When I presented Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI with his 90th Birthday Di Clara vestments.


“To have Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI hold your hand and thank you, and describe your vestments as “…wonderful, beautiful…” is something I never dreamed could happen 18 months ago when I started my vestments business – Di Clara.”…Read more here: https://www.diclara.co.uk/blogs/news/when-i-presented-pope-emeritus-benedict-xvi-with-his-90th-birthday-di-clara-vestments

Catholic Bishops ask Rome to change Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews – because it is not politically correct enough.



Archbishop Kevin McDonald

By Joseph Shaw (Chairman of the Latin Mass Society of England and Wales)

The Bishops of England and Wales recently had a meeting, and among their decisions was one concerning a prayer of the liturgy which they decided they didn’t like in its current form. This prayer is used once a year, in about six churches in England and Wales, and never in English: it is always said in Latin, because it belongs to the Vetus Ordo (Traditional Mass) service for Good Friday.

A remarkable attention to detail, perhaps. But the bishops’ objection to the prayer wasn’t to do with it being difficult to understand (it doesn’t use the word ‘ineffable’, the word which so annoys objectors to the new translation of the English Mass.) The retired Archbishop Kevin McDonald explained it this way: it is ‘a prayer for the conversion of Jews to Christianity’.

This is true – more or less. The prayer runs like this:

‘Let us also pray for the Jews: that our God and Lord may illuminate their hearts, that they acknowledge Jesus Christ is the Saviour of all men.’


Archbishop Kevin McDonald

The prayer is based on St Paul (eg 2 Cor 4:3-6), who looked forward to Jewish people, as a body, coming to the Faith in the final phase of history . The Fathers of the Church saw the ‘conversion of the Jews’ as one of the prologues to the Second Coming (Romans 11:25-26). While individual Jews become Christians along the way, the acceptance of Christ by ‘the Jewish people’ is not about a targeted programme of proselytism, such as Evangelical Christians sometimes promote. Whether aggressively conducted or not, Jewish sensitivities to this kind of thing are easy to understand in the context of their history.

It was in light of these sensitivities that Pope Benedict re-wrote the Prayer for the Jews to be used in the Traditional Mass, after he lifted restrictions on the celebration of it in 2007. It is his, 2008 version, that we are talking about, not the one this one replaced. He removed some of the rather dramatic language used by St Paul (eg 2 Cor 3:14) – about how God would one lay lift the ‘veil’ from the Jews’ hearts – but he left in the hope that they would accept Christ one day.

What is it about asking God to give Jews the grace of conversion that Archbishop McDonald and the English Bishops don’t like? They prefer the equivalent prayer used at Good Friday in the Novus Ordo, the liturgy reformed after Vatican II. He told us:

‘The 1970 prayer which is now used throughout the Church is basically a prayer that the Jewish people would continue to grow in the love of God’s name and in faithfulness of his Covenant, a Covenant which – as St John Paul II made clear in 1980 – has not been revoked.’

Exactly what St John Paul II meant by that phrase has been long disputed. It is in another reference to St Paul, who said the Jews are loved by God because, despite the coming of Christ, God does not revoke his promises (Romans 11:29). Could it mean that Jews are saved by something other than the Cross of Christ? It can’t possibly mean that: even people outside the Church are saved, if they are saved, by the merits of Christ, as the Catechism makes clear:

848 ‘Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.’


Jewish worshipers pray at the Western Wall.


Denying that Christ died to save all mankind puts us into very dodgy ground. The universal nature of Christ’s saving act is a fundamental teaching of Christianity. It is offered universally; it is accepted, Christ tells us, by ‘few’. But every sin ever committed is infinitely counterbalanced by the Christ’s self-sacrificial love, his death on the Cross, and it is this, and this alone, which has opened heaven to us all.

We might be wondering, at this point, whether the reformed liturgy most Catholics go to, actually expresses this fundamental doctrine. Not only does it, but it contains explicit prayers for the conversion of the Jews.

Here’s one: ‘Let Israel recognize in you the Messiah it has longed for’

Here’s another: ‘Christ, Son of David, fulfilment of the prophecies, may the Jewish people accept you as their awaited Deliverer [Latin: Messiah].’

These are from the Liturgy of the Hours, not Mass, but they are part of the Church’s public prayer, and should be said by all priests. And bishops, of course. (They come up in Morning Office of 31st December, and Vespers of Easter Sunday.)

Have the Bishops of England and Wales not noticed that the 1970 liturgy does exactly what they object to about the Vetus Ordo liturgy? Should someone tell them?

More on the issue can be read here.


Omgosh I did a bidding prayer at the Vatican!


I’m writing this at Fiumicino airport on my phone so I hope it is going to present itself ok?!  Let’s try…

Well… Yesterday I read a bidding prayer at the Vatican, during the canonisation Mass of Louis and Zelie Martin – the parents of St Therese of Lisieux.

This all came about because I am a secular Carmelite. My formation director is friends with one of the Carmelite friars in Rome who happens to be the assistant to the General Procurator (the guy who investigates the miracles attributed to possible saints) and he was looking for an English speaker to do one of the bidding prayers. So she gave him my email address!

We had a practise on the Saturday, but I actually missed our practice slot because I was too busy chatting. Typical me. But in my defence I was chatting to the relatives of Louis and Zellie Martin, and Therese of Lisieux! (but that’s another blog post I am yet to write).


I was just so happy to be there watching all the preparations to be honest. Let me tell you this: a Papal Mass is one big choreography. It was fascinating to see the organisation going on in several different languages. Lucky for me most people spoke at least basic English, because I can’t speak a word of any other language. I struggle enough with English frankly! But it didn’t matter. There is always someone who is available for a bit of impromptu translation. But I did at least get to go and stand at the Ambo and freak out at how many chairs there were!


Sunday morning I arrived at St Peters square at 7.45am and there was already hundreds of people queuing to get in. Lucky I had a ‘special’ ticket and was able to go straight through up into the VIP area.  There I met the rest of the bidding prayer crew.


We were able to have a run through but I have to say, I wasn’t really nervous, just really, really excited!

Then Mass started. We were sitting pretty much in the front row. There were just two suits in front of us who I assume were security, with black briefcases that I assume contained lots of guns and stuff. Seriously – I think we had the best seats in the house.


Pope Francis seemed to me to be a Father under enormous pressure, who desperately needs the prayers and support of Mother church. It’s not an easy marriage at the moment. I don’t envy his job one bit.

He declared Louis and Zélie Martin saints. The first married couple ever to be canonised together. May they watch over, and be a tangible source of help to all married couples and families.

So then, after the homily, came the moment of truth for me. Bidding prayer time. I’m very happy to report that I managed NOT to trip up, fluff my lines or do a Marilyn Munroe with my dress.

Click to view video.

After Mass their was opportunity to get a quick photo of Papa Franko in the Popemobile.


He usually takes about 20 minutes to drive around the whole of St Peters square and kiss babies ect. But his drive was cut rather short that day. Probably because he needed to get home pronto to watch Argentina destroy Ireland in the rugby (just kidding!).

The crowd was estimated at about 80k, and spilled out into the roads surrounding St Peters square.


And I even managed to get a pic of the gorgeous altar frontal – for research purposes only 😉


Then I had to leg it before security rolled me up in the red carpet and threw me out! Ha!ha!

It was an INCREDIBLE day. Probably one of the best days of my life. I’m in no doubt that my Carmelite sister St. Therese orchestrated all of this for me on her parents big day! I’m forever in her debt. <3

I prayed for you all, and all your intentions xxx

As I head off to Rome…


I am about to fulfil one of my life ambitions today. I’M GOING TO ROME!!! First time ever. I’m V. excited.

Although all that got put on hold this morning when I awoke to shouts of “MUUUUUMMM!” I ran into my 6 year olds room to discover that she had almost completely re-decorated her room with vomit. Great. As if i wasn’t worried enough about leaving my husband to look after the 3 kids – now one of them is sick.

At least this worry can now replace the ridiculously creative negative fantasies i’ve been experiencing with increasing velocity over the last few days.

  1. What if this headache I have right now is actually a brain aneurysm, and flying at high altitude will be the last straw and it will pop mid flight?
  2. What if during the synod Satan really does claim his seat in the Vatican and I have to fight my way out of a hoard of zombie like evil cardinals – all hellbent on destroying my soul?
  3. What if there is a sudden influx of 19-24 year old male refugees who descend on Rome forcing the airport to close and my passport gets stolen, and I lose my friends, and blah blah blah.

It’s not easy having an over active imagination. And don’t tell me God won’t let anything happen to me while I travel – just ask Teresa of Avila. Donkey. Ditch. “If this is the way You treat your friends no wonder you don’t have many” ect…

OMGosh it’s 1pm already. OK got to finish hurling things into the smallest suitcase in the world and get to Gatwick ASAP. Oh and by the way… there is a pretty good chance I am going to be doing one of the bidding prayers at the canonization Mass on Sunday morning. It is being televised to like a billion people on EWTN.

Please pray I don’t say ‘immorality’ instead of ‘immortality’, or fall over on the way up to the ambo, or do a Marilyn Monroe if it is windy. And if it is windy I wont wear the mantilla. I don’t want it wrapping itself round my head like a turban during the bidding prayers.

Actually I do have a really nice white dress I want to wear, but i don’t want to upstage the Pope. OH! Catholic problems!!!

If I make my flight you’ll be hearing more stories soon 😉