Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Happy New Year filled with blessings to our readers

The Seminarians would like to wish all their readers here on Orthfully Catholic a very holy and blessed New Year 2007.
We hope that it will be a year of growing closer to Christ and His Most Blessed Mother.
With prayers,
The Seminarians

Monday, December 25, 2006


A parish near me decided to have adoration everyday during Advent. What a wonderful way to prepare for the great feast of Christmas! There are many new communities who have regular if not perpetual adoration. Praise God. I have noticed, however, that most of them are female orders. I'm not complaining, least of all for "sexist" reasons. But wouldn't it be great if there were more orders of men/priests?

Let us pray for the founding of new orders dedicated to the Eucharist, Our Lady and Holy Mother Church. Maybe God might raise up new communities even in pagan old Britain! Let us pray to the New Born King of the Harvest for this intention.
God bless.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas

Orthfully Catholic would like to wish their readers a very Happy and Holy Christmas.
May the new born Christ bless you all and His Holy Mother guide and protect you this Christmas and always.
God Bless
The Seminarians

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Trouble with Atheists

Did anyone see this programme on Channel 4 the other evening. I only caught the last 15/20 minutes of it but was able to see Richard Dawkins talk about the religious meme. Apparently our fear of death causes us to have a meme which helps us to cope by telling us we live on after death. The best bit though was when the presenter asked if there was a connection between atheism and serial killing giving the examples of Stalin, Hitler and Chairman Mao. One 'Professor' said Stalin wasn't an atheist because he was Confucian (sp?) and Dawkins said it was pure coincidence. How do these people get their chairs? The trouble with atheists is they don't have one brain cell between them!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Christianity lives on!

Yesterday something quite beautiful happened that I would like to share with you. During the holidays I go to one of two parish bases 40-50 miles away from eachother and just before the evening Mass the priest called me saying there was a lady in the church who had been waiting to see me for two hours. I went in to the church and there was a lady from the other parish who had promised me a copy of St Faustina's Diary the last time I saw her. She had come to visit her sister in a nearby parish and realising I must be on holiday brought the book, she came to the church to see what time the next Mass was, waited at the convent across the road and then came over to give the book to me! How lovely is that?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Don't use the 'V' word

A primary school in Lancashire is in the tabloids today (I don't read the tabloids it was brought to my attention by a parishioner) because the Head banned the use of the phrase 'Virgin Mary' in the nativity play as it will offend the Muslims.
This is the final proof that all this 'don't offend the Muslims' stuff is the work of atheistic political correctness because the Muslims can't be offended by the word 'Virgin' due to the fact that Islam is just as dependent on the Virgin birth as Christianity is!
One Catholic MP said, 'Apparently they are afraid of offending Muslims but have offended Christians.' I'm sure you can guess who this is, she is our hero at any time Catholicism and Christianity are publicly slandered!
What with this and the distinct lack of any religious imagery in public this Christmas (The 12 Days of Chav-mas, the shepherds getting high on dope and seeing the angels as a result and 1 in 100 cards having a religious theme to it) the world is going down the pan! My Grandmother's right we should have two days, Christ-Mass on 25th December and Winterval somewhere else!


As I'm sure all readers of Orthfully Catholic know, after the Council parishes all over England and Wales suffered a re-ordering of one kind or another. Well now I think the same is happening again but this time they are being re-ordered to the way they once were! I have just been speaking to a priest who has plans for his parish.
He is going to put up an Adoration Chapel, this is becoming more and more popular in parishes and is doing them a lot of good! People are coming in and spending hours on their knees adoring Our Lord exposed in the Blessed Sacrament and their families and their parishes are feeling the effects of it, the lapsed are coming back and vocations are booming.
He has just put up a sanctuary crucifix which was taken down by the last Parish Priest. He wants to move the Tabernacle from the 'fashionable' Blessed Sacrament Chapel to the sanctuary. He is unsure where to put the Font, I suggested the entrance where Canon Law says it should be but he says he is aware of people not being able to see the baptisms from that position comfortably so he would rather put it between the sanctuary and first pew.
A lot more has to be done but he is making a start!


I am one of the founding members of Orthfully Catholic and as yet haven't posted anything because, unlike some of my brothers, I have been extremely busy this term. I am on holiday now so can share some insights with you!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I'm going into the desert today to prepare for the coming of the Lord. Alas I can't tell you where I'm going as that would remove my anonymity, but it is a very special place, and I will pray especially for all blog readers there. Please keep me also in your prayers, that it may be a fruitful retreat in which I welcome Christ ever more deeply into my heart. Obviously I won't be using computers, so won't be posting again until my return, which will be at Epiphany. In the meantime, the rest of the team will continue to keep the blog exciting!

Life giving family

There is a new link in our list. Lacrimarum Valle is the blog of a young Catholic couple who, I think, are truly remarkable. Despite all the pressures of being young they are about to have their first child soon. On the blog there is a wonderful testimony by father-to-be Matthew Doyle. It speaks of the wonderful conversion that he and his wife had to the Church's teaching on contraception. It just goes to show that young people CAN live according to the moral teachings of the Church. Their marriage will have its ups and downs like any other. BUT they are being generous enough with God and have decided that their love will be open to life as God sees fit.
There are many marriages which can learn alot from them. Please do visit their blog if you have any questions.

And a big THANK YOU to Matt and Wendy Doyle for their witness to life and Holy Mother Church's teachings. And remember that if you have any boys we need more priests! There's plenty of room for them here in the Seminary!
All the best with the new arrival.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Good news from France

The BBC has a story on the erection of a new 29ft statue of Pope John Paul the Great that has been put up in the town of Ploermel. This is an initiative of the mayor of Ploermel which has rather delightfully hacked off various secularists, particularly as the official opening was originally due on the hundredth anniversary of the French separation of Church and State.

I'm quite stuck by the exciting things that are being done by French mayors. I think this is in part because of the stronger Catholic culture, and partly because of the greater executive power that they hold.

The mayor of Paray-le-Monial, for example, recently used a large chunk of public funds to completely renovate the Basilica and the Eucharistic Museum (the Eucharistic Museum incidentally is truly fabulous, and had been closed for a number of years - well worth a visit if you go to Paray). All this gets done in the name of safeguarding cultural heritage, thus not technically violating the separation of church and state.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Heretical hymns

I was talking to one of the other Orthfully Catholic contributors today about the dilemma of heretical hymns and what to do about singing them. He said that if he spots the heresy in time and can think of an alternative, he changes the wording, and if not, he simply doesn't sing it. I think that's quite sensible really. Of course the ideal would really be if someone were to issue a hymn book with an imprimatur...

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The joy of Contemplation

I've just been watching Into Great Silence again, which has made me think about the particular quality of joy found among contemplatives.

I have the great privilege of spending time with an eremitical community. We meet to share a meal at which we speak three Sundays a month. I'm always struck by the way the conversation has a great profundity, but at the same time a tremendous joy and lightness, with much laughter.

The shared silence draws us into a much deeper communion than if we had spoken to each other all week. Every word that is spoken matters: it is weighed carefully before being spoken and listened to with the attentiveness of people who spend most of their time listening to God.

One of the books that has profoundly influenced me is Max Picard's The World of Silence. He talks extensively of the difference between the silence of man and the silence of God. It is in prayer that the two come into contact. He writes:

"Elsewhere, outside prayer, the silence of man is fulfilled and receives its meaning in speech. But in prayer it receives its meaning and fulfilment in the meeting with the silence of God.

Elsewhere, outside prayer, the silence in man serves the word in man. But now, in prayer, the word serves the silence in man: the word leads the human silence to the silence of God."

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Letting God impact!

I am reading a book on St. John of the Cross called Impact of God by Iain Matthew. It is absolutely brilliant and I heartily recommend it to anyone who wishes to learn about St. John of the Cross' teachings on prayer. It has made me realise that what we need in the Church is contemplatives. Not just in the monasteries (which, of course, is crucial) but in the world. Basically put Impact of God tells us that St. John of the Cross teaches that mystical prayer is for all. God wishes to give that freely given gift. We just have to open our nothingness up (nada) and God will fill it. Let God have an impact in His Holy Temples, our sinful souls!
God bless

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Legion of Mary

Someone left a comment on a previous post about the Legion of Mary, which has inspired me to write a bit about them. I had the great privilege of being acting spiritual director to a praesidium for a year. This really helped me to see two things; firstly the amazing fruitfulness of legionary work, and secondly to enter deeply into the spirituality which generates this fruitfulness. The legion does tremendous work for evangelisation - I am convinced that they are key to the New Evangelisation in this country. I want to write more about the legion spirituality, but am a bit too sleepy to do it justice tonight so will keep it for another post...

Please pray for the Canonisation of Frank Duff:

God our Father, You inspired your servant Frank Duff with a profound insight into the mystery of Your Church, the Body of Christ, and of the place of Mary the Mother of Jesus in this mystery.
In his immense desire to share this insight with others and in filial dependence on Mary he formed her Legion to be a sign of her maternal love for the world and a means of enlisting all her children in the Church's evangelising work.
We thank you Father for the graces conferred on him and for the benefits accruing to the Church from his courageous and shining faith. With confidence we beg You that through his intercession you grant the petition we lay before You . ............... We ask too that if it be in accordance with Your will, the holiness of his life may be acknowledged by the Church for the glory of your Name, through Christ Our Lord,

Monday, December 04, 2006

Orthfully Catholic Exclusive

Some exciting news: readers of Orthfully Catholic can have an exclusive preview of the new biography of one of the most inspiring figures in the Church in the twentieth century. We can let you have (for free!) a couple of chapters of this book, written by the postulator for their cause. If you're interested, email us at and we'll send you the chapters by email.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

First Sunday of Advent

The Virgin, weighed
With the Word of God,
Comes down the road:
If only you'll shelter her.

- St John of the Cross

For the benefit of a reader who's not originally from the UK:

Del verbo divino
La Virgen preñada
Viene de camino
Si le dais posada.

- San Juan de la Cruz

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Catholic-Mormon dialogue

I was approached by a Mormon in the street who asked if I had a couple of minutes. I said yes, so we had the following conversation:

Mormon: Tell me, do you have any religious beliefs at all?

Gildas: Well, yes, actually; I'm training to be a Roman Catholic Priest.

Mormon (having taken a step backwards): Oh...that's interesting. Have you ever wondered why there are so many different denominations in Christianity?

Gildas: Yes, I find it so sad that they've all broken away from the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church founded by Jesus Christ and continued in the unbroken Apostolic Succession to our current Pope.

Mormon rather feebly counters by querying the succession from Peter to Linas. Gildas quotes Irenaeus. Interesting discussion ensues on the authority of scripture and tradition, infant baptism and Mormon beliefs on the Holy Spirit. Mormon eventually gives up on attempt to convert Gildas.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Random musings

I've just finished Cardinal Arinze's Celebrating the Holy Eucharist. One of his points has got me thinking. He talks of the importance of the priest's prayer of thanksgiving after Mass, and says "It is a beautiful testimony to hear parishioners say of their pastor: 'Father is making his thanksgiving after Mass and will be available to us about ten minutes later'".

The practice in all the parishes that I've been to on Sundays in this country has been for the priest to greet people outside the Church immediately after Mass, and then say his thanksgiving after this. Pastorally, I've experienced this to be enormously beneficial, as many people come with pastoral issues that they might not otherwise have the chance to bring. For many parishioners, it is the only time that they talk to the priest on a regular basis.

I'd actually thought about this before when I read one of Josef Pieper's books. He points out that putting on vestments is a sign that the priest is now acting in persona Christi and thus it's seriously bad for him to stand outside the Church wearing his vestments while talking about the weather. This can be avoided by rapidly changing in the sacristy during a final hymn, but still leaves the question raised by Cardinal Arinze. I'd be interested to hear other people's opinions on this...

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Seeing as through a mist

I would like to refer our readers to The Hermeneutic of Continuity blog (see blog list). Father Tim went for recent day trip to Poland. He promises to show us some photos of the magnificent Polish churches he visited. Meanwhile we'll have to wait til the "air clears a bit"!!! I hope you had a good time Fr. Tim, despite the weather!

Archbishop Milingo

I have read a repost recently that Archbishop Milingo is threatening to consecrate more married men as bishops.
Please join us in prayer that Archbishop Milingo will have a deep and peaceful conversion of heart. This is sad since it is tearing at the already battered Body of Christ.

Also please continue to keep the Holy Father in your prayers. There are attacks from all sides, even from within the Church. This must be a hard and painful time for the Holy Father, even though he doesn't show it.
God bless

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Prayerful experience

I recently visited a Benedictine monastery. The nuns were among the most amazing people I have ever met. They radiated such peace, it was beyond belief. I asked one of the nuns what she thought the secret of their peace was. She said "freedom from the obssession with the things that the world holds dear". I asked her about prayer and the role it plays. She responded that "prayer is like breathing". "You can't live without breathing and we can't live without prayer!"
They reminded me of the convent of Little Sisters of the Poor which is very near my home. They too radiate a wonderful peace. And they too, despite being an active order, put prayer first. Just like those Benedictine nuns they have regular adoration and are up early in the morning (5am!) to pray.
Blessed Mother Teresa was once asked how they did all the work they do. She responded "every morning we have an hour's adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. Without that hour we are nothing and we are capable of nothing".

Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament is the strength of the Saints and the solace of the weak and sinful (me!). I certainly came away from those beautiful Benedictine sisters thinking "I've got a lot to learn here!"
Thanks sisters for waking me up to the importance of regular and disciplined prayer, even if it means getting up a little earlier!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Beauty will save the world

Beauty has been on my mind recently, and in particular sacred art. I went to a fantastic series of workshops during the summer on the meaning of art and looking in depth at a few examples of sacred art. I'm now reading John Saward's "The Beauty of Holiness and the Holiness of Beauty" which is a (sorry, I really can't resist) beautiful book.

I'm convinced that it's by showing the beauty of faith that we will really draw people to Christ, which is one of the reasons why I love the new Evangelium course. Actually, looking at the site, I've just realised that the course is endorsed by Fr Tim of Hermeneutic of Continuity fame who says “I think the course is absolutely excellent” and Fr John Saward: “an excellent project”. It's a small world...

In my own rather humbler way, I've been talking about the beauty of marriage, love and sexuality with sixth formers. I use a powerpoint presentation that I put together with a friend in the summer. I use things like Rembrandt's portrait of a young couple (I'm not convinced by the "Jewish Bride" attribution) to illustrate the four pillars of Catholic Marriage.

I also use a few photos to talk about real beauty. Here are a couple that I show side by side:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Speaking the truth in a spirit of love

I've been thinking about a line from the reading at Lauds today. "By speaking the truth in a spirit of love, we must grow up in every way to Christ, who is the head". I think one of the priests on the Fishers of Men DVD had this in mind when he was speaking about Pope John Paul the Great. He said something like "He taught us how to be priests. He taught us that being a priest is standing in the truth, in love".

Powerful words, that I find difficult to live out. I often find myself speaking less than the full truth in the name of "pastoral sensitivity" or, on the other hand, speaking the truth bluntly, but without sufficient love. Reflecting on this passage has helped me to see more clearly how growing to know the Truth (as in growing to know Him in my heart) has helped me to grow in proclaiming Him with some tiny measure of His love. As I continue to place all my trust in Him and grow in every way to Him I hope (in the deepest sense) that I will stand ever more firmly in the truth, in love.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Vocations Posters

I've been tidying, and came across a poster promoting priesthood that I'd kept primarily for the comedy value. It looked like it had been designed by a primary school child from the 1970s. Actually, in fairness to primary school children, it looked more like it had been designed by an expensive consultant who had attempted to emulate 1970s primary school children, but sadly didn't have the artistic skill of the average four year old. Here by contrast is Clifton Diocese's vocations poster for this year, featuring Fr James Finan who was ordained in the summer.

I'm very encouraged by the proactive approach that many vocations directors now seem to be taking.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The scandal of celibacy

When I'm in a parish I always enjoy knocking on doors and meeting people. One such encounter earlier this year was with a very friendly self-employed builder. He was on my list because he'd been married to a Catholic at some stage, though this didn't seem to have done much for his knowledge of the Faith. He was, however, very open and interested, asking many questions about the Church. He then came out with the classic line "so are your parents priests then?". Restraining my urge to burst out laughing, I said that Catholic priests aren't allowed to marry. "Oh", he said, clearly mulling this over "are you allowed relationships?". "Do you mean friendships?" I asked. "No", he replied, "I mean like one-night stands".

I was very amused by the incident, but it made me think about how little many people understand celibacy, and how difficult they find it to accept. Celibacy challenges the "there's one god, and we just each have our own way of finding him" mentality because when we make God in our own image and likeness he doesn't ask us to do challenging things.

Celibacy also challenges a professional, 9-5 type model of priesthood, as it makes it so clearly a vocation that encompasses all of one's life rather than simply another job.

As I'm obviously very happy in my vocation, people don't tend to challenge my call to celibacy, but the concept in general, usually in fairly predictable ways.

I don't think the Church should force people to be celibate.

It doesn't - no one gets forced to be a priest.

I know people who really want to be a priest, but are married.

Ultimately priests are chosen by the church, not themselves. I really want to go to Mars. Sadly, it's not going to happen.

But ordaining married men would magically solve our vocations crisis

What vocations crisis? We have one of the highest numbers of priests per catholic of any country in the world. The number of priests is falling, but not as fast as the number of practising Catholics. That is a far more urgent crisis, that definitely won't be resolved by ordaining married men.

But the Anglicans have married priests

Nooooooo. You've found the chink in my armour. The one argument I can't answer. If the Anglicans do it, it must be right.

I could go on, but you get the general drift. Actually, I try to talk more about the beauty of the gift of celibacy and the amazing spiritual fruitfulness that it brings. I find celibacy a challenging gift, but one that has brought me a wonderful joy and innumerable blessings. I hope that in some small way it also brings something to those I encounter.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Birthday Meme

Mulier Fortis tagged us to complete the birthday meme that's doing the rounds. She suggests using a Saint so as to preserve our "aura of mystery"! After hesitating for all for 2 seconds I chose the 29 January.

So three events:

1) Return to Rome of Pope Sergius III
2) Probable first performance of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet
3)A whale explodes in Taiwan (not to be confused with the whale that was blown up by the Oregon Highway Division)

Two important birthdays:

1) Chekov
2) Oprah Winfrey


1) Racine

Doing this reminded me of why I read books rather than watch TV.

From silence to silence

Mary is clearly crucial to the New Evangelisation. How deeply she longs to draw people to her Son. Since I've started fostering a deeper relation with Mary, I have seen tremendous fruits. I thought I'd share a couple of ways that I do this, that others might find helpful.

The first is through total Consecration to Jesus through Mary, in the way described by St Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort. I did this fairly recently, and now renew that Consecration daily. It has had a profoundly transformational effect on my life. If you want to learn more or are considering consecrating yourself, it is a good idea to read his True Devotion to the Blessed Virgin first.

Another thing that I've found very helpful has been the daily Moment with Mary emails that are provided by the Marie de Nazareth Association. These give a daily meditation from an impressive variety of sources. I always look forward to receiving it. Here is a recent example, from another of my favourite people, Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle:

From silence to silence

The Virgin’s lot in life is to remain in silence and to listen.

It is her state, her path, her life.

Her life is a life of silence that adores the eternal Word.

While seeing before her eyes, in her womb, in her arms,

This same Word, the substantial Word of the Father,

Mute and reduced to silence by the state of His childhood,

She enters in a new silence and is transformed.

As is transformed the Word incarnate,

Who is her son, the Son of God, her only love

So her life goes by from silence to silence,

From the silence of worship to the silence of transformation.

Cardinal Pierre de Bérulle (1575-1629)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Wasting time with God

My brother Seminarian gave a beautiful reflection on the need for prayer and formation for the work of evangelisation. I think St Gildas is a wonderful model in this. He repeatedly follows Jesus' example in withdrawing to places where he can be alone in prayer. It is this time in solitude that nourishes Gildas' apostolic ministry.

Often I think diocesan priesthood is seen as primarily an "active" vocation, but this does not do justice to the contemplative character that must underly it. Without this rootedness in prayer, all apostolic activity is useless.

If it is God and the Church's will, I am likely to be a Parish Priest by the age of 30, and thus living on my own until I get very old/sick. As I reflect on this, I've come to see my future presbytery as a hermitage - a privileged place of encounter with the Lord in solitude and silence. A friend of mine has developed the rather fab wasting time with God website based on Simeon, the modern stylite who prays on top of a tower block. I think there is something of Simeon in my vision of priesthood.

The creator of the site has just gone to Israel to spend a few months with the contemplative Community of Bethlehem, the Assumption of the Virgin and St. Bruno (pictured below). Do say a prayer for him, that this may be a time of great blessings.

Monday, November 20, 2006


I think that the most important thing that we can do today is Evangelise. The best way to envangelise is through prayer and witness. Witness must be based on a solid prayer life. People will be able to tell if we are men and women of prayer.

Not too long ago a few of us met Father Benedict Groeschel. Anyone there that night will remember his charm, his humour and, of course, his holiness. That's the key to evangelisation. Reflecting on the evening with Father Benedict alerts me even more to two areas in my life:

First, prayer. I need to spend a DAILY amount of time with Jesus. I prefer to be before the Blessed Sacrament but most important is to do it. I need to be with Him in the Scriptures, the Rosary (through His mother's eyes and heart) and especially in the Holy Mass.

Second, is formation. Many good and prayerful Catholics simply don't read enough. They don't know their faith. It is absolutely vital that Catholics are clued up on what the Church teaches.
An obvious starting point is the Catechism. But also the Papal encyclicals and writings. One book I am reading at the moment is Spirit of the Liturgy by Pope Benedict XVI.

That evening with Father Benedict was very inspirational for me. He asked us if we knew a book called The Lord by Romano Guardini. I realised that arrogantly I thought I knew enough about my faith. Is that true? I now realise not!
At the top of this blog you read that we are a group of Seminarians who are dedicated to Holy Mother Church, the Magisterium and the Pope. I can't speak for my fellow Seminarians who contribute to this blog, but I for one am culpable of being that only in name.
I need to grow in my faith by means of prayer (esp. the Sacraments) and by formation. I believe that this applies to all Catholics, not just those training for priesthood and religious life.

The Catholic faith is amazingly beautiful. It's so deep, rich and yet humbly simple. Then let's put out our nets for a catch!
And, as Father Benedict cried out, Pray for the Pope!

Other blogs

Just to draw your attention to other Catholic Blogs. Please look at our blog list. Recently we have been linked on other blogs. It is important that we all stick together and help each other out. That's how the new evangelisation is going to come about! Happy Blogging!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Cardinal Arinze has spoken.

This may interest many of our readers! Please click on the link to Catholic World News: The Renewal seems to be well underway!

Gregorian chant

Mass this morning was incredibly beautiful. It was in Latin, with Gregorian chant (Mass VIII) and intensely prayerful.

Was this an LMS Mass? Was I in a monastery? Was I in heaven singing with the angelic host? No! This was an ordinary parish church, and this was their normal Sunday morning Mass.

Cardinal Arinze recently said that Gregorian chant is the Church's "precious heritage" and "if therefore in a particular diocese or country, no one hears Gregorian music any more, then somebody has made a mistake somewhere”. I often think that we don't have enough Gregorian chant in our Churches. The excuse given is that people wouldn't be able to cope. The people this morning most certainly could cope. They had the benefit of a superb choir (the gradual is still echoing around my head), but they were all competently joining in with their parts. It is possible, and I think it should be offered in at least Cathedral parishes.

BTW, if anyone hasn't yet heard the Cardinal Arinze podcasts, I can strongly recommend them.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Latin Mass Society

The Latin Mass Society are holding their annual Requiem Mass at Westminster Cathedral London at 2pm Saturday 18th of November.


One of our team members has written an excellent article on the first vows of two Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal. Praise God. But it is interesting to make a comparison here with another recent article on the situation in the Anglican Ecclesial Communion. Rowan Williams has recently suggested that the ordination of women hadn't been as fruitful for renewal as had been hoped.
It all comes down to two things really: Authority (esp. who has it and on what is it based) and Vocation (the call)

I had seen another article in a national newspaper which reported that Rowan Williams did NOT wish to see a reversal of the decision taken by the General Synod on the ordination of women.
So one minute it doesn't sound like a good idea, and even might be revoked and the next minute it doesn't seem so bad after all! Very confusing and some may even say very Anglican!!!

What is needed is for us to get to grips with Authority. Obviously this is much more of a problem outside the Catholic Church. This is especially evident in the Anglican Ecclesial Communion since there is no Magisterium. Hence we get one picture one day and another the following!
Ultimately WHO has the authority? Many noble Anglicans, growing from their Anglican faith and not divorcing from it, have realised that Christ HAS given His very own authority to His Church and that Church is the one in communion with the See of Peter. Situations like this bring home the message that there can be NO real renewal without the Magisterium and the Papacy.

And the Catholic Church, with it's God given authority, has stated that itself has NO authority whatsoever to ordain women to the Sacred Priesthood. Causa Finita! Why? Simply because the Church's authority does not extend to CHANGING God's Divine plan. This brings us to our second point: Vocation

Women have an absolutely BEAUTIFUL and outstanding vocation. Every man should feel a sense of awe when looking at this wonderful role of women. I, as a man, have NO right to carry a child within me. This may all sound far fetched but it's crucial. God has ORDAINED that women should be as like the Ark of the Covenant. They are to carry the gift of Life. That's why Our Lady is the MOST blessed amongst ALL women. Essentially God has written in our identity our vocation. Priesthood has absolutely nothing to do with worthiness. In fact I have met many women who, on account of their worth and personalities would make MUCH better priests. But that is how humanity sees things. God, however, has ordained from all eternity that MALENESS be crucial to the priesthood. That's why Jesus Christ comes to us on earth as a man. Many have protested "well Jesus could have come as a woman". If that had been God's plan then no one would argue about it. But God is eternal as are His plans. Christ, True God and True Man, had ordained that from all eternity He would become Incarnate as a male. Therefore the Church has received in Her Sacred Tradition that maleness is intrinsic to priesthood. No one is more worthy of the priesthood than Our Lady. Yet who in the Church, under Christ, is more honoured? Yet Our Lady never shared in the ordained priesthood.

True Renewal will only come about when we deepen in our sense of God's eternal calling for each one of us, man and woman. These Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal evidently have understood that in the Light of God's grace. That is why God is adding to their harvest of vocations. The big message is : Let's stop concentrating on what we are not and what we want to be and let us start fulfilling what God has called us to be through His Holy Church.
God bless

Thursday, November 16, 2006

First vows of Sr Jacinta and Sr Miriam CFR

I found this video very moving. The joy on their faces is incredible. I think we really need to do a whole lot more to promote female vocations to religious life. One of England's many eccentricities is that we have more male vocations to priesthood or religious life than women joining religious orders. I had the great privilege of being taught at school by a religious sister (who even wore a habit!) and who first inspired me to consider a vocation to Priesthood. Now, however, it is increasingly rare to find religious sisters in schools, and I think this will have a major impact on the Church in this country. I see signs of hope in the foundation of new Communities, such as that of Our Lady of Walsingham but I think we as Catholics need to do much more.

Admittedly, some of the religious orders actively discourage vocations, and others consist mainly of elderly sisters, which is discouraging for younger women. I would love to have a religious sister come in with me when I speak about vocations in schools, but I haven't yet found one who would be willing to do so.

Nonetheless, I believe that the failure to foster female vocations is a failure not just on the part of some religious orders, but on the part of the Church as a whole. I do know a number of women who are seriously discerning a vocation to religious life, but who are often discouraged by people's reactions. When I told people that I was discerning a vocation to priesthood, the reaction was generally positive. One of my friends who is considering a vocation as a religious, told me that the reaction from her friends, even those who are committed Catholics, was generally quite negative. I think we have lost to a great extent an understanding of the beauty and importance of the vocation of religious women. We often pray for and preach about vocations to priesthood, but seem to see female vocations as some kind of "optional extra". If we don't have priests, we don't have Mass, but if we don't have Sisters, that's not really a problem...

We need to wake up to the critical role of women religious and start talking and praying about it - now!

Visit a Seminary

A friend of mine from St John's Seminary, Wonersh has asked me to publicise their Day of Prayer and Advent Service on 3 December. It sounds like it'll be a really beautiful day - do consider going...

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

New "advice" on premature babies by Nuffield

I read this latest news piece with absolute horror and utter amazement on the BBC's website. This is just beyond belief and comprehension. Here are a few quotes from the BBC's website:

"The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has recommended babies born at or before 22 weeks should not be resuscitated or given intensive care." [Emphasis mine] Please note the irony!

" Between 22 weeks and 23 weeks the assumption should be no care unless parents request it."

"From 23 to 24 weeks parents should have final say."

Well gee thanks. How terribly KIND of you!!!

And here's the best part, given in all sweetness and genuine human generosity:

"And between 24 and 25 weeks the assumption should be that intensive care should be given unless parents and doctors agree there is no hope. Beyond that intensive care should be given as standard."

What really gets me going is that most of this is based on assumption!!! Well don't we all feel that little bit secure now that human life with it's God given dignity is in such understanding and caring hands!

Can't you feel that surge of gratitude to Nuffield Council for carefully selecting appropriate members of the human race for the gift of life based on their excellent qualities of being able to assume?

So now we can be blissfully rid of any of those little undesirables since those who "do survive are left with disabilities".

Funny that! I distinctly remember learning in my history classes as a little boy about a certain Austrian with a moustache who had exactly the same attitudes towards so called "undesirables". What was his name again? Adolf something or other?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Who says there aren't any young vocations ?!?!

Well there seems to be plenty here:
And guess what? They adore the Blessed Sacrament and live like REAL nuns. Strange, eh?

French Bishops worried

Apparently about 10 French Bishops are worried about the liberalising (no pun intended!) of the Tridentine Mass. Why? Because according to them it will "divide the Church". Well it didn't seem to divide the Church when everyone was using it forty something years ago! Or could it be that the more loyal and orthodox dioceses where things are done in a Catholic way will see such a boost in vocations that some other people will suffer tingling feelings of envy and embarrassment! Maybe that's the division they are on about?
Zut alors! Being Catholic in an orthodox way actually WORKS!!!

Maybe if the Tridentine Mass is freed up so that any priest can celebrate it we will experience what the Fathers of Vatican II really wanted: Genuine Liturgical Renewal.
Perhaps the Lord is preparing us for Renewal in place of much of the Revolt that we have put up with for so long!

Beware! Strong Woman!!!

We have received so much support for our new blog, despite it being only a week old! One such support has come from a Mulier Fortis, a strong woman. There is a link to this strong woman's blog in our blog list. But where does such strength come from?
When a person is radically dedicated to Jesus Christ, God made Man, his or her whole life is taken up in grace, consumed by the fire of love. There comes with it a love for His Church and her teachings. There comes the desire to grow in perfection and strive for sanctity. Also the person desires to defend and protect all that is beautiful, sacred and true.
It's interesting to note that amid our pleasure seeking world there is a growing number of young people who have "been there, done that, got the T-shirt" and found out that it doesn't fit, it's cheap and fraying at the seams!

Why in our world today would someone like the Mulier Fortis decide to dedicate everything to Christ? The reason why is because every heart is made for Communion with the Blessed Trinity. We are called to become Saints and be Divinised. We are called to bask in the healing and divinising light of Our God transfigured on Mount Tabor. Our flesh is called to be transformed by the flesh of Christ in the Blessed Eucharist.

That's how we become strong, that's our fortitude.

So to that strong woman, we on Orthfully Catholic say: Thanks be to God for such a beautiful vocation! And thanks for the witness you give. It is people like you, totally consecrated to Christ, who are indeed among the Pillars of the Church. Many priests owe you an immeasurable debt of gratitude and graces for your prayers and support, without which we would have even fewer Shepherds to guide our battered flock
And finally thanks for your FIDELITY to Holy Mother Church. How She delights in the daughters who, despite their sins and failings, strive each day to be faithful to their Mother!

Anyone intrigued by the beauty of the life of total consecration or feel that they might have a call please go to Mulier Fortis' blog found on our blog list. I am sure any questions you have will be graciously answered.


Monday, November 13, 2006

Elton John and organised religion

I was looking at the BBC's website (yes it is permissible for a Catholic to do that!) and lo and behold there was Elton John saying that he wanted all organised religion to be banned. Why? Well according to him organised religion persecutes gay people. Actually the Catechism is very clear that no discrimination is to be shown to those with homosexual tendencies. But is that enough for Sir Elton? I think not. In fact his idea of a non- persecuting organised religion is one that endorses homosexuality and promotes it as a " healthy alternative" to heterosexuality. That, Sir Elton, Holy Mother Church cannot do. God has created man and woman for each other. And whilst it is "un-P.C" to say it I am going to nevertheless: Homosexuality is NOT a valid alternative for the married life and family. God has set in His unalterable laws that man and woman ALONE should become one flesh. In doing so a husband and a wife participate in the work of creation. This is truly a high and noble vocation.

So what about people with homosexual tendencies? They truly carry a heavy cross. Yet their woundedness is truly redeemable in many ways. First they are called to live the beauty of chastity. That forms an essential part of their path to sainthood. But also there is hope in many other ways. There are great teams of psychologists, especially in the States, who help homosexually orientated people address their woundedness. Indeed many overcome this wound and eventually marry.
Many refute this saying that it is unaccepting of a person. I disagree. As Christians we should desire the very best for each and every person. Is that not a definition of true love? These teams in the U.S have many proofs that homosexuality is actually HEALABLE.

So there is much hope. If anyone reading this is burdened by homosexual tendencies, take heart. The Lord wants to help you. Here is the website of a group that helps those who wish to overcome their homosexual tendencies:

Another such group is N.A.R.T.H whose website is:

As for Sir Elton all I can say about organised religion is : we're here to stay!

Iraqi boy crucified, the "P.C" Press and the attack on Christianity

Many of you may have heard about this horrific act commited in Iraq. Perhaps many haven't. I learnt of it from the Catholic papers we have here in the UK. However, unless I am mistaken, there has been no mention of it in the Secular press. Hmmmm. Very interesting! In this age when everything has to be "PC" (although I personally think there is very little which is "PC" about Political Correctness!) it is surprising to note that anything which may rock the "PC" boat is simply ignored. The battle rages on in Great Britain where the Islamic community are concerned. Christmas is now considered to be "not very PC". By whom? The Muslims? Errr, actually no! But by people with a certain subversive agenda in this CHRISTIAN country. Recently a poll showed that most Muslims don't care if Christmas is called Christmas. In fact the front page of the Telegraph today (13th Nov) carries a report that Muslims actually want Christmas to be LEFT ALONE.
Isn't it interesting that this comes about at the same time as the release by the Royal Mail of the so called "Christmas" stamps? All complete with things central to CHRISTmas, such as Santa Claus, Snowmen (though it virtually never snows here thanks to toxic emissions and global warming!), reindeer and JESUS.

"No, wait a minute we can't have HIM on there! That's not P.C! Oh no, we'll offend other religions. Lets just stick with the fat Coca Cola man invented before P.C was even considered part of the English Language. Let's stick with Reindeer and Snow. Yes that's right. They won't offend anyone"

What about CHRISTIANS??? Has anyone ever considered that it might just be a little UN P.C to be tearing apart one of their major feasts, especially when Muslims and the like don't give two hoots?

But I sense an uglier beast afoot! What is the real reason for this? Could it be that Christianity(Esp. the Catholic Church), the faith and religion which gave modern Europe its cultural heritage, with its unrelenting proclamation of ETERNAL truths is considered a threat? A threat to those who hold (such as the RCOG) that life is at our disposal and that there is nothing sacred about it?

The REAL problem which these forces have with the Catholic Church is that it won't shut up! It is the single most powerful voice in support of the family (yes with a REAL MAN and a REAL WOMAN making babies and raising them as healthy citizens of Society!), sexual morality, the absolute sanctity of life from womb to tomb and true justice.

It all amounts to the fact that actually Catholicism is very inconvenient for a number of people with an agenda intent on the destruction of Western Society, warping it to suit their own whims.

Our duty as Catholics is to stand up for our faith. Not only on the various blogs (and the ones I've visited so far are fantastic) but with our deeds. First let us pray for the Church, the Pope and the Magisterium and for the conversion of those who persecute the truth. But also lets us make decisive acts which show our faith and our love for it.
Let us be determined to put up cribs at CHRISTmas. Let us boldly proclaim the Incarnation of God the Son. Let us send Christmas Cards which show forth this beautiful mystery (i.e no fat blokes with a red coat that looks like he nicked it out of a charity shop!). And let us NOT buy those wretched "P.C" stamps produced by our "beloved" Royal Mail!
Remember CHRISTmas is about Jesus. Let's proclaim that two THOUSAND year old truth of the Incarnation of our Lord, God and Saviour. A TRUTH so central to our precious faith and so important for the Salvation of many souls!

Let us stand up for truth making sure that atrocities such as a the crucifixion of a teenage boy in Iraq are not ignored simply because they are inconvenient to the so called "P.C" agenda.
God bless

Friday, November 10, 2006

Father Benedict Update

As we were saying, the Church was packed to the rafters. Father Benedict spoke in the presence of the Most Blessed Sacrament.
He encouraged us to take an interest and be pro-active in the liturgical movement, a great concern and passion of the present Pope.

He spoke of his main concern that many Catholics today no longer believe in the Divinity of Jesus Christ. A force that has added to this lack of belief has been, according to Father Benedict, the methods of some modern Scripture studies. By rationalising many parts of Divine Revelation in Scripture the flood gates have been opened to a questioning and denial of the Divinity of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Father Benedict also pointed out that in his line of work as a psychologist he met many priests who were on the verge of leaving the priesthood. And surprise surprise celibacy was NOT one of the main reasons for leaving but a lack of faith in the Divinity of Jesus Christ.

Basically put if Jesus was just a nice bloke who went around being really chummy and just plain boring old nice then there's ABSOLUTELY NO POINT to Christianity. There's no Real Presence, no Resurrection, no Salvation, no Church and crucially for priests, NO PRIESTHOOD!!! We URGENTLY need to rediscover our deep faith in the Divinity of Christ. Christmas is not too far away. This is a time when our faith in the Incarnation of the DIVINE Son of God becomes especially poignant. This is our precious faith passed down (Tradition) from the very Apostles themselves. Father Benedict's talk can be summed up in the following way: Either Christ is God or FORGET IT! We really need to discover our faith in the Divinity of Christ anew. We need to live it and proclaim it. This is the hub of the New Evangelisation. Christ our God came to show us that humanity is not pointless but has a wonderful vocation of being called to be Divinised (Theosis), to become God-like.

Perhaps we could respond to Father Benedict's encouraging preaching by making it our Advent resolution to spend some regular time in the presence of Our Beloved Lord's Body, Blood, Soul and DIVINITY in the Blessed Sacrament.
By making a regular Advent Holy Hour we will gain great graces for the New Evangelisation so very much needed in our world and Church today. And please don't forget to pray for Father Benedict and, of course, our beloved Pope Benedict!

God bless

Father Benedict Groeschel

The Church at Balham was packed to the rafters of young and enthusiastic Catholics who are searching for an authentic way to live out their faith. And here was a man and a dedicated priest to show them how. Father Benedict Groeschel's talk was simply amazing! He is a man who is completely serious about the Church and its present state, but someone with a deep sense of humour and compassion.

His talk was on the Spirituality of Pope Benedict. More will follow shortly!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Father Benedict Groeschel

Father Benedict Groeschel is in London! At 7pm tonight he is leading an evening of prayer and reflection with particular emphasis on the Spirituality of Pope Benedict. This very exciting event is being held at Holy Ghost Church, Balham. The Parish Priest there is Father Stephen Langridge. There is a link to Father Stephen's blog: Southwark Vocations on this blog.
Please come if you can and meet a priest who has done and is doing so much to promote the New Evangelisation.
God bless

Our Persecuted Brethren

As many of you may know the Church in the Middle East, especially in Iraq is having a bit of a rough time. According to EWTN, Archbishop Louis Sako of Kirkuk, Iraq is calling Christians to solidarity at this most difficult time. Christians in Iraq are being urged to stay where they are and be strong, overcoming the differences they have as much as possible. The Christian communities, some of which extend back to the time of Our Lord, are dwindling fast. One major concern for their leaders has been to stem the flow of emigration. Christians are fast becoming a persecuted minority in the Middle East. If those precious communities vanish a beautiful and vital link with Our Lord will have been extinguished there. Our duty in the West is to pray for our brethren who suffer at this terrible time. Small though they be, they are nevertheless lanterns burning to the glory of Jesus Christ. They are a witness to the Crucified Christ and an invaluable source of grace for the World and the New Evangelisation. We can support them with our prayers. Let us pray that during this their Good Friday they may experience the power and strength of the Resurrection