of Kerry for what he did to his beautiful Pugin cathedral in Killarney.)

I was quite pleased with some of these awards. But I must now yield the palm to Fr John Hunwicke of the Anglican Ordinariate (whom I frequently quote in this blog) who has invented the Joseph Goebbels Award  for the use of Sophisticated Propaganda  to Pollute the Common Culture.  Fr Hunwicke explains:

Apparently, there are Primary Schools where a (private) programme called CHIPS is in use. Challenging Homophobia in Primary Schools uses brilliant methods to get its message across.∗ It retells the story of Noah’s Ark in terms of fictional animals which are left behind because they are ‘different’. Eight and nine year old children are made to ‘create a wedding scene with two princes in the front getting married’. Six and seven year olds design a dress for a ‘Princess boy’. ‘What do we think in our school about gay people getting married (we say it’s OK!).’  The plight of a transgender six year old in Colorado is to be discussed in class.

The government has issued new standards requiring that even free schools ‘actively promote’ equality of sexual orientation as specified in the 2010 Equality Act. And schools will be expected to ‘challenge’ parents who disagree. How very much like the Russia of dear Marshal Stalin, our popular wartime ally! We can envisage a future in which both Jack and Jill will be encouraged to report their parents to the Commissar if they overhear them uttering Speech Crimes!

This is all absolutely superb. Just think how totally brilliant it is. You might have supposed that children would have to be of an age to know what Sex is before they were taught to welcome Sexual Perversion. But No!!! Even before they know about penises and vaginas and their inherent functional complementarity, you can start preparing the ground for indoctrination about the desirability of making other, much more creative, uses of those organs! Get Perversion into the infant mind even before it understands Normality! It’s like using well-constructed educational courses about the simple wholesome pleasures of Embezzlement on children who have not yet been taught about Money! That distinguished member of the Lowerarchy, Mr Undersecretary Screwtape, has lost nothing of his inventive and imaginative brilliance!

I think it is clearly necessary to create, at the heart of our British honours system, a suitable recognition for those whose contribution to corrupting public perceptions and, particularly, to indoctrinating the very young (through their imaginations) so as to embrace the normality of perversion, has been particularly noteworthy. The obvious choice here of a role-model is that towering figure, Joseph Goebbels. I know what you’re going to say: we can’t make role-model of someone who laboured with such success to convince the population of an entire nation that Jews were proper objects of hatred. I agree. And I know that Enthusiastic Hatred of Judaism and Enthusiastic Acceptance of Sexual Perversion are not in any way parallel evils (a very clear difference is that the latter, happily, does not embrace the taking of human life). But what both of these causes do have in common is the poisoning of the mass imagination, the use of sophisticated propaganda to pollute the common culture, and awareness of the need to begin this process as early as possible by planting Evil in the hearts of the very young. And in all this, Goebbels was a superb, a consummate practitioner. We shall not see his like again; but we should not, for that reason, ignore what our age can learn, not from his own particular abhorrent ideology, but from his general working methodology. After all, anti-Christian ideologies come and go, and good riddance to them once they’re gone, and Nazism is, most fortunately, not the dominant ideology of our age; but the existence of perverted anti-Christian ideologies, differing from generation to generation, but always needing to be promoted, is a given.

We could have an Order of Joseph Goebbels (OJG), in which there could be the rank of Member (MJG), Companion (CJG), Knight Commander (or Dame: KCJG or DCJG), and Knight (Dames too, of course) Grand Cross of Joseph Goebbels (GCJG). Knights and Dames Grand Cross could have a pink sash to wear and, on great occasions, a pink cloak. The Church of England could provide, perhaps in Southwark Cathedral where Dean Colin Slee† toiled so devotedly, a Chapel for the Order where the GCJGs could hang their banners and have their Plates on their Stalls. Processions of the GCJGs could be integrated into Pride Week, participation in which will very soon be compulsory for all Government Employees. A popular musician who has always promoted Orientation Equality could be rewarded for his life’s work by being made Sovereign of the Order. The Prelate of the Order, in these ecumenical days, should not be required to be an Anglican Bishop.

Yes, you’re quite right, today’s is an abrasive post, with its talk about ‘perversion’; not at all in my usual emollient style. It has always been my desire to avoid any slightest risk of hurt to friends who have a homosexual inclination. But I would never use the term ‘pervert’ to apply to chaste, celibate homosexuals, because in my view someone (of whatever orientation) who lives, despite the pressures of our culture, a chaste and celibate life, is a distinctly nobler person than comfortable happily married heterosexuals like me. And I even feel more sympathy for genitally active homosexuals than for heterosexual fornicators and adulterers, since the latter, unlike the former, have been given by Providence an Estate in which those that have not the gift of continence might marry, and keep themselves undefiled members of Christ’s Body.

So why the change of style? Since the murder of the Paris Blasphemers, we have been so lectured by the Camerons and Hollandes and Obamas about tolerance (tolerance even of the grossest sacrileges and insults), that it seems to me that a ‘rougher’ style cannot possibly be the object of any criticism. Frankness, free speech, that is, Parrhesia, even if it hurts, is officially ring-fenced. Isn’t it? And now dear Stephen Fry has led the way in demonstrating the excellence of unrestrained Frankness. Olé, or whatever the word is!

More than 20 years ago, in  The Facilitators, Doris Manly made the same point as Fr Hunwicke . Here’s how she described  the Irish Health Education Bureau programme for training teachers in Values Clarification : “As sophisticated an instrument of intellectual corruption as our age has produced”.  For this she was taken to task by some not over-intelligent hack in—I think—the old Irish Press, who sneered at her for not appreciating how much worse Dr Goebbels’ activities  had been.  Doris pointed out patiently that the methods of  the HEB Facilitators were just as sophisticated  as those of Goebbels, but obviously not morally equivalent.

Doris maintained that a good many Facilitators were at work within Irish second-level schools:

The Facilitators in second-level schools are ‘facilitating’ our children. They seem bent upon altering the attitudes and values of the Irish people in a single generation, so that when the present school generation comes of age, the kind of laws and customs Facilitators favour will be acceptable to the majority.

It looks as if the Facilitators have succeeded in this aim only too well. Otherwise, in all seriousness, how could we have reached a situation where we are about to vote in a referendum to give legal recognition to sodomistic “marriage”?

In England,  it’s not enough to corrupt just teenagers, as has happened in Ireland.  In England, As we learn from Fr Hunwicke,  you have to get Perversion into the infant mind even before it understands normality. Surely it won’t be many years before the same thing happens here. Who’s to stop it? The Catholic bishops? Don’t make me laugh.


∗ Information from the Autumn 2014 Bulletin of SPUC, Safe at School.

† Dean Colin Slee,  an enthusiastic supporter of homosexual pseudogamy.



March 3rd, 2015

Archbishop Takes on the Sodomites

Spare a thought and a prayer for the brave Archbishop of San Francisco, Salvatore Cordileone, who has defied the wealthy and powerful homosexual lobby in that latter-day city of Sodom.   His offence is to insist that teachers in Catholic schools should adhere to Catholic doctrine when teaching about matters concerned with sex.
The “gay” lobby and their allies, purporting to represent Catholic parents, have hired a dodgy but highly successful PR consultant named Sam Singer, who has launched a media blitz against the archbishop.
To give you just one example of Singer’s usual modus operandi: when a tiger killed a teenager and mauled several others in San Francisco zoo,  the PR wizard was hired by San Francisco Zoological Society to put the best possible spin on the incident. He planted stories that two of the injured had been drinking, smoking pot and behaving badly before the tiger attacked them.
He then encouraged the zoo to put up signs urging visitors not to tease the animals, although there was no evidence that the boys had ever teased the tiger.  Singer admitted: “We knew journalists would ask if they taunted the animals. And we’d say ‘We don’t know, but we have enough information that we believe it was a possibility.’”
 Now he is using the media in just the same way to denigrate the Church, feeding them stories of “concerned Catholic parents” and oppressive clergy. One of the falsehoods he is peddling is that Archbishop Cordileone is going to purge Catholic schools of  “gay, lesbian and  ‘pro-choice’ teachers”. The Archbishop has insisted several times that he has no intention of firing teachers simply because of their sexual orientation or beliefs. He is merely insisting that they teach Catholic truth—through their actions and words.
Predicting the outcome of Singer’s campaign, the San Francisco Weekly says Archbishop Cordileone probably doesn’t have a prayer.
“That’s false,” retorts Anne Hendershott of the Veritas Centre for Ethics in Public Life at the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio.  “Archbishop Cordileone has an abundance of prayers—of countless Catholics across the country who are increasingly alarmed by the attacks on their Church. Faithful Catholics are beginning to mobilize under the leadership of their own courageous bishops and priests. Prayer is powerful. When combined with a willingness to fight back, it can be unstoppable. This war is not over. The fight has just begun.”

March 2nd, 2015

A Redemptorist’s Uncompromising Hymn

Now that we are well into Lent, I am glad to see that God of Mercy and Compassion, by Fr Edmund Vaughan CSSR is still being sung, in some  churches at least.  It’s in the parish hymnal of my local church—at least, two verses are.

God of mercy and compassion,
Look with pity upon me,
Father, let me call Thee Father,
 ’Tis Thy child returns to Thee.

Jesus, Lord, I ask for mercy;
Let me not implore in vain;
All my sins, I now detest them,
Never will I sin again.

By my sins I have abandoned
Right and claim to heav’n above.
Where the saints rejoice forever
In a boundless sea of love.

When I was a boy we had a different second verse. I suppose it is now considered a bit too uncompromising for post Vatican II sensitivities. It went like this:

By my sins I have deserved
Death and endless misery,
Hell with all its pains and torments,
And for all eternity.

I am pleased to tell you  that the Latin Mass chaplaincy in Dublin still uses the above verse. Once there was also a fourth verse, one that reminded us of the price paid for our own, individual sins:

See our Saviour, bleeding, dying,
On the cross of Calvary;
To that cross my sins have nail’d Him,
Yet He bleeds and dies for me.

It may not be great poetry, but it’s a very fine hymn indeed.