The Bishop wore my vestments today! :)

Just a quick post to tell you that I had a very proud day today.

Bishop Nick Hudson of Westminster came to open the new chapel in my sons school and decided to try on and use some of my vestments! My son also got to assist him at Mass. Here is a photo of the 3 of us…

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Bishop Hudson is actually an old boy of the school himself and so it was a really special thing that he could come back many years later to open the chapel. He spoke to the boys about vocations, and how he realised his own vocation to be a priest while he was at the school.

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The red set is nice, but the white one was much nicer, so I cheekily got him to go and put the white set on so I could take a pic of him in that too! 😀 (It’s ok – he used to be my parish priest, and my Dad used to be his school teacher!)

It is a Jesuit school and so I decided to embroider the famous Jesuit sunburst on the white chasuble.

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The school also requested that at the base of the white chasuble they would like the school badge, where the papal coat of arms would usually sit.

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They also requested 3 simpler sets in different liturgical colours. Each of the 4 sets includes chasuble, stole and chalice veil.

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I was so honoured to be asked to make these vestments, and it is such a special thing that they will be used at my sons school for years to come.

To see more of my vestments in Gothic and Roman styles please visit www.diclara.co.uk or contact me at info@diclara.co.uk

And please send this post to anyone you know who might be interested in buying some vestments. I am now taking orders for 2017. I ship worldwide and can make pretty much anything you can think of 🙂

 

My friends in Syria told me there was NO BOMBING of aid trucks in Syria last night. The news story is a FAKE!!

Here we see a BBC report showing the aftermath of the air strike bombing of 18 UN Aid trucks last night in Aleppo, Syria.

I was worried to hear this news because my sisters live just near the air base in Aleppo so this morning I spoke to them to make sure they were ok.

They replied to me “Your news in Europe is, as usual, completely wrong.”

They tell me that there was no bombing of any aid trucks last night. No air strikes, no nothing. Last night was peaceful.

These are Nuns – they are not liars, and you would have to be a pretty heavy sleeper to sleep through an airstrike that supposedly destroyed 18 UN lorries right?

So I watched the report again and realised the video footage was given to the BBC by the volunteer organisation “The White Helmets”. This is a very dodgy organisation who regularly fabricate photo and video footage to aid political agendas like this:

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To see more of the White Helmets deception and their link to George Soros CLICK HERE

I guess the lesson here is to not rely on the BBC for correct information. They are trying to blame this imaginary event on the Russians. It is becoming more and more clear to me that there is an anti Russian agenda being pushed by the BBC. Why?

UPDATE: It seems now that Russia is saying that they can see no evidence that an air strike ever took place.

“We have closely studied the video footage from where the incident took place and we did not find any signs of any ammunition having hit the convoy. There are no craters, while the vehicles have their chassis intact and they have not been severely damaged, which would have been the case from an airstrike,” Konashenkov said.

“All of the video footage demonstrates that the convoy caught fire, which strangely happened almost at exactly at the same time as militants started a large scale offensive on Aleppo.”

See more here: https://www.rt.com/news/359990-russia-denies-aleppo-strike/?spot_im_verify=signup&spot_im_token_ticket=08841220452b4bd9bb60e095d3c757fc

I don’t like it one bit. Please share.

Video: Irish Lesbian ‘married’ couple applauded at Catholic Mass.

 

Two women in a same-sex “marriage” have been applauded during Mass at St Michael’s church, Athy, Diocese of Dublin, while the faithful Catholic who expressed concerns about their leadership roles in the parish has been advised by the clergy to stay away.

As of yesterday, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan resumed their roles leading the adult and children’s choir at St Michael’s church, and as Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion, having announced on Kildare radio that they had been ‘forced’ to resign by a fellow parishioner two days earlier.

Anthony Murphy, the editor of The Catholic Voice newspaper, had raised concerns about whether it was appropriate for two lesbians in a same-sex “marriage” to have such public and prominent roles within the parish.

In the presence of five priests and a church packed with many who rarely attend Mass, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan led the choir in singing “I will follow him” from the film ‘Sister Act’. The two women held hands and bowed as many in the congregation applauded and cheered. This occurred on the sanctuary as the 5 priests processed out at the end of Mass.

Mr. Murphy, editor of the newspaper Catholic Voice, says that he received a death threat during a hate campaign “whipped up” by local Sinn Fein councillors, and has been advised by the local curate and police not to attend Mass at St Michael’s due to concerns about his safety.

“Just an update regarding the situation with the two “married” women in my local parish. They have resigned from their positions in the Church BUT today a mob has been whipped up into a frenzy by among others some of the local councillors and I am now the subject of a pretty intensive hate campaign. One Sinn Fein councillor has been particularly active in this regard and as a result of this incitement I have now received a death threat!! Apparently I am no longer welcome and I have been threatened by members of the local Sinn Fein Party not to go into my local town unless I have a ‘death wish.”

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Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan

Mr. Murphy contacted his parish priest about his concerns about the prominent role of the women in the parish who were so publicly contravening the Church’s clear teaching against same-sex “marriage”, recently reiterated at the Synod on the Family. He did not receive a helpful response from his parish priest. Instead, Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan have claimed that “parish priest Canon Frank McEvoy has been supportive of them” and that they had “not been asked to resign by the clergy”.

“My parish priest sees nothing wrong with two lesbians –who have entered into a same-sex ‘marriage’ — running the parish choir and acting as  Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion.  In fact, he was quite content for them to hand out invitations to their ‘wedding’ in the church after choir practise! Is it any wonder that the Church is in such a crisis?”.

Mr Murphy told The Irish Times that, because of their relationship, the couple had already resigned positions with the Lay Dominicans Ireland of which Ms Flanagan had been president and Ms O’Donnell was president of its Athy chapter. It was “a similar issue” in Athy parish, he felt.

“The choir is on the altar, almost centre stage with the priest. It’s a very public contradiction [with church teaching banning same-sex marriage]. The church has to decide whether it believes what it teaches,” he said.

The saddest thing about this story is the the two women are being encouraged in their relationship by their priest, rather than receiving help regarding their same-sex attraction. The Catholic church welcomes all people with same-sex attraction and invites them to live a chaste life, along with all others (gay, straight or celibate) who are not married.

If you are experiencing same-sex attraction and would like someone to talk to in a non-judgmental and friendly way, please visit www.couragerc.org

Sources –

http://www.irishtimes.com/news/social-affairs/religion-and-beliefs/lesbian-couple-to-retake-church-roles-they-were-forced-to-leave-1.2785746#.V9LS6_CXbTk.twitter

https://www.ewtn.co.uk/news/ireland/women-in-same-sex-marriage-applauded-at-mass-in-diocese-of-dublin

My Summer in Nice: 84 people dead, and everyone is concerned about “Burkini rights”.

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By Alison Figueiredo.
We arrived in Nice at the beginning of the summer around June in order to take care of my father who lives here and who suffered a stroke. My four year old son and I alongside my now frail mother faced this enormous challenge head on and with as much courage as we could muster. But without the Catholicism of Nice I perhaps would not have made it through this Summer with so much resting on my shoulders.
I’ve been blessed with this soothing balm. The church bells calling out every day on most streets, the beautiful baroque churches in the old town, the stunning Franciscan monastery in Cimiez where I take refuge after every painful visit with my beloved father, the sung Old Rite masses and daily rosary. Christian Estrosi the Mayor of the Region wished us all a Happy Feast of the Assumption on his FB page. Can we ever imagine a London Mayor doing that?
I feel very at home with Catholicism here. The slow steady rise of French Catholicism has not gone unnoticed in the mainstream either. I love attending Tridentene mass here, full of young families and led by the beautiful Penitents Rouges. Today was particularly special, celebrated by a recently ordained priest. One of 12 ordained in July by Cardinal Burke, 8 of whom were French.
On the 14th July we waited for the traditional fireworks across the road and my son fidgeted with excitement at attending. Then, mercifully as it turns out, he fell asleep. Around 11 I went onto the balcony to clear away plant pots buffeted by the mistral and heard screams I will never forget. The buzzer went repeatedly, I answered but no one responded. My blood ran cold. Something wasn’t right.
After a series of panicked phone calls from family telling us they could see our hallway on Fox News we switched on the TV to see the dark blue entrance of our building filled with screaming people, families and children panicking and clamouring to escape another Islamic terrorist attack. Right on our doorstep. The white lorry used to mow down and kill over 80 people – some of whom were babies still in their pushchairs, came to a stop right outside our building. For a day afterwards we were in lockdown as the army scoped out the underground parking area beneath our building believing a group of terrorists had used it to hide. It was terrifying and for two nights I slept in front of the inside of the front door to block it and protect my mother and child.
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Outside our building: My son watches people lay flowers on the bloodstains.

A month on and Already it’s forgotten by the world. The orphaned children, the many with life changing disabilities, the grief of parents,  the bloodstains which remain across the road and pavement which were never removed, thousands of teddy bears, thousands of Catholic Church candles scattered along the Promenade. The world has already moved on anaesthetised to the violence, Facebook profiles switched back to normal.
The focus at the end of the Summer has turned to the hurt sensibilities of the Muslim community. The anger now directed at Islamophibes. Frankly, realising how close my son and I came to death, having spoken to neighbours traumatised at escaping with their lives and protecting their handicapped daughter, reading the endless lists of global victims after these attacks, I freely admit I’m phobic. Because like Christian Estrosi, I too fear Salafism (an Islamic movement based on a literal reading of the Quran) and have long been familiar with its malign influences on Islam in Europe, it’s insidious grip on Muslim youth and culture. And like many in France, a country battered by a series of attacks, I feel there is next to nothing to convince me that mainstream Islam is anything other than at fault for its very own failure to challenge it. Islam has become more so than ever before a political force waging a cultural war as well as violent jihad. These so called groups challenging Islamophobia are merely Salafism by stealth.
As far back as the 90s the undercurrent of Salafism has reshaped Islam in France. When I undertook a research project on it for my University degree I recall the interviews with Imams conducted in living rooms bereft of furniture, sat cross legged on the floor, dreaming of the Caliphate. I could sense the unease of my Algerian university friend who had abandoned Islam and become an apostate and atheist, expressing endless concern for the religion his parents practised versus that of their increasingly agitated children.
French feminism supported by Muslim women has since mostly swung behind the various veil debates in opposition to the veil, supporting veil bans, in stark contrast to the rest of western feminists. They’ve been rightly vocal about the atrocities committed on women in the suburbs who fail to dress appropriately. They’ve even had the courage to recognise that some women will dress to make a statement of Salafist intent rather than express any element of faith. French Research backs this up.
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Eventually we re-emerged onto the Nice beaches and tried to carry on. The weight of the hospital visits and terrorism meant the beaches and pools were an important break with my son. And that’s when I first noticed the Burqini. A direct flight from Dubai to Nice has increased wealthy Muslim visitors and they bring with them this bizarre woman eviscerating swimsuit. The husbands bear all. Their prepubescent daughters are forced into a similar child’s version which stops at the knees instead of the ankles, while their brothers wear trunks. It is therefore no surprise to me at all to see France challenge this latest cultural drive.
France is hurting after so many grotesque attacks. It is concerned at how to crush the grip of Salafism. It’s politicians broadly represent the views of its citizens rather than working to silence them.
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The imam (of course) who circulated the picture of nuns on the beach has helped create enough confusion that even the vice mayor of Nice wound up ludicrously cornered over the issue of nuns habits and clumsily attempted to bat the issue away. And presumably the Habits of the Penitents Rouges of Nice. But Estrosi, the French Prime Minister and Sarkozy are all crystal clear.

“There is, firstly, political Islam, which exploits a religion that is the fact of a few. The burkini is not a religious sign, it is the affirmation in the public space for political Islamism”  – F. Valls – French Prime Minister.

And the president of the Islamic organisations if France makes clear it is not Islamic dress for modesty.
“I say that the Burkini is not part of the Muslim Faith.” – National President of the Union of Islamic Organisations of France
The burqini is not required religious dress. It is a political uniform. It is an act of communautarism as Estrosi went to lengths to indicate.  It is an obvious middle finger to society around them, anti woman in the message it sends just like the chador and niqab – that it is a woman’s responsibility to manage at all times the apparently unrelenting desires of infidel men.
Unlike nuns who submit their lives to God this is about submitting to the will of your husband who lays claim to your body, or pronouncing your admiration for that concept to the world even while women across the world suffer under Salafist groups who mandate it. When this matter is put to debate in Parliament this issue of habits versus burqini will become clearer. I also expect them to address the rise in the chador here for the same reasons. Put simply. These are the simple but worthy values of France and of the West. Accept them.
As I witnessed, but didn’t photograph and share on Twitter, one wife who dipped her feet in the kids pool without the proscribed attire was pulled rudely from the pool by her husband, beaten and made to go change. Another simply got into the kids pool wearing her trainers, which was incredibly unsanitary.
I also strongly suspect the initial incident and outrage was fabricated. A woman in a burqini sits on the beach stones, alone with no husband, not mat, no towel, no bag and is curiously photographed by long zoom lense? Oh please.
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A Burkini set-up?

Yes the police here are heavily armed at the moment so approaching her in the manner that they did was quite wrong.  Frankly though it’s equally outrageous to me to be forced to explain to my son why heavily armed soldiers in full combats need to patrol the Promenade all day long. People getting ants in their pants about the police being armed can hop it. They’re keeping us safe if that’s alright with you.
Catholics addressing the issue of modesty in the face of raunch culture beware, certainly there’s a discussion to be had about how we tackle raunch culture. But the burquni is not the answer. In fact this region is not the bare all anything goes region it once was. I’m curious that no one ever picked up on the story of the young London woman asked to put her bikini top back on with quite the same fury as they did the burqini.
Finally, No-one is suggesting women cannot dress to feel comfortable for the beach. I’ve never had any issues in dressing so that I feel modest, cool, comfortable and able to swim. I don’t need to make a statement to do it. Especially when that statement is frankly as sexualising as nudity. It screams I’m a sexual being – look at me. Highly immodest.
In France various mayors have defied the lower court order entirely and continue to maintain the bans. Particularly here in Nice where Estrosi could not care less about the latest reaction to his temporarily banning photographing the police. Apparently many of the burqa clad families have moved next door to Italy for some peace and quiet because the Italian mayors are more accommodating, where the same families are also now requesting separate beach shower facilities for Muslim women (Nice matin).
Oh Italy! The salafists are winning this war. They’re successfully hoodwinking many Europeans and have them dancing around on their behalves. Don’t be such utter obsequious fools.

My high point of the 2016 Olympics – Bikini vs Burkini.

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Nothing illustrates the culture clash of Islam and the west better than a bikini vs burkini olympic volleyball match.

At least the Italian woman has remembered to protect her eyes, hey?! That’s a nice pair of Sunglasses! 😀

I find myself looking at the inappropriateness of both these outfits in regards to the sport being played and wonder which one I actually prefer. I guess if I looked anywhere near as good as the woman on the left then I would probably feel right at home in a pair of dental-floss knickers. But the fact remains that after 3 kids I would probably prefer to heap my fat porridge belly into the outfit on the right. 😀

But seriously, I’m not sure I would be too happy about letting my teenage son watch this match on TV…

Unlike the West, Islam has not passed through a secular sexual revolution. I do not like very much about Islam, but I do appreciate their value of modesty – even if they do take it to the Nth degree.

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And this is probably the time to articulate my pet hate about semi naked women in church. Why?! Why do you not think about what you are wearing?! What are your clothes saying to the men around you – including the priest? Why come to church in hotpants?! Why expose the rest of us to your acres of naked flesh?! Why does my husband have to have your butt in his face when he is trying to pray?!

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And then of course there are the strapless bridesmaids dresses…

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But seriously, more and more these days I am finding that the western sexual revolution has run its sordid course. Modesty has actually become counter cultural in our society, which means like everything else counter cultural, it is going to be attracting those who find themselves disillusioned and unsatisfied with what western secular culture has to offer.

And while the Feminazis brains go into shut down at the sight of this volleyball match due to not knowing which of the women is more oppressed and exploited, someone needs to teach all those people disillusioned and unsatisfied with our hyper sexualised culture about modesty, and religion.

And if the Christians don’t do it, the Muslims will be more than happy to do so.

 

 

The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!

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I have found myself really mourning Fr. Hamel. A sweet, kind old priest whom I have never met – yet I still call “Father”.

I have cried real tears today because they killed my gentle old Father.

Father Jacques Hamel was killed in the same manner as his patron, Saint James, on his Feast day. Saint James, one of the twelve Apostles, was martyred by beheading in the year 44.

It is hard to see through the pain of such an event, but today, as I went to the church to pray it started to make sense.

There were a lot of people in the church today. Lots more than usual. And I didn’t recognize them. But they were there to pray. So we all knelt alongside each other, grieving our poor French Father.

I began to wonder how many people all around the world have been moved by his death? How many have visited a church today to pray or light a candle? How many have raised their hearts and minds to God – even just to ask “Why?”. It is still a prayer.

Perhaps the answer to that question lies in the fact that they have begun to talk to God. Perhaps a gentle old priest, beheaded during an ordinary morning Mass is enough to shake people out of their comfort zones and realise that evil is real, God is real, and death comes when we least expect it.

Through his brutal matyrdom, Fr. Hamel continues in death his essential work as a priest – to draw souls to Christ. And this gives his death meaning and purpose, and great glory to God!

Tertullian really was right when he said “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church!”

Rest in peace dear Father. Santo Subito!

Pokemon Go! Don’t miss this golden opportunity for Evangelisation.

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Pokemon Go! is already proving to be one of the biggest downloadable games ever produced. Servers all over the world are completely jammed by millions of people trying to get this game to download onto their mobile phones. People are going crazy for it! My kids absolutely love it.

For those who don’t know already, the game is to chase and collect Pokemon characters that are digitally present all over your neighborhood. The game uses real life landmarks as part of the game that allows players to meet up, have Pokemon battles and trade characters.

Many of these real life landmarks are Churches. So as you can imagine, many people – often kids or teenagers – are suddenly appearing on Church property in large numbers.

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As far as I can tell, this is probably the biggest opportunity for evangelisation that has landed in the lap of Churches all across the land. People who would *never* usually have any reason to set foot on church property are flocking there in drones! If I was a priest I would be downloading the game onto my phone right now – just so I would have an excuse to go outside and interact with the swarms of young people that were literally on my door step.

Unfortunately, it seems some people have missed this gift from God and instead have retreated into grumpiness – actually telling young visitors to *GO AWAY* and that they are not welcome on church property!

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Unbelievable!!! This notice was put up on the grounds of a Catholic church.

And another one…

 

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Please!!! Don’t you get it?! These kids aren’t there to cause any trouble. And tell me this – when will you ever get an opportunity to speak to these kids again?

How about something like this instead?:

Church featured in Pokemon Go expecting deluge of gamers

And if you are still huffing and puffing in your fuddy-duddy grumpy old person way, let you forget that in 2000, St. Pope John Paul II gave his blessing to the PokĂ©mon franchise, saying the games did not have “any harmful moral side effects” and were based on “ties of intense friendship”.

C’mon guys what’s wrong with you?! Don’t miss this golden opportunity. Love them for goodness sake. Instead of seeing these kids as intruders, perhaps start seeing them as irreplaceable souls made in the image and likeness of God who will spend eternity somewhere one day. Perhaps this is your one chance to make sure that place is heaven.

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The problem of Zombie-Robot parishioners and ‘active participation’.

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Have you ever sat in Mass and felt like this?! I know I have. There have been many times where I have just zoned out. I realise the priest has got to the end of his sermon and I haven’t really heard a word because I was daydreaming.

I suppose it doesn’t help when most other people around you are doing the same thing. To my horror, I realise that I have become one of those legendary Zombie-like parishioners that I used to marvel at as a child.

I remember the droning monotone chorus of the congregation during the creed, the robotic expressionless handshake of peace, the lifeless melody of the organ with literally 2 people singing out of the entire congregation. The ones who used to hit the ESCAPE button and walk out straight after communion – I guess they’d fulfilled their weekly obligation right? And yet we, and the same other people used to turn up week after week and filter up the isle into the same old pews that we almost seemed to be pre-programmed to return to.

A congregation of mindless robots.

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And it wasn’t as if our church wasn’t trying – they got the parishioners involved in the offertory procession, the choir, the readings and bidding prayers, they even got the children to go up onto the sanctuary during the consecration to see up close what the priest was doing. But still, before long it began to dawn on me that I really wasn’t getting anything out of Mass.

By age 13 I had stopped going. I just didn’t see the point. It was so boring. The people there were so boring. The final nail in the liturgical coffin for me was the ‘Teen’ mass. The cringeworthy band with their ‘Rock’ hymns, the priest trying to be cool, the fact that they were trying so hard to include and please us… It was just embarrassing.

I felt quite sorry for them in a way. I could see how hard the few motivated ones were trying to make it work, but it wasn’t cutting it. It didn’t have any interest whatsoever in going to a dead church full of robots. There was nothing in it for me.

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It wasn’t until 5 years later, age 18, when I had my first ridiculously powerful, life changing personal encounter with Jesus after a failed suicide attempt that I began returning to Mass.

Because of that encounter, I suddenly realised that Jesus Christ was real, alive, and truly present in the liturgy of the word and the liturgy of the Eucharist during Mass. In those first few weeks of returning to Church as a young adult, on my own, I remember how the words of the readings and the Holy Gospel would just fly accross the church out of the mouths of the readers and just penetrate my heart like a flaming spear. I remember getting butterflies in my tummy, and my heart racing as I approached Jesus in the Holy Eucharist for the first time in a long time. And I remember the gentle peace of Him, as He surrounded me with reassurance and calm during my first tentative steps of my conversion of heart, that I was wanted and loved by Him.

And yet, I was still surrounded by those loyal, yet long suffering mindless robots that surrounded me as a child. The droning creed, the robotic handshakes, the 2 lonely hymn singers… They were all still there! In some ways I found it quite funny 🙂 but I also found that it broke my heart. I was home, but my family were zombies.

I would just watch them week after week, just going through the motions. It was like they were asleep inside, while my heart was completely on fire for Jesus. I learned pretty quickly that I was not going to fit in.

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After another 10 years or so I began my Catholic studies at Maryvale university, and for the first time ever came accross the term “active participation” in the Vatican 2 document Sacrosanctum conciliumthe Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. I learned here that one of the main aims of the day in and around the 1960’s was to get the laity to participate more in the Mass. I was amazed because I thought the robotic zombie parishioner was a modern phenomenon. It seems not.

The other bombshell I learned was that up until the late 1960’s, the priest always used to say Mass with his back to the congregation!! I couldn’t believe it! Why on earth would he do that? The Mass before the late 1960’s was very different. It was said in Latin, the priest had his back to the congregation, people used to kneel to receive Holy Eucharist and would only receive on the tongue. Women were required to cover their hair in church, members of the congregation would often say rosary during Mass if they didn’t understand the Latin. Things were really different.

I can really understand why people were calling for reform in the church and pushing the idea of the “active participation” of the laity in the Mass. How easy would it be to zone out during Mass if you were just sitting there not even able to understand the language? So the Council Fathers developed this idea of active participation:

“14. Mother Church earnestly desires that all the faithful should be led to that fully conscious, and active participation in liturgical celebrations which is demanded by the very nature of the liturgy. Such participation by the Christian people as “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a redeemed people” (1 Pet. 2:9; cf. 2:4-5), is their right and duty by reason of their baptism.

In the restoration and promotion of the sacred liturgy, this full and active participation by all the people is the aim to be considered before all else; for it is the primary and indispensable source from which the faithful are to derive the true Christian spirit; and therefore pastors of souls must zealously strive to achieve it, by means of the necessary instruction, in all their pastoral work.” – Sacrosanctum concilium

Although it was never actually an official part of the reforming documents of Vatican 2, the radically new idea of the priest facing the people began to creep in a few years later. The idea behind this was to make the people in the congregation feel more welcome, more involved and for the first time ever they could see what the priest was doing on the altar. It was all aimed at moving towards this idea of active participation.

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I can totally understand what they were trying to do in the late 1960’s, but 50 years later with obviously dwindling parishes, lack of religious vocations and widespread theological ignorance within the church, the million dollar question is:

Has this radical idea of active participation actually worked?

It was initially implemented to reduce parishioner zombification during Mass. But as i’m sure you will agree, the zombie robots are alive and well and STILL filling our churches today.

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Now, as you have probably heard, Cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, urged priests and bishops at the Sacra Liturgia conference in London on July 5 to start celebrating Masses ad orientem (with their back to the congregation) beginning on the first Sunday of Advent this year 2016.

This had caused uproar in the more progressive circles of the church as they believe it would take us back 5o years and undermine all the efforts made at active participation since then.

However I think they have got the wrong end of the stick here…

I think that it is pretty safe to say now that the active participation thing has not worked as intended. In all honestly, I think it has backfired massively and has actually drawn the people even further away from participating actively.

You see, the active participation that occurs currently is focused on outward signs and physical gestures. But this is not what active participation is meant to be. The true meaning is for the persons spirit to be actively involved in the mass, not though superficial things like carrying the offertory gifts, but to carry out our Baptismal ‘priestly’ role by offering our entire lives to God as Christ did on the Cross.

Of course it was never explained to me as a kid – or even as an adult that we are actually present at Calvary in real time during Mass. I never knew that. I also never realised that the Mass is something that is directed at God – not at the people. I never knew. The first time I realised that was during my first ever Tridentine (Traditional Latin) Mass where the priest had His back to me. When he lifted up the consecrated host with his back to me, I suddenly realised that Mass was not all about me. It was all about God.

We all face God. The priests offers the sacrifice on our behalf. Man is not the centre of the liturgy – Christ is.

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During Mass, by right and duty of my Baptism, my job is to offer my whole life – joined to the eternal sacrifice of Christ on the Cross, to God.

Why oh why did no-one ever tell me this? How can anyone possibly be luke warm during Mass armed with this knowledge? THIS is the active participation that we are meant to be carrying out during Mass – not joining the priest on the sanctuary or clapping during the Gloria.

I can see now that all those external participations actually served as distractions that drew my attention away from what I should really have been concentrating on internally. Even the priest himself can become a distraction during Mass – especially if he is young and handsome (yes, this has happened to me before during Mass *cringe*).

So to cut a very long argument short – I can totally see where Cardinal Sarah is coming from. He is trying to move the focus of the Mass back to where it should be – onto Christ, and eliminate the many distractions that have crept into the liturgy over the years. He is also trying to educate us as to the real meaning of “active participation”.

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There is one last thing…

Offering Mass this way would also be a wonderfully unitive thing to do with the Eastern Churches. They all offer Mass with the priest having his back to the congregation – they never changed. And as with everything in Catholic culture, this posture is highly symbolic. I spoke to my Byzantine friend who put it perfectly:

“Every movement in the Liturgy is symbolic. For instance, we face west during the exorcism part of the Baptism ceremony and then turn to the east (the altar) to declare our allegiance to Christ. It seems strange that the priest would face west to lead us in prayer/speaking to God on our behalf.”

Yes, that does seem strange when she puts it like that doesn’t it? I’m going to have to think more about that last part very, very carefully.