Showing posts from February, 2014

Evenings of Faith: Why the Church?

Evenings of Faith are organised by the Faith Movement to address important themes in theology for lay people. The meetings are held in the parish rooms below the Church of Our Lady of the Assumption and St Gregory, Warwick Street, W1 by kind permission of the Ordinariate of Our Lady of Walsingham. Access is via 24 Golden Square (a short walk from Piccadilly Circus.) The talks all begin at 7.30pm. I gave one of the talks in the last series. There was a good gathering of people, intelligent discussion, and time to chat afterwards over coffee and later in a nearby pub. Here is the list for the forthcoming third series: Wednesday 26 February 2014 The Church of Jesus Christ: The 'ecosystem' of man Fr William Massie Wednesday 12 March 2014 The Church’s Magisterium: Why must it be part of God's communing with Man? Fr Mark Vickers Wednesday 26 March 2014 Why Male and Female? Why the virginal birth? Fr Hugh MacKenzie Wednesday 30th April 2014 The sacram

A Day With Mary at a "fashionable" parish

Photo credit (all photos): Mulier Fortis The Day With Mary is a spiritually powerful event in the parish. Not only does it give a boost to the faith and devotion of those present, it has the feeling of making a real contribution to the treasury of merits of the Church with the assistance of Our Blessed Lady and under her powerful protection. Fortescue has a famous footnote about not genuflecting at the top of a ladder when retrieving the monstrance from a throne (I am grateful for his prudent advice) but he says little more about liturgical ladders. When I was crowning the statue of Our Lady, the assistants did well to retain hold of the cope without showing the orphreys. Yesterday morning was fine and we took the Procession of Our Lady around the streets. Sung Mass followed. The beautiful Marian vestment is currently on loan to the parish. It is shown well here at the Et Verbum caro factum est : Here is a zoom of the back of the chasuble: The afternoon process

A suggestion for persecuted Christians and Belgian children

Get.A.Giraffe.Costume. Being burned out of your home and threatened with death for not being a Muslim? Fear being persuaded that it is in your best interests to be bumped off before you get any older? Getting no sympathetic publicity from Western media (or no publicity at all)? Here is your answer: dress up as a giraffe and the world's press will give several pages of coverage with soul-searching debate skewed in your favour, celebrities will take up your cause, and you will probably be granted asylum somewhere friendly. Available in large medium and small from Available in various sizes from Kids Halloween Costumes

Euthanasia for children

The ghastly decision of the Belgian Parliament to legalise the euthanasia of children has rightly drawn much comment from Catholic journalists and bloggers, many of whom have referred to the Nazi euthanasia programme. I thought it would be helpful to look more closely at the origins of this Some years ago, I wrote a post called "The life thou gavest, Lord, we've ended" which drew on an article written in 1980 by Malcolm Muggeridge: The Humane Holocaust . See the article for more details but essentially, Muggeridge pointed out that euthanasia for the mentally ill and physically disabled was introduced in Germany in the 1920s, before the Nazi movement had gained any prominence. It was doctors and psychiatrists who pushed the programme on utilitarian grounds. When the Nazis developed Aktion T4 , they extended euthanasia to children, vastly increased the numbers who were killed, and extended the grounds from disability to race. But the perverted legal and medical justif

il Foglio organises appeal to Pope Francis after disturbingly weak response of the Holy See to UN report

The commendable Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute , C-FAM have organised a petition to Defend the Holy See  in the wake of the recent Concluding observations on the second periodic report of the Holy See  made by the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child. The observations were not limited to matters concerning the response to child abuse, but include demands that the Catholic Church promote abortion, homosexuality and contraception, and effectively abandon its moral teaching in favour of secular humanist ideology. Even the Wall Street Journal characterised this as The U.N. Assault on the Catholic Church , calling it "an attempt to bully the church into bowing before the altar of Turtle Bay." (Turtle Bay is the neighbourhood in New York where the UN Headquarters is located.) Claudia Rosett effectively exposes the hypocrisy of the UN ("Blue berets accused of sex crimes are simply sent back to their home countries, where in the majority of cases they drop of

Posters for schools and Church halls

The indefatigable Fr Andrew Pinsent has produced five posters which I think are ideal to help people re-assess the bias against Catholicism that they may have unwittingly imbibed from the secular environment. They are entirely positive, giving examples of Catholics who have made a major contribution to our science and culture. They would be ideal for secondary schools, but also for Church Halls, especially those that are hired out to people. (We will be getting some for Blackfen.) In fact, the whole project is a fine example of the positive evangelisation which Pope Benedict - and indeed Pope Francis - have called for. The subjects of the posters are: George Lemaître (the Belgian priest who proposed the Big Bang theory) Gregor Mendel (the Augustinian friar who was the founder of the new science of genetics) Guido d’Arezzo (the Medieval music theorist who invented musical notation as we know it today) Maria Agnesi (an Italian noble lady of great learning, the first woman t

CD 014: Is it obligatory to buy Fair Trade products?

Many Catholic organisations promote Fair Trade products but I have some misgivings about the scheme. Is it a sin not to buy Fair Trade products? Criticism of Fair Trade comes from both ends of the political spectrum. Some free market economists argue that Fair Trade interferes with the proper working of supply and demand and that other producers are adversely affected by the distortion of prices. Some advocates of more sweeping changes to unjust trading argue that Fair Trade is not radical enough because it works within the existing system of trade and has partnerships with multinational companies. Those in favour of Fair Trade would reply that it is a market-responsive model of trade and that other producers are positively, not negatively affected. They would consider that it is better to promote realistic and achievable change rather than waiting for the whole trading system to be made fairer. Fair Trade is widely supported by Catholic organisations, and many parishes try to use

Information on current persecution of Christians in the Middle East, from ACN and Ed West

Aid to the Church in Need continues in its sterling work not only in giving practical down-to-earth support to persecuted Christians but also by providing solid information on their appalling plight. Their latest freely downloadable report  Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith   gives a comprehensive update on the worldwide persecution of millions of Christians at the present time. Here is their press information on the booklet: In recent years, the Catholic Charity  Aid to the Church in Need  has received a growing response from government figures, politicians, the media, Church leaders and faithful to their seminal research project:  Persecuted and Forgotten? A Report on Christians oppressed for their Faith . Such has been the growth in recognition of ACN’s vital work, that their National Director, Neville Kyrke-Smith, and report editor John Pontifex, were recently invited to a  Reception at Clarence House  in which HRH The Prince of Wale

Good Counsel Network seeking Fundraising Co-ordinator

Please note that I do not normally publish recruitment adverts. This is an exception because it is the Good Counsel Network . They are looking for someone committed to their work who has fundraising experience. It is a 0.6 post with salary of £25,000 pro rata . The Maria Stops Abortion blog has the basic information and an email address for further information.

CD 279: Planning our charitable giving

I tend to give money when people shake a box in front of me but I feel I should organise this a bit more. Would that lose the spontaneity of giving? Remember that having charitable status in law does not necessarily mean that an organisation is always doing things that exhibit love for God or our neighbour. “Reproductive health” (a pseudonym for providing contraceptions and abortion) and research on human embryos would be considered “charitable” aims in civil law, but are immoral and therefore not truly “loving.” When someone shakes a box in front of you, there is no moral obligation to give money. In fact, it would be better to find out about the “Charity” first in order to be sure that it is charitable as we would understand the word. Your desire for spontaneity illustrates how we have lost the true meaning of charity. We should not love simply when we feel the urge, but as a part of our Christian lives. Our holidays do not suffer if we plan them carefully beforehand. Our love for

Victory for St Margaret’s Children and Family Care Society and vindication of Neil Addison's legal advice

In June 2009, Neil Addison of the Thomas More Legal Centre  and Religion Law Blog , argued that it was not surprising that Catholic Adoption Agencies had lost their case before the Charities Tribunal because they were using an ineffective legal argument. (See:  Catholic Adoption Agencies lose case ) The legal defeat led to Catholic agencies either giving up adoption work or continuing with the work, becoming a non-Catholic agency, and being open to placing children with same-sex couples. Neil has constantly argued that Catholic adoption agencies should make a case based on adherence to their constitution in which they assert that all of their activities (not just adoption) have to be conducted in accordance with the teaching of the Catholic Church (not just on the question of same-sex unions but on any moral question, including, for example unmarried couples.) This, he has always argued, would fit the exemption for Charities under reg 18 of the Sexual Orientation Regulations 2007.

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