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Showing posts from May, 2016

Episcopal Visitation & Confirmation Leigh-on-Sea

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Last Wednesday marked the culmination of many weeks work for me as Bishop Alan Williams sm (read more about him here),  visited my Parish for the first time and Confirmed 34 in a beautiful liturgy.

We have prepared the Confirmandi with a series of monthly sessions based around the Ascension Press programme Chosen, which mixes vibrant short video presentations with discussion and challenging questions. We tried to ground the teaching we did in solid Catholic principles which expose how living a Catholic life has practical and real implications for each of us every day. We built up the underpinning principles and then showed how these truths effect the decisions we face every day. We also included liturgy in every session, exposing the blessed Sacrament and praying together each week.

We asked the candidates to write a short essay on what they had learned and why they wanted to be Confirmed and prepared them for the Sacrament on the final session with the Sacrament of Reconciliation &am…

New Priest for the Ordinariate in Essex—Deo Gratias!

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It's been a joyous and busy week in Leigh-on-Sea. This has meant that there has been lots to blog about, but, somewhat paradoxically, I have not had time to write it up!
Last Saturday, my dear friend Michael Halsall, was ordained a priest by Bishop Alan Williams at St Peter's, Eastwood: Fr Jeff Woolnough's Parish, and the Church where Louise & I were married and which has been an integral part of our lives for many reasons. How wonderful then for us to return here to see our friend ordained.


This was the culmination of a long road for Michael, who started his journey as a child born into (what Anglican's refer to as) a very low church. He dedicated his life to building the kingdom and began ministry in the Anglican communion. He gradually reasoned his way to the Catholic Church and converted well over a decade ago at some considerable personal cost. He was ordained a transitional deacon last October (see my post here).



In this picture, Michael is vested with his c…

Misericordes sicut Pater.

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I read some good stuff on forgiveness and mercy today, which I thought I would share. The article it is taken from is here. It's not really about what I have taken this passage in isolation to refer to, but sometimes those insights can be the most valuable. For me, this quote is about the apparent confusion between pain inflicted, especially in the context of a familial relationship, which is forgiven, yet cannot be forgotten. Some situations, having been revisited many, many times, cannot be "fixed", and we are left to live with the fallout. This does not mean we do not forgive, or cannot move on, to the contrary, it can mean we have dealt with it properly and recognise that it is a situation beyond our control. Sometimes, renewing relationships on the pretext of forgiveness can be more damaging than maintaining a secure distance.

Here's the quote:
Mercy is a two-way street. The parable of the two debtors illustrates another facet of this truth. We must be ready to …

Foundations in Faith

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Foundations in Faith for the New Evangelisation. A great new 18 month distance learning course for all Catholics who want to systematically explore their faith and be able to explain it clearly to others. Ideal for anyone involved in parish ministry, parents, grandparents, catechists. 4 study weekends in Nelson Lancs beginning in June. See below for more details.

http://www.schooloftheannunciation.com/site.php?id=135

Learning the faith is a surprising source of joy & comfort, don't delay, sign up today and begin an incredible voyage of discovery!

Mentoring in the Year of Mercy

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Being a Confirmation catechist in my parish, I am constantly thinking of ways in which I can be more effective in reaching out to the young people on our confirmation course.

Whilst I recognise that the 'big presentations' are important, I also know that some of the most important occasions of real conversion for our youth often take place in the context of one-on-one mentoring conversations. 
Usually implicit in the conversations I have with them, is the question “so you really believe this stuff, what difference has the faith made to you personally?” This challenges me to always be ‘walking the talk’ – I can't simply hide behind the 'big presentations', I need to be an authentic witness and mentor in everything I do.

This Holy Year of Mercy is of course a time of grace, peace, conversion and joy. It is meant for everyone: people of every age, from far and near. Whilst the youth on our Confirmation course can be apathetic to the faith, I can't help but wonde…

Freedom to speak but not to misrepresent

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After some careful thought, there's an interesting academic post on the Tina Beattie issue on the All Along the Watchtower blog here. It makes some really excellent points with which I have a great deal of sympathy.

The post comes down to this I think:
I disagree with Professor Beattie’s views on abortion (and other matters), but to attack her in the way that has been done – as though no Catholic should ever dissent from the teaching of the Church on anything – and to make some of the comments I have seen on social media sites, is simply to turn her into the victim of what looks like a witch-hunt. If the aim is to get the Bishops to look at her activity, this seems not the way to achieve that objective. What Bishop wants to look as though he is trying to stifle the freedom of a woman academic to speak her mind?  I think that this comment is a little unfortunate. I certainly would not seek to limit anyone's freedom of speech. The question is about the platform from which one sp…

True & False Teachers

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As a previous Pope warned us:
“As there were false prophets in the past history of our people, so too you will have your false teachers, who will insinuate their own disruptive views and disown the Master who purchased their freedom. They will destroy themselves very quickly; but there will be many who copy their shameful behaviour and the Way of Truth will be brought into disrepute on their account.” (2 Peter 2: 1-2) A number of these authors reject not only the teaching of the Church on the evil of abortion – but also reject the teaching of the Church on most other aspects of the Sixth Commandment.

They have instead chosen to follow theologians such as Professor Charles Curran whose license to teach as a Catholic Theologian was revoked because of his dissent from Catholic Moral teaching on 25th July 1986 by Pope Saint John Paul II. Pope John Paul authorised the-then Cardinal Ratzinger to write to him informing him of this decision and the reasons for this decision:
“The purpose of th…

A little bit of succour...

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The Catholic Herald reports today that Cardinal Vincent Nichols, the Archbishop of Westminster, has spoken in support of the Polish bishops’ campaign against abortion.

In his homily at a Mass for the 1050th anniversary of the Baptism of Poland, Cardinal Nichols referred to the Polish bishops’ attempts to eliminate abortion, saying: “Some want to argue that abortion can be a right in conscience. This cannot be so because abortion is always the destruction of innocent life.”
Thank you your Eminence!

Following our Conscience

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When the Second Vatican Council uses the word “Conscience” it means an “Informed Conscience” - i.e. one that has been formed in accordance with the teachings of Christ and His Church.

“Conscience” for a Catholic is not subjective and is not merely the desire of an individual to follow his/her own inclinations—which may indeed be disordered or sinful.

Gaudium et Spes refers to conscience as being guided by “the objective standards of moral conduct” and “a law inscribed in the heart by God” (GS 16).

Moreover Vatican II also states that although “it often happens that conscience goes astray through ignorance which it is unable to avoid, without thereby losing its dignity.

This CANNOT be said of the man (or woman) who takes little trouble to find out what is true and good, OR when conscience is by degrees almost blinded through THE HABIT OF COMMITTING SIN.” (GS 16).

It is therefore not very surprising that a number of the people who have signed this Open Letter have in the past publically…