Understanding Tina Beattie’s nonsensical drivel.

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Prof. Tuna Buttie

For those of you who don’t know already, Tina Beattie is a Protestant to Catholic convert who has become a fairly well known theologian in the UK. She is Professor of Catholic Studies and Director of Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing and of Catherine of Siena College, both based at the University of Roehampton in London UK.

Much of her research focuses on the relationship between the Catholic tradition and contemporary culture, particularly in areas to do with gender, sexuality and reproductive ethics; Catholic social teaching and women’s rights, and theology and the visual arts. Her current and recent doctoral supervision is in the areas of feminist theology and women’s ordination, Black Madonnas, the homosexual person and the magisterium.

Tina is a Trustee of the Catholic weekly magazine The Tablet and a member of the Theological Advisory Group of the Catholic Agency for Overseas Development (Cafod).

She has (along with some other women catholic theologians) written a letter to the Polish Bishops, whose country is currently introducing legislation that would completely protect the right to life of unborn children. In the letter she argues against the equal right to life of all members of the human family, and in favour of “early, safe and legal” abortion for disabled babies.

That’s right folks – not only is she pro women priests and pro gay marriage, she is also pro abortion.

There is now a petition to have her removed from her position as advisor to CAFOD. If you would like to sign it please click HERE.

I have written to Roehampton University to ask them if having a Professor of Catholic studies who is so obviously against the teachings of the Catholic Church, is really meeting the University’s standards of offering their students the best education. I await their reply.

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Tina’s dreadful book. I’m guessing she is about to throw it at the Vatican – the same as she does with her nonsensical verbal theological wiffle-waffle. 

Now for me, Tina Beattie is just fascinating. Of course it is true that no-one can truly tell what is going on in her internal life, but her outward actions and theories do give us a jolly good idea. And the reason I am wanting to dissect her internal life is because she is in several positions of authority in which people look to her for theological guidance – even if it to hold up their own wacky religious views they wished could come true. She is abusing her position of power and I am not going to stand for her leading others astray.

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’ (or should I say ‘person’ centred?!) faith. 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.

I would be absolutely fascinated to know how she describes her relationship with Jesus. What on earth goes on in her prayer life? How can she talk openly to God while her views utterly contradict His church and His commandments?

Well there is two possibilities here as far as I can see:

  1. She has no relationship with Christ and no prayer life.
  2. She does have a relationship with Christ, but she is in charge.

I have to say, I think it is probably the latter. For all her nonsensical babbling, Tina does seem to have a genuinely caring heart for the issues she is passionate about. But she misses the very first commandment “I am the Lord your God. You will have no false Gods above me.”

Tina truly believes she is cleverer that the Catholic Church, the Catechism, the magisterium, Papal writings such as ‘Humanae Vitae’ and ‘Theology of the Body’, the 10 commandments and even God Himself.

You see, all those things are wrong, and Tina’s groundbreaking theology comes to correct all those out of date, discriminatory, sexist and downright boring laws.

Slap me on the wrist if I am being presumptuous here, but that smacks of Satan’s favourite sin to me – pride. Of course Satan himself believed he was higher than God.

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Satanists do weird stuff wearing plastic baby heads to disrupt an anti-abortion protest outside a Planned Parenthood clinic.

Now I’m not totally suggesting that Tina Beattie is Satan incarnate, even though she does advocate murder of the unborn on her theological grounds (so do satanists btw), it’s just that abortion is murder, and God doesn’t like murder. Of course Tina is not advocating all abortions – just those of disabled people and those conceived in rape, because they of course do not have as many human rights as other people, do they?

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Valerie Gatto – Miss Pennsylvania 2014 was conceived in rape.

Perhaps someone should introduce Tina to Valerie Gatto. Valerie was crowned Miss Pennsylvania 2014, and has used her fame to tell the world her story. This beautiful brave young lady was conceived in rape.

“(My Mom) always would tell me I was her light — I am the light to illuminate the darkness for all to see, and I look at it from that moment of conception, there has been that light associated with darkness.”

So Tina – here is a question for you to ponder over:

According to your  theology, because she was conceived in rape, Valerie did not have the same human rights as me, because I was not conceived in rape. Now that we are both adults, does she still have less human rights than me?

I suppose that question also applies to the disabled. Do disabled people have less human rights than you do, Tina? Did they have less rights that you did in the womb?

What does God say about this? What does His church teach about this? Who’s in charge Tina – you or God?

Tina…? Can you hear me? I’d love to hear your answer…

 

 

 

Would you die to protect Western values? I wouldn’t.

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I keep wondering when Facebook is going to offer the Russian, Egyptian, Lebanon and Iraqi and Kenyan flags as overlays for people’s profile pictures along with the French flag. All these other countries have also been recent victims of ISIS terrorist attacks, some with much higher death tolls. Why is it that Facebook – a universal social media platform – would only offer the French one?

Are the French more worthy of our grief than the rest of the world? Are they more human?

I remember in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks almost every political leader in the known universe turned up to have a march and stand defiant against the ISIS thugs. I don’t remember that happening after the 7/7 bombings in London or any other terrorist attack for that matter? What was it about the staff at Charlie Hebdo that warranted such a massive reaction from political leaders, and such an atmosphere of bonding together in defiance and grief?

From left : European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, French President Francois Hollande, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Union President Donald Tusk, Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, and other heads of state take part in a Unity rally "Marche Republicaine" on January 11, 2015 in Paris in tribute to the 17 victims of the three-day killing spree. The killings began on January 7 with an assault on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in Paris that saw two brothers massacre 12 people including some of the country's best-known cartoonists and the storming of a Kosher supermarket on the eastern fringes of the capital which killed 4 local residents. AFP PHOTO / ERIC FEFERBERG (Photo credit should read ERIC FEFERBERG/AFP/Getty Images)

In all honesty I would be mighty surprised if you, me or any of the political leaders even knew the names of the Charlie Hebdo staff, or anyone killed or injured in last weeks Paris attacks. What we are grieving isn’t the people lost in the attacks, but our society as a whole.

When attacks happen in Africa of the Middle East then they are sufficiently far enough away not to flag up on our comfort radars. Attacks in these countries are sometimes not even newsworthy we are so used to them. But people have still died. Are they any less human than the people who died in France? I don’t see any “Je Suis Egypt” signs.

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We are grieving our comfort, our freedom, our own safety and that of our loved ones because the war has finally been brought to our doorstep – in our modern western society – where we can no longer ignore it or pretend it doesn’t exist. Our pride is hurt because many of these young men who blew themselves up were born, raised and educated here, and yet still – they reject and want to destroy our tolerant, equal and diverse society that we have worked so hard to forge. They believed in their cause so completely that they were willing to die for it. And that sort of commitment and sacrifice scares the crap out of us.

I do not agree with ISIS vision of a pure Islamic state. I do not like the idea of becoming a second class citizen because I am a woman. I don’t want to have to convert to Islam or otherwise be killed. I don’t want to be forced to wear the Hijab. I like eating bacon and drinking beer. I do not like the idea of male or female genital mutilation. I do not want Sharia Law. I don’t like the idea of being gang raped and then accused of adultery. I do not like the idea of beheading ‘infidels’.

I am willing to die fighting against ISIS in as much as they are willing to die fighting me. But what is it exactly that I am trying to defend?

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner named "Woman of the year".

Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner named “Woman of the year”.

Can I really say that I am willing to give my life defending a society that has just legalised Gay marriage? Would I be willing to die for a society that advocates the murder of millions of unborn children – especially if they are disabled? What about a society that allows a small cake business to be fined hundreds of thousands of dollars because they refuse to make a cake for someone because it conflicts with their Christian beliefs? I’ve already lost my own cake business to this society for the very same reason – would I also be willing to lose my life to defend it?

The answer to all of the above questions is no.

You see, there is a second enemy, a silent and sneaky enemy who also desires to completely destroy our society – but this time from within. It has a name. It is called Cultural Marxism.

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Cultural Marxism is the main ideological driver behind political correctness. It is the destructive criticism and undermining of all institutions of western civilisation and the traditional values underpinning it.

Brace yourselves for a short history lesson:

Ever since communism was first established in Russia, its admirers, fellow-travellers and ‘useful idiots’ have devoted their lives to achieving socialist control on a global scale. Countries within military striking distance of Russia were physically taken over after World War II, and those further afield subjected to a massive process of subversion by the Agitation and Propaganda Department of the Communist International (Comintern).

The Marxist revolutionaries realised that the workers of the advanced capitalist West were too affluent and comfortable to be used as agents of change in their longed-for revolution, so they decided to import foreign-born revolutionary pawns whilst simultaneously joining the lower rungs of all the important state institutions from where they could begin their long march toward destroying our countries from within.

One of the greatest achievements of this societal destruction is the fact that westerners are contracepting and aborting themselves out of existence.

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The societal destruction we see all around us is not an unfortunate and unplanned side effect of socialist politics, because the destruction is all too deliberate. Karl Marx wrote of the anarchy necessary as a precursor to outright revolution, in which he would “stand astride the wreckage a colossus”.

Hungarian Georg Lukacs, an agent of the Comintern, whose reputation in the revolutionary world was on a par with that of Marx himself, said:

“I saw the revolutionary destruction of society as the one and only solution. A worldwide overturning of values cannot take place without the annihilation of the old values and the creation of new ones by the revolutionaries.” – Georg Lukacs

In 1923 Lukacs set up the Institution for Marxism at Frankfurt University, later renamed the Institute for Social Research which finally became known simply as the Frankfurt School. In 1930 Lukacs was joined by two other Marxists, Max Horkheimer and Theodor Adorno (below), but the rise of Hitler made it impossible for such Jewish Marxists to stay in Germany, so they decamped to New York City, where they set up an American version of the Frankfurt School, which became the birthplace of Critical Theory.

Theodor Adorno

Critical Theory is characterised by the destructive criticism of Western culture, including Christianity, capitalism, authority, the family, patriarchy, morality, tradition, sexual restraint, loyalty, patriotism, nationalism, heredity, ethnocentrism and conservatism. Critical Theory repeats the basic tenets of Western evil over and over again – racism, sexism, colonialism, nationalism, homophobia, fascism, xenophobia and imperialism.

In the 1950s the Frankfurt School attracted a new recruit, Herbert Marcuse, a communist who had also been forced to flee Hitler’s Germany. Marcuse wrote a book called Eros and Civilisation, which promoted free love and the pleasure principle, and was to transform American and Western society.

 

But Marcuse was an evil man. He genuinely wanted to overthrow the traditional West, and when asked who would play the part of the Russian proletariat in the Western revolution, he replied it would be all the marginalised groups, including black militants, feminists, homosexual militants, the asocial, the alienated, and Third World revolutionaries represented by student pin-up boy and civilian mass-murderer, Che Guevara.

The destructive policies of the Frankfurt school were known collectively as ‘cultural terrorism’. Today, they are known simply as political correctness, an ideology people are aware of, although very few know of its anti-Western, destructive, revolutionary roots. Anyone doubting this should ask themselves why the politically correct lobby, when critiquing our history and culture, directs its attacks exclusively at white, Christian, capitalist, heterosexual men.

And the simple answer is because such people and the qualities of such people laid the foundations, erected the props, and over many centuries built the various layers of intertwined ideology and substance that formed what we now know as Western civilisation. If their memory can be destroyed, the ideology destroyed and the race of people who currently represent that ideology destroyed, then Western civilisation can be destroyed and then be rebuilt in an atheistic communist based utopia.

History lesson over.

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So you see, the post Christian society we are now living in is in what I believe to be the final stages of self destruction. Once they succeed in destroying the family there is very little left to hold it together. And we are left with a weak society of  self loathing individuals who are told ridiculous things like it is their fault that the terrorists attack them because they haven’t been inclusive enough with multiculturalism. And they are buying it.

I’ve already seen these sort of apologetic, self-flagellating articles in the left wing media. They have no idea that their principles and ideology of inclusion and diversity is simply designed to destroy their culture from within. They don’t understand that the destruction of the family and the isolation of the individual are goals of this great evil. But ISIS do, and they are taking full advantage of the weakness we have created.

Modern western society is weak and sickly. I cannot say that I would die to defend this society because the principles it is based on are just plain evil. Would you give your life to defend the right of homosexual couples to adopt children? No, and the vast majority of ordinary people wouldn’t either. And with the influx of 60 million refugees into Europe – mostly Muslim, it is looking like the Cultural Marxists objectives of dilution of national identity and total internal societal destruction are very close indeed to being fulfilled.

When we grieve for France, we are subconsciously pre-empting the much larger grief that we know we will soon be facing as a whole society. The death of the post modern, post Christian West. And for someone who does not have faith in God’s ultimate plan, this might seem like a very depressing thought.

However there is still time to re-discover the strong Judean- Christian roots that the West was founded on. And for the faithful Catholic there is the (as well as other Marian apparitions) Fatima prophecy of the Era of peace that will be ushered in after the great trial. There is also this:

“Whole nations will come back to the Church and the face of the earth will be renewed. Russia, China and England will come into the Church.” – Blessed Anna Maria Tiagi (19th century)

But I have to admit, if there was a cage fight between Cultural Terrorism and Radical Islamic Terrorism, I’m not sure who would win. It kinds reminds me of that scene out of Jurassic Park where the Velociraptors suddenly turn on the T-Rex, and you get to just quietly walk off to safety without either of them noticing.

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Sources:

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/after-paris/17631#.Vk8NpXbhDIX

http://libertygb.org.uk/v1/index.php/news-libertygb/383-the-anti-western-revolutionaries

 

Banana Flavoured Altar Cake!

For those of you who don’t know already, I had my own cake business for 9 years. I was sadly forced to close the business after same-sex marriage became law here in the UK last year, and it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that the law was not going to protect my right to follow my religious beliefs in regard to traditional marriage.

After all – I wouldn’t want anyone threatening to sue me now would I? 😉

Well, it just so happens that a priest friend of mine was celebrating a significant birthday recently and I had the pleasure of making him a cake.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this cake. And before someone says “blahdy-blahdy-blah…” not everything is necessarily accurate. I have used a bit of artistic license! It is just a cake after all.

The cake itself was banana sponge, and the flowers are all made out of sugar. The monstrance, cross, pillars, and statue are plastic. The rest is made out of icing. The stained glass window is a giant biscuit filled with coloured melted sugar to make the glass. The whole thing took about 2 days to make. And yes – he loved it!

Anyway, all glory to God!… Enjoy!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Too ashamed to pray.

Elsa, trying to hide her deepest darkest secrets.

Elsa, trying to hide her deepest darkest secrets.

I don’t know why I have put a picture of Elsa at the top of this post. I think it is because one of the things I most enjoyed about Frozen is the fact that Elsa has to carry the heavy burden of hiding the deepest darkest parts of herself.

I was talking to a priest friend recently about this very subject. There is a wall that effects pretty much everyone in regards to prayer – and that wall is shame.

I think shame effects us the most when we don’t quite measure up to our own false expectations of ourselves. Perhaps we are not quite as good as we thought were eh? Or as good as we thought we should be?

Now, everyday the enemy encourages us to think or do something sinful. We quite often oblige him – especially if we are tired, or upset or under pressure. Then it comes time to pray. “Oh I can’t…” we tell ourselves “I’ve just been watching porn! I’ll pray later when the memory of naked ladies is not so fresh in my mind.”

STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! That is the stupidest thing we could do. Why did Jesus die again? Oh yes – it was to TAKE AWAY MY SINS!

Another stupid trap I have fallen into in the past was to only show the good parts of myself to God during prayer – a bit like being on my best behaviour. I would try to please and impress God with all the ways I had been good today, and ask for help with the things I had found difficult. But I sure as hell was not going to tell Him about the deepest darkest parts of my heart because otherwise He might be cross with me or not like me any more.

STUPID! STUPID! STUPID! That is the enemy talking. Do you really think you can hide stuff from God?! He made you for goodness sake – ‘even the hairs on your head have all been counted!’ (Luke 12:7) You might as well come clean and tell Him – He knows it all anyway! The only person you are fooling here is yourself.

But sometimes we do something that makes us too ashamed to even look ourselves in the mirror. An abortion, an affair, an addiction. This is exactly where the enemy wants you to be: feeling worthless, isolated, ashamed, beyond hope. He will lie to you and tell you that God does not love you any more. He will tell you that God is angry and hates you for what you have done. He will confuse you with notions of justifying your actions to regain your lost pride in yourself.

Pride. Hmmm. Pride is the enemy’s favourite sin. It takes true humility to admit we have done something wrong. True humility is not easy.

If I’m totally honest with you here I have to admit that I’m not too badly effected with shame. Is that because I never think or do anything wrong? No! Of course not – I sin everyday, we all do. I think I am not bound by shame because I am a brutally honest with myself, I am totally in love with confession, AND because I am so solidly anchored in my identity in the eyes of God:

I know how small and wretched I am compared to Him – and I’m totally OK with that.

What I find more difficult is that fact that the creator of the universe would consider me so lovable, so marvellous and interesting and funny and delightful, that He would rather die for me than risk spending eternity without me. But He did – ‘while we were still sinners…’ (Romans 5:8) I know who I am in Christ. I know I will be in need of His forgiveness at the end of every day, for the rest of my life. I am a sorry, forgiven sinner, and I am not ashamed to say it.

So please, do not let shame get in the way of proper true prayer. Tonight, tell Jesus that thing that you keep hidden in the darkest depths of your heart. He wants to take it from you – you don’t need to carry it any more. Tomorrow, do yourself a favour: go to confession. He has the power to take that sin away.

I kinda wanna break into song here and start singing “Let it go! Let it go! Can’t hold it back any more…” But I’ll spare you all 😉

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2 Priests denied joint gym membership, because they are not “In a relationship”!

Do you even lift

I was talking to one of my online priest friends today. He is so funny – he is always cracking me up and I love him TO DEATH! (Of course I would never tell him that as he already suffers from chronic ego-itis 😉 )

He was telling me the story of how he went to sign up for the Gym in full cassock and dog collar but was denied joint membership with his parish priest because they were not “in a relationship”…

“How do you know we are not in a relationship?” he said. “We live together, we work together, we eat dinner together, heck – sometimes we even just chat, for fun.”

The poor receptionist was a little bemused: “But you’re a… a… a priest??!” 

“Yes, and what’s that got to do with it? How does one define what a ‘relationship’ is? Do you have the authority to tell me I am not in a relationship with my parish priest?”

“Are you a couple?”

“Errr… no. But we live together!”

“I’m sorry, the joint membership is only for couples.”

“What if we were gay? Would that be enough to get a joint gym membership?”

“Errr…. Yes! Are you gay?”

“No. But we do live together.”

“I’m sorry I don’t understand what you….”

“You know I could sue you for this under the discrimination act don’t you? What would Peter Tatchel say hey? Not much equality in this place is there? 😉 “

“To be eligible for the joint membership you have to be in a relationship sir.”

“What if I said we were a couple living together in a non-sexual relataionship? Would you give us joint membership then? We could get ‘married’ if that would help?”

“Errr… Yes? I mean no. I don’t know. All I know is that you have to be a couple sir.”

He left it at that, stopped teasing the poor receptionist and begrudgingly signed up for a significantly more expensive single persons membership!

You’d be forgiven for thinking that this was satire – but its not! It’s a true story! Ha!

“Sex will become a futile exercise for those wanting to reproduce…”

Prof. Carl Djerassi

Prof. Carl Djerassi

Sex could soon exist purely for fun, as more women turn to IVF to have babies, the inventor of the contraceptive pill has claimed. Professor Carl Djerassi, 91, believes the Pill could become redundant as soon as 2050, as more men and women choose to start a family through the ‘insurance policy’ of IVF, even if they do not have fertility problems. It means would-be parents would freeze their eggs and sperms before being sterilised, rendering the Pill pointless.

The professor – who played a crucial role in developing the oral contraceptive in 1951 – says advances in fertility treatment will create a ‘generation manana’ in which people know they can control the timing of parenthood, without any repercussions.  But it also means sex will become a futile exercise for those wanting to reproduce – and will instead become purely recreational.  

Speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, he said: ‘The vast majority of women who will choose IVF in the future will be fertile women who have frozen their eggs and delayed pregnancy… I predict that many of these women will be fertilised by IVF methods because of the advances in genetic screening. And once that happens then IVF will start to become a normal non-coital method of having children… For them, the separation between sex and reproductions will be 100 per cent.’  

Professor Djerassi also predicted there will be more IVF fertilisation among fertile women in the next few decades – ‘say by 2050’ – than there currently is among those who are fertility-impaired. At the moment, that figure is around five million.

In other news…

Daryl-Lee-left-and-Luke-Harris-right

Daryl Lee and Luke Harris

A gay couple are to become fathers to three babies in just seven months after meeting three different surrogate mothers online. For the past 15 years, Daryl Lee, 41, and Luke Harris, 50, had longed to have children and joined a number of online forums in an attempt to find a suitable surrogate. They made contact with one of the women, Becky Harris, 27, and through her met Bex Harris, 32, and Viktoria Ellis, 32.

Mr Lee, 41, is the biological father of two of the children, while Mr Harris, 50, gave his sperm for the third. All three babies will be born within seven months of each other, between January and July next year. ‘We love each other very much, but despite that it has felt like something was missing from our lives – our home felt empty without children,’ Mr Harris told The Sun’s Sarah Arnold. ‘We never imagined in our wildest dreams we would have three all at once.’ 

Mr Lee and Mr Harris, who live in Surrey, had met online in 1999, and entered into a civil partnership in 2012.  They had considered adopting a child, but decided to try surrogacy after learning that singer Elton John and his partner David Furnish had a child, Zachary, by a surrogate mother in December 2010. Their second son, Elijah, was born via the same woman in January 2013. Gay couples using a surrogate to have a child have only been able to apply for a parental order, giving them the legal rights over the child and relinquishing those of the surrogate since April 2010.

Surrogates - Becky Harris (bottom right), Bex Harris (centre) and Viktoria Ellis (top left) with their neighbour Jemma King (top right) and Bex's mother Karen (left) appeared on ITV's This Morning in July to talk about surrogacy. When they appeared on the show, Bex was already carrying Mr Harris and Mr Lee's baby, Viktoria was preparing to, and Becky was days away from giving birth to another couple's child.

Surrogates – Becky Harris (bottom right), Bex Harris (centre) and Viktoria Ellis (top left) with their neighbour Jemma King (top right) and Bex’s mother Karen (left) appeared on ITV’s This Morning in July to talk about surrogacy. When they appeared on the show, Bex was already carrying Mr Harris and Mr Lee’s baby, Viktoria was preparing to, and Becky was days away from giving birth to another couple’s child.

Mr Harris and Mr Lee met Becky Harris, but she was already helping another couple and was pregnant with her third surrogate child, so put them in touch with her former sister-in-law, Bex Harris. Bex, 32, conceived the first child with her own egg and Mr Lee’s sperm, which she inseminated at home. She in turn introduced them to her friend Viktoria Ellis. Ms Ellis then got pregnant using Mr Harris’s sperm. Finally Becky Harris, having recently given birth to another other couple’s baby, decided she would help them too and also became pregnant with Mr Lee’s sperm. 

They decided that Mr. Harris would not inseminate Miss Harris or Ms Harris as this may lead to confusion on the birth certificates.

Mr Lee said: ‘While it is unorthodox to have three surrogates at the same time, we couldn’t turn down what could be our only chance to have the big family we’d always dreamed of.’ The couple say their families are happy for them, and are extending their three-bedroom home to add extra bedrooms and bathrooms to fit their brood, who they have dubbed the ‘twiplets’.  Both Mr Harris and Mr Lee plan to work part-time, with one parent at home to care for the children, and Mr Lee’s parents will also move in to help them.

Under UK law, it is illegal to pay a surrogate mother to carry a child, other than reasonable expenses such as travel costs, maternity clothing, care for her other children or counselling. Agencies recommend these expenses amount to no more than £15,000 per pregnancy.

stork_baby

Ironically it seems that Mr Lee and Mr Harris are already living out Prof. Djerassi’s prediction. As Prof, Djerassi says: “Sex will become a futile exercise for those wanting to reproduce.” 

With these types of stories I always wonder what will be told to the children when they start asking difficult questions about where babies come from. It is sensitive enough issue anyway without having to explain that: 

“Well, we went online and found a woman who was willing to rent her body to us for money. She has done this 3 times before with other people and so you have some half brothers and sisters living out there somewhere but we don’t know who they are. Anyway, Daddy masturbated into a small pot and gave the sperm to your mummy who artificially inseminated herself and became pregnant with you. Then we found two other women who agreed to do the same thing. You and your brother have the same Daddy (Daryl Lee) but different Mummy’s (Bex and Becky Harris), but your sister is no biological relation to you because she has a different Mummy and Daddy (Luke Harris and Victoria Ellis). When you were born, your Mother signed a piece of paper saying that she had no legal right to you and she handed you over to us. We paid her £15k to do this.”

Perhaps it’s better they just stick to the Stork story…?

Is there anyone left out there who disputes my claim that NFP is THE major counter cultural evangelising message in the west in the 21st century?

Sources –

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2827111/Sex-exist-purely-fun-2050-fertile-women-turn-IVF-start-families-claims-inventor-Pill.html

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2828276/Gay-couple-fathers-three-babies-just-seven-months-meeting-three-different-surrogate-mothers-online.html

http://www.1flesh.org/

Top 6 reasons Catholic Parents are not fulfilling their role as ‘Primary Educators’.

Over the last two generations in the west, we have experienced a massive watering down of the faith. We are in a position now where very few Catholic parents are fulfilling their role as primary educators. How can parents transmit something that they do not know themselves? It’s not fair.

I will fight for these parents – my siblings, my friends, for as long as it takes the lazy, crazy people in charge of the church right now to actually do something about it. Until that happens I will continue to teach parents how to Understand, Live and Transmit their faith to their kids through my other blog www.understandlivetransmit.com

There are of course many contributing factors to this massive problem, but here are my top 6…

1. Poor Religious Education. 

FawcettSchool_class_nd_full

Sadly, we cannot assume that the religious education received by today’s Catholic parents in the 1970’s, 80’s and 90’s has been thorough or effective. Since the Second Vatican Council the emphasis in religious education has been on providing students with a variety of experiences such as prayer services, art projects, and community service instead of teaching such basics as the Ten Commandments, the spiritual and corporal works of mercy and the meaning of grace etc. 

When this “experiential method” of teaching, along with religion textbooks which de-emphasized and watered down Church teachings, were introduced into Catholic classrooms in the 60s, proponents of the “new catechetics” promised that the new methodology and texts would make the Catholic faith relevant to youth. Instead they have resulted in widespread religious illiteracy and alienation from the Church and its teachings. I myself am living proof of this. I am 35. I came out of school with very little real knowledge of the faith. I had no idea that a relationship with Christ was possible. I had never even heard of Papal documents, the Catechism, Youcat or studied scripture in any real way until I went to Maryvale university 4 years ago. I never got taught the basics of the faith.

The methodology in teaching the faith over the last two generations has been Man centred rather than Christ centred. It has been predominantly preoccupied with the experience the student is receiving rather than the content being transmitted.

In 2000 Geraldine Stafford, Catholic Writer and Catechist for 25 years, recognised this problem and stated that: “Group prayer, art projects and community service all have their place in catechetics, but the primary responsibility of catechists is to follow Christ’s command to “teach them to observe all that I have commanded” (Matt. 28:20).” She recalls one student’s reaction when she told her year 8 class that she would be quizzing them on the Ten Commandments, the Two Great Commandments, and the Beatitudes. “You really expect us to learn these things?” one of her students asked in shocked disbelief. Her reaction indicated that memorization in RE class was a totally new experience for her.

She stated: “We must provide our youth with the experience of learning the teachings of Jesus and his Church if we expect them to develop a healthy, vibrant Catholic faith. As Saint John Paul II has pointed out: “The blossoms, if we may call them that, of faith and piety do not grow in the desert of a memory-less catechesis.”

In his article, “Mad Methodology,” Sean Innerst observed that “catechetical methodology is not only important insofar as it is the vehicle for imparting the content of the faith, but because, if wrongly conceived, it can undermine the whole content of the faith.” He cited this statement from the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee to Oversee the Use of the Catechism’s report: “When the methodological starting point is predominantly human experience, the texts at times easily leave the impression that human initiative is the prerequisite for divine action. God’s initiative appears subordinate to human experience and human action.” Innerst says that it is no accident that the “process of redefining faith and revelation in terms of personal experience coincides with a nearly 30-year process of dissent from Catholic teaching. . . . With the wrong methodology, even the best content will be no weightier than the opinion of the next person who picks up the text.”

2. Why are we playing Catechetical Roulette?

Burk

“One of the biggest challenges (for Catholic families) is the defective catechesis in the Roman Catholic Church – I can speak from my experience in the United States – for the past 40 to 50 years.”  – Cardinal Raymond Burke, Family Synod 2014.

Why do we not have a central recommended program of Catechises and Evangelisation for each diocese? It seems strange to me that in one parish you will get brilliant formation and catechesis based on Holy Scripture, the Catechism and Papal doc’s, and in the parish up the road you will something quite different based on people’s own personal opinions of what they would prefer the catholic faith to look like.

It is at the point of First Holy Communion or Confirmation that many of today’s catholic parents are suddenly re-discovering their faith. For a large majority it will be the first time they will have ever read scripture. For many families it is the chance for the non-Catholic spouse to learn about the Catholic faith. It is an opportunity for evangelization and catechesis that must not be missed.

Parishes need to make adult formation classes a priority at the same time as the children are learning their sacramental prep. Sacramental prep needs to be family focused rather than child focused because if it is important to the parents, it will be important to the child.

What I would like to see:

  • Each parish will have in place a recognised ongoing adult formation / evangelisation course recommended by their diocese such as Anchor.
  • When people request to get married or have their Child baptised, Priests need to assess where people are in their relationship with Christ and then direct them accordingly– delaying the sacrament if necessary.
  • Marriage prep needs to CLEARLY spell out what catholic marriage is. The couple then have to decide if they really want a catholic marriage or not.
  • Marriage and Baptism prep need to include content on building a domestic church.
  • Pastoral accompaniment needs to go beyond the actual celebration of the sacrament.

3. Sacramentelised but not Evangelised or Catechised. 

Vatican-Pope-Babie_2788387b

Here is Pope Francis famously Baptizing Giulia, who’s Catholic parents are married civilly but not in church. I hope the Holy Father took this opportunity to not only make sure Giulia’s parents are properly catechised and evangelised, but also to sort out their marriage situation. Obviously if they are wishing their home to be a domestic church in which the faith is transmitted, they will realise that their witness in being sacramentaly married (or not) will speak volumes to their child. They obviously do not see the need for a sacramental marriage. I would bet £100 that they do not realise they are the primary educators of their child and have never even heard the term ‘domestic church’. Baptism of a child presents itself as a natural opportunity for sorting out all these issues and enables and empowers the parents to carry out their role as primary educators much more effectively.

I believe the way the sacraments have been administered over the last 2 generations has resulted in a massive watering down of the faith. I believe not enough time, energy or money have been invested in sacrament prep. And from my own experience, a lot of the sacramental prep out there is variable in it’s accuracy and effectiveness.

Here is what you can get in terms of sacrament prep if you live in some of the parishes around my area…

Baptism: 1 hour

First Confession/Holy Communion: 6 months: 1 hour per week for the Kids. (Parents get 6 x 1 hour sessions based on what the kids have been learning.)

Confirmation: 6 months: 1.5 hour meeting per month + 1 day retreat.

Marriage: 1 full day

Holy Orders: 7 Years

There seems to be a lot of time money and effort put into Children’s catechesis, and very little put into Adult catechesis and ongoing formation. Why is this? Is adult formation not as important? I would argue that taking into account the lack of effective religious education and catechesis over the last 2 generations it is now more important.

Earlier this year I spent several months getting involved with a local Baptism prep class. It was a one off, 1.5 hour session. At the end of this 1.5 hours, parents were expected to go off and bring up their children in the faith! I was greatly surprised and horrified to discover that 90% of these parents were unable to recite the Our Father without reading it off a sheet in front of them. They also had to fill in a sheet during the class stating why they wanted their child baptised. Most of them wrote ‘Family tradition’. Others wrote ‘To be part of the Church’. Very few had any understanding whatsoever that Baptism is the choice to turn away from sin and to  begin a relationship with Jesus. The vast majority of these parents need to go through RCIA. A priest friend of mine feels that many catholic churches today have become “Baptism Factories”.

A friend of mine is a great example of this. She is open in saying that she had poor religious education and catechesis and as an adult she has decided that the Catholic church holds no spirituality for her, so she has chosen Buddhism instead. She wanted her son to go to Catholic school because she wanted him to learn good moral values. At age 7, he turned round and declared that he wanted to be baptized! She was very happy for this to happen. He got baptised abroad and his Godparents live abroad. His mum is now bringing him up half Catholic, half Buddhist. They do not attend church. It is great that her son got baptised, but he, like his Mum has been sacramentalised without being catechised or evangelised. The cycle continues…

Why are we dumping people after the service? Do we really think that now they have been sacramentalised they are ‘done’? This applies to all the sacraments – but especially marriage:

 

“The initial years of marriage are a vital and fragile period during which couples become more aware of the challenges and meaning of married life. Consequently, pastoral accompaniment needs to go beyond the actual celebration of the sacrament.” – (Para 35. mid-term report, Family Synod 2014)

The nurturing and social contact, the education and catechesis… the pastoral accompaniment must continue after the actual celebration of the sacrament.

 

4. Marrying a non-Catholic. 

Wedding-Couple

In 2013 in our parish we had 12 Catholic to Catholic weddings, and 23 Catholic to non-Catholic weddings. I feel it is safe to say that in the west, this is now the norm. Most families I know are in the position where 1 spouse is not catholic.

With one Catholic parent the transmission of the faith in the home by lived example, is reduced by at least 50%. 

Another childhood friend of ours is a perfect example of this. He is the Catholic in the marriage. However, growing up he suffered the same poor religious education, poor catechesis as we did and crucially, he is not evangelised. He has married his non-practising Hindu wife civilly and has not had the protection of a dispensation. This has resulted in their children remaining unbaptized. It is down to him to transmit the faith to his children. How exactly is he supposed to do this?

Of course every situation is different, and it very much depends on how supportive the non catholic spouse is. Another friend, for example, is married to an agnostic who accompanies him to church each week and is extremely supportive of their sons catholic upbringing. But very often the Catholic spouse compromises their faith to keep their non-Catholic spouse happy – especially (I have found) in the area of contraception. This is a subject that is never talked about and I feel Catholic parents in this position are currently offered no support.

 

5. Accepting Secularism as the norm. 

GAY_WEDDING_CAKE_1530710a

“Today’s world appears to promote limitless affectivity, seeking to explore all its aspects, including the most complex. Indeed, the question of emotional fragility is very current: a narcissistic, unstable or changeable affectivity do not always help greater maturity to be reached… In this context, couples are often uncertain and hesitant, struggling to find ways to grow. Many tend to remain in the early stages of emotional and sexual life… The crisis in the couple destabilizes the family and may lead, through separations and divorce, to serious consequences for adults, children and society as a whole, weakening the individual and social bonds.” – (Para 10. mid-term report, Family Synod 2014)

The present climate of relativism, secularism and individualism rejects nearly all that Christianity stands for, meaning that those whose faith is unstable are facing many new and unexpected perils. Most are just not well equipped enough to deal with it.

Today’s secular culture, teaches us from youth that devotion to God is a private matter. Our society makes us ashamed not only to speak about God in the workplace or to our neighbours, we are even hesitant to show a vibrant faith to our own children. In fact, we often feel uncomfortable with our own religious desires.

It is essential for parents to be made aware of the realities of our secular culture and what that means in terms of being a catholic parent today: It’s massive anti-Christian influences such as the media, consumerism and many of today’s political ideas. Catholic parents and teachers, now more than ever, need to realise that living and passing on the Catholic faith is essentially counter-cultural

Once parents are awakened to the realities of how our society is under such major influences, it will be easier for them to recognise and confidently reject the things, regarded as normal by society, that are actually totally anti Christian. This takes a lot of courage and is much easier to achieve as a community than as individuals.

6. Clericalists Despise the Primary Educator.

Finally, there is one other extremely disturbing issue. I have come across members of the clergy, religious, and even catechists that do not recognise parents as the child’s primary educators. They do not believe in educating and empowering the parents to fulfil their role, but instead feel that it is their job. This goes directly against the teachings of the church and I would recommend people to be extremely vigilant of any type of children’s catechesis that does not directly involve the parents. Parent-less catechesis is only adding to the problem. If you ever come across this issue, you might want to show the people involved this section of Gravissimum Educationis:

“Since parents have given children their life, they are bound by the most serious obligation to educate their offspring and therefore must be recognized as the primary and principal educators. This role in education is so important that only with difficulty can it be supplied where it is lacking. Parents are the ones who must create a family atmosphere animated by love and respect for God and man, in which the well-rounded personal and social education of children is fostered. Hence the family is the first school of the social virtues that every society needs. It is particularly in the Christian family, enriched by the grace and office of the sacrament of matrimony, that children should be taught from their early years to have a knowledge of God according to the faith received in Baptism, to worship Him, and to love their neighbour.  Here, too, they find their first experience of a wholesome human society and of the Church. Finally, it is through the family that they are gradually led to a companionship with their fellow men and with the people of God. Let parents, then, recognize the inestimable importance a truly Christian family has for the life and progress of God’s own people.” – Para. 3 Gravissimum Educationis

Come on Bishops! Wake up, admit your past mistakes, and DO SOMETHING ABOUT THIS CRISIS!!!

 

 

Love is a bitter little pill.

Pill

As we head into November and the year starts drawing to a close, I can’t help looking back over this last year and seeing how much I have learned.

My prayer this year was ‘Teach me how to suffer…’. I have been particularly interested in the relationship suffering has with other things especially love, and fear. I think I would even go as far to say that in terms of suffering, love and fear are polar opposites.

In practical terms, I have certainly had to face these things over this year. I am ashamed of my lack of courage in regards to my husband’s illness. He is a much braver person than me. But I have also come to the understanding that it can be much harder to watch a loved one suffer and walk along side them when there is nothing you can do to take that suffering away. That is a heartbreak I still cannot come to terms with. I would give anything to be the one who is suffering rather than to watch helplessly from the outside. But of course in a marriage, if one spouse suffers, the other suffers too.

Mary has been with me in a special way this year. She has taught me that when I hold the Rosary it is really her holding my hand, and I should be like a sunflower – always turning to face the sun (her Son).

Mary had to help her Son walk towards the cross for 33 years. And at the end of those 33 years she stood beneath the cross and supported Him as he died. Her courage and selflessness are things I need to learn. She once said to a friend of mine “If I can stand at the foot of the cross, then so can you.”

Suffering can be scary. We are all hopelessly attached to comfort. I would go as far as to say that our attachment to comfort doubles no, triples the fear we associate with suffering. I am certainly guilty of this. My attachment to money, health, and carefree living has certainly been exposed, but I have at least taken the first step and stopped running, and have turned round to face my attachment to comfort. Everybody wants an easy life…

I sit and contemplate all these things and then think myself ever so clever for rationalizing it all. But what good is that?! I still need to put the simple truths into action. Love is greater than fear. Love conquers all things.

But love is not easy. Love can sometimes be a very bitter pill to swallow. Pray for me…

 

 

 

My Top 5 Hopes for the Family Synod.

synod

 

There are of course more than 5, but here goes (in reverse order):

5. That Parents will be made aware, and supported in the fact that they are the primary and most influential educators of their children, and that their home is a domestic church.

Most of the parents I know have no idea of the spiritual authority they have over their children. They have no idea that THEY are the primary educators and that THEIR witness to the faith is going to be the single biggest method of evangelisation their children will ever, ever get. The vast majority want to transmit the faith to their children but how can parents be expected to pass on the faith to their children if they do not know it themselves? The Bishops have to realise that adult formation should be moved up into top priority in parishes if they want the next generation to learn the faith from their parents. Parents need to be mobilised into realising that God is not just something that occurs in church on a Sunday morning, but He is in-fact a living reality throughout every moment of every day of our lives. Our homes should be schools of prayer and love where we can show our children everyday what it means to truly follow Christ.

4. That the Theology of the Body and NFP will be recognised and vigorously promoted from the pulpits as being THE MOST important, counter-cultural evangelising message a couple will ever hear.

Our society is obsessed with sex. It is also obsessed with self gratification. We have a porn pandemic. We also live and work in a culture that dehumanises us into a number on a payroll. The value of human life is not regarded in very high esteem unless you are earning a wage and can become a consumer. Human dignity is something that needs to be re-taught and re-learned. We are dignified simply because we are human beings. We are made in the image and likeness of God. A husband is dignified simply because he is a man and a wife is dignified simply by the fact that she is a woman. The physical, emotional and spiritual differences between men and women are God given and complimentary.  To (re)discover this dignity in the bedroom, and the whole of the rest of our lives is one of the biggest strengths the Church has against the secularisation and consumerism of the west.

3. That the (soon to be reformed) Annulment process will take into account the scandalous lack of effective marriage prep currently available.

Lets take the two lifetime vocations: Holy Orders and Marriage. For Holy Orders you get 7 years training before you commit for life. For Marriage, in my parish, you get 1 day. 1 DAY!!! And they muse over why so many Catholic marriages fail. Given today’s emotionally based secular view on marriage it is more important than ever to prepare and educate people in what they are about to commit to. How is it possible that such neglect has taken place on such an important issue? It is my belief that a huge proportion of Catholic marriages could be classed as invalid due to lack of preparation. And then after the marriage has failed people find they are trapped in a sacramental union they had no idea they were getting themselves into. I truly hope the Bishops sit up and realise their responsibility here. I discuss this more HERE.

2. That the beautiful truths of our beautiful faith will actually get taught.

How can the Bishops expect couples to understand the indissolubility of a sacramental union if (due to complete lack of adult formation) they don’t even know what a sacrament is? Why have the vast majority of Catholics never heard of NaPro technology, Billings or Creighton? – let alone understand how they work or the positive effects they have on, well, everything. Why could the vast majority of parents at the baptism course I helped with, not recite the Our Father without reading it off a sheet in front of them. Why had I never even heard of the CCC or known there were such things as Papal documents until I went to Catholic university aged 31?

One of my main hopes for this synod is that it is recognised that, for whatever reason, most adult Catholics do not know the basic truths of the Catholic faith.  I hope and pray that the Bishops will recognise this, find effective methods of teaching these truths and then ensure that this desperately needed education is actually reaching the people in the pews.

1. The recognition that most Catholics do not have a relationship with Christ, and if they do, it’s on their terms not His. 

This is the real elephant in the middle of the room. The Vatican survey showed very clearly that normal everyday Catholics do not accept church teaching on issues such as contraception, gay marriage and divorce and re-marriage. These are major life changing issues that on the surface, to the unbeliever, seem to make no sense whatsoever.

Sherry Weddell’s book Forming Intentional Disciples tells us that only 30 percent of Americans who were raised Catholic are still practising. Fully, 10 percent of all adults in America are ex-Catholics. The number of marriages celebrated in the Church decreased dramatically, by nearly 60 percent, between 1972 and 2010. Only 60 percent of Catholics believe in a personal God. She really hits the nail on the head by bringing to light the fact that most Catholics do not have a relationship with Christ.

Why on earth would you want to remain open to life when you have already had your two kids and want to move on with the next stage of your life? Why would you choose an extremely challenging life of chastity rather than marry your gay partner whom you love deeply?

The only answer to these questions is that you do it because you love Christ more than you love yourself.

It is almost impossible for people to understand and accept many parts of Catholic doctrine, if not understood within the context of a personal relationship with Christ. A relationship that is based on His terms, not theirs. This correct relationship needs to come first. It is literally square 1.

Please God – let the Bishops recognise this, and Please God (even more so…) may they reflect on whether this is an issue for them personally. Do they have a relationship with Christ on their terms, or on His? Who is really in charge of their diocese? Has it influenced the way they have been guiding their flocks?

 

Lets us pray for the Synod…