Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Dear friends, farewell!

Dear Friends of Orthfully Catholic,
The previous post is my last contribution to this blog. I, like Gildas, have reached a stage where I feel that it is best to dedicate myself to other things. This doesn't mean that you, our readers, aren't important to me. It means that certain areas of my life (especially prayer) need greater attention than I am currently giving them.

I will miss the blog alot. I have enjoyed it, even some of the more frustrating moments! Blogging is great fun, hard work at times, frustrating at others but totally rewarding.

I have enjoyed being in contact with so many Catholics who really care about the Faith. I have shared their joys and their pains. But I do leave here completely confident that things in the Church are on the up.

It's going to be a long haul but in the end the uncorrupted, orthodox faith of our beautiful Catholic Church will win through. Truth does, indeed, set us free.

Dear friends stay strong. Stay in love with the Blessed Sacrament, Our Lady, the Sacraments, the Magisterium, Tradition, prayer, contemplation and orthodoxy. It's the only way that we and the Church will survive. And it's the future.

You all have such a love for the Church. Thank you for that. Thank you also for the tremendous support that you give this blog and its writers. It's not easy being a young, orthodox Cartholic and seminarian today. So many older Catholics give us a rough time.

This blog will continue with the other seminarian contributers.

Please keep me and the other seminarians in your prayers. You are ALL in mine.
May God bless you all and may Our Blessed Lady keep you under Her Immaculate Mantle!

Beauty will save the world

I have been spending the last few days in one of the most beautiful and precious places I know: St. Michael's Abbey, Farnborough.

This Abbey is a centre for liturgical excellence. All of the Mass are Novus Ordo. Please, if you are not a fan of the Novus Ordo read on. Sunday Mass is in Latin, sung to Gregorian Chant and takes nearly two hours. All Masses are facing East.
Truly Farnborough Abbey is a treasure unknown in these isles.

I have been to quite a number of Tridentine Masses and Masses in Westminster Cathedral but the Sunday Masses here are THE MOST BEAUTIFUL I have ever seen. This is what Vatican II wanted. This is a true organic development of the Classical rite. Indeed I would say that the Mass, as celebrated at Farnborough, is the Classical Rite of today's Church.
Communion is received kneeling. People participate in the parts of the Mass (Sanctus, Agnus Dei etc) in exquisite Gregorian Chant.

It truly permits the participation that Vatican II requested but leads the people into the mystical and the contemplative

As I stood there singing the Creed I realised that this is the future of the Catholic Church's liturgy. We can't go back on what Vatican II wanted. We can't deny it. But at Farnborough one can see genuine organic development. They too realised this. That is why in 1995 they removed the forward facing altar and began the Genuine Renewal that is taking place.

I spoke to one of the monks who told me that a few years ago the CDF telephoned from Rome. Naturally the monk who answered the phone was, at first, a little worried. The CDF siad "Don't worry. We're just phoning to say that we know what you are trying to do there and we know of your printing press and WE THOROUGHLY APPROVE!". That was when Ratzinger was heading it.

If you can, go to Farnborough Abbey for Sunday Mass. You won't regret it. They also have an excellent bookshop and Abbey shop (which sells honey, beef, pork and eggs etc).

Visit their website:

It's a truly wonderful place. There I realised that, indeed, BEAUTY WILL SAVE THE WORLD!!!

Monday, May 28, 2007

What in the name of sanity?!?!?!?!?!?

I have just read on Father Tim Finigan's blog, the Hermeneutic of Continuity, that the "Ninety nine names of Allah" are going to be sung in Westminster Cathedral.
Well I have had enough! In the words of Mother Angelica: "Liberals, you want a war, you've got one"

You tear down our faith, destroy our sanctuaries. You shove God in to some tacky shoebox in a side aisle. You feed our children the poison of your liberal and heretical rubbish. You lead souls down the path of perdition with your wishy washy, mamby pamby nonsense. You fill your own minds with useless psychobabble and encourage others to be "creative" (ie if your gay or like a pathetic liturgy go ahead, knock yourself out). You corrupt our young with your perveted teachings on the Human Body. You refuse to let the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass be the sublime worship of God and become Peoplolaters, stuck in the 1970's. You worship the community instead of God. IDOLATERS! You don't allow others to come into contact with the mystical. Whited sepulchres!

And now you, whoever you are, permit non Christians to chant the name of Allah NINETY NINE times in the Holy of Holies!!! Blasphemy!
Desist from watering down our precious faith!
Look inside of yourselves. If a Catholic wanted a Tridentine Mass or a Novus Ordo done beautifully with Gregorian Chant, wouldn't you huff and puff?

No! You make your own brothers and sisters suffer by refusing to follow the teachings of the Church or allowing them to in peace.

And you permit a sacrilege of desolation in the Most Holy Dwelling place of the Ineffable and All Holy Trinity.

Let Islam do what it likes in its own Mosques. LEAVE OUR CHURCHES ALONE.
This is ecumenism gone too far and is in COMPLETE defiance of what Vatican II wanted.

The tide is turning, dear liberal ecumenists. In 2o years time you are going to be a minority. Pandering to the world and its ideas you will lapse from the faith. We, the Catholics who desire to be faithful to orthodoxy and the Magisterium, won't take your persecution any longer.

You want a war? YOU'VE GOT ONE!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

All quiet on the Western Front

Another quiet period is about to start here at Orthfully Catholic as we go on our Pastoral Placements for three weeks! After that we are on a week's retreat so nothing will happen at all, then the summer holiday begins and things will be a bit quiet again till September. We will post while we are away but not as often!

God Bless!

Goodbye Gildas

We are sorry to see Gildas go and wish him all the best for the future! Thank you for all you have done for Orthfully Catholic over the last few months and God Bless you!

Put to shame by East Anglia

I have just checked out this excellent new blog from the three East Anglia Seminarians and the first thing I noticed is that they have not only identified themselves but have put a photograph of themselves on the blog! This has got me thinking, ever since this blog began people have wondered who we are and where we come from, should we reveal our true identity?!?

I'm afraid we're not! We'll see how the East Anglians get on with Bishop Evans and then have a re-think!

...and goodbye

For various reasons, I've decided that this is a good time to stop blogging. The blog itself, of course, continues with the other contributors. I've greatly enjoyed blogging and have been enriched by interacting with you all.

Catholic blogs are incredibly diverse and can be entertaining, informative, profound, prayerful and inspiring. I don't know whether I've managed any of these, but I hope in some small way I have been able to achieve an objective that I think underlies all of these blogs: to help ourselves and our readers to grow closer to Jesus Christ. You will remain very much in my prayers and I thank you for your continuing prayers for me. May God the Father continue to bless and protect you. May the Holy Spirit continue to inspire your blogging and your life as you keep your eyes firmly fixed on Christ.


A warm welcome to the East Anglia Seminarians, who have recently joined the blogsphere. Do have a look at their blog and keep them in your prayers.

I've also added links to a couple of other people discerning vocations to priesthood: Viking Vocation and John. It's great that people can do so within a supportive online community.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Book meme

As you've probably worked out, I'm gradually catching up on reading other blogs after having been away from computers for a bit. Michael, from the fabulous Evangelical Catholicism blog tagged us (10 days ago!) with the latest book meme. I also spotted that they're involved in a fascinating new blog: Vox Nova, which is described as Catholic perspectives on Culture, Society and Politics and already has a huge amount of interesting material on it.

Anyway, taking up the book meme:

How many books do you own?

Good question, to which I'm not entirely sure of the answer. I have four floor to ceiling bookshelves (7 shelves each). With a conservative estimate of 40 books per shelf that's 1120 books. I also have 5 smaller bookcases (3-4 shelves each), so that's a further 600 at least, thus a total of at least 1720. I think I've probably fully read about a third, skimmed or used as a reference another third and a further third are yet to be read.

Last book I read:

Two Sisters in the Spirit: Therese of Lisieux and Elizabeth of the Trinity, Hans Urs von Balthasar

Five Books That Mean a Lot to Me:

1. I can't resist putting the Bible in here. I've been too lazy to learn Hebrew (perhaps The Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow would also be an apt choice for this list) so I read the OT in translation and have an idiosyncratic preference for the Douay-Rheims version.

2. Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body, John Paul II. The full importance of this is only just beginning to be understood by scholars, let alone me. I love Waldstein's new translation. His headings are excellent and the introduction is very interesting, and has sparked lively debate on the extent of different influences on JPII.

3. Adversus Haereses, Irenaeus

4. Hermitage Within, A monk

5. My mother's book, whose title/author I can't give you, for obvious reasons! I love all of my family's books, but this one has a particular beauty in itself as well as because of my love for my mother.

Now tag five other blogs:

East Anglian Seminarians

Viking Vocation

Non Typical Winger

Faith and Country

Catholic mom of 10 (bet this is one where you can make it to five :)

5 favourite English Catholic places

Fr Ray Blake tagged us to do the five favourite English Catholic places meme. It's difficult for me to reduce my choice to only five, but I'm helped by the fact that many of my instinctive choices have already been covered by other people, so I thought I'd go for a few that I haven't seen elsewhere.

First, Ladywelle, or to give it its full title, the Shrine of Our Lady of the Well at Fernyhalgh. It's a beautiful Marian shrine and has been a place of continual Catholic devotion since at least 1348. Enough said.

One of my favourite places to go for Mass on Saturdays is the shrine of St Margaret Clitherow in York. Admittedly it's in the wrong house, but it is nonetheless a very special place and I have a great devotion to St Margaret Clitherow. As an added bonus, there's a splendid second hand bookshop with a great selection of interesting Catholic books just up the road.

Another fabulous place to go for Mass on Saturday (it's actually a Sunday vigil Mass though) is the Lady Chapel at Mount Grace. Mount Grace itself is a beautiful place to be. The Lady Chapel was built by the Carthusians and has remained a place of Catholic devotion and pilgrimage ever since. You can walk up there from Mount Grace, following the route taken by the Carthusians or from Osmotherley. The Chapel is served from here by Fr Damian from Ampleforth, who is based at the Old Hall in Osmotherley, iself a place with a rich Catholic tradition.

St Aelred is a longstanding friend of mine so Rievaulx has to be included in my list. I used to get quite angry with Henry VIII and his friends while visiting the ruins of our monasteries but now, following the suggestion of a friend, I pray for him instead. If anyone is a good candidate for purgatory, it is surely him.

While I'm still on ruins, Bede's world, which includes the monastery of St Paul at Jarrow is another favourite. I know this technically breaks the rules of the meme, since it's owned by the Anglicans, but it isn't actually run by them so I'll include it.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


Europe4Christ deserves to be better known. It is a fantastic organisation run by Martin and Gudrun Kugler to work towards rechristianising Europe. Here's what they're about (from the front page of their website:

"Europe stands before a crossroads. Europe owes much of its culture to the Gospel lived by Christians: Solidarity and human rights, universities, hospitals and cathedrals. Today, however, we risk betraying the soul of Europe. A dictatorship of relativism and a culture of death are omnipresent. Christians are increasingly discriminated against and watch a political tendency in which a humanism inspired by the Gospel is ever increasingly banned into the private sphere. And yet we have also understood that when God is not our Father, that we are no longer brothers and sisters! For this reason it is important for the future of this continent that we base our culture again on Christ. We seek a Europe in which freedom of religion and conscience is respected, a young and dynamic Europe, one that is a sign of hope for the world.

For this we pray and work."

I know that they do fantastic work, especially with the EU and would strongly value your support. They ask people to commit to praying one Our Father a day, preferably around noon (it can be combined with the angelus) for this. You can also sign up to their newsletter.

Your prayer and publicising of the existence of Europe4Christ will have a powerful impact. Would you consider sigining up, and publicising this through your blogs/contacts?

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Eastenders goes Pro-Life - Again!

I'm sure none of our readers watches the soaps but at the end of an examination fortnight when the majority of the house have left for Half Term I like to sit and watch mindless television just so I can switch the brain off for a night!

Last night I watched Eastenders and the bulk of it was dedicated to a married couple (Max and Tania) who had just discovered they were to expect a third child but Tania suspected Max of having an affair so she told him she was going to have an abortion because she didn't want to bring a child up with a father she couldn't trust to stick around. His response was simple, 'I've made many mistakes in my life; I don't want the blood of a baby on my hands too!' I was gobsmacked! Is the BBC actually suggesting the unborn child is a human baby? Surely not!

Add this to the recent storyline of Dawn going to the abortion clinic and having a last minute change of heart and the famous one of Little Mo carrying the child of her rapist to full term and keeping him after his birth and I think we can safely suggest Eastenders is a pro-life programme and might just convince teenage girls not to abort their 'clumps of cells'!

Of course something immoral could still happen, Little Mo and Billy got divorced and the father of Dawn's baby was a married man who left his wife for her but with the power of prayer the soaps (on which millions of British women and teenagers base their lives) might just discover morality!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Then you weren't really pregnant!

A friend of mine recently told me that he was talking to a woman who had an abortion.
Her response was to him was "Oh it's not a baby. It's just cells!"

He replied: "Then you weren't really pregnant! If abortion doesn't kill a baby then you were not really pregnant!"

I thought to myself: Very simple. But then common sense and logic is. Truth is just plain old simple!

God bless

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Goodbye Fr Sean

Any of our readers who also read Valle Adurni may have noticed Fr Sean hasn't posted anything for a while. If you look at it today however you will notice this much loved blog has been deleted. We are all very sad to see Fr Sean, who has been under a lot of pressure recently, leave the blog world and our prayers are with him. Keep him in your prayers too!

God Bless

Tuesday, May 08, 2007


Following my last post, a couple of people made comments pointing out that CRB checks only prove that you haven't offended yet (or haven't been caught) and that CRB ckecks are more to do with preventing people from suing you than protecting children. Resisting my temptation simply to cynically agree with them, I decided to check the numbers via the COPCA website. For 2005, which is the latest annual report available, 17763 checks were initiated (from memory, these cost around £30 a time). This yielded a total of 99 blemished disclosures. Surely worthwhile, you might think, to go through this process if it prevents 99 inappropriate people from working with children. Then you read the small print:

A "Blemished" Disclosure contains details of all convictions and
cautions. Please note however that these are not necessarily specifically related to the protection of
children and vulnerable adults and therefore may not result in a non-appointment.

So this is 99 people who may have committed offences completely unrelated to child protection (like receiving a caution for not paying their TV licence).

How many potential child abusers did the CRB checks catch? It's a nice round number: zero. As they put it: None of them however was of a nature that resulted in non-appointment.

Yes, that's right. After subjecting 17763 people to this process and spending (if I'm right about the cost) £532, 890 on the checks alone, not even including the cost of staff to administer all this, there was not a single person who was found to be unsuitable. Perhaps at some stage someone will decide that whilst it might be sensible to check clergy, religious and youth group leaders, subjecting every SVP member and hospital visitor to a check is a complete waste of time, energy and money.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Form filling

I've been doing some prison visiting, and thus far have managed to avoid filling in the forms as I've always been with a Chaplain. Now, though, I've been asked to go through the security check. This runs to a rather impressive eight sets of forms. Form A is a Basic Check Verification Record (BCVR). Form B is a request for check against QAS form (whatever QAS might be). Form C is a request for check against QAS on counter signatory. From D is a criminal conviction check form. Form E is a criminal conviction declaration form. Forms F and G are vetting questionnaires and form H is a reference form. Having completed these, and had them certified by a manager of grade F or above, a "pre-appointment checklist for people not directly employed where an enhanced check is required" can be completed and the vetting process can begin. As they helpfully point out it is no longer possible to "fast track" applications. The whole process will probably take months to go through.

Similar things happen in parishes for CRB checks. I started a youth group in one parish, and managed to get a great team of young adult helpers. They were all working in jobs where they already had enhanced CRB checks, but the Diocese insists on doing its own checks in case there were police suspicions about them that weren't recorded on the CRB check. Before they'll even issue the forms, however, the Diocese has its own process. The volunteers had to fill in a lengthy form about why they wanted to help with the youth group, what talents they had to offer and why they would be suitable. They also had to provide the addresses of two referees and show various proofs of identity to the parish child protection co-ordinator. The paperwork went off to the Diocesan Child Protection Office (who are overworked and understaffed, naturally). They eventually followed up the references and approved the applications, issuing CRB forms to the parish co-ordinator. She then met with the volunteers again and checked more documents before sending the paperwork back to the Diocesan office who sent it off to CRB. The CRB check itself takes ages, particularly if they have problems with any of your details. One friend of mine had lived in Turkey and so got a phone call from CRB asking why his Turkish address didn't have a postcode. He explained that Turkey doesn't have postcodes. Unfortunately they weren't able to accept that over the phone, and asked him to write a letter to them explaining this.

For my volunteers, the process took between 6 and 10 months. Meanwhile, according to Diocesan Child Protection Procedures, they weren't allowed to help with the Youth Group. We need to have rigorous procedures in place to protect children, and I know that these procedures have worked in doing this, but I do think that we have gone too far. I know a number of people who have stopped helping out with catechesis of children and other activities because they felt insulted at having to fill in the Diocesan forms about why they would be suitable. In other cases I know really enthusiastic people who've wanted to start parish youth groups, but have failed because it's taken too long for the CRB checks to come through. Surely this is actually damaging to the children in our parishes, who are deprived of opportunities.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Irish Abortion Law

According to the BBC News website there is a court battle in Ireland at the moment concerning a 17 year old girl (Miss D) who has just been told of her unborn baby's anencephaly which means the child will live no longer than 72 hours after birth. She is therefore fighting for the right to travel to the UK to have an abortion.

The most distressing part of this story is the spokeswoman for Choice Ireland who said, 'No woman should have to endure the trauma of carrying to full term a child who will not live more than a few hours.' Excuse me? Her trauma is nothing compared to the trauma the child will suffer when he/she is ripped to shreds by a mini hoover or a scraper!

How long must we continue to listen to this rubbish? When will people realise abortion is murder? How many more unborn children have to die before we realise what we are doing to feed Satan and his army? When will we realise Satan does exist and we are in ever greater danger of going to Hell for all eternity?

Please pray for Miss D and her family that they will realise what they are doing and continue with the pregnancy so they can say goodbye to the baby properly! Pray also for the conversion of pro-choicers!

God Bless

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Hermano Rafael

Ttony asked about the book I featured on a previous post Silencio en los labios, cantares en el corazon. This is an introduction to the life and spirituality of El Beato Fray María Rafael Arnáiz Barón, almost universally known as Hermano Rafael. He was beatified by Pope John Paul the Great, and the process for canonisation is well underway. He was a Trappist, but had to leave the monastery several times due to ill health and he died in 1938 at the age of 27. He is someone who has profoundly inspired me through his writings, but is largely unknown in the English-speaking world. As far as I'm aware, there are no books by or about him in English. For Spanish speakers, there is an excellent website which is a good introduction and has great photos.

The book I mentioned is a good place to begin. It is by Fr Francisco Cerro Chaves, a prolific author, and the Director of the Diocesan Spirituality Centre in Valladolid (which is incidentally the former Scots College). You can also get the Obras Completas from Monte Carmelo - the same people who do Santa Teresa and San Juan de la Cruz. The title of the book that inspired this post comes from one of Hermano Rafael's most beautiful writings, which I couldn't help reproducing, in spite of its length:

Silencio en los labios
cantares en el corazón;
alma que vive de amores,
de sueños y de esperanzas...
alma que vive de Dios.

Alma que mira a lo lejos…
lejos, muy lejos del mundo,
pasando la vida en silencio...,
cantando en el corazón.

Una Trapa…,
un monasterio...,
¡sólo Dios y yo!

Pasan rápidos los días, en ellos se va la vida…, soñamos en lo pasado, esperamos lo que ha de llegar.
El alma mira a lo lejos buscando la única vida, Y que espera sea mejor.

Una Trapa.., cantares a Dios.
¿Qué importan los hombres?
¿Qué importan las nieblas o el sol...?
¿Qué importa lo que nos rodea?
Todo es nada,
y la nada no merece nuestra atención.

Busca el alma lo que aquí no encuentra...
Busca en las alturas sus ansias de Dios,
y cuando a ella llegan los rayos de luz
que Cristo la envía...
¿qué importan los hombres, las nieblas o el sol?

Y cantan en silencio murmullos de amores,
y busca sus consuelos en la paz tranquila,
quieta y sosegada del que nada espera,
y pasa su vida sin mirar al mundo,
que ignora lo que es oración.

Pasan serenos los días,
en la dulce calma del amor que espera.
El alma comprende,
que nada en el mundo la puede llenar…

- la tierra es de barro
- los hombres son pobres,
- la vida muy corta,
- todo es muy pequeño, frágil y caduco,

y el alma está ansiosa
de verse en el cielo
mirando a la Virgen,
contemplando a Dios.

Monasterio de hombres..., casa de un día;
monjes penitentes…
aves de paso que vuelan cantando.

- Flores y espinas.
- Llantos y cruces.
- Vientos y hielos.
- Himnos de alegría.
- Momentos de angustia.
- Campañas... incienso…

Todo lo que vibra,
todo lo que al alma en la vida rodea
todo es flor de un día,
que ahora viene y luego se va.

Nada le interesa que no sea Cristo,
nada la conmueve que no sea Dios,
y esconde muy hondo
sus ansias,
sus penas,
sus cruces,
su amor.

Ya todo la cansa,
no busca en los hombres
lo que jamás podrá dar.
Para ella, no existen ni cielo ni tierra,
ni hombres ni bestias…
ni mundo, que es polvo mortal.

Sólo tiene el alma una ocupación
que llena su vida entera...,
un ansia grande de cielo
y un Dios a quien adorar.

En el monasterio, pasan los días…
¿qué importa? Sólo Dios y yo...
Vivo aún en la tierra, rodeado de hombres,
¿qué importa? Sólo Dios y yo…
Y al mirar al mundo no veo grandezas,
no veo miserias
no veo las nieblas,
no distingo el sol...

El mundo entero se reduce a un punto…
En el punto, hay un monasterio,
Y en el monasterio... "¡SOLO DIOS Y YO!"

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

A weird and warped world

I was in a Pharmacy yesterday. As I glanced at the counter I noticed a charity box giving key-rings for a donation. The charity is called Tommy's. I read the information which sounded fantastic. It is a charity which helps prevent miscarriages and death during birth.

It was then that I was struck with the most horrific sensation. I actually felt ill. Here is a charity which appears to be doing wonderful work to save babies "from their number one killer:miscarriage" and yet, in the same breath, we live in a society which continually butchers approximately 500 unborn babies on a daily basis. Also this very pharmacy sells the morning after pill as well as contraceptives etc.

What a warped world we live in. A world where peoples hearts burst with concern over a child who dies in miscarriage and yet believes that an abortion is a valid choice.

Tommy's seems to do an excellent work of charity.
Let us pray that our society will see the contradictions over the way it treats its unborn.

God bless