Family Unity… At All Costs?

The central place of the family in society is clearly taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Issues surrounding the ideal of family unity is in the news this week, due to the resignation of the Prime Minister’s brother, Jo Johnson, who is both a Member of Parliament and a Government minister. 

Headlines like this (Guardian headline below) have added to the Prime Minister’s woes, as he is attacked on all sides for the crime of trying to do what the majority of us asked him to do in the referendum of 2016 – take us out of the European Union…

The news of Jo Johnson’s resignation reminded me of the dilemma facing all too many Catholics, these days, as they choose, in conscience, to move from attending the new Mass in their local parishes, to attending a traditional Mass elsewhere.  This has led to friction within families, as I’m certain, Jo Johnson’s decision has caused disquiet, to say the least, within his family.  Indeed, on a popular news programme, one commentator opined that he doubted if the brothers “would ever recover from this.” 

So, the question is, what price family unity?  There are people (in my own circle) who believe that family unity trumps everything else – although, scratch beneath the surface, and often what they really mean is “keeping up the appearance of family unity” trumps everything else.  

Share your thoughts on this – is there a line to be drawn?  Is there a limit to family unity/loyalty?  Look at that Guardian headline again and ask yourself if anything, absolutely anything, should come before family…


Cardinal Newman – To Be Canonised in October – Traditionalist or Liberal?

From the “liberal” – i.e. anti-Catholic – Tablet, the following predictable commentary: 

“…Given the context, it is appropriate that the English priest will be declared a saint by a pope who has sought to implement Vatican II, and during the synod of bishops assembly on the Amazon, a structure established by Paul VI as the council drew to a close. Newman’s writing on the primary [sic] of conscience, which he described as “the aboriginal Vicar of Christ”, is also echoed in Francis’ family life teaching, Amoris Laetitia, which opens the door for remarried divorcees to receive communion. The pope has said Amoris Laetitia is an attempt to move away from legalistic casuistry, and canonical manuals to a deeper understanding of applying moral laws…”   Source

Typically, by quoting Cardinal Newman’s words on conscience out of context, The Tablet and other liberal outlets omit the following, wholly orthodox, conclusion reached by the Cardinal on the subject: 

“…I observe that conscience is not a judgment upon any speculative truth, any abstract doctrine, but bears immediately on conduct, on something to be done or not done. “Conscience,” says St. Thomas, “is the practical judgment or dictate of reason, by which we judge what hic et nunc is to be done as being good, or to be avoided as evil.” Hence conscience cannot come into direct collision with the Church’s or the Pope’s infallibility; which is engaged in general propositions, and in the condemnation of particular and given errors.” Source

Indeed, the Cardinal’s own words of opposition to the spirit of liberalism, taken from his famous “Biglietto Speech”, make absolutely clear that he detested liberalism in religion…

“…For thirty, forty, fifty years I have resisted to the best of my powers the spirit of Liberalism in religion. Never did Holy Church need champions against it more sorely than now, when, alas! it is an error overspreading, as a snare, the whole earth; and on this great occasion, when it is natural for one who is in my place to look out upon the world, and upon Holy Church as in it, and upon her future, it will not, I hope, be considered out of place, if I renew the protest against it which I have made so often…”  Click here to read the rest of this speech


Prepare, in the months leading up to the canonisation in October, to hear plenty of propaganda about the “liberal” Cardinal Newman from the mainstream “Catholic” media,  with emphasis on his alleged (i.e. non existent) belief that conscience reigns supreme.  Conscience, as peddled by the liberals, of course, is no such thing;  it’s simply the self-centred human mind telling the self-centred human person to do whatever he/she wants, as long as he/she “feels” it’s OK.  Really deep thinking.  But, manifestly, not the thinking of Cardinal Newman.  Just how deceitful does a so-called liberal have to be to twist the Cardinal’s beliefs asbout conscience to mean the precise opposite? 

Your views on that question welcome, but keep the answers (reasonably!) polite. ..If necessary, check out the House Rules before you begin typing 😀

Also, if you have any favourite quotes from the writings of Cardinal Newman, or titles about his life which you would recommend, feel free to post them here.  

Jacob Rees-Mogg – A Catholic Hero?


Apart from making it crystal clear that it is not possible for a fully believing Catholic to play a leading role in UK politics, let alone achieve Leader of a Party and become Prime Minister – even one as “liberal” (“who am I to judge”) as Jacob Rees-Mogg – what else do we learn from this interview?  Any chance that it stiffened a few backbones, and makes us more determined than ever to act as true Confirmed  Soldiers of Jesus Christ when we are presented with opportunities to defend the moral law?

Is Jacob Rees-Mogg a “Catholic hero” as a result of his responses in the above TV interview, aired on ITV this morning?   Was he demonstrating Christian prudence with one eye on possibly entering a future leadership contest – or was this a golden opportunity missed?

Must Catholics Reject Halal Meat?

ImageClick on the picture to read a newspaper report about the sale of Halal meat in UK shops. This issue has been the subject of recent news reports and radio and TV discussions. Blogger, Christina, submitted the following article for discussion, from a  Catholic perspective…

The UK operates under European Union rules which normally require stunning before animal slaughter. But the rules have an opt-out clause for “religious rites” that exempts animals from being stunned.

The Muslim community is divided over whether stunning of animals is allowed before bleeding. Strict interpretation of the law requires that they be not stunned, as they might die before the throat is cut, and ‘the animal needs to do the convulsions so that the flowing blood is drained out’. It is claimed that most halal meat is stunned – 81 per cent of sheeps and goats and 88 per cent of poultry, according to the Food Standards Agency, although, given the information to be found on various Muslim sites, and the two Muslim certification bodies active in the UK, one may perhaps be forgiven for considering these figures to be  underestimated.

However, I am not considering here the question of whether or not halal and kosher methods of slaughter are cruel and inhumane (although clearly the BVA and other animal welfare groups argue convincingly that without prior stunning of the animal they certainly are, and think that the EU opt-out clause for ‘religious rites’ should be opposed).

What I am considering is the ritual aspect, specifically the ‘tasmiyah’ or blessing said over the animal being slaughtered, and whether or not this should concern me as a Catholic.

According to a Muslim source:

Sharia is a general principle, a way and a way of life. This is what Islam applies in all matters whether it is an act of worship or a daily act. Animal slaughter can be both of them. It is an act of worship if the Muslim slaughters a goat, a sheep, a cow or even a camel on the occasion of the Sacrifice Day on the 10th, 11th or 12th day of the last month of the Islamic calendar. This sacrifice is compulsory on every sane Muslim, male or female alike – having 613,65 grams of silver and who is not on a journey. The sacrifice, done because of an oath taken previously called ‘adak’ is also an act of worship. The animal slaughtered for daily consumption is slaughtered the same way as a sacrifice……….Another verse of the holy Qur’an gives us further details: “They ask thee what is lawful to them as food. Say: Lawful unto you are all things good and pure: and what ye have taught your trained hunting animals to catch in the manner directed to you by Allah. Eat what they catch for you, but pronounce the name of Allah over it and fear Allah. For Allah is swift in taking account” (Qur’an 5:4). This is the first Quranic reference in the order of the chapters to slaughter in the name of Allah. Four verses……..reveal that this principle does not only apply to hunting but to normal slaughter as well (which must be done by a Muslim, or a group of Muslims). Remembering Allah means pronouncing the following formula three times: “Bismillah. Allahu akbar” (In the name of Allah. Allah is the greatest).

Thus halal slaughter is an act of worship (or a sacrifice) to Allah, the god of Islam, a false religion dating from 622AD, after Mohammed claimed to have been visited by the Angel Gabriel who dictated the Qur’an to him. In this visitation ‘Gabriel’ told Mohammed that God has no Son and that God is unable to become incarnate, thus contradicting the true Angel Gabriel’s words to Mary, some six centuries earlier, telling her that she was to become the Mother of God. Thus, Mohammed’s ‘angel’ was most certainly a demon, for Satan himself can pass for an angel of light, and his servants have no difficulty in passing for servants of holiness  (2. Cor.11: 14-15), and Islam, the new religion he taught, is a false religion: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach a gospel to you besides that which we have preached to you, let him be anathema  (1. Gal.1: 8-9).  Allah is therefore a false god or idol.

Because I am forbidden, by the first Commandment, to worship false gods or idols, it follows that I am forbidden to have anything to do with the worship of the false god Allah, which, I believe, includes the eating of meat that has been slaughtered ritually by a Muslim(s) pronouncing the ‘tasmiyah’ as an act of worship or a sacrifice to him.

In the First Epistle to the Corinthians St. Paul deals in detail with the eating of meat that has been used in idolatrous worship. He says: But the things which the heathens sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God. And I would not that you should be made partakers with devils. He goes on to say that although human considerations might dictate that they avoid giving offence to others by refusing to eat such meat, nevertheless such liberty does not obtain if there is any danger that eating it might give scandal: …..but if any man say: this has been sacrificed to idols, do not eat of it for his sake that told it, and for conscience’ sake.

Muslims are strictly forbidden to eat meat slaughtered ‘in the name of anyone but Allah’, and ‘all that has been dedicated or offered in sacrifice to an idolatrous altar or saint or a person considered to be divine’. In other words, they observe the first commandment strictly in accordance with their own religious laws. They are giving witness to their false religion with such fervour that our entire society is bowing to it. To counter Muslim witness, where is Christian witness? It is confined to a few, mainly Evangelicals, who have been dismissed contemptuously as ‘islamophobic’ and told that this is no longer a Christian society so ‘Christian interests’ no longer need to be considered. To accommodate Muslims our islamophilic establishment and its economic interests ensure that in the schools, hospitals and care homes in parts of the UK only halal meat is served. Two branches of Tesco near to my home sell only halal meat, and the government’s refusal to label ensures that I, as a Christian, have no choice unless I limit myself to eating pork meat and products therefrom.

So, to conclude, I believe that as a Catholic I must bear witness to my faith in God, and His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I cannot in conscience eat the halal meat that is foisted on me increasingly in UK shops, supermarkets and restaurants. I recently asked the manager of the meat section in my local Tesco if the steak I wanted to buy was halal. He lied, saying: “Tesco doesn’t sell halal meat”, and turned his back on me. I then said (to his back): “Are you going to serve me?” and he turned round and lied again saying “Halal meat has to be labelled”. It obviously isn’t going to be easy to have a Christian voice heeded. Maybe pork is going to be the only option.     


Do you agree with Christina?  Is it troublesome to the Catholic conscience to have no choice but to purchase halal meat?