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Showing posts from June, 2016

Pope of Confusion

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I'm just going to post this up here in case you haven't seen it.

This panel discussion was extraordinary. That a conversation this candid about the "unacceptable," "reckless," and "preposterous" behavior of the pope is happening on one of EWTN's most-watched programs is indicative of the damage Pope Francis is doing to the Church.
What do we do when the holy father is so at odds with the faith as always professed? Where does it leave Catechists? Deacons? Priests? Bishops?


Tory Leadership Election

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We are finally getting some progress and we can see perhaps, why Mssrs Gove and Johnson have been so quiet about plans for the future of our country since the momentous result of the EU Referendum a few days ago.

What is clear is that it is the result of the leadership race which will determine what sort of Brexit we get (if any). Therefore I suggest that, in fact, it matters more than referendum itself.

This morning, Michael Gove, the Justice Secretary has announced his candidacy. This despite saying that he was not going to stand. Theresa May announced that she would stand as well, shortly afterwards. Now Jeremy Hunt has announced he won't run and is backing May and Nicky Morgan is backing Gove.
This is an interesting development! Boris & May don't get on since he was sacked in 2004 for having an affair with Spectator columnist Petronella Wyatt, resulting in two terminated pregnancies. May quickly came out in public and said the leader, Michael Howard, was right to sack…

David Cameron's Legacy

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I've received an email from the Coalition for Marriage which relates to David Cameron's Brexit speech and makes some very important points (I've hi lighted some points):



David Cameron named redefining marriage as one of his most significant ‘achievements’ when he gave his resignation speech on Friday.

But commentators are saying gay marriage marked the point when his party leadership went wrong. Max Hastings said he “forfeited the support of his party faithful” (Daily Mail, 25 June 2016). Simon Heffer said: “Not only did the Tory party alienate core voters, it also proceeded to bully them” (The Sunday Telegraph, 26 June 2016).

Dominic Lawson was a supporter of same sex-marriage but thought it was a political disaster for the Conservative Party. He goes as far as to say that Cameron only proposed an EU referendum in the first place in a bid to try and win back traditional marriage supporters (Daily Mail, 27 June 2016). The PM’s pledge to hold a referendum was made in January 2…

Brexit - a sorry lack of leadership

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Disappointingly, George Osbourne on Radio 4 this morning seemed to be preoccupied with defending the Remain campaign rather than reassuring the markets. This is in perfect continuity with his speech yesterday, which to my ear seemed horribly self-serving. His true colours are shining through; he is a politician, not a statesman.

I'm feeling really disappointed with all our politicians at the moment. They all seem much more interested in who's going to be the next leader of their respective parties than looking after the country. They are taking time to run over the implications of the referendum decision and repeat ad nauseam how it is not the result they wanted.

Well tough.
I'm so sorry, but if the argument was so obvious one way or another, why on earth did they abdicate responsibility for the decision to the general public in the first place? Can we really be in a place where our Prime Minister has gambled with our country’s wealth, stability, security and internationa…

Pope Francis & Apologising to Homosexuals

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Gosh it's nerve-wracking these days when Pope Francis gets on a plane! It feels like everyone is waiting for the latest controversial statement. Today's headlines are "Pope says Church must apologise to gay people for how it's treated them" (I was a bit surprised to find that even The Catholic Herald is playing it that way), but after having a look at his comments, I actually think he's being misrepresented on this one.
Catholics and other Christians not only must apologise to the gay community, they must ask forgiveness of God for ways they have discriminated against gay people or fostered hostility toward them, Pope Francis said.“I think the Church not only must say it is sorry to the gay person it has offended, but also to the poor, to exploited women” and anyone whom the Church did not defend when it could, he told reporters at a press conference on the way back from Armenia yesterday.
Pope Francis was asked to comment on remarks reportedly made a few days…

A bottle of good whisky, and why my father isn't an angel.

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A reflection on Father's Day & ontology from the Rev Dr. Michael Halsall.


I have seen a few posts leading up to this weekend's Fathers' Day, displaying a strange misreading of what it means to be human, pre and postmortem : before and after death. I am talking about the phenomena of humans 'transitioning' to Angels, upon death, and at God's divine will and providence. Whilst this may be well-meaning, it displays on the one hand a human desire to want the best for those whom we love, yet on the other hand it displays also a misunderstanding of human anthropology.

A recent mobile phone provider - O2- marketed the catchphrase, 'Be More Dog'. Whilst this was an amusing concept, it betrays an ontological (essential) truth about cats. A cat can only be a good cat by being more feline, not more canine. To be good, truly good, is to be raised up in our own natures. In Aristotle's language, we are moving from a state of potentiality to actuality, and in …

The EU Referendum: Thinking Catholic

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I've been wrestling over the EU referendum like everyone else in Britain over the past few weeks. I am undecided as to how I will vote, I chose to listen carefully to the arguments from both sides of the debate before I made up my mind which way to cast my vote. I have to say I have been disappointed that many people had already made up their minds long before the debate started and many have harranged and shouted from their respective side of the argument all through the recent weeks.

I think there are strong arguments for both scenarios. I do not agree that it is an easy decision to make. Ideologically, the question is boiling down to who I want to be with...I do want to be with Europe, I have grown up in a generation and peer group who consider themselves largely European. Well traveled and knowledgable about all that is wonderful in Europe, I feel comfortable in Rome, Berlin, or Paris. But do I want to be ruled by Europe and subject to European diktat?

Ultimately, I want to b…

Jo Cox MP, RIP

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I found myself in tears on more than one occasion yesterday as I contemplated the enormity of what has happened to the MP for the constituency of Batley and Spen, Jo Cox.

I was shocked and stunned when I heard the news, and my heart immediately went out to her husband and children. I know how that feels, how life changes forever in that moment. How you numbly try to cope with the mundane realities, how it never goes back to normal.
Jo was someone who cared enough to get involved with society. A young mum and wife as well as an MP, and a former aid worker. The loss just feels senseless and tangible, the murderer little more than an animal in a society desensitised by social media to the extent where it has become positively de riguer to insult someone with a difference of opinion.  
Today, Jo's husband and children are struggling to cope with the aftermath of losing someone they loved so deeply. There lives are forever changed. I hope that all of our lives will be a little changed…

Civil War in the Church of England

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Those well meaning groups who seek to modify what they consider to be harsh and unkind teachings of the Catholic Church (see this amusing, satirical take on it) may find it enlightening to take a cool, calm look at our ecumenical brothers and sisters in the Church of England (CoE).

The CoE contains several doctrinal strands, the main three known as Anglo-catholic, Evangelical and Liberal or Broad Church (for more detail on this see here).

Over the last 24 years many of the conservative Anglo-catholic clergy of the CoE have left the Church of England and have joined either the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Church or an independent Community. This parting of the ways was mainly caused by the decision of the CoE Synod in 1992 to permit the ordination of women to the priesthood (and later to the episcopate). Many Anglo-catholics felt that they could no longer accept the CoE’s claim to be in organic, doctrinal and historical continuity with the Early Christian Church whose doctrines …

Western Society "Will die"

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Regular readers of my blog will recognise that former Chief Rabbi Lord Sacks is one of my great contemporary heroes. A man of huge integrity, intellectual thought, and an advocate for civilisation and society. I see him as a real leader: someone I can really look up to and admire. He is a man of vision and courage, who takes his responsibilities as a leader seriously and is always prepared to speak out about important issues with great intelligence and in a way which only ever contributes to the debate.
In an interview with The Telegraph, Lord Sacks has made an important intervention, high-lighting some vital issues for our society today. Among his insights, he points out that:
Societies have taken the trend towards outsourcing to new extremes by delegating responsibility even for moral decisions to companies or governments.The current crisis in the west is caused by falling birth-rates, our addiction to debt, the breakup of the family unit and a growing gap between the super-rich and …

Watershed Moment For Culture of Death in Spain?

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In a homily on May 13, Cardinal Antonio Cañizares Llovera, the former prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Divine Worship and current archbishop of Valencia, took a solid stance against the culture of death. He said:
“The family is being stalked today, in our culture, by endlessly grave difficulties, while it suffers serious attacks, which are hidden from no one. 
We have legislation contrary to the family, the acts of political and social forces, to which are added movements and acts by the gay empire, by ideologies such as radical feminism, or the most insidious of all, gender ideology.
When the family is attacked or is diminished, the most sacred forms of human relationship are perverted.” And he is dead right.
Feminist groups in Spain have called for the government to prosecute Cardinal Cañizares for daring to denounce the influence of the “gay empire” and gender ideology.
I can't help but wonder if this marks some kind of watershed moment, which will see the beginning of a …

CDW Prefect: All Priests Must Say Mass Ad Orientem

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The most recent edition (June 3) of the French publication Famille Chrétienne has a lengthy interview with Cardinal Robert Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, part of which is available online (in French only).

++Sarah strikes me as just what we need more of at this time: a holy, prayerful and wise leader.

While touching on several topics, the focus of the interview is liturgy and worship. As usual, Cardinal Sarah is both eloquent and direct, qualities that will be familiar to those who have read God or Nothing (Ignatius Press, 2015), the Cardinal's autobiographical interview with French journalist Nicholas Diat. As this weekend's edition of the Catholic Herald notes, Cardinal Sarah has become an authoritative voice due to his prayerful approach and evident love of the liturgy.
In this interview, the Cardinal has unequivocally urged all priests to celebrate Mass facing east, saying:
"As soon as we reach the moment wh…