Vatican admits it DID doctor photo of BXVI’s letter, omitting 3rd paragraph.

The doctored photo.

The doctored photo.

The Vatican admitted Thursday that it altered a photo sent to the media of a letter from retired Pope Benedict XVI about Pope Francis. The manipulation changed the meaning of the image in a way that violated photojournalist industry standards.

The Vatican’s communications office released the photo of the letter on Monday on the eve of Francis’ five-year anniversary. The letter was cited by Monsignor Dario Vigano, chief of communications, to rebut critics of Francis who question his theological and philosophical heft and say he represents a rupture from Benedict’s doctrine-minded papacy.

In the part of the letter that is legible in the photo, Benedict praised a new volume of books on the theology of Francis as evidence of the “foolish prejudice” of his critics. The book project, Benedict wrote, “helps to see the interior continuity between the two pontificates, with all the differences in style and temperament.”

The Vatican admitted Thursday that it blurred the two final lines of the first page where Benedict begins to explain that he didn’t actually read the books in question. He wrote that he cannot contribute a theological assessment of Francis as requested by Vigano because he has other projects to do.

The Vatican didn’t explain why it blurred the lines other than to say it never intended for the full letter to be released. In fact, the entire second page of the letter is covered in the photo by a stack of books, with just Benedict’s tiny signature showing, to prove its authenticity.

The missing content significantly altered the meaning of the quotes the Vatican chose to highlight, which were widely picked up by the media. Those quotes suggested that Benedict had read the volume, agreed with it and given it his full endorsement and assessment. The doctoring of the photo is significant because news media rely on Vatican photographers for images of the pope at events that are closed to independent media.

Vigano read parts of the letter during a press conference launching the volume, including the lines that were blurred out. A journalist who attended the presentation, Sandro Magister, transcribed Vigano’s comments and posted them on his blog. But Vigano didn’t read the whole letter. The Vatican didn’t respond to a request to see the full text.

Most independent news media, including The Associated Press, follow strict standards that forbid digital manipulation of photos.

“No element should be digitally added to or subtracted from any photograph,” the AP standards read.


The truth about that Pope Benedict letter (and the last paragraph they “forgot” to publish)

francis books

The now infamous letter and the “small volumes” written on the Theology of Pope Francis.

So if you haven’t heard by now, the entire world is up in arms regarding a letter sent from Pope Emeritus Benedict to Mgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretary for Communications. BXVI wrote the letter in thanks for having received an advance copy of the recently released series of books on the Theology of Pope Francis.

On 12 January, Mgr. Viganò wrote to BXVI, asking him to write something on eleven volumes, in which many theologians speak of the theology of Pope Francis. BXVI replied, stating that these books “contradicts the foolish prejudice of those who see Pope Francis as someone who lacks a particular theological and philosophical formation…” He then seems to gush as he tells us that Francis is a “man of profound philosophical and theological formation… and therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, even with all the differences in style and temperament.”

Here is Mgr. Viganò telling us (in Italian) all about it:

Sounds like quite an endorsement hey? – for Francis and for the set of books. I mean, who could possibly give a greater endorsement than BXVI? He is one of the greatest theologians we have ever had.

Many people have been extremely upset by this incident. Despairing bloggers have turned on BXVI calling him a liberal in disguise. I have had priests coming to me in tears about the fact that they feel betrayed by his comments. I have to say I was also shocked when I read it, but something didn’t seem right, and as I opened up social media I was reassured by the massive amount of people – even critics of BXVI and non-Catholics who were saying that this must be false.

Now, I am not particularly educated myself, but you do not have to be a theologian to work out that BXVI and Francis are like chalk and cheese when it comes to, well, everything. It seemed very strange that BXVI – a man of almost infinite theological knowledge and insight, would suggest that there is very little difference between the two Popes. There clearly is. Infact this comment was so out of character that half of Twitter was debating whether BXVI was suffering from senile dementia!

The other thing that struck me as being a bit fishy was the way he seemed to openly chastise those who criticise Francis. This is certainly not the BXVI I met almost 12 months ago. He was the most gentle and meek man you could ever meet: full of joy, always smiling, deeply serene. He simply does not use harsh and hurtful words to criticise the faithful. He never has. He is truly gentle – even when correcting people. We can see this from his 2013 letter to the atheist mathematician Piergiorgio Odifreddi.

So what on Earth is going on?


When I met BXVI last year.

Well it seems that Mgr. Dario Edoardo Viganò, prefect of the Secretary for Communications, has not been 100% honest with us. You see, he withheld the last paragraph of the letter from the press, which does rather put the entire letter into a different context. Read the entire letter (below) keeping in mind the omitted paragraph (in bold), and you can see that there is much more going on between the lines than we have been led to believe:

From: Benedictus XVI, Pope Emeritus

To: Rev. Lord Mons. Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretariat for Communication.

Vatican CITY, 7 February 2018

Most Reverend Monsignor,

I thank you for your kind letter of 12 January and for the attached gift of the eleven small volumes edited by Roberto Repole.

I applaud this initiative that wants to oppose and react to the foolish prejudice that Pope Francis would be only a practical man devoid of special theological or philosophical formation, while I would be only a theorist of theology that would have understood little of the concrete life of a Christian today.

The small volumes show, rightly, that Pope Francis is a man of profound philosophical and theological formation and therefore help to see the inner continuity between the two pontificates, despite all the differences in style and temperament.

However, I do not feel like writing a short and dense theological page on them because in all my life it has always been clear that I would write and express myself only on books that I had also really read. Unfortunately, even for physical reasons, I am not able to read the eleven volumes in the near future, all the more so because I am already waiting for other commitments.

I am sure he will have understanding and I greet him cordially.


Benedict XVI.


In short – he hasn’t read them! And he does not intend to! He blames his “other commitments” but I truly wonder how packed a schedule a 90 year old man can have!

In reality Mgr. Viganò has spun it. He chose deliberately not to include the final paragraph which puts the letter in a completely different light. In actual fact, the third paragraph completely empties the first two paragraphs and the attempt to credit the endorsement.

There is no doubt here that Mgr. Viganò has manipulated the situation, because he could not manipulate BXVI himself. Ironically, he has also seemed to completely miss the gentle and subtle way BXVI has chosen to defend himself from the bullying. BXVI masterfully deflected the attack with politeness and calmness – showing that he is still mentally absolutely astute. Mgr. Viganò failed to read between the lines, he failed to notice the mastful and subtle irony and now he has made himself look stupid.  Because of him, the entirety of Pope Francis’ profound philosophical and theological knowledge will now be referred to for the rest of time as the “small volumes” LOL!


It is interesting to me that they would chose to use BXVI to prop up Francis in this way. If Francis is such a wonderful theologian, then why would he need the endorsement of another Pope? Surely he can stand on his own two feet without needing to lean on BXVI? Or is his popularity really that low now?

I chuckled a little when I imagined for a second that the tables were turned: Could we really imagine BXVI going to Francis for an endorsement of his next book?! I don’t think so!

I think this whole sorry debacle has brought to light the collapse of the communications reform that Francis wanted. Its centralisation is in fact, a reflection of the centralisation of “Bergoglio” in this pontificate. It is all simply an empty failing propaganda machine.

But the piece de resistance comes in the form of a quote by Mgr. Viganò himself in which he describes how the worst kind of fake news stories are not made up out of thin air, but are actually true stories that have been spun:

“Fake news is one of the elements that poisons relationships. These are true-to-life news stories, but the information is in fact unfounded, partial, and not even false. In fake news, the problem is not the non-truthfulness, which is very evident, but the verisimilitude (the appearance of being true or real.)”

– Monsignor Dario Edoardo Viganò, Prefect of the Secretary for Communication (an interview with the Vatican News portal, commenting on the Pope’s message for the 52nd World Communications Day, which will be celebrated next May 13, but a text was released today, as per tradition, for the feast of St. Francis de Sales patron of journalists.)

To end, I would like to answer a question that despairing faithful Catholics ask me all the time: Why doesn’t BXVI come out and say something harsh and critical against Francis?

The answer is simple: That is not his style.

UPDATE!! The Vatican has ADMITTED that they doctored the photo of the letter!! HERE:

Realistic Lent.


I had a conversation with a dear friend of mine yesterday about what we were giving up for lent. He felt the Lord was really calling him to rise at 3am every night and pray the Divine Office as a monk would do. I remarked that this was probably going to interfere with his job because he would be tired during the day, to  which he replied that it would be a sacrifice he would be happy to make (under the guidance of his spiritual director).

I then asked him if he would also be giving up coffee (he really likes coffee). He told me no – he wouldn’t be giving up coffee because that was too weak a fast. Lent demands harsher fasts. I replied that if it coffee was not a big deal to give up, then he would have no problem doing it, right?

No. He was not going to give up his coffee. 🙂

So I suggested he try only giving up his first cup of coffee in the morning…

No. If he gave up his first cup of coffee in the morning then it would be everyone else that would be doing the pennance because he would be so crabby! 😀 (An opportunity to do more penance and hold your tongue perhaps…? 🙂 )

So I suggested he give up another cup of coffee during the day instead…

“No! I’m not giving up my damn coffee!!”

Ok 🙂 I guess it is too easy a fast, huh? 😉

It was becoming apparent that even suggesting giving up even one cup of coffee was making him mad 🙂 I find most people are the same. I guess we all tend to rely on caffeine more than we rely on God – even if we do not want to admit it to ourselves. Of course it does not have to be coffee, but we all have a ‘thing’ or ‘things’ that we are highly attached to already present in our ordinary daily lives. We are so attached to these things that we would literally do ANYTHING other than face our attachment and offer it to God – even invent harsher and more elaborate penances that will make us feel as if we have made sufficient effort during Lent.

But after Lent has ended, we will still be attached to those tiny ‘things’ already present in our ordinary daily lives that we just can’t live without. We will still be attached, so what progress have we made?


Going into Lent this year, let’s identify that tiny ‘thing’ that we just can’t live without. That ‘thing’ that we rely on to satisfy us and keep us in our comfort zone on a daily basis more than we rely on God (who never keeps us in our comfort zone). It could be caffeine, social media, TV, food, porn or whatever – even going to bed on time or not being late for things. Only you know what that ‘thing’ is. That small, supposedly insignificant thing already present in your ordinary daily life.

I guess when we really think about it, that tiny, insignificant cup of coffee that you rely on several times a day, would actually be a MASSIVE fast for you. You can gauge it by how annoyed it makes you feel to think about giving it up!  It takes humility to admit we are so weak.

I personally cannot give up coffee entirely. It is too much for me to realistically and sustainably take on for 6 weeks. So I will give up my first cup each day, and that, quite frankly, is about as much as I can do this year. But I will do it obediently and with my whole heart. Lent is not an endurance test. It is not a diet. It is about love and trust. It is about our willingness to detach ourselves from the things we rely on more than God. It is not the size or style of the fast that God is interested in, but the spiritual effort required from us, and our reliance on Him to sustain us through it.

Little things done with great love…

Top 5 Catholic Christmas present ideas.

What better way to evangelise to those in laws you love so much than to buy them a Catholic inspired gift! Or perhaps you might want to let your priest know how much he is appreciated? Or even just want it for yourself! 😀

Anyway, here are my top 5 Christmas Gift Ideas from Di Clara.

1. Brown Scapular. (3 styles available)

This is the highest quality hand made scapular on the market today. The Brown Scapular is a wonderful devotion practiced by millions of people worldwide. It carries promises for the one who wears it. In the year 1251, in the town of Aylesford in England, Our Lady appeared to St. Simon Stock, a Carmelite. She handed him a brown woolen scapular and said, “This shall be a privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire.” She also promised to shorten their stay in purgatory if they should pass from this world still owing some debt of punishment. 3 designs available HERE.

2. Catholic aprons.

Do you have a Catholic who just wont sit down? or perhaps a “Rigid” who doesn’t mind a bit of fun?! Then here is the gift solution you have been looking for. A not very expensive way of making someone smile 🙂

3. 2018 House Blessing.

The perfect Christmas gift for friends and family. Every Catholic home should have one. Epiphany 6th January (also known as Twelfth Night, Theophany, or Three Kings Day) marks the occasion of a time-honored Christian tradition of blessing ones house. What does the inscription 20 + C + M + B + 18 mean? The letters have two meanings. First, they represent the initials of the Magi — Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar — who came to visit Jesus in His first home. They also abbreviate the Latin phrase, Christus mansionem benedicat: “May Christ bless the house.” The 3 crowns represent the 3 Kings. The “+” signs represent the cross, and the “20” at the beginning and the “18” at the end mark the year.

4. Virgin Mary Tote Bag. (4 colours available)

This bag, besides being beautiful, is a fantastic tool for evangelisation. Believers and non-believers alike will be drawn to the beauty of the design. The perfect opportunity to share the beauty of the Mother Mary with others! 4 designs available HERE.

5. Mantilla.

If you have not yet got your wife a mantilla, do so! Or perhaps ladies, you need to be getting yourself one and giving it to him to wrap! (This is what happens in our house 😉 !) And now we have the brand new Cathedral length mantilla veils. All come with free hair clips and slide and a satin Di Clara carry bag.

Ok and just one more bonus gift…

Priests Chalice Pall.

This is one for your priest. A beautifully embroidered Chalice pall to be used during Mass. A MUST for any Pope Benedict or Padre Pio fan.

Please come and visit for many other unusual and beautiful ideas for Christmas. Available only while stocks last.

Pope Francis’ correction, and the “end of the world”.

As I was doing my sons RE homework the other night I remembered that the book of revelation is about the “end of the world” but in fact a huge amount of Catholic scholars believe it to be the end of Jerusalem and the final sacking of the temple – which really was the end of the world as far as the Jews were concerned.
Of course it was better described as the end of an era – which I think best describes what we are seeing now in the Catholic Church.
With the formal correction issued to Pope Francis made public yesterday, I really feel this is the beginning of the end for the Catholic Church as we know it. I think this is a good thing and it is part of Our Lady’s plan. Just as Jerusalem was sacked and that era ended, I believe this time we are in now is the “end of the world” in terms of the Church. I believe we are now entering the time of “Tribulation” that is mentioned in so many Catholic prophecies ect. and that as a Church we will pass through that time and enter the “Era of Peace” that is also commonly spoke about.
And while yesterday didn’t see the physical world end or fire falling from the sky, perhaps in a strange sort of way Sept 23rd really was the day that the beginning of the end started, as far as this era of the church is concerned anyway…

Padre Pio vestments – and I’m blocked by FB, again.


So I was just about to launch my new Padre Pio vestment range, which I have been working EXTREMELY hard on over the summer, when Facebook – my main way of advertising my business – goes and blocks me again.

I think this is the third time in as many months. This time it was from a comment I made on a post roughly 6 months ago in which I was commenting on how the UK Muslim rape gangs only target underage non-muslim white girls. This wasn’t me speculating – this is a well known fact of the Muslim rape gang cases that we have seen all over the UK over the past few years. But for Facebook, this factual information was deemed just too politically incorrect – so they blocked my ‘Carmelite Clare’ account for 7 days. I then set up a completely new account that also got blocked within the hour.

Normally I wouldn’t be too upset, but this time I really was because Facebook has obviously been trawling back through historical posts trying to find things to ban me for and is now watching me. I can only assume that before long Facebook will try to ban me permanently for speaking the truth and proclaiming the Gospel.

I would really like to keep in contact with the Catholic online community I have met over the last 6 years, so please come and follow me on Twitter, Instagram and sign up for my blog here. Also please bookmark my website If you want to contact me you can always get me at

Anyway… Today, 23rd September, is the feast day of Padre Pio, also known as St. Pio of Pietrelcina – patron saint of Confessors – was a Capuchin friar, priest, stigmatist, and mystic. He was both beatified (1999) and canonized (2002) By Pope Saint John Paul II.

On September 20, 1918, while hearing confessions, Padre Pio had his first occurrence of the stigmata: bodily marks, pain, and bleeding in locations corresponding to the crucifixion wounds of Jesus Christ. This phenomenon continued for fifty years, until the end of his life. The blood flowing from the stigmata smelled of perfume or flowers, a phenomenon mentioned in stories of the lives of several saints and often referred to as the odour of sanctity. Though Padre Pio said he would have preferred to suffer in secret, by early 1919, news about the stigmatic friar began to spread in the secular world. Padre Pio’s wounds were examined by many people, including physicians.

People who had started rebuilding their lives after World War I, began to see in Padre Pio a symbol of hope. Those close to him attest that he began to manifest several spiritual gifts, including the gifts of healing, bilocation, levitation, prophecy, miracles, extraordinary abstinence from both sleep and nourishment (one account states that Padre Agostino recorded one instance in which Padre Pio was able to subsist for at least 20 days at Verafeno on only the Eucharist without any other nourishment), the ability to read hearts, the gift of tongues, the gift of conversions, and the fragrance from his wounds. Many people said that when stepping into the confessional with Padre Pio, he was able to tell them their sins before they even said a thing!

A few weeks back, as I was still creating this set and learning more about Padre Pio, I asked him if he would take me on as one on his spiritual children. He reportedly made the promise of waiting on the threshold of heaven until every single one of his spiritual children has entered before him. He also said that when he takes on a new spiritual child, he takes on their entire family as well. This gives me enormous comfort and encouragement.

I hope you too will find out more about Padre Pio. He really is a very special saint. I have really enjoyed creating this vestment set with the big spadey ends on the stole, and the faux pearls. The purple damask material is just wonderful to work with and drapes beautifully. I am bracing myself for a tsunami of orders with this set – so please order soon if you want to get this for your priest for Advent or Christmas.

And now please, help me by visiting my shop at to see the rest of my vestments, and sharing this post all over Facebook and in all the groups who would be interested in these beautiful vestments, as I am unable to post on Facebook for a week – Thank you, I really appreciate your help.



Smoking my way through the Ave’s.

Nun Smoking Cigarette --- Image by © Norbert Schaefer/Corbis

Walking into Mass late wearing a mantilla is never a good look – especially if you are the only one in your parish who wears one. Of course the perfect accessory to complete this look is a swath of misbehaving children and a lack of visible husband. I guess I’m the girl who has it all! 😀

The older kid’s tooth fell out in Mass and he went into mini hysterics as he bled everywhere – ’twas the “unbloody sacrifice” no longer. The middle one was having a strop because she “didn’t want to love God” and the youngest had escaped into the pew 2 rows in front. I feel resentful that my children are spoiling my time with Jesus at Mass and I feel like a failure of a Mother.

“Jesus help me!”

That night I listen to my Divine Office through the App on my phone while I clean the kitchen. I feel guilty about combining prayer with housework, but I know that if I sit down quietly to do it I will not make it through to the end because I will be asleep because I am so exhausted.

Tuesday morning I do Morning Office in the car on the school run. The older one is fighting with the middle one and I am swearing under my breath because we have been sitting in traffic for over 10 mins. We are going to be late for school – again. I am a 9/10 on the stress levels. I hear bits of the Office – intermittently interrupted with the 3 x table and complaints that the pencilcase that I bought last week is now either lost or broken or something.

On the way home I stop in my favourite supermarket car park (you heard me correctly – I have a favourite car park) play my Rosary App, and smoke my way through the Agony in the Garden and the Scourging at the Pillar. The guilt of smoking leaves me as I realise that my Blessed Mother is showing me through these two mysteries that Jesus knows what anxiety is like, and He also knows exhaustion.

I get to morning Mass and have a quiet time where I can be with Jesus alone. I take enormous comfort in the fact that He wants me to come to Him, and He wants to dwell within me, to be as close to me as possible while I take on the work He has given me – which most of the time I don’t think I can cope with.

I get home refreshed and begin listening to the 3rd and 4th Sorrowful Mysteries. My husband comes in. He is in a bad mood. We argue loudly with the Rosary playing in the background, and then I remember the Crowning with Thorns and summon up all my strength to finally hold my tongue. My husband goes into the other room and I try to contain myself while I listen to the Carrying of the Cross, because my marriage really feels like a cross right now.

As I pull myself together and begin work, I listen to the 5th Sorrowful Mystery – the Crucifixion. I remember to submit my will to God’s will, knowing that He is in control and there is a plan to all this madness, and His Mother is always there to hold my hand.

You see, I used to think that I needed to be quiet and holy to say my prayers. I couldn’t be more wrong. Jesus and His Mother want to be there with me in the dirt and stress and struggle of my ordinary daily life. What sort of fool would I be to keep them out?

“God is found in the pots and pans.” – St Teresa of Avila

You must feel Guilty because you are White.


Being put in Facebook Jail means I can read my timeline but can’t comment on anything – which is probably a good thing right now because of the plethora of insanity that I am witnessing.

For days now I have seen people condemning racism over and over again on their own timelines. The reason this angers me is that it is so bloody obvious. Of COURSE you are not racist. Neither am I. Nobody on your friends list thinks you are racist – but you still feel the need to put up 5 posts a day confirming it – *just in case* someone might think you are.

Can you not see that you are falling into the white man guilt trap that the left wants you in? This is EXACTLY the reaction the Fake News Media wanted to provoke in you by going completely overboard on the Charlottesville protest. Can you not see that?

You have done nothing wrong. They are making you feel guilty because of the colour of your skin. That, my friend, is racism.

I am fiercely opposed to all forms of racism – including racism against whites. The bizarre thing here is that the racism is coming from white lefties, which only goes to demonstrate the cancerous self loathing the left has for itself.


Their aim is to enslave you into a lifetime of guilt and apology – for things you never did, or would have approved of. It is a way of keeping you down. Being white, and being proud of your country does not make you a Nazi. Following Hitler makes you a Nazi.

The thing I really can’t understand here is the utter contradiction the left is displaying against itself. Take abortion for instance: Hillary Clinton says one of her main idols is Margaret Sanger – founder of Planned Parenthood. But Sanger’s main aim through abortion was eugenics. She wanted to rid the world of the poor, the disabled, and especially “negro’s”. That’s right – she was an out and out racist, a proper one. And the left hail her as some sort of equality demi-goddess. Nothing could be further from the truth.


“We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population.” – Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood.

And here she is giving a rousing speech at a flipping KKK meeting!!!


Margaret Sanger – a darling of modern leftie ideology, was an outspoken white supremacist. You might want to remember that the next time your lefite friends and relatives try to make you feel guilty about, well, everything.

In the United States, the abortion rate for black women is almost 4 times that of white women. 35.6% of all abortions in the U.S. are performed on black women, however, black women make up only about 13% of the female population. On average, 900 black babies are aborted every day in the United States. More than 19 million black babies have been aborted since the 1973 Roe v. Wade. If that is not a holocaust, I don’t know what is. Yet the left seem to overlook all these facts. By supporting Planned Parenthood, they support the vision of white supremacist Margaret Sanger.


I bet they don’t even know Margaret Sanger spoke at a KKK meeting!

The other, and equally disturbing juxtaposed position the left likes to take is its pandering defence of Islam. Muslims always seem to get to be top of the pile in terms of leftism – closely followed of course by Trans. I’ve often wondered who would win in a celebrity death match between Islam and Trans in the imaginary CNN sponsored tournament of “progressive” cage fighting. C’mon… It’s always Islam! 😀

Today a radical Islamist drove his Van of Peace into a crowd of pedestrians in Barcelona, killing at least 13, and injuring over 100. And as prescribed, the media is doing its same old “lone wolf” “mentally ill” “let’s not jump to conclusions” cabaret act. I hear the Eiffel tower, now affectionately known as the Barometer of Terror, has for whatever reason switched its lights off – again. I’m sure some lefties will gather, for whatever reason to light flowers and teddies, and lay bunches of candles – or vice versa…

In the last 30 days there have been 156 Islamic attacks in 26 countries, in which 1105 people were killed and 993 injured. And before I go on, I want to clarify that I am criticising Islam as an Ideology here – I am not criticising Muslims as people, as I believe them to be victims of Islam. Islam *by its very nature* seeks to dominate in the belief that it is superior to all other ideologies. It views non muslims as “kufir” which means infidel, sub-human, less than an animal. And this is a view that is held not just by the radicals, but by the mainstream. Islam teaches Muslims that they are superior to non-Muslims. It is a central tenet of Islam. Now tell me – how is that different to the sick ideology held by white supremacists that everyone is going bat-crazy about right now?


I still haven’t really worked out why the left panders to Islam so much. I find it quite demeaning that the Media always seem to approach Islamic ideology with this sort of pathetic apologetic embarrassment. Why do they not treat it with the same fury and condemnation as they do the ideology of white supremacy? Both groups believe themselves to be superior to non members of their particular group. The same can be said for Orthodox Jews who believe they are ethnically superior. In one school in London, a boy was refused a place on the grounds that he is of mixed Jewish and Italian ethnic origin.

I actually think it is a good thing that the Charlottesville protest has brought white supremacy into the mainstream media with such force, because now, in the name of equality, we can hold the media to account for their response – or lack of response to all other supremacist groups. Perhaps it will make those on the left think, just a little bit, about what they actually do support, and what they don’t. And perhaps it will make you think, just a little bit, if you are being made to feel guilty because of the colour of your skin, and whether you are a victim of racism yourself.


– Winston Churchill


Catholic “Youth Priest” compares St Elizabeth to the LGBT Movement – Youth Reject Homily.

(Fr Dominc Howarth compares St Elizabeth to the LGBT movement at 6 mins into the video.)

Here we have Fr Dominic Howarth preaching for the official Lourdes 2017 Centenary commemoration Mass. He is from Brentwood diocese UK and is the Episcopal Vicar for Formation. He is in charge of Catechesis and Youth. This event was the diocesan pilgrimage, and the Brentwood Catholic Youth Service had 200 young people on the trip.

Fr Howarth is also one of the founders of “Flame” the largest UK youth conference who’s main speaker was pro gay, pro women’s ordination Fr Timothy Radcliffe. He also presided at the “Gay Mass” at Brentwood Cathedral in 2016. I have been told that he is regarded by the Bishops conference of England a Wales to be leading figure as regards to Catholic Youth.

In the above homily, Fr Howarth talks about loneliness and how St Elizabeth would have been shunned for being barren – which at that time was considered a disgrace. At 6 mins into the video he compares St Elizabeth’s experience of being shunned to that of today’s LGBT community. Personally I find this quite odd, as Fr Howarth seems to not understand that homosexuality is in fact lauded by our society today. I also find it quite odd that a priest would compare a saint to the LGBT community – especially with no clear explanation of what the churches teaching on homosexuality actually is.

I showed the video to a few young Catholics and asked for their opinion:

“…The problem is this: before the 19th century there was no concept of LGBT identity, only homosexual sex acts. This is how the Catholic Church still views this. Shunning sinners, whether they be tax-collectors, prostitutes or homosexuals, is wrong and un-Christian. The problem is that nowadays the act and the person are an identity group. So when this priest compares the shunning of gays to the shunning of St Elizabeth, he’s implying that we should accept homosexual sex as non-sinful. I think that homosexuals shouldn’t be prosecuted or persecuted, but what they do is still wrong. Finally, I notice that the trend in the RC Church is to try and compromise with the postmodern culture. It’s as if all these clergy think that by embracing the buzz words of our era they’ll attract more people. Compromise on the truth never works.” – Lewis age 23.

“…St Elizabeth chose to be outside of the world and to live far from it contrary to what the priest makes out and Mary by making the journey to Elizabeth with Christ in her womb makes the first Eucharistic procession. So if anything Elizabeth is about the sanctity of life, So quite the reverse of the LGBT movement. Therefore Mary and Elisabeth are all about child bearing and life whereas the LGBT movement impedes life by their promotion of such people who by the nature of their relationships are closed to life.” – Brad, age 25.

“…Ok, he is comparing two things that are very different from one another. St. Elizabeth’s barrenness, at the time, was seen as a curse, because in those days maladies such as that, including blindness, infirmity, etc, were all viewed as punishments that God had inflicted on people throughout the Old Testament. You cannot compare St. Elizabeth’s barrenness to the LGBT.

Those in the LGBT are living in sin, Elizabeth was not, she was an instrument through which God moved to make the way for His Son’s arrival. The LGBT may, yes, be lonely, but their loneliness stems from living in sin.

We must pray for the those living in sin, yes, pray for God’ Mercy upon them and that they will cease to live in sin and enter God’s Grace. If they approach us for help we should, as Catholics, offer it, but we cannot condone their blatant sinful lifestyle.” – Mary, age 27.

“…Okay. Elizabeth was shunned because she was barren, but yet it wasn’t because of a moral issue, rather it was because God had a greater plan: she later gave birth to St. John the Baptist. Active homosexual activity, on the other hand, is a moral issue of great depravity and has caused great damage. Those participating in it must be refused Communion for the sake of their souls and so as to not cause scandal. To receive Communion one must be in Communion, and those not in Communion must be called, with love, to repentance.” – Josh, age 18 (discerning the Priesthood).

“…I went ahead and watched the entire homily up to that point. I find it a bit odd because generally you can tell from the get-go what sort of homily you’re in for. If the priest in question supports a certain vaguely-heretical position it’s usually fairly obvious, but in this case there wasn’t an abundance of buzzwords like there usually would be. I think it’s an unfair comparison to draw a parallel between Elizabeth and the LGBT movement. For many reasons, but especially because being unable to conceive when you are actually in a morally-acceptable marriage which you are faithful to is not remotely a sin, and unless you are definitely making clear that you refer only to people who deal with same-sex attraction who are punished or mistreated DESPITE trying their hardest to overcome their shortcomings, it’s at best vastly irresponsible to compare the two, and at worst outright manipulation.

I don’t believe any people who experience same sex attraction, or even those who act on it, should be physically harmed in any way by anyone solely for being that way, but I also do not believe that homosexuality is a good thing that should be celebrated, and I adhere to church teachings which says that homosexuality is a sin and should be related to as such; with those who are in its grasp treated with the truth they deserve to hear from their priests. It’s unclear to me whether the priest in this video is appealing to current events because he believes that’s what young people are interested in, or whether it’s because he has his own agenda he’s attempting to push, but I’m forced to assume that there is some sort of idea behind it that has some issues.” – Emily, age 19.

“…I never like it when clergy use the term “LGBT”. They allow themselves to be drawn into a battle of semantics and allow enemies of the Church to set the terms of any debate. Secondly, his comparison to Elizabeth is a non-sequitur. If she was excluded it wasn’t because of her lifestyle choices – you don’t choose to be barren but you can choose not to live in sin. There is a gap in the market for someone to explain the Catholic teaching on homosexuality but it seems everyone would rather blur the lines. That merely ignores the inherent dignity of the person and will never be adequate. The other thing I find with “trendy” priests is that they want to portray the Church as “tolerant and loving” by pretending hard teachings don’t exist and papering over them. Nothing is more merciful than the truth. As a cleric, his responsibility is that much greater as he is speaking from the pulpit and is in persona Christi. Time for many priests to live up to that higher standard both in their lives and their preaching.” – Daniel, age 27.

It strikes me that Fr Howarth might want to re-assess if he is actually in touch with what young Catholics want and need. I’m sure he had the best of intentions, but his heavily left-wing “church of nice” approach clearly isn’t cutting it. It is becoming more and more apparent that Catholic youth today are much more socially conservative, and much more solid in their faith than their parents and grandparents generations. This is a fact that those in charge seem to be either completely unaware of – or are choosing to ignore. Either way, it is quite embarrassing for Fr. Howarth that the “youth of today” should be (correctly) pulling him up on his social morality and theology. But isn’t it wonderful to see how intelligent, faithful and passionate our young Catholics are?!

I’m not sure if Fr Howarth’s Bishop has been informed of the above sermon. And especially if you are a young catholic – perhaps you would like to email Bishop Alan Williams of Brentwood Diocese and tell him what you think of Fr Howarth’s homily, and also what you would want from a Youth Ministry.

Giving more in the bedroom – Catholic style :)


Luke 21:1-4

21 He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

This wonderful piece of scripture illustrated perfectly how I teach people how to fast. Often people approach fasting as a rule bound endurance test in which discipline reigns supreme and we all feel awful and end up just hating fasting – or simply give up.

The way I approach fasting is to encourage people to give up just 1 cup of coffee in the morning, but to do it out of pure love for God, in conjunction with a short prayer. You see, fasting is all about love. It is about how much we are willing to give. How much we are willing to joyfully suffer is the measure of our love (God never enjoys a grumpy faster! 😀 ).

Love and suffering go hand in hand and can never be separated. This is such a fundamental truth of Christianity, illustrated perfectly by Christ on the cross, that it can very quickly become overwhelming. My approach is very much based on the spirituality of St Therese of Lisieux: little things done with great love. If we can understand the concept of the indissolubility of love and suffering in the smallest thing, then we can begin to apply it to bigger things in our lives.


The absolute key element is that we must be very honest with ourselves about how much we are able to give at this point in our lives. If we are holding back, then we are holding back our love and we will never grow closer to God. If we are giving too much, then we are going to burnout and become resentful about giving any more. Both of these polarised stances are as harmful as each other. Balance is the key. Honesty, patience and compassion towards ourselves, and support from a faithful and experienced spiritual director who knows us and how much we can cope with.

The poor widow got this exactly right. She un-begrudgingly gave all she could give, and it was the right amount. Of course we don’t know this woman’s circumstances outside of this story. She may have had family or friends supporting her. She may have been relying entirely on God to provide for her needs. I very much doubt Jesus would have approved so strongly of her generosity if it meant she was going to make herself ill, or cause her not to be able to cope. She realistically gave all she could at that time in her life.

Some of my friends and family know that I fast. They don’t get why! I try explaining but their hearts are just not in the right place to understand about how I want to reciprocate the enormous love shown to me by Jesus on the Cross, with little acts of self sacrifice – and I respect that. Everyone is at a different stage. I’m sure they are stronger in other areas where I am very weak.


It struck me this morning that this story, and the way it relates to fasting can also be applied perfectly to the Catholic Churches teaching on married couples being open to life.

Of course the norm in our secular society is to use artificial contraception. We used artificial contraception for the first 5 years of our marriage. But the Church teaches that this way of having sex causes us to hold back our love. Love, in a Catholic marriage is about the entire self giving of ones self to the other – and to God. This is probably one of the hardest teachings we will ever face because it cuts down to the very core of who we are as people and our need to love and to be loved. Also, artificial contraception gives the impression that sex is something that we have the right to control and use as we please. This view is so normalised now within our secular society that being open to life and having a large family is sadly regarded as odd.

What I find so sad is that people using artificial contraception just don’t know what they are missing out on. Having lived both lifestyles, I can absolutely attest to the fact that being open to life is so, so much better. It is healthier, more natural, teaches you and your husband respect for your body and your fertility, empowers you to be able to discuss marriage, sex and babies in a much more open and giving way with God as the boss. But that is not to say that it is easy. It took me about 6 years to get to the stage where I could peacefully and happily be open to life.

Image result for natural family planning

Just like with fasting, I was struggling with how much I was willing to give – how much I could give at that point in my life. This is why I say it really is a lifestyle, rather than just a part of ones life. As I prayed about being open to life, I found myself beginning to prioritise different things in my life, giving things up, re-ordering things. I found myself deciding that at this point in my life, remaining open to life was more important to me than having a career. That is not to say that I gave up my job – but only that it now ranked less important on my list of priorities. Of course at this time in our lives my husband had a good job and there was not real need for me to work – so I was in a position to be able to give that up. I was also lucky enough to have a husband who was also keen to be open to life. Many people don’t have this. We were both in good health and had support from my parents. Many people don’t have this either. But most crucially, I wanted to give more – just like I wanted to fast. I was at that stage in my spiritual life where I could feel God calling me to do this.

The rewards that came to the marriage from us both giving more came as a complete surprise to both of us. Rather than “What am I getting out of this marriage?” it changed to “What more can I give to this marriage?”. All 3 of our children were planned. In fact our second and third child were conceived quickly using NFP to determine when I was at peak ovulation. Our first child took over a year because we hadn’t learned about my cycle at that point and obviously didn’t know what the heck we were doing! 😀


But it wasn’t always easy to get into the giving mindset. I don’t have easy pregnancies. I get very sick and very big and very tired. I really do not like being pregnant very much at all. My first experience of birth was very traumatising and I swore blind after that that I could never have another child because I could just never go through that again. The day after our first child was born my Father in law died, and my husband started a new job. We grieved all through our first days of becoming parents. It was awful. My husband was not able to get into the Father role emotionally for over a year. I had to do it on my own.

After my first two children I had crushing post natal depression. After my second I got 9 months of 24/7 tinnitus. We went through the most horrendous time as a couple. I really felt overwhelmed a lot of the time and that I wasn’t really coping or doing a good job as a Mum. I got mastitis after all 3 and couldn’t breastfeed – and I know that if I have another baby I will get it again because that is just how my body is made. And through all these times I struggled agonisingly with being open to life.

We often failed to stick to the teaching, not out of pure selfishness or greed or lust, but out of not being able to cope with the stress and the pressure of normal life, and the need to be loved and comforted by each other. I often felt like a terrible failure at these times – which was the totally wrong outlook. We are only human. Just as in fasting – you can only give your all. Any more than that and you start to make yourself ill, or resentful about giving more. And lets not underestimate for a second the damage that is caused by unchecked resentment in the bedroom, or the rest of the marriage. For some people, even giving up one cup of coffee is a struggle, and you simply cannot ask anymore of them at that stage in their life if they are truly giving their all. We are all at different stages.

IT IS OK TO STRUGGLE! Struggling means that the desire to live the teaching is there, even if you are not quite able to do it yet. My advice to this would be exactly what I would say about fasting: be patient and compassionate with yourself, take it to confession and let it go, and keep going 🙂 What would make it easier for you to be open to life? What would make it possible for you to be able to give more? Have you ever tried the Little Way Of Fasting?

Image result for couple with baby

There is one last thing…

The Catholic church teaches that “For just reasons, spouses may wish to space the births of their children. It is their duty to make certain that their desire is not motivated by selfishness” CCC 2368

It is possible to use NFP with an artificial contraception mindset. That is to say that there is no good reason why you should be avoiding having another child right now. Reasons for this would be based upon a couple preferring a smaller family and a more comfortable lifestyle. This totally goes against the philosophy of being open to life and certainly is not giving your all. In terms of fasting this would be like giving up your cup of coffee in the morning, but having a cup of tea instead – you really arn’t giving anything.

Of course that is not to say that people do have very real reasons to avoid pregnancy. The mothers life might be at risk from another pregnancy for example. In my case, my husband is sick and unable to work which has put me in the position of breadwinner. I can honestly say that I am at the limit of what I can give right now. And that’s ok 🙂

It is all about love. How much are we willing to love? How much are we willing to give? Be it fasting or being open to life, the same rule applies: We must never give begrudgingly, and just like the poor widow, God does not expect me to give anymore than my absolute all. We are all a work in progress 🙂

Keep giving! 🙂