Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Stop. Think.

Couple of posts at Ebomania and Recovering Dissident Catholic (Post - How Do You Pray? - Oct 27) focus on preparing for Mass.

I reckon it's part of a wider problem that few of us now take the time to Stop. Think. Before doing anything. Before a meeting. Before a class. Before answering a question. I'm really bad at this.

Everyone in today's world seems to be so busy, though interestingly Abbott Christopher Jamieson in his book Finding Sanctuary advises he tends to start retreats by inviting retreatants to ask themselves why they have allowed themselves to get so busy...

I remember embedding the clip of 'As One Who has Slept' and thinking as I watched it for the first time 'When is it going to start?' There is an 18 second pause where nothing happens and a similar time at the end where a view of the roof of Hagia Sophia is displayed. These times of silence are not a mistake.

It also reminds me of when I was meeting a Jesuit priest in Dublin for some spiritual direction. I went in to our second meeting and started to launch into what I wanted to say. He stopped me quite curtly and said "First we must stop and pray so we can hear what God wants to say to us and we can say what we need to him".

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Cardinal O Brien counters the Culture of Death

All the usual suspects in the blogosphere are carrying our Cardinal's open letter to Gordon Brown

The letter reminds me of his homily at my Post Grad graduation, absolutely no punches pulled at all. May God grant him many years!

Speaking to the Graduates themselves, the Cardinal asked them how authentic they were in terms of being witnesses to their faith – asking them to think as to whether or not their knowledge of the faith had grown over the years; and also if their practice of the faith had increased in relationship to their knowledge, as they realized the importance of their mission at the heart of the Church.

Speaking of the pupils with whom they would come into contact, the Cardinal also reminded the Graduates that home conditions were not as they once were; social conditions in our cities and towns had deteriorated dreadfully and he indicated that we know from the mass media of the numbers of very young people almost immediately caught up in the drink and drugs culture and the abuse of their gift of sex.

Scotland to get first private abortion clinic

More bad news from the spectacularly inaccurately named British Pregnancy Advisory Service, why not be honest and call yourself British Abortion Advisory Service or British Family Planning Advisory Service?

Scotland to get first private abortion clinic

H/T Scottish Christian News Monitor

SCOTLAND is to get its first private clinic specialising in "late-term" abortions because the NHS cannot cope with the hundreds of women requesting the controversial procedure.

The British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) is setting up the clinic to carry out abortions on hundreds of women right up to the legal limit of 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

As One Who Has Slept

At Laodicea, they are promising Coming soon: the best piece of music in the world, ever?

I was listening to Desert Island Discs on the way to work the other day which prompted me to think what would I nominate for best piece of music in the world, ever?

Well, I'm going for 'As one who has slept' - John Tavener

The mood of As One Who Has Slept, taken from the great liturgy of St. Basil on Easter Saturday morning, is full of awe, silence and expectation. The atmosphere is deeply solemn as we stand before the greatest mystery of our salvation.

This is the album version (not great sound quality)

And a version recorded in Hagia Sophia

Friday, 24 October 2008

Just Look

Excellent piece by Cardinal Egan (FULL ARTICLE HERE)

The picture on this page is an untouched photograph of a being that has been within its mother for 20 weeks. Please do me the favor of looking at it carefully.

Have you any doubt that it is a human being?

If you do not have any such doubt, have you any doubt that it is an innocent human being?

If you have no doubt about this either, have you any doubt that the authorities in a civilized society are duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if anyone were to wish to kill it?

If your answer to this last query is negative, that is, if you have no doubt that the authorities in a civilized society would be duty-bound to protect this innocent human being if someone were to wish to kill it, I would suggest—even insist—that there is not a lot more to be said about the issue of abortion in our society. It is wrong, and it cannot—must not—be tolerated

Colwich Novitate

Simply a plug for the Benedictine Nuns at Colwich.

We - the novitiate at Colwich Abbey in Staffordshire, UK - are eager to share something of our life with those who might be interested. So we asked, and our Novice Mistress gave us permission to set up a blog so that we can share with you a bit about the day-to-day life in our monastery.

Currently there are ten of us in our community:- 7 solemn professed sisters, 1 junior, 1 novice and 1 postulant. We also have several women interested in our life and one solemn professed sister in a nursing home where she is very happy and well cared for. Joan entered as a postulant on 12th November so we are now 11 here

Missed the Boat!

Perhaps the reason for the recent Catholic Blog deaths is they knew about Is Blogging Dead? So perhaps that's why I have no readers rather than the rubbish content...

Have to stop now and go and get a twitter account...

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Black Wednesday

Black Wednesday (1992) has been officially down graded to Grey Wednesday, having been superceded by Black Wednesday (2008).

As I point out to the kids from time to time, in a few hundred years our age of abortion / euthanasia culture of death will be looked back upon incredulously as a time of barbarity.

The positive side of today was the Mini Cellarer's discharge from hospital!

Tuesday, 21 October 2008


You are feeling sorry for yourself with an ill child, wife getting no rest and a bad week at work.. and you read this

Police have named a family of six killed in a collision involving three lorries and two cars on the M6 in Cheshire on Monday evening.

David Statham, 38, his wife Michelle, 33, and their four children Reece, 13, Jay, nine, Mason, 20 months, and baby Elouise, 10 weeks, died in the crash.

Maybe it's because they were a similar family to us, parents in thirties, small children, I found this really hard to read, but it also gives you a swift kick in the butt that though things are hard, you are blessed.

May they rest in peace. Pray for them and all affected by this tragedy.

Monday, 20 October 2008

Life is Precious

H / T Catholic Church Geek

The Mini Cellarer is on the mend, still getting oxygen and some milk through tubes, he's just got to weather the virus out.

I stopped in the Hospital Chapel briefly before returning Home, they have Books of Rememberance, one of which is specifically for stillborn and newborn children. The cliche is true, a hundred deaths are a statistic, one is a tragedy - as I read a few of the writings of the bereaved, usually with a photograph of the baby it really hit home how precious life is - it's worth fighting for.

If you haven't contacted your MP yet, please do so before Wednesday.

This icon comes from "Orthodox Christians for Life," a pro-life Orthodox Christian group.

I find this icon very profound, despite any issues with its lack of conformity to particular canons.

In the center of the icon you have "Jesus Christ, the Author of Life". In his right hand, he makes the gesture that signifies His holy Name raised in blessing. In His left hand, He bears the image of a child, a fetus or "little one" in utero.

Our Lord holds this child in His hands, despite its temporary residence in the womb of his or her mother (the umbilical cord). We remember that all unborn children are created by God and earthly parents as unique and unrepeatable human beings. Each person is marked and formed by the Word of God in his life. No child is forgotten, especially not by Our Lord.

As we gaze upon this image, may we say a prayer today for at least one mother who is considering abortion. That Our Lord, the Author of Life who held her in His hands at one time, will give her courage and strength to treasure the great gift of life that has never left His hands and yet resides peacefully waiting for the fullness of time in the temple of her body.

Through the prayers of the Theotokos and all the saints have mercy on us and save us, O Lord!

Sunday, 19 October 2008


The Mini Cellarer Mk III has Bronchiolitis and is in hospital getting some oxygen to help him breathe. He's not too bad but prayers for swift recovery (if only to let Mrs Cellarer get some sleep!) would be appreciated.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Are you Holy Invested

Are you Holy Invested? - (Scroll down to programme)
Fr Thomas Loya is a Byzantine Catholic Priest who's Light of the East radio programme has been going for ages and is well worth a listen.

He has relatively recently started a show 'Body of Truth' which predominatly looks at Pope John Paul II's Theology of the Body. Again, it's well worth a listen.

Fr Tom has taken a slight detour and has a look at the current economic crisis with Gina Emrich of Epiphany Funds (a fund which invests according to Catholic priciples, e.g boycotts firms funding Planned Parenthood and looks at a firms entire business practices, how we got here and how to get ourselves out of it.

Key points -

i) It's up to every individual to spend and invest wisely, indiviuals acting make the difference - that means you!

(ii) Communism failed. Capitalism only concerned with profit and quick return has failed. We have to treat money as a gift to be stewarded responsibly with God at the centre of our actions. (Part of what Fr Tom refers to as the 'liturgical sacramental worldview)

Our bodies hold the answers to all of life’s questions. Decoding these answers is at the heart of John Paul II's Theology Of The Body. More than a commentary on human sexuality the Theology Of The Body is a delivery system for the sacramental-liturgical world view. With the Theology Of The Body as our starting point this program, A Body Of Truth, will reach deep into the sum total of the Church’s wisdom, the Scriptures, the human experience and irrefutable science to put together a vision of the human person; “an adequate anthropology” as the late Pope John Paul II himself called it. Welcome to A Body Of Truth.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Blog Crunch

Never mind the credit crunch, having seen two clerical blogs, Semper Eadem, South Ashford priest go to the wall and Rise and Pray announcing it's intention to fold, are we now about to see that other feature of the credit crunch hit the Catholic blogworld, mergers?

Could we be about to see;

Catholic Mom Loving it! (English family blog merger)

ninety six and Laodicea (Scottish academics blog merger)

and in a market shaking super traditional merger to create the behemoth -

What does the Hermenutic of Muller Fortis Really Say? (slavishly accurate descriptions of cats from a traditional perspective)

Wednesday, 15 October 2008


Recieved the following reply to my letter

Thank you for your most recent email and I apologise for the delay in getting back to you.

I will reply to the points you raised.

First of all on my attendance at the debate. You may not be aware that parliamentary business in only agreed a week in advance (if you watch Business Questions at 11.30am on Thursday, you will hear the leader of the House outlining it for the next week). We get a provisional note some ten days ahead. Therefore it is not always possible to guarantee attendance at any particular item of business on a given day. You can be assured that my other business was important.

On the wider issue of voting for the general principles of the Bill. I appreciate your views which are obviously strongly held and I will take them into account when I come to vote on the remaining stages of the Bill when it comes back to the House of Commons provisionally scheduled for week next Wednesday. However, I would hope that you will also appreciate that I have to take into account a wide range of representations I have received on this matter as well as listening to my own conscience on the matter.

Thank you for your comments.

Anne McGuire

I explicitly asked a second time for an answer on how she would have voted on the abortion time limit divisions and have for a second time had no reply. I am going to ask even more explicitly a third time whilst following SPUC's guidelines for action prior to Wed 22's third reading - I would encourage (is there anyone out there?) you all to do the same.

Dad, do I have any Italian grandparents?

will be the question from my boys if they turn out to be decent footballers, given their two options are Scotland and Eire (like Aidan McGeady, above), both of whom are rubbish and woeful at the moment.

How much do you know about blogging?

Well, You Know What a Blog Is...

You got 3/8 correct!

But, truthfully, most blogs probably bore you.

Poor show from me, even as a blogging newbie (hangs head in shame)

Why we are going where we are going...

(Click image for fullsize)

Sunday, 12 October 2008


Over at Mulier Fortis and In Hoc Signo Vinces there has been some (justifiable) ranting about the BBC.

I clocked the BBC article about the Codex but was in a good enough mood at the time to simply roll my eyes, shake head ruefully and move on.

I'm fed up of the BBC inviting (a) secular fundamentalists on to verbally abuse the religious speaker, or (b) inviting Catholics (with views that fly in the face of Catholic teaching) on to misrepresent the faith, or (c) two on in the hope they can spark a Catholic rammy.

Here are my top (bottom?) three BBC lowlights

1 - Christine Odone throws rattle from pram in direction of Fr Patrick Burke (b), (c), albeit Fr Burke's performance is a highlight

2- Peter Stanford has (Eastern) Orthodox priest nearly combust and exclaim 'I feel I have more in common with my Janist sister! (other guest)(b) - You need to scroll to 18 Feb - BBC Radio 4 - Beyond Belief

3 - Peter Atkins rants, sneers, laughs at and generally disrespects an Anglican Bishop on Radio 4's Sunday programme. (a) Atheist Fundamentalism

Saturday, 11 October 2008

Please Pray for a New Born Baby

If you havent already read this at Fr Anthony's blog

It is now about 1:15 am. I just came back from the hospital baptizing a new born baby. The baby is very very sick. I also gave him the Sacrament of Confirmation & Anointing of the Sick. Please pray for him and for his family in this very difficult time.

I also visited & blessed the baby I baptized on Octeber 9 in the hospital. He is doing very well. Thanks for your prayers. When I baptized him on the 9th, I added the name "John" after his legal name to honour of St. John Leonardi.

When I confirmed the new born baby tonight, I gave him the confirmation name "John" in honour of Blessed John the XXIII.

Please pray for the 2 babies & the family. Thank you.

Friday, 10 October 2008

And relax... or not.

Holidays! Although with three children under 4, I think I have the easier deal at work.

Anyway, no more of facing this type of attitude (see video) for 9 days!

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Wisdom of Cardinal Mayer

At WDTPRS Fr Z discusses the mood of traditionalists. What really caught the eye was his story below;

When I was working for the PCED we were having a terrible exchange with an American bishops. People wanted the old Mass, and he refused absolutely. They petitioned, he rejected. They sent us the copies of the petitions, he would deny there was any interest. Volley of letters after volleys of letters back and forth across the Atlantic. He would say he never got petitions, we would mail back copies of his acknowledgement of the petitions to the lay people who had sent them. He would write a stern letter reminding us to mind our own business, we would write back saying that this was our business. It became uglier and uglier.

One day a letter came from him that was so nasty it simply couldn’t be borne. I wrote a draft of a response entirely proportioned to the tone and content of that bishops letter. I wrote a draft designed to end the issue.

When the Cardinal came in, this was the great Augustine Card. Mayer, first President of Ecclesia Dei – now very old and ailing – please I beg you to pray for him in his infirmity and suffering – he eventually called me in to go over the various drafts that had to go out. At last we came to The Letter.

Card. Mayer, who was nearly 80 at the time, and who had been a monk, expert at the Council, abbot, professor, curia Secretary, Prefect, is perhaps the holiest man I know, had a practically perfect grasp of English. He would make subtle changes in the language of all the letters he would sign. So there was no surprise at all when he said,

"Here you write X. Do you suppose we could say Y?"

There was no question but that we could, but that was his style. He was ready to hear a reason for or against, but he was usually right with each "suggestion".

We went on to the next word in that manner… and the next… and the next, until – both of us chuckling a bit – there was nothing at all left of what I had written and the page was filled with corrections and cobwebs of lines and marks.

At last, I said "Clearly Your Eminence wants something else. It’s my job to make your job easier. Give me some direction."

He paused and looked at the large Murillo painting of the Blessed Mother on the wall of the office for a while and then said:

"At a certain point we must stop arguing and try to open their hearts." (my BOLD)

With that I went back to my desk, pondered this for a while, and then rapidly wrote a short letter of response to that American bishop.

I took it in to the Cardinal, who make a minor change here and there, and off it went.

A few weeks later we received news from people in that bishop’s diocese that, not only had the bishop permitted the older form of Mass, he came to celebrate it himself for them.

What did I write?

After the usual clink of incense at the beginning, common to all curia letters, I merely wrote that we regretted greatly the way our correspondence had gone and its tone. We hoped that it might improve. But given the earnest desire of the people in his diocese, ...

"Would Your Excellency please not open your heart to these people and help them?"

That seems to have been the real problem, after all.

At a certain point, arguing isn’t going to achieve the result you desire. Sometimes you must strive to open hearts.

A real reminder that while it is legitamate to debate and argue about positions or issues, there always comes a point where to avoid conflict or to defuse it, we must stop and ' strive to open hearts'

Therefore the Abbess ought not to teach or ordain or command anything which is against the Lord's precepts; on the contrary, her commands and her teaching should be a leaven of divine justice kneaded into the minds of her disciples. (RB Ch 2)

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Which Father of the Church are you?

You’re St. Melito of Sardis!

You have a great love of history and liturgy. You’re attached to the traditions of the ancients, yet you recognize that the old world — great as it was — is passing away. You are loyal to the customs of your family, though you do not hesitate to call family members to account for their sins.

Find out which Church Father you are at The Way of the Fathers!

Pretty accurate!

Take the test at The Way of the Fathers

Oblate letter

The latest Oblate letter from Pluscarden can be read here

This is our great strength as Benedictines: that however busy we may be with many things, we know that the purpose, the centre of our life is not them. Rather, it’s the non-utilitarian, gratuitous business of thanking, praising and blessing God for all his abundant goodness and mercies without end. So, according to the teaching of the Rule, we hold ourselves always ready to drop whatever we’re doing, in order to “prefer nothing to the work of God” (HR 43:1-3). If a monastic community truly keeps this in mind, and makes the divine service its chief work and first priority, then indeed the monastery will itself become a fruitful source of blessing, for its members and for very many others.

In the monastery, as throughout the whole Church, it’s in the liturgy above all that we express the dialogue of mutual blessing between God and ourselves. The Mass is our greatest act of blessing, and the place where God most fully communicates his blessing to us

It is so easy to get tunnel vision about what we do, however worthwhile, that we forget what is truly essential in life. The letter talks more about the centrality of Mass and the 'work of God' and looks at the recitation / singing of the Psalms.

Monday, 6 October 2008

Peace be with you!

H/T to Cartoon Church -
UPDATED - If you wish to copy on your blog, please acknowledge and link Cartoon Church - part of their copyright policy, wouldn't be wanting you to be getting a stroppy e-mail from them!

(Click on picture - easier on the eyes!)

Friday, 3 October 2008

Caption Contest

Taken from Catholic and Loving It! which commented on the pectoral crosses.

Looks like a caption contest to me..

Purple shirt - Any idea why we are standing in front of a blown up postage stamp?

Black shirt - It had better not be the stamp of that Stopes woman...



Purple shirt - So, can I do the homily at your Mass, like Rowan did in Lourdes?

Black shirt - No.

Well someone has to do some work.....

While 4 bloggers in Edinburgh have been having an ecumenical blogfest, over the last few days (generally involving drinking, eating out and shopping) it has been left to muggins here to do some work. I was also in Edinburgh this afternoon at the Gillis Centre at our S6 retreat trying to inspire them to get involved in the faith life of the school, both liturgical and 'practical Christianity' - i.e. Pro Life group, Charity group etc. As part of the session I built some lectio in, both to help them reflect on how they could be involved and to make them aware of this valuable practice.

Got the train home, but popped into OSP, where I was baptised, and then the Cathedral. I'm told there is a Bookshop in the Cathedral, but in double figures of visits since it opened , I've never managed to get it or the Cafe open!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

Biddings & Sign of Peace (GIRM fans look away now)

Over at In Hoc Signo Vinces and Laodicea, the practice of 'biddings from the floor' at Mass is rightly lamented. I’ve only seen this attempted once, somewhere between Canada and Mexico, to protect the guilty country’s identity… and to the priest’s obvious horror, there was silence. Nothing. Tumbleweed. He looked genuinely downcast…

He recovered sufficently enough to shake everyone, yes I mean everyone’s, (approx 50 people) hand at the sign of peace. I remember thinking at the time perhaps he should be appointing extra ordinary ministers of the sign of peace to help him out…

It also reminds me of the sign of peace at the High Mass in the episcopal church I attended before jumping the fence, they had a great reverent liturgy - priest, deacon, sub deacon, latin, great choir, couldn't see the altar for incense generally - but at the sign of peace I don't think one person stayed at their place, it could last for 3 or 4 minutes!

St Benedict and St Thérèse — The Little Rule and the Little Way

As today is the feast day of St Therese (favourite saint behind St Benedict) I dusted off my copy of St Benedict and St Thérèse — The Little Rule and the Little Way in which the now Fr Longenecker compares the teaching of the two saints. Well worth a look and you can pick it up on Amazon for less than £7.

"Benedict and Therese call us to find ourselves in ordinary life. The little way for beginners lies open before everyone, for the path leads through the real demands of and details of community life. The family, the school, the parish and the workplace can all be 'schools of the Lord's service'"

UPDATE - Fr Longenecker has posted about his book on his blog