Saturday, February 24, 2007

Exhortation on the Eucharist imminent

The Holy Father dropped MASSIVE hints on Thursday that the Exhortation on the Eucharist is imminent. There are also rumours that the Motu Proprio allowing more freedom in the celebration of the Tridentine Rite will accompany it. This is a momentous time for the Church. It seems quite clear to me that the Holy Spirit is preparing the ground for a profound Eucharistic Renewal in the Church. Also Pope Benedict seems to be actively encouraging the Reform of the Reform that he has so often spoken about.

In this Lenten season please pray with us at Orthfully Catholic that the Church may be refreshed and renewed in Her love for Her Eucharistic Lord. Please pray also for the Holy Father and the Catholic Church in Britain in these trying times.

God bless

New blog

Orthfully Catholic would like to show their support for a new blog. The new blogger is Mrs Jackie Parkes MJ and the link to her new blog is:

It is very new and Jackie is learning. But please support her because the more blogs there are spreading Christ's message and His Catholic Church the better!!!
Well done Jackie!
God bless

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Vera Drake

When this film was released in the cinemas I refused to go because I didn't want to help finance a pro-choice film but desperately wanted to see it so when it was premiered on terrestrial television on Sunday I had to break my 'bed before 10' rule and watch it. It is a beautifully made film with a stunning cast, script and plot but it left me confused as to what position it took.

At first it looked very pro-choice comparing the cold, impersonal world of psychiatry and brutality of the nurses at the home for pregnant women (someone please advise correct title for this institution) to the friendly, comfortable world of the back street abortionist. Then as the film goes on it explores the psychology of the women, the girl who went to the home isn't happy but compared to the sorrow, pain and anguish of the girls who are under the care of Mrs Drake she is content.

Vera is discovered when one of '[her] girls' almost dies as a result of the abortion and this is where the positioning of the film makers becomes interesting. She is arrested, tried and sent to prison. Between the arrest and trial she is granted bail and goes home for a month, her husband is upset at what she has been doing behind his back for 20 years but supports her 'for better or worse', her daughter has the same attitude. Her son cannot even look her in the face, he tells her exactly what her thinks of her for 'murdering innocent little babies', but his father later reminds him that his mother would forgive him for anything he did because se loves him and while he cannot accept what she has done he forgives her because he loves her.

The sentence also interested me, Vera Drake was given two and a half years in prison for putting the life of a young woman in danger, not life for murdering an unborn child. When she gets to prison she meets two other back street abortionists and discover they each got 3 and 4 years because their actions killed '[their] girls'. This is 1950/1951, you can see that the country is getting closer to making abortion legal.

My final view of the film is that it might be against abortion itself but for the legality of abortion so as to stop dangerous back street abortions (the reason the Abortion Act was instituted in the first place). If you have seen the film let me know what your thoughts were.

Opus Dei: The Movie

Yes, its true! Apparently in an attempt to undo the damage done by 'The Da Vinci Code' phenomenon Opus Dei are giving theological advice (but no financial aid) for a film about St Josemaria Escriva and the founding of the Prelature. As a film buff and follower of the Saint and his ways I am personally looking forward to the release of this film.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


This really is my last post until Easter! As we enter into Lent, we pray particularly for those who are going to be baptised or received into the Church at Easter, that they may be granted great courage, perseverance and true conversion of heart. I'm particularly privileged this year as one of my best friends is being baptised, and has asked me to be his godfather.

As I reflected on the Baptismal promises, it struck me how stark the contrast is between the rejection of Satan, and the acceptance of life in God. In the desert, this contrast suddenly becomes very clear. Perhaps we can forget that as well as being a privileged place of encounter with God, the desert is also the enemy's home turf (well, ok, home sand, if you object to my mixing metaphors :). The Prince of Darkness actively seeks to prevent us from our desire for Lenten conversion.

For me, I find it is essential to make concrete commitments to prayer, fasting and almsgiving, and then to pray continually for the grace to remain absolutely faithful to those commitments, no matter what obstacles I may encounter. In this way, I can stand up to the enemy, strong in faith. If I keep the focus on myself and my struggles with the Lenten commitments, I will generally fail, but if I always keep in mind the goal of Lent (and of life), which is Christ, He will grant me the grace to persevere in my journey towards Him.

May the Lord also grant you a great increase in faith this Lent, that you may draw closer to Him and enter ever more deeply into the paschal mystery.

Poor Clares

Antonia has a lovely post about a friend of hers who is hoping to enter the Poor Clares imminently. Do keep her friend in your prayers as she goes through the application process.

As a child I always spent a couple of weeks each summer in the guest house of a Convent of enclosed Nuns (yes, I guess we are slightly unusual!). I still have a profound sense of spiritual communion with that community, where one of the Nuns prays for me daily. I am totally convinced that I would never have managed to persevere in my vocation if it wasn't for the prayers of my contemplative friends. They really are the pillars that support the Church, like Aaron and Hur holding up the arms of Moses.

Perhaps we could also pray particularly for them at this time, and for more vocations to their communities.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Women priests?

I don't normally plug books, but this is one I'm definitely getting when it comes out next month:

The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church

Sara Butler, MSBT

In his letter Ordinatio Sacerdotalis, Pope John Paul II stated: "Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, . . . I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful. " With that declaration, the question of women’s priestly ordination in the Catholic Church was effectively closed. While the Church’s position is clear, many priests, religious, seminarians, and lay ministers search for a way to answer questions regarding the Church’s teaching. In The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church, Sister Sara Butler attempts to answer those questions through a close examination of the Church’s teaching on the ordination of women to the priesthood. In response to a call for a greater articulation of the Church’s position, Sister Butler seeks to both clarify and defend the Church’s teaching as well as explore why so many have struggled to accept it. The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church successfully explores the complex and fundamental questions surrounding the ordination of women to the priesthood for anyone interested in a deep examination of this issue.

Sister Sara Butler, msbt, is currently a professor of dogmatic theology at St. Joseph ’s Seminary in New York. In 2004, she became the first American woman appointed by Pope John Paul II to the International Theological Commission. She holds a phd in systematic theology from Fordham University, her stl from University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, and an ma from The Catholic University of America. She has written and lectured extensively on the subject of the ordination of women.

Hardcover, 6 x 9, 144 pages

While I'm in book recommendation mood, Robert Pesarchick's "The Trinitarian Foundation of Human Sexuality as Revealed By Christ According to Hans Urs Von Balthasar: The Revelatory Significance of the Male Christ and the Male Ministerial Priesthood" is superb. It really helped me to get to grips with von Balthasar's thoughts on the subject, which aren't really contained in a concentrated and systematic way in any one of his works.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

With Christ I hang upon the Cross...

St. Paul in his letter to the Galatians makes a statement which in itself is profound. "With Christ, I hang upon the Cross". In that one brief statement St. Paul shows us how our suffering is united to that of Jesus himself.

Sometimes when things go wrong we can forget that we suffer with Jesus. It is not Gods will for us to suffer however He allows us to - that is a consequence of free will.

Something to remember when you find it tough is that God will give you the grace and strength necessary to get through, you must abandon yourself into His loving arms and say those words which are the very banner of Divine Mercy - "Jesus I trust in You". Offer your suffering for all those who have not found their way, offer it for those souls who await the day when they will meet Our saviour face to face. Always be sure that in that Darkness, when you feel as if you have nothing, you are like that mustard seed about to burst open with an abundance of new life, not just any new life, but a new life in Christ. And in that transformation, you will discover the path to Holiness.


Catholic Blog awards

Thank you to the ten people who voted for us in the Catholic blog awards. I have to admit that I didn't actually vote, as I was away. It is a blessing that you enjoy it. As you'll have realised from my previous post, success is not what motivates us. Our hope and prayer, is that our very humble scribblings may in some way lead you closer to Christ.

Foyers de Charite

The Foyers de Charite are a fantastic organisation. They were founded in 1936 by Fr George Finet and Marthe Robin. They are communities of single men and women who commit themselves for life to a community, under the leadership of a priest who is the "Father of the Foyer". Their main apostolate is in giving retreats. They have 8 day "fundamental retreats" which go through the main points of the Faith, for those wanting to deepen their understanding, and people who are lapsed and wanting to return to the Church. They also do a lot of work with young people, with confirmation candidates and some Foyers run schools. They attract many vocations, and really are a powerful force for evangelisation in the places where they are established.

St Joseph's Parish, New Malden is hosting a retreat day on Saturday 17th March which will be run by the Foyers, with some members of a French foyer who are coming specially to England to make the Foyers more widely known in this country.

It should be a really good day retreat, beginning with lauds at 9:30 am and including Mass, talks and testimonies from members of the Foyer, time for prayer, opportunities for confession and the chance to learn more about the Foyers and their spirituality. The day will finish at around 4 pm. More info on their website.

Bloggers will of course be aware that New Malden, as well as having the wonderful Fr Peter Edwards as its Parish Priest is also home to a celebrity blogger and a celebrity non-blogging priest. Here is your chance to brush with fame as well as have a day of prayer and renewal!

Shepherds of Christ

I picked up a newsletter of the Shepherds of Christ apostolate, which was really excellent. Looking at the website though, I tend to be wary of private revelations, perhaps unjustifiably so, as they are all carefully vetted. Does anyone know any more about them, or have any thoughts on this?

Community of our Lady of Walsingham

The fabulous Community of Our Lady of Walsingham has a new website, and they even now have a blog!

I am really inspired by their work in promoting a culture of vocation. Do keep them in your prayers.

Rachel's vineyard

You'll probably already be familiar with the wonderful work done by Rachel's vineyard, the organisation that provides retreats for women who have had abortions. In this country the programme is run by the Good Counsel Network/Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

The Irish branch are organising a leadership conference in County Cork in the summer - 20-22 July. Theresa Burke, who founded Rachel's vineyard in the States is coming over for it. My Irish friend tells me that English visitors would be most welcome.

A mirage

Well yes, I know, I said I wouldn't post again until mid-April, but I'm back from retreat, Lent hasn't started yet, people have sent me various interesting things, and I couldn't resist sharing them with you.

The retreat was wonderful, by the way. It was a directed retreat, and I had a brilliant director, an elderly priest, who was fantastically discerning, and really pushed me beyond my limits. I'm told that the new PC term for a spiritual director is a "soul friend". To be honest, apart from the ghastliness of the name itself, I'm not terribly interested in having a cuddly soul friend. I want someone who will direct me, and that's what I got.

Lovely Lent

As a teenager I hated Lent. Even now there is a certain amount of shuddering that passes down my spine. But now I know it's just my fallen nature rebelling against that much maligned word: penance.

Seriously, Lent is lovely. It's a fresh opportunity to tell Our Lord and His Blessed Mother that we love them and that we are sorry for our sins.

Father Tim Finigan's blog, the Hermeneutic of Continuity, has something on tough love and fasting. Amid the humour he makes a serious point: fasting is important and penance shows our love.

Perhaps we might take up a good old fashioned fast of just bread and water for the Fridays of Lent. Not to mention avoiding meat on the Fridays of the penitential season. This is what I have decided to do, if my spiritual director permits me.

We can offer up our penances for so many things: sin, conversion, vocations, family, friends, Holy Souls, the dying, the Pope, priests etc. There are just so many intentions. And the graces that will flow from it will be literally unbelievable!

So why not try it, if your health permits. And if I may be so bold, please remember the sinners at Orthfully Catholic in your sacrifices. Heaven knows we need them!!!

God bless

Friday, February 16, 2007

Our Lady of Fatima, Ora Pro Nobis

One common theme in this weekend's Catholic Press is the result of last week's Referendum on abortion on demand in Portugal. Only 50% of the population turned up at the polls and 61% of them were pro-choice so the Portugese government are set to make abortion legal up to 10 weeks.

Dear readers, we are talking about a Catholic country where Our Lady has appeared and promised Her personal protection, if abortion can get in by the back door here nowhere is safe. Satan continues to set up his dominion on earth! A great lesson must be learned, when it comes to life/death situations DO NOT boycott referendums!!!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

The Times

Has anybody seen the front page of this illustrious newspaper today?

Apparently the Catholic Church in England and Wales is about to be the most populated Church since the Reformation. The Anglican Communion is denying it of course but the number of immigrants from Catholic countries has reached such a level that our parishes are teeming once again whereas those Ecclesial Communions whose members are all natives are struggling to fill their parishes. On top of that people are converting to Catholicism in droves over subjects such as women priests, gay marriages etc.

Perhaps Mr Blair is doing the Catholic Church some good after all!

God Bless the Church and all Her members!

Woe to you!

I have been reflecting on Sunday's Gospel, especially the words:
"Woe to you when all speak well of you,
for their ancestors treated the false prophets in this way"

What comes to my mind is the temptation for Catholics to challenge Church teaching and follow secular ideas. How deceptive is such a temptation! It leads to a divided heart and eventually to people lapsing since it is so difficult to balance opposing views.

How many of us have heard people say "I'm Catholic but I don't agree with the Church on..."

I can honestly say that I have never met someone like this who is joyful. They always seem restless and lacking peace.
The people who, despite their difficulties, struggle to live according to Church teachings seems so peaceful and deep.

It has long been my opinion that pick 'n' mix Catholicism leads to shallowness and restlessness.

It's plain to me: You can't burn the candle at both ends!

I have often got into debates with religious sisters over the ordination of women. I quickly remind them of their vow of obedience and then firmly state: Roma locutus est causa finita!

Rome has spoken, case closed!

What we need is radical discipleship and that means radical obedience to the Magisterium since "he who hears you hears me!"

Today that means having the world speak ill of you. Who cares? Christ is the one who matters and He speaks to us through his Church.

God bless

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ss Cyril and Methodius

A happy Feast day to our European readers on this Feast of the co-patrons of Europe.

I don't know why but I have long been a fan of these Saints, I am not Slavonic and am a Tory voter so anti-Europe, and I don't have a particular devotion to either of the brother bishops.

I have been thinking about it today and the answer came as a lady was handing out love hearts at the coffee morning after Mass wishing everyone a Happy Valentines Day. It is the paganisation of this great Martyr and the reduction of his Feast day to nothing but lustful imagery that causes me to emphasise Ss Cyril and Methodius.

So, once again a Happy Ss Cyril and Methodius Day to one and all!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

An effective fight against Aids

I read an article on EWTN news today concerning a nun in Zambia who stated categorically: "Condoms don't work"

This brings two thoughts to my mind at this moment.
The first is just how prophetic the Magisterium of the Catholic Church is and how right she is on these matters.

The second is how wonderful it is to hear of the witness of a dedicated religious. Thank God for the likes of Sister Maria Crucis Beards!

Let us pray that many in the world, together with those in power will wisen up and see that diseases such as Aids will only be effectively removed with dedicated CHASTITY! It's obvious that if you're chaste you're extremely unlikely to catch a sexually transmitted disease! Logical, I think. D'OH!

Take a look for yourselves at EWTN news:

God bless

Thursday, February 08, 2007

A wonderful witness

I recently had the grace of visiting the community of Tyburn Nuns in London. What a wonderful witness! In the heart of London a community of sisters totally consecrated to the Glory of God spend 24 hours everyday in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
What graces must flow from those humble dwellings! I met Mother Simeon, the Mother Prioress, who agreed to pray for me everyday. Praised be Jesus and Mary! Us seminarians need all the prayers we can get!

After that I went looking for the place where the martyrs died. I was shocked and saddened to find that the site of the Old Tyburn Tree is now a traffic island!
I (probably breaking the law!) squeezed through the railings and ran across the road to the traffic island. A round plaque in the ground saying: The site of the Old Tyburn Tree
is all that marks the spot.

I spent a moment in prayer before returning (illegally again!) through the railings back to safety.

Two sites of witness so close to each other! The sisters have many relics of the martyrs in the crypt, which is being renovated at the moment (which, by the way, could do with the help of generous donations if you're up to it!)

Please pray for the sisters, that their witness may continue and that they may be blessed with many vocations.

And if you're in London, why not pay them (and, of course, the Blessed Sacrament!) a visit?

They'd love to see and offer their prayers for you.
God bless

Saturday, February 03, 2007


I was at a wonderful funeral this morning. Not wonderful in the sense that we were joyful, far from it, but wonderful because it was a moving tribute to a man with a heart full of Love for God.

I knew this man because his two daughters are friends with my two sisters. He fostered over 200 children in his life and this stopped when his wife died, however even though he lost his company, his wife and everything else, he grew stonger in faith and Love.

My parish priest said that it was his Love for Mary, which helped him become the greatest father, because he modelled her in love for his own. I thought that was a remarkable thing to say. He had a tremendous love for Mary and a deep devotion to her. So much so that he would go round shops and houses asking for spare rosaries so that he could send them to people who did not either know or practice in their faith. Its estimated he sent thousands both within the UK and abroad. Father revealed that in the mans life his devotion to the sacred heart gave him a deep consolation and joy because in that way he understood where he was going.

I think we should all try and rediscover that zeal which we should all have in our faith and take our faith to the world.


Thursday, February 01, 2007

I'm giving up smiling for Lent

Actually, I think that would be far too challenging. Instead, I'm giving up using the internet (except for essential academic research and occasional email) so as to give the time to prayer. As I'm taking a pre-Lenten retreat, this will be my last post until mid-April. Although the quantity of posts on this blog may decrease slightly as a result, this will be more than compensated for by the dramatic increase in average quality of posts!

Cum quo enim Deus est
nunquam minus solus est
quam cum solus est.

Tunc enim libere fruitur gaudio suo
ad fruendum Deo in se
et se in Deo.

He with whom God is
is never less alone
than when he is alone.

For then he can enjoy his joy,
then he is his own
to enjoy God in himself
and himself in God.

William of Saint-Thierry


Today and for some time, I've been hearing a lot of talk living in the spirit of the Seconed Vatican Council. For a lot of priests, religious, lay people there seems to be a confusion about what this means! It doesn't mean that we start playing Pope as a parish priest or that the parish council start acting like the council fathers. It doesn't mean that we have the right to start practising one part of the faith and not worrying about the rest of the obligations. No, it means to live in 'Fidelity' with the Church and alongside the Church. A long time ago, the Bishops of Scotland released a statement that went something like this;

"We will always walk with the Pope, never before him, or behind in, with always in unity and fidelity guiding our actions"

It seems as if many people, priests and maybe even a bishop or two has forgotten this.

I'm not having a rant, but I think that we need to understand this and live this more in the Church today. The Church is the only institution in the history of Mankind to stay and progress for such a long period of time, yet those who run comics like the Tablet think they know better. Think of the irrationality of one person coming along and knowing what is best. Martin Luther tried that and look what that did. Living the faith means living in fidelity to the Church and to Jesus Christ, whom by the Church is a sacrament which is a sign leading to Christ in the world. Live with her, love her and play your part in her life daily. Pray each day for the gift of Fidelity, its a mature prayer, one learned and experienced, but one that will leave you with a joy greater than anything this World can ever give you.