General Discussion (12)

If there’s something of interest in the news that’s not covered in one of the topic threads, or you have a question to ask, a comment you’d like to  make about anything under the sun, more or less, this is the thread for you. However, please check first, to ensure that you haven’t missed a topic thread or another thread where it would be appropriate to post your comment, as the GD discussion threads fills up very quickly.  Readers, all too often, go straight to the General Discussion thread to post news that is already the topic of a thread or to ask a question that is already being discussed elsewhere. So, do your Sherlock Holmes – at the very least check the side-bar – before posting here, please and thank you!


Feel free, also, to share your favourite spiritual reading books, prayers and devotions.Whatever.   Enjoy! 

To read previous 10 General Discussion Threads, click on the links listed below.
(1) click here  (2) click here  (3) click here  (4) click here  (5) click here
(6) click here 
(7) click here  (8) click here (9) click here (10) click here
(11) click here 

Paisley Diocese: Church Vs Christ – Schismatic Call To Revolution…

Blogger, Petrus, a member of the Diocese of Paisley, submitted the following article on the schismatic rumblings lurking in the final document published at the conclusion of  the recent diocesan meeting of malcontents aka diocesan “synod”. 


Pope Francis wants the Church to stop what it has been doing and make a fresh start. He is calling for a revolution in our thinking and acting. We have to stop trying to save the Church and instead try to spread the Gospel.

Pope Francis wants the Church to stop what it has been doing and make a fresh start. He is calling for a revolution in our thinking and acting. We have to stop trying to save the Church and instead try to spread the Gospel. (From the Final Document, Diocesan Synod)


On becoming Bishop of Paisley, Bishop John Keenan announced that he would hold a Diocesan Synod on the “New Evangelisation”.  I emailed the bishop with these recommendations to before the synod:

  • The faithful should receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue.
  • Only the priest should distribute the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Restore the practice of altar servers being exclusively male given that there is a strong link between serving on the altar and vocations to the priesthood.
  • Restore Latin to the liturgy in every parish.
  • Weekly benediction of the blessed Sacrament and parish Rosary in every parish.
  • Consecrate the Diocese of Paisley to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I’ve just read Bishop Keenan’s reply, saying this was music to his ears! However, there’s not a mention of these things in the final document, which has just been published.  The document is scandalous. I have provided the worst quotes from the report below.

Anyone wishing to read the entire document will find it here

The centre piece of the publication is the Diocesan Charter:

Paisley Diocesan Charter

 The Diocese of Paisley, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through the patronage of Our Lady of Paisley, will work towards being a faith filled community where:

  • There is a commitment to effective evangelisation centred on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a life lived with faith and charity.
  • Faith formation and active discipleship are of fundamental importance in developing the ‘Role of the Laity in the New Evangelisation’ within our parish and diocesan communities.
  • There is dynamic and collaborative engagement among all those called through Baptism into the family of God to use their gifts and talents to build up the body of Christ in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
  • All families feel welcome when they enter the church for liturgies, sacramental preparation or for support of any kind.
  • Youth are valued as bringing life to the Church.
  • There is a commitment to reach out to all of society, in particular those who feel excluded, offering witness to our belief that each person, made in the image and likeness of God, is deserving of dignity and respect.
  • The structures of the Diocese are designed to meet the needs of the diverse communities that they serve.
  • Each parish grows as a welcoming family of faith and each member of the parish community feels they belong and have something to contribute.
  • Communication in all its components: the message, the medium and the language, is understood as central to the success of the church in the modern era.
  • We actively use communication to promote the gospel message of peace and reconciliation.   END

As readers will no doubt note, this could be used in any denomination and nothing marks this out as Catholic.

As we move into the main body of the document I will simply provide the worst of what is a completely non-Catholic publication:

“Pope Francis wants the Church to stop what it has been doing and make a fresh start.  He is calling for a revolution in our thinking and acting.  We have to stop trying to save the Church and instead try to spread the Gospel.”

“The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council thought that the laity had become too passive or secondary as members in the Church, not much more than the ‘long arm’ of the clergy.  They had not been afforded their own proper dignity, vocation and responsibility. “

“New evangelisation is ecumenical. New evangelisation sees Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals working together in the world, passing on the central Christian message.”

“Our Church is tired and too introverted to change.  Many practising  Catholics see the Church like belonging to a spiritual club that exists for the personal benefit of its members.”

There then follows a section on the feedback the bishop received as he went round the Diocese prior to the synod.  This is obviously feedback the bishop sympathises with (there’s no mention of the feedback I provided).

  1. “We need a new Pentecost. Our Pentecostal brethren are strong and we can learn from them.”
  2. “We can learn from Pentecostal services which are different every week. The young find Mass boring. We need to find different ways of celebrating it in order to convert them.”
  3. “Those who cannot go to Holy Communion should be addressed. The Church is conflicted on the GAY issue. They perceive themselves to be judged.  No-one asked them what their life is like.  The Church needs to look at how it treats GAYs and the marginalised.  The trials of life take people away, e.g. divorce. So they do not feel part of the Church. This means we lose the parents and we lose the children.  What can we do about this?  Is it structural?  Also policies must include others.  We should ask priests to apologise to those who now no longer feel part of the Church.”
  4. “How about an ecumenical Praise in the Park? As a young person I am really encouraged by this forward-thinking approach of innovation but I can understand the issues other are raising.  We all have to look forward progressively.  We cannot worry about the past but must now make the diocese better.  This may be uncomfortable but remember the aim, a better, stronger diocese. “
  1. “We need to listen to the perspective of the young. Evangelical churches set up creative ways to bring Christ alive for children.  We can learn from them. “
  2. “We need to focus on the Holy Spirit and work with Pentecostal groups, like Healing Rooms. We are losing our Catholics to them.  There are no barriers at ground level to ecumenical work.  We are just brothers who love Jesus.   How does the ecumenical dimension tie into our renewal?  We need to be with other Christians as churches and communities together.  Can we not learn from other faiths?  We have a lot to learn from evangelical communities.  Ecumenism has often been formal and top down.  It would be good for it to be at ground level.  We can learn much from interfaith.”
  3. “Encouraging boys to serve at the altar is one way of promoting vocations although it would need to avoid the perception of sexism or the criticism of not learning anything from recent scandals. Young people should not be exclusively identified with boys and too much emphasis need not be placed on gender. Female servers, in fact, encourages vocations to the religious life and serving at the altar is a way for all young people to grow in their faith and prepare to live their Catholic vocation as married, single or religious.”  END        

I think in terms of renewing the Diocese of Paisley this synod and final publication has zero chance of making any meaningful impact. In fact, there’s really nothing Catholic about this at all.    Signed… Petrus.


Before he was announced as the new Bishop of Paisley, “Father John Keenan” was repeatedly described to me as “on our side”, an “orthodox” priest. This despite the fact that he showed absolutely no sign whatsoever of being orthodox, no interest in our work. He presumably pretended to be “on our side” but I never once heard from him – like every other career-priest in Scotland, he ignored us.  Then, too, there was the inconvenient fact that, as Catholic chaplain at Glasgow University, he permitted one dissenter after another to use the chaplaincy as a platform to spread their anti-Catholicism and adversely influence students. He would  bleat that he really couldn’t do anything about it, when one of the Catholic Truth team would ring him to ask him to prevent this latest scandal.  

So, now, here we have him in full blown dissent – not from Pope Francis, of course (that would be virtually impossible) but in dissent from Catholic teaching which decrees that to separate Christ from His Church is heresy.  As Cardinal Newman put it, “…the Catholic Church IS the Christian dispensation”.  Catholicism IS Christianity. Yet, Bishop Keenan urges us to learn from “our Pentecostal brethren” (Protestant extremists, albeit well-meaning individuals) and to scrap the Church (in accordance with Pope Francis’ desire) in order to start afresh.  Now, about THAT they can certainly learn from the Protestants. They’ve been starting new churches since Luther, Knox & Company started the bandwagon rolling way back in the Middle Ages.  The writer of the Final Document appears not to have noticed the irony in the the remark that “we are losing our Catholics to Pentecostal groups” – and I doubt if Bishop Keenan will recognise all the irony, all the NON-Catholicity in each and every sentiment of that awful document. Let’s hope it’s actually NOT the “final” document – or Paisley is doomed. 

Now, don’t tell me that this is just a diocesan synod and so  these suggestions probably came from lay people, or some dissenting clergy.  Who cares?  That would simply serve to underline the Bishop’s negligence, his dereliction of duty. You read Petrus’s suggestions, entirely in keeping with Catholic Tradition; if Bishop Keenan is so “orthodox” (yeah right)  why didn’t he clutch at those suggestions  as a drowning man clutches at the proverbial straw?  

It’s the Bishop’s job to act as shepherd, keeping the faithful on the right path. If the Bishop had truly lamented the errors, the modernist spirit, in which his synod was clearly steeped,  he should have closed it down and sent the revolutionaries home. Fleas in ears, springs to mind. 

Do you see why Our Lord warned us to beware of false prophets? Do you recognise Bishop Keenan as a shepherd in wolves’ clothing?  Can you see why he – and his ilk – is heading for Hell?  If not, visit Specsavers.  One thing is clear: if you want to save your soul, avoid Paisley Diocese like the plague.

And about that “revolution”… buy yourself a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. That way, you really will revolutionise your Faith and start afresh [your spiritual life, NOT “The Church”].  We’re called to sanctify ourselves. That’s our essential Catholic vocation. We are called to change ourselves. We are  NOT called to change the Church.

Let’s hear your verdict on the Paisley synod. 

USA Election – Exposed: Hillary’s Subversive Activity Against Vatican…

Hillary Clinton & John Podesta

Hillary Clinton & John Podesta

Adrienne – a visitor to our site from Destin, FLorida – writes: “I’m deeply concerned by the anti-Church activity of our brother in Christ John Podesta and his friends. It is even more dangerous than their support for abortion and same-sex marriages, by itself. And I don’t want this issue to be talked round and forgotten.

I’d be very glad if you could publish my piece, because the mood of ordinary believers is quite an important thing that unfortunately haven’t been properly covered by our media.”

Clinton against the Vatican. Will the Holy See withstand?

According to the e-mails published by Wikileaks on October the 8th, Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign chief John Podesta is the most influential man in Soros’s war against the Vatican. Having close financial ties between them, both the “left” billionaire and the Democratic Party leadership are in favor of legal widely available and federally funded abortions as well as of full public acceptance of same-sex marriage. At the same time, the Catholic Church (to which almost every third American and about 40% of immigrants belong) remains committed to traditional values. Therefore, despite theologically enacted nonpolitical nature of the Catholic Social Doctrine, the Church’s voice is inevitably a hindrance for both: Soros and the Democrats.

So, in February 2012, the Democrats were eager to gain support for their Affordable Care Act aka Obamacare, that required contraceptives and abortion costs to be included in the health insurance plans (and a refusal to fund birth control measures was labeled as “gender discrimination”). Hence, the president of the Voices for Progress, Sanford Newman wrote an e-mail to the Center for American Progress (CAP) founder, a longtime Democratic Party lobbyist John Podesta. Newman asked his opinion on the feasibility and possible ways of preparing the “Catholic Spring”. According to the Voices for Progress chief’s idea, it was necessary to somehow “plant the seeds of revolution” within the Catholic Church, so that the believers themselves would “demand their bishops to end a middle ages dictatorship” and better respect equality of the sexes. As a Jew, Newman recognized that he wasn’t familiar enough with Christianity, and carefully posed his offerings as hypothetical. However, John Podesta said bluntly that Catholics in Alliance with the Common Good (CACG) and Catholics United (CU) had already been created exactly for this purpose. He also complained about the lack of leadership and recommended that Kathleen Kennedy Townsend be consulted on this effort.

Indeed, since 2005 when these NGOs were established, they have been financed by the Soros Foundation and the Open Society Institute, either directly or through intermediary entities controlled by the progressive billionaire’s organizations. In their turn, CACG’s founder Tom Periello and its Chairman Fred Rotondaro are senior fellows at the Soros-funded CAP established by Podesta.

Criticism toward CACG and CU, who advocate the ordination of women and vindicate abortion and sodomy, has been heard since 2007. In 2008, Archbishop Charles Chaput stated that these organizations were compromising the Church. He also said that before the 2008 presidential elections two CU representatives had been accusing the Catholic Church of supporting Republicans and had been trying to urge him [Archbishop Chaput] to stop condemning abortions. In addition, Catholics United, which has nothing to do with the Church, was critical of the bishops who denied Communion to politicians who supported the legalization of abortion. Another critic of these liberal NGOs, Catholic League president William (Bill) Donohue also recalled how Chris Korzen, the CU Director at that time, tried to have him booted from CNN. In turn, CACG has been organizing events for liberal Catholic priests and lay people throughout the country. As a result of this manipulation, a misguided impression that Soros and Democratic Party’s initiatives were consistent with Christian theology was created. Thus, recently revealed correspondence has only confirmed pre-existing assumptions about the involvement of Hillary’s inner circle in the subversive activity against the Vatican.

It should be noted that the John Podesta’s attitude toward Catholics is not an exception but a norm for his party. For example, among the Hillary’s campaign Chairman’s emails one more derisive conversation was found. And it was between the current HRC director of communications Jennifer Palmieri and former Democratic chief strategist, CAP senior fellow John Halpin. The aforementioned Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has also claimed that the teaching of the Catholic Church encouraged “bigotry and harm”.

The U.S. Catholic community has met the attempts to distort the teachings of the Church, as well as politicians’ efforts to interfere with its affairs, with harsh criticism. President of the USCCB, Archbishop Joseph Kurtz stressed that such actions might appear to be “troubling both for the well-being of faith communities and the good of our country…Catholic beliefs had come to us from Jesus, not a consensus forged by contemporary norms ” Catholic League President Bill Donoghue advised the Democratic candidate for US president to dismiss her campaign Chief John Podesta. In his turn, president of the Brian Burch called for the resignation of Jennifer Palmieri and reminded us how Hillary Clinton herself had referred to conservatives as “basket of deplorables”. However, the Holy See hasn’t commented, yet, on the subversive efforts of Clinton’s team. 

Will St. Peter’s successor defend the right of believers to live in accordance with Christ’s commandments and protect the Church’s teachings from the encroachment of politicians? Is Pope Francis to put in their place the representatives of the American financial and political elite trampling on religious freedom in the eyes of the world? According to my American Catholic acquaintances, it depends from whence the Pope’s benevolence and concern for the poor originate: Marxism or the Lord’s commandments. The response of His Holiness, as well as its absence, will show what he is to a greater extent: Catholic or “leftist” – they say.

Comments invited – not least from our American Catholic brothers and sisters, out there. Are any of you seriously thinking of casting your vote for … that [anti-Catholic ] woman? 

Pope’s Sinister Suggestion: Are ‘Rigid’ People Guilty of Living Double-Life?

How many times will I have to say "don't be rigid"?!**!

How many times will I have to say “don’t be rigid”? There are still Catholics who want to keep the Commandments! For Goodness sake!

Don’t be too rigid.      

According to Vatican Radio, Pope Francis warned against this natural tendency, and reminded how God wishes for us to be good and merciful, during his homily today during his daily morning Mass at his residence Casa Santa Marta.

The Holy Father drew inspiration from today’s Gospel reading according to St. Matthew, which tells of when Jesus, who was teaching in the synagogue, healed a crippled woman and in doing so, ignited the anger of the righteous.

“It is not easy to keep to the path indicated by God’s Law,” Francis noted.

Jesus’ action, the Jesuit Pontiff pointed out, provoked the fury of the leader of the synagogue who was “indignant that he had cured the woman on the Sabbath” because Jesus violated God’s Law by doing so on the Sabbath day which is set aside for rest and worship. Francis also recalled how Jesus called the synagogue leaders ‘hypocrites,’ and how Jesus often referred to those who followed the Law too rigidly by this name.

To Make Us God’s Children

“The Law,” the Pope said, “was not drawn up to enslave us but to set us free, to make us God’s children.”

“Behind an attitude of rigidity, there is always something else in the life of a person,” the Holy Father said. “Rigidity is not a gift of God. Meekness is; goodness is; benevolence is; forgiveness is. But rigidity isn’t!”

Often, Francis added, rigidity conceals the leading of a double life, or it can have to do with something pathological.

Francis also commented on how those who are both rigid and sincere often are afflicted with difficulties and suffering, which is because they lack the freedom of God’s children.

“They do not know how to walk in the path indicated by God’s Law,” the Pope said, adding, “They appear good because they follow the Law; but they are concealing something else: either they are hypocritical or they are sick. And they suffer!”

Prodigal Son

Recalling the parable of the Prodigal Son in which the eldest son, who always behaved well, was indignant with his father because he rejoiced when the youngest son, after having led a life of debauchery, returns home repentant.

This attitude, the Pope explained, shows what is behind a certain type of goodness: “the pride of believing in one’s righteousness.”

“The elder son,” the Pontiff said, “was rigid and conducted his life following the Law, but saw his father only as a master. The other put rules aside, returned to his father in a time of darkness, and asked for forgiveness.”

Difficult Balance

“It is not easy to walk within the Law of the Lord without falling into rigidity,” he underscored.

Pope Francis concluded, praying for all those who think that by becoming rigid they are following the path of the Lord.

“May the Lord make them feel that He is our Father and that He loves mercy, tenderness, goodness, meekness, humility. And may He teach us all to walk in the path of the Lord with these attitudes.”   Click here to read the original Zenit report


There surely has to be a path somewhere between “rigidity” and “false mercy”…  In any case, seems to me that the Pope doesn’t understand the difference between being “rigid” about man-made or secondary rules, and adhering faithfully to God’s essential, natural moral law.  And what about his narrow (if predictable) interpretation of the Parable of the Prodigal Son?  Poor elder brother gets it in the neck again. No mercy for him!  Nor is the Pope’s list complete of what “the Lord” loves:  missing is fidelity, yet God loves fidelity – and, indeed, Christ teaches this in His Parable of the Prodigal Son… through the relationship of the elder son and the Father!  Pope Francis missed that bit! Over to you – what does the Pope mean by not being too “rigid” – do we interpret the fasting laws more liberally (I mean, where to go with a “fast” that is only an hour long anyway?) or is he talking about one or other – or all – of the Ten Commandments?

And what’s this about “rigid” people possibly living a double life?  Correct me if I’m wrong, folks, but, to date, all the scandalous reports of double living within the Church have involved “liberal” types,  who could not be described, in a million years, as being “rigid” about keeping God’s moral law.  I, for one, object to be characterised as a hypocrite, and suspected of living a double life,  on the grounds that I believe the Ten Commandments are binding on us all.  What about you?

A Tale of Two Priests & Two Masses

From America Magazine…

An ordinary Sunday morning. No parish assignment, no preaching. So I decide to go to a church that celebrates the Latin Mass every Sunday at 11 AM. I knew it would be in Latin, but I wasn’t sure if it would be the old Tridentine or new post-Vatican II Latin Mass. Clearly it was Tridentine! One reason to attend was to see if I could feel comfortable being the main celebration of the Latin Mass.  

A female altar server assists at a Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.Pilot file photo/ Gregory L. Tracy

A female altar server assists at a novus ordo Mass celebrated by Cardinal O’Malley in 2013.

The church was half-filled, older men and women, some families with children, and a number of people in their 30’s who followed with their missals. The music, all in Latin, was in abundance with 90 percent sung by the choir and little by the congregation. The opening procession included 8 servers in surplices (all male), an assistant to the priest and the main celebrant…

REACTIONS. During the celebration I felt very uncomfortable. It was strange and foreign. Even though I was very familiar with the Tridentine Mass from my childhood, it seemed remote and distant. The Mass seemed to focus on the priest whose words for the most part could not be heard (they were in Latin anyway!) and who rarely faced the people. The choir performed well and their singing overrode the priest, who had to wait several times until they finished singing.

In my mind I could not but think back to the Second Vatican Council, and all that the Council and subsequent documents tried to bring about – active participation, emphasis on the important things, vernacular, elimination of accretions and repetitions, etc. It was sad and disheartening. What happened? Why would the Catholic faithful seek out and attend this older form of the Mass? Is the Tridentine Mass an aberration? What does it say about the reforms of Vatican II?

After the Mass, I was tempted to talk with some of those present. But I decided not to as I feared I would have been negative and perhaps controversial. My feelings were still very raw. One thing I know: I myself will never freely choose to celebrate the Tridentine Mass.  Click here to read article in full

From Traditional Catholic Priest (Blog)…

Constantly I hear from people that they do not go to the Latin Mass because they do not understand Latin.  (Some even think that the homily is in Latin.)  So please, just for now, let us put aside the argument of the language; Latin or English and go to the prayers and actions that are part of the rubrics of the two masses.  Let us also look at who is the center of focus and the way the people participate, dress and receive God in Holy Communion at the two masses. 

Traditional (Latin) Mass

Traditional (Latin) Mass

As a priest, I want to re-clarify what are the differences on how Jesus is treated in the two masses.   This will be from my own stand point as a priest who has for years celebrated the New Mass in English and Spanish, and now, for the last 7 years offered the Ancient Holy Sacrifice of the Mass…

From my view up on the altar, the difference between the Ancient Mass and the New Mass is like day and night.  Archbishop Sample, from Portland Oregon, put it well when he said at the Sacra Liturgia Conference in Rome, that he wants all of his priests to learn and offer the Latin Mass because of the effect it has on them understanding their role as priests.  He said that offering the Holy Latin Mass has changed him completely and now he finally understands the sacrificial aspect of his priesthood..

As a priest who says the New Mass and the Latin Mass, the Latin Mass has by far more rubrics built right into the Latin Mass to protect the Body and Blood of Jesus from being desecrated in any manner.  It clearly has the strong sacrificial component of the Holy Mass and priesthood.  It does not have the protestant emphasis on the Last Supper and “doing this in remembrance of Me” like the Luther advocated.  It also has prayers and gestures that facilitate more easily the adoration that Jesus deserves from us His creatures.  And because of this, the Latin Mass pleases God way more than the New Mass. Click here to read article in full


Comments invited – how did YOU vote in the poll: and why?

17/10 Brexit: Letter from a [Catholic Truth] Scotsman to The Scotsman!

Today’s Scotsman carries the following superb letter from our blogger Athanasius. It’s little short of miraculous that it ever saw the light of publication.  I wish I could be that lucky fly on the wall when the powers-that-be in Holyrood read it – as read it they will!  

“Political correctness is the natural continuum from the party line. What we are seeing once again is a self-appointed group of vigilantes imposing their views on others. It is a heritage of communism, but they don't seem to see this.” ― Doris Lessing

Click on flag to read original letter

From Martin Blackshaw – Brexit Hypocrisy…

It was very interesting listening to the new SNP deputy leader, Angus Robertson, speaking on STV’s Scotland Tonight programme about Brexit and a second Scottish independence referendum. The misinformation and hypocrisy emanating from the man were just astounding.

Like Nicola Sturgeon, he commenced with the old chestnuts that 62 per cent of Scots voted to Remain in the EU and that the people of Scotland are therefore entitled to their democratic right to a second independence referendum in the event of a “hard Brexit”.

In fact, that 62 per cent he speaks of was 62 per cent of the 2.68 million who actually voted, not 62 per cent of the 3.98 million Scots who were eligible to vote.

In reality, then, only 1.66 million of almost four million Scots voted to Remain in the EU while just over one million voted to Leave and 1.3 million (33 per cent of the population) didn’t bother to vote at all. This significantly alters the intensity of what the SNP calls “the voice of the Scottish people”.

As for the “democratic right to a second independence ref- erendum”, the SNP is still furious with David Cameron for granting the people of Britain a democratic vote on the EU, a right that they and others resolutely declare should have been denied us. Yet now they demand the right to a second referendum on independence, having already been accorded that privilege just two years ago. What about “the voice of the Scottish people” in 2014, a voice that said NO in proportionally greater numbers to separation from the UK?

So here’s where we actually stand on true democracy. By the democratic voice of the Scottish people we remain part of the UK, and by the democratic voice of the British people we are leaving the EU. Attempts to undermine this free and unanimous choice of the people with nationalist propaganda is not democracy, it’s a form of anarchy.

Furthermore, if David Cameron, then Prime Minister of the fiftth largest economy in the world, could not persuade the unelected bureaucrats who run the EU to grant a few urgent constitutional concessions to the UK, then what chance does Nicola Sturgeon think she has persuading them to act in Scotland’s interests?

Like the old Supreme Soviet of the Cold War era Brussels has become the centralised government of Europe. Its apparatus exists to gradually eradicate national identity and sovereignty from individual member states, primarily by the bait of the single market, and bring all under the control of unsympathetic and untouchable foreign dictators. Our military personnel fought and died in two great wars to preserve us from just such a fate.

Woe betide us, then, if we sever the bonds of a 300-year successful union with the rest of Britain in order to shackle ourselves to a centralised government in Europe. It would be the equivalent of selling ourselves into slavery. MARTIN BLACKSHAW – Source

Comments invited. 

17/10: Feast of the “First Fridays’ Saint”!


In seventeenth-century France the faith of the people had been badly shaken; there was rebellion against the Church and neglect of its teachings; the rise of Protestantism and the spread of the heresy of Jansenism[1] both had a part in the weakening of the structure built up through the ages. But as every threat brings its response, so now there rose up fresh, strong forces to counter these trends. Three famous religious, who are today venerated as saints, were particularly effective: John Eudes and Claude de la Columbiere were French Jesuit priests and writers; Margaret Mary Alacoque was a simple nun of the order of the Visitation. Their special work was to popularize the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. To represent this trio and this movement, we have chosen Margaret Mary Alacoque.  

Click on image to read the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart

Click on image to read the 12 Promises of the Sacred Heart

She was born in 1647 at Janots, a small town of Burgundy, the fifth of seven children, of Claude and Philiberte Alacoque. Her father was a prosperous notary; the family owned a country house and farmland, and had some aristocratic connections. Margaret’s godmother was a neighbor, the Countess of Corcheval. As a small child Margaret spent a great deal of time with her, but these visits were brought to a sudden end by the death of the countess. The father died of pneumonia when Margaret was about eight, and this was another severe shock to the little girl. Claude had loved his family dearly but had been short-sighted and extravagant. His death put them in hard straits. However, Margaret was sent to school with the Urbanist Sisters at Charolles. She loved the peace and order of the convent life, and the nuns were so impressed by her devotion that she was allowed to make her First Communion at the age of nine. A rheumatic affliction kept her bedridden for four years. During this time she was brought home, where some of her father’s relatives had moved in and taken over the direction of the farm and household. She and her mother were disregarded, and treated almost as servants. This painful situation grew more acute after Margaret’s recovery, for the relatives tried to regulate all her comings and goings. Not allowed to attend church as often as she pleased, the young girl was sometimes seen weeping and praying in a corner of the garden. It grieved her deeply that she could not ease things for her mother. Her eldest brother’s coming of age saved the day, for the property now reverted to him, and the family again had undisputed possession of their home.

Philiberte expressed a hope that Margaret would marry; the girl considered the step, inflicting severe austerities upon herself during a period of indecision. At the age of twenty, inspired by a vision, she put aside all such thoughts and resolved to enter a convent. While awaiting admission, she tried to help and teach certain neglected children of the village. At twenty-two she made her profession at the convent of the Visitation at Paray-le-Monial. The nuns of the Order of the Visitation, founded in the early years of the seventeenth century by St. Francis de Sales, were famed for their humility and selflessness. As a novice Margaret excelled in these virtues. When she made her profession, the name of Mary was added and she was called Margaret Mary. She began a course of mortifications and penances which were to continue, with more or less intensity, as long as she lived. We are told that she was assigned to the infirmary and was not very skillful at her tasks.

Some years passed quietly in the convent, and then Margaret Mary began to have experiences which seemed to be of supernatural origin. The first of these occurred on December 27, 1673, when she was kneeling at the grille in the chapel. She felt suffused by the Divine Presence, and heard the Lord inviting her to take the place which St. John had occupied at the Last Supper. The Lord told her that the love of His heart must spread and manifest itself to men, and He would reveal its graces through her. This was the beginning of a series of revelations covering a period of eighteen months. When Margaret Mary went to the Superior, Mother de Saumaise, with an account of these mystical experiences, claiming that she, an humble nun, had been chosen as the transmitter of a new devotion to the Sacred Heart, she was reprimanded for her presumption. Seriously overwrought, Margaret Mary suffered a collapse, and became so ill that her life was despaired of. Now the Mother Superior reflected that she might have erred in scorning the nun’s story and vowed that if her life were spared, she would take it as a sign that the visions and messages were truly from God. When Margaret Mary recovered, the Superior invited some theologians who happened to be in the town -they included a Jesuit and a Benedictine-to hear the story. These priests listened and judged the young nun to be a victim of delusions. Their examination had been a sheer torture to Margaret Mary. Later a Jesuit, Father Claude de la Columbiere, talked to her and was completely convinced of the genuineness of the revelations. He was to write of the nun and to inaugurate this devotion in England.

For many years the nun suffered from despair, from self-inflicted punishments, and also from the slights and contempt of those around her. In 1681 Father Claude returned to the convent and died there the following year. Margaret Mary was appointed assistant and novice-mistress by a new Mother Superior who was more sympathetic towards her. Opposition ceased-or at least was restrained-after an account of Margaret Mary’s visions was read aloud in the refectory from the writings left by Father Claude, who had taken it upon himself to make known to the world the nun’s remarkable experiences. That she was finally vindicated was to her a matter of indifference. When she was forty-three, while serving a second term as assistant superior, Margaret Mary fell ill. Sinking rapidly, she received the Last Sacraments, saying, “I need nothing but God, and to lose myself in the heart of Jesus.”

Although the devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus was practised before this time, it now gained a strong new impetus through the work of Father John Eudes and the writings of Father Claude. The Sacred Heart is regarded as “the symbol of that boundless love which moved the Word to take flesh, to institute the Holy Eucharist, to take our sins upon Himself, and, dying on the Cross, to offer Himself as a victim and sacrifice to the eternal Father.” The cult first became popular in France, then spread to Poland and other countries, including, at a later period, the United States. The first petition to the Holy See for the institution of the feast was from Queen Mary, consort of James II of England. The month of June is appointed for this devotion, and since 1929 the feast has been one of the highest rank.  Source


I sometimes wonder if there are  many modern Catholics who still value devotions such as the Nine First Fridays.  Does anyone know?  What about the Catholics in your circle of family and friends – do they ever mention “doing the First Fridays”?  Do the diocesan priests ever preach about this devotion? Have YOU made the Nine First Fridays? If not, why not?

Fr Despard Banned From Conducting Funeral of Former Parishioner & Friend

Last night, I had a telephone call from a gentleman in the Diocese of Motherwell, who expressed concern about the fact that the family of a deceased lady, Teresa Howie RIP, had asked if their former (now suspended) Parish Priest, Fr Matthew Despard, who is a personal friend of the deceased and family could officiate at her funeral on Monday next. The permission was refused. The PP is going off on holiday, so presumably another priest, with no connection to the family, will be sent in to conduct the funeral.

The caller asked if we could help, so I emailed the diocese last night as follows:

“For the attention of Bishop Toal

I have been contacted by friends of a deceased lady – Teresa Howie of St John Ogilvie parish – whose funeral is scheduled to take place in that parish on Monday morning.

I’m told that the family asked for Father Matthew Despard to officiate at the funeral because he is a friend of the deceased and family but that this request was refused.

I am aware of Fr Despard’s situation within the diocese. Nevertheless, this seems a very harsh and unnecessary decision.

Since we always seek to avoid undue publicity if at all possible, I await your response before taking any further action.

Will Fr Despard be permitted to conduct Teresa Howie’s funeral?

Kind regards (Editor, Catholic Truth]

This morning, I received the following reply:

I reply on behalf of Bishop Toal

It will not be possible for Fr. Despard to celebrate the Funeral Mass for Teresa Howie, R.I.P.

Fr. James Grant

I replied to his reply to simply thank him for his prompt reply.

Consider this: there are priests out there guilty of many shocking scandals, which range from publicly preaching against the Faith to hitting the tabloid headlines due to being caught in sexual scandals. In the latter case, there is one such Glasgow priest who does the rounds within the archdiocese, giving talks to the intelligentsia. There was no “punishment” of any kind for him. Yet Fr Despard has paid a very  heavy price, for what, at worst, could be described as a lack of good judgment – and I’m not even sure about that, since I hear fairly regularly from people who know the Diocese of Motherwell very well and argue that his expose was necessary; I don’t know enough about that but certainly he has paid a heavy price and continues to pay a heavy price for writing his book, in good (if misguided) faith. Click here to read more about Fr Despard’s case.

So, I’m doing what I promised the caller – giving some publicity to the refusal of the Bishop of Motherwell to permit Fr Despard, family friend and friend of the deceased lady herself, who has been one of his staunchest supporters throughout this difficult period of his suspension, to conduct her funeral. Seems vindictive to me. In any case, please pray for the repose of the soul of Teresa Howie, and for consolation for her family at this sad time.

To comment on this report, visit the General Discussion thread here