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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Jacinta O’Donnell and Geraldine Flanagan

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources –

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

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

The Gay Mass – Inclusive, or Liturgical Apartheid?

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From the Brentwood Cathedral Facebook Page.

Brentwood Cathedral in Essex, UK is due to hold a Mass on March 13th 2016 specifically for gay, lesbian and transgender people and their families. The event has been billed as an outreach to the gay community as part of the year of mercy. But I am wondering if this really is the right approach?

I suppose if we are promoting the un-holy trinity of diversity, inclusion and equality, then the week after this they should really be singling out another group of sinners to invite to their own special mass. Will next week’s mass be specifically for thieves and their families? Liars and their families? Or those who have a problem with masturbation, and their families?! (I wonder what sort of a turnout you would get at that mass?! – not many I bet!)

The point I am trying to make is that sin is something we should naturally feel a healthy sense of shame for. This is why Confession is confidential. This Mass on the 13th is almost being presented like being affected by homosexuality is something to be celebrated – or at least normalised. And while I am a firm believer in accepting the sinner, not the sin, I do feel here that the emphasis of the whole day is way off the mark.

I spoke to my chaste catholic gay friend about this and asked his opinion:

“No. It’s wrong. It’s stupid. It’s like a voluntary liturgical apartheid.” He said. “I went to one of the gay masses one time when I lived in Chicago. The pews were 90% male. They took the kiss of peace literally: Partners kissed each other, on the lips, in front of the Blessed Sacrament on the altar. The homily? You’d never know you were at mass; The priest made no attempt to weave the readings or Gospel into a message specific to that particular flock. There were no calls to heroic sainthood amidst a decadent culture, etc. It was “just another mass.” Everyone (except me) went up for Communion.”

He went on to describe the culture that had sprung up around the so called ‘gay mass’:

“After that mass, many of the guys go to a local gay bar for ‘Show Tunes Night’ to get drunk, lust after other men, and try to hook-up. Right after mass. I’m still ‘friends’ with guys on Facebook who post about this. ‘Fabulous mass! Time for a martini bitches!’ So, yeah. I’m not a fan of the ‘gay masses’. You genuflect to the Church; the Church does NOT genuflect to you.”

I think his last sentence makes a really important point. Is it really the correct attitude of the church to bend over backwards to accommodate a particular group of sinners and make them feel special and elite? Is that really the way to a true conversion of heart? It seems to me that there is real danger in this approach as it could lead the sinner to believe that not just he is accepted by the church, but his lifestyle is accepted by the church. This eliminates the need for repentance and forgiveness. Is this mercy?

I can sort of understand the mind-set behind just getting them through the door, but it kinds seems like they are being invited there under false pretences. And I understand the one step at a time mentality, but one has to be extremely careful this doesn’t slip into the ugly guise of the dreaded Gradualism.

Should we reach out with mercy AND truth to those who have SSA? Absolutely. Should we create a ghetto for them? No. The church has never turned away repentant sinners, never. And it never will. I am worried that this gay mass, rather than leading people to repentance and forgiveness, is instead leading people to believe that the Year of Mercy is all about saying that certain sins are no longer sinful. In essence it is leading people to believe that the Year of Mercy is all about letting people off the hook.

My gay friend went on to tell me:

“A priest here who hosts a 1-hour call-in radio show makes the comparison: If we’re in the woods, and I see a bear come up behind you, BUT I don’t say anything to you, because I don’t want to upset or offend you, then the bear attacks you and you DIE, I am NOT being ‘merciful’! ”

I asked my friend what his approach would be instead?

“There IS an apostolate in the Church called Courage for homosexual men & women. There’s a branch here in Chicago, and their website shows 2 in London: https://couragerc.org/  I did not hear about Courage at the gay mass I attended in Chicago; I heard about it from a priest, in the confessional, at a parish that shines as a model of fidelity & obedience and doesn’t pander to the culture. Thanks be to God if your diocese offers that “gay mass” for the conversion of sinners, if they preach: “YOU are not a bad person, but your ACTIONS are evil, and God will grant you mercy IF you repent and sin no more,” but how often do we hear that?”

It seems pretty obvious to me. We are all sinners right? So why do the organisers of the Brentwood mass on the 13th seem to be promoting it as a celebration? My friend had an opinion on this also:

“I would probably say, it’s homosexuals or sodomite allies INSIDE the Church behind this, trying to subvert the faith from within, lasso-in their compatriots with a special mass, again, segregating them as ‘special’ and ‘elite’.”

I guess this though was in the back of all our minds right? I hope to God he is wrong on this, but as far as I can see it comes down to 1 of 2 possibilities:

Either the organisers of this mass are incredibly naïve in their approach to getting sinners to repent, or they have no intention of inviting them to repent and are instead treating the day as a celebration of “love” in all its forms.

Lord have mercy.

 

Feminist Rage and the Power of Meekness.

Meek (miːk/) – adjective: quiet, gentle, submissive.

This morning I was sitting staring out of the window with a worried look on my face, biting my nails. “What on earth is wrong?” my husband asked me.

“I have to write a post on meekness.” I said.

“Bwwaaaaaaahhhh!!!” He guffawed. “But honey – you’re all brash and rumbustious! How are you gonna do that?!”

Yes, well… He’s got a point. Meekness does not come naturally to me. I’m more of a bull-in-a-china-shop sort of girl (and obviously a nightmare to live with! My husband is a SAINT!)

I seriously had no idea where to start. I Googled “meek” and it took me straight to the Beatitudes:

“Blessed are the Meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” – Mathew 5:5

Part of my commitment to becoming a secular Carmelite is to live the Beatitudes. And to be honest – I’ve always generally just skipped over that one because I didn’t really know what it meant and I knew I probably wasn’t ‘it’. Meekness has always struck me as being a bit boring, a bit girly. And it seems I’m not the only one. For many, it is simply assumed that meekness is weakness, and surely not a virtue. The irony is that meekness, indeed a virtue, is the one virtue above all that allows us to remain ourselves in the midst of adversity. It allows us to maintain self-possession when adversity strikes, rather than becoming possessed by the adversity itself. A priest friend of mine described meekness to me as ‘quiet strength’.

Meekness seems to be more synonymous with empowerment than it is with weakness because, as St. Thomas Aquinas wrote, meekness makes a man self-possessed. According to St. Hilary, Christ dwells in us by our meekness of soul. When we are overcome by anger, we lose that sense of ourselves that allows God to dwell within us. Anger excludes God; meekness invites His presence.

Meekness is not cowardliness, timidity, or servility; it’s the power that restrains the onslaught of anger and subjects it to the order of reason. While it may be more natural to express anger when one is assaulted, meekness is the higher path. The world witnessed a perfect example of this in April 2014 by Belgian Archbishop André-Joseph Léonard.

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Archbishop Léonard was participating in a debate on blasphemy at the Free University of Brussels on April 23rd 2014 when he became the target of the anti-Catholic feminist group Femen. Four topless women emerged from the attendees and mobbed the prelate, dousing him with water from bottles shaped like the Virgin Mary and screaming accusations of homophobia against him. Their bodies were smeared with slogans such as “my body my rules” and “anus dei is coming.” Throughout this barrage Archbishop Léonard remained calm, his eyes closed, his hands folded. A silent pillar of strength. After the bare-breasted protesters were evicted by security, Archbishop Léonard picked up one of the Marian bottles they had used to insult him with and kissed it.

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And while Femen do not represent all feminists, I think it is safe to say that the women who attacked him were not displaying a whole lot of meekness as far as I can see. Instead they were displaying rage and vengeance. They presumably justified their rage on the basis of the acceptability of revenge for perceived injustices. But in this way Femen are casting themselves into the role of victim (which never ceases to fascinate me about angry feminists. I have noticed this trait of victimology A LOT within the feminist argument, which ironically is often in complete juxtaposition to their outward aggressive persona. And even though I am in no way-shape-or-form an angry feminist myself, I’m shamefully realising that my own brash and rumbustious behaviour is just another example of this.)

In their eyes they had won a victory that day. They had asserted themselves angrily, aggressively, forcefully and pride-fully. They had displayed their ‘strength’ as independent women and as a group. But was it real strength they were displaying?

Archbishop Léonard could have justifiably retaliated and had those women arrested and charged with assault if he had wanted to. But he chose not to humiliate them any further than they had already humiliated themselves. He rose above the situation and refused to cast himself into the role of a poor victim. He did not react with anger or seek vengeance. In an age when victimology is temptingly trendy, Archbishop Léonard stood quiet and still, quietly proving that meekness is a truly anti-modern virtue that can help us address many of the behavioural problems of our post-modern age.

It seems that meekness is actually the complete opposite of weakness. It seems to be great strength imbued with utter magnanimity. It is a paradox, but nonetheless true, that meekness demands largeness of heart and a generosity of spirit towards ones oppressors. The post-modern world thinks of strength in terms of individual power, of ability, self-assurance and aggressiveness. But as Archbishop Léonard demonstrated, real strength – quiet strength – comes from God, and is truly manifested when we submit our will entirely to His.

A dear friend of mine illustrated this description and explanation of meekness beautifully:

“Talking of ‘meek’. I came across an interesting thing recently. Apparently the ancient Greeks used the word ‘meek’ to describe a warhorse, bridled and compliant, ready for battle. If you look at some wonderful dressage clip, you’ll see the horse, bridled and compliant, fully accepting the bit, listening and in tune with his rider, and the result? Beauty, balance, freedom of movement, perfect synergy between horse and rider….. This is ‘meek’. Jesus, ‘meek and humble of heart’ is like this; compliant to the Father’s Will, he is strong, courageous and invincible in battle. We are called to be the same.”

Perhaps it’s time I let God tame me?

Sources:

http://www.crisismagazine.com/2013/feminists-attack-but-the-meek-will-conquer

http://www.catholiceducation.org/en/culture/catholic-contributions/the-virtue-of-meekness.html

I will NOT throw eggs at Tina Beattie. REPEAT: I will NOT throw eggs at Tina Beattie.

Professor Tina Beattie

Professor Tina Beattie

“Those of us who tried to answer the questionnaire honestly and in a way that might be helpful to the synod on the family are misrepresented by Edmund Adamus’s ‘reflection’.

Like most other Catholics I know, I respect the Church’s teaching on marriage and parenthood. I also know from experience that marriage and family life can induce agonies of guilt over our inevitable failures and shortcomings. However, I do not experience guilt over deciding in good conscience to use contraception to limit the number of children we had. I do not feel ashamed of my adult children for cohabiting with partners who have enriched our lives by their friendship. I do not feel compelled to pass negative judgement on the loving relationships of my gay friends. I am glad that some of my divorced Catholic friends have found joy in second marriages, and I want to share the sacraments with them. In other words, I’m like the vast majority of Catholics whose answers to the questionnaire have been made public.

I seek from the Church the formation I know I need most – formation that has to do with love and generosity of spirit, with faithfulness and integrity, with wisdom and discretion, with prayer and discernment. The list is long, but it does not include learning to regard contraception, premarital sex and homosexuality as intrinsically evil, nor does it include regarding divorced and remarried Catholics as people uniquely barred from the forgiveness offered by Christ in the sacraments.” – Tina Beattie

Her lunatic theology also includes:

  • In an examination of the morality of abortion Prof. Beattie justifies  the argument that the embryo is not a person by using the doctrine of the Trinity.
  • Prof Beattie uses the doctrine of the marriage between Christ and His Church to support gay marriage.
  • Prof Beattie condemns as ‘perverted’ a CTS booklet defending the Church’s doctrine on divorce and contraception.
  • Prof. Beattie describes the Mass as an ‘an act of (homo) sexual intercourse…’. ‘God’s Mother, Eve’s Advocate’, p.80.
  • Prof. Beattie supports same-sex marriage.
  • Prof. Tina Beattie imagines the apostles and women disciples having sex in her meditation The Last Supper According to Martha and Mary(2001) which the publishers describe as ‘part fiction, part Biblical reflection’.

She has been banned previously banned by Archbishop Leo Cushley of St. Andrews and Edinburgh from addressing the Edinburgh Circle of the Newman Association. In a letter quoted by ‘The Tablet’ the Archbishop criticised both Beattie and Joe Fitzpatrick, a theologian the Newman Association previously hosted, saying:

“Professor Beattie is known to have frequently called into question the Church’s teaching. I would therefore ask you to cancel this event, as it may not proceed or be publicised on any Church property in this archdiocese.“

The Archbishop’s intervention has been attributed to the Vatican’s official position on banning Beattie from Church events, as ordered by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), the Vatican’s watchdog on orthodoxy. She has also been banned from speaking in Clifton diocese for the same reason by Bishop Declan Lang.

The CDF ordered her banned from Church properties after she signed a letter, in 2012, to the Times, in favour of same-sex marriage, along with a number of other Christian theologians who wrote “it is perfectly proper for Catholics, using fully informed consciences, to support the legal extension of civil marriage to same-sex couples.”

So you can imagine my surprise to hear that the Wimbledon branch of the Newman circle had invited her to come and give a talk at Sacred Heart Parish next week entitled ‘From Synod to Synod: Families in focus in the church of Pope Francis.’

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My initial reaction to hearing the news that Tina Beattie was coming to speak at my beloved childhood parish was to lie in wait, and then at the appointed time ambush her with a meteor shower of raw eggs. “Well! That sort of raucous behaviour is not very becoming of a good catholic!” I would ask you to remember that St Nicholas delt with Arius by punching him the right in the face at the Council of Nicea (Arius, of course was using his intellect and position of authority to destroy the true Faith from within the church and implement his own lunatic theology.) And of course there was last Sunday’s Gospel where we are reminded that as Catholics, flipping tables and whipping people is not entirely out of the question!

Anyway, knowing it was most probably sinful to blissfully enjoy the thought of egging a heretic, and to laugh hysterically at the fact that my spell-checker auto corrects the words ‘Tina Beattie’ to ‘Tuna buttie’ I decided to take it all to confession.

Tuna-Bread-Pack

A Tuna buttie.

Holy Mackerel! My poor priest. He took a quite a while to consider exactly what he should say to me.

“You should aim for meekness.” He said.

MEEKNESS!!! ME???!!!

It was lucky he couldn’t see my face at the time. I’m not exactly sure how to describe the expression on my face at that precise moment, but my mouth was wide open and there were no words coming out – which is, unusual.

He went on to draw possible parallels between Tina Beattie and St Paul:

“St. Paul was so sure of his own political convictions in regards to the Christians. He would kill them quickly from the outside, with the sword. Tina Beattie is similar in this regard, although she kills people slowly from the inside with her ideas and theories. But there is one important thing to remember – before his conversion, St Paul had Christians praying for him – praying for his heart to change.”

Then he said to me:

“Anything you say or do should lead to her conversion of heart.”

Wow. Now there’s a challenge. It is all too easy for me to look at Tina Beattie and hate her. But to hate her would be to de-humaniser her, to objectify her to something less than she is.

My Lord Jesus still looks on Tina Beattie as His beautiful little child, just as he looks at me, and Kim jong un and Lady Gaga and all the members of ISIS, the paedophile priest, the gay prostitute, the Queen of England and the Pope. We are all just human beings. Sinful, broken human beings who need to turn away from sin and back to God.

St. John Paul II teaches us about this topic of de-humanisation and objectification in his masterpiece ‘Theology of the Body’. Funnily enough, Tina Beattie despises Theology of the Body:

“Having spent years researching and writing about ‘theology of the body’, I think it functions more as a vehicle of resistance to feminism and homosexuality than as a genuinely viable account of human sexuality…” – Tina Beattie

How ironic that Theology of the Body is helping me to see her not as a de-humanised object of hate that I would like to throw eggs at, but as a child made in the image and likeness of God.

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I am doing the 33 day consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary at the moment and yesterday we learned through the writings of Mother Teresa that our Lord Jesus doesn’t just love souls, He thirsts for them:

“Just put yourself in front of the tabernacle. Don’t let anything disturb you. Hear your own name and “I Thirst.” I thirst for purity, I thirst for poverty, I thirst for obedience, I thirst for that wholehearted love, I thirst for that total surrender. Are we living a deeply contemplative life? He thirsts for that total surrender.”

So if my lord Jesus thirsts for Tina Beattie, then it is my job to quench His thirst by bringing her back to Him – to bring her to total surrender. How am I going to do this? I have no idea, but I’m guessing meekness is going to play a pretty pivotal role here. After all – isn’t meekness the thing that feminists misunderstand the most?

I guess it’s a bit like David and Goliath. She is a professor. I got chucked out of school age 17. I am no challenge to her intellectually, but that doesn’t really matter. I am not fighting an intellectual battle I am fighting a spiritual battle. And I am not even fighting her as such, but the powers and principalities that are whispering in her ears day and night, seducing her with her own pride and hardening her heart.

From her writings and theories it is plain to see that Mrs Beattie (bless her heart) is spiritually weak and sickly. She is utterly consumed with the idea of a comfortable ‘man centred’ faith (or should I say ‘person centred’?!). But as Pope Benedict XVI reminds us: “…you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness!” All her theories revolve around the idea that we can side-step the cross. And she has warped the faith and moulded it into a pale comparison of itself: she has divorced love from suffering.

Where does this idea come from? Does suffering frighten her? It frightens me. Perhaps there is something in her life, something in her past that is just too painful to face? I don’t know. It all sounds a bit fishy to me. All I do know is that Jesus tell us that “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me…” You can’t have Jesus without the cross. Love demands sacrifice. It’s not easy.

I will begin by offering my prayers and fasting for her. As part of my 33 day consecration I am letting go of everything I am to Mother Mary so I can become an instrument in her immaculate hands. I am allowing her to use me in any way she sees fit to ‘crush the serpents head’. And even though it would give me indescribable pleasure and satisfaction to throw eggs at Mrs Beattie (or custard pies, or fish sandwiches) I will not be doing so because after all – what I want is not really that important is it? It’s what God wants that is important. THY will be done, not My will be done. Says it all really.

Blessed Mother Teresa pray for us.

Blessed John Henry Newman pray for us.

Mother Mary, Queen of heaven, pray for us.

Sources:

http://tina-beattie.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/the-family-reflecting-on-view-from.html

http://www.cuf.org/2014/01/thirst-mother-teresas-devotion-thirst-jesus/

http://protectthepope.com/?p=10153

http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2012/09/11/bishop-cancels-lecture-by-liberal-theologian-who-argued-for-same-sex-marriage/

How Tinnitus Prepared me for Carmel.

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I was recently sent a rather snooty message by a diocesan priest who used to be a Trappist monk. He was telling me that it was basically impossible for me to live a contemplative life in the context of a family home. He told me my children would not find my ‘requirement’ for silence much fun. He also told me it was impossible to be a contemplative without silence. I decided not to reply. But I do hope he reads this blog post.

The Lord began preparing me for contemplative life at home 5 and a half years ago – two weeks before Annabel was born – by giving me Tinnitus.

It was nothing other than torture. It was 9 months before I began to have even brief periods of not noticing the noises. At its worst it was louder than the phone ringing. In my left ear I had (and sometimes still have) a Morse-code style beeping. In my right ear there was a high pitched whistle. In my head there was a low pitched rumbling, and every so often I would get a really loud pure-tone that would drown out ALL other outside noise. So I would go completely deaf for a few seconds which was absolutely terrifying.

The worst part was that my brain was registering the noise as an outside threat, which meant that I would experience high levels of anxiety during the day and insomnia at night. I would lie awake at night listening to the noise. I had a new baby which meant that when I did manage to fall asleep, I would soon get woken up again by the noise of a crying baby. Then I would feed her, in the silence of the night, all alone in my prison of noise. Then I would take sleeping pills to knock me out. In the morning I would wake up, and the noise was still there. It never went away.

My husband couldn’t hear the noises going on inside my ears. No-one could hear it except me. It was so loud. I was so alone. I am not over dramatising this – tragically, earlier this year a 47 year old woman chose Euthanasia because she was unable to cope with her Tinnitus.

It was too much. I knew I couldn’t die because I had kids to raise, so just accepted that the rest of my life would be filled with a cacophony of beeping and whistling and rumbling.

As I began to accept and improve, my tinnitus therapist kept asking me if my tinnitus was holding me back in any way in my life. After careful consideration I told her “No, I can still still do everything, but… I would like to be able to pray.” She suggested mindfullness. Initially I found this to be life-changingly helpful. It did help me accept the intense suffering I was experiencing in a calm way, but it soon became apparent that there was a fair bit of *wacky* stuff that accompanied it. So I dropped it. But it did lead me into how my own faith viewed suffering. I kept remembering a line I must have read years before, something about “Joy in suffering”. It took me back to the saint who had claimed me for her own 11 years previously – St Teresa of Avila. I didn’t know why she was making an appearance in my life once more, but all I can tell you is that I felt her with me very strongly throughout that time of noise.

As time passed and my life continued in a strange sort of way. I accepted the noise. I cried because of the noise. I masked the noise with the TV and radio and found relief from the noise in my crying baby and my raucous 3 year old son. I couldn’t pray – or so I thought. I cursed myself for wasting all those quiet moments I had previously. I cursed God for giving me tinnitus. I cried and screamed at Him because I was at my wits end and I couldn’t think because of the noise. I told Him I didn’t understand – that there was no point to this. It wasn’t achieving anything. I begged Him to take it away. But He didn’t.

Usually I feel God very close to me, but at that time it was like He was withdrawn to a distance. I felt as if God had abandoned me, like He was enjoying torturing me. I wanted to hate Him, but I loved Him too much to hate Him. I thought about all this a lot.

The removal of silence from my life changed me. I had to concentrate on not becoming overwhelmed by the noise. I got very good at this. It’s amazing what you can do when you are pushed to the brink. As my anxiety began to decrease I used to experiment by sitting down and facing my noise – instead of trying to run away from it. I would actually sit and listen to it – develop a relationship with it almost. But in hindsight what I was actually doing was finding the deeper silence within myself, the silence of my soul. Teresa was guiding me, I could feel that, but I didn’t quite know how.

No-one on the outside could hear my noise. In fact here were only 2 people who could hear my noise – me and God. And when I would sit and listen to my noise, God would be there too. I began to realise that there must be purpose in all of this, but I didn’t know what that was. I allowed Him to sit with me while I explored my noise, and the place inside it was directing me to. He was in that place. My noise had driven me into the desert. Only me and Him were in that place. I was at the core of who I was in Him, and I found peace there. Not audible peace, but spiritual peace.

I began experimenting with this ‘place’, this desert. I began going there more often. I was not afraid there because He was there. Pretty soon I was finding myself in this place all the time throughout the day. It became totally natural to be in this place of extreme calm and inner silence, while I carried on with looking after the children – with the noise was still ringing in my ears.

As I began to recover from the tinnitus I did begin to experience times of real silence once more – something I thought would never happen again. During these times of real silence I would sit and just listen to the silence. Beautiful silence. I would let the silence surround me and go in me and through me and touch my heart in a way I didn’t really understand. It was if the peaceful desert my tinnitus had lead me to was now on the outside too. I felt the silence, and God was there.

It was another 5 years before I had any indication whatsoever of why God put me through that period of suffering. But in hindsight it is now obvious to me that there was no better preparation for the life of a secular Carmelite than this. To be a ‘contemplative in the world’ meant I would most likely be surrounded by noise all the time – which I am. I have the noise of the hoover, the children, my husband, the car etc. Are these bad noises? No! They are beautiful noises – they are the sounds of my primary vocation. “Doesn’t it distract you?” No! How can they distract me – they are the point of my focus! “But when do you get time to pray?” I am praying all the time. I can be here in my kitchen making the dinner, and at the same time I am in my desert with my Lord and Creator. And when I do get quiet periods during the day I sit and enjoy the silence – perhaps in a way you cannot understand if you have not had tinnitus. You could be a Trappist monk for 50 years, but I don’t think you really understand or appreciate silence until it has been force-ably taken away from you. Teresa will tell you that.

Last month during our Carmelite studies, I laughed out loud when I discovered that during her life Teresa had tinnitus too!

St Teresa of Avila, pray for us.

St Paul, pray for us.

St Louis de Montfort, pray for us.

From Gay Pride to True Humility: Joe’s amazing conversion story.

Ash Wednesday marks four years since I rejected the “gay lifestyle” and came back to the Catholic Church. I didn’t have a singular moment of conversion like St. Paul. Rather, it was a slow drip, a series of gradual, often hesitant pivots towards the Church.

The first pivot came when Saint John Paul II died.

Pope John Paul II

Pope John Paul II had been the only pope I’d ever known up to that time. My childhood parish had a painting of him on the altar next to the tabernacle. I’m from Chicago, so naturally I have Polish ancestry, and a Polish pope was a point of pride when other kids called me a dumb Polak or a Commie. I was a toddler when Pope John Paul II was elected, so I had never experienced a conclave before. A German? They’re calling him “God’s Rottweiler” and he was in the Hitler Youth?

Despite my secular, sinful life, I’d always had a soft spot and sympathy for Holy Mother Church, even during the explosion of the priest sex abuse scandal. I was willing to give Benedict XVI the benefit of the doubt. I wanted to know more about him. Some of the news coverage cited his pre-conclave homily as sealing the deal for the cardinal electors. Then Cardinal Ratzinger declared, “We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything for certain and which has as its highest goals one’s own ego and one’s own desires.” That hit me right between the eyes. So I started, occasionally, visiting Catholic websites, learning more about what this “relativism” is. There are some incredible resources out there.

It’s unclear how much of it was sentimentalism and how much was the pursuit of truth. I knew in my heart that my way of living was wrong. But I didn’t change my life. I was Catholic in name only. I hadn’t attended mass in years, despite a parish a block away from my apartment. The weekend gay bar hopping, binge drinking, pornography consumption, and casual hook-ups went on and on. I was young and “you only live once.” Nevertheless, a seed was planted.

The second pivot came when I found an old prayer book.

$_35

An elderly relative had died, and I was helping family clean out their house. I found a copy of “My Prayer Book” by Father F. X. Lasance in a drawer and snuck it into my backpack. For whatever reason, I was too embarrassed to tell anyone I wanted it, or ask if I could take it. Surely they’d have said yes. The book was at least a half-century old and barely used. Most of the pages stuck together. Over the course of several months, I read it cover to cover. It was astounding.

Immersed in that culture that “has as its highest goals one’s own ego and one’s own desires,” in that book I encountered beautiful reflections on self-denial, on forgiveness, even “The Blessing of Pain and Grief.” It catechized me in a way that 12 years of Catholic schools and an ostensibly Catholic family failed to do. A few years later when I lost it, I was able to order a replacement online from Fraternity Publications. I highly recommend it.

The third pivot came after overhearing a conversation at work about the Real Presence.

The Priest says: “Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.”

I’m not sure how they happened onto the topic, but the office secretary was talking to another employee about Roman Catholics, and she said, “We believe that the Eucharist is the body of Christ.” 

“We do?” I thought? Like, THE body of Christ? Huh? No, it’s just a symbol. What was she talking about? I’d never heard that before, and I’m Catholic. Whatever.

Some online research confirmed what she said. It felt like a punch in the stomach. Again, after 12 years of Catholic schools and Catholic parents I did not even know such a fundamental doctrine of the faith? How was that possible? Had I ever received worthily, validly? If one needs to be in a state of grace to approach for communion, why did everybody go up? Why didn’t my mother go to confession? How come she’d never encouraged us kids to regularly confess? The more I read about the Real Presence, the more ashamed I felt, even betrayed.

The fourth pivot came after reading an article on “the Latin Mass” on the front page of the Chicago Tribune.

Missa_tridentina_002

The article preceded Pope Benedict’s moto proprio Summorum Pontificum. Several Chicago parishes offered the mass. “Fans” quoted in the article gushed over how transcendent the Latin Mass was, how it was so beautiful they wanted to cry. I’d always enjoyed history, and I knew this was the mass my parents grew up with. So one Sunday, I visited one of the parishes.

I expected to witness the mass I grew up with, only in a different language, with nice(r) music, and with the priest facing the other way. What I encountered was baffling and frustrating. I had no idea what was going on. For long periods, nothing happened. The priest just stood there, facing the tabernacle. He wasn’t talking at all, much less in Latin, from what I could tell. But a realization hit me, seeing the priest there before the tabernacle: This is what mass is all about: the Eucharist!

The night and day difference between the Extraordinary Form and the Ordinary Form sent me back to the Internet. I found some podcasts on iTunes by Dr. James Dobbins that dove into the history of the Extraordinary Form, about how much traces back to the Temple in Jerusalem, the symbolism of ad orientum, and so on. It was like finding buried treasure. I returned to that parish several times, window shopping as it were.

The fifth pivot came when someone asked me to be their child’s godfather.

baptism

For one thing, I never expected that parent to ask me. We weren’t particularly close. For another, I knew this was a serious, sacred obligation I was entering into. It wasn’t merely an honorific title. For the first time in 15, maybe 20 years, I went to confession.

The Lord blessed me with a gentle and patient priest behind the confessional screen. He counselled me that my same sex attraction was, alas, a heavy cross to bear. But he didn’t make me feel dirty, or like a pervert. After he lead me through making an act of contrition, I left the confessional absolved, attended the holy sacrifice of the mass, and approached the communion rail in a state of grace for the first time since I was a child. I slid back into my sinful ways pretty quickly. But I’d poke my head out of the sewer now and then, to listen to Father John Corapi (good preacher, pray for him, sad situation) on Relevant Radio, a Catholic radio station in Chicago, or to attend Holy Week services.

Finally, two years after my God-child’s baptism, I found myself waking up Sunday mornings with my conscience telling me, “You should go to mass.” I’d trek to the “Latin Rite” church and sit in a pew near the back, watching the priest from afar, knowing more now about what was going on. My head knew what was true, but my heart was lukewarm. Sin continued.

The final pivot came came that Lent.

Lent1

My conscience had been gnawing at me. “You’re a hypocrite. You can’t call yourself Catholic but live this way.” So I challenged myself: Lent is only about 40 days, right? Six weeks? This year’s Lent, let’s try to do everything the Church teaches, especially as it pertains to purity. No more porn. No more hours wasted on gay hook-up websites. No more lusting. Complete celibacy and chastity. Mass every Sunday. Regular confession.

I did it.

The first two weeks were rough, don’t get me wrong. Whether it was through grace, or the intercession of Our Lady, the saints, somehow I did it.

What’s more, I liked it! It was liberating. I was free of the weight, the rules, the oppressive expectations that the gay lifestyle places on you. Style your hair a certain way. Dress a certain way. Decorate your home a certain way. Think a certain way. Listen to certain music, watch certain television shows. Conform.

My friends’ first hint that I’d “changed” came from seeing my “likes” of Catholic posts on Facebook and from my decision to sit out the gay pride parade despite living so close to the parade route. My social circle has shrunk considerably. My best friend cut me off after I declined to attend his “wedding.” Other friends accuse me of being a “self-loathing homosexual.” Another friend, who I’m still close to, has told me to my face, with all sincerity, that he is worried about my mental health.

Ultimately though, this is not about me being happy or freed or spiritually fed/fulfilled/whatever you want to call it. My conversion was about understanding my role vis-a-vis God, that I was made to know, love, and serve Him in this life –not myself or my ego or its desires– and be happy with Him in the next.

I cannot quite explain why I so readily accept the Church’s teachings on same-sex attraction. It’s all perfectly logical and rationale to me. I’d lived that lifestyle and knew how ugly it was, what a lie it was. If I wanted to follow Christ, I would have to take up a cross. There was no “conversion” in that regard.

In a culture that says it’s all about Me, I realized that no, it’s not, and humility and sacrifice must be part and parcel of my life from now on. He must increase, I must decrease. Perhaps that’s why the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite played such a vital role in my conversion and continued efforts to life out the Faith. The Extraordinary Form is not about me. On that account, one might argue, its silence is deafening. I would not have reverted back to the faith without the Extraordinary Form. It has helped me strengthen my faith, grow in charity, battle my pride, and strive for purity in a way the Ordinary Form, as commonly offered, could not.

I’ve remained celibate since that Ash Wednesday in 2011. I’ve struggled with impure thoughts and actions, but am light years from who I used to be. With frequently confession and the graces flowing from that sacrament and the sacrament of the Eucharist, and His most merciful Sacred Heart, I soldier on in the Church Militant. Oh yeah, I think Our Lady’s on my side too!

Since I was invited to write this story for a family oriented blog, my advice to Catholic parents would be this: Teach your children obedience. Teach them obedience to you as mothers and fathers, and obedience to God and the Church. Model that obedience to them. It will require struggle, humility, and sacrifice, potentially the ultimate sacrifice. Never forget that your role isn’t to be their friend, or to give them the happy or comfortable childhood you never had. Your role is to get them to heaven. Trust in Jesus.

May God bless us all this Lent.

Joe.

Charlie Hebdo – You are not allowed to say that.

jesuis...

Eternal rest give unto them oh Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them, may they rest in peace. Amen.

My heart goes out to the friends and family of those killed at Charlie Hebdo.

…………………………………..

They died for free speech. Their offensive and provocative cartoons poked fun at everyone and everything. I have been disgusted by their artwork in the past. I am still disgusted, But today I recognised the importance of what they do.

Last year I was forced to close my wedding cake business down because of the same-sex marriage law. If I was to have said to a gay couple that I would not be able to make their wedding cake because my religious beliefs, I could have been prosecuted for hate speech.

Adoption agencies throughout the UK are now not allowed to say that children have the right to both a mother and a father.

Last month Bernadette Smyth received 100 hours of community service, a £2000 fine and a 5 year restraining order because she stood outside the Northern Ireland Marie Stopes abortion clinic protesting that life is precious.

A few weeks ago Johnathan Scott, a 19 year old Canadian was suspended from his part time job after his immediate supervisor told him he wasn’t allowed to do this, saying he should instead say “Happy Holidays.”

Yesterday 2 young men burst into an office in Paris and shot 12 people because 4 cartoonists drew a picture they didn’t like…

Deacon Nick Donnely said today that “The Charlie Hebdo massacre represents the violent collision between extreme secularism with extreme Islam.” I would agree with him on that, and also remind myself that my Lord is challenging me to love all my enemies – what ever form they take. While I can not stand alongside Charlie Hebdo in complete solidarity because of its offensive images of Christ – I believe the freedom to satirically criticise ANYTHING is a freedom this country no longer enjoys. I wonder if we did have that freedom to openly criticise – would cases like Rotherham have gone on for so long? I would tolerate criticism of my faith if I was allowed to openly criticise gay marriage. But I’m not. In France it seems they have freedom of speech much more than in the UK. Here we have political correctness.

I wonder if now, because of Charlie Hebdo I will be able to express my views without fear of prosecution? I never thought I would be appreciating the ‘right to offend’ but it seems today I am.

Je suis Charlie, and I would like to proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord, marriage can only occur between 1 man and 1 woman, and that abortion is murder. Or am I not allowed to say that?

Looking for a solid orthodox alternative to Flame 2? CARDINAL BURKE is speaking at the SPUC youth conference the very same weekend!!! (6-8 March 2015)

Youth Conference leaflet 2015 digital version

The embarrassing truth about the Flame 2 youth conference, CYMFed and Timothy Radcliffe continues to circulate around the world (see the major US sites: LifeSite News and Church Militant TV News at 1 min 10 secs.)

But in the mean time I would like to draw your attention to the SPUC  youth conference(6-8 March 2015) in Southport, for young people aged 16-35. This is happening the very same weekend as the Flame 2 conference. I know where I’d rather go…!

The annual SPUC Youth Conference has been very successful in recent years in educating and motivating the youth of today to engage in peaceful and effective pro-life work all over the UK. The Youth Conference is also open to attendees from other countries and young people from Spain and Malta have been welcomed in recent years.

Their AMAZING line-up of speakers will include:

His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke!!! (I’m not kidding – he is really going to be there!!!) Cardinal Burke is one of the leading orthodox pro-life and pro-family voices in the Catholic Church today. He fiercely defended church teaching on sexuality, marriage and family at the recent Family Synod and was the main voice questioning the controversial mid-term report saying “a great number of the Synod Fathers found it objectionable”. Recently almost 30,000 people signed a petition thanking Cardinal Burke for his service as the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura before he was moved by Pope Francis, becoming the new patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

burke-mass-crosier

Cardinal Burke

Obianuju Ekeocha – founder of Culture of Life Africa who’s mission is to spread the Gospel of Life throughout Africa especially at a time when many western countries are choosing to redefine culture and civilization as we know it. Africa has to now stand firmly by what she knows to be Culture of Life and Civilisation of Love. Culture of Life Africa is endorsed by The Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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Obianuju Ekeocha

Ira Winter – a member of the Life Fertility Care team, who provide help and information on  NaProTechnology – an ethical alternative to IVF, all aspects of NFP (Natural Family Planning) and how it relates to stronger marriages and families.

Ira Winter

Ira Winter

Fiorella Nash – a pro-life feminist and a specialist in the areas of international surrogacy, pro-life feminism and abortion in China. Fiorella is a researcher, writer and political assistant at SPUC. She is also an accomplished novelist, wife and a mother of three children.

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Fiorella Nash

Professor David Paton – a professor of Economics at Nottingham University and an expert in issues surrounding teenage pregnancy. His research on teenage pregnancy has been cited widely in the academic literature as well as being featured on numerous occasions in the national, on TV, radio and in Parliamentary debate.

Professor David Paton

Professor David Paton

Paul Tully, SPUC’s General Secretary, is an expert in legal and parliamentary policy surrounding pro-life issues. He has has worked for SPUC for 33 years and has been involved with many different cases, including leading the SPUC campaign defending the Glasgow Midwives, keeping abortion out of Northern Ireland, lobbies against euthanasia, assisted suicide and the human embryology act as well as branch development work. Paul was also vital in publishing the first ever Charities Bulletin which is still being updated and reproduced today.

Paul Tully

Paul Tully

Attendees will also have the opportunity to attend workshops held by Ira Winter on the subject of NFP as well as Margaret Cuthill of Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH ), a post-abortion counsellor, and Janet Secluna Thomas of No Less Human, who worked alongside the late Alison Davis for many years and whose workshop will focus on how we talk about disability.

 

Margaret Cuthill

Margaret Cuthill

Rhoslyn Thomas – Youth & Education officer for the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC) and one of the conference organisers says: “It is vital that the youth of today attend this conference to equip themselves with the knowledge needed to go out and carry out Pro-Life work in our schools, universities, homes and communities. This is the starting point from which we branch out and achieve the goal of defending and promoting the sanctity of human life. It is an opportunity that is not be missed!”

The conference will begin the afternoon of Friday the 6th of March until just after lunch on Sunday the 8th of March 2015. The price is £100, including all meals and accommodation and it will be held in the Ramada Plaza Hotel in Southport (near Liverpool) and is open to those from the age of 16 to 35.

For more information and booking forms please contact Rhoslyn Thomas on rhoslynthomas@spuc.org.uk  or call 020 7820 3140.

Please share this post on Facebook and Twitter to highlight this fantastic conference, and give it as much support as possible.

Women Priests, Gay Sex, and Communion for the Re-Married: Is Fr. Timothy Radcliffe an appropriate speaker for Flame2 Youth Conference 2015?

flame2

The CYMFed (Catholic Youth Ministry Federation – England and Wales) are the organisers of ‘Flame2’. It is described on their website as: “…the largest National Catholic Youth event of 2015, taking place in the SSE Wembley Arena on Saturday 7th March 2015… The SSE Wembley Arena will be filled with 10,000 young people from across the country, receiving faith-filled inspiration from world-class speakers… Flame2 is open to anyone in school year ten and above, up to young adult (i.e. aged approx. 14-21).”

One of the key speakers will be Fr. Timothy Radcliffe OP. The question is: Why do CYMFed feel Fr. Timothy Radcliffe is an appropriate speaker for a youth conference?

Fr. Radcliffe has received public criticism over his comments in regards to homosexuality being consistent with the teachings of the Catholic Church. Until they were abolished in 2013, Fr. Radcliffe, occasionally presided over ‘Soho Masses’ at Saint Anne Church’s for gay and lesbian church goers in central London. 

In 2014 there were calls for Fr. Radcliffe to be dropped as a keynote speaker at Ireland’s annual International Conference of Divine Mercy at the Royal Dublin Society. The calls were in response to Fr Radcliffe’s contribution to last year’s Anglican Pilling Report on human sexual ethics in which he said of homosexuality: “How does all of this bear on the question of gay sexuality? We cannot begin with the question of whether it is permitted or forbidden! We must ask what it means, and how far it is Eucharistic. Certainly it can be generous, vulnerable, tender, mutual and non-violent. So in many ways, I would think that it can be expressive of Christ’s self-gift. We can also see how it can be expressive of mutual fidelity, a covenantal relationship in which two people bind themselves to each other for ever.” 

Alabama-based Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) refused to broadcast the conference, due to Fr. Radcliffe being its keynote speaker; stating that Radcliff holds views that are at “at sharp variance to Catholic teaching“.

Fr Radcliffe also gave a keynote address to a US religious education conference, in which he was reported as saying: “We accompany people in friendship as they become moral agents. Let’s look at the gays. For some reason–I don’t actually understand why–it’s become a very hot topic in all the churches at the moment. It’s tearing the Church of England apart. It’s the cause of great dissension in our own church. Usually when we think about it, we ask, ‘What is forbidden or permitted?’ But I’m afraid I’m an old-fashioned and traditional Catholic, and I believe that’s the wrong place to start. We begin by standing by gay people as they hear the voice of the Lord that summons them to life and happiness. We accompany them as they wrestle with discovering what this means and how they must walk. And this means letting our imaginations be stretched open to watching Brokeback Mountain, reading gay novels, having gay friends, making that leap of the heart and the mind, delighting in their being, listening with them as they listen to the Lord.”

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe

Fr. Timothy Radcliffe

And on the issue of Women priest’s and Holy Communion for Catholics who are divorced and re-married, Fr Radcliffe hopes that: “…a way will be found to welcome divorced and remarried people back to communion. And, most important, that women will be given real authority and voice in the church. The pope expresses his desire that this may happen, but what concrete form can it take? He believes that the ordination of women to the ministerial priesthood is not possible, but decision-making in the church has become ever more closely linked to ordination in recent years. Can that bond be loosened? Let us hope that women may be ordained to the diaconate and so have a place in preaching at the Eucharist. What other ways can authority be shared?’”

At October’s Family Synod, Cardinal Burke was one of the most outspoken of the group of bishops to react strongly against the mid-term document, in which it was suggested that the Church should “accept and value” the homosexual “orientation” and cohabitation, and that such relationships could have positive or valuable “elements.”

In an interview with Ireland’s state broadcaster RTE last week, Cardinal Burke said that in regards to sexual morality, he has heard from lay people that “there’s really just a growing confusion about what the Church really teaches, and we’re not coming to any clarity.”

Surely, considering all the recent confusion surrounding the Synod, CYMFed are doubly obliged to make sure the speakers at their event are preaching the truths of the faith, not what they would prefer the Catholic faith to look like. By giving a platform to ‘progressive’ speakers like Fr. Radcliffe at Flame 2, CYMFed will be exposing 10,000 14-21 year olds to Fr. Radcliffe’s own personal opinions, many of which in direct opposition to the teachings of the Catholic Church. He will stand there as a guiding voice for these young people – some of whom will no doubt be facing issues of same-sex attraction. Is this the man parents want their young adults to be guided by? What are CYMFed thinking?

When Fr. Radcliffe spoke at the first Flame conference the CYMFed website stated that: “On the Flame 2012 evaluations he (Fr. Radcliffe) was regularly named by young people as the speaker with the greatest impact, and we look forward to welcoming Fr Timothy back to Flame.”

Bernadette (20) who attended Flame 1, says that since learning about Fr. Radcliffe’s views her perception of Flame has changed:

“It probably would change my perception yes because I want to be able to go to something that I feel is completely orthodox, and I don’t like idea of prominent controversial figures being given a platform like this. Christianity is hard enough when you’re young and orthodox, without dissident individuals like Timothy Radcliffe trying to confuse things. I was talking to my house-mates about it and they were saying, that if a teenager left Flame, after having really enjoyed the day, and Googled Timothy Radcliffe, they’d be open to all the stuff that he talks about and goodness knows what they’ll read and begin to be influenced by. I would probably question CYMFed, on their motives for hosting such a figure. We either believe in the teaching power of the magisterium or we don’t.” – (Bernadette, 20)

Fr. Dermot Donnelly (centre) with his celebrity brother Declan Donnelly (right).

CYMFed Chair person Fr. Dermot Donnelly (centre) with his celebrity brother Declan Donnelly (right).

I contacted the Chair of CYMFed – Fr Dermot Donnelly several times last week and politely asked: “Considering many of Fr. Radcliffe’s views go against the teachings of the Catholic church, why does CYMFed think he is an appropriate speaker for the Flame2 youth conference?”

He offered me a phone call but I explained that to avoid any possible misinterpretation it is best for him to reply in writing. Fr. Donnelly was unwilling to give a written statement.

So instead I decided to take the matter to the Bishop affiliated with CYMFed. Surely I’ll get some sense out of him! A Prince of the Catholic Church would never stand for the UK’s youth being exposed to such low moral standards would he?

However (of course) the Bishop affiliated with CYMFed turns out to be the recently retired Kieran Conry.

 

Sources:

http://www.cymfed.org.uk/flame2/

http://www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timothy_Radcliffe

http://www.protectthepope.com/?p=9494

https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-church-teaching-on-sexuality-must-be-clarified-and-only-pope?utm_source=LifeSiteNews.com+Daily+Newsletter&utm_campaign=5cde758379-LifeSiteNews_com_US_Headlines_06_19_2013&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_0caba610ac-5cde758379-326240826

In my parish, no-one would really bat an eyelid if I never showed up for Mass again.

Following on from my last post…

I got my Divine Office morning and evening prayer book today. This is brand new to me and I am receiving instruction through my Carmelite group. Opposed to priests and religious, secular Carmelites are called to pray just the morning and evening parts of the Office, and night prayer if possible.

From what I have experienced of the Divine Office so far, I know i’m really gonna like it. I love the rhythm and flow of the left hand side saying the first part, and the right hand side saying the responses. I love the fact that Catholics all over the world, including the Pope will be saying the same prayers as I am saying everyday. That makes me feel much more included in the church than I ever have felt, actually.

To be honest I have always (and still do) feel like a nobody in the church. I’ll never be a priest, bishop or cardinal, I doubt i’ll ever be a nun. I don’t have a degree – I don’t even have any A levels. I don’t have a paid, or un-paid position in the church. I’m not in charge of anyone apart from my children. I have no authority whatsoever outside of my home. In my parish, no-one would really bat an eyelid if I never showed up for Mass again. I really am a nobody. A tiny violet, a little daisy in amongst the grand roses and lilies. Yet I have felt for some time that this is my greatest strength.

As I open it for the first time, the ribbon of my new (second hand) Divine Office – still in place from it’s previous owner, leads me to read this passage of scripture:

“To shame what is strong, God has chosen what the world counts weakness. He has chosen things low and contemptible, mere nothings, to overthrow the existing order. And so there is no place for human pride in the presence of God…” 1 Cor 1:27-29

What freedom I have to love God! In my nothingness and weakness I have nothing to gain and nothing to lose. I am a nobody, on fire with a love that God is using to confound the wise! May I always be a nobody,  who prays the same prayers as the priests, bishops and cardinals, to a God who ranks us in order of love.