Is The UK Population Thick?

talking_points-300x300Question Time is a TV forum for debate broadcast UK-wide from different locations on  BBC1 on Thursdays, after the 10pm news. I try to watch it, and manage to see it most weeks.  However, I find I’m watching it more and more merely to marvel at the sheer predictability of both questions, answers and the inevitable applause which follows the usual politically correct answers.  There’s a manifest lack of critical thinking in both panellists and audience.

In tonight’s broadcast, for example, topics included (as usual) the funding of the National Health Service (NHS) with the predictable complaining that we are an ageing population and so that brings lots of problems for the NHS.  Not a soul ever addresses the question of why we are an ageing population. Tonight was no exception. Nobody ever points out  that we’ve contracepted ourselves out of existence. Nobody.  There’s simply nobody in the public square who is joining up the dots.

Then, the subject arose of how to persuade women who smoke during pregnancy to stop, given that they are damaging their unborn baby. No voice in the wilderness said: “It’s not half as damaging as murdering them in the womb.”  It seems the UK population doesn’t DO joining up the dots.

AnywayClick here to view the show and make up your own mind. We’re into independent thinking, here at Catholic Truth. There’s no “politically correct” answers expected.  We’re interested only in the truth. I didn’t hear much, if any, truth from either the panel or the audience in tonight’s show – seldom do.  So, tell us your thoughts – am I being uncharitable when I ask the Question Time panellists and audience, from the safe distance of my own living room, if they’re really as thick as they seem to be – or what?

Comments invited…

Glasgow Jesuits Strike Again!

30114_Koran_Volksausgabe.inddHUNDREDS of friends and family gathered today for the funeral of a popular Glasgow teacher who died in a sledging accident.

Large crowds attended St Aloysius Church in Glasgow to pay their respects and leave floral tributes to Lanark Primary teacher Maryam Najafian.

Temporary additional seating was needed as the church pews quickly filled up at the funeral.

The 25-year-old had been sledging in a snowy Kelvingrove Park on 18 January when she crashed, suffering fatal head injuries. She was due to marry her partner Andrew Duncan this summer.

Her funeral service was conducted at the Roman Catholic church by Fathers Tim Curtis and Brian Lamb and Imam Sobhani.

Readings were made from both the Bible and the Koran as the service closed while family members, friends and colleagues gave tributes.  Source      

Comments invited

Should We Pray More To Matt Talbot?

Matt Talbot2Matt Talbot was born on May 3rd, 1856 and baptised two days later, on the feast of St Pius V.  He was the second child of a family of twelve children, three of which died in young age.  The family had a very hard life as they moved not less than 11 times in the course of 18 years.  The cause of this continual instability lies mainly in the father’s drink problem.

Matt never went to school.  At the age of 11, he received a few lessons in religion, writing, reading and arithmetic by a very young Christian Brother who was not even 20 years old, one of the zealous souls urged by the Archbishop of Dublin, to save the children who were continually assailed by and urged to join the Protestant street preachers.  At 12, Matt left his teacher and began to work, unfortunately, in a wine store.  Workers induced him to drink and within a year he had to change job and got employment in the Bonded Stores at the Custom Dock House.  The drinking continued.  As a matter of fact, it continued for a solid 16 years.  During all that time, all his money went to drink, every penny, every copper.  He was one of these poor souls, described by St Paul, “cujus Deus venter est – whose God is their belly” (Phil.3,19).  And as one sin leads to another, in order to drink, he began to steal with his friends.  He stole once the fiddle of a poor blind man.  Later on he searched through Dublin for that man, in vain.  He even pawned his shirt and boots for drink.

Until the day the saving grace of God was offered to him.  He was then 28.  Unemployed on that particular day, he had been waiting outside a public house for his “friends” to pass him on their way in and to give him a few “bobs”.  He got nothing.  They passed him and gave him absolutely nothing.  The shock of their scornful refusal hurt him far more that the lack of the price of a pint.  Like the prodigal son, he felt the painful nature of that kind of “friendship”.  Wounded, he wandered a few steps away at a little bridge, Newcomer Bridge, and leaned over, gazing at the dark waters below.  God, the living water, was there, in the dark water.  A strong grace of God shone in his soul, showed him his life wasted in miserable drink and filled him with shame and disgust.  He would no longer be the spineless good-for-nothing Matt Talbot.  He would offend God no more.  Enough was enough.  He would take the pledge and keep it.  All this lasted a few brief instants.  Yet, this was one of the Blessed Trinity’s greatest miracles, one of these “ultimate effects of Divine power”.  Click here to read entire sermon


Any advice or ideas which bloggers may like to share on this thread could be of immense help to those with major concerns  due to friends and/or family members with drink problems.  Obviously, no names or identifying features should be shared – it really is a small world, so take care if you choose to tell us about someone in your own circle. Above all, we hope that by reading about Matt Talbot, bloggers will be encouraged to pray to him for conversions similar to his own. Abusing alcohol can ruin lives and I dare say we all know of Catholics, especially, perhaps, lapsed Catholics, who are afflicted with this problem.  But this thread needn’t just be about alcoholism.  Conversion is a key theme, so if you have any stories from your own experience of the lapsed returning to the Faith or new converts embracing the Faith, or you simply want to write about a favourite saint whose conversion story made a difference in your life, feel free to post it on this thread – if it’s edifying, we want to read all about it!  

Pope’s Visit To Sri Lanka – Dearie Me…

And don’t miss the video record of the visit of the Pope to a Buddhist temple


“Dearie me” is one of the (more polite) terms which we Scots use to express shock, dismay etc.  That’s how I’ve been reacting to the bits of news reports that I’ve seen on this latest papal excursion.  What’s been your reaction?   Comments invited… 

Assisted Suicide Bill: Protest in Edinburgh

Legal experts and the police said a law allowing assisted suicide in Scotland needed more clarity in order to remove the risk of someone being prosecuted.

There is a “fine line” between assisting someone killing themselves and an act of euthanasia which could result in criminal charges, MSPs heard.

The plans, contained in a backbench bill, have widespread public backing, said supporters.

But opponents believed such a move was “unethical and uncontrollable”.   Assisted Suicide Bill

The Scottish government does not support a change in the law.

The Assisted Suicide Bill would give people whose lives have become intolerable through a progressive degenerative condition or terminal illness the right to seek the help of a doctor to help end their lives.

The legislation, which has begun its passage through parliament, says the final act must be carried out by the person seeking to end their own life.

But Prof Alison Britton, of the Law Society of Scotland, said a definition of assisting suicide was needed, especially in cases where someone had become too ill to end their life.  Read entire report here


Today’s TV news, on both BBC and STV, showed footage of the above protest group and another group in support of the proposal to legalise assisted suicide.

I couldn’t help comparing the above small group (mostly lay Catholics, as far as I can see)  with another group taken in 2011 at a Trident protest. Click on photo below to read report.  On that occasion, the protest was led by Cardinal O’Brien. We’ve remarked before in our newsletter that bishops are apparently willing to stand shoulder to shoulder with those opposing nuclear weapons and unemployment but standing shoulder to shoulder with pro-lifers opposing the murder of the unborn child or the murder of the elderly and disabled via euthanasia legislation (of which many, of us believe, this “assisted suicide” bill is the precursor)  seems to  be a very different (and unpopular) category of protest altogether.

CardinalObrienTridentProtestHowever, I digress.  I thought we’d launch this thread to discuss the key issues surrounding the proposal to legitimise the killing of one person by another. Can’t be called “murder” (goes the theory) if the person to be killed wishes to be put to death.

I am lost for words that medical professionals would even think of supporting such legislation  and even more lost for words to discover that there are Catholics who will be sympathetic to the idea. How do I know that? Because in every other sphere of the moral order Catholics think and act no differently from the rest of the population. Does anyone think that Catholics will rise up in their thousands to oppose this proposal to legalise yet more killing? Led by their zealous bishops? In Scotland? Really?  Let’s hear it, then, cos I’m a cynical gal. 

Confession: Is Validity Enough?

ConfessionConcerned Catholics have been asking us to reassure them about the validity of absolution in Confession, because Fr Tim Curtis SJ, PP of St Aloysius, Garnethill, changes the words of absolution to say “I absolve you from these sins and all the sins of your life…” The rest, we presume, is correct, but these words have stood out as being noticeably different from what we are used to hearing in Confession.   More than one reader expressed concerns at the time to Fr Curtis, who has always been polite, they say and even agrees, when asked, to repeat the words of absolution, omitting his own addition to the form. In fact, although what Fr Curtis is doing is not permitted, the absolution received by our concerned readers is valid, as we were assured by a traditional priest who answered our query as follows:

“The theologian Fr Diekamp writes that the “form would be invalid if it did not at least refer to the minister and recipient of absolution, for this is necessary to a judicial pronouncement. Thus to what is minimally necessary to the validity of this sacrament belong the words ‘I absolve thee/you’ or their equivalent.” [F. Diekamp Katholische Dogmatik nach den Grundsätzen des heiligen Thomas Münster 1954 (Aschendorff) 12th ed., Vol. III, p. 247.]

One might thus validly use a form of absolution which omitted the invocation of the Blessed Trinity, for example, but one would not do so lawfully. In answer to your query, then – “Is that allowed or does it, objectively, invalidate the Sacrament?” the answer is no, it is not allowed, but no, it does not invalidate the Sacrament either.  End.

The most recent penitent to contact us on this matter is our very own Petrus, who – as recently as yesterday – asked Fr Curtis to repeat the words of absolution, omitting his own addition, and Father did so. Petrus later emailed him and also contacted the Archdiocese of Glasgow.  Father Curtis replied to Petrus, apologising for causing him “worry” and assuring him that he would consult others on the form he used – to which Petrus responded as follows:

Dear Father,

Thank you for your reply.   Please be assured that I was not worried in the Confessional.  I’m a well informed Catholic, as all Catholics should be, therefore I know what the essential form is to ensure validity of the Sacrament eg.  “Ego te absolvo”, or “I absolve you”, in the vernacular.   

However, you know as well as I do that Sacraments must be valid and licit ie. lawful.  The formula you use doesn’t invalidate the Sacrament but it is unlawful.  

Furthermore, when I go to Confession, or any other Sacrament, I have the right to receive what the Church deems lawful and you have a duty to provide this.   I do not wish your individual stamp on the Sacraments and you have no right to do so. 

There really is no need for you to “consult” on this as the Church is clear – Sacraments must be valid and licit.  I have spoken to the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Glasgow and he writes”

“Archbishop Tartaglia expects that priests, in the administration of all the Sacraments, follow verbatim the approved formularies.”

A penitent should never, ever leave the Confessional wondering if their absolution is valid or not.  I know that other penitents have expressed these concerns to you.  Such is the seriousness of the situation and to ensure that other Catholics are aware and informed, this matter will be discussed over the next few days on the Catholic Truth Blog which can be accessed at

Therefore I must ask once again, can you confirm that from now on you will use the correct form of absolution in the Sacrament of Confession?  End.

Comments are invited, but please do not quote questionable advice given or dubious remarks made in Confession as, due to the seal, priests cannot respond to allegations of unorthodoxy etc.  It would be, therefore, unjust to enter into what this or that priest is alleged to have said in Confession. A default “we don’t believe you” position will hold if any such comments are posted and they will be deleted the minute I see them.  Stick to the subject in hand, which is the importance of priests using the correct form and matter for the Sacraments, and not “doing their own thing”.  One penitent mentioned that, as she was leaving the confessional box, having explained her concerns about the change in the form as quoted above, Fr Curtis wished her “a happy new year” – not “have a great new year” or “hope 2015 is good for you” or any other form of the traditional new year greeting.  He stuck to the recognised “happy new year”. So, it’s not as if he doesn’t know that there’s a recognised form to be used on occasion – he just needs reminding that Confession is one such occasion…

The purpose of this thread then it to educate ourselves on the importance of the use of the correct form and matter for the validity of the Sacraments, but also to ask ourselves if technical validity is all that matters.  Hopefully, this thread will either encourage Catholics to not hesitate to ask a confessor to use the correct form if they encounter a Fr Curtis think-a-like, or, if necessary, avoid going to Confession in parishes where the priest(s) deviate from the Church’s form. We’ve named Fr Curtis since St Aloysius is a city centre (Glasgow) parish where lots of people go to Confession throughout the week and weekends, but we do not, of course, attribute any malice to him. When Petrus asked him why he added his own words: “… from these [not ‘your’] sins and all the sins of your life”, he replied to the effect that he wanted to send people away feeling reassured that all their sins had been absolved. So, good motivation. He means well.  However, it cannot be the case that we leave the confessional absolved from sins we haven’t confessed – we have to identify our sins.  What if I’d pinched my granny’s pension book a couple of years ago but had never confessed it?  Would that be absolved by Fr Curtis’s assurance that “all the sins of the past life” had been absolved – even if never confessed, never repented?

Anyway, your call – let’s hear it… 

A New Scots Saint In The Offing?

Margaret SinclairThe parish priest of St Lucy’s in Cumbernauld is starting the new year with an awe-inspiring mission to perform – and he’s asking for help.

Father Joseph McAuley has been officially charged with the task of leading the latest – he hopes final – bid to have the Venerable Margaret Sinclair canonised.

She was a trade unionist and committed Catholic who tragically died of a tubercular illness at a very young age.

But her character, which many would describe as saintly, had a remarkable effect on those who knew her, and came to hear of her work.

Father McAuley said: “This woman lived her live as all of us should aspire to, and before long people were praying to her.

“Having become involved in her story I am struck by the effect she had, and by her importance as a real model for young people.”

Now Father McAuley, who has officially been appointed Archbishop’s Delegate for the cause of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, is asking people across Cumbernauld and Kilsyth to help what has become virtually an international crusade to see Margaret recogniseds as a saint.

“Pope John II has said to us to ask our people to pray for a miracle,” he said, “and that is exactly what is required.

“It is the situation where somebody suffering from a terminal illness suddenly recovers for no reason that can be explained by normal means.”

Churches and parishioners across the area, for example St Patrick’s in Kilsyth, are already solidly behind the effort.

Born in 1900, Margaret surmounted many difficulties in her short but influential life, for example fighting desperate poverty, and was briefly a nun before dying in London in 1925.

Many cures have been reported over the years by people who have requested her intercession through Christ.  Source


Perhaps the beatification and canonisation of the Venerable Margaret Sinclair, who lived and died before “The New Enlightenment” (Vatican II) will help in the restoration of the Faith in Scotland – what thinkest thou? And it would be interesting to read bloggers’ suggestions on how we might help Father McAuley move her Cause forward. Comments/ideas invited.   

Is There A “Man-Crisis” In The Church?

From the New Emangelization website…

CardinalBurkesmallRecently, I had the great honor to have an audience with His Eminence Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke to discuss the state of Catholic men in the United States.

Here is the full transcript:

Matthew James Christoff of the New Emangelization Project:  Your Eminence, we are delighted and blessed to be here with you. Today, we are here to talk about the state of Catholic men in the United States and how we might draw more men into the New Evangelization. Maybe to start, how would Your Eminence describe the state of men in the Catholic Church today?

Cardinal Raymond Leo Burke:  I think there has been a great confusion with regard to the specific vocation of men in marriage and of men in general in the Church during the past 50 years or so. It’s due to a number of factors, but the radical feminism which has assaulted the Church and society since the 1960s has left men very marginalized.

Unfortunately, the radical feminist movement strongly influenced the Church, leading the Church to constantly address women’s issues at the expense of addressing critical issues important to men; the importance of the father, whether in the union of marriage or not; the importance of a father to children; the importance of fatherhood for priests; the critical impact of a manly character; the emphasis on the particular gifts that God gives to men for the good of the whole society.

The goodness and importance of men became very obscured, and for all practical purposes, were not emphasized at all. This is despite the fact that it was a long tradition in the Church, especially through the devotion of St. Joseph, to stress the manly character of the man who sacrifices his life for the sake of the home, who prepares with chivalry to defend his wife and his children and who works to provide the livelihood for the family. So much of this tradition of heralding the heroic nature of manhood has been lost in the Church today.

All of those virtuous characteristics of the male sex are very important for a child to observe as they grow up and mature. The healthy relationship with the father helps the child to prepare to move from the intimate love of the mother, building a discipline so that the child can avoid excessive self‑love. This ensures that the child is able to identify himself or herself properly as a person in relationship with others; this is critical for both boys and girls.

A child’s relationship with their father is key to a child’s self‑identification, which takes places when we are growing up. We need that very close and affirming relationship with the mother, but at the same time, it is the relationship with the father, which is of its nature more distant but not less loving, which disciplines our lives. It teaches a child to lead a selfless life, ready to embrace whatever sacrifices are necessary to be true to God and to one another.

I recall in the mid-1970’s, young men telling me that they were, in a certain way, frightened by marriage because of the radicalizing and self-focused attitudes of women that were emerging at that time. These young men were concerned that entering a marriage would simply not work because of a constant and insistent demanding of rights for women. These divisions between women and men have gotten worse since then.

Everyone understands that women have and can be abused by men. Men who abuse women are not true men, but false men who have violated their own manly character by being abusive to women.

The crisis between man and woman has been made much worse by a complete collapse of catechesis in the Church. Young men grew up without proper instruction with regard to their faith and to the knowledge of their vocation. Young men were not being taught that they are made in the image of God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. These young men were not taught to know all those virtues that are necessary in order to be a man and to fulfill the particular gifts of being male.  Read entire transcript here


Is Cardinal Burke correct  – IS there a “man-crisis” in the Church?  If so, what, if anything, can we do about it?

SSPX: More Ordinations & More Vatican Talks – Connected?

On December 20, 2014, Ember Saturday in Advent, His Excellency Bishop Bernard Fellay ordained three new priests at Our Lady co-redemptrix Seminary of La Reja (Argentina).  Vatican
The SSPX General Superior also conferred the diaconate to a 5th year Argentinian seminarian.
The new priests are: Rev. Fathers Felipe de Echazu (Argentina), Fernando Mönckeberg (Chile) and Santiago Villanueva (Argentina). Click here to see slide-show.


The above news of yet more SSPX ordinations together with the meeting on December 5, 2014, between Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, president emeritus of the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Priestly Society of St. Pius X, might lead one to the conclusion that there is reason to hope that the Vatican authorities are recognising the importance of the Society and wish to bring it “within the walls” asap – if not sooner… Comments invited.