UFO spotted above Vatican.

ufo

In a statement issued by the Vatican head of Cosmology, Ukrainian born Fr Ima Sceptic described the recent UFO sighting above the Vatican as “Out of this world.”

Fr. Sceptic has spent the last 30 years heading a team of nerdy clergy known affectionately within Vatican circles  as ‘The Geek Squad’. They can be easily recognised by the sticky plaster that holds the bridge of their reading glasses together, and their rigidity in terms of liturgy.

“When this was first reported we thought it was just another hoax” explained Fr. Sceptic. “It was a very windy day. We rushed to the window and at that very moment witnessed a small black spacecraft floating on the breeze. It went right passed our window! We saw it with our own eyes!”

Fr Sceptic’s account can be verified by his assistant, American born Fr. Al Ien.

“He’s right” said Fr. Al Ien “It was about  40-50cm wide at the brim and looked like it was made out of something like Beaver fur.”

When told about the sighting, Pope Francis reportedly said that the Geek Squad are “notorious” for their “fake news” and that they should stop being so nerdy and rigid and  “get with the programme”.

The Holy Father continued “I’m not saying there aren’t such things as aliens, I’m just not saying there are. If you want to believe in aliens then fine. If you don’t want to believe, then fine. Makes no difference to me. Do whatever makes you feel happy.”

Fr Sceptic thanked the Holy Father for his leadership on this issue and has duly filed the incident under the “Lacking Clear Explanation” file in the Vatican vault.

In other news…

There has been an unprecedented rise in sales of the famous Saturno hat worn by clergy in Rome this week.

Sales staff have advised priests not to wear the wide brimmed hat on very windy days due to an increase in fake UFO sightings this month.

How do you solve a problem like Pope Francis?

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Did Pope Francis just say that it is ok to use artificial contraception in some cases?

This is the question that is being asked all over the world at the moment. As usual following the off-the-cuff answers given during his airplane interviews, Pope Francis has left a wake of questions and confusion. One begs the question of whether he should be doing this style of interview at all? I often wish he would just take a sedative on his plane trips and have a nice long sleep rather than unleashing the hounds of misinterpretation and misunderstanding.

Let’s gloss over the fact that he just told Donald Trump he was not a Christian, and instead focus on the recent comments concerning the Zika virus. Did he say it was ok to use condoms to avoid a pregnancy in these circumstances?

The first thing to do is to ignore any shock headlines and look up the exact transcript of what was said:

Paloma García Ovejero, Cadena COPE (Spain): “Holy Father, for several weeks there’s been a lot of concern in many Latin American countries but also in Europe regarding the Zika virus. The greatest risk would be for pregnant women. There is anguish. Some authorities have proposed abortion, or else to avoiding pregnancy. As regards avoiding pregnancy, on this issue, can the Church take into consideration the concept of “the lesser of two evils?””

Pope Francis: Abortion is not the lesser of two evils. It is a crime. It is to throw someone out in order to save another. That’s what the Mafia does. It is a crime, an absolute evil. On the ‘lesser evil,’ avoiding pregnancy, we are speaking in terms of the conflict between the fifth and sixth commandment. Paul VI, a great man, in a difficult situation in Africa, permitted nuns to use contraceptives in cases of rape.

Don’t confuse the evil of avoiding pregnancy by itself, with abortion. Abortion is not a theological problem, it is a human problem, it is a medical problem. You kill one person to save another, in the best case scenario. Or to live comfortably, no?  It’s against the Hippocratic oaths doctors must take. It is an evil in and of itself, but it is not a religious evil in the beginning, no, it’s a human evil. Then obviously, as with every human evil, each killing is condemned.

On the other hand, avoiding pregnancy is not an absolute evil. In certain cases, as in this one, or in the one I mentioned of Blessed Paul VI, it was clear. I would also urge doctors to do their utmost to find vaccines against these two mosquitoes that carry this disease. This needs to be worked on.”

As we know, the Popes words can often be taken out of context and twisted by the media. And that is exactly what happened following this recent plane interview. But then, on 19th Feb 2016 Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi affirmed that the Holy Father was indeed speaking of “condoms and contraceptives” when on the flight back from Mexico, Pope Francis said couples could rightly “avoid pregnancy” in the wake of the Zika virus scare.

Fr. Lombardi told Vatican Radio today, “The contraceptive or condom, in particular cases of emergency or gravity, could be the object of discernment in a serious case of conscience. This is what the Pope said.”

Vatican Radio have issued a sound recording and full transcript of Lombardi’s comments, so there is really no doubt whatsoever that he did actually say that. I suppose there is always the possibility that Lombardi twisted the words of Pope Francis – but I doubt it. There would have been some correction issued by the vatican already if that was the case.

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So what do we do now?

For those of us who have struggled with and committed to church teachings on sex and marriage this comes as a major blow. Does the Pope really have no idea how hard it can be sometimes? Does he have no idea about the rewards and benefits to the marriage of remaining in line with the church on this issue? Does he think that bending the rules regarding artificial contraception is being ‘merciful’ in some way?

I don’t know. I just don’t know with him I’m afraid. I’m as confused as you are. This is not the first time this canny old Jesuit has left a wake of upset and confusion in his path, and I don’t think for a moment it will be the last.

I remember a few years back when Benedict came to the UK and I stood on the side of the road literally jumping up and down, cheering as loud as I could as he drove into his papal residence in Wimbledon. Benedict was my hero – my Father. I trusted him. I can’t say I would be doing that if Francis came to visit. I just don’t feel that way about Francis. I feel extremely let down and rather embarrassed if I am totally honest.

But one thing is even worse than that. Francis leaves me with a funny mixed feeling of hopelessness and suspicion which stinks of political motivation. Following everything that has occurred so far in his papacy I am left  with two thoughts:

Either he has absolutely no idea of what he is doing, or he knows exactly what he is doing. I don’t know which is worse…

 

 

 

Faith In Our Families blog round-up 2015. Best year yet!

 

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2015 has been one of the most amazing years of my life. I’ve met some incredible people. I became a Carmelite. I discovered the Mass was not a re-enactment of the last supper – but that I am really at calvary during the ACTUAL crucifixion.  I got sued by a priest who later in the year decided to quit the priesthood. My husband was instantaneously healed from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I started my new vestments business -Di Clara. I met the relatives of St. Therese, and St Louis and Zelie Martin of Lisieux, and I read a bidding prayer at the Vatican!

 

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In January I asked How could I possibly have been so dumb? regarding the Mass. I also decided I was not sure I was ever going to be able to give the sign of peace again. After the tragic Charlie Hebdo  attacks I asked some serious questions regarding free speech and highlighted the violent collision between extreme secularism with extreme Islam. I also ate some old cheese and had a really weird dream. Then I wrote my most popular blog post ever at over 40,000 hits when the Pope outlined several new types of contraception for Catholics. I lamented at the social injustice as 2 Priests were denied joint gym membership, because they were not “In a relationship”! And finally asked why we are sometimes too ashamed to pray?

 

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In February I realised that taking our relationship for granted with our spouse, or with Jesus, was a terrible trap to fall into when I wrote another boring Valentines day, Another boring Mass. I also was a bit cheeky when I beat a lowlife at his own game in a Hilarious conversation between St. Therese of Lisieux and a Facebook scammer! We all had the privilege of learning The Little way of Fasting – by Fr. Aidan KieranI was also received into Carmelite formation – and no, I did NOT just become a nun! We also heard the incredible testimony From Gay Pride to True Humility: Joe’s amazing conversion story.

 

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In March I did the 33 day consecration to Our Lady for the first time. I spoke about how How Tinnitus Prepared me for Carmel. I promised NOT to throw eggs at Tina Beattie when she tried to give a lecture at my parish about how awesome same-sex relationships and women priests are. The next day I was thrilled to confirm that due to my blog post she had cancelled her upcoming talk! This lead me on to thinking abut Feminist Rage and the Power of Meekness. With all the shady dealings and kurfuffle surrounding the family synod, I wondered: Imagine if we had Facebook at the time of Vatican 2. I aksed everyone to Please sign this letter in support of the 500 faithful priests, families and our Church. And we saw what it looks like when When God’s Love Hurts.

 

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In April absolutely nothing happened. Except a good friend bought me a couple of books on the history of ecclesiastical vestments, and suggested I should have a bash at making some 🙂

 

Fr-Dan-Fitzpatrick

Fr Dan Fitzpatrick

 

In May I reported that a Catholic Priest Denies Burning Down 17 of the Ugliest Churches Ever Built. I tried to find solutions to being Too busy to pray? I went to visit the relics of Louis and Zelie Martin, and begged them to please help me with my marriage. Following the spineless attitude of the Bishops in regards to gay marriage I asked What is the future for the Catholic Church in Ireland? Then I decided to pull up a couple of heretics on their dodgy theology when Fr James Martin SJ and Fr Dan Fitzpatrick Tweet that the Holy Spirit is Female. How sad. Of course following this Fr Dan Fitzpatrick threatened to sue me! The story ended up going global and was even featured on Church Militant TV! After a good telling off from his Bishop, Fr. Dan published a letter saying he will now NOT sue me – because he’s too poor.

 

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In June I made a Banana Flavoured Altar Cake. I had a major Silent retreat FAIL. And I also retold the time I met Jesus face to face in My Medjugorje Trip, Day 4 – Adoration. Following the gay pride march I discussed how true Dignity comes from God. And as America legalised same-sex marriage and Facebook went rainbow coloured, I asked why everyone was Unfriending each other. Also, Pope Francis formally approved Louis and Zelie Martin – known for being the parents of St. Therese of Lisieux – to be declared saints in October during the Family Synod. They would be the first married couple ever to be canonized together.

 

Marian 5 piece set

 

In July I launched my new vestment making business – Di Clara, and took a look at some of the most horrific vestments ever created in Good vestments, bad vestments. I once again looked to Louis and Zelie Martin and learned about Love and Suffering – a practical lesson. And then was very please to report that Conservative Archbishop Leonard declares personal belief in Medjugorje. And with heavy hearts, me and my husband also started to make plans to live separately because the effects of long term illness on the marriage had become intolerable to live with for both of us on a day to day basis.

 

 

In August I began a novena to Louis and Zelie Martin in desperation for my marriage. I got hundreds of Facebook friends to pray with me as he started the Lightning Process treatment course. Half way through the novena, on the second day of treatment – 11th August (the feast of St. Clare) Nick made a sudden, unexplainable and full recovery from CFS and I was able to give everyone the amazing news that My Husband is WELL!!! The world also saw Over 320 Simultaneous international rallies against the butchers that call themselves Planned Parenthood. And we learned about the 4 different terms the ancient greeks used for the word Love.

 

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In September I started preparing for the year of mercy by recalling that 17 years ago I took the morning after pill. Today I went to confession. I also talked about what happens When your Baby makes you say Grace in Nando’s. We also learned the terrifying news that German Bishops break with Rome and inaugurate Dalek as their new supreme Pontiff.

I also lost one of my best mates in September. I still have no idea why. I’m still completely gutted 🙁 I wish we could be friends again.

 

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In October I spoke about Fidelity in our relationship to Christ as a priest in Rome decided to publicly leave to be with his boyfriend at the start of the Family Synod. I talked about the indissolubility of the sacraments in  So Un-Baptise me then…!  We took a long hard look at Caitlyn Jenner – the golden calf of gender theory. And stated to realise that The Time of the Lukewarm Church is Over. We also asked the apocalyptic question: 2017 – Are you ready? Oh – and I did a bidding prayer at the Vatican during the canonisation Mass of Louis and Zelie Martin! I also spent the afternoon chatting to the relatives of Louis and Zelie, and their famous daughter – my sister in Carmel – St Therese of Lisieux! That’s one conversation I am never going to forget 🙂 Thank you Louis and Zelie for surprising me and making more than one dream come true for me this year <3

 

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In November I showed how our family celebrates All Hallows Eve and All Saints Day. I also finished my Lily And Pomegranate Black 5 piece vestment set. I asked: Ok Jesus, so how exactly am I supposed to love ISIS?Following the second tragically sad ISIS attack of the year aimed at France, I asked some pretty serious questions regarding radical Islam Vs radical secularism in Would you die to protect Western values? I wouldn’t. I began to come to terms with the fact that western society, weakened by generations of cultural Marxism,  is simply not strong enough to cope with the influx of (at least) 60 million muslim migrants in Giving Everything. I finished the month by visiting the Mosque near me that was recently arsoned.

 

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In December I learned that Fr Dan Fitzpatrick had decided to leave the priesthood following a meeting in which his Bishop had unsuccessfully put forward the case for married clergy to the other Bishops of England and Wales.  I also found out about the shocking things that had been going on at Ushaw seminary in The silent problem within priestly formation. I also took a good look at Celibacy and the Priesthood. Then I began to understand that the Christian influences Muhammed was exposed to were Christian heretics in: From Santa Claus to Islam: An Arian Triumph. I was honoured to feature a guest post written by Dr Joseph Shaw of the Latin Mass society: Catholic Bishops ask Rome to change Good Friday prayer for the conversion of the Jews – because it is not politically correct enough. And then I spent some time Gazing at my Father. Finally this year I spoke about how I knew a miracle was going to happen regarding my husbands health in “The air feels soft – like Christmas.” and was delighted to announce that after 2 years at home, my husband will be returning to full time work in the new year 🙂

 

Zelie &amp; Louis Martin

I will never be able to thank you enough for your intercession this year, beloved St’s Louis and Zelie Martin.

 

Like I said, this really has been one of the most amazing years of my life. And I cannot express enough how much it means to be able to share what is going on in my life and in my heart with all of you. Of course I do not share everything that goes on in my heart – some things are just for me, but I do share 95% of what goes on in there 🙂 and I hope in some way it can begin to alleviate the isolation that so many of us feel. And besides, this blog is basically my diary – and writing it saves me hundreds of pounds on would-be therapists!!

 

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I love Jesus. I am His child. My whole life is for Him. Without the unceasing help from our beautiful mother Mary I would not know how to follow Him. She guides me on, fully aware of my hopeless limitations and inadequacies. You see, luckily for me God is not looking for perfection, He is looking for us to trust in Him and let go of ourselves. And when we do, our tiny insignificant ordinary lives suddenly become extraordinary, and as we begin to find God in the pots and pans (Teresa of Avila) we suddenly find He is using our prayers and our obedience to move mountains in other peoples lives – usually those closest to us.

Thank you for all your support of the blog this year – you know this is the best Catholic blog out there 😉 and I look forward to sharing 2016 with you!

Clare x

 

Fidelity.

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As you begin reading this blog post you may think it is going to be about faithfulness in marriage. Well its not. It is faithfulness in another relationship: our relationship with Christ.

You see, our God is a jealous God (Exodus 34:14). He made us to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him for ever in heaven (Baltimore catechism). In fact He considers our relationship with Him to be so atomically crucial that he made it the subject of His first commandment:

1. I am the LORD your God: you shall not have strange Gods before me.

God wants to be in First Place in our lives. But He wont force us. It is up to us to put Him in first place. And if He is not in the First Place in our lives, then what or who is? Because what ever or who ever it is, has become an idol. Man commits idolatry whenever he honours and reveres a creature in place of God (CCC 2113).

I think perhaps the most difficult area to recognise idolatry is in the relationships we have with other human beings. I know that in my life I have certainly been involved in friendships and relationships that were not right in the eyes of God. And I knew it. But I didn’t want to let the other person go. That person was fulfilling a seriously deep seated need in me. I guess this is why I feel pity for Monsignor Krysztof Charamsa.

Monsignor-Krysztof-Charamsa

Many comments I have read concerning this man have been derogatory at best. People refuse to see beyond the brazen arrogance and disrespect that he flaunts, as he cheerfully chassis along like an 18 year old débutante at her coming out party. And of course that is exactly how he planned and wanted to be seen on the eve of the family synod. But if you look deeper within, you simply see a priest struggling with celibacy, and giving into same sex attraction. It’s nothing more than that.

When asked how he went from denial to being happy about being gay he replied: “Through study, prayer and reflection. A dialogue with God and the study of theology, philosophy and science were crucial. Moreover, I now have a partner who has helped me transform my fears into the power of love… There comes a day when something inside you snaps, and you can’t go on.”

This says to me that Krysztof Charamsa definitely does still have a relationship with God, it’s just that it is all on his terms. His understanding of the word love doesn’t really seem to be reflecting Christ crucified. And his last sentence clearly shows that the day did come when he finally decided to put down his cross and champion his own wants and desires.

Without a doubt he has been given a very heavy cross to bear in the form of SSA, but quite frankly that doesn’t really matter anyway because when he entered the priesthood he freely chose a life of celibacy! I feel so sad that rather than abandoning himself entirely to God, he has instead spent years convincing himself that he is in the right and the church is in the wrong. Ultimately it comes down to the fact that there is something wrong somewhere in his relationship with Christ. The fidelity is gone.

We live in a culture in which we constantly search to satisfy our every need. And we expect others to do that for us: physically, financially, mentally, sexually, emotionally and spiritually. Oh what a life of utilitarian ecstasy! But the truth is that not one person on this entire planet will ever, ever be able to fill that God shaped hole in your heart. Not your spouse, or your kids, or your friends or your parents or anyone. No-one can take the place of God in our lives. But we quite often expect them to. We elevate people way beyond their ‘pay grades’ in terms of satisfying us. In actual fact all we are doing is making them into false idols. Is it any wonder so many marriages fail now? We are actually expecting our spouses to satisfy us in the way that only God can!

Let me tell you something: Your spouse is not God! Your gay partner is not God! Your kids are not God! Your friends are not God! If God does not come first in your relationships with others then something is wrong. If we make each other into false idols then what does that do to our relationship with Christ? The fidelity is gone.

You see, our God is a jealous God. He wants to be in First Place in our lives because ultimately our eternal destiny lies with Him. But He wont force us, because you can’t force love. Love is a choice. Love is the cross.

Of course the ultimate example of fidelity to God the Father and the Son, and the Holy Spirit is Mary. She describes herself as the handmaid of the Lord – His loyal and obedient servant. And as she took up her own crosses in her life, followed her Son to calvary and stood at the foot of His cross, she showed us how to put God first. Which is why I ask her now to take me, and Krysztof Charamsa under her sweet mantle and gently lead us back into a correct relationship of fidelity with her Son.

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How Cardinal Vincent Nichols pulled the wool over our eyes just before the 2015 Synod.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor and Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Cormack Murphy O’Connor and Cardinal Vincent Nichols

As we enter the first day of the 2015 Family synod, I cannot help but feel just a little bit uneasy about something. Lets step back in time briefly…

In November 2013 the Vatican released a questionnaire to be answered by the laity as part of the the Preparatory Document for the upcoming Family Synod meeting to be held in October 2014. The purpose of this questionnaire was to help the Church develop concrete proposals for the second Synod in 2015 which in turn will produce specific guidance on the pastoral care of the family for our times.

In October 2014 after the Extraordinary Assembly had finished it’s two week long synod meeting, the Vatican sent out the final report and a second questionnaire. The new questionnaire was intended to fill in the gaps that might exist in the synod’s vision. It asked bishops to conduct an “in-depth examination” and seek out “practical solutions” to the “innumerable challenges” identified at the synod sessions. It circulated this second questionnaire as part of the Lineamenta, or preparatory documents, about family ministry and how the church could best tackle issues such as homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, contraception, and cohabitation.

On the Feast of the Holy Family December 2014, the bishops of England and Wales (under the guidance of Cardinal Vincent Nichols) invited parishes to reflect, with true spiritual discernment as requested by Pope Francis, on the themes emerging from the Extraordinary Synod on the Family by issuing its own questionnaire. The Call, the Journey and the Mission aimed “to help people celebrate marriage and family life, whilst recognising the difficulties that families often encounter”. The document offered material for reflecting on scripture and on the teaching of the Church on marriage and family life, as well as six questions to facilitate parish and family conversations.

So to summarize, in the UK there have been 3 questionnaires:

  • Preparatory Document – November 2013. Official Vatican document and questionnaire for the Family Synod.
  • Lineamenta – October 2014. Official Vatican document and questionnaire for the Family Synod.
  • The Call, the Mission and the Journey – December 2014. A set of reflections and and a questionnaire set up by the bishops of England and Wales.
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Cardinal Vincent Nichols

The first two questionnaires were official Vatican documents, the results of which were meant to be used to draft the instrumentum laboris, the practical working documents for the 2014 and 2015 synod meetings. The third questionnaire – The Call, the Journey and the Mission  was a completely separate from the first two questionnaires, and was not a Vatican document and was nothing to do with the Synod, but instead an initiative of the bishops of England and Wales.

Why would the bishops of England and Wales feel the need to conduct their own separate questionnaire?

The reason is this: The questionnaire results from the Official Vatican 2013 Preparatory Document and the 2014 Lineamenta were to be treated as confidential and belonged to the Vatican. This meant that they could not be published unless the Vatican decided to publish them. And as they were specifically designed to help draft the instrumentum laboris, the practical working documents for the 2014 and 2015 synod meetings, there would be really no need to publicly publish them.

In contrast, the results from The Call, the Journey and the Mission belonged to the Bishops of England and Wales. And although the questions were along the same lines as the Official Vatican 2013 Preparatory Document and the 2014 Lineamentathis particular questionnaire was not issued or owned by the Vatican. So if the Bishops of England and Wales wanted to publish the results of their own questionnaire then they could do so at any point. And this is exactly what they did.

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On September 16th 2015 a summery of responses from The Call, the Journey and the Mission for Westminster diocese were made public in a well prepared and presented document that gave a fair and balanced account of all the responses received from the questionnaire. It also crucially identified the vast range of knowledge and catechises (or lack there of) of the responders. This identification of varying levels of catechises goes a long, long way to explain the varying answers found in the questionnaire and also brings to light the uncomfortable fact that the church must accept its responsibility for the lack of catechises of these responders. You can view and download the pdf here: the call the journey and the mission. answers summary of responses

Bizarrely, a week later on 22nd Sept 2015, a second version of the summary of responses of the The Call, the Journey and the Mission was also published on the Westminster Diocesan website. It describes this version of the results gathered as:

“…a flavour of the feedback to those six questions, based primarily on diocesan summaries received from 16 dioceses.”

It must be noted here that this second version of the summary of responses only includes the results of 16 out of the 22  diocese in England and Wales. No explanation is given for the fact that 6 diocese have been excluded from the results.

I am reliably informed that the response in many of the diocese to this questionnaire was so low or non existent that those Bishops refrained from submitting anything at all. After all – this was not an official synod questionnaire. I am also reliably informed that at least one Bishop said he wasn’t consulted on content of the finished report before it was released at a press conference by Vincent Nichols.

Did Cardinal Vincent Nichols consult any of the Bishops of England and Wales on the content of this report before its release?

It is also worth noting that while the “flavour of the feedback” (note the ambiguous fluffy language) is “based primarily on diocesan summaries received from 16 dioceses, it also explains that “a number of local and national organisations” also took part. According to Westminster’s website these organisations were:

A Call to Action (ACTA) – 342 responses (A highly criticised and controversial group that seeks radical progressive reform in the Catholic Church)

The Association of Interchurch Families – no statistics provided (A multi denominational group offering support to mixed marriages)

The Catholic Women’s League – 132 responses.

The Union of Catholic Mothers – no statistics provided.

Two in One Flesh – 7 responses (A marriage support group)

The National Board of Catholic Women – 48 responses.

The Dorcas group – 6 responses (A Catholic Feminists group)

These were the only groups mentioned by the questionnaire. In my opinion they have been hand picked because of their liberal stances. 4 out of the 7 groups are women’s groups. No men’s groups seem to have been consulted. No clergy groups seem to have been consulted. No orthodox or more traditionally minded groups seem to have been consulted. Why?

In total, this second version of the results of the The Call, the Journey and the Mission claim to have the responses of approximately just 2200 people.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Vincent Nichols

After reading this second version of the summery of responses published on 22nd Sept, I was surprised how brazenly one-sided it was compared to the very balanced first version published on 16th Sept.

Among the responses of the second version, one diocese suggests allowing Catholics to live together to decide if they want to commit to marriage – and having a liturgical ceremony to endorse it. Another accused the Church of “being out of touch, unbending or unrealistic” on sexual ethics, with a lack of support for same-sex partnerships, and contraception.

Others said they were “ashamed” of their faith calling it “misogynistic, controlling, self-opinionated.” Another said: “Thank God for the secular world which has blown in to the murky corridors of the Vatican.” But the comment that sticks in my mind the most was the one that had the most political venom and was quite frankly the most out of place in a questionnaire about marriage and family:

“…To the younger generation the Catholic Church is a medieval irrelevance. While I, myself, believe in Jesus – I am appalled at what the institution He founded has become. A tyrannical power structure, stuck in a medieval culture and unable to bring itself into the modern world. One good example of this is the so called New Translation of the Mass. A backward step from language that ordinary people understood to a ridiculous artificial so-called sacral language which is no more than a mixture of garbled English, medieval theological vocabulary and transliteration from Latin…”

What has bashing the new translation of the Mass got to do with a questionnaire on Marriage and Family?!

According to this second version, most Catholics want the Church to allow divorcees and those who re-marry to take Communion. But of course this survey was only completed by 2200 people – many of whom were members of Feminist groups or the dissident group ACTA, and the results were certainly not compiled and edited by an independent body. You can view and download the full version here: marr-fam-CJM-report (1)

So to summarise:

  • Two versions of the summary of responses of the The Call, the Journey and the Mission were published within a week of each other on the Westminster Diocese website in September 2015.
  • The second version released on the 22nd Sept was only completed by approximately 2200 people throughout the whole of the UK, and is being falsely presented as if it represents the vast majority of UK Catholics.
  • The second version has been edited with a highly disproportionate emphasis on dissent from Catholic doctrine.
  • The second version was edited and published by the CBCEW without consulting or obtaining the consent of the other Bishops of England and Wales.
  • Neither of these summaries of responses issued by the Bishops of England and Wales have anything to do with the official questionnaires issued by the Vatican.

The Call, the Journey and the Mission was a questionnaire that was set up to collect peoples views on the issues surrounding the Family Synod. It had nothing to do with the synod itself  and was organised by the Bishops of England and Wales. Because the results of the survey belonged to them, they could be selectively manipulated, edited and published whenever desired. Because the questions were very similar to those of the two official Vatican questionnaires, it is easy for people to confuse the two, and believe that the answers from The Call, the Journey and the Mission were those of the official questionnaires, when of course they are not.

Slippery.

It looks very much to me that the first version of the responses to The Call, the Journey and the Mission published on 16th September was just not doing the job Cardinal Nichols wanted it to do. After all, what is the point of commissioning your own survey if it is not going to produce the results you want it to produce? So instead, a week later, a second more liberal leaning version of the questionnaire was produced and published – the week before the start of the 2015 synod. Timing is everything.

What is it exactly that Cardinal Vincent Nichols is trying to achieve?

Cardinal Vincent Nichols meets UK LBGT group QUEST in March 2015.

Cardinal Vincent Nichols meets UK LBGT group QUEST in March 2015.

Cardinal Nichols will now be able to give the false impression to the media and the rest of the world during the 2015 synod that the views expressed in his questionnaire are the mainstream views held by the majority of UK Catholics, and he is at the cutting edge of the ‘modern’ Catholic world, ready to pave the way for new inclusive and diverse pastoral initiatives.

What a load of baloney. This whole thing is the biggest, slipperiest most shameless PR exercise of ‘group-think’ I’ve ever seen. “Oh c’mon! EVERYONE thinks like we do. Get with the programme! Don’t be so old fashioned!” Who does he think he’s kidding?! Not me – that’s for sure. What sort of man thinks he can hold the entire world in contempt by trying to pull the wool over their eyes in such important matters?

One thing is for sure – I do not trust Cardinal Vincent Nichols. And from reading the biased results of his cherry-picked pseudo-survey, they way he slapped down the 500 priests asking for a “clear and firm proclamation” of the Church’s teaching on marriage, and his involvement and support of the Soho/Farm Street LGBT Masses, I certainly know this man has no interest whatsoever in upholding the Catholic view of marriage and family. But he is obviously very interested in forwarding his own career.

According to reports from the C9 group (the key cardinal advisers to Pope Francis on curial reform)  there’s going to be a new Congregation for Laity, Family and Life.  I wonder who might be put in charge of it as new prefect? Someone who might suit the White House/Whitehall pro LGBT axis?

I’m sure the Vatican Mafia would like to think so. Let’s hope and pray not.

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

Pope Francis

Pope Francis

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

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

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

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

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

Archbishop Lefebvre

Archbishop Lefebvre

The SSPX responded to the announcement on their website:

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

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

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

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

A Tridentine Mass

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pope outlines several new types of contraception for Catholics.

FrancisPlane

In an unprecedented interview yesterday Pope Francis reminded Catholics that they are not supposed to “breed like rabbits” and then went on to outline several newly acceptable forms of contraception.

When asked about birth control by Italian journalist Dolmio De Fungi, the Holy Father said “We should not be breeding like rabbits” and then unusually went onto clarify: “When I say ‘we’ I mean ‘you’, not me – I’m the Pope, and besides, we are both men!”

The Holy Father then went on to say “There are several types of Vatican approved contraception available to Catholics that are completely in line with Gods plan for Marriage and Family life: Dressing gown and slippers for example.”

When asked how reliable ‘dressing gown and slippers’ was in regards to limiting pregnancies within marriage, the Pope answered “Remarkably effective. Scientific studies show that when used in conjunction with other acceptable forms of contraception such as rollers and hair-nets or Avocado face packs, there is almost zero chance of sexual intercourse occurring.”

St. Dorothy of Cotton, an Avocado face pack, and St. Nora Batty - patron saint of remaining hostile towards male advances.

St. Dorothy of Cotton, an Avocado face pack, and St. Nora Batty – patron saint of remaining hostile towards male advances.

“And it’s not just the responsibility of the woman.” The Holy Father revealed. “Husbands too must take responsibility for limiting the amount of children in their families.” He went on to quote an often overlooked section of the  Catechism of the Catholic Church saying that “CCC9560 paragraph 2 states that: wearing a ‘socks and sandals’ combo, forgetting her birthday, lounging around on the sofa all day and farting in bed are all totally acceptable forms of male contraception.”

“What about onesie’s?” asked journalist Dolmio De Fungi.

“Mortal sin.” replied the Holy Father. “There is nothing funny about dressing up in a giant romper suit. We are trying to limit the number of babies – not dress in their clothes. And besides, they are totally impractical when you get up in the middle of the night needing the loo.” 

Two former Catholics (now excommunicated) wearing mortally sinful matching onesie's.

Two former Catholics (now excommunicated) wearing mortally sinful matching onesie’s.

When asked if it was really morally acceptable for a woman to go about the house in dressing gown and slippers all day in an attempt to look as unattractive as possible, the Holy Father answered “Maybe she’s had a hard day? Maybe the kids have been driving her mad for hours and hours? Maybe she has a headache? I don’t know – who am I to judge?”

Pope Francis: Eloquent subtle genius or a twittering idiot?

 pope-francis-funny

I have been involved in a few discussion recently about Pope Francis. I cant decide whether he is a eloquent subtle genius or a twittering idiot?

When he was elected Pope i really liked him. He is obviously a man of great humility and i liked his simplistic attitude and little acts of kindness. However, as time went on i felt he was a little wishy washy on BIG issues, and really was taking this whole Pope thing in a rather relaxed fashion. Then there was the “Who am I to judge?” comment – that was taken out of context by the press, but none the less…

Anyway recently in one of his homilies he said “…And for this reason the Church asks us, all of us, for a few changes. She asks us to put aside decadent structures: we don’t need them. Instead to take up new wine skins, those of the Gospel…”

I found this statement rather unsettling. What changes? What decadent structures? Changes within the church? The upcoming Synod on the family perhaps? Changes regarding marriage and communion? On homosexuality? 

Discussing these fears on Facebook i was then aware that i was not the only one who felt like Pope Francis is a bit of a loose cannon. There was also a huge amount of negativity from really good faithful catholic’s about Pope Francis in general and lets not forget how everyone misses Benedict.

But this didn’t sit very well with me either. If i really look at the actions of Pope Francis i can see he is a truly faithful orthodox Pope. He has never actually done anything i would regard as unacceptable or even vaguely liberal in nature. He is obviously a prayerful man with great humility. It is just the way he speaks to the world that leaves me feeling a bit, well, nonplussed.

Benedict XVI,  Pope Francis

When Benedict spoke to the world he didn’t mince his words. i always remember how i laughed out loud at the utter honesty and truthfulness of his Judas comment followed up by a comment by Msgr. Barreiro, who said “for those Catholics who cannot bring themselves to believe the formal teachings of the Church on life and family matters it would be more honest to leave the Church rather than betraying Her.”

Francis seems to be continuously speaking to catholic’s on the periphery. Why doesn’t he step it up a bit? C’mon Francis – say something controversially orthodox for goodness sake! Lets shake up the church a bit! Speaking to peripheral catholic’s is boring. Most of the catholic’s you are addressing don’t even believe in the real presence. Most of them don’t even go to church. Stick to the faithful.

Benedict’s papacy was for the more  conservative traditionally minded catholic. I felt totally comfortable with him, totally comfortable but…

“…you were not made for comfort, you were made for greatness.” – Pope Benedict XVI

He’s right. And if there was one group Benedict never connected with it was the peripheral catholic’s. Francis on the other hand, does. I re-read some of his recent comments and saw a totally different man. Here is a Pope who whilst remains faithful and orthodox at his core, charms the peripheral catholic’s by speaking subtly subconscious, wishy washy worldly words (try saying that after 3 glasses of wine!) and seems to be having some success in it. One cannot deny how he has been embraced by the media as the “hope” for change in the church. But what they fail to realise is that as he romances them into the possibility of a relationship with Christ, the real change will be happening within them.

Francis’ papacy is as much for the faithful orthodox catholic as it is for the peripheral catholic – just in a different way. He certainly doesn’t waste time preaching to the converted. For the faithful orthodox catholic he challenges us, presenting us with an example to copy. Francis teaches us how to coax our lost brothers and sisters back into a relationship with Christ and His church. He is in fact, showing us how loving patience, true humility and service are key aspects of the New Evangelisation. 

For those who have also felt a little negative towards Francis’ Papacy, i would invite you to do as the great Carmelite saint Teresa of Avila suggests and “Look again”.

 

For more on this subject please see my more recent post on why orthodox catholic’s don’t trust Francis: http://www.faithinourfamilies.com/2014/09/19/you-are-loved/

 

 

Many Catholic Marriages invalid.

With all the hype surrounding the upcoming synod later this year, one issue has been bugging me:

Communion for the divorced and re-married.

I have heard the ‘pro’ arguments from Cardinal Walter Kasper and such like, and i have heard the ‘against’ arguments from Rome and Cardinal Thomas Collins of Toronto .

But no-one has spoken about the big bad elephants in the room yet: 

1. How can the Bishops expect people to foster a happy and successful Catholic marriages if they give then no proper marriage prep, and no ongoing support?

2. 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?

3. Why have the Bishops not put proper ongoing practical measures in place to protect and support the Catholics they are responsible for, who are in mixed marriages?

4. Why have the Bishops not promoted and explained the central importance of NFP in a Catholic marriage?

elephant-in-room

I am not trying to alleviate all responsibility from people who decide to divorce and remarry, and there are certainly many who knew exactly what they were doing and the consequences of their actions – but my honest belief is that many, many more didn’t know what they were getting themselves into when they got married in a Catholic church.

When i got married 14 years ago we had a ‘nice’ marriage prep course about resolving conflict and speaking your partners “love language” (i kid you not…) There was no mention of NFP and no mention of what a sacramental union actually is.

I got married under the impression that Catholics are not allowed to get divorced – which is of course false! (Catholics can get divorced, we just can’t remarry.) I had absolutely no idea whatsoever that if you did remarry you could not receive Holy Eucharist. I had no idea what an annulment was. I wasn’t really sure of what a sacramental union was and i certainly didn’t realise that I was administering the sacrament to my husband and vice versa – I thought the priest was doing it! And i was a regular church goer…

dumb_dumber_bride_groom_wedding_t_shirts-r3f789b91cca2416eb9aaeef97cac70e2_wio57_324

Over the past 30 years about 55 to 70% of annulments have occurred in the United States. The growth in annulments—at least in the US—has been substantial. In 1968 338 marriages were annulled. In 2006 27,000 were.

Pope Benedict XVI in his address to the Roman Rota in 2009, echoing words of his predecessor John Paul II, has criticized “the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity of marriage in cases of the failure of marriage on the pretext of some immaturity or psychic weakness on the part of the contracting parties”. Calling for “the reaffirmation of the innate human capacity for matrimony”, he insisted on the point made in 1987 by John Paul II that “only incapacity and not difficulty in giving consent invalidates a marriage”

According to Canon 1095 a marriage can be declared null only when consent was given in the presence of some grave lack of discretionary judgement regarding the essential rights and obligations of marriage, or of some real incapacity to assume these essential obligations.

Please understand i am not advocating Communion for the remarried. I believe in the annulment process. What i am saying that the massive lack of adult evangelisation and catechises over the last 2 generations has been a major contributing factor in why Catholic marriages are not lasting.

Gaining knowledge over time of what a real Catholic marriage is, has definitely strengthened my own marriage and i would go as far to say that in the really dark times it has kept me in it – until the clouds passed and the sun shone again. But i can totally understand why someone who does not understand these truths would want to split up, and then meet someone new, and then try again. 

Bishops – it is and always has been your responsibility to ensure the Catholics in your diocese are properly educated and trained for marriage. The synod is a wonderful opportunity to admit that what you have been doing/not doing regarding marriage over the last 2 generations has been poor. Please discuss…

 

Altar Rails are back in Shaftesbury UK!!

Here is a post from my friend Fr. Dylan James…

Jn 1:29-34
We just heard one of the most memorable lines in the Gospels, a line so significant that the Church has the priest repeat it in every Mass, saying as he holds the Eucharistic host for the congregation to see, “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.”St John the Baptist recognised the Lord when He came. But, as we know, many did not  recognise Him. Ultimately, those who didn’t recognise Him had Him crucified.
For ourselves, thinking of the Eucharist, it’s important to ask ourselves, again and again, “How FULLY do I recognise the Lord here?”Let me quote from a book I recently read by Bishop Schneider, that takes a similar line in the Gospels: After the death of the Lord the disciples went back to fishing on the Sea of Galilee. The Risen Lord appeared there on the lakeside, and when one of them saw Him and recognised Him, he cried out, “It is the Lord!” (Jn 21:7)
In our reception of Holy Communion we need to always strive to foster within ourselves those things that enable us, too, to look at the host, look at the One we are to receive, and not see not a thing but a person, not bread but the One who is ‘The LIVING Bread come down from heaven”(Jn 6:51), enabling us to say, “It is the Lord!”
Often we can find ourselves thinking instead of the Sunday lunch, or of the hymn book you’re holding, or the coat of the person in front of you. You get to the front and suddenly the host is thrust at you by the priest, and you’ve barely had a chance to think about it at all. So, How do we better focus?
Well, as I reminded you at Corpus Christi, we are called upon to make “an act of reverence” (GIRM 160) before receiving Holy Communion –this helps us focus. 
But, as of today, I’d like to change the processional movement of the congregation, to do on a Sunday what we’ve been experimenting with for some months on weekdays, namely, to have you line up along the altar rail, and have me come to you along the rail. This will mean:
(1) You have an additional choice, namely, whether to stand or kneel (a choice the GIRM of 2002AD explicitly mentions). Now I know that some of you are bound to not want this change, so let me point out that this is giving people a choice, so even if you don’t want this choice yourself, there are other people who do want this choice, who are very excited about having this choice –a choice they haven’t had until today. Feel totally free to stand or kneel, as you prefer, whichever you find helps you better focus of the fact that it is the Lord God Almighty coming to you. Judging from what has happened elsewhere when this has been introduced, I expect half of us to do one, and half to do the other –so none of us should feel a need to conform to what others are doing. (If you kneel, there is no need to make a further act of reverence by bowing your head.)
(2) You will have a moment to pause and focus your thoughts, as you wait for the priest or deacon to come to you. At weekday Masses people have said that this is very helpful. Talking to another priest just last night, who introduced this in his parish previously, he too said that actually this was by the far the biggest change –the pause it gives you before receiving Holy Communion.
(3) The whole process will be speeded up (ironically, despite you have more time to pause individually) because the slowest delay in distributing Holy Communion previously was the movement of the congregation. (Though I’m sure there will be an initial period where it all feels a little unsure, and slow, and confusing.)
Back to where I began, the general problem in our lives of needing to recognise the Lord. There was a wonderful JOY that we can detect in those declarations in the Gospels when individuals recognised Him. When we, too, recognise the One our hearts are built to yearn for, the One who satisfies the weary heart, the Lamb of sacrifice who takes away our sins, the food of the eternal heavenly banquet that fills us –when we, and as often as we, truly recognise Him, then we too are filled with joy: “it is the Lord!”

altar rails being used copy