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

93a384a7-4230-4799-b42f-5cae12ccd0cb

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clare.

 

Surviving Advent as a Sinner.

06adoratweb

Cute little baby Jesus, Christmas trees and family gatherings are all the kind of things that give us the warm fuzzies around Advent and Christmas.

The over sentimentality and uber perfectness of TV adverts, and watching your own beautiful children in the school nativity play is enough to make even the most hardened of us cower at the fearful power of purity and innocence.

It is this purity, innocence and stillness of the nativity that, as a sinner, I can find very difficult to deal with. I am aware of my own sin – all too well this year. I am aware of my human weaknesses and can only bury my head in my hands during prayer right now and beg for God’s mercy.

Who the heck can possibly be expected to celebrate the Incarnation when they are suffering from porn addiction, having an affair, a same sex relationship or recovering from an abortion? Well, I’ll tell you who – all of us. We are all sinners. We are all in desperate need of a saviour. And if you think for some reason you do not need to fall on your face at the foot of the manger and beg for mercy from that tiny baby boy, then you have a serious pride problem.

During Advent we are all called to pray and fast to prepare our hearts for the coming of our saviour. I would suggest giving up something like 1 cup of coffee or 1 cigarette per day. No more than that. Tiny steps. It is not about willpower and it is not about discipline – it is about love. Offer it with the entirety of your heart. Give it to Jesus out of pure love and gratitude for His love.

If you can give up one tiny thing per day, and give it with your whole heart, I guarantee this will be the most life transforming Advent you will ever have.

Prayer, tiny fasting, and of course confession. This is the way for a sinner not just to to survive Advent, but to emerge out the other side as a new creature in Christ.

Let’s do this together.

 

 

Did Voris just become our mascot for the Year of Mercy?

14_10_14_jacket

I was very moved to see Michael Voris confess to his gay past a few days ago. I’m sure this must have been a very difficult thing for him to do, but I have to say – I think it is probably the best thing that has ever come out of Church Militant TV.

It explains a lot. The ruthless style journalism, the depth of revulsion – verging on hatred, of all things flimsy and unorthodox within the church, the hair… 😉

I think that when someone has lived in the depths of sin for so many years, the freedom that comes with confession and conversion is so life transforming that it is a pretty natural reaction to want to reject all sin with such dramatic force.

Mr Voris has often come across as rather cold and judgmental. But in the light of his recent revelations it is possible to see now that his motivations were not “holier than thou” but much more likely an impassioned revulsion at his own sinful past.

mike voris ottawa 003

The reason Mr Voris has brought his past to light was because he claims that New York diocese was “…collecting and preparing to quietly filter out details of my past life with the aim of publicly discrediting me, this apostolate and the work here.” 

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of New York told the Catholic Herald: “It is absolutely, 100 per cent untrue that the archdiocese was collecting and preparing to release anything concerning him personally or his website.”

Hmmm… difficult to say what really happened. I don’t think Mr. Voris would have revealed his past unless he really did think New York diocese was going to try to use it to discredit him. But if he was really smart, he would have allowed them to go ahead and do it – and basically give themselves enough rope to hang themselves with. As it stands now it is very difficult to prove that was the diocese intention.

In recent years New York diocese and Cardinal Dolan have been sued by Catholic parishioners accusing them of covering up for a homosexual priest Fr. Peter Miqueli, who stole millions from parishes to finance a sadomasochistic sex life with his gay-for-pay prostitute.

There was also the decision of Cardinal Dolan to head the 2015 St Patrick’s day parade despite the inclusion of a gay activist group, and the exclusion of a pro-life group. Mr Voris actually questioned Cardinal Dolan on this issue, at the parade itself. It feels very different now to watch this in the light of Mr. Voris’ past. I really think he is extremely brave as this is obviously an issue that is very close to his heart.

Cardinal Dolan recently wrote: “And…the Pontiff who has proclaimed a Year of Mercy, urging us, like a prophet of the Old Testament, like Jesus, like the apostles, like the saints, to ask Jesus for His mercy in our prayer, in the sacrament, and then to show this mercy to others.”

How ironic that those who claim to offer Christ’s mercy, seem to be perfectly alright with a gay activist group being part of their parade, but allegedly try to use the homosexual sins of a man’s past to try to discredit his reputation. While on the other hand we have a man who is renowned for being ruthless and apparently judgmental, now standing as a perfect example of what Christ’s mercy really looks like.

What better Christian witness is there than being a forgiven sinner? 🙂

What the diocese of New York has perhaps overlooked is that fact that there is nothing shameful about turning away from a sinful past.

Personally I think that this is the best thing that Mr. Voris has ever published. And I am excited to see how he will now continue with his ministry, because now he has revealed his need for confession, compassion and understanding, we will never see Church Militant in the same light again.

God’s love and mercy is made perfect in our vulnerability and weakness.

Gunman attacks Priest, and then asks for Confession.

hqdefault

I was shocked to hear the recent story of Fr John Hamlet. Fr Hamlet had been called out on an emergency hospital visit late at night on Ash Wednesday, but due to his car being currently in an unusable state he instead decided to catch a cab.

He managed to give the hospital patient the last rites and then after a short while started to make his way back home – this time on foot. He knew it was not advisable to be walking alone in that part of town late at night, but he did not have enough money to pay a second extortionate cab fare that evening – even though it was freezing cold.

As he turned into an alleyway that would shortcut 10 mins off his walk home, he suddenly realised he was being followed. He quickened his pace but soon realised that the end of the alleyway had been  blocked off by two dumpster bins. Before he knew it, Fr Hamlet was pushed into a doorway and a young man was holding a gun to his head.

“Give me your wallet” The young man shouted into his face. Terrified, Fr Hamlet agreed, and then indicated to the young man that he needed to unzip his coat to get his wallet from the inside pocket.

As he unzipped his coat the young man noticed his priestly collar and suddenly dropped the gun. “Oh I’m so sorry Father! I had no idea you were a priest – If I had known I never would have tried to rob you. I’m a terrible Catholic…” And the young man dropped to his knees and began to cry uncontrollably.

“That’s ok my son” said Fr Hamlet as he tried to console the young man. He asked the young man if he would like confession and the young gunman agreed. Feeling incredibly moved by the situation Fr Hamlet tried to make the young man feel better. “You know what – I don’t even have any money left in my wallet, but why don’t you take this packet of cigarettes instead? I know I could sure do with a smoke after tonight!”

“That is very kind of you Father” said the young man picking up his gun and placing it back in his trousers “But I’ve given up smoking for Lent!”

download (1)

SSPX, 50 years of Vatican 2, and the Family Synod.

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

Today Pope Francis sent a letter to the President of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, and made a completely unexpected announcement regarding the SSPX:

“A final consideration concerns those faithful who for various reasons choose to attend churches officiated by priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X. This Jubilee Year of Mercy excludes no one. From various quarters, several Brother Bishops have told me of their good faith and sacramental practice, combined however with an uneasy situation from the pastoral standpoint. I trust that in the near future solutions may be found to recover full communion with the priests and superiors of the Fraternity. In the meantime,motivated by the need to respond to the good of these faithful, through my own disposition, I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Fraternity of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.”

For those of you who are not familiar with the SSPX here are a few brief facts:

  • The Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) is an international organisation, founded in 1970 by the French archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, of traditionalist Catholic priests.
  • It was born out of opposition to changes in the Catholic Church that followed the Second Vatican Council.
  • It is commonly believed that they disagree with the whole of Vatican II, but it is only just five paragraphs. These are the ‘pelagian’ paragraphs relating to conscience.
  • The society is known as a strong defender and proponent of the Tridentine Mass.
  • The central controversy surrounding the SSPX concerns the consecration by Archbishop Lefebvre and a Brazilian bishop, Antônio de Castro Mayer, of four SSPX priests as bishops on 30 June 1988 in violation of the orders of Pope John Paul II.
  • The following day, the Congregation for Bishops issued a decree declaring that Archbishop Lefebvre and the four newly ordained bishops had incurred the automatic canonical penalty of excommunication reserved to the Holy See.
  • Lefebvre argued that his actions had been necessary because the traditional form of the Catholic faith and sacraments would become extinct without traditionalist clergy to pass them on to the next generation.
  • The canonical situation of the SSPX has been the subject of much controversy since the 1988 Écône consecrations. The Society claims to possess extraordinary jurisdiction for celebrating masses and for other sacraments like penance and marriage.
  • The view of the Holy See, as expressed by Pope Benedict XVI on 10 March 2009, is: “Until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church.”

So you can see now why today’s announcement was so surprising.

Archbishop Lefebvre

Archbishop Lefebvre

The SSPX responded to the announcement on their website:

“The Society of St. Pius X learned, through the press, of the provisions taken by Pope Francis on the occasion of the upcoming Holy Year. In the last paragraph of his letter addressed September 1, 2015, to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, the Holy Father writes:

‘I establish that those who during the Holy Year of Mercy approach these priests of the Society of St Pius X to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation shall validly and licitly receive the absolution of their sins.’

The Society of St. Pius X expresses its gratitude to the Sovereign Pontiff for this fatherly gesture. In the ministry of the sacrament of penance, we have always relied, with all certainty, on the extrdaordinary jurisdiction conferred by the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law. On the occasion of this Holy Year, Pope Francis wants all the faithful who wish to confess to the priests of the Society of St. Pius X to be able to do so without being worried.

During this year of conversion, the priests of the Society of St. Pius X will have at heart to exercise with renewed generosity their ministry in the confessional, following the example of tireless dedication which the holy Curé of Ars gave to all priests.”
A Tridentine Mass

A Tridentine Mass

Well this is all big news! I’m slightly confused as to why the SSPX were not contacted first regarding this monumental decision and rather (as they stated in their response) found out about this “through the press”. That seems very odd indeed to me considering the magnitude of the announcement. No-one seems to have an answer to this. I’m inclined to file it away under “stuff that Pope Francis does”. 🙂

However, it struck me that the timing of the announcement was rather significant. The opening of the Jubilee Year of Mercy will take place on December 8th 2015 – the 50th anniversary of the closing of the Second Vatican Council in 1965. Lest we forget, that the SSPX was born out of opposition to the Second Vatican Council.

The optimist here will tell you that this announcement is an extremely exciting step that shows real hope of reconciliation between the SSPX and Rome. That it is following the same direction as Summorum Pontificum in which Pope Benedict XVI stated that all priests may once again freely celebrate the Tridentine Mass, and that Pope Francis is really reaching out to these guys.

The cynic however will tell you that it is just a way of publicly sweetening the SSPX as Rome prepares to celebrate 50 years of the thing that caused the SSPX to come into existence in the first place. And that this gesture means very little to the SSPX as far as its interaction with Rome goes because according to the Normae generales of the Code of Canon Law, their sacrament of confession is valid already – and always has been.

And the end-times watcher will tell you this is just a way of trying to include and appease the traditional side of the church, when what is really about to happen is that the church is going to be taken over and completely remodelled by a set of uber liberal diverse cardinals at the family synod in October all under the banner of the ‘spirit of vatican 2′.

Well I suppose we will have to wait and see what happens at the synod before we start to imagine all sorts of monstrosities – but I can tell you this: If things do go pear shaped at the Synod and the so called ‘spirit’ of Vatican 2 and Cardinal Kasper’s version of mercy prevails, the SSPX is gonna get real busy, real quick.

Lent – Confession…

Let no soul fear to draw near to Me, even though its sins be as scarlet.

– Jesus to Sr. Faustina from the ‘Divine Mercy’.

What is Confession?

Confession or the Sacrament of Reconciliation is really a sacrament of healing. All of us are sinners and we carry around so much ‘baggage’ from our past. Confession is about letting go of this ‘baggage’. It doesn’t matter how big or bad our sin is – Jesus can and wants to forgive our sin if we come to Him truly sorry for what we have done.   

 His mercy is ALWAYS greater than our sin.

Perhaps your marriage has broken down? Perhaps you have an addiction? Perhaps you had an abortion? Or maybe you have just drifted away from and ignored God for many years? It doesn’t matter – whatever it is, Jesus is waiting for you to come back to Him. He wants to wipe the slate clean, give you a fresh start, and draw you closer to His love.

Think of it like clearing out your cupboards: once you have got rid of all the junk, you have space to receive all of the good things (graces) that God so wants to give you. But you can only receive the grace, once you have the space!

1454619_10152041718460661_1028550508_n

Fr. Sam Explains Confession…

Most confessionals have the option of kneeling behind a screen, or sitting face to face with the priest (at his discretion). It totally up to you – choose which option you are both most comfortable with.

1. Once you come in you say “Forgive me, Father, I have sinned. It has been (however long) since I have been to confession.” Don’t be embarrassed. If it’s been 12 years then fantastic! You are here now–that’s the important part.

2. Now you tell the priest your sins. Remember, say ALL your sins – you are not going to be told off or laughed at. The priest is there representing Jesus. Jesus wants to take all your sins away and wipe the slate clean.

3. Then you will be asked to say an Act of Contrition: “Dear God, I am very sorry that I have sinned against you, and by the help of your grace I will not sin again.”

4. The priest then may say some words, give you guidance and finally, the best part, the words of absolution: “God, the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins; through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace, and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”

5. The priest will then give you some sort of penance. This may be a prayer like the Our Father or Hail Mary or perhaps to read a line of scripture.

There you are done!!! There is nothing like a clean slate.

Real life testimonials…

“…I had lived and worked in a secular environment for about 25 years and had picked up the habit of rationalizing my every sin.  I often noticed sin in others, but had a really hard time recognising it in myself. I had never been called to examine my conscience as an adult.  Modern society has lost its sense of sin, and I was one of those people.  It was much easier to make excuses for myself than to look at myself honestly. It just got to the point where I felt the secular world was not offering me anything anymore – like something was missing. I felt it was the right time in my life to come back to God – like coming home. I went to see my priest who helped me make an examination of conscience. After this I felt confident and ready to make my first confession in over 25 years…”

Dan, age 46.

“…There was something that happened in my early 20’s that I had been carrying with me my whole adult life. At the time I felt too ashamed to tell anyone and I just tried to put it out of my mind. But it got to the point in my life where I began to understand more about Jesus’ love for me and His message of mercy and forgiveness. I wanted to go to confession for a long time but was too scared. When I stepped into the confessional, I asked the priest if he would help me as I had completely forgotten what to do! He was really patient and kind and took me through it step by step. When he absolved me it was like a weight being lifted off me – I felt my pain finally starting to go away…”

Amy, age 33.

 

Thought for the Week: WHY CARRY THIS BAGGAGE ANY LONGER?…

 

Dear Jesus…

Have mercy on me – a sinner. Help me find the courage to make a good confession this week.

Thank You, I love You Jesus. Amen.

 

Download this newsletter to use in your school or parish: Confession.doc   Confession.pdf

 

 

Second Sunday of Advent – Year C

Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight …”

Gospel: Luke 3:1-6

1 In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, 2 during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. 3 He went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, 4 as it is written in the book of the words of the prophet Isaiah, “The voice of one crying out in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. 5 Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be made low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways made smooth; 6 and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’ “

Gospel Summary

Luke was very thorough in placing the beginning of John the Baptist’s ministry within a historical context. He set John’s ministry in time by telling who the leaders were in the region. John’s role was to prepare the way for Jesus and to proclaim a theme of repentance for those who would follow Jesus. Like a Roman army of engineers filling in gullies and levelling mountains to make roads, John’s job was to make the pathway smooth for those about to encounter Jesus.

Relating the Gospel to our lives today.

John the Baptist invites us to repent! But it is true today that many western Catholics never go to confession. Why is this? Many would argue that within our secular western culture there is a widespread loss of the sense of sin. We’ve ended up in a moral ‘grey area’ where anything goes – as long as we can justify it to ourselves. Perhaps the saddest thing about this is that we have forgotten that sin is something that harms us.

Confession heals us. It is the first step on the road as we turn back to God. People often talk about having ‘baggage’, but with confession there is no need to carry this ‘baggage’ any more. Healing takes time, and may be painful to begin with, but there is no need for us to do it on our own. Jesus has given us the priests to light our way, guide our steps, and even hold our hand if we need them to. A thirty-something American woman described her experience of confession like this:

“I was scared, shaking in fact. The priest noticed I was nervous but he was so friendly and re-assuring. I couldn’t remember what to say but that didn’t matter – he took me through it step by step. I told him about the abortion I had almost 15 years ago. Finally – I was letting it go. We talked a while and then he absolved me. I am so grateful, and now I am beginning to find peace in my life again.”

  • Sin harms us. Confession heals us.
  • Is there some ‘baggage’ I would like to let go of this Advent?
  • What time does confession take place in my Parish?

Dear Jesus…

Help me find the courage to come to confession this Advent. I want to but I am scared. Help me remember that confession is a healing experience. Help me remember that there is no sin you cannot forgive. Your love and mercy never end Lord.

Thank You, I love You Jesus. Amen.

 Download the A4 newsletter version of this post, FREE for use in your school or parish: Second Sunday of Advent – Year C.pdf   Second Sunday of Advent – Year C