Thursday, 22 December 2016

What might Heaven be like for the Holy and Unholy?

During Advent and Christmas our thoughts should encompass the joy of redemption brought by Jesus to gain us access to Heaven. Another thought should be the coming of our last moments when Jesus comes for us. Will we feel able to enter, would we rather wish to scrub some of our grime off first or would we shrink in horror from ever entering such a holy place?

Most of us want to get into Heaven at the moment of death; well, after reading this view of Heaven by Blessed Cardinal Newman, may we find the humility to realise that we have much work to do first.

London, Oxford and Cambridge

“Now some one may ask, " Why is it that holiness is a necessary qualification for our being received into heaven? why is it that the Bible enjoins upon us so strictly to love, fear, and obey God, to be just, honest, meek, pure in heart, forgiving, heavenly-minded, self-denying, humble, and resigned ?

Man is confessedly weak and corrupt; why then is he enjoined to be so religious, so unearthly ? why is he required (in the strong language of Scripture) to become ' a new creature ' ? Since he is by nature what he is, would it not be an act of greater mercy in God to save him altogether without this holiness, which it is so difficult, yet (as it appears) so necessary for him to possess ? "

Now we have no right to ask this question. Surely it is quite enough for a sinner to know, that a way has been opened through God's grace for his salvation, with out being informed why that way, and was chosen by Divine Wisdom. Eternal life is "the gift of God." Undoubtedly He may prescribe the terms on which He will give it ; and if He has determined holiness to be the way of life, it is enough; it is not for us to inquire why He has so determined.

Yet the question may be asked reverently, and with a view to enlarge our insight into our own condition and prospects; and in that case the attempt to answer it will be profitable, if it be made soberly.

I proceed, therefore, to state one of the reasons, assigned in Scripture, why present holiness is necessary, as the text declares to us, for future happiness.

To be holy is, in our Church's words, to have "the true circumcision of the Spirit;" that is, to be separate from sin, to hate the works of the world, the flesh, and the devil ; to take pleasure in keeping God's commandments ; to do things as He would have us do them ; to live habitually as in the sight of the world to come, as if we had broken the ties of this life, and were dead already.

Why cannot we be saved without possessing such a frame and temper of mind ? I answer as follows : That, even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there; so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter.

We are apt to deceive ourselves, and to consider heaven a place like this earth; I mean, a place where every one may choose and take his own pleasure. We see that in this world, active men have their own enjoyments, and domestic men have theirs ; men of literature, of science, of political talent, have their respective pursuits and pleasures. Hence we are led to act as if it will be the same in another world.

The only difference we put between this world and the next, is that here, (as we know well,) men are not always sure, but there, we suppose they will be always sure, of obtaining what they seek after. And accordingly we conclude, that any man, whatever his habits, tastes, or manner of life, if once admitted into heaven, would be happy there.

Not that we altogether deny, that some preparation is necessary for the next world; but we do not estimate its real extent and importance. We think we can reconcile ourselves to God when we will; as if nothing were required in the case of men in general, but some temporary attention, more than ordinary, to our religious duties,—some strictness, during our last sickness, in the services of the Church, as men of business arrange their letters and papers on taking a journey or balancing an account.

But an opinion like this, though commonly acted on, is refuted as soon as put into words. For heaven, it is plain from Scripture, is not a place where many different and discordant pursuits can be carried on at once, as is the case in this world. Here every man can do his own pleasure, but there he must do God's pleasure.

It would be presumption to attempt to determine the employments of that eternal life which good men are to pass in God's presence, or to deny that that state which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor mind conceived, may comprise an infinite variety of pursuits occupations. Still so far we are distinctly told, that that future life will be spent in God's presence, in a sense which does not apply to our present life ; so that it may be best described as an endless and uninterrupted worship of the Eternal Father, Son, and Spirit.

" They serve Him day and night in His temple, and He that sits on the throne shall dwell among them .... The Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters." Again, "The city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it, and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it l." These passages from St. John are sufficient to remind us of many others. Heaven then is not like this world ; I will say what it is much more like,—a church.

In a place of public worship no language of this world is heard ; there are no schemes brought forward for temporal objects, great or small ; no information how to strengthen our worldly interests, extend our influence, or establish our credit. These things indeed may be right in their way, so that we do not set our hearts upon them; still (I repeat), it is certain that we hear nothing of them in a church.

In church we hear solely and entirely of God. We praise Him, worship Him, sing to Him, thank His blessing. And therefore, a church is like heaven ; viz. because both in the one and the other, there is one single sovereign subject—religion—brought before us.

Supposing, then, instead of it being said that no irreligious man could serve and attend on God in heaven (or see Him, as the text expresses it), we were told that no irreligious man could worship, or spiritually see Him in church ; should we not at once perceive the meaning of the doctrine ? viz. that, were a man to come hither, who had suffered his mind to grow up in its own way, as nature or chance determined, without any deliberate habitual effort after truth and purity, he would find no real pleasure here, but would soon get weary of the place ; because, in this house of God, he would hear only of that one subject which he cared little or nothing about, and nothing at all of those things which excited his hopes and fears, his sympathies and energies.

If then a man without religion (supposing it possible) were admitted into heaven, doubtless he would sustain a great disappointment. Before, indeed, he fancied that he could be happy there ; but will find no discourse but that which he had shunned on earth, no pursuits but those he had disliked and made him feel at home, nothing which he could enter into and rest upon. He would perceive himself to be an isolated being, cut away by Supreme Power from those objects which were still entwined around his heart.

He would be in the presence of that Supreme Power, whom he never on earth could bring himself steadily to think upon, and whom now he regarded only as the destroyer of all that was precious and dear to him. Ah ! he could not bear the face of the Living God ; the Holy God would be no object of joy to him. "Let us alone! What have we to do with thee ? " is the sole thought and desire of unclean souls, even while they acknowledge His majesty. None but the holy can look upon the Holy One ; without holiness no man can endure to see the Lord.

When, then, we think to take part in the joys of heaven without holiness, we are as inconsiderate as if we supposed we could take an interest in the worship of Christians here below without possessing it in our measure.

A careless, a sensual, an unbelieving mind, a mind destitute of the love and fear of God, with narrow views and earthly aims, a low standard of duty, and a benighted conscience, a mind contented with itself, and not resigned to God's will, would feel as little pleasure, at the last day, at the words, " Enter into the joy of thy Lord," as it does now at the words, " Let us pray." Nay, much less, because, while we are in a church, we may turn our thoughts to other subjects, and contrive to forget that God is looking on us ; but that will not be possible in heaven.

"We see, then, that holiness, or inward separation from the world, is necessary to our admission into heaven, because heaven is not heaven, is not a place of happiness except to the holy. There are bodily indispositions which affect the taste, so that the sweetest flavours become ungrateful to the palate ; and indispositions which impair the sight, tainting the fair face of nature with some sickly hue. In like manner, there is a moral malady which disorders the inward sight and taste ; and no man labouring under it is in a condition to enjoy what Scripture calls " the fullness of joy in God's presence, and pleasures at His right hand for evermore."

Nay, I will venture to say more than this;—it is fearful, but it is right to say it ;—that if we wished to imagine a punishment for an unholy, reprobate soul, we perhaps could not fancy a greater than to summon it to heaven. Heaven would be hell to an irreligious man.

We know how unhappy we are apt to feel at present, when alone in the midst of strangers, or of men of different tastes and habits from ourselves. How miserable, for example, would it be to have to live in a foreign land, among a people whose faces we never saw before, and whose language we could not learn. And this is but a faint illustration of the loneliness of a man of earthly dispositions and tastes, thrust into the society of saints nnd angels. How forlorn would he wander through the courts of heaven ! He would find no one like himself; he would see in every direction the marks of God's holiness, and these would make him shudder.

He would feel himself always in His presence. He could no longer turn his thoughts another way, as he does now, when conscience reproaches him. He would know that the Eternal Eye was ever upon him ; and that Eye of holiness, which is joy and life to holy creatures, would seem to him an Eye of wrath and punishment.

God cannot change His nature. Holy He must ever be. But while He is holy, no unholy soul can be happy in heaven. Fire does not inflame iron, hut it inflames straw. It would cease to be fire if it did not. And so heaven itself would be fire to those, who would fain escape across the great gulf from the torments of hell”.

To some having to attend a Traditional High Mass for Eternity would be hell indeed!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

A Moratorium on the Catholic Media

It has become increasingly apparent in recent years that the Catholic Media is apparently self-indulging in promoting or publicising conflicts of Cardinals against Cardinals, Bishops against Bishops, priests against priests and so on, and thereby creating a climate of confusion among the faithful. Those involved, at all levels including those in conflict, are running the grave risk of being accused by Jesus of leading astray His little ones for which they will be accountable. A good judgement criterion and a simple one to use, is to question whether such and such media is helping one to get to heaven. 

Not surprisingly, only a few meet this criterion. Therefore one must question one's motive in reading and supporting those who at best cause confusion or doubts about what to believe in these times. Worse, they sow suspicion that our religious leaders have their own interests rather than those of the flock at heart.

Unfortunately it has become increasingly fashionable within the Church, so-called taking advantage of Information Technology, to follow the secular practice of publicly airing conflicts and controversies which should be kept within the family rather than exposing them to the mass media. A golden rule of good families is not to wash their dirty linen in public! Those participating in such unseemly practices may be guilty of sinning gravely by setting a bad example. Until such practices stop, evangelisation remains a dead duck.

Bear this in mind: all you have to adhere to are Sacred Scripture, especially the Commandments and Beatitudes, the Catholic Church Catechism and the Sacred Traditions of Mother Church which are the bedrock of our Faith. Any obscure or erroneous interpretation or tampering with these, for which good reasons are always given, are an anathema. Living a true Catholic life is simple and sacrificial: there is much joy and pain. Trying to remove our crosses does little good because we are often gain larger crosses to carry in their place.

Assuming we all want to get to heaven, then avoiding today's Catholic Media and secular interpretations of what is going on in the Church, would be a genuine leg-up on this difficult journey. We would avoid all the unsavoury spat, gossip, tittle-tattle, and sniping that is currently called Catholic news which is both disgraceful and addictive. Rather, we have to focus on reading good Catholic literature, the Sacraments, and living good, simple and clean prayerful lives which encourage us to get as close to God as possible. If we proceed in such a manner we may be amazed at how less stressful our lives become.

Perhaps if a sufficient number of Catholics refuse to read or subscribe to the Catholic media, they will have to reform or rightly go out of business. Also those in such conflicts, without publicity, may fall silent, as they will not be able to air their controversial views so as to influence us, in the worst cases, away from the truth: what bliss!  

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Catholic Prophecy, the coming chastisement

What might we expect next to happen in this Chaotic World of ours

We are advised by Jesus Himself to keep awake and be aware of the sign of the times. Yves Dupont spent most of his life reviewing hundreds of Catholic prophecies and boiling them down to highlight the commonalities. We are not expected to believe in these but just to keep them in mind. Dupont had his doubts on some of these prophecies, especially the one about Moslems, as he just could not visage how this would come about.

by Yves Dupont
And they did not understand until the flood came and swept them all away. (Matt. 24:39)
TAN BOOKS AND PUBLISHERS, INC. P.O. Box 424 Rockford, Illinois 61105

General Events
    Not a two-camp war, but a multi-sided war.
    Not a war only, but a world-wide revolution as well.
    Not simply a man-made holocaust, but also a God-sent chastisement, accompanied by cosmic disturbances.
    To last about four years.
Particular Events
The whole world will be involved in the fighting. A unique feature is the internal disintegration of the Western democracies and the invasion of Western Europe by Arab forces.
The roles of the U.S.A. and U.S.S.R. are not clear in the beginning. The U.S.A. may be involved in the Far East or at home or both. The U.S.S.R. may want to keep out of the fray at first, while abetting the Arab world, or may be involved in Siberia.

Civil wars rage in Western Europe. The Church is persecuted; the Pope leaves Rome and dies in exile; an anti-pope is installed in Rome; the Catholic Church is split, leaderless and completely disorganized Communism (or is current form of socialism) is victorious. The Mohammedans invade Europe and commit innumerable atrocities.
In the West, however, Christians rally around an unexpected leader, an army officer of royal blood, but their chances seem very slim.
The natural disturbances begin: floods, droughts, famines.
A comet approaches the earth: Whole mountains split open; huge tidal waves swallow up low-lying lands; stones fall from the sky; a deadly fog or gas poisons the atmosphere; a prolonged darkness envelops the earth. Two-thirds or three-fourths of the human race is wiped out.
The powers of evil are shattered. The Christian Prince leads his growing army to battle and wins victory upon victory. In West Germany he crushes a Germano-Russian Army. Communism collapses everywhere. The Mohammedans are thrown back to the sea. The war is carried to Africa and the Middle East, where the Arab Power is dealt a deadly blow. At this stage, if not earlier, U.S. troops come to the assistance of Western Europe.
Russia and China are converted to Catholicism, as also the Mohammedans. All non-Catholics return to Mother Church. A holy Pope is elected; he shows great firmness; and he restores all the former disciplines in the Church.
All the nations of Western Europe unite and form a new Roman Empire, and accept as their emperor the great Christian Prince, chosen by God, who works hand-in-hand with the holy Pope. The triumph of the Catholic Church is universal. The whole world enjoys a period of complete peace and unprecedented prosperity in mutual love and respect among people and nations.
This great peace will last until the coming of Antichrist.
The full details of the supporting prophecies and Dupont commentaries are contained in his book which may be found in pdf form, if you strike lucky, on the Internet.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Cardinal Newman on Reverence in Church

How often have you gone to Mass to find yourself distracted by the chatterers? This is a form of persecution because you are being prevented from reaching out to God and listening to Him in the silence required. If you are foolish enough to ever so gently suggest or even request some accommodation for your prayers this will be taken as an insult or an affront. Woe be to you.

Blessed Cardinal John Newman provides some insights to help us understand this persecution by noise in church:

“Samuel, viewed in his place in sacred history, that is, in the course of events which connects Moses with Christ, appears as a great ruler and teacher of his people; this is his prominent character. He was the first of the prophets; yet, when we read the sacred narrative itself, in which his life is set before us, I suppose those passages are the more striking and impressive which represent him, in the office which belonged to him by birth, as a Levite, or minister of God. He was taken into God’s special service from the first; he lived in His Temple; nay, while yet a child, he was honoured with the apparel of a sacred function, as the text tells us, “he ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.”

His mother had “given him unto the Lord all the days of his life,” by a solemn vow before his birth;
and in him, if in any one, were fulfilled the words of the Psalmist, “Blessed are they that dwell in Thy house, they will be always praising Thee”.

Such a constant abode in God’s house would make common minds only familiar with holy things, and irreverent; but where God’s grace is present in the heart, the effect is the reverse; which we might be sure would happen in the case of Samuel. “The Lord was with him,” we are told; and therefore the more the outward signs of that Lord met his eye, the more reverent he became, not the more presuming. The more he acquainted himself with God, the greater would be his awe and holy fear.

Thus the first notice we have of his ministering before the Lord, reminds us of the decency and gravity necessary at all times, and in all persons, in approaching Him. “He ministered before the Lord, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.” His mother had made him yearly a little coat for his common use, but in Divine Service he wore, not this, but a garment which would both express, and impress upon him, reverence. And, in like manner, in his old age, when Saul sent to seek David at Naioth, where Samuel was, his messengers found Samuel and the prophets under him all in decent order. “They saw the company of prophets prophesying, and Samuel over them.” And this was so impressive a sight, that it became an instrument of God’s supernatural power towards them, and they prophesied also.

On the other hand, if we would have an example of the want of this reverence, we have it in Saul himself, the reprobate king, who, when he was on his way to Naioth, and was visited by God’s Holy Spirit, did not thereupon receive the garment of salvation, nor was clothed in righteousness, but behaved himself in an unseemly wild way, as one whose destitution and shame were but detected by the visitation. He stripped off his clothes and prophesied before Samuel, and lay down in that state all that day and all that night.

This difference we see even at this day:—of persons professing religion, some are like Samuel, some like Saul; some (as it were) cast off their garments and prophesy in disorder and extravagance; others minister before the Lord, “girded with a linen ephod,” with “their loins girt and their lamps burning,” like men awfully expecting the coming of their great and glorious Judge. By the latter, I mean the true children of the Holy Catholic Church; by the former, I mean heretics and schismatics.

There have ever been from the first these two kinds of Christians—those who belonged to the Church, and those who did not. There never was a time since the Apostles' day, when the Church was not; and there never was a time but men were to be found who preferred some other way of worship to the Church’s way, These two kinds of professed Christians ever have been - Church Christians, and Christians not of the Church; and it is remarkable, I say, that while, on the one hand, reverence for sacred things has been a characteristic of Church Christians on the whole, so, want of reverence has been the characteristic on the whole of Christians not of the Church. The one have prophesied after the figure of Samuel, the other after the figure of Saul.

Of course there are many exceptions to this remark in the case of individuals. Of course I am not speaking of inconsistent persons and exceptional cases, in the Church, or out of it; but of those who act up to what they profess. I mean that zealous, earnest, and faithful members of the Church have generally been reverent; and zealous, earnest, and faithful members of other religious bodies have generally been irreverent.

Again, after all,there will be real exceptions in the case of individuals which we cannot account for; but I mean that, on the whole, it will be found that reverence is one of the marks or notes of the Church; true though it may be that some particular individuals, who have kept apart from it, have not been without a reverential spirit notwithstanding.

Indeed so natural is the connexion between a reverential spirit in worshipping God, and faith in God, that the wonder only is, how any one can for a moment imagine he has faith in God, and yet allow himself to be irreverent towards Him. To believe in God, is to believe the being and presence of One who is All-holy, and All-powerful, and All-gracious; how can a man really believe thus of Him, and yet make free with Him? it is almost a contradiction in terms. Hence even heathen religions have ever considered faith and reverence identical.

To believe, and not to revere, to worship familiarly, and at one’s ease, is an anomaly and a prodigy unknown even to false religions, to say nothing of the true one. Not only the Jewish and Christian religions, which are directly from God, inculcate the spirit of “reverence and godly fear,” but those other religions which have existed, or exist, whether in the East or the South, inculcate the same.

Worship, forms of worship—such as bowing the knee, taking off the shoes, keeping silence, a prescribed dress, and the like—are considered as necessary for a due approach to God. The whole world, differing about so many things differing in creed and rule of life, yet agree in this - that God being our Creator, a certain self-abasement of the whole man is the duty of the creature; that He is in heaven, we upon earth; that He is All-glorious, and we worms of the earth and insects of a day.

But those who have separated from the Church of Christ have in this respect fallen into greater than pagan error. They may be said to form an exception to the concordant voice of a whole world, always and every where; they break in upon the unanimous suffrage of mankind, and determine, at least by their conduct, that reverence and awe are not primary religious duties. They have considered that in some way or other, either by God’s favour or by their own illumination, they are brought so near to God that they have no need to fear at all, or to put any restraint upon their words or thoughts when addressing Him. They have considered awe to be superstition, and reverence to be slavery. They have learnt to be familiar and free with sacred things, as it were, on principle. I think this is really borne out by facts, and will approve itself to inquirers as true in substance, however one man will differ from another in the words in which he would express the fact itself............

Every one ought to come into Church as the Publican did, to say in his heart,“Lord, I am not worthy to enter this sacred place; my only plea for coming is the merits of Jesus Christ my Saviour.”

When, then, a man enters Church, as many do, carelessly and familiarly, thinking of himself, not of God, sits down coldly and at his ease, either does not say a prayer at all, or merely hides his face for form’s sake, sitting all the while, not standing or kneeling; then looks about to see who is in the Church, and who is not, and makes himself easy and comfortable in his seat, and uses the kneeler for no other purpose than to put his feet upon; in short, 

comes to Church as a place, not of meeting God and His holy Angels, but of seeing what is to be seen with the bodily eyes, and hearing what is to be heard with the bodily ears, and then goes and gives his judgement about the sermon freely, and says, “I do not like this or that,” or “This is a good argument, but that is a bad one,” or “I do not like this person so much as that,” and so on; I mean when a man acts in all respects as if he was at home, and not in God’s House, all I can say is, that he ventures to do in God’s presence what neither Cherubim nor Seraphim venture to do, for they veil their faces, and, as if not daring to address God, praise Him to each other, in few words, and those continually repeated, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth.

But irreverent persons when they come into Church, and find nothing here of a striking kind, when they find every thing is read from a book, and in a calm, quiet way, and still more, when they come a second and a third time, and find every thing just the same, over and over again, they are offended and tired. “There is nothing,” they say, “to rouse or interest them.” They think God’s service dull and tiresome, if I may use such words; for they do not come to Church to honour God, but to please themselves.

They want something new. They think the prayers are long, and wish that there was more preaching, and that in a striking oratorical way, with loud voice and florid style. And when they observe that the worshippers in Church are serious and subdued in their manner, and will not look, and speak, and move as much at their ease as out of doors, or in their own houses, then (if they are very profane) they ridicule them, as weak and superstitious. Now is it not plain that those who are thus tired, and wearied, and made impatient by our sacred services below, would most certainly get tired and wearied with heaven above?

We do not deserve to come, surely not;— consider what a great favour it is to be allowed to join in the praises and prayers of the City of the Living God, we being such sinners;—we should not be allowed to come at all but for the merits of our Lord and Saviour. Let us firmly look at the Cross, that is the token of our salvation. Let us ever remember the sacred Name of Jesus, in which devils were cast out of old time. These are the thoughts with which we should come to Church; and if we come a little before the Service begins, and want something to think about, we may look, not at who are coming in and when, but at the building itself, which will (should) remind us of many good things; 

or we may look into the Prayer Book for such passages as the 84th Psalm, which runs thus:

“O how amiable are Thy dwellings,
Thou Lord of hosts my soul hath a desire
and longing to enter into the Courts of the Lord:
my heart and my flesh rejoice in the Living God.”

Such will be our conduct and our thoughts in Church, if we be true Christians; … Such will be our conduct even when we are out of Church. I mean, those who come to Church again and again, in this humble and heavenly way, will find the effect of it, through God's mercy, in their daily walk......

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, where he had been forty days and forty nights, his face quite shone and dazzled the people, so that he was obliged to put a veil over it. Such is the effect of God’s grace on those who come to Church in faith and love; their mode of acting and talking, their very manner and behaviour, show they have been in God’s presence. They are ever sober, cheerful, modest, serious, and earnest. They do not disgrace their profession, they do not take God’s Name in vain, they do not use passionate language, they do not lie, they do not jest in an unseemly way, they do not use shameful words, they keep their mouth; they have kept their mouth in Church, and avoided rashness, so they are enabled to keep it at home. ….....

And, besides those who profess to love without fearing, there are two sorts of persons who fall short; first, and worst, those who neither fear nor love God; and, secondly, those who fear Him, but do not love Him. There are, every where, alas! some bold, proud, discontented persons, who, as far as they dare, speak against religion altogether; they do not come to Church, or if they come, 

come to see about what is going on, not to worship. These are those who neither love nor fear.....

The more common sort of persons are they who have a sort of fear of God without the love of Him, who feel and know that some things are right, and others wrong, yet do not adhere to the right; who are conscious they sin from time to time, and that wilfully, who have an uneasy conscience, who fear to die; who have, indeed, a sort of serious feeling about sacred things, who reverence the Church and its Ordinances, who would be shocked at open impiety, who do not make a mock at Baptism, much less at the Holy Communion, but, still, who have not the heart to love and obey God. This, I fear, my brethren, may be the state of some of you. See to it, that you are clear from the sin of knowing and confessing what is your duty, and yet not doing it. If you be such, and make no effort to become better; if you do not come to Church honestly, for God’s grace to make you better, and seriously strive to be better and to do your duty more thoroughly, it will profit you nothing to be ever so reverent in your manner, and ever so regular in coming to Church.

God hates the worship of the mere lips; He requires the worship of the heart. A person may bow, and kneel, and look religious, but he is not at all the nearer heaven, unless he tries to obey God in all things, and to do his duty.

But if he does honestly strive to obey God, then his outward manner will be reverent also ; decent forms will become natural to him; holy ordinances, though coming to him from the Church, will at the same time come (as it were) from his heart; they will be part of himself, and he will as little think of dispensing with them as he would dispense with his ordinary apparel, nay, as he could dispense with tongue or hand in speaking or doing.

This is the true way of doing devotional service; not to have feelings without acts, or acts without feelings; but both to do and to feel;—to see that our hearts and bodies are both sanctified together, and become one; the heart ruling our limbs, and making the whole man serve Him, who has redeemed the whole man, body as well as soul.”

The so called Progressives and Kasperians have, since Vatican II, been attempting to destroy Christ's Church and rebuild it according to their own image. This second reformation has hollowed out the Church, removing many treasures offered for the glory of Almighty God, hollowed out the Faith so that the dogmas are ignored and repentance is no longer required, hollowed out the Mass, our highest and purest offering to the glory of Almighty God, and finally they are in the penultimate stages of hollowing out the Eucharist removing “God is with us” from our midst. The consequences are all around us and even more frightening are the many locked in their own worldliness. The World's sinfulness has polluted the earth and it is rebelling. It has also generated a chastising spiritual tsunami which is at our gates and so many are deaf and blind.

Almighty God, in your love, have mercy on us all in this Year of Mercy because after that we face Your Judgement.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Support for Marriage

Please go to this website and pledge your support for the Declaration of Fidelity to the Church's Unchangeable Teaching on Marriage:

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

New Assistant Rep for Lancaster LMS

We are pleased to report that John Rogan, who serves Mass for us at Hornby and Sizergh, has agreed to become Assistant Local Representative which will relieve some of our load and allow us to continue as Local Representatives and this has been approved by the LMS Committee.

Bob Latin & John Rogan

John will be responsible for the liturgical side of things - the arrangement of Masses (eg Sizergh), new Mass initiatives, finding priests and servers and checking on the rubrics etc. We will retain responsibility for the administration - liaison with HQ ie making submissions of Mass Listings to HQ & reports to Mass of Ages, sending details of Masses for advertising in the Catholic Voice etc. We will also handle the money side and make financial returns to HQ when required. By dividing the duties this way we will be able to fit the LR role more comfortably into our schedule.

The Burden of Jesus

Upon Jesus rested a frightful weight of decision. Every act, every word, every inner impulse with Him must be, not high, but of the very highest. Everything had to be truth and holiness. Any man would have collapsed under this burden, and even to attempt it would have destroyed him. This is the truly incomprehensible: that Jesus not only bears this burden, but that He bears it naturally, freely. Words are not strong enough to express the marvel of the divine ease under a burden so heavy.

What does the Father's will require of Jesus? That He bring near the kingdom of God, exercise His lordship over the people first called, and through them begin, in this world, the transformation of existence into the “new man”, living under a “new heaven" upon a “new earth". For that to come about, however, the people must turn to Him in faith and love. He brings them the fullness of grace and salvation, but they must be allowed to accept it freely. And this in the face of a history centuries old, filled to overflowing, as the Old Testament shows, with examples of disobedience, apostasy and rebellion, all of which is potentially present in habits of mind and spirit. The people to whom the Messiah came with His Gospel had entrenched themselves in attitudes and ideas which served to
intensify their stubbornness. To proclaim the Gospel meant, then, to unroll the whole meaning of this people’s existence.

He who brings what is completely new, upon which everything turns, calls forth, at the same time, everything old, and draws from it the conclusions of the whole past. This He was called to do with genuine respect for man’s freedom. That freedom must be as genuine as the decision with which man is faced is great. Jesus must proclaim, but not influence; teach, but not recruit; warn, but not alarm; impress, but not compel. He must show neither weakness not passion. He must not protect Himself, give ground, or flee. He penetrates into the depths of men’s souls, knows their every impulse. He has power not only over their thoughts, imaginings and feelings, but direct power over nature as well. This power, in all divine sincerity, He must not use to bend man's will. It is from this point of view that we must try to understand the temptations which offer Him the opportunity of making use of that power in the service of His own will and thereby of spoiling the purity of His redemptive work. Do we have the slightest inkling what such a life must have been? To have brought salvation and endless opportunity to men, and at the same time to have been unable to use the least constraint? To have seen men needy and abandoned, and to have been unable in any way, and for their own good, to persuade or to compel them?

Jesus knows that history, from its very earliest beginnings, has moved toward Him. Now it surges and mounts up about Him. He knows that all the evil of the past has aroused itself and turns against him, drawing the consequences, and He is obliged to give it full sway. He may speak, teach, warn, exercise His goodness, generosity and miraculous power in man's behalf, but only in such a way that neither man’s freedom nor the responsibility for his own acts is impaired. Jesus sees how the decision inclines against Him, and through what people, what miserable acts, what chance happenings! He sees how everything is converging toward a climax, of the frightfulness of which the hour in Gethsemani gives us an intimation - and He may do nothing to avert it. And that not because of any
weakness, indecision or yielding in His nature, but out of the perfection of pure courage and divine responsibility.

Behind this, arrayed against Him, stands the Adversary. Now he will accomplish what he had been unable to achieve through the temptation, namely, induce Jesus to betray His Father’s will, be it from fear or rebellion, from injured pride, or zeal for His mission - or even from compassion for mankind - and if for only the briefest moment, for He who would betray God’s will was no mere man, but the Son of God. Then God would be standing in opposition to Himself and, let us admit what must be admitted - it would have meant the end of God.

In the fact that this did not happen lies Jesus’ triumph. His “battle" is no encounter of power against power, no struggle for supremacy of strength against strength, no concentration of will against an enemy, but something entirely different, something inconceivably great, pure, quiet - namely, endurance in pure truth, actualization of the divine will to the utmost limit, perfect freedom in the fullness of possibilities, generosity and love in absolute perfection.

We have already said that the most frightful thing about sin was that no one had been able to measure its actual power. No one knew of what it might finally be capable, and Satan’s deception - deception of himself who lives by lying - gave the appearance of having the power to divorce God from truth,
and in so doing to dethrone Him whose sovereignty rests upon His worthiness to receive power and glory, honour and adoration. The Adversary had carried out the temptation with every means he could devise, but with the result that Christ proved to be the perfection of obedience and love. Then it became clear that God is not only greater than the powers of nature, not only more powerful than the will of man, but stronger even than sin. That point had been contested, and was now proved. Then was given to God the honour which belongs to Him. Then began that mysterious judgment of which John speaks often, and of which the final judgment at the end of the world will be the revelation.

“The Faith and Modern Man”, Romano Guardini, Chapter 11, The Adversary.

Friday, 22 April 2016

William Shakespeare RIP

An extract from last Sunday's newsletter from St Walburge: 

William Shakespeare, the quintessential English writer, was fittingly born and died on Saint George's Day. This Saturday 23rd of April marks the 400th anniversary of his death. England in the reign of Queen Elizabeth I ("Bloody Bess") was a land of contradictions: in some sense a golden age of art and culture with a glittering court life, but under the surface a Protestant police state full of informers, "priest holes" and torture. Evelyn Waugh describes the scene of St. Edmund Campion's martyrdom, with gentlemen at the foot of the scaffold disinterestedly discussing philosophy as the saint was dismembered alive. This uncertain and divided world was the world in which Shakespeare lived. His mother's family, the Ardens, were ardent Catholics; his father seems to have returned to Catholicism after at first adhering to the new religion and one of Campion's tracts was found in his house; and his daughter Susanna was a known "recusant" (from recusare: one who "refused" to attend services in Henry VIII's new church). Ever since an Anglican archdeacon in the 1600s claimed that William himself "died a papist" there has been speculation about whether the Bard was a Catholic. Shakespeare's marriage to his wife, Anne Hathaway, was not held in the Anglican parish church of Stratford; they sought the ministrations of a vicar in another town, who was later denounced as a Catholic priest. Catholic themes in Shakespeare's writings are explored in Shadowplay by Clare Asquith. Hamlet refers disapprovingly to the Lutheran stronghold of Wittenberg, and Twelfth Night contains sympathetic references to the martyr Campion. In any case, please spare a prayer for the Bard on his anniversary, and for all those who died during those troubled and confusing times, often without the comfort of the sacraments.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

Satan Hates Latin

(Published in New Liturgical Movement Web-site)

I just attended a talk by the exorcist for diocese of San Jose, Fr Gary Thomas. He is the subject of a book and a film called The Rite, starring Anthony Hopkins. (The talk was organized by a group called Catholics at Work.)

First, he was a great speaker. He described how almost by accident, and after 20 years as a parish priest, he found himself sent to Rome to learn how to perform the Rite of Exorcism. He was very clear in saying that, in his opinion, the recent rise in interest in New Age paganism has opened the door to adherence to the occult for greater numbers of people than before, which in turn opens the way to diabolical possession. He has always been inundated with requests, even before the publicity.

The fact that he described these things pretty much in the same straightforward, matter-of-fact way that one might describe what goes on in a marriage or baptism in a parish RCIA class only served to reinforce the truth of it all for me. And I would say that if anything is to increase your faith, it is listening to accounts of how the Church overcomes the effects of possession by the devil and demons, and the suffering of those poor people who are affected by them.

I wanted to pass on one little comment that he made almost in passing. I do not know where he stands liturgically in regard to the Mass - there was nothing in what he said that led me to believe that he celebrates the Latin Mass, for example. However, he did explain that the Rite of Exorcism is only said in Latin. One reason is practical - there is no approved translation in English as yet. He gave another reason why he was so strongly in favor of the use of Latin in the Rite of Exorcism: “The Devil hates Latin, it is the universal language of the Church.” I asked him about this afterwards, and he repeated it, saying that his personal experiences as an exorcist who has performed many, many exorcisms have convinced him of this. He told me he had heard from exorcists who did exorcisms in Italian, Spanish and Portuguese (the only approved vernaculars for this Rite) that Latin was the most effective language.

Reflecting on this it is not surprising that there was an eruption against the Latin Liturgy after Vatican II. Experiences indicate one of three reactions to the Traditional Mass: adverse, indifferent or welcoming. Unfortunately adverse and indifferent dominate at this time but hopefully one day it will change for the better: cannot come soon enough.

An interesting consequence of the above is our experimenting with Gregorian Chant after finding that holidays in the countryside, free from TV, WiFi and town living, brought a blessed relief and peace. Returning home soon dissipates this feeling of well-being and peace: why? Perhaps there is too much negativity in modern towns and cities today. In trying to recapture this peace we played soft background Gregorian Chant and much to our interest the peace seemed to return, and this would fit in with the above observations. Try it out yourselves: may a blessed peace fall on you.

Bob and Jane

A Reflection on the Prodigal Son

We often hear homilies and commentaries on this moving and very important parable from Jesus on the Prodigal Son which, especially in this Year of Mercy, pointing at us individually to change and go back home to the heavenly embrace of the Father via confession, and then we can make a fresh start in our lives. Very true and important advice to us all.

But we don't ever hear that not only individuals are addressed in this powerful parable but whole nations. It is quite clear, if you study history, that civilised societies decay and eventually collapse with terrible suffering inflicted on all of those concerned. Such situations are caused by the turning away from God, moral perversion, corruption and an overwhelming desire to seek one's own good and especially power through acquisition of money, and they become addicted to this false well-being which eventually leads to debt, discouragement and fear.

Today the world, in particular the West, through the mistaken belief that it can borrow itself out of trouble and, through science and technology, can do without God, has decided to formulate and follow its own natural defined laws, claiming evil to be good and vice versa and has squandered the graces built up over centuries of Christianity so that the pot is now virtually empty. On top of this there is a multi-trillion debt mountain never experienced before in the history of the world. When faced with this awesome approaching tsunami, our leaders', and indeed people's, only reaction is “more of the same”. So the world brings on itself the horrible suffering that clearly awaits us all, when we will be most fortunate to find any husks of swine we could eat. We see nations disappearing one after the other into the whirlpool of the abyss of spiritual desolation and despair.

The consequences of this massive turning away from God (any god), which is unprecedented in the history of the world has yet to begin to be played out. We see the early signs but these are rapidly smothered by the media, so that God's warnings, using nature, disasters and economic instability, are smothered by the climate change mantra or soothing words from scientists, economists or politicians. Without God, man is rendered powerless to achieve any lasting good and is doomed to self-degeneration in all aspects of life.

It is all there quite clear to see: convert back to God or spiritually perish. It is perhaps too late to stop the consequences of Western debauchery, but they might just be shortened if enough of us reject the world and return to our Heavenly Father who will welcome each one of those who return with great joy, running to embrace them. The world of today will, fortunately, not exist in its present deformed state tomorrow: it is just not sustainable. Who will listen to our Father's warnings by rejecting this world with all of its spiritually poisonous possessions that will one day go back to whence they came: mere dust, including silica sand.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Provision of Latin Masses - some thoughts

Paul Waddington, Local Representative for Middlesbrough Diocese writes:

27 FEBRUARY 2016

Is there Sufficient Provision of Usus Antiquior Masses?

A couple of months ago there appeared an article by one Monsignor Pope who argued that interest in the Traditional Latin Mass had reached a plateau, and was possibly even declining.  His view was that the expansion in the provision of Latin Masses far exceeded the demand, with the consequence of too many poorly attended Masses.  The implication was that the number of Latin masses should be reduced.  He was speaking in an American context, where the response to summorum pontificum was more generous than at this side of the Atlantic.  I will not comment on his arguments, as my knowledge of the American scene is limited.

However, I do feel able to comment on the extent and adequacy of the provision to extraordinary form Masses in England and Wales.  Prior to summorum pontificum, the extent, frequency and location of Latin Masses was largely at the discretion of the local ordinary, and provision varied markedly from diocese to diocese.  In only a handful of dioceses was there a regular Sunday Mass in the older form at a convenient time,  In most dioceses where there was provision for Sunday Masses, these took place at constantly moving locations, and at varying times, almost always in the afternoon.

In the aftermath of summorum pontificum, there was a significant increase in the provision - the average number of Sunday Masses in England and Wales increasing from about 25 to about 50. Mostly, the additional Masses were scheduled on a roster basis so that followers of the traditional Mass were expected to travel to a different church each Sunday to attend Masses scheduled at different times.  This was probably not a deliberate policy, but resulted from the difficulty in finding priests who were willing, and had the time, to celebrate additional Masses.  The possibility of substituting an established Novus Ordo Mass by an Extraordinary Form one was hardly considered for obvious reasons.

An additional point is that the location of EF Masses has generally been determined by the presence of a well disposed priests, rather than any strategic planning.  As a consequence, it is not uncommon for there to be two Latin Masses relatively near to each other, when there are huge areas in  the same diocese with no provision at all. This is something that can only be remedied by each diocese taking a lead and coming up with a coherent plan.  The evidence is that this has not happened in most dioceses.

The question of whether there is sufficient provision of usus antiquior Masses is not a simple one.  If one just looks at the average size of the congregation at Latin Masses, it is clear that there is over-provision, as congregations are generally small.  Looked at another way, there are many of the faithful who would dearly like to attend a Latin Mass, but cannot do so, because there is no provision in their area.  This would suggest under-provision.

One difficulty is in quantifying the inconvenience factor.  If Novus Ordo Masses were scheduled for 3pm or only took place on the third Sunday of the month, what would be the size of their congregation be?  Another factor is the need to allow congregations to build up.  The experience is that, given a convenient time in a decent church with an able priest at a suitable location, Latin Mass congregations will grow.  When the church of Sts Peter, Paul and Philomena in New Brighton was reopened by the Institute of Christ the King Supreme priest, the Sunday congregation was only about 40.  Now it is about four times that and still growing.

So, in judging the adequacy of provision, it is not sufficient to look at the attendance at existing Masses.  The demand needs to be assessed and then considerable thought needs to be given to the best way of satisfying the demand, always mindful of the limited resources that are available.

The above is a brief introduction to the current state of affairs in England and Wales.  The next post will consider some possible ways forward.

So How Should the Demand for the Latin Mass be Satisfied?

We must start from the premise that almost all diocesan priests are already overworked and would find difficulty taking on the celebration of additional Masses.  It follows that, either more priests must be found or that Latin Masses will need to be provided in substitution  for existing novus ordo Masses, rather than in addition.

Taking the first point, there is an emerging source of priests who are more than keen to to provide usus antiquior Masses.  I refer to the traditional Orders.  The Priestly Fraternity of St Peter has had several Englishmen ordained to the priesthood in recent years, and expects to have a steady stream of ordinations during the next decade.  There is every prospect that the number of vocations to the priesthood in the traditional orders will continue to grow.

We have already benefited from the Institute of Christ the King Supreme Priest taking over churches in New Brighton and Preston, and the FSSP taking over one in Warrington.  Although it is too soon to make a final judgement, the indications are that these are prospering as centres for traditional liturgies.  It is to be hoped that as the traditional orders ordain more priests, churches will continue to be handed over to their care.  This solution tends to work well in the larger towns that have several Catholic Churches, and where consideration is already being given to closing churches.  This is surely a win-win solution.

A second approach is for each diocese to consider where Latin Masses would be best located.  In most cases, this would mean selecting churches in the greater centres of population, where larger congregations can be expected.  Currently, Latin Masses are frequently provided in remote or village locations, and it is unsurprising that these attract small congregations.  In the case of the Diocese of Middlesbrough,  The obvious locations would be Hull, York, Scarborough and Middlesbrough itself, all of which have multiple churches.

A process of merging parishes in in these locations has been going on for years, and surely such mergers should provide the opportunity to reconsider Latin Mass provision.