Onward Christian Soldiers! Toward a masculine, robust Christian faith

We still sing Onward Christian Soldiers in our parish.  It’s one of those hymns that many Christian denominations have relegated to the dustbin because it sounds so militaristic.

But I love it, because it is about the reality of spiritual warfare and how all of us are engaged in the battle with the enemy carrying forward the Cross of Jesus whether we know it or not, whether we like it or not.  We are all called to be Christian warriors and our weapons are spiritual not carnal.

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Our Lady’s Dowry

This being the day of my departure to take up studying for the Master’s programme at the International Theological Institute in Austria – AND, in the traditional Roman Calendar, the feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, I offer as an envoi the Marian Shrines of Great Britain and Ireland. I have visited a few – and plan to see a lot more over the next few years!

Our Lady of Walsingham

Our Lady of Westminster

Our Lady of Willesden: Catholic and Anglican

Our Lady of Muswell

Our Lady of Canterbury

Our Lady of Ipswich

Our Lady of Caversham

Our Lady of England

Our Lady of Glastonbury

Our Lady of Doncaster

Our Lady of Guisborough


Ladye Park

Our Lady of Cardigan

Our Lady of Carfinn

Our Lady of Aberdeen

Our Lady of Knock

Peter Slipper- Bishop of Australia?


1It may have escaped your attention that the disgraced former Federal Speaker of the House, Peter Slipper, has been made ‘Bishop of Australia’.

While Peter Slipper has maintained a public presence since his departure from politics, he kept his appointment as a Bishop for the Brazilian Catholic Apostolic Church (ICAB) fairly low key. The question has to be asked: why is Slipper in the Episcopal closet?

Know as “Slippery Pete” even before he entered politics, in 2012 Peter Slipper stood down from parliament over allegations of misappropriation of travel expenses, as well as sexual harassment claims by a staff member including texts sent to him about sexual matters  and what was termed “‘vile anatomical references” referring to women’s private parts (while slipper was an Anglican priest). During the court cases in 2014 Slipper reported he tried to commit suicide twice, and his psychiatrist, Chris Martin, submitted evidence in the case whether fraud charges against Mr Slipper should be dropped on mental health grounds. Continue reading

Why the Church needs You, Specifically

The recent revelations regarding Cardinal McCarrick and the Pennsylvania 300 have forced many more Catholics into an uncomfortable realisation that some of us cradle Catholics of a certain age have lived with our entire adult lives: as Pope Adrian VI remarked of his immediately pre-Tridentine era, “the Catholic Church is sick in head and members.”

Of these specific scandals and their allied occurences (even within the Vatican) that have sullied the past few decades, much has been and can be written: how disgusting it is that men could seamlessly perform both the most sacred rites and loathsome acts imaginable; that a culture of acceptance of this horror has grown up within the hierarchy – a hierarchy so often committed to altering the Faith committed to its care in as brutal a manner possible; and that under the current Pontificate, favouritism from the highest quarters of that hierarchy has protected some of the worst offenders.

But there are other things to that can, have, and should be said: that in many ways – despite Church teaching – this de facto acceptance of these practises by prelates parallels developments among the elite in western society as a whole (not merely Hollywood but Washington, where recurrent page scandals underline the fact that the age of consent in DC is 16 by Act of Congress, and elsewhere); that the problem is as bad or worse amongst other religious and civil organisations – especially the public schools (who coincidentally are usually exempted from any government attempts to lengthen the statute of limitations); that what is so often misnamed “pedophilia” by the media is simply the desire for younger men by older homosexuals; and that the difficulty of homosexuality in the priesthood so demonstrated presents a marketing problem for our media and elites, who wish to promote the practise in the greater society while attacking it in the Church (hence the misuse of the “pedophilia” label). Continue reading

Prayer requests sought for Pilgrimage

Bishop Steven Lopes of the Personal Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter is leading a pilgrimage to the Holy Land Oct. 2-12.

Joining him will be six Ordinariate priests and 95 faithful.

“The spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage need not be restricted to those actually making the trip,” said a note from the chancery.  “The Bishop and Ordinariate clergy will carry the intentions of the whole Ordinariate on pilgrimage and offer Mass each day at the various shrines for those intentions.”

“All Priests are invited to collect prayer intentions from their faithful and send them to the Bishop for inclusion in the Holy Land Pilgrimage.  Please email Laurie Miller (office@ordinariate.net) your prayer intentions by September 28 so she has enough time to collate them for the pilgrims.”

What are your prayer requests?   My prayer request is for the ordinaries, the priests and the faithful to be beacons of holiness and deep Catholic faith in a time of trouble and uncertainty facing the Church.

I hope some Society members will be along on the pilgrimage and will send me photos to post here.

Regarding the present crisis

Maybe some of you who came into the Catholic Church because of Pope Benedict XVI’s generous offer to Anglicans are wondering what on earth did I get myself in for by joining the Catholic Church?

For me, none of what is being revealed in the present scandal is new or surprising.  I factored this in prior to becoming Catholic.  But I can understand for others, this is shocking and maybe even demoralizing.  What are we to do?

I believe our response should be prayer, fasting, reparation, and ever deeper conversion to ensure that after the current pruning the Church is undergoing there remains healthy, living growth abiding in the Vine who is Jesus Christs.  We must resist the temptation to use the human energy of anger to try to make things right using our own power.

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UK Ordinariate lay people discuss mission at conference

Fr. Simon Chinery, who handles communications for the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham posted the following over at Independent Catholic News.

Last week, Worth Abbey hosted the first Lay Conference of the Personal Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. An initiative of the Ordinariate’s Pastoral Council, the three day conference brought together some 50 delegates from groups across Great Britain to discuss how to move forward the Ordinariate’s mission.

Keynote addresses were given by well-known priest and blogger Fr Ed Tomlinson of the Tunbridge Wells mission and by Catholic historian Dr James Kelly of Durham University. The Ordinary, Mgr Keith Newton, also spoke to the conference. There were also lengthy discussions and Question and Answer sessions where delegates sought to understand the issues and opportunities facing the Ordinariate and identify the best way to address these.

Work is already well underway to identify projects that the Pastoral Council can carry forward and to formulate proposals to the Ordinariate’s Governing Council.

Recordings of the keynote talks are available on the website of the Portal Magazine: www.portalmag.co.uk/audio.php

This is great news!   I hope to listen to the keynote talks over the weekend.  I hope you will avail yourself of the opportunity also.

I suspect the issues and opportunities in the UK have some overlap with those in North America and Australia, and differences as well.