A Perfect Deplorable World.

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After Brexit, I was unfriended by many friends and family members. Some I still speak to, some I don’t. I was so unbelievably ecstatic after Brexit that I quite lost my normal composed, modest demure and instead decided to party-like-it’s-my-birthday for a week and become rather un-ladylike in my normally reserved and shy online conversations.

Ok, that is not exactly true. I’m a loudmouth at the best of times. I would describe myself as somewhat of an activist in this new socially conservative worldwide movement that we are now seeing sweep over Europe and America.

Brexit was a massive, peaceful and very British ‘up-yours’ to the Euro-Globalists that have sought to rule over our Sovereign nation for decades. It was a quiet and polite ‘sod off’ to the unwanted imposition of the State into ordinary people’s lives. And it was very much a ‘jolly good show’ for all those normal quiet people who have been forced to remain silent and maintain a stiff upper lip for years and years and years.

Along with Brexit we have seen Hungary and Poland elect socially conservative governments and the socially conservative parties all across Europe are growing in popularity every day.

The BBC would label these people ‘far-right racist bigots’ i’m sure, and by the BBC’s standards they probably are – but let’s not kid ourselves that the BBC are anything less that a far-left propaganda machine.

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Trumps election, I would argue, is even more important than Brexit because rather than just opt-out of something like the UK did, Trump has the power to actually do stuff. It will not really be down to him personally, he is not some sort of messiah, but what he is, is a gateway for change and reform. The people with the opportunity for power now will be those who are of the socially conservative mindset. Not racists, not bigots, just ordinary people who do not want ludicrous notions such as transgender bathrooms and open borders.

The entire socially conservative movement is all about the ordinary people taking back control of their lives, having the freedom to make their own decisions rather than the State enforcing rules upon them,  and not being forced to live under the dictatorship of ‘progression’.

So what’s not to love? The future looks bright right now.

The difficulty comes when friends and family cannot accept what is happening. I would argue that most of these people are living in a sort of brainwashed state right now. I know from my own experience that people are generally lazy in terms of gathering information and are generally happy to be spoon-fed information from one source (usually the TV) rather than actually start looking around at different sources from different political perspectives and then making a fully informed decision of important issues.

So it is very difficult to have any sort of discussion with these people when their one source of information is wrongly telling them that Brexit is the end of the world and Trump is the antichrist – of which they are perfectly happy to believe every word. And the popular pathetic journalistic style of hysterical hyper emotion and aggressive self pity only goes to make matters worse, because then your friends and family believe they are being personally attacked.

So now many of us, myself included, are once again having to trudge our way through the minefield of semi informed political opinion and media lies that our friends and relatives believe to be true. Christmas is going to be fun this year.

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Clark Griswold in National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.

Many of us will be trying to keep it together this Christmas with the heroics of Clark Griswold. Some of us will deserve medals for not initiating WW3 at the dinner table. Others will find the best option is to sit in a nice quiet corner with a large bottle of Harvey’s Bristol Creme.

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To be honest, a large part of me just wants to say ‘Forget it! I’ve had enough!’ I’d rather just be among people who understand me. People who do not have in the back of their minds that they are “worried” about me because they think i’m some sort of Nazi for saying that we should have a much stricter immigration system – similar to that of Australia. Are the Australians all Nazi’s? Of course not.

But I find myself unable to walk away for the pure and simple reason that I might be the only person in these peoples lives who supports this socially conservative movement, and therefore the only person who is able to debunk the bigot Nazi stereotype that the media has had them believe that I am.

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How I long to climb back into the safety of the basket with all the other deplorables and revel in our new found glory. But that is beginning to sound like i’m creating my own little ‘safe-space’, and that must never happen. To recluse back into a perfect deplorable world is to allow the media full and unrestricted access to the minds of my loved ones, with absolutely no antidote to the BS.

So I will carry on seeing these people. I will hold my tongue most of the time like I have done for the last few decades while they have been in power. And every time they make an assumption or use a label like bigot or racist, then I will be there on the receiving end of their frustration, misunderstanding and prejudice until they realise that what they are saying is not true, or logical, or good.

 

 

New Di Clara Kids Vestment Sets.

Introducing the cutest way possible to foster vocations!

Gothic style Chasuble, Stole and Chalice Veil.

Made with REAL vestment orphrey bands, a real Di Clara label and exquisite embroidery, this childs vestment set is the closest thing your son will get to a real set of vestments before he becomes a real priest!

Children learn through play, and this is the perfect way for parents or First Holy Communion catechists to foster vocations and teach children about the different liturgical colours, different parts of the Mass and what happens on the altar.

I have a limited number of these before Christmas – I only have 1 set left of the Red and the Purple right now, so please buy now if you are interested to avoid disappointment. And please share with anyone who you think might be interested!

Thanks x

Catholic Mom votes Trump: “My voice does not deserve to be shamed”.

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Suzy Clark Carlisle is a Gainesville, Florida-based writer, dedicated wife and mother, and proud Catholic. In a post on her blog, she shares her reflections on why she, like millions of other women, voted for President-elect Donald Trump.

From her blog:

I am white. I am a woman. I am a college graduate. I am upper middle class. I am a Christian. I am a conservative. But here’s what I am NOT: I am not a racist. I am not a homophobe. I am not a xenophobe. I am not a sexist. You know what else I am not? STUPID. Being a conservative white lady doesn’t make me a moron just because that’s not what the cool kids are into. Politically conservative does not equal hate. I am highly insulted that the media is “blaming” me for getting Trump elected. I am also highly insulted that the media, and even some of my more liberal leaning peers and relatives, are insinuating that I am a racist homophobe because I voted for Trump.

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So, in closing, he won people. He won fair and square whether you like it or not. If you are an American citizen, he IS your president. No amount of hashtags or tweets can change the constitution so you’re wasting your thumb strength. Redirect your energy to being the change you want to see in this country. I am a patriot. I love my country. I value the gift of freedom and the chance to have my voice heard. But my voice does not deserve to be shamed. That, my friends, is just plain un-American.

Read the rest here

 

Cardinal Dolan sits next to Hillary at Catholic charity dinner – fails to address her partial birth abortion comment, days after he speaks at the Bishop’s Respect Life dinner.

Watching Hillary Clinton coldly and unapologetically advocating partial birth abortion on live TV in front of millions of people was probably one of the most chillingly evil things I’ve ever witnessed.

She also promised to stand with America’s largest abortion chain, Planned Parenthood, who have been exposed as selling and making a profit from dismembered babies body parts.

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A Partial Birth Abortion is performed by the baby being delivered feet first. The abortionist will then cut the spinal cord at the back of the baby’s neck while her head is still inside her mother. The abortionist will then use an instrument to suck out the baby’s brains before finally delivering her head, which may or may not still be attached to her body – depending on the severity of force used by the abortionist.

Donald Trump said “If you go with what Hillary is saying, in the ninth month, you can take the baby and rip it out of the womb of the mother, just prior to the birth of the baby. Now, you can say that that’s okay, and Hillary can say that that’s okay, but it’s not okay with me.

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Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with Cardinal Timothy Dolan at the Al Smith Catholic Charity dinner last night.

Last night both candidates were guests at the Alfred E. Smith Catholic charities dinner. While the tradition of the Alfred E. Smith dinner to invite the Republican and Democrat nominee to raise money for charity is admirable, it was disturbing to see Cardinal Dolan laughing and joking with Hillary Clinton less than twenty-four hours after Hillary announced she supports abortion up to the moment of birth.  Worse, when he spoke at the end, he made a vague oblique reference to the life of the unborn when he said some of the money raised would help poor women give birth.

I understand that the dinner is to raise money and everyone tries to be civil, but both Trump and Hillary took shots at each other as if it were a campaign rally.  Certainly, Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of the Diocese of New York, traditionally viewed as the spokesman for the Catholic Church in the United States, could and should have spoken in plain language that it is wrong to kill the unborn.  He should have said killing an unborn child minutes before the child is born is infanticide, immoral, and an intrinsic evil according the Catholic Church.

I find it ironic that on Monday night this week Cardinal Dolan was speaking at The Bishop’s Respect Life dinner for the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

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What stopped the Cardinal from saying something in defense of the unborn? Was he afraid of spoiling a posh dinner? Is he afraid of offending people? Or is it that he knows that many of the extremely rich and powerful catholics in that room support Hillary and her pro-choice stance, and he doesn’t want to upset them?

Personally, if it was me, I would have waited for that moment between the main course and dessert. I would have got up and simply said “If you vote for Hillary Clinton, then you have the innocent blood of the unborn on your hands. Enjoy your dessert!”

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Sources: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2016/10/al_smith_dinner_cardinal_dolan_fails_to_speak_against_abortion.html#ixzz4NiuY1xiM

Clinging onto Christ on top of a 20ft pole.

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St Simeon Stylites was a fifth century monk who set off a trend for hermits to live on top of pillars. Totally bonkers, right?! I remember being told this story as a 7 year old and just collapsing with irreverent laughter wondering how he managed to go to the bathroom😀

Little did I know he was to become on of the most important saints in my life. In fact I had completely forgotten about him until I had a conversation with my Byzantine friend today. 

St Simeon climbed his pillar in AD412 to get away from the hordes of disciples and onlookers who came to visit him, having heard reports of his already extreme self-denying lifestyle. He once survived Lent without eating or drinking anything, and followed this achievement up by standing stock still until he collapsed.

He spent the rest of his life on a succession of ever higher pillars, to get away from the crowds who continued to visit him, with supplies delivered by village boys climbing up to the top.

After he died, his fame spread and he spawned scores of imitators, known as Stylites from the Greek word for pillar, “style”.

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The remains of St Simeon’s pillar before the airstrike.

 

The monastery which houses the remains of his pillar north-west of Aleppo, has been a tourist attraction for centuries, and has come under the control of different groups in the civil war. Tragically in May this year an airstrike hit the monastery and damaged the remains of his pillar.

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It is such a shame as I really would have like to visit it one day. I’m not sure that I ever will now.

The reason he has become one of the most important saints in my life is because of the pillar. It is such a vulnerable position to be in – stuck on top of a pillar. But spiritually speaking this is exactly the place in which Christ is calling us to be.

Christ stands with us on the pillar and all we can do is to cling to Him as tight as we can and rely on him for absolutely everything. If we let go we are in immediate danger. If we cling on He wraps us in His embrace. It’s a no-brainer!😀

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St Simeon Stylites in Minecraft made by my 7 year old!

So up until this point I have been listening in the desert. But I guess that wasn’t enough. Now it seems I am stuck on top of a 20ft pole!😀

My need to cling, and to be held in God’s embrace has been something I have wanted desperately for a long time, but I didn’t know how to do it. Now I know. It was that place of complete trust, and total vulnerability and reliance on Him that I needed to get to.

And now i’m here I don’t think i’ll be coming down any time soon🙂

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.

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 Pokémon 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.

 

 

Why didn’t they just shoot the boy? – Harambe and our contraceptive mentality.

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One monkey gets shot and everyone goes ape. Seriously, the amount of hate and judgment I have seen directed towards the mother of the little boy who managed to sneak into the Gorilla’s enclosure is just flabbergasting. I’ve seen a petition with over 150,000 signatures who are all calling for “Justice for Harambe” although no-one really knows what that means.

Many are blaming the mother for not supergluing the 4 year old to her side. I’m sure if she thought there was any risk at all of her son being able to breach the fence of the gorilla enclosure then she would have. Perhaps the haters need to be looking at the fact that the security at the gorilla enclosure was so weak it was foiled by a 4 year old? If I were the parents i’d be suing the zoo quite frankly.

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And then there is the fact that Harambe is a wild animal kept in captivity so that some people can gawp at him, and others can make money from people gawping at him. I’m sure when God made the majestic and extremely powerful Harambe, He didn’t intend him to spend his life in a zoo. I’m sure God intended him to live in the wild. But we love to control things don’t we…?

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The out-pouring of emotion and grief over Harambe reminds me of the death of Princess Diana (stick with me on this one…!) Harambe and Diana were both gawped at by people. Diana was held captive in her own media prison – never being able to leave the house without Paparazzi, never having a moments privacy. People paid good money to view every aspect of her life. She was a spectacle for our entertainment – just like Harambe.

When she died there was one of the biggest outpourings of grief i’ve ever seen. Why? I never understood why? Yesterday you were happy to gawp at this person and revel in her lack of privacy, and now you are mourning her death like she was your own mother. I think what we were witnessing was the widespread grief of death itself. We cannot control death. Perhaps there was also an element of guilt there for gawping for all those years?

Perhaps people are also feeling guilt for Harambe? I’m sure some are. But many more are just feeling plain old rage. The rage, I believe also stems from this lack of ability to control. We love to control everything. St JPII called this the ‘contraceptive mentality’.

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Our desire to control things leads us eventually to do absolutely anything to remain in control. We want all the benefits and pleasures we can lay our hands on – and none of the responsibility or consequences. As human beings we take this desire for control to the very limit through murdering our own children through abortion. We MUST remain in control.

So when our control of a 400lb wild animal we are holding hostage is compromised by a 4 year old boy and we have to shoot the animal to remain in control,  everyone blames the boy (and his mother).

“She should have been keeping better control of him!” That’s right – there is no room for accidents or anomalies or mistakes in our contraceptive culture. No room at all. In fact, I’m starting to believe that there would have been less of a hyper emotional outcry from the self-loathing haters if the zoo keeper had just shot the boy (and his mother of course…). Then we could all just keep looking at the funny monkey and gawp at how big and strong he is, and how clever we are for controlling him.

People are so stupid…