Pope Francis: stick with the new Mass… 

Pope Francis, while he says “we must rediscover the reality of the Sacred Liturgy” also warns against “[looking]  back to nostalgic past tendencies or [wishing] to impose them again…”   Loosely translated, this seems to be saying, stick with the new Mass, and don’t hanker after the old…

So, it’s maybe time to remind ourselves of what, precisely, he means by “nostalgic past tendencies” and what precisely, he doesn’t want to “impose again”.  Take the few minutes necessary to watch the short video below and then share your answers to the two questions below…

Questions…

Since the liturgy of the Church is directed to God, to offer Him true worship / adoration, do you think He finds the Novus Ordo Missae acceptable and pleasing – does it achieve that central aim ?

How, in God’s eyes, do you think the Novus Ordo Missae compares to the Traditional Latin Mass (see video below)…

“When Mass is being celebrated, the sanctuary is filled with countless angels who adore the Divine Victim immolated on the altar.” – St. John Chrysostom (Bishop & Doctor of the Church).

Sermon: “Poor Quality Catholicism” – A Traditional Priest Hits Home… 

A reader in England alerted me to this sermon, available online, so thank you, John. 

Fr Sebastian Wall SSPX

Father Sebastian Wall (pictured left) is a priest of the Society of St Pius X;  he is the Society Prior in Scotland, serving the SSPX churches in Glasgow and Edinburgh but he also supplies at the Gateshead church fairly regularly.  Click on the image, or click the link below, to hear him preach a hard-hitting sermon in which he offers some specific examples of “poor quality Catholicism” – I saw myself in there.  Maybe you will, as well (not see ME, cheeky! You know what I mean…)  Share your thoughts – what part of this excellent sermon hit home with you

To hear the sermon, click here

Scots RE Teacher: why lack of teaching on purity & sin in Catholic Schools? 

Pauline Gallagher, an RE teacher in Glasgow Archdiocese, argues that LGBT guidelines make it difficult to keep teaching true to the Gospel

AS a dedicated RE teacher in a Catholic school in Glasgow Archdiocese, I want to share fully the Church’s teaching and the Gospel with my pupils.

In Scotland today, as the authorities prepare to embed LGBT-inclusive education across the curriculum, those who disagree with the unquestioned promotion of the LGBT agenda have lost confidence.

We are marginalised and branded as old-fashioned. Injustice towards marginalised groups, such as LGBT people, is real. I know this. I witnessed and abhorred it as a teenager in Glasgow in the 1970s.

However, the old voiceless, intimidated groups have been replaced by new ones; faithful Catholics for example.

I am concerned about the legacy of the Time for Inclusive Education (TIE) campaign and the new LGBT materials which will be delivered in Scottish Catholic schools early in 2019.

I support inclusion, yes, but not without open debate and a full encounter with Gospel values and of the Youth Catechism on this issue. However, protecting and promoting Church teaching in its entirety is easier said than done.

Catholic schools have a distinct character and duty. This distinction has Gospel values as its cornerstone.

I have been an RE teacher for 30 years. Maintaining this spirit has been both a privilege and a challenge.

Catholic RE teachers propose rather than impose the Gospel. This is what Jesus did. God is love and love does not force.

When pupils ask their RE teacher a question about morality, including sexual morality, we should be free to share with them Catholic teaching even if it is not politically correct.

Pupils love engaging in the marketplace, or battlefield, of ideas. They may not agree with us but they respect our right to speak. They are happy when a strong set of Gospel values is witnessed to.

They prefer this to woolliness. They understand that difficult truths, shared out of genuine concern, are a sign of love. Children feel secure with clear boundaries. Rebellious teenagers are no different.

In Catholic schools this should mean responding to pupils’ questions as a faithful follower of Christ.

However fidelity to the Gospel has been growing steadily more difficult in recent years.

Many topics concerning human sexuality are considered too risky to engage with. LGBT issues, in particular, are off-limits. Meaningful dialogue is stifled to avoid ‘triggering’ anyone.

This is frustrating; pupils keep asking questions and, sometimes, we have to avoid giving them the answers we would like to give. At a time when they need us most we are spectacularly failing them.

Why is purity a bad word? Why is sin a banned word?  

The Catechism teaches that homosexual feelings are not sinful but like all sexual attraction are subject to the call to chastity inherent in the sixth commandment. The new LGBT materials are extensive, scriptural, quote the Catechism and, as their point is anti-bullying, emphasise Catholic social teaching.

Church teaching on sexual morality, on the other hand, is minimised and unclear in these materials.

This is a missed opportunity since the Youth Catechism alone deals comprehensively and eloquently with the sixth commandment.

RE teachers in Catholic schools in Scotland no longer have freedom of conscience. To be politically correct, we have to be compliant or vague.

Jesus was never vague. He was passionately inclusive yet crystal clear when pointing out sin.

The Catechism is like this. Teachers and pupils have no need to fear or avoid it any more than we need to fear Christ himself as long as we have honest hearts.

Jesus was gentle with sinners because everybody sins, everybody makes mistakes. This is why he told us not to judge each other.

The Church in Scotland is full of men and women of integrity and valour struggling to deliver the Gospel while trying not to offend anyone.

Their task is rendered even more difficult due to a priesthood made fragile by scandal. This is truly a cross of great weight for our bishops, priests and all those in the Scottish Catholic Education Service.

Many priests are exceptional in their fidelity to Christ and his doctrine. But they need support.

All Catholics, and those of us involved in Catholic education in particular, need to stand with them.

We are leaving our clergy ever more alone; we should wake up and stop walking on PC eggshells.

It could cost us dearly to rebel. Do we fear the loss of Catholic schools?

Yes! But I would argue that we are en route to that destination anyway if we take the path of further dilution of Gospel values. Our distinctive character is growing faint.

Scottish Catholics need to take a sgian-dubh and cut the fetters with which our bishops, priests, and RE teachers are bound.  Source – Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO)  [emphases added]

—The author can be contacted at: paulinemarygallagher@gmail.com

Comment: 

Congratulations to Pauline Gallagher for her courageous article.  Catholic teachers challenging the modernist stranglehold in Catholic schools have been known to suffer, even finding themselves visiting the local jobcentre.  So, we must pray that Pauline’s right – indeed her duty –  to bring her perfectly legitimate concerns to the attention of the wider Catholic community without fear of reprisal, is respected.  Her SCO article reflects the concerns expressed in the Catholic Truth article published on page 4 of the current, January newsletter, LGBTI Issues in Catholic Schools,  which you can read by clicking here

One key point of discussion for this thread might focus on the following comment from the above article: “Catholic RE teachers propose rather than impose the Gospel. This is what Jesus did. God is love and love does not force.”

This idea of “not imposing” Catholic teaching/the Gospel, seems now to be rooted in the contemporary philosophy of Catholic education – I first heard it formally stated in a newspaper article by the then new (now former) Director of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission, Michael McGrath.  However, this way of thinking stands in stark contradiction to the traditional purpose of Catholic schools which was to pass on the Faith, to nurture the Catholic religion in pupils;  parents were required to take their children to Mass, inculcate devotions, while Catholic dogma and morals were systematically taught at school, just as every academic subject is taught.  The Faith was to be taught across the curriculum so that pupils would leave school with a Catholic world-view.  Catholic home-schooling programmes continue to pursue the traditional method, with much success. 

The modern, rather apologetic attitude, this reassurance of “not imposing” the Faith suggests that it is optional, that the Catholic Church is not God’s means of salvation. The ecumenical times in which we live, the fact that we have both teachers and pupils from non-Catholic backgrounds in attendance at our schools partly explains this major omission, although it must be noted that from the beginning, certainly in Scotland, Catholic schools could not even have been established without the help of non-Catholic staff. And, in my own experience at Open Evenings with prospective non-Catholic students  (including Muslims) visiting, those parents understand that their child will be exposed to Catholicism;  as one Muslim parent told me, that was why she had chosen that particular school!  

Pauline adds that Jesus Himself did this – i.e. He “proposed not imposed” the Faith, because “love does not force”.  But, surely, it’s not about “forcing” – nobody speaks of proposing to give family and friends gifts and cards at Christmas. It’s not an imposition to offer gifts.  The gift may not be accepted – the recipient may choose to return the gift, buy something else with that gift receipt, but few would consider the offer as an imposition, of being forced to accept a gift. And the Faith IS a gift – from God.  He has given us free will in the expectation that we will accept this great gift.  There really is no right to refuse.  And that is because, in fact, Our Lord did NOT simply “propose” the Faith – his very last words on this earth were a clear instruction to His apostles:  “All power is given to Me in heaven and in earth. Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world.” (Matthew 28:18-20)

Certainly, we cannot “force” the Faith on anyone, in the sense of coercion; but we must avoid the sin of omission by failing to teach the elementary dogma that – as the Fathers of the Church have taught from the beginning – outside the Catholic Church there is no salvation (Catechism of the Catholic Church #846).  One famous educational psychologist, whose name escapes me at the moment, said that children can be taught anything, as long as the teacher has thought it through carefully.  In other words, this dogma CAN be taught, without “offending” anyone – the current (and perhaps only) mortal sin! 

Of course, given the weakness of the Scottish Catholic Education Commission for many years now, it is extremely difficult for any Catholic school to truly offer an authentic Catholic education in the sense traditionally understood.  Goodness, as Pauline indicates, it is almost impossible for Catholic schools to teach  purity and the abhorrence of sin, let alone imbue young people with a Catholic world-view.  

For now, though, congratulations to Pauline Gallagher – I will email her the link to this blog so let’s assure her of our prayers and support, with gratitude for her courageous article,  sincerely hoping that she will be able to make a real difference in the work of restoring authentic Catholic education in our schools.  

Interfaith… or Interference with God’s Plan of Salvation: does Church matter?

Below, extract from Archbishop stresses unity during visit to synagogue

Archbishop Philip Tartaglia, Glasgow

Archbishop Tartaglia of Glasgow said: “I think it’s important to remember no matter what religion we are loyal to it’s ultimately God that directs and nourishes us in our daily lives and on different perspectives of certain issues, God is talking and guiding us all in our daily lives.

“Ultimately, that is the truth of the matter and it is therefore up to our Churches, Synagogues and Kirk to take that message of a ‘common good’ to the doorsteps of those who don’t believe.

“In a world that has so much devastation we each believe our religion has the truth to finding peace and happiness, but our differences are not the cause of conflict and dispute.

“Here today we are gathered as that witness of a desire for men and women of different religions to promote harmony, especially during Interfaith Week.
“Our role within civic society can help expose people of every class and denomination to a platform in which they can be informed of God’s message of hope and the common good which is a powerful force to unite people.
“As we sit together this morning discussing our Faiths we are grateful for the things we have in common and can be thankful for positive relationships which now exist between different religions and denominations.”  Source – Scottish Catholic Observer (SCO)

Comment: 

Ecumenical and interfaith events such as that described in the SCO report above, make it increasingly difficult to see the point of individual religions.  Are they really nothing more than a group of “peace” movements, at their best when working together to achieve peace, locally, nationally, globally?  Is that what “religion” is all about.   It’s not what I was taught, that’s for sure. I was taught that God has a plan of salvation, and that this plan of salvation is – in accordance with His will – achieved through His one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.  Surely, if that is true, the Archbishop has a duty to say so and not make statements to the effect that God is pleased with every religion as long as they are looking after “the common good”, whatever that might be at any point in time.  Share your thoughts…  

25/10: Feast of the 40 Martyrs of England & Wales… So what? 

After King Henry VIII proclaimed himself supreme head of the Church in England and Wales, a violent wave of anti-Catholic persecution began – and lasted over a century. It started with the executions of Sts. Thomas More and John Fisher, but didn’t end there. Hundreds were killed between 1535 and 1679; the Church recognized the heroism of 40 martyrs from England and Wales in a canonization ceremony on October 25, 1970. (Later, a separate feast on May 4 was created to recognize the 284 canonized or beatified martyrs of the English Reformation.)

The group of 40 martyrs celebrated on October 25 contains a variety of Catholics. The group is composed of “13 priests of the secular clergy, three Benedictines, three Carthusians, one Brigittine, two Franciscans, one Augustinian, 10 Jesuits and seven members of the laity, including three mothers.”

The martyrs were gruesomely tortured before being hanged or killed, but remained steadfast in their faith, refusing to renounce their Catholicism.

Many of the saints were jovial at the prospect of death.

Cuthbert Mayne, a secular priest, replied to a gaoler who came to tell him he would be executed three days later: “I wish I had something valuable to give you, for the good news you bring me…”  Edmund Campion, a Jesuit, was so pleased when taken to the place of execution that the people said about him and his companions: “But they’re laughing! He doesn’t care at all about dying…”

One striking story of heroism under extreme torture comes from the martyrdom of a laywoman, Margaret Clitherow.

She was accused “of having sheltered the Jesuits and priests of the secular clergy, traitors to Her Majesty the Queen”; but she retorted: “I have only helped the Queen’s friends” … On Friday March 25th, 1588, at eight o’clock in the morning, Margaret, just thirty-three years old, left Ouse Bridge prison, barefooted, bound for Toll Booth … Her arms were stretched out in the shape of a cross, and her hands tightly bound to two stakes in the ground. The executioners put a sharp stone the size of a fist under her back and placed on her body a large slab onto which weights were gradually loaded up to over 800 pounds. Margaret whispered: “Jesus, have mercy on me.” Her death agony lasted for fifteen minutes, then the moaning ceased, and all was quiet.

Their resolve in the face of certain death is inspiring. They show us that our life on earth is indeed very short and what truly matters is our faithfulness to God. As St. Thomas More famously said: “I die the king’s faithful servant, but God’s first.”

Here is a list of the Forty Martyrs of England and Wales, whom we can invoke for their intercession in whatever persecution we may be enduring.

St. John Almond
St. Edmund Arrowsmith
St. Ambrose Barlow
St. John Boste
St. Alexander Briant
St. Edmund Campion
St. Margaret Clitherow
St. Philip Evans
St. Thomas Garnet
St. Edmund Gennings
St. Richard Gwyn
St. John Houghton
St. Philip Howard
St. John Jones
St. John Kemble
St. Luke Kirby
St. Robert Lawrence
St. David Lewis
St. Anne Line
St. John Lloyd
St. Cuthbert Mayne
St. Henry Morse
St. Nicholas Owen
St. John Payne
St. Polydore Plasden
St. John Plessington
St. Richard Reynolds
St. John Rigby
St. John Roberts
St. Alban Roe
St. Ralph Sherwin
St. Robert Southwell
St. John Southworth
St. John Stone
St. John Wall
St. Henry Walpole
St. Margaret Ward
St. Augustine Webster
St. Swithun Wells
St. Eustace White         Source 

Comment: 

So?  Our nearest cousins will be celebrating the Feast of the 40 martyrs of England & Wales on Thursday next, 25 October. So?  They suffered and died for the Faith during the Reformation – centuries ago.  What – if anything – do they have to teach us, today?  We’ve moved on from those days, when people were tortured and killed for their beliefs. We’re ecumenical now, we’re tolerant, we embrace equality and diversity… What on earth do medieval martyrs have to teach us enlightened folk today…  Shouldn’t the Feast days of martyrs be removed form the calendar, as a goodwill gesture, in the name of ecumenical progress?  Seriously?  Or, should that be “satirically”…  😀

The question for discussion really has to be: what is the most important thing the martyrs have to teach us all – north and south of the English border in this modern age? And if you have a particular favourite saint among the 40 martyrs, share that with us…

Francis “Canonises” Pope Paul VI

Pope Francis has canonized Pope Paul VI, Archbishop Oscar Romero and five other saints.

This morning in St. Peter’s Square, before a crowd of about 70,000 people, Pope Francis presided over Holy Mass for the canonization of the saints while the Synod of Bishops on young people, the faith and vocational discernment is underway in the Vatican, Oct. 3-28, 2018.

He also proclaimed canonized saints Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nunzio Sulprizio.  To read entire report click here

Then click here to read a thoroughly documented commentary on “The Canonization Crisis” published on The Remnant website.

Comment:

I’d forgotten all about these canonisations until a fellow parishioner reminded me this morning after Mass.  We were talking about the widespread scandals of recent weeks and months, and she added that it was going to be all downhill from today.  I asked her “why today?”  She then reminded me that Pope Paul VI (pictured below with the six Protestant ministers whom he invited to help him create a new Mass, one that would be acceptable to our – increasingly – separated  Protestant brothers and sisters),  is now being rewarded for this scandal by “canonisation”.  Along with Archbishop Romero, advocate for the poor. I’m no expert on the life and times of Archbishop Oscar Romero, so this article is interesting – especially in its conclusion. 

     From left: A. Raymond George (Methodist), Ronald Jaspar (Anglican), 
Massey Shepherd (Episcopalian),
Friedrich Künneth (Lutheran),
  Eugene Brand (Lutheran),
Max Thurian (Ecumenical community of Taize).

Discussion point…

I NEVER refer to “Saint” John Paul II or “Saint” John XXIII.  Nor will I acknowledge “Saint Paul VI”.   Will you? 

Jesus or the Church? 

New video in our series Thinking Through Catholic Truth (updated 18 July, 2018)

If you can think of other arguments to convince lapsed and non-Catholics about the divine roots of the Church, please share your thoughts below…