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? ūüėČ

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 Рhe 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 ‚Äúgay lifestyle‚ÄĚ 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 ‚ÄúGod’s Rottweiler‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúWe 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.‚Ä̬†That hit me right between the eyes. So I started, occasionally, visiting Catholic websites,¬†learning more about what this ‚Äúrelativism‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúyou only live once.‚ÄĚ 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¬†‚ÄúMy Prayer Book‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúhas as its highest goals one’s own ego and one’s own desires,‚Ä̬†in that book I encountered beautiful reflections on self-denial, on forgiveness, even ‚ÄúThe¬†Blessing of Pain and Grief.‚ÄĚ 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: √ʬĬúBehold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.√ʬĬĚ

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, ‚ÄúWe believe that the Eucharist is the body of¬†Christ.‚Ä̬†

‚ÄúWe do?‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúthe Latin Mass‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúFans‚ÄĚ 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, ‚ÄúYou should go to mass.‚ÄĚ I’d trek to the ‚ÄúLatin Rite‚ÄĚ 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. ‚ÄúYou’re a hypocrite. You can’t call yourself Catholic¬†but live this way.‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúchanged‚ÄĚ came from seeing my ‚Äúlikes‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äúwedding.‚ÄĚ Other friends accuse me of being a ‚Äúself-loathing¬†homosexual.‚ÄĚ 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 ‚Äďnot 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¬†‚Äúconversion‚ÄĚ 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 Рand 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 ūüėČ

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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 ūüėČ )

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? ūüėČ “

“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!

Talking to Kids about Life and Death.

This week in the year is always a very emotional time for our family. It is our eldest sons birthday – when we first became parents. It is also the anniversary of Granddad Michael’s death.

Our son was born at home on my bed on the 17th July 2006 at 11am in a 100 degree heat wave. Of course his life started 9 months previously at the moment of his conception. To explain this to him we recently put up a scan picture of him at 9 weeks post conception “Look Alex – it’s you!”

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But now here he was – all 9lb 11oz of him! (4.4k). He made me a mother – something i had dreamed of becoming since i was 4 years old. I felt totally overwhelmed, intensely proud, completely helpless and wide eyed with wonder at this little human being who had been kicking me from the inside for the past couple of months!

I truly believe there is no bigger adjustment anyone can go through in their entire lives that becoming a parent for the first time. It really does change everything. Things that seemed so important before are now forgotten. Things that meant so much to you before, now hold no interest whatsoever. This tiny being, this baby has suddenly totally re-ordered all your priorities, wants, needs and aspirations. The love you feel for this tiny creature terrifies you because you have never felt this way about anything or anyone in your entire life ‚Äď not even your spouse. You would give up your life for this child in an instant. You notice everything: every tiny movement, every wrinkle, every breath they take is the most fascinating thing you have ever seen. Your heart doesn’t even know what to do with itself it is so in love! And all you want is for this child to love you back.

Of course the day our son was born was the morning my husband was due to start his big new job. Needless to say he had called in to say he wasn’t going to make it that day!¬†Of all the days I could have gone into labour, it had to be the day he was starting his new job! I told him weeks ago that there was never going to be any question of it ‚Äď THAT was the day I would have the baby!

We slept the rest of that day and then spent the next day calling and sending photo messages to the rest of our family. We asked for no phone calls because we wanted to just spend the first day or so together just the 3 of us. This decision was the biggest regret of my life.

The next day my husband completed his first day at work and came home to me and the baby. I hadn’t slept much and was still in shock from becoming a mum. But we sat together and congratulated ourselves that despite the chaos, we were doing OK. Then the phone rang. It was my husbands mum. She was calling to tell my husband that his father had just died. We hadn’t even named the baby yet.

To say this news was unexpected was an understatement. This man was fit as a fiddle. He swam in the sea everyday, cycled – you name it. No-one was expecting this.

We both remember the crazy mantle piece we had going on at the time: we had cards saying ‘sorry you’re leaving’ ‘congratulations on your new job’ ‘it’s a boy!’ and ‘with deepest sympathy’. It was like a time line of events that should have spun a few years – not a few days.

We decided to give Alex a middle name of Michael – after his Granddad. We take the kids each year to visit Granddad Michael’s grave. This year was a particularly happy time because it was the first time Angelica had visited his grave. We show Alex the date on the grave stone and tell him the story again of why his middle name is Michael. We talk about the fact that Granddad Michael is in heaven for ever now with Jesus and how happy he must be. We ask him to pray for us.

Life and death are a normal part of any families life. We are fortunate that in our family we have a time in the year where both mysteries can be contemplated together.

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Catholic family branded ‘bigoted’ by social workers for not wanting their children to be adopted by gay couple.

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Two Slovakian parents have failed to block the adoption of two of their sons by a same sex couple in Kent.

The Catholic couple, who are of Roma origin, argued their two young children would grow up alienated from their family and community. Taking the case to the High Court, they accused the local authority of social engineering by attempting to turn the children white and middle class. An earlier hearing heard evidence they had neglected their children.

In the Matter of J and S¬†concerned two boys, ‚ÄėJ‚Äô, aged four, and ‚ÄėS‚Äô, who will turn two in July. Their ‚ÄėRoma‚Äô parents come from the Slovak Republic. They were brought to West Yorkshire by traffickers and initially lived in ‚Äúcramped‚ÄĚ bed and breakfast accommodation. They later moved to a larger home with help from Hope for Justice, a charity based in Manchester which works with victims of trafficking.

Social services became involved and eventually their five youngest children were made the subject of care proceedings. The local authority applied for care orders for the four youngest, plus an order which would place for the oldest, aged 15, under its supervision for 12 months. In addition, they sought ‚Äėplacement orders‚Äô for the two youngest, J and S, putting them in the care of prospective adopters.

The orders were granted by¬†Mrs Justice Theis¬†at a hearing¬†in May last year. The parents then applied for permission to oppose the planned adoptions, making an unsuccessful bid to the European Court of Human Rights. In due course the case came before Sir James Munby at the High Court in London. A scheduled hearing earlier this month was adjourned after scheduled interpreters failed to show up. Their parents‚Äô counsel was acting pro bono. The President said: ‚ÄúThis is a very sad case‚ÄĚ. Nevertheless, he rejected the parents‚Äô application for leave to oppose the adoption order, under¬†section 47 of the Adoption and Children Act 2002. This deals with ‚Äėconditions for making adoption orders‚Äô. The President said the fact that J and S had been placed for adoption with a same sex couple did not constitute a sufficient change in circumstances to justify an objection by the parents under the Act.

In their witness statement, the parents had declared:

‚ÄúOur family is a Slovak Roma family and we are practising Catholics and a homosexual couple as potential adopters is very different from what Mrs Justice Theis had in mind in her judgment as this will not promote the children‚Äôs Roma heritage or their Catholic faith ‚Ķ Whilst we have no doubt that the prospective adopters have been properly assessed by the Local Authority, they are a homosexual couple and as such their lifestyle goes against our Roma culture and lifestyle. The children will not be able to be brought up in the Catholic faith because of the conflicts between Catholicism and homosexuality. They would not be able to maintain their Catholic faith if they are adopted by this couple and even if it was promised that they would attend church the children would at some stage be taught or learn of the attitude of the church to same sex couples. This would undoubtedly be upsetting to them and cause them to be in conflict between their religion and home life. Slovakia still does not recognise same sex couples and so their Slovak roots and values will not be maintained. In 2013 the Catholic Bishops in Slovakia condemned same sex marriage.‚ÄĚ

Mr Justice Munby responded:

‚ÄúI do not see how this can be described as a change in circumstances. There is nothing in all the material I have seen to suggest that the children‚Äôs placement with the prospective adopters was inappropriate or wrong, let alone irrational or unlawful, having regard to the principles that the local authority had to apply‚ĶNor‚Ķ has it been demonstrated that the placement was of a kind not contemplated by Theis J. On the contrary, Theis J expressly held, as we have seen, that the children‚Äôs welfare needs ‚Äúoutweigh‚ÄĚ the impact that adoption would have on their Roma identity.‚ÄĚ

The President continued:

‚ÄúOf course, any judge should have a decent respect to the opinions of those who come here from a foreign land, particularly if they have come from another country within the European Union‚Ķ.But the fact is, the law is, that, at the end of the day, I have to judge matters according to the law of England and by reference to the standards of reasonable men and women in contemporary English society. The parents‚Äô views, whether religious, cultural, secular or social, are entitled to respect but cannot be determinative. They have made their life in this country and cannot impose their own views either on the local authority or on the court.‚ÄĚ

Sir James Munby¬†also said¬†‚ÄėIt was, in my view, unfortunate that the local authority should have referred at one stage in the proceedings to the parents‚Äô views on homosexuality in such a way as to suggest that they are bigoted. The label is unnecessary and hurtful.‚Äô¬†Judge: Yesterday, the country’s most senior family judge, Sir James Munby, upheld the adoption plan, but criticised the social workers for the way they condemned the parents because of their views. His criticism is understood to follow a report submitted to the court by social workers which said: ‚ÄėThe attitude of the parents could be perceived as bigoted.‚Äô¬†

The parents are appealing to the European Court of Human Rights, although it is likely it will take months before their case is heard.

Lucie Boddington, from Dńõti PatŇô√≠ RodińćŇĮm – or Children Belong to Parents – a Slovakian charity which has been supporting the couple, said she hoped the Slovak government would request the case be heard more quickly. She told the BBC the parents were “desperate” and had cried openly when they heard the judge’s decision. “This is I think in some way a cultural misunderstanding,” she said. “In Slovakia, they were a model family – very different from the way some Roma live. The father is hard-working, well-educated; he wanted the best for his children.”

This comes at a time when social workers are under pressure from the Government to abandon rules which have meant that adopted children can be placed only with new families of the same ethnic or cultural background. The doctrine has been blamed for preventing ethnic minority children from being adopted by a stable family, because there are two few people from ethnic minorities are willing to adopt.

Mairead Macneil - Director of Specialist Children's Services at Kent county council.

Mairead Macneil – Director of Specialist Children’s Services at Kent county council.

“We are absolutely committed to improving the quality of service and we need to have social workers who are progressive, enthusiastic, enabling, empowering, practical and frankly just able to do the job well,” says Mairead MacNeil, director of specialist children’s services at Kent county¬†council. “I believe we have got a good core of social workers who can; we just need to build on that.”

A recent Ofsted report following an inspection¬†rated the council’s looked after children services as “adequate”, with “good” capacity to improve. In 2010, the same services had been judged “inadequate”.

In June 2013 Kent County Council Came under criticism in a report by the Local Government Ombudsman, after it failed to provide proper support to an abandoned boy.

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Sir James Munby

According to ‘Pink News’ The head of the High Court‚Äôs Family Division, Lord Justice James Munby, is a strong supporter of equality for gay people.

In November 2013 he gave a shocking address in which he said happily judges no longer promote virtue and morality or discourage vice and immorality’. In particular Judge Munby publicly repudiates Christianity and Christian morality, and welcomes the legalisation of abortion, gay sex and adultery.

In a speech in London, Sir James Munby said judges ‚Äėhappily‚Äô no longer had a role in enforcing morality, unlike in the past when they¬† routinely condemned homosexuality, adultery and promoted Victorian social attitudes.¬†‚ÄėOnce upon a time, the perceived function of the judges was to promote virtue and discourage vice and immorality,‚Äô he said. ‚ÄėI doubt one would now hear that from the judicial bench. Today, surely, the judicial task is to assess matters by the standards of reasonable men and women in 2013 ‚Äď not by the standards of their parents in 1970.‚Äô

Sir James said that Victorian judges promoted ‚Äėvirtue and morality‚Äô while¬† discouraging ‚Äėvice and immorality‚Äô with a ‚Äėvery narrow view of sexual morality‚Äô. He cited laws banning gay sex and abortion and rulings that condemned women for adultery. He added that the influence of Christian churches in the courts had also disappeared in recent years.

He said: ‚ÄėHappily for us, the days are¬† past when the business of judges was¬† the enforcement of morals or religious beliefs.‚Äô He said that modern-day judges had rightly abandoned any claim to be ‚Äėguardians of public morality‚Äô, just as Christian clerics no longer claimed to speak as the ‚Äėdefining voices of morality and of the law of marriage and the family. Today, we live in a largely secular society which, insofar as it remains religious at all, is now increasingly diverse in religious affiliation.‚Äô he said. ‚ÄėAlthough, historically, this country is part of the Christian West and although it has an established church which is Christian, we sit as secular judges serving a multi-cultural community of many faiths, sworn to do justice ‚Äúto all manner of people‚ÄĚ. We live in this country in a democratic and pluralistic society, in a secular state not a theocracy. All are entitled to respect, so long as they are ‚Äúlegally and socially acceptable‚ÄĚ and not ‚Äúimmoral or socially obnoxious‚ÄĚ or ‚Äúpernicious‚ÄĚ.‚Äô he said.

He also said courts would overrule parents‚Äô religious beliefs if it was in their child‚Äôs best interests, such as if a child of Jehovah‚Äôs Witnesses needed a blood transfusion. ‚ÄėWe live in a largely secular society which, insofar as it remains religious at all, is now increasingly diverse in religious affiliation,‚Äô he added.

He said a believer‚Äôs faith was not the ‚Äėbusiness of government or of the secular courts‚Äô, ‚Äėalthough, of course, the courts will pay every respect to the individual‚Äôs or family‚Äôs religious principles‚Äô.

In 2007 ¬†he was the presiding judge at a landmark case that ruled that a Christian couple should be banned from fostering children because of their views on homosexuality. ¬†At the time, making his judgement he said: ‚ÄúThe equality provisions concerning sexual orientation should take precedence over religious beliefs”.

Sources:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-27552716

http://www.marilynstowe.co.uk/2014/05/23/family-law-court-rejects-romani-parents-bid-to-return-children/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2637725/Catholic-family-branded-bigoted-social-workers-not-wanting-children-adopted-gay-couple.html#ixzz32dfazoJe 

http://www.theguardian.com/social-care-network/2013/sep/06/career-opportunities-social-workers

http://www.itv.com/news/meridian/story/2013-06-04/council-fails-abandoned-child/

http://protectthepope.com/?p=9004

http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/12/21/uk-new-head-of-the-high-courts-family-division-is-a-strong-supporter-of-gay-equality/

 

Priests – why don’t you ever give homilies on sex?

Dear Priests,

I love you. You know I love you dearly. I pray and fast for you every single day. But why don’t you ever give homilies on sex?

It’s a good question!

I am 34 years old and I have never, ever, not once, heard a priest talk about sex – either in or out of the pulpit.¬†My mum is in her 70’s and she cannot recall ever hearing sex mentioned in church AT ALL throughout her entire life.

I have been thinking about why this could be:

1. This is Britain, and we don’t talk about that sort of thing.
2. Priests are celibate and don’t feel confident talking about sex.
3. There could be children in the congregation.
4. It’s embarrassing.
5. Telling people that artificial contraception is bad would be a very unpopular homily.

It’s a shame because it is becoming more and more obvious that the Catholic teaching on sex is one of THE¬†biggest tools¬†of evangelization in the modern age.¬†The Catholic teaching on chastity, sex and marriage is completely and utterly counter-cultural. It teaches life in our ‘culture of death’. It is so radical that even you, the Priests don’t want to talk about it. (BTW, please don’t use ridiculous terms like ‘nuptial union’ and ‘conjugal act’!!! Instead use terms such as ‘make love’ and ‘have sex’, or if there are lots of children present¬†say ‘be together’ or ‘be intimate’.)

conjugal acts

From my own limited observations, I am confident to say that most people inside and outside of the church have absolutely no idea what the Catholic teaching on sex actually is. The vast majority have never read, or even heard of Humanae Vitae¬†or Theology of the Body. They don’t know about NFP, Billings, Creighton or Napro technology which offers a natural alternative to IVF. They have no clue as to the damage artificial contraception is having on their bodies, their relationships¬†or their souls. Because of this (and I use this word respectfully)… ignorance, they cannot understand why the church opposes gay marriage.

There is call now from liberal Catholics and dissident groups such as ‘A Call To Action’ to publish the results from the recent Vatican survey. They are of course hoping to highlight the fact that most Catholics ignore the church teaching on artificial contraception – and then get the teaching on sex officially ‘modernised’.

It is time for you, Priests, to start teaching your congregations what sex and marriage IS not just what it isn’t. Because if you don’t speak about it, who will?
I’ll tell you… the extremely vocal gay lobby. The sex saturated media. The secularist lefty politicians. The money-making contraception and abortion industry (yes, it is an industry, with sales targets and bonuses and advertising campaigns.)

Please, Priests, do us a favour… learn Theology of the Body and Humanae Vitae¬†like your life depends on it. Give it to us, your congregations in bite sized chunks each week. Trust me, the second you mention the word sex, you will have every eye and ear in the whole place focused on you. No one will be reading the newsletter or checking their Facebook status through that homily!

Visit 1flesh.org¬†and catholicmarriagecentre.org.uk¬†and the Couple to Couple League for tons of info. Explain the awful truth about the history of artificial contraception and its links to eugenics from people like ¬†Marie Stopes and Margaret Sanger. Find out who your local NFP teacher is and invite them to your parish. ¬†Start the conversation within your own parish and keep it going. Because if you don’t preach¬†the beauty of Gods design on sex and marriage, no one will. Please don’t leave us to fight this battle on our own…

Humanae Vitae full version –¬†

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/paul_vi/encyclicals/documents/hf_p-vi_enc_25071968_humanae-vitae_en.html

Theology of the Body full version –¬†

http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP2TBIND.HTM

Be a little Pebble against the Liberal Goliaths.

Ok I admit it. Occasionally, I fail.
I allow myself the self-indulgence of becoming overwhelmed with the wrongs of the world. From midnight tonight¬†in the UK, the very first gay ‘marriages’ will legally be allowed to take place. It seems that we have lost the legal fight for the time being. We shouted and protested and wrote letters to our MP’s, and regularly acquired new nick-names such as ‘bigot’ ‘homophobe’ ‘religious fanatic’ and my personal favorite – ‘repressed dinosaur’!
But it is not just the secular world that is wrong at the moment. Even more upsetting has been the recent outspoken views of the German bishops regarding marriage within the church, and the slack criteria for being able to receive our Lord in the Holy Eucharist.
We have also recently seen one particular UK liberal Bishop use his power to silence a faithful and traditional Catholic Deacon blogger for the reason that he was criticizing liberal Bishops! Now it seems we can not even oppose those who disagree with what the church teaches – because they happen to be the ones in power.

What are we supposed to do?
Answer: Be a little pebble.

We each are members of Gods holy church, and we each have a responsibility to ensure that the beautiful truths it teaches are protected from attack – whether that be from the outside world, or from inside the church itself.

Be a little pebble when people no longer listen to your shouting or allow you to protest.
Be a little pebble when bishops campaign for the right of their flock to be able to receive our Lord whilst being in a state of mortal sin. 
Be a little pebble when people in your own parish try to suppress and destroy any initiatives you have to correctly evangelize people, using beautiful true and faithful church teachings based on Holy scripture, the CCC, Youcat and Papal documents because it challenges their flimsy liberal personal opinions.
With faith as your catapult, launch yourself out of your comfort zone and into the stratosphere of radical holiness. Let go of your own ideas and entrust yourself to God’s¬† strategy and plan. Use Holy Eucharist, Confession, Prayer from the heart (daily Rosary), Holy Scripture and Fasting as your propulsion. Decide today for radical holiness. Pray! Pray! Pray! Put God in the FIRST place in your life and let our Lord and His Mother guide your trajectory.
You see, if the little pebble is aimed correctly, it can slay a Goliath with one hit. One hit. 
But what happens if we all start becoming little pebbles? With all of us together we would become a tsunami of pebbles endlessly flowing towards the liberal falsities that surround us. No Goliath could possibly withstand this massive tidal wave of truth.
With lots of little pebbles under its feet, that Goliath will fall. (Have you ever tried to stand up in a child’s ball pond?! It’s impossible!!).

Be a little pebble. Be truth and beauty. Do not be afraid.

“In the end, my immaculate heart will triumph.” – Our Lady of Fatima

The evidence that blows apart Mr Cameron’s claim that gay marriage will strengthen families.

This is such a great article¬† – please take a look…

'The ties that bind us': For the PM's inner circle of self-styled modernisers, the proposal of legalising same-sex marriage is seen as a key instrument of change, a powerful agent that can 'detoxify' the Tory brand

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-2329294/The-evidence-blows-apart-Mr-Camerons-claim-gay-marriage-strengthen-families.html?fb_action_ids=10151378106401198&fb_action_types=og.likes&fb_source=other_multiline&action_object_map=%7B%2210151378106401198%22%3A315009368630424%7D&action_type_map=%7B%2210151378106401198%22%3A%22og.likes%22%7D&action_ref_map=%5B%5D

 

 

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Wedding Cake Prosecutions…

For anyone who thought my last post might have been in the realms of fantasy – think again!

I did a little fishing around on the internet and found this sort of “Your Christian beliefs¬†are not tolerated¬†here…” issue has already raised its ugly head in the USA:

 

Probe: Oregon baker Aaron Klein, pictured, is under investigation after he refused to make a wedding cake for a lesbian couple

Baker who refused to make wedding cake for lesbian couple faces state¬† investigation…

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2272429/Aaron-Klein-complaint-Baker-refuses-make-wedding-cake-lesbian-couple-calls-abominations-unto-Lord.html#axzz2Jm9roLLL

And Another…¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†

Barronelle Stutzman via screencap

Washington state suing florist who refused to supply gay wedding…

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/04/10/washington-state-suing-florist-who-refused-to-supply-gay-wedding/

And another…

Wedding Cake Wars…

http://www.bilerico.com/2013/05/wedding_cake_wars_oregon_edition.php

And another…

Same-sex couple denied wedding cake by bakery…

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57482042/same-sex-couple-denied-wedding-cake-by-bakery/

 

Well, there you have it! Your comments please…