Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Chesterton Knew The Importance of Ecumenical Dialogue

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Please Pray For Father Williams

"Poor Fr. Mike has fallen unconscious with a mysterious lump on his brain. We visited him last night - he has been in critical condition on a life support machine since Thursday. Basically we need a miracle - if he is to survive he has to open his eyes in the next couple of days and then he will still need brain surgery.

He is also the only priest (that I know of) in this Archdiocese who goes to lead the Rosary outside the BPAS. He has brought souls back to God through his work as a full time hospital chaplain and is regarded in the Archdiocese for his maturity and virtue.

We are asking people to pray for a miracle to Blessed Cardinal JH Newman and as Fr Mike has devotion to St. Philomena - Powerful with God, to ask for her help too! A priest last night also suggested Blessed Pope John Paul II."

We recieved this from friends in Liverpool and having met Fr Williams a couple of time would ask your prayers for this very good Priest.

Deerstalker tip to Good Counsel

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Fast 4 Life, Prayer 4 Life

Join Us in Prayer and Fasting for the End of Abortion, Euthanasia and all attacks on the Sanctity of Life.

The next National Day of Prayer and Fasting for Life is tomorrow, Wednesday September 28th, please pray for an end of abortion and euthanasia. Your prayer and fasting is urgently needed. This is an opportunity for everyone to make a real difference in the pro-life struggle.

Join us in:

•Fasting: Fast from all food except bread and water for the day or fast from a particular food or luxury, e.g. chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, TV. Fast from whatever you can given your state of health etc, but make sure it is something that involves a sacrifice to yourself.

•Prayer: We are asking people to say a Rosary (or an extra Rosary if you say it daily already). You could also offer an extra effort such as going to Mass (or an extra Mass) on the day, or going to Adoration. You can even pray before a closed tabernacle if Adoration is not available near you.
(Photo Benediction at Good Counsel)

Saturday, 24 September 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, The Call To The Barbarians


A BOOK was sent me the other day by a gentleman who pins his faith to what he calls the Nordic race; and who, indeed, appears to offer that race as a substitute for all religions. Crusaders believed that Jerusalem was not only the Holy City, but the centre of the whole world. Moslems bow their heads towards Mecca and Roman Catholics are notorious for being in secret communication with Rome. I presume that the Holy Place of the Nordic religion must be the North Pole. What form of religious architecture is exhibited in its icebergs, how far its vestments are modified by the white covering of Arctic animals, how the morning and evening service may be adapted to a day and a night each lasting for six months, whether their only vestment is the alb or their only service the angelus of noon, upon all these mysteries I will not speculate. But I can affirm with some confidence that the North Pole is very little troubled by heretical movements or the spread of modern doubt. Anyhow, it would seem that we know next to nothing about this social principle, except that anything is good if it is near enough to the North. And this undoubtedly explains the spiritual leadership of the Eskimo throughout history; and the part played by Spitzbergen as the spiritual arena of modern times. The only thing that puzzles me is that the Englishmen who now call themselves Nordic used to call themselves Teutonic; and very often even Germanic. I cannot think why they altered this so abruptly in the autumn of 1914. Some day, I suppose, when we have diplomatic difficulties with Norway, they will equally abruptly drop the word Nordic. They will hastily substitute some other--I would suggest Borealic. They might be called the Bores, for short.

But I only mention this book because of a passage in it which is rather typical of the tone of a good many other people when they are talking about Catholic history. The writer would substitute one race for all religions; in which he certainly differs from us, who are ready to offer one religion to all races. And even here, perhaps, the comparison is not altogether to his advantage. For anybody who likes can belong to the religion; whereas it is not very clear what is to be done with the people who do not happen to belong to the race. But even among religions he is ready to admit degrees of depravity; he will distinguish between these disgusting institutions; of course, according to their degree of latitude. It is rather unfortunate for him that many Eskimos are Catholics and that most French Protestants live in the south of France; but he proceeds on his general principle clearly enough. He points out, in his pleasant way, why it is exactly that Roman Catholicism is such a degrading superstition. And he adds (which is what interests me at the moment) that this was illustrated in the Dark Ages, which were a nightmare of misery and ignorance. He then admits handsomely that Protestantism is not quite so debased and devilish as Catholicism; and that men of the Protestant nations do exhibit rudimentary traces of the human form. But this, he says, "is not due to their Protestantism, but to their Nordic common sense." They are more educated, more liberal, more familiar with reason and beauty, because they are what used to be called Teutonic; descended from Vikings and Gothic chiefs rather than from the Tribunes of Florence or the Troubadours of Provence. And in this curious idea I caught a glimpse of something much wider and more interesting; which is another note of the modern ignorance of the Catholic tradition. In speaking of things that people do not know, I have mostly spoken of things that are really within the ring or circle of our own knowledge; things inside the Catholic culture which they miss because they are outside it. But there are some cases in which they themselves are ignorant even of the things outside it. They themselves are ignorant, not only of the centre of civilisation which they slander, but even of the ends of the earth to which they appeal; they not only cannot find Rome on their map, but they do not even know where to look for the North Pole.

Take, for instance, that remark about the Dark Ages and the Nordic common sense. It is tenable and tolerable enough to say that the Dark Ages were a nightmare. But it is nonsense to say that the Nordic element was anything remotely resembling sense. If the Dark Ages were a nightmare, it was very largely because the Nordic nonsense made them an exceedingly Nordic nightmare. It was the period of the barbarian invasions; when piracy was on the high seas and civilisation was in the monasteries. You may not like monasteries, or the sort of civilisation that is preserved by monasteries; but it is quite certain that it was the only sort of civilisation there was. But this is simply one of the things that the Nordic gentleman does not know. He imagines that the Danish pirate was talking about Tariff Reform and Imperial Preference, with scientific statistics from Australia and Alaska, when he was rudely interrupted by a monk named Bede, who had never heard of anything but monkish fables. He supposes that a Viking or a Visigoth was firmly founded on the principles of the Primrose League and the English Speaking Union, and that everything else would have been founded on them if fanatical priests had not rushed in and proclaimed the savage cult called Christianity. He thinks that Penda of Mercia, the last heathen king, was just about to give the whole world the benefits of the British Constitution, not to mention the steam engine and the works of Rudyard Kipling, when his work was blindly ruined by unlettered ruffians with such names as Augustine and Dunstan and Anselm. And that is the little error which invalidates our Nordic friend's importance as a serious historian; that is why we cannot throw ourselves with utter confidence and surrender into the stream of his historical enthusiasm. The difficulty consists in the annoying detail that nothing like what he is thinking about ever happened in the world at all; that the religion of race that he proposes is exactly what he himself calls the Dark Ages. It is what some scientific persons call a purely subjective idea; or in other words, a nightmare. It is very doubtful if there ever was any Nordic race. It is quite certain that there never was any Nordic common sense. The very words "common sense" are a translation from the Latin.

Now that one typical or even trivial case has a larger application. One very common form of Protestant or rationalist ignorance may be called the ignorance of what raw humanity is really like. Such men get into a small social circle, very modern and very narrow, whether it is called the Nordic race or the Rationalist Association. They have a number of ideas, some of them truisms, some of them very untrue, about liberty, about humanity, about the spread of knowledge. The point is that those ideas, whether true or untrue, are the very reverse of universal. They are not the sort of ideas that any large mass of mankind, in any age or country, may be assumed to have. They may in some cases be related to deeper realities; but most men would not even recognise them in the form in which these men present them. There is probably, for instance, a fundamental assumption of human brotherhood that is common to all humanity. But what we call humanitarianism is not common to humanity. There is a certain recognition of reality and unreality which may be called common sense. But the scientific sense of the special value of truth is not generally regarded as common sense. It is silly to pretend that priests specially persecuted a naturalist, when the truth is that all the little boys would have persecuted him in any village in the world, merely because he was a lunatic with a butterfly-net. Public opinion, taken as a whole is much more contemptuous of specialists and seekers after truth than the Church ever was. But these critics never can take public opinion as a whole. There are a great many examples of this truth; one is the case I have given, the absurd notion that a horde of heathen raiders out of the northern seas and forests, in the most ignorant epoch of history, were not likely to be at least as ignorant as anybody else. They were, of course, much more ignorant than anybody with the slightest social connection with the Catholic Church. Other examples may be found in the story of other religions. Great tracts of the globe, covered in theory by the other religions, are often covered in practice merely by certain human habits of fatalism or pessimism or some other human mood. Islam very largely stands for the fatalism. Buddhism very largely stands for the pessimism. Neither of them knows anything of either the Christian or the humanitarian sort of hope. But an even more convincing experience is to go out into the street, or into a tube or a tram, and talk to the actual cabmen, cooks and charwomen cut off from the Creed by the modern chaos. You will find that heathens are not happy, however Nordic. You will soon find that you do not need to go to Arabia for fatalism; or to the Thibetan desert for despair.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Ronald Reagan's Words Of Wisdom On Bilbo & Frodo's Birthday

"I've noticed that everybody that is for abortion has already been born."
Ronald Reagan
New York Times, 22 September 1980

I think that what alot of people miss about these important words are the date on which they were reported. Bilbo and Frodo Baggins Birthday! The role of Hobbits in ending abortion is quite clear!


Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Solemn High Old Rite Mass For The Good Counsel Network

Juventutem London Solemn High Mass (Old Rite), Ember Friday in September
6.30pm Friday 23rd September, St Patrick's Church, Soho Square, London.
The Mass will be offered for The Good Counsel Network

Followed by a Social (for ages 18-35)

Sacred Ministers:
Celebrant: Fr Armand de Malleray, FSSP
Deacon: Fr David Irwin
Subdeacon: Fr Stewart Foster

MC: Mr Gordon Dimon

Confessions will be heard through Mass from 6pm by Fr Leon Pereira, OP. Absolution will be given using the traditional Latin form.

Polyphony and chant provided by Cantus Magnus:

Orlande de Lassus Missa secundi toni (K, S, A)
Orlande de Lassus Benedic anima mea
Antonio Lotti Salve Regina

Men who are serving should be at the sacristy by 6pm with their own cassocks and cottas.

Please assemble outside the Church after making your post-Mass thanksgiving. Please note that though the Mass is open (and welcomes) those of any age, the social is strictly for those aged 18-35 (clergy and religious excepted).

For more information see here and here.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Ember Days To Save The World Again

'At the beginning of the four seasons of the Ecclesiastical Year, the Ember Days have been instituted by the Church to thank God for blessings obtained during the past year and to implore further graces for the new season. Their importance in the Church was formerly very great. They are fixed on the Wednesday, Friday and Saturday: after First Sunday of Lent for Spring, after Whit-Sunday for Summer, after the Feast of the Elevation of the Cross (14th September) for Autumn, and after the Third Sunday of Advent for Winter. They are intended also to consecrate to God the various seasons in nature, and to prepare by penance those who are about to be ordained. Ordinations generally take place on the Ember Days. The faithful ought to pray on these days for good Priests. The Ember Days were once fast days of obligation.'

I found this in my Baronius Press 1962 Missal and it made me think. Imagine the Graces that God would bestow upon the World if the whole Church still fasted on these twelve days a year, imagine the great Graces if our Priests and Bishops declared these Fast Days again. Oh forget all that, imagine the Graces we could gain for our Priests & Bishops by fasting on these days! So that is Friday & Saturday this week to start with. (Wednesday is the Feast of St Matthew and so is not a Fast day this year)

Saturday, 17 September 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, A Simple Thought


MOST men would return to the old ways in faith and morals if they could broaden their minds enough to do so. It is narrowness that chiefly keeps them in the rut of negation. But this enlargement is easily misunderstood, because the mind must be enlarged to see the simple things; or even to see the self-evident things. It needs a sort of stretch of imagination to see the obvious objects against the obvious background; and especially the big objects against the big background. There is always the sort of man who can see nothing but the spot on the carpet, so that he cannot even see the carpet. And that tends to irritation, which he may magnify into rebellion. Then there is the kind of man who can only see the carpet, perhaps because it is a new carpet. That is more human, but it may be tinged with vanity and even vulgarity. There is the man who can only see the carpeted room; and that will tend to cut him off too much from other things, especially the servants' quarters. Finally, there is the man enlarged by imagination, who cannot sit in the carpeted room, or even in the coal-cellar, without seeing all the time the outline of the whole house against its aboriginal background of earth and sky. He, understanding that the roof is raised from the beginning as a shield against sun or snow, and the door against frost or slime, will know better and not worse than the rest the reasons of the rules within. He will know better than the first man that there ought not to be a spot on the carpet. But he will know, unlike the first man, why there is a carpet.

He will regard in the same fashion a speck or spot upon the records of his tradition or his creed. He will not explain it ingeniously; certainly he will not explain it away. On the contrary, he will see it very simply; but he will also see it very largely; and against the background of larger things. He will do what his critics never by any chance do; he will see the obvious thing and ask the obvious question. For the more I read of the modern criticisms of religion, especially of my own religion, the more I am struck by this narrow concentration and this imaginative incapacity to take in the problem as a whole. I have recently been reading a very moderate condemnation of current Catholic practices, coming from America, where the condemnation is often far from moderate. It takes the form, generally speaking, of a swarm of questions, all of which I should be quite willing to answer. Only I am vividly conscious of the big questions that are not asked, rather than of the little questions that are.

And I feel above all, this simple and forgotten fact; that whether certain charges are or are not true of Catholics, they are quite unquestionably true of everybody else. It never occurs to the critic to do anything so simple as to compare what is Catholic with what is Non-Catholic. The one thing that never seems to cross his mind, when he argues about what the Church is like, is the simple question of what the world would be like without it.

That is what I mean by being too narrow to see the house called the church against the background called the cosmos. For instance, the writer of whom I speak indulges in the millionth mechanical repetition of the charge of mechanical repetition. He says that we repeat prayers and other verbal forms without thinking about them. And doubtless there are many sympathisers who will repeat that denunciation after him, without thinking about it at all. But, before we come to explaining the Church's real teaching about such things, or quoting her numberless recommendations of attention and vigilance, or expounding the reason of the reasonable exceptions that she does allow, there is a wide, a simple and a luminous truth about the whole situation which anybody can see if he will walk about with his eyes open. It is the obvious fact that ALL human forms of speech tend to fossilise into formalism; and that the Church stands unique in history not as talking a dead language among everlasting languages; but, on the contrary, as having preserved a living language in a world of dying languages. When the great Greek cry breaks into the Latin of the Mass, as old as Christianity itself, it may surprise some to learn that there are a good many people in church who really do say KYRIE ELEISON and mean exactly what they say. But anyhow, they mean what they say rather more than a man who begins a letter with "Dear Sir" means what he says. "Dear" is emphatically a dead word; in that place it has ceased to have any meaning. It is exactly what the Protestants would allege of Popish rites and forms; it is done rapidly, ritually, and without any memory even of the meaning of the rite. When Mr. Jones the solicitor uses it to Mr. Brown the banker, he does not mean that the banker is dear to him, or that his heart is filled with Christian love, even so much as the heart of some poor ignorant Papist listening to the Mass. Now, life, ordinary, jolly, heathen, human life, is simply chockful of these dead words and meaningless ceremonies. You will not escape from them by escaping from the Church into the world. When the critic in question, or a thousand other critics like him, say that we are only required to make a material or mechanical attendance at Mass, he says something which is NOT true about the ordinary Catholic in his feelings about the Catholic Sacraments. But he says something which IS true about the ordinary official attending official functions, about the ordinary Court levee or Ministerial reception, and about three-quarters of the ordinary society calls and polite visits in the town. This deadening of repeated social action may be a harmless thing; it may be a melancholy thing; it may be a mark of the Fall of Man; it may be anything the critic chooses to think. But those who have made it, hundreds and hundreds of times, a special and concentrated charge against the Church, are men blind to the whole human world they live in and unable to see anything but the thing they traduce.

There are, even in this record, any number of other cases of this queer and uncanny unconsciousness. The writer complains that priests are led blindfold into their calling and do not understand the duties involved in it. That also we seem to have heard before. But we have seldom heard it in so extraordinary a form as in his statement, that a man can be finally committed to the priesthood while he is still "a child." He would appear to have odd and elastic ideas about the duration of childhood. As Mr. Michael Williams has pointed out in his most thoughtful and illuminating collection of essays, "Catholicism and the Modern Mind," this is playing about with a matter of plain fact; since a priest is twenty-four at the earliest when he takes his vows. But here again I myself am haunted by this huge and naked and yet neglected comparison between the Church and everything outside the Church. Most critics of Catholicism declare it to be destructive of patriotism; and this critic says something about the disadvantages of the Church being merely "attached to an Italian diocese." Well, I for one have always been a defender of the cult of patriotism; and nothing that I say here has any connection with what is commonly called pacifism. I think that our friends and brethren fell ten years ago in a just war against the hard heathenism of the north; I think the Prussianism they defeated was frozen with the pride of hell; and for these dead, I think it is well with them; and perhaps better than with us, who live to see how evil Peace can be.

But really--when we come to talk about the Church involving young people in vows!What are we to say to those who would pit patriotism or pagan citizenship against the Church on that issue? They conscript by violence boys of eighteen, they applaud volunteers of sixteen for saying they are eighteen, they throw them by thousands into a huge furnace and torture-chamber, of which their imaginations can have conceived nothing and from which their honour forbids them to escape; they keep them in those horrors year after year without any knowledge even of the possibility of victory; and kill them like flies by the million before they have begun to live. That is what the State does; that is what the World does; that is what their Protestant, practical, sensible, secular society does. And after that they have the astounding impudence to come and complain of us, because in dealing with a small minority of specialists, we allow a man finally to choose a charitable and peaceful life, not only long after he is twenty-one, but when he is well on towards thirty, and after he has had about ten years to think quietly whether he will do it or not!

In short, what I miss in all these things is the obvious thing: the question of how the Church compares with the world outside the Church, or opposed to the Church, or offered as a substitute for the Church. And the fact obviously is that the world will do all that it has ever accused the Church of doing, and do it much worse, and do it on a much larger scale, and do it (which is worst and most important of all) without any standards for a return to sanity or any motives for a movement of repentance. Catholic abuses can be reformed, because there is the admission of a form. Catholic sins can be expiated, because there is a test and a principle of expiation. But where else in the world to-day is any such test or standard found; or anything except a changing mood, which makes patriotism the fashion ten years ago and pacifism the fashion ten years afterwards?

The danger is to-day that men will not sufficiently enlarge their minds to take in the obvious things; and this is one of them. It is that men charge the Roman tradition with being half-heathen and then take refuge from it in a complete heathenism. It is that men complain because Christians have been infected with paganism; and then flee from the plague-spotted to take refuge with the pestilence. There is no single one of these faults alleged against the Catholic institution, which is not far more flagrant and even flamboyant in every other institution. And it is to these other institutions, the State, the School, the modern machinery of taxation and police, to which these people actually look to save them from the superstition of their fathers. That is the contradiction; that is the crashing collision; that is the inevitable intellectual disaster in which they have already involved themselves; and we have only to wait as patiently as we can, to see how long it is before they realise what has happened.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011


On September 14, 2011, at the office of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a meeting was held between His Eminence, Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of this Congregation and President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, His Excellency, Archbishop Luis Ladaria, S.J., Secretary of this Congregation, and Monsignor Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, and His Excellency, Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, and Fathers Niklaus Pfluger et Alain-Marc Nély, General Assistants of the Fraternity

Following the petition addressed on December 15, 2008, by the Superior General of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X to His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, the Holy Father had taken the decision of lifting the excommunication of the four bishops consecrated by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre and to open at the same time doctrinal conversations with the Fraternity, aiming to overcome the difficulties and the problems of a doctrinal nature, and to achieve a healing of the existing fracture.

Obedient to the will of the Holy Father, a mixed study commission, composed of experts of the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X and of experts of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, assembled eight times for meetings that took place in Rome between the month of October 2009 and the month of April 2011. These conversations, whose objective was that of presenting and examining the major doctrinal difficulties on controversial themes, achieved their goal, which was that of clarifying the respective positions and their motivations.

Given the concerns and requests presented by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X regarding the integrity of the Catholic faith considering the hermeneutic of rupture of the Second Vatican Council in respect of Tradition - hermeneutic mentioned by Pope Benedict XVI in his Address to the Roman Curia of December 22, 2005 -, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith takes as a fundamental basis for a full reconciliation with the Apostolic See the acceptance of the Doctrinal Preamble which was delivered in the course of the meeting of September 14, 2011. This preamble enunciates some of the doctrinal principles and criteria of interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary for ensuring fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church and to the sentire cum Ecclesia, while leaving open to legitimate discussion the study and theological explanation of particular expressions and formulations present in the texts of the Second Vatican Council and of the Magisterium that followed it.

In the course of the same meeting, some elements were proposed regarding a canonical solution for the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Pius X, which would follow the eventual and hoped-for reconciliation.

Deerstalker tip to Rorate Caeli for this. So lets keep praying, see my last post and see the Litany on behalf of Bishops.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Pray For The SSPX Now!

You may or may not be aware of this.

On 14th September - the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Bishop Fellay, SSPX, and a bunch of others are being received by Cardinal Levada of the CDF. Anything could happen - it could be good news, it could be bad news.

If you missed the novena, say a Rosary and one or all of the following;

Prayer for Wales

O Almighty God,
Who in Thine infinite goodness
has sent Thine only-begotten Son into this world
to open once more the gates of heaven,
and to teach us how to know, love and serve Thee,
have mercy on Thy people Who dwell in Wales.
Grant to them the precious gift of faith,
and unite them in the one true Church
founded by Thy Divine Son; that,
acknowledging her authority and obeying her voice,
they may serve Thee, love Thee, and worship Thee
as Thou desirest in this world,
and obtain for themselves everlasting happiness
in the world to come.
Through the same Christ our Lord.

R. Amen.

Our Lady, Help of Christians,
pray for Wales.

Saint David,
pray for Wales.

Saint Winefride,
pray for Wales.

Saturday, 10 September 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, Protestantism: A Problem Novel


I HAVE been looking at the little book on Protestantism which Dean Inge has contributed to the sixpenny series of Sir Ernest Benn; and though I suppose it has already been adequately criticised, it may be well to jot down a few notes on it before it is entirely forgotten. The book, which is called "Protestantism," obviously ought to be called "Catholicism." What the Dean has to say about any real thing recognisable as Protestantism is extraordinarily patchy, contradictory and inconclusive. It is only what he has to say about Catholicism that is clear, consistent and to the point. It is warmed and quickened by the human and hearty motive of hatred; and it makes everything else in the book look timid and tortuous by comparison. I am not going to annotate the work considered as history. There are some curious, if not conscious, falsifications of fact, especially in the form of suppressions of fact. He begins by interpreting Protestantism as a mere "inwardness and sincerity" in religion; which none of the Protestant reformers would have admitted to be Protestantism, and which any number of Catholic reformers have made the very heart and soul of their reforms inside Catholicism. It might be suggested that self-examination is now more often urged and practised among Catholics than among Protestants. But whether or no the champions of sincerity examine themselves, they might well examine their statements. Some of the statements here might especially be the subject of second thoughts. It is really a startling suppression and falsification to say that Henry the Eighth had only a few household troops; so that his people must have favoured his policy, or they would have risen against it. It seems enough to reply that they did rise against it. And BECAUSE Henry had only a few household troops, he brought in bands of ferocious mercenaries from abroad to put down the religious revolt of his own people. It is an effort of charity to concede even complete candour to the story-teller, who can actually use such an argument, and then keep silent upon such a sequel. Or again, it is outrageously misleading to suggest that the Catholic victims of Tudor and other tyranny were justly executed as traitors and not as martyrs to a religion. Every persecutor alleges social and secular necessity; so did Caiaphas and Annas; so did Nero and Diocletian; from the first the Christians were suppressed as enemies of the Empire; to the last the heretics were handed over to the secular arm with secular justifications. But when, in point of plain fact, a man can be hanged, drawn and quartered merely for saying Mass, or sometimes for helping somebody who has said Mass, it is simply raving nonsense to say that a religion is not being persecuted. To mention only one of many minor falsifications of this kind, it is quite true to say that Milton was in many ways more of a Humanist than a Puritan; but it is quite false to suggest that the Milton family was a typical Puritan family, in its taste for music and letters. The very simple explanation is that the Milton family was largely a Catholic family; and it was the celebrated John who specially separated himself from its creed but retained its culture. Countless other details as definitely false could be quoted; but I am much more interested in the general scope of the work-- which allows itself to be so curiously pointless about Protestantism, merely in order to make a point against Catholicism.

Here is the Dean's attempt at a definition. "What is the main function of Protestantism? It is essentially an attempt to check the tendency to corruption and degradation which attacks every institutional religion." So far, so good. In that case St. Charles Borromeo, for instance, was obviously a leading Protestant. St. Dominic and St. Francis, who purged the congested conventionalism of much of the monasticism around them, were obviously leading Protestants. The Jesuits who sifted legend by the learning of Bollandism, were obviously leading Protestants. But most living Protestant leaders are not leading Protestants. If degradation drags down EVERY institutional religion, it has presumably dragged down Protestant institutional religion. Protestants might possibly appear to purge Protestantism; but so did Catholics appear to purge Catholicism. Plainly this definition is perfectly useless as a DISTINCTION between Protestantism and Catholicism. For it is not a description of any belief or system or body of thought; but simply of a good intention, which all men of all Churches would profess and a few men in some Churches practise--especially in ours. But the Dean not only proves that modern Protestant institutions ought to be corrupt, he says that their primitive founders ought to be repudiated. He distinctly holds that we cannot follow Luther and Calvin.

Very well--let us go on and see whom we are to follow. I will take one typical passage towards the end of the book. The Dean first remarks, "The Roman Church has declared that there can be no reconciliation between Rome and modern Liberalism or Progress." One would like to see the encyclical or decree in which this declaration was made. Liberalism might mean many things, from the special thing which Newman denounced and defined to the intention of voting at a by-election for Sir John Simon. Progress generally means something which the Pope has never, so far as I know, found it necessary to deny; but which the Dean himself has repeatedly and most furiously denied. He then goes on: "Protestantism is entirely free from this uncompromising preference for the Dark Ages." "The Dark Ages," of course, is cant and claptrap; we need take no notice of that. But we may perhaps notice, not without interest and amusement, that about twenty-five lines before, the Dean himself has described the popular Protestantism of America as if it were a barbarism and belated obscurantism. From which one may infer that the Dark Ages are still going on, exactly where there is Protestantism to preserve them. And considering that he says at least five times that the appeal of Protestants to the letter of Scripture is narrow and superstitious, it surely seems a little astonishing that he should sum up by declaring Protestantism, as such, to be "ENTIRELY free" from this sort of darkness. Then, on top of all this welter of wordy contradictions, we have this marvellous and mysterious conclusion: "It is in this direction that Protestants may look for the beginning of what may really be a new Reformation, a resumption of the unfinished work of Sir Thomas More, Giordano Bruno and Erasmus."

In short, Protestants may look forward to a Reformation modelled on the work of two Catholics and one obscure mystic, who was not a Protestant and of whose tenets they and the world know practically nothing. One hardly knows where to begin, in criticising this very new Reformation, two-thirds of which was apparently started by men of the Old Religion. We might meekly suggest that, if it be regrettable that the work of Sir Thomas More was "unfinished," some portion of the blame may perhaps attach to the movement that cut off his head. Is it possible, I wonder, that what the Dean really means is that we want a new Reformation to undo all the harm that was done by the old Reformation? In this we certainly have no reason to quarrel with him. We should be delighted also to have a new Reformation, of ourselves as well as of Protestants and other people; though it is only fair to say that Catholics did, within an incredibly short space of time, contrive to make something very like a new Reformation; which is commonly called the Counter-Reformation. St. Vincent de Paul and St. Francis of Sales have at least as good a right to call themselves inheritors of the courtesy and charity of More as has the present Dean of St. Paul's. But putting that seventeenth century reform on one side, there is surely something rather stupendous about the reform that the Dean proposes for the twentieth century, and the patron saints he selects for it out of the sixteenth century.

For this, it seems, is how we stand. We are not to follow Luther and Calvin. But we are to follow More and Erasmus. And that, if you please, is the true Protestantism and the promise of a second Reformation. We are to copy the views and virtues of the men who found they could remain under the Pope, and especially of one who actually died for the supremacy of the Pope. We are to throw away practically every rag of thought or theory that was held by the people who did not remain under the supremacy of the Pope. And we are to bind up all these views in a little popular pamphlet with an orange cover and call them "Protestantism." The truth is that Dean Inge had an impossible title and an impossible task. He had to present Protestantism as Progress; when he is far too acute and cultivated a man not to suspect that it was (as it was) a relapse into barbarism and a break away from all that was central in civilisation. Even by the test of the Humanist, it made religion inhuman. Even by the test of the liberal, it substituted literalism for liberalism. Even if the goal had been mere Modernism, it led its followers to it by a long, dreary and straggling detour, a wandering in the wilderness, that did not even discover Modernism till it had first discovered Mormonism. Even if the goal had been logical scepticism, Voltaire could reach it more rapidly from the school of the Jesuits than the poor Protestant provincial brought up among the Jezreelites. Every mental process, even the process of going wrong, is clearer in the Catholic atmosphere. Protestantism has done nothing for Dean Inge, except give him a Deanery which rather hampers his mental activity. It has done nothing for his real talent or scholarship or sense of ideas. It has not in history defended any of the ideas he defends, or helped any of the liberties in which he hopes. But it has done one thing: it has hurt something he hates. It has done some temporary or apparent harm to the heritage of St. Peter. It once made something that looked like a little crack in the wall of Rome. And because of THAT, the Dean can pardon anything to the Protestants--even Protestantism.

For this is the strange passion of his life; and he toils through all these pages of doubts and distinctions only for the moment when he can liberate his soul in one wild roar of monomaniac absurdity: "Let the innocent Dreyfus die in prison; let the Irishman who has committed a treacherous murder be told to leave 'politics' out of his confession; let the lucrative imposture of Lourdes..." That is the way to talk! It is so tiring, pretending to talk sense.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Old Rite Mass For Good Counsel, 6.30pm Today, London

There will be an Old Rite Mass organised by the Latin Mass Society, on Friday 9th September at 6.30pm at Corpus Christi Church, Maiden Lane, London. This Mass is offered for the work of the Good Counsel Network.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Michael Voris, London Talk On YouTube & God Bless Dr Shaw

Michael Voris, sound Catholic, gave a great talk in London last month, which you can now watch on YouTube ( You can also read my highly intellectual, in depth analysis of the talk here or for something a bit more serious see here or even see Dr Shaw's blog.

When I first read Dr Shaw's post, I thought of writing a couple of witty (rude) comments about it on my blog, such as; "I had no trouble following the talk, even if Dr Shaw got lost somewhere along the way." but then I thought better of it as no one gets my humour (anti-Welsh bigots!).

Then I noticed that Dr Shaw seemed to be the only other person at the talk who was now defending Middle Earth from the vile orc like attack launched that day. God bless Dr Shaw. So there we have it, stamp collecting, (send someone out to look up the proper name for that before hitting publish) I mean football is back on the menu!

(Sorry if none of this makes sense, but you need to read my earlier post and Dr Shaw's post and watch this short Michael Voris video. God bless Dr Shaw!)

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Fasting & Praying 4 Life, Today Or Tomorrow

On Tuesday 6th September(moved to 7th after we sent this out as an email!) in the House of Commons there will be a debate regarding Health and Social Care Bill. A number of amendments regarding the counselling of pregnant women in relationship to abortion will be debated. With the details that we currently have it is not clear what would be the long term outcome of these amendments. Although there are some serious concerns that pro-lifers have raised. The Good Counsel Network has therefore called for an extra day of prayer and fasting for life with the intention that God’s Will, will be done and that the bill and any amendments to it, will do nothing to hinder the pro-life movement and that it will also not lead to an increase in the number of abortions.

Therefore on Tuesday 6th of September (or on Wednesday 7th)please:


Fast from all food except bread and water for the day


Fast from a particular food or luxury, e.g. chocolate, alcohol, cigarettes, TV.

Fast from whatever you can, given your state of health etc, but make sure it is something that involves a sacrifice to yourself.


We are asking people to say a Rosary (or an extra Rosary if you say it daily already).

You could also offer an extra effort such as going to Mass (or an extra Mass) on the day, or going to Adoration. You can even pray before a closed tabernacle if Adoration is not available near you.

(Photo of Benediction at Good Counsel on the eve of the Fast Day.)

Monday, 5 September 2011

Novena For SSPX & Rome Talks

You may or may not be aware of this.

On 14th September - the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross - Bishop Fellay, FSSPX, and a bunch of others are being received by Cardinal Levada of the CDF. Anything could happen - it could be good news, it could be bad news.

I propose a novena for a propitious and peaceful outcome to this meeting, one that will benefit the whole Church. I also propose that we take on some sort of extra penance for this intention, starting tomorrow.

This will be the novena, in Latin with English below it. The Latin takes a little over 2 minutes. The English takes a little over 1 minute 30 seconds. Not a big deal.

To Pope St Pius X

Deus, qui ad tuendam catholicam fidem, et universa in Christo instauranda sanctum Pium, Summum Pontificem, caelesti sapientia et apostolica fortitudine replevisti; concede proitius; ut, ejus instituta et exempla sectantes, praemia consequamur aeterna. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum.

In Honour of the Holy Cross

Deus, qui unigeniti Filii tui pretioso sanguine, vivificare Crucis vexillum sanctificare voluisti: concede, quaesumus; eos, qui ejusdem sanctae Crucis gaudent honore, tua quoque ubique protectione gaudere. Per eumdem Dominum.

For Peace

Deus, a quo sancta desideria, recta consilia, et justa sunt opera: da servis tuis illam, quam mundus dare non potest, pacem; ut et corda nostra mandatis tuis dedita, et hostium sublata formidine, tempora sint tua protectione tranquilla. Per Dominum nostrum.

For people in authority and those under their charge

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui facis mirabilia magna solus: praetende super famulos tuos, et super congregationes illis commissas, spiritum gratiae salutaris; et ut in veritate tibi complaceant, perpetuum eis rorem tuae benedictionis infunde. Per Dominum.


Memorare, O piisima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saecula, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.

Through thy cross and passion - deliver us, O Lord.
Immaculate heart of Mary - pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X - pray for us.
Saints Benedict and Joseph - pray for us.
Saint William - pray for us.
Saints Marcel, and Anthony of Padua - pray for us.
Saints Bernard, Richard and Alphonsus - pray for us.
All ye holy Angels and Archangels, all ye holy order of blessed Spirits - pray for us.

Fidelium animae per misericordiam Dei, requiescant in pace.



To St Pius X

O God, who for the defence of the Catholic faith and to restore all things in Christ, filled saint Pius, the supreme Pontiff, with heavenly wisdom and apostolic strength; mercifully grant that following his teaching and example we may attain to our eternal reward. Through our same Lord.

In Honour of the Holy Cross

O God, who by the precious blood of thine only-begotten Son wast pleased to hallow the standard of the life-giving Cross: grant, we beseech thee, that those who rejoice in honouring that same holy Cross may likewise rejoice in thy protection, wheresoever they may be. Through the same Lord.

For Peace

O God, from whom all holy desires, all right counsels and all just works do proceed; give to thy servants that peace which the world cannot give; that our hearts may be disposed to obey thy commandments, and the fear of enemies being removed, our times, by thy protection, may be peaceful. Through our Lord.

For people in authority and those under their charge

Almighty and everlasting God, who alone workest great wonders, pour down upon thy servants and upon the flocks committed to their charge the spirit of thy saving grace, and that they may truly please thee, pour down upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Through our Lord.


Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it know that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother. To thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.

Through thy cross and passion - deliver us, O Lord.
Immaculate heart of Mary - pray for us.
Pope Saint Pius X - pray for us.
Saints Benedict and Joseph - pray for us.
Saint William - pray for us.
Saints Marcel, and Anthony of Padua - pray for us.
Saints Bernard, Richard and Alphonsus - pray for us.
All ye holy Angels and Archangels, all ye holy order of blessed Spirits - pray for us.

May the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

Deerstalker tip to London Juventutem for all of this.

Saturday, 3 September 2011

GK's Weekly, The Thing, The Early Bird In History


ST. JOAN OF ARC, a star and a thunderbolt, strange as a meteoric stone whose very solidity is not of this earth, may be compared also to a diamond among pebbles; the one white stone of history. Like a diamond, she is clear but not simple, as some count simplicity; but having many facets or aspects. There is one aspect of the discussion on St. Joan which I have never seen specially noted, and it seems to be worth a note. It concerns that common and current charge against the Catholic Church that she is, as the phrase goes, always behind the times.

When I became a Catholic, I was quite prepared to find that in many respects she really was behind the times. I was very tolerant of the idea of being behind the times, having had long opportunities of studying the perfectly ghastly people who were abreast of the times; or the still more pestilent people who were in advance of the times. I was prepared to find Catholicism rather Conservative, and in that sense slow; and so, of course, in some aspects it is. I knew that being in the movement generally meant only being in the fashion. I knew that fashions had an extraordinary way of being first omnipresent and oppressive and then suddenly blank and forgotten. I knew how publicity seems fixed like a spotlight and vanishes like a lightning-flash. I had seen the whole public imagination filled with a succession of Krugers and Kaisers, who were to be hanged next week and about whom nobody cared a hang next month. I have lived through an overwhelming illusion that there was nobody in the world except General Gordon or Captain Dreyfus or the elephant Jumbo at the Zoo. If there is something in the world that takes no notice of these world-changes, I confess to finding a certain comfort in its indifference. I think it was just as well, from every point of view, that the ecclesiastical authorities delayed a decision about Darwinism or even Evolution; and declined altogether to be excited in that universal excitement. There were many, even among the sympathetic, who seemed to think that Catholics ought to put up an altar to the Missing Link, as Pagans did to the Unknown God. But Catholics prefer to wait until they know what they are doing; and would prefer to learn a little more about a thing besides the fact that nobody can find it. And of course it is true that in some matters, judged by the feverish pace of recent fashion, the Church has always been slow as well as sure. But there is another side of the truth, and one which is more commonly missed. As it happens, both sides are strikingly illustrated in the story of the status of St. Joan.

If we go back to the very beginning of a story, we very often find that the Church did actually do something which her foes ignored and even her friends forgot. Then other social tendencies set in, other questions occupied the world, the tides of time and change passed over the whole business; and when that business came again to the surface, the world had the impression that the Church was dealing with it after a very long delay. But the world itself had never dealt with it at all. The world, as a matter of fact, had never woken up to the fact at all, until it woke up with a start and began to abuse the Church for not having woken up before. During all those long intervening ages, the world had really been much more asleep than the Church. The Church, a very long time ago, had done something; and the world had done nothing. The case of St. Joan of Arc is one curious example.

The Canonisation of St. Joan came very slowly and very late. But the Rehabilitation of St. Joan came very promptly and very early. It is a very exceptional example of rapid reparation for a judicial crime or a miscarriage of justice. There have been any number of these judicial crimes in history. There have been any number of heroes and martyrs whom history regards as having suffered for their virtues. It has almost passed into a popular proverb, especially in modern times; as in the words of the American popular poet: "Right for ever on the scaffold, wrong for ever on the throne." But I can hardly remember another example of the throne paying so prompt a salute to the scaffold. The condemnation of St. Joan was reversed by the Pope in the lifetime of her contemporaries, at the appeal of her brothers; about as soon as anybody could have expected anything of the sort to be reversed. I do not know if the Athenian Republic did as much for Socrates or the Florentine for Savonarola; but I am pretty certain that nobody could have got the Carthaginians to apologise thus to Regulus or the Antiochi to Maccabaeus. The only really fair way of considering the fashionable subject of the crimes of Christendom would be to compare them with the crimes of heathenism; and the normal human practice of the Pagan world. And while it may be a weakness of human beings, of every age and creed, to stone the prophets and then build their sepulchres, it is really very seldom that the sepulchre is built even as quickly as that. When those who build the sepulchre are really and truly the representatives or inheritors of those who threw the stones, it does not generally happen for hundreds of years. To take the parallel passions of the secular side of the Middle Ages, we should be considerably surprised to learn that when the head of William Wallace had been stuck on a spike by Edward the First, his remains had been respectfully interred and his character cleared by Edward the Third. We should be considerably surprised if the courts of Queen Elizabeth had gone out of their way to repudiate and quash the case against Thomas More. It is generally long afterwards, when the actual ambitions and rivalries are dead, when the feuds and family interests have long been forgotten, that a rather sentimental though sincere tenderness is shown to the dead enemy. In the nineteenth century the English do make a romance about Wallace and a statue of Washington. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries the English do produce a fine enthusiasm and a number of excellent books about St. Joan. And I for one hope to see the day when this measure of magnanimity shall be filled up where it has been most wanting; and some such payment made for the deepest debt of all. I should like to see the day when the English put up a statue of Emmett beside the statue of Washington; and I wish that in the Centenary of Emancipation there were likely to be as much fuss in London about the figure of Daniel O'Connell as there was about that of Abraham Lincoln.

But I mean the comment here in a rather larger sense; and in a larger sense it is an even stronger case. I mean that if we take the tale of St. Joan as a test, the really remarkable thing is not so much the slowness of the Church to appreciate her, as the slowness of everybody else. The world, especially the wisest men of the world, were extraordinarily late in realising what a remarkable thing had happened; very much later than the rather rigid religious officials of the fifteenth century. That rigidity of fifteenth century religion was very soon broken up, partly by good and partly by bad forces. Comparatively soon after St. Joan's ashes were thrown into the Seine, quite soon after the Rehabilitation, the Renaissance had really begun. Very soon after that the Reformation had begun. The Renaissance produced a number of large and liberal views on all sorts of things. The Reformation produced numberless narrow views, divided among all sorts of sects. But at least there were plenty of differences and varied points of view, many of them now loosened from anything that may have been restrictive in the medieval discipline. Human reason and imagination, left to themselves, might at least have made as much of Jeanne d'Arc as of John Huss. As a fact, human reason and imagination, left to themselves, made extraordinarily little of her. Humanism and Humanitarianism and, in a general sense, Humanity, did not really rehabilitate Joan until about five hundred years after the Church had done so.

The history of what great men have said about this great woman is a very dismal tale. The greatest man of all, Shakespeare, has an unfortunate pre-eminence by his insular insults in HENRY THE SIXTH. But the thing went on long after Shakespeare; and was far worse in people who had far less excuse than Shakespeare. Voltaire was a Frenchman; he was a great Frenchman; he professed an admiration for many French heroes; he certainly professed to be a reformer and a friend of freedom; he most certainly might have seized on any mediaeval miscarriage of justice that might be turned to anti-clerical account. What Voltaire wrote about St. Joan it will be most decent to pass over in silence. But it is the same all along the line; it is the same far later in rationalistic history than Voltaire. Byron had with all his faults a sensibility to the splendid and heroic, especially in the matter of nations struggling to be free. He was far less insular than any other English poet; he had far more comprehension of France and of the Continent; and he is still comprehended and admired there. He called St. Joan of Arc a fanatical strumpet. That was the general tone of human culture, of history as taught and talked in the age of reason. Mr. Belloc has noted that, so strong was this secular social pressure, that even a Catholic, when he wished to be moderate, like Lingard, was more or less sceptical, not indeed of the morality, but certainly of the miraculous mission of St. Joan. It is true that Schiller was sympathetic, though sentimental--and therefore out of touch. But it was not till nearly the end of the nineteenth century, not fully until the beginning of the twentieth century, that ordinary men of genius awoke to the recognition of one of the most wonderful women of genius in the history of the world. One of the first really popular attempts at a rationalist rehabilitation came, of all people in the world, from Mark Twain. His notion of the Middle Ages was as provincial as the Yankee at the Court of King Arthur; but it is to the credit of this rather crude genius, of the late culture of a new country, that he did catch the flame from the pyre of Rouen, which so many cultivated sceptics had found cold. Then came a patronising pamphlet by Anatole France; which I for one think rather more insulting than the ribald verse of Voltaire. Then came the last great attempt; wrong in many ways in its contention, but conspicuously spirited and sincere--the play of St. Joan. On the whole, nobody can say that humanists and rationalists have been very early in the field. This heroine had to wait about five centuries for Bernard Shaw.

Now, in that comparison, nobody can say that the Church comes off very badly in comparison with the world. The truth is that the ecclesiastical apology to the martyr came so early that everybody had forgotten all about it, long before the rest of the world began to consider the question at all. And though I have taken here the particular case of St. Joan of Arc, I believe that something of the same sort could be traced through a great many other affairs in human history.

It is true of those who gave the Jesuits a bad name and hanged them; and the hanging was not always metaphorical. The simplified version of it is to say that the Jesuits, especially in their capacity of Casuists, suffered almost entirely from being two hundred years before their time. They tried to start in a cautious way what is now surging up on every side of us in a chaotic way; all that is implied in talking about problem novels and problem plays. In other words, they recognised that there really are problems in moral conduct; not problems about whether the moral law should be obeyed, but problems about how in a particular case the moral law really applies. But they were not remembered as pioneers who had begun to ask the questions of Ibsen and Hardy and Shaw. They were remembered only as wicked conspirators who had not always believed in the Divine Right of Kings. They pioneered early enough to be execrated by an earlier generation; but too early to be thanked by a later generation. Protestants have eagerly supported Pascal against them, without taking the trouble to discover that any number of the things that Pascal denounced are things that any modern man would defend. For instance, Pascal blamed the infamous Jesuits for saying that a girl might in some conditions marry against the wish of her parents. The Jesuits would have had all modern novels, let alone problem novels, on their side. But they were too early in the field to have anybody on their side. Moreover, they wished to fit these exceptions into the moral rule; the Moderns who did it two centuries later have produced no rule, but a welter of exceptions.

Here, again, is yet another example that occurs to me at the moment. Many have given long histories of the laborious slowness with which the idea of justice to the aborigines, to Red Indians or such races, has advanced step by step with the progress of modern humanitarian ideas. In such a history Penn, the great Quaker, appears like a primeval founder and father of the republic; and he was undoubtedly very early in the field--in the Puritan field. But Las Casas, the Apostle of the Indians, actually sailed in a ship with Christopher Columbus. It would be difficult to be earlier in the American field than that. He spent his life pleading for the rights of the savages; but he did it at a time when nobody in the north would listen to such a story about a saint of Spain. In this and in many other examples, I believe that the real history of the Catholic pioneer has been the same; to be first and to be forgotten.